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July 31

While Lebanon Burns, the Saudis Feign Impotence
by Ahmed Amr

As always, the real Arab elephant in the room is the House of El Saud and its allies in the surrounding oil sheikdoms. Why exactly did the influential Gulf monarchs decide to cast their lot with Tel Aviv? Here we are at peak oil. Petrodollars are flowing by the tens of billions into Gulf coffers. And Saudi Arabia drops its last fig leaf and demonstrates to one and all that it has struck an alliance of convenience with Israel and given the IDF a green light to ravage Lebanon and Gaza. On the face of it, it doesn’t make much sense. The one Arab country that has the leverage to shelter the region from American financed Israeli brutality decides to publicly turn on its own people. To make partial amends, King Abdallah has offered to compensate the Lebanese for some of the damage inflicted by the Israeli war machine. Unfortunately, for all their wealth, the Saudis have yet to perfect a way to bring back the dead or reattach missing Lebanese limbs.....(full article)

Dear Kofi Annan, It’s Time to Remove the U.S.
and Israel from the United Nations
by Mike Whitney

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
I am writing to you with the hope that you will take swift action to address a grave and existential threat to the United Nations. The events in the Middle East are quickly spinning out of control as today’s attack on the UN offices in Beirut clearly indicates. The central problem is that the UN is no longer able to fulfill its mandate to “keep the peace” because of the obstructionism of the United States. In the last few days, 15 foreign ministers met in Rome to determine the appropriate language for a statement calling for an immediate cease-fire to the violence in Lebanon. As you know, the countries unanimously supported the motion except for the United States, which blocked the measure to give Israel more time to destroy Lebanon with its vicious air campaign. I think you will agree that the UN cannot survive if it is hamstrung in its duties by the narrow policy objectives of the individual states. In this case, both Washington and Tel Aviv want war, and so war it is....(full letter)

Mexico Rising: Follow the Yellow Brick Road
by Mitchel Cohen

The sea of yellow swept through the veins of Mexico City en route to the Zocalo on Sunday, the platelets returning to the heart. Yellow for clean elections; amarillo for democracy, as manifest in the candidacy of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who believes that his populist electoral victory in the presidential election three weeks ago was stolen from him and the working class and poor of Mexico who voted for him. Unlike John Kerry, Obrador, the mayor of Mexico City, did not disappoint the perhaps two million people who completely filled the Zocalo and avenues in every direction for block after block after block. He has presented evidence of fraud at 70,000 polling places to the Supreme Court. And, as his voice echoed from loudspeakers everywhere, he called on his supporters to remain in the Zocalo (after apologizing to the thousands of street vendors who would be inconvenienced by the occupation), setting up dozens of large white tents -- one for each Mexican state -- for the vigil to use to organize itself and expand....(full article)

Apocalypse No!
An Indigenist Perspective 
by Juan Santos

It’s scripted: a tragedy whose end is embedded in its beginnings, an unfolding logic whose conclusion is the inevitable result of its premises. It’s simple. And obvious. We find ourselves in the midst of the most rapid mass extinction in Earth’s history; we have the power to all-but end life on Earth. We can do so with nuclear weapons, today, in Iran, or simply by turning the ignition switch on our automobiles and gliding over paved surfaces where nothing can live. A little more carbon dioxide, just a little, will tip the scale -- unleashing our potential for matching the greatest mass extinction ever -- the one called The Great Dying. Science has given us until roughly 2012 to take radical action to change the course we’re on. In the next six years, they tell us, we will determine the fate of the Earth. With the US and its white colonial puppet Israel on a nuclear collision course with Iran and Syria, we may have less time than that. 250 million years ago 95% of all species died.  Only one large land animal was left.  Carbon dioxide and methane -- the two most deadly of the greenhouse gases -- were responsible.  We can do it again.  We’ve followed the script, we know our lines, and we’ve reached the final scene. For that reason, this is a most exciting juncture for the Armageddon mongers among us.....(full article)

July 29

The Lies Israel Tells Itself (and We Tell on Its Behalf)
by Jonathan Cook

When journalists use the word “apparently,” or another favorite “reportedly,” they are usually distancing themselves from an event or an interpretation in the supposed interests of balance. But I think we should read the “apparently” contained in a statement from the head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, relating to the killing this week of four unarmed UN monitors by the Israeli army in its other sense.....(full article)

Is That a European Leftist or a Pig with Red Lipstick?
by Gabriel Ash

Until the last federal elections, Germany, it was said, was ruled by a leftist coalition. The more leftist party in the so-called leftist coalition was the Green Party, headed by the so-called fiery radical Joschka Fischer. Fischer’s radical credentials included having once in his youth assaulted a cop in a street protest, speaking clearly, and appearing less dumb than the average politician (he even studied Karl Marx!!). Being so clearly above a very low average, he was wildly popular in Germany. Fischer, now out of government, pronounced himself on the Lebanon crisis. His intervention offers a window into what passes as “left” in Europe. Not a pretty sight. Fischer’s grand thesis is that “this war offers a chance for a lasting peace.” Although Fischer doesn’t agree on the details, his rhetoric that sees war as the midwife of peace is the same as Condoleezza Rice’s “birth pangs of the new Middle East.”....(full article)

Empire and Israel
by John Pilger

John Pilger describes the indoctrination that allows the American empire to rule and its proxy, Israel, to proceed with its imperial task of installing puppet regimes across the Middle East. The resistance, however, will have something to say about this "reality"......(full article)

Delusional Expectations
by John Chuckman

At this writing, Israel has killed 600 civilians in Lebanon, including more than 100 children, and killed another 150 and fifty in Gaza. It has created hundreds of thousands of refugees and destroyed enough bridges and power stations and apartments to create misery for years to come. Nothing is more dishonest than attempting to justify this barbarism with "Islamist fundamentalists declare their goal openly to destroy the state of Israel and kill Jews." There is no possibility that Israel can be destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists: the notion is simply a fantasy. This is so not just because of Israel's ready willingness to bomb and kill but because of great-power guarantees. It is so also because no Arab state believes any longer that Israel’s destruction is a sensible or possible goal, despite their leaders’ public rhetoric. And it is true because the enemies Israel claims are so threatening, organizations such as Hezbollah or Hamas, are militarily weak by any rational standard of calculation. Israel began by moving into a bad neighborhood, and everyone involved understood this from the beginning, yet Israel behaves as though it should be normal to enjoy a pristine Disney-like suburb with white-picket fences. It reacts to activities in the bad neighborhood that disturb its fantasy with ferocious indignation. Israel's destructive behavior is explained largely by this delusional expectation.....(full article)

by Peter Kurth

Scarlett O’Hara’s “Fiddle-dee-dee” came to mind last week when I read the reports about American citizens stranded in Lebanon at the start of the Israeli blitzkrieg, their “vacations and business trips” ruined “with sickening speed,” according to The Los Angeles Times, “their frustration and anger mounting because the U.S. government [hadn’t] gotten them out faster.” There they were, innocent Americans, “waiting around Beirut with bags packed and fingers crossed,” cursing the U.S. embassy’s “busy phone lines,” “the lack of information” and the “gnawing uncertainty over when and whether they’d get to go home.” Really, you can’t imagine what these poor people had to endure while Beirut was reduced to rubble and more than half a million Lebanese, who can’t go anywhere, were fleeing for their lives.....
(full article

Extradition Act 2003: “Where Do You Want to Go Today?”
by Ridwan Sheikh

It’s a catchy slogan, but it appears the nation’s legal system is taking Microsoft’s cue. Sadly, the ill-fated recipient is yet another young Muslim man. Syed Talha Ahsan, 25, of Tooting, South London, was arrested by Anti-Terrorist police officers, on 19 July 2006, at the request of the US government, under the guise of “The War on Terror.” A federal grand jury in Bridgeport, District of Connecticut, returned a three-count indictment (charge) for participating in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; aiding and abetting others in providing material support to terrorists; and participating in a conspiracy to kill, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country.  The allegations arise from websites created with Babar Ahmad, which were suspected of being sympathetic to Al-Qaeda activities. If extradited and convicted of the charges, Talha Ahsan faces a maximum term of life in prison. The UK government’s response was cynical and ruthless. Just like the mad hatter, at the tea party, in Lewis Carroll’s adaptation of, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the empty rhetoric’s, were soon followed by the gut churning shoulder-to-shoulder stance with George W. Bush. So why are individuals such as Babar Ahmad, the Natwest three and Talha Ahsan being extradited to the US and not being given a fair trial in this country?  (full article)

Score One For Justice in Chicago
by Paul Street

Good for Chicago -- they did it. They passed a living wage ordinance requiring “big box” retailers like Wal-Mart and Target to pay their workers at least $10 an hour along with $3 an hour worth of benefits as part of the cost of doing business in the city by the year 2010. The law applies to any and all stores that occupy more than 90,000 square feet and gross more than $1 billion annually. By “they,” I especially mean rank-and-file community and labor activists, who reflected and organized mass support for the “big box” law in the city’s large number of disproportionately poor black and Latino wards....(full article)

One Woman Abandoned: US Feminists Fail the Test
by Leslie Radford

It slid under the radar, a little test of where US feminists stand.  An LA Superior Court judge threatened to deport an undocumented woman rather than granting her the restraining order she sought. On July 14 Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Bruce R. Fink asked the woman whether she was in the country illegally. The woman answered affirmatively. Fink gave her a count of twenty to leave the courtroom or face his bailiff and deportation. He counted to six and, after the woman left the courtroom, he dismissed her petition because she wasn’t present. The judge patronizingly decided that the woman would be better off in the custody of her abusive husband, who was both seeking citizenship for her and threatening her with deportation, than in the domestic violence shelter where she had been staying. The judge surmised that the woman’s claims of verbal and emotional abuse, including her husband’s threats to have her deported, were “nothing more than some yelling and screaming between a husband and wife.”.....(full article)

