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October 2004 Articles

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October 30-31

The US Has Killed 100,000 in Iraq: The Lancet
by Juan Cole

The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, reports that the US and coalition forces (but mainly the US Air Force) has killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians since the fall of Saddam on April 9, 2003. Previous estimates for civilian deaths since the beginning of the war ranged up to 16,000, with the number of Iraqi troops killed during the war itself put at about 6,000. The troubling thing about these results is that they suggest that the US may soon catch up with Saddam Hussein in the number of civilians killed. How many deaths to blame on Saddam is controversial. He did after all start both the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War. But he also started suing for peace in the Iran-Iraq war after only a couple of years, and it was Khomeini who dragged the war out until 1988. But if we exclude deaths of soldiers, it is often alleged that Saddam killed 300,000 civilians. This allegation seems increasingly suspect. So far only 5,000 or so persons have been found in mass graves. But if Roberts and Burnham are right, the US has already killed a third as many Iraqi civilians in 18 months as Saddam killed in 24 years....(full article)

Osama's Surprise: Osama bin Laden as Global Shock Jock
by Tom Engelhardt

Looked at realistically Osama bin Laden's intervention in our presidential election was undoubtedly an act of immediate organizational weakness, not strength. Had he had been capable of orchestrating the bringing down of another American tower or its equivalent, he certainly would have done so, but it was no less ingenious for that. His last major intervention, his self-scripted action-adventure film in real time, The Humiliation of America, cost his organization hundreds of thousands of planning dollars and 19 suicidal believers (plus the price of airplane tickets, box-cutters, and mace). Still, those 19 followers and the almost 3,000 dead from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93, which never made it to Washington thanks to the heroic action of its passengers, was clearly a cheap enough price to pay in his eyes for the notoriety he instantly achieved....(full article)

Osama's Endorsement
by John Chuckman

It has been a bad few weeks for Bush with discoveries startling enough to kill, or at least stun, a normal candidate. But there is nothing normal about Bush. He just keeps plunging ahead, grunting and gasping, like one of the undead. . . . Now, suddenly, just days before the election, we have Osama's Jesus-like face again appearing on every front page in the world. Who benefits from Osama's re-appearance? (full article)

OBL and Twenty-Year Time Bombs
by Ahmed Amr

Osama Bin Laden was destined to be a major factor in this election from the moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The memories of that assault are deeply etched in the collective American psyche. . . . This is how The Independent (UK) reported Osama bin Laden's intervention in the American elections: “With an aplomb verging on impertinence, the al-Qaida leader has delivered his own election message to the American people, just four days before they choose their next president.” By morning, OBL’s speech was stealing the headlines in every major American paper. Most Americans can’t name the Prime Minister of Canada or the president of Mexico. But they recognize the Al Qaida leader by his initials. JFK, FDR, JFK, LBJ, GWB and OBL are probably the only five people who can readily be identified in a major headline with only three bold letters....(full article)

Halloween Tidings From the "War on Terror"
by Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe on the Osama bin Laden's video re-appearance, and the new The Lancet study which estimates 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the US invasion in 2003....(full article)

Take the Deal!: On Osama's Offer
by Richard Oxman

The important thing for us all respecting the recently released video by OBL is not whether or not it'll make voters lean toward Bush or Kerry.  What it's saying to Muslims is irrelevant.  And neither analysis regarding 9/11 speculations to date, nor what visual cues might be uncovered should garner our attention. Ditto for the state of OBL's health, confirmation or the lack of it concerning his modus operandi, and/or who was right or wrong stateside about his whereabouts. The only thing that's crucial is that we take his advice to not place much significance on whether or not Bush or Kerry becomes his Official Nemesis (ON), and get down to the business of ensuring the safety of his people....(full article)

Loose Lips Sync Elections
by Leilla Matsui

Osama bin Laden's recent video address to American voters on the eve of the presidential elections will likely have less impact on Bush's chances of re-(s)election than Ashlee Simpson's disastrous appearance on Saturday Night Live. If anything, the latter sends more chills down Republican spines since Ashlee (little sister to Bush supporter Jessica Simpson) seems to be following a career path almost identical to little George's short-lived and disaster prone presidency. In what appears to be a prophetic twist of fate, the parallels between the speech defective former governor of Texas and the vocally challenged Texas teen are as apparent as the telltale bulge on Bush's back during the debates....(full article)

US Support for War of Terror in Arauca, Colombia
by Dan Kovalik

During the current election campaign, there is much discussion of the U.S. “war on terror.” While this discussion focuses almost entirely upon the Middle East, Iraq and Al-Qaeda, there is almost no mention of Washington’s current war in Colombia, a war in which the United States is actually supporting military forces that are terrorizing the population. Indeed, the U.S. Congress, over the objection of numerous human rights organizations, recently deepened the U.S. role in Colombia by voting to double the U.S. troop level there from 400 to 800. This troop involvement is in addition to the more than $3.5 billion the United States has already spent on the Colombian military since 2000, making Colombia the third-largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the world....(full article)

The Fabric of Deception and Liberal Complicity
by Paul Street

If “independent” commissions (and “opposition" presidential candidates) can’t call Bush a liar without unraveling “the social and political fabric,” then the lion’s share of the president’s rhetoric and conduct would appear to be off the table of serious criticism. Has Bush been granted the Divine Right of Presidential Bad Faith, Necessitated by the Requirement to Preserve Social Hierarchy? (full article)

Tapping Terrorism
by Bill Berkowitz

The re-election of President George W. Bush will not depend on the quagmire in Iraq, the state of the economy, Florida re-counts, suppressed votes in the battleground states, the lack of a paper trail from electronic voting machines, or a decision by the United States Supreme Court. The president will win if Team Bush has successfully convinced voters that their guy is more capable of fighting the war against terror and keeping Americans safer than Senator John Kerry....(full article)

Bankruptcy, Overcapacity and the U.S. Airline Industry
by Seth Sandronsky

Do you recall the “new” economy hype of last decade? Its cheerleaders claimed that the American business cycle was over. With the luxury of hindsight, we see the foolishness of that claim. On that note, consider the U.S. airline industry today. Its revenues are down. Expenses are up, led by rising oil prices. So domestic carriers are slashing their costs by any means necessary. This process brings into clearer view the social conflict between airline employers and employees....(full article)

Watch Out for Corporate Regulation ... of Citizens
by Jeff Milchen

“We think lawsuit abuse is a serious problem in this country," proclaimed Dick Cheney while debating John Edwards in early October. That "runaway lawsuits" theme is repeated at almost every Bush/Cheney campaign stop. Knowing the record of his own company, I can't help wondering whether Cheney is like an alcoholic seeking help, for during his five-year reign as CEO, Halliburton and its subsidiaries filed more than 150 separate court actions (documented by Halliburton Watch). Those lawsuits pursued injunctions, evictions, and attempted to collect alleged debts from other corporations and individuals, sometimes for as little as $1,500. But Halliburton is just part of a larger pattern. A recent study by Public Citizen indicates that the 7 million U.S. corporations file four times as many lawsuits as the 281 million individual Americans, so corporations are 160 times as likely to sue as an average person....(full article)

At the Crossroads of America
The Calling of our Times
by Manuel Valenzuela

Our decision on election-day 2004 will say as much about who we are as what we want to become, in short time transforming our destiny to the society that will exist into the future. We are each others’ gate keepers, and through the monumental decision we must make the future course of humanity will take. The referendum of the next few days is as much one regarding us as a society as it is on the presidency of George W. Bush. Do we approve of what has transpired, of what has been committed and of what has and continues to be done in our name? Do we condone all that has been lost, our reputation, our humanity, our nation? Have the last four years been an anomaly, a freak period of time not accepted or sought by the American people? Do the policies of the corporate administration have resonance and complicity acquiescence among us, or are they to be discarded and erased from our collective conscious? In our answers to these questions America will thus come to be defined....(full article)

Could the Associated Press (AP) Rig the Election?
by Lynn Landes

The Associated Press (AP) will be the sole source of raw vote totals for the major news broadcasters on Election Night. However, AP spokesmen Jack Stokes and John Jones refused to explain to this journalist how the AP will receive that information. They refused to confirm or deny that the AP will receive direct feed from voting machines and central vote tabulating computers across the country. But, circumstantial evidence suggests that is exactly what will happen. And what can be downloaded can also be uploaded. Computer experts say that signals can travel both to and from computerized voting machines through wireless technology, modems, and even simple electricity. Computer scientists have long warned that computer voting is an invitation to vote fraud and system failure. An examination of Diebold election software by several computer scientists, including Dr. Avi Rubin and his staff, proved that secret backdoors can be built into computer programs that allow votes to be easily manipulated without detection....(full article)

Kerry and the Sopranos: Why New Jersey is in Play
by Carl Mayer

Location means as much in politics as it does in real estate. So it was no surprise that the John Kerry campaign, during the Democratic National convention in Boston, chose to house the New Jersey Democratic delegation at the posh Parker House Hotel. (Compare that to the Montana delegation: Grizzly State Democrats bunked down in shared dorm rooms at Northeastern University). Kerry’s choice wasn’t accidental; he owes Joisey big time. How big? Fuggedaboutit. Kerry has raised over $4 million dollars in New Jersey, more than almost any state in the nation, particularly adjusting for size. Kerry is now regretting taking cash and assistance from the corrupt New Jersey political ATM machine. Going into the last days of the campaign, the presidential contest in New Jersey is a virtual dead-heat, a shocker considering that New Jersey was one of Gore’s best states in 2000, with a 16% margin of victory. Voters in New Jersey are hesitant to cast a vote for the Kerry-McGreevey corruption ticket that is denying voters their right to vote for the next Governor of New Jersey....(full article)

Born to be Wild (About Video Games?)
by Mickey Z.

On October 28, 2004, the New York Times decided it was fit to print an article called “Weaned on Video Games” by Michel Marriott. In the piece—essentially a press release for the video game industry—we learned of a report last fall by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy research organization, which “found that half of all 4- to 6-year-old children have played video games—on hand-held devices, computers or consoles—and one in four played several times a week. Of children 3 or younger, 14 percent have played video games.” “Companies have found that there was an untapped market with the really young kid,” said Vicky Rideout, a vice president of the foundation....(full article)

Eminem Joins the ABB Mosh Pit
by Thomas Wheeler

The Anybody But Bush (ABB) movement has a new recruiter. Rapper Eminem has released a new video “Mosh” that urges America’s disaffected youth to do their civic duty to remove Bush by engaging in the revolutionary act of voting. Directed by Ian Inaba of the Guerrilla News Network website, the anti-Bush video has all the accoutrements of rebel chic and revolutionary images that are appropriated and safely channeled into the government-approved outlet of obediently voting for the State-sanctioned candidates in a rigged game. Eminem wants you to fall in line and play their game on their terms. This sort of inside-the-ballot-box thinking is as daring and revolutionary as a Britney Spears Pepsi commercial. I’m sure it will complement MTV’s superficial “choose or lose” campaign quite nicely....
(full article)

Music Legend Slams Bush Campaign Over Song Theft
by Harvey Wasserman

George Bush may be getting the same kind of legal and musical advice as he gets from his military and environmental strategists. Amidst a torrent of bad news, yet another Bush fiasco has erupted with his attempt to use the rock standard "Still the One" as his theme song without bothering to ask its author for permission....(full article)

Introducing “The O'Sexxxy Factor”
Welcome to Bill O'Reilly's fantasy world of porn stars, prostitutes,
and web cam exhibitionists
by Bill Berkowitz

When the Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly was recently slapped with a sexual harassment law suit by one of his producers, were you: a) pleased that the bullying right wing television talk-show host might finally be getting his; b) surprised by reports of the breadth of O'Reilly's sexual fantasies; c) trying to figure out whether it would sink his career; d) wondering how the master of the so-called no-spin zone would wiggle his way out of the mess; e) concerned that O'Reilly's wife and two children might be drawn into the controversy; and/or, f) a little bit of all of the above? (full article)


“I’m Labor and I Vote”: American Workers Need a Kerry Victory
by Ghita Schwarz

New York’s voters give Kerry a twenty-point lead over Bush, rendering the state irrelevant to the last days of the presidential campaign. But New York City’s unions are working hard to help nearby swing states give their electoral votes to the Democrat. With nightly phone banks to Maine and Florida and weekly bus caravans to Pennsylvania, New York’s often fractious labor groups have found common cause....(full article)

Imagine Gore Running for Re-election with Bush's Record
by Holly Sklar

Imagine there was no electoral college and Al Gore became president after winning the popular vote in 2000. Now, imagine President Gore running for re-election with George W. Bush's record. How would you vote? (full article)

The Truth is Always Concrete
by David McReynolds

David McReynolds, democratic socialist and Green Party candidate for NY Senator, weighs in on the election: My mentor, the late A. J. Muste, used to say “the truth is always concrete.” I don't know whether the phrase was his own, or borrowed from Marx, Trotsky, or Gandhi. But it made sense and has stuck with me. When people ask me “who will you vote for President?” my answer is, “Which state do you live in?” Because of the electoral college I can safely vote for Ralph Nader here in New York State (though if David Cobb were on the ballot, I would have voted for him), knowing that Kerry will safely take New York State. If I lived in New Jersey, another safe state, I would certainly vote for Walt Brown, since I am a member of the Socialist Party and he is our candidate. But if I were in Ohio -- or any swing state -– I would vote for Kerry. How can a simple question have three different answers? And how in the world could I even consider voting for Nader “when the fate of the world hinges on defeating Bush?” (One close friend sent me an email saying he wouldn't even consider voting for me in the NY Senate race, so deep was his hostility to Nader). Others will ask how I could consider Kerry “when he is not opposed to the war in Iraq?”....(full article)

“A Dictatorship of Money Over People”
An Interview with Peter Camejo
by Alan Maass

Peter Camejo is the vice presidential running mate on Ralph Nader’s independent presidential ticket. Camejo is a veteran of many struggles during almost half a century of political activism--from the civil rights movement in the U.S. South, to the union struggle, from the environmental movement to the fight for immigrant rights. . . . With less than two weeks remaining in the campaign, Camejo talked to Socialist Worker’s Alan Maaas about Election 2004, and the importance of the Nader challenge....(full article)

Democrats Use Liberals in Late Campaign Dirty Tricks
Michael Moore: Court Jester for Corporate Criminals
by Carl Mayer

The Kerry campaign, in co-ordination with shadowy 527 groups funded by corporate backers and disgraced Senator Bob Torricelli, is using liberal progressives, including Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky in their literature attacking Nader in the closing days of the campaign....(full article)

Kerry and Genocide: Know What You Are Voting For
by Merlin Chowkwanyun and Joshua Frank

Soon the tallies will be rolling in, and those that cast a vote for John Kerry in hopes of altering the US foreign policy paradigm, will have wasted their energy. What the mainstream media and others have failed to disclose this election season is that one of Senator Kerry’s key foreign policy advisors, Richard Holbrooke, happened to play a significant role in perhaps the largest US backed genocide of the twentieth-century. Holbrooke is considered a likely tap for Secretary of State if Kerry defeats President Bush....(full article)

The Difference Between Bush and Kerry on Israel
by Mitchell Plitnick

While neither a Bush nor Kerry administration would challenge the "special relationship" between the US and Israel, the outcome of this election will likely make a real difference in the amount of death and destruction visited on both sides, but especially on Palestinians....(full article)

Nader’s Game of “Chicken”
by Norman Solomon

Ralph Nader won’t receive more than 1 percent of the vote nationwide on Election Day, but he’s already the winner in a spectacular game of “chicken.” After the vast majority of former allies jumped off his electoral vehicle, Nader kept flooring the accelerator -- while scorning them as “scared liberals” who “lost their nerve.”....(full article)

