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(DV) April 2005 Articles

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April 29

* Website of the Day: What's the Matter with Liberals? by Thomas Frank

Rebutting Gordon Brown: The Attorney General's Legal Advice,
Government Spin and the Iraq War (Part II)
by Milan Rai

British Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks that the controversy over the Attorney General's legal advice is a “damp squib.” His ministers struggle to put out the raging fire -- which has torched their election campaign plans -– by offering up distortions and lies. The crucial point is that in his 7 March legal advice, Lord Goldsmith said that if there was no second UN resolution authorizing war against Iraq, there had to be “hard evidence” of Iraqi “non-compliance and non-cooperation” with its disarmament obligations. (Legally, this is nonsense, but the issue is what the Government's legal adviser told Tony Blair, and what Mr. Blair did with that advice.) Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has sought to defend the decision to go to war (which he participated), by referring to a range of documents brought before the British Cabinet on 17 March 2003. None of these documents demonstrates that Iraq was failing to cooperate with inspectors, or that Iraq definitely possessed weapons of mass destruction. The documents instead demonstrated that Iraqi cooperation with the inspectors, and Iraqi disarmament, were increasing, not decreasing, on 17 March 2003. It was also clear that the judgment as to Iraq's cooperation should not have been made by the British Cabinet, but by UN weapons inspectors and the UN Security Council....(full article)

May Day: The Rise & Fall of the Middle Class
by Jack Random

On May Day 2005, it is a good time to reflect on the many who gave their lives in the cause of organized labor so that future generations of workers would enjoy a living wage, an eight-hour day, worker’s compensation, decent working conditions, basic job security and standards of safety. Of equal and greater importance, May Day 2005 is a critical time to consider that what has been gained through generations of blood and sweat can easily be lost through negligence and fear....(full article)

Conscientious Objector Status for Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman Denied: Ft. Stewart Command Quickly Rubber-Stamps Disapproval
by Robert S. Finnegan

Ft. Stewart, GA -- Yesterday [April 27] at Ft. Stewart Georgia, U.S. Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman was dealt a setback in his battle with the U.S. Army when his application for Conscientious Objector status was denied by his command. Benderman applied for CO status after having already served one combat tour in Iraq during which his Captain ordered personnel in the unit to fire on Iraqi children throwing rocks. This was one of many incidents during his deployment that Benderman said convinced him that war is immoral and it is his duty to refuse to kill....(full article)

Back to the Ancient Future: Chewing Raw Grubs with the
“Nutcracker Man”

by Joe Bageant

I spent the middle weekend in April with a group of artists and thinkers called the April Fools Group. Put together by Brad Blanton, psychotherapist and creator of “radical honesty” politics and therapy, the three-day meeting was set on a farm down the Shenandoah Valley amid the battlefields and rolling countryside of Newmarket, Virginia. Brad, a world famous redneck headshrinker, had put together old hippies, theoreticians, musicians, young anarchists, beautiful brilliant women and aging writers to yap, drink and plot against the Bush administration. So when I pulled into Brad’s driveway to find him and a fellow named Hank parked in lawn chairs up on the roof with a bottle of bourbon I knew this thing was off to a good start. The gathering was an organizational meeting for Brad Blanton’s independent run for the Virginia Seventh District U.S. House of Representatives. Blanton’s working slogan is “America needs a good psychiatrist.” And we got a lot accomplished in that direction, despite my intellectual flatulence and Brad’s orneriness.  Any psychotherapist who actually gets people to pay for advice such as “Fuck’em if they can’t take a joke” must be called ornery at the very least. And any politician who thinks he can get elected on the basis of extreme honesty, well....(full article)

Reflections On “MADE IN PALESTINE”, “Dybbuk”,
and “The Holocaust”

by Robert Leverant

We do unto others what was done unto us. What we do to others reveals our personal and collective history. Primo Levi, who had been There, said, “The Palestinians are the Jews to the Jews.” I was reminded of Primo Levi’s statement on Sunday when I saw “MADE IN PALESTINE,” an exhibit of Palestinian Art, at the SomArts Cultural Center in San Francisco....(full article)

Iraq: War, Aid and Public Relations
by Norman Solomon

American news outlets provided extensive -- and mostly laudatory -- coverage of Marla Ruzicka after she died in Baghdad on April 16. The humanitarian aid worker’s undaunted spirit and boundless dedication had endeared her to a wide array of people as she strived to gain acknowledgment and compensation for civilians harmed by the war in Iraq. Ruzicka was determined to help Iraqi victims and loved ones. “Their tragedies,” she said, “are our responsibilities.” Her funeral, at a church in her hometown of Lakeport, California, was a moving occasion as friends and co-workers paid tribute to a woman whose moral energies led her to take great risks and accomplish so much in a life of 28 years. By all accounts, she was a wonderful and inspiring person. Yet after I left the funeral, some key themes of the media eulogies and other testimonials kept bothering me. We were being encouraged to celebrate Marla Ruzicka’s life, her work and her message. But -- in the context of a continuing war -- what was her message? (full article)

The Right Wing’s Attack on Abortion Rights and the
Liberals’ Deafening Silence
by Sharon Smith

With ever more outlandish discourse, the Christian Right has gained the upper hand in the battle over abortion in Bush’s second term. But the pro-choice movement has helped pave the way....(full article)

The Making of the Arab Menace
by Rayan El-Amine

Anti-Arabism and Islamophobia are so much a part of the political and cultural discourse on Arabs and Muslims in American society today that most do not even recognize it as racism. The fear mongering of the Bush administration and the right wing media pundits who make a living from demonizing Arabs and Muslims have inundated people with images of the violent Arabs bent on death and destruction. For media outlets like Fox Television, it is a way to sell their sensationalist news programs and for the current administration, a way to sell its wars....(full article)

May Day at Yankee Stadium
by Mickey Z.

My wife Michele and I went to the Yankee game on May Day last year (2004). They gave out free caps. "NY" on the front, of course...and a shiny patch on the back of the hat acknowledged the giveaway day sponsor: Hess. The House that Ruth Built became a moveable ad for oil (instant replays brought to you by Dodge). The seventh inning stretch required fans to stand in honor of the “men and women in uniform” who fight to “preserve our way of life.” Fifty thousand removed their free caps, watched a digitized flag wave on the big screen, and held the Hess patch over cholesterol-laden hearts while belting out “God Bless America,” collectively choosing to ignore the blood being spilled to keep the world safe for petroleum (Michele and I opted for a strategic bathroom break at that point). The Yankees won and many of the fans promptly rushed out to drive home in their ubiquitous SUVs...adorned, of course, with the ubiquitous “support the troops” yellow ribbon sticker....(full article)

A Time of Changes
by Hsing Lee

As most of you know, Pope John Paul II, formerly known as Karol Wojtyla, died from organ failure after a series of prolonged illnesses. His is a complex portrait, and one worth a glance at this time of changes. Even as he was head of one of the most vile institutions in human history, an institutional merger of Spirituality and State into what we call Religion, in many ways he has been a great reformer within that institution. Even as he chaired the death cult that has caused more war, theft, and suffering than any other force in human history, he fought for freedom and prayed for peace. And for all the needless suffering his refusal to punish child molester priests has caused, for all the needless starvation and slow death in the developing world that his anti-birth control policies have caused, for all the AIDS his anti-condom policies have caused, in many ways he has taken more steps toward undoing the ravages of racism and ignorance than any Pope before him. The man was a walking contradiction. And love him or hate him, you have to respect the path he chose in leaving this world behind....
(full revelation)

Your Tax Dollars At Work
by William Fisher

It’s truly comforting to know that, even in the grip of post-9/11 paranoia, the G-men of the FBI are still using their resources efficiently. If you have any doubts, just ask Steve Kurtz. He is living proof that your tax dollars are hard at work....(full article)

History Lite
by Peter Kurth

Better people than I, last week -- provided they could wade their way through all those stories about the pope, and all the TV dramas pretending that “American voters never knew” Franklin Roosevelt had polio -- tried to balance Bush’s brain with Lincoln’s.  All of them, so far as I know, have since run shrieking into corners, begging for death, before another word escapes the mouth of the Idiot-in-Chief.  I refer especially to David Rossie’s piece in The Binghamton (NY) Press and Sun-Bulletin, which pled -- no, wept -- for Americans to wake up and see how far they’ve been duped.  Rossie did nothing but quote the respective commanders....(full article)

The Attorney General's Legal Advice, Government Spin
and the Iraq Weapons Inspectors
by Milan Rai

The publication of UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith’s legal advice, presented to Prime Minister Tony Blair on 7 March 2003, before the invasion of Iraq, but not published until today (28 April 2005), marks a significant defeat for the Government, and an important opportunity for the anti-war movement to educate the general public about some crucial realities -- particularly about the role and function of the UN weapons inspectors. Foreign Minister Jack Straw is piloting a new Big Lie for the Government to cover up its dishonesty. What does the legal advice mean? As long rumored, Lord Goldsmith's advice is finely balanced and equivocal -- the very opposite of the black-and-white legal certainty that military chiefs wanted and Tony Blair announced to the world....(full article)

April 28

The Onion Eater
by Joe Bageant

It was spring 1966 and down at the end of fraternity row in the exclusive new brick high-rise apartment building, the children of the rich and the few were partying hard. On the second floor balcony they socialized, cooked and drank beer with beautiful girls. The building even had a pool, a rare luxury in those times, and was the kind of place where only a few high-enders could afford to live while in school. That day a homeless person, an even rarer thing back then, shuffled by. Seeing them on the balcony, he asked for food.  His attitude was one of a supplicant at the feet of God:  “Pardon me, sirs...” The cream of American youth was moved. They threw him a raw onion, which he ate like an apple, while they cheered and hooted and guffawed. He was sick the rest of the day. They drove their BMWs to class, and they laughed and told and retold the story. Forty years later we see those frat boys of yesterday have come into their own, inheriting their daddies’ places in the world in the form of George Bush and his supporters....(full article)

