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The Military Death Toll While Enforcing the Occupation of Iraq
by Paul de Rooij
Updated: February 27

A regularly updated resource with links to many articles, quotes, and important information missing from mainstream news coverage about the war in Iraq.

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Archive of DV Articles on Hurricane Katrina and its Aftermath

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


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Dissident Voice archives

April 21-22

101 Ways to Massacre Students
by Carolyn Baker

While Kent State and Virginia Tech are venues of physical assault on students, almost no one is aware of the myriad levels on which, in other venues and without the spilling of blood, students are being massacred. Carolyn Baker discusses the crushing load of skyrocketing student debt, the scandal-plagued student loan industry, the de-emphasis on critical thinking and logic in favor of standardized testing (the massacre of minds), and what this bodes for the future of today's young generation and the nation......(full article)

AIPAC and the Anti-War Movement: Missing in Action?
by Gabriel Ash

It is becoming clear, if it ever wasn’t, that the Democratic Congress does not have what it takes to end the war in Iraq, or to stop any escalation that the Bush administration might contemplate. Congress will not cut funding. Congress will not even expressly forbid Bush to attack Iran. All the major Democratic presidential hopefuls have taken mushy, watered down nominally anti-war positions, but essentially endorse the indefinite continuation of U.S. military presence in Iraq. Obama, Clinton and Edwards are even more hawkish on Iran than Bush is. If any of them gets elected in 2008, he or she is set to continue and possibly escalate the conflict. Why do the Democrats so brazenly ignore their base? According to Paul Krugman, Democrats are “off base” because they are haunted by unreasonable and outdated fears and do not grasp that the electorate would welcome a firmer anti-war stance. Krugman is the one who is off base. The Democrats read the same poll data as everyone else. They do not listen to their base because their first commitment is to their donors and the interests of the corporate kleptocracy to which they belong. Far from being spineless, their continuing disregard for the wishes of their grassroots is evidence of nerves of steel.....(full article)

“Dumb, Stupid Animals to be Used”: The US War Against Its Troops
by Kim Petersen

Rick Anderson, a reporter for Seattle Weekly, opens his book, Home Front: The Government’s War on Soldiers, by referring to then US Secretary of Defense [sic] Donald Rumsfeld’s jaw-dropping rant about Vietnam draftees “adding no value, no advantage” to the US forces. This rant belongs with the government sentiment expressed toward soldiers previously by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who considered them to be “dumb, stupid animals,” mere pawns to achieve oligarchic aims abroad. Why would anyone expect a regime that shows no care or compassion for the lives of others to show compassion for its soldiers? President George W. Bush does not even deign to pay last respects for fallen US soldiers. Bush’s administration even charged combat troops in Afghanistan for their meals while hospitalized. But Bush had made clear who his constituency was: the haves. But Bush pushes cuts to the Veterans Affairs staff and an increase in cemeteries, to which Anderson sardonically quips, “Apparently, in a Superpower, you can never have too many boneyards.”......(full article)

Pulp Drama and Punditry: Virginia Tech, the American Media, and Violence
by Lila Rajiva

On Thursday, the mainstream media took up the question that we unwashed Vinnies (I hereby proudly adopt Brian Williams’ contemptuous term for unpaid, solo bloggers) have been asking since Day One: What is the responsibility of the authorities (Virginia Tech and the State of Virginia) in this tragic business? According to some people that question is off-limits. How can you be so lacking in compassion, someone asked me. I guess because I'm too busy feeling compassion for the poor kids who got blown to bits -- and for their families -- to waste too much sympathy on guilt-or-angst-or-litigation-induced pangs among bureaucrats. Had Virginia Tech’s bosses been CEOs, I doubt whether progressives would be so sympathetic. Bottom line is people at the top of organizations are paid a lot of money to take responsibility to see that things like this don’t take place. And so far, I haven’t see anyone stepping down from their posts -- which in the old days would be de rigeur. One would assume that that would be the first act of individuals prone to taking responsibility for their actions.....(full article)

Bowing Down to Our Own Violence
by Norman Solomon

Many days after the mass killings at Virginia Tech, grisly stories about the tragedy still dominated front pages and cable television. News of carnage on a vastly larger scale -- the war in Iraq -- ebbs and flows. The overall coverage of lethal violence, at home and far away, reflects the chronic evasions of the American media establishment. In the world of US mainline journalism, the boilerplate legitimacy of official American violence overseas is a routine assumption. “The first task of the occupation remains the first task of government: to establish a monopoly on violence,” George Will wrote on April 7, 2004, in the Washington Post. But three years later, his Newsweek column laments: “Vietnam produced an antiwar movement in America; Iraq has produced an antiwar America.” Current polls and public discourse -- in spite of media inclinations to tamp down authentic anger at the war -- do reflect an “antiwar America” of sorts. So, why is the ghastly war effort continuing unabated? A big factor is the undue respect that’s reserved for American warriors in American society......(full article)

-- Unreported News --
Tacoma Police Aggressively Attack Peace Demonstrators: Interview with Caitlin Esworthy of the Port Militarization Resistance of Olympia
by Kevin Zeese

Recently, a friend moved to the US from China. She had never seen the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, including that famous scene of the lone demonstrator standing in front of the Chinese tank. I thought how amazing that a billion people can be kept ignorant of something so important. Then, a week after the events described below, I saw an amazing video about a peaceful demonstration in Tacoma, WA that turned violent when police opened fire with tear gas and firing rubber bullets at close range on the demonstrators. The video, one of many, showed how extreme the militarism of the United States had become. It has also shown how the establishment media does not cover all the news; indeed, sometimes the most important news is not covered at all. As far as I know, the video was never shown on CNN, MSNBC or any of the major networks -- hundreds of millions of Americans were kept ignorant of what occurred. Would seeing the videos of such aggressive police action have enlightened Americans about the militarization of our country? In an effort to expand knowledge about this event I interviewed Caitlin Esworthy, a resident of Olympia, WA, who participated in the demonstrations. She is a student at The Evergreen State College, a member of Port Militarization Resistance of Olympia and the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace. These are two of the four organizations involved in this project. The others were Students for a Democratic Society and United for Peace, Pierce County. Descriptions of the organizations and their contact information follow after the end of the interview......(full article)

