Monday, November 01, 2010

BAUAW NEWSLETTER-MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2010

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

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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The next meeting of the United National Antiwar Committee will be Saturday, November 6, 11:00 A.M., at Centro del Pueblo, 474 Valencia Street (near 16th Street and Mission BART)

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All Out on November 9th: Mobilize to Free Mumia!
Come to Philadelphia:
An Innocent Man Faces Execution... Again!
Will Mumia Be Killed For No Reason?
PHILADELPHIA, November 9th 2010,
2 PM, Third Circuit Court, 6th & Market

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist and a political prisoner who has been on death row for 28 years, faces a new hearing to determine: will he get a new court hearing to finally decide his sentence, or will he be executed immediately? In it's instructions to the Third Circuit, the Supreme Court made immediate execution the likely outcome.

Mountains of evidence, including witness recantations, another man who confessed, and photographic evidence of the crime scene, proves his innocence. Yet state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have slammed the door on Mumia. Most of the evidence that could free him has gone unheard, because...

The cops, courts and politicians want Mumia dead!

A politically motivated conspiracy, led by the Fraternal Order of Police, seeks to silence forever this outspoken opponent of war, racism, police brutality and corruption. We have to stop them in their tracks! The courts aren't going to free Mumia. Only mass mobilizations, as in 1995, when we stopped an earlier execution order, and labor mobilizations like the West Coast port shutdown by longshore workers in 1999, can free Mumia.

All Out on November 9th: Mobilize to Free Mumia!

Come to Philadelphia:

Third Circuit Court of Appeals, 601 Market St (6th & Market).
Hearing starts at 2 PM on Tuesday Nov 9th.
Get there early to demonstrate!

Bus from New York:

Call: 212 330-8029 - leave a message and a number for a return call to reserve a seat on a bus to Philadelphia.

For Mass Action, and Labor Action!
Mumia is innocent! Free Mumia!
End the Racist Death Penalty!

- This message from:
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu_jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • 510 763-2347
www.laboractionmumia.org

Please forward and distribute widely...

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL'S LIFE IS IN GRAVE DANGER! Come to Philadelphia, or demonstrate in the Bay Area, on November 9th! Details below...

But first... The WBAI Radio (NY) Show "Taking Aim" will help defend Mumia Abu Jamal.

Long time Mumia supporters Mya Shone, host of "Taking Aim," and co-presenter Ralph Schoenman, are planning to offer the new cd, "Mumia On Oscar Grant," as a premium on their show, during WBAI's current fund drive, this Tuesday, the 26th of October 2010, at 5 PM New York time. Listen at 99.5 FM in the New York area, or hook up online at www.wbai.org. Pledge to WBAI to receive the cd.

Both Mumia, and the listener-sponsored Pacifica radio stations such as WBAI, are in need of your support in these trying times. Please consider a generous donation.

The cd "Mumia on Oscar Grant" was produced by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal in order to help increase awareness of these two case of police violence and frame-ups against the black community in the US. It consists of Mumia Abu-Jamal's audio commentaries on the murder of Oscar Grant by BART cop Johannes Mehserle, and on numerous other important topics.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party and a journalist who works from behind bars to report and comment on important social issues, is completely innocent of the crime of killing a police officer, for which he was convicted in 1982. Most recently, his innocence has been demonstrated yet again by a dramatic new documentary, JUSTICE ON TRIAL, the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, which premiered in Philadelphia on September 21st, and on the West Coast on October 24th.

Oscar Grant was a young black retail grocery worker and father of a young daughter who was shot in the back by Mehserle and killed, while he was face down on the pavement, in January 2009, in Oakland CA. The ex-BART cop is due to be sentenced on November 5th in LA for the ridiculously light conviction of "involuntary manslaughter." The most time he can get is 14 years.

On Saturday the 23rd of October, Local 10 of the ILWU, the West Coast longshore union, shut down all the ports in the SF Bay Area to support: Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops! Maximum Sentence for Johannes Mehserle! This is the same union that shut down all ports on the West Coast to demand: Free Mumia! in 1999. 1500 rallied in the rain at City Hall in Oakland that day in support of the ILWU's call for justice for Oscar Grant.

COME OUT TO DEFEND MUMIA ON NOVEMBER 9TH 2010!

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL faces his likely last court hearing on November 9th, 2010, at the Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, in Philadelphia. The US Supreme Court has already thrown out Mumia's last appeal against his kangaroo-court conviction before a racist judge in 1982. Now, the Third Circuit is to decide between reinstatement of Mumia's death sentence, or life in prison without the possibility of parole. These are the only two possible outcomes in the courts at this time. We have no confidence in the corrupt, racist US court system!

We need mass actions, and labor actions, to say: Mumia Is Innocent! Free Mumia Now! End the Racist Death Penalty!

EAST COAST -- PHILADELPHIA: Demonstrate to Free Mumia Now! Come to the Third Circuit Court, 6th and Market, Philadelphia, at 12 Noon on Tuesday November 9th. (The hearing starts at 2 PM.)

EAST COAST -- NEW YORK CITY: Get on the bus to Philadelphia! Call the Mumia hotline at: 212 330-8029. Leave a message to request a seat on the bus to Philadelphia.

BAY AREA -- OAKLAND: 12 Noon on Tuesday November 9th: Come to 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland. Demonstrate to say: Mumia Is Innocent! Free Mumia! End the Racist Death Penalty! Called by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and supported by Campaign To End The Death Penalty, Mobilization To Free Mumia, Revolution Books of Berkeley, and Peoples Radio (partial list -- call to endorse). 510 763-2347.

BAY AREA -- SAN FRANCISCO: 7 PM on Tuesday November 9th: Come to Centro del Pueblo, 474 Valencia St. The new film, JUSTICE ON TRIAL, the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, will be screened. Hans Bennett of Abu-Jamal News, and other speakers. Donation. Called by the Mobilization To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Info: 510 268-9429.

- This message is from:
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
www.laboractionmumia.org, 510 763-2347

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PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY!

View/Download the Flyer Here: http://www.abu-jamal-news.com/docs/nov9.pdf

Stop The Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal!

--Emergency Protest Rally & Film Screening of "Justice On Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal"

Tuesday, November 9, 7:00 PM

Centro del Pueblo, 474 Valencia Street, San Francisco
(Between 15th and 16 Streets - near 16th St. BART)

FEATURED SPEAKERS:

Hans Bennett, Co-founder, Journalists for Mumia
Rebecca Doran, Committee to Free Kevin Cooper
Jeff Mackler, West Coast Coordinator, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Laura Herrera, Co-Coordinator, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Alicia Jrapko, International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five
Tom Lacey, State Committee, California Peace & Freedom Party
Cristina Gutierrez, Barrio Unido
Merle Woo, SF poet

$5 to $20 sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds. This is a benefit for Journalists for Mumia. For more information contact: The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, 510-268-9428, www.freemumia.org,jmackler@lmi.net

Wheelchair accessible. Labor donated.

November 9 Oral Arguments in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, on Nov. 9, the US Third Circuit Court will hear oral arguments concerning whether or not Mumia will be executed without a new sentencing trial, as the District Attorney is seeking to do. The court ruling can be issued anytime after oral arguments. If the ruling is against Mumia, he could then be executed very quickly.
Mumia's lead attorney, Robert R. Bryan, says that Mumia is now "in the greatest danger since his 1981 arrest."

In 2001, US District Court Judge William Yohn somewhat overturned the death penalty (Mumia has never left death row) and ruled that if the DA still wants to execute, there must first be a new sentencing-phase jury trial where evidence of innocence can be presented, but the jury can only decide between execution or life in prison without parole. This 2001 ruling by Judge Yohn was affirmed by the US 3rd Circuit in 2008, but in January, 2010, the US Supreme Court vacated the ruling and sent the case back down to the 3rd Circuit for reconsideration.

"Justice on Trial" Film

The new film, "Justice on Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal," directed by Kouross Esmaeli and produced by Johanna Fernandez (co-coordinator of Educators for Mumia) premiered in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center on Sept. 21, the same day as the right-wing anti-Mumia film, called "The Barrel of a Gun."

"Barrel" ignores the frame-up nature of Mumia's trial and the "evidence" used to convict him. "Justice," in contrast, fairly presents the arguments made by Mumia's supporters alongside the prosecution's alleged shooting scenario and interviews with others advocating Mumia's execution. Justice's featured interviews include press photographer Pedro Polakoff (whose newly discovered crime scene photos expose police manipulation of evidence) and author J. Patrick O'Connor (whose 2008 book argues that the actual shooter of Officer Daniel Faulkner was a man named Kenneth Freeman). For more about the film, visit:www.emajonline.com, www.abu-jamal-news.com and watch the trailer here: http://bignoisefilms.org/films/tactical-media/114-justice-on-trial

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STOP U.S. IMPERIALIST WARS!
VICTORY TO THE OPPRESSED PEOPLES IN THE U.S. AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2010
MARCH ON WASHINGTON
BLACK IS BACK
blackisbackcoalition.org

Black Is Back: Let's March on White House Again, Nov. 13
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
October 6, 2010
http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/black-back-lets-march-white-house-again-nov-13

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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

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B. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.:

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Roma band GOGOL BORDELLO
Video
"Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)"
http://links.org.au/node/1961

GOGOL BORDELLO LYRICS
"Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)"
http://links.org.au/node/1961

Immigrada immigraniada
Immigrada immigraniada-da
Immigrada immigraniada
We're coming rougher every time

We're coming rougher
We're coming rougher
We're coming rougher every time

Immigrada immigraniada
Immigrada immigraniada-da
Immigrada immigraniada
We're coming rougher every time

In corridors full of tear gas
Our destinies jammed every day
Like deleted scenes from Kafka
Flushed down the bureaucratic drain

But if you give me the invitation
To hear the bells of freedom chime
To hell with your double standards
We're coming rougher every time

We're coming rougher
We're coming rougher
We're coming rougher every time

Immigrada immigraniada
Immigrada immigraniada-da
Immigrada immigraniada
We're coming rougher every time

All those who made it and quickly jaded
To them we got nothing to say
Our immigrada, immigraniada
For them it's Don Quixote's kind of way
But if you give me the invitation
To hear the bells of freedom chime
To hell with your double standards
We're coming rougher every time
We're coming rougher
We're coming rougher
We're coming rougher every time
We're coming rougher every time

Immigrada immigraniada
Immigrada immigraniada-da
Immigrada immigraniada
We're coming rougher every time

Frozen eyes, sweaty back
My family's sleeping on a railroad track
All my life I pack/unpack
But man I got to earn this buck
I gotta pay representation
To be accepted in a nation
Where after efforts of a hero
Welcome start again from zero

It's a book of our true stories
True stories that can't be denied
It's more than true it actually happened
It's more than true it actually happened
It's more than true it actually happened
We're coming rougher every time
Rougher every time
We're coming rougher every time
Immigrada immigraniada
Immigrada immigraniada-da
Immigrada immigraniada
We're coming rougher every time
Immigrada immigraniada
Immigrada immigraniada-da hey hey
We're coming rougher every time

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From The Ramparts 10-27-10
by Junious Ricardo Stanton plus
Junious Ricardo Stanton's video blog. Today's topic the impact of the economic meltdown on African-Americans. Junious shares data from the US Congress Joint Economic Committee on African-AMerican Unemployment and underemployement and the disproportionate rates of default and foreclosure in the African-American and Latino communities.
http://vimeo.com/16252641

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The Spill
A joint investigation by FRONTLINE and ProPublica into the trail of problems -- deadly accidents, disastrous spills, countless safety violations -- which long troubled the oil giant, BP. Could the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico have been prevented?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/the-spill/

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Tag-Team Wrestling
"We have Learned who is For Real and who is Frontin'."
Glen Ford speaks in West Haven, CT just before the Oct. 2010 "One Nation Working Together" DC demo. See his scathing comments about the speakers from the main stage at the actual demo at blackagendareport.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAIuTM3cK9I

