Saturday, March 10, 2012


Feeling Sad and Depressed?
Are you anxious?
Worried about the future?
Feeling isolated and alone?

You might be suffering from CAPITALISM

Symptoms may include: homelessness, unemployment, poverty, hunger, feelings of powerlessness, fear, apathy, boredom, cultural decay, loss of identity, extreme self-consciousness, loss of free speech, incarceration, suicidal or revolutionary thoughts, death.

As your local doctor, union or occupation about MayDayRX #MAY1


Shine a light for Bradley this Thursday!

Thursday, March 15th is the date of PFC Bradley Manning's next appearance at Ft. Meade, MD. During this motion hearing, the dates of Bradley's future hearings and court martial will be determined. The defense has requested that the court martial begin in May, while the prosecution is requesting an August start date. Considering that Bradley has already been forced to endure over 650 days of pretrial imprisonment, including eight months of solitary isolation, we see this effort to push back the date of the trial even further as yet another violation of his rights by a corrupt and unjust system. While Bradley stands in court, we will show our support by standing at the front gate of Ft. Meade in protest.

Organize friends and colleagues to gather on March 15th by a busy road, holding signs of support for Bradley Manning. Suggested messages include "Free Bradley Manning," "Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime," and "No show trial, no life in prison for accused whistle-blower." Please include our URL ( on the bottom of your posters, to ensure that people driving by know where to learn more if they are interested.

Take "I am Bradley Manning" photos with your friends, and submit them to

We call for these actions in solidarity with Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. We believe Bradley Manning is Sunshine Week's ultimate icon, as the actions attributed to him have shined more light on the inner workings of the U.S. military and state department than anything else in the "War on Terror" era.

Bradley Manning Support Network:

Donate to Defend Bradley Manning

Write to Bradley Manning at:
Bradley Manning #89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

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


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




_San Francisco Interfaith Allies for Occupy

Call for a Halt to Fraudulent Foreclosures this Monday!

10 am Monday, March 12
San Francisco City Hall
#1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place (across from Civic Center Plaza)

Gather at 10 AM
Brief Press Conference: 10:30 AM
Delegation to County Recorder's Office: City Hall, Room 190
Delegation to City Attorney's Office: City Hall, Room 234

We will supply you with a letter requesting to see your Deed of Trust to check for errors and indications of fraud.

Religious Leaders Wear clergy garb to the event on Monday morning.

Invite your congregation this weekend to join us on Monday morning. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure please email us so we can help.


Dear brothers and sisters,

Here and throughout our nation the foreclosure crisis has devastated our communities; families have lost their homes and their security, wealth has been drained out of our neighborhoods and our nation has suffered.

In the last three years, 12,000+ San Francisco families have faced foreclosures. Last month, Phil Ting, County Recorder, reported that after reviewing more than 400 foreclosures in San Francisco 84% of them had at least one clear violation of California foreclosure law and 66% of them had multiple violations.
This Monday, March 12, homeowners facing foreclosure in San Francisco and 20 other counties throughout the state, will be gathering at their city government offices calling for justice to be restored.

In San Francisco, homeowners and their supporters, will meet on the steps of City Hall infront Civic Center plaza at 10 AM to hold a brief press conference thanking Phil Ting for exposing the breadth and depth of the problem and calling for a moratorium on foreclosures until those responsible for fraudulent lending practices and foreclosures are prosecuted and foreclosure reform is passed in the state legislation.

Homeowners will be invited to enter the County Recorder's office and ask for their deeds of trust to inspect their personal home records for errors and indications of fraud.

Religious leaders are being asked to join our voices in calling the City and District Attorneys to put a halt to all foreclosures until a thorough investigation can be conducted, justice is restored to our city and hope restored to our people.


We will be asking authorities to put a halt to foreclosures and prosecute those responsible for fraudulent lending practices.

Questions email us:

San Francisco Allies of Occupy
Want to get involved! Join us every Tuesday, 4 PM
St. Patrick's Church, 756 Mission Street, San Francisco


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


Facebook: Occupy Glen Iris


Foreclosure Teach-In and Interfaith Roundtable

Join other religious leaders in a Foreclosure Teach-In and Faith Leaders Roundtable to learn more about the foreclosure crises and discuss our role as leaders in the faith community.

Wednesday, March 14
3:00 -5:00 PM

Double Rock Baptist Church
1595 Shafter Ave, San Francisco

Questions email us:

San Francisco Allies of Occupy
Want to get involved! Join us every Tuesday, 4 PM
St. Patrick's Church, 756 Mission Street, San Francisco


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:

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.


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 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

• 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
(518) 227-6947
P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054

Send donations to: or to use a credit card, go here:


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 or UNAC at P.O. Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054

To add your email to the new CANGATE listserve, send an email to:

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

Click here to hear audio of the August 28 meeting:

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

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

NATO and the G8 Represent the 1%.

For more info: or email us at


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.

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.



Occupy the PGA in Benton Harbor, MI May 23-27, 2012

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

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!

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


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



The CIA's Heart Attack Gun


Channel 2 investigation highlights racial discrepancies in marijuana arrests


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.
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 Twitter HashTag #OccupyThePGA Facebook Event Page


The Invisible American Workforce


Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

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:, 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


Anti-War Demonstrators Storm Pentagon 1967/10/24


Liberal Hypocrisy on Obama Vs Bush - Poll


Greek trade unionists and black bloc October 2011!


The Battle of Oakland
by brandon jourdan plus

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.


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
February 1, 2012, 10:56 am


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

More at The Real News


Defending The People's Mic
by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street
The North Star
January 20, 2012
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.


"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


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: (


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.

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.


NATO, G8 In Chicago: More Details Released, City Grants First Protest Permit
January 12, 2012


Release Bradley Manning
Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)
Written by Graham Nash and James Raymond (son of David Crosby)

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 -


FREEDOM ROAD - A Tribute to Mumia sung by Renn Lee


(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.


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.


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.


School police increasingly arresting American students?

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.


"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


1293. Big Coal Don't Like This Man At All (Original) - with Marco Acca on guitar

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:

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).

To see the complete lyrics and chords please click here:

You can see a playlist of my mining songs here:

You can hear a playlist of my original songs (in alphabetical order) here:

For lyrics and chords of all my songs, please see my website:


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.


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?


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

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AT: 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!


We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools


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


The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Documentary Footage (1963)


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

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


Busby: Fukushima 'criminal event' calls for investigation
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Dec 27, 2011!

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.


HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




ILWU Local 10 Longshore Workers Speak-Out At Oakland Port Shutdown

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
For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:
Production of Labor Video Project


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

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.


Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera y Trotsky Video Original


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 November 11

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Rafeef Ziadah - 'Shades of anger', London, 12.11.11


News: Massive anti-nuclear demonstration in Fukuoka Nov. 12, 2011


Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets


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


Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown Oakland

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II


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


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street
By adele pham

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


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change




The Preacher and the Slave - Joe Hill


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

How Much Is $1 Trillion?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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



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

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
Manage Subscriptions for
Sign Up for Updates from the White House
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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:


"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:


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


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale





Free-Speech Argument in Appeal of Disbarred Lawyer's Sentence
February 29, 2012

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:

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


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.


Mumia Abu-Jamal Transferred Out of Solitary Confinement, Into General Population
Posted on January 27, 2012

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: ""
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 - 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 .
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

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 -

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: ""
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 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



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.

[your name]


Urgent Appeal to Occupy and All Social Justice Movements: Mobilize to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Endorse the statement here:

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. and


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:

---------- 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.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Christopher Ott, Communications Director, 617-482-3170 x322,

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:

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



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)


"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" book

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:, 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]


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.!/petition/free-pfc-bradley-manning-accused-wikileaks-whistleblower/kX1GJKsD?


Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests

The CSFR Signs Letter to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

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

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

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

[Read the full text of the letter here:]

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

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


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




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, 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

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

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

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

Bradley Manning 89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

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

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

Courage to Resist needs your support
Please donate today:

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

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

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

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


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

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

Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
to Fitzgerald, Holder and Obama

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


The Battle Is Still On To
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

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

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


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

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


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

Bring all your friends - signs and banners - bullhorns.

