Friday, October 10, 2008



No Military Recruitment or Training in our Schools!
No to Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC)


[October 11 actions against the war are happening in over 16 cities across the country (see below for cities and links)]

Come out this Saturday, October 11 to pass out No on V flyers! Help defeat Prop. V! Reach out to our friends and fellow San Franciscans to take a stand together against war, military spending and military recruitment in our schools by voting NO on V!

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're are rallies, demonstrations, vigils, forums--a broad variety of actions scheduled for October 11 across the country (see the list below.)

Saturday, October 11, 11:00 A.M.
24th and Mission Streets, S.F.



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.


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!



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!


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,


The website has just been updated with information about the action in NYC and the several campus protests in Connecticut!!! Well done everyone for a phenomenal show of national solidarity that has far exceeded anyone's expectations. This is a real testimony to the power of independent, city-based antiwar coalitions bringing progressive forces together for peace and social justice! Now let's go all out to publicize and promote our actions around the country!

I encourage everyone to include in your local promos and press releases the fact that antiwar actions on October 11 are occurring in at least sixteen cities around the country. I hope that coordinators around the country will post after-action reports about their events on the O11 listserv, along with links to any media reports. We will be setting up a conference call after October 11 to share information and insights about our October 11 actions and discuss possible future actions, including major local actions on March 21 of next year.

Please see below for a list of the cities and locales having actions on October 11. For more information, please visit the website at .

Mark Stahl
Providence, RI
RI Mobilization Committee to Stop War and Occupation







Minneapolis/St. Paul

New York, NY



Providence, RI

Rockland County, NY

Salt Lake City

San Francisco




"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.

Wesley Horton
Greenwood Hill Productions

p. 323-793-7223

“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 .

OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10 - Shattuck Cinemas
2230 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

(510) 464-5980



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:
Websites: and
Purchase advance tickets at, 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.

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.


The Howard Thurman Convocation presents:
Chaplain James Yee, Former U.S. Army Chaplain, Guantanamo Bay
Sunday, October 19, 2008, 3:00 PM
The Church for The Fellowship of All Peoples
2041 Larkin Street/Broadway, SF 94109, (415) 776-4910

“The movement of the Spirit of God in the hearts of men often call them to act against the spirit of their times or causes them to anticipate the spirit which is yet in the making. In a moment of dedication, they are given wisdom and courage to dare a deed that challenges and to kindle a hope that inspires.”

~ Howard Thurman, Footprints of a Dream, 1959

Captain James J. Yee is a former US Army Chaplain and graduate of West Point who served as the Muslim Chaplain for the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that became controversial for its treatment of detainees designated as "enemy combatants" by the U.S. government. While ministering to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Captain Yee objected to the cruel and degrading abuses to which the prisoners were subjected. This outspokenness led to his arrest and imprisonment, while being falsely accused of spying and espionage. After months of government investigation, all criminal charges were dropped. With his record wiped clean, Chaplain Yee resigned from the U.S. Army receiving an Honorable Discharge and was later awarded a second Army Commendation Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service."

Chaplain Yee's gripping account of his Guantanamo experience and struggle for justice has been recently published and is entitled For God And Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire. The Washington Post called it "required reading for all U.S. officials waging war on Islamic terrorists." Chaplain Yee will deliver the keynote address, “Faith in a time of Crisis.”

For faithful courage in pursuit of justice, Chaplain James J. Yee will receive the 2008 Howard Thurman Award.

A reception and book signing will immediately follow the 3pm program, downstairs in Thurman Hall. This is a free event and donations are greatly appreciated. Persons with special needs should contact the church office in advance, at (415) 776-4910. Public transportation is advised as street parking is quite limited.

To learn more about Dr. Howard Thurman, The Howard Thurman Center and the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, please visit our website at

joyce umamoto


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:

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311


National Assembly

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

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
orderly withdrawal.

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.

Thank you.