They Were Young Once, and Fit
by Sheila Samples

My dad always responded to anything that was patently obvious with, “Well, yea-ah. Anybody with half sense and one eye knows that,” which was his way of saying don't go with the flow, but look at facts and come to your own conclusions. He also said, “If you're determined to show your ass, make sure it's a clean ‘un,” or -- get those facts straight before you jump out there and start concluding... Well, I've looked at heaps and piles of facts about what the deranged leaders of this nation are willing to do to the men and women who wear the US military uniform, and I've come to two conclusions. This country's most expendable commodity is its children and, with few exceptions, Americans appear to be both senseless and blind....
(full article)

Why I'm Not Standing with Gringo Vigilantes
Notes on Misplaced Autonomy

by Greg Moses

SouthWest Border Vigilantes say gringos should drop everything they are doing and go stand shoulder to shoulder at the Mexican border to prevent anybody from walking North. In response, I'm not saying gringo vigilantes are altogether stupid people, because there are most likely many areas of life where they display dignity and intelligence. The sooner they return to those areas the better. Yet suppose for the sake of peacemaking that we find common ground with vigilantes in their pure anxiety about the border. What they are worried about is a swamped labor market where more people share fewer jobs and declining pay. That anxiety has some basis in reality. But it is misleading to see the chief cause of the labor problem along an imaginary line that separates the USA from Mexico. Blame America's problems on Mexicans? The battle cry of the border vigilante is evidence that we live in desperate and confused times....(full article)

“We‘re Number One! We’re Number One!”
(Well, actually, number 27...)
by Dennis Rahkonen

There are as many Americans living below the official poverty line as the combined populations of Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Tennessee.  (William Quigley, Ending Poverty as We Know it: Guaranteeing a Right to a Job at a Living Wage, Temple University Press, 2003) In only four of America’s 3,066 counties can a full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a single-bedroom apartment. (New York Times, "Study Finds Gap in Wages and Housing Costs," December 25, 2004) Attribute this largely to a Wal-Martized economy where sweatshop friendly mega retailers cut the legs out from under local, community benefiting businesses, forcing our consequently beleaguered working class ever closer to rock bottom. Desperation on Main Street is measured by the diminishing number of days that even a two-breadwinner family’s paychecks last, as bills relentlessly mount. That isn’t the better lives for their progeny our parents and grandparents so glowingly envisioned.  It represents an unacceptable betrayal of their fondest hope, and the hallowed American Dream itself....(full article)

In Iraq, the Center Cannot Hold
by Ken Sanders

Immediately following Iraq's elections in January, the Bush administration and its apologists declared that the "successful" elections in Iraq delivered a "body blow" to the insurgency. In March, General John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, and Lt. General John F. Sattler, the top Marine officer in Iraq, both declared that the strength of the insurgency was waning thanks, in large part, of the elections. General Abizaid even went so far as to predict that by the end of 2005, Iraqi security forces would be leading the fight against the insurgents. At first, it appeared that Bush & Co. might actually have been correct. In the weeks immediately following the elections, it did appear as though insurgent attacks were more sporadic and less effective. In short, it seemed relatively quiet in Iraq. Appearances, however, are often deceiving....(full article)

A Scandal of Irony: Abramoff Used DeLay to Fund Anti-Intifada Militia
by Joshua Frank

It shouldn't come as much of a shock that Jack Abramoff, the infamous DC super-lobbyist who has been accused of ripping off millions from his Native American clients, is a rabid Zionist. Abramoff, in the late 1990s, set up a pro-Israel charity front called the Capital Athletic Foundation. Sounds jovial enough. “The pitch ... was hard to resist,” Michael Isikoff recently reported for Newsweek, “a good way to get access on Capitol Hill, he told his clients ... was to contribute to [his] worthy charity ... [which] was supposed to provide sports programs and teach ‘leadership skills’ to city youth. Donating to it also had a side benefit, Abramoff told his clients: it was a favored cause of Rep. Tom DeLay.”....(full article)

Appeals Court Nominee Janice Rogers Brown Merits the Filibuster
by Gene C. Gerard

In 2003, President Bush nominated California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Courts of Appeals.  However, due to her ultra-conservative judicial views, the Democrats in the Senate prevented her nomination from going forward by use of the filibuster. Mr. Bush re-nominated her again in February. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a party-line vote, approved of her nomination, with all 10 Republicans affirming her, and all eight Democrats opposing her. Unless Republicans elect to carry out the so-called “nuclear option” of abolishing the filibuster, Democrats will almost certainly block her nomination again. And for good reasons....(full article)

Abu Ghraib One Year Later: Have Those Responsible Gotten Off?
Republican Leaders Urged to Appoint an Independent
Special Prosecutor to Investigate U.S. Torture Policy

by Kevin Zeese

When the Abu Ghraib prison photographs emerged one year ago the Bush Administration said: now the Iraqis will see that there is justice in the United States. Leading Republican Senators, John Warner, Lindsay Graham and John McCain, promised that everyone culpable would be held accountable, no matter how senior. Hopefully, the Iraqis were not watching too closely....
(full article)

April 26-27

Hating the Bible
by Kim Petersen

Since George W. Bush assumed the US presidency, his regime has defied international law and wreaked murderous havoc on developing nations. Many political pundits have pointed to the neoconservative agenda as announced in the Project for the New American Century’s unabashed call for a Pax Americana. But Bush and some of his circle also claim to be taking cues from the Christian God. If this is true, then presumably Christian teaching is influencing the only superpower and hence the rest of the world. The Bible forms the core of Christian thought. It is a selective compilation of tales that has had and has stupefying transformative powers in the world. As such, an understanding of the Bible is important. Toronto-based Tony Malone is an accomplished musician and freethinker who devoted several years researching rare and valuable biblical works. The result was his two richly illustrated books The Bible For People Who Hate The Bible....(full article)

An Independent Green Party Can Be the Majority Political Party
in the United States in 20 Years

by Jerry Kann

Where do I want the Green Party to be in 20 years? In 2025, I want the Green Party to be the majority political party in the United States. I want most of the members of Congress, most governors, and most members of state legislatures, to be Greens. This is a very ambitious goal, but by no means an unrealistic one. History has many examples of small, upstart parties rising to majority status, notably the Republican Party under Lincoln and the British Labour Party in the first half of the last century. The next third party success story could be the Green Party. But people aren’t stupid. If they see the Greens collaborating with, say, the Democratic Party in presidential elections, people will begin to ask what makes us Greens different. If they see us retreating from the battleground states for fear of “taking away” votes from the Democrats -- as indeed the official Green Party campaign did in 2004 -- they will ask the perfectly reasonable question: Why should I bother supporting Greens if it’s just a roundabout way of supporting Democrats? (full article)

“It’s a Wobbly Year”: An Interview with Paul Buhle on the IWW
by Derek Seidman

2005 marks the centennial of the founding of the most bold, radical, and egalitarian mass union in US history: the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, also known as the Wobblies). Big Bill Haywood, “The Rebel Girl” Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Joe Hill, Free Speech fights, the Patterson and Lawrence strikes, “Solidarity Forever”, and so much more: the legacy of the Wobblies is one of the most enduring things in the American radical tradition. Paul Buhle, a professor of American Civilization at Brown University and a leading scholar of American radical history, is co-author of the new Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the IWW. In a recent interview with Left Hook ( co-editor Derek Seidman, Buhle answered some questions about the IWW, his new book, and the Traveling Wobbly show ( article)

Carter Gets It -- But Will His Electoral Commission?
by Kevin Zeese and Linda Schade

The best news coming out of the first hearing of the Carter-Baker Commission is that the co-chairs recognize that Americans are losing faith in their democracy, and that even in the 2004 presidential election -- among the most passionate elections in recent history -- 40% did not vote and, increasing numbers of voters lack confidence that their votes were counted as cast.   The bad news is that a corporate conflict of interest of one member of the Commission raises doubts that they will recommend the common sense necessity -- voter verified paper ballots....(full article)

Reprieve for the Sire: A Post-Analytic Exposé
by Rosa Faiz

“Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employments for my time and strength, than such arguments would imply … At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed … The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes … must be proclaimed and denounced.” (Frederick Douglass, 5 July 1852, in a speech titled What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”) With this statement we agree one hundred and some percent. One may in fact be tempted to call the current era a Post-Analytic Era. Meaning, we are well past the point where analysis alone is the primary needed catalyst to spark a change in the hearts and minds of the truly downtrodden. One may more efficaciously invest in growing less scared of the system by creating autonomous institutions of our own, and thus becoming less impressed by the system’s claims to omnipotence, and more discerning of its weaknesses. For it can only be a supremely unstable and weekly-invested system that needs to kill and deceive, murder and rape and insult daily for its survival. For a demonstration of all-the-analysis-you-need, here is a post-analytic exposé....(full article)

American Hypocracy* At Work:
Shooting the Messenger Who Reported Human Rights
Abuses in Afghanistan
by Harold Williamson

In a report issued to the UN Commission on Human Rights, M. Cherif Bassiouni reported on allegations that American military forces and independent contractors in Afghanistan acted above the law with "sexual abuse, beatings, torture, and use of force resulting in death."  As a result, the UN Commission on Human Rights was pressured at a meeting in Geneva by U.S. diplomats to eliminate his post that was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last April: the United Nation's "independent expert on human rights in Afghanistan."....(full article)

