Wednesday, June 01, 2011



Rally to protest the indefinite detention of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning

Saturday, June 4 ~ Leavenworth, Kansas

11:30 am - Gather at Bob Dougherty Memorial Park, N 2nd St. and Kickapoo St. (map). Unrestricted street parking is available around the park. Toilets will be available as well.

Noon - Rally

1:00 pm - March to the intersection of Metropolitan Ave. and N 7th St. (map), six blocks north-west of the rally.

2:00 pm - Vigil (until 3:00 pm) along Metropolitan Ave, primarily at N 4th St. and N 7th St. (N 7th St. is the main entrance to Fort Leavenworth. The military stockade, where Bradley is held, is deep inside the base. The federal prison, which is visible from Metropolitan Ave., is a few blocks west at N 13th St.)

3:30 pm - Organizers meeting back at Bob Dougherty Memorial Park (subject to change). Hosted by Bradley Manning Support Network, Courage to Resist, and Veterans for Peace organizers, a discussion regarding future regional and national efforts in support of Bradley Manning.

Please do not bring any weapons, alcohol, or illegal drugs, to our gathering.

For more information, see below, check this page, or call Courage to Resist at 510-488-3559

One year after Bradley's detainment, we need your support more than ever.

Dear Friends,

One year ago, on May 26, 2010, the U.S. government quietly arrested a humble young American intelligence analyst in Iraq and imprisoned him in a military camp in Kuwait. Over the coming weeks, the facts of the arrest and charges against this shy soldier would come to light. And across the world, people like you and I would step forward to help defend him.

Bradley Manning, now 23 years old, has never been to court but has already served a year in prison- including 10 months in conditions of confinement that were clear violation of the international conventions against torture. Bradley has been informally charged with releasing to the world documents that have revealed corruption by world leaders, widespread civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. forces, the true face of Guantanamo, an unvarnished view of the U.S.'s imperialistic foreign negotiations, and the murder of two employees of Reuters News Agency by American soldiers. These documents released by WikiLeaks have spurred democratic revolutions across the Arab world and have changed the face of journalism forever.

For his act of courage, Bradley Manning now faces life in prison-or even death.

But you can help save him-and we've already seen our collective power. Working together with concerned citizens around the world, the Bradley Manning Support Network has helped raise worldwide awareness about Manning's torturous confinement conditions. Through the collective actions of well over a half million people and scores of organizations, we successfully pressured the U.S. government to end the tortuous conditions of pre-trial confinement that Bradley was subjected to at the Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia. Today, Bradley is being treated humanely at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. T hanks to your support, Bradley is given leeway to interact with other pre-trial prisoners, read books, write letters, and even has a window in his cell.

Of course we didn't mount this campaign to just improve Bradley's conditions in jail. Our goal is to ensure that he can receive a fair and open trial. Our goal is to win Bradley's freedom so that he can be reunited with his family and fulfill his dream of going to college. Today, to commemorate Bradley's one year anniversary in prison, will you join me in making a donation to help support Bradley's defense?

We'll be facing incredible challenges in the coming months, and your tax-deductible donation today will help pay for Bradley's civilian legal counsel and the growing international grassroots campaign on his behalf. The U.S. government has already spent a year building its case against Bradley, and is now calling its witnesses to Virginia to testify before a grand jury.

What happens to Bradley may ripple through history - he is already considered by many to be the single most important person of his generation. Please show your commitment to Bradley and your support for whistle-blowers and the truth by making a donation today.

With your help, I hope we will come to remember May 26th as a day to commemorate all those who risk their lives and freedom to promote informed democracy - and as the birth of a movement that successfully defended one courageous whistle-blower against the full fury of the U.S. government.

Donate now:

In solidarity,

Jeff Paterson and Loraine Reitman,
On behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee

P.S. After you have donated, please help us by forwarding this email to your closest friends. Ask them to stand with you to support Bradley Manning, and the rights of all whistleblowers.

Help us rent a billboard for Bradley Manning in Washington DC!
Sign the "I am Bradley Manning" photo petition at

Bradley will soon have his own billboard in the Washington DC metro area, if we step up. We're launching this campaign to rent the high-profile ad space to coincide with the soon-expected start of his pre-trial court martial in the DC area.

View the billboards, donate, and help choose the design:

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:

I am Bradley Manning

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:





Johannes Mehserle received two years for the murder of Oscar Grant.

On June 13 [postponed from June 1], he will go before Judge Perry and COULD WALK OUT FREE.

We don't know the exact date, but we do know that in June, Murderer Mehserle will be back on the streets.

We need to be ready to show them that Oakland has NOT forgotton that justice was NOT served.

On the DAY OF HIS RELEASE: The Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant will hold events at TWO PLACES:

3:00 PM: Gather at Oscar Grant Station (Fruitvale BART)
5:30 PM: Gather on 14th & Broadway

Stay tuned for more details!!!

Click here to view Facebook Event: Mehserle the Murderer is Being Released Soon:

Or call us at (510) 575-9005

The ANSWER Coalition is a member of the Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
2969 Mission St.


Why We Come (Por Que Venimos)
SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS WATCH - San Francisco Presentation:
An evening about local campaigns for Immigration Rights.
Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco
Martin Luther King Room

Why We Come is a short documentary film providing an intimate look at the lives of migrants in San Rafaelâ€(tm)s Canal Area. The film was produced by the Marin Immigrant Rights Coalition Film Group. The first-person stories reveal the risks the migrants took to come to the United States to provide a better life for their families.

Following the film, Hannah Pallmeyer, staff member at La Raza Centro Legal, will provide an overview of local, state, and national campaigns for immigrant rights. She will include how immigration issues are connected to militarization and US foreign policy.

For more information, contact: Dolores Perez Priem at or



[BayArea LC4PJ] Creative Action Sat June 4th in SF - Teachers, Education, Social Services NOT (corporate) Tax Breaks! // Ella Baker Center invites us to Reclaim our Revenue;

Dear Everyone,

I am writing you today because anti-austerity movements are growing all over the world, including here in the U.S., and I believe this is our time to pull together and not only save the programs and services we need most but improve them. I encourage all groups involved in trying to "uncut" the budget cuts to band together and join forces. The next US Uncut creative action in SF is:

Teachers, Textbooks, Education, Public Service s NOT [corporate] Tax Breaks!

Saturday June 4th at 1pm
Meet at Union Square Park in SF

Target: Apple Computers for trying to dodge $4 billion and leading a tax cheat lobbying group (

This will be a fun, informative, direct action flashmob. For details visit our FB page.
Invite: everyone you know!

Our demands:

Apple: Leave the Tax Cheat Lobbying Group ) and Stop Lobbying Congress for More Tax Loopholes

Congress: No More Budget Cuts - No Multi-Billion Dollar Tax Holiday For Corporate Tax Cheats

$4 billion in tax breaks for Apple OR salaries for 90,000 teachers?

Funding for education, vital social services, job creation, and health care services is being cut on national, state and local levels. The U.S. doesn't have a spending problem (excluding it's insatiable military spending), it has a revenue problem. One of the main reasons is that 2/3 of U.S. corporations use tax loopholes to avoid over $100 billion per year in taxes -- funding that could be used to preserve the programs and services that are being cut.

Let's get creative and do something about this! US Uncut is a 5 month-old grassroots movement taking direct action against corporate tax cheats and unnecessary and unfair public service cuts across the U.S. It is creating ways for individuals and groups to get involved, among other things, by providing fact-checked research and numbers tying the amount of money being dodged by tax cheating corporations to specific cuts, which gives the public tangible ways to understand and address the issue. For example, Bank of America dodged $1.7 billion in 2009, which could have been used to save much of the Head Start and Title 1 programs for early childhood education. Apple Computers wants to dodge $4 billion by lobbying Congress for a "tax holiday" so they can bring back profits that it has stashed in a foreign tax haven -- these funds could save 90,000 teachers' jobs. US Uncut also provides downloadable materials and action plans for individuals and groups to throw an action anywhere in the country.

Apple isn't such a bad apple when compared to the level of tax cheating carried out by the banks, oil companies, GE,... but it definitely doesn't pay its fair share. They present themselves as a social responsible & progressive company, so we are challenging them to stand up to the image they're trying to project and "Pay Up!" As one of the most profitable companies in the US, they do not, in any way, NEED these tax breaks.

We've got the audience: US Uncut's campaign challenging Apple for their tax dodge is being picked up by national press and major tech and business news outlets: The Nation, CNET, Business Insider, Digital Trends, PC World, Mac Observer, 9to5mac, Macnn (ipodnn), MacTech to name a few. We only announced this a few days ago, so our bold tactics are striking a chord. Our video Apple: Tax Cheating Doesn't Sync with My Values is appearing on sites all over the web

Check it out. Join us next Saturday. Dance, shout, hoot 'n holler! We're not going to take these cuts anymore!

Looking forward to making noise with you next weekend and in the future. Let us know if you or those around you are affected by the cuts and if you want to get involved in the movement. If you're already involved, let's join forces!

In solidarity,
US Uncut SF team

find us & join actions:


Next UNAC general meeting is Sunday, June 12, 2:00 PM at Redstone Bldg., 16th Street and Capp. (Capp Street is one block or so below Mission Street.) Third Floor Conference Room, San Francisco. MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW!


Save the Date!

Kent State University
Kent, Ohio
June 24-26, 2011

Working people across the country -- from Wisconsin and Ohio to New York, Oregon, and California -- are facing unprecedented attacks by corporations and the rich with the help of the federal, state and local politicians that they fund.

The corporate agenda is clear: It is to bust unions and cut workers' pay and benefits -- both in the private and public sectors. It is to erode and privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is to dismantle the public sector and social services by denying funds for job creation, education, health care, environmental protection, and rebuilding the infrastructure. It is to ensure that taxes on the wealthy are constantly lowered while the bite on workers and the poor is constantly increased. It is to perpetuate U.S. wars and occupations whenever it serves the interests of the multinationals. It is to divide the working class by race, gender, national origin, religion, and sexual orientation. It is also to limit and restrict constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties. The list goes on.

In state capitals, communities and workplaces across the country, workers are fighting back. But if we're going to be successful in pushing back the attacks on collective bargaining, stopping the budget cuts and concessions, creating jobs, and defending social services and education, we need to build unity within our movement, including forging stronger ties with labor's allies: communities of color, students and youth, single-payer advocates, environmentalists, antiwar activists, immigrant rights supporters, and other progressive forces.

Relying on politicians to defend us -- the so-called "friends of labor" -- has proven to be disastrous. During the past three decades, working people have suffered a dramatic decline in their standard of living while the rich have amassed an unprecedented amount of wealth at the top, regardless of which of the major parties was running the government. We have had every combination imaginable: Republicans occupying the White House with a majority in Congress, Democrats occupying the White House with a majority in Congress, or some kind of "divided government." But in each case the result for working people has been the same: conditions got worse for workers while the corporations prospered even more. Why should we continue this vicious cycle?

The working class has the power to put an end to this situation. And as the debate over the debt and the deficit intensifies, the need has never been greater for an organized campaign to demand "No Cuts, No Concessions!" whether in regard to social programs or workers' wages and benefits. We say place the burden for solving the financial crises squarely where it belongs: on the rich. They caused the crisis, let them pay for it!

The Emergency Labor Network (ELN) was initiated earlier this year at a historic meeting of 100 union leaders and activists from around the country. Join us June 24-26, 2011 at Kent State University in Ohio for a national labor-community conference to spur the campaign to build a more militant fight-back movement and to launch a national campaign for an alternative agenda for working people. Together we can move forward on both fronts.

This conference is open to all who agree with its purpose, as explained in this Call. To register for the conference, please go to our website at If you prefer to register offline, write or call 216-736-4715 for a registration form.

For more information, e-mail or call 216-736-4715.


Cultures of Resistance
Thursday June 30 -- 7pm, Berkeley City College, 2050 Center Street, 1/2 block from downtown Berkeley
The Middle East Children's Alliance & the Arab Film Festival present the Berkeley premiere of bay area filmmaker & activist Iara Lee's new feature film Cultures of Resistance.

The film won Best Documentary at the Tiburon International Film Festival and is showing around the globe, from Portugal to China to Ethiopia. Journeying through five continents, it captures creative change-makers using art and activism to turn our upside-down world right-side-up, for peace with justice. Their personal stories and strategies, told in many tongues, broaden our understanding of the geopolitical fault-lines behind modern day conflicts -- inspiring audiences to further engagement and action. Filmmaker Iara Lee will introduce the film and answer questions afterwards.

Tickets $10 general, $8 students. Benefit for clean water for children in Gaza. No one turned away for lack of funds. Wheelchair accessible.

For info: 510-548-0542,,
Cosponsored by: Global Studies Department/Berkeley City College and more!


Protest, March & Die-In on 10th Anniversary of Afghanistan War
Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, 4:30-6:30pm
New Federal Building, 7th & Mission Sts, SF

End All the Wars & Occupations-Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Haiti . . .
Money for Jobs, Healthcare & Schools-Not for the Pentagon

Friday, October 7, 2011 will be the exact 10th anniversary of the U.S./NATO war on the people of Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of Afghani people have been killed, wounded and displaced, and thousands of U.S. and NATO forces killed and wounded. The war costs more than $126 billion per year at a time when social programs are being slashed.

The true and brutal character of the U.S. strategy to "win hearts and minds" of the Afghani population was described by a Marine officer, quoted in a recent ANSWER Coalition statement:

"You can't just convince them [Afghani people] through projects and goodwill," another Marine officer said. "You have to show up at their door with two companies of Marines and start killing people. That's how you start convincing them." (To read the entire ANSWER statement, click here)

Mark your calendar now and help organize for the October 7 march and die-in in downtown San Francisco. There are several things you can do:

1. Reply to this email to endorse the protest and die-in.
2. Spread the word and help organize in your community, union, workplace and campus.
3. Make a donation to help with organizing expenses.

Only the people can stop the war!

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
2969 Mission St.


[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website: or]


Licensed to Kill Video


Gil Scott-Heron, Poet And Musician, Has Died
by Daoud Tyler-Ameen

Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York, his book publisher reported. He was 62. The influential poet and musician is often credited with being one of the progenitors of hip-hop, and is best known for the spoken-word piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."

Scott-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949. He spent his early years in Jackson, Tenn., attended high school in The Bronx, and spent time at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University before settling in Manhattan. His recording career began in 1970 with the album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, which featured the first version of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." The track has since been referenced and parodied extensively in pop culture.

Scott-Heron continued to record through the 1970s and early '80s, before taking a lengthy hiatus. He briefly returned to the studio for 1994's Spirits. That album featured the track "Message to the Messengers," in which Scott-Heron cautions the hip-hop generation that arose in his absence to use its newfound power responsibly. He has been cited as a key influence by many in the hip-hop community - such as rapper-producer Kanye West, who closed his platinum-selling 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with a track built around a sample of Scott-Heron's voice.

Scott-Heron struggled publicly with substance abuse in the 2000s, and spent the early part of the decade in and out of jail on drug possession charges. He began performing again after his release in 2007, and in 2010 released a new album, I'm New Here, to widespread critical acclaim.

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.


Gundersen Gives Testimony to NRC ACRS from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

Gundersen Gives Testimony to NRC ACRS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) held a special ACRS meeting Thursday May 26, 2011 on the current status of Fukushima. Arnie Gundersen was invited to speak for 5 minutes concerning the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident as it pertains to the 23 Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors (BWR's) in the US and containment integrity. Mr. Gundersen was the first engineer to brief the NRC on the implication of Main Steam Isolation Valve (MSIV) Leakage in 1974, and he has been studying containment integrity since 1972. The NRC has constantly maintained in all of its calculations and reviews that there is zero probability of a containment leaking. For more than six years, in testimony and in correspondence with the NRC, Mr. Gundersen has disputed the NRC's stand that containment systems simply do not and cannot leak. The events at Fukushima have proven that Gundersen was correct. The explosions at Fukushima show that Mark 1 containments will lose their integrity and release huge amounts of radiation, as Mr. Gundersen has been telling the NRC for many years.


Guy on wheelchair taken down by officers


The Last Mountain': Appalachia vs. Big Coal
Janet Donovan

Actor Woody Harrelson was a surprise guest at D.C. premiere of "The Last Mountain" at E Street Cinema, also attended by Sens. Dennis Kucinich and Barbara Boxer, Director Bill Haney, and Bobby Kennedy Jr. who speaks out on West Virginia's struggle.


Labor Beat: Save City Colleges Refused Meeting Space at Malcolm X

Part of the "reinvention" plan for Chicago City Colleges is to remove the name of Malcolm X from one of the campuses, and paint over the mural image of Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, there. But these are just symbolic representations of much deeper attacks against public eduction in Chicago at the college level. The Save City Colleges coalition, made up of student groups, faculty members, union locals, and community leaders, arrived at Malcolm X on May 26 expecting to have a hearing with Chairman of the Board of Trustees Martin Cabrera and officials from City Hall, as was previously agreed to. But they found out that it was cancelled. And to add to the insult, Malcolm X security (the irony of it all!) kicked the coalition out of the building. The coalition has stated: "The grassroots organizers point to the dangerously reduced transparency of decision-making for the largest consolidated body of higher education in the state and claim that all of the above decisions had been made by administrators lacking in education experience and credentials and without good-faith consultations with employees, students or grassroots community representatives." Length - 3 min. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit Google Video or YouTube and search "Labor Beat". Labor Beat is a regular cable-tv series in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; St. Louis, MO; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at


Dear readers,

This episode of Frontline titled, "WikiSecrets" seems to be a comprehensive report based upon the case the government is trying to build against Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. It cleverly plays down the conviction that exposing a crime is not a crime! It also implys that supporters of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are naieve, at best and co-conspirators, at worst. The case against Manning and the one they are trying to establish against Julian Assange as presented here seems to be based on heresay, innuendo and guilt by association. Yet Bradley Manning still faces the death penalty and they're trying their best to make a case against Julian Assange.

They blame Wikileaks for Tunisia and Egypt! As if it was wrong for the people of those countries to oust their crooked dictators! They portray Julian Assange as a criminal for leaking evidence of the stinking corruption to the masses who are struggling and demanding bread, jobs and justice.

No government has the right to murder people and keep it a secret! Unfortunately, however, this has become the common practice of the U.S. bi-partisan government of, by and for the wealthy.


--Bonnie Weinstein

The inside story of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and the largest intelligence breach in U.S. history.

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.


"Uncle Genpachi and Tama 001 to 005";

We'd very much appreciate it if you could send us a solidarity message to our decisive rally on June 5th.


RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism


Labor Beat: May Day Weekend


Paradise Gray Speaks At Jordan Miles Emergency Rally 05/06/2011

Police Reassigned While CAPA Student's Beatdown Investigated

Pittsburgh Student Claims Police Brutality; Shows Hospital Photos

Justice For Jordan Miles
By jasiri x

Monday, May 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Even though Pittsburgh Police beat Jordan Miles until he looked like this: (Photo at website)

And even though Jordan Miles, an honor student who plays the viola, broke no laws and committed no crimes, the Federal Government decided not to prosecute the 3 undercover Pittsburgh Police officers who savagely beat him.

To add insult to injury, Pittsburgh's Mayor and Police Chief immediately reinstated the 3 officers without so much as a apology. An outraged Pittsburgh community called for an emergency protest to pressure the local District Attorney to prosecute these officers to the fullest extent of the law.

