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(DV) November 2005 Articles

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November 30

“Villains Honoring Villains”
by Bill Berkowitz

The Bush Administration is winning the battle to institute public/private partnerships on America's cash-strapped public lands. Is total privatization coming down the pike? (full article)

Pharmacists Can’t Say No to Contraception
by Gene C. Gerard

The retailer Target recently announced that it would allow pharmacists at its stores to refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception (EC), if dispensing it would violate their religious beliefs. When taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse EC can prevent pregnancy. The retailer will require pharmacists who refuse to fill the order to ask another pharmacist at their location to fill the prescription, or confirm for the patient that it can be obtained elsewhere. Target joined Kmart and Costco in allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription for EC....(full article)

World Human Rights Leaders Call for Freedom for Pere Jean-Juste,
Yvon Neptune and Other Haitian Political Prisoners 

by Bill Quigley

What do the UN Commission on Human Rights, Irish members of Parliament, and International Human Rights Lawyers in Bulgaria have in common? They have all recently called for the immediate release of political prisoners in Haiti, specifically for the release of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune. Louis Joinet, the Haiti expert for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, investigated the human rights situation in Haiti over the past two weeks. Joinet condemned the jailing of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune, former Prime Minister of Haiti. Fr. Jean-Juste, often called the Martin Luther King of Haiti, was beaten by a mob in church and arrested by the police while participating in a funeral on July 21, 2005. He was immediately declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International and has been held in jail without formal charges ever since. Yvon Neptune, who was Prime Minister of Haiti, has been in jail since May 2004, also without trial. No trials are planned for either prisoner, or any of the other hundreds of political prisoners jailed in Haiti....(full article)

Democrats Forget Palestine, Again and Again...
Howard Dean’s Blunt Message

by Joshua Frank

DNC Chair Howard Dean has a fickle stance on virtually every foreign policy issue thrown his way. None, however, are more telling of his party’s incompetence than his posture on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, which is virtually identical to that of the neocons. Recently Dean returned from a week-long jaunt to Israel sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). Shortly after his return Dean spoke to an elite crowd of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) friends and lobbyists in Philadelphia about his trip to Israel. And the audience was pleased with what they heard. “Literally, from Israel's birth, as that great Democrat Harry Truman took the courageous step to immediately extend America's hand to recognize the State of Israel,” Dean espoused. “Democrats have done all we can to foster the special, enduring relationship between the two countries. Maintaining Israel's security is a key U.S. national security interest...” But Dean’s vision of Israel’s security is not without consequences for Palestinians or Arab Israelis....(full article)

Are the Democrats an Antiwar Party?
Narrow Debate Covers Bipartisan Support for Promoting US Power
by Lance Selfa and Elizabeth Schulte

The battle over Murtha’s proposal that ensued in the media and in the halls of Congress itself was an example of the widespread antiwar sentiment outside Washington finally finding an expression in official politics -- something that hadn’t happened in this way before, despite the growing disillusion and discontent with the war among ordinary people. For example, in a recent Gallup poll, Bush’s handling of the war had the support of only about 35 percent of the public. But if this were all antiwar activists took from this debate, we’d be missing the bigger picture -- not just of Murtha’s own intentions, but those of the Democratic Party generally....(full article)

November 29

The Tempest Cometh: Jack Abramoff’s Bipartisan Sleaze
by Joshua Frank

It is far too early to tell what kind of impact it will ultimately have on the Republican establishment, but the Jack Abramoff scandal could well be the most perilous of all the storms developing around Washington. And the cloud forming on the horizon is a dark one indeed. The most enthralling aspect of this whole controversy is the number of people it potentially involves. From elected officials in Congress to top conservative activists, the Abramoff lobbyist sham could ravage the neocons far worse than the Plame affair. It could also take a top Democrat or two down as well....(full article)

To Heal or To Patch? Military Mental Health Workers in Iraq
by Stephen Soldz

The Wall Street Journal has a new article on the role of mental health professionals in treating war trauma in Iraq. The military has caught on to how these workers can aid the war effort and has increased their per capita numbers. Rather than seeking the best treatment to help traumatized soldiers recover from their stressful and horrific experiences, these professionals attempt to patch soldiers in order to return them to combat. As the article illustrates in its lead paragraph: "Lt. Maria Kimble, an Army mental-health worker, runs a two-person counseling team out of a small plywood office here. As part of a "combat stress detachment," her job is to help soldiers cope with the horror of the battlefield -- so that they can return to it as soon as possible." Ethical questions are raised, and then ignored by these workers, who after all, are primarily involved in serving the war effort....(full article)

Cow Bombs in Costa Rica: Only a Matter of Time?
by Mark Drolette

Returning to America after a recent trip to Costa Rica, I could practically smell the fear in the Phoenix airport.  Welcome to the Terrified States of America, folks.  Kindly remove almost every item of clothing and check all common sense at the gate. Actually, U.S. Customs and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel weren’t nearly that pleasant.  Orders were barked at us travelers from several directions as we all hurried to catch connecting domestic flights, succeeding far better at adding more anxiety to an already-stressful situation than in clarifying just how much dignity we should expect to publicly surrender in the ensuing few minutes while being forced to impersonate two-legged cattle. The sheer absurdity of the “security” drama was epitomized by a disabled older lady (obviously a prime suspect for blowing up a plane mid-flight) who had to set aside her walking stick (coulda been a cane bomb, I guess) and then awkwardly limp her way through the gauntlet.  (Thankfully, one of the TSA employees was at least kind enough to assist her.) Such is life for Americans these days as we have been told incessantly since 9/11 by George W. Bush and his fellow jackals that a citizen’s utmost patriotic duty, other than shopping, is to be very, very afraid.  Always.  Because terrorists are, you know, everywhere, just itching to kill us.  (Except at the malls, I guess.)....(full article)

The Gratitude of Turkeys
by Lila Rajiva

Do turkeys give thanks at Thanksgiving? asked Arundhati Roy, the world-famous Indian activist, last year. She was launching a passionate diatribe against American empire. And she christened it with one of those sparkling analogies of hers. The powerless, she said, are like turkeys lined up for the imperial plate at Thanksgiving. Traditionally, a tiny number are saved from avian holocaust and sent off to a happy old age. But the vast majority head straight for the pan. Just so, she points out, a few minorities are given some attention in the halls of power as tokens. But the only purpose of these token turkeys flapping around is to siphon off real opposition. It’s to keep the other birds stampeding feverishly toward the exits and break up turkey solidarity. The empire wins. It’s a memorable argument. But like so many witty analogies it’s more clever than true. And despite, or perhaps because of its emotional appeal, it may ultimately do more damage than good to the resistance Arundhati spearheads: The global resistance to American empire....(full article)

“Dishonest and Reprehensible”?
by Paul Street

Last Tuesday, corporate newspapers and television reporters relayed another administration lie from Master Orwellian War Pig Dick Cheney. The occasion was Cheney's public response to rising domestic U.S. criticism of the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Cheney claimed to welcome free debate over the war. He was moved to speak, he said, only to counter the "dishonest and reprehensible" claim of some war critics that the administration invaded Iraq on the basis of selective and distorted intelligence. In a speech delivered at that great peoples' forum the American Enterprise Institute (a revealingly favorite public stage for the Cheney-Bush cabal), he charged those who accuse the White House of deceiving the nation into war with "historical revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety. Any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, or fabricated by the leader of the nation," Cheney proclaimed, "is utterly false." "Senator McCain," Cheney added, "put it best: 'it is a lie to say that the president lied to the American people.'" Any serious news professional should know by now that it is a shameless revisionist lie to deny that the president lied and otherwise deceived to get the American citizenry to accept the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq. Here are some of the most "distorted, hyped, [and] fabricated" things the administration said to manipulate the populace into accepting (the falsely named) "Operation Iraqi Freedom"....(full article)

Bush’s Fascist Valhalla 
by Mike Whitney

The strategy to militarize the country is moving forward as planned despite apparent setbacks in Iraq. As the Washington Post reported on Nov. 27 the Department of Defense is expanding its domestic surveillance activity to allow Pentagon spies to track down and “investigate crimes within the United States”. An alarmed Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) said, “We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without a congressional hearing.” Is this the first time that the naïve Wyden realized that the war on terror is actually directed at the American people? (full article)

Localizing National Issues
by Madis Senner

They say all politics is local. Local and regional news dominate media coverage in communities across the country. Because of this a lot of national issues which progressives are passionate about, such as the War with Iraq and human rights, get little local media coverage. As a consequence many national issues fail to get the critical mass necessary to bring about change. How then do activists make national news relevant in their local community? (full article)

“The Mother We All Long For”: On Cindy Sheehan’s New Book
by Shepherd Bliss

I don’t know all the reasons why tears rise to my eyes when I read about Cindy Sheehan. They flowed when I saw the photograph on the bright cover of her new book Not One More Mother’s Child. I noticed a young man (as I once was) admiringly looking toward Cindy from the back row. Others held a banner for Iraq Veterans Against the War. “Cindy Sheehan is the mother we all long for,” CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans starts her Personal Introduction to the book. Suddenly I understood something. The tears connect me, in gratitude, to Cindy -- who continues to mourn the April 4, 2004, killing in Iraq of her soldier son Casey Sheehan and to organize against war. Vietnam was the war of my generation. When I resigned my U.S. Army officer’s commission to protest that war, my wonderful, loving mother could not find it in herself to support me. In fact, I was considered a traitor to my country within the military family that gave its name to Ft. Bliss, Texas....
(full article)

November 28

False Frames
by Patricia Goldsmith

When it comes to e-voting, the corporate media have put out a couple of narrative frames that have been successful in throwing even voting reform advocates off the track. The most obvious is the conspiracy frame. Stephen Pizzo, who ultimately advocates the abolition of e-voting in order to restore voter confidence, nevertheless believes “[t]he party caught fixing a major race would be out of power for a generation. Also, if I learned anything from a quarter century of unraveling real and alleged conspiracies it’s that getting caught is always in the cards.” In this, he finds himself in substantial agreement with conservative columnist and former Reagan administration official James Pinkerton. It seems to me their argument would be a lot stronger if the GOP hadn’t already been “caught” attempting to fix every single election since 2000. Hell, they do it out in the open, proudly. People like Katherine Harris, Glenda Hood, and Ken Blackwell have made whole careers out of purge lists, voter intimidation, and aggressive partisanship in the administration of elections. That’s because what we are seeing in operation is not a conspiracy, but unchecked monopolies and corporate combinations, and there is nothing fanciful or farfetched about it. The concentration of wealth and power is the ultimate point toward which all capitalist systems tend. The last 70 years of (relatively) regulated corporations are the exception, not the rule....(full article)

Bush Owns the OSP and the Broken Iraqi Pottery
by Ahmed Amr

After two long years of dodging and weaving, the Bush administration is finally being held to account for fixing, twisting, exaggerating and cherry picking pre-war WMD intelligence. So far, the White House has responded to these charges with pleas of innocence and assertions that hostilities were initiated only as a last resort and based on the best information available at the time. Since the Libby indictment, the administration and its media cronies have launched an aggressive campaign to convince an increasingly skeptical public that Bush honestly believed that Saddam possessed WMD stockpiles and was behind the 9/11 atrocities. One positive aspect of this new White House strategy is that Dick Cheney is no longer free to insinuate that Iraq had lethal arsenals of unconventional weapons. Until very recently, Cheney continued to propagate the ridiculous notion that Saddam was involved in the planning and execution of the 9/11 terrorist assaults. This is no small retreat for a man who claimed that “It's been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.” This, after all, is the very same Cheney who told us on Aug. 26, 2002 that “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” We should all be thankful for small favors but there remains the single most important question: did the administration get the intelligence wrong or did they deliberately and systematically cook the books? (full article)

Pharma's Poisoned Generation 
by Evelyn J. Pringle

A growing number of professionals in the health care field are reporting that a relationship exists between the epidemic in neurodevelopmental disorders of autism, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and speech or language delay all across the country, and the use of thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative used in childhood vaccines. Vaccines are the only medicines that Americans are mandated to receive as a condition for attendance in school and day care, and for some types of employment. Parents who receive federal assistance are also required to show proof that their children have been vaccinated. While the mandate for which vaccines must be included on the vaccine schedule is a state mandate, it is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee that make the recommendations to which the majority of states adhere when determining mandates. The current epidemic actually began in the late 1980s when a large number of new vaccines were added to the schedule. The blame is at least partially attributable to the failure of government officials to keep track of the cumulative amounts of mercury as they added triple-dose-vaccines to the schedule and the amount of thimerosal was multiplied by three....
(full article)

The Woodward Scandal Should Not Blow Over
by Norman Solomon

Bob Woodward probably hoped that the long holiday weekend would break the momentum of an uproar that suddenly confronted him midway through November. But three days after Thanksgiving, on NBC’s Meet the Press, a question about the famed Washington Post reporter provoked anything but the customary adulation. “I think none of us can really understand Bob’s silence for two years about his own role in the case,” longtime Post journalist David Broder told viewers. “He’s explained it by saying he did not want to become involved and did not want to face a subpoena, but he left his editor, our editor, blind-sided for two years and he went out and talked disparagingly about the significance of the investigation without disclosing his role in it. Those are hard things to reconcile.” An icon of the media establishment, Broder is accustomed to making excuses for deceptive machinations by the White House and other centers of power in Washington. His televised rebuke of Woodward on Nov. 27 does not augur well for current efforts to salvage Woodward’s reputation as a trustworthy journalist....(full article)

