From: Radical Women, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118
Contact: Anne Slater: office 206-722-6057; cell 206-708-5161; home 206-722-3812
RE: PUBLIC CONFERENCE
Radical Women Conference Aims to Expand and Embolden Feminist Movement
October 2 - 6
3543 18th Street,in the Mission District, near the 16th Street BART stop.
Registration is $15 per day; students and low income $7.50 per day.
Register at www.RadicalWomen.org.
For more information, phone 206-722-6057.
Radical Women Conference Aims to Expand and Embolden Feminist Movement
Optimistic rebels from all walks of life are invited to participate in a national Radical Women conference, "The Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism," to be held at the San Francisco Women's Building, October 3-6, 2008. The major goal of the four-day public event is to produce a concrete education and action plan to focus and strengthen the feminist movement. Speakers include activists and scholars from Central America, China, Australia and the U.S.
Highlights on Friday, Oct. 2 include a 9:30am keynote address by Nellie Wong on "Women and revolution--alive and inseparable." Wong is an acclaimed Chinese-American poet, whose works include Stolen Moments, the Death of Long Steam Lady, and Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park. A former Senior Analyst of Affirmative Action, she is also a founding member of Unbound Feet, an Asian American writers group. Afterwards, Laura Mannen will present proposals and spearhead a discussion on how to build a strong, independent, grassroots U.S. feminist movement. Mannen is a bilingual teacher, mother of two and seasoned antiwar organizer from Portland, Oregon. The afternoon will feature a roundtable of female unionists on "Standing our ground on labor's frontlines."
At 7:30pm Friday evening Lynne Stewart will address "Radical dissent: The righteous response to an unjust system." Stewart, embattled human rights attorney, was convicted in 2005 of providing support for terrorism by delivering a handwritten press release to Reuters from a client. Though prosecutors sought a 30-year prison term, Stewart was sentenced to serve 28 months. The shorter sentence, the judge said, was in recognition of her "service to the nation" as a representative of the poor and unpopular. The government is appealing her shorter sentence. Stewart is appealing the conviction.
"Magnificent warriors: female leadership in the global freedom struggle," a panel presentation on Saturday, October 4 at 9:00am, will include Debbie Brennan, workplace delegate for the Australian Services Union and Melbourne RW president; Dr. Raya Fidel, an Israeli-American feminist and supporter of Palestinian rights; Patricia Ramos, a Costa Rican labor lawyer and leading organizer against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA); and Wang Zheng, a University of Michigan Women's Studies professor and co-chair of the U.S. based Chinese Society for Women's Studies.
Christina López, Chicana-Apache advocate for reproductive justice and frontrunner in the battle for rights for undocumented workers, will present her paper "Estamos en la lucha: Immigrant women light the fires of resistance" at 11:30am.
Interactive workshops in the afternoon include Challenging the Minutemen; ABCs of Marxist feminism; Women's stake in the struggle for union democracy; Federally funded childcare NOW; End the war on women--in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S.; On the barricades for reproductive justice; Confronting movement sexism; Free trade is a feminist issue; and Young queer radical--what are we fighting for?
Sunday, Oct. 5 begins at 9:00am with a panel on "The galvanizing impact of multiracial organizing in a society divided by racism." Sharing first-hand experiences will be author Christina López of Seattle, reproductive rights activist Toni Mendicino of San Francisco, and campus organizer Emily Woo Yamasaki of New York City.
The remainder of Sunday will be devoted to issues and skills workshops. Topics include Power to the poor!; Radical campus organizing; For affirmative action not "civil wrongs"; Alternative feminist radio; Radical youth and rebel elders; Disabled rights activists on RX for toxic healthcare. There will also be sessions on getting media attention, confident speaking and writing, knowing your rights as a worker, and producing effective fliers and banners.
The conference concludes on Monday, Oct 6, 10:00am with a National Organizer's report and action plan presented by Anne Slater, veteran campaigner for queer rights, the environment and women's equality.
All sessions will be held at the Women's Building, 3543 18th St., in the Mission District, near the 16th Street BART stop. Wheelchair accessible. Registration is $15 per day; students and low income $7.50 per day. Register at www.RadicalWomen.org. For more information, phone 206-722-6057.
Mon. Oct. 6, 8am
ILWU Local 10 Rally at Yolo County Courthouse
725 Court St. at 1st St., Woodland, CA
Stop Racial Profiling! Drop the Bogus Charges!
Defend Local 10 Members Jason Ruffin and Aaron Harrison
Beaten and Arrested by Police
Join the ANSWER Coalition at this mass rally in Woodland, near Sacramento
Buses to Woodland from SF will leave ILWU Local 10 at 6am (400 North Point St. by Fisherman’s Wharf)
On Oct. 6, 2008 at Yolo County Courthouse two ILWU Local 10 longshoremen, Jason Ruffin and Aaron Harrison will go on trial. These two brothers were beaten and arrested by police while returning to work after lunch in the port of Sacramento on Aug. 23, 2007. When port security guards demanded they open their car trunk to be searched, they called their union business agent to find out what their rights are. New repressive (MARSEC) maritime security regulations were cited in the assault, handcuffing, macing and arrest of the two Black union members. They were initially charged with “trespassing” and “resisting arrest”. The “trespassing” charge was dropped. The video shows that they did nothing wrong.
Sacramento police have a record of racist attacks on African American and Mexican American youth. The ACLU is defending these youth against unconstitutional police measures. The defense of these unionists is critical not just for them and the ILWU, but for all unions and working people.
The use of “homeland security” and the bipartisan “war on terror” to attack workers, like the Palmer Raids of the ‘20’s and the McCarthy witch-hunts of the ‘50’s, seek to shackle the trade union movement. Now, the government is simultaneously waging a criminal war in Iraq and Afghanistan costing billions and proposing a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street fat cats.
Labor must stop this war on workers!
For more info contact ILWU Local 10, 415-776-8100 or email@example.com.
Send letters of protest to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office: District Attorney Jeff Reisig, 301 Second Street, Woodland, CA 95695. Fax: 530-666-8423
Taking Aim's Call-In Show on the Crisis of Fictive Capital - the Meltdown is
delayed until Tuesday, October 7. Taking Aim is pre-empted today during the
WBAI-NY fund drive.
Join us next week for an exciting program. You can reach us on air at
Meanwhile, check out our Program Archive at
Many of you have written that you are downloading and listening to prior
program series, Gentleman Killers of the CIA, Target Africa, Creating the
Next Pandemic and many more.
Please donate to Taking Aim. Your contributions are critical to maintain our
Mya Shone/Ralph Schoenman
Contributions to Taking Aim enable us to continue our radio broadcasts,
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Donate online on the Paypal website http://www.paypal.com by "sending" a
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LET OUR CHILDREN BE! NO ON V!
Keep Military Recruiters OUT of our Schools!
COMMUNITY ANTIWAR OUTREACH DAY
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 11:00 A.M., 24TH AND MISSION STREETS, SAN FRANCISCO
The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program in the country's school system is an example of how our government spends taxpayer's money for programs that only benefit the wealthy, which is what the entire U.S. military industrial complex is designed to do.
The resounding defeat of Proposition V, the Pro-JROTC ballot initiative on this November's ballot in San Francisco, is not only a resounding reiteration of the antiwar sentiments of the people of San Francisco, but it's a resounding statement in opposition to a government being governed by, for, and of the wealthy elite we are being asked to bail out!
The October 11 Community Outreach Day is our chance to get out into the streets and explain how important it is to defeat Proposition V and the strong message it will send throughout the country! Not only expressing our opposition to JROTC and military recruitment of our children for illegal and unjust wars, but our ability to rally together to defeat this initiative!
They are having actions across the country on October 11. I just received the following flyer for an action scheduled for Cleveland, Ohio and I couldn't agree more with its sentiments.
I hope we can incorporate some of this spirit in our NO on V ANTIWAR OUTREACH DAY, Saturday, October 11, 11:00 A.M., 24th and Mission Streets, S.F.:
Bonnie Weinstein, bauaw.org
Here's the Cleveland, OH flyer for their action against the war October 11:
PROTEST THE WALL STREET BAILOUT - BAILOUT MAIN STREET
No Cash Welfare for Wall Street! Give 'em the shirt off your back instead!
Victims of mortgage crisis, unemployed, under-insured and taxpayers....
Give now and give freely. Please do your part. Give the shirt off your back to the Federal Reserve Bank, East 6th and Superior, Friday, October 3, 4pm. [this is in Cleveland, OH…bw]
PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!
LOCAL ACTION TO END WAR AND OCCUPATION!
STOP THE ENDLESS MADNESS!
FORECLOSE ON WARS! NOT ON HOMES!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
1:30 p.m. meet up at 128th & Buckeye Passport Project Comunity Center
(Parking behind Shaker Theatre walk one block south on e.128th)
We will march at 2p.m.down Buckeye and over to Shaker Square.
On the 6th Anniversary of Approval by Congress for the Iraq War Resolution,
Join us to Demand:
--STOP THE WARS AND OCCUPATIONS OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
--MONEY FOR JOBS, EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, AND HOUSING - NOT FOR WAR AND OCCUPATION
--NO SANCTIONS OR ATTACK ON IRAN
--STOP THE RACIST SCAPEGOATING OF ARABS AND MUSLIMS
--STOP THE ASSAULT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES
--BAIL OUT MAIN STREET, NOT WALL STREET!
SAN FRANCISCO CITY-WIDE ANTIWAR OUTREACH DAY! NO ON V!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 11:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M., 24TH AND MISSION STREETS, S.F.
NO TO JUNIOR RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS (JROTC) MILITARY TRAINING AND RECRUITMENT PROGRAM!
MILITARY RECRUITERS OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS!
It was on October 11, 2002 that a bi-partisan Congress approved the “Iraq War Resolution” granting the Bush administration authorization to invade Iraq. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2008--exactly six years after Congress unleashed the dogs of war on Iraq--we will be launching a campaign to label San Francisco an antiwar city again this November, 2008.
In 2004 we voted Yes on N to bring the troops home from Iraq Now; in 2005 we voted Yes on I, College Not Combat, to get military recruiters out of our schools; this year we will vote NO on V, to get the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) military training and recruitment program out of our schools.
JROTC IS A MILITARY TRAINING AND RECRUITMENT PROGRAM THAT TEACHES STUDENTS TO FOLLOW THE LEADER WITHOUT QUESTION, NOT TO BECOME LEADERS!
Proposition V, is a pro-JROTC, pro-military training and recruitment program that is currently being phased out of our schools. Proposition V--a non-binding initiative designed to put pressure on the Board of Education to keep the program in the schools--has been put on the ballot with the financial contributions of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Party among many other pro-war contributors with big bucks!
WE MUST GET THE WORD OUT TO VOTE NO ON V!
NO ON V COMMUNITY OUTREACH DAY, OCTOBER 11, 11:00 A.M., 24TH AND MISSION STREETS, S.F.
We will assemble at 11:00 A.M. At 24th and Mission Street where flyers and posters for NO on V will be available for city-wide distribution. We will fan out across the city to distribute the material and talk with our fellow neighbors in the streets about how important it is to defeat Proposition V. And we will keep this campaign going each week until election day.
JROTC IS A MILITARY RECRUITMENT PROGRAM CONTROLLED BY THE MILITARY ALONE!
The issues surrounding Proposition V have been made less clear by the lies their campaign is telling about the program, i.e., that JROTC does not recruit students to the military, that it teaches leadership skills, that it keeps children from gang activity and that students should have a "choice" to enroll in JROTC at their school.
But, we don't want the schools used to recruit our children for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!
JROTC is a military recruitment program that has already been scheduled for phase-out by June 2009 by the San Francisco Board of Education.
JROTC doesn’t teach students the realities of war: that they are likely to kill civilians, or that they are more likely to die or return from war with devastating mental and physical disabilities than earn college degrees.
Proposition V argues that students should have a “choice” to enroll in JROTC, but if they join the military they have no choice about killing or dying. JROTC is a military recruitment program, and it does not belong in our schools!
JROTC is not the way to keep kids away from gangs. There are peaceful ways to keep kids safe. JROTC is not a leadership program. It teaches unquestioning obedience in preparation for military service.
The San Francisco School Board's decision to end JROTC has set a precedent for communities nationwide. Let’s not allow it to be reversed!
We will be outside in the streets October 11 to encourage a resounding NO vote on Proposition V and to join with parents everywhere trying to save their children from being sent to fight these unjust and illegal wars!
MONEY FOR BOOKS NOT BOMBS! COLLEGE NOT COMBAT! JOB-FAIRS NOT WARFARE! FORECLOSE THE WAR NOT MORTGAGES!
We want funding for education, healthcare, the environment, and jobs, not war! U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan now!
Join us in community outreach against the war and for NO on V, Saturday, October 11, 11:00-3:00 P.M., 24th and Mission Streets, San Francisco
For information on the many other actions taking place on October 11 around the country against the war go to:
Bay Area United Against War
P.O. Box 318021, San Francisco, CA 94131-8021, 415-824-8730, www.bauaw.org
JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN
"Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun" movie trailer:
Dalton Trumbo’s 1939 classic anti-war novel, JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, returns to the silver screen for one week only in its West Coast Premiere at Landmark Theatre’s Shattuck Cinemas (Berkeley) beginning Friday, Oct. 10th.
As one-third of the film’s small, independent production company, I’m asking groups like yours to help spread the word about this powerful new film! We simply cannot compete financially with the big Hollywood film promotion budgets, and therefore depend on help from groups like yours to promote this powerful new film that is actually making audiences THINK, and introducing Trumbo’s anti-war masterpiece to whole new generation!