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

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

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

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

World Can't Wait, SF Bay



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thank you for your generosity!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) US Congress passes authoritarian anti-protest law
By Tom Carter
3 March 2012

2) Deepwater Oil Drilling Picks Up Again as BP Disaster Fades
March 4, 2012

3) Slum Dwellers Are Defying Brazil's Grand Design for Olympics
March 4, 2012

4) Hard-Working Teachers, Sabotaged When Student Test Scores Slip
March 4, 2012

5) 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.'"
March 5, 2012

6) 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."
March 6, 2012

7) 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."
March 5, 2012

8) Fed Study of Student Debt Outlines a Growing Burden
March 5, 2012

9) Black students face tougher discipline in Chicago and the U.S.
March 6, 2012

10) Stuck in Arbitration
March 6, 2012

11) New Poultry Inspection Rule Risks Public Health
"The rule, proposed by the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, would increase the maximum line speed from the current 91 chickens per minute to 175 per minute. It also would reduce from three to two the number of federal food safety inspectors per line."
By Mike Hall
March 7, 2012

12) From Michael Thurman, recent GI resister.
March 8, 2012

13) Drug Policy as Race Policy: Best Seller Galvanizes the Debate
March 6, 2012

14) Japan's Nuclear Energy Industry Nears Shutdown, at Least for Now
March 8, 2012

15) Highest Court in Mississippi Upholds 9 Pardons
March 8, 2012

16) Police Officer Guilty of Falsifying Information
March 8, 2012

17) A Condo That Could Be Yours for $77.5 Million
March 8, 2012, 7:10 pm

18) Summary Box: Spanish Unions Call General Strike
March 9, 2012

19) Feds Will Not Renew Women's Health Program
by Emily Ramshaw
March 9, 2012

20) America Is Stealing the World's Doctors
March 7, 2012

21) Mortgage Crisis Inspires Churches to Send Lenten Season Message to Banks
March 9, 2012

22) Executive Pay Capped at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
March 9, 2012


1) US Congress passes authoritarian anti-protest law
By Tom Carter
3 March 2012

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.


2) Deepwater Oil Drilling Picks Up Again as BP Disaster Fades
March 4, 2012

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.


3) Slum Dwellers Are Defying Brazil's Grand Design for Olympics
March 4, 2012

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.


4) Hard-Working Teachers, Sabotaged When Student Test Scores Slip
March 4, 2012

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.


5) 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.'"
March 5, 2012

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."


6) 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."
March 6, 2012

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


7) 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."
March 5, 2012

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."


8) Fed Study of Student Debt Outlines a Growing Burden
March 5, 2012

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.


9) Black students face tougher discipline in Chicago and the U.S.
March 6, 2012

African American students receive disproportionately harsher discipline than non-minorities in schools nationwide - and especially in Chicago, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday.

Duncan, Chicago's Schools CEO until 2009, said the "most alarming findings'' in a new analysis of school equity issues involved "the sad fact'' that minority students face "much harsher discipline" than non-minorities and "some of the worst discrepancies are in my home town of Chicago.''

Although African American students represented 45 percent of the Chicago Public School enrollment in 2009-2010, 76 percent of students receiving at least one out-of-school suspension that year were black, new federal data from the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights showed.

That means CPS's African American students were five times as likely to be suspended as their white peers, relative to their presence in the overall student population. That's the third-highest black-white suspension ratio among 20 big-city districts examined, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of the federal data indicated.

The new data emerged just as students from Voices of Youth in Chicago Education calculated that CPS students lost 306,731 days of school last school year due to out-of-school suspensions. Students said too many CPS schools are too quick to suspend - especially for non-violent incidents - and too lax to talk out problems with students.

In Chicago, disruptive behavior on a bus results in a five-day out-of-school suspension but in Baltimore and Denver, other options are used first, a VOYCE analysis indicated. One CPS student said she was suspended for 10 days in September because she did not wear her uniform and failed to display her student identification at Robeson High School.

CPS's suspension policy is "too harsh,'' said another, Victor Alquicira. "They throw around suspensions as if they were nothing.''

Duncan said that when he was Chicago Schools CEO, he was "troubled'' by data indicating that a small number of CPS schools were generating a high number of arrests - "the vast majority for minor or petty things, things that could have been much better handled than by picking up the phone and calling police.'' Two adjacent schools could have wildly different arrest rates, merely because of the difference in the "adult response'' to a problem, he said.

Duncan said he tried to implement more peer juries and rewards for positive behavior, but "Chicago, like a lot of districts, has a long way to go.'' A database similar to that released by his department would have been helpful when he was Chicago Schools CEO, Duncan said.

A CPS spokeswoman said current Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard is trying to encourage alternatives to out-of-school suspensions, created a position of director of Youth Development and Positive Behavior to attack the problem and is working on revisions to the student disciplinary code.

Some signs of progress are indicated in an expulsion rate that has dropped by 43 percent compared to the same time period last year, said CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler.

Other federal data Monday indicated that nationally, minority students have less access to rigorous high school curricula and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers.

"The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise,'' Duncan said. "It is our collective duty to change that.''

A chart available at the website:


10) Stuck in Arbitration
March 6, 2012

Stanford, Calif.

YOU buy a cellphone, computer or car. You sign up for a credit card or open a retirement account. You apply for a job.

In all these circumstances, you're told that you must agree to dozens of terms and conditions, set forth in technical verbiage and tiny print. Eager to complete your purchase - or desperate to be hired - you ultimately sign without reading.

If you're lucky, nothing goes wrong. But a growing number of consumers and job seekers discover, when something does go wrong, that they have unknowingly agreed to waive their right to file a lawsuit. Instead, they must submit to arbitration.

For some, arbitration proves too costly to pursue. Among those who can afford the fees, many learn they cannot enforce their legal rights because arbitration decisions do not need to be based on the law; arbitrators have their own procedures, and some studies have found that they are systematically biased in favor of the companies that hire them. Lawyers are often unwilling to represent arbitration complainants because of award caps in the agreements. And increasingly, these accords bar class-wide arbitrations. Because arbitration decisions are typically not disclosed and not subject to appeal, consumers and workers are left without recourse and must bear the cost of unfair, deceptive and harmful practices.

One 2008 study in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform examined employment and consumer contracts used by 21 major corporations and found mandatory arbitration clauses in 93 percent of the employment contracts and 77 percent of the consumer contracts. But Congress has repeatedly failed to step in and fix this system. The proposed Arbitration Fairness Act of 2011 would be a step in the right direction. The legislation would make predispute agreements to arbitrate consumer and employment disputes unenforceable. Similar bills, introduced in 2007 and 2009, both died in committee.

It wasn't always this way.

Until the early 20th century, American courts often refused to enforce agreements to arbitrate, insisting that parties ought to have their day in court. This began to change with the 1925 enactment of the Federal Arbitration Act, which established that agreements to arbitrate were enforceable like any other contract.

While the arbitration act was initially envisioned as applying primarily to disputes between commercial equals, since the 1980s, the United States Supreme Court has interpreted it in ways that have facilitated corporate America's efforts to force consumers and employees into arbitration. This trend has accelerated in the last few years.

The standard historical account begins with the Federal Arbitration Act, but the practice of extrajudicial dispute resolution has a much longer history. Mid-19th century Americans across several territories and states - including Florida, California and New York - engaged in a nearly forgotten debate concerning "conciliation courts."

Widely adopted throughout Europe and its colonies during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, these were institutions composed of respected community leaders seeking to persuade disputants to accept an equitable compromise in secret, lawyer-free proceedings and without regard to the formal rule of law.

Despite the efforts of American proponents of these courts, proposals to establish them went nowhere. In the view of their opponents (including businessmen and lawyers), such courts were incompatible with the American commitment to freedom.

Adjudication, they successfully insisted, was a vital bulwark of liberty. It enabled individuals to publicly assert their rights as equal citizens under the law. As one delegate to the 1846 New York State Constitutional Convention argued, "In a free country like this" - one "where every man was the equal of his fellow-man" - "there would always be litigation."

There was one exception to the failure of conciliation courts to take root here. The Freedmen's Bureau courts established in the Reconstruction South to provide justice to the recently freed slaves were modeled on European conciliation courts.

These courts were embraced by the white Northern elite precisely because of perceived parallels between the newly freed African-Americans and European peasants, many of whom had themselves only recently been released from serfdom. But members of this same elite refused to subject those they called Yankees (namely, white men like themselves) to conciliation.