Christmas Under Attack: A Manufactured Crisis
by Bill Berkowitz

Conservative Christian fundamentalists, right wing Christian legal groups, and most of the Fox News Channel's prime time crew are echoing variations on the same theme: liberals are once again out to destroy Christmas. Instead of the ancient cry that "Jews killed Christ," fundamentalist Christians and their conservative allies are accusing liberals -- which in those circles is often read, Jews -- for trying to remove Christmas from the public square....(full article)

November 26-27

Of Mice and Men: Rodent Trials Show Biotech is Squeaky Unclean
by Lila Rajiva

A $3 million, ten-year trial of genetic modification (GM) on field peas at The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s national science research organization, was scrapped last week (November 18, 2005) when the GM pea caused inflammation in the lungs of mice it was fed to. Pea weevil takes a 30% whack out of Australia’s $100 million pea industry and the GM strain, which inserted a bean gene into the peas that the pesky weevil could not digest, was touted to reduce the need for insecticide to tackle the problem. But scientists at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra who led the immunological research found that when inserted into the pea, the bean gene triggered an immune reaction in mice. Their results were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Slight as it seems, the case has fired up the anti-GM movement and may even have the potential to derail the biotech juggernaut. Point by point, here’s why....(full article)

Savaging the Law in the Padilla Case
by Mike Whitney

The moniker "enemy combatant" signifies the end of the rule of law. It means that the president can arbitrarily strip American citizens of their inalienable rights and deprive them of any method for challenging their detention. It sweeps away long-honored provisions of due process, equal justice, and the presumption of innocence. Enemy combatant is the language of tyranny. It bestows of the president the absolute power of a monarch to ignore the law and lock up American citizens according to his own whims.  This explains why the Bush administration has persistently refused to file charges against Jose Padilla. They realize that the overturning of habeas corpus creates a de facto dictatorship in the United States. And, as Bush said in 2002, “There’s nothing wrong with a dictatorship, as long as I am the dictator.” So, why has Bush backed away from “indefinite detention by presidential fiat” and agreed to file charges against Padilla? (full article)

Bush the Dupe?
by Gary Leupp

I read in the Drudge Report that Bush “has become isolated and feels betrayed by key officials.” Maybe Dick Cheney and his neocon protégés are really in the doghouse these days. The report asserts that “Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes.” I read too on Capitol Hill Blue news service that presidential aides have become increasingly concerned about Bush’s “short temper and tirades,” directed especially at anyone who questions his war and his honesty. But he’s also been exploding in cabinet meetings at his subordinates. Angry at his enemies, angry at his friends, he may be under stress and returning to his youthful habits. Check out this video clip of his appearance at Jerry Kilgore’s campaign rally in Virginia awhile back. No further comment on that clip, but I’m just wondering. Might the president be feeling so messed up on account of him feeling himself, you know -- big-time duped? (full article)

US vs. Latin America -- No Neutral Corner
by toni solo

Mediocrity detests talent. On one level, the recent exchange of abuse between Lilliputian Vicente Fox and Hugo Chavez reflects no more than that. Chavez looms large over Fox for many reasons, not least because 80 years ago Mexico under President Calles defied the United States the way Chavez does now. Chavez seems likely to succeed where Calles failed. Fox's hostility to Chavez probably springs as much from Mexico's history and his National Action Party's (PAN) roots as to his collaboration with the Bush regime. Calles tried to impose Mexico's revolutionary constitution of 1917, expropriating foreign oil companies and dismantling the influence of the Catholic Church. As well as the hostility of foreign petrol interests and the Cristero armed rebellion, he also faced the hostility of aggressive international creditors. PAN was born out of those years, a reactionary, elitist, pro-church political movement hostile to the Mexican revolution. Sharp political antagonism between Hugo Chavez and Vicente Fox is hardly a surprise....(full article)

The "Cowardice" Card: Militarism's Last and Self-Fulfilling Refuge
by Paul Street

If Uncle Sam were to lose his nerve and call off his vicious assault on Iraq and on standard norms and established rules of international conduct, he would be dishonoring the more than 2,000 American soldiers he has already sent to an early grave in the commission of those terrible crimes. He would reveal himself as a powerless paper tiger, ready to get desert sand kicked in its face by any rogue terrorist in the oil-rich Middle East. It would be an open season on America, "civilization," and "freedom" around the world. Such is the basic argument of America's increasingly embattled but in-power hard right, which accuses the rising number of antiwar Americans of deficient military manliness. "Cowards cut and run," a veteran solider told Republican Congresswomen Jean Schmidt (Ohio), but "Marines never do." Schmidt offered this marvelous pearl of proto-fascist wisdom in response to calls from U.S. citizens and some Democratic politicians for a rapid withdrawal from Mesopotamia....(full article)

Working Toward Whiteness:
An Interview with David Roediger 
by Seth Sandronsky

David Roediger, professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a scholar of critical whiteness studies, delivered a talk titled "The Dilemmas of Popular Front Antiracism: Looking at The House I Live In" on November 17 at the Marxist School of Sacramento. After screening this WW II film that stars Frank Sinatra, Roediger discussed what it tells us about the limits of anti-racisms that imagine we can subordinate justice to unity. He connected the film to the themes of his recent book Working Toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Became White. Roediger's research interests include race and class in the United States, and the history of U.S. radicalism. Among his books are, Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and The Working Day (with Philip S. Foner), The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class, Towards the Abolition of Whiteness, Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past, and History Against Misery (Charles H. Kerr)....(full interview)

Pharma to Republicans: Time to Pay Up Again 
by Evelyn J. Pringle

The generation of children injured by vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal is now reaching puberty. Many of these children will require life-long care and support. The cost to their parents by today's standards will reportedly exceed $2 million dollars for each child. An ever-growing number of health care professionals point to thimerosal as the culprit behind the explosion in cases of autism and other neurological disorders. The only common thread connecting these damaged children to one another is their exposure to mercury through childhood immunizations. Accountability from vaccine makers is something that parents of injured children have been seeking for years; but accountability appears more illusive with each year's passage. On October 27 2005, the Hartford Courant reported: "Congress is considering a bill that would allow the government to order that vaccines be given to every U.S. citizen in a national emergency, even if a vaccine has previously harmed some people." The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005 (S 1873), is being pushed through Congress without giving voters the chance to make their objections known to their elected officials....(full article)

Capitalism Has Been Tried and it just Doesn’t Work 
by Dennis Rahkonen

With Delphi and GM announcing a combined elimination of over 50,000 industrial jobs, it’s hard to go on believing that much-glorified “free enterprise” is succeeding. The system we were all propagandized during our school years to think of as the world’s best is looking terribly flawed today. And it’s not just the massive losses of good employment -- supplanted by low paying service work where folks often well beyond teen age “manufacture” curly fries and mushroom burgers at strip malls -- that makes the picture so bleak. It’s people who toiled all their lives, who are approaching retirement, finding that the company pensions they were promised have vanished. While corporate CEOs receive salaries measured in the millions of dollars. It’s senior citizens beset by poor eyesight and hearing, plus cognitive failures, being  forced into impossibly confusing prescription drug “coverage” that can wind up costing them more rather than less. Nothing so compellingly makes the case for real, affordable, national healthcare as this convoluted travesty! It’s approaching supermarket checkouts and routinely finding coffee cans with pitiful, hand-written pleas for donations for destitute souls without insurance who are afflicted by serious disease. Spaghetti feeds to fund the hospital bills of fellow citizens with cancer are a crushing indictment of the American Way.  Meanwhile, our entire culture is mired in sleaze and corruption....(full article)

The FEMA Scheme-a; Or, The Unrepentant Consultant
by Walter Brasch

Clutching a bag of nails in one hand and wielding a hammer in the other, Marshbaum broke out of semi-retirement and into my office. It could mean only one thing. “I’m going to be rich!” In the three decades I have known my faux friend, he always had a scheme for how to live the affluent life of a no-talent pop celebrity. He did extremely well on the first part of it. Now and then, he came up with a scheme that brought him a comfortable living -- until his next scheme drained him of his savings. But, at least he was persistent. “What’s it this time?” I yawned, knowing that for the next 20 minutes I wasn’t going to get any work done. “The Gulf Coast!” he declared. “I’m headed South. Gonna take care of houses. Planning to become rich from the government! Halliburton/KBR got up to a half billion. Bechtel, Fluor, Dewbury, and something named CH2M each got $100 million. Their profits are bigger than the oil companies.” Without missing a beat, he added, “This will guarantee me a home in Pacific Palisades.”....(full article)

Rev. Pat Robertson: Dead End or No End in Sight?
by Bill Berkowitz

Criticism Rev. Pat Robertson received after advocating the assassination of Hugo Chavez has hurt him, but will it mark the end of his political influence? (full article)

Ongoing Quest for the Many Manifestations of Bigfoot
Review and Commentary on Mike Palecek's Latest Novel

by Jason Miller

“George Bush is a liar AND a loose gun for hire.” I found it so refreshing to read these affirmations of truth on the cover of Mike Palecek's latest novel, Looking for Bigfoot. Palecek's "irreverent" novel is a potent attack on almost everything which is perverse, depraved, immoral, and malevolent about the US government and the society which it creates and perpetuates (through the public education system and its subservient corporate media). The search for Bigfoot, which the novel's protagonist Jack Robert King undertakes, is a metaphorical quest for the truth behind the deteriorating facade of the United States as a benevolent superpower which spreads freedom and liberty around the globe. Mike Palecek knows a bit about dissent and, to his credit, is an "enemy of the (corrupt and tyrannical) state." He has been crusading to find and expose the truth for years as a journalist, editor and writer. At one point, the rulers of the "land of the free" held him as a prisoner of conscience at seven different federal prisons for the non-violent civil disobedience he carried out against their sacrosanct military industrial complex. Yes, Mike Palecek is an enemy to that soulless coalition of the wealthy elite, corporate interests, pro-Israeli forces, powerful lobbyists, and conservative Christians who hold most of the power in the United States. They despise gadflies like Palecek, who challenge their perpetual lies and obscene immoral abuses of the public trust, domestic law, international law, and human rights. Flag Wavers and "True Patriots" will not enjoy this read....(full article)

A News Revolution Has Begun
by John Pilger

The Indian writer Vandana Shiva has called for an "insurrection of subjugated knowledge". The insurrection is well under way. In trying to make sense of a dangerous world, millions of people are turning away from the traditional sources of news and information and to the World Wide Web, convinced that mainstream journalism is the voice of rampant power. The great scandal of Iraq has accelerated this. In the United States, several senior broadcasters have confessed that had they challenged and exposed the lies told about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, instead of amplifying and justifying them, the invasion might not have happened....(full article)

November 23

No Home for the Holidays: Stop Evictions of Katrina Evacuees
by Bill Quigley

Sabrina Robinson lived her whole life in New Orleans. When Katrina and the floodwaters hit her house, she and her three children swam to a dry bridge where they lived for 2 days. “We watched people die,” said Ms. Robinson.  Now her family and 52 other families from New Orleans face eviction from the Houston apartment complex where they lived for the last month. Tens of thousands of other Katrina evacuees also face holiday evictions....
(full article)

Thanksgiving: Holidays on the Taxes of Evil 
by Julie Webb-Pullman

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, when North Americans contemplate their previous year’s good fortune and begin planning for their "holiday season." Knowing how much they have on their plate at this time of year, poor things, I thought I might lighten their load a little, and suggest some alluring destinations to make this a most memorable vacation. The biggest temptation of these hot destinations is that they are already paid for -- courtesy of the US taxpayer!....(full itinerary)  

Give Thanks No More: It’s Time for a National Day of Atonement
by Robert Jensen

One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting. In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas. Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits -- which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States....(full article)

Tax Cuts are a Real Turkey for the Economy
by Liz Stanton

On Thanksgiving Day, families across the country will sit down to turkey dinners and contemplate what they have to be thankful for. One blessing that everybody needs is a good job -- or jobs, in this day and age -- to put bread on the family table. President Bush agrees that creating good jobs is a priority. He has repeatedly promised that his large-scale tax cuts will grow the economy and create new jobs. So should families planning their Thanksgiving feasts be giving thanks to the tax cuts for having created a plethora of new jobs? (full article)

Terror Against the Biosphere
by Moti Nissani

The most unforgivable act of terror, in my view, is the one that robs us of that dream. And yet, the USA is doing just that. When it comes to the global environment, the USA recklessly imperils the physical and biological foundations of life itself. It is precisely this recklessness which may turn this former bastion of liberty into the most hated country in history. The war against the biosphere is carried out on a very broad front, including over-population, nuclear and biological weaponry, nuclear power, depletion of the ozone layer, and massive species extinctions. Here, I can only exemplify this onslaught by highlighting the ramifications and underpinnings of just one environmental crime: the greenhouse effect (=global warming)....(full article)

Without Bold Action America Will Relive
the Influenza Pandemic of 1918
by Gene C. Gerard

Last week President Bush promoted his program to prepare America for a bird flu pandemic at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. In his comments Mr. Bush noted, “If history is our guide there’s reason to be concerned.” In fact, the influenza pandemic of 1918 is a model for what we are likely to face with the bird flu. And unless the Bush administration responds more boldly we will relive the 1918 pandemic, only this time it will be worse. The pandemic of 1918 is believed to have killed 675,000 Americans, more than the American casualties of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam combined. It’s estimated that the current flu strain would kill millions of Americans. Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, has called the bird flu pandemic “the single greatest risk to our world today.” Considering the potential fatalities, the $7.1 billion that Mr. Bush has requested to combat a potential pandemic is woefully inadequate....(full article)

