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November 29

The Passion of the Right: Religious Fundamentalism and
the Growing Threat to Democracy
by Henry A. Giroux

With the re-election of George W. Bush, religious fundamentalism seems to be in overdrive in its effort to define politics through a reductive and somewhat fanatical moralism. This kind of religious zealotry has a long tradition in American history extending from the arrival of Puritanism in the seventeenth century to the current spread of Pentecostalism. This often ignored history, imbued with theocratic certainty and absolute moralism, has been quite powerful in providing religious justification to the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, the parlance of the Robber Barons, the patriarchal imbued discourse of “family values,” and the recent spectacle of Mel Gibson’s cinematic display of religious orthodoxy. The historical lesson here is that absolute moralism when mixed with politics not only produces zealots who believe they have a monopoly on the truth and a legitimate rationale for refusing to engage ambiguities, it also fuels an intolerance towards others who do not follow the scripted, righteous path of officially sanctioned beliefs and behavior. Family values is now joined with an emotionally charged rhetorical appeal to faith as the new code words for cultural conservatism. As right-wing religion conjoins with political ideology and political power, it not only legitimates intolerance and anti-democratic forms of religious correctness, it also lays the groundwork for a growing authoritarianism which easily derides appeals to reason, dissent, dialogue, and secular humanism. How else to explain the growing number of Christian conservative educators who want to impose the teaching of creationism in the schools, ban sex education from the curricula, and subordinate scientific facts to religious dogma....(full article)

(Dispatches from Iraq) “Unusual” Weapons Used in Fallujah
by Dahr Jamail

The U.S. military has used poison gas and other non-conventional weapons against civilians in Fallujah, eyewitnesses report. “Poisonous gases have been used in Fallujah,” 35-year-old trader from Fallujah Abu Hammad told IPS. “They used everything -- tanks, artillery, infantry, poison gas. Fallujah has been bombed to the ground.” Hammad is from the Julan district of Fallujah where some of the heaviest fighting occurred. Other residents of that area report the use of illegal weapons....(full article)

The Reelection of George W. Bush: A Possible Bright Side?
by Joshua Frank

We are nearing the end of 2004. And if there has been one lesson that we should have all learned this year it is that the US electoral system sets all challenges to the power-elite up for a horrifying defeat. Hence the reason so many liberal and progressive voters deemed John Kerry our only hope for defeating George W. Bush this November. Faulty logic indeed. They said, and still say, that Kerry was at least marginally better than Bush. After all, who in his or her right (or left) mind did not support the Kerry campaign? Bush, we were told, was (and now again is) the worst president in history. An Adolf in the making. Or is he? (full article)

Citizenship Sold
by Adam Williams

In his book from early 2000, The Lexus and The Olive Tree, globalization bull-dog Thomas Friedman, amongst his other grand ideas like McDonald’s being the key to world peace, speculates that one day governments will run on a for-profit basis. Rather than privatizing education completely, they will hire other countries to run their education systems or lease out their own. This would effectively mean that newly appointed Education Secretary Spellings would act more as a CEO than national superintendent. While I find it more likely that the education system in the United States will be privatized out right than operate like a corporate consultant firm, Friedman does point out an interesting trend. Governments are being forced to act more like corporations. Business has been the business of government for quite sometime, but that line between business and government is becoming more obscured. Today, government is business....(full article)

News Media in the 60th Year of the Nuclear Age
by Norman Solomon

Top officials in Washington are now promoting jitters about Iran’s nuclear activities, while media outlets amplify the message. A confrontation with Tehran is on the second-term Bush agenda. So, we’re encouraged to obliquely think about the unthinkable. But no one can get very far trying to comprehend the enormity of nuclear weapons. They’ve shadowed human consciousness for six decades. From the outset, deception has been key....(full article)

The Iranian Mojahedin: What Kind of Alternative?
by Rosa Faiz

The People’s Mojahedin of Iran has of late been receiving increasing coverage by the Western and especially the US mainstream press, who quote them copiously, ala Ahmed Chalabi, as “opposition sources.” Since any aggressive move to be made against Iran by the US will likely include this opposition grouping in some form or shape, some of us leftist opposition members feel obliged to present a dissuasive picture of this organization to our good friends in the US left, so as to prevent the good folks from taking the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, in their current incarnation, as any friend of the Peoples of Iran....(full article)

Danilo Anderson and Condoleezza Rice
by toni solo

On Tuesday, November 16th, George Bush put forward Condoleezza Rice as his proposed Secretary of State to take over the diplomacy of US warmongering from the outgoing fraud Colin Powell. Two days later on November 18th leading Venezuelan judicial prosecutor Danilo Anderson was killed in a car bomb attack eerily reminiscent of the murder of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffit in Washington in 1976 by Cuban terrorists working for Augusto Pinochet and protected by the CIA. The Venezuelan authorities believe Anderson was killed by two charges of C4 plastic explosive fixed to his car and detonated remotely, apparently by cell phone. The timing of Rice's nomination and Anderson's murder are unlikely to be fortuitous. With Rice's appointment, George Bush sustains the incestuous link between his regime and earlier, still extant, plutocrat state terror Godfathers like George Bush Sr., James Baker and George Schultz. Rice, a protégé of Schultz, the former Bechtel president, could hardly be a more emblematic representative of the nexus between state terror and big business. Chevron may have renamed the former "Condoleezza Rice" oil tanker "Altair Voyager", but that all-too-recent link to an outfit boasting it "... now ranks among the most important international petroleum producers in Venezuela and Colombia, is one of the largest private integrated oil companies in Brazil and is the third-leading producer in Argentina," bodes ill for people in Latin America....
(full article)

The Political Descent of Mankind
by Zbignew Zingh

Anthropologists' recent discovery of a new branch in the origins of humankind is rewriting our understanding of evolution. Homo floresiensis, a small-brained, proto-human that apparently lived on the islands of Indonesia as recently as several hundred years ago, walked upright, used basic tools and, according to local legend, had the ability to simulate human speech by “parroting” words without actual comprehension. Most anthropologists believe that homo floresiensis became extinct and only a skeletal record of their existence remains. A minority of anthropologists, however, particularly those in the field of political anthropology, are convinced that homo floresiensis did not go extinct.  “In fact,” says Dr. Friedrich Nudelmann who is the chair of the political anthropology department at the Spukenheim Universität of Wahlgestohlen-Pferdapfel, “the evidence is overwhelming that this distant relative of homo sapiens sapiens has flourished and continues to thrive right under our noses.” Dr. Nudelmann notes that while it may be difficult to obtain definitive DNA proof for his contention, the anecdotal and empirical evidence prove that homo floresiensis walk among us today....
(full article)

Blame Kerry’s Loss on the ABB Crowd: An Interview with Kevin Zeese
by Joshua Frank

Kevin Zeese served as Press Secretary for the Ralph Nader Presidential Campaign in 2004. He recently spoke with Joshua Frank....(full article)

The Soul Dilemma
by Christopher Robin Cox

Since the political birth of this country there has been a raging debate between those who feel the collective good of society is best gained by a government focused on maintaining the social health of its people and those who feel it is best gained by one that fosters their complete and unrestricted economic freedom. We cannot have both. This debate has been silent since the 1980s, when one side apparently lost the initiative to speak. Now is the time to reengage that debate, out loud, for all to hear. It is our duty as the citizens of a critically wounded democracy to not only question the corrupt authority that now governs it, but to deeply consider the very institutional rules of the game that allowed it to come to power.  There are countries all over the world that are rebelling wildly in response to the deplorable corporate practices that we in America seem to have taken as standard operating procedure....(full article)

Stinky and the Vulcans
by Sheila Samples

The kid and I were chatting happily last week about really really important things such as this country's top movie, Spongebob Squarepants, when, suddenly, she pointed at the TV screen behind me.  Then, as her face contorted in anger, she said ominously – “He's e-e-e-e-v-u-l...” Startled by the look on her face, I turned to the TV, expecting to see the Red Skull with his boot on the neck of Captain America -- but it was only George Bush, smirking and chortling and kissing members of his cabinet on the lips.  “No, honey,” I said, “that's only the president.  That's George Bush.” “Well, okay,” she said, with a shudder.  Then, squenching her eyes shut and pursing her lips, she muttered – “But I'm gonna call him Stinky.” I don't know which is more appalling -- that millions of comatose adults flock to theaters to pay homage to Spongebob Squarepants while the world goes to hell around them, or that a single 8-year-old, familiar with the stark, good-versus-evil battles waged by Spiderman, Captain Marvel and the entire battalion of Ninja Rangers, could take one look at George Bush and instantly recognize a villain....(full article)

Interview with a Tupamaro: Mickey Z. Talks With Hiber Conteris
by Mickey Z.

In a recent article, I declared: “I believe someone needs to write a definitive book on the Tupamaros of Uruguay.” This belief was based primarily on what I had read about the group (a.k.a. “Movement for National Liberation” or MLN) in William Blum's Killing Hope. “Perhaps the cleverest, most resourceful and most sophisticated urban guerrillas the world has ever seen, the Tupamaros had a deft touch for capturing the public's imagination with outrageous actions, and winning sympathizers with their Robin Hood philosophy,” Blum wrote. “Their members and secret partisans held key positions in the government, banks, universities, and the professions, as well as in the military and police...Once they ransacked an exclusive high-class nightclub and scrawled on the walls perhaps their most memorable slogan: ‘O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie’ -- Either everyone dances or no one dances.” After reading that paragraph, you can't blame me for wanting a whole damn book written on this topic, huh? Well, in response to my public plea, friend and colleague Greg Elich took time to set me up for an e-mail interview with Hiber Conteris, a former Tupamaro now living and working in the U.S....(full article)

Prince Neil Bush & Silverado: Once Upon A Time In The Bush Family
-- A Series
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Evelyn Pringle on Neil Bush and the collapse of  Silverado Savings and Loan -- Crime Does Pay if you're a corporate crook and Bush family member....
(full article)

Rice Espies Mushroom Cloud in Morning Coffee
by Gary Corseri

Condi Rice was still in a half-dream state as she recalled the frivolities of the previous evening. Georgie Pooh and Laura Pooh, and the two charming harridan-vixens they called daughters, had joined her round the White House piano for a rousing chorus of “Shall We Gather at the River.” As she idly stirred Creamo into her morning coffee, she recalled the President’s playful nudging: “Louder, Condi, louder!” he’d cried. Condi had never felt so loved, so needed.  Now, with the brooding presence of Collin Powell soon to exit the scene, with her confirmation as Secretary of State a foregone conclusion, she’d achieved the pinnacle of prominence she’d craved since childhood.  Oprah might have a billion dollars and--recently!--a better booty, but she, Condi, by God, had the sweet, salacious aphrodisiac of power....(full article)

November 25

Thank Bush
by Mikel Weisser

Though there have been harvest festivals for time immemorial, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. In addition to all the football and feasting, the core message behind our national fable rings particularly true with George Bush preparing to begin his second term. Briefly put: America with all its flaws and strengths existed as an amalgam of the various groups; we can call them tribes of Americans. Into this functioning, but at times uneasy mix, a new group arrived: the religious fanatics. These fanatics had come to the “New World” seeking freedom from the oppression they’d met in the “Old World.” But as soon as they secured the pretense of a peaceful co-existence with the Americans, they immediately set up a social structure to oppress both themselves and the Americans that was far more rigid than anything they’d faced in Europe....(full article)

Celebrating the Holidays During our Dark Age
by Shepherd Bliss

It’s Thanksgiving and I look forward to the holidays. But wait. I cannot get certain images out of my mind, try though I may. I see the documented 100,000 innocent Iraqis, mainly women and children, that America has recently killed. I see our soldiers torturing people. Whole towns, like Falluja, were destroyed, allegedly to save them. I am not too good at denial, even at this joyous time of year. Then I remember the Nov. 2 elections and the American people’s apparent support for such war crimes. What to do? How to celebrate the birthday of the baby Jesus—the “Prince of Peace”—in such a time? I certainly do not feel like buying a lot of American-made goods and further fueling the war machine....(full article)

(Dispatches from Iraq) Fallujah Refugees
by Dahr Jamail

Doctors in Fallujah are reporting there are patients in the hospital there who were forced out by the Americans,” said Mehdi Abdulla, a 33 year-old ambulance driver at a hospital in Baghdad, “Some doctors there told me they had a major operation going, but the soldiers took the doctors away and left the patient to die.” He looks at the ground, then away to the distance. Honking cars fill the chaotic street outside the hospital where they’d just received brand new desks. The empty boxes are strewn about outside. Um Mohammed, a doctor at the hospital sat behind her old, wooden desk. “How can I take a new desk when there are patients dying because we don’t have medicine for them,” she asked while holding her hands in the air, “They should build a lift so patients who can’t walk can be taken to surgery, and instead we have these new desks!” Her eyes were piercing with fire, while yet another layer of frustration is folded into her work....(full article)

Loves, Hates, Kills, Dies
by Paul Street

American corporate mass media exhibits a curious ongoing alternation between harsh hyper-masculinist proto-fascism and a soft, more officially feminine and receptive consumerism.  One minute you’re watching Dubya receiving “Hooahs” from an audience of military cadets or censored clips of rugged Marines conquering Fallujah.  The next minute you’re gazing at a delicate white woman soaking up her Oil of Olay or confidently proclaiming her worthiness for L’Oreal.  One second you sit amazed as a muscle-bound free safety tries to decapitate or at least paralyze a wide receiver or as a towering manchild in an NBA uniform climbs over frightened kids to pummel a mis-identified problem fan.  The next minute a lovely model is letting you in on Victoria’s Secret and Oprah is showering her audience with millions of dollars’ worth of consumer goodies....(full article)

