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Activist Newsletter

Articles include ÒAfghanistan: 24,000 Civilians Killed,Ó ÒWashingtonÕs South Florida Policy,Ó ÒThe Sky is Falling,Ó ÒHenry Kissinger, War Criminal,Ó among others.

Mid-Hudson Activist Newsletter/Action Calendar

June 1, 2002, Issue #65

THIS WEEKÕS ACTIVIST NEWSLETTER provides a new calculation of civilian deaths in WashingtonÕs latest war (Afghanistan: 24,000 Civilians Killed), reports on President BushÕs enmity toward Cuba (WashingtonÕs South Florida Policy), reviews the Bush administrationÕs scare stories about terrorism (The Sky Is Falling), critically analyzes the call for an investigation of Òwhat Bush knew and when did he know itÓ (9/11 Inquiry -- For What Purpose?), and contains articles on Americans without health insurance (Rx For Healthcare: Money), a new poll of women in the workforce (What Women Workers Want), and an appreciation of a former secretary of state (Henry Kissinger, War Criminal), among other stories. THE ACTION CALENDAR FOLLOWS THE ARTICLES. The newsletter/calendar is published twice a month (the 1st and 15th) by the Mid-Hudson National People's Campaign/IAC in New Paltz, N.Y. Send information about upcoming events to jacdon (at) All articles are written and edited by Jack A. Smith. If you know someone who might benefit from this newsletter, ask them to subscribe at jacdon (at) If you no longer wish to receive the newsletter, unsubscribe at same address.



1. AFGHANISTAN: 24,000 CIVILIANS KILLED -- ThatÕs the toll by adding bombing deaths to those who died from indirect causes.

2. BEAT BACK THE BUSH ATTACK -- The Justice Dept. drops the other shoe.

3. WASHINGTONÕS SOUTH FLORIDA POLICY -- The Brothers Bush repay a debt.

4. THE SKY IS FALLING! -- The White House organizes a scaremongering binge.

5. 9/11 INQUIRY: FOR WHAT PURPOSE? -- There are reasons to be cautious.

6. NEWS FROM THE ÔAXIS OF EVILÕ -- Responses to the war on terrorism from Iran, Cuba and Iraq.

7. Rx FOR GOOD HEALTH: MONEY -- Over 18,000 Americans die annually because they lack medical insurance.

8. CHILDREN ON THE ÔTHRESHOLD OF POVERTYÕ -- 10 million kids survive just above the poverty line.

9. WHAT WOMEN WORKERS WANT -- Equal pay and healthcare benefits top the list in new poll by the AFL-CIO.

10. HENRY KISSINGER, WAR CRIMINAL -- He wouldnÕt let a country Ògo Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people,Ó thus marking a democratically elected leader for assassination.

11. ACTION CALENDAR (NOT included)



The death toll of civilians in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S. war continues to mount. Indeed, it may total 24,000 people so far.

According to estimates in February by the British newspaper, the Guardian, Òthe direct victims of American bombs and missilesÓ number Òbetween 1,300 and 8,000 deaths.Ó Figures compiled by University of New Hampshire professor Marc Herold stipulate that between Oct. 7 and May 14, 3,780 civilians were killed by U.S. forces -- at minimum. Every day, of course, brings reports of more deaths, almost entirely civilians.

But these figures do not include ÒindirectÓ civilian deaths, which aid agencies believe are considerably higher than those killed by bombs. The Guardian followed up its February report with an exhaustive investigation of indirect casualties, which was published May 20. It stated, ÒAs many as 20,000 Afghans may have lost their lives as an indirect consequence of U.S. intervention.Ó

The bombing, according to the Guardian, Òhad three main effects on the humanitarian situation. It caused massive dislocation by prompting hundreds of thousands of Afghans to flee from their homes. It stopped aid supplies to drought victims who depended on emergency relief. It provoked an upsurge in fighting that turned a military stalemate [of three years duration, until the U.S. attacks] into one of chaotic fluidity, leading yet more people to flee.Ó From these causes -- starvation due to the interruption of relief supplies for some three months, illnesses due to the realities of social disruption stemming from an expanded war, and the massive fleeing of homes and villages to seek safety from the bombings -- correspondent Jonathan Steele, based Herat, Afghanistan, extrapolated the figure of 20,000 civilian deaths.

