LOS ANGELES: Mayors stand up for cities: U.S. out of Iraq

Providence, R.I., Mayor David Cicilline introduced a resolution before the 224 mayors attending the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s annual meeting saying, “We support the troops 110 percent,” but “we call for the administration to begin planning immediately for the swift and prudent redeployment of the U.S. armed forces.” Despite opposition from the conference president, Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, the motion passed 51-47.

The resolution called for full funding for services for all veterans, accelerated training of Iraqi forces and the promotion of stability in the region.

Tom Cochran, executive director of the national mayors’ group, told the online magazine American Chronicle that the conference had passed a similar resolution opposing the Vietnam War. “We’re told ‘just empty the trash and don’t bother with issues like wars,’” he said. “But we have to deal with the funding that is taken from the cities for wars like this. I was proud of this resolution. We have made videos of defining moments in the 75-year history of our organization and this will be included.”

The mayors also followed up on their initiative of a year ago to curtail global warming, which has been signed onto by over 600 cities and municipalities.

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine: Rally calls for Iraq pullout, impeachment

President Bush and Russian President Putin listed building alliances on their agenda, but thousands of activists marched on their meeting site demanding U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

“This nation is in distress because of its leadership,” said Ted Goodnight, an Afghanistan war veteran from Providence, R.I., as he led the demonstration down Ocean Avenue from the town’s village green.

Last year, a similar demonstration when the Bushes gathered at the family compound drew 600, said Kenne-bunkport Police Chief Joseph Bruni.

Charging Bush and Cheney with “criminal behavior,” Mike Miles, 55, told reporters, “I’m sick of the war.” As he marched, he chanted, “Impeach W, Impeach Cheney, too.”

Police arrested two people when they attempted to breach a barricade a half a mile from the site of the presidents’ meeting.

MADISON, Wis.: State universal health care passes Senate

“We have a historic opportunity to give our businesses, our families, our farmers what they’ve been asking for for years. … What they have been asking for are the same health benefits as their state legislators,” said state Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson of Beloit.

On June 29 the Senate approved Health Wisconsin in the state’s biannual budget, a measure that provides full health insurance for nearly every resident. Under the bill, the number of residents who do not have health insurance would drop from 472,000 to 15,000. A worker who earns $42,333 a year would pay $140 a month while the boss would pay $370 a month, for the same package enjoyed by state legislators and the governor. According to the bill’s author, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, businesses would spend less than they currently shell out for health insurance premiums. The plan, if passed by the Assembly, would go into effect in 2009.

“The current system is not sustainable. It’s got to be changed,” said state AFL-CIO President David Newby. Unions and a host of organizations have been campaigning for years for state health care reform.

Republicans condemned the bill. They hold a slim five-vote majority in the Assembly.

WASHINGTON: FBI gives Wall St. and Main St. criminals a break

9/11 Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton and Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, are upset. “I don’t pick up the business section every day of the week that I don’t see some kind of shenanigans going on in the business sector,” said Hamilton. “There’s an awful lot of malfeasance in this country at high levels. You’ve got drug dealers and ordinary criminals and all the rest and they need to be prosecuted.”

The numbers from the Justice Department are stunning. In the decades preceding 9/11, crime on both Wall Street and Main Street declined. In 2001, the FBI prosecuted 19,000 cases, but in 2006 that number dropped 30 percent, to 12,700, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. In the same five-year period, though, FBI investigations into alleged terrorist activity increased by 26 percent.

During a hearing by his subcommittee, Biden noted that cities across the country are reporting an increase in murder and other violent crimes, while FBI investigations into these categories declined by 60 percent.

In 2000, the FBI brought 5,014 cases. By 2006, that number plummeted by half to 2,380 prosecutions.

The biggest winner was organized crime, a 73 percent drop in investigations from 606 in 2000 to 163 in 2006.

While FBI investigations into corporate crime took a 62.5 percent nosedive, their investigations into pornography doubled.

“The federal government has taken its focus off street crime since 9/11, asking law enforcement to do more with less,” said Biden. “It’s a false choice between fighting terrorism and fighting crime.”

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696 @aol.com).