Saturday, May 26, 2007


I happened to be at the airport this morning picking up someone. While I was waiting just outside the terminal I noticed all these guys returning from Iraq were coming out. I shook hands with several and welcomed them home. Although I hate this war (just as I hated the Vietnam War) I do not hate the men and women who have to go be in the middle of it.

Anyway, as I greeted them (to which universally I got a polite "thank you sir" and a smile in return), I couldn't help but notice that they were all so young and not one appeared to be greeted by a family which could be described as well to do.

It must be so strange to be in Iraq one day and in an airport in the heart of America the next.

These guys were the "lucky ones" who came back in one piece and they are the "unlucky ones" whom Bush and his cronies will send back to Iraq again soon.

So young, just regular's ridiculous.

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 3444
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03) 3305
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 2983
Since Handover (6/29/04): 2585
Since Election (1/31/05): 2007
American Wounded
Total Wounded: 25549 (official) 23000 - 100000(estimated)

I know the numbers of Iraqi's killed and wounded far exceeds the above, but for today I'm just reporting on the Americans. These are the one's you'd think even the stupid Bushies would care about. But I honestly don't think they do, not really.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Maybe, just maybe, those regular folks you hear so much about are finally ready to do something about global warming besides buying new light bulbs.

Below you will find a story from the London Times expressing concern that the "public" may be joining up with those nasty "radical protesters." Wouldn't that be nice? Before you get to that artcile,I'm printing just below the call from Climate Action that has the staid British media concerned:

The Camp for Climate Action 2007
Tuesday 14th August to Tuesday 21st August

Eight days of low-impact living, debates, learning skills, and high-impact direct action tackling the root causes of climate change. Why?

Scientific analyses show that we have 10 years to save the world from catastrophic climate change. We must act now to both take action against the worst polluters and create real sustainable futures. The fate of life itself for generations to come is in our hands. The time to act is now.

2007 location announced!
Camp for Climate Action comes to Heathrow this summer.

Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and all our efforts to tackle climate change in other sectors are undone by the massive growth in air travel. Holding the camp at Heathrow aims to highlight the lunacy of the government's airport expansion plans, target industry giants profiteering from the climate crisis, and raise awareness of the need to fly less. The camp will also support local residents in their long-term struggle against the building of a third runway and the destruction of their communities.

There will be a day of mass direct action aiming to disrupt the activities of the airport and the aviation industry, but in the interests of public safety there will be no attempt to blockade runways.

Although the location is different, the philosophy of the camp remains the same: to be a place for the burgeoning network of people taking radical action on climate change around the country to come together for a week of low-impact living, education, debate, networking, strategising, celebration, and direct action. The camp will feature over 100 workshops covering topics such as climate change impacts, carbon offsetting, biofuels, peak oil, permaculture, practical renewables, campaign strategy, skills for direct action, and much more. Run without leaders by everyone who comes along, it will be a working ecological village using renewable energy, composting waste and sourcing food locally.

It all comes down to us, now. We are the last generation that can do anything about climate change. In 20 or 30 years' time, should we not change our ways, we'll be committed to emissions increases that will see forests burn, soils decay, oceans rise, and millions of people die. If we don't get this issue right, so much else is lost too.

We still have time, but not for long. Make it count.

Another London newspaper blames the whole thing on some guy they describe as "veteran anticapitalist protester " who used to be in Reclaim the Streets.

We all remember those nasty outside agitators who sneak into town late at night and get the locals all riled up about this or that.

It couldn't be, after all, that just plain people are pissed off about their "rulers' destroying their future and their planet.

It couldn't be that.

The following article is from the Times of London.

"Revolting middle classes join eco-warriors"

Members of the public are set to join forces with radical protesters in unprecedented campaigns of direct action if the Government persists with proposals for the biggest reform of planning for 20 years.

As climate change campaigners announced plans to set up a protest camp at Heathrow this summer, mainstream environmental groups, which usually frown on such tactics, insist that plans to restrict public consultation on major developments will lead to a dramatic increase in direct action and civil disobedience.

Moderate groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Ramblers Association and the RSPB have formed a “planning disaster coalition” to campaign against ambitious proposals to fast-track the construction of nuclear plants, airports, motor-ways and waste incinerators, and allow the spread of out-of-town shopping centres.

They argue that plans to set up an independent commission to take the final decision on major developments, outlined in the Government’s White Paper on Monday, will remove parliamentary accountability, cut out consultation at local level and make it far easier for controversial projects to go ahead.

Friends of the Earth, which usually eschews direct action, is predicting a return to “Swampy tactics”. Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, became a media darling in 1996 when he was the last “mole” to be forcibly removed from a tunnel dug to protest against the planned Newbury bypass in Berkshire.

Marina Pacheco, head of planning at the CPRE, said: “We are having a fortnight of direct action this summer. We are suggesting to our branch members that they get creative to raise the profile of the White Paper.

“We are suggesting that they hold events in areas at risk. Our membership is quite middle class so I don’t think there will be anything really extreme.”

Patrick Grady, countryside campaigner for the Ramblers Association, said: “We usually encourage people to get involved in local campaigns, but if decisions are going to be centralised we will want to mobi-lise members in conjunction with other organisations. The coalition is hopeful that the Government will listen to us before this becomes a Bill.”

Christine Shilling of Notrag, No Third Runway Action Group, says it could be forced to rethink its policy of refraining from direct action in its campaign against Heathrow’s expansion.

She said: “We view this as one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation ever contemplated in terms of civil liberties and individual human rights.

“Notrag is not involved in this camp at Heathrow as we have always ruled out direct action, but if our rights are taken away and we have no opportunity to voice our opinions then we’d have to think again.”

The Heathrow protest is being organised by The Camp for Climate Action, which was behind a 600-strong protest against the Drax power station in North Yorkshire last summer. Its organisers insist that the week-long Heathrow camp between August 14 and 21 will be peaceful, although some are said to be planning disruption inside terminal buildings.


The following announcement is from the web site No 2010 Olympics on Stolen Native Land.

Anti-Colonial - Anti-Capitalist - Convergence 2010

Calling on all native warriors, anti-capitalists, anti-poverty activists, environmentalists, and concerned individuals, to convergerge against the the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

In February 2010 the Winter Olympic Games and its supporters will be converging on Vancouver, Whistler, and surrounding unceded native land in Coast Salish Territories.

Let them know that it will not be business as usual and that where ever the neo-colonial beast spreads its parasitic tentacles that the people will rise to sever them.

Converge against the Olympics and let our voices be heard!

No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!
No Social Cleansing!
No Environmental Destruction!

