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Click to read Subcomandante Marcos' Speech
September 11, 2003


Do as the U.S. says, not as it does.

The Price of Mexican Dignity-It's up to consumers.

Que es Globalization?

Call Me a Bush-Hater!

What exactly is imperialism?


States Where Latinos are the largest Minority


The Vietnam of Our Era....U.S. Imperialism...A war based on Lies.

by Bob Witanek

Indeed with todays massacre in Najaf resulting in deaths of at least 20 and over 200 wounded, the Shia of Iraq now have there own Fallujah.  Todays development coincides with the current stand off in Fallujah where US troops have for the time being been driven out after the mutilation of the bodies of the contract mercenaries who were violating a local edict to foreigners to stay out of Fallujah.  The parallels of what happened today and how the whole Fallujah situation got started are rich indeed.

The media guilty of perpetrating the great lie about WMD on behalf of the US administration that got this whole mess started continue to dutifully misrepresent and lie about how Fallujah unraveled.  Indeed they are reporting that Fallujah was a hotbed of resistance to the
US takeover and invasion of Iraq not true!  Little resistance at all was offered by Fallujah.  It was days after when back to back massacres of Fallujah unarmed civilians including school students occurred in response of a community march for the occupation troops to leave a local school so that classes can resume that put the ball in play in Fallujah.  It was experience of war crimes of the occupation forces that cemented the current Fallujah mindset against the occupation.

Now the Shia have their Fallujah a massacre again.  Once again the media will play a role in assuring us all that the occupation troops this time Spanish led were firing on the Iraqis in retaliation and that the militias initiated the hostilities.  Local witnesses claim the opposite, that the Iraqis responded in kind after the Salvadorean and Spanish initiated.  Indeed though in the scheme of things it does not matter how it started.  A massive fish bowl massacre has occurred.


The Shia, many of whom were already up in arms over the closing of the newspaper outlet of radical Shia Imam Moqtader Al Sadr and had already begun to issue not so thinly veiled calls for armed insurrection will likely now carry through with such plans. 




Indeed the most influential Shia leader Ayatollah Sistani has clearly condemned the interim constitution and interim government and has called upon the UN Security Council to reject the constitution.  Indeed he warns that the UN Security Council should not endorse the constitution, which the US is drafting into the next resolution being advanced before that body.  Sistani will be hard pressed to stay quiet in the shadow of todays massacre.  Indeed if he should make any sort of step toward an escalated resistance it could be yet another dire development for the occupiers.



The other question is the Spanish.  Powell is hustling around Europe to try to scare up NATO mobilization for the occupation which could be used by the incoming Spanish government as an excuse to renege on its pledge to get out of Iraq.  However, with the Shia flexing their muscle toward the Spanish led troops and the dead Salvadoreans from todays events the Spanish anti-war forces perhaps will step up and let the incoming government know that June is not soon enough get out now before hundreds of Spanish, Salvadorean, Nicaraguan, Honduran, etc. troops are banged into boxes!




The developments of today, the developments in Fallujah, the continuing capitulation of the UN Security Council to the US imperialist agenda and the demands of Sistani all demonstrate ever more clearly that we have one and only one path here in the USA:

Resiliently make the clear and uncompromising demand of government:


Complete, immediate and total unconditional withdrawal of all US and allied troops from Iraq!


Iraq is about to blow sky high.  With the Shia joining the fray and the Sistani card yet to be played the full scale insurrection might soon be upon us.

(As I finish typing this news is coming in of 10 dead US GIs in Iraq from fighting today!) 


The populous of the US is turning against this war.  Let us unite with the family members of GIs who are clear in their demand: immediate withdrawal.  Let them be our moral compass so that we can steer the sentiment toward realistic solutions withdrawal not modification of a criminal murderous occupation through NATO, UN or some other form of collaboration.  Clarity and forthrightness is how we need to respond to the unfolding events.


Bob WITanek



COLUMN OF THE AMERICAS by Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez



The president's smog of war is not just metaphorical rhyme for Errol Morris' "The Fog of War" â- the acclaimed documentary about Robert McNamara's views on war. The smog of war is actually literal.


If anything, it's an understatement about how President Bush has been conducting the war on terrorism: secrecy, arrogance, deceit and a wimpish assertion of executive privilege. But even more so, it is commentary regarding his policies that are wreaking long-term havoc upon our already extremely fragile planet.


War is always controversial because untold (or uncounted) numbers of innocents die. As McNamara admits, had the allies lost World War II, their leaders would've been tried as war criminals for crimes against humanity -- for their role in devastating the civilian populations of Japan and Germany.


And that was the "good" war. Yet, the same holds true for Vietnam.


 "The Fog of War" is not compelling just because of McNamara's frank talk about Southeast Asia, but because of its obvious parallel to the Iraqi war. Of course, it took McNamara 30 years to come forth with the truth/lies about Vietnam. (This provides hope that perhaps Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice may in time also 'fess up).


The president no doubt wishes that former chief of counterterrorism Richard Clarke had also waited 30 years, or at least until after the election, to level his charges. (Of note: Incompetence isn't illegal, though waging wars based on deception is minimally immoral.) Yet three things are clear: 1) This election cycle began the day after the 2000 election; 2) Clarke hasn't told us anything that former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil hadn't already told us; and 3) no matter what Clarke alleges, the charges will be mired in partisan bickering. (Actually, for this administration and its apologists, there's one other certainty: Everything pre- and post-9/11 was/is Clinton's fault.)


But the toxic contamination and smog that result from the president's environmental policies don't distinguish between Democratic and Republican lungs.


The war on terrorism, one might argue, is a distraction (war for oil or for U.S. global military dominance). What's indisputable is that permanent global war is being used as a convenient excuse for shirking global environmental cooperation and systematically dismantling the world's environmental laws. (Human rights are also being shoved aside in the process.)


This is the real smog of war, and it's potentially much more lethal than all the weapons of mass destruction in the hands of all the Middle East "evildoers."


The difference between amoral wars that kill humans and amoral policies that harm the entire planet (which includes all life) is that we have but one planet. On our current course, the harm to our planet is irreversible, and in geologic time, the response is instantaneous, as new cancers and other environmentally triggered ailments (lupus and asthma, etc.) are at virtual crisis levels. Extreme contamination and its resultant health crises are no longer confined to the U.S.-Mexico border region or the nation's largest cities. (Some scientists say that because of pollution, we're racing toward the sixth great extinction of species.) Truthfully, there are no longer any dark corners on the planet where we can safely dispose of our toxic or radioactive wastes. While we all live in but one ecosystem, the Bush administration continues acting otherwise (Kyoto).


Because of the fog of war, most of the world has, in effect, been distracted from the administration's even more duplicitous war on the planet itself. And tragically, both issues are intertwined. Even the president's tax policies that favor the rich are signficant, as there's no money for enforcement or a meaningful cleanup of the environment.


So treacherous is this second war that politics now routinely trumps science, even while polluters are firmly in charge of "protecting" the environment. A visit to the Natural Resources Defense Council ( or the Sierra Club ( Web sites only begins to tell the story of this unprecedented onslaught. Neither can we expect relief in Congress or the courts as polluter-friendly representatives hold sway in those bodies.


This practice of appointing representatives of the energy/oil industry to oversee environmental protection is akin to appointing Osama bin Laden to head the war on terrorism. Neither is this hyperbole, as the president's environmental project now relies on "deregulation," voluntary "compliance" or "market-based" solutions, which, in effect, means a free reign for polluters. That's the smog of war.


The world awaits a Richard Clarke within the EPA to lift and counteract the president's even more destructive smog of war -- to warn us all that it's not simply important, but extremely urgent.

March 20:
Millions Demonstrate Against Occupation of Iraq

By Staff

Millions of people in cities around the world hit the streets today, March 20, to protest the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. Massive demonstrations took place in London, Brussels, Seoul, Tokyo, and thousands of other cities and towns in 45 countries. Demonstrations took place in more that 250 cities across the Untied States. Many of these demonstrations also demanded an end to the U.S./Israeli occupation of Palestine and an end to the occupation of Afghanistan.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, more than 3000 people marched on the state capitol building. At the front of the march, a banner carried the demand to end the occupations of Iraq, Palestine, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. One of the groups organizing the protest, the Minneapolis / St. Paul-based Anti-War Committee, issued a statement condemning "Bush's unilateralist doctrine of preemption, and the misery it has caused across the globe, from the overt attack and occupation of Iraq, to the continued financial underwriting of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, to direct military intervention against the people of Colombia and to the covert destabilization of Haiti and Venezuela."

In Chicago, more than 10,000 people attended a rally called by the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism. Among the speakers was Colombian trade union leader, Luis Adolfo Cardona. Cardona slammed the occupation of Iraq and called for an end to U.S. intervention in Colombia.