An Open Letter to The Nation Magazine:
The Damage Wrought by Katrina

by John Walsh

The Nation declares (posted November 9): "We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign." This is too little, too late and lacks the apologies that are in order. The statement is too little. First of all, "a speedy end" is the key phrase here, so important that it is repeated verbatim two paragraphs later and again on the blog site of editor, Katrina Vanden Heuvel. The Nation does not call for "immediate and total withdrawal," thus leaving the door open to permanent occupation or another year or more of killing while discussions of “exit strategies” drag on, as R. Feingold and other "courageous" Democrats propose. Contrast this with Cindy Sheehan's simple and powerful declaration: "Not one more." There is a world of difference between the two statements, a difference which gives treacherous, pro-war Dems the wiggle room they need. Or compare The Nation's timid wording with the large headline blazoned across the cover of the American Conservative not so long ago: "We do not need an exit strategy. We need an exit." And the question must also be asked, will The Nation support non-Democratic candidates, like Independent/Green/Libertarian Kevin Zeese, a colleague of Ralph Nader, who is running for Senator from Maryland on an unequivocal anti-war platform? (full article)

Thanksgiving Delayed: Texas High Court Blesses Excellence
and Inequality
by Greg Moses

“Next year Lord we’d love to give thanks for everybody’s freedom and equality, but in the meantime please accept our appreciation for the fact that after you adjust for race and class, some of our kids seem not too pulled down by impossible situations. Such was the blessing spoken by the Texas Supreme Court this week as justices released a long-awaited school funding decision just in time for the American Winter Holiday Season. To the wealthier school districts of Texas (known as the West Orange Cove plaintiffs) the court granted permission to raise local tax rates in behalf of ‘educational excellence’ in all the right neighborhoods. To the rest of us, the court explained how the structure of funding in Texas does not make it impossible for poor districts to keep themselves accredited, and therefore the urgent pleadings from the poor districts for more support cannot be expected to rise to the level of constitutional concern....(full article)

Thanksgiving Day Fast for Peace
by Gary Steven Corseri

The holiday season is upon us. The preposition is apt.  We are not in the season, not even in the spirit of the season, but we feel it upon us, like a nightmare chimera. Many feel oppressed and depressed by it. We struggle for more light. Perhaps it’s better to call it the shopping season. It starts with softening up the kids -- sending them out to beg, threaten or run “tricks” for sugar. A day that used to acknowledge the dead and the chthonic forces that help shape our lives, ends with kids computing who had the most money to buy the best costume. Meantime, their parents gear up for Thanksgiving gorging.  They may remember their own school daze -- that it has something to do with the pilgrims and getting through the first hard winters -- but nobody really cares.  Few remember the “Indians” who got us through those winters, whom we summarily rewarded with slaughter and expropriation. Yet it is precisely to remember, to commemorate, that holidays are declared....(full article)

An Occupation Worth Applauding: Celebrate Un-Thanksgiving
by Mickey Z.

Until the federal penitentiary was closed in 1963, Alcatraz Island was a place most folks tried to leave. On Nov. 20, 1969, the island's image underwent a drastic makeover. That was the day thousands of American Indians began an occupation that would last until June 11, 1971. The 1973 armed occupation of Wounded Knee along with the siege at the Pine Ridge Reservation one year later (which led directly to the incarceration of Leonard Peltier) are etched deeper in the public consciousness in terms of recent Indian history, but is was the Alcatraz Island occupation that ushered in a new era of Native American activism....(full article)

Pagan Thanks Given
by Mary La Rosa

In reflection of the holiday and the state of the Republic, and  written in remembrance of the Pagan Cluster giving out seeds at a NYC Peace Demonstration....(full poem)

November 21

On John Murtha's Position
by Gilbert Achcar and Stephen R. Shalom

There is much of which to approve in the recent speech of Rep. John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, on Iraq. The hawkish Murtha had been critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war for some time, but until now his solution had been to call for more troops. On November 17, however, he recognized courageously that U.S. troops "can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME." . . . . Nevertheless, the anti-war movement needs to be careful not to confuse Murtha's position with its own....(full article)

Getting Out of Iraq
by Norman Solomon

Thanksgiving week began with the New York Times noting that “all of Washington is consumed with debate over the direction of the war in Iraq.” The debate -- long overdue -- is a serious blow to the war makers in Washington, but the U.S. war effort will go on for years more unless the antiwar movement gains sufficient momentum to stop it. A cliché goes that war is too important to be left to the generals. But a more relevant assessment is that peace is too vital to be left to pundits and members of Congress -- people who have overwhelmingly dismissed the option of swiftly withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq....(full article)

Democratic Hawks: The Avian Flu of the Antiwar Movement
by Joshua Frank

Democratic Representative John Murtha, a veteran war hawk who championed the Iraq invasion from its inception, announced at a teary-eyed press conference that he wished to withdraw the nearly 160,000 US troops in Iraq “at the earliest predictable date.” Recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans agree with Murtha’s call to pull out US forces, which wasn’t even close to an “out-now” proposition. Regardless, the Democrats took cover as Rep. Murtha began making headlines with his remarks....
(full article)

Eyes on US Troops in Paraguay as Bolivian Election Nears
by Benjamin Dangl

The recent shift to the left among Latin American governments has been a cause for concern in the Bush administration. The White House has tried in vain to put this shift in check. Presidential elections in Bolivia on December 18th are likely to further challenge U.S. hegemony. Evo Morales, an indigenous, socialist congressman, is expected to win the election. How far will the U.S. go to prevent a leftist victory in Bolivia? Some Bolivians fear the worst. In the past year, U.S. military operations in neighboring Paraguay have complicated the already tumultuous political climate in the region. White House officials claim the operations are based on humanitarian aid efforts. However, political analysts in Bolivia and Paraguay say the activity is aimed at securing the region’s gas and water reserves and intervening in Bolivia if Morales wins....(full article)

Hugo Chavez and the Crawford Madman 
by Mike Whitney

Hugo Chavez seems to take great pleasure in tweaking George Bush’s nose. He’s repeatedly called Bush a “terrorist” and disparaged the US as a “terrorist state.” Just last week, Chavez fired off another broadside saying, “The planet’s most serious danger is the government of the United States . . . The people of the United States are being governed by a killer, a genocidal murderer, and a madman.” He got that right. For liberals and leftists Chavez’s fiery salvos have been a welcome respite from the weak-kneed groveling of congressional Democrats and the congratulatory purring of media brownnosers. So far, the Venezuelan president has been the only leader on the world stage to state the obvious, that Bush and his maniacal group of liars, carpetbaggers, and war criminals are savaging the planet and putting millions at risk....(full article)

The Notion of the “Jewish State” as an “Apartheid Regime”
is a Liberal-Zionist One 
by Gary Zatzman 

Many activists in the highly just cause of the Palestinians have been drawing comparisons between the regimen of bantustans and separate laws imposed on the native population by the tiny apartheid white-racist minority's regime in South Africa between 1948 and 1991 and the "legal" regime by which the Zionists' regulatory authorities at all levels -- up to the Knesset/legislature and the Cabinet/executive, as well as throughout the armed forces -- have continued to secure their own presence and dominance by extending their control over every possible aspect of Palestinians' lives. Although not identical, the colonialist and racist pedigrees and impacts of each system of oppression are structurally comparable. However, whereas the solution in South Africa always turned upon finding some new form of state in which majority rule would prevail and white-racist privilege be finally extirpated, the cause of Palestine entails eliminating the Zionist junta's so-called "Jewish state" of European-American colonialist privilege and restoring to the Palestinians what the Zionists stole. How does disabling the racist provisions of the laws and regulations of the State of Israel, and reforming the "Jewish-only" element to become fully inclusive of the entire population, bring the Palestinians any closer to restoring what the Zionists stole? (full article)

The Congressional Millionaires Club
by Charles Sullivan

There is little reason for anyone to be confused by the events leading up to the unraveling of America. All one has to do is ignore the rhetoric and simply follow the money to reveal the hidden mechanisms that are operating the American government. In what can realistically only be described as a form of legalized bribery, it is well known that wealth buys access to power. In a nutshell: those with money have access to power that those without money do not. In a society divided by socioeconomic class, the result is that the average American working family has little representation in government. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (November 2004), the mean annual income across all occupations in the United States is $37,440. Contrast this figure with the income of the people elected to serve in Congress. There are 435 members in the House of Representatives. Of that number 123 had at least $1 million incomes. As bad as this is, the disparity in the Senate is far greater....(full article)

Higgs Bazooms
by Peter Kurth

Surely the funniest “religion” story of recent days involves the Rev. Pat Robertson -- televangelist, former presidential candidate, right-wing nutcase, would-be assassin of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and host of the immensely popular Christian TV show, The 700 Club. On November 11, Robertson warned the town of Dover, Pennsylvania, that they shouldn’t count on “God” if and when calamity strikes them. Why? Because the residents of Dover had the temerity to toss out of office eight public school board members who favored the teaching of “intelligent design” next to evolution in science classes. Maybe you heard this story already -- maybe not. It’s worth repeating, not just for its comic value, but because it’s so expressive of the way these “Christians” think....(full article)

Bobcats in a Brave New World
by Sheila Samples

Goodness gracious! Henny Penny! Since Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney teamed up to lead the charge to create a New World Order, the whole universe has become untidy. Very untidy. My friend Bernie says Dick and Rummy's big plan to take over the world by waging continuous war is kinda like baptizing a bobcat -- ain't gonna happen. “You can't hold him,” Bernie said. “You can't turn him loose. All you can do is jump up and down and run around in circles with your hands around his neck and hope you can choke him to death before he tears you to pieces.” And that's just in Iraq. We've got miles to go before we sleep in a brand New World. There we are, sandwiched between a gigantic Iran and a tiny Syria, both of whom have been warned that they're next on George Bush's list of countries to receive his gift of freedom and democracy. Will Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yell, “Hold the Mayo!” and take a bite out of Bush's ass, or will he back off in an effort to salvage his standing with the European Union that was badly damaged as a result of his “Wipe Israel off the map” comment? (full article)

November 20

Willie Pete and the Theo-logicians of Empire 
by Lila Rajiva

The distant horror of roasting human beings alive translated comfortingly into a kitchen smell. It was the characteristic smell of garlic that betrayed the mushroom clouds over Fallujah as the dissemination of white phosphorus. And I mean dis-semen-ation. One soldier said, “I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon, it's known as Willie Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies; in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone. ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 meters is done for.”  The inevitability with which white phosphorus is dis-semen-ated abroad under the fond nick-name, Willie Pete, a nickname from Vietnam Body-melt and bawdy-talk.  Let no one overlook the pornography of this war. The imperial member flaunts itself over the dismemberment of a city. Willie Pete. Also called Whisky PapaLet no one overlook the phallocentrism of this war....(full article)

Democrats Get Mugged on the Floor of the House
by Mike Whitney

It will be a while before they clear away the carnage from the floor of the House of Representatives, but the mighty birds are already circling overhead eyeballing the carrion below. Last night, the Democratic Party, that rudderless, ideologically challenged coterie of losers and sycophants, killed whatever chance they may have had of leading the country out of the Iraqi nightmare. In a grossly lopsided vote of 403 to 3 the Democrats helped to defeat a bill that demanded the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Their vote ignores the 63% of Americans that want to see a speedy exit from Iraq and it strengthens the Republican agenda of open-ended support for the President. In the process, they further disgraced the one man who towered above the wretched chatter of beltway politics and defended the soldiers dying in the field, John Murtha....(full article)

Better Working Conditions Lead to Better Economy
by Don Monkerud

Which states are better for business? Colorado and Montana, which received a top rating from the CATO Institute? Idaho and North Carolina, which had the best metro areas in Forbes’ annual rating of Best Places for Business and Careers? Or is it South Dakota or Florida where the Tax Foundation found the most tax friendly climates? Compared to this confusing and contradictory listing of business-friendly states, the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst recently completed a study, "Decent Work in America," to compare the treatment of workers with the overall business climate in each state. Viewed in this light, Delaware, New Hampshire and Minnesota rank at the top, while the bottom includes Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. Additionally, PERI discovered that states with better working environments have higher economic growth and lower poverty rates, while states with poor working environments have slower economic growth and higher poverty rates....(full article)

Searching for Journalistic Integrity
by Charles Sullivan

The Concord naturalist and writer Henry Thoreau had a great disdain for the news -- especially that conveyed in the newspapers of his time. Thoreau never read a newspaper and he was critical of anyone who did. Thoreau refused to profane his mind with the muck and slime of the daily news, especially as it related to commerce. Being a critical thinker, Thoreau was deeply suspicious of anything that appeared in the newspapers. Thoreau gave us the literary masterpieces Walden, Civil Disobedience and fourteen volumes of superlative journals. Civil Disobedience has inspired political movements around the world. Both Martin Luther King and Gandhi were inspired to action by Thoreau’s powerful political essays. There were many others. Thoreau stated somewhere in the fourteen volumes of his journals: “The first rule of literary composition is to speak the truth.” In a nutshell this sums up the ethical obligation of journalism. Nothing more needs to be added or taken away....(full article)

