Saturday, September 24, 2011



Troy Anthony Davis Siempre
October 9, 1968 -- September 21, 2011

A Message From Troy Davis

September 21, 2011

"The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I'm in good spirits and I'm prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I've taken my last breath."


Judge Mathis Weighs in on the execution of Troy Davis
[And he does a great]


This drawing has come to symbolize the California prison hunger strike and the solidarity it has generated. It was contributed by Rashid Johnson, a prisoner in Red Onion Prison, Virginia.

Pelican Bay SHU prisoners plan to resume hunger strike Sept. 26
by Mutope Duguma (s/n James Crawford)
September 1, 2011


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




Planning Meeting for Oct. 22nd 16th National Day of Protest
Sunday, September 25th, 3:00 pm
Frisco Fried
5176 3rd St. San Francisco (Between Shafter and Thomas)
Info: 510 206-0742

The Call for the 16th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation October 22nd, 2011

Today, when police brutality and murder, in this era of the new Jim Crow, has taken the place of the KKK of the Old Jim Crow; in light of horrendous injustices as in the case of Troy Anthony Davis; in this country of mass racial profiling and mass incarceration; in this era of S-Comm and other vicious anti-immigrant repression; now more than ever we need the emergence of a mass resistance. Come to a planning meeting for O-22, 2011.

Across the U.S., Black, Latino and poor neighborhoods are treated like occupied territory by increasingly militarized armies of law enforcement. People are criminalized and brutalized for their perceived status - socioeconomic, immigration, mental health, and/or racial, gender or sexual identity. People living in our communities, especially youth are routinely stopped, beaten and even killed.


Every year, thousands of people nationwide express their outrage, creativity and resistance in response to the crimes of this system. People speak out and perform, As said by the mother of Gil Barber, gunned down by a deputy in High Point, No. Carolina in 2001: "October 22nd is our day". ORGANIZE against these injustices!

BREAK DOWN the barriers between communities in the most visible way, and on October 22, 2011.



Protest Obama's Arrival to the Bay Area
10 Years of War and Occupation! We Say No More!
Sunday, Sept. 25th, 2:00pm
Moffett Airfield
Cody Rd and Ellis St (Ellis St. Exit off 101S)
Mountain View, CA

Join CODEPINK, World Can't Wait, ANSWER and others as we protest 10 years of war and occupation in Afghanistan. In the name of the "good" war, the Obama administration's promised troop escalation in Afghanistan has further entrenched our scarce resources into a war that cannot be "won." The close to ten years of illegal military action have failed to create any tangible peace in the country, nor have they brought increased security or a reduction of terrorist groups, let alone any freedom for Afghan women. Instead, thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed in the cross-fire along with a corresponding increase in troop casualties. Haven't the past ten years proved that democracy and peace cannot be built under a foreign military occupation? We Say No More!

Nancy L. Mancias, CODEPINK Women for Peace
3543 18th Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94110
PINKTank ::
Facebook ::
Twitter :: @WarDronesOn @ExposeWarCrimes


Anti-Drone Protest: Sept. 25-Sept. 26th
Solidarity Encampment and Sit-In at Beale Air Force Base
(Home of the Global Hawk, Reconnaissance Drone)
Where illegal assassinations are "assisted" in "our own backyard"........1 hour north of Sacramento

We Need YOU!......Please RSVP soon to be updated and help our movement grow:
Contact: Toby Blome, 510-215-5974,

Join us for all or part of this important protest in solidarity with
a Mass Protest in Pakistan on Sept. 25th.........carpooling arranged!

Begins: Sunday, 3:00 pm, Sept. 25th, West Gate on N. Beale Rd. (directions/mapquest below)

Includes pm rush hour vigil/bannering/leafletting, candlelight night protest and encampment

Ends: Monday morning, Sept. 26th, 6:30-10:00 am
Morning rush hour demo as military enter base,
followed by TEACH-IN.....learn more about drones.
Other arrangements possible if you can't "camp".

In the shadow of the 10 year anniversary of the Afghanistan War:
Be part of the movement to resist the brutality and immorality of drone warfare and illegal occupations.

Watch Greg's Amazing Slideshow from Beale Encampment in June:

Creative Visuals:

For Sunday:

Bring your own peace kites and "doves": We'll show the military what to fly!


For Monday:

Bring your own LARGE sign, (fill in the blank), with LARGE letters, with the message:

MAKE _______________ NOT WAR.

(Make Music, Not War.......Make Friendship, Not War, Make......etc.)

We will stretch our signs along the highway as soldiers enter the inspire them to a higher human potential!

Why? In solidarity with the Sept 25th, mass protest planned by tens of thousands in Gujranwala, Pakistan. Pakistanis have been demonstrating in different cities monthly since April, including holding sit-ins and blocking NATO truck supply routes. They are expressing outrage over their government's complicity with the U.S. "War on Terror" and drone assassination programs. These protests in Pakistan are expected to culminate (date not public yet) into a 350 km march from Lahore to Islamabad, the capital. The protesters plan to occupy the capital until their government listens to their demands.

More than 2 thousand Pakistani civilians have been killed and continue to be killed by these egregious unmanned aircraft. In solidarity with the Pakistanis who are subjected to this violence we say ENOUGH!

Please join us. Mark your calendars. Spread this around to all of your lists.
Bring 3 others with you. If you can't come for both days, come for one.
Let the Pakistanis know that their lives are as important as ours!


Directions to West Gate Beale AFB:

Take I-80 to I-5 north of Sacramento, almost immediately after leaving I-80, take exit 525B to transfer to Hwy 99, continue 12.5. mi. and stay right to transfer onto Hwy 70, cont. about 20 miles, exit at Feather River Blvd. (the exit just passed Erle Rd. exit, note sign to Beale AFB), turn right at end of ramp, immediate right at light (Lindhurst Ave.) and left at 2nd light to get on N. Beale Rd. Continue on N. Beale Rd. for over 6 miles. It dead ends at the Gate Entrance. Parking on left side of Rd. near the gate. Note Burger King at Freeway Hwy 70 exit: a good place to do a bathroom break before heading to base. Note: There are 2 Feather River Blvd exits off hwy 70.....miles apart from each other)
Mapquest to Beale:,+Marysville,+CA+95901&gl=us&ei=75QXTaGzF4O4sQOIw7nrCg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBoQ8gEwAA


San Francisco Labor Council Resolution - Save the Public Postal Service

Tuesday, September 27th National Day of Action called by the postal unions

Whereas, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as a right of the people, the public Post Office has provided universal postal service over many generations, and is continuously rated as the most highly regarded government entity by the American people. Since the 1970 postal strike, which shut down mail service nationwide for four days, postal workers have had good liveable-wage jobs supporting their families in every community, and collective bargaining through their unions; and

Whereas, Postmaster General Donahoe wants to eliminate Saturday delivery, shut 3,700 postal facilities, and fire 120,000 workers [220,000 by 2015], despite a no-layoff clause in union contracts. Rep. Issa, chair of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, wants to void the postal union contracts altogether and open the door to privatization. Their proposals would sabotage and destroy our national treasure - the public Postal Service; and

Whereas, the scheduled service cutbacks will hit seniors, and poor and rural communities the hardest. For example, post offices are being tagged for closing based on the amount of "revenue" they generate, which means that low-income and rural areas, which need their neighborhood post office the most, will no longer have one. San Francisco's Bayview Station is targeted. Also, collection boxes with fewer letters are being removed, hurting service in low-income and rural areas; and

Whereas, just as Governor Scott Walker declared war on Wisconsin workers, what's coming is a war against the 574,000 unionized postal workers and their families - the next target of the big business class and their henchmen in Congress and the media. Like Reagan's attack on PATCO, this is an attack on all of Labor, and Labor needs to close ranks with every community now to defend the postal unions and save the public Postal Service.

Therefore be it Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council will join with postal unions, other central labor bodies, state labor federations, national and local unions, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win federation, and community allies, in a campaign including mass demonstrations to defend the postal workers, save Saturday delivery, stop the post office closings and layoffs, and save the public Postal Service; and

Be it finally resolved, specifically, that the council will join the campaign to stop the closing of the Bayview Post Office; that the council will support any demonstrations at local Congressional offices as part of the Tuesday, September 27th National Day of Action called by the postal unions; and that the council will urge Bay Area congress members to co-sponsor HR 137, which calls for maintaining 6-day mail delivery, and HR 1351, which seeks to prevent the Postal Service from defaulting on payments for future retiree health benefits - both measures supported by the postal unions.


An Evening with Ali Abunimah -- with Special Guest Alice Walker
Wednesday, October 5th, 7:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 2619 Broadway
Buy Your Tickets Today:

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Alice Walker is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer, including her book Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel. She participated in the US Boat to Gaza, part of the Freedom Flotilla.

Tickets: $15, $10 students/low-income, available at through Brown Paper Tickets, or at local bookstores: (East Bay) Books, Inc.; Diesel; Moe's Books; Walden Pond; (SF) Modern Times. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Benefit for MECA's Maia Project: Clean Water for the Children of Palestine
Wheelchair accessible & ASL interpreted.

Cosponsors: KPFA, Arab Film Festival, Arab Resource & Organizing Center, US Palestinian Community Network, Arab Cultural & Community Center, Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area Women in Black, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Global Exchange.


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.


Please share this announcement widely East Bay Council, Alameda Labor Council, San Francisco Labor Council,
New Priorities Campaign, U.S. Labor Against the War and Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

1PM Rally at Laney College
2:30 PM March to Federal Building & Frank Ogawa Plaza

Urge you to Rally & March for:

Jobs not Cuts !!!
Education not Incarceration
Work not War
Clean Energy not Climate Change
Social Security not Bank Bailouts
Main St. not Wall St.
Prosperity not Austerity

Hands Off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!
End the Wars! Invest in Our Communities!


We want an economy that supports the rights of all people to jobs at decent pay in safe workplaces, affordable healthcare for all, decent affordable housing, quality education in modern schools, a secure retirement, and a clean sustainable environment. We oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs. The rich, corporations, Wall St. banks and financial speculators should pay to fix the crisis that their irresponsibility and greed created. We have made our sacrifices. Now they should make theirs.

Make your voices heard!

For more information and to register endorsements, write to:


MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2011, 7:30-9PM
Plumbers Union Hall, 1621 Market St., S.F.
(5 blocks from Civic Center BART station)
For more information call Carl, San Francisco Labor Council Education Project


• President Obama has just proposed a $248 billion cut in Medicare as a starter & another $72 billion in Medicaid cuts.
• Obama indicated September 19 he will support cutting more than $320 Billion if Republicans agree with him on taxes.
• Vice-President Joe Biden last June offered Republicans to cut $400-$500 billion in Medicare-Medicaid
• Republicans last April proposed to raise out-of-pocket costs for Medicare for seniors by $7,000 per year
• The 'Supercommittee' of 12 in Congress said last week they want to cut even more than Obama has proposed. They will report 'how much' more on November 19.
• Congress will vote on how much more in Medicare-Medicaid cuts before December 23.

How Much Will Your Medicare Be Cut?

How Much More Will You Have to Pay?

Come Hear the Facts
Open Discussion to Follow


Here is the official statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression on the 1-year anniversary of the raids.
Build the Movement Against Political Repression
One year since the September 24 FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas
Statement of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, 9-22-2011

Please come to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression one-day Conference in Chicago on November 5, 2011.

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) is asking you to build the movement against political repression on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 24, 2010 FBI raids on anti-war and international solidarity activists. We need your continued solidarity as we build movements for peace, justice and equality.

The storm of political repression continues to expand and threaten. It is likely to intensify and churn into a destructive force with indictments, trials, and attempts to imprison anti-war activists. The last we knew, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was preparing multiple indictments as he and Attorney General Eric Holder attempt to criminalize the targeted activists and the movements to which we dedicate our lives.

It is one year since the FBI raided two homes in Chicago and five homes plus the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, eventually handing out 23 subpoenas. The anti-war activists' homes were turned upside down and notebooks, cell phones, artwork, computers, passports and personal belongings were all carted off by the FBI. Anyone who has ever been robbed knows the feelings - shock and anger.

The man responsible for this assault on activists and their families, on free speech and the right to organize, is U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago. Fitzgerald has an ugly record of getting powerful Republicans like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove off the hook, while mercilessly pursuing an agenda to scare America into silence and submission with the phony 'war on terror.' Fitzgerald is attempting to criminalize anti-war activists with accusations of 'material support for terrorism,' involving groups in Palestine and Colombia.