For more info:


About a month ago the news broke in Jamaica that Jephthah Ford (pictured here as he left the hospital), a prominent medical doctor known for giving free treatment to members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), was in the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) on 24-hour observation after being beaten by three policemen. Dr. Ford was described as being in serious but stable condition.

Dr. Ford is out of the hospital now and he is dead set on doing something about police brutality on the island.

A 2007 Amnesty International report on Jamaica read:

Reports of police brutality continued. At least 138 people were allegedly killed by police during the year. Impunity for police abuses and a complete lack of accountability in the security and justice systems remained the norm.

The following comes from the Jamaica Gleaner.

Alliance against brutality launched

The National Action Coalition (NAC), an activist organisation that speaks out against police brutality and other forms of injustices, will be officially launched on Wednesday, May 30.

The NAC is the brainchild of Dr. Jephthah Ford, who was himself badly beaten by several members of a police party on April 9, following a at a dance at the Fun Citi establishment he operates along the Port Henderson Road in St. Catherine.

Unable to practise

The well-known medical practitioner, who is also a politician and businessman, has not been able to practise since the incident, having suffered severe injuries to his head, ear, hands and chest.

A long-time supporter of the police, his father having been a policeman, Dr. Ford has decided to act on behalf of the disadvantaged.

"It (the NAC) is not just against police brutality but against injustice in whatever shape or form," he told The Gleaner yesterday.

The first order of business for the NAC will see Dr. Ford attending a post-mortem on behalf of Pauline Cunningham of Waltham Park Road, Kingston 13, whose 16-year-old son Jaughvanie Burton was one of three men who were shot and killed by the police under controversial circumstances on May 6, inside the Chinese Cemetery on Waltham Park Road. The post-mortem is scheduled for next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

Dr. Ford explained that the NAC will represent the family of anyone killed under questionable circumstances by members of the security forces. He revealed that the NAC already has 87 members, including 12 attorneys-at-law.



The following comes in from Society for Animal Protective Legislation and was made known to me by an OD reader who commented on yesterday's story.


Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation banning the slaughter
of horses in Illinois for human consumption

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that bans the slaughter of horses in Illinois for human consumption. House Bill 1711, sponsored by State Rep. Robert S. Molaro (D-Chicago) and State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago), bans importing or exporting horsemeat if any horsemeat will be used for human consumption.

“It’s past time to stop slaughtering horses in Illinois and sending their meat overseas. I’m proud to sign this law that finally puts an end to this practice,” Gov. Blagojevich said.

The Governor announced his support for the legislation after hearing from advocates, including Bo Derek, actress and longtime activist for the protection of horses, in April. Violations of the new state law are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,500.

“People were selling horses not knowing that they were being used and treated like livestock and ended up on the slaughter room floor,” said Sen. Cullerton. “This bill will ensure that using horses for the purpose of human consumption is illegal throughout the State of Illinois just as it is in 48 other states in the nation.”

“I am grateful to my colleagues and the Governor for joining with me in ending this shameless slaughter of these beautiful animals for the sole purpose of ensuring fine dining in European restaurants,” said Rep. Molaro.

“There is no domestic market for horsemeat and, therefore, no need for this practice to continue in Illinois,” Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. “Meat from the slaughtered horses is being shipped overseas to places like Belgium, France and Japan.”

Illinois is home to the sole remaining horse slaughterhouse in the United States, Cavel International in DeKalb. Two other horse slaughterhouses in the country, both in Texas, closed earlier this year after an appellate court rejected their appeals of a lower-court ruling that the plants were operating in violation of Texas state law.

“As both a horsewoman and a compassionate person, I applaud the resolve of the people of Illinois to end the cruel, bloody trade in horsemeat,” said actress Bo Derek. “My family hails from the State of Illinois and I know they would be proud of the actions taken on behalf of our horses by Governor Blagojevich, Representative Molaro and Senator Cullerton.”

“With a stroke of his pen, Governor Blagojevich has brought the brutal slaughter of horses in the United States to an end. Hereafter, may we only hear of horse slaughter recounted in history books as a sign of how we have progressed in our treatment of these majestic animals,” said Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director for the Society for Animal Protective Legislation.

“On behalf of our national coalition that includes thousands of Illinois horse owners, we are deeply grateful to Governor Blagojevich, Representative Molaro, Senator Cullerton, and all members of the Illinois General Assembly who have worked so hard to pass this essential legislation to protect horses from the cruel practice of horse slaughter,” said Gail Vacca of Top of the Hill horse farm in Wilmington. “Illinois horse owners are proud today in the knowledge that our state legislature has set the bar in raising the standard for the humane treatment of our nation’s horses.”

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I'd like to think that if Americans knew what was going on they would display their disgust about the slaughter of horses in this country. The pro horse slaughter forces have depended on the secrecy of horse slaughter. In recent years, in large part due to the Internet, the existence of horse slaughter has begun to be revealed to the American public.

The Equine Protection Network (EPN) says horses of all ages and sex are slaughtered including pregnant mares and foals. Former racehorses, show horses, pleasure horses, carriage horses, Amish work and buggy horses, summer riding camp horses, police horses, former therapeutic and handicapped riding horses, lesson horses, rodeo horses, wild mustangs, broodmares, mares used in the production of Premarin and the foals that are the byproduct of the production, and companion horses all have been purchased and sent to slaughter.

The Illinois Senate last Wednesday approved a bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption, and activists believe horse slaughter in the state will soon end.

Governor Rod Blagojevich supports the bill, which was approved in April by the state’s House of Representatives. If signed, the bill would force Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois, to cease horse slaughter.

However, the bill remains unsigned and activists are in Dekalb trying to save the horses from a grusome fate.

Charlie Stenholm of Texas, the former ranking Democrat on the House Ag Committee (and not surprisingly now lobbies on behalf of the Livestock Marketing Association told a Congressional panel earlier this month that banning horse slaughter is "a slippery slope" that could lead to the curtailing of the property rights of all livestock owners and producers. And Stenholm said he had a problem with that.

"I respect the rights of those who you will hear from who basically want to eliminate horse slaughter as an option," said Stenholm. "I respect their right to that opinion, but I do not respect their right to take that away from me as a horse owner or my fellow horse owners."

Cavel manager Jim Tucker insists that there is another side to the debate which is rarely addressed.

"They are livestock and livestock can be sent to slaughter," he said.

Thank God, most people do not agree with Stenholm or Tucker.

"It's a bloody and barbaric industry," according to Wayne Pacelle, with the Humane Society of the United States. "We want to see it stopped because it's so inhumane."

One hundred percent of the horse meat processed in the United States is shipped overseas to countries like Japan, Belgium and France, where it is eaten like beef.

To which, as a vegetarian, I would add, too many people who are up in arms about slaughtering horses have little to say about slaughtering other animals. Hey folks, none of it is good. They don't call it "slaughtering" for nothing.

The following is from the Chicago Tribune.

Activists seek to head off horse slaughter

Activists were at a horse slaughterhouse in DeKalb this morning trying to avert the butchering of truckloads of the animals, as a state bill barring the business moves closer to becoming law.

Members of the groups Field of Dreams and Friends of Barbaro were trying to buy horses directly from the drivers of trailer trucks as they pulled up to the Cavel International plant to unload live animals. The groups said they had raised $14,000 on short notice to buy the horses and save them from slaughter.

But the groups said they were being rebuffed by the drivers because the plant had bought the animals in advance. The groups said their next move was to try to strike a deal with the plant manager.

The Cavel plant manager said the company would have no comment on today's action by the groups.

The Illinois General Assembly this spring approved a bill barring the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to sign the measure into law.

Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago), the bill's sponsor, has said that as soon as the bill is signed, Illinois' last remaining slaughterhouse would have to close.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke, who supports the ban, has said there is no domestic market of horse meat for human consumption and therefore no need to continue the practice in Illinois. Most horse meat is exported to Europe, where some still consider it a delicacy.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 100,800 horses were slaughtered in the United States for human consumption in 2006, but the last two U.S. slaughterhouses besides DeKalb, both in Texas, closed under a court order earlier this year.

Two months ago, the Cavel plant, which was shut for a month as a result of a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States, was allowed to reopen by a federal appeals judge.

The society now is working with Congress to ban horse slaughterhouses nationwide and to prohibit the exportation of horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.


Reverend Yun In-jung (see picture) who has been waging a protest atop a pine tree on Mt. Gyeyang in Incheon for a hell of a long time has come down. The protest is against a plan to build a golf course on the mountain. Shin Jeong-eun, an official of Green Incheon, an environmental activism group behind the demonstration, took herself to the top of the pine tree on October 26 last year and started the sit. Rev. Yun took her place in the branches of the tree on December 20. The demonstration is aimed at stopping Lotte Engineering & Construction’s plan to "develop" the mountain.

The following is from the
Hankyoreh. The Hankyoreh is an intersting story in itself by the way. The newspaper is an independent operation founded by a group of journalist looking for journalistic freedom. Among them were dozens of former journalists who had been ejected from their jobs due to their roles in promoting freedom of the press and democracy. Their long-cherished dream of beginning an independent newspaper came true through successful fundraising, which began shortly after popular uprising against the military dictatorship in 1987. The Hankyoreh was inaugurated on May 15, 1988.

The Hankyoreh describes itself as "...a progressive newspaper, decisively committed to journalistic freedom, democracy, peaceful coexistence and national reconciliation between South and North Korea..."

210-day protest atop tree ends; activists say victory nigh

Environmentalists have ended their 210-day treetop protest against a construction project, saying that a large percentage of area citizens are now against the plans.

Two activists took turns sitting atop a tree on Mt. Gyeyang, Incheon, in a protest which started on October 26 last year against Lotte Engineering & Construction’s plan to build a golf course on the mountain. The protest ended on May 23.

A citizens’ committee formed by civic, social, and environmental organizations in the Incheon area against the golf course project said in a press release on May 23, "Since more than 80 percent of the citizens are opposed to the plan to construct a golf course, and the health of Reverend Yun In-jung, who had [been atop the tree] for the past 155 days, had worsened, we decided to stop the protest."

In a statement, Reverend Yun said, "If the connections and circle of living things are broken, life also will be put to an end. Let’s leave beautiful Mt. Gyeyang and its pine trees to our children and future generations."

Shin Jeong-eun, an environmental activist of Green Incheon, waged a demonstration atop the pine tree for 56 days and Rev. Yun took her place on December 20 last year.

The site around the tree became a venue for cultural performances, prayer meetings, ecological and environmental education for children, and research by college students. Major religious figures, including Rev. Kwon O-seong of the National Council of Churches in Korea and a number of lawmakers such as Hong Mi-young, Moon Byung-ho, and Woo Won-shik of the pro-government Uri Party and Dan Byung-ho of the Democratic Labor Party visited the site to support persons taking part in the demonstration.

Han Seung-u, an official of Green Incheon, said that his group would stage more powerful citizen protests until the golf course construction plan is cancelled. In this way, he said, the demonstration atop the pine tree could be recorded as a historical event that played a role to preserve Mt. Gyeyang eternally and make the mountain a natural inheritance for citizens.

Lotte, however, still is resolute to push ahead with the planned construction of an 18-hole golf course and Incheon mayor Ahn Sang-soo officially supports Lotte’s plan, so controversy over development of the mountain is expected to continue.

Julia Butterfly Hill, a U.S. environmental activist, set a record by waging a protest atop a cedar tree for 738 days in 1997 to protect the 900-year-old conifer. In Korea, there was a successful 17-day demonstration atop a tree to save Mt. Daeji in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province from development in 2001.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


The Sweat Free Stanford Campaign reports eleven students walked into university President Hennessy's office and began a sit-in at 11:32am yesterday morning to protest Stanford's inaction on sweatshops. Shortly before 4:30 p.m., university officials told the students that they would be subject to arrest if they did not leave the premises. When none of them did so, the Stanford police arrested them and cited them with trespassing, a misdemeanor charge. They later were released on campus.

The sit-in, which was accompanied by a protest in the Main Quad with about 60 students, came after several months of discussion between the student group, the Sweat-free Stanford Campaign, and Hennessy and other university officials about how best to ensure that workers making Stanford-licensed goods receive safe and fair treatment.

The Campaign states in the late 1990s, an anti-sweatshop movement swept campuses across the United States. College activists marched in rallies, waged hunger strikes, circulated petitions, and occupied their school president’s office, all in an effort to make their campus clothing sweat-free. They were remarkably successful in their efforts. Today, 160 colleges and universities have taken a first step by becoming affiliated with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). In doing so, each school has created and adopted its own manufacturing Code of Conduct that guarantees workers basic human rights. To help with enforcement of these Codes of Conduct, the United Students Against Sweatshops created a Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), where factories had to earn DSP certification by demonstrating that they, among other things, pay their workers a living wage and allow them to form democratic unions. Unfortunately, Stanford is neither a part of the WRC or the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), and it has historically been opposed to participating in either organization.

On their website the Campaign spells out why they exist and what they want:

We fear that some of Stanford’s business practices do not reflect our values; we fear that Stanford’s current sourcing policies allow for sweatshops to produce our apparel. Apparel bearing the Stanford insignia bears the reputation of this university, and it is imperative that such symbols are manufactured and distributed with moral integrity.

There is a system already in place for Stanford to guarantee that their clothes are not made in sweatshops. Through independent monitoring, the consolidation of factories producing Stanford clothing, and a factory certification process, the Workers’ Rights Consortium (WRC) and Designated Suppliers Program (DSP) ensure that factory conditions are humane. Under this system, workers are guaranteed a living wage, the right to unionize, freedom from harassment and intimidation, and a safe working environment.

Today, 166 schools, including Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania, are all a part of the Workers’ Rights Consortium. 30 schools, including Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Duke, and the entire UC system, have taken the next step by also joining the Designated Suppliers Program. Clearly, the WRC and DSP are well-established and respected mechanisms through which we can ensure the protection of fundamental human rights in the manufacture of our apparel. As students, we ask that Stanford University take a vigorous stand against sweatshops by affiliating itself with the WRC and DSP.
The following story comes from the Stanford Daily.

11 arrested in Hennessy’s office
Sweat-Free Coalition spearheads sit-in, naked rally, vigil and protests
May 23, 2007
By Maneesha Limaye

Eleven students were arrested late yesterday afternoon outside of President John Hennessy’s office after they participated in a five-hour sit-in to protest what they allege is the University’s refusal to join organizations that would curb sweatshop labor in factories that produce Stanford apparel.

The students were cited for trespassing and taken away in plastic handcuffs after they refused to leave the lobby of the president’s office when it closed for the day. As police escorted the protesters out of the building, about 35 onlookers chanted in support.

“We are shocked and disappointed that the University has chosen to do this to its students,” said Bethany Woolman ‘09, “but we are prepared to deal with the consequences.”

The protesters, including Woolman, stormed Hennessy’s office at 11:30 a.m. Although the office usually closes at 5 p.m., Hennessy’s office closed at 4:15 p.m. yesterday. Jeff Wachtel, senior assistant to Hennessy, said that management was trying to compensate for the office’s lost lunch break, which was due to the protest. The protestors were arrested and taken to the Stanford police station at 4:30 p.m., where they were held for 90 minutes before being released around 6 p.m.

Katie Frank ‘09, one of the students arrested, said the police were sympathetic and generally friendly.

University officials questioned the timing of the protest, which came a week before Hennessy had offered to meet with group leaders.

“I don’t completely get why now,” said Wachtel in an interview with The Daily after the arrests. “Preisdent Hennessy indicated that he wanted to work with them and was ready to meet with the students as soon as his schedule opened up.”

“This is an important issue,” he added, “but there have been other issues that the University is involved with and students may not realize that it takes time.”

Woolman confirmed that the group had been invited to meet on May 29, but she said the group declined the request.

“We don’t need any more meetings,” she said. “They have all the information they need from us. Today we were asking for a response.”

One of the protest’s organizers, Daniel Shih ‘09, said the administration ignored the coalition through the day.

“None of the administration has met with us all day,” he said. “They all said they were too busy.”

Wachtel said that Dean of Students Maureen Powers had spent the day addressing student concerns.

Protestors said police told them that the penalty for the misdemeanor is up to a $500 fine or three months in jail. If the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office decides to press charges, their court date is set for July 10.

The Sweat-Free Coalition has been trying to persuade the University to join the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) and the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), two organizations which, they say, would cut down on apparent sweatshop labor overseas.

Wachtel said the administration shares some of the activists’ goals and objectives, but they are weighing a variety of options.

“The odd thing is that we agree that we don’t want people working in factories to be treated unfairly,” Wachtel said. “Some believe the WRC and the DSP are the ways to respond, but we haven’t come to the same conclusion.”

He added that the University was considering other options.

“Some of the organizations that are being considered may have consequences and we are trying to think that through,” he said. “It’s a complex issue and it’s not as simple to just join.”

Shih said the end result of the protest was not what the coalition had envisioned, but that members felt compelled to take action because of what they said was the University’s reluctance to make concessions.

“It didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” he said. “We came in wanting one thing, to join the WRC and DSP. But we are not going to give up because President Hennessy needs to understand that it is not okay to arrest students for standing up for what they believe in.”

“We fundamentally must fight this cause,” he added. “We refuse to compromise.”

University officials, however, said the students’ unwillingness to compromise evidenced by yesterday’s protest was a step backwards for their cause.

“There was no compromise position on their part,” Wachtel said. “They didn’t want to hear what President Hennessy had to say next week on what his proposal would be.”

Although the protesters called their demonstration an act of civil disobedience, administrators said the students’ actions were inappropriate. Wachtel said the students brought kitty litter to the president’s office with the intent to defecate in front of Hennessy’s receptionists.

“They say they are peaceful and civil, but that was not a civil or respectful action,” Wachtel said. “They had no business in here so we were not going to allow them to use the bathroom.”

Although the protestors admitted to bringing kitty litter with them, they said no one used it. Woolman said she was told she could not use the restroom in the office because it was private property, and that if she left to use the outside restrooms, she would not be allowed back inside.

“We brought the kitty litter in case we were in there for days,” she said. “No one defecated in the room.”

The arrested students include: Pahua Cha ‘10, Joseles de la Cruz ‘07, Katie Frank ‘09, Scott Frank, Mark Liu ‘07, Yang Lor ‘08, Kasiana McLenaghan ‘09, Matt Seriff-Cullick ‘08, Bethany Woolman ‘09, Crystal Zheng ‘10 and graduate student Daniel Weissman.


The Haji Hassan Group is one of the most prominent business houses in Bahrain and has been in existence for over 40 years. The Group has interests in, trading, construction, manufacturing, building materials, chemicals, and housing. The Haji Hassan Group owns Bahrain Asphalt, Haji Hassan Reinforcement, Bahrain Precast Concrete Company, Bahrain Blocks, Haji Hassan Construction, Bahrain Bulk Trade, Arabian Parts Company, Bahrain Transport and Haji Hassan Washed Sand Products.

But they can't seem to feed workers edible food.

And surprise, surprise, surprise, the workers are none to happy.

The following comes from the Gulf Daily News (Bahrain).

'Rotten food' sparks wildcat protest

NEARLY 1,000 workers staged a wildcat protest last night after allegedly being served rotten food at the Haji Hasan Group labour camp in Salmabad.

Company officials immediately closed the canteen and promised a full investigation.

Workers marched to the Salmabad roundabout, shouting slogans against the canteen contractor as well as their management.

They said they would not go to work today unless they were assured by management that the situation would be corrected.

They claimed they had been served poor quality and stale food over the least few months, but all complaints to the company management and the canteen contractor had fallen on deaf ears.

Company directors Ibrahim Al A'Ali, who was at the scene, told the GDN the canteen had been closed with immediate effect.

"I have ordered a full investigation and will take appropriate action," he said.

"I will call a meeting early in the morning and resolve the issue in co-operation with the workers and their union. Welfare of the workers is a priority for us."

The workers also alleged the contractor served food at a fixed time, which meant some of them went hungry and others had to wait several hours before they were served.

Haji Hasan Employees Union chairman Abdullah Mirza told the GDN things came to a head last night, when the contractor allegedly mixed food left over from lunch time into the new food prepared for dinner.

"That resulted in a foul smell coming from the food," he said.

Mr Mirza said that when some workers protested, they were told to take the food or leave it. "This angered the workers," he said.

"One thing led to another and soon they were out on the streets. Nearly 1,000 people have walked out."

Mr Mirza said the employees used to provide their own food, but the company gave them an option to have food at the canteen, for BD18 every month.

"More than 1,000 workers at the company joined in the scheme, but they are now regretting it," he said.

Many workers have also been taken ill in the past, said Mr Mirza.

"What will happen if stale food is served to us in the summer and we fall sick en masse?" he said.

Another company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was only one contractor to cook for all the workers.

"What will the man do? It is not possible to cook for so many people at one place," he said.

He said there had been moves to get more contractors for the job, but these had never materialised.

The official said the contractor perhaps wanted to save money and cut corners.

"Ideally, the food cooked in the day should not be mixed with fresh food, but the food was mixed," he said.


Three more students have been arrested in Iran as tensions continue to rise in various Iranian Universities. Sporadic clashes between students and Iranian security forces have been reported during the past few days.

In addition, on Monday students of Tehran Polytechnic (Amir-Kabir University) started a hunger strike to protest against the arrest of seven of their fellow classmates earlier.

The following is from Adnkronos International.


Tehran, 23 May (AKI) - Three Islamic university students' leaders in Tehran protesting against an ongoing government moralization campaign have been arrested, reports said Wednesday. On Tuesday intelligence ministry officials arrested outside the Iranian capital's Allameh university Saiid Izadbakhsh, Maziar Samii and Saiid Feizollahzadeh, members of the Islamic students' association. Overall, nine students have been reportedly arrested in the past few weeks in Tehran and students at the top Amir Kabir university started a hunger strike Monday to demand their release.

Students in Tehran, Lorestan, Babol near the Caspian sea, and Shiraz in the west, have been staging protests in the past few weeks against new government measures imposing strict new dress codes and opening hours on campus as well as restrictions on political activity.

Last December, dozens of protesters burned pictures of Ahmadinejad crying 'dictator go away', 'death to dictatorship' and threw firecrackers when Ahmadinejad was visiting Amir Kabir university in Tehran. The rally forced him to interrupt several times a speech he was giving and leave before scheduled.

The students’ complaints largely mirrored public frustrations over the president’s crackdown on civil liberties, his economic policies and a Holocaust denial conference his government had organised early December.

They also protested against the president’s campaign to purge the universities of all aspects of the reform movement of his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami.

It was the first time since his landslide victory in June 2005 that Ahmadinejad had been challenged in public.


Movement for Justice in El Barrio Proposes an International Day of Action

To Our Zapatista Sisters and Brothers:
To All Organizations, Groups, Collectives, Families, and Individuals in The Other Campaign:
To All Mexicans and Chicanos in The Other Campaign in the United States:
To All International Adherents to the Sixth Declaration:

What follows is a proposal for “An International Day of Action Against Repression and for the Liberation of All Political Prisoners in Mexico.” We are Movement for Justice in El Barrio. We are an organization of Mexican immigrants that were forced to leave Mexico and come to New York because of the neoliberal system. We fight against the displacement from our homes here in New York and for the liberation of our Mexico. We are adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and part of The Other Campaign. We thank you for allowing us to share our humble and simple word.

From where we are, North of the Rio Bravo, we are filled with pain and rage to hear about the repression being exerted by the Mexican government on The Other Campaign. The repression began more than a year ago with the terrible events in San Salvador Atenco. As the strength of The Other Campaign grew, the repression spread to Oaxaca, Yucatan, Chiapas, San Luis Potosi and to all different parts of the country. The repression has included police brutality, torture, arbitrary detentions, the murder of two youth, and the rape of detained women. In the past few months the repression has intensified. Recently, soldiers from the federal army harassed Zapatista Delegates from the Sixth Commission, the Compañero David Vanegas was beaten and illegally jailed in Oaxaca, three members of the People’s Front for the Defense of the Land, from Atenco, were illegally sentenced to 67 years in prison, and these are not the only cases. This repression fills us with anger. That is why we propose that we unite the strength of the many struggles that make up The Other Campaign to oppose this repression and demand freedom for all political prisoners in Mexico.

We are putting out a call for actions and protests all over Mexico and the world as part of an “International Day of Action against Repression and for the Liberation of All Political Prisoners in Mexico.” We propose that the actions take place on Tuesday, the 26th of June. We also propose the following demands:

Liberty and justice for all the political prisoners

The cancellation of the illegal sentences against Ignacio del Valle Medina, Felipe Alvarez Hernandez, and Hector Galindo Gochicua, members of The People’s Front for the Defense of the Land.

An end to the harassment of the Sixth Commission

An end to the harassment, intimidation, repression and detention of members of “The Other Campaign.”

Compañeras and Compañeros, this is our word. We hope our contribution to this great struggle will be of interest to all. Please let us know as soon as possible if you agree with our proposal and if you will participate. We can be reached at the email address:

We send our embraces, full of hope, unity and brother and sisterhood from someplace in New York, a place where we live, but also a place where Mexico lives deep in our hearts.


From The Other Campaign in New York

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

From the Other Side, May 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I thought I'd come up with something else for you to worry your little heads about.

As the Belfast Telegram writes:

It's on every high street and in every coffee shop and school. But experts have serious concerns about the effects of electronic smog from wireless networks linking our laptops and mobiles, reports Geoffrey Lean

Being "wired-up" used to be shorthand for being at the cutting edge, connected to all that is cool. No longer. Wireless is now the only thing to be.

Radiation levels from wireless internet in schools are being investigated after a British study found emissions in a classroom there three times higher than those from a mobile phone mast. It should be noted that in Britain guidelines from the Health Protection Agency already state that masts should not be sited near schools because of a possible cancer link and other health risks.

The World Health Organisation says there are "no adverse health effects from low-level, long-term exposure" to wi-fi radiation.

But Sir William Stewart,, of Britain's Health Protection Agency, said there was growing evidence of possible harm from radio-frequency radiation.

He explained: "There may be changes, for example in cognitive function.

"There were some indications that there may be cancer inductions. There was some molecular biology changes within the cell."

Wireless computer network technology, or Wi-Fi, is widely used in schools. Some private ones require all students to have laptop computers and use wireless internet access during lessons.

But only limited local studies have been done on radiation levels from classroom Wi-Fi.

Scientists believe children may be more vulnerable to radio-frequency radiation emissions than adults because their skulls are still growing and are thinner.

This raises questions over the safety of children bent over computers being exposed to radiation at very close quarters reports the Daily Mail.

Philip Parkin, general secretary of Britain's Professional Association of Teachers, said: "I am asking for schools to consider very seriously whether they should be installing wi-fi networks now and this will make them think twice or three times before they do it."

In Australia, Hobart independent communications consultant Don Maisch said urgent research was needed to find out if the technology was a health risk.

“I would be concerned if my child was going to be in the room (with wireless connected laptops) for a long time,” Mr Maisch said.

He said new connections with higher frequencies were being used, which might mean radiation exposure was increasing, potentially causing problems such as fatigue, headaches and low-level memory problems.

Meanwhile, numerous schools in New Zealand are to undergo testing for radiation emissions. The National Radiation Laboratory will investigate radiation levels in classrooms in Christchurch schools.

Some scientist sharply disagree that there is any real evidence of a danger here.

The Norwich Union reports on studies carried by Kenneth Foster, professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, in which he examined more than 300 different wi-fi signals of various strengths at over 50 sites in four different countries. His conclusion was that "in all cases" signal levels were "very far below international safety limits".

These scientists generally believe that Wi-Fi ought to be safer than mobile phone radiation because Wi-Fi devices transmit over shorter distances and so can operate at lower power.

'Radio waves (Wi-Fi) and other non-ionising radiations have been part of our lives for a century or more and if such effects were occurring then damage or other untoward effects would have been recorded and studied. Professor Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, told the BBC.

And that some say is the problem. They say that we are all now living in a soup of electromagnetic radiation one billion times stronger than the natural fields in which living cells have developed over the last 3.8 billion years. This, they add, is bound to cause trouble.

Also, saying Wi-Fi is safer than cell phones won't satisfy some folks either.

A recent authoritative Finnish study has found that people who have used mobiles for more than ten years are 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side of the head as they hold their handset; Swedish research suggests that the risk is almost four times as great. And further research from Sweden claims that the radiation kills off brain cells, which could lead to today's younger generation going senile in their forties and fifties.

I found it interesting that in researching this article I found numerous reports from Britain, Australia, and New Zealand on the subject, but virtually nothing from US sources.

The following "warning" comes from
Monsters and Critics.

Wi-Fi health concerns increase
By Stevie Smith

Over the past few weeks, concerns regarding the outlying health risks linked with the proliferation of Wi-Fi wireless networks – particularly in schools – has begun to take hold in the United Kingdom.

More pointedly, calls from the scientific community are also gathering that suggest further research should be carried out on the safety of Wi-Fi networks following reports of a teacher that suffered from heavy migraines, ill health, and a lack of concentration when a Wi-Fi network was installed at his school – only to recover fully when it was later removed.

Now Wi-Fi health issues are back in the media again, thanks to the arrival of a BBC Panorama documentary probing the possible health risks associated with the wireless phenomenon that’s currently spreading across the country through homes, classrooms, and businesses.

The UK government has already issued claims that Wi-Fi technology is perfectly safe and much less powerful, in terms of radiation emissions, than that of standard mobile phones. However, the aforementioned Panorama investigation has revealed that radio frequency radiation levels in certain schools is reaching as high as three times the level produced by the main beam of intensity on mobile phone masts – which, unlike Wi-Fi, have been subjected to literally thousands of health and safety evaluations.

The BBC highlights that since the beginning of 2006 approximately 2 million UK residents have started utilising the advantages of Wi-Fi technology, to the point where various cities throughout the country have received dedicated Wi-Fi hotspots for wireless network access to the Internet via laptops or other mobile devices.

Wi-Fi technology emits unavoidable radiation closely associated with that of mobile phone masts, and with Wi-Fi masts installed throughout 70 percent of the UK’s secondary schools and a further 50 percent of its primary schools, calls for better and more thorough scientific research into its health effects are gathering intensity.

The Panaroma documentary, which aired on Monday May 21, duly compared the level of radiation measured from a typical mobile phone mast against the level of Wi-Fi radiation found in a Norwich classroom equipped with Wi-Fi access. The readings revealed that the Wi-Fi signal strength was triple that of the mobile phone mast’s main beam of intensity.

Despite the differences in reading, it is worth noting that the recorded Wi-Fi levels were still as much as 600 times lower than the government’s issued safety limitations. However, the programme went on to claim that health risks connected to Wi-Fi and young children are still of particular concern as the skull thickness of a child is considerably thinner than that of an adult and therefore more susceptible to the effects of radiation.

Regardless of mounting safety concerns being voiced by various members of the global scientific community toward the possible health ramifications of Wi-Fi networks, the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) states that Wi-Fi devices are of very minor power, considerably lower than the power emitted by mobile phones. The government also maintains that there is absolutely no risk to health through low level, long-term exposure to Wi-Fi radiation – a claim that’s reinforced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

© Copyright 2006,2007 by
This notice cannot be removed without permission.


With demonstrations happening outside against a proposed hike in LA bus fares, others gave angry testimony at MTA public forum inside the MTA headquarters. Some twenty Bus Riders Union supporters voiced their opposition to the fare hike proposal on the record. Many of the speakers gave testimony on the increased hardship a fare increase would have on people with disabilities, students, single mothers, people on fixed incomes, sufferers of asthma and respiratory problems, all while living in a city where rent and the cost of living is increasing relative to people's income. Others spoke on the impact that a fare hike would have on the environment, by reducing bus ridership and leading more people to use cars.

A statement issued on behalf of Ericka Smith of Strategic Concepts Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE/AGENDA); Marqueece Harris-Dawson of the Community Coalition; Rev William M. Campbell of Mount Gilead Baptist Church; and Minister Tony Muhammad of the Nation of Islam expressed discontent within the African American community over the proposed hikes. It read:

"We reject MTA CEO Roger Snoble’s proposal to force working class bus riders of
color to bear the burden of the MTA’s self-imposed budget crisis. If approved,
this fare increase would cause serious civil and human rights violations that
South L.A. residents should not have to endure. We are united in the effort to
defeat this ill-conceived and racially discriminatory fare policy. We call on
our elected representatives to vote for the interest of the most vulnerable
communities of South Los Angeles."

Thanks goes to the Bus Riders Union for the heads up.

The following is from KNBC (Los Angeles).

Bus Riders Demonstrate Outside MTA Headquarters
Riders Protesting Proposed Fare Hikes

LOS ANGELES -- Bus riders in Southern California hope to pressure the Metropolitan Transit Authority into rejecting proposed new fare hikes, KNBC reported.

Members of the Bus Riders Union led a noisy demonstration Saturday outside MTA headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

The demonstrators are angry that transit officials want to raise one-way bus and rail fares from $1.25 to $2 beginning in July.

Day passes would jump from $3 to $5, with another increase by January 2009.

As the demonstration was waged outside MTA headquarters, agency officials inside hosted a special forum to get more public input on the proposed fare hikes.

MTA officials said the hikes are needed to help eliminate growing budget deficits.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Two organizations held demonstrations at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on Sunday, protesting the deliberate de-Africanation of the King Tut exhibit.

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, president of the Association of Nubian Kemetic Heritage or ANKH, says the exhibit King Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs is fundamentally flawed:

“(It) conceals the fact that Egypt is Africa, and it conceals the fact that the ancient Egyptians were black and it conceals the fact that King Tutankhamen himself was a black man.”

Shahrazad Ali of the African-American Freedom and Reconstruction League:

“It is wrong to change the features on some of these statues and artifacts and give them lighter eyes or paint them white or give them chiseled noses or break the noses off completely so you can't see that they have the Negroid features.”

About 50 protesters walked in front of the crowded museum stairs carrying signs bearing statements including "Nefertiti is my sister," "Stop stealing our history" and "King Tut's daddy was black."

Asante said the exhibit doesn't tell visitors Egypt is in Africa, and he believes that many people leave thinking Egypt is in Europe.

He claims the museum did this for "commercial reasons."

Bolden Jerry, 62, a protester from Overbrook Park, agreed.

"They're trying to make it more accessible, more appealable to white people. It's all about making cash," he said.

Yesterday's protesters in Philadelphia were not alone. From Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, demonstrations have been held against the exhibit in every city it's visited since coming to this country in June 2005.

George Williams, who is black and operates a pretzel cart in front of the museum, said he believes that King Tut is a piece of history all people share.

"Regardless if he was black or white, we're all equal and we're all [descendants] of King Tut," he said. "We can love each other."

That'll be the day.

The following snippet of news is from KDKA (Philadelphia)

King Tut Exhibit Draws Protests

A traveling exhibition on King Tutankhamun drew about 50 protesters in Philadelphia who denounced the popular display as racist.

Molefi Asante is a professor of African-American studies at Temple University. He led the demonstration Sunday outside the Franklin Institute, saying the exhibit has no mention of Africa and that it suggests the ancient Egyptian king was white.

Asante specifically pointed to a representation of Tut that he said "looks more like Boy George than the boy king."

A spokeswoman for the Franklin Institute said images of Tut vary throughout the museum.

Similar protests have been held in other U.S. cities where the exhibit has appeared.


Last week we reported on the outrageous comments made by the Pope about Indians while he was visiting Brazil. Now Catholic World News reports that Hugo Chavez has spoken out on the issue.

Chavez said he paid close attention to everything the Pope said in Brazil, and that after hearing him say that the Gospel was not imposed upon the natives, he called Venezuela’s minister for the indigenous peoples, Nizia Maldonado, who said she did not share the Pope’s opinion and that it was "difficult to support, for God’s sake!"

"Is that why the Catholic Church is losing more believers every day?" Chavez said. "I think it’s because of this."

Chavez said that the Pope’s comments that the evangelization of Latin America was not the imposition of a foreign culture, seemed to be intended to strengthen the Catholic Church, but"“these statements only weaken the Catholic Church more."

"How can the Pope say here, in this land-- where the bones of the native martyrs who were massacred by the rule of the European empires are still warm-- how can he say, because that’s practically what he said, that there was no imposition," Chavez said.

But before you start reading the article below about the Papal brouhaha, I wanted to let you in on this other bit of interesting news. It seems that Venezuela is to give the American actor Danny Glover almost $18m to make a film about a slave uprising in Haiti, actually a biography of Toussaint Louverture, an iconic figure in the Caribbean who led the 18th-century revolt in Haiti. Glover said he wanted to educate the US about the story. "It's been essentially wiped out of our historic memory, it's been wiped clean."

The Venezuelan congress said it would use the proceeds from a recent bond sale with Argentina to finance the film.

It will also give seed money for a film version of The General in His Labyrinth, Gabriel García Márquez's novel about the last days of Simón Bolívar, who liberated much of South America from Spanish colonialism.

The following is from Caribbean Net News.

Chavez demands Pope apologise for Indian comments

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded Pope Benedict apologize to Indians in Latin America for saying this month in Brazil that the Roman Catholic Church purified them.

Chavez, who regularly clashes with the Catholic Church in Venezuela but had not directly criticised the Pope before, accused the Pontiff of ignoring the "holocaust" that followed Christopher Columbus's 1492 landing in the Americas.

"With all due respect your Holiness, apologize because there was a real genocide here and, if we were to deny it, we would be denying our very selves," Chavez said at an event on freedom of expression.

In a speech to Latin American and Caribbean bishops at the end of a visit to Venezuela's neighbor Brazil, the Pope said the Church had not imposed itself on the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Indian leaders in the region were outraged by the comments.

Millions of tribal Indians are believed to have died as a result of European colonization backed by the Church, through slaughter, disease or enslavement.

Chavez, who has expanded the rights of indigenous peoples from the Amazon rainforest to the Caribbean, said he felt he was Indian because Venezuelans are a mix of the European race and indigenous peoples.

Chavez spoke only days after Venezuelan media interpreted other comments from the Pope as singling out Chavez as a danger to Latin America when he warned of autocrats in the region.

Chavez, who regularly criticizes world figures such as US President George W. Bush, describes himself as Christian, grew up expecting to become a priest and says his socialist policies have roots in the teachings of Jesus Christ.


For two weeks, a wave of violence has run through Morocco, where violence has been directed against the occupied Western Saharans. This follows an anti-occupation demonstration on May 7, when Western Saharan students at the university of Agadir, Morocco, were brutally beaten and arrested.

On Thursday Moroccan police clashed with student protesters from Western Sahara demanding an end to Rabat's control over the disputed region.

According to two students at Rabat University, police carried out about 15 arrests and some students were injured after protesters defied a police order to end a week-long sit-in at the entrance to the university in support of the separatist Polisario Front.

Now reports are coming in of the arrest of human rights activists in Western Sahara as well. Brahim Elansari, a member of the Saharawi Association for Human Rights Victims, was arrested Sunday afternoon after police stopped his car in Laayoune, Western Sahara's main city, said the organization's president, Brahim Dahane. Fellow activist Hassana Douihi, who was riding with Elansari, was also arrested.

Shortly afterward, police arrested Naama Asfari, president of the Paris-based Committee for the Respect of Human Freedoms and Rights in Western Sahara, Dahane said.

The three remained in police custody Sunday evening, said Dahane, adding that police had visited the homes of three other human rights activists seeking to arrest them, but that the men were not there.

Saharawis in Laayoune held a demonstration on Sunday morning calling for independence for Western Sahara, a desert territory invaded by Morocco after colonizer Spain left in 1975.

Meanwhile President and Polisario Front Secretary-General Mohamed Abdelaziz stated on Monday Morocco "fears" the forthcoming negotiations on Western Sahara, scheduled to be conducted by the United Nations in the first half of June, Sahrawi. Morocco "fears the negotiations, for it doesn’t want its public opinion to know that it de facto recognizes the Polisario Front as the Sahrawi people’s sole and legitimate representative," he told a news conference conducted in the Sahrawi freed territories in Mijek, where the celebrations of the 34th anniversary of the Sahrawi armed struggle outbreak are taking place.

The following is from the Westfall Weekly News.

Moroccan police arrest 3 activists

RABAT, Morocco - Police in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara arrested three leading human rights campaigners on Sunday following weeks of crackdowns against students and activists in the territory, a human rights association said.

Shortly afterward, police arrested Naama Asfari, president of the Paris-based Committee for the Respect of Human Freedoms and Rights in Western Sahara, Dahane said.

The three remained in police custody Sunday evening, said Dahane, adding that police had visited the homes of three other human rights activists seeking to arrest them, but that the men were not there.

Moroccan authorities are targeting prominent Saharawis in an attempt to quell the growing pro-independence sentiment in Western Sahara, a desert territory invaded by Morocco in 1975 after Spain, the colonial power, withdrew, Dahane said.

Saharawis in Laayoune held a demonstration on Sunday morning calling for independence.

The Polisario Front, an Algerian-backed independence movement, fought until the United Nations brokered a cease-fire in 1991 aimed at allowing an independence referendum, which never happened.


From the late 70s to the mid 90s I worked first at a Free Health Clinic and then at a large federally funded community health center. Let me just say this from personal experience if you are poor in the United Snakes it would be best to just not get sick. While it is obvious that a capitalist system will never be able to do what little Cuba has done in the field of health provision, community care, and preventive health care and education, you'd think the big old US of A could do a little something. Like how about a universal single payer system? How simple it would be to just make Medicare available to everyone regardless of age. Sure that wouldn't be the greatest thing in the world, but it would be one hell of a lot better then the mess we've got now. And it would be easy to set up. It's all there already.

Oh well, dream on. After all, the health insurance parasites have to keep up with the oil maggots.

Michael Moore's dissection of the US heath care system won rave reviews as it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this last weekend and has dominated the early festival buzz.

Moore said, "So many Americans have been hurt by our health care system and I'm very confident that people will take to this movie."

Moore says the US health care system is driven by greed in his new documentary , and asks of Americans in general, "Where is our soul?"

The documentary, Sicko, asks why 50 million Americans, 9 million of them children, live without coverage, while those that are insured are often driven to poverty by spiraling costs or wrongly refused treatment at all. In Sicko, Moore features stories of Americans, who have been refused vital treatment and are facing financial ruin because of the U.S. health-care system.

Moore told reporters he could go to jail for taking a group of volunteers suffering ill health after helping in the September 11, 2001 rescue efforts on an unauthorized trip to Cuba, where they received exemplary treatment at virtually no cost. The ailing U.S. citizens and 9/11 rescue workers came to Cuba, where they hoped to receive the same medical care, in a wry sequence, as detainees in America's Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Denied access, Moore sought and received treatment for the Americans at Havana's central hospital, instead.

John Graham, who was working near the Twin Towers when the planes crashed into the buildings, spent 31 hours helping out initially, and returned for several months to sift through the carnage.

Graham was later diagnosed with lung problems, burns on his esophagus, chronic sinusitis and post-traumatic stress disorder. He stopped working in 2004, split from his wife and can barely keep up with support payments.

The Cuban hospital provided Graham with five days of medical tests as well as medication for his reflux problems.

"I think when Americans see this they are not going to focus on Cuba or Fidel Castro," Moore said. The director says he wants Sicko to be a "call to action."

The trip led the US Treasury Department to investigate Moore for possibly breaking the US trade and travel embargo on Cuba.

"I'm the one who's personally being investigated and I'm the one who's personally liable for potential fines or jail, so I don't take it lightly."

On the advice of lawyers, the filmmakers spirited a master copy of Sicko outside the US in case the government tries to seize it. As for whether the inquiry could prevent the film opening in the US as planned on June 29, Moore said: "We haven't even discussed that possibility."

"We are never going to have real change in the United States if the public doesn't see that it will only happen when they rise up out of their theatre seats and do something about it," Moore declared.

The following is a press release from the California Nurses Association.

Michael Moore's Stunning New Film Could Help Reframe the National Healthcare Debate

LOS ANGELES, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael Moore's tour de force on the U.S. health care crisis -- which premiered to overwhelming acclaim today in Cannes -- could help "reframe and move the national healthcare toward genuine reform for a more humane healthcare system," California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro said today.

DeMoro notes she was "privileged to get to be among 50 people" mostly those in the film or who worked on the film who were invited to an intimate special viewing of "Sicko" this week in New York. She called the film both an "indictment of an indefensible healthcare industry in the U.S. and a rejoinder for those who think we can fix the soulless monster by tinkering with an unconscionable system."

The film, she said, "should bolster the spirits of those dedicated to achieving fundamental reform and embarrass those who promote the lowest common denominator with proposals that reinforce the existing system."

"Sicko" presents an emotional portrait of an array of people, including volunteer rescue heroes of the September 11 attack, who are denied needed care -- despite the fact that most are insured. And it points a finger at the source of the crisis, a profit-driven insurance industry whose "biggest accomplishment is buying our U.S. Congress" to prevent real reform.

The film also presents a solution to the crisis -- the type of medical system in place in other industrialized countries, where care "doesn't depend on your premiums, it depends on your needs." Such a transformation in the U.S., said DeMoro, "is not just a dream -- it's legislation." CNA/NNOC is campaigning for HR 676 in Congress and SB 840 in California, both of which would establish a type of an expanded Medicare for all system.

"Michael Moore has demonstrated compassion and courage in a film that, true to his career, doesn't bend to political expediency," DeMoro said. "He goes right at the treachery of abandoning people in our country, and contrasts that with other countries where when it comes to the nation's health, they know the distinction between the 'we' and the 'me'. "Sicko" offers "inspiration, vision, and hope and the nurses of CNA/NNOC look forward to working with Moore to bring that promise to all Americans," DeMoro said.

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing represents 75,000 RNs from California to Maine. Learn more at