Saturday, December 19, 2009



The Unemployment Game Show: Are You *Really* Unemployed? - From


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




If you want to know the real truth behind the Copenhagen climate debate go see "The End of Poverty?"
4-Star Theatre
2200 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 666-3488
Showtimes: 12:25 2:25 4:25 6:25 8:25

Democracy Now Interview with Filmmaker Philippe Diaz
The film opens in San Francisco on December 4 at the 4-Star Theatre on Clement Street.
Watch the Trailer:

Also in coming to theatres in Los Angeles , Irvine , Seattle , Portland , Austin and Atlanta with more cities to follow - for details, visit
Read reviews:
Louis Proyect's:
Andrew Schenker @ Village Voice:
Andrew O' Hehir@
Find us on:
Facebook -
Twitter -
Social Network -
Join our mailing list: http:/Re/
Please help us spread the word about this important and powerful film. We are a small, independent distribution company dedicated to social issue films.
Thank you,
The Cinema Libre Studio team


Stop the War Coalition Friday
CONTACT: Andrew Burgin 07939 242 229
Lindsey German 07810 540 584

Military families petition Gordon Brown to bring the troops home.

On Monday 21 December at 5pm military families, who have either lost loved ones
or have relatives serving in Afghanistan, will deliver a petition to Gordon
Brown in Downing Street, calling for all British troops to be withdrawn. They
will be joined by former soldiers.

The military families and former soldiers will hold a press conference an hour
prior to delivering the petition, at 4pm in the Silver Cross, Whitehall, SW1

Graham Knight, whose son was killed in Afghanistan, said, "We will hold a vigil
at Downing Street for those who have been killed. We have suffered terrible
personal loss in this war and we don't want any more families to go through the
same pain."

Joan Humphries, whose grandson was killed in August 2009, said, "Everyone knows
now this is a pointless war, deeply unpopular in Britain and Afghanistan. Young
lives are being sacrificed so that politicians can save face."

Lindsey German, Convenor of Stop the War Coalition said, "Tens of thousands of
people from across Britain have signed this petition, and 71% of the population
oppose the war. 100 British soldiers have been killed this year in a senseless
and unwinnable war. Gordon Brown should listen to the families of those who
have lost loved ones in the war and bring the troops home."

For further information, contact:
Andrew Burgin 07939 242 229
Lindsey German 07810 540 584



Fw: Gaza Freedom March - San Francisco...join in!
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Nancy Mancias
To: Nancy Mancias

Please circulate!

Hey everyone,

Please come out on December 31st to the Golden Gate Bridge at 12noon to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and the thousands of compassionate international activists who will travel to Cairo to march against siege in Gaza.

Organizers with the Bay Area Network for a Free Palestine, CODEPINK and others have been organizing a solidarity march across the Golden Gate Bridge. We hope you can join us!

You know the drill if you've participated in any of CODEPINK's Sunday bridge peace walks.

We are expecting company!

Israel backers set S.F. counterprotests

StandWithUs/S.F. Voice for Israel has planned three counterprotests in support of Israel in December. All three events are in San Francisco.

The first will take place Tuesday, Dec. 15, when the Israel supporters will stand in front of the San Francisco Hilton Hotel, site of an AIPAC membership dinner. Pro-Palestinian protesters often stand outside the annual dinner and in the past have harassed attendees entering the hotel, according to S.F. Voice for Israel.

Voice for Israel will demonstrate its support in front of the Union Square hotel from 4 to 6 p.m. The AIPAC event begins at 5 p.m.

The second counterdemonstration is scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 27 at Union Square to show support for Israel during a candlelight memorial service for the men, women and children killed in Gaza.

The third counterprotest will take place during a Dec. 31 "Walk for Gaza" across the Golden Gate Bridge. The walk, from 12 to 2 p.m., is connected to the Gaza Freedom March taking place the same day in Egypt, calling for Gaza residents' right to access food, medicine, rebuilding materials and clean water.

For more information, check or e-mail

Support the Gaza Freedom March

December 27th: Candlelight Memorial at Union Square, San Francisco
Gather from 4-6pm to commerate the beginning of Israel's brutal 22 day attack on Gaza a year ago. An Interfaith service will be held. People of all backgrounds and faiths are invited to join in remembering the thousands of men, women and children who were killed and permanently disabled during the assault on Gaza.

December 31st: March across the Golden Gate Bridge to support the Gaza Freedom March from Egypt into Gaza, scheduled for the same day. The Gaza Freedom March will have over 1000 people from 40+ countries (hopefully) crossing into Gaza to lift the brutal siege, and to bring preasure on the US and other governments who continue to support Israel in depriving the citizens of Gaza adequate food, medicine, rebuilding materials, and clean water. Meet at 12pm, on the south end parking lot of the Golden Gate Bridge. (No large signs, no flags = bridge rules.)

Nancy L. Mancias
CODEPINK Women for Peace
PINKTank ::
Facebook ::
Twitter :: nancymancias


SATURDAY, JANUARY 9, 2010, 2:00 P.M.
(Between 16th and 15th Streets, SF)

The first meeting was held Wednesday, December 9 at 7:00 P.M. It was a broad, democratically run meeting with over 40 people in attendance from many different groups and organizations as well as individuals.

There was an atmosphere of renewed energy and resolve to build as large a demonstration as possible to mark the seventh year of "Shock and Awe" against the people of Iraq. It was especially poignant on the eve of Obama's Orwellian "war is for peace" Nobel speech.

We are encouraging all groups, organizations and individuals to join with us to demand an immediate end of these wars and to demand that the trillions spent on war be used for jobs, housing, healthcare, education for all!

Obama, in his Nobel remarks, points out his intentions to escalate his "wars for peace" wherever the U.S. empire desires to go.

As many pointed out at the first coalition meeting on Wednesday night, the financial, physical and emotional burden for these wars falls on working people across the globe in the broadest war plan ever devised by any empire!

The honeymoon is over! These are Obama's wars and we must organize massively against them.

Please plan on attending the next March 20, 2010 coalition meeting so we can organize broad outreach in our communities and make March 20, 2010 a powerful statement of opposition to the wars and for a world of equality, peace and justice for all.

For more information call: 415-821-6545

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein,


National Call for March 4 Strike and Day of Action To Defend Public Education
By Elly

California has recently seen a massive movement erupt in defense of public education -- but layoffs, fee hikes, cuts, and the re-segregation of public education are attacks taking place throughout the country. A nationwide resistance movement is needed.

We call on all students, workers, teachers, parents, and their organizations and communities across the country to massively mobilize for a Strike and Day of Action in Defense of Public Education on March 4, 2010. Education cuts are attacks against all of us, particularly in working-class communities and communities of color.

The politicians and administrators say there is no money for education and social services. They say that "there is no alternative" to the cuts. But if there's money for wars, bank bailouts, and prisons, why is there no money for public education?

We can beat back the cuts if we unite students, workers, and teachers across all sectors of public education - Pre K-12, adult education, community colleges, and state-funded universities. We appeal to the leaders of the trade union movement to support and organize strikes and/or mass actions on March 4. The weight of workers and students united in strikes and mobilizations would shift the balance of forces entirely against the current agenda of cuts and make victory possible.

Building a powerful movement to defend public education will, in turn, advance the struggle in defense of all public-sector workers and services and will be an inspiration to all those fighting against the wars, for immigrants rights, in defense of jobs, for single-payer health care, and other progressive causes.

Why March 4? On October 24, 2009 more than 800 students, workers, and teachers converged at UC Berkeley at the Mobilizing Conference to Save Public Education. This massive meeting brought together representatives from over 100 different schools, unions, and organizations from all across California and from all sectors of public education. After hours of open collective discussion, the participants voted democratically, as their main decision, to call for a Strike and Day of Action on March 4, 2010. All schools, unions and organizations are free to choose their specific demands and tactics -- such as strikes, rallies, walkouts, occupations, sit-ins, teach-ins, etc. -- as well as the duration of such actions.

Let's make March 4 an historic turning point in the struggle against the cuts, layoffs, fee hikes, and the re-segregation of public education.

- The California Coordinating Committee

To endorse this call and to receive more information contact:

and check out:

Andy Griggs



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


The US Social Forum II
• June 22-26, 2010 •
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Another World Is Possible! Another US is Necessary!




Dear all,

Dear all,
go the link below to endorse the BT petition against the death penalty in Iraq.


Maliki's election platform: 900 Iraqi prisoners face summary execution

In the run-up to elections, Maliki proposes executions to bolster his chances

Democracy in the new Iraq equals death and repression

Maliki serves the US occupation: it is the occupation that kills Iraqis

The machine of repression and death in Iraq continues unabated. The Presidential Council of Iraq has reportedly ratified the death sentences of some 900 detainees who languish on death row. Some 17 of them are confirmed to be women.

None of the condemned had a fair trial. The Iraqi judicial system has been deemed corrupt, fundamentally dysfunctional and plagued with sectarianism by responsible international agencies and all major human rights organisations. Hundreds of lawyers have been assassinated since 2003. The Association of Iraqi Lawyers has publicly declared that it cannot reach the detainees.

In a bid to eliminate its political opponents, further terrorise the Iraqi people, ostensibly into submission, and to be casted the "tough leader" the US pretends it is currently seeking for Iraq, Nouri Al-Maliki has pledged to carry out these executions ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled in March of 2010.

Iraq already has one of the highest rates of executions in the world. On a single day in June, 19 people were hanged in Baghdad. Without global action, 900 people will be hanged imminently.

A culture of terror and detention
Terror through mass detention, torture and abuse is one of the trademarks of the US occupation and Maliki. In addition to mass killing, mass forced displacement, the contamination of Iraqi soil, the destruction of all public infrastructure and means of survival, tens of thousands of Iraqis are arbitrarily detained in both official and ghost facilities all over Iraq.

Exact figures of the number, age and gender of detainees are withheld by authorities. Those who want investigations on abuse are either threatened or killed. In June 2009, Harith Al-Obaidi, an MP and critic of human rights abuses, announced in parliament his plan to investigate allegations of corruption, torture and abuse in Iraqi prisons. He was assassinated the following day.

Depending on the source, the number of detainees varies from 44,014 to some 400,000. Tens of thousands of families don't know the fate of a loved one arbitrarily arrested. Even the number of detention facilities is unknown. The ICRC, responsible for monitoring prisoners in time of conflict, has repeatedly complained of being denied access to all "field operation detention facilities" and secret prisons. Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights and even the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, mandated by the Security Council to provide human rights reporting, are denied access to official detention centres by US Command.

The Red Cross has reported that intelligence officers of the US occupation themselves estimate that 70-90 per cent of Iraqi detainees are arrested "by mistake". The majority is taken in sweeping and arbitrary mass arrest campaigns. They are held incommunicado, without charges, without visits from families or access to lawyers, for indefinite periods. The few who are formally accused are charged on the basis of confessions made under torture or the testimonies of dubious informants of the occupation. No tangible evidence is ever provided.

Since 2003, an estimated 2,400 children have been detained by the US, some as young as 10 years old. After denying it for years, the occupation has now acknowledged that a large but unspecified number of women are being held. Many were kidnapped to blackmail their husbands, accused of "terrorism," into surrendering. They often have their infants and children in prison with them. Several women inmates interviewed by UN researchers reported being raped and sexually abused while held in custody. The US bears primary and final responsibility for these conditions.

Maliki's new Iraq: repression
Everyday news outlets report more arrests and new killings by persons wearing official uniforms. The Maliki government praises itself for the recent waves of detention. Since its appointment, all it has succeeded in achieving is more repression of his opponents while the crimes against innocent people had never been investigated and punished.

Under occupation, Iraq has become the second most corrupted country in the world, the trade of prisoners one of the government militias' most lucrative businesses. The police kidnap, hold prisoners in ghost prisons, sell them and blackmail their families for ransom with impunity.

Year after year, alarming reports have been published by leading human rights organisations, inside and outside Iraq, pointing to random arrests, unlawful detentions, summary executions, abuses, rape and torture of prisoners in Iraq, both at the hands of occupation forces and their local armed gangs.

Under false accusations and deceitful propaganda, the absence of law or a functioning judicial system, and with the support of the US for its puppet government, humanity and the rights of the human being are insulted every day in Iraq. Millions of Iraqis are suffering.

An occupation that tries to impose its plans and interests by force and destruction on a people whose rights, interests and identity is to resist it can only result in the perpetuation of genocide - the intended destruction of Iraq and the Iraqi people as a state and nation.

Call for global action
We call on all to work to stop these executions, demand the release of all political prisoners, and impose a moratorium on the death penalty in Iraq.

Every Iraqi deserves protection and justice.

We call on the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in Iraq.

We call on all organisations that defend the first human right - the right to life - to take up with urgency the cause of the 900 prisoners on death row in Iraq.

We call on all lawyers associations to protest the absence of law and due process in Iraq, and to declare the imminent execution of these 900 prisoners unlawful.

900 prisoners killed in Iraq would be 900 insults to the common conscience of humanity.

We call on all to do everything within their means to bring the cases of these 900 prisoners facing death to the public eye, and to demand action by relevant authorities.

The US occupation of Iraq must end. It is that occupation that is the ultimate rope around the neck of Iraq, and the ultimate prison for the Iraqi people.

Hana Al Bayaty, Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal
Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal
Ian Douglas, Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal
Dirk Adriaensens, Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

Please endorse, distribute and take action

For more information contact:


Zaineb Alani
"Yesterday I lost a country. / I was in a hurry, / and didn't notice when it fell from me / like a broken branch from a forgetful tree. / Please, if anyone passes by / and stumbles across it, / perhaps in a suitcase / open to the sky, / or engraved on a rock / like a gaping wound, / ... / If anyone stumbles across it, / return it to me please. / Please return it, sir. / Please return it, madam. / It is my country . . . / I was in a hurry / when I lost it yesterday." -Dunya Mikhail, Iraqi poet


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: MOOS-Bay
To: Counter Recruitment Events
Subject: [events] Youth Mini Grants, Online Petition, Discount CR Brochures

CR Brochures Available for Cut Rates!
Full Picture recently purchased a large quantity of the brochure, "What Every Girl Should Know About the U.S. Military," which was produced jointly by the War Resisters League and the Women of Color Resource Center. A copy of the brochure can be seen online at

Our network of counter-recruiting organizations and activists will probably not be able to distribute all of them in the near future. We'd like to see them get out to the youth who need them, and -- if necessary -- are willing to sell them at "a loss" to other counter-recruiters who'll be able to reach youth that we cannot. We paid 11.6 cents each, including shipping, which is significantly less than what you'd pay when buying small quantities. If you can make use of some, let us know how many and how much, if anything, you're able to pay. Please remember that we'll have to incur additional costs to ship them to you unless you're able to pick them up at the AFSC office in San Francisco, where we have them stored.
Kevin Casey, Full Picture Core Group, (510) 289-2621

Support Oakland Youth: Online Petition--Pass the Word!
The BAY-Peace Youth Manifesto is on it's home stretch to win stronger policies to protect Oakland high school students against aggressive military recruiting. Please help us reach our goal of 2000 signatures to deliver to the Oakland School Board. Sign the Youth Manifesto today and forward this link to your contacts to sign our online petition:

Mini-Grants for High School Counter Recruitment Projects
If you are part of a high school student group that would like to do a counter recruitment project, you can apply for a grant of up to $500 to help you get your message out about non-military alternatives for youth, aggressive military recruiting in our schools and resisting war.

Bay Area high school students are encouraged to apply. The deadline is the last day of each month, and the funds will be distributed quickly to qualified applicants, so don't wait to apply! For info contact:


Lynne Stewart Update and Letter from Lynne from behind bars

On Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 a status conference was held before Judge Koeltl to discuss the procedures concerning Lynne's re-sentencing.

The conference was held in a larger courtroom to accommodate all the people who came to support Lynne. Lynne was represented by Elizabeth Fink, Joshua Dratel and Jill Shellow. Although the "Mandate" (formal Order) hasn't issued yet from the 2nd Circuit, the question raised by the Judge was whether the resentencing should be de novo (which means that the Judge would throw out all the reasoning that went in to his previous sentence and start from scratch) or simply a clarification and update of the sentencing he already gave Lynne of 28 months.

The Judge outlined a schedule; the update of the Presentence Report by the U.S. Probation Dept. is due on February 5, 2010, any objections to that report are to be submitted by February 19, 2009 and the defense and government submission addressing the resentencing of Lynne by March 12th. Replies by March 29th. The formal sentencing is now set for April 22 at 4:30 p.m.

This is a time for the Lynne Stewart Defense committee to be alarmed and very concerned for Lynne. Lynne is a 70 year old woman and any additional significant time could mean that she could die in prison. No harm was caused to anyone by her actions. Lynne's life work as cited by the Judge in his previous sentencing stand as a testimony to her good intentions. Notwithstanding the verdict, Lynne Stewart had absolutely no terroristic intentions or political harmony with her client Sheik Rahman.

The judge said that if there are any letters regarding this new sentencing they will only be considered if they submitted by counsel. We know that people are anxious to do something for Lynne and this is one thing you can do and you have the time to write a thoughtful letter that we believe the Judge will read and take into consideration. For now you can send your letters to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee, 350 Broadway, Suite 700, New York, NY 10013. Address the letter to: Honorable John G. Koeltl, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007 - BUT MAIL TO LSDC not directly to the Judge. We will accumulate the letters for the attorneys who will then submit them to the Judge.

The issue of Lynne's health has been on all our minds. This is the situation to date: She has been receiving her medication. Her blood pressure has been extremely high. Initially the medical department of MCC/NY had suggested cutting Lynne's prescription for high blood pressure medicine in half but since Lynne's blood pressures was so high it is being monitored very closely. The main issue for Lynne right now is that surgery for a bladder problem had already scheduled before the 2nd Circuit decision and her consequent incarceration. Now it appears that she will undergo surgery for this condition which is not life threatening but increasingly uncomfortable for Lynne in the near future at a metropolitan New York hospital.

In the near future we will be working with others to plan a public event, and working in cooperation with others to fight for Lynne Stewart's sentence to remain 28 months. I will be sending out further notices of events and updates on Lynne's situation as news becomes available. Meanwhile you can write to Lynne Stewart, Reg. # 53504-054, MCC/NY, 150 Park Row, New York, NY 10007. Do not send stamps, this mail will be treated as contraband and discarded by the prison. Do not send anything that needs to be signed for. Lynne has been given a subscription to the New York Times and the New Yorker. If you would like to subscribe Lynne to a publication please drop us a line first (email ) just to make sure that you are not duplicating someone else's contribution.

Photos are okay, cards postcards and letters. All mail is opened and read. Commissary can be sent to Lynne via Western Union using the registration number and address either via the internet or at a Western Union location. Thank you for your support for Lynne it means the world to her.

Pat Levasseur, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee


Letter from Lynne Stewart

Dear Sisters and Brothers, Friends and Supporters:

Well the moment we all hoped would never come is upon us. Good bye to a good cup of coffee in the morning, a soft chair, the hugs of grandchildren and the smaller pleasures in life. I must say I am being treated well and that is due to my lawyer team and your overwhelming support.

While I have received "celebrity" treatment here in MCC - high visibility - conditions for the other women are deplorable. Medical care, food, education, recreation are all at minimal levels. If it weren't for the unqualified bonds of sisterhood and the commissary it would be even more dismal.

My fellow prisoners have supplied me with books and crosswords, a warm (it is cold in here most of the time) sweat shirt and pants, treats from the commissary, and of course, jailhouse humor. Most important many of them know of my work and have a deep reservoir of can I say it? Respect.

I continue to both answer the questions put to me by them, I also can't resist commenting on the T.V. news or what is happening on the floor - a little LS politics always! (Smile) to open hearts and minds!

Liz Fink, my lawyer leader, believes I will be here at MCC-NY for a while - perhaps a year before being moved to prison. Being is jail is like suddenly inhabiting a parallel universe but at least I have the luxury of time to read! Tomorrow I will get my commissary order which may include an AM/FM Radio and be restored to WBAI and music (classical and jazz).

We are campaigning to get the bladder operation (scheduled before I came in to MCC) to happen here in New York City. Please be alert to the website I case I need some outside support.

I want to say that the show of support outside the Courthouse on Thursday as I was "transported" is so cherished by me. The broad organizational representation was breathtaking and the love and politics expressed (the anger too) will keep me nourished through this.

Organize - Agitate, Agitate, Agitate! And write to me and others locked down by the Evil Empire.

Love Struggle, Lynne Stewart


Lynne Stewart in Jail!

For further information contact: Jeff Mackler, Coordinator, West Coast Lynne Stewart Defense Committee 510-268-9429
Mail tax free contributions payable to National Lawyers Guild Foundation. Write in memo box: "Lynne Stewart Defense." Mail to: Lynne Stewart Defense, P.O. Box 10328, Oakland, CA 94610.



U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Department of Justice Main Switchboard - 202-514-2000
Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line - 202-353-1555

To send Lynne a letter, write:
Lynne Stewart
150 Park Row
New York, NY NY 10007

Lynne Stewart speaks in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal


The trial of Johannes Mehserle, killer of unarmed Oscar Grant, has been moved to Los Angeles.

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


With a New Smile, 'Rage' Fades Away [SINGLE PAYER NOW!!!]

FTA [F**k The Army] Trailer

Jon Stewart: Obama Is Channeling Bush (VIDEO)

US anti-war activists protest

Buffy Sainte Marie - No No Keshagesh
[Keshagesh is the Cree word to describe a greedy puppy that wants to keep eating everything, a metaphor for corporate greed]
Buffy Sainte-Marie - No No Keshagesh lyrics:


The Tar Sands Blow
Hi -
I just signed the Tar Sands Blow petition -- and I hope you'll do the same.
The Canadian tar sands produce the dirtiest oil on earth -- including five times the greenhouse gases of conventional oil. World leaders meet next month in Copenhagen to deal with climate change. Sign the petition -- so that we all don't get a raw deal.

The Story of Mouseland: As told by Tommy Douglas in 1944

The Communist Manifesto illustrated by Cartoons


Holiday gifts from Courage to Resist

Free and fast 2-3 day priority shipping!*
Please place your order this week to ensure holiday delivery.

Support mom still facing Afghanistan deployment, court martial
By Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist. November 16, 2009

"I currently don't have a family care plan, but they told me they did not
care and for me to get ready to go to Afghanistan," explained Oakland,
California native Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, a 21-year-old soldier based at
Hunter Army Airfield outside of Savannah, Georgia.

As I spoke to Alexis on the phone, I believed if I found her a civilian
lawyer to work with the military, a reasonable resolution would be quickly
found. Unlike most service members Courage to Resist assists, Alexis was not
refusing to deploy. She was not looking to speak out against war. She was
simply asking for more time to find someone to care for her 11-month old son
Kamani. Within a few days, however, the Army had tossed Alexis in the
stockade and turned Kamani over to the Chatham County (Georgia) foster care


Please make a tax-deductible donation to Alexis' legal and family support


Courage to Resist Urgent Action Alert

Army sends infant to protective services, mom to Afghanistan this weekend

Army has mom, Alexis Hutchinson, arrested and 11-month old son put into county foster care system. Alexis has now been ordered to deploy to Afghanistan on Sunday, November 15, where she will be court martialed.

Action Alert: Contact Congresswoman Barbara Lee to urge her to "Request that the Army not deploy Alexis Hutchinson to Afghanistan so that she can care for her son." From the 9th District (Oakland-Berkeley, CA) phone: 510-763-0370 (fax: 510-763-6538). Nationwide: 202- 225-2661 (fax: 202-225-9817).

Donate to Alexis' legal and family support fund (

Alexis' attorney now available for media interviews.
By friends of Alexis and Courage to Resist. November 12, 2009

Also in the news:
Army Sends Infant to Protective Services, Mom to Afghanistan
by Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service. November 13, 2009
Online version with possible updates


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!


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!
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) Veterans Group Calls On Soldiers to Refuse Orders to Deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq
Monday 14 December 2009
By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Report

2) Judging Our Children
Op-Ed Contributor
December 15, 2009

3) Poll Reveals Trauma of Joblessness in U.S.
December 15, 2009

4) Yemen rebels say air raid kills 120
SANAA -- Yemeni Shi'ite rebels accused the U.S. air force on Tuesday of joining attacks against them, and killing at least 120 people in a raid in the north of the poor Arab state.
Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:19pm EST

5) A Soft Sell at the New Army Recruiting Station Just Blocks From Ground Zero
December 17, 2009

6) Police Beat Back Massed Climate Protesters
December 17, 2009

7) Arms Sales to Taiwan Will Proceed, U.S. Says
[The "Peace President" strikes]
December 16, 2009

8) Pittsburgh Sets Vote on Adding Tax on Tuition
December 16, 2009

9) DNA Evidence Exonerates Inmate
National Briefing | Washington
December 16, 2009

10) Seeing Politics in Plan to Cut Student Transit Aid
December 16, 2009

11) Look Who Just Funded the Escalation
By David Swanson
December 17, 2009

12) Bleeding Money From the Poor
How Banks Prey on the Unemployed
December 17, 2009

13) Inquiry Condemns Oversight at State Police Crime Lab
December 18, 2009

14) Intelligence Improperly Collected on U.S. Citizens
December 17, 2009

15) U.S. Missiles Kill 15 People Near Border in Pakistan
December 18, 2009

16) Advisers on Vaccines Often Have Conflicts, Report Says
"Most of the advisers identified by Mr. Levinson had either a job or a grant from a company or other entity whose interests were affected by the committees' discussions, and a considerable number also owned stock in such companies, the report said."
December 18, 2009

17) Thousands Lose Rent Vouchers in Cutback
December 18, 2009


1) Veterans Group Calls On Soldiers to Refuse Orders to Deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq
Monday 14 December 2009
By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Report

In response to President Barack Obama's announcement on December 1 to deploy 30,000 additional troops to the occupation of Afghanistan, the organization March Forward!, comprising both veterans and active-duty members of the US military, has called on all soldiers to refuse their orders to deploy.

"March Forward! calls on all service members to refuse orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq," reads a press release from the group from December 3. "We offer our unconditional support and solidarity. Join us in the fight to ensure that no more soldiers or civilians lose their lives in these criminal wars."

Michael Prysner, a former corporal in the Army who served from 2001-2005 and a veteran of the occupation of Iraq, co-founded the group with another Iraq war veteran, James Circello.

Truthout asked Prysner how he responds to those who believe a soldier should always follow orders, no matter what.

"In my experience the majority of people joining the military today join out of necessity, like money, jobs, help for their family, etc., so most don't join for ideological or patriotic reasons. Most are driven into the military by economic conditions. We see this playing out now, as people are joining in droves because of the economy."

Prysner added, "Yes, people do sign a contract to follow orders, but those orders are wrong and unlawful. We want to educate people to the fact that these are immoral orders, and they [soldiers] are being used as muscle for corporations, to colonize the developing world, and it's not legitimate. People who join and take this oath seriously who think they are in [the military] to defend the US, this is not what we are being used for in the military today."

Prysner has written about his experience in Iraq, "... there was no computer screen separating me from the suffering civilian population. I spent 12 months in Iraq, doing everything from prisoner interrogations, to ground surveillance missions, to home raids. It was my firsthand experiences in Iraq that radicalized me. I believed I was going to Iraq to help liberate and better the lives of an oppressed people, but I soon realized that my purpose in Iraq was to be the oppressor, and to clear the way for US corporations with no regard for human life."

After he separated from the Army in 2005, Prysner "understood that the occupation I was a part of was a crime against humanity. I understood that illegal conquering of Iraq was for profit, carried out by a system that serves a tiny class of super-rich whose endless drive for wealth is at the expense of working people in the United States and abroad."

According to Prysner, the lessons he learned from being part of the US occupation of Iraq taught him that, "I still had the same drive to fight for freedom, justice and equality as I did when I joined, and I understood that fighting for those things meant fighting against the US government, not on behalf of it."

To those who call him and his organization "anti-American" and/or "unpatriotic," Prysner has this to say:

"I would say that I have more in common with my sisters and brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan than I do with these people in DC who've sent us to war. If that's unpatriotic, then yes, I am. But patriotism and racism are the only things the military has to fall back on to convince people to do the things we are being asked to do today."

March Forward! was founded in 2008, and the aim of the organization is "to unite all those who have served and who currently serve in the US military, and who want to stand up for our rights and for that which is right."

"We are new and growing," Prysner explained. "We have seen somewhat consistent growth, and we're expecting this to accelerate now."

The group's statement from December 3 adds, "On December 1, we got a clear order from President Obama. For many more years, we will be sent to kill, to die, to be maimed and wounded, in a war where 'victory' is impossible, against a people who are not our enemies. For over eight years, we have come home in coffins, in wheelchairs, with our skin burned and with our days and nights haunted by the trauma of war. We return home to a VA whose services are so inadequate that active duty soldiers who succumb to suicide outnumber those killed in combat."

James Circello is a former Army sergeant and veteran of the US occupation of Iraq. Circello, who joined the military in 2001, describes his experience in Iraq as follows:

"During the occupation of Iraq, the truth about what the United States government has done to the country of Iraq became more apparent. Open wastewater flowed through neighborhood streets where children played soccer. Families were thrown out of their homes with simple accusations from others. Vehicles were taken on sight by the military if individuals couldn't provide proper documents claiming they own the vehicle. These events and others helped in strengthening my opposition to the so-called 'War on Terror.'"

In April 2007, Circello left his base in Vicenza, Italy, and went absent without leave (AWOL) in protest of US policy in the Middle East. In November 2007, he turned himself in to the military at Fort Knox and was discharged within three days.

Circello has remained very active with his work against US Foreign Policy, having worked with Iraq Veterans Against the War and the group Courage to Resist before joining March Forward!.

Circello's decision to go AWOL was his way of refusing to deploy to Afghanistan.

I had been fighting myself internally after my time in Iraq, about whether to deploy again," he explained to Truthout, "I ended up back in my old unit that was preparing to deploy, so at that moment I took it into my hands, and decided I wasn't going to go kill Afghans that had done nothing to me, or the American people. It was a defining moment for me."

According to Pentagon figures, since October 2001, more than 50,000 soldiers from all branches of the military have gone AWOL.

John Raughter is the communications director for the American Legion, an organization that describes itself as "a patriotic, war-time veterans organization, devoted to mutual helpfulness," according to its web site.

Raughter is clear about his stance on the rights of soldiers. "We have an all-volunteer force," he explained to Truthout, "These are not draftees. They swore an oath to obey the orders of the Commander in Chief."

According to Raughter, the American Legion does not, in any way, support AWOL soldiers or those who refuse to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. "Within reason, the military should be able to enforce obedience. Obedience and order are critical for the military to do its mission. People can't pick and choose which orders to obey and which not to [obey]. If it's a lawful order, they are obliged to obey."

Yet the oath enlisted soldiers must take before being deployed, reads:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, is the co-author of "Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent" with Kathleen Gilberd. In the book, they write, "Rules of Engagement limit forms of combat, levels of force, and legitimate enemy targets, defining what is legal in warfare and what is not. (They're also) defined by an established body of international (and US) law that leaves no ambiguity."

Cohn and Gilberd argue that every US war since WWII has been illegal. Article 51 of the UN Charter only permits the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member ... until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security."

In addition, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 (the war powers clause) of the US Constitution authorizes only both houses of Congress, not the president, to declare war. Nonetheless, that process has been followed only five times in our history and last used on December 8, 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Nevertheless, Raughter believes soldiers who are dissenting against the occupations should have never joined the ranks. "If they are ethically opposed to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would say that most of these people have enlisted or reenlisted since the beginning of the war. These wars were occurring when they made this oath of enlistment. It should have come to their minds."

Circello's response to those who refer to their tactic of encouraging soldiers to refuse deployment orders as being "unpatriotic or un-American?

"This is a tactic of demonization and we reject it," he explained, "The corporations profiting in these wars don't care about America or the American people. Is providing mercenaries to kill innocent people overseas, and bombs to kill innocent people, is that American and patriotic? The people who use these terms are demagogues. We can't forget that America was a land of institutionalized slavery, slavery was American, and folks like Dr. Martin Luther King, when they stood up to racism were called un-American ... so the same thing happens today. When you protest war, or call on soldiers to desert based on their own interest, you are called un-American."