First the U.S. government targeted Arabs and Muslims, violating their civil rights and liberties and spying on them. Then they came for the anti-war and international solidarity activists. We refuse to be criminalized. We continue to speak out and organize. We say, "Opposing U.S. war and occupation is not a crime!" We are currently building a united front with groups and movements to defeat Fitzgerald's reactionary, fear mongering assault on anti-war activism and to restore civil liberties taken away by the undemocratic USA PATRIOT Act.

Many people know the developments in the case, but for those who do not, we invite you to read a timeline at We think the repression centers on this: During the lead up to the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, a federal law enforcement officer, using the phony name of "Karen Sullivan" got involved and joined the Anti-War Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis. She lied to everyone she met and helped the FBI to disrupt many activities in the anti-war, international solidarity and labor movements in Minnesota - and also other states and even over in Palestine. It is outrageous.

In fact, many of those being investigated travelled to Colombia or Palestine to learn firsthand about U.S. government funding for war and oppression. There was no money given to any groups that the U.S. government lists as terrorist organizations. However, we met people who are a lot like most Americans - students, community organizers, religious leaders, trade unionists, women's group leaders and activists much like ourselves. Many of the U.S. activists wrote about their trips, did educational events, or helped organized protests against U.S. militarism and war. In a increasingly repressive period, this is enough to make one a suspect in Fitzgerald's office.

This struggle is far from one-sided however. The response to the FBI raids and the pushback from the movement is tremendous. Minneapolis and Chicago immediately organized a number of press conferences and rallies with hundreds of people. Over the first two weeks after the raids, 60 cities protested outside FBI offices, from New York to Kalamazoo, from traveled to the Bay Area. The National Lawyers Guild convention was in New Orleans the day of the FBI raids and they immediately issued a solidarity statement and got to work on the case. Solidarity poured in from anti-war, civil rights, religious and faith groups, students and unions. Groups and committees began working to obtain letters of support from members of Congress. The solidarity was overwhelming. It was great!

It is possible that U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald thought he was picking on an isolated group of activists. Instead, those raided proved to have many friends and allies from decades of work for social justice and peace. Over the months, all the targeted activists refused to appear at the grand jury dates set by U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald's office. In November 2010, a large crew of us travelled to New York City to found the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, after the United National Antiwar Committee meeting.

In December 2010, U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald's office called in three of the Minnesota women and threatened them. We prepared a campaign in case they were jailed for refusing to speak. The FBI also delivered subpoenas to nine more Arab-American and Palestine solidarity activists in December. Their grand jury date was on Jan. 25, 2011, and we organized protests in over 70 American cities, plus a few overseas. The movement was building and expanding, so we organized conferences with over 800 participants in the Midwest, the South, and on the East and West Coasts. While we were organizing a pushback, the FBI was making new plans.

On May 17, 2011, at 5:00 a.m., the Los Angeles, California Sheriff, under the direction of the FBI, busted down the front door of Chicano leader Carlos Montes, storming in with automatic weapons drawn and shouting. The early morning raid was supposedly about weapons and permits, but they seized decades of notes and writings about the Chicano, immigrant rights, education rights and anti-war movements. The FBI attempted to question Carlos Montes while he was handcuffed and in the back of a L.A. sheriff squad car. Montes is going to another preliminary court date on Sept. 29, prepared to face six felony charges, carrying up to three years in prison for each, knowing he is extraordinarily targeted by the FBI. We will walk every step of the way with Carlos Montes, and more. Montes was with us at the Republican National Convention protests; his name was included on the search warrant for the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, and the FBI attempted to question him about this case. We ask you to support Carlos Montes and to organize speaking events with him and local protests on his important court dates, Sept. 29 being the next one.

The same week the FBI raided Carlos Montes in May 2011, the CSFR came back with a big revelation - we released a set of documents, the FBI game plan, which the FBI mistakenly left behind in a file drawer at one of the homes. The FBI documents are on the CSFR website and are fascinating to read. Fitzgerald and company developed 102 questions that come right from a McCarthy witch-hunt trial of the 1950s. It is like turning back the clock five decades.

The whole intention of the raids is clear: They want to paint activists as 'terrorists' and shut down the organizing. They came at a time when the rich and powerful are frightened of not just the masses of people overseas, but of the people in their own country. With a failing U.S. war in Afghanistan, a U.S. occupation of Iraq predicted to last decades, a new war for oil and domination in Libya, a failing immigration policy that breaks up families and produces super-profits for big business, and now a long and deep economic crisis that is pushing large segments of working people into poverty, the highest levels of the U.S. government are turning to political repression.

The only hope for the future is in building stronger, consistent and determined movements. In a principled act of solidarity, the 23 subpoenaed activists refuse to testify before the grand jury. This sets an example for others.

In addition, the outpouring of support and mobilization into the streets from the anti-war, international solidarity, civil rights, labor and immigrant rights movements means that not one of the 24 has spent a single day in jail. That is a victory.

We ask you to stand with us, to stay vigilant and to hold steady as we proceed to organize against wars abroad and injustice at home and as we defend Carlos Montes from the FBI charade in Los Angeles.

Committee to Stop FBI Repression -
follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to a friend
Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Add us to your address book


White House Petition for Leonard Peltier

A petition in favor of granting clemency to Leonard Peltier is now on the We the People portion of the White House Web site. We have 30 days (until October 22) to get 5,000 signatures in order for our petition to be reviewed by the White House. This petition may only allow US signatories.

Sign the petition here:

Due to heavy site traffic, you may have trouble accessing the petition. Keep trying until you succeed. Try during off-peak hours.

Email our petition to your friends, family and others who care about this issue.

Facebook: Post our petition to your Facebook wall to let folks know about it. Here's a sample message you can cut and paste into your Facebook status: Petition for Leonard Peltier on the White House site, We the People. Will you sign it?

Twitter: Tweet about your petition. Here's a sample tweet you can use: Leonard Peltier petition on the White House site, We the People. Will you sign it?

Let's do it!

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

The Petition:

we petition the obama administration to:
grant clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier without delay.

10th Circuit Court of Appeals: "...Much of the government's behavior... and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."

While others were acquitted on grounds of self defense, Peltier was convicted in connection with the 1975 shooting deaths of two FBI agents. Evidence shows that prosecutors knowingly presented false statements to a Canadian court to extradite Peltier and manufactured the murder weapon (the gun and shell casings entered into evidence didn't match; this fact was hidden from the jury). The number of constitutional violations in this case is simply staggering.

It's time to right this wrong. Mr. President, you can and must free Leonard Peltier.
Created: Sep 22, 2011
Issues: Civil Rights and Liberties, Human Rights!/petition/grant-clemency-native-american-activist-leonard-peltier-without-delay/LLWBZq1S


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


Judge Mathis Weighs in on the execution of Troy Davis
[And he does a great job and he has a huge audience.]


Bill Maher, Michael Moore Defend Tony Bennett for Saying That U.S. Foreign Policy Helped Cause 9/11
By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at September 24, 2011, 7:44 am



Free Them


Troy Davis, Racism, The Death Penalty & Labor


Empire State Rebellion: An Idea Whose Time Has Come - OpESR

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The video below is dedicated to all the people currently Occupying Wall Street.

See you there again on September 24th at noon, and the day after, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that...

Video Transcript:

Mainstream media in the United States is the most efficient
weapon of mass oppression.
The propaganda system is so extensive.
People are very confused.
They don't really grasp what is happening.

On a very basic and profound level
they understand that global banks have robbed the country.
They get that, but there is so much divide and conquer rhetoric -
it goes from the mainstream media
and it filters all the way down
into independent media.

So it's a matter of finding that place
where you can overcome the divide and conquer propaganda.
And where we can find that place
is on Wall Street and breaking up the banks.

How would a million people clogging lower Manhattan's financial district
play out in the global media?

If we came down there and said:

"We're not leaving until we have commitments
to break up the banks
and end the campaign finance racket."

Let's just go over some statistics here:

· 59 Million people without health care
· 52 Million in poverty
· 44 Million on food stamps
· 30 Million in need of work
· 7 Million foreclosed on
· 5 Million homes over 60 days late on mortgage payments
· $1 Trillion in student debt

We have the highest, most severe inequality of wealth we have ever had,
unlimited campaign spending,
budget cuts for the poor,
tax breaks for the rich -
this is the ultimate recipe for revolution.

America has 239 million people living paycheck to paycheck right now.
Food prices are going up, oil is going up, everything is going up -
these people aren't going to be able to make ends meet.

It's the same everywhere, it's global policies,
whether its Ireland, United States, Egypt, Greece.
People are going to fight back because
the economic central planners have become so arrogant.

Economic central planners, who control the global economy
through the IMF, World Bank and Federal Reserve,
are committed to sentencing tens of millions of people
to a slow death through economic policy.

Obviously, those people, as time goes by,
they are going to fight back,
because they are fighting to survive.

This is a global rebellion.

People don't seem to get the fact that we live in a global economy
and there is a Neo-Liberal centrally planned aristocracy
which runs the global economy,
and we are in the midst of a
worldwide economic war right now.

It is a straight up economic war
with genocidal economic policies,
which of course are going to lead to mass rebellion.

Decentralized global rebellion.

Decentralized resistance.

Decentralized revolutionaries.

We had you on the show a few months ago,
and you called for a revolution.

The revolution is happening right now.

Tells us about A99 Operation Empire State Rebellion.

The revolution is happening right now.


Editor's Note: This music video was created on March 16th by Anon and posted to our social network. It was also posted on Max Keiser's website. It features clips from a Max Keiser interview with David DeGraw.

DO SOMETHING: @OccupyWallStNYC | #OccupyWallStreet | #OpESR
Have Fun and Get Something Done on Wall Steet This Weekend (MAP)
YOUR STREET: @OccupyChicago | @OccupyCleveland | @OccupyDallas
@OccupyFDSF | @OccupySTL | @OccupyHouston | VIDEO: Livestream


9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out


9/11: A Conspiracy Theory
[click on above to view the video]

Everything you ever wanted to know about the 9/11 conspiracy theory in under 5 minutes.

TRANSCRIPT: On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men armed with boxcutters directed by a man on dialysis in a cave fortress halfway around the world using a satellite phone and a laptop directed the most sophisticated penetration of the most heavily-defended airspace in the world, overpowering the passengers and the military combat-trained pilots on 4 commercial aircraft before flying those planes wildly off course for over an hour without being molested by a single fighter interceptor.

These 19 hijackers, devout religious fundamentalists who liked to drink alcohol, snort cocaine, and live with pink-haired strippers, managed to knock down 3 buildings with 2 planes in New York, while in Washington a pilot who couldn't handle a single engine Cessna was able to fly a 757 in an 8,000 foot descending 270 degree corskscrew turn to come exactly level with the ground, hitting the Pentagon in the budget analyst office where DoD staffers were working on the mystery of the 2.3 trillion dollars that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had announced "missing" from the Pentagon's coffers in a press conference the day before, on September 10, 2001.

Luckily, the news anchors knew who did it within minutes, the pundits knew within hours, the Administration knew within the day, and the evidence literally fell into the FBI's lap. But for some reason a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists demanded an investigation into the greatest attack on American soil in history.

The investigation was delayed, underfunded, set up to fail, a conflict of interest and a cover up from start to finish. It was based on testimony extracted through torture, the records of which were destroyed. It failed to mention the existence of WTC7, Able Danger, Ptech, Sibel Edmonds, OBL and the CIA, and the drills of hijacked aircraft being flown into buildings that were being simulated at the precise same time that those events were actually happening. It was lied to by the Pentagon, the CIA, the Bush Administration and as for Bush and Cheney...well, no one knows what they told it because they testified in secret, off the record, not under oath and behind closed doors. It didn't bother to look at who funded the attacks because that question is of "little practical significance". Still, the 9/11 Commission did brilliantly, answering all of the questions the public had (except most of the victims' family members' questions) and pinned blame on all the people responsible (although no one so much as lost their job), determining the attacks were "a failure of imagination" because "I don't think anyone could envision flying airplanes into buildings " except the Pentagon and FEMA and NORAD and the NRO.

The DIA destroyed 2.5 TB of data on Able Danger, but that's OK because it probably wasn't important.

The SEC destroyed their records on the investigation into the insider trading before the attacks, but that's OK because destroying the records of the largest investigation in SEC history is just part of routine record keeping.

NIST has classified the data that they used for their model of WTC7?s collapse, but that's OK because knowing how they made their model of that collapse would "jeopardize public safety".

The FBI has argued that all material related to their investigation of 9/11 should be kept secret from the public, but that's OK because the FBI probably has nothing to hide.

This man never existed, nor is anything he had to say worthy of your attention, and if you say otherwise you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist and deserve to be shunned by all of humanity. Likewise him, him, him, and her. (and her and her and him).

Osama Bin Laden lived in a cave fortress in the hills of Afghanistan, but somehow got away. Then he was hiding out in Tora Bora but somehow got away. Then he lived in Abottabad for years, taunting the most comprehensive intelligence dragnet employing the most sophisticated technology in the history of the world for 10 years, releasing video after video with complete impunity (and getting younger and younger as he did so), before finally being found in a daring SEAL team raid which wasn't recorded on video, in which he didn't resist or use his wife as a human shield, and in which these crack special forces operatives panicked and killed this unarmed man, supposedly the best source of intelligence about those dastardly terrorists on the planet. Then they dumped his body in the ocean before telling anyone about it. Then a couple dozen of that team's members died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

This is the story of 9/11, brought to you by the media which told you the hard truths about JFK and incubator babies and mobile production facilities and the rescue of Jessica Lynch.

If you have any questions about this are a batshit, paranoid, tinfoil, dog-abusing baby-hater and will be reviled by everyone. If you love your country and/or freedom, happiness, rainbows, rock and roll, puppy dogs, apple pie and your grandma, you will never ever express doubts about any part of this story to anyone. Ever.

This has been a public service announcement by: the Friends of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA, SEC, MSM, White House, NIST, and the 9/11 Commission. Because Ignorance is Strength.


(c) 2011 The Corbett Report. All rights reserved.

Hosting generously provided by:



Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at


What is the true cost of the Afghanistan war?
Narrated by Tony Benn. Music by Brian Eno
Mass Demonstration October 8, Noon, Trafalgar Square, London




Remember Building 7 on France 3

Sound Evidence for WTC 7 Explosions and NIST Cover Up


Architects & Engineers - Solving the Mystery of WTC 7 -


Geneva Towers Controlled Demolition -- San Francisco, May 16, 1968

I lived in Geneva Towers in 1967 for about six months. I was married with a six-month-old son when we moved to the Towers. It reminded us of New York (we had just moved to San Francisco in August of 1966 so an apartment building was familiar to us.) But what a difference from New York. I didn't drive at the time and, with a baby, and elevators that often didn't work (we were on the 15th floor--I don't remember which building) I was basically trapped. Mass transit was slow and the distances were long to get downtown. The apartment had heating under the synthetic flooring tiles and the first time we turned it on, the tiles melted where the heating coils were. The electric oven caught fire the first time we used it; and the first time we took a shower the tiles started to pop off the walls. The kitchen cabinets were made of unpainted particle board. The sliding doors to the cabinets were less than a quarter-inch thick and cracked if you slid them too fast! What a pre-fab slum that was!

I was so glad to break the lease and move into the Castro--into a two bedroom, first-floor Victorian flat--in a warm and bustling community close to everything. And the rent was $125.00 a month!

I did make it a point to watch the demolition of the Towers on TV (it was broadcast live.) And I was so glad to see it go. It's the first thing I thought of when I saw the collapse of the World Trade Center. ...Bonnie Weinstein

Geneva Towers Implosion

The implosion [controlled demolition] of the Geneva Towers near the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA on May 16, 1998


Benton Harbor REPEAL RECALL.wmv

A few facts from the video:

Whirlpool has been meddling in [Benton Harbor] city politics for 30 years. For every tax break and advantage it can get. As the neighborhoods crumble...

With global sales of $18 Billion Whirpool paid 0% in 2010 federal taxes.

It received a refund of $64 Million.

Whirlpool has received 500 Million in tax breaks just since 2005.

Millions more in the past 3 decades.

Whirlpool took 19 Billion in federal stimulus funds. Then closed plants in the US. Including the plant in BH.

Rep. Fred Upton receives substantial campaign contributions from Whirlpool. And the Koch brothers.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the Emergency Manager Law. And a budget that taxes pensions and cuts education funding in Michigan.

Then gave corporations (like Whirlpool) a $1.8 Billion tax break."




The Preacher and the Slave - Joe Hill


London Riots. (The BBC will never replay this. Send it out)


Protest which sparked Tottenham riot
Hours before the riot which swept the area demonstrators gather outside Tottenham Police Station in North London demanding "justice" for the killing of a 29-year-old man, Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police.
By Alastair Good
August 7, 2011


Visualizing a Trillion: Just How Big That Number Is?
"1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years."
Digital Inspiration

How Much Is $1 Trillion?

Courtesy the credit crisis and big bailout packages, the figure "trillion" has suddenly become part of our everyday conversations. One trillion dollars, or 1 followed by 12 zeros, is lots of money but have you ever tried visualizing how big that number actually is?

For people who can visualize one million dollars, the comparison made on CNN should give you an idea about a trillion - "if you start spending a million dollars every single day since Jesus was born, you still wouldn't have spend a trillion dollars".

Another mathematician puts it like this: "1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years".

Now if the above comparisons weren't really helpful, check another illustration that compares the built of an average human being against a stack of $100 currency notes bundles.

A bundle of $100 notes is equivalent to $10,000 and that can easily fit in your pocket. 1 million dollars will probably fit inside a standard shopping bag while a billion dollars would occupy a small room of your house.

With this background in mind, 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) is 1000 times bigger than 1 billion and would therefore take up an entire football field - the man is still standing in the bottom-left corner. (See visuals -- including a video -- at website:


One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." Thomas Jefferson


Very reminiscent of

Pat Paulsen 1968


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)
Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am

The video above documents what I am told is a meeting between Fukushima residents and government officials from Tokyo, said to have taken place on 19 July 2011. The citizens are demanding their government evacuate people from a broader area around the Fukushima nuclear plant, because of ever-increasing fears about the still-spreading radiation. They are demanding that their government provide financial and logistical support to get out. In the video above, you can see that some participants actually brought samples of their children's urine to the meeting, and they demanded that the government test it for radioactivity.

When asked by one person at the meeting about citizens' right to live a healthy and radioactive-free life, Local Nuclear Emergency Response Team Director Akira Satoh replies "I don't know if they have that right."


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


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.


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.]

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.


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




Your help is needed to defend free speech rights
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-265-1948
Boston: 857-334-5084 | New York City: 212-694-8720 | Chicago: 773-463-0311
San Francisco: 415-821-6545| Los Angeles: 213-251-1025 | Albuquerque: 505-268-2488

We are writing to urge you to send an email letter today that can make a big difference in the outcome of a free speech fight that is vital to all grassroots movements that support social justice and peace.

It will just take a moment of your time but it will make a big difference.

All across the country people and organizations engaged in producing and disseminating leaflets and posters - the classic method of grassroots outreach used by those without institutional power and corporate money - are being faced with bankrupting fines.

This has been happening with ferocity in the nation's capital ever since the ANSWER Coalition was fined over $50,000 in the span of a few weeks for posters advertising the Sept. 15, 2007, protest against the Iraq war.

Attorneys for the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) filed a major lawsuit in August 2007 against the unconstitutional postering regulations in Washington, D.C.

"The District has employed an illegal system that creates a hierarchy of speech, favoring the speech of politicians and punishing grassroots outreach," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, stated in explaining a basic tenet of the lawsuit. "It's time for that system to end, and it will."

The hard-fought four-year-long lawsuit filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund against Washington, D.C.'s unconstitutional postering regulations has succeeded in achieving a number of important victories, including the issuance of new regulations after the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia warned just last month of an impending declaration of unconstitutionality against the District.

In July 2011 the federal District Court issued a preliminary opinion regarding one aspect of our lawsuit and suggested that the D.C. government "revise the regulations to include a single, across-the-board durational restriction that applies equally to all viewpoints and subject matters."

But this battle is not finished. The new regulations still contain dissent-crushing "strict liability" provisions (explained below) and remain unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous. Plus the District has never withdrawn the tens of thousands of dollars of fines against ANSWER.

The District of Columbia is required by law to open the new rules to public comment, which it has done with an extremely short comment period that is now open. We need people to send a comment today to the government of Washington, D.C. It just takes a minute using our online Submit a Comment tool, which will send your comment by email.

Send a letter today in support of the right to produce and disseminate leaflets and posters in Washington, D.C. We have included a sample comment but we encourage people to use or add your own language.

An Opportunity for You to Make a Difference

In response to our lawsuit, the District of Columbia has now issued "Emergency Regulations" replacing the current system which the city now admits are a "threat to the public welfare," after the court issued a preliminary opinion that agreed with a basic argument of the lawsuit.

This is an important moment and we need you and others who believe in Free Speech to weigh in during the short 15-day public comment period in response to the proposed Emergency Regulations for postering. Submit an online Comment now that makes one or more of three vital points:

Drop the $70,000 fines that have been applied to the ANSWER Coalition for anti-war posters during the past four years.

End "Strict Liability" fines and penalities. Strict Liability constitutes something of a death penalty for Free Speech activities such as producing leaflets and posters. It means that an organization referenced on posted signs can be held "strictly liable" for any materials alleged to be improperly posted, even if the group never even posted a single sign or poster. The D.C. government is even going further than that - it just levied fines against a disabled Vietnam veteran who didn't put up a single poster but was fined $450 because three posted signs were seen referencing a Veterans for Peace demonstration last December, and the District's enforcement agents researched that his name was on the permit application for the peace demonstration at the White House. Any group or person that leaves literature at a bookstore, or distributes literature, or posts .pdf fliers on the Internet, can be fined tens of thousands of dollars simply for having done nothing more than making political literature available.

Insist that any new regulations be clear, unambiguous and fair. The District's new "Emergency" Regulations are still inadequate because they are vague and ambiguous. Vaguely worded regulations in the hands of vindictive authority can and will be used to punish, penalize and fine grassroots organizations that seek to redress grievances while allowing the powerful and moneyed interests to do as they please. The District's postering regulations must be clear and unambiguous if they are to be fair, uniform and constitutional.

Take two minutes right now, click through to our online comment submission tool.

Thank you for your continued support. After you send your comment today to the District of Columbia please send this email to your friends and encourage them to take action as well. Click here to send your comment to the District.


ANSWER Coalition


International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
TAKE ACTION: New Punishment Against Rene Gonzalez

On Oct 7, René González, one of the Cuban 5 Patriots will be released from the US prison in Marianna Florida after serving out his 15 year sentence. Rene's crime was defending the security of the Cuban people against terrorist attacks.

The US government is now trying to stop his immediate return to his homeland, and his family, after he serves out the last day of this unjust sentence. And now, in the most cynical and mean spirited fashion, the US court that sentenced him in 2001 is extending his punishment by making him remain in the United States.

Because Rene was born in the US he will now have to spend an additional 3 years of probation here. Seven months ago his lawyer presented a motion asking the court to modify the conditions of his probation so that after he finished his sentence he be allowed to return to Cuba to reunite with his wife and his family for humanitarian reasons.

On March 25, the prosecutor Caroline Heck Miller asked the judge to deny the motion. On September 16 Judge Joan Lenard rejected the defense motion, alleging among other reasons, that the Court needs time to evaluate the behavior of the condemned person after he is freed to verify that he is not a danger to the United States.

We have to remember that this is the same prosecutor that rejected an attempt to try Posada Carriles as a criminal, and this is the same judge that included in the conditions of his release a special point that while Rene is under supervised release that," the accused is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists are known to be or frequent"

By writing this Judge Lenard made the shameful recognition that terrorists groups do exist and enjoy impunity in Miami. Furthermore she is offering them protection from Rene from bothering or denouncing them upon his release.

It was not enough for the US government to make Rene fulfill the complete sentence to the last day; It was not enough to try and blackmail his family by telling them he would not go to trial if he collaborated against his 4 brothers; it was not enough to pressure Rene with what could happen to his family if he did not cooperate with the government, including the detention and deportation of his wife Olga Salanueva; and it was not enough to deny Olga visas to visit her husband repeatedly all these years.

Why does the US government want to continue punishing René and his family?

The prejudice of the Miami community against the Five was denounced by three judges of the Eleventh Circuit of the Atlanta Court of Appeals on August 27, 2005, where it was recognized who the terrorists were, what organizations they belonged to and where they reside. To mandate that Rene Gonzalez stay another 3 years of supervised "freedom" in Florida, where a nest of international terrorists reside and who publicly make their hatred of Cuba and the Cuban 5 known, is to put the life of Rene in serious risk.

Today we are making a call to friends from all over the world to denounce this new punishment and to demand the US government allow René Gonzalez to return to Cuba to reunite with his wife and his family as soon as he get out of prison.

Contact now President Barack Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder demanding the immediate return of René Gonzalez to his homeland and his family


Write a letter to President Obama

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Make a phone call and leave a message for President Barack Obama: 202-456-1111

Send an e-mail message to President Barack Obama


Write a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder

US Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Make a phone call and leave a message for US Attorney General Eric Holder: 202-514-2000
Or call the public commentary line: 202-353-1555

Send an e-mail message to US Attorney General Eric Holder:

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit:


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.


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

"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

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.


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

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

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

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


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


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.



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):


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!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Data Show County's Pain as Economy Plummeted
September 22, 2011

2) One in Five New York City Residents Living in Poverty
September 22, 2011

3) NATO Extends Libya Bombing Campaign
September 21, 2011

4) Ohio Woman Describes Becoming a 'Suspicious' Person
September 21, 2011

5) California: Police Charged in Killing
September 22, 2011

troy davis' lynching should open all of our eyes!!! open notes on a lynching!
by Zayid Muhammad on Thursday, September 22, 2011 @ 2:17am

7) The Social Contract
September 22, 2011

8) In Europe, a Chorus of Outrage Over a U.S. Execution
September 22, 2011

9) In Death-Penalty Debate, Execution Offers Little Closure
September 22, 2011

10) Texas Death Row Kitchen Cooks Its Last 'Last Meal'
"Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group based in Washington, said the decision to do away with last meals seemed petty. 'If the last meal process has been abused, then maybe it warrants changing, but there are a lot more serious abuses that have gone on in terms of lack of due process in Texas,' Mr. Dieter said. 'Inmates would much prefer a last lawyer to a last meal.'"
September 22, 2011

11) Bill Maher, Michael Moore Defend Tony Bennett for Saying That U.S. Foreign Policy Helped Cause 9/11
By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at September 24, 2011, 7:44 am

12) Radioactivity in Japan Rice Raises Worries
September 24, 2011

13) Cuban Minister Leaves a Door Open to American's Release
"The State Department, too, prefers no link between Mr. Gross and the Cuban Five. William Ostick, a spokesman, said the case of the Cuban Five and Mr. Gross 'are not comparable.'" [There's a big difference--the Cuban Five were trying to STOP terrorism against Cuba; Alan Gross, the State Department contractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba, was a spy who distributed satellite equipment under an American program designed to attack the Cuban government. The Cuban Five are not guilty of any wrongdoing--they stopped a terrorist attack in the making. Alan Gross was committing a U.S. sponsored international crime of espionage against another]
September 23, 2011

14) Turkey: U.S. to Supply Drones
September 23, 2011

15) California: Muslim Students Guilty
September 23, 2011

16) Police Memo on Marijuana Warns Against Some Arrests
"Harry G. Levine, a sociologist at Queens College who has researched the issue, said public defenders and legal aid lawyers who have defended thousands of these cases estimate that between two-thirds and three-fourths of people arrested on charges of possession of small amounts of marijuana displayed it at an officer's request. 'The police stop them, search them and tell them to empty their pockets,' Professor Levine said. 'They don't know the law doesn't allow that.' According to Professor Levine, on average over the past 15 years, 54 percent of people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City were black, 33 percent were Latino and 12 percent were white. National studies tend to show that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks and Latinos."
September 23, 2011

17) Borough President Seeks Limits on Stop-and-Frisk
September 23, 2011

18) A Tryout Program for the Unemployed
[Work for free for eight weeks while collecting YOUR unemployment insurance money and maybe you'll get hired! That's the "tryout program!" Unbelievable! And only 18 percent of those who completed the program have been hired!!!! Who's making out with this program??????]
September 23, 2011

19) Police Recordings Key Part of Calif. Beating Case
September 24, 2011


1) Data Show County's Pain as Economy Plummeted
September 22, 2011

GREENWOOD, S.C. - The Greenwood Mills Matthews Plant once employed three generations of Frances Flaherty's family. Her grandmother, father and brother made textiles there - denim for jeans and khaki for military uniforms.

But it all but closed in 2007 when the economy soured, pitching dozens of workers into the ranks of the unemployed, and the plant now functions mainly as a bleak backdrop to Ms. Flaherty's restaurant, the Southside Cafe, where diners gaze out at its red brick walls.

"It's what held this town together, all the mills," Ms. Flaherty said, watching another thinly attended lunch hour go by. "They just slowly but surely dwindled out."

The falloff of the economy of Greenwood County, a district of almost 70,000 people that once pulsed with busy factories and mills, was the steepest in the country by two counts.

According to an analysis of Census Bureau figures made public on Thursday, its poverty rate more than doubled to 24 percent from 2007 to 2010, the largest increase for any county in the nation.

The decline also engulfed the middle class. Median household income plunged by 28 percent over the same period, shaving nearly $12,000 off the annual earnings of families here during the recession, according to the analysis, by Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College.

The numbers tell the story of a painful decade in Greenwood, which began with poverty levels that were close to the nation's, and ended far above - after layoffs in textile mills, a foundry, restaurants and construction companies pummeled the county's residents.

The number of workers in manufacturing alone fell by a quarter in the county from 2005 to 2009, according to a census survey of employers.

Those new facts are just sharp reminders to people here about what they have lived through.

"There just aren't any jobs in Greenwood anymore," said James Freeman, 58, a former textile mill worker. "My son can't even get a job flipping burgers."

Mr. Freeman worked for years in the textile mills, including the Matthews plant. He lost his last mill job in 2007 and was unable to find another. The work at one of the mills that employed him went to Argentina, he said, because the fabric was cheaper to produce there. Those workers were paid less, he was told, and got no benefits.

"That made me feel kind of bad," said Mr. Freeman, who now collects disability. The mill's closing "hurt a lot of people here in Greenwood."

Disappointment like Mr. Freeman's has welled up in areas of deep economic decline, infusing this election season with a blend of exhaustion and bitterness.

"Until we bring the companies back from overseas and stop protecting the world, we're not going to be anything," said Sam Stevenson, a retired construction worker, who could summon only expletives when asked about President Obama's job plan.

In many ways, Greenwood is a typical American county. More than a quarter of its residents had at least some college education in 2009, roughly the same as the 27 percent nationally. It has a public university, which grants four-year degrees, a museum and a shopping mall.

But education has not seemed to ease the economic pain in an area whose fortunes were tied so closely to the textile industry that is now in such steep decline. Signs with the words "space available" are posted outside vacant factories on the road between here and Columbia, 80 miles to the east.

A red brick Baptist church on the outskirts of town commanded on its marquee, "Have your tools ready, and God will find you work."

Apache Pawn and Gun, a pawn shop in town, is packed with items sold by people trying to make ends meet. Televisions, chain saws, bicycles and guitars are stacked from floor to ceiling. Chris Harris, the owner, said more middle-class people had come in to buy since the recession began.

"They're saying, 'Why should I buy a new chain saw when I could buy a used one?' " Mr. Harris said.

Ms. Flaherty said her cafe -its walls adorned with black-and-white photographs of mill workers and residents from happier times -is barely making it. When she opened in 2007, lunch used to bring lines out the door from workers at the plant and other businesses. Now it draws only a few diners. On Wednesday around 1:30 p.m., there were two.

And while housing prices have picked up - now a median of about $120,000 for the current listings compared with $109,000 in 2009 - the economy this year does not seem to be getting any better.

"It's been bad this year," said Kathy Green, owner of the Garden Grill, who said business was down significantly since the start of the recession. People order less, she said, and come in for the specials - $6 for a hamburger, fries and a drink.

Ms. Green said, "People just don't have the money anymore."

Barclay Walsh contributed reporting from Washington, and Anne McQuary from Greenwood.


2) One in Five New York City Residents Living in Poverty
September 22, 2011

Poverty grew nationwide last year, but the increase was even greater in New York City, the Census Bureau will report on Thursday, suggesting that New York was being particularly hard hit by the aftermath of the recession.

From 2009 to 2010, 75,000 city residents were pushed into poverty, increasing the poor population to more than 1.6 million and raising the percentage of New Yorkers living below the official federal poverty line to 20.1 percent, the highest level since 2000. The 1.4-percentage-point annual increase in the poverty rate appeared to be the largest jump in nearly two decades.

Many New Yorkers were spared the worst of the recession, but the median household income has since shriveled to levels last seen in 1980, adjusted for inflation. Household income declined among almost all groups - by 5 percent over all since the beginning of the recession in 2007, to $48,743 in 2010.

Manhattan continued to have the biggest income gap of any county in the country, with the top fifth of earners (with an average income of $371,754) making nearly 38 times as much as the bottom fifth ($9,845).

Poverty among children under 18 rose 2.9 percentage points to 30 percent. The rate also increased for every other group except people 65 and older. Single mothers, blacks and adults lacking a high school diploma fared worst. Among Hispanic single mothers in the Bronx, the poverty rate was nearly 58 percent.

The bureau's 2010 American Community Survey paints a disturbing portrait of the city. More New Yorkers depended on some form of public assistance than in 2009, and a record 1.8 million residents - nearly one in five households - are now relying on food stamps. Fewer people had health insurance, home ownership declined and housing values plunged; 44 percent of renters were diverting at least 35 percent of their income for housing.

Unemployment rose one percentage point, and more people gave up on finding work, which may be one reason college and graduate school enrollment soared by about 50,000. More living quarters were crowded - from 7.9 percent of all houses and apartments in 2009 to 9.1 percent last year.

Though the poverty rate in the city rose faster than it did nationwide and the Bronx remained the poorest urban county in the country, New York still had a smaller proportion of poor people than many other major cities, including Miami, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Boston.

An influx of immigrants pushed the city's foreign-born population to near-record highs (more than three million, and 37.2 percent). Their ranks swelled by about 50,000. Half of New Yorkers 5 and older now do not speak English at home.

The city's poverty rate had remained about 18 percent since 2007 before climbing from 18.7 percent in 2009. The poverty rate was 20 percent in 1980, 19.3 percent in 1990 and 21.2 percent in 2000, after the dot-com bubble burst.

The 2010 federal poverty threshold for a family of three was $18,310.

Some economists suggested that federal bailout money to prop up failing financial institutions based in New York had spared the city the worst ravages of the recession, which statisticians declared over in 2009.

"The bailout of Wall Street just put off the day of reckoning," said Steven Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative group.

Advocates for the poor said the size of the problem might have been understated. "Increasing poverty is simply a confirmation of what we see every day in ever-longer lines at food pantries and soup kitchens," said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. "It is also latest proof our city and state policies are failing in fundamental ways."

David R. Jones, president of the Community Service Society, an anti-poverty group, said: "Maybe because things looked so good for the well-educated and restaurants are packed, we figured that we missed this bullet. Projecting forward, I don't think it's getting better."

Nationally, the Census Bureau said median household income had declined 2.3 percent to $49,445 from 2009 to 2010, and the poverty rate increased to 15.1 percent from 14.3 percent, the third consecutive annual increase.

In New York City, non-Hispanic whites took the biggest financial hit, according to the figures; their real income fell to $66,330, from $70,627. Median household income among Hispanic New Yorkers inched up to $35,887, from $34,586. Income also rose in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The city computes its own poverty rate, taking into account expenses for health and day care and higher living costs, as well as the benefits of tax credits, food stamps, school lunches and other assistance.

By its measure, the city's poverty rate in 2009 was 19.9 percent. Mark K. Levitan, director of poverty research for the city's Center for Economic Opportunity, said a more current poverty rate would be provided early next year.

"We will certainly see a higher poverty rate citywide as a whole," he said, though he did not foresee as big a rise.

Jilly Stephens, executive director of City Harvest, said its feeding programs "have reported an average increase of 5 percent on top of the rising demand they were already facing."

James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a union-supported research and advocacy group, said the latest figures "paint a disturbingly clear picture of a deteriorating living standard for most New Yorkers."


3) NATO Extends Libya Bombing Campaign
September 21, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya - With armed loyalists of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the fallen Libyan leader, still ensconced in his hometown and a few other redoubts as the seven-month-old Libyan conflict winds down, NATO announced a three-month extension of its bombing campaign on Wednesday.

"We are determined to continue our mission for as long as necessary, but ready to terminate the operation as soon as possible," the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said in a statement from the alliance's Brussels headquarters.

It is the second 90-day extension, and it was approved less than a week before the campaign was set to end.

NATO's aerial campaign in Libya, authorized under a United Nations Security Council mandate to protect civilians from Colonel Qaddafi's military reprisals, effectively became a major weapon of the rebels who toppled him last month. The Transitional National Council, the interim government of anti-Qaddafi forces that have taken control in much of Libya, has expressed gratitude to NATO for its role.

Colonel Qaddafi, who remained at large, has expressed outrage over the growing international acceptance of the Transitional National Council as the legitimate authority in the country he ruled for more than four decades. In an audio message broadcast Tuesday, Colonel Qaddafi taunted his opponents by predicting that their new government would collapse once NATO ended its attacks on loyalist forces that have yet to surrender.

As if to answer him, Britain's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that its warplane contingent in the NATO Libya operation had attacked loyalists' military deployments in three areas. Tornado GR4's hit targets in Colonel Qaddafi's hometown, Surt; in the loyalist desert enclave of Bani Walid; and in the north-central town of Hun, the ministry said in a statement.

There was conflicting information about the efforts by anti-Qaddafi forces themselves to eliminate the vestiges of his armed support.

Col. Ahmed Omar Bani, a council military spokesman, said Wednesday that anti-Qaddafi forces had captured Waddan, Hun and Sukna, towns in the Jufrah oasis area about 120 miles south of Surt. Council fighters also captured Awbari, a Tuareg town deep in Libya's south, Colonel Bani said. Those assertions could not be confirmed.

Refugees in Tripoli who fled the Jufrah area in recent days said Wednesday that the oasis towns had come under heavy shelling from anti-Qaddafi forces.

Colonel Bani also said the council had "completely liberated" Sabha, a Qaddafi stronghold deep in the Sahara, though he added that loyalist snipers were still active in the city.

Other news accounts said that Qaddafi loyalists had resisted advances on Surt and that anti-Qaddafi fighters trying to attack Bani Walid were poorly trained, with at least two killing themselves with misfired weapons.

Kareem Fahim reported from Tripoli, and Rick Gladstone from New York.


4) Ohio Woman Describes Becoming a 'Suspicious' Person
September 21, 2011

On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Shoshana Hebshi, 35, a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of 6-year-old twins from a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, was on a plane flying from Denver to Detroit when something she - or another passenger in her row of seats - had done caused the government to scramble F-16 fighter planes and escort Frontier Airlines Flight 623 until it landed safely. The plane was taken to a remote part of the airport, and armed federal authorities handcuffed Ms. Hebshi and her seatmates and took them off the plane. She was placed in a jail cell, strip-searched and interrogated by the F.B.I. before eventually being released. The two men in her row were also allowed to go. Ms. Hebshi says she believes she was detained because she is "dark-skinned" - she is half Arab, half Jewish. She described her seatmates as Indian. The F.B.I. says it was responding to reports that Ms. Hebshi and the men were behaving suspiciously. But Ms. Hebshi said she was never told what about her behavior, or that of her seatmates, had been alarming to others on the plane. Ms. Hebshi discusses:

QUESTION Do you remember having done anything on the plane that might have appeared to be "suspicious" to someone?

ANSWER During the flight I didn't get out of my seat at all. I read, and I slept on and off and I played a game on my phone - in airplane mode. And umm, that's it, really. Looked out the window a couple of times to see where we were.

Q. And your seatmates, did you notice anything "suspicious" about them?

A. I didn't talk to them at all. I don't actually even remember making eye contact with them other than when I was walking to my seat to get on the plane, and they were already there by the time I got there. When I was being questioned, they asked me a lot of questions about whether I noticed the men getting up to go to the bathroom, were they gone for a long period of time, did I notice how many times they were up. I do remember them getting up at least once, definitely one time. You know, it's a little foggy whether they got up other times. I wasn't really paying very close attention. And I don't know how long they were gone. How much attention do you really pay to your seatmates if you're not really engaged with them?

Q. When did you realize there was a problem?

A. We saw outside - it was behind the plane, but we could still see some of it, a lot of different police cars and plainclothes and uniformed officers sort of huddling about. We were not sure what was going on. And then two vans that looked like - I don't know if there were SWAT teams or bomb squad or something that looked very suspicious and possibly not good for us. Was there a bomb on the plane? Was there a fugitive? What was going on? We had no idea. No one was saying anything. And then a big van that had the words "Communication Center" on it, which I thought, you know, gave me a flashback to watching a cop show where people come in and they're having this big standoff, or the cops are outside talking to someone, trying to get them to come out. Anyway, so we were just watching this. And the whole plane was sort of chattering, "What is going on?" And I turned to the two men and said something like, "Do you know what's going on?" One of the men had his phone out and was taking pictures of what was going on outside and he asked me to hold his phone because I had a better angle and could take a better picture. And then in the distance we saw one of the trucks that has the stairs going to an airplane coming and they were coming toward us. I thought, "Oh great, we're going to be able to get off." You know, maybe they're going to let us off and check the plane for whatever. I didn't think it was going to mean they were going to come on board and take us. So all of a sudden they put the stairs up and it looked like about 10 men in all different uniforms and plainclothes came on the plane with their guns. They were big guns. They come charging onto the plane. They told everybody to put their hands up on the seat in front of us with their heads down. And somebody ran down the aisle and stopped at our row and said, "You three, get up." I was like, "What? What is going on here? What did I do?" And you know, I had my phone in my hand [Note: Ms. Hebshi had been posting messages to Twitter about what she had been observing at the airport]. I said, "Can I bring my phone?" And they said, "No." And I dropped it on the seat. They handcuffed me, took me off the plane. I didn't grab my purse or anything. It was just left on the floor.

Q. What happened after you were off the plane?

A. Well, first one of the men said they were waiting for a woman to come in and search me, which, if I was going to be searched, I was glad it was going to be a woman. She told me to move away from where there was a camera over the toilet, and a man at the door who had been watching to make sure I didn't do anything moved so he couldn't see inside and she just said, "Take off your shirt. Take off your pants. Take off your bra, underpants, and turn around." And then she told me to bend over and cough. There wasn't any probing or anything. I was really uncomfortable, like, "Get this over with." Then she also looked in my mouth. She had me lift my tongue up. She made me take my ponytail out, and she looked through my scalp. And then once everything was clear, she gave me back my clothes. I just felt really violated and completely shocked that I was going through this. It just seemed so overboard, over the top. You know when they took us off the plane they frisked us and the officer asked, "Do you have any explosives on you?" and I said, "Of course not." I was thinking, who do they think that I was? I was kind of disgusted and appalled and humiliated. I was glad it was over when it was over.

Q. What happened during the interrogation?

A. It was an interview with an F.B.I. agent and an agent from Homeland Security. They asked me a lot of questions about what I was doing on the plane: What I was doing during the flight? What did I notice the men next to me doing? Did I think they were doing anything suspicious? Did I notice how many times they had gone to the bathroom? Did I talk to them? Did I know them? Did they know each other? They asked me where I was coming from; where I was going. They asked me about my family, my travel history, my education. A lot of questions about my background: Age? Born here? Went to school here? Live here? Parents' names? Where do they live? What do they do?

Q. Did they tell you what you had done wrong?

A. I asked him, "What is going on?" You know, "Why do you want me? What's this all about?" And he said, "I think you can probably gather from my line of questioning what this is about." That's about as clear as he could make it. And they didn't actually tell me what was going on, really ever. They weren't ever completely forthcoming. But when they released me they told me a little bit more, that someone had reported suspicious activity.

Q. Why do you think this happened to you?

A. The first thing that popped into my head when this happened was, "Here I am, sitting next to these two men who are Indian, and I am dark-skinned." And it seemed like there could have been no other reason, because I wasn't doing anything. I know there's heightened suspicion of Arab-looking people after 9/11, and while nobody has ever pulled me aside - I haven't had excessive searches when I've flown before or anything like that - but I always knew it was a possibility because of what I looked like. And so to have this happen was like a confirmation of that.

Q. How do you think similar situations might be avoided in the future?

A. I think there have been some positive effects already that have happened from it, in terms of raising awareness and dialogue. You know, having people talk about where we are now. You know, it's been 10 years since 9/11. That's a long time. Do we continue living like this? So I hope not just continued dialogue will happen, but some action that will address our security concerns and also our civil liberties as Americans, and as humans. Do we want to live in fear of each other? Or do we want to take more compassion so that we can feel more trusting, feel better about the world that we live in, not feel like we have to be so secretive and paranoid about what's going on around us. I think people are ready to talk about this. If it could happen to an innocent bystander who is a citizen and isn't doing anything, maybe people will take a step back and say, "Wow, this is happening, and maybe we should start talking about how we're handling our security issues." There's a lot of people out there who still think that racial profiling is good, and I know it is something that has been going on for a very long time. But I think we've become sort of hyper about it, and there's lots of history out there to show that you cannot make assumptions about people like that. It's dangerous.


5) California: Police Charged in Killing
September 22, 2011

Two Fullerton police officers face felony charges in a beating in July that left a homeless man dead, the Orange County district attorney said Wednesday. Officer Manuel Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the beating of Kelly Thomas, 37, a drifter with schizophrenia who died five days after the encounter with the police, who were responding to reports of attempted break-ins to cars. Cpl. Jay Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

The district attorney, Tony Rackauckas, said the primary cause of Mr. Thomas's death was compression of his chest that left him unable to breathe as police officers held him down and beat him. Six officers were placed on leave after the beating, but the four others have not been charged.


troy davis' lynching should open all of our eyes!!! open notes on a lynching!
by Zayid Muhammad on Thursday, September 22, 2011 @ 2:17am

at this dark moment, at this savage hr, let me say how proud i am of so many of u, so many who heard and properly responded to the drum call to save this brave yg man...

how supremely proud i am of so many of u who i may never meet, but with whom i will forever remember and share this incredible moment, in spite of its earth bitter ending!

how especially proud i am at the emergence of so many yg voices and eyes wading in on this critical moment, choosing to act instead of standing by on the sidelines of history and doing nothing the way so many of us have been hoodwinked into being bystanders!

how especially proud i am of those of u who are engaging in this epic age old battle for justice for the 1st time, how u have come forward hot blue heavy and clear with so much love for troy davis, so much love for justice, so much love for our people...

how proud i am of those students at howard who dared to engage in civil disobedience in front of the white house, in front obama' s white house!...

i am ashamed that even though the whole world witnessed and saluted yr heroism, that man didn' he wd've gotten there without it!

that his justice department stood by and did nothing...just let it happen...

i am ashamed that my generation was too high to do so many things we shouldve done to better prepare u for this moment and difficult times like this...

i did serve under a great man once who made it plain to us that we are at war, and that in war, u will surely lose people, and in the face of those losses, u mustnt lose heart or focus, u must hold the line and cover down!...that great man was khallid abdul muhammad...

and suddenly on a crisp winter evening in the 1st february of the 21st century, we lost the very man who taught us that, an awesome human being of a man...

in june 2000, george w bush, then governor of texas, killed an innocent shaka sankofa, nightriding his way into the white house.

shaka expressed trememdous courage in the face of death, like troy did this evening, and dared say to us as they began to poison the life out of him, "keep marching, black people...keep marching!"

troy davis looked death dead in the face tonite and prayed for mercy on the souls of his executioners who will twist in torment for the rest their miserable racist lives as a consequence!

his life and death have done some incredible things for us already!...

his incredible case and yr incredible response opened up so many eyes who truly didnt believe that this could happen...its urgency compelled so many of u to truly get involved in something bigger than u when u had not done so before...its truth and its compelling human statement also revealed how barbaric, how backwards, how insensitive and how dangerous this system is at this critical crossroads moment of all our lives and times...his tragedy is for many of u, in very real respects, a rites of passage for this generation, who truly believed that they no longer had to deal with 'this'...

i pray that it is truly a spark for a new movement important to u securing yr future and yr childrens future...

anything less cd prove to be potentially fatal to any freedoms we have left...

we are at war...we will likely lose more people in its ensuing battles...this development puts mumia abu jamal in extreeeemely grave danger!...for real!

but we cant lose heart...we cant lose focus...we must hold the shaka sankofas and the troy davis' up high and use sacrifices like theirs and like other freedom fighters whom weve lost, to deepen our ranks and carry it on!...all the way to freedom...

troy davis, born on oct 9th, the anniversary of the execution of che' guevara, and wrongfully executed on sep 21st, the anniversary of the birth of kwame nkrumah! may he continue to bring us together locally and globally!

troy davis now has a special place in the land of the ancestors and in whirlwind...

may what u did, what we tried do, mark the beginning of us making this time, our time, something special for our generation, for the next generation, and for the beautiful ones not yet born!

death to the death penalty!

free mumia abu jamal!

black power!

all power to the people!

i have the flag!

i have the flag!

i have the flag!

it didnt touch the ground*

baba zayid muhammad,

natl min of culture, yr new black panther party

*from umar bin hassan's malcolm

(C)2011 all rights reserved

baba zayid has an extensive background in civil disobedience and is available for trainings...