DO NOT Support "Our" Troops: The Toxicity of Center-Rightists,
Liberals, and the Establishment Left
by The Glorious Revolutionary Federation of Fortune 500 Killer's Anti-Imperialist League

Rather than burden the Federation rank-and-file and sympathizers with a meanderingly obvious screed against the war criminals currently occupying the White House, the Federation instead has chosen to aim its polemical energy at an overlooked target: insidious counter-revolutionary elements who APPEAR to be our allies, but upon closer inspection, ultimately reinforce American empire as much -- while getting away with it. All Federation members and sympathizers, if they have not done so, should loan or purchase Noam Chomsky's 1969 anti-Vietnam War classic, American Power and the New Mandarins. In this work, Chomsky delineated two strains of anti-war thought: 1) radical strains that repudiated the war on principle for its imperialist assumptions and original stated raison d'etre (all regardless of outcome or level of success) and 2) the pragmatic-practical liberal-bourgeois strains that escalated protest because the war became increasingly unsuccessful, prolonged, expensive, or politically costly. With slight modification, we can apply this model for analyzing the motivations of those who purport to be against war to the present imperial excursion into Iraq. It is imperative that we not be hoodwinked and fooled by the unprincipled "anti-war" thought of organizations and characters like and former partisans of Howard Dean and John Kerry. Equally important is the development of immunity to the nonsensical "Support Our Troops" mantra emanating from many center-right, liberal, and establishment left circles. Regardless of personal or familial ties, it is impossible to "support" direct agents and executors of a racist-imperialist war crime....(full communiqué)

Liberals and Bush’s Performatives
by Rosa Faiz

It seems that for most American liberals, much like for my colleague at the copy machine, Powell is the “only voice of moderation” in Bush’s cabinet; without him all wheels will come off and all hell will break loose; Powell held the last line of sanity; now that he’s gone, things are really gonna get f*#ked up; and so, sane people must get together and pray that he sticks around and not disappear completely, since God knows what else these guys have coming down the pipes! As ridiculous as it may appear, this is actually a perfect full-proof mindset for somebody who is ultimately comfortable with the way things are. Only a person from a luxurious position can be so relaxed, politically speaking, as to muster the insight necessary to discern the differences between two or three leaves on a tree in the jungle that’s engulfing us, and forever avoid seeing the forest. For to see and to acknowledge the forest is to have to do something, and that is painfully clear to the liberal mind; that forever lazy and guilt-ridden mind whose every move is filled with indecisiveness, obfuscation and contradictions, and brimming with a desire for stasis....(full article)

Valentines Day Conversion
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee believes "Covenant Marriage"
is the solution to his state's high divorce rate

by Bill Berkowitz

If you aren't familiar with "Covenant Marriage," you should be by Valentines Day. In an event resembling the mass marriage ceremonies presided over by the Unification Church's Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and his wife will convert their thirty-year marriage to covenant marriage on February 14 -- Valentines Day -- and they hope to be joined for a mass covenant marriage ceremony by 1,000 other Arkansas couples at the Alltel Arena in North Little Rock. In mid-November, Governor Huckabee, accompanied by Dennis Rainey of Little Rock, Arkansas-based FamilyLife, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ, spent two days barnstorming about the state seeking converts. The governor said that while he thought the cost of the soiree would be covered by donations, he pointed out that he didn't mind using taxpayer funds to promote the project: "We believe it's an important enough event to use this time and resources for it because, quite frankly, we're spending an enormous amount of money dealing with the consequences of marriages that don't work out."....(full article)

Why Many Jews Support Divestment from Israel's Occupation
by Shamai Leibovitz

As an Israeli citizen and former tank gunner in the Israeli army, I feel the need to explain why I, along with many other Jews, support divestment from Israel....(full article)

License to Kill
by Gila Svirsky

This week we mark International Day of Eliminating Violence Against Women, and I’d like to say a word about the culture of violence that is growing around us, in Israel, in the United States, and everywhere that people and nations that are big and powerful think they can solve problems by raising a knife or gun....(full article)

The Antigay Mandate: Fault Lines in the Republican Party

To the Viktor Go the Spoils
by Mark Drolette

I was so heartened to read this quote about the presidential election from Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), as reported by Associated Press writer Natasha Lisova: “It is now apparent that a concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities.” Ha -- at last!  Plainly spoken words from a U.S. Senator -- a Republican, no less -- about the highly suspicious goings-on concerning the election. And upon what evidence does Lugar base his charge?  Well, for starters, how about the exit polls that showed the challenger heading the incumbent?  And, according to Lisova, election overseers “said there were extensive indications of vote fraud, including people apparently voting multiple times and voters being forced to turn over absentee ballots to state employers.” Unfortunately, Lugar wasn’t complaining about, nor was Lisova reporting on, the U.S. presidential election.  They both were alluding instead to the voting concluded this past week to determine the president of Ukraine, and the good senator made his comments while in Kiev as George Bush’s “envoy.” It seems the U.S.-favored candidate who garnered large leads in the exit polls, Viktor Yuschenko, was allegedly bested in the actual balloting by Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, a pol who both favors, and is favored by, Russia....(full article)

November 22-24

** Website of the Day: William Blum

You Are The Heartland: A Letter to Liberal America
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

Since the election my liberal inbox has been filled with screeds of hand-wringing articles dissecting the ascendancy of George W Bush. They all talk of winning back the heartland, reinvigorating true democracy, fighting the red-blue war of culture, ideology, politics and psychology. But for all the column inches steeped in despair there were very few action plans and even less insight. The reason is simple. Democrats and Republicans are feeding at the same trough. Drive through the liberal enclaves of any privileged blue state or through the conservative interior of a red state and you see the same big houses – or aspirations of big houses and the same super-sized vehicles. . . .That’s why the streets aren’t overflowing with protest. That’s why you’re not massing outside the corporate owned television stations demanding they retract their lies and rescind their self- censorship. That’s why all the columns about fraudulent electoral practices are no more than hot air. Because actually no one wants the system to end, because despite the increasing numbers of poor and working poor, the vast and growing gap between the haves and have-nots, the majority of you are just too damn comfortable....(full article)

The Footprint of an Out-of-Control Behemoth Leaving
a Trail of Bodies in its Wake

by Kim Petersen

Kim Petersen on the video-taped murder of an unarmed and incapacitated Iraqi resistance fighter, the mainstream media's spin and lack of indignation over the killing, and a critique of filmmaker Erwin Morris' deceptive editorial in the NY Times about the incident....(full article)

More Blood, More Chaos in Iraq
by Dahr Jamail

In Ramadi today 6 civilians were killed in clashes between the resistance and military. The military sealed the city, closing all the roads while announcing over loudspeakers for residents in the city to hand over “terrorists.” A man, woman and child died when the public bus they were riding in approached a US checkpoint there when they were riddled with bullets from anxious soldiers. A military spokesman said the bus was shot because it didn’t stop when they asked it to. The city remains sealed by US forces as fierce clashes sporadically erupt across the area while the military decides how to handle yet another resistance controlled....(full article)

Face the Music: Time to Oppose Our Troops’ Actions
by Joshua Frank

At what point will the left have to face the music and admit that in order to fully oppose the Iraq war, we have to also oppose our troops’ actions?
(full article)

Terrorizing Those Who are Praying
by Dahr Jamail

Abu Talat calls me frantic. The deafening roar of hundreds of people in a confined area yelling, “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) reverberate behind his panicked voice. “I am being held at gunpoint by American soldiers inside Abu Hanifa mosque Dahr,” he yells, “Everyone is praying to God because the Americans are raiding our mosque during Friday prayer!” He makes short calls, updating me on the atrocity. After a few sentences of information he hangs up because he is trapped inside the mosque and trying to let me know what is happening. Being Friday, the day of prayer and holiday, this was supposed to be an off day for us....(full article)

Flight Attendants, the Working Day and Labor Solidarity
by Seth Sandronsky

A nationwide strike of 46,000 flight attendants has been authorized by the board of the Association of Flight Attendants. They are resisting airline employers making workers labor for longer hours at lower wages, and threatening to get rid of their pensions. A strike vote will be taken at four airlines -- UAL Corp.'s United, US Airways Group Inc., ATA Holdings Inc.'s ATA Airlines and Hawaiian Holdings Inc.'s Hawaiian Airlines -- with the votes set to be counted by the end of December....(full article)

The Anti-Empire Report:
Some Thoughts On That Election Thing

by William Blum

How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb? asked the Daily Mirror of England in large type on its front page two days after the American presidential election. What the Brits may not realize is that many of those who voted for Bush actually pride themselves on their ignorance.  They associate being any kind of intellectual with elitist East and West Coasters, the dissolute 1960s, "old Europe", and other nasties on their love-to-hate list; for many of them as well, whether consciously or unconsciously, it is a source of satisfaction that they have a president who's no smarter than they are. "Moral values", we are told, is the thing that was of primary concern to most of those who voted for Bush.  The daily horror brought by Bush to the people of Iraq does not indicate less-than-noble moral values in the minds of these Americans.  Bush is a religious man; religious people are moral people; ergo, Bush is a moral man.  Discarding a clump of embryonic tissue cells, as unconscious as a rock, is much more "morally" upsetting to these good folk than sending a cruise missile screaming into a crowded Iraqi apartment building.  Two people of the same sex who love each other and wish to get married is a greater crime in their, and god's, eyes, than the sadistic torture of Iraqi prisoners....(full article)

Empire of the Senseless: Review of Bill Blum's Freeing The World to Death
by Adam Engel

Bill Blum, one of the great American historians of the post WWII period, surely one of the boldest and most interesting, has his work cut out for him. From 1946 until now, this moment, and in the foreseeable future, the U.S. Empire's record of invasions, interventions and general malicious meddling in the governments, societies and "freedoms" of foreign peoples is virtually unparalleled in the history of meddlesome Empires. Never have so many been made so miserable so often by so few. And it's all on the public record, or enough of it to fill tomes denser by orders of magnitude than the two previous volumes, Killing Hope and Rogue State, both sizeable books Bill Blum has already written (he also penned a fascinating autobiography, West Bloc Dissident, regarding the pursuit of intellectual liberty in the totalitarian mindscape of the "free world")....But what about Bill Blum, author of the essays collected in Freeing the World to Death? Well, he's an historian, he's supposed to know stuff. Does that excuse us from not knowing? Or allow us to deliberately tell ourselves childish lies, such as we're “liberating” the people of Iraq by slaughtering 100,000 of them, not to mention the 100,000 we slaughtered in Persian Gulf I and the several hundred thousand, perhaps a million, we killed after that, literally starved, with sanctions....(full article)

The Granma Moses of Radical Writing: An Interview with William Blum
by Mickey Z.

I’m often asked to suggest books for radical reading purposes. “I wanna know what’s really going on,” it typically goes, “but where do I start?” My standard recommendation for your run-of-the-mill, garden variety, weaned-on-Fox American begins with a list of two: “A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn and Killing Hope, by William Blum. Zinn, for many, is no surprise. Blum, however, is less renowned but no less notorious...or essential. He may not have been name dropped in a Matt-and-Ben flick, but his work is required reading for anyone who craves context and documented data on the realities of U.S. foreign policy. Blum’s latest book, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (Common Courage Press), reads like a primer to his work and offers this election year nugget on the back cover: “If I were president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United states in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize—very publicly and very sincerely—to all the widows and orphans, the impoverished ad tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce to every corner of the world that America’s global military interventions have come to an end. I would then inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but-oddly enough-a foreign country. Then I would reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings, invasions, and sanctions. There would be more than enough money. One year’s military budget in the United States is equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That’s one year. That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated.”....(full article)

"Straight Scoop" or Straightjacket?
by Bill Berkowitz

The Straight Scoop News Bureau, run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, is light on facts and long on myths about marijuana....(full article)

Resistance is Warranted
by Macdonald Stainsby

Beginning on November 30, 2004 George W Bush will be in a country that has endorsed the World Criminal Court. Despite certain protestations to the contrary, Canada is legally obliged to arrest George W Bush for war crimes. Going all the way back to Nuremberg, the precedent for the WCC, the number one crime -- the crime that got the Nazis hanged -- is to launch “aggressive” war. All other crimes, such as torture at Abu Ghraib, murder of wounded prisoners, targeting of hospitals during war, denying basic medicines -- stem from the primary crime against humanity, the crime against international peace. It is of little consequence how many of these crimes can be proved to involve Bush's direction. What matters is he launched illegal aggressive war. If Canada does not arrest him, it means Canada is in breach of their international obligations as a signatory in the Hague....(full article)

Media Lens Cogitation: Transforming Suffering Into Freedom
by David Cromwell

What are you afraid of? What makes you anxious? Losing your health, your hair, your teeth, your looks? If you have children, perhaps you fear for them: for their health, the risk that they'll get wrapped up in drugs or crime, or that they'll miss out on a good education. If you're a parent, as I am, your biggest fear may well be that you'll lose your children. If you're not a parent, perhaps you desperately wish that you were. Or perhaps you'd prefer to remain childless, but fear becoming a parent accidentally. Are you in love, looking for love or falling out of love? Do you fear being alone in your old age, perhaps even dying alone? And what about feelings of inadequacy? About not having a slim, well-toned body, or not being clever enough, or not having the 'right' clothes, gadgets, education, luxurious home or several holiday destinations through the year. Fear, anxiety, loneliness, insecurity, suffering. Why should any of this matter to political activists anyway?
(full article)

