May 2002

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Thurs., May 2 3:00 p.m.

S.F. Coalition to Save Public Health. Demonstration to protest

budget cuts. SF General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Ave. Info, call Peter:


Sun., May 5 3:00 p.m.

Jim Kahn will discuss his plan for universal health care. 626 Pacheco St.


Tues., May 7 1:00­3:00 p.m.

Board meeting at the office. Bring your suggestions for subjects/

resolutions to be taken up at the regional meeting. All welcome!

Tues., May 7 10:00 a.m.

City Hall Board Chambers, Budget Commitee hearing on Public

Health Dept., etc. budgets.

Wed., May 8 7:30 a.m.

Senior Rally in Sacramento. Buses leave St. Mary's Cathedral. $7:00.

Call Houston to pre-register, 415/546-1333.

Tues., May 21 10:00 a.m.­Noon

SPAN Coalition Rally and Press conference during the American

Gerontologists Assocition's convention at Moscone Center to protest

extension of drug patents. Call the office for exact location and be there!

Wed. May 21 Noon

People's Budget and Human Services Network: demo at City Hall Plaza to protest budget cuts to public health.

Sat., May 25 10:30 a.m.­12:15 p.m.

OWL Mothers Day Report on the future of Social Security and discussion of health care issues. For location 415/989-4422.

Sat., June 1 10:00 a.m.­3:00 p.m.

General and Regional Gray Panther meeting at Western Apartments, 1280 Laguna. All welcome and invited!

Full Agenda for Regional Meeting 6/1/02

Our combination membership and regional meeting promises to be thought provoking and a call for action in a variety of subjects. Actions to be promoted in Sacramento will be explained and the networks will be advised how to take part in common and regionally.

Bring a bag lunch and the S.F.G.P. network will provide light refreshments. Western Park Apartments is located between Eddy and Ellis on Laguna. The number 31 Balboa bus stops just a 1/2 block away and the number 38 Geary, 1 1/2 blocks away.

Come prepared for a full discussion of Gray Panthers core objectives including Clean Money­Clean Elections, Pollution, Health Care for All and the resolutions being brought for consideration by the regional networks. All your contributions are welcome!

Women DO Count

Reproductive choice is alive and kicking but by no means permanently assured, Stacey Karp of the California Abortion Rights Advocacy League (CARAL) told us at our April meeting. She described the numerous ongoing attacks on many fronts by the Bush administration and what is being done to fight back both nationally and on a state-wide basis.

She enumerated the status of court fights, clinic and reproductive choice information availability, emergency contraceptive pills and medical trainingall being examined. California, especially the Bay Area, is strongly pro-choice, but you might not be so lucky even here away from the major cities. And the Republicans have nominated Simon for governor. He is openly anti-abortion and the trust he administers has contributed heavily to pro-life groups.

One action we can take is to watch for confirmation hearings on the Bush nomination of Judge Carolyn Kuhl for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. She is staunchly anti-abortion. When she comes up for confirmationthis summer, perhapsstrongly urge our senators to oppose her. The Senate has blocked the confirmation of another Bush pro-life nominee, Charles Pickering, for the 5th Court of Appeals. Let's stop this one, too. And urge our state legislators to support the Reproductive Privacy Act, authored by Sheila Kuehl, which among other things will protect Californians against adverse opinions by the Supreme Court re Roe vs Wade.

The second half of the program featured Lori Nairne of the International Wages for Housework Campaign. This is not a campaign for better wages for the cleaning lady, although they are for that, too. This is a campaign for the recognition of women and women's work as equally important and productive as men's.

The International Wages for Housework Campaign was started in 1974 by women in Ireland who wanted a paid holiday on International Women's Day, March 8. They wanted the work women do, paid and unpaid, to be recognized as productive and valuable and to be included in the Gross National Product.

"Every mother is a working woman" and "caring work" is as valuable as any other work and should be so regarded and paid for accordingly. In 1999, the Global Women's Strike on International Women's Day took off like a house afire. Additionally empowered by Beijing and Seattle in the years 2000 and 2001, it was observed by actions in more than 60 countries. This year there were actions in even more countries including such places as Uganda, Peru, Argentina, Spain, Guyana, China and the U.S. Even the mainstream media recognized the movement. Lori's presentation was a down-to-earth and inspiring report.

This year the S.F. Gray Panthers contributed money to their local efforts. Next year, let's all participate!

Terrorism in Eyes & Ears of Observers

By definition from various dictionaries: The act of terrorizing or state of being terrorized. A mode of government by terror or intimidation. A system that seeks to rule by terror. Use of terror and violence to intimidate, subjugate, especially as a political weapon or policy. Terror: Extreme fright. Intense fear.

From Harsh Kapoor: Acts or threats of violence against unarmed citizens, carried out in the pursuit of a political objective. Perpetrators can be state or non-state and objectives are irrelevant. Purpose of terrorisma means to a political end.

Jon Carroll in the Chronicle: "The wanton killing of civilians for political ends. It is, as a technique of modern warfare, at least as old as the carpet bombing of Dresden. It is horrific and morally unjustifiable, but it is a fact of life. Making war on terrorism is like making war on greednice idea, probably not practical."

On the Eve of Earth Day

The Pentagon looks to relax rules on the environment. The Bush administration is trying to restrict protections for marine mammals as part of a sweeping proposal to exempt the military from key parts of environmental legislation.

The Pentagon proposes changes to six landmark environmental laws and the draft was delivered to Capitol Hill where members of Congress have begun drafting the defense authorization bill.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act forbids, with certain exceptions, harassing, hunting, capturing or killing whales, dolphins or any other marine mammals.

Environmentalists charge that the Pentagon's proposal would dilute the definition of "harassment" so much that the National Marine Fisheries Service would find it difficult to regulate military activities that affect marine mammals.

The Pentagon's proposal also would give the military exemptions from the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and hazardous-waste laws.

Excerpted from Chronicle News Services, April 20, 2002

DPH Losses in Baseline Budget

The "baseline budget" is the City and Department of Public Health Service's best-case scenario, which they say will not cut health services. But, in fact, it does reduce and eliminate vital services.

All of these cuts are unacceptable! A few are:

· Reduce types of medicines and amounts of medicine obtained in SFGH Pharmacy.

· No COLA for UCSF clinical services at SFGH or for CBOs that supply most of DPH's Mental Health, Substance Abuse and other prevention services.

· 20% cut to Hospitality House Self-Help Center.

· Elimination of SRO Collaboratives in Central City, Mission and Chinatown.

· Eliminate job training as part of after-hours crisis treatment.

· Eliminate Free Health Care Services for Uninsured Women and Girls. and so many more!

Phone 415/554-6141 to ask for times and locations

Attend City Budget meetings and make your outrage known!

The Matuso Affair

by Albert E. Kahn · Foreword by Angus Cameron

1987, Moyer Bell Limited, out of print. Borrowing copy in GP office.

Harvey Matuso was a professional informer for the U.S. government during the 1950s witchhunts for Communists and radicals. Matuso wished to recant testimony thereby exposing the government's use of professional witnesses. He asked Albert Kahn for help with publishing his memoirs. What makes this book interesting is not Matuso, but the people whose future hang on the book and his recanting false testimony. Many faced long jail terms because of Matuso. The machinations Kahn and Cameron met with publishing this book, exposed a system of professional political informers are the real story.

The book focuses on civil liberties and the right of free speech that is understandable from a writer and book publisher's point of view. However, in my opinion, the real target of McCarthyism was the gutting of the labor movement and destruction of its left leadership. National health care coverage was probably another casualty of the period. Most industrialized nations enacted universal health coverage at this time.

Kahn's book has much information on the history of the FBI and connections to right-wing organizations. Under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover (who had gotten his training during the Palmer Raids of the 1920s), the bureau increased ranks until they became the size of a small army. They investigated over 6.6 million people from March 1947 to December 1950. Not a single case of espionage was discovered, although some of the 500 people were dismissed from employment for questionable loyalty.

The House Un­American Activities Committee, with the approval and financial backing of the executive and judicial branches of government, attempted to intimidate and control every facet of life. Millions of people were required to sign loyalty oaths. It began with Federal employees, the miltary, officers of labor unions and eventually included school teachers, church board members, recipients of unemployment benefits and even sporting events.

The use of fear to control dissenting thought seems all too familiar. In the 1920s and '30s the anarchists and Wobblies were the boogie men; in the '50s, the red menace, and today the "terrorists,"often the first individuals targeted, are foreigners. In the 1950s many foreign born working people were threastened with deportation for political activity. Presently Arab people are detained and held without trial seemingly with no more justification than accident of birth.

In 1950 the Detention Camp Bill was enacted for suspected "subversives." They would be held without trial. The proposed camps were set up, ready for use as an internal security emergency. Immediately after the awful attack of 9/11 the Homeland Security Act and other repressive measures were enacted. These measures were rapidly put into place based on the Hart Rudman report done several years before the attack. Is this the return of the heavy hand of politics of the 1950s?

Angus Cameron, former editor and chief of Little Brown and Co. publishing, wrote in his introduction: "politics of those days lay a heavy hand on the present." Although written in 1987, it seems even truer 15 years later. Book Review by Gretchen Davis

National Is Coming to Town

Get ready to protest with the national Gray Panthers organization and as many networks as can attend on Tuesday, May 21 drug companies' attempts to block the production of generic drugs after their patents run out.

The occasion for this protest is the annual convention of the American Gerontologists Association at Moscone Center May 19 ­May 22. One of the major underwriters and exhibitors in this meeting is the British pharmaceutical company Astrozenica, the makers of Prilosec. Prilosec is an acid reflux prevention drug and one of the largest-selling drugs in the world.

Astrozenica's patent on Prilosec ran out in October 2001 and the company went to court to delay the issuance of a generic version. Prilosec is a very expensive drug; the generic will likely be much cheaper and every day that the generic is delayed Astrozenica makes an estimated $6,250,000 because it has no competition

The company evidently expects to lose the court case which will eventually allow the introduction of a generic version. Meanwhile Astrozenica not only reaps its daily profit but is heavily promoting to doctors and consumers a new variation called Nexium that they hope patients will demand instead of the generic.

Our national Gray Panthers organization and the SPAN (Stop Patient Abuse Now) coalition, with 125 member organizations plans to hold a Town Hall type meeting on Tuesday, May 21 to present to the gastroenterologists, and to the public, the other side of the story from what Astrozenica is toutingthe right to cheaper and equally effective generics and the dubious additional value of the slightly altered but not proven Nexium. In addition to the specific question of Prilosec and Nexium, this will be an exposé and protest against the high cost of all patented prescription drugs and the out-of-sight profits of the pharmaceutical industry.

The S.F. Gray Panthers and California networks are cooperating in SPAN's planning and we want our members to attend en masse! Call the office for exact time and place and plan to be there!

This action affects all of us!

The Newsletter of the San Francisco Gray Panthers is published each month, and distributed free of charge to members and friends of this nonprofit organization.

Editorial Board: Rebecca Hirshleifer, Mitzi Raas; Publisher, Astrid M. Spector; Art Director, Fannie Biderman; Proof, Lurilla Harris; Circulation: Harold Greenblatt and Mary Francis Smith. Printed by Graffik Natwicks; Webpage design: Barry Simpkins

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