Averaging the figures from Herold and the earlier Guardian report, it seems likely that some 4,000 civilians died from direct fighting. The addition of indirect deaths indicates that the U.S. has avenged the civilian dead of Sept. 11 eight times over, so far. And judging by the Bush administrationÕs pronouncements about the war on terrorism, this is only the beginning.



Progressive-thinking people have been waiting for the other shoe to drop since Congress passed that devastating attack on civil liberties known as the U.S.A. Patriot Act weeks after the Sept. 11 disaster. The thud finally reverberated May 30 when the Justice Department eliminated numerous safeguards against wholesale FBI surveillance of domestic political organizations, churches, libraries, internet websites and civilians just going about their business.

ItÕs all being done in the name of fighting terrorism, as are the new wars President Bush is threatening against several countries not remotely involved with the Pentagon and World Trade Center tragedies. It has been obvious for many months to those who did not misuse the American flag as a blindfold that the Bush administration was exploiting the September events to engage in military expansion abroad and to implement an ultra-right agenda at home. Each move to the right is preceded by terrifying tales of terrorist threats to panic the public, as was done days before Bush ÒunleashedÓ the FBI.

The Democratic Party so far has proven itself useless in the fight against the governmentÕs quick-march to the right on key issues from the environment and economic justice to peace and civil liberties. The opportunist Democrats have migrated so far to the political center in recent years that their dwindling attachment to progressive causes finds its principal expression in rhetoric. The only recourse open to millions of Americans who want to stop BushÕs aggressive wars and to keep their liberties is to unite with all who can be united into a mass, militant movement of protest aimed at beating back the right-wing attack.



The Bush political dynasty of Texas owes a great debt to the right-wing Cuban-American community of southern Florida.

George W. Bush may be said to owe his convoluted election to the presidency to this solid bloc of conservative voters which -- with assistance from the U.S. Supreme Court -- handed him a ballot box triumph in the state and, as it turned out, the country. And heÕs counting on FloridaÕs electoral votes to help reelect him in 2004 in order to pursue his war on terrorism, possibly -- the government has been hinting lately -- to the beaches of Cuba itself.

Gov. Jeb Bush, the presidentÕs brother, owes his first election to these fanatical opponents of Cuban President Fidel CastroÕs socialist government, and he expects this loyal constituency to put him over the top next November.

The Bush brothers made a down payment on their political debt two years ago when they opposed returning the kidnapped child Elian Gonzalez to his family in Cuba. On May 20 they made full restitution, at least for now.

ÒNearly a half century ago,Ó President Bush told an enraptured crowd of thousands in Miami, ÒCubaÕs independence and the hopes for democracy were hijacked by a brutal dictator who cares everything for his own power and nada [nothing] for the Cuban people. In an era where markets have brought prosperity and empowerment, this leader clings to a bankrupt ideology that has brought CubaÕs workers and farmers and families nothing -- nothing -- but isolation and misery.Ó

With these words, and following in the tradition of President Bush the First, the current resident of the White House declared he would not lift the Yankee superpowerÕs four-decade economic and trade blockade of Cuba, or end travel constraints on American citizens who wish to visit the island, or eliminate any of the multitude of obstacles Washington has thrust into the Havana governmentÕs path of economic, political and social development since the last U.S. puppet dictator, Fulgencio Batista, was deposed by the power of the people on Jan. 1, 1959.

The crowd was ecstatic, roaring approval at BushÕs every theatrical bully-boy challenge to the Cuban government. Later that day, the Bush brothers received $2 million in contributions from the Cuban-American community in a $25,000-per-couple Republican Party fund raiser. And they probably were given Florida as well, at least for the next two elections.

