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June 27

Yassar Talal Al-Zharani, R.I.P.
by Gary Leupp

Yassar Talal Al-Zahrani killed himself June 10, hanging himself in his cell in the “professionally run, humane facility” in Guantanamo. Yassar was a 17-year-old boy when US forces in Afghanistan captured him in 2001. He was a Saudi who had gone to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban, which at that time ruled most of Afghanistan, against the Northern Alliance forces who had ruled Afghanistan from 1993 to 1996. He followed in the footsteps of thousands of Saudis who would never have found themselves in Central Asia had the United States not made it a policy to send them there to fight “communism” in the 1980s.....(full article)

Missile Mania
by Gregory Elich

The hysteria surrounding the potential launch of a North Korean missile has generated an artificial crisis. For all the ballyhoo of a threat, there is in fact no danger other than that of U.S. reaction. It is claimed that North Korea’s Taepodong-2 missile has a range that would allow it to strike Alaska and possibly the U.S. west coast. The Federation of American Scientists, however, estimates its range as far less. Little concrete information is known about the as yet untested Taepodong-2 missile, and its range is a matter of conjecture. For that matter, U.S. officials have admitted that they cannot be certain that the missile in question is a Taepodong-2. And some reports have indicated that the missile is estimated at just over 30 meters in length, whereas the Taepodong-2 is thought to be 35 meters long. Mention of a Taepodong-2 missile is based on supposition, not evidence. U.S. and Japanese officials have threatened to impose additional sanctions on North Korea if it goes ahead with a missile launch. There has even been talk of a naval blockade, an act of war under international law. The Bush Administration has not spelled out its precise intent, but Peter Rodman, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, warns, “We would seek to impose some cost on North Korea.”......(full article)

US Corporate Media Misses Target in Israel’s Aerial Assault on Gaza
by Patrick O'Connor

The Israeli military’s shelling of a Gaza beach on June 9 and killing of eight Palestinian civilians focused world attention on Israel’s intensive artillery campaign against Gaza. Since then, 14 more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli missiles. The US corporate media has highlighted dubious Israeli denials of responsibility for the Gaza beach killings, while providing much less space to Palestinian and third party assertions of Israeli responsibility. The privileging of the Israeli narrative fits into the general pattern of US corporate media coverage of Israel/Palestine. Indeed, a detailed examination of The New York Times, LA Times and Washington Post’s coverage of Israel’s shelling campaign against Gaza reveals that those newspapers have neglected basic facts about Israel’s aerial assault since it started on March 29, 2006......(full article)

“Escalation”, “Retaliation” and BBC Double Standards in Gaza
by Jonathan Cook

The killing by Palestinian militants of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of a third from an army post close to the Gaza Strip set the scene for Israeli “reprisals” and “retaliation,” according to the reports of BBC correspondents in Israel and Gaza at the weekend. The attack by the Palestinians, who sneaked through tunnels under the electronic fence surrounding Gaza, marked a “major escalation in cross-border tension” (Alan Johnston) that threatened to overturn “a week of progress on two fronts” (John Lyon): namely, the recent talks between Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan, and between rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas. Thus, according to the BBC’s analysis, this attack ends the immediate chances for “peace” negotiations and provides the context for the next round of the conflict between the Israeli army and the Palestinians of Gaza. We are left to infer that all the suffering the army inflicts in the coming days and weeks should be attributed to this moment of “escalation” by the Palestinians. We can ignore the weeks of shelling by the Israeli army of Gaza, the firing of hundreds of missiles into the crowded Strip that have destroyed Palestinian lives and property, while spreading terror among the civilian population and deepening the psychological trauma suffered by a generation of children.......(full article)

Odious Obama's Path to Hell
by Paul Street

In the spring of 1967, after he went public with his strong and principled opposition to the Vietnam War, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was approached by liberal and left politicos to consider running for the United States Presidency. King turned the activists down, saying that he preferred to think of himself "as one trying desperately to be the conscience of all the political parties, rather being a political candidate -- I've just never thought of myself as a politician." The minute he threw his hat in the American winner-take-all presidential ring, King knew, he would be encouraged to compromise his increasingly leftist and fundamentally moral message against racism, social inequality, and militarism. Reflecting his chastening confrontation with the concentrated black poverty and class oppression in the "liberal" urban North and the horrors of US policy in Southeast Asia, King had come to radical conclusions. "For years I have labored with the idea of refining the existing institutions of the society, a little change here, a little change there," he told journalist David Halberstam that spring. "Now I feel quite differently. I think you've got to have a reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values." . . . . . Following the gospels' radical message, which he knew quite well, King didn't want to end up like the odious Illinois Senator Barack Obama.....(full article)

Queengelina Jolie
by Peter Kurth

Folks, I’ve got some crazy ideas running through my head this week. At least, they sound crazy, but I’m hoping you’ll stay the course while I connect the dots, which is what we do nowadays with ideas on the ground, if you will: We connect the dots. The last thing we’d want to do is cut and run from an idea just because it’s nutty. Why, there’d be no end to it! If we cut and run from every nutty idea that comes along, thousands will have died for nothing and might prevent thousands of others from dying for the same reason. On the ground, if you will. So, please, stay the course with me while I connect the dots. OK? Frankly, I get tired of all these media phrases (“on the ground,” “if you will,” etc.).  But frankly, also, that’s where the craziest of my crazy ideas comes from this week -- repetition. You know -- saying the same thing over and over. And over. “Catapulting the propaganda,” as Mr. Bush might say.  Repetition. I woke up this morning and saw what must have been the 50th story about the death of TV producer Aaron Spelling, the 300th story about Al Gore’s global-warming movie, the thousandth story about Hillary Clinton’s “fundraising savvy,” the millionth story, each, about Iraq, bird flu, hurricanes and the “war on terror,” and finally -- I’m not making this up -- the billionth story about Angelina Jolie and her baby, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, born in the movie-star equivalent of a manger in Namibia and destined for a glory as yet unknown and, presumably, unscripted. Which is why I decided that what America needs, right now, is a monarchy, and that Angelina Jolie should be queen........(full article)

Send In the Clowns
by Peggy McCann

Well I'm hearing the calliope music of the big top as I watch the never ending greatest show on earth of comedic and infuriating adventures in government. What can you say about these guys? They provide an infinite source of amusement for our train wreck mentality watching entertainment. Ladieeeeeeeeeeeees and Gentlemen! In the center ring, the supposed "debate" over the war in Iraq! Evidently the GOP bought their own hype and thought the death of Zarqawi and Bush's visit was going to make everyone in Iraq start buying each other a coke and singing in perfect harmony. Well actually, maybe they are. Unfortunately the lyrics go something like, "Why don't we kill each other in bloody ways, let's all get together and start today." At any rate, the Republicans think that all the "good news" coming out of Iraq is going to enable them to use it as campaign issue in the fall. That's about as likely as seeing Osama Bin Laden doing a commercial for Vegas. Actually I can imagine it. Osama in a big Hawaiian shirt going to Hooters with Dick Cheney, and then turning to the camera with a grin and a wink, saying "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" Come on, you know you'd pay good money to see that.....
(full article)

Chicks They Ain’t
by Ted Glick

Somewhere toward the latter part of the last decade I started hearing about this country group, the Dixie Chicks. Having been first exposed to the women’s movement about 30 years previously, I knew enough to raise an eyebrow at the “chicks” name. I remember thinking something to the effect that they’re probably the stereotypical “stand by your man” type, conservative white women. Then I finally saw them on TV or heard one of their albums. I loved their music and got their first album, Wide Open Spaces. Like most country music, the songs were mainly about love, relationships and human interactions. There was no inkling these “chicks” were in any way political......(full article)

June 22

Floating in America
by Christy Rodgers

If you want to understand the pathologies of 21st century mainstream America, which have driven so many thoughtful, serious commentators nearly mad with frenzy and despair -- or at least, if you want to understand why you can’t understand them, and why nothing you say or scream, no single protest you mount is likely to have any effect on them -- you need to take to the Road. First, however, let’s dispense with the idea of the Road as that mythic place of freedom seekers, pioneers, beatniks and iconoclasts. The Road I mean here is the one most Americans experience on a daily basis, and it doesn’t go all that far. Here’s the paradox: even though on the average, each adult American spends much of his or her year behind the wheel of a machine which would be technically capable of circumnavigating Mars several times non-stop before its engine wore out, most of us aren’t really going very far. The average length of our collective car trips is just 10 miles. Over 60% of trips over 50 miles long are still within the driver’s home state. Most Americans don’t ever travel outside the country: only 18% of us have passports. In 1903, when Horatio Nelson Jackson, the first man to cross the country in an automobile, took his trip, most Americans had never been more than 12 miles from their home. Since then, we’ve become infinitely more mobile, and yet overall, we haven’t gotten much further. That open road thing, the myth of restless movement: it’s the restlessness of the gerbil on the wheel.....(full article)

-- The Anti-Empire Report --
Great Moments in the History of Imperialism
by William Blum

National Public Radio foreign correspondent Loren Jenkins, serving in NPR's Baghdad bureau, met earlier this month with a senior Shiite cleric, a man who was described in the NPR report as "a moderate" and as a person trying to lead his Shiite followers into practicing peace and reconciliation. He had been jailed by Saddam Hussein and forced into exile. Jenkins asked him: "What would you think if you had to go back to Saddam Hussein?" The cleric replied that he'd "rather see Iraq under Saddam Hussein than the way it is now." When one considers what the people of Iraq have experienced as a result of the American bombings, invasion, regime change, and occupation since 2003, should this attitude be surprising, even from such an individual? I was moved to compile a list of the many kinds of misfortune which have fallen upon the heads of the Iraqi people as a result of the American liberation of their homeland. It's depressing reading, and you may not want to read it all, but I think it's important to have it summarized in one place.....(full article)

Pariah President: How Bush is Damaging US Standing Abroad
and Threatening National Security

by Heather Wokusch

It's embarrassing to have a president who's so universally loathed. Bush arrived in Austria Tuesday and has been greeted by scorn and widespread protests, not to mention Cindy Sheehan. Random posters have been up across Vienna since April, depicting Bush's face and a German-language caption reading "A mass murderer is coming." How extraordinary that even when Bush visits allies abroad he's not well received. He was heckled in the Australian Parliament in October 2003, and weeks later, lambasted for insulting the Queen when his security personnel trashed Buckingham Palace. He was greeted by hostile headlines and throngs of placard-carrying protestors in Ireland in 2004, then charged with torture by a legal activist group in Canada later that year. Bush encountered massive protests under the slogan "Not Welcome" in Germany in 2005, and faced banners depicting him as a devil, a vampire and a warmonger at the November 2005 Summit of the Americas in Argentina.....(full article)

Making the Case for Impeachment
by Gary Leupp

The just-published The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky is more than a manual for the members of Congress -- those who under the constitution are empowered to impeach high officials -- who might consider Bush’s impeachment after the November elections. It’s a compact (275 pages, including 60 pages of appendices and footnotes) catalogue of administration deceit and criminality that should encourage any honest still-unconvinced person to join the movement to drive out the Bush regime. As the authors observe, it will require a growing movement to force the politicians, who’ve been characterized so far by abject cowardice, to move forward on the procedure. If they do, we’ll be able to thank the authors for helping them make the right choice. If they don’t, the work will stand as an implicit indictment of them while continuing to inform those serious about real “regime change” in this country.....(full article)

A Week of Israeli Restraint
by Tanya Reinhart

In Israeli discourse, Israel is always presented as the side exercising restraint in its conflict with the Palestinians. This was true again for the events of the past week: As the Qassam rockets were falling on the Southern Israeli town of Sderot, it was “leaked” that the Israeli Minister of Defense had directed the army to show restraint. During the week of Israeli restraint, the army killed a Palestinian family who went on a picnic on the Beit Lahya beach in the Gaza Strip; after that, the army killed nine people in order to liquidate a Katyusha rocket. But in the discourse of restraint, the first killing does not count, because the army denied its involvement, and the second was deemed a necessary act of self-defense. After all, Israel is caught in the midst of Qassam attacks, and must defend its citizens. In this narrative, the fact that Israel is content merely to bombard the Gaza Strip from air, sea and land is a model of restraint and humanity that not many states could match......
(full article)

The US-Israeli “Somalia Plan”
by Neve Gordon

In his first visit to the White House on May 23, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told President Bush that Israel will “devote six to nine months to find a Palestinian partner” before it pursues the unilateral “Convergence Plan.” It was an empty promise. Olmert knows that given the reality in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the probability of returning to the negotiation table is close to zero.....(full article)

Congress Values Own Paychecks More Than Workers 
by Holly Sklar

Members of Congress like to talk about values. They sure don't mean the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." While more and more hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet, Congress showed what it really values -- the rising value of congressional pay. The House refused to block the $3,300 "cost of living adjustment" that will raise congressional pay on Jan. 1 to $168,500 -- not counting great health benefits, pensions and perks. Congressional pay raises between 1997 and 2007 will add up to $34,900. That's more than average workers make in a year. It would take more than three workers to make $34,900 at the minimum wage stuck at $5.15 an hour -- just $10,712 a year -- since Sept. 1, 1997. Full-time workers at minimum wage make less than $900 a month to pay rent, food, healthcare, gas and everything else. No wonder the U.S. Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey found that 40 percent of adults requesting emergency food assistance were employed, as were 15 percent of the homeless. Childcare workers and security guards struggle to care for their own children. EMTs and health care aides can't afford to take sick days. Yet Congress has given itself raise after raise, while giving none to minimum wage workers.....(full article)

Victims Without Faces
by Sheila Velazquez

Since the start of the first Gulf War, an unfathomable number of Iraqi children have died as a direct result of military actions and their aftermath and from sanctions. But we never see their faces. There is no way of really knowing how many thousands of young lives have been lost. The media has been prevented from providing close coverage of civilian casualties, just as it seems to be prevented from covering the details of the current "war on terror." We saw faces reflecting pain and horror after the explosion of one bomb in Oklahoma City, but I can only imagine the face of a mother or father in Iraq and other war-torn nations, including those to come, where power and economics drive the war machine, and every day begins with a prayer for the safety of a family.....(full article)

Revolutionary Radio in Venezuela
by Peter Lackowski

Over the course of forty years, Venezuela’s wealthy oligarchy plundered the nation’s wealth and turned a relatively prosperous country into one with 80% of its people living in poverty. Finally, in 1998 Hugo Chavez was elected president, with a mandate to make big changes. Since then he and his supporters have won solid and consistent majorities in one election after another. But the oligarchs have not accepted the fact that the majority of Venezuelans do not trust them to run the government. They have used deception, violence, and sabotage to try to destroy the elected government.  None of those tactics have succeeded. Now they are carrying on a propaganda offensive, claiming that President Chavez is a “dictator.” Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution is not the kind of thing that any dictator could decree. In reality, it involves a mass movement of people who have taken the initiative to make it happen. The story of the revolution is only partly the story of Hugo Chavez. It is also the story of all of the organizations and campaigns of the Venezuelan people, more stories than will ever be written. This is the story of one of those countless organizations that make up what Venezuelans call “the process.”......(full article)

June 21

From Mp3s to Sweatshops: IPod and the Sound of Slavery
by Alexander Billet

If you don’t have one, then you most certainly know someone who does. In a matter of about five years, they’ve become the most popular way to listen to music on the go. Of course I am talking about iPods. They are convenient, easy to use, and very, very hip. But try telling that to the sweatshop workers who make them.....(full article)

The Truth Lies Buried in Gaza Sands
by Jonathan Cook

If you keep lying long enough and with enough conviction, people start to believe you -- or at least doubt the evidence in front of their own eyes. And so it has been with the Israeli army’s account of how seven members of a Palestinian family were killed, and dozens of other Palestinians injured, during shelling close by a beach in Gaza. This week, according to reports in the Israeli media, even Marc Garlasco, a Pentagon expert on the effects of battlefield weapons hired by Human Rights Watch to investigate the deaths, “conceded” that he could not contradict the findings of the Israeli army’s own inquiry. Presumably that is because Israel is not letting him or anyone else near its evidence. But Garlasco’s slight change of tune -- even if it is not exactly a ringing endorsement -- leaves the door ajar just wide enough that the Israeli army will doubtless slip through it to escape being held accountable yet again.....(full article)

Two Minutes to Midnight: The Nuclear Peril
by David Model

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists are overly optimistic in leaving their doomsday clock at seven minutes to midnight given the Bush administration’s wanton disregard and reckless withdrawal from important nuclear arms regimes which manage the risk of nuclear war, the dangerous proliferation of nuclear weapons and fissionable material and the mindless, irrational blueprint for the increase and miniaturization of nuclear warheads. The purpose of building smaller but still very powerful warheads is to expand the scope of their usage to any war or pseudo-war waged by the US In addition, the United States is embarking on a program to weaponize space, which will only provoke potential competitors such as China to add to their own arsenals. The Bush energy policy of transferring dependence on oil to nuclear power poses a number of risks including a nuclear power plant breakdown, disposal of nuclear waste and the creation of additional targets for terrorists. One of the least understood perils of nuclear proliferation is the high probability of a nuclear accident reflecting the number of accidents which have occurred to date but have not yet resulted in the detonation of a nuclear weapon. Primarily because of the ignorant power-hungry actions of the Bush administration, the doomsday clock is closer to two minutes to midnight in the last six years since the beginning of his presidency.....
(full article)

Bush Bedtime Stories
by Peggy McCann

Hi boys and girls! I've come to see if you've brushed your teeth and gotten into bed. I've also been thinking about the Bush administration and it's unending and amazing capacity to reach new heights of hypocrisy and incompetence. It's almost more unbelievable than a Harry Potter book, though at least the villains in those have the redeeming quality of at least being semi interesting. These guys are utterly predictable. Though I have to admit, if it weren't so disgusting, it would almost be admirable. It's nearly impossible to believe that they could do it by accident. We are supposed to believe they are so incredibly shrewd after all. It must be then there is some nefarious plot behind all of this, like maybe our Commander In Chief is really some sort of Al Qaeda Candidate that is out to destroy the U.S. by making everyone hate us. Let me tell you a couple of fairy tales kids: The Somalians that Truthfully Cried Wolf.....(full tale)

CNAC's Elite Agenda for the Border: Security, Temp Workers, and Oil
by Greg Moses

Just as PNAC or the Project for the New American Century helped us to think about underlying motives for the public shams of the war on terrorism, so might CNAC or the Compact for North American Competitiveness help us to think about drama at the border between Mexico and the USA. Already CNAC's preferences for “border security” and “temporary workers” have attracted friends with clout, but did you know that Mexican oil is also on the agenda? (full article)

“We should always remember who makes the rules”
Derrick Jensen Sees the Big Picture
by Mickey Z.

In his eye-opening new two-volume book, Endgame (Seven Stories Press), Derrick Jensen writes: "One person's strategic goal may be to make a lot of money. Another's may be to get married. Still another's may be to bring down civilization." I don't know Derrick beyond a few e-mail exchanges, so I can only speculate where he stands on marriage or accumulating capital. However, he's not at all vague on the last goal: "We need to bring down civilization now," he writes. "We need not hesitate any longer. The planet is collapsing before our eyes, and we do nothing. We hold our little protests, we make our little signs, we write our little letters and our big books, and the world burns.".....(full article)

June 19

HUD to New Orleans Poor: “Go F(ind) Yourself (Housing)!”
by Bill Quigley

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced they plan to demolish over 5,000 public housing apartments in New Orleans. In August 2005, HUD reported they had 7,381 public apartments in New Orleans. Now HUD says they now have 1,000 apartments open and promise to repair and open another 1,000 in a couple of months. After months of rumors, HUD confirmed their intention to demolish all the remaining apartments. HUD’s demolition plans leave thousands of families with no hope of returning to New Orleans where rental housing is scarce and costly. In New Orleans, public housing was occupied by women, mostly working, their children, as well as the elderly and disabled. To these mothers and children, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said: "Any New Orleans voucher recipient or public housing resident will be welcomed home." Exactly how people will be welcomed home, HUD did not say. How can thousands of low-income working families come home if HUD has fenced off their apartments, put metal shutters over their windows and doors and are now plans to demolish their homes? (full article)

The Iraq War and the End of Economics
by Ahmed Amr

By now, it should be clear to one and all that war in Iraq has done nothing but create more willing and eager adversaries in the “war on terror.” As a result of Bush’s escapade, a nasty sectarian civil war has converted Baghdad into the most dangerous city on earth. There is no other place in the planet where fifty mutilated bodies are dumped in the municipal morgue on a regular daily basis. Every Iraqi is a potential victim in a chaotic landscape where a guy wearing a cop uniform by day moonlights as a member of a death squad by night. The occupation army led by American forces has abandoned its legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their colonial subjects and focused their effort on “force protection.” These days, Washington is more concerned with conducting behind the scenes haggling with Tehran to come up with a face saving exit strategy. Most likely, Bush will try to work out a deal where he ends up ceding Iraq to theocrats beholden to the clerics in Iran in exchange for a pledge from Tehran to forget about joining the nuclear club. To achieve this spectacular result, Cpl. Michael Estrella made the ultimate sacrifice. As White House press secretary Tony Snow put it, the twenty-year-old marine from California became “just a number” -- number 2500 to be precise. No one is counting the number of Iraqi casualties -- but some are forecasting that the dollar tab for this venture will eventually add up to a trillion plus in borrowed greenbacks......(full article)

A Plea for Net Neutrality
by Charles Sullivan

. . . Enter the Internet, one of the last bastions for democracy and the free and open exchange of ideas. The Internet provides a place where people around the world can gather, share ideas, enjoy a laugh, and seek truth. It is not perfect but it is a resource that is pregnant with possibilities. It is one of the last places where one can readily read dissenting points of view that are no longer possible in the mainstream of corporate reportage and synthesized news. Thank goodness we can still gather at web sites like this and create a vision for a just and peaceful future, as an alternative to war that will not end in our lifetimes.If the world’s largest telecommunications companies have their way that will change. Currently, the complex series of ones and zeroes that move at high speed through millions of miles of cables and airwaves are treated equally -- a byte is a byte is a byte, whether yours, mine or Bill Gates’. The concept of net neutrality stems from this principle. Telecommunications giants such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast want to change that by creating a two-tiered superhighway -- a technological toll road, if you will. Users who pay additional fees, primarily corporate clients promoting capitalism, would have unfettered access to the fast lanes. The rest of us would, rather than being treated as equals, become second-class citizens stuck in the slowest lanes with the poorest service. In the worst case scenario service could be denied altogether......(full article)

I Blight
by Sheila Velazquez

I can walk the length of my rented apartment in sixteen strides, the width in four or five, depending on whether I want to use the bathroom or not. It is the smallest place I have ever lived in, but I love it, with its four windows and three porches which combined about equal the square footage of the apartment itself. From my front porch I can see the mountains and closer, the multi-story crane lifting lumber into place for the pseudo New England-style townhouses being built a few blocks away, which are selling for nearly one million bucks. The neighborhood in which I live, however, has been designated as "blighted.".....(full article)

The Most Moral Army in the World
by Steven Jones 

While Dana Olmert, the daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, was protesting the deaths of Palestinian civilians at the hands of Israeli security forces, her father issued the following statement: “The Israel Defense Forces is the most moral army in the world. It has never conducted a policy of harming civilians, and is not doing so today.” Olmert was on a European tour promoting his “convergence” plan of unilateral withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, and it was not going well. Overshadowing European disapproval for Olmert’s plan was the video, broadcast throughout the world (except, of course, on American networks) of young Huda Ghalia, screaming over the corpse of her father who had just been killed, evidently, by the most moral army in the world.....(full article

On Boycotts, Activism, and Moral Standards 
by James Brooks

Gideon Levy, of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, is an artist at the crafts of reportage and commentary. Prolific yet deeply thoughtful and fair, Levy delivers his subjects whole and unfiltered on the page, speaking from the heart in their own voices. His analysis is honest, insightful, and often devastating in its indictment of Israel’s occupation. Yet even the most ardent fan will find cause to quibble from time to time. In a piece that cleverly exposes the hypocrisy in Israel’s complaint that boycott and divestment campaigns against it are “illegitimate” ("With a little help from the outside," Ha’aretz, June 8, 2006), Levy also charges international activists with a “moral double standard” in expending their outrage against Israel when they should be tending the home fires. For instance, British and Canadian boycotters should shoulder their own responsibilities and work to end their countries’ occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever the origin of this critique, it deserves rebuttal because it puts political activism in a conceptual and moral straitjacket while denying the fundamentally international character of Israel’s occupation.....(full article)

How Israel’s Jewish Terrorist Became a Victim
by Jonathan Cook

Imagine the following scenario. A Palestinian gunman boards a bus inside Israel and rides it to the city of Netanya. Close to the end of the line, he walks over to the driver, levels his automatic rifle against the man’s head and pumps him with bullets. He turns and empties the rest of the magazine -- one of 14 in his backpack -- into the passenger behind the driver and two young women sitting across the gangway. As bystanders in the street outside look on in horror, our gunman then reloads his weapon and sprays the bus with yet more fire, injuring 20 people. He approaches a woman huddled beneath a seat, trying to hide from him, lowers the gun to her head and pulls the trigger. The magazine is empty. As he tries to load a third clip, she grabs the burning barrel of the gun while other passengers rush him. Seeing their chance, the onlookers storm the bus and fuelled by a mixture of passions -- fury, indignation and fear of further attack -- they beat the gunman to death. As the news breaks, Israeli TV prefers to continue its coverage of a local football match rather than report the killings. Later, when the channels do cover the deaths, they start by showing the picture of the gunman with the caption “God bless his soul” -- in the same manner as they would normally relate to the victim of a terror attack. Despite the Prime Minister denouncing the gunman as a terrorist to the world, domestically the media and police concentrate instead on the “lynch mob” who killed the gunman. The police launch a secretive investigation which after 10 months leads to the arrests of seven men on charges of murdering him, and the promise of more arrests to come. A police spokesman describes the men’s act against the gunman as one of “cold-blooded murder.” Fanciful? Ridiculous? Well, exactly these events have unfolded in Israel over the past year -- except that the location was not the Jewish city of Nentanya but the Arab town of Shafa’amr in the Galilee; the gunman was not a Palestinian but an Israeli soldier using his army-issue M-16; and the victims were not Israeli Jews but Israeli Arabs.....(full article)

Support the Troops
by Sheila Samples

Once a year, George Bush shows up at Arlington National Cemetery and tells a tightly controlled, thoroughly vetted audience that he 'preciates the sacrifice of those who volunteered to die "in freedom's cause." There, surrounded by silent tombstones and armed Secret Service Police, this most infamous of military deserters befouls not only the hallowed ground, but the very air, as he regurgitates words he babbled the year before...and the year before. He reminds us that America is a "reluctant warrior," but we are resolved; our will must not be broken, no matter how many sacrifices it takes. During the annual photo-op, Bush reads excerpts of farewell letters allegedly from fallen soldiers and marines, all apparently honored to have died in Bush's noble cause. Their words passed on to us by Bush are eerily familiar -- stay the course -- complete the mission of ridding the world of evil -- spread freedom and democracy to the four corners of the earth. Then, after hoping that the slain heroes made peace with their Maker before being blown to bits, and a final admonishment to "support the troops," Bush cuts out until next year. The camera never strays from Bush's twitching mouth, darting eyes -- never scans the audience so we might see who these people are who applaud him so vigorously. It must be members of his administration and those legislators who follow him around like whipped pups, for I cannot imagine mothers willing to either sacrifice their children to bolster Bush's poll numbers in a barbaric slaughterhouse that grows more bloody and chaotic every day, or to cheer him on. Somehow I cannot conjure up an image of mothers offering up their sons and daughters to a pathological narcissist killer, knowing if they are returned at all it will be either in pieces or in boxes.....(full article)

Publicity Stunts and Public Policy
by Ron Jacobs

The recent murder of Zarqawi and the current crackdown in Baghdad serve well as metaphors for the entire nature of this war. An overkill of US military power with results that mean virtually nothing in the longer term. So what -- they killed Zarqawi? Does that bring an end to the war any closer? So what -- the newest Prime Minister of the Green Zone, a man whose reliance on Washington's firepower already seems to rival that of Ayad Allawi (DC's first handpicked man), announces a giant security sweep of Baghdad. Under Washington's direction, he tells the city's residents (and the compliant US press) that there will be over 70,000 more US and Iraqi troops in their city setting up checkpoints to harass them, take their guns (always a popular move in Iraq), breaking into their homes at night, arresting men on minimal suspicions, and just irritating and disrupting their already war-torn lives. Will it end the war? Of course not. Like other such operations before it, Forward Together is another public relations exercise whose primary audience is the US public and whose primary targets are any Iraqi that gets in the way of the troops swaggering through their streets and homes. It won't amount to a hill of beans.....(full article)

In Support of Our Troops at Haditha 
by Aaron Sussman 

Calm down. Take a moment and think. Now, I’m the first one to say that murder is wrong. But this incident in Haditha is a little more complicated than that and everyone needs to just relax a little and think things over. Make no mistake: if we condemn these men, we’ll be on a slippery slope so severe that it will make the legalization of gay marriage look almost harmless.....
(full article)

The Revolt of the Penguins in Chile
by Federico Moreno

Chile has been overrun by high school students whose mass protests have forced the government to drop planned cuts in education spending. Called “penguins” because of their suit-and-tie uniforms, the students have shaken the foundations of the rigid Chilean social structure, inherited from the bloody dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Now, the government of President Michelle Bachelet of the Socialist Party, which took office earlier this year, has been forced to retreat. The last six weeks in Chile have been marked by a strike of over 1 million students; the occupation of up to 1,000 high schools and most of the country’s universities; and weekly, sometimes daily, marches. The movement has also persevered in street battles against Chile’s sophisticated repression machine -- complete with carabineros (the national police) clad in riot gear and tanks firing water cannons that shoot a mixture of water and tear acid. Students, some as young as 13, fought back with sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails. The struggle began as a defensive fight -- stopping the Bachelet government proposals last March for an increase in the cost of the University Entry Exam (PSU) and a restriction on student transportation passes to two trips per day. But it has since snowballed into an offensive struggle. The movement now demands free transportation and an end to all fees for the PSU, as well as the elimination of a law (known by its initials LOCE) implementing the privatization of Chile’s education system -- the last law that Pinochet approved before stepping down.....(full article)

Christians Who Want Democracy Must Stop Bowing to a Dictator Christ  by Rev. Jim Rigby

Whereas American theology was born out of a hope for democracy, much of it is wedded to a picture of Christ as a benevolent dictator. Should we be surprised that a hierarchical cosmology would produce hierarchical churches and nations? Should we be surprised that religious nations that picture Christ as a loving dictator have produced conquistadors, inquisitors and crusaders? (full article)

June 14

The Evil of Banality
by Anthony Alessandrini

There are moments that require us to stop everything and take stock of the time in which we are living. This is one such moment. Listen: “They are smart, they are creative, they are committed,” Admiral Harris said. “They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” This is Rear Admiral Harry B. Harris, commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison. His words appeared, without comment, in the first news reports about three men, detained indefinitely and subjected to systematic torture at the prison, who committed suicide on Saturday by hanging themselves in their cells.....(full article)

The Palestinians Have No Friends
by Ahmed Amr

Early June is the perfect season to experience the beaches of the Eastern Mediterranean. The oppressive heat of July and August are still ahead of us and the water is as temperate as the air that you breathe. Even in a place as troubled as Gaza, the temptation to take a dip in the water is irresistible. A picnic at the beach is still a novel concept to many Palestinians. For two generations, the finest beaches in the Gaza strip have been reserved for the exclusive use of a few thousand Jewish settlers. But this summer was supposed to be different. The settlers were gone and the Israeli Army had packed its lethal gear and “disengaged” from the densely populated strip. For the first time in living memory -- a family could escape the dismal overcrowded refugee camps for picnics by the sea shore. For one Palestinian family, the decision to indulge in the simple pleasure of a picnic by the sea ended up in bloody orgy of death and dismemberment. The entire clan was wiped out by an Israeli shell -- leaving behind a single survivor -- a young girl screaming in agony for her kin.....(full article)

Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven
-- Democracy rots from the inside-out as a nation of telemarketers
and war criminals parties on amid the stench --
by Joe Bageant

Spring Sunday morning and I am at the politically incorrect 7-Eleven buying my cholesterol loaded half and half for my peasant slave labor grown coffee. In the parking lot car speakers blare out Bob Marley from a grungy 1987 Olds Cutlass (the last year GM made 'em), while the owner, a Haitian guy, sits on the curb eating his Smokey Big Bite hot dog, sunshine pouring over the whole world, sweet as that quart of chocolate milk he is going to wash it all down with. Bob Marley is singing “One Lov”e and that Smokey smells so damned good I order one for myself and settle in next to that Haitian dude. And I think, “Is this a great fucking country or what? Yessiree, the world's best hope.”.....(full article)

Rapper or Terrorist? US Locks Out MIA 
by Alexander Billet

As if hip-hop didn’t already have enough on its shoulders, now immigration officials are treating MCs like terrorists.  The June 15th issue of Rolling Stone reports that British/Sri Lankan rapper MIA was denied permission to enter the US, where she was scheduled to start work on her new album. Always one to poke fun at the situation, the MC wrote on her Myspace page: “Roger, roger do you hear me? Over!!!! The US immigration won’t let me in… Now I’m strictly making my album outside the borders!!!” MIA’s agents, William Morris, later denied the claim, saying that immigration simply hadn’t gotten back to them (a nice way of saying her application has been “held up”). The controversy over all this is a bit confusing since MIA already toured and worked in the US as recently as last year. But under all the damage control coming from her agents, there’s the possibility of something a bit more calculated -- and all too common in the climate of the war on terror and an anti-immigrant backlash.....(full article)

Green Beret Turned Peace Activist Publishes Anti-War Book 
by Daniela Rommel

Special Forces veteran and award-winning author has published a new book opposing the war on terrorism. William T. Hathaway's Summer Snow is a peace novel set in Central Asia as an American warrior falls in love with a Sufi Muslim and learns from her an alternative to the military mentality. Hathaway's first anti-war novel, A World of Hurt, won a Rinehart Foundation Award. Both it and Summer Snow explore the attraction that war has for men and how they can be healed of the pathology of patriarchal machismo....(full article

June 12

Haditha, Zarqawi & the Politics of Distraction 
by Jack Random

Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the man who rose from obscurity to prominence with the assistance of the American propaganda machine, is dead -- killed by two 500 lb. bombs that annihilated his not so “safe house” in the suburbs of Baghdad. Concurrently, the final pieces of the Iraqi government fall into place with the appointment of the critical Ministers of Interior and Defense, yet the leaders of the occupation fall over themselves explaining that it is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, that in fact the war will go on as if nothing has changed. We have missed another opportunity to declare “victory” and withdraw. We could have claimed that we beheaded the snake, thus defeating Al Qaeda in Iraq, and left the rest for the Iraqis to decide.  Instead, we went out of our way to minimize our own success. Rumors persist that the killing of Zarqawi was executed on the orders of Al Qaeda with the implied blessings of Osama bin Laden. Zarqawi was not only a ruthless killer but a killer of fellow Muslims, a man with a loose screw who did more harm than good to his own cause. Did Al Qaeda give him up to exploit him as a martyr? (full article)

“We Don’t Want to Inflict Values”
The Occupiers and the Worsening Plight of Iraqi Gays
by Gary Leupp

. . . . But the fact is, things are worse. And for none more than that group most vulnerable historically to attacks from religious fanatics: homosexuals. Last month Ali Hili, who used to run a gay nightclub in Baghdad, told The Times of London he knows of more than 40 Iraqi gay men killed this year. “We could never envisage this happening when Saddam (Hussein) was overthrown,” the 33-year-old now in exile declared. “I had no love for the former president, but his regime never persecuted the gay community.” “There was no homophobic attitudes toward gay and lesbians,” he told Democracy Now!. “It’s a very dark age for gays and lesbians and transsexuals and bisexuals in Iraq right now. And the fact that Iraq has been shifted from a secular state into a religious state was completely, completely horrific. We were very modern. We were very, very Western culturalized -- Iraq -- comparing to the rest of the Middle East. Why it’s been shifted to this Islamic dark ages country?” (full article)

Bush Administration Failing America’s AIDS Crisis
by Gene C. Gerard

In 2001, the Bush administration joined 188 other governments in adopting the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. This committed each government to improving their response to its domestic AIDS epidemic and establishing targets for financing, policy and programming. Last week, in an address before the United Nations commemorating the 25th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, Secretary General Kofi Annan warned, “The epidemic continues to outpace us. There are more new infections than ever before.” While we expect third world nations to have difficulties coping with the epidemic, a new report suggests that the Bush administration is failing to adequately combat the crisis in America.....(full article)

How Bush Rigged the Ohio Election: The Noe Factor
by Evelyn Pringle

By late afternoon on November 2, 2004, nationally, all the exit polls showed John Kerry winning with 50.8% of the votes and showed George W Bush with 48.2%, meaning Kerry had a 2.6% lead over Bush. But when the vote counts came in at the end of election day, Bush had 50.9% of the votes, and Kerry had 48.1%, meaning Bush received 2.8% more votes than Kerry. According to Dr Ron Baiman, PhD, from the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois in Chicago, who has 16 years of experience teaching statistics to both graduate and undergraduate college students, there would be about 1 in 900,000 chance of that kind of statistical error occurring. Ohio was the most important state to Bush. He could not win without it. He spent so much time in the state that people began to wonder whether he had left a forwarding address to Ohio. At his last campaign rally in the state, a mere four days before the election, Bush bestowed special praise on a husband and wife team who in hindsight were more helpful to Bush than any other politicians in Ohio, as far as rigging the election.....(full article)

Sitting Ducks on the Hudson
by Jeremy Schneider

Once in a while, I’ll find myself driving north, along the Hudson River. Ideally, this drive is at its best during the summer as the sun sets. There is no better time of the day than the twilight period, especially as you drive along the scenic river. As the sun’s captivating streaks lay delicately along the sky and the night begins to make its presence with a preview of stars, the twilight captures the beauty of both day and night. Accompanying this period when the sun gracefully departs and the moon begins her shift, are the gentle river breezes that blanket the area. These light gusts would create shimmering patterns on the water’s surface. This is the Hudson. But these getaways end abruptly. The sun’s fading colors would brush along the shore and forests until the natural collided with the artificial. You could see the colors disappear on the dead surface of concrete and steel. A vicious barbed-wire fence displays partially-shredded plastic grocery bags, which are held captive in its jagged teeth. Two massive domes stick out of the land like tumors. The river breeze that once provided comfort and tranquility now leaves your body shivering. As you drive by Indian Point, your mind feels uneasy. Some may say that these are signs of nature’s distress and weakness, but I like to think that this is her way of giving us warning. Indian Point didn’t belong on the river. Like an apple with a bright and shiny appearance on one side, and a white, moldy growth on the other side, Indian Point has a parasitic presence. The nuclear power plant’s ugly appearance represents much more than a contrast between nature’s beauty and man’s artificiality: the plant represents fear and vulnerability. The 9/11 attacks marked the beginning of this widespread fear. Throughout our neighborhoods, cities, and counties, families were having the type of discussions at the dinner table that would surely spoil any appetite. People began to think the unthinkable. We started asking questions.....(full article)

Terror in Toronto or Tempest in a Teapot?
by John Chuckman

The arrest in Toronto of seventeen men, mostly quite young, for conspiracy to bomb places in Southern Ontario has raised a storm of comment. Unfortunately, much of it has been either premature or wrong. A Congressman from Northern New York, uninformed but still generous with his opinions, declared that Canada was thick with al Qaeda cells owing to its liberal (a truly filthy word in the United States) immigration and refugee laws. Sadly, the Congressman’s big red-nose talents are appreciated only in Canada, his ignorance being taken for insight in many parts of the United States. Pat Buchanan parodies are also taken seriously by some in Canada, particularly in Alberta, and there are people here eager for any opportunity to prove their anti-terror bone fides to America’s unsmiling leaders. This strain in our society should alert us to the possibility, however remote, of skewed investigations where terror is concerned.....(full article)

Inside the Madhouse
by Kim Petersen

Greg Palast’s latest book, Armed Madhouse, is an irreverent probe into the freedom-devouring intrigues surrounding the rogue president George W. Bush and his murder-sanctioning regime. Palast’s narrative account begins with the color-coded alert threat system in place in the superpower. Palast humorously writes, “America is the only nation on the planet that kindly informs bombers, hijackers and the berserkers the days on which they won’t be monitored.” Although he used sarcasm to drive his point, the inclusion of “bombers” and “hijackers” in that specific statement indicates that Palast uncritically subscribes to the argument that the 9-11 attack was an outside job. But a plethora of counter-arguments powerfully points in the opposite direction: that at least there was inside pre-knowledge of 9-11. In doing so, Palast appears to lend credence to the decision of the mad White House junta to launch its wars of imperialist conquest as a “response” to the attack. In essence, the implication of such an approach is that Palast appears to see the situation as a once sane policy gone mad and not as a deliberate string of imperialistically motivated policy formulation.....(full article)

Boycott Israeli Apartheid
by Stanley Heller

I must have been out of my mind. I was bombarded with emails asking me to call my member of Congress and ask that she oppose the so-called Palestinian Terrorism Act.  CNI, US Campaign to End the Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, even an Israeli group wrote me. Defeat 4681! Call, call, call today. So I called and wrote to my lists and urged that they call. I put “We Might Win This One” in the subject line. Then the vote was delayed. Wow! The calls are having an effect. Redouble our efforts! Maybe we really can. . . Then the vote occurred. 361 in favor, 37 against, and 9 voting present. It passed by a ten to one margin! Ten to one to declare every Palestinian city a “sanctuary for terrorists or terrorist organizations” and banning US exports except under special licenses. Ten to one to tell the US trade representative at the World Bank to stop any humanitarian projects. Ten to one to forbid US contacts with any member of the Palestinian Authority or Palestinian political organization. Ten to one to cut dues to the UN in proportion to what the UN spent on Palestinian rights advocacy. Read the actual bill: if you have the stomach for it. It still has to pass the Senate, but nothing will stop it unless Bush finds it a hindrance......(full article)

Profits Fall, Stores Close:
Grocery Chains and Bush's Ownership Society 
by Seth Sandronsky

There are too many U.S. grocery chain stores, said George Whalin, head of Retail Management Consultants, in The Sacramento Bee of June 7. Call it overcapacity in the grocery industry. A few new owners of the Albertsons grocery chain are responding accordingly. In early June, three companies purchased Albertsons Inc. for the tidy sum of $17 billion. One of the trio, Cerberus Partners, an investment firm based in New York, partnered with the commercial real estate firm of Kimco Realty Corp. To halt a fall in profits for Albertsons during the past four years, 100 of its stores nationwide will be closing, 37 of which are located in Northern California. These “under-performing stores” did not bring an acceptable return on investment to owners, according to Albertsons spokeswoman Quyen Ha. And the consequences for Albertsons employees? (full article)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Corporations
You Gotta Think like a Multinational to Earn Like a Multinational
by Mickey Z.

What do transnational corporate giants know that we don't? Do you ever wonder why CEOs have all that fun dwelling in decadent luxury while the rest of us live from paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet? Of course you do. Well, stop dreaming and read on ... because here, for the first time ever, are the top seven secrets of America's most dynamic and successful corporations.....(secrets to success revealed)

June 8

-- Late Day Addition --
Golden Goose Down: Was the IMF Involved in Gold Price Manipulation?
by Lila Rajiva

After years of being called crackpots in tin -- or gold -- foil hats, GATA (the US based Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee) seems to look saner by the day, next to the thorough going loopiness of the financial establishment. The latest evidence is an IMF report that shows how IMF rules wink -- if they do not actually blow kisses -- at central banks which double count gold reserves they have actually lent out for sale in the open market.....(full article)

The Death of Zarqawi: Targeting the “US Home Audience”
by Sunil K. Sharma

The corporate media is abuzz with news of the apparent success of US forces in killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq last night. Zarqawi has been portrayed by the Bush Administration and mainstream media as Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man in Iraq since a few months before the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003. President Bush and his British poodle Tony Blair are trying to spin the killing of Zarqawi as a momentous defeat for the (Islamic) forces of terror, a big setback for the Iraqi resistance, or “insurgents” to use imperialist parlance. The death of Zarqawi also happily, though perhaps temporarily, takes some heat off the US in the wake of the recent Haditha massacre revelations. That Zarqawi's death represents a big blow -- or any kind of blow for that matter -- to the Iraqi “insurgency”, al Qaeda, international jihadists, etc. etc. is simply laughable.....(full article)

Breakthroughs in Iraq, While Backing Off on Iran
by Gary Leupp

This morning I wake up to learn, as I peruse, that the Bush administration has suddenly agreed to acknowledge Iran’s right to enrich uranium. Then almost immediately thereafter, from the TV, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed. Then from the car radio I learn for the first time, and from the mouth of President Bush in his statement announcing Zarqawi’s death, that Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki has finally appointed defense and interior ministers to his cabinet. The failure of the client-state to do this for five months following the parliamentary elections in January (and thereby actually pose as a state in the real world where state power grows out of the barrel of a gun) had become an acute embarrassment for those attempting to lend it legitimacy. So a big morning for Bush! He gets to announce that a major leader of the “terrorists and insurgents” in Iraq has been eliminated due to the heroic actions of the finest military in the world. (Never mind Abu Ghraib, Haditha and all that.) And he gets to show political progress as well.....(full article)

Terror in San Salvador Atenco
by Julie Webb-Pullman

Terrorism has been given yet another name -- Atenco. As Britons commemorate the first anniversary of the July 7 London killing and injuring of innocent civilians, the people of San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, are coping with their own attack -- one dead, one in a critical condition, 12 disappeared, 23 men and seven women incommunicado several of whom remain in urgent need of medical attention, seven rapes, at least 16 sexual assaults -- all in all at least 212 detained and 173 human rights violations as a result of being innocent victims of an attack on May 3rd and 4th in Texcoco and neighboring San Salvador Atenco, Mexico State. Whilst Britons, like the victims of the Twin Towers, Madrid and Bali before them, could rely on the police, emergency services and other instruments of State to respond to the tragedy in their midst and, with few notable exceptions, to deliver justice and necessary medical care, the people of San Salvador Atenco have no such “luxury”. Why? Because it was the apparatus of the Mexican State that committed these barbarous acts against the people of Atenco, and against members of the national and international media. It was the police -- federal, state and municipal -- who beat, sexually assaulted and illegally detained them It was the Mexican immigration department that summarily deported several human rights observers, journalists, and others It is the Mexican prison authorities who continue to withhold urgent medical attention. And it is the entire Mexican administration that is continuing its attempt to bury these events as if they never happened.....(full article)

Minutemen Target Children:
Hate Radio and the Attack on Academia Semillas del Pueblo 
by Juan Santos

When the bomb threat came that morning it targeted 250 Chicano children and their families in a deliberate act of political terror. For a month, KABC in Los Angeles had focused an unrelenting attack against the school Academia Semillas del Pueblo. KABC is an ultra-right talk radio station that carries Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, one that specializes in xenophobia and a thinly disguised hate-talk format aimed at the paranoids who think George Bush is a sell out liberal and who accuse Sen. James Sensenbrenner of not going far enough to rid the nation of Mexicans and other descendants of the indigenous peoples of North and Central America. Let’s make it plain: these are minutemen with microphones, and with the billion-dollar backing of Disney. Under the laws of hate, speech leads to action; it was only a matter of time until someone took matters into their own hands. KABC knows it audience, and although the station’s website continues to place a strong focus on the imagined sins of the Academia, it breathes not a word of the bomb threat. To do so would be to implicate itself and its listeners. KABC and its morning host, Doug McIntyre, are more than upset with the East LA school. They want it shut down: if it were a book, they’d burn it.....
(full article)  

Always Romani, But Never a Gypsy
by Maria Catherine Trefil

I see the sign at the entrance of the thrift store -- “GYPSIE’S SPECIAL: 75% OFF EVERYTHING” -- and, automatically, my blood is boiling, but I am silent. It’s not the first time that I’ve seen signs like it. From flat-out racism to the encouragement of well-meant, but nonetheless offensive, stereotypes I’ve already heard everything in reference to my people and, previously, there have been few instances, outside of college classrooms, where I felt safe enough to speak out against such things. From my great-grandfather who, in 1899 Moravia dared to fall in love with a White girl and was subsequently run out of his village on pain of death for it, to my own experience with seeing people clutch their purse tighter the moment I reveal my ethnic heritage, a lesson my family has well understood over the years is that to reveal we are Romani is to risk severe prejudice. Still, I acknowledge, looking at the sign, that to many non-Roma, the word “Gypsy” is not meant necessarily as an offense. I think of my husband, how he’d react by telling me to be calm. Maybe just ignore it; turn the other cheek yet again.  But then I see that the store sells its toys for children only feet from the sign . . . and I know that I have to say something.....(full article)

Another Brick in the (Apartheid) Wall
by Gabriel Ash

....Franziska Voboril, a spin-doctor dutifully toiling in the belly of the EU press office, authored a public letter in defense of EU policies, in which she had the gall to say that the EU was starving Palestinians for their own good, because the positions of the [democratically elected] Hamas were supposedly “against the will of the majority of the Palestinians.” The Inquisition, the first transnational European bureaucracy and apparently Solana’s and Voboril’s spiritual model, also claimed that it burned, starved, and humiliated its victims for their own good, allegedly “to save their soul.” Plus ça change…. But in this dispiriting downward spiral of inhumanity and hypocrisy there are beacons of hope. One comes from the UK and one from Canada; not from the governments, but from labor organizations.....(full article)

The Left and the Israel Lobby
by Joseph Anderson

. . . . Other prominent progressives -- including (sometimes closeted) Zionist apologists on the Left (headed by Left guru Noam Chomsky) -- now employ a more sophisticated approach. Instead of denying the existence of the Israel lobby altogether or calling others “anti-Semitic” (or like Stephen Zunes’ fallback attack, saying it “parallels anti-Semitism,” in effect attacking questioners as thinking like anti-Semites), they admit to the existence of the Lobby, but dismiss it as inconsequential. (I never understood the apparent proclivity of many in the Left not to be able to hold more than one factor in their minds at the same time: it, indeed, seems to be always either-or, instead of possibly both-and.) “The Lobby is not the real problem,” they say; thus saying that progressives should just completely ignore it -- but after that attempt at dissuasion, if you don’t, you must be anti-Semitic. But, an analysis of these dissuaders’ arguments shows that they are rife with contradictions and, ultimately, just as unpersuasive as the cruder ravings from their colleagues on the Right. Unfortunately, typical of these leftist minimizers of the Lobby is Norman Finkelstein, whom this writer otherwise greatly respects, but whose recent article entitled, "It's Not Either/Or: The Israel Lobby," appeared in the May Day 2006 issue of Counterpunch. In fact, before a private respectful e-mail debate with this writer, Finkelstein’s position, as I perceived it, was, indeed, much more like the old Chomsky line of absolute dismissal of the Lobby. But, the critical contradictions remaining in Finkelstein’s position still jump out almost immediately to examined analysis.....(full article)

America on the Couch
Death’s Dream Kingdom: The American Psyche Since 9/11
by Robert S. Dotson

Indeed, most readers of Dissident Voice would agree that there is “something terribly wrong” with our nation. This reviewer was slow to awaken to that sad fact, but if he can be illumined at such a late date, then maybe there is hope for the country at large. It took nearly fifty years (!) for the alarm bells to begin ringing in my head to the point that they could no longer be ignored. The past decade has seen those alarms only increase in volume and urgency. As a physician (admittedly a non-cognitive one, as all surgeons are considered by their non-surgeon colleagues), I have been concerned with the apparent mass psychosis that increasingly grips our land. We have long since departed the shores of a comfortable corporate neurosis for a full-blown craziness which makes preceding failed states of history appear amazingly normal. The slightly eccentric “uncle” of yore has evolved into a Bundy-esque figure intent on locating his next victim. And, the serial murderer’s charming veneer is wearing thin! ......(full article)

Leaving Morals to the Markets: A Review of The Way We Eat
by Daniel Hammer

The way we eat -- the way we select our foods -- is more than a matter of physical nourishment and sustenance; it also involves nourishing and sustaining the social life that surrounds us. This is why a book on what we eat is so important, and why The Way We Eat: Why Food Choices Matter, by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, fails to provide the analysis and critical thinking needed to take humans, other animals, and our environment seriously.....
(full article)

Of Water, Human Beings and Other "Worthless" Commodities:
How Capitalism Unleashes the Beast of Soulless Avarice
by Jason Miller

Jinshan Mining Ltd, a leading mineral extraction corporation based in China, has officially announced its ground-breaking technology for extracting gold from the water supply in the United States, including groundwater, rivers, lakes and streams. After years of fastidious research, Jinshan has concluded that most of the water throughout the continental United States contains significant trace levels of gold particles. Its scientists have determined that the concentration of particles is high enough to enable the mining concern’s innovative new extraction process to cull significant quantities of the precious metal from ordinary H2O. Jinshan, a Chinese multinational, has indicated they have found a surprisingly inexpensive means to process the millions of gallons of American water necessary to reap the profits they seek.....
(full article)

Sacred Ecology and Capitalism
by Charles Sullivan

Any economic system based upon greed rather than the public good and the ruthless exploitation of nature is not only wrong, it is a prescription for disaster. Capitalism not only embodies this self-destructive ideology, it depends upon endless growth (the ideology of the cancer cell) for its continuation. Endless growth, regardless how well it is managed, is an ecological impossibility on a finite planet. Thus the perceived success of capitalism is short-lived at best. Because it is based upon a cycle of voracious consumption and waste, capitalism will inevitably collapse. This is not idle speculation or wishful thinking on my part; it is a mathematical certainty based upon the most elementary precepts of ecological science. Meanwhile, the ecological consequences of unbridled capitalism will be dire. The collapse of the world’s great ecosystems, driven by capital’s insatiable lust for material wealth, is already well under way and is almost certainly irreversible. To continue down this path will surely make things orders of magnitudes worse than if we change direction and begin to live responsibly and sustainably....(full article)

America: The Land of Denial 
(What we missed while the Yankees played the Red Sox) 
by Mickey Z.

Being a lifetime New Yorker means I took notice when the Red Sox came to town this week. Tens of thousands jammed Yankee Stadium ... each pretending the House That Ruth Built does not stand on land stolen from a nearly exterminated indigenous population. Millions more tuned in to watch on TV powered by electricity, which is generated by the burning of fossil fuels. We pushed environmental degradation from our minds and cheered for our team. Yankee announcer Ken Singleton is an African-American but we all opted to ignore the slave trade that brought Africans to North America. In order to better enjoy the sports spectacle, it's not recommended that viewers contemplate a nation built upon a foundation of slavery.....
(full article)

In the Pro-Life Police State, Every Pregnant Woman
is a Potential Criminal
by Lee Salisbury

In March, Fox network’s news anchor Bill O’Reilly reported on Utah’s Melissa Ann Rowland. In January, a doctor at a Salt Lake City hospital told Rowland she should have an emergency C-section if she wanted to save the life of one of the twins she was carrying. Rowland delayed, but eleven days later had the C-section and one of the babies was born dead.  An autopsy showed the baby would probably have lived had the C-section been performed when the doctor ordered it. Prosecutors in Utah charged Rowland with first-degree murder, citing "depraved indifference to human life." Police immediately imprisoned Rowland and held her on $300,000 bail.....(full article)

“Democratic Deficit”: Sri Lanka
by Chandi Sinnathurai

The international community cannot afford to remain silent much longer about the slow-genocide of the Minority Tamils in Sri Lanka -- Tamil Eelam.  There is currently much talk in the airwaves about the remembrance of the Rwandan genocide and the despicable partiality shown by the West. Two Hutu militia groups (Interahamwe and Impuzamugambai) were slaughtering the Tutsis and moderate Hutus (that were trying to protect the helpless Tutsis) from April 6 through July 1994. While this horror was taking place, in the highest levels of the UN there was much debate on semantics!  By this time nearly 100,000,000 human beings have been brutally murdered in this holocaust in such short a period.  Do we officially designate this horrendous butchery as “atrocities”? The UN argued! Virtually all the countries in the West declined to intervene. The UN did not authorize its peacekeeping force to use force to bring the killings to a halt. President Clinton called the inaction of the US as the “biggest regret in my administration.”......(full article)

Tommy Cooper Journalism
The Guardian and The Observer on Venezuela
by toni solo

Tommy Cooper was a much-loved British comedian who died tragically but perhaps fittingly on stage during a performance -- people thought he was fooling. Cooper's stock in trade was to pose as an incompetent magician. One of his catchphrases, offered as he explained the astonishing feat he was just about to perform was "just like that..." as the heralded magic flatly refused to happen. Britain's Guardian and Observer newspapers seem to have adopted Tommy Cooper as the inspiration for their journalism on Venezuela. One can see this in differing degrees in several articles published over the last month or so.....(full article)

Music of the Shantytowns
Jamaican Ska Legend Desmond Dekker (1941-2006)
by Kirstin Roberts

Desmond Dekker, the first international star of Jamaican ska and rocksteady music, died of a heart attack in late May at the age of 64. Before Bob Marley made reggae music into a world phenomenon in the 1970s, poor Jamaican musicians like Dekker rocked British, Caribbean and U.S. dancehalls with hits like “Israelites” (1968) and “007 (Shantytown)” (1967). Jamaican ska music, the predecessor of rocksteady and reggae, was born in the impoverished shantytowns of Kingston in the late 1950s.....(full article)

June 6

Hanky Panky at the Counting House
by Lila Rajiva

What’s the deal with Bush’s new honcho at the Treasury? Replacing John Snow as Secretary (effective Tuesday, May 30) is Henry (Hank) Paulson, who is CEO of Goldman Sachs. Among Wall Street’s capos, that makes Paulson capo di tutti capital markets and the speculator-in-chief of our speculation driven economy, the main manipulator in a manipulated market. It means that the chicken coop is directly in the paws not just of any egg-sucking fox but a Bengal tiger in its prime. Really, why not invite the Cali drug cartel to run the DEA while we’re at it? (full article)

Video Tapes and Liberator’s Justice in Haditha
by Ahmed Amr

Just a week ago, the Bush administration was bracing itself for the worst. After six months of covering up the Haditha massacre, the time had come to face another public audit of the conduct of American occupation forces in Iraq. Once again, as in Abu Ghraib, the real culprit was a camera. American eyes are not supposed to see this sort of thing lest it disturb their inner harmony. The folks back home live under the comfortable illusion that their armed forces are busy fighting the “bad guys,” promoting democracy, setting up school playgrounds and passing out candy to street urchins. Don’t expect the average American to dwell -- let alone show empathy -- for the traumatized Iraqi survivors in Haditha. Just because the majority of Americans are now against the invasion doesn’t mean they’re paying attention to the details. In this most sanitized of wars, they rarely get a look at their own dead and wounded. For most, the whole sordid Iraqi affair is no more than background noise. Half of them still can’t place Iraq on the map and there is a significant minority that still believes Saddam had weapons of mass destruction....(full article)

Haditha and Rumsfeld's Ratio 
by Mickey Z. 

By now, we should all know the drill: The U.S. military is sent off amidst lies and propaganda to rain death and destruction upon a foreign land. Atrocities abound but go unmentioned until a set of "allegations" are simply too obvious to disregard. Shortly thereafter, high-ranking officials issue assurances that our [sic] troops are the good guys and that any criminal behavior is the exception, not the rule. In the most recent variation on this theme, the high ranking official was Secretary of Defense [sic] Donald Rumsfeld and his public assurance went as follows: "We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't happen do happen.".....(full article)

Why the Boycott of Israel is Justified
by Gabriel Ash

The recent boycott resolutions of CUPE and NATFHE against Israel’s Apartheid predictably awakened Israel’s willing apologists, initiating a high pitched chorus of condemnation and self pity across the Western media, not to mention the blogosphere. Their arguments, however, are flimsy, not to say rotten. I’ll review them one at a time. But first a clarification. The boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) campaign is a very diverse campaign. Each organization has its own specific criticism of what it condemns. Israel’s offensive policies of colonization in the West Bank and Gaza are the common denominator, but some organizations go beyond that. Likewise, each organization has a different take on what action its members should undertake. But all agree on the need for and appropriateness of some kind of collective action that puts pressure on Israel. I have my own take on both these questions -- what to condemn and how to respond -- but my following remarks address only the broad consensus.....(full article)

Iran Quiz 
by Mina Hamilton

As the world lurches towards a dangerously expanded war in the Middle East, it's time for a quick Iran IQ test......(full quiz)

Recipe for War: Israeli Hysteria and Imperial Logic
by James Brooks

The Bush administration’s agreement to join international talks with Iran has been hailed as a bright hope for a peaceful resolution of the engineered crisis in the Persian Gulf. But the agreement carries a poison pill; Iran must subject its legal rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiation, something it has sworn never to do again. Washington is telling Tehran to surrender its main point before it sits down to the negotiating table. It’s simply another move in the effort to establish a great power consensus against uranium enrichment in Iran, which the Bush administration hopes to use as an excuse for war, much as it used UN Security Council Resolution 1441 as a fig-leaf for its illegal invasion of Iraq....(full article)

Attacking Iran: Bad Policy is a Bipartisan Affair
by Robert Jensen

Will the United States attack Iran?  That was the question on everyone’s mind at a recent political talk I gave in a small college town in Texas. I ran through some of the many reasons such an attack would be ill-advised, bordering on insane.....(full article)

Immigrant Bashing For Colonial Control
by Manuel Garcia, Jr.

Do recent immigrants from Latin America diminish the economic advancement of other Americans, in particular black Americans? (full article)

Why the National Review Got it Wrong: In Defense of Rock n’ Roll 
by Alexander Billet

Sometimes the shamelessness of the right knows no limits. Many have gotten used to the lies coming from the mouths of Dubya and the Heritage Foundation. But when they start claiming rock n’ roll for themselves, they have truly crossed the line. The May 25th issue of National Review has released a list of “Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs.” Compiled by John J. Miller from submissions that readers sent in over the past year, it is a thinly veiled attempt at making the Republicans look cool, and a pretty feeble one at that.....(full article

Al Gore the Environmental Titan?
by Joshua Frank

Al Gore has returned to the political spotlight in exalted fashion, propping himself up for a potential presidential bid in 2008. Front and center in Gore’s new rhetorical entourage is the state of nature and, in particular, global warming. And while Gore may be delivering an important message about the fate of our fragile ecosystems, one must be wary of the messenger’s past. For Gore’s own environmental record leaves much to be desired.....
(full article)

Imagine the Magnificence!
by Gary Corseri


In the old days

It was different.

People made their own decisions.

They had to reach consensus.

(Please copy this word in your notebooks

Under “Words To Be Forgotten.”)

You can imagine how difficult it was.

Imagine you had to decide your lunch menus every day,

Which teachers you’d have,

What you would study, where you'd go --

And you constantly had to cooperate!

Well, don’t bother.

I can tell you, it would be excruciating.

That’s our "Word for the Day," by the way.

As in pain.  As in torture.....(full poem)


Assisted Suicide

by Vi Ransel


The gas chambers

of consumer culture

need no Zyklon B

when the unworthy

mass of humanity

can be dispensed

via unlimited usury

applied with impunity

and extended in perpetuity.....(full poem)



New Deal Repeal
by Vi Ransel


They're taking back

the things that bought off the Working Class

now we're dumbed down enough for control

via our mammalian core.


We're baited with sex,

acquisition and violence

well-seasoned with free-floating fear

of the boogeyman du jour.....(full article)



The Newborn Dead
by James Brooks


A poem about America's use of depleted uranium.....(full poem)


June 3

“Unilateral Military Action? Exactly!”
Behind the Iran Talks Charade
by Gary Leupp

In 2003, after the U.S. criminally invaded Iraq, France and Germany, the core of the European Union, feared that the U.S. might expand its aggression into neighboring Iran. They feared this both because an attack on Iran might produce further disorder in the region, with unpredictable consequences; and because if successful, the U.S. would likely establish a string of client states stretching from Central Asia to the Mediterranean coast of Syria. That Southwest Asian empire, embracing the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil fields, would put the U.S. in an even more advantageous geopolitical position than it already occupied. Decades of economic growth had allowed Europe to obtain parity with the U.S.; both the EU and U.S. produce about 28% of the world’s wealth (with Japan 11%). But empire would give the U.S. extraordinary leverage over Europe and other competitors. After the defeat of the socialist experiments in the Soviet Union and China, old-fashioned inter-capitalist rivalry has intensified. Who would have imagined a decade ago that France would be branded an “enemy” by many in the U.S.? The present more resembles 1914 than 1945 in some ways. Not social systems but competing centers of capital are locked in intense competition.....(full article)

The Swansong for the Greenback    
by Mike Whitney

The great dollar sell-off has begun in earnest, although to a large extent, it's being concealed from the public. Wary currency traders have been expecting a dollar-slide for months but were nervous about the possibility of widespread panic. Everyone from Bill Gates to Paul Volcker has predicted that the current trade deficit of $800 billion (7% of GDP) would inevitably produce a weaker dollar, so it is only natural that China, Japan and other foreign lenders would begin to cut back on their purchases. The danger to the United States, however, remains extreme. If the transition doesn’t go smoothly, it could precipitate a run on the dollar and trigger economic pandemonium. No one wants to see the world’s economic powerhouse pirouetting through the ether in flames. By the same token, no one wants to be the last man holding onto stockpiles of scrip that are diminishing in value. The delicacy of the situation explains the sudden appointment of Henry Paulson as Treasury Secretary. Paulson is a brainy insider who has the bona fides to manage a very tricky “retreat” from the dollar. America’s economic future will depend heavily on his ability to steer the ship of state through troubled waters.....
(full article

The Long Trail of Blood from No Gun Ri to Haditha
by Dennis Rahkonen

The Pentagon and politicians who continue to back George Bush’s disastrously failed Iraq policy are falling all over themselves in their frantic attempt to portray the Haditha massacre as an “anomaly” perpetrated either by “a few bad apples” or otherwise exemplary Marines who “snapped” under extreme, battle-related stress. What’s clear, they piously contend, is that such atrocious behavior is never sanctioned or condoned by the U.S. military. But there are countless ghosts of 19th Century native Americans -- and up to 600,000 Filipinos who perished in a genocidal anti-insurrection conducted by our imperialist troops after Spain’s Pacific defeat -- who would beg to differ. The dead from Hiroshima and Nagasaki wish to object, too. It wasn’t individual soldiers, in abstract isolation, who murdered them. It was this nation’s racist propensity for genocide.....(full article)

Bush & Brezhnev: Separated at Birth?
by Curtis Lang

Perhaps the most important issue facing humanity today is the peak oil crisis, which has political, social, economic, cultural, technological and environmental implications so vast that many people, including America’s elected officials, simply refuse to deal with the reality of the situation. The simple fact is that the world has only a limited supply of easily retrievable, easily refinable oil, and that our globalized 21st century economy is now expanding so rapidly that we can no longer provide cheap fuel for our present system of industrial agriculture and our current air and automotive based transportation infrastructure. The strategic importance of the world’s oil fields has long been a pre-eminent policy issue among military analysts around the world. The major military campaigns and imperial ambitions of the major powers engaged in the World Wars of the Twentieth Century revolved around control of world oil supplies and supply lines. As America ascended to its current position of global hegemon during these World Wars, the American “way of life” has been synonymous with cheap energy to sustain its suburban lifestyle, its global industrial agricultural system, its worldwide war machine, and the dominance of its global corporations, which all depend upon massive utilization of cheap energy resources to support their far-flung globalized supply lines.....(full article)  

Conservatives Favor “Purity” Over Cancer Vaccine
by Gene C. Gerard

Late last month a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV). The vaccine appears to be 100 percent effective at protecting against the most prevalent viruses that cause cervical cancer. While public health professionals view the vaccine as miraculous, many conservative organizations opposed it on the grounds that it might encourage promiscuity among adolescent girls. Now that it appears certain that the FDA will approve the vaccine, conservatives are attempting to discourage its use.....
(full article)

Leftists for Occupation: The Neocons' Unlikely Bedfellows
by Joshua Frank

Even with mainstream reports that American troops are slaughtering Iraqi civilians, there are still plenty of lefties in the United States who cannot unify behind a call for an immediate and unconditional withdraw of occupation forces from Iraq. Fortunately, the majority of Americans understand that the U.S. presence in region is only contributing to the violence, not restraining it.....(full article)

How Olmert Conned Washington Over Convergence
by Jonathan Cook

Israelis have a word for it: hasbara. It is often misleadingly translated as “advocacy for Israel.” But what the word signifies more deeply for Israel’s supporters is the duty, when the truth would be damaging, to dissemble or to disseminate misinformation to protect the interests of Israel as a Jewish state -- that is, a state with an unassailable Jewish majority. If hasbara is expected of the lowliest members of Israel’s international fan club, it is a duty of the first order for the country’s prime minister. Which is why no one should be surprised that Ehud Olmert’s speech to the US Congress last week was an unpalatable stew of untruths, distortions and double-speak. Washington’s credulous politicians, of course, lapped it up, bobbing up and down as they gave the Israeli prime minister a series of standing ovations. Olmert’s goal was to prepare the way for Washington’s acceptance of his “convergence” plan, the evacuation of a few tens of thousands of Jewish settlers from small and remote colonies in the West Bank while the overwhelming majority, at least 350,000, stay firmly in place nearby in their illegal settlement “blocs” protected by a wall designed to annex Palestinian land.....(full article)

The Hamas Government Should be Recognized
by Tanya Reinhart

The Hamas government must be recognized, not only because recognition of Hamas would be good for Israel, as former Mossad head Ephraim Halevy recently argued, but because this is the right move by any criterion of justice and international law. The US and Europe decided, despite Israel’s opposition, to permit the Palestinian people to hold democratic elections. According to Jimmy Carter’s report in the International Herald Tribune the elections were “honest, fair, strongly contested, without violence and with the results accepted by winners and losers. Among the 62 elections that have been monitored by . . . the Carter Center, these are among the best in portraying the will of the people.”.....(full article)

Boycotting Israeli Academia
by Jonathan Cook

There were some remarkable admissions in a piece by the distinguished Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling in the immediate wake of the British teaching union NATFHE’s vote last week to offer members moral backing if they boycott Israeli universities. British academics opposed to their Israeli colleagues’ complicity in the lengthy and continuing occupation of the Palestinians are now advised to boycott them and their institutions. The next day, and quite incidentally, Kimmerling wrote in Israel’s daily Haaretz newspaper of a decision taken by his own institution, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, to offer a special fast-track degree program to members of the General Security Service, or the Shin Bet, which has used its fearsome intelligence gathering abilities to maintain the occupation of the Palestinians for nearly four decades.....(full article)

Trashing the Environment
by Don Monkerud

Overall environmental protection under the Bush Administration, a Republican Congress and Republican-appointed federal judges has fallen like bowling pins in a master's tournament. Since taking office, President Bush has weakened environmental laws by applying a number of tactics, such as appointing industry lobbyists to head agencies, and changing or ignoring rules and enforcement.....(full article)

by Aaron Michael Gordon

This banal truth telling, this insistence on honest discourse . . . isn’t this tactic what killed Gore in 2000? And especially the deeply intelligent, deeply dull Kerry in 2004? Taken collectively, their speeches put the country to sleep, even though they were the only people in the room talking about the facts. Democrats. Wake up. We, the people, we don’t care about the facts. If we did, the Vietnam war wouldn’t be re-imagined as yet another case of “liberal” failure (I’m still astonished that the desires of the military-industrial complex can somehow be considered progressive.) Religious African-Americans wouldn’t be voting Republican (white supremacists throughout the land must be exclaiming “it’s like they’re setting themselves on fire! Let’s stay in tonight, honey.”) And the fierce Ann Coulter, a woman representing the conservative voice against liberalism, would be told to shut up, get married, and start having kids, girly! (Is her place not in the home, at least according to the “traditional” view?).....(full article)

The War on Nurses: A Joint Attack by US Senate and NLRB 
by Seth Sandronsky 

A May 24 article in the NY Times noted a provision in the recently passed Senate immigration reform bill that expands the number of foreign nurses who may work in the U.S. The article cited a national shortage of nurses for the removal of the current restriction on nurses from abroad. Lifting this cap on immigration is the idea of Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, and backed by the American Hospital Association. Strikingly, the Senate’s immigration provision for the labor shortage of U.S. nurse contrasts with policy for medical doctors, of whom there is a supposed shortage. Crucially, there is a government cap on the number of foreign physicians who may practice medicine in the U.S. Thus domestic doctors, the most highly paid in the industrialized world, are insulated from foreign job competition.....(full article)

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