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(DV) March 2006 Articles

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March 31


The Ghost of George Wallace: Immigration and White Racism 
by Juan Santos

When the late Alabama Governor George Wallace -- surrounded by armed guards -- stood on the steps of the University of Alabama to prevent a young Black woman from entering the University of Alabama, he declared, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” He also inspired a man who would later stand at the US/Mexican border, armed to the teeth, to prevent other brown skinned people from entering someplace he didn’t want  them to enter -- the United States.....(full article)
 

Better Under Saddam
by Gary Leupp

Saddam Hussein is a bad man. As a 22-year-old he worked with the CIA on a botched effort to assassinate Iraqi President Abd al-Karim Qasim. The CIA and Egyptian intelligence got him out of Iraq and to Lebanon, where the CIA paid for his Beirut apartment, and then to Cairo. In 1963, under the new government headed by President ‘Abd as-Salam ‘Arif, he was placed in charge of the interrogation, torture and execution of communists whose names the CIA happily provided the new regime. He rose in the Baathist party ranks, and although jailed between 1964 and 1966, grabbed power in 1979. The Reagan administration cozied up to him after he attacked Iran; Donald Rumsfeld met with him twice and provided his regime with invaluable intelligence abetting his aggressive war on Iran in the ‘80s, which took a million lives. A bad man and bad regime. The propaganda of the occupiers requires that we believe things have improved since his fall. But the evidence suggests otherwise.....(full article)


Uncivil Liberties: ACLU's Defense of "Money = Speech"
Precedent Undermines Democracy  
by Jeffrey Kaplan

The American Civil Liberties Union seems to believe that not only does money talk, it has a First Amendment right to do so. In keeping with that highly dubious notion, the ACLU is attacking a Vermont law that limits contributions to political candidates and candidate spending in state elections. In a case now being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, (Randall v. Sorrell) the ACLU argued the law conflicts with the infamous “money equals speech” doctrine first promulgated by the Court in its 1975 Buckley v. Valeo ruling. Although Buckley did allow restrictions on individual contributions, the Court struck down a law limiting the funds a candidate could spend on a national political campaign. Many critics think this decision has hamstrung serious attempts to keep wealth from being a dominant factor in elections.....(full article)


Capital Is Not God 
by Ron Jacobs

Back in the 1990s, when I was part of a union organizing effort at the University of Vermont, one of the assumptions expressed by the school's administration was the inevitability of the university's continuing corporatization. This assumption was also shared by many of the workers that we were attempting to organize. Furthermore, the assumption was not one specific to the university. Indeed, it was actually usually expressed as part of a larger reality that assumed that the world was going to continue down a path that would result in the ultimate supremacy of the world's largest corporations and banks running everything. Most of these businesses were naturally US-owned, even if they had their offices overseas. Now, the aspect of this whole series of assumptions that irked me the most wasn't that the corporations (and, locally, the university's administration and trustees) told us that this was a good thing. Nor was it that they acted like this scenario was a natural thing, because, according to the laws of capitalist accumulation, it was. No, what irked me the most (and still irks me) is the attempt to portray this form of monopoly capitalism and corporate takeover of every part of our lives as something over which no one has any control.....(full article)


Rachel’s Words Live On
by Remi Kanazi

Each Palestinian has a special place in their heart for Rachel Corrie. She symbolized strength, perseverance, and self-assuredness. Conversely, she was labeled an enemy of Israel, a nuisance by the American government and a target of ridicule by pro-Israeli propagandists. 58 years ago, my grandparents were dispossessed from their land in Palestine and this energetic little white girl from Olympia, Washington traveled half the world to try to fulfill their dream: the fruition of justice in Palestine. On March 22, a congregation of ardent supporters gathered to commemorate Rachel’s life and spread her words in the very church Martin Luther King, Jr. first chastised the war in Vietnam. This event came out of controversy. The critically acclaimed play My Name is Rachel Corrie, which chronicled Rachel Corrie’s work with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Palestine through email and letters (and had two sellout runs in London), was canceled by the New York Theater Workshop (NYTW). Just weeks after the cartoon controversy and the mass trumpeting of free speech worldwide, Rachel Corrie was being silenced. The New York Theater Workshop attempted to crush her memory but her words live on. Other theaters have already expressed interest in putting on the show.....(full article)


Dear George... Have I Told You How Much I Appreciate You? 
by Zbignew Zingh

Dear George, 
I hope you don't mind if I address you familiarly, Mr. President? It seems like you've been on my mind so much these past many years that I can speak to you like an old buddy. I want you to know, George, that despite all the derogatory things that I've said and published about you on the Web, I really, really do appreciate what you've done for me. So, I'd like to express my sincere thanks to you, publicly, just this once.....(full article)


March 29


Seven Months After Katrina
Sleeping in Your Car in Front of Your Trailer in Front of Your
Devastated Home, Tales of Lunacy and Hope from New Orleans  
by Bill Quigley

In New Orleans, seven months after Katrina, senior citizens are living in their cars. WWL-TV introduced us to Korean War veteran Paul Morris, 74, and his wife Yvonne, 66. They have been sleeping in their two-door sedan since January. They have been waiting that long for FEMA contractors to unlock the 240 square foot trailer in their yard and connect the power so they can sleep inside it in front of their devastated home. This tale of lunacy does not begin to stop there. Their 240 square foot trailer may well cost more than their house. While FEMA flat out refuses to say how much the government is paying for trailers, reliable estimates by the New York Times and others place the cost at over $60,000 each. How could these tiny FEMA trailers cost so much? (full article)


Fentanyl Deaths: Severe Math Problems At FDA 
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Describing fentanyl as a "very strong narcotic," on July 15, 2005 the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory regarding the safe use of transdermal fentanyl patches in response to reports of 120 deaths in patients using the patch for pain management, stating that some patients and doctors might not be fully aware of its dangers. A cursory investigation of drug deaths listed in various databanks around the country indicates a severe math deficiency in officials within the nation's safety agency because the number of deaths attributed to fentanyl is far larger than the mere 120 cited by the FDA.....(full article)


More (or Less) on Mr. Bernanke: Inflation and Speculation 
by Seth Sandronsky

Voicing what the Associated Press termed “now largely a consensus view,” Mr. Ben Bernanke, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, has said low inflation is the key to growth of the U.S. economy and job market.  OK, but how does this policy apply to the nation’s inflationary market for housing? (full article)


Web 2.0 Makes Us Young Again  
by Paul Lamb

It’s nearly springtime and technology too is ready to be reborn. Thanks in large part to Alan Greenspan's retirement from the Fed, and the departure of “irrational exuberance” along with him, we can officially declare the dot-com winter over. So-called Web 2.0, the latest round of interactive, Internet-based tools and services, is to be our salvation. Raising their ipod-clutching fists to the sky, the technorati are demanding we take note of a new, golden era, where we can be online everywhere and in every way. Our happiness, like cable TV and satellite radio, is to be on-demand.....(full article)


A War in Search of a Justification
War Supporters Still Looking for a Smoking Gun
by Joshua Frank

On March 20, the twits at FrontPageMag.com interviewed Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, who stated without a doubt that Saddam shipped WMD off to Syria on the eve of the Iraq invasion. McInerney was referring to documents he believes prove that Saddam was hiding his horrible weapons. Of the 600 documents that have been released to the public thus far, none, I repeat none, say that Saddam shipped off his WMD to secret hiding spots. It is clear that McInerney, a Fox News [sic] commentator, and the FrontPage conspiracy nuts are desperate to find evidence that WMD existed in Iraq prior to the invasion three years ago. They are also hoping to uncover ties between bin Laden and Saddam. Many of the documents they hope will uncover these claims contain forgeries, rumors, and disinformation. In short, they aren't the most reliable sources.....
(full articles)


The New York Times Covers Up Discrimination Against
Palestinian Citizens of Israel
 
by Patrick O'Connor

One of the major developments in yesterday’s Israeli elections was the sudden rise of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party which became the fourth largest Israeli party. Yisrael Beiteinu advocates transferring a number of Palestinian towns in Israel to Palestinian Authority control, thus revoking the Israeli citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. The popularity of this proposal fits with the results of a poll released last week which showed that 68 percent of Israeli Jews would refuse to live in the same apartment building as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and forty percent of Israeli Jews believe the state needs to support the emigration of Palestinian citizens. However, because of the way Israel is portrayed in the mainstream US media, such blatant discrimination would likely surprise the US public. Israel’s obfuscation of the second-class status and even of the very existence of Palestinian citizens, 20% of Israel’s population, is a crucial component of a broader Israeli strategy of presenting the public face of a liberal democracy while simultaneously repressing Palestinians. The US mainstream media, with the New York Times in a leading role, collaborates with this strategy. The US media emphasizes the Israeli narrative and focuses coverage on Palestinian terrorism, while minimizing the central Palestinian experiences of Israeli occupation and seizure of Palestinian land, Israeli state terrorism, and systematic Israeli discrimination against Palestinians living in Israel, the Occupied Territories and the diaspora.....
(full article)


March 28


Sending Mentally Ill Soldiers Back to Iraq: 
Reckless Disregard for Soldiers’ Welfare and for Iraqi Lives
 
by Stephen Soldz

As the US military has difficulties recruiting and retaining soldiers for its never-ending war of occupation in Iraq, the armed services are resorting to increasingly desperate means of coping. The Stop-Loss option in soldiers' contracts has allowed soldiers to be kept in uniform months or years after their term of service has expired. The National Guard has been sent overseas to a previously unprecedented extent. And military standards have been lowered, so that drug or alcohol abuse, pregnancy, and poor fitness no longer necessarily lead to dismissal of new recruits. Now word comes that "mentally ill" troops are being sent back to Iraq.....(full article)


The Scapegoat Game: Will Immigrants be Incipient
American Fascism’s Jews? 
by Dennis Rahkonen

Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Catholic diocese is taking a leading stand on an issue that will be pivotal in determining whether democracy survives in the United States. As racist legislation advances in Congress to harshly repress “illegal aliens,” Mahony says American Catholics should disobey provisions within the pending bill that would forbid helping undocumented immigrants in a humanitarian manner. As anyone who’s watched CNN’s Lou Dobbs can attest, vicious hysteria regarding undocumented foreign workers is being generated especially by Republicans who recognize the key role that scapegoats can play in consolidating their own, reactionary rule. In fact, with fascistic attitudes emanating from the White House, progressives should appreciate that “aliens” could be the divide-and-conquer contrivance that so dupes the masses that unequivocal authoritarianism might actually be realized here.....(full article
 