Backpedaling at the IRS
by Gene C. Gerard

The New York Times reported this week that the Bush administration is eliminating almost half of the lawyers at the Internal Revenue Service who audit the tax returns of the wealthiest Americans. These lawyers specialize in auditing the returns of those who are subject to gift and estate taxes. Since taking office in 2001 President Bush has consistently lobbied Congress to repeal the estate tax, but he hasn’t been able to get Congress to go along with him. Instead, the Bush administration has now decided to force the IRS to backpedal and circumvent the tax laws.....(full article)

Bush's Stem Cell Veto: What's Wrong With This Picture?
by Charles Henderson

In the first ever veto of his administration, President Bush has killed legislation that would have expanded federal support of stem cell research by making available to scientists new “lines” of such cells that experts generally agree are needed to move forward in finding treatments for spinal cord injury, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other life threatening diseases.....(full article

Sacramento’s Giant Steps: How to Be a World-Class City 
by Seth Sandronsky 

The wait is over for the city’s gentry. Sacramento may finally be a world-class city with fresh development. How? The usual way, with help from elected public officials behind closed doors. Courageously, local lawmakers are lending a visible hand to the Maloof family -- who own Sacramento’s NBA Kings, WNBA Monarchs and Arco Arena where the teams play. On July 25, Sacramento County supervisors agreed by a 4-1 vote to put a measure on the November ballot for a new sports arena in the downtown business district and other local projects to be funded by a quarter-cents sales tax hike. This will revitalize downtown. Sacramento’s bold leaders say so. Then and only then will downtown Sacramento bloom for businesses and their customers. Take note, American cities. And Arco Arena? The building is located in a city floodplain surrounded by weak canals and levees that has become a residential neighborhood.....(full article)

Leisure Suits for Hezbollah
by Kona Lowell

It’s truly difficult to find much reason for optimism when surveying that ancient region of the world that the Big Three religions claim as home and that we casually refer to as The Middle East. Iraq has descended into full-blown civil war, even though Ken Burns has yet to do a documentary about it. Afghanistan could appear rosy only to a junkie. Gaza, already malnourished, thirsty and bombed out is getting another helping of the same. And now Lebanon. Like most Americans still possessed of conscience and humanity, I find this latest invasion not only difficult to watch, but frightening. Although accustomed to Israel’s tit to the tenth power for tat, this seems even more disproportionate, response-wise, like a surgeon amputating a leg to the hip because of an ingrown toenail. Could it be that the cheerful Armageddonites are correct? Are we gazing down into the abyss of World War III? Is Jesus sharpening his sword and saddling his horse? (full article)

-- Satire --
The History of the Colonization of The Middle East
as uncovered by Minna vander Pfaltz

It has long been a very serious and anxious question as to the original discovery of the land called Middle East. This is a brief history of that discovery that will completely vanquish such a preposterous question. The inhabitants of Lud, by way of their astonishing advances in science and by profound insight into that Ludnikian philosophy, the mere flickerings of which dazzled the blind and addled the shallow brains of good people, had arrived at such a command of their energies -- such an enviable state of perfectibility! -- as to control the elements and navigate the boundless regions of cyberhypedspace. The prodigiousness of sailing in the air and cruising among the stars is a tad more astonishing and incomprehensible to mass man than was the ancient mystery of navigating floating castles through the world of water to the savage natives. The disparity between the former, and the aerial vehicles of the philosophers from Lud, might not be greater than that between the bark canoes of savages and the mighty ships of their discoverers.....(full article)

Chewing Khat and Thinkin' A Lot-A Satire of Sorts
by Ron Jacobs

So, the other day I'm chewing on some khat with my buddies. We're jawing about Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Gaza and the US and Israel when all of a sudden the door to the hookah bar crashes down and there's a frickin' SWAT team in what's left of the doorway. They're wearing those baseball caps that say DEA on 'em. You know, like the ones they sell on St. Mark's Place over on the Lower East Side. One dude -- I'm figurin' he's the bossman -- has a big ol' pistol in his hand and he tells us to line up along the wall. We do so. I mean, who's gonna' argue with a bunch of guys dressed like that? They proceed to rip the place apart. I'm wondering what it is they're looking for. Is the owner of the place a terrorist or a heroin kingpin? Maybe he killed his wife? They finish up, take our names and search us, knock a couple of us around and then leave. Geez, I think to myself, good thing this ain't Baghdad or Gaza. Of course, we leave as soon as those stormtroopers crawl inside their humvee and drive off....(full story)

Jesus is in My Computer 
by Mickey Z.

Question #1: How many of you believe in the whole virgin birth/god-sent-his-son-to-save-us theory? Question #2: How many of you believe in UFOs? Sit tight ... I'm going somewhere with this. So, if you believe there's life on other planets and you believe there's a god who sent his son to earth, who did this god send to the other planets to save them (assuming those planets are also chock full of sinners)? Is Jesus rocketing all over the solar system or does G-d have other kids? Better question: Is the Almighty doing the whole virgin birth thing on other planets or is someone actually getting laid out there in the universe? Here's the best question of all: If an omnipotent god wanted to spread his message and save his people, why did he send his son to Bethlehem in the Year Zero? Call me crazy, but I'm thinking if he set up Jesus in a Times Square office with a laptop and a wireless connection, well ... you get the idea. Let's face it; dumping the messiah into a manger in a small town in Palestine some 2,000 years ago ain't exactly the type of decision an omnipotent being would make. I mean, I'm reaching more people on-line in one day than Jesus met in his entire life. Hmm ... that gives me an idea....  (full article)

July 27


Not Just an American Dream: The US is Not the Only Place With
an Appetite for Energy Consumption
by Chohong Choi


The world has awakened to the two newest and biggest contenders in the oil sweepstakes: China and India, which boast almost 2.5 billion potential consumers between them, and are two of the fastest expanding economies in the world. Their appetites for oil are growing almost geometrically, with China having a head start. As recently as the early 1990s, China was a net oil exporter; today, it is a net oil importer. Increasingly affluent Chinese are subscribing to one of the goals of the American Dream -- a car in every garage -- with a frenzy. As of 2005, there were 27 million private cars registered in China (or the same number in the U.S. in 1942). This sounds like a small slice of the some 800 million cars throughout the world and does not include scooters and motorcycles, to which many Chinese who want something with more power than a bicycle, but cannot afford a car, have upgraded. But the Chinese love affair with cars has only begun, and they have no shortage of domestic and foreign suitors. Nearly every auto manufacturer wants a crack at the Chinese market. If a single manufacturer could appeal to, say, just 0.1 percent of China’s population, that would be 1.3 million riders right there....(full article)



Israel's “New Middle East”

by Tanya Reinhart


Beirut is burning, hundreds of Lebanese die, hundreds of thousands lose all they ever owned and become refugees, and all the world is doing is rescuing the “foreign passport” residents of what was just two weeks ago “the Paris of the Middle East.” Lebanon must die now because “Israel has the right to defend itself.” So goes the U.S. mantra, used to block any international attempt to impose a cease-fire. Israel, backed by the U.S., portrays its war on Lebanon as a war of self-defense. It is easy to sell this message to mainstream media, because the residents of the North of Israel are also in shelters, bombarded and endangered. Israel's claim that no country would let such an attack on its residents go unanswered, finds many sympathetic ears. But let us reconstruct exactly how it all started.....(full article)


When Leaders Serve Foreign Interests, Everyone Loses
by Mazin Qumsiyeh


The gap between facts on the ground and Mideast coverage in many mainstream US media is harmful to US public interest. The fruits of Israeli militarism in the past two weeks included over 500 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians killed (including entire families), 20% of Lebanese civilians displaced, over $4 billion of Lebanese civilian infrastructure destroyed, and whole neighborhoods flattened by US-supplied weapons. The Israeli army (already 4th or 5th strongest in the world) will see its budget increased by nearly $500 million and the US is rushing delivery of aviation fuels, bombs and munitions all funded buy the US taxpayer. Meanwhile, 1/3rd of Israeli children and 2/3rds of Palestinians live below the poverty line. Yet, many TV and newspapers simply regurgitate lies generated in Tel Aviv and parroted by a well-funded network of lobbyists for Israel in the media, on Capital Hill, and in the White House.....(full article



Letter to Greg Palast

by Angie Tibbs


Hello Greg,

Generally I am a fan. Today, I'm not. Your flippant dismissal of both Hamas and Hezbullah is unwarranted. Hamas is the elected government of the Palestinian people. This is contrary to your claim that: "Hamas, just days before it kidnapped and killed Israeli soldiers, was facing certain political defeat at the hands of the Palestinian majority ready to accept the existence of Israel as proposed in a manifesto for peace talks penned by influential Palestinian prisoners.".....(full letter)



Israel and the Future of the Antiwar Movement

by Sharon Smith


Israel’s slaughter of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians should be a moment of truth for the U.S. left. The fact that “about 55 percent of all casualties at the Beirut Government University Hospital are children of 15 years or less,” according to journalist Dahr Jamail, should dispel the myth that Israel’s latest incursions are acts of “self-defense,” as Israel’s many apologists claim. The Bush administration’s rush shipment of precision bombs to aid Israel’s onslaught last weekend should be a wake-up call for those on the U.S. left who purport to follow antiwar principles, yet until now have failed to take a clear stand against the Israeli manifestations of the U.S.’s so-called “war on terror.” To do so would require acknowledging that the U.S.’s wars on Afghanistan and Iraq were meant to be mere stepping-stones in a strategic plan aimed at establishing U.S. dominance over the entire Middle East. With the U.S. occupation of Iraq rapidly descending into bloody civil war, Israel is providing an alternate route toward achieving those shared goals--for U.S. domination over the Middle East ensures Israel’s domination as well....
(full article)



The War-Profiteering Racket: Why They Hate Us

by Gary Corseri


Review of Antonia Juhasz's The Bush Agenda: Conquering the World, One Economy at a Time: This is an infuriating book. It infuriates the way truth does when you get a cold splash of it and you learn how you’ve been taken. (Example: In 2004, Halliburton, the world’s largest energy services corporation, and the happy hunting grounds of its former CEO, Dick Cheney, charged American taxpayers $27,500,000 to deliver $82,000 worth of heating oil from Kuwait to Iraq.) This is also a hopeful book.....(full review)


Adam Smith Meets Cousin Ronnie's Boy
by Joe Bageant


By now you have asked, "How can the largest class be an underclass?" Simple. The few can indeed fuck the many (Shock and horror! Who would have guessed?) even here in the shadow of Lady Liberty, who lifts her lamp beside the Golden Arches, beckoning cheap labor, Arab oil and Chinese loan sharks willing to participate in the global Ponzi scheme known as the Federal Reserve Bank. Again, it's the pretense, the utter refusal to call a spade a spade, that allows the overclass to deny its advantage. But if the bright cognitive elites are standing on the throats of an unacknowledged majority while setting up a college fund for their little Cameron, then they are an overclass. If they go off to the office to write the deep psychographic marketing campaigns that make Ronnie and Tracy believe they need to buy a Dell computer on overstretched credit cards for the educational benefit of their kids, despite evidence to the contrary (Oh boy, now I can print out pictures from!") then they are an overclass. And if they are financial managers of the extractive economic schemes that bleed ole Cousin Ronnie to death by a thousand tiny cuts hidden in his utility bill, and if the same bright elites own portfolios of non-union industries that pit Cousin Ronnie against Malaysian villagers living on 1,000 calories a day, just to keep his job soldering worthless gewgaws on an assembly line, then they are an overclass. And if they send him off to Iraq (all the while swearing they are dead against the Iraq War, but what the hell, it's just redneck Ronnie, and his sort actually likes that kind of thing, being dumb crackers and all) to defend their investments in Halliburton, or IBM or ConAgra, then they are an overclass. It isn't numbers that define an underclass. It's which end of the screwjob you are on. It's not about money. Some of the underclass, such as coal miners, earn surprising wages. It's about inherited advantage and never having to dodge IEDs in Iraq but selling insurance policies to those who do.....(full article)

July 26

J’ Accuse! 
Israeli Crimes Against Humanity 
by Jack Random

If an image is worth a thousand words, the image I cannot remove from my mind is that of a white van utterly destroyed on the streets of Beirut, the gaping hole of an Israeli missile through the heart of the Red Cross on the van’s surface. The state of Israel possesses the most sophisticated precision weapons on the face of the earth -- a gift from the United States of America. It is absolutely clear that an Israeli gunship, armed drone, or a commander in a remote military installation, used the Red Cross on top of a white relief van as a target in an act of state terrorism so brazen and horrific it rips at the heart of every breathing, feeling, living human being. Why would they do such a thing? (full article)

Saudi Arabia and Jordan: With Friends Like These…
by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

The recent support of the US government for the death and destruction in Lebanon does not come as a surprise. Nor is it a surprise to see the silence of the European governments (especially the UK). What is surprising, however, is the belief that the Arab streets still do not matter. According to US officials “whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants -- with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike.” Where does the US think the Al Qaeda fighters and supporters come from? From the country of Al Qaeda-istan? The US, after three years of warfare and spending hundreds of billions of dollars, is still fighting those who have come from the Arab streets. It is a very big mistake to simply dismiss the Arab opinion. The Arab streets matter now more than ever. Afghanistan, Iraq and now Lebanon are good examples of the limits of the military power......(full article)


Applauding While Lebanon Burns
by Norman Solomon

Syndicated columnist Richard Cohen declared in the Washington Post on July 25 that an-eye-for-an-eye would be a hopelessly wimpy policy for the Israeli government. “Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East knows that proportionality is madness,” he wrote. “For Israel, a small country within reach, as we are finding out, of a missile launched from any enemy’s back yard, proportionality is not only inapplicable, it is suicide. The last thing it needs is a war of attrition. It is not good enough to take out this or that missile battery. It is necessary to reestablish deterrence: You slap me, I will punch out your lights.” Cohen likes to sit in front of a computer and use flip phrases like “punch out your lights” as euphemisms for burning human flesh and bones with high-tech weapons, courtesy of American taxpayers.....
(full article)

The Return of the Israeli Military Censor
by Gary Zatzman

It turns out that there is an official notification that the Israeli military censor has been and will continue to suppress publication of information it considers not appropriate to relay to the “Israeli” public at this time. Until now, the Israeli Military Censor had been trotted out, especially during the first Intifada, to keep the “foreign” press from reporting struggles waged or victories won by Palestinian military forces against regular Israeli military forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Israeli press, expected to self-censor anything sensitive for their troops, otherwise paid the censorship little or no heed.  However, the latest notification from the Israeli Military Censor on the 16th of July, as leaked by international journalists, shows the target of the censorship this time is indeed primarily the Israeli public, not the foreign press. It reads as follows.....(full article)

The Bigots Declare War on Immigrants
by Eric Ruder

Jessica Cruz holds down two jobs waiting tables at diners in Hazleton, Pa. She angrily remembers the day when she greeted three friends in Spanish -- and a diner customer pointed at her and ordered her to speak English. Another customer peered into the kitchen and said he looked forward to the day when immigration agents came to take away the Mexicans, she said. Hazelton, a town of 31,000, was thrust into the front lines of the national immigration debate when city officials passed one of the country’s most extreme local laws targeting immigrants.....(full article)

July 25

Five Myths that Sanction Israel’s War Crimes
by Jonathan Cook

This week I had the pleasure to appear on American radio, on the Laura Ingraham show, pitted against David Horowitz, a “Semite supremacist” who most recently made his name under the banner of Campus Watch, leading McCarthyite witch hunts against American professors who have the impertinence to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Arabs have minds and feelings like the rest of us. It was a revealing experience, at least for a British journalist rarely exposed to the depths of ignorance and prejudice in the United States on Middle East matters -- well, apart from the regular whackos who fill my e-mail in-tray. But five minutes of listening to Horowitz speak, and the sympathy with which his arguments were greeted by Laura (“The Professors -- your book’s a great read, David”), left me a lot more frightened about the world’s future.....(full article)

Kidnapped in Israel or Captured in Lebanon?
Official Justification for Israel's Invasion on Thin Ice
by Joshua Frank

As Lebanon continues to be pounded by Israeli bombs and munitions, the justification for Israel's invasion is treading on very thin ice. It has become general knowledge that it was Hezbollah guerillas that first kidnapped two IDF soldiers inside Israel on July 12, prompting an immediate and violent response from the Israeli government, which insists it is acting in the interest of national defense. Israeli forces have gone on to kill over 370 innocent Lebanese civilians (compared to 34 killed on Israel's side) while displacing hundreds of thousands more. But numerous reports from international and independent media, as well as the Associated Press, raise questions about Israel's official version of the events that sparked the conflict two weeks ago.....(full article)

-- The Anti-Empire Report --
The End Is Near, But First, This Commercial 
by William Blum

There are times when I think that this tired old world has gone on a few years too long. What's happening in the Middle East is so depressing. Most discussions of the eternal Israel-Palestine conflict are variations on the child's eternal defense for misbehavior -- "He started it!" Within a few minutes of discussing/arguing the latest manifestation of the conflict the participants are back to 1967, then 1948, then biblical times. I don't wish to get entangled in who started the current mess. I would like instead to first express what I see as two essential underlying facts of life, which remain from one conflict to the next.....(full article)

Selective War Photography: Worthy and Unworthy Victims
by Paul Street

“A picture,” the old saying goes, “is worth a thousand words.” When it comes to eliciting support for, or revulsion against a policy, it is often true, for better or worse, that nothing works like an effective visual image. . . . I started reflecting on the political power of images over words while trying to eat dinner and watch the NBC Nightly News last Tuesday evening. Reporting on the growing Middle Eastern crisis surrounding US client state Israel’s assault on Lebanon and Gaza, NBC anchor Brian Williams was careful to note that “both sides” were suffering “terrible casualties” in the escalating “conflict.” By NBC’s accurate account, the number of dead in Lebanon (“mostly civilians”) was significantly greater than Israel’s body count. There was no effort to pretend otherwise. NBC’s pictures, however, told a rather different story. From Arab Lebanon, viewers saw images of smoke and rubble but no dead bodies or weeping survivors. There were no up-close shots of terrified Lebanese civilians.....(full article)

Varieties of Imperial Decline: Symptoms in Mexico, Mercosur
by toni solo

If people needed reminding that North American and European foreign policy, including policy on aid and trade, is based on sadism and hypocrisy, events in Palestine and Lebanon will surely have done so. While people inside the imperial Bluebeard's Castle come to terms with the narcissistic cynicism of leaders like Tony Blair and George Bush, outside the Castle other people are determined to realize the potential of themselves and their families and rescue as best they can the sentiment embodied in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights so contemptuously trashed by the imperial leaders. As natural resources of all kinds become harder to access and control, North America and Europe become more and more a threat to the fundamental bases and recognized standards of human life everywhere. For the moment, moral leadership has passed unquestionably and decisively to those countries and movements in Latin America that openly resist the anti-humanitarian barbarism of North American and European countries and their allies.....(full article)

Animal Rights Advocacy in the Age of Terror:
An Interview with Lee Hall
by Salem Vegan Society

This month saw the release of a thought-provoking new work by Lee Hall, legal director of Darien, Conn.-based Friends of Animals (FOA), and a Dissident Voice contributing writer. Capers in the Churchyard: Animal Rights Advocacy in the Age of Terror defines animal rights, discusses dominant definitions of terrorism, and provides on-point analysis of relevant laws and campaigns. Hearing that the book takes a look at these timely issues through a decidedly vegan lens, the Salem Vegan Society invited Hall to speak with us about her new work. She graciously provided us with the following interview.....(full interview)

July 24

Israel, Lebanon: Defense Against the Black Arts
by Gabriel Ash

In the wake of my last article, Dissident Voice received a polite and well written “letter to the editor.” The letter, while not claiming any originality, was an exceptionally well packed string of apologetic “talking points.” Since every writer who strays from the party line probably receives scores of similar letters, I thought it would be of some benefit to the community to unpack it publicly.....(full article)

The Daze of the Living Dead
by Zbignew Zingh

Even though you are in a coma, I see your shadow in Gaza, Ramallah and Beirut. Are they channeling you in Lebanon? Sharon, it's twenty years since Sabra and Shatila. Are they channeling you in Beirut? (full article)

Betrayal of the Empire or Fealty to Humanity?Confessions and Reflections of a Recovering White Middle Class Hegemon 
by Jason Miller

“See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over.” What a profound analysis of the current crisis in the Middle East. Bill Fitch, the former coach of the Boston Celtics, used to tell his players to “keep it simple, stupid.” Apparently the “leader of the free world” is a devout follower of Fitch’s philosophy. It may have been effective in coaching an NBA team, but unfortunately for the world, Bush’s habit of ignoring complexities has resulted in multiple disasters. Aside from demonstrating the true depth of his vocabulary and violating his own professed concern with “Christian values” in using the expletive, our beloved leader seems to have forgotten that there is no clear evidence that Syria exerts enough influence over Hezbollah to get them to “stop doing this shit.” But then again, since when does “W” yield for lack of evidence? (full article)

Talking Down the War
by Neve Gordon

Only after a Katyusha rocket killed her neighbor did she agree to come. For more than a week, I had been pleading with my mother and her 80-year-old partner, a veteran of many Israeli wars, to leave their home in the northern city Nahariya and spend time in our small two-bedroom apartment far from the line of fire. Within a week the fighting will subside, I assured her, while asking myself whether this new cycle of violence will indeed end so soon. Although the immediate motives for Israel's campaigns in Gaza and Lebanon were the abduction of three soldiers, releasing the captives is only part of the government's overall objectives. In Gaza, Israel used the abduction as an excuse to reenter the region to stop the firing of Qassam rockets on Israeli cities and towns as well as to try and topple the Hamas-led Palestinian government. In the north, Israel aspires to defang Hezbollah, clean south Lebanon of Hezbollah's military bases, and force the Lebanese government to clamp down on Hasan Nasrallah's militias. In order to examine whether these objectives are prudent and whether Israel's actions can in fact bring about the desired results, one needs to consider the two regions separately......(full article)

Part-Time Principles: The Rhetoric of the Bush Morality
by Walter Brasch

George W. Bush says he believes in up-or-down votes. He proclaimed it shortly after his first inaugural, and included that belief in his 2005 State of the Union address, when he demanded that, “every judicial nominee deserves an up-or-down vote.” A one-vote majority, says the President, should decide nominations and issues. He constantly talked about up-or-down votes in the Senate for the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N., for bills to ban gay marriages, to make it illegal to burn the flag, and almost every bill his administration proposed. His words were echoed by the Congressional leadership and by the evangelical fundamental Christian base. He disagrees with Senate rules, which require 60 votes to override a filibuster. The reason President Bush believes in the “up-or-down” theory of governance is because for most of his Administration he has had a Republican Congress willing to do whatever it takes to advance a neoconservative political and social agenda. Since President Bush believes in one-vote majorities, it shouldn’t have been a problem for him to accept a 238–194 vote in the House and a 63–37 vote in the Senate to allow medical researchers to use stem cells from embryos, with their donors’ consent, that would have been discarded by fertility clinics. About 400,000 frozen embryos are in clinics; a few will be “adopted” by mothers who have them implanted in their uteruses; most embryos will be thrown away.....(full article)

Prescription Politics
by Gene C. Gerard

Two recent studies have shown that prescription drug prices rose significantly during the first quarter of the year. AARP, an advocacy organization for older Americans, found that the prices charged by pharmaceutical companies for brand-name drugs increased by almost four percent. A similar study by Families USA, a healthcare advocacy group, found a nearly identical increase. Given the vast sums that the pharmaceutical industry has spent lobbying against price controls, the dramatic increase in the cost of drugs isn’t surprising.....(full article)

In Defense of Barry Bonds
by Mickey Z.

Barry Bonds is enormously wealthy, enormously talented, enormously arrogant, enormously black, and just plain enormous. For many folks, he's the convenient scapegoat for more than a decade of alleged steroid abuse in Major League Baseball. However, there's still the bothersome little detail of "proof." Books have been written, disgruntled friends and lovers have leaked stories, and sportswriters-seeking retribution for years of dealing with Barry's notorious condescension-have tried the San Francisco Giants star in the press ... but no smoking gun exists. Sure, the circumstantial evidence against Bonds is damning, but what about Lance Armstrong, another top athlete with an equal amount of anecdotal "proof" following him around like a white ... I mean, black cloud? Yet, for much of America: Barry is a pariah and Lance a hero. Of course Bonds is juiced, right? Of course he's cheated on his wife and on his taxes. Of course the game -- and the whole damn planet -- would be better off with him behind bars. But even assuming he did what countless other major leaguers did -- indulge in performance-enhancing drugs -- here's a little incentive to help you re-think your Bonds Bias.....(full article)

July 20

Bush Does Iraq: Anatomy of a Failed Operation
by Edward Jayne

In retrospect the Iraq invasion was a remarkable plan, a bold strategy to sustain U.S. hegemonic dominance worldwide for at least the next several decades. By subjugating Iraq as a client state, the Bush administration could prolong America’s singular role into the indefinite future. As Arnold Toynbee’s theory of history explains, the present epochal “challenge” posed by our nation’s unprecedented national debt as well the loss of industries from outsourcing employment to China, Mexico, and elsewhere would have been remedied by the simple expedient of capturing and harnessing Iraq’s extraordinary natural resources that have almost begged to be exploited in this fashion. Just as South American gold enriched Spain’s economy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and just as India’s treasures subsidized the inception of England’s industrial revolution during the late eighteenth century, so too could the capture of Iraq help our nation to consolidate its unique destiny at the pinnacle of modern civilization going into the twenty-first century. For unlike Vietnam, which possessed little to exploit and few dominos to be kept from toppling, Iraq occupies the heart of the Near East, the very cradle of civilization, and its triangular parcel of territory contains enormous untapped oil reserves, perhaps the largest in the world. Of all underdeveloped nations from Albania to Zanzibar, Iraq is potentially the most lucrative prize for whatever superpower possesses the imperialist chutzpah to capture and take control of its oil and water resources as well as its pivotal location in the region. And who better than the U.S.? Our nation’s earlier policies in Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq itself might have borne difficult consequences, but the direct invasion of Iraq would seem what might be described as a slam dunk. Relative to the modest cost and effort required, a cornucopia of untold benefits would accrue to our nation for many years to come. Or so it seemed......(full article)

Beirut Evacuations
by Jonathan Cook

Israel has opened “windows” for the foreign powers to evacuate their terrified nationals from Lebanon. Obligingly, the foreign media have turned these “windows” into an opportunity to avert their gaze further from the death and destruction in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank....(full article)

Notes from Northern Israel: In the Line of Media Fire
by Jonathan Cook

Nazareth hit the international headlines for the first time in this vicious war being waged by Israel mostly on Lebanese civilians. Reporter Matthew Price, corseted in a blue flak jacket in Haifa, told BBC viewers that for the first time Hizbullah had targeted Nazareth late on Sunday. “Nazareth is a mostly Christian town”, he added, managing to cram into a single sentence of a few words two factual mistakes and a disturbing hint of incitement. Whatever the precision of its rockets (and Nazareth’s residents are certainly worried enough about that), Hizbullah struck not at Nazareth but at a site some distance from Nazareth -- a site of strategic significance to Israel, though I cannot say more than that as we are now officially under martial law in the country’s north. Matthew Price was also wrong about Nazareth being a “mostly Christian town”. During the 1948 war in which Israel’s army ethnically cleansed much of the surrounding area of Palestinians, Muslim villagers fled to Nazareth in search of sanctuary. Today, two-thirds of the city’s 75,000 inhabitants are Muslim -- or at least they are by the religious classification system imposed on all citizens by the Israeli authorities. Which brings us to the nasty element of incitement from our BBC reporter.....
(full article)

The Most Dangerous Alliance in the World
by Norman Solomon

After getting out of Lebanon, writer June Rugh told Reuters: “As an American, I’m embarrassed and ashamed. My administration is letting it happen [by giving] tacit permission for Israel to destroy a country.” The news service quoted another American evacuee, Andrew Muha, who had been in southern Lebanon. He said: “It’s a travesty. There’s a million homeless in Lebanon and the intense amount of bombing has brought an entire country to its knees.” Embarrassing. Shameful. A travesty. Those kinds of words begin to describe the alliance between the United States and Israel. Here are a few more: Government criminality. High-tech terror. Mass murder from the skies. The kind of premeditated action that the U.S. representative in Nuremberg at the International Conference on Military Trials – Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson -- was talking about on August 12, 1945, when he declared that “no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.” The United States and Israel. Right now, it’s the most dangerous alliance in the world.....(full article)

Cuban, US and Honduran Doctors Work Together
on Medical Brigades to Honduras
by Dan Bacher

While the Bush administration has taken an increasingly hostile stance toward Cuba, U.S. and Cuban doctors worked together for the first time this May during an historic 7-day Medical Brigade to Honduras. The brigade, organized by Bill Camp, Executive Secretary of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, in collaboration with the Birthing Project and other organizations, provided badly needed medical care, medicine and supplies to the Garifuna people of the Atlantic coast of Honduras.....(full article)

July 18

Boundary Enforcement and National Security
in an Age of Global Apartheid
by Joseph Nevins

Shortly after I arrived in Tucson in late May to spend the summer, I was listening to Margo Cowan speak, and she described southern Arizona -- given the level of immigration policing and its effects -- as a "war zone." Around the sound time, I heard Guadalupe Castillo categorize the region as an "occupied territory." It is easy to write off such characterizations as hyperbole, as the exaggerations of activists trying desperately to win support for their cause. But I want to take them seriously, and see where they lead us, because I actually think that they have a lot of merit and are politically -- in addition to analytically -- valuable. They help us understand what many have called global apartheid, and point toward ways we can combat it.....
(full speech

The Beauty of the System: A Tale of Shipping, Blackmail
and Slow Death in the Lost Cul de Sac
by Joe Bageant

America is a dark half continent of grotesque notions made manifest, such as Scientology, the GOP and the McDonald’s “Big Bowl” meal. Americans seem to possess psychic flypaper that attracts strange unsavory notions. Worse yet, we act upon them. One notion we got into our heads right after World War II was that each generation must live better than the previous one. Not such a bad idea at the time, considering the number of folks in the previous generation who grew up during the Depression and knew what it was like to scratch with the chickens to survive. Consequently, the post-war generation was more than satisfied with a 900-square foot home, a refrigerator, a television, a car and presentable clothing -- any of which beat the hell out of drafty outhouses and scarlet fever. Throw in the GI bill entitlement for vets and you’re looking at a pretty nice package for the post-war generation who brought us the baby boom and the two-ton, 17-foot 1954 Ford Customline 8 sedan. Further excess was inescapable. As Cotton Mather might well have said, had he the benefit of blasting down America’s new interstates with a Chesterfield dangling from his lips and a cold Pabst in his pale Protestant claw, “BRING IT ON!”.....(full article)

Crisis of US Capitalism or the Crisis of the US Wage
and Salaried Worker?
by James Petras

Progressive, leftist, radical and even a few ‘Bearish’ Wall Street pundits have been arguing for years about the coming collapse, decline or demise of US capitalism. No amount of continued growth of billionaires, millionaires and multimillionaires, record earnings by investment houses and double digit profit growth of major corporations can convince our doomsayers to re-think their prophecies. Nothing has discredited the US left more than its apocalyptic visions of the Big Fall, in the face of robust growth. Given the ‘long term’ or imprecise time frame and a ritualistic litany of profound structural weaknesses, their predictions are swallowed and regurgitated in the progressive media, websites and blogs where they are spread to a dubious public. While the Left preaches ‘the crisis and end’ of US capitalism, most workers are complaining about the bigger take of their bosses, their intensified exploitation leading to rising productivity, their extended work day and work year because of cuts in vacation, sick time and holidays. For too many years, the Left has premised an ‘awakening’ and presumable shift to the left by the working and middle classes on the ‘Collapse of Capitalism’ (COC). In fact this argument has ignored several crucial issues.....(full article)

Lebanon, Gaza and the Consistently Racist American Standard
by Ahmed Amr

Here we go again. The Arabs weigh America’s response to the onslaught against Lebanon and Gaza and start accusing Washington of double standards. It is an accusation that has no merit. The more obscene reality is that the United States has consistently implemented a single racist standard against the indigenous people of the Middle East. After months of tormenting the Palestinians with all manner of collective punishment, the Israelis have invaded Gaza and laid siege to Beirut. In the Israeli narrative, the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East started with the abduction of a single IDF soldier. This absurd and blatantly false time line of recent events has been elevated to holy writ by the Bush administration and Israel’s mass media collaborators at CNN and The New York Times. The predictable response from Washington has been to applaud Olmert for acting in “self-defense.” With a straight face, Bush is demanding that “the international community must address the root causes” of the violence in the Middle East. In his jaded view of the conflict, “this started because Hezbollah abducted two soldiers.”.....(full article)

Israel’s Terrorism
by Gabriel Ash

The Middle East is boiling over yet again. Israel is resorting to the one strategy it has perfected since the day it was created, murdering civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure. The Israeli defense doctrine, old as Israel itself, considers bombing of civilian targets a means for pressuring “militants” and uncooperative governments. So Israel bombs bridges and villages in South Lebanon, power plants in Gaza, orchards, fields, schools, hospitals, residential neighborhoods, beach barbecue parties, etc. Everything is a legitimate target. Israeli ministers announce publicly that their chief strategy is to cause civilian suffering. Every day sees its Guernica, and the U.N., which proudly displays a reproduction of the painting, is mum in the face of a hundred Guernicas. To be clear, Israel’s actions fit the very definition of terrorism. Doubly so now, since the bombing campaign is a response to attacks on Israeli soldiers, not civilians. The ever more morally bankrupt “international community” sees nothing, hears nothing, and says nothing. Don’t take my word for it. An aide of the Israeli PM said recently: “We are acting there [in Gaza] in an unprecedented manner; we’re firing hundreds of artillery shells, attacking from the air, sea and land and the world remains silent.”.....(full article)

The Duty of Progressives is to Speak Out Against Oppressors
and Not Excoriate Their Resisting Victims
by Kim Petersen

The expanding violence that the Zionist regime is unleashing upon its neighbors is drawing muted reaction from the international community or, even worse, support from imperialist-Zionist serving regimes, such as in the United States and Canada. Zionist supporters claim that Israel has a right to defend itself. Supposedly then, the Palestinians have that same right. And one would assume that Lebanon and the rest of the region has that same right. But does Israel have some special right to defend itself? Does a thief have a right to defend himself from his dispossessed victim? (full article)

How the Kyoto Protocol was (Al) Gored
by Joshua Frank

Seems as though Al Gore's part-documentary part-campaign flick is reaching quite a few people this summer, environmentalists and skeptics alike. Perhaps the ol’ VP is repenting for some of the dirty deeds he supported during his compliant years in Washington. One of the more egregious of Gore’s follies, while serving his country, came about in the late-1990s when the Clinton administration was debating whether or not to back the largest international environmental pact in history, the Kyoto Protocol. Mr. Gore, the big “enviro,” despite common belief, was the one most responsible for Clinton’s derailment of the landmark accord.....(full article)

Florida’s Fear of History: New Law Undermines Critical Thinking
by Robert Jensen

One way to measure the fears of people in power is by the intensity of their quest for certainty and control over knowledge. By that standard, the members of the Florida Legislature marked themselves as the folks most terrified of history in the United States when last month they took bold action to become the first state to outlaw historical interpretation in public schools. In other words, Florida has officially replaced the study of history with the imposition of dogma and effectively outlawed critical thinking.....
(full article)

July 14

Seeds of Hope, Seeds of War
Race, Class and the Battle for the South Central Farm
by Juan Santos and Leslie Radford

The world is literally watching. Media worldwide have covered the case of the South Central Farm, the largest urban garden in the United States, the efforts of the city's elites to drive the farmers from the land, and the farmer's remarkable resistance. On June 13th, the County moved to evict, concentrating a massive police presence in the area to uproot the resistor's encampment on the land. The South Central Farm arose from the ashes of the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion, and stands as a symbol of hope to millions. Despite the eviction, the struggle continues, with a court hearing this week challenging the City's sale of the land to a private developer......(full article)

Why We Can't Be Neutral On Net Neutrality
by Jessi Hafer

The Communications Act of 1934 was most recently amended in 1996, when President Clinton signed a bill that allowed for media to become even more concentrated and even more expensive for consumers. Congress is now considering new amendments to deal with media technologies branching off from their traditional purposes into different functions. Some of the provisions Congress is considering could be beneficial. However, by not guaranteeing network neutrality (or net neutrality), the bills raise concerns.....(full article)

Israel’s Latest Bureaucratic Obscenity
by Jonathan Cook

As Israel’s violent siege of Gaza continues, the Associated Press reported this week that dozens of Palestinians with American passports have left Gaza, escorted out of the Strip in a convoy of United Nations vehicles. One Palestinian American mother said she and her children could no longer stand the terrifying sonic booms produced by Israeli aircraft flying overhead during the night. These fleeing Palestinians have two things that most of their kin in Gaza lack: they have lots of money that they might have invested in rebuilding Gaza’s economy were Israel not intent on destroying it; and they are familiar with a language and ideas that might have conveyed very effectively to Western audiences the horror currently being endured by Gaza’s civilian population. They are also among the least radicalized elements of Gaza’s population and might have been the ones most willing to start a dialogue with Israel -- had Israel shown any interest in negotiating. But of course their absence from Gaza, and flight to America, will not be mourned by Israel. How much Israel fears the presence in the occupied territories of Palestinians who have lived in the West -- those who have money and influence, and speak in a language the non-Arab world can understand -- was highlighted in another piece of news this week that went mostly unnoticed.....(full article)

The “Great Game” Goes On
A Motorbike Trip to Little Tibet (Part I)
by Ingmar Lee

Krista, Desmond (age 8) and I have just returned from a motorbike trip up, up and up from the plains of India to the back of beyond, right up to the Roof of the World. "Little Tibet," a.k.a. Ladakh, is a wondrous desert moonscape of a land, set amidst the Earth's most spectacular mountain ranges, where an ancient culture strives to preserve its timeless way of life. In Ladakh one can witness a rare still-living example of successful human civilization where for centuries, or perhaps millennia, humans have found a balance amidst the ecological processes, and continue, for the most part to live well and gently, within the means of their often harsh environment. In the desolate desert moonscape of Ladakh, people are the source of greenness, of color, of vibrancy and vitality. Nevertheless, Ladakhis are being overwhelmed by myriad interferences and invasions that are steadily eroding their beautiful culture, their peaceful wisdom, and their sense of place in the balance of nature. Ladakh offers so many lessons to the world, and we certainly have more to learn from them than they do from us before it's too late. Tragically, as is the case for so many ancient human cultures, Ladakhis are the victims of rampant expansionist colonialism, and to this day their land is at the center of a continuous geopolitical struggle known as "The Great Game," which has plagued them for 150 years.....(full article)

DON'T Support Our Troops (Inform Them)
by Mickey Z

For some Americans, the phrase "support our troops" is little more than a euphemism for: "support the policies that put our troops in harm's way." For Americans of the liberal persuasion -- ever cautious not to offend those mythical fence sitters -- the phrase "support our troops" is a safe way to avoid taking a principled stand against this war (and all war). Either usage of the phrase "support our troops" does nothing to challenge the latest mission in particular or the concept of military intervention in general. There are simple, almost knee jerk methods by which the idea of unconditional support for our soldiers during war can be questioned. The easiest involves any variation of this query: Would it have been acceptable for the people of Nazi Germany to support "their boys" even if those same folks did not agree with Hitler's maniacal methods? (full article)

Who’s Got a Knife?
by Peter Kurth

Gosh, what a month it’s been for news! Already. Here we are, not even in the middle of July, and I’ve had to start a flow chart just to keep track of all the things that have and haven’t happened. On July 4th, the United States turned 230 -- that definitely happened. Then, on the 6th, George Bush turned sixty. That happened, too, although, as always, Bush tried to equate himself with the nation he rules and celebrated the event two days early at Fort Bragg, N. C., where the next crop of mutilated corpses and missing body parts -- about 3,500 soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division -- gave him a birthday cake “decorated as a flag,” according to the Associated Press. “On this day when we give thanks for our freedom,” said Bush, “we also give thanks to the men and women who make our freedom possible. You are serving our country at a time when our country needs you. And because of your courage, every day is Independence Day in America.” Whether every day in America is also Bush’s birthday -- it certainly seemed like it last week -- remains a matter of tight security, as does the answer to his question at Fort Bragg when it came time to cut the cake: “Who's got a knife?”
(full article)

July 13

Stop the NOAA Cover-up!
Lautenbacher and Mayfield Must Go!
by Mike Tidwell and Ted Glick

We have a prediction: the National Hurricane Center and its parent group, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are wrong. They are predicting for this year “13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become ‘major’ hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher.” These were the words of Conrad C. Lautenbacher, head of NOAA, at a press conference at the National Hurricane Center on May 22, about a week before the beginning of this year’s hurricane season. We predict that this year’s hurricane season will be more like last year’s, or worse: 28 named storms, 15 of them hurricanes and four of them Category 5 hurricanes. We can make this prediction because we are not motivated by a political agenda, as is the leadership of NOAA. Their agenda is to cover up the growing scientific evidence that links global warming to more destructive and more frequent Category 4 and 5 storms. Of the six most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States in the past 150 years, three occurred within 52 days in 2005, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The damage from Katrina alone was over 1500 dead, two million people displaced and at least $200 billion in damages.....(full article)

What Are They Fighting For?
by Tanya Reinhart

Whatever may be the fate of the captive soldier Gilad Shalit, the Israeli army’s war in Gaza is not about him. As senior security analyst Alex Fishman widely reported, the army was preparing for an attack months earlier and was constantly pushing for it, with the goal of destroying the Hamas infrastructure and its government. The army initiated an escalation on 8 June when it assassinated Abu Samhadana, a senior appointee of the Hamas government, and intensified its shelling of civilians in the Gaza Strip. Governmental authorization for action on a larger scale was already given by 12 June, but it was postponed in the wake of the global reverberation caused by the killing of civilians in the air force bombing the next day. The abduction of the soldier released the safety-catch, and the operation began on 28 June with the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza and the mass detention of the Hamas leadership in the West Bank, which was also planned weeks in advance.....(full article)

Militarism and the Corporate Welfare State
by Charles Sullivan

Right wing politicos and their conservative constituents are always bemoaning big government. Yet wealthy people of all political stripes constantly use big government to their own benefit. The rich widely assume, falsely, I think, that what is good for them is good for the country. By extension they also assume that what is good for the corporations is good for the people. But that has never been the case. No one should be allowed to make a living on the misery of others. The latter seems odd, given that business people are always harping about getting the government out of our (their) lives; all the while they are using government to obtain no bid contracts, to write legislation in the corporate interest, stocking the judiciary with pro-corporate judges, redrawing political districts and using the military to invade and occupy sovereign nations in order to privatize them. Iraq provides a compelling case study.....(full article)

July 11

Liberation Ramble South of the Border
by Jack Random

President Jorge W. Bush was downright timid taking sides in the Mexican presidential election, mindful that his endorsement has all too frequently been the kiss of political death to his allies in the global war on terror and the poor. Why should he campaign honestly and openly for his good friend Felipe Calderon when the same systems and techniques used to secure his presidency were in place below the border? (full article)

Sectarian Flames
by Joshua Frank

t was just last month when President Bush assured the world that the situation in Iraq was dramatically improving. Sectarian tensions were going to relax as a result of Zarqawi’s overly publicized death. As Bush put it bluntly, the death of Zarqawi served as “an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide in this struggle.” But it’s becoming painfully evident that Zarqawi, like Saddam’s illusive WMDs, was just another creation of the US propaganda machine.....(full article)

Bush’s Scatterbrain “Reconciliation” Plan 
by Mike Whitney

Is “reconciliation” possible with the men who raped your daughters, poisoned your water, looted your museums, leveled your cities, bombed your holy sites, tortured and killed your friends and family, and toppled your government? (full article)

Meet the Fiery Karl Zinsmeister
by Bill Berkowitz

I can't say with absolute certainty, but I suspect that Karl Zinsmeister, the Bush Administration's newly appointed top domestic policy advisor, unlike his predecessor, has not been ripping off Target, Hecht or any other DC-area department store. I can only assume that his credit card record is clean, and that this vetting process was more thorough than the one used when former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was nominated by George W. Bush to head up the Department of Homeland Security: Shortly after being nominated, Kerik -- a longtime buddy and business partner of former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani -- was forced to withdraw his name after admitting to employing an illegal immigrant as a nanny, and revelations surfaced about extramarital affairs and past conflicts of interest. So while Claude Allen -- the Black conservative who previously held the job -- is waiting for the legal system to deal with charges that he committed serial fraud at several department stores in the Washington, D.C. area, Zinsmeister will stroll on over to the White House from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and assume the position.....(full article)

Israel’s Experiment in Human Despair
by Jonathan Cook

One needed only to watch the interview on British television last week with Israel’s ambassador to the UK to realize that the Israeli army’s tightening of the siege on Gaza, its invasion of the northern parts of the Strip last Wednesday, and the looming humanitarian crisis across the territory, have nothing to do with the recent capture of an Israeli soldier -- or even the feeble home-made Qassam rockets fired, usually ineffectually, into Israel by Palestinian militants. Under questioning from presenter Jon Snow of Channel Four news on the reasons behind Israel’s bombing of Gaza’s only power station -- thereby cutting off electricity to more than half of the Strip’s 1.3 million inhabitants for many months ahead, as well as threatening the water supply -- Zvi Ravner denied this action amounted to collective punishment of the civilian population. Rather, he claimed, the electricity station had to be disabled to prevent the soldier’s captors from having the light needed to smuggle him out of Gaza at night. It was left to a bemused Jon Snow to point out that smugglers usually prefer to do their work in the dark and that Israel’s actions were more likely to assist his captors than disadvantage them. The Alice Through the Looking Glass quality of Israeli disinformation over the combined siege and invasion of Gaza -- and its widespread and credulous repetition by the Western media -- is successfully distracting attention from Israel’s real goals in this one-sided war of attrition.....
(full article)

July 10

The People United: Worker’s Rights Organizing in New Orleans 
by Jordan Flaherty

According to a powerful new report released last week by the Advancement Project, the National Immigration Law Center and The New Orleans Workers Justice Coalition, Black and Latino workers in Post-Katrina New Orleans have faced a shocking catalog of abuses, including wage theft, widespread and massive health and safety violations, racism and discrimination, law enforcement violence, and more. Through first hand accounts, the report paints a detailed and dramatic picture of declining worker’s rights in the city. Despite a huge need for labor to restore the city, and billions of dollars spent on rebuilding, Black and Latino workers have been pitted against each other in a race to the bottom, while well-placed businesses and contractors have gorged on huge profits. With housing still unavailable for many, profiteering and displacement has been the rule.....(full article

Summon the Courage to Say “No” to War Candidates:
Sign The Voters' for Peace Pledge 
by Daniel Ellsberg

According to recent opinion polls, most Iraqis don't believe that we're making things better or safer in their country. What does that say about the legitimacy of prolonged occupation, much less permanent American bases in Iraq? What does it mean for continued American armored patrols such as the one last November in Haditha, which, we now learn, led to the deaths of a Marine and 24 unarmed civilians? (full article)

Beyond the Heart of Darkness: Israel's Attack on Gaza
by Dan Lieberman

The world went beyond the heart of darkness on June 28, 2006. Irrespective of the ultimate outcome, the consequences of Israel's actions on that day will drastically change the course of its history and possibly that of the industrialized world. On June 28, 2006, a brutal force was unleashed against a defenseless people and the atrocities were accepted without condemnation or retaliation by the leaders of the western world. On June 28, 2006, Israeli warplanes and armed forces started a new campaign of destruction and terror, one of many committed against the Palestinian people. Israel bombed Palestinian infrastructure, electrical distribution, roads, bridges, seized Palestinian government officials and indicated the attacks were only a prelude to what awaits the defenseless Gazans. In effect, Israel's aggressive behavior, the lack of western world response and inaction from international institutions certified that the western industrial nations have divided the world between the Privileged and the Unfortunates. The Privileged are allowed to commit any violent action, including murder. The Unfortunates are not allowed to defend themselves and must either succumb to dictates or, in one simple word: perish.....(full article)

Food for Thought: The Language Police and the Quesadilla
by Walter Brasch

Walter Brasch explores how America’s self-righteous language police want to make English an “official” language, and the implications.....(full article)

Nationalize the US Defense Industry:
Public Good Should Trump Private Greed
by John Stanton

In 1969 John Kenneth Galbraith penned a piece for the New York Times titled The Big Defense Firms Are Really Public Firms and Should be Nationalized arguing, among other things, that it was folly for defense contractors to claim that they were private corporations. Such claims made a mockery of free enterprise. Nearly 40 years hence, Charlie Cray* and Lee Drutman have resurrected and energized Galbraith’s argument in their work titled “Corporations and the Public Purpose: Restoring the Balance (Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Fall/Winter 2005). They make an exceptionally compelling case for putting the defense industrial base (DIB) into the direct service of the American public through a form of nationalization: federal chartering......(full article)

Mein Kampf Revisited
The Transition to Oligarchy: Planning for the Re-Colonization of Cuba  
by Tom Crumpacker

The Bush Administration's "Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba," co-chaired by our Secretaries of State and Commerce, has presented a new report to our President this week. It's a lengthy and comprehensive plan, detailing the steps which US government and other "vital actors" will be taking to bring Cuba back into the family of overt US colonies, which now include some of the Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico, Kabul, and the Green Zone in Baghdad. The Administration was roundly criticized for not having such a plan for Iraq after its conquests there. Some even claimed it was the reason for the failure of the occupation. One of the purposes of this Plan may be to forestall such criticism in Cuba's case. Nevertheless this Plan is much the same as the one for Iraq (which was not publicly articulated beforehand.) By privatizing what used to be done publicly, it will bring Cuba into the modern, civilized world by creating a capitalist utopia where private entrepreneurs from the "international community" (mostly US corporations) and the "Cuban community abroad" (mostly US citizens), unencumbered by societal restraint, will unleash their full creative powers to save the long-suffering Cuban people from continuing poverty and tyranny, while incidentally benefiting themselves.....(full article)

Farewell Sleater-Kinney
by Joshua Frank

These days, as commercial rock n’ roll speeds head-on into the dumpster, it’s hard to imagine getting upset about some rock band splitting up. Certainly there are plenty of moments when I think more wannabe Joey Ramones should unplug their guitars and call it quits -- vowing never to play a strident out of tune chord again. That’s why I’m shocked to say that when Portland, Oregon based trio Sleater-Kinney announced last week that they were taking an “indefinite hiatus”, I was crushed.....(full article)

July 4

Fourth of July Lesson for the Left
by Matt Reichel

Despite having expatriated myself with little intent of ever returning to the Land of the Free permanently, I have kept myself abreast of the American left by staying on listservs and reading American lefty periodicals online. I fled the States in September 2004, and now, nearly two years later, the left is exactly where I left it: fighting unsuccessfully against a war that a majority of the country is opposed to. In that time in my adopted country, where equality and fraternity are prized as much as liberty, the left has shut down the neoliberal monster in two magnificent ways: once via shunning the so-called “European Constitution,” and once via scrapping the “Contrat Première Embauche (CPE),” which essentially sought to enslave young French workers the same way American college students are, wasting precious time doing menial tasks for low-pay at Subway or Starbucks. This isn’t to say that all is hunky dory in France, as the place is replete with ethnic and racial tensions, and still maintains some of the most sour vestiges of old Latin civilization, including its dastardly treatment of women, its inane bureaucratic industrial complex and its absurd exam-dependent education system. There is also a growing rightward drift felt in the ranks of the university system, as more and more little Milton Freidmans are popped out of these institutions (from Nanterre to Science Po to Sceaux) every year, so that Paris begins to reek more and more like Chicago’s Hyde Park. But despite all of this, the left here is alive and well, and the reason is this: they are firm and uncompromising, the same way the American left should be......(full article)


Forget the Fourth!
by Michael A. Lewis

On this great national holiday, Howard Zinn has called for an end to flags. I'll go him several further; I'll extend that to all trappings of centralized government, including borders, countries and international relationships. It's all of a piece; we can't get rid of one without getting rid of all the rest. Here on the 4th of July, in the United States, on the Pacific Plate, temporarily attached to the North American continent, we gird ourselves for the coming mayhem, the celebration of the 230th anniversary of this country, so the myth goes at least. Since we are a "destination" (Santa Cruz, California) we are yearly invaded by thousands of myth-seekers, jingoists and the just plain thoughtless, who leave their, apparently boring, homes and go somewhere else, apparently less boring, to blow up our neighborhood, not to mention the neighbors, human and non.....(full article)

Not Taking the Fifth on the Fourth
by Sam Husseini

As someone was speaking about the Troops Home Fast as it began here in D.C. they said it wasn't being done in the hopes of changing Bush, but of reaching out to others. I happen to be standing next to Cindy Sheehan at the time, and she muttered "and to change ourselves." That's why I love Cindy Sheehan. Cindy Sheehan certainly says a lot of what's wrong with Bush, but she derives her strength I think from acknowledging her own flaws. "I knew this war was wrong, I knew the invasion of Iraq was wrong -- but I didn't do anything about it [before it started] and I'm going to regret that for the rest of my life." Too many people have spent too much time talking about what's wrong with Bush -- and sometimes missing the point entirely, I think, because we rarely talk about what's wrong with us. What can we do different to change the world? Asking questions like "Who would Jesus bomb" is a way saying how superior to Bush we are -- without saying what we should do.....(full article)

9,000 to 1? Destroy the Gaza Strip
by by James Brooks

After years of bargaining with Hizbullah “terrorists” over prisoners captured during Israel’s occupation of Lebanon, Israelis know that this hysteria over a single soldier is only a ruse. But that doesn’t stop them from falling for it all over again, and Olmert appears to have public support for his new version of total war on the Gaza Strip, cynically code named “Operation Summer Rain.” The score is 9,000 to 1 and the Israelis are outraged. It should be 9,000 to 0......(full article)

Crisis 2006: When Pariah States Cry Wolf
by Remi Kanazi 

It’s lights out in the Gaza Strip and lights out in the moral consciousness of the Western and Arab world. The reason? One soldier, who lacked the ethical fiber to resist involvement in the illegal occupation of an indigenous people, was captured by those he was oppressing. It’s like a rapist complaining when his victims get aggressive. Red flags have gone up throughout the West. This event is an “escalation,” a “declaration of war,” an “obscene act by terrorists.” Is this capture ten thousands times less offensive and harmful than the ten thousand prisoners abducted by Israel? Would not the executing of four thousands Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, constitute a “crime against humanity?” (full article)

Subtle Loyalties to Zionism
by Kim Petersen

Everything must be done to win Gilad Shalit’s release,” writes Gideon Levy of the captured Israeli fighter in his most recent piece. Levy who laments that “Israelis [are] totally indifferent to the sufferings of the other” is well regarded in progressive circles for his articles that decry the daily suffering of Palestinians at the hands of the occupiers. A closer examination of his recent article, however, reveals that the difference between Levy and the occupation regime is more nuance than substance......(full article)

Medicine at Gunpoint: Seattle Mother Arrested for "Kidnapping" Her Own Baby to Seek Alternative Treatments 
by Mike Adams

Public trust in conventional medicine has plummeted to such an all-time low that the industry is now resorting to the threat of violence in order to market its services. Gunpoint medicine is alive and well in Seattle, Washington, where county law enforcement officers, prompted by Child Protective Services (CPS), arrested and jailed 34-year-old Tina Marie Carlsen for her "crime" of rescuing her infant from overzealous hospital staff who demanded they perform kidney surgery on the infant. Terrorized by the incident, charged with second-degree kidnapping of her own child, and threatened with bail of $500,000, Tina Carlsen was jailed for several days, during which she was unable to provide lifesaving mother's milk to her baby (which is crucial for a child's brain and immune system). She has still not been allowed physical contact with her infant son.....(full article)

Sonic Boom Damages Deaf Children Society's Facilities
by Sonia Nettnin

Israeli Occupation Forces damaged the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children's facilities in Gaza City during IOF's implementation of "Operation Summer Rain." When Israeli warplanes caused massive sonic booms and nearby explosions in air strikes, the Palestinian NGO's building windows shattered. As a result, several deaf vocational trainees were injured from the shattered glass. The Palestinian NGO, which provides deaf education, deaf vocational training and income-generating programs for hundreds of families living far below the poverty line suffered damage in the vocational training section of their building.....(full article)

An Inconvenient Twist: Turn Out the Lights and Let Corporations
Blow CO2 Up Your Rump Forever
by Amy J. Belanger

The more I think about what’s missing from Al Gore’s global warming movie, the more annoyed I get. Everybody and their activist friends are heralding the release of An Inconvenient Truth like it’s the Save the World heard ‘round the world. Climate change Web sites have added little message boxes linking to the movie’s Web site, which mostly consists of self-promotion, but if you look close, includes a few factoids and a one-page handout explaining how you can save the world by turning off the lights. I just can’t get it out of my head -- that poignant moment at the end when my environmentalist friends and my fence-sitting, new boyfriend were all riled-up and ready for the punch line. You know, that punch line we expect after any environmental alert that isn’t a bad joke; the part where they say, “What You Can Do.” But the movie ended, and the credits started rolling, and the people in the rows in front of us began standing up to leave the theater, looking sort of shell-shocked and lost. We stayed in our seats incredulously staring at the credits. Then, there it was: a tiny, one-word punch line. Well, it was really more like two little hands flapping than a punch.....(full article)

July 1

Ten Months After Katrina: Gutting New Orleans 
by Bill Quigley

Over 200,000 people have not yet made it back to New Orleans. Vacant houses stretch mile after mile, neighborhood after neighborhood. Thousands of buildings remain marked with brown ribbons where floodwaters settled. Of the thousands of homes and businesses in eastern New Orleans, 13 percent have been re-connected to electricity. The mass displacement of people has left New Orleans older, whiter and more affluent. African-Americans, children and the poor have not made it back -- primarily because of severe shortages of affordable housing. Thousands of homes remain just as they were when the floodwaters receded -- ghost-like houses with open doors, upturned furniture, and walls covered with growing mold. Not a single dollar of federal housing repair or home reconstruction money has made it to New Orleans yet. Tens of thousands are waiting. Many wait because a full third of homeowners in the New Orleans area had no flood insurance. Others wait because the levees surrounding New Orleans are not yet as strong as they were before Katrina and fear re-building until flood protection is more likely. Fights over the federal housing money still loom because Louisiana refuses to clearly state a commitment to direct 50% of the billions to low and moderate income families.....(full article

Dissolving Barriers: New Orleans’ Latino Health Outreach Project 
by Catherine Jones and Jennifer Whitney

The sun is still below the horizon when we arrive. Three cars, many boxes of supplies, five to ten people wearing scrubs, most of us women. Hazily, as the coffee is still kicking in, we begin to set up treatment stations on the hoods of cars and the beds of pickups. The parking lot we’re in and the one across the street are sparking with activity as around one hundred people, mostly men, mostly Latino day laborers, look for work in the still-devastated city of New Orleans. The men gather, ask each other what vaccines they should get, share information about employers who don’t pay, tell us about their families back in Texas, or Veracruz, or Bahia. The wind picks up, sending gravel dust swirling around us, and people chase after bandaids and alcohol swabs that took flight in the gust. A regular comes by to show us how much better his leg is doing, and to ask for some more vitamins. Someone else drops by to invite us to his daughter’s quinceañera, her 15th birthday party. Several people come for their final dose of hepatitis B vaccine; we’ve seen them off and on for six months. These Latino Health Outreach Project (LHOP) clinics are always busy, as is every functional health care provider in this city, from the first aid stations to the ERs. The terrifying reality in New Orleans these days is that there is virtually no public health infrastructure, and so our scrappy little clinic in the parking lot is, for some of our patients, the option they feel safest with. Never mind the fact that we can’t dispense medication, rarely have a doctor onsite, can’t do lab work, or even full physical exams. We're here every Wednesday, we speak our patients’ languages, we don’t ask about immigration status (or even last names), and we do our best to respect the dignity of each of them.....(full article)

Gaza and the Treason of the International Community
by Ahmed Amr

Take a good look at Gaza and become a witness to what amounts to collective punishment administered to a small people by the rest of the planet. Israel’s sadistic army is not alone in laying siege to the densely populated strip of land that has become a virtual penitentiary for a million and a half souls. While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s thugs blow up bridges and power plants, the American government hands out more rope to hang the Palestinians. In the same spirit, the Europeans pitch in to starve the destitute inhabitants while the Arabs lounge around serenely watching the slaughter of their “brothers”. It doesn’t take an international law degree to recognize that the deliberate destruction of essential infrastructure is a war crime. When Olmert publicly declares his intent to resort to excessive and disproportionate measures -- he does so in complete confidence that he has immunity to commit any war crime that strikes his fancy. To cheer him on, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow sends him a congratulatory note for “defending himself.” Witness Gaza and take note of an act of international aggression against the native inhabitants of the Holy Land. This is not only about “Coffin” Annan’s habitual insensitivity to the daily suffering of the Palestinians. Rather, it represents the will of the international community to give license to one people to torment a weaker people in broad daylight......(full article)

Ravening Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: How Many More Innocents Must Die Before the World Realizes that Israel is Gathering Thorns and Thistles? 
by Jason Miller

In Gaza, the elephant has finally removed its foot from the mouse’s tail. Much to the dismay of the mouse, the behemoth is not done with him. Not this elephant. He has decided to bring his immense weight to bear on the mouse’s miniscule body, sadistically reveling at the sight of the blood oozing from the mouse’s bodily orifices as it is gradually reduces it to a mass of flattened pulp. I abandoned my neutrality long ago. My thoughts, prayers, support, and activist efforts as an essayist, small Internet publisher, and dissident against the American Empire are with the Palestinians. I am deeply sickened by fact that the United States government finances Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians with my tax dollars. It enrages me that AIPAC and bellicose supporters of Israel dictate so much of our foreign policy......(full article)

Jewish Tribalism Comes Clean
by Jonathan Cook

In a recent skirmish with leading members of the American Jewish activist community, the prize-winning Israeli novelist A B Yehoshua claimed that secular Jewish identity was meaningless outside Israel. Upsetting his audience in Washington, he argued that Jewishness in the Diaspora was impermanent: if China ever became the world’s foremost superpower, he warned, American Jews would migrate there to assimilate rather than in the US. “For me there is no alternative … I cannot keep my identity outside Israel. Israeli is my skin, not my jacket. You [Jews in the Diaspora] are changing jackets … you are changing countries like changing jackets,” he told the leaders of the American Jewish Committee. Delegates called his comments “impertinent,” “foolish,” “tasteless,” and “impolite.” However, this brief row had far more significance than perhaps either side cared to admit.....(full article)

US Terror from the Skies:
The Pentagon Uses “Falluja Model” in Assault on Ramadi
by Eric Ruder

US troops, backed up by helicopter gunships and air strikes by American warplanes, are picking their way through Ramadi, neighborhood by neighborhood. Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province and predominantly Sunni, is normally home to some 400,000 residents. Today, only 150,000 people remain. The rest have fled because of a suffocating U.S. siege. “Whole city blocks here look like a scene from some post-apocalyptic world: row after row of buildings shot up, boarded up, caved in, tumbled down,” according to the New York Times. Beginning weeks ago, the U.S. closed all but one of the roads into and out of the city and began cutting water and electricity supplies, imposing tight curfews, stationing snipers on rooftops, limiting medical aid and -- most terrifying of all -- carrying out random air strikes....(full article)

The We the (Evangelical) People Act
by Gene Gerard

In the wake of the Senate’s failure to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, conservatives are now coalescing around what amounts to their runner-up option. Various conservative and evangelical Christian organizations are now championing the “We the People Act.” The act would prohibit the Supreme Court and all other federal courts from ruling on the constitutionality of state laws, especially those concerning sexual orientation. If passed by Congress, this act would severely limit some of the most basic legal principles of the Constitution.....(full article)

Why American Liberalism is Impossible
by John Chuckman

I heard an interview the other day with Peter Beinart who has a new book called The Good Fight: Why Liberals -- and Only Liberals -- Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again. Apart from a slight nausea induced by a toothy Richard Beymer smile offering reassuring platitudes, there was a sense of both déjà vu and ennui, and the interview only succeeded in reinforcing my gloomy conviction that there are virtually no liberals left in America. You cannot be a liberal in any meaningful sense of the word and talk about winning a war on terror. It is a ridiculous inconsistency and a revealing one. When someone representing himself as a liberal feels he must appeal to Americans in these terms, it tells us a lot about the state of that nation’s values, just as it did when Michael Moore announced he supported that arrogant, perfumed generalissimo, Wesley Clark, for president.....(full article)

About Time Someone Condemned the Media
by Aaron Sussman

Finally!  After years of outrage from media critics over a press consumed by obsequious nationalism and corporate pandering; over bribed columnists and fake reporters; over “news” segments prepackaged by the State Department; over the death of investigative journalism and the ease in which the media was duped by administration claims of WMD; over misleading, propagandistic, shallow, gutless reporting from the newspapers “of record”; Congress has finally joined us in condemning these newspapers through House Resolution 895, which passed 227 to 183 on Thursday. Thank you, brave Congr–  Wait. I’ve just received a memo.  Oh, ok -- the resolution was passed condemning the media for reporting too much. That makes much more sense.....(full article)

New Psycho-Management Reported at Maquiladoras
by Greg Moses

Workers at maquiladora factories in Mexico told recent visitors from Texas that they are sometimes asked to undo their work entirely or spend long hours in isolated spaces. "These tactics are a new level in the psychological game, to get people used to the idea that they are kind of owned and really don't have any worth apart from the company," says Howard Hawhee, who helped to coordinate a listening tour in late May. "These kinds of stories are very bizarre," says Judith Rosenberg, who has been organizing tours across the border since 1999. "These are management techniques that someone compared to Hitler." For example, Hawhee and Rosenberg say women in maquiladoras report that they are sometimes asked to prove they are not pregnant by showing proof of menstruation......(full article)

STAR*D Wars: The Corruption of the National Institute of Mental Health and the Failure of Antidepressants
by Bruce E. Levine

In March 23, 2006, STAR*D results were major news, front page in the Washington Post.  STAR*D, the official acronym for Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, was a two-step antidepressant treatment study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), costing U.S. taxpayers $35 million. The NIMH proclaimed that STAR*D showed that “50 percent of people with depression can get better within the two treatment steps using this approach”; and STAR*D researchers declared, “A 50 percent remission rate is extraordinarily good, given the nature of these disorders.”  The Associated Press and much of the media simply echoed the enthusiasm of NIMH and STAR*D researchers. But did -- in a scientific sense -- STAR*D treatment work at all? While the Washington Post did point out that STAR*D reveals, “Antidepressants fail to cure the symptoms of major depression in half of all patients with the disease even if they receive the best possible care,” the following went unreported by all major media outlets......
(full article)

I'm Happy, You're Happy
by Minna vander Pfaltz

Why do people need to kill each other to be happy? Everybody in the world is trying to kill everybody else. Especially in America. America must be filled with happy people, right? They are doing so much killing around the world they must be delirious. Add to this that they are also killing their own. It is quite possible with this track record that America may succumb to extreme happiness. Yet when one wins his/her way past the happiness guardians, one discovers that Americans must not be trying hard enough: there are a whole lot of unhappy people there....(full article)

-- Poetry --
I Am a Palestinian
by Gary Corseri

Before Moses or the Romans,

Before Jesus and Muhammad,

Before the Turks and the English,

We dwelled in this land.


We built cities out of the dust,

Watered with our tears,

Mortared with our joys;

We fished the abundant seas,

Blessed our children’s marriages

In our cool olive groves.....(full article)

-- Poetry --
Up and Down
by Sheila Velazquez

There is no right and left,

only up and down.

Stock options are up,

million-dollar pensions, children

in soccer camps, Mexican gardeners,

Guatemalan housekeepers,

second homes on a coast, a mountain, the French Riviera,

sipping martinis on patios, in pools, at the club,

behind gates that keep out down.....(full poem)

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