Bush-Backed Drug Marketing Schemes
by Evelyn J. Pringle

At an FDA hearing on the safety of psychotropic drugs on Feb 2, 2004, dozens of tortured parents testified that their children had committed suicide or other violent acts after being prescribed the same drugs that are being marketed in the Bush-backed pharmaceutical industry schemes aimed at recruiting the nation's 52 million school children as customers. In July 2003, the Bush appointed New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health (NFC) recommended screening all children for mental illness and designated TeenScreen as a model program to ensure that every student receives a mental health check-up before finishing high school. The NFC also has a preferred drug program in place modeled after the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), which lists what drugs are to be used on children found to be mentally ill. The list contains every drug that people complained about at the FDA hearing, including Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Wellbutron, Zyban, Remeron, Serzone, Effexor, Buspar, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroqual, Geodone, Depakote, Adderall, and Prozac. There is little if any evidence that these drugs work on children but, nevertheless, an estimated 10 million children in the US are now taking these mind-altering drugs even though they have documented side effects including suicidal ideation, mania, psychosis, and future drug dependence....(full article)

Even Two Boots is Two Too Many
by Mark Drolette

The Eyes Wide Open exhibition, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, came to Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento recently.  I live right across the street, so it took me about three minutes to walk to the traveling presentation on a gorgeous California spring day. Over 1,500 pairs of combat boots were arrayed on the lawn, symbolizing the number of reported U.S. military dead in Iraq.  Some of the footgear belonged to the deceased; the rest was donated by a surplus store.  An adjacent grassy area held about 1,000 pairs of neatly-arranged shoes, a memorial to the estimated 100,000-plus Iraqi citizens killed since America, unprovoked, attacked their country. As people quietly wandered through the display, many pausing to read the occasional newspaper article or note accompanying a pair of boots, the names and ages of the dead, soldiers and civilians alike, were read aloud by volunteers one by one, each name punctuated at reading’s end by a woman dinging a chime.  One by one, that is, except for the periodic Iraqi appellation followed by “and 29 family members, ages unknown” or some similar ghastly number....(full article)

The Horowitz Gang: Nothing Short of Fascist
by Joshua Frank

David Horowitz and his gang never cease to amaze. From their crackpot intellectualism, to their red baiting antics -- it's clear the folks over at are nothing short of fascist. On April 25, Ann Coulter wannabe and FrontPage darling, Debbie Schlussel, had this to say about the death of peace activist Marla Ruzicka, who, as I am sure you know, was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq earlier this month....(full article)

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Armageddon?
The Arming Of India And Pakistan

by Media Lens

At the beginning of every episode of the long running sci-fi series, The X-Files, viewers were shown the mysterious words “I want to believe.” We were to understand that one of the FBI investigators in the show was eager to overcome his skepticism, to be persuaded that aliens, goblins and suchlike really exist. When it comes to the humanity and compassion of leaders like Tony Blair and George Bush, mainstream journalists also “want to believe.”....(full article)

The Screams That Deaniacs Need to Hear
by Dan Raphael

He should have stayed at Democratic Party headquarters. In a speech delivered in Minneapolis on April 20th, Howard Dean said of the US military occupation of Iraq, “Now that we’re there, we’re there and we can’t get out.” He also extended his firm endorsement of George Bush’s policy of aggression, stating “I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he’s there.” That’s the role of “progressive” politicians -- and their adoring fans: to endorse the murderous policies of George Bush. The $40,000 raised for the Democratic Party as proceeds from Dean’s speech is simply more blood money, the byproduct of the political apparatus that makes sure the killing floor abroad is kept busy.  Perhaps this taste for blood can be explained by the fondness Deaniacs in particular have for screams; this time, though, it is not their pop idol who is roaring, but countless real-life people experiencing the hard-headed realism of the likes of Howard Dean and the rest of George Bush’s supporters....(full article)

The "Freedom" of Afghanistan's Women
by Ken Sanders

Last month, First Lady Laura Bush did something her husband never dared -- she went to Afghanistan. While there, Mrs. Bush went to great pains to applaud her husband and to highlight the progress and achievements made by Afghan women. Thanks to Bush's benevolence, the women of Afghanistan are now free. Free to walk the streets without burqas or male supervision. Free to vote. Free to go to school. Indeed, on May 9, 2003, President Bush boldly declared that the days when Afghan women "were beaten in streets and executed in soccer fields are over." According to Bush, women's human rights in Afghanistan are a "foreign policy imperative and a cornerstone of all U.S. humanitarian efforts in the region." If only the facts supported the rhetoric....(full article)

Maoism is the “Greatest Internal Security Threat”
Maoist and Muslim Insurgencies in the Philippines

by Gary Leupp

Philippines Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz stated recently that the threat posed by the New People’s Army (NPA), the military wing of the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines, has made it imperative for Manila to negotiate an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The MILF is one of two major Muslim insurgent groups in the southern third of the archipelago. (The other, the Moro National Liberation Front, has already signed a peace agreement.) The government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has asked the U.S. State Department to leave the MILF off of its list of international terrorist organizations in order to promote the peace talks. Cruz calls the NPA “the greatest internal security threat to the country now.” What’s significant here is that Manila is downplaying the problem of Muslim insurgency while emphasizing that of the resurgent Maoist People’s War, whereas the U.S. has depicted its own renewed military presence in the islands exclusively as an effort to crush al-Qaeda-linked Islamic terrorism....(full article)

Crusader for a Christian Nation
Dr. D. James Kennedy may not be as well-known as Falwell, Robertson,
or Dobson, but he packs a powerful political punch in Washington
by Bill Berkowitz

In all the hullabaloo raised by the coverage of the Terri Schiavo case and the cable news network's fixation on the so-called miracle of Ashley Smith -- the Atlanta woman freed by her kidnapper, after he murdered four people and subsequent to her reading passages from Rick Warren's best selling Christian self-help book The Purpose Driven Life to him -- few are talking about the elephant in the room: the Christian right's vision of transforming America into a Christian nation....(full article)

Ghosts Don’t Exist and God is Dead!
by Gordon Johns

Today, I overheard two regular sorts of people talking about the “Amityville Horror” movie that was just released.  One man, a large straight-laced self-proclaimed Christian with racist tendencies stated, “that’s a bunch of garbage, ghosts don’t exist!”  In which an attractive female replied, “How do you know?” I was staring at the two and they must have noticed because the women asked, “what?”  I blurted out some simple reply like “oh nothing”, but then I thought about it and asked the Christian man two simple questions that upset him greatly and instantly:....(full article)

Ratzinger’s Plan to Hide the Pedophiles
by Mike Whitney

The U.K. Observer has produced evidence that the new Pope Benedict XVI was directly involved in obstructing justice in the investigation of pedophile priests. The article, “Confidential letter reveals Ratzinger ordered Bishops to keep allegations secret,” details how Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger “issued an order ensuring the church’s investigations into sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.” (The Observer, April 24, 2005) The order was sent to American bishops in May 2001 and “asserted the church’s right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood.” (18 years old) What right would that be? The right to protect the Catholic Church from the lawsuits of psychologically damaged victims? Or the right to ignore the laws of the host nation in which the pedophile priests were serving? (full article)

A Shriek in the Wilderness
by Minna vander Pfaltz

...But the hue and cry of more rigorous intellectuals -- that Creationism is unfounded, poor science -- misses the point of Creationism and the extremities of religious intolerance: why is it being propounded? Why is it being forced, by law, onto the rest of the American world (to begin with)? Their agenda has been made quite plain: dominate and destroy. But there is more to it than this....(full article)

The Senator vs. the Narc Pirates of Highway 281
Legalizing Law Enforcement in the South Texas Drug Wars

by Greg Moses

South Texas seems an unlikely place for boosting people's rights during an age when everywhere else people's rights are coming down. But once you think about it, of course it makes sense that wherever an entire geographical region is subjected to the experience of lockdown, there might be the precise place to look for practical resistance rising. And if you're going to have a Texas-sized fight between people-power and self-made mercenaries who run around dressed in trappings of state why not have that fight in the boot tracks of a homeland security stomping grounds, along two state highways that shoot a hundred miles North from the Mexican border cities of Reynosa and Matomoros? (full article)

The Nuclear Option” and the One Party State
by Paul Street

America’s wacky right wing party and political system doesn’t get much worse than this. On Sunday, the Republican United States Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) appeared on a national evangelical Christian television show that depicted Democrats as being against religious believers. Frist’s remarks appeared as part of a “Justice Sunday” telecast titled “The Filibuster Against People of Faith.” “Justice Sunday” is set up by the Family Research Council, a Washington-D.C.-based right wing lobbying group that is helping lead a reactionary “Christian” campaign to impose right-wing political dominance over the federal judiciary. The Sunday broadcast denounced the Democrats for using the 200-year old Senate filibuster procedure to block the appointment to federal judicial positions of nominees who oppose abortion rights as a matter of moral and religious principle. It’s a bit of an odd role for Frist, who has not been as strongly associated with the Christian rights as his more messianic fellow Republican leaders House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-Texas) and President George W. Bush (R-Texas). “With his patrician bearing and background in the relatively liberal Presbyterian Church,” the New York Times noted last Friday, “Dr, Frist, a Harvard-trained transplant surgeon, does not fit in as naturally with Christian conservatives as President Bush.”....(full article)


April 25

Let’s Let Atheists Back into Politics
by Mike Whitney

There’s simple rule for atheists and agnostics in America: keep your head down and your mouth shut. I recently wrote an article for Dissident Voice web site criticizing the new Pope and organized religion. Boy, did the brickbats start to fly. Many were put off by my assessment of the Pope as right-wing extremist who will undoubtedly lead the papal caravan back to the 13th century. More were offended by my dismissive remarks about religion. Why? Is it such a stretch to acknowledge that someone may have an opinion that veers from the majority? (According to the latest polls, 90% of Americans believe in God) Or, is it simply because atheists and their unwelcome worldview offer a real challenge to people of faith? (full article)

