Friday, May 02, 2008


And you think you got problems.

What if kids at your neighborhood junior high school were smuggling in moonshine and no one would do anything about it?

What if everyone knew where still more kids were hanging out and drinking...with seeming impunity.

Huh, what would you do then?

Well, several residents of Kendrick, Idaho took their concerns directly to the Sheriff and it seems the lawman danced around the issue.

And that isn't the only issue shaking up the town.

There was this barking dog...and despite complaints, it seems that same lack Sheriff's office took weeks, weeks I say, to do anything about it.

No wonder folks in small towns like Kendrick are bitter.

Hell, no one listens, no one cares...except for Barack Obama who reportedly is rushing to the area to show his support for these small town folks. Obama told reporters that he would suggest to Kendrick residents to go out and get themselves a gun and then head to Church. Obama said he would himself be attending Church in Kendrick this weekend in a show of support, but he was sure he wouldn't hear anything the preacher might say.

Michelle Obama said she remembers when she and her hubby had a barking dog problem in their neighborhood while they were trying to pay off their student loans and somehow finding a way to get their kids to their ballet lessons. "It wasn't easy," she said."

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile says she has always been opposed to kids messing with moonshine even if her husband Bill wasn't.

And in fact, some claim that Bill used to haul jugs of the stuff around in the back of that truck or El Camino or whatever it was he was driving.

Some say the Clintons themselves are behind the rumors about Bill and are hoping the story may appeal to some blue collar types.

Ms. Clinton last night seemed to contradict herself when she told a radio station in Idaho that she herself liked nothing better then to kick off her work boots and down a snort of white lighting in the evening after coming home from her job pumping gas when she was a girl.

John McCain refused to comment on the moonshine issue at all. Some speculate the reason is because of his wife's involvement in the beer industry.

McCain distanced himself from President Bush on the barking dog situation.

Pictured above are two residents of Kendrick, Idaho being bitter.

The following is from the
Latah Eagle in Kendrick, Idaho.

Kendrick residents sound off to sheriff, prosecutors

About 20 Kendrick area residents turned out speak with local law enforcement officials at the annual "Meet Your Sheriff" night presented by the Kendrick Grange at the Grange Hall April 23.

In attendance were Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson, Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch and Nez Perce County Prosecutor Dan Spickler.

Each of the officials were given time to outline the problems their respective offices faced over the previous year, along with what gains were made and what they were working toward in the future.

Rausch stated it has been a tough year for his department as it heals from last spring's shootings He said several deputies had symptoms of post traumatic stress and the department lost several good officers.

Although the department has been able to replace the vehicles that were shot up, the damage inside the office has not been repaired. Rausch stated that seeing the bullet holes in the walls and the damage done by the shooter every day has taken a toll on the morale of his deputies.

He has made requests to have the walls repaired, but has not received any answers as to when the repairs will be made.

Rausch stated the department has made gains, especially in the radio system. Repeaters have been raised and new ones installed, improving communication abilities throughout the county.

The department has also seen a drop in methamphetamine in the county, he stated. The drop is believed to be the result of tightened controls of cold and allergy medicines, along with the higher cost of Mexican-made product. With the drop in meth, the department has seen an increase in cocaine and marijuana continues be an ongoing problem.

The sheriff has been pushing for a joint law enforcement facility and is hopeful the county and the city of Moscow will agree to the venture.

Thompson agreed that it has been a tough twelve months and it will take the communities quite some time to heal. He said he had never seen a year of homicide crime like the past year, added to that his office has had to deal with sex cases and child rape cases, which are equally as tough.

He stated he was glad to give some closure to the family of Jeremiah Johnson with the plea agreement his office reached with Zach Fredrickson, who pleaded guilty to second degree murder. "The Fredrickson case, he said, "deeply scarred the whole town."

He gave Fredrickson credit for standing up in front the judge, taking the blame and admitting, "I shot him and I killed him."

Thompson reported that his office is at full strength again, with three fairly new, but bright attorneys.

Residents expressed several concerns they had, including an incident in which several junior high school students brought moonshine to school. The resident said that she thought it was a symptom of a larger problem in the area, claiming it was an open secret about who is getting the alcohol for the minors and where they are consuming it.

Thompson responded by saying to report violations as soon as possible, stating, "Even if we can't prosecute, we can put pressure on them."

Other issues at the forefront of the discussion were logging trucks that have been speeding through town and a barking dog incident that took weeks to resolve.


"It is unnecessary to harm or kill any healthy animals in order to train a veterinarian. This should be intuitively obvious by looking at the human medical field. Imagine training a physician to relieve the suffering caused by a fractured leg in a human being by taking healthy human beings and purposefully fracturing their legs. The analogy, and absurdity, is that simple."

—Dr. Nedim Buyukmihci, emeritus professor of veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis

Someone needs to pass the word to Ross University and the government of St. Kitts and Nevis.

PETA intends to be that someone.

PETA which had documented the cruelty taking place at the university's St. Kitt's campus will be hosting a demonstration outside the university's student recruiting seminar Sunday in Philadelphia.

After receiving complaints from anguished Ross students--including some from the U.S.--about cruel teaching procedures in which donkeys had their nerves and ligaments severed and sheep were photographed suffering from infected surgical wounds, PETA asked St. Kitts government officials to investigate the veterinary school for violations of the island's Protection of Animals Act. The St. Kitts Ministry of Agriculture has launched an investigation, but Ross continues to conduct needless practice sessions on animals that often result in death.

It is one of several actions PETA has taken to try and stop the needless torture.

Last month PETA sent an urgent letter to Dr Elizabeth Sabin of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Center for Veterinary Education Accreditation urging her to suspend the accreditation process now underway for Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in the wake of allegations that cruel teaching procedures are being performed on animals at the school. Ross University is located on St Kitts and is owned by Chicago-based DeVry, Inc.

PETA recently announced a travel boycott of St. Kitts over the deliberate mutilation and killing of sheep, donkeys, and goats at the island's Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

A couple of weeks ago high-end Las Vegas-based Holiday Systems International (HSI) became the first major travel agency to sign on to the campaign.

HSI President and CEO Craig Morganson wrote the following:

"The apparent willingness of the St. Kitts government to allow Ross University to needlessly harm animals when the island's animal protection law prohibits "unnecessary suffering" of animals is unacceptable. Please be assured that HSI … will no longer allow our more than 300,000 clients the option of booking St. Kitts through HSI until such time [as] their government demonstrates a more civilized respect for animal welfare, and Ross University builds a veterinary teaching hospital and adopts the recommendations outlined by PETA."

Ross recently announced that it would end invasive and terminal surgeries on healthy dogs but plans to continue to cut up and kill donkeys, goats, and sheep. PETA reminded officials that using these animals is unnecessary to the curriculum and that they feel just as much pain as their canine cousins.

Also in April PETA sent a letter to Thomas Shepherd, president of Ross University, offering to end its campaign against the school over unnecessarily invasive and deadly veterinary training procedures on animals at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts.

In return, Shepherd would have to agree to open a much-needed veterinary teaching hospital in which students would hone their skills by treating sick or injured animals who would benefit from the procedures instead of mutilating and killing animals in surgical courses.

That apparently hasn't happened.

Last week after weeks of saying nothing outside of a somewhat mundane defense of Ross the St Kitts government stated, “The citizens of St Kitts and Nevis are peaceful, hardworking and law-abiding, and do not condone any acts of cruelty anywhere to animals or humans alike. Any insinuation by PETA that our government and people think or behave otherwise is a gross misrepresentation of our proud Caribbean culture and traditions.”

Caribbean Net News reported further the government of St Kitts said in that statement that they perceived the boycott to be a ploy to attract attention by PETA and to force the intervention of the St Kitts government “into a dispute between two privately owned and operated organisations, both of which are headquartered in the United States of America and which operate under US laws “

“The government respects PETA’s right to address issues where they have justification so to do, but their methods in this situation have been outrageous and have disrespected the fact that St Kitts and Nevis is an independent and democratic nation with its own laws. The Government urges PETA to avoid any further escalation of their threats against the international integrity and economic security of St Kitts and Nevis,” the statement concluded.

So the battle continues.

The following is from the PETA media center.

Veterinary School Should Be Teaching Students How to Heal Animals, Not Mutilate and Kill Them, Says Group

Philadelphia - Holding signs that read, "Ross University: Stop Torturing Animals," PETA members will protest outside a Ross University student-recruiting seminar in Philadelphia on Sunday. The action follows pleas for help from students who supplied undercover photographs of animals who were surgically mutilated in laboratories at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts. PETA has written to officials at Ross outlining students' objections to performing multiple surgeries on healthy animals and later killing the animals. PETA explains that other veterinary schools have ended these harmful practices and now use modern, humane alternatives. Ross has refused to replace detrimental, invasive teaching surgeries on sheep, donkeys, and goats with computer-assisted training, simulators, and other non-animal methods:

Date: Sunday, May 4
Time: 9-10 a.m.
Place: 21 N. Juniper St. (outside the Courtyard by Marriot Hotel)

PETA also is calling on St. Kitts' prime minister to enforce its animal protection law--which prohibits the "unnecessary suffering" of animals--by requiring Ross to end harmful surgeries on healthy animals. The group is urging people around the world not to book vacations to St. Kitts until Ross stops mutilating and killing animals.