The Hamdan Case: Ball in the Supremes' Court 
by William Fisher

This week the U.S. Supreme Court will hear what will almost certainly be one of the landmark cases of the past fifty years. Their decision will determine whether the Supreme Court will continue to assert its authority to review and check the executive’s power to detain and try individuals caught up in the “war on terror.” The case is called Hamdan v Rumsfeld. The Hamdan is Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who has been a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002. The Rumsfeld is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose department has jurisdiction over all detainees held at U.S.-controlled military prisons. Since the Court agreed to hear Hamdan’s case, the Bush administration filed an extraordinary motion to dismiss it. The government argues that a law passed by Congress late last year was intended to deny the right of habeas corpus to all prisoners in U.S. custody -- including not only new cases, but those that were pending at the time Congress acted. The Bush administration contends that Congress intended to strip the high court of its jurisdiction to hear any challenge arising out of the detentions at Guantanamo Bay.....(full article)


Why We Let an Atheist Join Our Church  
by Jim Rigby 

After years of advocacy for progressive causes, I am used to angry mail -- often from fellow Christians -- when I take a political or theological position that challenges conservative or fundamentalist views. So, I wasn’t surprised when many were unhappy about the decision of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX, where I am the pastor, to let a self-professed atheist become a member. But the intensity and tone of the condemnations were surprising; this wave of mail feels different, more desperate, like people have been backed against a wall. Ironically, the new member, a longtime leftist political activist and professor in Austin, has been getting mail from fellow atheists skeptical of his decision. “How can you do this?” both sides are asking.  To me they ask, “How can you let someone join the church who cannot affirm the divinity of Christ?  Does nothing matter to you liberals?”  To Robert Jensen they ask, “How, as an atheist, can you surrender your mind to a superstitious institution that birthed the inquisition and the crusades?” (full article)


Latin America's Leftist Shift: Hopes and Challenges 
by Benjamin Dangl

Within the last six years in Latin America numerous social movements have gained momentum in the fight for human rights, better living and working conditions and an end to corporate exploitation and military violence. Recently, left of center leaders have been elected in Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela. These political leaders, whose victory in office is due largely to these social movements in the streets, have pledged to fight poverty and prioritize the needs of the people over the interests of Washington and international corporations. This resistance is connected to centuries of organizing among indigenous groups and unions in Latin America. I'd like to discuss some reasons why this leftist shift is happening right now and about a few key moments and events in this movement's recent history.....
(full article)


A Man’s Word
by Monica Benderman

When a soldier no longer wants to fight, when his conscience tells him that he can no longer believe in the mission and commanders order that soldier back to combat against his will, there is something wrong. There is something very wrong when commanders send that soldier to jail simply because they cannot control what he believes, and what he believes scares them.  In Afghanistan, we are witnessing a tragic violation of basic human rights -- rights given to all people simply for being alive. A man has made a choice -- a personal choice -- and he is being threatened with death because of his choice. Our government officials have stepped in and offered their thoughts on how the Afghan government should proceed in their treatment of this man. Members of our administration have publicly stated that freedom of religion is a personal choice, one afforded all human beings; the man should be set free and allowed to practice his religion as he chooses. This is the same administration that allowed my husband to go to jail for making a choice -- a personal, moral choice based on his ethical beliefs.....(full article)


March 27


True to its History, the FBI is Still Violating Civil Liberties
by Gene C. Gerard

According to a report released last week by the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) violated procedures for wiretapping and other methods of obtaining intelligence more than 100 times in the last two years. The department’s inspector general regarded some of the violations as “significant,” including wiretaps that were broader than what a court had approved, and wiretaps that were allowed to go on for weeks, even months, longer than had been authorized. Given the bureau’s history, this shouldn’t be surprising. The FBI was created for partisan political purposes, and has blatantly violated civil liberties since its inception.....(full article)


Terrorist Surveillance Act Introduced in Senate
by John Osborn

A bill recently introduced in the Senate would legalize warrantless wiretapping at the President's discretion. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) introduced the bill, popularly named the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006, on March 16, 2006. The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). According to a press release by Senator DeWine, the bill would allow the President to authorize wiretapping on international communications by American citizens suspected of being affiliated with a terrorist organization. All the President has to have is probable cause and a belief that surveillance of the individual is necessary to protect national security.....(full article)
 

Harvard Study Critical of Israel Lobby Unjustly Lambasted  
by Ira Glunts

The furious barrage of  unjustified and vituperative criticism leveled at John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt over the recent publication of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” is the latest and arguably the most troubling in a series of recent events which indicate that it has become extremely difficult for any critical views of Israeli government policy to receive a fair and calm hearing in the United States. There has been an almost complete disappearance of the Palestinian point of view from the mainstream media reporting of the Middle East within the past two years. The intense public display of disapproval for Stephen Spielberg’s film, Munich, the organized protests against the nomination of the Palestinian film, Paradise Now at the Academy Awards, and the indefinite postponement of the New York City staging of the critically acclaimed play, Rachel’s Words, are all  recent instances where expression of unfavorable opinion in regard to Israeli policy have met with inordinate and orchestrated criticism.....(full article)


Women and War: A First-Hand Perspective 
by Sonia Nettnin

At the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Dr. Rashad Zayadan spoke about the situation in Iraq since the US-led invasion over three years ago.  She asked a group of lawyers and law students to inform their families and friends about Iraqi suffering because of the war. She talked about justice and peace by ending the military occupation in Iraq. “We do not want the war to continue,” Zayadan said. “The Iraqi people still suffering and this will not end until all of the good people with hand-in-hand trying hard because it’s just not suffering for my people but suffering for your people.” Zayadan is a pharmacist in Baghdad, a mother of four children and the head manageress of the Knowledge for Iraqi Women Society. On tour in the US for three weeks, she is a part of an Iraqi women’s delegation promoting the Women’s Call for Peace, which has been signed by more than five million women around the globe. Their call urges that the strategy in Iraq change from a military model to a conflict resolution model by withdrawing all foreign troops from Iraq. Their belief is that women will play an integral role in the peacemaking process. The lawyers and law students attended Zayadan’s lecture for the National Lawyers Guild Annual Midwest Regional Conference.  This year’s theme: “Rising to the Challenge: Pursuing Justice in Dangerous Times.”.....(full article)
 

First They Came for Abdul Rahman
by Ahmed Amr

This week we witnessed America and Europe at their very best -- rallying in unison against the unjustifiable trial and possible execution of a man whose only crime was that he freely chose to become a Christian. What is especially heartening about this case is the West’s concern over the plight of a single individual Afghan. This could be or should be the start of a very beautiful thing. Every freedom lover in the world should be encouraged by this very new and very powerful phenomenon. The conscience of Europe has been stirred by the unfathomable tribulation facing one solitary convert -- over there......(full article)


Bush Puts Congress in Crossfire Between Voters and Iraq Occupation:
Will Congress Stand Up to Bush or Alienate Voters?

by Kevin Zeese

President George W. Bush said in a press conference on March 21, 2006 that U.S. troops will still be in Iraq after his presidency ends in 2009. Asked when all U.S. forces would finally pull out of Iraq, Bush told a White House news conference: “That will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.” The silence from Congress in reaction to this pledge was deafening.....(full article)


The Oxycops
by William Fisher

Wheelchair-bound multiple sclerosis patient Richard Paey is serving 25 years in a Florida prison for “trafficking” 1/2 gram of OxyContin, even though the prosecutor concedes that Paey never sold any of his medications. In prison, he now receives more pain-killing drugs than he was convicted of having. Dr. William Hurwitz, a pioneering pain physician, was tried and convicted of violating the Controlled Substances Act -- which is intended to curb the illicit use of drugs -- and is serving a 25-year term in federal prison. He was also fined $2 million. These are but two of hundreds of cases in which, in its zeal to stamp out the illegal drug use, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is cracking down on doctors who prescribe medications to relieve chronic pain, and the patients who depend on these drugs to live normal lives......(full article)


March 24-25


Democratizing the World: One Torture Victim at a Time
by Jason Miller

Psychological torture, sleep deprivation, brutality, severe sexual humiliation, and murder summon visions of a dank dungeon in a remote region of pre-invasion Iraq, Iran, or North Korea, replete with evil inquisitors and hooded executioners. However, those manifestations of horror did not spring forth from the Axis of Evil. They are actually drawn from official post-9/11 US policy. Despite its fabled commitment to human rights, the United States government has been committing and enabling acts of torture for half a century. Not even Superman had the power to snatch “Truth, Justice and the American Way” from the crushing jaws of imperialistic ambition and avarice. Ironically titled, Albert McCoy’s A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror probes and exposes the extent of “the Land of the Free’s” involvement in human torture over the years.....(full article)


“We are Human Beings”
Enrique Morones on the New Movement to Defend Immigrants
by Avery Wear

An interview with Enrique Morones, founder of the Border Angels Project, an all-volunteer group that sets up rescue stations for migrants forced to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in remote and dangerous areas, and a leader of Gente Unida, an immigrant rights coalition in southern California, about the fight for immigrant rights today.....(full article)


Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays -- U.S. Indifferent
by Doug Ireland

Following a death-to-gays fatwa issued last October by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, death squads of the Badr Corps have been systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution, gay Iraqis say. But when they ask for help and protection from U.S. occupying authorities in the “Green Zone,” gay Iraqis are met with indifference and derision.....(full article)


60 Minutes Joins the Propaganda War  
by Mike Whitney

Two weeks ago, CBS 60 Minutes ran a segment called “Tal Afar: Al Qaida’s Town.” The story focused on an Iraqi city on the Syrian border that was allegedly “taken over by Al Qaida” and turned into a terrorist “base to train insurgents and launch attacks around Iraq.” (60 Minute’s transcript) According to “America’s most popular news magazine,” the city of 200,000 was controlled by a few hundred “terrorists” who kept the townspeople imprisoned in their own homes until American forces invaded the city and set them free.....(full article)