Canada’s Oil Invasion
by Kim Petersen

The world’s largest known hydrocarbon resource is neither in Iraq nor in Saudi Arabia. The oil sands in the western Canadian province of Alberta comprise the largest known hydrocarbon reserves -- estimated at over 300 billion barrels of currently recoverable oil. The oil sands contain bitumen, a viscous mixture of hydrocarbons that requires melioration into crude oil before it can be refined into various fuels. Recovery of the oil is energy intensive, environmentally disruptive, and expensive (although the soaring cost of oil is making extraction more profitable). The oil sands are found in three different deposits in northern Alberta: Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake. Situated east of Peace River is the 10,000 square kilometer traditional territory of the Lubicon Lake First Nation, a Cree community of about 500 people. The community was overlooked when the federal government sought treaties with First Nations in the area in 1899. Since then, the federal government has neglected its responsibility to look after the best interests of the Lubicon while the Alberta government began to sell off the resources to corporate interests....(full article)

Minuteman Project to Confront Foreign Capital
by Seth Sandronsky

In 2005, the global economy makes people move. They are part of a migrant job market within and between all nations.  These children, women and men seek jobs because of poor work opportunities at home.  Some call this freedom.  It is not for them but good enough for other folks. Consider some migrant laborers who travel the U.S. Mexican border.  They have been meeting a new force there. It goes by the name of the Minuteman Project, comprised of volunteers.  The MP’s mission is to defend the U.S. border.  Soon the MP will expand its mission from intercepting foreign workers to slowing foreign capital.  This money has been flooding into the U.S. below the political radar screen of public sentiment.  The time for financial flood control is here, according to the MP.  Its mission creep is striking fear into the hearts of overseas investors whose excess cash has been funding the American nation’s federal deficit....(full article)

GOP to Stake Exclusive Claim to Earth's Sun
by Arthur Creosote

(Associated Depressed Newswire) In a further attempt to conserve the nation’s energy supply and to lower skyrocketing gas prices, Tennessee Republican Senator Bill Frist has introduced legislation in the Senate that would mandate that the Earth’s rotation be stopped permanently so that the United States has daylight 24 hours a day, seven days a week. President George W. Bush has vowed to sign the proposal into law if passed....
(full article)

April 22

An Earth Day Irony: Environmentalists Against Nature
by Joshua Frank

Earth Day is finally here, and it's always nice to say thank you to those enviros out there that work day in and day out to protect our natural environment. So here's a short excerpt from Left Out! -- and a big thanks to the Sierra Club, for, well, not much!....(full article)

* Blog Entry of the Day: Dissident Voice contributing writer Leilla Matsui has an on-line journal, Rage Against the Washing Machine. Here's an entry on "conservative" nutcase Ann Coulter that tickled our fancy....(full slam)

Howard Dean Becomes Leader of the Other Pro-War Party
Dean on Iraq: “We're There and We Can't Get Out”

by Kevin Zeese

It didn't take long. The former anti-war presidential candidate has now become the pro-occupation leader of the Democratic Party. Just when a majority of the public is saying the Iraq War is not worth it, Howard Dean the new leader of the Democratic Party is saying: “Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out.”....(full article)

Why “Inside-Outside” is Getting Nowhere
Backing Democrats Has Pulled the Antiwar Movement to the Right
by Elizabeth Schulte

Elizabeth Schulte explains why the antiwar movement has to remain independent from the Democratic Party....(full article)

What Kind of Movement Do We Need?
Attempts to Limit Debate Only Weaken Antiwar Organizing
by Alan Maass

The U.S. occupation of Iraq, now more than two years old, remains the defining issue in world politics. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians are dead -- so are more than 1,500 U.S. soldiers. The Abu Ghraib abuse scandal has exposed the U.S. government’s use of torture around the world. Every one of George Bush’s justifications for the invasion has been exposed as a lie, and his approval ratings have hit a new low. So why is the antiwar movement not growing? (full article)

April 21

The Truth About the “Ricin Cell”: There Was No Ricin and No Cell
by Milan Rai

On 13 April, an Algerian asylum-seeker named Kamel Bourgass was found guilty of plotting to use poisons to cause a “public nuisance” in Britain. This rather minor offense has been blown up into a national crisis by the British Government, the police, the intelligence services, and the mass media, in yet another example of “counter-terror” scaremongering. At the start of the misnamed “ricin affair” in January 2003, the public was told that an al Qaeda cell had been arrested before it could launch a terrorist attack using the chemical weapon “ricin”. The public was told that the police had discovered traces of ricin in the flat used by the cell. It has now been established that there was no “ricin” and no “cell”....(full article)

In Britain, An Absurdity: Persuading People They
Have a Political Choice

by John Pilger

A familiar, if desperate media push is under way to convince the British people that the main political parties offer them a democratic choice in the general election on 5 May. This demonstrable absurdity became hilarious when Tony Blair, leader of one of the nastiest, most violent right-wing regimes in memory, announced the existence of "a very nasty right-wing campaign" to defeat him. If only it was that funny. If only it was possible to read the "ah but" tributes to a "successful" Labour government without cracking a rib. If only it was possible to read warmongers bemoaning the "apathy" of the British electorate without one's laughter being overtaken by the urge to throw up....(full article)

Uncle Sam Would Be a Good Used Car Salesman:
How America Maintains its Hegemony Both Military and Economically

by Igor Volsky

Progressive policy critics and moderate government insiders have long cautioned against a sustained American presence in the Middle East. American encroachment, they warn, radicalizes young Muslim fundamentalists and substantiates Bin Laden’s message of religious Jihad. Administration officials dismiss these critics publicly (although rare words of candor do sometimes escape -- CIA Chief Goss admitted that the Iraqi invasion has made America less safe) but concede their points privately. Ambitions of U.S. hegemony and supremacy however supersede security concerns. Ideological ambition to “maintain a lock on the world’s energy lifeline and potentially deny access to its global competitors” (like China) is priority number one for American policy makers. Control and access can be maintained in two ways -- military and economically....(full article)

Does the Resistance Target Civilians? According to US Intel,
Not Really

by M. Junaid Alam

The ceaseless demonization of Iraqis committed to ending foreign control of their country is a key ideological crutch for maintaining the American occupation. Smearing the armed resistance as a band of murderous thugs is well understood by American war planners to be a crucial part of effective counter-insurgency work. Obviously, brutal and horrific attacks on Iraqi civilians have been carried out by some forces claiming to be a part of the resistance. But there is strong evidence from US government and independent intelligence data suggesting that this phenomenon has been wildly exaggerated and torn out of context, creating a false public perception that serves to prop up domestic support for the occupation....(full article)

How to Unpickle a Nation
by St-Saulte Petre

The outcries at yet another outrage by terrorists results in sending more troops somewhere. As this was the war whoop for Vietnam, it is no wonder that a few Army Intelligence Officers in their plush offices deep in the bowels of the Pentagon, which was not gutted by terrorists, are having second thoughts. As the CIA has engaged in the use of liars, cheats, drug dealers, ex-murderers and other scum of the earth in their never ending quest for intelligence, I suggest the Armed Forces do the same. There is, however, no need to scour the streets for likely suspects, they are conveniently located under one roof, as it were: the U.S. prison system....(full article)

Opening ANWR to Development Could Lead to
“Exxon Valdez” Type of Disaster, Activist Claims
by Jason Leopold

It's true that thousands of caribou and other types of wildlife will be displaced if Washington D.C. lawmakers pass a measure to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But there's an even bigger issue floating under the radar: the very real possibility of an environmental tragedy that could be as catastrophic as the 1989 oil spill caused by the Exxon Valdez oil tanker if swift measures aren't taken to address severe safety and maintenance issues plaguing drilling operations in nearby Prudhoe Bay -- North America's biggest oil field, 60 miles west of ANWR -- and other areas on Alaska's North Slope. That's just one of many alarming claims that employees working for BP, the parent of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., the Anchorage company that runs the 24-year-old Prudhoe Bay on behalf of Phillips Alaska Inc., Exxon Mobil and other oil companies, have made over the years as a way of drawing attention to the dozens of oil spills -- three of which occurred between March and April alone -- that could boil over and happen at ANWR if BP continues to neglect safety issues and the area is opened up to further oil and gas  exploration....(full article)


Pope Ratzinger: More “Pie-in-the-Sky” for
the Struggling Masses
by Mike Whitney

Marx was wrong. Religion isn’t the “opium of the masses.” Its effects are never that benign. No, religion is a shackle clasped to the mind of man, keeping him from utilizing the one thing that lifts him above the primordial swamp of fear and superstition -- his inquiring mind. The appointment of the new pope, Joseph Ratzinger, guarantees that that mental shackle will be cinched up a notch or two, and the papal caravan that’s winding back to the Dark Ages will steadily gain in momentum. Wherever we look, the institutions that protect secular democracy are being uprooted from their moorings and tossed on the slagheap. A right-wing ideologue like Pope Benedict XVI just puts the finishing touches on a global system that’s already dominated by Islamic fanatics, Jewish settler-extremists and Christian fundamentalists all brandishing the same cudgel of intolerance and all eager to force “infidels” to conform to their twisted doctrine....(full sermon)

Pope Benedict XVI's Questionable Qualifications
by Bill Berkowitz

If Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's involvement with the Hitler Youth and his stonewalling of the pedophile priests scandal aren't enough to disqualify him from becoming pope, what would? (full sermon)

The New Pope and Journalism’s Crisis of Faith
by Norman Solomon

The papacy of Benedict XVI confronts journalists with a key question: How much critical scrutiny is appropriate when a religious leader gains enormous power? So far, most American media outlets seem to be walking on eggshells to avoid tough coverage of the new pope. Caution is in the air, and some of it is valid. Anti-Catholic bigotry has a long and ugly history in the United States. News organizations should stay away from disparaging the Catholic faith, which certainly deserves as much respect as any other religion. At the same time, the Vatican is a massive global power. Though it has no army, it is more powerful than many governments. And in the present day, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is the capital of political reaction garbed in religiosity. Many dividing lines between theology and ideology have virtually disappeared....(full revelation)