"Prospective students should know up-front that Ross veterinary students are forced to sever donkeys' nerves and ligaments and conduct other unnecessary procedures on animals before they kill them," says PETA Laboratory Investigations Director Kathy Guillermo. "Ross should be teaching students how to heal animals--not mutilate and kill them."

PETA's letters to Ross University and St. Kitts government officials and undercover photographs taken at the university are available upon request.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


The following is from the web page of Maryam Namazie. Maryam Namazie is a rights activist, commentator and broadcaster on Iran, the Middle East, women's rights, cultural relativism, secularism, Humanism, religion, Islam and political Islam. She is the Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; National Secular Society's 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner and an NSS Honorary Associate; spokesperson of Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women's Discrimination in Iran; Central Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran and co-editor of WPI Briefing. She is also involved in the Third Camp against US militarism and Islamic terrorism among other things.

May Day is the hope of the world!

This year’s international workers’ day is arriving at a time when there are signs of a global financial and economic crisis. The World Bank warns governments about the threat of food riots. And the prospect of crisis and catastrophe makes a bleak world - already reeling from the shock of the New World Order and the global war of terrorists - even bleaker.

The hope of changing these conditions lies in the struggle of a class that makes up the majority of the world’s population. This inverted world has been founded upon the wage slavery of this class, and for the preservation of this slavery. May Day, the day of international solidarity and struggle of the working class, is at the same time the day of unity of repressed humanity to change this inverted world. We call on the people of the world to stand up on May Day to capitalism and the catastrophes it causes, to starvation and war, terrorism, ignorance and domination of religion, to deprivation and inequality and in support of freedom, equality and human identity.

In Iran the working class faces the same conditions as May Day approaches. The difference is that in Iran the Islamic regime of the bourgeoisie is facing a deep economic, political and cultural crisis and there is an ongoing powerful anti-regime and revolutionary movement. The slogans “We Don’t Want Islamic Regime” and “You’ve Been Wasting our Time since 1979” which the youths in Tehran chanted recently, clearly depict the essence of the political situation in Iran. The working class is the backbone of this revolutionary movement. This is not only because of the numerous strikes and protests by workers, which are getting even more radical each day, as in the case of Kian Tyre workers, which ended up in barricades and direct clashes with the security forces, but also because the slogans and demands of the working class such as “Freedom, Equality, Human Identity,” “Socialism or Barbarism,” “End Sexual Apartheid,” “Abolish the Death Penalty,” “Woman’s Liberation is Society’s Liberation,” and “Human Life is Our Certain Right”, are echoed in mass demonstrations of teachers, women and youths on different occasions. Public executions, the attacks on millions of women for not observing Islamic veiling, punishing gays by throwing them down from heights, stoning to death, amputating hands and feet as a form of punishment, brutal attacks on leftist student activists, jailing workers’, teachers’ and women’s rights activists, flogging worker leaders for celebrating May Day - these are all a reflection of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to stop this unstoppable movement. May Day in Iran is in the frontline of this massive social confrontation, and it terrifies the Islamic regime more than anything else. The government’s “Workers’ House” has not even dared to organise the state-sponsored rally for this May Day in Tehran because in the past years they lost control of these masquerades, and the puppetry turned into workers’ march chanting socialist slogans.

This year’s May Day should be celebrated stronger and in greater numbers than ever before. Great masses of workers and all those yearning for freedom should be mobilised for May Day. In recent years, the workers’ movement in Iran has been supported internationally more then ever before, acknowledged as a political force that can change society. These are strong foundations upon which to build a powerful May Day. This May Day in Iran should attract massive sections with the call for “Freedom, Equality, Human Identity” and should be made the hope of the working people of the world.

WPI calls upon all workers, students, women and youths to mobilise for a magnificent and powerful May Day.

Long Live May Day!
Long Live Socialism!

Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI)


Tens of thousands of workers took to the streets of Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia for May Day demanding higher wages, a resolution to the food crisis and opposing the so-called outsourcing practices in the country.

In the capital Jakarta, more than 15,000 police officers were deployed, backed by water cannons, to monitor thousands of protesters from a number of labour organisations marching through the city's streets, Jakarta city police spokesman I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana told Jakarta News.

Riot police equipped with shields and sticks and backed by trucks with mounted water cannons stood guard outside the presidential palace and the US embassy, which had barbed wire strung across its main gates, witnesses said.

In Jakarta, workers gathered in the Banteng Square represented several labor unions including the Labor Union of Indonesian People (SPRI), the Labor Union of Indonesian Informal Workers (Serbiindo), the Labor Union of Indonesian National Maritime (SBMNI), the Labor Union of National Transportation (SBTN), and the Labor Union of Indonesian Automotive (SPOI), as well as the Reform Tourism Labor Union Federation (FSP-PAR-Rev), the Indonesian Automotive Labor Union (SPO), the Indonesian Migrant Worker Union (SBMI), and the Demanding Worker Alliance.

Other cities where workers rallied for the May Day included Surabaya, Malang (East Java), Medan (North Sumatra), Manado (North Sulawesi, Yogyakarta, Solo (Central Java), Palu (Central Sulawesi), Bandung (West Java), Makassar (South Sulawesi) and Denpasar (Bali).

Labor activists say that employers are using outsourcing practices to avoid giving workers pensions or other funds and making them permanent employees.

The Indonesian government has also come under fire for its perceived failure to protect Indonesian workers abroad, although it has deflected some of the blame onto the migrants workers for using illegal means and unofficial agencies to get abroad.

In many cases, Indonesians workers have been severely exploited and some even murdered by their foreign employers.

The following is from AFP.

Indonesian workers hold rallies to protest against rising food, fuel costs

Thousands of Indonesians took to the streets of the capital Jakarta for Labour Day rallies on Thursday, with rising food prices and an expected cut in fuel subsidies weighing heavily on workers' minds.

"We are expecting more than 40,000 people demonstrating today," policeman Hariyadi said as thousands of workers gathered at the central Imam Bonjol traffic circle.

Carrying banners reading "Lower Food Prices Now" and "More Pay for Workers and Farmers," many of the demonstrators said they were alarmed at soaring inflation and the prospect of sharply higher fuel bills.

"We want the price of kerosene to come down. Food is getting expensive," said garment factory worker Yuningsih.

Factory worker Lia said: "If they keep increasing the price of food, maybe we'll have to eat less.

"The price of formula milk for the baby has gone up. It's now 36,000 rupiah (nearly four dollars) for a can of 600 grams and the baby drinks it up in two days," she said.

Tarjiman, who was marching with a group of garment factory workers, said people would go hungry if inflation was not brought under control.

"I feel it very hard with the increasing prices. We have to borrow money before the end of the month and try to work extra odd jobs.

"If the price keeps going up, we'll be hungry."

High food prices helped drive Indonesia's annual inflation rate to 8.17 percent in March, the biggest increase since October 2006.

Prices are expected to keep rising, with the government considering hiking subsidised fuel prices in June by almost 30 percent to minimise the impact of record oil prices on the national budget.

Many workers were also concerned that their rights were being eroded through companies' growing use of contract labourers hired from employment agents.

Jakarta police chief Adang Firman told reporters after monitoring the capital from a helicopter that 10,000 security personnel had been deployed to control the rallies and another 50,000 were on standby.

All May Day rallies were banned in Surabaya, the country's second largest city, because the workers' holiday coincided with a religious holiday, police said.

"Rallies are not allowed during a public holiday. Let's respect Jesus Ascension day," Surabaya police chief Anang Iskandar told state news agency Antara.

"If there are rallies, we'll break them up."


Germans leftist and anarchists took to the streets across Germany for May Day demonstrations aimed at confronting right wingers and racists.

Anti-fascists fought with police in Hamburg and Nuremberg where members and supporters of the neo-fascist National Democratic Party attempted anti-immigrant marches.

Counter-demonstrators outnumbered marchers supporting a neo-Nazi party 3 to 1 in Nuremberg says the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

Charlotte Knobloch, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said Wednesday in Munich, the right wing march in Nuremberg is a sign of civic failure. Two members of the party's anti-foreigner initiative were elected recently elected to the Nuremberg City Council.

The developments reveal a "broadly distributed right-wing extremist atmosphere in an entire milieu that is obviously coursing through Nuremberg," Nobloch said.

"Even 75 years after the National Socialist seizure of power, we are forced to say it again: Don't let these seeds take root," said Knobloch, who has argued that the National Democrats should be banned as an anti-democratic party.

In the Thuringian city of Erfurt, a march of 1,300 right-wingers was blocked by a similar number of leftists. Police made 60 arrests after they were attacked and cars were damaged.

Dortmund saw similar protests. Rail lines were closed after demonstrators started fires on the tracks.

In Leipzig in the states Saxony, following a rock concert against right-wing extremism Monday night, 1,000 people assembled on a square and threw missiles, injuring 18 police officers. Police made 25 arrests.

The article below is taken from Earth Times.

