February 29, 2008

ACTIVISM: 5 years too many!!

Honor the Fallen - Demand the Truth

American Military Deaths in Iraq

TotalIn Combat
Since war began:39733249
Since 5/1/2003:38343141

Total Wounded:2920323000 - 100000

New Video: 5 Years Too Many

With the 5th Anniversary of start of the war in Iraq approaching we all need to take a moment to think about what this war has cost us: Almost 4,000 American lives, Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths, and $275 million every single day.

5 Years Too Many - Do Something to End the War

In a little over a month, the U.S. will have been occupying Iraq for 5 years. It's hard to believe. Even when looking at the awful numbers -- more than 1 million Iraqis and nearly 4,000 U.S. servicepeople killed, 2 million Iraqis living as refugees in other countries, with another 2.5 million displaced within Iraq, more than 1 trillion dollars spent -- I find it difficult to grasp what 5 years really means. What is the full sum of the destruction and suffering that has taken place? And what does it mean for the future of our country and our world? The great majority of the people of this country are with us, yet policymakers in Washington have still not used their power to bring the troops home. Every day that war and occupation continues in Iraq and Afghanistan, it becomes ever clearer that we the people are the ones who must compel an end to the war. That is why we are coming together to mark the 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in as powerful a way as possible. We believe that the activities United for Peace and Justice is organizing and supporting -- the Winter Soldier hearings, mass nonviolent direct action in Washington DC, and local actions all around the country -- have the potential to make a powerful statement ... but only with your participation and support.

Faults in the Arctic Seed Vault

not everyone is celebrating Svalbard


Global Research, February 27, 2008

After months of extraordinary publicity, and with the apparently unanimous
support of the international scientific community, the "Global Seed Vault" was
officially opened today on an island in Svalbard, Norway. Nestled inside a
mountain, the Vault is basically a giant icebox able to hold 4.5 million seed
samples in cold storage for humanity's future needs. The idea is that if some
major disaster hits world agriculture, such as fallout from a nuclear war,
countries could turn to the Vault to pull out seeds to restart food production.
However, this "ultimate safety net" for the biodiversity that world farming
depends on is sadly just the latest move in a wider strategy to make ex situ
(off site) storage in seed banks the dominant – indeed, only – approach to crop
diversity conservation. It gives a false sense of security in a world where the
crop diversity present in the farmers' fields continues to be eroded and
destroyed at an ever-increasing rate and contributes to the access problems that
plague the international ex situ system.

Faulty assumptions

Cary Fowler, Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and one of the main
proponents of the Vault, says that the initiative "will rescue the most globally
important developing-country collections of the world's 21 most important food
crops." While it's true that crop diversity needs to be rescued and protected,
as irreplaceable diversity is being lost at an alarming scale, relying solely on
burying seeds in freezers is no answer. The world currently has 1,500 ex situ
genebanks that are failing to save and preserve crop diversity. Thousands of
accessions have died in storage, as many have been rendered useless for lack of
basic information about the seeds, and countless others have lost their unique
characteristics or have been genetically contaminated during periodic grow-outs.
This has happened throughout the ex situ system, not just in genebanks of
developing countries. So the issue is not about being for or against genebanks,
it is about the sole reliance on one conservation strategy that, in itself, has
a lot of inherent problems.

The deeper problem with the single focus on ex situ seed storage, that the
Svalbard Vault reinforces, is that it is fundamentally unjust. It takes seeds of
unique plant varieties away from the farmers and communities who originally
created, selected, protected and shared those seeds and makes them inaccessible
to them. The logic is that as people's traditional varieties get replaced by
newer ones from research labs – seeds that are supposed to provide higher yields
to feed a growing population – the old ones have to be put away as "raw
material" for future plant breeding. This system forgets that farmers are the
world's original, and ongoing, plant breeders. To access the seeds, you have to
be integrated into a whole institutional framework that most farmers on the
planet simply don't even know about. Put simply, the whole ex situ strategy
caters to the needs of scientists, not farmers

In addition, the system operates under the assumption that once the farmers'
seeds enter a storage facility, they belong to someone else and negotiating
intellectual property and other rights over them is the business of governments
and the seed industry itself. In the case of most so-called public genebanks,
the seeds are said to become part of "the public domain" if not "national
sovereignty" (which increasingly translates to state ownership). The
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which runs
about 15 global genebanks for the world's most widely used staple food crops,
has even set up a legal arrangement of "trusteeship" that it exercises over the
treasure chest of farmers' seeds that it holds "on behalf of" the international
community, under the auspices of the FAO. Yet they never asked the farmers whom
they took the seeds from in the first place if this was okay and they left
farmers totally out of the trusteeship equation.

The new Svalbard Vault lies squarely at the pinnacle of this faulty architecture
and false assumptions, inevitably exacerbating these problems. Because it is a
"doomsday" backup collection, it raises the stakes to new extremes. Nobody
really knows for sure if the Vault will be effective in keeping the seeds alive
and its security is untested. Just days before the opening of the Vault,
Svalbard was at the centre of the biggest earthquake in Norway's history, even
though the facility's feasibility study assured that "there is no volcanic or
significant seismic activity" in the area. But more troubling than any technical
matter is the issue of access, the keys to which are held by few hands.

Access and benefit ills

The Vault is not immune from the terrible controversies over access to and
benefits from the world's precious agricultural biodiversity. The Norwegian
government is ultimately responsible for the Vault and is currently regarded as
fair and trustworthy, but there is no guarantee that the country's policies
won't change. This is acknowledged by the Norwegian government itself, which has
provided agreements to be signed with depositors that last only ten years and
that include clauses allowing them to be terminated if policies change. Probably
more important, the Norwegian government will not be making decisions
autonomously. Decisions will be shared with the Global Crop Diversity Trust, a
private entity with strong private and corporate funding.

There are already some access issues with the Vault. For all practical purposes,
seeds cannot be stored in the Vault unless they come from genebanks that have
successfully duplicated their samples in another bank. More than this,
depositors are not allowed to put in seeds that are already stored in the Vault.
The Standard Depositor Agreement states that the "Depositor shall deposit only
samples of plant genetic resources that are, to the best of the Depositor's
knowledge,.. samples of plant genetic resources that have not yet been deposited
in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault" and that "the Depositor recognizes the right
of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food to refuse to accept
samples for deposit or to terminate the deposit of samples already deposited if
the samples constitute duplicates of materials already held in deposit in the
Svalbard Global Seed Vault".

As a rule, only depositors can access their own collections at Svalbard, or give
permission for someone else to. With parcels of CGIAR seeds already arriving in
Norway, this means that the CGIAR Centres will be the depositors for most of the
seeds held in the Vault, giving them almost exclusive control over access.
Indeed, as the Seed Vault feasibility study indicates, it was "assumed that the
[Vault] would begin operations with a nucleus consisting of the CGIAR materials
and those of certain key national genebanks and that this (sic) 'founding
collections' would discourage subsequent unnecessary duplication of materials
within the Svalbard facility." Out of the 19 depositor institutes that have
registered with the Vault so far, only three are national seed banks from
developing countries. The Vault, then, is not a safe deposit box for just
anyone. It is mostly the CGIAR's private stash.

In practical terms this means that many developing countries that want to
duplicate their collections in Svalbard would not be able to do so directly. It
would be seen as a duplicate of what the CGIAR has already deposited. They will
not, therefore, have direct access to seeds in the Vault that may have been
collected from their country. This might not seem to pose many concerns right
now because governments have different backup sources for seeds but the context
would be vastly different under any doomsday scenario where decisions would have
to be taken over a critical, unique resource which suddenly only remains in
Svalbard. For farmers there is pretty much no possibility for direct access to
seeds in the Vault.

But doomsday aside, it is important to ask who really benefits from the ex situ
system that the Vault contributes to. As the few transnational seed corporations
that control over half the world's US$30 billion annual commercial seed market
are increasingly buying up public plant breeding programmes and governments are
pulling out of plant breeding, the ultimate beneficiaries will be the very same
corporations that are at the roots of crop diversity destruction.