PLEASE forward this email, or the attached jpeg file (which includes photos and info), to your group and everyone you know! Post the info on your group’s website, share it at meetings, join our MySpace or Facebook pages, and tell people on the street! This movie’s message stays with audiences for a long time, and needs to be shared now more than ever.
Plus, the director, Rowan Joseph, will answer questions following screenings on Friday evening (Oct. 10th), Saturday late afternoon and early evening (Oct. 11th), and Sunday late afternoon and early evenings (Oct. 12th).
I appreciate all of your help and hope to see you at the film! Feel free to contact me with any questions, to request postcards, or to set up a special Q&A for your group.
Greenwood Hill Productions
“A stunning performance...Impressive” –The Daily Texan
“A film of high caliber...a virulent message of pacifism” –Austin American-Statesman
“A starkly powerful film...See this movie” –The Rag Blog
Ripped directly from the pages of Dalton Trumbo’s classic 1939 anti-war novel, JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, comes a powerful new motion picture filmed in the same emotionally charged, intensely personal, stream-of-consciousness style as the book itself.
Ben McKenzie (The O.C., Junebug, 88 Minutes) gives a riveting tour-de-force performance as an American soldier hit by an artillery shell on the last day of the First World War. The movie takes place in the mind of Joe Bonham, a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Slowly regaining consciousness, Joe discovers that while his brain is healthy and able to reason, the rest of his body is irreparably shattered, leaving him trapped forever within the confines of his own imagination. He struggles valiantly to find some way to communicate with the outside world. Tapping his head in Morse code, he breaks through to the outside world and pleads with his caretakers to be put on display as a living example of the cost of war.
Dalton Trumbo’s JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN comes to the Shattuck Cinemas for a special ONE-WEEK limited engagement beginning Friday, October 10th. A portion of all ticket sales are donated to the Fallen Patriot Fund, which helps families of U.S. military personnel who were killed or seriously injured while serving in Iraq . www.JohnnyGotHisGuntheMovie.com
OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10 - Shattuck Cinemas
2230 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley
(510) 464-5980 www.landmarktheatres.com
ANNUAL SUNRISE GATHERING
ON ALCATRAZ ISLAND
MONDAY OCTOBER 13th 2008
International Indian Treaty Council and American Indian Contemporary Arts present:
International Day of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples 2008 Celebrating our Survival and Challenging the Myth of Columbus and “Doctrine of Discovery”
Everyone is invited to attend the annual Sun-Rise Gathering at Alcatraz Island on Monday, October 13th, 2008 (State Holiday) on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, to commemorate 516 years (1492-2008) of Indigenous Peoples Resistance to Colonization in the Americas!
Support Indigenous Peoples’ struggles for Self-Determination, Land and Treaty
Rights, Protection of Sacred Sites, Cultures and Ways of Life. Say “No” to War and
Racism, “Yes” to a Culture of Peace, Human Rights, and Respect for Mother Earth!
Honor those who sacrificed their lives for us to be here, and who stood up for our Peoples.
Tobacco and prayers will be offered to the fire for the Earth and coming generations.
Meeting Place: Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier # 31 in San Francisco
Tickets: $ 11.00 (children under 5 free)
Time: Ticket booths open at 5 AM, last boat departs at 6:00 am, and all return by 9 AM.
Featuring: The All Nations Drum, Traditional Aztec and Pomo Dancers, and updates
and solidarity with special guest speakers. MC: Lenny Foster, Dineh, Alcatraz
Veteran and member of IITC’s Board of Directors. Special Honoring for
Participants of the Long Walks 1 & 2, Alcatraz and Wounded Knee Veterans.
Wheel chair accessible, minimal parking, wear something warm.
For More information call IITC at 415-641-4482 or email AICA:
Purchase advance tickets at
www.alcatrazcruises.com, or call 415-981-7625.
Protest at mortgage bankers associates annual conference in SF
No foreclosures - No evictions
No bank bailouts - Housing is a right!
Sun. Oct. 19, 3pm Protest at opening ceremony of conference, Moscone West, 4th St. and Howard, SF
Mon. Oct. 20, 8am - Protest during Opening General Session, Moscone West, 4th St. and Howard, SF
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Chairmen headline Opening General Session and Annual Business Meeting from 8:30am-10:30am.
Initiated by ANSWER Coalition. To co-sponsor, please reply to this email or call 415-821-6545. http://www.votenobailout.org/
By George Harrison
Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt?
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse,
Always having dirt
To play around in.
Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts?
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt,
Always have clean shirts
To play around in.
In their sties, with all their backing,
They don't care what goes on around.
In their eyes, there's something lacking;
What they need's a damn good whacking!
Everywhere there's lots of piggies,
Living piggy lives.
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives,
Clutching forks and knives
To eat their bacon.
Bring the Anti-War Movement to Inauguration Day in D.C.
January 20, 2009: Join thousands to demand "Bring the troops home now!"
On January 20, 2009, when the next president proceeds up Pennsylvania Avenue he will see thousands of people carrying signs that say US Out of Iraq Now!, US Out of Afghanistan Now!, and Stop the Threats Against Iran! As in Vietnam it will be the people in the streets and not the politicians who can make the difference.
On March 20, 2008, in response to a civil rights lawsuit brought against the National Park Service by the Partnership for Civil Justice on behalf of the ANSWER Coalition, a Federal Court ruled for ANSWER and determined that the government had discriminated against those who brought an anti-war message to the 2005 Inauguration. The court barred the government from continuing its illegal practices on Inauguration Day.
The Democratic and Republican Parties have made it clear that they intend to maintain the occupation of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and threaten a new war against Iran.
Both Parties are completely committed to fund Israel’s on-going war against the Palestinian people. Both are committed to spending $600 billion each year so that the Pentagon can maintain 700 military bases in 130 countries.
On this the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we are helping to build a nationwide movement to support working-class communities that are being devastated while the country’s resources are devoted to war and empire for for the sake of transnational banks and corporations.
Join us and help organize bus and car caravans for January 20, 2009, Inauguration Day, so that whoever is elected president will see on Pennsylvania Avenue that the people want an immediate end to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and to halt the threats against Iran.
From Iraq to New Orleans, Fund Peoples Needs Not the War Machine!
We cannot carry out these actions withour your help. Please take a moment right now to make an urgently needed donation by clicking this link:
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
UPDATED: September 26, 2008
The following “Open Letter to the U.S. Antiwar Movement” was adopted by the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations on July13, 2008. We urge antiwar organizations around the country to endorse the letter. Please send notice of endorsements to email@example.com
Open Letter to the U.S. Antiwar Movement
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
In the coming months, there will be a number of major actions mobilizing opponents of U.S. wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to demand “Bring the Troops Home Now!” These will include demonstrations at the Democratic and Republican Party conventions, pre-election mobilizations like those on October 11 in a number of cities and states, and the December 9-14 protest activities. All of these can and should be springboards for very large bi-coastal demonstrations in the spring.
Our movement faces this challenge: Will the spring actions be unified with all sections of the movement joining together to mobilize the largest possible outpouring on a given date? Or will different antiwar coalitions set different dates for actions that would be inherently competitive, the result being smaller and less powerful expressions of support for the movement’s “Out Now!” demand?
We appeal to all sections of the movement to speak up now and be heard on this critical question. We must not replicate the experience of recent years during which the divisions in the movement severely weakened it to the benefit of the warmakers and the detriment of the millions of victims of U.S. aggressions, interventions and occupations.
Send a message. Urge – the times demand it! – united action in the spring to ensure a turnout which will reflect the majority’s sentiments for peace. Ideally, all major forces in the antiwar movement would announce jointly, or at least on the same day, an agreed upon date for the spring demonstrations.
The National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations will be glad to participate in the process of selecting a date for spring actions that the entire movement can unite around. One way or another, let us make sure that comes spring we will march in the streets together, demanding that the occupations be ended, that all the troops and contractors be withdrawn immediately, and that all U.S. military bases be closed.
In solidarity and peace,
National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations
National Assembly’s Continuations Body (in formation):
Beth Adams, Connecticut River Valley Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Zaineb Alani, Author of The Words of an Iraqi War Survivor & More; Alexis Baden-Mayer, Grassroots Netroots Alliance; Steve Bloom, Solidarity; Michael Carano, Progressive Democrats of America/Ohio Branch; Jim Ciocia, AFSCME Staff Representative; Colia Clark, Chair, Richard Wright Centennial Committee; Grandmothers for Mumia Abu-Jamal; Greg Coleridge, Coordinator, Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition (NOAC) and Economic Justice and Empowerment Program Director, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Victor Crews, Wasatach Coalition for Peace and Justice (of Northern Utah); Alan Dale, Iraq Peace Action Coalition (MN); Donna Dewitt, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO*, Representing U.S. Labor Against the War on the Continuations Body; Jamilla El-Shafei, Founder, Kennebunks Peace Department; Co-Founder and Organizer, Stop-Loss Congress; Mike Ferner, Secretary, Veterans for Peace; Paul George, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center; Jerry Gordon, Former National Co-Coordinator of the Vietnam-era National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC) and Member, U.S. Labor Against the War Steering Committee; John Harris, Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition; Jonathan Hutto, Navy Petty Officer; Author of Anti-War Soldier; Co-Founder of Appeal for Redress; Tom Lacey, California Peace and Freedom Party; Marilyn Levin, Coordinating Committee, Greater Boston United for Justice with Peace, Middle East Crisis Coalition; Joe Lombardo, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Northeast Peace and Justice Coalition; Jeff Mackler, Founder, San Francisco Mobilization for Peace, Jobs and Justice; Christine Marie, Socialist Action; Logan Martinez, Green party of Ohio; Fred Mason, President, Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO and Co-Convenor, U.S. Labor Against the War; Atlee McFellin, Students for a Democratic Society, New School University Chapter, New York; Mary Nichols-Rhodes, Progressive Democrats of America/Ohio Branch; Northland Anti-War Coalition; Bill Onasch, Kansas City Labor Against the War; John Peterson, National Secretary, Workers International League; Dan Piper, CT United for Peace; Millie Phillips, Socialist Organizer; Thea Paneth, Arlington/Lexington United for Justice with Peace; Andy Pollack, Adalah/NY; Adam Ritscher, United Steelworkers Local 9460*; Vince Scarich, Los Altos Voices for Peace; Carole Seligman, Active in Campaign to Get Junior ROTC Out of San Francisco Schools; Peter Shell, Thomas Merton Center Antiwar Committee, Pittsburgh; Mark Stahl, Rhode Island Mobilization Committee to Stop War and Occupation; Lynne Stewart, Lynne Stewart Organization/Long Time Attorney and Defender of Constitutional Rights; Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War
Other endorsers (list in formation):
Haidar Abushaqra, Palestine American Congress,* CT; Adalah-NY; Campus Antiwar Network; Andy Anderson, Veterans for Peace, Duluth, MN; Jeff Anderson, Duluth, MN City Councilor; Kathy Anderson, Cuba Solidarity Committee, Duluth, MN; Arlington/Lexington (MA) United for Justice with Peace; Bay Area United Against War; Prof. Hal Bertilson, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Network of Spiritual Progressives; Scott Bol, Northeast Minnesota Citizens Federation; Heather Bradford, Co-Founder, College of St. Scholastica Students Against War, Superior, WI; Chicago Labor against the War; Coalition for Justice in the Middle East; Connecticut Coalition for Peace and Justice; CT River Valley Chapter, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; CT United for Peace; Duluth Area Green Party; Every Church a Church of Peace; Sharla Gardner, Duluth, MN City Councilor; Sam Goodall, Positively 3rd Street Bakery, Duluth, MN; Grandmothers for Peace, Duluth, MN; Greater Boston Stop the War Coalition; Sadie Green, Teamsters Local 391, Duluth, MN; Jeannie Gugliermino, Middletown Alliance for Peace,* Middletown, CT; Rose Helin, Founder, University of Wisconsin-Superior Students Against War; Melissa Helman, former School of the Americas (SOA) protest prisoner of conscience, Ashland, WI; Donna Howard, Co-Chair, Nonviolent Peaceforce; Iraq Peace Action Coalition (MN); Jeni Johnson, former news editor, Promethean newspaper, Superior, WI; Laurie Johnson, AFSCME Council 5 Business Representative, Duluth, MN; Kansas City Labor Against War; Lake Superior Greens, Superior, WI; Joan Linski, UNITE HERE Local 99; Loaves and Fishes, Catholic Worker Community; Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO; Dorotea Manuela -- Chair, New Mission High School Governing Board*, Co-Chair Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Committee*; Co-Coordinator Rapid Response Network/Boston May Day Coalition*; Ronald Miller, Progressive Action; Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/Northern California; Tess Moren, University of Wisconsin -Superior International Peace Studies Student Association; Michelle Naar-Obed, Christian Peacemakers Team; Network of Spiritual Progressives, Duluth, MN Chapter; Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition (NOAC); Northland Anti-War Coalition, Duluth, MN; Frank O'Gorman, People of Faith,* Hartford, CT; Ohio State Labor Party; Cheryl Olson, Grandmothers for Peace, Superior, WI; Lyn Clark Pegg, Witness for Peace, Duluth, MN; Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Palo Alto, CA.; June Pinken, Manchester Peace Coalition,* Manchester, CT; Helen Raisz, Womens' International League for Peace and Freedom,* Hartford, CT; Rhode Island Committee to Stop War and Occupation; Lorena Rodriguez, International Partnership Coordinator of the Student Trade Justice Campaign, Chicago, IL; Mike Rogge, Co-Founder, College of St. Scholastica Students Against War, Superior, WI; Lucy Rosenblatt, We Refuse to Be Enemies,* Hartford, CT; Arielle Schnur, Students for Peace; Ahlam Shalhout, author, Recovering Stolen Memories, New London, CT; Socialist Organizer; Socialist Party of Connecticut; Solidarity; Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC); U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW); Veterans for Peace, Chapter 80, Duluth, MN; Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice of Northern Utah; Steve Wick, President, University of Minnesota- Duluth Students for Peace; Mike Winterfield, We Refuse to Be Enemies,* Hartford, CT; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom/Pittsburgh; Workers International League
* indicates for identification only
National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations
The NO on Proposition V website is now up and running, at:
San Francisco Proposition U is on the November ballot.
Shall it be City policy to advocate that its elected representatives in the
United States Senate and House of Representatives vote against any further
funding for the deployment of United States Armed Forces in Iraq, with the
exception of funds specifically earmarked to provide for their safe and
If you'd like to help us out please contact me. Donations would be wonderful, we need them for signs and buttons. Please see the link on our web site.
Prop U Steering Commiittee
"These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel."
– Abraham Lincoln, speech to Illinois legislature, January 1837
Subprime crisis explanation by The Long Johns
Wanda Sykes on Jay Leno: Bailout and Palin
Stop the Carnage, Ban the Cluster Bomb!
Only 20 percent of the hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster munitions that Israel launched into Lebanon in the summer of 2006 have been cleared. You can help!
1. See the list of more than thirty organizations that have signed a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling for Israel to release the list of cluster bomb target sites to the UN team in charge of clearing the sites in Lebanon:
2. You can Learn more about the American Task Force for Lebanon at their website:
3. Send a message to President Bush, the Secretary of State, and your Members of Congress to stop the carnage and ban the cluster bomb by clicking on the link below:
Take action now at:
SAVE TROY DAVIS
U.S. Supreme Court stays Georgia execution
"The U.S. Supreme Court granted a last-minute reprieve to a Georgia man fewer than two hours before he was to be executed for the 1989 slaying of an off-duty police officer.
"Troy Anthony Davis learned that his execution had been stayed when he saw it on television, he told CNN via telephone in his first interview after the stay was announced."
September 23, 2008
Please check out and sign this petition to stay the illegal 9-23-08 execution of innocent Brother Mr. Troy Davis.
Thanks again, we'll continue keep you posted.
The Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International, USA
Read NYT Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert's plea on behalf of Troy Davis:
What’s the Rush?
By BOB HERBERT
September 20, 2008
New on the Taking Aim Program Archive:
"9/11: Blueprint for Truth: The Architecture of Destruction" part 2 is
available on the Taking Aim Program Archive at
ARTICLES IN FULL:
1) Prop. V promotes 'Don't ask, don't tell' mandate
Friday, October 3, 2008
2) Michael Moore: Here's How to Fix the Mess on Wall Street
By Michael Moore, Daily Kos
October 2, 2008
3) Edge of the Abyss
By PAUL KRUGMAN
October 3, 2008
4) U.S. Sheds 159,000 Jobs; 9th Straight Monthly Drop
By PETER S. GOODMAN
October 4, 2008
5) For Treasury Dept., Now Comes Hard Part of Bailout
By MARK LANDLER and EDMUND L. ANDREWS
October 4, 2008
6) U.S. Command for Africa Established
"But concerns remain that whatever arena the Pentagon enters, it has more money, more personnel and more power than any other government organization, American or foreign."
By THOM SHANKER
October 5, 2008
7) Bailout Plan Wins Approval; Democrats Vow Tighter Rules
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
October 4, 2008
8) Peru: Interview with Political Prisoner Lori Berenson
Written by Emma Shaw Crane
Thursday, 25 September 2008
1) Prop. V promotes 'Don't ask, don't tell' mandate
Friday, October 3, 2008
Should public schools open their doors to military recruitment, of any type, on campus? That was the question San Francisco voters took up in 2005, when they overwhelmingly passed Proposition I, which urged the city's schools to reject military recruitment in favor of college scholarship programs. The San Francisco Unified School District responded in 2006 by beginning to phase out of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, a long-standing and well-funded recruitment instrument of the Department of Defense, which targets San Francisco students of color, often from poor families, who attend seven public high schools, while steering clear of the city's private school student body, who tend to be more affluent and white.
The phase-out, which has reduced JROTC enrollment from 1,650 to about 500 this year, and which will entirely end the program in June 2009, was also heavily based on the U.S. military's homophobic "Don't ask, don't tell" mandate. Because JROTC instructors are selected from a pool of retired military officers, who by definition could not have been openly gay while serving in the U.S. armed forces, the school district's anti-discriminatory hiring policies were being contravened. There is no other class in SFUSD that involves instructors who are virtually outside of the district's hiring selection purview. By parting ways with JROTC, the district will finally align its hiring policies.
But more than that, our schools will stop sending a mixed message to students, particularly our gay and questioning students, who enter the JROTC program being told they are not discriminated against, but who may then choose to apply to the armed forces and encounter rejection based solely on their sexual orientation.
With Proposition V, which asks the school district to roll back the clock and reintroduce the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, clearly there are some whose ideology leads them to believe that the military's presence on school campuses is an absolute necessity and that the JROTC offers something that other programs cannot. The reality is that SFUSD already has a number of alternatives for students, in particular, Peer Resources, which offers leadership training, service learning and a family-like environment - characteristics often assigned as the best attributes of JROTC. The difference is with programs such as Peer Resources, leadership- building involves an abiding interest in conflict resolution rather than relying on principles promulgated by the military.
Some promoters of the JROTC also argue that parents are the best arbiters of whether 14-year-olds should attend classes offered by the military, that the underlying and most profound issue is of choice, regardless of whether it is developmentally in the best interest of those so young and so easily influenced. The family choice position is similar to that taken years ago when San Francisco schools joined other districts throughout the nation in deciding to remove the Boy Scouts of America from campuses because of their policy of pushing out gay scouts and scout leaders. Banning the Boy Scouts has proven to be wise policy, in line with San Francisco's forward-thinking values. Nonetheless, sustained protests met school boards then as they do now.
As publicly elected officials grapple with tough decisions that may not be popular in the moment, they ultimately work toward what is in the best long-term interest of the entire public education community. A JROTC phase out in San Francisco's public schools is the right decision at the right time.
Mark Sanchez is the president of the San Francisco Board of Education, and is a gay public school teacher. He co-authored the JROTC phase-out policy for SFUSD.
2) Michael Moore: Here's How to Fix the Mess on Wall Street
By Michael Moore, Daily Kos
October 2, 2008
The richest 400 Americans—that's right, just four hundred people—own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion—the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the "bailout." Why don't they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They'd still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!
Of course, they are not going to do that—at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do—spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money?
I would like to propose my own bailout plan. My suggestions, listed below, are predicated on the singular and simple belief that the rich must pull themselves up by their own platinum bootstraps. Sorry, fellows, but you drilled it into our heads one too many times: There... is... no... free... lunch. And thank you for encouraging us to hate people on welfare! So, there will be no handouts from us to you. The Senate, tonight, is going to try to rush their version of a "bailout" bill to a vote. They must be stopped. We did it on Monday with the House, and we can do it again today with the Senate.
It is clear, though, that we cannot simply keep protesting without proposing exactly what it is we think Congress should do. So, after consulting with a number of people smarter than Phil Gramm, here is my proposal, now known as "Mike's Rescue Plan." It has 10 simple, straightforward points. They are:
1. APPOINT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO CRIMINALLY INDICT ANYONE ON WALL STREET WHO KNOWINGLY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLAPSE. Before any new money is expended, Congress must commit, by resolution, to criminally prosecute anyone who had anything to do with the attempted sacking of our economy. This means that anyone who committed insider trading, securities fraud or any action that helped bring about this collapse must go to jail. This Congress must call for a Special Prosecutor who will vigorously go after everyone who created the mess, and anyone else who attempts to scam the public in the future.
2. THE RICH MUST PAY FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT. They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned. But there is no way in hell, after forcing family incomes to go down more than $2,000 dollars during the Bush years, that working people and the middle class are going to fork over one dime to underwrite the next yacht purchase.
If they truly need the $700 billion they say they need, well, here is an easy way they can raise it:
a) Every couple who makes over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over $500,000 a year will pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years. (It's the Senator Sanders plan. He's like Colonel Sanders, only he's out to fry the right chickens.) That means the rich will still be paying less income tax than when Carter was president. This will raise a total of $300 billion.
b) Like nearly every other democracy, charge a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This will raise more than $200 billion in a year.
c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders will forgo receiving a dividend check for one quarter and instead this money will go the treasury to help pay for the bailout.
d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raise the corporate income tax back to the level of the 1950s, that gives us an extra $500 billion.
All of this combined should be enough to end the calamity. The rich will get to keep their mansions and their servants, and our United States government ("COUNTRY FIRST!") will have a little leftover to repair some roads, bridges and schools.
3. BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD AN EIGHTH HOME. There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, pay down each of these mortgages by $100,000. Force the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner can pay on its current value. To insure that this help does no go to speculators and those who have tried to make money by flipping houses, this bailout is only for people's primary residence. And in return for the $100K paydown on the existing mortgage, the government gets to share in the holding of the mortgage so that it can get some of its money back. Thus, the total initial cost of fixing the mortgage crisis at its roots (instead of with the greedy lenders) is $150 billion, not $700 billion.
And let's set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not "bad risks." They are our fellow Americans, and all they wanted was what we all want and most of us still get: a home to call their own. But during the Bush years, millions of them lost the decent paying jobs they had. Six million fell into poverty. Seven million lost their health insurance. And every one of them saw their real wages go down by $2,000. Those who dare to look down on these Americans who got hit with one bad break after another should be ashamed. We are a better, stronger, safer and happier society when all of our citizens can afford to live in a home that they own.
4. IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GETS ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A "BAILOUT," THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that's how it's done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank "owns" that house until I pay it all back—with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk—and necessary for the good of the country—then you can get a loan, but we will own you. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.
5. ALL REGULATIONS MUST BE RESTORED. THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS DEAD. This catastrophe happened because we let the fox have the keys to the henhouse. In 1999, Phil Gramm authored a bill to remove all the regulations that governed Wall Street and our banking system. The bill passed and Clinton signed it. Here's what Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain's chief economic advisor, said at the bill signing:
"In the 1930s ... it was believed that government was the answer. It was believed that stability and growth came from government overriding the functioning of free markets.
"We are here today to repeal [that] because we have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers. We have learned that we promote economic growth and we promote stability by having competition and freedom.
"I am proud to be here because this is an important bill; it is a deregulatory bill. I believe that that is the wave of the future, and I am awfully proud to have been a part of making it a reality."
This bill must be repealed. Bill Clinton can help by leading the effort for the repeal of the Gramm bill and the reinstating of even tougher regulations regarding our financial institutions. And when they're done with that, they can restore the regulations for the airlines, the inspection of our food, the oil industry, OSHA, and every other entity that affects our daily lives. All oversight provisions for any "bailout" must have enforcement monies attached to them and criminal penalties for all offenders.
6. IF IT'S TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN THAT MEANS IT'S TOO BIG TO EXIST. Allowing the creation of these mega-mergers and not enforcing the monopoly and anti-trust laws has allowed a number of financial institutions and corporations to become so large, the very thought of their collapse means an even bigger collapse across the entire economy. No one or two companies should have this kind of power. The so-called "economic Pearl Harbor" can't happen when you have hundreds—thousands—of institutions where people have their money. When you have a dozen auto companies, if one goes belly-up, we don't face a national disaster. If you have three separately-owned daily newspapers in your town, then one media company can't call all the shots (I know... What am I thinking?! Who reads a paper anymore? Sure glad all those mergers and buyouts left us with a strong and free press!). Laws must be enacted to prevent companies from being so large and dominant that with one slingshot to the eye, the giant falls and dies. And no institution should be allowed to set up money schemes that no one can understand. If you can't explain it in two sentences, you shouldn't be taking anyone's money.
7. NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD BE PAID MORE THAN 40 TIMES THEIR AVERAGE EMPLOYEE, AND NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD RECEIVE ANY KIND OF "PARACHUTE" OTHER THAN THE VERY GENEROUS SALARY HE OR SHE MADE WHILE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY. In 1980, the average American CEO made 45 times what their employees made. By 2003, they were making 254 times what their workers made. After 8 years of Bush, they now make over 400 times what their average employee makes. How this can happen at publicly held companies is beyond reason. In Britain, the average CEO makes 28 times what their average employee makes. In Japan, it's only 17 times! The last I heard, the CEO of Toyota was living the high life in Tokyo. How does he do it on so little money? Seriously, this is an outrage. We have created the mess we're in by letting the people at the top become bloated beyond belief with millions of dollars. This has to stop. Not only should no executive who receives help out of this mess profit from it, but any executive who was in charge of running his company into the ground should be fired before the company receives any help.
8. STRENGTHEN THE FDIC AND MAKE IT A MODEL FOR PROTECTING NOT ONLY PEOPLE'S SAVINGS, BUT ALSO THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HOMES. Obama was correct yesterday to propose expanding FDIC protection of people's savings in their banks to $250,000. But this same sort of government insurance must be given to our nation's pension funds. People should never have to worry about whether or not the money they've put away for their old age will be there. This will mean strict government oversight of companies who manage their employees' funds—or perhaps it means that the companies will have to turn over those funds and their management to the government. People's private retirement funds must also be protected, but perhaps it's time to consider not having one's retirement invested in the casino known as the stock market. Our government should have a solemn duty to guarantee that no one who grows old in this country has to worry about ending up destitute.
9. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH, CALM DOWN, AND NOT LET FEAR RULE THE DAY. Turn off the TV! We are not in the Second Great Depression. The sky is not falling. Pundits and politicians are lying to us so fast and furious it's hard not to be affected by all the fear mongering. Even I, yesterday, wrote to you and repeated what I heard on the news, that the Dow had the biggest one day drop in its history. Well, that's true in terms of points, but its 7% drop came nowhere close to Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market in one day lost 23% of its value. In the '80s, 3,000 banks closed, but America didn't go out of business. These institutions have always had their ups and downs and eventually it works out. It has to, because the rich do not like their wealth being disrupted! They have a vested interest in calming things down and getting back into the Jacuzzi.
As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan this week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. Life has gone on. Not a single person has lost any of their money if it's in a bank or a treasury note or a CD. And the most amazing thing is that the American public hasn't bought the scare campaign. The citizens didn't blink, and instead told Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive. Why didn't the population succumb to the fright-filled warnings from their president and his cronies? Well, you can only say 'Saddam has da bomb' so many times before the people realize you're a lying sack of shite. After eight long years, the nation is worn out and simply can't take it any longer.
10. CREATE A NATIONAL BANK, A "PEOPLE'S BANK." If we really are itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don't we give it to ourselves? Now that we own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a people's bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And now that we own AIG, the country's largest insurance company, let's take the next step and provide health insurance for everyone. Medicare for all. It will save us so much money in the long run. And we won't be 12th on the life expectancy list. We'll be able to have a longer life, enjoying our government-protected pension, and living to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused so much misery are let out of prison so that we can help reacclimate them to civilian life—a life with one nice home and a gas-free car that was invented with help from the People's Bank.
—AlterNet, October 2, 2008
3) Edge of the Abyss
By PAUL KRUGMAN
October 3, 2008
As recently as three weeks ago it was still possible to argue that the state of the U.S. economy, while clearly not good, wasn’t disastrous — that the financial system, while under stress, wasn’t in full meltdown and that Wall Street’s troubles weren’t having that much impact on Main Street.
But that was then.
The financial and economic news since the middle of last month has been really, really bad. And what’s truly scary is that we’re entering a period of severe crisis with weak, confused leadership.
The wave of bad news began on Sept. 14. Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, thought he could get away with letting Lehman Brothers, the investment bank, fail; he was wrong. The plight of investors trapped by Lehman’s collapse — as an article in The Times put it, Lehman became “the Roach Motel of Wall Street: They checked in, but they can’t check out” — created panic in the financial markets, which has only grown worse as the days go by. Indicators of financial stress have soared to the equivalent of a 107-degree fever, and large parts of the financial system have simply shut down.
There’s growing evidence that the financial crunch is spreading to Main Street, with small businesses having trouble raising money and seeing their credit lines cut. And leading indicators for both employment and industrial production have turned sharply worse, suggesting that even before Lehman’s fall, the economy, which has been sagging since last year, was falling off a cliff.
How bad is it? Normally sober people are sounding apocalyptic. On Thursday, the bond trader and blogger John Jansen declared that current conditions are “the financial equivalent of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution,” while Joel Prakken of Macroeconomic Advisers says that the economy seems to be on “the edge of the abyss.”
And the people who should be steering us away from that abyss are out to lunch.
The House will probably vote on Friday on the latest version of the $700 billion bailout plan — originally the Paulson plan, then the Paulson-Dodd-Frank plan, and now, I guess, the Paulson-Dodd-Frank-Pork plan (it’s been larded up since the House rejected it on Monday). I hope that it passes, simply because we’re in the middle of a financial panic, and another no vote would make the panic even worse. But that’s just another way of saying that the economy is now hostage to the Treasury Department’s blunders.
For the fact is that the plan on offer is a stinker — and inexcusably so. The financial system has been under severe stress for more than a year, and there should have been carefully thought-out contingency plans ready to roll out in case the markets melted down. Obviously, there weren’t: the Paulson plan was clearly drawn up in haste and confusion. And Treasury officials have yet to offer any clear explanation of how the plan is supposed to work, probably because they themselves have no idea what they’re doing.
Despite this, as I said, I hope the plan passes, because otherwise we’ll probably see even worse panic in the markets. But at best, the plan will buy some time to seek a real solution to the crisis.
And that raises the question: Do we have that time?
A solution to our economic woes will have to start with a much better-conceived rescue of the financial system — one that will almost surely involve the U.S. government taking partial, temporary ownership of that system, the way Sweden’s government did in the early 1990s. Yet it’s hard to imagine the Bush administration taking that step.
We also desperately need an economic stimulus plan to push back against the slump in spending and employment. And this time it had better be a serious plan that doesn’t rely on the magic of tax cuts, but instead spends money where it’s needed. (Aid to cash-strapped state and local governments, which are slashing spending at precisely the worst moment, is also a priority.) Yet it’s hard to imagine the Bush administration, in its final months, overseeing the creation of a new Works Progress Administration.
So we probably have to wait for the next administration, which should be much more inclined to do the right thing — although even that’s by no means a sure thing, given the uncertainty of the election outcome. (I’m not a fan of Mr. Paulson’s, but I’d rather have him at the Treasury than, say, Phil “nation of whiners” Gramm.)
And while the election is only 32 days away, it will be almost four months until the next administration takes office. A lot can — and probably will — go wrong in those four months.
One thing’s for sure: The next administration’s economic team had better be ready to hit the ground running, because from day one it will find itself dealing with the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.
4) U.S. Sheds 159,000 Jobs; 9th Straight Monthly Drop
By PETER S. GOODMAN
October 4, 2008
The American economy lost 159,000 jobs in September, the worst month of retrenchment in five years, the government reported on Friday, enhancing fears that an already pronounced downturn had entered a more painful stage that could last well into next year.
Employment has diminished for nine consecutive months, resulting in the elimination of 760,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department report. Most of that occurred before the trauma of recent weeks, when a string of prominent Wall Street institutions nearly collapsed, prompting the government to propose a $700 billion rescue package.
“It’s a dismal report and the worst thing about it is that it does not reflect the recent seizure that we’ve seen in the credit markets,” said Michael T. Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners, a research and trading firm in Greenwich, Conn. “There’s really nothing good about this report at all. We’ve lost jobs in nearly every area of the economy, and this is going to worse before it gets better because the credit markets have deteriorated basically on a daily basis for the last few weeks.”
Only a few weeks ago, some economists still held out hopes that the economy might recover late this year or early next. But with the job market now swiftly deteriorating and fear dogging the financial system, what optimism remained has given way to the broad assumption that 2008 is a lost cause.
Most economists have concluded that, even in the rosiest outlook, the economy will continue to struggle well into next year. As anxiety spreads that banks may continue to hoard their dollars regardless of a rescue package from Washington, depriving businesses of capital needed to expand, more pessimistic forecasts call for the economy to remain weak through all of next year, before a hesitant recovery in 2010.
“This is an economy in recession, and every dimension of the report confirms that,” said Ethan S. Harris, an economist at Barclays Capital. “This has been preceded by a slow-motion recession. Now we’re going into the full-speed recession that will last somewhere between three and five quarters.”
For the first eight months of the year, the economy lost an average of about 75,000 jobs each month. September’s report more than doubled the damage, heightening the sense that an already weak economy has become even more frail.
As real estate prices have fallen over the last two years, American households have tightened up, curbing their spending. Businesses have cut payrolls in response to weakening sales, taking more paychecks out of the economy and weakening spending power further. Now that downward spiral is turning faster.
“Before the crisis took hold, the deterioration was worsening, and it sets us up for some really grim news in the immediate future,” said Robert Barbera, chief economist at the research and trading firm ITG. “Credit was already hard to get in early September. But it’s really impossible to get now as we enter the fourth quarter of the year.”
The government’s monthly snapshot of the labor market detailed a relentless assortment of woes afflicting American working families.
Manufacturing lost 51,000 jobs in September, bringing the decline so far this year to 442,000 and more than 4 million since 1999. Retailers lost 35,000 jobs in September. The construction sector shed 35,000 jobs. Employment in transportation and warehousing slid by 16,000.
Jobs in financial services dropped by 17,000 in September and have slipped by 172,000 since employment peaked in that part of the economy in December 2006. And that was before the bankruptcy of the Wall Street titan, Lehman Brothers; the bailout of the mortgage financiers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the fire sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America; the near disintegration of the insurance giant American International Group; and the government takeover and sale of Washington Mutual.
Health care remained a rare bright spot in the economy, adding 17,000 jobs in September. Mining added 8,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate remained steady at 6.1 percent, but economists said this reflected the fact that the official jobless rate does not count people who have given up looking for work. Over the last year, the unemployment rolls have swelled by 2.2 million, to 9.5 million.
Unemployment rose to 11.4 percent among African-Americans in September, and to 19.1 percent among teenagers, after the worst summer job market on record.
Over all, the number of people officially considered unemployed who lost their jobs — as opposed to those on temporary layoffs or who left work voluntarily — increased by 347,000 in September, to 5.2 million.
In Charlotte, Mich., Sean Schwartz, 26, has been out of a job for nearly two months since his stint as a construction worker ended with the completion of a storage bin for a corn seed plant. His $750-a-week paycheck has been replaced by a $620.10 unemployment check, every other week.
The father of a 2-year-old girl, Mr. Schwartz and his wife — who works at Wal-Mart — are expecting a new baby, a boy, in December. As the weeks pass and his job search turns up little beyond fast-food jobs at a fraction of his previous earnings, they are becoming anxious.
“We’re not getting the bills paid,” Mr. Schwartz said, estimating that they are behind as much as $5,000 on medical bills for his daughter and his wife’s prenatal care.
He thinks about traveling to another state for work, but he does not want to be away for the birth of his son.
“It’s rough,” he said. “There’s nothing really out there.”
People who are out of work are staying jobless longer. More than 21 percent of those receiving unemployment checks have been without work for more than six months, up from 17.6 percent a year ago, according to the Labor Department’s report.
The report amplified the sense that the nation’s economic downturn is hacking away broadly at tens of millions of families — even those that have not suffered the loss of a job.
The number of Americans working part time because their hours were cut or they could not find a full-time job increased by 337,000 in September to 6.1 million — a jump of 1.6 million over the last year.
Average wages for some 80 percent of the American work force rose by 3 cents, to $18.17 an hour. In the last year, those earnings have risen by a meager 2.8 percent, with the gains more than reversed by increases in the prices of food and fuel.
“This economy is just not creating near enough economic activity to generate job wage or income growth,” said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute in Washington. “That has serious living standards implications.”
The pressures are worsening. On Friday morning, banks needing to borrow from other banks were having to pay nearly 4 percent more than the Treasury pays in interest on savings bonds, reflecting the unwillingness of financial institutions to part with their dollars as the reckoning from an age of speculative excess goes on. That spread was greater than in the last two recessions and greater than after the 1987 stock market crash.
Even as Washington remained consumed with bailing out troubled financial institutions to try to make money flow more freely, analysts said the jitters would probably remain, with banks continuing to hang on to their dollars and more jobs evaporating from American life.
“The economy is clearly going to get worse before it gets better, with or without the rescue plan,” said Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. “The rescue plan prevents it from getting much worse, but it’s too late to prevent a recession.”
5) For Treasury Dept., Now Comes Hard Part of Bailout
By MARK LANDLER and EDMUND L. ANDREWS
October 4, 2008
WASHINGTON — It will be one of the world’s largest asset management firms with an impressive $700 billion war chest. Nothing short of the global economy depends on its success. And the Treasury Department has barely a month to get it up and running.
The bailout bill that President Bush quickly signed into law on Friday must do what financial experts have been unable to do for the last year — put a dollar value on mortgage-related assets that no one wants, move them off the books of ailing banks and unlock the frozen credit markets.
In signing the measure, Mr. Bush warned Americans not to expect instant results. “This will be done as expeditiously as possible, but it cannot be accomplished overnight. We’ll take the time necessary to design an effective program that achieves its objectives — and does not waste taxpayer dollars.”
Even after working feverishly over the last two weeks, the Treasury will not buy its first distressed asset from a bank for roughly six weeks, and almost certainly not until after the Nov. 4 elections.
Treasury officials do not plan to manage the mortgage assets on their own. Instead, they will outsource nearly all of the work to professionals, who will oversee huge portfolios of bonds and other securities for a management fee.
The Treasury is expected to name a senior official to supervise the program. For now, various working groups creating the program are reporting directly to Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary.
Mr. Paulson has recruited several former colleagues from Goldman Sachs to advise him, though administration officials took pains to say that they were not dominating the process, pointing to other Treasury employees who were playing major roles.
“We will move rapidly to implement the new authorities, but we will also move methodically,” Mr. Paulson said in a statement after the House passed the bill on Friday.
The government will hire only a bare-bones internal staff of about two dozen people with expertise in asset management, accounting and legal issues, according to administration officials, and will outsource the bulk of the program to 5 to 10 asset management firms.
Administration officials said they had not yet selected the list of firms to run auctions or manage the assets. During the last few weeks, the Treasury has informally consulted major firms — including BlackRock, the Pacific Investment Management Company and Legg Mason — but none have been given a mandate, they said.
The selected asset management firms will receive a chunk of the $250 billion that Congress is allowing the Treasury to spend in the first phase of the bailout. Those firms will receive fees that are likely to be lower than the industry standard of 1 percent of assets, or $1 for every $100 under management.
Administration officials said they would try to drive down fees with a competitive bidding process. But with $700 billion to disburse, the plan could still generate tens of billions of dollars in fees if the firms negotiate anywhere close to their standard fees.
The main mechanism for buying these assets will be reverse auctions, using the same principles that govern auctions of electricity or the wireless spectrum. In this case, the government will issue an offer to buy a class of assets — for example, subprime mortgage-backed securities — with the final price being determined by how many banks are willing to sell.
Using outside contractors on such an extensive scale raises a host of thorny questions, outside experts said. Among the most pressing is: How will the Treasury avoid conflicts of interest that fund managers will encounter as they work both for their own clients’ interests — which could pay higher fees — and the interests of taxpayers?
“With anyone short of the stature and honesty of a Paul Volcker running it, you need to worry a lot about conflicts of interest,” said Alan S. Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, referring to its former head. “Unfortunately, there just aren’t many people with the expertise you need but without any possible conflicts.”
The Treasury officials said they were still writing a policy on conflicts of interest as well as guidelines on compensation.
As if the mechanics were not daunting enough, Treasury officials need to make wrenching decisions that will determine the bailout’s winners and losers. With so much money on the line, lobbyists for interest groups are already besieging the government to decide in their favor.
The prospect of pitching in during a national crisis has drawn unsolicited offers from prominent asset managers, like William H. Gross, the managing director of Pimco, who offered his services free.
In setting up the program, Mr. Paulson has relied on a cadre of former Goldman Sachs executives: Edward C. Forst, a former co-head of Goldman’s investment management business who is on leave from his job as executive vice president at Harvard; Kendrick R. Wilson III, formerly chairman of Goldman’s financial institutions groups; and Dan Jester, who was deputy chief financial officer at Goldman.
But administration officials said several other Treasury officials were playing crucial roles, including six assistant secretaries: Peter B. McCarthy, Phillip L. Swagel, Neel Kashkari, Kenneth E. Carfine, David G. Nason and Kevin I. Fromer, who led the Treasury’s negotiating team on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Forst is expected to soon return to Harvard, where he helps manage its endowment fund. And with a change in administrations looming, many of the people involved in organizing the program will not be around to manage it.
Still, the Treasury may not have trouble recruiting replacements, given the job losses that have plagued the finance industry.
“There are a lot of people, because of the downsizing of Wall Street, who won’t be getting a paycheck at all,” said Joshua S. Siegel, the managing principal of Stone Capital Partners, a fund that manages $2.2 billion. “They would love to be involved.”
Of all the challenges that the Treasury faces, the trickiest might be determining a price for the largely unwanted wreckage it will be buying. Many of the junk loans and mortgage-backed securities have no market price at all because they have no potential buyers. The firms hired by the government will have enormous power to push the “market” price up or down as they choose.
If the government bargains to buy at the lowest possible price, it will protect taxpayers. But forcing the banks to book big losses could be self-defeating if they cannot resume lending until they raise fresh capital. If the government agrees to buy the assets at the value at which banks are keeping them on their balance sheets, taxpayers will almost certainly be overpaying.
The “right” price will depend on whether the government is favoring buyers or sellers. Many banks are hoping that the government will pay close to par — the value listed in their books.
But hedge fund managers and other potential buyers are demanding that the government push for the much lower price, based on the current trading value of the assets. These potential buyers are hoping they can piggyback onto the Treasury program, perhaps even acquiring distressed assets alongside the Treasury in auctions.
There are similar debates over how the Treasury should organize the plan. Most financial experts agree it would be impossible to build an internal operation of this size in a few weeks.
“It’s essential they outsource almost everything possible,” said T. Timothy Ryan Jr., president of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. “The one thing they can’t outsource is the final decision, and they can’t outsource the infrastructure — people, hiring policies, contracting rules. But they can hire people to do everything else.”
Mr. Ryan is a former director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, where he played a key role in the savings and loan cleanup. Still, some investors are troubled by the government’s heavy reliance on private firms. They said it would be difficult to prevent firms from steering capital in ways that favor their private customers.
Inevitably, large asset management firms own, or are tied to banks that own, some of the same securities the government is seeking to sell. Pimco, for example, is owned by Allianz, one of Germany’s largest insurance companies. Merrill Lynch owns a stake in BlackRock.
“I can’t even fathom how I would manage that,” Mr. Siegel said. “How would I manage one side, where I’m seeking to maximize profit, and the other side, where I’m looking out for the social good?”
The law stipulates that the government must prevent conflicts of interest in the hiring of firms, the decision of which assets to buy, the management of those assets and even the jobs held by employees after they leave the program. But it leaves the details to the Treasury.
The Treasury plans to publish guidelines for hiring the asset management firms in the next day or two, officials said. Some experts say that the department simply needs to gird itself for protests.
“You’re never going to get past conflicts of interest, so you take your lumps,” said Peter J. Wallison, who was general counsel of the Treasury during the Reagan administration.
The bailout legislation itself highlights the contradictory goals that the Treasury will face when it goes on its buying spree. Among the goals it is supposed to consider are “protecting taxpayers,” “preventing disruption to financial markets” and “the need to help families keep their homes.”
Democratic lawmakers insisted that the Treasury use its authority to help restructure many subprime mortgages so that at least some troubled homeowners could avoid foreclosure.
But the Treasury’s auction plan will make that difficult. More than 90 percent of all subprime mortgages are part of giant pools, or trusts, which sell mortgage-backed securities to investors around the world.
Before the government would be able to modify any mortgage that was in a trust, securities experts said, it would have to acquire agreement from 100 percent of the bondholders. But a senior Treasury official said the government would probably want to buy no more than half of the securities tied to a trust, which would hamper winning agreement from all investors.
Treasury officials have emphasized that the government will also be buying up whole mortgages, which have not been securitized, and that it may well buy whole mortgages through one-on-one negotiations with individual banks. Officials said they would probably experiment with other approaches as well.
6) U.S. Command for Africa Established
"But concerns remain that whatever arena the Pentagon enters, it has more money, more personnel and more power than any other government organization, American or foreign."
By THOM SHANKER
October 5, 2008
WASHINGTON — For decades, Africa was rarely more than an afterthought for the Pentagon.
Responsibilities for American military affairs across the vast African continent were divided clumsily among three regional combat headquarters, those for Europe, the Pacific and the Middle East. Commanders set priorities against obvious threats, whether the old Soviet Union and then a resurgent Russia, a rising China or a nuclear North Korea, or adversaries along the Persian Gulf.
If deployment of fighting forces is an indicator, that historic focus north of the equator endures. But since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a new view has gained acceptance among senior Pentagon officials and military commanders: that ungoverned spaces and ill-governed states, whose impoverished citizens are vulnerable to the ideology of violent extremism, pose a growing risk to American security.
Last week, in a small Pentagon conference hall, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, inaugurated the newest regional headquarters, Africa Command, which is responsible for coordinating American military affairs on the continent.
There are barely 2,000 American combat troops and combat support personnel based in Africa, and the new top officer, Gen. William E. Ward of the Army, pledges that Africa Command has no designs on creating vast, permanent concentrations of forces on the continent.
“Bases? Garrisons? It’s not about that,” General Ward said in an interview. “We are trying to prevent conflict, as opposed to having to react to a conflict.”
Already, though, analysts at policy advocacy organizations and research institutes are warning of a militarization of American foreign policy across Africa.
Mr. Gates said the new command was an example of the Pentagon’s evolving strategy of forging what he called “civilian-military partnerships,” in which the Defense Department works alongside and supports the State Department and the Agency for International Development, as well as host nations’ security and development agencies.
“In this respect, Africom represents yet another important step in modernizing our defense arrangements in light of 21st-century realities,” Mr. Gates said. “It is, at its heart, a different kind of command with a different orientation, one that we hope and expect will institutionalize a lasting security relationship with Africa, a vast region of growing importance in the globe.”
Mr. Gates and General Ward said that this work to complement and support American security and development policies would include missions like deploying military trainers to improve the abilities of local counterterrorism forces, assigning military engineers to help dig wells and build sewers, and sending in military doctors to inoculate the local population against diseases.
While that thinking has influenced the work of all of the military’s regional war-fighting commands, it is the central focus of Africa Command.
And over the past two years, it has quietly become the central focus of the military’s Southern Command, once better known for the invasions of Grenada and Panama, but now converting itself to a headquarters that supports efforts across the United States government and within host nations to improve security and economic development in Latin America.
A number of specialists in African and Latin American politics at nongovernmental organizations express apprehension, however, that the new emphasis of both these commands represents an undesirable injection of the military into American foreign policy, a change driven by fears of terrorists or desires for natural resources.
Officials at one leading relief organization, Refugees International, warned of the risk that Africom “will take over many humanitarian and development activities that soldiers aren’t trained to perform.”
In a statement, Kenneth H. Bacon, the president of Refugees International, said that the creation of Africa Command was “a sign of increased U.S. attention to Africa.” But he also said that it was “important that Africom focus on training peacekeepers and helping African countries build militaries responsive to civilian control and democratic government.”
Mr. Bacon, a Pentagon spokesman in the Clinton administration, added, “The military should stick to military tasks and let diplomats and development experts direct other aspects of U.S. policy in Africa.”
Refugees International released statistics showing that the percentage of development assistance controlled by the Defense Department had grown to nearly 22 percent from 3.5 percent over the past 10 years, while the percentage controlled by the Agency for International Development dropped to 40 percent from 65 percent.
General Ward rejected criticisms that Africa Command would result in a militarization of foreign policy, and he said it was specifically structured for cooperative efforts across the agencies of the United States government.
For example, a deputy commander at Africom is Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, a career Foreign Service officer. And General Ward himself previously served in a combined diplomatic and military role, as director of efforts to help reform the Palestinian security services.
But concerns remain that whatever arena the Pentagon enters, it has more money, more personnel and more power than any other government organization, American or foreign.
“If we can bring a capability that can be an assist to one of our interagency partners, then I think we ought to do that,” General Ward said. “But I draw a distinction between leading that effort and supporting that effort. We don’t create policy. This is not the job of a unified command. We implement those aspects of policy that have military implications. And we support others.”
Planners abandoned early intentions to base Africa Command in Africa, perhaps with a major headquarters and regional satellite offices. Owing to local sensitivities, security concerns and simple logistics of moving around the vast continent, which often requires routing through Europe, the command will for now have its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
General Ward said that in creating the Africa Command, he had been in close contact with his counterpart atop the military’s Southern Command, Adm. James G. Stavridis, who has received high marks from Pentagon leaders for converting the military presence in Central and South America. Where previously Southern Command emphasized direct military action, it now focuses on programs to train and support local forces, and assist economic development, health services and counternarcotics efforts.
“The more I look at this region over the two years I have been at Southcom,” Admiral Stavridis said in an interview, “the more convinced I am that the approach we need to take for U.S. national security in the region is really an interagency approach.
“Think of the problems that afflict this region — natural disasters, poverty, the narcotics trade, lack of medical care,” he said. “Our thought at Southcom is, How can we be supportive of an interagency approach? How can we partner with other interagency actors, and then tie that together with our international partners?”
Admiral Stavridis said Southern Command was “very directly and consciously not taking the lead.”
“We are trying to be part of the team, to be a facilitator,” he added.
But George Withers, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, a nonprofit research and human-rights advocacy organization, said in a statement that “while improved delivery of U.S. assistance is certainly an admirable goal,” putting Southern Command into a coordinating role on issues like corruption, crime or poverty “drains authority from the State Department and resources from the Defense Department.”
7) Bailout Plan Wins Approval; Democrats Vow Tighter Rules
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
October 4, 2008
WASHINGTON — After the House reversed course and gave final approval to the $700 billion economic bailout package, President Bush quickly signed it into law on Friday, authorizing the Treasury to undertake what could become the most expensive government intervention in history.
But even as Mr. Bush declared that the measure would “help prevent the crisis on Wall Street from becoming a crisis in communities across our country,” Congressional Democrats said that it was only a first step and pledged to carry out a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system.
The final tally in the House was 263 to 171, with 91 Republicans joining 172 Democrats in favor. That was a wider bipartisan majority than vote-counters in both parties had expected, completing a remarkable turnabout from Monday, when the House defeated an earlier version of the bill by 228 to 205.
The financial markets, however, were not enthusiastic. Already weighed down by another round of bleak economic data, including a report showing that 159,000 jobs were lost in September, the Dow fell 157 points to close at 10,325, or nearly 818 points lower than when the week began, before the House’s initial rejection of the bailout.
Some measures of the credit markets improved after the bill was approved, but only modestly. Analysts said it was too soon to tell whether borrowing rates — the interest rates banks charge each other for loans, and a key indicator of the flow of credit — would fall.
The change in course by the House was prompted by fears of a global economic meltdown, and by old-fashioned political inducements added by the Senate: a portfolio of $150 billion in popular tax provisions, including credits for the production of solar, wind and other renewable energy, and an adjustment to spare middle-class families from paying the alternative minimum tax.
In the end, 33 Democrats and 24 Republicans who had voted no on Monday switched sides on Friday to support the plan. Both Mr. Obama and his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, voted for the measure when the Senate approved it on Wednesday, and both hailed Friday’s outcome.
Mr. McCain said that lawmakers had acted “in the best interests of the nation,” while Mr. Obama warned that “a long and difficult road to recovery” might still lie ahead.
In a sign of the urgency surrounding the economic rescue effort, Congressional staff rushed the newly printed legislation into a news conference where Democratic leaders gathered after the vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, signed it at 2 p.m., and it was sent to the White House for Mr. Bush’s signature.
Appearing in the Rose Garden, Mr. Bush praised Congress for acting just two weeks after the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., requested the emergency bailout legislation with a warning that the American economy was at risk of the worst economic collapse since the Depression.
“We have shown the world that the United States will stabilize our financial markets and maintain a leading role in the global economy,” Mr. Bush said.
But it was a hollow victory for the administration, which after long favoring a hands-off approach toward the financial industry has found itself interceding repeatedly this year to avert one calamity after another.
Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats, who expect to widen their majority in Congress in the November elections, said they intended to tighten controls.
“High-fliers on Wall Street will no longer be able to jeopardize that personal economic security of Americans,” Ms. Pelosi said, “because of the bright light of scrutiny, accountability and the attention given under regulatory reform.”
Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said: “We will be back next year to do some serious surgery on the financial structure.”
The Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, had urged his colleagues to vote yes. “We know if we do nothing this crisis is likely to worsen and put us in an economic slump the likes of which we have never seen,” he said. “I am going to vote for this bill because I think it’s in the best interests of the American people.”
Opponents of the bailout called it a costly Band-Aid that did not address the core problems in the financial system. “Some things have changed in this bill but taxpayers will still be picking up the tab for Wall Street’s party,” said Representative Marilyn Musgrave, Republican of Colorado. “I am voting against this today because it’s not the best bill. It’s the quickest bill. Taxpayers for generations will pay for our haste and there is no guarantee that they will ever see the benefits.”
Among House Democrats as well as Republicans, many lawmakers facing the toughest challenges for re-election remained in the no column. Those with easier races were more likely to switch.
Many said they agonized over the decision amid a torrent of calls from constituents. Several who switched to yes cited a provision added by the Senate increasing the amount of savings insured by the Federal government to $250,000 per account, from $100,000.
Fears about the economy also motivated support. “Nobody in East Tennessee hates the fact more than me that I am going to vote yes today after voting no on Monday,” Representative Zach Wamp, a Republican, said.
“Monday I cast a blue-collar vote for the American people,” he continued. “Today I am going to cast a red, white and blue-collar vote with my hand over my heart for this country, because things are really bad and we don’t have any choice.”
Several Democrats in the Congressional Black Caucus said they were persuaded to support the bill by Mr. Obama.
Representatives Elijah E. Cummings and Donna F. Edwards, both of Maryland, said they had each spoken to Mr. Obama who helped persuade them to support the bill, in part by assuring them that he would work to achieve a goal that Democrats gave up during negotiations: a change in bankruptcy laws to let judges modify first mortgages.
Mr. Obama, speaking in Abington, Pa., said he had urged lawmakers from both parties to “not make the same mistake twice.” But he warned that passage of the measure should be just “the beginning of a long-term rescue plan for our middle class.”
Mr. McCain, speaking in Flagstaff, Ariz., warned that the bill was not perfect and there was more to be done. “It is an outrage that it’s even necessary,” Mr. McCain said. “But we must stop the damage to our economy done by corrupt and incompetent practices on Wall Street and in Washington.” Mr. McCain said he spoke to House Republicans before Friday’s vote and urged them to approve the bill.
Friday’s vote capped an extraordinary two-week final stretch for the 110th Congress. Lawmakers, eager to get home for the fall campaign season, had intended to wrap up by adopting a budget bill to finance government operations through early March.
Instead, after dealing with the budget, they found themselves still in Washington, just five weeks before Election Day, facing the most important vote of the year — the most important vote of their lives, many lawmakers said — and under extreme pressure by the White House, the presidential nominees, and Congressional leaders of both parties to make a quick decision.
Supporters said the bailout was needed to prevent economic collapse; opponents said it was hasty, ill conceived and risked too much taxpayer money to help Wall Street tycoons, while providing no guarantees of success. The rescue plan allows the Treasury to buy troubled securities from financial firms in an effort to ease a deepening credit crisis that is choking off business and consumer loans, the lifeblood of the economy, and contributing to a string of bank failures.
Officials say the final cost of the bailout will be far less than $700 billion because the government will resell the assets that it buys.
The final agreement disburses the money in parts, with Congress able to block the second $350 billion. It also provides for tighter oversight of the program by two boards, and requires the government to do more to prevent home foreclosures. Lawmakers also included efforts to restrict so-called golden parachute retirement plans for some executives whose firms seek help, and a provision allowing the government to recoup any losses after five years by assessing the financial industry.
Reporting was contributed by Robert Pear and Carl Hulse in Washington; Steven Lee Myers in Abington, Pa.; and Michael Cooper in Flagstaff, Ariz.
8) Peru: Interview with Political Prisoner Lori Berenson
Written by Emma Shaw Crane
Thursday, 25 September 2008
American activist Lori Berenson was pulled off a bus in Peru in
November of 1995, detained by anti-terrorist police, and tried for
treason against the Peruvian state by a hooded military tribunal. A
gun was held to her head as she received her sentence: life in prison.
Accused of being a leader of the MRTA (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary
Movement), Lori was one of thousands of people kidnapped, tortured,
disappeared, and/or imprisoned during then-president Alberto
Fujimori's campaign to defeat rebel groups.
At the time of Lori's first "trial," Peru was emerging from over a
decade of20bloody civil war, fought betw een le ftist guerillas and
the Peruvian military. Two major armed movements fought the Peruvian
government, the MRTA and Sendero Luminoso, the Maoist Shining Path.
Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has estimated that
approximately 70,000 people were killed between 1980 and 2000.
Seventy–five percent of the victims were indigenous people, mostly
Quechua, a number vastly out of proportion to their 16% share of the
national population. The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission
holds the government (through its military, police and intelligence
apparatus along with paramilitary units) responsible for at least 45%
of those deaths–compared to the MRTA who caused less than 2% of
mortalities during the civil war. The Shining Path was deemed
responsible for the majority – 53%.
This interview with Lori Berenson took place shortly before the first
of a series of trials of Alberto Fujimori began in Lima. Last
December, the former president was sentenced to six years in pr ison f
or abuse of authority, the first of three charges. His second trial,
for human rights abuses including homicide and kidnapping, resumed
July 14th, 2008. Ironically, if he is found guilty on all counts,
Fujimori could serve up to 30 years in prison–just ten years more than
Lori Berenson is currently serving. However, since Fujimori turns
seventy this year, he is eligible under Peruvian law for a reduced
sentence served under house arrest.
In this interview, Lori discusses how she maint ains her hope while in
prison, what she believes it takes to effect real and lasting social
change, the emerging 'New Left' in Latin America, and why women
political prisoners are perceived as a threat to social stability.
What's the hardest thing for you about being in prison?
Frustration! You don't have control of your own life. People don't
treat you like an adult. People are afraid to tell you that someone's
sick. You are unable to deal with your own problems, eit her ec onomic
or otherwise. You feel sort of – in Spanish it would be impotencia –
you can't do anything. The prison authorities beat someone up, you
can't do anything. Someone's sick, you can't do anything. You need to
write a letter to someone and you can't mail it. Frustration.
How do you maintain your hope and political conviction in a place as
oppressive and confining and limiting as prison? What can you say
about the prison system?
Each of the prisons I've lived in has provided a direct experience of
why I think this prison system needs to change. Certainly, the first
years I was in jail were very repressive years. Even in the last few
years, you can still see the mistreatment of poor people. You can see
it when they are presented before the judges, and you can see it in
daily treatment. It's money: those who don't have money are not equal
citizens. It's a very defin ed class differentiation.
What advice do you have for young people who want real and lasting change?
I think that today's young people have a really strong responsibility
upon them. I'm no expert in any topic, but what I've heard about the
environment is that there won't be much water in Peru in 20 years.
Unless people start changing the way they live day to day, and unless
people dedicate themselves to making superpowers change their
environmentally destructive habits, then things will be hell on earth
in 5 to 10 years. And that's just about the environment! Every war
that superpowers like the U.S. wage mainly for economic interest is
harmful on many levels – including mass killing of people. We're
seeing a drastic situation, basically,
What do you think are the major components of a successful political movement?
At this point, I think there are two things. One is that you have to
decide what "star" you are looking to follow. I think most of the left
(i.e., "progressive people") have a lot of confusion as to where th ey
are going right now. And that is not helpful. What I find very
negative, and what I've certainly seen here and in El Salvador, is
that when you have a very divided left and progressive circle you go
nowhere. You just wind up with everyone in their own little cube doing
nothing. At least for me, if you want to be in your little cube, just
fight your own struggle, don't figh t your struggle on the basis of
saying, "Oh, so and so is worse." In the presidential campaign here in
Peru, the most pathetic thing I've seen was one segment of the left
criticizing other segments.
You've been outlining your first point about a successful social
movement. What is your second point about?
On certain issues, it is important that there be unity among
progressives and leftists. For example, in the U.S., what might be a
principal point is to stop the war in Iraq immediately and not permit
that there be another war like that. From what I hear on the radio,
that's something tha t the left has in common with many from the
Democratic Party. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. What
issues are big enough? Protecting the environment! These are things
that a lot of sectors can unite to do.
The other thing is that the left needs to look for where to go. I
don't think we need to look for a guide, someone who is going to say,
"Do this." We need to sit down and think: What was good about what
used to be regarded as the standards of the left before the falling of
the Soviet block? What things were good, what things were not? What
things need to be changed, what things shouldn't exist? That kind of
thing. We must learn from what was good and what was bad. But it's
time to do it, because I think we're sitting around too long – myself
included, by the way.
Wha t lesson would you want to pass on to other activists,
particularly young activists?
Go ahead with whatever you're doing. I admire and I'm proud of the
fact that there are st ill pe ople who think that there are streets in
which other people roam, and that things are not really what the press
says, and that it is necessary to look out farther than what you can
see from the windowsill. This is in spite of the fact that I think
there is a proliferating move throughout the world to create
individuals that live in their own little cubes. You go, and you see,
that the world isn't really what you think it is, and that it is that
way maybe not for the reasons that the mainstream press says. It is
necessary to think and to do – and not to sit and wait.
What is your hope for the future? Your future, and the future of
movements you've been involved in?
I don't think the future is going to be better in the short term. I'm
not that hopeful about the governments in power. Even the trend in
this region doesn't give me much hope for solid structural change. You
can have certain reforms that could be helpful, you can give spaces to
the political or popul ar movement, allow them to do things they
haven't been able to under very repressive regimes, but it doesn't
mean there is a substantial change. The rules of the game haven't
changed. And unless those change, nothing will. It's time t o get back
to discovering where we want to go, and while we're discovering that,
just start walking.
Do you have hope for the Chavez/Morales movement in Latin America, the
threat of having a unified Latin American bloc that could potentially
create solidarity among Latin American countries? What do you think
I think it's important that there be solidarity. But I don't have
enough information to know what they are really doing or not. What is
clear to me is that it is still not possible to change the rules of
the game. That's the issue. You have to get to that place. It's good
that they feel this way. Certainly here in Peru the leaders seem to be
afraid of something about the Chavez movement. What are they so af
raid o f? And the Peruvians are very afraid. And much of the U.S. is
too. Actually, I think that they are giving us a hand on that. By
making bigger deals out of things, they are actually unifying the left
on certain things. Well, thank you!
What is your opinion of the war on Iraq, and do you see that fitting
into the history of imperialism in Latin America?
I don't know enough about history to give a historical background, but
I think it's more complicated in the sense that the economic interests
are very big. It's not only the interest in petroleum–it's the
interest in making a war and making peace-so that a lot of money is
invested in destruction and th e rest invested in reconstruction,
which is disgusting. But then on social terms, I would say that they
saw fighting as a way of uniting the U.S. after September 11th and
making it feel strong. The heroes and Rambos–I'm not sure if that's
the correct name in today's movies–but that kind of figure that's
going to go in there and kill all the bad guys. I also think the whole
"hyping up" on nationalism is the other thing they intended to do.
You saw, because of your involvement with struggles in El Salvador,
what happens when damaging policy is directed at a specific group of
people. I'm curious if you see the war on Iraq as a parallel to that,
as part of U.S. expansion and hegemony?
I think it is, but I wouldn't make a parallel with Central America. I
think Iraq is a much more powerful country, and I think there are
other issues involved, like pride of the nations that are situated
close to Iraq. I think it's a much more complicated issue. And I don't
think the United States really took that into account. Vietnam, for
example, was more isolated, whereas Iraq is not. And Vietnam didn't
What is horrifying as well in Iraq is that so many historical relics
and architecture have been destroyed–and no one seems to care. That's
never mentioned, ever, just as all the civilians killed are never
mentioned. I think the U.S. has opened a big can of worms and they
don=E 2t know how to close it; at this point, they don't know how to
Do you expect to be paroled in 2010, and what is your hope for your future?
I should be paroled but I'm not sure. I think many things can happen.
The only thing that's been constant over the last sixteen to twenty
years is that the terrorists are the bad people. During the ten-year
regime of Fujimori, Alan García was in exile for corruption – and now
he is president again. Who knows how Fujimori's trial will be, and how
he will be regarded in about five years. But what has been a constant
is that terrorists are terrorists, at least in the media. If it is
really perceived as a danger, then political prisoners who are higher
profile won't be released, and I won't be released on parole when I
What tactics do you use to stay sane?
I was onc e aske d a similar question: "How do people cope with
prisons?" There are a variety of tactics. One is escaping from it in
your mind - people get high, people do a whole bunch of things. In the
case of myself, and most political prisoners I have known, the thing
would be the confidence that whatever you believed in was right. So I
think that has not changed. And you might have a good day or a bad
day, I mean, when it rains everyone gets sort of gloomy, but even so,
you don't forget that you have that.
What messages do you have for Mumia?
My greatest respect to him and to all the political prisoners I've
read so much about over these last several years. Keep struggling,
because you're right! This isn't just a message for him, but to those
who need to move on such issues so that his situation, and the
situation of others like him, can change. There needs to be knowledge
and consciousness of the need for these things to change. These are
people who are victims of a stat e's oppressive ways.
Do you think labeling people 'terrorists' will get old, like labeling
people as 'Communists' did?
I still have the pieces that we wrote on this three or four years ago,
saying 'No, we're subversives, we're political prisoners, we are not
terrorists. Terrorism means actions that cause terror, that try to
create terror.' I think I spent so much time trying to explain it to
people, where it got to the point, after years of that, that I
realized people still use the word terrorist and it doesn't really
change anything. Those who will feel deterred by the word might feel
deterred by it anyway, and those who can see through the paint will do
so as well. So this is a point on which I've definitely changed over
the last three or four years, in the sense that it really doesn't
matter. You want to call me a terrorist? Call me a terrorist! It
really doesn't change anything. I know I am not a terrorist.
Yes! I remember growing up in a peak perio d of the Cold War, in an
era when they would say the Russians are going to invade and whatnot,
and all these communists, they are doing this and that. And you know?
People became immune to that.
How do you see consumer culture affecting the types of crimes that are
committed, and the aspirations that young people have?
Cajamarca, where this prison is located, used to be a small town, but
since '94 became a tremendous mining center. So it has grown but has
not developed. All of the wonders of capitalist society have come
here: the people now have giant shopping centers, filled with all
sorts of junk that no one really needs, but they don't have the
education, the other side of development here. And that creates
'created needs'. I would say, in general, in all of the societies that
follow the model of the U.S. there are consumer cultures. Many people
rob because they want what's in style. They are taught since they are
kids they need to consume; they need to be stylish; that these objects
are a necessity. So what is a necessity is no longer food and water,
but a whole bunch of junk. And those created needs are what drive
people to different kinds of crimes, combined with the fact that there
is no way of making enough money legally to get those kinds of things.
In that same vein, what has the mine brought here or not brought here?
Has the promise of having industry=2 0in the town delivered or not
delivered? What do people think of the mines?
Very mixed. Cajamarca doesn't have industry related to the mine. What
they have is a lot of services. The whole service sector in Cajamarca
is related to the mine. Which means that most people, indirectly,
might be providing for someone who works at the mine, or whatever.
It's very hard to do anything that is totally isolated from the mine.
It's everywhere. You hear it on the radio: they have paid ads talking
about the environment. That's what they do.
A woman in the li ne outside said that the only crime people in prison
here have committed is de ser pobre, to be poor. What do you think of
I think that's true on different levels. There are actually cases of
police picking people up for stealing pañales [diapers]. In order for
someone to give birth in a hospital they need to have their diapers,
they need to have syringes, and surgical gloves. There have been
people caught stealing diapers so that their wives can give birth. So
that is an example of people stealing to meet their needs in a crude
People are in here because of poverty on many levels: they don't have
enough money to buy off a judge, or enough money for a decent defense,
though a decent defense is almost irrelevant with this legal system.
In a good number of cases people without knowledge – poor in the sense
that they don't have20a good education because wherever they are from
doesn't have a good enough education system, or because the y've w
orked since they were kids – say things wrong when they talk to the
police. They don't answer the questions right because they were never
educated to answer those kinds of questions. They get surprised by the
authorities, or physically brutalized by them, which is always helpful
in having them sign whatever they [the police] want. And this happens
because people don't know.
It's poverty in the sense that you can't do anything with your case,
you can't help out in the moving of papers from one desk to the next.
This is often the case in the judicial system and the prison system in
terms of benefits, like parole. They can take forever if you don't
How does the prison climate shift and change as there are fewer
political prisoners in here with you?
It's interesting because the last year that there were a fair amount
of political prisoners in here was probably 2004. There have been
other types of changes. For example, in 2003 the governmen t repl aced
the police in internal control of the prison system. At the end of
2003 other types of prisoners started to be brought here from coast
jails. In the last two or three years, however, prisoners brought here
are often people being caught in Cajamarca who are not from Cajamarca.
This has to do with the accelerated growth in Cajamarca, unrelat ed to
development; so the city doesn't develop its own criminals, it imports
people to rob! I'm totally serious! People plan to come and rob here
because they know so few people are doing this here. And so there have
been a whole lot of people detained here who are not from this region
in the last two or three years. It's a very new experience.
The Cajamarca mines have created new needs, like drugs and
prostitution. They always mix prostitution in there. These things
create other kinds of violence. Now there are people here for drugs
because Cajamarca is part of a drug route.
The other point to make is that there have be en som e crime
categories for which prison benefits such as parole and work
equivalence have been removed. In the case of rape, the sentences have
been made much more drastic, and prison benefits have been removed
from most if not all cases. The same has occurred in the cases of
kidnapping and extortion. So now there is a greater number of crime
categories that don't have the right to benefits. The prison
population is growing just on the fact that there are people who would
have gotten out in the past but are not anymore.
I assume that women are in the minority here. What is it like being
one of the only women in this prison?
Here I would say it's actually a privilege. In this prison, the women
have been treated well. Generally, treatment of women is much harsher.
But the difference here is that there are so few of us. For instance,
we have a sewing workshop that none of us can use because we don't
know how to work the machines, but it was donated to the women becau
se there are few of us, so we could benefit from it. So in that sense
we actually benefit because we are only a few. Sometimes the doctor
won't attend the men because there are 500 of them, but they will
attend the women because there are approximately thirty women here.
Why is treatment generally harsher in women's wings, and how has that
been your experience?
I am sure that if you speak to other women prisoners they will say the
same things. I think it has to do with a lot of idiosyncrasies. One is
the way the authorities see women: once you leave the roles that were
given to you by society, then you have to accept what you get. With
women, the treatment usually is very demeaning. I remember when I was
in Arequipa they called us hijas (daughters). "I look at you as if you
are my daughters." That is very offensive! It's very demeaning. The
worst thing in the treatment of women is that they don't treat you
like adults. Men can be roughened up a lot , mist reated, spoken too
grotesquely, but they are never treated like children. And women
always are. That's the biggest difference.
The other thing is, in terms of political prisoners, I definitely
think that female political prisoners are seen as a greater threat.
Why d o you think that is?
One of the things they always say, and you can read this in cases,
particularly in the case of the Shining Path, they always say, "Oh,
the ones from the assassination squadrons are cold blooded, and they
are always women." I remember hearing something similar when I lived
in El Salvador. I think it's this fear that a woman, when she is
politically clear on things, is supposedly firmer in her beliefs. The
torture of women has been horrendous- how many women have had kids in
jail because of rape? It has to do with revenge. They committed the
crime of leaving the roles that were given to them, and then on top of
that being subversives, and on top of that, being firm in the ir
I remember a woman who was recently sentenced to thirty years for
something she didn't do. I think it was largely because of the fact
that when she was detained by the police she refused to speak, she
refused to self–incriminate, and they said, "She's too strong, she's
got to be a leader." She withstood the torture, withstood everything.
And that was probably the reason she got a thirty-year sentence.
For more information, visit the Committee to Free Lori Berenson:
LINKS AND VERY SHORT STORIES
Louisiana: FEMA Not Immune From Trailer Suits
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
National Briefing | South
A federal judge in New Orleans says the government is not immune from lawsuits claiming that many Gulf Coast hurricane victims were exposed to potentially dangerous fumes while living in trailers it had provided. The ruling says there is evidence that the Federal Emergency Management Agency delayed its response to concerns about formaldehyde levels in its trailers because of liability concerns.
October 4, 2008
Army Unit to Deploy in October for Domestic Operations
Beginning in October, the Army plans to station an active unit inside the United States for the first time to serve as an on-call federal response in times of emergency. The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent thirty-five of the last sixty months in Iraq, but now the unit is training for domestic operations. The unit will soon be under the day-to-day control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. The Army Times reports this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command. The paper says the Army unit may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control. The soldiers are learning to use so-called nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds.
Wisconsin: A Gloomy Assessment for Milwaukee Public Schools
By CATRIN EINHORN
National Briefing | Midwest
Members of the Milwaukee Public Schools board passed a resolution to explore dissolving the school system, but state education officials said the board did not have the authority to actually do so. The board’s 6-to-3 vote to research the possibility came after Superintendent William G. Andrekopoulos described the city’s school financing structure as “broken,” painting a bleak picture of steep property tax increases and deep budget cuts. But dissolving the public school system would require action in the Legislature, or else the City Council would have to change Milwaukee’s city classification, sparking other changes in governance, said Patrick Gasper of the Wisconsin Department of Education. While the full nine-member school board voted, it was a committee vote, and the proposal faces a final vote on Thursday.
September 20, 2008
California: Chief Wants Officers Fired for Misconduct
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
National Briefing | West
Police Chief William J. Bratton of Los Angeles has recommended that four officers be fired for misconduct when force was used to clear a park in a 2007 immigration rally. He also recommended that 11 other officers face discipline ranging from reprimands to suspensions of up to 10 days without pay. The rally ended when the police formed a skirmish line and swept through the crowd in MacArthur Park. Some officers struck peaceful rallygoers and journalists with batons and bean-bag rounds. A personnel investigation led to 80 accusations against 29 officers. The chief sustained 31 accusations against 15 officers.
September 17, 2008
Health Costs: More Burden on the Worker
By PHYLLIS KORKKI
Don’t cheer when you hear that health care cost increases are expected to ease slightly for employers in 2009. This is not a sign that medical costs are beginning to stabilize. Rather, it means that businesses are moving aggressively to shift the burden to their employees.
Mercer, the consulting firm, expects employers’ health benefit costs to rise 5.7 percent in 2009, based on preliminary results of a survey. Increases have hovered at about 6 percent a year since 2005.
If you are on your company’s health plan, you might want to brace yourself for higher deductibles, as well as higher co-payments, higher premiums or both. You might also end up joining a consumer-directed plan, in which, for example, you would pay a lower premium in exchange for a higher upfront deductible.
Businesses also say they intend to improve their health and wellness programs so that their employees don’t stay sick as long and — in the best-case situation — don’t become sick in the first place.
September 14, 2008
Bishops Want Immigration Raids to End
By JULIA PRESTON
National Briefing | Immigration
Roman Catholic bishops urged the Bush administration to halt workplace immigration raids, saying the “humanitarian cost” was “unacceptable in a civilized society.” Speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, John C. Wester, the bishop of Salt Lake City said that the escalating number of worksite raids over the past year had spread fear in immigrant communities and had made it difficult for detained immigrants to obtain legal representation. Bishop Wester also called on the Department of Homeland Security to refrain from conducting raids in churches, health centers and schools.
September 12, 2008
Mississippi: Conviction Overturned
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
National Briefing | South
A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of a reputed Ku Klux Klan member serving three life sentences for his role in the 1964 abduction and killing of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi. The man, James Ford Seale, 73, was convicted in June 2007 on kidnapping and conspiracy charges related to the abductions of the teenagers, Charles E. Moore and Henry H. Dee. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the statute of limitations for kidnapping had expired in the decades between the crimes and the charges.
September 11, 2008
Utah: Mine Collapse Case Goes to Prosecutors
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
National Briefing | Rockies
Federal mining officials have asked prosecutors to decide whether criminal charges are warranted in the deaths of nine people in last year’s collapse of the Crandall Canyon mine. The Mine Safety and Health Administration has been investigating two cave-ins at the mine in August 2007 that killed six miners and three rescuers. The safety agency has already fined the operator $1.34 million for violations that it says directly contributed to the deaths. Richard Stickler, an acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said the mine’s operator and its engineering consultants demonstrated reckless disregard for safety. Mr. Stickler said the safety agency had referred the case to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges.
September 4, 2008
National Briefing | Immigration
Rabbis Endorse Certification Plan
By JULIA PRESTON
The organization of Reform rabbis endorsed a movement led by Conservative Jews to create an additional certification for kosher food that would show that the producer met ethical standards for the treatment of workers. In a resolution, the Central Conference of American Rabbis promised to work cooperatively with the movement known as Hekhsher Tzedek, meaning “justice certification,” to develop the new seal of approval, which would be applied only to food certified as kosher according to traditional Jewish dietary laws. It would confirm that the producer met certain standards for wages and employee safety. The resolution was evidence of a new interest in kosher practice by Reform Jews, who do not generally follow strict dietary laws. The Reform rabbis said reports of “abusive and unethical treatment of workers” at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, were “particularly distressing.”
September 4, 2008
Illinois: School Financing Protest
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
National Briefing | Midwest
More than 1,000 Chicago public school students boycotted the first day of classes in a protest over school financing and instead rode buses more than 30 miles north to try to enroll in a wealthy suburban district. About 1,100 elementary students and 150 high school students from Chicago filled out enrollment applications in the New Trier district in Northfield, said the New Trier superintendent, Linda Yonke. Boycott organizers acknowledged the move was largely symbolic: Students would have to pay tuition to attend a school outside their home district. In Illinois, property taxes account for about 70 percent of school financing, meaning rural and inner-city schools generally end up with less to spend per student than suburban schools.
September 3, 2008
GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS AND INFORMATION
Labor Beat: National Assembly to End the War in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Highlights from the June 28-29, 2008 meeting in Cleveland, OH. In this 26-minute video, Labor Beat presents a sampling of the speeches and floor discussions from this important conference. Attended by over 400 people, the Assembly's main objective was to urge united and massive mobilizations in the spring to “Bring the Troops Home Now,” as well as supporting actions that build towards that date. To read the final action proposal and to learn other details, visit www.natassembly.org. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is affiliated with IBEW 1220. Views expressed are those of the producer, not necessarily of IBEW. For info: firstname.lastname@example.org,www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video or YouTube and search "Labor Beat".
12 year old Ossetian girl tells the truth about Georgia.
SAN FRANCISCO IS A SANCTUARY CITY! STOP THE MIGRA-ICE RAIDS!
Despite calling itself a "sanctuary city", S.F. politicians are permitting the harrassment of undocumented immigrants and allowing the MIGRA-ICE police to enter the jail facilities.
We will picket any store that cooperates with the MIGRA or reports undocumented brothers and sisters. We demand AMNESTY without conditions!
BRIGADES AGAINST THE RAIDS
project of BARRIO UNIDO
Canada: American Deserter Must Leave
By IAN AUSTEN
August 14, 2008
World Briefing | Americas
Jeremy Hinzman, a deserter from the United States Army, was ordered Wednesday to leave Canada by Sept. 23. Mr. Hinzman, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, left the Army for Canada in January 2004 and later became the first deserter to formally seek refuge there from the war in Iraq. He has been unable to obtain permanent immigrant status, and in November, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear an appeal of his case. Vanessa Barrasa, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, said Mr. Hinzman, above, had been ordered to leave voluntarily. In July, another American deserter was removed from Canada by border officials after being arrested. Although the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not backed the Iraq war, it has shown little sympathy for American deserters, a significant change from the Vietnam War era.
Iraq War resister Robin Long jailed, facing three years in Army stockade
Free Robin Long now!
Support GI resistance!
Soldier Who Deserted to Canada Draws 15-Month Term
By DAN FROSCH
August 23, 2008
What you can do now to support Robin
1. Donate to Robin's legal defense
By mail: Make checks out to “Courage to Resist / IHC” and note “Robin Long” in the memo field. Mail to:
Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave #41
Oakland CA 94610
Courage to Resist is committed to covering Robin’s legal and related defense expenses. Thank you for helping make that possible.
Also: You are also welcome to contribute directly to Robin’s legal expenses via his civilian lawyer James Branum. Visit girightslawyer.com, select "Pay Online via PayPal" (lower left), and in the comments field note “Robin Long”. Note that this type of donation is not tax-deductible.
2. Send letters of support to Robin
Robin Long, CJC
2739 East Las Vegas
Colorado Springs CO 80906
Robin’s pre-trial confinement has been outsourced by Fort Carson military authorities to the local county jail.
Robin is allowed to receive hand-written or typed letters only. Do NOT include postage stamps, drawings, stickers, copied photos or print articles. Robin cannot receive packages of any type (with the book exception as described below).
3. Send Robin a money order for commissary items
Anything Robin gets (postage stamps, toothbrush, shirts, paper, snacks, supplements, etc.) must be ordered through the commissary. Each inmate has an account to which friends may make deposits. To do so, a money order in U.S. funds must be sent to the address above made out to "Robin Long, EPSO". The sender’s name must be written on the money order.
4. Send Robin a book
Robin is allowed to receive books which are ordered online and sent directly to him at the county jail from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. These two companies know the procedure to follow for delivering books for inmates.
Yet Another Insult: Mumia Abu-Jamal Denied Full-Court Hearing by 3rd Circuit
& Other News on Mumia
This mailing sent by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PLEASE FORWARD AND DISTRIBUTE WIDELY
1. Mumia Abu-Jamal Denied Full-Court Hearing by 3rd Circuit
2. Upcoming Events for Mumia
3. New Book on the framing of Mumia
1. MUMIA DENIED AGAIN -- Adding to its already rigged, discriminatory record with yet another insult to the world's most famous political prisoner, the federal court for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia has refused to give Mumia Abu-Jamal an en banc, or full court, hearing. This follows the rejection last March by a 3-judge panel of the court, of what is likely Mumia's last federal appeal.
The denial of an en banc hearing by the 3rd Circuit, upholding it's denial of the appeal, is just the latest episode in an incredible year of shoving the overwhelming evidence of Mumia's innocence under a rock. Earlier in the year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also rejected Jamal's most recent state appeal. Taken together, state and federal courts in 2008 have rejected or refused to hear all the following points raised by Mumia's defense:
1. The state's key witness, Cynthia White, was pressured by police to lie on the stand in order to convict Mumia, according to her own admission to a confidant (other witnesses agreed she wasn't on the scene at all)
2. A hospital "confession" supposedly made by Mumia was manufactured by police. The false confession was another key part of the state's wholly-manufactured "case."
3. The 1995 appeals court judge, Albert Sabo--the same racist who presided at Mumia's original trial in 1982, where he said, "I'm gonna help 'em fry the n....r"--was prejudiced against him. This fact was affirmed even by Philadelphia's conservative newspapers at the time.
4. The prosecutor prejudiced the jury against inn ocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, by using a slimy tactic already rejected by the courts. But the prosecutor was upheld in Mumia's case!
5. The jury was racially skewed when the prosecution excluded most blacks from the jury, a practice banned by law, but, again, upheld against Mumia!
All of these defense claims were proven and true. But for the courts, these denials were just this year’s trampling on the evidence! Other evidence dismissed or ignored over the years include: hit-man Arnold Beverly said back in the 1990s that he, not Mumia, killed the slain police officer (Faulkner). Beverly passed a lie detector test and was willing to testify, but he got no hearing in US courts! Also, Veronica Jones, who saw two men run from the scene just after the shooting, was coerced by police to lie at the 1982 trial, helping to convict Mumia. But when she admitted this lie and told the truth on appeal in 1996, she was dismissed by prosecutor-in-robes Albert Sabo in 1996 as "not credible!" (She continues to support Mumia, and is writing a book on her experiences.) And William Singletary, the one witness who saw the whole thing and had no reason to lie, and who affirmed that someone else did the shooting, said that Mumia only arriv ed on the scene AFTER the officer was shot. His testimony has been rejected by the courts on flimsy grounds. And the list goes on.
FOR THE COURTS, INNOCENCE IS NO DEFENSE! And if you're a black revolutionary like Mumia the fix is in big-time. Illusions in Mumia getting a "new trial" out of this racist, rigged, kangaroo-court system have been dealt a harsh blow by the 3rd Circuit. We need to build a mass movement, and labor action, to free Mumia now!
2. UPCOMING EVENTS FOR MUMIA --
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA -- Speaking Tour by J Patrick O'Connor, the author of THE FRAMING OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, in the first week of October 2008, sponsored by the Mobilization To Free Mumia. Contributing to this tour, the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia will hold a public meeting with O'Connor on Friday October 3rd, place to be announced. San Francisco, South Bay and other East Bay venues to be announced. Contact the Mobilization at 510 268-9429, or the LAC at 510 763-2347, for more information.
3. NEW BOOK ON MUMIA
Efficiently and Methodically Framed--Mumia is innocent! That is the conclusion of THE FRAMING OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, by J Patrick O'Connor (Lawrence Hill Books), published earlier this year. The author is a former UPI reporter who took an interest in Mumia's case. He is now the editor of Crime Magazine (www.crimemagazine.com).
O'Connor offers a fresh perspective, and delivers a clear and convincing breakdown on perhaps the most notorious frame-up since Sacco and Vanzetti. THE FRAMING OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL is based on a thorough analysis of the 1982 trial and the 1995-97 appeals hearings, as well as previous writings on this case, and research on the MOVE organization (with which Mumia identifies), and the history of racist police brutality in Philadelphia.
While leaving some of the evidence of Mumia's innocence unconsidered or disregarded, this book nevertheless makes clear that there is a veritable mountain of evidence--most of it deliberately squashed by the courts--that shows that Mumia was blatantly and deliberately framed by corrupt cops and courts, who "fixed" this case against him from the beginning. This is a case not just of police corruption, or a racist lynching, though it is both. The courts are in this just as deep as the cops, and it reaches to the top of the equally corrupt political system.
"This book is the first to convincingly show how the Philadelphia Police Department and District Attorney's Office efficiently and methodically framed [Mumia Abu-Jamal]." (from the book jacket)
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal has a limited number of THE FRAMING ordered from the publisher at a discount. We sold our first order of this book, and are now able to offer it at a lower price. $12 covers shipping. Send payment to us at our address below:
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • 510.763.2347
www.laboractionmumia.org • LACFreeMumia@aol.com
Sami Al-Arian Subjected to Worst Prison Conditions since Florida
Despite grant of bail, government continues to hold him
Dr. Al-Arian handcuffed
Hanover, VA - July 27, 2008 -
More than two weeks after being granted bond by a federal judge, Sami Al-Arian is still being held in prison. In fact, Dr. Al-Arian is now being subjected to the worst treatment by prison officials since his stay in Coleman Federal Penitentiary in Florida three years ago.
On July 12th, Judge Leonie Brinkema pronounced that Dr. Al-Arian was not a danger to the community nor a flight risk, and accordingly granted him bail before his scheduled August 13th trial. Nevertheless, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) invoked the jurisdiction it has held over Dr. Al-Arian since his official sentence ended last April to keep him from leaving prison. The ICE is ostensibly holding Dr. Al-Arian to complete deportation procedures but, given that Dr. Al-Arian's trial will take place in less than three weeks, it would seem somewhat unlikely that the ICE will follow through with such procedures in the near future.
Not content to merely keep Dr. Al-Arian from enjoying even a very limited stint of freedom, the government is using all available means to try to psychologically break him. Instead of keeping him in a prison close to the Washington DC area where his two oldest children live, the ICE has moved him to Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover, VA, more than one hundred miles from the capital. Regardless, even when Dr. Al-Arian was relatively close to his children, they were repeatedly denied visitation requests.
More critically, this distance makes it extremely difficult for Dr. Al-Arian to meet with his attorneys in the final weeks before his upcoming trial. This is the same tactic employed by the government in 2005 to try to prevent Dr. Al-Arian from being able to prepare a full defense.
Pamunkey Regional Jail has imposed a 23-hour lock-down on Dr. Al-Arian and has placed him in complete isolation, despite promises from the ICE that he would be kept with the general inmate population. Furthermore, the guards who transported him were abusive, shackling and handcuffing him behind his back for the 2.5-hour drive, callously disregarding the fact that his wrist had been badly injured only a few days ago. Although he was in great pain throughout the trip, guards refused to loosen the handcuffs.
At the very moment when Dr. Al-Arian should be enjoying a brief interlude of freedom after five grueling years of imprisonment, the government has once again brazenly manipulated the justice system to deliver this cruel slap in the face of not only Dr. Al-Arian, but of all people of conscience.
Make a Difference! Call Today!
Last April, your calls to the Hampton Roads Regional Jail pressured prison officials to stop their abuse of Dr. Al-Arian after only a few days.
Friends, we are asking you to make a difference again by calling:
Pamunkey Regional Jail: (804) 365-6400 (press 0 then ask to speak to the Superintendent's office). Ask why Dr. Al-Arian has been put under a 23-hour lockdown, despite the fact that a federal judge has clearly and unambiguously pronounced that he is not a danger to anyone and that, on the contrary, he should be allowed bail before his trial.
- If you do not reach the superintendent personally, leave a message on the answering machine. Call back every day until you do speak to the superintendent directly.
- Be polite but firm.
- After calling, click here to let us know you called.
Don't forget: your calls DO make a difference.
FORWARD TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS!
Write to Dr. Al-Arian
For those of you interested in sending personal letters of support to Dr. Al-Arian:
If you would like to write to Dr. Al-Arian, his new
Dr. Sami Al-Arian
Pamunkey Regional Jail
P.O. Box 485
Hanover, VA 23069
Email Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace: email@example.com
Video: The Carbon Connection -- The human impact of carbon trading
[This is an eye-opening and important video for all who are interested in our environment...bw]
Two communities affected by one new global market – the trade in carbon
dioxide. In Scotland, a town has been polluted by oil and chemical
companies since the 1940s. In Brazil, local people's water and land is
being swallowed up by destructive monoculture eucalyptus tree
plantations. Both communities now share a new threat.
As part of the deal to reduce greenhouse gases that cause dangerous
climate change, major polluters can now buy carbon credits that allow
them to pay someone else to reduce emissions instead of cutting their
own pollution. What this means for those living next to the oil industry
in Scotland is the continuation of pollution caused by their toxic
neighbours. Meanwhile in Brazil, the schemes that generate carbon
credits give an injection of cash for more planting of the damaging
40 minutes | PAL/NTSC | English/Spanish/Portuguese subtitles.The Carbon Connection is a Fenceline Films presentation in partnership with the Transnational Institute Environmental Justice Project and Carbon Trade Watch, the Alert Against the Green Desert Movement, FASE-ES, and the Community Training and Development Unit.
Watch at http://links.org.au/node/575
On the Waterboard
How does it feel to be “aggressively interrogated”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantánamo and elsewhere. VF.com has the footage. Related: “Believe Me, It’s Torture,” from the August 2008 issue.
Alison Bodine defense Committee
Lift the Two-year Ban
Watch the Sept 28 Video on Alison's Case!
The Girl Who Silenced the World at the UN!
Born and raised in Vancouver, Severn Suzuki has been working on environmental and social justice issues since kindergarten. At age 9, she and some friends started the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. They traveled to 1992's UN Earth Summit, where 12 year-old Severn gave this powerful speech that deeply affected (and silenced) some of the most prominent world leaders. The speech had such an impact that she has become a frequent invitee to many U.N. conferences.
[Note: the text of her speech is also available at this site...bw]
"Dear Canada: Let U.S. war resisters stay!"
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
MONEY AS DEBT
http://video. google.com/ videoplay? docid=-905047436 2583451279
IRAQ FOR SALE
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: http://web.mac.com/rolandgarret
[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
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, below...bw]
"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 this...bw]
FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein
"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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Award-Winning Writer/Filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek Launches New Sand
Creek Massacre Website"
May 21, 2008 -- CENTENNIAL, CO -- Award-winning filmmaker, Donald L.
Vasicek, has launched a new Sand Creek Massacre website. Titled,
"The Sand Creek Massacre", the site contains in depth witness
accounts of the massacre, the award-winning Sand Creek Massacre
trailer for viewing, the award-winning Sand Creek Massacre
documentary short for viewing, the story of the Sand Creek Massacre,
and a Shop to purchase Sand Creek Massacre DVD's and lesson
plans including the award-winning documentary film/educational DVD.
Vasicek, a board member of The American Indian Genocide Museum
(www.aigenom.com)in Houston, Texas, said, "The website was launched
to inform, to educate, and to provide educators, historians, students
and all others the accessibility to the Sand Creek Massacre story."
The link/URL to the website is sandcreekmassacre.net.
Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC