Wednesday, September 01, 2010

BAUAW NEWSLETTER--THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2010

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. VIDEO AND AUDIO
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. ARTICLES IN FULL

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

NATIONAL HYATT PROTESTS!
September 2, 2010
Thursday

BAY AREA PICKET SCHEDULE:

Hyatt Regency Embarcadero
Market and Drumm Streets
San Francisco
7am to 11am

Hyatt Regency SF Airport
1333 Old Bayshore Highway
Burlingame, CA 94010
2pm to 6pm

If you need a ride to Burlingame, please let us know.
A bus will leave Local 2at these times: 2pm and 4pm

Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
5101 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95054
4:30pm

Over 2,000 Protest
Hilton Union Square Proposals

Following an afternoon where nearly 300 San Francisco housekeepers were presented with Hilton's "refresh" program, which would increase their workload by 40%, over 2,000 hotel workers and community members demonstrated on August 25th and 26th for twelve hours each day, at the Hilton Union Square Hotel.

Workers are outraged at the Hilton management for proposing such an increase in workloads, on top of their contract proposals that would reduce pension benefits and require workers to pay hundreds of dollars a month for family health coverage, over the term of the contract. These proposals come as Hilton (which is owned by the Blackstone Group, the world's biggest private equity firm) recently purchased Dynegy (a power company in Houston) for $4.7 billion.

Blackstone also recently posted its fourth-straight quarterly profit and increased the value of its private-equity holdings by 16%. Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone's Chairman, stated in April 2010, "We can feel this turnaround in the economy. It's certainly visible over the last month or two." Yet, Blackstone/Hilton continues to squeeze every last penny from its hotel workers in the name of economic hardships.

Hotel workers will continue standing together, stronger than ever, to defend their benefits and build a better future for their families and the San Francisco community! FAIR CONTRACT NOW!

Including Hilton Union Square, seven other San Francisco hotels are under boycott. These hotels are the scene of regular actions and demonstrations. Dozens of organizations, big and small, have decided to stay out of this labor dispute and use a different venue. If you have a reservation or an event at the following hotels, you should move to another hotel immediately. Please contact us for information and help.

**********

SUPPORT WORKERS! JOIN OUR BOYCOTT TEAM!

UNITE HERE! is leading the fight to for hotel workers - many of them women of color and immigrants - in hotels across San Francisco and North America. UNITE HERE! represents more than 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries. We are at the forefront of the battle for workers rights, immigration reform and living wages.

In San Francisco, union contracts for thousands of hotel workers have expired. These workers are standing in solidarity to defend their standards against dozens ruthless hotel corporations. Additionally, non-union hotel workers are also engaged in an ongoing struggle at two hotels, the HEI Le Meridien and the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf.

Our ground-up model of organizing and our comprehensive corporate campaigns are largely worker and volunteer run. In this current economic crisis, it is more important than ever for committed local activists to get involved in the fight for workers rights.

We are seeking enthusiastic volunteer activists to help build the labor movement in San Francisco. Currently, the Local 2 Boycott Apprenticeship Program is offering non-paid internship opportunities.

DETAILS OF THE APPRENTICESHIP

Location: San Francisco

Education: No requirement

Additional Qualifications:
Passion for social justice, assertive personality and basic computer skills for research (Spreadsheets, Databases, Internet search tools).

Duties include:

30% - Coordinating and executing creative actions at strategic locations to help enforce worker called boycotts.

70% - Research and campaign related work.

Commitment:
4 - 10 Hours a week minimum, Ongoing program.

************

Let us learn together, and fight together. Join Local 2's awesome Boycott Team.

For volunteer opportunities, please contact:
Powell DeGange, pdegange@unitehere.org
415-864-8770 ext. 759

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Film Showing & Discussion
"Faubourg Tremé-The Untold Story of Black New Orleans"
Thurs. Sept. 9, 7:30pm
ATA (Artists' Television Access), 992 Valencia St., at 21st St., SF

A documentary film about the radical Black history of New Orleans on the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. With an introduction and discussion with ANSWER Coalition organizer, Gloria La Riva, who was in New Orleans just days after the 2005 catastrophe.

Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans was largely shot before the Katrina tragedy but edited afterward, giving the film both a celebratory and elegiac tone. It is a film of such effortless intimacy, subtle glances and authentic details that only two native New Orleanians could have made it.

During slavery, Faubourg Tremé-a neighborhood near the French Quarter-was home to the largest community of free Black people in the Deep South and a hotbed of political ferment. Black and white, free and enslaved, rich and poor co-habitated, collaborated, and clashed to create much of what defines New Orleans culture up to the present day.

The film tells the history of the radical roots of this New Orleans community where during slavery, Black people could earn their freedom and purchase a house. Where sit-ins, almost a century before Rosa Parks, won the integration of public transportation.

The film concludes with the new challenges facing the Black community after the Katrina disaster. It does not just commemorate, but reminds us that U.S. society still confronts the same battles that the residents of Tremé have waged through two centuries-demands for economic justice, voting rights, equal education, decent public services, in short, full citizenship for African Americans. 2007, 67 min.

Call 415-821-6545 for more info.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
http://www.ANSWERcoalition.org http://www.answersf.org
answer@answersf.org
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Bradley Manning benefit w/ Dan Ellsberg, Tom Hayden, Aimee Allison
Thursday, September 16, 7:00-9:00 P.M.
Humanist Hall
390 27th St., Oakland, CA
(Between Telegraph and Broadway)

Courage to Resist Bay Area Event Alert

"Afghanistan: Occupation, Wikileaks, and Accused Whistle-blower Army Pfc. Bradley Manning" - a benefit for the Bradley Manning defense fund

Featuring:

--Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower

--Tom Hayden, author and activist

--Aimee Allison, author and KPFA Morning Show Host

--Carl Davison, US Marine/Army veteran of Guantanamo Bay, Africa, and Asia

--Wikileaks "Collateral Murder" video screening

Presented by Courage to Resist_with the help of Veterans for Peace-Bay Area Chapter, National Lawyers Guild Bay Area Military Law Panel, CodePink, War Resisters League-West, Iraq Veterans Against the War-Bay Area, BAY-Peace, World Can't Wait-SF Bay, Asian Americans for Peace and Justice, Grandmothers Against the War and Bay Area United for Peace and Justice.

The Bradley Manning defense fund is hosted by Courage to Resist (www.couragetoresist.org) in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network (www.bradleymanning.org). $5 requested donation at door to cover expenses, with defense fund pitch during the event. Wheelchair accessible via 411 28th Street entrance. For more info, please contact 510-488-3559 or courage@riseup.net

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

COST OF THE U.S. WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WAY OVER $1 TRILLION MARK!
Stop the madness
Bring our troops home now!
Come Rally for Peace!
Friday, September 17th, 2 - 3 PM
Corner of Action and University
Wheelchair Accessible.

CONTACT:
Fran Rachel
Strawberry Creek Lodge Tenants Association
510-841-4143

Berkeley - East Bay Gray Panthers
510-548-9696
GrayPanthersBerk@aol.com
http://berkeleygraypanthers.mysite.com/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

THE NEXT MEETING OF THE NEWLY FORMED NORTHERN CALIFORNIA UNITED NATIONAL ANTIWAR COMMITTEE WILL TAKE PLACE SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1:00 P.M.
LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Berkeley, CA: Robert Fisk "Lies, Misreporting, and Catastrophe in the Middle East"
Wednesday, September 22, 7:00pm

The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) presents the intrepid, witty and courageous author ROBERT FISK "one of the most famous journalists in the world" speaking on "Lies, Misreporting, and Catastrophe in the Middle East"

Fisk will be interviewed by scholar-activist DR. HATEM BAZIAN

Winner of countless journalism awards and three honorary doctorates, Beirut-based Robert Fisk has reported from the Middle East for over 30 years, covering 11 major wars.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 7pm
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way (@ Dana)6 blocks from Downtown Berkeley BART

**Tickets available for Special Reception with Fisk as well!**

Tickets: $15 general, $10 students/low income
$50 includes post-event reception plus reserved event seating in front rows.

BUY TICKETS ONLINE AT:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/119487

Only $15 tickets at area bookstores: (East Bay) Books Inc., Diesel, Moe's Books, Pegasus/Solano, Pegasus/Shattuck, Walden Pond (SF) Modern Times.

Benefit for children in Palestine & Lebanon. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Wheelchair accessible, ASL interpreted

For info: 510-548-0542, events@mecaforpeace.org

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

October 7 Balloons and Cal Disorientation Guide 2010
Balloons invade UC Berkeley on the first day of classes! Oct. 7th Strike!
Posted on 08/27/2010 by ooofireballooo

[VIDEO] Balloons invade UC Berkeley on the first day of classes! Oct. 7th Strike!
Education 4 the People!
http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/balloons-invade-uc-berkeley-on-the-first-day-of-classes-oct-7th-strike/

October 7 Day of Action in Defense of Public Education - California

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference at SFSU on OCT 16th
Posted on May 24, 2010 by ooofireballooo
Organizing for the next Statewide Public Education Mobilization Conference
@ San Francisco State University on October 16th

MORE THAN 100 activists from across California gathered in Los Angeles April 24 to debate next steps for the fight against the devastating cutbacks facing public education.

The main achievements of the conference were to set a date and location for the next statewide mass action-October 7-and for the next anti-cuts conference, which will happen October 16 at San Francisco State University. The other key outcome was the first steps toward the formation of an ad hoc volunteer coordinating committee to plan for the fall conference.

These decisions were a crucial step toward deepening and broadening the movement. For example, the fall conference will be the key venue for uniting activists from all sectors of public education, and especially from those schools and campuses which saw action on March 4, but which have yet to plug into the broader movement.

This will be crucial for extending the scope and increasing the strength of our movement, as well as for helping us strategize and prepare for what is certain to be a tough year ahead. Similarly, the fall mass action will be crucial to re-igniting the movement following the summer months.

Proposal: Form a conference organizing listserve immediately!

Please join the google group today.

* Group home page: http://groups.google.com/group/fallconferencesfsu

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Justice for Oscar Grant Rally
Saturday, October 23, 12:00 Noon
Frank Ogawa Plaza
(Oakland City Hall near 14th and Broadway)

Join family and friends of Oscar Grant, Labor and Community to demand:

--Maximum sentence for Johannes Mehserle!
--Stop police brutality! Jail racist killer cops!
--Expand jobs and education, not war and repression!

Stand up and make your voice heard! Johannes Mehserle was only arrested after people took to the streets to express their outrage. Without continuous labor and community action, Mehserle might have been acquitted. Together we can make sure that the killer cop gets the maximum sentence so other cops don't think they can get away with murder.

Sponsored by:

ILWU Local 10

Endorsed by other labor and community organizations.

For more information please contact:
Farless Dailey, Secretary Treasurer, 415-776-8100
local10secretarytreasurer@bayarea.net

---

Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net

PLEASE ENDORSE OCTOBER 23 RESOLUTION BELOW:

[SEND ENDORSEMENTS TO: jackheyman@comcast.net]

Resolution in Support of October 23 ILWU Rally for Justice for Oscar Grant

Whereas, Oscar Grant's killer, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle received a verdict of involuntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010 and will be sentenced on November 5; and

Whereas, video tapes show clearly that Oscar Grant was lying face down on the Fruitvale BART platform, waiting to be handcuffed with another cop's boot on his neck posing no threat when he was shot in the back and killed in cold blood by Mehserle; and

Whereas, wherever employers try to break a strike, police are there to protect the scabs and attack workers, as we know from the 1934 West Coast Maritime Strike, to the Charleston Five longshore struggle in 2000; and

Whereas, black and brown racial minorities, and especially immigrant workers today, struggling for equal rights have borne the brunt of police violence; and

Whereas , Oscar Grant's killing is another manifestation of the same unjust system where the message for the poor, the working class, and people of color is submission or death; and

Whereas, ILWU Local 10 has initiated the call for a mass labor and community protest rally on Saturday October 23, 2010 in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza calling for justice for Oscar Grant in the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle,

Therefore be it Resolved, that (name of organization) endorses this rally along with other labor unions, community groups, civil rights organizations, civil liberties organizations and will help to mobilize for this rally for justice for Oscar Grant;

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

NOVEMBER 2010 - CONVERGE ON FORT BENNING, GEORGIA
November 18-21, 2010: Close the SOA and take a stand for justice in the Americas.
www.soaw.org/take-action/november-vigil

The November Vigil to Close the School of the Americas at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia will be held from November 18-21, 2010. The annual vigil is always held close to the anniversary of the 1989 murders of Celina Ramos, her mother Elba and six Jesuit priests at a the University of Central America in El Salvador.

ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY FOR THE 2010 VIGIL!

November 2010 will mark the 20th anniversary of the vigil that brings together religious communities, students, teachers, veterans, community organizers, musicians, puppetistas and many others. New layers of activists are joining the movement to close the SOA in large numbers, including numerous youth and students from multinational, working-class communities. The movement is strong thanks to the committed work of thousands of organizers and volunteers around the country. They raise funds, spread the word through posters and flyers, organize buses and other transportation to Georgia, and carry out all the work that is needed to make the November vigil a success. Together, we are strong!

VIGIL AND RALLY AT THE GATES, NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION, TEACH-IN, CONCERTS, WORKSHOPS AND A ANTI-MILITARIZATION ORGANIZERS CONFERENCE

There will be exciting additions to this year's vigil program. Besides the rally at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia with inspiring speakers and amazing musicians from across the Americas, the four day convergence will also include an educational teach-in at the Columbus Convention Center, several evening concerts, workshops and for the first time, the Latin America Solidarity Coalition will stage a one-day Anti-Militarization Organizers Conference on Thursday, November 18, 2010.

SHUT DOWN THE SOA AND RESIST U.S. MILITARIZATION IN THE AMERICAS

Our work has unfortunately not gotten any easier and U.S. militarization in Latin America is accelerating. The SOA graduate led military coup in Honduras, the continuing repression against the Honduran pro-democracy resistance and the expansion of U.S. military bases in Colombia and Panama are grim examples of the ongoing threats of a U.S. foreign policy that is relying on the military to exert control over the people and the resources in the Americas. Join the people who are struggling for justice in Honduras, Colombia and throughout the Americas as we organize to push back.

Spread the word - Tell a friend about the November Vigil:
http://www.SOAW.org/tellafriend

For more information, visit:
www.SOAW.org.

See you at the gates of Fort Benning in November 2010

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

B. VIDEO AND AUDIO:

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

air force sprays oil dispersant
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtM58wPxf60&feature=related

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Appeals Court Ruling Allows Government to Use GPS to Track People’s Moves
Gps
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/2/appeals_court_ruling_allows_government_to

A federal court in California has issued a ruling that’s raising widespread alarm among advocates for civil liberties. Earlier this month, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said law enforcement agents can sneak onto a person’s property, plant a GPS device on their vehicle, and track their every movements. The court’s ruling means the spying is legal in California and eight other Western states.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

HONOR RALLIES AFTER WAR
COMMENTARY BY MUMIA-ABU-JAMAL
http://www.prisonradio.org/audio/mumia/2010MAJ/08August10/HonorRalliesAfterWar.mp3

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

New video! Fishermen find dispersants and oil on Mississippi shrimp and oyster grounds
http://bridgethegulfproject.info/node/29

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

October 7 Balloons and Cal Disorientation Guide 2010
Balloons invade UC Berkeley on the first day of classes! Oct. 7th Strike!
Posted on 08/27/2010 by ooofireballooo

[VIDEO] Balloons invade UC Berkeley on the first day of classes! Oct. 7th Strike!
Education 4 the People!
http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/balloons-invade-uc-berkeley-on-the-first-day-of-classes-oct-7th-strike/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

The Video the US Military doesn't want you to see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1MazfmZYxw

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

George Orwell's "1984_
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/08/25/watch-movie-adaptation-george-orwells-1984-3585/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

August 22, 2010

Coastal Heritage Society of La, Kindra, Jo & Vick spent the day in the bayou, bay and swamps August 19 taking air and water samples and documenting the oil that BP cant seem to find... We also found plenty of boom just floating out in the bay, and littering up the marsh - no one has bothered to pick it up...BP will not allow our fishermen or anyone else to remove it - saying we will be arrested if we do. We have about 400 more photos and will get them posted on our website as soon as we can along with the results from the air and water tests.
Visit us at www.CHSLouisiana.org

In the meanwhile, we will continue to test, to document, to share the truth with anyone who cares and to try to take care od the affected families who have NOT been paid by BP - there are plenty of them who need help. We are asking America to pitch in and help us help them. PLEASE! consider supporting our efforts by sending gift cards or donations of any size to Coastal Heritage Society of La PO Box 297 Belle Chasse, La 70037. Gift card wish list:

Walgreens (to help with medications and first aid supplies)
Walmart (to help with food, care package items, household supplies)
Kmart (to help with medications, care package items)
Visa gift cards are best as they will allow for all of the above. The amount isnt important, the action is.
Thanks for all who support our all volunteer efforts to protect the people, culture and heritage of coastal Louisiana.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mgLqpvLhHY
CHSLAirandwatersamplestrip.wmv

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

OBAMA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU_p2i5bfBM&feature=related

Lyrics: Smiling Faces Sometimes
http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/the_undisputed_truth/smiling_faces_sometimes.html
Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

The truth is in the eyes
Cause the eyes don't lie, amen
Remember a smile is just
A frown turned upside down
My friend let me tell you
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth, uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
I'm telling you beware
Beware of the pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Jealousy (jealousy)
Misery (misery)
Envy

I tell you, you can't see behind smiling faces
Smiling faces sometimes they don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
I'm telling you beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
Listen to me now, beware
Beware of that pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

Your enemy won't do you no harm
Cause you'll know where he's coming from
Don't let the handshake and the smile fool ya
Take my advice I'm only try' to school ya

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

A Top Scientist Working On BP Gulf Oil Spill For The Federal Government Confirms BP Drilled Two Wells
Posted by Alexander Higgins - August 20, 2010
Dr Robert Bea, a top scientists working on the BP Gulf Oil Spill for the Federal Government confirms that BP Drilled a second well near the Deepwater Horizon leak that was previously abandoned because they almost blew it up.

I recently posted "A Tale Of Two Wells - Is BP and the Government Showing Us The Wrong Well?" which questions whether or not BP is hiding the real well that is leaking as Matt Simmon's claimed.

So here is the latest going around the internet. I haven't vetted it yet so watch and make your own judgment.

If the font is to small watch in full screen.