Stop destroying diversity instead!

If governments were truly interested in conserving biodiversity for food and
agriculture, they would do two things. First, they would, as a central priority,
focus their efforts on supporting diversity in their countries' farms and
markets rather than only betting on big centralised genebanks. This means
leaving seeds in the hand of local farmers, with their active and innovative
farming practices, respecting and promoting the rights of communities to
conserve, produce, breed, exchange and sell seeds. But this won't happen until
governments turn agricultural policy and regulations upside down and stop
pushing for industrialisation and feeding corporate-controlled global markets at
the expense of letting farmers freely feed their own communities and countries.
This means making food sovereignty the foundation of farm policy instead of
continuously pushing agriculture further down the destructive path of
corporate-led global market integration.

Svalbard is about putting diversity away, in case of some hypothetic emergency.
The real urgency, however, is to let diversity live – in farms, in the hand of
farmers, and across people-controlled and community-oriented markets – today.

Going further:

Aasa Christine Stoltz, "Norway's biggest quake hits Svalbard archipelago,"
Reuters, 21 February 2008.

http://www.reuters.com/ article/environmentNews/idUSL2173668320080221

Norwegian government and the Svalbard vault:


Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Svalbard vault:

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture


GRAIN, "The FAO seed treaty: from farmers' rights to breeders' privileges,"
Seedling, October 2005.


Center for International Environment and Development Studies et al, "Study to
assess the feasibility of establishing a Svalbard Arctic seed depository for the
international community", prepared for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
Ministry of Agriculture and Food, 14 September 2004.

http://www.regjeringen.no/ en/dep/lmd/campain/svalbard-global-seed-vault/

Svalbard Global Seed Vault – Standard Depositor Agreement.
http://www.nordgen.org/ sgsv/index.php?page=depositor_guidelines


Privatized Prisons for Immigrants: The Expansion Continues

Libertad“Ignorance and obscurantism have never produced anything other than flocks of slaves for tyranny.” — (Emiliano Zapata's letter to Pancho Villa)
Listen to this article. Powered by Odiogo.com

Since the launch of the “global war on terror,” a large majority of Americans have conveniently been led to cower under the pseudo-protective umbrella of a permanent Nation Security State. Last year I wrote several posts about the current prison-industrial complex and the increasing number of privatized prisons being used to house thousands of detained immigrants. The rise of the prison-industrial complex is one the most disturbing things going on in this country. According to a recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics - released on June 30, 2006 and revised in July 2007 - there are over 2 million people behind bars in the United States.

At the time of the report, there were about 180,000 in federal custody, 1.2 million in state custody, and 760,000 in local jails. The BJS statistics also reported there were over 90,000 immigrants (both documented and undocumented) who were held over 12 months by three jurisdictions: the Federal system housed 33,701; California housed 15,849; and Texas housed 9,227.

In a recent “year in review” report, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had rounded up more than 30,000 immigrants - doubling the number from last year. According to Detention Watch Network, a D.C. based advocacy group, more than 186,600 immigrants were deported in 2006. However, more disturbingly, in 2007, ICE had detained more than 300,000 immigrants. These frightening statistics only confirm this country’s commitment to lock up an insurmountable amount of people; and the reality of it all, this is an integral part of the globalization of capital.

Prison Construction Continues to Mushroom
Private prisons are changing the face of American incarceration. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like winning the lottery. Analysts say profit margins are higher at detention centers than prisons, according to a 2006 New York Times article. The explosive growth in the detention business has drawn many cities and counties to partner these corporations in exchange for lucrative federal contracts.

Last month, Louisiana-based Emerald Correctional Management LLC made a pitch to the Caldwell Commissioners Court to build a $30 million, 1,000-bed private detention center in Central Texas. The proposed facility would be built between Lytton Springs and Dale, about 30 miles southeast of Austin. ICE would house men and women separately. In November, Homeland Security agreed to pay Los Angles County $51 million to house 1,400 immigrants at the Mira Loma Detention Center, making it the largest facility of its kind in California. According to the contract obtained by the Daily Journal, County officials will charge the Homeland Security $100.09 a day to house a detainee.

One week before Christmas, the city of Aurora, Colorado held a town meeting to debate the proposed plan to expand the existing 400-bed facility, Aurora ICE Processing Center, into a 1,500-bed center, making it the second largest detention center. The largest is located in Raymondville, TX with 2,000-beds. The Aurora ICE Processing Center is run and operated by the Geo Group (formerly known as the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation). According to Geo, the facility can currently hold up to “400 males, females, children (unsentenced).” The detainees being held in the Aurora Processing Center are the immigrants that have been picked up from Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Utah.

In order to diffuse the tension that was beginning to build up in Aurora, Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for ICE, made sure to state that ICE had no influence in GEO’s decision to expand their facility and that there is “no guarantee” that ICE would require an additional “1,100 beds at the Aurora facility.”

Recently, the Miami Herald reported on the military’s plan to build a tent encampment to detain up to 45,000 migrants seeking asylum in the event of a Caribbean migrant crisis. Last May, at a cost of $16.5 million, “the Navy hired a Jacksonville contractor to build concrete buildings with 525 toilets and 248 showers on an empty corner of the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.”

This is part of a larger plan by Homeland Security, dubbed “Operation Vigilant Sentry.” Vigilant Sentry is a massive operation that also includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies “to thwart a mass influx of boat people fleeing political upheaval or natural disaster in the Caribbean.”

According to Reuters, part of the encampment was finished a few years ago. The site can currently “hold up to 400 migrants in tents and cots stored in shipping containers on the base. A barbed-wire fence separates it from a neighboring galley and bar.” Reuters is also reporting that is will cost the federal government $110 million to finish the site.

However, one must be concern if the Bush administration is planning to replicate Australia’s use of ‘offshore’ processing camps - infamously known as the ‘Pacific Solution’ - to process all asylum claims. Adopted in 2001 by the Howard Government, the ‘Pacific Solution’ was the name given to Australia’s immigration policy to detain all asylum seekers who arrive independently, without permission to offshore detention centers in the Pacific Ocean such as Christmas Island, the tiny island nation of Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island until it can process their asylum requests.

The Pacific Solution has been criticized by human rights groups and by the UN. Asylum-seekers in offshore processing centers had no recourse to the appeals system available in Australia. Part of the policy included mandatory detention for adults and children seeking asylum for the duration of their processing by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA). Particular concerns have been expressed by many over the detention of children in Australia’s Immigration Detention Centers. Although the US military did not mention if the new site will also house the children of asylum seekers, one does have to wonder what will happen to the children once the asylum seekers are captured by the Coast Guard.

If so, it would be wise for this government to also take note of the latest developments regarding Australia’s Pacific Solution. During the latter months of 2007, the newly elected Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, began dismantling the discredited policy. Rudd confirmed that the detention centers on Manus Island and on Nauru would be closed.

Influencing Incarceration
The private prison industry exerts whatever pressure it can to encourage state legislators to privatize state prisons. The rise of modern prison privatization was based on the notion that government was doing a poor job of incarceration. The phenomenon of private prisons and their corollary industries, private inmate transportation, private inmate food services and private inmate medical services, came into the public eye in the mid-1980s, when the fledgling Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) opened its first detention center in Houston, TX. Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (now Geo Group), the prison-management division of global security giant Wackenhut Security, entered the market soon after. These developments drew little attention, but this changed in 1985 and 1986 when governments began to contract with private firms to operate secure facilities that functioned as county jails and state prisons.

For too long now, the American public has looked on in despair or resignation as private corporations shape public policies to advance the interests of their industry, often at the expense of the common good. Nearly, 50 years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us of the dangers of “a permanent arms industry of vast proportions” in addressing the looming “military-industrial complex.” While the former general was well aware of the military threat posed by the Soviet Union, he also was well aware that war profiteers in the US had their own agendas, too.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

What makes this industry so complex is that it’s comprised of think tanks, former corporate executives, consultants and shareholders of top US defense companies “who profit by manufacturing arms and selling them to the government.” Subsidized by the Complex, pro-war think tanks have become a major force in promoting our current (Afghanistan and Iraq) and upcoming (Iran) wars. Billions of dollars are sent, without hearings and often unquestioned because they’re ostensibly for “defense,” to Congressional districts across the country. This process, of course, fuels incumbent campaigns for re-election.

The fact is, politicians, regardless of party affiliations march to the drums played by US multinational corporations who fund their political careers. As we try to understand the prison industrial complex, we have to look at all of these pieces together.

Like the military-industrial complex, the prison industrial complex is also a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need. One of the principal mechanisms used to advance their cause comes from a little-known organization called the American Legislative Council (ALEC), a conservative public policy think tank with members that include private corporations, trade organizations, and 2,400 state and federal legislators. ALEC’s primary function is to draft model legislation for legislator-members to take back to their home jurisdictions and do their best to turn into law; it’s essentially a forum for corporations and government to “co-author” laws.

In 2000, over 3,100 bills based on ALEC’s model legislation were introduced into legislatures by its members, with 450 such bills signed into law. According to ALEC itself, the most productive of ALEC’s various divisions is the Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Task Force, which has passed its model legislation into real laws. Due in large part to these laws, the population of incarcerated Americans has risen dramatically from 740,000 prisoners in 1985 to more than 2.2 million in 2006. Although ALEC takes care to obscure the role played by corporations standing to benefit from its legislative initiatives, it comes as no surprise that both CCA and Geo Group have been private-sector members of ALEC, that both have been among its major benefactors of ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force. It is also important to note that CCA executives have co-chaired Criminal Justice Task Force for many years.

It is hard to say what role, if any, CCA and/or Geo Group has played in the drafting and promoting of ALEC-sponsored legislation aimed at expanding our prison population. However, one thing is for certain, each company pays thousands of dollars in annual membership dues for a seat at the drafting table with influential legislators. While some try to downplay the idea that government has been taken over by powerful special interests, the simple fact is that for-profit prison operators need to maintain a steady flow of prisoners in order to prosper.

Politics is the only reason the Bush Administration feels bound to continue with a policy that is demonstrably inhumane and unjust. It has exploited our broken immigration system and manufactured a political crisis by demonizing immigrants. Today, the calculated and ubiquitous use of pejorative rhetorical descriptors define every element of the government’s framing of the immigration issue - “terrorist,” “Muslim” “illegal,” “etc” - a process that only serves to establish a socially accepted discourse around racism and the repression of all people of color, whether they live in the US or not. The prison industrial complex is profiting from an evil in the US that neither Democrats nor Republicans will seek to remedy.

The corporate will has replaced the will and conscience of the people. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have abdicated their responsibility to their constituency. How many people must be restrained, denied human dignity, treated as inhuman for society to finally wake up? How many people must be detained under the name of so-called safety and morality for society to finally realize our society is inching toward totalitarianism?

Immigration reform should not lie in an uncompromising policy of deterrence based on detention as a form of collective punishment but on treating those who arrive unlawfully with compassion and justice. Nor does it lie in a draconian system, which is costly and difficult to enforce, but more importantly perpetuates the inhumane elements of a flawed system that has undermined the integrity of this country.

It is not in this country’s best interests to deprive people of their dignity and the right to earn a living. This can only reduce them to a state of fragility that will leave them ill-equipped to make sensible decisions about their future. Further, it seriously undermines their integration into society as strong, independent and resourceful citizens with existing and beneficial links to the community.

By definition, human rights are universal; however, by detaining these unfortunate immigrants, this country not only has isolated them from society but also has deemed them unworthy of the most basic human rights. As a result, this country now faces a legal and moral crisis of such monstrous dimensions that it threatens our centuries-old understanding of human rights, of what is fair, humane and just.

There is much to be done to help reunite these people with their families and to heal their fractured minds and broken spirits. Now is the time to demand that this country show the same care and compassion to all immigrants whether they arrive on these shores armed with the relevant visa or not. Seeking a better life is a human right, not a crime.


5 Responses to “Privatized Prisons for Immigrants: The Expansion Continues”


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  1. Gravatar Icon yave begnet Jan 15th, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Great post. The thought of importing Australia’s approach of removing immigrants from the legal system just as the approach is being abandoned there is terrifying. It would essentially be an expansion of Guantanamo to asylum-seekers–so much for human rights in America. “Persons,” regardless of citizenship, are covered by the due process rights outlined in the Constitution–holding immigrants outside of the U.S. out of reach of the federal appeals courts as we’ve done with “enemy combatants” would be another instance of this government subverting the Constitution as Congress sits on its hands and the courts keep quiet on any issues the government slaps with the national security label. I think you’re right that these are issues where there’s not much daylight between Democrats and Republicans–neither party can be trusted to do the right thing, at least based on their actions so far.

  2. Gravatar Icon XicanoPwr Jan 15th, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    I guess the real question that should be asked is why this sudden urge to build this encampment site. It does make you wonder if the US is planning more dirty wars in Latin America and encampment site will be used to house all the asylum seekers so we won’t know what is actually taking place down there. Lets not forget, we did invade Haiti too ago. Something tells me we’re not planning to leave any time soon either.

  3. Gravatar Icon a4L Jan 22nd, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    there is a story about a security guard raping a female prisoner on the T.Don Hutto blog..


  4. Gravatar Icon barba de chiva Feb 20th, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Took me a while to get here — I just arrived via Immigration Orange — but this is an excellent, spot-on analysis of what’s going on in prison construction and privatization. Emerald runs a facility in my community. We fought its construction for a long time, got embroiled in local and federal lawsuits over it, and we’re now watching it flounder. They house anywhere from 200-500 migrant detainees all the time. Recent federal “streamlining,” which means that folks who would have been deported last year are now being sentenced for the crime of crossing the border, means that private detention centers like this are profiting.

    One element you leave out of the discussion — I don’t blame you, as the whole issue is complex enough to make you feel like a conspiracy theorist for just trying to get people to see it clearly — is the proliferation of municipally-built and privately-operated facilities that have become popular in the last ten years. Private interests beyond the scope of prison companies themselves — lawyers, bond counsel, bond issuers, and investors — all wind up having a stake in building these things and getting (mostly rural) communities to foot the bill for “economic development.”

    Have a look, if you have a chance, at the website of South Texans Opposing Private Prisons (http://www.stoppcoalition.org/). We cover much of the same ground as you, but the “Considering a Private Jail” packet (it’s in .pdf) details some of this specifically.

    Anyway. This is great work. Visit Phronesisaical sometime . . .

  5. Gravatar Icon XicanoPwr Feb 23rd, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Hi barba de chiva. ¡Bienvendidos! Thanks for your input. You are correct I did leave that element out on purpose. I do plan to address later on, however, like you said, it is difficult trying to explain it in terms where people will not easily dismiss it.

    I will check out Phronesisaical

Why Dennis Kucinich Still Matters

Dennis Kucinich does not treat politics like a popularity contest. He is a voice for the people and ideas that we need to repair this country.

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India builds $12.5 million force to guard its tigers

By Krittivas Mukherjee NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will spend $12.5 million to create a special force to guard its last surviving tigers, as numbers dwindle in the face of rampant poaching and destruction of their habitat. Poorly armed and...

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Huge Voter Turnout Prompts Concern over Accuracy in Nov.

Record turnout in this year's primaries has election officials worried about possible shortages of machines, ballots and poll workers in November. In 17 of the 24 primaries held so far, turnouts were larger than any in the past 40 years, the result of competitive Democratic and Republican contests and earlier primaries. Paper ballots ran out...

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"I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mindset that got us into war in the first place."

~ Barak Obama

A G.I. Bill For The 21st Century

In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the "Servicemen's Readjustment Act" -- the original G.I. Bill -- which ultimately allowed more than eight million combat veterans returning from the battlefields of World War II to receive full college tuition, low-cost mortgages, and living costs. Because of this bill, these veterans served as "the engine of opportunity in the postwar years." Unfortunately, the program FDR signed into law has since been scaled back, and with college tuition and fees across the country skyrocketing, G.I. Bill benefits today fall far short of actual costs. In fact, "the most a veteran can receive is approximately $9,600 a year for four years," which "covers only 60-70% of the average cost of four years at a public college or university, or less than two years at a typical private college." Thus, after surviving combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, returning veterans are having difficulty surviving the financial burdens of higher education. Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) recently wrote that today's G.I. Bill is "a reasonable enlistment incentive for peacetime service, but it is an insufficient reward for wartime service today." Indeed, on his first official day in office in January 2007, Webb introduced Senate Bill 22 -- "a mirror of the World War II G.I. Bill" -- in an effort to bridge the gap between today's G.I. benefits and rising tuitions costs. While Webb's measure has since stalled, a bipartisan Senate coalition including Webb, Hagel, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Sen. John Warner (R-VA) yesterday reintroduced a revised version of S. 22 (H.R. 2707) to advance a "21st Century G.I. Bill."

NEW G.I. BILL BETTER FOR VETS: The new version of the bill "would be available to all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001." Reservists and National Guard members -- who now get a fraction of the benefits available to active-duty troops -- will also be included in the bill. Eligible veterans would receive education benefits equaling the highest tuition rate of the most expensive in-state public college or university and provide a monthly stipend for housing determined by geographical area. Beyond that, S. 22 "would create a program in which the government would provide a dollar-for-dollar match to contributions from private educational institutions with higher tuition rates than those covered under the bill." Veterans would also have 15 years to use their educational assistance, compared to 10 years under the current law. The new G.I. bill "is projected to cost about $2.5 billion per year," roughly the cost of U.S. operations in Iraq for one week.

In last month's State of the Union address, President Bush proposed expanding the transferability of "unused education benefits to their spouses or children," but the budget he submitted to Congress a week later "included no funding for such an initiative." Moreover, the White House and the Pentagon have so far shown resistance to Webb's bill "out of fear that too many will use it." Robert Clarke, assistant director of accessions policy at the Department of Defense, said "the incentive to serve and leave" may "outweigh the incentive to have them stay." According to Clarke, "it is simply off-base to compare what was offered to World War II veterans to the situation today. There was no concern about retention rates back then." In testimony to Congress last summer, other Defense Department officials said that "the current program for active duty is basically sound and serves its purpose in support of the all-volunteer force. The department finds no need for the kind of sweeping (and expensive) changes offered." Giacomo Mordente III, former president of the National Association of Veterans' Program Administrators, said: "The administration always has an unlimited budget to go to war. But when it comes time to help the people, the casualties of the war, they do whatever they can to limit liability."

NEW G.I. BILL IS A BETTER RECRUITMENT TOOL: The Boston Globe noted that the "promise of an education in return for serving the country is one of the most frequently cited reasons that young men and women join the military." However, "[t]he limited return on the promise is one of the most common sources of bitterness and frustration that emerge in interviews with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans." One returning Iraq veteran cited recruitment ads saying: "Don't worry. College is taken care of." Yet the veteran quickly added, "[I]t is not true." Patrick Campbell of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA) said the $20,000, $30,000, even $40,000 enlistment bonus checks are "not a good investment." The IAVA says the new G.I. Bill "is a practical answer to the military's troop shortage" and that "[r]ather than continuing to spend billions in bonuses for lower-standard enlistees, increasing G.I. Bill benefits would encourage high-aptitude young people to join the military." Indeed, the veterans organization cited "a 1988 Congressional study show[ing] that every dollar spent on educational benefits under the original GI Bill added seven dollars to the national economy in terms of productivity, consumer spending and tax revenue."

Quote: "I want the viewers to be moved into the lives of the people that they are looking at, the visual experience is incredibly emotional."

Paul Fusco joined Magnum Photos in 1973 and became a full Member in 1974.

???? ah, ah, and this means ... ?????

Sponsored by THE DoD ... (and where pray tell is DU Illness on this list??)

accreditation and certification
intended audience
This activity was developed for physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers interested in preparing for biological threats.
learning objectives
Avian Influenza
Upon completion of this activity, participants should be better able to:
Assess the history and current status of pandemic influenzas
Evaluate pandemic influenza as a biological threat to society
Describe the role of health care providers in a situation involving pandemic influenza
Discuss issues in treatment and management of pandemic influenza

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be better able to:
Evaluate the likelihood of smallpox use as a biological weapon
Describe the role of surveillance and containment in response to a smallpox outbreak
Utilize methods including rapid testing, antivirals, infection control techniques, and
post exposure vaccine to control smallpox cases

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be better able to:
Recognize botulism and ricin by clinical syndrome
Describe the epidemiology of botulinum and ricin intoxications
Describe fundamentals of treatment and prevention for ricin and botulinum toxins

accreditation and certification
The Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The Annenberg Center designates this educational activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Creditstm (1 credit for each activity for a total of 3 credits). Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Annenberg Center for Health Sciences is approved as a provider of nurse practitioner continuing education by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Provider #040207. The Annenberg Center designates this program for a total of 3 contact hours of continuing education (1 hour for each activity for a total of 3 hours).
Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower, Institute for Nursing Continuing Education is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
A maximum of 3 contact hours may be earned for successful completion of this activity (1 hour for each activity for a total of 3 hours).

Avian Influenza
The Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This program has been developed according to the ACPE Criteria for Quality and is assigned ACPE Universal Program #797-000-07-001-H04. This program is designated for up to 1 contact hour (0.1 CEUs) of continuing pharmacy education credit.

The Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This program has been developed according to the ACPE Criteria for Quality and is assigned ACPE Universal Program #797-000-07-002-H04. This program is designated for up to 1 contact hour (0.1 CEU) of continuing pharmacy education credit.

The Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This program has been developed according to the ACPE Criteria for Quality and is assigned ACPE Universal Program #797-000-07-003-H04. This program is designated for up to 1 contact hour (0.1 CEU) of continuing pharmacy education credit.

There is no charge for this activity. Statements of Credit will be provided by mail following activity participation, and upon completion and return of the evaluation form to the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences. Please allow 4-6 weeks for the delivery of your statement.

It is the policy of the Annenberg Center to ensure fair balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all programming. All faculty and planners participating in sponsored programs are expected to identify and reference off-label product use and disclose any significant relationship with those supporting the activity or any others whose products or services are discussed.
In accordance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education Standards, parallel documents from other accrediting bodies, and Annenberg Center policy, the following disclosures have been made:
J. Michael Lane, MD
Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Acambis, DynPort Vaccine Company, World Health Organization
The following faculty have no significant relationship to disclose:
Louisa Chapman, MD, MSPH
Robert B. Couch, MD
Zygmunt F. Dembek, PhD, MS, MPH, LTC, MS
Robert Howard, PhD, EMBS, MPH
Scott R. Lillibridge, MD
COL James W. Martin
CJ Peters, MD
Terrence M. Tumpey, PhD
CJ Peters, MD has disclosed that there will be discussion about the use of products for non-FDA approved indications.

The ideas and opinions presented in this educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Annenberg Center and/or its agents. As in all educational activities, we encourage the practitioners to use their own judgment in treating and addressing the needs of each individual patient, taking into account that patient's unique clinical situation. The Annenberg Center disclaims all liability and cannot be held responsible for any problems that may arise from participating in this activity or following treatment recommendations presented.

This activity is supported by a research grant from the Department of Defense.

contact information
For help or questions about this Internet activity please contact:

Cindy Watlet
Annenberg Center for Health Sciences
39000 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Phone 760-773-4500
Fax 760-773-4513
8 AM - 5 PM, Pacific Time, Monday - Friday