Saturday, November 07, 2009



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




PROTEST! When Obama Announces Afghanistan Escalation
The World Can't Wait
Stop the Crimes of Your Government
News from the San Francisco
Bay Area Chapter

Emergency Response Plan for the SF Bay Area:

World Can't Wait is joining with other anti-war forces including the local chapters of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, Code Pink and others [list in formation] to mobilize

On the SAME WEEKDAY** that Obama announces the escalation:

5:00 PM at Fifth & Market (Powell St. BART): San Francisco street protest including die-ins

In the East Bay, feeder rallies and a BART march:

3:30 PM Rally: Marines Recruiting Station, 64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley
4:00 PM Rally: downtown Berkeley BART station then march by BART to arrive 5:00 PM at Fifth & Market in SF

** NOTE: If the news breaks on a weekend, these protests will happen the following MONDAY

The day of the announcement, the World Can't Wait SF office [(415) 864-5153] will have a recorded message confirming the protest times and locations.

Send us info on other campus and community protests that we can also publicize.


President Obama will soon announce the plan to expand the occupation of Afghanistan. The immediate response - that same evening, across this country - must be STREET PROTESTS & DIE-INS that boldly oppose this outrage. More protest and resistance must follow, yet that first night is crucial, since that is when the media -- and the rest of the world -- will be looking for a response from the people.

According to some media analysts, Obama may make his announcement sometime between Nov. 7 and Nov. 11, although it could happen earlier, or perhaps later. World Can't Wait is calling on all organizations and people of conscience to get ready for this. Read Elaine Brower's passionate call for our strength in unity and our determination in our demand at:

Whether Obama chooses a huge troop increase, or the covert operations & unmanned drone option to try to "win" in Afghanistan, we should be in the streets opposing ANY escalation. The only acceptable announcement to come from the administration would be that they're withdrawing combat troops, support troops, CIA drones, covert operations, and all private contractors NOW.

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan eight years ago was an illegitimate war of aggression predicated on lies and waged as a war of terror by the Bush Regime. This invasion was and is a war crime. Just because the war now belongs to Obama doesn't make it any less a war crime. The war upon Afghanistan, like the war upon Iraq, is a war/occupation for U.S. Empire and nothing else.

People who argue that the Taliban will take control if the U.S. leaves and Afghan women will be in a far worse position should know that, since the invasion, the situation has deteriorated and gets uglier everyday for women there. The women and the people of Afghanistan have the right to self-determination. They should not be forced into choosing to live with a suffocating U.S. occupation or an Islamic fundamentalist theocracy. This is what U.S. military presence and involvement does - it forces the people there to make this horrible choice.

People of conscience in this country must take a bold and visible stand and say, "Stop the Escalation, Out of Afghanistan Now!" "The World Can't Wait/Stop the Crimes of Your Government!" Join us in resisting these U.S. wars/occupations and ongoing torture for Empire. An escalation of the war in Afghanistan, no matter how many U.S. troops are sent or frequency with which drones are used to bomb the people, is not the change that many in this country sought when they voted for Obama. This escalation perpetuates and intensifies the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan that has been a horrifying, living nightmare for the Afghan people.

(415) 864-5153
World Can't Wait SF
2940-16th St., Rm. 200-6
San Francisco CA 94103

Bay Area United Against War endorses this emergency action.


Emergency public protest meeting:

Kevin Cooper, Troy Davis and Mumia Abu-Jamal:


Laura Moye, Director, Amnesty International's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign; actively working for several years with Troy Davis and his family in Georgia

Hans Bennett, Founder, Journalists for Mumia Abu-Jamal; Editor, Free Mumia News; Author, The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal: Innocent Man on Death Row

Rebecca Doran, leading activist in Kevin Cooper's defense

Sunday, November 8, 2009 2:00 pm
Centro Del Pueblo, 474 Valencia Street (between 15th and 16th Streets) San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 - $20 sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Sponsor: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, 510-268-9429

[Also in Palo Alto Fri., Nov. 6, 7:30 pm,
Fellowship Hall, First Baptist Church, 305 N. California
Ave, 650-326-8837,]

labor donated



Special Note:
This mobilization replaces the one that The Peace And Justice Foundation and FUJA had initially planned for Nov 23rd.

The November 12 mobilization will include a press conference at the National Press Club, and a demonstration at the U.S. Department of Justice. This will be a joint mobilization effort involving The Peace And Justice Foundation, Families United for Justice in America (FUJA), and some deeply committed grassroots folk connected to International Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Volunteers are needed in the DC Metro area. To volunteer call (301) 762-9162 or e-mail:


for immediate release:
Contact: Hendrik Voss

Mass Mobilization to Shut Down the School of the Americas
November 20-22, 2009, Fort Benning, Georgia:

* The SOA graduate-led military coup in Honduras and the increasing U.S. military involvement in Colombia put a renewed focus on the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) and the policies it represents.

* Thousands from across the Americas will converge on November 20-22 at Fort Benning, GA for a vigil and civil disobedience actions to speak out against the SOA/ WHINSEC and to demand a change in U.S. foreign policy.

* The vigil will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1989 SOA graduate-led Jesuit massacre in San Salvador, and the many other thousands of victims of SOA/ WHINSEC violence.

The military coup led by SOA graduates in Honduras has once again exposed the destabilizing and deadly effects that the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) has on Latin America. Torture survivors and human rights activists from across the Americas, including Bertha Oliva, the founder of the Committee of the Family Members of the Disappeared (COFADEH) from Honduras and human rights defenders from Colombia will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia to participate in the mobilization.

The campaign to close the SOA/ WHINSEC is in a crucial phase right now. Despite promising comments from President Obama during his 2008 election campaign, the SOA/ WHINSEC is still in operation, the U.S. is poring millions into failing "military solutions" to combat the drug problems in Mexico and the Pentagon is moving forward with plans to use seven Colombian military bases in Colombia for offensive U.S. military operations.

"It is up to us to hold those responsible accountable and to push for to closing of the School of the Americas and a change in US foreign policy" said Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch. "Too many have died and continue to suffer at the hands of graduates of this notorious institute."

In the fall of 2009, opponents of the SOA/ WHINSEC achieved a victory when a joint House and Senate conference committee agreed to include language in the FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill that requires the Pentagon to release names of the graduates of the SOA/ WHINSEC to the public. The Pentagon had classified the names after the continued involvement of SOA/ WHINSEC attendees in human rights abuses became public.

For more information about the November vigil to close the SOA/ WHINSEC, lead-up actions and a complete schedule of events, visit


Four years ago activists around the world were mobilizing and organizing against the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams. We need to continue that fight today.

Fourth Annual Stanley Tookie Silliams Legacy Summit

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13TH, 3:00-6:00 P.M.
Huey P. Newton/Bobby Seale Student Lounge
12500 Campus Drive, Oakland
For directions go to
For more information: 510-235-9780



Angela Davis, author and activist.
Barbara Becnel, co-author and friend of Stanley Tookie Williams
Martina Correia, sister of Troy Davis
Release of report, "What's Really Happening on California's Death Row?"
Messages from "The Three Innocent Men"
Sneak Preview, "The Justice Chronicles," dramatic presentation of prison writings
Memorial Movie, for Oscar Grant III

Stanley Tookie Williams Legacy Network; Campaign to End the Death Penalty; Kevin Cooper Defense Committee, African American Studies Department, Merritt College



San Francisco March and Rally
on Saturday, March 20, 2010
11am, Civic Center Plaza

National March on Washington
on Saturday, March 20, 2010
Fri., March 19 Day of Action & Outreach in D.C.

People from all over the country are organizing to converge on Washington, D.C., to demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Saturday, March 20, 2010, there will be a massive National March & Rally in D.C. A day of action and outreach in Washington, D.C., will take place on Friday, March 19, preceding the Saturday march.

There will be coinciding mass marches on March 20 in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The national actions are initiated by a large number of organizations and prominent individuals. (see below)

Click here to become an endorser:

Click here to make a donation:

We will march together to say "No Colonial-type Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine!" We will march together to say "No War Against Iran!" We will march together to say "No War for Empire Anywhere!"

Instead of war, we will demand funds so that every person can have a job, free and universal health care, decent schools, and affordable housing.

March 20 is the seventh anniversary of the criminal war of aggression launched by Bush and Cheney against Iraq. One million or more Iraqis have died. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have lost their lives or been maimed, and continue to suffer a whole host of enduring problems from this terrible war.

This is the time for united action. The slogans on banners may differ, but all those who carry them should be marching shoulder to shoulder.

Killing and dying to avoid the perception of defeat

Bush is gone, but the war and occupation in Iraq still go on. The Pentagon is demanding a widening of the war in Afghanistan. They project an endless war with shifting battlefields. And a "single-payer" war budget that only grows larger and larger each year. We must act.

Both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were predicated on the imperial fantasy that the U.S. could create stable, proxy colonial-type governments in both countries. They were to serve as an extension of "American" power in these strategic and resource-rich regions.