Rick Hauptman
Prop U Steering Commiittee

tel 415-861-7425


"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:



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

Dear friend,

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?
Op-Ed Columnist
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




1) More Con Ed Customers Having Power Turned Off
By Ken Belson
"All ratepayers ultimately pick up the tab for those who stop paying for their electricity. Buried on monthly electric bills is a “merchant function charge,” which covers Con Ed’s administrative costs of doing business." [So why are they cutting off the electricity to those who can't pay for it?]
October 9, 2008, 3:08 pm

2) Sharpton and 7 Others Guilty in Sean Bell Protest
October 9, 2008

3) Sheriff in Chicago Ends Evictions in Foreclosures
Published: October 8, 2008

4) Moment of Truth
Op-Ed Columnist
October 10, 2008

5) Building a Better Bailout
October 10, 2008

6) High & Low Finance
Plan B: Flood Banks With Cash
October 10, 2008

7) NATO to Hit Drug Trade in Afghanistan
October 11, 2008


1) More Con Ed Customers Having Power Turned Off
By Ken Belson
October 9, 2008, 3:08 pm

One of the most reliable indicators of when times are tough is how many people have their power turned off because they failed to pay their bill.

According to the latest figures from Con Edison, times seem to be tough. The utility said that for the year through the end of September, 9,639 residential customers had their electricity turned off because they failed to pay their bills, 13 percent more than in the same period in 2007. The value of those unpaid bills jumped faster — 28.3 percent — to $8.9 million, a reflection of the rise in energy prices.

During the same period, 1,600 nonresidential customers (shops, offices, factories and so on) had their power turned off, an 8 percent increase.

The numbers provide a good indication that consumers are having trouble because electricity is so crucial to everyday life and families and businesses often do whatever it takes to keep the lights on.

Con Ed also jumps through a lot of hoops to warn customers that their electricity is in danger of being turned off. The company sends as many as five warning letters over a 90-day period before ultimately turning a customer’s electricity off, according to Michael Clendenin, a spokesman for Con Ed, The company also calls customers and will occasionally visit a residence or business.

During this time, Con Ed gives customers in arrears a chance to work out a payment plan, which heads off disaster more often than not.

“Most people get their lights turned off are back on with a month, because they’ve entered a payment plan or made a payment,” Mr. Clendenin said.

Between January and the end of September, 342,073 residential customers were in arrears for more than 60 days, an 18 percent jump.

All ratepayers ultimately pick up the tab for those who stop paying for their electricity. Buried on monthly electric bills is a “merchant function charge,” which covers Con Ed’s administrative costs of doing business.

The line item was added in April to help customers compare costs with those of other power providers. In May, the total charge was 0.5221 cents per kilowatt hour used. Of that amount, 0.1148 cents is set aside to cover the uncollectible bills that delinquent customers leave behind.

Part of the money also goes to hiring collection agencies that try to track down the customers.

Wendell F. Holland, a partner at Saul Ewing, a firm that represents utilities and energy companies, said that utilities usually could not collect 1 percent to 1.5 percent of their bills, an amount he called “the cost of doing business.”

Even when customers are well behind in paying the bills, utilities typically wait until after the winter is over to turn off their power and heat for nonpayment. The slowing economy, however, may lead to more customers’ losing power.

“This problem is not just in New York State, but national,” said Mr. Holland, a former chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. “Unfortunately for all involved, the timing couldn’t be worse in light of the bank collapses.”

Some nonprofit groups step in to help families who lose their power and heat. But they have been running short of funds as well, according to Gerald A. Norlander, the director of the Public Utility Law Project.

“Catholic Charities, the Red Cross and other charities are not able to meet the need,” Mr. Norlander said. “Utility ‘fuel fund’ charities use customer donations matched by the utility, but they are a drop in the bucket, often exhausted, and some have very restrictive eligibility conditions, limiting aid to the elderly and disabled.”


2) Sharpton and 7 Others Guilty in Sean Bell Protest
October 9, 2008

In some ways, it was reminiscent of another cool, sunny day six months ago.

There was a packed courtroom held rapt by a judge’s words. The Rev. Al Sharpton was among those front and center. And Sean Bell, the Queens man who was killed in a hail of 50 police bullets on his wedding day two years ago, was the primary reason anyone was there.

Mr. Sharpton and seven others were facing disorderly conduct charges after they blocked several bridges and tunnels around the city in May during a protest of the April 25 acquittal of three detectives charged in Mr. Bell’s death. More than 200 people were arrested, and all but eight cases were dismissed.

And so, after two days of court proceedings, Judge Larry R. Stephen of Manhattan Criminal Court rendered his verdict on Wednesday. He found Mr. Sharpton and his co-defendants guilty of disorderly conduct, which is a violation and does not result in a criminal record.