Below is my good friend, and fellow One Hood founding member Paradise Gray (also a founding member of the Blackwatch Movement and the legendary rap group X-Clan) passionately demanding Justice for Jordan Miles and speaking on the futility of a war of terror overseas while black men are terrorized in their own neighborhoods.

For more information on how you can help get Justice For Jordan Miles go to


Nation Behind Bars Mass Incarceration And Political Prisoners In the U.S. - Efia Nwangaza, Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination
Black is Back Conference on the Other Wars, March 26, 2011


Tier Systems Cripple Middle Class Dreams for Young Workers


Cindy Sheehan has turned her grief into an anti-war crusade, even questioning the death of Osama bin Laden. From HLN's Dr. DREW Show Thurs. 5/5/11:


Epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wing, Discusses Global Radiation Exposures and Consequences with Gundersen
Epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wing and nuclear engineer, Arnie Gundersen, discuss the consequences of the Fukushima radioactive fallout on Japan, the USA, and the world. What are the long-term health effects? What should the government(s) do to protect citizens?

Epidemiologist, Dr. Steven Wing, Discusses Global Radiation Exposures and Consequences with Gundersen from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.


New Video - Lupe Fiasco ft. Skylar Grey - 'Words I Never Said'
Thu, Apr 28 2011

Lupe Fiasco addresses some heavy issues in the latest video for his new single, 'Words I Never Said,' featuring Skylar Grey. In the 5 minute and 45 second dose of reality, Lupe tackles issues such as the war on terrorism, devastation, conspiracy theories, 9/11 and genocide. From the opening lyrics of "I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullsh*t", Lupe doesn't hold back as he voices his socio-political concerns.

"If you turn on TV all you see's a bunch of what the f-ks'
Dude is dating so and so blabbering bout such and such
And that ain't Jersey Shore, homie that's the news
And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth
Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn't say s-t
That's why I ain't vote for him, next one either
I'm a part of the problem, my problem is I'm peaceful."

Skylar Grey (who also lends her vocals to Dirty money's 'Coming Home' and Eminem's 'I Need A Doctor') does an excellent job of complementing the Alex Da Kid produced track.


BREAKING ALERT: Mass Arrests, Tear Gas, Sound Weapons used Against WIU Students


Union Town by Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman


MAY DAY 1886-International Workers Day


Labor Beat: We Are One - Illinois



"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political action.


More troops join anti-government protests in Yemen
More soldiers have been joining anti-government protests on the streets of the capital Sana'a.

More at The Real News


W.E. A.L.L. B.E.: Miss. Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker On Frederick Carter Hanging (4/19/2011)


Egyptian Soldiers Join Protest Demanding End to Military Dictatorship
Adam Hanieh: Class struggle in Egypt enters a new stage

More at The Real News


Row over Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning treatment (12Apr11)


AP writer--State Department on Human Rights Abuse of Bradley Manning


Max Romeo - Socialism Is Love


Cuba: The Accidental Eden

[This is a stunningly beautiful portrait of the Cuban natural environment as it is today. However, several times throughout, the narrator tends to imply that if it werent for the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Cuba's natural environmet would be destroyed by the influx of tourism, ergo, the embargo is saving nature. But the Cuban scientists and naturalists tell a slightly different story. But I don't want to spoil the delightfully surprising ending. It's a beautiful film of a beautiful country full of beautiful, articulate and well-educated]

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.


VIDEO: SWAT Team Evicts Grandmother

Take Back the Land- Rochester Eviction Defense March 28, 2011


B. D. S. [Boycott, Divest, Sanction against Israel]
(Jackson 5) Chicago Flashmob


Afghans for Peace


The Kill Team
How U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan murdered innocent civilians and mutilated their corpses - and how their officers failed to stop them. Plus: An exclusive look at the war crime photos censored by the Pentagon
Rolling Stone
March 27, 3011

Afghans respond to "Kill Team"




The Kill Team Photos More war crime images the Pentagon doesn't want you to see

'Death Zone' How U.S. soldiers turned a night-time airstrike into a chilling 'music video'

'Motorcycle Kill' Footage of an Army patrol gunning down two men in Afghanistan






Frederick Alexander Meade on The Prison Industrial Complex


BP Oil Spill Scientist Bob Naman: Seafood Still Not Safe


Exclusive: Flow Rate Scientist : How Much Oil Is Really Out There?


Iraq Veterans Against the War in Occupied Capitol, Madison, WI


Stop LAPD Stealing of Immigrant's Cars

On Februrary 19, 2011 Members of the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) organized and engaged in direct action to defend the people of Los Angeles, CA from the racist LAPD "Sobriety" Checkpoints that are a poorly disguised trap to legally steal the cars from working class people in general and undocumented people in particular. Please disseminate this link widely.




WikiLeaks Mirrors

Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack.

In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, you will find below a list of mirrors of Wikileaks website and CableGate pages.

Go to


Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.
"If trouble is not at your door. It's on it's way, or it just left."
"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse Sharkey, Vice President, Chicago Teachers Union


Oil Spill Commission Final Report: Catfish Responds


Free Bradley Manning


Domestic Espionage Alert - Houston PD to use surveillance drone in America!


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale


Flashmob: Cape Town Opera say NO


"Don't F*** With Our Activists" - Mobilizing Against FBI Raid




Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes, Stop the FBI Attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movement, and Stop FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!Call Off the Expanding Grand Jury Witchhunt and FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!

Cancel the Subpoenas! Cancel the Grand Juries!
Condemn the FBI Raids and Harassment of Chicano, Immigrant Rights, Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists!

Tell US Attorney Fitzgerald, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, DOJ Inspector General Fine, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders, U.N. Secy Gen Ban, and members of the media to STOP THE FBI CAMPAIGN OF REPRESSION AGAINST CHICANO, IMMIGRANT RIGHTS, ANTI-WAR AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS NOW!
Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Petition Text:

To: U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder,

cc: Vice President Biden, DOJ Inspector General Fine, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders, the Congressional Black Caucus, U.N. Secy Gen Ban, and members of the media

** Drop All Charges against Carlos Montes, and immediately return all of his property!

** Stop the attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movements!

** Call Off the Chicago Grand Jury and Stop the Expanding Witchhunt against Anti-war and International Solidarity Activists!

** Hands Off Palestine Solidarity Activists!

** Throw Out the reactiviated subpoenas against Tracy Molm, Ann Pham and Sarah Martin in Minneapolis, and ALL of the 14 subpoenas from the September 24 FBI raids of homes of anti-war and international solidarity activists.

**Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.

**End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

I am writing to oppose the continuation and expansion of the FBI campaign of harassment of immigrant rights, anti-war and Palestine and other International Solidarity Activists, including the raid on the home of Carlos Montes and his arrest and the confiscation of his property, the 9 added subpoenas in the Chicago area, and reactivation of 3 of the original 14 subpoenas from the September 24 FBI raids of anti-war and international solidarity activists' homes.

These activists are guilty of no crime but opposition to U.S. foreign policy. On Friday, September 24, 2010 the FBI raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis. The FBI served subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to 13 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. The FBI also attempted to intimidate activists in California, Wisconsin and North Carolina. This is not the action of a lone prosecutor. The raids were coordinated nationally, spanned several cities, and many other activists have been visited and personally threatened by the FBI.

The FBI confiscated computers, email and mailing lists, cell phones , cameras, videos, books, and passports. This is a dangerous attack on the constitutional rights of free speech of every social justice, antiwar and human rights activist and organization in the U.S. today. The right to speak, meet and write opinions is guaranteed under the constitution.

This suppression of civil rights is aimed at those who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war. Grand Jury subpoenas investigating material support of terrorism are being used to silence highly respected and well known human rights activists. This is a dangerous national effort to shut down growing opposition to U.S. wars. It cannot be allowed.

The FBI and the Grand Jury are threatening courageous individuals who have written and spoken publicly to broaden understanding of social justice issues of war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including: the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. These activists came together with many others to organize the 2008 anti-war marches on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

The FBI and the U.S. government must end this campaign of intimidation against anti-war and international solidarity activists. I am outraged at this disrespect of democratic rights. I ask that you intervene immediately to:

**Stop the Grand Jury Witchhunt!

**Stop the expanded repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.

**Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.

**End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

(Your signature will be appended here based on the contact information you enter in the form above)

You can also call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 and U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300 or write an email to: demanding an end to the FBI raids, return of all confiscated materials and an end to the Grand Jury witchhunt. Fitzgerald is in charge of the Northern District of Illinois and responsible for the FBI raids and Grand Jury investigation.

Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression


Mumia Wins Decision Against Re-Imposition Of Death Sentence, But...
The Battle Is Still On To
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610



Carlos* was only 14 years when he was locked up in a California youth prison. Growing up in a rough neighborhood in Northern CA, there were few resources for him or his younger brothers. Carlos was swept up by gangs and ended up serving a 10 year sentence in Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), leaving his siblings and childhood behind.

For 10 long years, our state spent millions of dollars to lock him up in a cell. Meanwhile, the state spent a tiny fraction of that amount providing an inadequate education to his younger brothers.

When Carlos was finally released earlier this year, he returned to a neighborhood that hasn't changed. Resources for youth are still scarce. He worries about his little brothers growing up in a society that would rather lock them up than invest in their educations and future.

Carlos' experience is only one example of why California ranks near the bottom in education spending and performance, but we're #1 in prison spending. DJJ drains much-needed resources from California's schools and the vital community programs that would help our State thrive. It's time to close the expensive, abusive DJJ and redirect those resources into our schools.

Join Books Not Bars in calling on Governor Brown to protect our schools by closing the Division of Juvenile Justice.

On May 10, join Books Not Bars, teachers, students, and other concerned Californians at the Capitol to save our schools. For more information or if you plan on attending, please contact Jennifer Kim at, or (510) 285-8234.

If you can't join us in person, take action now, then sign up for join our online rally next Tuesday by sending Gov. Brown an email now.

Justice for families.

Sumayyah Waheed
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

*Carlos' name has been changed to protect his privacy.

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights | 510.428.3939
1970 Broadway, Suite 450 | Oakland, CA | 94612


U.S. Attorney Escalates Attacks on Civil Liberties of Anti-War,
Palestinian Human Rights Activists

Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald first thing Monday morning! (contact info at bottom of this email)

On Friday, May 6, the U.S. government froze the bank accounts of Hatem Abudayyeh and his wife, Naima. This unwarranted attack on a leading member of the Palestinian community in Chicago is the latest escalation of the repression of anti-war and Palestinian community organizers by the FBI, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Hatem Abudayyeh is one of 23 activists from Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Chicago, and his home was raided by the FBI in September of last year. Neither Hatem Abudayyeh nor Naima Abudayyeh have been charged with any crime.

One of the bank accounts frozen was exclusively in Naima Abudayyeh's name. Leaders of the national Committee to Stop FBI Repression, as well as Chicago's Coalition to Protect People's Rights are appalled at the government's attempt to restrict the family's access to its finances, especially so soon before Mothers' Day. Not only does the government's action seriously disrupt the lives of the Abudayyehs and their five-year-old daughter, but it represents an attack on Chicago's Arab community and activist community and the fundamental rights of Americans to freedom of speech.

The persecution of the Abudayyeh family is another example of the criminalization of Palestinians, their supporters, and their movement for justice and liberation. There has been widespread criticism of the FBI and local law enforcement for their racial profiling and scapegoating of Arab and Muslim Americans. These repressive tactics include infiltration of community centers and mosques, entrapment of young men, and the prominent case of 11 students from the University of California campuses at Irvine and Riverside who have been subpoenaed to a grand jury and persecuted for disrupting a speech by Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US. The government's attempt to conflate the anti-war and human rights movements with terrorism is a cynical attempt to capitalize on the current political climate in order to silence Palestinians and other people of conscience who exercise their First Amendment rights in a manner which does not conform to the administration's foreign policy agenda in the Middle East.

The issuance of subpoenas against the 23 activists has been met with widespread opposition and criticism across the country. Six members of the U.S. Congress, including five in the past month, have sent letters to either Holder or President Obama, expressing grave concern for the violations of the civil liberties and rights of the 23 activists whose freedom is on the line. Three additional U.S. representatives have also promised letters, as thousands of constituents and other people of conscience across the U.S. have demanded an end to this assault on legitimate political activism and dissent. Over 60 Minnesota state legislators also issued a resolution condemning the subpoenas.

The Midwest activists have been expecting indictments for some time. The freezing of the Abudayyeh family's bank accounts suggests that the danger of indictments is imminent.

Take action:

Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300.
Then dial 0 (zero) for the operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk.
Demand Fitzgerald
-- Unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family and
-- Stop repression against Palestinian, anti-war and international solidarity activists.

In solidarity,
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression and
The Coalition to Protect People's Rights

For more info go to

follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend

Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:

Committee to Stop FBI Repression

PO Box 14183

Minneapolis, MN 55415


Abolish the Death Penalty Blog

Abolish the Death Penalty is a blog dedicated to...well, you know. The purpose of Abolish is to tell the personal stories of crime victims and their loved ones, people on death row and their loved ones and those activists who are working toward abolition. You may, from time to time, see news articles or press releases here, but that is not the primary mission of Abolish the Death Penalty. Our mission is to put a human face on the debate over capital punishment.
You can also follow death penalty news by reading our News page and by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

1 Million Tweets for Troy! April 12, 2011

Take Action! Tweet for Troy!

The state of Georgia is seeking to change the drugs they use to carry out executions so they can resume scheduling execution dates, including that of Troy Davis, a man with a strong claim of innocence. Doubts in the case persist, including the fact that no physical evidence links him to the murder, most of the witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony and newer testimony implicates a different person (including an eyewitness account).

The Davis case has already generated hundreds of thousands of emails, calls, and letters in support of clemency, including from leaders such as the Pope, Jimmy Carter and former FBI chief Bill Sessions. We need to continue to amass petitions in support of clemency, demonstrating the widespread concern about this case and what it represents.

Please help us send a message to Georgia officials that they can do the right thing - they can intervene as the final failsafe by commuting Davis' sentence. Please help us generate 1 million tweets for Troy Davis!

Share this tweet alert with your friends and family that care about justice and life as soon as you can.

More information about the case is available at

Here are some sample tweets:

When in doubt, don't execute!! Sign the petition for #TroyDavis!

Too much doubt! Stop the execution! #TroyDavis needs us!

No room for doubt! Stop the execution of #TroyDavis . Retweet, sign petition

Case not "ironclad", yet Georgiacould execute #TroyDavis ! Not on our watch! Petition:

No murder weapon. No physical evidence. Stop the execution! #TroyDavis petition:

7 out of 9 eyewitnesses recanted. No physical evidence. Stop the execution of Troy Davis #TroyDavis


Exonerated Death Row Survivors Urge Georgia to:
Stop the Execution of Troy Davis
Chairman James E. Donald
Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
May 1, 2011

Dear Chairperson Donald and Members of the Board:

We, the undersigned, are alive today because some individual or small group of individuals decided that our insistent and persistent proclamations of innocence warranted one more look before we were sent to our death by execution. We are among the 138 individuals who have been legally exonerated and released from death rows in the United States since 1973. We are alive because a few thoughtful persons-attorneys, journalists, judges, jurists, etc.-had lingering doubts about our cases that caused them to say "stop" at a critical moment and halt the march to the execution chamber. When our innocence was ultimately revealed, when our lives were saved, and when our freedom was won, we thanked God and those individuals of conscience who took actions that allowed the truth to eventually come to light.

We are America's exonerated death row survivors. We are living proof that a system operated by human beings is capable of making an irreversible mistake. And while we have had our wrongful convictions overturned and have been freed from death row, we know that we are extremely fortunate to have been able to establish our innocence. We also know that many innocent people who have been executed or who face execution have not been so fortunate. Not all those with innocence claims have had access to the kinds of physical evidence, like DNA, that our courts accept as most reliable. However, we strongly believe that the examples of our cases are reason enough for those with power over life and death to choose life. We also believe that those in authority have a unique moral consideration when encountering individuals with cases where doubt still lingers about innocence or guilt.

One such case is the case of Troy Anthony Davis, whose 1991 conviction for killing Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail rested almost solely on witness testimony. We know that today, 20 years later, witness evidence is considered much less reliable than it was then. This has meant that, even though most of the witnesses who testified against him have now recanted, Troy Davis has been unable to convince the courts to overturn his conviction, or even his death sentence.

Troy Davis has been able to raise serious doubts about his guilt, however. Several witnesses testified at the evidentiary hearing last summer that they had been coerced by police into making false statements against Troy Davis. This courtroom testimony reinforced previous statements in sworn affidavits. Also at this hearing, one witness testified for the first time that he saw an alternative suspect, and not Troy Davis, commit the crime. We don't know if Troy Davis is in fact innocent, but, as people who were wrongfully sentenced to death (and in some cases scheduled for execution), we believe it is vitally important that no execution go forward when there are doubts about guilt. It is absolutely essential to ensuring that the innocent are not executed.

When you issued a temporary stay for Troy Davis in 2007, you stated that the Board "will not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused." This standard is a welcome development, and we urge you to apply it again now. Doubts persist in the case of Troy Davis, and commuting his sentence will reassure the people of Georgia that you will never permit an innocent person to be put to death in their name.

Freddie Lee Pitts, an exonerated death row survivor who faced execution by the state of Florida for a crime he didn't commit, once said, "You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can't release him from the grave."

Thank you for considering our request.

Kirk Bloodsworth, Exonerated and freed from death row Maryland; Clarence Brandley, Exonerated and freed from death row in Texas; Dan Bright, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Albert Burrell, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Perry Cobb, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Gary Drinkard, Exonerated and freed from death row in Alabama; Nathson Fields, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Gary Gauger, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Michael Graham, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Shujaa Graham, Exonerated and freed from death row in California; Paul House, Exonerated and freed from death row in Tennessee; Derrick Jamison, Exonerated and freed from death row in Ohio; Dale Johnston, Exonerated and freed from death row in Ohio; Ron Keine, Exonerated and freed from death row in New Mexico; Ron Kitchen, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; Ray Krone, Exonerated and freed from death row in Arizona; Herman Lindsey, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Juan Melendez, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Randal Padgett, Exonerated and freed from death row in Alabama; Freddie Lee Pitts, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Randy Steidl, Exonerated and freed from death row in Illinois; John Thompson, Exonerated and freed from death row in Louisiana; Delbert Tibbs, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; David Keaton, Exonerated and freed from death row in Florida; Greg Wilhoit, Exonerated and freed from death row in Oklahoma; Harold Wilson, Exonerated and freed from death row in Pennsylvania.
-Witness to Innocence, May 11, 2011


In a recent New York Daily News Poll the question was asked:

Should Army pfc Bradley Manning face charges for allegedly stealing classified documents and providing them for WikiLeaks?
New York Daily News Poll Results:
Yes, he's a traitor for selling out his country! ...... 28%
No, he's a hero for standing up for what's right! ..... 62%
We need to see more evidence before passing judgment.. 10%

Sign the Petition:

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

Stand with Bradley!

A 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. Manning faces decades in prison for allegedly leaking a video of a US helicopter attack that killed at least eleven Iraqi civilians to the website Wikileaks. Among the dead were two working Reuters reporters. Two children were also severely wounded in the attack.