It has long been known in Washington that the State Department does not have a Cuba Policy, but what has been termed a South Florida Policy instead. This is doubly true for the Brothers Bush because they owe their political power directly to the stateÕs concentration of Cuban counter-revolutionary expatriates. Upon assuming office, Bush populated the higher ranks of the State Department with anticommunist Cold Warriors such as Otto Reich, who spend their days concocting schemes to replace President Castro and socialism with a free-market client regime which would restore Havana to its glory days as a dependent, corrupt playground for rich Americans. Most recently, the Bush administration has absurdly depicted Cuba as a terrorist state deeply enmeshed in creating biological weapons of mass destruction intended for use against innocent civilians in the Land of the Free. As such, Cuba is now a legitimate target for trigger-finger Bush to practice upon.

Outside of the United States, however, virtually every other country in the world has gone on record opposing the crippling sanctions against Cuba and the demonization of its government and 12 million people. A broad movement to end both sanctions and the travel ban and to remove the Cold War barricades is also growing within the U.S. -- including sectors of the business and agricultural communities anxious to market goods and services to Cuba -- although this is rarely reflected by the average opportunist politician. President Jimmy CarterÕs recent visit to Cuba is an example of this new mood.

Unfortunately, every time it appears Washington is finally prepared to take some steps toward rapprochement, some reactionary windbag of a political leader invokes the South Florida Policy and the initiative dissipates in a farrago of Cold War platitudes. To which we can only reply with heartfelt conviction, Cuba si, bloqueo no! Hasta la victoria siempre!



If ever there was evidence Washington was exploiting and compounding the fear, insecurity and hyperpatriotism engendered by the Sept. 11 attacks on Washington and New York, the Bush administrationÕs ÒChicken Little, Chicken Little, the sky is falling!Ó scaremongering about terrorism the week of May 18-25 constituted proof positive. Evidently, there are few lengths to which the White House will not go to advance the right-wing agenda and the fortunes of empire.

By midweek, New York Times headline writers were engaging in soft satire -- first by announcing that ÒSecurity is Tightened in New York After Vague Threat of Terrorism;Ó then, introducing an editorial headlined ÒDistractions and DiversionsÓ (noting that Òthese warnings, which have already lost much of their power to command public attention, will become meaningless if they are perceived merely to be a way of changing the subjectÓ); then ÒThe Warning du Jour Comes via Rumsfeld...Ó (describing an article stating that most intelligence Òwas too vague to provide meaningful precautionary adviceÓ); finally concluding with a column headlined, ÒCool It!Ó (pointing out, ÒRemember, itÕs supposed to be al Qaeda thatÕs running scared, not usÓ).

Even our own Poughkeepsie Journal, in an editorial supportive of the Bush administration and its war on terrorism, commented that Americans were being treated Òto an overdose of terrorist warnings. ItÕs an inevitable consequence of all the criticism President Bush faced last week for failing to warn people about a possible terrorist attack before Sept. 11.Ó

The need to minimize the news that Bush and his aides were vaguely informed of a planned attack before Sept. 11, but said nothing publicly, evidently was a factor -- but not the major one -- in the flurry of scare stories. As soon as top Democrats began to ask, ÒWhat did the president know and when did he know it?Ó unnamed officials grabbed headlines by suggesting that al Qaeda Òis trying to carry out an operation as big or bigger than the Sept. 11 attacks.Ó This was followed in short order by Vice President CheneyÕs announcement that another massive terrorist attack was Òalmost certain,Ó by FBI director Robert MuellerÕs suggestion that ÒWe will not be able to stopÓ inevitable suicide bombings and Òfurther terrorist attacks,Ó by Homeland Security director Tom RidgeÕs warning that another terrorist attack was Ònot a question of if, but a question of when,Ó by Secretary of State Colin PowellÕs declaration that Òterrorists are trying every way they can to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction,Ó and by Secretary of Defense RumsfeldÕs warning that Òterrorist networks ... would not hesitate one minute in usingÓ such weapons.

By the end of the week millions of Americans were plunged back into fear and trembling. A few days later, the Justice Department was able to exploit these new fears by providing the FBI with vastly expanded new powers of surveillance. An even bigger reason for the administrationÕs terrifying alarms was to manipulate the multitude into continuing its support for the war on terrorism -- no matter what comes next.