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/08/20/top-scientist-working-bp-gulf-oil-spill-federal-government-confirms-bp-drilled-wells-3180/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Larry Pinkney protests Harbor Shores golf course opening.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Q8CGWxxdg
Political commentator and brother of protest organizer, Larry Pinkney calls for unity in the face of challenge.
Read a sample of his work here:
http://www.blackcommentator.com/265/2...
Here is a link to background information regarding this protest:
Mass Demonstration Planned in Benton Harbor on 8/10
August 6, 2010
http://griid.org/2010/08/06/mass-demonstration-planned-in-benton-harbor-on-810/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Toxic Soup in Ocean Springs Ms By Lorrie Williams
August 13, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXBLCekZiyA
August 16, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/user/LorrieofOceanspring

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

BP Oil Spill Cleanup Worker Exposes the Realities of Beach Cleanup In Gulf of Mexico
August 11, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IlMDBAGLFI

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

NEWS BREAKING Louisiana official willing to go to jail in fight against federal Government!!
August 12, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cje9Y6HMRoo

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

The Coast Guard threatens to have Louisiana official arrested for fighting oil spill
August 13, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gpet4ZshnE

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Days After Tar Balls Hit New York Beach Massive Fish Kills Stretch From New Jersey to Massachusetts
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/08/12/days-tar-balls-york-beach-massive-fish-kills-stretch-nj-massachusets/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

WikiLeaks' Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord's Eyewitness Story
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kelmEZe8whI&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

On The Move: Mumia Abu-Jamal's Message to the United National Peace Conference
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9QAgr1wNZA&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Videos: Hideous Conditions at Long Beach Harbor, MS
By Denise Rednour
August 7, 2010
http://deniselngbch.blogspot.com/2010/08/hideous-conditions-at-long-beach-harbor.html

August 7th, 2010 -- LONG BEACH MS - Very thick oil in and around the harbor at Long Beach, MS today. It's a very sad day indeed. The stench of dispersants and dead fish is in the air as well.

PLEASE, don't be fooled by mainstream media and politicians who are telling people it's over, it's safe to swim, and the seafood is harmless. All beaches in Mississippi remain open without cautions even. All waters are open to commercial and sport fishing of fin fish and shrimp. The only activity banned at the present is crab and oyster fishing.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Video: George Carlin: "The American Dream"/"Workers Nightmare"
Because the Owners of This Country Own Everything - They Own You - They Don't Want Critical Thinking - They Want Obedient Workers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=159216125164&ref=mf

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Citizens of New Orleans Respond to the BP Oil Spill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCCX8kLm3Sc

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Economic Hitmen: John Perkins on Economic Imperialism
[He's wrong, though, about there being a benign form of capitalism. There's only one kind of capitalism -- this kind of capitalism -- and it's all bad...bw]
http://vodpod.com/watch/3772159-economic-hitmen-john-perkins-on-economic-imperialism

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Narrated - Oil Leaking From BP Gulf Oil Spill Sea Floor Strata
[After the cement fill...bw]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-VuOTmTbXQ&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Lady Gaga Rallies Fans in Arizona: "If it wasn't for all you immigrants, this country wouldn't have s--t."
By Tanner Stransky
http://music-mix.ew.com/2010/08/02/lady-gaga-arizona-immigration-protest/

Lady Gaga is well known for stirring the pot while advocating for buzzy causes like gay rights, and now she's using her sizable cultural influence to stand up against SB 1070, the controversial Arizona immigration law. At her Monster Ball show in Phoenix on Saturday evening, the pop star encouraged her "little monsters" to not sit idle in regards to the law: "We have to be active. We have to actively protest," she told her audience. Since the news of SB 1070 came down, several heavyweights in the music biz have boycotted the state, but Gaga said she won't do the same.

"I will not cancel my show. I will hold you, and we will hold each other, and we will protest this state," Gaga told her audience. "I got a phone call from a couple really big rock-n-rollers, big pop stars, big rappers, and they said: 'We'd like you to boycott Arizona. We'd like you to boycott playing Arizona because of SB 1070.' And I said: 'You really think that us dumb f-ing pop stars are going to collapse the economy of Arizona?'" And that's when she urged fans to protest. "The nature of the Monster Ball is to actively protest prejudice and injustice and that bullshit that is put on our society!" See her whole impassioned speech here:
http://music-mix.ew.com/2010/08/02/lady-gaga-arizona-immigration-protest/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Missing Gulf Coast Oil Appears To Be Welling Up Under Barrier Island Beaches (VIDEO)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/03/missing-gulf-coast-oil-ap_n_669243.html

Last week, BP managed to finally cap the Deepwater Horizon oil volcano and the media suddenly found itself in the grips of a baffling problem with object permanence. Where did all the oil go, they wondered. Had it disappeared? Was it eaten by microbes? Did it get Raptured up to Oil Heaven? It was a mystery, wrapped in a miracle! At least it was until Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland took about a minute to send some text messages to colleagues in the field, inquiring after the oil's whereabouts. They answered back: Where is the oil? How does all over the place grab you?

Over at The Upshot, Brett Michael Dykes highlights this report from WVUE in New Orleans, which confirms that the oil did not, in fact, fortuitously disappear into thin air:

According to WVUE correspondent John Snell, local officials dispatched a dive team to a barrier island off of southeastern Louisiana's Plaquemines parish to scan the sea floor for oil. The team, however, could barely see the sea floor, due to the current murky state of the area waters. But when the divers returned to shore, they made a rather remarkable discovery: tiny holes that burrowing Hermit crabs had dug into the ground effectively became oil-drilling holes. When the divers placed pressure on the ground near the holes, oil came oozing up.

So, basically, questioning where the oil has gone is the exact same thing as looking at the shoes attached to the ends of your legs and wondering if your feet have disappeared.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Video Shows Michigan Oil Spill
By ROBERT MACKEY
July 29, 2010, 1:57 pm
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/youtube-video-of-michigan-oil-spill/?ref=us

As my colleague Emma Graves Fitzsimmons reports from Michigan, the Environmental Protection Agency now estimates that more than one million gallons of oil may have spilled from a pipeline into the Kalamazoo River this week, which is far more than the pipeline's owner, Enbridge Energy Partners, initially estimated.

In a statement posted online, the E.P.A. explained that the government has taken charge of the clean-up effort and is working to keep the oil from reaching Lake Michigan.

On Monday, when a 30-inch pipeline burst in Marshall, Mich., releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek, a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River, local residents started posting video of the damage on YouTube. As the site's own CitizenTube blog noted, a user calling herself Picture Takin Diva posted these aerial images of the creek, with the comment, "It's not the Gulf, but it's pretty bad!"

Another user, Corrive 9, who uploaded the video at the top of this post on Tuesday, also conducted some interviews with people who live near the river. Looking at the oily water, this man said, "It smells like a mechanic's shop, for one thing, but it's just a shame because this river was just becoming cleaner and now this. We fish this, catch a lot of small-mouth bass out here, great big ones."

A third YouTube user, who goes by 420 Stardust Glitter, uploaded these silent images of the oil water with a note saying, "The oil is so thick it's starting to look gummy and the smell of the toxins are unbearable."

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

BP Oil Spill Grand Isle Town Hall Meeting Part 3
http://videos.wittysparks.com/id/699180664

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Underwater Lakes Of Oil From BP Spill Will Continue To Cover Gulf Beaches With Toxic Layer Of Invisible Oil For Months
Posted by Alexander Higgins - July 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm - Permalink
http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/07/28/underwater-lakes-of-oil-from-bp-spill-will-continue-to-cover-gulf-beaches-with-toxic-layer-of-invisible-oil-for-months/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Feds think public can't HANDLE THE TRUTH about toxic dispersants says EPA Sr. Analyst
July 28, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN4MJFeEYuE&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Breathing Toxic Oil Vapors??? video
http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=179134

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Instituto del Derecho de Asilo - Casa Museo Leon Trotsky, A.C.
(IDA-CMLTAC)
Avenida Río Churubusco No. 410
Col. del Carmen Coyoacán
CP 04100 México, DF -- MEXICO
Tel. 56 58 87 32
gall.museotrotsky@gmail.com
----------------------------

Dear Friends in the United States:

We are writing this letter to invite you to support the effort to preserve and renovate the Leon Trotsky Museum (IDA-MCLTAC) in Mexico City.

Already many of our U.S. supporters have sent out appeals to their friends urging support for our project. We thank them for their efforts, and we thank the dozens of you who have already sent in financial contributions to our fund.

On August 20, at 4 p.m., we launched the International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum at a special event in a larger venue than our Museum's auditorium: the Foro Coyoacanense, Hugo Argüelles, Calle Allende No. 36, in the center district of Coyoacán, in the southern region of Mexico City.

This event was part of a three-day series of activities on August 19-21 marking the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky, the 35th anniversary of the opening of the Trotsky Museum, and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Institute on the Right of Asylum.

We would like to invite all our friends and supporters in the United States to join "International Friends."

If you would like to join "International Friends," please send us a note to the email address listed above. We welcome all who support our Museum's six-point "Statement on Social Objectives" and our four-point "Renovation Project" [see below], and who wish to help us raise desperately needed funds to promote these objectives.

Our goal is for International Friends to include the broadest possible regroupment of personalities, democratic rights activists (including supporters of the right to asylum, which is one of the main themes of our Museum), political activists, and museologists of different progressive political tendencies and backgrounds.

On August 19 and August 20 we also held in our Museum's auditorium a Conference on "Socialism, Democracy and Dissident Movements." There were presentations by Mexican and international speakers. Some of the panels were the following:

- Trotsky and the Dewey Commission (Prof. Olivia Gall, UNAM and Trotsky Museum),

- Participation and Rights of Latinos in the United States (Prof. Suzanne Oboler, Editor, Latino Studies, CUNY),

- Dissident Social Movements on the Left and the Right in the United States (Alan Benjamin, Editor, The Organizer),

- The Relevance of Victor Serge (Suzi Weissman, KPFK Radio producer and author),

- Trotsky and the Dissident Movements in Eastern Europe (Prof. Gabriel García Higueras, University of Lima, Peru), and

- Victor Serge, the POUM and the "Socialism and Liberty" group (Prof. Claudio Albertini, UACM).

The program of the event launching the International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum on August 20 included presentations by Esteban Volkov (Trotsky's grandson and president of the board of directors of the museum) and Olivia Gall (director of the museum); a theatrical presentation by Grupo Sol Azul of Moises Mendelewicz titled "Conversations with Trotsky"; a presentation on Political Asylum in Mexico by Pablo Yankelvich (INAH); and a trailer presentation of the film "Planet Without a Visa" (by David Weiss and Linda Laub), with an introduction by Linda Laub.

Finally, on August 21, there was a placing of a wreath on the tombstones of Leon Trotsky and Natalia Sedova, with a presentation by Esteban Volkov.

We invite you to donate to our Museum preservation/renovation fund and to join our International Friends of the Leon Trotsky group and campaign. Please send your checks, payable to Global Exchange (write "Trotsky Museum" on Memo line of your check), to International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum, P.O. Box 40009, San Francisco, CA 94140.

Sincerely,
Esteban Volkov Bronstein
Grandson of Leon Trotsky
President of the Board of the IDA-MCLTAC
Olivia Gall
Full Professor, CEIICH-UNAM
Director of the IDA-MCLTAC
* * * * * * * * * *

Appendix No. 1

International Friends of the
Leon Trotsky Museum (IFLTM)

(Excerpts)

The IDA-MCLTAC's Social Objectives

The Social Objective of the Institution is:

1. To maintain, protect, preserve, restore, guard and improve in all pertinent and necessary ways, the Leon Trotsky House-Museum, who must offer its visitors the best possible museology services.

2. To maintain, protect, preserve, guard and increase, in all pertinent and necessary ways, the existing materials in the Rafael Galván Library and in the association's Documentary Center, which must offer its visitors the best possible information and research services.

3. To promote and develop research, analysis, education and effective communication regarding the topic of the right of asylum, and, when related to asylum, on those of migration and refuge.

4. To promote and develop the study, analysis, education and effective communication regarding "the defense of public rights and public freedom."

5. To manage the association's assets and resources, as well as those received through donations, contributions, transfers, bequests, wills, liens, trusts, funding, agreements or employment contracts, in cash or in kind, coming from individuals or corporations, domestic or foreign, public or private. These funds and resources will be used exclusively for the purposes of the Association.

6. To establish partnerships through agreements or other legal forms provided by existing legislation, with any cultural, artistic, social or academic national or international institution, both public and private, which may contribute to the better attainment of its goals.

********************

Appendix No. 2

Renovation Project

The Directive Council of the Institution has developed a project consisting in gradually transforming the IDA-MCLTAC into an institution that takes the figure of Leon Trotsky as its central axis, but also approaches the different ideological and political currents of socialist thought, actions and debates, the right of asylum and the history of revolutionary and post-revolutionary Mexico, in which Trotsky was admitted as a political refugee. The goal is to create an institution that will establish agreements with academics, museums and documentary, visual and bibliographical archives from all over the world, in order to offer the public:

1. A MODERN MUSEUM

* A well-preserved house-museum that will give its visitors an idea of the real environment in which Trotsky, his friends, guards, secretaries and guests lived between May 1939 and August 1940: a tense and anguished environment, not always but sometimes joyful, not very prosperous, but of hard work and comradeship.

* Permanent as well as temporary exhibits built on visual, audiovisual, documentary and interactive materials.

2. A RESEARCH, EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATION CENTER, INTERESTED IN THE ANALYSIS OF HISTORICAL FACTS AND IN THE EXCHANGE OF IDEAS, THROUGH

* Consultation of printed, graphic, audiovisual and interactive materials, in situ or via the web,

* The development of educational and cultural programs, which will consist in conferences, symposia, book presentations, courses and workshops.

* A small bookstore in which our visitors will find books -in three languages, if possible- related to the institution's subjects.

3. A CINEMA CLUB

In it, old and new short films, movies and documentaries, organized according to different subjects of historical, political, intellectual and cultural interest will be shown and discussed.

4. A SPACE FOR ART, ART CRAFTS, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT, CUISINE AND SOCIAL GATHERING

A space that will try to constitute an original, simple, elegant and international cultural option that will harbor:

* Diverse cultural expressions of our contemporary world: sculptors, painters, mimes, actors, storytellers, dancers, poets, musicians, etc.

* The house's garden, such as it was kept by Natalia Sedova and by Sieva Volkov's family between 1939 and the early 1970s.

* A cafeteria that will serve very good coffee, tea, pastries and appetizers, and that will offer in Coyoacán a touch of originality given by four combined elements: (a) a simple international menu made by a few Baltic, Jewish, Balkan, Turkish, French, Norwegian and Mexican dishes, typical of the countries where Trotsky lived or was exiled, (b) the access to reading, in situ, some international newspapers and magazines, (c) a decoration that will portray the style of Mexican restaurants in the thirties, and (d) some music or poetry evenings.

* A shop, selling posters, little boxes, mugs, pens, calendars book markers, agendas, etc., so that our visitors may take home some of the museum's souvenirs.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Say No to Islamophobia!
Defend Mosques and Community Centers!
The Fight for Peace and Social Justice Requires Defense of All Under Attack!
http://www.petitiononline.com/nophobia/petition.html

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Ohio may execute an innocent man unless you take action.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-kevin-keith

Kevin Keith is scheduled to be executed on September 15th, despite a wide range of new evidence that suggests he is innocent. Kevin, who has been on Ohio's death row for 16 years, was convicted on the basis of faulty eyewitness identification.

Thirteen years after he was convicted, Kevin discovered that one of the State's supposed "witnesses" -- a hospital nurse who was critical to corroborating the legitimacy of the surviving victim's eyewitness identification -- does not actually exist. He has an alibi affirmed by four people and new evidence has emerged implicating another suspect.

No court has heard the full array of new evidence pointing to Kevin's innocence. Take action today to stop Ohio from executing a man who very well may be innocent.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Faucher
Associate Director

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Please sign the petition to release Bradley Manning

http://www.petitiononline.com/manning1/petition.html (Click to sign here)

To: US Department of Defense; US Department of Justice
We, the Undersigned, call for justice for US Army PFC Bradley Manning, incarcerated without charge (as of 18 June 2010) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Media accounts state that Mr. Manning was arrested in late May for leaking the video of US Apache helicopter pilots killing innocent people and seriously wounding two children in Baghdad, including those who arrived to help the wounded, as well as potentially other material. The video was released by WikiLeaks under the name "Collateral Murder".

If these allegations are untrue, we call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

If these allegations ARE true, we ALSO call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

Simultaneously, we express our support for Mr. Manning in any case, and our admiration for his courage if he is, in fact, the person who disclosed the video. Like in the cases of Daniel Ellsberg, W. Mark Felt, Frank Serpico and countless other whistleblowers before, government demands for secrecy must yield to public knowledge and justice when government crime and corruption are being kept hidden.

Justice for Bradley Manning!

Sincerely,

The Undersigned:
http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?manning1

--
Zaineb Alani
http://www.thewordsthatcomeout.blogspot.com
http://www.tigresssmiles.blogspot.com
"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

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

http://couragetoresist.org/donate

Dear Gio,

Thanks again for supporting military war resisters. We do this work because it is a tangible contribution to a future without empire and war. With your help, we've won a number of victories recently--you might have read about "Hip Hop" stop-loss soldier Marc Hall, or single mom, and Afghanistan deployment resister, Alexis Hutchinson in the news.

Now, intel analyst Bradley Manning is in the headlines and facing decades in prison for leaking a video of a massacre in Baghdad. If Pfc. Manning is the source of the video, then he did what he had to do to expose a war crime. Regardless, he's wrongly imprisoned and we are doing everything we can to support him. Keep an eye out for action alerts in the coming days on how to support Bradley!

If you have not yet had a chance to make a donation recently, I'm asking that you please consider doing so now so that together we can step up to support Bradley Manning and all GI war objectors!

http://couragetoresist.org/donate

Jeff Paterson,
Project Director, Courage to Resist

p.s. Our new August print newsletter is now available:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/aug10-newsltr.pdf

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Please forward widely...

HELP LYNNE STEWART -- SUPPORT THESE BILLS

These two bills are now in Congress and need your support. Either or both bills would drastically decrease Lynne's and other federal sentences substantially.

H.R. 1475 "Federal Prison Work Incentive Act Amended 2009," Congressman Danny Davis, Democrat, Illinois

This bill will restore and amend the former federal B.O.P. good time allowances. It will let all federal prisoners, except lifers, earn significant reductions to their sentences. Second, earn monthly good time days by working prison jobs. Third, allowances for performing outstanding services or duties in connection with institutional operations. In addition, part of this bill is to bring back parole to federal long term prisoners.

Go to: www.FedCURE.org and www.FAMM.org

At this time, federal prisoners only earn 47 days per year good time. If H.R. 1475 passes, Lynne Stewart would earn 120-180 days per year good time!

H.R. 61 "45 And Older," Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (18th Congressional District, Texas)

This bill provides early release from federal prison after serving half of a violent crime or violent conduct in prison.

Please write, call, email your Representatives and Senators. Demand their votes!

This information is brought to you by Diane E. Schindelwig, a federal prisoner #36582-177 and friend and supporter of Lynne Stewart.