Although Judge Stephen said he was “sympathetic to the underlying causes which gave rise to the protests and demonstrations,” he added, “The evidence is overwhelming.”

“My view is, if you decide to take a bullet for the team, you should not complain about the consequences that flow from that act,” Judge Stephen said.

The consequences in this case were negligible.

Although prosecutors asked that the defendants be fined $250 each and be ordered to perform community service, Judge Stephen spared them additional jail time (they were all locked up for a couple of hours at most after their arrests), and simply ordered them to pay $95 in court fees. (Mr. Sharpton said he would pick up the tab for each defendant and would pay with $50 bills to represent the number of shots fired at Mr. Bell’s car in November 2006.)

Michael A. Hardy, a lawyer for the defendants, said he would consult with them before deciding whether to appeal.

After the judge rendered his verdict and sentence, Wylie M. Stecklow, another lawyer for the defendants, reminded the judge that they were supposed to make statements before sentencing. Judge Stephen gave each of them three minutes, but did not budge on his decision.

In April, when a Supreme Court judge in Queens acquitted the three detectives, many Bell supporters were in tears, and an angry Mr. Sharpton left the courthouse without saying a word. He blasted Justice Arthur J. Cooperman’s verdict on his radio show later that day. Some Bell supporters got into a confrontation with photographers outside the courthouse.

The reaction on Wednesday was a stark contrast.

Mr. Sharpton seemed to welcome the verdict. He stood before Judge Stephen and thanked him for acknowledging that his protests were peaceful. He also apologized to anyone whom his protests might have inconvenienced, but said he hoped that the civil disobedience made an impression on them.

“I hope the city would think about how the pedestrians who couldn’t walk that day, and the drivers who couldn’t drive, were no different than the three young men who sat in the car that day and were shot at,” Mr. Sharpton said.

Outside the courthouse, Mr. Sharpton, flanked by Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, the men who were in the car with Mr. Bell the night they were shot outside a Queens strip club, spoke of the differences between the verdict on Wednesday and the one rendered six months ago.

“It feels a lot better hearing this judge in Manhattan at least respect the outrage and the feeling of the people, rather than act like we’re criminals because we don’t understand why three unarmed men were shot at 50 times,” Mr. Sharpton said.

After Mr. Bell left his bachelor party at the club in Queens early on Nov. 25, 2006, he and his friends exchanged words with a man outside, according to testimony at the trial of the detectives. The detectives said they thought someone with Mr. Bell had a gun, so they followed them to a car around the corner. They said they fired after Mr. Bell refused orders to stop and tried to speed off in his car. Mr. Guzman and Mr. Benefield were wounded.

In some ways, Wednesday’s guilty verdict further emboldened Mr. Sharpton’s cause. He and several co-defendants were quick to point out that while they were convicted, the detectives who fired at Mr. Bell’s car were not.

“For the judge to find us guilty of any crime when the police were found not guilty of anything, there’s no justice,” said Sara Flounders, one of the people convicted on Wednesday.


3) Sheriff in Chicago Ends Evictions in Foreclosures
Published: October 8, 2008

Law enforcement officers in Chicago will no longer evict residents
from foreclosed properties, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart of Cook County
announced Wednesday.

The department was on pace to conduct 4,700 foreclosures this year,
nearly triple the number from two years ago, Sheriff Dart said.

Housing advocates said that they thought the measure was the first of
its kind, but that in recent years, several sheriffs and judges around
the country had taken other steps to slow foreclosure proceedings,
like requiring lenders to produce titles proving they owned the
properties in question. In Philadelphia this year, Sheriff John D.
Green temporarily suspended sales of foreclosed properties.

Sheriff Dart said he took the measure because an increasing number of
the residents being evicted were renters who might have been dutifully
paying their rent, and might have had no knowledge that the owner was
behind on the mortgage.

Under a new Chicago law, renters are entitled to a 90-day grace
period, starting at the time a foreclosure sale is confirmed, before
they can be evicted.

Sheriff Dart said the families in foreclosed properties were often not
notified that they would have to leave, and were not given this grace
period. Sometimes their first sign of trouble was the appearance of
deputies at the door, demanding that they leave.

