Monday, March 05, 2012

BAUAW NEWSLETTER - TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2012

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

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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

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GI Resistance mailing / pizza party
Tuesday, March 6, 5pm-10pm
At 55 Santa Clara Ave, Oakland, California
(near 580 and Harrison / one mile from MacArthur BART)

I hope you'll come on down to help Courage to Resist send out our tri-annual newsletter on Tuesday evening, March 6th in Oakland. We'll be highlighting the campaign to free accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army PFC Bradley Manning, and along with our fund appeal to supporters, which we'll be sending around the world.

It is a great way to help out and learn more about the campaign to free Bradley and/or our work in support of all GI war resisters.

Do you have any free time to help any day prior to March 6th? If so, we can put you to work in helping us get a much need head start of the mailing process.

Call 510-488-3559, or email courage [at] riseup.net, for more info--or just drop by next Tuesday.

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Atomic Mom at the San Francisco Public Library
Thursday, March 8th @ 12pm at the Koret Auditorium at 100 Larkin Street
Media Contact:
M.T. Silvia
mtsilvia@atomicmom.org
510-541-0413

Atomic Mom, an award-winning feature length documentary from M.T. Silvia, will screen on Thursday, March 8th @ 12pm at the Koret Auditorium at 100 Larkin Street as part of the Thursdays at Noon film series in San Francisco, CA.

Atomic Mom weaves an intimate portrait of a complex mother-daughter relationship within an obscure - but important - moment in American history.

As the only female scientist present during atomic detonations in the Nevada desert, Pauline Silvia, the filmmaker's mother, undergoes a crisis of conscience. After a long silence and prompted by her daughter, she finally reveals grim secrets of working in the U.S. atomic testing program.

In our present moment of Wikileaks, Pauline is a similar whistle-blower having been cowed by the silencing machine of the US military for decades. In an attempt to reconcile with her own mother's past, her daughter, filmmaker M.T. Silvia, meets Emiko Okada, a Hiroshima survivor trying to reconcile her own history in Japan. The film follows these survivors, each on a different end of atomic warfare, as they "meet" through the filmmaking process, and as they, with startling honestly, attempt to understand the other.

With the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the footage of the devastation is hauntingly familiar to the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As Japan experiences its second nuclear crisis, Atomic Mom illustrates how we are all downwind of this story.

Atomic Mom invites viewers to confront American nuclear history in a completely new way and will inspire dialogue about human rights, personal responsibility, and the possibility - and hope - of peace.

More info at http://www.atomicmom.org

M.T. Silvia is an independent filmmaker. Her first documentary Picardy Drive (2002, Documentary, 57min) aired on KQED's ImageMaker series, FreeSpeechTV and airs yearly during the holidays on Oakland's KTOP. She has worked professionally in the film industry for over twenty years at both Skywalker Sound and Pixar Animation Studios. Among many mainstream film and CD credits, she has also worked on several independent films.

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Happy Birthday Jamie Dimon: A National Call to Action.

Public Event for Occupy Atlanta ·

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

12:00am until 11:30pm

At a Chase Bank near you.

Invite everyone on your friends list. Lets give him a birthday party
he'll never forget.

We, Occupy Atlanta and the occupiers of Glen Iris, are asking everyone
locally and nationally to take action in Solidarity with us as we
fight Chase Bank. Since this bank is a behemoth, we cannot defeat it
only in Atlanta, we need to bring the fight everywhere. We are calling
a day of action against Chase on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, to demand a
moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. March 13th is the birthday
of Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Chase Bank.

JPMorgan Chase, doing business as Chase Bank, through a series of
recent mergers and acquisitions has become the largest banking
institution in the United States. This expansion has been fueled to a
great degree by its extensive investment in the two main subprime
mortgage originators, not to mention nearly $25 billion in bailout
funds that rewarded the bank for its criminal swindling of millions of
American families.

A spotlight has been shined on the nefarious deeds of Chase and other
big banks since the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The time
has come to take a step further in the struggle. The rich and their
mouthpieces roar with outrage at any criticism of those responsible
for the economic crisis. Throwing millions of working families out of
their homes - is this not class warfare against the 99%? We need to
strike back with a show of resistance nationwide.

Chase, the largest bank in America, is an ideal target to focus such a
campaign. The Pittman family here in Atlanta has boldly defied
intimidation and threats from Chase Bank, as well as the police, in
defending their home side by side with hundreds of Occupiers and
supporters. Through a unified display of action across the country, by
shutting down a Chase Bank branch in your neighborhood, we can
demonstrate the power of the people. Join in the national effort
against the biggest bank in America: we are taking back our homes and
building a future worth fighting for.

On March 13th, demand a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions!

The Occupiers of Glen Iris and Take Back the Block

Contact Us

Twitter: @OccupyGlenIris

Email: takebacktheblock@gmail.com

Facebook: Occupy Glen Iris
Share:Post

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Occupy St.Patrick's Day! Saturday, March 17

Once again the San Francisco Bay Area comrades of the International Republican Socialist Network are reaching out to socialists, syndicalists, anarchists, and Irish, Scottish, and Welsh republicans to join them in marching in this year's San Francisco St. Patrick's Parade.

For the first time in the nearly three decades that local comrades have marched in the parade under the auspices of the H-Block/Armagh Committees, Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America, and the International Republican Socialist Network the parade will actually take place on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday, March 17th.

As usual, the parade will begin at Market and Second Streets and our assembly point will no doubt be somewhere on Second Street and the time will be approximately 10:30, though details are not yet known.

As has been the case for many years, the IRSN will have a decorated truck--this year dedicated to the proud history of Irish Republican Socialism--but that entry will be joined by the Anti-Imperialist Contingent, composed of revolutionaries from many different organizations, united by their opposition to both British and American imperialism and their support for an independent, 32-country Irish socialist republic.

Participants in the Anti-Imperialist Contingent are welcome to bring their own identifying banners, as well as to join in carrying IRSC-supplied banners, raising slogans in opposition to imperialism and in support of the struggle for socialism in Ireland. The IRSN appreciates it when comrades who will be joining in march with the Anti-Imperialist Contingent let us know of their intent to do so in advance, as it helps us to better plan the organization of the contingent; the earlier you are able to do so, the more we appreciate it. For additional information, or to notify us of you or your organization's participation, please e-mail: irsp@netwiz.net.

As has long been our tradition, the IRSN will be welcoming all those who join us in marching in this year's parade to join in a post-parade party, featuring the very traditional combination of nachos and Margaritas (well, traditional for us anyway).

So mark your calendars and get your marching shoes ready, and come and join the International Republican Socialist Network in once again ensuring that St. Patrick's Day in the San Francisco Bay Area has a proudly visible representation of the Irish Republican Socialist tradition.

Only you can prevent the St. Patrick's Day Parade from becoming a green beer, ROTC, and Hooters-dominated event!

Come out to show your solidarity with the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland and to help reclaim the revolutionary tradition of St. Patrick's Day in the US.

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Attend the United National Antiwar Coalition National Conference
March 23-25, 2012 at the Stamford CT Hilton (one stop from Harlem/125th St. on Metro North commuter line)

Say No to the NATO/G8 Wars & Poverty Agenda

A Conference to Challenge the Wars of the one percent Against the 99 percent at Home and Abroad

The U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the G-8 world economic powers will meet in Chicago, May 19-22, to plan their financial and military strategies for the coming period. These elites, who serve the one percent at home and abroad, impose austerity--often by the use of drones, armies, and the police--on the 99 percent to expand their profits.

Join activists from the antiwar, occupy, environmental, immigrant rights, labor, and other movements at a conference from March 23-25, 2012 to learn more, to plan a May 19 "No to NATO/G8" demonstration in Chicago, and to democratically develop a program of action for the months to follow.

Special guest speakers include:

• Xiomara Castro de Zelaya is currently a presidential candidate in Honduras and the partner of Manuel de Zelaya, the former president displaced by a U.S.-backed coup in 2009.

• Bill McKibben is the founder of the grassroots global warming group 350.org and the architect of the successful campaign to defeat the XL pipeline.

• Glen Ford is the executive editor of Black Agenda Report, a ground-breaking site that covers U.S. wars abroad and wars at home from the perspective of the African American community.

• Lamis Deek is a Palestinian organizer and attorney who is the chair of Al Awda NY

• Richard Wolff is the author Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It

• Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is the founder of the Muslim Peace Coalition

• Vijay Prashad is the author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World

• Andrew Murray is a member of the UK Trades Union Congress General Council and head of UK Stop the War coalition from 2001-2011

• Colonel Ann Wright was a central Gaza Boat organizer and the editor of Dissent: Voices of Conscience

• Medea Benjamin is the founder of Code Pink

• Jared Ball is the author of I Mix What I Like.

• Clarence Thomas is an Oakland ILWU activist with Longview WA Longshore fight

• Scott Olsen is an Iraq war veteran and Occupy victim of Oakland police violence

• David Swanson is author and editor of War is a Crime.org

• Pat Hunt is a founding member of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 Wars & Poverty Agenda

• Fignole St. Cyr is a leader of the Haitian Autonomous Workers Confederation

For more information:
United National Antiwar Coalition
UNACpeace@gmail.com
www.UNACpeace.org
(518) 227-6947
P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054
https://nationalpeaceconference.org/Conference.html

Send donations to: UNACpeace@gmail.com or to use a credit card, go here: https://nationalpeaceconference.org/Donate.html

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G8 Moving to Camp David
Protesters claim victory, to continue plans to march on May 19th

Today, the White House announced that the G8 summit,scheduled for Chicago on May 19-20, will be moved to Camp David, although the NATO summit will still take place in Chicago.

The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda(CANG8) and Occupy Chicago issue the following statement:

The G8 moving to Camp David represents a major victory for the people of Chicago. The leaders of the 1%are moving because of the overwhelming resistance to the NATO/G8 war and poverty agenda in Chicago. Our city is filled with tens of thousands of people who ares sruggling to keep their heads above water, fighting against the effects of the economic crisis caused by the leaders who would have been gathering here. The communities of Chicago are fighting to save their schools, keep healthcare available, and to defend their jobs from cutbacks that are a hallmark of the governments of the G8.

The city has carried out a campaign to intimidate and vilify protesters, claiming that protests lead to violence. In fact, the main source of violence in the world today is the wars being waged by NATO and the US.

“We will march on May 19th to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world.”

United National Antiwar Committee
UNACpeace@gmain.com or UNAC at P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054
518-227-6947
www.UNACpeace.org

To add your email to the new CANGATE listserve, send an email to: cangate-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

To have your organization endorse the NATO/G8 protest, please click here:

https://www.nationalpeaceconference.org/NATO_G8_protest_support.html

Click here to hear audio of the August 28 meeting:

http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/54145

Click here for the talk by Marilyn Levin, UNAC co-coordinator at the August 28 meeting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1tHQ7ilDJ8&NR=1

Click here for Pat Hunts welcome to the meeting and Joe Iosbaker's remarks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoNGcnBGGfI

NATO and the G8 Represent the 1%.

For more info: www.CANG8.org or email us at cangate2012@gmail.com

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Occupy Oakland Call for Participation in a May 1, 2012
Global General Strike

Occupy Oakland decides to participate in the Global General Strike on May Day!!!

Posted January 30, by ragtag

Categories: Front Page, GA Resolutions, Notice

The Occupy Oakland General Assembly passed the proposal today!

Occupy Oakland Call for Participation in a May 1, 2012
Global General Strike

The general strike is back, retooled for an era of deep budget cuts, extreme anti-immigrant racism, and massive predatory financial speculation. In 2011, the number of unionized workers in the US stood at 11.8%, or approximately 14.8 million people.

What these figures leave out are the growing millions of people in this country who are unemployed and underemployed. The numbers leave out the undocumented, and domestic and manual workers drawn largely from immigrant communities. The numbers leave out workers whose workplace is the home and a whole invisible economy of unwaged reproductive labor. The numbers leave out students who have taken on nearly $1 trillion dollars in debt, and typically work multiple jobs, in order to afford skyrocketing college tuition. The numbers leave out the huge percentage of black Americans that are locked up in prisons or locked out of stable or secure employment because of our racist society.

In December of 2011,Oakland's official unemployment rate was a devastating 14.1%. As cities like Oakland are ground into the dust by austerity, every last public dollar will be fed to corrupt, militarized police departments in order to contain social unrest. On November 2 of last year, Occupy Oakland carried out the first general strike in the US since the 1946 Oakland general strike,shutting down the center of the city and blockading the Port of Oakland. We must re-imagine a general strike for an age where most workers do not belong to labor unions, and where most of us are fighting for the privilege to work rather than for marginal improvements in working conditions. We must take the struggle into the streets, schools, and offices of corrupt local city governments. A re-imagined general strike means finding immediate solutions for communities impacted by budget cuts and constant police harassment beyond changing government representatives. Occupy Oakland calls for and will participate in a new direction for the Occupy movement based on the recognition that we must not only find new ways to provide for our needs beyond thestate we must also attack the institutions that lock us into an increasingly miserable life of exploitation, debt, and deepening poverty everywhere.
IF WE CAN'T LIVE, WE WON'T WORK.

May Day is an international holiday that commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, when Chicago police defending, as always, the interests of the 1% attacked and murdered workers participating in a general strike and demanding an 8-hour workday. In the 21st century, despite what politicians tell us, class war is alive and well against workers (rank-and-file and non-unionized), students, people of color, un- and underemployed, immigrants, homeless, women, queer/trans folks, prisoners. Instead of finding common ground with monsters, it's time we fight them. And it's time we make fighting back an everyday reality in the Bay Area and beyond.

On May Day 2012, Occupy Oakland will join with people from all walks of life in all parts of the world around the world in a global general strike to shut down the global circulation of capital that every day serves to enrich the ruling classes and impoverish the rest of us. There will be no victory but that which we make for ourselves, reclaiming the means of existence from which we have been and continue to be dispossessed every day.
REVOLT FOR A LIFE WORTH LIVING

STRIKE / BLOCKADE / OCCUPY

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Occupy the PGA in Benton Harbor, MI May 23-27, 2012
http://wibailoutpeople.org/2011/12/29/occupy-the-pga-in-benton-harbor-mi-may-23-27-2012/

A personal invitation from the President of the NAACP , Benton Harbor
Chapter:

It is our distinct honor and privilege to invite you on behalf of the
NAACP-BH , the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO)
and Stop The Take Over in Benton Harbor, Michigan to an event
scheduled for May 23-27, 2012 .

Occupy the PGA
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Senior PGA Golf Tournament

We are committed to escalating the Occupy Movement to support human
rights in housing in addition to the push back against bailouts for
fraudulent banks. They are stealing our homes and lives. Democracy is
non-existent here in Benton Harbor. Joseph Harris, the Emergency
Manager must go! With pride, he called himself a "dictator."

The PGA will be played on a $750 million dollar, 530-acre resort near
the lakeshore with $500,000 condominiums. We can not forget the three
golf holes inside Jean Klock Park that were taken from the Benton
Harbor residents.

If your schedule does not permit your attendance on May 26, 2012,
alternative action dates are May 23-25, 2012. Please let me know if
you can accept the invitation to participate in Occupy the PGA. We
eagerly await your response. If you have any questions or concerns,
feel free to contact me directly at (269-925-0001). Allow me to thank
you in advance.We the residents of Benton Harbor love you!

President/NAACP/BANCO
& Stop The Take Over
Benton Harbor
Rev. Edward Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI

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B. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.:
[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website:
http://bauaw.blogspot.com/ or bauaw.org ...bw]

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The CIA's Heart Attack Gun
http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/assassination-studies/the-cias-heart-attack-gun-.html

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Channel 2 investigation highlights racial discrepancies in marijuana arrests
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/channel-2-investigation-highlights-racial-discrepa/nK8Gd/



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This is the keynote address by Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan, at "Let Freedom Ring! Michigan's P.A. 4 Emergency Manager Act Forum" in East Lansing on Saturday, February 18, 2012. The event was organized by the Edgewood United Church of Christ Justice and Peace Task Force and recorded by the Peace Education Center. Jim Anderson of Edgewood United Church introduces Rev. Pinkney.



From: Pinkney Freddie
To: rev pinkney
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 5:21 PM
Subject: Re: Michigan Emergency Manager act - speech by Pinkney

Subject: Michigan Emergency Manager act - speech by Pinkney

please forward widely

A seminar on PA4, the Emergency Manager act, was held last Saturday
in East Lansing. It was an afternoon panel discussion which began with
keynote speaker Rev. Edward Pinkney, resident of the first Michigan
town to feel the unconstitutional brunt of this new law - Benton Harbor.
This is his speech.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANSuw_SPmjw&feature=email

bhbanco.org
Rev. Edward Pinkney 269-925-0001

Occupy The PGA
May 23-27 (big day: Sat. May 26) - Benton Harbor, Michigan
Demonstrate in protest of land stolen by Whirlpool Corporation
http://occupythepga.wordpress.com/ Twitter HashTag #OccupyThePGA Facebook Event Page

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The Invisible American Workforce
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/new_expos_tracks_alec_private_prison



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Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbQxnb4so3U



This video shows the early stages of the growing Chicago movement against the newly minted extraordinary police powers ordinance (dubbed the "sit down and shut up" laws). We go to one of the many actions around the city directed at Chicago aldermen who were about to vote on these new laws (designed by Democratic Party Mayor Emanuel to crush any dissent against the NATO/G8 summits he is hosting here in May). Richard de Vries, Union Representative for IBT 705, tells a story about when he and Danny Solis were students at University of Illinois-Chicago campus back in the early 70s and they both participated in a student protest/occupation of the campus. If the ordinance under consideration (which now Alderman Solis finally approved of) were in effect then, "we wouldn't even be on the street today." We also visit the press conference at City Hall given by an impressive coalition of neighborhood and labor organizations on the eve of City Council committee meetings and final vote. The draconian measures, only marginally tweaked, passed overwhelmingly by the all-Democratic Party Council. The video is also a useful primer on what NATO is and some of its criminal record, from the bombings of civilians in Yugoslavia in the late 90s to NATO's recent killings of civilians in Libya and Afghanistan. In January of this year the Arab Organisation for Human Rights together with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights announced that there is evidence that NATO has committed war crimes. "My estimate: it's Military Murder Inc.," states Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO web site, as he provides extensive background information. Includes interviews and comments from numerous labor and community leaders. Length 25:37. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: mail@laborbeat.org, www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat". On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at mail@laborbeat.org.

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Anti-War Demonstrators Storm Pentagon 1967/10/24
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDiFkckszCw


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Liberal Hypocrisy on Obama Vs Bush - Poll
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl_HGEXq_aM&feature=player_embedded


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Greek trade unionists and black bloc October 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHMLD_Vql0o&feature=player_embedded#!


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The Battle of Oakland
by brandon jourdan plus
http://vimeo.com/36256273

On January 28th, 2012, Occupy Oakland moved to take a vacant building to use as a social center and a new place to continue organizing. This is the story of what happened that day as told by those who were a part of it. it features rare footage and interviews with Boots Riley, David Graeber, Maria Lewis, and several other witnesses to key events.

The Battle of Oakland from brandon jourdan on Vimeo.




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Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
By ANDY NEWMAN
February 1, 2012, 10:56 am
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/officers-pulled-off-street-after-tape-of-beating-surfaces/?ref=nyregion



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On Obama's SOTU:GM is a Terrible Model for US Manufacturing
Frank Hammer: GM was rebuilt by lowering wages and banning the right to strike
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=767&Itemid=74&jumival=7847


More at The Real News


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Defending The People's Mic
by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street
The North Star
January 20, 2012
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=53
Grand Central Terminal Arrests - MIRROR
Two protesters mic check about the loss of freedom brought about by the passage of the NDAA and both are promptly arrested and whisked out of public sight.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Tj7tEVx8A&feature=player_embedded



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"Welcome to Chicago! You're under arrest!"

"Under the new ordinance: Every sign has to be described in particularity on the parade permit. ...If there are signs not on the parade permit, police can issue an ordinance violation. What does that ordinance violation allow? It allows for every sign, the organizer ... can face $1000.00 fine--that's for every un-permitted sign--plus up to ten days in jail...."

Chicago City Hall Press Conference Against NATO/G8 Ordinance

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYQfJcRNwqM



An impressive coalition of organizations -- unions, anti-war, human rights, churches and neighborhood groups -- held a press conference today (Jan. 17, 2012) at Chicago's City Hall. They were protesting the proposed new ordinances against demonstrations targeting the upcoming spring NATO/G8 meetings here, but now possibly to become permanent laws. The press conference took place right before two key City Council committees were to meet to consider whether to endorse the proposed new ordinances, prior to their going to a vote before the full City Council tomorrow. In this excerpt from the press conference, speakers include Eric Ruder, Coalition Against NATO/G8's War & Poverty Agenda; Erek Slater, ATU 241 member speaking for ATU International Vice Presidents; Talisa Hardin, National Nurses United; Wayne Lindwal, SEIU 73 Chicago Division Director; Jesse Sharkey, Vice President, Chicago Teachers Union.

For more info on fight against ordinance: (http://bit.ly/AntiLibertyOrdinance).

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This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!
Michelle Alexander, Author of The New Jim Crow, speaks about the political strategy behind the War on Drugs and its connection to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people in the United States.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75cbEdNo2U&feature=player_embedded



If you think Bill Clinton was "the first black President" you need to watch this video and see how much damage his administration caused for the black community as a result of his get tough attitude on crime that appealed to white swing voters.

This speech took place at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on January 12, 2012.

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NATO, G8 In Chicago: More Details Released, City Grants First Protest Permit
By CARLA K. JOHNSON
January 12, 2012
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/12/nato-g8-in-chicago-more-d_n_1203429.html



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Release Bradley Manning
Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)
Written by Graham Nash and James Raymond (son of David Crosby)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAYG7yJpBbQ&feature=player_embedded



Locked up in a white room, underneath a glaring light
Every 5 minutes, they're asking me if I'm alright
Locked up in a white room naked as the day I was born
24 bright light, 24 all alone

What I did was show some truth to the working man
What I did was blow the whistle and the games began

Tell the truth and it will set you free
That's what they taught me as a child
But I can't be silent after all I've seen and done
24 bright light I'm almost gone, almost gone

Locked up in a white room, dying to communicate
Trying to hang in there underneath a crushing wait
Locked up in a white room I'm always facing time
24 bright light, 24 down the line

What I did was show some truth to the working man
What I did was blow the whistle and the games began

But I did my duty to my country first
That's what they taught me as a man
But I can't be silent after all I've seen and done
24 bright light I'm almost gone, almost gone
(Treat me like a human, Treat me like a man )

Read more on Nash's blog - grahamnash.com

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FREEDOM ROAD - A Tribute to Mumia sung by Renn Lee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC27vzqxSCA&feature=youtu.be



FREEDOM ROAD

(written by Samuel Légitimus- adapted in english, sung and arranged by Paris-Sydney)

They've taken all you had away
And what's left, still they can't bend
To find you guilty was their way
Yet here I am and you're my friend.

Your writing's proof enough for me, Mumia,
You place honor and law
Above all, till the end.

Thirty years gone by
On death row, we never knew
Anything of the weight
You had to carry while you grew.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.

(Instrumental)

Like Jimmy (1) and Bob (2) you've lived to see the light:
Believing that all men
Can stand up for their rights.

Accusing you of crime
From behind their scales they hide
It makes them scared deep down inside
To know that truth is on your side.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no,
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.

(Instumental)

Those thirty years gone by
On death row, we never knew
Anything of the weight
You had to carry while you grew.

We've named a street for you, Mumia
A lovely rue in Saint-Denis
By joining hands we're showing you
Proof of our strength and peace.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no,
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.X2

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no
We won't let them ever win
Won't let them block you from getting in,
Into your home on Freedom Road.

But they won't get you no Mumia,
We will win, we'll never bend
For thirty years you've shown us all
Just how to fight until the end.

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School police increasingly arresting American students?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl-efNBvjUU&feature=player_embedded



Uploaded by RTAmerica on Dec 29, 2011

A new study shows that by age 23, 41 percent of young Americans were arrested from the years 1997-2008. The survey questioned 7,000 people but didn't disclose the crimes committed. Many believe the arrests are related to the increase of police presence in schools across America. Amanda Petteruti from the Justice Policy Institute joins us to examine these numbers.

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"The mine owners did not find the gold, they did not mine the gold, they did not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belonged to them!" -- Big Bill Haywood

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1293. Big Coal Don't Like This Man At All (Original) - with Marco Acca on guitar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljtxjFKB718&mid=574



This song is a tribute to Charles Scott Howard, from Southeastern Kentucky, a tireless fighter for miners' rights, especially with regard to safety, and to his lawyer, Tony Oppegard, who sent me this newspaper article on which I based the song: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/14/charles-scott-howard-whistleblower-m...

The melody is partly based on a tune used by Woody Guthrie, who wrote many songs in support of working men, including miners.

My thanks to Marco Acca for his great guitar accompaniment at very short notice (less than an hour).

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=142068

To see the complete lyrics and chords please click here: http://raymondfolk.wetpaint.com/page/Big+Coal+Don%27t+Like+This+Man+At+all

You can see a playlist of my mining songs here:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CF909DA14CE415DF

You can hear a playlist of my original songs (in alphabetical order) here:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B9F8E3B7A8822951

For lyrics and chords of all my songs, please see my website: http://www.raymondcrooke.com

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FYI:
Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are plotted visually and audibly on a world map.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9lquok4Pdk&feature=share&mid=5408


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We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?

OccupyWallSt.org
Occupytogether.org
wearethe99percentuk.tumblr.com
http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

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Drop All Charges on the 'Occupy Wall Street' Arrestees!
Stop Police Attacks & Arrests! Support 'Occupy Wall Street'!

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AT:
http://bailoutpeople.org/dropchargesonoccupywallstarrestees.shtml to send email messages to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC City Council, NYPD, the NY Congressional Delegation, Congressional Leaders, the NY Legislature, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, members of the media YOU WANT ALL CHARGES DROPPED ON THE 'OCCUPY WALL STREET ARRESTEES!

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We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFAOJsBxAxY



This video begins with Professor of Education Pauline Lipman (University of Illinois-Chicago) briefly recapping the plans hatched a decade ago in Chicago to replace public schools with private charter schools. Then Chicago Public Schools head Arne Duncan implemented those plans (Renaissance 2010) so obediently that President Obama picked him to do the same thing to every school system in the country. So Chicago's growing uprising against these deepening attacks against public education has national importance. Here is a battalion of voices from the communities and the teachers union, all exposing the constantly changing, Kafkaesque rules for evaluating school turn-arounds and closings. The counter-attack from the working people in the city is energized and spreading, and is on a collision course with the 1% who want to take away their children's futures. Includes comments from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, teachers and parents from targeted school communities. Length - 24:40

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The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Documentary Footage (1963)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL2mU029PkQ&feature=fvsr



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In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 44-Day Flint Michigan sit-down strike at GM that began December 30, 1936:

According to Michael Moore, (Although he has done some good things, this clip isn't one of them) in this clip from his film, "Capitalism a Love Story," it was Roosevelt who saved the day!):

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story' - Flint Sit-Down Strike http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8x1_q9wg58

But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the strike was really won!

'With babies & banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike
http://links.org.au/node/2681
--Inspiring

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Busby: Fukushima 'criminal event' calls for investigation
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Dec 27, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F0uFAWV7uc&feature=player_embedded%23!

A newly released report on the Fukushima nuclear crisis says it was down to the plant's operators being ill-prepared and not responding properly to the earthquake and tsunami disaster. A major government inquiry said some engineers abandoned the plant as the trouble started and other staff delayed reporting significant radiation leaks. Professor Christopher Busby, scientific secretary to the European Committee on Radiation Risks, says health damage after contamination will be more serious than Japan announced.



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HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws0WSNRpy3g



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ONE OF THE GREATEST POSTS ON YOUTUBE SO FAR!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8C-qIgbP9o&feature=share&mid=552



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ILWU Local 10 Longshore Workers Speak-Out At Oakland Port Shutdown
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JUpBpZYwms

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

ILWU Local 10 longshore workers speak out during a blockade of the Port of Oakland called for by Occupy Oakland. Anthony Levieges and Clarence Thomas rank and file members of the union. The action took place on December 12, 2011 and the interview took place at Pier 30 on the Oakland docks.

For more information on the ILWU Local 21 Longview EGT struggle go to
http://www.facebook.com/groups/256313837734192/
For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz3fE-Vhrw8&feature=youtu.be
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org



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Lifting the Veil
"Our democracy is but a name...We choose between Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee" --Helen Keller, 1911

"It is naive to expect the initiative for reform of the state to issue from the political process that serves theinterests of political capitalism. This structure can only be reduced if citizens withdraw and direct their energies and civic commitment to finding new life forms...The old citizenship must be replaced by a fuller and wider notion of being whose politicalness will be expressed not in one or two modes of actibity--voting or protesting--but in many." --Sheldon Wolin
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/lifting-the-veil/

This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the graveyard of social movements, the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself.

Lifting the Veil is the long overdue film that powerfully, definitively, and finally exposes the deadly 21st century hypocrisy of U.S. internal and external policies, even as it imbues the viewer with a sense of urgency and an actualized hope to bring about real systemic change while there is yet time for humanity and this planet.

Noble is brilliantly pioneering the new film-making - incisive analysis, compelling sound and footage, fearless and independent reporting, and the aggregation of the best information out there into powerful, educational and free online feature films - all on a shoestring budget.

Viewer discretion advised - Video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war.

Lifting the Veil from S DN on Vimeo.



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Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera y Trotsky Video Original
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Z0keLaGhQ



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UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 November 11
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/8485-uc-davis-police-violence-adds-fuel-to-fire

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdDLhPwpp4&feature=player_embedded


Police PEPPER SPRAY UC Davis STUDENT PROTESTERS!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuWEx6Cfn-I&feature=player_embedded


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&feature=player_embedded


*---------*

UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CZ0t9ez_EGI#!



Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTIyE_JlJzw&feature=related



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THE BEST VIDEO ON "OCCUPY THE WORLD"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S880UldxB1o



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Rafeef Ziadah - 'Shades of anger', London, 12.11.11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2vFJE93LTI



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News: Massive anti-nuclear demonstration in Fukuoka Nov. 12, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq_xKEWuj1I&feature=player_embedded



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Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0pX9LeE-g8&feature=player_embedded



*---------*

Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrvMzqopHH0



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Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tu_D8SFYck&feature=player_embedded



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Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoiisMMCFT0&feature=player_embedded



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Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAfzUOx53Rg&feature=player_embedded



G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrJ7aU-n1L8&feature=player_embedded



*----*

WHAT HAPPENED IN OAKLAND TUESDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 25:

Occupy Oakland Protest
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPs-REyl-0&feature=player_embedded


Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R27kD2_7PwU&feature=player_embedded


Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpO-lJr2BQY&feature=player_embedded


Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqNOPZLw03Q&feature=player_embedded


KTVU TV Video of Police violence
http://www.ktvu.com/video/29587714/index.html


Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMUgPTCgwcQ&feature=player_embedded


Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU4Y0pwJtWE&feature=player_embedded


Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YStWz6jbeZA&feature=player_embedded


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Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY8isD33f-I



*---------*

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA48gmfGB6U&feature=youtu.be



Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjKZpOk7TyM&feature=related



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#Occupy Wall Street In Washington Square: Mohammed Ezzeldin, former occupier of Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziodsFWEb5Y&feature=player_embedded



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#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street
By adele pham
http://vimeo.com/30146870

@OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street from adele pham on Vimeo.



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Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yULSI-31Pto&feature=player_embedded



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FREE THE CUBAN FIVE!
http://www.thecuban5.org/wordpress/index.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmS4kHC_OlY&feature=player_embedded



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The Preacher and the Slave - Joe Hill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca_MEJmuzMM



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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
http://www.labnol.org/internet/visualize-numbers-how-big-is-trillion-dollars/7814/

How Much Is $1 Trillion?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPfY0q-rEdY&feature=player_embedded



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:
http://www.labnol.org/internet/visualize-numbers-how-big-is-trillion-dollars/7814/

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One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and beautiful...bw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE3R1BQrYCw&feature=player_embedded

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



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Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)
Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVuGwc9dlhQ&feature=player_embedded



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FREE BRADLEY MANNING
http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/national-call-in-for-bradley

I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov.

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the specific case raised in this petition...

"This email was sent to giobon@comcast.net
Manage Subscriptions for giobon@comcast.net
Sign Up for Updates from the White House
Unsubscribe giobon@comcast.net | Privacy Policy
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House

"The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111"

That's funny! I guess Obama didn't get this memo. Here's what Obama said about Bradley:

BRADLEY MANNING "BROKE THE LAW" SAYS OBAMA!

"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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfmtUpd4id0&feature=youtu.be



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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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSNUSIGZCMQ



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Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVGqE726OAo&feature=player_embedded

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Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E7h-DNvwx4&feature=player_embedded

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS

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LATEST ON LYNNE STEWART:

Free-Speech Argument in Appeal of Disbarred Lawyer's Sentence
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
February 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/nyregion/free-speech-is-cited-in-appeal-of-lynne-stewarts-10-year-sentence.html?ref=nyregion

Throughout her long career, the disbarred lawyer Lynne F. Stewart has rarely minced words or stood mute. But her propensity for speaking her mind is now at the crux of an appeal of her 10-year sentence in federal prison.

Ms. Stewart, known for defending unpopular clients and causes, was convicted in 2005 on five counts of providing material aid to terrorism and of lying to the government. A jury found that she had broken the rules to help her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, communicate with his followers in the Islamic Group, an Egyptian organization with a history of terrorist violence.

Judge John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court in Manhattan originally sentenced Ms. Stewart to 28 months in prison. But federal prosecutors appealed and pushed for a new sentence, claiming that Ms. Stewart had made public statements indicating a lack of remorse; she was then resentenced to 10 years in prison.

"One of the most cherished policies of this nation is that everybody should be allowed to speak freely," a lawyer for Ms. Stewart, Herald Price Fahringer, told a three-judge panel in United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Wednesday morning. "This case puts that principle to a very great test."

Mr. Fahringer said it had been "highly hazardous" for Judge Koeltl to consider Ms. Stewart's statements outside of court in his sentencing decision.

But he was interrupted by Judge Robert D. Sack, who said, "I'm not sure that freedom of speech means absolute immunity from the consequences of what you say."

A few minutes later, another judge, John M. Walker Jr., asked, "How else do you get a window into the character of the defendant?"

The first of Ms. Stewart's comments that are at issue came shortly after she received the 28-month sentence in 2006. Appearing before a throng of supporters in front of a courthouse in Lower Manhattan, she called the sentence "fair and right," but then declared, "I can do that standing on my head."

A few days later, while appearing on the radio show "Democracy Now," Ms. Stewart was asked by a reporter, Amy Goodman, if she regretted her conduct, and she replied, "I might handle it a little differently, but I would do it again."

The appeals panel sent the case back to Judge Koeltl for resentencing, citing the comments as well as assertions by federal prosecutors that Ms. Stewart had committed perjury and abused her position as a lawyer.

In 2010, Judge Koeltl sentenced Ms. Stewart to 10 years in prison, ruling that she had lied and abused her position and writing that her statements indicated she viewed her 28-month sentence as trivial and that the sentence, therefore, did not "provide adequate deterrence."

Ms. Stewart's lawyers argued that her reference to standing on her head was simply an expression of relief. And, they added, when she used the phrase "I would do it again," she meant only that she would again represent Mr. Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 of plotting to blow up buildings and tunnels in New York City.

But prosecutors wrote in a brief that Judge Koeltl had interpreted Ms. Stewart's comments accurately, adding that he had "observed a defiant and energized Stewart lecturing the government about its purported overreaching and mocking the sentence imposed."

WBAI newscast (quotes Cliff Connor, Barbara Mutnick and Carole Seligman) it's the first item on the newscast:
http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/wbai_120229_180043wbainews.mp3

Lynne Stewart Speaks from Carswell Medical Prison
February 29, 2012

Prevented from attending her own court appeal Lynne Stewart prepared this message for her friends, supporters and comrades in attendance:

My dear friends, supporters, comrades!

My purpose here is to rally all of us to the continuation of struggle, of resistance. I am committed to all the unfinished freedom business that still confronts us-much more difficult and contentious than supporting me. I'm easy-the righteousness of my situation, the extreme overreaching of the government and the obvious effects on the way in which lawyers and particularly movement lawyers carry out their obligations to their clients. Our issues-free speech from the courthouse steps, which, we assumed, was and is, included in the First Amendment. Our repugnancy at the changing of the ground rules after the game is afoot when the higher court directs the lower court Judge to increase the sentence and he complies five-times over.

We are demanding that the Court acknowledge the wrongfulness of my ten-year sentence as it is based on a foundation of sand. Of course, we also know that Courts are capable of creating rock out of sand just as they can create "persons" out of corporations! With that understanding, while hoping for the best, we need to commit ourselves to all the ongoing issues-Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks; the obscene vaudevillian charade of democracy that is the current presidential election; the cause of our political prisoners, Leonard. Mumia, Sundiata, Jaan, Brianna, Dr. Dhafir and all the prisoners on death row and those being tortured and killed worldwide and in solitary confinement; The right to choose for women steadily being eroded by elderly men interested in controlling younger women. You know the causes, we fight every day in every way and we are committed. We are not sunshine soldiers or summer patriots. The misery we fight against is caused by a super-terror, the USA one percent, intent on keeping people mentally subjugated by convincing them that they need to surrender in fear to the government.

I believe in fighting back-it's liberating, and you meet the finest people, who have also enlisted. A movement has to be a living, growing organism dedicated to change that "moves!" We will move and we will reclaim our beloved country from those who would blind and subjugate our people. Onward ever-Backward Never!

Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Unit 2N, Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Write to Lynne Stewart Defense Committee at:
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information: 718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

DEFEND LYNNE STEWART!
http://lynnestewart.org/

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.

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Mumia Abu-Jamal Transferred Out of Solitary Confinement, Into General Population
Posted on January 27, 2012
prisonradio
http://prisonradio.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/mumia-abu-jamal-transferred-out-of-solitary-confinement-into-general-population/

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections tells Democracy Now! it has transferred Mumia Abu-Jamal out of solitary confinement and into general population. The move comes seven weeks after Philadelphia prosecutor Seth Williams announced he would not pursue the death penalty against the imprisoned journalist. Abu-Jamal's legal team confirmed the move in an email from attorney, Judy Ritter. "This is a very important moment for him, his family and all of his supporters," Ritter wrote.

Supporters of Abu-Jamal note prison officials just received more than 5,000 petitions calling for his transfer and release. Superintendent John Kerestes has previously said Abu-Jamal would have to cut short his dreadlocks, and meet several other conditions, before a transfer would be allowed.

While on death row at SCI Green, Abu-Jamal made regular phone calls to Prison Radio in order to record his columns and essays, but prison officials revoked his phone privileges after he was moved to SCI Mahanoy, the Frackville, PA prison in which he's currently being held. Prison Radio has since announced it will continue to record and distribute Abu-Jamal's essays as read by his well-known supporters.

Write to Mumia

Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932



From: "Litestar01@aol.com"
To: Litestar01@aol.com; nattyreb@gmail.com; pamafrica@gmail.com
Sent: Fri, February 3, 2012 6:39:49 PM
Subject: !*Mumia Photo off Death Row/Mega Bus Update from Sis. Ramona Africa

from sis Marpessa

Thank you all, FREE MUMIA!!!!

From Sis. Ramona at ONAMOVELLJA@aol.com - 2/3/2012 5:27:24 P.M. - Subj: Mega Bus

ONA MOVE! This is to inform folks that if there is not a chartered bus leaving from your area going to the "occupy for Mumia" action in DC. on April 24th, you should check out Mega Bus at www.megabus.com .
They have very reasonable fares and the sooner you reserve a seat, the cheaper it is, so don't delay. The fares have gone up a bit just today. Hope to see you in DC on the 24th---Ramona (more info at www.freemumia.com)

From: National Lawyers Guild

SCI Mahanoy, February 2, 2012. Mumia Abu-Jamal celebrates his move off of death row with Heidi Boghosian and Professor Johanna Fernandez. This was Mumia's second contact visit in 30 years. His transfer to general population comes after a federal court ruled that instructions to jurors during his trial influenced them to choose death. A broad people's movement secured this victory, and it can now refocus on the goal of freedom. Join us on April 24, Mumia's birthday, as we Occupy the Justice Department in Washington, DC!

DREAD TIMES - Dedicated to the free flow of information - http://www.dreadtimes.com/

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "Litestar01@aol.com"
To: Litestar01@aol.com; nattyreb@gmail.com; pamafrica@gmail.com
Sent: Fri, February 3, 2012 6:54:13 PM
Subject: Our Contact Visit w Mumia

from sis Johanna Fernandez

Comrades, Brothers and Sisters:

Heidi Boghosian and I just returned from a very moving visit with Mumia. We visited yesterday, Thursday, February 2. This was Mumia's second contact visit in over 30 years, since his transfer to General Population last Friday, Jan 27. His first contact visit was with his wife, Wadiya, on Monday, January 30.

Unlike our previous visits to Death Row at SCI Greene and to solitary confinement at SCI Mahanoy, our visit yesterday took place in a large visitor's area, amidst numerous circles of families and spouses who were visiting other inmates. Compared to the intense and focused conversations we had had with Mumia in a small, isolated visiting cell on Death Row, behind sterile plexiglass, this exchange was more relaxed and informal and more unpredictably interactive with the people around us...it was more human. There were so many scenes of affection around us, of children jumping on top of and pulling at their fathers, of entire families talking intimately around small tables, of couples sitting and quietly holding each other, and of girlfriends and wives stealing a forbidden kiss from the men they were there to visit (kisses are only allowed at the start and at the end of visits). These scenes were touching and beautiful, and markedly different from the images of prisoners presented to us by those in power. Our collective work could benefit greatly from these humane, intimate images.

When we entered, we immediately saw Mumia standing across the room. We walked toward each other and he hugged both of us simultaneously. We were both stunned that he would embrace us so warmly and share his personal space so generously after so many years in isolation.

He looked young, and we told him as much. He responded, "Black don't crack!" We laughed.

He talked to us about the newness of every step he has taken since his release to general population a week ago. So much of what we take for granted daily is new to him, from the microwave in the visiting room to the tremor he felt when, for the first time in 30 years, he kissed his wife. As he said in his own words, "the only thing more drastically different than what I'm experiencing now would be freedom." He also noted that everyone in the room was watching him.

The experience of breaking bread with our friend and comrade was emotional. It was wonderful to be able to talk and share grilled cheese sandwiches, apple danishes, cookies and hot chocolate from the visiting room vending machines.

One of the highlights of the visit came with the opportunity to take a photo. This was one of the first such opportunities for Mumia in decades, and we had a ball! Primping the hair, making sure that we didn't have food in our teeth, and nervously getting ready for the big photo moment was such a laugh! And Mumia was openly tickled by every second of it.

When the time came to leave, we all hugged and were promptly instructed to line up against the wall and walk out with the other visitors. As we were exiting the prison, one sister pulled us aside and told us that she couldn't stop singing Kelly Clarkson's line "some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this." She shared that she and her parents had followed Mumia's case since 1981 and that she was overjoyed that Mumia was alive and in general population despite Pennsylvania's bloodthirsty pursuit of his execution. We told her that on April 24 we were going to launch the fight that would win Mumia's release: that on that day we were going to Occupy the Justice Department in Washington DC. She told us that because she recently survived cancer she now believed in possibility, and that since Mumia was now in general population she could see how we could win. She sent us off with the line from Laverne and Shirley's theme song - "never heard the word impossible!"- gave us her number, and asked us to sign her up for the fight.

We're still taking it all in. The journey has been humbling and humanizing, and we are re-energized and re-inspired!!

In the words of City Lights editor, Greg Ruggiero:"

"Long Term Goal: End Mass Incarceration.

Short Term Goal: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!"

--Johanna Fernandez

Facebook Link to Photo

http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Lawyers-Guild/338038119888

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ACLU: SAY NO TO INDEFINITE DETENTION!

He signed it. We'll fight it.

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. It contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision.

The dangerous new law can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. He signed it. Now, we have to fight it wherever we can and for as long as it takes.

Sign the ACLU's pledge to fight worldwide indefinite detention for as long as it takes.

The Petition:

I'm outraged that the statute President Obama signed into law authorizes worldwide military detention without charge or trial. I pledge to stand with the ACLU in seeking the reversal of indefinite military detention authority for as long as it takes.

And I will support the ACLU as it actively opposes this new law in court, in Congress, and internationally.

Signed,
[your name]

https://secure.aclu.org/site/SPageServer?emsrc=Nat_Appeal_AutologinEnabled&s_subsrc=120103_NDAA_GOL&pagename=120103_NDAAGOLAsk&emissue=indefinite_detention&emtype=pledge&JServSessionIdr004=d90jai6lu1.app224a

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Urgent Appeal to Occupy and All Social Justice Movements: Mobilize to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Endorse the statement here:
http://www.defendegyptianrevolution.org/2011/12/19/defend-the-egyptian-revolution/

In recent days, protesters demanding civilian rule in Egypt have again been murdered, maimed and tortured by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Interior Security Forces (ISF).

The conspiracy, being brutally implemented in Egypt, is part of a global conspiracy to suffocate mass movements for socio-economic justice and is being done with direct assistance of the American government and the private interests which direct that government. We have word from friends in Egypt that SCAF, ISF and their hired thugs - armed by ongoing shipments of $1.3 billion in weapons from the U.S. government - plan to execute one by one all the leaders of the revolution, and as many activists as they can.

Accordingly, we need to ensure that people and organizers in the US and internationally are involved in closely monitoring the events unraveling in Egypt. By keeping track of the atrocities committed by SCAF and ISF, keeping track of those detained, tortured or targeted, and continuously contacting officials in Egypt and the US to demand accountability, cessation of the atrocities and justice, we can add pressure on SCAF, ISF and the forces they represent. In this way we may be able to play a role in helping save the lives of our Egyptian brothers and sisters.

Evidence of the conspiracy to execute the leaders and participants of Egyptian freedom movement, includes in very small part the following:

* Sheikh Emad of Al Azhar was killed by a bullet entering his right side from short range. This was seen at first hand by witnesses known to members of our coalition. Sheikh Emad was one of a small number of Azhar Imams issuing decrees in support of the revolution. His murder was no accident.
* Sally Tooma, Mona Seif, Ahdaf Soueif, and Sanaa Seif, all female friends and relatives of imprisoned blogger and activist Alaa abd El Fattah, and all known internationally for their political and/or literary work, were detained, and beaten in the Cabinet building.
* A woman protesting against General Tantawi, head of SCAF, was detained and then tortured by having the letter "T" in English carved into her scalp with knives.
* Detainees are being tortured while in courtroom holding pens. Two men (Mohammad Muhiy Hussein is one of them) were killed in those pens.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.

In every way, Egypt's fight is our fight. Just like us, Egyptians are the 99%, fighting for social, political and economic justice.

The same 1% that arms the Egyptian dictatorship commits systematic violence in this country against the Occupy movement; antiwar and solidarity activists; and Arabs, Muslims, and other communities of color.

As the US Palestinian Community Network recently observed, "the same US-made tear gas rains down on us in the streets of Oakland, Cairo and Bil`in."

Because of Egypt's key strategic location, the fate of its revolution echoes across the world. Its success will bring us all closer to achieving economic and social justice. But its defeat would be a major blow to social justice movements everywhere, including Occupy.

In short, Egypt is key to the continued success of the Arab Revolution, and movements she has inspired.

For all these reasons, we ask Occupy and all U.S. social justice activists to join us in mobilizing to defend our Egyptian brothers and sisters by immediately organizing mass convergences on Egyptian embassies, missions, consulates, and at U.S. government offices, to demand:

* Cancel all US aid and shipment of military and police materiel to Egypt!
* Stop the murders, tortures and detentions!
* Release all detainees and political prisoners!
* Immediate end to military rule in Egypt!

Please endorse and circulate this appeal widely. Please send statements with these demands to the bodies listed below. By endorsing, your organization commits to making these phone calls and following up continuously for the next week.

www.defendegyptianrevolution.org and defendegyptianrevolution@gmail.com

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Tarek Mehanna - another victim of the U.S. War to Terrorize Everyone. He was targeted because he would not spy on his Muslim community for the FBI. Under the new NDAA indefinite military detention provision, Tarek is someone who likely would never come to a trial, although an American citizen. His sentencing is on April 12. There will be an appeal. Another right we may kiss goodbye. We should not accept the verdict and continue to fight for his release, just as we do for hero Bradley Manning, and all the many others unjustly persecuted by our government until it is the war criminals on trial, prosecuted by the people, and not the other way around.

Marilyn Levin

Official defense website: http://freetarek.com/

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Free Tarek
Date: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 3:41 PM
Subject: [Tarek Mehanna Support] Today's verdict

All who have followed Tarek's trial with a belief in the possibility of justice through the court system will be shocked to learn that today the jury found him guilty on all seven counts of the indictment. In the six weeks that the prosecution used to present its case, it presented no evidence linking Tarek to an illegal action. Instead, it amassed a large and repetitive collection of videos, e-mails, translated documents, recorded telephone conversations and informant testimony aimed at demonstrating Tarek's political beliefs. The core belief under scrutiny was one that neither Tarek nor his defense team ever denied: Muslims have a right to defend their countries when invaded.

The prosecution relied upon coercion, prejudice, and ignorance to present their case; the defense relied upon truth, reason and responsibility. The government relied upon mounds of "evidence" showing that Tarek held political beliefs supporting the right to armed resistance against invading force; they mentioned Al-Qaeda and its leadership as often as possible while pointing at Tarek. It is clear they coerced Tarek's former friends and pressured them to lie, and many of them admitted to such. There is a long list of ways this trial proceeded unjustly, to which we will devote an entire post. The government's cynical calculation is that American juries, psychologically conditioned by a constant stream of propaganda in the "war on terrorism," will convict on the mere suggestion of terrorism, without regard for the law. Unfortunately, this strategy has proved successful in case after case.

Tarek's case will continue under appeal. We urge supporters to write to Tarek, stay informed, and continue supporting Tarek in his fight for justice. Sentencing will be April 12th, 2012. We will be sending out more information soon.

A beacon of hope and strength throughout this ordeal has been Tarek's strength and the amount of support he has received. Tarek has remained strong from day one, and even today he walked in with his head held high, stood unwavering as the verdict was read to him, and left the courtroom just as unbowed as ever. His body may be in prison now, but certainly this is a man whose spirit can never be caged. His strength must be an inspiration to us all, even in the face of grave circumstances. Before he left the courtroom, he turned to the crowd of supporters that was there for him, paused, and said, "Thank you, so much." We thank you too. Your support means the world to him.

You are here: Home » ACLU | "Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security" by Christopher Ott

ACLU | "Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security" by Christopher Ott

Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security

Submitted by Online Coordinator on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 14:31 First Amendment National Security

Decision today threatens writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CONTACT:

Christopher Ott, Communications Director, 617-482-3170 x322, cott@aclum.org

BOSTON - The following statement on the conviction today of Tarek Mehanna may be attributed to American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose:

"The ACLU of Massachusetts is gravely concerned that today's verdict against Tarek Mehanna undermines the First Amendment and threatens national security.

"Under the government's theory of the case, ordinary people-including writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers-could be prosecuted for researching or translating controversial and unpopular ideas. If the verdict is not overturned on appeal, the First Amendment will be seriously compromised.

"The government's prosecution does not make us safer. Speech about even the most unpopular ideas serves as a safety valve for the expression of dissent while government suppression of speech only drives ideas underground, where they cannot be openly debated or refuted.

"The ACLU believes that we can remain both safe and free, and, indeed, that our safety and our freedom go hand in hand."

The ACLU of Massachusetts has condemned the use of conspiracy and material support charges where the charges are based largely on First Amendment-protected expression.

In Mr. Mehanna's case, the charges against him have been based on allegations of such activity, such as watching videos about "jihad", discussing views about suicide bombings, translating texts available on the Internet, and looking for information about the 9/11 attackers. Historically, government prosecutors have used conspiracy charges as a vehicle for the suppression of unpopular ideas, contrary to the dictates of the First Amendment and fundamental American values.

After the ACLU of Massachusetts submitted a memorandum of law in support of Mehanna's motion to dismiss the parts of the indictment against him that were based on protected expression, U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole denied permission for the memorandum to be filed with the court. A copy of the memorandum is available here.

For more information, go to: http://aclum.org/usa_v_mehanna

via Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security | ACLU of Massachusetts.

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HANDS OFF IRAN PETITION
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/hands-off-iran/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=system&utm_campaign=Send%2Bto%2BFriend

The Petition

To President Obama and Secretary Clinton:

At no time since the Iranian people rose up against the hated U.S-installed Shah has a U.S./Israeli military attack against Iran seemed more possible. Following three decades of unrelenting hostility, the last few months have seen a steady escalation of charges, threats, sanctions and actual preparations for an attack.

We, the undersigned demand No War, No Sanctions, no Internal Interference in Iran.

(For a complete analysis of the prospects of war, click here)
http://nepajac.org/unaciran.htm

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"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" book
https://www.mecaforpeace.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=25

A Child's View from GazaA collection of drawings by children in the Gaza Strip, art that was censored by a museum in Oakland, California.

With a special forward by Alice Walker, this beautiful, full-color 80-page book from Pacific View Press features drawings by children like Asil, a ten-year-old girl from Rafah refugee camp, who drew a picture of herself in jail, with Arabic phrases in the spaces between the bars: "I have a right to live in peace," "I have a right to live this life," and "I have a right to play."

For international or bulk orders, please email: meca@mecaforpeace.org, or call: 510-548-0542

A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship [ISBN: 978-1-881896-35-7]

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It's time to tell the White House that "We the People" support PFC Bradley Manning's freedom and the UN's investigation into alleged torture in Quantico, VA

We petition the obama administration to:
Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower.
https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/free-pfc-bradley-manning-accused-wikileaks-whistleblower/kX1GJKsD?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

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Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests
http://www.stopfbi.net/get-involved/nato-g8-police-repression

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: http://www.stopfbi.net/get-involved/nato-g8-police-repression/full-text]

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.

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Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana state prisons must end
Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/justice-for-albert-woodfox-and-herman-wallace

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WITNESS GAZA
http://www.witnessgaza.com/

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Hundreds march, rally at Fort Meade for Bradley

Courage to Resist, January 5, 2012

December 16-22, the world turned its eyes to a small courtroom on Fort Meade, MD, where accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army PFC Bradley Manning made his first public appearance after 18 months in pre-trial confinement. The "Article 32" pre-trial hearing is normally a quick process shortly after one is arrested to determine whether and what kind of court martial is appropriate. Bradley's hearing was unusual, happening 18 months after his arrest and lasting seven days.

Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network organized two public rallies at Fort Meade to coincide with the beginning of the hearing, and there were about 50 solidarity rallies across the globe. We also sent representatives into the courtroom during all seven days of the hearing to provide minute-by-minute coverage via bradleymanning.org, Facebook, and Twitter.

"No harm in transparency: Wrap-up from the Bradley Manning pretrial hearing" includes our collection of courtroom notes
"Statement on closed hearing decisions" covers how even this hearing was far from "open"

Article and photos by John Grant
A message from Bradley and his family

"I want you to know how much Bradley and his family appreciate the continuing support of so many, especially during the recent Article 32 hearing. I visited Bradley the day after Christmas-he is doing well and his spirits are high."
-Bradley's Aunt Debra

Write to Bradley
http://bradleymanning.org/donate

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:
I am Bradley Manning
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-P3OXML00s

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610
510-488-3559
couragetoresist.org

"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."

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/update-42811

This is also a Facebook event

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=207100509321891#!/event.php?eid=207100509321891

Courage to Resist needs your support
Please donate today:
https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

"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.

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

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.
http://ymlp.com/forward.php?id=lS3tR&e=bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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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!

STOP THE FBI CAMPAIGN OF REPRESSION AGAINST CHICANO, IMMIGRANT RIGHTS, ANTI-WAR AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS NOW!
Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression stopfbi.net stopfbi@gmail.com

http://iacenter.org/stopfbi/

Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression
at stopfbi.net
stopfbi@gmail.com

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY -- ANY DAY
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 www.StopFBI.net or email info@StopFBI.net or call
612-379-3585 .
Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights
reserved.

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

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke

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The Battle Is Still On To
FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610
www.laboractionmumia.org

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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....

ANY DAY NOW . . . IN THE EVENT THAT THE U.S. INDICTS JULIAN ASSANGE

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:

HANDS OFF WIKILEAKS! FREE JULIAN ASSANGE! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

Join the HUMAN CHAIN AROUND THE FEDERAL BUILDING!
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:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/mannings-message-christmas-eve-i-gr/

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
415-864-5153
sf@worldcantwait.org

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT! FREE KEVIN COOPER!

Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper
Chronicle Editorial
Monday, December 13, 2010
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/13/EDG81GP0I7.DTL

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

http://www.savekevincooper.org/
http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/essays_content.html?ID=255

URGENT ACTION APPEAL
- From Amnesty International USA
17 December 2010
Click here to take action online:
http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=15084

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to
http://www.amnestyusa.org/iar/success

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):
http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa25910.pdf

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Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

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

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)

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1) Obama's 2013 Budget Slashes Aid for Working Families
"'The federal government is reduced to picking the pockets of the poorest of the poor. It is Scrooge-like,' Crowley said."
By Matthew Cardinale
February 29, 2012
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=106894

2) Spain: Protesting Classes Without Heat
By REUTERS
February 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/world/europe/spain-protesting-classes-without-heat.html?ref=world

3) Unemployment and Inflation Rise in Euro Zone
By DAVID JOLLY
March 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/business/global/unemployment-and-inflation-rise-in-euro-zone.html?ref=business

4) U.S. Judge Strikes Down F.D.A. Cigarette Labels
By STEPHANIE STROM
February 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/business/us-judge-rejects-gruesome-cigarette-labels.html?ref=business

5) U.S. Court Approves Warrantless Searches of Cell Phones
By REUTERS
March 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/03/01/technology/01reuters-cellphone-searches.html?src=busln

6) Poll Finds Wide Support for Birth Control Coverage
By ERIK ECKHOLM
March 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/us/politics/americans-divided-on-birth-control-coverage-poll-finds.html?hp

7) Channel 2 investigation highlights racial discrepancies in marijuana arrests
Posted: 3:03 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/channel-2-investigation-highlights-racial-discrepa/nK8Gd/

8) U.N. Faults NATO and Libyan Authorities in Report
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
March 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/world/africa/united-nations-report-faults-nato-over-civilian-deaths-in-libya.html?ref=world

9) Judge Clears Rule on Union Posters at Work
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/business/judge-clears-rule-on-union-posters-at-work.html?src=busln

10) Confessions of a 'Bad' Teacher
By WILLIAM JOHNSON
March 3, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/opinion/sunday/confessions-of-a-bad-teacher.html?pagewanted=2&hp

11) US Congress passes authoritarian anti-protest law
By Tom Carter
3 March 2012
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/mar2012/prot-m03.shtml

12) Deepwater Oil Drilling Picks Up Again as BP Disaster Fades
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and JOHN M. BRODER
March 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/business/deepwater-oil-drilling-accelerates-as-bp-disaster-fades.html?hp

13) Slum Dwellers Are Defying Brazil's Grand Design for Olympics
By SIMON ROMERO
March 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/world/americas/brazil-faces-obstacles-in-preparations-for-rio-olympics.html?ref=world

14) Hard-Working Teachers, Sabotaged When Student Test Scores Slip
By MICHAEL WINERIP
March 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/nyregion/in-brooklyn-hard-working-teachers-sabotaged-when-student-test-scores-slip.html?ref=nyregion

15) U.S. Law May Allow Killings, Holder Says
"He also said that some threats come from 'a small number of United States citizens' who are plotting attacks from abroad, and that 'United States citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted.' He focused on one situation in which someone could be killed without a trial: when a citizen who is believed to be an operational leader of Al Qaeda or its allies and who is plotting attacks; who is located in a country that either granted the United States permission to strike or that is unable or unwilling to suppress the threat on its own; and whose capture is not feasible. Significantly, Mr. Holder did not say that such a situation is the only kind in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen. Rather, he said it would be lawful 'at least' under those conditions. Later, he offered an example of another situation in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen even if all those requirements were not met: 'operations that take place on traditional battlefields.'”
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
March 5, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/us/politics/holder-explains-threat-that-would-call-for-killing-without-trial.html?ref=world

16) Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests
“Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school. One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.”
By TAMAR LEWIN
March 6, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/education/black-students-face-more-harsh-discipline-data-shows.html?ref=us

17) Wide Sentencing Disparity Found Among U.S. Judges
"The report said that in the Northern District of Texas, the median prison sentence for convicted drug defendants from some judges was as low as 60 months. A typical sentence for another judge was nearly three times as long, at 160 months."
By MOSI SECRET
March 5, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/nyregion/wide-sentencing-disparity-found-among-us-judges.html?ref=nyregion

18) Fed Study of Student Debt Outlines a Growing Burden
By ANDREW MARTIN and RON LIEBER
March 5, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/business/study-finds-a-growing-student-debt-load.html?ref=business

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1) Obama's 2013 Budget Slashes Aid for Working Families
"'The federal government is reduced to picking the pockets of the poorest of the poor. It is Scrooge-like,' Crowley said."
By Matthew Cardinale
February 29, 2012
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=106894

ATLANTA, Georgia, Feb 29, 2012 (IPS) - The federal budget for fiscal year 2013 proposed by President Barack Obama severely cuts aid for working families by targeting at least two programmes, the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), that aid the nation's most vulnerable working families.

First, Obama has proposed a 50-percent cut to the CSBG programme that funds an array of services - which differ in each county - including emergency rental and utliity assistance, dental clinics, Head Start (pre-kindergarden education), home weatherisation, job training, GED (high school diploma equivalency) classes, and entrepreneurship training.

In 2012, Congress funded CSBG at 677 million dollars. For 2013, President Obama has proposed funding the programme at only 350 million dollars, a cut of nearly one half.

Obama has also proposed additional cuts to the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

"This is the second year that the administration has made these recommendations," David Bradley, executive director of the National Community Action Foundation, told IPS regarding CSBG.

"Congress in 2012 rejected them for a number of reasons. Number one, economic recovery, particularly in low-income communities, has not happened yet. Eleven hundred community action authorities in 98 percent of U.S. counties are still at record levels of people coming for services, and record levels for new individuals and families. People who have fallen into economic hardship, who previously may have been middle class, the demand is still there," Bradley said.

"Particularly in rural areas, there's no one else who can pick this up," Bradley said.

Bradley said the cuts would be devastating to millions of U.S. families.

If Congress enacts the cuts to CSBG as proposed by Obama, "Over five million individuals and families would not have access to these services. In a 3.7-trillion-dollar budget, this is an example of penny-wise and pound-foolish," Bradley said.

These cuts are tiny in proportion to the federal budget, and yet right-wing organisations and the Tea Party still blast Obama for failing to cut the federal budget to their satisfaction, meaning that there is little political benefit to the president - only harm to the people who have largely supported him electorally.

"Obama has some good words about restraining the budget and reducing the rate of deficit, but little of long-term substance in his 2013 budget proposal," Joe Cobb, policy advisor in economics at the right- wing Heartland Institute, said in a press release. Cobb said Obama's budget proposed is "dead on arrival".

"The vision of an America that enjoys economic growth is not going to come from the European welfare-state ideals of President Obama and his social Democrats in the Congress, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). They believe in that great fiction that everyone might live at the expense of everyone else, if we only transfer wealth from successful to unsuccessful people," Cobb said.

So what does Obama have to gain from these cuts if the right-wing Republicans are still unhappy?

"It's symbolically, (Obama is saying) we're not going to defend all poverty programmes, here's a programme we like, but were going to cut it, as he said in the (2011) State of the Union. If he's calling on Republicans in Congress to make sacrifices on tax extenders or tax breaks he's showing he's willing to make tough choices too, this is a choice he's willing to make. Find another one, Mr. President," Bradley said.

Meanwhile, Obama has also proposed a complete elimination of the PBRA programme in its current form, which means that hundreds of thousands of low-income renters in the U.S. - many of whom were displaced from demolished public housing projects with the promise of affordable housing opportunities elsewhere - will now lose their rental subsidies.

Currently, nearly 1.2 million households benefit from PBRA, where the amount of rent they pay is based on a portion of their income, while the rest is paid by the federal government, through local housing authorities, to property owners.

Unlike the voucher programme, where the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides monthly checks to property owners on behalf of tenants who select where they want to live, under PBRA, the low-income apartment building or complex itself is subsidised.

"HUD proposes renewing just a third of project-based Section 8 contracts for a full year, and turning the rest into short-term contracts," Amy Clark, spokesperson for the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), told IPS.

"We are very concerned that this would cause investors to question the stability of the programme, putting tenants' housing at risk," Clark said.

"HUD has tried this budget gimmick before," Sheila Crowley, president of the NLIHC, said in a press release. "And it wrecked havoc in the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people."

Obama also wants to raise the minimum rents paid by the very poorest HUD-assisted households. Raising the minimum rents from 25 or 50 dollars per month to at least 75 dollars per month would create a savings of 150 million dollars, or only .003 percent of the total HUD budget.

"The federal government is reduced to picking the pockets of the poorest of the poor. It is Scrooge-like," Crowley said.

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2) Spain: Protesting Classes Without Heat
By REUTERS
February 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/world/europe/spain-protesting-classes-without-heat.html?ref=world

Tens of thousands of students demonstrated on the streets of Spanish cities on Wednesday in protest over government spending cuts, including some that have left many classrooms without heat. The protests were largely peaceful in Madrid and Valencia, but in Barcelona demonstrators set fire to garbage cans and broke windows outside the stock exchange. Deep austerity in Spain has the regional and national governments struggling to meet tough deficit-reduction targets. An aggressive police response to student protests in Valencia last week drew widespread anger in a country that has so far not had violent Greek-style demonstrations.

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3) Unemployment and Inflation Rise in Euro Zone
By DAVID JOLLY
March 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/business/global/unemployment-and-inflation-rise-in-euro-zone.html?ref=business

PARIS - Unemployment in the euro zone has risen to its highest level since the introduction of the common currency even as inflation climbed, economic reports showed Thursday, underscoring the challenge facing European finance officials as they met in Brussels.

The jobless rate in the 17 euro nations rose in January to 10.7 percent from 10.6 percent in December reaching the highest level since the introduction of the euro in 1999, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, reported from Luxembourg. Flagging economies like Italy and Greece were responsible for much of the increase.

For all 27 European Union countries, the jobless rate ticked up to 10.1 percent in January from 10.0 percent in December, Eurostat said, with a total of 24.3 million men and women out of work.

Eurostat also reported that euro zone inflation edged up in February to 2.7 percent, from 2.6 percent in January. The European Central Bank tries to hold increases in the general level of prices to just under 2 percent; it has not met that target for 15 consecutive months.

The data were released as European finance officials were meeting in Brussels to discuss measures aimed at putting the region's economy back on firm footing.

Eurostat did not provide a breakdown of the inflation data in the preliminary report, but Ben May, an economist with Capital Economics, attributed the increase to rising energy prices. Mr. May noted in a report that euro zone inflation "has recently slowed less sharply than that in the U.K. and U.S., perhaps suggesting that the economic slowdown is not having quite the downward influence that we anticipated."

The E.C.B. has lent banks about €1 trillion , or $1.3 trillion in three-year loans at a 1 percent interest rate over the last few months. That, along with money-printing by other major central banks, has renewed fears in some quarters that the money supply may be growing too rapidly, with a potential for higher inflation.

But the global monetary authorities have been largely in agreement that deflationary pressure from declining real estate prices and deleveraging by households and financial institutions is the greater danger.

The unemployment rate in Europe remains higher than that in the United States, where the rate was at 8.3 percent in January, and in Japan, where it was 4.6 percent in December.

European countries nonetheless diverge widely: Spain again topped the list with a 23.3 percent jobless rate, followed by Greece, at 19.9 percent in November. That compares with just 4.0 percent unemployment in Austria and 5.0 percent in the Netherlands.

And in Germany, where the seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 6.8 percent in February, the job market is the strongest it has been in years.

"The labor market data is interesting mainly for the divergence across regions," Ken Wattret, chief euro zone economist at BNP Paribas, said bv telephone from London. "It looks like unemployment is improving in the United States while Europe is getting worse."

"It's unlikely to be temporary," Mr. Wattret said.

He said there were grounds for optimism in a report on European manufacturing released Thursday. An index of euro zone purchasing managers compiled by Markit Economics, a financial data firm, rose to 49.0, a six-month, from 48.8 in January.

Mr. Wattret said that while a number below 50 suggests the sector was continuing to contract in February, "if you look at the underlying momentum, I think it will rise further."

"I think we're in one of those phases where manufacturing is improving globally," Mr. Wattret said, noting some signs of improvement in the United States. "But Europe typically lags."

"Don't get carried away," he added, noting that for 2012 the euro zone would show, "at best, a negligible growth rate, but compared with where we were in October-November" - amid fears of a euro collapse - "that would be a pretty good outcome."

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4) U.S. Judge Strikes Down F.D.A. Cigarette Labels
By STEPHANIE STROM
February 29, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/business/us-judge-rejects-gruesome-cigarette-labels.html?ref=business

A federal judge on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a Food and Drug Administration requirement that tobacco companies prominently display graphic warning labels on cigarette packages.

Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court in Washington ruled that forcing the companies to use the labels, which show staged images like a man breathing smoke out of a tracheotomy hole in his neck and a mouth punctured with what appear to be cancerous lesions, violated their free speech rights under the First Amendment.

"The government's interest in advocating a message cannot and does not outweigh plaintiff's First Amendment right to not be the government's messenger," Judge Leon wrote.

His ruling largely echoed arguments he made in a preliminary injunction he issued in November. The significance of Wednesday's ruling is unclear, since the Obama administration has appealed the injunction.

"This decision adds nothing to the existing record," said Matthew L. Myers, a lawyer and president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group. "It represents an inaccurate statement of the facts, is wrong on the science of the health impact of tobacco and uses the wrong legal standards. Other than that, he got it perfect."

Five tobacco companies - R. J. Reynolds, Lorillard, Commonwealth Brands, the Liggett Group and Santa Fe Natural - challenged the labels, arguing that the government was trying to use their packaging not to inform and educate consumers but to advocate a change in behavior.

That, they argued, went beyond the "compelled commercial speech" courts have ruled is permissible under the First Amendment to protect consumers from confusion and deception.

"We believe governments, public health officials, tobacco manufacturers and others share a responsibility to provide tobacco consumers with accurate information about the various health risks associated with smoking," Martin L. Holton III, executive vice president and general counsel for R. J. Reynolds, said in a statement. "However, the goal of informing the public about the risks of tobacco use can and should be accomplished consistent with the U.S. Constitution."

The companies have not objected to new warning labels per se. Rather, they have objected to what they contend are the "grotesque" images the government wants in their packaging.

The Food and Drug Administration does not comment on possible, pending or active litigation.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 gave the F.D.A. authority for the first time to regulate tobacco products. A provision directed the agency to require larger, graphic warning labels covering the top half of the front and back of cigarette packs by Sept. 22, 2012, as well as 20 percent of print advertising for cigarettes. The photos the F.D.A. selected for the labels are similar to some on cigarette packaging in Canada.

"This public health initiative will be an effective tool in our efforts to stop teenagers from starting in the first place and taking up this deadly habit," said a representative for the Department of Health and Human Services, of which the F.D.A. is a part. "We are confident that efforts to stop these important warnings from going forward will ultimately fail."

Antismoking activists said they were not surprised by the ruling, though they wondered why Judge Leon went ahead with it since the Justice Department appealed the preliminary injunction he issued last fall and oral arguments are set for April in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

"It's hard for us to understand his logic," said Paul G. Billings, vice president for national policy and advocacy at the American Lung Association. "This industry has been marketing its products to children for years in ways that have enticed them to use them - the Marlboro cowboy and Joe Camel - and what Congress said was fight back with all the same tools."

Judge Leon offered alternative ways to convey the health risks of smoking without violating the First Amendment, such as reducing the amount of space taken up by its warning labels and changing the images to convey "only purely factual and uncontroversial information rather than gruesome images designed to disgust the consumer."

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5) U.S. Court Approves Warrantless Searches of Cell Phones
By REUTERS
March 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/03/01/technology/01reuters-cellphone-searches.html?src=busln

(Reuters) - U.S. police can search a cell phone for its number without having a warrant, according to a federal appeals court ruling.

Officers in Indiana found a number of cell phones at the scene of a drug bust, and searched each phone for its telephone number. Having the numbers allowed the government to subpoena the owners' call histories, linking them to the drug-selling scheme.

One of the suspects, Abel Flores-Lopez, who was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, argued on appeal that the police had no right to search the phone's contents without a warrant.

The U.S. Court of Appeal for the 7th Circuit rejected that argument on Wednesday, finding that the invasion of privacy was so slight that the police's actions did not violate the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches.

The case gave the court an occasion to examine just how far police can go when it comes to searching electronic gadgets.

"Lurking behind this issue is the question whether and when a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, or other type of computer (whether called a 'computer' or not) can be searched without a warrant," Judge Richard Posner wrote for the three-judge panel.

He raised the example of the iCam, which allows someone to use a phone to connect to a home-computer web camera, enabling someone to search a house interior remotely.

"At the touch of a button, a cell phone search becomes a house search," he wrote.

Posner compared the cell phone to a diary. Just as police are entitled to open a pocket diary to copy an owner's address, they should be able to turn on a cell phone to learn its number, he wrote. But just as they're forbidden from examining love letters tucked between the pages of an address book, so are they forbidden from exploring letters in the files of a phone.

Prosecutors argued that in an age when people can wipe their cell phones clean remotely, officers are under pressure to obtain data before it is destroyed.

The court acknowledged that the actual risk that one of the suspects would have been able to destroy the phone's contents was minimal in this case. But so was the invasion of privacy, limited to telephone numbers.

The court left the question of just how far police can go in searching a phone's contents for another day.

A lawyer for Flores-Lopez was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting By Terry Baynes)

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6) Poll Finds Wide Support for Birth Control Coverage
By ERIK ECKHOLM
March 1, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/us/politics/americans-divided-on-birth-control-coverage-poll-finds.html?hp

The close divide in a Senate vote Thursday over whether employers can refuse insurance coverage for contraception mirrors a sharp partisan divide among the public, according to a national poll and interviews with women around the country.

Over all, 63 percent of Americans said they supported the new federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, according to the survey of 1,519 Americans, conducted from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19 for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

While 8 in 10 Democrats said they supported requiring birth control coverage, only 4 in 10 Republicans did. Six in 10 people calling themselves independents voiced approval. Many Americans, in the survey and in independent interviews, expressed impatience with the focus on women's reproductive issues in an era of economic distress.

Jennifer Meyer, 27, of Sugar Creek, Mo., said in an interview that the current controversy over birth control coverage was "a way for employers to get out of footing the bill by saying they don't agree with it." She called herself an independent, but said she was leaning toward Democrats as the "lesser of two evils."

Mollyann Brodie, director of survey research at the Kaiser foundation, said that since the vast majority of Americans approved of birth control, the divisions over the mandate might be more related to views on federal regulation. "In the end, the answers say more about people's views on the role of government than on the issue of contraception," she said.

By a vote of 51 to 48, the Democratic-controlled Senate on Thursday voted down a proposal to overturn the contraception requirement brought by Republicans who call Mr. Obama's plan an assault on religious liberty.

In January, when the Obama administration announced that religiously affiliated institutions like colleges and hospitals would not be exempted from a requirement that all health plans cover birth control, Roman Catholic bishops said the policy would force them to violate their faith. Evangelical groups and Republican leaders took up the cause and have injected it into the presidential campaign.

Mr. Obama, Democratic leaders and many women's health advocates say the issue is a matter of basic health care and describe the opposition as part of a broader Republican war on women.

In the poll, the division was largely along partisan lines: 43 percent of Republican women said it was mainly a debate about religious freedom, while only 10 percent of Democratic women did.

Mary McNabb, 61, of Lenoir City, Tenn., said she was a Southern Baptist and was glad to see new attention focused on contraception and the Obama health care plan. She said the mandate was a violation of religious freedom.

"If a Catholic woman wants to take birth control, to go behind her priest's back, that's between her and God," she said. "But I don't think other Catholics should have to pay for it."

But she added: "I don't think they should beat this horse to death. There are other important issues."

The Kaiser survey found little evidence of a gap between men's and women's views of the contraceptive mandate. But it did suggest a significant age gap, especially within the Republican Party. Just over half of all Republicans ages 18 to 49 supported requiring contraceptive coverage, while only 33 percent of Republicans ages 50 and higher did so.

Despite the campaigns against the mandate by Republicans and conservative religious leaders, fewer than one percent of the people surveyed mentioned women's health or birth control when asked what issues they most wanted to hear candidates discuss.

Half said they believed the debate over contraception coverage "is mostly being driven by election-year politics," and interviews with women around the country suggested that many, whatever their politics, think leaders should focus on other matters.

Salonika Evans, 21, a dental hygienist student in Columbus, Ga., called the debate a diversion from the real issue of jobs.

"I am sitting at home eating ramen noodles and everyone in the government is eating filet mignon and talking about birth control, and they are all men," said Ms. Evans, who calls herself an independent.

Marita Gallaway, 57, a social worker in Marion, Ind., who is against abortion and thinks the federal government is "out of control," listed the war in Afghanistan, benefits for veterans, the aging population, education and the economy as things that are more important "than who's going to pay for whose birth control."

"Those are personal choices and personal issues," she said. "War is not."

Still, one in four people in the survey said women's reproductive health could be an important factor in their choice of political leaders.

Leila Borders, 26, a medical student at Mercer University in Savannah, Ga. who calls herself a conservative Democrat, said, "I feel strongly that the attack that is being made on women's health through politics is something that our nation will look back on as a dark blemish."

"In this political climate where those issues are up for legislation," she said, "a candidate's stance would certainly determine my vote."

Reporting was contributed by Robbie Brown and Kim Severson in Atlanta, Steven Yaccino in Chicago, Malia Wollan in San Francisco, Ian Lovett in Los Angeles and Dan Frosch in Denver.

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7) Channel 2 investigation highlights racial discrepancies in marijuana arrests
Posted: 3:03 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/channel-2-investigation-highlights-racial-discrepa/nK8Gd/

ATLANTA -

A Channel 2 Action News investigation revealed that across the state, African-Americans are arrested on marijuana possession charges significantly more often than whites.

"That is just a bad practice of applying the law unequally, that is, you are singling out a segment of the population," said state Sen. Ed Harbison. "That's just wrong. I don't care how you cover it up, how you try to color it."

Channel 2 looked at the total number of arrests for possession charges and compared the racial breakdowns to census data. For metro Atlanta agencies that made over 100 arrests, Channel 2 isolated nine agencies that had the highest discrepancies between the African-American population and the number of arrests they made.

The agency with the highest number was the Atlanta Police Department. Last year, 93 percent of all marijuana possession arrests in the city of Atlanta were African-Americans, and 7 percent were white. The city's population is 54 percent African-American and 38 percent white.

"This is a difficult issue that is far more complex than numbers can illustrate. I can assure you however, that the Atlanta Police Department is in no way, shape, form or fashion racially profiling," Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos told Channel 2.

Reverend C.L. White, president of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP, called it atrocious to have an arrest rate so high compared to the population.

"That is profiling at its worst. You don't have to have done anything, if they just suspect you might have done it as you look like someone who might do, than you are apt to be pulled over," said White.

Channel 2 spoke to a man who asked to be identified only as Greg, felt that was exactly what happened to him.

Greg told Channel 2 he felt he was racially profiled in Douglas County, where 66 percent of all those arrested for possession of marijuana are African-American.

"I really felt like he saw me and just felt like, 'Oh, here's a criminal. Let me go get him,'" said Greg.

Greg said he borrowed a friend's car to run an errand when Douglas County deputies pulled him over for a broken taillight when the officer asked to search his car.

"I got out of the car in order to let him search me to see if I had anything on me, which I didn't," said Greg.

The officer wouldn't let him go and called for a police dog. The dog indicated something was in the car and officers found what Greg's lawyer, Andy Cohen, described as a "speck of marijuana" and arrested him.

The charges against Greg were later dropped.

"It doesn't take many, 10 in 100 cops. If they're overzealous they can give the whole department a bad name," said White.

Channel 2 asked Atlanta Police Department why their numbers are so high.

"The public rightfully demands that we patrol high-crime neighborhoods. They also happen to be majority minority neighborhoods and that is where a lot of our encounters happen," said Campos.

"It seems like it's a crime to be poor and living in a high-crime district," said White.

The state of Georgia spends hundreds of millions of dollars enforcing marijuana laws. But with the state facing tight budgetary concerns, some critics argue that it is not worth the cost.

Georgia has some of the toughest marijuana laws in the country and a recent study conducted for the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation showed that the state spends $310 million to police, prosecute and jail marijuana offenders.

One metro lawyer is urging the state to decriminalize possession of marijuana to save the state some of that money.

A Channel 2 Action News investigation revealed that across the state, African-Americans are arrested on marijuana possession charges significantly more often than whites.

"That is just a bad practice of applying the law unequally, that is, you are singling out a segment of the population," said state Sen. Ed Harbison. "That's just wrong. I don't care how you cover it up, how you try to color it."

Channel 2 looked at the total number of arrests for possession charges and compared the racial breakdowns to census data. For metro Atlanta agencies that made over 100 arrests, Channel 2 isolated nine agencies that had the highest discrepancies between the African-American population and the number of arrests they made.

The agency with the highest number was the Atlanta Police Department. Last year, 93 percent of all marijuana possession arrests in the city of Atlanta were African-Americans, and 7 percent were white. The city's population is 54 percent African-American and 38 percent white.

"This is a difficult issue that is far more complex than numbers can illustrate. I can assure you however, that the Atlanta Police Department is in no way, shape, form or fashion racially profiling," Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos told Channel 2.

Reverend C.L. White, president of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP, called it atrocious to have an arrest rate so high compared to the population.

"That is profiling at its worst. You don't have to have done anything, if they just suspect you might have done it as you look like someone who might do, than you are apt to be pulled over," said White.

Channel 2 spoke to a man who asked to be identified only as Greg, felt that was exactly what happened to him.

Greg told Channel 2 he felt he was racially profiled in Douglas County, where 66 percent of all those arrested for possession of marijuana are African-American.

"I really felt like he saw me and just felt like, 'Oh, here's a criminal. Let me go get him,'" said Greg.

PDF: Georgia marijuana arrest statistics

PDF: Marijuana decriminalization bill

Greg said he borrowed a friend's car to run an errand when Douglas County deputies pulled him over for a broken taillight when the officer asked to search his car.

"I got out of the car in order to let him search me to see if I had anything on me, which I didn't," said Greg.

The officer wouldn't let him go and called for a police dog. The dog indicated something was in the car and officers found what Greg's lawyer, Andy Cohen, described as a "speck of marijuana" and arrested him.

The charges against Greg were later dropped.

"It doesn't take many, 10 in 100 cops. If they're overzealous they can give the whole department a bad name," said White.

Channel 2 asked Atlanta Police Department why their numbers are so high.

"The public rightfully demands that we patrol high-crime neighborhoods. They also happen to be majority minority neighborhoods and that is where a lot of our encounters happen," said Campos.

"It seems like it's a crime to be poor and living in a high-crime district," said White.

The state of Georgia spends hundreds of millions of dollars enforcing marijuana laws. But with the state facing tight budgetary concerns, some critics argue that it is not worth the cost.

Georgia has some of the toughest marijuana laws in the country and a recent study conducted for the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation showed that the state spends $310 million to police, prosecute and jail marijuana offenders.

One metro lawyer is urging the state to decriminalize possession of marijuana to save the state some of that money.

"You have to pay the police man. You have to pay the jailer, the probation officer, the judge, the district attorney, the assistants, the clerks, the court reporter. All of that is paid for by the state," said David Clark of Georgia's Chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws.

He is one of several metro area attorneys that have drafted a bill to decriminalize marijuana in the state of Georgia, a bill he says could save the state a lot of money.

"Some of the other states that decriminalize marijuana have saved on the many expenses that come with our criminal justice system," said Clark.

Georgia spends over $1 billion annually on our corrections system. Drug and property offenders represent 60 percent of all prison admissions and 3,200 of those are service sentences for drug possession, posing a heavy cost to the state.

"The costs go beyond just the law enforcement costs. You're taking a working person who happens to like to smoke pot when they go home, and you're taking them out of the workforce. They are no longer productive," said Clark.

"Eventually it all comes down to dollars and cents," said Rep. Tommy Benton.

Benton said saving money does not mean it's worth decriminalizing marijuana.

"I don't think we need to relax our standards to say, 'Well, you got caught with a couple of joints, and we're going to let you down.' People know the law. There needs to be some repercussions," said Benton.

The bill Clark wants the legislature to consider would create a civil penalty for marijuana possession in public. Violators would be punished with a fine they could pay online as opposed to going through the criminal courts.

"We can regulate marijuana. The state can make money. Families won't have to be dragged through the criminal justice system when their kid experiments with marijuana," said Clark.

"I would have to say the devil is in the details, and I would have to read the legislation, but right now, I am opposed to that," said Benton.

Channel 2 showed the proposed bill to Harbison.

"I would be reluctant to say yes, simply because there is a strong feeling about it and against marijuana use and any drug use," said Harbison.

But considering the current economic status of the state, Harbison said, "I would be willing to consider it. A large portion of our society is going to jail for basically minor crimes. You know, one marijuana cigarette. I think we should take a look at that."

Gov. Nathan Deal has done just that, releasing a study on the state of Georgia's prison systems. The study called for a new way to handle drug offenders, including investing $10 million in drug courts.

Benton said that is a move he can support.

"The drug courts would actually save the state money. They give the individual a chance to really get his life straightened out," said Benton.

"Drug court is more bureaucracy. The real step, that would help the state and the people the most is decriminalization of marijuana," said Clark.

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8) U.N. Faults NATO and Libyan Authorities in Report
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
March 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/world/africa/united-nations-report-faults-nato-over-civilian-deaths-in-libya.html?ref=world

BEIRUT, Lebanon - NATO has not sufficiently investigated the air raids it conducted on Libya that killed at least 60 civilians and wounded 55 more during the conflict there, according to a new United Nations report released Friday.

Nor has Libya's interim government done enough to halt the disturbing violence perpetrated by revolutionary militias seeking to exact revenge on loyalists, real or perceived, to the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the report concluded.

Published without publicity on the Web site of the United Nations Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, the report details the results of an investigation by a three-member commission of distinguished jurists. It paints a generally gloomy picture of the level of respect for human rights and international law in Libya, while acknowledging that the problem is a legacy of the long years of violent repression under Colonel Qaddafi.

NATO air raids that killed civilians in Libya have been criticized by rights groups, and the alliance's refusal to acknowledge or investigate some of the deaths has been the subject of earlier news reports, including an extensive account in The New York Times last December. The new report represents the first time that NATO's actions in Libya have been criticized under the auspices of the United Nations, where the bombing campaign in the name of protecting civilians from Colonel Qaddafi's forces was authorized by the Security Council.

The report concluded that Colonel Qaddafi's forces had perpetuated war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and attacks on civilians using excessive force and rape.

But the armed anti-Qaddafi militia forces in Libya also "committed serious violations," including war crimes and breaches of international rights law that continue today, the 220-page report said.

Through this past January, militia members continued with the mass arrests of former soldiers, police officers, suspected mercenaries and others perceived to be Qaddafi loyalists, the report said. Certain revenge attacks have continued unabated, particularly the campaign by the militiamen of Misurata to wipe a neighboring town, Tawergha, off the map; the fighters accuse its residents of collaborating with a government siege.

Such attacks have been documented before, but the report stressed that despite previous criticism, the militiamen were continuing to hunt down the residents of the neighboring town no matter where they had fled across Libya. As recently as Feb. 6, militiamen from Misurata attacked a camp in Tripoli where residents of Tawergha had fled, killing an elderly man, a woman and three children, the report said.

The commission remains "deeply concerned" that no independent investigations or prosecutions appear to have been instigated into killings by such militias, the report said.

"Libyan authorities can break with the Qaddafi legacy by enforcing the law equally, investigating all abuses - irrespective of the perpetrator," the report said.

The commission members tried to ascertain how Colonel Qaddafi had died, but said the Libyan authorities did not give them access to the autopsy report, so further investigation was needed. Graphic videos of his last day alive on Oct. 20 suggest that the revolutionaries who captured him near his tribal hometown, Surt, beat him and executed him with gunfire.

There was no immediate reaction from the Libyan government to the United Nations report. Adel Shaltut, the deputy chief of the Libyan Mission in Geneva, said his government was studying the report.

The report gives some sense of the obstacles the Libyan government faces in trying to meet the lengthy list of recommendations that entail rebuilding the criminal justice system from the ground up. Government officials meeting with the commission emphasized the precariousness of the security situation, the weakness of the national police and the inability of the central authorities to enforce the rule of law, the report said.

It said the government was likely to face difficulty processing an estimated 8,000 detainees, with "many detainees" under the control of individual brigades and outside any legal framework. The report did note that the interim government had taken steps to set up institutions to address legal and human rights issues, including the National Fact-Finding and Reconciliation Commission.

The newest parts of the report were the questions raised about NATO attacks that killed and wounded civilians.

The commission of inquiry concluded in its report that NATO had sought to avoid civilian casualties in "a highly precise campaign" involving thousands of attack sorties.

But it also noted that in a few cases it had "confirmed civilian casualties and found targets that showed no evidence" of any military function. The commission investigated 20 NATO airstrikes, and it found that in five of them, a total of 60 civilians died and 55 were wounded. The most serious airstrike, on the town of Majer on Aug. 8, killed 34 civilians and wounded 38.

NATO identified four of the five targets as command-and-control points or troop staging areas, but the commission said that it found no physical evidence of this when it visited the sites and that witnesses denied that the five places had any military use.

The commission did not receive enough information from NATO to determine whether it had followed its own guidelines for avoiding civilian casualties when it processed the intelligence related to those sites before bombing them, the report said. It recommended that the organization carry out its own investigation.

Oana Lungescu, the spokeswoman for NATO, said the organization had reviewed its target selection and data collected during the airstrikes.

"This review process has confirmed that the specific targets struck by NATO were legitimate military targets selected consistently with the U.N. mandate, and that great care was taken in each case to minimize risk to civilians," she said in a statement.

Hundreds of targets were rejected, and some strikes were aborted to avoid civilian casualties, she said, while noting that the Qaddafi government had often used civilian facilities to conduct military activities.

"The fact that observers were unable to detect evidence of military purpose or activity several months after the conflict cannot necessarily be taken to reflect the reality at the time of the strike," Ms. Lungescu said.

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9) Judge Clears Rule on Union Posters at Work
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 2, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/business/judge-clears-rule-on-union-posters-at-work.html?src=busln

A federal judge ruled Friday that the National Labor Relations Board can require most private businesses to put up posters telling workers they have a legal right to form a union. But the judge, Amy Berman Jackson of United State District Court, limited how the board can enforce the requirement. She said simply failing to display the new N.L.R.B. poster is not automatically a legal violation. The ruling pleased labor groups but disappointed business groups, which argued that the new poster is too one-sided and seems to encourage workers to join unions. The posters are to be displayed effective April 30.

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10) Confessions of a 'Bad' Teacher
By WILLIAM JOHNSON
March 3, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/opinion/sunday/confessions-of-a-bad-teacher.html?pagewanted=2&hp

I AM a special education teacher. My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers. What's more, these are high school students, so their disabilities are compounded by raging hormones and social pressure.

As you might imagine, my job can be extremely difficult. Beyond the challenges posed by my students, budget cuts and changes to special-education policy have increased my workload drastically even over just the past 18 months. While my class sizes have grown, support staff members have been laid off. Students with increasingly severe disabilities are being pushed into more mainstream classrooms like mine, where they receive less individual attention and struggle to adapt to a curriculum driven by state-designed high-stakes tests.

On top of all that, I'm a bad teacher. That's not my opinion; it's how I'm labeled by the city's Education Department. Last June, my principal at the time rated my teaching "unsatisfactory," checking off a few boxes on an evaluation sheet that placed my career in limbo. That same year, my school received an "A" rating. I was a bad teacher at a good school. It was pretty humiliating.

Like most teachers, I'm good some days, bad others. The same goes for my students. Last May, my assistant principal at the time observed me teaching in our school's "self-contained" classroom. A self-contained room is a separate classroom for students with extremely severe learning disabilities. In that room, I taught a writing class for students ages 14 to 17, whose reading levels ranged from third through seventh grades.

When the assistant principal walked in, one of these students, a freshman girl classified with an emotional disturbance, began cursing. When the assistant principal ignored her, she started cursing at me. Then she began lobbing pencils across the room. Was this because I was a bad teacher? I don't know.

I know that after she began throwing things, I sent her to the dean's office. I know that a few days later, I received notice that my lesson had been rated unsatisfactory because, among other things, I had sent this student to the dean instead of following our school's "guided discipline" procedure.

I was confused. Earlier last year, this same assistant principal observed me and instructed me to prioritize improving my "assertive voice" in the classroom. But about a month later, my principal observed me and told me to focus entirely on lesson planning, since she had no concerns about my classroom management. A few weeks earlier, she had written on my behalf for a citywide award for "classroom excellence." Was I really a bad teacher?

In my three years with the city schools, I've seen a teacher with 10 years of experience become convinced, after just a few observations, that he was a terrible teacher. A few months later, he quit teaching altogether. I collaborated with another teacher who sought psychiatric care for insomnia after a particularly intense round of observations. I myself transferred to a new school after being rated "unsatisfactory."

Behind all of this is the reality that teachers care a great deal about our work. At the school where I work today, my "bad" teaching has mostly been very successful. Even so, I leave work most days replaying lessons in my mind, wishing I'd done something differently. This isn't because my lessons are bad, but because I want to get better at my job.

In fact, I don't just want to get better; like most teachers I know, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I have to be. Dozens and dozens of teenagers scrutinize my language, clothing and posture all day long, all week long. If I'm off my game, the students tell me. They comment on my taste in neckties, my facial hair, the quality of my lessons. All of us teachers are evaluated all day long, already. It's one of the most exhausting aspects of our job.

Teaching was a high-pressure job long before No Child Left Behind and the current debates about teacher evaluation. These debates seem to rest on the assumption that, left to our own devices, we teachers would be happy to coast through the school year, let our skills atrophy and collect our pensions.

The truth is, teachers don't need elected officials to motivate us. If our students are not learning, they let us know. They put their heads down or they pass notes. They raise their hands and ask for clarification. Sometimes, they just stare at us like zombies. Few things are more excruciating for a teacher than leading a class that's not learning. Good administrators use the evaluation processes to support teachers and help them avoid those painful classroom moments - not to weed out the teachers who don't produce good test scores or adhere to their pedagogical beliefs.

Worst of all, the more intense the pressure gets, the worse we teach. When I had administrators breathing down my neck, the students became a secondary concern. I simply did whatever my assistant principal asked me to do, even when I thought his ideas were crazy. In all honesty, my teaching probably became close to incoherent. One week, my assistant principal wanted me to focus on arranging the students' desks to fit with class activities, so I moved the desks around every day, just to show that I was a good soldier. I was scared of losing my job, and my students suffered for it.

That said, given all the support in the world, even the best teacher can't force his students to learn. Students aren't simply passive vessels, waiting to absorb information from their teachers and regurgitate it through high-stakes assessments. They make choices about what they will and won't learn. I know I did. When I was a teenager, I often stayed up way too late, talking with friends, listening to music or playing video games. Did this affect my performance on tests? Undoubtedly. Were my teachers responsible for these choices? No.

My best teachers, the ones I still think about today, exposed me to new and exciting ideas. They created classroom environments that welcomed discussion and intellectual risk-taking. Sometimes, these teachers' lessons didn't sink in until years after I'd left their classrooms. I'm thinking about Ms. Leonard, the English teacher who repeatedly instructed me to "write what you know," a lesson I've only recently begun to understand. She wasn't just teaching me about writing, by the way, but about being attentive to the details of my daily existence.

It wasn't Ms. Leonard's fault that 15-year-old me couldn't process this lesson completely. She was planting seeds that wouldn't bear fruit in the short term. That's an important part of what we teachers do, and it's the sort of thing that doesn't show up on high-stakes tests.

How, then, should we measure students and teachers? In ninth grade, my students learn about the scientific method. They learn that in order to collect good data, scientists control for specific variables and test their impact on otherwise identical environments. If you give some students green fields, glossy textbooks and lots of attention, you can't measure them against another group of students who lack all of these things. It's bad science.

Until we provide equal educational resources to all students and teachers, no matter where they come from, we can't say - with any scientific accuracy - how well or poorly they're performing. Perhaps if we start the conversation there, things will start making a bit more sense.

William Johnson is a teacher at a public high school in Brooklyn who writes on education for the Web site Gotham Schools.

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11) US Congress passes authoritarian anti-protest law
By Tom Carter
3 March 2012
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/mar2012/prot-m03.shtml

A bill passed Monday in the US House of Representatives and Thursday in the Senate would make it a felony-a serious criminal offense punishable by lengthy terms of incarceration-to participate in many forms of protest associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests of last year. Several commentators have dubbed it the "anti-Occupy" law, but its implications are far broader.

The bill-H.R. 347, or the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011"-was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, while only Ron Paul and two other Republicans voted against the bill in the House of Representatives (the bill passed 388-3). Not a single Democratic politician voted against the bill.

The virtually unanimous passage of H.R. 347 starkly exposes the fact that, despite all the posturing, the Democrats and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder with the corporate and financial oligarchy, which regarded last year's popular protests against social inequality with a mixture of fear and hostility.

Among the central provisions of H.R. 347 is a section that would make it a criminal offense to "enter or remain in" an area designated as "restricted."

The bill defines the areas that qualify as "restricted" in extremely vague and broad terms. Restricted areas can include "a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting" and "a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance."

The Secret Service provides bodyguards not just to the US president, but to a broad layer of top figures in the political establishment, including presidential candidates and foreign dignitaries.

Even more sinister is the provision regarding events of "national significance." What circumstances constitute events of "national significance" is left to the unbridled discretion of the Department of Homeland Security. The occasion for virtually any large protest could be designated by the Department of Homeland Security as an event of "national significance," making any demonstrations in the vicinity illegal.

For certain, included among such events would be the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, which have been classified as National Special Security Events (NSSE), a category created under the Clinton administration. These conventions have been the occasion for protests that have been subjected to ever increasing police restrictions and repression. Under H.R. 347, future protests at such events could be outright criminalized.

The standard punishment under the new law is a fine and up to one year in prison. If a weapon or serious physical injury is involved, the penalty may be increased to up to ten years.

Also criminalized by the bill is conduct "that impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions" and "obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds." These provisions, even more so than the provisions creating "restricted areas," threaten to criminalize a broad range of protest activities that were previously perfectly legal.

In order to appreciate the unprecedented sweep of H.R. 347, it is necessary to consider a few examples:

_ A wide area around the next G-20 meeting or other global summit could be designated "restricted" by the Secret Service, such that any person who "enters" that area can be subject to a fine and a year in jail under Section 1752(a)(1) (making it a felony to enter any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so).

_ Senator Rick Santorum, the ultra-right Republican presidential candidate, enjoys the protection of the Secret Service. Accordingly, a person who shouts "boo!" during a speech by Santorum could be subject to arrest and a year of imprisonment under Section 1752(a)(2) (making it a felony to "engag[e] in disorderly or disruptive conduct in" a restricted area).

_ Striking government workers who form a picket line near any event of "national significance" can be locked up under Section 1752(a)(3) (making it a crime to imped[e] ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds).

Under the ancien regime in France, steps were taken to ensure that the "unwashed masses" were kept out of sight whenever a carriage containing an important aristocrat or church official was passing through. Similarly, H.R. 347 creates for the US president and other top officials a protest-free bubble or "no-free-speech zone" that follows them wherever they go, making sure the discontented multitude is kept out of the picture.

The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act is plainly in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which was passed in 1791 in the aftermath of the American Revolution. The First Amendment provides: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (The arrogance of the Democratic and Republican politicians is staggering-what part of "Congress shall make no law" do they not understand?)

H.R. 347 comes on the heels of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed by President Obama into law on December 31, 2011. The NDAA gives the president the power to order the assassination and incarceration of any person-including a US citizen-anywhere in the world without charge or trial.

The passage of H.R. 347 has been the subject of a virtual blackout in the media. In light of the unprecedented nature of the bill, which would effectively overturn the First Amendment, this blackout cannot be innocent. The media silence therefore represents a conscious effort to keep the American population in the dark as to the government's efforts to eviscerate the Bill of Rights.

The bill would vastly expand a previous law making it misdemeanor to trespass on the grounds of the White House. An earlier version of the bill would have made it a felony just to "conspire" to engage in any of the conduct described above. The bill now awaits President Obama's signature before it becomes the law of the land.

What lies behind the unprecedented attack underway on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is a growing understanding in the ruling class that the protests that took place around the world against social inequality in 2011 will inevitably re-emerge in more and more powerful forms in 2012 and beyond, as austerity measures and the crashing economy make the conditions of life more and more impossible for the working class. The virtually unanimous support in Congress H.R. 347, among Democrats as well as Republicans, reflects overriding sentiment within the ruling establishment for scrapping all existing democratic rights in favor of dictatorial methods of rule.

This sentiment was most directly expressed this week by Wyoming Republican legislator David Miller, who recently introduced a bill into the state legislature that would give the state the power, in an "emergency," to create its own standing army through conscription, print its own currency, acquire military aircraft, suspend the legislature, and establish martial law. "Things happen quickly sometimes-look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations," Miller told the Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyoming. Repeating arguments employed by every military dictatorship over the past century, Miller declared, "We wouldn't have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond." Miller's so-called "doomsday law" was defeated in the Wyoming legislature Tuesday by the narrow margin of 30-27.

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12) Deepwater Oil Drilling Picks Up Again as BP Disaster Fades
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and JOHN M. BRODER
March 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/business/deepwater-oil-drilling-accelerates-as-bp-disaster-fades.html?hp

HOUSTON - Nearly two years after an explosion on an oil platform killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, deepwater drilling has regained momentum in the gulf and is spreading around the world.

The announcement of an agreement late Friday by BP and lawyers representing individuals and businesses hurt by the disaster represented something of a turning of the page, though BP and its drilling partners continue to face legal challenges.

After a yearlong drilling moratorium, BP and other oil companies are intensifying their exploration and production in the gulf, which will soon surpass the levels attained before the accident. Drilling in the area is about to be expanded in Mexican and Cuban waters, beyond most American controls, even though any accident would almost inevitably affect the United States shoreline. Oil companies are also moving into new areas off the coast of East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.

The reason for the resumption of such drilling, analysts say, is continuing high demand for energy worldwide.

"We need the oil," said Amy Myers Jaffe, associate director of the Rice University energy program. "The industry will have to improve and regulators will have to adjust, but the public will have to deal with the risk of drilling in deep waters or get out of their cars."

Domestic oil exploration and gasoline prices are emerging as important issues in the presidential campaign. While candidates have sparred over the reasons for rising prices, there is little disagreement over the call for more drilling, onshore and offshore.

"The price of gasoline is becoming a genuine crisis for many American families," said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a candidate for the Republican nomination, appearing on CNN Sunday morning. "If it continues to go higher, it will crater the economy by August."

President Obama, while in New Hampshire last Thursday, countered Republican charges that he was to blame for the rising pain at the pump. "We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and approved more than 400 drilling permits since we put in place new safety standards in the wake of the gulf oil spill," Mr. Obama said.

Gas prices are averaging $3.76 a gallon, while crude oil futures settled at $106.70 a barrel on Friday.

Exploration in deepwater fields remains dangerous because of high temperatures and high pressure when drilling 6,000 feet or more under the sea floor, and accidents continue to occur, most notably last year off the coasts of China and Brazil.

But despite the risks, the deepwater drilling trend is spreading in the Mediterranean and off the coast of East Africa after a string of huge discoveries of natural gas.

The new oil platforms will help supply growing demand in China, India and across the developing world. At the same time, turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East threatens operations in established fields that the world has relied on in recent decades.

For a time after the BP spill, the drilling moratorium ordered by the Obama administration caused a decline in gulf production, but a reversal has occurred. Forty rigs are drilling in the gulf today compared with 25 a year ago.

BP has five rigs drilling in the gulf, making it one of the most active drillers there. That is the same number BP operated before the accident, and it plans to have three more rigs drilling in the gulf by the end of the year.

The Energy Department recently projected that gulf oil production would expand from its 2011 level of 1.3 million barrels a day, still nearly a quarter of total domestic production, to two million barrels a day by 2020.

Last December, the Obama administration held its first offshore auction since the BP spill, granting leases for more than 20 million acres of federal waters - bigger than West Virginia. The leases are worth $330 million to the federal government and have the potential to produce 400 million barrels of oil.

BP successfully bid for 11 of the 191 available drilling blocks. Environmentalists challenged the auction of exploration rights, so far unsuccessfully, which precedes applications and approvals for actual drilling permits.

By the Obama administration's accounting, 61 drilling permits for wells in more than 500 feet of water were granted in the 12 months ending Feb. 27, only six fewer than were permitted in the same period in 2009 and 2010 before the BP explosion.

"The political discourse about energy has really changed over the last two years," said Daniel Yergin, the oil historian and author of "The Quest," a book about energy security. Despite the BP accident, he added, "there's a new focus on how U.S. oil production should increase both onshore and offshore."

If there has been any disagreement, it has been over how fast to expand the drilling.

Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, said the Obama administration had put in place significantly tougher offshore drilling requirements, but they have been resisted by Republicans in the House, who have passed legislation to hasten review of drilling plans and open new areas to development.

"The Republicans and the oil industry are maintaining the speed-over-safety mentality that led to the BP disaster in the first place," said Mr. Markey, who has been critical of the Obama administration's response to the spill and to what he called a dangerous overuse of chemical dispersants in the gulf. "We now understand the lessons, but Republicans have blocked all new safety laws," he said. "Not one has been put on the books."

Yet Republicans argue, loudly, that Mr. Obama is not doing nearly enough to expand drilling. The Republican majority in the House has passed legislation to speed lease sales on public lands while pressing to open the Atlantic and Pacific coasts - which have been largely politically untouchable since the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969 - to extensive oil and gas development.

"This is a president who does not understand energy," said Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination last week in Fargo, N.D. "He is the problem. He is not the solution."

Mr. Romney, who said last week that he had named a billionaire oil industry executive, Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, to lead his team of energy advisers, has said he would relax regulations and speed the permitting process.

The expansion of deepwater drilling is happening despite accidents in offshore fields, though none have compared to the BP spill. A well operated by ConocoPhillips and a Chinese state company leaked more than 3,200 barrels of oil and fluid into China's Bohai Bay last June, producing a 324-square mile slick.

A comparable spill occurred last November from an appraisal well in Brazil's Campos basin operated by Chevron. Federal investigators threatened fines and even prison terms for Chevron officials, but a federal judge declined to grant an injunction suspending Chevron's Brazilian operations and those of the oil rig contractor, Transocean, the company that owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon for BP.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration reached an agreement with the Mexican government to open a new tract to offshore drilling, some of it in water more than 6,000 feet deep, despite persistent questions about the strength of Mexican oil industry regulation.

Clifford Krauss reported from Houston and John M. Broder from Washington.

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13) Slum Dwellers Are Defying Brazil's Grand Design for Olympics
By SIMON ROMERO
March 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/world/americas/brazil-faces-obstacles-in-preparations-for-rio-olympics.html?ref=world

RIO DE JANEIRO - It was supposed to be a triumphant moment for Brazil.

Gearing up for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held here, officials celebrated plans for a futuristic "Olympic Park," replete with a waterside park and athlete villages, promoting it as "a new piece of the city."

There was just one problem: the 4,000 people who already live in that part of Rio de Janeiro, in a decades-old squatter settlement that the city wants to tear down. Refusing to go quietly and taking their fight to the courts and the streets, they have been a thorn in the side of the government for months.

"The authorities think progress is demolishing our community just so they can host the Olympics for a few weeks," said Cenira dos Santos, 44, who owns a home in the settlement, which is known as Vila Autódromo. "But we've shocked them by resisting."

For many Brazilians, holding the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics on Brazilian soil is the ultimate expression of the nation's elevation on the world stage, and the events are perfect symbols of its newfound economic prowess and international standing.

But some of the strengths that have enabled Brazil's democratic rise as a regional power - the vigorous expansion of its middle class, the independence of its news media and the growing expectations of its populace - are bedeviling the preparations for both events.

At stadium sites, construction workers, eager to share in the surging wealth around them and newly empowered by the nation's historically low unemployment rate, are pushing aggressively for wage increases.

Unions have already held strikes in at least eight cities where stadiums for the soccer tournament are being built or refurbished, including a stoppage in February by 500 laborers in the northeast city of Fortaleza, and a national movement of 25,000 workers at World Cup sites has threatened to go on strike.

Construction delays are fueling problems with FIFA, soccer's world governing body. The group's secretary general, Jerome Valcke, said late last week that Brazilian organizers were falling behind, adding, "You have to push yourself, kick your arse." Brazil's sports minister hit back over the weekend, saying Mr. Valcke's comments were "offensive."

Meanwhile, residents in some of the favelas, or slums, who face eviction are pulling together and standing their ground, in stark contrast to the preparations for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where authorities easily removed hundreds of thousands of families from the city for the Games.

Favela residents are using handheld video cameras and social media to get their messages across. And they are sometimes getting a helping hand from Brazil's vibrant and crusading news media, arguably the envy of other Latin American countries.

Not only have the news media and newly-created blogs focused attention on the evictions, but they have also dogged officials with their own pursuit of corruption allegations swirling around the Olympic and World Cup plans.

"These events were supposed to celebrate Brazil's accomplishments, but the opposite is happening," said Christopher Gaffney, a professor at Rio's Fluminense Federal University. "We're seeing an insidious pattern of trampling on the rights of the poor and cost overruns that are a nightmare."

Brazil's political culture has done its share in contributing to delays, with corruption scandals involving high-ranking sports officials.

But the favela evictions have struck a particular nerve on the streets. A network of activists in 12 cities estimates that as many as 170,000 people may face eviction ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics. In Rio, evictions are taking place in slums across the city, including the Metrô favela near the Maracanã stadium, where residents who refused to move live amid the rubble of bulldozed homes.

The evictions are stirring ghosts in a city with a long history of razing entire favelas, as in the 1960s and 1970s during Brazil's military dictatorship. Thousands of families were moved from favelas in upscale seaside areas to the distant Cidade de Deus, the favela portrayed in the 2002 film "City of God."

As Rio recovers from a long decline, some of the new projects are largely welcome, like an elevator for a hillside favela in Ipanema, or new cable cars in the Complexo do Alemão slums. Authorities also insist that evictions, when deemed necessary, abide by the law, with families receiving compensation and new housing.

"No one is resettled if not for a very important reason," said Jorge Bittar, the head of Rio's housing authority.

But some favela residents accuse the authorities of contributing to already considerable inequalities. Brazil's economic boom has led to evictions around the country, sometimes independent of the Games. In city after city, favela residents often do not learn their homes could be razed until they are literally marked for removal.

In Manaus, the Amazon's biggest city, residents found the initials B.R.T., referring to a new transportation system, spray-painted on homes to be destroyed. In São José dos Campos, an industrial city, a violent eviction in January of more than 6,000 people captured the nation's attention when security forces stormed in, clashing with squatters armed with wooden clubs.

In Rio, many of the people facing eviction live in the western districts, where most of the Olympic venues will be, and favelas persist amid a sprawl reminiscent of South Florida, with palm-fringed condominiums and shopping malls.

"Brazilian law is adapting to carry out the Games, rather the Games adapting to fit the law," said Alex Magalhães, a law professor at Rio's Federal University.

Organizations formed by favela residents are also using the law and social networking, in a country with the second-largest number of Twitter users after the United States.

One of the fiercest property battles is over Vila Autódromo, the settlement slated for destruction to make way for the Olympic Park.

"Vila Autódromo has absolutely no infrastructure," said Mr. Bittar, the Rio housing official. "The roads are made of dirt. The sewage network goes straight into the lagoon; it's an absolutely precarious area."

Many in Vila Autódromo see things differently. Some have spacious houses that they built themselves. Guava trees shade yards. Some driveways have parked cars, a sign of making it into Brazil's expanding lower middle class.

Residents took their fight online, posting videos of sharp exchanges with officials. They began working with state prosecutors to file injunctions aimed at blocking their removal, though they lost a critical ruling in recent days.

Journalists have weighed in, reporting that Rio's municipal government paid two real estate companies more than $11 million for land to resettle Vila Autódromo's residents; both companies had donated funds to the campaign of Eduardo Paes, Rio's mayor. Mr. Paes denied any wrongdoing but promptly canceled the land purchase.

Still, authorities say they plan to remove the settlement to make way for roadways around Olympic Park, leaving residents scrambling to devise new strategies to resist eviction. "We're victims of an event we don't want," said Inalva Mendes Brito, a schoolteacher in Vila Autódromo. "But maybe if Brazil learns to respect our choice to stay in our homes, the Olympics will be something to celebrate in the end."

Erika O'Conor and Taylor Barnes contributed reporting.

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14) Hard-Working Teachers, Sabotaged When Student Test Scores Slip
By MICHAEL WINERIP
March 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/nyregion/in-brooklyn-hard-working-teachers-sabotaged-when-student-test-scores-slip.html?ref=nyregion

For 15 years, Anna Allanbrook has been the principal of Public School 146 in Brooklyn, one of the highest-achieving elementary schools in the city. In that time, she has never had a more talented and hard-working bunch than the current team of fifth-grade teachers. The five have lunch together daily, using the time to plan. They stay until 7 p.m. on Fridays to prepare for the following week. On Thursday night, most of them helped at the science invention fair until it was past 8 p.m.

Their credentials would be impressive for college professors. Antoinette Byam, who received a grant to spend a month in Ghana in 2006, won a Fulbright scholarship in 2008 to do research in Mexico and Peru. She then wrote fifth-grade curriculums on the Mayans.

Before becoming a teacher, Nancy Salomon had her own theater company and ran a drama program in the schools that won an arts award from the Guggenheim Museum.

Cora Sangree has trained teachers at Bank Street College of Education and Teachers College at Columbia University. Laurie Matthews worked as an archaeologist in Brazil and France before she started teaching.

In 2009, 96 percent of their fifth graders were proficient in English, 89 percent in math. When the New York City Education Department released its numerical ratings recently, it seemed a sure bet that the P.S. 146 teachers would be at the very top.

Actually, they were near the very bottom.

Ms. Byam and Ms. Salomon each scored 7 out of 100 in math. Ms. Sangree got a 1 in math and an 11 in English. Ms. Matthews's scores got mixed up with the results for another fifth-grade teacher, Penina Hirshman, so nobody could say for certain what her real numbers might be.

A teacher's rating depends on how much progress her students make on state tests in a year's time, and is known as the value-added score. Ms. Allanbrook, the principal, has another name for what's going on. She calls the scores the "invalid value-addeds."

If city officials were trying to demoralize and humiliate the workforce, they've done a terrific job. News organizations get an assist for publishing the scores, and former Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein deserves a special nod for enthusiastically supporting the release.

It's not just the low scorers who are offended. Maribeth Whitehouse, a special education teacher in the Bronx, wrote me in an e-mail: "I am a 99th percentiler. A number of us are in touch with each other, united by nothing more than our profession and professional disdain for this nonsense." She is circulating a letter of protest for others on the 99th percentile to sign.

In 2010, in the hope of winning a grant from the Obama administration's Race to the Top program, state officials and the teachers' unions agreed to let students' test scores count for 20 percent of a teacher's evaluation. Then last spring, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, John B. King Jr., the state's education commissioner, and Merryl H. Tisch, the state chancellor, decided 20 percent wasn't rigorous enough, and with little public notice pushed a measure through the Board of Regents allowing student test scores to count for up to 40 percent.

It does not take a lot of math to calculate how much damage Ms. Sangree's 1 or Ms. Byam's 7 could do.

How could this possibly have happened?

The short answer is: Numbers lie.

And not only do they lie, but they are out of date, in this case covering student test results from 2007 to 2010.

Though 89 percent of P.S. 146 fifth graders were rated proficient in math in 2009, the year before, as fourth graders, 97 percent were rated as proficient. This resulted in the worst thing that can happen to a teacher in America today: negative value was added.

The difference between 89 percent and 97 percent proficiency at P.S. 146 is the result of three children scoring a 2 out of 4 instead of a 3 out of 4.

While Ms. Allanbrook does not believe in lots of test prep, her fourth-grade teachers do more of it than the rest of the school.

In New York City, fourth-grade test results can determine where a child will go to middle school. Fifth-grade scores have never mattered much, so teachers have been free to focus on project-based learning. While that may be good for a child's intellectual development, it is hard on a teacher's value-added score.

Ms. Byam's 7 in math is as invalid a value-added score as such things can get. She regularly takes on extra duties. Several years ago, when teachers were unhappy with the standard math curriculum they formed a committee to find a better method. Ms. Byam represented P.S. 146, and spent two days a month for a year studying new approaches.

Using the new curriculum, children work in groups to solve real-life problems. On Friday, each group spent an hour developing a system to calculate who ate more - eight students sharing seven submarine sandwiches; five students sharing four; or four sharing three. Each child developed his own solution, and the group decided which way was best.

Ms. Byam made notes on how well her 29 students were working. A girl who normally did well had dashed off a muddled answer, and was resting her head on the desk.

"Why are you so sleepy?" Ms. Byam whispered.

She had been up late taking care of her older sister's baby.

After observing her class, Ms. Byam knew that Minerva Macarrulla had produced the most sophisticated solution, but the group would not select her work.

"Minerva's shy, she won't push it," said Ms. Byam, "I'll have to call on her to explain. We can't let shyness get in the way of progress, can we now?"

This week, students will advance from dividing sandwiches to comparing fractions with different denominators, to calculating least common denominators.

Across the hallway, Ms. Sangree might have scored higher than 11 in English by doing more test prep. There is a standard test-prep formula for writing an essay: Topic sentence; three sentences that give examples to support the thesis, one from literature, one from current events, and one from personal experience; concluding sentence.

Instead, her class has spent weeks working on research papers about the Mayans. Rowan Groom explained to a visitor how she was doing her paper on Mayan clothing.

"First we collected facts from books and National Geographic and Web sites and notes when we visited the Museum of Natural History," she said. "Next we sorted our facts into topics."

They were ready to write. "First you do a first draft and then you revise and edit and we talk about our thoughts with our friends, in the meeting area. Then we go into our revised draft and we edit some more, and after that we go across the hall to computer lab and type it up."

The state test does not require students to write a research paper.

Children sense that something is going on. "My mom said teachers with lower grades were getting kicked out because they're not good enough," said Niko Amber, a fifth grader.

The backlash has startled city officials. Some changes have already been announced for next year. Instead of the scores' being made public, Ms. Byam will quite likely be handed her 7 and Ms. Sangree her 1 behind closed doors. Whether that will be better or worse is hard to know.

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15) U.S. Law May Allow Killings, Holder Says
"He also said that some threats come from 'a small number of United States citizens' who are plotting attacks from abroad, and that 'United States citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted.' He focused on one situation in which someone could be killed without a trial: when a citizen who is believed to be an operational leader of Al Qaeda or its allies and who is plotting attacks; who is located in a country that either granted the United States permission to strike or that is unable or unwilling to suppress the threat on its own; and whose capture is not feasible. Significantly, Mr. Holder did not say that such a situation is the only kind in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen. Rather, he said it would be lawful 'at least' under those conditions. Later, he offered an example of another situation in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen even if all those requirements were not met: 'operations that take place on traditional battlefields.'”
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
March 5, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/us/politics/holder-explains-threat-that-would-call-for-killing-without-trial.html?ref=world

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asserted on Monday that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens if officials deem them to be operational leaders of Al Qaeda who are planning attacks on the United States and if capturing them alive is not feasible.

“Given the nature of how terrorists act and where they tend to hide, it may not always be feasible to capture a United States citizen terrorist who presents an imminent threat of violent attack,” Mr. Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school. “In that case, our government has the clear authority to defend the United States with lethal force.”

While Mr. Holder is not the first administration official to address the targeted killing of citizens — the Pentagon’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, did so last month at Yale Law School, for example — it was notable for the nation’s top law enforcement official to declare that it is constitutional for the government to kill citizens without any judicial review under certain circumstances. Mr. Holder’s remarks about the targeted killing of United States citizens were a centerpiece of a speech describing legal principles behind the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies.

“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

Mr. Holder’s speech has been planned since last fall, when questions were first raised about the Obama administration’s legal justification for the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born radical Muslim cleric who died in an American drone strike last September. The administration has rejected bipartisan calls to release a secret memorandum by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which signed off on killing Mr. Awlaki. Mr. Holder’s speech was designed to offer the public some explanation of the government’s reasoning.

Still, the speech contained no footnotes or specific legal citations, and it fell far short of the level of detail contained in the Office of Legal Counsel memo — or in an account of its contents published in October by The New York Times based on descriptions by people who had read it.

The administration has declined to confirm that the memo exists, and late last year, The Times filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act asking a judge to order the Justice Department to make it public. In February, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a broader lawsuit, seeking both the memo and the evidence against Mr. Awlaki.

Last month, Justice Department court filings against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009, provided a detailed account — based on his interrogations — of Mr. Awlaki’s alleged involvement.

Mr. Holder, by contrast, did not acknowledge the killing of Mr. Awlaki or provide new details about him, although he did mention him in passing as “a U.S. citizen and a leader” of Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch when discussing Mr. Abdulmutallab.

Although widely reported, American drone operations over Yemen are considered to be covert by the administration. Mr. Holder said that while he could not “discuss or confirm any particular program or operation,” he believed it was important to publicly explain national security legal principles.

Those began, he said, with the authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda and its allies, enacted by Congress shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an authority that he said extended beyond the traditional battlefields of Afghanistan because Al Qaeda members are moving — and launching attacks — from elsewhere.

He also said that some threats come from “a small number of United States citizens” who are plotting attacks from abroad, and that “United States citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted.”

He focused on one situation in which someone could be killed without a trial: when a citizen who is believed to be an operational leader of Al Qaeda or its allies and who is plotting attacks; who is located in a country that either granted the United States permission to strike or that is unable or unwilling to suppress the threat on its own; and whose capture is not feasible.

Significantly, Mr. Holder did not say that such a situation is the only kind in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen. Rather, he said it would be lawful “at least” under those conditions. Later, he offered an example of another situation in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen even if all those requirements were not met: “operations that take place on traditional battlefields.”

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16) Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests
“Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school. One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.”
By TAMAR LEWIN
March 6, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/education/black-students-face-more-harsh-discipline-data-shows.html?ref=us

Black students, especially boys, face much harsher discipline in public schools than other students, according to new data from the Department of Education.

Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school.

One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.

And in districts that reported expulsions under zero-tolerance policies, Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of the student body, but 56 percent of those expelled under such policies.

“Education is the civil rights of our generation,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a telephone briefing with reporters on Monday. “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.”

The department began gathering data on civil rights and education in 1968, but the project was suspended by the Bush administration in 2006. It has been reinstated and expanded to examine a broader range of information, including, for the first time, referrals to law enforcement, an area of increasing concern to civil rights advocates who see the emergence of a school-to-prison pipeline for a growing number of students of color.

According to the schools’ reports, over 70 percent of the students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or black.

Black and Hispanic students — particularly those with disabilities — are also disproportionately subject to seclusion or restraints. Students with disabilities make up 12 percent of the student body, but 70 percent of those subject to physical restraints. Black students with disabilities constituted 21 percent of the total, but 44 percent of those with disabilities subject to mechanical restraints, like being strapped down. And while Hispanics made up 21 percent of the students without disabilities, they accounted for 42 percent of those without disabilities who were placed in seclusion.

“Those are extremely dramatic numbers, and show the importance of reinstating the civil rights data collection and expanding the categories of information collected,” said Deborah J. Vagins, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office. “The harsh punishments, especially expulsion under zero tolerance and referrals to law enforcement, show that students of color and students with disabilities are increasingly being pushed out of schools, oftentimes into the criminal justice system.”

While the disciplinary data was probably the most startling, the data showed a wide range of other racial and ethnic disparities. For while 55 percent of the high schools with low black and Hispanic enrollment offered calculus, only 29 percent of the high-minority high schools did so — and even in schools offering calculus, Hispanics made up 20 percent of the student body but only 10 percent of those enrolled in calculus.

And while black and Hispanic students made up 44 percent of the students in the survey, they were only 26 percent of the students in gifted and talented programs.

The data also showed that schools with a lot of black and Hispanic students were likely to have relatively inexperienced, and low-paid, teachers. On average, teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues elsewhere. In New York high schools, though, the discrepancy was more than $8,000, and in Philadelphia, more than $14,000.

Many of the nation’s largest districts had very different disciplinary rates for students of different races. In Los Angeles, for example, black students made up 9 percent of those enrolled, but 26 percent of those suspended; in Chicago, they made up 45 percent of the students, but 76 percent of the suspensions.

In recent decades, as more districts and states have adopted zero-tolerance policies, imposing mandatory suspension for a wide range of behavioral misdeeds, more and more students have been sent away from school for at least a few days, an approach that is often questioned as paving the way for students to fall behind and drop out.

A previous study of the federal data from the years before 2006, published in 2010 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization, found that suspension rates in the nation’s public schools, kindergarten through high school, had nearly doubled from the early 1970s through 2006 — from 3.7 percent of public school students in 1973 to 6.9 percent in 2006 — in part because of the rise of zero-tolerance school discipline policies.

But because the Department of Education has not yet posted most of the data from the most recent collection, it is not yet possible to extend those findings. On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Duncan will announce the results at Howard Univerity, and from then on the data will become publicly available, at ocrdata.ed.gov.

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17) Wide Sentencing Disparity Found Among U.S. Judges
"The report said that in the Northern District of Texas, the median prison sentence for convicted drug defendants from some judges was as low as 60 months. A typical sentence for another judge was nearly three times as long, at 160 months."
By MOSI SECRET
March 5, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/nyregion/wide-sentencing-disparity-found-among-us-judges.html?ref=nyregion

A new analysis of hundreds of thousands of cases in federal courts has found vast disparities in the prison sentences handed down by judges presiding over similar cases, raising questions about the extent to which federal sentences are influenced by the particular judges rather than by the specific circumstances of the cases.

The trove of data subjects individual district court judges to a level of scrutiny unprecedented in the history of the judiciary.

In the Eastern District of New York, for example, the 28 judges in the study delivered a median sentence of 24 months for drug cases in the past five years. But there were disparities: Judges Jack B. Weinstein and Kiyo A. Matsumoto gave median drug sentences of 12 months, while the median drug sentence for Judge Arthur D. Spatt was 64 months.

The Eastern District ranked 17th among more than 80 districts in drug sentencing disparities.

Until the release of the data on Monday, it was difficult to review a judge’s sentencing history over time, because public court records in criminal cases could not be searched by the names of judges, only by the names of criminal defendants or lawyers.

In addition, the United States Sentencing Commission excludes the name of the judge from its sentencing data, in part, experts said, because of the judiciary’s concern that such data could be used to single out judges, who were freed from restrictive sentencing guidelines in 2005.

The new data were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, an organization based at Syracuse University that gathers data on the federal government.

The study covered each sentence imposed by federal district court judges in the past five years, for drug, white-collar and other kinds of crimes. Judges who had not sentenced at least 50 defendants were excluded, resulting in a pool of 885 judges who cumulatively had sentenced more than 370,000 defendants.

The Southern District of New York ranked eighth in white-collar sentencing disparity. Some judges, like John F. Keenan and Sidney H. Stein, sentenced most of their white-collar defendants to no time at all, while the typical sentence of another judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, was almost 23 months.

The report said that in the Northern District of Texas, the median prison sentence for convicted drug defendants from some judges was as low as 60 months. A typical sentence for another judge was nearly three times as long, at 160 months.

Former federal judges and sentencing experts pointed to what they said were the limitations in analysis of the data and cautioned against quick conclusions.

“This kind of data doesn’t show very much,” said Nancy Gertner, a former judge in Federal District Court in Boston who favors releasing data about judges. “It doesn’t begin to address caseload or prosecutorial decisions. It doesn’t begin to address disparity.”

Prosecutors often recommend lower sentences for defendants who cooperated with the government to build cases against others. Some sentences might be a result of plea agreements.

The TRAC study did not separate cooperation agreements and plea deals before making calculations on disparities, but the database and analysis tool does include case-by-case details showing which cases fall into those categories.

Without a more detailed analysis of data, the judges and sentencing experts who were interviewed said they worried about the possibility of drawing judges into a heated debate driven not by policy decisions but by posturing of politicians who want to appear tough on crime.

“The unduly harsh judge escapes concern while the lenient judge gets hit,” said Douglas A. Berman, a professor at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio University, who closely follows sentencing law and policy.

Judge Gertner said, “The notion of the data surfacing in a rational, thoughtful world would not be a bad idea.” But she cautioned that she had “concerns that it will be used as part of this vitriolic political battle.”

The TRAC report seemed to anticipate the political stakes and cautioned against using the data to remove judicial discretion.

Congress sets penalties for federal crimes. For much of the history of the courts, federal judges, who are appointed by the president and confirmed to life terms by the Senate, were free to hand down sentences as they saw fit.

Congress passed the Sentencing Reform Act in 1984, spurred by evidence of sentencing disparities. The law established the federal sentencing commission, which wrote mandatory guidelines for judges to follow as they punished convicts, with similar sentences for offenders having comparable criminal histories who are convicted of the same crimes.

For example, a defendant convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute narcotics could face a sentence of 108 to 135 months under the guidelines. The range could be raised if the defendant played a leadership role in the crime or lowered if the defendant had a history of drug abuse or was a minor player in the crime.

But after a challenge to the constitutionality of requiring sentencing judges to consider facts that were not weighed by a jury, the Supreme Court untethered judges from the guidelines with its decision in the case of United States v. Booker in 2005. The sentencing guidelines are now advisory, not mandatory.

Judges again gained broad discretion, though in practice many still sentence defendants within the guideline ranges.

Still, questions again surfaced about whether judges with such latitude would treat convicted defendants fairly.

As recently as last October, a House subcommittee conducted a hearing titled “Uncertain Justice: The Status of Federal Sentencing and the U.S. Sentencing Commission Six Years after U.S. v. Booker.”

In the past, such hearings stoked controversy.

In a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting in 2002, Judge James M. Rosenbaum, then the chief District Court judge in Minnesota and a Ronald Reagan appointee, testified in support of legislation to decrease penalties for certain drug offenses.

Republican members of the committee made an inquiry into his sentencing history after the hearing. Congress then passed legislation that limited judicial discretion and authorized the collection of sentencing data on individual judges. The confrontation grew so heated that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, a conservative, came to the defense of the judiciary in a public statement. Justice Rehnquist warned that collecting data on judges’ sentencing practices “could amount to an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate individual judges.”

The TRAC data, which will be updated monthly, and a tool to analyze the data are available on the TRAC Web site for a fee.

“It’s profoundly valuable that TRAC will assemble this data,” Mr. Berman said. “But now it’s profoundly important that serious researchers get to the data.”

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18) Fed Study of Student Debt Outlines a Growing Burden
By ANDREW MARTIN and RON LIEBER
March 5, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/business/study-finds-a-growing-student-debt-load.html?ref=business

A report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York renews concerns about the growing debt load of college students and graduates.

The report suggests that as many as 27 percent of the 37 million borrowers have past-due balances of 30 days or more.

“In sum, student loan debt is not just a concern for the young,” the report said. “Parents and the federal government shoulder a substantial part of the postsecondary education bill.”

The report, which was created by an analysis of Equifax credit reports, said the total balance of student loans was $870 billion. Of the 241 million with Equifax credit reports (there are 311 million people in the United States), 15 percent had student debt.

Forty percent of the people under 30 had outstanding student loans, and the average outstanding debt is $23,300. About 10 percent of borrowers owe more than $54,000 and 3 percent owe more than $100,000.

Noting that existing figures on student loans are spotty and largely anecdotal, the Fed said its analysis was an attempt to provide more accurate accounting of delinquency data.

The Federal Reserve came up with the delinquency figure by excluding from their calculation borrowers who were still students or those who were granted permission to postpone payments because of financial hardship, graduate school or some other approved reason. Those borrowers represent about 47 percent of all borrowers. Fed economists suggest that they should not be considered when measuring the delinquency rate because they aren’t making payments.

If they were included in the total, the percentage of borrowers who were 30 days late in making payments is 14 percent.

Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, said the Fed study reinforced the need for borrowers to understand the distinction between federal loans and private loans and to know the available repayment options.

She noted that borrowers of federal loans were eligible for income-based repayment in which caps are placed on monthly payments to make them more affordable. In addition, she noted that borrowers of private student loans, which tend to have higher interest rates and fewer protections than federal loans, could now call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to register complaints.

The Fed’s numbers are similar to those published in a report a year ago by the Institute for Higher Education Policy. That study, based on a sampling of borrowers, found that 26 percent of borrowers who entered repayment in 2005 became delinquent but did not default. Fifteen percent of borrowers not only became delinquent but defaulted on their loans.

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