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(DV) September 2005 Articles

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September 29

Iranian Gays Urgently Appeal for Help

Lori Through the Looking Glass:
A New Perspective on the Berenson Case
by Nicholas Birns

Our perception of Lori Berenson has been clouded by a bewildering recent series of rulings and counter-findings surrounding her case. Lori Berenson has been imprisoned in Peru for almost ten years for allegedly conspiring with terrorists. (The grim anniversary of her imprisonment is upcoming in November). New challenges and complications in the Andean region and its neighbors have only exacerbated the situation. In his Second Inaugural Address, President Bush strongly endorsed liberal-humanitarian interventionism, saying: “The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” Yet the reach of this rhetorical vision of freedom is not meant to stretch to every corner of the globe. In spite of this shortcoming, we must reanimate our awareness of the Berenson case, placing it in the new context of the Bush administration’s worldwide proactive democratic aspirations. This article will illuminate why this case is so important to any reexamination of the values of American foreign policy....(full article)

Bill Clinton Was No Champion of the Poor
by Paul Street

It's interesting to see former Democratic President William Jefferson Clinton speaking for the poor and against those who would distribute wealth yet further upward in America.  Two Saturdays ago, Clinton told ABC News that "you can't have an emergency plan that works if it only affects middle-class people and up and when you tell people to do something they don't have the means to do you're going to leave the poor out."  Clinton added that Tropical Storm Katrina pointed up steep "class division[s] that often play out along racial lines" in America. Before making these comments, Clinton reminded ABC that poverty fell in the United States (U.S.) during his presidency. As Clinton knows, American poverty has risen during every single year of the George W. Bush presidency -- the first time that the nation's official deprivation gauge has gone up for five consecutive years. . . . Fair enough on Reagan and the two Bushes. But how "different" and more socio-economically and therefore (by Clinton's analysis) racially democratic was administration policy under Bill Clinton, the self-appointed post-Katrina champion of the poor? By Clinton's account, McClellan's "deep history of injustice" was under egalitarian federal assault during the years of the Clinton regime. The record suggests otherwise....(full article)

A Less Fashionable War
by Charles Shaw

Malcolm X once said, “Any person who claims to have deep feeling for other human beings should think a long, long time before he votes to have other men kept behind bars -- caged. I am not saying there shouldn’t be prisons, but there shouldn’t be bars. Behind bars, a man never reforms.” On Friday, September 9th I became one of the roughly 25,000 people released from an Illinois prison this year -- 600,000 nationally -- after completing only 10 weeks of a one-year sentence due to extreme overcrowding. My crime was victimless, simple possession of a controlled substance, specifically a small amount of marijuana and MDMA. But as the rare upper-middle class educated White American in prison, I found myself in a truly alien, self-perpetuating world of crushing poverty and ignorance, violent dehumanization, institutionalized racism, and an entire sub-culture of recidivists, some of whom had done nine and ten stints, many dating back to the Seventies. Most used prison as a form of criminal networking knowing full well they would be left to fend for themselves when released. We were told on many occasions that an inmate was worth more inside prison than back in society. Considering it costs an average of $37,000 a year to incarcerate offenders, and the average income for Black Americans is $24,000, and only $8,000-12,000 for poor Blacks, one can easily see their point....(full article)

Brownie’s Comic Opera    
by Mike Whitney

Michael Brown’s B-rated performance before a congressional investigative committee provided some welcome relief from an otherwise depressing week of bad news. It was like watching Suzanne Sommers play Lady Macbeth; poor Brownie was in way over his head. The ex-FEMA chief stuck close to his Karl Rove script and didn’t give an inch to the blustery congressmen. He growled and snapped at the questions, bristling with indignation one minute and then faking compassion the next. All the while, he kept passing the buck to everyone within a 200-mile radius. It was a pitiable presentation with Brown refusing to answer even the easiest questions without first consulting his army of lawyers. While Brown was testifying, the new casualty figures from Hurricane Katrina were pouring into the various news outlets, pushing the death toll upwards towards the 1,000 mark....
(full article)

Progressives and the Imperialist Line
by Kim Petersen

Since right-wingers have successfully co-opted supposedly left-wing political parties (examples are rife: Clinton’s neoliberalism under the sponsorship of the Democratic Party in the United States; Blair and the Labour Party in Britain; Chrétien and Martin with the Liberal Party in Canada; and most glaringly, Deng Xiao Peng’s obliteration of the people’s revolution led by the Communist Party in China), it would hardly be surprising that right-wingers have masterly encroached into progressive media. Indeed right-wing sources fund many progressive media. Having said that, a serious problem of method and principle arise when decidedly progressive writers and keen observers of the American Empire adopt the analytical methodology and vocabulary of imperialist decision makers and their think tanks. In addressing such a phenomenon, I must emphasize that it seems rather odd that at a moment such as this when reactionary, criminal forces control the West and when all progressive elements of society must harness their energy to confront the enemies of civilization sitting in Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa, and Moscow, I have to take on progressive writers....(full article)

Apartheid Justice in America: Krugal vs. Padilla   
by Mike Whitney

In the three years that Jose Padilla has been locked away in solitary confinement, the government has been unable to cobble together enough evidence to even charge him with a crime. They have nothing on him, just the ever-changing claims of a Justice Department that shows less respect for justice than it does for personal liberty. Originally, Attorney General John Ashcroft claimed that Padilla was a “dirty bomber” who intended to detonate nuclear material within the US. Two years later, Ashcroft reversed his claims saying that Padilla was planning to blow up apartment buildings with natural gas pipelines. Just recently, the government changed its story for a third time, saying that Padilla was “on the battlefield” in Afghanistan which made him an enemy combatant. This last twist to the story came in response to the ruling in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld which allows the government to indefinitely detain any American citizen “picked up off the battlefield” while fighting the US. It’s a fabrication, of course, but the DOJ doesn’t mind the sloppiness of the deception as long as their goals are achieved; in this case, the permanent imprisonment of an American Muslim. The Padilla case is of particular interest now that we have a genuine case of domestic terrorism we can use for comparison....(full article)

September 27

New Orleans: Naled Kills Mosquitoes -- and People?
by Sarah Meyer

On September 12, KTLA reported that in New Orleans “federal public safety officials said that a military C-130 cargo plane was to begin spraying clouds of insecticide . . . to kill a growing population of disease-bearing mosquitoes.” The authorities noted that this spraying “would not pose a health threat.” Really? (full article)

Bill Frist, The Former 2008 Presidential Candidate
by Jason Leopold

It's one thing to lie in politics. It's another to be caught in a lie. Bill Frist has been caught in a lie. His political future is over. The immediate question is, can he survive as Majority Leader? The Tennessee Republican claims he wasn’t privy to any inside information leading up to the sale of his stock in Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the country’s largest for-profit hospital chain founded by Frist’s father, Thomas, and brother, Thomas Jr., weeks before the company reported lower than expected earnings July 13 that sent the stock south. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the matter, a spokesman for the senator said last week, to determine if Frist broke any laws....(full article)

Revenge of the Shift Worker
A Brief, Lighthearted Look at Star Wars and Work in America
by Chohong Choi

“A dull people all work and no play can make.”  That is what Yoda would say about Americans if he were to travel from that galaxy far, far away to Planet Earth and, more specifically, the United States. While the U.S. is blessed with a wealth of leisure and entertainment facilities, many Americans have insufficient time to utilize them....(full article)

Sinister Events in a Cynical War
by John Pilger

Here are questions that are not being asked about the latest twist of a cynical war. Were explosives and a remote-control detonator found in the car of the two British SAS special forces men “rescued” from prison in Basra on 19 September? If true, what were they planning to do with them? Why did the British military authorities in Iraq put out an unbelievable version of the circumstances that led up to armoured vehicles smashing down the wall of a prison? According to the head of Basra’s Governing Council, which has co-operated with the British, five civilians were killed by British soldiers. A judge says nine. How much is an Iraqi life worth? Is there to be no honest accounting in Britain for this sinister event, or do we simply accept Defence Secretary John Reid’s customary arrogance? “Iraqi law is very clear,” he said. “British personnel are immune from Iraqi legal process.” He omitted to say that this fake immunity was invented by Iraq’s occupiers....(full article)

The Impending Cakewalk in Iran    
by Mike Whitney

The UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, officially signed Iran’s death warrant yesterday. By passing a US-backed resolution that refers Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council, the member states have endorsed America’s genocidal Middle East policy and paved the way for another war. Even though Tal Afar, Samara and other civilian enclaves are still under a withering attack from American forces, and even though reports of rampant prisoner abuse and torture continue to surface around Falluja, and even though increasing numbers of young Sunni men, who’ve been beaten and shot in the back of the head, are being fished from the Euphrates River every day, the sycophantic Euro-allies have thrown their support behind a resolution that will unavoidably lead to another war. Everyone who signed on to this treacherous pact is equally culpable of the misery it will inevitably produce....(full article)

Democrats Flee Peace Protests: It’s Time for a Name Change
by Joshua Frank

I have been thinking for a while now that the Democrats really should sit down and consider changing their mascot from a donkey to a marmot. A rodent really is more emblematic or their provincial habits than a donkey could ever be. Think about it. Just this past weekend antiwar rallies were held across the country and the Democratic leadership was nowhere in sight. They had hightailed it out there. They hid in their holes and were afraid to be seen....(full article)

September 26

Accusations and Smears
An Interview with Ward Churchill (Part 2 of 5)
by Joshua Frank

This is Part Two of the explosive five-part interview series Joshua Frank, author of Left Out!, did with University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill this summer....(full interview)

Tipping Point/Point of No Return
by Patricia Goldsmith 

Reviewing the last few weeks is like backing up a scream on TV. This “President” not only delayed aid to dying people, he actively blocked and prevented access to aid from around the world. He sealed off the exits and drowned an excess, unwanted, poor population like rats. Those who survived and made it out to shelters around the country find that their poverty has been, in effect, criminalized. They are no longer free to come and go. And the Democrats act like this is normal. Their lack of proportionate response to disaster engineering and disaster profiteering is a key element in normalizing the increasingly militarized takeover we are witnessing. Their silence, especially on the war, has become positively eerie. Not one major Democrat attended the September 24 anti-war mobilization. If they know something we don’t know, it ain’t good....(full article)

The Age of Catastrophe: Preparing for Disaster
by Jack Random

We will never fully comprehend the complexities of our planet. For centuries, we have labored to overcome and alter the course of nature. We have redirected the path of great rivers, destroyed vital ecological systems, pumped toxic waste into our waterways, oceans and atmosphere, and buried massive stockpiles of deadly chemicals and radioactive waste deep in the bowels of the earth. We may not fully comprehend the role of human interaction with the forces of nature but we are all born with an innate understanding that if we poison our own living space, there will be a price to pay. When we witness melting glaciers, warming oceans, altered climates and shifting oceanic currents, followed by a chain of catastrophes, we do not require a panel of experts or an executive commission to inform us that something is radically astray. It is increasingly clear that we have entered an age of unprecedented catastrophe and we are woefully unprepared to cope with it. In the wake of 911, we have invested hundreds of billions in Homeland Security but in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we are hard pressed to know what that means. Apparently, Homeland Security does not include the fundamentals of civil defense: communications, evacuation, emergency shelters, food, water, fuel, generators and medical facilities....
(full article)

Which Way Forward for the Green Party?
A Report on the 2005 Annual National Meeting, held July 22-24, 2005
by Ashley Smith, Cat Woods, James Marc Leas, and Steve Greenfield

At the 2005 Annual National Meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Green Party arrived at a fork in the road. The delegates voted down resolutions offered by Greens for Democracy and Independence (GDI) designed to ensure proportional representation inside the party, national delegates accountable to the expressed will of the membership, and political independence from the two corporate parties. These votes fly in the face of everything that the Green Party’s platform and membership stand for. As Maryland senatorial candidate and Green Party member Kevin Zeese rightly points out, “the overwhelming majority of Greens support real democracy -- based on the principle of one person-one vote -- and want the Green Party to stand for something different than the Democrats or Republicans.”  “The Tulsa decisions exacerbate the already growing rift in the party. The ramifications of these decisions must be reversed if the Greens are to truly challenge the corporate parties.  This can only happen if Greens across the country are willing to fight to take back their party. Only an uprising by the membership will reinvigorate the Green Party,” added Zeese. At Tulsa, two currents came into conflict over the future of the Party -- an assertive, radical wing embodied by the Greens for Democracy and Independence (GDI) and a passive, liberal wing led by David Cobb and others closely tied to the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)....(full article)

The News Media and the Antiwar Movement
by Norman Solomon

It’s reasonable to estimate that more than a quarter of a million people demonstrated against the Iraq war on Saturday in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other U.S. cities. The next day, the Washington Post front-paged a decent story that described “the largest show of antiwar sentiment in the nation’s capital since the conflict in Iraq began.” But more perfunctory back-page articles were typical in daily papers across the country. And over the weekend, many TV news watchers saw little or nothing about the protests. Hurricane Rita was clearly a factor. But even without dramatic natural disasters, the news media are ready, willing and able to downplay news about war -- and the antiwar movement -- for any number of reasons. Conventional wisdom on Capitol Hill or in newsrooms can tamp down media coverage of a surging movement. What’s crucial is that the movement not allow its momentum to be interrupted by media treatment....(full article)

Whose Salmon?
by Kim Petersen

Why is there a “war” for salmon instead of co-operation to share in the harvesting of what should be a sustainable resource? In his book Salmon Wars: The Battle for the West Coast Salmon Fishery, Dennis Brown examines and chronicles the battles for sharing the salmon catch between corporations and fishermen, the US and Canada, as well as First Nations fishermen and commercial fishermen. Brown expresses concern for the working fisherman. This progressive tendency is expected as Brown has a varied background in salmon fishing, coming from a long line of fishermen and having worked as a union representative and government advisor. Much of his book details attempts to renegotiate a Canada-US Pacific Salmon Treaty on how to share the anadromous fish that refuse to confine themselves to national waters. The treaty negotiations were marked by strident disagreements between neighbors. Canadian fishermen are upset that US fishermen are allegedly taking Canadian salmon. The notion of Canadian salmon versus American salmon is intriguing. From another viewpoint, the fact that people were living on the Pacific coast and harvesting the salmon before Canadians and Americans throws into doubt this notion of state-ownership of salmon....(full article)

September 24-25

Farewell to the Democratic Party
by Mike Whitney

The leadership of the Democratic Party never tires of their role as doormat to their Republican overlords. Fresh off their stunning defeat in the John Roberts appointment to the Supreme Court, the main players -- Clinton, Dodd, Kennedy, Biden, Kerry and Feingold -- have announced they will forgo attending the massive antiwar rallies in New York, Washington and across the nation. Even now, when the “anti-Iraq” mood of the nation has shifted as dramatically as two plates in the San Andreas Fault, the foremost sentinels of the party are too timid to budge. What a useless collection of stuffed shirts and pompous windbags. Even the moniker “Democratic leadership” is a contradiction in terms. Their solitary interest is perpetuating their own miserable careers and reveling in the incipient narcissi of their office. They’d rather see the nation bullied and plundered by autocrats and sadists then jeopardize their precious tenure in Congress and their lofty aspirations for higher office. After all, standing on principle might torpedo that lucrative deal as lobbyist with the defense industry when retirement roles around. Where’s Hillary Clinton when her loyal supporters need her? (full article)

Prime Time Propaganda
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

Does anyone actually watch the TV shows they watch? Medical Investigation for example. On the surface this drama looks like just another mildly entertaining medical show. But watch closely and you begin to see the creepy undertones of neoconservative ideology, with its concomitant fundamentalist Christianity, embedded in the storylines and characters. In each episode the illnesses are caused (not necessarily in a direct way) by an anti-social behavior or as a consequence of some un-American activity. We see the lead character enter a church, cross himself and pray for guidance. A complex man, a top scientist, grappling with issues of faith and science? Not likely. The good doctor is not conflicted at all and there is no competition between his science and his faith. But perhaps more disturbing than the mainstreaming of fundamentalist religion is the way in which a conservative political agenda is implanted in the show. For example, a disease outbreak appears to be coming from an American factory known to be polluting water. Eventually the real culprit is revealed to be across the border in unhygienic Mexico where people don't wash their hands. The overarching sense of this show is that conservative orthodoxy is the only position to take. There is no dissent, no doubting Thomases, and no rebel bucking the system (unless they are on the path to realizing their mistakes). Instead Medical Investigation is a bunch of committed believers: in God, their government and the essential rightness of those beliefs....(full article)

The Struggle Over the Future of New Orleans:
Interview With Mike Davis on Katrina’s Aftermath
by Lee Sustar

The poor of New Orleans -- especially poor African Americans -- suffered the brunt of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in the city, thanks to the criminal neglect of authorities at every level of government. Now, the wealthy elite wants to rebuild on its terms -- and prevent large numbers of Katrina’s victims from ever returning. But the politicians and business interests will face a fight -- in a city with a rich tradition of resistance. Mike Davis is an author and activist whose books include City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, The Ecology of Fear and the forthcoming The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu. He spoke to Socialist Worker’s Lee Sustar about the political impact of Hurricane Katrina....(full article)

Basra: Another Milestone in the War on Terror
by Mike Whitney

We are only interested in one thing regarding the melee that broke out in Basra following the arrest of two British commandoes on September 20: whether or not the car they were driving contained explosives? The answer to that question could decide the future of Iraq as well as the fate of Bush’s war on terror. Nothing should deter us from getting to the bottom of this crucial question and no extraneous fact or fiction should divert our attention from uncovering the answer....(full article)

Pandora's Box
by Ken Sanders

You have to hand it to the Bush administration. No matter how bad things might be in Iraq, and no matter how dim the prospects are for Iraq's future, Bush & Co. still manage to look the public straight in the eye, smirk, and insist that the decision to invade Iraq was a good one. Call them determined, even stubborn. Call them dishonest, perhaps delusional. Regardless, the fact is that by invading Iraq, the Bush administration opened a Pandora's Box with global consequences. Bush and his apologists have frequently promised that the invasion of Iraq will spread democracy and stability throughout the entire Middle East. That naive declaration could not be farther from the truth. Not only is Iraq itself in the clutches of a civil war, the U.S.-led invasion threatens to destabilize the whole of the Middle East, if not the world. It may have irrevocably done so already. By most definitions and standards, Iraq is already in the throes of civil war. Whether defined as an internal conflict resulting in at least 1,000 combat-related fatalities, five percent of which are sustained by government and rebel forces; or as organized violence designed to change the governance of a country; or as a systematic and coordinated sectarian-based conflict; the requirements of civil war have long since been satisfied in Iraq....(full article)

The Lords of War: Arming the World at a Theater Near You
by Mickey Z.

It's not every day Amnesty International asks me to go see a Nic Cage movie. So, when I got their e-mail about "Lord of War," I promptly caught a bargain matinee at my local multiplex. This is not a movie review but, by Hollywood standards, "Lord of War" rates R for radical...and I was pleased to witness a film about the governments and freelancers supplying the weapons that kill men, women, and children every minute of every day....(full article)

The Inevitable War with Iran
by Mike Whitney

If Washington wants a war with Iran, then there’ll be a war with Iran. That’s the great lesson of the Iraq war: once the decision is made, there’s no turning back. So, why are the main players -- England, France and Germany -- stumbling over themselves trying to placate Bush as though the conflict can be avoided?  Threatening to bring Iran before the Security Council won’t alter the administrations plans one bit. In fact, it will probably only strengthen their case. Bush will use the flimsiest of reasons for initiating hostilities, so the EU-3 should skip the frantic diplomacy and stop doing Washington’s bidding. Like the Downing Street memo stated, “The facts and intelligence are being fit to meet the policy.” It’s the same here. No amount of groveling from the EU-3 will appease Bush once Tehran is in its crosshairs. The Big-3 would be better off sending arms and ammo to Iran so the people can defend themselves once the bombs start dropping. The implications of a preemptive war against Iran are appalling. The Islamic state has no nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons program, and there’s no proof that it plans to develop nuclear weapons in the future. In other words, the US is planning an attack against a nation that does not even meet its minimal requirements for preemptive war. Iran is no threat to anyone. It does, however, sit on vast reserves of oil and natural gas, a consideration that may have factored heavily into the battle strategy....(full article)

Central American Strikes and the Energy Crisis
by toni solo

In Central America the relentless upward trend in oil prices is provoking crisis in the parts of the region's electrical energy system dependent on oil. Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras are the countries in the region most dependent on oil imports. Overall Central America sources over 70% of its energy requirements from oil, imported mostly from Mexico and Venezuela. Only Costa Rica has made determined efforts to avoid energy dependence on oil. Its State power company generates over 80% of its electricity from hydroelectric sources. The neoliberal privatization craze of the 1990s resulted predictably in little long-term investment in renewable energy from geo-thermal or wind generation. Opportunist foreign companies invested in quick and dirty oil powered generating plants to get a cut of the region's wide open energy market. The same short-term approach to the region's transport needs has emphasized road infrastructure to the virtual exclusion of all other options . . . .  With oil prices trending consistently higher, the failure of the "free market" to meet the majority of people's fundamental energy and transport needs becomes plainer almost week by week. But longer-term implications of this crucial fundamental economic reality have yet to sink in to governments hopelessly trying to follow faith-based "free market" ideology. Belatedly they may have started to flirt with renewable energy initiatives like wind-power for electricity generation or sugar cane derived ethanol for transport fuel, but the budget arithmetic of oil imports has already overtaken most of the region with a vengeance....(full article)

Dodging the Costs of the Warfare State
by Norman Solomon

The New York Times began a new week with an editorial that typifies the media mind-set of the warfare state. The Sept. 19 editorial warns of dire consequences from a growing deficit that has been boosted by tax cuts -- in combination with “the pre-Katrina priorities laid down by Mr. Bush.” Those priorities include a U.S. military budget that has reached half a trillion dollars per year. But the Times editorial does not devote a single word to military spending or the Iraq war. Why not mention the option of an American pullout from Iraq, where the U.S. war effort has already drained $200 billion from taxpayers? Well, those who determine editorial positions at the New York Times -- and the other major newspapers in the country -- cannot bring themselves to call for a quick end to the U.S. military role in Iraq....
(full article)

September 23

A Prescription for Exclusion: Bush Administration Adopts a Chunk of Heritage Foundation's All-Encompassing Agenda to Rebuild Gulf Coast
by Bill Berkowitz

While Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and President Bush's chief political adviser -- some call him "Bush's Brain" -- is waiting to see if he will be indicted for his role in the Valerie Plame Affair, he has been named by Bush to lead the reconstruction effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And, based on President Bush's address to the nation on Thursday, September 16, the blueprint for rebuilding will be less "New Deal" and more "New Steal" -- another opportunity for Team Bush's corporate donors and cronies to cash in on the misery of hundreds of thousands of Americans. There is little doubt that the Rove-guided rebuilding effort will be paying close attention to a recent Special Report issued by the Heritage Foundation on September 12, spelling out a series of guidelines and recommendations for Gulf Coast's recovery....(full article)

Fuel Conservation And Sustainable Mobility
by Manuel García, Jr.

A key motivation for the Iraq War must certainly be the desire of American policy planners to secure petroleum reserves with which to fuel the American military in the 21st Century. American armed forces are all about mobility and global reach, and they require a tremendous quantity of fuel for all that high-speed, long-distant and low miles-per-gallon mobility. Without liquid hydrocarbon fuels, there is no "superpower" military, and without that there is no American empire. Petroleum is the lifeblood of the American war machine. The American consumer, as well, has an unquenchable thirst for petroleum, using it in large inefficient automobiles, luxury trucks, and recreational vehicles of many kinds. Reducing America's desire for oil would help rein in American imperialism and aggression. Any such reduction is unlikely to occur in the military, by the very nature of its purpose. So, Americans opposed to the Iraq War and American imperialism favor a significant reduction in the civilian consumption of petroleum, most particularly as gasoline fueling transportation....(full article)

The Occasional Media Ritual of Lamenting the Habitual
by Norman Solomon

Dan Rather caused some ripples when he spoke at a law school in New York on Sept. 19 and warned that politicians have been putting effective pressure on the corporate owners of major broadcast outlets. Summarizing his remarks, the Hollywood Reporter said that the former CBS anchor contended “there is a climate of fear running through newsrooms stronger than he has ever seen in his more than four-decade career.” When a network TV correspondent makes noises that indicate a possible break with the corporate media establishment, I think of something that Mark Twain said: “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”....(full article)

The GOP’s Fiscal Policies Turned a Natural Disaster
into a Man-Made Catastrophe
by Jason Leopold

Republicans like to brag that, as a political party, they are more fiscally responsible than their Democratic counterparts. Well, thanks to President Bush’s four years in office that theory can now take up residence in the urban legend department. If anything, Bush’s tenure as president proves that the Republican tax cuts (which everyone knows truly benefits the wealthiest one percent), drastically slashing funds in the federal budget for much needed improvements to the country’s aging infrastructure (a perfect example being the outdated power grid), and trying to get away with launching wars on the cheap, have cost taxpayers and their unborn grandchildren more money than anyone could have ever imagined....(full article)

A Movement Gathers Power on the Sorrow Plateau
Why We Must Resolve That a Better Faith is Possible

by Greg Moses

The movement for peace and justice in the USA has been transformed during the past two months. But what is the nature of the change, and how will it help to move us forward? The short answer, I think, is that we have been enriched by sorrow; we gather upon a sorrow plateau. Because of this place we have come to, we have new opportunities to broaden the scope of our power to sustain lasting change for freedom. Sorrow is the new power that Cindy Sheehan brought into the movement last month. And the power of our sorrow has grown in response to the sufferings caused by hurricane Katrina. This sorrow has not overcome us, but it has infused our motivations. Out of this sorrow comes a renewed sense of our struggle's significance....
(full article)

September 21

Apocalypse Now:
How Mankind Is Sleepwalking
to the End of the Earth
by Maria Gilardin

This headline appeared in the London Independent in early February of 2005, following a conference at the Hadley Centre in Exeter, England, where 200 of the world’s leading scientists issued the most urgent warning to date: that dangerous climate change is taking place today, and not the day after tomorrow. Floods, storms, and droughts. Melting polar ice, shrinking glaciers, oceans turning to acid. Scientists from the fields of glaciology, biology, meteorology, oceanography, and ecology reported seeing a dramatic rise over the last 50 years of all the indicators of climate change: increase in average world temperatures, extreme weather events, in the levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and in the level of the oceans. The award winning environmental writer Geoffrey Lean wrote: “Future historians, looking back from a much hotter and less hospitable world . . . will puzzle over how a whole generation could have sleepwalked into disaster -- destroying the climate that has allowed human civilization to flourish over the past 11,000 years.”....(full article)

Let Them Die or Let Them Go
by Mike Whitney

I have a word of advice I would like to offer Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon chieftains who currently preside over the 200 or more hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay, 20 of whom are near death. For God’s sake, let them die. What more could you possibly want from them? They’ve already provided you with the subjects you needed for your newly perfected sense-deprivation techniques and your sadistic methods of torture. They supplied you with the lab rats for your new drugs, your improved methods of psychological torment, and your sexually deviant abuses. Now, let them die. The experiment is over. Show that there is some speck of humanity left in your withered heart by allowing these men to pass away with dignity, the dignity you deprived them of in life....(full article)

Who’s Blowing Up Iraq?
New Evidence Bombs are Being Planted by British Commandos
by Mike Whitney

In more than two years since the United States initiated hostilities against Iraq, there has never been a positive identification of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Never. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t exist; it simply suggests that prudent people will challenge the official version until his whereabouts and significance in the conflict can be verified. At present, much of the rationale for maintaining the occupation depends on this elusive and, perhaps, illusory figure. It’s odd how Al-Zarqawi appears at the precise coordinates of America’s bombing raids, and then miraculously vanishes unscathed from the scene of the wreckage. This would be a remarkable feat for anyone, but especially for someone who only has one leg....(full article)

NYPD Unplugs Cindy Sheehan, But Not the Antiwar Movement
by Joshua Frank

They can’t stop the antiwar movement, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. On Monday, September 19 Cindy Sheehan spoke in New York City’s Union Square to a group of supporters and onlookers when police rushed in to break up her speech as it was winding down. “I was speaking and someone grabbed my backpack and pulled me back pretty roughly,” Sheehan told the Associated Press. “I was shoved around.” Police arrested organizer Paul Zulkowitz, who was charged with disorderly conduct as well as for using an unauthorized sound device. For anybody that has been through Union Square in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen Zulkowitz (a.k.a. Zool) who heads up “Camp Casey NYC,” a small group of local activists who set up an encampment over a month ago to show their solidarity for Sheehan’s quest to end the Iraq war. Zool’s arrest was most likely a coordinated effort meant to disrupt the ongoing antiwar vigil....
(full article)

Paying for Katrina
by William Fisher

Advertising gurus Gerald Rafshoon and Doug Bailey, who were on opposing sides during the Jimmy Carter-Gerald Ford campaign in 1976, have come up with a pretty good alternative to financing Katrina reconstruction with taxpayer money. They propose a 90-day moratorium on fundraising by political parties and members of Congress. That would free up more than enough money to pay for Katrina. Here’s another: Instead of closing 22 major military bases and “realigning” others, we should keep those facilities open so that no one has to flee to anything like the New Orleans Astrodome or the Convention Center ever again....(full article)

Shattering Democracy: Sharon’s Plan for Palestine
by Remi Kanazi

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon showed his true colors earlier this week as his normative praise of “democratic values” subsided. “I announced as clearly as I could that we formally oppose Hamas’ participation in the election as long as it is not disarmed and has not cancelled the Hamas charter, which is a horrible document,” Sharon stated on last Wednesday. On Saturday, he went further in an interview with reporters in New York, rejecting calls for democratic elections in the Occupied Territories, “We will make every effort not to help [the Palestinians]. I don't think they can have elections without our help.”....(full article)

September 19

The Enemy Within
by Patricia Goldsmith

In a 1973 court case involving General Motors, documents showed that a GM engineer had created a cost-benefit analysis to decide whether or not to correct a serious defect in the company’s Malibu model. The analyst calculated that GM would pay $200,000 in legal costs for each of the projected 500 lives lost each year due to the defect. Fixing the defect, the study showed, would be more expensive than paying the costs of litigation. So they didn’t fix it. . . . George Bush’s failure to protect against the predicted attacks of September 11 and now Hurricane Katrina can only be understood if we’re willing to follow the same unimpeachable logic GM used -- just think in dollars and cents; ask yourself who benefits. Hint: White House political guru Karl Rove has been put in charge of the massive post-Katrina reconstruction effort, and already it is clear that the same folks who got all those sweetheart, no-bid contracts in Iraq will be inking the really big deals....
(full article)

Enough Already With The Neocon Voodoo Experiments In Iraq
by By Ahmed Amr

It’s anybody’s guess what happens next in Iraq. After thirty months of experimentation with the pet theories of the neo-con political fantasy labs, even diehard supporters of the invasion can’t escape the reality that the outcomes thus far are light years away from the rosy predictions of a ‘cakewalk.’ At every juncture, the administration and neo-con think tanks have bamboozled the public with best case scenarios of how events might unfold. The fact that the policy makers in Washington have been so ‘wildly off the mark’ has not deterred Bush from issuing new rationales for his imperial misadventures along with optimistic forecasts of how the conflict might yet evolve. Despite the monotonous public pronouncements of ‘progress’ in Iraq, even George Bush must have his doubts. As the draft of the Iraqi Charter was being finalized, the president phoned Abdul Aziz Hakim, the Shia cleric who heads the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). The purpose of the call was to convince Hakim to lighten up a bit and accommodate some Sunni demands for a few changes to the draft. By all accounts, the SCIRI chief refused to give the president an inch....(full article)

American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery?
Part 5: Creating Our Own Reality

by Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri 

On the specific subject of violence and atrocities, from the Korean and Vietnam Wars until present, no one can deny there has been a remarkable sliding of the American state into adopting torture comparable to Nazi and Israeli standards of practice. Namely, torture, rape, racial anger, religious anger, mass murder, destruction of property, collective punishment, and disdain for established civilizations have become institutionalized, codified, taught, and are the preferred method for putting down liberation movements, which the US and other imperialists propagandistically call “insurgencies”.  However, laying the blame solely at the feet of the troops and the political-economic elites is an attempt at abrogating the responsibility of the citizenry to oppose war, aggression, or occupation. Opposing wars of aggression is an individual and a societal responsibility, especially the overtly illegal mayhem and chaos that the US has been fomenting in Iraq. One antiwar writer argued, “Because the civilian leadership unlike the military is always indebted to public opinion for its existence, it’s ultimately public approval rather than military need that drives air war against civilians, which is why the corporate media obligingly does its bit to keep that approval going.”.....
(full article)

Accusations and Smear
An Interview with Professor Ward Churchill (Part 1 of 5)
by Joshua Frank 

Ward Churchill is a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and recently came under fire for an article he wrote following September 11, 2001 titled, "Some Push Back." He is also the author of numerous books, including On the Justice of Roosting Chickens and A Little Matter of Genocide. Churchill recently sat down with Joshua Frank to discuss his ordeal, and this is the first part of their five-part interview....(full article)

September 18

Katrina: What Should Have Happened
by Theodore L. Blishak

Dissident Voice has received many reader accolades for our coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its grim aftermath. We've also received letters from a few readers that -- as a matter of sheer ideological blindness rather than genuine sympathy and solidarity with their countrymen and women -- defend the Bush administration's utterly pathetic response, and pose the question as to what solution(s) would we have come up with in dealing with the hurricane. In response, we offer this fictional account of how a humane, organized government can work in the face of such a disaster, by the President of Accent on Travel-USA....(full article)

The Second American Revolution
by Mike Whitney

Blackwater represents the globalization of repression: a free market progeny that is transforming the people’s army into privately owned militias for multinational corporations. The deployment of these armed units is a clear threat to public safety and personal liberty. The decision to send Blackwater mercenaries to New Orleans was not made haphazardly. A recent Washington Post article indicated that Donald Rumsfeld would use the military more extensively within the US if there were another terrorist attack on American soil. It’s clear now that the use of mercenaries was integral to that plan and that Rumsfeld wants Americans to acclimate to the idea of seeing troops deployed within their cities....(full article)

Poverty Increases as Incomes Decline Under President Bush
by Gene C. Gerard

The day after Hurricane Katrina hit, exposing much of the public to the tragic conditions of poverty in America, the Census Bureau quietly released its annual report entitled, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.” In some respects, it provided a demonstrable backdrop to the pockets of poverty common to New Orleans and other cities. It also explained why, despite President Bush’s assertion last month that, “Americans have more money in their pockets,” many people aren’t faring as well as they once did. The report indicates that in 2004 there was no increase in average annual household incomes for black, white, or Hispanic families. In fact, this marks the first time since the Census Bureau began keeping records that household incomes failed to increase for five consecutive years. Since President Bush took office, the average annual household family income has declined by $2,572, approximately 4.8 percent....(full article)

Framing Katrina: Dominant Media and Damage Control
in the Wake of a Not-So Natural Disaster 

by Paul Street

The brilliant and prolific left sociologist C. Wright Mills once said that the core purpose of meaningful analytical work on social and political affairs was to make relevant connections between individual pain and structural inequality. The point of such work, by Mills' reckoning, was to de-atomize personal difficulty and relate it to broader contextualizing forces of class, race, bureaucracy, and unjust power and authority. The dominant authoritarian and neoliberal ideology of our time works in the opposite direction. It tells us to separate the personal from the societal. It expects us to think of ourselves and others as purely autonomous sole actors -- a veritable mass of self-produced Robinson Crusoes (with Crusoe's slave Friday deleted from the formulation), each living on his or her own island of possessive-individualist economic rationality and "personal responsibility."....(full article)  

Hurricane Hugo at the UN
by Mike Whitney

Hugo Chavez’s performance at the UN was greeted with the bucket loads of bile that one expects from America’s rightward-titling media. Washington Post hatchet man Colum Lynch provided a typical summary of the speech by dismissing it as “a rant” from the Venezuelan “bad-boy”. But, Lynch isn’t alone in his hostility. The outpouring of venom came from all corners, appearing in many newspapers across the nation, invoking the hackneyed expressions of contempt for any foreign leader who rebuffs Washington or who follows redistributive economic policies. In fact, the speech was a brilliant and impassioned analysis of the current state of the world and of the United Nations. Chavez noted that the original intention of the gathering had been “completely distorted” by the so-called reform process introduced by John Bolton. The reforms are entirely designed to transform the UN into a cats paw for American power creating greater flexibility for Washington’s preemptive wars and for dismantling the foundations of international law. They signal the demise of the UN as a legitimate forum for world development and an invitation for Bush and co. to act with even greater impunity....(full article)

Iraqis to Bush -- Where Did All Our Money Go? 
by Evelyn J. Pringle

I have come to the conclusion that even if I live to be 100, I will never be able to track down every Bush-connected profiteer involved in this phony war on terror scheme. According to a report released in March 2005 by Transparency International (TI), an international organization that focuses on matters of corruption, Iraq could become "the biggest corruption scandal in history."....(full article)

Ask Roberts: Should the Rule of Law Broaden Democracy
at the Expense of Giant Corporations?
by Ralph Nader

Statement of Ralph Nader, on the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. by President George W. Bush to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., September 12, 2005....(full article)

US Military in Paraguay Prepares To “Spread Democracy”
by Benjamin Dangl

Controversy is raging in Paraguay, where the U.S. military is conducting secretive operations. 500 US troops arrived in the country on July 1st with planes, weapons and ammunition. Eyewitness reports prove that an airbase exists in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay, which is 200 kilometers from the border with Bolivia and may be utilized by the US military. Officials in Paraguay claim the military operations are routine humanitarian efforts and deny that any plans are underway for a US base. Yet human rights groups in the area are deeply worried. White House officials are using rhetoric about terrorist threats in the tri-border region (where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet) in order to build their case for military operations, in many ways reminiscent to the build up to the invasion of Iraq....(full article)

Japan Deeper into Neo-Liberalism
by Reza Fiyouzat

Here in Japan, it is the aftermath of the snap elections called by Prime Minister Koizumi, held on September 11, no doubt double-milking the symbolism; an election that was won by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party by a landslide, enabling the LDP and its coalition partner, New Komeito, who now together hold 327 of the Lower House of the Diet's 480 seats, to pass any laws they please. If the ruling class in Japan decided tomorrow that they wish to legislatively categorize the status of the working classes as slaves, they can now pass the law to do so!! As it happened, the Koizumi strong-handling of the LDP rebels who voted against his “postal reform” bill, and his use of “assassin candidates” to run against the rebel members (all 37 of them), paid off. It also must have been quite helpful to have had the encouraging help of the New Komeito, who, despite their supposed pacifist doctrine of Buddhism, have been strong supporters of Koizumi’s leading of Japan down the path of more militarism....(full article)

Reclaiming the “Orange Revolution”
by Jordan Thornton

Cindy Sheehan's courageous actions in Texas have captured the imaginations of an American public desperate for an end to this madness. We must give them something they can get behind, while the Bush/PNAC Regime is vulnerable, and before the next big Distraction we all sense is imminent. Let's send an unmistakable message of unity and determination to the world, and end this now before things get any worse. Since the demonstrations which reversed the electoral decision in the Ukraine, I've heard and seen many Ukrainians talking about large groups of foreigners who were pivotal to their planning. Many of these groups were the ones responsible for paying for the food, shelter, and orange banners used by the protestors. I didn't think much of this, or the accusations of funding from agencies such as the CIA, until I saw the same thing occurring in Lebanon. Then, a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Carol Off, did a piece explaining that the "spontaneous, grassroots" protests in the Ukraine were the result of CIA funding and planning over a period of ten years. Sadly, the report lauded these tactics of Regime Change, but nonetheless, proved my point....
(full article)

Let Us Pray -- For Bush Relief
by Jim Glover

As most people know, George W. Bush has thought of a way to make up for his most recent display of corruption-based incompetence. He declared a Day of Prayer. It was held this past September 16, and no doubt will become an annual event, complete with lucrative contracts for private security companies to maintain order. But in any case, Bush’s brainstorm gave me an idea, too. And, as they say in old movies, it’s crazy but it just might work. I propose that every sane person still remaining in the U.S. start asking God to rid us, once and for all, of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of their crime syndicate. It doesn’t matter HOW they disappear. We can let God work out the details....(full details)

Mr. Palast, Please Calm Down!
by Dan Raphael

In the last few days, I have received e-mails that are routinely issued by journalist Greg Palast. These concerned the British MP (Member of Parliament) in the House of Commons, George Galloway. Mr. Palast admixed criticisms of Mr. Galloway with generous helpings of name-calling abuse; examples of the latter included such things as “Brit-hole”, “arse-licking”, “self-promoting fart,” and “swamp-thing”…among others. I didn’t expect this. Even in his most trenchant criticism of that other George, the one we Americans know better than we’d like, Mr. Palast has never, to my knowledge, engaged in similar flame-throwing. Mr. Palast -- Greg -- are you all right? (full article)

"Thanking" Sharon
by Mike Odetalla

Since the so-called Gaza disengagement, US President George W Bush has reiterated his call that people ought to be "thanking Ariel Sharon" for keeping Israel's word about dismantling its occupation of Palestinian territory. What does Sharon's history tell us? (full article)

September 16

Leviathan in the Flood: Katrina and the Fishy Logic of the State
by Lila Rajiva

Judging by the coverage of Louisiana’s watery inferno, though the left and right keep tearing each other apart on everything else like endlessly divorcing spouses, on the inhumanity of man left to his own devices, they coo in one voice....(full article)

Division of Funeral Corp. Charged With Desecrating Corpses
Hired to Collect Deceased Victims of Hurricane Katrina

by Jason Leopold

A funeral services company which recently learned that one of its subsidiaries is negotiating a lucrative contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to remove dead bodies in areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, paid $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit several years ago alleging the company desecrated thousands of corpses and dumped bodies into mass graves. Moreover, the company paid $200,000 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that sought to expose that two members of the Texas funeral commission, the agency which regulates the funeral industry, were actually employees of the company they were supposed to monitor -- an obvious conflict-of-interest....(full article)

Frances Newton: Another One of Texas’s Scapegoats
by Brandy Baker

The United States Supreme Court declared that the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools was unconstitutional. Some will be happy about this, while many of us will not care in light of the fact that this same court struck down the appeals of an innocent woman on Texas’s death row. Last Wednesday night, the Supreme Court enabled the state of Texas to execute Frances Newton. Pat Robertson did not ask the governor to spare her life as he did with Karla Faye Tucker years ago, for only white women who frequently proclaim Jesus as their own personal savior need apply....
(full article)

Roberts' Rules of Order:
Scratching Deeper than the Smile and the Judicial Veneer
by Zbignew Zingh

For the most part, the Senate Judiciary Committee's inquiry into John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court is just window dressing. His nomination was assured in November 2004 -- as were the next three nominations to the Supreme Court -- when the Republicans gained hegemony in the executive and legislative branches of the government. Notwithstanding all our angst about who we believe should and should not be appointed to the Supreme Court, the reality is that George Bush and his Republican majority in the Senate will appoint anyone they like for a lifetime tenure on the federal bench. Unless photographs appear showing Mr. Roberts in bed with a live boy or a dead girl, or unless the Democrats are willing to finally play their filibuster card (and the odds are 10,000 to 1 that they will not), there is simply no way for the minority party to prevent these judicial appoints. If you think that John Roberts is bad, he will soon have more bad company. As the left exhausts itself in vetting and opposing his nomination, it will wear itself out for the time when Mr. Bush gets around to nominating the ultra extreme right-wing ogres to the judiciary. However, this next batch of judicial nominees also will take their cue from John Roberts. They will be ciphers about how they might rule and they will cloak themselves in ambiguous judicial platitudes....(full article)

Team Bush's African American Conundrum
by Bill Berkowitz

Will the Administration's shameful abandonment of New Orleans's African Americans torpedo its carefully calibrated campaign to woo black voters?
(full article)

As in World War II, The President Should Limit Oil Profits
by Gene C. Gerard

President Bush frequently compares the war in Iraq to World War II. While giving the commencement speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy in June of last year Mr. Bush noted, “Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States.” Last month, while speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of World War II, Mr. Bush again made comparisons between the two conflicts. He said, “As we mark this anniversary, we are again a nation at war. Once again, war came to our shores with a surprise attack that killed thousands in cold blood.” While many Americans are dubious about these comparisons, perhaps we should take the president at his word. Maybe we are engaged in a global war. If that’s the case, then there is ample precedent for Mr. Bush to limit oil profits. Americans expect the president to do something that will lower the cost of gasoline....(full article)

Market Medicine Is No Solution
by Nicholas Skala

An August 2 report showing that a full third of America’s 8.4 million uninsured children go without any medical care for at least a year is the latest reminder of the inhuman consequences of our broken health system. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Bush administration’s preferred reforms will actually exacerbate existing problems while victimizing the neediest....(full article)

September 14

Tal Afar: Crackdown in the Sunni Heartland
by Mike Whitney

The siege of Tal Afar follows a familiar pattern of brutal American incursions into densely populated areas under the pretense of fighting terrorism. It is a ritual that is repeated endlessly despite the dismal results. The Pentagon seems to prefer these grand displays of military strength to anything that might produce a political solution. It brings to mind the old saw, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again: expecting a different result.” This appears to be the guiding principle of the Defense Department with Tal Afar serving as the most recent example....(full article)

David Horowitz: American Red Cross Fundraiser?

by Brandy Baker

The American Red Cross addresses attempted fraud on their website by listing their authorized internet donation sites (CONVIO, MSN, Network for Good, Yahoo,, and Apple I Tunes) “All official sites collecting money on behalf of the American Red Cross should link to one of the approve sites listed below.” the Red Cross’s web page reads. Further down the page, in bold print, the American Red Cross emphasizes: If the web address you are about to make a donation through does not exactly match one of these websites, do not donate through that website.” On his website, David Horowitz took it upon himself to collect money for the American Red Cross. But is the money really going to the  Red Cross? (full article)

News From Behind The Facade
by John Pilger

When I lived in the United States in the late 1960s, my home was often New Orleans, in a friend's rambling grey clapboard house that stood in a section of the city where civil rights campaigners had taken refuge from the violence of the Deep South. New Orleans was said to be cosmopolitan; it was also sinister and murderous. We were protected by the then District Attorney, Jim Garrison, a liberal maverick whose investigations into the assassination of John Kennedy were to make powerful enemies behind The Facade. The Facade was how we described the dividing line between the America of real life -- of a poverty so profound that slavery was still a presence and a rapacious state power that waged war against its own citizens, as it did against black and brown-skinned people in faraway countries -- and the America that spawned the greed of corporatism and invented public relations as a means of social control; the "American Dream" and the "American Way of Life" began as advertising slogans. The willful neglect of the Bush regime before and after hurricane Katrina offered a rare glimpse behind The Facade. The poor were no longer invisible; the bodies floating in contaminated water, the survivors threatened with police shotguns, the distinct obesity of American poverty -- all of it mocked the forests of advertising billboards and relentless television commercials and news sound-bites (average length 9.9 seconds) that glorify the "dream" of wealth and power. A word long expropriated and debased -- reality -- found its true meaning, if briefly....
(full article)

American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery?
Part 4: Obedience, Defiance, and Conscience
by Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri

Considering the entrenchment of ideological supremacy inside the American polity, is there any relation between the government’s war options and the American people’s response to them? Yes, a relation does exist. In fact, once the government goes to war for its own reasons, the American people, with the exception of a minority, approve of it, thus becoming extremely vociferous war activists through their uninformed opinions as reflected in opinion polls. American violence seems atavistic in nature; i.e., inherited and transmitted from one generation to the next. This could explain why the system always defends the status quo. Nevertheless, throughout modern American history, the voices that opposed US imperialism and its violence have always remained an ostracized intellectual faction without significant mass movement that could stop or reverse US insanity in the world. In the case of Iraq, although the American people now know that US aggression is a product of deception, although many know about the tens-of-thousands of civilians that the US forces slaughtered in that hapless nation, the voices that rise up to stop that insanity are confined to progressive media and scattered fringes of the American society. Where are the American people and where are those mythical “values” that Bush fulminates about ad nauseam?
(full article)

The Iran Trap
by Scott Ritter

Iran has yet to be declared to be in formal breach of any of its NPT obligations, which raises the basic question: What is it the EU-3 wish to accomplish vis-à-vis their diplomatic intervention? The real purpose of the EU-3 intervention -- to prevent the United States from using Iran's nuclear ambition as an excuse for military intervention -- is never discussed in public. The EU-3 would rather continue to participate in fraudulent diplomacy rather than confront the hard truth -- that it is the US, and not Iran, that is operating outside international law when it comes to the issue of Iran's nuclear program....(full article)

Different Disaster, Different Response
by Carolyn Baker

La Jolla, California: An earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale rumbled through La Jolla last night, shattering windows, uprooting shrubbery, and catapulting startled residents from their beds. President Bush immediately declared La Jolla a disaster area and boarded Air Force One for the scene of the temblor, adamant that the quiet paradise by the sea would receive national disaster funds as soon as possible and that he would visit the distraught survivors and comfort them in person. Thousands of troops from nearby Camp Pendleton and a host of FEMA personnel are assisting in the evacuation of several hundred La Jolla residents. Most were relocated to the Orange County Westin South Coast Plaza, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa, and the Four Seasons at Newport Beach where Northern California vintners, Korbel and Clos Dubois, as well as Wolfgang Puck of Newport Beach, have provided wine and catered gourmet meals for the stranded evacuees....(full satire)

Were Women Raped in New Orleans?
Addressing the Human Rights of Women in Times of Crisis
by Lucinda Marshall

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, women whose lives were disrupted by the storm face numerous gender-specific vulnerabilities that commonly occur with disasters of this magnitude. For instance, while it will be sometime before the final death toll from Katrina is known, women and children are more likely to die in natural disasters than men (the Tsunami in southeast Asia late last year is the most recent example of this). Female victims of catastrophic events are more likely to lack mobility and resources as well as having care-taking responsibilities that make it more difficult for them to flee. Pregnant women and mothers of newborns in particular face greatly increased health risks. There is also a significantly increased risk of sexual assault, particularly for those who relocated to shelters to escape the storm. Economic uncertainty, increased stress, powerlessness and the scarcity of basic necessities are all contributing factors to the increased risks faced by women. In the aftermath of Katrina, women who were living in violent relationships before the storm hit may experience increased violence in its aftermath and may find themselves dependent on the perpetrators of the violence for their basic survival, particularly if they have been separated from family and social networks....(full article)

Beautiful Minds
by Peter Kurth

Did it really take “Katrina” (or “Corina,” as Bush’s clueless wife, Laura, kept calling it until they stopped her) to demonstrate the utter bankruptcy of the Bush enterprise? And if it did -- why? Why did it take something like this, when the evidence was already plain for everyone to see, in every area and every direction of our national life? (full article)

Dear Fellow Citizens of the World...
by Mark Drolette

Save yourselves. America, my native country, a place I no longer recognize, is now an irredeemably wretched land shot through with lunacy and idiocy, a rogue nation on the prowl controlled by murderous madmen enthusiastically supported by tens of millions of spiritually-impaired, common senseless, mentally ill, blood-lusting yahoos. But why mince words?  America is a menace....(full article)

September 12

--Special Report--
“Unacceptable”: The Federal Response to Katrina
by Walter M. Brasch

We recommend that our readers print out this incisive special report and read it in print. The author is an award-winning syndicated columnist, professor of journalism, and a former emergency management official. This article is an in-depth look at the Bush policies that created the atmosphere not only for an ineffective FEMA response during the Katrina catastrophe, but which may have contributed to additional property destruction and deaths than should have occurred....(full article)

Zero Tolerance
by Patricia Goldsmith

Even though the Bush administration is now in full spin-and-smear mode, the truly striking thing about their languorous response to Katrina is how little they disguised their lack of concern for residents of the Gulf Coast. That picture of Bush playing the guitar in San Diego during the magic 72-hour window of opportunity for saving lives just doesn’t compute as a lapse in judgment. This administration is nothing if not media- and image-conscious. They do not lose control of the visual. Their slow-walking of aid to Louisiana, the continuing focus on law and order over search and rescue, the alternately stern -- “zero tolerance for lawlessness” -- and forgetful attitudes toward people who were literally dying for want of help: all this was right out in the open. As far as I’m concerned, it reads like a warning. What it says is we are entering a new phase in this rightwing takeover, a phase that is marked, appropriately enough, by a new, glitzier approach to the anniversary of 9/11. While the Bushitters have been shameless in their exploitation of this catastrophe from the first, this year they finally busted out with a real celebration in the form of the so-called Freedom March, culminating in a performance by Clint Black, who sang his pro-war anthem, “I raq and roll.” The march’s stated purpose is to support our troops, but the obvious intention is to reinforce the false, discredited, and disavowed link between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. What we really need is a Truth March. Wouldn’t it be great if we saw a march designed to show the truth about what’s been going on? (full article)

Levees Made of Lies: Rage, Grief, and the Chimera
of the American Dream
by Phil Rockstroh

An entire American city has become an uninhabitable mire of fetid water, sodden ruins, and toxic sludge. Moreover, the destruction will not end there: the financial, political, and psychological spill-off, incurred by the deluge, will cause our nation to sink further into a morass of debt, denial, and despair. How did it come to this? How did we come to buy this worthless plot of swampland known as George Bush's America? Perhaps, at this point, a brief history lesson, for a nation whose populace possesses the collective capacity for long-term memory of a Louisiana gnat flurry on a hot afternoon in high summer, might prove helpful. Let's begin with the watershed year of 1968....(full article)

John Roberts’ Role in the Guantanamo Hunger Strike      
by Mike Whitney

When Senate hearings convene this week for Supreme Court candidate John Roberts, let’s hope that they focus on the hunger strike taking place at Guantanamo Bay. It was Robert’s ruling in Rumsfeld vs. Hamdan that hastened a massive 200-man hunger strike that is now in its second month and has hospitalized at least 15 inmates. The prisoners are demanding that they be given the opportunity to challenge the terms of their detention in a court of law, a principle that Roberts does not support. He ruled in the Hamdan case that the President was not constrained by international law and that “the Geneva Conventions do not create judicially enforceable rights.” Roberts ignores the fact that the United States is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions and must comply with its provisions for the humane treatment of prisoners as well as offering prisoners the Convention’s protection “until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.” Rumsfeld’s handpicked military courts do not meet these requirements, and have been rejected by prominent legal organizations and human rights groups alike....(full article)

September 11

Jose Padilla and the Death of Personal Liberty  
by Mike Whitney

I had to sit down when I heard the Padilla case had been settled. I literally felt sick to my stomach, like I was gasping for air. The case of Jose Padilla is quite simply the most important case in the history of the American judicial system. Hanging in the balance are all the fundamental principles of American jurisprudence including habeas corpus, due process and “the presumption of innocence.” All of those basic concepts were summarily revoked by the 3-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court. The Court ruled in favor of the Bush administration which claimed that it had the right to indefinitely imprison an American citizen without charging him with a crime. The resulting verdict confers absolute authority on the President to incarcerate American citizens without charge and without any legal means for the accused to challenge the terms of his detention. It is the end of “inalienable rights,” the end of The Bill of Rights, and the end of any meaningful notion of personal liberty....
(full article)


9/11 and Manipulation of the USA
by Norman Solomon

Traveling from New York City in late September 2001, on a pre-scheduled book tour, author Joan Didion spoke with audiences in several cities on the West Coast. In the wake of 9/11, she later wrote, “these people to whom I was listening -- in San Francisco and Los Angeles and Portland and Seattle -- were making connections I had not yet in my numbed condition thought to make: connections between [the American] political process and what had happened on September 11, connections between our political life and the shape our reaction would take and was in fact already taking. These people recognized that even then, within days after the planes hit, there was a good deal of opportunistic ground being seized under cover of the clearly urgent need for increased security. These people recognized even then, with flames still visible in lower Manhattan, that the words ‘bipartisanship’ and ‘national unity’ had come to mean acquiescence to the administration’s preexisting agenda...” A lot of media coverage was glorifying people who died and/or showed courage on September 11, 2001. “In fact,” Didion contended, “it was in the reflexive repetition of the word ‘hero’ that we began to hear what would become in the year that followed an entrenched preference for ignoring the meaning of the event in favor of an impenetrably flattening celebration of its victims, and a troublingly belligerent idealization of historical ignorance.”....(full article)

Cuba and the United States: Two Countries, Two Responses
by Dan Bacher

There is no greater contrast to the way a country reacts to a hurricane than the way the Cuban government and the Bush regime reacted to their respective disasters. A hurricane with 160 mile-an-hour winds recently battered the small island of Cuba. Equally notified in advance as the Bush regime was about the impending catastrophe in New Orleans and the Gulf states, the Cubans efficiently evacuated 1,500,000 people. Because the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution in the local communities are so well organized, everything went smoothly without the loss of one life. “People had their medicine with them and doctors were fully prepared for all emergencies,” commented Jim Prigoff, Sacramento activist and photographer. “There was zero looting as people were able to take their TVs and limited other property with them.” . . . . Fidel Castro urged the US government to set aside its political differences and to place humanitarian concerns as their number one priority. But the Bush regime to date refuses to take Cuba's badly needed help, as it has not yet responded to offers for hurricane aid from dozens of other countries, including Venezuela, Iran and Canada....(full article)

Walking With The Ghosts of New Orleans
by Lydia Howell

When I finally wrenched myself out of Texas, I almost moved to New Orleans. However, like many Southerners -- usually Black southerners -- I made my northern migration instead. But, watching the abandonment of that city and the especially brutal betrayal of its black citizens has overwhelmed me with a weeping rage. New Orleans has always been a city of magic and memory, in the midst of a nation of materialism and amnesia. Ghosts always walked the streets of New Orleans after midnight or in the pearly beginning of dawn: men, women and children on the slave auction block, gamblers and dreamers, the lynched and lost, lovers forbidden by race or gender -- all now joined by the drowned souls we still have not counted or named. Voodoo, like all non-monotheistic Indigenous religions, recognizes the debts that the living owe to our dead, no less than to each other....(full article)

Bush and Third World America: Out of Chaos, an Awakening
by Manuel Valenzuela

Many Americans watched in horror as New Orleans was rendered destroyed by forces natural and man made, a combination of 90 degree water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico acting as the catalyst for nature’s fury, the incompetent leadership of men small, weak and thoroughly inept, the underfunding of barriers and levies, the misallocation of resources and priorities, warmongering greed, and the destruction of wetlands and natural barriers by the hands of man. In this gumbo of destruction thus arose a rare manifestation of violent decimation and suffering spawned not upon Haitians or Indonesians or Sudanese or Rwandans or Guatemalans or Indians or Iraqis, but rather by people born under the red, white and blue. In the destruction of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina we witnessed first hand, if only vicariously, what it is like to live in the so-called third world. The equivalent of a dozen 9/11s, Katrina brought the last remaining superpower to her knees, showing the world the sheer ineptitude of its highest leaders, the impotence of her power and the utter disregard placed upon the less fortunate by her ingrained system conditioned to run on the survival of the richest, where wealth determines happiness, survival and escape from hell and where only the exploiters of poverty and social engineering flourish....
(full article)

Once More on the Real Heroes and Sheroes
by Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky

Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky are Emergency Medical Services workers who, after attending an EMS convention in New Orleans, were trapped in the city, first by Hurricane Katrina, and then by a martial law cordon. Their incredible account of the time they spent in New Orleans, and how they finally escaped -- first published in Socialist Worker -- has been circulated around the Internet, mainly by e-mail, blogs and list serves, to untold numbers of people, electrifying everyone who reads it. Mainstream newspapers such as the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and The Independent, have all written stories about Larry and Lorrie Beth, corroborating much of their article. Predictably, conservatives, determined to deflect criticism from the federal government’s miserable response, have tried to poke holes in Larry and Lorrie Beth’s story. Unfortunately, some people writing on liberal blogs and list serves have been skeptical as well. Larry and Lorrie Beth have written a letter, thanking those who had messages of support to send them, and responding to questions and doubts. We publish their letter here....(full letter)

George Bush -- The Man With a SNAFU Plan
by Sheila Samples

It looks to me like everything is going according to plan. Chaos, like everything else, is just a matter of perspective. Few people really know anything about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), except it's a name that's thrown around a lot during times of national disaster. Do not think for one minute that Bush "gutted" FEMA by placing it under the control of Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff. By any other name, FEMA remains this nation's "secret government," with powers to suspend laws, move entire populations, arrest and detain citizens without a warrant, hold citizens without a trial, seize control of all transportation and communication systems and -- suspend the US Constitution....(full article)

Katrina: Relocation or Ethnic Cleansing? 
by Mike Whitney

FEMA has been entirely reshaped under the Bush Administration. It’s no longer designed to meet the needs of a natural disaster but, rather, to advance the political agenda of the current regime. This is clear by the way that FEMA employees did everything in their power to undermine relief operations for the people stranded by Hurricane Katrina. Their orders simply corresponded with Washington’s intention to put the city under federal control and to forcefully-evacuate the victims to locations around the Southwest....(full article)

Top War Profiteer Doug Feith Retires Wealthy
by Evelyn Pringle

Douglas Feith, the recently resigned Undersecretary of Defense, who just happened to be one of the main people who for years on end advocated for war on Iraq, and who in large part developed the disastrous policies for the war, planned ahead for his retirement and will not be seen in the unemployment line. On January 27, 2005, the Washington Post announced: "A principal architect of the Defense Department's postwar strategy in Iraq ... will leave his post this summer." The announcement came after two years of rumors that top administration officials had decided that Feith had to go, but were dissuaded by Donald Rumsfeld who argued that his ouster would be viewed as an admission that the war in Iraq was a mistake. But the administration had definitely reduced Feith's authority over the past two years....(full article)

Imploding the Empire: Metaphors for the Age 
by Gary Steven Corseri

Why are we surprised that it took so long for Bush the cowboy to get off his ass and do something about Katrina? Those of us whose memories have not been addled by TV recall that Bush Sr. also was on vacation before Gulf War I began. The Bushes like their vacations, and the country be damned! George Bush pere spoke of a “kinder, gentler nation” and “a thousand points of light.”  (Speechwriter Peggy Noonan built her fatuous career based on those eight words.)  Bush pere lured Saddam Hussein into the wolftrap of  Kuwait. (Ambassador, April Glaspie, had assured him that the U.S. did not involve itself in disputes between Arab neighbors.)  After taking out most of the Iraqi draftees in a “turkey shoot” that killed about 100,000 fleeing the hellish roads from Kuwait, the kinder, gentler Bush-1 imposed sanctions that “I-feel-your-pain” Clinton continued. His Secretary of State Madeline Albright decided that half a million Iraqi children’s deaths were “worth it.” Clinton handed the mendacity ball to Bush file who declared Jesus was his favorite philosopher. During his campaign against media-stiffed Al Gore, Bush-2 declared his desire for a humbler U.S. foreign policy. Soon after the election, humble-pie Bush was stomping over the Kyoto protocols, denying global warming, and making it clear that his was the Jesus of the Church militant, not the turn-the-other-cheek-love-thy-enemy guy....(full article)

Burying the Lancet (Part 1)
An Exchange Between The Independent’s Mary Dejevsky
and Lancet Author Les Roberts
by Media Lens

As a test of the independence and honesty of the mass media, few tasks are more revealing than that of reporting our own government’s responsibility for the killing of innocents abroad. In an age of “converged” political parties and globalized corporate influence, few establishment groups have any interest in seeing such horrors exposed, while many have much to lose. Corporate journalists are therefore subject to two very real, competing pressures: 1) the moral, human pressure of reporting honestly our responsibility for mass killing, and 2) state-corporate pressure and flak punishing dissent and rewarding servility to power. The results tell us much about the moral and political health of our media and our democracy. On July 20 an article by Terry Kirby and Elizabeth Davies in the Independent noted that a November 2004 report in the Lancet had estimated Iraqi civilian deaths at nearly 100,000, but that the methodology “was subsequently criticised.” (Kirby and Davies, ‘Iraq conflict claims 34 civilians lives each day as “anarchy” beckons,’ The Independent, July 20, 2005) The report in question was produced by some of the world’s leading research organizations -- the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Columbia University, and Baghdad's Al-Mustansiriya University -- and was published in one of the world’s most prestigious science journals: The Lancet. We were therefore keen to know which criticisms Kirby and Davies had in mind. We wrote to the Independent and Kirby replied on July 22....(full article)

The Constant Gardener Captures Le Carre's Anti-Corporate Anger 
by Derrick O'Keefe 

The dean of spy novelists, John Le Carré, has, with his last two efforts, blistered his pages with anger at corporate power and the stuffed, imperial arrogance of the United States and Great Britain. In his most recent work, Absolute Friends, for instance, a tale of two veteran spies morphs into an aggressive denunciation of the U.S.-U.K. war on Iraq. This rage at re-invigorated empire is blended effectively into Jeffrey Caine’s screenplay for Le Carré’s previous novel, The Constant Gardener, itself in large part an expose of the pharmaceutical industry. In this way, the author’s work -- rather than losing in substance along the way from print to the big screen -- is enriched for the recently released film version. This, combined with perfect casting and stellar performances from the leads, brilliant (if occasionally dizzying) cinematography, and a touching, unconventionally sequenced love story, makes for a very compelling film....(full article)

Emphasizing the “Ass” in Compassionate Conservatism
by Ken Sanders

All of you out there weeping and wailing about the suffering of those displaced and made homeless by Hurricane Katrina can cut out your histrionics. As it turns out, Hurricane Katrina, far from being a massive natural disaster with horrific consequences, has actually been a boon to the poor and destitute of Louisiana and Mississippi. That's right, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, some of the poorest of Americans are now better off. Who knew? Well, Barbara Bush apparently knew. While touring hurricane relief centers in Houston on September 5, the former First Lady paused to dispel the myth that Hurricane Katrina was disastrous to its alleged victims. Remarking on American Public Media's "Marketplace" radio program, Babs explained, "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this (slight chuckle) is working very well for them." And there it is, the truth of that oxymoron, "compassionate conservatism." Barbara Bush, in no more than an off-the-cuff remark, concisely summed up the real attitude of conservatives regarding the poor in America. It's an attitude of patronizing contempt....(full article)

September 10

-- Explosive Report --
FEMA Chief Brown Paid Millions to Florida Residents
Unaffected by ‘04 Hurricane to Help Bush Win State
by Jason Leopold

Michael Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved payments in excess of $31 million in taxpayer money to thousands of Florida residents who were unaffected by Hurricane Frances and three other hurricanes last year in an effort to help President Bush win a majority of votes in that state during his reelection campaign, according to published reports. “Some Homeland Security sources said FEMA's efforts to distribute funds quickly after Frances and three other hurricanes that hit the key political battleground state of Florida in a six-week period last fall were undertaken with a keen awareness of the looming presidential elections,” according to a May 19 Washington Post story. Homeland Security sources told the Post that after the hurricanes, Brown “and his allies [recommended] him to succeed Tom Ridge as Homeland Security secretary because of their claim that he helped deliver Florida to President Bush by efficiently responding to the Florida hurricanes.” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered e-mails from Florida Governor Jeb Bush that confirmed those allegations and directly implicated Brown as playing politics at the expense of hurricane victims....
(full article)


By John Chuckman

September 9

The Green Zone
by Patricia Goldsmith

The chickenhawks have put the war back in class warfare.  Under globalization, Baghdad and New Orleans really are interchangeable. It’s not just the American worker, but the American citizen, who is being brought down to the same level as a citizen of the Third World. Apparently, human rights are only for those with the money to buy them -- and the price is going up, up, up, right along with oil. In the future, I believe September 11, 2001 will become identified with peak oil. While oil production did not actually peak on that particular day, it’s close enough for government work. Our entire civilization, with its quaint middle classes and obsolete Geneva Conventions and Bill of Rights, is based on the false assumption of unlimited access to cheap oil....(full article)

Lessons From Hell: Amid Death and Destruction, Bush Not as Nero,
but as Caligula's Horse Incitatus
by John Chuckman

When Bush got around to visiting -- incidentally, holding up the urgent delivery of food supplies by planes grounded for his security -- what we got were photo-ops like the staged start to repairing a damaged levee. In safely-selected meetings with a few area residents, Bush, suddenly appeared in a checkered shirt instead of his usual silk suit with overly-padded shoulders. He exchanged such fascinating anecdotes as the fact that Trent Lott had also lost a home (one of several) and that he, Bush, looked forward to sitting with Trent on the porch of his new, better house. How would Trent's new house be a better one, I wondered reading these words? Because Trent would have no trouble more than replacing his loss through manipulating the bounty of one Federal program or another? Because Trent had already got the President's ear on his personal misfortune? Few of the desperate people clinging to roofs or the relatives of others floating face-down in filthy tides while Bush spoke could anticipate such bounty....(full article)

What Do You Mean, It’s “Like” Living in a Third World Country?
by Mark Drolette

As he begrudgingly performed the photo-op hop during his “2005 I Care About Americans Devastated By Katrina, I Really Do Tour,” George W. Bush predictably did the only thing he does well: utter utterly worthless words. While he inexplicably spared us the insult of yet again telling us how hard he works, he did manage to mumble: “I understand the devastation requires more than one day’s attention.” I wonder what (who) first clued him in. He was just warming up, though, for he wouldn’t be Dubya if he didn’t completely dodge responsibility, and here, one more time, he did not disappoint. After his initial claim last week -- i.e. that everything was just ducky with the relief non-efforts in KatrinaLand -- was somewhat slightly contradicted by reports (of now-confirmed thousands, yes thousands) of dead Americans lying and floating about the South, he was re-programmed by Karl Rove (“Now go on out there and pretend you care, tiger!”) to acknowledge the literally stinking mess, which he finally did by muttering: “The results are not acceptable.”....(full article)

The End of “Greatness”
by Ahmed Bouzid

First it was Abu Ghraib, now it's Katrina. With Abu Ghraib, the world witnessed in shock the spectacular collapse of America's self-erected moral high ground; with Katrina, the collapse of America's image as the limitless land of economic might and material plenty. Of course, ‘the world’ has all along been well aware of America's deep moral flaws. The world remembers America's original sin that made its birth possible -- the genocide of Native Americans, the sin that made its emergence as an economic power a reality,  Slavery, and its long history of military interventions and political sabotage (the Philippines, Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Honduras, Chile, Iran, Greece, to name just the tip of the iceberg). What ‘the world’ has not been as well aware of are the economic and social fault lines that scar the landscape of American society. An instructive way to highlight those fault lines is to compare the United States to a first-world country and see how it fares....(full article)

Katrina: “Bipartisan” Betrayal
by toni solo

Failure to prioritize anyone's needs but their own is to be expected of the mendacious, cunning Bush regime. But the wretchedness and misery endured by people in the southern US states abandoned to their fate after hurricane Katrina has broader aspects too. The apparent absence of even provisional civil defense structure or organization indicates how far the US has declined into a corrupt one-party state, mired in federal and local negligence and incompetence, incapable of throwing off the racist legacy of slavery. Katrina has shown that the US is a banana republic on steroids -- the poor endure deprivation and insecurity while the rich party and make war....(full article)

David Horowitz Tackles Immigration
by Bill Berkowitz

Long-time right wing activist and GOP political consultant adds politics of immigration to his conservative quiver....(full article)

September 7

Project for the New American Colonies
(A Neoconned American Revolution)
by Zbignew Zingh

It is the middle of the 18th Century. King George II has died and his mad grandson, George III ascends to the British throne. But wait! this is a quasi-historical political polemic! A palace coup takes place and, and... there's another, equally mad King George wearing the crown, and he's surrounded by neoconservative administrators, advisers and sycophants. They have a plan for imperial Great Britain to dominate the world and they have a Project for the New American Colonies. This, then, is history as it might have been....(full story)

Trapped in New Orleans by the Flood -- and Martial Law
The Real Heroes and Sheroes of New Orleans

by Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky

Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky are emergency medical services (EMS) workers from San Francisco and contributors to Socialist Worker. They were attending an EMS conference in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. They spent most of the next week trapped by the flooding -- and the martial law cordon around the city. Their story is incredible in so many ways, but most of all because they show how people went out of their way, often risking a lot, to help each other. A total contrast to the media's looter/animals/uncomprehending victim stereotype. Here, they tell their story....(full account)

Bush Must Go
by Brandy Baker

The shock of seeing non-violent Black students being beaten in Birmingham for non-violent action resembles the shock of Americans today who see thousands of poor, majority Black, New Orleans residents waiting days for help that keeps promising to arrive. The only crime of most of these residents: not having the means to leave or not having anywhere to go. The horrific images of those at the Superdome and the Convention Center (and now at the Louis Armstrong airport) are not the New Orleans that America envisioned before this hurricane. Jazz music, big mansions, and Mardi Gras were synonymous with this famous city. Like the Easter marches of Birmingham, Americans now see the regard that our “leaders” truly have for Black people in the South. Millions of Americans of all political persuasions are horrified at the very slow response of the federal government, so it would seem that no would feel like partying after seeing the aftermath of Katrina. Well, a few did....(full article)

The Many Flavors of John Roberts
by Remi Kanazi

I watched C-SPAN yesterday and a pundit interviewed John Robert’s old Harvard roommate Richard Lazarus. It seems John Robert’s was quite an individual. Supposedly, Roberts ate chocolate chip ice cream from Baskin Robbins “religiously”. Lazarus also said that the two handed out candy one Halloween but ran out of sweets and forgot to turn the lights off. You have to turn the lights off, or the kiddies won’t know to venture elsewhere. I wonder what Roberts handed out when the candy was out -- perhaps coat hangers? (full article)

The Prachanda Path Towards Urban Insurrection
Nepali Maoists Announce Three-Month Ceasefire
by Gary Leupp

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) announced last Saturday that its guerrilla forces, the New People’s Army, will observe a three-month ceasefire. This is particularly significant in that the move is a unilateral one. The regime might decide to respond in kind, and reign in the Royal Nepali Army, which is reportedly unhappy with the war and the king. But the Maoists, who will defend themselves in any case if attacked, seem less concerned with the government’s response than with the reaction of the mainstream political parties sidelined and abused since the king’s February 1 coup....(full article)

September 5

The All-Too American Tragedy of New Orleans:
Empire, Inequality, Race and Oil
by Paul Street

“This is not the America that I grew up in.”  “This is not the America I know and love.”  “I can’t believe this is happening in America; it seems more like something from the Third World, like Baghdad or Bangladesh.” Such is the incredulous commentary of three corporate media talking heads I’ve heard reflecting on the terrible events occurring in New Orleans in the tragic wake of tropical storm Katrina. The talking heads are off base. The historic events unfolding in New Orleans are very much about what the (to be a little more specific) United States of America has become.   They are the predictable outcome of steep societal disparities and related perverse political and policy priorities that reflect the interrelated and petroleum-soaked imperatives of “American” Empire and Inequality....(full article)

(The Anti-Empire Report)
Empire is Harmful to Your Health
by William Blum

William Blum ruminates on New Orleans and "zero tolerance," Pat Robertson's fatwah on Hugo Chavez, the myopia of liberal anti-war protestors, "conspiracy theories" and the PanAm 103 bombing, saving Japan from pacifism, and the dangers of pot and water....(full article)

Rodney King in New Orleans
by Mike Whitney

New Orleans adds a new chapter to the Bush digest of calculated bigotry. While the wealthy white families were able to beat a hasty retreat out of doomed city, the poor and black were left to sink in the toxic stew unleashed by America’s greatest natural disaster. No one who saw the televised footage of the Convention Center and the Superdome had any misgivings about what they were seeing. America’s long lost companion, racial-hatred, had stuck its ugly head up into the camera lens and was pouring out onto living rooms across the land....(full article)

Keep the “Labor” in Labor Day: Remembering the Lowell Mill Girls
by Mickey Z.

Lowell, Massachusetts was named after the wealthy Lowell family. They owned numerous textile mills, which attracted the unmarried daughters of New England farmers. These young girls worked in the mills and lived in supervised dormitories. On average, a Lowell Mill Girl worked for three years before leaving to marry. Living and working together often forged a camaraderie that would later find an unexpected outlet....(full article)

Things That Bosses Say: Just Another Day in the Life of a US Worker
by Rosemarie Jackowski

A Top 10 list of things many of us laboring Janes and Joes hear from the boss every day in the capitalist paradise that is America . . . "love it or leave it!"....(full article)

Moral Courage
by Monica and Kevin Benderman

Not long ago, two American soldiers were confined in prison for two months for having abused detainees in Afghanistan. A member of the US Army took the life of an innocent Iraqi civilian struggling in a river and received no confinement at all for what he had done. The US Army has a regulation that allows soldiers to follow their conscience, and the oath that Sgt. Benderman took when he became an NCO dictated that he “not compromise his integrity nor his moral courage.” Sgt. Benderman was given 15 months confinement for refusing to compromise his integrity and for maintaining his moral courage by filing for Conscientious Objector status against the wishes of his command....(full article)

Rehnquist Paved the Way for the Imperial Presidency
by Mike Whitney

Let’s not wring out the tears for William Rehnquist. The man was the worst Chief Justice to ever serve on the Supreme Court; a complete failure who disgraced his office and the people he was supposed to serve. Never in the 200-year history of the nation has the high court sustained more damage under the stewardship of one man. Rehnquist’s partisan handiwork rigged the 2000 election and set the country in a downward spiral to ruin. He cobbled together the coalition of rogue jurists who stripped the Florida Supreme Court of their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to decide the outcome of state elections and overturned the fundamental principle of democratic government: the right to have one’s vote counted....(full article)

No Tears for Rehnquist: The Legacy of a Chief Justice
by Jack Random

William Rehnquist was the legacy of Richard Nixon, a reminder that presidents often far outlive the terms of their presidencies. He was at the vanguard of the modern conservative movement, a movement dedicated to reducing the power and responsibilities of the federal government. In over three decades of jurisprudence, Rehnquist opposed state’s rights against federal responsibility only once: Bush V. Gore, 2000. That singular fact (alongside the golden epaulets adorning his gown) is all you need to know about the judicial philosophy of William Rehnquist. State’s rights were employed to fight back desegregation in the south. State’s rights were used to fight back civil rights and the voting rights of African Americans. State’s rights were employed in the battle against organized labor and women’s equality. And state’s rights were denied in order to make George W. Bush president. Now, given the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor, the legacy of one of the most ill equipped leaders ever to inhabit the White House will be felt for generations to come....(full article)

Supreme Court Nominee John G. Roberts and the Voting Rights Act
by Gene C. Gerard

Last month was the fortieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. This was one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in American history. It finally made it possible for African-Americans to exercise their right to vote in the South. The act did what a constitutional amendment could not. Following the Civil War, co-called “Radical Republicans” (ironically enough) in Congress attempted to extend to former slaves the same rights that whites enjoyed. This included vigorous lobbying for ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, which extended the right to vote to black men. But for nearly the next 100 years, the amendment had little effect on the South. Most African-Americans found it all but impossible to vote....(full article)

Under the Earth -- Rivers Coursing Through Memory
by Paul K. Haeder

The Buddhist nature, as argued by Chinese philosopher Chan-jan, verifies that even inanimate things possess the essence of being, the spiritual core that connects us all to the universe, a creator. The Buddha spirit is in the stone, the branch, the waterfall. Chan-jan writes, “The man who is of all-round perfection knows from beginning to end that no objects exist part from Mind. Who then is ‘animate’ and who ‘inanimate?’ Within the Assembly of the Lotus, all are present without division.” This tenant is the core of all tribal wisdom for the peoples of the Americas; and for communities throughout the west, including the Northwest, planning strategies have to embrace an old ethic -- essentially a new application of old wisdom -- if we are to gestate a visionary strategy in our land ethic. Sin-Wit-Kit is from the Yakima meaning, “all life on earth.” These are simple words yet all encompassing. If we are to reestablish that connection to the land that John Wesley Powell, Wallace Stegner, Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry and countless others have written about as they have established the syncopation of nature -- land, animals, plants, air, water and people -- with cultural harmony and success, then communities in the west, both urban and rural, must go beyond the economic development packages, growth management plans and environmental analyses to build good earth, air and water for people....(full article)

Yeah, Yeah, Save the Troops, But What About the Fish?
by Mark Drolette

Call me crazy (or slow, or slowly going crazy; smart money’s on #3), but I’m beginning to think this Cindy Sheehan/antiwar movement second wind thing just might have some legs. Joe Bauman of the Deseret Morning News reports that over 1000 people protested against George W. Bush and his rotten policies while Dubya was in their town recently, trying to pump air into his dead Trojan horse of a war while misspeaking to a VFW convention there. The locale?  Salt Lake City. That’s correct: Salt Lake City!  In Utah.  Yes: that Utah!  Of the United States.  Right: that United… (Ed.: Mark, they get it.)....(full article)

Cheerleading the Climate Criminals (Part II)
by Media Lens

The Independent -- like The Guardian, a newspaper with supposed progressive credentials -- noted blandly in a recent editorial that, “Global warming is given little coverage by the US media.” (Leader, “The American consensus of denial is crumbling,” August 19, 2005). True enough. But look at our own doorstep; at the wholly inadequate coverage of climate change in the British media, The Independent very much included....(full article)


September 3

The New Orleans Looters Are the Bush Progeny
by Mike Whitney

The vast looting and destruction in New Orleans is an object lesson to the ruling class and one that ultimately benefits revolutionaries, antiwar activists and civil libertarians. The people in power need to grasp the ephemeral character of society; there’s nothing permanent about it. Social order is a transitory phenomenon that papers over the primordial swamp of human rage, desire and barbarity. When we peel back the outer layer of society, we see those same dark forces at work: a cauldron of competing emotions and shadowy cravings. Those forces are now in play on the streets of New Orleans, along with the even more elemental drive to survive. What bothers men like Bush is the prospect that everyone may partake in the same nihilistic revelry that he and his confreres have enjoyed for so long. It is the anarchy of unrestrained greed that puts a shiver in his spine, the selfishness that infects every man’s heart. And, yet, this is the true face of present day America: a lawless, twisted waif unleashing waves of terror across the globe, feeding the burgeoning coffers of its privileged few....(full article)

Between Life and Death: New Orleans and the System
that Destroyed It

by Gary Leupp

Some cities die. The legendary Sodom and Gomorrah. The Roman party-town of Pompeii. The mysterious Inca capital of Machu Picchu. Some survive catastrophe and revive. Old Tokyo, leveled by an earthquake in 1923, was almost immediately reincarnated as the Tokyo we visit today. The Low City was destroyed by U.S. incendiary raids on March 9-10, 1945 but rebuilt on the same model. Chicago survived the fire of 1871 and San Francisco the 1906 earthquake. Perhaps New Orleans too will rise from the dead. Or maybe the responsible authorities will decide that reconstruction just isn’t worth it....(full article)

The President’s Priorities:
State of Marriage Took Precedence Over State of

by Jason Leopold

Why is President Bush more concerned with the state of marriage than the state of Louisiana? That’s what the New Orleans City Business paper asked in early February, a couple of weeks after Bush’s State of the Union address, in which the president called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, upon learning that Bush’s budget proposal recommended slashing $34 million from the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, leaving the city with a $581 million shortfall for flood control and coastal erosion improvement projects. Despite more than four hurricanes that have whipped through New Orleans since 2002, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, and personal pleas to the president by Louisiana’s local and state officials to provide much needed funding to rebuild the state’s rapidly disappearing wetlands, the Bush administration declined, shifting its priorities -- and federal funds -- into its foreign policy initiatives. Bush said Thursday no one expected the levees in New Orleans to break after Hurricane Katrina. There were warnings....(full article)

Paul Allen's Other Yacht
by Paul Rogat Loeb

In the wake of the New Orleans disaster, I thought of an article I read about Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s other yacht. The 300-foot Tatoosh carries a 30-person crew, two helicopters, a swimming pool, a spa, a private movie theater, six other surface boats (including a separate 54-foot racing yacht and two Hobie catamarans) and a submarine. Reading about the Tatoosh and a third yacht just slightly smaller made me wonder about Allen’s yacht of choice.  Did it have two swimming pools? Four helicopters? Twelve other on-board boats? And what was Allen doing with two yachts, when he could only ride on one at a time? . . . .We know Allen is unimaginably rich, so maybe his yacht collection comes as no surprise. But the Republicans are talking about permanently ending the estate tax in the new Congressional session. Our leaders are already lavishing more and more gifts on those who already have more than they can ever use, even in the midst of crises from the Iraq War to the New Orleans disaster, to the shifts in global warming that, by warming the ocean, turned a routine hurricane into a cataclysmic one. Allen’s yachts remind me of our choices about what we value....(full article)

Kanye West is My Hero
by Justin Felux

We've never seen anything like this before.” I have heard this phrase repeated several times by newscasters describing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.  However, as I watched the footage of all those black bodies desperately trudging through dirty floodwaters, I realized that I actually had seen something exactly like this before. It was one year ago, when Hurricane Jeanne slammed against the coasts of Haiti, a country which, like New Orleans, is both poor and black. The floods and mudslides ended up killing thousands of Haitians. The media gave scant attention to the matter for a few days; just long enough to get some sexy footage of houses being destroyed and valleys filled with floodwater. Enough to boost ratings for a while. Shortly after that, they packed up their equipment and got out of there faster than you can say “racist indifference.” The United States rendered so little aid as to be insignificant, and before long the entire incident had faded from the minds of most Americans. There were few cries of outrage over the fact that this country couldn't care less about the deaths of thousands of black people, but devotes countless hours of TV time to the latest Missing Pretty White Girl (I believe at the time it was Dru Sjodin, not Natalie Holloway).  But people dying in Haiti is one thing. Americans have always found it easy to dismiss the deaths of those from other countries, especially when those countries are full of dark-skinned people. But who would think our government would allow something equally devastating to happen to people on our own soil -- to people who are full-fledged American citizens (in theory, anyway)? (full article)

Civil Rights Groups To PETA: “You Have Used Us Enough”
by Lee Hall

In the wake of public outrage over an exhibit headlined Are Animals the New Slaves?, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are deliberating on whether to continue with their national Animal Liberation tour. Following similar public anger over the group’s Holocaust on Your Plate campaign, the New Slaves show compares violent racism to the exploitation of animals. The twelve-panel display juxtaposes such images as two African Americans, noosed and hanging from trees, with photo of a cow being hung for slaughter. It also invokes indigenous people, child workers, and the struggle for women’s rights. A scene dealing with the latter subject shows a male crowd raising a sign declaring “We love women -- in the kitchen and the bed.” Strong denunciations of the tour have come from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Southern Poverty Law Center, America’s Black Holocaust Museum -- whose founder is a survivor of the lynching scene used in the exhibit  -- and the alternative press. PETA employees seem taken aback, unable to comprehend why the exhibit was not surrounded with born receivers of the news. Let us consider, for a moment, why it wasn’t....(full article)

September 1-2

The Devastating Impact of Hurricane George (posted 9/2)
by Mike Whitney

The full force of the Bush catastrophe is finally beginning to be felt. Currently, New Orleans is flooded with tons of chemical contaminants and hydrocarbons “that will continue to poison the Gulf of Mexico for more than a decade.” (Democracy Now) An official from the Environmental Protection Agency told the Washington Post, "This is the worst case… There's not enough money in the Gross National Product of the United States to dispose of the amount of hazardous material in this area." Could the tragedy have been avoided? What might have happened if the Bush Administration hadn't ordered the “steepest reduction in hurricane-and-flood control funding for New Orleans in history?” (full article)

The Perfect Storm
The Death of the Common Good in the Non-Abstract
by Chris Floyd

The destruction of New Orleans represents a confluence of many of the most pernicious trends in American politics and culture: poverty, racism, militarism, elitist greed, environmental abuse, public corruption and the decay of democracy at every level. Much of this is embodied in the odd phrasing that even the most circumspect mainstream media sources have been using to describe the hardest-hit victims of the storm and its devastating aftermath: "those who chose to stay behind." Instantly, the situation has been framed with language to flatter the prejudices of the comfortable and deny the reality of the most vulnerable. It is obvious that the vast majority of those who failed to evacuate are poor: they had nowhere else to go, no way to get there, no means to sustain themselves and their families on strange ground. While there were certainly people who stayed behind by choice, most stayed behind because they had no choice. They were trapped by their poverty -- and many have paid the price with their lives. Yet across the media spectrum, the faint hint of disapproval drips from the affluent observers, the clear implication that the victims were just too lazy and shiftless to get out of harm's way. There is simply no understanding -- not even an attempt at understanding -- the destitution, the isolation, the immobility of the poor and the sick and the broken among us....(full article)

Waiting for the Outside World
by Mike Ferner

What would it be like to endure suffering on a scale somewhere between a nuclear attack and Hurricane Katrina -- with nobody “out there” to mobilize assistance for you? That is the case today in Iraq....(full article)

They Are Dying at This Moment
by Brandy Baker

Please, take my baby,” a woman stuck in New Orleans was reported saying as she gave her two-month-old child to a woman who was on a packed bus. The mother did not know this woman to whom she gave her baby and may never see again. This selfless act of saving her baby was reported on CNN: sandwiched between reports of “looters” and gunshots. I am having a hard time believing that the richest country in the world with the strongest military ever known to the human race was not able to respond more quickly to the tragedy in New Orleans so that more lives could be saved. Oh wait, much of the military is in Iraq fighting an illegal war instead of saving lives here in New Orleans. Billions of dollars that we need for events like this are drained by an illegal occupation in a land that most Americans knew little to nothing of before 1991....(full article)

“Transformation”: How Rumsfeld Smashed the National Guard   
by Mike Whitney

The changes that are taking place in the military under the deceptive name of “transformation” have nothing to do with national defense. Rather, the military is being converted into a taxpayer-subsidized security apparatus for multinational corporations. Its primary task is to seize dwindling resources through force of arms and crush indigenous movements that resist US aggression. On the home front, the changes brought on by transformation are equally dramatic. Traditional defenses provided by the National Guard have been substantially weakened to allow the Pentagon to insert itself into domestic affairs and establish an ongoing military presence within the United States. Donald Rumsfeld has already stated that the military will play a greater role in dealing with the after effects of any future terrorist attack. There’s no doubt that he will honor that commitment....(full article)

Zero Tolerance: Bush Gets Tough as New Orleans Suffers
by Jack Random

On the third day of hell, the president gets tough: “I have zero tolerance for lawlessness.” With all undue respect, Mr. President, you have a great deal of tolerance for a vast array of lawlessness. You tolerate corporate crime: fraud, tax evasion, no-bid contracts and cooking the books. You tolerate political crime: disenfranchisement, election fraud, slander and outing intelligence agents for political revenge. You tolerate international crime: overthrowing democratic governments, torture, attacks on journalists, the Geneva conventions and wars of aggression. You tolerate the pharmaceutical industry’s malfeasance, trading thousands of lives for arthritis relief. You tolerate intolerable labor standards both here and abroad. You tolerate industrial waste, poisoning the air, land and water, and contributing far more than your fair share to the problem that precipitated this “act of god.” In many ways, yours is the most tolerant administration in history....
(full article)

Cheerleading the Climate Criminals (Part I)
by Media Lens

Earlier this month, New Scientist reported the astonishing news that the world's largest frozen peat bog, comprising an area the size of France and Germany combined, was melting. According to researchers who have been studying the permafrost of western Serbia, the bog could unleash billions of tons of methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times as potent as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. If this were to happen, the consequences for the climate system, and for humanity, would be appalling. (Fred Pearce, “Climate warning as Siberia melts,” New Scientist, August 13, 2005) One of the researchers involved warned of an “irreversible ecological landslide.” Another concerned scientist said: “When you start messing around with these natural systems, you can end up in situations where it's unstoppable. There are no brakes you can apply.” (Ian Sample, “Warming hits ‘tipping point’,” The Guardian, August 11, 2005) In response, Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: “If we don't take action very soon, we could unleash runaway global warming that will be beyond our control and it will lead to social, economic and environmental devastation worldwide.” (Sample, ibid.) But within just a couple of days, a surreal silence had descended. Where were the declarations by governments of radical action on energy, trade, transport and food production? Where were the impassioned newspaper editorials? Where were the urgent television and radio debates? Nowhere. One can only conclude that our society is, quite literally, insane....(full article)

Global Warming and Widespread Blackouts are Just as Deadly
as Terrorism

by Jason Leopold

Two years ago this month, a blackout plunged 50 million people in Northeastern U.S. and the Canadian province of Ontario into total darkness for more than a day, wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy. Now, it’s the devastation in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi wrought by Hurricane Katrina that has killed hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. The common thread in both disasters is that energy and environmental experts sounded early alarms about the potential for catastrophes like this unless the White House immediately took the necessary steps to upgrade the country’s aging power grid to stave off widespread power failures, and in the case of Hurricane Katrina, backed the Kyoto protocol, which aims to curb the air pollution blamed for severe climate changes that is no doubt the reason Katrina turned from a relatively small hurricane to a destructive monstrosity, due to high sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Weather Service. While supporting the Kyoto treaty would not have done anything to prevent an act of God like Hurricane Katrina or the destruction left in its aftermath, it would have been a step in the right direction. Global Warming isn’t some harebrained scheme cooked up in a laboratory by mad scientists. It’s an issue that is as real as terrorism. And it’s just as deadly....(full article)

American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery?
Part 3: King Frederick’s and George Bush’s Troops
by Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri

In part two, we delineated a general approach to the US violence in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, delimiting the issue of that violence only to the battlefields created by imperialist wars is reductionist at best. For instance, President George W. Bush’s pre-war diplomatic violence against the United Nations, the world, the American people, and the Iraqi people was, in effect, violence in all its attributes, although depleted uranium shells were yet to rain over Baghdad. In the case of Iraq, Bush’s constant pre-aggression reference to the “US leading a coalition of the willing to disarm the dictator” was, by itself, an act of virtual war. Because of the complexity of the issues of war crimes and generalized violence, these issues are only addressed in this series in a general context only. The reason(s) for this complexity lies in the following truism: enlisted men and women in the US army are ordinary people with varied psychological and social backgrounds. Servicemen and women could just be individuals wanting to find a job, psychopaths looking to kill, sexual deviants wanting to satisfy a habit, killers who want to kill, ignorant persons who wants to learn how to kill, dogmatic patriots, or ideological enlistees in search of applying their sadism on the adversaries to the ruling classes of American power.  There are a few aspects that the American people must consider when discussing their government’s militaristic adventurism abroad....(full article)

Another Mother's Story
by Madeline Goldstein

While there are many, many moms like Cindy Sheehan who have lost their children in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are thousands and possibly millions of people whose loved ones are coming home alive, but severely injured. Many returning soldiers, their families and friends will be dealing with, among other things, the horrifying effects of the use of Depleted Uranium by the US and Britain. These weapons release deadly, carcinogenic and mutagenic, radioactive particles so abundantly, that whipped up by sandstorms and winds, there is no corner of the planet they can’t penetrate. The radioactivity persists for over 4,500,000,000 years and can cause cancer, leukemia, brain damage, kidney failure, and extreme birth defects - killing millions for centuries to come. Adding to these horrors are Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder, loss of limbs, brain and head injuries and infection. And what do these beautiful young men and women come home to? Right here, in the country that sent them off to battle on probably false premises? They face a crumbling health care system that is virtually bankrupt, cuts in benefits and with definitions of “disabled,” “PTSD”, etc. getting more narrowly defined. Many vets are waiting months just to get in to see a doctor and approximately 70,000 soldiers with PTSD are having their cases “reviewed” because of cutbacks in VA benefits. They are the never-ending soldiers who will continue the battle, not in some far off country, but right here at home....(full article)

Why I Do Not Support The Troops
by Lucinda Marshall

For the last four years, the anti-war movement has been seriously handicapping itself with its "We support the troops but we're against war" mantra of qualified dissent. Initially, the phrasing of this message was a reflexive attempt to fit into the context of pro-militarism created by the Neocon spinmeisters who quickly established a flag-waving, "Support our troops" litmus test in the aftermath of the tragedies of September 11th. Wanting to avoid being branded as un-American traitors from the get-go, the left promptly started couching their verbiage in the newly minted criteria for patriotism. Unfortunately, that line of thinking is still alive and well today and has become a serious detriment to bringing an end to the agenda of empire....(full article)

Winning the West: Progressives “Stand Up”
by Joshua Frank

There is something going on in Montana. Call it neo-populism. Last November, Montanans voted in favor of medical marijuana and shot down an initiative that would have returned open-pit, cyanide heap-leach mining to the state. Mining companies put up millions to raise support for the bill, but Montanans didn't bite. The barons were defeated. Montanans also forced Republican Governor Judy Martz from office. She had a horrible record and her popularity plummeted in the waning months of her tenure. In fact, Martz was so hated that she decided not to run for reelection. Instead of replacing Martz with another conservative, Montanans opted to elect Brian Schweitzer, a wealthy cattle rancher from the state. Schweitzer is fast becoming recognized as a prototype of the leadership the Democratic establishment is looking for. Indeed, Democrats could learn a few things from Schweitzer. He's vocal....(full article)

Stop the Death Machine in Iraq!
Throw out All Military Recruiters!

The Alternative Press Review Editors

...Yet the supplies of fresh meat for the military grinder -- where losses in killed, maimed and wounded have been much higher than expected -- are drying up at a fast rate. In the U.S. the mass media war propagandists were elated to be able to report that, despite increasing problems, up until the end of fiscal year 2004 (September 2004) all military services (barely) met their recruitment goals except for the Army National Guard and the Army Reserves. Since that time the military recruitment shortfalls have quickly become a recruitment crisis for the Iraq occupation death machine. And everyone knows that without enough (at least somewhat-) willing bodies placed on the line in Iraq to operate the overwhelming firepower arrayed against the population there, the insurgency will quickly spiral out of the occupiers’ control. This means that in the immediate future Bush and Blair’s already-tenuous war and occupation could well be completely lost for a lack of enough willing cannon fodder....(full article)

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