7) The Social Contract
September 22, 2011

This week President Obama said the obvious: that wealthy Americans, many of whom pay remarkably little in taxes, should bear part of the cost of reducing the long-run budget deficit. And Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan responded with shrieks of "class warfare."

It was, of course, nothing of the sort. On the contrary, it's people like Mr. Ryan, who want to exempt the very rich from bearing any of the burden of making our finances sustainable, who are waging class war.

As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades. Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office - which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn't changed - show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That's growth, but it's slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn't a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.

So do the wealthy look to you like the victims of class warfare?

To be fair, there is argument about the extent to which government policy was responsible for the spectacular disparity in income growth. What we know for sure, however, is that policy has consistently tilted to the advantage of the wealthy as opposed to the middle class.

Some of the most important aspects of that tilt involved such things as the sustained attack on organized labor and financial deregulation, which created huge fortunes even as it paved the way for economic disaster. For today, however, let's focus just on taxes.

The budget office's numbers show that the federal tax burden has fallen for all income classes, which itself runs counter to the rhetoric you hear from the usual suspects. But that burden has fallen much more, as a percentage of income, for the wealthy. Partly this reflects big cuts in top income tax rates, but, beyond that, there has been a major shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work: tax rates on corporate profits, capital gains and dividends have all fallen, while the payroll tax - the main tax paid by most workers - has gone up.

And one consequence of the shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work is the creation of many situations in which - just as Warren Buffett and Mr. Obama say - people with multimillion-dollar incomes, who typically derive much of that income from capital gains and other sources that face low taxes, end up paying a lower overall tax rate than middle-class workers. And we're not talking about a few exceptional cases.

According to new estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class.

Now, I know how the right will respond to these facts: with misleading statistics and dubious moral claims.

On one side, we have the claim that the rising share of taxes paid by the rich shows that their burden is rising, not falling. To point out the obvious, the rich are paying more taxes because they're much richer than they used to be. When middle-class incomes barely grow while the incomes of the wealthiest rise by a factor of six, how could the tax share of the rich not go up, even if their tax rate is falling?

On the other side, we have the claim that the rich have the right to keep their money - which misses the point that all of us live in and benefit from being part of a larger society.

Elizabeth Warren, the financial reformer who is now running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts, recently made some eloquent remarks to this effect that are, rightly, getting a lot of attention. "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody," she declared, pointing out that the rich can only get rich thanks to the "social contract" that provides a decent, functioning society in which they can prosper.

Which brings us back to those cries of "class warfare."

Republicans claim to be deeply worried by budget deficits. Indeed, Mr. Ryan has called the deficit an "existential threat" to America. Yet they are insisting that the wealthy - who presumably have as much of a stake as everyone else in the nation's future - should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat.

Well, that amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else. And that, in case you're wondering, is what real class warfare looks like.


8) In Europe, a Chorus of Outrage Over a U.S. Execution
September 22, 2011

PARIS - Even in a region long disdainful of American attitudes toward the death penalty, public officials, editorial writers and activists across Western Europe reacted with fury on Thursday to news that Troy Davis was executed in Georgia on Wednesday night.

Despite the divisive sovereign debt crisis, the sagging economy and conflict in the Middle East, the news media in Britain, France and elsewhere devoted continuous coverage to the Davis case this week, emphasizing that Mr. Davis, a black man, had been convicted of killing a white police officer in a Southern state. Many commentators denounced American justice as brutal and flawed.

More than anything, however, the outcry underlined the profound divergence in opinion concerning capital punishment in the United States and Western Europe, where the death penalty is no longer a topic of debate.

"The United States are a very democratic country, but these are barbaric practices," said Laurent Fabius, a prominent Socialist lawmaker and former French prime minister, speaking on Europe 1 radio.

Robert Badinter, who as justice minister oversaw the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981, called Mr. Davis's execution a "defeat for humanity."

"This affair will remain as a stain on the justice system of the United States," Mr. Badinter said.

Convicted of the 1989 killing of a Savannah, Ga., police officer, Mr. Davis, 42, maintained his innocence until the end. He was put to death by lethal injection after the Supreme Court declined to act on a petition from his lawyers to stay the execution.

Although other American death penalty cases have attracted world attention in recent decades, Mr. Davis's case provoked particular interest, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group in Washington. In part, he said, the outrage reflected Amnesty International's decision to publicize the case several years ago.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered outside the American Embassies in London and Paris on Wednesday to call for a stay of execution. The European Union had repeatedly urged the same, given what Catherine Ashton, the bloc's foreign policy chief, called the "serious and compelling doubts" about Mr. Davis's guilt.

"The E.U. opposes the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and calls for a global moratorium as a first step towards its universal abolition," Ms. Ashton said in a statement.

In Germany, Claudia Roth, a leader of the Green Party, said Mr. Davis's death was "a cynical and inhumane spectacle that occasions mourning and horror." Tom Chivers, an editor at The Daily Telegraph in Britain, called capital punishment a "barbaric hangover from an Old Testament morality." Even Americans who support it, he wrote, must "want it to be credible - a terrible judgment passed down upon the guilty, not a savage lottery of murder."

With passage in 2000 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, capital punishment was abolished across the European Union. Germany had ended the practice in 1949, Britain in 1969 and France in 1981. Those decisions were far from universally popular at the time, but a wide-ranging consensus has since emerged that capital punishment is a backward and unjust practice, analysts say. Still, a handful of politicians on the fringes of the right still call for a debate over executions.

Doing away with the death penalty is "seen as an established norm of modern society," said Nicole Bacharan, a French historian and political scientist at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris. Most of the French have come to consider capital punishment as a moral question, Ms. Bacharan said - and one with an unequivocal answer.

It puzzles many Europeans, then, that capital punishment persists in 34 of the 50 American states.

"They don't understand that Americans believe you can lose your right to life," said Andrew Hammel, a former Texas defense lawyer who is now an assistant professor at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The deep cultural influence of the Roman Catholic Church has imbued many Europeans with a belief in "unconditional human dignity," Mr. Hammel said, a belief that the state "must respect human beings whatever they've done." The Protestant tradition of the United States, by contrast, emphasizes individual responsibility, he said.

In further contrast with the United States, most European judicial systems rely on jurists who are appointed rather than elected. Activists working to abolish the death penalty in the United States often suggest that political considerations affect the thinking of judges and prosecutors.

Nicholas Kulish contributed reporting from Berlin, and Ravi Somaiya from London.


9) In Death-Penalty Debate, Execution Offers Little Closure
September 22, 2011

After decades of litigation, the final legal ruling allowing the execution of Troy Davis was a one-sentence order from the United States Supreme Court so terse that it could have fit neatly into a Twitter message with room to spare.

But it is hardly the last word on the case, or in the national debate over the death penalty.

The finality of Mr. Davis's sentence, and the outpouring of protest worldwide, leaves in its wake more than its share of questions - many that go beyond the facts of the case to encompass fundamental issues of capital punishment. Because Mark MacPhail, the Savannah, Ga., police officer he was convicted of killing in 1989, was white and Mr. Davis, above, was black, the progress of Mr. Davis's case over two decades widened fault lines on the death penalty and, in particular, over the question of whether a black person in the South could be guaranteed the same justice as a white one.

The nature of those doubts and the arguments for Mr. Davis's innocence could be, and will be, debated endlessly. And while no judge who reviewed the minimal physical evidence and the testimony and witness recantations ever overturned Mr. Davis's conviction - one judge dismissed the defense arguments as "smoke and mirrors" - activists portrayed the case as a symbol of the fallibility of eyewitness identification, of the intransigence of the justice system and of its unwillingness to correct errors - and even as a failure of the nation itself.

"The execution of an innocent man crystallizes in the most sickening way the vast systemic injustices that plague our death penalty system," Denny LeBoeuf, director of the Capital Punishment Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Amnesty International, which mobilized much of the opposition to the Davis execution, pledged to redouble its efforts against the death penalty in the United States, and the executive committee of the N.A.A.C.P. voted this week to raise the death penalty to the forefront of its list of priorities in future advocacy.

Stephen Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, an interfaith advocacy group based in Carrboro, N.C., said his group also planned to use the momentum generated by religious leaders who opposed the Davis execution to galvanize broader opposition. "This has been a teachable moment for America's religious leadership: that the death penalty is so awash with bias and errors that there's no morally acceptable alternative but repealing it," Mr. Dear said.

But can the debate over the death penalty even be called a national conversation, or is it simply two factions shouting past each other? Does it change hearts and minds, or harden advocates in their positions? Brawls, after all, do not persuade.

This execution underscores the uncomfortable relationship Americans have with the death penalty. A Gallup poll last October showed that 64 percent of those surveyed supported it for those convicted of murder, a level that had been relatively consistent for the previous seven years. Support had been higher - 80 percent in 1994 - but it has slipped, in part because of the hundreds of convictions overturned because of DNA evidence.

Gallup has asked whether people favor life imprisonment without parole as an alternative to the death penalty, and those surveyed are almost evenly split, with 49 percent supporting capital punishment and 46 percent preferring life imprisonment.

Jurors have shown a growing reluctance to vote for the ultimate penalty; in 1994, 314 people were placed on death row, but that number has dropped by roughly two-thirds since, according to figures compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group that opposes the death penalty.

Even among more casual observers, death penalty politics have become more prominent in light of the questions in the Davis case. Big Boi, a rapper from Savannah who showed up at the state prison in Jackson, Ga., on Wednesday to oppose the death penalty, said the issue was one he and his friends were concerned about. "People are starting to think about this," he said. " 'Thou shalt not kill' should apply to governments and people."

Mr. Davis's execution and the crusade it ignited ultimately bring to bear larger questions of a longing for an end to seemingly endless appeals.

William Otis, a former federal prosecutor and special White House counsel under the first President George Bush, said "there has to be finality for any system that's going to work," but added: "To say that there has to be finality is not to say that things should be rushed. The primary duty of courts is to get it right."

A problem for Mr. Davis's defenders, he said, is that judges tend to look at recantations, especially from witnesses who are in prison, "with a flinty eye."

Mr. Otis added: "The question is not whether you can avoid errors. The only realistic question in an adult mind is which set of errors you're going to accept. You have to be mature and honest about it, and understand there is the risk of executing an innocent person."

Douglas A. Berman, who teaches sentencing law at Ohio State University, said that Mr. Davis was the 1,269th person to be executed since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on the practice in 1976. (The 1,268th prisoner met his death hours before Mr. Davis; Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed Wednesday for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a black man, in 1998.) "I'm not sure we're going to have a healthy national dialogue" on the death penalty because of the Davis case, Mr. Berman said.

"Many of the people asserting confidence in his guilt are much more expressing confidence in our legal system and our jury system," he said. "That's why the shouting gets so loud - because what is nominally a factual issue of his guilt is really a dispute over how that issue gets resolved," and by whom.

To Eric M. Freedman, a professor at Hofstra Law School and an expert on the death penalty, the desire for finality is "understandable in some respects," but the process of reversing convictions places too high a bar in front of defendants. At trial, he said, the state has the burden of proving them guilty, and if "one reasonable juror would have had a reasonable doubt, that would have gotten you acquittal."

"After conviction," Professor Freedman said, "the burden shifts to them."

Thus, he said, the process "allows error to justify error" through its efforts to respect the decisions of juries.

"The system does bury its mistakes," he said.

Laurie Goodstein and Kim Severson contributed reporting.


10) Texas Death Row Kitchen Cooks Its Last 'Last Meal'
"Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group based in Washington, said the decision to do away with last meals seemed petty. 'If the last meal process has been abused, then maybe it warrants changing, but there are a lot more serious abuses that have gone on in terms of lack of due process in Texas,' Mr. Dieter said. 'Inmates would much prefer a last lawyer to a last meal.'"
September 22, 2011

HOUSTON - For decades, Texas inmates scheduled to be executed had at least one thing to look forward to: a last meal. Earl Carl Heiselbetz Jr. ordered two breaded pork chops and three scrambled eggs in 2000. Frank Basil McFarland asked for a heaping portion of lettuce and four celery stalks in 1998. Doyle Skillern ate a sirloin steak in 1985.

But state prison officials decided on Thursday to end the practice of giving last meals to inmates about to be executed, their decision coming the day after they honored an elaborate meal request from Lawrence Russell Brewer, one of the men convicted in the 1998 racially motivated dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper.

Before Mr. Brewer was executed by lethal injection in the Huntsville Unit on Wednesday, he was given the last meal of his request: two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover's pizza; one pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.