Write to Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart 53504-054
MCC-NY 2-S
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007

For further information call Lynne's husband, Ralph Poynter, leader of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Send contributions payable to:

Lynne Stewart Organization
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11216

---

Listen to Lynne Stewart event, that took place July 8, 2010 at Judson Memorial Church
Excerpts include: Mumia Abu Jamal, Ralph Poynter, Ramsey Clark, Juanita
Young, Fred Hampton Jr., Raging Grannies, Ralph Schoenman
http://www.takingaimradio.com/shows/audio.html

And check out this article (link) too!
http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2010/062210Lendman.shtml

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!
HE WAS MURDERED!

RIP Oscar!

DEMAND JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT
Victory for movement, but justice still needs to be won

Calling on all supporters of justice for Oscar Grant and opponents of racist police brutality:

The jury verdict is not justice for Oscar Grant - it is up to the new movement to use its power to win real justice. THIS IS THE TIME TO ACT.

DEMAND:

The maximum sentence for killer cop Johannes Mehserle.

Jail Officers Pirone and Domenici, the two police who were accomplices to murder.

Disarm and disband the BART Police.

Provide massive funding to Oakland for education and jobs for Oakland's black, Latina/o, Asian, and poor and working-class white youth.

Stop police/ICE racial profiling of Latina/o, black, Asian, and other minority youth with and without papers.

Furthermore, we call on Oakland Mayor Dellums and other governmental authorities in Oakland to declare that this verdict does not render justice to Oscar Grant and to act on the demands of the movement.

If you haven't already done so yet, join the JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT ACTION PAGE on Facebook at: http://www.causes.com/causes/188135

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL GRAVELY CONCERNED THAT RULING PUTS TROY DAVIS ON TRACK FOR EXECUTION; CITES PERSISTING DOUBTS ABOUT HIS GUILT
"Judge William T. Moore, Jr. ruled that while executing an innocent person would violate the United States Constitution, Davis didn't meet the extraordinarily high legal bar to prove his innocence."
Amnesty International Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Contact: Wende Gozan Brown at 212-633-4247, wgozan@aiusa.org.

(Washington, D.C.) - Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today expressed deep concern that a federal district court decision puts Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis back on track for execution, despite doubts about his guilt that were raised during a June evidentiary hearing. Judge William T. Moore, Jr. ruled that while executing an innocent person would violate the United States Constitution, Davis didn't meet the extraordinarily high legal bar to prove his innocence.

"Nobody walking out of that hearing could view this as an open-and-shut case," said Larry Cox, executive director of AIUSA. "The testimony that came to light demonstrates that doubt still exists, but the legal bar for proving innocence was set so high it was virtually insurmountable. It would be utterly unconscionable to proceed with this execution, plain and simple."

Amnesty International representatives, including Cox, attended the hearing in Savannah, Ga. The organization noted that evidence continues to cast doubt over the case:

· Four witnesses admitted in court that they lied at trial when they implicated Troy Davis and that they did not know who shot Officer Mark MacPhail.

· Four witnesses implicated another man as the one who killed the officer - including a man who says he saw the shooting and could clearly identify the alternative suspect, who is a family member.

· Three original state witnesses described police coercion during questioning, including one man who was 16 years old at the time of the murder and was questioned by several police officers without his parents or other adults present.

"The Troy Davis case is emblematic of everything that is wrong with capital punishment," said Laura Moye, director of AIUSA's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign. "In a system rife with error, mistakes can be made. There are no do-overs when it comes to death. Lawmakers across the country should scrutinize this case carefully, not only because of its unprecedented nature, but because it clearly indicates the need to abolish the death penalty in the United States."

Since the launch of its February 2007 report, Where Is the Justice for Me? The Case of Troy Davis, Facing Execution in Georgia, Amnesty International has campaigned intensively for a new evidentiary hearing or trial and clemency for Davis, collecting hundreds of thousands of clemency petition signatures and letters from across the United States and around the world. To date, internationally known figures such as Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have all joined the call for clemency, as well as lawmakers from within and outside of Georgia.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

# # #

For more information visit www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis.

Wende Gozan Brown
Media Relations Director
Amnesty International USA
212/633-4247 (o)
347/526-5520 (c)

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Bernadette McAliskey Quote on Zionists:

"The root cause of conflict in the Middle East is the very nature of the state of Israel. It is a facist state. It is a international bully, which exists not to protect the rights of the Jewish people but to perpetuate a belief of Zionist supremacy. It debases the victims of the holocaust by its own strategy for extermination of Palestine and Palestinians and has become the image and likeness of its own worst enemy, the Third Reich.

"Anyone challenging their position, their crazed self-image is entitled, in the fascist construction of their thinking, to be wiped out. Every humanitarian becomes a terrorist? How long is the reality of the danger Israel poses to world peace going to be denied by the Western powers who created this monster?"

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Please sign the petition to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal and
and forward it to all your lists.

"Mumia Abu-Jamal and The Global Abolition of the Death Penalty"

http://www.petitiononline.com/Mumialaw/petition.html

(A Life In the Balance - The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, at 34, Amnesty Int'l, 2000; www. Amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/001/2000.)

[Note: This petition is approved by Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lead attorney, Robert R. Bryan, San Francisco (E-mail: MumiaLegalDefense@gmail.com; Website: www.MumiaLegalDefense.org).]

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

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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 501c)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.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
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
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT!
FLASHPOINTS Interview with Innocent San Quentin Death Row Inmate
Kevin Cooper -- Aired Monday, May 18,2009
http://www.flashpoints.net/#GOOGLE_SEARCH_ENGINE
To learn more about Kevin Cooper go to:
savekevincooper.org
LINKS
San Francisco Chronicle article on the recent ruling:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/13/BAM517J8T3.DTL
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and dissent:
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/05/11/05-99004o.pdf

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

COURAGE TO RESIST!
Support the troops who refuse to fight!
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/
Donate:
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/21/57/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

D. ARTICLES IN FULL

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

1) Rights Groups Sue U.S. on Effort to Kill Cleric
By SCOTT SHANE
August 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/us/31suit.html?ref=world

2) Egg Farms Violated Safety Rules
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
August 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/business/31eggs.html?ref=us

3) Are Smart Meters Smart?
EMF Safety Network
[see video's at this site...bw]
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=649

4) Blowback
Enthusiasm for Palestinian prime minister isn't shared by Palestinians
Salam Fayyad's embrace by the U.S. and Israel doesn't change the fact that millions of Palestinians languish under occupation and in poverty.
Ali Abunimah
August 31, 2010
http://www.latimes.com//news/opinion/opinionla/la-oew-abunimah-palestine-20100831,0,3774703.story

5) PLEASE ENDORSE OCTOBER 23 RESOLUTION and
SAVE THE DATE: JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT -- October 23, 2010
Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net
[SEND ENDORSEMENTS TO: jackheyman@comcast.net]

6) What's More Important For Black Leadership? Turning Off Fox News? Or Stopping the President's Cat Food Commission?
By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
September 1, 2010
http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content/whats-more-important-turning-fox-news-or-stopping-presidents-cat-food-commission

7) Are SmartMeters Dangerous, Too?
PG&E's new meters have been vilified for allegedly overbilling customers. Now there's evidence that they may bad for your health, as well.
By Caitlin Esch
July 21, 2010
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/are-smartmeters-dangerous-too/Content?oid=1939740&showFullText=true

9) U.S. Formally Begins a New Era in Iraq
[Note to readers: In May 1961, President Kennedy sent 400 American Green Beret "Special Advisors" to South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese soldiers in methods of "counter-insurgency" in the fight against "Viet Cong guerrillas"--and the U.S. bloodbath against the Vietnamese people began. I guess Obama, et al, has decided to use the opposite strategy and continue the bloodshed in Iraq with "advisers" and with the addition of tens-of-thousands of private military contractors. This is what the U.S. means by "a new era in Iraq"...bw]
By MICHAEL R. GORDON and ELISABETH BUMILLER
September 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/world/middleeast/02iraq.html?ref=world

10) New Job Means Lower Wages for Many
By MICHAEL LUO
August 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/us/01jobs.html?ref=us

11) Appeals Court Backs Away From War Powers Ruling
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
August 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/us/politics/01legal.html?ref=us

12) Rules Tighten for Oil Regulators to Avoid Favoritism to Drillers
By JOHN M. BRODER
August 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/us/politics/01recuse.html?ref=us

13) Offshore Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico Explodes
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and JACK HEALY
September 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/us/03rig.html?_r=1&hp

14) Child’s Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young
"But it is cheaper to medicate children than to pay for family counseling, a fact highlighted by a Rutgers University study last year that found children from low-income families, like Kyle, were four times as likely as the privately insured to receive antipsychotic medicines."
By DUFF WILSON
September 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/business/02kids.html?hp

15) Survey: Employers Pass on More Health Costs to Workers
By REED ABELSON
September 2, 2010, 11:00 am
http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/survey-employers-pass-on-more-health-costs-to-workers/?hp

16) The Peanut Solution
"Nutriset has aggressively protected its intellectual property, and the bulk of Plumpy’nut production continues to take place at Nutriset facilities in France. (Unicef, the world’s primary buyer, purchases 90 percent of its supply from that factory, according to a 2009 report prepared for the agency.)"
By ANDREW RICE
September 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05Plumpy-t.html?hp

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

1) Rights Groups Sue U.S. on Effort to Kill Cleric
By SCOTT SHANE
August 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/us/31suit.html?ref=world

WASHINGTON - Two human rights organizations went to court on Monday to challenge the Obama administration's decision to authorize the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric now hiding in Yemen.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington on behalf of Mr. Awlaki's father, Nasser al-Awlaki, argues that the United State government should not be permitted to kill an American citizen away from the battlefield and without judicial review.

The human rights groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights, asked the court to prohibit the government from killing Mr. Awlaki until the lawsuit is heard. They also demand that the government disclose the standards it uses to determine who should be singled out for killing.

The lawsuit is the first legal challenge since administration officials disclosed that Mr. Awlaki was the first American citizen to be designated for capture or killing by the Central Intelligence Agency. The authorization, which also applies to the Defense Department, came after intelligence agencies concluded early this year that Mr. Awlaki was actively participating in plotting attacks against the United States, including the failed bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25.

Since then, Mr. Awlaki has escalated his criticism of the United States in a series of written and recorded statements broadcast by Al Jazeera and posted on the Web. Calling the United States "a nation of evil," Mr. Awlaki said in a March Web posting that "jihad against America is binding upon myself, just as it is binding on every other able Muslim."

Obama administration officials have argued that Mr. Awlaki, now believed to be an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen branch of the terrorist network, has essentially joined the enemy in a time of war. The government does not need a court's permission to kill an enemy soldier, the officials say.

But some legal experts and human rights activists have noted that the law requires the government to get a court warrant to eavesdrop on Mr. Awlaki or other American citizens. An order to kill him should require at least the same degree of review, the activists say, to meet the Fifth Amendment's requirement of "due process" before depriving an American of life or liberty.

"The United States cannot simply execute people, including its own citizens, anywhere in the world based on its own say-so," said Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The lawsuit acknowledges that singling out someone for killing can be lawful "as a last resort to protect against concrete, specific and imminent threats of death or serious physical injury." But terrorism suspects designated secretly by the government and left on the target list for months or years do not qualify as such an urgent threat, the lawsuit says.

A Justice Department spokesman, Matthew A. Miller, would not comment on the lawsuit. But he noted that Congress authorized the use of force against Al Qaeda after the 2001 terrorist attacks and that international law recognized a right of self-defense.

Anwar al-Awlaki was born in 1971 in New Mexico, where his father was a graduate student, and moved with his family to Yemen at the age of 7. He returned to the United States to attend Colorado State University and later served as an imam in three American mosques before moving to London and back to Yemen in 2004.

His publicly expressed views have grown steadily more militant, and his prolific writings and recordings have been cited as an important influence on suspects in more than a dozen terrorism cases in the United States, Canada and Britain.

The Obama administration has pursued terrorism suspects using missiles fired from drones in Pakistan and from ships and jets in Yemen. Such strikes have killed hundreds of people, but the effort to capture or kill Mr. Awlaki has drawn particular attention because of his citizenship and prominence as a cleric.

In July, the Treasury Department designated Mr. Awlaki as a terrorist, meaning that providing him legal or other services could be a crime. The A.C.L.U. and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit earlier this month challenging the Treasury regulations, but the department issued a license to the two groups permitting them to take legal action on Mr. Awlaki's behalf. The lawsuit challenging the Treasury regulations is still pending.

William C. Banks, an expert on national security law at Syracuse University, said the lawsuit filed Monday faced numerous, probably insurmountable, legal obstacles. He said Nasser al-Awlaki might have difficulty showing that he had been injured by the actions taken against his son or overcoming the secrecy that protected counterterrorism programs.

Even if the elder Mr. Awlaki does have legal standing to sue, the government can cite the Congressional authorization of 2001 to justify its actions, Mr. Banks said. "The arguments in this lawsuit are creative," he said, "but I think it's unlikely to succeed."

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

2) Egg Farms Violated Safety Rules
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
August 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/business/31eggs.html?ref=us

Barns infested with flies, maggots and scurrying rodents, and overflowing manure pits were among the widespread food safety problems that federal inspectors found at a group of Iowa egg farms at the heart of a nationwide recall and salmonella outbreak.

Inspection reports released by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday described - often in nose-pinching detail - possible ways that salmonella could have been spread undetected through the vast complexes of two companies.

The inspections, conducted over the last three weeks, were the first to check compliance by large egg-producing companies with new federal egg safety rules that were written well before the current outbreak, but went into effect only last month.

"Clearly the observations here reflect significant deviations from what's expected," said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for food for the F.D.A.

Mr. Taylor said that in response to the outbreak and recall, F.D.A. inspectors would visit all of the 600 major egg-producing facilities in the country over the next 15 months. Those farms, with 50,000 or more hens each, represent about 80 percent of nationwide egg production.

The recall, which began Aug. 13, involves more than half a billion eggs from the Iowa operations of two leading egg producers, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. About 1,500 reported cases of Salmonella enteritidis have been linked to tainted eggs since the spring - the largest known outbreak associated with that strain of salmonella.

The F.D.A. inspection reports portray areas of filth and poor sanitation at both operations, including many instances of rodents, wild birds or hens escaped from cages - all of which can carry salmonella - appearing to have had free run of the facilities.

It was difficult to gauge from the report how extensive the problems were. Both companies operate vast facilities housing seven million hens. Wright County Egg says inspectors visited 73 barns on its five egg farms.

Both companies said that they had acted quickly to correct problems and were continuing to cooperate with regulators. The reports cited numerous instances in which both companies had failed to follow through on basic measures meant to keep chickens from becoming infected with salmonella, which can cause them to lay eggs containing the bacteria.

"That is not good management, bottom line," said Kenneth E. Anderson, a professor of poultry science at North Carolina State University. "I am surprised that an operation was being operated in that manner in this day and age."

Inspection visits to Wright County Egg found barns with abundant rodent holes and gaps in doors, siding and foundations where rodents could enter. Inspectors spotted mice scampering about 11 laying houses.

Inspectors said that many of the barns lacked separate entrances, so that workers had to walk through one barn to get into another - conditions that could allow workers to track bacteria between barns. In addition, workers were seen moving from barn to barn without changing protective clothing or cleaning tools.

The report on Wright County Egg also described pits beneath laying houses where chicken manure was piled four to eight feet high. It also described hens that had escaped from laying cages tracking through the manure.

Officials last week said that they were taking a close look at a feed mill operated by Wright County Egg, after tests found salmonella in bone meal, a feed ingredient, and in feed given to young birds, known as pullets. The young birds were raised to become laying hens at both Wright County Egg and Hillandale.

The inspection report helped fill in the picture of the feed mill as a potential source of contamination, saying that birds were seen roosting and flying about the facility. (Officials said both wild birds and escaped hens were found at the mill.)

Nesting material was seen in parts of the mill, including the ingredient storage area and an area where trucks were loaded. The report also said that there were numerous holes in bins or other structures open to the outdoors. That included the bin containing meat and bone meal that provided the feed ingredient sample in which salmonella was found.

Officials said last week that they had found traces of salmonella similar to the strain associated with the outbreak in a total of six test samples taken from Wright County Egg facilities. That included the two feed tests and four tests taken from walkways or other areas.

On Monday, officials said for the first time that they had also found salmonella at a Hillandale facility. The bacteria was found in water that had been used to wash eggs.

The inspection report on Hillandale showed many problems similar to those found at Wright County Egg, including hens tracking through manure piles and signs of rodent infestation.

F.D.A. officials said they were not permitted to discuss possible enforcement actions. But, according to Mr. Taylor, the law allows for civil actions like injunctions as well as criminal prosecution.

"We are in the process of analyzing this evidence and considering what enforcement actions would be appropriate," Mr. Taylor said.

Officials said their investigation was continuing and they were not yet able to say how the salmonella had gotten into the laying operations.

Wright County Egg is owned by Jack DeCoster, who has a long history of environmental, labor and immigration violations at egg operations in Maine, Iowa and elsewhere. The inspection report identified Mr. DeCoster's son, Peter DeCoster, as the chief operating officer of the Iowa operation.

Both companies have stopped selling shell eggs to consumers from their Iowa facilities and instead are sending all their eggs to breaking plants where they are pasteurized, which kills the bacteria. The eggs would then most likely be sold in liquid form, possibly to food manufacturers.

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. The bacteria is killed by pasteurization or by thoroughly cooking the eggs.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

3) Are Smart Meters Smart?
EMF Safety Network
[see video's at this site...bw]
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=649

Smart Meters are one part of the new 'Smart Grid' system. They are designed to allow the utility company and the consumer to track and control their energy usage.

The Utility Reform Network, State Senator Dean Florez, the City and County of San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Marin County Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, the cities of Sebastopol, Berkeley, Cotati, Fairfax, Santa Cruz, Piedmont, Scotts Valley, Capitola, Watsonville, Sausalito, Belvedere, Monte Sereno, Novato, Richmond, Ross, Bolinas, Camp Meeker, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Marin Association of Realtors and The EMF Safety Network are calling for a moratorium, a ban, or are opposing Smart Meters.

Smart Meters are radio transmitters, sending radiofrequency microwave radiation (RF) signals from both electric and gas meters. The electric meter has two transmitters. One RF signal is sent directly into your home (or business), and the other to a neighborhood data collector, which could be located on a lamppost, telephone pole, building or a home. Homes will also be used as repeaters for neighborhood RF signals.

Smart Grid proponents are expecting consumers to install a Home Area Network, which includes an RF interior display unit and either retrofit or purchase new RF 'smart' appliances to learn how to manage and reduce their electricity usage. Installing these interior devices will allow the Utility company to further control the electric grid, by turning off certain appliances during peak use time, if needed.

PG&E has been unable to give us a consistent, believable, straight answer about how often the meters transmit RF, or what the instantaneous peak power of the RF signal is at certain distances. They do not know what the RF exposure levels will be for a home with multiple meters installed. They claim the meters transmit RF six times a day, or they say once an hour. Other RF experts have measured RF transmissions every 45 seconds. Why is PG&E hiding the numbers? Do they know what they are doing?