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Video of massive French protest -- inspiring!
http://www.dailymotion.com/Talenceagauchevraiment

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BREAKING NEWS: Fresh Oil Dead Fish Cover Grand Isle As Crews Bury Fish On Public Beach
October 18, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYjlrZgCzsE&feature=player_embedded

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UNPC March to Mosque
The United National Peace Conference concluded with a solidarity march to the Albany Mosque. The activists marched in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters who have been charged, found guilty and are serving jail terms for terrorism. The cases of the Albany 2, the Fort Dix 5 and Lynne Stewart were brought to light during the rally. The peace groups reiterated their opposition to the preemptive prosecution techniques used by the FBI. It was a moving conclusion to an inspiring weekend.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXVUgnufOi4&feature=email

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UAW Workers Picket The UAW Over Two-Tier
http://rustbeltradical.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/uaw-workers-picket-the-uaw/

Rally To End Two-Tier & Stand in Solidarity with GM Lake Orion | UAW HQ, Detroit MI (1 of 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bST5aTYZa00&feature=player_embedded

Rally To End Two-Tier & Stand in Solidarity with GM Lake Orion | UAW HQ, Detroit MI (2 of 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHLb-KMXD9c&feature=player_embedded

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BP Contract Worker "Trenches Dug To Bury Oil On Beaches"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0qop9xbGv4&feature=player_embedded

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Dr. Harbut [Dr. Michael Harbut, Professor of Medicine, Wayne State University] spoke with the Navy. Navy asked about training exercises over Gulf with risk of somebody going down into water... should we consider suspending training? Navy then suspended exercises over Gulf.
http://www.floridaoilspilllaw.com/navy-suspended-exercises-over-gulf

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RETHINK Afghanistan: The 10th Year: Afghanistan Veterans Speak Out
http://rethinkafghanistan.com/

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Firefighters Watch As Home Burns:
Gene Cranick's House Destroyed In Tennessee Over $75 Fee
By Adam J. Rose
The Huffington Post -- videos
10- 5-10 12:12 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/04/firefighters-watch-as-hom_n_750272.html

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NOAA investigating husband & wife that were sprayed with dispersant while sleeping on boat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InnmBRL84Dw&feature=player_embedded

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Dangers Lurk Beneath the Surface of Gulf of Mexico
September 29th, 2010
In spite of what you might have read in the news, the oil in the Gulf of Mexico has not just disappeared. It's lurking on the bottom, destroying marine life and entire ecosystems. On top of that, we are now starting to see adverse health effects from BP's use of the toxic oil dispersant known as Corexit, which is being dumped into the Gulf as we speak. Mike Papantonio talks about some of the effects that we're now seeing as a result of BP's dispersant chemicals with Dr. Riki Ott, one of the leading experts on the impact of oil spills on human health.
http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2010/09/29/dangers-lurk-beneath-the-surface-of-gulf-of-mexico/

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Soldier Describes Murder of Afghan for Sport in Leaked Tape
By ROBERT MACKEY
September 27, 2010, 6:43 pm
http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/soldier-describes-murder-of-afghan-for-sport-in-leaked-tape/?ref=world

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"Don't F*** With Our Activists" - Mobilizing Against FBI Raid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyG3dIUGQvQ

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Stephen Colbert's statement before Congress
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/39343087#39343087

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PcolaGregg Answers VisitPensacola.com With Truth And Reality
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtopYgl9h8Q&feature=player_embedded#!

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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Add you name! We stand with Bradley Manning.

"We stand for truth, for government transparency, and for an end to our tax-dollars funding endless occupation abroad... We stand with accused whistle-blower US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning."

Dear All,

The Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist are launching a new campaign, and we wanted to give you a chance to be among the first to add your name to this international effort. If you sign the letter online, we'll print out and mail two letters to Army officials on your behalf. With your permission, we may also use your name on the online petition and in upcoming media ads.

Read the complete public letter and add your name at:
http://standwithbrad.org/

Courage to Resist (http://couragetoresist.org)
on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network (http://bradleymanning.org)
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
510-488-3559

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Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Dear Friend,

On Friday, September 24th, the FBI raided homes in Chicago and Minneapolis, and turned the Anti-War Committee office upside down. We were shocked. Our response was strong however and we jumped into action holding emergency protests. When the FBI seized activists' personal computers, cell phones, and papers claiming they were investigating "material support for terrorism", they had no idea there would be such an outpouring of support from the anti-war movement across this country! Over 61 cities protested, with crowds of 500 in Minneapolis and Chicago. Activists distributed 12,000 leaflets at the One Nation Rally in Washington D.C. Supporters made thousands of calls to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Solidarity statements from community organizations, unions, and other groups come in every day. By organizing against the attacks, the movement grows stronger.

At the same time, trusted lawyers stepped up to form a legal team and mount a defense. All fourteen activists signed letters refusing to testify. So Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox withdrew the subpoenas, but this is far from over. In fact, the repression is just starting. The FBI continues to question activists at their homes and work places. The U.S. government is trying to put people in jail for anti-war and international solidarity activism and there is no indication they are backing off. The U.S. Attorney has many options and a lot of power-he may re-issue subpoenas, attempt to force people to testify under threat of imprisonment, or make arrests.

To be successful in pushing back this attack, we need your donation. We need you to make substantial contributions like $1000, $500, and $200. We understand many of you are like us, and can only afford $50, $20, or $10, but we ask you to dig deep. The legal bills can easily run into the hundreds of thousands. We are all united to defend a movement for peace and justice that seeks friendship with people in other countries. These fourteen anti-war activists have done nothing wrong, yet their freedom is at stake.

It is essential that we defend our sisters and brothers who are facing FBI repression and the Grand Jury process. With each of your contributions, the movement grows stronger.

Please make a donation today at stopfbi.net (PayPal) on the right side of your screen. Also you can write to:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

This is a critical time for us to stand together, defend free speech, and defend those who help to organize for peace and justice, both at home and abroad!

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke

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Deafening Silence, Chuck Africa (MOVE 9)
Check out other art and poetry by prisoners at:
Shujaas!: Prisoners Resisting Through Art
...we banging hard, yes, very hard, on this system...
http://shujaas.wordpress.com/

Peace People,
This poem is from Chuck Africa, one of the MOVE 9, who is currently serving 30-100 years on trump up charges of killing a police officer. After 32 years in prison, the MOVE 9 are repeatly denied parole, after serving their minimum sentence. Chuck wanted me to share this with the people, so that we can see how our silence in demanding the MOVE 9's freedom is inherently an invitation to their death behind prison walls.

Deafening Silence
Don't ya'll hear cries of anguish?
In the climate of pain come joining voices?
But voices become unheard and strained by inactions
Of dead brains
How long will thou Philly soul remain in the pit of agonizing apathy?
Indifference seems to greet you like the morning mirror
Look closely in the mirror and realize it's a period of mourning....
My Sistas, mothers, daughters, wives and warriors
Languish in prisons obscurity like a distant star in the galaxies as does their brothers
We need to be free....
How loud can you stay silence?
Have the courage to stand up and have a say,
Choose resistance and let go of your fears.
The history of injustice to MOVE; we all know so well
But your deafening silence could be my DEATH KNELL.
Chuck Africa

Please share, inform people and get involve in demanding the MOVE 9's freedom! www.MOVE9parole.blogspot.com

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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

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Kevin Keith Update: Good News! Death sentence commuted!

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

Ohio's Governor Spares Life of a Death Row Inmate Kevin Keith
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/us/03ohio.html?ref=us

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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/

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL

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1) Assembly Again Urges U.S. to Lift Cuba Embargo
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
October 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/world/americas/27briefs-CUBA.html?ref=world

2) Arizona Executes Inmate After Supreme Court Clears Way
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
October 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/us/28execute.html?ref=us

3) Power Failure Cut a Link to Missiles
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 26, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/us/27missile.html?ref=us

4) Study Finds Street Stops by N.Y. Police Unjustified
By AL BAKER and RAY RIVERA
October 26, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/nyregion/27frisk.html?ref=nyregion

5) Fishermen Report Louisiana Bays Filled With Oil
by: Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld, t r u t h o u t | Report
Wednesday 27 October 2010
[Photos and article appear together at the following URL:...bw]
http://www.truth-out.org/fishermen-report-louisiana-bays-filled-with-oil64564

6) End the War on Pot
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
"It spends about $216,000 per year on each juvenile detainee, and just $8,000 on each child in the troubled Oakland public school system. Each year, some 750,000 Americans are arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Is that really the optimal use of our police force? ...Here in Los Angeles, blacks are arrested for marijuana possession at seven times the rate whites are, according to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance, which favors legalization. Yet surveys consistently find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks."
October 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/opinion/28kristof.html?hp

7) New Strikes After French Reform Vote
By STEVEN ERLANGER
October 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/world/europe/29france.html?ref=world

8) Labor Law Is Broken, Economist Says
"...the percentage of private-sector workers in unions has fallen to 7 percent, down from nearly 40 percent in the 1950s."
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Jodi Hilton for The New York Times Richard B. Freeman
October 28, 2010, 12:31 pm
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/labor-law-is-broken-economist-says/?src=busln

9) Exxon's Profit Rises 55%, Helped by Higher Oil Prices
By REUTERS
October 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/business/29exxon.html?ref=business

10)The scary actual U.S. government debt
NEIL REYNOLDS
OTTAWA- From Wednesday's Globe and Mail, October 27, 2010
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/commentary/neil-reynolds/the-scary-actual-us-government-debt/article1773879/

11) Program by New Jersey Union Grooms Candidates
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
October 29, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/nyregion/30labor.html?hp

12) Panel Says Firms Knew of Cement Flaws Before Spill
By JOHN M. BRODER
October 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/us/29spill.html?ref=business

13) Inflation and Unemployment Rise in Euro Region
By REUTERS
October 29, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/business/global/30iht-euecon.html?ref=business

14) The Shame of New York
By BOB HERBERT
October 29, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/opinion/30herbert.html?hp

15) Bat disease threatens ecological catastrophe
By Jerome Taylor
A virulent and deadly pathogen in America is exterminating a predator that is vital to farmers for controlling insect pests
October 29, 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/bat-disease-threatens-ecological-catastrophe-2119541.html

16) Gross Racial Disparities In California Pot Arrests
By Lucia Graves
10-28-10 07:13 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/28/gross-racial-disparities-_n_775590.html?ir=Los+Angeles

17) Battle Over California Marijuana Initiative Goes Down to the Wire
By JESSE McKINLEY
October 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/us/politics/31pot.html?ref=health

18) Mugged by the Moralizers
By PAUL KRUGMAN
October 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/opinion/01krugman.html?_r=1&hp

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1) Assembly Again Urges U.S. to Lift Cuba Embargo
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
October 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/world/americas/27briefs-CUBA.html?ref=world

The annual General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to lift its longstanding economic embargo against Cuba passed by the lopsided vote of 187 to 2. Only the United States and Israel opposed the nonbinding measure, the 19th such resolution in a row, while three Pacific island allies of Washington abstained. The Cuban foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, accused President Obama of promising to change relations with Cuba but falling under the thrall of the exile community in the United States. In response, the United States said that it had expanded trade and other ties with the Caribbean nation but that improved relations hinged on greater domestic freedom.

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2) Arizona Executes Inmate After Supreme Court Clears Way
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
October 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/us/28execute.html?ref=us

The State of Arizona executed Jeffrey Landrigan late Tuesday night after the Supreme Court lifted a lower court's injunction blocking the lethal injection.

Last-minute appeals for Mr. Landrigan, convicted of murder in 1990, focused on the origins of one of the drugs used in the state's three-drug execution protocol.