Did Abraxis BioScience Instruct AstraZeneca to Use Illegal Marketing in their Quest to Increase Sales?
by Peter Rost

In a February 2007 press release, Abraxis BioScience reported record revenue of $765 million in 2006 versus $521 million for 2005. They made that money selling a new version of an old cancer drug at $4,200 per dose. That new drug is called Abraxane and it has pushed Abraxis BioScience stock from $5 in 2002 to $27 in 2007. The lofty stock price has made Abraxis CEO and Chairman, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong a billionaire; Dr. Soon-Shiong owns 84 percent of the stock, today worth about $3.8 billion. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has been criticized for hyping his research results and he has been accused of ripping off investors. Even his own brother, an early backer, sued him for fraud and fired him -- twice -- from the company they started. Their fight lasted two years and destroyed their relationship. But in the end, it is Dr. Soon-Shiong who has prevailed. Today, Dr. Soon-Shiong is making money hand over fist. After all, his “new” drug costs 25 times more than an older, generic version (paclitaxel). There is, however, little difference between the new drug and older therapy; in fact, they both use the same active molecule. The only difference is that in Abraxane paclitaxel is bound to a protein, to make it easier to inject. And Abraxane doesn’t help patients live longer than the old, generic, version of the drug.....(full article)

Gonzalez and Leahy: Scandal as Cover-up?
by Sam Husseini

Is the questioning of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales evidence that the Democratic Party leadership is finally scrutinizing the Bush administration? Or does it provide a useful illusion to distract from the Democrats' continued failure to raise questions about long-standing, deeper issues? (full article)

Zapatista Cucapa Camp Defends Fishing Rights on the Colorado River Delta 
by Dan Bacher

Since February 26, the Cucapa Tribe in El Mayor, Baja California has organized an historic Zapatista peace camp to defend their fishing rights against harassment and intimidation by the Mexican government on the Colorado River Delta. The idea for the camp originated during a visit by Subcommandante Marcos, spokesman for the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), to El Mayor during the Zapatista “Otra Campana” (Other Campaign) in October 2006. “We have decided to send an urgent message to the Mexicans and Chicanos north of the Rio Grande to come in order to maximize the number of people here, create a safe space, and protect the Cucapa and Kiliwa community during the fishing season,” said Marcos, also known as “delegado zero,” in announcing the initiation of the camp after a meeting with the Cucapa and Kiliwa community leaders......(full article)

What Wall? What Occupation? 
It's Time to Stop Morocco's Prevarication Over Western Sahara
by Ian Williams

It's not double standards, it's no standards at all. The world has let scofflaw Morocco ride roughshod over international law and the UN Charter. It helps to have friends! Their territory split by a huge wall built at enormous expense, an occupied Arab population suffers under police raids and arbitrary imprisonment while the occupiers try to swamp the territories with settlers from their own population. In response, the locals are beginning an intifada, but face a much larger, better-equipped military force, the beneficiary of substantial overseas aid. Refugees living in camps are refused the right to return to their homes. Despite clear decisions of the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council, the occupiers hedge whenever it comes down to the question of a peace settlement that grants independence even when American emissaries try to nudge them towards serious talks. Welcome to Western Sahara, the occupation that admittedly has lasted only three decades compared with Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but which has excited much less media interest.....(full article)

Media Lens Cogitations
Mind Training (Part II)
by Media Lens

In Part 1 of this Cogitation, I suggested that we are often plagued by uncontrolled thoughts, and asked if it might be possible to train our minds and bring them under greater control. Before turning to possible solutions, it’s worth considering how our society trains us to seek happiness in a particular direction, and to understand the power of this conditioning.....(full article)

You Can’t Be a Meat-Eating Environmentalist:
Celebrate Earth Day by Going Vegan
by Heather Moore

If you plan on celebrating this Earth Day, April 22, by taking a short shower, wearing a “Save Our Oceans” T-shirt, riding a bus or a bike instead of driving a car, collecting recyclable cans, and chowing down on fried chicken or cheeseburgers -- such as I used to do -- you may be doing more harm than good. If you want to green the planet, start by greening your diet. All the recycling in the world can’t undo the environmental damage done by animal agriculture.....(full article)

April 18

Trouble in Squanderville
by Mike Whitney

Two years ago, anyone who wrote about the housing bubble was dismissed as a conspiracy nut. Now hardly a day goes by that the headlines aren’t splattered with the details of the massive meltdown in the real estate market. What changed? The facts are essentially the same today as they were back then. In fact, the Economist -- as well as many independent journalists -- had already shown that the Fed’s low interest rates had inflated the biggest equity bubble in history, which could potentially bring down the entire economy. Now, all of a sudden, the media is acting as if the problem sprouted up overnight? Why? The notion that the media was unaware of what was going on is ridiculous. The business pages in America’s newspapers are written by some of the country’s “best and brightest”; most of them have MBAs that they earned at our finest universities. Is it possible that they were oblivious to the trillions of dollars that were funneled into the real estate market to unqualified loan applicants? Or that they didn’t know that the rising prices had no relation with GDP, increases in wages or productivity. Is it possible that some of our best-educated business prognosticators don’t understand the effects of low interest rates or the speculative bubbles they naturally create? (full article)