In addition to this "Collateral Murder" video, Pfc. Manning is suspected of leaking the "Afghan War Diaries" - tens of thousands of battlefield reports that explicitly describe civilian deaths and cover-ups, corrupt officials, collusion with warlords, and a failing US/NATO war effort.

"We only know these crimes took place because insiders blew the whistle at great personal risk ... Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal," noted Barack Obama while on the campaign trail in 2008. While the President was referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans, Pfc. Manning's alleged actions are just as noteworthy. If the military charges against him are accurate, they show that he had a reasonable belief that war crimes were being covered up, and that he took action based on a crisis of conscience.

After nearly a decade of war and occupation waged in our name, it is odd that it apparently fell on a young Army private to provide critical answers to the questions, "What have we purchased with well over a trillion tax dollars and the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan?" However, history is replete with unlikely heroes.

If Bradley Manning is indeed the source of these materials, the nation owes him our gratitude. We ask Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John M. McHugh, and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General George W. Casey, Jr., to release Pfc. Manning from pre-trial confinement and drop the charges against him.

Bulletin from the cause: Bradley Manning Support Network
Go to Cause
Posted By: Tom Baxter
To: Members in Bradley Manning Support Network
A Good Address for Bradley!!!

We have a good address for Bradley,

"A Fort Leavenworth mailing address has been released for Bradley Manning:

Bradley Manning 89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

This is also a Facebook event!/event.php?eid=207100509321891


The Arab Revolutions:
Guiding Principles for Peace and Justice Organizations in the US
Please email endorsement to

We, the undersigned, support the guiding principles and demands listed in this statement. We call on groups who want to express solidarity with the Arab revolutions to join our growing movement by signing this statement or keeping with the demands put forward herewith.


The long-awaited Arab revolution has come. Like a geologic event with the reverberations of an earthquake, the timing and circumstances were unpredictable. In one Arab country after another, people are taking to the street demanding the fall of monarchies established during European colonial times. They are also calling to bring down dictatorships supported and manifested by neo-colonial policies. Although some of these autocratic regimes rose to power with popular support, the subsequent division and subjugation of the Arab World led to a uniform repressive political order across the region. The Arab masses in different Arab countries are therefore raising a uniform demand: "The People Want to Topple the Regimes!"

For the past two decades, the Arab people witnessed the invasion and occupation of Iraq with millions killed under blockade and occupation, Palestinians massacred with the aim to crush the anti-Zionist resistance, and Lebanon repeatedly invaded with the purposeful targeting of civilians. These actions all served to crush resistance movements longing for freedom, development, and self-determination. Meanwhile, despotic dictatorships, some going back 50 years, entrenched themselves by building police states, or fighting wars on behalf of imperialist interests.

Most Arab regimes systematically destroyed the social fabric of civil society, stifled social development, repressed all forms of political dissent and democratic expression, mortgaged their countries' wealth to foreign interests and enriched themselves and their cronies at the expense of impoverishing their populations. After pushing the Arab people to the brink, populations erupted.

The spark began in Tunisia where a police officer slapped and spat on Mohammad Bou Azizi, flipping over his produce cart for not delivering a bribe on time. . Unable to have his complaint heard, he self-immolated in protest, igniting the conscience of the Tunisian people and that of 300 million Arabs. In less than a month, the dictator, Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, was forced into exile by a Tunisian revolution. On its way out, the regime sealed its legacy by shooting at unarmed protestors and burning detention centers filled with political prisoners. Ben Ali was supported by the US and Europe in the fight against Islamic forces and organized labor.

Hosni Mubarak's brutal dictatorship fell less than a month after Tunisia's. The revolution erupted at a time when one half of the Egyptian population was living on less than $2/day while Mubarak's family amassed billions of dollars. The largest population recorded in Egyptian history was living in graveyards and raising their children among the dead while transportation and residential infrastructure was crumbling. Natural gas was supplied to Israel at 15% of the market price while the Rafah border was closed with an underground steel wall to complete the suffocation of the Palestinians in Gaza. Those who were deemed a threat swiftly met the fate of Khalid Said. 350 martyrs fell and 2,000 people were injured.

After Egypt and Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan exploded in protest. Some governments quickly reshuffled faces and ranks without any tangible change. Some, like Bahrain and Yemen, sent out their security forces to massacre civilians. Oman and Yemen represent strategic assets for the US as they are situated on the straits of Hormuz and Aden, respectively. Bahrain is an oil country that hosts a US military base, situated in the Persian Gulf. A new round of US funded blood-letting of Arab civilians has begun!

Libyan dictator Qaddafi did not prove to be an exception. He historically took anti-imperialist positions for a united Arab World and worked for an African Union. He later transformed his regime to a subservient state and opened Libya to British Petroleum and Italian interests, working diligently on privatization and political repression. He amassed more wealth than that of Mubarak. In the face of the Libyan revolution, Qaddafi exceeded the brutality of Ben Ali and Mubarak blind-folding and executing opponents, surrounding cities with tanks, and bombing his own country. Death toll is expected to be in the thousands.

Qaddafi's history makes Libya an easy target for imperialist interests. The Obama administration followed the Iraq cookbook by freezing Libyan assets amounting to 30% of the annual GDP. The White House, with the help of European governments, rapidly implemented sanctions and called for no-fly zones. These positions were precipitated shortly after the US vetoed a resolution condemning the illegal Israeli colonization of the West Bank. Special operations personnel from the UK were captured by the revolutionary commanders in Ben Ghazi and sent back. The Libyan revolutionary leadership, the National Council clearly stated: "We are completely against foreign intervention. The rest of Libya will be liberated by the people ... and Gaddafi's security forces will be eliminated by the people of Libya."

Demands of the Solidarity Movement with Arab Revolutions

1. We demand a stop to US support, financing and trade with Arab dictatorships. We oppose US policy that has favored Israeli expansionism, war, US oil interest and strategic shipping routes at the expense of Arab people's freedom and dignified living.

2. We support the people of Tunisia and Egypt as well as soon-to-be liberated nations to rid themselves of lingering remnants of the deposed dictatorships.

3. We support the Arab people's right to sovereignty and self-determination. We demand that the US government stop its interference in the internal affairs of all Arab countries and end subsidies to wars and occupation.

4. We support the Arab people's demands for political, civil and economic rights. The Arab people's movement is calling for:

a. Deposing the unelected regimes and all of its institutional remnants
b. Constitutional reform guaranteeing freedom of organizing, speech and press
c. Free and fair elections
d. Independent judiciary
e. National self-determination.

5. We oppose all forms of US and European military intervention with or without the legitimacy of the UN. Standing in solidarity with the revolution against Qaddafi, or any other dictator, does not equate to supporting direct or indirect colonization of an Arab country, its oil or its people. We therefore call for:

a. Absolute rejection of military blockades, no-fly zones and interventions.
b. Lifting all economic sanctions placed against Libya and allowing for the formation of an independent judiciary to prosecute Qaddafi and deposed dictators for their crimes.
c. Immediately withdrawing the US and NATO troops from the Arab region.

6. We support Iraq's right to sovereignty and self determination and call on the US to immediately withdraw all occupation personnel from Iraq.

7. We recognize that the borders separating Arab nations were imposed on the Arab people by the colonial agreements of Sykes-Picot and the Berlin Conference on Africa. As such, we support the anti-Zionist nature of this revolution in its call for:

a. Ending the siege and starvation of the Palestinian people in Gaza
b. Supporting the right of the Palestinian people to choose their own representation, independent of Israeli and US dictates
c. Supporting the right of the Lebanese people to defend their country from Israeli violations and their call to end vestiges of the colonial constitution constructed on the basis of sectarian representation
d. Supporting the right of the Jordanian people to rid themselves of their repressive monarchy
e. Ending all US aid to Israel.


Committee to Stop FBI Repression
to Fitzgerald, Holder and Obama

The Grand Jury is still on its witch hunt and the FBI is still
harassing activists. This must stop.
Please make these calls:
1. Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300 . Then dial 0
(zero) for operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk.
2. Call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder 202-353-1555
3. Call President Obama at 202-456-1111

Suggested text: "My name is __________, I am from _______(city), in
______(state). I am calling _____ to demand he call off the Grand Jury
and stop FBI repression against the anti-war and Palestine solidarity
movements. I oppose U.S. government political repression and support
the right to free speech and the right to assembly of the 23 activists
subpoenaed. We will not be criminalized. Tell him to stop this
McCarthy-type witch hunt against international solidarity activists!"

If your call doesn't go through, try again later.

Update: 800 anti-war and international solidarity activists
participated in four regional conferences, in Chicago, IL; Oakland,
CA; Chapel Hill, NC and New York City to stop U.S. Attorney Patrick
Fitzgerald's Grand Jury repression.

Still, in the last few weeks, the FBI has continued to call and harass
anti-war organizers, repressing free speech and the right to organize.
However, all of their intimidation tactics are bringing a movement
closer together to stop war and demand peace.

We demand:
-- Call Off the Grand Jury Witch-hunt Against International Solidarity
-- Support Free Speech!
-- Support the Right to Organize!
-- Stop FBI Repression!
-- International Solidarity Is Not a Crime!
-- Stop the Criminalization of Arab and Muslim Communities!

Background: Fitzgerald ordered FBI raids on anti-war and solidarity
activists' homes and subpoenaed fourteen activists in Chicago,
Minneapolis, and Michigan on September 24, 2010. All 14 refused to
speak before the Grand Jury in October. Then, 9 more Palestine
solidarity activists, most Arab-Americans, were subpoenaed to appear
at the Grand Jury on January 25, 2011, launching renewed protests.
There are now 23 who assert their right to not participate in
Fitzgerald's witch-hunt.

The Grand Jury is a secret and closed inquisition, with no judge, and
no press. The U.S. Attorney controls the entire proceedings and hand
picks the jurors, and the solidarity activists are not allowed a
lawyer. Even the date when the Grand Jury ends is a secret.

So please make these calls to those in charge of the repression aimed
against anti-war leaders and the growing Palestine solidarity
Email us to let us know your results. Send to

**Please sign and circulate our 2011 petition at

In Struggle,
Tom Burke,
for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

FFI: Visit or email or call
612-379-3585 .
Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights

Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55415


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

We write in haste, trying to reach as many of you as possible although the holiday break has begun.......This plan for an urgent "The Day After" demonstration is one we hope you and many, many more organizations will take up as your own, and mobilize for. World Can't Wait asks you to do all you can to spread it through list serves, Facebook, twitter, holiday gatherings.

Our proposal is very very simple, and you can use the following announcement to mobilize - or write your own....


An emergency public demonstration THE DAY AFTER any U.S. criminal indictment is announced against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Spread the word and call people to come out, across the whole range of movements and groups: anti-war, human rights, freedom of information/freedom of the press, peace, anti-torture, environmental, students and youth, radicals and revolutionaries, religious, civil liberties, teachers and educators, journalists, anti-imperialists, anti-censorship, anti-police state......

At the Federal Building in San Francisco, we'll form ourselves into a human chain "surrounding" the government that meets the Wikileaked truth with repression and wants to imprison and silence leakers, whistleblowers and truthtellers - when, in fact, these people are heroes. We'll say:


New Federal Building, 7th and Mission, San Francisco (nearest BART: Civic Center)
4:00-6:00 PM on The Day FOLLOWING U.S. indictment of Assange

Bring all your friends - signs and banners - bullhorns.

Those who dare at great risk to themselves to put the truth in the hands of the people - and others who might at this moment be thinking about doing more of this themselves -- need to see how much they are supported, and that despite harsh repression from the government and total spin by the mainstream media, the people do want the truth told.

Brad Manning's Christmas Eve statement was just released by his lawyer: "Pvt. Bradley Manning, the lone soldier who stands accused of stealing millions of pages secret US government documents and handing them over to secrets outlet WikiLeaks, wants his supporters to know that they've meant a lot to him. 'I greatly appreciate everyone's support and well wishes during this time,' he said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer...." Read more here:

Demonstrations defending Wikileaks and Assange, and Brad Manning, have already been flowering around the world. Make it happen here too.
Especially here . . .

To join into this action plan, or with questions, contact World Can't Wait or whichever organization or listserve you received this message from.

World Can't Wait, SF Bay



Write to Lynne Stewart at:

Lynne Stewart #53504 - 054
Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TEXAS 76127

Visiting Lynne:

Visiting is very liberal but first she has to get people on her visiting list; wait til she or the lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT, SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on weekends 8 to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the machines. Brief Kiss upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting forms it may be required that you knew me before I came to prison. Not a problem for most of you.

Commissary Money:

Commissary Money is always welcome It is how Lynne pay for the phone and for email. Also for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms of food and "sundries" (pens!) (A very big list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing, ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely not from Antonys--more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa, etc. To add money, you do this by using Western Union and a credit card by phone or you can send a USPO money order or Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to Federal Bureau of Prisons, 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa 50947-001 (Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or checks for 15 days. Western Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be on the envelope. Unnecessarily complicated? Of course, it's the BOP !)

The address of her Defense Committee is:

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information:
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Please make a generous contribution to her defense.


Help end the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning!

Bradley Manning Support Network.

Contact the Marine Corps officers above and respectfully, but firmly, ask that they lift the extreme pre-trial confinement conditions against Army PFC Bradley Manning.
Forward this urgent appeal for action widely.

Sign the "Stand with Brad" public petition and letter campaign at - Sign online, and we'll mail out two letters on your behalf to Army officials.

Donate to Bradley's defense fund at

"The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention", by Glenn Greenwald for, 15 December 2010

"A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning", by attorney David E. Coombs, 18 December 2010

"Bradley Manning's Life Behind Bars", by Denver Nicks for the Daily Beast, 17 December 2010

Bradley Manning Support Network

Courage To Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610


In earnest support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:

We here undersigned express our support for the work and integrity of Julian Assange. We express concern that the charges against the WikiLeaks founder appear too convenient both in terms of timing and the novelty of their nature.

We call for this modern media innovator, and fighter for human rights extraordinaire, to be afforded the same rights to defend himself before Swedish justice that all others similarly charged might expect, and that his liberty not be compromised as a courtesy to those governments whose truths he has revealed have embarrassed.



Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper
Chronicle Editorial
Monday, December 13, 2010

Death penalty -- Kevin Cooper is Innocent! Help save his life from San Quentin's death row!

- From Amnesty International USA
17 December 2010
Click here to take action online:

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):


Free the Children of Palestine!
Sign Petition:

Published by Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition on Dec 16, 2010
Category: Children's Rights
Region: GLOBAL
Target: President Obama
Web site:

Background (Preamble):

According to Israeli police, 1200 Palestinian children have been arrested, interrogated and imprisoned in the occupied city of Jerusalem alone this year. The youngest of these children was seven-years old.

Children and teen-agers were often dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night, taken in handcuffs for questioning, threatened, humiliated and many were subjected to physical violence while under arrest as part of an ongoing campaign against the children of Palestine. Since the year 2000, more than 8000 have been arrested by Israel, and reports of mistreatment are commonplace.

Further, based on sworn affidavits collected in 2009 from 100 of these children, lawyers working in the occupied West Bank with Defense Children International, a Geneva-based non governmental organization, found that 69% were beaten and kicked, 49% were threatened, 14% were held in solitary confinement, 12% were threatened with sexual assault, including rape, and 32% were forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.

Minors were often asked to give names and incriminate friends and relatives as a condition of their release. Such institutionalized and systematic mistreatment of Palestinian children by the state of Israel is a violation international law and specifically contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Israel is supposedly a signatory.


We, the undersigned call on US President Obama to direct Israel to

1. Stop all the night raids and arrests of Palestinian Children forthwith.

2. Immediately release all Palestinian children detained in its prisons and detention centers.

3. End all forms of systematic and institutionalized abuse against all Palestinian children.

4. Implement the full restoration of Palestinian children's rights in accordance with international law including, but not limited to, their right to return to their homes of origin, to education, to medical and psychological care, and to freedom of movement and expression.

The US government, which supports Israel to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars a year while most ordinary Americans are suffering in a very bad economy, is bound by its laws and international conventions to cut off all aid to Israel until it ends all of its violations of human rights and basic freedoms in a verifiable manner.


"Secret diplomacy is a necessary tool for a propertied minority, which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests."..."Publishing State Secrets" By Leon Trotsky
Documents on Soviet Policy, Trotsky, iii, 2 p. 64
November 22, 1917


To understand how much a trillion dollars is, consider looking at it in terms of time:

A million seconds would be about eleven-and-one-half days; a billion seconds would be 31 years; and a trillion seconds would be 31,000 years!

From the novel "A Dark Tide," by Andrew Gross

Now think of it in terms of U.S. war dollars and bankster bailouts!


For Immediate Release
Antiwar movement supports Wikileaks and calls for and independent, international investigation of the crimes that have been exposed. We call for the release of Bradley Manning and the end to the harassment of Julian Assange.
For more information: Joe Lombardo, 518-281-1968,,

Antiwar movement supports Wikileaks and calls for and independent, international investigation of the crimes that have been exposed. We call for the release of Bradley Manning and the end to the harassment of Julian Assange.

The United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC) calls for the release of Bradley Manning who is awaiting trial accused of leaking the material to Wikileaks that has been released over the past several months. We also call for an end to the harassment of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks and we call for an independent, international investigation of the illegal activity exposed through the material released by Wikileaks.

Before sending the material to Wikileaks, Bradley Manning tried to get his superiors in the military to do something about what he understood to be clear violations of international law. His superiors told him to keep quiet so Manning did the right thing; he exposed the illegal activity to the world.

The Afghan material leaked earlier shows military higher-ups telling soldiers to kill enemy combatants who were trying to surrender. The Iraq Wikileaks video from 2007 shows the US military killing civilians and news reporters from a helicopter while laughing about it. The widespread corruption among U.S. allies has been exposed by the most recent leaks of diplomatic cables. Yet, instead of calling for change in these policies, we hear only a call to suppress further leaks.

At the national antiwar conference held in Albany in July, 2010, at which UNAC was founded, we heard from Ethan McCord, one of the soldiers on the ground during the helicopter attack on the civilians in Iraq exposed by Wikileaks (see: ). He talked about removing wounded children from a civilian vehicle that the US military had shot up. It affected him so powerfully that he and another soldier who witnessed the massacre wrote a letter of apology to the families of the civilians who were killed.

We ask why this material was classified in the first place. There were no state secrets in the material, only evidence of illegal and immoral activity by the US military, the US government and its allies. To try to cover this up by classifying the material is a violation of our right to know the truth about these wars. In this respect, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange should be held up as heroes, not hounded for exposing the truth.

UNAC calls for an end to the illegal and immoral policies exposed by Wikileaks and an immediate end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to threats against Iran and North Korea.


Courage to Resist needs your support
By Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist.

It's been quite a ride the last four months since we took up the defense of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning. Since then, we helped form the Bradley Manning Support Network, established a defense fund, and have already paid over half of Bradley's total $100,000 in estimated legal expenses.

Now, I'm asking for your support of Courage to Resist so that we can continue to support not only Bradley, but the scores of other troops who are coming into conflict with military authorities due to reasons of conscience.

Please donate today:

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning has been defending and supporting our Constitution."
-Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower

Iraq War over? Afghanistan occupation winding down? Not from what we see. Please take a look at, "Soldier Jeff Hanks refuses deployment, seeks PTSD help" in our December newsletter. Jeff's situation is not isolated. Actually, his story is only unique in that he has chosen to share it with us in the hopes that it may result in some change. Jeff's case also illustrates the importance of Iraq Veterans Against the War's new "Operation Recovery" campaign which calls for an end to the deployment of traumatized troops.

Most of the folks who call us for help continue to be effected by Stoploss, a program that involuntarily extends enlistments (despite Army promises of its demise), or the Individual Ready Reserve which recalls thousands of former Soldiers and Marines quarterly from civilian life.

Another example of our efforts is Kyle Wesolowski. After returning from Iraq, Kyle submitted an application for a conscientious objector discharge based on his Buddhist faith. Kyle explains, "My experience of physical threats, religious persecution, and general abuse seems to speak of a system that appears to be broken.... It appears that I have no other recourse but to now refuse all duties that prepare myself for war or aid in any way shape or form to other soldiers in conditioning them to go to war." We believe he shouldn't have to walk this path alone.

Jeff Paterson
Project Director, Courage to Resist
First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq
Please donate today.

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might
also be interested in supporting GI resisters.


Add your 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:

Courage to Resist (
on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network (
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610


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 (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


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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!


Support the troops who refuse to fight!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Worst ever carbon emissions leave climate on the brink
Exclusive: Record rise, despite recession, means 2C target almost out of reach
By Fiona Harvey, Environment correspondent
Sunday 29 May 2011 22.00 BST

2) Feeling inspired but not getting hired
"Even as the economy continues to improve for some, the percentage of black men with jobs last month dropped to its lowest point in 40 years. The situation is worse for teenagers, worse again in the South and worst of all in late May as graduates swell the job market."
By Eli Saslow
May 27, 2011

3) Food prices to double by 2030, Oxfam warns
Charity says era of permanent food crisis will hit poorest people hardest and spark social unrest
By Felicity Lawrence
Tuesday 31 May 2011 08.23 BST

4) The Numbers Are Grim
New York Times Editorial
May 30, 2011

5) House Prices Fall to New Post-Bubble Low as More Rent
May 31, 2011

6) Karzai Warns NATO Against Air Attacks on Afghan Homes
May 31, 2011

7) Groundwater Depletion Is Detected From Space
"While Dr. Famiglietti says he wants no part of water politics, he acknowledged that this might be hard to avoid, given that his role is to make sure the best data about groundwater is available, harvesting and disseminating all of the information he can about the Earth's water supply as aquifers dry up and shortages loom. 'Look, water has been a resource that has been plentiful,' he said. 'But now we've got climate change, we've got population growth, we've got widespread groundwater contamination, we've got satellites showing us we are depleting some of this stuff."
May 30, 2011

8) Makeshift Groups Rising to Oppose Cuts
In the Schools
May 31, 2011, 11:26 am

9) Lower Jobless Rate Reflects Benefits End: Fed
May 31, 2011

10) The Next Bubble Is About to Burst: College Grads Face Dwindling Jobs and Mounting Loans
By Sarah Jaffe, AlterNet
Posted on June 1, 2011, Printed on June 1, 2011

11) The Sky Really Is Falling and Our Only Salvation Is the Rapid Dismantling of the Fossil Fuel Industry
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Posted on May 31, 2011, Printed on June 1, 2011

12) Why the Marijuana Renaissance Is Here to Stay
By Lester Grinspoon, AlterNet
Posted on May 31, 2011, Printed on June 1, 2011

13) Congress Mulls Cuts to Food Stamps Program Amid Record Number of Recipients
By Huma Khan
May 31, 2011 11:48 AM

14) Egypt's Military Censors Critics as It Faces More Scrutiny
May 31, 2011

15) Qualified Immunity, Unqualified Doubt
New York Times Editorial
May 31, 2011

16) Waiting for a School Miracle
May 31, 2011

17) NATO Resumes Airstrikes After Qaddafi Vows to Fight On
"In Brussels on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would extend its mission for 90 days, The Associated Press reported. 'This decision sends a clear message to the Qaddafi regime: We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya.'" [Bomb them to protect them?...hmmm...sounds vaguely]
June 1, 2011

18) Pentagon to Consider Cyberattacks Acts of War
May 31, 2011

19) 9/11 Defendants Charged at Guantánamo With Terrorism and Murder
May 31, 2011

20) Florida: Welfare Recipients Face Drug Tests
[This will very effectively will punish the children of these "needy families." That way I suppose they think they can kill two birds with one stone!]
May 31, 2011

21) Clock Ticks for a Key Homeless Program
"The coalition has pressed the Bloomberg administration to give homeless people preference for public housing and vouchers for Section 8, a federally financed subsidy program using private housing, as previous administrations had. The administration said that was not feasible, because the Section 8 program had a waiting list of 125,000 people and public housing had a list of 144,000."
May 31, 2011

22) Officers' Accuser Says She Was Devastated by Verdict
May 31, 2011

23) Company Once Known as Blackwater Names New CEO
June 1, 2011


1) Worst ever carbon emissions leave climate on the brink
Exclusive: Record rise, despite recession, means 2C target almost out of reach
By Fiona Harvey, Environment correspondent
Sunday 29 May 2011 22.00 BST

Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.

The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius - which scientists say is the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change" - is likely to be just "a nice Utopia", according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.

Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuel - a rise of 1.6Gt on 2009, according to estimates from the IEA regarded as the gold standard for emissions data.

"I am very worried. This is the worst news on emissions," Birol told the Guardian. "It is becoming extremely challenging to remain below 2 degrees. The prospect is getting bleaker. That is what the numbers say."

Professor Lord Stern of the London School of Economics, the author of the influential Stern Report into the economics of climate change for the Treasury in 2006, warned that if the pattern continued, the results would be dire. "These figures indicate that [emissions] are now close to being back on a 'business as usual' path. According to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's] projections, such a path ... would mean around a 50% chance of a rise in global average temperature of more than 4C by 2100," he said.

"Such warming would disrupt the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the planet, leading to widespread mass migration and conflict. That is a risk any sane person would seek to drastically reduce."

Birol said disaster could yet be averted, if governments heed the warning. "If we have bold, decisive and urgent action, very soon, we still have a chance of succeeding," he said.

The IEA has calculated that if the world is to escape the most damaging effects of global warming, annual energy-related emissions should be no more than 32Gt by 2020. If this year's emissions rise by as much as they did in 2010, that limit will be exceeded nine years ahead of schedule, making it all but impossible to hold warming to a manageable degree.

Emissions from energy fell slightly between 2008 and 2009, from 29.3Gt to 29Gt, due to the financial crisis. A small rise was predicted for 2010 as economies recovered, but the scale of the increase has shocked the IEA. "I was expecting a rebound, but not such a strong one," said Birol, who is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost experts on energy.

John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, said time was running out. "This news should shock the world. Yet even now politicians in each of the great powers are eyeing up extraordinary and risky ways to extract the world's last remaining reserves of fossil fuels - even from under the melting ice of the Arctic. You don't put out a fire with gasoline. It will now be up to us to stop them."

Most of the rise - about three-quarters - has come from developing countries, as rapidly emerging economies have weathered the financial crisis and the recession that has gripped most of the developed world.

But he added that, while the emissions data was bad enough news, there were other factors that made it even less likely that the world would meet its greenhouse gas targets.

• About 80% of the power stations likely to be in use in 2020 are either already built or under construction, the IEA found. Most of these are fossil fuel power stations unlikely to be taken out of service early, so they will continue to pour out carbon - possibly into the mid-century. The emissions from these stations amount to about 11.2Gt, out of a total of 13.7Gt from the electricity sector. These "locked-in" emissions mean savings must be found elsewhere.

"It means the room for manoeuvre is shrinking," warned Birol.

• Another factor that suggests emissions will continue their climb is the crisis in the nuclear power industry. Following the tsunami damage at Fukushima, Japan and Germany have called a halt to their reactor programmes, and other countries are reconsidering nuclear power.

"People may not like nuclear, but it is one of the major technologies for generating electricity without carbon dioxide," said Birol. The gap left by scaling back the world's nuclear ambitions is unlikely to be filled entirely by renewable energy, meaning an increased reliance on fossil fuels.

• Added to that, the United Nations-led negotiations on a new global treaty on climate change have stalled. "The significance of climate change in international policy debates is much less pronounced than it was a few years ago," said Birol.

He urged governments to take action urgently. "This should be a wake-up call. A chance [of staying below 2 degrees] would be if we had a legally binding international agreement or major moves on clean energy technologies, energy efficiency and other technologies."

Governments are to meet next week in Bonn for the next round of the UN talks, but little progress is expected.

Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, said the global emissions figures showed that the link between rising GDP and rising emissions had not been broken. "The only people who will be surprised by this are people who have not been reading the situation properly," he said.

Forthcoming research led by Sir David will show the west has only managed to reduce emissions by relying on imports from countries such as China.

Another telling message from the IEA's estimates is the relatively small effect that the recession - the worst since the 1930s - had on emissions. Initially, the agency had hoped the resulting reduction in emissions could be maintained, helping to give the world a "breathing space" and set countries on a low-carbon path. The new estimates suggest that opportunity may have been missed.


2) Feeling inspired but not getting hired
"Even as the economy continues to improve for some, the percentage of black men with jobs last month dropped to its lowest point in 40 years. The situation is worse for teenagers, worse again in the South and worst of all in late May as graduates swell the job market."
By Eli Saslow
May 27, 2011

IN MEMPHIS - His week had begun with a graduation ceremony, a standing ovation and a walk across the stage to meet the president of the United States. Kenneth Roberson was a top-ranked student at the high school President Obama had selected as the country's most "inspiring," and the president had extended his hand and asked Roberson what he planned to do next. The 18-year-old thought back to his mother's advice about making first impressions: Stand tall. Make eye contact. Smile. Be confident.

"Sir, I'm going to get a job and go to college," Roberson told the president.

Now it was Friday afternoon, four days later, and Roberson idled with a group of fellow graduates in the empty parking lot of Booker T. Washington High, a public school surrounded by the housing projects of South Memphis. The president was gone. The commemorative banner had been packed away into storage. A school security guard had locked the main entrance. All that was left were the littered remains of green-and-white confetti on the asphalt and a shared uncertainty about what to do next.

"I need a damn job, man," said Chris Dean, 18. "Any of y'all got something?"

"Nah," said one.

"Nah," said another.

"I'm still trying to get hooked up at McDonald's," said a third.

The group turned to Roberson, who had always been the first of his friends to get everything. He had graduated in the top five in the class and won a partial scholarship to college. He hoped to earn at least $2,000 over the summer to pay for school and buy a car that would get him there. But now, in the parking lot, he was another teenager shaking his head.

"I'm looking," he said.

After Obama, four congressmen and a governor came here last week to congratulate these students for turning around an all-black, inner-city school and "defying the odds," Roberson and his friends graduated into a job market where their odds are bleaker still. Even as the economy continues to improve for some, the percentage of black men with jobs last month dropped to its lowest point in 40 years. The situation is worse for teenagers, worse again in the South and worst of all in late May as graduates swell the job market.

The result for black men ages 16 to 19 is a fate that now resembles a coin toss. Of those seeking work, 54.6 percent find jobs. More than 45 percent do not.

Forty-five percent. It is a number five times the general unemployment rate and almost double the rate for teens. Economists believe that recessions are always harshest on the most vulnerable workers, who are the first to lose their jobs and the last to be rehired, and young black men have long been considered most vulnerable of all. The contributing reasons - which experts say range from education to transportation to systemic racism - are now the topic of abstract debates in the White House and on Capitol Hill.

For Roberson, the implications of 45 percent are more immediate and more personal. It means a 45 percent chance he will have to borrow money for school or risk forgoing his partial scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; a 45 percent chance that he will be stuck without a car in a house with his mother and four siblings, sleeping on a futon in the room he shares with his brother; a 45 percent chance that he will go "crazy or something," he said, "because I hate sitting in the house and having that feeling of just waiting around and being worthless."

Few teenagers had done more during the past four years to better their odds, and Roberson planned to carry his diploma and transcript with him while he searched. He had played varsity football and basketball, starred in the school band, and worked as a mentor for the Boys and Girls Club. He had helped his high school win the national education reform contest that brought Obama to graduation, where the president had stood on stage and assured the 155 graduates, "I couldn't be more confident about your futures."

"So," Roberson wondered now, still standing in the school parking lot, "if I can't get a job, then who can?"

He had planned to get serious about his job search on the first day of summer break, a Saturday, and he woke up at 10 and walked into the living room wearing gym shorts and slippers. His mother, Shonya Pernell, was sitting on the couch and watching TV. During the past few months, she had watched him fill out job applications at the kitchen table and obsess over the neatness of his handwriting. She knew how badly he wanted a job.

"Morning," she said. "Are you still planning on looking today?"

"Yes, ma'am, I think I will," he said.

"Then why don't you go get changed?" she said, eyeing her son's pajamas.

Roberson went to his room in search of an outfit, and Pernell turned back to the TV. Saturday was her only day off. She worked a split shift driving a city bus, leaving the house at 5 a.m., napping for a few hours around noon and then driving again until 7:30 at night. The job exhausted her, but she had been doing it for 13 years and her salary had increased to almost $40,000. "I'm not afraid of hard work," she said.

She had given birth to Roberson when she herself was a student at Booker T. Washington - a 10th-grader who brought her baby to the school day care, went to class and then worked evenings at Pizza Hut. She graduated and eventually saved enough money to move the family out of public housing near the high school. Now they live in a small house on a dead-end road, where they share one bathroom and the kitchen doubles as a laundry room and tripled as an office. But the neighborhood is safe and the mortgage affordable. "We're making it," she said.

Her daily bus route up and down Union Avenue provides a glimpse into the lives of all those who weren't - people who have slipped into the city's growing economic underclass: the day laborers with their two-gallon water jugs who board at 6 a.m.; the job seekers heading downtown in their hopeful shirts and ties; the loud-mouthed teenagers frustrated by their place in the 45 percent; the drunks and the homeless who ride in circles all day, sapped of ambition, looking passively out the window.

To make sure her children graduated from high school, Pernell supervised their homework and enforced a 9 o'clock bedtime. Nobody in the family had ever gone to college, and she was worried about the finances. She needed all of her savings to fix the stalling engine on her 1998 Lincoln Navigator. Roberson's tuition at UTC will be $13,000; his scholarships total at least $9,000. All Pernell knew was that they would be required to pay the remaining amount somehow, whatever it ending up being, whenever it came due.

Now Roberson walked back into the living room and stood in front of the TV. "How do I look?" he asked. He wore dark jeans and an ironed shirt with sleeves long enough to cover the tattoos on his biceps. His mother nodded in approval.

"You look like a pretty good hire to me," she said. "Where are you headed?"

"I guess I'll start with the fast-food places," he said.

Pernell reached into her pocket and handed him the keys to her truck. "Remember," she said, "it's all about that first impression."

Roberson drove down Elvis Presley Boulevard once without stopping to survey the possibilities, counting 16 fast-food restaurants before making a U-turn to begin his search. "Look at all these little places," he said. "Some of them have to be hiring." He pulled into the parking lot of Dairy Queen and walked inside. The store was empty. A middle-aged white man stood behind the counter cleaning an ice cream scoop. He wore glasses and a name tag that read "Pete."

"How can I help you?" he asked, and Roberson smiled and walked up to the counter.

Make eye contact. Stand tall. Grip strong.

"Hi, sir," he said. "I'm looking for a job."

"We're not hiring right now," Pete said, still cleaning the scoop. The walls around him were painted pink and blue. A neon sign above the counter read "Celebrate!" Pete shrugged. "I guess it might be a good idea to fill out an application that we could keep on file," he said.

"Okay," Roberson said. "I'll do that."

He took the two-page application to a table and sat down. The restaurant was silent except for the hum of a refrigerator in the stockroom. He leaned over the paper and started printing his answers.

Starting salary: "7.25," the minimum wage.

Date available: "Today."

Education level: "High School graduate."

Total hours desired each week: "50."

Hours available. Roberson studied the question for a second, stood up and walked to the front door, where Dairy Queen displayed its daily schedule. The store opened at 9 a.m. and closed between 9 p.m. and midnight, depending on the day of the week. Roberson walked back to the table. Hours available: "Every day, from 9 a.m. until close."

He handed the application to Pete, who thanked him and placed it in a drawer near the register, and Roberson drove two blocks to a McDonald's. He waited for 10 minutes in line with people ordering lunch before reaching the counter, and then the manager guided him to a yellow computer marked "Apply Here." The screen was frozen. "It does that," the manager said. "Just give it three minutes."

Roberson thanked him and sat down, feeling encouraged. Any place that had a special computer for job seekers must be hiring, he thought. He stared at the frozen screen for three minutes, then five, then seven. In the background, a young woman repeated her greeting at the drive-through window: "It's a great day at McDonald's. How can we help you?" He waited another minute. The screen was still frozen. "This is crazy," he said, and he stood up and left.

Next he drove to Krispy Kreme, which had finished its hiring for the summer, and Burger King, which no longer kept applications in the store, and Pizza Hut, and Wendy's, and Taco Bell.

By the time he walked into Subway, Roberson had been job searching for almost three hours. He could remember seeing only two black teenagers across the counters. Even on a grimy commercial strip with little but minimum-wage jobs, most of the workers were older, or whiter, or women. Blacks were three times as likely as whites to face unemployment in Memphis; teenagers were four times as likely as adults. The woman working at Subway was Roberson's mother's age, and he made his way to the counter. "Hello, ma'am," he said. "I'm looking for a job."

"We are accepting applications," she said. "There is a stack of them over there against the wall."

"Does that mean you are hiring?"

"We are accepting applications."

"But are you hiring at this store, right now?"

"Not that I'm aware of, no. Not at this time."

Roberson thanked her, walked past the applications without pausing and left the store. "This is a waste of time," he said. It was his first day of summer. His girlfriend had been calling, and so had his friends. He thought that maybe an old connection from the Boys and Girls Club would hire him later to be a counselor at a summer camp. The truck was running on empty. He was done wasting gas on this.

He pulled the Navigator back onto Elvis Presley Boulevard, turned up the radio and rolled down the windows. He called his mom to tell her he was coming home. "I'll be back in 10 minutes," he said. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a Krystal burger shop, with a red logo and a sign out front that read "Can you take the heat?" He swung the wheel into the parking lot, walked into the store and headed for the counter.

Stand tall. Be confident.

Here came another first impression for a black teenager looking for work, and maybe this would be the one that stuck.


3) Food prices to double by 2030, Oxfam warns
Charity says era of permanent food crisis will hit poorest people hardest and spark social unrest
By Felicity Lawrence
Tuesday 31 May 2011 08.23 BST

The average price of staple foods will more than double in the next 20 years, leading to an unprecedented reversal in human development, Oxfam has warned.

The world's poorest people, who spend up to 80% of their income of food, will be hit hardest according to the charity. It said the world is entering an era of permanent food crisis, which is likely to be accompanied by political unrest and will require radical reform of the international food system.

Research to be published on Wednesday forecasts international prices of staples such as maize could rise by as much as 180% by 2030, with half of that rise due to the impacts of climate change.

After decades of steady decline in the number of hungry people around the world, the numbers are rapidly increasing as demand outpaces food production. The average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990 and is set to decline to a fraction of 1% in the next decade.

A devastating combination of factors - climate change, depleting natural resources, a global scramble for land and water, the rush to turn food into biofuels, a growing global population, and changing diets - have created the conditions for an increase in deep poverty.

"We are sleepwalking towards an age of avoidable crisis," Oxfam's chief executive, Barbara Stocking, said. "One in seven people on the planet go hungry every day despite the fact that the world is capable of feeding everyone. The food system must be overhauled."

Oxfam called on the prime minister, David Cameron, and other G20 leaders to agree new rules to govern food markets. It wants greater regulation of commodities markets to contain volatility in prices.

It said global food reserves must be urgently increased and western governments must end biofuels policies that divert food to fuel for cars.

It also attacked excessive corporate concentration in the food sector, particularly in grain trading and in seed and agrochemicals.

The Oxfam report followed warnings from the UN last week that food prices are likely to hit new highs in the next few weeks, triggering unrest in developing countries. The average global price of cereals jumped by 71% to a new record in the year to April last month.

Drought in the major crop-growing areas of Europe and intense rain and tornadoes in the US have led to fears of shortfalls in this year's crops.

The World Bank warned last month that rising food prices have pushed 44 million people into poverty since last June.


4) The Numbers Are Grim
New York Times Editorial
May 30, 2011

A month ago, when an initial gauge of first-quarter economic growth came in surprisingly weak, many policy makers and economists expected the bad news to prove fleeting. But when revised data were released last week, the growth estimate remained stuck at an annual rate of 1.8 percent, compared with 3.1 percent at the end of last year.

More troubling in the latest figures, consumer spending - the largest component of the economy - was especially slow. Stagnant wages and higher prices for gas and food are squeezing family budgets, while falling home equity hurts consumer confidence. That suggests more bad news to come.

When consumers are constrained, so is hiring, because without customers, employers are hard pressed to retain workers or make new hires. A recent Labor Department report showed a greater-than-expected rise in the number of people claiming jobless benefits even as private-sector economic forecasts are being revised downward - both very bad omens for continued job growth.

Republican lawmakers have responded to renewed signs of weakness with a jobs plan that prescribes more of the same "fixes" that Republicans always recommend no matter the problem: mainly high-end tax cuts, deregulation, more domestic oil drilling and federal spending cuts.

The White House has offered sounder ideas, including job retraining, plans to boost educational achievement and tax increases to help cover needed spending. But its economic team is mainly focused on negotiations to raise the debt limit, presumably parrying Republican demands for deep spending cuts that could weaken the economy further while still reaching an agreement on the necessary increase.

The grim numbers tell an unavoidable truth: The economy is not growing nearly fast enough to dent unemployment. Unfortunately, no one in Washington is pushing policies to promote stronger growth now.

The sinkholes in the economy should be obvious. Most prominently, the housing market is still awful, and state and local government budgets are still a mess. Conditions apparently have to get worse before deficit-obsessed policy makers will be ready to address them, including with bolstered foreclosure relief and more fiscal aid to states. More delay would only imperil the recovery, such as it is. And without a strong recovery, it will be even harder to repair the budget. Continued hard times means low tax revenues and high safety-net spending.

If Washington won't do what is needed to make things better, there are still things that can be done to try to keep the economy from getting worse.

The administration could work to ease the rules for refinancing mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-run mortgage giants. Easier refinancings would lower monthly payments for potentially hundreds of thousands of borrowers in good standing, and in that way, free up spending money to boost the economy.

The Federal Reserve, for its part, must be prepared to continue measures to bolster the economy as needed, even if that means looser policy for longer than it originally planned. Democrats in Congress must lay the groundwork for an inevitable fight over extending federal unemployment benefits, which expire at the end of this year.

There's a long way to go before the economy will thrive without government help.


5) House Prices Fall to New Post-Bubble Low as More Rent
May 31, 2011

Housing prices fell in March to their lowest point since the downturn began, erasing the last little bit of recovery from the depths plumbed two years ago, according to data released Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index for 20 large cities fell 0.8 percent from February, the eighth drop in a row. Prices are now down 33.1 percent from the July 2006 peak.

"Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S.& P. index committee.

Housing is in persistent trouble, industry analysts say, not only because so many people are blocked from the market - being unemployed, in foreclosure or trapped in homes that are worth less than the mortgage - but because even those who are solvent are opting out.

The desire to own your own home, long a bedrock of the American Dream, is fast becoming a casualty of the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression.

Even as the economy began to fitfully recover in the last year, the percentage of homeowners dropped sharply, to 66.4 percent, from a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004. The ownership rate is now back to the level of 1998, and some housing experts say it could decline to the level of the 1980s or even earlier.

"The emotional scars left by the collapse are changing the American psyche," said Pete Flint, chief executive of the housing Web site Trulia. "There was a time when owning a home was a symbol you had made it. Now it's O.K. not to own."

Trulia, a real estate search engine for buyers and renters that is based here, is a hive of renters, including Mr. Flint. "I'm in no rush at all to buy," he said. He expects homeownership to decline further to about 63 percent, a level the country first achieved in the mid-1960s.

The new Case-Shiller data did not offer much room for short-term optimism. The national housing index, which is reported quarterly, fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter after a drop of 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. This, too, is a new recession low.

Twelve of the 20 cities in the index hit a new recession low in March. Washington was the only city where prices rose both in March and over the last year.

Years of declines are teaching potential buyers to expect more of the same. Tim Hebb, a Los Angeles systems engineer, expertly called the real estate bubble. He sold his bungalow in August 2006, then leased it back for a year. Since then, the 61-year-old single father has rented a succession of apartments.

"I have flirted with buying again many times over the past few years," said Mr. Hebb. "Let's face it, people are not rational creatures."

But he always resists, figuring housing is still overpriced and even when it stops declining it will stumble along the bottom for years and years. He says there is plenty of time to get back in if he should ever want to.

Housing prices are now back to where they were in mid-2002. Such a decline was literally unimaginable to the boosters and many of the analysts in the middle of the boom, who were fond of saying that house prices never fell on a national basis.

But as credit dried up and the easy refinances disappeared, the foreclosures began. Prices fell sharply in late 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The market turned around in 2009, prompting hopes that the worst was over. A government tax credit proved wildly popular but after it expired a year ago the declines resumed.

When demand will naturally reignite to stabilize the market is a matter of debate. Most economists have been saying that they think the price declines will level off in the second half of this year, although a few think they will continue until 2012. What no one seems to anticipate is any sort of a brisk recovery. Instead they see a muddling along until the foreclosure crisis diminishes and the excess housing supply is soaked up.

The financial blog Calculated Risk estimated the excess housing supply this week using 2010 Census data, which it compared to 1990 and 2000. The blog concluded that the excess supply in April 2010 was about 1.8 million units but probably several hundred thousand fewer now.

The market signaled further trouble on Friday when the April index of pending deals was released by the National Association of Realtors. Analysts had predicted the index, which anticipates sales that will be completed in the next two months, would be down 1 percent from March. Instead, it plunged 11.6 percent.

Many of those in the business of building and selling houses believe the current disaffection with real estate will pass. After every giddy boom comes the hangover, they acknowledge, but that deep-rooted desire for a castle of one's own quickly reasserts itself.

There's no question that people are reluctant to own, said Douglas C. Yearley Jr., chief executive of Toll Brothers, the builder of high-end homes. "They're renting and they're happy renting because they're scared."

Yet those fears will fade, he predicted.

"Most people still want the big house with the big lot in the desirable school district in the suburbs. No one ever renovated the kitchen or redid a room for the kids in a rental," Mr. Yearley said. "I think - I hope - we'll be O.K."

Trulia and another real estate site, RealtyTrac, commissioned Harris Interactive to take a poll last November about when people thought the market would recover. A third of the respondents chose 2014 or later. But in a new poll, released this month, the percentage giving that answer rose to 54 percent.

The sharp decline in prices since 2006 has meant a lost decade for many owners. But what may prove even more discouraging to potential buyers is academic research showing that the financial rewards of ownership were uncertain even before the crash.

In a recent paper, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found that the notion that homeownership builds more wealth than investing was true only about half the time.

"For many households in many years, renting and investing the saved cash flow has built more wealth than homeownership," the economist, Jordan Rappaport, concluded.

Economics affects potential owners in other ways. A house is a long-term commitment that many are loath to make in uncertain times like these.

"What I'm hearing from people is that they don't want to be tied to a particular geography, which inclines them to renting," said Mr. Flint of Trulia.

San Francisco is one of the country's most expensive cities, so renting has a natural appeal here. But the Associated Estates Realty Corporation, which owns 13,000 apartments in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan and other Midwest and Southeast states, also is seeing more people deciding to rent.

"We have more of what we call 'renters by choice' than I've seen in the 40 years I've been in the apartment business," said Jeffrey I. Friedman, chief executive of Associated Estates.

For decades, the company has asked former tenants why they were moving out. During the housing boom, as many as a quarter of those moving on said they were buying a house. In 2009, the percentage of new owners fell in the first quarter to 13.7 percent, the lowest ever.

Last year, as the economy improved, the number rebounded. This year, it fell back again, to 14 percent.

Builders clearly believe that the future includes many more renters. So far this year, construction of multiunit buildings is up 21 percent compared with 2010, while single family-homes are down 22 percent. Sales of new single-family homes are lower than at any time since the data was first kept in 1963.

Susan Lindsey, a San Diego software programmer, was once eagerly waiting for the housing market to crash. She said she would have no guilt about swooping in on some foreclosed owner who had bought a place he could not afford.

With prices now down by a third, however, she is content to stay in her $2,500-a-month rented house. She prefers to invest in gold, which she has been buying since 2003.

"I could afford a median-priced house, no problem," said Ms. Lindsey, 48, as she headed off for a holiday weekend in Las Vegas. "But I would be paying more to live in a place I like less."


6) Karzai Warns NATO Against Air Attacks on Afghan Homes
May 31, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan - In one of his sternest warnings yet concerning civilian casualties, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday that NATO must stop air attacks on Afghan homes immediately, or face "unilateral action" from the Afghan government.

Speaking at a news conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Mr. Karzai declined to say what actions the government would or could take, saying only that Afghanistan "has a lot of ways of stopping it."

In an admonishment that carried an air of threat, he said NATO forces were on the verge of being considered occupiers rather than allies.

"If they continue their attacks on our houses, then their presence will change from a force that is fighting against terrorism to a force that is fighting against the people of Afghanistan," he said. "And in that case, history shows what Afghans do with trespassers and with occupiers."

Mr. Karzai has used similar language before, but taken with other recent statements, his comments could further threaten a relationship with his Western backers that has been strained over issues like night raids, corruption and the continuing scandal surrounding questionable loans and huge losses at Kabul Bank.

The timing also represents a political gamble for Mr. Karzai, appealing to popular anger at home while testing the will of the American and international community to continue supporting a war that has become increasingly unpopular, especially since the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2.

NATO officials responded diplomatically, noting that Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top coalition commander in Afghanistan, understood the need to work closely with the Afghan government to reduce civilian casualties.

"General Petraeus has repeatedly noted that every liberation force has to be very conscious that it can, over time, become seen as an occupation force," Rear Adm. Vic Beck of the Navy, a spokesman for the NATO-led military coalition, said in a statement. He added, "We are in agreement with President Karzai on the importance of constantly examining our actions in light of that reality - and we are doing just that."

The American Embassy referred comment to NATO.

Civilian casualties, as well as the night raids and airstrikes that often lead to them, have been a bitter source of contention between NATO forces and the Afghan president for years. But Mr. Karzai's latest statements, coming both before and after an airstrike on Saturday that killed several civilians, most of them women and children, have been laced with more definitive terms.

On Saturday, Mr. Karzai ordered his Defense Ministry to take charge of the nighttime raids from the coalition forces in his most aggressive attempt yet to stem the use of such operations, which have angered Afghans for years for their intrusiveness and the civilian casualties they frequently cause.

Then after an airstrike Saturday night in the Now Zad district of Helmand Province, the president issued a "last" warning to NATO forces that airstrikes that end in civilian casualties must stop.

NATO, in an apologetic statement after the attack, acknowledged that nine civilians had been killed. The strike was aimed at a group of five insurgents who had ambushed a Marine foot patrol, killing one of them, and then continued to fire on the patrol from inside a compound.

Local officials said 14 civilians died in the strike, and on Tuesday Mr. Karzai said 11 were children, ages 2 to 7.

Images of grieving friends and relatives carrying the bruised and bloodied bodies of dead children were broadcast on television the morning after the attack, inflaming passions.

Mr. Karzai called the deaths "shocking" and said in a statement that "NATO and American forces have been warned repeatedly that their arbitrary and improper operations are the causes of killing of innocent people."

He added that he was warning "NATO, American forces and American officials for the last time on behalf of Afghanistan's people."

Talking to reporters Tuesday, he said the Afghan people were suffering from both the "terrorists and in the war against terrorism."

NATO has increasingly turned to the use of night raids in recent months, calling them one of the most effective weapons they have in capturing and killing insurgent leaders. But coalition forces in recent years have also taken steps to protect civilians. A United Nations report said that 2,777 civilians died last year, the worst since the war began, but that the number of those killed by NATO forces had fallen to 16 percent. Insurgents accounted for 75 percent of the deaths, while the parties responsible for the remaining deaths could not be identified.

Reacting to a recent spate of high-profile NATO attacks that resulted in civilian casualties, General Petraeus issued a reminder to his troops this month about "the need to balance tactical aggressiveness with tactical patience."

Mr. Karzai on Tuesday also condemned the insurgents who have stepped up their campaign this spring, including a bombing in Takhar Province on Saturday that killed the senior police commander for the northern region, Gen. Daoud Daoud, and five others. But the president added that "when NATO forces kill and wound Afghan people, the Afghan people will not accept this, because NATO came to protect this country."

The president has over the years been known to use erratic, sometimes hyperbolic language in reference to his Western allies. In a closed-door session of Parliament last month, he reportedly threatened to join the Taliban over international pressure to stem corruption inside his government.

In an emotional speech in March, Mr. Karzai angered Western officials after he appeared to call for an end to NATO combat operations in the country during a memorial service for civilian casualties in Kunar Province. He later issued a clarification saying he was referring only to operations that cause civilian casualties.

The Afghan president said he intended to meet with top NATO leaders soon, possibly next Sunday, to spell out what actions the government intended to take if the airstrikes do not end. Not heeding his warnings, he said, is a threat to the country's sovereignty, saying Afghanistan must be treated as an ally, not an occupied country.

"If it turns out to be the other," he said, "to the behavior of an occupation, then of course the Afghan people know how to deal with that."


7) Groundwater Depletion Is Detected From Space
"While Dr. Famiglietti says he wants no part of water politics, he acknowledged that this might be hard to avoid, given that his role is to make sure the best data about groundwater is available, harvesting and disseminating all of the information he can about the Earth's water supply as aquifers dry up and shortages loom. 'Look, water has been a resource that has been plentiful,' he said. 'But now we've got climate change, we've got population growth, we've got widespread groundwater contamination, we've got satellites showing us we are depleting some of this stuff."
May 30, 2011

IRVINE, Calif. - Scientists have been using small variations in the Earth's gravity to identify trouble spots around the globe where people are making unsustainable demands on groundwater, one of the planet's main sources of fresh water.

They found problems in places as disparate as North Africa, northern India, northeastern China and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley in California, heartland of that state's $30 billion agricultural industry.

Jay S. Famiglietti, director of the University of California's Center for Hydrologic Modeling here, said the center's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, known as Grace, relies on the interplay of two nine-year-old twin satellites that monitor each other while orbiting the Earth, thereby producing some of the most precise data ever on the planet's gravitational variations. The results are redefining the field of hydrology, which itself has grown more critical as climate change and population growth draw down the world's fresh water supplies.

Grace sees "all of the change in ice, all of the change in snow and water storage, all of the surface water, all of the soil moisture, all of the groundwater," Dr. Famiglietti explained.

Yet even as the data signals looming shortages, policy makers have been relatively wary of embracing the findings. California water managers, for example, have been somewhat skeptical of a recent finding by Dr. Famiglietti that from October 2003 to March 2010, aquifers under the state's Central Valley were drawn down by 25 million acre-feet - almost enough to fill Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir.

Greg Zlotnick, a board member of the Association of California Water Agencies, said that the managers feared that the data could be marshaled to someone else's advantage in California's tug of war over scarce water supplies.

"There's a lot of paranoia about policy wonks saying, 'We've got to regulate the heck out of you,' " he said.

There are other sensitivities in arid regions around the world where groundwater basins are often shared by unfriendly neighbors - India and Pakistan, Tunisia and Libya or Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories - that are prone to suspecting one another of excessive use of this shared resource.

Water politics was hardly on Dr. Famiglietti's mind when he first heard about Grace. In 1992, applying for a job at the University of Texas, he was interviewed by Clark R. Wilson, a geophysicist there who described a planned experiment to measure variations in Earth's gravitational field.

"I walked into his office and he pulled out a piece of paper saying: I'm trying to figure out how distribution of water makes the Earth wobble," said Dr. Famiglietti. "This was 1992. I was blown away. I instantly fell in love with the guy. I said, 'This is unbelievable, this is amazing, it opens up this whole area.' "

Back then the Grace experiment was still waiting in a queue of NASA projects. But he and Matt Rodell, a Ph.D. candidate under his supervision, threw themselves into investigating whether Grace would work, a so-called "proof of concept" exercise that turned out to show that Grace data was reliable and could support groundwater studies.

"It was a wide-open field we came into," said Dr. Rodell, now a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "We were like kids in a candy store. There was so much to be done."

When Grace was conceived by a group of scientists led by Byron D. Tapley, the director of the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas, it was the darling of geodesists, who study variations in the Earth's size, shape and rotational axis. Climate scientists also were keenly interested in using it to study melting of ice sheets, but hydrologists paid scant attention at first.

But, Dr. Wilson recalled, "Jay jumped on the problem."

Ten years later, the two satellites were launched from the Russian space facility at Plesetsk on the back of a used intercontinental ballistic missile in a collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center and began streaming the gravity data back to Earth.

Acquiring the data for general research purposes would have been impossible before the end of the cold war because maps indicating the normal wiggles in Earth's gravitational field were used for targeting long-range missiles and were therefore classified.

For decades, groundwater measurements in the United States had been made from points on the Earth's surface - by taking real-time soundings at 1,383 of the United States Geological Survey's observation wells and daily readings at 5,908 others. Those readings are supplemented by measuring water levels in hundreds of thousands of other wells, trenches and excavations.

The two satellites, each the size of a small car, travel in polar orbits about 135 miles apart. Each bombards the other with microwaves calibrating the distance between them down to intervals of less than the width of a human hair.

If the mass below the path of the leading satellite increases - because, say, the lower Mississippi basin is waterlogged - that satellite speeds up, and the distance between the two grows. Then the mass tugs on both, and the distance shortens. It increases again as the forward satellite moves out of range while the trailing satellite is held back.

The measurements of the distance between the craft translate to a measurement of surface mass in any given region. The data is beautifully simple, Dr. Famiglietti said. From one moment to the next, "it gives you just one number," he said. "It's like getting on a scale."

Separating groundwater from other kinds of moisture affecting gravity requires a little calculation and the inclusion of information on precipitation and surface runoff obtained from surface studies or computer models.

Grace data, like the information in a corresponding visual image, has its limits. Gravitational data gets sparser as the area examined gets smaller, and in areas smaller than 75,000 square miles it gets more difficult to reach conclusions about groundwater supplies. Most aquifers are far smaller than that - California's 22,000-square-mile Central Valley overlies several different groundwater basins, for example.

Dr. Famiglietti was able to calculate the overall drawdown of groundwater and to indicate that the problem was most severe in the southern region around the city of Tulare, for example, but the data was far too sparse to make statements about, say, the Kings River Water Conservation District, which measures about 1,875 square miles.

Grace "gives a large picture," said Felix Landerer, a hydrologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, whereas a water manager has a couple of wells to monitor in a given district. "It's difficult and not intuitive and not straightforward to bring these things together."

In other areas of the world, like northern India, the novelty of the gravitational measurements - and perhaps the story they tell - has led to pushback, scientists say.

"It is odd, if you're a hydrologist, especially a traditional hydrologist, to imagine a satellite up in the air that determines groundwater" supply levels, said John Wahr, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado.

Like Dr. Famiglietti and Dr. Rodell, Dr. Wahr and his colleague Sean Swenson faced opposition for a study on aquifer depletion in northern India. As Dr. Swenson explained, "When in a place like India you say, 'We're doing something that is unsustainable and needs to change,' well, people resist change. Change is expensive."

While Dr. Famiglietti says he wants no part of water politics, he acknowledged that this might be hard to avoid, given that his role is to make sure the best data about groundwater is available, harvesting and disseminating all of the information he can about the Earth's water supply as aquifers dry up and shortages loom.

"Look, water has been a resource that has been plentiful," he said. "But now we've got climate change, we've got population growth, we've got widespread groundwater contamination, we've got satellites showing us we are depleting some of this stuff.

"I think we've taken it for granted, and we are probably not able to do that any more."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 31, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Matt Rodell as Dr. Modell in some references.


8) Makeshift Groups Rising to Oppose Cuts
In the Schools
May 31, 2011, 11:26 am

There was a rally on May 12, when seasoned protesters convened by the thousands near City Hall to stake their claim against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's budget. There were gatherings at subway stations organized by the city's public advocate, Bill de Blasio, at which hundreds of parents recorded messages and signed petitions against cuts to their children's schools.

Then there were these lower-profile efforts to join in the debate over whether laying off 4,100 teachers was really the best way to balance the city's books: handwritten messages to the mayor taped to a big dollar sign outside a school in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx; postcards to City Council members signed at a foldout table in a school in Hell's Kitchen, parents clustered on a sidewalk in Park Slope, Brooklyn, chanting, "Save our teachers," even though no one was around to hear it but parents themselves.

"It was either come out and do something about it or sit down and take it," said Ed Jen, 40, who squeezed in the Park Slope protest on Thursday morning between dropping off his daughter at Public School 107 and catching the subway to his job as a marketing executive at a software company.

Mr. Bloomberg's proposal evoked predictable reactions from familiar corners, like the barrage of angry statements unleashed by the teachers' union president, Michael Mulgrew, and certain politicians prone to criticize most of what the mayor says. But alongside that institutionalized opposition have come complaints from unusual corners.

The mobilization has unfolded slowly and steadily, and it has gone largely unnoticed outside individual schools and neighborhoods, though Jamie McShane, a spokesman for City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, said her office had received thousands of letters and e-mail messages opposing the mayor's proposed cuts, many of them specific to the teacher layoffs - decidedly more than last year.

For Lenora Lapidus, 48, it began with a call for action uttered by a fellow mother at a P.S. 107 PTA meeting last month. For Magdalena Gutierrez, 32, it was an invitation from her daughter's teacher at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to join a picket line on a drizzly afternoon. For Stephanie Barile, 28, who teaches math at Facing History School on West 50th Street, it evolved from her frustration at her union's tactics.

"It's not that I disagree with the union's stance," Ms. Barile said. "It's that I feel that it hasn't done enough to tap into all our capacities at the grassroots level - you know, the people out there, in the schools; the people these cuts are really going to hurt. "

Some actions are organized around schools' drop-off and pickup schedules; others might not require much beyond a computer or smartphone. (Mr. Bloomberg's Twitter handle has been widely shared.) Plans and tasks are decided and divided by e-mail or when people bump into each other on the streets or in school hallways. Sarah Porter and Janine Sopp, whose children attend P.S. 132 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, came up with the idea to organize a letter-writing campaign during a play date.

A year ago, Sam Coleman, a third-grade teacher at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park, created "Fight Back Fridays" to oppose Mr. Bloomberg's layoff threats at the time. He got about 10 schools to participate, coaxing teachers to wear black on an appointed Friday each month as a sign of protest.

Since the mayor's latest layoff proposal early in May, the movement "took a life of its own," Mr. Coleman, 36, said. Some 40 schools participated in the most recent Fight Back Friday, May 20, and in many cases the teachers in dark clothing were joined by parents holding signs, chanting and signing postcards addressed to Speaker Quinn, asking her not to let the Council approve a budget that includes teacher layoffs.

"It's the first time that teachers and parents are doing something together that is not within their normal role, and it makes the whole thing more meaningful," Mr. Coleman said.

At his school on May 20, after parents picked up their children, many of them picked up the signs they had made in recent weeks, with messages like "Pink Slips for Bloomberg" and "No Teacher Left Behind." For an hour, they marched up and down Fourth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets, in a light rain.

"We want people to see that we support our teachers," said one of the protesters, Felipe Flores, 32, who has three children at P.S. 24.

Like professional politicians and lobbyists before them, the makeshift protest groups have also circulated talking points by e-mail, encouraging people to call their City Council members. "As a parent invested in the city's public schools, I'm calling to protest the mayor's proposed education cuts," begins one script that has gone from parent to parent and school to school. "If this budget is approved, class sizes throughout the city will increase."

Josh Heisler, 37, a social studies teacher at the James Baldwin School, a high school in Chelsea, started asking teachers he knows to make appointments to meet council members and bring parents along.

At P.S. 64 in Mount Eden, parents dropped off the dollar sign covered by handwritten messages to Councilwoman Helen D. Foster's office. Jamie Fidler, 35, a first-grade teacher at P.S. 261 in Downtown Brooklyn, accompanied three parents and a fellow teacher to a meeting with Councilman Stephen Levin on Wednesday.

"We have to use all avenues to put pressure on the mayor, and to put pressure on the Council, everything in our power," said Mr. Heisler, who arranged a meeting this month with a senior policy analyst for Ms. Quinn. "It takes more time and work, but I believe you can impact public opinion by talking to as many people as you possibly can."


9) Lower Jobless Rate Reflects Benefits End: Fed
May 31, 2011

CHICAGO (Reuters) - As much of a quarter of the recent decline in the U.S. jobless rate is due to long-term unemployment benefits running out, according to research from the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank published on Tuesday.

When people exhaust their benefits, the Chicago Fed study found, many find jobs or give up and leave the labor force altogether, both of which contribute to a decline in the unemployment rate.

Jobless benefits were extended to as long as 99 weeks under two federal programs created during the depths of the recent recession, up from the usual limit of 26 weeks. The extended benefits are thought to have kept some people from taking jobs they otherwise might have, boosting the unemployment rate, which peaked at 10.1 percent in October 2009.

About 10 percent to 25 percent of the decline in the unemployment rate from October 2009 to January 2011 can be attributed to the end of insurance benefits, the study said. Unemployment stood at 9 percent in January; it was also at 9 percent in the most recent April reading.

Prior studies have estimated that the extra benefits boosted the unemployment rate by as much as a full percentage point.

If the extended unemployment insurance programs are left intact, the exhaustion of benefits will have a "limited and diminishing effect" on the unemployment rate in coming months, according to the study, published in the latest Chicago Fed Letter.

But if labor market conditions continue to improve and the emergency benefits are eliminated, "we would expect to see bigger effects on the unemployment rate (as many recently unemployed hit the 26-week limit)."

For the study, please see

For stories on Fed policy, please see

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Leslie Adler)


10) The Next Bubble Is About to Burst: College Grads Face Dwindling Jobs and Mounting Loans
By Sarah Jaffe, AlterNet
Posted on June 1, 2011, Printed on June 1, 2011

It's the beginning of summer: warmer weather, longer days, the end of the school year. And that means graduation for thousands of young people across the U.S.; graduation with more student debt than ever before, and into a job market that is anything but promising.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 face an unemployment rate nearly twice that of the rest of the population, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute. 2010's 18.4 percent rate for youth was the worst in the 60 years that economists have collected such data. ColorLines notes that in 2010, 8.4 percent of white college graduates were unemployed, 13.8 percent of Latino graduates, and a dismal 19 percent of black graduates.

Those bright, shiny new degrees simply aren't worth the paper they're printed on all too often. The cost of a college degree is up some 3,400 percent since 1972, but as we all know too well, household incomes haven't increased by anything close to that number -- not for the bottom 99 percent of us, anyway.

Pell Grants for students have shrunk drastically in relation to the ballooning cost of a four-year college, and Paul Ryan wants to cut them even more, pushing some 1.4 million students into loans, more of which come each year from private lenders with little to no accountability.

New legislation, introduced last week in the House and Senate, would attempt to put a bit of control on those private lenders, restoring the bankruptcy rules so that private student loans may be discharged through bankruptcy. Currently, private as well as government-issued and guaranteed loans will stick with you even through bankruptcy proceedings, saddling far too many graduates with debt for life.

Still, bankruptcy reform is hardly a solution to the problems at hand. Imagine 18 percent of college graduates declaring bankruptcy when they can't find a job, upon graduation, that allows them to make payments on their loans?

Small wonder that many are calling the student loan crisis a bubble possibly worse than the credit card or housing bubbles. Small wonder that when polled by the Pew Research Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education, 57 percent of Americans said higher education doesn't provide a good value, and 75 percent said it is too expensive for most to afford. Yet the lucky graduates who do have jobs still make, on average, $20,000 a year more than those without degrees. It seems that higher education, as with so much else in this society, is turning into a way to keep those who already have money making more of it.

In other words, all of Obama's declarations that we will "win the future" through education, notes Kai Wright and Stokely Baksh at ColorLines, mean little if there are no jobs for those graduates even with their sparkling credentials.

Even David Brooks at the New York Times this week has some sympathy for the latest crop of recession graduates, noting that their education hasn't prepared them for the world they face. "No one would design a system of extreme supervision to prepare people for a decade of extreme openness," he says, but then of course goes on to blame "baby boomer theology" for the struggle of today's youth.

Paul Mason at the BBC calls them "the graduates with no future," and he's been following the role they've played in protests not only in Britain but across the Arab world, particularly in the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

After all, what's left for an educated generation, brought up on social networking tools, to do but apply those tools to organizing protests? We haven't seen a student movement in the U.S. like the one in England yet, but we've seen the role of students in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and California.

Brooks would have us believe that "expressive individualism" is the problem with this downwardly mobile generation, but those same students he decries for their selfishness are busy using their skills to fight even more selfish governments, bent on cutting services for students, the poor and the elderly to give more money to those most selfish of all entities: corporations. Individualism is hardly the problem with the students -- it is, instead, the problem with the societies.

One thing is sure: a rising tide of unemployed, debt-ridden youth is not simply going to go away without action. If the federal and state governments don't do something soon, the "graduates with no future" may well bring the unrest here.

Sarah Jaffe is a contributor to AlterNet and a freelance writer.


11) The Sky Really Is Falling and Our Only Salvation Is the Rapid Dismantling of the Fossil Fuel Industry
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Posted on May 31, 2011, Printed on June 1, 2011

This article first appeared on Truthdig.

The rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, has been confronted by the power elite with two kinds of self-delusion. There are those, many of whom hold elected office, who dismiss the science and empirical evidence as false. There are others who accept the science surrounding global warming but insist that the human species can adapt. Our only salvation-the rapid dismantling of the fossil fuel industry-is ignored by both groups. And we will be led, unless we build popular resistance movements and carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience, toward collective self-annihilation by dimwitted pied pipers and fools.

Those who concede that the planet is warming but insist we can learn to live with it are perhaps more dangerous than the buffoons who decide to shut their eyes. It is horrifying enough that the House of Representatives voted 240-184 this spring to defeat a resolution that said that "climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare." But it is not much of an alternative to trust those who insist we can cope with the effects while continuing to burn fossil fuels.

Horticulturalists are busy planting swamp oaks and sweet gum trees all over Chicago to prepare for weather that will soon resemble that of Baton Rouge. That would be fine if there was a limit to global warming in sight. But without plans to rapidly dismantle the fossil fuel industry, something no one in our corporate state is contemplating, the heat waves of Baton Rouge will be a starting point for a descent that will ultimately make cities like Chicago unlivable. The false promise of human adaptability to global warming is peddled by the polluters' major front group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which informed the Environmental Protection Agency that "populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations." This bizarre theory of adaptability has been embraced by the Obama administration as it prepares to exploit the natural resources in the Arctic. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced recently that melting of sea ice "will result in more shipping, fishing and tourism, and the possibility to develop newly accessible oil and gas reserves." Now that's something to look forward to.

"It is good that at least those guys are taking it seriously, far more seriously than the federal government is taking it," said the author and environmental activist Bill McKibben of the efforts in cities such as Chicago to begin to adapt to warmer temperatures. "At least they understand that they have some kind of problem coming at them. But they are working off the science of five or six years ago, which is still kind of the official science that the International Climate Change negotiations are working off of. They haven't begun to internalize the idea that the science has shifted sharply. We are no longer talking about a long, slow, gradual, linear warming, but something that is coming much more quickly and violently. Seven or eight years ago it made sense to talk about putting permeable concrete on the streets. Now what we are coming to realize is that the most important adaptation we can do is to stop putting carbon in the atmosphere. If we don't, we are going to produce temperature rises so high that there is no adapting to them."

The Earth has already begun to react to our hubris. Freak weather unleashed deadly tornados in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. It has triggered wildfires that have engulfed large tracts in California, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. It has brought severe droughts to the Southwest, parts of China and the Amazon. It has caused massive flooding along the Mississippi as well as in Australia, New Zealand, China and Pakistan. It is killing off the fish stocks in the oceans and obliterating the polar ice caps. Steadily rising sea levels will eventually submerge coastal cities, islands and some countries. These disturbing weather patterns presage a world where it will be harder and harder to sustain human life. Massive human migrations, which have already begun, will create chaos and violence. India is building a 4,000-kilometer fence along its border with Bangladesh to, in part, hold back the refugees who will flee if Bangladesh is submerged. There are mounting food shortages and sharp price increases in basic staples such as wheat as weather patterns disrupt crop production. The failed grain harvests in Russia, China and Australia, along with the death of the winter wheat crop in Texas, have, as McKibben points out, been exacerbated by the inability of Midwestern farmers to plant corn in water-logged fields. These portents of an angry Gaia are nothing compared to what will follow if we do not swiftly act.

"We are going to have to adapt a good deal," said McKibben, with whom I spoke by phone from his home in Vermont. "It is going to be a century that calls for being resilient and durable. Most of that adaptation is going to take the form of economies getting smaller and lower to the ground, local food, local energy, things like that. But that alone won't do it, because the scale of change we are now talking about is so great that no one can adapt to it. Temperatures have gone up one degree so far and that has been enough to melt the Arctic. If we let it go up three or four degrees, the rule of thumb the agronomists go by is every degree Celsius of temperature rise represents about a 10 percent reduction in grain yields. If we let it go up three or four degrees we are really not talking about a planet that can support a civilization anything like the one we've got.

"I have sympathy for those who are trying hard to figure out how to adapt, but they are behind the curve of the science by a good deal," he said. "I have less sympathy for the companies that are brainwashing everyone along the line 'We're taking small steps here and there to improve.' The problem, at this point, is not going to be dealt with by small steps. It is going to be dealt with by getting off fossil fuel in the next 10 or 20 years or not at all.

"The most appropriate thing going on in Chicago right now is that Greenpeace occupied [on Thursday] the coal-fired power plant in Chicago," he said. "That's been helpful. It reminded people what the real answers are. We're going to see more civil disobedience. I hope we are. I am planning hard for some stuff this summer.

"The task that we are about is essentially political and symbolic," McKibben admitted. "There is no actual way to shut down the fossil fuel system with our bodies. It is simply too big. It's far too integrated in everything we do. The actions have to be symbolic, and the most important part of that symbolism is to make it clear to the onlookers that those of us doing this kind of thing are not radical in any way. We are conservatives. The real radicals in this scenario are people who are willing to fundamentally alter the composition of the atmosphere. I can't think of a more radical thing that any human has ever thought of doing. If it wasn't happening it would be like the plot from a Bond movie.

"The only way around this is to defeat the system, and the name of that system is the fossil fuel industry, which is the most profitable industry in the world by a large margin," McKibben said. "Fighting it is extraordinarily difficult. Maybe you can't do it. The only way to do it is to build a movement big enough to make a difference. And that is what we are trying desperately to do with It is something we should have done 20 years ago, instead of figuring that we were going to fight climate change by convincing political elites that they should do something about this problem. It is a tactic that has not worked.

"One of our big targets this year is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is the biggest front group for fossil fuel there is," he said. "We are figuring out how to take them on. I don't think they are worried about us yet. And maybe they are right not to be, because they've got so much money they're invulnerable.

"There are huge decisive battles coming," he said. "This year the Obama administration has to decide whether it will grant a permit or not for this giant pipeline to run from the tar sands of Alberta down to the refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. That is like a 1,500-mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet. We have to figure out how to keep that from happening. The Obama administration, very sadly, a couple of months ago opened 750 million tons of western coal under federal land for mining. That was a disgrace. But they still have to figure out how to get it to port so they can ship it to China, which is where the market for it is. We are trying hard to keep that from happening. I'm on my way to Bellingham, Wash., next week because there is a plan for a deep-water port in Bellingham that would allow these giant freighters to show up and collect that coal.

"In moral terms, it's all our personal responsibility and we should be doing those things," McKibben said when I asked him about changing our own lifestyles to conserve energy. "But don't confuse that with having much of an impact on the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere. You can't make the math work one house or one campus at a time. We should do those things. I've got a little plaque for having built the most energy-efficient house in Vermont the year we built it. I've got solar panels everywhere. But I don't confuse myself into thinking that that's actually doing very much. This argument is a political argument. I spend much of my life on airplanes spewing carbon behind me as we try to build a global movement. Either we are going to break the power of the fossil fuel industry and put a price on carbon or the planet is going to heat past the point where we can deal with it.

"It goes far beyond party affiliation or ideology," he said. "Fossil fuel undergirds every ideology we have. Breaking with it is going to be a traumatic and difficult task. The natural world is going to continue to provide us, unfortunately, with many reminders about why we have to do that. Sooner or later, we will wise up. The question is all about that sooner or later.

"I'd like people to go to and sign up," McKibben said. "We are going to be issuing calls for people to be involved in civil disobedience. I'd like people to join in this campaign against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It's very easy to sign up. If you don't own a little business yourself, you probably shop at 10 or 20 of them a week. It's very easy to sign those guys up to say the U.S. Chamber doesn't speak for me. We can't take away their [the Chamber's] money, but we can take away some of their respectability. I would like people to demonstrate their solidarity with people all around the world in this fight. The next big chance to do that will be Sept. 24, a huge global day of action that we're calling 'Moving Planet.' It will be largely bicycle based, because the bicycle is one of the few tools that both rich and poor use and because it is part of the solution we need. On that day we will be delivering demands via bicycle to every capital and statehouse around the world.

"I wish there was some easy 'end around,' some backdoor through which we could go to get done what needs to be done," he said. "But that's not going to happen. That became clear at Copenhagen and last summer when the U.S. Senate refused to take a vote on the most mild, tepid climate legislation there could have been. We are going to have to build a movement that pushes the fossil fuel industry aside. I don't know whether that's possible. If you were to bet, you might well bet we will lose. We have been losing for two decades. But you are not allowed to make that bet. The only moral action, when the worst thing that ever happened in the world is happening, is to try and figure out how to change those odds.

"At least they knew they were going to win," McKibben said of the civil rights movement. "They didn't know when, but they knew they were going to win, that the tide of history was on their side. But the arch of the physical universe appears to be short and appears to bend towards heat. We've got to win quickly if we're going to win. We've already passed the point where we're going to stop global warming. It has already warmed a degree and there is another degree in the pipeline from carbon already emitted. The heat gets held in the ocean for a while, but it's already there. We've already guaranteed ourselves a miserable century. The question is whether it's going to be an impossible one."

Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is "The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress."


12) Why the Marijuana Renaissance Is Here to Stay
By Lester Grinspoon, AlterNet
Posted on May 31, 2011, Printed on June 1, 2011

The following is the text of a speech by Lester Greenspoon, M.D. recently delivered to the 2011 NORML conference.

In 1967, because of my concern about the rapidly growing use of the dangerous drug marijuana, I began my studies of the scientific and medical literature with the goal of providing a reasonably objective summary of the data which underlay its prohibition. Much to my surprise, I found no credible scientific basis for the justification of the prohibition. The assertion that it is a very toxic drug is based on old and new myths. In fact, one of the many exceptional features of this drug is its remarkably limited toxicity. Compared to aspirin, which people are free to purchase and use without the advice or prescription of a physician, cannabis is much safer: there are well over 1000 deaths annually from aspirin in this country alone, whereas there has never been a death anywhere from marijuana. In fact, when cannabis regains its place in the US Pharmacopeia, a status it lost after the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, it will be seen as one of the safest drugs in that compendium. Moreover, it will eventually be hailed as a "wonder drug" just as penicillin was in the 1940s. Penicillin achieved this reputation because it was remarkably non-toxic, it was, once it was produced on an economy of scale, quite inexpensive, and it was effective in the treatment of a variety of infectious diseases. Similarly, cannabis is exceptionally safe, and once freed of the prohibition tariff, will be significantly less expensive than the conventional drugs it replaces while its already impressive medical versatility continues to expand.

Given these characteristics, it should come as no surprise that its use as a medicine is growing exponentially or that individual states have established legislation which makes it possible for patients suffering from a variety of disorders to use the drug legally with a recommendation from a physician. Unfortunately, because each state arrogates the right to define which symptoms and syndromes may be lawfully treated with cannabis, many patients with legitimate claims to the therapeutic usefulness of this plant must continue to use it illegally and therefore endure the extra layer of anxiety imposed by its illegality. California and Colorado are the two states in which the largest number of patients for whom it would be medically useful have the freedom to access it legally. New Jersey is the most restrictive, and I would guess that only a small fraction of the pool of patients who would find marijuana to be as or more useful than the invariably more toxic conventional drugs it will displace will be allowed legal access to it. The framers of the New Jersey legislation may fear what they see as chaos in the distribution of medical marijuana in California and Colorado, a fear born of their concern that the more liberal parameters of medical use adopted in these states have allowed its access to many people who use it for other than strictly medicinal reasons. If this is correct, it is consistent with my view that it will be impossible to realize the full potential of this plant as a medicine, not to speak of the other ways it is useful, in the setting of this destructive prohibition.

Marijuana is here to stay; there can no longer be any doubt that it is not just another transient drug fad. Like alcohol, it has become a part of our culture, a culture which is now trying to find an appropriate social, legal and medical accommodation. We have finally come to realize, after arresting over 21 million marijuana users since the 1960s, most of them young and 90% for mere possession, that "making war" against cannabis doesn't work anymore now than it did for alcohol during the days of the Volstead Act. Many people are expressing their impatience with the federal government's intransigence as it obdurately maintains its position that " marijuana is not a medicine". Thirteen states have now decriminalized marijuana. And, beginning with California in 1996, another 15 states and the District of Columbia have followed suit in allowing patients legal access to marijuana, and others are in the process of enactlng similar legislation. These states are inadvertently constructing a large social experiment in how best to deal with the reinvention of the "cannabis as medicine" phenomenon, while at the same time sending a powerful message to the federal government. Each of these state actions has taken a slice out of the extraordinary popular delusion known as cannabinophobia.

Perhaps in part because so many Americans have discovered for themselves that marihuana is both relatively benign and remarkably useful, moral consensus about the evil of cannabis is becoming uncertain and shallow. The authorities pretend that eliminating cannabis traffic is like eliminating slavery or piracy, or eradicating smallpox or malaria. The official view is that everything possible has to be done to prevent everyone from ever using marihuana, even as a medicine. But there is also an informal lore of marihuana use that is far more tolerant. Many of the millions of cannabis users in this country not only disobey the drug laws but feel a principled lack of respect for them. They do not conceal their bitter resentment of laws that render them criminals. They believe that many people have been deceived by their government, and they have come to doubt that the "authorities" understand much about either the deleterious or the useful properties of the drug. This ambivalence and resistance in public attitudes towards marijuana laws leaves room for the possibility of change, especially since the costs of prohibition are all so high and rising.

It is also clear that the realities of human need are incompatible with the demand for a legally enforceable distinction between medicine and all other uses of cannabis. Marihuana simply does not conform to the conceptual boundaries established by twentieth-century institutions. It is truly a sui generis substance; is there another non-toxic drug which is capable of heightening many pleasures, has a large and growing number of medical uses and has the potential to enhance some individual capacities? The only workable way of realizing the full potential of this remarkable substance, including its full medical potential, is to free it from the present dual set of regulations - those that control prescription drugs in general and the special criminal laws that control psychoactive substances. These mutually reinforcing laws establish a set of social categories that strangle its uniquely multifaceted potential. The only way out is to cut the knot by giving marihuana the same status as alcohol - legalizing it for adults for all uses and removing it entirely from the medical and criminal control systems.

Lester Grinspoon M.D. is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, emeritus, at Harvard Medical School and the author of Marihuana Reconsidered and Marijuana, the Forbidden Medicine.


13) Congress Mulls Cuts to Food Stamps Program Amid Record Number of Recipients
By Huma Khan
May 31, 2011 11:48 AM

Congress is under pressure to cut the rapidly rising costs of the federal government's food stamps program at a time when a record number of Americans are relying on it.

The House Appropriations Committee today will review the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture that includes $71 billion for the agency's "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." That's $2 billion less than what President Obama requested but a 9 percent increase from 2011, which, critics say, is too large given the sizeable budget deficit.

A record number of Americans -- about 14 percent -- now rely on the federal government's food stamps program and its rapid expansion in recent years has become a politically explosive topic.

More than 44.5 million Americans received SNAP benefits in March, an 11 percent increase from one year ago and nearly 61 percent higher than the same time four years ago.

Nearly 21 million households are reliant on food stamps.

Opponents of the program argue that money from the food stamps budget -- with what they call its increasingly lax requirements -- needs to be shifted to other programs such as education and child nutrition. The program's supporters argue that at a time of economic decline, such welfare programs are even more important to try to keep Americans from spiraling into poverty.

The cost of the food stamps program has increased rapidly since it was established by Congress in 1964.

It cost taxpayers more than $68 billion last year, double the amount in 2007.

Nutrition assistance now accounts for more than half -- or about 67 percent -- of the USDA's budget, compared with 26 percent in 1980. That shift in focus, critics say, is ineffective because it hasn't put a dent in poverty or hunger in the United States while taking away money from other programs, specifically agricultural programs that should be the main focus of the agency.

Even "at a time of prosperity, we have increased the amount of money we are spending for people to buy food," said Harold Brown, an agriculture scientist and adjunct scholar at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. "The appropriation of money by Congress has never solved poverty or the resulting problems of poverty. When President Johnson declared war on poverty a half century ago nearly, we thought we saw the end of it as far as food and nutrition goes. For the Department of Agriculture, we only saw the beginning."

The Republicans' 2012 budget plan proposes changing SNAP from an entitlement to a block-grant program that would be tailored for each individual state, much like their proposal for Medicaid. States would no longer receive open-ended subsidies and the aid would be contingent on work or job training. It would also limit funding for the program.

The president's 2012 budget, however, goes in a completely opposite direction. It aims to make requirements less stringent by temporarily suspending for one year the time limit for certain age groups without dependents. The president also suggested restoring benefit cuts that were included in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill last year.

"It is absolutely necessary to take a long hard look at government spending to avoid wasting any taxpayers' dollars, but time and time again, Republicans wrongfully make their cuts on the backs of poor and working class Americans," Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., a senior member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said in a statement this afternoon.

ABC News John Parkinson and Brian Hartman contributed to this report.


14) Egypt's Military Censors Critics as It Faces More Scrutiny
May 31, 2011

CAIRO - Even the mildest criticism of the Egyptian military was too much for Mahmoud Saad, a television host on the newly founded, independent Tahrir television network.

"Any institution of the country that takes taxes from us should be open to question," Hossam el-Hamalawy, a blogger, said in an interview with Mr. Saad.

"No, no, no," Mr. Saad interrupted. "I will not allow you to say those things on this network."

"Thank you, Mr. Hossam," he declared, hanging up.

The next day Mr. Hamalawy and two other liberal television journalists, but not Mr. Saad, were summoned to a military headquarters for questioning about their remarks.

The Egyptian military - facing public criticism for torturing demonstrators and admitting that it forced some female detainees to undergo "virginity tests" - is pressing the Egyptian news media to censor harsh criticism of it and protect its image. The military's intervention concerns some human rights advocates who say they are worried that such efforts could make it harder for politicians to scrutinize the military and could possibly undermine attempts to bring it under civilian control or investigate charges of corruption.

"Nobody believes corruption was limited to the civilian government," said a prominent liberal politician, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal by the military.

In recent weeks military authorities have sent letters warning news organizations to review any discussion of the military before publication or broadcast. A military court has also sentenced a blogger to three years in prison for what it called persistent attacks, and it has charged an outspoken liberal presidential candidate with libeling a general and insulting the military. Military authorities have summoned many journalists and bloggers to headquarters for questioning about their reports and sources.

In a recent interview, a military official, demanding anonymity in keeping with military protocol, insisted that the military accepted the public's right to criticize while it was playing the political role as Egypt's interim ruler. But he said the military also sought to balance "freedom of expression" against "respect for the institution," drawing the distinction between criticizing individuals and insulting either those people or their institution.

"If someone presents proof that any officer is corrupt, then the officer would be subject to the law; if he doesn't present any evidence, then the journalist would be subject to the law," he explained. "If I call you a dictator, you can take that as an insult."

In short, he added, "criticize the military, but be sure of what you are saying."

For his part, Mr. Hamalawy said the military's request to question him was intended as intimidation; he said he was asked about evidence related to the torture of demonstrators that had already been made public in legal complaints, as well as online.

He said, "When the military says 'please show up,' it is kind of like an order, especially when they are ruling the country."

His lawyer, Ragia Omran, said, "It is the high counsel of the armed forces saying, 'We are here, we know what you are doing, Big Brother is watching.' "

Egyptian journalists, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisal, said the distinction between criticism and insult was hard to pinpoint, especially under the threat of military justice. Several Egyptian journalists declined to comment or did not return phone calls on the subject.

"This is a sensitive topic," said Osama Heikal, editor in chief of Al Wafd, a liberal newspaper. "One of my colleagues is currently being investigated regarding an article he wrote, so I don't feel comfortable discussing this, considering the circumstances." But he added, "Part of the freedom we won in the revolution is the freedom of speech, and by ruling the country the military is now in the political square, so we should be able to hold them accountable."

Human rights advocates say accounts of military abuses - notably after soldiers broke up a protest in Tahrir Square in March - have largely been underreported in the Egyptian news media even as they have circulated widely on the Internet, in foreign media and in reports of human rights groups. This week an unidentified military official speaking on CNN defended a military decision that night to force some female detainees to undergo "virginity tests" by doctors.

"Testing" the women, the officer contended, was intended to ensure against subsequent charges of sexual abuse by soldiers.

Some who said they were victims of military abuse contended that Egypt's media were afraid to let them tell their stories.

"I appeared on many networks," said Rami Essam, a musician who gained popularity for performances during the revolution and has shown journalists evidence of his own torture. Egyptian television journalists "all pre-warned me not to do any 'dirty tricks' and say anything critical of the military," he said. "They told me that if I am to bring up my torture case that the show can be cut short and the network can be shut down. Mubarak left, but it's the same people, the same thing."

Last week Internet activists turned to Twitter to stage a day of criticism of the military to protest its intimidation of the media. None were arrested, the military spokesman said.

In some respects, the advent of online networks like Facebook and Twitter no longer makes such censorship as effective as it was in the days when the government controlled the primary sources of news. But most of the military's interventions are directed at Egypt's evening talk shows on the independent cable networks, which for years had pushed the boundaries of speech restrictions under President Hosni Mubarak. In a country where illiteracy runs as high as a third of the population, the programs have become the most potent forum for shaping public opinion.

Michael Nabil, a blogger sentenced to three years in prison, had criticized the army for years and, unlike most bloggers here, also praised Israel. His crime was equating the military with Mr. Mubarak, its former boss, the military spokesman said.

Bothaina Kamel, a liberal gadfly and former talk show host who is now the first Egyptian woman to become a presidential candidate, had hammered the military for imposing the "virginity tests," among other things. In an interview, she said she was called in to meet with a general; she then criticized him online and in interviews, prompting the military authorities to call her back in for six hours of interrogation before she was charged.

The military spokesman noted that she remained free, however. When the military calls in journalists, he said, "it is just a friendly chat, not an order."

Dina Salah Amer and Omniya Al Desoukie contributed reporting.


15) Qualified Immunity, Unqualified Doubt
New York Times Editorial
May 31, 2011

The Supreme Court's ruling Tuesday on the use of the material witness statute in combating terrorists was a victory for former Attorney General John Ashcroft and those who would shield Bush administration officials from accountability for their actions after Sept. 11, 2001.

But the 8-to-0 vote (Justice Elena Kagan was recused because of her involvement as solicitor general) was hardly as unanimous as it seemed and did not resolve whether the material witness law was misused under President George W. Bush. Some justices seemed deeply concerned about the use of the statute.

The question before the justices was: Should Mr. Ashcroft be held personally liable for brazenly misusing the material witness statute to hold an American citizen in brutal conditions on the pretext that he was a witness in a case in which he was never called to testify?

The Justice Department arrested Abdullah al-Kidd in March 2003 before he boarded a plane to Saudi Arabia, where he was going to work on his doctorate in Islamic studies. For 16 days, he was treated like an enemy of the state - shackled, held in high-security cells with the lights on 24 hours a day and sometimes humiliated by strip searches.

The eight justices agree that qualified immunity protects Mr. Ashcroft. Mr. Kidd, they said, did not prove that, at the time of his detention, it was "clearly established" that it was unconstitutional to use the material witness statute in that way. Beyond that, their views splinter.

For himself and the court's four other conservatives, Justice Antonin Scalia goes beyond the limited holding to find that Mr. Kidd's detention was reasonable and didn't violate the Constitution. Precedents keep the court from considering Mr. Ashcroft's motives in this case, Justice Scalia contends, so the five reject Mr. Kidd's claim that Mr. Ashcroft used it unconstitutionally as a pretext.

In separate opinions, however, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, all joined by Stephen Breyer, stressed that the holding "leaves unresolved whether the government's use of the material witness statute in this case was lawful."

To reach its position, the majority assumes that the government validly obtained the warrant to detain Mr. Kidd. How could that be so, Justice Ginsburg asks, "when the affidavit on which it is based fails to inform the issuing magistrate judge" that the government had no intention of using him as a witness against another man?

A Federal District Court judge in Idaho must decide whether the two F.B.I. agents who wrote the affidavit and arrested Mr. Kidd acted lawfully or, if not, whether they and the federal government are liable for damages.

To issue a warrant under the material witness statute, a magistrate must be convinced an affidavit shows testimony is "material" and, because the witness is a flight risk, it might become "impracticable" to secure his testimony with a subpoena. The affidavit in this case, Justice Ginsburg said, was threadbare. Mr. Kidd "might have been spared the entire ordeal," she writes, if the magistrate had "insisted on more concrete" evidence, which may not exist. The facts are unresolved because there is no record: Mr. Ashcroft chose to appeal a ruling against him before a full one could be developed.

Their doubts suggest that judges must hold the government to much stricter use of the statute and that, if required to decide the question, these justices might well rule that the use of the law to detain suspects who pose no flight risk is unconstitutional. If Justice Kagan were to join them, that would form a very different majority.


16) Waiting for a School Miracle
May 31, 2011

TEN years ago, Congress adopted the No Child Left Behind legislation, mandating that all students must be proficient in reading or mathematics by 2014 or their school would be punished.

Teachers and principals have been fired and schools that were once fixtures in their community have been closed and replaced. In time, many of the new schools will close, too, unless they avoid enrolling low-performing students, like those who don't read English or are homeless or have profound disabilities.

Educators know that 100 percent proficiency is impossible, given the enormous variation among students and the impact of family income on academic performance. Nevertheless, some politicians believe that the right combination of incentives and punishments will produce dramatic improvement. Anyone who objects to this utopian mandate, they maintain, is just making an excuse for low expectations and bad teachers.

To prove that poverty doesn't matter, political leaders point to schools that have achieved stunning results in only a few years despite the poverty around them. But the accounts of miracle schools demand closer scrutiny. Usually, they are the result of statistical legerdemain.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama hailed the Bruce Randolph School in Denver, where the first senior class had a graduation rate of 97 percent. At a celebration in February for Teach for America's 20th anniversary, Education Secretary Arne Duncan sang the praises of an all-male, largely black charter school in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, Urban Prep Academy, which replaced a high school deemed a failure. And in March, Mr. Obama and Mr. Duncan joined Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, to laud the transformation of Miami Central Senior High School.

But the only miracle at these schools was a triumph of public relations.

Mr. Obama's praise for Randolph, which he said had been "one of the worst schools in Colorado," seems misplaced. Noel Hammatt, a former teacher and instructor at Louisiana State University, looked at data from the Web site of the Colorado Department of Education.

True, Randolph (originally a middle school, to which a high school was added) had a high graduation rate, but its ACT scores were far below the state average, indicating that students are not well prepared for college. In its middle school, only 21 percent were proficient or advanced in math, placing Randolph in the fifth percentile in the state (meaning that 95 percent of schools performed better). Only 10 percent met the state science standards. In writing and reading, the school was in the first percentile.

Gary Rubinstein, an education blogger and Teach for America alumnus who has been critical of the program, checked Mr. Duncan's claims about Urban Prep. Of 166 students who entered as ninth graders, only 107 graduated. Astonishingly, the state Web site showed that only 17 percent passed state tests, compared to 64 percent in the low-performing Chicago public school district.

Miami Central had been "reconstituted," meaning that the principal and half the staff members were fired. The president said that "performance has skyrocketed by more than 60 percent in math," and that graduation rates rose to 63 percent, from 36 percent. But in math, it ranks 430th out of 469 high schools in Florida. Only 56 percent of its students meet state math standards, and only 16 percent met state reading standards. The graduation rate rose, but the school still ranks 431st, well below the state median graduation rate of 87 percent. The improvements at Miami Central are too small and too new to conclude that firing principals and teachers works.

To be sure, the hyping of test-score improvements that prove to be fleeting predated the Obama administration.

In 2005, New York's mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, held a news conference at Public School 33 in the Bronx to celebrate an astonishing 49-point jump in the proportion of fourth grade students there who met state standards in reading. In 2004, only 34 percent reached proficiency, but in 2005, 83 percent did.

It seemed too good to be true - and it was. A year later, the proportion of fourth-graders at P.S. 33 who passed the state reading test dropped by 41 points. By 2010, the passing rate was 37 percent, nearly the same as before 2005.

What is to be learned from these examples of inflated success? The news media and the public should respond with skepticism to any claims of miraculous transformation. The achievement gap between children from different income levels exists before children enter school.

Families are children's most important educators. Our society must invest in parental education, prenatal care and preschool. Of course, schools must improve; every one should have a stable, experienced staff, adequate resources and a balanced curriculum including the arts, foreign languages, history and science.

If every child arrived in school well-nourished, healthy and ready to learn, from a family with a stable home and a steady income, many of our educational problems would be solved. And that would be a miracle.

Diane Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University, is the author of "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education."


17) NATO Resumes Airstrikes After Qaddafi Vows to Fight On
"In Brussels on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would extend its mission for 90 days, The Associated Press reported. 'This decision sends a clear message to the Qaddafi regime: We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya.'" [Bomb them to protect them?...hmmm...sounds vaguely]
June 1, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya - After a 72-hour bombing lull to allow President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to fly into Tripoli on an unsuccessful peace mission for the African Union, NATO resumed its airstrikes on the Libyan capital after dusk on Tuesday. There was no immediate word from NATO or the Libyan government on the targets of the strikes.

The new attacks underscored NATO's declared intention to step up the pressures on Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to abandon power and flee into exile. But all signs in the wake of the Zuma visit on Monday pointed to a hardening resolve on the part of the 68-year-old Libyan leader, who was quoted in a statement issued by Mr. Zuma's office in South Africa as having told the South African leader that "he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties."

In Brussels on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would extend its mission for 90 days, The Associated Press reported. "This decision sends a clear message to the Qaddafi regime: We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya."

The chief spokesman for the Qaddafi government, Moussa Ibrahim, offering the first official Libyan account of the Zuma talks 24 hours after they ended, also emphasized Colonel Qaddafi's determination to fight on. Addressing NATO and others who have called for Colonel Qaddafi to quit, Mr. Ibrahim offered a blunt riposte. "We say: 'Who are you to say the Libyans cannot choose Muammar Qaddafi?' " He added: "We will never give in."

Saying the Libyan people's "love for the leader" had imbued "thousands and thousands" of Libyans with a will to resist NATO and the rebels who had taken control of much of eastern Libya, he added, "When it comes down to it we will all take our guns and fight."

The increasingly shrill words appeared to reflect a darkening sense of isolation, brought on by 10 weeks of NATO bombing, rebel advances in the east, Western leaders' recent reaffirmation of demands for Colonel Qaddafi to quit, and the fact that Russia, an old ally of Libya, joined those demands last week. Also, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court announced two weeks ago that they would seek war crimes indictments against Colonel Qaddafi and a son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, narrowing the destinations the Libyan leader might choose if forced into exile.

The pressures found a renewed focal point on Monday when clashes broke out between government forces and a dense crowd of protesters in the Souq al-Juma neighborhood of Tripoli. A video posted on the Internet by activists showed scenes from what were said to have been hours of angry street demonstrations, when pro-Qaddafi forces opened fire on crowds who had turned out for the funeral of two protesters. The video, posted on YouTube, showed the protesters shouting "Muammar is the enemy of God!"

The heavily populated district is one of several in Tripoli where protests against Colonel Qaddafi were suppressed after the revolt first erupted in February.

Reporters who reached the neighborhood on Tuesday found it peaceful, but local people pointed to what they said were fresh bullet holes in walls and cars from Monday's shooting, and spoke of nighttime raids by security forces to round up suspected rebel sympathizers, according to a Reuters report.

Mr. Ibrahim, the government spokesman, told reporters he had no information on the reported unrest.


18) Pentagon to Consider Cyberattacks Acts of War
May 31, 2011

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon, trying to create a formal strategy to deter cyberattacks on the United States, plans to issue a new strategy soon declaring that a computer attack from a foreign nation can be considered an act of war that may result in a military response.

Several administration officials, in comments over the past two years, have suggested publicly that any American president could consider a variety of responses - economic sanctions, retaliatory cyberattacks or a military strike - if critical American computer systems were ever attacked.

The new military strategy, which emerged from several years of debate modeled on the 1950s effort in Washington to come up with a plan for deterring nuclear attacks, makes explicit that a cyberattack could be considered equivalent to a more traditional act of war. The Pentagon is declaring that any computer attack that threatens widespread civilian casualties - for example, by cutting off power supplies or bringing down hospitals and emergency-responder networks - could be treated as an act of aggression.

In response to questions about the policy, first reported Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, administration and military officials acknowledged that the new strategy was so deliberately ambiguous that it was not clear how much deterrent effect it might have. One administration official described it as "an element of a strategy," and added, "It will only work if we have many more credible elements."

The policy also says nothing about how the United States might respond to a cyberattack from a terrorist group or other nonstate actor. Nor does it establish a threshold for what level of cyberattack merits a military response, according to a military official.

In May 2009, four months after President Obama took office, the head of the United States Strategic Command, Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, told reporters that in the event of a cyberattack "the law of armed conflict will apply," and warned that "I don't think you take anything off the table" in considering a response. "Why would we constrain ourselves?" he asked, according to an article about his comments that appeared in Stars and Stripes.

During the cold war, deterrence worked because there was little doubt the Pentagon could quickly determine where an attack was coming from - and could counterattack a specific missile site or city. In the case of a cyberattack, the origin of the attack is almost always unclear, as it was in 2010 when a sophisticated attack was made on Google and its computer servers. Eventually Google concluded that the attack came from China. But American officials never publicly identified the country where it originated, much less whether it was state sanctioned or the action of a group of hackers.

"One of the questions we have to ask is, How do we know we're at war?" one former Pentagon official said. "How do we know when it's a hacker and when it's the People's Liberation Army?"

A participant in the debate over the administration's broader cyberstrategy added, "Almost everything we learned about deterrence during the nuclear standoffs with the Soviets in the '60s, '70s and '80s doesn't apply."

White House officials, responding to the article that appeared in The Journal, argued that any consideration of using the military to respond to a cyberattack would constitute a "last resort," after other efforts to deter an attack failed.

They pointed to a new international cyberstrategy, released by the White House two weeks ago, that called for international cooperation on halting potential attacks, improving computer security and, if necessary, neutralizing cyberattacks in the making. General Chilton and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James E. Cartwright, have long urged that the United States think broadly about other forms of deterrence, including threatening a country's economic well-being, or its reputation.

The Pentagon strategy is coming out at a moment when billions of dollars are up for grabs among federal agencies working on cyber-related issues, including the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Each has been told by the White House to come up with approaches that fit the international cyberstrategy that the White House published in May.


19) 9/11 Defendants Charged at Guantánamo With Terrorism and Murder
May 31, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Military prosecutors have refiled terrorism and murder charges against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other men in the Sept. 11 attacks, using a revamped trial process at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The charges allege that the men were responsible for planning the attacks that sent hijacked commercial airliners slamming into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Prosecutors have recommended that the trial be a capital case, which could bring the death penalty.

The five men, all being held at Guantánamo, were charged previously in connection with the attacks, but those charges were dropped in 2009 when the Obama administration hoped to close the American detention facility at Guantánamo and do away with Bush-era military commissions for trying terror suspects.

The four alleged co-conspirators are Walid Muhammad Salih bin Attash, a Yemeni accused of running a Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and researching flight simulators and timetables; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni who allegedly helped find flight schools for the hijackers; Ali Abdul-Aziz Ali, accused of helping nine of the hijackers travel to the United States and sending them $120,000 for expenses and flight training; and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, a Saudi accused of helping the hijackers with money, Western clothing, traveler's checks and credit cards.

All five men were charged with conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, hijacking aircraft and terrorism.

The men were initially charged with the same offenses in February 2008, but that plan stalled in 2009 as President Obama ordered a review of the military commission system. That November, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that the five would face trial in a civilian court in New York City.

That plan, however, was widely opposed by Republicans in Congress, as well as some New York Democrats, and Congress passed legislation prohibiting any move to bring Guantánamo detainees to the United States.

About two months ago, the Obama administration bowed to political pressure and said it would instead prosecute the men before a military commission. The chief prosecutor in the office of military commissions, Capt. John Murphy, said he would recommend a joint trial at Guantánamo for all five.


20) Florida: Welfare Recipients Face Drug Tests
[This will very effectively will punish the children of these "needy families." That way I suppose they think they can kill two birds with one stone!]
May 31, 2011

Saying Florida residents should not subsidize substance abusers, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that will require welfare recipients to submit to drug tests. Applicants for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program who test positive for illegal substances will not be eligible for benefits for one year or until they complete a treatment program. Liz Schott, a policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, which focuses on public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families, said the measure signed into law by Mr. Scott, a Republican, was "about smearing people who are getting welfare."


21) Clock Ticks for a Key Homeless Program
"The coalition has pressed the Bloomberg administration to give homeless people preference for public housing and vouchers for Section 8, a federally financed subsidy program using private housing, as previous administrations had. The administration said that was not feasible, because the Section 8 program had a waiting list of 125,000 people and public housing had a list of 144,000."
May 31, 2011

With New York City's shelter population near all-time highs, the Bloomberg administration is on the verge of ending its signature housing program for homeless families, saying the program's generosity might have contributed to the problem.

The program, called Advantage, started in 2007 and offers subsidies for up to two years to help people in shelters afford their own apartments, provided they work or take part in job training. But several months ago, the administration warned that if the state followed through with its plan to stop its financial support, the city could not afford to maintain the program and would cut off aid even to those already participating.

After those warnings, the number of applicants to enter shelters dropped by 17 percent, evidence, the city said, that the program might have enticed some people to leave their homes for the promise of the subsidy.

"You never know what motivates people," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said during a recent radio show. "One theory is that some people have been coming into the homeless system, the shelter system, in order to qualify for a program that helps you move out of the homeless system."

That supposition has angered advocates for the homeless, who say that it is merely an attempt to justify budget cuts, and that the statistical argument is based on short-term fluctuations. They also note that just two months ago, when the city was lobbying for the state aid, it warned that ending Advantage would cause the homeless population to spin out of control and require the opening of at least 70 new shelters.

"To say that it was Advantage that was drawing folks into the homeless system was just unfounded and untrue," said City Councilwoman Annabel Palma, chairwoman of the general welfare committee, which oversees the Department of Homeless Services. "They have never been able to give us concrete numbers."

When questioned about the figures, the department acknowledged that the decline could be partly a result of seasonal variations. But normal fluctuations could not explain all of the drop, officials said. "Those are the people who were coming in maybe because of the subsidy," said Seth Diamond, the homeless services commissioner.

Regardless, the Bloomberg administration's conclusion reflects a significant shift in its policy toward the homeless, which has followed the mayor's centrist philosophy of mixing the social safety net with personal responsibility. In a similar vein, his administration began paying poor families for reaching certain goals, like going to the doctor for regular checkups and attending parent-teacher conferences, though programs that rewarded students with cellphones and $50 payments were abandoned because they did not significantly improve achievement.

The Advantage program was envisioned as a transitional step between homelessness and self-sufficiency. Its projected cost for the next fiscal year was $140 million, with the state and federal governments contributing $92 million of that. But the state, citing fiscal constraints, pulled its support, and with it cut off the federal matching dollars.

The City Council and Mr. Bloomberg have not settled on a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, but so far neither side has shown any inclination to save the program.

Advantage has provided rental vouchers worth up to about $1,000 a month, for up to two years, to homeless people who found jobs. In March, the city announced the program's suspension, saying that it would issue no more vouchers, and that people who already had vouchers would lose them. After that announcement, the city said, the number of applications for shelter fell.

The Legal Aid Society sued, and a judge issued a temporary order forcing the city to continue financing the vouchers that it had already issued, at least through the end of May. A decision on June payments could come as soon as Wednesday.

One of those in limbo, Kasha Phillips-Lewis, 24, qualified last year for a $962 monthly voucher, spent another five months looking for an apartment, then finally moved out of a shelter in March to a $1,070-a-month apartment on Staten Island. She learned she might lose her subsidy a few weeks later.

"I was in a panic mode," said Ms. Phillips-Lewis, who has a toddler daughter. "I am now working 25 hours a week but that still isn't enough to cover a $1,070 apartment plus heat and gas and electricity and traveling money. That's not including diapers and extra food."

When asked whether she had encountered people who had left their homes and entered the shelter system to gain access to Advantage's safety net, she replied, "absolutely not."

Another participant, Amanda Cotto, 24, said she knew about Advantage and was hoping to secure a voucher when she left home with her young daughter last year after getting into a fight with her mother.

"A lot of my friends explained to me what the program was," Ms. Cotto said. "And when I got to the shelter, they explained it more." She qualified for a voucher and now lives in a $492 two-bedroom apartment in East Harlem.

She said she did not leave home to avail herself of the voucher, but she agreed with the mayor that some people did.

"The majority of people who go into shelters" can get an apartment on their own, she said, "but they want it for free."

More than 21,000 families have participated since Advantage began. At first, they contributed only $50 a month toward rent, but the rules were later changed to require them to pay 30 percent of their income in their first year and 40 percent in their second year to "emphasize self-sufficiency," Mr. Diamond said.

But the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group, criticizes Advantage as a "revolving door back to homelessness," contending most families could not attain self-sufficiency in two years. The group calculates about 25 percent of families returned to the shelter system after leaving the program. Under a court order dating back decades, the city is required to provide shelter to any homeless person who qualifies.

The city disputes the coalition's numbers, but Mr. Diamond said "even using the coalition's interpretation," the program was a success.

Still, the overall shelter population, at 36,600 people, is near a record high, though the numbers have dropped from last year.

The coalition has pressed the Bloomberg administration to give homeless people preference for public housing and vouchers for Section 8, a federally financed subsidy program using private housing, as previous administrations had. The administration said that was not feasible, because the Section 8 program had a waiting list of 125,000 people and public housing had a list of 144,000.


22) Officers' Accuser Says She Was Devastated by Verdict
May 31, 2011

Five days after two New York police officers were acquitted of rape charges, their accuser broke her silence, releasing a statement in which she said she was "devastated and disappointed by the jury's decision."

The woman, in a 574-word statement released on Tuesday, said she had waited two and a half years "for closure that will now never come."

"Hearing that verdict," she said, "brought me to my knees; it brought me back to my bedroom on that awful night when my world was turned upside down by the actions of two police officers who were sent there to protect, but instead took advantage of their authority and broke the law."

Prosecutors had accused one of the officers, Kenneth Moreno, of having sex with the woman while she lay face-down and dazed in her bed, while his partner, Franklin Mata, stood guard. The officers were called to the woman's East Village apartment building to escort her inside because she was too drunk to make it on her own. After helping her up to her fifth-floor apartment, the officers returned three more times. They said they were returning just to check on her, and Mr. Moreno said he was counseling the woman about her drinking.

While the officers were acquitted of the most serious charges against them, they were convicted of three misdemeanor counts of official misconduct for returning to the woman's apartment while they were supposed to be on patrol. When they are sentenced on June 28, they could receive up to a year in jail on each count - up to a maximum of two years.

Despite the acquittal, the woman indicated that she did not believe it was a full exoneration of the officers, who were fired hours after the verdict was delivered. In her opening sentence, she wrote, "I know that in a criminal trial a verdict of not guilty does not necessarily mean the defendants were found innocent."

The woman, who asked not to be identified, still has a $57 million lawsuit pending against the city and the officers.

She still believed, she said, that there were good police officers in New York.

"Not a single officer in uniform sat behind the defendants when I testified," she said. "That speaks volumes."

The verdict has stunned many people across the city, with some even taking to the streets in protest.

"I am also so amazed and touched by the thousands of people who have expressed their outrage at what happened to me," she said. "How amazing are the people of New York City, and all over the country, to speak up in my honor. For me, public opinion will be the ultimate verdict."

But for those who supported the officers, the verdict was seen as a validation of their accounts and a repudiation of what the woman testified to. Although the woman acknowledged at trial that she had blacked out on much of the evening because she got drunk at a party celebrating a job promotion, she said she vividly remembered being penetrated by the officer and being unable to stop him.

In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Moreno's wife, Julia, said the woman lacked credibility.

"I'm just glad that the jurors saw it the way it was and not some fantasy that somebody was trying to shove down their throats," Ms. Moreno said.

Joseph Tacopina, one of Mr. Moreno's lawyers, wrote in an e-mail that the "verdict should be respected."

"Although the accuser cites 'public opinion' as the 'ultimate verdict,' we are a nation of laws; not mob justice," he wrote. "It was the jury, and not the 'public,' that heard all of the testimony in this case, including that of the accuser, and rendered a verdict consistent with the evidence and the law."

For the woman, her case was indicative of the difficulties of prosecuting sex crimes.

"One's word is not enough in these days of C.S.I. and DNA," she wrote. "Even if people believe you, you are tested beyond what any crime victim should have to endure."

She criticized questions from defense lawyers that "seek to shame and humiliate you."

"How saddening, how utterly disheartening," she said.

The woman thanked Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, for swiftly firing Mr. Moreno and Mr. Mata because of the official-misconduct convictions.

She also praised the prosecutors, Coleen Balbert and Randolph Clarke, and the district attorney's investigator, Edward Tacchi, writing that "I cry as I write this because I know they are hurting just like me."

After the verdict, the woman said, Mr. Tacchi told her, "I am saddened for this injustice, and so sorry to you for this failure."

That set off an outpouring of emotion, she recalled. "I lost it," she said. "My heart broke."


23) Company Once Known as Blackwater Names New CEO
June 1, 2011

MOYOCK, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina-based global security company once known as Blackwater has named a new CEO as it continues to rebuild its business after years of bad publicity.

Moyock-based XE (ZEE) Services said Wednesday that Air Force veteran and government contractor Ted Wright will start as chief executive June 13.

Most recently, Wright was an executive with Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc.

Investor group USTC Holdings bought Xe last year and has been trying to rehabilitate the image of the company that became famous as Blackwater.

Under that name, the firm provided guards and services to the U.S. government in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It drew harsh criticism from members of Congress and others after a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that killed 17 people.


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