Shortages of barbiturates used in executions has led to delays in several states. The only domestic manufacturer approved by the Food and Drug Administration to make sodium thiopental, the barbiturate used in Arizona, is Hospira, Inc; it suspended production of the drug a year ago because of supply issues, and is expected to be producing it again in the first quarter of next year.

With no supplies coming from sources approved by the F.D.A., Judge Roslyn O. Silver of Federal District Court had demanded that the state provide information about the origins of Arizona's drug in order to know whether there were risks of impurity or efficacy that could violate Mr. Landrigan's rights under the Eighth Amendment barring cruel and unusual punishment.

The state refused to detail the origins of the drug or the process used to obtain it in open court, citing the state's confidentiality laws, though officials said it had come from England. Thus "the Court is left to speculate," Judge Silver wrote, "whether the non-F.D.A. approved drug will cause pain and suffering."

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the order, stating that the state should provide a full accounting. "Because we do not know what was before the district court due to the state's failure to provide the materials, we cannot say the district court abused its discretion in granting a temporary stay," the judges wrote on Tuesday. Later in the day, the full Ninth Circuit refused to rehear the case, resulting in the state appealing to the Supreme Court.

In a one-page order issued Tuesday night explaining the 5-to-4 vote to vacate Judge Silver's temporary restraining order, the Supreme Court stated that Judge Silver's reasoning was flawed, because the case affirming the constitutionality of the three-drug execution method, Baze v. Rees, had a high standard of proof that an execution method would cause harm.

The Court stated that "speculation cannot substitute for evidence that the use of the drug is 'sure or very likely to cause serious illness and needless suffering,' " and added, "There was no showing that the drug was unlawfully obtained, nor was there an offer of proof to that effect."

The five justices who voted for lifting the stay were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.; Antonin Scalia; Clarence Thomas; Samuel Alito; and Anthony M. Kennedy. The four justices who voted to uphold Judge Silver's stay were Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Stephen G. Breyer; Sonia Sotomayor; and Elena Kagan. They did not issue an opinion.

Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University, said that the lesson of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Landrigan case was "crime pays."

He explained: "The state flatly stonewalled the lower courts by defying orders to produce information, and then was rewarded at the Supreme Court by winning its case on the basis that the defendant had not put forward enough evidence. That is an outcome which turns simple justice upside-down and a victory that the state should be ashamed to have obtained."

Proponents of the death penalty saw the outcome, instead, as a victory for the rule of law. Kent Scheidegger, the legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a victims' rights group, wrote on the group's blog that the case draws a bright line for other attempts to stay executions, and singled out a procedural stay in California, where Judge Jeremy Fogel of Federal District Court has delayed the execution of Albert Greenwood Brown Jr. over questions concerning the state's drug protocols.

"Judge Fogel now has a clear directive from the high court that unless the new California protocol fails this 'sure or very likely' standard, he should allow executions to proceed," Mr. Scheidegger wrote. "The protocol surely passes."

In an interview, Mr. Scheidegger said, "The Supreme Court told the Ninth Circuit and the District Court that they had applied too loose a standard in granting a stay." The new decision, he said, "sends a message" that "speculation about problems with the source is not sufficient to stay an execution."

Ty Alper, the associate director of the death penalty clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, said that the Supreme Court's decision did not end the story, arguing that "it explicitly leaves the door open for a challenge in a case where petitioners can show that the drug was unlawfully obtained."

The fact that the F.D.A. has not approved foreign sources of sodium thiopental, he said, suggested that "it's very likely that a petitioner will be able to make this showing in a case where there is more time to litigate the issue than there was in the Arizona case."

With the stay in Arizona lifted, Mr. Landrigan was executed at 10:26 p.m. Mountain time.

Mr. Landrigan murdered Chester Dyer in 1989 in Phoenix, after having escaped from an Oklahoma prison where he was being held on another murder conviction.

According to The Arizona Republic, Mr. Landrigan offered his last words in a strong voice and a heavy accent from his native Oklahoma.

"Well, I'd like to say thank you to my family for being here and all my friends," he said, "and Boomer Sooner."

The Sooners is the team nickname at the University of Oklahoma.

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3) Power Failure Cut a Link to Missiles
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 26, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/us/27missile.html?ref=us

WASHINGTON (AP) - A power failure caused a break in communication with 50 nuclear missiles at an Air Force base in Wyoming over the weekend, military officials said Tuesday.

The officials say the power failure on Saturday lasted about 45 minutes. The White House was briefed about the incident on Tuesday morning.

There was no evidence of foul play, the officials said, and the Air Force never lost the ability to launch the missiles. The problem, first reported online by The Atlantic, appears to have been caused by a power failure in an underground communications cable.

The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are maintained by the 319th Missile Squadron and are stockpiled at Warren Air Force Base, near Cheyenne.

The Air Force's other nuclear missile sites, in Montana and North Dakota, were not affected.

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4) Study Finds Street Stops by N.Y. Police Unjustified
By AL BAKER and RAY RIVERA
October 26, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/nyregion/27frisk.html?ref=nyregion

Tens of thousands of times over six years, the police stopped and questioned people on New York City streets without the legal justification for doing so, a new study says.

And in hundreds of thousands of more cases, city officers failed to include essential details on required police forms to show whether the stops were justified, according to the study written by Prof. Jeffrey A. Fagan of Columbia Law School.

The study was conducted on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is suing the New York Police Department for what the center says is a widespread pattern of unprovoked and unnecessary stops and racial profiling in the department's stop-question-and-frisk policy. The department denies the charges.

The study examined police data cataloging the 2.8 million times from 2004 through 2009 that officers stopped people on the streets to question and sometimes frisk them, a crime-fighting strategy the department has put more emphasis on over the years.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has rejected the accusation of racial profiling, and said the racial breakdown of the stops correlated to the racial breakdown of crime suspects. Mr. Kelly has also credited the tactic with helping to cut crime to low levels in the city and with getting guns off the street.

But as the number of stops has jumped - to more than 570,000 last year from 313,000 in 2004 - the practice has come under increasing scrutiny, from lawmakers at City Hall and Albany and from civil libertarians including the constitutional rights center and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Professor Fagan found that in more than 30 percent of stops, officers either lacked the kind of suspicion necessary to make a stop constitutional or did not include sufficient detail on police forms to determine if the stops were legally justified. The study also found that even accounting for crime patterns in the city's various neighborhoods, officers stopped minorities at disproportionate rates.

Nearly 150,000 of the stops - 6.7 percent of all cases in which an officer made a stop based on his own discretion, rather than while responding to a radio call in which some information had already been gathered - lacked legal sufficiency, the study concluded.

Stops were considered unjustified if officers provided no primary reason articulating a reasonable suspicion for the stop.

For example, if an officer conducted a stop solely because a person was in a high-crime area - without listing a primary reason, like the person "fits a description" of a crime suspect or appeared to be "casing" a store - the stop was considered unjustified.

If an officer cited only "other" as the reason for the stop, with no other details, it was deemed unjustified in the study.

An additional 544,000 cases, or 24 percent of all discretionary stops, did not have enough information on the forms that officers are required to fill out after such encounters.

The United States Supreme Court has held that in order for police officers to stop someone, they must be able to articulate a reasonable suspicion of a crime. To frisk them, they must have a reasonable belief that the person is armed and dangerous.

Darius Charney, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the study crystallized the primary complaints in the lawsuit. "It confirms what we have been saying for the last 10 or 11 years, which is that stop-and-frisk patterns - it is really race, not crime, that is driving this," Mr. Charney said.

Mr. Kelly, responding to the professor's study, said on Tuesday, "I think you have to understand this was an advocacy paper." He also noted that Professor Fagan was paid well to produce the report.

"We haven't had a chance to look at it," Mr. Kelly added, "but I wouldn't take the position that this is an objective document."

The commissioner acknowledged that the department was paying its own expert, Dennis C. Smith, a professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, to produce its own study in the case.

Police officials have pointed to a 2007 study of the practice by the Rand Corporation, which found no racial profiling being done by officers.

They said the study, commissioned by the Police Department, showed that stops mirrored crime - that while a large percentage of stops involved blacks, an even larger percentage of violent crimes involved suspects described as black by their victims.

Professor Fagan challenged the Rand report's findings and methodologies because the report used as a benchmark violent crime, which accounts for 10 percent of all criminal cases. And in half of those, his study found, the races of the suspects are not known.

Another of the Fagan study's main areas of focus was where stops were concentrated.

It found that the highest proportion of stops occur within police precincts that cover areas with large numbers of black and Hispanic residents. A chart in the study shows that in the quartile of the city with the highest concentrations of black residents, the police stopped people at a rate two to three times as much per criminal complaint than in the quartile of the precincts with the lowest percentage of black residents.

A report in The New York Times in July found that the highest concentration of stops in the city was in a roughly eight-block area of Brownsville, Brooklyn, that was predominately black. Residents there were stopped at a rate 13 times as much as the city average.

Professor Fagan said he would not speak about the study until he was deposed in the case. He was chosen to do it based on his experience in studying race and policing for three decades, Mr. Charney said.

Other findings in the study echoed some familiar ideas about the practice.

Force was 14 percent more likely to be used in stops of blacks and 9.3 percent more likely for Hispanics, compared with white suspects.

Guns were not often found (they were discovered in 0.15 percent of all stops). And weapons and other contraband were seized nearly 15 percent less often in stops of blacks than of whites, and nearly 23 percent less often in stops of Hispanics.

If stops that resulted in some form of sanction, blacks were 31 percent more likely than whites to be arrested than issued summonses.

Mr. Charney said Professor Fagan could serve as a witness in a potential trial.

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5) Fishermen Report Louisiana Bays Filled With Oil
by: Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld, t r u t h o u t | Report
Wednesday 27 October 2010
[Photos and article appear together at the following URL:...bw]
http://www.truth-out.org/fishermen-report-louisiana-bays-filled-with-oil64564

photo
Oiled marsh in Bay Jimmy, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

On Saturday, October 23, Truthout spotted what appeared to be massive areas of weathered oil floating near Louisiana's fragile marshlands in both East and West Bays along the Mississippi River Delta. In addition, at least two more oil leaks were spotted near oil and gas platforms along Louisiana's embattled coastline.

Four days prior, federal on-scene cleanup coordinator for the BP oil disaster, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, declared there was little recoverable surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Miles-long strands of what appears to be weathered BP oil in bays near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Another view of miles-long strands of what appears to be weathered BP oil in bays near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Both Bays cover an area of roughly 70 square miles of open water that surround Southwest Pass, the main shipping channel of the Mississippi River. While East Bay remains closed for fishing, West Bay was currently open for fishing when Truthout spotted the substance on October 23, despite the fact that the day before a BP oil cleanup crew had reported oil in West Bay to a local newspaper.

(Shrimper trawling in oil, in West Bay, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

"They are literally shrimping in oil," Jonathan Henderson, the coastal resiliency organizer of the environmental group the Gulf Restoration Network, who was with Truthout on the flight, exclaimed while our plane flew near the fishermen.

"Our tests continue to reveal seafood from the reopened areas is safe to eat," Jane Lubchenco, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator, told reporters while NOAA recently opened more federal waters in the Gulf.

The day before Truthout's oil sighting, NOAA had reopened more of the previously closed fishing areas, bringing to 96 percent the federal waters now deemed safe for fishing.

The waters in East and West Bay are under the jurisdiction of Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) , while waters further from the coast are under federal jurisdiction. LDWF does receive input, however, from NOAA.

Earlier in the same day, Truthout spotted the substance. A spotter pilot for LDWF had flown over the same area and told Southern Seaplanes there was no oil.

"He is the spotter for LDWF and saw that bay, and it is still open," Henderson told Truthout. "He should have closed the Bay for fishing. So now you can see how sophisticated they are in tracking this. Either this guy is completely incompetent, or has an agenda to keep as much of Louisiana's waters open for fishing as he can, whether there is oil or not. I don't see how he could have flown down there today and not seen it. It's criminal."