That fantasy has been destroyed. Now U.S. troops are being sent to kill or be killed so that the politicians in uniform ("the generals and admirals") and those in three-piece suits ("our elected officials") can avoid taking responsibility for a military setback in wars that should have never been started. Their military ambitions are now reduced to avoiding the appearance of defeat.

That is exactly what happened in Vietnam! Avoiding defeat, or the perception of defeat, was the goal Nixon and Kissinger set for themselves when they took office in 1969. For this noble cause, another 30,000 young GIs perished before the inevitable troop pullout from Vietnam in 1973. The number of Vietnamese killed between 1969 and 1973 was greater by many hundreds of thousands.

All of us can make the difference - progress and change comes from the streets and from the grassroots.

The people went to the polls in 2008, and the enthusiasm and desire for change after eight years of the Bush regime was the dominant cause that led to election of a big Democratic Party majority in both Houses of Congress and the election of Barack Obama to the White House.

But it should now be obvious to all that waiting for politicians to bring real change - on any front - is simply a prescription for passivity by progressives and an invitation to the array of corporate interests from military contractors to the banks, to big oil, to the health insurance giants that dominate the political life of the country. These corporate interests work around the clock to frustrate efforts for real change, and they are the guiding hand behind the recent street mobilizations of the ultra-right.

It is up to us to act. If people had waited for politicians to do the right thing, there would have never been a Civil Rights Act, or unions, women's rights, an end to the Vietnam war or any of the profound social achievements and basic rights that people cherish.

It is time to be back in the streets. Organizing centers are being set up in cities and towns throughout the country.

We must raise $50,000 immediately just to get started. Please make your contribution today. We need to reserve buses, which are expensive ($1,800 from NYC, $5,000 from Chicago, etc.). We have to print 100,000 leaflets, posters and stickers. There will be other substantial expenses as March 20 draws closer.

Please become an endorser and active supporter of the March 20 National March on Washington.

Please make an urgently needed tax-deductible donation today. We can't do this without your active support.

The initiators of the March 20 National March on Washington (preceded by the March 19 Day of Action and Outreach in D.C.) include: the ANSWER Coalition; Muslim American Society Freedom; National Council of Arab Americans; Cynthia McKinney; Malik Rahim, co-founder of Common Ground Collective; Ramsey Clark; Cindy Sheehan; Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK; Deborah Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait; Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace; Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild; Ron Kovic, author of "Born on the 4th of July"; Juan Jose Gutierrez, Director, Latino Movement USA; Col. Ann Wright (ret.); March Forward!; Partnership for Civil Justice; Palestinian American Women Association; Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines; Alliance for Global Justice; Claudia de la Cruz, Pastor, Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas-UCC; Phil Portluck, Social Justice Ministry, Covenant Baptist Church, D.C.; Blase & Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas; Coalition for Peace and Democracy in Honduras; Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico; Frente Unido de los Pueblos Americanos; Comites de Base FMLN, Los Angeles; Free Palestine Alliance; GABRIELA Network; Justice for Filipino American Veterans; KmB Pro-People Youth; Students Fight Back; Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild - LA Chapter; LEF Foundation; National Coalition to Free the Angola 3; Community Futures Collective; Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival; Companeros del Barrio; Barrio Unido for Full and Unconditional Amnesty, Bay Area United Against War.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311




Oakland's Judge Jacobson ruled at 4:00PM Friday, October 16 to move the trial of Johannes Mehserle, killer of unarmed Oscar Grant, OUT OF OAKLAND. The location of the trial venue has not been announced.

In the case of an innocent verdict, folks are encouraged to head to Oakland City Hall ASAP to express our outrage in a massive and peaceful way! Our power is in our numbers! Oscar Grant's family and friends need our support!

For more information:
Contact BAMN at 510-502-9072


Tell City Hall:
All Renters Deserve Protection from Eviction!

Supervisor Avalos has proposed legislation that would extend "just cause" eviction protections to rentals build after 1979.

Without this protection, 16,000-23,000 renters can be arbitrarily evicted, suddenly and for no reason at all.

The Land Use Committee will be voting on Monday. Please call or email the following board members and the Mayor to urge them to support the "Avalos Just Cause Bill". A Sample email is below.


Mayor Gavin Newsom
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160

Sup. Sophie Maxwell
(415) 554-7670 - voice
(415) 554-7674 - fax

Sup. Bevan Dufty
(415) 554-6968- voice
(415) 554-6909 - fax

Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier
(415) 554-7752 - voice
(415) 554-7843 - fax

Sup. Carmen Chu
San Francisco, CA 94102-4689
(415) 554-7460 - voice
(415) 554-7432 - fax

Sup. Sean Elsbernd
(415) 554-6516 - voice
(415) 554-6546 - fax

Sample Letter/ Email

Dear Supervisor,

I am a renter in San Francisco and I am very concerned to learn that many renters here are not protected from evictions because their home was build after 1979.
There is no reason why a random group of renters could suddenly lose their housing at the drop of a hat.

Rents are still so high in this city. Getting evicted means quickly finding housing that you can afford, which is nearly impossible in this market.

Please support Supervisor Avalos's "Just Cause" ordinance. It is only fair.



Cleve Jones Speaks At Gay Rights Rally In Washington, DC

Free the SF8: Drop the Charges!
by Bill Carpenter ( wcarpent [at] )
Monday Oct 12th, 2009 11:20 AM

Sony Piece of crap (Hilarious!)

Sick For Profit

Fault Lines: Despair & Revival in Detroit - 14 May 09 - Part 1

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Dan Berger on Political Prisoners in the United States
By Angola 3 News
Angola 3 News
37 years ago in Louisiana, 3 young black men were silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000-acre former slave plantation called Angola. In 1972 and 1973 prison officials charged Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King with murders they did not commit and threw them into 6x9 ft. cells in solitary confinement, for over 36 years. Robert was freed in 2001, but Herman and Albert remain behind bars.

Taking Aim Radio Program with
Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone
The Chimera of Capitalist Recovery, Parts 1 and 2



The San Francisco Board of Education has re-installed the Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps in San Francisco schools -- including allowing it to count for Physical Education credits.

This is a complete reversal of the 2006 decision to end JROTC altogether in San Francisco public schools. Our children need a good physical education program, not a death education program!

With the economy in crisis; jobs and higher education for youth more unattainable; the lure, lies and false promises of military recruiters is driving more and more of our children into the military trap.

This is an economic draft and the San Francisco Board of Education is helping to snare our children to provide cannon fodder for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and for over 700 U.S. military bases around the world!

We can't depend upon "friendly politicians" who, while they are campaigning for office claim they are against the wars but when they get elected vote in favor of military recruitment--the economic draft--in our schools. We can't depend upon them. That has been proven beyond doubt!

It is up to all of us to come together to stop this NOW!


Write, call, pester and ORGANIZE against the re-institution of JROTC in our San Francisco public schools NOW!

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein
Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

San Francisco Board of Education
555 Franklin Street, 1st Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
415/241-6427, (415) 241-6493



For a donation of only $18.95, we can put a copy of the book "10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military" into a public or high school library of your choice. [Reason number 1: You may be killed]

A letter and bookplate will let readers know that your donation helped make this possible.

Putting a book in either a public or school library ensures that students, parents, and members of the community will have this valuable information when they need it.

Don't have a library you would like us to put it in? We'll find one for you!


Showdown In Chicago
The Showdown in Chicago is underway! Thousands of Americans are in the midst of a series of demonstrations against Wall Street banks and their lobbyists to call for financial reform. Check out the latest news:


EYE WITNESS REPORTS FROM GAZA Video Free Gaza News October 22,2009


ANSWER Statement on Proposed SF Parking Meter Hours

The ANSWER Coalition-SF Bay Area strongly opposes the proposal to extend parking meter hours in San Francisco. The SFMTA, the Metropolitan Transit Agency, is proposing to have parking meters in most of SF run until midnight Monday-Saturday, and from 11 am-6 pm on Sundays!

This is another attempt by the politicians to solve the city's budget crisis by squeezing every last dollar they can out of working people. They have outrageously jacked up MUNI fares, other city fees and parking fines. At the same time they have let the big banks, developers and other wealthy corporate interests-the ones who have created the current economic and budget crisis-off the hook.

The DPT (Department of Parking and Traffic) has already begun a policy of "enhanced enforcement," super-aggressively ticketing vehicles from 9:01 am to 5:59 pm, Monday-Saturday. Every day in every working class neighborhood of SF you can see the booted cars and trucks. On top of the $53, $63 and higher parking tickets, it costs over $200 just to get a boot removed! If your car gets towed, you have to pay $400 or more to get it back. This is causing many low-income people to lose their vehicles.

City officials are trying to mislead people by falsely claiming that the reason for extending meter hours is to collect more quarters and "open up more parking spaces." What they really want is to hit us with thousands more high-priced tickets, and then collect the ransom for booted and towed cars.