November 18

Brent Scowcroft Talks Turkey
Sibel Edmonds Fights Fascism
by John Stanton

The Sibel Edmonds v. Department of Justice saga continues as the year 2005 draws to a close. The only breaking news to come from the ongoing drama is the implication, published in Vanity Fair, that Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of US Representatives, was the recipient of campaign contributions and assorted bribes from the Turkish-American community. That another US politician is on the take comes as no surprise. But more on that later. Sibel’s story may have quietly died from the suffocating oppression of the US government had it not been for very recent revelations that the US sanctions and operates interrogation/torture facilities in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s and Vice President Dick Cheney’s New Europe (Poland, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, etc.). While the buzz is all around the Plame-Wilson-Libby-Woodward-Rove-Hadley affair, and the lies that got the US into Iraq again, the real news is that military and non-military torture chambers stretching from Mexico to Asia have become standard operating procedure for the US. Further, the response of official Washington to the torture expose was not disgust, but a call to prosecute the whistleblower that leaked the awful news....
(full article)

Money for Napalm but Not for Food Stamps
by Mike Whitney

The Republican dominated House passed a five-year budget plan in the early hours of Friday morning which savages programs for the poor, college students and disease control. The bill tosses 220,000 people off food stamps, allow states to jack up the cost of co-payments for poor Medicaid beneficiaries, squeeze students with loans, and cut aid to child-support programs. Republican’s felt they were being magnanimous when they dumped a provision that would have “denied free school lunches to about 40,000 children whose parents would lose their food stamps.” The milk of human kindness flows from the Republican Congress like blood from a turnip. Let’s be clear, the Food stamps program only provides for an estimated 300,000 people. The new bill knocks 220,000 people off the program, leaving a paltry 80,000 still qualifying for assistance. Is 80,000 the maximum number of people we can feed in the richest country on earth?! Meanwhile, we are spending $6 billion a month to kill Iraqis in their homes and cities....(full article)

A GOP Scrooge Xmas
New War On The Poor to Accommodate the Wealthiest 0.2%
by Brian McAfee

In a shocking but nevertheless unsurprising maneuver, U.S. House Republicans are attempting to introduce a bill that will inflict serious hardship on the already precarious existence of the nation's 37 million poor. In a multi-pronged attack the Republicans have targeted the safety net that the nation's children and those living in poverty rely on....
(full article)

Sustainable, Free-Range Farms and Other Tall Tales:
Factory Farming’s Not the Problem -- It's Animal Farming
by Lee Hall

Large health care corporations are doing it. Trendy groceries are doing it.  Environmental advocacy groups are doing it. Suddenly, it’s all the rage to tout animal-based farming that’s sustainable and healthful. . . . What if we took such models of agribusiness seriously? We’d still be in a heap of trouble. Of course, the heap would be spread about over a lot more pasture.....
(full article)

Abe Osheroff: On the Joys and Risks of Living Authentically
in the Empire 

by Robert Jensen

Abe Osheroff is a heroic figure, but he isn’t my hero. Osheroff is far too engaging, and engaged, to consign to such a fate.  Heroes tend to live under glass, removed from intimacy with the people and world around them; Osheroff remains in close contact with his world. Another problem with heroes: It can be hard to argue with them, and I can’t imagine giving up the pleasure of arguing with Osheroff. Osheroff certainly could play the hero if he liked. At age 90, he’s participated in some of the most important political moments and movements of the 20th century -- from fighting with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, to the U.S. civil rights struggles in the segregated South in the 1960s, to the contemporary antiwar movement. And he’s right out of central casting for the role of the aging-radical-who-never-gives-up: The white-haired rascal who moves seamlessly between passionate political analysis and anecdotes of past struggles, all in his gravely Brooklyn-accented speech peppered with enough profanity to set off a fire alarm....(full article)

November 16

The Debate About Factory Takeovers:
Venezuelan Workers Manage Idle Factories Themselves
by Sarah Hines

The Venezuelan government is currently investigating over 700 closed enterprises, evaluating them for their suitability for worker takeovers via government expropriation. Chávez urged workers to consider their project as part of a larger one to improve the lives of all Venezuelans. “We haven't expropriated Cumanacoa and Sideroca for their workers just to help them become rich people the day after tomorrow,” he said. “This has not been done just for them -- it is to help make everyone wealthy.” While Chavez said that Venezuela is approaching a “post-capitalist society,” he urged people to be patient. “We cannot speed up,” he said. “We cannot drive ourselves crazy. We must be conscious that this is a process with a far-off deadline. This has always been the case.” Yet there are many in the workers’ movement who oppose this gradualist approach, and in many cases, workers are not waiting for the government to confirm expropriation before occupying and running idle factories....(full article)

The Senate Agrees to Imprisonment Without Charges
by Mike Whitney

How can the Senate vote to ban habeas corpus?! It makes no sense at all. It’s like voting for an end to freedom. And, yet, this is exactly what happened on Friday, November 11, when the Senate passed the (Lindsay) Graham amendment, which overturns an earlier Supreme Court ruling (Rasul vs. Bush) allowing Guantanamo detainees to challenge their imprisonment in federal court. By a 49 to 42 margin the Senate approved the measure, which effectively deprives them of the right to know why they are being held or of any legal means to defend themselves. None of the Guantanamo inmates have ever been charged with a crime. The Senate vote ensures that they never will....(full article)

Hope is for the Weak: The Challenge of a Broken World
by Robert Jensen

[Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Austin, TX, November 13, 2005] My title this morning -- “Hope is for the Weak: The Challenge of a Broken World” -- may seem unnecessarily harsh. After all, hope is an enduring feature of our species, something people search for (often quite desperately) and hang onto (usually quite tightly). For guidance, we tend to look to those people who have hope, not to those who have forsaken it. How can this hope be weakness? It also may seem unnecessarily rude to come into a church with such a message, given that churches are major traffickers in hope. I suppose one could even take “hope is for the weak” to be a critique of preachers who deal hope, most effusively as they pass the collection plate. Well, I intend to be harsh, but not rude. There is no reason to fear harshness; in fact, at this moment, we need to be harsher than ever because more than ever we need to love deeply. Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement was fond of quoting a line from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams.”....(full article)

The Turning Point?
by Lucinda Marshall

There have been a couple of encouraging signs of sanity lately that make me wonder if we've finally hit rock bottom and begun to see the light. I say that very cautiously, fully realizing that after the siege of the last five years, this could be grasping at straws. But hopefully they are the straws that break the proverbial camel's back. First, there was the crystal clear message sent by voters in last week's election, a slam-dunk vote of no confidence. That is not an illusion because right on the heels of the election, Congressional Republicans are frantically re-thinking their budget cuts after the realization set in that they all of a sudden might not be able to get away with slashing out the heart of basic social services....(full article)

Edwards Recants War Vote, Suggests First Step
to Iraq Exit: Remove US Corporate Interests

by Kevin Zeese

Former Senator John Edwards, who ran for Vice President with John Kerry, has sent an e-mail to his supporters saying “It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002.” The e-mail, which was published as a column in The Washington Post, admits: “Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003.” The vote was based on “flawed” and “manipulated” intelligence. Edwards believes the world needs “moral leadership” but that the United States cannot play that role until it tells the truth and that includes accepting responsibility when “we've made mistakes or been proven wrong.” Most of Edward’s statement examines how the U.S. can extricate itself from Iraq. And, he puts forward -- as a first step toward fixing the mess in Iraq -- the withdrawal of U.S. corporate interests from Iraq. Edwards says: “we need to remove the image of the imperialist America from the landscape of Iraq. American contractors who have taken unfair advantage of the turmoil in Iraq need to leave Iraq. If that means Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, then KBR should go. Such departures, and the return of the work to Iraqi businesses, would be a real statement about our hopes for the new nation.”....(full article)

Sacramento City Council Votes for Withdrawal From Iraq
by Dan Bacher

The Sacramento City Council, by an 8 to 1 vote on November 1, called for “a humane, orderly, rapid and comprehensive withdrawal of United States military personnel and bases from Iraq.” The Council also asked Congress and President Bush to deliver “promised veterans’ health, education, disability, and rehabilitation benefits, and otherwise meet the needs of returning veterans.” Sacramento, joins a growing list of cities, including Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia, calling for withdrawal. California’s capital city is the second community in the Central Valley after Davis to support an anti-war resolution....(full article)

November 15

An Open Letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
by Jim Glover

Dear SLPD: 
In your editorial of November 12, you continue to beat up on military whistleblower Jimmy Massey, who had the temerity to point out that our brave men and women in uniform in Iraq might not be acting as humanely as our mythology would have them do. You conclude by congratulating yourself as follows:  Absolute truth is hard to come by, but as the bloggers bloviate and the blowhards blow, good reporters and good newspapers are out there digging. Really? Perhaps, then, you could answer a few questions that have been bothering me about good newspapers....(full article)

Bush Team Has Good Reason To Worry 
by Evelyn J. Pringle

In its systematic and concerted effort to portray a link between Saddam and bin Laden, the White House propaganda team was so successful that a poll conducted in late 2002 showed that over half of the people polled believed that Saddam was connected to 9/11. While that may have been great news for the home team back then, the problem for Bush today is that he is never going to get 50% of Americans to erase their memory of all the statements that were made, and believe the line that members of the administration never said anything to make people think that Saddam was involved in 9/11....(full article)

Rediscovered Testimony Given by CIA Director in 2001
Suggests Manipulation of Pre-war Intelligence
by Jason Leopold

President George W. Bush’s attempt Friday to silence critics who say his administration manipulated prewar intelligence on Iraq is undercut by congressional testimony given in February 2001 by former CIA Director George Tenet, who said that Iraq posed no immediate threat to the United States or other countries in the Middle East, Dissident Voice has found. Details of Tenet’s testimony have not been reported before....(full article)

Unpacking the Slogan: “Support Our Troops”
by T. Patrick Donovan

Long before this past Veteran's Day, in fact long before the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the idea that antiwar activists had to somehow include support for our troops as part of the package of their antiwar agitations was being promulgated. Indeed, the seeds of this convoluted idea were planted during the Vietnam War, most especially with the archetypal and apocryphally conjoined images of returning U.S. veterans being called baby-killers and then being spat upon. Never again, the powers-that-be vowed. (See H. Bruce Franklin's Vietnam and Other American Fantasies, for a thorough debunking of this myth.) With the war against Iraq these seeds have blossomed into weeds that are in danger of choking off real, anti-imperialist opposition to this war and to the wars that are set to bleed beyond the borders of Iraq....(full article)

Off She Goes: Hillary Clinton’s Big Jaunt to Israel
by Joshua Frank

There is really is no way of getting around it. Senator Hillary Clinton may well be future presidential material after all. Senator Clinton, along with her husband Bill, paid a visit to Israel this past weekend. The former President Clinton was a featured speaker at a mass rally that marked the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. It was Hillary’s second visit to Israel since she was elected to office in 2000. In fact, I think the senator has visited Israel more times in the past four years than she’s been to visit her constituents where I reside here in Upstate New York....(full article)

Trying to Look the Reality of Female Suicide Bombers in the Eye
by Sam Husseini

Reports have it that Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman, attempted to blow up wedding celebrators, passerbyers and herself at the Radisson Hotel in Amman last Thursday. The Associated Press is reporting that her brother Thamer al-Rishawi "was killed during a U.S. assault on Fallujah in April 2004, when an air-to-ground missile hit his pickup as he was driving wounded people to a hospital, according to Ramadi residents speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from militants." There are lots of reasons to doubt virtually every bit of information one gets from the mainstream media, particularly in situations like these -- including the implication that the above-cited sources do not fear retribution from U.S. militants and their proxies. But if the AP's words bear a resemblance to the actual facts, this case would have some similarities to the that of Hanadi Jaradat....(full article)

The Corporate Media’s Threat to Freedom
by Mike Whitney

Confidence in the media has never been lower. A broad section of the public doesn’t believe anything they read in the papers nor do they see reporters as impartial observers of world events. This should be no great surprise. The model of a privately owned media ensures that the facts are massaged to suit ownership,; a practice that inevitably undermines credibility. The marriage between the media and the state increases the danger to the public interests. This is especially true when the media becomes a marketing tool for the government, promoting its vastly unpopular wars, its attacks on the social safety net, and its vicious assault on civil liberties. The media has become an adversary to the people it is supposed to serve. It now functions exclusively as a weapon in the imperial arsenal; exalting the state and its wartime agenda, while savaging the institutions of democracy and personal liberty. Its role as state-propagandist is conspicuous in everything from its blind devotion to the president to its obfuscation of facts that discredit the administration. If we consider a few of the critical stories the mainstream media suppressed, we get a clearer idea of its overall agenda....(full article)

November 14

Darkness Over Empire
by Kim Petersen 

Why is it that the US military's use of napalm in Fallujah is a surprise? It does symbolize whopping moral hypocrisy in that the US government insisted the casus belli for invading Iraq was that country’s asserted possession of weapons of mass destruction; so what does the US military do? Is uses the self-same weapons on Iraqi civilians: napalm is a banned chemical weapon. But hypocrisy drenched in evil is not new to US politicos, nor was it new to history’s miscreants. Adolf Hitler in his Mein Kampf wrote: “… the world will be governed by the law of natural distribution of power, and then those nations will be victorious who are of more brutal will and are not the nations who have practiced self-denial.” The US embodies this pre-Straussian philosophy close to its breast. It is for the world to see, as the US regime continues to pressure Iran and northern Korea over their alleged nuclear intentions while defying nuclear treaties, upgrading their own nuclear arsenal, and ignoring the possession of nuclear weapons by US client states such as Israel....(full article) 

