Monday, July 25, 2011



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:





Dear Friends,

As many of you have heard, the Short Corridor Collective at Pelican Bay have ended their hunger strike and have declared it a success! Their courageous act of refusing to eat for 4 weeks has successfully put the issues of torturous isolation units and California's abominable debriefing program in the international & national media, it has boosted a growing movement for the rights of prisoners, and is unifying prisoners of different racial groups for a struggle against their real and shared enemies: the unfair policies and practices of CDCR.

Many of you also know that the hunger strike continues in Tehachapi, Corcoran, and Calipatria State Prisons.

We must continue to put pressure on CDCR and
Governor Jerry Brown!

On Monday, 7/25 from noon-4pm in Sacramento, family members, community based organizations, and community members from around the state are mobilizing to support the ongoing California Prisoner Hunger Strike!

Meet in Sacramento at Fremont Park (on 15th St., b/w Q & P Streets) @ 11:30am.
March to CDCR headquarters (1515 S. Street) and rally from noon-2pm.

March to State Building to deliver organizational letter to Governor Jerry Brown's office from 2-4pm.

*Please note that this will be a PEACEFUL, non-arrestable action.

Please take the time to forward this email to all of your contacts, and continue to call CDCR and Governor Brown demanding more humane treatment of prisoners across California.

For more information, please check the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Blog or call (510) 444-0484.

BAY AREA Ride-share: Meet at West Oakland BART at 9:30am, rides will be leaving at 10am. If you have a car & want to offer rides, or if you need a ride, please contact Lisa Roellig: 415-238-1801 (cell).

Thank you for your continued support!

In Struggle,
Lisa Marie Alatorre for Critical Resistance


The Last US General Strike:
_East Bay Transit Workers Started It!__

Join Laborfest for a walking tour, lead by Gifford Hartman, where the last citywide general strike in US history started.
July 30 (Saturday) (Free) Oakland 1946 General Strike Walk 10:30AM OAKLAND, Telegraph and Broadway (12th Street BART) - Meet at the fountain in Latham Square
_Sponsored by Laney College Labor Studies (510-464-3210)
A four-day regional general strike was conducted in 1946 in Oakland and the East Bay to support the unionization of women shop clerks and store employees at downtown Oakland department stores. The Oakland general strike was centered on bringing women into the existing unions, increasing their standard of living and started to end racial segregation in several of the then all white male unions. Strikers acted together on their mutual interests, as we could now.
A video screening and open-mic discussion will follow as a step to revive the tradition of community-wide working class solidarity.__

The General Strike started when the President of Amalgamated Carmen's Union (Now known as the Amalgamated Transit Union or ATU) Local 192 and Alameda Labor Council President, one and the same -- Al Brown, stopped the streetcars on Telegraph Avenue. __He called an emergency meeting of Local 192 in the street and union members voted to shut down public transit in the East Bay. Within 24 hours, the general strike spread to over 100,000 East Bay workers and nearly all East Bay commerce shut down for 54 hours. Other union workers threatened to shut down all electrical power in the East Bay. The power of organized labor ruled the streets. __

July 30 (Saturday) 3:00 PM (Free) Video: "We Called It A Work Holiday" produced/directed by Fred Glass. _Join us at SEIU 1021 - 100 Oak St., Oakland (close to Lake Merritt BART) Open-mic discussion follows.__

PREVIEW ONLINE - "We Called It A Work Holiday" =I-yFDzKzLfE&feature=related__


MORE INFO: GENE PEPI, 415-240-9561


After a decade of school "reform"
it is finally...
Our Day! Our March! Our Voice!
July 30th: Rally and march on the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

In 1963, over 200,000 concerned citizens marched on Washington to participate in a momentous event that forever shifted the national dialogue on race and justice. Consequently, policy changed. Laws changed. America changed.

In 2011, it is our time to change the national dialogue on public education.

For over a decade, education laws and policies have been enacted without input from those who REALLY know how to improve our schools and our society. And now, as we stand at a critical crossroads in the future of public schools and the teaching profession...

--The President has a voice
--The Secretary of Education has a voice
--Politicians have a voice
--Corporate billionaires have a voice
--The media have a voice

On July 30, 2011
The nation will finally hear OUR VOICE!

Teachers and parents will unite to tell the nation that. . .
--Testing is not the solution
--Privatization is not the solution
--Closing schools is not the solution
--Top-down reform is not the solution
--Blaming teachers is not the solution

Teachers and parents will unite to tell the nation that to save our schools, we need...

--Equitable funding for all public school communities
--Full and equitable public funding across all schools and systems, for community support services, for 21st century libraries.
--An end to racially and economically re-segregated schools
--End to high stakes testing used for student, teacher, and school evaluation
--Multiple, varied and fair assessments, no pay per test performance for teachers and administrators, an end to public school closures based upon test performance
--Curriculum developed for and by local school communities
--Small class sizes that foster caring, democratic learning communities, access to a --wide-range of instructional programs and technologies, a well-rounded education that develops students' intellectual, creative, and physical potential, opportunities for multicultural/multilingual curriculum for all students
--Teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies
--Educator and community leadership in drafting of new ESEA legislation, federal support for local school programs free of punitive and competitive funding, end to political and corporate control of curriculum, instruction and assessment decisions

Visit for more information about the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action events!
July 28 and 29: Educational activist conference, Washington, D.C.
Register on-line now, space limited!!
$80 cost for conference to go up to $100 on June 15.
Register for FREE on-line now to give us an idea of how many people will be showing up for the march
Save Our Schools Congress, July 31 in Washington, D.C.
Register for FREE on-line now; space is limited!

July 30th: Rally and march on the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

If there is one thing all teachers need to do over the 2011 summer break it is to attend the SOS March & National Call to Action in Washington, D.C.

Let US offer the solutions!
Let teachers and parents educate America!
Teachers and parents are the key to saving our schools!
Visit & Register at


Demonstrating against the Mega-Violent and Mega-Toxic Nuclear Industry on the 66th Anniversaries of the US Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Sat. August 6th, 2011 6-9 p.m. Livermore Lab
Gather at Bill Payne Park, Vasco Road and Patterson Pass Rd., Livermore.

Tues., Aug. 9, 8 a.m., ceremony and non-violent direct action. Gather at the Livermore lab West Gate on Vasco Rd.

Sponsor: Livermore Conversion Project, Tri Valley Cares


Redstone Bldg, 3rd floor conference room, 16th Street and Capp, San Francisco (wheelchair accessible).

Please make every effort to attend. Bring your friends! Reach out to new constituencies. JOIN US on AUGUST 13!

In solidarity,

Steering Committee, Northern California UNAC


Millions March In Harlem
Against the Attack on African People

the Bombing of Libya
the Illegal Sanctions in Zimbabwe
Bloomberg's Destruction
of Education, Housing, Health Care, Jobs and more!

Saturday, August 13, 2011
Pan Africanism Rising Against Imperialism!

Assemble at 10 AM
110th Street and Malcolm X Blvd
Harlem New York

Pan Africanism or Perish!
For more information and participation call (718) 398-1766
Forward to all your contacts and let us know how many will be attending!


Saturday, August 20 at 2:00pm
Location: In front of SF City Hall, Polk Street side, between Grove & McAllister

On the 34th Birthday of Idriss Stelley, Killed by SFPD on 6-12-01 at the Sony Metreon Complex,

The event is meant to launch a citywide police accountability and transparency COLLECTIVE comprised of socially mindful grassroots entities , social/racial Justice activists, and "progressive "city officials, as well as mayoral candidates, HOLD THEM TO THEIR PROMISES!

Performances, music, spoken word, and speakers.

If you would like to speak or perform,
please contact Jeremy Miller at 415-595-2894,,
or mesha Monge-Irizarry at 415-595-8251

Please join our facebook group at
Idriss Stelley Foundation !


United National Antiwar Committee
UNAC, P.O. Box 123, Delmar, New York 12054

Upcoming Actions:

August 20--Local actions or educational events on Other Wars
August 28--Organizing meeting for NATO/G-8 protests in Chicago
September 15 --Rally - Palestine is Coming to the UN!
October 6--Stop the Machine demonstration in Washington, DC
October 15--Local Afghanistan demonstrations or teach-ins
November11-13 --National UNAC Conference, Stamford, CT
May 15-22--Protest actions and educational events during NATO/G-8 Summits in Chicago

NEW YORK CITY, 6-18-11

A lively and hugely productive all-day meeting of the national UNAC Coordinating Committee and invited observers was attended by 69 people representing 46 organizations. The first leadership gathering since UNAC's formation at the national conference held in Albany last July was organized to review the current period and UNAC's first 10 months, and to project actions for the coming period.

Joe Lombardo, UNAC Co-Coordinator, began with an overview of the unprecedented events of the past year based on the US expansion of never-ending war along with a global economic crisis and attacks on workers and the poor at home. At the same time, conditions have worsened, the popular uprisings in North Africa and fightbacks in Madison, inspire new opportunities for organizing.

He started with the launch of UNAC in July, 2010 in Albany at the largest gathering of movement activists since 9/11 and the historic actions taken there that permanently changed the nature of the movement. One was the recognition of the monstrous growth of Islamophobia. The new alliance in defense of this community inspired the formation of the Muslim Peace Coalition and a broad coalition of organizations defending civil liberties. The second was the long overdue stand in solidarity with the Palestinians by demanding "End All US Aid to Israel". This unequivocal position has ended the marginalization of Palestinian rights and brought the antiwar and the Palestine solidarity movements together for the strengthening of both.

A highlight of the past year was the success of the April 9-10 national mobilizations, the largest in many years. These demonstrations were also the most diverse with a large number of Muslim families marching with students, Palestine solidarity activists, and thousands of others in NYC and SF.

Co-Coordinator, Marilyn Levin, addressed The Way Forward and Building UNAC. She outlined the challenge we face in this difficult period as we enter an election cycle and stressed that maintaining our basic principles of independence from political parties, unity of purpose and action in a broad, inclusive movement, defense of all individuals and constituencies under attack, and a commitment to mass action as the major strategy for movement building is the way to build the movement and strengthen UNAC.

Although the majority of the American people are with us re: ending the wars and redirecting the economy to maintain social services, the antiwar movement is still fragmented and the major constituencies do not act in a unified way, weakening all. There is even a discussion of whether we need an independent antiwar movement and the efficacy of mass action as counter to small acts of civil resistance. Given the current stresses, it seems inevitable that fight backs will increase and the need for a unified opposition will grow in spite of attempts to bring the movement into quiescence in the Democratic Party juggernaut.

Malik Mujahid of the Muslim Peace Coalition pointed out the growth of hate groups and violence with many states passing Islamopohobic, anti-immigrant and anti-union laws. He stressed outreach to faith groups and labor and ensuring the peace movement reflects the diversity of America, especially groups that are solidly against the war like students, Latinos, immigrants, African American, Muslims, and Native Americans. He emphasized the importance of using personal 1:1 communication to counter the din of electronic communication, while also using social and news media effectively. He also raised the issue of reframing the 9/11 message for the 10th anniversary when we can expect to see increased Islamophobia and repression of civil liberties. We can't appear to be anti-American or anti-religious. We must identify with America's future based on growing diversity.

Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report introduced a motion that stressed that our outreach and public statements must be broadened to include all oppressed nationalities, not only Muslims. This passed unanimously.

A discussion of upcoming UNAC actions followed.

Chris Gauvreau, CT United for Peace, addressed the fall actions marking the 10th year of war on Afghanistan. UNAC has endorsed and will build the October 6 actions in Washington, DC that will include nonviolent civil resistance actions and a plan to stay on. UNAC has also called for peaceful, legal national local demonstrations or other actions on Sat., Oct. 15 so that thousands will be visible in the streets in October.

A call for a second large, authoritative movement conference November 11-13, in Stamford, CT, was approved. Ashley Smith of the ISO outlined the plans and motivated the importance of bringing the entire movement together for education, training, bringing in new forces, and voting on action proposals for the coming period. A committee is already working on inviting prominent speakers and organizing workshops. The Coordinating Committee will formulate an Action Program to bring to the conference.

The escalation, brutality, and continuation of the UN/US war on Libya calls for vigorous action to defend the Libyan people and demand immediate withdrawal of all military forces. UNAC calls for demonstrations on Monday, June 27, the date that NATO has decided to extend hostilities for 90 more days. Regardless of different political views on the Qaddafi regime and the nature of the opposition in Libya, we all agree that foreign military forces, funding, and manipulation must cease and we support self-determination for the Libyans.

Sara Flounders from the International Action Center reported that NATO is coming to the US in the spring of 2012 for an international summit. UNAC will issue an international call for massive actions and a gathering of all sectors of the movement wherever and whenever this takes places. This will be the definitive spring action to galvanize the movement and demonstrate widespread opposition to US wars for domination and resources. (It is now known that this will be a NATO and G-8 gathering in Chicago May 15-22, 2012 and a broad call has been issued nationally.)

The gathering addressed proposals for ongoing work and actions.

There was a panel on fighting Islamophobia, attacks on civil liberties and targeting activists. Imam Latif described his experience with American Airlines not allowing he and his son to fly with no basis other than anti-Muslim/anti-Black profiling and bias, which they are legally challenging. Steve Downs from Project SALAM put the current attacks on Muslims (700,000 have been approached by the FBI) and activists in an historical perspective from the 1960's and 1970's attacks on black activists and civil rights workers and COINTELPRO tactics using agent provocateurs and frame-ups, resurrected with a vengeance. Attacks today include environmentalists and many groups of dissenters, whistle blowers, scapegoated communities. There are many political prisoners from the past that we mustn't forget. He also stressed the abuse prisoners suffer.

Jess Sundin, one of the targeted activists from the Twin Cities described the FBI targeting Latino activist Carlos Montes with trumped up criminal charges. His next court date is July 6 and actions will be organized in support. Carlos is available to speak and this is an opportunity to forge connections with the Latino community. Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait, reported on defense of Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks and the dangerous introduction of espionage charges and the death penalty. We are also approaching the ten year anniversary of opening Guantanamo prison. UNAC has played a leading role in calling for unified defense of all under attack.

Chris Hutchinson, from the CT Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, spoke of the exciting opportunities opening with the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. This national effort connects the war and the economy and is a natural vehicle for outreach and involvement with all the constituencies impacted by the economic crisis, particularly with workers, the poor, and youth. Creative use of petitions, resolutions, referenda, town meetings can be effectively used for outreach, education, and publicity. This outreach campaign is exciting to young activists and also to those who are engaged. It gives people who are never asked for their opinion a sense of ownership - this is "our" money.

Kathy Kelly, Voices of Creative Nonviolence, urged that we try to impact the electoral conversation by calling candidates to be accountable for their positions on the wars and other issues and pursue getting answers and to support actions like the veterans riding from Ground Zero to the Pentagon and the October 6 actions, and raising antiwar resolutions at Democratic Party caucuses.

The Other Wars have often been neglected by the antiwar movement. Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report explained that Black is Back was formed to expose Obama and call attention to US wars at home and abroad. These include US-proxy wars in Africa where the death tolls are far higher than in the acknowledged wars, particularly in Congo and Somalia. Haiti has lost its sovereignty and has the status of a protectorate, the fate awaiting Libya.

The evidence that there is a war going on at home is the number of prisoners, particularly young men of color. Other aspects of other wars discussed included the so-called "War on Drugs" and its devastating impact on Mexico, Colombia, and minorities and the poor in the US. Black youth do not use drugs disproportionately; however, the amount of surveillance and harsh penalties are disproportionate resulting in the alarming rates of incarceration. Iran and other countries that the US demonizes and threatens were highlighted; it is important that we take a firm position of non-intervention in sovereign countries. A resolution passed to condemn the role of the International Criminal Court in subverting its legal mandate through selective indictments of Africans.

Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Union and Black Agenda Report emphasized that the issue of mass incarceration is a burning issue with 2.3 million in prison and a disproportion of prisoners are African-American and Latino young men. UNAC needs to expand its base into the Black community by recognizing the crisis and supporting a national movement to end this assault on the youth and combat the prison industry, beginning with a statement.

UNAC has endorsed the Black is Back August 20 call for actions re: the Other Wars. A resource list of books, articles and speakers will be distributed.

There were several actions generated by panelists re: Palestine solidarity. Jenna Bittar from Hampshire College represented Students for Justice in Palestine. She pointed out that antiwar groups are scarce on college campuses and that SJP's have been the most politically active, particularly in BDS campaigns. She speculated that students have felt fairly powerless but the youth involvement and leadership in Egypt has raised awareness of student power and students might be more open to actions put forth by UNAC. Kathy Kelly will be on the U.S. boat to Gaza and spoke of plans to hold a memorial service for all those who have died on the boat. Stan Heller from the Middle East Crisis Committee brought a resolution from Stan, Medea Benjamin (Code PINK), and Kathy Kelly in solidarity with the flotilla. Actions included forming committees of boat watch volunteers to spread information; rallies, vigils, and meetings during the sailing; and demos the day after any attack. This resolution passed unanimously along with a resolution to denounce the U.S. tax dollar-financed murders of demonstrators for the right of return and to hold solidarity demonstrations with the third Nakba Right of Return demonstrations.

Judy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, spoke to the use of drones becoming the preferred weapons and surveillance tools for targeted assassinations. Demonstrators were arrested for protests at the Hancock AF drone base in Syracuse and expect trials this fall.

Bernadette Ellorin, Chair of BAYAN USA, spoke of the movement to close U.S. bases abroad. She described the Philippines as the "first Vietnam" where torture techniques and counterinsurgency tactics were developed and exported. UNAC voted to endorse a day of action to oppose military exercises on February 4, 2012, the anniversary of the Philippine-American war. She stressed the importance of recognizing the scope of U.S. military hegemony around the world. A motion was passed to oppose U.S. military bases, trainings, and funding and to support an educational campaign on U.S. counterinsurgency.

It was pointed out that Pakistan is the least understood country among the U.S. wars. Workshops were encouraged for the fall.

The following organizations were represented at the UNAC leadership meeting on June 18, 2011 in New York City

Action for a Progressive Pakistan; Al-Awda Palestine Right to ReturnCoalition - NY; Bayan-USA; Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace; Bail Out the People Movement; Black Agenda Report; Black is Back; Boston Stop the Wars; Code Pink; Committee to Stop FBI Repression; Ct. United for Peace; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Green Party; Haiti Liberte'; Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine; Honduras Resistencia- USA; International Action Center; International Support Haiti Network; International League of People'sStruggle; International Socialist Organization; Islamic Leadership Council ofMetropolitan NY; Jersey City Peace Movement; May 1st Workers and Immigrant Rights Coalition; Mobilization Against War and Occupation - Canada; Metro West Peace Action; Middle East Crisis Committee; Muslim Peace Coalition; New England United; Nodutdol Korean Community Development; Pakistan Solidarity Network; Philly Against War; Project Salam; Rhode Island Mobilization Committee; Rochester Against War; SI - Solidarity with Iran; Socialist Action; Socialist Party USA; Thomas MertonCenter Pittsburgh; United for Justice and Peace; Veterans for Peace; Voices for Creative Nonviolence; West Hartford Citizens for Peace; WESPAC; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Workers World; World Can't Wait


please forward widely)

National Call to Action!
Organizing Meeting!
For Jobs, Healthcare, Education, Pensions,
Housing and the Environment, Not War!
No to NATO/G-8 Warmakers!
No to War and Austerity!
You are invited to attend a Chicago/National Organizing Meeting:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Kent College of Law, Room C50

565 West Adams Street


At the invitation of the White House, military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation U.S.-commanded and largely U.S.-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers are convening to Chicago, May 15-22, 2012.

The U.S./NATO military behemoth enforces the interests of the global great power elites. $Trillions are expended for never-ending wars and occupations while $trillions in austerity programs are extracted from working people the world over.

The G-8 nations, the richest on earth, will assemble to plan ever new draconian measures seeking to resolve the problems created by their crisis-ridden and profit-driven social order at the expense of working people and the poor everywhere.

Theirs is the agenda of the heads of state of the world's richest nations and their imperial military-industrial establishments - the agenda of the banks and corporations - the agenda for austerity, unprecedented social cutbacks, union-busting, environmental destruction, global warming/climate crisis, racism, sexism, homophobia, deepening attacks on civil liberties, democratic rights and never-ending war.

Ours is the agenda for humanity's future. We will mobilize in the tens of thousands from cities across the U.S. and around the world. On Tuesday, May 15, the opening day of the NATO/G-8 deliberations, we will announce our agenda with a press conference, rally and peaceful march. On Saturday, May 19 we will mobilize for a massive march and rally - exercising our democratic rights to peaceful assembly to demand:

• Bring All U.S./NATO Troops, Mercenaries & War Contractors Home Now! Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, the Middle East and Elsewhere.
• End U.S. Aid to Israel! End U.S. Aid to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine! End the Siege of Gaza! No to Threats of War Against Iran! End the Sanctions Now!
• Trillions for Jobs, Housing, Education, Health Care, Pensions and the Environment! No to Attacks on Unions, Cutbacks, Layoffs, Mortgage Foreclosures and Austerity! Bring the War Dollars Home!
• Tax the Rich, Not Working People! No to Corporate and Bank Bailouts!
• Civil liberties for All! End Racist Attacks on Muslim and Arab Communities! End Racist Attacks on Blacks, Latinos and Immigrants! Full Legal Rights for All! No to FBI Repression and Grand Jury Subpoenas to Antiwar and Social Justice Activists!

We will demand that our guaranteed civil liberties and democratic rights be respected - that our right to peaceful assembly and political protest be honored - that the voices of the people not be stifled!

The following organizations/individuals are among the initial Chicago-area endorsers:

Hatem Abudayyeh, *US Palestinian Community Network, Chicago • Dave Bernt, Shop Stewart, Teamsters Local 705 •_Bill Chambers, Committee Against Political Repression • _Sarah Chambers, Executive Board Member, Chicago Teachers Union • _Mark Clements, Campaign to End the Death Penalty • _Vince Emmanuelle, *Iraq Veterans Against the War_ • Randy Evans, Global Reach, Inc. • Chris Geovanis, Hammerhard Media Works • _PatHunt, Chicago Area Code Pink, Chicago Area Peace Action • _Joe Isobaker, Committee to Stop FBI Repression • Dennis Kosuth, *National Nurses United, union steward • Kait McIntyre, Students for a Democratic Society, University of Illinois - Chicago_ • Jorge Mujica, March 10th Immigrant Rights Activist_ • Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence • _Eric Ruder, Chicago Network to Send US Boat to Gaza • _Adam Shills, *Illinois Educational Association • Newland Smith, Episcopalian Peace Fellowship • _Sarah Smith, Committee to Stop FBI Repression • _Students for Justice in Palestine at School of the Art Institute of Chicago • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, *Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign • _Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network and Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism_ *Organization for identification purposes only.

The May 15 and 19, 2012 mobilizations were initiated by the United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC) in partnership with antiwar and social justice groups in Chicago, across the U.S. and internationally. At the June 18, NYC National Coordinating Committee meeting of UNAC the 49 groups present unanimously adopted a resolution to protest the NATO/G8 meetings. They are listed as follows:

Action for a Progressive Pakistan • Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition - NY • BAYAN-USA • Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace • Bail Out the People Movement • Black Agenda Report • Black is Back • Boston Stop the Wars • Boston UNAC • Code Pink • Committee to Stop FBI Repression • Ct. United for Peace • Fellowship of Reconciliation • Green Party • Haiti Liberte' • Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine • Honduras Resistencia - USA • International Action Center •_International Support Haiti Network • International League of People's Struggle_• International Socialist Organization • Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan NY • Jersey City Peace Movement_• May 1st Workers and Immigrant Rights Coalition • Mobilization Against War and Occupation - Canada • Metro West Peace Action • Middle East Crisis Committee • Muslim Peace Coalition • New England United • Nodutdol Korean Community Development • Pakistan Solidarity Network • Philly Against War • Project Salam • Rhode Island Mobilization Committee • Rochester Against War • SI - Solidarity with Iran • Socialist Action • Socialist Party USA • Thomas Merton Center Pittsburgh • Veterans for Peace • Voices for Creative Nonviolence • West Hartford Citizens for Peace • WESPAC • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom • Workers World • World Can't Wait

A national coordinating committee and its Chicago counterpart, open to and inclusive of the direct and democratic participation of all antiwar and social justice organizations is in formation. Join us! Endorse the May 15 and May 19, 2012 Chicago mobilizations against the NATO-G-8 warmakers.

Contact: No to NATO/G-8 Warmakers: A National Network Opposing War and Austerity


Chicago: 773-301-0109 or 773-209-1187
National: 518-227-6947


Palestine Is Coming to the U.N.!
Rally, Thursday, September 15, 5 pm: Gather at Times Square
6 pm: March to Grand Central and then over to the U.N. to demand:

Palestine: Sovereignty Now!

Palestine: Enforce the Right of Return!

Palestine: Full Equality for All!

5 pm: Gather at Times Square

6 pm: March to Grand Central and then over to the U.N., as we say:

End All U.S. Aid to Israel!

End the Occupation!

Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!

For more information, email

Sponsored by the Palestine U.N. Solidarity Coalition


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.


(Please forward widely)
Save the dates of October 6, 15 to protest wars; and May 15-22, 2012--Northern California UNAC will be discussing plans for solidarity actions around the Chicago G-8 here.

United National Antiwar Committee or UNAC at P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054


On June 22, the White House defied the majority of Americans who want an end to the war in Afghanistan. Instead of announcing the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops, contractors, bases, and war dollars, Obama committed to removing only one twentieth of the US forces on the ground in Afghanistan over the next eight months. Another 23,000 will supposedly be withdrawn just in time to influence the 2012 elections. Even if the President follows thru on this plan, nearly 170,000 US soldiers and contractors will remain in Afghanistan. All veterans and soldiers will be raising the question, "Who will be the last U.S. combatant to die in Afghanistan?"

In truth, the President's plan is not a plan to end the war in Afghanistan. It was, instead, an announcement that the U.S. was changing strategy. As the New York Times reported, the US will be replacing the "counterinsurgency strategy" adopted 18 months ago with the kind of campaign of drone attacks, assassinations, and covert actions that the US has employed in Pakistan.

At a meeting of the United National Antiwar Committee's National Coordinating Committee, held in NYC on June 18, representatives of 47 groups voted to endorse the nonviolent civil resistance activities beginning on October 6 in Washington, D.C. and to call for nationally coordinated local actions on October 15 to protest the tenth anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan. UNAC urges activists in as many cities as possible to hold marches, picket lines, teach-ins, and other events to say:

· Withdraw ALL US/NATO Military Forces, Contractors, and Bases out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya NOW!
· End drone attacks on defenseless populations in Pakistan and Yemen!
· End US Aid to Israel! Hands Off Iran!
· Bring Our War Dollars Home Now! Money for Jobs and Education, Not for War and Incarceration!

Note these dates of upcoming significant events:
· November 11-13 UNAC National Conference - a gathering of all movement activists to learn, share, plan future actions.
· May 15-22, 2012 International Protest Actions against war criminals attending NATO meeting and G-8 summit in Chicago.

Challenge the NATO War Makers in Chicago May 15-22, 2012
NATO and the G8 are coming to Chicago - so are we!

The White House has just announced that the U.S. will host a major international meeting of NATO, the US-commanded and financed 28-nation military alliance, in Chicago from May 15 to May 22, 2012. It was further announced that at the same time and place, there will be a summit of the G-8 world powers. The meetings are expected to draw heads of state, generals and countless others.

At a day-long meeting in New York City on Saturday, June 18, the United National Antiwar Committee's national coordinating committee of 69 participants, representing, 47 organizations, unanimously passed a resolution to call for action at the upcoming NATO meeting.

UNAC is determined to mount a massive united outpouring in Chicago during the NATO gathering to put forth demands opposing endless wars and calling for billions spent on war and destruction be spent instead on people's needs for jobs, health care, housing and education.


Whereas, the U.S. is the major and pre-eminent military, economic and political power behind NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and

Whereas, the U.S. will be hosting a major NATO gathering in the spring of 2012, and

Whereas, U.S. and NATO-allied forces are actively engaged in the monstrous wars, occupations and military attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, the Middle East and elsewhere,

Be it resolved that:

1) UNAC, in conjunction with a broad range of groups and organizations that share general agreement with the major demands adopted at our 2010 Albany, NY national conference, initiate a mass demonstration at the site of the NATO gathering, and

2) UNAC welcomes and encourages the participation of all groups interested in mobilizing against war and for social justice in planning a broad range of other NATO meeting protests including teach-ins, alternative conferences and activities organized on the basis of direct action/civil resistance, and

3) UNAC will seek to make the NATO conference the occasion for internationally coordinated protests, and

4) UNAC will convene a meeting of all of the above forces to discuss and prepare initial plans to begin work on this spring action.

Resolution passed unanimously by the National Coordinating Committee of UNAC on Saturday, June 18, 2011

click here to donate to UNAC:

Click here for the Facebook UNAC group.


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


Japanese Nuclear Reactors Still A Major Problem


BART protest

Uploaded by TheBayCitizen on Jul 11, 2011

Protesters heckled deputy BART police chief Daniel Hartwig as he tries to get them to close the door on the BART train. About 50 gathered at Civic Center Station to protest the BART police shooting of Charles Hill.


Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class [Full Film]

Narrated by Ed Asner

Based on the book by Pepi Leistyna, Class Dismissed navigates the steady stream of narrow working class representations from American television's beginnings to today's sitcoms, reality shows, police dramas, and daytime talk shows.

Featuring interviews with media analysts and cultural historians, this documentary examines the patterns inherent in TV's disturbing depictions of working class people as either clowns or social deviants -- stereotypical portrayals that reinforce the myth of meritocracy.

Class Dismissed breaks important new ground in exploring the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality intersect with class, offering a more complex reading of television's often one-dimensional representations. The video also links television portrayals to negative cultural attitudes and public policies that directly affect the lives of working class people.

Featuring interviews with Stanley Aronowitz, (City University of New York); Nickel and Dimed author, Barbara Ehrenreich; Herman Gray (University of California-Santa Cruz); Robin Kelley (Columbia University); Pepi Leistyna (University of Massachusetts-Boston) and Michael Zweig (State University of New York-Stony Brook). Also with Arlene Davila, Susan Douglas, Bambi Haggins, Lisa Henderson, and Andrea Press.

Sections: Class Matters | The American Dream Machine | From the Margins to the Middle | Women Have Class | Class Clowns | No Class | Class Action


Let's torture the truth out of suicide bombers says new CIA chief Petraeus


Stop Police Brutality: Justice for Eric Radcliff

22 year old Eric Radcliff was shot and killed by police officers from the 35th district on the morning of Saturday May 21st, 2011. According to witnesses he was unarmed. The incident took place on the 5800 Block of Mascher Street in the 5th and Olney Section.

1. Open An Investigation Into the May 21st Shooting Death of 22 year old Eric Radcliff by officers of the Philadelphia Police Department's 35th District.
2. End Police Brutality! Serve and Protect, Not Disrespect and Victimize!
3. LETS GET OUR HOUSE IN ORDER. Let's Unite for Real Security and To Build a Better Future for Ourselves

Please come Join in UNITY AND LOVE! God is Good, We ARE winning!
215-954-2272 for more information
VIA Justice for Eric Radcliff


Stop Police Brutality: Justice for Albert Pernell Jr.


Autopsy Released in Police Shooting of Man Holding Nozzle
Douglas Zerby was shot 12 times, in the chest, arms and lower legs.
Watch Mary Beth McDade's report,0,2471345.story



I Wanna Be A Pirate


Kim Ives & Dan Coughlin on WikiLeaks Cables that Reveal "Secret History" of U.S. Bullying in Haiti


Operation Empire State Rebellion


20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know
Click an image to learn more about a fact!


Licensed to Kill Video

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


Guy on wheelchair taken down by officers


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


Tier Systems Cripple Middle Class Dreams for Young Workers


Union Town by Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman



"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.


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 environment 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


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"


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


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




Barbarous Confinement
July 17, 2011


MORE than 1,700 prisoners in California, many of whom are in maximum isolation units, have gone on a hunger strike. The protest began with inmates in the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison. How they have managed to communicate with each other is anyone's guess - but their protest is everyone's concern. Many of these prisoners have been sent to virtually total isolation and enforced idleness for no crime, not even for alleged infractions of prison regulations. Their isolation, which can last for decades, is often not explicitly disciplinary, and therefore not subject to court oversight. Their treatment is simply a matter of administrative convenience.

Solitary confinement has been transmuted from an occasional tool of discipline into a widespread form of preventive detention. The Supreme Court, over the last two decades, has whittled steadily away at the rights of inmates, surrendering to prison administrators virtually all control over what is done to those held in "administrative segregation." Since it is not defined as punishment for a crime, it does not fall under "cruel and unusual punishment," the reasoning goes.

As early as 1995, a federal judge, Thelton E. Henderson, conceded that so-called "supermax" confinement "may well hover on the edge of what is humanly tolerable," though he ruled that it remained acceptable for most inmates. But a psychiatrist and Harvard professor, Stuart Grassian, had found that the environment was "strikingly toxic," resulting in hallucinations, paranoia and delusions. In a "60 Minutes" interview, he went so far as to call it "far more egregious" than the death penalty.

Officials at Pelican Bay, in Northern California, claim that those incarcerated in the Security Housing Unit are "the worst of the worst." Yet often it is the most vulnerable, especially the mentally ill, not the most violent, who end up in indefinite isolation. Placement is haphazard and arbitrary; it focuses on those perceived as troublemakers or simply disliked by correctional officers and, most of all, alleged gang members. Often, the decisions are not based on evidence. And before the inmates are released from the barbarity of 22-hour-a-day isolation into normal prison conditions (themselves shameful) they are often expected to "debrief," or spill the beans on other gang members.

The moral queasiness that we must feel about this method of extracting information from those in our clutches has all but disappeared these days, thanks to the national shame of "enhanced interrogation techniques" at Guantánamo. Those in isolation can get out by naming names, but if they do so they will likely be killed when returned to a normal facility. To "debrief" is to be targeted for death by gang members, so the prisoners are moved to "protective custody" - that is, another form of solitary confinement.

Hunger strikes are the only weapon these prisoners have left. Legal avenues are closed. Communication with the outside world, even with family members, is so restricted as to be meaningless. Possessions - paper and pencil, reading matter, photos of family members, even hand-drawn pictures - are removed. (They could contain coded messages between gang members, we are told, or their loss may persuade the inmates to snitch when every other deprivation has failed.)

The poverty of our criminological theorizing is reflected in the official response to the hunger strike. Now refusing to eat is regarded as a threat, too. Authorities are considering force-feeding. It is likely it will be carried out - as it has been, and possibly still continues to be - at Guantánamo (in possible violation of international law) and in an evil caricature of medical care.

In the summer of 1996, I visited two "special management units" at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. A warden boasted that one of the units was the model for Pelican Bay. He led me down the corridors on impeccably clean floors. There was no paint on the concrete walls. Although the corridors had skylights, the cells had no windows. Nothing inside could be moved or removed. The cells contained only a poured concrete bed, a stainless steel mirror, a sink and a toilet. Inmates had no human contact, except when handcuffed or chained to leave their cells or during the often brutal cell extractions. A small place for exercise, called the "dog pen," with cement floors and walls, so high they could see nothing but the sky, provided the only access to fresh air.

Later, an inmate wrote to me, confessing to a shame made palpable and real: "If they only touch you when you're at the end of a chain, then they can't see you as anything but a dog. Now I can't see my face in the mirror. I've lost my skin. I can't feel my mind."

Do we find our ethics by forcing prisoners to live in what Judge Henderson described as the setting of "senseless suffering" and "wretched misery"? Maybe our reaction to hunger strikes should involve some self-reflection. Not allowing inmates to choose death as an escape from a murderous fate or as a protest against continued degradation depends, as we will see when doctors come to make their judgment calls, on the skilled manipulation of techniques that are indistinguishable from torture. Maybe one way to react to prisoners whose only reaction to bestial treatment is to starve themselves to death might be to do the unthinkable - to treat them like human beings.

Colin Dayan, a professor of English at Vanderbilt University, is the author of "The Law Is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons."


According to a source at Pelican Bay State Prison, who prefers to be anonymous, the medical conditions for many strikers have deteriorated to critical levels, with fears some prisoners could start to die if immediate action isn't taken. For at least 200 prisoners in the SHU at Pelican Bay, medical staff have stated:

"The prisoners are progressing rapidly to the organ damaging consequences of dehydration. They are not drinking water and have decompensated rapidly. A few have tried to sip water but are so sick that they are vomiting it back up. Some are in renal failure and have been unable to make urine for 3 days. Some are having measured blood sugars in the 30 range, which can be fatal if not treated."

Since the hunger strike has spread to at least a third of CA's prisons, family members have informed Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity of their loved one's conditions. They have reported hunger strikers have lost 20-30 pounds, are incredibly pale, and that a number of prisoners fainted and/or went into diabetic shock during family visits this past weekend. Some prisoners have been taken to the prison hospital in at least Corcoran and Pelican Bay.

TODAY: Take Action! Call NOW!

Governor Jerry Brown: 916-445-2841 "Hi my name is _________ . I'm calling about the statewide prisoner hunger strike that began at Pelican Bay. I support the prisoners & their reasonable "five core demands." I am alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating medical conditions of the hunger strikers & the inaction of the CDCR. I urge you to make sure the CDCR negotiates with the prisoners immediately & in good faith, before prisoners are force-fed or even die. Thank you."

***Also call your legislators and urge them to make sure the CDCR negotiates with the prisoners in good faith.***

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate: 916-323-6001
"Hi my name is _____. I'm calling about the statewide prisoner hunger strike that began at Pelican Bay. I support the prisoners & their reasonable "five core demands." I am alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating medical conditions of the hunger strikers & the inaction of the CDCR. I urge the CDCR to negotiate with the prisoners immediately & in good faith, before prisoners are force-fed or even die. Thank You."

Other Ways to Support the Hunger Strike:

The prisoners need international support! No matter where you are geographically, you can help amplify the prisoner's voices and demands:

Check out the blog and Attend Solidarity Events & Demonstrations!
Sign the online petition!

Organize a Solidarity Event/Action in a city or town near you!
Share this information with everyone you know through phone calls, emails, facebook, twitter, and more!

Use grassroots & mainstream media to raise awareness and amplify the prisoner's demands!

If you have a loved one locked up and want support contacting them about the hunger strike, reach out to the coalition by sending an email to:

It is important that they have updates on the status of the hunger strike both at Pelican Bay and across California, including how people are showing solidarity & support for the hunger strike outside.

Thank you for your support!

In Struggle,
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity*

Five Core Demands Petition:

Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (California) began an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011 to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment. The hunger strike was organized by prisoners in an unusual show of racial unity. The hunger strikers developed five core demands. Briefly they are:

1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh.

2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to longterm isolation (SHU). They can escape these tortuous conditions only if they "debrief," that is, provide information on gang activity. Debriefing produces false information (wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, in an endless cycle) and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.

3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. This bipartisan commission specifically recommended to "make segregation a last resort" and "end conditions of isolation." Yet as of May 18, 2011, California kept 3,259 prisoners in SHUs and hundreds more in Administrative Segregation waiting for a SHU cell to open up. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.

4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations. There is no accountability or independent quality control of meals.

5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates. The hunger strikers are pressing for opportunities "to engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities..." Currently these opportunities are routinely denied, even if the prisoners want to pay for correspondence courses themselves. Examples of privileges the prisoners want are: one phone call per week, and permission to have sweatsuits and watch caps. (Often warm clothing is denied, though the cells and exercise cage can be bitterly cold.) All of the privileges mentioned in the demands are already allowed at other SuperMax prisons (in the federal prison system and other states).


Statement by Angela Davis regarding Troy Davis

I urgently appeal to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and to the members of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole - L. Gale Buckner , Robert E. Keller, James E. Donald, Albert Murray, and Terry Barnard - to spare the life of Troy Davis, a young African American citizen of your state.

I hope everyone within sight or sound of my words or my voice will likewise urgently call and fax Gov. Neal and the members of the Board. Under Georgia law, only they can stop the execution of Troy Davis.

First of all, there is very compelling evidence that Troy Davis may be innocent of the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in 1989 in Savannah. The case against Davis has all but collapsed: seven of nine witnesses against him have recanted their testimony and said that they were pressured by police to lie; and nine other witnesses have implicated one of the remaining two as the actual killer. No weapon or physical evidence linking Davis to the murder was ever found. No jury has ever heard this new information, and four of the jurors who originally found him guilty have signed statements in support of Mr. Davis.

More importantly, the planned execution of a likely innocent young Black man in the state of Georgia has become a terrible blot on the status of the United States in the international community of nations. All modern industrial and democratic nations and 16 states within the United States have abolished capital punishment. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the men and women on death rows across the country are Black and other people of color, and are universally poor, severely undermines our country's standing in the eyes of the people of the world.

Most importantly, the execution of Troy Davis will contribute to an atmosphere of violence and racism and a devaluation of life itself within our country. If we can execute anyone, especially a man who may be innocent of any crime, it fosters disrespect for the law and life itself. This exacerbates every social problem at a time when the people of our country face some of the most difficult challenges regarding our economic security and future.

I urge everyone to join with me in urging Governor Neal and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to stay the execution of Troy Davis and commute his death sentence. Give this young man a life, and an opportunity to prove his innocence.

Please, call or fax today. Stop the execution of Troy Davis!

Gov. Nathan Deal
Tel: (404)651-1776
Fax: (404)657-7332

Web contact form: web:

Georgia Board of Parsons and Parole
L. Gale Buckner
Robert E. Keller
James E. Donald
Albert Murray
Terry Barnard

Tel: (404) 656-5651
Fax: (404) 651-8502

Angela Y. Davis
July 14, 2011


Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests

The CSFR Signs Letter to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

The CSFR is working with the United National Antiwar Committee and many other anti-war groups to organize mass rallies and protests on May 15 and May 19, 2012. We will protest the powerful and wealthy war-makers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Group of 8. Mobilize your groups, unions, and houses of worship. Bring your children, friends, and community. Demand jobs, healthcare, housing and education, not war!

Office of the Mayor
City of Chicago
To: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

We, the undersigned, demand that your administration grant us permits for protests on May 15 and 19, 2012, including appropriate rally gathering locations and march routes to the venue for the NATO/G8 summit taking place that week. We come to you because your administration has already spoken to us through Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. He has threatened mass arrests and violence against protestors.

[Read the full text of the letter here:]

For the 10s of thousands of people from Chicago, around the country and across the world who will gather here to protest against NATO and the G8, we demand that the City of Chicago:

1. Grant us permits to rally and march to the NATO/G8 summit
2. Guarantee our civil liberties
3. Guarantee us there will be no spying, infiltration of organizations or other attacks by the FBI or partner law enforcement agencies.



On June 27, Leonard Peltier was removed from the general population at USP-Lewisburg and thrown in the hole. Little else is known at this time. Due to his age and health status, please join us in demanding his immediate return to general population.

Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Web Site:
Phone: (202) 307-3198
Fax: (202) 514-6620
Address: 320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Launched into cyberspace by the
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106


(Please post widely)

-- Introduction
-- Campaign to End the Death Penalty Solidarity Statement
-- CEDP Statement of Solidarity with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers
-- Solidarity Statement from Corcoran State Prisoners
-- Take Action!


Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of California's Pelican Bay state prison have announced that they will begin an indefinite hunger strike on July 1. Although prison officials aim to keep prisoners silenced and divided, the hunger strike has shown solidarity across racial, ethnic and religious lines and demands improvements in cruel and inhumane prison conditions.

In his statement "Why Prisoners are Protesting", prisoner Mutop DuGuya states, "Effective July 1st we are initiating a peaceful protest by way of an indefinite hunger strike in which we will not eat until our core demands are met.....we have decided to put our fate in our own hands. Some of us have already suffered a slow, agonizing death in which the state has shown no compassion toward these dying prisoners. Rather than compassion they turn up their ruthlessness. No one wants to die. Yet under this current system of what amounts to intense torture, what choice do we have? If one is to die, it will be on our own terms."

Prisons in this country stand as silent tombs. Millions are warehoused in "correctional" facilities that serve only to punish and dehumanize. These prisoners in Pelican Bay are standing bravely against tortuous conditions and those of us on the outside must stand with them and shine a light into the dark cages that politicians want us to forget.


The Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) stands in solidarity with the prisoners of Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) who will be engaged in a hunger strike on July 1 in protest of their deplorable conditions.

The prisoners at Pelican Bay prison in California live in a world in which collective punishment is common, sunlight is rare, and food is used as a tool of coercion. They live in a world that is so unlike the world that most of us take for granted that it strains our comprehension. The world of the prisoners has one goal, to create passive, compliant prisoners; prisoners who will not clamor for more; prisoners who will not rock the boat; prisoners who will not threaten to expose just how rotten the prison system is.

This world has failed. While these demands show us a world turned upside down, they also show us a prison population that is fighting back against their appalling conditions. The prisoners have stated that their hunger strike will be indefinite until their demands are met. This means they could face serious health issues or even death. For them, a fighting death is preferable to the hell they are living.

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty supports the Pelican Bay hunger strikers and stand with all prisoners who seek to better their lives. We stand in solidarity with these brave fighters in their quest for justice and humanity.

The demands of the prisoners clearly show the capricious and dehumanizing conditions in which they the prisoners are calling for:

1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh.

2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria.
Debriefing produces false information - wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.

3. End long-term solitary confinement. Segregation should be used as a last resort and prisoners require access to adequate healthcare and natural sunlight.

4. Provide wholesome, nutritious meals and access to vitamins.

5. Expand and provide constructive programming such as photos of loved ones, weekly phone calls, extension of visitation time, calendars, and radios, etc.

You can read the prisoner's full text of their demands here:


Statement of Solidarity with the Pelican Bay Collective Hunger Strike on July 1st.
From: the N.C.T.T. Corcoran SHU

Greetings to all who support freedom, justice, and equality. We here of the N.C.T.T. SHU stand in solidarity with, and in full support of the July 1st hunger strike and the 5 major action points and sub-points as laid out by the Pelican Bay Collective in the Policy Statements (See, "Archives", P.B.S.P.-SHU-D corridor hunger strike).

What many are unaware of is that facility 4B here in Corcoran SHU is designated to house validated prisoners in indefinite SHU confinement and have an identical ultra-super max isolation unit short corridor modeled after corridor D in Pelican Bay, complete with blacked out windows a mirror tinted glass on the towers so no one but the gun tower can see in [into our cells], and none of us can see out; flaps welded to the base of the doors and sandbags on the tiers to prevent "fishing" [a means of passing notes, etc. between cells using lengths of string]; IGI [Institutional Gang Investigators] transports us all to A.C.H. [?] medical appointments and we have no contact with any prisoners or staff outside of this section here in 4B/1C C Section the "short corridor" of the Corcoran SHU. All of the deprivations (save access to sunlight); outlines in the 5-point hunger strike statement are mirrored, and in some instances intensified here in the Corcoran SHU 4B/1C C Section isolation gang unit.

Medical care here, in a facility allegedly designed to house chronic care and prisoners with psychological problems, is so woefully inadequate that it borders on intentional disdain for the health of prisoners, especially where diabetics and cancer are an issue. Access to the law library is denied for the most mundane reasons, or, most often, no reason at all. Yet these things and more are outlined in the P.B.S.P.-SHU five core demands.

What is of note here, and something that should concern all U.S. citizens, is the increasing use of behavioral control (torture units) and human experimental techniques against prisoners not only in California but across the nation. Indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination, use of unsubstantiated lies from informants are the psychological billy clubs being used in these torture units. The purpose of this "treatment" is to stop prisoners from standing in opposition to inhumane prison conditions and prevent them from exercising their basic human rights.

Many lawsuits have been filed in opposition to the conditions in these conditions ... [unreadable] yet the courts have repeatedly re-interpreted and misinterpreted their own constitutional law ... [unreadable] to support the state's continued use of these torture units. When approved means of protest and redress of rights are prove meaningless and are fully exhausted, then the pursuit of those ends through other means is necessary.

It is important for all to know the Pelican Bay Collective is not (emphasis in original) alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike, the other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future. We urge all who reads these words to support us in this effort with your participation or your voices call your local news agencies, notify your friends on social networks, contact your legislators, tell your fellow faithful at church, mosques, temple or synagogues. Decades before Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs were described by Congressman Ralph Metcalfe as "the control unit treatment program is long-term punishment under the guise of what is, in fact, pseudo-scientific experimentation."

Our indefinite isolation here is both inhumane and illegal and the proponents of the prison industrial complex are hoping that their campaign to dehumanize us has succeeded to the degree that you don't care and will allow the torture to continue in your name. It is our belief that they have woefully underestimated the decency, principles, and humanity of the people. Join us in opposing this injustice without end. Thank you for your time and support.

In Solidarity,
N.C.T.T. Corcoran - SHU
4B/1C - C Section
Super-max isolation Unit


Pelican Bay Prisoners Go On Hunger Strike to Protest Grave Conditions July 1, 2011

Lawyers, Advocates, Organizations Hold Press Conference, Voice Prisoner Demand

Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Communications Director, Critical Resistance
Office: 510 444 0484; Cell: 510 517 6612

The Hunger Strikers need support from outside of prison bars. Here are a few things you can do:

Sign the Petition.

Get the word out about the hunger strike and the prisoner's demands to your family, friends, church, community groups, and over social networking sites.

Attend protests in solidarity. Rallies planned in San Francisco, Eureka, CA, Montreal, Toronto and New York. Send protest info to: to be listed!
Stay informed. Check the blog regularly for updates


Keep the Arboretum Free
Dear Arboretum Supporter,

It's been a few months since the Board of Supervisors extended the non-resident fee at the Arboretum until September 30th, 2013. Such policy and ongoing decisions are continuing to greatly impact our neighborhoods and city resources and out of this widespread concern a new coalition has formed - Take Back Our Parks. Community and park advocates have joined together from across the city, including representatives from Keep Arboretum Free, with the common goals of keeping parks and recreation facilities open and accessible to all, stopping privatization of public park properties, protecting the natural character of our parklands and ensuring inclusive community input in planning and decision-making.

This past week a key effort was made towards some of these goals when four City Supervisors placed a measure on the November ballot to put a moratorium on fees for park resources and the long-term leasing of club-houses to private organizations. The Parks For The Public measure can be an important step towards ending the loss of access and growing privatization that is a fallout of the Recreation and Park Department's strategy of using parks as a revenue source and which has imposed policies such as the Arboretum fee.

Please visit the TBOP website to learn more about the Parks For The Public ordinance available for voters on the ballot this fall:

It is vital that the public have a chance to shape the issues regarding our parks. We encourage you to write to the four sponsoring Supervisors (Avalos, Campos, Mar and Mirkarimi) to thank them for introducing Parks For The Public and let them know that you support limiting the privatization and unwarranted commercialization of our parks.

Please help spread the news about this measure to your community in the city and thank you very much for your continued support.


The Campaign to Keep The Arboretum Free


Supporter of Leak Suspect Is Called Before Grand Jury
June 15, 2011

A supporter of Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, was called before a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday, but he said he declined to answer any questions. The supporter, David M. House, a freelance computer scientist, said he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, because he believes the Justice Department is "creating a climate of fear around WikiLeaks and the Bradley Manning support network." The grand jury inquiry is separate from the military prosecution of Private Manning and is believed to be exploring whether the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, or others in the group violated the law by acquiring and publishing military and State Department documents.


Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana state prisons must end
Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:

For nearly four decades, 64-year-old Albert Woodfox and 69-year-old Herman Wallace have been held in solitary confinement, mostly in the Louisiana State Penitentiary (known as Angola prison). Throughout their prolonged incarceration in Closed Cell Restriction (CCR) Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace have endured very restrictive conditions including 23 hour cellular confinement. They have limited access to books, newspapers and TV and throughout the years of imprisonment they have been deprived of opportunities for mental stimulation and access to work and education. Social interaction has been restricted to occasional visits from friends and family and limited telephone calls.

Louisiana prison authorities have over the course of 39 years failed to provide a meaningful review of the men's continued isolation as they continue to rubberstamp the original decision to confine the men in CCR. Decades of solitary confinement have had a clear psychological effect on the men. Lawyers report that they are both suffering from serious health problems caused or exacerbated by their years of close confinement.

After being held together in the same prison for nearly 40 years, the men are now held in seperate institutions where they continue to be subjected to conditions that can only be described as cruel, inhuman and degrading.
Take action now to demand that Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace be immediately removed from solitary confinement

Sign our petition which will be sent to the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, calling on him to:

* take immediate steps to remove Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace from close confinement
* ensure that their treatment complies with the USA's obligations under international standards and the US Constitution.




Stop Coal Companies From Erasing Labor Union History


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.

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


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!

Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

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


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!

Take Action! Tweet for Troy!

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


"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


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.


In earnest support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:



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:



"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!


Courage to Resist needs your support

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

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

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) Statement on the Gang of Six Plan
Tax cuts for the wealthy, and Social Security cuts for ordinary workers
For Immediate Release: July 19, 2011
Contact: Alan Barber 202-293-5380 x115

2) Students should complain that installing CCTV in their schools makes them feel like they're in jail
By Bidisha
The Guardian
May 21, 2011

3) The Lesser Depression
July 21, 2011

4) G.E. Profit Exceeds Forecast
"The company's net income for the second quarter rose 20 percent to $3.8 billion, up from $3.1 billion in the year-earlier quarter."
July 22, 2011

5) Hackers Gain Access to NATO Data
July 21, 2011

6) California: Hunger Strike Has Ended, State Says
July 22, 2011

7) We Keep Fighting: Until the Demands are Won!
by prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity
July 21, 2011

8) CDCR's Claims That Strike Is Over Unsubstantiated
For Immediate Release - July 21, 2011
Press Contact: Jay Donahue
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

9) Cooling Programs Cut For Poor to Finance Tax Cuts For The Rich
By Oliver Willis | Sourced from Like Kryptonite to Stupid
Posted at July 22, 2011, 1:43 pm

10) Would You Fight for the Life of a Man Who Shot You and Left You for Dead?
By Liliana Segura,
Posted on July 22, 2011, Printed on July 23, 2011

11) Biography Revives Push to Reopen Malcolm X Case
July 22, 2011

12) Anti-SCAF (Army) March Attacked in Egypt

13) In the Wake of Fukushima
New York Times Editorial
July 23, 2011

14) The Truth About My Trip To Hanoi
By Jane Fonda
July 22, 2011

15) Who Rules America? An Investment Manager Breaks Down the Economic Top 1%, Says 0.1% Controls Political and Legislative Process
Posted By On July 23, 2011 @ 1:35 pm In Economy,Feature,News | 17 Comments
[1] [2]
Sent in from G. William Domhoff, author of Who Rules America? [3]

16) Video of a Lethal Injection Reopens Questions on the Privacy of Executions
"...'Gosh, it looks like what they did to my pet,'..."
July 23, 2011

17) 5 Ways Americans Are Surviving the Great Recession
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on July 24, 2011, Printed on July 25, 2011

18) The 2012 Defense Budget Is The Highest Since World War II
Robert Johnson
July 19, 2011

20) Messing With Medicare
July 24, 2011

21) Consumers vs. the Banks
New York Times Editorial
"The banks - big campaign contributors - don't want robust consumer protection because complex and obscure products are lucrative."
July 24, 2011

22) Cornel West Flunks the President
July 22, 2011

23) U.A.W. Opens Contract Talks With Chrysler
"Four years ago, Chrysler estimated that each union worker cost $76 an hour in wages and benefits. After substantial job cuts that have reduced its hourly employees in the United States to 23,000 workers, the typical U.A.W. employee now costs Chrysler $49 an hour."
July 25, 2011

24) Food Inflation in Focus Amid Lofty Crop Price Outlook
July 25, 2011


1) Statement on the Gang of Six Plan
Tax cuts for the wealthy, and Social Security cuts for ordinary workers
For Immediate Release: July 19, 2011
Contact: Alan Barber 202-293-5380 x115

Washington, D.C.- Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), issued the following statement on the Gang of Six deficit plan:

"The budget plan produced by the Senate's "Gang of Six" offers the promise of huge tax breaks for some of the wealthiest people in the country, while lowering Social Security benefits for retirees and the disabled. Despite claiming that they will "reform" Social Security on a "separate track, isolated from deficit reduction," the plan includes cuts to Social Security that would be felt in less than six months, as the plan calls for a new inflation formula that will reduce benefits by 0.3 percentage points a year compared with currently scheduled benefits. The plan also calls for a process that is likely to reduce benefits further for future retirees.

"The proposed cuts to Social Security are cumulative. This means that after ten years, a beneficiary in her 70s will see a cut of close to 3 percent. After 20 years, the cuts for beneficiaries in their 80s will be close to 6 percent, while the reduction in annual benefits will be close to 9 percent by the time beneficiaries are in their 90s. For a beneficiary in her 90s living on a Social Security income of $15,000, this means a loss of more $1,200 a year in benefits.

"The plan also calls for large cuts in tax rates including a targeted top rate of between 23-29 percent, which will be at least partially offset by elimination of tax deductions. For the highest-income people, this is likely to mean a very large reduction in taxes. For example, Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, the CEOs of J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs, respectively, are both paid close to $20 million a year at present. If this pay is taxed as ordinary income, then they would be paying close to $7.5 million a year in taxes on it after 2012. However, if the top rate is set at 29 percent, they may save as much as $1.9 million a year on their tax bill. If the top tax rate is set at 23 percent then the Gang of Six plan may increase their after-tax income by more than $3 million a year.

"It is striking that the Gang of Six chose to respond to the crisis created by the collapse of the housing bubble by developing a plan that will give even more money to top Wall Street executives and traders. By contrast, the European Union is considering imposing financial speculation taxes to reduce the power of the financial industry and raise more than $40 billion a year in revenue.

"The plan calls for substantial cuts elsewhere in the budget which are likely to cut into the incomes of large segments of the population, especially the sick and the elderly. The cuts it proposes to the military are just over 1.0 percent of projected spending over the next decade.

"In short, this is a plan that should be expected to please the wealthy since it will mean large reductions in their tax liability in the decades ahead. On the other hand, most of the rest of the country is likely to feel the effects of lower Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, in addition to other cuts that are not yet fully specified."


2) Students should complain that installing CCTV in their schools makes them feel like they're in jail
By Bidisha
The Guardian
May 21, 2011

Aggrieved students who complain that school feels like a prison are spot on. A secondary school in Surrey is planning to install CCTV in the common areas of its toilets, to monitor bullying. If they'd done that at my school, they would only have found some stray bulimics and the odd lacrosse stick.

It's strange how this incarceration mentality has infiltrated daily life, for all our protestations. Standing on my local tube platform I counted 12 cameras within my sight. As a lifelong science-fiction fan I'd thought that living in this realm of screens and electricity, would be darkly exciting, a cyberpunk melding of woman and machine. Instead, it infuses you with a paranoia of the seediest kind. You think something bad is about to happen and that neither you nor your fellow citizens are trustworthy.

This penetration of prison culture into daily life and particularly into schools has been brilliantly traced by US writer Annette Fuentes in Lockdown High, out this week. It reports on an electrified present dystopia; an isolating system of metal detectors, surveillance and petty rules. It shows that these measures neither deter the bad nor reassure the good. Instead, they breed mutual mistrust between students and authority. As one educator says: "School used to be a refuge. Now it's a lockdown environment. We are bringing the practices of criminal justice into the schools."

This change was pushed by a strong commercial defence and surveillance lobby group looking to exploit new markets after the Columbine shootings. It's strange to think about the Cannes festival jurors, sitting in plush screening rooms, enthralled by Lynne Ramsay's adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Meanwhile, in middle America, a majority of innocent teens are being watched by a thousand robot eyes.


3) The Lesser Depression
July 21, 2011

These are interesting times - and I mean that in the worst way. Right now we're looking at not one but two looming crises, either of which could produce a global disaster. In the United States, right-wing fanatics in Congress may block a necessary rise in the debt ceiling, potentially wreaking havoc in world financial markets. Meanwhile, if the plan just agreed to by European heads of state fails to calm markets, we could see falling dominoes all across southern Europe - which would also wreak havoc in world financial markets.

We can only hope that the politicians huddled in Washington and Brussels succeed in averting these threats. But here's the thing: Even if we manage to avoid immediate catastrophe, the deals being struck on both sides of the Atlantic are almost guaranteed to make the broader economic slump worse.

In fact, policy makers seem determined to perpetuate what I've taken to calling the Lesser Depression, the prolonged era of high unemployment that began with the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and continues to this day, more than two years after the recession supposedly ended.

Let's talk for a moment about why our economies are (still) so depressed.

The great housing bubble of the last decade, which was both an American and a European phenomenon, was accompanied by a huge rise in household debt. When the bubble burst, home construction plunged, and so did consumer spending as debt-burdened families cut back.

Everything might still have been O.K. if other major economic players had stepped up their spending, filling the gap left by the housing plunge and the consumer pullback. But nobody did. In particular, cash-rich corporations see no reason to invest that cash in the face of weak consumer demand.

Nor did governments do much to help. Some governments - those of weaker nations in Europe, and state and local governments here - were actually forced to slash spending in the face of falling revenues. And the modest efforts of stronger governments - including, yes, the Obama stimulus plan - were, at best, barely enough to offset this forced austerity.

So we have depressed economies. What are policy makers proposing to do about it? Less than nothing.

The disappearance of unemployment from elite policy discourse and its replacement by deficit panic has been truly remarkable. It's not a response to public opinion. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 53 percent of the public named the economy and jobs as the most important problem we face, while only 7 percent named the deficit. Nor is it a response to market pressure. Interest rates on U.S. debt remain near historic lows.

Yet the conversations in Washington and Brussels are all about spending cuts (and maybe tax increases, I mean revisions). That's obviously true about the various proposals being floated to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis here. But it's equally true in Europe.

On Thursday, the "heads of state or government of the euro area and the E.U. institutions" - that mouthful tells you, all by itself, how messy European governance has become - issued their big statement. It wasn't reassuring.

For one thing, it's hard to believe that the Rube Goldberg financial engineering the statement proposes can really resolve the Greek crisis, let alone the wider European crisis.

But, even if it does, then what? The statement calls for sharp deficit reductions "in all countries except those under a programme" to take place "by 2013 at the latest." Since those countries "under a programme" are being forced into drastic fiscal austerity, this amounts to a plan to have all of Europe slash spending at the same time. And there is nothing in the European data suggesting that the private sector will be ready to take up the slack in less than two years.

For those who know their 1930s history, this is all too familiar. If either of the current debt negotiations fails, we could be about to replay 1931, the global banking collapse that made the Great Depression great. But, if the negotiations succeed, we will be set to replay the great mistake of 1937: the premature turn to fiscal contraction that derailed economic recovery and ensured that the Depression would last until World War II finally provided the boost the economy needed.

Did I mention that the European Central Bank - although not, thankfully, the Federal Reserve - seems determined to make things even worse by raising interest rates?

There's an old quotation, attributed to various people, that always comes to mind when I look at public policy: "You do not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed." Now that lack of wisdom is on full display, as policy elites on both sides of the Atlantic bungle the response to economic trauma, ignoring all the lessons of history. And the Lesser Depression goes on.


4) G.E. Profit Exceeds Forecast
"The company's net income for the second quarter rose 20 percent to $3.8 billion, up from $3.1 billion in the year-earlier quarter."
July 22, 2011

General Electric reported profits and sales on Friday that slightly surpassed Wall Street's expectations, suggesting that its streamlining strategy in the aftermath of the financial crisis continues on track.

The solid second-quarter results from G.E., the nation's largest industrial company, whose products range from oilfield equipment to medical imaging machines, provide evidence of an improving outlook for many industrial companies - though that improvement is not across the board. For example, United Technologies and Goodrich delivered strong results in recent days, but Wall Street reacted badly to Caterpillar's performance on Friday.

Yet the strongest growth for G.E., as for other industrial companies, came in international markets, where revenue rose 23 percent in the quarter. Sales outside the United States account for 59 percent of G.E.'s industrial business.

The company's giant financing arm, GE Capital, reported operating profits that more than doubled from the same quarter a year earlier. The finance unit, whose loans include consumer credit and commercial real estate, has been aggressively shedding bad debt since the financial crisis hit in the fall of 2008.

Some problem loans remain, mainly in commercial real estate. But GE Capital's performance has improved steadily in recent quarters.

"There has been good growth in several of the industrial businesses, and GE Capital continues to recover," said Richard Tortoriello, an analyst at Standard & Poor's.

The company's net income for the second quarter rose 20 percent to $3.8 billion, up from $3.1 billion in the year-earlier quarter. G.E. reported earnings per share of 34 cents a share, a 17 percent gain from the previous year, when it reported earnings of 29 cents a share.

The average estimate of Wall Street analysts, as compiled by Thomson Reuters, was 32 cents a share.

G.E. reported revenue of $35.6 billion, down 4 percent from the year-earlier quarter, when it reported $36.9 billion revenue. The falloff was a byproduct of the company's steps to narrow its focus, as it sold a majority stake in NBC Universal, the television network and movie studio, to Comcast. Excluding that from the year-to-year comparison, G.E.'s revenue would have increased 7 percent in this year's second quarter.

The company's revenue for the quarter was nearly $1 billion ahead of analysts' consensus estimate of $34.7 billion.

G.E. reported its results before Wall Street opened on Friday. In a statement, Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chief executive, cited the company's fifth straight quarter of double-digit profit growth and its ability to "execute in a volatile environment."

Despite the costly repair of its finance arm, G.E. has continued to invest aggressively to expand some of its industrial divisions.

In the past nine months, for example, the company has spent more than $7 million on three acquisitions to bolster its oil-and-gas equipment business - Dresser, the John Wood Group and Wellstream Holdings. The companies make specialized equipment for oilfield and offshore production, widening G.E.'s range of offerings in that $10 billion-a-year unit.

G.E. is also increasing its investment in research and development, which is up 40 percent from a year ago, as it bets on innovations in future products and services, to fuel longer-term growth.


5) Hackers Gain Access to NATO Data
July 21, 2011

A group of computer hackers on Thursday claimed to have breached NATO security and accessed a trove of restricted material. The group, called Anonymous, said that it would be "irresponsible" to publish most of the material it took from NATO, but that it was sitting on about one gigabyte of data. "Hi NATO," the group teased on Twitter. "Yes, we haz more of your delicious data." A NATO official, who could not be named under standing rules, said the organization was aware that a hacker group had released what it claimed to be classified NATO documents on the Internet and was investigating. "We strongly condemn any leak of classified documents, which can potentially endanger the security of NATO allies, armed forces and citizens," the official said. Anonymous is a loosely organized group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks. It has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government Web sites worldwide.


6) California: Hunger Strike Has Ended, State Says
July 22, 2011

Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison have ended their hunger strike, which began July 1, the State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Thursday. But a coalition of advocates supporting the hunger strikers said the department's announcement was premature and accused it of withholding information and underestimating participation in an effort to break the strike.


7) We Keep Fighting: Until the Demands are Won!
by prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity
July 21, 2011

The CDCR has prematurely announced that the hunger strike is over and that the prisoners now have "a better understanding" of last week's "offer" to the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay. However, the prisoner-approved mediation team (which the hunger strike leaders have insisted participate in any negotiations) was not involved in this so-called resolution around the strike, and the CDCR has not fully announced what was agreed upon. Clearly the CDCR is more interested in improving their Public Relations image than addressing real issues of torture.

Support for the hunger strike is at a crucial tipping point. One thing is absolutely clear: the five core demands have not been met. Long-term solitary confinement is still being used as torture. Supporters everywhere must amplify the prisoners voices even more fiercely than before. The goal of supporting the hunger strike was not to make sure prisoners continue to starve, rather to support the prisoners in winning their demands to change conditions of imprisonment. This struggle is not over.

We urge everyone to continue to attend and organize events, continue to put pressure on media to cover this struggle, and continue to urge legislators to get involved in winning the hunger strikers 5 demands.

We will not accept the CDCR's word until we have direct confirmation from the hunger strike leaders, and will continue to support the prisoners in winning their demands, until they are won.

Click here to read today's press release: CDCR's Claims that Strike is Over Unsubstantiated

We will post another update as soon as we have it. Please stay tuned.

Reaching at least 6,600 prisoners across 13 prisons, this massive and inspiring act of solidarity and people power across prison-manufactured & exacerbated racial and geographic lines has dumb-founded the CDCR.

While the daily numbers of hunger strikers fluctuates, the CDCR is certainly under-estimating how many people inside prison are participating in and supporting this strike.

In the first days of the strike, the CDCR said "less than two dozen prisoners" were hunger striking, but then were forced to admit at least 6,600 prisoners were participating in the strike. Now the CDCR has publicly announced that four prisons continue to strike. Advocates are currently aware of hunger strikers at Pelican Bay, Corcoran, Tehachapi, Folsom and Calipatria. Supporters also know that prisoners at Valley State Prison for Women, Centinela, San Quentin, and RJ Donovan have also been participating in the strike, and may still be refusing food. It is safe to assume the CDCR is still dramatically under-counting participation.

According to the Federal Receiver's office, only 38 prisoners at Calipatria are refusing food, 20 days into the hunger strike. However, according to family members and friends of prisoners, hunger strikers at Calipatria say there at more than 300 prisoners at Calipatria still on hunger strike.

A close friend of a Calipatria hunger-striker told Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity: "Based on communicating with my best friend who is a hunger striker, I'm 100% sure at least 300 prisoners are still supporting each other and going strong, refusing food and demanding the CDCR change conditions of solitary confinement and policies around gang validation." She continues to explain: "Calipatria is very south in CA, near the US Mexico-border, and like all prisons, has a long-history of corruption, guard-instigated violence, and a severe lack of constructive programming for prisoners. It is incredibly hot down there. It is 110 degrees outside prison. Imagine how much hotter it is in a concrete cell, and imagine not eating anything for weeks in that heat."

In order to break the strike and dwindle support for it, the CDCR has:

* enticed prisoners into not fasting before the strike began by releasing a "4th of July Menu," including food that prisoners have never seen before in prison
* continuously down-played participation and support in regards to numbers
* has been withholding information in regards to prisoners' medical status and other details on the strike from press, media, advocates, family members and prisoners
* guards marched down prison halls announcing the strike was over and the demands were met
* not followed medical protocol, including distributing prescribed medication
* told the Federal Receiver's office all prisoners were refusing medical care, therefore the Federal Receiver's office does not need to follow protocol and weigh prisoners or do medical examinations until later
* denounced family members, friends, prisoners, and lawyers speaking out about the urgent medical crisis as prisoners experience symptoms of severe dehydration due to no food for weeks and torturous conditions
* said the strike is led by vicious gang members to justify torture and discourage wide-range support
* hanging up and/or disconnecting when supporters call-in urging the CDCR to negotiate
* claiming they cannot implement the changes asked for in the demands, when they are basic standards even in other Supermax prisons Pelican Bay was modeled after
* thrown hunger striking prisoners not yet in the SHU and Ad-Seg units into solitary confinement as punishment for supporting the strike
* transferred hunger strikers to other prisons-we've heard from the Receiver's Office of hunger strikers being transferred from Pelican Bay to Corcoran, and Corcoran to Pelican Bay
* continuing to deny mail, the primary source of much needed human contact
* and many more tactics we have yet to hear due to extreme isolation and surveillance

Despite these attempts, the hunger strike led by prisoners to change prison conditions and outside support for this courageous action has only grown.Thousands of people worldwide are supporting the strike by calling the CDCR and legislators to negotiate with the prisoners immediately, in good faith, before people die and medical conditions get even worse.

Supporters have also been holding demonstrations and rallies, often outside of prisons and jails, to draw attention to the prevalence of policing and imprisonment in their communities, particularly working-class and communities of color, as well as the prioritization of policing and imprisonment at the expense of the much-needed social services and resources for the same communities people are taken away from when locked up in prison.

Whitney Walton, a member of the Stop The Injunctions Coalition in Oakland, which is fighting the legalization of racial profiling through "gang injunctions" says: "I'm supporting the hunger strike because policing and labeling individuals as 'gang' members, or neighborhoods as 'gang zones' is directly connected to 'gang validation' that occurs in prisons. Both are tactics used to criminalize, dehumanize, and isolate members of our communities."

This hunger strike certainly is "rolling" and strike participation in the way of refusing food will continue to fluctuate in regards to numbers. Without a doubt, this struggle will continue until the prisoner's demands are met, and prisoners are recognized as human beings.


8) CDCR's Claims That Strike Is Over Unsubstantiated
For Immediate Release - July 21, 2011
Press Contact: Jay Donahue
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Oakland - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prematurely announced an end to the Pelican Bay hunger strike today. The strike is protesting conditions of confinement international human rights groups have called torturous and inhumane. Lawyers and mediators in contact with the strikers, however, have not received confirmation from the hunger strike leaders that the strike is over. "We would like to hear directly from the men at Pelican Bay that they have resumed eating and what demands, if any, have been met," says Carol Strickman, a lawyer with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children." At this point, "Strickman continues, "we have not been able to ascertain what concessions may have been granted."

Supporters of the strikers say this issue is not resolved. "The CDCR has used deceptive tactics throughout this strike to try to overcome prisoner resistance," says Taeva Shefler, a member of Prison Activist Resource Center and Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity. "In order to break the strike, the CDCR has regularly underestimated strike participation and withheld information regarding the health of striking prisoners. Prisoners not yet in solitary have been placed in Administrative Segregation or Security Housing Units as punishment for protesting. These are the very issues this strike aims to change in the first place."

Information coming from Pelican Bay and other prisons has been sparse at best over the last three weeks, as CDCR has declined to grant media access to the prisoners on strike and letters sent by family members have been returned by the prison. "There's a reason this department is mired in multiple court orders, receiverships, and other monitoring processes," says Molly Porzig of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, "The lack of reliable communication today simply underscores the core of this crisis."

Supporters continue to urge the public to call Governor Brown's office asking him to exert pressure on the CDCR to meet the prisoner's demands. For updates, please visit


9) Cooling Programs Cut For Poor to Finance Tax Cuts For The Rich
By Oliver Willis | Sourced from Like Kryptonite to Stupid
Posted at July 22, 2011, 1:43 pm

In American society, we've decided to let the rich step on the poor in almost every way possible.

Many states hit hardest by this week's searing heat wave have drastically cut or entirely eliminated programs that help poor people pay their electric bills, forcing thousands to go without air conditioning when they need it most.

Oklahoma ran out of money in just three days. Illinois cut its program to focus on offering heating money for the winter ahead. And Indiana isn't taking any new applicants. When weighed against education and other budget needs, cooling assistance has been among the first items cut, and advocates for the poor say that could make this heat wave even more dangerous.

One measure of a society is how it treats its least well off. By that measure, we're doing a crappy job in America.


10) Would You Fight for the Life of a Man Who Shot You and Left You for Dead?
By Liliana Segura,
Posted on July 22, 2011, Printed on July 23, 2011

A death penalty case in Texas received a lot of media attention in the past several weeks, as state prison authorities prepared to execute Mark Stroman, a man who shot and killed two people in a vengeful rampage after September 11th. His victims, who he targeted because he thought they were Arab, were a Pakistani man named Waqar Hasan and an Indian man named Vasudev Patel. A third man survived. His name is Rais Bhuiyan. He is Muslim, from Bangladesh. He has told his story to news outlets across the country; how he was approached at the gas station where he worked, how Stroman, a tattooed white man, demanded, "where are you from?" as he brandished a gun. How he had not yet answered when he felt "the sensation of a million bees stinging my face, and then heard an explosion" as Stroman shot him. Bhuiyan survived, somehow, and was left blinded in one eye.

To the surprise of many, Bhuiyan devoted himself in the past several months to fighting for Stroman's life, pleading with Texas not to kill the man who brutally shot him and left him for dead. After discussing it with Hasan's and Patel's families, he started a petition on Stroman's behalf asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole to spare his life, and posting it on a website in which he preached forgiveness: "In order to live in a better and peaceful world, we need to break the cycle of hate and violence," he wrote. "...I forgave Mark Stroman many years ago. I believe he was ignorant and not capable of distinguishing between right and wrong. Otherwise he wouldn't have done what he did." Despite Bhuiyan's efforts, Stroman was executed by lethal injection on July 20th.

Bhuiyan's story is extraordinary in many ways, heavy with the symbolic weight of 9/11. His willingness to forgive and even fight for the life of a man who tried to murder him has moved many people, with good reason. But it's worth remembering that victims of violent crime oppose the death penalty more often than we may realize, and, like Bhuiyan so far, they are often disregarded. As much as prosecutors and politicians love to insist that the toughest penalties are meted out on behalf of victims and their grieving family members, the reality is that deference to the mantle of "victim" often relies on a full-throated embrace of the harshest sentence for the people whose job it is for them to punish. Anything less is liable to be ignored.

Take another Texas case from a few months back. An Army veteran named Timothy Adams was put to death in the killing of his 19-month-old son during a standoff with police. Adams was suicidal at the time; he immediately turned himself in and expressed remorse for his crime. As Texas prepared to put him to death, his family members begged for clemency. "Our family lost one child," his father said. "We don't deserve to lose another. After my grandson's death, we lived through pain worse than anyone could imagine. Nothing good will come from executing my son Tim and causing us more anguish." Adams was executed by lethal injection on February 23rd.

That same month, in Ohio, a man named Johnnie Baston faced execution for the killing of a South Korean store clerk in Toledo. The man's family members fought for clemency, but were ignored by the state parole board, which voted unanimously to put him to death. "While many members of Mr. Mah's family favor a commutation to life without parole, Mr. Baston's lack of accepting responsibility, criminal history, and the severity of the execution-style killing of Mr. Chong Mah outweigh their personal opinions regarding the death penalty and their wishes as to the sentence imposed in this case," the parole board concluded.

"The death of Johnnie Baston isn't going to do anything that's going to bring back our father, give us any closure or gratification," his son, Peter Mah argued to no avail. Baston was executed on March 10th.

The same thing happened in Alabama in January. Leroy White was executed over the wishes of his victim's family members, who, as in the case of Timothy Adams, included family members of his own. White was sentenced to death for the killing of his wife, Ruby, with whom he had a young daughter, Latonya. In a signed affidavit, she described how despite years of anger at her father for taking her mother away, she was now very close to him and "have grown to love him just as much as any child would love their parent...I know that he did a terrible thing by taking my mother's life, but I have forgiven him completely."

I am deeply opposed to my father's execution. He is the only thing that I have left that's a part of me. Taking away my only remaining biological parent will hurt me more than I can say. Executing my father will do nothing to bring my mother back. I would do anything in my power to stop this execution from taking place.

Leroy White was executed on January 13th.

Some would argue that cases like White's and Adams's are different, that of course family members of murderers will argue to spare the life of a relative, even if they have taken one of their own. To do so sets up a strange hierarchy of victimization-who are the "good" victims?-but one that is all too real. The family members of death row prisoners are rarely included under the banner of "victim's family," but when the state has killed your loved one, what are you then?

As we were so aggressively reminded after the death of Osama bin Laden, the killing of killers is celebrated as a way to bring "closure" to people who have suffered terrible losses at their hands. There are many reasons to question this notion, but whether this is ever true can only depend on individual experiences. What is clear is that, when those in a position to carry out the death penalty stand upon the moral pedestal bestowed to them as a defender of victims' rights, such "rights" have limits. As Jeff Gamso, a criminal defense attorney in Ohio who has worked on capital cases, wrote a few days before Stroman's execution: "Texas, of course, like Ohio, like other states, like the feds, is deeply committed to ensuring the rights of crime victims. Their voices will be heard. Their needs will be met. They will be offered support and comfort and help. As long as they seek vengeance. The rights of victims don't extend to seeking mercy. At least, not so far."

Liliana Segura is an independent journalist and editor with a focus on social justice, prisons & harsh sentencing.


11) Biography Revives Push to Reopen Malcolm X Case
July 22, 2011

The death of Malcolm X, shot dead at the Audubon Ballroom in Upper Manhattan in 1965, never inflamed the public imagination in the same way the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did. But scholars have long believed that a bungled investigation resulted in the imprisonment of the innocent and allowed some of those responsible to go free. Over the decades, efforts to reopen the case have failed.

Now a best-selling biography has helped to renew calls for a full investigation. But this time they may well gain traction because the legal environment has changed: prosecutors in the South have demonstrated that it is possible to pursue and win cases that are decades old and, as a byproduct, they have made the failures of the police in the civil rights era abundantly clear.

At the same time, news has emerged that the man long suspected of having fired the shot that killed Malcolm X but who was never arrested is living in Newark under a different name.

"Time is running out; these guys are very old," said Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a graduate student at Howard University who first published the identity of the Newark man on his blog and was a source for the biography's author, Manning Marable. "I wanted justice to be done, and I knew that Dr. Marable wanted justice to be done."

Dr. Marable, a historian at Columbia University, died days before the publication of the book, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention."

The effort to reopen the case has attracted the attention of the nation's most persistent advocate of civil rights-era justice, Alvin Sykes of Kansas City, Mo. Mr. Sykes was instrumental in the reopening of the investigation into the killing of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 and in persuading Congress to allocate millions of dollars to the investigation of civil rights cold cases. Mr. Sykes has asked both the Justice Department and, this week, the New York State attorney general "to conduct the most comprehensive and credible search by the government for the truth concerning Malcolm X's assassination."

The cause has made for strange bedfellows: Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X's six daughters, is supporting the call to reopen the case despite her objections to the biography, which paints a bleak picture of her parents' marriage. Leith Mullings, the author's widow, is also asking for a new investigation.

But it will be an uphill battle, partly because three men were convicted at the time, meaning the case is potentially a hybrid of two separate areas of criminal law: a civil rights cold case and a wrongful conviction.

Malcolm X, who became a patron saint of the black power movement and, long after his death, an American icon, knew his life was in danger when he took the stage at the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965. He had broken with the Nation of Islam, which had branded him an enemy and a traitor. A week earlier, his house had been firebombed. As he began to speak, a disturbance broke out in the audience, a smoke bomb went off, and gunmen opened fire.

Thomas Hagan, a member of the Nation of Islam from New Jersey who was then 22, was arrested at the ballroom that day. The police investigated the crime scene for four hours before the blood was mopped up and a planned dance began.

The police later picked up two more Nation of Islam members: Muhammad Abdul Aziz, then known as Norman 3X Butler; and Kahlil Islam, then Thomas 15X Johnson. Both of them had attended a mosque in Harlem. In his book, Dr. Marable says that the Nation of Islam would not have used men from Malcolm X's own mosque to carry out the killing and that the assassins were from New Jersey.

Mr. Hagan confessed, but always maintained that the other two men were not involved. At the trial, he testified there were other conspirators, but refused to name them. All three men were convicted, but the question of how high the conspiracy went in the Nation of Islam hierarchy - who, in fact, ordered the killing - was never answered.

David Garrow, a historian and a King biographer, obtained and reviewed the Federal Bureau of Investigation files on Malcolm X in the 1990s. He said it was probable that reams of wiretaps of the Nation of Islam had never been combed for clues. In 1980, the bureau said it had never investigated the assassination.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Hagan, also known as Talmadge X Hayer, finally identified his accomplices in an affidavit as part of an unsuccessful effort to free Mr. Butler and Mr. Johnson (all three men have since been paroled).

One of the names he gave was Willie X, whom William Kunstler, the civil rights lawyer who represented Mr. Johnson and Mr. Butler, determined was William Bradley. The others are dead or presumed dead. Dr. Marable wrote that Mr. Bradley, using a sawed-off shotgun, fired the fatal shot.

Mr. Bradley, an ex-convict now in his early 70s, is living in Newark under the name Al-Mustafa Shabazz. (Police records list both names for him.) He is married to Carolyn Kelley Shabazz, described by The Star-Ledger of Newark as a community leader and the owner of a boxing gym who gives away turkeys at Thanksgiving.

Mr. Shabazz served time for conspiracy, drug dealing and making "terroristic threats," according to records at the New Jersey Corrections Department, and was released in 1998. Through his lawyer, J. Edward Waller, Mr. Shabazz has denied any involvement in the assassination.

Mr. Sykes, who cautions that he has yet to personally see proof linking the name Willie X to William Bradley, would like to see a joint investigation between state and federal officials, but it is the Manhattan district attorney who has jurisdiction over the case.

Mr. Sykes said he would rather that other agencies were involved, because the Manhattan district attorney's office investigated the killing in the first place.

But there are limitations on other agencies' ability to investigate. For one, it is not clear if the killing could be considered a civil rights crime because both the perpetrators and the victims are black.

Mr. Garrow said the definition of a civil rights crime should not be too narrow. "When a major civil rights leader is assassinated, I'd like the civil rights division to be interested, regardless of the color of the gunman," he said, referring to the federal unit.

Some experts say the Justice Department's participation is crucial because the F.B.I. and the New York Police Department had Malcolm X under surveillance at the time of his death, raising questions about whether law enforcement officials had knowledge beforehand of the assassination plot.

Still, the Justice Department may not have any jurisdiction, and the department has only occasionally investigated without it - in 1998, for example, then-Attorney General Janet Reno ordered a limited review of the King assassination after pressure from the family and the public.

The New York attorney general may investigate only if asked by the Manhattan district attorney or the governor. But cases that are decades old are not easy to solve, said Doug Jones, a former United States attorney in Birmingham, Ala., who helped prosecute the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in which four girls died. "A lot of people think witnesses come forward after so many years have passed," he said, "but they don't."


12) Anti-SCAF (Army) March Attacked in Egypt

The planned 23 July march on the Supreme Council of Armed Forces headquarters in Heliopolis started from Tahrir sometime close to 5pm. The march was initially around five thousand strong, but soon swelled to more than 20,000 protesters. I am giving here the most conservative estimate; some friends think the numbers went up to 50,000. Where did those people come from? They were ordinary people in the streets or residents we passed through their neighborhoods. And it is important to remember this, and shove it in the face of those who claim protests and marches do not enjoy the support of the public any more.

The march left Tahrir via Abdel Moneim Riyadh Square, and continued down Emtidad Ramses Street, and into Ghamra. Protesters were chanting beautifully rhymed slogans against Field Marshal Tantawi, SCAF, and police torture. They were chanting for social justice, bread and civil liberties.

As we approached Abbassiya, we started receiving news that the military police and the army special forces have blocked the road by the Nour Mosque withmachine gun-mounted armored vehicles and barbed wires. We also received news there were "thugs" preparing Molotov cocktails and swords awaiting us.

But as we entered Abbassiya and passed by the cathedral, no problems whatsoever had happened. On the contrary, residents were cheering us on from their windows, and some were throwing water bottles on the demand of thirsty protesters. It was a scene that reminded me of the Friday of Anger march, except we were heading to Tahrir on that day to topple Mubarak, while yesterday we were marching on the same route in the opposite direction, heading to overthrow Mubarak's loyal generals, the SCAF.

The calm did not last for long. As soon as we reached the Nour Mosque, we found rows of army soldiers and officers, with the interior ministry's Central Security Forces lined behind them. We stood our ground, demanding we pass. We were refused. Chants started immediately against Tantawi. The attack started. Young men carrying swords and knives flocked to our right, while others were stoning us from the side streets. Army soldiers kept firing their machine guns into the air, to be followed later by a chopper circulating over our heads. It was a war zone in every sense of the word.

The army has been inciting against our march already for days on the state-run channels, accusing the Tahrir protesters of being "thugs, foreign agents" bla bla bla. The army also, according to Abbassiya residents I spoke with, has been going around the neighborhood since the previous night, telling its residents that they "will be attacked by foreign paid thugs" the following day. Those "foreign paid thugs" were of course, us.

Those who attacked us yesterday included criminal thugs from the Waily district, but also some residents of Abbassiya who did buy the army's lies. The army was already on the roof tops before our arrival, the same roof tops from which Molotov cocktails and rocks were showered at us.

The clashes went on for hours. We were besieged: the army and the police on one side, while the thugs blocking our way back to Tahrir. Scores were injured and detained. I personally carried one protester to the nearby hospital, and his left leg was dislocated completely, before my right leg was injured by some projectile or rock, I don't know.

The army stood silent, watching the battle ground, hoping the thugs and the residents would finish us off, while the police was more than happy to join in by throwing rounds and rounds of tear gas. We managed to return to Tahrir in small groups via the neighboring hospital late at night.

Dear SCAF, you are a bunch of filthy cowards, who resort to lies and knife wielding thugs to attack peaceful protesters. You prove day after day you are nothing but Mubarak's loyal generals, who have hijacked this revolution. I wish nothing short of seeing you and your big boss Tantawi in court soon, to pay for your crimes.


13) In the Wake of Fukushima
New York Times Editorial
July 23, 2011

After the devastating accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, many Americans have asked whether something just as horrible could happen here.

The odds are remote that this country will confront a similarly powerful earthquake followed by an even more destructive tsunami - the twin blows that disabled Fukushima. But the possibility that something equally unexpected and unplanned for could exceed current defenses at American plants cannot be discounted.

If nuclear power is to have a future in this country, Americans have to have confidence that regulators and the industry are learning the lessons of Fukushima and taking all steps necessary to ensure safety.

The Japanese plant was first hit by the shocks from one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, which knocked out connections with the electrical grid. Soon after, a 45-foot-high tsunami wave inundated the plant and knocked out its backup diesel generators, leaving insufficient emergency power to keep cooling water flowing through the reactor cores. The exposed fuel was partially damaged, and there were explosions of hydrogen.

Radiation spread beyond the plant. Tens of thousands of local residents were forced from homes, and tens of thousands more were urged to evacuate more distant areas. No one knows when they will be able to return or when a final cleanup will be completed.

In the wake of the disaster, this country's Nuclear Regulatory Commission assembled a task force to look at what happened in Japan and to assess the United States' ability to withstand a disaster of its own. This month the group issued thoughtful and common-sense recommendations. The five commissioners should quickly adopt them.

The group's most important finding is that our nation's oversight of nuclear power plants is a less than rigorous "patchwork" of mandatory and voluntary provisions. Some critical safety components are regulated, but others are left to voluntary action by the nuclear industry and the companies that operate the plants.

There is good reason to doubt both the regulators' vigilance and the industry's diligence. When regulators conducted thorough inspections of American plants after Fukushima, they found appalling deficiencies in some of the plants. Required equipment to deal with fires and explosions was missing, inoperable or inaccessible. Plants had failed to incorporate voluntary measures to deal with very severe accidents into their emergency training drills.

After operators took a variety of corrective actions, the nuclear agency concluded that there was no imminent risk from continuing to operate American plants, and the task force agreed.

The task force focused particularly on what plants could do to be better able to survive a range of simultaneous disasters, including an extended loss of electrical power and accidents affecting adjacent reactors.

Its sensible proposals for immediate action include requirements that plant operators verify that their measures to prevent earthquake and flood damage would work as advertised. The plants would also be required to install instruments to allow control room workers to monitor conditions in spent fuel pools; the Japanese operators had no idea what was happening in some of their pools.

More ambitious recommendations would redefine the level of protection that plants must meet regardless of cost; replace voluntary compliance with mandatory rules; and require many more reactors to install "hardened vents" to reduce the risk of hydrogen explosions.

All that would drive up costs. There are already signs that the industry and its allies among Congressional Republicans will press the commissioners to bury the recommendations or delay any costly requirements on the excuse that more analysis is needed.

There is no doubt that the commission would benefit from getting additional feedback from the industry, advocacy groups, the agency's own experienced staff, and other experts to supplement the task force report. That could all be easily done in the next few months and must not be an excuse for delaying approval of the recommendations.

The industry should have learned after the accident at Three Mile Island that public confidence is fragile. Apparently it has yet to figure that out.


14) The Truth About My Trip To Hanoi
By Jane Fonda
July 22, 2011

I grew up during World War II. My childhood was influenced by the roles my father played in his movies. Whether Abraham Lincoln or Tom Joad in the Grapes of Wrath, his characters communicated certain values which I try to carry with me to this day. I remember saying goodbye to my father the night he left to join the Navy. He didn't have to. He was older than other servicemen and had a family to support but he wanted to be a part of the fight against fascism, not just make movies about it. I admired this about him. I grew up with a deep belief that wherever our troops fought, they were on the side of the angels.

For the first 8 years of the Vietnam War I lived in France. I was married to the French film director, Roger Vadim and had my first child. The French had been defeated in their own war against Vietnam a decade before our country went to war there, so when I heard, over and over, French people criticizing our country for our Vietnam War I hated it. I viewed it as sour grapes. I refused to believe we could be doing anything wrong there.

It wasn't until I began to meet American servicemen who had been in Vietnam and had come to Paris as resisters that I realized I needed to learn more. I took every chance I could to meet with U.S. soldiers. I talked with them and read the books they gave me about the war. I decided I needed to return to my country and join with them-active duty soldiers and Vietnam Veterans in particular-to try and end the war. I drove around the country visiting military bases, spending time in the G.I. Coffee houses that had sprung up outside many bases -places where G.I.s could gather. I met with Army psychiatrists who were concerned about the type of training our men were receiving...quite different, they said, from the trainings during WWII and Korea. The doctors felt this training was having a damaging effect on the psyches of the young men, effects they might not recover from. I raised money and hired a former Green Beret, Donald Duncan, to open and run the G.I. Office in Washington D.C. to try and get legal and congressional help for soldiers who were being denied their rights under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I talked for hours with U.S. pilots about their training, and what they were told about Vietnam. I met with the wives of servicemen. I visited V.A. hospitals. Later in 1978, wanting to share with other Americans some of what I had learned about the experiences of returning soldiers and their families, I made the movie Coming Home. I was the one who would be asked to speak at large anti-war rallies to tell people that the men in uniform were not the enemy, that they did not start the war, that they were, in growing numbers our allies. I knew as much about military law as any layperson. I knew more than most civilians about the realities on the ground for men in combat. I lived and breathed this stuff for two years before I went to North Vietnam. I cared deeply for the men and boys who had been put in harms way. I wanted to stop the killing and bring our servicemen home. I was infuriated as I learned just how much our soldiers were being lied to about why we were fighting in Vietnam and I was anguished each time I would be with a young man who was traumatized by his experiences. Some boys shook constantly and were unable to speak above a whisper.

It is unconscionable that extremist groups circulate letters which accuse me of horrific things, saying that I am a traitor, that POWs in Hanoi were tied up and in chains and marched passed me while I spat at them and called them 'baby killers. These letters also say that when the POWs were brought into the room for a meeting I had with them, we shook hands and they passed me tiny slips of paper on which they had written their social security numbers. Supposedly, this was so that I could bring back proof to the U.S. military that they were alive. The story goes on to say that I handed these slips of paper over to the North Vietnamese guards and, as a result, at least one of the men was tortured to death. That these stories could be given credence shows how little people know of the realities in North Vietnam prisons at the time. The U.S. government and the POW families didn't need me to tell them who the prisoners were. They had all their names. Moreover, according to even the most hardcore senior officers, torture stopped late in 1969, two and a half years before I got there. And, most importantly, I would never say such things to our servicemen, whom I respect, whether or not I agree with the mission they have been sent to perform, which is not of their choosing.

But these lies have circulated for almost forty years, continually reopening the wound of the Vietnam War and causing pain to families of American servicemen. The lies distort the truth of why I went to North Vietnam and they perpetuate the myth that being anti-war means being anti-soldier.

Little known is the fact that almost 300 Americans-journalists, diplomats, peace activists, professors, religious leaders and Vietnam Veterans themselves-had been traveling to North Vietnam over a number of years in an effort to try and find ways to end the war (By the way, those trips generated little if any media attention.) I brought with me to Hanoi a thick package of letters from families of POWs. Since 1969, mail for the POWs had been brought in and out of North Vietnam every month by American visitors. The Committee of Liaison With Families coordinated this effort. I took the letters to the POWs and brought a packet of letters from them back to their families.

The Photo of Me on the Gun Site.

There is one thing that happened while in North Vietnam that I will regret to my dying day- I allowed myself to be photographed on a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. I want to, once again, explain how that came about. I have talked about this numerous times on national television and in my memoirs, My Life So Far, but clearly, it needs to be repeated.

It happened on my last day in Hanoi. I was exhausted and an emotional wreck after the 2-week visit. It was not unusual for Americans who visited North Vietnam to be taken to see Vietnamese military installations and when they did, they were always required to wear a helmet like the kind I was told to wear during the numerous air raids I had experienced. When we arrived at the site of the anti-aircraft installation (somewhere on the outskirts of Hanoi), there was a group of about a dozen young soldiers in uniform who greeted me. There were also many photographers (and perhaps journalists) gathered about, many more than I had seen all in one place in Hanoi. This should have been a red flag.

The translator told me that the soldiers wanted to sing me a song. He translated as they sung. It was a song about the day 'Uncle Ho' declared their country's independence in Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square. I heard these words: "All men are created equal; they are given certain rights; among these are life, Liberty and Happiness." These are the words Ho pronounced at the historic ceremony. I began to cry and clap. These young men should not be our enemy. They celebrate the same words Americans do.

The soldiers asked me to sing for them in return. As it turned out I was prepared for just such a moment: before leaving the United States, I memorized a song called Day Ma Di, written by anti-war South Vietnamese students. I knew I was slaughtering it, but everyone seemed delighted that I was making the attempt. I finished. Everyone was laughing and clapping, including me, overcome on this, my last day, with all that I had experienced during my 2 week visit. What happened next was something I have turned over and over in my mind countless times. Here is my best, honest recollection of what happened: someone (I don't remember who) led me towards the gun, and I sat down, still laughing, still applauding. It all had nothing to do with where I was sitting. I hardly even thought about where I was sitting. The cameras flashed. I got up, and as I started to walk back to the car with the translator, the implication of what had just happened hit me. "Oh my God. It's going to look like I was trying to shoot down U.S. planes." I pleaded with him, "You have to be sure those photographs are not published. Please, you can't let them be published." I was assured it would be taken care of. I didn't know what else to do. (I didn't know yet that among the photographers there were some Japanese.)

It is possible that it was a set up, that the Vietnamese had it all planned. I will never know. But if they did I can't blame them. The buck stops here. If I was used, I allowed it to happen. It was my mistake and I have paid and continue to pay a heavy price for it. Had I brought a politically more experienced traveling companion with me they would have kept me from taking that terrible seat. I would have known two minutes before sitting down what I didn't realize until two minutes afterwards; a two-minute lapse of sanity that will haunt me forever. The gun was inactive, there were no planes overhead, I simply wasn't thinking about what I was doing, only about what I was feeling, innocent of what the photo implies. But the photo exists, delivering its message regardless of what I was doing or feeling. I carry this heavy in my heart. I have apologized numerous times for any pain I may have caused servicemen and their families because of this photograph. It was never my intention to cause harm. It is certainly painful for me that I, who had spent so much time talking to soldiers, trying to help soldiers and veterans, helping the anti-war movement to not blame the soldiers, now would be seen as being against our soldiers!

So Why I Did I Go?

On May 8th, 1972, President Nixon had ordered underwater, explosive mines to be placed in Haiphong Harbor, something that had been rejected by previous administrations. Later that same month, reports began to come in from European scientists and diplomats that the dikes of the Red River Delta in North Vietnam were being targeted by U.S. planes. The Swedish ambassador to Vietnam reported to an American delegation in Hanoi that he had at first believed the bombing was accidental, but now, having seen the dikes with his own eyes, he was convinced it was deliberate.

I might have missed the significance of these reports had Tom Hayden, whom I was dating, not shown me what the recently released Pentagon Papers had to say on the subject: in 1966, Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton, searching for some new means to bring Hanoi to its knees, had proposed destroying North Vietnam's system of dams and dikes, which, he said, "If handled right- might...offer promise...such destruction does not kill or drown people. By shallow-flooding the rice, it leads after a time to widespread starvation (more than a million?) unless food is provided-which we could offer to do at the conference table."[1] President Johnson, to his credit, had not acted upon this option.

Now, six years later, Richard Nixon appeared to have given orders to target the dikes-whether to actually destroy them[2] or to demonstrate the threat of destruction, no one knew.

It is important to understand that the Red River is the largest river in North Vietnam. Like Holland, its delta is below sea level. Over centuries, the Vietnamese people have constructed -by hand!- an intricate network of earthen dikes and dams to hold back the sea, a network two thousand five hundred miles long! The stability of these dikes becomes especially critical as monsoon season approaches, and requires an all-out effort on the part of citizens to repair any damage from burrowing animals or from normal wear and tear. Now it was June, but this was no 'normal wear and tear' they were facing. The Red River would begin to rise in July and August. Should there be flooding, the mining of Haiphong Harbor would prevent any food from being imported; the bombing showed no signs of letting up; and there was little press coverage of the impending disaster should the dikes be weakened by the bombing and give way. Something drastic had to be done.

The Nixon Administration and its US Ambassador to the United Nations, George Bush (the father), would vehemently deny what was happening, but the following are excerpts from the April-May 1972 transcripts of conversations between President Nixon and top administration officials.

April 25th 1972

Nixon: "We've got to be thinking in terms of an all-out bombing attack [of North Vietnam}...Now, by all-out bombing attack, I am thinking about things that go far beyond...I'm thinking of the dikes, I'm thinking of the railroad, I'm thinking, of course, of the docks."

Kissinger: "I agree with you."

President Nixon: "And I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?"

Kissinger: "About two hundred thousand people."

President Nixon: "No, no, no...I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?

Kissinger: "That, I think, would just be too much."

President Nixon: "The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?...I just want to think big, Henry, for Christsakes."

May 4, 1972.[3]

John B. Connally (Secretary of the Treasury):..."bomb for seriousness, not just as a signal. Railroads, ports, power stations, communication lines...and don't worry about killing civilians. Go ahead and kill 'em....People think you are [killing civilians] now. So go ahead and give 'em some."

Richard Nixon: "That's right."

[Later in same conversation]

Richard Nixon: "We need to win the goddamned war...and...what that fella [?] said about taking out the goddamned dikes, all right, we'll take out the goddamned dikes....If Henry's for that, I'm for it all the way."

The administration wanted the American public to believe Nixon was winding down the war because he was bringing our ground troops home. (At the time I went to Hanoi, there were only approximately 25,000 troops left in South Vietnam from a high of 540,000 in early 1969) In fact, the war was escalating...from the air. And, as I said, monsoon season was approaching. Something drastic had to be done.

That May, I received an invitation from the North Vietnamese in Paris to make the trip to Hanoi. Many had gone before me but perhaps it would take a different sort of celebrity to get people's attention. Heightened public attention was what was needed to confront the impending crisis with the dikes. I would take a camera and bring back photographic evidence (if such was to be found) of the bomb damage of the dikes we'd been hearing about.

I arranged the trip's logistics through the Vietnamese delegation at the Paris Peace talks, bought myself a round trip ticket and stopped in New York to pick up letters for the POWs.

Frankly, the trip felt like a call to service. It was a humanitarian mission, not a political trip. My goal was to expose and try to halt the bombing of the dikes. (The bombing of the dikes ended a month after my return from Hanoi)

The only problem was that I went alone. Had I been with a more experienced, clear-headed, traveling companion, I would not have allowed myself to get into a situation where I was photographed on an anti-aircraft gun.

The Spin

My trip to North Vietnam never became a big story in the Summer/Fall of 1972-nothing on television, one small article in the New York Times. The majority of the American public, Congress, and the media were opposed to the war by then and they didn't seem to take much notice of my trip. After all, as I said, almost three hundred Americans had gone to Hanoi before me. There had been more than eighty broadcasts by Americans over Radio Hanoi before I made mine. I had decided to do the broadcasts because I was so horrified by the bombing of civilian targets and I wanted to speak to U.S. pilots as I had done on so many occasions during my visits to U.S. military bases and at G.I. Coffee houses. I never asked pilots to desert. I wanted to tell them what I was seeing as an American on the ground there. The Nixon Justice Department poured over the transcripts of my broadcasts trying to find a way to put me on trial for treason but they could find none. A. William Olson, a representative of the Justice Department, [4] said after studying the transcripts, that I had asked the military "to do nothing other than to think."

But from the Nixon Administration's point of view, something had to be done. If the government couldn't prosecute me in court because, in reality, I had broken no laws, then the pro-war advocates would make sure I was prosecuted in the court of public opinion.

The myth making about my being responsible for POW torture began seven months after I returned from North Vietnam, and several months after the war had ended, and the U.S. POWs had returned home. "Operation Homecoming," in February 1973, was planned by the Pentagon and orchestrated by the White House. It was unprecedented in its lavishness. I was outraged that there had been no homecoming celebrations for the 10s of 1000s of men who had done combat. But from 1969 until their release in 1973, Nixon had made sure that the central issue of the war for many Americans was about the torture of American POWs (the very same years when the torture had stopped!). He had to seize the opportunity to create something that resembled victory. It was as close as he would come, and the POWs were the perfect vehicles to deflect the nation's attention away from what our government had done in Vietnam, how they had broken faith with our servicemen.

I became a target the government could use, to suggest that some POWs who had met with me while I was in Hanoi had been tortured into pretending they were anti-war. The same thing was done to try and frame former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, whose trip to North Vietnam followed mine.

According to Seymour Hersh, author and journalist who uncovered the My Lai massacre and, later, the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal, when American families of POWs became alarmed at the news that there was torture in North Vietnam prisons, they received letters from the Pentagon saying: "We are certain that you will not become unduly concerned over the [torture] briefing if you keep in mind the purpose for which it was tailored."[5]

But, according to what the POWs wrote in their books, conditions in the POW camps improved in the four years preceding their release-that is, from 1969 until 1973. Upon their release, Newsweek magazine wrote, "the [torture] stories seemed incongruent with the men telling them - a trim, trig [note: this is actually the word used in the article] lot who, given a few pounds more flesh, might have stepped right out of a recruiting poster."[6]

Once the POWs were home, the Pentagon and White House handpicked a group of the highest ranking POWs-senior officers, to travel the national media circuit, some of them telling of torture. A handwritten note from President Nixon to H.R. Haldeman says that "the POW's need to have the worst quotes of R. Clark and Fonda" to use in their TV appearances, but this information shouldn't come from the White House.[7] These media stories were allowed to become the official narrative, the universal "POW Story," giving the impression that all the men had been subjected to systematic torture-right up to the end-and that torture was the policy of the North Vietnamese government. The POWs who said there was no torture in their camps were never allowed access to the media.

Not that any torture is justified or that anyone who had been tortured should have been prevented from telling about it. But the Nixon White House orchestrated a distorted picture of what actually occurred.

In my anger at the torture story that was being allowed to spread, at how the entire situation was being manipulated, I made a mistake I deeply regret. I said that the POWs claiming torture were liars, hypocrites, and pawns.

I said, "I'm quite sure that there were incidents of torture...but the pilots who are saying it was the policy of the Vietnamese and that it was systematic, I believe that's a lie."[8]

What I didn't know at the time was that although there had been no torture after 1969, before then there had been systematic torture of some POWS. One of the more hawkish of them, James Stockdale, wrote in his book, In Love and War, that no more than ten percent of the pilots received at least ninety percent of the punishment.[9] John Hubbell, in P.O.W.: A Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, agreed, and affirmed the fact that torture stopped in 1969.[10]

When the POWs came home, some who had been there longest told the press how they clogged up prison toilets and sewers, refused to come when ordered, or follow prison rules. One of the most famous, Jeremiah Denton, said, "We forced them [the guards] to be brutal to us."[11] I relay this not to minimize the hardships that the POWs endured, nor to excuse it- but to attempt belatedly to restore a greater depth of insight into the entire POW experience with their captors.

Still, whether any torture was administered to certain, more recalcitrant POWs and not to others is unacceptable. Even though only a small percent of prisoners were tortured by U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, it wasn't right. According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's standards, torturing prisoners to get information is justified. It isn't. Not ever. All nations must adhere to the Geneva Convention's rules of warfare.

As anyone who knew or worked with me in those years knows that my heart has always been with the soldiers. I should have been clearer that my anger back then was at the Nixon Administration. It was the administration, in its cynical determination to keep hostilities between the U.S. and Vietnam alive and to distract people from the administration's mistakes, who tried to use the POWs as pawns.

Addressing The Internet lies

By the end of the Nineties, even more grotesque torture lies began to be circulated about me over the Internet-the ones that continue to this day.

Let me quote a former POW, Captain Mike McGrath (USN Retired), president of the POW-NAM Organization. In a letter to Roger Friedman, at the time a columnist for Fox411, on Friday, January 12, 2001 (he gave Friedman permission to make the letter public) McGrath wrote:

Yes, the Carrigan/Driscoll/strips of paper story is an Internet hoax. It has been around since Nov 1999 or so. To the best of my knowledge none of this ever happened. This is a hoax story placed on the Internet by unknown Fonda haters. No one knows who initiated the story. I have spoken with all the parties named: Carrigan, Driscoll, et al. They all state that this particular story is a hoax and wish to disassociate their names from the false story. They never made the statements attributed to them.

In his letter, McGrath also said to Friedman that by the time I went to Hanoi in 1972, treatment of the POWs was starting to improve and that I "did not bring torture or abuse to the POWs," but that one man [Hoffman], the "senior ranking man in a room full of new guys," was tortured ("hung by his broken arm") to make him come to the meeting with me. McGrath wrote:

Why one man (name withheld by request) was picked out for torture of his broken arm is unknown...

The answer is, it never happened!

Will what I have written here stop the myths from continuing to be spread on the Internet and in mass mailings to conservative Republicans? I don't know. Some people seem to need to hate and I make a convenient lightning rod. I think the lies and distortions serve some right-wing purpose-fundraising? Demonizing me so as to scare others from becoming out-spoken anti-war activists? Who knows? But at least here, on my blog (and in my memoirs), there is a place where people who are genuinely interested in the truth can find it.

[1] PP Vol. 1V, p. 43 (Italics in the original)

[2] As Hitler had done to the Netherlands during World War II. German High Commissioner Seyss-Inquart was condemned to death at Nuremberg for opening the dikes in Holland.

[3] Oval Office Conversation No. 719-22, May 4, 1972; Nixon White House Tapes; National Archives at College Park, College Park MD

[4] Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives, 92 Congress, Second Session, Sept. 10 & 25th, 1972 (Washington: Government Printing Office): 7552

[5] Hersh, The P.O.W. Issue: A National Issue is Born, Dayton (Ohio) Journal-Herald, 13-18 Feb 1971

[6] Newsweek, 4/16/73

[7] Nixon Presidential Materials Staff, White House Special Files: Staff Mamber & Office Files: H.R. Haldeman: Box 47: Folder: H. Notes Jan-Feb-Mar 1973 National Archives

[8] NYT, 7 April 1973,11

[9] In Love and War, p.447

[10] P.O.W.: A Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, John G. Hubbell, 91,430

[11] New York Times, 30 April 1973.


15) Who Rules America? An Investment Manager Breaks Down the Economic Top 1%, Says 0.1% Controls Political and Legislative Process
Posted By On July 23, 2011 @ 1:35 pm In Economy,Feature,News | 17 Comments
[1] [2]
Sent in from G. William Domhoff, author of Who Rules America? [3]

This article was written by an investment manager who works with very wealthy clients. I knew him from decades ago, but he recently e-mailed me with some concerns he had about what was happening with the economy. What he had to say was informative enough that I asked if he might fashion what he had told me into a document for the Who Rules America Web site. He agreed to do so, but only on the condition that the document be anonymous, because he does not want to jeopardize his relationships with his clients or other investment professionals.

I sit in an interesting chair in the financial services industry. Our clients largely fall into the top 1%, have a net worth of $5,000,000 or above, and if working make over $300,000 per year. My observations on the sources of their wealth and concerns come from my professional and social activities within this group.

Work by various economists and tax experts make it indisputable that the top 1% controls a widely disproportionate share of the income and wealth in the United States. When does one enter that top 1%? (I'll use "k" for 1,000 and "M" for 1,000,000 as we usually do when communicating with clients or discussing money; thousands and millions take too much time to say.) Available data isn't exact. but a family enters the top 1% or so today with somewhere around $300k to $400k in pre-tax income and over $1.2M in net worth. Compared to the average American family with a pre-tax income in the mid-$50k range and net worth around $120k, this probably seems like a lot of money. But, there are big differences within that top 1%, with the wealth distribution highly skewed towards the top 0.1%.

The Lower Half of the Top 1%

The 99th to 99.5th percentiles largely include physicians, attorneys, upper middle management, and small business people who have done well. Everyone's tax situation is, of course, a little different. On earned income in this group, we can figure somewhere around 25% to 30% of total pre-tax income will go to Federal, State, and Social Security taxes, leaving them with around $250k to $300k post tax. This group makes extensive use of 401-k's, SEP-IRA's, Defined Benefit Plans, and other retirement vehicles, which defer taxes until distribution during retirement. Typical would be yearly contributions in the $50k to $100k range, leaving our elite working group with yearly cash flows of $175k to $250k after taxes, or about $15k to $20k per month.

Until recently, most studies just broke out the top 1% as a group. Data on net worth distributions within the top 1% indicate that one enters the top 0.5% with about $1.8M, the top 0.25% with $3.1M, the top 0.10% with $5.5M and the top 0.01% with $24.4M. Wealth distribution is highly skewed towards the top 0.01%, increasing the overall average for this group. The net worth for those in the lower half of the top 1% is usually achieved after decades of education, hard work, saving and investing as a professional or small business person. While an after-tax income of $175k to $250k and net worth in the $1.2M to $1.8M range may seem like a lot of money to most Americans, it doesn't really buy freedom from financial worry or access to the true corridors of power and money. That doesn't become frequent until we reach the top 0.1%.

I've had many discussions in the last few years with clients with "only" $5M or under in assets, those in the 99th to 99.9th percentiles, as to whether they have enough money to retire or stay retired. That may sound strange to the 99% not in this group but generally accepted "safe" retirement distribution rates for a 30 year period are in the 3-5% range with 4% as the current industry standard. Assuming that the lower end of the top 1% has, say, $1.2M in investment assets, their retirement income will be about $50k per year plus maybe $30k-$40k from Social Security, so let's say $90k per year pre-tax and $75-$80k post-tax if they wish to plan for 30 years of withdrawals. For those with $1.8M in retirement assets, that rises to around $120-150k pretax per year and around $100k after tax. If someone retires with $5M today, roughly the beginning rung for entry into the top 0.1%, they can reasonably expect an income of $240k pretax and around $190k post tax, including Social Security.

While income and lifestyle are all relative, an after-tax income between $6.6k and $8.3k per month today will hardly buy the fantasy lifestyles that Americans see on TV and would consider "rich". In many areas in California or the East Coast, this positions one squarely in the hard working upper-middle class, and strict budgeting will be essential. An income of $190k post tax or $15.8k per month will certainly buy a nice lifestyle but is far from rich. And, for those folks who made enough to accumulate this much wealth during their working years, the reduction in income and lifestyle during retirement can be stressful. Plus, watching retirement accounts deplete over time isn't fun, not to mention the ever-fluctuating value of these accounts and the desire of many to leave a substantial inheritance. Our poor lower half of the top 1% lives well but has some financial worries.

Since the majority of those in this group actually earned their money from professions and smaller businesses, they generally don't participate in the benefits big money enjoys. Those in the 99th to 99.5th percentile lack access to power. For example, most physicians today are having their incomes reduced by HMO's, PPO's and cost controls from Medicare and insurance companies; the legal profession is suffering from excess capacity, declining demand and global outsourcing; successful small businesses struggle with increasing regulation and taxation. I speak daily with these relative winners in the economic hierarchy and many express frustration.

Unlike those in the lower half of the top 1%, those in the top half and, particularly, top 0.1%, can often borrow for almost nothing, keep profits and production overseas, hold personal assets in tax havens, ride out down markets and economies, and influence legislation in the U.S. They have access to the very best in accounting firms, tax and other attorneys, numerous consultants, private wealth managers, a network of other wealthy and powerful friends, lucrative business opportunities, and many other benefits. Most of those in the bottom half of the top 1% lack power and global flexibility and are essentially well-compensated workhorses for the top 0.5%, just like the bottom 99%. In my view, the American dream of striking it rich is merely a well-marketed fantasy that keeps the bottom 99.5% hoping for better and prevents social and political instability. The odds of getting into that top 0.5% are very slim and the door is kept firmly shut by those within it.

The Upper Half of the Top 1%

Membership in this elite group is likely to come from being involved in some aspect of the financial services or banking industry, real estate development involved with those industries, or government contracting. Some hard working and clever physicians and attorneys can acquire as much as $15M-$20M before retirement but they are rare. Those in the top 0.5% have incomes over $500k if working and a net worth over $1.8M if retired. The higher we go up into the top 0.5% the more likely it is that their wealth is in some way tied to the investment industry and borrowed money than from personally selling goods or services or labor as do most in the bottom 99.5%. They are much more likely to have built their net worth from stock options and capital gains in stocks and real estate and private business sales, not from income which is taxed at a much higher rate. These opportunities are largely unavailable to the bottom 99.5%.

Recently, I spoke with a younger client who retired from a major investment bank in her early thirties, net worth around $8M. We can estimate that she had to earn somewhere around twice that, or $14M-$16M, in order to keep $8M after taxes and live well along the way, an impressive accomplishment by such an early age. Since I knew she held a critical view of investment banking, I asked if her colleagues talked about or understood how much damage was created in the broader economy from their activities. Her answer was that no one talks about it in public but almost all understood and were unbelievably cynical, hoping to exit the system when they became rich enough.

Folks in the top 0.1% come from many backgrounds but it's infrequent to meet one whose wealth wasn't acquired through direct or indirect participation in the financial and banking industries. One of our clients, net worth in the $60M range, built a small company and was acquired with stock from a multi-national. Stock is often called a "paper" asset. Another client, CEO of a medium-cap tech company, retired with a net worth in the $70M range. The bulk of any CEO's wealth comes from stock, not income, and incomes are also very high. Last year, the average S&P 500 CEO made $9M in all forms of compensation. One client runs a division of a major international investment bank, net worth in the $30M range and most of the profits from his division flow directly or indirectly from the public sector, the taxpayer. Another client with a net worth in the $10M range is the ex-wife of a managing director of a major investment bank, while another was able to amass $12M after taxes by her early thirties from stock options as a high level programmer in a successful IT company. The picture is clear; entry into the top 0.5% and, particularly, the top 0.1% is usually the result of some association with the financial industry and its creations. I find it questionable as to whether the majority in this group actually adds value or simply diverts value from the US economy and business into its pockets and the pockets of the uber-wealthy who hire them. They are, of course, doing nothing illegal.

I think it's important to emphasize one of the dangers of wealth concentration: irresponsibility about the wider economic consequences of their actions by those at the top. Wall Street created the investment products that produced gross economic imbalances and the 2008 credit crisis. It wasn't the hard-working 99.5%. Average people could only destroy themselves financially, not the economic system. There's plenty of blame to go around, but the collapse was primarily due to the failure of complex mortgage derivatives, CDS credit swaps, cheap Fed money, lax regulation, compromised ratings agencies, government involvement in the mortgage market, the end of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, and insufficient bank capital. Only Wall Street could put the economy at risk and it had an excellent reason to do so: profit. It made huge profits in the build-up to the credit crisis and huge profits when it sold itself as "too big to fail" and received massive government and Federal Reserve bailouts. Most of the serious economic damage the U.S. is struggling with today was done by the top 0.1% and they benefited greatly from it.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street and the top of corporate America are doing extremely well as of June 2011. For example, in Q1 of 2011, America's top corporations reported 31% profit growth and a 31% reduction in taxes, the latter due to profit outsourcing to low tax rate countries. Somewhere around 40% of the profits in the S&P 500 come from overseas and stay overseas, with about half of these 500 top corporations having their headquarters in tax havens. If the corporations don't repatriate their profits, they pay no U.S. taxes. The year 2010 was a record year for compensation on Wall Street, while corporate CEO compensation rose by over 30%, most Americans struggled. In 2010 a dozen major companies, including GE, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and Fed Ex paid US tax rates between -0.7% and -9.2%. Production, employment, profits, and taxes have all been outsourced. Major U.S. corporations are currently lobbying to have another "tax-repatriation" window like that in 2004 where they can bring back corporate profits at a 5.25% tax rate versus the usual 35% US corporate tax rate. Ordinary working citizens with the lowest incomes are taxed at 10%.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: A highly complex and largely discrete set of laws and exemptions from laws has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of the U.S. financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the U.S. political and legislative processes. They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them, and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%. Moreover, those at the very top have no incentive whatsoever for revealing or changing the rules. I am not optimistic.


16) Video of a Lethal Injection Reopens Questions on the Privacy of Executions
"...'Gosh, it looks like what they did to my pet,'..."
July 23, 2011

As Andrew Grant DeYoung died by lethal injection in a prison in Jackson, Ga., on Thursday night, a video camera watched silently.

The camera recorded his last words - "I'm sorry for everyone I've hurt" - and his eyes blinking as the drugs took effect. It registered his last breaths and the time of his death: 8:04 p.m.

For decades in the United States, what goes on inside the execution chamber has been largely shrouded from public view, glimpsed only through the accounts of journalists and other witnesses.

But the video recording of Mr. DeYoung's death, the first since 1992, has once again raised the possibility that executions might be made available for all to see. In the process, it has reignited a widespread debate about how bright a light to shine on one of the most secretive corners of the criminal justice system.

Legal experts say the decision by Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane of Fulton County Superior Court to allow the taping in Mr. DeYoung's case opens the way for defense lawyers across the country to push for the video documentation of other executions. And it is inevitable, many experts believe, that some of those recordings will make their way onto television or even YouTube, with or without the blessings of a court.

Brian Kammer, a defense lawyer who argued for allowing Mr. DeYoung's execution to be recorded, said that documenting the death was essential because of the controversy over the drugs used in lethal injections.

"We've had three botched lethal injections in Georgia prior to Mr. DeYoung, and we thought it was time to get some hard evidence," Mr. Kammer said.

Mr. DeYoung, who was convicted of the 1993 murders of his parents and 14-year-old sister, was given a three-drug cocktail, including pentobarbital, a sedative often used to euthanize animals. Critics have argued that the use of pentobarbital represents cruel and unusual punishment.

In pushing for the video, the lawyers argued that there were problems with an execution in June in Georgia that used the drug; the condemned man, Roy Blankenship, was described by a medical expert as jerking, mumbling and thrashing after the injection was administered. According to an account of the execution in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mr. DeYoung "showed no violent signs in death."

Lawyers for the state attorney general opposed the recording, saying that it would threaten security and that "in this day and age of almost thoughtless dissemination of information, there exists a credible risk of public distribution."

After Mr. DeYoung's execution, the video was sealed and sent to a judge's chambers for safekeeping, and Mr. Kammer, for one, said he hoped it stayed hidden. "It's a horrible thing that Andrew DeYoung had to go through, and it's not for the public to see that," he said.

But Douglas Berman, a professor of law at Ohio State University who commented on the issue on his blog, Sentencing and Law Policy, said, "I think it would be foolish for anybody who is authorizing or supervising the videotaping of executions to assume that it will always remain sealed and unseen." Mr. Berman added, "Somewhere, somehow, at some point, this will become publicly accessible."

Whether that development would be beneficial or harmful has for years been a subject of much contention. Deborah W. Denno, a professor at Fordham Law School who is an expert on the death penalty, says videotaping executions is important because it provides objective evidence that is not dependent on eyewitness accounts. The decision to allow the recording of Mr. DeYoung's death was a sign of the courts' growing awareness of the need for transparency, Ms. Denno said.

"Presumably," she said, court officials "are going to act responsibly, and the tape will never see the light of day." But if such videos become public, she said, it might not be such a bad thing. She noted that television cameras are allowed in courtrooms and that the public can take tours of prisons.

"Most of what we do in the criminal justice system in terms of punishment is something that is allegedly open to the public," Ms. Denno said, "and this is the ultimate form of our process."

Mr. Berman was also in favor of opening executions to public scrutiny. "I think that this is the kind of government activity that ought to be publicly known about," he said. Videos of executions carried out in other countries are readily available on YouTube, he pointed out, as are images of violence of all kinds.

But William Otis, a former chief of the appellate division at the United States attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia, said that although he favored the death penalty, the idea of broadcasting executions made him uncomfortable.

"There's something that I think would give a normal person pause about making readily available pictures of executions," Mr. Otis said. "Who's going to watch stuff like that?" He added that if the videos were to be made public, graphic depictions of murders and their effects on victims should go alongside them.

In an execution, "the defendant seems to be so alone and helpless and sympathetic, and in that setting, that's right," Mr. Otis said. "He's a human being, and he's about to be put to death." But "to have that out there by itself is misleading," he added.

Executions in the United States have not always been private. In 1936, the last public hanging was held in an empty lot in Owensboro, Ky., before an estimated 20,000 people.

Starting in the 1800s, said Stuart Banner, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, public taste began to shift away from such executions. "Before that, the whole idea was that this would be a good deterrent," Mr. Banner said. "People would bring their kids. It was a good moral lesson."

Complaints about the behavior of the mob - some people laughed and pickpockets roamed the crowds - and concerns about the brutality of public executions eventually put an end to the spectacles. The advent of the gas chamber and the electric chair sealed the event's privacy: neither could be used outdoors.

But challenges to the closed-door nature of executions continued, most of them unsuccessful. A public television station in San Francisco sued to be allowed to broadcast the execution of Robert Alton Harris at San Quentin in 1992 but lost the suit. Other bids to videotape executions have been turned down by the courts.

Mr. Berman said he was less worried about videos of executions being misused if they became widely available than he was about people becoming indifferent to them.

People might say, "Gosh, it looks like what they did to my pet," he said.


17) 5 Ways Americans Are Surviving the Great Recession
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on July 24, 2011, Printed on July 25, 2011

Most of us are familiar with the tragic numbers that tell the tale of this grueling downturn. During the last peak, about 65 percent of Americans held a job; today, that number is below 59 percent. We just saw the largest two-year drop in "labor compensation" - wages and benefits - since the early 1960s, the foreclosure crisis continues unabated, and for the first time, the number of "99ers" - unemployed Americans whose benefits have run out - has pushed past the two million mark.

While Washington remains in the grip of deficit hysteria, these are the real problems the American people face. Being a resourceful people, they're adapting to their new economic situation in a variety of ways. Here are five of them.

1. Waiting to Strike Out on Their own

Getting a new place of your own -- whether moving out of the family home as a young adult, going it alone after living with roomies or getting out of a bad relationship -- costs money. Given the depths of the downturn, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the number of new households being formed has hit its lowest level in 40 years. That's according to economist Scott Sumner, who, citing an analysis of Census data, notes that in 2007 over 1.6 new households were formed, which was more or less in line with the average of 1.5 million over the previous decade. Last year, however, only 357,000 new households emerged, "down 78% from 2007 and down 76% from the prior 10-year average." This is a major drag on the housing market and the construction industry.

2. Doubling Up

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Facing layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs, more people have turned to shared housing to help make ends meet." Reporter Caroline Said found that listings for shares in the Bay Area on Craigslist are up 60 percent in the past 12 months, and agencies that match landlords looking to rent out a room with tenants eager to find affordable digs are overwhelmed.

Dennis Torres, a professor of real estate at Pepperdine University, told Said that this is probably the beginning of a long-term trend. "People who lost their jobs are renting out rooms in a last-ditch effort to save their property (from foreclosure)," he said. "But once they rent them out, they're not going back. They'll get used to the extra income and that will be the norm, even if they get a new job."

Young college grads, facing dismal job prospects, are also being forced to move back in with their parents in increasing numbers. According to CNN, "a whopping 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May," a rate that has "steadily risen from 67% in 2006." Unemployment nationwide is at 9 percent; recent college grads face an unemployment rate of 15 percent.

3. Moonlighting

This week, McClatchy reported that with wages stagnant, more Americans are taking a second job to make ends meet.

According to the report:

* Twelve percent of workers plan to take a second job this year, according to a survey by
* That's up from single digits during the first half of the decade, before the economic downturn, reported.
* The reason is almost always economic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. residents who said they had two jobs because of tight financial times was 7.3 million in 2010, up from 4.5 million in 2007, the year the recession began.

4. Running Up the Credit Cards

In June, I noted that, according to a monthly survey of consumer attitudes conducted by First Command Financial Services, "Eight out of 10 respondents said that paying down debt is currently their No. 1 priority."

According to the survey of 1,000 middle-class households, more than half or respondents say they're cutting back on everyday expenses, four out of 10 say they're "using all of their extra income" to pay down debt and 15 percent are even taking second jobs or working extra shifts to dig themselves out of the hole.

As the shock of the financial crash took hold, these efforts looked like they were paying off. According to Federal Reserve Data, American households lopped 4 percent off of their consumer debts in 2009. They kept it up through the first three quarters of 2010 - paying down consumer debt to the tune of about 3 more percent. But with worker compensation falling since then, the pattern has reversed itself - from last fall until today, households are again running up the credit cards, taking out lines of credit and sinking deeper into the red. And this week, Bloomberg reported on the trend, which appears to be continuing apace:

The dollar volume of purchases charged grew 10.7 percent in June from a year ago, while the number of transactions rose 6.8 percent, according to First Data Corp.'s SpendTrend report issued this month. The difference probably represents the increasing cost of gasoline, said Silvio Tavares, senior vice president at First Data, the largest credit card processor.

"Consumers, particularly in the lower-income end, are being forced to use their credit cards for everyday spending like gas and food," said Tavares. "That's because there's been no other positive catalyst, like an increase in wages, to offset higher prices. It's a cash-flow problem."

5. DIY

While people are running up credit cards to pay for the basic necessities, they're also discovering they can do a lot of things for themselves they once paid others to do. The Washington Post reported that the Great Recession has "helped set off a change in behavior so pronounced marketers and businesses have coined a name for it. They call it 'insourcing': doing yourself what you once gladly paid others to do."

Sales of starter sewing kits have shot up by 30 percent at Wal-Mart as families forgo the tailor. Landscaping companies have suffered a 7 percent drop in revenue over the past year. Procter & Gamble said that it has noticed more questions from customers about how to dye their hair at home to match salon coloring.

This is very sensible in normal circumstances, but bad for the economy in a downturn. Economists call it the "paradox of thrift" - people pulling back on spending when demand for goods and services is in a trough. The instinct to live within one's means helps keep demand down, which is ultimately the cause of our stubbornly high unemployment.

More Americans are also growing their own food, which is healthy, good for the environment and cheap. Seed supplier W. Atlee Burpee & Co. told the Associated Press that sales of "vegetables seeds and starter plants have jumped substantially in the past several years, with 30 percent growth in 2009," and another 15-20 percent last year. According to the AP:

Forty-three million American households planned to grow at least some of their own food in 2009, a 19 percent increase from the estimated 36 million who did the year before, said the National Gardening Association, citing the most recent figures available. Spending on food gardening - including growing vegetables, fruit trees, berries and herbs - jumped 20 percent in one year to $3 billion in 2009 and stayed at that level last year, said Bruce Butterfield, research director for the nonprofit association.

As food prices remain high, those families appear to be sticking with their home gardens.

So people are doing what they have to in order to make ends meet, but obviously this isn't a happy story. People have a lot of needs that can't be addressed with a second job or a home garden - health care, a decent retirement and some semblance of economic security, to name a few. The Main Street economy needs jobs and rising wages to address the two pressing crises that Wall Street and the Washington Beltway appear to be largely unconcerned with.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America. Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.


18) The 2012 Defense Budget Is The Highest Since World War II
Robert Johnson
July 19, 2011

Defense spending is at historic highs. And though it's the same size, the same shape, and has the same abilities, the U.S. military costs 35 percent more than it did a decade ago.

A 75 page report released last week, by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments also points out that the DoD spent $46 billion of that total on projects that failed, due to cost overruns or technical glitches.

Because of these failures the military was not modernized as planned and will be forced to achieve that goal in the face of extreme budget cuts. In a statement to Reuters the report's author Todd Harrison said:

"This was the opportunity of the decade, to really recapitalize and modernize the military's equipment and that has been squandered. [Now] we're looking at the prospect of a declining defense budget over the next decade and we're not going to have the opportunity to do that again."

The Pentagon faces $400 billion in budget cuts over the next 12 years. The Analysis of the 2012 Defense Budget lists the allocation as follows.

The FY 2012 budget requests a total of $676 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD). The base budget for DoD includes $553 billion in discretionary funding and $5 billion in mandatory funding, and an additional $118 billion is requested for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The budget request also includes $19 billion for defense-related atomic energy programs and $8 billion for defense-related activities in other agencies, bringing the total national defense budget to $703 billion.