This is a class issue. The rich and the well-to-do don't have to worry about where to park in this small and crowded city. They have garages or can afford to pay for parking. It is overwhelmingly working class people who are being hit and who will be hit much, much harder if the new policy goes into effect. Many residents in neighborhoods with meters have no choice but to park at meters after 6 pm and move their vehicles before 9 am the next morning. There just aren't enough spaces otherwise.

As Cristina Gutierrez of Barrio Unido, an immigrant rights group opposed to the plan, asked: "What are we supposed to do, run out of our homes every hour at night to feed the meter?"

But the MTA board and some misguided individuals are trying to pose the issue as MUNI riders vs. car drivers. Some have even ignorantly asserted that if you own a car, you can't possibly be poor. Really? Tell that to the growing number of people forced to LIVE in their cars due to the depression!

The reality is that many people in SF both ride MUNI and own cars (some ride bikes, too). For a lot of people getting to work, shopping, medical appointments, etc. requires a car. That's especially true for families and for people whose jobs are outside SF or not easily accessible by mass transit. Posing the issue as bus riders vs. car riders is false and reactionary.

Does MUNI need more funding? Of course. Should MUNI fares be cut and service increased? No question about it. The issue is: Who should pay?

While taxes, fees, fines, fares, etc., etc, have been constantly increased for us, the taxes on corporate profits have been going down. Many big banks and corporations have been able to avoid paying income tax altogether. While we're told that there's no money for people's needs, $500,000,000 is spent every day on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trillions of dollars have been handed over to the biggest banks in just the last year.

It's time to say: Enough is Enough! It's time for the politicians to stop trying to make working people pay for the economic crisis that the rich created. It's time to make those who can afford it-big business-pay for the services that the people of the city, state and country need.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545


This is a must-see video about the life of Oscar Grant, a young man who loved his family and was loved by his family. It's important to watch to understand the tremendous loss felt by his whole family as a result of his cold-blooded murder by BART police officers--Johannes Mehserle being the shooter while the others held Oscar down and handcuffed him to aid Mehserle in the murder of Oscar Grant January 1, 2009.

The family wants to share this video here with you who support justice for Oscar Grant.



Urgent: Ahmad Sa'adat transferred to isolation in Ramon prison!

Imprisoned Palestinian national leader Ahmad Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was transferred on August 11, 2009 to Ramon prison in the Naqab desert from Asqelan prison, where he had been held for a number of months. He remains in isolation; prior to his transfer from Asqelan, he had been held since August 1 in a tiny isolation cell of 140 cm x 240 cm after being penalized for communicating with another prisoner in the isolation unit.

Attorney Buthaina Duqmaq, president of the Mandela Association for prisoners' and detainees' rights, reported that this transfer is yet another continuation of the policy of repression and isolation directed at Sa'adat by the Israeli prison administration, aimed at undermining his steadfastness and weakening his health and his leadership in the prisoners' movement. Sa'adat has been moved repeatedly from prison to prison and subject to fines, harsh conditions, isolation and solitary confinement, and medical neglect. Further reports have indicated that he is being denied attorney visits upon his transfer to Ramon.

Ahmad Sa'adat undertook a nine-day hunger strike in June in order to protest the increasing use of isolation against Palestinian prisoners and the denial of prisoners' rights, won through long and hard struggle. The isolation unit at Ramon prison is reported to be one of the worst isolation units in terms of conditions and repeated violations of prisoners' rights in the Israeli prison system.

Sa'adat is serving a 30 year sentence in Israeli military prisons. He was sentenced on December 25, 2008 after a long and illegitimate military trial on political charges, which he boycotted. He was kidnapped by force in a military siege on the Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho, where he had been held since 2002 under U.S., British and PA guard.

Sa'adat is suffering from back injuries that require medical assistance and treatment. Instead of receiving the medical care he needs, the Israeli prison officials are refusing him access to specialists and engaging in medical neglect and maltreatment.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat demands an end to this isolation and calls upon all to protest at local Israeli embassies and consulates (the list is available at: About+the+Ministry/Diplomatic+mission/Web+Sites+of+Israeli+ Missions+Abroad.htm) and to write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations to exercise their responsibilities and act swiftly to demand that the Israelis ensure that Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners receive needed medical care and that this punitive isolation be ended. Email the ICRC, whose humanitarian mission includes monitoring the conditions of prisoners, at, and inform them about the urgent situation of Ahmad Sa'adat!

Ahmad Sa'adat has been repeatedly moved in an attempt to punish him for his steadfastness and leadership and to undermine his leadership in the prisoners' movement. Of course, these tactics have done nothing of the sort. The Palestinian prisoners are daily on the front lines, confronting Israeli oppression and crimes. Today, it is urgent that we stand with Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners against these abuses, and for freedom for all Palestinian prisoners and for all of Palestine!

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat


Troy Anthony Davis is an African American man who has spent the last 18 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. There is no physical evidence tying him to the crime and seven out of nine witnesses have recanted. New evidence and new testimony have been presented to the Georgia courts, but the justice system refuses to consider this evidence, which would prove Troy Davis' innocence once and for all.

Sign the petition and join the NAACP, Amnesty International USA, and other partners in demanding justice for Troy Davis!

For Now, High Court Punts on Troy Davis, on Death Row for 18 Years
By Ashby Jones
Wall Street Journal Law Blog
June 30, 2009

Take action now:


Committee To Save Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 2012
New York, NY 10159-2012

New videos from April 24 Oakland Mumia event

Donations for Mumia's Legal Defense in the U.S. Our legal effort is the front line of the battle for Mumia's freedom and life. His legal defense needs help. The costs are substantial for our litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court and at the state level. To help, please make your checks payable to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation (indicate "Mumia" on the bottom left). All donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Code, section 501(c)(3), and should be mailed to:

It is outrageous and a violation of human rights that Mumia remains in prison and on death row. His life hangs in the balance. My career has been marked by successfully representing people facing death in murder cases. I will not rest until we win Mumia's case. Justice requires no less.

With best wishes,

Robert R. Bryan
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal


Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!


FLASHPOINTS Interview with Innocent San Quentin Death Row Inmate
Kevin Cooper -- Aired Monday, May 18,2009
To learn more about Kevin Cooper go to:
San Francisco Chronicle article on the recent ruling:
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and dissent:


Support the troops who refuse to fight!




1) Labor, the Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party
By Carole Seligman and Bonnie Weinstein
November 2, 2009
(Posted by authors)

2) U.S. Jobless Rate Shocking: 15.7 Million Workers Unemployed
By Tula Connell
November 6, 2009

3) U.S. Unemployment Rate Hits 10.2%, Highest in 26 Years
November 7, 2009

4) Broader Measure of U.S. Unemployment Stands at 17.5%
November 7, 2009

5) Prospect of More U.S. Troops Worries Afghan Public
November 7, 2009

6) British Bankers Defend Their Pay and Bonuses
"A recent pledge by Goldman Sachs to donate $200 million to its charitable foundation did little to defuse public anger about its plan to pay $16.7 billion in compensation this year."
November 7, 2009

7) Marooned on Sea of Iraqi Oil, but Unable to Tap Its Wealth
"The area around Basra, Iraq's second largest city and main port, accounts for as much as 80 percent of the country's oil production. It has emerged as Iraq's best hope for stability and prosperity as it prepares to sell off its top undeveloped oil fields to foreign companies at an auction next month."
November 8, 2009

8) Adversities Await Iraqis Who Return Home
November 7, 2009

9) Windfall Is Seen as Bank Bonuses Are Paid in Stock
November 8, 2009


1) Labor, the Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party
By Carole Seligman and Bonnie Weinstein
November 2, 2009
(Posted by authors)

On October 17th antiwar demonstrations were held across the country
marking the 9th year of Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. war on
Afghanistan, which began October 7, 2001. The actions also marked the
40th anniversary of the 1969 Vietnam Moratorium, a huge national
mobilization against the Vietnam War, which took place throughout the
country. The 2009 demonstrations, modest in size, opposed the U.S.
wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the acts of war against
Pakistan, the U.S. supported Israeli war against the Palestinians,
and the U.S. war threats against Iran and North Korea. One thousand
marched in Boston and San Francisco. Smaller demonstrations were held
in many other cities and towns, including Detroit; Milwaukee; New
Orleans; Newport, Kentucky; Norwich, Connecticut; Honolulu-more than
48 cites across the country.

The demonstrations were initiated by the National Assembly to End the
Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, a national network of
peace activists attempting to forge unity in the antiwar movement.
They were endorsed by a wide array of peace organizations, including
many unions, labor councils, religious and peace groups, community
organizations, veterans groups, and others.

In San Francisco, the October 17th Coalition was formed to plan a
march and rally here. Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER),
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), Iraq Moratorium, Code Pink, The
World Can't Wait, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice,
U.S. Labor Against the War, all the socialist organizations
(including this magazine) and many other groups joined the coalition
and helped publicize the demonstration. The October 17th
demonstration was eventually endorsed by the San Francisco Labor

In addition to the antiwar demands of the coalition for U.S. Out Now
and an end for U.S. support to the Israeli war and occupation against
the Palestinians; the demonstrations also demanded government funding
for jobs, pensions, education, healthcare and housing, not wars and
corporate bailouts; self-determination for all oppressed nations and
peoples; an end to war crimes including torture; and prosecution of
the war criminals.