Choose Dignity and Vote for Nader
by Ahmed Amr

The corporate media has many voters believing this a contest between Bush and Kerry. But there is a third candidate in this race, a man who does not bow to special interests - domestic or foreign. A man who is not reluctant to take controversial stands against the Iraq war or to speak up for the Palestinians. That man is Ralph Nader. All Americans should give some serious consideration to Nader -- if only to deflate the power of the media barons and vandalize their political machines. But Arab-Americans and other minorities must be the first to line up behind Nader....(full article)

A Final Pleas to Nader Supporters
by Paul Rogat Loeb

Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jim Hightower, and Ralph Nader's former running mate Winona LaDuke haven't convinced you that voting for Nader is too great a risk this election, maybe nothing will. But the stakes are high enough to try. As Nader supporters continually point out, Kerry is a compromised, centrist Democrat, ambivalent at best on a host of key questions including the Iraqi war. And yes, Nader's positions are better, and it may feel personally gratifying to vote for them. But this election isn't about abstract stands. It's about Bush's threat to democracy. Not just Bush, but a larger Republican machine that purges African Americans from the Florida voting rolls, throws away voter registrations in Nevada, jams New Hampshire Democratic phone banks with hired telemarketers, shouts down Palm Beach vote counters, and shuts Congressional Democrats out of the legislative drafting process entirely, replacing their voices with those of industry lobbyists. That doesn't count waging preemptive wars and lying about their justification, passing over a hundred billion dollars a year of regressive tax cuts, smashing unions, plundering the environment, and branding everyone who disagrees with you an ally of terrorism....(full article)

An Open Letter to Some Former Naderites Running Scared in 2004*
by Ralph Nader

I was saddened to read your open letter urging people to vote for John Kerry in 2004. Saddened, not because of the impact on my vote but because it signals more of the same surrender of some liberal thinkers....(full article)

Choose Your Neo-Con Poison
by Ahmed Amr

If the polls are anywhere near the mark, George Bush has an even chance of polluting the White House for four more years. Given his record, the only reason Dubya remains a viable candidate is John Kerry. Until a few months ago, the “Anybody But Bush” movement was gathering enough momentum to guarantee that any randomly chosen Democrat could land Dubya on the unemployment line. It now appears that any old Republican can lick Kerry....(full article)

Chomsky, Zinn, Nader, & The Quadrennial Farce
by Michael K. Smith

In a recent Democracy Now! interview progressive Norman Solomon declared his support for Nader's right to be on the ballot but criticized his appeal to disaffected conservatives on the basis that it constitutes a courting of racists and xenophobes, a charge that he declined to make against Kerry, who merely supports rabidly racist fanatics mass murdering the children of Palestine. At the same time Solomon criticized Nader for helping Bush by siphoning votes from Kerry. Apparently, it is fine for Nader to be on the ballot as long as he doesn't seek votes from either the right or the left. The currently fashionable crackpot realism beneath all this is but the latest version of the quadrennial farce called electing a president. I must say that this year's version is beyond the absurdist norm, what with so many progressives pronouncing Nader a strategic moron, a charge that is, of course, untrue. But even if it were the case, it would not be nearly as serious as the wholesale moral surrender summed up in the vacuous slogan "anybody but Bush."....(full article)

Anybody but Bush (Though Kerry is Plenty Good Enough)
by Edward Jayne

In the opinion of many, including myself, President Bush is the worst and most reckless president in recent history. To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, he has time and again responded to complex problems by imposing simple solutions that turned out to be wrong. He assumes that macho persistence is better than “flip-flop” indecisiveness, no matter how much damage is produced by staying the course. As a result, just about all of his policies have borne harmful, even disastrous consequences. Even worse, as Bush himself boasts, his administrative style depends on “gut decisions” confirmed by prayer. Our nation thus supposedly enjoys genuine “faith-based” executive authority perhaps for the first time in its history. Of course others play a role, for example Vice President Cheney and campaign chairman Karl Rove, but input is minimized from experts whose “reality-based” knowledge compromises their willingness to go along with decisive steps when these seem necessary. Unfortunately, Bush’s arch-inspirational leadership is no way to run a modern nation, and its misapplication has been all too obvious in just about every decision he has made additional to his colossal errors linked with the Iraq invasion....(full article)

The Six Best Reasons Not To Vote
by Gary Corseri

I’ve been sitting around trying to feel guilty about my decision not to vote.  Somehow I’m not succeeding.  I’ve been through the usual arguments—parried as much by friends as antagonists—and they’re just not holding water.  “Which is more apathetic,” I reply to one standard tune, “to think one has done one’s duty as a citizen by voting every four years then going away, or maintaining pressure for justice and peace--marching, petitioning, boycotting, and financially supporting progressive causes?” Some say I am disenfranchising myself, obviating a blood-earned right.  And I answer, “There is systemic disenfranchisement which I cannot ignore and can only excuse at my peril.”  If I complain that we have been “electing” virtual dictators with 25% of the popular vote, that some 75% of eligible voters either opposed or did not choose to vote for the current incumbent and his 2000 opponent, I’m apt to be greeted by apoplectic stares.  My arguments fall on TV-waxed ears that no longer hear anything beyond the periphery of the easy comeback or shot-put rejoinder.  Time for some “studied” responses.  Here goes....(full article)

Our Greatest Threat: The Death of Intelligence in Public Discourse
by Arun Krishnan

To flip flop has also been one of my most prized character traits, a natural result of examining issues from individual, rather than simplified grouped up processes. However, for the first time in my life, I have made up my mind unequivocally about something. On November 2, George Bush has to go. He is bad for the mental and physical health of Americans, American soldiers and indeed much of the world. When he came to power four years ago, I consoled myself with the thought that a little strife is what the world needs every now and then ­- a cyclical flow of events to clear out the phlegm in our system. We have accomplished that. There is no reason to go through another four years of the same and vomit out our lungs....(full article)

Here We Go Again!: Only A Muscular Green Movement Will Beat
"More Of The Same"

by José Tirado

On January 20, 2005 the new American President, swearing to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," will be a man committed to a vision of the United States as a quasi-imperial nation, its hundreds of military bases stretched all around the globe.  And he will be a man who actually supports increasing America's military budget beyond its current $1 billion+ dollars per day He will be a man committed to the "new world order" of the World Trade Organization, GATT, NAFTA, vicious "free trade" rules and "globalization." . . . . The next President's name will either be George Bush or John Kerry and he will not change any of those things in any fundamental way. I offer up this little exercise because I believe it is time we cease looking at our present political situation through the prism of one man (or woman's) potential impact and more through the possibilities that exist currently on the street.  That is, our reliance upon one person whether that be someone we do not support (like Bush or Kerry), or someone we may support (like Nader or Cobb), is part of our long-term problem.  In the Green Party's case, we remain too dependent upon our shining stars and when they flake out or disappoint us, like is said of Peter Camejo, Medea Benjamin or Matt Gonzalez, (wonderful people all) we get depressed, lose our fighting spirit and essentially surrender....(full article)

Ralph, It's Not Too Late to Urge Your Supporters in Swing States
to Vote for Kerry
by Rabbi Michael Lerner

Dear Ralph,
A few days ago I received a letter from you sent to me as one of 75 members of your 2000 advisory group who now urge voters in swing states to vote for Kerry ( You asked us to reconsider, pointing out that Kerry's commitment to escalate the war in Iraq with more troops, and his demand on Bush to not back away from destroying urban centers of the Iraqi resistance despite likely high levels of civilian casualties, has now so irrevocably committed a Kerry Administration to war policies that most liberals and progressives will have to spend their energies in coming years in opposition....(full article)

Current Campaign Comedy: Dewey Defeats Truman
by Mikel Weisser

Some said if the Boston Red Sox were to win the World Series that John Kerry would win the election on their coattails. So I waited to see how the series went before writing this, but I can’t wait till after the election to write something to affect your vote in it. Of course, if I haven’t yet convinced you not to vote for Bush, this last little notice probably won’t do it, but here goes....(full article)

October 26-29

Lafayette Park Blues
by Joe Bageant

In the late 1960s I used to sit in Lafayette Park across from the White House, have spring spring picnics on the benches there with hippie girlfriends, reading Rimbaud, while waiting for the Robert Rauschenberg exhibit to open at the Corcoran Museum down the street. Usually there would be protesters across Pennsylvania Avenue, sometimes chained to the White House gate, a Buddhist monk or an anti-war group or mothers against whatever. Those were freer times. I know they were freer because I was there, I felt it and can remember it, as do millions of other Americans my age. So when we now look at the White House with its steel wire, concrete barricades, police dogs and snipers posted on rooftops we cannot help but ask ourselves: What the hell has happened to my country? Who imposed this national lockdown? Admittedly, we were just dumb artsy kids in those Lafayette Park days, youthful dreamers who couldn’t imagine ever being thirty years old (much less fifty eight!) And in an age when you could smoke a joint in the White House restrooms during a tour, we certainly never imagined a time when special enclosures for public dissenters would be given the authoritarian state term "Free Speech Zones." I never thought I would hear our government brand the liberalism of Jefferson as terrorism, never imagined an election could be successfully rigged in this country and never thought I’d see the Supreme Court back a junta. I never thought I would see three percent of our citizens pulling hard time in a vast complex of prisons. I never thought I would see 911. But most frighteningly of all has been watching Americans accept all this in such Orwellian fashion. Which is what one has to call it because our national behavior is way beyond anything that could be called ordinary denial. How in the hell did those far right nutjobs pull this off?
(full article)

-- Breaking News Story --
Republican "Caging List"
BBC TV to Reveal New Florida Vote Scandal 
by Greg Palast

A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan -- possibly in violation of US law -- to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals. Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list." It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida. An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day." Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot....(full article)


ISRAEL PALESTINE: Gaza "Disengagement"

Settler's Bust
by Michael Dahan

Much has been written in support of and against Sharon's planned disengagement from the Gaza Strip, to include the dismantling of the settlements in the Gaza Strip, isolated settlements in the northern part of the West Bank, and the redeployment of the Israeli army within the Gaza Strip, yet one crucially important aspect has been overlooked by most commentators: the precedent of dismantling settlements and its potentially transforming and cathartic affect on Israeli society....(full article)

On the Way to Civil War
by Uri Avnery

Everybody in Israel is talking about the Next War. The most popular TV channel is running a whole series about it. Not another war with the Arabs. Not the nuclear threat from Iran. Not the ongoing bloody confrontation with the Palestinians. The talk is about the coming civil war. Only a few months ago, that would have sounded preposterous. Now, suddenly, is has become a possibility, and a very real one. Not another blown-up media sensation. Not yet another of Sharon's political manipulations. Not just a new blackmail attempt by the settlers. But the real thing on the ground....(full article)

Sharon's True Face Exposed (and Ignored)
by Ran HaCohen

While Israel's military, purportedly on its way to get out of the Gaza Strip, is getting deeper and deeper into it, exercising its long terrorist tradition of forcing the civilian population to collaborate in massive killing and the destruction of homes and infrastructure, Sharon's top advisor Dov Weisglass made it to Ha'aretz's front page (Oct. 6, 2004): "The significance of [Sharon's] disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. … The disengagement is actually formaldehyde, it supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians. … What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did."....(full article)


The Bush Crony Full-Employment Act of 2003
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Evelyn Pringle takes an in-depth look at the corporate cronyism and Bush family connections behind the privatization and looting of Iraq. A must read....(full article)

Purchasing Individuality in America
by M. Junaid Alam

Between kings and paupers lies the public. Pretty prose extolling the virtues of Individuality may massage the moral senses of handsome millionaires even as it mocks the lot of voiceless victims, but above all its impact is most pronounced – and most important - among the large middle layer of the broader American masses. In a period of affluence and widespread wealth, the rhetoric of Individuality finds many receptive ears; wages and living standards rise, social mobility eases class tensions, new products are introduced and new markets opened up. On this rail of economic upswing, the ideological train of Individuality enjoys a smooth ride. There is no need to ask too many questions about long-term consequences, eye too closely the story of the Self-Made Man, worry about those left behind, or philosophize about the social desirability of certain products, advertising, consumption, and so on. Life is good, and backdrop, unnecessary. But what happens when the Self-Made Man is unmade? What happens when the woman married to the unmade Self-Made Man must work long hours so the family’s income may merely match what the father alone once earned? What happens when real wages stagnate, when work hours increase, when benefits dwindle, for a major part of the working class and even a growing portion of the ‘middle class’? What happens when not only low-end jobs but skilled labor is sacrificed at the altar of Capital’s freshly minted deities of automation and outsourcing; when social safety nets evaporate, when income inequality grows? What happens – in a word – now? (full article)

The New McCarthyism
by Sadu Nanjundiah

There has not been a more hateful and ludicrous article in defense of Israel than "The new anti-Semitism" by Clifford May (syndicated by the Scripps-Howard News Service on October 7, 2004). Mr. May reveals his vitriolic biases in blaming the violence in the Middle East on the victims, the Palestinians. . . .  May labels the historic and legitimate Palestinian opposition to European Jewish settlers occupying/colonizing their land and expelling thousands of them from their own homes in 1948, and the continuing Palestinian struggle against Israeli oppression in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank, as "anti-Semitic". The reality is that Israel has been cleansing all of Palestine of its indigenous population, which is the real genocide in this region. But for die-hard Zionists, Israel can never do any wrong and any criticism or negative characterization of its belligerence or oppression is immediately called "anti-Semitic". Thus forever banishing further discussion of Israel's inhuman acts against impoverished and beleaguered Palestinians. For nothing can beat the stigma of being labeled "anti-Semitic", or the ostracism that might follow for following the jackboot of the Nazis! This tactic is being used increasingly by desperate Zionist, pro-Israeli lobbies in the US because polls indicate that an increasing number of Americans are seeing through the Israeli smokescreen that turns reality upside down and claims all its state terrorism against beleaguered and impoverished Palestinians to be part of America's war against "global terrorism"....(full article)

World Food Day 2004: The Political Economy of Hunger
by Sean Cain

Last week the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day. While global capitalism puts people’s food security at risk, agricultural diversity is threatened by greater corporate concentration of food production and trade. Yet in spite of this, farmers from around the world are challenging this domination and are finding alternatives....(full article)

Morality Without Religion: A Brief Critique of
Archbishops Chaput's Kaput Philosophy

by Chuck Richardson

A reading of an op-ed column by Catholic Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, of Denver, that appeared in the October 22 New York Times entitled (sic) “Faith and Patriotism,” as well as two previous columns and a speech of his from which it was generated, provokes this rebuttal: After writing some things I agree with, Chaput dropped this bomb: “Exiling religion from civic debate separates government from morality and citizens from their consciences. That road leads to politics without character, now a national epidemic.” I agree that we’re experiencing a contagion of political depravity, but why do so many people link decency to religious faith, failing to observe the sophisticated efficacy of principled skepticism or the life-enhancing possibilities of iconoclasm, apostasy and dissent? (full article)

I Call it the “God Wants Me to Drive a Cadillac” School of Christian Theology
by Michael Gillespie

The dangers inherent in commercializing and politicizing the practices of religion in an attempt to impose religious ideology on a democratic political system seem to be more chillingly apparent now than they were on December 18, 2000, when then-President-elect George W. Bush told an interviewer after meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." As my wife and I were talking this morning, somehow we landed upon "the most memorable sermon I've ever heard as a topic of conversation....(full article)