Violence in Germany as rightists hold May Day marches

Leftist radicals fought Thursday in two German cities with riot police who were thwarting attempts to disrupt May Day parades by the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). In Hamburg, five cars were set on fire and volleys of stones shattered many windows. Police used water jets mounted on heavy trucks to open up a route for an estimated 1,100 far-rightists. Leftist leaders said they mustered 10,000 protesters at the scene.

The anti-immigrant NPD, which has sought to present itself as a voice of the poor, staged labour-day parades through an old-time working-class district of Hamburg and through Nuremberg, the city adopted by dictator Adolf Hitler as the home of his Nazi Party.

The NPD, believed to have 7,000 card-carrying members, has seats in two of Germany's 16 state parliaments, but none at federal level. Attempts to proscribe the NPD because of its alleged pro-Nazi views have never succeeded.

Thousands of police were sent to the two cities to prevent clashes between the NPD and the "Black Block," a loose movement of several thousand German anarchists who last June led violent demonstrations against the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Heiligendamm, Germany.

In both cities Saturday, the NPD marched between cordons of riot police ordered to enforce the NPD's right of free assembly. Anti-NPD protesters far outnumbered boot-wearing rightists in both cities.

Both NPD parades ended with the political enemies getting only a few chances to brawl, but dozens were injured in the mayhem.

Police officers bore the brunt of the attacks in Hamburg, scene of the day's worst rioting, as they hemmed in angry NPD youths and chased stone-throwing leftists who tried to ambush the marchers from nearby streets.

The Hamburg parade started hours late, after police had to clear roads of sit-in protests and fire brigades had to extinguish bonfires and suppress smoke from burning piles of tyres lit by the leftists.

In Nuremberg, 1,500 NPD supporters paraded on empty streets but were pelted with eggs and bottles during a final rally, as some of nearly 10,000 anti-NPD demonstrators managed to get within striking distance after scuffles with police lines. Four police were injured.

At the same time, mainstream labour and religious groups held peaceful rallies at more distant locations in the two cities to denounce the NPD. German Social Democrats and labour leaders called Saturday for renewed efforts to outlaw the far-right party.

Bavaria state's premier, Guenther Beckstein, who comes from Nuremberg, told a peaceful anti-NPD rally far from the clashes that his government would use undercover agents, court challenges and youth education programmes to undercut the NPD wherever it could.

Nuremberg has created a guided tour of Nazi crimes in the ruins of a former Nazi Party park on the city fringe.

Berlin, the capital city, where activists associated with the Black Block have rioted on previous May Days, remained largely calm. The "revolutionary" group held a peaceful march against "oppression and imperialism."


The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) made good on its threat to stage a virtual strike on May Day, effectively shutting down all U.S. and Canadian West Coast ports.

An arbitrator ordered the union that represents dockworkers at West Coast ports this week to tell its members they must report to work on Thursday and not take the day off to protest U.S. military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No one seems to care.

Members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union are proceeding with plans for a work stoppage at 29 West Coast ports today to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that union leadership has withdrawn its request to waterfront employers that they accommodate closure of the ports.

As Indymedia reports this is a rank and file action by union members who are united by their opposition to the war, and the disagree with the decision of the arbitrator who has dis-allowed the choice of May Day, by the ILWU, as a "day for union business" for workers at all 29 ports on the west coast. A "day for union business" is allowed by their contract. Their original intent was to use this day as their official protest, but official or not, the protest is on.

The AP reports terminal operators say West Coast cargo traffic has come to a halt as port workers stage daylong anti-war protests.

Pacific Maritime Association spokesman Steve Getzug says thousands of dockworkers did not show up to work Thursday morning, leaving ships and truck drivers idle at ports from Long Beach to Seattle (see picture above).

Union spokesman Craig Merrilees said the union was complying with the contract, but he declined to specify whether it had taken steps to order members to report to work as the arbitrator ordered.

“The decision by members to take a day off work on May 1 to protest the war is their right under the U.S. Constitution and it’s about time that citizens stood up to tell the truth about the need to end the war,” he said.

The Port Workers Union of Iraq will conduct a one hour work stoppage in two of the principal ports (Umm Qasr and Khor Alzubair) today, May Day, in solidarity with the ILWU's shutdown of West Coast Ports against the occupation.

The following is from Liberation News.

Iraqi Port Workers to Join US Strike

Members of the Port Workers Union of Iraq plan to shutdown the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Alzubair for one hour on May Day in solidarity with the shutdown of all West Coast ports by members of ILWU in opposition to the occupation of Iraq .

The second message is a May Day greeting from a broad cross-section of union leaders from many different unions and labor federations in Iraq as an expression of their appreciation for the solidarity demonstrated by organized labor, working people and all peace-loving people of the world in support of their efforts to end the foreign occupation of Iraq and the sectarian violence that occupation has spawned.

[This statement continues to be circulated in Iraq and as additional signers become known, their names will be added to the copy posted on the USLAW website.]


May Day Message

From: The General Union of Port Workers in Iraq

To: The International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the United States

Dear Brothers and Sisters of ILWU in California :

The courageous decision you made to carry out a strike on May Day to protest against the war and occupation of Iraq advances our struggle against occupation to bring a better future for us and for the rest of the world as well.

We are certain that a better world will only be created by the workers and what you are doing is an example and proof of what we say. The labor movement is the only element in the society that is able to change the political equations for the benefit of mankind. We in Iraq are looking up to you and support you until the victory over the US administration's barbarism is achieved.

Over the past five years the sectarian gangs who are the product of the occupation, have been trying to transfer their conflicts into our ranks. Targeting workers, including their residential and shopping areas, indiscriminately using all sorts of explosive devices, mortar shells, and random shooting, were part of a bigger scheme that was aiming to tear up the society but they miserably failed to achieve their hellish goal. We are struggling today to defeat both the occupation and sectarian militias' agenda.

The pro-occupation government has been attempting to intervene into the workers affairs by imposing a single government-certified labor union. Furthermore it has been promoting privatization and an oil and gas law to use the occupation against the interests of the workers.

We the port workers view that our interests are inseparable from the interests of workers in Iraq and the world; therefore we are determined to continue our struggle to improve the living conditions of the workers and overpower all plots of the occupation, its economic and political projects.

Let us hold hands for the victory of our struggle.

Long live the port workers in California !

Long live May Day!

Long live International solidarity!

The General Union of Port Workers in Iraq An Affiliate Union with General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (GFWCUI)

May Day 2008 Statement

From: The Iraqi Labour Movement

To: The Workers and All Peace Loving People of the World

On this day of international labour solidarity we call on our fellow trade unionists and all those worldwide who have stood against war and occupation to increase support for our struggle for freedom from occupation - both the military and economic.

We call upon the governments, corporations and institutions behind the ongoing occupation of Iraq to respond to our demands for real democracy, true sovereignty and self-determination free of all foreign interference.

Five years of invasion, war and occupation have brought nothing but death, destruction, misery and suffering to our people. In the name of our "liberation," the invaders have destroyed our nation's infrastructure, bombed our neighbourhoods, broken into our homes, traumatized our children, assaulted and arrested many of our family members and neighbours, permitted the looting of our national treasures, and turned nearly twenty percent of our people into refugees.

The invaders helped to foment and then exploit sectarian divisions and terror attacks where there had been none. Our union offices have been raided. Union property has been seized and destroyed. Our bank accounts have been frozen. Our leaders have been beaten, arrested, abducted and assassinated. Our rights as workers have been routinely violated.

The Ba'athist legislation of 1987, which banned trade unions in the public sector and public enterprises (80% of all workers), is still in effect, enforced by Paul Bremer's post-invasion Occupation Authority and then by all subsequent Iraqi administrations. This is an attack on our rights and basic precepts of a democratic society, and is a grim reminder of the shadow of dictatorship still stalking our country.

Despite the horrific conditions in our country, we continue to organise and protest against the occupation, against workplaces abuses, and for better treatment and safer conditions.

Despite the sectarian plots around us, we believe in unity and solidarity and a common aim of public service, equality, and freedom to organise without external intrusions and coercion.

Our legitimacy comes from our members. Our principles of organisation are based on transparent and internationally recognised International Labour Organisation standards.

We call upon our allies and all the world's peace-loving peoples to help us to end the nightmare of occupation and restore our sovereignty and national independence so that we can chart our own course to the future.

1) We demand an immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from our country, and utterly reject the agreement being negotiated with the USA for long-term bases and a military presence. The continued occupation fuels the violence in Iraq rather than alleviating it. Iraq must be returned to full sovereignty.

2) We demand the passage of a labour law promised by our Constitution, which adheres to ILO principles and on which Iraqi trade unionists have been fully consulted, to protect the rights of workers to organize, bargain and strike, independent of state control and interference.

3) We demand an end to meddling in our sovereign economic affairs by the International Monetary Fund, USA and UK . We demand withdrawal of all economic conditionalities attached to the IMF's agreements with Iraq , removal of US and UK economic "advisers" from the corridors of Iraqi government, and a recognition by those bodies that no major economic decisions concerning our services and resources can be made while foreign troops occupy the country.

4) We demand that the US government and others immediately cease lobbying for the oil law, which would fracture the country and hand control over our oil to multinational companies like Exxon, BP and Shell. We demand that all oil companies be prevented from entering into any long-term agreement concerning oil while Iraq remains occupied. We demand that the Iraqi government tear up the current draft of the oil law, and begin to develop a legitimate oil policy based on full and genuine consultation with the Iraqi people. Only after all occupation forces are gone should a long term plan for the development of our oil resources be adopted.

We seek your support and solidarity to help us end the military and economic occupation of our country. We ask for your solidarity for our right to organise and strike in defence of our interests as workers and of our public services and resources. Our public services are the legacy of generations before us and the inheritance of all future generations and must not be privatised.

We thank you for standing by us. We too stand with you in your own struggles for real democracy which we know you also struggle for, and against privatisation, exploitation and daily disempowerment in your workplaces and lives.

We commend those of you who have organised strikes and demonstrations to end the occupation in solidarity with us and we hope these actions will continue.

We look forward to the day when we have a world based on co-operation and solidarity. We look forward to a world free from war, sectarianism, competition and exploitation.

Endorsed by:

Hassan Juma'a Awad, President, Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU)
Faleh Abood Umara, Deputy, Central Council, Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU)
Falah Alwan, President, Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI)
Subhi Albadri, President, General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (GFWCUI)
Nathim Rathi, President, Iraqi Port Workers Trade Union
Samir Almuawi, President, Engineering Professionals Trade Union
Ghzi Mushatat, President, Mechanic and Print Shop Trade Union
Waleed Alamiri, President, Electricity Trade Union
Ilham Talabani, President, Banking Services Trade Union
Abdullah Ubaid, President, Railway Trade Union Ammar Ali, President, Transportation Trade Union
Abdalzahra Abdilhassan, President, Service Employees Trade Union
Sundus Sabeeh, President, Barber Shop Workers Trade Union
Kareem Lefta Sindan, President, Lumber and Construction Trade Union, General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW)
Sabah Almusawi, President, Wasit Independent Trade Union
Shakir Hameed, President, Lumber And Construction Trade Union (GFWCUI)
Awad Ahmed, President, Teachers Federation of Salahideen Alaa
Ghazi Mushatat, President, Agricultural And Food Substance Industries Adnan
Rathi Shakir, President, Water Resources Trade Union
Nahrawan Yas, President, Woman Affairs Bureau
Sabah Alyasiri, President (GFWCUI) Babil
Ali Tahi, President (GFWCUI)
Najaf Ali Abbas, President (GFWCUI) Basra
Muhi Abdalhussien, President (GFWCUI), Wasit
Ali Hashim Abdilhussien, President (GFWCUI) Kerbala
Ali Hussien, President (GFWCUI) Anbar
Mustafa Ameen, President, Arab Workers Bureau (GFWCUI)
Thameer Mzeail, Health Services, Union Committee
Khadija Saeed Abdullah, Teachers Federation, Member
Asmahan, Khudair, Woman Affairs, Textile Trade Unions Adil
Aljabiri, Oil Workers Trade Union Executive Bureau Member
Muhi Abdalhussien, Nadia Flaih, Service Employees Trade Unions
Rawneq Mohammed, Member, Media and Print Shop Trade Union
Abdlakareem Abdalsada, Vice President (GFWCUI)
Saeed Nima, Vice President (GFWCUI)
Sabri Abdalkareem, Member, (GFWCUI) Babil
Amjad Aljawhary, Representative of GFWCUI in North America

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Back in the day when I was just some crazy, radical hippie kid in Lawrence, Kansas and the Oread Daily was nothing more than a mimeographed sheet a few of us wrote and passed out by hand we used to call them "Limousine Liberals." They were those snobby types who "cared so" but did little. They chided everyone who wasn't of their ilk as they went about their happy lives free of fear, free of want, free to be.

They didn't work in plants, they didn't farm the fields,they didn't wait tables, they didn't go to jail, they didn't go off to Vietnam. They just smiled.

They didn't grow their hair long, grow pot, go braless, drink out of bottles, fight with cops over things that mattered. They went to dinners.

They looked down on most everyone but themselves.

They sure as hell looked down on us "dirty hippie commie types" because we didn't have taste or manners, we didn't dress for success, we weren't "adults," didn't defer to them, and we were just plain nasty.

They looked down on the "regular folk", because they wore coveralls out in public, because they had grease on their hands, because they hadn't read the latest issue of the New Yorker, because they voted the wrong way and spoke the wrong way and didn't eat right to boot. Most of all they looked down on these people because they just didn't understand what these liberals knew was best for them.

Yup, they looked down from on high on all of us youthful crazies and right wing townies, beer drinking, pot smoking yokels locked in some sort of political scrum in the dust of River City.

None of us (yippies, hippies, revolutionary wackos, or those on the other team, on the right side of the infield so to speak) really gave a hoot about what these liberal professors and lawyers and well dressed, well mannered, well respected men and women about town thought of us though. We knew who they really were after all.

Those Limousine Larrys got on my nerves.

Apparently they get on the nerves of an East Texas woman by the name of Pam whose "letter to Joe" you can read below.

The following is from Joe Bagent's Website "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War."

Hard times aren't coming, they're here

Good Afternoon Joe,

You can count me as a new reader. I found you down a trail of links. You write eloquently about what I call the spiritual blight in the good old USA.

I lived for years in and around Austin, Texas and I've had a belly full of arch "liberals" who look down there nose at anyone who doesn't get their organic free trade coffee beans from Whole Foods Market. (Driving there in their SUVs with a Save the Whales bumper sticker, no doubt). In other words people who think they are "liberal" because of what they CONSUME, and don't begin to understand how elitist and offensive they really are.

Back here on planet earth (deep east Texas now) you get what they sell at Wal-Mart or Brookshire Bros. because those are the only grocery stores in town. Of course you also have what you can grow, raise, or catch. East Texas may not be Belize, but it's a lot closer to the Third World than it is to Wall Street.

Meanwhile the "I want it all and I want it now" mentality seems to be winding down as (lo and behold) you cannot as an individual or a country consume more than you produce (or the planet can sustain) in perpetuity. Having ransomed our future and the future of our children's children on the backs of the rest of humanity we find we cannot even pay the interest on the debt. Economic hard times aren't coming, they are here. It only remains to be seen as to how bad and how long.

I'm wondering how welcome those "rich Americans" are going to be in places like Belize if the dollar really does tank and we drag the rest of the world into a depression with us? My guess is "Not very."

Of course, if you are a regular working person who sees disaster coming, there isn't much you can do but try to find a bolt hole and figure out how many feet of beans you need to plant if the stuff stops showing up at Wal-Mart. A lot of smart people say capital and exchange controls are coming which means you might get out but whatever money you have won't. Of course, if you are uber rich, you have some kind of Panamanian blind trust set up and you already have you dollars stashed elsewhere. (Oh yeah, the Bush family just bought a big ranch in Paraguay.)

I think you are right and the world is in the process of being profoundly reshaped. There are frightening prospects and dire predictions aplenty, but I very much fear that "Totoville" may indeed be the end result and the ONLY real freedom that may be left is thought, but certainly not action or speech.

Certainly, I am not hopeful. I see my fellow Americans stunned that the mass delusion of prosperity they bought into with home equity loans and credit cards is being revealed as folly, while the bankers pocket their bonuses and look for new sheep to fleece. Very few seem to get the underlying fallacy that fueled their egocentricity and feeling of "entitlement." You just cannot buy contentment and happiness. If you spend your life working a job that offers no fulfillment to pay someone else to do everything meaningfull in your life and buy your "entertainment" is it any wonder that you feel out of touch with everything? (I would be happy if only I had fill in the blank.) It's like the ultimate outsourcing and a bottomless pit, because things just don't make you happy no matter what the marketing gurus want you to think.

I've been fortunate to have those moments in my life that I think would be called moments of enlightenment -- those moments when you feel totally engaged and alive with a sense of awe. (Crossing the desert southwest in the middle of the night when some DJ out in Bumfuck, Arizona, decided to play a commercial free Rolling Stones retrospective comes to mind. Windows down, full moon on the saguaro, and Mick howling at his young and angry best.)

But you are correct, those moments come with the luxury of great freedom and the time to THINK, and I traded a lot of comfort and "security" for that freedom. But then I never was a "material girl", my biggest weakness is for tools and the skills to use them. Right now my weaknesses are dairy goats, chickens, and open pollinating non-hybrid garden seeds. Speaking of which it is time for me to go and get my hands dirty.



Hawaiian sovereignty activists from the "Kingdom of Hawaii" have surrounded Iolani Palace this morning, refusing to let state employees either enter or exit the historical site, saying the palace and surrounding grounds are property of the "Hawaiian Kingdom (see picture)."

Signs are posted on the gates and only kanaka — those with Hawaiian bloodlines — along with media are being allowed entrance to the grounds.

The organization says it is the rightful owner of the palace and it is time to assume and resume its official state seat on Iolani grounds.

An unknown number of state employees who work in the state archives division are stuck inside.

Laura Thielen, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, told the Hawaii Reporter, "A group of about 35 persons have barred the public from entering the grounds of Iolani Palace, claiming sovereign rights over the area. The Department of Land and Natural Resources State Parks, which manages the palace in cooperation with the Friends of Iolani Palace is closing the area. DLNR enforcement offices are working to fully assess the situation and are talking with the protesters to peacefully end the protest. We will continue to update the public as we get more information."