The meal outraged State Senator John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. In a phone call and letter to the executive director of the state prison agency, Mr. Whitmire asked that the agency end the practice of last meals or he would get the State Legislature to pass a bill doing so.

The prison agency's executive director, Brad Livingston, responded hours later, telling Mr. Whitmire that the practice had been terminated, effective immediately, and that death row inmates scheduled for execution would receive the same meal served to other inmates in the unit.

"I believe Senator Whitmire's concerns regarding the practice of allowing death row offenders to choose their last meal are valid," Mr. Livingston said in a statement.

Mr. Whitmire said his opposition to last meals had little to do with the cost of the meals, when the state budget is stretched thin. He said it was a matter of principle. "He never gave his victim an opportunity for a last meal," Mr. Whitmire said of Mr. Brewer. "Why in the world are you going to treat him like a celebrity two hours before you execute him? It's wrong to treat a vicious murderer in this fashion. Let him eat the same meal on the chow line as the others."

Mr. Brewer did not eat his last meal, and Mr. Whitmire said he felt that the inmate had ordered it in an attempt to "make a mockery out of the process."

Officials with the prison agency, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said they did not have data on how much the last meals cost the state. They said the kitchen staff at the Huntsville Unit, where executions take place, tried to accommodate inmates' requests "within reason," using food in the prison kitchen. The requests are normally made about two weeks before the scheduled execution.

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group based in Washington, said the decision to do away with last meals seemed petty. "If the last meal process has been abused, then maybe it warrants changing, but there are a lot more serious abuses that have gone on in terms of lack of due process in Texas," Mr. Dieter said. "Inmates would much prefer a last lawyer to a last meal."


11) Bill Maher, Michael Moore Defend Tony Bennett for Saying That U.S. Foreign Policy Helped Cause 9/11
By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at September 24, 2011, 7:44 am

On last night's Real Time, Bill Maher brought up the controversial statements made recently by jazz singer Tony Bennett. Speaking about 9/11 and American militarism on the Howard Stern Show, Bennett (a WWII veteran and a pacifist) said, "But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don't make a right. They flew the plane in, but we caused it....Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop." Facing a backlash, Bennett quickly apologized for his remarks on his Facebook page.

When one of Maher's guests, CNN contributor John Avlon, said he was offended by Bennett's remarks, Maher and guest Michael Moore (two people who know a thing or two about being dragged through the mud for 9/11-related remarks) both disagreed. "I think it's a brave thing to say," Moore said of Bennett's comments. "If you have a pit bull in your neighbor's back yard, and you go over there and keep kicking that pit bull, and then the pit bull bites you, you don't say, 'Hey, I don't know why that pit bull bit me!' It's 'cause you've been kicking the dog!"

Watch that, plus some disagreements about whether the United States is an empire, here (via Mediaite):


12) Radioactivity in Japan Rice Raises Worries
September 24, 2011

TOKYO - Government officials on Saturday ordered more tests after detecting elevated levels of radiation in rice crops near the crippled nuclear power plant at Fukushima.

Radioactive substances have already been discovered in beef, milk, spinach and tea leaves, leading to recalls and bans on shipments. But officials have been especially worried about rice, a staple that makes up a significant part of the Japanese diet. Japan grows most of the rice that it consumes.

Preliminary tests on rice from paddies in the city of Nihonmatsu, about 35 miles from the Fukushima plant, showed the crops contained 500 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, prefectural officials said. Under recently adopted Japanese regulations, rice with up to 500 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium is considered safe for consumption. (A becquerel is a frequently used measure of radiation.)

As a result of the latest findings, officials in Fukushima have ordered further checks on rice from the area, and they may ban shipments if similarly high levels of radiation are found again, prefectural officials told reporters.

Rice from more than 400 locations in Fukushima Prefecture has been tested, and the highest level of radioactive cesium previously detected was less than 150 becquerels per kilogram. Some experts have criticized the Japanese government for not doing enough to keep dangerous radioactive substances out of the food supply, threatening the health especially of children and pregnant women, who are thought to be more sensitive to radiation.

In July, agriculture officials said that beef from cattle in Fukushima tainted with radioactive cesium had reached stores, setting off a public uproar. The government temporarily banned beef shipments from the region and promised to step up safety checks. That ban was lifted the following month after more extensive testing was mandated.


13) Cuban Minister Leaves a Door Open to American's Release
"The State Department, too, prefers no link between Mr. Gross and the Cuban Five. William Ostick, a spokesman, said the case of the Cuban Five and Mr. Gross 'are not comparable.'" [There's a big difference--the Cuban Five were trying to STOP terrorism against Cuba; Alan Gross, the State Department contractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba, was a spy who distributed satellite equipment under an American program designed to attack the Cuban government. The Cuban Five are not guilty of any wrongdoing--they stopped a terrorist attack in the making. Alan Gross was committing a U.S. sponsored international crime of espionage against another]
September 23, 2011

Free Them

September 23, 2011

A week after an effort to gain the release of an American jailed in Cuba ended in recriminations, the Cuban foreign minister said Friday that the door remained open to free him on humanitarian grounds, but only with a reciprocal effort from the United States.

In an interview with editors and reporters at The New York Times, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said his country was still seeking closer ties with the United States, suggesting that the two sides start with subjects on which they should be able to find common ground most easily - fighting drug trafficking, terrorism and threats to the environment, to name a few.

"It's in the best interest of the U.S. and Cuba to move ahead on the normalization of bilateral relations," Mr. Rodríguez said.

One of the more contentious issues roiling relations right now is the dispute over Alan Gross, a State Department contractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for distributing satellite equipment under an American program aimed at weakening the Cuban government.

Last week, Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico and American diplomat, questioned whether Cuba really wanted warmer relations with the United States as he bitterly left Cuba without Mr. Gross or even a chance to visit him.

But Mr. Rodríguez, without being explicit, suggested that Cuba and the United States could find mutual humanitarian gestures to end the stalemate.

"I do not see any way in which we can move on towards a solution of the Mr. Gross case but from a humanitarian point of view and on the basis of reciprocity," he said.

Mr. Rodríguez declined to say what he had discussed with Mr. Richardson, but he said that all topics between the two nations remained open to discussion, including the return of one or all of the Cuban Five, men serving prison sentences in the United States on espionage charges.

"I can tell you the agenda submitted to the U.S. government - and I reiterate here it is still on the table - included the topic of the Cuban Five, although we understand that as it is an element related to justice, it is also of a humanitarian character."

He said President Obama could pardon them "as a humanitarian act, which would be appreciated by their mothers, wives and the entire Cuban people."

Still, Mr. Rodríguez later said he was not linking the Gross case to the Cuban Five, and he took pains to keep the Gross affair separated from the five decades of hostility and diplomatic tit-for-tat that has defined Cuban and United States relations.

"I believe that establishing a link between pending bilateral issues to a humanitarian solution in the case of Mr. Gross is a mistake," he said, later adding, "it is not right to merge this with political issues or add it to the bilateral agenda, which is quite hefty already."

The State Department, too, prefers no link between Mr. Gross and the Cuban Five. William Ostick, a spokesman, said the case of the Cuban Five and Mr. Gross "are not comparable."

"We will continue to use every available diplomatic channel to press for his immediate and unconditional release," he said.


14) Turkey: U.S. to Supply Drones
September 23, 2011

The United States has agreed "in principle" to deploy Predator drones on Turkish soil, the Turkish prime minister said Friday. Turkey has offered to buy or lease the drones, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. The United States currently shares drone surveillance data from northern Iraq with Turkey to aid its fight against Kurdish rebels who have bases in Iraq.


15) California: Muslim Students Guilty
September 23, 2011

A jury in Orange County found a group of 10 Muslim students guilty of two misdemeanors for conspiring to interrupt a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States at the University of California, Irvine. Prosecutors argued that the ambassador, Michael Oren, had been silenced after several students interrupted with coordinated shouts of protest. The defense lawyers for the group of Muslim students said that they had simply engaged in a typical form of protest and were being unfairly singled out by the district attorney. The judge ruled that the students would have to serve 56 hours of community service and up to three years of probation.


16) Police Memo on Marijuana Warns Against Some Arrests
"Harry G. Levine, a sociologist at Queens College who has researched the issue, said public defenders and legal aid lawyers who have defended thousands of these cases estimate that between two-thirds and three-fourths of people arrested on charges of possession of small amounts of marijuana displayed it at an officer's request. 'The police stop them, search them and tell them to empty their pockets,' Professor Levine said. 'They don't know the law doesn't allow that.' According to Professor Levine, on average over the past 15 years, 54 percent of people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City were black, 33 percent were Latino and 12 percent were white. National studies tend to show that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks and Latinos."
September 23, 2011

Amid criticism about the way New York City police officers enforce marijuana laws, Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly issued a memo to commanders this week reiterating that officers are not to arrest people who have small amounts of marijuana in their possession unless it is in public view.

The New York Legislature decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in the 1970s, making possession of 25 grams or less a violation of the law that in most cases would not bring a jail sentence. But possessing even small amounts of marijuana in public view remains a misdemeanor.

Just over 50,000 people were arrested on marijuana possession charges last year, a vast majority of them members of minorities and male. Critics say that as part of the Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy, officers routinely tell suspects to empty their pockets and then, if marijuana is displayed, arrest them for having the drugs in public view, thereby pushing thousands of people toward criminality and into criminal justice system.

Critics said the commissioner's memo, reported on Friday by WNYC, represented a major change of policy. "This will make a tremendous difference because tens of thousands of young people - predominately young people of color - will not be run through the system as criminals," said Steven Banks, the attorney in chief at the Legal Aid Society, which has handled thousands of the cases.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group that has been challenging the Police Department's marijuana-arrest policies, said the order was directing a significant change in the way the police deal with people they arrest for small amounts of marijuana.

Mr. Nadelmann said that there was evidence of "gross racial disparity" in the enforcement of the marijuana laws and that "this appears to represent a major step forward."

Although the memo begins, "Questions have been raised about the processing of certain marihuana arrests," a spokesman for the Police Department said that the order was not in response to any particular incident and that it did not represent any change in policy. It was intended merely to remind officers of existing procedures, he said.

The memo says, "A crime will not be charged to an individual who is requested or compelled to engage in the behavior that results in the public display of marihuana." The act of displaying it, the order continues, must be "actively undertaken of the subject's own volition."

Under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the number of low-level marijuana arrests has increased significantly. Mr. Bloomberg's office declined to comment on Mr. Kelly's order, but in the past, mayoral aides have said such arrests helped fight more serious crime, like the violence that tends to trail drugs.

Harry G. Levine, a sociologist at Queens College who has researched the issue, said public defenders and legal aid lawyers who have defended thousands of these cases estimate that between two-thirds and three-fourths of people arrested on charges of possession of small amounts of marijuana displayed it at an officer's request.

"The police stop them, search them and tell them to empty their pockets," Professor Levine said. "They don't know the law doesn't allow that."

According to Professor Levine, on average over the past 15 years, 54 percent of people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City were black, 33 percent were Latino and 12 percent were white. National studies tend to show that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks and Latinos.

In a March appearance before the City Council, Mr. Kelly reiterated the Bloomberg administration's position that arrests for having marijuana in public view have helped keep crime low.

In response to council members who were skeptical of the policy, he said, "If you think the law is not written correctly, then you should petition the State Legislature to change it."

Hakeem Jeffries, a Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn, and Mark Grisanti, a Republican senator from Buffalo, have since sponsored a bill that would downgrade open possession of small amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation.

City Hall is opposed to changing the law.

In June, Frank Barry, a mayoral aide, said downgrading the offense would "encourage smoking in the streets and in our parks, reversing successful efforts to clean up neighborhoods and eliminate the open-air drug markets like we used to find in Washington Square Park."

William Glaberson, Rob Harris and Kate Taylor contributed reporting.


17) Borough President Seeks Limits on Stop-and-Frisk
September 23, 2011

The Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, arguing that Police Department practices are creating a "wall of distrust" between officers and minorities, plans to call this weekend for a major re-examination of the department's stop-and-frisk policy.

Mr. Stringer plans to argue at a symposium that the spiraling use of the practice - stopping and searching people who officers believe may be armed and dangerous - is disproportionately directed at blacks and Latinos, constituting harassment and making those demographic groups less likely to assist the police in investigations. There were about 600,000 stop-and-frisk encounters in New York City last year.

"We cannot wait a minute longer to have an honest examination of stop-and-frisk and the collateral damage it inflicts on our city every day," Mr. Stringer says in his prepared remarks, a copy of which his office provided to The New York Times.