S.F. Coalition reneges on anti-Pelosi protest

The first meeting of the S.F. October 17th Coalition, held in August,
set a good principled tone by beginning to organize the October
demonstration, as well as make a decision to protest Speaker of the
House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's appearance at a San Francisco
Labor Day event on September 4th. The motion to protest Pelosi for
her role in funding the wars, passed unanimously.

However, the day after the second Coalition meeting, the group's co-
coordinator, Jeff Mackler, sent out an announcement to the members of
the coalition unilaterally canceling the protest!

The reasons stated for this unusual action were that the Pelosi
breakfast was sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council, "an
organization that has consistently endorsed and supported the antiwar
movement." And, he stated that he hadn't known at the meeting where
the vote took place "that the event was to be a protest of the San
Francisco Labor Council." He stated in the letter that although
Pelosi "continued [to] support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and
the bailout for the banks," this labor breakfast was not an
"appropriate" event at which to protest Pelosi!

In this shameful letter, Mackler wrote, "Further, I request that all
leaflets that were produced to advertise this event (approximately
200) be immediately destroyed." And, "I will not be present at this
protest. Neither will any of the leading organizations of the October
17 Antiwar Coalition."

Mackler claimed that his decision was supported by all the "leaders"
of the coalition, but that is hard to determine without a democratic
debate. While this cancellation did indeed garner the support of many
of the coalition groups, the authors of this article, both activists
in the Coalition and in the Bay Area antiwar movement, strongly
opposed this reversal. So did the original maker of the motion, Steve
Zeltzer, as well as the Code Pink organization. At the meeting held
November 1st to evaluate the October 17th action, others opposed the
cancellation too.

The Labor Council itself was never the "object of protest" as
Mackler's letter said. It was clear from the beginning of the
Coalition that the object of the protest was Nancy Pelosi because she
is a leader in the government and the majority political party
leading the country and carrying out the wars, the Democrats. What's
wrong about protesting Pelosi, when she was being honored by the San
Francisco Labor Council-or, for that matter-any organization that
would want to honor a warmonger? The other obvious question is, what
if they were honoring Republican George W. Bush, as some labor unions
have done? Would it be inappropriate to demonstrate in that case?

Shortly after the notice of cancellation of the Coalition's support
for the September 4th Pelosi protest, Tim Paulson, the Executive
Director of the San Francisco Labor Council, issued a statement to
its members which said, "We are also honored to be visited by Speaker
of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has been fighting tirelessly for real
healthcare reform and is taking time out of her busy schedule to
break bread with her friends in the labor movement before she heads
back to Washington, D.C." [In fact, she has abandoned single-payer
healthcare in favor of a very weak "public option" that amounts to
nothing more than a guaranteed income for private insurance companies
while abandoning dental, vision and hearing coverage for adults; and
all health coverage for undocumented workers and their children.]
This letter went on to assure its readers that "many progressive
antiwar activists are emailing and calling the Labor Council to
distance themselves" from the protest of Pelosi.

He wrote, "This missive is just to let our friends know that you
might be met outside the hotel by some protesters, but that almost
unilaterally the labor and antiwar movements condemn these efforts."
It also contained a strong condemnation of Steve Zeltzer, the labor
activist who brought the original motion to the Oct. 17th Coalition.

It is important to note that Tim Paulson serves on the Executive
Board of the California Democratic Party. The California Democrats
play an active role trying to co-opt the antiwar movement into the
Democratic Party fold, acting mainly through the labor bureaucrats
running most of the unions.

The demonstration took place anyway. A small but respectable-sized
group (for 7:30 A.M. on a Friday morning), including representatives
from Code Pink, picketed the Pelosi Labor Council breakfast. A flyer
was distributed which said:

"Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, is a leading policy maker in
the administration of Barack Obama and a point person for the
imperialist, profoundly anti-democratic and exploitative policies of
the Democratic Party-a principal instrument of rapacious class rule
in the United States.

"She represents the following: Escalating the war of brutal
aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond; sustaining the
murder of Iraq indefinitely;

"Expanding the use of torture, rendition and the implementation in
the United States of the architecture of the fascist state.

"She is a major figure in the handing over to the banksters, to date,
the sum of $23.7 trillion, as documented by Neil Barofsky in his
testimony before Congress.

"Nancy Pelosi, like the Party and administration she represents, is
an enemy of working people-of their economic survival, their right to
organize and their political independence.

"It is matter of principle to protest her public appearances. A
picket protesting the anti-working class and anti-democratic policies
that she represents is not an attack upon labor, let alone upon the
San Francisco Labor Council as an organization.

"The leadership that would foist upon the Labor Council and upon
working people the policies of the Democratic Party is a
misleadership that disarms labor and renders working people unable to
fight in their own name and in their class interests. Every defender
of the rights of working people will reject this hysteria and
recognize that it seeks to cover a bending of the knee to a labor
misleadership that undermines the future of working people in the
United States."

A letter was sent to Tim Paulson from Steve Zeltzer and signed by
several individuals-including the authors of this article, stating in

"All defenders of workers' rights understand that protests against
those in government who vote for war funding are principled actions
that deserve the support of the entire antiwar and labor movements.
Your argument that it is unethical and politically 'divisive' to
protest the reactionary policies of the Speaker of the House because
she has been invited to a breakfast sponsored by the San Francisco
Labor Council is wrong. What is divisive is for the leadership of the
Council to impose a politician with a reprehensible anti-labor record
on a Labor Day event."

The letter called Paulson's actions "a smear meant to intimidate any
who oppose the policies of Pelosi, including the expansion of the
wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq."

It also reported that "One of the leaders of the San Francisco
Labor Council actually elbowed Brother Zeltzer in front of the St.
Francis Hotel and knocked flyers out of his hands as he and others
were passing them out. Zeltzer's letter to Paulson continues:

"Are these tactics that you condone, or is it your condemnation of
dissent that encourages physical attacks of those on a picket line?

"The San Francisco labor movement has a long tradition of upholding
the right of dissent, including the right to disagree with decisions
of the leadership of the San Francisco Labor Council.

"Your letter is a breach of this tradition. It constitutes a
warning to all San Francisco Labor Council delegates and to rank and
file members of the labor movement that dissent is "disloyal" and not
allowed under your regime."

The letter called on Paulson to apologize to Zeltzer and to the San
Francisco labor movement for such undemocratic and personal attacks.

Labor and the Democratic Party

At the root of this dispute is the Labor leadership's partnership
with the Democratic Party. It is the only way to explain the huge
contradiction between the San Francisco Labor Council's passing of
numerous antiwar resolutions and its breakfast honoring a major war
supporter such as Pelosi.

What message is the invitation honoring Pelosi sending to workers? At
the most basic level, it says that when push comes to shove, the
labor "leaders" will ally with the Democratic Party, in spite of the
ongoing assault it is carrying out against working people-including
the escalation of the wars responsible for rising death tolls on both
sides of the battlefields-wars that are eating up staggering amounts
of funds and resources.

From the peasants growing poppies in the fields of Afghanistan to
the economic draft of U.S. youth, it's the poor and working class who
are dying while the wealthy are profiting!

San Francisco workers are under a tremendous assault to their living
standards, as are all working people today. The Democratic Party, in
alliance with the Republicans, is leading the assault! The Democratic
Party is bailing out the banks; the Democratic Party is adding to the
Pentagon budget and to the military industrial complex. The
Democratic Party is privatizing our schools and turning public
education into military recruitment grounds or detention camps-
pushing students towards either the military or prison. Both the
Democrats and the Republicans work for the very same people and take
money from the very same people who are making trillions on Wall
Street off the backs of working people.

Any party that works for the commanders of capital and supports their
economic system of exploitation of working people is anti-labor and
should be opposed by working people.

Labor Councils and all labor organizations, in cooperation with
unorganized workers and the unemployed, should be organizing a
political party based upon satisfying the needs and human rights of
working people; a party that will put human needs before profits; a
party that will demand an immediate end to the wars; that will fight
for jobs, housing, and healthcare for all; for funding quality
education and rebuilding the country's infrastructure; and repairing
the destruction to the environment caused by the quest for profits
above all else. This party will demand, "Bail out working people, not
the corporations and banks. Tax the rich and corporate profits, not
the poor."

The antiwar movement has the obligation to protest the warmakers. Not
to do so is to give President Obama and the Democrats a long
honeymoon in which his imperial policies-a continuation of the basic
policies of the Bush administration-go unrefuted. It is futile to
expect those who profit from the U.S. war industry that supplies the
U.S. military-larger than all the militaries of the rest of the world
combined-or their paid government lackeys, to regulate themselves or
bring an end to the wars that fill their coffers.