There are several different native Hawaiian groups claiming to be the only legitimate one all trying to accomplish the same thing by different routes, and most seeming to be at odds with each other.

For a pretty good analysis of the whole Hawaii soverignty fight check out the article "Famous Are the Flowers: Hawaiian Resistance Then--and Now" in the April 8 issue of the Nation by
clicking here.

At its website the Kingdom of Hawaii states:

"The primary objective of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government is to expose the occupation of our nation within the framework of the 1907 Hague Conventions IV and V and our domestic statutes, and to provide a foundation for transition and the ultimate end of the occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Convention IV mandates that the occupying government, being the United States of America, must administer the laws of the occupied State, being the Hawaiian Kingdom, and any deviation of this mandate is a violation of international law. Presently, the Hawaiian Islands reluctantly serves as the HQ's for the largest of the nine unified military commands of the United States armed forces in the world, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM)."

Recently Hawaii's status was raised at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. news release from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has this interesting tidbit on Hawaii:

Mr. FYFE, Kaoni Foundation, who spoke on behalf of the Hawaii Caucus, said that Hawaii rightfully belonged on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Indeed, a public law had been signed by United States President Clinton in 1993 -- the so-called “apology bill” –- that seemed to signify an acknowledgement that the indigenous peoples of Hawaii had never relinquished their sovereignty, and that the statehood plebiscite of 1959 had been fraudulent. He noted that, in 2008, the Supreme Court of Hawaii had barred the State from obtaining lands from the public land trust until the question had been resolved. Also, in 2008, the representative of the Russian Federation had asked the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination why Alaska and Hawaii had been excluded from the decolonization list. The representative of Romania had asked what steps were being taken to facilitate the self-determination of the Hawaiian people.

The following is from the Honollulu Star-Bulletin.

Hawaiian group locks gates of Iolani Palace
The Kingdom of Hawaii says it will not allow non-Hawaiians to enter

A group calling itself the Kingdom of Hawaii chained and locked all gates to Iolani Palace this morning, barring the public, tourists and government workers from the area.

Two men at the gate fronting the state Capitol, Harris Fuller and Kimo Kamakeeaina said they were sheriffs in the Hawaiian Kingdom government and would not let non-Hawaiians nor people who were not “citizens of the kingdom” enter.

The gates had large yellow signs claiming that entering the area would be considered “Criminal Trespass” by the Hawaiian Kingdom government.

Laura Thielen, chairwoman of the state’s board of Land and Natural Resources, said the property is controlled by the state’s land department and officials were talking to the protesters.

Thielen said about 35 people barred the public from entering the grounds, claiming sovereign rights over the area.

“The Department of Land and Natural Resources, state parks, which manages the palace with the Friends of Iolani Palace is closing the area,” Thielen said in a statement. “DLNR enforcement officers are working to fully assess the situation and are talking without the protesters to peacefully end the protest. We will continue to update the public as we get more information.”

The Palace and the grounds were occupied in June 2006 by a group calling itself Hui Pu. At that time about two dozen native Hawaiian activists chanted, sang and hung banners and upside-down state flags from the second floor of Iolani Palace.

Ikaika Hussey, the leader of the group, said in 2006 that Hui Pu represented a coalition of native Hawaiians opposed to the federal recognition bill slated for passage in Congress. The group staged a symbolic reclamation of the royal throne before leaving peacefully after about two hours.


Mount Si High School leaders were hoping the national Day of Silence last Friday in support of gay and lesbian students would be a low key, calm affair.

It wasn't.

Instead, the high school located in Snoqualmie, WA was the scene of protests and counter protests. There were about 250 people confronting each other Friday about the Day of Silence inside in support of gay students.

Police kept the peace. There were no arrests. But, the disruptions caused about 500 students, about a third of the school, to stay home.

Inside the school, students wore t-shirts and arm bands expressing their views about the National Day of Silence in support of gay and lesbian students

The school principal estimated roughly 10 percent of the student population may be gay. He reports no serious harassment issues in the last several months and calls the demonstration a form of expression which does not violate school policy against protests.

Enter Rev. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, who invited anti-gay residents of the area to join his protest. The Reverend said, "It's time for moral people to be unashamed and take a stand."

The Seattle Times reported the controversy at Mount Si began with the school's invitation to Hutcherson to speak at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly. The pastor had agreed to talk only about his experiences as a black man growing up in Alabama and about King's legacy. Hutcherson's daughter, a student at the school, helped plan the assembly.

But Hutcherson's prominence as an activist against gay rights led one teacher to boo his appearance and another to ask if it wasn't hypocritical for him to support civil rights for African Americans but not for gays and lesbians.

Nationwide some group called the Alliance Defense Fund called a "Day of Truth" yesterday in portest of Friday's Day of Silence.

It's the fourth year of the Day of Truth, which was established, the group says, to "counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective."

Gay news group, described that events failure, "The so-called "Day of Truth" went by yesterday with less than a whimper." says:
"The Alliance Defense Fund has many connections with Christian ex-gay organizations that claim that LGBT persons can change to heterosexuality through prayer, intervention and psychological counselling."

The Alliance Defense Fund receives funding from Focus on the Family, a group that also funds Exodus Ministries. ADF also lists Exodus as an allied organization on their webpage."

Resources for the group’s ‘Day of Truth’ event were prepared by Exodus Ministries, which claims to be able to help LGBT persons become heterosexual, included in their 'Homosexuality FAQ Sheet.'"

At its own website the Alliance Defense Fund says it, "... is humbled to have dedicated women and men serving on the 'front lines' in this war, fighting for religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and traditional family values."

I'm humbled to know that they are humbled in their homophobic agenda.

The following is from the SnoValley Star (Washington).

Protests hit Day of Silence

About 660 students were absent from class April 25 as protestors and counter-protestors gathered near the Mount Si High School tennis courts to support or contest the Day of Silence.

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson led a group of about 100 people from the Antioch Bible Church and other groups to protest the school’s third-annual Day of Silence, an event started in 1996 at the University of Virginia that has spread across the nation. Students participating, about 200 of them from Mount Si High School, remain mute to promote tolerance and draw attention to harassment gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people face.

Earlier in the day, a group of about 40 parents came to show their silent support. The majority of the protestors and about 30 counter-protestors arrived by 10 a.m., staying for an hour and waving signs with slogans like, “I believe in separation of church and hate,” and “Educate not indoctrinate.”

Both sides had messages for one another, but shouting took precedence over any sort of dialogue.

“It should not be going on while children are in school,” said Henrese Bruce of Everett.

“I don’t have a child in school here, but my pastor’s children go here and a lot of people at our church - their kids go here. Our teachers should not be teaching our children homosexuality.”

The total number of students absent reflects those who missed only one period. School policy, however, dictates absences for those students who miss four or more classes. Of those, there were 480 on Friday.

Jeffrey Lommel, who attended Mount Si High School for two years and now lives in Redmond, said that he found it hard to be a young gay man in the Valley.

“There is always a fear of people calling you names in the hallways. It was a scary time to be at Mount Si,” said Lommel. “Not only do the kids have to be afraid of each other, they have to be afraid of the parents as well.”

“There is nothing wrong with Ken Hutcherson because of his beliefs,” said Mount Si sophomore Max Rosentreter. “But he is out here putting other people down. I don’t see why they have to come over here and disrupt our school telling us that they don’t like gay people.”

Dave Caldeira, Youth Pastor at Calvary Chapel on the Eastside, graduated from Mount Si High School in 1994. He doesn’t support the Day of Silence being held during school hours, but he questioned the effectiveness of the protests.

“They’re passionate what they believe in and I’m passionate what I believe in, but we shouldn’t be spewing hatred,” Caldeira said.

Five Snoqualmie police officers kept protesters and counter-protestors out of the street but reported no incidents or arrests.

Across Washington state, 255 middle and high schools participated in the Day of Silence. Daryl Presgraves, media relations manager for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), said that out of 7,600 schools that participated nationwide, he only heard of a handful of protests.

The Snoqualmie Library held a panel following the protests hosted by GLSEN. About 20 people attended, listening and questioning parents, religious leaders and former students about issues faced by people with different sexualities and gender identities.

Despite all of the controversy, the high school maintained its closed campus and held classes as usual. Students participating in the Day of Silence wore tie-dyed bracelets. If a teacher called on them during class, they were required to speak.

“Our utmost priority is the safety of the students,” said Carolyn Malcolm, the school district’s public information officer. “We were very proud of the students inside the school. It was a quiet, productive day.”

On an average school day, about nine percent of the student body is absent, which is equal to the number of students absent last year during the Day of Silence. This year, 63 student athletes received waivers allowing them to attend after-school sports, despite missing school.

“It was unfortunate students choose not to come,” said Mount Si Junior Caitlin Donnelly, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) student officer and student coordinator for the Day of Silence. She added that the “extra quiet classrooms made for a more productive day.”

While some students stayed home due to personal beliefs, Malcolm reported that some parents were uneasy with sending their children to school because of the protests.

