AskWHYBlog: Carol Harvey In San Francisco

As Sentient Beings We Have The Right to Relentlessly Ask WHY --- And Demand Answers! PLEASE ASK WHY!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The centerpiece of Michael Moore's, "Bowling for Columbine" is a South Park cartoon. A cracker-accented bullet jauntily greets "Boys and Girls."

"Ready to get started? It’s time for a brief history of the United States of America.

"Once upon a time there were these people in Europe called Pilgrims, and they were afraid of being persecuted. So, they all got in a boat and sailed to the New World where they wouldn’t have to be scared ever again.

"As soon as they arrived, they were greeted by savages, and they got scared all over again.


"So they killed 'em all.

“Wiping out a race of people” didn't calm them down. They feared the British, witches, importations of African slaves outnumbering them, and Rosa Parks.

"(Why won’t she move?)"

They protected themselves by fleeing to suburbs, got guns, put locks on doors, barricaded themselves, “snug as a bug” in suburban communities, "so white and safe and clean."

In Moore's classic stealth interview with NRA President, Charlton Heston, at his Hollywood Hills gated community mansion, "Moses" blames "mixed ethnicities" for the U.S’s 11,127 annual gun deaths. At an NRA pro-gun rally, Heston shouts they will have to pry his rifle from his "cold dead hand," presumably as he shoots it out with "ethnicities."

Fillmore history lessons show African American grandmothers dying with "right of return" certificates clutched in their "cold, dead hands" denied them by Redevelopment functionaries, mostly white men like Heston.

In the 50s and 60s, whites moved to the suburbs. The exodus sociologists called "white flight" was promoted by the FHA which made it easier to build homes with picket fenced yards for the kids, but also to flee from inner city peoples of color, particularly blacks.

Now, white suburbanites want to return to urban commerce centers. Reverse white flight, the nationwide push to retake the cities, has resulted in R&D Mission Bay biotechies needing a place to live. Handy to put them in Bayview Hunters Point riding the Third Street Light Rail each day?

Do feared black people stop monied whites' relocation to urban centers like the Bayview? The logical conclusion: Clear out Blacks who still control the area so whites won't be afraid. Then move white people in.

Redevelopment is the fastest, easiest way to accomplish such "re-peopling."

At the April 19, 2006, San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee Meeting, Chair Sophie Maxwell, also hearkened back to history. "After nearly fifteen years of community struggle," --- during which she was a PAC member --- "the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan is finally coming to adoption."

Maxwell recalled the years when, employed as a BART electrician, "I worked on this Redevelopment Plan myself.

"From the time I was a member of the PAC until now, many of us in the community have contributed a lot." Maxwell's years-long PAC involvement got her on the Board.

"It's important," she cautioned, " that we make sure mistakes that happened at one time in history do not happen again."

Seemingly soft spoken, stylishly suited Marcia Rosen, lawyer and Redevelopment Director, echoed Maxwell, soothing away threats of eminent domain takings. "The lessons of urban renewal and the Western Addition (are) reflected in this plan. No bulldozers are contemplated for Bayview Hunters Point."

"The Redevelopment Plan," said Sophie, "Expressly prohibits eminent domain on residential units."

However, some are chastened by memories of the Fillmore's false promises. They remember Mary Rogers championing the '60s lawsuit against eminent domain takings for Fillmore residents who wanted their property back. They won "certificates," which most could not use and sorrowfully threw away.

Mary Ratcliff, Bayview Editor, described one wealthy "grand dame," owner of valuable property, including Fillmore clubs, who after several agonizing lawsuits, couldn't enforce a single certificate in Court. "She was cheated out of all of it. It's awful to see people just bled to death like that."

After the 1906 earthquake, Downtown Powers tried forced relocation of Chinatown residents into the Bayview. The Chinese resisted powerfully and stayed, just as later Mission dwellers twice resisted Redevelopment.

Many insist. " If you don't believe Katrina couldn't happen here, think again.

Promises are never kept around here."

Randy Shaw, Director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Attorney, and Land Use expert, cautioned, "I don't think that people have a full sense of what Redevelopment means, because they haven't dealt with it. Redevelopment is like the carnival that comes into town. If you haven't seen the tricks before, then you're attracted by them. Once you've had the experience (you're not).

"Redevelopment is a massive patronage operation. A lot of people benefit financially from the deals."

Shaw said many SFRA spokespeople are Afican American. He doubts Redevelopment''s intent is to get rid of black people. "It's the result." Reducing crime by gentrifying the neighborhood? Another gentrified neighborhood to make the City Less diverse?

Shaw wonders how you interpret the fact that "When you take action, it has an impact on a particular race disproportionately? "Do you know the expression "Discriminatory impact?" That's the point.

Some feel despite what they say, do, or write, it doesn't matter. If this Redevelopment plan is approved, they will lose their community. "They want us out of here," said one. "That is it."

San Francisco newspapers' described a done deal.

Wrote 'The Chronicle,' "Once the Bayview is declared a redevelopment area, a portion of the projected $188 million in future property taxes can be used to fund improvements."

The 'Sentinel' interviewed PAC members and Redevelopment supporters exclusively.

The 'Examiner' Front Page blared: "Massive New Plan Set to Transform Bayview District," regurgitating statistics from lead planner, Tom Evans', power point handout.

"The 30-year plan will... create 3,700 units of new market rate and affordable housing."

It assumes the Bayview is a "long-blighted" neighborhood, neglecting to note that Redevelopment agencies have designated desert and wealthy gated communities "blighted." Said Shaw, "Blight has become everything. The definition of blight has gotten so big, it doesn't mean anything anymore."

Media passed over the 50% vocal dissenters present at the hearing.

Some activists see a split community. Others estimate that eighty percent of Bayview residents dissent. Fear of police (who roll tanks down streets) and loss of Section 8 HUD homes paralyzes them.

It is hard to leave work for a 1:00 p.m. weekday meeting.

Ask Dr. Ahimsa Sumchai who left a hectic schedule to address"a little concern,"as a physician and scientist (about "significant") violations of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the certification of the final EIR (Environmental Impact Report) on March the 7th," especially regarding toxic air contaminants, and 429 hazardous waste sites for which " mitigations were not offered."

Roland Sheppard, resident since 1956, attended PAC meetings where they said, "We are going to have a ball park down at the bottom of the hill. Up at the top we are going to have the stadium, and build a yacht harbor along the Coast on the East Bay of San Francisco. It's said the best views of the City are up on the Hills where the projects are."

About jobs, he said, "There are less residents working at the San Francisco Water Treatment Plant in the Southeast Sector, under your reign, Sophie, than five years ago. The idea that people are going to get hired from the community is just not true, and hasn't happened for forty years."

Francisco Da Costa stated flatly, "I have followed this process for the last eight years thoroughly, attending all the meetings and observing the PAC."

"Redevelopment is not about jobs, (but) blight, getting the property, giving it to developers."

"I do not trust Redevelopment," he concluded.

Jaron Browne, of POWER, (People Organized to Win Employment Rights), alluded to U.S. census 2000 data confirming more Black flight from San Francisco than any major U.S. city over the previous decade. 20,000 departures after 1990 indicated a 23 percent decline.

"In the last ten years, there have been serious corporate giveaways: Lennar Corporation, the Transbay Terminal, the UCSF Biotech Center, Bloomingdales, and Rincon Hill. This Redevelopment Agency is not acting in the interests of working class communities of color.

"UCSF was given $70 point million dollars," but isn't offering "a single permanent entry level job."

To discourage future corporate giveaways and encourage community appeals to a responsible elected body, she wanted the PAC extended from 12 to 30 years.

These critiques drew shouts from audience members. "Yes. Tell it!"

Maxwell reassured that Redevelopment must come before the Board for changes and tax increment decisions.

Do these good, intelligent, beautiful PAC members, who wisely urged the Stadium issue settled, ask themselves, "If the plan is such a community benefit, why are there so many reassurances to make it appear safe, and if there is a need for so many reassurances, why is the Plan or Redevelopment needed with refurbishment loans readily available?

To quell fears SFRA would include Candlestick Park in the BVHP Redevelopment area to fund it and proposed condos, Maxwell's amendment read, "The Board of Supervisors shall not approve any allocation of property tax increment from portions of the project area outside of the Candlestick Point special use district for use within the Candlestick point special use district for development of a stadium-related project."

"At least we've stopped this fiasco of the stadium being funded by this," remarked Shaw.

Maxwell claimed she and the SFRA learned from Western Addition "Negro removal." Government should not take homes by eminent domain.

Are these smokescreens and red herrings, concealing the plan to gentrify BVHP, forcing blacks out?

Pricey BVHP homes averaging $625,000 are hard to seize.

Threat of eminent domain alone lowers property values, driving down prices, forcing owners to sell. Buyers' sell homes above market rate. With debt free black homeowners gone, black renters, especially in Section 8 housing, are easy to manipulate out.

Amos Browne lamented from the pulpit that his Black congregation had vacated the Fillmore.

"It is all a massive scam,". said one Bayview watcher, wondering why African American PAC members would pave their own royal road out of town.

Thursday, March 30, 2006



On Thursday, March 23, 2006, a brilliant blue day between spring storms, the buildings of Bayview Hunters Point shone white in the sun like the San Francisco neighborhoods I crossed getting there. "The Bayview has the warmest and sunniest weather of all San Francisco," said Willie Ratcliff, San Francisco Bayview publisher, when he picked me up at Mission Bay for a tour of the neighborhood.

Two days earlier, in Western Addition, Josie, an acquaintance, said,"I was around the Fillmore for the jazz time. In 1964-65, Redevelopment started buying everybody out, bulldozing apartments on Eddy and Ellis, including my place, saying they were going to build it up better.

"When they finished, it wasn't like before. Rents were higher. The neighborhood was gone."

The Redevelopment Agency's main tool in its recent sudden push toward a Fillmore-style "re-peopling" and "gentrification" was to declare the area "blighted." "It's plain criminal greed," says Willie. "Anything they see is blight." So he and I set out searching blight in Bayview Hunter's Point.

Several public commentators at the March 6, 2006 San Francisco Redevelopment Commission hearing, described the Redevelopment plan as "a social hurricane...sweeping people out of their homes," likening The Bayview to the Fillmore and Katrina's ethnic cleansing.

The national and international significance of Bayview Redevelopment is that it is another local sortie in the Class war of Rich on Poor. After New Orleans, the Bayview is the nations' largest self-contained African American Community.

The United States struggles in the grip of a totalitarian corporatocracy. The political flow chart surges down from Bush to Schwarzenegger to Newsom.

Parties seem nonexistent. What remains is the corporatocracy, respecting no geographic boundaries. Politicians and Business interests hold complete fealty to corporations like Lennar, and the money they generate for the rich. Such totalitarians make self-entitled decisions against the will of the people.

According to Randy Shaw, Director, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, "dictators" in The Redevelopment Agency, use eminent domain as a tool to "circumvent Democracy."


Redevelopment Agencies countrywide embody incredible power, more than national, state, and city governments.

After World War II white flight to the suburbs, "business communities needed a way to get upscale consumers to live closer to downtown," declared Shaw.

Simultaneously, lengthy job commutes began to tire whites. But their return to inner cities was blocked by masses of poor and peoples of color who had moved in. Redevelopment Agencies were created, employing eminent domain-style gentrification to remove the poor and sanitize such areas.

Shaw observed that (Redevelopment) transmogrified and grew into "the Agency that Ate California."

"The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, filled with Mayoral appointees, along with its legal, financial, development industry, exists to disenfranchise citizens and the Supervisors by circumventing Democracy." The Redevelopment Commission holds unilateral power. Deprived of any ability to influence decisions, Bayview residents have no votes on what gets built," said Shaw. Usually they can't afford it.


Dr. George Davis, a San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Bayview Hunter's Point Project Area Committee member present at the March 6 hearing, expressed confidence in the PAC's role. "If we don't do this, developers can come into Bayview Hunters Point and do anything they want.

"Fortunately, we have a few developers like Lennar that have a community conscience. But, then there are other developers who come in, and they will just do what they want to do.

"The PAC and the Redevelopment Agency can make (the developers) accountable."

The doctor's female companion adamantly insisted, "It is important to know that they were not handpicked by anybody," she said. "They applied to be on the Commission, and they went through an interview process, and were elected by the residents of Bayview Hunters Point."

However, Francisco Da Costa, environmental activist, reported that the PAC, which has run for nine years since 1997, held legal elections only the first two years. After that, a select few were mailed notices with no outreach to Bayview Samoans, Asians, and Latinos.

Willie agreed that a lot of the BVHP PAC members weren't legally elected. "They made sure their buddies got on (who) would go along with the Redevelopment Agency."

"You check their perks - money, opportunities. Some of them start their own nonprofits and get grants from the Redevelopment Agency."

Randy Shaw was not surprised that a PAC might become self-selective. "After elections, they fill vacancies by picking their friends."

According to Da Costa, because they were forced to cross gang turfs, some community members were discouraged from night attendance. When hot meals were followed by three-hour meetings, many just left.

He also described a "Blight Report" as a vital step in creating a Survey Area Report. After $80,000 in PAC blight report funds were "mishandled." a white Bayview homeowner snapped Polaroid pictures. This became the Blight report.


A pamphlet entitled, "Redevelopment: The Unknown Government," February 2006, states " a Redevelopment Agency has four key expanded powers:

1. "Exclusive use of all increases in property tax revenues ("tax increment") generated in its designated project areas.

2. "To sell bonds secured against future tax increment...without voter approval.

3. "To give public money directly to developers and businesses as cash grants, tax rebates, free land or public improvements.

4. Eminent domain: "To condemn private property, not just for public use, but to transfer to other private owners."

These powers "represent an enormous expansion of government intrusion into our traditional system of private property and free enterprise:"

While noting, "they really seem to be moving this thing," Randy Shaw, doubts the RDA needs to use eminent domain to expropriate African- American property.

"The threat of Redevelopment in Bayview is all indirect. If you've got an affordable place, rental housing, and next door they start building luxury upscale condominiums, what do you think is going to happen to you?

"They will build so much upscale housing that they will put pressure on the existing rental stock, and even if they don't evict anybody, when people move, they will be replaced by much higher paying people because the neighborhood has changed."

Lennar Corporation has already begun its market rate housing project at Hunter's Point Shipyard, and instead of building a mall at Candlestick Point, the corporation will erect thousands of units of market rate housing there. With average median incomes lower than citywide, few in Hunter's Point can afford such dwellings.

"It's classic gentrification," stated Shaw "It's just, 'We are going to change this neighborhood and make it very upscale, and then no one has to be evicted with a 30-day notice.' Units become vacant, and different people are attracted to the neighborhood to move in. That's the best case scenario. It's a grim picture. "

Bayview residents are witnessing the threat of eminent domain. Mary Ratcliff, Bayview newspaper editor, noted that California Standard practice is to use eminent domain as a club over people's heads.

She reports real estate agents are calling elderly people, phoning one block of 70 to 80-year-old widows several times a day, saying, "You can't care for your property, so you better sell."

She reported black men in Hunter's View on the Hill above the PGE plant have been arrested and jailed, leaving women and children vulnerable, without legal recourse, to Sheriff Department's unannounced evictions.

Both Ratcliff and Shaw wondered what was driving the "need for speed." For 20 years Redevelopment has been threatening the Bayview with creation of Project Areas.

Residents all received notices. A few weeks later, in standard Redevelopment fashion, a vote was taken without public input. Perhaps some corporate entity, Home Depot or the Stadium project and Mall at Candlestick Point, must meet a deadline to receive Redevelopment money.


Mayor Newsom and District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell signed a letter supporting the Redevelopment Agency's plan to take most of Bayview Hunters Point as Project Areas A and B.

Angry Bayview residents plan to vote out Sophie Maxwell. Marie Harrison, 'BayView' columnist and Greenaction organizer, has set up a campaign office and will run against Maxwell in the November elections.

Activists, Francisco Da Costa, and Espanola Jackson presented to the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods a resolution to halt the Redevelopment Agency's assault on Bayview land. It passed unanimously.

Until the proposal is taken before the Supervisors in about a month, the proposed Project Areas are not a fait accompli.

However, Francisco Da Costa discovered that Sophie Maxwell, as chair of the Land Use Committee, placed the adoption of the BVHP Redevelopment Plan on the Agenda for 1:00 on on Wednesday, March 29, read aloud by the Clerk with no chance to discuss or testify.

Introducing it under the 30-day rule will mean it can't be considered for 30 days, writes Willie. "What she did was to start the clock ticking...and it's up to us to decide whether it ticks to doomsday or liberation day."


It is a media-created illusion that the Bayview is "dangerous" and geographically separated from San Francisco "proper." In a seven mile square area, this psychological distortion keeps San Franciscans away.

White homeowner, Sandy, present at the March 6 hearing, has lived on Newcomb and Third for 20 years. She feels the neglected Bayview is considered "the lost part of the City. Nobody wants to go there. I'm a woman, and I have lived here 20 years. I feel perfectly safe."

Three important dynamics, geographic, ecologic and political, meld the Bayview with San Francisco:

1. It is contained within the City's very small 7 square mile area.

2. The myriad pollutants dumped into Hunters Point soil, air, and water affect all San Franciscans.

3. The Redevelopment Agency's threat of gentrification by market rate housing and eminent domain threatens every San Francisco neighborhood and resident with mass displacement. All agreed, including Tommi Mecca, Housing activist, that The Mission, The Castro, The Haight, The Sunset, and Richmond could be next.

In our search for Blight, Willie drives South down Third and Bayshore from the UCSF Mission Bay complex to the San Mateo line, then doubles North; East to the Bay to a Bluff above Hunters Point with fabulous city views, two power plants, and a sewage treatment facility; through the Hunters Point toxified Parcels; West across 3rd to the Sewage Treatment Plant, then East back to the Bayview newspaper office at 3rd and Palou.

The Bayview is composed of two main hills and the flats.

Third Street splits the community and joins Bayshore going South. The Bayview newspaper offices are located at 3rd and Palou, a central nodal point. There the elevation is higher than the flood plain, but lower than the two main hills.

The Southernmost neighborhood at the San Mateo Line is "Little Hollywood."

Driving back, the next community north is Bayview Hills.

Continuing north to the flats called Double Rock, the houses are nestled between the two hills.

Housing Authority projects sit in the flats.

On the other hill, Hunter's Point Hill, public housing spans the block across the street from beautiful ownership and cooperative housing.