A second opportunity to confront the warmakers was presented to the
October 17th Coalition right before the Saturday demonstration.
President Obama came to San Francisco to attend an October 15th
fundraiser dinner for the Democratic National Committee and
Organizing for America (the successor organization to Obama for
America). At the meeting of the October 17th Coalition held on
October 11th, another unanimous vote was held to protest Obama's
warmaking. When Jeff Mackler sent out the minutes of the meeting, he
neglected to include the vote and information about the Obama
protest. Coming as this did on the heels of the cancellation of the
Pelosi protest, we cannot help but conclude that Mackler, and other
leaders of the Oct. 17th Coalition did not want to confront the
Democratic Party allies of the labor bureaucrats and those in the
antiwar movement who look to the labor bureaucrats as their most
valuable allies.

Needless to say, there was no Labor Council participation in an
otherwise impressive demonstration of President Obama on October
15th. Most of the protestors were demanding a single-payer, Medicare-
for-all, national health program. Code Pink, ANSWER, and others came
out to protest the war. The October 17th Coalition was not visibly

It will take a massive, working-class based antiwar movement,
independent of the war parties to bring an end to the wars and to
bring justice to the working class. Workers must take the struggles
for their interests into their own hands. In the meantime the antiwar
movement must not to allow itself to be co-opted by the Democratic
Party. That is the danger represented by the actions of the leaders
of the October 17th Coalition in San Francisco.

On the democratic process

Finally, the movements based upon the defense of working people must
be democratically run.

The regular practice of democracy in all workers' organizations-
including the antiwar movement-will help to prepare workers to run
their own struggles and organizations. Eventually, they will run the

What happened in the San Francisco October 17 Coalition regarding
these two protests should be discussed in an open and democratic
manner. These same issues will confront the movement in the months
ahead and in preparations for the Spring demonstrations on the
anniversary of the Iraq war. The independence of the antiwar movement
must be jealously guarded and defended in a time when the United
States imperial machine, supported and administered by a bi-partisan
alliance of the ruling class political parties, carries out multiple,
simultaneous wars of aggression. This is a challenge we must not be
afraid to meet.


2) U.S. Jobless Rate Shocking: 15.7 Million Workers Unemployed
By Tula Connell
November 6, 2009

Stunningly bad news on the nation's jobless rate today: Unemployment worsened in October to 10.2 percent, a huge jump from 9.8 percent in September. That's 15.7 million jobless workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Worse, the unemployment and underemployment rate is a shocking 17.5 percent-more than 27 million American workers without full-time jobs.

The construction, manufacturing and retail industries had the biggest losses, with 62,000 construction jobs lost in October, 61,000 in manufacturing and 40,000 in retail. Health care and temporary employment were the only bright spots, with health care jobs increasing by 29,000 and temp jobs by 44,000.

The nation's jobs situation would be even more dire without the Obama administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Nearly 1 million jobs have been saved or created because of the economic stimulus plan, and the White House says the nation is on track to meet the president's goal of 3.5 million by the end of next year.

But as today's numbers show, the overall jobs situation isn't improving any time soon, according to Economic Policy Institute Director Larry Mishel, who predicts that one-third of the U.S. workforce will be unemployed or underemployed in 2010.

Long-term unemployment is the worst in 24 years, and there now are more than six workers for every available job. The U.S. Senate finally passed an extension of unemployment insurance, and President Obama is expected to sign the bill today. But far more needs to be done.

In short, the nation needs jobs.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman says although "the apocalypse has been postponed" because of the Obama administration's economic recovery package passed by Congress earlier this year, it's essential to follow up with further fiscal action-that is, spending money now to create long-term benefits, like jobs-to prevent prolonged suffering.

Economist Julianne Malveaux puts the case succinctly:

Absent public job creation, it is likely that the economy will not fully recover.

Help certainly isn't coming from Wall Street or Big Business.

Now that they have pocketed their bailout cash, Wall Streeters are impervious to the nation's ongoing jobs disaster. In fact, an annual report by Johnson Associates on financial industry payouts projected they will be up 40 percent from 2008, when they plunged in the midst of the financial crisis.

In 2008, Wall Street handed out nearly $20 billion in cash awards and billions more in stock and other incentives to employees based in New York.

Wall Street is celebrating a "recovery" based on a 3.5 percent increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of this year. But America's workers know there can be no recovery unless everyone who wants to work can find a good job.

This alarming jobs report "should be a wake-up call to sleepy politicians," says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

Every day, it becomes more urgent that the federal government step up to the plate with bold actions to boost job creation. Such action should include urgently needed fiscal relief to state and local governments, community jobs programs, additional investments in infrastructure and green jobs and credit relief to small and medium-sized businesses. Failing to act puts us at very real risk of a lost generation-of hard-working Americans who can't put food on the table and bright young people who never realize their potential.

The AFL-CIO and our allies are unveiling an effort this month to push for immediate job creation, among other critically needed economic aid for working families. The nation needs to act fast to stop the hemorrhage of jobs and the economic crisis among working families.


3) U.S. Unemployment Rate Hits 10.2%, Highest in 26 Years
November 7, 2009

The American unemployment rate surged to 10.2 percent in October, its highest level in 26 years, as the economy lost another 190,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The jump into the realm of double-digit joblessness - from 9.8 percent in September - provided a sobering reminder that, despite the apparent end of the Great Recession, economic expansion has yet to translate into jobs, leaving tens of millions of people still struggling.

"The guy on the street is going to ask, 'What recovery?' " said Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist at the PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. "The job market is still in reverse."

The sharp rise in unemployment seemed certain to inject fresh tension into the debate over economic policy in Washington.

Republicans point to elevated joblessness as proof that the Obama administration's $787 billion spending package aimed at stimulating the economy had failed. Labor unions and some Democrats are calling for another round of spending to create more jobs. And all of this comes against a backdrop of continued worries about swelling federal budget deficits.

In an interview this week, Richard L. Trumka, president of the nation's largest labor union, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., called on the government to unleash fresh spending on large-scale construction projects to put people back to work.

Absent that, "it will probably be 2012 before there starts to be real job creation," Mr. Trumka said.

Yet despite the headline-grabbing unemployment number in the government's snapshot of the October job market, economists sifting through the details found several reasons to take comfort.

The pace at which jobs are disappearing continued to taper off in October, the precursor to eventual growth.

Between November 2008 and April 2009 - amid the paralyzing fear that accompanied the collapse of prominent financial institutions like Lehman Brothers - the economy shed an average of 645,000 jobs a month. Between May and July, the pace dropped to an average monthly loss of 357,000 jobs. And over the last three reports, average monthly job losses have slipped to 188,000, after factoring in upward revisions to the data for August and September.

The number of temporary workers increased by 44,000 in October, adding to gains in the previous two months - an apparent sign that businesses have squeezed as much production as they can out of their existing workforces and feel the need to bring in more people.

"That goes the right way," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. "That's an encouraging sign."

The hope is that as the economy expands, companies will use fresh profits to add to payrolls as they reach for increased sales. As workers spend their paychecks, they will create opportunities for other businesses, generating more jobs.

Some experts see this scenario unfolding now, asserting that the economy will add jobs by late winter.

"People are hurting, but if you can get past the sticker shock of the unemployment rate and look at the guts of the report, they are still very consistent with a recovery," said Michael T. Darda, chief economist at the research and trading firm MKM Partners. "We're getting very close to the peak unemployment rate."

But some doubt whether recent trends can continue, absent another dose of government spending.

Though the economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, much business activity was stirred up by special programs aimed at encouraging consumers to spend, not least the cash-for-clunkers program that provided taxpayer-financed cash incentives to people trading in their cars.

As the effects of this and other stimulus programs fade over coming months, fundamental weakness may reemerge, with consumers - whose spending accounts for 70 percent of overall economic activity - confronting enormous debt, the loss of wealth and fears about job security.

"We just went through an unbelievable financial catastrophe in this country and it typically takes a long time to come back," said Joshua Shapiro, chief United States economist at MFR, a market research firm in New York, who envisions jobs continuing to decline until at least the middle of next year.

Beneath the dueling interpretations of future prospects, the report left little doubt that the present was still bleak in millions of American households.

In Columbia, S.C., Raymond Vaughn is still unemployed a year and a half after he lost his job installing and repairing windows. Back in April, he was training for a new career in medical billing, a growing field, through an online course he found on the Internet. But his unemployment benefits soon ran out, eliminating his $221-a-week check, and then he could no longer muster the $98 weekly payments for his course.

Mr. Vaughn, 43, is back to what has become a familiar if dreary everyday routine. He drives to the unemployment office downtown, where the crowds seem thicker than ever. He waits his turn to sit in front of a computer so he scan meager listings and send out fresh applications. Then, he returns home, to his sagging couch and his television, where cheerful news anchors tell him that the economy is looking up.

"They say it's supposed to be better, that's what I see on the news," Mr. Vaughn said. "But I sure see a lot of people down at the unemployment office. I really don't see how the job stuff is going to change. I don't see any jobs out there."