When Truthout called the LDWF requesting to talk with the LDWF oil spotter, Truthout was told, "that person is not available to comment."

The LDWF web site has a number to call in order to report oil sightings. When Truthout called that number, the call was answered by a BP response call center.

The only federal waters of the Gulf that have yet to be reopened are a 9,444-square-mile area directly around the BP wellhead where the Deepwater Horizon exploded, burned and sank to the bottom of the Gulf.

On October 23, the Coast Guard claimed that the substance floating in the miles-wide areas of West Bay appeared to be "an algal bloom."

Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil said a pollution investigator for the Coast Guard collected samples from the area, and while they had yet to be tested, said, "based on his observation and what he sees in the sample jars, he believes that to be an algal bloom."

Fishermen who have traveled through and fished in the area over the weekend, however, refute these Coast Guard claims.

"I scooped some up, and it feels like oil, looks like oil, is brownish red like all the dispersed oil we've been seeing since this whole thing started," fisherman David Arenesen, from Venice, Louisiana, told Truthout. "It doesn't look like algae to me. Algae doesn't stick on your fingers, and algae isn't oily. The area of this stuff spans an area of 30 miles, from Southwest Pass almost all the way over to Grand Isle, and runs very far off-shore too. We rode through it for over 20 miles while we were going out to fish, I dipped some up, and it's oil."

Arenesen saw the substance on Friday, the same day it was reported by the Times Picayune newspaper in New Orleans.

"It was at least an inch thick, and it went on for miles," Arenesen added. "It would be easy to clean since it's all floating on the surface."

Truthout spoke with Gary Robinson, a hook-and-line, mackerel, commercial fisherman working out of Venice, who was also in the substance in question recently.

"I was out in West Bay on October 22nd, and I was in this thick brown foam, about five inches thick, with red swirls of oil throughout it, and there was a lot of it, at least a 10 mile patch of it," Robinson said while speaking to Truthout on his boat. "I've never seen anything like that foam before; the red stuff in it was weathered oil, and there was sheen coming off my boat when I came back into harbor. I'm concerned about the safety of the fish I'm catching."

The boat captains working in the BP oil spill response team who first reported the sightings as oil told the Times Picayune on Saturday that they were not convinced either by the Coast Guard's initial assessment.

"I've never seen algae that looked orange, that was sticky, smelled like oil and that stuck to the boat and had to be cleaned off with solvent," said one captain.

Last Friday, the boat captains said they were frustrated by a lack of response from the Coast Guard, after they had been reporting the sightings for a week.

Dean Blanchard, of Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. in Grand Isle, Louisiana, spoke with Truthout about the Coast Guard claim that the substance was likely algae.

"Hell, we got oil coming in here everyday, it's all around us; we know what oil is," Blanchard said. "The Coast Guard should change the color of their uniforms, since they are working for BP. We've known they are working for BP from the beginning of this thing. None of us believe anything they say about this oil disaster anymore."

Despite a consistent trend by state and federal governments to promote the Gulf of Mexico as being largely free of BP oil and dispersants, many residents remain concerned.

Don't miss a beat - get Truthout Daily Email Updates. Click here to sign up for free.

"Anytime you can fly 100 miles in one direction and not see a break in the oil," Capt. Dicky Tupes of Southern Seaplanes told Truthout. "Then fly 100 miles in the other direction and not see a break in the oil: that's a lot of oil, and it had to go somewhere."

Tupes was discussing his experience flying over large areas of the Gulf that had been oiled while BP's well continued to gush, yet he remains alarmed at what he sees in the water.

"Everyone, including the feds, are talking about the fact that less of the oil actually reached the surface than was below." Tupes added. "And now we're seeing some of that submerged oil surface here. How long will this go on?"

What appears to be weathered BP oil in bays near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Strands of what is likely weathered BP oil in bays near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

While flying out to East and West Bays, Truthout spotted a platform with what appeared to be an oil leak, as sheen streaked the water. The GPS coordinates at this spotting were 2925.66N, 8929.54W.

Silvery-blue oil sheen shows a leak from a facility between California Bay and Quarantine Bay, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

"I've seen quite a few of these," Tupes told Truthout, referring to the leaking platform.

Henderson explained that he had spotted oil at the exact same area during a previous flyover on October 19. He reported the leak at that time to the Louisiana State Police and the National Response Center, in addition to his speaking directly with the Coast Guard National Response Command and emailing them his photos.

Clearly, no effective action had been taken.

Disturbingly, Henderson has recently revealed how long this leak has been in existence.

"I found out from the Coast Guard that not only has this leak been going on since last week, but that the first report they ever received about this leak was on August 31st," Henderson wrote for the Gulf Restoration Network on Monday. "It gets worse. According to the Coast Guard, 'the leak is from an abandoned underwater oil pipeline and the State Department of Natural Resources is in charge of investigating it.' What does that even mean? Is the State only going to take action to stop the leak after they find the responsible party? Are they really actively investigating this?"

Silvery-blue oil sheen shows leak from a facility in East Bay, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Another oil leak was spotted near a platform just east of Southwest Pass. A long streak of sheen was visible in East Bay at this area at GPS coordinates 2859.77N, 8917.61W.

The East Bay area was completely covered in miles-long strands of what was likely weathered oil of various colors. While flying approximately ten linear miles across the Bay, Truthout saw nothing but streaks of oil across the surface, as well as submerged oil. "That oil is covering just about the entire length of Southwest Pass," Tupes said.

What is likely weathered BP oil in East Bay, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Just across Southwest Pass where the Mississippi River ultimately drains into the Gulf, Truthout was flown over West Bay, which the previous day was reported to be covered in weathered oil by the New Orleans Times-Picayune Newspaper.

Surprisingly, the day after this report, neither state nor federal authorities had closed this area for commercial fishing.

On October 21, scientists from NOAA, the LDWF and the Audubon Nature Institute joined with Coast Guard Rear Adm. Roy A. Nash to return 33 sea turtles to Gulf of Mexico waters offshore of Louisiana.

NOAA reports claimed, "the area is clean and a safe habitat for the turtles."

While flying over West Bay, the amount of what is likely weathered oil and sheen visible on the surface was staggering. Looking west, it covered the surface as far as the horizon into the open Gulf.

"This is unreal," Tupes exclaimed at one point.

Substance that is likely weathered BP oil in West Bay, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

While flying back to the airport, Truthout witnessed large amounts of oil sheen atop the water of Bay Jimmy in Barataria Bay. Numerous areas of marsh were covered in oil, and much of the grass appeared black and dead.

Oiled marsh in Bay Jimmy, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Several BP cleanup crews were working in the area, yet Henderson had visited the area on October 21 to find several oiled birds and much oil heavy damage. "This marsh is in trouble," Henderson added.

Environmental groups like the Gulf Restoration Network are deeply concerned about the ongoing oil findings, as the Mississippi Delta is a primary wintering ground for hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese, some of which already have begun arriving. The West Bay area leads into several shallower interior bays that attract ducks, geese and myriad species of shore and wading birds each winter.

"What you don't see anymore out here are ducks," Tupes said. "It used to be that there were so many ducks they'd darken the sky. Now you don't see anymore of that."

Henderson is angered by what he saw Saturday. "Much of the water we flew over today was open for commercial and recreational fishing," he said of the flight. "We saw shrimp boats trawling in a bay full of oil. We were under the impression that the science advisor for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had gone out to assess the situation in West and East Bays, to determine if they should be closed. What we ascertained from conversations with aviators flying through these waters today was that that scientists had gone out and then returned and reported these waters clear."

Henderson paused, then continued, "But we went out and flew over these same areas and sensitive marshlands and found them completely covered in oil, and with shrimp boats trawling in them. Honestly, I don't have any kind words for the LDWF, and I'm at a juncture where I'm losing faith in any assessments that are done by our state or federal governments."

"I would not eat the shrimp right now," Henderson added. "They are shrimping in oil. Where were all the spotter planes? Where was the boom and skimmers? There was clearly skimmable oil on the surface, and they were doing absolutely nothing. Why is there not a more concerted effort to fight this? How is it that BP gets to make the decision to remove what defenses we have against this oil that keeps coming in?"

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6) End the War on Pot
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
"It spends about $216,000 per year on each juvenile detainee, and just $8,000 on each child in the troubled Oakland public school system. Each year, some 750,000 Americans are arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Is that really the optimal use of our police force? ...Here in Los Angeles, blacks are arrested for marijuana possession at seven times the rate whites are, according to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance, which favors legalization. Yet surveys consistently find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks."
October 27, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/opinion/28kristof.html?hp

LOS ANGELES

I dropped in on a marijuana shop here that proudly boasted that it sells "31 flavors." It also offered a loyalty program. For every 10 purchases of pot - supposedly for medical uses - you get one free packet.

"There are five of these shops within a three-block radius," explained the proprietor, Edward J. Kim. He brimmed with pride at his inventory and sounded like any small businessman as he complained about onerous government regulation. Like, well, state and federal laws.

But those burdensome regulations are already evaporating in California, where anyone who can fake a headache already can buy pot. Now there's a significant chance that on Tuesday, California voters will choose to go further and broadly legalize marijuana.

I hope so. Our nearly century-long experiment in banning marijuana has failed as abysmally as Prohibition did, and California may now be pioneering a saner approach. Sure, there are risks if California legalizes pot. But our present drug policy has three catastrophic consequences.

First, it squanders billions of dollars that might be better used for education. California now spends more money on prisons than on higher education. It spends about $216,000 per year on each juvenile detainee, and just $8,000 on each child in the troubled Oakland public school system.

Each year, some 750,000 Americans are arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Is that really the optimal use of our police force?

In contrast, legalizing and taxing marijuana would bring in substantial sums that could be used to pay for schools, libraries or early childhood education. A Harvard economist, Jeffrey A. Miron, calculates that marijuana could generate $8.7 billion in tax revenue each year if legalized nationally, while legalization would also save the same sum annually in enforcement costs.

That's a $17 billion swing in the nation's finances - enough to send every 3- and 4-year-old in a poor family to a high-quality preschool. And that's an investment that would improve education outcomes and reduce crime and drug use in the future - with enough left over to pay for an extensive nationwide campaign to discourage drug use.

The second big problem with the drug war is that it has exacerbated poverty and devastated the family structure of African-Americans. Partly that's because drug laws are enforced inequitably. Black and Latino men are much more likely than whites to be stopped and searched and, when drugs are found, prosecuted.

Here in Los Angeles, blacks are arrested for marijuana possession at seven times the rate whites are, according to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance, which favors legalization. Yet surveys consistently find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks.

Partly because of drug laws, a black man now has a one-in-three chance of serving time in prison at some point in his life, according to the Sentencing Project, a group that seeks reform in the criminal justice system. This makes it more difficult for black men to find jobs, more difficult for black women to find suitable husbands, and less common for black children to grow up in stable families with black male role models. So, sure, drugs have devastated black communities - but the remedy of criminal sentencing has made the situation worse.

The third problem with our drug policy is that it creates crime and empowers gangs. "The only groups that benefit from continuing to keep marijuana illegal are the violent gangs and cartels that control its distribution and reap immense profits from it through the black market," a group of current and former police officers, judges and prosecutors wrote last month in an open letter to voters in California.

I have no illusions about drugs. One of my childhood friends in Yamhill, Ore., pretty much squandered his life by dabbling with marijuana in ninth grade and then moving on to stronger stuff. And yes, there's some risk that legalization would make such dabbling more common. But that hasn't been a significant problem in Portugal, which decriminalized drug use in 2001.

Likewise, medical marijuana laws approved in 1996 have in effect made pot accessible to any adult in California, without any large increase in usage. Special medical clinics abound where for about $45 you can see a doctor who is certain to give you the medical recommendation that you need to buy marijuana. Then you can visit Mr. Kim and choose one of his 31 varieties, topping out at a private "OG" brand that costs $75 for one-eighth of an ounce. "It's like a fine wine, cured, aged, dried," he boasted.