The Papal Aristocracy: Confessions of a Nonbeliever
by Jack Random

It is typically American to fawn over the ritual pageantry of crowning a new Pope. For though, as a nation of immigrants and usurpers, we have thrown off the yoke of royalty, aristocracy, monarchy and most of the spectacle that attends such elitism, it is as if we continually yearn for that lost part of ourselves that we excised like a cancer in the war for independence. Like the melancholy Edmund Burke, we crow in eternal sorrow, “The age of chivalry is dead!” I do not share the obsession. I prefer the theatre of realism, the comedy of the absurd, and the drama of existentialism to the spectacular illusions of the Royal Court. I am no fan of the grand musicals of a forgotten time. I do not yearn for the age of romance or chivalry or heroism for I recognize that the very concepts were not only lies but malevolent lies employed in the exploitation of human kind. I am frankly embarrassed by the idolatry of the people for all things royal....(full confession)

-- Song Lyrics of the Day --

by The Damned (from "Machine Gun Etiquette", 1979)

I'm going back to church tonight
Just like back when I was eight
But I don't mean to pray
I'm gonna nick the collection plate

I've got nothing against church
Only people who go there
and show they're
Plain ignorant and don't understand
a congregation at weekends won't change their behaviour
So many people are weak enough to have
to seek answers from the peddlers of hope
I should know
I had to go there myself
Not since the day I became antipope

There's gonna be some fun tonight
Spread the news around the town
That the vicar's a transvestite
With a fetish for robes and gowns

I've got nothing against church
Only people who go there
and show they're
Plain ignorant and don't understand
a congregation at weekends won't change their behaviour
So many people are weak enough to have
to seek answers from the peddlers of hope
I should know
I had to go there myself
Not since the day I became antipope

Religion doesn't mean a thing
Its just another way of being right wing
I think sex films are okay
I don't dig that pope no way

I've got nothing against church
Only people who go there
and show they're
Plain ignorant and don't understand
a congregation at weekends won't change their behaviour
So many people are weak enough to have
to seek answers from the peddlers of hope
I should know
I had to go there myself
Not since the day I became antipope


* * * * * Amen * * * *

Eating Profit: Frustrations of the Salmon-Farming Industry
by Kim Petersen

In the west coast of Canada, biologist Alexandra Morton warned about salmon farms acting as a conduit for sea lice infestation of wild salmon. Sea lice infestation has been associated with the annihilation of wild salmon. The salmon world is abuzz again with corroborative research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B in late March. The scientific conclusions set the salmon-farming operators back on the defensive again. "The peer-reviewed primary scientific literature on sea lice interactions between wild and farmed salmon in British Columbia makes the following conclusions: (1) infection rates on wild juvenile pink salmon were greater in salmon farming regions than in regions without salmon farms; (2) within a salmon farming region most lice on wild juvenile pink and chum salmon originated from farmed salmon; and (3) transmission of lice from farmed to wild salmon leads to population growth and spread of lice in wild salmon populations. Salmon aquaculture likely has negative impacts on wild salmon populations and the next scientific challenge is to quantify this impact." Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA), complained in an editorial that “when public scrutiny is driven by activist agendas with little regard for the truth, companies, communities and consumers are the losers.” The listed order is significant: companies are primary with consumers listed last....(full article)

The Anti-Empire Report
"Revolution", Imperial Arrogance, and Questions for God
by William Blum

William Blum on "revolutions" in Eastern Europe, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction report, Cuba, Social Security reform, questions for God, and more....(full article)

Israel's Military "Justice" in the Occupied Territories
by Neve Gordon

An Israeli Jew and a Palestinian meet in transit right after having been sentenced in court. The Palestinian asks the Jew how much time he's got. "Three years," says the Jew. "The judge was relatively lenient, though, and took into account that the guard who tried to stop me from robbing the bank didn't die from his wounds. How much time did you get?"
"Seven years for driving without my headlights on," says the Palestinian.
"Wow! That is a hefty punishment," the Jew exclaims.
"On the contrary, my judge was also lenient. He noted that if I had been caught driving without headlights during the night he would have sentenced me to fifteen years."
Black humor like this circulated in Israel during the first intifada, functioning as a coping mechanism for liberal sabras bewildered by the egregious violations their country was perpetrating against Palestinians. This particular joke alludes to the discriminatory and often absurd logic of the military court system in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, a system that is explored in depth for the first time in Lisa Hajjar's Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza....(full article)

Hitchens for the Hall of Fame?
by Omar Waraich

The May edition of Vanity Fair nominated The Nation magazine publisher Victor Navasaky for its Hall of Fame, but Omar Waraich argues it should be former leftist, now neocon windbag Christopher Hitchens....(full article)

April 19

Of the Black Man’s Burden and White Pathology
by Rodney Foxworth

Rodney Foxworth offers a critique of Dissident Voice contributing writer Joe Bageant's recent essay "Let’s Drink to the Slobbering Classes": "Bageant, whose previous works allowed him to advocate for the white lower-income laborer, giving them voice and cadence without invoking images of shaved-hair adolescents or Nazi Germany, betrayed my trust with this piece, an unfortunate, though not entirely unforeseen occurrence. A self-described “godless commie” and Virginian, Bageant asserts several postulates that appear beneath his intellectual capabilities; as well, it seems with this piece Bageant took for granted the relative diversity of the progressive community, for it is fair to say that my white colleagues (and it does seem as though the left is overwhelmingly “white”, but this is another topic to be discussed at another time) would have allowed this bit of unfounded diatribe to go unchallenged."....(full article)

Voltaire on Marla Ruzicka
by Richard Estes

As many of you probably already know, Marla Ruzicka, a young American woman known for her tireless efforts to document civilian casualties in Iraq and obtain US compensation for them, was killed by a suicide bomber while traveling near a convoy along the dangerous Baghdad airport road. Ruzicka was truly inspiring in her willingness to take incomprehensible risks to assist some of the victims of the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It must be said, however, that her political approach to the war in Iraq was fundamentally misguided, either because, as suggested within this very informative David Corn article, she acquiesced in the inevitability of the occupation, or actually came around to supporting the Occupation Authority against the resistance....(full article)

April 18

Homegrown Terrorists and Homeland Security
by Bill Berkowitz

Ten years after Oklahoma City, why doesn't the Department of Homeland Security see America's homegrown right-wing terrorists as a major threat? (full article)

The Purveyors of Violence: The NY Times in Falluja
by Mike Whitney

Cameras aren’t allowed in Falluja. Neither are journalists. If they were then we would have first-hand proof of America’s greatest war crime in the last 30 years: the Dresden-like bombardment of an entire city of 250,000. Instead, we have to rely on eyewitness accounts that appear on the internet or the spurious reports that sporadically surface in the New York Times and Associated Press. For the most part, the Times and AP have shown themselves to be undependable, limiting their coverage to the details that support the overall goals of the occupation. For example, in the last few weeks both the NYT and the AP ran stories on the alleged progress being made in Falluja. The AP outrageously referred to the battered city as “the safest place in Iraq,” a cynical appraisal of what most independent journalists have called nearly total destruction. One can only wonder if the editors at the AP would approve of similar security measures if they were taken in their own neighborhoods....(full article)

When Media Dogs Don’t Bark
by Norman Solomon

By coincidence, the conflict between General Motors and the L.A. Times went public just as a new report highlighted the media clout of advertisers and other powerful interests in business and government. The media watch group FAIR (where I’m an associate) released the results of its fifth annual “Fear & Favor” report on “how power shapes the news.” The FAIR report, by Peter Hart and Julie Hollar, provides context with sobering information: “A survey of media workers by four industry labor unions found respondents concerned about ‘pressure from advertisers trying to shape coverage’ as well as ‘outside control of editorial policy.’ In May [2004], the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released a survey of media professionals that found reporters concerned about how bottom-line pressures were affecting news quality and integrity. In their summary ... Bill Kovach, Tom Rosensteil and Amy Mitchell wrote that journalists ‘report more cases of advertisers and owners breaching the independence of the newsroom.’” Among the examples in the new “Fear & Favor” report are these gems....(full article)

Jefferson, Mao, and the Revolution in Nepal
by Gary Leupp

....Fear of Maoist revolution greatly exceeds Washington’s concern about Nepal’s present human rights situation. Thus while the U.S. and most of its allies have condemned the king’s coup and reduced aid in its wake, US Ambassador Moriarty implies sympathy with the king’s position. “We recognize,” he states, “that as of Jan 31, Nepal didn’t really have a functioning multi-party democracy, it had a multi-party government. We are worried that what is happening in the interim will make it more difficult for the king to achieve these goals.” But meanwhile the U.S. will manufacture thousands more M16 rifles promised to the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA), hoping the political situation will improve well enough for their delivery, and arguing that nothing could be worse (more “terrific”) than a Nepal under the Red Flag....(full article

The Nuclear Option
by Patricia Goldsmith

It’s true that those who cited moral values as their main concern did vote overwhelmingly for Bush (80 to 18 percent), but the difference was no greater in 2004 than in 2000 and therefore could not explain the win.  As time went by, it also came to light that some of those citing moral values were in fact Democrats coming from an entirely different ethical universe. Nevertheless, both the media and the leadership of the Democratic Party have taken up the cause of moral values with great fervor since the election. After reading one Sunday opinion column after another excoriating Democrats for their awkwardness in dealing with private religious matters in public settings, it’s tempting to see a causal relationship between media harping and Democratic compliance....(full article)

Pentagon Private Accounts
by Seth Sandronsky

Oh say can we see record federal deficits with no end in sight.  What with big tax cuts for corporations and millionaires as Operation Iraqi Freedom continues, and energy-rich Iran menacing the American people, the time for fiscal prudence is now.  Fortunately, I have the key to this crucial shift in public policy that involves a change in U.S. defense spending. Patriotically, I follow in President Bush’s footsteps as he pitches to save Social Security with personal accounts replacing part of the current payroll tax.  Plus my solution will also please those all-important Wall Street financial firms in America’s money democracy: private accounts for the Pentagon....(full article)

The Contradiction of Supporting the Troops, While Opposing Their Actions: A Reply to Joshua Frank’s “Contradictions of the Anti-War Movement”
by Richard Moreno

Let me preface this article by stating that I consider myself antiwar in the sense of being an anti-imperialist and that I approach any military conflict from an internationalist perspective.  Accordingly, I believe that in an imperialist war that we have no country, i.e., no "fatherland."  From this viewpoint, I will analyze Joshua Frank's article titled in part "Supporting the Troops, While Opposing Their Actions" in the hope to demarcate two lines within the antiwar movement: one liberal and chauvinistic at its root and the other anti-imperialist and therefore genuinely internationalist....(full article)

April 14-15

Screw You, Paul Volker!
by Mike Whitney

Ex-Fed Chairman Paul Volker is just the latest of the political heavyweights to signal that the American economy is headed for the rocks. Volker’s views appeared this week in the Washington Post and are consistent with the other predictions of doom now circulating in the media. In an article titled “On Thin Ice” the former Fed master pointed to the “huge imbalances” that are creating “circumstances as dangerous and intractable as any I can remember.” Volker is a steadfast class warrior like his protégé Alan Greenspan and is not easily disposed to lofty rhetoric or hyperbole. If he says we’re in for trouble, you can bet he knows what he’s talking about. Of course, in typical patrician style, Volker wagged his finger at middle class workers, moaning, (Baby) “Boomers are spending like there’s no tomorrow.” True, but is that the source of the America’s financial dilemma, diminished personal savings? Not likely....(full article)

The Fall of Saigon 1975: An Eyewitness Report
by John Pilger

Saigon, April 1975. At dawn I was awake, lying under my mattress on the floor tiles, peering at my bed propped against the French windows. The bed was meant to shield me from flying glass; but if the hotel was attacked with rockets, the bed would surely fall on me. Killed by a falling bed: that somehow made sense in this, the last act of the longest-running black farce: a war that was always unnecessary and often atrocious and had ended the lives of three million people, leaving their once bountiful land petrified....
(full article)


The Case Against Alan Dershowitz
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel vs. Dershowitz
by Regan Boychuk

Alan Dershowitz is a well-known lawyer and professor at Harvard law school, a prolific author, and makes regular appearances in the media. When it comes to Israel, he is particularly outspoken and taken quite seriously within certain segments of the North American mainstream. Whether he deserves to be taken seriously is another issue altogether. In a recent talk at York University in Toronto, Canada, Professor Dershowitz repeated many of the controversial claims of his recent book, but one struck me as -- even by his standard -- exceptionally far-reaching. In the course of arguing that Israeli authorities no longer torture Palestinians, Dershowitz claimed he had a long conversation with the Israeli human rights organization, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), in which PCATI not only conceded that there was no longer any torture for them to investigate, but that they refused to change their name because it helped them attract media attention....(full article)

Pointless Political Parlor Game, American-Style
by Mark Drolette

For over two centuries now, a favorite pastime in which Americans have partaken shortly after each presidential election has been to predict the major political parties’ standard bearers for the next quadrennial go-round.  The current version is already underway, but because, as you know, our presidents these days are pre-determined, it’s done now purely for nostalgia’s sake. No matter.  Detailed below are my best guesses as to who will next occupy the White House come January 2009, but only, of course, after Americans have first dutifully engaged in a tradition now rendered quaint (like some Geneva Conventions): “voting,” a feel-good process consisting of utilizing inactive screens on electronic boxes that has no actual bearing on who is eventually declared president or king or whatever it’s called by then. The astute observer will notice my leading picks are all members of the Bush family....(full article)

Courting Armageddon
How the Bush Administration’s Biological Weapons Buildup Affects You
by Heather Wokusch

News that a U.S. company recently sent vials of a 1957 pandemic flu strain to laboratories across the world by accident is only the latest outrage from the billion-dollar boondoggle called the federal biological weapons program. As you might recall, the Bush administration started its “biodefense” spending spree following the September 2001 deadly anthrax attacks, and one of its first projects was to genetically engineer a super-resistant, even more deadly version of the anthrax virus. Our leaders are nuts. Unfortunately, Project Jefferson has good company. A US Army scientist in Maryland is currently trying to bring back elements of the 1918 Spanish flu, a virus which killed 40 million people. And a virologist in St. Louis has been working on a more lethal form of mousepox (related to smallpox) -- just to try stopping the virus once it’s been created....(full article)

The Pathology of Government-Funded Research
The University's Biocontainment Lab: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!
by Zbignew Zingh

The federal government has set out to build a network of biodefense laboratories on the campuses of America's universities. The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have dangled grant-bait in front of cash-strapped universities. The goal is to build a national and regional consortium of universities and “complementary research institutions” to develop therapies, vaccines and diagnostics for certain “priority pathogens and emerging infectious diseases.” From New England to California to Hawaii, universities have been tempted with $25 million grants to build these laboratories on their own campuses. What is happening at the University of Washington is an example of what might be happening at a college campus near you....(full article)

Fallujah: Dresden in Iraq
by Ken Sanders

Although studiously ignored by the mainstream news media, last month came reports that the U.S. used napalm and chemical weapons in its assault upon the city of Fallujah. The assault of November 2004 resulted in the near-total destruction of the city, as well as the deaths of thousands of non-insurgent Iraqi civilians. If the reports about napalm and chemical weapons are true, not only would the U.S. be in violation of international law, it would be guilty of the very crimes against humanity that it previously leveled against Saddam Hussein and used as a justification for invading Iraq....
(full article)

An Amoral Morality Play
by James Charles

Republicans present the left with a major, strategic and tactical problem: How to regain control of the political process without collapsing into their own brand of fringe politics....(full article)

How US Anti-War Activists Can Help Topple the Empire:
Theories and Tactics for the Movement

by Virginia Rodino

At the end of last month, the Third Cairo Conference was held in Egypt. Under a banner that read, “The International Campaign Against the Occupation of Palestine and Iraq,” the conference brought together an impressive swathe of political trends and groups, including Islamists, Arab nationalists, socialists, students, elected officials, and workers. This unity has been critical in building the local Egyptian anti-war and globalization movement, and is a lesson often lost with U.S. organizers. Because of the broad coalition building, it is increasingly difficult for Mubarak’s regime to repress the Left in Egypt. The growing strength of the Left, in turn, has given confidence to the larger population, as can be witnessed by the several-months occupation of workers in an asbestos factory, and the uprisings of peasants in the countryside over land disputes. The Cairo Conference organizers distinguished several major events in the Middle East that had occurred since the previous conference in December 2002. These events are important for we in the U.S. anti-war movement to also note....(full article)

Contradictions of the Antiwar Movement
Supporting the Troops While Opposing Their Actions
by Joshua Frank

On Saturday November 6, 2004, US forces pounded Fallujah and razed a civilian hospital. “Witnesses said only a facade remained of a small Emergency Hospital in the centre of the city,” reported the BBC News on the day of the military blitz. “A nearby medical supplies storeroom and dozens of houses were also damaged as US forces continued preparing the ground for [the upcoming] major assault.” The catastrophe happened only days after the US Presidential Election and the antiwar movement was still mourning the triumph of George W. Bush's War Party. Needless to say, the movement wasn't moved to action even though US troops had committed a blatant war crime. For the Geneva Conventions are quite clear that the bombing of hospitals constitutes as such a crime....(full article)

Behind the Smokescreen of the Gaza Pullout
by Tanya Reinhart

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon traveled to the USA as a hero of peace, as if he had already evacuated Gaza and only the follow-up remained to be worked out. What has completely disappeared from the public agenda is what is happening meanwhile in the West Bank. The media continue to deluge us daily with disengagement storms, like the Nitzanim bubble. But for now the disengagement plan exists only on paper. On the ground, no settler has yet received compensation. Even those who agreed to accept compensation are now waiting, because if they have a chance to get Nitzanim -- the pearl of Israeli real estate -- why hurry? In the meantime, three and a half months before the projected date of evacuation, it is still not clear where the evacuees will be housed until the discussions regarding their final relocation destination are concluded. Contrary to the prevailing impression, no infrastructure has been set up even for their temporary dwellings. “The Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, responsible for providing the ‘caravillas’ [the caravans that were supposed to host the evacuated settlers temporarily] has so far received no order from the government.” (Yediot Ahronot, 8 April 2005)....(full article)

Papal Shortcomings
by Igor Volsky

Igor Volsky explores the late Pope John Paul’s shortcomings as they relate to liberation theology and the empowerment of Latin American peasants....
(full article)

A Pornographic Celebration of Death
by Sheila Samples

Sheila Samples on CNN's wall-to-wall coverage of the Pope's funeral and the unsavories it glossed over, and the gang of modern day international Pharisees led by George Bush that gathered in hypocritical attendance....
(full article)

UC Threatens Service Workers, Says Planned Strike is Illegal
by Matthew Cardinale

Upper-level UC administrators have issued intimidating statements threatening disciplinary actions against 7,300 janitors, cafeteria workers, and other AFSCME service workers at UC campuses statewide, as these workers prepare for a joint day of strike today, April 14, 2005....(full article)

April 12

Let’s Drink to the Slobbering Classes
A sordid tale of work release, hyenas and liberal weakness
by Joe Bageant