Nonviolence on Veterans Day?
by Greg Moses

Veterans Day reminds us of the price we pay for failing to do better in the nonviolence department. If heroism is an archetype of Veterans Day, so is abject loss of life; death come knocking; lives and loves interrupted forever. War on film may be a stage for heroic character, and on-screen killings might provide certain air-conditioned thrills, but war lived through is horror by the second, and the sight of an authentic human body etches the mind. Veterans Day therefore is a most logical time to decide that we can create better arts of peace....(full article)

Enemies of Democracy
by Ken Sanders

In yet another disturbing example of our leaders' contempt for such antiquated notions as democracy and the rule of law, on November 10, 2005, the U.S. Senate voted to prevent suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay from challenging their detentions. The Senate's decision (which will surely be adopted by the facile House) would eviscerate the 2004 Supreme Court decision which held that the detention centers at Guantanamo were not outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law. As a result of the Senate's vote, Guantanamo detainees would no longer be able to challenge the very basis for their detention. In other words, they would no longer be entitled to demand that the U.S. demonstrate that it has good reason (hell, any reason) to suspect an individual of terrorist activity. Detainees, who are only suspected of terrorism, would no longer have access to any legal proceedings (not even the sham proceedings they are currently afforded) in order to demand some kind of legal and factual foundation for the allegations leveled against them....(full article)

The Magic Words
by Patricia Goldsmith

In a Washington Post article discussing last Tuesday’s election, I finally heard the magic words I’ve been waiting years to hear: “It’s not just that they lost these elections,” said Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin, “but that none of their old tricks worked that they’ve relied on to give them the edge in close contests.” A Republican representative from Virginia, Thomas M. Davis III, put it more emphatically, declaring that the GOP’s cultural wedge issues “are just blowing up” in the suburbs. “You play to your rural base, you pay a price.” Sweet! And about time....(full article)

Dover Bitch: Robertson Curses Pennsylvanian Citizens
for Voting Against Intelligent Design
by Lila Rajiva

On Thursday, conservative televangelist Pat Robertson ranted on his daily television show, the 700 Club, that citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania who ousted a school board that tried to introduce intelligent design to high school science students should be prepared for God’s wrath. He suggested that they pray to Charles Darwin for help. Robertson considers himself a Constitutionalist. Perhaps he should set up an altar to Hamilton, Madison and the rest when the next hijacked plane hurtles toward Virginia....(full article)

Suing the War Party
by Ahmed Amr

For the last two years, the Plame case has slowly inched its way through the obstructionist mine fields planted by the Bush administration and the New York Times. Granted, the indictment of Lewis Libby is an encouraging sign that the rule of law still applies to one and all -- at least when Patrick Fitzgerald is on the case. That said, neither Libby nor anyone else has yet to be convicted of any crime. Even if the Pollard treatment was properly administered to Libby and he was made to rot in jail for the rest of his natural life -- it would not begin to account for the enormity of the criminal activities that went into launching this war of choice. When the history of this neocon enterprise is finally written, the outing of Valerie Plame will appear to be nothing more than a minor tangential detail in a much larger conspiracy. Libby was by no means a lone wolf and, in the final analysis, the betrayal of a CIA agent was merely a crime to cover up another crime -- the systematic corruption of intelligence to make a case for an illegal war. So far, the legal process has snared only one member of the cabal that engineered this unnecessary and very costly venture. If this is still America, the law will eventually catch up with Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George Bush and the assorted neo-con wizards responsible for this quagmire. Without minimizing the importance of the Plame case, allow me to suggest that we now have enough evidence available to prosecute a series of other crimes....(full article)

“We've Seen the Inner Workings and Felt the Consequences”:
Iraq War Vet Pat Resta Speaks Out About the War and Occupation

by Derek Seidman

Patrick Resta, 26, served as a combat medic in Iraq. His aunt and uncle were killed in the World Trade Center on September 11th and about three weeks later he was called to active duty as part of homeland security. Patrick is now with Iraq Veterans Against the War, and he spoke with Derek Seidman of Left Hook about his experience in Iraq, and the American anti-war movement....(full interview)

Veterans for Peace Roll with the Peace Train
by Susan Van Haitsma

Jewel Johnson, a 79-year-old US Navy veteran, is happiest piloting a dry-land rig.  His early fascination with trains led him to leave high school and work the railroad until he was drafted at age 18.  After the war, he earned a GED and went on to study the ministry. He was ordained in the Methodist Church and served as pastor of Evangelical & Reformed and United Church of Christ congregations before his retirement.  In the early 1990s, Mary Johnson was diagnosed with cancer, and Jewel Johnson cared for his wife throughout her treatment.  She survived. To ease his mind during his wife's illness, Johnson put himself to work. He took a riding mower and fashioned it into a miniature locomotive. Gradually he added cars.  He painted them and called his train The Happy Day Express. He painted messages on the sides of the cars -- statements such as a quotation from Pope Paul VI, made at the United Nations in 1965: "War Never Again."  A carved white dove holding a wire olive branch served as the cab's hood ornament.  Johnson's creation became known as the Peace Train....(full article)

Coalition Voices Opposition to Sharon in Canada
by Sonia Nettnin

The Coalition Against Israel’s War Crimes submitted a letter to Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Joe Volpe. The letter asks Volpe to prohibit Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is scheduled to address the United Jewish Communities 2005 General Assembly in Toronto on Nov. 14. An excerpt from the letter states that according to Canada’s domestic law, section 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act “…renders individuals guilty of committing war crimes or crimes against humanity inadmissible for entry.”....(full article)

November 11

(The Anti-Empire Report)
Bringing Orwell's Nightmare to Fruition
by William Blum

Bill Blum on Bird Flu and Capitalism;, the onward march of anti-communism; the case of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who confessed in a Saudi prison after apparently being tortured, to being involved in a plot to assassinate resident Bush; and the trial of Saddam Hussein....(full article)

Bin Laden Sitting In a Cave Laughing
by Evelyn J. Pringle

The war in Iraq is a miserable failure, any way you look at it.  Retired General Anthony Zinni, former commander of the US Central Command, had it right when he said that by manufacturing a false rationale for war, abandoning traditional allies, propping up and trusting Iraqi exiles, and failing to plan for post-war Iraq, Bush has made the US less secure, instead of safer. Osama himself could not have created the mess that Bush got us into, even if he had tried and he's probably sitting in his cave laughing his fool head off as we speak. By launching a war against a country that posed no real threat to anyone, Bush not only sabotaged bin Laden's capture, he destroyed our credibility all over the world.  As we recently witnessed with Katrina, by over-extending our forces, Bush has lessened our ability to respond to emergencies at home which means we can logically assume that he has lessened our ability to respond to an actual threat of terror should one arise....(full article)

November 10

The Rise of America's New Enemy
by John Pilger

I was dropped at Paradiso, the last middle-class area before barrio La Vega, which spills into a ravine as if by the force of gravity. Storms were forecast, and people were anxious, remembering the mudslides that took 20,000 lives. “Why are you here?” asked the man sitting opposite me in the packed jeep-bus that chugged up the hill. Like so many in Latin America, he appeared old, but wasn't. Without waiting for my answer, he listed why he supported President Chavez: schools, clinics, affordable food, “our constitution, our democracy” and “for the first time, the oil money is going to us.” I asked him if he belonged to the MRV, Chavez's party, “No, I've never been in a political party; I can only tell you how my life has been changed, as I never dreamt.” It is raw witness like this, which I have heard over and over again in Venezuela, that smashes the one-way mirror between the west and a continent that is rising. By rising, I mean the phenomenon of millions of people stirring once again, “like lions after slumber/In unvanquishable number,” wrote the poet Shelley in “The Mask of Anarchy.” This is not romantic; an epic is unfolding in Latin America that demands our attention beyond the stereotypes and clichés that diminish whole societies to their degree of exploitation and expendability....(full article)

Vulnerable Venezuela
by Bill Berkowitz

Since Hugo Chavez became President of Venezuela, Team Bush has done much to destabilize and isolate the Chavez government, as well as to demonize Chavez: A U.S.-backed coup in April 2002 failed to remove him, and a recall election -- during which the opposition received U.S. support, particularly from the National Endowment for Democracy -- was unsuccessful. (Since he came to power, Chavez has held eight elections, referendums and plebiscites.) Late last month, Israel acceded to U.S. demands that it put on hold, or cancel, a large arms deal it had brewing with Venezuela. In mid-September, President Bush issued “Presidential Determination No. 2005-36,” which branded Venezuela (and Burma) outlaw countries in the drug wars. Dan Feder, writing for The Narcosphere, a project of the Narco News Bulletin, characterized the president's decision as another component of the “Cubanization of Venezuela.”....(full article)

Believe What We Say, Not What We Do 
by Ken Sanders

Why shouldn't Bush and his henchmen operate under the assumption that we're too moronic to know when they're lying to our faces? So far, their assumption has been all-too-true. Iraq was involved in September 11. Iraq nearly obtained uranium from Niger. Abu Ghraib was the work of a few bad apples. They feed us dung, call it pate, and laugh as we eat it up. Take, for instance, the Bush administration's ongoing insistence that the U.S. does not engage in torture. As recently as November 7, 2005, despite the administration's vehement and open opposition to a Senate bill that would outlaw torture, Bush nonetheless declared (straight-faced and with all the appearances of sincerity), "We do not torture." Apparently, the administration believes that the word of our "straight-shooting" President is enough for most Americans. Sadly, they're right. Most Americans are far more willing to believe what the Bush administration says than what it does. If that were not the case, the nation would collectively shout, "LIARS!," descend upon Washington, and throw the bastards out of office. Instead, most of us, like the gullible dolts we are, take the administration at its word and blithely ignore the facts staring us in the face....(full article)

Lest We Forget
Talking Points

The Liberals’ Ridiculous Defense of President Bill Clinton
by Joshua Frank

It seems that liberals will go to any lengths in order to protect the sanctity of President Clinton’s legacy, and it is getting downright aggravating. Take Joshua Micah Marshall, the Ivy League liberal who publishes Talking Points Memo, an enormously popular online political blog with a pwog-centrist tilt, a la Eric Alterman. As Marshall recently wrote:  “[T]he president's defenders have fallen back on what has always been their argument of last resort -- cherry-picked quotes from Clinton administration officials arranged to give the misleading impression that the Clintonites said and thought the same thing about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as the Bushies did.” Yeah, you’re not the only one, it makes my head spin too. I’m not exactly sure how one can cherry-pick President Clinton’s 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which gave the US government the green light to whack Saddam for the slightest annoyance, whether fabricated or not. In fact, it was the former Iraq dictator’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction that were part of the Act’s foundation....(full article)

November 9

US Used Chemical Weapons Against Iraq
A compilation of links to articles by Dissident Voice and other news sources on America's use of chemical weapons against Iraq.

Any Soldier Will Do For the Pentagon
by Gene C. Gerard

Last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative unit of Congress, released a report indicating that the Pentagon has been calling up reserve soldiers who are ill or medically unfit to serve. The reservists are serving primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness is responsible for managing medical and physical fitness policy and procedures, the report determined that this office has no way to determine if reserve soldiers are fit to serve or have pre-existing medical conditions prior to deployment. Consequently, the GAO found that the Pentagon couldn’t confirm to the Secretary of Defense or Congress that reserve forces are medically and physically fit when they are called to active duty. Yet under federal law reserve forces are required to have a medical exam every five years and an annual review of their medical status....(full article)

Dousing the Plame Flames
by Ahmed Amr

Within a month of Judith Miller’s appearance before the grand jury investigating the outing of a CIA agent, Lewis Libby was indicted on five counts of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice. After reading the indictment, Patrick Fitzgerald pointed out that, “we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005.” Once you do the math, it becomes apparent that the only vote that counted in the last presidential election was Judith Miller’s.  Of course, Miller can’t take all the credit for obstructing the investigation. It was Arthur Sulzberger who decided to spend millions of dollars to take his flimsy arguments to the Supreme Court. When the highest court in the land ruled against the publisher of the New York Times, Miller volunteered to hide away in jail while Sulzberger orchestrated a mass media campaign to canonize his star WMD fiction writer as a first amendment martyr. The idea was to pressure Fitzgerald into making do without Judy’s testimony or wait for the clock to run out on the investigation. According to Miller, the NYT lawyers pressured her to go the distance and risk an obstruction of justice charge or a second grand jury. But on the advice of her personal lawyer, she decided to get herself out of jail and appear before the grand jury....(full article)

Why is France Burning?
by Doug Ireland

Saturday night was the 10th day of the spreading youth riots that have much of France in flames -- and it was the worst night ever since the first riot erupted in a suburban Paris ghetto of low-income housing, with 1295 vehicles -- from private cars to public buses -- burned last night, a huge jump from the 897 set afire the previous evening. And, for the first time, the violence born in the suburban ghettos last night invaded the center of Paris -- some 40 vehicles were set alight in Le Marais (the pricey home to the most famous gay ghetto in Paris, around the Place de la Republique nearby, and in the bourgeois 17th arrondissement, only a stone's throw from the dilapidated ghetto of the Goutte d'Or in the 18th arrondissement. As someone who lived in France for nearly a decade, and who has visited those suburban ghettos, where the violence started, on reporting trips any number of times, I have not been surprised by this tsunami of inchoate youth rebellion that is engulfing France. It is the result of thirty years of government neglect: of the failure of the French political classes -- of both right and left -- to make any serious effort to integrate its Muslim and black populations into the larger French economy and culture; and of the deep-seated, searing, soul-destroying racism that the unemployed and profoundly alienated young of the ghettos face every day of their lives, both from the police, and when trying to find a job or decent housing. To understand the origins of this profound crisis for France, it is important to step back and remember that the ghettos where festering resentment has now burst into flames were created as a matter of industrial policy by the French state....(full article)