Last month, Mr. Vaughn thought he had a job, a position at a factory that makes flooring boards for $13 an hour. But two weeks before he was to go in for training, the company called him to revoke the offer.

"They said they had a hiring freeze," he said.

And so Mr. Vaughn finds himself stuck in a crowded slice of a lean economy: another unemployed man living on the largess of a woman. His fiancée's wages from her secretarial job pay the bills.

The latest job report amplified the reality that the pain has fallen particularly hard on men, who suffered a 10.7 percent unemployment rate in October, as compared to 8.1 percent among women. Among African American men, unemployment reached 17.1 percent in October.

Unemployment reached 9.5 percent among white Americans, 13.1 percent among Hispanics and 27.6 for teenagers.

Among all groups, the underemployment rate - a broader measure of the jobs shortfall which includes people whose hours have been cut, those working part-time for lack of full-time work, and those who have given up looking - is 17.5 percent.

Health care remained a rare bright spot, adding 29,000 jobs in October. For another month, construction and manufacturing led the declines, losing 62,000 and 61,000 jobs respectively.

Such were the details of a report dominated by a single fact: The official jobless rate now occupies two digits. More than a mere statistical marker, some worried that this could perpetuate anxiety, prompting a further hunkering down within the economy.

"It's a benchmark," said Mr. Baker. "It's part of a general backdrop of economic news that does affect decisions by businesses and purchases of big ticket items."

Javier C. Hernandez contributed reporting.


4) Broader Measure of U.S. Unemployment Stands at 17.5%
November 7, 2009

For all the pain caused by the Great Recession, the job market still was not in as bad shape as it had been during the depths of the early 1980s recession - until now.

With the release of the jobs report on Friday, the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment tracked by the Labor Department has reached its highest level in decades. If statistics went back so far, the measure would almost certainly be at its highest level since the Great Depression.

In all, more than one out of every six workers - 17.5 percent - were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.

This includes the officially unemployed, who have looked for work in the last four weeks. It also includes discouraged workers, who have looked in the past year, as well as millions of part-time workers who want to be working full time.

The official jobless rate - 10.2 percent in October, up from 9.8 percent in September - remains lower than the early 1980s peak of 10.8 percent.

The rate is highest today, sometimes 20 percent, in states that had big housing bubbles, like California and Arizona, or that have large manufacturing sectors, like Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

The new benchmark is a sign of just how much damage financial crises tend to inflict. A recent book by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, two economists, found that over the last century the typical crisis had caused the jobless rate in the country where it occurred to rise for almost five years. By that standard, the jobless rate here would continue rising for two more years, through the end of 2011.

Most economists predict that the rate will in fact begin to fall next year, largely because of the federal government's aggressive response - fiscal stimulus, interest-rate cuts and a variety of creative steps by the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department. Friday's report showed that monthly job losses continued to slow recently, though the improvement has been gradual.

At the White House Friday, President Obama signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits and a tax credit for home buyers, and said that he was looking at ways to enact more stimulus. On Wednesday, the Fed announced that it expected to leave its benchmark interest at zero for "an extended period."

Nearly 16 million people are now unemployed and more than seven million jobs have been lost since late 2007.

Officially, the Labor Department's broad measure of unemployment goes back only to 1994. But early this year, with the help of economists at the department, The New York Times created a version that estimates it going back to 1970. If such a measure were available for the Depression, it probably would have exceeded 30 percent.

Compared with the early 1980s, a smaller share of workers today are officially unemployed and a smaller share are considered discouraged workers.

But there are many more people who would like to be working full time and have been able to find only part-time work, according to the government's monthly survey of workers. The rapid increase in their ranks and in the officially unemployed has caused the rate to rise much faster in this recession than in the early 1980s. Two years ago, it was only 8.2 percent.

One of the more striking aspects of the Great Recession is that most of its impact has fallen on a relatively narrow group of workers. This is evident primarily in two ways.

First, the number of people who have experienced any unemployment is surprisingly low, given the severity of the recession. The pace of layoffs has increased, but the peak layoff rate this year was the same as it was during the 2001 recession, which was a fairly mild downturn. The main reason that the unemployment rate has soared is the hiring rate has plummeted.

So fewer workers than might be expected have lost their jobs. But those without work are paying a steep price, because finding a new job is extremely difficult.

Second, wages have continued to rise for most people who still have jobs. The average hourly wage for rank-and-file workers, who make up about four-fifths of the work force, actually accelerated in October, according to the new report.

Even though some companies have cut the pay of workers, the average hourly wage has still risen 1.5 to 2.5 percent over the last year, depending on which government survey is examined. Average weekly pay has risen less - zero to 1 percent - because hours have been cut. But average prices have fallen. Altogether, the typical worker has received a 1 to 2 percent inflation-adjusted raise over the last year.

In the other two severe recessions in recent decades, workers with jobs fared considerably worse. At the same point in the mid-1970s downturn, real weekly pay had fallen 7 percent; in the early 1980s recession, it had fallen 4 percent.

It is a strange combination: workers who still have a job are doing better than in other deep recessions, but the unemployment and underemployment have risen to their highest level since the Depression.


5) Prospect of More U.S. Troops Worries Afghan Public
November 7, 2009

CHARIKAR, Afghanistan - As Americans, including President Obama's top advisers, tensely debate whether to send more American troops to Afghanistan, Afghans themselves are having a similar discussion and voicing serious doubts.

In bazaars and university corridors across the country, eight years of war have left people exhausted and impatient. They are increasingly skeptical that the Taliban can be defeated. Nearly everyone agrees that the Afghan government must negotiate with the insurgents. If more American forces do arrive, many here say, they should come to train Afghans to take over the fight, so the foreigners can leave.

"What have the Americans done in eight years?" asked Abdullah Wasay, 60, a pharmacist in Charikar, a market town about 25 miles north of Kabul, expressing a view typical of many here. "Americans are saying that with their planes they can see an egg 18 kilometers away, so why can't they see the Taliban?"

Such sentiments were repeated in conversation after conversation with more than 30 Afghans in Kabul and nearby rural areas and with local officials in outlying provinces. The comments point to the difficulties that American and Afghan officials face if they choose to add more foreign troops.

If the foreign forces are not seen so by Afghans already, they are on the cusp of being regarded as occupiers, with little to show people for their extended presence, fueling wild conspiracies about why they remain here.

The feeling is particularly acute in the Pashtun south, but it is spreading to other parts of the country. More American troops could tip the balance of opinion, particularly if they increase civilian casualties and prompt even more Taliban attacks.

The grass-roots view among Afghans is at odds with those of top Afghan officials, as well as many American military commanders, who strongly endorse a full-blown counterinsurgency strategy, including a large troop increase.

The aim of sending more troops would be to help secure Afghanistan's biggest cities and towns to make the population feel safe and in doing so to show that the foreign presence can bring benefits.

At the same time, the Americans support the idea of negotiating with moderate members of the Taliban, but would prefer to do so once the insurgency has been weakened. And, that, in turn, may also require more troops.

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said he was in "full agreement" with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the American commander of forces in Afghanistan, that a full-blown counterinsurgency strategy was necessary, including more forces.

"One piece of that strategy is a troop increase as a stopgap measure that will create an environment in which Afghan security forces can continue to grow and people will be protected against insurgents," he said.

The mood on the street is darker and more wary. Mr. Wasay and several friends visiting his pharmacy were discussing the Taliban's killing of a police chief in a rural part of the province. The rumor was that Taliban fighters had severed his head and delivered it to his son, according to one of Mr. Wasay's friends.

True or not, the anecdote was part of a growing mythology of Taliban power and a general perception that neither the Afghan government nor American troops were protecting Afghans.

Daily life continues to be so precarious for many people interviewed, especially those outside Kabul, that they have come to believe that the United States must want the fighting to go on.

"In the first days of the war, the Americans defeated the Taliban in just a few days," said Mohammed Shefi, a graduate student in the pharmacy school at Kabul University. "Now they have more than 60,000 forces and they cannot defeat them."

Alex Thier, an analyst at the United States Institute of Peace, who has spent years working in Afghanistan, said the country's mood was shifting. "What's changed fairly recently was the confidence of the population as to whether we can actually achieve the job, even with more resources," he said.

These doubts do not tally with some surveys, like the poll taken by the International Republican Institute, in which a majority of Afghans appeared to be positive about Americans and said they thought that the country was going in the right direction. However, the security environment in Afghanistan makes it a difficult place in which to conduct polls, and the survey by the institute, a pro-democracy group affiliated with the Republican Party and financed by the American government, was taken in July before the rampant fraud in the presidential election.

Zia Ahmet, a seller of tea kettles and pots just down the street from Mr. Wasay, was positive about the current international presence, but dubious about increasing it. "Instead of increasing foreign troops, it's better to equip the Afghan National Army and the Afghan police," he said, a view that was shared by almost everyone interviewed. "The local army are known in the villages, and they are more useful than foreign troops."