Wanted: A High-Road Economy
by Holly Sklar

Waving the banner of "global competitiveness," corporate and government policymakers are running the U.S. economy into the ground. We are becoming a nation of Scrooge-Marts and outsourcers -- with an increasingly low-wage workforce instead of a growing middle class. We are living the American Dream in reverse.....(full article)


The Israeli Consensus Shows its True Colors
by Jonathan Cook

If you want to understand what is concerning ordinary Israelis as they prepare to cast their ballots next week, the most revealing poll is also the one that has received least attention. A few weeks after Ariel Sharon broke up his Likud party to form a new “centrist” faction, Kadima, his advisers conducted a poll to find out how potential voters would respond if its list of candidates included an Arab. The results were unequivocal: Kadima would lose votes equivalent to between five and seven seats in the 120-member Knesset from Israeli Jews worried that they might be helping to elect an Arab. Even allowing for a potential increase in Kadima’s support from the country’s Arab minority (a fifth of the population), the party decided the gamble was not worth it. Ahmad Dabah, an Arab mayor, was placed 51st on the list, with no hope of being elected. Sharon established his new party late last year as an escape chute from Likud before its drift rightward became terminal. Kadima promised instead to occupy the center ground of politics, representing the Israeli “consensus”. But that consensus is looking increasingly like a Jewish, not an Israeli, one. The country’s one million Arabs are not being invited to join the party in every possible sense.....(full article)


Canada Votes Once Again in the UN to Kick
the Palestinians While They’re Down

by Gary Zatzman

David Ben-Gurion, the mass-murdering war criminal, tool of U.S. imperial designs on Arab oil and first Prime Minister of the "State of Israel," ominously described this result as “the establishment, in the western part of ‘Eretz Israel’” of a “state based on dynamic expansion.” And Canada, as America’s best little buddy, was in the thick of it. Six months earlier, members of the UN General Assembly -- bribed behind the scenes by the U.S. and cajoled especially by its chief agent there, Canadian diplomat and future prime minister Lester Pearson -- passed the Partition Resolution 181 which pulled the trigger. Acknowledging Pearson’s historic role as the Wrench of Reaction tossed into the spokes of history’s forward-moving wheel, the Zionist movement dubbed him “the Canadian Balfour.” What overall meaning is to be gleaned, then, from Canadian government votes on UN resolutions affecting Palestine? And, what in particular to make of the allegedly contradictory recent evidence of some of its more brazenly, and some of its minutely less brazenly, pro-State-of-Israel positions? Not much. Careful always to proclaim the highest ideals of Humanity as its own, no Canadian government ever failed to toss in its own kick at the Palestinians when they were down -- and Ottawa was confident about averting discovery or retaliation.....(full article)


The “Realistic” Pessimism of the Do-Nothing Liberal-Left Intelligentsia
by Paul Street

Who will save us from the pessimistic, do-nothing "realism" of the privileged and elitist "liberal left"?  Paul Street surveys and challenges the tired phrases of the liberal-left do-nothing intellectuals (full article)


Mendacity: The Prospects of Progressive Theater Under Capitalism
by Walter A. Davis

I recently offered a critique of the decision by the New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) to cancel a planned production of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie. My effort in that essay was to contextualize this controversy so that we won’t fail to comprehend the large issues it raises. The present essay supplements that one with an argument that will surprise many readers of the earlier piece. The Corrie controversy continues but it has now largely become an example of how easily we get trapped by ideology in simple alternatives, false dichotomies and fatal assumptions. Many of them are illustrated by the current rallying around this play and the lionizing of it as a model of progressive theatre; and exemplar, to the shame of the NYTW of the “exploration of political and historical events and institutions that shape contemporary life.”.....(full article)


War on Christians?
by Bill Berkowitz

While whining about Christians being under attack has been a standard operating tool of the religious right, Vision America has taken it to a new level, organizing the first full-fledged conference devoted to presenting evidence that there's a "war on Christians" in the United States. The conference, called "The War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006," will be held on March 27 and 28, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. In full martyr mode, Pastor Rick Scarborough, the President of Vision America, recently said that he expected "attacks" on "our 'War On Christians' conference" would "accelerate" as conference time "approaches".....
(full article)


Writing Homeland
by Peter Kurth

Peter Kurth's open letter to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, in response to Chertoff's warning last week about the bird flu threat.....
(full article)


Reviewing ADHD Drugs: FDA Goes Through the Motions
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Some of the top-selling drugs of all time are those prescribed to treat attention deficit disorders. Drug companies have physicians in every field of medicine pushing these medications and dole out millions of dollars worth of free samples each year to make sure they are passed out like candy. A new ADHD drug is set to come on the market that supposedly can keep people awake for days at a time with no problems. Just what we needed, especially for hyper little kids. I wonder if this means they will remain calm as they sit wide-awake watching TV and playing video games for days while the rest of the family sleeps.....(full article)
 

The One and Only Answer: Two Cappuccinos Please
by Bill Willers

The corporate world now owns the federal government. Billions from its coffers fund the campaigns of legislators who therefore allow its lobbyists, of which there are now some 65 per legislator, to write the legislation itself. Congress then votes on that legislation without having actually read it. Anyone finding this acceptable does not deserve to live in a democracy much less be a legislator in one. It really is that simple. Today, the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Population Clock” has the U.S. at 298,192,000 citizens. Say that each year, an amount is set aside from the federal budget for each citizen, in an amount equal to two large cups of cappuccino, for the expressed purpose of funding federal election campaigns. Here in Madison, WI Starbucks charges $3.69 for a large cappuccino, $7.38 for two. That would amount to $2.2 billion at year’s end.....(full article)


The Right and the Left, in a Nutshell
Introduction to Conscience of a Progressive, a Book in Progress
by Ernest Partridge

Those of us who are at middle age or beyond have lived through a revolution in political and economic theory and practice, a revolution so profound that few of us can even begin to appreciate its significance, much less its peril. Future historians, however, will understand and appreciate this revolution and will wonder at the passivity of the public today and the ease with which those who instituted this upheaval achieved their success. The same historians, I would venture, will be equally or more amazed at how this moment played out. But this we cannot know, for their past is our immediate future. We are the agents of that still-to-be written history. The United States of America, in this year of 2006, is at a hinge of history. Our fate, and that of our successors, rests directly in the hands of all of us who are politically alert and active today. As Edward R. Murrow famously said, “we can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.".....(full article)


National Impeachment Movement Ignored by Corporate Media
by Peter Phillips

If a national movement calling for the impeachment of the President is rapidly emerging and the corporate media are not covering it, is there really a national movement for the impeachment of the President? (full article)


March 23


Brown Skin/Yellow Star: Turning the Corner Toward Fascism 
by Juan Santos

As I write, the US Senate is debating legislation that would make migrant peoples a felonized, legally scapegoated racial and cultural under-caste, a move with deeply dangerous implications for us all. Maybe it wasn't such a lie, what the German people said after Hitler -- "we didn't know." Certainly the mainstream media isn't telling you. But many Mexicans, Central Americans, and immigrant groups like the Poles and Irish know. As many as 300,000 of them marched together in Chicago recently to oppose these new laws. 20,000 marched in Washington DC. People in Los Angeles know; over half a million people in LA are expected to march against these anti-migrant laws on March 25th. The march is being promoted on all the Spanish language media. This essay is both a plea and a demand: you must march with us on the 25th; somehow you must take action....(full article)


US Working Mothers and the Market 
by Seth Sandronsky 

How has mainstream media covered the subject of U.S. working mothers leaving the labor force to stay at home and rear children?  First, let us define our terms. By working mothers, I mean adult females with kids who labor for paychecks away from their households. Of course stay-at-home moms work. It is noteworthy that their labor is not counted in the official measure of the economy, or the gross domestic product, the prices of the output of goods and services (Associated Press, 1-28-06). The GDP can go up, go down or stay flat, but the daily work of women who change diapers, cook meals and clean house is hidden in plain sight when mainstream journalists report on the economy.....(full article


The “Noble Cause” That Killed Casey Sheehan
by Mike Whitney

Turn off the propaganda “business channel” and do some independent research. If you’ve already figured out that the Bush administration is fudging the numbers to make them look good, you’re right. Walter J. Williams (Dartmouth, BA in Economics and an MBA; economic consultant for Fortune 500 companies) has compiled the data and found that “real unemployment is running at 12%, real CPI (Consumer Price Index) is running at 8%, and real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is in contraction. Most people know intuitively that things are bad, they just can’t see passed the government smokescreen. No one with half a brain believes this can go on forever. The Bush administration has racked up another $3 trillion in debt in just six years, most of it going to Bush’s well-heeled friends via the “tax cuts.” Now, the Congress has voted to make the tax cuts “permanent” even though they are certain to increase deficits by $400 to $500 billion per year. Deficit spending has become a permanent function of government . . .  but why? (full article)


The Fight Over Food
by John Osborn

Corporate industry interests gain another victory and once more the welfare of American citizens will be jeopardized in the face of corporate agendas. For years, lobbyists for the grocery and food industries have been mounting an assault on the ability of states to dictate policies it sees fit to ensure the public health. The House has finally capitulated to the relentless industry campaign -- leaving the National Uniformity of Food Act in its wake. The bill, if passed by the Senate, will create a national standard for food safety, food labeling, and warning notifications. A national standard essentially means that only the federal government has the ultimate authority to dictate what food substances are hazardous to people or the environment. State laws dealing with these issues will be preempted, and their rights once more trampled on by the federal government.....(full article)


Cheated, Beaten, and Forcibly Removed
by Andy O’Brien

Taiwan -- As fallout from the August Thai workers’ riot in Kaohsiung continues to settle, details of another case of abuse against migrant laborers working at a CTCI (中鼎工程股份有限公司) chemical factory in Mailiao, Yunlin County are starting to come to light. On Aug. 2, at least four Filipino laborers at the plant were severely beaten at a highway rest stop near Hsinchu. According to the workers, this was done to coerce them and 12 others into signing agreements nullifying their contracts and allowing for immediate repatriation to the Philippines. After the beatings, the workers were taken directly to the airport, where at least one, Gil Lebria, was carried through customs and onto the plane in a semi-conscious and in need of medical attention. A month earlier, these workers had been involved in a strike, protesting illegal side agreements and other highly questionable fees deducted from their pay. Protests in Taipei last weekend elicited a promise from Council of Labor Affairs Chairman Lee Ying-yuan to investigate the case. Officials at Formosa Plastics Group (to whom the workers were originally contracted), the Mailiao factory, and CTCI would not comment on the incident or would not return calls when contacted by POTS. The Asian Pacific Mission for Migrants claims that CTCI has not denied the beatings, in separate contradictory statements saying the workers fought amongst themselves or tried to escape. The question also remains as to how a severely beaten individual could be carried through Immigration and onto an airplane at Chiang Kai Shek International Airport. Here is Gil Lebria’s story....(full article)


Toward a Society of Equals
by Stephen Soldz

The New York Times Week in Review recently had a fascinating article “Children, the Littlest Politicians," Feb. 19, 2006) on gender differences in political allegiances. No, this isn't the well-known gender gap whereby women lean Democratic and men Republican. Rather, parents of boys tend to vote more conservatively than parents of girls. Most of the research conducted so far has been in Europe. For example....(full article)


President Bush’s Ken-Doll Performance an Insult to Women
by Lucinda Marshall

President Bush used the occasion of International Women’s Day to tout his administration’s commitment to women. He spoke in glowing terms of how bringing democracy to the Middle East had improved the lives of women in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both the President and Mrs. Bush (this was a day for women after all) talked enthusiastically about girls going to school and women participating in government in both countries. Neither however mentioned the continuing pandemic of sexual violence against women that was highlighted in the State Department’s report on Afghanistan’s continuing poor record on human rights that was released the following day. Nor was anything said about the continuing low literacy rates for women in Afghanistan (less than 20%) or that 50% of marriages in that country take place before girls reach the age of sixteen.....(full article)


Hamas Rightly Demands Palestinian Rights
as the West Turns Its Back
by Genevieve Cora Fraser

Hamas should not recognize Israel until Israel recognizes the human rights of its own citizens -- other than Jewish Nationals. Recently at the urging of Nobel “Peace” Prize winner Shimon Peres who wants the Negev for Jews only, the Knesset voted to ethnically cleanse 40,000 of its own Israeli citizens, Arab Bedouins from their ancient homelands. The illegal land grabs in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are also justified under Israel's racist laws. Despite our best intentions, we Internationals accomplish little because we do not challenge Israel's right to exist in its present form. The new mantra need not echo Hamas in its call for Israel to be destroyed, but rather to change. Hamas is correct to assert that under international law they have a Right to Resist as well as a Right to Return. Of course, by demanding their Right to Resist Hamas must also look into what is covered by that right -- and attacking innocent civilians, including children, is clearly not -- despite the fact that Israel does it day in and day out and a 1,000 times more effectively and viciously.....(full article)


Pfizer Makes List of Worst Corporate Evildoers
by Evelyn J. Pringle

On January 3, 2006, Global Exchange, the international advocacy group for human rights, released a report naming the top fourteen "Worst Corporate Evildoers" in the world for the year 2005. Pfizer, one of the most profitable drug companies on earth, with sales over $52 billion in 2004, made the list. Pfizer’s participation in the cover-up of the deadly side effects of Bextra surely contributed to its membership. Because the drug was promoted and sold off-label for so many unapproved uses, the company made hundreds of millions of dollars in pure profits during Bextra’s short life on the market. However, experts predict that when all is said and done, the total amount of the drug’s damage to consumers will be in the billions.....(full article)


The War Lovers
by John Pilger

The war lovers I have known in real wars have usually been harmless, except to themselves. They were attracted to Vietnam and Cambodia, where drugs were plentiful. Bosnia, with its roulette of death, was another favorite. A few would say they were there "to tell the world"; the honest ones would say they loved it. "War is fun!" one of them had scratched on his arm. He stood on a landmine. I sometimes remember these almost endearing fools when I find myself faced with another kind of war lover -- the kind that has not seen war and has often done everything possible not to see it. The passion of these war lovers is a phenomenon; it never dims, regardless of the distance from the object of their desire. Pick up the Sunday papers and there they are, egocentrics of little harsh experience, other than a Saturday in the shopping mall. Turn on the television and there they are again, night after night, intoning not so much their love of war as their sales pitch for it on behalf of the court to which they are assigned. "There's no doubt," said Matt Frei, the BBC's man in America, "that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East . . . is now increasingly tied up with military power.".....(full article)


March 22


The Anti-Empire Report
How to Be (Duh) Happy

by William Blum

I'm often told by readers of their encounters with Americans who support the outrages of US foreign policy no matter what facts are presented to them, no matter what arguments are made, no matter how much the government's statements are shown to be false. If these Americans have no other defense of the policies they will declare how glad they are that the United States rules and polices the world; better America than someone else. They include amongst their number those who still believe that Iraq had a direct involvement in the events of September 11, that Saddam Hussein had close ties to al Qaeda, and/or that weapons of mass destruction were indeed found in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. My advice is to forget such people. They would support the outrages even if the government came to their homes, seized their first born, and hauled them away screaming, as long as the government assured them it was essential to fighting terrorism (or communism). My (very) rough guess is that they constitute no more than 15 percent of the population. I suggest that we concentrate on the rest, who are reachable.....(full article)


Time to Replace Wage-Slaves with Employee Owners
by Kevin Zeese

President Bush likes to talk about an "ownership society." There are many steps that can be taken to create an ownership society, one critical step is to continue to expand employee-owned businesses. The Zeese for Senate Campaign presented a “Ways that Work” Award to the Maryland Brush Company on March 21 as part of our Solutions Tour of Maryland. The award was presented to the board and 27 employee-owners of the Maryland Brush Company in order to highlight the importance of supporting employee-ownership of corporations.....(full article)


No Surviving Indonesian Left Behind
by Jim Glover

In case you missed it, the U.S. is giving Indonesia $157 million to improve education there. This in itself may seem ironic to you, in light of the condition of our own educational system. But it’s not ironic at all, at least by comparison with the overall US–Indonesia story. Ever since the Gerald Ford days, when Henry Kissinger brought them a large sack of money and a green light to mass-murder, Indonesia has been hard at work killing, torturing, and rendering homeless several hundred thousand of its own citizens.  Or possibly millions, depending on whose estimates you prefer. The carnage has been especially severe on the islands of East Timor, Aceh, and Papua.....
(full article)


The Avian Flu Threat is Real
by Stephen Soldz

One of the many serious dangers arising from the Bush administration's persistent record of lies and distortions is that, for many, whatever visceral faith they had that the government would attempt to deal sensibly with emergencies has dissipated. United States governments are well-known to deceive when foreign policy is at stake. But, in general, when domestic emergencies loom, we have been able to assume a basic level of honesty and competence. But no longer. The lies and incompetence that surrounded the Hurricane Katrina response and reconstruction, in conjunction with the Medicare prescription drug disaster, have focused attention on the overwhelming incompetence and duplicitous nature of this administration in dealing with domestic problems. Given the administration's record, it is no surprise that cries of alarm are met with skepticism. Thus, when President Bush finally acknowledged the risk of an avian flu pandemic and proposed strategies to deal with it, a certain amount of skepticism is appropriate. However, misjudging the extent and nature of the threat can lead to bad policies and these poor judgments can be a serious menace. Progressives must be careful not to let their skepticism about this administration and its actions obscure their ability to perceive real risks.....(full article)


As American as Mom, Apple Pie and Business Über Alles
by Mark Drolette

I’ve always loved baseball. I even wanted to be a major leaguer one day. (Only one thing stopped me: a complete lack of talent.) Baseball’s not the same anymore, though, mainly due to agency. Free agency’s not evil. For one thing, it’s not named Karl Rove. For another, it resulted from the spiking of the odious reserve clause that had kept athletes contractually bound to club owners for years. I don’t begrudge players becoming wealthy enough to purchase, say, their very own oppressive Middle Eastern kingdoms, but, geez, come on! They’re filthy rich, the owners are filthy rich, yet apparently it’d be un-American or something for the two filthy rich groups to get together and decide to quit milking the game (and fans) dry.....(full article)


The Power of Saying NO
by Jeff Halper

As the new Hamas government is sworn into power in the Palestinian Authority, we might ask: What would bring a people, the most secular of Arab populations with little history of religious fundamentalism, to vote Hamas? Mere protest at Fatah ineffectualness in negotiations and internal corruption doesn't go far enough. While warning Hamas that their vote did not constitute a mandate for imposing an Iran-like theocracy on Palestine, the Palestinians took the only option left to a powerless people when all other avenues of redress have been closed to them: non-cooperation.....
(full article)


Ignorance and Tragedy
by Mike Reizman

Americans are the most polled people in the world, but not the most shafted. The most shafted surely include the Iraqi people. In January 2003, Mark Manning, ex-deep sea diver turned filmmaker, began interviewing Americans in a heartfelt attempt to understand the move toward war. Almost two years later, his interviews led to Iraq. The result is two documentaries, American Voices and Caught in the Crossfire: The Untold Story in Falluja.....(full review)


Move Over Intelligent Design, Here Comes Bhartiya Creationism
by Ra Ravishankar

Even as the intelligent design controversy rages on, California recently witnessed a concerted push by a coalition of three Hindutva (Hindu supremacist) groups -- Hindu Education Foundation, Vedic Foundation and the Hindu American Foundation -- to doctor sixth grade social science textbooks. Their strong ideological and organizational links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India makes them all the more dangerous, for any success here would provide a much-needed fillip to the RSS family of organizations in India. Fortunately, interventions by a group of Indologists led by Professor Michael Witzel and strong mobilizations by the South Asian community resulted in a resounding defeat for the Hindutva groups.....
(full article)


March 21


Death Squad Democracy
by Mike Whitney

The notion that Iraq is now consumed by civil war depends on a number of assumptions that are inherently false. First of all, it assumes that the Pentagon is ignoring the fundamental principle that underscores all wars: “Know your enemy.” In this case, there’s no doubt about who the enemy is: it is the 87% of the Iraqi people who want to see an immediate end to the American occupation. Therefore, the greatest threat to American objectives of permanent bases and occupation is the camaraderie that manifests itself in the form of Arab solidarity or Iraqi nationalism. To this end, the Pentagon, through its surrogates in the media, has created a “self-fulfilling” narrative that civil war is already under way. Most of the war coverage now makes it appear as though the violence is generated from ethnic tensions and sectarian hatred. But is it? Some of the more astute observers have noticed that other parts of the propaganda war, (like references to the “imaginary” al-Zarqawi) have completely vanished from the newspapers, as government spin-doctors are now devoting 100% of their time to promoting their latest product line: civil war....(full article)


The Iraqi Resistance: Three Years after Shock & Awe
by Jack Random

On 15 February 2003, I joined the largest worldwide protest in history on the streets of San Francisco. I carried a simple sign reading: BUSH/ENRON/WWIII. 33 days later, without United Nations approval, our president christened the invasion of Iraq with the infamous Shock & Awe campaign. Three years later, we are more shocked than awed. The president issues yet another call for perseverance in the war effort. As yet another offensive is unleashed upon the inhabitants of the Sunni triangle, he asks for American patience and Iraqi unity against the resistance. The truth is the Iraqi resistance is the only cause that can unite the Iraqi people....(full article


Disappearing Genocide: The Media and the
Death Of Slobodan Milosevic
by Media Lens

Three years on, it is clear that the case for war against Iraq was based on lies. Despite the cover-ups, insider compromise and silence, there can be no serious doubt that the lies were conscious and carefully planned. The real target of Western “intelligence” was not Iraq, but the British and American public -- the goal was to frighten and deceive us to support a war fought for elite interests. It was to persuade us to send our troops to kill and die for profits. It was to persuade us to ignore clear warnings that, in all likelihood, we would be subject to terrorist reprisals. Such risks were clearly deemed a small price to pay for the prize that mattered -- control of Iraqi oil and enhanced influence in the region and beyond. This is the ugly reality behind “patriotic” governments “supporting our boys” and protecting “national security.” Iraq, of course, never posed any kind of threat to the West. Even if portions of Saddam’s WMD had been retained, they would have been no danger to America, Britain and Israel bristling with veritable doomsday weapons. Saddam Hussein may be an animal, but he is a political animal -- a survivor, not someone who would have committed national suicide by launching WMD at the West. An honest press would be hyper-sensitive to these issues -- it would be keenly aware that Bush and Blair had lied, and would be re-evaluating earlier wars, earlier claims of “humanitarian intervention”, in light of what they now know. Given this context, something truly astonishing is revealed by media coverage of the death of Slobodan Milosevic....(full article)


Who Is the Enemy?
by Patricia Goldsmith

One of the lesser-known administration justifications for wholesale, illegal NSA spying is the argument that the domestic United States became a theater of war after 9/11. The fact that this is a dream come true for rightwing interests is merely a coincidence -- in the same way and to the same degree that the culture war is merely a metaphor. Unfortunately, fundamentalists are noted for their literalism. As far as Jerry Falwell was concerned on September 14, 2001, the people who deserved the blame for the attacks on America were “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make them an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way” -- that is to say, all the religious right’s domestic political enemies. Ridiculous as that sounded at the time -- bringing condemnation from both GWB and Chuck Hagel -- the list of traitors is only growing.....(full article)


The Next Time He's Wrong: Will the President Push The Button?
by Greg Moses

As our ears prick to the drumbeat of Bush v. Iran, a highly respected researcher from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) warns that Washington is edging toward a policy of nuclear preemption, and Teheran knows it. Although the post 9/11 doctrine of USA military strategy known as “Global Strike” is often promoted as a post nuclear plan, Hans M. Kristensen finds documentary evidence that a “nuclear option” is included.....(full article)


Even Ambassador Khalilzad Says: “We’ve Opened Pandora’s Box”
by Gary Leupp

Last August I wrote of the Bush administration, “They’ve opened up a Pandora’s box by their criminal invasion, and they’re not going to close it so easily.” I make no claim to originality in using the metaphor, which has been used by other critics of the war. But now I see even the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, acknowledging “We have opened the Pandora’s box,” adding, “the question is, what is the way forward?” (full article)


Nepal & Venezuela: For Continuous Democracy,
Against Ceremonial Democracy
by Pratyush Chandra

An enlightening article by Pratyush Chandra on the Maoist movement in Nepal and the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela....(full article)


Radical Minds and Critical Thinkers
by Herndon L. Davis

Several months ago during a casual conversation, I was described by someone as being a radical. When he first said it I didn't know whether I should laugh or be offended. It never quite dawned on me until then that my standing up against spiritual homophobia, writing a gay spiritual book and producing and hosting a national black gay TV talk show would qualify me for radical status, but apparently in the minds of some it has. Prior to this particular conversation, my mental concept of radicalism or the word radical represented outdated images of white women burning their bras in protest of anything male dominated or people chaining themselves to century’s-old oak trees. So now I asked myself, what exactly is a radical? (full article)


A Chat With POTUS About Iraq
by Ahmed Amr

The following is my vague recollection of a fictional interview with POTUS. While I never got to personally ask these questions, his answers have been reconstructed from previous Bush speeches. 

Q: Mr. President. Let’s not beat around the bush. We all know you’d rather visit a back alley dentist than show up for a mano-a-mano interview with the alternative press. So, let me warn you upfront that some of my questions are going to seem like the dental equivalent of a triple bypass root canal by a blind intern.

President Bush: Bring it on.....(full interview)


“Crash” and the Self-Indulgence of White America
by Robert Jensen and Robert Wosnitzer

“Crash” is a white-supremacist movie.The Oscar-winning best picture -- widely heralded, especially by white liberals, for advancing an honest discussion of race in the United States -- is, in fact, a setback in the crucial project of forcing white America to come to terms the reality of race and racism, white supremacy and white privilege.....(full article)


Britain's Duplicity and the Siege of Jericho Jail
by Jonathan Cook

In the looking-glass world of Middle East politics, it is easy to forget that Ahmad Saadat, the imprisoned Palestinian leader Israel summarily arrested in Jericho late last Tuesday, is wanted for masterminding the killing of the Jewish state's most notorious racist politician-general.....(full article)


Twist and Hate: The Smearing of Paul Craig Roberts
by Joshua Frank

It is questionable whether or not responding to the neocons’ assault on sanity is worth the energy. They don’t take well to reason and they certainly aren’t capable of dealing with truth. In fact, the reality in which they dwell is a manifestation of propaganda and isolated conspiracy theories. Yeah, they think we are out to get them and that we’ll destroy their comfortable way of life. And what seems to be driving their delusional tendencies is the teaming up of traditional conservatives, libertarians and lefties -- all of whom oppose the neocon wars....(full article)


Rhetoric of the Ports Deal and Fear of the Other
by Tamer Anis

In the reception area at a doctor’s office I heard: “Can’t believe it . . . now he’s selling our ports to Arabs . . . . look at them, they are killing each other in Iraq.” It is not uncommon to hear negative associations with Arabs, even when such slurs are a public faux pas for other ethnic groups. In fact, I’m not alone in hearing these stereotypes. A recent poll by the Washington Post shows that at least four in ten Americans (43%) have heard other people say prejudiced things about Arabs and one in four, or approximately 52 million, report that they have “at least some feelings of prejudice about Arabs.” More disturbing than the prevalence of Arab stereotypes is how politicians, both Republican and Democrat alike, manipulated these stereotypes and played on public fears to score political goals. This article briefly examines some of the language and rhetoric used to sink the Dubai Ports deal, a discourse that implicitly and explicitly played on fear mongering and exploited the “Other” for political gains while sending some disturbing messages to the public....(full article)


March 11


Plan Z in Iraq
by Ahmed Amr

As things now stand, it is difficult to predict how things will eventually turn out in Iraq. Anything is possible including eventual partition -- the outcome most favored by the neo-cons. On the other hand, we might end up with a failed state where nihilistic ethnic and sectarian militias confront each other in an orgy of violence to settle old and new grievances. The most likely scenario is the emergence of a Shia dominated theocracy tied at the hip to the clerical regime in Tehran. One can always hope for a rapid Anglo-American withdrawal followed by a broad effort at national reconciliation. But that possibility is becoming more remote with every new spasm of inter-communal mayhem. . . . . Despite the best efforts by the alternative press, the vast majority of Americans, including anti-war activists, have failed to decipher the secret American agenda in Iraq -- propping up the almighty dollar, enhancing Israel’s strategic position and protecting the Gulf monarchies and their oil plantations. So, as we approach the third anniversary of this war of choice, it is instructive to review the pre-invasion blue prints.....(full article)


Guantanamo on the Mississippi 
by Jordan Flaherty 

Sometimes the injustices here in New Orleans leave me numb.  But the continuing debacle of our criminal justice system inspires in me a sense of indignation I thought was lost to cynicism long ago.  Ursula Price, a staff investigator for the indigent defense organization A Fighting Chance, has met with several thousand hurricane survivors who were imprisoned at the time of the hurricane, and her stories chill me. “I grew up in small town Mississippi,” she tells me.  “We had the Klan marching down our main street. But still, I’ve never seen anything like this.” Safe Streets, Strong Communities, a New Orleans-based criminal justice reform coalition that Price also works with, has just released a report based on more than a hundred recent interviews with prisoners who have been locked up since pre-Katrina and are currently spread across thirteen prisons and hundreds of miles. They found the average number of days people had been locked up without a trial was 385 days. One person had been locked up for 1,289 days.  None of them have been convicted of any crime.....(full article)


Kartoon-Krieg: Politics as War by Other Means
by Lila Rajiva

Standing Clausewitz on his head may be the best way to understand the controversy provoked by Jyllands-Posten. This is no first amendment issue at all. The rash decision to publish the cartoons of Mohammed cannot be defended as freedom of speech for a simple reason -- these cartoons are not speech but acts. Acts of provocation and belligerence. They are the opening -- or perhaps continuing -- rounds of war. How so? Don’t the cartoons express an idea and isn’t expression of our thoughts the most fundamental freedom of our western selves? Perhaps.  But even if we concede this, the fact is that even under our own Constitution, there have always been time, place, and manner restrictions to freedom of expression. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater and plead artistic license; you cannot burn a cross in the backyard of a fellow American and claim that inquiring minds want to know. In both cases, the context gives the game away; it tells us that the right being claimed is not the freedom to speak but the license to injure.....(full article
 

“We Have No Choice” 
Why They Really Think They Must Defeat Iran 
by Gary Leupp

“The problem of the Iranian regime has become entrenched over the course of an entire generation,” Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told the House International Relations Committee March 8. “It may require a generational struggle to address it, but we have no choice but to do so.” As the International Atomic Energy Agency -- heavily pressured by the U.S. to condemn Iran -- was meeting to finalize a report to the UN Security Council about the country’s nuclear program, Burns (the number three man in the State Department) left little doubt as to Washington’s ultimate intentions. “We must defeat Iran in its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its sponsorship of terrorism and its subjugation of the people of Iran.” He might as well have just said, “We must defeat Iran” and left it at that. The nuclear weapons, terrorism and repression issues are all pretexts for regime change, just as they were with Iraq. If Burns were more candid, less Straussian, he might say something like the following.....(full article)


Running Amok with John Bolton 
by Mike Whitney

John Bolton’s tenure at the United Nations has been relatively unsurprising. He was shoehorned into his position by presidential edict although the Senate openly opposed his appointment. Since then, he has lived up to his reputation as a “loose cannon” by routinely blasting the “alleged” waste and ineffectiveness of the world body. Bolton is the new face of the UN; a blustery huckster whose primary task is to promote the interests of big business and Israel. He is not a diplomat at all, but an uber-lobbyist whose mission is to take a wrecking ball to the foundations of international accord. As chief weapons-inspector, Scott Ritter sagely noted, “Bolton was sent to destroy the UN.”.....(full article)


The Parable of the Hatchet or the Nonsense of
Nation-Building in Afghanistan

by John Chuckman

Nation-building is a term created by people living off Pentagon contracts. It is one of those queasy political expressions with no hard meaning yet its use raises few eyebrows. The term sounds as though it means something, and it is treated as though it were something you might study. At least this is true in the United States where people are hypnotized by hype and substance-lacking words, where inflating nothing into something is an everyday art.....(full article)


Externalizing the Cost of War
by Charles Sullivan

The fact that our government spends so many of our tax dollars on the implements of death, on militarism and weaponry, and so little on humanitarian causes tells the story of America. 52 cents of every tax dollar finds its way into the coffers of the Pentagon in some form. The consequences are visible both at home and abroad. This explains why America is seen as the Great Satan in the Middle East and beyond. How would you feel if you and your kin were the recipient of American democracy, delivered through the sites of an AK-47 or a carpet bomb? No matter how hard we try we cannot escape the truth and its consequences. America is still the greatest purveyor of violence on earth. We neglect our own poor even as we impoverish the rest of the world, subjecting them to imperial rule and colonialism. We are the only nation to have used the atomic bomb. If this is democracy, the world can stand no more of it.  So let us party as if there were no tomorrow. Let us dance and have a good time as we ignore the icebergs that drift through the darkness in silence and pretend that our Titanic is not sinking. We’ll have a wonderful time -- right up until the cold dark waves wash over us and carry us into the void.....(full article)
 

March 10


Crucify Him! 
Barry Bonds and the Steroids Saga 

by Jack Random

There’s a war going on. It’s a war pitting good versus evil, us versus them, and slugger Barry Bonds finds himself on the other side of the fence. Believe everything you’ve read -- despite a heavy reliance on anonymous sources and illegally leaked Grand Jury testimony. Believe that Bonds did steroids, intentionally and repeatedly, in an effort to break what once seemed an unbreakable record held by a man who did the same. Crucify him! Run over him with a bulldozer or, better yet, an armored Hummer. Burn him in effigy or, better yet, burn him at the stake and blame him for New Orleans, Iraq, NSA wiretapping and Monica Lewinsky.....(full article)


Hong Kong’s “Free Market”: Someone Pays
by Chohong Choi

A couple of new elements have been discovered in recent years. Go to a popular search engine (like Yahoo! or Google) and type in “Governmentium”. Click on one of the links on the first page of results to find its description. Governmentium is the heaviest element yet to have been discovered. It has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 11 assistant deputy neutrons for an atomic mass of 312. The 312 particles are held together by forces called “morons” and surrounded by weak, interactive particles called “peons”. Governmentium has a delaying effect on every reaction with which it has come into contact. Its mass increases over time because its subordinate neutrons undergo reorganization instead of decay, and each reorganization also causes some morons to become neutrons, thereby forming “isodopes”. The second element is remarkably similar to the first. On the same search engine, type in “Corporatium”. It has the same, exact makeup as Governmentium and the same atomic mass of 312. Its particles are also adjoined by morons and encircled by peons. Corporatium also has a delaying effect on anything it comes into contact with, yet its mass also increases over time and its reorganizations also result in isodopes being formed. When morons in Governmentium and Corporatium reach a certain number and concentration, a “Critical Morass” is formed. Although the scientists who discovered the elements did not speculate on this, it is possible that when the two elements come into contact, which is often, they exchange morons quite freely, as if there is a revolving door between them.....(full article)


A Brokeback Mountain for Sports Fans: New Survey Suggests
Professional Athletes Would Welcome Gay Teammates
by D
ale McCartney

Sports Illustrated magazine’s online arm, si.com, publishes the anonymous results of polls of professional athletes in the four major North American sports weekly as part of their broader pop culture coverage. Although these polls have generally related to sports issues, this week’s question reflects a far more important issue -- the anti-gay hysteria that has traditionally characterized sports, and made it difficult (if not impossible) for gay and lesbian athletes to pursue careers in professional sports.....(full article)
 

Poetry
A Tale of Freedom
by Gary Steven Corseri

They gave birth to a child called Chaos

whom they nicknamed Freedom.....(full poem)

 


Poetry
Pictures of Iraq
by Vi Ransel

 

On one/fifteen/oh three

worldwide demonstrations were dismissed

by the Bush Administration

as "focus groups", assisted

by U.S. corporate-owned media "reporting",

mindlessly supporting

the objectives of The Regime,

since objectivity is purported to meet with reprisal

which threatens the survival of journalistic careers.....(full poem)



Poetry

Mass Production
by Vi Ransel

 

Records confirm C-141 Starlifters

ascend from Ramstein on well-timed flights

arriving ten hours later at Dover airbase

under cover ----------------- of the night.

 

There will be no national day of mourning.

The Capitol will not dim its lights

to show respect for over 2300 returned

under cover ------------------ of the night.....(full poem)

 


Michael Joyce (1942-2006)
by Bill Berkowitz


Former Bradley Foundation czar's investments in privatization and faith-based initiatives helped build the modern conservative movement.....
(full article)


 

George, Please Tell Me, Would You Consider Becoming Religious? 
by Rabbi Dennis G. Shulman, Ph.D.
 

 

No president of the United States has asserted his religiosity more than George W. Bush. Yet, as a person who takes his own religious tradition seriously, no president has so embarrassed me by acting in such a way as to violate the essential ethical message of religion and the teachings of its most honored founders.....(full article)

 

March 9


Compromising Americans’ Civil Liberties
by Walter Brasch

[Editor's Note: The House approved the slightly-revised PATRIOT ACT on TUESDAY, March 7. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation today]

Two weeks before President Bush signed Congressional legislation that made permanent all but two sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, State College, Pennsylvania, became the 397th American community to reaffirm the belief that the Constitution and Bill of Rights take precedence over any federal law. Not one of those resolutions should have been necessary. Nor should the legislatures of eight states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, and Vermont -- have had to pass legislation affirming the rights of all Americans. But they had to, and they did.....(full article)
 

South American Paradigms
Revolutionary Change Through Mass Social Movements
by Kim Petersen

Many progressives have taken heart by the electoral results in South “American” countries that ostensibly indicate a turn to the Left, away from decades of neoliberal government. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, with his fiery oratory and willingness to openly defy US imperialism, has caught the imagination and support of anti-imperialists everywhere. In December, the equally outspoken Evo Morales, an indigenous leader of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), captured the presidency outright in Bolivia. Combined with movements that led to a rapid-fire replacement of five neoliberal presidents in Argentina from 21 December 2001 to 25 May 2003, before the election of “centrist” Nestor Kirchner, and the leftist-supported electoral victory of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Lucio Gutiérrez in November 2002, many progressives are feeling buoyant. Yet authors James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer caution against over exuberance.....(full article)


How the Green Party Slays Their Own
An Interview with John Murphy

by Joshua Frank

John Murphy is running an antiwar, pro-civil liberties campaign for US Congress from the 16th District of Pennsylvania (www.johnmurphyforcongress.org). Murphy, a Green, was denied his party’s endorsement last month because, as Murphy believes, he supported Ralph Nader and was critical of Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb in 2004. Murphy recently spoke with Joshua Frank about his campaign as well as the future of the Green Party.....(full article)


Satan is Resting Easy: The Power of Christ "Propels" Them
by Jason Miller

Remember, Big Brother is watching, listening and reading. In light of the illegal surveillance they are conducting at the behest of their incompetent, rogue, and murderous Commander-in-Chief, I am dedicating this essay to the NSA....(full article)


The Action Thing
Liberty -- Use it or Lose it
by Niranjan Ramakrishnan

The massive anti-cartoon protests in the Muslim world invited the derision of many of our wise men and women, who pooh-poohed the saps who would expend so much energy over something so silly. The anti-Bush protests in India were dismissed by commentators as an unholy combination of Muslims and communists. Every protester was debunked as a blind follower at the mercy of tin pot leaders, false ideologies, or plain backwardness. Allowing that it is wasteful to spend the day standing in the sun shouting slogans against a faraway newspaper, let's also ask: are there ever worthy reasons to protest? And if there ever are, what might they be? (full article)
 

The Secret War Against the Defenseless People of West Papua
by John Pilger

An estimated 100,000 Papuans, or 10 percent of the population, have been killed by the Indonesian military. This is a fraction of the true figure, according to refugees. In January, 43 West Papuans reached Australia's north coast after a hazardous six-week journey in a dugout. They had no food, and had dribbled their last fresh water into their children's mouths. "We knew," said Herman Wainggai, the leader, "that if the Indonesian military had caught us, most of us would have died. They treat West Papuans like animals. They kill us like animals. They have created militias and jihadis to do just that. It is the same as East Timor.".....(full article)


March 7
 

Digital Hype: A Dazzling Smokescreen?
by Norman Solomon

As each new season brings more waves of higher-tech digital products, I often think of Mark Twain. Along with being a brilliant writer, he was also an ill-fated investor -- fascinated with the latest technical innovations, including the strides toward functional typewriters and typesetting equipment as the 19th century neared its close. Twain would have marveled at the standard PC that we take for granted now. But what would he have made of the intrusiveness of present-day media technology -- let alone its recurring content? (full article)
 

Schwarzenegger and the Flood Risk in California's Central Valley:
When the White House Walks Away

by Seth Sandronsky

Water, where life began, threatens to end the lives of many in California’s Central Valley. As a result, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed in a recent letter to President George W. Bush “a state of emergency for the California levee system due to the imminent threat of catastrophic levee failure. Increasingly severe weather systems each season have accelerated the deterioration of the state's levee system to the point where they are now in danger of failing during the next major rainfall or earthquake. This worsening situation creates conditions of extreme peril to the public and property protected by the levees, to the environment, and to the very foundation of California's economy.” Schwarzenegger requested $3 billion in federal funding to reduce this flood risk. It was denied. Surprised? I’m not.....
(full article)


“No Immunity”: Israel’s Policy of Targeted Assassinations 
by Mike Whitney

Gangland violence is making us safer. That’s the message we hear today from Israel’s Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, who not only defended the practice of “targeted assassination” but threatened to use the controversial tactic against Palestine’s new Prime Minister-designate, Ismail Haniya. “We will continue the targeted killings at this pace,” Mofaz stated. “No one will be immune.” Mofaz’s comments were made in response to Israel’s air strike against two Palestinian suspects yesterday in Gaza City. The attack killed three bystanders -- one child and two teenagers....(full article)


Psych Drugs: Doctors Serve As Middleman Pushers
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Although peddling psychiatric drugs for off-label treatment of every ailment known to man is highly profitable, it is also illegal. Marketing schemes that increase the rates at which drugs are prescribed for off-label use result in the sale of drugs that have not been proven safer or superior to FDA approved medications already on the market. That said, it’s time to quit blaming the pharmaceutical industry exclusively for off-labeling marketing. The fact remains that drug makers could not sell their new and relatively untested drugs if not for the doctors who take on the role of middleman pusher.....
(full article)


The Play's the Thing: Censorship, Theatre and Ideology
by Walter A. Davis

The play My Name is Rachel Corrie was developed in the U.K. by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner. Every word of it is derived from writings and tape recordings of the late peace activist Rachel Corrie who was killed on March 16, 2003 when crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to prevent the destruction of the home of a Palestinian doctor in the Al-Salaam neighborhood of Rafah city in the south portion of the Gaza strip.  Ms. Corrie was clearly visible to the driver of the bulldozer who ran over her and then backed up over her body. She was 23 years old. . . . The play based on Rachel Corrie’s life had an extremely successful run last year at London’s Royal Court Theatre. Plans for a production of the work at the New York Theatre Workshop beginning March 22 were well advanced when the Artistic Director of that Theatre, James Nicola, announced on Feb. 27 that he had decided to “postpone” the production indefinitely. Mr. Nicola’s reasons for this decision -- which have evolved over the past few days from naïve frankness to semantic obfuscation -- are well worth examining because of all that they reveal both about the state of supposedly serious theatre today and the impact of ideological and religious pressures, which no longer have to be spoken in order to be heard and obeyed.....(full article)


Why I am a Christian (sort of)
by Robert Jensen

I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe Jesus Christ was the son of a God that I don’t believe in, nor do I believe Jesus rose from the dead to ascend to a heaven that I don’t believe exists. Given these positions, this year I did the only thing that seemed sensible: I formally joined a Christian church....
(full article)


The Real Issue is Anti-Arab Racism
by Sharon Smith

Those who worry that the world’s Arab and Muslim populations pose a threat to free speech in Western democracies need not fear. The First Amendment remains intact--particularly, it seems, when it comes to the “right” to inflict racial slurs. Indeed, the last few weeks have witnessed a spate of pundits and politicians exercising their right to freely engage in racist demagoguery against Arabs and Muslims without repercussion.....(full article)


March 6


Recognizing Israel for What It Is
by Ahmed Amr

Condi Rice spent the better part of her recent visit to the Middle East trying to persuade Egyptians and Gulf Arabs to join the American-Israeli efforts to isolate Hamas and impose economic sanctions on the Palestinians. To put it mildly, she was told to take a hike. After democratic elections in the occupied territories resulted in a massive shift to the Palestinian right, Washington joined Tel Aviv in formulating a policy geared to starving the Palestinians as collective punishment for their bad voting habits. In trying to market her obscene scheme to an unreceptive audience in Cairo and Saudi Arabia, Condi once again demonstrated her total allegiance to the Israeli agenda.....
(full article)


Defiling the Grave of an American Hero:
The Censoring of Rachel Corrie
by Jack Random

After all the outcry concerning the intolerance of the Islamic world in their impassioned response to the degrading cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed, where is the outrage in response to the silencing of Rachel Corrie by the New York Theater Workshop? Is there a double standard in western values of free speech? You bet there is. The hypocrisy runs so deep that the vast majority of Americans does not know who Rachel Corrie is and, thanks to the self-imposed gag rule of cultural and media institutions, they never will. In a year when Hollywood embraced such groundbreaking movies as Goodnight & Good Luck, Syriana, Trans America, Brokeback Mountain and Crash, a New York theater company cancelled a production of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie on the grounds that the public outcry would be unbearable.....(full article)


Another Unsavory Judicial Nomination
by Gene C. Gerard

In the wake of the successful confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, President Bush has re-nominated Brent Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Democrats originally rejected his nomination in 2003, and for good reasons. He has less legal experience than all but one previous nominee in the last 35 years. And his judicial integrity and ethics are questionable at best. In response to his nomination in 2003, Mr. Kavanaugh completed a questionnaire for the Senate that asked him to cite the number of cases he’s tried before a court. He replied, “none.” That’s because he’s never set foot in a courtroom after graduating from law school in 1990. Wouldn’t it be important for an appeals court judge to have considerable experience? Especially a judge serving on the D.C. Court of Appeals, since this court has exclusive jurisdiction in approving the policies of several government agencies.....(full article)


A Progressive Out-of-Power-Elite?
by Steven Sherman

One need only glance at the major left/liberal websites to realize that the left spends a lot more time complaining about what it would like to change than reflecting on itself. Jarol Manheim’s Biz War and the Out-of-Power Elite is a welcome effort to paint a picture of the progressive movement of the last twenty years, and is heartening in its claims that the left is gaining strength. Ironically, Manheim himself is a centrist who distances himself from the ideology he examines. Nevertheless, his argument should be taken seriously and is a useful starting point for exploring what needs to be done for the left to play a more potent role. This does not mean, however, that it should be accepted uncritically.....(full article)


Dubai and the Straits of Hormuz    
by Mike Whitney

Geography is fate. United Arab Emirates is located at the center of an oil-dependent world. This tiny state forms the promontory that juts out into the famed Straits of Hormuz through which 40% of the world’s oil passes every day. Across the narrow straights sits Iran, the next victim on the list of “axis of evil” nations. Any attack on Iran will require that military forces quickly deploy to Dubai to forestall the closing of the straits and the subsequent devastation that would occur to world oil supplies and financial markets. This is the critical point that is being intentionally concealed by America’s diversionary media. This is the reason that President Bush continues to force the Dubai port plan even though 70% of the American people and Congress resoundingly oppose it.....(full article)


Yo, Troops! Hey, Vets! We Got Yer Support Right Here
by Mark Drolette

My sister Apolitica called me yesterday. “Dolton’s really upset,” she said of her spouse. “What happened? Did someone peel the ‘I heart Dubya’ sticker off his beloved new truck?” I asked ever empathetically of my Bush-lovin’, Rush-adorin’, flag-wavin’, magnet-displayin’ brother-in-law, the one who’d just recently somehow scraped together a skeletal down payment for a $35,000 fully-loaded four-wheel drive even though he, my sister and their nine-year-old son (Dolton, Jr.) don’t have a pot to piss in and are already giraffe eyeball-high in debt. “No, no,” she answered. “His grandpa’s ill again and having trouble getting an appointment to see the doctor. You know how close those two are.” Indeed, I did know this. It was actually one of Dolt’s few redeeming qualities, the affection he had for his namesake grandfather. I also knew the old Dolt was a disabled veteran and figured his trouble getting treated was almost certainly related to the relentless assaults by the chickenhawk Bush administration on benefits fully due those who’ve honorably served in America’s armed forces.....(full article)


Duking Duke
by Peter Kurth

You can just imagine the comfort I felt over the weekend, when I learned that former U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R.-California) had been sentenced to eight years and four months in prison for taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks while serving in the hallowed halls of Congress. It’s always nice to see a Republican in the slammer, even if there’s room for so many more....(full article)


What Sophie Scholl Can Teach Us
by Daniel Vallin

I know it is very dangerous to compare anyone or anything with Hitler these days. Hitler is holy. Nothing may be compared to him or his regime; the prevailing dogma is that no one could ever be as evil, no matter what they do. This is very fortunate, of course, for all leaders and tyrants who are not called Hitler. They get a really easy ride, a sort of “get out of jail free” card. This makes it easy for people to believe that fascism was inherently German or Italian; people forget its manifestations in Spain, Portugal, Cambodia, Uganda, etc. It also makes it easy to forget about its supporters in Britain (Mosely, etc) and the US (Henry Ford, Dupont, Brown Brothers Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank, etc.). For those who study history, this concept seems to make all of their efforts redundant; if we cannot compare the past and present to find parallels, and use this to avoid making the same mistakes, we don’t really need to study history at all. Never mind that to compare is not to equate. Dogma is dogma is dogma, and all who suggest any sort of variation or counter argument are heretic. Nevertheless, I now dare to make such a comparison....(full article)


The Bashing of Bennish
by Rosemarie Jackowski

It looks like the press has found another scapegoat. Must be that the Ward Churchill bashing was no longer pulling in the high ratings, so now begins the Bashing of Bennish.....(full article)


The Do-it-Yourself Online Presidential Leadership Quiz
by Mark W. Bradley

Are you courageous enough?
Are you smart enough?
Are you decisive enough to be the President of the United States? (full quiz)


March 3


Details Emerge in Latest Round of Plame E-mails
‘Found’ by the White House
 
by Jason Leopold

The White House confirmed Tuesday that it recently turned over to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald 250 pages of e-mails from the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney related to covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence. The e-mails were not submitted three years ago when then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales ordered White House staffers to turn over all documents that contained any reference to Valerie and Joseph Wilson. Gonzales's directive in October 2003 came 12 hours after he was told by the Justice Department that it was launching an investigation to find out who leaked Plame Wilson's undercover CIA status to reporters in what appeared to be an attempt to discredit and silence her husband from speaking out against the administration's rationale for war. Gonzales spent two weeks with other White House attorneys screening e-mails and other documents his office received before turning them over to Justice Department investigators.....
(full article)


Animal Rights, Untamed
by Lee Hall

“Animal agriculture,” advocates tell us, “accounts for 98 percent of all animal suffering and killing.” What does “all animal suffering and killing” mean? Lawyers David Wolfson and Mariann Sullivan tell us more specifically that farm animals make up 98 percent of all animals “with whom humans interact in the United States.” This 98 percent figure is a cue: Read on, and you’ll likely find a discussion of squalid warehouses crammed full of miserable beings. Next, you’ll read that most farm animals are virtually invisible to federal law. And finally, because any efficiency is justified in mass production, advocates will often urge support for traditional farming and cage-free eggs. Yes, animal factories display an obscene disregard for the interests of any conscious beings caught up in their soulless venture. But it makes little sense to try to replace them with supposedly less offensive business practices such as free-range farms.....(full article


“Insurgents”: Hermeneutics Are Not a Substitute for Clarity!
by Kim Petersen

Among progressives, the late English essayist and novelist George Orwell is highly regarded for his perspicacity in revealing the importance of language in propagandizing and indoctrination. In his epic novel 1984, Orwell described an upside-down world where “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength.” Progressives are well aware of how language can be twisted to convey inside-out impressions; thus, the “killing of civilians” is dubbed “collateral damage,” “aggression” is “preemptive war,” and “an ethnically cleansed town” is “a settlement.” . . . . In the egalitarian universe of progressivism, a brilliant Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor has attained exceptional prominence. Noam Chomsky is an intellectual who wears many hats. But in two fields, in particular, Chomsky stands out: linguistics and US foreign policy. Therefore, as an outstanding linguist with a keen mind attuned to US policy at work in the world, one would expect the terminology used by Chomsky to be very precise. Yet, even Chomsky has incorporated some of the lingo of the corporate media into his repertoire.....(full article)


American Youth Counter-Recruitment
by Sonia Nettnin

The militarization of America’s youth is the U.S. military’s strategic device for recruitment into the armed forces. Through authorization by the Supreme Court the military engages youth in middle schools and high schools through the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).  A spokesperson for the Committee Against the Militarization of Youth (CAMY) reports that the Middle School Cadet Corps program proliferates a culture of militarization because it “indoctrinates boys and girls (ages 11-14) to use rifles and play video games.”  As a result, the program is a discipline of teaching kids violence. When youth learn about militarism through systematic instruction, then military principles mold their attitudes and thoughts about the armed forces.  They become inspired to enlist after high school gradation. Therefore the program influences their decision to sign up for military service.....(full article)


Adderall Online: Black Market Profits In Plain Sight
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Dubbed “Kiddie Coke,” Adderall is being abused by increasing numbers of high school and college students all across America. It's difficult to quantify the extent of the abuse among students because of the availability of the drug through legal prescriptions and on the internet. Adderall is an amphetamine, a class of stimulant drugs that were widely abused when prescribed as diet pills until they were banned for that use more than two decades ago. However, according to clinical social worker, Catherine Wood: “The mother's little helpers of the 1960s and 1970s are all available now on the internet.” Adderall maker, Shire Pharmaceuticals, cannot claim ignorance about the obvious rise in profits resulting from the sale of one of its top selling drugs on the internet to people without a valid prescription. And therefore, in addition to enjoying the black market profits in plain sight, Shire must be held accountable for any and all harm done to customers who unwittingly purchase Adderall online.....(full article)
 

Poetry
Spheres

by Emily Ondine Wittman

A poem dedicated to controversial Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who announced his resignation last week amidst widespread calls within the university that he step down....(full poem)


Academia Nuts
by Michael Greenwell 

If we wish to see serious changes in the way society works we have to stop rehashing misconceptions that have led us to where we are now. Academics are generally trusted as sources of information. Unfortunately many take money producing junk science for major corporations. Although the attempt to turn as all into good little corporate citizens is bad enough in itself the problem runs much deeper.....(full article)


The World That Dick Built
by Sheila Samples

This is the guy who pulled the trigger of the gun that fired the round that hit his friend that ruined the hunt and shed some light on the world that Dick built....(full shot)


March 1


Mahatma Bush
by Norman Solomon

Evidently the president’s trip to India created an option too perfect to pass up: The man who has led the world in violence during the first years of the 21st century could pay homage to the world’s leading practitioner of nonviolence during the first half of the 20th century. So the White House announced plans for George W. Bush to lay a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in New Delhi. While audacious in its shameless and extreme hypocrisy, this PR gambit is in character for the world’s only superpower. One of the main purposes of the Bush regime’s media spin is to depict reality as its opposite. And Karl Rove obviously figured that mainstream U.S. media outlets, with few exceptions, wouldn’t react with anywhere near the appropriate levels of derision or outrage....(full article)
 

The India That Can (No Longer) Say No: The Paradox of Prosperity
by Niranjan Ramakrishnan

Let us put Nehru's words in context: here is the leader of a country still dependent on foreign aid for food, militarily negligible, with 400 million poor, invited to address the Congress of the United States. We watch him treat the superpower as an equal, recalling it to its highest values. It lionizes him. Kennedy's first State of the Union speech invokes the "soaring idealism of Nehru." In 1962, C. Rajagopalachari (also known as Rajaji, an associate of the Mahatma and a political opponent of Nehru) visits the US and the USSR promoting the importance of nuclear disarmament. President Kennedy listens with rapt attention, and calls his meeting with Rajagopalachari "one of the most civilizing influences on me.".....(full article)
 

The Commander in Chief Has Lost the Troops: Nearly Three-Quarters
of US Troops in Iraq Say End the Occupation within a Year
by Kevin Zeese

A unique poll of active duty troops in Iraq shows a huge disconnect between the Commander in Chief and his troops in battle. It is evident that the President views the war very differently then the troops on the ground. The loss of the troops may be the final straw in the illegal occupation turned into a failed war. The foreign policy establishment had already told the President they thought the Iraq War was a mistake. The people have been saying the war was a mistake. All that is left are President Bush and the hawkish leaders of the two parties -- only they are calling for staying the course or sending more troops.....(full article)


FDA Shields Drug Companies from Lawsuits
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Last month, the FDA revealed its latest protective policy for drug companies in a statement that said people who believe they have been injured by drugs approved by the FDA should not be allowed to sue drug companies in state courts. "We think that if your company complies with the FDA processes, if you bring forward the benefits and risks of your drug, and let your information be judged through a process with highly trained scientists, you should not be second-guessed by state courts that don't have the same scientific knowledge," said Scott Gottlieb, the FDA's deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs....(full article)


Enabling Bush: Senator Feinstein’s War Profiteering
by Joshua Frank

. . . The Democrats aren’t just letting the Republicans get away with murder, however, some of them are also reaping the benefits of the Bush wars. We constantly hear about Dick Cheney’s ties to Halliburton and how his ex-company is making bundles off US contracts in Iraq. But what we don’t hear about is how Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband are also making tons of money off the “war on terror.”.....(full article)
 

Double Standards on Foreign Owners: Amdocs vs. DP World 
by Lila Rajiva

In December 2001, Fox TV broadcast a four-part investigation on Israeli espionage by Carl Cameron, which the Israeli embassy in Washington, JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), and AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) immediately denied and attacked. One and a half days after its posting, all the material related to the investigation was taken off the Fox website. The facts stayed alive thereafter only on the Internet. Forget the Israeli art student espionage story which Cameron unearthed and which has never been seriously investigated. Forget any of the other highly credible accounts of Israeli espionage before and during 9-11 that have been conveniently reclassified without investigation as urban legends. Focus only on what Cameron reported on Amdocs, a company that has contracts with the 25 largest telephone companies in the US to handle all their directory assistance, calling records, and billing work. This gives Amdocs access to data on nearly every telephone call dialed in the country. According to Cameron, Amdocs has been investigated on several occasions for suspected ties to the Israeli mafia and for espionage. Reportedly, in 1999 a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information report (TS/SCI) warned that records of calls in the US were getting into foreign hands, Israeli in particular.....(full article)


Why Dubai Doesn't Matter 
by Igor Volsky

Port security matters, the Dubai controversy does not. If a president and his party choose to secure our nation's ports at pre-9/11 levels, then they are operating in a pre-9/11 mindset. According to Karl Rove, "that doesn't make them unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong." In 2002, when the Coast Guard estimated that it would cost "$1.5 billion for the first year and $7.5 billion over the succeeding decade" to adequately secure our ports, our War President ignored the request and asked Congress for a mere $46 million in his 2005 budget, a figure below 9/11 levels. Since then, the federal government has allocated just $708 million to improve port security. Such Congressional generosity has met one-fifth of our security needs and has created a funding gap of over $3 billion....(full article)
 

Put Out More Flags: The Making of Another America
by John Pilger

The other day, one of my favorite cinemas closed down. The boards went up on the art deco Valhalla in Sydney, one of the world's best at putting out powerful, political documentaries. The lack of fuss might have seemed surprising in a city whose iconic Opera House is said to embody modern Australia's pride in the arts. On the contrary, the closure reflected a more general shutting down. The Valhalla was certainly an anomaly in an Australia so entrapped by the cult of "marketing" that an executive of the Sydney Morning Herald can declare "the answer" is "not smart and clever people" but "people who can execute your strategy." On 9 February, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris proclaimed Australia the least regulated and most privately owned economy in the western world. This is a country owned and run by businessmen.....(full article)


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