As this history suggests, leading Americans concluded that the practice of conciliation was incompatible with full citizenship in a free democracy. Although we rightly cringe at these men's willingness to subject particular groups to what they viewed as lesser forms of justice, this history is worth recalling today as ordinary citizens are increasingly being forced into arbitration under the guise of free contract.

This is not to suggest that arbitration today and conciliation of the sort described here are identical. Nor is it to claim that our court system is flawless or that arbitration is always inappropriate. When freely entered and in certain kinds of disputes (especially those between commercial entities), arbitration can save much time and expense to the satisfaction of all.

But as deployed by corporations against many thousands of individual consumers and employees, it bears a troubling likeness to the 19th-century concept of conciliation as a practice suited only for a subservient underclass.

It is long past time for Congress to intervene. The Arbitration Fairness Act is no panacea, but it's a start.

Amalia D. Kessler, a professor of law and legal history at Stanford University, is working on a book on the 19th-century origins of American adversarial legal culture.


11) New Poultry Inspection Rule Risks Public Health
"The rule, proposed by the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, would increase the maximum line speed from the current 91 chickens per minute to 175 per minute. It also would reduce from three to two the number of federal food safety inspectors per line."
By Mike Hall
March 7, 2012

A proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would not only reduce the number of trained federal food safety inspectors on the lines in poultry processing plants and allow plant management to nearly double the speed of those lines, it would also turn many inspection duties over to plant employees.

Stan Painter, chairman of AFGE's National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, says:

We have concerns and I think the consuming public would have concerns about the process of which their poultry-turkey and chicken products-would now be inspected by plant employees.

The rule, proposed by the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, would increase the maximum line speed from the current 91 chickens per minute to 175 per minute. It also would reduce from three to two the number of federal food safety inspectors per line.

Under a Freedom of Information Act request, the group Food and Water Watch obtained more than 5,000 pages of documents on a pilot program operating under the proposed rule's guidelines and found that:

large numbers of defects are routinely being missed when inspection tasks are performed by company employees instead of USDA inspectors.

Food and Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter, says:

Based on the data coming out of the plants, where this privatized inspection scheme is already in place, it is unacceptable for USDA to try to expand this program to more plants.

She says that federal inspectors receive extensive training to protect public health in poultry facilities, "but there is no similar requirement for company employees to receive training before they assume these inspection responsibilities in the proposed privatized inspection system."

AFGE's Painter says federal food inspectors take pride in their work to protect public safety.

That little dime-sized seal that says inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we want that little seal to mean something. We don't it to just be window dressing or give people a good feeling or false sense of security that their product in the future is as safe as it currently is today.

The comment period on the new rules is open until April 26, and you can click here to submit your comments:!documentDetail;D=FSIS-2011-0012-0001

For more from Painter on AFGE's "Inside Government" program, click here:

and click here for more from Food and Water Watch:


12) From Michael Thurman, recent GI resister.
March 8, 2012

I applied for a conscientious objection discharge from the US Air Force in 2007. With the help of Courage to Resist, I was able to navigate that process successfully and I received an honorable discharge eight months later. However, today as a counselor to US military objectors, I know that things do not always go as well for others, regardless of the merits of their application. We have a lot of work to do to better support the troops who refuse to fight. It's because of the financial support of thousands of folks like yourself that I'm able to do this work as a Courage to Resist staff member.

Donate to Courage to Resist today
(More information and options regarding donations)

Today, I'm interested in making sure our mission of supporting GI resisters-accused WikiLeaks truth-teller Army PFC Bradley Manning, for example-adapts to and becomes part of the broader forces gathering against US militarism and empire.

We have an atrocious and seemingly endless war and uncertain future in Afghanistan. We have not actually "withdrawn" from Iraq. We have covert wars and an expanding military presence all over the world. We have the most significant military whistle-blower of our generation, Bradley Manning, facing life in prison. And every day we're hearing threats of an attack on the nation of Iran-not unlike the propaganda fed us in the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2004.

With the backing of thousands of friends like you, Courage to Resist has had a great history of supporting individual military resisters refusing illegal war, occupation and policies of empire-from "all the way back" when Marine L/Cpl Stephen Funk publicly refused to deploy to Iraq in April 2003, to when Army Lt. Ehren Watada became the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq in May 2006, to the hundreds of lower profile objectors we've assisted since. We've been able to do this work by collaborating with concerned community members, veterans, military families-and folks like you. Like our mission statement says, I really do believe that by supporting GI resistance, counter recruiting and draft resistance, we can harness "people power" to weaken the pillars that maintain these seemingly endless wars.

With your help, we hope to increase our current GI resister support infrastructure, better ensuring that the military personnel are aware of the support available to them. We must continue building our network to support mass GI resistance to current and future US wars in order to live up to our mission of "cutting off the supply of troops". Such a movement will be a deterrent to the structures of power. Through military counter-recruiting efforts, I believe we simply need to do a better job at preventing the entry of our youth into military service in the first place.

I believe the most important challenges facing recent veterans include:

* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-which is not really a disorder at all, but a natural reaction to trauma
* Skyrocketing rates of incarceration in jails and prisons
* Military Sexual Trauma, including occurrences of rape by coworkers in the military that far exceed civilian rates

I am always trying to figure out how we can increase our collaboration with other groups to address related, but broader issues, more effectively. These issues include the growing use of unmanned "drone" aircraft by the US military-not only the death and destruction they wreak on the Middle East, but their growing popularity with domestic police for surveillance. Given the fact that the US military industrial complex is the largest polluting entity in the world, I think we should better connect with friends who are primarily motivated by environmental concerns in order to confront this issue.

I'm excited by the class consciousness that has arisen with the occupy movement-a movement that soldiers and veterans are definitely a part of. Then there is the worldwide May Day general strike. The NATO meeting protest in Chicago, and the G8 meeting near DC, in May. The Republican and Democratic National Conventions. A big part of my job will be trying to advance our bottom up movement in support of GI resisters, specifically Bradley Manning, within the context of all of these upcoming events. At this moment in history, I encourage you to support and become more involved in our collective efforts.

I cannot thank you enough for supporting our very important and essential work for more peaceful and just world.

In Solidarity,
Michael Thurman
Courage to Resist organizer
Donate to Courage to Resist:


13) Drug Policy as Race Policy: Best Seller Galvanizes the Debate
March 6, 2012

Garry McCarthy, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, did not expect to hear anything too startling when he appeared at a conference on drug policy organized last year by an African-American minister in Newark, where he was the police director.

But then a law professor named Michelle Alexander took the stage and delivered an impassioned speech attacking the war on drugs as a system of racial control comparable to slavery and Jim Crow - and received a two-minute standing ovation from the 500 people in the audience.

"These were not young people living in high-crime neighborhoods," Mr. McCarthy, now police superintendent in Chicago, recalled in telephone interview. "This was the black middle class."

"I don't believe in the government conspiracy, but what you have to accept is that that narrative exists in the community and has to be addressed," he said. "That was my real a-ha moment."

Mr. McCarthy is not alone. During the past two years Professor Alexander has been provoking such moments across the country - and across the political spectrum - with her book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," which has become a surprise best seller since its paperback version came out in January. Sales have totaled some 175,000 copies after an initial hardcover printing of a mere 3,000, according to the publisher, the New Press.

The book marshals pages of statistics and legal citations to argue that the get-tough approach to crime that began in the Nixon administration and intensified with Ronald Reagan's declaration of the war on drugs has devastated black America. Today, Professor Alexander writes, nearly one-third of black men are likely to spend time in prison at some point, only to find themselves falling into permanent second-class citizenship after they get out. That is a familiar argument made by many critics of the criminal justice system, but Professor Alexander's book goes further, asserting that the crackdown was less a response to the actual explosion of violent crime than a deliberate effort to push back the gains of the civil rights movement.

For many African-Americans, the book - which has spent six weeks on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list - gives eloquent and urgent expression to deep feelings that the criminal justice system is stacked against them.

"Everyone in the African-American community had been seeing exactly what she is talking about but couldn't put it into words," said Phillip Jackson, executive director of the Black Star Project, an educational advocacy group in Chicago that has been blasting its 60,000 e-mail subscribers with what Mr. Jackson called near-daily messages about the book and Professor Alexander since he saw a video of her speaking in 2010.