A statement from the Colombia Action Network, distributed at the Chicago protest and at others around the country, noted, "Unfortunately, while the U.S. increased its attacks on Iraq, it also quietly escalated a conflict in another part of the world: Colombia. Since 2000, the U.S. has been funding a war against the Colombian people through its aid proposals entitled Plan Colombia. Colombia, after Israel and Egypt, is the third highest recipient of military aid from the U.S., and their government is using American tax dollars to kill trade unionists, human rights workers and civilians. This is a brutal effort by the U.S. government, just like in Iraq, to push forward another agenda determined by corporate economic interests."

A massive demonstration in Los Angeles brought together tens of thousands of people. On March 18, Latinos Against the War held a press conference in front of Roosevelt High School. Students, parents, teachers and labor leaders spoke in support of the March 20 protests, against the occupation of Iraq and for dumping Bush this November.

In New York City, a massive crowd filled the streets. Early estimates of the size range well over 100,000 participants. "It was a sea of people," said Deb Howze, the head of newspaper distribution for Fight Back! at the protest. "All over the world millions are saying no to the occupation of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. People everywhere are resisting the U.S. empire."



The costs of perpetual war

The War Resisters League estimates that in fiscal year 2005 the Bush administrations imperial war budget will top $935 billion.

Their math is as follows: $536 billion for current military expenditures; $50 billion for the conduct of the Iraq/Afghan wars; and $349 billion for the interest payments on past military expenditures. This represents 49 percent of all outlays from federal funds. (Federal fund expenditures are distinct from payments drawn from trust funds like Social Security. However, since the 1960s, surpluses from trust funds have been commingled with federal funds in order to give the impression that the U.S. budget is something other than a war budget.)

Basing his analysis on a recent Congressional Budget Office report on The Long-Term Implications of Current Defense Plans, Steven Kosiak of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) warns that the Bush administrations defense budget projections understate the true costs of their 2005-14 defense plan by some $765 billion. CSBA also warns that if these additional outlays were not offset by a tax increase, or cuts in entitlement or domestic spending, the interest payments on a larger federal deficit would increase by $185 billion.

When the additional costs of the administrations 10-year defense plan are added in, total military spending for FYs 2005-14 increases to $5.8 trillion. This would deepen federal deficits by some $3.635 trillion over the coming decade, hardly a fiscally responsible way to prepare for the retirement of the baby boom generation.

In calculating the cost of war, Greg Speeter, executive director of the National Priorities Project, warns that the budgets needed to carry out the Bush administrations preemptive war strategy are so enormous and the weaponry so expensive that the Pentagon will have to take money from already under-funded social programs and renege on long-standing federal commitments to address such domestic concerns as child poverty, deteriorating schools and access to adequate health care.

Other programs such as affordable housing, environmental clean ups, education and public works projects to address the deteriorating infrastructure would be shortchanged. In addition, revenue sharing to help cash-starved states and cities to deal with their fiscal crises would be off the table. The costs of empire are so enormous that if they are not radically reduced the domestic body count will rise dramatically.

Helen and Harry Highwater keep track of the casualties of the Iraq and Afghan wars on their web site, Unknown News. Their work focuses on the human costs of war. The following is their accounting of the dead and wounded:

The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan is 100; the number seriously wounded, 564 (as of January 2004).

The number of Afghan troops killed is 8,000; the number severely wounded, 2,400 (May 2003).

The number of Afghan civilians killed is 24,000; Afghan civilians seriously injured, 5,924 (December 2003).

The number of U.S. troops in Iraq killed is 539; seriously injured, 3,040 (February 2004).

The number of Iraqi civilians killed is 8,245; seriously injured, 14,841 (February 2004).

Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan: estimated killed 27,880; seriously wounded 71,761 (as of Feb. 14).

There are additional costs of perpetual war. These include the truth, as a permanent state of fear is maintained by neo-conservative practitioners of noble lies; the environment, as wars for oil are fought to preserve an oil-based economy; liberty, as the so-called Patriot Acts unfold; and freedom, as the military draft is reinstated.

Draft bill stirs concern among students

Some District students said they are opposed to a Congressional bill that would reinstate a nearly universal military draft. Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced the legislation earlier this month as part of an effort to ensure a "shared sacrifice" among Americans in the event of a war.

The bill, HR 163, would require all male and female citizens and legal residents to serve in the armed forces at the age of 18. Those with health problems or conscientious objectors, who could fulfill the service requirement in another capacity, such as border patrol, would be excluded. Service would be paid and be for a period of two years.

"If my country really needed me, I would go," said 18-year-old Edward Bates, a District high school senior. "But I don't want to put my life on hold for two years for no good reason. I could be more productive during that time."

The armed forces are presently an all-volunteer army. Men ages 18 through 25 are required to register with the Selective Service System, a large information database, should a draft be necessary in the future. There are 13.5 million men now registered with the system.

"If everyone has to do it, it is fair," sophomore Joshua Mark said. "They have mandatory service in Israel, kids there do it and deal with it. You should do what you can for your country."

The proposal "will make things a little more real in terms of the war movement," said Rangel spokesman Elbert Garcia, predicting that if more children are at risk of going to war in Iraq, fewer parents, particularly whites, will support military action in the region.

The draft was suspended in 1973 amid the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, but Selective Service registration was re-established by former President Jimmy Carter in 1980 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The present system does not require women to register, but recently a lawsuit was filed against the Selective Service System claiming men-only registration violates equal-protection guarantees.

Rangel said minorities make up a "disproportionate number" of troops in the all-volunteer army. Incentives like the GI Bill, which compensates soldiers for education after they complete their service, are most attractive to lower income groups who cannot otherwise afford the education needed for high paying jobs.

Garcia said Rangel, who voted against authorizing military action in Iraq, "is looking at this from an anti-war perspective" but that the bill is also meant to "encourage young people to think about serving their country and what it means to go to war."

The Pentagon is opposed to the reinstatement of the draft, and released a report countering Rangel's assessments. For example, the report cites black enlistees make up only 15 percent of the U.S. combat force, and are more likely to be found in support or administration jobs (36 percent) or in medical or dental positions (27 percent).

Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced the bill with Rangel.

A Conyers spokesman said those that will be doing the actual fighting still do "not represent the most active and influential people in government affairs. People who run the country and people who vote have kids in college" and do not share the risk of their children fighting.

HR 163 represents a change in attitude among congressional leaders. Last year a bipartisan group of members in the House introduced a resolution that stated "reinstating the military draft would be detrimental to the long-term military interests of the United States."

GW graduate student Allison Connor said she has mixed emotions about the proposal.

"I think helping the country through service like the Peace Corps or Americorps is a good idea, but I definitely do not want to be forced to join the army," Connor said. "I do not support war."

"In the old days it was not unusual to graduate high school and serve two years (in the armed forces) and then go to college," said Ronald Spector, professor of history and International Affairs. "It is good because then the students would be older and more mature."

Spector said the draft proposal probably has "very little chance to result in the reinstitution of the draft" but supports the service idea.

Spector foresees problems registering and managing the estimated 4 million Americans who turn 18 every year, as well as the potential cost.

"With so many people turning 18 each year," Spector said, "the government will invest so much money training them to be able to perform for service, just to have most of the kids leave in two years."

Rangel's office disputes a lack of service opportunities, citing U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea and our understaffed borders.

"You can see the military in two ways," Spector added, "as an instrument for war or as an instrument for building citizenship and making people conscious of being an American and conscious of other Americans and the world."

The bill has been forwarded to the House Armed Services Committee for further deliberation. Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) has introduced a similar proposal in the Senate.

World Court Rules U.S. Should Review Death Row Cases

Cox News Service - April 1, 2004

MEXICO CITY _ The world court on Wednesday ordered the United States to review the death penalty cases of 51 Mexican nationals, contending that the American justice system violated their rights under international law.

Mexican President Vicente Fox and international human rights groups applauded the order by the U.N.'s International Court of Justice based at The Hague.

"Today the international court has ruled in our favor," Fox said.

The United States argued that the cases involving the Mexicans on death row were a matter of U.S. sovereignty.

Mexico successfully countered that some of the Mexicans' rights were violated because they were not told they had the right to consult with Mexican consular officials after their arrests or during criminal proceedings.

The right to consular advice is guaranteed to detained foreigners under the 1963 Vienna Convention, a treaty the United States signed.

The world court's decision could give attorneys for the condemned men another reason to challenge their clients' convictions and sentences in various states.

But the U.S. government ignored a similar world court order in 2001. As a result, the state of Arizona executed German citizen Walter LaGrand despite the world court's contention that his rights to consular consultation had been violated.