The Noticeable Absence of Hip-Hop at Virginia Tech
by Lila Rajiva

Now that we know that the massacre at Virginia Tech (33 dead and 22 injured) was perpetrated -- apparently -- by a South Korean male, Cho-Seung Hui, rather than a black one, people might at last let up on the hip-hop industry as the chief and only architect of the pervasive violence of American culture. Oh, sorry, someone already has. Maybe in deference to the upcoming April 20 anniversary of the Columbine high school shootings -- which the popular press inaccurately pinned on the video game “Doom,” Marilyn Manson and the Goth culture -- Florida attorney Jack Thompson has already concluded that it’s the electronic game industry that’s to be blamed. Now, a good argument can be made that video games, and indeed every piece of electronic entertainment, has an impact on the human psyche qualitatively different from that of the print media, but there is no evidence yet that, whatever role they played at Columbine, they had any part to play here. But God forbid that the words “we don’t know” should ever come out of the mouths of the popular press.....(full article)

A Postcard from Pennsylvania, on Animal-Rights Advocacy
in an Age of Terror
by Lee Hall

I just received a detailed and thoughtful letter from a reader of my recent book, Capers in the Churchyard. The letter is signed by Ava Barcelona, who’s with a Chicago-based group called Action Volunteers for Animals. Barcelona examines the book’s critique of militant and undercover actions against industries that use animals, its endorsement of vegan education over coercive acts, and its emphasis on integrity in activism -- that is, its call for activists to integrate their vision into their methods, and model the kind of respectful society we’re hoping to bring about. Inspiring people to consider fundamental lifestyle changes is difficult, unspectacular, and patient work. Suggest a vegan lunch at your next progressive book reading, green gathering, or anti-war meeting and you’ll see for yourself. Barcelona insists, however, that asking people to give up their medicines may well be harder than asking them to give up their meat. So how do vegan campaigns address the reality that people will buy and use drugs whose market-worthiness is proved through animal testing? (full article)

On Race, Kinship, and Black Women 
by Christina Sharpe

It took almost a week to generate "public outrage" about the remarks that Don Imus and producer Bernard McGuirk made about the Rutgers Women's basketball team. In that same week the media consistently reported that three white lacrosse players from Duke University were found innocent of the charges against them. It's true that the charges of rape/sexual assault against the three white Duke players have been dropped, but they are not innocent of either misogynist or racist acts. After all, these young men whom, I suspect, like most young white men of their class have very little social interaction with black people or, at least, little social interaction with black people of vastly different class and circumstances, hired these young black women from the other side of the tracks to dance at their party. The two women hired to dance agree on this: the players subjected them to racial and sexist abuse. And, let’s not forget that after Ms. Roberts’ accusations became public, a number of women on the Duke Campus came forward to say that they believed her because they, and other women they knew, had been assaulted as well......(full article)

April 17

Blacksburg: Let the Healing NOT Begin!
by Gary Corseri

When I had cable, I found myself using CNN as a kind of background music, deluding myself that I could tune out the nonsense and tune in when something important came up, and thus, I thought, I was staying “informed.” But after a while I realized that I was not informed; I was simply distracted by side-show stories, and lulled by the repetitiveness of dull reporting. I also found that, like a junkie, I needed a bigger and bigger “fix” to keep me going, to excite me, to make me feel connected to the bigger world. But a couple of years ago, I gave up cable and reclaimed a morsel of my sanity. Thus, I got the news about the slaughter at Virginia Tech little by little during the day, gauging the progress of the unfolding tragedy with a picture here, a sound byte there -- much as we gauge the progress and lack thereof in Iraq......(full article)

The Pro-Israel Lobby Debate
by Hagit Borer, James Petras, and Norman Finkelstein

A lively and informative debate between James Petras and Norman Finkelstein on the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, hosted by KPFK radio's Hagit Borer......(full transcript)

A Feral Dog Howls in Harvard Yard
Hang the professors but save the eunuchs for later
by Joe Bageant

If there is one bright spot in the bleak absurdity of slogging along in our new totalist American state, it is that ordinary working Americans are undisciplined as hell. We are genuine moral and intellectual slobs whose consciousness is pretty much glued onto an armature of noise, sports, sex, sugar and saturated fats. Oh, we nod toward the government bullhorns of ideology, even throw beer cans and cheer when told we are winning some war or Olympic sports event. But when it comes right down to it, we could generally give a rat's ass about government institutions and are congenitally more skeptical of government than most nations, especially nations that get things like good teeth and free higher education for their tax dollars. Surely, there are governmental facts of life no working American can escape, like the IRS, but no ordinary person is dumb enough to actually trust political parties, banks, the courts or the news media. Born with the organizational instincts and global awareness of a box turtle, we take the most torpid political path -- we call it all bullshit, pay lip service, vote occasionally, then forget about our government altogether until April 15th of the next year......(full article)

JAMA Article Sparks New Round of HRT Infatuation
by Martha Rosenberg

It wasn't a new study and it didn't reverse the Women's Health Initiative findings. It was a reanalysis of an existing study and it tweaked the Women's Health Initiative findings. But that didn't stop medical reporters from a new round of gee whiz journalism about HRT following an article in the April 4 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The article, "Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease by Age and Years Since Menopause," found that HRT only causes stroke and breast cancer in women under 59 -- not stroke, breast cancer and heart attack. HRT still causes stroke, breast cancer and heart attack in women over 59. And blood clots, lung cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, gall bladder cancer, endometrial cancer, lupus, asthma, scleroderma, hearing loss, dementia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in all ages according to other reports. But overnight headlines like, "New Study Clears Use of Hormones for Women in Their 50s," "Review study reverses 2002 caution against HRT," and even, "HRT reduces the risk of heart disease," appeared......(full article)

What’s For Lunch, Senator?
A Feast of Novel Expression
by John V. Walsh

Does it take much to imagine the following conversation?