There are no RF warning signs and at this time you cannot opt out. Vulnerable groups include the EMF Sensitive, people with medical implants, children, pregnant women, seniors and the immune compromised. If you have a pacemaker PG&E is now warning you to adhere to the SIX INCH RULE. For your safety stay 6 inches away from a Smart Meter.

Health impacts include sleep disturbance, headaches, nausea, anxiety, heart palpitations, tinnitus and ear pain, concentration and memory problems, dizziness, speech (loss of words), immune, nervous and hormonal system impacts, behavior problems in children, DNA strand breaks, and long term risk of cancers.

Smart Meters don't run backwards, and are therefore incompatible with solar panel installations. PG&E has reported over 43,000 Smart Meter problems of one kind or another. Over three thousand complaints have been received by the CPUC for safety, RF impacts, EMF's, opting out, moratorium, requests to remove, and for other numerous reasons. (that doesn't include billing complaints)

Media reviews and consumers report numerous complaints prior to or following installation of Smart Meters for a variety of reasons.

(1) cost, billing overcharges, and reliability The Utility Reform Network

(2) health impacts EMF Safety Network Application for Modification with CPUC

(3) interference, billing, other complaints Smart Meter Public Comments

(4) privacy Joint Comments of the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation

(5) security 'Smart' meters have security holes

(6) fire hazards Smart Meter Fire Risk

Learn more about Smart Meters in this Southern California Edison briefing by the co-editor of the Bioinitiative Report, RF expert Cindy Sage: Briefing Letter on Electric Utility Smart Meters

See this Silver Springs Network Smart Meter video: watch: "How it Works"

SEND Opt Out letter to CPUC For all utility districts in California: SEND THIS LETTER!

Take further action:
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=649

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

4) Blowback
Enthusiasm for Palestinian prime minister isn't shared by Palestinians
Salam Fayyad's embrace by the U.S. and Israel doesn't change the fact that millions of Palestinians languish under occupation and in poverty.
Ali Abunimah
August 31, 2010
http://www.latimes.com//news/opinion/opinionla/la-oew-abunimah-palestine-20100831,0,3774703.story

Rabbi Kenneth Chasen is the latest to offer a glowing report of the Palestinian-state-in-the-making supposedly being built by Salam Fayyad, a political unknown until he was boosted from obscurity by the George W. Bush administration and installed as the unelected "prime minister" of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

But the booming businesses and sleek glass towers Chasen raves about in Ramallah are part of a mirage, a narrative in which a docile Palestinian leadership "reforms" Palestine from within, making little or no noise about the ongoing depredations of Israeli occupation.

Chasen may be pleased that Fayyad barely uses the word "occupation," but that doesn't make the occupation any less real for the millions of Palestinians who suffer under it. As B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, reported last month, Israeli settlements now control 42% of the West Bank. Virtually all of the Jordan Valley is off limits to Palestinians as Israel tightens its grip under the cover of a "peace process" that perpetually goes nowhere. In July alone, Israel demolished 141 homes and buildings belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, the highest number since 2005, according to Human Rights Watch.

As for economic growth - Chasen claims an impressive 7% a year - this too is a mirage. There is in Ramallah a tiny, wealthy elite that has benefited from its connections and aid largesse, but in the rest of the West Bank, the situation is dire. Seventy-nine percent of families in "Area C," the three-fifths of the West Bank under direct Israeli military control, are chronically short of food, compared with 61% of families in the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to a recent Save the Children study.

It is likely that much of the "growth" in an economy that has shrunk dramatically in recent years is a statistical artifact of the large amounts of humanitarian aid being given to the Palestinian Authority. But this aid does nothing to tackle the real cause of poverty: the fact that Palestinians under occupation have no freedom to develop themselves and their resources in a sustainable way. As Palestinian American entrepreneur Sam Bahour wrote recently in The Hill, only an end to Israel's U.S.-subsidized occupation can unleash the economic potential in Palestine.

Chasen acknowledges that Fayyad rules in an "authoritarian" way, but this is putting it mildly. Last Wednesday, Palestinian Authority thugs raided a meeting of dozens of Palestinian political activists opposed to the authority taking part in new direct talks with Israel while settlement construction and other repression continue.

Palestine's Al-Haq human rights group condemned the attack, in which its staff along with many other individuals and journalists were assaulted, as further evidence of the "police state" the authority has become.

Claims that Fayyad is building the "institutions" of a future Palestinian state are equally hollow. As George Washington University professor Nathan Brown noted in a recent Carnegie Foundation analysis, Fayyad's regime "is not just postponing a democratic system; it is actively denying it." Brown concludes that contrary to glowing write-ups in the U.S. media, there has been little or no institution-building and that "ironically, there was more institution-building and civil society development under Yasser Arafat than there has been" since 2007, when Fayyad was installed without the legally required approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Fayyad's popularity around the world may indeed be on the rise, as Chasen claims. But support from foreign governments does not give Fayyad a popular mandate among Palestinians, the only people who should choose Palestinian leaders. Fayyad's party ran in the 2006 legislative elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and got just over 2% of the vote. Hamas, which had been observing a unilateral cease-fire, won the election and immediately invited all of the losers to join it in a broad national unity coalition, but it was never allowed to govern as Israel, the United States and other allies launched a determined effort to undermine it and overturn the election. The result was bitter internal Palestinian fighting and the devastating split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

What's even more disturbing than Chasen's support for an "authoritarian" regime, which many Palestinians view in the same light as Philippe Pétain's collaborationist Vichy regime in France during World War II, is his seeming endorsement of the "carrot and stick" approach to Gaza. One and a half million people are imprisoned in Gaza and deprived of basic needs in order to teach them a lesson: Support the U.S.- and Israeli-backed strongman in Ramallah, or continue to languish in misery. Absolutely no political goal can justify such collective punishment.

The enthusiasm among Israel's supporters for Fayyad is not hard to understand. Chasen himself warns that "the demographic clock ticks loudly toward the day when the growing population of non-Jews in Israel and the territories it controls" exceeds the number of Jews. That day may have already arrived. Just as the apartheid regime in South Africa invented the nominally independent "bantustans" ruled by favorite strongmen to create the fiction of black self-determination, Zionists hope that an illusory Palestinian "state" can serve as a fig leaf to cover the reality of Israeli apartheid.

Ali Abunimah is the author of "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse."

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

5) PLEASE ENDORSE OCTOBER 23 RESOLUTION and
SAVE THE DATE: JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT -- October 23, 2010
Media/Publicity: Jack Heyman 510-531-4717, jackheyman@comcast.net
[SEND ENDORSEMENTS TO: jackheyman@comcast.net]

Resolution in Support of October 23 ILWU Rally for Justice for Oscar Grant

Whereas, Oscar Grant's killer, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle received a verdict of involuntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010 and will be sentenced on November 5; and

Whereas, video tapes show clearly that Oscar Grant was lying face down on the Fruitvale BART platform, waiting to be handcuffed with another cop's boot on his neck posing no threat when he was shot in the back and killed in cold blood by Mehserle; and

Whereas, wherever employers try to break a strike, police are there to protect the scabs and attack workers, as we know from the 1934 West Coast Maritime Strike, to the Charleston Five longshore struggle in 2000; and

Whereas, black and brown racial minorities, and especially immigrant workers today, struggling for equal rights have borne the brunt of police violence; and

Whereas , Oscar Grant's killing is another manifestation of the same unjust system where the message for the poor, the working class, and people of color is submission or death; and

Whereas, ILWU Local 10 has initiated the call for a mass labor and community protest rally on Saturday October 23, 2010 in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza calling for justice for Oscar Grant in the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle,

Therefore be it Resolved, that (name of organization) endorses this rally along with other labor unions, community groups, civil rights organizations, civil liberties organizations and will help to mobilize for this rally for justice for Oscar Grant;

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

6) What's More Important For Black Leadership? Turning Off Fox News? Or Stopping the President's Cat Food Commission?
By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
September 1, 2010
http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content/whats-more-important-turning-fox-news-or-stopping-presidents-cat-food-commission

"...everybody knows what the commission's targets are... Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security."

Rev. Al Sharpton and the NAACP's Ben Jealous, along with most of the old black political class want us to think the most important thing happening is their ongoing clown fight with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. The newer crowd of tech-savvy, social-network-aware types around Color of Change think the most key and crucial thing to do is to make airports, bus and train stations Turn Off Fox News. They're both wrong. The real action is someplace else.

Back in April, President Obama created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility & Reform. Its purpose is to recommend, this December 1, just after the elections, measures that will save the government money, "to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run." The president has pledged in advance that he will push whatever his commission recommends through Congress in the lame duck session.

And everybody knows what the commission's targets are. They won't recommend ending the wars in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan. They won't suggest closing a few hundred of the thousand military bases the U.S. maintains in foreign lands, or scaling back the hundreds of billions Uncle Sam spends on militarizing Africa, or propping up its client regimes in Israel, Egypt or Colombia and elsewhere. The commission won't try to get back any of the trillions the Fed has given away to Wall Street, or stop it from handing out more. The commission is not about to close the banking loopholes that let wealthy corporations and individuals move trillions offshore to evade taxation, or shut off the many forms of corporate welfare. The commission's targets are Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Not so very long ago, before 1965 passage of Medicare, the cost of health care for senior citizens was so high that hundreds of thousands of elders in the U.S. were eating cat food. Black seniors, as always, were the worst affected. Given its stated objective, of rolling back Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, it's easy to see why President Obama's debt commission has earned its label as the President's Cat Food Commission. It's much harder to see why black America's political leadership chooses to ignore the Cat Food Commission created by Democrats in power, and instead picks meaningless fights with Republicans out of power.

There are some gigantic lies loose in the land, lies endlessly repeated and embellished by corporate media; lies with names like "national security," "free markets," and "fiscal responsibility." As flies beget maggots these lies and their larvae have thoroughly infested our national discourse. Among them are the notions of a "national debt" and the idea that a country's finances ought to be run like a family's. Back in the days of George Washington and John Adams, when currency was backed by gold and silver, there actually could have been a U.S. national debt, if creditors could collect it and debtors would pay it.

But nowadays the U.S. Federal Reserve creates money, not out of gold, or risk, or labor, but out of thin air. The tens of trillions the Fed spent in 2009, to buy up a fifth of the nation's mortgage-backed securities were created simply by crediting the accounts of the previous owners of those securities. In other words, 21st century money is a spreadsheet operated by the Fed. In the ongoing Wall Street Bailout, the government first creates money in the private accounts of favored banksters via spreadsheet, and calls it a low-interest or no-interest "loan." The government then borrows the money back from the favored banksters at loan shark interest rates to spend on wars or whatever. This has become a large portion of the fictitious "national debt." An entity that can do that lives in a different fiscal universe with fundamentally different rules than those governing your family's budget.

"Now a Democratic President Obama has joined the right's crusade against Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security"

If the powers that be wanted to, they could use their magic spreadsheets to close the modest gap which may appear in Social Security revenues two or three decades from now, or they could raise benefits immediately. They could restore full funding to schools, libraries and local governments for a fraction of what the Afghan war costs every week. For a fraction of what the top two banksters got, they could forgive all the nation's student loan debt. But the lies about the government "having to live within its means" and the fantasies that the Fed's magic spreadsheets can somehow "run out of money" because of greedy seniors and the medical care received by poor people are far more useful than the truth could ever be.

Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, the Cat Food Commission's co-chairs, make no secret of their bipartisan aims to cut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Democrat Bowles has called Social Security "a cancer" eating away at the nation's fiscal health. Republican Simpson recently and notoriously remarked that Medicare and Social Security had turned the nation into a milk cow with "310 million tits." Simpson in particular has a long history of labeling social security beneficiaries as "greedy geezers," as undeserving "little people," and the like. No serious person doubts that their "fiscal reforms" will be carefully calculated to fatally undermine Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and set the stage for their ultimate privatization.

Since social solidarity, the idea that we're all in this together, is the core rationale for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the Commission will surely craft measures that will undermine this solidarity. They will likely employ the time-tested tactic of "two-tiering" benefits for the elderly, freezing in place the levels current seniors receive, while raising the retirement age and lowering the benefit levels for future senior citizens. If successful, this will create a permanent wedge between those receiving higher and lower benefit levels, a wedge that the right wing is poised to exploit.

Billionaire Pete Peterson is only one, the most prominent of the U.S. right's financiers of foundations, think tanks, academic and consulting careers, bloggers, web sites, radio and TV programming, conferences, talk show personalities and articles promulgating the lie that social security is about to go broke, or will bankrupt the nation. Pledging to plow his entire ten or eleven figure net worth into the foundations that advance this political agenda, he has, over the last decade or two, pretty much kept his word. And it's working. The "liberal" corporate media never tire of telling us that social security and the national debt are making paupers of all us. A substantial portion of people under 40 now believe that social security won't be there for them, cause it'll go broke long before they get old. The right wing has, over the past several decades, carefully laid the infrastructure for this effort to undermine and destroy Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the social solidarity that underlies them.

Now a Democratic President Obama has joined the right's crusade against Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. A Democratic President Obama uses his bully pulpit to trumpet about a crushing "national debt" and social security as if they were gospel truth. A Democratic President Obama has created and empowered the Cat Food Commission which will eviscerate these programs of human uplift in the name of "fiscal responsibility."

The real tragedy isn't that the First Black President is doing this. The tragedy is that black leadership used to be the core of the left in this country. But in the era of Obama, the whole of black political leadership has willfully averted its eyes to the train coming down the track. When Republicans stuck it to them, they could at least squeal. But betrayed by Democrats, by our First Black President, they are silent, and powerless and irrelevant. They pick meaningless fights with Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, who for all their racist vitriol, are temporarily OUT of power, not IN. They craft social networking tools to help us turn off Fox News, while MSNBC, CNN and CBS spout the same falsehoods, from "national security" to "free markets" to "entitlement reform." That's why they are what they are, diversionary fighting clowns, the epitome of a Black Misleadership Class.

Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and based in Marietta GA. He's a member of the GA Green Party's state committee, and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

7) Are SmartMeters Dangerous, Too?
PG&E's new meters have been vilified for allegedly overbilling customers. Now there's evidence that they may bad for your health, as well.
By Caitlin Esch
July 21, 2010
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/are-smartmeters-dangerous-too/Content?oid=1939740&showFullText=true

With a spectrum analyzer pointed skyward, Stephen Scott, a patient, self-described radio-frequency geek, tested for electromagnetic fields in the basement of an apartment building in downtown Oakland. He drew a wand-like instrument and directed it toward a small circular box affixed to a wall. He said he was measuring the strength of the radio frequency signals he caught on the spectrum analyzer. He directed the wand toward the appliance in question and laughed in quiet disbelief.

"I just got a big spike," he said. The wand's meter measures signals ranging in intensity from a weak green to a strong red with yellow and orange levels in between. For a split second, the lights shot into the red.

Scott is a remediation specialist for EMF Services, a company that surveys living and work environments for potentially harmful radiation. He was testing an electric SmartMeter recently installed by PG&E.

SmartMeters - automatic meter reading devices already in 73 percent of buildings in Alameda County - are the first step in creating a national smart grid that will enhance energy efficiency and make widespread adoption of renewable energy easier. The new meters communicate data from houses and businesses to PG&E through a mesh network of radio signals. In replacing antiquated analog meters that require a human to read, SmartMeters allow people to measure their energy consumption in real time in order to reduce it - or at least reduce their bills by using energy during off-peak hours.

But PG&E's SmartMeters have generated considerable controversy. Critics contend they overstate home energy use and cause electricity bills to spike. The cities of Berkeley, San Francisco, Sebastopol, Fairfax, Camp Meeker, Cotati, and Bolinas, along with Santa Cruz County have all come out in favor of a SmartMeter moratorium. And now there are a small but growing number of activists who contend that SmartMeters may be harmful to human health.

For its part, PG&E maintains that SmartMeters are safe, and emit radio frequencies that are well within Federal Communications Commission standards. The utility says electric SmartMeters transmit data for only a fraction of a second every four hours and are far weaker than other everyday radio-frequency emitters like cellphones, cell towers, and wireless Internet.

But as PG&E races to outfit every home and business in the Bay Area with a SmartMeter, there's some reason to doubt the utility's assurances. Independent environmental and electromagnetic-fields consultants, for example, have found that SmartMeters pulse far more often that PG&E claims. In addition, there's evidence to suggest that the peak pulses are far greater in intensity than the "average pulse" PG&E owns up to, thereby raising questions about safety, particularly in children, whose bodies absorb radiation at a far greater rate than adults. In dense urban areas, residents also have raised concerns about banks, or clusters of upwards of thirty meters on some apartment buildings.

However, the precise strength of the powerful "peak pulses" emitted by SmartMeters remains unclear. PG&E refuses to disclose that information, stating only that its calculations are in accordance with FCC specifications.

But how the utility calculates the pulses has become an issue of debate. PG&E's calculations are time-averaged, or stretched out over all the time the meter's not pulsing, making the average significantly lower than the peak. In addition, independent testers can accurately measure how many times a meter pulses, but without military-grade - and cost-prohibitive - equipment, it's difficult to measure the intensity of the strongest bursts. Furthermore, because SmartMeters pulse and most other radio-frequency emitters remain low and constant like a cellphone, it's still unclear how they might affect human health. Although the World Health Organization maintains there are no consistent studies showing adverse health affects from radio-frequency exposure, there is plenty of research that suggest long-term exposure is linked to cancer and other diseases.

In short, PG&E's rapid deployment of SmartMeters appears to be something of a leap of faith, a "trust us" moment - not unlike the promises made over the years by plastics manufacturers who claimed the chemicals they used were safe, too.

Every evening, Kate Bernier of Berkeley deposits a day's worth of ice into a cooler, then fills the cooler with the contents of her fridge. She turns the power off and crawls into bed. Sometimes she listens to French poetry on a battery-powered tape player. She kind of likes it. She says it makes her feel like she's camping.

Around the same time Bernier shuts off the electricity, Annie Mills of Walnut Creek slides into a faraday cage, or a mesh box that shields from electromagnetic fields. Mills and her husband sleep in the cage every night.

What motivates such behavior? Both women are trying to escape the reach of electromagnetic radiation. Both say they're electro-hypersensitive - that anything that's electrically charged literally makes them sick. And they're not alone. At least a dozen people interviewed for this story in recent weeks claim to suffer electro-hypersensitivity or have tumors caused by electromagnetic exposure. Sue, who asked her last name remain anonymous for this article, wrote in an e-mail: "I am living in the near vicinity of 32 SmartMeters and it has made my life a living hell."

Although electro-hypersensitivity is not a disease recognized by most medical practitioners, Bernier, Mills and others insist their suffering is real. One by one, they approached the Berkeley City Council at meetings in June and July to speak publicly for the first time about what many consider to by a purely psychosomatic condition.