Or browse the online offerings. One store advertises: "refer a friend, get free joint." And the world hasn't ended.

One advantage of our federal system is that when we have a failed policy, we can grope for improvements by experimenting at the state level. I hope California will lead the way on Tuesday by legalizing marijuana.

I invite you to visit my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

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7) New Strikes After French Reform Vote
By STEVEN ERLANGER
October 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/world/europe/29france.html?ref=world

PARIS - Several hundred thousand people demonstrated again on Thursday to protest changes in France's retirement age, but the numbers were down significantly from previous national days of protest, and it appeared that President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government had won an important victory.

Mr. Sarkozy's approval ratings are hovering around 30 percent, an historic low, but his loyalists say that he will now be able to contrast his firmness in carrying through an unprecedented reform with the behavior of previous governments that had backed down in the face of the "democracy of the streets."

On Wednesday, the lower house of Parliament gave final approval to a measure that increases the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60 and the age to receive a full pension to 67 from 65. If the bill is approved by the Constitutional Council, as expected, it should become law in mid-November and begin to take effect next July.

The largest union, the C.G.T., was once allied to the Communist Party and is strong in key sectors like transport and fuel. Its leader, Bernard Thibault, said that opposition to the pension reform "remains very much a majority view among workers and in public opinion," but he conceded in an interview with the newspaper Libération that "the way we contest it is shifting" because his members were losing wages because of the extended strikes.

Still, job actions disrupted air and rail traffic on Thursday, with news reports saying half of the flights at Orly Airport near Paris would be grounded and a third of flights at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and other airports canceled.

The national railroad system said on its Web site that up to 80 percent of high-speed intercity trains would run despite the strikes, but the proportion for slower and local trains would be lower. Eurostar service to London was expected to operate normally.

But services on the Paris subway and bus system were near normal.

Support for strikes - the latest in a series of challenges to the pensions changes since September - seemed to be weakening among union members, despite opinion surveys suggesting continued public backing. The state postal service said only 5 percent of its staff was supporting strike action, a third of the level of earlier stoppages.

Seven of 12 oil refineries have voted to return to work so far, but at least 20 percent of service stations still report fuel supply problems.

Alan Cowell contributed reporting.

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8) Labor Law Is Broken, Economist Says
"...the percentage of private-sector workers in unions has fallen to 7 percent, down from nearly 40 percent in the 1950s."
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Jodi Hilton for The New York Times Richard B. Freeman
October 28, 2010, 12:31 pm
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/labor-law-is-broken-economist-says/?src=busln

In a new paper, Richard B. Freeman, a labor economist at Harvard, said he had some "harsh and impolitic" news for the National Labor Relations Act on its 75th anniversary. He declared that the law "has become an anachronism irrelevant for most workers and firms."

Mr. Freeman released his paper in Washington on Thursday at a symposium that marks the 75th anniversary of that New Deal law - often known as the Wagner Act - that gave American workers a federally protected right to form unions. He called his paper "What Can We Learn from NLRA to Create Labor Law for the 21st Century?"

Mr. Freeman, one of the nation's foremost labor economists, wrote that the act was passed to replace the costly unionization fights of yesteryear - often involving strikes, lockouts, violent confrontations - with "a 'laboratory conditions' elections process for ascertaining workers attitudes toward union representation that would be free from employer pressures or dishonest statements by employers or unions." He said unionization elections in the private-sector "have turned into massive employer campaigns against unions."

That, he wrote, is a major reason the percentage of private-sector workers in unions has fallen to 7 percent, down from nearly 40 percent in the 1950s.

He argued that the penalties in the National Labor Relations Act are weak and "have failed to deter firms from illegal actions to prevent unionization." He wrote that in the early 1950s firms fired about 0.5 workers for every 100 workers who voted in N.L.R.B. elections, but in the 1980s and early 1990s, firms "fired 4.5 workers for every 100 union voters," with that percentage dropping slightly in recent years.

"Far from a laboratory conditions experiment in democracy," he wrote, "the N.L.R.B. process turned into the same costly fight between unions and firms that union organizing was before the Act, albeit in a different venue with different weapons." He wrote that the N.L.R.B. process has "failed to make it easy or natural for workers who want union representation to achieve this goal."

He noted that there is a 20 percent to 30 percent gap between the percentage of workers who say they want union representation and those who have unions - the largest gap among advanced English-speaking countries.

Professor Freeman pointed to one study that found that unions find it so hard to organize workers under the N.L.R.B. process that around 80 percent of new organizing in the late 1980s and 1990s occurred outside that process. This usually happened among government employees who are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act, or by private-sector unions that mount pressure campaigns to persuade employers to accept unions through the card check process - under which unions are recognized when a majority of workers sign cards favoring a union.

Professor Freeman said it is hardly surprising that the percentage of public-sector workers in unions is five times as high as the percentage of private-sector workers.

One big reason for this, he wrote, is that private-sector employers "have sizable monetary incentives to oppose unionism," and the penalties that N.L.R.B. "has at its disposal are too limited to offset these incentives." He noted that government officials, unlike corporate officials, have generally not fought unionization because "they have little to gain and much to lose from fighting unions."

"Unions," he added "are an important ally in helping politicians and public sector management convince voters to increase taxes or borrow money through bonds for schools, police or other public goods."

For instance, if a company illegally fires the three employee leaders of a unionization drive - the law makes it illegal to fire someone for supporting a union - the law requires the company (once the labor board has determined the firings were illegal) to pay back pay, minus whatever earnings the workers had after being fired. The law does not call for fines or punitive damages for such firings.

Mr. Freeman pointed to a case involving a unionization effort at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where an independent arbitrator ruled in 2007 that the hospital had violated an agreement calling for both sides to respect principles aimed at guaranteeing a fair election. The arbitrator wrote that the workers " were threatened with more onerous working conditions and even loss of their jobs if the union were selected."

She said the workers were victimized and ordered the hospital to pay the 1,700 workers a total $2.2 million - the amount the hospital had paid to anti-union consultants. She also ordered the hospital to repay the union its $2.3 million in organizing expenses. Professor Freeman noted that this $4.5 million penalty, which was ordered outside the National Labor Relations Act, was 20 percent more than the $3.6 million that the labor board awards on average each year to all workers nationwide for all back pay for being retaliated against for supporting a union. He cited a paper by Morris M. Kleiner and David Weil stating that "the Act for decades has been ineffective in curbing behaviors that are antithetical to its fundamental aims."

Professor Freeman wrote that "the failure of the N.L.R.A. process to meet the needs of workers and firms moved the U.S. close to the union-free world that many opponents of trade unions have long desired."

He suggested that if unions were strong, the United States might not have the highest income inequality in the developed world or stagnant real earnings for all but the highest paid. He also said that if unions were stronger, a liberal coalition "would presumably have greater countervailing power" to Wall Street and have helped push through stronger financial reforms.

In conclusion, Professor Freeman had four recommendations. He called for strengthening the penalties against illegal actions by management and unions, recommending penalties against individual managers or union leaders who break the law. Second, he said labor laws should be amended to protect supervisors from being fired or punished if they want to remain neutral or silent and not have to express their firm's anti-union views during an organizing drive.

Third, he called for early voting at neutral venues instead of having unionization elections held at the work site on a single day. Borrowing from an idea of Benjamin Sachs, a professor at Harvard Law School, he wrote that the idea resembled early voting in regular elections. The labor board could set up a polling place where workers could vote at any time during the organizing drive or could set up a confidential mail-in procedure.

He said this "should reduce intimidation or pressure from management or union activists on workers to vote for against union representation by allowing employees to vote outside the confines of the workplace at a time of their own choosing." Many corporations oppose a more rapid electoral process, arguing that it would not give them adequate time to communicate their case against unions.

Lastly, Professor Freeman recommends an idea that union leaders hate-allowing employers to set up employee committees that address not just productivity, but also issues that deal with workers' well-being, like hours or pace of work. "Throughout the advanced world works councils perform this function, usually with members elected by employees, independent of collective bargaining," he wrote.

He added that "American employees who want their workers to have some representation at their workplace that falls short of collective bargaining" should be able to do so without having to break the law. He said that a similar system in Canada works well.

He noted that many American employers were already doing this even though the law bans it. Moreover, it would help give union-less workers more of a voice on the job. But unions oppose this idea, asserting that it could lead to management-dominated committees and could convince many workers that they do not need a union.

The symposium was cosponsored by the National Labor Relations Board and George Washington University.

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9) Exxon's Profit Rises 55%, Helped by Higher Oil Prices
By REUTERS
October 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/business/29exxon.html?ref=business

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Exxon Mobil Corporation, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday that its quarterly profit rose 55 percent, surpassing expectations, as higher crude prices lifted results in its exploration business.

Third-quarter earnings for oil companies have been helped by a rebound in oil and natural gas prices. Slow improvement in the global economy has also lifted demand for fuels like diesel and gasoline, helping refining businesses.

Crude oil prices have climbed 13 percent over the last year while benchmark gas in New York trading rose 23 percent, to average $4.23 a million British thermal units.

"Production, mostly from natural gas, looks like the reason for the slightly better-than-expected performance," Philip Weiss, oil analyst at Argus Research, said, noting that Exxon's international refining business also did well.

The company, based in Irving, Tex., said its oil and gas output rose 20 percent from a year ago, to a combined output of 4.45 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. Exxon's large liquefied natural gas projects in Qatar and its acquisition of XTO Energy, which was announced in December, helped push production higher.

Exxon's $27 billion acquisition of XTO has enhanced its natural gas portfolio, but the purchase has not been well received by some investors, who point to current depressed prices for the fuel. The oil giant has said it made the deal because it expects natural gas demand to rise over the long-term, driven by power demand in countries like China and India.

Exxon said its third-quarter profit was $7.35 billion, or $1.44 a share, compared with $4.73 billion, or 98 cents a share, in the third quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 15.8 percent in the quarter, to $95.3 billion.

Wall Street analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.39 a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Profit in Exxon's exploration and production unit rose 36 percent to $5.47 billion, while its refining unit had a profit of $1.16 billion, up sharply from $325 million from a year ago.

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10)The scary actual U.S. government debt
NEIL REYNOLDS
OTTAWA- From Wednesday's Globe and Mail, October 27, 2010
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/commentary/neil-reynolds/the-scary-actual-us-government-debt/article1773879/

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion - 840 per cent of current GDP. "Let's get real," Prof. Kotlikoff says. "The U.S. is bankrupt."

Writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, Prof. Kotlikoff says the IMF itself has quietly confirmed that the U.S. is in terrible fiscal trouble - far worse than the Washington-based lender of last resort has previously acknowledged. "The U.S. fiscal gap is huge," the IMF asserted in a June report. "Closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 per cent of U.S. GDP."

This sum is equal to all current U.S. federal taxes combined. The consequences of the IMF's fiscal fix, a doubling of federal taxes in perpetuity, would be appalling - and possibly worse than appalling.

Prof. Kotlikoff says: "The IMF is saying that, to close this fiscal gap [by taxation], would require an immediate and permanent doubling of our personal income taxes, our corporate taxes and all other federal taxes.

"America's fiscal gap is enormous - so massive that closing it appears impossible without immediate and radical reforms to its health care, tax and Social Security systems - as well as military and other discretionary spending cuts."

He cites earlier calculations by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that concluded that the United States would need to increase tax revenue by 12 percentage points of GDP to bring revenue into line with spending commitments. But the CBO calculations assumed that the growth of government programs (including Medicare) would be cut by one-third in the short term and by two-thirds in the long term. This assumption, Prof. Kotlikoff notes, is politically implausible - if not politically impossible.