A tribal elder in Balkh Province, in the remote north, said the insurgency had disrupted life for farmers and herders, and he repeated one of a growing number of conspiracy theories about the Americans' intentions. In his version, the Americans were transporting Taliban fighters to the north and dropping them from helicopters at night, on the theory that the Americans wanted more fighting so they could stay in the country. Other versions have the British transporting the insurgents.

There is no truth to the accounts, according to American military officials in Kabul.

Graduate students at Kabul University were no less suspicious. "Those countries that are working with the U.S. and are friends of theirs are Saudi and Pakistan and those are the same countries the insurgents are coming from," said Abdullah, a graduate student in the Faculty of Islamic Law who, like many Afghans, has only one name.

While the notions may seem absurd to Americans, they have added to an increasingly volatile public mood here. A story that American forces burned a Koran in Wardak Province brought hundreds of young people into the streets last month to protest the American presence, even though the story was roundly disputed by Afghan and American officials.

With less certainty about America's continued commitment, there is a growing sense that the only sure way to peace is through negotiations with the Taliban. "They are the sons of this country, it is right to negotiate with the Taliban," said Mohammed Younnis, a shopkeeper in Charikar who sells tea, sugar and grains.

"This government is Afghan, and the Taliban are Afghan; they should build the country together," he said.


6) British Bankers Defend Their Pay and Bonuses
"A recent pledge by Goldman Sachs to donate $200 million to its charitable foundation did little to defuse public anger about its plan to pay $16.7 billion in compensation this year."
November 7, 2009

LONDON - "Profit is not satanic," John Varley, the chief executive of Barclays, told an audience at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church here this week.

The day before, Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank, had insisted at a conference here, "Size is not necessarily evil."

While not exactly Gordon Gekko's "greed is good" speech from the movie "Wall Street," Brian Griffiths, an adviser to Goldman Sachs International, said during a recent panel discussion at St. Paul's Cathedral on "the place of morality in the marketplace," that bonuses would encourage charity and lift the economy.

"We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all," Mr. Griffiths said.

With the Most Rev. Rowan D. Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, recently calling on those who work in finance to repent, the debate over bank reforms is becoming a modern-day morality play.

"We haven't heard people saying 'Well, actually, no, we got it wrong,' " Archbishop Williams noted, referring to the lapses that set off a financial crisis that globally caused trillions of dollars in bailouts and losses. But all the moral outrage has set off a counterreaction among a host of European bankers who are defending their industry and their paychecks, often in moral terms.

Many of the scenes are playing out in houses of worship, with executives sounding, by turns, defiant and plaintive. Sometimes their near-confessions read like attempts to reconcile, even justify, the values of religion and those of banking - not always quite convincingly.

The two sides of the Atlantic have taken markedly different paths to reform from the financial disaster. The United States has moved slowly on regulation and sought only to impose pay caps on the seven companies that received multiple multibillion-dollar bailouts. The Continental Europeans have been quicker to impose a raft of regulation on big financial firms, including strict limits on bonuses, as in France.

And even in Britain calls are gathering pace to force its bailed-out banks - the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds - to break up so that no one is "too big to fail."

Rejecting such proposals from senior Bank of England officials and Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Mr. Ackermann said that "large firms do have a benefit for the users of financial services and for our economies at large."

At St. Martins, Mr. Varley did not dispute that banks played a role in the economic crisis, but he stressed that making money per se was not immoral. He said that banks were the "backbone" of the economy and that bonuses were necessary because "talent is highly mobile."

"If we fail to pay, or are constrained from paying, competitive rates, then that talent will move to another employer," he said, in a church that is known for its work with the homeless.

Bankers are facing the brunt of growing criticism from regulators, central bankers and ordinary citizens for continuing large compensation packages while the industry is being propped up by government funds.

A recent pledge by Goldman Sachs to donate $200 million to its charitable foundation did little to defuse public anger about its plan to pay $16.7 billion in compensation this year.

The Rev. Christopher Harrison, a member of the Nottingham city center clergy and a former adviser to Britain's Treasury, said much more was needed than just giving to charity. "There is a general feeling that the level of bonuses we've seen have been obscene," he said in a telephone conversation on Thursday. "There is a need for proportionality and more robust social responsibility."

Stephen K. Green, the chairman of HSBC, agreed. Last month, he called for a change of culture among bankers. The banking sector "owes the real world an apology," he said, as well as "a commitment to learn the lessons."

But some people in high places say that is already happening.

The bishop of London, Richard Chartres, said the economic crisis already had many in the banking industry re-examining their place in society and their contribution to the commonweal.

"I have seen firsthand in my own meetings and conversations around the capital how it has provoked deeper contemplation within the financial community of the relationship between money and society," he wrote in an e-mail message. "Profound shocks can open us to a new awareness."


7) Marooned on Sea of Iraqi Oil, but Unable to Tap Its Wealth
"The area around Basra, Iraq's second largest city and main port, accounts for as much as 80 percent of the country's oil production. It has emerged as Iraq's best hope for stability and prosperity as it prepares to sell off its top undeveloped oil fields to foreign companies at an auction next month."
November 8, 2009

BASRA, Iraq - The orange glow of the giant natural gas flares in the oil fields around Basra represents this bustling city's wealth of natural resources. But for the impoverished people who live near them, the flames only serve as a reminder of their inability to share in the riches that lie beneath their feet.

The area around Basra, Iraq's second largest city and main port, accounts for as much as 80 percent of the country's oil production. It has emerged as Iraq's best hope for stability and prosperity as it prepares to sell off its top undeveloped oil fields to foreign companies at an auction next month. Of the five largest fields that will be bid on, four are in or around Basra.

Despite the riches trapped below its oil fields, though, this city of three million is among the poorest places in a poor country.

People in neighborhoods within a few miles of fields with so much oil that it floats atop the surface in huge black pools live amid mud and feces. Carts pulled by overworked donkeys compete with cars for space on streets. Childhood cancer rates are the highest in the country. The city's salty tap water makes people ill. And there is more garbage on the streets than municipal collectors can make a dent in.

The hundreds of thousands who live in the villages around the fields all dream of finding oil work, but that is unlikely. Those who apply are almost always told they lack the education or experience for oil work. But they believe that their only real deficiency is a lack of connections and money for bribes.

"People sit here in the evenings and they watch the flames and wonder how rich they would be if they had only one hour of those oil exports," said Naeem al-Moussuawi, who lives in one of Basra's poorer villages.

Last month, after Iraq's Oil Ministry announced that it planned to hire workers for its Basra-based South Oil Company, thousands of people waited in line for applications - some for days. Among them were men in tattered clothing with bare, muddy feet. When the line got unruly, the police were called. Some applicants were beaten. More than 27,000 applications were filled out for 1,600 jobs - most of which require a college education or experience, and most Basrans have neither.

In the village of Asdika, oil pipelines run along the perimeter, and several thousand people live in ramshackle houses of gray cinder blocks and plastic sheeting for roofs.

There is no garbage collection, and household trash is thrown outside to rot in the sun. There is no sewer system, so wastewater from houses is dumped outside, attracting thousands of flies to the lakes of raw sewage that have formed outside most homes. Almost everyone is unemployed.

The village is on government property - an oil field - and its existence is illegal. Residents say the police show up occasionally and threaten to bulldoze the houses.

Hussein Flaeh, 29, an unemployed father of two, has lived in Asdika since 2003. Fifteen members of his family live in a concrete-block house with three small rooms. One recent morning, Mr. Flaeh's youngest child, Essam, born two weeks ago, was placed outside to get some fresh air. The baby's face was almost immediately covered by hungry flies.

Asked whether he had ever applied for a job at the oil refinery, Mr. Flaeh appeared perplexed and did not answer. Pressed, his gentle face turned hard.

"You can't even reach it," he said. "Don't even talk about it."

Government officials in Basra have called for a fee of $1 to be placed on each barrel of oil produced in the province that would then be dedicated to local uses instead of going to the central government. But even if Basra suddenly became awash in oil money, the construction of new housing, offices and even farmland would be prohibited because almost everything is situated atop untapped reserves of crude oil.

"Ninety percent of Basra is an oil field," said Ahmed al-Sulati, a member of the local provincial council. "We can't build anything here. We need to have more housing in some neighborhoods, but we can't because we are surrounded by oil."

In the meantime, Mr. Sulati said, "We are getting sick from breathing gas, and the streets are getting destroyed by the oil trucks."

During a recent speech, Ali Ghalib Baban, Iraq's minister of planning, said Basra was on the cusp of being "one of the world's most important economic centers."

But in the village of Shuiba, so close to the city's refinery and major fields that the air is heavy with the smell of petroleum, farmers have stopped growing tomatoes and now rent their fields to truck drivers who park their tankers there for about 80 cents a night.

It is the village's single school, however, that is the source of most of Shuiba's concerns. Some classes have more than 55 students packed inside, and boys and girls must be taught together, which has led some parents to keep their daughters at home. There are no bathrooms, and some classrooms have no electricity. The school grounds are littered with piles of garbage.

Oil workers live on the opposite side of the village.