Prysner and Circello's organization has stated, "March Forward! supports the right of all service members to refuse illegal and immoral orders. Orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq are just that: illegal and immoral. We have no reason to fight in these wars, and we have every right to refuse to be a part of them."


2) Judging Our Children
Op-Ed Contributor
December 15, 2009

A NEW report issued by a state panel formed to investigate New York's juvenile detention centers has found that they "fail to keep their young people safe and secure, let alone meet their myriad service and treatment needs," and that "youth are subjected to shocking violence and abuse." This news, which comes on the heels of a federal study that also documented squalid conditions, makes plain to the world what many of us inside the state's justice system have been saying for years: we need a fundamental rethinking of how we respond to troubled young people.

A consensus is emerging among juvenile justice policymakers, including prosecutors, that New York must limit the number of young people sent to expensive prison-like residential facilities. The goal should be to create more community-based intervention programs, which have proved less expensive and more effective at reducing crime.

There will be no progress, however, until sentencing judges have confidence that the probation departments charged with supervising young people have adequate financing and can connect youths to the services they need. This requires a relatively simple but bold step: making the juvenile probation system an arm of the courts, rather than of the executive branch, as it is now.

It costs an estimated $210,000 per year to confine a juvenile in a state residential facility. The return on this investment - which is roughly 10 times the cost of the most expensive community-based intervention - is shockingly poor. The most recent estimates are that 89 percent of boys placed in these facilities go on to commit further crimes.

While many of the 1,600 young people sent to New York residential facilities each year are there for committing serious felony-level offenses, the majority are not. The sad truth is that a judge's decision to confine a young person often has much to do with the severity of the offense and more to do with whether the county is able to provide the services needed to deal with chaotic home situations, addictions and mental health problems.

New York's judges, however, have already shown that they can play an important role in connecting troubled individuals with needed services. Over the last decade, we have made it a priority to link nonviolent adult offenders - mostly those involved in drug cases - to community-based drug and mental health treatment instead of jailing them. By engaging judges in monitoring defendants in treatment, we have become a national model for reducing both substance abuse and recidivism.

Why not apply this model to juvenile probation? Each year, family court judges in New York sentence about 4,500 young people to probation. These sentences are administered by local juvenile probation departments, which are overburdened and underfinanced, in large part because the probation system has no strong advocate in Albany. Two decades ago, state dollars made up about 47 percent of county probation budgets; today that figure is below 20 percent.

If our goal is to reduce the number of young people behind bars, we will inevitably increase the number of them on juvenile probation. This will make it ever harder for financially ailing county probation departments to carry out a judge's sentence. But having the state judiciary assume oversight would not only ensure that judges could do a better job of holding young defendants accountable, but also give the juvenile probation system a champion in state government.

We have reached a crisis: the state agency overseeing juvenile facilities has asked New York's family court judges not to institutionalize young offenders unless they are a significant risk to public safety. But this is just a Band-Aid. A real solution requires a strategy for reducing incarceration and crime.

The experience of New York's adult drug courts indicates that it is possible to do both - if judges feel confident that alternative sanctions are meaningful and rigorous. Having the judicial branch itself oversee juvenile probation would be an important step in limiting the number of youths incarcerated, protecting public safety, closing unneeded residential facilities and saving money.

Jonathan Lippman is the chief judge of the State of New York.


3) Poll Reveals Trauma of Joblessness in U.S.
December 15, 2009

More than half of the nation's unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work.

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.

The results of the poll, which surveyed 708 unemployed adults from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, help to lay bare the depth of the trauma experienced by millions across the country who are out of work as the jobless rate hovers at 10 percent and, in particular, as the ranks of the long-term unemployed soar.

Roughly half of the respondents described the recession as a hardship that had caused fundamental changes in their lives. Generally, those who have been out of work longer reported experiencing more acute financial and emotional effects.

"I lost my job in March, and from there on, everything went downhill," said Vicky Newton, 38, of Mount Pleasant, Mich., a single mother who had been a customer-service representative in an insurance agency.

"After struggling and struggling and not being able to pay my house payments or my other bills, I finally sucked up my pride," she said in an interview after the poll was conducted. "I got food stamps just to help feed my daughter."

Over the summer, she abandoned her home in Flint, Mich., after she started receiving foreclosure notices. She now lives 90 minutes away, in a rental house owned by her father.

With unemployment driving foreclosures nationwide, a quarter of those polled said they had either lost their home or been threatened with foreclosure or eviction for not paying their mortgage or rent. About a quarter, like Ms. Newton, have received food stamps. More than half said they had cut back on both luxuries and necessities in their spending. Seven in 10 rated their family's financial situation as fairly bad or very bad.

But the impact on their lives was not limited to the difficulty in paying bills. Almost half said unemployment had led to more conflicts or arguments with family members and friends; 55 percent have suffered from insomnia.

"Everything gets touched," said Colleen Klemm, 51, of North Lake, Wis., who lost her job as a manager at a landscaping company last November. "All your relationships are touched by it. You're never your normal happy-go-lucky person. Your countenance, your self-esteem goes. You think, 'I'm not employable.' "

A quarter of those who experienced anxiety or depression said they had gone to see a mental health professional. Women were significantly more likely than men to acknowledge emotional issues.

Tammy Linville, 29, of Louisville, Ky., said she lost her job as a clerical worker for the Census Bureau a year and a half ago. She began seeing a therapist for depression every week through Medicaid but recently has not been able to go because her car broke down and she cannot afford to fix it.

Her partner works at the Ford plant in the area, but his schedule has been sporadic. They have two small children and at this point, she said, they are "saving quarters for diapers."

"Every time I think about money, I shut down because there is none," Ms. Linville said. "I get major panic attacks. I just don't know what we're going to do."

Nearly half of the adults surveyed admitted to feeling embarrassed or ashamed most of the time or sometimes as a result of being out of work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the traditional image of men as breadwinners, men were significantly more likely than women to report feeling ashamed most of the time.

There was a pervasive sense from the poll that the American dream had been upended for many. Nearly half of those polled said they felt in danger of falling out of their social class, with those out of work six months or more feeling especially vulnerable. Working-class respondents felt at risk in the greatest numbers.

Nearly half of respondents said they did not have health insurance, with the vast majority citing job loss as a reason, a notable finding given the tug of war in Congress over a health care overhaul. The poll offered a glimpse of the potential ripple effect of having no coverage. More than half characterized the cost of basic medical care as a hardship.

Many in the ranks of the unemployed appear to be rethinking their career and life choices. Just over 40 percent said they had moved or considered moving to another part of the state or country where there were more jobs. More than two-thirds of respondents had considered changing their career or field, and 44 percent of those surveyed had pursued job retraining or other educational opportunities.

Joe Whitlow, 31, of Nashville, worked as a mechanic until a repair shop he was running with a friend finally petered out in August. He had contemplated going back to school before, but the potential loss in income always deterred him. Now he is enrolled at a local community college, planning to study accounting.

"When everything went bad, not that I didn't have a choice, but it made the choice easier," Mr. Whitlow said.

The poll also shed light on the formal and informal safety nets that the jobless have relied upon. More than half said they were receiving or had received unemployment benefits. But 61 percent of those receiving benefits said the amount was not enough to cover basic necessities.

Meanwhile, a fifth said they had received food from a nonprofit organization or religious institution. Among those with a working spouse, half said their spouse had taken on additional hours or another job to help make ends meet.

Even those who have stayed employed have not escaped the recession's bite. According to a New York Times/CBS News nationwide poll conducted at the same time as the poll of unemployed adults, about 3 in 10 people said that in the past year, as a result of bad economic conditions, their pay had been cut.

In terms of casting blame for the high unemployment rate, 26 percent of unemployed adults cited former President George W. Bush; 12 percent pointed the finger at banks; 8 percent highlighted jobs going overseas and the same number blamed politicians. Only 3 percent blamed President Obama.

Those out of work were split, however, on the president's handling of job creation, with 47 percent expressing approval and 44 percent disapproval.

Unemployed Americans are divided over what the future holds for the job market: 39 percent anticipate improvement, 36 percent expect it will stay the same, and 22 percent say it will get worse.

Marina Stefan and Dalia Sussman contributed reporting.


4) Yemen rebels say air raid kills 120
SANAA -- Yemeni Shi'ite rebels accused the U.S. air force on Tuesday of joining attacks against them, and killing at least 120 people in a raid in the north of the poor Arab state.
Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:19pm EST

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni Shi'ite rebels accused the U.S. air force on Tuesday of joining attacks against them, and killing at least 120 people in a raid in the north of the poor Arab state.


"The savage crime committed by the U.S. air force shows the real face of the United States," said the northern rebels, who often report attacks by the Yemeni and Saudi fighter planes, on their website. There was no immediate report of U.S. comment on the alleged incident.

The rebels, who are fighting the Yemeni army and forces of neighboring Saudi Arabia, posted videos on the Internet that appeared to show people trying to clear rubble covering human bodies.

On Sunday, the rebels said at least 70 people had been killed in a Saudi air raid on a market in the northern town of Razeh. The reports could not be verified as aid workers and media have limited access to the conflict zones.

U.S.-allied Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, fears the growing instability in neighboring Yemen could turn into a major security threat for the kingdom by allowing al Qaeda to gain a stronger foothold there.

In Geneva, a U.N. official said U.N. agencies had appealed for $177 million to help people affected by the conflict.

"The humanitarian situation is deteriorating, notably for 200,000 people displaced by successive conflicts since 2004," Elisabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told reporters in Geneva.

"We demand full and unlimited access to these displaced populations as well as a halt to attacks on humanitarian convoys," Byrs said.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Yemeni security forces of widespread abuses and the killing of at least 11 protesters in response to calls for secession in southern Yemen.

"Yemeni authorities are violating basic rights in the name of maintaining national unity," said Joe Stork, deputy director at Human Rights Watch's Middle East division.

"Southern Yemenis should have the right to peacefully assemble and express their opinions, even on critical issues like secession," he said.

"On six occasions during 2008 and 2009 ... security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters, often without warning and aiming at them from short range. At least 11 people were killed and dozens were wounded," HRW said in a report on Yemen.

Activists, some of whom belong to the Southern Movement, have stepped up demonstrations in the past year, complaining that the government and northerners exploit and discriminate against the south, which holds most of Yemen's oil facilities.

Yemen's state news agency Saba said Information Minister Hasan al-Lawzi met an HRW delegation on Tuesday in Sanaa and said, "Yemen is a democratic country which supports press freedom and respects human rights."

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari, additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; writing by Firouz Sedarat)


5) A Soft Sell at the New Army Recruiting Station Just Blocks From Ground Zero
December 17, 2009

It is already January on the big white board in Staff Sgt. Juan P. Castillo's office. He has written in 11 names, 9 more than his goal.

"We're about to blow it out of the water," said Sergeant Castillo, 28, the buoyant recruiting station commander who covers Lower Manhattan.

Sergeant Castillo, who has been in the Army since he was 19 and did three tours in Iraq, is new to the job. And officially, his recruiting station, on Chambers Street a few steps from West Broadway, has not even opened yet.

The dedication ceremony, with a general and commanders and invited guests, is not until Thursday. One of the invitations went to Brian Williams, the NBC News anchor. Sergeant Castillo handed it to him last week at the annual Armed Forces Gala and Gold Medal dinner in Manhattan, where Mr. Williams was the host and Sergeant Castillo was in charge of the color guard.

But even before the ribbon cutting on Thursday, walk-ins are already trickling in, if only because they notice the awning over the front windows. Sergeant Castillo expects some to come from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, just down the street.

Inside the recruiting station, they find soft lighting, tone-on-tone carpeting and comfortable chairs. There is not a single "Uncle Sam wants you" poster in the place. It is almost unimaginably different from an Army ancestor, the induction center on Whitehall Street where draft boards sent young men, in the words of the Arlo Guthrie song "Alice's Restaurant," to be "injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected."

The Whitehall Street center processed inductees from 1884 until it was bombed by protesters in 1969, during the Vietnam War. Those recruited by Sergeant Castillo do not get their physicals in his recruiting station - there is no Army doctor on duty waiting to tell them to turn and cough. Nowadays, recruits are sent to Fort Hamilton, in Brooklyn, for their checkups.

"Here, it's basic qualification," Sergeant Castillo said. "They're not going to get past me without making sure everything's valid. It's my job to make sure they're legit. Anybody we send down to Fort Hamilton is going to join the Army." Sergeant Castillo said no one had come in and been "negative" about the Army or said anything "derogatory."

The Chambers Street storefront replaced a recruiting station on the seventh floor of 290 Broadway, a government office building. There was not much traffic there, Sergeant Castillo said. "The only way to find that station is if you went to," he said. "Here, there's an influx. Nothing we can't handle, but sometimes they end up waiting 20, 30, 40 minutes."

Sergeant Castillo has modulated his pitch to appeal to potential soldiers who may be tempted by the Navy and the Marines, which have recruiting stations of their own up the street.

"The guys who come in here, they're like a free agent, shopping for the best branch," he said. "Other branches talk about their uniforms, tradition, duty. There's nothing wrong with that, but I tell them we dish things out right" - and provide valuable education and training.

He has learned the landscape of his new neighborhood. He knows that the recruiting station is half a dozen blocks from where the World Trade Center was. He remembers where he was on 9/11: in Fort Sill, Okla., about to be stationed in Hawaii to train with the 25th Infantry Division. Now, via Iraq, he said he is where "it all happened."

"I went from seeing it on TV to now - I can walk the distance, walk over there," he said. "It's overwhelming."

Sergeant Castillo has a son, Juan P. Castillo Jr., who is 6. Sergeant Castillo first saw him when he came home from Iraq on a 15-day furlough in 2003. Juan Jr. was 3 weeks old.

Sergeant Castillo is divorced now. It happened "after my third deployment," he said by way of explanation.

Sergeant Castillo re-enlisted twice and, toward the end of his third tour in Iraq, volunteered for recruiting duty. He was stationed in Queens until the Army sent him to Lower Manhattan.

He recounted how, with one particular recruit - Specialist Craig Muckle - Sergeant Castillo looked after the home front. "I put my ex-wife's husband in the Army" 14 months ago, Sergeant Castillo said. "I in-processed him," he said. "It was a good thing for me," because his ex-wife and her new husband came to new York, and "I got to spend a week with my son."


6) Police Beat Back Massed Climate Protesters
December 17, 2009

COPENHAGEN - Police officers used pepper spray and wielded batons on Wednesday to beat back hundreds of demonstrators outside the global climate meeting here, as a police spokesman said 250 people had been arrested.

The police tried to disperse the chanting, drum-beating protesters who had marched from a train station about a mile away to try to make their way to the Bella Center, where representatives from nearly 200 countries are meeting to try to reach an accord on climate change. A group of 50 to 100 delegates emerged from the convention center, seeking to meet with the protesters, but they, too, were driven back by the police.

In another development, the Danish chairwoman of the conference, Connie Hedegaard, said she was stepping down and that the Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, would take her place as heads of state from around the world begin arriving in Copenhagen. Ms. Hedegaard, a conservative, was Denmark's minister of climate and energy and her placement as chairwoman of the conference was seen as part of a shifting of global environmental issues from the fringe into the political mainstream.

In Wednesday's demonstrations, protesters began massing north of the center shortly before noon and pressed into a tight line of riot police blocking access to the hall. Some of the officers wielded truncheons against the chanting, shoving protesters in a close-order scrum. After forcibly removing protesters from a truck parked in an intersection outside the Bella Center, police in blue vans kept moving the protesters backwards, nearly pushing some into a watery marsh.

As the police vans advanced, skirmishes broke out with protesters who formed human chains and chanted their commitment to nonviolence and to helping people in parts of the world that they said would be hardest hit by climate change. A number of protesters encouraged individual groups to keep pushing against the police.

Police deployed water cannon at the southeast corner of the center to push back the marchers if necessary. "I can only say," said Per Larsen, chief coordinator for the Danish police, "that they will not be able to enter the Bella Center."

Climate Justice Action, a Danish umbrella group that has served as the organizing agent for a number of planned and spontaneous demonstrations during the conference, has a permit to march along a specified route south of the venue.

According to one organizer, Anne Petermann, the overarching message of Wednesday's action is that the United Nations process for curbing climate change is a failure, and that there are "thousands of other solutions to climate change that aren't being considered," she said.

Another member of the protest group, Richard Bernard, said he expected arrests and possible clashes with police. "Danish police have been violating human rights all week," he said.

Authorities were restricting access to the rail station serving the Bella Center, forcing many conference attendees to walk a mile or more in cold drizzle and biting winds.

Groups of delegates and members of nongovernmental organizations continued to stream on foot past subway stations that had been closed to prevent demonstrators from converging. They passed groups of detained protesters seated in neat rows, their hands tied with plastic police strips. Behind a department store, about a dozen detained protesters under police guard chanted anti-capitalist slogans.

Inside the center, ssenior officials, including Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, and Kevin Rudd, the Australian leader, arrived ahead of other world leaders to begin what was expected to be an intense day of talks to try to untangle some of the many issues standing in the way of a global agreement.

Negotiators debated until just before dawn without setting new goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or for financing poorer countries' efforts to cope with coming climate change, key elements of any deal, The Associated Press reported.

"I regret to report we have been unable to reach agreement," John Ashe of Antigua, chairman of one negotiating group, said to the full 193-nation conference later Wednesday morning, The A.P. said.More than 100 heads of government were expected to arrive for the final negotiating sessions. The two-week meeting is scheduled to conclude on Friday and organizers were warning that time was short.

"In these very hours, we are balancing between success and failure," Ms. Hedegaard told delegates Tuesday night before she stepped down. "Success is still within reach. But I must also warn you: we can fail."

Much of the focus on Wednesday was expected to be on the financing arrangements of the deal, under which industrialized nations would transfer billions of dollars annually to poor nations to help them cope with a changing climate.

One of the proposals to be discussed Wednesday was put forward by Meles Zenawi, the prime minister of Ethiopia, who has been in talks with Mr. Brown, President Obama and other leaders. The amount and timing of payments was still under discussion.

Norway and Mexico have also offered a financing plan, which envisions annual payments to developing countries substantially higher than the $10 billion annual figure that Mr. Obama said the United States would support in the near term.

Developing countries have said that they will need $100 billion to $200 billion a year by 2020 to pay for low-carbon energy development and adaptation to global warming changes.

Outside the hall, police searched the bags of potential protesters and watched warily as crowds began to gather at rail stops within walking distance of the Bella Center.

Mette Hermansen, 27, studying to train teachers, and a member of the International Socialists of Denmark, said, "In the Bella Center they are not discussing solutions to climate change. They are discussing how rich countries can continue emitting and how to sell that to the public. We are not preventing leaders from making solutions but encouraging them to make solutions."

James Kanter contributed reporting from Copenhagen, and Jack Healy contributed reporting from New York.


7) Arms Sales to Taiwan Will Proceed, U.S. Says
[The "Peace President" strikes]
December 16, 2009

BEIJING - The Obama administration will proceed with arms sales to Taiwan despite recent protests by China, an American official said Tuesday.

The official, Raymond Burghardt, is chairman of the American Institute in Taipei, the de facto United States Embassy in Taiwan.

Speaking from Hawaii, where he lives, he said that sales of arms to Taiwan were consistent with what White House officials have been saying was President Obama's policy. "No one should be surprised when we move forward with them," he said.

Mr. Burghardt declined to say exactly when Mr. Obama would notify Congress of an arms sale. The American relationship with Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province, is one of the most delicate diplomatic issues between Beijing and Washington. The United States takes no position on the sovereignty of Taiwan, but acknowledges that Beijing claims that there is only one China.

In the past week, Chinese officials and news organizations have expressed anger over reports that the Obama administration could notify Congress shortly of such arms sales. Notification is the final step in the process. American officials here say China could break off military-to-military contacts with the United States once notification is made. When the Pentagon announced in October 2008, under the Bush administration, that it was selling Taiwan $6.5 billion worth of weapons, China froze the military ties and did not resume the contacts until after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Beijing in February.

One of the biggest questions is whether the United States will sell advanced F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Officials under President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan continue to call for such jets; Taiwan has older models it bought in 1992. In 2008, the United States canceled a deal to sell 66 of the jets to Taiwan after China strongly objected. Mr. Burghardt said that the sale of F-16s was "under study."

On Dec. 9, Reuters quoted Robert Kovac, a State Department official in Washington, as saying that the White House was preparing to notify Congress about a package of arms sales, including design work on diesel-electric submarines and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Foreign Policy magazine also reported online that arms sales might occur soon.

Last Thursday, Chinese officials denounced any potential arms sales. "China is strongly against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan," said Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.

The English-language edition of the Global Times newspaper ran a headline that irked United States officials in Beijing after Mr. Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday: "Peace Prize winner to sell arms."

Before Mr. Obama's trip to China last month, senior White House officials began laying out the administration's policy toward Taiwan. Jeffrey Bader, the senior director for East Asian affairs in the National Security Council, said in a speech in early November at the Brookings Institution that arms sales to Taiwan would continue.

American arms sales to Taiwan are governed by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, passed after the United States established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. It says the United States government "will make available to Taiwan" arms of a defensive nature.

Mr. Burghardt said the package put together by the White House would presumably include "advanced capability" Patriot missiles, which were among the items in the 2008 package.