“I know administrators plan to step back and look at the day and all factors that may have contributed to the absences,” Malcolm said.

The Coalition to Defend Education, a Valley group of 145 parents who do not support the Day of Silence, did not participate in the protest.

More attention has been paid to the Day of Silence this year after Hutcherson spoke at the high school’s Martin Luther King Day assembly and was booed by one teacher and questioned about gay rights by another.

Hutcherson began campaigning against the Day of Silence, but the school administrators maintained that the GSA had the right to sponsor the event under the Federal Equal Access Act and the First Ammendment.

“We simply ask, if you want the Day of Silence, make it before or after school like other clubs,” said Hutcherson. Although he targeted Mount Si High School, Hutcherson said he hoped to set an example for parents at other high schools who disagree with the Day of Silence.

Summer Nikolaisen, a senior at Mount Si High School, said she felt a little bit of pressure about whether she would attend school on Friday, but once she arrived, said it was a day like any other.

“It was just less people than normal, that’s all,” Nikolaisen said. “There were some protesters in the morning, but I didn’t really see them.”

Donnelly saw the protests as beyond the GSA’s control.

“None of those disruptions were caused by GSA,” Donnelly said. “Hopefully, in years to come, it will happen with less controversy and less opposition.”

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


What follows is a rather sad but on going story about Holocaust survivors who feel they are getting ripped off by one of the main groupings which is supposed to be helping them. I'm talking here about the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany - better known as the Claims Conference.

Some survivors say money that could be used helping them is instead going to build museums and other Jewish causes. Isi Leibler, a frequent critic of the CC says, "Previous grants have generated controversy because, despite representing deserving causes, some appear to lack any genuine relationship with the Holocaust: e.g., the Tel Aviv Yiddish Theater, sprinklers in Israeli nursing homes, Jewish cultural centers in St. Petersburg, Hatzolah volunteer ambulance services in Brooklyn, Bnei Brak women's organizations and birthright Israel."

The Claims Conference own treasurer, Roman Kent, a Holocaust survivor, told London's Jewish Chronicle: "Survivors are suffering. Our only priority should be the survivors, and everything else should be secondary. We are spending money for thousands of projects, but the health of the survivors can't wait. They are dying daily...I'm not saying that these are bad programmes, but they can wait - or else they should be the responsibility of the world Jewish community, not the Claims Conference

There have been increasing demands for greater transparency from the management of the Claims Conference (CC) in a Jerusalem Report article.

The Israeli Insider reported last year about this time the central issue was the allegation that whereas the Claims Conference does disclose allocations, it lacks transparency in the manner by which it allocates funds. Critics insisted that it functioned more like an old boys club than a representative body, and that the Board was merely a rubber stamp endorsing the decisions of a few machers who make decisions amongst themselves and only consult their key constituents. This, The Insider said was confirmed by the fact that the board never meaningfully challenges allocations submitted by the selection committee.

The CC's reputation is not helped by the fact it pays high salaries to a small group of senior staff, with the conference's director earning over $400,000 after benefits.

The most passionate complaint is that as a consequence of years of delayed processing and neglect, despite being one of the wealthiest foundations in the world, many aged survivors in poor health will not live to receive their restitution entitlements.

And that is deplorable.

Also of concern is, as reported by Jewish Currents, that despite occasional media reference to the Claims Conference as a “survivor group,” it has never been one either constitutionally or functionally. Only four of its forty-eight voting board seats are apportioned to survivor organizations, and these were added only in 1989.

A new documentary, set to be screened on TV in Isreal soon, will update the critique of the CC.

The new film, "The Morality of Payments - the Battle Continues," accuses the conference's leadership of "self-dealing," the practice of misusing one's public position to benefit one's private self reports the Jerusalem Post. It further accuses the conference of withholding funds from elderly, sick Holocaust survivors in order to ensure its own existence after those survivors have passed away.

The documentary claims that 60 percent of the survivor claims filed to the Hardship Fund of the Claims Conference are denied, and only 40% approved. According to conference records, however, 319,000 claims were approved out of 433,000 that were submitted, an approval rate of some 74%. The CC adds the criteria for disbursing survivors' benefits are set by the German government, not the conference.

As it always has the Claims Conference rejects all the complaints against it. The CC doesn't want the documentary shown at all.

The Post says a letter from the Tel Aviv law office M. Seligman & Co., which represents the conference, to the Israeli companies that produced the film, Ananey Tikshoret and Shamayim Hafakot, and to the channels that will be screening it claims: "Instead of producing a movie that reflects the conference's activities, criticizes where criticism is deserved while presenting a complete and fair picture, the makers of the movie chose to give a false presentation, regardless of the consequences."

The following is from AP via WTOP News (DC).

Survivors angry with reparations group on Holocaust Day

Israel's official memorial day for the Holocaust, which begins at sundown Wednesday, finds many elderly survivors of the Nazi genocide turning their anger on a group that is meant to help them.

For more than five decades, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany _ better known as the Claims Conference _ has been the central channel for billions of dollars in restitution and reparations payments from Germany to Jewish victims of the Third Reich.

Sixty-three years after Allied troops freed emaciated prisoners from the Nazi death camps, the group has become the target of increasingly strident criticism. Some survivors charge it with amassing excessive wealth in their name while forgetting the very people it is designed to serve, many of whom are growing old in poverty.

More than anything, critics say far too much money is going to projects like Holocaust museums and broader Jewish causes instead of to making survivors' lives better in the time they have left.

"Open your pocketbooks now. Don't worry about monuments. You'll have plenty left for monuments when the survivors are gone," said Jack Rubin, 79, of Boynton Beach, Fla.

Rubin is a retired Connecticut furrier born in what was then Czechoslovakia. In 1944, when he was 15, the Nazis sent him and his family to the Auschwitz concentration camp. After the train arrived, he was separated from his parents and grandparents and never saw them again. U.S. troops freed him in the spring of the following year.

"There is nothing more important than the Holocaust survivors, and in the few years they have left they should live in dignity. That is all I ask of the Claims Conference," Rubin said.

About 6 million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in World War II. Today, there are an estimated 500,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide, roughly half in Israel and the rest mainly in the U.S. and countries of the former Soviet Union.

Tens of thousands of them, at least, are poor. For these people, the Claims Conference is the primary _ and sometimes the only _ address for aid.

The current dispute involves money that the group received from selling unclaimed Jewish properties in the former East Germany, which it inherited by law after Germany was reunited.

The Claims Conference says it distributes around $120 million a year from that money. Eighty percent goes to survivors and institutions that help them, and the rest goes to Holocaust education and memorials like Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial authority.

Responding to critics of how the money is spent, Claims Conference official Reuven Merhav said educating the world about the Holocaust is no less urgent than providing direct aid to survivors. And it must be done while survivors are still around to tell their story, he said.

"The money spent on education and commemoration makes a great impact, and would not make much of a difference to anyone if it were split among tens of thousands of survivors," said Merhav, a retired Israeli Mossad agent and diplomat who is an unpaid top official with the group.

Merhav said it is a myth the Claims Conference has great wealth. It has reserves of around $350 million, enough to last only three or four years at the rate the funds are being disbursed, he said.

According to the Claims Conference, it has negotiated more than $70 billion in German reparations since 1950 for people who were imprisoned in concentration camps, confined to ghettos, forced into slave labor and medical experiments, or forced out of their homes by the Nazis.

In doing so, the organization played a key role in helping victims rebuild their lives, while allowing Germany to regain a place in the community of civilized nations after the Holocaust.

But it has been dogged by controversy. It has been the subject of numerous journalistic investigations criticizing a lack of accountability and transparency and a refusal in some cases to turn over properties it controls to legitimate heirs of the original owners.

One such critique is "In the Name of the Victims," a video-activist documentary that first aired in Germany last year.

The film, directed by Ilan Ziv, drew emotional reactions when it was screened last month for survivors at Israel's parliament. "Criminals. That's our money," one woman muttered.

The Claims Conference, headquartered in New York, says it has greatly benefited hundreds of thousands around the world.

In Ziv's movie, the group's executive vice president, Gideon Taylor, calls the work "an impossible task."

"You are taking the greatest moral challenge that the Jewish people faced in our history, the Shoah, and translating it into financial terms," Taylor said, using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.

"The only thing that the Claims Conference is trying to do is to try to balance the different perspectives _ the rights, the wrongs _ with some Solomonic solution. That's all that we can do," he said.


According to the New Haven Independent New Haven’s public schools are moving toward managing their own kitchens...and getting the giant corporation Aramark out of the kitchen.

The surprise announcement came during a briefing by Chief Operating Officer Will Clark at the Board of Education’s (BOE) monthly meeting Monday.

Students, parents and union members have repeatedly criticized Aramark for poor quality food, unwise purchasing, and lack of openness about its budget (pictured here are a tray of moldy apples Aramark passed off to a self-contained classroom of special education students at Gateway Institute of Technology in St. Louis).

Remember lunch at school? I kinda do. In grade school I lived so close by that I actually went home for lunch (probably aren't allowed to do that anymore). Also, my mom packed me a lunch to save money and to see that I ate something worthwhile. In High School, I was really for the first time introduced to school lunch. Believe it or not I actually liked the stuff. Probably because it was crap, I don't know. Also, believe it or not it was at school that I was first introduced to pizza.