Fifty-five Mexicans are on death row in Texas, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Oregon, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arkansas and California. A total of 121 foreigners face execution in the United States, and the world court decision could, in theory, have an impact on their fates, too.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the court's decision was being reviewed.

"The issue before the court was remedies when consular information was not provided. Let's look at the decision, and we'll decide, based on studying it, how we can go about implementing it," Ereli said.

One of the Mexican prisoners, Osbaldo Aguilera Torres, is scheduled for execution on May 18 in Oklahoma.

"The U.S. should provide by means of its own choosing meaningful review of the conviction and sentence" of the Mexicans' cases, said world court presiding judge Shi Jiuyong, according to the Associated Press.

The court ordered a special review of three cases, two in Texas and Aguilera's case in Oklahoma, because those prisoners have exhausted their appeals.

David Sergi, a San Marcos, Texas-based attorney who represents one of the Texas prisoners, was at The Hague to observe the world court's proceedings. He said that the court order opens the way for him to file for a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' review of a client's conviction.

Sergi represents Roberto Moreno Ramos, who was sentenced to death in March of 2003 following his conviction for the murder of his wife and two children with a hammer.

Sergi said Moreno maintains that he is innocent. "He has his version of what happened," Sergi said in a telephone interview from the Netherlands.

Sergi added: "He was a Mexican national and (police) never told him of his right to contact his consulate."

In Texas, where 16 Mexicans sit on death row, Gov. Rick Perry's spokesman said the court's order would have no impact.

"While Gov. Perry respects the world court to have its opinion, the fact remains that the court has no jurisdiction or standing in Texas," said spokesman Robert Black.

In August 2002, Texas executed Javier Suarez Medina, a Mexican national, despite protests by Mexican President Vicente Fox. After the execution, Fox cancelled a planned trip to visit Texas.

If the United States ignores the world court's ruling, Mexico has the option of seeking redress in the United Nations Security Council.

At a news conference in Mexico City, Foreign Ministry legal adviser Arturo Dager said the government had "every confidence that the United States will do everything possible to comply with this ruling."

Human Rights Watch welcomed the ruling.

"Today's decision could make the difference between life and death for foreigners prosecuted in the United States," said Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch. "Giving defendants access to consular officials means that they can get good defense lawyers _ the surest way to avoid the death penalty."

Susan Ferriss' e-mail address is


Cox News Service

Oakland Tribune

Whites-only scholarships are nothing new

Sunday, February 22, 2004 - AN amusing habit of young people is their tendency to think that their generation came up with every idea that sounds in any way cool.

Such must have been the goofy mindset that's inspired a student group at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., to offer a scholarship for which only white students need apply.

"Evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants," says the scholarship application, which requires a recent photo "to confirm whiteness" and an essay on "why you are proud of your white heritage."

This is new? I'm old enough to remember when whites-only educational opportunities were quite common in this country -- and they were not a joke.

As you might have guessed, this scholarship is a joke, but only partly. It is intended to protest affirmative action. It is offered by the college's College Republicans, whose president, Jason Mattera, 20, has been juggling phone calls and e-mail inquiries ever since news wires picked up the story from The Providence Journal last Sunday.

The scholarship's amount grew from $50 to $250 over the weekend and continued to grow like a telethon's tote board after sympathizers got the word through various news media. Ah, who says the media never aid conservative causes?

Mattera, a junior from Brooklyn, says it is white students today who are feeling the lash of discrimination, wielded against them by scholarships for non-whites. "We think that, if you want to treat someone according to character and how well they achieve academically, then skin color shouldn't really be an option," he told the Journal.

Yet, Mattera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is himself a recipient of a $5,000 Sallie Mae Fund scholarship for Hispanic students.

How does he square accepting a scholarship for non-whites with his opposition to preferential treatment for non-whites? Well, Mattera apparently believes the myth that only unqualified people benefit from affirmative action. He told CNN's Daryn Kagan, for example, that his Hispanics-only scholarship was OK because he earned it with his excellent grade point average, not "just because I'm Puerto Rican."

In fact, when affirmative action works the way it is supposed to, it does not guarantee results to the unqualified because of their race or ethnicity. It only opens doors to enable a broader pool of people to prove how qualified they are.

For that reason, among others, neither the university nor the leaders of the state's Republican Party want anything to do with Mattera's whites-only scholarship. Patricia Morgan, the state's GOP chairwoman, called the scholarship "disturbing."

Besides, if scholarships were the standard for what amounts to discrimination today, a lot of people, not just whites, would have reasons to feel resentful. Take a look at just a few of the other groups that found receive preferences under currently available scholarships simply as a consequence of their condition of birth:

LEFT-HANDED STUDENTS: The Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Scholarship will award up to $1,000 to left-handed students who will be attending Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa.

LITTLE PEOPLE: The Little People of America association offers a scholarship for its members, who must be 4-foot-10 or less in height.

TALL PEOPLE: Tall Clubs International offers a $1,000 scholarship to women who must be at least 5-foot-10 and men who are at least 6-foot-2, presumably in their stocking feet.

JUST-AVERAGE PEOPLE: The David Letterman Scholarship, established by the late-night TV star, awards scholarships to telecommunications students at his alma mater, Ball State University, who are "average students who nevertheless have a creative mind."

CATHOLICS NAMED ZOLP: The aptly-named Zolp Scholarship offers full tuition for four years at Loyola University in Chicago for Catholic students whose last name happens to be Zolp, as documented by their birth certificate and confirmation certificate. First-name Zolps need not apply.

ANYONE NAMED SCARPINATO: Full attendance at Texas A&M University is available for anyone whose last name is Scarpinato---by birth or by marriage, so you still have a chance to marry into this scholarship.

DESCENDANTS OF ALUMNI: There are lots of these, of course, but one of the more unusual enables selected incoming freshman at Hood College the opportunity to pay the same first-year tuition as their alumnus parent or grandparent. Without inflation.

TWINS AND TRIPLETS: Lots of these, too. But one of the more unusual is offered by Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, where each twin gets the scholarship in alternate years.

Alas, I would not have qualified for any of these scholarships, even if I had married a Scarpinato.

But resentment is a waste of time. Instead of worrying about somebody else's opportunities, Mattera and Company should take advantage of the opportunities they have.

Clarence Page writes for the Chicago Tribune. E-mail .

Quick Fact sheet on How your Government Officials are serving you!
 Notice: Who do they really or big Business?

Reductions to health programs:

  • $8 million reduction to health education programs.
  • $7.4 million reduction to University of California research.
  • $6.1 million reduction to the Breast Cancer Early Detection Program.
  • $4.2 million reduction to the California Healthcare for Indigents Program.
  • $3.6 million reduction to the Department of Education for various health education programs.
  • $1 million reduction for Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development - Rural Health Grants, thereby eliminating them.
  • Decreasing the Office of AIDS' Treatment and Prevention programs by $6.6 million.

                                     You decide.

It is time for voters to unite and tell their representative that it is us they serve. We put them in office to represent us. Contact your rep. today!


"Is our children learning"

By Erika Robles/

In order to answer Bushs widely quoted question: Is our children learning? we need to take a closer look at how public schools are performing and how they have been affected by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The Act makes the most sweeping change in decades in the role federal and state governments play in the nations schools.

While the ideals advocated in NCLB are commendable, the realities of the Bush plan are not. It imposes strict and expensive mandates on public schools. A recent study by the New Hampshire School Administrators Association estimated that even with the funding increases that the Bush Administration is providing to fund the Act, the federal government will give New Hampshire schools only about $80 per student, while costing the state $575 a student to implement NCLB. According to the House Appropriations Committee, Bush's 2004 budget under funds the act by $9.7 billion, leaving local communities many already facing severe budget gaps to make up the difference. (The budget also eliminated funding for rural education, gifted-and talented programs, small schools, and technical education.)

On the other hand, the NCLB Act requires that at least 95 percent of all students enrolled in a school district take a math and reading test. For the 2003-2004 school year, each grade level must have at least 45 percent of the students at the proficient or advanced level in reading and 35 percent at the same level in math. (Every state must set a standard for the reading and math performance of its students. Students who meet or exceed that standard are considered proficient) In addition to the above items, the Junior-Senior High school must maintain a graduation rate of at least 95 percent or higher to make Average Yearly Progress (AYP). Schools that fail to make AYP in any of the above areas are put on a list for a warning, school improvement or corrective action.