After nine months, the traumatized American people are finally getting their lives back together. Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan are fading from the forefront of consciousness. At the same time, however, the Bush administration is planning several more military adventures, including a major war against Iraq that could result in thousands of U.S. casualties -- and thereÕs no telling what the government is preparing for Cuba, Colombia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, et al.

In order to fulfill its imperial objective of sweeping the world clean of ÒRogue StatesÓ over the next months and years, the White House requires a pledge of unambiguous allegiance from the great majority of the population, including the craven Democratic Party. And the only way to fashion such fidelity is to keep the people of the United States in a continual state of personal fear of terrorism, livid anger toward those who dared tread upon us, and flag-waving hyperpatriotism. It is thus necessary from time to time for the administration to stimulate emotions similar to those experienced by the American people in the first months after Sept. 11. Hence the choreographed recent reminders that after the twin towers, the sky itself may be next to fall, unless George W. Bush is allowed carry the war on terrorism through to the end, wherever that may be.



The leadership of the Democratic Party, backed, oddly, by certain forces on the left, is calling for Congress to initiate an ÒindependentÓ inquiry into what the Bush administration knew about the Sept. 11 attacks before they took place. At immediate issue are revelations that the government was privy to some raw information from intelligence agencies months before the Pentagon and World Trade Center were hit, suggesting that al Qaeda planned to hijack airliners -- and did not make this material public, much less prevent the attacks.

By extension, these revelations dovetail with a variety of reports circulating for many months that the Bush administration may well have participated in a conspiracy that knew about but did nothing to prevent the terror raids in order to provide a pretext to further the right-wing agenda and launch a war on terrorism.

We have no doubt that the Bush administration and the Pentagon had various war plans ready to extend the U.S. empire into Central Asia, to topple Afghanistan, to wage war against Iraq, to finish off Cuba and North Korea, to weaken Iran and so on. These plans in fact constitute what has become known as the war on terrorism. Such blueprints have been on the Pentagon drawing boards for years, and are continually updated by the warmakers in each successive political administration, based on political, economic and military considerations and military opportunities of the moment. And it is obvious as well that the Bush administration has most certainly exploited the national crisis engendered by Sept. 11 to pursue its reactionary domestic policies.

But we are dubious about supporting the Democratic PartyÕs opportunist call for an investigation into why the Republican administration was unable to prevent the attacks. And we remain unconvinced there was a conspiracy involving the Bush administration.

Had the Democratic leaders coupled their call for an inquiry with a declaration of opposition to the war on terrorism, perhaps some good could have come out of it. But since they strongly support the war, backed the $48 billion hike in the Pentagon budget, and remained mute when the White House announced the new policy of first-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states -- among many other outrages -- what, exactly, is supposed to come out of a full-scale investigation?

What we fear is that any such inquiry will conclude that the FBI, CIA and other spy agencies must be strengthened veven further, that the Homeland Security office must be enlarged to play a bigger role in preventing future attacks, and that even more restraints must be removed from police forces to enable them to act faster and more decisively in future, among other such recommendations.

What will not emerge from such an inquiry is a serious examination of the role played by the U.S. in creating many of the conditions that ripened to the point where a group such as al Qaeda could launch the terror attacks. Will the inquiry examine the role the CIA played in supporting right-wing fundamentalist forces in Afghanistan (including Osama bin Laden) from 1979 to 1994? Will it analyze the degree to which WashingtonÕs role in Iraq and Palestine and Saudi Arabia, among many other areas in the Middle East, contributed to the rising tide of antipathy toward the U.S. throughout the region? Will it investigate the imperialist uses to which the Bush administration has put the terror attack in terms of extending the empire? Will it question why the Pentagon needs permanent bases throughout Central Asia as a consequence of the war against Afghanistan? Will it probe the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan?

If these and dozens of other similar questions were the focus of the inquiry demanded by Senate Democratic leader Sen. Tom Daschle and House Minority leader Rep. Richard Gephardt, we would have a great deal more confidence that it would serve a politically useful or at least educational purposes. But if itÕs just Òwhat did Bush know and when did he know it,Ó or Òwho tied the FBIÕs hands,Ó it seems like two-party establishment politics as usual, intended to foster the customary illusions.



The Bush administration has in effects doubled the size of the ÒAxis of EvilÓ and specifically identified six countries as potential targets for its war on terrorism -- Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and Cuba. None of these states has been implicated in the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. And none of them, despite charges from Washington, has been proven to possess weapons of mass destruction, much less the intention to use them against the U.S. Following are reports from three of these countries.


IRAN: ÒPresident Bush imagines himself living in an era of cowboys, considers the world as Texas, and finds himself as the sheriff.Ó

So spoke Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani May 27 in commenting upon BushÕs allegation that by helping Iran build a nuclear power reactor Russia was paving the way for the Tehran government to obtain nuclear weapons of mass destruction. ÒBush should know that we are no longer in the cowboy era, but rather an era when the gun should be placed back into its holster,Ó Shamkhani concluded.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Hamid Reza Asefi characterized BushÕs accusation as being Òaimed at misleading public opinionÓ in order to expand the war on terrorism to countries innocent of involvement in Sept. 11 or which allegedly plan to obtain nuclear arsenals with which to threaten the U.S.


CUBA: President Fidel Castro responded May 25 to recent and thoroughly unsubstantiated allegations from Washington that Cuba was engaged in producing biological weapons of mass destruction. In an Òaddress to the American people,Ó the Cuban leader said, in part:

Our struggle is not, and will never be, aimed against the American people. Perhaps, no other country receives Americans with the respect and hospitality displayed by Cuba.

We are men and women of ideas and not a community of bigots. In Cuba we have never cultivated hatred against the American people or blamed them for the aggressions perpetrated by the governments of that country. That would have run contrary to our political doctrines and our internationalist conscience, both well-proven throughout many years, and increasingly rooted in our ideas.

If ÒHumanity is Homeland,Ó as [national hero Jose] Marti said, we are citizens of the world and brothers and sisters of all peoples on Earth -- their children, their youth, their elders, their men and women are also ours, regardless of everyoneÕs economic, political, religious and cultural beliefs.

Relations between the Cuban people and the American people, although very much influenced for decades by a barrage of distorted and manipulated propaganda, have been improving every day, particularly after 80% of Americans supported the return of the kidnapped child [Elian Gonzalez] to his family and homeland.

I have always felt, based on my reflection on the most recent history of that country, that the American people can support a bad cause --as it has done on not few occasions -- but only when it has been misled... However, when the American people learned, through its own media, of the cruel injustice being committed against that little child, it did not hesitate and took sides with justice. That, Cuba will never forget!

It hurts deeply to see the efforts made to mislead that essentially noble people with the diabolical fabrication that the laboratories where our dedicated scientists create, develop and produce new medicines and therapy treatments, that prevent or cure diseases, spare suffering and save countless lives, are developing bio-weapons research and production programs. At times, there is also talk about CubaÕs capacity to produce them.

All throughout history, any scientific or technical development has served for good or evil. In our country, however, no one has ever thought of producing such weapons. Our scientists have been educated for the sacred mission of protecting life and not for destroying it....

Neither a single drop of blood has been shed in the United States, nor has an atom of wealth been lost there in the 43 years of the Cuban Revolution, due to a terrorist action originated in Cuba. The opposite is true, since thousands of lives have been lost as well as huge amounts of money due to material damages caused by actions against our homeland originated in the U.S. territory. The American people deserves to be informed about this, instead of being saturated with lies and slanders....

I do not wish to use this moment to make any criticism on what could have been done, but was not, to prevent the horrendous crime of September 11; I do not know the facts well enough. Still, as a leader in a country that has had to defend itself, for more than four decades, from thousands of terrorist actions I can assure you that the constant stirring up of panic [as in accusing Cuba of potential bioterrorism against the U.S.] is not the right way to proceed since it can psychologically affect the people and turn life in that immense country into an unbearable nightmare....


IRAQ: If President Bush has his way, the United States will launch an unprovoked, full-scale war against Iraq within a year, ostensibly because the government of President Saddam Hussein is intent upon building weapons of mass destruction for use against the U.S. -- a charge made without supporting evidence. But the fact of the matter is that the U.S. has been in a continual low-level war with Baghdad since it bombed Iraq into submission in early 1991.

Hardly a week has gone by since the Gulf War when U.S. and British warplanes havenÕt attacked one or another part of the country, allegedly enforcing Òno-fly zonesÓ they established over parts of Iraq or responding to the detection of radar signals or anti-aircraft fire from the ground. All told, according to exacting figures from the Baghdad government last week, 1,477 people -- mostly civilians -- have been killed in these raids and 1,363 have been wounded.

In the latest attack May 28, the Pentagon claims U.S. and British warplanes bombed Òair defense sites in northern Iraq,Ó allegedly in response to anti-aircraft artillery fire. In Baghdad, a military spokesperson said five civilians were wounded in the bombing. Similar bombings took place in southern Iraq, with no reported casualties. On May 24, according to Iraqi Agriculture Minister Abdel Ilah Hamid, ÒU.S. and British planes dropped incendiary bombs on fields in the Nemrud region of Niniveh province, burning crops of wheat and barley.Ó

The toll from these frequent raids is relatively small compared to the approximately 1.5 million deaths -- virtually all civilians, half of them children -- caused by over a decade of U.S./UN economic sanctions. But the raids keep the country in a state of tension and humiliating public subjugation, which is their purpose.

The Bush administrationÕs obsession with launching a full-scale attack on Baghdad has reached the point where only a massive rejection by important allies, strong opposition from key Mideast clients, and a major transformation in domestic public opinion will be able to prevent a new aggressive war. The only remaining argument appears to be which group of individuals to select as the replacement puppet government. The New York Times reported May 18 that the Pentagon is deeply involved in preparing for an invasion of Iraq. The newspaper quotes Pentagon planners as saying they Òwould prefer to avoid attacking in the summerÓ because of the logistical difficulties created by having the troops wear heavy, uncomfortable anti-chemical/biological suits in hot weather.



We have all heard the statistic that 40 million Americans, including 10 million children, lack medical insurance -- but what does this mean in reality?

For one thing, it means that millions of people will suffer unnecessary pain, disability and disruption in their lives this year because they are too poor to afford health insurance. They do without preventive services, adequate treatment for diseases, proper care of traumatic injuries, sufficient medicines, or early diagnosis of serious illnesses. It means second or third rate care, or no care at all. It means bad teeth, blurred vision, and chronic illnesses in a society so well endowed that it will invest $400 billion in the Pentagon next year just to protect and increase the wealth, property, and class privileges of its materially better situated citizens.

And it also means that over 18,000 people will die this year directly as a result of not having the money to buy health coverage from any of the high-profit private insurers, according to a new study by a group associated with the National Academy of Sciences -- the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The great majority of people without insurance all or part of the time are low-paid workers at businesses which do not offer insurance coverage, with about 40% earning $20,000 or less a year. The Medicaid system (which provides rudimentary healthcare for the poorest citizens) is usually unavailable to the working poor.

The IOM report, ÒCare Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late,Ó reveals those at greatest risk for developing serious medical complications due to lack of insurance are between the ages of 55 and 65, at which point Medicare becomes available.

The study identified five medical areas where poor workers with chronic illnesses receive seriously inadequate care: Cardiovascular diseases (the lack of monitoring and treatment leads to a greater proportion of deaths for uninsured adults), diabetes (lack of insurance prohibits regular checkups, resulting in severe complications), kidney diseases, HIV infection, and mental illnesses. The report also showed that cancer patients without insurance die more frequently. Uninsured women with breast cancer, for instance, were 50% more likely to die than insured women

According to Mary Sue Coleman, a co-chair of the IOM committee that produced the report, ÒBecause we donÕt see many people dying in the streets in this country, we assume that the uninsured manage to get the care they need, but the evidence refutes that assumption. The fact is that the quality and length of life are distinctly different for insured and uninsured populations.Ó The other co-chair, Arthur Kellermann, noted that ÒIt wasnÕt difficult for us to conclude that if the uninsured became insured on a continuous basis, their health would improve and they would live longer.Ó



This newsletter frequently comments on the plight of children living in deep poverty in the United States, but there is an equally large constituency of kids in working families existing in near-poverty. HereÕs a brief report, thanks to the annual Kids Count study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation released May 23.

According to the study, ÒThe number of children living on the threshold of poverty in working families surpassed 10 million in 2000 after increasing throughout the 1990s.... In 1990, 7.6 million children lived in low-income working families. Ten years later, the number had increased to more than 10.2 million, of 14.7% of young Americans.Ó These children reside in families earning just above the official poverty level of less than $26,000 for a family of four.

Actually, the report noted, there was some improvement in the lives of poor children during the decade, largely due to the booming economy at the time, plus the shift by some families from welfare to jobs after the Clinton administration destroyed Òwelfare as we know it.Ó According to study coordinator William OÕHare, however, ÒWeÕve got people no longer dependent on the government, but certainly not out of poverty. We havenÕt moved a lot of those people into jobs they can support a family with.Ó

The most recent year measured by the study was 2000. Now, with the economy in the doldrums, state budgets going bust, and welfare benefits running out, more working families are being kicked below the poverty level, and those living in near poverty are increasing.



What do working women want? According to the AFL-CIOÕs Ask A Working Woman (AAWW) survey, released May 7, here are their top seven legislative priorities:

Equal Pay (92%), Health Care (91%), Pensions/Social Security (90%), Affirmative Action (90%), Ending Gender Discrimination (90%), Family/Medical Leave (88%), Child Care (78%). These figures are based on combining Òvery importantÓ and Òsomewhat importantÓ replies. In terms of Òvery importantÓ only, Health Care was the top priority with 69%. For Equal Pay, 58% considered it Òvery important.Ó

The demand for equal pay is always popular in the AAWW poll, which the union federation commissions every two years. Equal pay has been the law since 1963, but women are still paid 73 cents for every dollar men earn -- including when they have similar education, skills and experience. The AFL-CIO, which includes 5.5 million women among its 13 million members, points out that this amounts Òto $27 less to spend on groceries, housing, child care and other expenses for every $100 worth of work women do. Nationwide, working families lose $200 billion of income annually to the wage gap. The average 25-year-old working woman will lose more than $523,000 to unequal pay during her working life.Ó

Here are some other results of the survey: 66% of working mothers work 40 or more hours per week, compared with 60% of women without children; more than one out of four working mothers works nights or weekends and two out of five work different schedules than their husband or partner. Overall, 63% of all women workers put in 40 or more hours on the job -- up from 60% two years ago. Working women of color are more likely than white women to work a schedule that is different than their spouses (52% of African-American women, 47% of Latina women and 36% of white women). Some 48% of working women said their job responsibilities and duties increased in the past year, but only half of them received more pay for their labors.

This year for the first time, the AAWW survey also polled working men. The results showed that the men demonstrated strong support for child care, paid family leave, strengthening working women's rights and fighting gender discrimination and unequal pay. For example, 86% of men joined 92% of women in viewing equal pay as an important priority.

The AFL-CIO reported that Òcontrary to popular opinion, there is no split between the concerns of working mothers and women without children. On retirement security, about 90% of both groups feel that strengthening Social Security and pensions and stronger equal pay laws are important and both groups report overwhelming support for expanding family and medical leave and making quality health care more affordable.Ó

The national telephone survey, conducted by Lake Snell Perry & Associates, consisted of more than 1500 interviews between March 4-7 this year among adults currently in the workforce. The project also surveyed 20,000 working women across the country. For more information on the 2002 AAWW survey, visit



Former Secretary of State Henry KissingerÕs past political misdeeds are catching up to him at last. Activists in London recently conducted a demonstration to protest his presence at a meeting of corporate directors, calling him a criminal for his conduct during the Vietnam war. Some human rights groups are trying to have him arrested as a war criminal for his involvement in WashingtonÕs war to dominate Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. And the Spanish judge who sought to indict former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, is now going after Kissinger for his role in destroying democracy in Chile.

A degree of pressure must be getting to the man who served as Machiavelli to Prince Richard Nixon. With the shouts of Òwar criminalÓ still ringing in his ears from the demonstration outside LondonÕs Royal Albert Hall, Kissinger told the assembled corporate leaders with exquisite abstraction that ÒNo one can say that he served in an administration that did not make mistakes.Ó This is the closest he ever came to acknowledging a remote proximity to ÒmistakesÓ while serving as foreign policy guru. One can easily imagine the 78-year-old master of the geopolitical game cynically chuckling to himself over such a self-serving admission, while Poor Richard must be revolving in his grave for the nth time, envying and hating Kissinger for being so cleverly outrageous, and getting away with it time and again.

Reuters news agency asked the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in Hanoi to comment on the London protest and moves in some countries to bring Kissinger to trial for war crimes, and received this reply: "We hold that as a key official who played an important role at the time the United States was carrying out its invasive war in Vietnam, Mr. Kissinger has to take responsibility for the sufferings and losses brought by this war upon the Vietnamese people." (Over 2 million Vietnamese died in the conflict, as did 58,209 U.S. GIs.)

Of course Kissinger is a criminal. HereÕs one instance, as we wrote in a pamphlet (ÒEnough is Enough -- 100 Years of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the CaribbeanÓ) published a couple of years ago: ÒAs a result of the 1970 elections [in Chile] a genuine leftist reformer was sitting at the very center of government in the continentÕs most democratic country. Dr. Salvador Allende Gossens, the candidate of the Popular Unity coalition of progressives, socialists, and communists, gained office with a plurality of the vote and began to assemble a coalition government. In the months leading up to the elections, the CIA had intervened feverishly with money and other forms of support to assure the victory of the ultra-rightist candidate. The U.S. first tried to rig the elections, then to bribe members of the Chilean Congress to have them refuse to confirm Allende in office, and, if all else failed, to begin the process of fomenting a military coup. Investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh in his informational book, ÔThe Price of Power,Õ quotes Kissinger as saying at the June 27, 1970, secret meeting [in Washington] where these plans were approved: ÔI donÕt see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.ÕÓ

So much for democracy. Allende was overthrown and killed in 1973, along with many thousands of Chilean progressives and democrats. Thousands more were tortured and imprisoned. PinochetÕs right-wing authoritarian regime ruled for decades with U.S. backing, thanks to Kissinger and his successors. Visiting Chile in 1998, soon after the elderly dictator retired, President Bill Clinton surpassed routine White House hypocrisy by delivering a moving speech about how pleased was Washington that Chile finally restored democracy. We mention this because concealed behind its excessive penchant for the rhetoric of human rights, Washington is perpetrating the same duplicitous deeds today as yesterday. Fixing elections? How about Yugoslavia in 2000? Overthrowing democratic governments? How about Venezuela in 2002 (though a U.S.-backed coup was foiled this time)?

Meanwhile, weÕve got a war on terrorism to keep the Pentagon occupied today and a government to topple in Iraq tomorrow. Who needs a Kissinger or a Nixon when thereÕs a George Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld -- criminals all, in our view -- occupying the War Room? Still, it would be appropriate for the man who served as the model for Dr. Strangelove to finally be obliged to sit in humanityÕs courtroom and explain, no doubt patiently and professorially, why the survival of freedom, democracy and the American Way of Life required the carpet-bombing slaughter of poor peasants in IndochinaÕs rice paddies.


[Note: The pamphlet ÒEnough is EnoughÓ traces hundreds of Uncle SamÕs Òhumanitarian interventionsÓ in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last century and provides a context for understanding the role of Henry Kissinger and scores of other top Yankee officials in the exercise of Ògood neighborlyÓ economic, political and military hegemony throughout the southern hemisphere. A copy of this large-size, illustrated pamphlet, written by the editor of this newsletter, is available for $2.50, which includes the postage (bulk orders for groups or schools are ridiculously inexpensive; just ask). Make out your check to MHNPC and mail to MHNPC, P.O. Box 523, Highland, NY 12528, or Email jacdon (at)]





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