The book is also galvanizing white readers, including some who might question its portrayal of the war on drugs as a continuation of race war by other means.

"The book is helping white folks who otherwise would have simply dismissed that idea understand why so many people believe it," said David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "It is making them take that seriously."

"The New Jim Crow" arrives at a receptive moment, when declining crime rates and exploding prison budgets have made conservatives and liberals alike more ready to question the wisdom of keeping nearly 1 in 100 Americans behind bars. But Professor Alexander, who teaches at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, said in an interview that the more provocative claims of her book did not come easily to her. When she first encountered the "New Jim Crow" metaphor on a protest sign in Oakland, Calif., a decade ago, she was a civil rights lawyer with an impeccable résumé - Stanford Law School, a Supreme Court clerkship - and was leery of embracing arguments that might be considered, as she put it, "crazy."

Professor Alexander, who is black, knew that African-Americans were overrepresented in prison, though she resisted the idea that this was anything more than unequal implementation of colorblind laws. But her work as director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Project in Northern California, she said, opened her eyes to the extent of the lifelong exclusion many offenders face, including job discrimination, elimination from juries and voter rolls, and even disqualification from food stamps, public housing and student loans.

"It's easy to be completely unaware that this vast new system of racial and social control has emerged," she said. "Unlike in Jim Crow days, there were no 'Whites Only' signs. This system is out of sight, out of mind."

In conversation, she disputes any suggestion that she is describing a conspiracy. While the title is "provocative," she said, the book contains no descriptions of people gathering secretly in rooms.

"The main thrust," she said, "is to show how historically both our conscious and unconscious biases and anxieties have played out over and over again to birth these vast new systems of social control."

Whatever Professor Alexander's account of the origins of mass incarceration, her overall depiction of its human costs is resonating even with people who disagree with her politics.

Rick Olson, a state representative in Michigan, was one of the few whites and few Republicans in the room when Professor Alexander gave a talk sponsored by the state's black caucus in January.

"I had never before connected the dots between the drug war, unequal enforcement, and how that reinforces poverty," Representative Olson said. "I thought, 'Gee whiz, let me get this book.' "

Reading it, he said, inspired him to draft a bill decriminalizing the use and possession of marijuana.

The Rev. Charles Hubbard, the pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, a mostly white evangelical congregation in Garland, Tex., said he had started carrying the book with him everywhere and urges fellow pastors to preach about it, though he acknowledged it could be a tough sell in Texas.

"I think people need to hear the message," he said. "I don't think Anglo folks have any idea how difficult it is for African-American men who get caught up in the criminal justice system."

Mr. Hubbard said he was particularly impressed by how "well-documented" Professor Alexander's book is. But to some of the book's detractors, including those deeply sympathetic to her goal of ending mass incarceration, its scholarship falls short.

In an article to be published next month in The New York University Law Review, James Forman Jr., a clinical professor at Yale Law School and a former public defender, calls mass incarceration a social disaster but challenges what he calls Professor Alexander's "myopic" focus on the war on drugs.

Painting the war on drugs as mainly a backlash against the gains of the civil rights movement, Professor Forman writes, ignores the violent crime wave of the 1970s and minimizes the support among many African-Americans for get-tough measures. Furthermore, he argues, drug offenders make up less than 25 percent of the nation's total prison population, while violent offenders - who receive little mention in "The New Jim Crow" - make up a much larger share.

"Even if every single one of these drug offenders were released tomorrow," he writes, "the United States would still have the world's largest prison system."

To Professor Alexander, however, that argument neglects the full scope of the problem. Our criminal "caste system," as she calls it, affects not just the 2.3 million people behind bars, but also the 4.8 million others on probation or parole (predominately for nonviolent offenses), to say nothing of the millions more whose criminal records stigmatize them for life.

"This system depends on the prison label, not just prison time," she said.

In a telephone interview, Professor Forman, a son of the civil rights leader James Forman, praised the book's "spectacular" success in raising awareness of the issue. And some activists say their political differences with Professor Alexander's account matter less than the overall picture she paints of a brutal and unjust system.

Craig M. DeRoche, director of external affairs at the Justice Fellowship, the advocacy arm of Prison Fellowship, a Christian ministry founded by the former Nixon aide Charles Colson, said he rejected the political history in "The New Jim Crow" but still considered it essential reading for conservatives.

"The facts are the facts," he said. "The numbers are the numbers."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 8, 2012

An article on Wednesday about the book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," by Michelle Alexander, misstated, in some editions, a word in a comment by Rick Olson, a state legislator in Michigan, about his reaction to a talk by Professor Alexander. He said, "I had never before connected the dots between the drug war, unequal enforcement, and how that reinforces poverty" - not unequal "reinforcement."


14) Japan's Nuclear Energy Industry Nears Shutdown, at Least for Now
March 8, 2012

OHI, Japan - All but two of Japan's 54 commercial reactors have gone offline since the nuclear disaster a year ago, after the earthquake and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next month, Japan - once one of the world's leaders in atomic energy - will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once generated a third of its electricity.

With few alternatives, the prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has called for restarting the plants as soon as possible, saying he supports a gradual phase-out of nuclear power over several decades. Yet, fearing public opposition, he has said he will not restart the reactors without the approval of local community leaders.

Japan has so far succeeded in avoiding shortages, thanks in part to a drastic conservation program that has involved turning off air-conditioning in the summer and office lights during the day. It has also increased generation from conventional plants that use more expensive natural gas and other fossil fuels in a nation already uneasy about its reliance on foreign sources of energy.

The loss of nuclear power has hurt in another way: economists blame the higher energy prices for causing Japan's first annual trade deficit in more than three decades, which has weakened the yen and raised concerns about the future of the country's export-driven economy. And as the weather warms, Japan faces a possible energy crisis, considering that last summer it still had 19 nuclear plants in operation.

On a more fundamental level, the standoff over nuclear power underscores just how much the trauma of the Fukushima accident has changed attitudes in Japan, long one of the world's most committed promoters of civilian atomic energy. Political and energy experts describe nothing short of a nationwide loss of faith, not only in Japan's once-vaunted nuclear technology but also in the government, which many blame for allowing the accident to happen.

"March 11 has shaken Japan to the root of its postwar identity," said Takeo Kikkawa, an economist who specializes in energy issues at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. "We were the country that suffered Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but then we showed we had the superior technology and technocratic expertise to safely tame this awesome power for peaceful economic progress. Nuclear accidents were things that happened in other countries."

Hoping to allay the safety concerns of local communities, the government has asked plant operators to conduct so-called stress tests: computer simulations designed to show how the reactors would hold up during a large natural disaster like the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that disabled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, where three reactors melted down after the cooling systems shut down. But many local leaders say the stress tests are not enough, and want additional proof that the government has learned the lessons of the Fukushima accident.

The contest over the future of atomic energy in Japan is unfolding in this fishing town of 8,800 residents, 550 miles southwest of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant and areas contaminated by its fallout. Two of the reactors at the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant were the first to finish the stress tests, making it a crucial test case of whether Japan's nuclear plants can be restarted.

The sprawling plant here was not damaged by the earthquake or tsunami but sits idled anyway because of a standoff caused by a legal quirk: Japanese law requires reactors to be shut down every 13 months for routine checkups, which typically take three or four months. But over the last year the plant's operator, Kansai Electric Power, has been forced to shut down all four of the plant's reactors, unable to restart them because of opposition from local residents.

"After seeing what happened in Okuma, Futaba and Iitate, we cannot just turn these things back on," said Shinobu Tokioka, the mayor of Ohi, naming evacuated communities near the Fukushima plant. He said he thought the reactors would eventually be turned back on because his and other host communities need the plant-related jobs and other revenues.

In many respects, Japan is already on the road to recovery from the huge earthquake and tsunami, which killed as many as 19,000 people, and to a lesser degree from the nuclear accident. The northeastern coastal towns that were flattened by the waves have cleaned up millions of tons of debris and are beginning to rebuild.

But it is the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi that looks likely to have a more lasting impact, even though it has yet to claim a single life. Japan is just beginning what promises to be a radiation cleanup that will last decades of the evacuated areas around the plant, where nearly 90,000 residents lost their homes. The nation is also groping to find effective ways to monitor health and protect its food supply from contamination by the accident, which government scientists now say released about a fifth as much radioactive cesium as the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Then there are the new feelings of distrust in technology and in the government, which many Japanese now blame for hiding the true dangers of the nuclear accident. At the same time, this resource-poor nation also knows that it has few realistic alternatives to nuclear power, at least in the short term.