Nobody argues that performance standards arent good. But when those standards fail to take into account the realities of teaching children with disadvantages economically disadvantaged, language barriers, minorities, children with special needs - fails to fully fund the federal mandate and judges adequate progress using a one-size-fits all formula, the neediest children will certainly be the ones left behind. Special education kids, for instance, have to take these standardized tests prepared for their age level, rather than their mental age or IQ. Also, the performance of economically disadvantaged groups must be compared to students who are not economically disadvantaged. And the Bush Administration pushing the testing has reneged on the funds needed to help these kids through testing and assist schools full of kids facing the academic hardships created by extreme poverty.

Educators know and research confirms the types of programs which can close the education gap: highly qualified teachers and para-educators; sound professional development; early childhood programs; all-day kindergarten; small class sizes in the primary grades; highly involved parents, guardians and community; mentoring and tutoring; and quality summer programs. These services and programs will make a difference in a child's ability to meet and exceed NCLB and established state achievement standards; but theres no funding for such programs. Instead, schools identified as failing or in need of improvement get sanctioned and Title I funds are further reduced.

Identify schools as failures, order them to improve, then take away the money that will make improvements possible, said Houston of the American Association of School Administrators.

The assumption of the NCLB system is that the test results represent what an educated person should know and be able to do. Few would say that an educated person only has high test scores. Most would say good scores are desirable but not sufficient to define an educated person. Most would say that schools must also produce good citizens, strong family members, contributors to society, and people engaged in democratic governance. None of these characteristics are measured by or deemed of importance in the federal accountability system.

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test,'' Bush said (Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001). One just needs to pay attention to Bushs grammar to know that scores alone dont mean you are an educated person.


READ ALL ABOUT IT.... 2003 10 Worst Corporations
Read them and weep!

ZNet Commentary
The 10 Worst Corporations of 2003 February 18, 2004
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

2003 may be remembered as the year of the headache at Bayer. In May, the company agreed to plead guilty to a criminal count and pay more than $250 million to resolve allegations that it denied Medicaid discounts to which it was
entitled. The company was beleaguered with litigation related to its
anti-cholesterol drug Baycol.
Bayer pulled the drug -- which has been linked to a sometimes fatal muscledisorder -- from the market, but is facing thousands of suits from patients who
allege they were harmed by the drug. In June, the New York Times reported oninternal company memos which appear to show that the company continued topromote the drug even as its own analysis had revealed the dangers of the
product. Bayer denies the allegations.

In one of the grandest schemes of corporate welfare in recent memory,Boeing engineered a deal whereby the Pentagon would lease tanker planes -- 767sthat refuel fighter planes in the air -- from Boeing. The pricetag of $27.6billion was billions more than the cost of simply buying the planes. The dealmay unravel, though, because the company in November fired for wrongdoing boththe employee that negotiated the contract for Boeing (the company's chieffinancial officer), and the employee that negotiated the contract for the
government. How could Boeing fire a Pentagon employee? Simple. She was no longera Pentagon employee. Boeing had hired her shortly after the company clinched the

A new-agey advertising/consulting/ strategic advice company,
Brighthouse's claim to infamy is its Neurostrategies Institute, which undertakesresearch to see how the brain responds to advertising campaigns. In acutting-edge effort to extend and sharpen the commercial reach in ways never
previously before possible, the institute is using MRIs to monitor activity inpeople's brains triggered by advertisements.

Clear Channel:
The radio behemoth Clear Channel specializes in consuming or
squashing locally owned radio stations, imposing a homogenized music play liston once interesting stations, and offering cultural support for U.S. imperialadventures. It has also compiled a record of "repeated law-breaking,"accordingto our colleage Jim Donahue, violating the law -- including prohibitions on
deceptive advertising and on broadcasting conversations without obtainingpermission of the second party to the conversation -- on 36 separate occasions
over the previous three years.

A North Canton, Ohio-based company that is one of the largest machine manufacturers, and an aggressive peddler of its electronic votingmachines, Diebold has managed to demonstrate that it fails any reasonable test
of qualifications for involvement with the voting process. Its CEO has worked asa major fundraiser for President George Bush. Computer experts revealed seriousflaws in its voting technology, and activists showed how careless it was with
confidential information. And it threatened lawsuits against activists whopublished on the Internet documents from the company showing its failures.

Now the owner of the company which initially drafted plans forprivatization of U.S. military functions -- plans drafted during the Bush Iadministration when current Vice President and former Halliburton CEO DickCheney was Secretary of Defense -- Halliburton is pulling in billions in
revenues for contract work -- providing logistical support ranging from oil tofood -- in Iraq. Tens of millions, at least, appear to be overcharges. Someanalysts say the charges for oil provision amount to "highway robbery."

Fifteen of its top executives have pled guilty in connection with amulti-billion dollar scheme to defraud investors, the public and the U.S.
government about the company's financial condition.
The founder and CEO of the company that runs a network of outpatient surgery,diagnostic imagery and rehabilitative healthcare centers, Richard Scrushy, is
fighting the charges. But thanks to the slick maneuvering of attorney BobBennett, it appears the company itself will get off scot free -- no indictments,
no pleas, no fines, no probation.

The California-based company sought Food and Drug Administration approval for silicone breast implants, even though it was not able to present long-term safety data -- the very thing that led the FDA to restrict sales of
silicone implants a decade ago. In light of what remains unknown and what is known about the implants' effects -- including painful breast hardening which can lead to deformity, and very high rupture rates -- the FDA in January 2004 denied Inamed's application for marketing approval.

Merrill Lynch:
This company keeps messing up. Fresh off of a $100 million fine levied because analysts were recommending stocks that they trashed in private e-mails, the company saw three former execs indicted for shady dealings with
Enron. The company itself managed to escape with something less than a slap on the wrist -- no prosecution in exchange for "oversight."

One of the largest U.S. grocery chains, Safeway is leading the charge to demand givebacks from striking and locked out grocery workers in Southern California. Along with Albertsons and Ralphs (Kroger's), Safeway's Vons and
Pavilion stores are asking employees to start paying for a major chunk of their health insurance. Under the company's proposals, workers and their families will lose $4,000 to $6,000 a year in health insurance benefits.


Bush Immigration Plan:
No Solution for Undocumented Workers; Serves

The Bush proposal on immigration does not address the
real problems of the more than ten million
undocumented workers in this country. It is simply a
recycled version of past 'guest worker' programs which
lock immigrant workers into poverty, without providing
any real path for toward security, residency and

Specifically, Bush's plan states that undocumented
workers who come forward can stay for two three-year
periods. The logical question is, "What then?" All
that the Bush plan holds out is that folks can then go
through the 'normal' immigration process. Because of
the very strict immigration quotas, this amounts to a
dead end for the millions of undocumented working
here. Another part of the administration immigration
proposal says that undocumented workers will need
their employer to 'sponsor' them. The effect of this
will be chaining undocumented workers to their jobs,
making it hard for the undocumented to leave rotten
jobs and giving the employers incredible power over
the immigrant labor.

The Bush proposal reflects the fact that the corporate
owners depend on immigrants. As things stand, a
substantial section of the working class in this
country, particularly those who work in the most
difficult sections of service, agriculture and
manufacturing, are immigrants, millions of whom do not
have legal status.

When big business dreams of their ideal immigration
policy, they see well-regulated labor markets, where
there is an ample supply of workers, eager to take any
job when the economy is booming. They also see workers
who can be sent home in times of economic crisis or
recession - avoiding the need to pay for programs like
unemployment insurance for those who are out of work.

Behind immigration, stands an ugly truth: U.S.
corporations have used the political and economic
power they wield to wreck the economies of many third
world countries. As a result, people leave behind
their homes and families in search of a better
standard of living.

No discussion of immigration to the U.S. can ignore
the issue of Mexico, where most undocumented workers
come from.

From the theft of northern Mexico right up to NAFTA,
the Mexican people have suffered the oppression and
exploitation at the hands of the colossus of the
North. The wealth concentrated in Wall Street is
mirrored by the spread of poverty in urban and rural
Mexico. This reality underscores the stupidity and
chauvinism that is inherent in the ruling classs
discussions of immigration.

Right-wing commentators and self-serving politicians
spew gallons of venom about 'illegals' crossing the
southern border - as if they were the rightful owners
of the Southwest portion of the U.S. Ignored is the
fact the area was stolen from Mexico, and the Spanish
speaking majority left on this side of the border were
forced to endure more than a century and a half of
oppression. In that process, a new nationality,
Chicanos, came into being. As such, Chicanos have the
same rights as any other nationality - including the
right of self-determination.

To hear some reactionary politicians, who seem to have
a sense of entitlement as big as a house, talking
about the southern border (and the Southwest as whole)
as if it were their personal property would be
laughable, if the entire matter werent so deadly
serious. Each year, hundreds of men, women and
children fleeing poverty - poverty created by the U.S.
elites - lose their lives attempting to cross the
border. This is a life and death question.