Adjusting for inflation, the level of funding proposed for the base defense budget in the FY 2012 request is the highest level since World War II, surpassing the Cold War peak of $531 billion (in FY 2012 dollars) reached in FY 1985.

The report also notes that while this is high by historic standards, it's still a consistent percent of overall federal spending.


19) Obama using debt talks to flimflam the left
By Jesus Rivas
July 20, 2011

President Barack Obama has turned out to be a superb illusionist. The U.S. left stares bamboozled at his performance, thinking he is on their side, not noticing that the long string of multicolored, tied-up handkerchiefs is coming out of his sleeve and not the small cup he is holding in his hand.

As the date to raise the debt ceiling approaches one thing is certain: If the consequences of default are so dire, the sector that will lose more are the people who have more money, the corporate class. So there is not a chance that it will happen because neither Democrats nor Republicans will let their corporate overlords endure any losses.

Instead, they are using it to scare people. Scared people will be willing to accept things that they would not accept otherwise. The total collapse of the economy is so scary that when people are told that they need only to give up on Social Security they will be relieved.

What we see is nothing short of a play, pure theater.As the script goes, Obama hints that he is "willing to take considerable heat" from his party. The Republicans ramp up rhetoric and run out the clock. In the end, Obama needs to choose between the total collapse of the economy or sacrificing the Big Three - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Obama "saves us" all by killing the Big Three.

Let's make no mistake, this crisis is a consequence of Obama's broken promises. He defaulted on his promise to quickly end the Iraq war. In the last three years, these wars have cost taxpayers a bit less than half a trillion dollars. Had Obama been truthful, we would be that much farther from the debt ceiling.

Democrats could have saved a lot in medical expenses by giving everybody the opportunity to buy into Medicare. The reason that Medicare is so expensive is because older people have a lot of medical needs.

However, if you allow 40 million young adults, with a lot fewer medical needs, to enroll, this would insure not only 40 million people but also would bring Medicare way into the black overnight, at no cost to taxpayers.

Last but not least, Obama could have raised a lot of revenue by, as he promised, not extending Bush era tax cuts This would not kill jobs.

This is what kills jobs: The U.S. gives more than a trillion dollars in tax cuts to companies that take jobs overseas. These are quite literally job-killing tax breaks. Eliminating those will bring plenty of cash into the coffers and jobs back to the country.

We would be so far from the debt ceiling that no one would even talk about it.

So, the default problem is fully fabricated: Smoke and mirrors, an illusion to push the corporate agenda of privatizing the country's social safety net.

However, when Obama decapitates the Big Three, he will not do it with the cartoon villain's maniac laughter that would fit such action. He will do it with a consummate act of illusionism pretending that it is the best for the country. Maybe he will spare one of them, for a couple years, and pretend to be "the savior of the working class."

No doubt there will be blithering morons from the left who will clap and cheer, but there will be a substantial group of people who will come out of their hypnosis to realize that the butcher of Social Security simply does not deserve a second term.

This is not the end of the world. The left needs to come to terms with the fact that Obama is a president of the right, and a very dangerous one too.

Despite all his rash rhetoric and frontal attacks, Bush could not manage to lay a finger on Social Security during his eight years in office. However, Obama, in only three years, could make Social Security disappear behind a puff of purple smoke.

Who is the most dangerous president for working people?

The left needs to start paying attention to the facts and not be distracted by rhetoric and tricks.

A president who pretends to be on your side but swindles your cause any chance he gets is a lot more dangerous than a straight attacker.

Jesus Rivas of Somerset is a former Herald-Leader contributing columnist. Reach him at


20) Messing With Medicare
July 24, 2011

At the time of writing, President Obama's hoped-for "Grand Bargain" with Republicans is apparently dead. And I say good riddance. I'm no more eager than other rational people (a category that fails to include many Congressional Republicans) to see what happens if the debt limit isn't raised. But what the president was offering to the G.O.P., especially on Medicare, was a very bad deal for America.

Specifically, according to many reports, the president offered both means-testing of Medicare benefits and a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. The first would be bad policy; the second would be terrible policy. And it would almost surely be terrible politics, too.

The crucial thing to remember, when we talk about Medicare, is that our goal isn't, or at least shouldn't be, defined in terms of some arbitrary number. Our goal should be, instead, to give Americans the health care they need at a price the country can afford. And throwing Americans in their mid-60s off Medicare moves us away from that goal, not toward it.

For Medicare, with all its flaws, works better than private insurance. It has less bureaucracy and, hence, lower administrative costs than private insurers. It has been more successful in controlling costs. While Medicare expenses per beneficiary have soared over the past 40 years, they've risen significantly less than private insurance premiums. And since Medicare-type systems in other advanced countries have much lower costs than the uniquely privatized U.S. system, there's good reason to believe that Medicare reform can do a lot to control costs in the future.

In that case, you may ask, why didn't the 2010 health care reform simply extend Medicare to cover everyone? The answer, of course, is political realism. Most health reformers I know would have supported Medicare for all if they had considered it politically feasible. But given the power of the insurance lobby and the knee-jerk opposition of many politicians to any expansion of government, they settled for what they thought they could actually get: near-universal coverage through a system of regulation and subsidies.

It is, however, one thing to accept a second-best system insuring those who currently lack coverage. Throwing millions of Americans off Medicare and pushing them into the arms of private insurers is another story.

Also, did I mention that Republicans are doing all they can to undermine health care reform - they even tried to undermine it as part of the debt negotiations - and may eventually succeed? If they do, many of those losing Medicare coverage would find themselves unable to replace it.

So raising the Medicare age is a terrible idea. Means-testing - reducing benefits for wealthier Americans - isn't equally bad, but it's still poor policy.

It's true that Medicare expenses could be reduced by requiring high-income Americans to pay higher premiums, higher co-payments, etc. But why not simply raise taxes on high incomes instead? This would have the great virtue of not adding another layer of bureaucracy by requiring that Medicare establish financial status before paying medical bills.

But, you may say, raising taxes would reduce incentives to work and create wealth. Well, so would means-testing: As conservative economists love to point out in other contexts - for example, when criticizing programs like food stamps - benefits that fall as your income rises in effect raise your marginal tax rate. It doesn't matter whether the government raises your taxes by $1,000 when your income rises or cuts your benefits by the same amount; either way, it reduces the fraction of your additional earnings that you get to keep.

So what's the difference between means-testing Medicare and raising taxes? Well, the truly rich would prefer means-testing, since they would end up sacrificing no more than the merely well-off. But everyone else should prefer a tax-based solution.

So why is the president embracing these bad policy ideas? In a forthcoming article in The New York Review of Books, the veteran journalist Elizabeth Drew suggests that members of the White House political team saw the 2010 election as a referendum on government spending and that they believe that cutting spending is the way to win next year.

If so, I would respectfully suggest that they are out of their minds. Remember death panels? The G.O.P.'s most potent political weapon last year - the weapon that caused a large swing in the votes of older Americans - was the claim that Mr. Obama was cutting Medicare. Why give Republicans a chance to do it all over again?

Of course, it's possible that the reason the president is offering to undermine Medicare is that he genuinely believes that this would be a good idea. And that possibility, I have to say, is what really scares me.


21) Consumers vs. the Banks
New York Times Editorial
"The banks - big campaign contributors - don't want robust consumer protection because complex and obscure products are lucrative."
July 24, 2011

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officially opened its doors last week a year after it was established under the financial reform law. Score one for consumers. But the fight to create a bureau strong enough and independent enough to really take on the banks isn't over.

Federal watchdogs have given the bureau stellar marks for getting up and running in a timely, professional manner. The bureau has already begun to tackle crucial issues, like simplifying mortgage disclosure requirements and handling credit card complaints.

Banks and their Congressional allies are pushing back hard, determined to weaken the bureau. It is not clear how much political capital President Obama is willing to spend to stop that from happening.

It is important to recall why the bureau is so necessary. The financial crisis had its roots in dangerous, unregulated loans that inflated a credit bubble. When that burst, tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings and home equity; millions lost their homes; and everyone lost trust in financial and government institutions.

The new bureau concentrates consumer protection in one agency, with the sole purpose of shielding Americans, and the financial system, from abusive and deceptive lending in mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing.

The banks - big campaign contributors - don't want robust consumer protection because complex and obscure products are lucrative. House Republicans have begun to pass bills that would severely constrain the bureau's power to write and enforce rules and reduce and imperil its budget. Mr. Obama has pledged to veto the bills if they reach his desk, but that won't stop the assaults. Under the law, the bureau cannot exercise its full regulatory powers without a director. In May, 44 Republican senators vowed to block any nominee unless Democrats agreed to weaken the agency as called for in the House bills.

Last week, when President Obama nominated Richard Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio and currently chief of enforcement at the bureau, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the banking committee, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the nomination was "dead on arrival." Acting as if Dodd-Frank is not already the law of the land, he called on President Obama to "come to the negotiating table."

Mr. Obama erred in passing over Elizabeth Warren - the Harvard law professor and consumer advocate who set up the bureau - for the director's job. Mr. Cordray is a good choice, with a notable pro-consumer track record. Ms. Warren, who pioneered the idea for the bureau and helped push it through Congress, has drawn particular fire from banks and Republicans, who had turned their opposition to consumer protection into opposition to her.

In deciding not to fight for Ms. Warren, the president has forfeited the opportunity to stand up to the banks and to highlight their relentless efforts to undermine reform. It is hard not to think that Mr. Obama was worried that choosing Ms. Warren would have cost him and Democratic senators campaign contributions from the banks.

Mr. Cordray has the credentials and skills for the job. To win confirmation and, from there, to take on the banks and fully defend consumers, he will also need strong support from the White House. President Obama's decision to jettison Ms. Warren is not a reassuring sign.


22) Cornel West Flunks the President
July 22, 2011

What's with the black suit, white shirt, black tie outfit you always wear? Do you have anything else in your closet?
I've got four black suits that I circulate, and they are my cemetery clothes - my uniform that keeps me ready for battle.

Your cemetery clothes?
It's ready to die, brother. If I drop dead, I am coffin-ready. I got my tie, my white shirt, everything. Just fix my Afro nice in the coffin.

So let me ask you: in 2007, you introduced Barack Obama as your "brother, companion and comrade." But in May, you referred to him as "the black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs" and the "head of the American killing machine." What in the world happened?
It was a cry from the heart. What happened was that greed at the top has squeezed so much of the juices of the body politic. Poor people and working people have not been a fundamental focus of the Obama administration. That for me is not just a disappointment but a kind of betrayal.

But you have also acknowledged that this is more than just political - you've said that after campaigning for him at 65 events, you were miffed that he didn't return your phone calls or say thank you.
I think he had to keep me at a distance. There's no doubt that he didn't want to be identified with a black leftist. But we're talking about one phone call, man. That's all. One private phone call.

He was running a successful candidacy for president. He might have been busy.
So many of the pundits assume that it's just egoism: "Who does Cornel West think he is? The president is busy." But there's such a thing as decency in human relations.

O.K., but did you also have to say that Obama "feels most comfortable with upper-middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart"?
It's in no way an attempt to devalue white or Jewish brothers. It's an objective fact. In his administration, he's got a significant number of very smart white brothers and very smart Jewish brothers. You think that's unimportant?

When Larry Summers was president of Harvard, he told you your rap album was an "embarrassment" to the university, and you quit soon after. He was one of Obama's first appointments. Did that strike a particular feeling in your heart?
I couldn't help it. I'm a human being, indeed. Given the disrespect he showed me? Oh, my God. Again, it's political much more than it's personal. Summers was in captivity to Wall Street interests. But it's personal too.

You have 30 seconds of private time with the president - what do you say to him?
I would say: "Look at that bust of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oval Office and recognize that tears are flowing when you let Geithner and others shape your economic policy, when you refuse to focus on poor and working people or when you drop the drone bombs that kill innocent civilians. Tim Geithner does not represent the legacy of Martin King."

How can Obama be the president you want him to be when he's facing this Republican Congress?
I'll put it this way, brother: You've got to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer. A thermostat shapes the climate of opinion; a thermometer just reflects it. If you're just going to reflect it and run by the polls, then you're not going to be a transformative president. Lincoln was a thermostat. Johnson and F.D.R., too.

You lament in your book "Race Matters" that there's a lack of black leadership. You're smart, very charismatic - why did you never become what we would consider a black leader in the mold of Martin Luther King or Malcolm X?
Well, one, it's because we live in an age where there are no movements. But second, and most important, I have to be true to my calling. Martin King's calling was to be a Christian preacher. Mine is much more linked to the life of the mind and being able to move back and forth. This weekend I was with Bootsy Collins at B.B. King's. We wrote two songs together on his new album - that's just one context where I try to play a very important role outside the academy. But my calling is still one of being an intellectual warrior and spiritual soldier.



23) U.A.W. Opens Contract Talks With Chrysler
"Four years ago, Chrysler estimated that each union worker cost $76 an hour in wages and benefits. After substantial job cuts that have reduced its hourly employees in the United States to 23,000 workers, the typical U.A.W. employee now costs Chrysler $49 an hour."
July 25, 2011

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Contract talks between Chrysler and the United Automobile Workers began Monday with promises by both sides to reach an agreement that benefits workers, the company and the American taxpayers who bailed out the nation's third-largest automaker.

The opening of negotiations at Chrysler will be followed later this week by similar ceremonies at General Motors and Ford. The current four-year agreements between Detroit's Big Three and the U.A.W. expire in mid-September.

After years of losses and restructuring culminating in a government bailout and bankruptcy in 2009, Chrysler hopes to continue rebuilding its operations under its new owner, the Italian automaker Fiat.

Company executives said the next contract with the union cannot add costs that make the company uncompetitive with foreign automakers. Four years ago, Chrysler estimated that each union worker cost $76 an hour in wages and benefits. After substantial job cuts that have reduced its hourly employees in the United States to 23,000 workers, the typical U.A.W. employee now costs Chrysler $49 an hour.

"We have a responsibility to ensure we don't go back to our old formula," said Al Iacobelli, Chrysler's vice president of employee relations. "Unfortunately, we have a rich history of not getting it right."

However, the U.A.W.'s president, Bob King, said that union members deserve to share in Chrysler's recent successes, which include earning a profit this year and increasing sales in North America.

Mr. King declined to outline specific goals, but said the U.A.W. hopedto both add jobs and improve compensation, possibly through a new formula for profit sharing.

"Our focus is to get the best contract for our membership that makes sure they share in the upside," Mr. King said.

The ceremonial handshake on Monday between the negotiating teams seemed more upbeat than in years past, when contract talks often deteriorated into a tense tug-of-war. In 2007, the U.A.W. called brief strikes at both Chrysler and G.M. before reaching agreements.

But this time, the union is bound by no-strike clauses at G.M. and Chrysler that were conditions of their financial rescue by the Obama administration.

Mr. King said he did not anticipate having to go to binding arbitration with either company, nor to resort to a strike at Ford, the only American automaker to survive would federal assistance.

"It's our job to get an agreement," Mr. King said. "We don't want some third party making decisions that impact our members."

The federal government committed a total of $12.5 billion to save Chrysler. It has recovered all but $1.3 billion of that sum in a series of transactions that resulted in Fiat's now owning a 53 percent interest in the American company.

Last week, Fiat paid the Treasury Department a total of $560 million for the remaining shares owned by taxpayers, as well as rights to buy shares held by a health-care trust for union retirees.

Although the government has cut its ties to the company, both Chrysler and union negotiators said they consider it vital to reach a contract that justifies the bailout.

"We wouldn't be standing here today talking about Chrysler without the support of the U.S. taxpayer," said Scott Garberding, Chrysler's head of manufacturing.

"We have a larger responsibility to the American public," Mr. King said.


24) Food Inflation in Focus Amid Lofty Crop Price Outlook
July 25, 2011

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Grain prices will likely remain elevated at the end of this year, a Reuters poll showed, providing little relief to food prices while continuing to challenge policymakers battling to tamp down inflation.

Many analysts say the era of cheap food may well be over as rising crop production struggles to keep pace with soaring global demand, particularly from the mushrooming middle-class populations of developing nations such as China and India.

But experts do not expect a repeat of the late-year grain market rallies of 2010 which ignited record food inflation that stirred popular unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, toppling governments in Egypt and Tunisia.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization's index of food prices hit a record peak in February, creating fears of a repeat of the 2007/08 global food crisis that prompted food riots and forced millions into hunger.

Governments have progressively taken steps to rein in soaring costs for staples that disproportionately impact the world's poor, including the systemic releases of state grain stocks in China and the construction of grain silos in India.

Much will hinge on weather in the U.S. Farm Belt this summer as near-perfect crop conditions are needed in the world's top grain exporter to soothe markets on edge over shrinking stockpiles of corn and soybeans and rapidly rising demand for food.

Debt problems in Europe and the United States will also play a role. If left unresolved, they could tip the world into another recession like the one that eroded grain prices beginning in late 2008.


Prices of corn -- a cornerstone of the food chain that impacts the cost of meat, milk, and eggs -- are forecast to end 2011 at $6.89 per bushel, about 10 percent higher than a year earlier but short of June's all-time high of nearly $8.

At midmorning on Monday, spot corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were down about 2 percent at $6.75 a bushel.

Strong demand from livestock and ethanol producers and concern over crop yields in the United States, the world's largest producer and exporter, would lead to the third consecutive annual increase in corn prices.

"I generally look for relatively high prices come year's end with no major harvest correction," said PFG Best analyst Tim Hannagan, referring to corn.

"All end-users of grain such as ethanol producers, feeders, food processors and exporters will be aggressive buyers at harvest time to ensure they have their share of inventory as insurance for expected tight stocks and strong demand in 2012," Hannagan said.

Soybeans, which are crushed to produce soymeal, also a livestock feed, and soyoil used for cooking and to make biodiesel fuel, were seen at $13.92 a bushel at the end of the year, near 2010's lofty close of $13.94.

Soyoil prices themselves were seen rising about 3 percent year-on-year at 59.73 cents per lb, according to the average analyst forecast.

Spot CBOT soybeans fell at midmorning on Monday to $13.55 a bushel while soyoil slid to 55.45 cents per lb, both down nearly 2 percent.

The wild card for corn and soy prices may be China, the world's top soybean importer and an emerging importer of corn, as policymakers there walk the line between red-hot economic growth and soaring inflation.

"Both corn and soybeans have potential to go substantially higher if Chinese growth stays on track to provide firm demand. However, it may take time for that demand to develop, especially because China has shown the ability to be patient and buy only at lower price levels," said Bryce Knorr, senior editor of Farm Futures Magazine.

Wheat, a food staple grown in nearly every country around the world, was forecast to ease to $7.53 a bushel, down about 5 percent from the prior year as global stocks rebound following a severe drought last year in key exporter Russia and neighboring countries.

But experts warned that wheat's downside may be limited as cattle, hog and poultry producers around the world increasingly use it as an alternative feed grain instead of costly corn.

Spot CBOT wheat futures fell about 2.5 percent on Monday to $6.73 per bushel.

(Additional reporting by KT Arasu, Sam Nelson, Julie Ingwersen, Mark Weinraub and Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Dale Hudson)


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