Dozens of anti-meter residents begged council members to send a strongly worded letter to the California Public Utilities Commission, the body that regulates utilities like PG&E. Speakers pleaded with council members, rattling off a long list of complaints, chief among them, electromagnetic-induced illness afflicting both normal and electro-hypersensitive residents.

The council seemed largely unsympathetic. Councilman Gordon Wozniak called the symptoms "phantom" - a comment that inspired hisses and boos from the audience. The council eventually decided to reconsider the issue at a later meeting.

The anti-meter crew was so outraged, they formed the citizen group ACRCASM, or Alameda County Residents Concerned About SmartMeters. The part-time group boasts a few dozen members. Cognizant of the controversy surrounding claims that SmartMeters may be unsafe, they drafted a letter outlining their grievances and listed overbilling, fire safety, data security, and job loss as their primary concerns. They left out any mention of meter-induced physical illness, but they did request a halt to the disposal of analog meters, a moratorium on the installation of new meters, and the ability opt-out of the SmartMeter program in the future.

Councilman Kriss Worthington was the first to support the letter. At a meeting earlier this month, the council voted to approve the letter, and thus support a moratorium on SmartMeters. Six councilmembers voted for it, one against, and one was absent. Mayor Tom Bates abstained.

Councilman Max Anderson generated cheers from the anti-meter crowd of about thirty people who stayed late into the night when he likened PG&E to a hitman, referring to the utility's $40-plus million support of Proposition 16, a June ballot measure that sought to make it nearly impossible for local governments to jump into the public power market. "If somebody takes a shot at you and misses and then shows up on your doorstep with a care package for you with a suspicious ticking sound coming from it," Anderson said, "I think you'd be very justified to be extremely suspicious of their intentions."

Berkeley's letter to the public utilities commission is one more in a small but growing stack. The commission said it had already received about 2,000 health-related complaints as of June 1, in addition to more than 1,500 non-health-related complaints pouring in from across the state - though most are from Northern California, and are specifically in reference to PG&E.

The commission contracted the Structure Group, headquartered in Houston, to provide an independent evaluation of PG&E's SmartMeters. However, the evaluation will not look at radio-frequency emissions - only meter accuracy and the company's billing and operational practices. PG&E is quick to point out that it already paid Richard Tell Associates to conduct a radio-frequency study and found that SmartMeters fall 15,000 times below FCC limits.

But many local activists are suspicious of the utility. "If one wants to believe PG&E, one would be considered naive," said Lloyd Morgan, a 68-year-old retired electrical engineer and self-made radio-frequency expert. "Would that we had government agencies that actually checked to see if it's all true."

So are SmartMeters bad for your health? It's a difficult question to answer. Though similar in wattage and frequency to cellphones, SmartMeters infrequently pulse at a greater intensity, while cellphones emit lower levels of constant radiation. Still, both devices emit radio frequencies, and recently, cellphones and cell towers have come under intense criticism as information has surfaced suggesting that they may cause cancer.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a bill in June that was signed into law by Mayor Gavin Newsom, requiring cellphone retailers to post radiation levels for each type of phone they sell. Last month, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio announced he would introduce a bill to create a national research program that would look at the safety of electromagnetic fields, particularly in cellphones. The World Health Organization has also said it would conduct a formal study of the effects of radio frequencies on human health by 2010, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer will review the carcinogenic potential of cellphones by next year.

But so far, the science on cellphones has been somewhat contradictory. Recent studies from Sweden have found that placing a cellphone to your head everyday for ten years or more increases your chance of developing a brain tumor by 280 percent in adults and 420 percent in teenagers.

However, the overall conclusion of the separate, and costly, 13-country Interphone study found no connection between cellphone use and brain tumors. Some scientists have criticized this ongoing study as flawed because some of its sub-studies concluded that cellphones actually prevent brain tumors.

More interesting still, different interpretations of the Interphone study yield different results. Henry Lai, a professor in the bioengineering department at the University of Washington found that studies not funded by the industry were far more likely to find that cellphones cause cancer. Industry-funded studies found electromagnetic fields affect our health just 28 percent of the time, while non-industry-funded studies found human health is affected 67 percent of the time.

And most people don't realize that cellphone manufacturers acknowledge a link between phone use and human health. To meet FCC standards, the fine print in most cellphone manuals state that users are not supposed to put the devices up to their bodies. A Motorola V195 GMS, for example, is supposed to be held an inch away from the head while in use.

Lloyd Morgan says he almost died from exposure to electromagnetic fields. In 1995, Morgan was having lunch with a friend when he suffered a grand mal seizure that literally knocked him off his feet. Turns out, Morgan had a tumor the size of his fist growing inside his head.

"My neurosurgeon said to me, perhaps EMFs [electromagnetic fields] caused your tumor - and that was fifteen years ago," Morgan said. He's since engaged in a battle against the cellphone industry, attempting to save others from untimely deaths by brain tumor.

As an electrical engineer, Morgan was certainly exposed to electromagnetic fields. He was also a ham radio operator in high school, had a full dental X-ray when he was young, and slept next to a clock radio for several decades - all possible contributors, he believes, to his tumor. Morgan does not use a cellphone and he does not have WiFi in his North Berkeley home. But he does have SmartMeters.

Though Morgan doesn't appear as concerned about the gas and electric SmartMeters affixed to the wall outside his living room, he took time during a recent interview to point out a bank of about a dozen SmartMeters just a few yards away on the wall of the apartment building next door. And a dozen more across the street.

Morgan likens exposure to electromagnetic fields to smoking: If constant cellphone exposure is like sucking down a cigarette, SmartMeters are analogous to second-hand smoke. Cigarettes are generally believed to cause lung cancer in about 10 percent of heavy smokers. If the same holds true for heavy cellphone users, Morgan foresees an epidemic of disastrous proportions. "I believe there will be a tsunami of brain tumors that will show up in ten to fifteen years," he said. If 10 percent of cellphone users worldwide developed a brain tumor, that could mean tens of millions of people.

Lafayette resident Alan Marks is a prime example of an early cellphone adopter/brain cancer victim. His wife Ellie, his greatest advocate, says Marks has been on the phone for at least an hour a day since the late 1980s. Marks suffered a grand mal seizure in 2008 and was diagnosed with a malignant glioma a month later. Ellie sent her husband's cellphone and medical records to experts around the world and says she got a collective "absolutely" - absolutely his cellphone use could have contributed to his brain tumor. Ellie has filed a large lawsuit against The Wireless Association and others. She has testified before Congress and appeared on Larry King Live. As a side note, she says she received a phone call from Erin Brockovich.

Consequently, Ellie Marks was extremely upset to find a SmartMeter installed on her property. She called PG&E, explained her husband's condition, and the company soon agreed to come out and remove the SmartMeter. Ellie says by doing so, PG&E acknowledged there was cause for concern. She has since received a letter stating her SmartMeter will be reinstalled, along with a packet of what she called, "propaganda," stating that there is no known health risk associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields.

So how do SmartMeters compare to cellphones? Cellphones, cell towers, and other electronic devices emit a near-constant stream of radio frequencies that can vary in strength, while SmartMeters emit short, fraction-of-a-second-long bursts called "pulses." In addition, most health studies on electromagnetic fields have focused on cellphones and other sources that cause constant, low-level exposure - but not on electronic devices that pulse. Moreover, there's disagreement about how strong the SmartMeter pulses are, and how often they pulse in the first place.

For example, PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said that electric SmartMeters emit low-level radio frequency bursts that last a fraction of a second, and occur only once every four hours.

But Dan Mattson, an independent electromagnetic-fields consultant and a former Navy technician in North Oakland discovered that a client in San Leandro had a SmartMeter that pulsed about 100 times in fifteen minutes. And Cindy Sage, a Santa Barbara-based environmental consultant and an outspoken critic of SmartMeters and the utility companies that install them, has measured several SmartMeters in the Bay Area: one in Berkeley pulsed about six times in one minute. Another just north of Berkeley pulsed between eight and fifteen times a minute.

And Stan Hartman, an engineer in Colorado with a different, but similar smart meter installed by Xcel, measured his meter and said it rapidly transmitted four or five signals in a short period, and then sat idle for fifteen minutes. "There's a lot that's not known about them, because it's hard to get information about them," Hartman said. "But I do know there are some really high spikes that go through the walls, I do know that."

Stephen Scott measured a SmartMeter in the basement of a downtown Oakland apartment that pulsed erratically, several times a minute.

Why the discrepancy? Brian Seal, senior project manager for the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit, science and technology research organization that has studied automatic meters, said a SmartMeter firing more frequently than the PG&E estimate of once every four hours is likely acting as a relay, or a go-between. It transmits data from houses whose SmartMeters cannot reach all the way to the "access point" where the information is gathered before it's sent back to PG&E. The smart grid is set up so that if, for some reason, one SmartMeter cannot transmit data all the way to the end goal, it can pass the information off to another SmartMeter. Any well-positioned SmartMeter can pass along the information of up to 1,000 homes, if necessary. But a single SmartMeter carrying too large a load would be a flaw in the smart grid design, Seal said, and too many "bottleneck" meters would indicate the mesh isn't functioning in proper mesh fashion.

PG&E's Moreno says he does not know why independent electromagnetic-fields consultants are measuring pulses at greater far frequency than once every four hours. Moreno also insists that that SmartMeters pose less of a threat than practically any other appliance in your house. The Electric Power Research Institute seconds that assertion. Senior Technical Executive Rob Kavet said a typical SmartMeter transmits data only 1 percent of the day, at an average power of 1/100th of a watt, and falls way below FCC standards. Furthermore, following the inverse square law, radiation strength rapidly drops off. So positioning your body a foot away from the source dramatically reduces your exposure.

However, it gets a bit more complicated than that.

FCC safety standards are calculated through a complex formula, but are based entirely on thermal affects - meaning: How high can radiation go before body tissue literally starts cooking? (Think of a small man in a microwave. How long will it take for that man to heat up?). So take that number, reduce it by a lot, and the FCC says you're safe.

But Sage, co-editor of the BioInitiative Report, a self-published study co-authored by fourteen scientists, researchers, and health policy professionals, has been insisting for years that studies have shown electromagnetic fields damage DNA at levels well below the FCC limit - possibly 6,000 times below the limit. Such studies have prompted medical professionals like UC Berkeley School of Public Health director Joel Moskowitz to suggest FCC standards might be woefully inadequate.

The standards also are time-averaged, which means the peak pulse is considered over a thirty-minute period. So if a SmartMeter pulses for a fraction of a second, and that pulse is averaged over all the time the meter is not pulsing, the average will be far lower than the peak. Sage says this calculation gives an inaccurate "safety" reading. Sage likens SmartMeters to radio-frequency nail guns. "It's an enormous, short pulse," she said. "It goes right through walls and it only stops when it hits something juicy. You become a walking antenna."

Though the utility company in Santa Barbara where Sage lives is Southern California Edison - not PG&E - she says SmartMeters are pretty much the same across the country. And Edison's SmartMeters carry a peak power density of 229,000 microwatts per centimeters squared at 8 inches away, according to data provided to Sage by the utility that she shared with the Express. By comparison, a cellphone usually emits a power density of around 250 to 300 microwatts per cm squared when pressed to your head.

So in the fraction of a second that the SmartMeter is transmitting data, it's almost 1,000 times more powerful than a cellphone, though a cellphone emits a lower radio frequency over an extended period. Sage said that because of the intensity of the pulses, it's crucial to accurately count how often the meters are firing.

But tracking pulses is difficult because complicated time-averaging calculations inaccurately suggest peak pulses are far less frequent than they really are. Morgan says he calculated the peak power density to be 288,184 times larger than the average power density calculated by PG&E.

When asked for a comment on these numbers, PG&E declined. But spokesman Moreno did say concerned customers are welcome to call PG&E, and that comparing Southern California Edison's meters to PG&E's was like comparing "apples to oranges."

It's nearly impossible for consumers to accurately measure for themselves the magnitude of SmartMeter pulses, because high-end testing equipment is prohibitively expensive. Even Scott, a professional with a $5,000 instrument, couldn't get an accurate reading of the meter in the basement of the downtown apartment building. He did find the transmissions were weak - closer to PG&E's estimates than Sage's. But he worries that the people with the skills and the expensive equipment needed to measure the full extent of a meter's activity are already working for the telecom and power industries.

"More research is needed, more people with instruments are invited to measure this phenomenon," he said. "And hopefully, people will generously share their information so we can get a big picture of what's going on." Scott says he will continue to investigate SmartMeters in single and multiple configurations around neighborhoods and apartment complexes. "I have the feeling this is just the beginning of this issue," he said.

In the meantime, people like Annie Mills say they will take matters into their own hands. Mills plans to test the method of wrapping her SmartMeter in aluminum foil to obstruct its transmissions, until PG&E "comes out to see why it's not working."

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

8) ANSWER Coalition responds
to President Obama's speech on Iraq
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
http://www.answercoalition.org/
info@internationalanswer.org
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
Boston: 857-334-5084
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311
http://answer.pephost.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9779&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=ANS_

It is necessary to separate fact from fiction regarding the announcement by the Obama administration that it is removing "combat brigades" from Iraq.

This is not the time for progressive people to pat themselves on the back, claim "victory" and pretend that the U.S. government is pursuing a different policy than that which was carried out by the previous administration.

Today's announcement that renames the 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq is nothing more than the rebranding of the illegal U.S. occupation of Iraq that began with the criminal invasion of the country by hundreds of thousands of U.S. forces on March 20, 2003. Let's remember, the goal of the Bush administration, too, was not to keep a certain number of U.S. troops in Iraq forever, but instead to exercise U.S. domination over the country and the region.

The Obama administration has maintained the principal military and civilian leaders from the Bush administration. The withdrawal of some combat brigades from Iraq is essentially a redeployment exercise so that tens of thousands more U.S. troops can be sent to Afghanistan.

Since Bush left office, and contrary to the deep desire of the masses of people who constituted the electoral base for President Obama's November 2008 victory, the U.S. military machine has grown, not diminished. The U.S. military budget has actually increased, not decreased.

The ongoing occupation of Iraq, the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, the increasing threats against Iran, and the enduring U.S.-Israeli war directed against the Palestinian people are all clear indicators that U.S. foreign policy and its military strategy are premised on the pursuit and maintenance of Empire regardless of whether the Democrats or the Republicans occupy the White House.

When he delivered his major address in Cairo on June 4, 2009, President Obama described the war in Iraq as a "war of choice." That is simply popular vernacular for a war of aggression. The reality of his position, however, was revealed today when President Obama actually called George W. Bush to confer with him in advance of tonight's address on Iraq. Tonight, President Obama took the occasion to salute Bush as a "patriot" with "love of country and commitment to our security." George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials in the Bush administration should be indicted and prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq has shredded Iraqi sovereignty and "succeeded" in killing as many as 1 million Iraqis. The invasion and ongoing occupation has succeeded in ripping apart a once-united country. It is the U.S. invasion that stoked a sectarian civil war. It was a deliberate and conscious policy by the U.S. occupation forces to organize, finance and arm Iraqis along ethno-sectarian lines in order to weaken the nationwide resistance of the people against foreign occupation.

The thousands of organizers and volunteers who have worked with the ANSWER Coalition in organizing mass protests and nearly daily activities in cities throughout the country for the past nine years believe that the U.S. should end all of its foreign occupations, and that the people in Iraq and Afghanistan must have the right of self determination.

The struggle for jobs, social justice, equality and freedom at home cannot be separated from the international struggle against empire, colonialism and war. Last Saturday, Glenn Beck and the forces of right-wing racism tried to hijack the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the millions of people who fought, organized-including for some going to jail and giving their life-in the struggle against racism at home and war abroad. We must take note of the fact that the forces of right-wing racism and militarism are mobilizing throughout the country. Their demagogic attacks against the Obama administration are nothing more than a cover for their real agenda.

We in the ANSWER Coalition believe that it is imperative that all those in the anti-war movement, labor and civil rights movements and others come together in a massive mobilization on Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C., for jobs, peace and justice. Only the mobilization of the people, and not the politicians, can radically change the political climate. When we march together on Oct. 2, we must raise high the banners of "U.S. out of Iraq now," "End the occupation of Afghanistan Now" and "Money for jobs, schools, health care and housing, not war and occupation."

With your help and support, the movement for jobs, peace and justice can grow. Please make your donation today.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
http://www.answercoalition.org/
info@internationalanswer.org
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
Boston: 857-334-5084
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

9) U.S. Formally Begins a New Era in Iraq
[Note to readers: In May 1961, President Kennedy sent 400 American Green Beret "Special Advisors" to South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese soldiers in methods of "counter-insurgency" in the fight against "Viet Cong guerrillas"--and the U.S. bloodbath against the Vietnamese people began. I guess Obama, et al, has decided to use the opposite strategy and continue the bloodshed in Iraq with "advisers" and with the addition of tens-of-thousands of private military contractors. This is what the U.S. means by "a new era in Iraq"...bw]
By MICHAEL R. GORDON and ELISABETH BUMILLER
September 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/world/middleeast/02iraq.html?ref=world

BAGHDAD - The United States began a fragile new era in its turbulent history with Iraq on Wednesday as American political and military leaders marked the official end of combat operations but acknowledged that a difficult milestone, the creation of a new coalition Iraqi government, was not yet in reach.

In the marble rotunda of Al Faw Palace, one of the lavish former homes of Saddam Hussein that serves as the American military headquarters in Baghdad, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Gen. Ray Odierno sounded the same theme in a made-for-television ceremony to inaugurate Operation New Dawn, as the post-combat phase has been named. The United States, they said, was moving toward an exit after seven years of war but would not abandon the country.

"We stood together in difficult times, we fought together, we laughed together and sometimes died together," said General Odierno, who formally ended four years as the top American commander in Iraq during the ceremony. He said the change in mission, which still leaves 50,000 American troops in the country, "in no way signals the end of our commitment to the people of Iraq."

He ended his remarks with his military sign-off. "Lion 6 - Out," he said.

The ceremony, attended by hundreds of American and Iraqi military commanders under United States and Iraqi flags hung between the rotunda's black marble columns, at times resembled a high school reunion as officers who served multiple deployments in Iraq greeted one another before the formalities began.

The setting was rich in symbolism: Some seven years and five months ago, American forces entered the decrepit palace during the invasion of Baghdad to find an enormous crater from an American bomb, no plumbing or electricity, and goats wandering the rooms.

Despite the pageantry of the ceremony, held the day after President Obama declared combat operations at an end in a prime-time address from the Oval Office, military officials said they remained concerned about the bloodshed in Iraq, which has been sharply reduced from dark days before a 2007 increase in American forces but is still not under control.

Recent statistics gathered by the United States military show that in the first 17 days of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that began in August, there was a substantial increase in casualties when compared with a similar period during Ramadan in 2009.