The only just solution to the legal problems faced by
undocumented workers is immediate and unconditional
amnesty. Immigrants do not need 'guest worker'
programs or political grandstanding that is aimed at
widening the political base of the Republican Party.
The undocumented need documents - documents that allow
them to stay, work and exercise their rights.

It's vital that every possible contribution is made to
strengthen the movement that insists upon amnesty for
the undocumented. At the same time, we need to insist
on the defense of democratic rights such as drivers
licenses and equal access to social services. By
taking this course, a blow is struck at the system of
racism, inequality and injustice that is visited upon
the oppressed nationalities within the borders of the
U.S. - and at the same time we unite all who can be
united against the rich who rule this country.


US Plans To Recruit 1 Of 24 Americans As Citizen Spies
By Ritt Goldstein

The Bush Administration aims to recruit millions of United States
citizens as domestic informants in a program likely to alarm civil
liberties groups.

The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS,
means the US will have a higher percentage of citizen
informants than the former East Germany through the infamous
Stasi secret police. The program would use a minimum of 4 per
cent of Americans to report "suspicious activity".

Civil liberties groups have already warned that, with the passage
earlier this year of the Patriot Act, there is potential for abusive,
large-scale investigations of US citizens.

As with the Patriot Act, TIPS is being pursued as part of the
so-called war against terrorism. It is a Department of Justice

Highlighting the scope of the surveillance network, TIPS
volunteers are being recruited primarily from among those
whose work provides access to homes, businesses or transport
systems. Letter carriers, utility employees, truck drivers and train
conductors are among those named as targeted recruits.

A pilot program, described on the government Web site, is scheduled to start next month in 10
cities, with 1 million informants participating in the first stage.
Assuming the program is initiated in the 10 largest US cities,
that will be 1 million informants for a total population of almost
24 million, or one in 24 people.

Historically, informant systems have been the tools of
non-democratic states. According to a 1992 report by Harvard
University's Project on Justice, the accuracy of informant reports
is problematic, with some informants having embellished the
truth, and others suspected of having fabricated their reports.

Present Justice Department procedures mean that informant
reports will enter databases for future reference and/or action.
The information will then be broadly available within the
department, related agencies and local police forces. The
targeted individual will remain unaware of the existence of the
report and of its contents.

The Patriot Act already provides for a person's home to be
searched without that person being informed that a search was
ever performed, or of any surveillance devices that were

At state and local levels the TIPS program will be co-ordinated
by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was
given sweeping new powers, including internment, as part of the
Reagan Administration's national security initiatives. Many key
figures of the Reagan era are part of the Bush Administration.

The creation of a US "shadow government", operating in secret,
was another Reagan national security initiative.

Ritt Goldstein is an investigative journalist and a former leader in
the movement for US law enforcement accountability. He has
lived in Sweden since 1997, seeking political asylum there,
saying he was the victim of life-threatening assaults in retaliation
for his accountability efforts. His application has been supported
by the European Parliament, five of Sweden's seven big political
parties, clergy, and Amnesty and other rights groups.

January 17, 2004

Blacks and Latinos Try to Find Balance in Touchy New Math


The Web site for Black Entertainment Television put the question bluntly: "Does it bother you that Hispanics now outnumber African-Americans in the U.S.?"

The response has been torrential. One visitor to the site wrote, "Blacks are beginning to experience another wave of racial bias and favoritism not in our favor." The writer complained that employers now have a preference for bilingual applicants, and bemoaned "attempts to replace our threatening stance against discrimination with a Hispanic vote."

But another cautioned: "Sounds like the same old trick to me. `Divide and conquer.' Are we really going to let some numbers dictate how we treat one another?"

The message board is only one forum, but it has evoked some of the emotions, worries, hopes and even awkwardness that have been felt nationwide over a singular moment in American demographics. Last summer, the Census Bureau announced that Latinos had surpassed blacks as the country's largest minority, with blacks making up 13.1 percent of the population in 2002, and Hispanics 13.4 percent.

That statistical shift, years in the making, hardly came as a surprise. Yet it has captured the attention of both Latinos and blacks, who have been grappling with its meaning in meeting rooms, on radio shows and on the Internet.

Those conversations have raised hard questions: Does the ascendance of Hispanics mean a decline in the influence of blacks? Does it doom, or encourage, alliances between the two groups? Does the old formula for those alliances shared grievances have much meaning given the diversity of income and status even within each group?

The rising number of Latinos has not escaped the notice of whites or other groups, whether in business or politics. President Bush's recent proposal to grant temporary visas to illegal immigrants is seen by many as just the latest effort to woo the Hispanic vote. But many blacks and Hispanic Americans say the demographic milestone has special meaning for the nation's two largest minority groups, forcing them to reassess a relationship that has sometimes brought cooperation, and sometimes conflict.

Many Latinos feel their growing numbers have finally grabbed the notice of black leaders.

"They realize we're a force to be reckoned with already," said Lou Sobh, chairman of the National Association of Hispanic Automobile Dealers. "There are some African-Americans that are going to see us as a threat, but a lot see the necessity of using each other."

Mr. Sobh's group agreed last year to merge with the black-led National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers after receiving assurances that the Latinos would be equal partners.

"The census was just something that demanded the focus of attention of anyone involved in business," said Sheila Vaden-Williams, president of the latter association. Uniting with the Latino group, she said, can help her members appeal to the growing Latino market and persuade carmakers to raise the proportion of new-car dealerships owned by minorities to 15 percent from the current 5 percent.

Not every discussion has been so fruitful. When a panel of blacks and Latinos gathered last fall at the annual meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus to address the issue "How Will the Growth of the Hispanic Population Affect the African-American Community?" many people came away unhappy.

One panelist, Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, said afterward that he felt "a degree of anger" over the hostility he sensed in questions from the mostly black audience about his stance on matters like illegal immigration and reparations for blacks. One questioner, Alona Clifton, a Democratic Party leader from the San Francisco area, said she left "extremely disappointed" that some Latino panelists like Mr. Vargas seemed uninformed about the issues she cared about.

The ill feeling has some people worried. Troubled by the way some news reports portrayed the new statistics as if Latinos were in a horse race against blacks, the Institute for Multiracial Justice in San Francisco, an organization that encourages better relations between ethnic groups, persuaded 45 Latino artists, professors and community leaders from around the country to sign an open letter "to our African-American brothers and sisters."

"In the Latino community," it said, "we will combat the competitiveness that could feed on those headlines."

The letter, sent last summer to African-American Web sites and published by several newspapers, got the biggest reaction in places with large black populations where the Latino population has soared, said Elizabeth Martinez, the institute's director. "You have neighborhoods that used to be all black and are now half Latino," she said. "People go into a hotel in Georgia, and the chambermaids used to be black and now they're Latina. The feeling is that they're taking over."

Keith Murphy, host of a radio call-in show in Milwaukee with a mostly African-American audience, devoted one show to discussing the letter. "It's still a matter of distrust," he said. "It's a feeling among African-Americans that Latinos are coming in and getting the jobs and are getting preferential treatment."

But many African-Americans and Latinos say that no two racial or ethnic groups could benefit as much from collaboration. The two find powerful common ground in their disproportionate numbers of the country's poor and their organizations' agreement on a long list of policy issues, including support for affirmative action and changes in the criminal justice system.

"We have as much or more in common than any two ethnic or racial groups in the country, and that's because of the phenomenon of racial discrimination and how it affects our community," said Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau of the N.A.A.C.P.

Latinos and African-Americans need each other to pursue that joint agenda, Mr. Shelton and others said. While Latinos may dominate in sheer numbers, many are not citizens or are too young to vote, so their political clout is largely unrealized. They also have yet to achieve the power African-Americans have won in other arenas, including what one Latino leader called "gatekeeping positions" in corporations and foundations that determine hiring and funding of programs for other minorities.

In major cities like New York and Chicago, the two groups together make up a majority of the population. "Both groups have the capacity to either help or hurt each other," said Raul Yzaguirre, president of the National Council of La Raza, a civil rights group that works with African-American organizations.

But while there has been much joint work by black and Latino national groups around specific issues, alliances do not come naturally. In many places, the two groups have battled over political representation, jobs and public funding.

Many blacks and Latinos say the ideal of an enduring "rainbow coalition" is unrealistic.

Hugh Price, a former president of the National Urban League and now a senior adviser to the New York law firm Piper Rudnick, said the increasing fragmentation by class, culture and national origin within the two populations prevented much more than "floating coalitions around key issues."

Nicolas C. Vaca, a sociologist and lawyer in California, argues in his new book, "The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict between Latinos and Blacks and What it Means for America" (Rayo, 2004), that the groups should not be expected to join forces automatically, given their differences and the tendency of ethnic groups in this country to look out for their own interests.