This has left many Japanese torn about whether to continue using nuclear power. These conflicting feelings are apparent in host communities like Ohi, a once-impoverished town that has prospered from the jobs and the $450 million brought by the nuclear plant since the 1970s. After first installing indoor plumbing for most residents and improving roads, the town moved on to flashy public works projects, and now boasts a hot springs resort, a sports complex with an indoor pool and lighted baseball diamond, and an indoor children's playground featuring a full-size mock sailing ship on a sea of rubber balls.

It is a similar story at other communities along this stretch of coast in western Japan's Fukui Prefecture, which is known as Nuclear Alley because it has three other plants in addition to the Ohi plant.

"We had allowed ourselves to become addicted to nuclear money, until Fukushima broke the spell," said Tetsuen Nakajima, 70, the abbot of Myotsuji, a 1,200-year-old Buddhist temple in Obama, a city next to Ohi. He said he now feared for the ancient temple's safety from the nearby plants.

So far, the stress tests appear to have done little to ease public concerns, in part because they were begun before investigators had even reached conclusions about what actually caused the meltdowns at Fukushima. Last month, nuclear regulators responded with a list of 30 "lessons" from last year's accident.

In an interview, Ohi's mayor, Mr. Tokioka, said the list was not enough, and repeated his demand for new guidelines even though writing them might take months.

"The national government has to show us that it has learned from the mistakes at Fukushima Daiichi," said Mr. Tokioka, 74.

At the same time, Mr. Tokioka said he thought the reactors would eventually have to be turned back on, especially if the shutdown begins to hurt the local economy or disrupts electrical supplies. Other residents expressed similarly conflicted feelings.

"No one wants to go back to living the same way we did 50 years ago, without cellphones or TVs," said Mitsuyoshi Kunai, a 54-year-old fisherman who tended his nets just a few miles from the Ohi plant. "Fukushima showed us that nuclear power is dangerous, but we still need it."


15) Highest Court in Mississippi Upholds 9 Pardons
March 8, 2012

Bringing a definitive close to the legal controversy that has swarmed since former Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi gave pardons to nearly 200 felons in his last days in office, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the judicial branch did not have the power to void those pardons.

The court, in a 6-to-3 decision, found that pardon procedures lay outside its constitutional authority, and that to interfere even in cases where those procedures were flouted would violate separation of powers.

While the pardons, which went overwhelmingly to people who had already finished their prison terms, were met with widespread bewilderment and even anger when they were issued in January, the governor's motives were never legally challenged. But the state attorney general, Jim Hood, began a push to have them thrown out.

At the heart of the debate was Section 124 of Mississippi's Constitution, which gives pardon power exclusively to the governor, but also requires applicants to have their petitions for pardon "published for 30 days, in some newspaper in the county where the crime was committed."

Mr. Hood said all but 22 of those pardoned had failed to meet this requirement, rendering their pardons invalid. He challenged them in circuit court, but the State Supreme Court quickly took up the issue.

Lawyers for nine of those pardoned - four who had been working as trusties at the Governor's Mansion and five who are the only ones still in prison - argued that the courts did not have the authority to determine whether procedures were followed correctly. The Constitution not only gave the governor the power to pardon, they said, but also left it solely to the governor to determine whether they were issued properly.

The court's majority agreed.

"While this court clearly has the constitutional duty to interpret the content of laws passed by the Legislature and executive orders issued by the governor," wrote Justice Jess H. Dickinson in his majority opinion, "we decline - as have so many other courts before us - to assume for ourselves the absolute power to police the other branches of government in fulfilling their constitutional duties to produce laws and executive orders, unless there is alleged a justifiable violation of a personal right."

In a dissent, Chief Justice William L. Waller Jr. argued that the State Constitution put limits on the governor's pardon power, and that the court was obligated to make sure those limits were not crossed.

"Certainly, no one would argue that a court could investigate and determine the wisdom or propriety of a governor's acts, including pardons," he wrote. "However, the constitutionality of a governor's acts, including pardons, is a question which the court must determine."

Mr. Barbour expressed gratitude toward the court and defended the pardons as "decisions based on repentance, rehabilitation and redemption, leading to forgiveness and the right defined and given by the State Constitution to the governor to offer such people a second chance."

Mr. Hood criticized the decision, saying, "It is truly unfortunate that a majority of the court has stricken from our Constitution a right to notice of a pardon reserved by the people of Mississippi in our 1890 Constitution." He said he would push for an amendment to Section 124 "to make it very clear that the judicial branch is responsible for enforcing the 30-day notification period."

While the decision applied only to the nine pardons, an opposite ruling would have put the vast majority of the others in jeopardy.

The five who are still in prison are beginning the procedures for release, which should happen within the next 48 hours, said a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. And the men who worked at the Governor's Mansion, including four murderers whose pardons attracted the most controversy, now have clean records.

Tiffany Brewer, whose sister was killed by one of the men, said she had somewhat expected this decision. Though her family was still angered by the pardon, she said, "we kind of had in the back of our minds that it would end up like this."

She added: "It wasn't a win or lose situation for us. We lost 18 years ago."


16) Police Officer Guilty of Falsifying Information
March 8, 2012

A New York City police officer was convicted on Thursday of lying under oath and filing false information to obtain a search warrant, the second conviction in what prosecutors described as a scheme to cover up illegal searches of vehicles.

The officer, Michael Carsey, 31, was acquitted in September of other charges. His prior supervisor, William Eiseman, a former sergeant, pleaded guilty in June to performing illegal searches of cars and an apartment of people he had stopped, and then lying in court about why he had performed the searches.

Mr. Eiseman, who lost his job as a result of his guilty plea, had supervised the Impact Response Team, made up mostly of recent Police Academy graduates like Officer Carsey, in Upper Manhattan. The unit patrols high-crime neighborhoods.

Mr. Eiseman, 39, and Officer Carsey, prosecutors said, said they had smelled marijuana coming from an illegally parked van. In seeking a search warrant for the driver's home, both testified that the man had admitted to having contraband in his apartment, where drugs and a gun were later found. But the two had actually learned of the contraband when they found pictures on the man's phone, prosecutors said. The case against the driver was eventually dismissed.

"Police officers take an oath to protect and serve, and have a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of their profession," said the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. "Failure to do so risks damaging the reputation of their peers and violating the public's trust.

Officer Carsey's lawyer, Richard H. B. Murray, said he was disappointed in the jury's verdict in State Supreme Court in Manhattan and thought his client was "collateral damage" from the investigation of Mr. Eiseman.

Mr. Eiseman, a 12-year police veteran, accepted a deal that called for him to serve weekends in jail for three months. Officer Carsey faces up to seven years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for May 3.


17) A Condo That Could Be Yours for $77.5 Million
March 8, 2012, 7:10 pm

Time to hock Grandma's silverware. Christopher M. Jeffries, a founding partner of Millennium Partners, has put his 10,882-square-foot duplex at 50 Central Park South on the market for $77.5 million. Mr. Jeffries's sprawling apartment takes up the 30th and 31st floors, has 26 windows fronting the park and an expansive terrace with sweeping views of the greenery rolling out like a forested carpet. The apartment, which Mr. Jeffries bought for a mere $20 million in 2002, is now the highest-priced condo on the market.


18) Summary Box: Spanish Unions Call General Strike
March 9, 2012

STRIKE PLANS: Spanish labor unions mounted their first big challenge to the country's new government Friday, calling a general strike for March 29 to protest new labor reforms and austerity measures.

AT ISSUE: The reforms slash the cost of firing workers and make it easier to do so. Salaries can be lowered unilaterally, and companies can lay off employees at the cheapest level of severance pay by reporting three straight months of declining revenue.

OFFICIAL REACTION: Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said a strike will not help a country with more than 5 million people out of work.


19) Feds Will Not Renew Women's Health Program
by Emily Ramshaw
March 9, 2012

The federal government will not renew the Women's Health Program, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in Houston on Friday, the day after Gov. Rick Perry announced Texas would continue the program with or without the Obama administration's help.

On a tour of Houston's Ben Taub hospital, Sebelius said the state had been "put on notice" that the waiver program was ending, according to a report in The Houston Chronicle.