One way or another, the fiscal gap must be closed. If not, the country's spending will forever exceed its revenue growth, and no one's real debt can increase faster than his real income forever.

Prof. Kotlikoff uses "fiscal gap," not the accumulation of deficits, to define public debt. The fiscal gap is the difference between a government's projected revenue (expressed in today's dollar value) and its projected spending (also expressed in today's dollar value). By this measure, the United States is in worse shape than Greece.

Prof. Kotlikoff is a noted economist. He is a research associate at the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a former senior economist with then-president Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. He has served as a consultant with governments around the world. He is the author (or co-author) of 14 books: Jimmy Stewart Is Dead (2010), his most recent book, explains his recommendations for reform.

He says the U.S. cannot end its fiscal crisis by increasing taxes. He opposes further stimulus spending because it will simply increase the debt. But he does suggest reforms that would help - most of which would require a significant withering away of the state. He proposes that the government give every person an annual voucher for health care, provided that the total cost not exceed 10 per cent of GDP. (U.S. health care now consumes 16 per cent of GDP.) He suggests the replacement of all current federal taxes with a single consumption tax of 18 per cent. He calls for government-sponsored personal retirement accounts, with the government making contributions only for the poor, the unemployed and people with disabilities.

Without drastic reform, Prof. Kotlikoff says, the only alternative would be a massive printing of money by the U.S. Treasury - and hyperinflation.

As former president Bill Clinton once prematurely said, the era of big government is over. In the coming years, the U.S. will almost certainly be compelled to deconstruct its welfare state.

Prof. Kotlikoff doesn't trust government accounting, or government regulation. The official vocabulary (deficit, debt, transfer payment, tax, borrowing), he says, is vulnerable to official manipulation and off-the-books deceit. He calls it "Enron accounting." He also calls it a lie. Here is an economist who speaks plainly, as the legendary straight-shooting film star Jimmy Stewart did for an earlier generation.

But Prof. Kotlikoff's economic genre isn't the Western. It's the horror story - "and scarier," one reviewer of his book suggests, than Stephen King.

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11) Program by New Jersey Union Grooms Candidates
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
October 29, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/nyregion/30labor.html?hp

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. - Ballots cast throughout New Jersey on Tuesday will list hundreds of candidates, their parties and the offices they seek. But for 53 candidates, the ballots will not say one of the most important things they have in common: union-approved.

These people running for town councilman, mayor, county freeholder and other posts are graduates of a state A.F.L.-C.I.O. program to recruit, train and support candidates for public office who are union members or who support pro-union policies.

The program, which costs the union about $250,000 a year to run, has groomed more than 160 current officeholders - the overwhelming majority of them Democrats - including 8 members of the Legislature, 12 county freeholders, 18 mayors and a county clerk.

Many of these elected officials are not just members but leaders in their unions, like Stephen M. Sweeney, the president of the State Senate and a paid organizer for the ironworkers' union, and Senator Donald Norcross, an electrician who is the president of the Southern New Jersey Central Labor Council of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.

Union members are involved in political campaigns in every state and are often the ground troops for time-intensive tasks like walking precincts and making phone calls. But experts say that organized labor in other states has not been as focused on or as good at training its own members to run for office rather than work for other candidates. Similar boot-camp programs have been tried elsewhere, but none compare in size or success to New Jersey's, which began in 1997 and has grown steadily.

"The concept was to take our members and apprentice them in the field of politics, just as we apprentice them in their own crafts," said Charles Wowkanech, the president of the state A.F.L.-C.I.O. "We started with zoning boards, school boards, councils, then mayor, freeholder, and then senators and assemblyman."

"Corporate America is very good at electing their people," Mr. Wowkanech said. "If it's good for them, why can't it be good for us?"

In New Jersey, five members of the Legislature are employees of their labor unions - Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Norcross and three Assembly Democrats: Thomas P. Giblin, the business manager of an engineers' local; Joseph V. Egan, also a business manager of an electrical workers' local; and Wayne P. DeAngelo, the assistant business manager of another electrical workers' local. A 2007 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures found just nine lawmakers who worked for unions in the rest of the country.

New Jersey has many more legislators who are union members, including one current shop steward, Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano of the United Food and Commercial Workers, and several former stewards or union officers.

At a Democratic campaign rally on Tuesday at the V.F.W. post in Saddle Brook, many of those scooping pasta from the buffet table were union members. Two of the candidates they were trying to help were members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and graduates of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. program: James M. Carroll, a Bergen County freeholder running for re-election, and Joseph Setticase, a Saddle Brook councilman running for mayor.

"Without my union and the support of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., I wouldn't be here," Mr. Carroll said.

Even labor's political opponents expressed admiration for the effort. "The political parties supposedly try to do the same thing, to groom candidates from the grass roots, but the A.F.L.-C.I.O. does it more effectively," said Richard J. LaRossa, a Republican former state senator who leads a conservative policy group, Solutions for New Jersey.

Mr. LaRossa and other critics contend that the unions' electoral success contributes to the high cost of government in New Jersey, a core issue in a state where Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has clashed with labor and lawmakers over salaries, pensions, staffing and overlapping layers of government. "The labor agenda is pay more, build more, hire more, spend more," Mr. LaRossa said.

Labor leaders, though, pointed out that most of the elected officials came from private-sector unions, particularly in the building trades - the electrical workers are especially well-represented - that are not always aligned with government-employee unions. Mr. Sweeney, for example, has had a rocky relationship with the New Jersey Education Association, the main teachers' union, which is the governor's favorite foil.

Still, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. program has been crucial in recent union victories in Trenton, including a law allowing government agencies to require even nonunion contractors to adhere to the terms of union contracts; one mandating paid family leave for many private-sector workers; and a "card check" provision making it possible for employees to unionize without elections.

"When I'm dealing with the public's money, I'm going to make sure the public is treated fairly," said Mr. Sweeney, who is also the leader of the Gloucester County Board of Freeholders. "Getting over on somebody like me is a lot more difficult than getting over on somebody who doesn't know labor and doesn't know contracts."

He conceded, however, that "when I was the chair of the labor committee, it was hard to be objective."

To qualify for the state A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s program, candidates must first have the backing of their own union locals and their counties' central labor councils. They attend a free two-day session at Rutgers University, with classes taught by politicians and political consultants; Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a lawyer and a longtime labor ally, is often one of the instructors.

Dominick Stampone, the mayor of Haledon, in Passaic County, who belongs to the American Federation of Teachers, said: "They talked about fund-raising, campaign finance reporting, dealing with the media, addressing a room, crafting your message, and also about the core values we believe in, like affordable health care and living wage requirements. They really covered all the bases."

Mr. Stampone completed the program last year when he was running unsuccessfully for county freeholder.

Once the school is over, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. gives novice candidates advice while they are running, pays for mailings to support them and arranges for volunteers to work on their campaigns.

Mr. Wowkanech of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. said the program began at a time when "organized labor was finding it very difficult to move its agenda, and all we were doing was testifying against the agenda that business and industry wanted."

In the years since, even as labor has increased its presence in elective office in New Jersey, union membership in the state has declined. Last year, 19.9 percent of the state's work force was union-represented (compared with 13.6 percent nationally), down from 21.7 percent in 2000 (14.9 percent nationally). New Jersey ranks fifth in unionization; No. 1 is New York, at 27.2 percent.

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12) Panel Says Firms Knew of Cement Flaws Before Spill
By JOHN M. BRODER
October 28, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/us/29spill.html?ref=business

WASHINGTON - Halliburton officials knew weeks before the fatal explosion of the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the bottom of the well was unstable but still went ahead with the job, the presidential commission investigating the accident said on Thursday.

In the first official finding of responsibility for the blowout, which killed 11 workers and led to the biggest offshore oil spill in American history, the commission staff determined that Halliburton had conducted three laboratory tests that indicated that the cement mixture did not meet industry standards.

The result of at least one of those tests was given on March 8 to BP, which failed to act upon it, the panel's lead investigator, Fred H. Bartlit Jr., said in a letter delivered to the commissioners on Thursday. "There is no indication that Halliburton highlighted to BP the significance of the foam stability data or that BP personnel raised any questions about it," Mr. Bartlit said in his report.

Another Halliburton cement test, carried out about a week before the blowout of the well on April 20, also found the mixture to be unstable, meaning it was unlikely to set properly in the well, but those findings were never sent to BP, Mr. Bartlit found after reviewing previously undisclosed documents.

Although Mr. Bartlit did not specifically identify the cement failure as the sole or even primary cause of the blowout, he made clear in his letter that if the cement had done its job and kept the highly pressurized oil and gas out of the well bore, there would have been no accident.

"We have known for some time that the cement used to secure the production casing and isolate the hydrocarbon zone at the bottom of the Macondo well must have failed in some manner," he said in his letter to the seven members of the presidential commission. "The cement should have prevented hydrocarbons from entering the well."

The failure of the cement set off a complex and ultimately deadly cascade of events as oil and gas exploded upward from the 18,000-foot-deep well. The blowout preventer, which sits on the ocean floor atop a well and is supposed to contain a well bore breach, also failed.

In an internal investigation, BP identified the faulty cement job as one of the main factors contributing to the accident and blamed Halliburton, the cementing contractor on the Macondo well, as the responsible party. Halliburton has said repeatedly in public testimony that it tested and used a proper cement formula and that BP's flawed well design and poor operations caused the disaster.

Jesse Gagliano, a Halliburton technical adviser, told federal investigators in Houston in August that the company was confident of the cement job and said that BP's decision to use six well-stabilizing devices known as centralizers contributed to the failure of the cement work.

Another Halliburton official, Thomas Roth, told a National Academy of Engineering panel last month that Halliburton's cement met industry standards and that it had been successfully used at more than 1,000 other wells. Mr. Roth said BP ignored "multiple red flags" in the drilling and completion of the well.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was operated by a third company, Transocean.

Cathy Mann, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the company was reviewing the panel's findings. A BP spokesman said the company would have no comment.

Halliburton, a major oil field services company and one of the nation's largest defense contractors, was once led by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr. Bartlit's law firm, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, has done legal work for Halliburton in the past but has not represented the company since 2005, the firm said.

The commission obtained from Halliburton samples of the same cement recipe used on the failed well, including the same proportion of nitrogen used as a leavening agent and a number of chemicals used to stabilize the mixture. The slurry was sent to a laboratory owned by Chevron for independent testing.

Chevron conducted nine separate stability tests intended to reproduce conditions at the BP well and the cement failed them all, the staff report said.

"Although laboratory foam stability tests cannot replicate field conditions perfectly," Mr. Bartlit's letter said, "these data strongly suggest that the foam cement used at Macondo was unstable."

One and a half gallons of the actual mixture used on the doomed BP well survived and are being held as evidence in criminal and civil investigations.

Shortly before technicians began pumping cement slurry down the well on April 19, Halliburton conducted one last test of the mixture. The company changed some of the conditions of the test and appeared satisfied with the result, although those findings were not communicated to BP until after the well explosion, the commission found.

The commission concluded, "Halliburton may not have had - and BP did not have - the results of that test before the evening of April 19, meaning that the cement job may have been pumped without any lab results indicating that the foam cement slurry would be stable."

Further, the panel found, "Halliburton and BP both had results in March showing that a very similar foam slurry design to the one actually pumped at the Macondo well would be unstable, but neither acted upon that data."

The commission, appointed by President Obama in May, is led by Bob Graham, the former senator and governor of Florida, and William K. Reilly, a former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The commission is scheduled to present its interim findings on Nov. 8-9 and its final report to the president in mid-January. It released this report early, it said, because other wells may be planning to use similarly flawed cement.

Mr. Bartlit, who conducted a much-praised investigation of the 1988 Piper Alpha blowout in the North Sea off Britain that killed 167 workers, said the flawed cement was not the whole story. Many human and mechanical failures combined to create the disaster, he said, and backup procedures were skipped or ignored.