According to Mary Ratcliff, UCSF is rumored to have approached Bayview developers about housing masses of newly hired biotechies.

Willie termed Mission Bay, site of stem cell research only "slightly toxic."

South of the Cesar Chavez line, driving Third along the light rail tracks, to our left hunch squat $110 million maintenance buildings, offices and car service barns.

The rail, built to Visitacion Valley, with extensions planned to City College, and the Airport, would transport Mission Bay scientists to Bayview market rate housing.

"In a $600 million dollar Light Rail project," Willie grumbles, "They're promising us all these jobs. We got nothing out of this deal but dust."

At the March 6 SFRA hearing, an apprentice with Local 22, Carpentry and Jointers Union in the Bayview asserted, "Redevelopment is absolutely out of the question, The people here don't want this. Whatever carrots they throw out, like jobs, --- It's not going to happen."

She sees young people of color, traditionally excluded, conducting undignified hustles to land exploitative jobs handling carcinogenic hazardous waste at a Superfund site, "so contaminated that the Federal Government has to address it for its nuclear waste materials. It's oftentimes tied to militarism because of the testing and development that was done with weapons." Trainees are expected to be grateful for potentially deadly low wage jobs.

We cross Marin St. and Islais Creek Bridge past Bayview Plaza and India Basin Industrial Park, already a Redevelopment area.

We pass attractive shopping Centers and Banks.

At Hudson Street, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, "one of the largest black churches" sits to the East.

"Third Street is black-owned," Willie informs me.

"They wouldn't put money for the property owners up and down Third that is going to suffer while everybody benefits.

"All they had to do was ask the Department of Transportation for money, but they didn't ask 'cause they want to push you out."

Blight could be erased with loans which redlining prevents.


A contractor for years, Willie is President of Liberty Builders, Inc. He shows me a block from Newcomb to Oakdale he wants to develop into shops, and affordable and market rate housing.

"That's us doing it," he says. These jobs are for "our people. We are in control." The SFRA, he insists, merely "Wants to get your Soul out."

We pass his 'Bayview Newspaper' offices farther South at Palou and Third.

"See all the blight!" He laughs repeatedly at this absurdity throughout our 90 minute tour.

"They don't have to give a definition.

"All a city needs do to create or expand a redevelopment area is to declare it 'blighted.'"

This is easily done. State law is so vague that most anything has been designated "blight."

"I can go into any neighborhood and find one house that needs fixing up.

"Rich people have more money to fix up their houses."

At Newcomb and Third, I thought of SFRA meeting attendee, Sandy, who lives near Newcomb and Oakdale. Her block, a close "family" since the 80s, has "pulled together" discovering "there are funds available" from years of homeowners taxes. "We will be able to get our tax money back, to fix up the Bayview. At this moment, we are not capable of doing it (because) the City won't release it."

She is conflicted about the Redevelopment plan, supporting portions of it. "If we can get our taxpayers' money back, help the police understand their brutality, and work together as a community to change it, then we will be more harmonious --- not, at times, in such a dirty depressed state --- and, save the community."

She complained "outside people won't pay dump fees" and litter "our streets." City Services "have stopped coming."

A blue collar worker earning low wages, she wants low income housing for 20, 30, 40 year Bayview residents.

She doesn't want people forced out, but to stay and build a community.

We pass Williams and Van Dyke driving straight down Third passing a sign for Monster Park, The Monte Carlo, a black club and "good eating place," and a pleasant-looking, affordable Senior Citizen Center.

At Bancroft, the old red brick Coca Cola Bottling Plant slides by. A million dollar condominium project, approved by the Planning Department, is underway "to put 375 market rate units in there. No low or moderate units, period. That's the kind of thing they'll do for rich people," said Willie.

At Jennings and Gilman, Willie tells me the plan: "We are headed to Monster Park. Then we'll come back around and show you light rail going on all the way to the San Mateo line."

Doubling back, "We'll go up on the hill," Bayview Hills, where "the Housing Authority is doing the same thing ---evicting people."

Monster Park, where hoards of 49er fans drive for games, used to be Candlestick Park.

"They don't stop. they don't buy nothin'. They just smoke us and leave."

Driving up from Double Rock to Bayview Hills, we pass rows of houses like those in upper Haight. "Look at these views!

"The biggest thing in most people's lives (is) whether they own a home or not.

"If there is a little blight, just stop the redlining and not loaning people money, and they'll fix their own blight.

"These houses are owned by the little old ladies who are being harassed. Most houses are paid for. They've got money in the bank."

Edith Smith, an 84-year-old Bayview Hunter's point resident, spoke at the March 6 hearing. She moved to The Bayview in 1959, working San Francisco General's midnight shift.

"A bunch of us old ladies --- young women then --- four or five of us, worked on them hills out there." We met "at 8:00 o'clock in the morning, sat there and drank coffee. We planned and planned.

"All we wanted was a chance to show you that we could work and we could provide for that community.

"If you redevelop, what will happen to old people like me? Would you throw us out? Or would you give us (money) so we could fix our homes up?

"And what will happen to our young people, the offspring of some of these old women who have worked so hard?

"Black people have built this country. All we need is a little help."


Willie observes, "There's a lot of intimidation and fear, because you got the police department running around using this 911 stuff to get in people's houses.

"They can claim you called 911. Then they go and beat the shit out of you if you let them in."

At Jamestown and Jennings, Willie points out mesh gates over doors. "Folks used to keep their doors unlocked." No jobs causes crime.

Homeowner Sandy lives near the site of a recent police shooting which drew helicopters and sirens. She angrily confronted the media. "The Police officer's blood is just as red as that young kid who got shot the other day."

She confesses to trouble in the Bayview, much of it caused by police, "who antagonize a lot of situations."


The Light Rail goes south down 3rd to Bayshore to Visitacion Valley, the green hills of San Mateo now behind us,

Driving Bayshore Blvd, Willie looks up to Little Hollywood's hills calling the views "gorgeous."

The Shipyard, where the Parcels are located was declared a Redevelopment Area without community input.

At Visitacion Street, Willie recites Bayview racial groups' percentages: 91% people of color; Chinese; Latinos; Samoans; 40% Afro-American; 9% white.

At Hollister, he observes, if the Plan goes through, "the whole character of San Francisco will be changed - all rich white people."

At Fitzgerald, he muses on San Francisco's economic racism and hypocrisy.

"San Francisco tries to put on a liberal face, but economically it's a lie."

We drive over the hill, proceeding down Revere past Ingalls and Hawes toward the Shipyard.

Houses and businesses sit close to the toxic landfill.

Oakdale and Kiska look down on the yard, offering extravagant views of San Leandro, Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, the bridges, and the two power plants uglifying the the Bay. PGE, which "sells power to Canada while it kills us," will be torn down. Mirant's darker stack rises beyond.

SFA Public Housing built on the left faces ownership homes across the street.

Beautiful privately owned dwellings in "Dolphin Court" grace Albatross St.

We pass Coral at Marlin and Kirkwood at La Salle and park at a lookout spot over the Bay --- The Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island, and the City, plus the polluted Shipyard below.


Driving toward Precision Transport, a large shipyard warehouse, we pass artist studios. A Lennar sign brays "We believe in safety."

"Parcel E down on the flat, abutting Parcel A, polluted worst, is where they dumped everything including radioactive carcasses, during atomic research out here."

Here, the first atomic bomb, "Little Boy," was assembled.

They sandblasted and scraped radioactive paint into the Bay off ships which had anchored near atomic bomb blasts.

During cleanup they discovered irradiated "black gold" shining in the sand, and, along with radioactive dials, they covered it up.

They dumped everything from other bases because "No one in a white neighborhood would want it.

"All over this country, you find pollution in poor areas, usually black and Latino. To reach black neighborhoods, get on the freeway," Willie declared.


The most polluted is Parcel E, a 46-acre landfill, part of which was capped. "It caught fire, wouldn't go out, burned for almost a year; with methane coming out the sides."

Over the hill, they installed a device to trap gas, but large amounts continued to escape and "other polluted things caught a ride" on it.

"In the summer, the ground spontaneously combusted into smoke and flames like Texas grass fires.

Bayview and City fire departments would "jump out here." No Press arrived.

On Parcel E, my multiple chemical sensitivity kicked in. A band of pressure gripped my temples. Eyes burned. Said Willie, "Radiation comes up from the soil. You're right on it."

"They had 22,000 people working there, where it is all fenced off because it is contaminated."

Despite this, Lennar plans 1,700 units and is building on and near it right now. "They are bad as Halliburton."

Willie says Lennar developed toxic dump sites in Florida.

October 23, 1996, CNN Online: "A football field-size sinkhole in front of 20 houses in the Hampshire Homes subdivision of Miramar outside Miami" uncovered "sinkholes, trash pits, and buried debris."

"Lennar excavated 250 truckloads of trash...but admitted no wrongdoing."

Lennar sinkhole

On Parcel A, abutting Parcel E, Lennar is building market rate housing with a few low income affordable units.

Redevelopment reaps 60 percent of proceeds, Lennar 40.

Parcel B, the artists' area, and Parcel C are "totally polluted."

Parcel F, the worst, extends into the Bay

At 17, Willie was a rigger loading ships here.. "I didn't know what was going on."

We drive around to Precision Transport, a gray corrugated storage building.

Three brothers, who leased this building across from Parcel E, died from cancer. One was in business with Willie.

We drive up to Middlepoint Road across the Street from PGE at the Huntersview Projects.

"These people really suffer from the power plant.

"The cops are up here like flies messing with people and running them off. They want this hill, too. They are doing it in all the public housing around here," these projects and the ones at Candlestick Point.

City agencies work together. SFHA and the Redevelopment Agency run them out. MUNI, DPW, and the Police Department don't hire them, he tells me.

Thoroughly depressed by the socioeconomic racism and classism implicit in Lennar's toxic site construction, combined with the vile treatment of Project dwellers by predatory social agencies, we returned west across Third Street to the massive Sewage Treatment Plant, which "handles 80% of all solid waste and San Francisco runoff." From this site on rainy days, San Francisco sewage floats through Bayview streets, running into the Bay. Willie suggested, instead of toxifying Bay Area water, the wealthy near the Presidio might share the burden of piping this stuff the opposite direction into the sea.

I mused ironically on the prospect of engineers and scientists conducting stem cell research at the "slightly toxic" UCSF Mission Bay facility, then carried by light rail to their Lennar condos perched atop a carcinogenic Superfund site.

We drove to the Newspaper offices, welcomed by Mary smiling out the window. As I cleared my head breathing oxygen from the tree leaves framing Willie's office door, I realized the Bayview's only blight was inflicted on an innocent community by corporate interests and war.

Saturday, February 04, 2006



Two charming gentlemen gazed at the blue San Francisco Bay.

I asked, "Do your watches tell the correct time?"

They laughed, "In the Netherlands and Germany. Yes."

Ever the diplomat, I divulged I was writing an article about Bad Corporations taking over the world.

"All corporations aren't bad," said the man with the German accent.

"I am CEO and founder of PAION, a good company. We're not a 'Bad' company. We are a 'Bat' company," he kidded. "We developed a drug derived from the saliva of vampire bats to treat acute stroke. You have high responsibility, especially when you develop a drug for stroke patients who have a fragile artery system."


As the corporate corruption trial of Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling begins the week of Monday, January 31, 2006 in Houston, it is a critical question to ponder. Lay and Skilling, ENRON chiefs, stand accused of lying to investors, stripping employees of 401Ks and retirements, and profitting hugely as stock bottomed out and the company went bankrupt. At the end, out-of-control traders made ENRON millions in "empty profits" driving up prices playing sections of the power grid against one another, causing rolling blackouts, fires in California, and the ultimate recall of Governor Gray Davis.

We are defined as humans by a balance between competition, using others' skills to test our own, and compassion, sharing and caring for each other.

Joel Bakan, Canadian Law Professor, wrote "The Corporation, The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power," co-producing a companion video with Mark Ackbar and Jennifer Abbott.

Bakan states, "No social and ideological order that represses essential parts of ourselves can last. We only have to remember who we are as human beings to reveal how dangerously distorted is the corporation's order of narrow self-interest."

Corporations were constructed as abstractions, what physicist, ecologist, and seed activist, Vandana Shiva calls non-human "Legal Fictions."

Corporations' are specially designed to engage in predatory, aggressive competition to make money and profit.

An apt metaphor is "Raptors," or "vultures," the name Andy Fastow, ENRON'S CFO and financial wizard, cynically gave a shadow corporation hiding the company's nonexistent profits.

Like a vulture, Wal-Mart feeds from the poor. "Associates" are paid too little to buy the company's health insurance.


MIT institute professor, Noam Chomsky, defined the original corporation as subordinate to people, "a group chartered by a state to perform a particular circumscribed function," like building the Golden Gate Bridge.

The modern corporation was born thirty years post-civil war which spawned railroads, banking, and heavy manufacturing.

Clever corporate lawyers hijacked the fourteenth amendment which gave newly freed slaves equal rights. Applying these rights to capital and property, Supreme Court judges transferred to the corporation the rights and protections of a "Legal person."

In 1864, shortly before his death, Abraham Lincoln wrote to a friend of an "unnerving" crisis approaching which "causes me to tremble for the safety of my country" more than even in the midst of a civil war that "enthroned" corporations. "An era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is concentrated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed."

Like people, Corporations were allowed to buy and sell property, borrow money, sue and be sued in Court, conduct business, and be a member of society.

The corporation became the kind-faced, but deadly, serial killer neighbor with bodies buried under his house.

Joel Bakan describes a special kind of non-human person. The Corporate Citizen has no moral conscience. Because it believes in nothing, corporate media promotes Michael Moore's lucrative books even though he savagely criticizes it.

Corporations are structured legally to be concerned only for their stockholders, placing profit above competing interests, even the public good.

Vandana Shiva advises we "Re-Embody the Corporation."

Says Shiva, "The Corporation as a legal fiction, given human personality, is really the beginning of all the treachery of our times. We need to relocate these institutions back in the people who run them, gain from them, make their millions out of them, who destroy people's lives by their location in these corporations."


Corporations show "loyalty" to stockholders getting others to pay their bills, expanding their bottom line by forcing sometimes unaware external entities to bear their costs.

On Thursday, January 12, The Maryland legislature, responding to criticism that Wal-Mart forced state governments to pay employee medical benefits, passed a law requiring the conglomerate to pay more for their employees' health insurance.


Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was meant to counteract robber barons' corporate power, restoring economic health to the middle class and poor.

J.P.Morgan, Dupont, and Goodyear Tire heads who hated the New Deal contrived a failed fascist plot to overthrow this Democratic President. Since then, Republicans have waged a stealth campaign to reconfigure national government into a corporatocracy.

Ronald Reagan unleashed Free Markets upon the world giving corporations expansive powers.

In speech after speech he repeated, "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government IS the problem. The societies which have achieved the most spectacular broadbased economic progress in the shortest period of time ... What unites them all is their willingness to believe in the magic of the marketplace."


How reversible is the 30-year Republican stealth plan, beginning with Reagan and ending with Bush, to reconfigure national and international governments into a worldwide corporatocracy? With complete allegiance to Free Market profits, corporations respect no national boundaries.

The Bush family's long connection with Bin Laden oil is well-established. Some speculate that the illegal Iraq war was launched not just for money, regional power, or oil but to expand Corporatocracy (disguised as Democracy) throughout the Middle East. Halliburton's construction of 17 military bases in Iraq underscores this probability.


A wealthy class needs the poor. The corporatocracy appears to be waging a foreign and domestic class war of rich on poor. Poor young Americans are encouraged to enlist for an education, Hispanic youth to earn family citizenship upon death in battle. Poor Iraqis are murdered in homes and streets as "collateral damage."


Bakan holds that, as fictitious non-human entities, corporations display psychopathological traits on the DSM IV Personality Diagnostic Check List. Using this list, however, to stereotype or label has caused great harm. Everyone displays these qualities at times. The point is these behaviors, especially when they clump together in an impersonal corporate entity, can be incredibly damaging.

1. Callous unconcern for Others' feelings
2. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships
3. Reckless disregard for Others' safety
4. Deceitfulness: Repeated lying and conning others for profit
5. Incapacity to experience guilt
6. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors.

Abstract entities lacking moral conscience, corporations have perpetrated greivous destruction upon human life and the environment.

Corporations hurt workers through layoffs, union busting, and sweat shops.

Global Exchange, a locally-based anti-corporate activist organization, attempts to counteract damage from sweatshop labor serving the rapacious Free Trade system through Fair Trade stores making people-to-people connections, providing Third World products direct from maker to buyer. The Noe Valley Store overflows with silver-flecked handbags, subtly colored place mats, wind chimes, housewares and jewelry artistically crafted.

Andrea Buffa, Global Exchange Communications Director, related, "I got to stay with a Nicaraguan Fair Trade Coffee farmer last month. It's amazing to see the impact Fair Trade can have on the life of a farming family. They are getting more income which means they are able to eat more of a diversity of food, keep their kids in school, get different kinds of training they didn't have access to before. They are able to organize in their community to get health care...very basic things."

Corporations further damage human health through toxic waste, pollution, and dangerous products. They degrade the biosphere with poisonous chemicals, nuclear waste, and habitat destruction.


As entities without conscience, corporations conflict with their human participants, forcing them to behave in inhuman ways. Sir Mark Moody-Stewart, former Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, couldn't look at Bakan's camera, unable to discuss Shell's complicity in the murder of Nigerian environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa.



Corporations destroy the ozone layer and the polar caps for profit. Corporate heads, including the President, do not envison their own progeny's future, child abuse deferred.


The corporate octopus has suckered tentacles which reach into daily life. Everywhere pummeled by corporate logos on ads, T-shirts, signs, equipment, people don't remember a time "before" and think it's normal.


Corporate propaganda attempts to shape us into mindless consumers. Susan Linn, who launched "The Nagging Project" measuring the numbers of times a child pesters the parent for a toy and scores a buy, insists if you can get children to advocate for your product, you've got them as an adult.


The corporation has become a parent figure teaching mommies baby care with the "right" wipes and diapers. Oral-B teaches there is a pulse to life and their toothbrushes.


The corporation is the arbiter of morals and values, says Bakan. Corporate propaganda displays a way of life, thinking, and values in which it takes credit for "Progress" and "The Good Life."


Corporations feign social responsibility as a tactical response to their markets.

A blue-eyed, red-haired 20-ish man leapt up the Lyons steps wearing a T-shirt announcing, "International Tractor-Pulling Association, Monsanto," that corporation's promotion of some tractor-pull near Champaign-Urbana, when he attended The University of Illinois. He couldn't recall where he got the shirt.

He expressed surprise on learning of Monsanto's horrendous human rights abuses in India.


The Commons is publically shared earthly wealth --- land, air, water, food, public service institutions providing mail, fire, power, phone, housing, health care, even research into the building blocks of human life.

The Human Genome

According to Jeremy Rifkin of The Foundation of Economic Trends, companies are busily mapping the human genome. "If this goes unchallenged..., within less than 10 years, a handful of global companies will own... the actual genes that make up the evolution of our species."


Through multinational legal entities, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, corporations control, regulate, and buy the Commons.

Corporations attempt to steal water rights in Latin America, Africa, the Philippines, and India. Buffa's Global Exchange website report cites French Company Suez Lyonnaise. "Many countries have been required to open up their water supply to private companies as a condition for receiving IMF loans, and the World Bank has approved millions of dollars in loans for the privatization of water systems."

Stated Buffa, "Through the World Trade Organization, countries challenge other countries' laws. Any regulation that a country puts into place to protect its workers, (and) the environment, can be gone after through the World Trade Organization. (and) (the regulation overturned) so these huge multinational corporations can get access to international markets everywhere in the world. It has ended up destroying local economies and overturning environmental regulations.

"(Monsanto's) corporatization of agriculture... is actually making extinct, ...probably thousands of types of seeds that Indian farmers have traditionally used. Monsanto, (are) the marketers of a pesticide called "Roundup," which they have sold to small farmers all around the world. Roundup makes the plants infertile. Instead of producing new seeds, the farmers, then, are forced to buy seeds that are resistant to Roundup, also developed by Monsanto. It creates this huge dependency on this company, and people can no longer just grow the plant, collect the seeds, and plant (them) the next year. They actually have to buy the seeds every year, which they can't afford."

Buffa, recently visited Shiva's "Seed conservation project," in Deharun, India. where this Indian ecology activist encourages farmers to save natural, non-biogenetically engineered seeds. "


1. Litigation: Reverse the "Legal Person" Law.

Elaine Bernard, Director of the Harvard Trade Union Program suggests we "...look at the very roots of the legal form that created this beast."'

Noam Chomsky agrees "They're not graven in stone. Most of the States have laws which require that they be dismantled."

Two Pensylvania townships' ordinances eliminated a corporation's ability to claim any constitutional rights as a "Person."

2. Direct Action. Grass Roots efforts and Boycotts: Buffa sees students nationwide earnestly committed on many fronts to challenging any human rights abuses which directly affect them.

She offered as one example success by students, concerned about Indian water thefts, in kicking Coke machines off their University of Maryland campus. The University will monitor Coca Cola's progress toward redressing the situation.

3. Global Exchange: Since 1988, GX has attempted to create a far-flung world-wide economic counterforce to powerful global corporatization.

Its website offers programs, speakers, international reality tours, and information.

4. Do No Harm. Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, the world's largest commercial carpet manufacturer, is working toward sustainability. Bakan offers Anderson as a model corporate ex-pirate committing his organization to "Do No Harm." I believe my friends at the Bat Corporation have the heart and will to follow suit.

Sunday, January 01, 2006



Happy New Year! It is 12:43 a.m on January 1, 2006. You are the first beautiful people with whom I am talking in this New Year. The music from a raucous party across the street in San Francisco's Pacific Heights energizes my thoughts.


What follows is a first draft of some philosophical- political thoughts for the future of humanity. Tonight, I tackle the big stuff.

The following treatise on these ideas will need more work. But I think I've got something here. Therefore, I will start this now and flesh it out as time goes on. And, I solicit your input.

We have run out of options. Let me explain.

For over four hundred years, since Rene Descartes acknowledged the presence of human consciousness, "I think; therefore I am," philosophers and political thinkers, from David Hume to Thomas Hobbs to John Locke to Karl Marx, have struggled to forge rational, balanced ideas that led to the creation of our American Brave New World.

Inspired by these wonderful visions brought to fruition in America, millions have flooded here from Europe and around the globe. Despite their occasional envy of what we have achieved, the world community depends on the United States to remain the symbol of Freedom's Dream. This Dream, therefore, will not be easy to kill.

However, in five years' time, the Spoilers found a Front Man in George Bush to dismantle for their own gain a great chunk of our Freedoms.

How completely we took it for granted! How fragile it really was!


Now it is time for us to create a whole new world. We will do this because we must. We will show the Cosmos once and for all whether the Human Life Wish is stronger than its wish for Death. For truly, What BushCo Hath Wrought is mass murder --- of Iraqis, young American solders, and U.S. poor with the theft of lifegiving social services to pay for War. Bush's refusal to recognize the threat of global warming could burn our planet into a dark, cold rock.

If the human races survive, the ideas developed here will come to pass. I know this because, taking the long view and recognizing our only viable options, I see the direction in which we are heading. I see what others are also considering and what some are actively doing.

To some, (Not to You, of course) the ideas may seem outlandish, strange, idealistic, impossible to achieve. That is the way all such ideas appear at first. As our Beloved Fourteenth Dalai Lama has sagaciously observed, "Non-violence takes a very long time." And so may the realization of these high principles.

Our New Philosophy is a combination of several concepts from various sources.

Our Brave New World holds four factors as having the highest Good:

1. Compassion expressed in our Social Contract to protect each
2. Truth
3. The inviolable worth and value of the Individual Self.
4. Rule of Law


Our Brave New World has as its highest ideal toward which we struggle and strive both individually and in groups, that the Human Rights and Civil Rights of said individuals and groups are sacred and inviolable. That is, it is a moral wrong to attack or deprive anyone of these rights, and our value system mandates that we uphold them rigorously.

As stated in the Preamble to Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."


Our Brave New World will be based on the ideas in the following Declarations in which the values of Compassion, Truth, Human Rights, and Rule of Law are vested:

1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2. The United States Constitution.

3. The Bill of Rights.

4. The Ten Commandments of the Bible

(Basic tenets of Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism are to be selected from all other great religions which I believe simply attempt to say the same things. These values emerge from the ethics of all human cultures.)

Two examples:

One of the ten Christian commandments says: "Thou shalt not lie." In our Brave New World, our wisdom rests in the knowledge that the deliberate distortion of someone else's reality is a high moral crime.

Another commandment attributes to the Supreme Being the statement, "Thou shalt not have any God before me." All religions hold, somewhere in their holy codes, that the deification of anything less than Love and Truth (or God), is a moral wrong.

The Bush Crime Family, of course, has defiled this moral imperative, as most despots have done, by making Power and Money their Gods.


Two basic tenets:

"Nobody should have any more money, goods, or services than anybody else."

"It is a moral imperative of our Social Contract that we, as human beings, take care of each other, especially when fortune makes us vulnerable."


Another process most highly prized in the Brave New World is the Act of Sharing Power among the masses of people as against the greedy act of concentrating and holding Power/ Control in the grasp of one Person or one Group.

In this Brave New World, all institutions and organizations shall have a framework structured around Trickle-Up or Grass Roots Power.

"Top Down Power" shall be carefully restricted by, and subordinate to, the countervaling force of Power moving and flowing "Up" from a "Grass Roots" base.

Trickle-Up Grass Roots Democracy was nearly achieved during the Spanish Civil war against Franco's despotic regime which ended in 1939. Groups of Spanish unions formed and met together in Congresses in which grassroots ideas were developed into people's agendas. Ironically, what scuttled this burgeoning system was the Russian Communist Party which perpetrated a manipulative Power Grab.

I suggest that a similar Governmental Structure of the Brave New World would be an aggregate of Geographical or Special Interest Focus Groups that meet periodically in Congresses where grassroots ideas and concerns, emerging from these Focus Groups, are developed into People's Agendas and submitted to a Democratic Vote.

There shall be no representatives. This is to be a true Democracy and Not a Representative Republic which can easily devolve into special interest corruption.


A keystone of the Power-Down Structure is the Cabinet of Advisor-Facilitators.

The question is: How is a true Democracy structured to block concentrations of power in the hands of an individual or group like an Advisor-Facilitator Cabinet?

The answer: Keep Politicians out of politics. We must eliminate politicians entirely, completely, and once and for all. We must remove the career track which transforms lawyers into politicians who then become wealthy through abuse of power.

We accomplish this in two ways:

1. Tradition and a culture imbued and saturated with the expectation
that Advisor-Facilitators are chosen strictly for their integrity.

2. Training. The Advisor-Facilitators receive extensive training in
Human Rights Rule of Law

Globally, we have come to the end of the road with politicians. No one in any country around the world, from Bolivia to Iraq to Chechnya to Germany, trusts politicians any longer. Many Europeans despise politicians' power brokering and theft which have left their economies bankrupt. Most Europeans are poorer than any of us know. And, as in the U.S., their Rich are Richer.

The benefit of the Bushes' flagrant unrepentant corruption, raised to power by corrupt politicians, is that it is bringing frustrated Americans --- and now even Republican Congressmen and women --- to the end of their collective ropes.

The American two-party system has created politicians who pay obeisance to Corporations who fund them. Our Representative Democracy, therefore, has become a Corporatocracy in which anything and anyone can be bought and which Human Rights and Compassion are supplanted by Competition and Greed.

Corporations like Walmart undermine social trust by forcing the cost of employees' Medicare and welfare benefits upon their fellow taxpayers. Bechtel steals water rights from the Bolivian poor. Monsanto and Shell Oil lay waste to the earth.

Corporations have the legal rights of individuals. If these abstract entities were human, their behavior would be considered sociopathic. The Bottom Line has no morality.


I believe that, in place of politicians, we should install Facilitators, people trained at our finest institutions of higher learning in the work of Compassionate Governance. They would be paid a fair stipend for their vital work, similarly to the way the Dalai Lamas are trained and paid in Tibet.

Both the Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people are immersed in, and conditioned to, a long tradition of compassion and non-violence. However, America is not a theocracy. Since it is imperative we retain our separation of church and state, Compassionate Governance training would have strictly secular limits.


Facilitators trained in Compassionate Governance would compete and run for election by the people.

They would run on no ideologial or political platform other than the country's guiding principles:

1. Compassion expressed in our Social Contract to protect each other
2. Truth
3. The inviolable worth and value of the Individual Self
4. Rule of Law

American political parties were not mandated by the framers of the Constitution. The competitive dynamic in American capitalism has expressed itself politically through the formation of two opposing parties, Democrats and Republicans. Both parties have become prey to Corporations who merely buy their favor and their votes, fomenting political corruption. Therefore, the Facilitators will not represent political parties. Parties will be abolished. Facilitators will run only against each other and their effectiveness in solving problems of the moment using Human Rights Rule of Law.

Facilitators trained in Compassionate Governance would have the charge of convening Congresses of Grass Roots Groups to develop agendas to carry out democratic concerns of the People. Facilitator-Advisors would share power among themselves, calling these Congresses and listening to their voices. A constant flow of communication between Grassroots Congresses and Facilitators would be maintained. The Facilitators could not function or make decisions without the people assertively speaking in their ears.


Two mechanisms would block over-ambitious Facilitator power grabs:

1. TRADITION: The strong cultural tradition and social expectation that the facilitators strictly uphold the principles of Compassion, Truth, Human Rights and Rule of Law.

2. TRAINING: The facilitators' training in Government structure and Rule of Law based on the principles of Compassion, Truth, Human Rights, and Rule of Law. Facilitators would be expected to run the government based on these principles.


1. How shall the world limit the reach of Corporations that know no national boundaries and respect no governments?

2. How do the demands of Capitalism for "more and better" fit into our Utopia?

3. By what path do we get from Here to There and realize our Brave New World?


In the 2004 election, a massive effort was launched to get out the youth vote. But it simply didn't happen. People over 30 seem not to have grasped that the under-30's did not decline to vote out of apathy. They knew the last two Bush elections were bought. Where was their incentive? They voted with their feet, walking away from the polls. They are accomplishing things in other ways.


Judging from many factors --- for one, the massive demonstrations all over the world that get little to no main stream press --- the values, principles and ethics put forth here are already growing strong in the hearts and minds of people in younger age groups. They learned it from their elders, and they are taking it seriously. They will make it happen.


A tradition of human rights ethics is just beginning to grow. I believe that, in time, it will become firmly fixed in the social bedrock of our Brave New World.


Let's talk about these ideas, which, to be sure, may be dry. Nevertheless, I think there is value in formalizing them in writing.

With a booming silent voice, the world cries out for compassion, truth, individual respect, and Rule of Law.

If someone puts a rational proposal into words, the process will move more rapidly than if left to happen by itself. One way or another, these things WILL truly happen.

Perhaps someone else can do it more eloquently. If so, I eagerly invite them to jump into the fray. We need a change, and we need it now. Let's work on it together.


Again, Happy New Year. It is 2:55, and the party continues louder. The music is wonderful and rhythmic. The hypnotic beats sound like Middle Eastern Rap.

Little do these partiers know that, on the other side of their street, a Brave New World is being designed to harmonize perfectly with their music.

Help me identify the strengths and weaknesses in this plan. Tell me what you think.

Love and Peace,

Carol in San Francisco

Sunday, December 04, 2005


(This article also appeared in "The Street Spirit," "Street Sheet," and "BeyondChron" on-line)

On Thursday, September 20, 2005, San Francisco's Homeless families camped out at City Hall under the Mayor's office balcony. Their goal was to hold Mayor Gavin Newsom to his October 13 promise to focus on housing them "first." They presented their recommendations to him the previous month, on August 17, 2005.

Two weeks later, November 3, 2005, recalling their protest, I walked to the Presidio's Inspiration Point lookout over San Francisco Bay. Treasure island floated in a cobalt blue mist, Berkeley and Oakland in purple, and Alcatraz in pale yellow. Between whisps of clouds, tinged pink from the setting sun, a silver fingernail of a moon hung in a blue-gray evening sky.

At almost-dark, some mighty hand flipped a switch lighting the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts from inside like a big half peach. Sparkles of light studded The City and the East Bay shore. I thought how the money spent on the incredible power in those lights could, in this single instant, house for a year every homeless person who slept on streets or in shelters tonight.

I imagined a 15-year-old boy sitting alone in a room, his dark head bent over his book studying.for tomorrow's classes at SOTA, San Francisco's School of the Arts. Because of his talent, he and his mother had hopes for his future in art or theater. He auditioned and was accepted into this four-year unified school district's distinguished high school visual arts program. Recently, a congenital eye problem, exacerbated by his sudden teenage growth spurt and the stress of moving around, threw his artistic future into question. He is now legally blind in one eye.

When he was younger, he and his mother, Maxine Pauson, a disabled domestic violence survivor, roomed with other people. As he got older, that became increasingly difficult. He needed his own room and his own space. Yet, he is forced to share shelter with his mother, confined to the room together even when both are sick. Ironically, permanent housing rules require a teenager and parent have separate rooms.

His mother's congenital disc herniation left her in pain. She had to take anti-inflammatory pills and lie down during the day. Because she could not sit for long periods, she could not work. Her disability entitlement was so low they didn't have enough to rent their own place. Staying with others, they fell into the legal definition of "homeless."

Seven years ago, when her son was eight, Maxine put them on every subsidized Section 8 and public housing waiting list she could find in every county surrounding San Francisco, plus many further away --- even San Diego. They got no offers at all.

I pictured him studying tonight in a small shelter room in a former Catholic convent, the St. Joseph Family Center South of Market at 10th and Howard. For a year and a half they lived in five different shelters, waiting six months to be placed in the first one in Petaluma.

He loved his school, He took the long bus ride each day to continue to go there. It seemed ridiculous to Maxine that the McKinney act paid his fare back and forth when the money would be better spent on affordable housing.

Maxine feels the system is broken when priorities are so off balance.

She cited two factors creating this situation:

First was Reagan's 1980's political spin on poverty mothers as "welfare queens" and an attitude that placed less importance on stay-at-home women whose job is running a household and raising children. Though requiring massive skill sets, this is not seen as acceptable "work."

Mothers, especially poor ones, are subjected to a shame-blame game. People do not seem to recognize that children, secondarily, are the actual victims of this attitudinal and institutional child abuse.

Second, entitlement programs like food stamps and section 8 housing were closed out one by one to pay for the Iraq war. Maxine asserted that, when one fights to get out of poverty, there is less and less to work with.


Maxine's friend, Estelle Mata, 44, immigrated 14 years ago from Lagos de Moreno in Jalisco State. Lagos is a semi-arid, cattle-raising and dairy production area of western Mexico where a Nestle plant is located. Lagos' residents have a 100-year history of U.S. migration.

Before her 18-month-old son, Steven Michael, was born, Estelle worked as a cashier, restaurant worker, dishwasher and housecleaner. Unable to afford childcare for her baby, she cannot work.

Estelle and Steven Michael currently stay at "44 McAllister," an SRO hotel. She is happier there than two previous shelters.

"I have my own room, an electric plate and a kitchen for cooking (for her baby). I have a place in the refrigerator for keeping my food."

"It was more difficult when I was living in the shelter because no single room. (Now) I have my single room."

Before 44 McAllister, Estelle lived in La Casa De La Madres and Hamilton Family Center, "a very bad place. Small mice walking on the floor."

The rules are strict. "You (must) get out of the place (when) it's rainy or cold with your small baby (at) 8:45 or 9:00 o'clock in the morning, and you cannot stay out after 8:30 p.m.

"La Casa De La Madres, very bad place, too. ...(rigid) rules and you don't have a place for cooking in the kitchen, (or) a place to keep food, like a refrigerator.

"The people put very heavy rules on me because I'm not speak very well English. I'm no resident.

"When I live in La Casa De La Madres, (I had) pain on my left side very strong. I was working too much, seven days in the week with my baby in the kitchen, breakfast and lunch, washing dishes, cleaning the stove, mopping, sweeping the floor." She was the only resident forced to work like a "slave" to stay there.

"They enforced this work on only me. I fight them. I make a big complaint, and cry" asking 'Why?' "They said, 'Because you don't have any care for your baby.'"

In January, Estelle must leave 44 Hamilton place.

"I don't want to go back to La Casa De La Madres (or) the shelters no more. I pray for my own place. I believe in God.

"At La Casa De La Madres every day I reading my Bible, and I pray. Now I have a clean room, a place in the refrigerator, and a place where I can cook."

"I don't worry too much because I pray. I told Jesus, 'You help me in three months. Please. Please. Help me.'"


On Thursday, October 20, 2005, Homeless families camped out at City Hall under the Mayor's office balcony. Estelle and Maxine were part of this group demanding housing. Miguel Carrera, and Jennifer Friedenbach, Coalition on Homelessness, were lead organizers.

Miguel is from the Mexican State of Puebla, the town of Calipan, a farming community which grows sugar cane, beans, corn, tomatoes. He spent two years as a poverty activist working in the South East border city of Tapachula in Chiapas.

A single man in San Francisco, Miguel was homeless. He worked four years without pay at the Homeless Coalition. Now he is a paid coalition organizer, has a family, his wife Julie and two young children, "my daughter, Selene, 7, and my little son, Emilio, 5," and is housed.

His children sensitized Miguel to the pressures of homelessness on the very young.

"The shelter is not housing. (Children) need a real home. (Families) need a space for each child, a bedroom for the father and the mother to sleep in, a real kitchen, a diningroom. They need a playground where the children can play.

"The children need a real thing they have, that they can say, 'That's my home. That's my place.'

"What happens when the children go to school with their friends? When other children say, 'Can I go with you to your home to do my homework? Can I play with you?' What do they say? 'Um ---My mom don't allow (me to have) nobody in my home.' They invent some story because they are nervous and confused, and not feeling good because they don't have real housing. (Their housing) is a shelter."

Children don't want to say, 'I live in a shelter. I'm not like you. You have a home. I'm different.' They don't want to say, 'My family is poor.' They are ashamed, so, they give a cover story.

Miguel said this attack on the poor is also racist. "The majority of families who stay in the shelters or in SRO hotels are African Americans and Latinos."


Instead of Human Services dictating to them, homeless families want a voice in housing, homeless prevention, and shelter reform.

On August 17, they presented Mayor Newsom with the first three in a set of recommendations.

1. Set aside 25% of the Mayor's 3,000 units of housing for the 2,700 men, women, and children who are members of homeless families.

2. Create a local housing subsidy program for homeless families, approximately $500 a month for 120 families. (Homeless activists say it costs far more to keep families in shelter.)

3. Increase homeless prevention funds by 75%, and make them more flexible.

Additionally, Homeless Families want:


4. Funding paid for without cuts to needed services, such as Care Not Cash cuts to homeless stipends to house the "chronic homeless.".

5. "Housing First:" Place families directly in housing, bypassing required stays in shelters or transitional housing. (Estelle, Maxine and their children were shunted from shelter to shelter pointlessly, creating great insecurity for the children.)

6. Consider families part of the "chronic homeless" population, include them in "Housing First," and place them into units large enough for families.

7. Move families into vacant Housing Authority units with possible "sweat equity" program, fixing up units for lowered rent.

8. Place housing advocates in shelters to help families overcome credit issues, identify housing resources, and navigate the Housing Authority.

9. Create local housing fund by taxing major property developments.

10. Reinstate funding, rental subsidy level and income eligibility for section 8 vouchers released nationally.

11. Double the number of Section 8 certificates released nationally.


12. Ensure homeless parents access to higher education, with scholarhips, and funding for books, childcare, tuition, and living expenses.

13. Provide access to living wage jobs.


14. Families participate in shelter policy and running the shelters.

15. Maintain clean hygenic bathrooms and common spaces in shelters. (Maxine and Estelle complained of mice, and dirty bathrooms and kitchens.)

16. Ensure equal treatment in shelters. "Shelters held accountable to following and applying their own rules in a "fair and unbiased" manner. (Unlike the racism inflicted on Estelle.)

17. Shelters provide tutoring and mentoring for children.

As of Wednesday, November 2, 2005, Miguel Carrera confirms Homeless Families have not heard from Newsom or, his Human Services Department director, Trent Rhorer.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


TV news from New Orleans was horribly real and really horrible. We saw poor people, mostly black, wading hip-deep in rushing water. Elderly women gripping walkers trudged down the freeway. Disabled folks in wheelchairs, slumped dying or dead.

A sign on a corpse read, "Here lies Vera. God help us!" --- A plea for Divine aid when humans didn't send it. A restored identity rescued Vera from the anonymous death of the countless who drowned.

St. Bernard Parish, a patchwork of marshes, refineries, rundown houses and suburbia, populated by the poor, lies across the Mississippi from New Orleans not far from Bourbon Street.

On August 29, rescuers discovered bloated bodies of 32 elders in St Rita's nursing home in Chalmette, St. Barnard Parish, with signs of desperate attempts to keep the water out. Homicide charges were brought against owners, Mable Mangano and Salvador Mangano Sr, who allegedly ignored evacuation warnings.

A few Vancouver Canadian Mounties showed up in two days, but the Louisiana National Guard was evacuated outside the Parish, which received no government assistance in the initial days following Hurricane Katrina.

Reptilian skin pulled away, Bush's covert elitism, classism, and racism, was revealed.

The narrow TV screen shrunk the unimaginable destruction. People huddled for days on rooftops or freeway overpasses above surging floods, without food or water, waving "Save us" signs.


As the President delayed sending the National Guard before hundreds of victims died, black and white leaders agreed. Racism and Classism factored into Hurricane Katrina's displacements and deaths.

Rev. Al Sharpton called the nonresponse "inexcusable," saying when a less violent hurricane hit Palm Beach, Jeb Bush alerted the National Guard before the storm struck.

Democratic Party Chairman, Howard Dean, told one of the country's largest black religious groups, the National Baptist Convention, "We must ... come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not."

Illinois Senator, Barak Obama, blamed class, citing black poverty as an decades-old tragedy.

Rapper Kanye West's agonized words startled his co-host Mike Myers and a Katrina benefit national TV audience: "George Bush doesn't care about black people.

"It's been five days," continued West ..."America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off --- as slow as possible."

Social Welfare Programs Destroyed In Class War Sortees

The very reason that the underfunded FEMA made such a disorganized, late response to desperate calls for help is itself based in the Bush Class War, the systematic defunding of social programs, entitlements and security to the economically challenged which would pave the road to homes for the homeless.

Bush gutted public works projects, anti-poverty and tax-funded programs for energy, environment, education, healthcare, unemployment, housing, safety, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He pumped the money into his Iraqi war, contrived for oil and war profiteering. In a dire national emergency, an administrative organization, FEMA, wasn't there.


The Bush base is the world's Corporate rich. Their words betray their "Disconnect" from the "lower economic classes."


When multimillionaire Bush paused from golf, telling drowning New Orleaneans "Be Patient," he referred to gas price hikes from storm-damaged Gulf Coast derricks.

Barbara Bush's description of the Astrodome Homeless had the ring of Marie Antoinette's "Let Them Eat Cake." Repairing to her multimillion dollar Houston mansion, Barbara observed, "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality... the people in the arena here...were underprivileged anyway, so ...this is working very well for them." She thought it was "scary" they might want to stay.


Was the President's slow response deliberate?

Seeing thousands cooking in the New Orleans Superdome, I thought of the gas chambers. Like the exterminated Jews, poor black people, lured by false promises of food and water, were confined by soldiers in an enclosure which quickly became a death trap.

If you delay emergency assistance to a stroke or heart attack victim during first critical moments, allowing conditions to run their course, you conduct an unprovable murder by "malign neglect."

On the September 4 MSNBC's "Meet the Press," Tim Russert cited 2002 "New Orleans Times-Picayune" stories predicting Katrina in minute detail. It was a matter of time before a hurricane could overtop the levees leaving thousands drowned, crushed by debris, trapped in homes, cars, on high ground or roofs, dehydrated and hungry for days.

Knowing three years ago of this most forecast disaster in American history, the Bush administration defunded the Army Corps of Engineers levee reconstruction. This raised storm surges many feet. Denial of global warming highlights the irony that the Gulf water's raised temperatures heightened wind intensity and flooding.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco requested assistance two days before the hurricane struck. Evacuations were called. The poor had no money to leave.

Jefferson Parrish President, Aaron Broussard, told of an employee whose mother begged him for five days to "Send somebody" to her St. Bernard nursing home. On the fifth day she drowned.

"Nobody's coming to get us," Broussard sobbed. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody!"

On the radio Ray Nagin, frustrated new Orleans Mayor, yelled,"Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here! They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses, and let's do something. Let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country."

Under Michael D. Brown, FEMA delayed two days, rejected Amtrak's help with evacuations, rebuffed experienced firefighters, rejected Wal-Mart supply trucks, prevented Coast Guard diesel fuel and Red Cross food deliveries, barred morticians, blocked a 500-boat citizen flotilla delivering aid, ignored a Navy ship, the Baton, with a 600-bed hospital, and turned away power generators.

Too fast for a media or Congressional response, Bush made a weekend stealth appointment of Reagan era anti-civil and human rights judge, John Roberts, for Supreme Court Chief Justice.

The President bore ultimate responsibility. In dire emergency, states and cities lack the vast resources commanded by the Federal Government.


US government official, Hugh Kaufman, an EPA expert on toxic waste and environmental disaster, told the "Independent News"(UK) that waste and toxic chemicals from 66 storage dumps, chemical plants, and oil refineries in the Delta's "Cancer Alley" were washed into flooding waters. This whistleblower reported that, despite Mayor Nagin's insistence New Orleaneans return immediately, the city would not be habitable for ten years. Kaufman insisted that the Bush administration was covering up the danger, withholding the results from EPA-analyzed water samples.

Does letting people drown or wander in a virulent sludge of e. coli and chemical carcinogens amount to a culling process? Rapture Right Christians, of whom Bush is reputedly one, believe an small elite will rule when the inferior poor die off.

Conspiracy theories or intention aside, a profiteering war undeniably caused mass deaths of Iraqi poor. Did Bush create a U.S. arm of the class war leaving more impoverished "collateral damage" in New Orleans?


The Bush administration carries totalitarian markers George Orwell treated brilliantly in "1984."

Among them are destruction of democratic Constitutional ideals.

Problems are blamed on foreign scapegoats --- Osama, insurgents, Al Kaeda.

Rich and poor classes are strictly defined, the poor and homeless made internal enemy scapegoats, isolated and criminalized. Like Jews in Nazi Germany, they carry "inferior" status, lacking the coin of the realm with highest value--- money.


Corporatocracy Looting

One symbol of Corporate Classism was the floating Fugi blimp helping police spot "looters."

Accusing poor flood victims of looting food and water, rich white men raid the Treasury though social security privatization, let the EPA pillage the environment, and gouge the public with skyrocketing gas prices.

The Corporatocracy is making money from New Orleans displaced and dead. In Iraq, Bush hired Cheney's company, Halliburton with Kellogg-Brown-Root and Blackwater, subcontractors that bill the government exorbitantly using add-ons through the Cost-Plus mechanism. This amounts to the looting of American tax dollars. How predictable that Bush would bypass competitive bidding, supposedly for speed, awarding these same companies contracts to assess New Orleans' power infrastructure prior to rebuilding.

On PBS, New Orleans musician, Wynton Marsalis, discouraged property owners from selling to developers who would rebuild and gentrify, erecting hotels, and condos.


Homeless Shelters As Prison

The Superdome seemed to be nothing but an enormous homeless shelter. San Francisco shelter dwellers describe similar unclean dangerous conditions --- bugs, rats, and criminal behavior. One "sheltered" San Franciscan told me he took his belongings to the bathroom at night, lest they be stolen. The staff are guards (sometimes armed) controlling entrance and egress from the facility.

"New Homeless" Encampment

On September 12, 2005, Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky, convention attendees, paramedics from S.E.I.U Local 790, searched for water with several hundred others. Police advised they cross the greater New Orleans Bridge where there were buses. At the bridge, armed Gretna Parish sheriffs blocked them, firing weapons over their heads.

They sheltered from rain under an overpass, built an encampment and waited for buses on elevated Ponchartrain expressway.

Commandeering a water truck, they retrieved dropped C-rations, hung garbage bags from rebar poles, made beds from cardboard and wood pallets, used a storm drain for a toilet enclosed by broken umbrellas.

Basic needs met, they worked together and made a community.

This newly homeless band learned how hostile the police become to unhoused people in groups. They employed survival techniques homeless people have used for years.


Katrina may spread new homeless people across America as they escape to cities and to the streets.

Not yet stereotyped as part of the old guard homeless, they were called "refugees" until some complained they are tax-paying citizens.

"Evacuees" were welcomed in Toledo (463), Michigan (500), and San Francisco where Laura Adelman of The San Francisco Office of Emergency Services said St. Mary's Cathedral, originally set up as a 300-bed shelter, will be used only as a center where "they are receiving services from the Red Cross, the City, and other nonprofit organizations." Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and the Salvation Army will help upwards of 400 "cases" obtain transportation, hotel vouchers, long term housing, medical services, and jobs. She said an individual "case" can constitute a single person or a several-member family, bringing many more than 400 evacuees through San Francisco.

She confirmed "the Mayor's Office of Housing has taken the lead on helping find longterm housing, and they've been talking to various organizations that represent building owners." Though she assured me, "No one will be taken off a list in favor of someone else," there is concern, with San Francisco's limited housing stock, evacuees will receive priority over those homeless already on the streets.

(Katrina survivors have, indeed, displaced striking service workers at the Sutter Health affiliate in San Francisco, California Pacific Medical Center.)

Willie Warren, San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, stated, "Look, it's cool you want to bring disaster refugees up here for a while into the housing because it is going to take a year or two or three for you to rebuild New Orleans. Nobody's got a problem with that.

"What takes precedence, rights or emergency? "(They) have been waiting on the list ... from two to seven years.

"You are using poor people against each other. When survival comes to town, ethics and morals take a vacation."

I asked Sister Bernie Galvin of San Francisco's Religious Witness With Homeless People about the "different" status apparently afforded the newly homeless evacuees.

She said, “‘Which desperate individuals should get the available San Francisco housing -- the San Franciscans who have long been on the waiting list for housing or those equally desperate individuals victimized by Katrina?’ This question invites our stepping into the trap of pitting one desperate group against another; to do so would be to dishonor the dignity of every person in each group.

“The more appropriate question should be, ‘Why is it that this wealthiest nation in the world is not able to simultaneously provide for the basic need for housing to both of these groups?’

"Or an (even) more basic question would be, ‘Why is it that the Bush administration prioritizes exorbitant funding for war and killing and gives immense tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% of this nation, thereby ensuring the deprivation of the most basic human needs to the poor people of our own nation?’

“These are the questions that we should be pondering at this time.”



A second leaked "Downing Street"-type memo has surfaced in the Sunday Times On Line (June 12, 2005) suggesting the Bush administration was contemplating "Running Start"/"Generated Start" military action against Iraq as early as November 2002.


(Article originally published 12 June 2005)

Today, Sunday, June 12, 2005, under the headline "Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for Military Action," The Sunday Times - World online published a partial transcript of a second smoking gun memo.

Titled "Personal Secret UK Eyes Only," this second smoking gun memo, produced by the British Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, details reaction to the Bush Administration's plans for military provocation of Saddam Hussein. Some speculate that the plan was to bomb Iraq in order to goad the dictator into giving them a rationalization to go to war.

So far, the two memos forecase events that, in fact, have taken place since these documents were composed and released to principles within the British Government.

The paper notes "the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford (Texas) in April (2002)."

It states, "The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for miliary action, or the aftermath and how to shape it."

A key statement in the memo, under the heading "US Military Planning" suggests the direction the Bush administration is willing to go.

"6. Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq.

"In a 'Running Start,' military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up.

"All strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime.

"A 'Generated Start' would involve a longer build-up before any military action were taken, as early as January 2003.

"US military plans include non specifics on the strategic context either before or after the campaign. Currently the preference appears to be for the 'Running Start.' CDS will be ready to brief Ministers in more detail.

"7. US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia. This means that legal base issues would arise virtually whatever options Ministers choose with regard to UK participation."

Read the memo in its entirety.

It notes that the second memo is a "briefing paper for participants at a meeting of Blair's inner circle on July 23, 2002."

A full interpretation of the Downing Street memoranda and minutes is available here

Among other things, the interpretation points out, "since regime change was illegal it was "necessary to create the conditions" which would make it legal."

Thursday, December 01, 2005


(Written: May 31, 2005)

On May 1, 2005, The Times of London printed a highly classified document containing minutes of a July 23, 2002 meeting at 10 Downing Street. This was the first in a series of what has come to be known as
"The Downing Street Memos."

This memo was sent during the time the White House was insisting it had no plans to invade Iraq.

"The Smoking Gun Memo," was included in a report sent by the head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Richard Dearlove, to Prime Minister Tony Blair regarding his talks in Washington with the Bush Administration to determine its plans for action in Iraq.

The Times quotes Dearlove's memo as saying "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD (weapons of mass destruction). But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The (National Security Council) had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regimen's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial: "Memorial Day/ Praise Bravery, Seek Forgiveness," now circulating the Internet at light speed, states that "former counterterrorism Chief Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill were right. Both have been pilloried for writing that by summer 2002 Bush had already decided to invade."

It also throws kudos to Walter Pincus of The Washington Post, who on May 22, provided "further evidence that the administration did, indeed, fix the intelligence on Iraq to fit a policy it had already embraced: invasion and regime change."

Pincus wrote that, mere days before Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address, the National Security Council staff "put out a call for new intelligence to bolster (weak) claims" about Saddam Hussein's WMD programs.

The Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
website's May 20, 2005 Action Alert castigates the print media for downplaying this story. Its headline reads "Network Viewers Still in the Dark on 'Smoking Bun Memo.'"

Sources say a new memo has surfaced detailing the Bush Administration's military provocation of Hussein, bombing Iraq to goad him into giving them an excuse for going to war. Countless Iraqi citizens died during this "pre-emptive strike."

On May 20, 2005, the White House issued a pre-Memorial Day Press release:

It describes U.S. soldiers as "unrelentling in battle, unwavering in loyalty, and unmatched in decency." It further states, "Because of their selfless courage, millions of people who once lived under tyranny now are free, and America is more secure."

However, the Star-Tribune editorial, a lone media voice, sorrowfully observes, "As this bloody month of car bombs and American deaths --- the most since January --- comes to a close, as we gather in groups small and large to honor our war dead, let us all sing of their bravery and sacrifice. But, let us also ask their forgiveness for sending them to a war that should never have happened. In the 1960s it was Vietnam. Today it is Iraq. Let us resolve to never, ever, make this mistake again. Our young people are simply too precious."

By clicking on this link, you can sign a letter submitted to President Bush on May 5, 2005, by Representative John Conuers, Jr. and 89 members of Congress requesting a response to serious questions raised by the Downing Street Memo.