Mishandling Nader
by Kevin Zeese

On Election Day the Democrats beat Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo.  But beating Nader-Camejo very likely contributed to failing to beat Bush-Cheney. When Ralph Nader met with John Kerry the mishandling of Nader began.  At the meeting Ralph Nader offered Kerry a strategy for how the two campaigns could work together to beat Bush-Cheney and advance populist-progressive issues. Kerry refused and made a not-so-veiled threat against our campaign. It was evident at the meeting that Senator Kerry saw the possibility of winning and rather than making him confident it was making him cautious.  This insecure approach made fear of making a mistake more important that seizing political opportunity....(full article)

Open Letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe: Resign
by Ralph Nader

Dear Mr. McAuliffe: I am writing to request your immediate resignation as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee....(full letter)

Fish Restoration Activists Forge Ahead After the Election
by Dan Bacher

Since the reelection of President George W. Bush in one of the most widely contested elections in U.S. history, fishery and river restoration activists have been regrouping and deciding how best to move forward. The Bush administration distinguished itself for the damage its policies caused to salmon, steelhead and other fisheries during the past four years. Anglers and conservationists can expect to see similar challenges face us in the next four years....(full article)

November 18-21

Website of the Day: Henry A. Giroux (see interview below)

Don’t Let Bush Rob Social Security
by Joel Wendland

Social Security isn’t broken, but Washington is full of reformers looking to fix it. Many, especially those who favor privatization, claim that the retirement of baby boomers and budget problems will cause the Social Security Trust Fund to run out of money within anywhere from the next decade to the next 40 years. Ideologically driven claims rather than facts, however, lie at the heart of the pro-privatization arguments....(full article)

Rebel Without a Pause: An Interview with Henry Giroux
by Sina Rahmani

Henry A. Giroux, a leading figure in the fields of critical pedagogy and cultural studies, recently came to McMaster University in Canada from Penn State University, where he taught for more than a decade.  He is the author of more than 30 books and 250 journal articles.  Sina Rahmani talked with Giroux about neoliberalism, the war on terror, the role and obligations of academics, literacy and education, culture, and dissent....(full interview)

Crying Reform, Not Wolf: The Real Conspiracy to Rig Our Elections
by David Moon and Rob Richie

Make no mistake about it, this year’s elections were rigged against fair elections -- we saw it unfolding before our very eyes. Before any ballots were cast or counted, thousands upon thousands of voters were disenfranchised throughout our nation. But the true culprits were not shadowy political operatives stuffing ballot boxes or rigging voting machines. Instead our archaic electoral rules and structures themselves disenfranchised eligible voters, albeit too often with the aid of unscrupulous partisans. These partisan operatives, though, are merely faceless constants in our flawed electoral machinery. The true culprit in the 2004 elections was our electoral system itself....(full article)

The Streets of Baghdad
by Dahr Jamail

We had our daily car bomb today when a suicide bomber drove his car into a US patrol as it passed near the Yarmouk police station. Several Iraqis were killed, with no report yet on US casualties. I felt the rumble even though I was on a street far away from the blast-at least 5 miles distant. Walking and driving on the streets Baghdad I find myself in a sea of chaos. Traffic is mayhem for many reasons. The current fuel crisis being the lead cause. Lines at petrol stations stretch for miles at some of the stations. A common scene at these lines is that of people pushing their cars because they are already out of gas or to save what precious little may be left in their tank....
(full article)

Killing on Tape and the Broader War Criminality
by Paul Street

Why do they hate us?  Because “we” are, among other things, war criminals.  If you are Arab and/or Muslim today, chances you have been watching, hearing about, discussing, and feeling deep rage over some terrible film footage.  It’s been the story of the day on Al-Jazeera, played and discussed and denounced over and over again. The white imperial Marines walk into a mosque in ravaged Fallujah, where the bodies of dead and injured resistance fighters lay prone on the floor.  We hear one Marine speak to another, talking about one of the wounded: “He’s fucking faking that he’s dead.”  Response: “yeah, he’s breathing.”  The American release video goes black but we are permitted to hear a rifle shot.  “He’s dead now.”....
(full article)

Speaking of War Crimes
by Steven A. Hass

Kevin Sites is a freelance journalist on assignment with NBC News in Iraq, and he is currently acting as the imbedded journalist covering the fighting in Fallujah. His video report, which was released this week and shows a U.S. Marine killing a wounded and unarmed Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque, has started a global wildfire. Not surprisingly, those who are sympathetic to George W. Bush's war in Iraq have chosen to sidestep the issue at hand, and instead are screaming for Sites' head on a sacrificial platter. Unfortunately, deflecting the attention onto Sites does not erase what his camera recorded: a war crime, by any interpretation of the established laws of war. Sites did what the mainstream American media won't do, and simply recorded the uncensored story at hand (as competent journalists do). Judging by their reaction, Bush sympathizers don't appreciate "no spin" that has no spin....(full article)

Media Repression in “Liberated” Land
by Dahr Jamail

Journalists are increasingly being detained and threatened by the U.S.-installed interim government in Iraq. Media have been stopped particularly from covering recent horrific events in Fallujah....(full article)

A Voluntary Tic in Media Coverage of Iraq
by Norman Solomon

When misleading buzzwords become part of the media landscape, they slant news coverage and skew public perceptions. That’s the story with the phrase “Iraqi forces” -- now in routine use by US media outlets, including the country’s most influential newspapers. The New York Times and the Washington Post have been leading the way in news stories that apply the indigenous “Iraqi forces” label to Iraqi fighters who are pro-US-occupation ... but not to Iraqi fighters who are anti-US-occupation. Some recent examples:....(full article)

Mourning Margaret Hassan: Who and What Killed Her?
by Christian Hårleman and Jan Oberg

Margaret Hassan has been murdered. That is the most probable conclusion from a video given to Al Jazeera yesterday. For one who met her and got to know her, even if just a little, it is hard to write and read that sentence. But Margaret Hassan -- Umm Margaret -- in Baghdad has been murdered. Who killed her? (full article)

Welcome to the One-Party State
by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber

One of the biggest mistakes made by the Democratic Party during the recent election is that, once again, it “misunderestimated” George W. Bush. Rather than focusing on the big picture -- the growing power of the conservative movement in the United States -- much of the liberal rhetoric during the campaign focused on Bush's incompetence, his character flaws and the failings of his administration. These themes found expression in books with titles such as The Lies of George W. Bush, the I Hate Bush Reader and the Bush Hater's Handbook. In Fahrenheit: 9/11, Michael Moore dwelt on Bush's rich-kid background, his frequent vacations, his Saudi connections and the frozen, deer-in-the-headlights way he continued reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren after he first heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. The implicit message was that Bush was a uniquely flawed individual and that literally “anybody but Bush” would be an improvement. The flaw in this argument is that it really isn't true. The problem with George W. Bush is that he isn't unique. He sits atop a political movement that has been building for 30 years. In 2002, the Republican Party won majority control of every branch of the federal government for the first time since 1932: both houses of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Presidency -­ not to mention most state legislatures and governor's offices. The 2004 elections didn't just give Bush four more years. It also consolidated Republican majorities in every other branch of government....(full article)

Dear Europe: Yes We are Stupid But You Must Come
to Terms With Your Own Bourgeoisie
by Paul Street

I’m growing a little weary of post-election European commentary about the dangerous stupidity of the idiotic American masses.  The reason for the commentary is of course the idiotic election (the first one actually) of the dangerous Bush, an action that was in fact based to no small extent on sheer mass stupidity. The overseas reaction is understandable and predictable.  I’ve been saying for sometime that bringing back Dubya would significantly erode the welcome distinction that the rest of the world tends to make between the American people (“we like you”) and the American government and policy (“it’s just your government’s policies we don’t like”).  Still, Kerry was hardly a champion of noble human Enlightenment and was thoroughly committed to the bloody racist imperial occupation of Iraq and had worked quite hard to distance himself from domestic peace and justice forces.  Whatever mild efforts he would have made towards sanity and decency in foreign and domestic policy -- the left tactical voting argument on his behalf was always more about what he wouldn’t do (privatize Social Security, drill in Alaska, attack Syria and Iran and wherever) than what he would do -- would have been qualified by right wing domination in Congress, judiciary, the state legislatures, and the powerful daily media “noise machine.” Not to mention his basic allegiance to corporate Neoliberal capitalism. So, we’re all dangerous morons because we brought back Bush.  But we would have been, what, benevolent hopeful geniuses if we’d gone 2 percentage points differently and maybe tipped the “Winner-Take-All” Electoral College to John “I am not a Redistribution Democrat” and “I Participated in the Crucifixion of Southeast Asia” and “I Have a Plan to More Effectively Subordinate Iraq” Kerry? (full article)

France’s Fallujah: The Battle of Cote D’Ivoire
by Matt Reichel

In a marked display of ignorance, the mainstream American press and analysts from both sides of the political spectrum have effectively painted a rosy picture of France this election season: making the country out to be pacifistically opposed to the U.S. war in Iraq. Undoubtedly, the French citizenry is overwhelmingly opposed to what Bush has done in Iraq, and simultaneously supported his defeat this election season. But have no illusions about the French government: from Napoleon to Chirac, this is a land of empire. Likewise, where there is empire, there is violence by definition. On the 50th anniversary of the infamous massacre of Algiers, the French have embroiled themselves in a re-birth of colonial war in the Ivory Coast (Cote D’Ivoire). This is the same narrative that has been re-told many times through imperial history: a native population being resentful of foreign occupation. Like the U.S. in Falluja, the French government is proving slow to learn that subjects of colonialism never desire their subjugation....(full article)

Bush and the Christian Right on the Rampage
by Sharon Smith

In a November 6 speech, Democratic Party powerbroker Bill Clinton blamed John Kerry’s defeat on liberal Democrats “for not engaging the Christian evangelical community in a serious discussion of what it would take to promote a real culture of life.” While Democrats debate how much further to distance the party from a pro-choice position, the Christian right has gone on an anti-abortion offensive. Right-wing crackpot Jerry Falwell launched the Faith and Values Coalition last week, as a “21st century version of the Moral Majority.”....(full article)

Smedley Butler, Meet John Perkins
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

Remember Smedley Butler? He was perhaps the most decorated Major General in Marine Corps history. In the early part of this century, he fought and killed for the United States around the world. Butler was awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor. Then, when he returned to the United States he wrote a book titled War is a Racket which opens with the memorable lines: "War is a racket. It always has been." "I was a high class muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers," Butler said. "In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism." In a speech in 1933, Butler said the following: "I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested." Smedley Butler, meet John Perkins....(full article)

Scapegoated by the Democrats
by Robert Vanderbeck

Many gays and lesbians woke up on the morning of November 3 feeling like they’d been stabbed in the gut. As pundits of all stripes rushed to submit their analysis of the latest Democratic Party crash and burn, the media frenzy began to resemble a morbid competition to see who could pour more salt on the wounds of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people. Without Ralph Nader to scapegoat for this election cycle’s thumping at the polls, it became clear that pushy gays and lesbians--who had the audacity to seek equal marriage rights--would be the new Naderites, publicly reviled by Democrats for their candidate’s loss....(full article)

The Surreality Show: Stranger than Fiction
by Lucinda Marshall

I don't pretend to understand the appeal of reality shows, but it's beginning to feel as if we are uncomfortably near the exciting season finale of the surreal world in which we actually live, and it's not at all clear if the series is going to survive for another season. The plot leading up to the cliffhanger finale has been an ingenious web of surprises, mysteries and deceit cleverly tangled up so that there are so many twists and turns that the viewer is constantly tricked into misjudging what is happening and who is doing it. For instance, in a recent story line there is an emergency at the Polar Ice Caps which it seems are melting much faster than previously thought. What will happen to the polar bears? Will temperatures and seas rise? (full article)

Ohio Hearings Show Massive GOP Vote Manipulation,
But Where the Hell are the Democrats & John Kerry?
by Harvey Wasserman

Hour after hour the testimonies are the same: angry Ohioans telling of vicious Republican manipulation and de facto intimidation that disenfranchised tens of thousands and probably cost the Democrats the election. At an African-American church on Saturday and then at the Franklin County Courthouse Monday night, more than 700 people came to testify and witness to tales of the atrocity that was the November 2 election. Organized by local ad hoc groups, the hearings had a court reporter and a team of lawyers along with other appointed witnesses. At we will be making the testimonies available as they're transcribed and organized, and we will present a fuller accounting of the hearings, along with a book that includes the transcripts. But one thing was instantly and abundantly clear: the Republican Party turned Ohio 2004 into an updated version of the Jim Crow South....(full article)

November 16-17

800 Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah
by Dahr Jamail

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of U.S. military reprisal, a high-ranking official with the Red Cross in Baghdad told IPS that “at least 800 civilians” have been killed in Fallujah so far. His estimate is based on reports from Red Crescent aid workers stationed around the embattled city, from residents within the city and from refugees, he said.....(full article)

Hung Over in the End Times
If liberal society is to survive the rise of the Godwacks, we need to start by calling them what they are
by Joe Bageant

As the elections proved for once and for all, Christian fanatics are plenty thick in the good ole U S of A these days and can no longer be written off as Dogpatch religionists. Historically, they have always been around and in about the same numbers too, just less visible. But currently they are hopped up about god giving them their own president and even their own political party. Of course in a country limited to two parties -- the Republican Party of Heavy Imperialism and Democratic Imperialism Lite -- this spells trouble for those of us who do not handle snakes or wash other people’s feet during church services. It is one thing for them to have it in for their enemies, and quite another to have their own president, cabinet, Supreme Court, and newly established Department of Fatherland Surveillance backing them up. Not since the days of Andrew Jackson’s populist hog and hominy presidency have these people seen one of their own farting at the Oval Room desk. And as usual, the fundies have blood in their eye, this time for liberal humanism, free thought, Trojan rubber products and the number 666....(full article)

We Don’t Do War Without War Crimes
by Ahmed Amr

Every major American conflict leaves distinct impressions. Many will remember this war as an epic battle that culminated with the toppling of Saddam’s statue. Others will never forget the chamber of horrors at Abu Ghraib or the thousands of amputated and disfigured American soldiers or the ones who simply didn’t make it home. Iraqis will spend decades mourning the tens of thousands of family members who have perished during the Anglo-American invasion -- or caring for the wounded and crippled survivors. The war will leave especially bitter memories for the people of Fallujah. For those who still give a damn about illicit war crimes, one scene in particular should never be forgotten or forgiven -- the sight of American soldiers sending fleeing Iraqi civilians back into Fallujah. As their city was being reduced to rubble by American air power, about 300 unarmed refugees were detained as they fled the carnage. After allowing the women and children through their lines, the Marines tested all adult males to determine if they had recently handled weapons or explosives. Even after testing negative, all the men were forced to return to the combat zone....(full article)

The Other Face of US “Success” in Fallujah
by Dahr Jamail

Everyone saw it coming, only the U.S. forces did not: humanitarian disaster in Fallujah, and stronger resistance against U.S. and allied occupying forces all around Iraq. The real face of the “success” of the U.S. military assault in Fallujah is now beginning to present itself. Thousands of families remain trapped inside Fallujah with no food, clean water or medical assistance. No one can say how many of the 1,200 “rebels” U.S. forces claim to have killed inside Fallujah are civilians, or whether the death toll is higher. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which is supported by the Red Cross and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has called the situation in Fallujah a “big disaster.” The Iraqi Red Crescent has several teams of relief workers and doctors, and truckloads of food waiting for the authorization from the U.S.-backed interim government and the U.S. military, but they have not been allowed in....(full article)

Haunted Empire
by Sheila Samples

“The people have spoken, Bush gloated on November 4 to an ecstatic White House press corps. “The voters of America set the direction of our nation for the next four years...They've given me political capital -- and I'm gonna spend it. Four days later, after shifting the blame for what he was about to do onto the people -- after announcing he had the "will of the people at his back," Bush celebrated by grabbing a giant firecracker, ramming it into the mouth of Fallujah, and firing it up. The explosion was heard around the world. Now, standing there amidst the flames, impervious to the shrieks of the fallen, reveling in his new, ill-gotten four-year "erection," Bush arrogantly invokes the name of God as he pushes the terrified people of Iraq out of their homes, their cities -- pushes them out of their lives and off the face of the Earth. In his pathologically unbalanced mind-set, Bush believes he is above the law of cause and effect -- he can do no wrong -- his gut feelings supersede all logic and reason and humanity. Bush's genocidal jihad against Islam goes beyond arrogance and ignorance. It is evil, dirty, deceptive and slithery. It is satanic warfare. Now that Bush has dumped the blame on the people, it will be interesting to see if God and History -- whom Bush has managed to tangle into one forbidding, powerful entity -- will escape being held to account....(full article)

Dogs Eating Bodies in the Streets of Fallujah
by Dahr Jamail

The horrendous humanitarian disaster of Fallujah drags on as the US military continues to refuse the entry of an Iraqi Red Crescent (IRC) convoy of relief supplies. The Red Crescent has appealed to the UN to intervene, but no such luck, nor does the military relent....(full article)

A Distant Mirror of Holy War
by Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon on media coverage of the US assault on Fallujah: The conflict in Iraq has become a holy war. In both directions....(full article)

Document Reveals Columbus, Ohio Voters Waited Hours as
Election Officials Held Back Machines
by Bob Fitrakis

One telling piece of evidence was entered into the record at the Saturday, November 13 public hearing on election irregularities and voter suppression held by nonpartisan voter rights organizations. Cliff Arnebeck, a Common Cause attorney, introduced into the record the Franklin County Board of Elections spreadsheet detailing the allocation of e-voting computer machines for the 2004 election. The Board of Elections’ own document records that, while voters waited in lines ranging from 2-7 hours at polling places, 68 electronic voting machines remained in storage and were never used on Election Day. The Board of Elections document details that there are 2886 “Total Machines” in Franklin County. Twenty of them are “In Vans for Breakdowns.” The County record acknowledges 2886 were available on Election Day, November 2 and that 2798 of their machines were “placed by close of polls.” The difference between the machines “available” and those “placed” is 68. The nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition provided legal advisors and observed 58 polling places in primarily African American and poor neighborhoods in Franklin County. An analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections’ allocation of machines reveals a consistent pattern of providing fewer machines to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its Democratic mayor and uniformly Democratic city council, despite increased voter registration in the city. The result was an obvious disparity in machine allocations compared to the primarily Republican white affluent suburbs....
(full article)

On the Right Hand of God—the Far Right Hand
by Walter M. Brasch

In letters to the editor, on radio talk shows, and in corner bars, the conservative religious wing of America is ecstatic over the election, praising God and Bush in the same breath. Bush is the savior who will redeem the nation from the immorality of liberals, the Hollywood Left, and other pagans. In their world of divine absolute truth, even moderate and some conservative theologians will go to Hell for the sins of preaching tolerance for those who have other views of God and mankind, something not even Bush himself ever publicly stated....(full article)

Get Chipped
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

In October the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approved the VeriChip,™ an  inert, encapsulated, microchip the size of a grain of rice, implanted by a syringe under the skin in the flesh of the upper arm. To be used for medical identification purposes the information contained in the chip is accessed through a special reader, not unlike a barcode scanner. Applied Digital Solutions, the company making the chips say it will save lives and limit injuries from errors in medical treatment. However the company has much larger plans. In a recent New York Times interview they expressed hope that such medical uses would accelerate acceptance of the chip as a security measure. It’s easy to see where they’re coming from. Or going to. Before finding the perfect medical vehicle to introduce their technology, Applied Digital developed a transdermal tracking implant called a Digital Angel. The company said the chip could be used to wirelessly monitor a person's key body functions -- such as temperature and pulse -- and transmit that data along with the accurate location of the person, to a web-enabled ground station or monitoring facility. The product was discontinued because of low consumer acceptance. But by stepping back a little, redefining their product applications or at least the public’s perception of them and gaining FDA approval, the company is now on the path to success....(full article)

US Hiring Increases, But Slow Job Growth Continues
by Seth Sandronsky

Despite the apparent resolution of the presidential race, the U.S. economy still faces many problems. One is slow job growth. This, and not abortion and gay marriage, is the social issue of the day, determining for the majority in blue and red states who does get by and who falls by the wayside....
(full article)

Post-Mortem on Post-Election Post-Mortems
by Michael Novick

Post-mortems seem to be very popular these days. Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell and several other authors have made the forensic study of corpses and bones the grim focus of best-selling crime novels. "CSI" has spawned a host of high-tech, high-magnification TV cop shows in which dissections are lovingly photographed and explicated. Now the election results have gotten the pundits working overtime carving up the remains of the Kerry campaign. But the first thing to get straight is, what died here? If we're fortunate, what died is the last illusion people had about the nature of this system and how to resist or change it. The corpses available for dissection -- the Democratic Party, the 'democratic republic,' and the labor-liberal alliance -- are rotten and stinking zombies with the flesh falling off the bone. . . . People professed shock and outrage that, after proclaiming repeatedly that every vote counts and that every vote would be counted, Kerry meekly and swiftly conceded the election before all the votes were counted. What we need to understand is that Kerry had played his role, fulfilled his function and was prepared to fold his tents and slink off. Kerry was there to restrict the political debate, to establish the parameters of allowable dissent around a position that upheld all the assumptions Bush had made, and to serve as a safety valve acceptable to the ruling elite if by some chance the war, repression, and job losses had so soured the electorate on Bush that a changing of the guard proved necessary....(full article)

Running Away on Election Day
by Gregory Stephens

On election day the driver bringing my children from Half Way Tree to Mona asked me if I’d voted. “I’m for Bush,” he volunteered. “I think we need a strong leader.” This man drove a purple SUV, and had confessed that, between jobs, he stayed home watching TV. So he probably knew more or less what the Bush administration and Fox News wanted him to know. But that imperial “we” put me to thinking about just whose interests the Bush administration serves. Not all of the people driving the shiny new SUVs that have clogged Kingston traffic would identify themselves as Bush supporters. But Bush and the “regime of oil” are certainly protecting their right to imitate the American dream. In truth I’ve been looking for the exit since Reagan was elected in 1980. In the past few years, what John Le Carre has called the “madness” of American media and politics has reached such a shrill pitch that I’ve tuned out almost completely, turning instead to Spanish-language media and internet sources. But I was born in Oklahoma and reared mostly in Texas. It is impossible for me to run away from the evidence of just how closely the mood of many Americans has come to match the dictionary definition of fascism. “A totalitarian governmental system led by a dictator and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism, militarism, and often racism.”....(full article)

Nader's Election Legacy (First of two parts)
by Greg Bates

In 2000, with incidental help from Nader voters, the Democrats lost an election they should have won. This year, the party proved they could do it all by themselves. Or, if they won as some are suggesting, they caved again. While the Republicans gave their constituents hope and principle (the wrong principles but clear nonetheless) "Anybody But Bush" didn't work because it was the politics of fear coupled with the unappetizing option of the "least worst," as Ralph Nader puts it. The Democrats' strategy can best be summed up by a saying of Catherine Aird's, "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." Meanwhile, there is much good that can be learned from Nader's example, regardless of whether you liked his strategy, regardless of whether he runs again. One lesson can be applied to many projects in life, not just politics....(full article)

The Death of Pragmatism and the Rise of Principle: The (Potential)
Silver Lining in the Implosion of the Democrats (Second of two parts)
by Greg Bates

Are we doomed to suffer at the hands of two political parties with an ever-decreasing difference between them? Three aspects of this question intrigue me. One key conundrum is the issue of pragmatism versus principle. Do we go for what we think will be acceptable to others, or should bolder paths be taken? Second, where we stand on that choice depends on our understanding of how gradual or rapid change can be in American politics. To address this, I review some insights about how systems behave over time. But there are limits: making fixed predictions based on the nature of systems is notorious for leading people down a path of false certainty. Lastly, I argue that our ultimate choices about the bold or pragmatic paths cannot be made solely on the basis of predictions of success; we must act in the face of uncertainty....(full article)

Democrats Commit Suicide:
Harry Reid, Wrong Choice for Senate Minority Leader
by Joshua Frank

The Democrats, obviously still mourning John Kerry’s embarrassing loss to George W. Bush just two weeks prior, have drawn up a new game-plan in hopes that it will help them challenge their purported rivals in elections to come. Well, it isn’t really a new plan, just a fresh spin on an old failing strategy. The Democrats still believe, even after Kerry’s willful loss, that the only way to beat the neocons is to outflank them to the right. Take on their backward “values” and surpass their fanaticism. The saga began to unfold following Democratic Senate minority leader Tom Daschle’s horrific defeat to Republican John Thume in the South Dakotan Senate race on November 2. After Daschle’s loss, Democratic National Committee chair, Terry McAuliffe, was on the phone rallying support behind one of his favorite Senators -- Nevada’s own, Harry Reid....(full article)

God Bless America
by John Chuckman

America's traditionalists in religion are disturbed by the social effects of economic growth, although they do not understand the connection with economics and hold to superstitious notions of people giving themselves over to evil. Short of a new Dark Ages taking hold in America (an idea novelist Margaret Atwood toyed with in The Handmaid's Tale), these social changes are not reversible, but that fact has little impact on the intense, driving needs of those who base their lives on narrow interpretations of ancient texts they can't even read. There is considerable evidence that fundamentalists are people who suffer from greater-than-average levels of defects like anxiety and paranoia. You only have to consider all the screaming, spewing revivalist sermons about damnation and the twisted nightmares of the Book of Revelations and parts of the Old Testament to understand the role of fear in fundamentalism. Of course, superstition itself is just fear's way of explaining the unknown. Not all Americans are fundamentalists, not even a majority, but there are enough of them (something like 40% claim to be "re-born") to form a powerful swing group in American politics. While America was founded under the leadership of non-Christian Deists and Skeptics (the true source for the best part of America's written, although often-abused, freedoms), fundamentalism has long provided a howling background chorus....(full article)

Progressive Disjuncture
by Kim Petersen

Norman Solomon is a valuable voice within the progressive sphere. His thoughtful comments on the corporate media and global justice issues are enlightening and compelling.  However, Solomon’s recent offering features a take on progressivism that differs from how some other progressives view matters. Solomon laments the “horrific racket” of “right-wing trumpets” but his depiction of the right-wing cacophony is quite exclusive. Solomon furcates the enemy into different camps. He writes that the Democratic Party “is not our main enemy.” [italics added] This “main enemy is the right-wing power of the Republican Party.” It is not the Republican Party that is singled out but the “right-wing power” of the GOP. Presumably the Democratic Party is bereft of “right wing power.” Solomon warns, “[A]nachronistic fury at the Democratic Party is not going to get us very far.” [italics added] Why is this fury anachronistic? It seems this fury is very palpable now. Otherwise why did the Democrats come out on the wrong side of a rigged election? The Democrats basically told progressive voters to take a flying leap off a high bridge. While unreasoning anger is wasteful, anger itself might be cathartic. Why shouldn’t progressives be furious at the Democrats as well? (full article)

Sharon's Gaza Pullout: Not Gonna Happen!
by Tanya Reinhart

For those who oppose Israeli occupation, it is clear, then, that Sharon's disengagement is just a plan for maintaining the occupation with more international legitimacy. However, there is one presupposition shared in all discussions of this plan -- that in the process, Sharon also intends to dismantle the settlements of the Gaza strip, and return the land they are built on to the Palestinians. I should say that had I believed this might happen, I would have supported the plan. The Gaza settlements, together with their land reserves, security zones, Israeli-only roads, and the military array protecting them, occupy almost a third of the strip's land, which is one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Had this land been returned to its owners, it would be a step forward. We should never forget that the Palestinian struggle is not only for their liberation, but for regaining their lands in the occupied territories -- lands that Israel has been appropriating since 67. As long as the Palestinians manage to hold on to their land, under even the worst occupation, they will eventually also gain their liberation. Without land, what is at stake is not just their liberation, but their survival. But what basis is there to believe that Sharon indeed plans to dismantle settlements at some point? (full article)

Play It Again Bush And Blair
by Sam Bahour and Michael Dahan

President Yasir Arafat's coffin had barely touched the ground of his temporary tomb in Ramallah when United States President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair jointly made yet another statement on Middle East Peace. Setting aside the fact that the timing of the statement was disrespectful and showed ignorance of the Islamic custom of observing three days of mourning to respect the dead, Bush and Blair, seemingly jovial over Arafat's passing, offered yet another non-starter for moving the region from its never-ending peace process to a "lasting peace." It is said that one can fool some of the people, some of the time, but not all the people, all of the time. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair can't possibly believe Palestinians will fall for the same tricks that have been thrown at them for years now. The substance of the most recent Bush-Blair statement on November 12 is nothing more that an unmasked and feeble attempt to fool all of the Palestinians, yet again....(full article)

Arresting Vanunu While Burying Arafat
by Mary La Rosa

Mary La Rosa on the case of Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, who was recently re-arrested by Israeli security forces....(full article)

Welcome to the Resurrection
by Bill Berkowitz

Will the Rev. Jerry Falwell's new organization, "The Faith and Values Coalition," become a 21st Century Moral Majority? (full article)

The Enlightenment of Resistance
by Manuel Valenzuela

Progress is fighting our urges, our fears, our insecurities and our human nature.  Evolution is doing away with our animalistic individuality and selfishness, our mammalian instinct for competition, our lust for hierarchy and territory, our pursuit of power and sexual conquest, our primitive thoughts and beliefs, and of the unyielding control over our lives of both the tribe and archaic theology, both of which prey on our animal instincts for power and survival.  In order to be human the animal inside us must be controlled, dominated and understood.  Only by understanding ourselves and the parameters of our existence can a better humanity arise.  Only through deep introspections of history past and humanity present can resistance commence and renaissance be born.  We must mold who and what we are into a higher being, forming from the clays of Earth a better, more evolved human species, learning from our mistakes, advancing through our triumphs, understanding ourselves and those unknown, joining our strengths and eliminating our weaknesses, in the end working in concert towards the betterment of six billion, not simply 300 million....(full article)

One Question, One Rule
by Peter Kurth

So, that’s that for the Republic,” if I may quote Dorothy Thompson one more time, before someone in Washington decides that quoting Dorothy Thompson or anyone like her, historical or contemporary, is subversive, “insurgent,” a crime in the war against terror. This will surely happen, sooner or later. No time to lose! Here’s H. L. Mencken, in a remark that found wide circulation last week on the Internet: “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”....(full article)

November 10-13

I Am So Sorry, Yasser
by Ahmed Amr

In death, as in life, Yasser Arafat lit the flames of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and dignity. If he did nothing else – he made certain that the Palestinian struggle for liberty and justice would be taken seriously by the rest of the world. When Golda Meir claimed that “there were no Palestinians” – he proved her wrong. And when Ariel Sharon labeled him ‘irrelevant’ – he demonstrated to the whole world that the Palestinian cause was as central as ever to international peace and security. Arafat’s personal physical courage – even in his old age – was an inspiration to his people. He was free to pack his bags and head for Paris anytime he wanted to. But he chose to endure the last three years of his life as a virtual prisoner of Sharon. It was easy for armchair generals and Arab intellectuals to second-guess Arafat from the comfortable distance of European and Middle Eastern capitals. But Yasser wasn’t running a public relations campaign – he was charting the destiny of his people. I, for one, am guilty of not showing proper respect for the fact that Arafat had earned something no other Palestinian or Arab leader possessed – genuine grass roots popularity among his people....(full article)

Gonzales’ Appointment is a Danger to Human Rights
by Joel Wendland

As Bush prepares to send his nomination of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General to the Senate for its “advice and consent,” let’s recall who Mr. Gonzales is and what his enduring imprint on history may be. Gonzales authored the infamous August 2002 torture memo for the Bush administration that provided hair-brained arguments for discarding the Geneva Conventions. This appointment affirms Bush’s rejection of international oversight of human rights and signals a dramatic right wing shift....(full article)

How to Remember Arafat
by Ran HaCohen

Two, three, or four young Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces every day now (we call it "restraint"), but none of them could win even a fraction of the attention given to Yasser Arafat, the dying old leader. The endless stream of words occasioned by Arafat's long dying and death is a good opportunity to ask who and what Arafat is for the Israelis, and how he is to be remembered....(full article)

On the Death of Yasser Arafat
by Ahmed Bouzid

The death of President Yasser Arafat marks the end of an era and the closing of a chapter. President Arafat was more than the chief executive of the Palestinian government or the head of a nascent Palestinian state. He was the father of a long-suffering nation and the embodiment of the longest living struggle against dehumanizing occupation. But as much as the passing of President Arafat marks a momentous turning point, it is important to remember that the occupation of Palestinian land continues, as does the caging of the Palestinian people....(full article)

The Irony of Arafat
by Sylvia Shihadeh and Robert Jensen

Yasser Arafat died as the leader of a country that does not yet exist, and therein lies the tragic nature of the former leader and the ongoing tragedy of the people of Palestine. Arafat's passion and commitment helped forge a Palestinian independence movement, putting the dispossession of his people on the political map in a way the world couldn't ignore. Pundits are talking of him as merely a "symbol," a strategy not only to ignore his real contributions but also to denigrate the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for justice....(full article)

Palestine Greater Than Arafat
by Sam Bahour

The Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence is larger than the late President Yasir Arafat. The decades-long symbolism that Arafat embodied should not be underestimated. It is this symbolism that Palestinians are mourning. The substance of Arafat’s symbolism has to do with how it has represented Palestinian nationalism and the five decade struggle for justice for a people that were dispossessed in 1948, militarily occupied in 1967, attacked while in exile in 1970 in Jordan and 1982 in Lebanon, and most recently, battered in their own homes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. A wide spectrum of opinions about Arafat, the man and the leader, will surely outlive the international flurry of media interest in his death. However, the world must be aware that the Palestinian struggle is beyond any single individual....(full article)

In Fallujah, US Declares War on Hospitals, Ambulances
by Brian Dominick

In a series of actions over the weekend, the United States military and Iraqi government destroyed a civilian hospital in a massive air raid, captured the main hospital and prohibited the use of ambulances in the besieged city of Fallujah. Saturday morning, witnesses in Fallujah reported that an overnight air strike by US fighter crews had completely razed a trauma clinic, which was recently constructed using Saudi donations. Also destroyed were two adjacent facilities used by health care providers. A Reuters photograph of the devastation shows only a sign that reads "Nazzal Emergency Hospital" still standing. There have been mixed reports of injuries and deaths resulting from the bombing....(full article)

(Dispatches from Iraq)
The Fire is Spreading
by Dahr Jamail

Iraqi Secretary of Defense, Hassim al-Sha’alan, today announced to al-Arabia television that the resistance is organized and they have already prepared to fight in other places. So the fighting in Falluja will not end when the Americans take the city. The fighting will begin in other places like Baghdad, Baquba, Latifiya, Ramadi, Samarra, Khaldiya, Kirkuk and elsewhere. Thus, the word on the street that the resistance was mostly out of Falluja prior to this battle is verified by the Iraqi Minister of Defense himself. The fire had begun to spread long before the current onslaught of Falluja....(full article)

To All Concerned Americans: Will it be R/Evolution or Civil War?
by Chuck Richardson

What has America become under the leadership of “Christian conservatives” [sic] and the Republican Party? Is it still the land of the free and the home of the brave? Does it still welcome the Earth’s oppressed, her tired, huddled masses to its teeming shores, if not by law at least in spirit? Do the Democrats and Republicans still represent our nation’s two largest constituencies --workers and management? Do the Democrats, in the words of Gore Vidal, still bribe the masses, or have they become like Republicans, ruling through coercion? Are we still a nation, as we were before 1980, in which “religious” people and clergy are worthy of being held in high esteem? Or have we become a nation that the views of such people are dangerous because of their suspicious political activism and morally bankrupt worldviews? One need only compare Pat Robertson to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to consider the contrast. We know what the Rev. King’s dream was by heart, but what about Dr. Robertson’s? What’s his dream? (full article)

The End of the Arafat Era
by Am Johal

As Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat lies on his deathbed in a Paris hospital, in a coma, lurched in that place between life and death, there is much cause for sober reflection in the Israeli and Palestinian camps. He was controversial in life, just as he will be in death when they try to find a proper burial place for him.  Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has already said that Arafat would not be buried in Jerusalem so as not bolster Palestinian claims to the city or the Temple Mount....(full article)

Team Bush's “November Surprise”: Karl Rove's army of evangelical Christian “values voters” put President Bush over the top
by Bill Berkowitz

Forty years after Senator Barry Goldwater crashed and burned as the Republican Party's conservative presidential candidate, a consolidated conservative movement spearheaded by evangelical Christians carried George W. Bush to victory. The re-election of the president wasn't so much determined by Soccer Moms, NASCAR Dads, or military voters as it was by Karl Rove's army of “Values Voters” -- an unwaveringly loyal bloc of Republican Party voters that marched to the polls and provided President Bush the votes necessary in a number of key states, including the pivotal battleground state of Ohio. . . . With the possible appointment of two, perhaps three, Supreme Court Justices -- including a Chief Justice -- and dozens of judges in lower courts, more tax cuts for the wealthy, the further evisceration of social programs, the privatization of social security, the lowering the wall of the separation of church and state, and more foreign adventures, conservative Christians have given the president the opportunity to forge a right wing legacy that could last well into this century. Make no mistake about it: Team Bush is dead set on nothing less than reshaping America....(full article)

The United States: “As Menacing to Itself and the World As Ever”
by Paul Street

Rahul Mahajan said the following in his blog on the day after the election: “This is a time to wallow in the defeat. Let's not shrug it off too quickly. Let's acknowledge what it means in a world that is in the process of being torn apart by a new crusade. When we move on to try to find hope, let's start with a rational core, not one built out of wishful thinking, fantasies about how the world works, and self-congratulation.” (Mahajan's "Empire Notes," at Somewhere in the same posting Mahajan said 11/2 was a victory primarily for “stupidity”, pointing out the pivotal role of the supposed great threat posed by gay marriage in determining a Buschon outcome....(full article)

The ABB Logic of Retreat Has Been Discredited: Now We Must Advance
by M. Junaid Alam

This past election found the American left split into two antagonistic groups: a majority camp which insisted Bush represented so unique and unprecedented a threat that all other considerations should be subordinated to ensuring a Democratic victory, and a minority camp which deemed the broader two-party dynamic itself to be the real threat and urged a clean break from the Democrats in favor of more leftist alternatives. History, usually slow and often ambiguous in its judgment, spoke with rare and resounding authority on this question on November 4th. The convincing defeat handed to the Democrats and their cowed supporters by Bush and his militant base has completely demolished and discredited the majority camp’s lesser-evil logic of acquiescing to the Right. To reorient ourselves and move our struggles forward, radicals must first take stock of this fact and soberly assess its meaning and consequences....(full article)

Transforming Four More Years
by Norman Solomon

Right-wing trumpets are making a horrific racket across a ravaged political landscape. For now, hope is barely audible. Progressives seem like fledglings without feathers, weakly tapping from inside thick shells. Four more years sound like hell. . . . Ideological fanatics have extended their control over the Executive Branch while increasing their domination of Congress. The “leaders” who lied the country into war are plunging ahead with escalating carnage in Iraq. Soon they’ll take action to make the Supreme Court more authoritarian -- threatening abortion rights, freedom of speech, basic legal protections for defendants and other civil liberties. A theocratic stench is in the air. This emergency has not been averted. It’s here....(full article)

It's the Corporate State, Stupid
by David G. Mills

The early twentieth century Italians, who invented the word fascism, also had a more descriptive term for the concept -- estato corporativo: the corporatist state. Unfortunately for Americans, we have come to equate fascism with its symptoms, not with its structure. The structure of fascism is corporatism, or the corporate state. The structure of fascism is the union, marriage, merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power. Failing to understand fascism, as the consolidation of corporate economic and governmental power in the hands of a few, is to completely misunderstand what fascism is. It is the consolidation of this power that produces the demagogues and regimes we understand as fascist ones. While we Americans have been trained to keenly identify the opposite of fascism, i.e., government intrusion into and usurpation of private enterprise, we have not been trained to identify the usurpation of government by private enterprise. Our European cousins, on the other hand, having lived with Fascism in several European countries during the last century, know it when they see it, and looking over here, they are ringing the alarm bells. We need to learn how to recognize Fascism now....(full article)

American Resistance
by Manuel Valenzuela

If you are still upset at the resounding defeat of humanity that occurred on November 2, 2004 you have every right to be.  On that day billions of us lost a most important battle through both the vote of the ignorant, unenlightened among us and the systemic fraudulent manipulation of electronic-voting machines which, it is becoming more and more apparent, helped steal victory, for the second time in four years, for George W. Bush and the Republican/corporatist party.  The consequences on America and the world of such tragedy may inevitably set us back to the dark ages and to a meeting with a most ominous destiny....(full article)

A Non-ABB Take on Electoral Fraud
by Mickey Z.

I must admit, it is somewhat amusing to watch the Kerrycrats and ABBers desperately scrambling to find a reason why their boy fell short...why the American public rejected their undeniable logic. With Ralph Nader no longer available as a handy scapegoat, the predictable cry of “fraud” is in the air. As Mort Sahl once said: “Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.” However, it’s not hard to imagine that the 2004 presidential election was ripe with fraud (a fraudulent, un-elected president and a fraudulent liberal)...and those who recognize that JFK2 would be greenlighting the assault on Falluja with as much zeal as Dubya shouldn’t completely dismiss the entire issue of stolen elections as moot....(full article)

Fear for the Future of the Republic
by Ivan Eland

A majority of the American people who voted has just given four more years to a man who failed to neutralize Osama bin Laden, the diabolical perpetrator of the most heinous foreign attack on our soil in U.S. history. Instead, President Bush diverted precious resources from that quest to settle old scores with the dictator Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with that attack. Yet the president justified the questionable invasion of a sovereign nation by falsely attempting to link the dictator with the 9/11 attack and wildly exaggerating the threat from Iraq. He naively believed that a foreign invasion and occupation force would be treated by Iraqis as liberators and that Iraq’s entire society could be easily socially engineered at gunpoint into a Western-style, free-market democracy, an alien concept in Iraqi history. If the election were held six months or a year from now, the result might have been very different. In fact, the war may become such an albatross around the Republican Party’s neck that the Democrats may be lucky that they lost the election in 2004. The continuing Iraqi quagmire could set up an overwhelming Democratic victory in 2008....(full article)

Just Say No: The Beauty of Unilateral Defiance
by Chuck Richardson

The absurdity of war ensures that troops disobey orders at immense personal peril, and often obey them at equal risk. Saying that one was “just following orders” hasn’t cut it since Nuremberg, and there’s the rub. The side that wins puts the losers on trial and decides whether or not actions the losers committed in the heat of battle, and otherwise, were legal or not. If the United States government was truly confident of winning its global war on terrorism, etc., it would not be afraid of signing on to the International Criminal Court (2), which it opposes vehemently on the grounds it would expose American military personnel and political leaders to enforceable war crime charges. This, friends, makes this war winner take all -- the loser will have to surrender unconditionally, as did Germany and Japan after World War II. The war in Iraq is considered, even by regime hawks, like Richard Perle, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, to be a violation of international law. If we lose, all of our troops may become subject to war crime charges. No order issued in an illegal war is lawful. It doesn’t matter what our legal precedents are. We lost. They will decide. Hopefully, we’ll get out of this mess as cleanly as we did Vietnam. Luckily, that’s still a hypothetical situation. There’s still time for those Americans, not only troops, who are sick and tired, even physically endangered by the Bush regime’s decisions, both foreign and domestic, to revolutionize a system that corrupts our labor by spending our tax dollars this way. Following the lead of Thomas Jefferson, we might “altar or abolish” the corporate political-economic regime because the Republicrats have destroyed many of our inalienable rights thanks to the legality of corporate personhood, and the prevalence of the libertarian spirit informing those non-human entities....(full article)

Halliburton's Nigerian Bribery -- The Admission
by Doug Ireland

The Associated Press yesterday, under the headline, "Halliburton acknowledges bribes may have been paid," reported that "Various investigations into an alleged $180 million bribery scandal in Nigeria involving a Halliburton Co. subsidiary and other companies have indicated that payments may have been made to Nigerian officials...the Houston-based oil services conglomerate said in a quarterly filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission."....(full article)

The Republic of Gilead vs. The Prosperity Church
by Christy Rodgers

I’ve been re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about what happens when a Christian fundamentalist movement takes power and establishes “The Republic of Gilead” in the old continental U.S. I’m having trouble getting into it, though. I find myself easily distracted, intermittently compelled but ultimately unconvinced by her vision of our future....(full article)

CDC To Study Post Traumatic Bush Disorder
by Douglas O'Rourke

What started Wednesday as a trickle of highly nervous patients wandering into free clinics has become by this weekend a major national public health crisis as thousands of listless, confused adults flooded emergency rooms across the country complaining of nausea, vomiting, insomnia, hopelessness, depression, and deep suicidal thoughts, muttering, "but the blogs, the blogs..." The newly discovered illness has been quickly designated 'Post Traumatic Bush Disorder' (PTBD) by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. "It's amazingly spread by even a brief exposure to news media," says Dr. Judithe Kranz, Deputy Director. "This is our first media-borne infectious outbreak, and we're working hard to contain it. So far, PTBD occurs only in Liberals with exposure to the voting process." Officials say a meaningful vaccine is probably at least four years away....(full article)

Post Election Rage: Building A Movement Beyond Voting
by Dan Bacher

In retrospect, the energy that many progressives put behind Kerry would have been much better put solidifying and expanding national movements against the Bush regime’s war against you, me, our environment and the world. We must not join in a “common effort” with the Bush regime, as Kerry asks us to do. We must instead fan the flames of rage and anger against the theocracy....(full article)

November 8-9

Fallujah and the Reality of War
by Rahul Mahajan

The assault on Fallujah has started. It is being sold as liberation of the people of Fallujah; it is being sold as a necessary step to implementing “democracy” in Iraq. These are lies. I was in Fallujah during the siege in April, and I want to paint for you a word picture of what such an assault means....(full article)

Draining Falluja
by Kamyar Arasteh

“Terrorism is like an iceberg,” said Dominique de Villepin, “with a visible tip and a submerged part.” The U.S. classifies the resistance forces in Iraq as terrorists. So, it is not surprising that it applies the iceberg analogy to the Iraqi resistance. What is most alarming, however, is the way in which the U.S. plans to get to the bottom of the iceberg....(full article)

Future Uncertain: US Workers and Their Retirements
by Seth Sandronsky

The results of Election Day are fading, but the US work force continues to face employer attacks. Consider the case of United Airlines. The carrier is seeking to defund its workers’ retirement pensions. . . . One thing is clear. U.S. electoral politics has its limitations. The legal system crafted to meet the needs of employers at the expense of workers is just one example. The impacts on American society are widespread....(full article)

None Dare Call it Voter Suppression and Fraud
by Bob Fitrakis

Evidence is mounting that the 2004 presidential election was stolen in Ohio. Emerging revelations of voting irregularities coupled with well-documented Republican efforts at voter suppression prior to the election suggests that in a fair election Kerry would have won Ohio....(full article)

Progressive Efflux?
by Kim Petersen

Given the shenanigans ongoing in the US Empire it would not be too surprising that some disgruntled Americans would seek to emigrate. There are a few articles appearing in the Canadian media envisioning an influx of Americans fleeing the increasingly fundamentalist US. Canada’s This Magazine beckoned to American progressives exasperated that an American president derided as a “moron” north of the border could squeak in for a second term. A spoof website was set up inviting Canadians to marry an American progressive to help them into Canada. A few of the assumptions are questionable. Equating progressivism with brainpower is certainly one challengeable assumption. Second, the assumption that Canadians are much more enlightened than Americans come election time is also questionable....(full article)

Political Ju-On
by Leilla Matsui

In light of recent events, namely the stunning announcement that George W. Bush was actually voted into office this time, a film like “The Grudge”, with its theme of paranormal blowback seems almost prescient.  And now horrified voters, like the Grudge's bulging eyed, white-knuckled audiences can only sit back and wait for the real terrors to reveal themselves, as Cheney, Ashcroft and Co. conjure up new ways to scare the bejesus out of them.  The approximately 55 million citizens who did not vote for Bush on November 2nd have every reason to fear the Whitehouse's malignant occupants even more than the ones inhabiting “The Grudge's” haunted Tokyo house....
(full article)

Plan Colombia Benefits US Oil Companies
by Garry Leech

Harken Energy is the latest oil company to benefit from the United States’ escalating involvement in Colombia. On November 4, the Texas-based company announced the signing of a new oil exploration and production contract in Colombia. The company is closely linked to President George W. Bush who served on its board of directors from 1986 until 1990. In addition to providing half a billion dollars a year in Plan Colombia aid during his first term, President Bush has given Colombia almost $100 million in counterterrorism aid and deployed U.S. Army Special Forces troops to protect a major oil pipeline. The escalating U.S. military intervention in Colombia, along with International Monetary Fund (IMF)-imposed economic reforms, has created favorable conditions for foreign companies such as Harken seeking to exploit Colombia’s oil reserves....(full article)

November 5-7

External Link of the Day: "Why They Won" by Thomas Frank

A Bone of Contention
by Rosemary R. Brasch

A Christian Republican speaks out against the Bush Administration and the Neocons....(full article)

Kerry's Humiliating Defeat
by Justin Felux

The Democrats have once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Losing to a candidate as terrible as George W. Bush for two elections in a row is a truly remarkable accomplishment.  In 2000, the Democrats were blessed with relative peace and prosperity, as well as incumbency.  The Republicans, on the other hand, were burdened by a candidate with nearly no experience and marginal intelligence.  Rather than examine their own obvious shortcomings, the Democrats placed all the blame for their loss on Ralph Nader.  This year, the Democrats seemed to have everything running in their favor yet again.  The economy is in the toilet, Iraq is a horrific mess, and Bush's approval rating is below 50 percent, but they somehow managed to lose even worse than last time.  With Nader a non-factor, the Democrats must place the blame with those who deserve it:  themselves....
(full article)

Homo Hate: Kerry Loses to Rove’s Anti-Gay Hysteria
by Doug Ireland

The Republicans’ moralizing anti-gay crusade played a crucial role in George W. Bush’s re-election. The Rove-Bush decision to surf on the anti-gay backlash came about in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, in the spring of 2003, to overturn the so-called sodomy laws....(full article)

Mourning in America
by Gabriel Ash

I didn’t vote for Kerry; I am not sorry he lost the elections. I don’t know what will happen next and whether it would be better or worse than if Kerry had won. Nevertheless, Bush’s victory hurts. Not because of what Bush is. There is really not much difference between what Bush is and what Kerry is. They are both scions of inherited wealth, Yale graduates and Skull ’n Bones brothers.  They have both been selected to leadership by the duopoly’s elections machine. Each of them represents a different version of what Wealth believes would advance the interests of Wealth. It hurts because of what Bush’s support represents. It is as if a large part of America is in the grip of an Alzheimer’s pandemic. The people all around are progressively losing their faculties, their judgment, their memory, sinking into dis-reality, but you have to pretend nothing is wrong with them....(full article)

Why John Kerry Lost
by Lee Sustar

How did John Kerry blow it? George W. Bush led the country into an unpopular war -- based on lies. He handed out tax breaks to the wealthy while millions of workers suffered through recession and a weak recovery. He used the occupation of Iraq to reward corporate cronies while 1,100 U.S. soldiers -- and 100,000 Iraqis, by the latest count -- died for oil profits. Kerry should have won this election running away. Instead, Bush racked up both an Electoral College win and a 3.6 million vote margin in the popular vote -- enough for the Republicans to claim a mandate, unlike the stolen election of 2000....(full article)

This Party is Over
by John Caruso

Yes, they really did blow it. Consider the mind-numbing reality here: the Democratic Party, as led by the DLC, has now lost the White House twice to George Bush. No, really: George Bush! Yes, really: two times. I swear I'm not making this up. Not only that, but they somehow managed to do even worse in 2004 than they did in 2000, despite the fact that Bush now had a record as president -- and a record of lies, disastrous policy decisions, and utter incompetence to boot. And they don't even have the consolation of wailing about the unfairness of the electoral college, since Kerry not only lost the electoral college but also failed to win the popular vote (not by a slim margin, either, but by millions of votes). And the Democrats lost seats in both the House and Senate as well. . . . I remember the first thing I heard from Kerry in regards to the presidential election. MoveOn had just solicited statements from the Democratic contenders as to why MoveOn members should support them. Kerry's main reason? That he would work to keep abortion legal. Faced with one of the worst US presidents of all time and a host of issues he might have hammered home or used to differentiate himself, Kerry chose the most safe, hackneyed, predictable Democratic rhetoric he could muster. That was when I first realized that I could not support John Kerry. And that was why, when I heard all these dubious claims that he was more electable than mildly (and I stress "mildly") progressive candidates like Howard Dean, I just shook my head in disbelief. Could the Democrats possibly be foolish enough to repeat their disastrous strategy of 2000? (full article)

To American Liberals Upon Bush’s Victory
by Asad Haider

I was walking around campus as the news of Bush’s victory was still sinking in. A preacher is paid to stand in front of a building to spew fundamentalist drivel, and as I walked past he was responding to a question from a student as to whether a less aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East might reduce the threat of terrorism. He said, more or less: “These people have a religion and an ideology which will always lead to violence against us. They’re not good people. Islam will always preach hate against the US.” I couldn’t ignore him this time—I interrupted with unexpected speed and volume: “What about the four decades before the Nineties when we systematically supported and created Islamic fundamentalism as a political force in the Middle East? What about our aid for Saudi Arabia, our support of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt and the mujahideen in Afghanistan?” . . . . My liberal American friends, you worked very hard in my community to gather votes for Kerry. But now that the American people have spoken, I must ask this: is it really so surprising that Bush won after we bought into this imperialist and racist discourse?
(full article)

Right-Wing Republic?
by Sharon Smith

George Bush barely defeated John Kerry in the Electoral College, but he won the popular vote by a sizeable margin of 4 million across the country. Republicans increased their majority in Congress, while voters in 11 states voted to ban gay marriage. And California’s referendum against “three strikes” sentencing laws also went down to defeat. Republicans--and social conservatives--swept the 2004 election, despite the extreme polarization of the nation’s population. No one can blame Ralph Nader this time around. Nader’s half-million or so votes had no influence on the outcome of this election. The Democrats made sure of that, devoting months of effort to keep Nader’s name off ballots in populous states across the country. Who is to blame, then? Unfortunately, the first conclusions coming from the Anybody But Bush left appear to have quickly shifted blame to the U.S. population itself....(full article)

1968 and Today
by Jonah Birch

I think that a useful comparison for leftists today to use when talking to people about Bush is the election of Richard Nixon in 1968. The election that year took place in a context of growing social polarization and anger around the Vietnam War. In the spring of 1968, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam had demonstrated the incredible unpopularity and weakness of the U.S. occupation in that country....(full article)

We're all Israelis Now
by Mark LeVine

Three years ago, as the pungent odor of what was left of the World Trade Center slowly pervaded my neighborhood, I wrote a piece called “We’re all Israelis Now.” I didn’t invent the idea; in the hours since the attacks I had heard several commentators say essentially the same thing, although our meanings were in fact diametrically opposed. For them, the September 11 attacks had constituted a tragic wake up call to America about the mortal threat posed by Muslim terrorism, which Israel had been living through for decades and whose methods the US would now have to copy if it wanted to “win the war on terror.” For me, however, the attacks suggested a more troubling scenario: That like Israelis, Americans would never face the causes of the extreme violence perpetrated against us by those whose oppression we have supported and even enforced, and engage in the honest introspection of what our role has been in generating the kind of hatred that turns commuter jets into cruise missiles. Instead, my gut told me that we’d acquiesce to President Bush’s use of the war to realize the long-held imperial, even apocalyptic visions of the neoliberal Right, ones that find great sympathy with its Israeli counterpart....(full article)

America's Strange Inconsistencies Regarding Homosexuality
by Stan Moore

Go to the Mitchell Brother's O'Farrell Theater in San Francisco seven days a week and, after paying anywhere from about $15.00 to $40.00 to walk in through the front door, you can pay another $20.00 or more per opportunity to watch pairs of women simulate or perform lesbian sex acts on each other. Many men from America's heartland or even from foreign nations such as Japan flock to the O'Farrell Theater with lust in their hearts and money flowing from their pockets for the thrill of observing live lesbian sex. And then, upon returning home to Des Moines or Omaha, these same men vote to exclude some of those same women from having the right to marry as members of lesbian couples. It is okay for the women to engage in public sex, and even to be paid for it, and even to pay them for the privilege of viewing their public display of private behaviors, but it is NOT okay for these women, or others just like them, to marry and adopt children or to receive societal benefits reserved for heterosexual couples (even for couples who practice adultery or even sexual practices often used by homosexuals of either sex)....(full article)

Distorted Picture of Violence in Haiti
by Yves Engler

The picture of Haiti we receive through the media is greatly distorted by uncritical reporting of both the Canadian (and US) government’s position on Haiti as well as those of installed President Gerard Latortue’s regime. Our media simply reprints government statements that point to former president Aristide’s supporters as the main agitators in any instance of violence. Most notably in reporting about the recent upsurge in violence the media parroted out the term, “operation Baghdad”, coined by Latortue in reference to the violence allegedly caused by Aristide supporters....(full article)

Mourning Becomes Me, Y'all: A Post-Electoral Literary Review
by Christy Rodgers

In the morning after George W. Bush won his second term as President, mind-bogglingly achieving, after four disastrous years, the margin of popular support that eluded him on his first ascendancy, I didn't listen to the news. Instead of absorbing the tortured analysis, the shouts and murmurs of the press, I lay in bed reading The Designated Mourner. This is a fairly recent play by the remarkable American playwright Wallace Shawn, about the creeping downfall of a comfortable, complacent, arrogant, and yet somehow indispensable, liberal humanist elite, seen mostly through the eyes of a man who watches it first from within, where he never truly belongs, and then, with an increasing sense of exhilaration in his own freedom, from without, where he experiences the rise of the new barbarian rulers as a distant backdrop to his own liberation from meaning, culture and morality. The country and the time in which this takes place is never specified. Shawn uses a wonderfully stylized type of narration, which I think is his alone, one of whose characteristics is to make elements one would expect to be specified purposely vague, and conversely what is often generalized vividly specific in his storytelling, so that you feel you have entered a shadow land of very personal allegorical figures and situations. You are always a little off balance in his world, but it is deeply and disturbingly evocative. And there seemed to be more than a little of our current or soon to be current reality in its elliptical depiction of events....(full article)

Democracy Fails: Corporations Win
by Peter Phillips

Democracy in the United States is only a shadow in a corporate media cave of deceit, lies and incomplete information. We stand ignorant of what the powerful are doing in our name and how the corporate media ignores key issues affecting us all. A young professional couple from San Diego stated the weekend before the election, "we don't think voting will make any difference so why bother?" Over 80 million eligible voters joined them by refusing to participate in the most recent election. While having been a voter for 35 years, I can't fault them for their logic. November 2 gave us a choice between war and more war, corporate globalization and more corporate globalization; the continuation of gifting billions of dollars to Israel, the Patriot Act and an expanded Patriot Act; a police state and a seriously growing police state, media monopoly and even bigger media monopolies; and wealth inequality or an even greater wealth divide. With the only alternative to these issues being minor candidates without a snowball's chance, for many voting seemed meaningless....(full article)

Kerry Won
by Greg Palast

Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. In the United States, about 3 percent of votes cast are voided—known as “spoilage” in election jargon—because the ballots cast are inconclusive. Drawing on what happened in Florida and studies of elections past, Palast argues that if Ohio’s discarded ballots were counted, Kerry would have won the state. Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports there are a total of 247,672 votes not counted in Ohio, if you add the 92,672 discarded votes plus the 155,000 provisional ballots. So far there's no indication that Palast's hypothesis will be tested because only the provisional ballots are being counted....(full article)

Did Kerry Concede Too Soon?
by Bob Fitrakis

Why did a voting machine in Republican Gahanna, Ohio report 4,258 votes for George W. Bush when only 638 people cast votes at the New Life Church polling site? Buried on page A6 of the Columbus Dispatch, the story also reported that the computerized e-voting machine recorded 0 votes in a race between Franklin County Commissioners Arlene Shoemaker and Paula Brooks. Kerry conceded on Nov. 3 before some troubling election irregularities have surfaced in Ohio. Investigative reporter Gregory Palast has pointed out that there are more than 92,000 “spoiled” ballots in Ohio, mostly in Democratic wards that could easily be hand counted, 155,000 uncounted provisional ballots, uncounted overseas military ballots and some uncounted absentee ballots. Despite the comments of Kerry’s running mate, Senator John Edwards, that every vote should be counted, Kerry’s concession makes that promise unlikely....(full article)

The Last Battle
by Sheila Samples

So that's it, then. Like John Kerry says, it's time to get over it. Move on. Get on with our lives and our jobs -- let the healing begin. Sounds good, John. But I don't intend to budge until all the votes are counted, because when I started this journey I committed for the long haul. Jumping ship to avoid putting the country through the "agony" of investigating and challenging another sordid election coup de 'etat would never occur to me -- especially if I had 17,000 lawyers fired up and ready to do battle. If, as you said, this was the single most important election in our lifetime -- our one last shot at salvaging democracy -- it looks like you could have, as a minimum, hung around until the results were in....(full article)

Four More Years
by Ted Glick

One of the first thoughts I had today after I learned that Kerry was conceding to Bush was of something the late Dave Dellinger once said. I was with him in a group that was on a hunger strike in the summer of 1972, protesting the escalation of the war on Vietnam. At the time Democratic Presidential and peace candidate George McGovern was going down in the polls and war President Richard Nixon was pulling way ahead. A number of us were very concerned about what Nixon's re-election would mean for the Vietnamese. Dave's input was to the effect that what happened with the Democrats and Republicans was ultimately not that important. What was important was the strength and vitality of the independent movements and organizations, like the peace movement. If they were strong enough they could eventually force whomever was in office to change course....(full article)

Lies and Money Trump Justice – Again
by Donna J. Warren

I felt the chill when I went into the Bank of America on Gage and Avalon [in Los Angeles] and changed the terms of a CD I manage. “Be sure you vote ‘yes’ on 66”, I told the young Latina who helped me. “Oh”, she replied, “we’re voting ‘no’ on 66 because the governor said violent criminals would be released into our neighborhoods”. I was stunned. After working eight years to amend California’s horrible “3 Strikes Law” and finally getting the amendment “Proposition 66” on the ballot, I knew by her remarks that the same communities I fight so hard to protect, would send themselves into the abyss of the prison industrial complex....(full article)

The Bag of Aeolus
by Roni Ben Efrat

Aeolus was keeper of the winds. He gave a bag of evil winds to Odysseus, instructing him to keep it closed while a good breeze wafted him home. Within sight of his lovely Ithaca, the great voyager fell asleep. Thinking that there might be treasure in the bag, his men opened it and let loose a hurricane. (Odyssey, Book X) Two days in October 2004 may have brought new winds into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but no one can say which way they will blow. These stirrings came after eighteen months of political standstill, which led Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to initiate a plan for unilateral disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank. On October 26, the Knesset approved this plan by a margin of 66-44. For the first time in the history of the Occupation, Israel decided to dismantle settlements in Palestinian areas: 21 in the Gaza Strip and four in the northern West Bank. Yet the road to implementation is full of hurdles....(full article)

November 3-4

External Link of the Day: Was the Ohio Election Honest and Fair?  
The Institute for Public Accuracy

100,000 Iraqi Civilian Deaths (Part One)
by Media Lens

On October 29, the prestigious scientific journal, The Lancet, published a report by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: “Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey.” The authors estimate that 100,000 more Iraqi civilians died than would have been expected had the invasion not occurred. They write: “Eighty-four percent of the deaths were reported to be caused by the actions of Coalition forces and 95 percent of those deaths were due to air strikes and artillery.” (Press Release, ‘Iraqi Civilian Deaths Increase Dramatically After Invasion,’ October 28, 2004) Most of those killed by “coalition” forces were women and children. The report was met with a low-key, skeptical response, or outright silence in the media. There was no horror, no outrage. No leaders were written pointing out that, in addition to the illegality, lies and public deception, our government is responsible for the deaths of 100,000 civilians....(full article)

The Dems Should be Ashamed: Bush With a TKO
by Joshua Frank

Yaaaawn. No, I am not exhausted because I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning on November 2 glaring into a fuzzy TV set watching the polls roll in; I am just bored. John Kerry phoned George Bush the morning after the election to concede the race and later in the afternoon gave his concession speech. There will be no fight over the Ohio electorate after all, where the vote split is greater than 136,000. Bush not only kicked Kerry's butt in Ohio, he slapped it around in Florida too, where the vote margin for Bush was well over 376,000 votes. Luckily the spread was such that Ralph Nader's measly 32,000 votes in the Sunshine State cannot be to blame for Kerry's brow beating....(full article)

Post Mortem: Let the Disobedience (and the Real Work) Begin
by Mickey Z. seems the shorter of the two rich straight white male Yale-educated war criminals won, huh? The rancher beat the windsurfer. George W. Bush finally knows what it feels like to win a presidential election and thus will remain the public face of the American Empire for a little while longer. Wait...shhhh. If you listen carefully you can hear all those protestors dusting off their Hitler mustaches, Bush/Dick jokes, and “regime change begins at home” posters. Four more years for them, too. (Then again it was four more years for everyone on the matter who won.) And what of the luminary Left who made it all look as easy as A-B-B? (full article)

Democrats in End Time: As Republicans Gain Shattering Victory,
Who to Blame This Time?
by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair

The crusade that George Bush called for in 2001 against terrorism from abroad came to fruition yesterday in a more homely context as Christians flocked to the polls in stronger numbers than in 2000 to battle against such manifestations of post-modernity as gay marriage. There are many reasons for what is an overwhelming Republican victory across the board. They range from the disastrous choice of John Edwards as Kerry's running mate to delusions about the potency of electronic organizing (that should have been demolished after Howard Dean's implosion last spring), to the fatal deficiencies of Kerry himself....(full article)

Don't Be American
by Danny Dayus

“If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary, I warn you not to be young, I warn you not to fall ill, and I warn you not to grow old. The above quote is from the then UK Labour Party MP, Neil Kinnock, shortly before a humiliating loss to Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party in the 1983 general election. The defeat to Thatcher occurred despite the country suffering record unemployment figures, record bankruptcies, a rising rich-poor gap, and a systematically eroded social safety net. As almost certainly happened last night with George W Bush, Margaret Thatcher won that election on the back of an unnecessary war that stank of empire ideology, but to many people on the left of politics in the UK, Thatcher’s victory was proof that those who benefited by the neo-liberal policies of the woman, who infamously said that there was no such thing as society, had voted with their ever fattening pockets. . . . After having watched with horror from my home in Ireland the electoral map of the United States of America turn blood red over the past nine hours, I feel it necessary to repeat Neil Kinnock’s warning to those across the Atlantic, only with the added warning: After this disaster for the world, I warn you not to be American....(full article)

The Bully is Back
by John Crabtree-Ireland

The playground can be a dangerous place when you are different.  Over the past four years, our nation has taken on many of the same characteristics of an unsupervised schoolyard, where the majority rules. And that group is often controlled by a bully. As a gay American, I have been waiting, and praying, for the bell to ring....(full article)

A Reassessment of Gaylib
by Simon Jones

It's high time that we step back from the euphoria of 40 years of “gay is beautiful” to take a hard look at what the effect of gaylib has been on society and what direction it should take to both consolidate the remarkable gains made and to ensure that this new minority voice can play a constructive role in society. There is an implicit understanding in the gaylib movement that sexual relations between men or between women are just as legitimate an expression of one's sexuality as that between men and women. This has culminated in the present human rights legislation in most developed countries up to and even including gay marriage and the ordination of openly gay ministers. In some countries, schools are even encouraged to provide gay-positive sex education. Understandably, this has led to a reaction by traditionalists who assert the primacy of heterosexuality and decry the concurrent collapse of traditional morality, pointing the finger at gays as a prime cause for the social malaise which now grips us. So who is right? Is homosexuality just another equally valid lifestyle choice for people, like wearing Nikes or eating organic food? Does God look favorably on two men or two women tying the knot in holy matrimony? Should schools promote gay families as if they were just as good as the traditional family? (full article)

A Parable Retold For Our Time
by Claritas Moralis

One of my problems with Christianity is that so few Christians pay much heed to the words attributed to Jesus in the bible. It's a shame: they are some of the most enlightened, compassionate words in Western literature. Red-letter bibles are even published, and still numerous modern Christians seem to skip right over those words. I grant that there are grounds to question whether there was a historical person who actually uttered them in the way that the bible depicts, but Christians are supposed to believe that there was and that he did. Surely his words should be the foundation of their religion, but the more I look at modern Christianity, the less it seems to have to do with what even they claim the man from Nazareth said....(full article)

End of the Road?
by Peter Kurth

In the first place, I would like to thank Osama Bin Laden, formerly of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tora Bora, Afghanistan, all kinds of “caves” in that part of the world and now, clearly, a very comfortable room, somewhere, that any little Arab with video equipment can run into and out of at will. Whew! I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in this “intelligence” stuff. I think Bin Laden has intelligence of his own, and that it’s something our own “intelligence” people can’t fathom. In fact, I’m sure this is true. Bin Laden is precisely attuned to the things that turn Americans into maniacs....
(full article)

Bush's "Win" or America's Loss?
by P. Anthony Farruggio

I live in central Florida. This is not exactly Bush or Kerry country -- kind of in between. When our activist group was out there, week after week, with signs protesting this war and this President, the reactions were startling. For every "thumbs down" or nasty look or head turned away, we received perhaps 10 times that number with horns honking and "go get um," "way to go." I knew, in my gut, that this President was toast in Florida. Election night. How is it possible that Betty Castor is closer to Mel Martinez for the Senate seat than Kerry is to Bush? How in the hell is Bush actually leading in Florida? (full article)

Mobile Armageddon
by Reza Fiyouzat

As a naturalized citizen of the USA, I am grateful that this country has established voting as a right of the citizenry, no matter how well or poorly this right may be exercised at times. And, as an Iranian long-time observer (and object) of things political, I can safely expect that almost all that is of essential significance will remain unchanged no matter who wins. And for these particular US general elections, not even the tempo of atrocious behavior toward Middle Easterners is expected to change. For the most part, now that the voting is over, we are still left with all our fundamental questions un-addressed and all our problems growing worse.  At least for those Iraqi and Afghans who are inhaling uranium fumes in their streets, ingesting uranium dust in their food, drinking uranium particles in their water; and watching their kids play in uranium-shielded vehicles after the soldiers are through destroying with them. This radioactive poison, gassing all the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and, downwind, of all countries in the Middle East, will burn cancers into all organic life forms, for the next four and a half billion years. We heard not a single word from either major candidate that such a war crime should be questioned, never mind stopped. This is the equivalent of not caring to form an opinion over Nazis’ gassing of Jews and Gypsies in concentration camps....(full article)

The Truth About Importing Prescription Drugs
by Evelyn J. Pringle

On September 10, 2004, Peter Rost, a physician and pharmaceutical industry executive, was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Society for Professional Journalists, and openly criticized the high cost of prescription drugs and the efforts by the pharmaceutical industry and politicians to block the importation of cheaper drug from other countries. For the past 20 years, Rost has been marketing pharmaceuticals and he is currently a Vice President with Pfizer. He has agreed to give Independent Media TV an exclusive interview for a series of articles aimed at dispelling the myths about importation through an insider's window of truth on the issue. Rost says that his #1 concern is for the people who cannot afford their prescription drugs. He believes that people going without medication is a “bigger safety issue than anything else.” Why Is Peter Rost Speaking Out On This Issue?
(full article)

November 2

An Election Spoiled Rotten
by Greg Palast

It's not even Election Day yet, and the Kerry-Edwards campaign is already down by a almost a million votes. That's because, in important states like Ohio, Florida and New Mexico, voter names have been systematically removed from the rolls and absentee ballots have been overlooked—overwhelmingly in minority areas, like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, where Hispanic voters have a 500 percent greater chance of their vote being "spoiled." Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on the trashing of the election....(full article)

Bamboozling Morality
by Kim Petersen

Kim Petersen on the one-sidedness of corporate (and often progressive) media depictions of the situation on the ground in Iraq, the marginalization of Iraqi perspectives, and the purposely ignored death toll of Iraqi civilians and US forces....(full article)

Why Are We In Iraq? Bush Family $$$ Signs
by Evelyn J. Pringle

After Dick Cheney's tenure at the Pentagon ended in 1993, he spent much of the next two years deciding whether to run for President. He formed a political-action committee, and crossed the country making speeches and raising money. (Contact Sport, The New Yorker, 2/16/04). Records from the FEC show that Cheney's PAC contributors included executives of the companies that have since won the largest contracts in Iraq. Among them were Thomas Cruikshank, Halliburton's CEO at the time; Stephen Bechtel, whose family's firm now has a contract in Iraq worth as much as $2.8 billion; and Duane Andrews, then senior VP of Science Applications International Corporation, which has won seven contracts in Iraq. However, while Cheney and his pals may well be the most blatant profiteers in Iraq, they are by no means the only ones involved in this grand war profiteering scheme commonly referred to as the "War on Terror."  The #1 spot on the list belongs to the First Family....(full article)

Progressives: This is John Kerry
by John Caruso

It's a difficult time to be a progressive in the United States, and even more so in the run-up to the 2004 elections, watching in dismay as so many respected progressives buckle and throw their support to John Kerry -- and chastise other progressives for not doing the same. I think it's worthwhile to make a list of some of Kerry's positions on key issues, to clarify just who it is they're asking us to support....(full article)

Bush, Kerry, and the Trauma of 9/11
by Baruch Kimmerling

If the presidential race between Bush and Kerry remains too close to call even until the day of the election , this will demonstrate the Democratic Party's colossal failure in its strategy, its party machinery, its candidate, and its political advisors' vision....(full article)

US Foreign Policy on Africa – A Bomb is a Bomb!
by Niyi Shomade

As arguably the richest continent in terms of culture, land, and resources, Africa has made America the richest country in the world.  Yet Africa’s population remains the world’s poorest. If we agree that land and people are the greatest resource and that health is the greatest wealth, this paradox will be understood when analyzed within a historical context. Slavery, colonization and post colonial realities have saddled the continent with health deficiencies, environmental degradation, adverse trade agreements, odious debts, wars and widespread political instability that fuel Africa’s economic and political dependency on America and Europe. Without economic independence, Africa has no political independence and therefore, no independence. Africa has never been asked if she prefers a Democrat or Republican in the White House. If this question was posed, it would be answered with a glare: A bomb is a bomb! (full article)

A Floridian Goes to Washington to Spoil a Corrupt System
by Amy J. Belanger

The spoiler label burdened progressives with a false but crushing guilt. The result is a 2004 Presidential race dominated by fear, devoid of any demands on the Democrats and tarnished by corrosive attacks on democracy. The Democrats have sabotaged citizen petition drives, initiated expensive lawsuits and falsely accused the Nader campaign of aligning with the Republican Party -- all to block the democratic process. By participating, progressives have wrought an injury to their own cause that the enemies of justice could never successfully perpetrate....(full article)

An Election Day Look at Kerry’s Undemocratic War
Against the Nader Campaign
by Stephen Conn

Like that scrappy Philadelphian pugilist, Rocky, Ralph Nader has beaten back attacks on the voters’ right to choose and is still standing in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Voters who live in William Penn’s Creaking Cradle of Liberty can at least write in Ralph Nader’s name for President. Without even writing a decision the state Supreme Court disenfranchised tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who wanted to vote for Ralph Nader. The trial court bought everything chucked its way by the Republican law firms who gave time freely or were paid by the Branson-Moffett Democratic 527, the Ballot Project. Nader won fights for ballot access against entirely unregulated spigots of soft money and donated corporate law time worth millions. His Presidential campaign was forced to pay to defend voters’ rights and his ballot access from its strictly limited campaign donations while civil libertarians watched silently from the sidelines while the rights of voters were trampled on....(full article)

November 1

The War on Iraq Has Made Moral Cowards of Us All
More Than 100,000 Iraqis Have Died --
Where is our Shame and Rage?
by Scott Ritter

The full scale of the human cost already paid for the war on Iraq is only now becoming clear. Last week's estimate by investigators, using credible methodology, that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians - most of them women and children - have died since the US-led invasion is a profound moral indictment of our countries. The US and British governments quickly moved to cast doubt on the Lancet medical journal findings, citing other studies. These mainly media-based reports put the number of Iraqi civilian deaths at about 15,000 - although the basis for such an endorsement is unclear, since neither the US nor the UK admits to collecting data on Iraqi civilian casualties. Civilian deaths have always been a tragic reality of modern war. But the conflict in Iraq was supposed to be different - US and British forces were dispatched to liberate the Iraqi people, not impose their own tyranny of violence....(full article)

Remembering Bush's Dead on Election Day
by Bill Berkowitz

The 1,122 US soldiers and the 100,000 Iraqis that have died in Iraq
will never vote....(full article)

by Gabriel Ash

Bin Laden’s October surprise unleashed a competition of open outrage and almost as open calculations. Bush and Kerry competed on who is most resolute and properly outraged, who is better able to say, “we will not be intimidated”, or “we are united”, or your favorite triteness. The calculations, on the other hand, are confusing. . . . The Bush bandwagon is particularly gleeful about the opportunity to use Bin Laden’s tape as a gift against Kerry. Nothing is too low for the party that made voter intimidation and suppression the core of its November 2 strategy....(full article)

Will There Be a War Against the World After November 2?
by John Pilger

There is a surreal quality about visiting the United States in the last days of the presidential campaign. If George W Bush wins, according to a scientist I met, who escaped Nazi-dominated Europe, America will surrender many of its democratic trappings and succumb to its totalitarian impulses. If John Kerry wins, according to most Democrat voters, the only mandate he will have is that he is not Bush. Never have so many liberal hands been wrung over a candidate whose only memorable statements seek to out-Bush Bush....(full article)

If this Election is Stolen, Will it be by Enough to Stop a Recount?
by Lynn Landes

Most people don't get it. Democrats don't get it. Even former President Jimmy Carter doesn't get it. During a recent National Public Radio interview with Terry Gross, Carter said that voting machines should produce paper ballots, just in case the election is "close" and a recount is needed. Recounts are triggered by close elections. But, stealing elections and avoiding recounts is duck soup for the dishonest among us. Keep in mind that both mechanical and computerized voting machines have a long history of vote fraud and irregularities. However, never before have so few entities dominated the tabulation of the vote. Today, two voting machine companies with strong and well-documented ties to the Republican Party will count 80% of all votes in the upcoming election. These two companies, ES&S and Diebold, manufacture, sell and service both touchscreens and computerized ballot scanners. A foreign-owned company, Sequoia, is the third largest voting machine company. This is not to say that the election will go against Democrat John Kerry. What it does mean is that election officials in America have privatized and outsourced the voting process....(full article)

Reflections on David McReynolds' Reflections on the Election
by Mark Dunlea

Mark Dunlea, cofounder and former chair of the Green Party of New York State in responds to The Truth is Always Concrete by David McReynolds, GP candidate for Senator in New York. McReynolds argues that there are indeed significant differences between the Republican and Democrats, and advocates voting for Kerry in swing states....(full article)

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