"It started with just a couple cases like that, but they kept
multiplying," Sheriff Dart said. "Just in the past month, about a
third of the people we were asked to evict were under very
questionable circumstances. It got to the point that enough was

Officials at the national Mortgage Bankers Association were
unavailable for comment, a spokesman said. Officials at the Illinois
Mortgage Bankers Association did not return calls seeking comment.

On a recent case, deputies were called to evict residents at a
foreclosed building on North Spaulding Avenue, and arrived to find six
families who were all paying rent to the landlord.

"All the time we paid every month, he never said nothing," said Alma
Aquino, who lived in one unit with her husband, their two children,
and Mrs. Aquino's mother and sister, for a rent of $850. "My husband
tried to explain, but the sheriffs said we can't talk, we need to

The family ended up staying, and Sheriff Dart, who has supported
legislation to protect residents in foreclosures, soon stopped

Sheriff Dart said the evictions had taken an emotional toll on his
staff. "It's one of most gut-wrenching things we do, seeing little
children put out on the street with their possessions. And the hard
part is that the parent played by all the rules, and they're being

Nationally, only about 10 percent of residents in properties with
subprime mortgages - the ones most likely to go into foreclosure - are
renters, said Eric Halperin, director of the Washington office of the
Center for Responsible Lending, an advocacy group. But in some cities
the figure is much higher. Daniel Lindsey of the Home Ownership
Preservation Project run by Legal Assistance of Chicago, estimated
that half of the city's foreclosures involved renters.

"This is a big deal in the sense that it shows the pressures local
governments are under when they're forced to carry out those
foreclosures and evictions," Mr. Halperin said. "It's another example
of how the foreclosure crisis is overwhelming our institutions.
Homeowners and renters can't get the relief they're entitled to under
the law."


4) Moment of Truth
Op-Ed Columnist
October 10, 2008

Last month, when the U.S. Treasury Department allowed Lehman Brothers to fail, I wrote that Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, was playing financial Russian roulette. Sure enough, there was a bullet in that chamber: Lehman’s failure caused the world financial crisis, already severe, to get much, much worse.

The consequences of Lehman’s fall were apparent within days, yet key policy players have largely wasted the past four weeks. Now they’ve reached a moment of truth: They’d better do something soon — in fact, they’d better announce a coordinated rescue plan this weekend — or the world economy may well experience its worst slump since the Great Depression.

Let’s talk about where we are right now.

The current crisis started with a burst housing bubble, which led to widespread mortgage defaults, and hence to large losses at many financial institutions. That initial shock was compounded by secondary effects, as lack of capital forced banks to pull back, leading to further declines in the prices of assets, leading to more losses, and so on — a vicious circle of “deleveraging.” Pervasive loss of trust in banks, including on the part of other banks, reinforced the vicious circle.

The downward spiral accelerated post-Lehman. Money markets, already troubled, effectively shut down — one line currently making the rounds is that the only things anyone wants to buy right now are Treasury bills and bottled water.

The response to this downward spiral on the part of the world’s two great monetary powers — the United States, on one side, and the 15 nations that use the euro, on the other — has been woefully inadequate.

Europe, lacking a common government, has literally been unable to get its act together; each country has been making up its own policy, with little coordination, and proposals for a unified response have gone nowhere.

The United States should have been in a much stronger position. And when Mr. Paulson announced his plan for a huge bailout, there was a temporary surge of optimism. But it soon became clear that the plan suffered from a fatal lack of intellectual clarity. Mr. Paulson proposed buying $700 billion worth of “troubled assets” — toxic mortgage-related securities — from banks, but he was never able to explain why this would resolve the crisis.

What he should have proposed instead, many economists agree, was direct injection of capital into financial firms: The U.S. government would provide financial institutions with the capital they need to do business, thereby halting the downward spiral, in return for partial ownership. When Congress modified the Paulson plan, it introduced provisions that made such a capital injection possible, but not mandatory. And until two days ago, Mr. Paulson remained resolutely opposed to doing the right thing.

But on Wednesday the British government, showing the kind of clear thinking that has been all too scarce on this side of the pond, announced a plan to provide banks with £50 billion in new capital — the equivalent, relative to the size of the economy, of a $500 billion program here — together with extensive guarantees for financial transactions between banks. And U.S. Treasury officials now say that they plan to do something similar, using the authority they didn’t want but Congress gave them anyway.

The question now is whether these moves are too little, too late. I don’t think so, but it will be very alarming if this weekend rolls by without a credible announcement of a new financial rescue plan, involving not just the United States but all the major players.