Hillary Clinton: I’m starved.  

John Edwards: Me too. What’s on the menu?   

Barack Obama: Same here. What’s on the table? 

HC: I told them to leave all Iranian options on the table. My goodness, some folks want them off the table. They want to starve us.  I have said, “No option can be taken off the table.”

BO: At the AIPAC dinner the Iranian options were all on the table. They looked scrumptious. The folks there were ready to feast on them. I have said, "We should take no option, including military action, off the table." 

JE: Me too.  I went all the way to Israel and told them that I would keep the Iranian options on the table.  I have said, "We need to keep all options on the table."......(full conversation)

My Movement is Bigger Than Yours 
by Mickey Z.

A couple of my recent articles have directly challenged the concept of unconditional support for our (sic) troops. It should come as no surprise that this sentiment is typically greeted with unrestrained hostility. The most predictable knee-jerk reaction involves the accusation that I might hurt the "movement" by alienating soldiers and their families. Some go even further and declare that returning soldiers are doing more for the "movement" than anyone else (especially obscure writers like your truly). These critiques are flawed for many reasons.....(full article

The Wild and the Human
Activists Share Skills at Forest Defense “Boot Camp”
by Zoe Blunt

In the growing twilight, two dozen plump deer are grazing at the far edge of a meadow. Suddenly they look up, alert. Two humans are sneaking along the edge of the forest pretending to stalk the deer, playing a game of predator and prey. Welcome to Wild Earth. What started as a one-week campout on Vancouver Island in 1999 has grown to include more than 800 people and 75 workshops on tree-sitting techniques, blockade tactics, indigenous rights and campaigns, herbal first aid, green anarchy, and more. Operating on a shoestring budget -- in some years, no budget at all -- a few volunteers put on an event that participants call “amazing.”......(full article)

Marine Mom Arrested at Speaker Pelosi's Washington, DC Office
by Kevin Zeese

Marine Mom Tina Richards was arrested at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Monday, April 16, 2007.  She was seeking to deliver a letter on behalf of a “Women’s Delegation for Peace” (see letter below with bios of the delegation members). The event was organized by Code Pink to welcome Congress back and urge an end to the war. Also participating were members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Vets for Peace, Voters For Peace, Iraqi Voices for Peace, Democracy Rising, Washington Peace Center, Grassroots America and other organizations and individuals. The arrest occurred in the hallway outside of the Speaker’s office as the delegation was protesting the media being forced to leave the Speaker’s office.  Advocates reacted by reading the First Amendment of the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law abridging the Freedom of the Press,” and were shouting that phrase as well as urging an end to the war.....(full article)

April 16

Restore Fairness, Return to Reality
by Patricia Goldsmith

Forget Imus. All this fuss will be just so much wasted outrage unless we use it to direct public attention to the big picture: the way the media information cartel has rigged journalism in this country. We need to agitate to break up and re-regulate the media, beginning with restoration of the fairness doctrine.....(full article)

Straussian Exoterica Explained
From a man who doesn't know much, except what's important
by Michael Nolan

Folks I know say Cheney, Bush and Wolfowitz are just natural-born liars but they’re missing the entire point. There’s nothing natural-born about it. When a neocon lies, there’s a whole damned philosophy to it. There was this Professor Leo Strauss down at the University of Chicago back in the '60s, who had it figured out that folks like you and me are too stupid to understand what's going on, so it's up to the government to lie to us for our own good. So when you go home tonight and the TV says the war in Iraq is making America safer and that America is promoting liberty around the world and the wife says well ain’t that a sweet load of crap back to the TV, you just look over and say, honey that ain’t just any old crap, that’s Straussian exoterica. If that don't impress her, I’d just like to know what will. I have taken the time to look into this subject and I will explain it. Leo Strauss was a philosopher and a big fan of Plato. Now I’m not up to speed on my Plato. I even got him mixed up with Goofy that time we took the grandkids down to Disney but the gist of Professor Strauss’ philosophy is that sometimes the government needs to hide the true nature of things from the common people, for the common good....(full article)

The Invisible Woman: Look at Who and What Counts in the Imus Affair
by Betty Winston Bayé

Though Don Imus has called them "nappy-headed hos" and agreed they are "jiggaboos," the Rutgers University women basketball players are being more gracious than he deserves. They call him "Mr. Imus." My instinct would be to fire back and say his Mama is the ho. But the Rutgers women are leading by good example, even though Imus delivered to them that bolt of lightning from which black parents have never been able to fully protect their daughters because racism and sexism are so deeply embedded -- in fact, institutionalized -- here and around the world. Imus' apologies are meaningless because he isn't singularly at fault. He grew up in America, and already, his white media buddies, both liberals and conservatives, are circling the wagons. They're arguing, as Imus has, that he was given license to call black women nappy-headed hos by misogynistic black rappers.....(full article)

Jazz and Jihad: The Discourse of Solidarity
by Gilad Atzmon

For many years I considered America as my promised land. As a young Jazz musician I was pretty convinced that sooner or later I would end up living in NYC. My Jerusalem was Downtown Manhattan and of course my holy scriptures were the old Blue Note vinyls. My Rabbis were named Coltrane, Bird, Miles, Duke, Dizzy, Bill Evans and naturally, there were many others. I was convinced of this reality for a while, and in fact, it took time before I realized that Jazz was far more than mere music. It took a while before I gathered that Jazz was something else, that it was actually a form of resistance. Nowadays I realize that Jazz is no different from Jihad, accordingly, playing Jazz is my personal Jihad. I do grasp that some people in this room may already find my ideas nostalgic, some may even be convinced that I am either totally deluded or just out of my mind. I can live with it. I do realize that ‘things have changed’, they’ve changed for you as much as they’ve changed for me. I do realize that Jazz is not exactly a form of resistance anymore. May I mention that America isn’t my promised land either. In fact, at the time of writing this talk, I wasn’t even sure whether I would be allowed entry into your country. As much as Jazz, the classical music of America, has been a call for freedom, America is not a free place anymore. I often argue that before liberating others, it is the American people who should first liberate themselves. I am pretty sure that sooner or later they will......(full article)