The news was not unexpected - Texas had been waiting for formal word from the federal government for weeks.

Perry's office released a statement chiding Sebelius for making the announcement on a hospital tour, as opposed to telling the state formally.

The fact that the Obama Administration would announce its decision to deny care for more than 100,000 low income women during a press event before giving official notice to the state is a clear demonstration of the political motivation behind this decision," Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said. "We await official word from the Administration on this matter and in the meantime, at Gov. Perry's direction, the state continues to move forward to ensure low-income women will not lose access to this preventative care."

Original story:

By vowing that he would find the money to fund the Women's Health Program without the federal government's help, Gov. Rick Perry advanced two of his goals. He found a legal way to force Planned Parenthood clinics - which were not performing abortions - out of the program. And he gained ammunition in his state's rights fight against the Obama administration.

But his pronouncement, made the week before the federal government was expected to cut off funding to the program over a new Texas rule that excludes Planned Parenthood clinics - left many questions unanswered.

Though Perry says the state has the medical capacity to continue to treat the more than 100,000 women enrolled in the program without Planned Parenthood clinics, other health leaders vehemently disagree. And Perry didn't say where cash-strapped Texas will find the roughly $30 million per year the federal government provides to help low-income women on Medicaid receive birth control, cancer screenings and STD tests.

"Given the number of women that are looking for services as a result of the financial cuts" of the last legislative session, said Jose Camacho, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, "there's no way that health centers that have undergone similar cuts will be able to build that type of capacity very quickly."

After the political firestorm of the last few weeks, the debate over the Women's Health Program has shifted - and it's advantage, Perry. No longer can his opponents argue he'd rather eliminate health care for more than 100,000 poor women than allow Planned Parenthood clinics to participate in the program. Now, they must make a math argument: that without Planned Parenthood clinics, the program won't have the capacity to operate as well as it does now.

At first glance, the statistics seem to bolster this argument. Today, 45 percent of the people enrolled in the program - some 50,000 low-income women - get care at Planned Parenthood, even though those clinics make up less than 2 percent of the program's 2,500 approved providers. The question is whether non-Planned Parenthood providers can make up the difference.

The state says yes. Though Planned Parenthood treats 45 percent of the program's clients in a given year, officials with Texas' Health and Human Services Commission say many of those women are also familiar with non-Planned Parenthood providers - and stop in to get care there, too. Almost 80 percent of women enrolled in the program get services at non-Planned Parenthood providers, agency spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said, because many women seek care at multiple places in a given year.

"Women can go and receive care at over 2,500 places besides Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas," said Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood clinic director turned anti-abortion activist who is featured on the governor's website. Johnson said the state's network of hundreds of Federally Qualified Health Centers - comprehensive health clinics for the poor and uninsured - should prevent women from falling through the cracks.

But opponents argue that without Planned Parenthood clinics, the program will simply not have the capacity - and that women in remote corners of the state will suffer most. Of the 2,500 providers, the overwhelming majority are individual doctors unlikely to want to take on more government-subsidized patients, not clinics that specialize in women's health and treat large numbers of patients. (Use this Texas Tribune map to see where current providers are, and what type they are.) Camacho said the Federally Qualified Health Centers are already cash-strapped and can't just take women for family planning; they must have the resources to treat them for everything from mental illness to dental problems.

These opponents also say Texas would be better poised to run a program without Planned Parenthood if Republican lawmakers hadn't slashed the state's family planning budget in the last legislative session, forcing clinics and providers to shut their doors or markedly curb services.

"Building new capacity would take both time [during which women would suffer] and money [which is in short supply]," the liberal Center for Public Policy Priorities wrote in a policy paper on Thursday.

It's still unclear where Texas will find the money to continue the program. Goodman said it's too soon to say, and that health officials will "look at any areas where spending may be lower than projected to see if there are any savings that can be used for this program."

It's more likely, opponents argue, that the $30 million tab will just be added to Texas' existing Medicaid shortfall - and be dealt with in the next legislative session.

Goodman said all Women's Health Program providers would have to certify that they aren't affiliated with an abortion provider by April 30, or they'll be removed from the program on May 1. She said the state wouldn't know exactly how many clinics are disqualified until that process is complete.

Dr. Bruce Malone, the president of the Texas Medical Association, said Perry's decision to rescue the program from extinction was the right one, even without federal funding. He said his organization's doctors will "cooperate any way we can to make sure those services are provided."

"We're just ecstatic the program will be funded," he said. "It's not going to be a totally smooth transition, because of the way the programs were organized. But it's certainly a great improvement over what was announced a few months ago."


20) America Is Stealing the World's Doctors
March 7, 2012

It was not an unusual death. Kunj Desai, a young doctor in training at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, had seen many that were not so different and were equally needless. Still, this was the one that altered all his plans. "A guy came in, and he had a stab wound," Desai recalled, "and his intestines got injured." The operation was delayed, and the wound became infected. "Whatever he was eating would come out of his belly," Desai said. A carefully managed diet would have helped the man heal, but there were no dietitians at the hospital nor any IV drips of liquid nutrients with which to feed him. "He withered away to probably about 100 pounds when he died."

The man was in his 30s, and his wife and children would have to fend for themselves. It was 2004, and Desai had worked at the chronically understaffed and underfinanced hospital for a year and a half. The hospital blood bank was often out of blood, and the lab was unreliable. The patients were often so poor that Desai would pay for private lab tests out of his own pocket. Desai came home in tears one day after being unable to save a premature baby boy. When the man with the stab wound died, the accumulation of preventable deaths - at what was, he kept reminding himself, the best public hospital in the country - finally became too heavy to bear.

"We were pretending to be doctors," Desai, who is 35, told me when we first met. This was in the cafeteria of University Hospital in Newark, and Desai was still in his surgical scrubs after a 30-hour shift. He talked about what he saw in Lusaka in the somewhat stream-of-consciousness way that war veterans sometimes speak about the battlefield. "What was I really doing?" he said. "Making myself feel happy? No."

As an idealistic, energetic young doctor, Desai imagined he would spend his career in Zambia, serving those in desperate need. But over the months at the hospital, he found himself fantasizing about another life - as a doctor in America. And in 2004, after he finished his internship, Desai quit his job at the hospital and began studying for the exams for a training position at an American hospital. Even while he did so, he told himself that after his stint in America, he would return to Zambia. His fellow Zambians, he knew, suffer from some of the gravest health crises in the world, not least of which is that Zambia's doctors tend to leave the country and never come back. "After completing residency training in the United States, I hope to return to Zambia and work where the need is the greatest, the rural areas," he wrote in a personal statement when applying for jobs in the United States in 2005. "I am Zambian, and I am committed to improving the quality of care that fellow Zambians receive."

Two years from now, Desai will be a fully qualified surgeon in America. He has a wife and a young daughter (he had neither when he moved to the United States), and once he's qualified, he can expect to make a very good living - the median salary of a surgeon in New Jersey is $216,000. In the main hospital in Lusaka, where Desai worked, a surgeon makes about $24,000 a year. The uncomfortable question that Desai put to the back of his mind when he arrived in the United States has begun to resurface and trouble him: Will he really fulfill his promise to himself and his country?

As we sat in the cafeteria, I suggested that if he did return to Zambia, he might be seen as something of a returning hero. Desai is a naturally polite and courteous man, but he is also disinclined to hold back from criticizing when he finds fault. In this case, his target was himself. He looked at the table and said: "The heroes are the guys that stayed. They didn't quit, and they didn't run away."

In a globalized economy, the countries that pay the most and offer the greatest chance for advancement tend to get the top talent. South America's best soccer players generally migrate to Europe, where the salaries are high and the tournaments are glitzier than those in Brazil or Argentina. Many top high-tech workers from India and China move to the United States to work for American companies. And the United States, with its high salaries and technological innovation, is also the world's most powerful magnet for doctors, attracting more every year than Britain, Canada and Australia - the next most popular destinations for migrating doctors - combined.

The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply estimates that in 10 years, the United States could have a shortage of 200,000 doctors. Already, one in four doctors working in this country is trained in a medical school overseas (though this includes some American doctors who attended medical school outside the United States). American medical schools are producing more graduates, but many of them will become specialists who can command better pay. The demand for primary-care doctors is expected to stay high, perpetuating the demand for foreign medical graduates.

Even in the unlikely event that American medical schools produce more general practitioners, nothing but legislation would prevent American hospitals from cherry-picking the most promising young doctors the world has to offer, according to Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "If you can take from an applicant pool from the whole planet, why would you only take from Americans?" Garrett said. "For the foreseeable future, every health provider, from Harvard University's facilities all the way down to a rural clinic in the Ethiopian desert, is competing for medical talent, and the winners are those with money."

Some of the responsibility for the migration of health care workers lies with the immigration laws in the host countries. In 1994, Senator Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota, introduced legislation that empowered states to grant waivers to foreign doctors on J-1 student visas. They could stay in the United States after finishing residencies in American hospitals if they agreed to practice in communities where doctors were in short supply. The law, which has been continually renewed by Congress, has allowed more than 8,500 foreign doctors to gain jobs in rural communities, where patients often have to drive great distances to get medical care, and in underserved cities.

For a diabetic or someone with heart disease in rural Nebraska, this is unquestionably a good thing. They may be unaware, however, that their gain is a poor country's loss. The migration of doctors and nurses from poor countries to rich ones elicits some highly emotional responses, not to mention a great deal of ethical debate. Writing in the British medical journal The Lancet in 2008, a group of doctors, several of them from Africa, titled their paper "Should Active Recruitment of Health Workers From Sub-Saharan Africa Be Viewed as a Crime?" (PDF) They concluded that it should. Other critics have used terms like "looting" and "theft."

Some of the anger is directed toward the doctors who leave. The managing director of University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Lackson Kasonka, suggested to me that doctors who received government financing for their educations and then left exhibited "a show of dishonesty and betrayal." (Desai is not in this group; his parents, who immigrated to Zambia, paid for his medical education in India, where they were born.) Peter Mwaba, the most senior civil servant in Zambia's ministry of health, said that doctors overseas should not "hold their country to ransom" by staying away until things, in their minds, sufficiently improve.

The public health challenges in Zambia are intimidating: life expectancy is 46, more than one million of Zambia's 14 million people are living with H.I.V. or AIDS and more than 1 in 10 children will die before they reach 5. To cope with this, there are slightly more than 600 doctors working in the public sector, which is where most Zambians get their health care. That is 1 doctor for every 23,000 people, compared with about 1 for every 416 in the United States. If Desai decides to stay here, the world's richest country will have gained a bright young doctor. The loss to Zambia will be much greater.

Salaries and working conditions in a country like Zambia are never going to match those in the United States, but there are other factors that influence a person's decision to emigrate: family ties, the cost of living, language and the comforting sense of living in a familiar culture. Doctors from Ghana once fled to the United States almost as a matter of course. But its retention rates of doctors and nurses in recent years have greatly improved as salaries rose enough to weigh the scales in favor of staying.

The medical brain drain from poor countries gets a fair amount of attention in international health circles, and initiatives both private and public are trying to resolve the shortage of doctors. The teaching hospital in Lusaka where Desai trained, for example, is one of 13 sub-Saharan medical schools receiving support from a United States-financed $130 million program to generate more and better graduates. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria provided money to Zambia's ministry of health to recruit and retain doctors. Western aid agencies, many financed by donors like Bill and Melinda Gates, have also hired local doctors at higher salaries. But apparent solutions can create further problems; many of the doctors hired by aid agencies are doing research. They don't see patients. Frustrated public health officials in Zambia and other developing countries call this the "internal brain drain."

George Ofori-Amanfo, a Ghanaian associate professor of pediatric cardiology at Duke Children's Hospital in Durham, N.C., is involved with the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation, whose members, based in the United States, work to improve graduate education in Ghana's four medical schools. He makes three trips a year to Ghana to teach young doctors. "I do feel guilty sometimes," said Ofori-Amanfo, who came to the United States in 1995, when he was 30. About 530 Ghanaian doctors practiced in the United States in 2006, which amounted to about 20 percent of the doctors left in Ghana, according to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. Ofori-Amanfo, for one, doesn't think he'll ever return for good.

"Particularly when I look at the investment that the nation had put in me to give me my basic training and what the nation would have expected me to contribute," Ofori-Amanfo said. "There's a lot of guilt in that. Some cocoa farmer worked very hard to pay his taxes so I can go to school."

Had Kunj Desai stayed in Zambia, his experience might have looked like that of his old friend Emmanuel Makasa. An orthopedic surgeon, Makasa is 38 and earns about $24,000 a year. He does some work in private clinics for extra money. Makasa is something of an authority on the emigration of doctors. "The human-resource crisis in Zambia has reached a disastrous stage with the health system at breaking point," Makasa wrote in a 2008 paper in The Medical Journal of Zambia (PDF), though he has no harsh words for his colleagues who left. He studied at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, on a Fulbright scholarship and also took and passed the first of two exams the British require of international medical graduates seeking jobs there. He told me that he had been tempted to emigrate permanently.

But during his time living in the United States and visiting Britain, he felt subtle racism. He hated the weather in Britain and found Zambian doctor friends living stressful lives in undesirable parts of the country. And he knew the difference a single surgeon in Zambia could make. So his American wife and their two daughters moved to Zambia at the end of 2010.

"There are very few doctors in this part of the world," Makasa told me, "and if you left, yeah, it means you have a better life. Yes, you get more money. Yes, but you can't enjoy a meal when you know your mother is hungry."

In 2005, Makasa and his colleagues set up Doctors Outreach Care International, which provides medical care to underprivileged communities and is financed by corporate sponsors. "I don't stay in Zambia because of lack of opportunities to go," Makasa said. "I stay in Zambia because of what I think I can do in Zambia."

I wanted to tell Desai what it would be like to practice in his old hospital, so I observed Makasa and a colleague fix a man's broken leg. In the operating theater, there was a dirty-looking scalpel blade on the floor. The assisting staff ambled in late, causing the operation to start 30 minutes behind schedule. The air-conditioner was broken. A nurse took two personal cellphone calls in the operating room. When it came time for the surgeon to drill holes in the patient's bones, a nurse produced a case containing a Bosch power drill. By way of sterilization, she wrapped it in a green cloth, binding it tight with a strip of muslin.

Doctors at University Teaching Hospital do their best to improvise, as Desai once did, to make sick people well again, even if it is with an off-the-shelf power tool. And there have been some significant material improvements at the hospital since Desai left. Makasa took me to the intensive-care unit, where a doctor from Uzbekistan was supervising the installation of monitors, ventilators and electrically operated beds that any modern hospital would be happy to own, all donated by the Japanese government. Much of the equipment in the operating theaters was new, and the theaters themselves were being renovated. The hospital had a new M.R.I. machine, a new CT scanner and new dialysis machines. What it does not have - what can't be donated - is enough doctors.

I stopped by the neonatal-intensive-care unit, which many years earlier drove Kunj Desai to tears. Desai stayed up all night manually pumping air into a baby's lungs, because there was no available ventilator. The next night, he returned to find that the baby had disappeared from the ward. He did not ask about the boy's fate, but surmised that the doctor who followed him on duty had not been able to continue ventilating the boy by hand. I looked around at the dozens of babies in the unit. There were three new ventilators, also donated by the Japanese, but none were plugged in; the staff had not yet been trained to use them. I asked Jackie Banda, the doctor in charge of the unit that day, how long the unit had been without ventilators. "We've had none for the last two to three years," she said.

Kasonka, the managing director of the hospital, said that he didn't blame Desai for leaving to pursue his surgical education. As we spoke in his office, I told him that Desai wanted to become a laparoscopic surgeon. At that, Kasonka sat forward in his chair with interest. Zambia, he said, had no surgeons performing this less-invasive surgery, though the Netherlands had recently donated a laparoscope.

"If I have to say something to Dr. Desai, it is: 'Hey, Dr. Desai, I know you have now acquired extra skills in surgery including laparoscopy,' " Kasonka said. "I have got a state-of-the-art laparoscope - please come back and practice.' You see, he will pack up his bags and come back."

When I returned from Lusaka last May, I went to visit Desai at his home in Jersey City. Desai's wife, Bhavana, a pharmacist who also is Zambian of Indian descent, and their 17-month-old daughter, Kaiya, greeted me at the door of the town house they rent in a gated community that sits on Newark Bay, across from the airport. Some relatives were visiting from England, and we discussed the trying times of Liverpool, the soccer team Desai supports. Desai turned up a few minutes later, in scrubs, after a 14-hour shift.