In the poorer half of Shuiba, the workers are regarded with envy and loathing. Not a single resident from the poor side has been hired for an oil job.

"Everyone would like to work for the oil company," Mr. Moussuawi said. "We know we are poor and many of us are not well educated. The problem is they see the trucks full of oil and they wonder where the money is going."

But even in Shuiba's better-off half, adjacent to Basra's sprawling refinery, residents say they have unmet needs. The housing is neat, there is no trash and the streets are paved, but there is crowding and rising unemployment even among the college-educated sons and daughters of oil company managers, they say.

"You need to know somebody or pay a bribe to work there," said Najim Khadim, 26, the son of Shuiba's unofficial mayor, Mohammed Khadim, who has worked for 38 years at the refinery, where he is a supervisor.

The son, who has a college degree in chemistry, said not even his father had been able to help with a job. The going rate for bribes for a job, he said, is $2,000 to $5,000, which he said he refused to pay.

A visitor is brought a glass of tap water. It tastes as salty as the water in the rest of town.

Duraid Adnan and Iraqi employees of The New York Times contributed reporting.


8) Adversities Await Iraqis Who Return Home
November 7, 2009

BAGHDAD - As Iraqis who fled their homes to escape sectarian violence are returning, many face high unemployment and poor access to electricity and water, according to a new report by the International Organization of Migration, a nongovernmental group operating in more than 100 countries.

In the worst cases, families return to discover that their homes are gone or have been significantly damaged. One-third of returnees interviewed by the group said they felt unsafe some of the time.

More than half a million families have left their homes since the war began in 2003, moving to other parts of Iraq or abroad, according to the group. The displacement accelerated after sectarian bloodshed escalated in 2006.

The researchers have identified 58,110 families who have returned, though some families have probably gone home without being counted by the organization's monitors. Most returned from other parts of the country rather than from abroad.

The returnees account for less than 10 percent of those displaced. Others said they wanted to return to their homes if conditions continued to improve.

The International Organization of Migration interviewed more than 4,000 families for the report.

The group's research showed that many of those who returned faced conditions as daunting as those they had experienced in their temporary homes or shelters. Hardest hit were households headed by women, including those whose husbands were killed in the past six years. Among these families, which accounted for 12 percent of the families interviewed by the group, 70 percent of the women said they were unable to work, and 26 percent said they were able to work but could not find jobs.

In an example of the types of troubles returning families face, the police in Al Tahrir, near Baquba, the provincial capital of Diyala, reported Friday that they had been called to the house of a family who had just returned after three years in Baghdad to find a vest loaded with 22 pounds of explosives and wires sticking out.

Neighbors told the police that members of the Islamic State of Iraq - an umbrella organization associated with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi terrorist group believed to have some foreign leadership - had used the home as a safe house for suicide bombers during the family's absence.

The researchers found that about a third of the families they interviewed returned to find that their houses had been damaged or destroyed.

The report also found that returning families went home because of improved safety in their old neighborhoods, but also because of high rents and poor conditions in the areas to which they had fled. A small fraction, 5 percent of those interviewed, said they returned to take advantage of a one-time government grant of 1 million Iraqi dinars, roughly $840.

The returning families who spoke to researchers came from a variety of ethnic and religious groups: 50 percent were Shiite, 41 percent Sunni and 9 percent Christian.

One-third of the heads of household said they were unemployed. By comparison, a January study by the United Nations estimated that unemployment in Iraq was at 18 percent.

An Iraqi employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Diyala Province.


9) Windfall Is Seen as Bank Bonuses Are Paid in Stock
November 8, 2009

Even as Washington tries to rein in Wall Street pay, bankers are likely to make unusually large gains on the stock grants and options they received after shares in their companies fell sharply during the financial meltdown.

As banks cut bonuses last year, they shifted more pay into stock and options from cash. Within months, the financial system began to mend - partly with the help of billions of dollars in government aid - and that stock began surging in value. Some of it can be cashed in starting in just a few months.

And so the bonuses Wall Street received last year, billed as paltry at the time, are turning out to be among the most lucrative payouts ever.

Goldman Sachs, for instance, sharply cut nearly all bonuses it paid last year but gave some executives more options than usual.

The company gave its general counsel, for instance, 104,868 stock options and 14,117 shares in December, when the bank's stock was around $78.

Now the bank's shares have more than doubled in value, making the general counsel's stock and option award worth nearly $12 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation research firm in California.

That executive is just one of many Wall Street workers who have seen the bonuses they received last year soar in value, even though some of the shares cannot be sold for a few years.

Goldman's bonus pool last year was $4.82 billion, according to the New York attorney general's office, but because about half of that was paid in stock, it is now worth upwards of $7.8 billion. At JPMorgan Chase, workers have seen the value of the stock awarded them last year increase at least $3 billion.

"People have to look at the sizable gains that have been made since stock and options were granted last year, and the fact is this was, in many ways, a windfall," said Jesse M. Brill, the chairman of, a trade publication. "This had nothing to do with people's performance. These were granted at market lows."

Wall Street has long used a mix of stock and cash for bonuses. But the greater emphasis on cash before the financial crisis began meant executives could walk away rich even as their companies collapsed.

That has left many on Wall Street - and in Washington - demanding that a greater portion of pay be made in stock in hopes of rewarding long-term performance rather than short-term bets.

The Treasury's special master of pay, Kenneth R. Feinberg, has said there is "too much reliance on cash" on Wall Street and has proposed stock as an alternative.

Banks began the trend by paying more in stock last year. Then, in February, Congress required that bonuses at bailed-out banks be paid entirely in stock. Last month, the Treasury Department took the idea further by proposing that some executives' salaries be paid in stock. The result is that Wall Street workers have more of their pay at risk than ever.

Still, some compensation experts say the risk has been decreased by the government's backing of the financial system and historically low stock prices. After all, they point out, companies like JPMorgan, American Express and Capital One issued stock and options last year when their share prices had little chance of going anywhere but up.

The stock gains raise questions about the wisdom of pushing bonus pay too far in either direction, favoring either cash or stock. Normal theories about stock compensation and risk-taking may not hold true today, compensation experts say, in large part because of the government's continued financial support of the industry.

And they say the upside at many banks is far bigger than the downside, particularly for banks like Bank of America and Citigroup that have not yet seen their shares recover.

"Right now the world is set up for these people to take big gambles," said Kevin J. Murphy, a professor at the University of Southern California who advised the Treasury Department on pay. "The worst part of the asymmetry comes from the too-big-to-fail guarantee" that has been reinforced by the government aid.

Wells Fargo was one of more than a dozen major banks to award executives stock and options since the bailout. In February, the bank gave nearly three million options and roughly 528,000 shares to 11 executives. On paper, the grants have increased in value to $57.3 million from $12.1 million, according to Equilar.

Pat Callahan, one of the Wells Fargo executives to receive the grants, said the bank's board always considers equity grants in February.

"Of course in February the price was very low, but nobody knew what was going to happen," she said. "It's true that the stock price change from February to now is a mix of economic recovery and things that we've done."

The Wells Fargo options start to become available early next year, though executives there are not allowed to sell more than half of them until a year after they retire. Of course, the stock could fall rather than rise before then, as could shares of other banks like Goldman or JPMorgan.

The stock payouts strike some experts as a way to simply defer windfalls into the future.

"The stock doesn't bother me. What bothers me are the gross amounts," said Charles M. Elson, a corporate governance professor at the University of Delaware. "Most people are focused on cash payments, and they ignore the stock. When you issue stock in a period of economic distress, you've often given someone a gift."

Many financial workers, of course, do not consider their compensation a gift, despite widespread criticism of their high pay.

And some pay experts point to stock losses on Wall Street in recent years. Ira T. Kay, the head of compensation at the consulting firm Watson Wyatt, said, "No one's looking to give them sympathy, but it's not correct to say they haven't felt the pain of their shareholders."

Still, at some banks, like Goldman and JPMorgan, the stock in the bonus pools from 2006 and 2007 has almost fully recovered its value.

For upcoming compensation at Citigroup and Bank of America, the Treasury Department mandated the banks pay executives almost entirely in stock. That means if performance goals are met, 19 executives at Citigroup would split $133 million in stock this year and 12 executives at Bank of America would share in $78.6 million in stock.

But greater upside lurks. If Citigroup's stock returns to its early 2008 price of $29, from just above $4 on Friday, the executives' shares from this year alone would be worth more than $800 million. Even if the stock rose to only $12, their shares would be worth $400 million.

At Bank of America, seven executives could see their pay packages become worth more than $10 million apiece if the bank's stock increases just $10. A bank spokesman, Bob Stickler, said, "Under that scenario, executives get paid because the shareholders are being paid."

The Treasury Department declined to comment when asked if these bank executives were being set up for windfalls. Lucian A. Bebchuk, a Harvard Law School professor who advised Treasury on pay rules, said, "What should we have done differently?"

"It would be better if you could take the stock and somehow neutralize what the government did, but that's really tricky," he said. "If you have equity compensation, sometimes there are massive windfalls."