Ibdaa Youth Dance Across U.S.
by Sonia Nettnin

On their third U.S. tour the Palestinian youth dance troupe, Ibdaa, performed Palestinian folkloric dance to raise money for Ibdaa projects in Dheisheh refugee camp. Ibdaa, which means “to create something out of nothing,” is a grassroots organization that provides social, educational and cultural programs for over 1,500 youth and women of Dheisheh refugee camp, located outside of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. On less than one-square km of land are over 11,000 residents -- 6,000 of whom are children.  Dheisheh is one of 59 refugee camps.  In 1948, Israeli forces expelled approximately 750,000 Palestinians from their land. Mid-May marks the Al-Nakba, the Catastrophe for Palestinians, and the creation of the Jewish state, Israel. In 1949, people forced to flee from 45 villages west of Jerusalem formed Dheisheh. The camp began with clusters of refugee tents on jagged terrain.  Now, Dheisheh is a congested sea of stone homes surrounded by razor-wire fences and concrete wall. “We will never forget our homeland,” Ziad Abbas said. “We have keys to our destroyed houses and we believe they are the keys of our paradise, the keys of our peace.”....(full article)

Falling Back Another Hour in the State of Hate:
Texans Ban Gay Marriage
by Greg Moses

Did you ever smell catfish bait? It’s like something died under the house and they mixed it into a doughball. It is that sweet and it competes real well with other smells you get down in the muck of a stagnant river. Anyway, that’s the smell of politics down here in Texas right after our voters landslided onto a baited amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, the better to keep other kinds of couples in their closets....(full article)

Geena in 2008
by Lucinda Marshall 

The White House Project recently released the results of a poll conducted by Roper Public Affairs that has some eye-opening results. According to the poll, most Americans believe men and women are equally qualified to handle issues such as foreign policy, homeland security and the economy. More amazingly, a large majority thinks that a female president would be as good or better at the job than a man. So what are we waiting for? It's time to posit a strong, viable female contender for the presidency in 2008. One person that candidate should not be is Sen. Hillary Clinton. While Sen. Clinton has proven herself to be remarkably adept at playing the political game, she has done so at a price. That price has been evidenced in her ongoing support for the Iraq war, and trying to walk the center line by suggesting that we need to find common ground with the right on the issue of abortion, somehow losing sight of the fact that abortion is not the issue, women's human rights are. Electing a woman because she knows how to fit in will not change anything. But if not Hilary, then who? (full article)

November 8

US Forces "Used Chemical Weapons" During Assault on City of Fallujah
by Peter Popham, The Independent (UK)

Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre
Video documentary broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, on the US massacre in Fallujah, and evidence of US use of chemical weapons. Includes corroborating interviews with US troops. Via Chris Floyd's web site (graphic images)

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People of the Dome Revisited 
by Mitchel Cohen

As Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf States, many organizations kicked into high gear to send relief to local groups in Mississippi and Louisiana, with no help from the government or formal relief agencies. Among them was the Malcolm X Grassroots movement, with whom the Brooklyn Greens shares an office on Atlantic Avenue. Tons of donated supplies poured into the office and were trucked to Jackson Mississippi, where they were distributed through community-based efforts. I spoke daily with Les Evenchick, a Green who lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans. I was also in touch with New Orleans residents Malik Rahim and Mike Howell; the areas in which they live were dry and they were holding out as long as they could. The story they tell is shocking: U.S. and local government officials refused to allow water or food relief into New Orleans. They also turned off the drinking water. Hundreds of people died unnecessarily as a result. And yet, there was no shortage of water or food being sent -- it was just not allowed into the City! When Green Party activists tried to donate water for the people in the Superdome a few days after the levees broke, armed soldiers pointed rifles at them and prevented them from delivering supplies. Even three Wal-Mart trucks loaded with drinking water were denied entry and turned away. No water was allowed into New Orleans. Evenchick says: "this was a brazen attempt to starve people out." Attempts to starve civilians into leaving an area is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Who gave the order to block water and food from entering New Orleans? Who ordered the drinking water inside the city to be turned off? No one has yet answered those questions....(full article

Iraq: To End The Occupation, End The Civil War
by Manuel Garcia, Jr.

I do not know when or if the United States of America and its globalized market empire will ever collapse and disappear, like so many other phantoms of history. If so, our relics are more likely to be large radioactive craters than stone pyramids, marbled arenas or elegant stupas. Nevertheless, I am quite certain of what our epitaph will be: “as a nation and empire they perished because as people they could not speak the truth.” A topic that would benefit greatly from bathing publicly in truth is the ending of the Iraq War. To spark public debate, William S. Lind has offered an exit strategy for the US. In brief, his plan is to announce the intention for a prompt complete withdrawal, and to secretly negotiate with the Iraqi Sunni Insurgency. The US goals for the secret negotiations would be an end to attacks by the insurgency and the liquidation of al Qaeda in Iraq by insurgent forces. In exchange, the US would guarantee its withdrawal (set a date and keep its word) and use American power to keep the Kurdish-Shia constitutional alliance from encroaching on the Sunni's fair share of power in Iraq during the interim and implicitly after the withdrawal. Lind is quite right that “the time is past for arguing whether we need an exit strategy; the discussion should be about what that strategy might be.” To complement Lind's proposal, let us speculate on how insurgency politics might speed a US decision to leave Iraq....(full article)

American Military, Foreign Service and Intelligence Leadership
Say No to the Iraq War

by Kevin Zeese

While Cindy Sheehan has deservedly gotten a lot of attention for reawakening the anti-war movement with her allies from veteran and military family organizations, the especially interesting thing about the opposition to the Iraq War is that it includes former military leaders, former national security and intelligence officials as well as foreign service officers. The Iraq War is opposed by those who generally support U.S. foreign and military affairs....(full article)

From MoveOn to Movement-Building
by Jeff Frant

The crushing defeat suffered by Democrats and their presidential candidate last year inspired many party loyalists to reconsider their political strategy and their funding priorities. It was a healthy, if overdue sign, and some hopeful new work has commenced. But despite the needed questioning of business as usual, there's little evidence of any widespread shift away from the failed paradigms that have dominated liberal activism for many years. In one encouraging development, progressives who realize the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been advancing corporate ideology and lawmaking at the state level effectively for 32 years are working to counter it. The new Progressive Legislative Action Network (PLAN) will develop and spread model progressive legislation and build a communication network among progressive state officials....(full article)

The Merger of Senator Max Baucus and Leo Giacometto:
Washington’s Pay to Play Politics Hits the Speedway
by Joshua Frank

It doesn’t get much more devious than this. Last month, on the 30th of October, Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana held a little “NASCAR Fundraiser” in Atlanta, Georgia. The cause and locale were far from Big Sky Country. Attendees of the benefit forked over $2,500 a piece to eat breakfast at the lavish Ritz-Carlton Hotel and spend an afternoon at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The brains behind the peddle-to-the-metal fundraiser belonged to Leo Giacometto, a sleazy Republican operative who served as Montana Republican Senator Conrad Burns’ Chief of Staff during the latter part of the 1990s. Giacometto was one of the key architects of the 1996 Telecommunications Act and has since enjoyed the turnstile environment of Washington politics and now heads up Gage LLC, a corporate lobbying firm based in DC....(full article)

For the Birds
by Peter Kurth

On the whole, my sympathies are entirely with the birds. You know, that “flu” thing. There was a big story not long ago in the local daily about the menace posed by the pigeons that make (or made) their home on the roof of Chittenden Superior Court on Main Street in Burlington. I can’t remember all the details, except that the pigeons were a problem, and that “measures” had to be taken to make sure they didn’t roost there anymore. “Spikes and netting” were mentioned, along with a specific description of pigeons as “undesirables.” At all costs, the story said, they must be gotten rid of, on account of the “mess” they make, the “health hazard” they pose, and the inconvenience that “business” people, going in and out of the building, need to cope with on their way to making $200K a year, at the same time worrying that some pigeon might shit on their padded shoulders....
(full article)

France and the Burning Embers of Repression
by Jack Random

Like countless others, I fell in love with Paris on first impression. I fell in love with the architecture, the history, the art, the love of artists, the culture and the people.  I fell in love with the wine and the cafes, where vibrant discussions filled the air like song and dance and no topic was off limits. I could breathe in Paris but I could not sleep. I wanted to declare my ex-patriotism and remain where a man of my persuasion could be free. I was at home in Paris and came to believe that I had breathed that lofty air before, where I could write surrounded by passion and beauty, where I could live the remaining days of my journey enjoying the blessings of liberty, equality and fraternity. I loved Paris as if I was born to love her and she returned my embrace with warmth and grace. But I was not an émigré from northern Africa. I was an American in a post-911 world but I did not wear my faith on my sleeve and my skin was no darker than the average Parisian. I mourn for Paris now, not so much for the disorder that has spread from her northern arrondissement to much of France, as for the underlying, hypocritical inequality and intolerance that made this violent upheaval inevitable....
(full article)


November 7

Vice President Lied as White House Sought to Defuse Leak Inquiry
by Jason Leopold

Did Vice President Dick Cheney help cover up the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson in the months after conservative columnist Robert Novak first disclosed her identity? That’s one of the questions Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is likely trying to figure out. It’s unclear what Cheney said to investigators back in 2004 when he was questioned -- not under oath -- about the leak, particularly what he knew and when he knew it. The five-count criminal indictment handed up by a grand jury last month against Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, sheds new light on a pattern of strategic deception by the Vice President and the White House to defuse an inquiry into who leaked the name of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to the press. Months after Plame’s identity was disclosed by conservative columnist Robert Novak, Cheney continued to hide the fact that he and his aides were intimately involved in disseminating classified information about her to journalists....(full article)

You’re Doin’ a Heck of a Job, Dick Cheney    
by Mike Whitney

No man in the 200-year history of the United States has embodied the “banality of evil” as thoroughly as Dick Cheney, a dumpy, mid-level bureaucrat who ascended the political ladder through hardnosed calculation and cold-blooded vindictiveness. Cheney would be fine behind the counter of a fast-food restaurant snarling at the help and flaunting his authority, but as Vice President he’s been a dead loss. His appearance on Capitol Hill last week only confirms his moral vacuity and contempt for decency. Cheney addressed the Senate in a closed-door session and made an “impassioned” plea to continue the “cruel, degrading, and inhumane” treatment of prisoners detained in American concentration camps. His arguments follow the twisted logic of Harvard attorney Alan Dershowitz, who claims that state-sponsored atrocities like torture can be justified if they produce greater security. Cheney’s appeal should be seriously considered. After all, this is the warped rationale that underscores the entire war on terror: the end justifies the means. We can see where this thinking inevitably leads by the appalling photos from Abu Ghraib and the reports of starving victims at Guantanamo Bay. These are the fetid sites where Cheney’s theories are put into practice....(full article)

Panicked Bush Slinks Away From Chavez
by Mike Whitney

The easiest way to understand the institutional bias of western media is to analyze reporting from the developing world. The economic summit in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate the coverage and decide whether such partiality exists. Although tens of thousands of working people came to protest George Bush and his suspiciously-named “free trade” economic policies; they were invariably smeared by the corporate media as “Leftists” or “radicals”; eliminating the possibility that they were simply concerned citizens participating in the democratic process. This is the familiar tactic of the media to marginalize ordinary people whose interests don’t correspond to those of the ruling elite....(full article)

November 6

Hiding Offshore Assets: Economics Trumps Law in the Neoliberal Gulag
by Lila Rajiva

Oversupply. Not law but economics tells us how we got to Abu Ghraib. The laws only follow economics. Private interrogators driven to produce information at any cost come up with random civilians who with a little gentle persuasion can cough up information. The terminally free market gave us the dismal team of torture-happy prison goons that John Ashcroft sent out to do unto Iraqis what had been done unto American prisoners for decades. The spy business is now infested with a network of lobbyists and government connections as thick as the one in the defense business. With one nasty difference. While defense contractors are at least monitored, intelligence contractors have classified budgets and work in secret without proper oversight....(full article)

Revisiting the Dream Memo:
The Niger Uranium Forgery of December 2003
by Gary Leupp

I’ve been putting together a chronology of the Niger Uranium Disinformation Scheme, drawing on numerous Plame Affair timelines available online. As the question of who outed Plame leads to the question of who invented the yellowcake purchase story in the first place, the chronology has to include material on the Rome embassy break-in, Italian investigations, British reports on an African uranium purchase, CIA statements in response to those reports, officials’ public statements alleging a uranium deal, the establishment of bodies within the U.S. government to prepare for and explain the assault on Iraq, conversations between reporters and administration officials about Plame, investigations into the “prewar handling of intelligence,” prewar yellow journalism, the Fitzgerald investigation, etc. . . . My chronology-in-progress, which I’ll post when done, plainly indicates that the infamous 16 words in President Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union speech, and similar statements by Rice and Powell earlier that month, were caused by many months of discussion between U.S., British and Italian officials about alleged efforts by Iraq to obtain yellowcake from Niger; months of activity by Michael Ledeen in concert with Italian friends culminating with his input into the Office of Special Plans; months of Judith Miller’s reporting on Iraq’s supposed nuclear program; and months of disputation between neocon proponents of the uranium story (backed up conveniently by British intelligence) and CIA skeptics. The evidence on which the statement rested was debunked by the IAEA even before the attack on Iraq began, but the administration and its supporters continued to argue that there was intelligence aside from the discredited documents linking Iraq to Niger uranium. One little item left out of all the timelines I’ve seen is an article by Con Coughlin in the December 14, 2003 issue of the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph....(full article)