"Because it may be anticipated that a particular cement job may be faulty, the oil industry has developed tests, such as the negative pressure test and cement evaluation logs, to identify cementing failures," he wrote. "It has also developed methods to remedy deficient cement jobs. BP and/or Transocean personnel misinterpreted or chose not to conduct such tests at the Macondo well."

In its investigation, BP said that on the morning of April 20, its team decided not to conduct a cement evaluation log. It said that in relying on other types of assessments, the team ignored BP's own guidelines.

Robbie Brown contributed reporting from Columbia, S.C., and Henry Fountain from New York.

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13) Inflation and Unemployment Rise in Euro Region
By REUTERS
October 29, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/business/global/30iht-euecon.html?ref=business

BRUSSELS - Consumer prices in the euro region rose more than expected in October, an estimate showed on Friday, but economists said inflationary pressures remained muted.

In a separate report, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said that unemployment in the euro zone was 10.1 percent in September, up from a downward-revised 10 percent in August. That increase came despite a fall in the number of jobless in Europe's biggest economy, Germany.

Eurostat said consumer prices in the 16 countries using the euro rose 1.9 percent in October year-on-year, against 1.8 percent in September. Economists polled by Reuters had expected annual price growth to remain unchanged at 1.8 percent.

The new level was still within the European Central Bank's price stability target of under, but close to, 2 percent over the medium term.

"Inflation has accelerated sharply from levels of around 1 percent at the start of the year, but this is entirely due to rising food and energy price inflation," said Nick Kounis, head of macroeconomic research at ABN Amro.

"Core inflation has been stable at around 1 percent," he said. "Although we do not have a breakdown of the October data, we think that similar trends have remained in place, with underlying inflationary pressures remaining subdued."

Mr. Kounis also said that given the slack in the economy, slowing wage growth and the rise in the value of the euro, inflation was unlikely to be a danger for some time.

Separately, Eurostat said the number of people without a job in the 16 countries using the euro rose by 67,000 in September against August, to 15.9 million people. The figure was 71,000 people, up to 23.1 million, in the whole European Union of 27 countries.

The rise was mainly due to an increase in unemployment in Italy, Spain and Austria, it said.

"September's renewed rise in unemployment reinforces our belief that euro zone labor markets are unlikely to see major overall improvement for some time to come, so unemployment is likely to remain relatively high," said Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight. "We suspect that unemployment will rise modestly further."

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14) The Shame of New York
By BOB HERBERT
October 29, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/opinion/30herbert.html?hp

The whole notion of the rule of law, critical to a democracy, is sabotaged when the guardians of the law - in this case the officers of the New York City Police Department - are permitted to violate the law with impunity.

The police in New York City are not just permitted, they are encouraged to trample on the rights of black and Hispanic New Yorkers by relentlessly enforcing the city's degrading, unlawful and outright racist stop-and-frisk policy. Hundreds of thousands of wholly innocent individuals, most of them young, are routinely humiliated by the police, day in and day out, year after shameful year.

Jeffrey Fagan, a professor of law and public health at Columbia University and a widely recognized scholar on the subject of police and citizen interactions, has filed a report in support of a federal class-action lawsuit challenging the stop-and-frisk policy as unconstitutional. Based on analyses of the department's own statistics, he found, as the plaintiffs and other observers have argued all along, that seizures of weapons or contraband as a result of the stops "is extremely rare."

The rate of gun seizures is near zero - 0.15 guns seized for every 100 stops. "The N.Y.P.D. stop-and-frisk tactics," wrote Professor Fagan, "produce rates of seizures of guns or other contraband that are no greater than would be produced simply by chance."

More important, after studying six years' worth of data, the professor concluded that many of the millions of stops are violations of the Constitution. One of a number of constitutional problems, according to Professor Fagan, is that the police frequently use race or national origin rather than reasonable suspicion as the basis for the stops.

"I provide evidence that the N.Y.P.D. has engaged in patterns of unconstitutional stops of city residents that are more likely to affect black and Latino citizens," he wrote.

From 2004 through 2009, city police officers stopped people on the street and checked them out nearly three million times. Many were patted down, frisked, made to sprawl face down on the ground, or spread-eagle themselves against a wall or over the hood of a car. Nearly 90 percent of the people stopped were completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

An overwhelming majority of the people stopped were black or Hispanic. Blacks were nine times more likely than whites to be stopped by the police, but no more likely than whites to be arrested as a result of the stops.

While crime has been going down, the number of people getting stopped has been going up. More than 575,000 stops were made last year - a record. But 504,594 of those stops were of people who had committed no crime, were issued no summonses and were carrying no weapons or illegal substances.

If the stops go up when crime goes down, it's fair to wonder what might happen if there was no crime in the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly might decide that it is necessary to frisk everybody. The use of such stops has more than quintupled on their watch.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the class-action suit, wants the Police Department barred from engaging in what the center describes as race-based and "suspicionless stops and frisks."

Professor Fagan, in his report filed in connection with the suit, found that nearly 150,000 stops over the six-year period that he studied lacked any legal justification at all. An additional 544,252 stops lacked sufficiently detailed information from the officers involved to determine their legality.

I've no doubt that the professor's findings are, in fact, conservative. But even his figures show the police to be violating the Constitution on a scandalously vast scale. The police use such specious justifications as "furtive movements" or an alleged "bulge" in someone's pocket as the basis for stopping people. If you believe all those furtive-movement and bulging-pocket stories, I've got some antiques spanning the East River that you might be interested in.

It's important to keep in mind that what we are talking about here, in the overwhelming number of cases, are innocent people, not criminals. No one wants to stop the police from going after the bad guys. But what keeps happening with this lousy policy is that the cops target skin color, not the likelihood that a crime might be in progress, or have taken place. As Professor Fagan found, "Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be stopped than whites, even in areas where there are low crime rates and where residential populations are racially heterogeneous or predominantly white."

It doesn't matter if innocent black or Hispanic kids are in a high-crime area or low, a minority area or white, they stand a good chance of being harassed by New York City cops.

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15) Bat disease threatens ecological catastrophe
By Jerome Taylor
A virulent and deadly pathogen in America is exterminating a predator that is vital to farmers for controlling insect pests
October 29, 2010
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/bat-disease-threatens-ecological-catastrophe-2119541.html

As a biologist with more than four decades of experience in the field, Thomas Kunz is not prone to over exaggeration. He likes the data to do the talking. But when it comes to describing the recent deaths of more than a million bats across the eastern United States he is unequivocal.

"I've worked with bats over 45 years and never have I seen, or even known about, any kind of mortality rate comparable to what we've seen," he says. "The analysis that we've done here indicates that bats - in at least the north-eastern US - are going to die out within 20 years."

Dr Kunz, a biology professor at Boston University and one of a handful of bat specialists in America, is describing the terrifying advance of white-nose syndrome. In just four years the virulent fungal infection has spread from a single cave in upstate New York to massacre more than a million bats across the North-east.

Scientists and conservationists have been astonished by both the virulence and viciousness of the disease. When a cave becomes infected 75 per cent of the bat colony is likely to be wiped out during the first winter hibernation. After the next winter 90 per cent of the original colony will have succumbed.

This savage fatality rate threatens to destroy one of North America's top predators, leaving a gaping hole in the continent's food chain with as yet incalculable knock-on ecological effects. One senior US wildlife official has gone so far as to describe the massacre as "the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife caused by infectious disease in recorded history".

Jim Dreisacker doesn't need to read the scientific research to know that bats are dying. Westchester Wildlife, his family run business in upstate New York, has been trapping animals for 30 years. Raccoons, skunks, woodchucks and beavers keep him busy all year round. But each summer the 49-year-old would normally expect a windfall from hundreds of callouts from homeowners asking him to remove summer colonies of little brown bats from their roofs and porches.

"The past two years I don't think we've had a single call," he says. "The little brown [bat] has just gone. That's a good 20 per cent of my business up in smoke."

The first outbreak of white-nose was discovered just 200km north of Mr Dreisacker's home in Howe Caverns, a popular tourist attraction outside the state capital Albany. In 2006 a caver reported that many of the bats inside the cave were displaying white growth on their noses and wings. The infected bats were weaker than their non-infected cousins, they came out of hibernation too early and died off rapidly from either starvation or exposure.

By the following winter white-nose syndrome had spread across upstate New York. The next year it had reached Vermont, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, infecting critical hibernacula (winter hibernation caves) in the Appalachians. Canada was hit in 2009, with infections in Quebec and southern Ontario. This year new outbreaks have been reported as far south as Tennessee, Oklahoma and Missouri. Biologists and pathogen experts have been scrambling to try to understand how white-nose syndrome broke out and how it can be stopped or at least reduced.

"One of the biggest problems we're facing is that we don't really know much about bats or this fungus," says Hazel Barton, a British born professor of microbiology at the University of Kentucky whose team are concentrating on studying the fungus behind the deaths. "But what we do know is that everything is stacked against bats. It's like this disease was tailor-made to kill them off in their millions."

How white-nose syndrome kills is still a matter of scientific inquiry but the most generally accepted hypothesis is that the fungus attacks the bats' immune system and interferes with their hibernation patterns.

Throughout the winter, when food is scarce, many species of North American bats retreat to hibernacula (the largest ones in the North-east can contain up to 800,000 bats).

They huddle together in their tens of thousands, allowing them to save energy by lowering their body temperature. But this also provides perfect conditions for transmitting disease.

Throughout hibernation bats briefly rouse from torpor, the semi-comatose state that allows them to preserve energy. In most species the arousal rate is once every 12 to 20 days but white-nose infected bats wake up two to three times as often. The theory is that, just like other fungal infections such as Athlete's foot, white-nose is uncomfortable and wakes the bats.

"Every time they arouse it's an enormous drain on their energy levels," says Dr Kunz, adding that bats have to raise their body temperature every time they wake. "Energy-wise, one arousal is about the equivalent of 30 days in torpor so when white-nose bats wake early from their hibernation they are severely undernourished."

Desperate for food the bats will head to the mouth of the cave in search of insects. Most of them don't make it and those that do are usually killed by exposure in a matter of hours.

The results are horrendous. Colonies have suffered very high death rates with carcasses littering the floors of caves. Of greatest concern to conservationists are two critically endangered species that have been infected, the Grey bat and the Indiana bat. But four other species of hibernating bat have also been heavily infected.

Yet the potential extinction of America's bats is more than just a conservation issue. During spring and summer bats eat more than half their bodyweight in insects every night to store up fat reserves for the long winter hibernation. If America's bats die out scientists say the loss to the farming industry would be devastating.

"Bats are one of nature's greatest pesticides," says Dr Kunz. "During the 180 days or so that they are out of hibernation, a million little brown bats will eat - and this is a conservative estimate - in the region of 500 tons of insects. If bats die out farmers will have to use so much more pesticides."

The University of Boston, using a test study compiled over eight counties in Texas, believes the US farming industry will go from spending $1bn (£630m) a year on pesticides to $9bn.

Places such as Tennessee and Missouri are now the front line in the bid to stop the fungus from spreading to the West Coast. The border of the Midwest rests on an enormous belt of porous limestone and is littered with caves like a geological Swiss cheese. Beyond that, western states such as California, Oregon and Washington boast some of the largest bat populations in the country.

"Fortunately the Great Plains and the Rockies act as a sort of natural barrier," says Dr Barton. "There's not a lot of evidence showing that bats from places like Tennessee can fly as far as the West Coast. Our biggest fear is human transmission."

Just as small-pox, carried by ships from the Old World, killed millions of Native Americans, early scientific investigations suggest white-nose fungus was brought to the US by someone from Europe. It then either mutated into a virulent and deadly pathogen or already was one for bats that didn't have the required immunity. A number of bats in Germany, Hungary and Switzerland have recently been found to carry the white-nose fungus but are not affected by it suggesting that Europe's bat population has already experienced a mass fatality and become resistant.

In response the US Government has closed all caves on public land but all it would take is a careless caver to bring it out West. "If humans bring it to the West, that would be catastrophic," says Dr Barton.

The symptoms

A cluster of hibernating little brown bats showing signs of white-nose syndrome. The fungus attacks the bat's immune system and interrupts their hibernation patterns causing them to become severely undernourished and die. The mortality rate among little browns with white-nose can exceed 90 per cent in some caves.
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16) Gross Racial Disparities In California Pot Arrests
By Lucia Graves
10-28-10 07:13 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/28/gross-racial-disparities-_n_775590.html?ir=Los+Angeles

SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Eric Holder ruffled some feathers with his recent promise to "vigorously enforce" marijuana prohibition in California even if the state ballot initiative seeking to legalize marijuana passes on November 2.

He might have some trouble with fair implementation: Studies show minorities are much more likely to be arrested for pot possession in California than whites, even though minorities are less likely to smoke pot.

A recent report by the Drug Policy Alliance found that from 2006 to 2008 "police in 25 of California's major cities arrested blacks at four, five, six, seven, and even 12 times the rate of whites." The City of Los Angeles, for instance, "arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites," even though young white people consistently report higher marijuana use than blacks or Hispanics, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

In the last 20 years, California authorities made 850,000 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana. There's no reason to believe the disparity in arrests is confined to the state.

Indeed in New York City, under the leadership of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, pot arrests have skyrocketed -- and roughly nine out of ten people charged with violating the law are black or Latino.

On Wednesday the DPA released a second report highlighting the disparities between white and Latino arrests in the Golden state. Findings showed that from 2006 to 2008 "major cities in California arrested and prosecuted Latinos for marijuana possession at double to nearly triple the rate of whites." In San Jose, the third largest city in the state, police arrested Latinos at more than twice the rate of whites. Glendale, California -- where Latinos make up only 17 percent of the population of almost 200,000, but 30 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession -- had the highest Latino arrest rate of the 33 cities surveyed.

The report's authors cautioned that the findings should not be attributed to racist cops.

"The disparities documented in the report are the result of routine police practices, not the result of racists cops here and there," Stephen Gutwillig, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday. "This is a system-wide issue."

The report's authors, led by Queens College sociologist Harry Levine, have noted that marijuana possession arrests can have serious consequences, creating permanent "drug arrest" records that can be easily found on the Internet by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies, licensing boards and banks.

Several weeks ago, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law, effective in January, which downgrades possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction. But Gutwillig said the new legislation will not eliminate the problem.

"The recent downgrading by the governor which lowers the penalty from a misdemeanor to an infraction is absolutely a step in the right direction," he said. "But targeting of Latinos will continue."

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17) Battle Over California Marijuana Initiative Goes Down to the Wire
By JESSE McKINLEY
October 30, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/us/politics/31pot.html?ref=health

OAKLAND, Calif. - It is the home stretch in the battle over Proposition 19, the ballot initiative that would legalize and regulate marijuana in California, and at "Yes" headquarters in downtown Oakland last week, young volunteers were hustling for votes.

But while the setting was laid back - what with the couches, the Frisbees on the walls and the ample snacks - the mood was anything but, as a computerized system dialing potential voters kept phones ringing constantly.

"This is one of our generation's most important issues," said Evan Nison, a junior from Ithaca College in New York who has spent the last five months helping to coordinate the campaign on 40 campuses statewide. "Students are going to be the deciding factor, and I'm in charge of colleges. Talk about stress."

On the "No" side, opponents are at a financial disadvantage but have been using deep political muscle to spread their message, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who joined a statewide tour in Los Angeles on Friday. They have also been hammering the proposition on the radio, saying it will endanger children and short-circuit federal school financing and painting its backers as under the influence.

"Wow," a new advertisement concludes. "Maybe the proponents should have waited to celebrate until after they'd written the legal language."

Still, with a growing number of Americans favoring legalization - a Gallup poll released last week found a record high 46 percent approving of legalizing marijuana - perhaps no ballot measure in the country will be more closely watched on Tuesday.

And while some polls here show the "yes" side on Proposition 19 trailing, even a close loss could have national impact, as groups seeking to change drug laws watch the results and consider backing legalization measures in other states.

"Win or lose, this thing has moved the ball much further down the field than anyone could have imagined," said Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports Proposition 19. "It's transformed the debate not only in California, but nationally and internationally."

Even opponents concede that their efforts to stop the measure do not necessarily mean that legalization is deeply unpopular, just that it is a bad idea to pass Proposition 19, which would allow anyone over 21 to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana but would leave many of the details concerning the sale, production and taxation to local governments.

"We have members of the coalition who are opposed to legalization of any kind, and we have members who say, 'We could see it,' " said Roger Salazar, a spokesman and strategist for the opponents. "But the hodge-podge of 'let's legalize use throughout the state, and then figure out if we want to legalize its sale, or tax it' - it doesn't seem to work for a lot of folks."

Backers of the measure have spent more than $2 million getting it on the ballot and campaigning for its passage, an effort that has been assisted in recent weeks by several large donations, including $1 million from the billionaire George Soros. That late influx of cash has helped pay for a spate of advertisements.

The opposition campaign - run by a pair of experienced political consulting firms based in Sacramento - says it has raised only about $350,000 in donations. But they have found substantial support from well-connected, well-organized groups like the California Police Chiefs Association and the California Chamber of Commerce.

Not that many donors on both sides were initially interested in giving money to an initiative that was seen as a long shot.

"It wasn't even on their radar screen," said Tim Rosales, the "No on 19" campaign manager.

Mr. Nadelmann concurred, saying many big pro-legalization donors, like Mr. Soros, did not start to consider giving money until it became apparent that the measure had a fighting chance.

"They didn't quite believe that the polling would hold up as well it did," Mr. Nadelmann said.

While the "No" campaign has been bare-bones - no phone banks, no direct mail - it has used big names and some shocking images to get attention. The Web site for "No on 19," for example, depicts a crumpled car and an overturned school bus and warns that "recreational marijuana use in fatal crashes will increase if Proposition 19 passes."

"It will be legal for a driver to get high right before taking the wheel," it says.

Mrs. Feinstein echoed those themes in her appearance in Los Angeles on Friday, saying Proposition 19 would not increase tax revenue for the state and would not curb violence of drug cartels, both arguments that proponents have made in its favor.

"These, I believe, are false promises," she said.

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and would be the first state to legalize recreational use. But this month, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the federal government would vigorously pursue criminal prosecutions of those who possess, manufacture or distribute the drug, regardless of Proposition 19's outcome.

Despite uncertainty, strategists for Proposition 19 say they have a number of factors in their favor, including the enthusiasm from young voters, a large get-out-the-vote effort and what they call a "great silent majority" who approve of legalization.

"Voters have increasingly become angrier and angrier at the establishment," said Chris Lehane, a longtime Democratic strategist who is working for Proposition 19. "And this is the most anti-establishment initiative in the land this cycle."

Much of the ground game for Proposition 19 is centered in Oakland, where the measure's co-sponsor, Richard Lee, has built his marijuana trade school - Oaksterdam - into a small empire, with a three-story headquarters in the downtown core. Mr. Lee, a former roadie who founded Oaksterdam in 2007, says he expects the vote to be close, and influential.

"I think we've made the issue a lot more legitimate," he said, adding that he suspected several others states would consider votes on legalization in 2012, including Michigan, where Oaksterdam has a satellite campus.

And while Mr. Lee's investment has been serious - about $1.4 million - the tone of the campaign has sometimes been looser.

At campaign headquarters in Oakland last week, volunteers worked the phones and their laptops, some dressed in sweat pants and others wearing flip-flops. "Yes on 19" pickets lay about, and a collection of "Yes on 19" Frisbees hung on the wall. In the back, a "war room" had been set up, with a white board counting down the days to Nov. 2.

One volunteer, Doug Greene, said he had flown to California from Long Island because he "wanted to be part of history."

"If it passes here, the whole map is changed," said Mr. Greene, a legalization advocate. "And even if we don't win, we've had a discussion that most didn't think possible."

Ian Lovett contributed reporting from Los Angeles, and Malia Wollan from Sacramento.

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18) Mugged by the Moralizers
By PAUL KRUGMAN
October 31, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/opinion/01krugman.html?_r=1&hp

"How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills?" That's the question CNBC's Rick Santelli famously asked in 2009, in a rant widely credited with giving birth to the Tea Party movement.

It's a sentiment that resonates not just in America but in much of the world. The tone differs from place to place - listening to a German official denounce deficits, my wife whispered, "We'll all be handed whips as we leave, so we can flagellate ourselves." But the message is the same: debt is evil, debtors must pay for their sins, and from now on we all must live within our means.

And that kind of moralizing is the reason we're mired in a seemingly endless slump.

The years leading up to the 2008 crisis were indeed marked by unsustainable borrowing, going far beyond the subprime loans many people still believe, wrongly, were at the heart of the problem. Real estate speculation ran wild in Florida and Nevada, but also in Spain, Ireland and Latvia. And all of it was paid for with borrowed money.

This borrowing made the world as a whole neither richer nor poorer: one person's debt is another person's asset. But it made the world vulnerable. When lenders suddenly decided that they had lent too much, that debt levels were excessive, debtors were forced to slash spending. This pushed the world into the deepest recession since the 1930s. And recovery, such as it is, has been weak and uncertain - which is exactly what we should have expected, given the overhang of debt.

The key thing to bear in mind is that for the world as a whole, spending equals income. If one group of people - those with excessive debts - is forced to cut spending to pay down its debts, one of two things must happen: either someone else must spend more, or world income will fall.

Yet those parts of the private sector not burdened by high levels of debt see little reason to increase spending. Corporations are flush with cash - but why expand when so much of the capacity they already have is sitting idle? Consumers who didn't overborrow can get loans at low rates - but that incentive to spend is more than outweighed by worries about a weak job market. Nobody in the private sector is willing to fill the hole created by the debt overhang.

So what should we be doing? First, governments should be spending while the private sector won't, so that debtors can pay down their debts without perpetuating a global slump. Second, governments should be promoting widespread debt relief: reducing obligations to levels the debtors can handle is the fastest way to eliminate that debt overhang.

But the moralizers will have none of it. They denounce deficit spending, declaring that you can't solve debt problems with more debt. They denounce debt relief, calling it a reward for the undeserving.

And if you point out that their arguments don't add up, they fly into a rage. Try to explain that when debtors spend less, the economy will be depressed unless somebody else spends more, and they call you a socialist. Try to explain why mortgage relief is better for America than foreclosing on homes that must be sold at a huge loss, and they start ranting like Mr. Santelli. No question about it: the moralizers are filled with a passionate intensity.

And those who should know better lack all conviction.

John Boehner, the House minority leader, was widely mocked last year when he declared that "It's time for government to tighten their belts" - in the face of depressed private spending, the government should spend more, not less. But since then President Obama has repeatedly used the same metaphor, promising to match private belt-tightening with public belt-tightening. Does he lack the courage to challenge popular misconceptions, or is this just intellectual laziness? Either way, if the president won't defend the logic of his own policies, who will?

Meanwhile, the administration's mortgage modification program - the program that inspired the Santelli rant - has, in the end, accomplished almost nothing. At least part of the reason is that officials were so worried that they might be accused of helping the undeserving that they ended up helping almost nobody.

So the moralizers are winning. More and more voters, both here and in Europe, are convinced that what we need is not more stimulus but more punishment. Governments must tighten their belts; debtors must pay what they owe.

The irony is that in their determination to punish the undeserving, voters are punishing themselves: by rejecting fiscal stimulus and debt relief, they're perpetuating high unemployment. They are, in effect, cutting off their own jobs to spite their neighbors.

But they don't know that. And because they don't, the slump will go on.

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