There has also been a major increase in rocket and mortar attacks in the fortified Green Zone and at the Baghdad airport, according to Gen. Ralph A. Baker, the deputy commander of American forces in central Iraq. General Baker, who said there had been about 60 such attacks in the last two months compared with "two or three" in the preceding months, blamed a "confluence" of factors, including frustration over electricity, the return of Iranian-trained militants and Iraq's failure to produce a post-election government, which the insurgents have sought to exploit.

The goal of the insurgents, he said, is to "further erode confidence" in the Iraqi government and Iraqi forces "by trying to portray them as weak."

Both Mr. Biden and General Odierno called on Iraq to form a government nearly six months after elections, although Mr. Biden sought to cast the stalemate in a positive light. "Politics has broken out in Iraq," he said in his remarks from the podium. But he added that the Iraqis had courageously voted in large numbers, and therefore "they expect a government that reflects the results of the votes they cast."

Mr. Gates, who has taken a markedly anti-triumphal tone during the clamor surrounding the end of combat, said earlier on Wednesday that history had still to judge whether America's involvement in the seven-year-old war was worth the cost.

In subdued and reflective comments on Wednesday morning to reporters in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar Province and the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the war, Mr. Gates said that while American servicemen and women "have accomplished something really quite extraordinary here, how it all weighs in the balance over time I think remains to be seen."

Asked directly if the war had been worth it, Mr. Gates replied, "It really requires a historian's perspective in terms of what happens here in the long run."

The war, he added, "will always be clouded by how it began" - that is, he said, the premise on which it was justified, Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist. "This is one of the reasons that this war remains so controversial at home," he said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Gates said he remained hopeful that Iraq could work out its problems in the long run, including its failure to form a coalition government. "These guys are politicking, they're not shooting at each other," he said. "And the efforts of Al Qaeda to reignite the sectarian violence we saw in 2006 and 2007 have not been successful. So I guess I would have to say I'm optimistic that these guys will get a coalition government and that they will continue to make progress."

Nonetheless, when the Obama administration drew up the plan to reduce American forces to 50,000 troops by the end of August 2010, military planners assumed that Iraq would have a newly elected and largely representative government in place. And although Mr. Obama's goals for Iraq are less far-reaching than those of President George W. Bush - who envisioned a democratic Iraq that would act like a catalytic agent for political change in the Middle East - the current administration's goals are not immodest and include an Iraq government that, as President Obama said Wednesday night, is "just, representative and accountable to the Iraqi people."

In his speech on Wednesday night, Mr. Obama noted that the last combat brigade had left Iraq on Aug. 19 without a shot being fired. What Mr. Obama did not say was that in the days since, one American soldier was killed near Basra when his unit was attacked by "indirect fire," the military's term for mortar or rocket fire, and at least four American troops in Iraq have been wounded.

Despite the official end of the combat mission, officials say, fighting will continue. American Special Operations Forces will continue to hunt for insurgents along with Iraqi units-a mission the Pentagon calls "partnered counterterrorism."

The six United States "advise and assist" brigades that are staying behind to train Iraqi forces, escort American civilian advisers and protect United Nations officials have all of the weapons and military capabilities of a traditional combat unit. There is every indication that attacks by insurgents and Iranian-backed militias against American troops will continue, and the advisory brigades will have the right to defend themselves, with Iraqi troops if they are ready and willing, or by themselves if they must.

"Iraq can still be a dangerous place at certain places for very short periods," Col. Malcolm B. Frost, the commander of an advisory brigade in Diyala, wrote in a note to the soldiers' families. "The rules of engagement have not changed. We will move around Iraq fully protected in armored Strykers and other armored vehicles, wearing full body armor, and fully loaded with ammunition to deal with the enemy if/when they raise their head in anger against us."

Colonel Frost's brigade has the same combat and support soldiers as a traditional combat brigade but has been augmented with 51 advisers. Since arriving in Iraq in July for its advisory mission, two of the brigade's soldiers have been killed. Thirteen were wounded but were able to quickly return to duty.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

10) New Job Means Lower Wages for Many
By MICHAEL LUO
August 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/us/01jobs.html?ref=us

Correction Appended

After being out of work for more than a year, Donna Ings, 47, finally landed a job in February as a home health aide with a company in Lexington, Mass., earning about $10 an hour.

Chelsea Nelson, 21, started two weeks ago as a waitress at a truck stop in Mountainburg, Ark., making around $7 or $8 an hour, depending on tips, ending a lengthy job search that took her young family to California and back.

Both are ostensibly economic success stories, people who were able to find work in a difficult labor market. Ms. Ings's employer, Home Instead Senior Care, a company with franchises across the country, has been expanding assertively. Ms. Nelson's restaurant, Silver Bridge Truck Stop, recently reopened and hired about 20 people last month in an area thirsty for jobs.

Both women, however, took large pay cuts from their old jobs - Ms. Ings worked for a wholesale tuxedo distributor, Ms. Nelson was a secretary. And both remain worried about how they will make ends meet in the long run.

With the country focused on job growth and with unemployment continuing to hover above 9 percent, comparatively little attention has been paid to the quality of the jobs being created and what that might say about the opportunities available to workers when the recession finally settles. There are reasons for concern, however, even in the early stages of a tentative recovery that now appears to be barely wheezing along.

For years, long before the recession began, job growth had become increasingly polarized in this country. High-paid occupations that require significant amounts of education and training grew rapidly alongside low-wage, service-type jobs that do not, according to David Autor, a labor economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The growth of these low-wage jobs began in the 1980s, accelerated in the 1990s and began to really take off in the 2000s. Losing out in the shuffle, Dr. Autor said, were jobs that he described as "middle-skill, middle-wage" - entry-level white-collar positions, like office and administrative support work, and certain blue-collar jobs, like assembly line workers and machine operators.

The recession appears to have magnified that trend, Dr. Autor wrote in a recent paper, released jointly by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy group, and the Hamilton Project, which has a more centrist reputation. From 2007 to 2009, the paper said, there was relatively little net change in total employment for both high-skill and low-skill occupations, while employment plummeted in so-called middle-skill occupations.

A new analysis by the National Employment Law Project, a liberal advocacy group, takes a different approach, identifying industries that have experienced job growth in 2010 and examining their median wages. It is a blunter measurement because it focuses on whole industries, within which there is often great diversity in income. Economists also cautioned that it was still too early to know exactly which sectors would eventually lead the way in a sustained recovery.

Nevertheless, the law project analysis offers a snapshot of where the employment growth has been so far. It found that job expansion to this point had been skewed toward industries with median wages that are low to middling, with a disproportionate share of job growth happening in industries whose median wages fell below $15 an hour.

"There's a striking contrast so far between which industries have lost jobs and which ones are growing," said Annette Bernhardt, policy director for the law project. "If this kind of bottom-heavy job creation continues, it could pose a real challenge to restoring consumer demand and making sure working families have a way to support themselves."

Both studies are disquieting because of the potential import for many who had once scratched out middle-class livings and are now looking for work. A unifying theme is the stubborn march of labor-intensive, low-paying service jobs, like the ones Ms. Ings and Ms. Nelson found.

There is typically a downward slide during recessions, said Till von Wachter, a Columbia University economist, in which higher-skilled and higher-educated workers are re-employed first, often landing jobs for which they are overqualified, squeezing out the lesser skilled and lesser educated. Indeed, in the current downturn, the unemployment rate has climbed the most for the least-educated workers, suggesting they have been hit the hardest.

However, while researching workers who lost their jobs in California in the 1990s, Dr. Wachter found that people who fell in the middle when it came to their educational background - possessing high school degrees or some college - and to the skills required for their occupation tended to experience larger and longer lasting income losses after job loss than people on both the lower and higher end of the scale.

Ms. Ings had worked in a variety of office and administrative roles in the wholesale tuxedo industry. Her wages of just over $16 an hour were enough to build a relatively comfortable life for her and her daughter, Jillian, now 21 and in college.

"During her whole growing up, I never got child support," Ms. Ings said. "I always had to try to find a job that paid well to help support her. That's my job, being a mother."

When Ms. Ings was laid off in March 2009, she dove into finding another "corporate job." But she found that nearly everyone seemed to be looking for people with at least a college degree, if not more. She had only a high school diploma.

As a teenager, Ms. Ings had worked in a nursing home and enjoyed it. So, after getting her certified nursing assistant license, she applied at the Home Instead office in Lexington, which has been steadily hiring, said Jack Cross, the franchise owner. Nationally, the company has created more than 2,400 jobs this year, and home health aides are one of the country's fastest growing occupations.

Ms. Ings adores her job, but her finances remain taut, even though she is working 50 hours a week. She had been without health insurance for her first few months, but soon the company will begin deducting for it - a further pinch on her already meager paycheck.

"I'm going to be coming home with nothing," she said.

In Arkansas, Ms. Nelson has been hampered by her decision several years ago to quit college after a semester. She has worked a variety of jobs, including a three-year stint as a secretary, earning about $12 an hour.

Last year, she and her husband, Kenneth, and their son, Riley, now almost 2, moved to Colton, Calif., where they had relatives and believed the job market would be better. They moved back to Arkansas this year, however, after struggling to find steady work.

He quickly accepted a factory job at $8 an hour, but she got rejection after rejection trying to find office work.

Ms. Nelson eventually gave up and took up waitressing. The couple is living with her mother, trying to save enough for their own place.

"I don't know, with the jobs we have, if we're ever going to be able to make it on our own," Ms. Nelson said.

Correction: August 31, 2010

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the director of the National Employment Law Project. It is Annette Bernhardt, not Bernhard.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

11) Appeals Court Backs Away From War Powers Ruling
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
August 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/us/politics/01legal.html?ref=us

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court on Tuesday unanimously upheld the detention of a Guantánamo prisoner from Yemen. But lurking just beneath the surface of its ruling was a sharp disagreement among the judges over the scope and limits of presidential power.

At issue, beyond this single case, is whether international laws of armed conflict can restrict the wartime power of the president. In January, two of the most conservative judges appointed by President George W. Bush - Janice Rogers Brown and Brett M. Kavanaugh - declared that international law does not restrict presidential power.

That proposition, in a panel ruling upholding the detention of the Yemeni detainee at the Guantánamo Bay naval base, Ghaleb Nassar al-Bihani, sent shockwaves through the legal world. It was criticized by many scholars, and the Obama administration said it did not agree with it - even though the ruling gave the executive branch more power.

On Tuesday, all nine judges on United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a request by Mr. Bihani to rehear his case. But seven of the nine judges issued an unusual one-paragraph note saying that they viewed Judge Brown's and Judge Kavanaugh's discussion of international law as irrelevant to deciding Mr. Bihani's fate.

Stephen I. Vladeck, an American University law professor who filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the court to rehear the case, said the note amounted to a nullification of the more sweeping parts of the January ruling without the court bothering to rehear it. The paragraph, he said, tells the world that the section of the January ruling about international law should be treated like what lawyers call "dicta" - editorializing about issues that are not necessary to decide the matter at hand, which has little controlling authority for other cases.

"They've basically removed the single biggest complaint people had with that opinion," Mr. Vladeck said. "They said, 'We don't think we need to rehear the whole case just to limit the opinion - we can just say it, and going forward this is how we understand it.' That matters a lot."

The Obama administration and judges have been wrestling with legal questions about the outer bounds of the government's power to detain terrorism suspects. The issue turns on how much contact with Al Qaeda and what kind is sufficient to define someone as part of the enemy force.

That question can be murky in a conflict against a global network of terrorists who wear no uniforms and whose membership is vague. In some cases, whether principles of international law that were developed for traditional wars should come into play can make the difference between whether someone on Al Qaeda's fringes must be let go or can be imprisoned indefinitely - or even targeted for killing.

In response to their colleagues' implicit rebuke, Judge Brown and Judge Kavanaugh issued 15-page and 87-page opinions, respectively. Judge Brown attacked her seven colleagues for appending "a cryptic statement" that she said would "muddy the clear holding" that international law does not limit the war powers Congress authorized.

Judge Kavanaugh defended the proposition that only rules explicitly enacted by Congress, not international laws of armed conflict, can constrain what an American president can do in wartime. "International law is not a judicially enforceable limit on a president's wartime authority unless Congress expressly says it is," he wrote with emphasis.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

12) Rules Tighten for Oil Regulators to Avoid Favoritism to Drillers
By JOHN M. BRODER
August 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/us/politics/01recuse.html?ref=us

WASHINGTON - Years after revelations of bribery, favoritism and a spinning door between the oil industry and its regulators, the federal agency charged with policing offshore oil drillers is moving to end some of its most egregious past practices.

Michael R. Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement - the successor to the discredited Minerals Management Service - issued guidelines this week to try to cool the cozy relationship between government and the oil companies.

The new policy is one of the government's efforts to tighten regulation of drilling after the BP Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico in April.

Employees of the regulatory agency must now immediately report any attempt to coerce or cajole them into ignoring violations of laws and regulations for offshore operations. Audits and investigations have uncovered cases in which oil company executives used bribes, favors and threats to avoid citations for noncompliance, which can lead to heavy fines or other penalties.

Regulatory workers are not allowed to perform inspections or other regulatory actions against a former employer in the drilling or contracting business for at least two years after leaving that company.

Agency workers must now disclose any family or close personal relationships with employees of the drilling companies they regulate. Such relationships should generally lead to the government official's recusal from any contact with the company involved, according to the new policy.

"A close personal relationship is defined as a relative who maintains a personal connection and regular social contact with the employee or a member of the employee's household," Mr. Bromwich's memorandum states.

All Bureau of Ocean Energy Management employees involved in offshore regulation will have to fill out a two-page form disclosing all personal and business relationships with companies supervised by the agency.

In a note to all bureau employees, Mr. Bromwich said the new policy "is an important reform that underscores the importance of independence, objectivity and the absence of real or apparent bias."

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

13) Offshore Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico Explodes
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and JACK HEALY
September 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/us/03rig.html?_r=1&hp

NEW ORLEANS — An offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday morning, injuring one worker, the United States Coast Guard said.

The rig was located just west of where another rig leased by BP blew up and sank this spring, killing 11 people and touching off an environmental calamity.

All 13 members of the work crew on board on Thursday were accounted for, the Coast Guard said.

News reports said there was smoke rising from the platform, but it was unclear whether the rig was actively burning or in danger of foundering, or whether the explosion had set off any underground oil leaks.

Several helicopters, airplanes and boats were speeding to the scene of the explosion, south of Vermillion Bay in Louisiana.

Citing the Department of Homeland Security, the Associated Press reported that the rig was owned by the Texas-based Mariner Energy, and was not actively producing oil and gas.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

14) Child’s Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young
"But it is cheaper to medicate children than to pay for family counseling, a fact highlighted by a Rutgers University study last year that found children from low-income families, like Kyle, were four times as likely as the privately insured to receive antipsychotic medicines."
By DUFF WILSON
September 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/business/02kids.html?hp

OPELOUSAS, La. — At 18 months, Kyle Warren started taking a daily antipsychotic drug on the orders of a pediatrician trying to quell the boy’s severe temper tantrums.

Thus began a troubled toddler’s journey from one doctor to another, from one diagnosis to another, involving even more drugs. Autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia, oppositional defiant disorder. The boy’s daily pill regimen multiplied: the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and one for attention-deficit disorder. All by the time he was 3.

He was sedated, drooling and overweight from the side effects of the antipsychotic medicine. Although his mother, Brandy Warren, had been at her “wit’s end” when she resorted to the drug treatment, she began to worry about Kyle’s altered personality. “All I had was a medicated little boy,” Ms. Warren said. “I didn’t have my son. It’s like, you’d look into his eyes and you would just see just blankness.”

Today, 6-year-old Kyle is in his fourth week of first grade, scoring high marks on his first tests. He is rambunctious and much thinner. Weaned off the drugs through a program affiliated with Tulane University that is aimed at helping low-income families whose children have mental health problems, Kyle now laughs easily and teases his family.

Ms. Warren and Kyle’s new doctors point to his remarkable progress — and a more common diagnosis for children of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder — as proof that he should have never been prescribed such powerful drugs in the first place.

Kyle now takes one drug, Vyvanse, for his attention deficit. His mother shared his medical records to help document a public glimpse into a trend that some psychiatric experts say they are finding increasingly worrisome: ready prescription-writing by doctors of more potent drugs to treat extremely young children, even infants, whose conditions rarely require such measures.

More than 500,000 children and adolescents in America are now taking antipsychotic drugs, according to a September 2009 report by the Food and Drug Administration. Their use is growing not only among older teenagers, when schizophrenia is believed to emerge, but also among tens of thousands of preschoolers.

A Columbia University study recently found a doubling of the rate of prescribing antipsychotic drugs for privately insured 2- to 5-year-olds from 2000 to 2007. Only 40 percent of them had received a proper mental health assessment, violating practice standards from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

“There are too many children getting on too many of these drugs too soon,” Dr. Mark Olfson, professor of clinical psychiatry and lead researcher in the government-financed study, said.

Such radical treatments are indeed needed, some doctors and experts say, to help young children with severe problems stay safe and in school or day care. In 2006, the F.D.A. did approve treating children as young as 5 with Risperdal if they had autistic disorder and aggressive behavior, self-injury tendencies, tantrums or severe mood swings. Two other drugs, Seroquel from AstraZeneca and Abilify from Bristol-Myers Squibb, are permitted for youths 10 or older with bipolar disorder.

But many doctors say prescribing them for younger and younger children may pose grave risks to development of both their fast-growing brains and their bodies. Doctors can legally prescribe them for off-label use, including in preschoolers, even though research has not shown them to be safe or effective for children. Boys are far more likely to be medicated than girls.

Dr. Ben Vitiello, chief of child and adolescent treatment and preventive research at the National Institute of Mental Health, says conditions in young children are extremely difficult to diagnose properly because of their emotional variability. “This is a recent phenomenon, in large part driven by the misperception that these agents are safe and well tolerated,” he said.

Even the most reluctant prescribers encounter a marketing juggernaut that has made antipsychotics the nation’s top-selling class of drugs by revenue, $14.6 billion last year, with prominent promotions aimed at treating children. In the waiting room of Kyle’s original child psychiatrist, children played with Legos stamped with the word Risperdal, made by Johnson & Johnson. It has since lost its patent on the drug and stopped handing out the toys.

Greg Panico, a company spokesman, said the Legos were not intended for children to play with — only as a promotional item.

Cheaper to Medicate

Dr. Lawrence L. Greenhill, president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, concerned about the lack of research, has recommended a national registry to track preschoolers on antipsychotic drugs for the next 10 years. “Psychotherapy is the key to the treatment of preschool children with severe mental disorders, and antipsychotics are adjunctive therapy — not the other way around,” he said.

But it is cheaper to medicate children than to pay for family counseling, a fact highlighted by a Rutgers University study last year that found children from low-income families, like Kyle, were four times as likely as the privately insured to receive antipsychotic medicines.