The neoconservatives have been much aided by middle class liberals who find it easier to confront racism and homophobia than to face down their own latent class prejudices. Liberal issue and identity politics are the best things that ever happened to the Republican Party. It is often much easier for liberals to empathize with poor blacks with whose experience they share relatively little than the poor working class whites, who are just a little too close to home. Then too, once a family makes it into the true middles class and is sending all of its kids to university, etc., it is easy to become convinced that class struggle is a thing of the past. Hell, I even managed to convince myself of that for a few years before they kicked me out of the middle class. Again. Of course the same pack of capitalist hyenas that have always waited in the bushes by civilization’s roadside never went away. Now they are slinking out to pick off the weakest among us. The sick, the uneducated, people of color. So far though, most middle class liberals seem contented to blink and stand back watch the hyenas feast upon the workingman. No way they are gonna get into the thick of it, no way are they going to drink Budweiser....(full article)

Exchange on Diagnosing the Green Party
by Scott McLarty and Joshua Frank

Joshua Frank's not-so flattering diagnosis of the Green Party in a DV article posted in February elicited the ire of many Green Party activists and leaders. In this exchange, Green Party Media Coordinator Scott McLarty offers his critique of the article, followed by Frank's reply....(full exchange)

Undermining Civil Society: David Horowitz's Corrosive Projects
by Paul de Rooij

In a democratic and civil society, one expects a free exchange of ideas, respect for the opinion of others, and it is taken for granted that all members of society are able to air their views without fear. It is also assumed that most members of the society have the potential to remain well informed. Without this basis, the notion that a society can make the least-worst collective decisions or retain a modicum of civility will be undermined.  Although the United States used to trumpet the glory of its democracy and the related freedoms, it is disconcerting to find many developments that are hostile to the aforementioned assumptions.  All of the following are detrimental to a civil society: truculent right-wing radio-talk shows, the sensationalist Springer-type talk shows, Fox News, . . . and David Horowitz's projects.  This article examines the pernicious nature of some of Horowitz's projects, and it attempts to explain what role they may play in the United States today.  An evaluation of these projects should also put into context Horowitz's campaign for an "academic bill of rights."....(full article)

Thugs Attack Federal Judges!
by James Charles

No, we’re not talking about the judge shot in Atlanta or the murder of a judge’s family in Chicago. The judiciary in America is being mugged by Republican zealots on Capitol Hill, led by their very own monsta rappas, Tom DeLay and John Cornyn....(full article)

Rehearsals for the Rapture
Will Christian Zionists and radical right wing Jewish groups head to
Israel to disrupt the dismantling of Gaza settlements?
by Bill Berkowitz

In mid-February, Israel's parliament backed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. On March 15, Ha'aretz, a daily Israeli newspaper, reported that "Settlers protesting the disengagement plan brought rush-hour traffic to a standstill in south Tel Aviv... when they blocked the Ayalon Highway at the Kibbutz Galuyot junction and placed burning tires across the road." (According to recent newspaper accounts, the 9,000 people affected by the removal plan will receive nearly $900 million in compensation. But removing the settlers will not be easy, as they have vowed to stand their ground.) While the vote in parliament hasn't yet set off anything other than a few disruptive demonstrations by anti-disengagement settlers and their supporters, increased violent resistance may be in the offing. Christian Zionists and radical right-wing Jews appear to be getting ready to saddle up and head out to Israel to help the settlers halt the removal, a process slated to begin in July....(full article)

TeenScreen: Angel of Mercy or Pill Pusher
by Evelyn J. Pringle

The question is what is TeenScreen, an Angel of Mercy for suicidal teens, or a pill-pushing front group for Pharma? After investigating the program, I'd have to say the latter....(full article)

Unrest in Central Asia: Freedom's Shining Hour?
by Simon Jones

March 24 saw the storming of Bishkek's “Winter Palace” inaugurating what oppositionists there have called the “tulip” revolution. This is a nod to Georgia's rose and Ukraine's orange revolutions, which saw the ouster of admittedly corrupt authoritarian regimes (Kuchma's chosen successor Yanukovitch and Georgia's Shevardnadze). But just as Georgia quickly reverted to authoritarianism and there is little evidence that Ukrainian corruption and stagnation are easing (there is a Russian arrest warrant for its new PM for -- guess what? -- corruption), Kyrgyzstan's moment of glory consisted more of shadowy mafia figures and their paid goons attacking the President's home and instigating the looting of a chain of stores owned by Akayev's son. Hardly the stuff of legend....(full article)

Pope TV and the New World Media
by Mike Whitney

The 24-hour-a-day “Pope-a-thon” shows the dramatic shift in the way that news is covered. If a story is inoffensive to the political establishment or if it serves their greater interests (like Schiavo) then it becomes an immediate mega-story that swallows up most of the front page and consumes the majority of TV time. In this way, the national dialogue is controlled by PR firms working closely with Washington to decide what information is suitable for public consumption. It’s perception management pure and simple but, so far, it looks like a winning strategy. As many have already noticed, the Iraqi bloodbath has been knocked out of the headlines and consigned to page 14 next to the women’s lingerie adverts. In its place, American’s are provided with diversionary Uber-stories of vegetative housewives and dead Popes. There’s no chance that the four Marines who died in insurgent attacks last Tuesday will appear on page one anymore, nor will the 300,000 disgruntled Iraqis who paraded through Baghdad yesterday calling for an end to the Occupation while burning Bush in effigy. These are the unfortunate victims of the new media regime; a system that dismisses inconvenient facts for the fairy-tales that support the status quo. The new game plan is to sweep Iraq from the collective consciousness and slow the steady erosion of public support for the war....(full article)

Coexisting with a Rising China?
by Ivan Eland

The Bush administration is often guilty of running a reckless, overly militaristic foreign policy but deserves qualified praise for its recent dealings with China. The Chinese have requested—and the United States has accepted—a regular dialogue at senior levels to discuss security, political, and possibly economic issues. But the administration must go farther than merely symbolic meetings in accepting China’s rise—it must translate that new-found respect into real world actions....(full article)

April 11

The Economic Tsunami: Sooner Than You Think
by Mike Whitney

It seems that there are a growing number of people who believe, as I do, that the economic tsunami planned by the Bush administration is probably only months away. In just five short years the national debt has increased by nearly $3 trillion while the dollar has continued its precipitous decline. The dollar has fallen a whopping 38% since Bush took office, due largely to the massive $450 billion per year tax cuts. At the same time, numerous laws have been passed (Patriot Act, Intelligence Reform Bill, Homeland Security Bill, National ID, Passport requirements etc) anticipating the need for greater repression when the economy takes its inevitable nosedive. Regrettably, that nosedive looks to be coming sooner rather than later....(full article)

International Day of Action Against Caterpillar:
A Call to Support Rachel Corrie & Her Family on April 13
by candio

Olympia friends and supporters of Rachel Corrie and her family have called on concerned people worldwide to join them in demonstrating on the International Day of Action Against Caterpillar, April 13. They hope that a vigorous turnout will not only send a strong message to Caterpillar but will also send a positive message of solidarity with the Corrie family as they go forth with what is sure to be a long and difficult landmark legal struggle against the equipment manufacturer. Sustained vocal public pressure has been a key factor in many of the smaller victories that the Corries have already won on behalf of Rachel; and it is felt that what happens on the 13th will be a factor in shaping the debate over corporate responsibility in the future. On March 15, nearly two years after the killing of Rachel Corrie under an American made, Israeli driven CAT D9 military bulldozer in the Occupied Palestine Territories [OPT], Rachel’s parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie, have pressed forward in their quest for accountability from Caterpillar. With legal assistance from the Center for Constitutional Rights [CCR], a suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington State alleging that “Caterpillar Inc. violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger civilians.” The Corrie family has also initiated historic lawsuits against the State of Israel, the IDF and the Israeli Defense Ministry [IDM] for their role in Rachel’s death....(full article)

Younger Workers and Social Security
Privatization of the Program Undermines their Future
by Seth Sandronsky

These are tough time for many younger workers in the U.S.  Real wages, what they can actually buy with their pay, are falling.  The costs of gas, health care and shelter are climbing. Student loans to attend college are fueling debt for younger workers.  Meanwhile, workers age 20 to 24 got about 4% of the new jobs created in the year ended March 2005 versus 42% for workers over age 55.  Squeezed from many directions, some younger workers fear that Social Security will not be around for their retirements.  The Bush administration is playing on that fear.  It is fed by some reporting in mass media. A Washington Post article said younger workers “have the most to gain” from President Bush’s plan to create private accounts to fund Social Security (3-15-05). A Christian Science Monitor article said a change to private accounts from the current system of payroll taxes would “sweeten the system for younger workers” (3-3-05). Both articles are incorrect on private accounts for younger workers.  How?
(full article)

The Recruiter in Each of Us
by Susan Van Haitsma

The woman who sat next to me during a recent Greyhound trip was a working class widow returning to Michigan from San Antonio, Texas, where she had traveled to attend her grandson's Air Force Academy graduation.  She wore a sweatshirt that read "Air Force Grandma" in star-spangled lettering, and she clutched a cowboy hat, a parting gift from him. I told her that I was an Air Force sister-in-law.  When I asked why her grandson had chosen the military, she hesitated a moment and said, "He's a good kid. His father pushed him to do it because he was 22 and he didn't have a plan." Some enlist in the military because it is a plan they have had for a while. But most enlist because, like my seatmate's grandson, they don't have a clear direction in life or there is trouble with the direction they've taken. A well-timed pitch from a recruiter seems to provide the answers.  In the United States, where great value is placed on opportunity and personal freedom of choice, how is it that young adults feel their options in life are so limited, and why would they gravitate to an institution that suppresses their own individuality? (full article)