The Anti-Empire Report
The Faces of Fear
by William Blum

For months now we've been bombarded with government warnings about possible terrorist attacks to disrupt the November elections. All manner of precautions and safeguards have been instituted by federal and state authorities. The Library of Congress has prepared a report entitled: "Postponement and Rescheduling of Elections to Federal Office. But hardly a thought is expressed about the question of "Why would terrorists want to disrupt the American elections?" George W. would answer that it's because terrorists hate and envy democracy. (Thank you George, now take your pill.) The Department of Homeland Security has raised the analogy with Spain, where last March terrorists bombed several trains, killing many people, just days before a national election. But that was to influence the vote, to turn the Spanish public away from the government which was a strong supporter of the US war in Iraq, and the bombings did indeed result in the opposition party, which was very much against the war, taking power. But in the United States there's no such opposition party with even a remote chance of winning the election. The Democratic candidate expresses 100 percent support of the war. So who would benefit from a terrorist attack on the elections, or the threat of same, the fear factor? Bush's lead in the polls, we've been told repeatedly, comes mainly from people who think he's better with national security issues....(full article)

Blood on the Campaign Trail:
Maureen Dowd’s Truncated Critique of US Macho Politics
by Lee Hall

Appraising the puerile competition between candidate Kerry and the Bush crew, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd discusses the senator’s Ohio hunting trip and the resultant fate of four geese (“Cooking His Own Goose,” 24 Oct. 2004). “Just as W. needed to shock and awe to prove he was no wimp,” writes Dowd, “Mr. Kerry needed to shoot and eat.” Consequently, “Kerry made an animal sacrifice to the political gods in a cornfield in eastern Ohio last week.” An apt description. Dowd’s critique loses momentum, however, by pausing to distinguish John Kerry’s goose hunting from the vice president’s duck hunting. Dowd writes, "When Mr. Kerry goes, only the birds are in danger. When Mr. Cheney and his pal Antonin Scalia go duck hunting together, the Constitution is in danger." Kerry is a threat to birds and Constitution alike. Kerry and the Democrats, much like Cheney and the Republicans, have treated the Constitution with appalling indifference. Has Dowd forgotten Kerry's vote for the USA-PATRIOT Act? What of the alacrity with which Kerry accepted Bush's decision to announce a state of armed conflict -- plainly the prelude to curtailments of due process -- without first seeking a declaration from Congress? (full article)

You Can't Blame Nader for This
The Democratic Party: an Advanced State of Decay
by Alexander Cockburn

Let's hedge this with all the usual qualifiers. Kerry could pull it out. The spread's within the margin of error. Respondents to polls are lying out of fear of John Ashcroft. Pollsters aren't reaching Kerrycrats with cell phones. But whatever way you cut it, after three debates in which polls assessed him as the victor, most polls say Kerry is lagging. As of now (October 20), the spread mostly ranges from an eight-point Bush lead to a dead heat. Worse, from Kerry's point of view, some post debate numbers show him dropping among low-income workers and urban voters, once the lifeblood of the Democratic Party. Margins in crucial states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are razor-thin. Why? Has a candidate or a party ever been more pleasantly caressed by the winds of history in an election year than John Kerry and the Democrats? A majority of Americans don't think Bush has done a particularly good job, and they've thought this for months, though more of them like Bush than like Kerry. . . . So history has dealt Kerry all the high cards, save the one that bears his own face (against the scenic background of a billionaire wife and six houses). This card still lies on Bush's side of the table....(full article)

A Response to the "Kerry in Swing State" Petition Signers
by Sam Husseini

Many of the individuals who gave a blanket endorsement to Nader in the 2000 election have signed a petition urging "support for Kerry/Edwards in all swing states, even while we strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq and other issues." Many warned at the time that some sort of "strategic voting" would be needed in 2000. (See my piece "A New Way To Vote -- As A Duet") Clearly, in states which Bush or Kerry have basically stated they will lose -- so-called "non-swing states" -- voting for whoever you want is a no-brainer. Most of the signers seem to want Nader to be president but prefer Kerry to Bush. There is a possible solution to this....(full article)

The “Morally Treasonable” Bush Administration
by Walter Brasch

In a blatant campaign of exploiting 9/11, and a subversive campaign to undermine the nation’s civil liberties, George W. Bush expects to win a second term. Jingoism is encouraged; dissent is not tolerated. As Texas governor, Bush established “protest zones” far removed from where he spoke. He continues that practice as President. Anyone with a message not in agreement with the administration’s beliefs is isolated, some as much as a half-mile away, during presidential and vice-presidential public appearances. However, according to a ruling by the federal district court in Philadelphia, all persons, no matter what their personal or political views, must have equal access under the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and the right of assembly. That part of the Constitution has often been overlooked by the Republican administration and by local police....(full article)

In US, Her Work, the Vote and Democracy
by Seth Sandronsky

The woman is a recent widow. She is also a dependable and reliable worker who labors in a modern hospital lab. It brims with costly technology. Over the years, she has been trained by her employer to use this technology. It is, officially, supposed to improve work. This is not the case for the woman. In that respect, she is hardly alone among American workers. For them, the line that technology brings liberty at work rings hollow. Just ask the many who toil for long hours and low wages in hospitals, call centers and retail trade. Do they control the technology at work? Or does it control them? Where is the political orientation to this workplace trend of more technology and lousy job conditions? (full article)

Luntz on the Loose
Call it "spinning," "massaging the message," or "LuntzSpeak,"
-- just don't dare call it the truth
by Bill Berkowitz

From helping craft Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America," to advising Republicans to take the gloves off in going after President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair, to frequent memos on how to politically use 9/11, to reams of advice for Republicans on how to talk about the war on terrorism, the environment and other hot-button issues, to being a consultant to NBC's The West Wing, to being named by Time magazine as one of "50 of America's most promising leaders aged 40 and under," Frank Luntz has been massaging the GOP's messages, occasionally putting a kinder, gentler spin on GOP core issues, and taking the pulse of the nation's voters for more than a decade. Regardless of the outcome of November's election, Frank Luntz will be giving advice to the Republican Party and its candidates for a long time to come....(full article)

Campaign Reflections: Resentment Abhors a Vaccum
by Paul Street

The election is too close to call.  Last time I looked (yesterday), the fellow who runs had Bush with 254 electoral votes and Kerry with 253 and listed Florida, yes Florida, as an absolute tie. The count changes every day.  Still, my sense, and I could most certainly be wrong, is that Kerry will sqeak in... in spite of himself and his campaign.  I've been surprised at the large number of Kerry-Edwards signs I've been seeing on farms throughout rural Illinois and Iowa.  And the buzz I've been picking up outside of the big blue metro is that "it's time for a change" in the top office because Iraq is a disaster -- actually worse off and more of a "danger" because of a sloppy invasion that is costing young American lives for dubious reasons -- and because the economy is a mess in ways that can't simply be blamed on 9/11 and the terrorists. . . . There's a widespread sense among women voters that Bush is just too stubborn he can't bring himself to admit maybe just one tiny little mistake beyond making some poor appointments.  And perhaps there's something else afoot....(full article)

Who's Running the Show Behind Corporate Media?
by Michelle Chen

Once upon a time, media ownership was a matter of right and wrong. Because the public airwaves were a precious commodity vulnerable to abuse, the Federal Communications Commission was born to protect them, and the public, through licensing and regulation. Gradually, however, the line between the guardians and foes of free expression has blurred, as both the FCC and the media business have earned unsavory reputations for exploiting their powers. Today, the information industries jam our airwaves and our synapses with hypnotic melodrama, political scandal and televised war. Behind the scenes of this media wonderland, commerce and government divert public scrutiny by confusing us as to who exactly has taken our attention spans hostage. The FCC, with their "decency standard," is loathed by everyone from shock jocks to provocative feminists as the curmudgeonly thought police. Yet advocates of non-commercial and independent media also vilify the major conglomerates as ruthless purveyors of bad taste and commercial dross. While settling for the lesser of two evils seems to be a recurring theme in politics lately, the public must choose its enemies wisely. Total deregulation, far from killing censorship, will likely tighten the grip of profit-driven media, allowing commercialism to do an even more thorough job of stifling creativity and civic spirit than the FCC has....(full article)

A Pretext for War
by Kim Petersen

James Bamford's latest book, A Pretext for War, sifts through the information and events that led to 9-11 and lowered the threshold to the already planned invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In his easy-reading narrative Bamford weaves the information, draws the reader a sketchy profile of the protagonists and locations, and thereby lays forth a literary rendition that answers the five Ws....(full article)

Gallipoli for Dummies
by Adam Engel

Hello, Boobus Americanus. It's been almost two years since we last spoke. You've gotten yourself into all sorts of mischief since then. War, environmental meltdown, economic distress. You're a mess.  All because you follow THE MAN, even though THE MAN, in HIS current incarnation, is a coterie of fanatics, Chicken Hawks, religious zealots, liars, dual-loyalists and outright traitors.  The first order of business really should be that $400 Billion of YOUR tax money HE and his Congressional YESMEN are spending on a military that exists not to defend your home, but attack HIS enemies.  In this case, all those nukes, at least 5,000 stored away complete with missiles to deliver them, might serve you well. For a couple of billion dollars, keep 'em oiled and shiny and ready to launch and I guarantee you no one -- except those pesky terrorists -- would bother to attack you.  If you pulled your $400 Billion military out of all the places in the world it shouldn't be present and stopped giving away military "gift packages" to countries like Israel and Columbia, you might even find that even the terrorists wouldn't bother you. Then all you'd need is a coast guard and the organized militias they talk about in the Constitution....(full article)

Pre-emptive Pie-Hole Policy Not an Option
by Sheila Samples

My friend Bernie says anyone who believes that George W. Bush's war on terror isn't a miserable, howling failure is surely a member of the media, a perp over at the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), or has had "the lobotomy." Bernie says if Bush manages to screw up another election, the second thing he's going to do is hit us with a full-blown draft. "The second thing?" I asked. "Okay -- since Bush always screws up everything he touches-- I'll bite. What's the first thing?" "Iran!" Bernie snorted. "Don't you pay attention? The articles have already been written. The graphics are loaded. The media is just waiting for Bush to give 'em the signal so they can write the headlines and fill in the date and time of the attack. Then," he grinned, "Hi-ho, hi-ho -- it's off to war we go..." Bernie could be on to something. Anybody even remotely familiar with the totally mad ravings of the Machiavellian Michael Ledeen for the past two decades, or the sheer inhumanity lurking behind the chilly smile frozen on the warmongering face of Bill Kristol, editor of Rupert Murdoch's neoconservative Weekly Standard, knows that Iraq was only the beginning of a struggle with the "terror masters" of evil -- a war that Ledeen cheerfully announces will "go on forever."....(full article)

Remembering Dorothy Thompson
by Peter Kurth

“Do you feel as I do -- a fantastic, dream-like quality? … Something ominous … a sense of sickness -- as though all the world and everybody in it, and you and I, were sick in our nerves and in our brains and in our hearts? Society is deranged. … It is dominated by moral and emotional morons. … I want sabotage and opposition … sabotage and opposition … sabotage and opposition, against militarism in all of its forms.” -- Dorothy Thompson, 1939

Funny, isn’t it, that a woman who said such things should vote Republican all her life? Well, damn it, she did. There was one cantankerous exception, in 1948, when “the disaster of the Peace,” as Dorothy Thompson regarded the outcome of World War II, led her to cast her vote for Norman Thomas, the Socialist candidate. It was Thompson’s way of protesting the lack of “serious ideas” in American politics, and it marked the end of her eminence as a writer and pundit – “the best reporter this generation has seen in any country,” as her colleague John Gunther remarked, “and that is not saying nearly enough.” What could say enough? (full article)

Let Rupert Murdoch Appoint the President
by Ahmed Amr

What can one buy with 1.2 billion dollars? For starters, you might be able to afford a four-year lease on the White House. If you can spare a few extra billion, you have the luxury of running a slate of candidates for the available slots in Congress. America is a free country with very expensive elections. Constructing a political machine for a single presidential race requires the investment of substantial resources by certain interested parties. The Financial Times just reported that “the presidential and congressional elections will cost $3.9bn, up 30 per cent from the $3bn spent on elections four years ago.” The fact that certain influentials are willing to cough up an extra $900 million to support this year’s candidates indicates full satisfaction with their last purchase. What motivates individual citizens to voluntarily part with so much money? (full article)

The Government You Deserve
by John Chuckman

It has been said that people pretty much get the government they deserve. There is more than a little justice in the observation. Pat Buchanan, long my choice as symbol for all that is wrong with America, has given a last-minute endorsement to George Bush's re-election. One is tempted to class his words, qualified as they are, with the grovelings of John McCain at Bush rallies. After spending a couple of years successfully peddling columns attacking Bush for repeating the bloody stupidity of Vietnam, Pat has come to the conclusion that Bush isn't so bad after all. He says that while Bush is wrong on the war, he is right on just about everything else. I suppose Pat's list of things that are right with Bush includes Jehovah's receiving a seat on the National Security Council, some of the Patriot Act's finer points on human rights, sending individuals secretly to places like Syria or Egypt to be tortured, insulting and alienating friends and allies, squandering a hundred billion dollars without managing so much as a patch-up of Iraq's smashed infrastructure, and laughing off world environmental threats far more deadly than anything dreamed of by terrorists. Pat perfectly represents America's noisy, pointless "culture of complaint," something which mimics the effects of a bad gene pool, endowing America with ridiculous trash like Crossfire or Rush Limbaugh or whole networks like CNN or, indeed, the grotesque practices of its national elections....(full article)

Rumble in the Jungle (+ 30)
Ali, Foreman, and the Congo

by Mickey Z.

I won $4.00 betting on Muhammad Ali when he fought the pre-grill George Foreman for all the marbles in the wee hours of a 1974 Zaire morning. This was a time when most white kids would regularly root for Ali to I took advantage of such nonsense and put my money on The Greatest. Today, as we approach the 30th anniversary of what became known as the “Rumble in the Jungle,” far more is known about the boxers (and a certain promoter named Don King who got his start in Zaire) than the venue. The Congo gained independence from Belgium in June 1960. Within three months, the CIA helped overthrow the African nation’s first Prime Minister, the charismatic and legally elected socialist, Patrice Lumumba....(full article)

The Presidential Pageant: “There He Is, Mr. America...”
by Norman Solomon

While this country has become a good deal more skeptical about the mythic allures of Miss America, the news media and the nation as a whole are still boxed in by the Mr. America extravaganza. During thousands of public appearances, presidential candidates pose, preen and posture, trying to measure up to our images of what and who the man in the Oval Office should be. And the media evaluations often seem scarcely more sophisticated or discerning than the retrograde judges who assign points according to arbitrary standards of physical proportions and womanly poise....(full article)

October 22-25

For Kerry, It’s Not Easy Pretending to be Green
by Joshua Frank

Despite John Kerry's cozy relationship with big green organizations like the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, the Senator should not be mistaken as a friend of the environment....(full article)

The Year of Surrendering Quietly
by Alexander Cockburn

Every four years, liberals unhitch the cart and put it in front of the horse, arguing that the only way to a better tomorrow is to vote for the Democratic nominee. But unless the nominee and Congress are pushed forward by social currents too strong for them to ignore or defy, nothing will alter the default path chosen by the country’s supreme commanders and their respective parties. In the American Empire of today, that path is never towards the good. Our task is not to dither in distraction over the lesser of two evil prospects, which will only turn out to be a detour along the same highway....(full article)

Two Pampered Children of Wealth
Skull vs. Bones
by Elizabeth Schulte

The man who occupies the White House next January will be among the richest 1 percent of Americans, the pampered child of a wealthy family. He’ll have lifelong connections to the political and corporate world. He’ll be a graduate of exclusive Yale University, and proud member of the even more exclusive Skull and Bones, a bizarre secret society at Yale. Though he talks about bipartisanship, he’s a veteran fixture of a two-party system that upholds the political status quo. We don’t know whether George W. Bush or John Kerry will win on November 2--or if, for that matter, the election will be too close to call again and won’t be decided until weeks later. But we know all this about the next occupant of the White House because these things are true of both Bush and Kerry. Jeffrey St. Clair is coeditor with Alexander Cockburn of the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch, and the author of numerous books, including the essay collection Dime’s Worth of Difference with Cockburn, and Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me. His recent articles for the CounterPunch Web site have revealed the sordid history of both major candidates. Here, St. Clair talks to Socialist Worker’s Elizabeth Schulte about the election between Skull and Bones....(full article)

Guilt Trippers for Kerry
by Sharon Smith

On October 28, Left Business Observer editor Doug Henwood will air an interview with left-wing author and activist Tariq Ali on New York’s WBAI radio. In a previous interview with Henwood back in August, Ali excoriated those on the U.S. left who have not joined the “Anybody But Bush” camp. “This is an argument you can have from the luxury of your sitting room or kitchen in the United States, but this particular regime has taken the lives of at least 37,000 civilians in Iraq,” Ali said. “For them, it’s not an abstract question.”....(full article)

Amnesty International: A False Beacon
by Paul de Rooij

Given the current escalation of Israeli depredations in Gaza and the daily US bombings of Falluja, it is interesting to examine Amnesty International’s (AI) statements on the situation. AI is widely viewed as an authority on human rights issues, and thus it is of interest to analyze its output on these recent events. Careful scrutiny of AI’s record reveals that, its typical response to the daily obscene deeds by either Israeli or US armies is a few barely audible ruminations with an occasional lame rebuke. The impotence of these responses raises many questions....(full article)

What Did Aeschylus write in Daughters of Danaus?
by toni solo

A look across the Latin American satrapies of empire may be timely, as oil peaks and its price pushes relentlessly upwards. The global plutocrat elite are pinched between growing popular determination to achieve decent living standards and their own diminishing ability to access and control energy and water resources. Something has to give....(full article)

Privatization Goes Public
It's been on the administration's agenda since day one.
Why all the fuss now about Social Security?
by Bill Berkowitz

It may not be as sexy as the recent hullabaloo created by "compassionate conservative" Republican Party spokespersons "protecting" the honor of Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of vice president Dick Cheney, and it may not have the tumultuous effect as the revelation -- in the last days of the 2000 presidential campaign -- of President Bush's previously undisclosed DUI arrest in Maine, but it's good to see a serious political issue, the privatization of Social Security, get its day in the sun....(full article)

--Feature Article--
Iraq as Prelude: The Making of an Anti-American Century
by William H. Thornton

An in-depth essay excerpted from William Thornton's forthcoming book, New World Empire: Islamism, Terrorism and the Making of Neoglobalism: Whatever else one may think of him, G. W. Bush must be credited with extraordinary sales skills. Like a real estate agent who manages to sell inaccessible lots in a swamp, G. W. has managed to keep his ratings up while selling America a quagmire. Even as his administration ignored the real perils of Saudi Wahhabism (or actively camouflaged them, as Michael Moore would have it), it miscast Saddam as the mother of global terrorism. The decision to invade Iraq was put beyond debate by Saddam’s mythic stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Thomas Powers dubs this “the least ambiguous case of misreading of secret intelligence information in American history.” “Misreading” is too generous a word for it, given the pressure the White House applied to the intelligence community to extract desired results. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 1, 2002 more than met those desires, and a week later Congress voted for war.  The question is how much the administration’s slant on Iraq was inspired by ideological prepossessions as opposed to economic calculation....(full article)

Iraqi Child Deaths:
Media Indifferent as UNICEF Reports Worsening Catastrophe
by Media Lens

UNICEF estimates that some indications showed improvement in Iraqi child mortality between 1999 and 2002 - the death rate dropped to 125 in 2002 (from 130 in 1999). However, this trend has reversed under the occupation and child mortality is actually worsening as compared to 2002 levels. UNICEF's Roger Wright added: “Since the war more children in Iraq are malnourished, fewer children are protected from immunizable diseases and there has been an increase in the incidence of diarrhoeal disease.”....
(full article)

Empire of Insanity: Kerry's Iraq Numbers (Fourth in a series)
by Greg Bates

Where's Richard Nixon when you need him? Taking a leaf from his record on sustainable energy, John Kerry now wants to make the war in Iraq sustainable. Just for today, let's put aside all our objections to the carnage and look at it from Kerry's point of view. Some progressives cling to the hope that a vote for Kerry is a vote for peace. Such wishful thinking could lead many to breathe a mistaken sigh of relief in the event of a Kerry victory. We need an accurate picture of what Kerry's game plan means so that protests continue to grow. On October 13, 2004 The Wall Street Journal provided a sobering antidote to progressive hopes, by pegging Kerry right. It stated on the front page that, "On Iraq and the war on terror, George Bush and John Kerry differ mainly on tactics, assessments, and tone, while sharing the same broad goals." But even within Kerry's own framework, the numbers don't add up....(full article)

Bush Backers Steadfast on Saddam, WMD
by Jim Lobe

Three out of four self-described supporters of President George W. Bush still believe pre-war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or active programs to produce them, and that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein gave "substantial support" to al-Qaeda terrorists, according to a survey released Thursday. Moreover, as many or more Bush supporters hold those beliefs today than they did several months ago, before the publication of a series of well-publicized official government reports that debunked both notions....
(full article)

Are the War and Globalization Really Connected?
by Mark Engler

To be radical, in the oldest sense of the word, is to go to the root. One strength of truly progressive analysis is that it places what appear to be isolated events in a larger context. It seeks to make connections between seemingly disparate political issues by revealing underlying ideological frameworks. And so it has been a central task, in the post 9-11 era, for activists to demonstrate how the war against terror and the drive for corporate globalization are one and the same--how peace and global justice movements share vital common ground. That these two issues are connected, in a fundamental way, is an article of faith on the political left, reinforced by the fact that many participants in globalization protests have also mobilized against the Bush administration's militarism. All such articles of faith deserve a bit of critical skepticism, so I would like to offer a constructive challenge. Many of the arguments wedding the war in Iraq with a strategy for neoliberal expansion are not readily convincing. They risk reading causality into tangential relationships. And, in their drive to connect, they overlook important disjunctures between the Bush administration's foreign policy and the policy preferred by many business elites. Activists have good reason to look again at the neoconservative hawks now in power and to consider whether they have outdone the corporate globalists of earlier years or whether they have betrayed them....(full article)

House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11
by Stephen Zunes

On the eve of the third anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. House of Representatives--by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of 406-16--passed a resolution linking Iraq to the al-Qaida attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This comes despite conclusions reached by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, a recent CIA report, and the consensus of independent strategic analysis familiar with the region that no such links ever existed. The resolution contains appropriate and predictable language paying tribute to the rescue workers and victims' families. It also notes actions taken by the U.S. government in response to the attacks, such as the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, improvements in intelligence procedures, enhanced coordination between government agencies, and hardening cockpit doors on commercial aircraft. Actions by American allies were noted as well, such as their arrest of key al-Qaida operatives in Europe and elsewhere. However, the resolution also contains language designed, despite the lack of any credible evidence, to associate the former Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 attacks....(full article)

“This is a Time Bomb”
Mike Davis on the Looming Threat of a Deadly Flu Pandemic
by Alan Maass

The possible emergence of a deadly new strain of influenza is a public health catastrophe waiting to happen, but the world’s most powerful governments, including the U.S., have no response planned--and profit-hungry health care corporations are doing nothing to head off the threat. That’s the case made by Mike Davis, a leading left-wing voice and author of numerous books, including Ecology of Fear and City of Quartz. Davis’ recent article, “The Monster at the Door,” outlines the threat of a global pandemic from avian, or bird, flu if a strain of the virus develops that can be passed not only from animals to humans, but between humans. The article appeared shortly before a new factor emerged--the British government’s announcement that it was shutting down a factory run by Chiron Corp. that produces flu vaccine, including about half of the annual U.S. supply. Here, Davis talks to Socialist Worker’s Alan Maass about the new flu threat....(full article)

The Encyclopedia of White Collar and Corporate Crime
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

If we want to do something about the powerful institutions and individuals that shape our lives, we need to educate ourselves about their culture of criminality -- and the public efforts to bring them to justice. One good place to start is the Encyclopedia of White Collar and Corporate Crime (Sage Publishers, 2004)....(full article)

Hearsed Curse: Bye Bye Bambino
by Richard Oxman

It's been taken away in a very black limo, the Bambino Thing, the ghost that wouldn't give the Sox an even break since 1918. Just like I predicted in my recent "Botox Bosox" article. The mean-spirited Yanks have finally had their comeuppance in the most dramatic fashion imaginable. Four in a row! The last two at home. With The Ace of the opposition bleeding at the ankle, and his sidekick, Pedro, deafened by mantras of Daddy DooWop....I'm glad New York will stop being the Center of the Universe for a New York Minute, and that that operatic fireman with the Dumbo ears won't be able to make a return appearance. I can't take Manhattan, 'cause it's been taken along with a lot of other places....(full article)

Green Leaders Denounce Nader-Newman Alliance
by Doug Ireland

A group of leading Greens headed by Rhode Island's first elected Green office-holder--David Segal, the Minority Leader of the Providence City Council--has issued a new report blasting Ralph Nader for his unholy alliance with Fred Newman and his cult-racket, formerly known as the New Alliance Party....(full article)

Cobb, Kerry and Nader
by Ted Glick

I was struck by two emails that came my way a few days ago. One was an endorsement of John Kerry by Winona LaDuke. The other was a press release from the N.Y. Independence Party announcing that, this coming week, Ralph Nader will "campaign in the Black community with Independence Party leader and activist Dr. Lenora Fulani." Winona LaDuke, of course, was Ralph Nader's Vice-Presidential running mate in both 1996 and 2000. Her endorsement of Kerry is in many ways a metaphor for Nader's 2004 Presidential campaign. Large numbers of former Nader supporters, including the national Green Party of the United States, are not supporting him this time around. Some, like LaDuke, are supporting Kerry. Others are supporting David Cobb. Other Greens are focusing their efforts on local campaigns. But Nader just keeps motoring along, accepting support from individual Greens, several socialist groups, disaffected Republicans, former Pat Buchanan backers in the Reform Party, state Republican parties (as in Michigan where they filed 35,000 signatures to get him on the ballot) and the Fred Newman/Lenora Fulani/Independence Party crowd. This latter group has, over the past 12 years, supported white, male, multi-millionaires and rightists like Ross Perot, Abe Hirschfield, Tom Golisano and Pat Buchanan in races for President and N.Y. Governor, as well as Nader this year....(full article)

No Self-Respecting Progressive or Green Can Vote for
David Cobb, Cobb Should Withdraw From the Race
by Carl Mayer

No self-respecting progressive or Green can possibly vote for David Cobb this November 2nd.  Cobb has so badly misled Green Party members and progressives about his campaign that Cobb should withdraw from the race....(full article)

October 20-21

Sinclair Broadcasting's Long History of Journalistic
and Corporate Deception

by Jason Leopold

Sinclair Broadcasting Group has tried to influence the outcome of elections long before the media company became a lightning rod for criticism due to its decision to air a controversial documentary ten days before the Nov. 2 election critical of Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry's activities during the Vietnam War....(full article)

Sinclair Broadcasting and the New Project Mockingbird
by Bob Fitrakis

Sinclair Broadcast Group, which plans to air a CIA-agit-prop-style documentary called “Stolen Honor: Wounds that never heal” which is highly critical of John Kerry’s anti-war activities, should be regarded as part of a shadow government operation running a psychological covert action against the American people....(full article)

America, Imagine This!
by M. Shahid Alam

Over the past three years, I have followed the mainstream public discourse on the abhorrent attacks of 9-11 with the eerie feeling that I was watching a new version of Hamlet where the King of Denmark – the father of Prince Hamlet – dies a natural death. The Prince’s enigmatic, even murderous, behavior stems from some strange sickness of his mind. He just hates his noble uncle, Claudius, who succeeds to the throne of Denmark upon his father’s death. Once the perpetrator of a crime has been identified, it is natural for the family of the victim to ask: why? After 9-11, Americans too were asking this and similar questions. “Why did the 19 Arabs attack us?” “What was their motive?” “Why did they take their own lives to inflict death upon us?” “What did they want from us?” “What had we done to make them so angry, so suicidal?” The questions could easily take a dangerous turn. They had to be preempted....(full article)

The Redefining Of America
by Harold Williamson

Ours is a time when many difficult problems of our great nation are being caused by a group of radical right-wing ideologues who spin words in such a way that their traditional meanings are turned on their heads. They call themselves "conservatives," but they are far from being that in the traditional sense. Conservatives do not stand for huge budget deficits or the blurring of the line between the affairs of church and state. And most of them claim to be Christians, although their God is the antithesis of the loving Christian God whose Son was the consummate liberal calling for peace, love, and tolerance. Instead, President George Bush's far-right fundamentalist supporters believe in a God of wrath who would pass judgment on all non-believers, a belief that is no less radical than the Wahhabi brand of Islam with followers like Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. They are every bit as dangerous by thinking that they are God's chosen nation fighting a war for world "dominion," and if, much to the chagrin of everyone else living on this planet, they think they are facing "eternal war," they will take that in stride because that is exactly what their eschatology predicts. But in reality it will be nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy that's based on delusion....
(full article)

Refusing Reservists' Fates Uncertain
by Lisa Ashkenaz Croke

The defiance of 17 U.S. Army Reservists who refused a fuel delivery mission last Wednesday prompted the military to promise long-awaited armor for their military vehicles, even as the military refused to acknowledge claims from family members that the platoon's convoy was expected to travel through insurgent hotspots unprotected. "I can't think of anything we're not doing right now," said Brig. Gen. James Chambers at a Baghdad press conference yesterday. Commander of the 13 Corps Support Command, under which the platoon's 343rd Quartermaster Company transports fuel and water, Chambers told reporters that troops had adequate body armor and vehicles were protected with steel plating, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Regardless, the Company has been placed on inactive status. Spokesperson Capt. Cathy Wilkinson told the Monitor that the command is taking the time to evaluate which vehicles need armor, and to retrain the troops....(full article)

The 9/11 Commission Report: Bush's Negligence Didn't Happen
by Paul Street

There's a nice interview of Noam Chomsky by David Barsamian in the latest International Socialist Review. Somewhere in the conversation Barsamian is talking about the appointment of the blood-soaked butcher John Negroponte (who served as US ambassador to Honduras during the US-financed Reagan dirt wars in Central America) as US ambassador overseeing the supposed export of "freedom" (including the freedom to be raped by multinational corporations under the protection of the imperial occupation state) to "liberated" Iraq and is moved to quote Orwell from Nineteen Eighty Four. He picks from a section where Orwell wrote about the way the totalitarian state depicted in his novel (Oceana) would almost instantly obliterate the record and consciousness of any and all history that did not suit its current party line. "Everything," Orwell wrote, "faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth." "The only addition one should make to the Orwell quote," Chomsky tells Barsamian, "is that nothing had to be effaced because it was effaced instantly. It didn't happen." Recent examples of totalitarian history erasure, conducted in no small part by US corporate state media: (1) the obliteration of any serious memory (outside the mainstream) of US support for Saddam Hussein's dictatorship and WMD capacities; (2) obliteration of such memory of US organization and financing of extremist right-wing Islamist forces during the Cold War period; (3) the almost instantaneous replacement of protecting Americans from the Iraq-terrorist WMD threat with democracy promotion as the reason behind the invasion of Iraq; (4) The 9/11 Commission Report....(full article)

Draft or Merely Hot Air?
by Ivan Eland

In the presidential campaign, there has been talk of returning to the draft after the election: Kerry has predicted that President Bush will reinstate the draft if reelected and Bush has denied it. Any such reinstatement would be disastrous for the republic. In the lead up to the election, the Republicans have been so eager to run away from this explosive issue that they brought up a bill on the draft, sponsored by a few liberal Democrats, just to have the house defeat it overwhelmingly. Most politicians—including the president—know that forcing young men and women into the military against their will would likely make many voters angry. They also know that a draft would probably cause any remaining public support for the already unpopular Iraq war to melt away. Conscription was a major reason public support eroded for the equally dubious Vietnam War....(full article)

Contrary Over Mary
GOP social conservatives claim Kerry’s comment about Mary Cheney’s lesbianism is an attempt to “suppress traditional-values voters”
by Bill Berkowitz

After more than two decades of unremitting gay-bashing, using gays and lesbians as fund-raising fodder for right wing organizations and candidates, demonizing gays at every turn and, in this election cycle, calling for a constitutional amendment that would deny gays and lesbians the right to marry, conservatives have finally found the outrage. You'll remember that in 1996, the Republican Party’s Presidential candidate, Senator Bob Dole, spent much of his time during the campaign looking for the “outrage.” Outraged by Hollywood’s immorality, and outraged by the failure of the nation’s voters to stand behind the GOP’s effort to dump President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, Sen. Dole trucked around the country and demanded to know: “Where’s the outrage?” It may have taken eight years, but the outrage has finally been outed. On every cable television news network, in every newspaper, and for all I know, on every street corner in the battleground states, Team Bush’s spokespersons and surrogates are hammering home its message that they are outraged that during the final debate with President George W. Bush, Senator John Kerry dared mention that Mary Cheney -- the daughter of vice president Dick and his wife Lynne -- is a lesbian....(full article)

There's Nothing About Mary
by Peter Kurth

The third and last in the series of “presidential debates” went unwatched and unmissed by this column, there being no question – as we’ve insisted now for what seems like two or three decades – that the “contest” on November 2 will be decided, not by the people, but by the press. We are so sure of this, indeed, that our head didn’t leave the pillow last week until it learned that “homosexuality” had been talked about in the final episode of this beauty pageant....(full article)

Two Weeks to Go -- and One President to Oust
by Norman Solomon

We’re at a moment in history when progressives must work together -- not with a false kind of unity that papers over differences, but instead with a candid kind of unity that recognizes and fights for a vital common goal. Our collective task is to kick George Bush out of the White House. The thousands of African-American women and men lining up at early-voting sites in Florida are sending a profound message across this country. After nearly four years of “Hail to the Thief,” we have a chance to oust the Bush-Cheney gang. We’re depending on each other....(full article)

Journalist Requests Temporary Restraining Orders Against Use of Voting Machines & Absentee Ballots - Urges Use Of Remote Polling Precincts & Provisional Ballots
by Dissident Voice News Service

Last week, freelance journalist Lynn Landes filed two Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) in federal district court in Philadelphia. Landes is one of the nation's leading journalists on voting technology and democracy issues. She is attempting to halt the use of voting machines and absentee ballots in the upcoming presidential election.....(full article)

Palestine's Voice
by Seth Sandronsky

An important intellectual, the late Edward W. Said taught many people around the world how to better grasp complex truths about life in the Middle East. He did that by being a strong voice for the Palestinian people. Said was a prolific author (his classic book Orientalism is a must-read for those studying the Middle East) who also taught English and comparative literature at Columbia University. His posthumously published From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map: Essays collects 46 of his last political works, written between December 2000 and July 2003. The articles, many of which first ran in Arabic papers, take readers from the U.S.-brokered 1993 Oslo peace accord between Israel and Palestine through the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003....(full article)

Indonesia's Yudhoyono: More of the Same
by Ben Terrall

Indonesia's newly elected president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promises much change in Indonesia's progress towards democracy, but Ben Terrall explains why this former US-trained military commander, responsible for human rights abuses in East Timor, offers little hope for change and much hope for Western elites to continue to profit from the immiseration of the Indonesian people.... (full article)

Indonesia: US Underwriting Terrorism?
by Conn Hallinan

Behind a recent, highly controversial indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bush administration is maneuvering to revive military ties with the Indonesian Army (TNI), one of the world's most oppressive institutions....(full article)

October 15-18

Facts About America
by Said Shirazi

Since I moved out to the suburbs last year, I see the flag everywhere I go. It is a common sight on the monster Fords that pass me illegally in the breakdown lane or across the double yellow line. Color print-outs of it are taped up outside the cubicles of the secretaries at work, along with cat and baby pictures. Oddly, more people seem to have it on their cars here than their homes. At first I wondered if some neighborhood rules might prohibit flags but that isn’t the case. Maybe people put the flag on their car because they know it will be seen more there, or maybe they live in neighborhoods I haven’t driven through yet. At the auto parts store, stickers of the flag are next to ones with a skull and crossbones, giving you a choice of playing patriot or pirate. What does it mean to fly the flag? I am scared to ask anyone because it will sound like a criticism. I know what it means to wear a Bob Dylan t-shirt; it means you like his music. But what exactly does it mean to say you like America when you are presumably speaking to other Americans? Don’t we all live here together? Aren’t we all in America? Or are some of us more American than others? (full article)

Exporting Blame: With All the Anxiety Over Outsourcing,
Where Should the Fingers Be Pointing?

by Michelle Chen

As unemployment remains high and once-stable jobs mysteriously vanish, Americans are becoming desperate for answers: How are workers supposed to deal with unprecedented economic insecurity, where are these jobs going, and who is to blame? Interest groups and politicians have decried outsourcing as the American worker’s nemesis, fueling public anxiety about the dangers of globalization and a new protectionist mindset that reacts against the free trade doctrine of the corporate America. Kerry, backed by the AFL-CIO, has blamed Bush for the loss of jobs to cheap overseas labor markets. New statistics revealing the export of 3.3 million white-collar jobs by 2015 are stoking fears that the global economy is slowly draining the incomes of the middle class. In response, the usual establishment cogs—Bush’s advisers and various corporate spokespeople—tout outsourcing as a positive new status quo for corporations. There are also academics and economists who dismiss the doomsayers, arguing that outsourcing is at best a productive economic trend—keeping prices low and industries efficient—and at worst, a natural phenomenon over-hyped by party politics. The reality, as always, is more complex than either side will admit, and oversimplifying the issue threatens to do more harm than outsourcing itself....(full article)

The Last Debate (Thankfully!)
by Doug Ireland

Only someone whose idea of a public debate is the history questions on Hollywood Squares could have found the three presidential non-debate Q&As a truly educational experience about the great issues of our time--most of which were treated in the most over-simplified manner possible, when they were treated at all. The Arizona Bush-Kerry duel was hardly an exception. Banalities, truth-shadings, and downright lies were observable from both podiums....(full article)

Election Day Fears
by Robert Jensen and Pat Youngblood

We have two great fears about Election Day 2004. The first is that George W. Bush will be elected. The second is that John Kerry will be elected. Those fears are rooted in an understanding that the threats to global justice and world peace come not from a single person or party but from systems, and that no matter who is elected, those systems -- empire and capitalism -- remain in place. There is no hope for the long-term sustainability of human life on the planet if empire and capitalism are not replaced with more ecologically viable and humane ways of organizing political and economic life. And both Bush and Kerry are committed -- by their words and deeds -- to the maintenance of the capitalist empire. But which of these imperial capitalist candidates takes office in January 2005 is not irrelevant. There are differences between the two, and some of the differences aren’t inconsequential....(full article)

Kerry Picking Up Nader’s Populist Themes in Final Weeks of Campaign
by Kevin Zeese

Both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are reporting that Senator John Kerry is beginning to pick-up issues put forward by Ralph Nader. Nader has been giving Senator Kerry a roadmap to defeat George W. Bush throughout the campaign, most recently when he had ten waiters serve him ten ways to defeat George W. Bush on a silver platter....(full article)

Shooting From the Hip: Kerry Out-Guns Bush
by Joshua Frank

It may seem inconceivable to some, but John Kerry is indeed out-hawking George W. Bush this election season. No doubt we should have seen it coming as the Democratic National Convention was nothing more than a glorified war parade, where Kerry floated on by and reprehensibly announced that he was "reporting for duty." Since this obscure proclamation in Boston last summer, Kerry has been trouncing around the country defending his call for the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq....(full article)

Preview of the Bush Campaign's Media Endgame
by Norman Solomon

With the presidential debates now behind us, the struggle for the White House will tilt even more toward decentralized media battles for electoral votes. Between now and Election Day, vast resources will go toward spinning local news coverage in swing states while launching carefully targeted commercials on radio and television. For the Bush campaign and its allies, the media endgame will include these components: ....(full article)

Trashing Democracy
by Bill Berkowitz

Voters Outreach of America, an outfit largely funded by the GOP, is accused of trashing registration forms of hundreds of Democrats in Nevada....
(full article)

Invitation to Disaster
by Mikel Weisser

That very morning a Las Vegas television station broke the news the RNC funded Voters Outreach of America was under investigation by the FBI in Vegas, in Reno, and even in the State of Oregon for massive voter registration fraud. By game time the news was flashing across the country, things looked rough in Mudville. George Bush needed to come out swinging for the fences in the final presidential debate. He managed to provide his “armies of compassion” with his strongest at bat so far, but it was well short of a homerun. Unfortunately for the home team, Bush’s best swings seemed to be devoted to batting his microphone around....(full article)

A Fake Choice: Behind Bush and Kerry’s Narrow Debate
by Alan Maass

These first three debates,” New York's Newsday declared in an editorial, “have been scintillating and revelatory. Nobody who has listened can come away saying there is no difference between the candidates.” In St. Louis, a “town hall” meeting with a carefully selected audience, almost all of them white, asking pre-screened questions--that’s scintillating? Two candidates who spend days being drilled by their handlers and advisers about how to squeeze their standard, non-committal sound bites into the form of answers--that’s revelatory? (full article)

Making Sense of Our Times
by M. Shahid Alam

Excerpt from M. Shahid Alam's important new book, Is There An Islamic Problem? Essays on Islamicate Societies, the US and Israel: There are few moments in history, few horrors, that crystallize the contradictions of the reigning capitalist paradigm – contradictions that are concealed, papered over by the ideologues of that paradigm – the way that the attacks of 9-11 have done. I am referring here to the symbolism of these attacks. They would retain their symbolic value even if the attacks had occurred at night – when the Twin Towers were empty – and they inflicted no human casualties. Only a few years back, Francis Fukuyama had announced to the world that man had finally reached the ‘end of history,’ that Hegel’s Zeitgeist, after successively wrestling and defeating the fascist and communist challenges to freedom, had delivered history into the long-awaited Valhalla of liberal capitalism. The American model, combining free markets and democracy, had triumphed. There might be a few road bumps ahead, but henceforth, it would be a straight and narrow path, paved with peace, prosperity, and, not to forget, unchallenged American supremacy. Perhaps, the attacks of September 11 have ended this end-of-history fantasy. At least, some oracles are now proclaiming that history could not be sent into retirement; not just yet. Sorry, there is one more dragon to slay. A new fascism has reared its ugly head. It is fascism in its Islamic variant. Saint George must again sharpen his lance to slay the Islamic dragon. Why this unseemly retreat from a triumph that seemed complete just a few years back? (full article)

This Isn’t Your Daddy’s Gulf War
by Ahmed Amr

If we had a real two party system in America, we might have a challenger to the incumbent president who would take Bush aside and tell him in no uncertain terms that “this isn’t your daddy’s Gulf War’. But, Alas, such tasks are left to your humble servant. Let’s start with the international coalition....(full article)

Do You Condemn Gays Because the Bible Tells You So?
by Lee Salisbury

As a former Bible-believing pastor, I've seen religion used to give hope for many mysteries of life and death. But, religion is also used by self-appointed biblical literalists as a tool to manipulate and impose their values and their rules of right and wrong, good and evil on one and all with virulent intolerance for competing views. Their apocalyptic declarations are enveloped in threats of destruction, hell and damnation. No subject attracts more distorted, bellicose commentary from the Jerry Falwell type biblical literalists among us than homosexuality and same-sex marriage....(full article)

Get the Military Out of Our Schools
by Jerry Sharkey

Hundreds of students, parents, teachers and community members last week packed into what had been billed as a “community forum” to protest the planned invasion of Senn High School by the U.S. military. City officials want to open a “naval academy” in the north side high school, whose students are predominantly low-income. The academy run by the military within Senn would grab needed resources from other programs--and increase the influence of the armed forces in Chicago schools, where the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is already a fixture. With the U.S. occupation of Iraq descending into crisis and the Pentagon having a harder time signing up reservists and regular army personnel alike, the federal government wants to use inner-city schools like Senn as a recruiting ground--making their fake promises of job training and pressuring students to sign on the dotted line. But they didn’t expect the response they got in Chicago. Hundreds of students made it impossible for the military to present their sales job for the naval academy. “We need to learn how to read and write, not how to shoot guns,” yelled one Senn sophomore. Here, Jesse Sharkey, a teacher at Senn and a Chicago Teachers Union delegate, talks about the fight against the military--and the experience of one of his students....(full article)

The Three Stooges in Iraq, and the US’s First Stooge
by William Marina

The original architects of the U.S. empire—long before its celebration by today’s neoconservatives—understood the importance of legitimacy in the neo-colonialist enterprise. In order to achieve some degree of legitimacy, it was important to create a native stooge—what some call a “comprador”—heavily dependent upon American power to govern in the interests of the U.S. government. In Iraq we have had the proverbial “Three Stooges,” as in the movies, often beating up on each other. The first of these was Saddam Hussein, who was essential in helping evict the British from control in Iraq and then in attacking Iran, but who became just a little too big for his britches. He has been followed with less success thus far by Ahmed Chalabi and now Iyad Allawi. With all of the attention on Iraq and Afghanistan, with elections much in the news in those nations as well as in the United States, it is easy to lose sight of the U.S.’s long-term policies as recently projected by the Bush Administration and American military planners....(full article)

James Baker's Double Life
by Naomi Klein

When President Bush appointed former Secretary of State James Baker III as his envoy on Iraq's debt on December 5, 2003, he called Baker's job "a noble mission." At the time, there was widespread concern about whether Baker's extensive business dealings in the Middle East would compromise that mission, which is to meet with heads of state and persuade them to forgive the debts owed to them by Iraq. Of particular concern was his relationship with merchant bank and defense contractor the Carlyle Group, where Baker is senior counselor and an equity partner with an estimated $180 million stake. Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker's loyalties are split, or that his power as Special Presidential Envoy--an unpaid position--has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents obtained by The Nation, that is precisely what has happened. Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker's influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever....(full article)

What About the Supreme Court?
n Argument to Scare Progressives to Vote Democratic
by Nicole Colson

The Democratic Party is recycling an argument that progressives can set their watches by. Every four years, before the presidential election, the Democrats try to scare liberals into submission--to vote for a Democratic candidate they don’t necessarily agree with because the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.... Nicole Colson looks at the impact of elections on the Supreme Court....(full article)

Breaking Sharon's “Iron Wall”: Death of the Roadmap to Peace
by Am Johal

Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions has defined the structure of the Israeli Occupation as "The Matrix of Control" - the various systems of coercion and uses of state and military power to render the Palestinian population docile. The Palestinians and the international community have largely had little capacity to respond to the construction of the Separation Wall, the annexation of property, movement restrictions and various forms of collective punishment being meted out by Occupation forces.  If anything, it has divided the leadership in to deciding which methods to utilize in ending the Occupation. Militancy as the chosen tactic of the few has proven to be counterproductive - the 'terror cycle' has proven to be self-perpetuating. Not only does this signal the end of the Roadmap to Peace, but it simply confirms what many in the Jewish and Palestinian sides have been saying for months.  Through policies of settlement expansion and land confiscation, as well as the use of the Separation Wall to separate Palestinians from their lands and restricting their movement both towards the Green Line since the outbreak of the Intifada and in to the West Bank, Israel is placing burdensome movement restrictions on the Palestinian population in the name of economic security exacting a heavy economic price....
(full article)

Column Right
Wife Swap, Part Two
by Jolene Fystenbutt

Remember when I said I wanted to devote my considerable talents to producing (and starring in) my own version of  “Wife Swap”? Many of you wrote in to say, “Jolene, as much as I support you, don't you think you should be using your immense talents towards something more useful than creating your own Christian based reality show based on “Wife Swap”?  After all, our nation is under attack by foreign Saddam loyalists who hate our freedoms. The terrorists who resist our attempts to democratize that worthless patch of sand covering our precious oil over there in Iraq are now plotting to remove our President and Commander-in-Chief with “elections” here at home. Jolene, shouldn't you be out there, setting fire to voting signs and making sure the unborn have a say in who's going to lead this great nation of ours?  “Parlez-vous my French” but I think you have your priorities all screwed up.  Do you really want to wake up in January and discover that the Pledge of Allegiance has been replaced with the Pledge to Jane Fonda? (full article)

Waging War on Hatred
Sutasoma, the Brighton Bomber, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
by Media Lens

The tale of Prince Sutasoma is more than just a fable, it's a profound teaching, with awesome implications for our own time. It tells us that cruelty, cynicism, brutality and violence of even the most outrageous kinds really can be subdued by selfless compassion and reason, that these really do have the power to dispel the "Terror of the World."....(full article)

The Siege of Jerusalem
by Claritas Moralis

To Those Whom It Concerns:
First, my apologies for not being there myself to make this statement to you.  I believe that if you're going to do something that harms someone, you should face them and explain why you did it, but the plan was paramount.  It had to succeed. Leaving large nuclear devices alone in a large city until I could achieve minimum safe distance was too risky, never mind the range of the detonator.  So this account will have to do.... (full article)


October 13-14

Under Cheney, Halliburton Helped Saddam Hussein
Siphon Billions from UN Oil-for-Food Program

by Jason Leopold

When the Iraqi Survey Group released its long awaited report last week that said Iraq eliminated its weapons programs in the 1990s, President George W. Bush quickly changed his stance on reasons he authorized an invasion of Iraq. While he campaigned for a second term in office, Bush justified the war by saying that that Saddam Hussein was manipulating the United Nation's oil-for-food program, siphoning off billions of dollars from the venture that he intended to use to fund a weapons program. The report on Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, prepared by Charles Duelfer, a former U.N. weapons inspector and head of the Iraqi Survey Group, said Saddam Hussein used revenue from the oil-for-food program and “created a web of front companies and used shadowy deals with foreign governments, corporations, and officials to amass $11 billion in illicit revenue in the decade before the US-led invasion last year,” reports The New York Times....But the one company that helped Saddam exploit the oil-for-food program in the mid-1990s that wasn't identified in Duelfer's report was Halliburton, and the person at the helm of Halliburton at the time of the scheme was Vice President Dick Cheney....(full article)

Maimed for Oil and Empire
by Nicole Colson

Nicole Colson looks at one hidden story of the Iraq war--a high rate of terrible injuries among U.S. soldiers....(full article)

Protecting America or the President’s Reelection Chances?
by Ivan Eland

Pretending to fulfill a 2000 campaign pledge, the Bush administration will soon declare the “activation” of the nation’s second national missile defense (NMD) system. Intended to look good for the election, the new system is likely to repeat the fate of the first one—abject failure....(full article)

Progressive as Pawns: Cannon Fodder for Kerry's War on Nader
by Stephen Conn

The progressives and peace activists who are helping to stop Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo don't realize it but they are being used by people who represent the corporate interests, especially the military-industrial complex, of the two major parties....(full article)

Bush, Kerry, and "Body Language" v. "Message": Notes on Race,
Gender, and Mass Infantilization
by Paul Street

Paul Street on mainstream fixation on the "body language" of the presidential contenders and the awful logic of analysis that focuses purely on the physical over "the message."....(full article)

Evil Righteousness From Hitler to Abu Ghraib
by Edward Jayne

Virtue, I think, consists of whatever is healthy for everybody concerned, pretty much as Jeremy Bentham tried to explain. More often than not it may be appreciated for improving one’s chances of survival, and of course it brings into play Aristotle’s Golden Mean--moderation as much as possible, even in one’s commitment to moderation. But the question remains, what of evil as virtue’s supposed antithesis? This somewhat archaic Manichaean distinction turns out to be of crucial importance to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and others of their White House entourage, so we are now confronted--all of us, it seems--with the hoary question how evil might be defined? (full article)

Saddam’s Illegal Dream
by Kamyar Arasteh

Derailing public inquiry and leading the electorate astray is simple. The masters of the con game of (vice)presidential debate know that we are all in the same boat when it comes to attention, and that they can easily manipulate our focus.  Like the infamous drunk who has lost his key in a dark alley, we search for our key by abandoning that dark spot and walking up to where the streetlight illuminates an arbitrary patch of ground.  The brighter the light, the louder the noise, the greater the attention we pay.  That is why the pickpockets use spectacles and commotions to distract their victim as they rob him and make their getaway.  The real action is not where the noise is, not where the show is, but in the fold that the thief is picking. Consider how the politicians completely transform the pivotal question of whether states have a right to preemptively attack other states, by the simple trick of focusing the discussion on successively more irrelevant concepts....
(full article)

Democrats’ Obama Ready to Bomb Iran
by Sharon Smith

John Kerry's antiwar supporters have repeatedly warned that a military attack on Iran is imminent if George Bush is reelected. But Democrats are rattling their sabers at the same target. On September 24, Barack Obama -- the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Illinois, and a shoo-in favorite -- suggested “surgical missile strikes” on Iran may become necessary. “[L]aunching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in" given the ongoing war in Iraq, Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse,” he said. Obama went on to argue that military strikes on Pakistan should not be ruled out if “violent Islamic extremists” were to “take over.” A U.S. strike on Iran could well open up a new war front. When the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) conducted a recent series of war games involving an attack on Iran, an Air Force source told Newsweek, "The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating." Why would Obama, whose staunch opposition to the Iraq war made him a hero among Democratic Party liberals, consider attacking Iran? (full article)

Universal Lies: The Democrats’ Own Weapons of Mass Deception

by Joshua Frank

United States weapons inspector Charles Duelfer released his extensive report last week, and confirmed that Saddam Hussein had shut down Iraq’s chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs following the first Iraq war in 1991. His report also showed that Saddam had no stockpiles of WMDs after that year. With that said, it is interesting to look back at how the Democrats, like Bush, lied to the American public, and inflated Saddam’s supposed threat to our national security. The mendacity was undoubtedly universal. Here are a few of the choice quotes:....(full article)

Fascism: Scare? Tactics?
A Comment on Mickey Z. and Antiwar Tactics
by Theo Papathanasis

Mickey Z.'s call to mobilize apathetic, eligible voters to support Nader by virtue of that candidate's stance on health care was a fine statement, aimed at conducting a useful electoral experiment, exploring the possible, future dynamics of a potential progressive voting bloc. Now Z. is claiming some leftists concerned about fascist trends in the US are actively preying upon people's fears as primarily motivated, unbelievable as this may sound, so the sheepy electorate will vote for Kerry....Urging folks not to be suckered in by some nameless, fear mongering “soft” leftists shrilling fascism, solely aiming to garner votes for Kerry strikes me as a bit flippant. Sifting through the detritus of this long-ranging internet spat in Leftland, let's try to clue in to whom Mickey Z.'s pernicious, Kerry backing, jackboot paranoia pushing culprits might be. Who on the left has been hyping fascism specifically for a Kerry victory here anyhow? (full article)

Repeat After Me: That Horse is Not Dead
Activism and Irony in the Age of ABB
by Mickey Z.

For more reasons than I can list here, it’s always fascinating to dwell in the netherworld of Left activism. One such reason is the way so many on the Right and almost all in the Center view the Left as a monolithic entity: the tree-hugging home to both John Kerry and Ward Churchill...Michael McMoore and Ralph Nader...Noam Chomsky and Dan Rather...Susan Sarandon and Arundhati Roy. Excuse me while I sigh...deeply. The Left, of course, is far too diverse for any single label. You have those who are actually not leftists but, for the right price, will play one on TV. Then we have the lesser-known but omnipresent radicaler-than-thou Left that sneers at anything less than immediate and total revolution. This election year, as we’ve seen, has spawned a new Left subspecies known as Anybody-But-Bushers (ABBers)...a group that includes veterans one would never expect to even hint at voting Democrat. ABBers believe that by merely repeating over and over that George W. Bush is the worst president ever, it becomes true. In the eyes of many ABBers, the only way to fend off the creeping fascism is to silence those who don’t agree with them. Someone alert Alanis Morrisette: we have irony....(full article)

Mark Hyman: Stepford Spook and the New Operation Mockingbird
by Bob Fitrakis

The first time I saw Mark Hyman on Columbus’ Sinclair Television ABC affiliate, I told the listeners of my WVKO radio show that he looked like a Stepford CIA clone with a microchip buried in his ass. Hyman is the Vice President for Corporate Relations for Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns and operates programs or provides sales services affiliated with the top six TV networks in the country: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, UPN and Warner Brothers. Sinclair plans to air a CIA-agit-prop-style documentary called “Stolen Honor: Wounds that never heal,” highly critical of John Kerry’s anti-war activities, two weeks before the November 2 election. Sixty-three Sinclair affiliates including a dozen in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Iowa and Wisconsin plan to air the 42-minute long negative campaign ad for George W. Bush in the form of a documentary. The airing of the documentary to nearly a quarter of all TV markets in the U.S. represents tens of millions of dollars in in-kind campaign donations to the Bush coffers. It is one of the most blatant and illegal uses of the people’s airwaves in U.S. history and another signal that smiley-faced fascism is just around the corner....
(full article)

Freedom to Fascism -- A Bumpy Ride
by Sheila Samples

What is the matter with the Republican Party?  As one born within a tiny, tree-shaded Republican enclave in Missouri, raised by compassionate family-values-oriented Christian conservatives, and whose entire family remains staunchly, even militantly conservative, I think I have earned the right to ask that question. So--what the hell is wrong with you guys? History bumps along from dateline to dateline with no regard for party affiliation.  That's why last week during the second presidential debate, when President George Bush slid off his stool, assumed his arms-akimbo “Super Hero” stance and childishly blurted out, “You can run, butcha can't hide,” I was jerked into the realization that it's not possible for such a horrid, vacuous little creature to be the cause of the rampant madness zigzagging throughout our society today.  Bush is the effect of it -- the natural result of a cruel, thoughtless and destructive movement within the Republican Party that had lain dormant from its inception, but like Stephen King's evil “Christine”, shivered into life on November 22, 1963.Both parties have been running and hiding ever since. This is not a treatise on the assassination of a popular American President, nor of the massive manipulations of an investigative commission to cover it up.  That tragic November day marks the “bump” in our history that began the evolutionary implosion of the Republican Party into neoconservatism and the sheer, bleak cruelty of a loveless Christianity....
(full article)

History's Troubling Silence About Jesus
by Lee Salisbury

How many people have never heard about Jesus of Nazareth? Of course everybody has heard of Jesus. The bible tells us his fame spread throughout the lands of Palestine and Syria. This is the god-man / savior of the world who performed miracles only a God could perform: He turned water into wine; fed thousands with a few pieces of bread and fish; walked on water; stilled the raging storm; healed the blind, the deaf, the infirm, the withered hand and the demon-possessed; and raised the dead. His moral teachings are said to surpass anything ever taught. Rejected by his own Jewish people, the Romans brutally crucified him. But, that didn’t stop Jesus. At his crucifixion the bible tells us the heavens and earth affirmed his deity, causing a 3 hour eclipse of the sun over all the earth, an earthquake causing Jerusalem’s temple curtain to be split in two, and graves were opened with many Jewish saints resurrected and appearing to the people in Jerusalem. Within three days, the Son of God, defeated Satan the prince of darkness, rose from the dead, appeared to his disciples, then ascended into heaven. How can anybody not love such a story and want to believe it? The problem sincere, objective-minded inquirers of history have with this astounding story is why the historical record is virtually silent about the Jesus of Nazareth story in the writings of non-Christian Jewish, Greek, and Roman writers. Certainly news of such events, if true, would have spread throughout the Mediterranean world. Yet, the surviving writings of some 35 to 40 independent observers of the first one hundred years following the alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus give virtually no confirmation. These authors were respected, well-traveled, articulate, thinkers and observers, the philosophers, poets, moralists, historians of that era....(full article)

The Courage To Be Courageous
by Dan Brook

Dan Brook reviews John McCain's new book, Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life....(full article)

Bloch-ing Justice
When Scott Bloch became head of the Office of Special Counsel he
declared war on equal protection for gays in federal workplaces

by Bill Berkowitz

In early October, five Democratic members of Congress called on President Bush to "take the necessary action" in regards to Scott Bloch, the head of the Office of Special Counsel. Bloch continues to refuse "to enforce anti-discrimination protections for federal workers [which] contradicts Bush administration policy to uphold former President Clinton's executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation," the Washington Blade recently reported. The letter to the president was signed by gay House members Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), along with Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.). Who is Scott Bloch? Does he have an anti-gay agenda? And how did he wind up as head of the Office of Special Counsel? (full article)

A European Peace Umbrella
by Baruch Kimmerling

With the emergence of a new wave of reciprocal Israeli-Palestinian bloodletting, which is currently reaching another peak, it is becoming increasingly clear to both sides that although each has considerable powers of attrition with respect to the other, neither has the ability to win a real victory in this desperate conflict. In the "unilateral disengagement," if it is implemented at all, there is also no guarantee of things calming down, never mind of a real solution to the conflict. Moreover, even if there is recognition on both of the sides that it is impossible to defeat the other, and that all the victims and destruction are not only unnecessary but also tantamount to military and moral bankruptcy, both of the sides are unable to stop the dance macabre. Not only is the situation completely out of the control of both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, there is also no political change on the horizon that could put a stop to this stalemate and offer a new diplomatic strategy. There is one factor that could instantly change all the parameters and constraints in which the Israelis and the Palestinians are thinking and acting, and could also change the rules of the game between them - and this factor is none other than the European Union - and not the United States as many believe....(full article)

Sean Penn: Go Fuck Yourself!
by The Glorious Revolutionary Federation of Fortune 500 Killers

Recently, the vapid Hollywood star Sean Penn sent a publicized letter to conservative South Park co-creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker criticizing the two for proclaiming that there was "no shame in not voting." Elsewhere, Penn wrote: "Not so well, to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world. The vote matters to them. No one's ignorance, including a couple of hip cross-dressers, is an excuse." He ended his letter with: "All best, and a sincere fuck you, Sean Penn."....(full article)

October 9-11

Bush Debates Robin Cook in St. Louis
by Ahmed Amr

The following is a partial transcript of the second presidential debate between President Bush (R) and Sen. John F. Kerry (D). The debate was held in Washington University in St. Louis and was moderated by Charles Gibson of ABC News. Because Kerry did such a miserable job of holding George accountable for the debacle in Iraq, we threw him out of the debating hall. In his place, we invited a worthier opponent to challenge the incumbent candidate, the honorable Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary of Great Britain. It would have been nice to have John Kerry watch this mano a mano exchange between Bush and Robin Cook. Unfortunately, he was busy rehearsing sound bites for his stale encounter with Bush....(full article)

Debates, Duelfer, and Aluminum Tubes
by Phyllis Bennis

The debates remind us first of the need to maintain and build a broad, powerful, and INDEPENDENT peace movement, not tied to any candidate. Whoever wins or steals the election, we will likely spend much of the next four years in the streets, protesting and demanding an entirely different agenda than that of the resident of the White House. The debates showed that while there are important differences on international issues including Korea, nuclear weapons, some aspects of the Iraq war -- its origins, its legitimacy, its rationales, its "coalition," and more -- the differences between Bush/Cheney and Kerry/Edwards are much less when it comes to a strategy for what to do now....The New York Times expose on Iraq's aluminum tubes and Charles Duelfer's report of the Iraq Survey Group confirm what we have been saying for years -- Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no capacity to build nuclear weapons, no links with al-Qaeda and no weapons to give to terrorist organizations. Crucially, they were both based (entirely for the Times, almost entirely for Duelfer) on information long available. The question remains: why did it take so long? (full article)

A Billion Dollars for a CYA Operation
by Ahmed Amr

A year and a half ago, a baffled General Conway declared that “WE WERE SIMPLY WRONG.” Eight months later, David Kay resigned and admitted that the administration's intelligence on Iraq was “ALMOST ALL WRONG.”  Now, the CIA has gotten around to issuing a final confirmation that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were dismantled and destroyed in 1991. After another intensive six month search, Charles Duelfer echoed David Kay and admitted that “We were almost all wrong” in his testimony before a Senate Panel. For fifty cents, David Kay or Charles Duelfer could have picked up a copy of the LA Times and arrived at the same conclusion as General Conway. It cost Kay a few hundred million dollars to affirm Conway’s conclusions and Charles Duelfer just spent another 600 million dollars to verify Kay’s findings. That amounts to almost a billion dollars....(full article)

The Missing WMD: Bush's Red Herring
by Harold Williamson

In 1935, Jimmy Durante starred in Billy Rose's spectacle, "Jumbo." In the show, the town constable catches him in the act of stealing a live elephant from the circus and asks, "What are you doing with that elephant?"  Durante stopped the show by extending his arms, as if it were possible to conceal the elephant behind him, and saying, "Elephant? What elephant?" The Iraq Survey Group confirmed this past week that the United Nations, that "ineffective, irrelevant debating society," had indeed brought about the destruction of Iraq's inventories of weapons of mass destruction as well as halting their production programs.  Yet in spite of this clear verdict, and even though it appears that he was duped by bad intelligence, President Bush insists that he made the right decision....(full article)

Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control
by Derrick Jensen and George Draffan

Of course our culture today is not secular, but just as religious (in the pejorative sense of superstitious, unconscious, assumed) as ever. Only today, science is the religion, experts are the priests, bureaucrats are the gatekeepers, and research and development institutions are the cathedrals....(full article)

Paying the Price of For-Profit Medicare
by Nicholas Skala

The thirty years since privatization zealot Milton Friedman praised the torture and execution of political dissidents as “the miracle of Chile” have played host to significant and repeated examples of the inherent inhumanity of the free-market doctrine. Power deregulation has failed in Ontario, England, and Montana as well as California, where silk-tied energy execs were caught on tape yuking it up about the “poor grandmothers” they were stealing from. In Philadelphia, benevolent market forces compelled the city’s for-profit schools to sell off textbooks, computers, lab supplies and musical instruments; and reportedly prompted school CEO Chris Whittle to suggest replacing costly adult staff by extending the school day to include an hour of unpaid child labor. The effects of privatization on society’s most assailable aspects could not have been better surmised than when a South Carolina jury, in describing the brutal torture of a young man by guards at a for-profit prison, found the act to be “repugnant to the conscience of mankind.” The lessons of the American privatization endeavor are clear: market forces always elicit an unacceptable cost when provided the opportunity to victimize those characteristics which make us human. Yet free-market dogmatists and their friends in the current political administration continue to push for expansion into new and ever more intimate territory. Last year, at the behest of the powerful pharmaceutical and insurance industries, a new privatization scheme was built into Medicare, the program though which society provides for its most vulnerable: the elderly and the disabled....(full article)

Oil Wars: Transforming the American Military
into a Global Oil-Protection Service
by Michael Klare

In the first U.S. combat operation of the war in Iraq, Navy commandos stormed an offshore oil-loading platform. "Swooping silently out of the Persian Gulf night," an overexcited reporter for the New York Times wrote on March 22, "Navy Seals seized two Iraqi oil terminals in bold raids that ended early this morning, overwhelming lightly-armed Iraqi guards and claiming a bloodless victory in the battle for Iraq's vast oil empire." A year and a half later, American soldiers are still struggling to maintain control over these vital petroleum facilities -- and the fighting is no longer bloodless. On April 24, two American sailors and a coastguardsman were killed when a boat they sought to intercept, presumably carrying suicide bombers, exploded near the Khor al-Amaya loading platform. Other Americans have come under fire while protecting some of the many installations in Iraq's "oil empire." Indeed, Iraq has developed into a two-front war: the battles for control over Iraq's cities and the constant struggle to protect its far-flung petroleum infrastructure against sabotage and attack. The first contest has been widely reported in the American press; the second has received far less attention. Yet the fate of Iraq's oil infrastructure could prove no less significant than that of its embattled cities....(full article)

Sidelined Neo-Cons Stoke Future Fires
by Jim Lobe

Sidelined by their failed predictions for Iraq and U.S. President George W Bush's efforts to reassure voters he is not a warmonger, prominent neo-conservatives and their Christian Right allies are nonetheless trying hard to prepare the ground for future U.S. adventures in the Middle East....
(full article)

It's All About Bush
by John Stauber

Ralph Nader has been publicly complaining because the overwhelming majority of those of us whom he asked to be his formal endorsers in 2000 have united this year to support John Kerry in swing states. A list of the seventy-five Nader 2000 Citizens Committee members now urging support for Kerry is online at our website. It includes Barbara Ehrenreich, Phil Donahue, Jim Hightower, Susan Sarandon, Noam Chomsky, Ben Cohen, Peter Coyote, Granny D, Manning Marable, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Robbins, Studs Terkel, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Eddie Vedder, Cornel West and Howard Zinn. In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now Nader dismissed us as having suffered “a total loss of nerve.” In the past he’s called us “scared liberals.” Sorry Ralph, but the reality is that this election is a referendum on George Bush. In the real world the only way to dump Bush is to mobilize voters for Kerry in swing states, and that is our goal. Other than John Kerry, Ralph Nader could do the most to defeat Bush if he were willing to help lead a united front against him, but he is not. We who were the Nader 2000 Citizens Committee obviously have huge disagreements with Kerry on Iraq and other issues. But this election is not about Ralph Nader or John Kerry, it’s about getting rid of George Bush and ending the far-right domination of all branches of the federal government....(full article)

What If Nader Critics Get What They Demand? (Third in a series)
by Greg Bates

If you cut away the swipes at Nader, his progressive critics actually have some legitimate demands: 1) They don't want Nader voters to swing the election to Bush. 2) Progressives want to be building a movement and therefore don't see the point of Nader running as an independent. And they also prefer a party working on a mix of local and national runs, not just a celebrity running for president. 3) The Democratic Party claims they just want Nader to follow the rules and get on the ballot fairly. Others, while seeing the Democratic Party's self-interest in the matter, just don't see the point of running a campaign that seems little more than a slog against arcane ballot access laws. Ballot access is an important issue, but the resources Nader and company are being forced to expend on it, even if that is the fault of the Democrats, detracts from getting out the progressive political message.Frankly, I don't think these demands are unreasonable. What if they are met? (full article)

Of Icebergs and Islands: David Cobb, the Greens and the Sinking of the Left
by Joshua Frank

I officially changed my voter registration and left the Green Party this past week. Or, more aptly put, the Green Party left me. Actually, they abandoned many of us last summer when they decided not to run a candidate for president. Oh, I know what you are thinking: "They are running a candidate. His name's David Cobb. Give the guy some respect!" My rejoinder: If David Cobb is a presidential candidate, then why have an oppositional party that is supposed to challenge the Democrats and Republicans at all? What good is it? For me, it is not that the legitimacy of Cobb's nomination is suspect -- although it is; Rather, what I find bothersome is the way that Cobb has chosen to run his insipid campaign and the cultish drones within the Green Party who refuse to acknowledge that Cobb's bid is actually hurting the Party -- and the Left -- while aiding George W. Bush's re-election in the process. Ignorance must be bliss....(full article)

An Unconscionable Outcome: Chomsky and the
Hopelessness of Lesser Evilism
by Kim Petersen

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky is a much respected figure within the progressive world, and deservedly so. He is one of the ten most cited figures in the humanities and The Nation magazine opined that to not have read Chomsky is to court genuine ignorance. The New York Times showered heady praise on Chomsky: Arguably the most important intellectual alive.” The New Statesman labeled him: The conscience of the American people. Therefore, even though marginalized by the monopoly media, when Chomsky makes a pronouncement on issues he draws attention. Chomsky came out in favor of casting votes for Democratic Senator John Kerry where the race for US president is deemed to be tight. Chomsky, although having admitted the distinctions between Kerry and the incumbent president George Bush are miniscule, considered that these differences could translate into large outcomes. One might wonder about the epistemological meaning assigned to these hypothetical large outcomes that could be anticipated....(full article)

An Open Letter to Eric Alterman
by Greg Bates

What in God's name will convince Nader's remaining supporters to abandon his lemminglike march,” writes Eric Alterman in The Nation, October 4, 2004. Thanks, Eric. Finally, someone has asked the right question. Here are my answers....(full article)

Beyond the Debates, a Referendum on an Emperor
by Norman Solomon

More than any other events on the campaign trail this year, the debates have drawn intense public interest. Viewers are eager for something more than the carefully packaged junk that usually passes for political coverage -- the nonstop media mix of countless photo-ops, canned speeches, evasive interviews, calculated sound-bites, programmed national conventions and manipulative TV commercials. There's a lot wrong with the debates, especially the narrow range of views. But on the plus side, with no editing and no TelePrompTer, the contenders are on their own for 90 minutes. After watching a debate, people have gotten a look at the core of a presidential campaign's artifice -- the candidate himself. The exalted media persona of George W. Bush thrives on edited snippets along with scripted speeches and rousing deliveries of one-liners in front of adoring crowds. And the hunkered-down, hunched-over gravity of Dick Cheney is unaccustomed to direct challenge. But the debate format has forced both men to come down from their pedestals....(full article)

Female Reproductive Rights: The Cornerstone of Liberty
by Dennis Rahkonen

Abortion isn’t pretty, but it’s frequently necessary, and only each individual female in her specific, unique circumstance has the ultimate right to determine what constitutes a legitimate abortion need. It simply isn’t permissible for rightwing moral imperialists to thwart anyone’s abortion choice by alleging that “irresponsibility” or “selfishness” are the motives involved, rather than desperation arising from objective conditions impinging intolerably and even dangerously on women’s (and young girls’) lives. Religious or political biases, no matter how strongly felt, are NOT a valid basis for zealots keeping others from exercising control over their own bodies.The idea that church or state should interfere with our sisters’ reproductive lives must be resisted as strongly as free people are obligated to resist all blatant attempts at imposing authoritarianism....(full article)

You Gotta Have "Persoenlichkeitschutz"
by Sam Pizzigati

Germany's top executives are scrambling to boost their pay to US levels — and fend off an infuriated public....(full article)

Horowitz's Campus Jihads
With liberal professors in his crosshairs, David Horowitz is
engaging in some good old-fashioned campus cleansing
by Bill Berkowitz

At Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, "WANTED" posters with a headshot of Professor Abel Alves appeared on campus a few weeks back; a student who took Associate professor David Gibbs' "What is Politics?" class at the University of Arizona claimed that Gibbs "is an anti-American communist who hates America and is trying to brainwash young people into thinking America sucks"; a political-science professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver in Colorado says she has been the target of death threats and hate e-mail in the wake of the recent debate in the state over an Academic Bill of Rights; a University of Georgia professor is being investigated after allegations he bullied a conservative student. Revenge of the Nerds? Twenty-first century Gipper brigades? No, and No. It's the Horowistas -- a small, hearty and growing band of followers of right wing provocateur David Horowitz and his Students for Academic Freedom....
(full article)


October 5-8

Ralph Nader on Democratic Party Dirty Tricks to Keep
Him Off the Ballot, and the Sorry State of the US Left
by Democracy Now!

The following is a rush transcript of an interview with Ralph Nader conducted by Amy Goodman of the Democracy Now! radio program, October 4, 2004: Nader excoriates the Democratic Party's dirty-tricks efforts to keep him off the ballot, and the demise of the American Left....(full interview)

The Mythology of “Mistakes”
by Media Lens

Media Lens takes apart the BBC's propaganda coverage of the current situation in Iraq and American atrocities there....(full article)

War Lies Are Piling Up
by Ivan Eland

Even though a mound of evidence keeps accumulating that the Bush administration exaggerated the threat to fulfill its obsession to invade Iraq, administration officials keep standing by—in Goebbels-like repetition of the “big lie”—the need for war. Despite virtually admitting that she was disingenuous about Iraq’s nuclear threat, Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s national security advisor, in an October 3, 2004 interview with ABC television, again defended the administration’s decision to remove Saddam Hussein’s regime....But the recent hubbub about Ms. Rice’s dissembling obscures bigger whoppers told by an even higher-level official-Vice President Dick Cheney....(full article)

American Ballots and Israeli Bullets
by Ahmed Amr

Ariel Sharon certainly knows how to time an atrocity. His career reveals a war criminal constantly in search of ideal opportunities to practice his murderous craft. Very early in his career, the Israeli military establishment detected his natural aptitude for slaughtering innocents. In his late twenties he distinguished himself as the commander of Unit 101, a terrorist brigade that specialized in indiscriminate assaults on Palestinian villagers. The horrors we are witnessing in Jabalaya are merely an encore performance of his earlier atrocities in Qibya, Sabra and Shatila, Jenin, Rafah, Nablus and Bethlehem. In Sharon’s estimate, the occasion of the first American presidential debate presented a perfect opportunity to commence another massacre of Palestinians. The Israelis know all too well that both Democrats and Republicans are accustomed to financing their campaigns with innocent Palestinian blood. As if to prove Sharon’s point, neither candidate bothered to mention the Palestinians during the latest foreign policy debate....(full article)

Withdrawal on the Agenda
by Tom Engelhardt

On October 31, 2003, in a piece called The Time of Withdrawal, I wrote: "I think one thing is predictable in a world where predicting anything accurately is a low-percentage bet: Sooner or later, the time of withdrawal will be upon us. Some of us would like it to be sooner, not later… But, given ongoing events in Iraq, the idea of withdrawal is already on an inexorable course into the mainstream world." I seldom return to my past writings, but looking back at this essay, in the context of the first presidential debate and ongoing events in Iraq, set me thinking about how subjects that are, in some often hard-to-label fashion, tabooed in the mainstream media nonetheless percolate upwards into our American life -- just as the idea of withdrawal from Iraq has recently begun to do....(full article)

Bush's “Transformational” Democracy
by Robert Parry

George W. Bush’s advisers call him “a transformational president,” meaning that they believe his election to a second term on Nov. 2 will cement Republican political control for the foreseeable future. Some outsiders might consider the boast hyperbole, but this prediction of conservative hegemony should not be underestimated. The conservatives have been building toward this objective for at least the past 30 years. Indeed, if one views the emerging conservative dominance from the perspective of the past three decades, it is an impressive – and, to many, a chilling – vista. Combined with the rise of Bush family dynasty, this historical development suggests that the United States may be moving toward a significantly different form of government, far less open to disagreement and debate, a process where even mainstream Democrats, such as Al Gore and John Kerry, can expect to be turned into caricatures of themselves and made effectively unelectable. This emerging political future came into sharper focus for me as I spent the last five months researching and writing a book on the ascendance of the two George Bushes to the pinnacle of U.S. political power. Entitled Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, the book examines how the two George Bushes have intersected with scandals and other major political events over the past 30 years....(full article)

Column Right
Wife Swap: Bitch Slapping the Liberal Media, Part One
by Jolene Fystenbutt

As you can imagine, television and America-hating Liberal Hollywood offers little in the way of edifying entertainment for a Christian mother of three beautiful children. As a responsible and caring parent, I try to limit my children's viewing time to just over six hours a day. But I'm glad to report that a positive trend has begun to emerge on our nation's television sets; an encouraging sign that “hope is on the way” for homemakers across this great country of ours. The Christian majority, who have for so long been ignored by the far left Hollywood establishment, is finally making inroads towards bringing the backlash back to the forefront of the culture wars. It thrills me to say that we are finally ushering in a new era of strictly enforced gender roles not seen since “Queen for a Day” went off the air half a century ago. Tell me you don't hear church bells pealing out across this great nation of ours as we tune in to watch yet another reality show celebrating matrimony and narrowly defined mommy/wife roles for women. This sudden onslaught of backlash programming like FOX's “Trading Places” and ABC's “Wife Swap” couldn't have come at a better time for this concerned and blameless parent of a troubled twelve-year-old. It pains me to admit that our otherwise perfect daughter, Misty, regularly burns her twig thin arms with the lit ends of my Virginia Slim Menthols -- a filthy habit she picked while she was still in diapers....(full article)

Kerry's Scary Policy on Iraq Offers Iraqis No Hope of Improvement
by Stan Moore

In his recent debate with President George W. Bush, John Kerry used a very good analogy, and then promptly either forgot or ignored its ramifications. Kerry said that invading Iraq after 9/11 could be compared to invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor. Yet, somehow, after drawing the analogy, which was a good one, he seemed to indicate that had we invaded Mexico after Pearl Harbor, and had the Mexicans resisted our invasion by force of arms, we should have called in Canada and other allies to subdue the Mexicans and stop their "terroristic" resistance. How is it that Kerry could draw this analogy and then refuse to consider immediate withdrawal from Iraq should he be elected? How could Kerry call for an international summit to draw other nations into the "colossal error of judgment" that he described Bush' war with Iraq as being? What legitimate purpose could possibly be served by enlarging a coalition of foreign participants in the illegal invasion and occupation of an innocent sovereign nation we had invaded on false pretenses? (full article)

The Only Thing We Have to Fear...
A Century of Waiting for the Fascists to Arrive
by Mickey Z.

Election 2004 will be decided by fear. President (sic) George W. Bush and company have scared half the voters to death with stories about they’ll vote for him. Senator John F. Kerry (JFK2) and his surrogates on the soft left have scared the other half to death with stories about creeping they’ll vote for him. Of course, anyone with an iota of objectivity left realizes the terror threat is laughably exaggerated...and there’s infinitely more danger in operating a motor vehicle than all the “evildoers” in the world combined. But what should we make of the claims of the Democrats (and the disturbing number of lefties who support them)? What about all the yarns spun about liberties lost...solely due, we hear, to one inarticulate puppet from Texas? (full article)

“I Don’t Have Any Goals for Votes..”
An Interview with David Cobb
by Joshua Frank

Joshua Frank interviews Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb....
(full article)

Strange Victory
by John Chuckman

Nothing tells us more about the odd political state of America than the recent presidential debate and reactions to it. The American debates, of course, are not debates at all. They are more a set of joint press conferences, a staged opportunity for both candidates to repeat memorized lines in a cozy environment, protected by elaborate rules and an always-undemanding moderator. Still, once in a while, something manages to happen....
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Boom Time for Billionaires
by Holly Sklar

The economy is booming again, if you're a billionaire. The new Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans has 313 billionaires -- up 51 billionaires from 262 last year. Donald Trump is just an average Joe among the Forbes 400. Trump's $2.6 billion net worth puts him right about the Forbes 400 average of $2.5 billion. Microsoft's Bill Gates leads the list with $48 billion, followed by Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett with $41 billion. The heirs to the founder of low-wage Wal-Mart hold down half the Forbes 400 top ten spots, ranking numbers four through eight on the list, with $18 billion each. It took a minimum of $750 million to make the Forbes 400 this year. That's way up from last year's $600 million. It won't be long before the Forbes 400 is billionaires only. What's a billion dollars anyway? (full article)

Cranky Constitution Party Parties On
by Bill Berkowitz

Will this radical right wing and socially conservative political party siphon votes from Bush? (full article)

Just Gas
by Adam Engel

John Kerry, debating George Bush, said he would follow in the footsteps of John Kennedy and.…Ronald Reagan.  The context had something to do with hunting down “terror” or what not. As if “Terror” were a Greek demigod appearing sporadically in mortal mufti to freak out the citizens of Athens. And this is the LESSER of evils? At least Clinton pretended to be a Democrat. As far as I could tell, the central topic of this particular sound-byte joust concerned who would be the better CEO of the latest venture capital scheme, “Iraq Inc.” Something's missing in this picture. One of these things does not belong, said the man on Sesame Street. The human element. We've mistaken the office and the chain of command that hangs from it like a noose for the legitimacy and, for lack of a better term, HUMANITY of the office holder....(full article)

The Real Lt. Col. Burkett In His Own Words to BBC Television
Shooting the Messenger Doesn't Discredit the Message
by Greg Palast

When Dan Rather went down for airing a document he couldn't source, he did the courageous thing: blamed someone else. In this case, Rather and CBS loaded their corporate guilt on a guy you’ve probably never heard of before, rancher Bill Burkett of Abilene, a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Texas Air National Guard. CBS did a no-no -- used a document on air without fully checking out its source. No excuses. Shouldn't have done it. They got the document from Burkett. Once CBS hung out its source and painted a target on him, Rove-ing gangs of media hit men finished him off. Burkett's an evidence "fabricator," "Bush-hater," and even, suggests William Safire in the New York Times as he fantasizes a dark left-wing conspiracy, a felon ready for hard time. Let me tell you about this Burkett "criminal."....(full article)

“Bush-Lite” or Marlboro-Lights?
by Omar Barghouti

Noam Chomsky has correctly and perceptively argued that although the difference between Kerry and Bush is small -- thus the “Bush-lite” label given to the former by many -- in a “system of immense power,“ a small improvement over Bush could “translate into large outcomes” in several vital areas, including healthcare and education in the domestic US agenda and world peace and the environment on the global scale. Even fractional changes in these fields, the argument went, could make life more tolerable to millions in the US and the world at large. Bush-lite, Chomsky concluded, was therefore a cut above Bush-regular. The view from Palestine may be at variance with this logic. Palestinians like me are not betting their lives on the prospects for progress under Kerry....(full article)

Any Ole God Will Do
by Lee Salisbury

A former Pentecostal Bible School teacher and pastor asks: Is the monotheistic Christian claim of knowing the One True God rational, let alone moral? (full article)

Time to Start Finishing
by Peter Kurth

Ruminations on the "debate," the war in Iraq, columnizing and diversions....
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Debate This: My Write-in Campaign Commences
by Mickey Z.

Last Thursday night was the opening of the presidential debate season...or as it’s known at Ralph Nader’s house: Passover. We got Coke vs. Pepsi. McDonald’s vs. Burger King. MasterCard vs. Visa. General Electric vs. Westinghouse. Yale-educated millionaire war criminal vs. Yale-educated millionaire war criminal. The debate pitted an alleged liberal (who supports the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, NAFTA, WTO, welfare repeal, the war on drugs, appointing anti-abortion judges, etc.) against an un-elected president who is somehow seeking re-election. The next time someone tells you America has a two-party system...I suggest you demand a recount....
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October 2-4

Was Allawi’s Speech a Crime?
by Ahmed Amr

I don’t know how much a Bush speechwriter gets paid these days – but it can’t be much because they seem to be moonlighting for Allawi. One should compliment them for their invaluable assistance to George’s political career. During four years in the White House and two presidential campaigns, they have admirably kept the President ‘on message’. It’s a shame that they have to supplement their meager income by exporting their talents to Iraq. Not a few commentators noticed that Allawi’s speech to Congress was a neocon masterpiece. The administration immediately denied they had a hand in putting words in Allawi’s mouth. They insisted that no one in the White House was involved. OK. But what about all those neocons that linger outside the gates of the President’s sleeping quarters? At first, I suspected that David Frum was the author of the Iraqi Prime Minister’s speech. Or maybe Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary. As it turned out, it was Dan Senor. If you care to recall, Dan Senor was the spokesman for Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority. He was the handler who lurked over the generals in Baghdad to make sure that they didn’t give accurate accounts of what was going on outside the Green Zone....Which brings me to the most troubling sentence of Allawi’s speech....(full article)

Bush Charges Kerry With "Emboldening the Enemy"
by Bill Berkowitz

Bush responds to car bombings, beheadings and mounting US casualties by warning critics they're aiding and enabling the insurgents....(full article)

The Darkness In America
by Harold Williamson

What the American public perceives as reality matters more than reality itself, and the Bush administration is hell-bent on keeping it that way. They have not only succeeded in keeping the American public in the dark about the facts and failures of their policies, they have also fooled themselves into believing they are God's chosen visionaries for the world. Unfortunately, America's corporate press doesn't seem willing to do anything about it, probably because continued profitability means keeping close ties to those in power. Amongst all the flapdoodle in the newspapers during the lionization of the late Ronald Reagan, an interesting anecdote appeared in David Broder's column in the June 7 Washington Post. It seems that a correspondent for the Richmond Times-Dispatch was thoroughly chagrined because he had convinced himself that he had seen Reagan at a local drugstore and had subsequently reported it to the world -- all this in spite of the fact that Reagan had never actually been there. When they finally met, Reagan consoled him by saying, "You believed it because you wanted to believe it. There's nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time." And so he did. And so did Reagan's handlers who would later be chiefly responsible for Bush's disastrous term in office. And so did the American people who supported this administration's illegal war even though it is yet to be determined just who the real enemy is....(full article)

On Hollywood Center-Rightists and Civil Liberties Myopia
by The Glorious Revolutionary Federation of Fortune 500 Killers

This coming Monday, more than 50 Hollywood center-rightists and apologists for the Democratic Party will attend an ACLU Lincoln Center benefit to “expound on perceived threats to American freedom.”  The almost completely lily-white list includes Paul Simon, Patti Smith, Richard Gere, Jessica Lange, and Robin Williams. Sorry, Bicentennial Man, but the war on civil liberties has been going on long before resisting it became a chic Hollywood cause (engaged, of course, within Lincoln Center's safe confines).  Thanks largely to this self-indulgent Hollywood circle's hero, Bill Clinton, poor black and Latino people have experienced incursions into their civil liberties for more than a decade before the star of “Pretty Woman” decided he'd speak out in front of a bourgeois Upper West Side audience that'll be able to afford tickets....(full article)

(Not) In The News: Media Culpability in the
Continuum of Violence Against Women
by Lucinda Marshall

Violence against women isn't news. Or at least that is the logical implication one might draw from the lacking and skewered coverage given to the subject by the media. Unless of course it involves a famous sports figure like Kobe Bryant or O.J. Simpson, or a beautiful mother-to-be like Lacey Peterson, violence against women is a seriously under-reported story. Stories about violence in the home are routinely trivialized as domestic matters and misogynist violence such as female genital mutilation and honor killings are dismissed as cultural norms. Inasmuch as violence against women is a global pandemic, the consequences of this ignorance and bias are horrific. In November, 2003, UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) published a report stating that one out three women are likely to be sexually assaulted during their lifetimes. In this country alone, 588,490 women were victims of non-fatal intimate partner violence in 2001 and in March, 2004, Amnesty International mounted a global campaign to end violence against women. One would think that when violence of this magnitude terrorizes half of the world's population, it would be front page news....(full article)

Disrupting America’s Fateful Non-Debate on the Roots of Terror
by M. Junaid Alam

On September 11th, nineteen hijackers commandeered four airliners and guided three of them into important symbols of American power with lethal precision. An unsuspecting citizenry, quite unaware of events outside the national purview, suddenly found 3,000 of its countrymen killed at the hands of a few fanatics from a far off part of the world. One would expect that, in a democratic country which prides itself on freedom of speech and press, wide-ranging diversity of opinions, and quality of intellectual debate and scholarship, one of the responses to the horrific attacks would be a rigorous and reflective discussion of why they happened. Three years on, what we have instead is the ceaseless, unchallenged mass production – and consumption – of a core set of noxious lies about September 11th that form the foundation of a perpetual, bloody, boundless, and winless war....(full article)

Column Right
A Real American Hero Weighs in on the Debate
by Jolene Fystenbutt

In its efforts at "fair and balanced reporting," Dissident Voice is proud to welcome to these pages renowned Christian columnist and self-described "Security Mom" Jolene Fystenbutt: While the far left liberal media was celebrating John Kerry's 'victory' over George W. Bush in the debates, REAL Americans (not to be confused with the French speaking minority who would like to see 'old Europe' run things in this country) knew better than to applaud the glib Senator's well-scripted litany of lies and ivory tower babble. If you don't believe me, just ask Corporal Jarvis Whitehead of the something-or-other infant division who sent me this delightful e-mail after watching the debates from his mess tent inside Baghdad's environmentally friendly Green Zone. Debate all you like, but you can't argue with Cpl Jarvis's opinion that our President is the only one to lead our country now and forever....(full article)

Initial Responses to the Presidential "Debate"

The Bush-Kerry Face-Off in Miami
by Doug Ireland

At least as noteworthy in the Miami debate as what was said is what was NOT said. Just a few examples:....(full article)

Mr. Tall and Mr. Small
by Greg Palast

Our President told the debate audience, "You cannot lead if you send mexxed missiges." I certainly hope not. But that's exactly what we got. You watch our President, the nervous hand-hiding, the compulsive water-glass-fondling, the panicked I-wish-I-had-a-whiskey look, and you think, "My god, this is the guy who's supposed to save us from al Qaeda." And how are we going to win the War on Terror, Mr. President? "First of all, of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that," he said. Well, that's a start, I suppose. But it doesn't have to stay this way. This is America, home of the brave and where, I remember from school, we could vote for president and the votes would count. So we looked to the tall man next to him to show us the way out....(full article)

The Bait (Debate)
by Kamyar Arasteh

Some years ago, the Saturday Night Live show included a hilarious sketch featuring a defensive character (portraying an attorney for the tobacco industry, I think). The skit consisted of the attorney sitting in front of the camera for an interview, during which the interviewer reminded him of some obvious fact the attorney had gotten wrong or had “misrepresented.” The punch line, and the most memorable part, would come just then, as the camera trained on him, nervously puffing at his cigarette and sweating profusely in his suit and tie: “I knew that! What makes you think I didn’t know that? You think I didn’t know that?” So, you can imagine how hard it was for me not to laugh when I heard those words from George W. Bush during the Thursday night debate. Kerry stated that Bush’s remarks revealed that he didn’t know it was Osama bin Laden who had attacked America, not Saddam Hussein. Bush barked back: “Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that!” ....(full article)

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