The Host: Apocalyptic Humor for the 21st Century
by Kim Nicolini

Well, I finally got to see Korean director Joon-ho Bong's third cinematic installment, The Host (Gwoemul), his horrific and humorous ode to monsters and the working class. I have been dying to see this movie and was going to be horribly depressed and enraged if it didn't come to Tucson, where I live and go to movies. So yes, the minute it came to to town, I went to see it. How could I not? I mean, it's like Godzilla as High Art for the 21st Century. Sure it's about a slimy monster from the deep who devours a whole lot of innocent South Koreans and wreaks havoc on Seoul, but this movie is more than your run of the mill sci-fi horror fest. It's art! I mean, it made the cover of Artforum for christsakes: Not only is it art, but it's Apocalyptic Art (my favorite). But it's not your standard nihilistic apocalyptic vision. The Host is Apocalypse with a sense of humor. Besides being awesomely atmospheric, horrific, and politically scathing, The Host is funny. It's like slapstick political horror for the new millennium......(full review

This is  Something That's Getting Old Very Fast:
A Review of Saul Landau's
A Bush & Botox World
by Ron Jacobs

If one considers a face without wrinkles to be better-looking than one with them, than they might consider using Botox to remove any wrinkles they might have on their face. For those who know, Botox is a poison that is injected into a person's face, thereby puffing out the flesh to remove wrinkles and other lines humans usually get as they age. The ultimate result is that people look younger than they are, all thanks to the fact that they are poisoning themselves. Saul Landau's recent book, A Bush and Botox World ((Counterpunch/AK 2007), suggests that today's United States is injecting its body politic with the political and social equivalent of Botox. In other words, this country is not what those who run it would like us to think it is. The fact that it presents itself to the world as a just and democratic society that values human rights is just so much Botox in the face of the aged Empire that the US has become. Like Botox, the public relations lies not only cover up the ugliness of Washington's wars and rapaciousness, they are composed of poison that add their own element to the death the United States is creeping towards.....(full article)

April 14-15


“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”

-- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

Scandal Bigger than Walter Reed:
The Rape, Assault and Harassment of Women in the Military
by Kevin Zeese

Women are facing widespread sexual harassment and even rape by their male comrades in the military. The threat of sexual violence against female soldiers by their male colleagues is so great that women are warned not to go out to the bathroom alone at night. This has led women to stop drinking fluids at 3:00 in the afternoon and has even led to deaths due to dehydration. How common are these problems? It is difficult to tell since the military has not published a complete survey, but indications are that 80% have faced sexual harassment and 30% have been raped. This is a disgrace that should be resulting in hearings on Capitol Hill, independent investigations, policy changes and loud cries by women’s rights activists. It should be a bigger scandal than the problems at Walter Reed, but so far there is mostly silence.....(full article)

Aid and Comfort for Torturers:
Psychology and Coercive Interrogations in Historical Perspective
by Stephen Soldz

On January 24, 2003, National Guardsman Sean Baker, stationed as a military policeman at Guantanamo detention center, volunteered to be a mock prisoner, donning an orange suit and refusing to leave his cell as part of a training exercise. As planned, an Immediate Reaction Force team of MPs attempted to extract him from the cell. When he uttered the code word, "red," indicating that this was a drill and that he'd had enough, one of the MPs "forced my head down against the steel floor and was sort of just grinding it into the floor. The individual then, when I picked up my head and said, ‘Red’, slammed my head down against the floor," says Baker. "I was so afraid, I groaned out, ‘I’m a U.S. soldier.’ And when I said that, he slammed my head again, one more time against the floor. And I groaned out one more time, I said, ‘I’m a U.S. soldier.’ And I heard them say, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa.’" Even though, unlike if Baker had been a real prisoner, the "extraction" was called off part-way through, he was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and was left with permanent injuries, including frequent epileptic-style seizures . . . . This detention facility is one of the environments in which psychologists serve as consultants to interrogations. The American Psychological Association sees no ethical problems with psychologists serving there. We psychoanalysts know that understanding requires a historical perspective. The abuses being perpetrated on America's detainees in the War of Terror, and psychologists' roles in those abuses have a long history......(full article)

What’s Wrong with the STRIVE Immigration Bill
by Justin Akers Chacón

One year after the mass marches for immigrant rights that challenged repressive legislation proposed by congressional Republicans, the Bush administration is set to unveil harsh new proposals to supply Corporate America with cheap and vulnerable immigrant labor, ratchet up enforcement, and make it extremely difficult for undocumented workers to become U.S. citizens . . . . Many in the immigrant rights movement have looked to the new Democratic Congress to provide an alternative to Bush and the hardliners. Instead, the Democrats are seeking a compromise palatable to the ultra-conservatives in the Republican Party.....(full article)

Bill McKibben, Step it Up!
by Joshua Frank 

This weekend will see the largest gathering of environmental activists in the US since the first Earth Day held almost 37 years ago.  It may even be larger. Tens upon thousands will be assembling in all 50 states, demanding that Congress act now to reduce carbon emissions. Organizers will be asking for an 80% reduction by the middle of the century in hopes of curbing the effects of global warming. The actions, led by celebrated author Bill McKibben and his team, want our government to Step it Up! -- which is what they are calling the day’s festivities. While the organizational magnitude of McKibben’s efforts is truly astounding, one has to wonder if it all will even make a bit of difference, even if Congress takes heed. Is McKibben even calling for the right kind of measures? (full article)

The Awful Truth About Hillary, Barack, John . . . and Whitewash
by Norman Solomon

The Pentagon’s most likely next target is Iran. Hillary Clinton says “no option can be taken off the table.” Barack Obama says that the Iranian government is “a threat to all of us” and “we should take no option, including military action, off the table.” John Edwards says, “Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons.” And: “We need to keep all options on the table.” A year ago, writing in The New Yorker, journalist Seymour Hersh reported: “One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.” For a presidential candidate to proclaim that all “options” should be on the table while dealing with Iran is a horrific statement. It signals willingness to threaten -- and possibly follow through with -- first use of nuclear weapons. This raises no eyebrows among Washington’s policymakers and media elites because it is in keeping with longstanding U.S. foreign-policy doctrine. This year, with their virtually identical statements about “options” and “the table,” the leading Democratic presidential candidates -- Clinton, Obama and Edwards -- have refused to rule out any kind of attack on Iran. If you’re not shocked or outraged yet, consider this....(full article)

And So it Goes: R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)
"When You're Dead, You're Dead."

We Join Kilgore Trout in Mourning: Kurt Vonnegut Moves On
by Ron Jacobs

It was 1972. I was a junior in high school. A number of my friends and I were sitting in the audience at the Amerika Haus in Frankfurt am Main, Germany waiting for the speaker to appear. A few minutes after 8:00pm, a gray-haired man who looked a little like Mark Twain in the shadowy light of the stage sauntered out. "Good evening," he began. He arranged his drink on the podium. Then he leaned the top half of his lanky frame on the podium's wooden top. Kurt Vonnegut's court was in session for the night. I don't recall everything he talked about that evening, but do recall that he spoke rather critically about the nature of young people. It was his belief at the time that they were too interested in the short term solution. Hence their fascination with mood modifiers like LSD and other psychedelics. Unknown to us in the audience at the time, Kurt Vonnegut's son Mark was being institutionalized for a bout of some kind of mental illness. Mark wrote in his book about the experience that it was probably brought on because of psilocybin mushrooms. Like good kids, we sat there taking the scolding from this man who was as old as our fathers, only a lot hipper......(full article)

Peace Be With You, Kurt Vonnegut
by Harvey Wasserman

As the media fills with whimsical good-byes to one of America's greatest writers, lets not forget one of the great engines driving this wonderful man---he HATED war. Including this one in Iraq. And he had utter contempt for the men who brought it about. Kurt Vonnegut was a divine spark of liberating genius for an entire generation. His brilliant, beautiful, loving and utterly unfettered novels helped us redefine ourselves in leaving the corporate America in the 1950s and the Vietnam war that followed. Having seen the worst of World War II from a meatlocker in fire-bombed Dresden, Kurt's Sirens of Titan, Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, cut us the intellectual and spiritual slack to seek out a new reality. It took a breathtaking psychic freedom to merge the interstellar worlds he created from whole cloth with the social imperatives of a changing age. It was that combination of talent, heart and liberation that gave Vonnegut a cutting edge he never lost......(full article)

The ABCs of Home Demolitions in Israel
by Eileen Fleming

Beit Arabiya is the name of the home of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh, a family of nine whose home has been demolished four times. Any day now, the Civil Administration, Israel's military government over the Occupied Territories, could order the home demolished for the fifth time.  The Shawamreh home in the village of Anata, in the West Bank but just meters over the Jerusalem municipal boundary, has become the symbol of the Palestinian struggle against Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes -- and of resistance to the Occupation in general.....(full article)

Free Speech Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry
by Stacie Adams

Don Imus and his ilk are the price you pay for living in a freewheeling democracy. If you want your media and speech regulated by authority figures, move to some despotic country of your choosing. Sharpton speaks of regulating the public airwaves, as though he comprises the public itself. As hard as it is to believe, some people enjoy Don Imus and his brand of racist-grandpa humor. That’s their right, whether you agree with it or not. Although Don Imus is most likely a racist, this was not an instance of racism. No action was taken; Imus didn’t deny these girls a loan; he didn’t banish them to the back of the bus. He insulted them, plain and simple. In my experience, it’s probably best to let insults roll off your back. If not, you’ll spend the whole of your life being offended. Shouldn’t a full time college student have more important things to worry about than what some walking corpse has to say on a radio program that they most likely didn’t listen to in the first place? (full article)

Imus and Lady Hoopsters
by Linda Ford

Don Imus definitely picked the wrong team to call “nappy-headed hos.” And now, amazingly, the infamous radio personality is paying for it and losing his gig.  It was 1980 when Coach Vivien Stringer, then coach at the African-American school, Cheney State, voiced a strong protest, objecting to the lack of TV coverage that African-American female teams got, along with their being left out of the Hanes Women’s Basketball Tournament. It was only then that African-American women basketball players had begun to be nationally recognized at all, helped along by superstars Luisa Harris, the dominating center of Delta State, and Lynette Woodard, the amazing scorer at Kansas. The media focus has been on the racism of Imus’ remarks, but the sexism should not be overlooked. All lady hoopsters have trouble being accepted by American society. They just don’t live up to that “feminine” ideal and therefore are often seen as freaks, lesbians, mannish -- or prostitutes. Tattooed women, tough women, they’re just much too much for men like Imus and his” yukker” guy pals. For years, the Imus show has been centered in racist and sexist jokes, skits and attitude. Imus seemed totally mystified to be called out for doing what he’s always done. He has been casually arrogant, casually dismissive, confident that he and his friends can insult and dismiss women, certainly black women, with impunity. This hardly puts him outside the mainstream, which makes all the scrambling righteous reactions interesting to watch.....(full article)

Suffering from Chronic Shock-Jock Syndrome:
If Don Goes, Michelle, Bill, Rush, etc. etc. Should Go, Too
by Lila Rajiva

What Don Imus said on the airwaves was offensive, no question. But for decades now we have been interpreting free speech laws to extend to coarse, offensive language -- even when it’s without noticeable value as political or religious speech. Why make an example of one man at the expense of principle and consistency? (full article)

Don Imus Isn't Joking: “Shock Jocks” as Propagandists for Privilege
by Lydia Howell 

What Don Imus did isn't unusual. Shock jocks, national and local, habitually make racist remarks and sexually humiliating comments about women -- as "jokes". I always  wonder why these guys are so oblivious to minimal standards of courtesy. Is it that they really think that only white men, like themselves, deserve basic respect? Or, is it that making degrading comments about people of color and women is their attempt to "put THOSE people BACK in their place"? As a woman, I'm absolutely clear that when men talk about women in disgusting ways, it communicates not only hostility, but also has another message: "You think you're equal -- but, you're still just p--sy." Even today, some long for the old hierarchy, where white men were privileged in every situation. Now, they have to share the field with the rest of us. Some point out that African-Americans use the 'N-word" and "ho" is hip hop vernacular -- as if that gets Imus off the hook. It doesn't.....
(full article)

Send Imus to Iraq
by Pham Binh

Now that NBC has shlocked shock jock Don Imus, I can think of a number of great job opportunities for this trash-talking racist/sexist/anti-Semitic S.O.B. Here are the jobs I think Imus would be great for from best to worst...(full list of available jobs)

Mind Management is Not Democracy 
by Frank Scott

When British marines were captured by the Iranians, we were told they were in Iraqi waters, as though that was completely natural. Several thousand miles from their own country, sailing an area subject to border dispute, their captain having told British TV that they might be picking up intelligence about Iran; nothing unusual there. Especially for an arrogant former imperial power reduced to snuggling up to the USA and acting as its junior partner in arousing hatred for the western world.....(full article

Libby Trial Shines Spotlight on the Fraud Squad: Exposing Deceit in High Places -- and Indicting Mainstream Media as Major Players 
by Monica Hill

Good! After four years of legalistic futzing around, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former aide to Vice President Cheney, was convicted on March 6 of perjury and obstruction. Of course, Libby’s trial was about much more than one high-placed politician’s felonies. Its glaring subtext was the government’s lies about the Iraq war and the U.S. media’s collusion in that deception. Did this government tell bald-faced lies to justify invading Iraq? Has it continued to do so through the course of the carnage? Is the mainstream media the mouthpiece for those lies? In the opinion of many, "Yes, yes, and yes." The Libby trial certainly added weight to that case......(full article

April 12

Doomsday for the Greenback     
by Mike Whitney

The American people are in La-la land. If they had any idea of what the Federal Reserve was up to they’d be out on the streets waving fists and pitchforks. Instead, we go about our business like nothing is wrong. Are we really that stupid? What is it that people don’t understand about the trade deficit? It’s not rocket science. The Current Account Deficit is over $800 billion a year. That means that we are spending more than we are making and savaging the dollar in the process. Presently, we need more than $2 billion of foreign investment per day just to keep the wheels from coming off the cart. Everyone agrees that the current trade imbalances are unsustainable and will probably trigger major economic disruptions that will thrust us towards a global recession. Still, Washington and the Fed stubbornly resist any change in policy that might reduce over-consumption or reverse present trends......(full article)

Now the South Erupts
by Ali al-Fadhily

The eruption of demonstrations in the south of Iraq this week could rob the occupation forces of what was considered a critical bastion of support. The southern areas of Iraq have long been said to be secure, and people there peaceful towards the occupation forces. Iraqis living in the south were also believed to be cooperative with the occupation to the extent that they supported administrative steps taken by successive Iraqi governments. The majority of the population of the south are Shia Muslims, and Iraq has had Shia-dominated governments under the occupation. But demonstrations against the occupation and the United States by hundreds of thousands of angry Shias in Najaf, Kut and other cities across the south April 9 mark a sharp break from a policy of cooperation. Protesters demanded an end to the U.S.-led occupation, burnt U.S. flags and chanted "Death to America!"......(full article)

Iran May Be the Greatest Crisis of Modern Times
by John Pilger

John Pilger evokes the memory of Germans “looking from the side” at Bergen-Belsen to describe the challenge facing us in the West as the Bush/Blair “long war” becomes “perhaps the greatest crisis of modern times.”.....(full article)

A Hundred Million Gold Coins: Why Steve Jobs is NOT a Saint   
by Alexander Billet

One has to admit, it's certainly a landmark. On Monday, Rolling Stone announced that the world's 100 millionth iPod was sold. Up until a few years ago, the concept seemed little more than a fantasy, while massive chains like Tower Records kept their fingers crossed that it would stay that way. Predictably, Apple guru Steve Jobs is being showered with a terabyte of praise as an innovator and icon. RS even compiled a clever faux-playlist of songs that Jobs is listening to on his own pod, including such tunes as Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World," and NoFX's anti-record industry anthem "Dinosaurs Will Die." Ha ha. But the question has to be asked; does Jobs deserve such praise? Is he a man who made our music more accessible? Or is he simply a man with undeniable savvy who figured out a way to keep the price tag on an evolving market? The answer to that question goes deep into the true nature of the music industry......(full article)

“Think About It, Rush…”
Dick Cheney: Dishonest or Deluded? 
by Gary Leupp

Last week, in a telephone interview from his undisclosed location, Vice President Cheney spoke with reliably deferential commentator Rush Limbaugh on Fox News.  Limbaugh noted that the House Armed Services Committee now under Democratic leadership has decided to abandon the phrase “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) from its defense budget documents because it “doesn’t like the phrase.” Actually it’s because the leadership feels that it tendentiously connects the (Afghan War) response to the 9-11 al-Qaeda attack with the separate war in Iraq, which has of course been the neocons’ intention all along. But you know how Limbaugh likes to simplify things for his viewers.....(full article)

Impeachment, All Down the Line 
by Robert Jensen

Whether one believes the impeachment of George W. Bush is a realistic possibility or is simply a vehicle for expressing outrage and educating the public about the crimes of the powerful, any such talk starts with the U.S. Constitution and Article II, Section 4, which speaks of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Few suggest that Bush is guilty of treason, nor is there evidence of bribery -- unless we’re speaking of the routine way in which campaign contributions are a kind of bribery, but that’s hardly unique to Bush. That leaves us to ponder the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which somehow seems inadequate to describe this administration. “High crimes,” yes, but these are not “misdemeanors.” We’re talking about repeat felony offenders.....(full article)

April 10

Democrats for War: The Imminent Compromise
by Joshua Frank

The precipitous decline of antiwar sentiment within the Democratic Party has been on grand display over the past few months. The majority of leading Democrats say they oppose the war in Iraq, but still refuse to cut funding. And when Bush vetoes the pork-swollen appropriations bill, which he's promised to do, the Democrats have pledged to compromise, rewrite the bill, and grant President Bush exactly what he wants: more cash and no timetable for troop withdraw from Iraq.....
(full article

The Government and the Druglords: Who Rules Mexico?
by Larry Birns and Alex Sánchez

When it comes to the Mexican drug scene, there is usually far more than meets the eye. The Bush-Calderon drug war is as much operatic as it is functional. In Mexico, President Felipe Calderon may be the constitutionally-elected leader of the nation, but in reality, drug cartels and warlords exercise de facto authority over much of the area. During President Bush’s two-day stopover in Mexico as part of his recent Latin American tour, he wasted no time in praising the accomplishments of the Calderon administration in combating drug trafficking. At a joint press conference with the Mexican leader in Merida (March 14), Bush said that: “President Calderon is taking a tough stand against organized crime and drugs, and I appreciate that.” He went on to say that: “I recognize the United States has a responsibility in the fight against drugs. And one major responsibility is to encourage people to use less drugs. When there is demand, there is supply.” Now that Calderon is firmly installed as president of Mexico, after having survived the Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s strong post-electoral challenge, the new leader has shown, at least on the surface, that he is ready to tackle his country’s major problems: organized crime and gross impunity. Drug trafficking overwhelmingly is the prevailing social malady throughout the country, particularly along the border with the U.S. In spite of lengthy declarations by government officials in Mexico City and Washington, and their insistence that important battles are being won against drug trafficking, criminal organizations like the Tijuana cartel continue to thrive, ruling over whole sections of the Mexican countryside like sectoral feudal lords.....(full article)

The New Power in Iraq
by Dilip Hiro

It will probably be a long time before the world again witnesses the downfall of a dictator, captured dramatically by the toppling of an imposing statue in the glare of TV cameras -- as happened to Saddam Hussein's bronze image in Baghdad on April 9 2003. But little did global viewers of this historic event imagine that the collapse of the ostensibly secular Saddam would be followed by the rise -- unseen -- of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a reclusive 73-year-old Shia cleric based in the holy city of Najaf. For all practical purposes, Sistani is the single most important leader in Iraq today. To add insult to injury, it has been established that the dramatic event of four years ago was far from a spontaneous action by the Iraqis celebrating their liberation from Saddam's tyranny by the benevolent troops of America and Britain....(full article)

Jesus Wouldn't Bomb Anyone
“Why are we waging war on the poor and oppressed?”
by Jason Miller

One can find numerous other instances of the empowered establishment vilifying and attacking the “wretched refuse,” but let’s rewind a few years for a revealing look at a specific example of the pernicious machinations of the opulent. Concurrently, we will also explore a potential solution to the cancer of American Capitalism which plagues the Earth and nearly every living being on it.  Free at last? Liberation Theology, a movement widely embraced by Central and South American priests and bishops in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, traces its roots back to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor who was hanged in 1943 for his resistance to Hitler and the Nazis. Interpreting Christ’s teachings as a clarion call to devote their lives to the struggle for social justice and human rights, people like Don Helder Camara, Leonardo Boff, Dorothy Stang, and Oscar Romero faced harassment, punitive action from the Vatican, persecution, and assassination in their quests to uplift the exploited, violated, and destitute....(full article)

Autism: “A Serious Public Health Problem”
by Anne Dachel

The article about autism, "No Know Cause, No Cure" by Jennifer Chancellor in the Tulsa World on April 1 got my attention.  It wasn’t because we were again told that no one knows for sure why one in every 150 U.S. kids is now autistic, or that experts have no idea how to cure them. That’s pretty much the way autism is covered in the press. What stood out to me was the first part of the statement, “The CDC has called autism a national public health crisis.” As someone who has read news reports on autism for several years, I’ve yet to see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the term “crisis” when talking about autism. Maybe I missed it somewhere, but after several days searching through CDC press releases on autism, it just wasn’t there.....(full article)

April 15: A Fun Day at the Post Office
by Gabriel Ash

Tax day is upon us, and you wonder how to mark this probably sunny day in a memorable fashion. I have an idea. Four years ago, under the auspices of SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Tax Funded Aid To Israel Now!), I was involved in making a flier, reproduced below, that lists some useful tidbits of information in a mock 1040 form, which we dubbed 1040WAR. We distributed it at central post offices, and found people on tax day unusually receptive to new information. Go figure! The form was printed and re-used in subsequent years by many other folks all over the US.....(full article)

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