Some paramount concerns for many Latino organizations, like legalizing the status of illegal immigrants, conflict with those of black groups, such as the loss of unskilled jobs to those Latino workers, Mr. Vaca noted. And in places where one group dominates, as Latinos do in Miami and blacks do in Compton, Calif., he said, neither has shown more consideration for the other in sharing appointments and programs than when they had much less power.

"Whether you're an African-American in the South, or a Latino in California, you have the right to advance your own agenda," Mr. Vaca said. "To the extent they can do it cooperatively, great. To the extent they can't, they're going to have to work out some kind of strategy to avoid conflict."

Some collaborations come more easily than others.

When the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union called attention to immigrant rights last September by replicating the freedom rides that sought to integrate interstate bus and train terminals in the South in the early 1960's, it won the blessing of the N.A.A.C.P., the Congressional Black Caucus and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

When Christy Haubegger was knocking on doors in the mid-1990's to sell investors on the idea of a magazine for Hispanic women, she found a kindred soul in Ed Lewis, the chairman and chief executive of Essence Communications, which publishes Essence, a magazine for African-American women. Mr. Lewis and Ms. Haubegger paired up to start Latina magazine, which is now owned by Solera Capital, with both Essence and Ms. Haubegger as minority shareholders.

Pulling together or staying apart sometimes depends on whether the black and Latino populations in an area have comparable status and see their fates as linked, said Gary M. Segura, a political science professor at the University of Iowa who has written about "black-brown" coalitions.

In New York, for instance, the 2001 mayoral race brought together blacks and Latinos in a political alliance to back the candidacy of Fernando Ferrer, who lost the Democratic primary. But that same year in Los Angeles, Latinos overwhelmingly supported Antonio Villaraigosa, the Latino former speaker of the State Assembly, while blacks threw their support behind James K. Hahn, the white city attorney who won the race.

Mr. Segura said one factor in black support for Mr. Hahn was the tension between the groups there. "In New York there's a Latino community, but the Latino community is not perceived as marginalizing the African-American community as it does in L.A." he said.

Some Latino groups, like Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, who themselves have large black populations, find more common ground with African-Americans than others. Mr. Segura said that Hispanics who were born in the United States and speak English were much more likely to perceive similarities with black Americans than their immigrant, Spanish-speaking counterparts.

But most Latinos and African-Americans have not lived in proximity until recently because of the concentration of blacks in the South and East and of Latinos in the Southwest.

As a result, conversations between the groups are taking place for the first time in places like Gainesville, Ga. Faye Bush, director of the New Town Florist Club, said her civil rights group started meetings last year with Latino groups to start bridging a divide that opened up as Latinos grew to a third of the city's population; blacks account for about 16 percent.

"They don't interact with each other," she said of the two groups. "Language is the biggest barrier."

At the state level, the Georgia Partnerships Network, a project of the Southern Regional Council, a civil rights organization, formed in 2002 to try to increase the joint political power of blacks and Latinos by coalescing on specific issues. One is allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses, said Dwayne Patterson, director of racial unity programs for the council.

"It's only a very small effort around specific issues to build a relationship of trust and respect," he said. "You have two strong entities who are entering into a partnership. That's powerful. That's unprecedented in the South."


Revisiting history; More teachers are exploring the adverse effects of
California's missions on Indians
02/20/2004 - SACRAMENTO CA

By Stephen Magagnini -- Bee Staff Writer
The two sides of Father Junipero Serra took center stage last week at
Paso Manor Elementary School in the Arden area, where 30 kids performed
musical titled "California Missions - and More!"
A pint-sized Father Serra declared, "I'm just a humble Franciscan friar
doing the best service I can," then sang cheerfully, "grain is rising,
But the Serra character was followed by a mournful chorus of California
Indians left homeless when the missions were sold off after Mexico
its freedom from Spain in 1821.
"Where do we go? You gave us shoes and taught us how to plow/But all
land belongs to you now," they moaned in a minor key. "What do we do?
lost the skills to hunt and to track/Too late to learn too late to turn
Serra - who started the system of 21 California missions along El
Real ("The King's Highway") from San Diego to Sonoma built between 1769
1823 - looms large in California history. Schools, streets and parks
his name. A larger-than-life statue of Serra perches piously in Capitol
Park. A 20-foot concrete-and-steel sculpture of Serra - a finger
out the path to heavenly enlightenment - sits off Interstate 280
Junipero Serra Highway") near Hillsborough.
But while Serra remains a candidate for sainthood - Pope John Paul II
beatified the priest in 1988 - a growing number of elementary school
teachers are gingerly exploring the devastating effect Serra's beloved
missions had on tens of thousands of California Indians who gave their
and freedom to build and maintain them.
Each year in California, elementary school students, typically
fourth-graders, take up the role of the missions as they study the
Though fourth-grade textbooks have changed little in the last 30 years,
emergence of California Indians as a political and economic force has
generated new respect for Indian sovereignty and a less-sanitized view
California's mission history.
Judy Dronberger, whose students performed "California Missions - and
said that when she first began teaching six years ago, she taught
by the book sanctioned by the state Department of Education, which "led
to the point where Father Serra was doing only what was right, he was
basically a good guy. It really doesn't question him."
Now, Dronberger and other teachers are using plays, videos, extra
and field trips to missions so that kids can decide for themselves
Serra was a saint or a sinner.
Dronberger's students - like many teachers - were divided on Serra's
sanctity. Jacob Cannon, the 8-year-old who played Serra, said that what
happened to the Indians "was cruel and shouldn't have been done, but it
wasn't his fault."
Jacob's classmate, Brooke Carroll, was less forgiving: "Trying to make
(Indians) into Christians was a good idea, but not making them into
He tricked people into thinking he was a good guy, but in the end they
out he was sort of mean."
Before long, even Serra's image as a well-meaning missionary who wanted
"civilize" native Californians may fade into history.
Edward Castillo, chairman of the Native American studies department at
Sonoma State University, has received a state grant to revamp
public school curriculum to address Indian sovereignty and more fully
explore the impact of missions on indigenous people.
"We want to put the Indian back in mission history, not just as
victims, but
as active participants," he said. "They had rebellions, they poisoned
priests, they occupied some missions and burned others to the ground."
Castillo, a California Indian from the Cahuilla and Luiseño nations,
his ancestors were enslaved at several missions. "My grandparents
called it
the 'slave church,' " he said.
His book on the impact of California's missions, "Indians, Franciscans
Spanish Colonization," paints a picture of genocide.
"About 70,000 Indians died at California missions from 1769 to 1837,
from measles, mumps and chickenpox, and there's not a single headstone
any one of them," Castillo said. "The average life span was 12. As they
dying, the fathers were saying, 'You're dying because you're pagan.' "
The missionaries, however, kept meticulous records of those who died
why, and Castillo said he helped raise $32,000 to erect a wall in 1998
the Sonoma mission listing the names of almost 700 Indians who died
"We put an asterisk next to the children's names," he said.
Serra was more quixotic than demonic, Castillo said. "He really thought
could take these Indians and transform them into a perfect society
under the
careful tutelage and strict discipline of the missionaries. The
were only supposed to last 10 years, then be turned over to the
Indians, but
the Indians kept dying off."
Castillo, a former public school teacher, doesn't think fourth-graders
all the gory details, such as how soldiers and some priests raped
women. "But you can teach that some of the mission soldiers were cruel
the Indians and stole their wives, and that some priests were good and
to help the Indians," he said.
Castillo and Cindy LaMarr, president of the National Indian Education
Association, said it's up to individual teachers to give the Indian
perspective on California's missions.
Jennifer Stampfli, a teacher at Frontier Elementary School in Rio
said that she wasn't satisfied with the standard fourth-grade textbook,
California!" So Stampfli got her Parent Teacher Association to buy her
students "California Studies Weekly," a newspaper that gives a more
history of the mission era, including an account of 600 Kumeyaay
Indians who
revolted at Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1775, burning it to the
"I realize I can speak the truth," said Stampfli, 27. " I don't have to
what's exactly in the textbooks."
Serra is treated more charitably at Holy Family, a Catholic elementary
school in Citrus Heights.
"Father Serra is presented as a wonderful human being acting in
with his conscience," said Vice Principal Stephanie Jones. "He believed
native people needed to be disciplined and enlightened and - just as
been taught about slavery - the children are taught that this was
thought to
be perfectly correct. We've come a long way since then."
Jones said Serra has a legitimate shot at sainthood.
"He brought Spanish architecture to California, he brought art, he
education in a limited form to the Indians, he taught them basic
agriculture, and he brought Christianity and Catholicism to California,
which exerted positive forces and still do," she said.
But Jones said her students also are taught that Indians were
mistreated and
stripped of their culture.
"The teaching of history has changed as we have become a more educated
sensitive society," she said. "When I was a child ... in San Francisco
public schools in the 1940s - Father Serra was presented as an absolute
savior to the 'heathens.' "
Jones is happy today's kids get a less saccharine view of Serra. Her
fourth-graders now have a choice: They can make a model of a mission,
Indian settlement or a California ranchero.
"They're usually Styrofoam," she said.
"Things have improved since we had a classroom filled with ants from
sugar cube missions the kids used to make in the 1970s and 1980s."
Father Junipero Serra (1713-1784)
Father Junipero Serra grew up in on the Spanish island of Mallorca. He
educated by the Franciscans and was ordained at age 24. Serra taught
philosophy at a university for a dozen years before choosing to be a
World missionary in 1749. One theory is that he left Spain because he
the Inquisition would punish him for having a Jewish grandfather. He
in Vera Cruz, Mexico, then walked 260 miles to Mexico City, a trek that
him disabled for life. After Serra spent 20 years in Mexico, the king
Spain sent him to New California where on July 16, 1769, he founded San
Diego de Alcalá, the first of 21 missions on the El Camino Real. The
missions included presidios, or fortresses, occupied by Spanish