Why do we need international cooperation? Because we have a globalized financial system in which a crisis that began with a bubble in Florida condos and California McMansions has caused monetary catastrophe in Iceland. We’re all in this together, and need a shared solution.

Why this weekend? Because there happen to be two big meetings taking place in Washington: a meeting of top financial officials from the major advanced nations on Friday, then the annual International Monetary Fund/World Bank meeting Saturday and Sunday. If these meetings end without at least an agreement in principle on a global rescue plan — if everyone goes home with nothing more than vague assertions that they intend to stay on top of the situation — a golden opportunity will have been missed, and the downward spiral could easily get even worse.

What should be done? The United States and Europe should just say “Yes, prime minister.” The British plan isn’t perfect, but there’s widespread agreement among economists that it offers by far the best available template for a broader rescue effort.

And the time to act is now. You may think that things can’t get any worse — but they can, and if nothing is done in the next few days, they will.


5) Building a Better Bailout
October 10, 2008

Last month, when he defended his bailout plan before Congress, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was reluctant to have the government take an ownership stake in the banks that taxpayers are going to rescue. It came as a relief on Wednesday when he executed an about-face and said that the Treasury was now considering doing just that.

In the weeks since the bailout was announced, the financial markets and broader economy have continued to deteriorate, with credit still in a deep freeze and the stock market plunging anew in the last two hours of trading on Thursday.

Injecting cash directly into banks in exchange for an ownership share would provide a quicker and more powerful boost to the financial system than the measures proposed in the original bailout plan. It would also be a better deal for taxpayers, because it would give them a direct claim on any postbailout profits earned by the bank.

Mr. Paulson’s original plan, which was modified by Congress to include the possibility of the government taking equity positions, envisioned a complex process in which taxpayer money would be used to buy banks’ bad assets. That would enable the banks to start lending again and would drain a lot of the poison that is ruining their health. Once taxpayers graciously put the banks on the road to recovery, the original plan assumed that private equity firms and other investors would invest loads of fresh capital in them and reap, for themselves, the subsequent gains.

Workable, perhaps, but infuriating. Investing money in exchange for equity is more efficient and — not incidentally — more fair.

It’s still unclear how and to what extent the Treasury would inject capital and assume ownership. But it is clear that the new approach would be more than a tactical shift, although President Bush and Mr. Paulson are unlikely to ever admit as much.

Under the original plan, the government’s role was to pave the way for private investors to regain control of the financial system as soon as possible.

In essence, that plan adhered to the prevailing Republican ideology that the government’s primary aim should be to help the markets to pursue profits, and that markets, in turn, best provide for the public interest. Clearly, if that were the case, we would not be in this mess. Taking ownership in return for taxpayer money is an admission that government is the only force that can pull us out of this crisis — by asserting the public interest.

Even with a better bailout, it will take years, not months, to repair the damage. It is now obvious that Wall Street spent most of the Bush years trafficking in bad debt, a profitable enterprise while it lasted, but a destructive force that is now wreaking new havoc daily.

At last count, 12 million homeowners had zero or negative equity in their homes. Millions are in some stage of foreclosure. Retirement and other savings, for those Americans who have them, are being decimated, and unemployment is rising. Consumers are recoiling, an understandable reaction, but one that will reinforce the downward economic trend. There surely are more economic shocks in store, among them, corporate defaults and state-government budget emergencies.

How we will emerge from this crisis is not yet known. But we know how we got into it. The question — which is about to be put to the voters in November — is whether the nation will learn from its mistakes, or whether the deregulatory, anti-government ethos of the last several decades will be alllowed to reassert itself when the economy begins to recover.


6) High & Low Finance
Plan B: Flood Banks With Cash
October 10, 2008

Banks are supposed to lend money, but they aren’t doing very much of it these days. That is not the only cause of the global recession that is unfolding, but it is hard to see how economies can begin to recover without functioning financial systems.

The American government has responded by taking over more and more of the lending itself, while using indirect means to shore up the banking system. It has not worked.

Never in history have the Federal Reserve and the Treasury announced more plans to try to fix the financial system within a span of a few months — and rarely have investors been less impressed.

The Standard & Poor’s index of 500 stocks is down 22 percent since the end of September, and 42 percent since it peaked a year ago.