Revolt in Paris
by Matt Reichel

The mainstream press has been telling Europeans that "riots" have broken out in the Parisian Suburbs (Banlieu) this week. In calling them "riots", the popular imagination likens them to fires and other sorts of largely uncontrollable disasters. It's as if the French are merely being faced with an outbreak of civil unrest, and that someone from the ranks of the government will most assuredly figure out how to weather the storm within the coming days. These aren't "riots". This is social rebellion, directed at decades of French imperial rule, and ultra-capitalist and racist policymaking at home. After the "decolonization" process finished in Africa (oddly leaving the former colonies entirely dependent on the Banque de France for their monetary policymaking and at the whim of French military decision-making), the colonized were supposed to be offered life in France as a sort of reparation for the destruction that went along with the imperial era. This, predictably, has turned out to be nothing more than a bone that the French have thrown at their dependents to try to keep them quiet. The idea is this: give them cheap, shitty housing away from the beautiful Metropole of Paris, give them minimum wage paying work, and hope that they shut up....
(full article)

Bush Doing Corporate Bidding While on the Clock
by Evelyn J. Pringle

The FTAA faces widespread opposition in Latin America and for good reason. Ten years of NAFTA's so-called economic reforms have resulted in widespread poverty, high unemployment, massive debt, and a series of other economic crises. Bush is hoping to get the deal back on track while attending the summit, but his prospects look grim. Protests against his visit were already underway in Argentina three days before he arrived there, with the blocking of bridges and streets in the capital of Buenos Aires, and posters bearing the slogans “Stop Bush” and “Fuera Bush,” some of which were superimposed over graphic pictures of wounded children in Iraqi. Argentine Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel recently told a radio audience that Bush is “a torturer, violator of human rights, an assassin, a violator of United Nations resolutions, of international treaties and of the sovereignty of peoples, as has happened in Iraq.”....(full article)

Eurasia at the Brink: Cultural Politics of the Islamic Revival
by William H. Thornton

The end of the Cold War found the U.S. and its NATO allies unprepared for the geocultural realities they met in Eurasia. As in the Middle East, Islam was bound to play a central role here, but the American concept of church/state division and the European concept of secular modernity put Western analysts at a loss where Islamism (the cultural politics of Islam) was concerned. Americans were especially in a fog in their effort to supplant Russian influence in the newly independent nations of Central Asia, where an Islamic renaissance had been in progress long before the Soviet collapse. Although all the ex-Soviet republics are officially secular, Islam is at once a key to legitimacy and a linchpin of resistance throughout the region. U.S. policy makers tend either to ignore this religious factor or, when that becomes impossible, to treat it as a cultural atavism in need of repair. That bias obscures the most crucial cultural fact of current Eurasian politics: that insofar as civil Islam (a moderate form that welcomes democracy but contests the culturally invasive commercialization that is synonymous with current “globalization”) is the worst enemy of uncivil Islam, Washington’s broad-spectrum “war on terrorism” sets in motion a vicious circle whereby aid to dictatorial regimes pushes moderate Islamists into the extremist camp, which in turn becomes a pretext for more aid....(full article)

Before There Are 2,000 More
by Lucinda Marshall

Saddened and angry though we may be by the deaths of over 2,000 U.S. military personnel, we need to look at this milestone in context. As much as the Pentagon would just as soon not own up to losing 2,000 of its boots on the ground, it beats the heck out of having to own up to the real loses. Because what that number does not include is the more than 15,000 who have been wounded. It doesn't count the many more who are coming home with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and health problems due to exposure to our own chemical weaponry. And it certainly doesn't include the tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed. Nonetheless, the antiwar movement chose to make this milestone a focus of nationwide vigils and the notion that this was a media moment to run with in and of itself bears some serious examination....(full article)

Cheney’s Refrain: “I’m a Believer”
by Walter Brasch

It’s hard to believe that Vice-President Dick Cheney believes in Constitutional rights -- at least after all that he and his protégé, George W. Bush, have done to the American people the past five years. First, there is the USA PATRIOT Act, which twisted and shredded the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. Those amendments once guaranteed the rights of freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances; freedom from unreasonable searches; due process and the right against self-incrimination; the right to counsel, a speedy trial, and the right to a fair and public trial by an impartial jury; reasonable bail and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment; and an equal protection guarantee for both citizens and non-citizens....(full article)

An Interview with Two Anti-Minuteman Project Activists
by Seth Sandronsky

Scott Campbell lives in Oakland, California, and is an organizer with the San Francisco Bay Area Coalition to Fight the Minutemen. He and 600 others protested on October 29 at the state Capitol in Sacramento against the Minuteman Project, which turned out 200 supporters. Mario Galván lives in Sacramento, California. He has been working with the Zapatista Coalition for 12 years, and with Sacramento Area Peace Action for 10 years. Seth Sandronsky interviewed them about their work....(full article)

“You Are The Weakest Link”
by Adam Engel

Adam Engel's get-well card to our steadily declining environment....
(full poem)


November 5

The Threat of Hope in Latin America:
Bush Comes Face to Face with Latin America's Revolt
by Naomi Klein

Facing mass protests in Argentina yesterday during the Summit of the Americas, George Bush saw that the spirit of that revolt is alive and well. And although Bush didn't take up Hugo Chávez's offer to hold an open debate on the merits of "free trade", that debate has already happened in the continent's streets and ballot boxes, and Bush has lost....(full article)

The United States of Torture
by Mike Whitney

How did we stoop so low? As if Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo weren’t bad enough, the Bush administration has added another layer of shame to our national disgrace. Dana Priest’s Washington Post article, “The CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons,” paints a sobering picture of an administration that has abandoned any trace of integrity and completely run amok. The United States has become the #1 exporter of torture in the world today with Bush serving as its foremost champion....(full article)

Wall Street Journal Advice on Global Warming:
A Perspective from the Island of Hawai’i
by Shepherd Bliss

The Bush administration may still try to deny that global warming is human-caused. But the WSJ accepts that climate change is happening. Jacob Hale Russell and Jess McCuan write, “Warmer temperatures melt glaciers and cause water to expand, making sea levels rise. Those rising waters can flood low areas and erode sandy beaches and fragile coasts.” Scientists, in fact, have documented that the melting of the polar caps and glaciers may eventually threaten the Earth’s capacity to support human habitation. The WSJ advises the investors and travelers who look to them for daily guidance with respect to risks and benefits, including which islands to visit and which to avoid. But whereas even Bush has recently advocated energy conservation, the WSJ’s concern seems to be to lead its readers to the best destinations, before global warming further ruins them....(full article)

Scrap the "Secret" Ballot -- Return to Open Voting
by Lynn Landes

The problem is worldwide. From the Ukraine to the United States, many voters no longer believe that their votes are counted correctly. And that's regardless of whether paper ballots or voting machines are used. The problem is the "secret" ballot. Secret ballots are anonymous ballots. They can be easily replaced, altered or destroyed, particularly if voting machines are used. Even if voters 'verify' their ballots and even if audits are performed, widespread vote tampering can still occur with relative ease and little risk of discovery because there still remains no effective method to 'certify' the authenticity of ballots, no way to identify an individual ballot and link it to an individual voter. With few exceptions, election officials around the world are certifying election results based on anonymous and untraceable ballots. And contrary to a growing legion of election statisticians, exit polls are not an adequate check on election results. It's ridiculous when you think about it, using anonymous exit polls to verify anonymous ballot results. The entire voting process should be 100% transparent. To that end, I am proposing a protocol for Open Voting with Total Transparency (OVTT)....(full article)

Smearing Chomsky: The Guardian in the Gutter
by Media Lens

On October 31, The Guardian (UK) published an interview with Noam Chomsky by Emma Brockes, “The greatest intellectual?” (The Guardian, October 31, 2005) The article was ostensibly in response to the fact that Chomsky had been voted the world's top public intellectual by Prospect magazine the previous week. The headline introduction to the article was: “Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated? “A: My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough.” Remarkably, and very foolishly, this answer attributed to Chomsky was actually in response to a different question posed during the interview....
(full article)

Axis of Hardliners, From Tehran to Washington
by Norman Solomon

Between the hardliners in Tehran and Washington, there is a love -- or at least mutual justification -- that dares not speak its name. The more belligerent Iran gets, the more administration officials in Washington use that belligerency to justify their own. And vice versa....(full article)

Bishops and Pawns
by Bill Berkowitz

In the group photo publicizing "Justice Sunday II," one man stands out among the group of Christian right luminaries. It is not because he is the only guy not wearing a dark suit or because he is one of the biggest folks in the room. Bishop Harry Jackson stands out because he is the only African American in the picture. Over the past year, Jackson, who was the featured African American speaker at the "Justice Sunday II" rally, has become one of the religious right's go-to-guys....(full article)

Right Wing Hate Vandals Come To Justice in Sacramento!
by Dan Bacher

Stephen and Virginia Pearcy, Berkeley lawyers who have a home in the Land Park district of Sacramento, CA have faced a constant barrage of vandalism and threats by right wing vandals against the anti war art displays at their house over the past year. Right wing radio talk show hosts and Move America Forward, an extremist organization that slavishly supports Bush's war in Iraq, even held a demonstration in front of the Pearcy's house last February to attack the display of a soldier's uniform with a noose on the neck, with the caption, "Bush Lied, I Died." Finally these vandals have come to justice, thanks to the persistence of the Pearcys. Brian O'Malley, the first vandal who tore down the Pearcy's soldier display last February, has lost his appeal of the original small claims judgment awarding them $5,000....
(full article)


November 4

Drifting Towards a Police State  
by Mike Whitney

Did you know that under the terms of the new Patriot Act prosecutors will be able to seek the death penalty in cases where “defendants gave financial support to umbrella organizations without realizing that some of its adherents might eventually commit violence”? (NY Times editorial, October 30, 2005) So, if someone unknowingly gave money to a charity that was connected to a terrorist group, he/she could be executed. Or, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is fine-tuning the details of a bill that will allow the FBI to secretly procure any of your personal records without “probable cause” or a court order giving them “unchecked authority to pry into personal and business matters”? (“Republicans Seek to Widen FBI Powers,” New York Times, October 19, 2005) Or, that on June 29, President Bush put “a broad swath of the FBI” under his direct control by creating the National Security Service (a.k.a. the “New SS”)? This is the first time we’ve had a “secret police” in our 200-year history. It will be run exclusively by the president and beyond the range of congressional oversight....(full article)

The Activist Court & the Neoconservative Agenda
by Jack Random

The remaking of the United States Supreme Court has been framed by the most extreme ideologues in modern political history as a battle between strict constructionists in white hats and their counterparts in moral darkness: the judicial activists. In keeping with the Orwellian nature of the neoconservative culture, whose programmed indifference is delivered in the name of compassion, whose evisceration of individual rights is coaxed in the name of justice, and whose wars are prosecuted in the name of peace, the real judicial activists are the very same champions of neoconservative federalism. It is ludicrous to suggest that either John Roberts or Samuel Alito do not have an agenda. For all of their professional lives, they have been devoted to a rightwing cause of judicial activism.  That their cause is regressive hardly negates its blatant activism.  Far from ruling passively on the merits of the law in a given case, both men have pressed the cause of federalism to the detriment of individual rights....(full article)

Coming Out On Hallowe'en
by Lila Rajiva

In this culture where youth and appearance are valued to an extraordinary degree, the first erosion of both is especially daunting for a woman without a family. Children at least give each passing year a special meaning -- this is the year Tommy graduated or that’s the year Vineeta got married. A husband or boyfriend anchors you. But without either man or child, a woman enters middle age with a question mark hanging over her. What, people seem to wonder, are you all about?  It’s only a different version of the question that faces women in the more traditional society in which I grew up, India: When are you going to settle down? Settling, of course, is the euphemism for marriage and families and children. A woman without them is unsettling. She disturbs the status quo, the way things ought to be....
(full article)

Thought Control and “Professional” Journalism (Part II)
by Media Lens

In Part 1 we described how the notion of “professional” journalism was developed precisely to obscure the significance of the fact that corporate power had gained a monopoly over the mass media. “Professional” journalism accepts that powerful interests -- the political and economic allies of the corporate media -- should be allowed to set the news agenda. Reporters are to channel the words of officialdom without expressing their own personal opinions. To express criticism of the powerful in news reports is deemed “unprofessional” -- that is, “crusading”, “committed”, “polemical” and “radioactive”. Curiously, the myth of professional “objectivity” exists alongside the clear fact that expressing support for the claims and actions of the powerful is not considered unprofessional....(full article)

Competing Geopolitical Monologues in Sri Lanka
by Fr. Chandi Sinnathurai

The inhumane suppression of the Tamil speaking people within Sri Lanka has continued for far too long. What is meant by the term “Tamil-speaking people” is that, in addition to indigenous “Ceylon Tamils” and the “Hill Country Tamils” of Indian origin, we include here the Ceylon Moors and the Burghers. British Colonialists (British arrived in 1796) brought the Hill Country Tamils into Sri Lanka as indentured labor in the beginning of 19th Century. The Ceylon Moors trace their origins to the Arab traders and some were converts to Islam from the indigenous population. The Burghers are mixed-race descendents of colonialists: Portuguese and Dutch.  Particularly for the Burghers in the North East territories, their first language is Tamil -- similar to the Moors. The idea of the UN recognized right to self-determination for Tamils therefore encompasses emancipation for all these populations. The Tamil armed resistance Movement (The Tamil Tigers, LTTE) has grown to be the sole representative of “Tamil speaking people”. This idea presents the Sinhala chauvinist Sri Lankan Government (SLG) with the primary intellectual threat ever faced by the Mahavamsa-inspired supremacy ideology. The idea of self-government for the Tamils in political, economic, social and cultural spheres poses even a further threat against the politico-Buddhist police state! (full article)

November 3

The Senate’s Closed Session: Nothing But a Democratic Sham
by Joshua Frank

Oh, what a farce it was. On Tuesday November 1, the Senate Democrats pulled a rare maneuver, kicked the press and the public out of their hallowed chambers, slammed the doors, and for 3 1/2 long hours purportedly took the Republicans to task. The Democrats demanded that the Republicans give them what was promised: an investigation into the Bush administration’s misuse of intelligence leading up to the invasion of Iraq. It sounds noble enough and predictably their act, which was led by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has been praised by a flurry of antiwar pundits and bloggers who claim the Democratic Party must finally be warming up to their side of the war question. But just because something sounds noble, doesn’t mean it is....(full article)

Stealing Veteran's Day from the Militarists
by Mickey Z.

In a society where "support the troops" is little more than a euphemism for "support the policy," the concept of setting aside a day to celebrate military veterans has always been touchy for the Left. But here's an idea: what if we instead honored veterans of the anti-war movement? I mean those -- from Eugene Debs and Helen Keller to the Berrigans, right up to Cindy Sheehan -- who put their ass on the line to stop war...not wage it. To add a twist, how about military veterans who have since become veterans of the anti-war movement, e.g. Howard Zinn, Stan Goff, Ward Churchill, and Rosemarie Jackowski? Even better, if you truly want to acknowledge bravery in the line of fire, why not find more heroes like Hugh Clowers Thompson, Jr.?
(full article)

Unembedded Reporting From Iraq: An Interview with Dahr Jamail

by Benjamin Dangl

In 2003, tired of the US media’s inaccurate portrayal of the realities of the Iraq War, independent journalist Dahr Jamail headed to the conflict himself. Instead of following in the footsteps of mainstream media’s embedded, "Hotel Journalists," Jamail hit the Iraqi streets to uncover the stories most reporters were missing. His countless interviews with Iraqi citizens and from-the-ground reporting have offered a horrific look into the bowels of the US occupation. From covering the bloody siege of Falluja to breaking a story on Bechtel’s failure to reconstruct water treatment plants, his writing and photographs depict an Iraq that is much worse off now than it was before the US invasion. As one Abu Ghraib detainee explained to Jamail, "the Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house." . . . . In this interview Jamail discusses his day to day efforts to stay safe while working in Iraq, public opinion among Iraqis regarding the occupation, how the US is instigating civil war in the country, and advice to independent journalists and anti-war activists....(full article)

Varieties of Imperial Aggression: The Andean Trade Treaties
by toni solo

The US government's persistent refusal to recognize inconvenient international law is the fundamental basis for every aspect of United States foreign policy. In practice, the European Union and other US allies like Canada and Japan consistently support US government delinquency by regularly failing to effectively challenge US government breaches of customary international law. As often as not, as in Haiti and now Syria, European Union officials collaborate actively in US power plays. Translated to the trade arena, a good example of the US-EU consensus on justice in international trade was the sabotage of the world trade talks at Cancun in 2003. Then US and EU trade representatives Robert Zoellick and Pascal Lamy threw out less developed countries' proposals for a fairer global commercial framework. That outcome allowed both the United States and the European Union to continue to pursue bilateral trade deals allowing them to pick off weaker countries piecemeal instead of having to deal with a single coherent bloc of countries -- like the G-20 group including giants like China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil. While the EU has tended to focus its bilateral trade deals, euphemistically called Economic Partnership Agreements, in its former colonies in Africa, the US has put most effort into imposing free trade agreements on its traditional victims in Latin America and the Caribbean. The determined campaign by the US government to wind up bilateral "free trade" agreements with Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru is pointedly juxtaposed with its diffident contributions to the crisis-ridden Doha round of world trade talks, scheduled for another summit in Hong Kong in December this year....(full article)

Thought Control and “Professional” Journalism (Part I)
by Media Lens

Early last century, industrial technology allowed business interests to produce mass media at a cost that outclassed the capacity of non-corporate media to compete. As a result, radical publishers were marginalized and media diversity rapidly narrowed. To counter claims that society was being, in effect, brainwashed by this media monopoly, corporate publishers promoted the idea of “professional journalism.” For the first time, reporters would be trained in special “schools of journalism” to master the arts of objective, balanced reporting. Big business moguls would be in control but, as good democrats, they would see to it that their journalists were scrupulously fair....(full article)

How to Recognize a Liberal Feminist
by Lila Rajiva

It's easy to distinguish what radical and conservative feminists (yes the latter do exist) are for, but is it clear when it comes to liberal feminists? Lila Rajiva elucidates....(full article)

“Good Night, and Good Luck” -- Joe McCarthy Rides Again
by Bernard Weiner

Whenever I have a dream, I ask myself: “Why this dream now? What is happening in my life at this moment that would engender these particular images?” The same question has to be asked about Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney's powerful docudrama about the McCarthy era of the 1950s: “Why make this film now? Is there something happening in our society, our media, our politics that would make audiences resonate with a low-budget film, shot in black and white, about that era in America?”
(full article)

November 2

How to Remember Rosa Parks
by John Buell

Rosa Parks, an icon of the US civil rights movement, lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Parks’ iconic status hides a vital question. What are we celebrating in her passing? The mainstream media celebrate a woman whose activism, civil disobedience, and willingness to extend rights more broadly runs against the spirit of the age. The recent commemorations of Parks’ life read as narratives that celebrate America as the quintessentially just society. Her brave acts forced this nation finally to embrace and implement the full meaning of its professed faith in the rights and equality of all citizens. As Condoleezza Rice recently suggested, without Parks’ struggle she could not have become secretary of state. A closer look at Parks’ struggle opens other interpretations of her significance. Perhaps the greatest gift Parks can bequeath is a willingness to ask further questions. Have we as a nation extended basic rights as broadly as we claim and are our currently sanctioned list of rights sufficiently broad? (full article)

TV Images Don't Bring Change
by Robert Jensen

For weeks after the racialized poverty of New Orleans was laid bare in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, people in the United States asked, “Could this be a turning point? Is this a moment when America might wake up to the inequality and racism in our own country?” The question itself -- posed most often by people living comfortably in the white middle class -- is an indication of just how deeply in denial the vast majority of privileged Americans are about these fundamental injustices, their role in perpetuating them, and how real change might come. We should be collectively ashamed that the question is being asked in this form, for two simple reasons....(full article)

The Ongoing Occupation: Gaza After “Disengagement”
by Toufic Haddad

Israel carried out a week of attacks against Palestinians in the largest offensive yet since completing “disengagement” from the occupied territory of Gaza. Western news reports concluded that Palestinians had rejected Israel’s offering of “peace” and self-rule, focusing in particular on an October 26 suicide bombing carried out by the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad in the Israeli town of Hadera, which killed five Israelis. But the bombing was in retaliation for Israel’s assassination of a leader of Islamic Jihad three days before -- an act that the Israeli military knew would provoke a response. In the days that followed, Palestinian forces in Gaza fired rockets at southern Israel, and Israel responded with air strikes that killed nine people, most of them bystanders. This unequal military balance and the U.S. media’s bias were both factors in Israel’s so-called “disengagement” from Gaza, which provided the backdrop to the renewed violence. Here, Toufic Haddad, co-editor of a forthcoming book on the Palestinian Intifada who recently returned from the Occupied Territories, explains what “disengagement” was really about....(full article)

We Don’t Need Them
by Joe Carpenter

We’re all looking in the wrong place for reason and compassion and justice. It’s not anywhere to be found in Washington, DC. It’s not in governments or state houses. It’s not there in that prestigious gathering of experts and big brains. It’s right here. It’s wherever you are, and it’s right next door and it’s everywhere along your street and all around your neighborhood. It’s in the cars that pass you on the roadways and in the shops where you buy your dog or cat food. There’s no need to travel a thousand or even a hundred miles.  It’s not necessary to make the climb up to the penthouse. Our hope, our possibility -- our only hope, our only possibility, lies in the ordinary people who compose our world, who are the very stuff of our lives....(full article)

Wal-Marting Philanthropy
by Bill Berkowitz

Upon the death of Helen Walton, the frail and aging widow of Sam Walton -- the founder of the Wal-Mart Empire -- the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) could receive as much as $20 billion, making it the largest and potentially most powerful foundation in the world, according to a new report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. While members of the Walton family have their own philanthropic projects, the Walton Family Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundations are the family and company's flagship philanthropic enterprises. The Walton Family Foundation currently gives away more than $100 million a year -- a healthy chunk of it to opponents of public school education. The Wal-Mart Foundation donated more than $170 million in 2004, 90 percent of which went through its local stores to small community and faith-based organizations....(full article)

November 1


A Hitherto Unpublished Poem by Pier Paolo Pasolini
on the 30th anniversary of the poet's death, DIRELAND

* * *

Why Are They Making New Orleans a Ghost Town?
by Bill Quigley

Halloween night, New Orleans was very, very dark. Well over half the homes on the east bank of New Orleans sit vacant because they still do not have electricity. More do not have natural gas or running water. Most stoplights still do not work. Most street lights remain out. Fully armed National Guard troops refuse to allow over ten thousand people to even physically visit their property in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. Despite the fact that people cannot come back, tens of thousands of people face eviction from their homes. A local judge told me that their court expects to process a thousand evictions a day for weeks. Renters still in shelters or temporary homes across the country will never see the court notice taped to the door of their home. Because they will not show up for the eviction hearing that they do not know about, their possessions will be tossed out in the street. In the street their possessions will sit alongside an estimated three million truck loads of downed trees, piles of mud, fiberglass insulation, crushed sheetrock, abandoned cars, spoiled mattresses, wet rugs, and horrifyingly smelly refrigerators full of food from August. There are also New Orleans renters facing evictions from landlords who want to renovate and charge higher rents to the out of town workers who populate the city. Some renters have offered to pay their rent and are still being evicted. Others question why they should have to pay rent for September when they were not allowed to return to New Orleans....(full article)

Time Magazine Finally Covers Peak Oil 
by Shepherd Bliss

Time magazine became the most recent mainstream publication to finally give detailed coverage to Peak Oil. Its Oct. 31 twelve-page spread on “The Future of Energy” follows major articles in USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and other big city dailies in recent months. They finally mention the coming Peak Oil that many geologists have been warning us about for years. Such articles appear after two major groundbreaking cover articles on oil by National Geographic, the first in the summer of 2004. The October Esquire offered a two-page “Five Minute Guide: Oil,” which begins with the question “What’s ‘peak oil’?” (full article)

Schizophrenia Pandemic, George Bush and His Fundamentalist God
by Lee Salisbury

Schizophrenia is “any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, hallucinations, accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances. A condition that results from the coexistence of disparate, antagonistic qualities, identities, or activities ( To Mr. Bush’s 50 million right-wing fundamentalist Christians who enthusiastically endorse his war and his rightwing agenda, the fact that he prays about everything is most appealing. This could be very comforting because it suggests President Bush will obtain righteous, intelligent, moral answers, that is, unless you know this God....(full article)

Don’t Divert: Keep Opposing the Iraq War
by Joshua Frank

How easy it is to forget that we have a war going on here. With all the hoopla over Scooter Libby’s indictment, Bush’s latest Supreme Court wrangling and Tom DeLay’s legal quandary, the media has all but forgotten that the gravest matter, the war in Iraq, is still raging on with October culminating the bloodiest month for US troops since January. On Halloween, seven more US soldiers were killed bringing the monthly total to 92. At this rate we should reach 3,000 US deaths by August, if not sooner. The bombs and attacks that are killing occupation forces are becoming more accurate and sophisticated say Pentagon officials -- so we are only likely to see an increase in deaths as the war continues. Journalists haven’t fared much better than soldiers and Iraqi civilians; the total death count of journalists in Iraq already outnumbers the total killed during the entire Vietnam era....
(full article)

Leg Irons for Dickie, Karl and Scooter   
by Mike Whitney

It’s weird that the reaction to the Fitzgerald investigation has been so upbeat. After all, it only produced one measly indictment. Typically, that would have put Bush critics on the ledge teetering towards the street. Alas, there’ll be no looming guillotine on the White House lawn and no firing squad on Pennsylvania Ave. The iniquitous trio of Cheney, Rove and Libby won’t be seen edging through the Rose Garden in manacles and prison pinstripes, just the well-groomed Scooter staring ahead impassively as he speeds away in his chauffer driven limo. So, where’s the frustration? (full article)

Successfully Throwing Sand in the Eyes of the Umpire
by Kevin Zeese

Patrick Fitzgerald was unable to say whether or not there was a plot to undermine Joe Wilson, and intimidate others who might speak out, by attacking his wife. Bush administration supporters have been misstating the situation claiming that the failure to indict on the underlying offense shows it did not occur. No, the failure shows that so far there has been a successful obstruction of justice....(full article)

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