Fox seeks to open U.S. borders

By Audrey Hudson and James G. Lakely

Mexican President Vicente Fox yesterday said he favors open borders across North America, not amnesty for his countrymen illegally residing in the United States.
The alien work program announced last week by President Bush would not encourage aliens to remain in the United States, because they love their home country, the Mexican president told the "Fox News Sunday" program.
"We are not looking for an amnesty [for] Mexico. It's not that we're looking for these Mexicans working productively in the United States to become U.S. citizens. They like tacos, they like their families, they like their community, they like Mexico. Unfortunately, they don't have the opportunities that they would like to have as persons, so that's why they move," Mr. Fox said.
Mr. Fox said all immigration barriers should be removed to allow people to live and work in the country of their choosing, whether it be Mexico, the United States or Canada.
"On the long term, this North American bloc can be the leading bloc on the world and be the most competitive bloc on the world by working together and, through that, be able to keep increasing the quality and the level of life of our citizens," Mr. Fox said.
Mr. Bush heads to northern Mexico today to participate in the Summit of the Americas talks in Monterrey. A key subject will be his proposal allowing millions of Mexicans in this country illegally to remain for three years if they have jobs that citizens don't want.
Mr. Bush began lobbying Congress to pass a new alien work program in 2001, but the issue was sidelined after the September 11 terrorist attacks and renewed concerns over border security.
Critics say the program amounts to amnesty for illegal aliens because they can reapply for a second permit and stay in the United States an additional three years.
Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans said there will be no guarantees for alien workers in this program.
"No guarantee they'll be able to stay permanently, and no guarantee they won't be able to stay permanently," Mr. Evans told CNN's "Late Edition."
"And what the president has said is that we've got to get a system in place that only allows legal immigrants to take jobs that may otherwise go to an American. It also will make our borders a lot safer."
Critics say the timing is suspect and that the proposal is an election-year ploy to garner Hispanic votes. Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut called it "an election-year conversion by George Bush."
The proposal is "a little step forward, but not enough," Mr. Lieberman told CNN. "We've got to find a way to make them legal, have them contribute to the system, become part of the American family, and then start again at trying to make the flow of immigration in here legal and not illegal."
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the program will give Mexican workers "dignity."
"I can't think of anything better for a worker who has worked under these circumstances, kind of in the shadows in the United States, to finally have a way to come out of the shadows, to have certain protections that are not there now because they're having to live in the shadows, to have recognized that they are an important part of a strong American economy, and to get that kind of status," she said in a press briefing on Friday.
The Mexican government also will be expected to do a better job policing its border to protect its citizens, she said.
"The Mexican government doesn't like to see people trying to cross the border illegally, particularly because, just in even humanitarian terms, the harshness of what faces these people when they try to walk across the Rio Grande is really, really awful," Miss Rice said.
In addition to migration, world leaders at the summit will discuss the implications of international terrorism and poverty.
Mr. Bush meets today with Mr. Fox, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Tomorrow, Mr. Bush will have his first private meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, and later meet with President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina and Bolivian President Carlos Mesa.


Fox Supports Bush Proposal on Immigration

Associated Press Writer

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) -- President Bush won strong support from Mexican President Vicente Fox on Monday for his new immigration proposals as the two leaders worked to smooth strained relations and pursue broader trade ties.

At a joint news conference, Fox, who opposed the war in Iraq, congratulated Bush for the capture of Saddam Hussein by American forces. "He will be taken to trial, to judgment. We fully support that," the Mexican president said.

Bush offered a forceful defense of the war, despite U.S. casualty totals approaching 500. "The decision I made is the right one for America. And history will provide it is the right one for the world," he said.

On another issue, Bush declined to criticize former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, whose new book says the administration aimed to topple the Iraqi government even before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.

"First, let me say I appreciate former Secretary O'Neill's service to our country," he said. He said that when he became president, he inherited a policy of "regime change" from former President Clinton and adopted it as his own. "So we were fashioning policy along those lines and then all of a sudden Sept. 11 hit," he said.

Bush, Fox Agree on Immigration, Iraq

Release of Jailed Nicaraguan Leader OK'd

U.S.-India to Expand Hi-Tech Cooperation

Summit of Americas Begins Amid Disputes

Text of Bush, Fox Comments

The leaders seemed eager to overcome past differences. Bush invited Fox to his ranch on March 5-6, and said at one point they were good enough friends to disagree "without the loss of friendship."

Bush said that both he and Fox were committed to free trade and that trade between the two countries had grown over the past decade - the lifespan of the North American Free Trade Agreement - from $100 billion to $232 billion.

Fox said Mexico had the lowest unemployment rate in the Americas, and he attributed that to the NAFTA treaty with the United States and Canada. "Trade undoubtedly reduces poverty. Trade among countries promotes human capital," he said.

The two countries are part of a broader new Central American trade pact that is awaiting approval by several governments.

The issues of Iraq and immigration had produced sustained disagreements over the past two years, and both came up at the news conference.

Fox said Bush's immigration proposal marked "a very important step forward," and said he hoped it would be approved by Congress.

The president is expected to unveil details of his plan as part of the State of the Union address on Jan. 20. Administration officials say the plan will provide legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants working in the United States. It is unclear how the proposal will be received by lawmakers.

"This plan is not amnesty," the president said of his plan to match workers with jobs. "I oppose amnesty because it encourages violation of our laws."

Speaking of Mexico and other countries, he said, "Our neighbors will benefit as productive citizens return home with money to invest" and help the economies in their own nations.

The trip was Bush's fourth to Mexico since he took office nearly three years ago, more than to any other country.

The Bush White House saw the face-to-face meeting not only as a chance to mend ties between the two countries, but also to earn some political capital for a president who wants a second term.

Bush arrived in this industrial city at midday at an airport where gun-carrying troops and security officers roamed the grounds. He and his wife, Laura, through a phalanx of Mexican officials - all men wearing dark suits.

The couple was followed in the procession of greeting by Secretary of State Colin Powell, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and White House chief of staff Andy Card. Once in his motorcade, Bush passed large expanses of brush and cactus- covered land. Men digging ditches alongside the road stopped and leaned on their tools to watch him pass by.

On a 90-minute flight here from Texas, Bush got a briefing from Rice and Powell on the Summit of the Americas that Bush and Fox were attending, said press secretary Scott McClellan.

Bush dismayed Fox when he put immigration reform on the back burner after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Their relationship further soured when Mexico failed to back the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Amid the congenial handshakes among leaders at the summit will be disagreements. Latin American nations butted heads with the United States until nearly dawn Sunday in failing to agree on several points of a draft document to be debated at the two-day summit.

The United States wants the draft to call for re-emphasizing a 2005 deadline for finishing negotiations on a Free Trade Area of the Americas, a hemisphere-wide trade zone that is one of Bush's top policy goals for Latin America. Brazil and Venezuela say the summit is not the place to discuss it.

The United States also wants to kick corrupt governments out of the Organization of American States, a move opposed by several Latin American nations.


Bush Administrations Immigration Reform Pitches False Hopes

No Concrete Proposal for Comprehensive Legalization
of Undocumented Immigrants Families

Oakland, CA. The proposal for immigration reform outlined today by President George Bush promises little hope for fair wages or decent working conditions, much less opportunity for legal status, for the millions of undocumented immigrant workers in the U.S. Instead, the proposed new policy amounts to little more than another guestworker program, with even fewer protections and opportunities than programs currently under consideration in Congress.
The Bush proposal might be good for employers wanting cheap and vulnerable labor, but does little to contribute to the human rights and well-being of immigrant workers.
>The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and other
>immigrant rights advocates hoped that the Administration would finally
>follow through on its pledge of over two years ago to consider a path to
permanent residency for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented
immigrants who live and work in the U.S.