Most arms in that package had been approved for sale in April 2001, but the Taiwan government, for domestic political reasons, took a long time to assemble the financing, Mr. Burghardt said. Likewise, he added, the arms that Mr. Obama would present have already been approved.

Zhang Jing contributed research.


8) Pittsburgh Sets Vote on Adding Tax on Tuition
December 16, 2009

The mayor of Pittsburgh calls it the "Fair Share Tax." But to officials at the city's 10 colleges and universities and many of their 100,000 students, it is anything but.

On Wednesday, the City Council is expected to give preliminary approval to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's proposal for a 1 percent tuition tax on students attending college in Pittsburgh, which he says will raise $16.2 million in annual revenue that is needed to pay pensions for retired city employees. Final Council action will be on Monday.

The tax would be the first of its kind in the nation, and other cities are watching closely as they try to find ways to close their own budget gaps.

Students and college officials argue that the tax will drive students away and place an unfair burden on institutions that already contribute substantially to the city. They add that the measure comes at an especially difficult time for colleges, as endowment values have fallen and requests for financial aid have risen.

The tax, which will most likely end up in the courts, represents a turning point for Pittsburgh, which has remade itself after the steel mills shut down, becoming a hub for nonprofit hospitals and universities. Yet it has been unable to draw significant revenue from its new identity.

"It's really a disappointment that we're in this situation," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "Our colleges and universities are giving less and less while they increase tuition and executive pay and expand their campuses, removing high-value land from the tax rolls. The cost to provide public safety and public works services continues to increase, but our revenue continues to decrease."

The tax, which would take effect as early as July, would range from about $20 a year for students at cheaper schools like the Community College of Allegheny County to just over $400 for students at the city's priciest university, Carnegie Mellon.

As a town-gown clash, the issue pits local taxpayers against mostly out-of-state students. But it is also a struggle between the old Pittsburgh and the new, as the mayor tries to force the city's youngest residents to support some of its oldest.

Other cities have considered going this route. This spring, for example, Mayor David N. Cicilline of Providence, R.I., proposed a $150-per-semester tax on students at the city's four private colleges. The State Legislature, however, did not take it up.

And in Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino created a task force in January to explore increasing voluntary payments from the city's universities and hospitals.

"City officials see this as an untapped revenue source, and if Pittsburgh succeeds, I think you will see a lot of other cities immediately move to do the same," said Terry Hartle of the American Council on Education, a lobbying group for universities. He added that if the Pittsburgh City Council approves the mayor's proposal, the matter will surely go to the courts.

Students and university officials are not pleased.

The added cost "could prevent prospective students from coming to Carnegie Mellon, and Pittsburgh would be missing out on some of the best talent from around the world," said an editorial published this month in The Tartan, the student newspaper at Carnegie Mellon.

Officials at the University of Pittsburgh said they would "vigorously oppose any attempt to impose a service or privilege fee on our undergraduate and graduate students."

But Mr. Ravenstahl said he was left with no other option.

He said that he asked the universities and other tax-exempt nonprofits to pay $5 million annually to the city, and that in lieu of the tax he would find the other $10 million by dipping into reserves, cutting services and getting Harrisburg to increase the commuter tax rate.

Mr. Ravenstahl said the city currently forgoes about $50 million in real estate taxes from nonprofit institutions.

The universities rejected his request last week.

In a four-page letter, the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education said it refused to consider payments as long as the mayor continued the threat of a tax that it called divisive, illegal and unenforceable.

The council added that the city's colleges and universities pay $23 million annually in taxes to the city for payroll, parking, business privileges and any real estate not directly related to their educational missions.

Politically, Mr. Ravenstahl risks few votes in leaning on universities for revenue because college students rarely vote in local elections. And many of the constituencies that supported Mr. Ravenstahl's re-election in November have been vocally supportive of his tax plan.

"This is a turning point for us," said Joe King, president of the Pittsburgh firefighters' union. He said that after Miami-Dade County in Florida, Allegheny County has the second largest number of seniors of any county in the United States and that in his union alone he has 900 retirees and 450 surviving spouses whose pensions need to be financed.

"Without the tax, the fate of those pensions could be in trouble," he said. "We are not asking young people to carry more than their due. We're just asking them to pay for what they use."

But students say they already do.

"We have jobs in Pittsburgh so we pay taxes on that income, we rent apartments so we pay taxes on that, we have cars here, which provide parking taxes," said David Gau, an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, adding that he resented the portrayal of students as freeloaders. "We go to a variety of events like symphony, sports games, plays, concerts, and there are amusement taxes on those that produce even more revenue from us."

"Why try to divert new people from coming here with a college tax?" added Mr. Gau, 21, who is from Kennett Square, Pa. "It's the furthest thing from fair."

Chad Ellis, 28, a graduate student in chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University and a Pittsburgh homeowner, agreed.

"Holding students hostage in negotiations with nonprofits to come up with money to pay for bloated city pension plans is divisive," he said.


9) DNA Evidence Exonerates Inmate
National Briefing | Washington
December 16, 2009

A man who spent 28 years behind bars for a rape and murder he said he did not commit walked out of a federal prison in Arizona after DNA testing showed he was innocent. The conviction of the man, Donald E. Gates, 58, was based largely on the testimony of an F.B.I. forensic analyst whose work later came under fire and a hair analysis technique that has been discredited. The same judge who had presided over Mr. Gates's trial in District of Columbia Superior Court ordered his release. Prosecutors had also agreed that Mr. Gates should be released. The conviction was based largely on the testimony of an F.B.I. hair analyst, Michael P. Malone, whose work came under fire in 1997.


10) Seeing Politics in Plan to Cut Student Transit Aid
December 16, 2009

It was the question on the lips of many New York politicians on Tuesday, but Gov. David A. Paterson may have phrased it best: "Who wants to take MetroCards away from kids?"

The culprit, it appeared, would be the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is expected to approve an austere budget on Wednesday that would, amid other significant cuts, phase out the free bus and subway rides considered a basic right for half a million students who commute to school in the city. Authority officials say that such a cut would come to save the agency about $170 million a year.

But amid the outrage, some transit advocates acknowledged that proposing a cut that would hit riders on an emotional level may be the best chance for the cash-strapped agency, which is facing a nearly $400 million budget shortfall, to eke out additional money from the political powers that often hold it at bay. "Of all the issues that they put on the table, this is the one that may demand that the city and state intervene," said Neysa C. Pranger, a spokeswoman for the Regional Plan Association, a transportation advocacy group.

The proposal has been seen by some as a negotiating tactic, and some observers argued that the authority was within its rights to stop financing a program whose costs were once shared by the city and the state; in recent years, those government subsidies have flat-lined or disappeared.

"This is something the city and state should pay," said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. "It's education spending, not transit spending. I think it is a pretty clever way to pressure the city and state to stop hiding their own budget problems in the M.T.A."

The authority argues that state and city lawmakers are squarely to blame for the potential demise of the student discounts. For nearly half a century, schoolchildren's fares were fully subsidized by Albany and City Hall, until Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani yanked all the city's funding in 1994.

The result was a standoff between the transit agency and City Hall marked by the same type of blustery language that emerged on Tuesday. Although he raged about the cruelty of eliminating student discounts, Mr. Giuliani eventually gave in, and a last-minute deal was struck to divide the program's funding equally among the authority, the city and the state, with each paying $45 million a year.

But even as the program has become more expensive, the city kept its contribution the same. The state, meanwhile, slashed its annual subsidy to $6 million from $25 million in November as part of a broader cost-saving plan.

"It is a game of leverage where the students basically are pawns," said George Arzt, a political consultant and a longtime observer of the municipal arena. Recalling the Giuliani dispute, he said that the issue of student fares could be a potent political tool. "When you think of so many kids affected, and two voting parents in many cases, that is a powerful, powerful electoral bloc."

Mr. Arzt's point appeared to be underscored by the anger directed at the authority on Tuesday. "We aren't going to stand for it," declared Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, weighing in from Copenhagen. (The mayor has directed his appointees on the authority's board to vote against the proposal, which must be approved again separately next year.)

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, denounced the authority's decision-making as "undemocratic." And dozens of elected officials gathered in rallies throughout the city to accuse the authority of punishing poorer parents and pushing students toward truancy, turnstile-hopping or worse.

A spokesman for the mayor said that Albany lawmakers had an obligation to restore its subsidy. "We have kept our funding in place, and are going to continue to do so. The state should do the same," said Marc LaVorgna, the spokesman.

Mr. Paterson, at a press conference, pledged to restore funding to the program if the state received additional revenue next year.

Members of the authority's board appeared to be divided. On Monday, Norman Seabrook, the labor leader, said the cuts would be nightmarish: "Kids shouldn't have to jump a turnstile to get to school!"

But Doreen M. Frasca, an appointee of Governor Paterson, said she hoped the plan would put pressure on the city and state to restore some funding.

"If these discussions prompt the city and the state to do the right thing by contributing their fair share, then it's a discussion worth having," Ms. Frasca said. "I don't plan to back down on student fares, I really don't. As much as I regret it, I hope we can stand our ground on it."


11) Look Who Just Funded the Escalation
By David Swanson
December 17, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Wednesday another $130 billion for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and (it goes without saying) Pakistan, money that will be used to continue the wars and to escalate the war in Afghanistan. In the spring, they will try to pass another $30 billion or more, labeled as funding for the escalation, but 4 out of 5 spineless warmongering congress members will tell their constituents at that point that they can't vote against something that has already happened.

That didn't stop them on Wednesday from telling their constituents that this $130 billion was not for the escalation. And, of course, peace groups had spent a year "strategically" opposing an escalation rather than the wars themselves, making it impossible to insist that congress members vote NO regardless of which dollars were for escalating.

At is a chart showing how members of congress voted, as well as how they voted on the same funding back in June, and which of them have cosponsored useful bills or publicly committed to voting no on war funding. On Wednesday 23 Democrats and 11 Republicans voted No on the war money, in combination with the larger military budget. That ought to at least break the bipartisan taboo on voting No. It ought to be safe now to vote No without enduring accusations of treason against the Vaterland. Here are the 34 (out of 435) who voted against funding wars and occupations opposed by the majority of Americans, Iraqis, Afghans, and the rule of law:

Baldwin, Bishop (UT), Campbell, Chaffetz, Clarke, Costello, Duncan, Ehlers, Ellison, Filner, Flake, Gohmert, Grayson, Johnson (IL), Kagen, Kucinich, Lee (CA), Lewis (GA), Lofgren, Lummis, McDermott, Nadler (NY), Paul, Payne, Polis (CO), Quigley, Serrano, Shimkus, Stark, Towns, Velázquez, Welch, Woolsey, Wu.