It may be time to try a new approach, and perhaps to abandon the announced details of the bailout plan passed by Congress with such difficulty only a week ago. The government needs to decide which banks it is sure are worth saving, and pump capital into them directly.

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. indicated this week that he was considering such an approach, which would be much simpler and could be much more effective.

The announced plan for the bailout package was for the government to buy up dubious assets from banks, paying more than they are worth now but less than they are expected to be worth later.

If that is completed, banks will get cash — $700 billion or more. But their net worth will rise only to the extent the government overpays for the assets. Pricing those assets will be anything but easy, and the expectation of the government program has further frozen those markets. No one wants to sell until they can find out what the government will offer.

The alternative is to go in the direction Britain went this week. The government could use the $700 billion, or at least a large part of it, to buy preferred stock in banks.

The government could be selective in deciding which banks get the cash, and it could impose conditions on those that seek the money. Those banks could be required to come clean about the risks that they have taken in dubious assets, and to write those assets down to what a willing buyer would pay now.

With that information, the government may decide to let some banks fail. But the others, in which the government does invest, would have a government seal of approval that was backed up by cash.

And a lot of cash. A rule of thumb might be that if the government thinks a bank needs $4 billion in additional capital, it gets $8 billion.

The terms could be arranged so that the government gets a reasonable profit if the bank can pay the money back within five years, and can convert its stake into common stock only if that deadline is not met. That would give the current shareholders hope that their stock will be worth something someday, and perhaps avoid the further sell-offs that could otherwise arrive with the plan.

For much of the 14 months this crisis has been growing, the government has believed it was one of illiquidity — a temporary inability to raise cash — rather than insolvency — the issue when a financial institution is broke. The assumption was that the banks really would be fine when worries went away, and they had to be helped over that temporary hump. The Federal Reserve expanded both the amount it was willing to lend and the collateral it would take to back up loans.

The crisis, it turns out, is one of a lack of solvency, not just liquidity, and that is why banks fear to lend to one another. Each bank knows the games it has played in valuing assets — or at least could have played — and is loath to believe the balance sheets of other banks. That suspicion has chilled the interbank lending market.

The sad saga of the American International Group is one reason for that chill. When A.I.G. first said it needed help, $40 billion was said to be all it needed. Now the total is over $120 billion, as more problems are found.

One European precedent that the Treasury could study was used this week when the government of Denmark guaranteed both deposits in Danish banks and all interbank loans. The banks were ordered to halt dividend payments and share buybacks.

Given their need for capital, it is odd that most American banks are paying any dividends at all. Even after reductions, most big American bank shares now yield more than 3 percent, and some more than 7 percent.

Yet few of the banks are confident they have enough capital, or that their competitors do, which is why they are reluctant to lend. In that atmosphere, does it make any sense to reduce capital by paying dividends? Should the government funnel money to companies whose owners are getting big payouts while the banks report large losses?

In the absence of a functioning financial system, the Federal Reserve announced plans this week to lend money to companies that cannot get credit in the free market. Those loans will be made at low interest rates, with no equity for the government and no controls over how the money is spent.

It ought to make anyone nervous to have the government allocating capital, which in this environment could mean it is making the decision to let companies live or fail.

How will the Federal Reserve deal with that quandary? What interest rate will it charge if it is the only lender willing to put up cash to buy a company’s commercial paper? There are no answers available.

The Fed does say it will not buy more commercial paper from a company than the company had outstanding in August. And it will cut off a company if one of the rating agencies downgrades it.

Doesn’t it make you feel better to know that the Fed has subcontracted its investment decisions to Moody’s and its competitors?

Ideologically, this is not what either Republicans or Democrats would have proposed a few months ago. But desperate times produce desperate tactics.

“The central bankers all learned the lesson of the 1930s,” said Robert Barbera, the chief economist of ITG, a Wall Street firm. That lesson was that if the choice is between allowing the system to collapse and writing a lot of checks, you write the checks and forget about ideology.

Unfortunately, none of them learned the lesson of the 1920s, which is that when asset prices soar, it is not a good idea to sit around doing nothing, as the Fed did for most of the housing boom. Cheerleading, which it sometimes did, is even worse.

One aspect of this crisis is that the people in charge of the financial system — in the banks, at the Fed and other central banks and at the Treasury Department and other finance ministries — consistently underestimated the damage, both to the system and to the world economies. At first, many thought the damage would be limited to losses from a small group of mortgages. Banks raised a little capital, but not nearly enough.