The speech will be the latest of several recent instances in which Mr. Stringer, a Democrat, has been critical of the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Mr. Stringer is a likely candidate for mayor in 2013, and he and other prospective candidates have been seeking ways to differentiate themselves from one another and from Mr. Bloomberg, an independent, as they jockey for attention and money.

In an interview, Mr. Stringer said his decision to take a stand on the stop-and-frisk issue should not be viewed through the lens of politics. But he also laid out his record of what he described as constructive criticism of the administration.

"I have not been afraid to step up and disagree when I think they were wrong," he said.

Mr. Stringer had criticized Mr. Bloomberg for appointing Cathleen P. Black as schools chancellor and for choosing not to disclose that Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith had been arrested after an altercation with his wife. Ms. Black and Mr. Goldsmith both resigned.

But Mr. Stringer also said he had supported the mayor's plan to make the city more environmentally sustainable and had collaborated with him on land use and other issues. "So I feel very comfortable positioning myself in a way that is not as a negative force, but as somebody who can offer a different view," he said.

He added, "When I'm able to put forth a substantive reform agenda, more times than not the administration eventually sees it my way."

In Mr. Stringer's prepared remarks, which he plans to deliver Saturday at Riverside Church in Morningside Heights as part of a symposium on prison issues, he calls on Mr. Bloomberg and the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, to create an expert panel to explore ways to reduce the use of stop-and-frisk practices and to develop new training standards "that achieve the right balance between policing and civil rights."

Mr. Stringer proposes several changes, including establishing "clear behavioral triggers" to justify a stop-and-frisk; currently, he said, the police often cite "furtive movement" as their only justification. Mr. Stringer suggests trying alternate policing techniques, which he said have been used successfully in other cities. He cited a Boston program called Operation Ceasefire, which sought to deter gang violence.

Asked about Mr. Stringer's speech, the Police Department's chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, defended the stop-and-frisk practice.

"Stops save lives, especially in communities disproportionately affected by crime, and especially among young men of color who last year represented 90 percent of murder victims and 96 percent of shooting victims in New York City," Mr. Browne said in an e-mail.

A spokesman for the mayor, Marc LaVorgna, disputed Mr. Stringer's suggestion that the practice was an "ineffective policy" that made it harder to fight crime.

"The facts tell a different story - crime has been driven down to historic lows by the N.Y.P.D., in part due to this policy," Mr. LaVorgna said by e-mail. "We'll continue to take our cues on crime-fighting from Ray Kelly, not career politicians like the Manhattan borough president."

Last year, about 85 percent of people stopped by the police were black or Latino, although those groups make up only slightly more than half of the city's population.

Criticism of the practice has grown recently. Early this month, a black city councilman and a city aide were arrested while walking in a restricted area along the route of the West Indian Labor Day parade in Brooklyn, in what the arrested men have alleged was a case of racial profiling. The episode prompted several city officials, including Mr. Stringer, to argue that the increasing use of the stop-and-frisk practice had contributed to a culture of racial bias in policing.

The practice is also the subject of a legal challenge brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Last month, a federal judge rejected the city's effort to have the case dismissed.


18) A Tryout Program for the Unemployed
[Work for free for eight weeks while collecting YOUR unemployment insurance money and maybe you'll get hired! That's the "tryout program!" Unbelievable! And only 18 percent of those who completed the program have been hired!!!! Who's making out with this program?????? Eight free weeks of labor for the bosses! Eight free weeks of labor for the bosses!]
September 23, 2011

ATLANTA - Desperate to find a way to get the nation's long-term unemployed back to work, President Obama and Republican leaders are supporting the expansion of a novel jobs program in Georgia to any other state that wants it.

Whether the program can be replicated on a scale big enough to make a dent in the unemployment rate, though, is far from clear.

Since the recession began, the Georgia program has been held up as a national example, and a close look shows that it has pleased employers and produced steady paychecks for workers. But economists say there is little evidence that participants find work faster. And a lack of promotion, limited oversight and budget constraints have limited the program, Georgia Works, to a tiny portion of the state's nearly half a million unemployed workers. Only about 120 people have been hired because of it this year.

That such a blip of success has been hailed as a central plank of the president's jobs plan, and one of the few with consistent bipartisan support, shows just how few viable solutions have emerged for perhaps the nation's most intractable problem - how to get 14 million unemployed people working again.

Already replicated by several other states, the Georgia initiative does not create jobs but allows workers to try out an existing position, unpaid, while continuing to receive unemployment benefits. At the end of eight weeks, the employer may take the worker on permanently. The program is voluntary, and participants may not work more than 24 hours a week.

Since the program began in 2003, only 18 percent of those who completed the training have been hired by the employer that trained them, according to data released this week by the state labor department. More recently, job placement has declined to about 10 percent. New Hampshire, North Carolina and Missouri report far better results from their programs, though they are still quite small. The Obama administration estimates that if every state opted in, the program would cost $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

Supporters of the effort say that hirings are not the only measure of success. The program keeps the unemployed tethered to a workplace environment. It can provide training - under federal labor laws that forbid unpaid labor, it is required to, though the state labor department's literature refers to it as a "free trial" for employers.

Still, the program has given Lis Cap, 26, who lost her job as a graphic designer in August, the chance to acquire a valuable skill: writing code for smartphone apps. On a recent morning, she sat at a laptop in the dining room that serves as headquarters for a small technology company called AppedOn. From an iPad screen, an AppedOn programmer based in Asheville, N.C., coached her.

"It's a great opportunity for me to learn all I can about this area that I was interested in but had no solid experience in," said Ms. Cap, who taught herself to build Web sites but needed help when it came to apps. "Without this, this would not be a job that I could apply for."

It also might not be a job that AppedOn could fill, said Sosh Howell, the chief executive. App writers are in short supply, even at salaries of $40,000 to $50,000 a year. "It's so hard to find people," he said, "that our options come down to training someone, which is something we can't afford as a small business, or outsourcing to another country, which is not our preferred method."

At the end of eight weeks, Mr. Howell will either hire Ms. Cap, or she will walk away with what she considers valuable training that she could not have gained any other way.

At Georgia State University, however, the story is different. Georgia State has hired 37 workers through the program, out of 54 who have begun trial periods. But the overseers of the program there acknowledged that for many, the program was more valuable as a foot in the door than as a learning experience. One auditioner was so proficient at Microsoft Access that she showed her prospective bosses how to improve their system. She was hired.

Another employee, Belinda Robinson, said she had repeatedly sent her résumé to Georgia State but heard nothing until she volunteered for Georgia Works, thinking, "I just need to meet someone who's in a position of power so I can sell myself."

Unions and labor advocates like the National Employment Law Project have criticized the program as free labor for employers rather than training. The White House has tried to neutralize that complaint by ensuring that under its proposal, called Bridge to Work, the worker would receive the equivalent of minimum wage. States may apply for money to bolster unemployment benefits and to provide stipends for travel and child care, which would come out of a $4 billion federal fund meant to cover that and other re-employment programs in the jobs bill.

But Ross Eisenbrey, the vice president of the liberal Economic Policy Institute, faulted the program for not requiring any investment from employers. "It doesn't take much to create a situation where employers' expectations about what they have to pay really diminish and employee expectations about what their employers should give them just go into the toilet," Mr. Eisenbrey said.

The White House proposal tweaks the program to focus on the long-term unemployed by restricting it to those who have been receiving benefits for more than 26 weeks, and seeks to curtail abuse by barring employers who use it repeatedly without making hires.

Timothy J. Bartik, the senior economist at the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, said that he saw no problem with trying out programs like Georgia Works, but that wage subsidies would have a greater impact, even if they were more expensive. "As far as I can see, there's nothing in this that creates jobs," he said. "It's mainly reshuffling jobs among the folks that are unemployed."

The Georgia Works program began in 2003 as part of a multipronged attempt to modernize an unemployment system that was still heavily geared toward jobs in manufacturing, said Michael L. Thurmond, the Democrat who was the state's labor commissioner at the time. It was meant to allow workers with outdated skills to try new fields without jeopardizing their unemployment check.

When the recession hit, the program's goals shifted. "At first it was helping job seekers who had multiple barriers to employment," Mr. Thurmond said. "Now the focus has shifted to incentivizing hiring by employers in the private sector."

In 2009, Republican leaders including John A. Boehner and Eric Cantor put the program in a "no-cost jobs plan" they submitted to President Obama.

But the program was not cost-free. Mr. Thurmond gradually expanded eligibility until, last year, it opened up to unemployed people no longer receiving benefits. At the same time, he increased the stipend from $300 over eight weeks to $600 over six weeks. The program swelled, and stipend costs rose from $500,000 a month to more than $2 million. Still, Mr. Thurmond said, the costs were offset by savings to the unemployment trust fund and to employers, whose savings he estimates at $4,600 for each trainee hired.

Mr. Thurmond ran unsuccessfully for a United States Senate seat. His successor, Mark Butler, a Republican, said the program was unaffordable and rolled back eligibility and the stipend. Enrollment fell to fewer than two dozen new participants a month.


19) Police Recordings Key Part of Calif. Beating Case
September 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - As Fullerton police Officer Manuel Ramos approached a homeless man at a bus stop in July, he did what members of his department have been doing for a decade. He clicked on an audio recorder normally used to capture witness statements and exonerate officers accused of misconduct.

But prosecutors say the recorder captured something entirely different: the officer murdering a defenseless man suffering from schizophrenia.

Police agencies across the country are increasingly using audio and video devices to collect evidence, and they played a crucial role in prosecutors bringing murder charges this week against Ramos and an involuntary manslaughter count against a colleague, Cpl. Jay Cicinelli.

The violent encounter with Kelly Thomas was captured on surveillance video, but prosecutors say it was only when they paired the images with police audio that they understood what they were seeing. They said Thomas was pummeled, shocked with a Taser, beaten with a stun gun and taunted by Ramos as he stood over the victim and declared: "Now see my fists? They are getting ready to F you up."

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas called that statement - and the fact it was recorded - a turning point.

"This encounter had changed from a fairly routine police detention into an impending beating at the hands of an angry police officer," Rackauckas said. "Ramos instilled in the victim a reasonable fear that his life was in danger."

Fullerton uses a device sold by Riverside-based Versatile Information Products Inc., which contracts with electronics-maker Olympus to customize standard digital voice recorders.

At the end of each shift, officers transfer files onto a server that backs them up as long as needed. The devices, used by hundreds of police agencies, do not let officers edit files, and they show if anything has been deleted.

Device salesman Stephen Gaskins said the units cost about $300 a piece, with the software to back up the files available separately.

"Expensive, but not as daunting as what lawsuits cost," Gaskins said, referring to the frequency the devices provide evidence to exonerate officers wrongly accused of misconduct.

About 700 other police departments across the country have gone a step further, equipping officers with tiny body cameras to record interactions.

In Oakland, where the department is under federal supervision following a case where four officers were caught planting drugs on suspects, police supervisors view the cameras as a useful extra check on officers.

The Los Angeles Police Department is spending $20 million to install video and audio systems in its squad cars. Officers will be wirelessly miked and a computer starts recording every time the emergency lights are activated.

Even before Fullerton police started using audio recorders, the department employed dashboard video cameras and microphones, but these proved unreliable, Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said. Recorders are now standard issue and officers are taught to switch them on every time they interact with a member of the public.

"In just about every investigation that goes to court, one of the common requests is that (prosecutors) want the (audio)," Goodrich said.

In Los Angeles, after some initial concerns private conversations between officers would be recorded, the police officer's union has embraced the technology.

"In the vast majority of cases, the public is going to see the police officers being very restrained and very professional, and that's a positive," Los Angeles Police Protective League president Paul Weber said.

Another piece of high-tech evidence came from Cicinelli's Taser. By downloading information on the weapon, investigators determined he used it three times in "drive stun" mode, pushing the device directly into Thomas. Then he used it a fourth time, firing darts from weapon and shocking Thomas for about 12 seconds.

Cicinelli then allegedly smashed Thomas about the face with the Taser. Cicinelli's attorney Bill Hadden said he had not received any discovery in the case but claimed prosecutors had gotten a lot of facts wrong. He said he would be making a fuller response in the coming weeks.

Ramos's attorney, John Barnett, has disputed prosecutors' account of the confrontation with Thomas. He says when his client made the threat about his fists, he was using a subtle type of force to get a suspect to comply. Ramos was responding to a transit hub in the suburban college town after someone reported seeing a homeless man breaking into cars.

In all, six officers were at the scene but the other four were not expected to be charged. Cicinelli's device and that of one other officer were not activated, though police say it's not unusual for an officer to forget to switch on the mechanism if they are responding to an unfolding emergency.


Thomas Watkins can be reached at