Well, since those days you'd think the quality of lunch for the nation's kids prepared at their schools would have greatly improved.

I guess not.

And now it seems, at least I never knew, that private companies are involved in the business. Not at all surprisingly quality of food is of little concern to these companies. It is about the money, stupid. It is so much about money that many of these "food service" companies are also in the custodial business at school, too.

About 200 protesters – members of Connecticut Council 4 and their supporters – demanded at an April 14 rally that the New Haven school system stop contracting out work that has been outsourced to privateer Aramark for the last 12 years. AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee told the crowd that day, “We want to tell all the aldermen, and we want to tell the mayor … that it is their job to fire Aramark and get them the hell out of town.”

“Aramark is a publicly traded company looking to make large amounts of money at the expense of the students,” said Larry Dorman, public affairs coordinator for Council 4.

According to Montouri, the union claims Aramark supervisors lack custodial experience, leading to ill-advised choices in purchasing and management. They also allege Aramark fostered a hostile work environment and failed to fill vacant positions.

“We all know what to do, (and) we know what our job is, as long as they let us do it,” Montouri said. “They’re not allowing us to do our job correctly. A child or teacher comes in, and sees a carpet that hasn’t been vacuumed. They think we’re bums. They don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.”

So in some places like New Haven everyone is getting tired of that act.

Cheryl Barbara is one of those people. Cheryl has been a cook in New Haven schools for 20 years. Cheryl packs a lunch from home for her child because she doesn’t approve of the public schools’ lunches.

Cheryl blames Aramark, the company that manages school food service in New Haven. She was among a group of parents and union employees from the Local 217 of the hotel and restaurant workers’ union who voiced their opinions about Aramark way last November to the school district.

The group complained that Aramark, which took over food service management four years ago, has lowered the quality of school food by placing their emphasis on making money rather than making good lunches. “They took away all the home cooking. It’s all about packaging now,” Cheryl told the Independent, noting an increased use of packaged foods under Aramark’s management.

Along with decreased food quality, speakers asked the school board to hold a public hearing to talk about food service in the schools and to find out why, according to the group, Aramark has driven the NHPS food service program $1 million over budget.

Cheryl said her union requested a copy of Aramark’s contract with the city, but that so much was whited-out on the documents that they received that they were unable to make use of them. “Huge amounts of the report were redacted, ” said Cheryl. “They said it was because they were confidential trade secrets of Aramark. But it’s run on our tax dollars.”

If the cook doesn't trust the food, should parents?

I don't think so.

They don't.

The parents in New Haven say in a petition to the mayor that Aramark is not giving their children sufficient fresh and nutritious food and that the amount of produce is too limited. Additionally, they believe Aramark’s portion sizes are too small for growing high school students.

Maybe the folks in New Haven are just picky.

Nope, google the company and you'll find them under attack by parents, students and workers hither and yon.

By the way, it isn't just schools and students who are being short changed. It's jails and inmates, too.

Out in Oakland, California earlier this year People's World reports union members gathered across from Alameda County’s Glenn Dyer Detention Facility to demand that the county put its contract for food services at county jail facilities out to bid, rather than rubber-stamping a five-year extension of its contract with Aramark Correctional Services.

Union leaders and Aramark workers pointed to the international corporation’s dismal record in fulfilling food service contracts with correctional facilities and schools elsewhere in the country, citing problems including quality of food and provision of “phantom” meals.

Bruce Raynor, UNITE HERE general president pointed out, for example, at the Oakland rally, “This company Aramak, whether it’s in dining halls, in stadiums, does two things from one end of North America to the other, they abuse their workers and they abuse their clients.”

Auditors at Florida’s Department of Corrections found that Aramark had billed $5 million worth of “phantom” meals at state prison facilities, Raynor said. “The state of Florida is investigating Aramark, and Alameda County ought to do the same,” he added.

Citing quality and fulfillment problems experienced by Texas jails, and by public schools in Philadelphia, Detroit and New Haven, Conn., Raynor said workers who have tried to blow the whistle on Aramark’s practices have been harassed and punished.

I don't know but I'd bet if I kept looking I'd find this company feeding elderly in nursing homes as well. I'd be right.

Besides schools and jails, Aramark says it provides "service" to universities, hospitals, nursing homes, stadiums, convention centers, recreational venues, and private.

Aramark operates all over the world and all over the world its workers are an unhappy lot.

At Seneca College, just outside Toronto, cafeteria and janitorial staff began a strike, demanding improvements in wages and benefits. The workers, employed by the multi-national food service giant Aramark, earn just above minimum wage, and receive little in benefits while facing "abusive behaviour by supervisors." The strike followed Aramark’s offer of a raise of ten cents per hour, which workers have called "ridiculous." "We voted – 100 per cent – to take strike action, because these poor working conditions can't go on," said Andy Chui, a janitor at Seneca's Markham campus and member of UNITE HERE’s Aramark bargaining committee. "This company makes a lot of money (ed. note - total sales amounted to $12.4 billion last year) and we're simply asking for a living wage and to be treated with dignity and respect."

Aramark employees with similar grievance protested in Dublin, Ireland earlier this month.

Uh, something isn't kosher here.

UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) merged on July 8, 2004 forming UNITE HERE. The union represents more than 450,000 active members and more than 400,000 retirees throughout North America. Unite Here is at the forefront of worker of the battle between Aramark and its workers.

The following is from WVIT (Connecticut).

New Haven To Hold Hearing Tuesday On School Lunches

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The battle over school lunches in New Haven continues Tuesday night and parents will have the opportunity to tell town officials what they think.

The board of alderman will hold a hearing at city hall Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Aramark has provided food to school in cafeterias across New Haven and some students and parents said they wanted that to end because they aren't happy with what's being served.

Dozens of protesters gathered on the steps of city hall in March to protest the company that supplies food to the schools.

The school district put out a new bid for food service contracts and three firms, including Aramark, submitted bids.

A committee has been appointed to look at those bids.

“They will come back to the board with a recommendation about what (they) think we should do in terms of awarding the contract or taking on the service in-house,” Brian Perkins of New Haven’s board of education said.

Parents will have the opportunity Tuesday night to voice either concern or praise for Aramark.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Amnesty International on Friday called on Ethiopia to investigate allegations that its troops killed at least 21 people, including 11 unarmed civilians, in a mosque in the Somali capital.

The rights group cited several sources which said Ethiopian troops carried out the killings on April 19. The Ethiopian government has rejected the claims.

At least 10 other people were killed by Ethiopian forces near the Al-Hidaya mosque in northern Mogadishu, bringing the death toll to 31, an Amnesty statement said.

"Deliberately killing civilians is a war crime," said Amnesty. "We call on the Ethiopian government to ensure an independent investigation is carried out into the raid on the mosque and the subsequent treatment of those detained by its forces."

"Seven of the 21 killed at the mosque were reported to have had their throats cut, a form of illegal execution practised by Ethiopian troops in Somalia," Amnesty said.

The report is based on several cross-checked, independent sources such as family members of victims, testimonies gathered at the location, including individuals present in the mosque while the killings took place, and local Amnesty International contacts.

While Mogadishu residents and witnesses said Ethiopian forces carried out the mosque killings, the Ethiopia foreign ministry accused Islamist militants.

The Somali government also took issue with eye witness and Amnesty accounts.

Somali Interior Minister Muse Nur Amin told reporters that insurgents first attacked Ethiopian and Somali troops to trigger the weekend's deadly violence, which killed upwards of 80 people according to a local human rights organization.

"I personally do not believe that someone praying at a mosque was pulled out and killed, but I want to make clear that the [Transitional] Federal Government is investigating," the Interior Minister said in Mogadishu.

President Abdullahi Yusuf told the VOA Somali Service, "What is being said [about the mosque massacre] is completely untrue..The [Ethiopian and Somali] troops will defend themselves when attacked...but there is no incident where soldiers entered a mosque and slaughtered the people inside."

A witness named Omar disagreed. He told Garowe Online that he was inside al Hidaya Mosque in Huriwa district when Ethiopian soldiers stormed inside on Sunday.

"The first person they [Ethiopian soldiers] killed was Sheikh Said Yahya, the Imam [prayer leader]," Omar said, adding that the late Imam opened the mosque door after the soldiers knocked.

"I stood above 11 dead bodies, some with their throat slit and others shot to death," said the witness describing the gruesome scene. Of the 11 dead victims, nine were regular congregants at the mosque and reportedly were part of the Tabliiq wing of Sunni Islam.

Witness Sheikh Mohamed Muse said the Ethiopian troops also arrested 21 boys who had taken refuge in the mosque during the fighting. “What they did was a gross humanitarian violation. They shot innocent clerics inside the house of Allah, I’m sure God will punish them,” Muse said.

Amnesty International also called on the Ethiopian military to release some 41 children held after the mosque massacre.

"The safety and welfare of the children, some as young as nine years old, must be paramount for all parties," said Amnesty International.

The attack on the Al Hidya mosque occurred during two days of fighting between the Ethiopian military and TFG against armed groups opposed to them, in which the Elman Human Rights Organisation documented 81 deaths and more than one hundred injured. It is not known how many of these were civilians. The attack also followed increasing attacks by armed groups opposed to the TFG on towns in southern and central Somalia, including an attack on Beledweyne by Al-Shabab militia on 13 April, where local residents reported that militia members killed four teachers. An Al-Shabab leader has claimed the teachers were shot in crossfire.

Also, last week the United Nations independent human rights expert for Somalia denounced the killing of civilians amid the fresh escalation of fighting in the war-stricken east African country. Ghanim Alnajjar, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Somalia, called for an immediate ceasefire between Ethiopian-backed government troops and Islamist insurgents. "The use of heavy weaponry in areas where civilians are concentrated left reportedly 81 civilians dead and more than 100 wounded," he said in a statement.

And Muslim leaders yesterday accused the African Union and the UN of failing to take action as innocent citizens are being killed in the Horn of Africa nation.

The East African Standard reports National Muslims Leaders Forum Chairman, Abdulahi Abdi, also said foreign troops held captive 40 Somali citizens whom they were torturing.

In a signed statement, the officials, who had called a press conference at Nairobi's Jamia Mosque, accused the Ethiopian army of abusing the rights of Somali Muslims by bombing and storming mosques.

The attack on the Mosque was not the only action specifically denounced at the press conference.
"The soldiers also stormed a hospital and killed patients before looting drugs and other medical equipment. They further ambushed a madrassa and abducted 40 children." said Abdi.

The leaders demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops from Somalia to give room for dialogue between the warring communities and political forces.

He said the Somali people should be given an opportunity to determine how best they wanted to govern themselves.

Abdi said the "killers" should be arrested and charged in The Hague.

The following is from MISNA.


“We have not had a chance to speak to those seized at the al Hidaya mosque, but we are conducting investigations to reconstruct the entire episode”, said to MISNA Zahir Ali of the ‘Sean Devereux’ aid agency a few days from the massacre in the northern Mogadishu mosque, in which some twenty people were killed and 41 students – many children – were abducted and released after six days of questioning at the headquarters of Ethiopian troops deployed in the country in support of the Somali transitional federal government (TFG). “What occurred is unclear, given that the government excludes that the Ethiopian troops entered the mosque and killed the twenty faithful and Imam. What we are certain of is the discovery of the lifeless bodies and eyewitnesses speak of a cold blood execution”, added Ali. According to the source, “the children were detained because believed to be young militants of anti-government groups, which used the mosque as a recruiting centre, and released after the military failed to link them to any criminal activities”. According to the local press, at least 10 members of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, which groups different exiled opposition movements, have arrived in the southern Middle Shabelle region for consultations with local groups ahead of the first meeting on May 10 in Djibouti between the transitional government of Nur Hassan Hussein Adde and Asmara-based opposition. The appointment is part of reconciliation efforts launched by the prime minister and supported by the UN secretary general’s special representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.


The Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) which says it exists "to build the power of young people to demand a high quality education in the Philadelphia public school system." is a youth led organization dedicated to making "positive changes in the short term by learning how to organize to build power."

Right now the group wants transparency in the school districts budget practices and has the audacity to think that student voices should be heard.

Here are some of the concerns they have about next year's budget, transparency and accountability:
*We need money in the budget for proven incentives to attract and keep teachers at hard to staff schools. Only 68% of teachers in Corrective Action II schools are considered to be 'highly qualified'.

*We need money in the budget for high school reform, specifically to support work on smallschools and other proven reform methods for neighborhood schools.

*We question the $10.8 million that is budgeted next year for Educational Management Organizations, when the process of accountability for failing EMO's is still unclear.

*We question the almost $50 million that is going to private disciplinary providers, the $1.6 million budgeted for Aramark (after their contract was supposedly cut for overcharging the district) and the $3.5 million budgeted for the School Reform Commission itself, an all-volunteer body!!

The group came up with a colorful way to make their concerns known. Members of the PSU say they want to see more of what's going on in the district's budget, so with squeegees in hand they headed out to wash the windows of the school headquarters building at 440 North Broad Street last week.

Nijmie Dzurinko is an organizer with the PSU told KYW in Philadelphia, "We need to see the contracts the district has with vendors. We need to know how much money is going to those things. And we need to understand the budget priorities. We need to understand what the cuts are in the budget before decisions are made."

Philadelphia students, parents and education activists are demanding an end to what they called "sweetheart deals" between the school district and school management organizations.

"We have to stop dealing [with companies] and try to put the students first. Try to put my school and all of the other [academically struggling] schools first, because we really need it," West Philadelphia High senior Lawrence Jones-Mahoney told the the Philadelphia Daily News early this year.

A leaflet for the "window washing" demo states:

"During this past school year, along with our allies, we have worked hard to build power around proven educational reforms and public accountability for the school district, while simultaneously working to ensure greater state funding that will benefit all our schools. We've seen changes, and greater openness in the district. That doesn't mean we can rest! We are still in danger of being marginalized as a 'small but vocal group'. We must continue to show the District that parents, students and workers are becoming empowered every day to speak up and speak out about what our schools need and how our money is being spent."

More than a dozen of the districts 70 schools are managed by outside groups including Edison Schools Inc., Victory Schools, Foundations Inc., Universal Companies, the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University.

The following is from the Philadelphia Weekly.

View to an Ill

Normally, the Philadelphia School District would welcome a free window washing. But on this day, service comes with a healthy dose of youthful indignation.

Gathering last Thursday on the steps of the School District of Philadelphia headquarters on North Broad Street, a mob of youth activists demands transparency in the budgetary practices of the school board. The group’s demands include student involvement in choosing outside school contracts and educational oversight groups.

To represent their cause, protesters are dressed in head–to–toe white jump suits. Donning rubber gloves, they wash the building’s windows in staged protest.

Leading the charge is the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU), a student–led activist group focused on educational reform. With their stomps and chants reverberating down North Broad, the students are determined to stay until someone is willing to listen to their complaints.

”All we want is transparency,” PSU spokesperson Marcus Mundy says. ”If the district’s budgetary actions affect us, we feel we should have a say. We’re the ones that have to live with it.”

Mundy is a chapter leader and 10th grader at Masterman High. ”We noticed a lot of extracurricular activities being cut, but the public budgetary hearings are basic and non–discretionary.”

A little background: EMOs, or educational management organizations—private companies brought in to help increase low test scores—have been contracted to the tune of $107 million since 2002, making Philadelphia the nation’s largest experiment in the private management of public schools.

A 2007 study conducted by the Rand Corporation sought to determine the effects of EMOs. Upon inspecting the Rand study, a state–sponsored panel found ”limited evidence to support the claim that private management as implemented in Philadelphia can turn around Philadelphia’s low–performing schools.”

As the board reconvenes later this year to renegotiate EMO contracts, PSU had asked to be made privy to the discussion. Their plea was rejected.

”Half of the EMO schools are still under corrective action,” PSU Assistant Director Erica Almiron says, ”so where is the extra money going?”

”Home Ec was cancelled,” adds protestor Zakia Royster, a 10th grader at Sayre. ”We barely have any sports teams at all.”

Eleventh grader Candace Carter isn’t confident the group’s demands are being heard. ”We see how schools are funded,” she says. ”We go and talk to [the school board], and they listen … Well, at least they act like they listen. But I’ve seen no change.”

The board recently elected a new CEO, San Francisco reformer Dr. Arlene Ackerman, to work on fixing broken Philadelphia schools.

Ackerman, who had a budget meeting planned at the School District’s headquarters, stops to address the crowd. While many consider her presence a sign that their voices are being heard, some call attention to a recent Daily News article that reported Ackerman’s spending of $100,000 to convene a panel of educational experts to again research the effects of privatization.

”We are not trying to do another study,” Ackerman told the Daily News. ”We are trying to listen to more voices.”

Dr. Ackerman’s announcement that $100,000 is ”not a lot of money” was not well received by students who’ve seen their activities and educational budgets drained as a result.

”Dr. Ackerman needs to acknowledge she’s not in San Francisco anymore,” Temple student Thomas Robinson shouts into a mike set up at the protest. ”She’s in the city of Philadelphia, where every dollar counts.”

Reemerging from the district headquarters, the CEO dances with students to Outkast’s ”So Fresh So Clean” as the window washing continues. The din of chants and cheers subsides as she saunters to the mike to give her first public address to students since taking office.

”I looked at your list of demands,” Ackerman says, ”and all of them are worth considering, and more than that, some just need to be done. Nike has a slogan: Just do it. So we are going to just do it.”

She goes on to promise monthly meetings with students and to congratulate them for being proactive, adding, ”I come from a time when we took to the streets when we wanted to change something.”

As her remarks conclude, the jubilant students burst into another fit of chants and stomps. ”Ain’t no power like the power of the people ’cause the power of the people don’t stop!” they shout.

”We shouldn’t underestimate these kids,” Ackerman says after her address. ”We can’t pretend like they don’t understand because clearly they have real concerns and real input.

”Regardless of the parent organizations,” she continues, ”we need to find a way to make the schools work for all students.”

As the students disperse, their chants and stomps continue down Broad Street, echoing off the freshly washed windows of the district headquarters.