As the problems spread, they kept offering reassuring words, which they might well have believed. Those words provided brief comfort for some, but destroyed a lot of credibility.

As recently as Sept. 18, after Lehman Brothers had gone broke and it was clear that consumers were cutting back, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee thought the economy could come through. “Participants agreed that economic growth was likely to be sluggish in the second half of 2008,” said the minutes of the meeting. “Several participants had marked down their near-term outlook for economic activity and some judged that downside risks had increased, but most continued to expect a gradual recovery in 2009.”

We should be so lucky as to get sluggish growth for the remainder of 2008. The gross domestic product seems likely to show significant declines, and those declines may continue into 2009.

The real problem, which many preferred to ignore because they had no ready answer, was that the financial system was breaking down. The excesses of lending and gambling had destroyed the new financial system — the one built on securities as an alternative to bank lending — and left the old commercial banks too weakened to step in.

Or, in the words of Paul A. Volcker, the former Fed chairman, “In the U.S., the market took over. The market has flopped.”

Now, added Mr. Volcker, “everybody is running back to Mother, the commercial banking system.”

Unfortunately, Mother is very ill. Even worse, her children do not trust one another, and that is why the system is frozen.

In 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt became president amid a panic, he declared a bank holiday that closed the banks while federal examiners went over their books. When the holiday was over, the government closed some banks and declared the rest were healthy.

In reality, there was no way the government could be sure of that. But the public accepted it, and the bank runs stopped.

This time, the government has offered too many assurances that turned out to be false. It will take cash to convince the public — and the other banks — that the survivors are safe.

Floyd Norris’s blog on finance and economics is at


7) NATO to Hit Drug Trade in Afghanistan
October 11, 2008

BUDAPEST, Hungary — NATO defense ministers agreed Friday to allow attacks on Afghanistan’s drug trade, after the United States reached a compromise with its other 25 allies in a major shift in strategy for the alliance.

The accord, accepted with some misgivings by several European countries, including Germany and Spain, means that troops will be able to attack facilities connected to opium production but that they must obtain authorization from their own national governments.

A spokesman for the head of the alliance, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said the ministers agreed that the NATO-led security force “can act in concert with the Afghans against facilities and facilitators supporting the insurgency, subject to the authorization of respective nations,” Agence France-Presse reported.

NATO officials stressed that only drug producers known to be supporting the insurgency would be singled out. The operation will not be open-ended and will end when the Afghan security forces are able to take on the task themselves.

The decision, which could include bombing laboratories that convert opium to heroin, was reached under considerable pressure from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and NATO’s Supreme commander, General John Craddock. Throughout the two-day meeting in Budapest, they had stressed that the drug trade was helping to finance the Taliban insurgency. Drug barons are estimated to provide $100 million a year to the Taliban, according to The Associated Press.

“Secretary Gates is extremely pleased that, after two days of thoughtful discussion, NATO has decided to allow ISAF forces to take on the drug traffickers who are fueling the insurgency, destabilizing Afghanistan and killing our troops,” said the Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell. NATO’s 37,000 troops are part of the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.

Germany and Spain agreed to the antidrug mission after an appeal for help from Afghanistan’s defense minister, The Associated Press said.

“We’ve asked NATO to please support us, support our effort in destroying the labs and also the interdiction of the drugs and the chemical precursors that are coming from outside the country for making heroin,” said the minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak.

Afghanistan produces about 90 percent of the heroin on world markets.

NATO’s troops, particularly those in the south of Afghanistan, have come under such sustained attack from the insurgents over the past few months that the British commander, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, warned it would be impossible to defeat the Taliban.

NATO defense ministers will review the success of the mission when they next meet February in Poland.