Back in June, all Republicans voted No because of unrelated measures packaged in the same vote, but at least some of the 11 who voted No this week probably voted No for the right reasons that time as well. Among the Democrats, 32 voted No in June compared to 23 this time. Of those 32, there are 19 who voted No in June but not this week, including some purported leaders of peace efforts in the House:

McGovern, Grijalva, Waters, Capuano, Conyers, Massa, Edwards, Sherman, Tsongas, Tierney, Watson, Speier, Shea-Porter, Pingree, Michaud, Kaptur, Honda, Farr, Doggett.

These 19 were among the 395 congress members who just voted to fund the wars and the escalation, with the exception of Speier who was among 5 congress members who did not vote one way or the other.

At we have listed 12 congress members who have committed to voting No on war funding, and 1 who has committed to voting No on escalation funding. Of those 13 congress members, 6 kept their word and voted No on Wednesday, but 7 (including the one committed to voting No only on escalation funding) betrayed their word and hoped nobody would notice. They were: Massa, Conyers, Capuano, Waters, Jones, Grijalva, and McGovern.

Of these 7, all but Waters and McGovern signed on this week to a bill to be introduced by Congressman Kucinich in January that would end the wars. But a bill ending a war has to be passed by the Senate and signed by a president. It should be a tool for mobilizing support in the House to vote No on the war funding, not an excuse to vote Yes. These congress members committed to voting No within days of voting yes.

Here's a video of Massa demanding an end to the wars he just funded:

Here's Capuano's campaign ad from his recently failed senate run, in which Capuano says that without the right reasons, which he has made clear do not exist in this case, he "will never vote to send more of our sons and daughters to war, never"

Here is video of Waters saying she will vote against war funding:

Here is video of Grijalva saying the same, and doing so as co-chair of the so-called progressive caucus:

Beside each congress member's name at is their phone number. It might be worth taking a couple of minutes to let them know how important it is that they keep their word in the future.

There will almost certainly be a war funding vote in the spring. We need solid commitments, in writing, and on video, to vote No on this and all future funding.


12) Bleeding Money From the Poor
How Banks Prey on the Unemployed
December 17, 2009

While posting breathtaking profits in the last two quarters - Wells Fargo's $3.2 billion, Citigroup's $3 billion and Chase's $2.7 billion - U.S. banks have figured out a way to squeeze some extra dollars from those who can least afford it, the unemployed.

Here's how it works. In the past two years, states have been overwhelmed with unemployment claims. Always eager to serve, America's banks offered a deal the states couldn't refuse.

Sign a contract - which won't cost you a dime - and send us your weekly unemployment funds, the banks said. In return, we'll issue our VISA or MasterCard debit cards to your laid-off workers, on which we'll post their benefits electronically.

Thirty states signed on with the usual suspects - Citi, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America - and some smaller ones, too. More states are lining up.

In a stroke, states dropped all their costs for printing and mailing checks. Andrew James, with North Carolina's Employment Security Commission, told me that in the past year, his state saved a whopping $10 million. During the same time, Nevada saved $800,000, Maryland $400,000 and West Virginia $340,000.

But if the system is good for the states, it's great for the banks. A February 2009 Associated Press article noted that Missouri's Central Bank, which won that state's contract, could reap $6.3 million this year alone.

The banks profit from interest earned on the funds the states deposit with them until the money is posted onto the debit cards. Then there's the money the banks get from retailers where the unemployed shop with their cards - from 2 percent to 3 percent per transaction.

But such sums are not large enough, it seems. So the banks have figured how to extract more money from the millions of unemployed now using the debit cards. The devil's in the fees.

Nickel and Diming

The cards can be beneficial to some of the unemployed, like those who otherwise would pay whopping fees to cash checks because they don't have bank accounts.

And, at first glance, many of the terms seem reasonable enough: Free cash withdrawals from tellers at banks that honor VISA or MasterCard (over 90 percent in the United States) and from ATMs owned by the banks with the contracts (plus one or two others in their networks).

However, in practice, the various fees add up. For example, withdrawals are free - but only to a point. In Maryland, Citicorp gets $1.50 a pop after four free ATM withdrawals a month; in Nevada, Wells Fargo gets $1.25 after two free ones; in Texas, Chase gets $1.50 after only one free withdrawal a week and Missouri's Central Bank, which offers no free ATM withdrawals, rakes in $1.75 each and every time.

If the bank offering the debit card doesn't have an ATM in a neighborhood or small town, it's even worse: Card-holders must use out-of-network ATMs, which spell double trouble. A first fee goes to the bank with the contract - Chase charges $2.75 in West Virginia and Wells Fargo gets $1.25 in Nevada.

A second fee - from $2 to $4 - goes to the out-of-network bank that owns the ATM, if the recipient doesn't have an account there. Thus, one withdrawal can cost over $5. These expenses can mushroom, since recipients use ATMs six to 10 times a month, according to the AP article.

Penalties for transactions denied due to insufficient funds, whether at ATMs or stores, are another costly affront: $1.50 in West Virginia and Michigan, and $1 in Texas - though the banks, which use electronic systems - needn't process anything. Only a few plans, as in Kansas, charge nothing.

To avoid penalties, the jobless must find out how much money is on their cards. But here's another catch: In Nevada, they get one free ATM balance inquiry a month. After that, the price tag is 50 cents a throw. In Michigan, it's $1 for every one after the first (per week). In Texas, inquiries are free at Chase ATMs, but 50 cents at all others.

So it's a costly Catch-22. To avoid fees for declined transactions, the jobless must pay to know what's on the card, to ensure that a purchase or other transaction won't exceed the total.

Lost Cards

If a card is lost, tack on more. A few banks give the first one gratis, but the next cost $5 each (in Kansas and Maryland) or $7.50 (in Michigan). In North Carolina, Comerica gets $5, period - no freebies allowed.

Most banks charge nothing for cash withdrawn inside, from tellers, but some levy fees after the first visit in a week or month: $5 in Texas and $4 in Michigan.

The promise that retailers will give free cash-backs to debit-card users often is another myth.

In Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, the one hardware store in town doesn't give cash back. Nor do the two gas stations. The 7-11 turns over $10 tops.

Food Lion allows up to $100 per purchase - but as the customer service rep told me, "Only if we have the cash." And, most stores (even in big cities) don't in the early morning or at night.

Could the debit-card terms change and the plans still work - for the banks, states and unemployed?

Judi Conti, at the National Employment Law Project, says the states could easily negotiate better deals to reduce the fees. Also, recipients should be able to decide if they want their payments in checks, direct deposits to their bank accounts - which carry no fees at all - or debit cards.

"The banks," she contends, "could do this and still make an honest profit."

At present, a few states offer direct deposits - but most don't. The Workforce West Virginia spokesman told me his state was going to start this "sometime soon." When? It's not yet decided.

For now, those without jobs who are trying to stretch every dollar from unemployment insurance are finding the banks eager to nibble away at even those modest sums.

Barbara Koeppel is a free-lance investigative reporter based in Washington DC.


13) Inquiry Condemns Oversight at State Police Crime Lab
December 18, 2009

The New York State Police's supervision of a crime laboratory was so poor that it overlooked evidence of pervasively shoddy forensics work, allowing an analyst to go undetected for 15 years as he falsified test results and compromised nearly one-third of his 322 cases, an investigation by the state's inspector general has found.

The analyst's training was so substandard that at one point last year, investigators discovered he did not know how to operate a microscope essential to performing his job, a report released Thursday by the inspector general said.

And when the State Police became aware of the analyst's misconduct, an internal review by superiors in the lab deliberately excluded information implicating other analysts and suggesting systemic problems with the way evidence was handled, the report said. Instead, the review focused blame mostly on the analyst, Garry Veeder, who committed suicide in May 2008 during the internal inquiry.

"Cutting corners in a crime lab is serious and intolerable," said the state's inspector general, Joseph Fisch. "Forensic laboratories must adhere to the highest standards of competence, independence and integrity. Anything less undermines public confidence in our criminal justice system."

The State Police, according to the inspector general's report, should "review the conduct of those who conducted the investigation and take appropriate action."

The State Police superintendent, Harry J. Corbitt, said in a letter to the inspector general included as part of the report that the concerns raised by the findings were alarming and that an outside consultant would be hired to ensure that the agency's forensic labs were meeting proper standards.

"We will move quickly to address the issues raised your report and ensure that there are no similar problems with any other units within the State Police Crime Laboratory System," said Mr. Corbitt, who was named to his post by Gov. David A. Paterson last year to help revamp an agency that has been plagued by scandal.

Mr. Corbitt added in a statement released after the inspector general's report came out on Thursday that he was confident that the lapses at the lab did not result in anyone innocent going to jail. "We are satisfied that there were no wrongful convictions, nor any miscarriages of justice which resulted from these improper procedures," he said.

The release did not say whether any of the lab supervisors implicated in the report were disciplined. Mr. Veeder worked in the crime lab analyzing so-called trace evidence, such as fibers, hair, impressions and other physical material found at crime scenes, including homicides.

Although the inspector general's findings showed that Mr. Veeder was essentially unqualified to carry out many of his responsibilities, Mr. Fisch's office, like Mr. Corbitt's, is not aware of any instances in which any of Mr. Veeder's compromised tests resulted in wrongful convictions.

After Mr. Veeder's wrongdoing was uncovered last year, the State Police notified district attorneys across the state that evidence in criminal cases examined by Mr. Veeder may have been compromised.

During an internal inquiry, Mr. Veeder's supervisors discovered that Mr. Veeder had routinely skipped a required fiber analysis and then created data "to give the appearance of having conducted an analysis not actually performed," the inspector general's report stated.

The report said Mr. Veeder used a "crib sheet" provided to him by a former supervisor to falsify the test results. At one point Mr. Veeder told investigators, "They told me from the past, you go to this and plug it in," the report said. "This is how I was trained to, how we've always done it."

But Mr. Veeder's allegations involving other lab workers never made it into the final internal report given to the State Police's internal affairs division.

Despite Mr. Veeder's claims that he had been taught how to falsify test results and had been given inadequate training, State Police investigators and the lab's management "minimized and precipitously discarded the seriousness and extent of problems" of fiber analysis at the lab.

The report said that one State Police investigator, Keith Coonrod, mischaracterized Mr. Veeder's responses that implicated other scientists in the laboratory and skewed what Mr. Veeder said to give the impression that it was the analyst's incompetence - not widespread misconduct - that led to the problems.

But the inspector general said that despite Mr. Coonrod's omissions, top managers at the lab had enough evidence to suspect that evidence mishandling was widespread.

"There exists no doubt that laboratory management possessed sufficient information that Veeder's individual misconduct implicated potentially broader systemic issues, but failed to take appropriate action," the report said.

The report named a number of lab supervisors at the time - including the director, Gerald Zeosky, and assistant director Richard Nuzzo - and describes them as unfazed by the inquiry and dismissive of Mr. Veeder's broader claims.

Problem with Mr. Veeder's work were first detected in 2008 during an accreditation review by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. The State Police then started an internal investigation based on the accreditation board's findings.

The report said the inspector general began its review after the State Police internal investigation was already under way and asked that the agency halt its investigation.

Mr. Veeder notified the State Police of his intention to retire on May 7, 2008. On May 23 he hanged himself in the garage of his home outside Albany.


14) Intelligence Improperly Collected on U.S. Citizens
December 17, 2009

WASHINGTON - In February, a Department of Homeland Security intelligence official wrote a "threat assessment" for the police in Wisconsin about a demonstration involving local pro- and anti-abortion rights groups.

That report soon drew internal criticism because the groups "posed no threat to homeland security," according to a department memorandum released on Wednesday in connection with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The agency destroyed all its copies of the report and gave the author remedial training.

That was just one of several cases in the last several years in which the department's intelligence office improperly collected information about American citizens or lawful United States residents, the documents show.

In March 2008, the office produced a "terrorism watch list" report about a Muslim conference in Georgia at which several Americans were scheduled to speak, even though it "did not have any evidence the conference or the speakers promoted radical extremism or terrorist activity," and such speech is constitutionally protected, an internal report said.

And in October 2007, the office sent a report, "Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risks," to hundreds of federal officials. Department guidelines had called for the files to be destroyed because the assessment of the group had lasted more than 180 days without uncovering evidence of potential terrorism.

In all three cases, after other Homeland Security Department officials raised concerns, copies of the reports were destroyed. The agency also held a workshop on intelligence-gathering "while ensuring the protection of civil rights and civil liberties" after the Nation of Islam incident.

The documents were released by the Justice Department in connection with a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. It had sought reports to the Intelligence Oversight Board, a watchdog panel appointed by the president, by various agencies documenting violations of law, executive orders or presidential directives.

Marcia Hofmann, a staff lawyer with the foundation, praised agency officials for destroying the reports but said the public needed to know about such incidents.

"I think it's a positive sign that these agencies responded to this and took steps to correct the situation," Ms. Hofmann said, adding, "We would never have known that this happened had we not seen these internal reports."

Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, said, "We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people while" protecting the country.

Other documents released Wednesday were heavily censored because they involved classified information.

A February 2008 report from the National Security Agency, for example, has four pages almost entirely redacted, under the heading of intelligence activities "that violate law, regulation, or policy substantiated during the quarter, as well as actions taken as a result of the violations."

In a 2007 report, top security agency officials said "intelligence oversight training is not managed effectively" at the N.S.A. and called procedures regarding training "confusing."

A spokeswoman for the N.S.A., Judith A. Emmel, said that since 2007 the agency had "improved its oversight training program and continues to refine it."

"Ensuring our work force is thoroughly and properly trained is something we take very seriously," Ms. Emmel said.

Another memorandum disclosed that a Defense Intelligence Agency employee said that in May 2002, in response to a Congressional inquiry, the Joint Forces Intelligence Command provided false information about its activities related to Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks. The document offered few details.

The Justice Department also released other documents Wednesday from other Freedom of Information Act lawsuits related to national security policies during the Bush administration.

Among them was a letter written in 2002 by George J. Tenet, who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, suggesting that a C.I.A. ban on using journalists as spies was not airtight.

After Islamic militants killed Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter whom they had falsely accused of working for the C.I.A., leaders of the American Society of Newspaper Editors asked Mr. Tenet to "declare unequivocally" that the agency's spies never posed as journalists.

Mr. Tenet replied that for 25 years, the agency's policy had been "that we do not use American journalists as agents or American news organizations for cover." But he refused to make what he described as "a blanket statement that we would never use journalistic cover."

Instead, he wrote, "the circumstances under which I would even consider any exception to this policy would have to be truly extraordinary."


15) U.S. Missiles Kill 15 People Near Border in Pakistan
December 18, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - In an exceptionally heavy barrage by American drones in Pakistan, five Predator aircraft fired 10 missiles at suspected militant compounds along the border with Afghanistan on Thursday. Along with an earlier attack, at least 15 people, including 7 foreigners, were killed, Pakistani security officials said.

The stepped-up drone strikes came as the civilian government felt the repercussions of a Supreme Court decision on Wednesday that declared unconstitutional an amnesty for thousands of politicians accused of corruption.

On Thursday, the National Accountability Bureau, acting with remarkable speed, prohibited 247 people, including some cabinet ministers, from leaving the country, as corruption cases could be revived against them.

They included Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, who was stopped at the Islamabad airport, along with his wife and secretary, from boarding a flight to China, where he was scheduled to make an official visit. He complained publicly that he had not been informed of the ban.

The drone strikes included two missiles that hit at a vehicle in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border, killing at least one person.

The second, heavier assault took place at the village of Degan, hometown of a Pakistani Taliban commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, and a haven for foreign fighters.

Pakistani officials said the seven foreigners killed were Arabs, including a commander named Zohaib al-Zahidi, though it could be independently verified.

Degan, a target of previous missile attacks, is about 15 miles west of Miram Shah, capital of North Waziristan, and is within Datta Khel.

The United States has stepped up the pace and intensity of its drone attacks in Pakistan this year, which now number more than 40, fanning anti-American sentiment over increased civilian deaths and sensitivities over Pakistani sovereignty.

Washington has pressed Pakistan to expand military operations to include the area of North Waziristan that the missiles hit Thursday, threatening to attack militants if Islamabad does not.

The area is a stronghold of local and foreign fighters allied with Al Qaeda; an Afghan commander, Sirajuddin Haqqani; and Mr. Bahadur, the Pakistani Taliban commander, both of whom are involved in attacks against American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military has declared a truce with Mr. Bahadur that it deems essential as it battles militants in neighboring South Waziristan. But American officials believe that North Waziristan has become a haven for Afghan and Qaeda commanders, who use it as a staging ground for attacks not only in Afghanistan but also around the world.


16) Advisers on Vaccines Often Have Conflicts, Report Says
"Most of the advisers identified by Mr. Levinson had either a job or a grant from a company or other entity whose interests were affected by the committees' discussions, and a considerable number also owned stock in such companies, the report said."
December 18, 2009

WASHINGTON - A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety, officials said Thursday.

Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in 2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved, the report said. Some were legally barred from considering the issues but did so anyway.

In the report, expected to be released Friday, Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the centers failed nearly every time to ensure that the experts adequately filled out forms confirming they were not being paid by companies with an interest in their decisions.

The report found that 64 percent of the advisers had potential conflicts of interest that were never identified or were left unresolved by the centers. Thirteen percent failed to have an appropriate conflicts form on file at the agency at all, which should have barred their participation in the meetings entirely, Mr. Levinson found. And 3 percent voted on matters that ethics officers had already barred them from considering.

The inspector general recommended that the centers do a far better job of screening. In a reply, the agency's new director, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, agreed.

"Since the period covered in this review, C.D.C. has strengthened the financial disclosures and conflict-of-interest process by instituting improved business processes and realigning responsibilities and oversight," Dr. Frieden wrote.

As numerous medicines have been pulled from the market in recent years, worries have grown that experts may be recommending medical products - even ones they know to be unsafe - in part because manufacturers are paying them.

As a result, government agencies, medical societies and medical journals have become increasingly insistent that experts disclose potential conflicts. And while the experts invariably insist that they have done so, government audits routinely find large gaps between these disclosures and the experts' actual income from consulting.

Congress tightened the rules on outside consulting after similar conflicts were found among members of advisory panels to the Food and Drug Administration. But little attention has been paid to the potential conflicts of advisers to the C.D.C., even though that agency's committees have significant influence over what vaccines are sold in the United States, what tests are performed to detect cancer and how coal miners are protected.

Most of the advisers identified by Mr. Levinson had either a job or a grant from a company or other entity whose interests were affected by the committees' discussions, and a considerable number also owned stock in such companies, the report said.

Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who said she had long been a supporter of the C.D.C., said: "That is why I am so concerned about this report issued by the inspector general exposing serious ethics violations within the C.D.C. All members of the federal advisory committees, whose recommendations direct federal policy, should be without conflict of interest."


17) Thousands Lose Rent Vouchers in Cutback
December 18, 2009

One of the key housing programs that helps low-income and other needy New Yorkers afford their apartments has been effectively cut off for thousands of families.

City officials announced Thursday that they had stopped issuing new federal rent subsidy vouchers and were terminating the vouchers of 3,000 families who had yet to fully use them. They said they were taking those steps because of federal budget cuts and an increased demand for the vouchers in today's economy.

The city's public housing agency, the New York City Housing Authority, typically gives out thousands of vouchers every year through the Section 8 program. Poor, elderly and disabled tenants who receive the vouchers live in private apartments and pay about 30 percent of their income toward rent, with federally funded vouchers making up the difference.

Agency officials said that the nearly 128,000 families currently on its Section 8 waiting list would remain there, but with a few exceptions no new vouchers would be given to them or anyone else in 2010 without additional federal financing. In addition, 3,018 families - those who had received vouchers but were searching for an apartment or had identified an apartment but not yet completed the process and moved in - would have their vouchers terminated.

Since May, the agency has limited vouchers to those in emergency situations, and has stopped giving them out to families who are not in crisis. As a result, a majority of the 3,018 voucher holders were in emergency situations, including those who had recently been homeless, victims of domestic violence and young people leaving foster care.

"It's a difficult but unavoidable decision," the authority's chairman, John B. Rhea, said at a news conference on Thursday.

Mr. Rhea said a "perfect storm" of factors was to blame.

In 2008 and 2009, Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development instructed the agencies that administer Section 8 vouchers nationwide to use money in their reserves to fill shortfalls in federal financing. New York housing authority officials said they had anticipated a $10 million shortfall in 2009, but the amount turned out to be $58 million. "We didn't know how large it would be," Mr. Rhea said.

He also said the agency had already surpassed by 2,000 vouchers its annual allotment of 91,000.

The authority was working with city officials to provide alternative rental assistance for many of the 3,000 voucher holders. Robert V. Hess, commissioner of the city's Department of Homeless Services, said his agency was working to extend a state supervised rental assistance program for hundreds of formerly homeless families who had their vouchers terminated. "We don't think there's any cause for alarm at this point," he said.

None of the families who are currently in an apartment and receiving the Section 8 subsidy are affected, officials said.

Elected officials and advocates for low-income housing expressed outrage over the move and criticized the authority for failing to do enough to prevent 3,000 families from losing the vouchers they had been given.

"It is shocking that the New York City Housing Authority is breaking its word to over 3,000 Section 8 voucher holders," said City Councilman Bill de Blasio, a Democrat from Brooklyn.

Steven Banks, the attorney in chief for the Legal Aid Society, said the agency's actions would swell the city's family shelter system.

The Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, called for members of the authority's governing board to resign. "I have a hunch that we're about to be dealing with 'Vouchergate,' which is why we need city legislative hearings immediately," Mr. Stringer said.