Like Ofori-Amanfo, Desai feels a strong need to help his country. "It is still my homeland," he told me when we first met. "It is still where I plan to die. I have spots picked out where I plan to retire." In the course of our conversations, I noticed an unmistakable look of anger pass over Desai's face sometimes, and I suspected his anger was directed in several directions at once: at the failings of his own country, at the inequities of the globalized economy, at himself. We in the West create the demand for his talents and are the beneficiaries. The first doctor to look after my son was a Nigerian pediatrician, whose country suffers from a chronic shortage of doctors and who could, presumably, help many more children in more dire need there.

In our conversations and e-mail, Desai seemed to be exploring a way to go home. He's an only child who worries about abandoning his parents in their last years, and he wants Kaiya to grow up as a Zambian, not as an American. But he despairs of the public health system in Zambia and can't stomach the idea of catering to the wealthy in the private sector. He talked of returning to open up his own private clinic, which would serve everyone, not just the wealthy. Or perhaps he could work for a foreign aid agency there, he said.

Desai's enthusiasm for each alternative, however, seemed limited and fleeting - as if he recognized that his contradictory desires were never going to be fully resolved. "I'm so caught up in my day-to-day stuff," he said. "It'll be 30 years from now, and I'll wake up, and I'll be like, 'Whatever happened to my idea of going back?' "

I wondered if he would be at all encouraged to change his plans based on what I found at the teaching hospital. We sat in front of my computer at his dining table. He drank a beer while I showed him photographs of the hospital and told him what I found there. He was pleasantly surprised by the images of the newly equipped I.C.U., the renovated operating theaters and dialysis machines, and he was disheartened by my photographs of packed wards and accounts of broken elevators and the unplugged ventilators at the neonatal unit.

I showed him photographs of the Bosch power drill in action.

"Oh, it's fantastic," he said, laughing, appreciative of his former colleagues' resourcefulness. "That's fantastic." He noted that the power drill was in fact a big step forward from the manual drills he used when he worked at the hospital.

When I told him about Kasonka's new laparoscope and the managing director's offer to give Desai full access to it if he chose to return, he was surprised.

"Interesting, interesting," he said. "Wow. That's crazy."

But his surprise almost instantly gave away to skepticism. "Sounds great, but, yeah, we'll go back, and how long will that work?" Desai found it hard to believe that the laparoscope and other equipment required for keyhole surgery would be properly looked after. He took a gulp from his bottle of beer. "The fundamental flaws and root causes are there."

Matt McAllester is a senior editor at Time and editor of "Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar: Stories of Food During Wartime by the World's Leading Correspondents."

Editor: Vera Titunik


21) Mortgage Crisis Inspires Churches to Send Lenten Season Message to Banks
March 9, 2012

During the recent weeks of Lent, the Rev. Ryan Bell has led his Southern California congregation into the penitential spirit of the season. He has preached about the prophet Isaiah's admonition "to loose the bonds of injustice." He has replaced his church's ebullient praise songs with somber, reflective music. He has sent his members a list of ordinary comforts to give up until Easter, with suggestions from caffeine to Facebook.

And Mr. Bell has committed his congregation to one other religious obligation. He is withdrawing the church's money, several hundred thousand dollars, from its account with the Bank of America. By the April weekend when Christians mourn Jesus' crucifixion and celebrate his resurrection, Mr. Bell said, he will have moved the assets to a local bank as a protest against Bank of America's role in mass foreclosures and to issue a call for its repentance.

"To right the wrongs of the world is as much a part of the Lenten experience as to repent ourselves," Mr. Bell, 40, the pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church near Los Angeles said in a phone interview this week. "During this season, when we individually are examining our lives, we think it's appropriate for the institutions that affect us to examine theirs."

Across the country, dozens of other clergy members and congregations have taken similar action over the past three years. Beginning with two ministers in a bedroom suburb outside Oakland, the movement has grown to encompass about 25 congregations, according to the PICO National Network, a coalition of congregations involved in social justice that has taken up the campaign. By PICO's estimate, congregations have withdrawn $16 million, and their individual members and organizational partners an additional $15 million, from banks deeply implicated in the foreclosure crisis - primarily Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

The effort has become so closely conflated with Lent this year that a group of San Francisco clergy members spilled symbolic ashes outside a Wells Fargo A.T.M. in an Ash Wednesday protest. The ministers called for a "foreclosure sabbatical" - invoking the biblical term for the ancient Judaic concept of forgiving debts every seventh year.

The Rev. Richard Smith of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal church in San Francisco, likened the divestment campaign and public protests to early Christianity's ritual of "reconciliation of the penitents." Far from taking place in the private sanctity of the confessional, that rite occurred in public, with the penitent overseen by a priest and required to present himself before a bishop.

"It seemed like a parallel to us," said Mr. Smith, 62. "Our banks have done a great deal of damage in a very public way. So it seems appropriate as we enter into a season of penitence that we invite those who separated themselves from the community to repent with us. It's basically Ethics 101."

Last month, federal and state officials reached a provisional accord with five banks - Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Ally Financial - for a $26 billion settlement that includes reducing mortgage principal for homeowners in danger of default because of the steep decline in property values.

T. J. Crawford, a spokesman for Bank of America, said that even before that accord was reached the bank had modified the mortgage loans of one million customers and had met with PICO and other religion-based groups. "We value all of our relations," he said, "and would prefer dialogue to divestiture."

For the clergy members and churches active on the foreclosure issue, however, the animosity began building years ago. The current campaign may have had its genesis on the Sunday in 2008 when a 10-year-old girl named Jeannette walked up to her pastor after church to say goodbye because her family was moving.

As soon as the child spoke to him, the Rev. Mario Howell of Antioch Church Family in the East Bay area of Northern California recently recalled, he realized that Jeanette's parents had not been at worship that morning. What, he asked her, was going on? The girl explained that her mother and father - a teacher and probation officer, respectively - had lost their home to foreclosure.

Soon enough, Mr. Howell said, he heard similar stories from other members, all of them employed, most of them first-time homeowners who had striven to move out of Oakland. During 2010, the church's monthly intake from tithes and offerings fell by half to $14,000, far below its own mortgage payment of $23,000. Last March, Mr. Howell had to sell the building to a religious order, the Wesleyans, which is allowing the congregation to remain there. The church recently pulled out $175,000 in savings from the local Bank of America branch.

During the same few years, the Rev. Robert Rien of St. Ignatius of Antioch, a Roman Catholic church across town from Mr. Howell's, was learning that 24 families from the 1,000 in his congregation were threatened with foreclosure. He accompanied many of them to meetings with their mortgage banks to try to renegotiate terms.

"You would've thought the collar would have some influence," said Father Rien, 65. "It didn't. These people were engineers, accountants, working in medical offices, in the building trades. No matter how they pleaded with the banks, they didn't find any understanding. It was ruthless behavior. I had the scales pulled off my eyes."

Father Rien met Mr. Howell through a local interfaith coalition that is part of the PICO network. He wrote about the banks' behavior in the church bulletin and preached about it from the pulpit. In late 2009, with the endorsement of the congregation's trustees and pastoral council, he pulled out $135,000 from Bank of America.

"It's a grain of sand to Bank of America," Father Rien said, "but we needed to send a message that you can't do this to people."

With coverage in the religion media and organizational contacts through the PICO network, that message spread from the East Bay in late 2008 and early 2009, expanding into the national movement of this Lent.

"I can say that it's caught on, but not enough," said Mr. Howell, 61. "There's still not enough churches that understand the plight of their people - that if one family loses their home, it's like all of us go down."


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 9, 2012

A previous version of this story said federal officials had reached a provisional accord with four banks for a $25 million settlement. The agreement was with five banks for a $26 billion settlement.


22) Executive Pay Capped at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
March 9, 2012

The regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slashed salaries for the chief executives of the two agencies and ruled out bonuses for many top executives. The new compensation plan for the two mortgage finance giants aimed at salaries for the chief executives at around $500,000 year, down from base pay of $900,000. Previously, they could earn as much as $6 million with deferred pay and bonuses. The regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said the action would take total compensation for top executives to nearly 75 percent less than the levels before the government seized the firms in 2008.