Zimbabwe: Inflation Rate Spirals Higher Still
World Briefing | Africa
Zimbabwe’s inflation rate, already one of the highest in world history, rose from an annual rate of 11 million percent in June to 231 million percent in July, according to official statistics reported by the state media. Rising prices for staple foods are driving the price increases, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford food. Talks on details of a power-sharing deal involving the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai that might halt the economic decline are deadlocked, Mr. Tsvangirai said.
October 10, 2008

Germany Seeks Wider Role for Army
BERLIN - The German government said Monday that it would seek to change the Constitution to give a larger domestic role to the army in the fight against terrorism, including powers to shoot down hijacked passenger planes as a last resort.
Two years ago, the nation’s top court threw out a law that permitted the shooting down of hijacked planes, and the issue has set off a heated debate within the governing coalition over the role of the military in defending Germany against terrorism.
The government is proposing a constitutional change that would allow the German Army to be deployed at home “if police measures do not suffice for protection against very serious disasters,” a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry said.
Asked whether such circumstances could also imply that the army would have to fend off an attack from the air, the spokeswoman said, “That’s what this is about.”
October 7, 2008

Louisiana: FEMA Not Immune From Trailer Suits
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
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




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 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:, 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.



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!

project of BARRIO UNIDO


Canada: American Deserter Must Leave
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
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, 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 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


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!


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.


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 (

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 •


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!

Call Now!

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.


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
address is:

Dr. Sami Al-Arian
Pamunkey Regional Jail
P.O. Box 485
Hanover, VA 23069

Email Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace:


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]

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
eucalyptus plantations.

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


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. 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]




"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

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




Port of Olympia Anti-Militarization Action Nov. 2007


"They have a new gimmick every year. They're going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: 'Look how much progress we're making. I'm in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I'm your spokesman, I'm your leader.' While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.

"But how many sitting here right now feel that they could [laughs] truly identify with a struggle that was designed to eliminate the basic causes that create the conditions that exist? Not very many. They can jive, but when it comes to identifying yourself with a struggle that is not endorsed by the power structure, that is not acceptable, that the ground rules are not laid down by the society in which you live, in which you are struggling against, you can't identify with that, you step back.

"It's easy to become a satellite today without even realizing it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of economic dollarism. You can cut out colonialism, imperialism and all other kind of ism, but it's hard for you to cut that dollarism. When they drop those dollars on you, you'll fold though."

—MALCOLM X, 1965


A little gem:
Michael Moore Faces Off With Stephen Colbert [VIDEO]


LAPD vs. Immigrants (Video)


Dr. Julia Hare at the SOBA 2007


"We are far from that stage today in our era of the absolute
lie; the complete and totalitarian lie, spread by the
monopolies of press and radio to imprison social
consciousness." December 1936, "In 'Socialist' Norway,"
by Leon Trotsky: “Leon Trotsky in Norway” was transcribed
for the Internet by Per I. Matheson [References from
original translation removed]


Wealth Inequality Charts


MALCOLM X: Oxford University Debate


"There comes a times when silence is betrayal."
--Martin Luther King


YouTube clip of Che before the UN in 1964


The Wealthiest Americans Ever
NYT Interactive chart
JULY 15, 2007


New Orleans After the Flood -- A Photo Gallery
This email was sent to you as a service, by Roland Sheppard.
Visit my website at:


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


Which country should we invade next?


My Favorite Mutiny, The Coup


Michael Moore- The Awful Truth


Morse v. Frederick Supreme Court arguments


Free Speech 4 Students Rally - Media Montage


'My son lived a worthwhile life'
In April 2003, 21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head
in Gaza by an Israeli soldier as he tried to save the lives of three
small children. Nine months later, he died, having never
recovered consciousness. Emine Saner talks to his mother
Jocelyn about her grief, her fight to make the Israeli army
accountable for his death and the book she has written
in his memory.
Monday March 26, 2007
The Guardian,,2042968,00.html


Introducing...................the Apple iRack


"A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind."
[A T-shirt worn by some teachers at Roosevelt High School
in L.A. as part of their campaign to rid the school of military
recruiters and JROTC--see Article in Full item number 4,]


"200 million children in the world sleep in the streets today.
Not one of them is Cuban."
(A sign in Havana)
View sign at bottom of page at:
[Thanks to Norma Harrison for sending]


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein


[The Scab
"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad,
and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with
which he made a scab."
"A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul,
a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten
principles." "When a scab comes down the street,
men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and
the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out."
"No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there
is a pool of water to drown his carcass in,
or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab.
For betraying his master, he had character enough
to hang himself." A scab has not.
"Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of
a commision in the british army."
The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife,
his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled
promise from his employer.
Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor
to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country;
a scab is a traitor to his God, his country,
his family and his class."
Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)...Roland Sheppard]



"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
( 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

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC