I decided to reactivate my Flikr and use it as a place to put my best photos.

Check it out here. You can always find the link on the right hand menu, too.


photos from day of decision

Here are photos I took from the protests on the Day of Decision, when the California Supreme Court ruled to uphold Proposition 8.


prop 8 upheld, ca to cut welfare

The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 yesterday, outlawing gay marriage in the state. Hundreds of protesters marched into the street after the 10am ruling and 175 were arrested for blocking the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Grove Street. The civil disobedience was organized by One Struggle, One Fight. Two litigators who argued against each other in the Bush v. Gore case filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court hoping to bring it to the Supreme Court.

Update: Just found a recent Gallup poll on same-sex marriage. Even though majority of Americans continue to oppose gay marriage, the following graph can simply be called inevitability.

In response to the failed propositions of last weeks special election, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released a budget plan that would "eliminate welfare, drop 1 million poor children from health insurance, cut off new grants for college students and shut down 80 percent of state parks."


tuesday may 26th

I just got the announcement that the decision will be made on TUESDAY MAY 26th at 10am. Spread the word! Meet at 10am at the California Supreme Court at 350 McAllister St at Civic Center Park. There will be a rally at San Francisco City Hall at 5pm. If you can't make it to San Francisco that day, there are events all over the state and country so check the Day of Decision website. For info on civil disobedience that may be going on check out One Struggle, One Fight.

some interesting statistics on wealth

Just picked up a new book and found this in the intro. This brings me up to 5 books I'm currently reading. I should start prioritizing because I've barely started all 5. The book was printed in 2006.

-The assets of the world's top three billionaires are greater than those of the poorest 600 million people on the planet.
-Globally, there are seventy thousand people who possess more than $30 million in financial assets. Half of the world's 587 billionaires are Americans, whose wealth increased collectively by $500 billion in 2003 alone. They posses the same amount of wealth as the combined gross domestic product of the world's poorest 170 countries combined.
-More than a third of the world's people, 2.8 billion, live on less than two dollars a day.
-1.2 billion people live on less than one dollar a day.

And some stats for the U.S.
-The average compensation in 2004 for the CEOs of the top 367 U.S. companies was $11.8 million, up from $8.1 million in 2003. On average, CEOs in 2004 made 431 times what a production worker made, up from a 107:1 ratio in 1990 and a 42:1 ratio in 1982.
-CEO pay has increased by 300 percent over the last fifteen years, whereas wages have increased in the same period by only 5 percent (and minimum wage workers have seen their pay fall by 6 percent). If wages had kept up with the percentage increase in CEO pay, in 2004 the average pay for production workers would have been $110,136, instead of $27,460.
-The top 20 perfect of American households control 83 percent of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 80 percent of Americans control only about 17 percent of the nation's wealth.
-A total of 34.6 million Americans in 2002, 12.1 percent of the population, lived below the official poverty line, and 8.5 million of them had jobs. Overall, black poverty is double that of whites.


election results

Here are the results of the California Special Election

Proposition 1A: Rainy Day Fund - Yes: 34.2%; No: 65.8%
Proposition 1B: Education Funding - Yes: 37.5%; No: 62.5%
Proposition 1C: Modernize Lottery - Yes: 35.4%; No: 64.6%
Proposition 1D: Child Services Funding - Yes: 34.3%; No: 65.7%
Proposition 1E: Mental Health Budget - Yes: 33.6%; No: 66.4%
Proposition 1F: Elected Official Salaries - Yes: 73.9%; No: 26.1%

Good thing California voters didn't pass these budget cuts.


Day of Decision

Sometime in the next two weeks the California Supreme Court will rule on the challenge to Proposition 8. The decision will be either next Monday or Thursday, or Tuesday or Thursday of the following week. You can sign up for a mobile alert here, which we will get 24 hours prior to the ruling. If the ruling upholds Prop 8 there will be civil disobedience organized by One Struggle, One Fight. Otherwise there will be a celebration. Come show your support! For more information visit the Day of Decision website.


torture used to tie 9/11 to Iraq

According to Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, the Bush administration used torture to link Al Qaeda to Iraq. Wilerson states, "The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa’ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, “revealed” such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop." As we now know there was no Iraq/Al Qaeda link. Could the Iraq war been started without this link? Either way, this was one of the main arguments to start the war in Iraq. This man was tortured until he gave the information the administration needed to start an unjust war. With all the information coming out I hope Obama has no choice but to start a criminal investigation about torture and Iraq. Certain people should be punished for war crimes but I doubt anyone of importance ever will. More on what can be summed up as this week in torture.

First the "War on Terror" ended, now it may be the "War on Drugs." In an interview White House Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske said, "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them." The Obama administration has spoken of more sensible drug policies, we'll just have to wait to see how they're implemented. Will this be a drastic change or just a different choice of words? Operations in Afghanistan didn't change with the end of the "War on Terror."

An activist from Texas was sentenced 24 months in prison for preparing Molotov cocktails that were intended to be used for the 2008 Republican National Convention. I don't know what the guy's intention was, but it's people like this that really hurt progressive movements. This is fodder for the main stream media just so they can focus on the few violent people of any movement in an attempt to discredit it. Just like people who mindlessly start riots and protests, why can't these idiots realize they're doing more bad than good for the cause they claim to be supporting?

from the city where you put flowers in your hair

I spent most of the day sorting through pictures I've taken over the past month. Some of my favorites, all from various parts of San Francisco.


swedish socialist hell

Max sent me this Daily Show clip. I gotta get back to watching Daily Show, this is fucking hilarious. Even though Sweden isn't really socialist. Still... watch.


roundup: i wish Obama would listen to MLK

I'm going to try a more organized format for my roundups. And maybe something else to call it other than roundup.

Howard Zinn on Democracy Now: I Wish Obama Would Listen to Martin Luther King"
Some U.S. soldiers forced to ration water due to shortage
Homeless advocate caught eye of police Homeland Security coordinator
New York moves to be added to list of states cooler than California. Assembly passes gay marriage bill
Guns may be allowed back in national parks as part of credit card legislation
UCSB professor investigated for being critical of Israel

Historian and peace activist Howard Zinn is interviewed my Amy Goodman. One of the topics discussed is how Obama, like many, commends Martin Luther King on the civil rights movement, but does not take into account his ideas on peace and poverty. Zinn discusses how Martin Luther King, along with historical figures including Mark Twain and Helen Keller were radicals, yet history rarely mentions these parts.

Instead of Theodore Roosevelt, tell them about Mark Twain. Mark Twain—well, Mark Twain, everybody learns about as the author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but when we go to school, we don’t learn about Mark Twain as the vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League. We aren’t told that Mark Twain denounced Theodore Roosevelt for approving this massacre in the Philippines. No.

We want to give young people ideal figures like Helen Keller. And I remember learning about Helen Keller. Everybody learns about Helen Keller, you know, a disabled person who overcame her handicaps and became famous. But people don’t learn in school and young people don’t learn in school what we want them to learn when we do books like A Young People’s History of the United States, that Helen Keller was a socialist. She was a labor organizer. She refused to cross a picket line that was picketing a theater showing a play about her.

He goes on to say that presidents can't be relied upon. The people have to push leadership to get things done. On a side note, this is exactly what happened with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. History class would have you think he did it out of the goodness of his heart. It's true that he had more compassion to the labor movement than many other presidents, but it was organization and strikes that brought upon the New Deal. The same thing happened with the Civil Rights movement.

AMY GOODMAN: When Barack Obama was running for president, asked in the debates who would MLK endorse, who would Dr. King endorse, he said, “None of us.”

HOWARD ZINN: Yeah, that’s true, because King believed—and this actually is one of the themes of our people’s history, is that you cannot depend on presidents, and you cannot depend on elections and voting to solve your problems. People themselves, organizing, demonstrating, clamoring, they are the only ones who can push the President and push Congress into change. And that’s what we have to do now with Obama. We have to point to what Obama said in the course of the campaign, when he said we not only have to get out of Iraq, we have to get out of the mindset that brought us into Iraq. Obama, himself, has not gotten out of that mindset yet. And I think we, the people, have to speak to him about that.

I think too many people think electing Obama was end game. They have to realize it was just an opportunity, one that has to be taken advantage of.

The reports were shocking enough when it was revealed that soldiers in Iraq had shortages of body armor and unshielded hummers, but now reports come out that some are forced to ration and steal water leading to cases of dehydration. Some have gotten sick from drinking tap water. Camps have also had issues with water, with filthy water coming out of showers and sinks. Another shocking issue mentioned in the story, but not elaborated on, is how some of these camps look more like shopping malls, where "[y]ou can eat Subway, Burger King, you can buy a $1,200 Oakley watch, but you can’t have clean water to brush your teeth with? What's the real priority here?" Is it really appropriate for corporations to be making money off soldiers that are putting their lives in danger for the country? Another example that corporatism has gone too far where these companies see these troops as simply another market.

Another example of the "War on Terror" being used to target activists. In Fresno a homeless advocate was sent a letter from a Homeland Security coordination team with the Fresno police for taking pictures around the City of Fresno Corporate Yard, where belongings of homeless people were brought after a cleanup effort. The letter advised him to contact them next time he plans on visiting the grounds.

The New York state assembly passed a same-sex marriage bill. The bill will now move to the senate for a vote. New York governor David Paterson said he would sign the bill.

The amendment is bad enough, allowing loaded guns to be taken into national parks but how could a such a thing be attached to credit card legislation, something it has nothing to do with? Just another example on what's wrong with our legislative process. Completely unrelated things like this should not be grouped together.

Professor William Robinson has been targeted by the Anti-Defamation League for criticizing Israel's position on Gaza. Noam Chomsky states, "The course structure is up to the professor. Charges of “anti-Semitism” are part of the ADL’s long-standing strategy to equate any criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish bias."



First I'll start with a compelling, well written story on the Angola Three, members of the Black Panther Party who were put under solitary confinement for over a combined 100 years for their peaceful protests and organization in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace were convicted of killing prison guard Brent Wallace even though there is no physical evidence linking them to the killing according to NPR.

An 18,000-acre former slave plantation in rural Louisiana, Angola is the largest prison in the US. Today, with African Americans composing over 75% of Angola’s 5,108 prisoners, prison guards known as “free men,” a forced 40-hour workweek, and four cents an hour as minimum wage, the resemblance to antebellum US slavery is striking.


Prison authorities sanctioned prisoner rape, and according to former Prison Warden Murray Henderson, the prison guards actually helped facilitate a brutal system of sexual slavery where the younger and physically weaker prisoners were bought and sold into submission. As part of the notorious “inmate trusty guard” system, responsible for killing 40 prisoners and seriously maiming 350 from 1972-75, some prisoners were given state-issued weapons and ordered to enforce this sexual slavery, as well as the prison’s many other injustices. Life at Angola was living hell—a 20th century slave plantation.

The Angola Panthers organized non-violent hunger strikes and work strikes in retaliation to these conditions. Prison authorities put them in solitary confinement to break their influence.

U.S. manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have dumped at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that are often municipal sources for drinking water.

As part of its ongoing PharmaWater investigation about trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, AP identified 22 compounds that show up on two lists: the EPA monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water under federal pollution laws, while the Food and Drug Administration classifies them as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Currently municipalities do not test water for trace pharmaceuticals. Last year the Associated Press did an investigation finding trace pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas. They concluded that 46 million people have drugs in their drinking water. Now it goes a step further, with these claims that companies are dumping these chemicals in waterways. Scientific studies have proven the effects these chemicals have on wildlife. Even though there are only trace amounts, you have to consider this is a mixture of drugs and trace amounts over a lifetime add up. For these reasons I try not to regularly drink tap water. Your Britta filter won't do a thing. Of course most bottling companies are no better and it's very difficult to find their filtering process. I recommend reverse osmosis which will filter these chemicals, as well as things like fluoride that you shouldn't be ingesting. I found that Alhambra drinking water is filtered through reverse osmosis so I purchase their 2.5 gallon jugs. The ultimate goal is to get my own reverse osmosis filtration system going, or purchasing drinking water from Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, Ca that sells reverse osmosis filtered water, therefore reducing the use of disposable plastics.

U.S. media was all over criticizing the Iranian government for detaining American/Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi. Saberi was sentenced for 8 years, accused of being a U.S. spy. An order will immediately release her. Salon's Glenn Greenwald compares this case to cases of journalists being detained by the U.S. and how little media coverage there is. The media is the first to criticize a foreign government, but when it comes to criticizing the U.S. where they have some influence, they remain silent.

In another unwelcome move the Obama administration is leaning toward a decision to make it up the Federal Reserve when a firm is "too big to fail." This is worrisome since the Federal Reserve is a private/public institution with personal interests in the financial market. I see this as consolidating this power even further from the hands of the people than it already is. Not that the people had the power already, but at least the representatives that were elected could technically be held responsible for their decisions.

Law Professor Jonathan Turley stated that intervies Dick Cheney has done can be used against him in court by admitted the Bush administration knew about the details of the torture program and authorized it. Obama has mentioned he won't prosecute Bush officials but the political winds can always change.

Lawmakers in the lower house in France have passed a bill that would allow Internet connections to be cut of those who repeatedly download illegal music and movies. This is the first time such a bill has been passed. Critics say the bill would not allow offenders to challenge charges against them.

A U.S. soldier gunned down 5 fellow troops at a stress clinic in Baghdad. Hopefully this will further bring to light the stresses soldiers are facing these days from lengthy deployments. Will we see a resurgence of the post Vietnam years where soldiers are thrown to the streets to deal with their PTSD by themselves? I recommend watching Battle for Haditha which addresses this topic and stresses U.S. troops are under.

Conservative talk show host Michael Savage has been banned from Britain. What I find most interesting is that Savage is based in San Francisco and was part of leftist circles in his youth and at one time discussed medicinal benefits of marijuana. I think this shows how he is just an opportunist playing an act to make money.

After a year of President Medvedev Amnesty International says there have been no improvements with justice in Russia despite Medvedev's commitment to restore the rule of law. More interestingly, Medvedev has a LiveJournal. I would totally add him as my friend if it weren't all in Russian.


libertarian paradise

star trek socialists

I found this article questioning when the Federation in Star Trek became socialist. In a lot of ways the author complains how such a system being portrayed might give people the wrong idea of where the future is headed and even goes as far as stating that if a pop culture icon had portrayed a fascist government that did not show loss of personal freedoms or oppression, it would have been ridiculed. It becomes clear that the author really has no understanding of what a socialist system is and how it operates. I'm not even clear if the Federation is a true socialist system, since of all the topics Star Trek covers, politics is one it rarely goes into.

The author is under the impression that state controlled industry constitutes a socialist system. Socialism is a bottom up political system, where production, industry, distribution and land are owned by the people. Industry is controlled by workers, and decisions are made through councils in which representatives can be instantly recalled if they are not acting in the will of the people. Systems in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and most other "socialist" countries are really systems of state capitalism, where a small group of individuals who control the government control business and industry. Both these nations started with socialist revolutions that quickly turned into state capitalist systems for reasons I won't get into here. The truth is it's difficult to criticize a capitalist system for not working because there has never been a functioning one for any lengthy period of time. Of course a functioning socialist system has the same problems as a functioning democracy in where it relies on an educated populous to keep the power so it does not get consolidated into the hands of an elite few.

In The Next Generation Jean Luc Picard states that humanity has evolved beyond money. All needs are provided for the people. No one is homeless or poor regardless of their situation. The thing that was never made clear is if industry is worker controlled. The show only focuses on Starfleet, a military organization, which is top down in its structure very much like our current military system. The show rarely goes into civilian aspects of life and to my knowledge doesn't address the political structure of the Federation. How are leaders chosen? How is industry controlled? All that is known is that resources are plentiful so everyone gets what they need. It could be a representative democracy, where similarly to our government, politicians are elected by the people, who in effect make decisions on industry and production. Or maybe Starfleet itself controls these things. All that is known is that the corporate capitalist system that is responsible for much of the worlds problems today has been eliminated.

Even before being exposed to Marx and Engels I adopted their view that society would eventually evolve into a socialist system. Through a historical view the average citizens standard of living and education has risen and their freedoms increased. If this trend continues eventually citizens will take power of their government and a socialist system will be created. I do not know when humanity as a whole will be civilized enough for this model to work, but I see it happening one day. If the author of this article really had an understanding of socialism maybe he wouldn't be complaining so much how a TV show can show such an example of this system.


don't be fooled by the CA special election: vote NO

The other day I decided to read up on the propositions for the California Special Election being held Tuesday May 19th. You can read the propositions here:

Proposition 1A
Proposition 1B
Proposition 1C
Proposition 1D
Proposition 1E
Proposition 1F

I couldn't believe what I was reading. It truly reads like a scam. I spoke to a few people who had read over the propositions and they agreed with me. The state senate and assembly have voted near unilaterally for these propositions when all they do is CUT SOCIAL SERVICES AND EDUCATION! Let's look at the propositions. Remember, this is only my interpretation and opinion of these propositions and I offer it as a recommendation. Read the propositions yourself, do some research and make up your mind.

1A: vote NO. This proposition makes the budget more complicated, extends the current temporary tax increases another two years, and gives the governor authority to make cost-of-living adjustments without the legislature.

1B: vote YES. The reason I say to vote yes on this one is that it only applies with 1A passes. If 1A passes it guarantees a certain amount of funds from 1A to be used for education. I heard this one only appeared on the ballot as a compromise with the teachers unions. Tying this to 1A is not the way to restore funding to legislature and this measure is a way to push people to vote for 1A.

1C: vote NO. Currently lottery funds must be used for education. This proposition would allow the state to borrow $5 billion from lottery funds and would allow them to borrow more in the future. In effect this is a cut to education. From the proposition text: "These changes also would affect both the funding of educational institutions and the state General Fund."

1D: vote NO. This proposition sells itself that it "[p]rovides more than $600 million to protect children's programs in difficult economic times." It's this kind of deception that is so sickening with this special election. In reality this significantly cuts money from the First 5 program that helps with school readiness and health access for children, along with giving county funds that could be used for substance abuse and mental health services, providing basic family needs, child development and child health. This is funded by tobacco taxes. The proposition would deeply cut these services and the proposal does not mention how this $600 million would protect children's programs.

1E: vote NO. Similar to 1D, this one cuts mental health programs. Due to these cuts state and local governments "could incur added costs for homeless shelters, social service programs, medical care, law enforcement, and county jail and state prison operations." That's directly from the proposition text. Some of this funding is also matched federally, so those federal funds would be lost as well.

1F: vote NO. Proposition 1F claims to prevent many state officials from receiving pay raises when the budget is in a deficit. I was unclear on this one and did some further reading and found out that this is not the way to do this. It should be fishy enough that it received unanimous agreement from the senate and assembly. It creates an illusion that the government is being responsible with their own funds.

The truth is other than 1C (that borrows $5 billion from the lottery) these propositions to little to close the budget gap. They are just a way to cut social services from those that need them most. Why not raise taxes on the rich or cut one of many programs that are actually not needed. If these proposals pass, it is just a way for the legislature to put blame on the voters when the truth of these is discovered. Don't be fooled and remember to VOTE!


Obama won't prosecute Bush officials on torture and the reason why

White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel has announced that the administration will not prosecute Bush officials that authorized torture. When the torture memos were released a few weeks ago Obama stated, "it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution." With that statement some still had a hope that those authorizing the torture would be prosecuted for breaking the law.

Now the reason for the Obama administration's hesitation comes to light. Under President Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the CIA's rendition program as Clinton's deputy attorney general. The rendition program moved suspected terrorists from one country to another that cooperated with the U.S. If the Obama administration were to pursue criminal action on the Bush administration democrats under Clinton could easily be brought into the prosecution. Another interesting detail mentioned in that article is that Obama signed an executive order on January 22 allowing rendition despite condemnation around the world.

On another note, a prison in northeastern Poland was used as a transfer note for terrorist suspects. But this isn't a surprise since the Polish government is always sucking up to the U.S.

In another scary move, the Obama legal team is asking the Supreme Court to overrule a law that gives defendants' the right to a lawyer before police questioning. Most of the troubling decisions from the Obama administration lately have come from the Department of Justice. An explanation may be that Republicans are blocking Obama's choice for his choice for the Office of Legal Council. I don't know what the relation of the OLC to the DOJ is, but this could be part of the reason for some of the administrations decisions.

On the environmental front, the current administration is still doing things to upset activists. They have decided to stick with the Bush-era decision to not allow the Endangered Species Act to be used to impose limits on greenhouse gases. Business groups had expressed concern regarding the ESA to be used to impose the limits, so business got their way.

My friend Max posted an interesting connection relating the world of Dune to the past two administrations. In Dune, first a cruel and evil nephew gets put into power, who the people hate and detest. Then the plan is to replace him with the good, fair nephew that the people will love. Interesting thing to think about.


Obama administration says two-state solution only solution

The Obama administration has announced that a two-state solution is the only solution between Israel and Palestine. White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel also told Jewish leaders in Washington that if Israel wants help defusing an Iranian threat they must get ready to evacuate settlements in the West Bank. Israel's new government has backed the two-state proposal although the new conservative Prime Minister, Benjamin Natenyah is not supportive of the idea of a Palestinian state. In a surprise to me the AIPAC, the huge Jewish lobby in Washington, which is in a large part responsible for the $2.5 billion given to Israel in aid each year, is urging members of congress to do support the two-state solution. The AIPAC has historically been a deterrent of the peace process.

This is hopefully a welcome change, but a two-state solution can still work favorably to Israel while keeping the West Bank and especially Gaza in a state of poverty that will further fuel violence. At that point the argument will be that the Palestinians were given their own nation yet they are still fighting and inciting violence. The United States and Israel have always stood in the way of the UN peace resolutions (wish I had a source for this, but Noam Chomsky has debated and cited this fact many times). I'm skeptical of things all of a sudden getting fixed that Obama is in town, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, violence is still prevalent in the border regions. An independent photo journalist caught these shocking photographs of the Israeli Defense Force killing Basem Abu Rahmeh while peacefully protesting. He was killed by the same type of high speed gas canister that critically injured U.S. citizen Tristan Anderson in a similar situation a month ago.

the cause of swine flu

I was going to avoid discussing the swine flu since everyone has clearly gotten enough of the media frenzy. I haven't seen any of the media coverage on it, but I doubt they are investigating the cause of the phenomenon. Organic Consumers Association explains how factory farming around the world creates the perfect situation for viruses like these to mutate:

Experts have been warning for years that the rise of large-scale factory farms in North America has created the perfect breeding grounds for the emergence and spread of new highly-virulent strains of influenza. "Because concentrated animal feeding operations tend to concentrate large numbers of animals close together, they facilitate rapid transmission and mixing of viruses," said scientists from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2006.


It's the same story with bird flu. The crowded and unsanitary conditions of the farms make it possible for the virus to recombine and take on new forms very easily. Once this happens, the centralised nature of the industry ensures that the disease gets carried far and wide, whether by feces, feed, water or even the boots of workers.

The proximity of factory pig farms to factory poultry farms increase the risk of viral mutation and recombination to deadlier strains. This recent strain is believed to have started in a subsidy of Smithfield farms, the worlds largest pork producer. These companies use their power and money to cover these things up.

A couple of years ago in Romania, Smithfield refused to let local authorities enter its pig farms after residents complained of the stench coming from hundreds of dead corpses of pigs left rotting for days at the farms. "Our doctors have not had access to the American [company's] farms to effect routine inspections," said Csaba Daroczi, assistant director at the Timisoara Hygiene and Veterinary Authority. "Every time they tried, they were pushed away by the guards. Smithfield proposed that we sign an agreement that would oblige us to warn them three days before each inspection." Eventually, it emerged that Smithfield had been concealing a major outbreak of classical swine fever on its Romanian farms.

There is also the fact that pharmaceutical companies benefit from these situations. The U.S. government has allowed antivirals such as Tamiflu and Relaxin to be used more widely on flu sufferers. The article has many citations and links for additional information.

The WHO and governments have failed to regulate factory farming and the problems they have caused. In addition to these outbreaks, the animals are never humanely treated and are injected with antibiotics and other chemicals that are bad for your health. It's up to us to make a stand. Tell President Obama and Secretary Tom Vilsack investigate Smithfield close down factory farms.

UPDATE: Scientists have traced the current swine flu to a strain that emerged on U.S. factory farms in 1998.


democrazy now interview with senator russ feingold

We need more people in Congress like this guy. Always taking the lead on doing the right thing

Bail Out Working People -- NOT the Banks!

I'll be going so let me know if you want to join me for this.


Join us on May 9 in San Francisco for a

Without joining together for our common interests, we don't have the strength to change our government's priorities. We must begin to build a massive movement that will have the power to impact government policy and give people genuine hope for a better future.

Help organize a mass mobilization and ongoing action campaign around the following demands:

- No layoffs. Massive job-creation program.
- Tax the rich.
- Pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
- Single-payer healthcare for all.
- Affordable housing for all. Tenants' rights. Moratorium on foreclosures & evictions.
- Funding for jobs and for social services & infrastructure -- NOT for war.
- Stop the ICE raids and deportations. Legalization for all!


- Art Pulaski, Secretary-Treasurer, California Federation of Labor;
- N'tanya Lee, Executive Director, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth;
- Mark Dudzic, National Organizer, Labor for Single Payer Healthcare Campaign (Washington, D.C.);
- Rosie Martinez, SEIU Local 721 (Los Angeles);
- Steve Williams, Executive Director, POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights);
- Conny Ford, Vice President, San Francisco Labor Council;
- Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10;
- Jack Rasmus, Professor of economics St. Mary's College and Santa Clara Univ.;
- Alan Benjamin, Executive Committee, San Francisco Labor Council and Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign;
-Josh Nielsen, President, Student Council, City College of San Francisco


Extended remarks from Bay Area labor and community leaders -- and ample time for dialogue among teach-in participants.


Spoken Word performance by YOUNG PLAYAZ

SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2009 - 1 to 5 p.m.
(registration begins at 12:30 p.m.)
Plumbers Hall,
1621 Market St. @ Franklin St.
(3 blocks from Civic Station BART stop; @ Van Ness MUNI stop)
San Francisco

Initiated by the San Francisco Labor Council, South Bay Labor Council, North Bay Labor Council, San Mateo Labor Council, and Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign

Donations will be requested at door to defray cost of renting the hall, printing leaflets and posters, and copying teach-in packets for all participants. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Endorsers: AFT Local 2121; ANSWER Coalition; Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice; Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists; Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center; Black&Brown Equitable Drug Policies Collective; California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee; Chinese Progressive Association; Code Pink: Council of Community Housing Organizations; Day Labor Program; Dolores Street Community Services; Education Not Incarceration, SF Chapter; El Organizador; Frente de Mexicanos en el Exterior; Green Party of California; Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club; Housing Justice; Idriss Stelley Action & Resource Center; International Action Center (LA and San Diego); International Socialist Organization; Labor and Community Studies, City College of San Francisco; LaborFest; LAGAI - Queer Insurrection and Gabriela Network; May 1st Alliance for Land, Work and Power; Meikeljohn Civil Liberties Institute; Movimiento por una Amnistía Incondicional; Mujeres Unidas y Activas; National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW); Oakland Education Association; Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 3; People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER); Sacramento LCLAA; Scientists without Borders; SF ACORN; SF Gray Panthers; SF LCLAA; SF Peace and Freedom Party; SF Unitarian Universalists for Peace; SF Web Pressmen & Prepress Workers Local 4N GCC-IBT; SFSU Labor Studies; Single Payer Now; Socialist Action; Socialist Organizer; Solidarity; South of Market Community Action Network; St. Peter's Housing Committee; Tenderloin Neighborhood Housing Development; United Public Workers For Action; US Federation of Scholars and Scientists; Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club; and Workers Action. (list compiled as of 4/21/09)


Call for May 9 Teach-In:
Bail Out Working People, NOT the Banks!

The severity of the economic crisis we are currently facing is predicted to rival the magnitude of the Great Depression. Some say it could be even worse. Over 6 million jobs have already been eliminated since the current recession began. Millions of working people have lost their homes to foreclosures and evictions, and many more homes are in or near default, while housing remains unaffordable to millions of people. The ranks of those without health insurance continue to grow. But even these statistics fail to reflect the growing insecurity and stress of working people across the country as we wonder when we, too, might be next.

Meanwhile, the federal government has showered billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars on financial institutions in the form of bailouts. In other words, working people, who are bearing the brunt of the crisis, are being required to shoulder an additional burden. Our tax dollars are being funneled to the very financial institutions and wealthy investors whose reckless gambling in pursuit of unbridled profit was responsible for driving the economy over the cliff. They have refused to say what they've done with trillions. Worse still, to emphasize their contempt for public opinion, these priests of high finance have spent some of the bailout money on huge bonuses, office decorations and the purchase of more CEO jets.

In response to this unprecedented crisis, many organizations have emerged that are addressing specific issues. Some are fighting foreclosures. Others are fighting for a single-payer healthcare system that would guarantee health coverage for everyone. Still others are pressing for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which, if passed, will greatly facilitate the ability to form unions.

Although our problems take many forms, most of them stem from a single source. During the past three decades, the inequality in wealth has surged to historic proportions not seen since the 1920s. The hourly wage of working people has actually declined, forcing many additional family members into the workforce just to make ends meet. Aggressive campaigns by employers have created additional barriers to unionizing, resulting in a sharp decline in the percentage of unionized workers. Without unions, workers have not had the means to struggle successfully for higher wages, healthcare coverage, pensions and other benefits.

Given these conditions, can there be any wonder that we have a housing crisis and a healthcare crisis? And during this same period, the taxes on corporations and on the rich in general have dramatically declined, thereby accelerating the accumulation of unprecedented wealth, on the one hand, and the decline of tax dollars for public infrastructure and services, on the other.

In order to have any chance of altering these trends, given the magnitude of the crisis we confront and the forces we're up against, we need to come together, unite all our separate organizations and mount a collective struggle around our common concerns. Without joining together for our common interests, we don't have the strength to change our government's priorities. Only in this way can we begin to build a massive movement that will have the power to impact government policy and give people genuine hope for a better future.

We working people constitute the vast majority of the population. We need to ensure that our society operates in the interests of the majority. But we can only succeed if we stand together in solidarity with each other's demands and struggles.

The goal of the May 9 teach-in is to inspire other teach-ins. It is aimed at organizing massive Solidarity DAYS OF ACTION in support of our common demands. By bringing huge numbers of people together in common actions, people will realize through their own experience that they do not stand alone, and they will gain the confidence that by uniting we can begin to exercise real power.

- Join us and help build a movement.
- Together we can prevail.
- An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!

where i've been

California Vipassana Meditation Center