However, the main fix that the President proposes ñ a three-year,
renewable temporary worker visa ñ provides no definitive path toward
legalization, but rather, ensures a pool of cheap labor for bad jobs that American workers try to avoid. Nor did the proposal specify how immigrant families could be united or remain together in the U.S., only that participants could leave to visit home countries and gain re-entry.

The President also spoke of the tragic deaths of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, indicating that his proposals for temporary work visas would help migrants who have been victimized by smugglers.
However, he also reaffirmed border security policies which themselves have contributed to discrimination, abuse and violence against immigrants in the border regions, sometimes at the hands of border
patrol agents. After September 11, stepped-up militarization of the border has forced desperate men, women and children into more hazardous migration situations.

The Presidents proposal did not specify changes to the current legal immigration program, which is woefully backlogged and inadequate in addressing the demand for immigration access. Since participants in the new temporary worker program would have fall in line to apply for
permanent residency status, they too would be thrust into the existing backlog that itself contributes to undocumented immigration. The fact that the Department of Homeland Security, which is dedicated to national security, would be responsible for implementing the proposed program is also disturbing. DHS immigration enforcement programs, as described in NNIRRs recent report, Human Rights and Human Security at Risk, already jeopardize community safety and compromise access to immigration services. DHS oversight provides little incentive for undocumented immigrants to emerge from the shadows and identify themselves through a program that carries little hope for longterm legal residency.

Comprehensive immigration reform must include opportunities for permanent residency and family reunification, labor protection, access to due process, safety and community security. Undocumented immigrant students, many of whom have lived in the U.S. most of their lives, have been waiting for President Bush to support pending legislation that would provide them with access to permanent residency and a future free from fear of deportation. Farmworker unions have negotiated with agribusiness to bring to Congress legislation that would protect their rights as workers and create a path for legal residency. President Bushs proposals made no mention of these efforts. Instead, his announcement, which comes less than a week before he is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox, has the transparency of a pre-election appeal to Latino voters -- not a serious attempt to chart a path towards a fair and just program of much-needed immigration

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
310-8th St., Ste. 303
Oakland, CA 94607
510.465.1885 (fax)
Visit us at


Summit of Americas Begins Amid Disputes

Associated Press Writer

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) -- Disagreements over free trade and penalties for corrupt nations threatened to deepen rifts between countries across the Americas as their leaders opened a two-day summit Monday.

President Bush, who arrived in this industrial northern city with first lady Laura Bush, wants to punish corrupt nations and set a firm deadline for a free trade agreement of the Americas.

Latin American nations are fighting those initiatives, with Venezuela pushing for an international humanitarian fund to help countries during financial and natural disasters.

Leaders from 34 nations in the Americas, excluding only Cuba, will try to work out their differences after they begin the Special Summit of the Americas later Monday.

Bush met with Mexican President Vicente Fox on Monday to smooth relations strained by Fox's refusal to back the Iraq war. Bush won strong support from Fox for his new immigration proposal, which is designed to grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants working in the United States.

Bush, Fox Agree on Immigration, Iraq

Release of Jailed Nicaraguan Leader OK'd

U.S.-India to Expand Hi-Tech Cooperation

Summit of Americas Begins Amid Disputes

Text of Bush, Fox Comments

Later Monday, Fox accepted Bush's invitation to visit his Texas ranch, a further sign that the two neighbors have mended recently rocky ties. Fox had planned to travel to the ranch in Crawford, Texas in 2002, but canceled his trip after U.S. authorities refused to halt the execution of a Mexican convicted of killing a Dallas police officer.

Bush was scheduled to meet with Canada's new prime minister, Paul Martin, on Tuesday. Martin spokeswoman Melanie Gruer said that would be "a chance to talk about mutual priorities."

Even before the summit, several Latin American leaders were complaining about U.S. policy. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he believed the summit was a "waste of time" and he criticized U.S. officials for having "a lack of information, great contradictions."

U.S. officials privately worry that Chavez is working with Cuba to oppose pro-American democracies in the region.

When he arrived, Chavez was even more biting.

"We meet, we greet, we sign a declaration, we take a picture, we smile, there are meals, but nothing happens," he complained.

Chavez toned down his comments from Sunday, when he said during his weekly television show that he was worried the United States would promote ousting him by unconstitutional means if a recall referendum on his rule doesn't succeed.

The leaders will have plenty to disagree about when they consider the summit's draft document, which leaves several contentious issues to be resolved.

The United States wants to kick corrupt nations out of the Organization of American States, arguing they should receive the same punishment as undemocratic nations.

The United States also wants the summit declaration to call for a firm 2005 deadline for finishing negotiations on a Free Trade Area of the Americas, a hemisphere-wide trade zone that is one of Bush's top policy goals for Latin America.

Brazil and Venezuela say the summit is not the place to discuss that, and Venezuela instead is pushing for its humanitarian fund.

Another sticking point deals with remittances, or money sent home by migrants living in the United States. While all OAS members agree that the fees for sending money home should be cut in half, they haven't decided when they would do that.


On the Net:

Organization of American States:


Hispanic Voters a Power to Reckon With

California Swing Voters

Hispanic voters split almost down the middle in California's recall election, sending a signal that the nation's largest minority may be in play for the 2004 election and beyond.

About 46 percent of Hispanic voters supported Gov. Gray Davis' recall, while 54 percent opposed it, according to an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and other news organizations. Overall, about 55.4 percent of voters called for his ouster, according to the secretary of state.

"Latinos showed that they're definitely the swing voters in California. No one campaign was able to consolidate the Latino vote," said Marcelo Gaete, senior director of programs for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. "Latinos are up for grabs ... To use the cliche, we are the new soccer moms."

California's 11.9 million Hispanics represent about both a third of the state's population and the biggest Hispanic community in any state.

While Latino voter turnout lags far behind that of whites, Hispanics still were one of the most closely watched groups in the election and political parties worked hard to court them.

Some have assumed Hispanics are a reliable Democratic constituency, particularly in California, where many turned against the GOP after Republican Gov. Pete Wilson backed a 1994 initiative seeking to ban public services for undocumented immigrants.

Among Hispanics, Democrats outnumber Republicans about 3-to-1 and less than a year ago, nearly two-thirds of Hispanic voters supported Davis' re-election; 70 percent voted for him in his first run for governor in 1998, exit polls found.

But this time, that kind of support didn't materialize, perhaps validating a Pew Hispanic Center and Kaiser Family Foundation survey that found while Hispanics mostly identify with Democrats, their ties to the party don't run very deep.

The election was "certainly a loss for Davis," said Louis DeSipio, associate professor of Chicano and Latino studies and political science at the University of California, Irvine. "He should be able to count on the base of the Democratic party, which would include Latinos."

DeSipio said the election may not necessarily indicate that Hispanic voters are up for grabs; instead, it could be a result of unique circumstances and a weak Democratic candidate.

San Francisco affordable housing advocate Eric Quezada, 36, voted against the recall and selected Green Party candidate Peter Camejo as a replacement. Quezada said he was disappointed in Davis because "I didn't feel that he represented the core values of the Democratic party in terms of representing working-class people."

Throughout the campaign, candidates appealed to Hispanics, who accounted for about 17 percent of voters in Tuesday's election.

"Every single one of the major candidates had a Latino strategy," Gaete said. "Our concerns, our issues are becoming part of the mainstream of California."

Davis appeared with farm labor activist Dolores Huerta at an immigrant workers rally and, reversing earlier stances, last month signed a law allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses.

Some thought Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who aspired to become the state's first Hispanic governor since 1875, would generate an outpouring of Latino support. His background mattered to retired electrician Ray Elizondo, who voted for Bustamante, saying "he started from the bottom up, working in the fields."

But while 52 percent of Hispanic voters chose the grandson of Mexican immigrants, that was far from monolithic.

Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger also emphasized his immigrant roots. Despite questions about whether Hispanics would be put off by his naming of Wilson as his campaign co-chair, an acknowledgment that he supported the 1994 initiative and his pledge to rescind the driver's license law, Schwarzenegger still claimed 30 percent of the Hispanic vote.

"That was a significant component of his overall margin of victory," said Harry Pachon, president of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute in Los Angeles. "Many people didn't think he was going to do well in the Latino community."

Said Gaete: "A significant segment of the Latino community felt that it was time for a change, just like the rest of California."