Texas Medicaid data obtained by The New York Times showed a record $96 million was spent last year on antipsychotic drugs for teenagers and children — including three unidentified infants who were given the drugs before their first birthdays.

In addition, foster care children seem to be medicated more often, prompting a Senate panel in June to ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate such practices.

In the last few years, doctors’ concerns have led some states, like Florida and California, to put in place restrictions on doctors who want to prescribe antipsychotics for young children, requiring a second opinion or prior approval, especially for those on Medicaid. Some states now report prescriptions are declining as a result.

A study released in July by 16 state Medicaid medical directors, which once had the working title “Too Many, Too Much, Too Young,” recommended that more states require second opinions, outside consultation or other methods to assure proper prescriptions. The F.D.A. has also strengthened warnings about using some of these drugs in treating children.

No Medical Reason

Kyle was rescued from his medicated state through a therapy program called Early Childhood Supports and Services, established in Louisiana through a confluence of like-minded child psychiatrists at Tulane, Louisiana State University and the state. It surrounds troubled children and their parents with social and mental health support services.

Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, a professor of pediatrics and child psychiatry at Tulane who treated Kyle from ages 3 to 5 as he was weaned off the heavy medications, said there was no valid medical reason to give antipsychotic drugs to the boy, or virtually any other 2-year-old. “It’s disturbing,” she said.

Dr. Gleason says Kyle’s current status proves he probably never had bipolar disorder, autism or psychosis. His doctors now say Kyle’s tantrums arose from family turmoil and language delays, not any of the diagnoses used to justify antipsychotics.

“I will never, ever let my children be put on these drugs again,” said Ms. Warren, 28, choking back tears. “I didn’t realize what I was doing.”

Dr. Edgardo R. Concepcion, the first child psychiatrist to treat Kyle, said he believed the drugs could help bipolar disorder in little children. “It’s not easy to do this and prescribe this heavy medication,” he said in an interview. “But when they come to me, I have no choice. I have to help this family, this mother. I have no choice.”

Ms. Warren conceded that she resorted to medicating Kyle because she was unprepared for parenthood at age 22, living in difficult circumstances, sometimes distracted. “It was complicated,” she said. “Very tense.”

Behavior Problems

Kyle was a healthy baby physically, but he was afraid of some things. He spent hours lining up toys. When upset, he screamed, threw objects, even hit his head on the wall or floor — not uncommon for toddlers, but frightening.

“I’d bring him to the doctor and the doctor would say, ‘You just need to discipline him,’ ” Ms. Warren said. “How can you discipline a 6-month-old?”

When Kyle’s behavior worsened after his brother was born, Ms. Warren turned to a pediatrician, Dr. Martin J. deGravelle.

“Within five minutes of sitting with him, he looked at me and said, ‘He has autism, there’s no doubt about it,’ ” Ms. Warren said.

Dr. deGravelle’s clinic notes say Kyle was hyperactive, prone to tantrums, spoke only three words and “does not interact well with strangers.”

He prescribed Risperdal. At the time, Risperdal was approved by the F.D.A. only for adults with schizophrenia or acute manic episodes. The following year it was approved for certain children, 5 and older, with autism and extremely aggressive behavior. It has never been approved by the F.D.A. for use in children younger than 5, although doctors may legally prescribe it as an off-label use.

“Kyle at the time was very aggressive and easily agitated, so you try to find medication that can make him more easily controlled, because you can’t reason with an 18-month-old,” Dr. deGravelle said in a telephone interview. But Kyle was not autistic — according to several later evaluations, including one that Dr. deGravelle arranged with a neurologist. Kyle did not have the autistic child’s core deficit of social interaction, Dr. Gleason said. Instead, he craved more positive attention from his mother.

“He had trouble communicating,” Dr. Gleason said. “He didn’t have people to listen to him.”

After the neurologist review, the diagnosis changed to “oppositional defiant disorder” and the Risperdal continued.

“Yes, I did ask for it,” Ms. Warren said. “But I was at my wit’s end, and I didn’t know what else to do.”

Dr. deGravelle referred her to Dr. Concepcion, who in turn diagnosed Kyle’s condition as bipolar disorder.

“Some children, when they come to me, the parents are really so frustrated,” Dr. Concepcion said in a phone interview. “Especially the mothers are so scared or desperate in getting help. Their children are really acting psychotic.”

Dr. Concepcion also spoke with Dr. Charles H. Zeanah, a Tulane medical professor, who disagreed with both the diagnosis and the treatment. “I have never seen a preschool child with bipolar disorder in 30 years as a child psychiatrist specializing in early childhood mental health,” Dr. Zeanah said.

More Pills

“It’s a controversial diagnosis, I agree with that,” said Dr. Concepcion. “But if you will commit yourself in giving these children these medicines, you have to have a diagnosis that supports your treatment plan. You can’t just give a nondiagnosis and give them the atypical antipsychotic.”

He also prescribed four more pills.

Kyle’s third birthday photo shows a pink-cheeked boy who had ballooned to 49 pounds. Obesity and diabetes are childhood risks of antipsychotics. Kyle smiles at the camera. He is sedated.

“His shell was there, but he wasn’t there,” Ms. Warren said. “And I didn’t like that.”

Dr. Concepcion referred Kyle to the early childhood support program, which has helped about 3,000 preschoolers from low-income families at risk for mental health problems since 2002.

His speech improved. He threw fewer tantrums. “They started working with us as a family,” said Ms. Warren, who also received parenting advice. “That helps.”

Kyle’s treatment was directed by Dr. Gleason, a Columbia medical graduate who had led a team that wrote 2007 practice guidelines for psychopharmacological treatment of very young children.

“Families sometimes feel the need for a quick fix,” Dr. Gleason said. “That’s often the prescription pad. But I’m concerned that when a child sees someone who prescribes but doesn’t do therapy, they’re closing the door that can make longer-lasting change.”

Off most drugs, Kyle started losing weight and his behavior improved. Ms. Warren’s life also improved. She met a man and they moved into their own house five miles out of Opalousas, a town of 25,000. They were married last Saturday.

At their home recently, Kyle and his brother, Jade, ran and played while their baby sister watched from a playpen. Their clothes were neatly folded in a shared bedroom. They often responded “Yes, ma’am” or “Yes, sir.”

“They’re respectful, but they’re hyper kids,” Ms. Warren said. “Once he came off the medication, he’s Kyle. He’s an intelligent person. He’s loud. He’s funny. He’s smart. He’s bouncy. I mean, there’s never a dull moment. He has a few little behavior issues. But he’s like any other normal 6-year-old.”

Kyle paused to show a reading report card from the end of his kindergarten year, with an A grade.

“Awesome job, Kyle!” his kindergarten teacher wrote.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

15) Survey: Employers Pass on More Health Costs to Workers
By REED ABELSON
September 2, 2010, 11:00 am
http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/survey-employers-pass-on-more-health-costs-to-workers/?hp

Score one for the nation’s employers. On average, the total cost of a family health insurance policy rose just 3 percent last year, to $13,770 in annual premiums, according to a survey of employer health benefits released on
Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group.

But the news was much better for employers than their workers, according to the survey, which is conducted yearly by Kaiser with the Health Research and Educational Trust, an organization affiliated with the American Hospital Association. Instead of sharing the pain, as they have generally done in the past, employers chose to keep their costs steady by passing the higher costs onto workers.

As a result, the employee contribution toward family coverage rose an average of 14 percent, or almost $500, from what employees paid last year. Workers are now paying nearly $4,000 a year for a family policy, a jump of 47 percent since 2005. Wages have increased by just 18 percent during that time, according to Kaiser. It included a chart detailing the changes over the last five years.
Kaiser Family Foundation

Employees are not only paying higher premiums but also higher deductibles. About a quarter of covered workers have a deductible of at least $1,000, according to Kaiser, and nearly half of employees in small companies do.

“From a consumer perspective, the cost of health insurance just keeps going up faster than wages,” said Drew Altman, Kaiser’s chief executive, in a news release.

In a separate report also out on Thursday, the Commonwealth Fund outlines the impact of the new health care legislation on small businesses. Among the early benefits: tax credits for those small employers buying coverage for their workers. By the fund’s calculation, nearly 17 million workers are employed by companies that will be eligible for the tax credits this year, and some 3.4 million workers for companies that will probably avail themselves of the credit in 2013.

While the Commonwealth researchers acknowledge that a majority of the companies most likely to make use of the tax credits are those that are already offering coverage, they still argue that the credits will make a difference in persuading companies to keep health insurance for their employees. “It is really an economic stimulus measure that will help small businesses get through this rough economic time,” said Karen Davis, the fund’s president.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

16) The Peanut Solution
"Nutriset has aggressively protected its intellectual property, and the bulk of Plumpy’nut production continues to take place at Nutriset facilities in France. (Unicef, the world’s primary buyer, purchases 90 percent of its supply from that factory, according to a 2009 report prepared for the agency.)"
By ANDREW RICE
September 2, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05Plumpy-t.html?hp

Like most tales of great invention, the story of Plumpy’nut begins with a eureka moment, in this case involving a French doctor and a jar of Nutella, and proceeds through the stages of rejection, acceptance, evangelization and mass production. The product may not look like much — a little foil packet filled with a soft, sticky substance — but its advocates are prone to use the language of magic and wonders. What is Plumpy’nut? Sound it out, and you get the idea: it’s an edible paste made of peanuts, packed with calories and vitamins, that is specially formulated to renourish starving children. Since its widespread introduction five years ago, it has been credited with significantly lowering mortality rates during famines in Africa. Children on a Plumpy’nut regimen add pounds rapidly, often going from a near-death state to relative health in a month. In the world of humanitarian aid, where progress is usually measured in subtle increments of misery, the new product offers a rare satisfaction: swift, visible, fantastic efficacy.

Plumpy’nut is also a brand name, however, the registered trademark of Nutriset, a private French company that first manufactured and marketed the paste. It was not the intention of Plumpy’nut’s inventor, a crusading pediatrician named André Briend, to create an industry around Plumpy’nut. Briend, his friends say, was always personally indifferent to money. (Also, apparently, to publicity — he declined repeated requests to be interviewed for this article.) One element of genius in Briend’s recipe was precisely its easy replicability: it could be made by poor people, for poor people, to the benefit of patients and farmers alike. Most of the world’s peanuts are grown in developing countries, where allergies to them are relatively uncommon, and the rest of the concoction is simple to prepare. On a visit to Malawi, Briend whipped up a batch in a blender to prove that Plumpy’nut could be made just about anywhere.

Others, however, quickly realized that the miracle product had more than just moral value. Nutriset has aggressively protected its intellectual property, and the bulk of Plumpy’nut production continues to take place at Nutriset facilities in France. (Unicef, the world’s primary buyer, purchases 90 percent of its supply from that factory, according to a 2009 report prepared for the agency.) Internationally, there has been a vituperative debate over who should control the means of production, with India going so far as to impose sharp restrictions on Plumpy’nut, calling it an unproven colonialist import. Elsewhere, local producers are simply ignoring the patent. In Haiti, two manufacturers are making products similar to Plumpy’nut independently of Nutriset: one is Partners in Health, the charity co-founded by the prominent global-health activist Paul Farmer. Partners in Health harvests peanuts from a 30-acre farm or buys them from a cooperative of 200 smallholders. It’s planning to build a larger factory, but for now the nuts are taken to the main hospital in Cange, where women sort them in straw baskets, roast them over an outside gas burner, run them through a hand grinder and mix all the ingredients into a paste that is poured into reusable plastic canisters. Peanuts in Haiti and throughout the developing world have a high incidence of aflatoxin, a fungus that can sicken children, especially fragile ones. But Partners in Health says the product, which it calls Nourimanba, is safe.

When I visited one of the charity’s outpatient clinics in July, 1-year-old Elorky Decena was silent and listless as a nurse hooked a scale over the clinic’s doorway and put him in an attached harness. A month before, he was found to have severe acute malnutrition, a condition characterized by extreme stunting and wasting that afflicts an estimated 20 million children worldwide. The nurse announced that he had gained more than four pounds on a diet of Nourimanba.

Patents are meant to offer incentives to innovators by giving them a time-limited right to exclusively exploit their ideas for profit. But many say that lifesaving products should be treated by a different set of rules. There has been a long and bitter argument, for instance, over the affordability of patented AIDS drugs in Africa. Critics have made a similar case against Plumpy’nut, which is fairly expensive, costing about $60 per child for a full two-month treatment. “We were concerned because of the way Nutriset was managing their intellectual property,” said Stéphane Doyon, a nutrition specialist with Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity. “We felt that there was the possibility for the creation of a monopoly.”

“Poverty is a business,” Patricia Wolff, a St. Louis pediatrician, said. She founded Meds and Food for Kids, the other local producer of fortified nut paste in Haiti. When I first spoke with her in May, Meds and Food for Kids was struggling to raise money to expand its operations, and Wolff complained mightily about the difficulties she faced because of Nutriset’s market dominance. “There’s money to be made,” she said, “and there are people who have that kind of way of thinking.” Two months later, Wolff made a tentative deal for Meds and Food for Kids to become a Nutriset franchisee. In the end, she said, she couldn’t afford to battle hunger on her own.

In the United States, Plumpy’nut’s sole manufacturer and chief promoter is a 38-year-old mother of four from Barrington, R.I. Navyn Salem doesn’t have a background in medicine or aid work. She first glimpsed the potential of Plumpy’nut three years ago on “60 Minutes.” Since then, Salem has devoted herself to making the product for export to needy nations like Haiti. Though her Providence factory, a joint venture with Nutriset, has all the trappings of a business, selling its wares to relief agencies under the name Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, the operation is registered as a nonprofit foundation and was established with seed money from Salem and her husband, Paul, a private-equity financier. Dancing along the nebulous line between capitalism and charity, Salem casts herself as a marketer, offering a neatly packaged solution to a tragic and no longer intractable malady. On a Tuesday in May, she brought her message of good news to a Mother’s Day benefit in Midtown Manhattan.

“This is not my ZIP code,” Salem said as she stood in the East Side Social Club, a wood-paneled restaurant, amid a jostling crowd of bejeweled women pinching noontime flutes of Champagne. She met one of the party’s hosts, Lauren Bush, the former model and niece of the most recent ex-president, a couple of years ago at a conference of the Clinton Global Initiative. Now Bush and her mother, Sharon, were selling a specially designed line of teddy bears — a big one called Plumpy and a small one called Nut — to raise money to purchase the product for children in Africa.

When it came time to eat their own meal, a three-course lunch­eon, the party guests found seats at tables set with elaborate centerpieces, made up of stuffed bears and Plumpy’nut packets. As volunteers sold raffle tickets for a Dior handbag, Salem delivered a practiced speech. Earnest and attractive, with wide brown eyes, she told the audience that her father, a member of an Indian merchant family, grew up in Tanzania. “There are over a billion people in our world that are malnourished,” Salem said. “It’s a shocking statistic. The good news is there’s a very simple solution.” And that, she said, was Plumpy’nut. “It’s really revolutionary, because it doesn’t need to be mixed with water or refrigerated,” Salem continued. “And the most miraculous part is, it will transform a child from literally skin and bones to certain survival in just four to six weeks.”

This transformation, seen in before-and-after photos — on one side a sick and wasted child, on the other, a chubby, smiling one — was the promise that captured imaginations far beyond the technocratic community of specialists that originally developed Plumpy’nut. “People love a silver bullet,” says the prominent nutritionist Steve Collins. Salem’s decision to devote a portion of her family’s fortune to the cause was impressive, but she is hardly the only person who was touched by the substance’s potential. At the benefit, many of the attendees said they had seen the same inspiring “60 Minutes” segment, in which Anderson Cooper compared the paste to penicillin, concluding that it “may just be the most important advance ever” in the realm of childhood malnutrition. After Salem spoke, she began squeezing dabs of Plumpy’nut onto plates and passing them around, assuring the partygoers that the brownish goo was surprisingly tasty, with the consistency and sweetness of a cookie filling. Everyone ate it right up.

Plumpy’nut proved so palatable and so valuable that it was only natural that other interests were now trying to take a bite. “You want to hear about the bad stuff?” Salem whispered. There was a lot to talk about. Outside the restaurant, beyond the protective cordon of appreciation, rival factions were fighting over a less innocent — though perhaps no less important — issue: who should profit? Plaintiffs were suing, accusing her partners at Nutriset of anticompetitive practices to protect their position atop a $200 million marketplace. Doctors, foreign-aid organizations and agribusinesses were staking competing claims, each invoking the interests of the world’s most fragile children. “Forget all the politics,” Salem pleads. “I’d like to erase them all.” But try as she might, she can’t wish away the questions of property and law.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to own a bit of Plumpy’nut.

At the beginning, the problem was devilishly simple: malnutrition was killing millions in poor countries — it’s thought to be responsible for a third of all deaths of children under 5. And yet the global medical community was expending little effort to develop improved treatments. In the early 1990s, the accepted regimen for severe acute malnutrition — a watery mixture fed through a tube — was 30 years old and was unable to prevent the deaths of 20 to 60 percent of patients in hospitals. Frustrated, a small group of doctors began searching for a better way to get nutrients into starving children. One of them was André Briend.

According to legend, Briend hit upon the inspiration for Plumpy’nut one morning at the breakfast table, when, after years of vainly mixing nutrients into cookies, pancakes and yogurt, he opened a jar of Nutella, and the idea came to him: a paste! Like most such stories, this one is not completely true — or rather, it elides many years of false starts, research, scientific collaboration and infighting. The first advance came in the form of F100, a dried high-energy milk that was fortified with a mix of vitamins and minerals that were designed to counter the specific biochemical effects of malnutrition in children. F100 had to be mixed with water, though, which in poor countries was apt to be rife with bacteria. It also tasted unpleasant. As a childhood-nutrition expert attached to a French government institute, Briend came up with the idea of mixing F100 together with peanuts, milk, sugar and oil. The concoction was full of protein and fat, which insulated its nutrients from oxygen and humidity and masked their unappetizing flavor.

The true advance lay not in the formulation, however, but in the way the paste could be put to work. Earlier treatments had to be administered in a hospital setting, which meant a long, expensive stay away from home for both mother and patient, so children were rarely brought in for treatment until they were already extremely weak and susceptible to all the pathogens that lurk in third-world health facilities. What Briend and a few other specialists envisioned was a treatment that could be administered at home, by families instead of doctors. For medical professionals, this required a radical shift in mind-set. Briend searched the world for someone willing to conduct field tests, cautioning that collaborators in his experiments, as he put it in a 2000 message to a malnutrition Listserv, “should be ready to accept a road with trial and errors.”

One doctor who decided to take a risk was Mark Manary, a pediatrician and professor, who was working at a hospital in Malawi. His malnutrition ward was crammed full of dozens of children lying on mats. “It was really an incredible burden,” Manary recalled. “These kids are deathly ill, you’re doing whatever you can for them, and you think you’re on the right track, and then you come in the next morning and four of them have died.” Manary emptied out the ward, sending his patients home with Plumpy’nut. Many malnutrition experts were horrified. “It seemed dangerous to them, and it made them afraid,” said Manary, who recalled that one eminent figure stood up at a conference and said, “You’re killing children.” In fact, when the results were analyzed, it was found that 95 percent of the subjects who received Plumpy’nut at home made a full recovery, a rate far better than that achieved with inpatient treatment.

The Malawi test emboldened Doctors Without Borders, which recognized that treating children outside clinical settings would allow a vastly scaled-up response to humanitarian emergencies. In 2005, it distributed Plumpy’nut to 60,000 children with severe acute malnutrition during a famine in Niger. Ninety percent completely recovered, and only 3 percent died. Within two years, the United Nations endorsed home care with Plumpy’nut as the preferred treatment for severe acute malnutrition. “This is an enormous breakthrough,” said Werner Schultink, chief of nutrition for Unicef. “It has created the opportunity to reach many more children with relatively limited resources.” Nonetheless, Schultink estimates that the product reaches only 10 to 15 percent of those who need it, because of logistical and budgetary constraints.

Briend’s invention may satisfy a need, the hunger of children, but that doesn’t directly correspond to economic demand, which is set by buyers — the donor nations and international agencies that spend billions of dollars on food aid and famine relief. This is the gap Navyn Salem is hoping to fill. Her mission is threefold. First, her plant manufactures Plumpy’nut for sale. Second, she is trying to use publicity and humanitarian appeals to persuade the customer base — the foreign-aid donors — to allocate more money to purchase and distribute the product. Finally, and most ambitiously, she is advocating the use of Plumpy’nut and a number of spinoff products to address a wider array of challenges, including malnutrition prevention. The broadened market, in theory, could be enormous: The World Bank, in a recent report, recommended that aid agencies scale up their spending on such programs, which currently stands at $300 million annually, to $6 billion a year. The U.S. Agency for International Development, which administers the $2.2 billion Food for Peace program, has been examining the usefulness of Plumpy’nut and products similar to it. American food aid must comply with stringent regulations meant to encourage domestic procurement, a requirement Navyn Salem is perfectly placed to meet.

Salem’s interest in philanthropy was intensified after reading a biography of Farmer, the crusading physician, with whom she subsequently traveled to Rwanda, but it took Plumpy’nut to galvanize her thoughts. “We talk about AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and how detrimental they are, these terrible epidemics, but then I realized that malnutrition was killing more than all of them combined,” Salem said. “And we know how to fix it.” She didn’t know much about famine relief or the insular community of nutritionists who deal with it, but she had a professional background in advertising and marketing, and she wanted to do something that drew on what she saw as her natural entrepreneurial strengths. “I thought, Let’s figure out if we can run a business that saves thousands and thousands of lives,” she said. Salem’s factory, located in an industrial area of Providence just off Interstate 95, cost $2 million to start. In March, right around the time she opened for business, she gave me a tour. The front lobby was decorated with large photos of grinning African children that Salem took on her trips to Rwanda and Tanzania. We donned blue smocks, hairnets and booties and entered the sanitized factory floor, where two workers, a Burundian and a Liberian, were using scoops to weigh out portions of sugar. “Most of our production staff are refugees who were recently resettled in Rhode Island,” Salem said. After the Plumpy’nut was mixed, it was run through overhead pipes into a contraption that squirted it into foil packets, which were sealed and ejected onto a conveyor belt, where workers packed them for shipping. In an adjacent warehouse, there were pallets of boxes labeled for delivery to Haiti, Yemen and Nicaragua.

Salem led me to a gleaming stainless-steel tank, which was about as tall as she was and hot to the touch. She opened a door on top, and a fragrant peanut smell wafted out as we craned to look in. “Here it is,” Salem said. “The magic stuff.”

That magic is the property of Nutriset. To trace how a family-run company based in a small town in the Normandy countryside ended up owning the patent to one of the world’s most promising humanitarian interventions, you have to go back to André Briend. He never knew anything about manufacturing food, so at the time he was trying to demonstrate the worth of Plumpy’nut, he signed a consulting agreement with Nutriset, which specialized in making therapeutic milk products. He and the company’s founder, a food scientist named Michel Lescanne, were listed as inventors on the 1997 French patent. The patent has since been registered in 38 countries, including much of Africa.

“Michel is a guy who probably holds hundreds of patents, he thinks up things all the time, but he didn’t have a viable business” before Plumpy’nut, said Mark Manary, who now runs a nonprofit group that manufactures the product under license in Malawi. “So André and I were all about this as a therapeutic opportunity, and Michel was like, ‘This is an entrepreneurial opportunity.’ ” Lescanne’s expertise was invaluable when it came to engineering the taste, texture and shelf life of Plumpy’nut.

For its contribution, Nutriset has been richly rewarded. Last year, the company produced around 14,000 metric tons of Plumpy’nut and related products, more than a tenfold increase over the amount it made in 2004, registering $66 million in sales. The family-owned company has paid out millions in dividends, according to an internal document, although the company claims the money has largely been reinvested in expanding the business. The state institute where Briend did his research receives 1 percent of sale proceeds, Nutriset says, while the inventor himself has renounced any ownership interest.

A few years ago, after some pressure from buyers, Nutriset announced that it would take a more liberal stance on licensing the product — but only in the developing world. Its affiliate network has since expanded to 11 countries, most of them in Africa. But when it comes to Europe and North America, the company has been aggressive about protecting its interests. When Salem first approached Nutriset about obtaining a license to make Plumpy’nut, she says she received a frosty reception, even though her original idea was to build a factory in Tanzania, her father’s birthplace. After meeting with Salem and her husband, the company relented, although the plan changed a bit in the process. The locus of their new joint venture, Edesia, was shifted to Rhode Island, so that it could satisfy domestic-sourcing requirements for U.S. government aid.

“Our idea with Edesia is for it to really be an incubator,” said Adeline Lescanne, Michel’s daughter and the deputy general manager of the company. She said the company was investing its profits in research into a new generation of ready-to-use therapeutic foods, or R.U.T.F., as they are called in the jargon of the foreign-aid community. The new lines would be designed to prevent malnutrition, not just cure it. “It’s a kind of pity that there is not a lot of research on new R.U.T.F.,” Lescanne said. “There are only people fighting to produce this product.”

Nutriset’s critics say that line of argument is disingenuous, because the Plumpy’nut patent is so broad as to encompass just about any kind of nut-based nutritional paste. “There are other people that would like to enter into the business,” Ben Tabatchnick, who runs a New Jersey-based kosher soup company, said. “But everybody is afraid of being sued.” Last year, Tabatchnick went to France to talk to Nutriset about his plans to develop ready-to-use therapeutic foods on a for-profit basis. “I had a meeting with them that lasted about 10 minutes, and they threw me out of the room,” he told me. Afterward, Nutriset sent him a pair of ominous letters, indicating that it had found “some similarities” between Plumpy’nut and his product, Nutty Butta.

Nutriset has sent similar saber-rattling correspondence to a number of other potential competitors. Lescanne told me that Nutriset’s vigilance over its intellectual property has a benevolent purpose. Between now and the time the patent is scheduled to expire, in 2017, the company wants to focus on building its network of affiliates in countries like Congo, Mozambique and Niger. (Salem’s plant in Tanzania is supposed to open later this year.) “We have to protect this network,” Lescanne said. “We are a bit afraid that big industrial companies will come.” In recent months, to take one example, PepsiCo Inc. has talked publicly about playing “a more decisive role” in bringing ready-to-use foods to needy populations. This has raised hackles: in a recent journal article titled “The Snack Attack,” three nutritionists warned that Pepsi-branded therapies would potentially be “potent ambassadors for equivalently branded baby foods, cola drinks and snack foods.”

“What we don’t want,” Salem told me, “is for General Mills to take over and put our Ethiopian producer out of business.” Opponents of the patent, however, say that Nutriset is just trying to avoid competition that would cut into its bottom line. Recently, a handful of companies have set up shop in countries where, because of the vagaries of various treaties, the Plumpy’nut patent is not in force. In the United States, two would-be competitors have taken a more confrontational route. They filed a lawsuit with the federal district court in Washington, D.C., seeking to have the patent invalidated.

The plaintiffs are a Texas-based manufacturer called Breedlove Foods and the Mama Cares Foundation, the charitable arm of a snack-food manufacturer based in Carlsbad, Calif. Both are small nonprofit organizations with strong ties to Christian aid organizations. But Nutriset’s defenders suspect that larger corporate interests are lurking in the background. In the French press, the patent dispute has been portrayed as a case of a plucky Gallic company besieged, as Le Monde put it, by “ ‘légions’ Américaines.”

In fact, there is a not-so-hidden instigator behind the case: the American peanut lobby. A few years ago, a Unicef official gave a presentation to an industry trade group, forecasting dramatically increasing demand for peanut pastes. That got the growers excited. They looked at Nutriset’s patent and came to the conclusion that, as a technical matter, Plumpy’nut was really nothing more than fortified peanut butter. “People have been making this stuff for centuries,” Jeff Johnson, a board member of the Peanut Institute, said. “It’s nothing new.” Johnson is the president of Birdsong Peanuts, one of the country’s largest shelling operations. Through a friend, he heard about Breedlove Foods, which was based in Lubbock, close to one of his processing plants. Johnson met with the company and proposed a challenge to Nutriset.

“It's a cotton-pickin’ shame that they decided to take the stance that they have with the intellectual-property issue,” said David Fish, Breedlove’s chief executive, whose lawsuit contends that the patent is hurting starving children. But even some Nutriset critics have questioned the motives behind the lawsuit, pointing out that America has a long and controversial history of dumping its agricultural surpluses on poor countries through food aid. “If you want to develop countries out of third-world status,” Fish replies, “they’ve got to come out and compete on the open market.”

Plumpy! Plumpy!”

With the shouted order from Rosemond Avril, an agent of a charity group, workers began unloading cardboard boxes full of foil packets from the back of a rusty blue truck. It was a sweltering Haitian morning, and next to a hive of canvas tents, the women of Bineau-Lestere were lined up beneath the branches of a gnarled quenepa tree. They were a handful of the millions displaced by last January’s earthquake, which had turned the nearby city of Léogâne into a jagged pile of concrete. Their camp, thrown up amid fields of sugar cane, was surviving on aid. On this morning, the U.N.’s World Food Program was distributing Supplementary’Plumpy, a slightly weaker formulation of the original product, to mothers with children between 6 months and 35 months.

Haiti wasn’t starving, but experts were still concerned about the perilous condition of its children. Even before the earthquake, an estimated quarter of them were chronically malnourished, and now many breadwinners were dead, livelihoods disrupted and much of the country’s commercial infrastructure destroyed. By administering Supplementary’Plumpy to children in the age group most vulnerable to severe malnutrition, the World Food Program was trying to keep a bad situation from turning into a crisis. Across Haiti, the agency was distributing such aid to 500,000 people, and the results of a survey suggested that malnutrition levels had remained stable. “This is all new,” said Myrta Kaulard, country director for the World Food Program in Haiti. “It’s preventative action.”

Darting around the scrum of women and toddlers, as a relief worker announced instructions in Creole through a bullhorn, Navyn Salem snapped pictures with her Nikon. She looked on with satisfaction as one jug-eared little boy ripped open a packet and squeezed the light brown paste into his mouth. She clicked the photo, and before long it was on its way to the Facebook page of Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions.

Salem had flown to Haiti a few days earlier aboard a private jet, lent by her husband, on a characteristically blurry mission: part sales call, part fact-finding tour. Edesia was sending its products to agencies in Haiti, the World Food Program among them, but what interested Salem most was the prospect of using ready-to-use foods to address conditions beyond severe malnutrition. She and Maria Kasparian, her second-in-command at Edesia, were shuttling from one charity to another in a loaned van, carrying boxes of free samples and brochures promoting three products designed to be taken as daily supplements. “Everyone knows Plumpy’nut,” Salem said before the trip, “but what we’re really trying to do is push these others, to address malnutrition sooner.”

Scientists have shown that there is, in the words of The Lancet, “a golden interval” for childhood nutrition that occurs before the age of 2. “This is the period when brain growth is very extensive and babies are developing their immune systems,” said Kathryn Dewey, a professor in the department of nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Stunting that persists after age 2 is generally irreversible, while improved nutrition in early childhood correlates to greater educational success. One study, in Guatemala, showed that boys given a nutritional supplement as babies made 46 percent higher wages as men. Dewey has been testing whether Nutributter, one of Nutriset’s new (and patent-protected) products, might achieve similar results. “There has to be a way to break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition that has plagued these populations for hundreds and hundreds of years,” she said. “That’s the more grandiose vision of where this is headed.”

In Haiti’s Artibonite Valley, Ian Rawson, the managing director of the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, took Salem to see malnutrition inpatients — “our failures,” he called them — in a dimly lighted ward where they lay beneath a mural of parrots. Many of the children were unnaturally small and had patchy, orange-tinted hair, a classic sign of protein deficiency. “This,” Rawson said, waving a packet of Plumpy’nut, “is our immunization.” He was applying for a U.S. government grant to distribute Nutributter in the surrounding mountains, where poverty is dire, 9 out of 10 adults can’t read and acute malnutrition rates can top 35 percent. “It seems simple to me,” he said. “What’s the downside to me giving every child who’s over 4 months old a tube of Nutributter per day?”

Advocates of the preventive approach foresee a future in which children around the world consume a daily packet of nutrient-filled paste. “It’s not just for poverty-stricken people,” Salem said. “It’s just like I give my children a multi­vitamin.” Of course, this changes the nature of the intervention from an emergency treatment to a habitual routine and also dramatically escalates its prospective cost to donors. As a practical matter, Salem says, supplements will probably have to reach children through consumer markets, perhaps with subsidies. Edesia is conducting testing in Tanzania to see whether Nutributter could be sold in stores.

Some experts, however, warn that enthusiasm may be running ahead of the science. “In their rush to be innovators, I think a lot of agencies are using ready-to-use supplementary foods without evidence,” said Steve Collins, who was a pioneering advocate of home-based care for severe malnutrition. “I wouldn’t want to see a new world order where poor people are dependent on packaged supplementary foods that are manufactured in Europe or the United States.”

His wariness reflects a larger ideological divide over the proper distribution of profit. Nutriset says it is committed to opening more developing-world franchises, a strategy that brings down shipping costs and hence prices, but the majority of its network’s inventory still comes from France, and now, with the entry of Edesia, Nutriset is going to be expanding exports from the United States. Collins asks, “How are they addressing the need for poor people in Haiti not to be dependent on outside intervention in the first place?”

This question hung, unanswerable, over Salem’s journey through Haiti. Salem went there with a promise to donate a shipping container filled with $60,000 worth of Nutriset-patented products to Partners in Health, the charity run by her friend Paul Farmer. While grateful, the organization still preferred to manufacture its own product, Nourimanba, with the profits accruing to local farmers. But even this program was more a principled exercise than a development strategy. Haiti’s endemic problem of malnutrition wasn’t something you could solve with peanuts. Partners in Health also took Salem on a couple of home visits. At a one-room shack in Cange, a mother presented her 3-year-old daughter, saying she had gained 11 pounds on a regimen of Nourimanba. But the mother complained that there was no help for other serious problems she faced, like the fact that she had no job and the tin roof of her shack leaked.

Out in the hills, down a muddy path shaded by coconut palms, the health workers checked in on a small wooden farmhouse. Two children living there were on a regimen of ready-to-use food — and six were receiving nothing. The older ones watched as their little sister wolfed down an entire cup of peanut paste for the benefit of the visitors. The children’s grandmother, who was looking after them, was asked why malnutrition had been diagnosed in these two and the others not. She said she couldn’t really say, except that there simply wasn’t enough food to go around. There was no foil-wrapped answer to the maddening persistence of poverty. All that existed was a determination to meet the challenge with all the fallible tools of human ingenuity.

“We’re trying to put ourselves out of business,” said Salem, still brimming with optimism, after the trip. “That would be the best-case scenario.”

Andrew Rice is a contributing writer and author of “The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget,” about a Ugandan murder trial.

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

4 comments:

ninest123 said...

ninest123 16.03
ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany jewelry, ray ban sunglasses, prada handbags, michael kors, replica watches, longchamp, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, burberry, ray ban sunglasses, gucci outlet, louis vuitton, chanel handbags, louboutin shoes, burberry outlet online, nike air max, replica watches, michael kors outlet, tory burch outlet, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, jordan shoes, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, nike outlet, christian louboutin outlet, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, louboutin, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, nike free, tiffany and co, uggs on sale, louboutin outlet

ninest123 said...

nike air max, nike free, louboutin pas cher, mulberry, nike roshe run, sac guess, lululemon, kate spade outlet, abercrombie and fitch, converse pas cher, kate spade handbags, vans pas cher, burberry, nike air max, michael kors, sac longchamp, ralph lauren uk, nike air max, longchamp pas cher, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, north face, coach purses, vanessa bruno, true religion jeans, oakley pas cher, air force, hollister, michael kors, coach outlet, nike roshe, replica handbags, new balance pas cher, tn pas cher, ray ban uk, true religion outlet, nike blazer, hermes, true religion jeans, nike free run uk, lacoste pas cher, timberland, hogan, north face, michael kors, true religion jeans, coach outlet, hollister pas cher, air jordan pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, air max

ninest123 said...

nike roshe, soccer shoes, bottega veneta, soccer jerseys, wedding dresses, iphone 6 cases, new balance, mont blanc, longchamp, herve leger, abercrombie and fitch, timberland boots, nike huarache, celine handbags, asics running shoes, nfl jerseys, iphone 6s plus cases, nike air max, oakley, valentino shoes, s5 cases, babyliss, p90x workout, giuseppe zanotti, birkin bag, iphone cases, baseball bats, louboutin, instyler, insanity workout, jimmy choo shoes, north face outlet, vans shoes, chi flat iron, nike trainers, mcm handbags, north face outlet, hollister, ferragamo shoes, hollister, iphone 6s cases, beats by dre, ralph lauren, iphone 6 plus cases, lululemon, iphone 5s cases, ipad cases, nike air max, mac cosmetics, ghd, hollister, reebok shoes

ninest123 said...

montre pas cher, juicy couture outlet, canada goose uk, moncler, lancel, thomas sabo, louis vuitton, moncler, gucci, canada goose, links of london, moncler, moncler, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, pandora jewelry, canada goose outlet, barbour, canada goose, karen millen, vans, juicy couture outlet, coach outlet, pandora charms, bottes ugg, louis vuitton, canada goose, sac louis vuitton pas cher, pandora charms, ugg pas cher, ray ban, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, toms shoes, replica watches, converse outlet, canada goose outlet, canada goose, barbour jackets, moncler, swarovski crystal, hollister, moncler, ugg boots uk, marc jacobs, swarovski, louis vuitton, converse, doudoune canada goose, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, supra shoes, moncler
ninest123 16.03