Growling at Halliburton from the Belly of the Beast
Houston Activists Target Shareholders Meeting in May

by Greg Moses

On April Fools Day in the most obese and most polluted city in the USA (no wonder Houston is famous for its cancer centers) Halliburton subsidiary KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) hosted an Open House for jobs. Come in they said and help yourself to a tiny handful of cash from the billions we're scarfing up in Iraq alone. All you have to do is switch off your conscience and give us what's left over. In return we will fly you to the Baghdad Airport where you can join our "Red Neck Mafia" building Texas-style democracy for Iraqis while beating the shit out of Mexicans that we will provide on site Easter Day. From there you can join other mercenary forces such as security contractors Custer Battles, Dynecorp, or Ultra Service where you will be taught valuable skills for the new world order such as how to kill or be killed while shredding human rights and disposing human remains. No it's not a pretty picture, but it's a paycheck, and we have 30,000 employees over there to prove that it can work for you....(full article)

April 8

Destroy Abu Ghraib!
by Mike Whitney

This past weekend’s attacks on the Abu Ghraib prison facility should be welcomed as a direct assault on the foremost icon of Bush’s War of Terror. Abu Ghraib has the same meaning to Iraqis as did the Bastille to the French prior to the Revolution: an enduring symbol of arbitrary state power and cruelty. Under Saddam the prison could be dismissed as the logical exponent of a tyrannical regime bent on removing political opponents. Now, however, under the authority of Bush and Rumsfeld, it has devolved into the torture-capital of the Middle East, flaunting international law and ignoring even minimal standards of human decency. Abu Ghraib is the epicenter of Bush’s new world barbarism, a phenomenon that is extending its tentacles throughout the region....(full article)

Suffer the Children
by Ken Sanders

Last week, the United States denied the allegations of the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has doubled malnutrition among Iraqi children. The Bush Administration criticized Ziegler for "taking some information that in itself is difficult to validate and juxtaposing his own views which are widely known about the war in Iraq and suggesting the two are linked." It is, of course, richly ironic that the Bush Administration, with an apparently straight face, leveled such criticisms against Ziegler. After all, as most recently reported by the presidential commission on intelligence leading up to the Iraq invasion, the Bush Administration based its decision to invade Iraq on information that could not be validated, principally because the information was either blatantly false or "dead wrong.". . . . Regardless of the Bush Administration's laughably hypocritical criticisms of Ziegler's statements, Ziegler is not alone in blaming the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq for increased rates of mortality and malnutrition among Iraqis, children in particular. In fact, Ziegler's comments were not based upon his own observations. Rather, they were based upon previous reports by and findings of UNICEF, the World Food Program, and Johns Hopkins University....(full article)

Calling Their Bluff: The Delay Scandal is Not a Partisan Issue
by Joshua Frank

House Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas is currently taking heat for his association with Jack Abramoff, a well-known DC lobbyist who is accused of bilking millions out of his Native American clients. Currently Abramoff is under investigation by the Justice Department as well as the Senate Indian Affairs Committee for the work his lobbying gang did for seven different Indian tribes between 2000 and 2004. Trouble is Rep. Delay isn't the only Washington politician who has a sordid history with Mr. Abramoff. According to federal disclosure reports, Montana Senator Conrad Burns has received over $150,000 from the tribes during the period Abramoff's cartel was representing their gaming interests....(full article)

Star-Spangled America
by Walter Brasch

Jose Feliciano gave it a new beat. Roseanne Barr shrilled it. And hundreds, maybe even thousands, of featured soloists have bobbled it or failed to hit the high-G. “It” is the “Star-Spangled Banner.” However, according to a recent Harris Poll, about two-thirds of Americans don’t know all of the words or even the origin of the song that became the National Anthem in 1931. Congress made that decision 117 years after Francis Scott Key wrote new words for “To Anacreon in Heaven,” written in the late eighteenth century, and which was probably an English drinking song....(full article)

The Obliterator
by Theo Papathanasis

Among many reasons for his being Republican, grand prize winner of the golden state of California's zany 2004 gubernatorial game show, tinsel town glitteratus Arnold Schwarzenegger gave: "Because Milton Friedman is right and Karl Marx was wrong." If Friedman is right, the Bush tax cuts are great. "I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible," is how Friedman originally promulgated a soundbite that's flowered into today's blatantly pro commercial sector tax relief. That tax relief is the tax policy of the Bush ownership society, a society composed, by definition, of "haves". To use well-sampled wording from the 1997 US Space Command "Vision for 2020": "The globalization of the world economy will also continue, with a widening between 'haves' and 'have-nots'."....(full article)

Bringing You the News -- Courtesy of the Law of Opposites
and the Law of Silence

by John Pilger

Can you imagine the BBC and other major broadcasters apologizing to a rogue regime which practices racism and ethnic cleansing; which has "effectively legalized the use of torture" (Amnesty); which holds international law in contempt, having defied hundreds of UN resolutions and built an apartheid wall in defiance of the International Court of Justice; which has demolished thousands of people's homes and given its soldiers the right to assassinate; and whose leader was judged "personally responsible" for the massacre of more than 2,000 people? Can you imagine the BBC saying sorry to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or other official demons, for broadcasting an uncensored interview with a courageous dissident of that country, a man who spent 19 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement? Of course not. Yet, last month, the BBC apologized "confidentially" to a regime with such a record, so that its correspondent would be allowed back, having promised to abide by a system of censorship that continues to gag the dissident. The regime is Ariel Sharon's in Israel, whose war crimes, appalling human rights record and enduring lawlessness continue to be granted a certificate of exemption not only by the US-dominated west but by respectable journalism. The Blair government's collusion with the Sharon gang is reflected in the BBC's "balanced" coverage of a repression described by Nelson Mandela as "the greatest moral issue of the age". Simon Wilson, the correspondent made to apologize for a proper, important and long overdue interview with Mordechai Vanunu, will know better in future....(full article)

April 5

-- Special Report --
Washington’s Darkest Secret
by James Charles

Until six weeks before 9/11, for nearly a decade the CIA reportedly had a mole buried inside al Qaeda in a trusted position close to Osama bin Laden. Suddenly, his reports stopped. The CIA assumed that he was discovered, tortured and killed. Before he died, he likely revealed 9/11 plans....(full article)

Refocus Seal Intervention Where It Belongs: Government Subsidies
by Lee Hall

Some boycott proponents, before arriving as welfare observers at the scene of the hunt, displayed unflattering photos and highly critical commentary about the workers who do the killing, although these workers are subsidized to do it by the Canadian government. And that’s where activism belongs:  squarely at the door of the government, which sells fur skins to Norway, Greenland, Germany and other countries, which sells seal flesh and offal to Europe and Asia, and which, since 1995, has spent tens of millions in Canadian dollars to subsidize seal processing and develop new markets for seal products....(full article)

A Virus Among Us
by Seth Sandronsky

Are liberals in control?  Do they really hurt the people they try to help?  How you answer depends on your definition of the “L” word. Once, to be a liberal meant to privilege the market over people.  So wrote Adam Smith, the guru of capitalism, over two centuries ago. For him, liberalism was nations and peoples pursuing their self-interest, or freedom, in the marketplace.  Thus freed, society would prosper. Currently, liberalism describes policies or views that run counter to the market freedom that Smith backed.  His vision was the traditional meaning of liberalism.  Today it is actually the conservative, or free-market, approach....(full article)

Hanoi Jane and the City of God
by John Chuckman

A while back Jane Fonda found a new ally in her battle with being a decaying cutie-pie. Injections, face lifts, dye, flaky philosophy, and many hours a day of aerobics were no longer enough to hang on to even an out-of-focus resemblance to the poochy-lipped mannequin of Roger Vadim's Barbarella. Jane found Jesus. Not just any Jesus, but America's Jesus, the one who lets you be "born again," becoming a child again, a strong sales point where adults are obsessed with youth and living forever. Jane effectively committed herself to spending eternity with the likes of Franklin Graham, Tammy Faye, and George Bush -- punishment enough I should think for far more than all her past errors....(full article)

Executive Impunity
by Igor Volsky

On its surface, the final report of the presidential commission on intelligence is another whitewash and rehash of previous investigations into pre-war intelligence debacles. The president appointed the commission reluctantly, delayed its final report calculatingly and “did not authorize it to investigate how policy makers had used the intelligence they received.” Yet a close read and a cursory knowledge of modern political events still confirms the President’s role in deliberate deception....(full article)

The Minuteman Project: Gunning for Change but Shooting Blanks
by Joshua Frank

In an online recruiting effort that would impress Joe Trippi, approximately 500 well- armed individuals known as The Minutemen have come together in hopes they can guard the vast expanse of the US-Mexican border out in Arizona. Their mission: Deter illegal immigrants and protect these great United States of America....(full article)

Letters from Nowhere-Land (fiction)
(Excerpt from a forthcoming novel)
by R. Faze

My Dear Cousins,
By now you know something has happened and not simply because it’s been a while since we wrote and even longer since we’ve seen each other; long absences are part of life when you are scattered around the world. So, I’ll tell you a few things about what happened.
For the past two years, as you may have heard, I’ve been a freelance writer. Not really much of a ‘real’ job. Definitely not something our parents would approve of, what with the low pay, lack of benefits, the uncertainty and all that. The newspaper that buys most of my articles, an English language paper, called The Daily Gomi, is based in Tokyo. The ‘gomi’ in the name means ‘garbage’; their slogan, printed in the top left hand corner of the front page in boldface italics, in deep navy blue, reads, “All the news that’s not, but said to be the news so we print!”....(full essay)

The Schiavo Case's Intended and Unintended Consequences
by Bill Berkowitz

Will the Rev. Jesse Jackson's appearance in Florida on behalf of the Schindler family broaden the '"culture of life" debate? (full article)

Terri Schiavo and the Battered Judiciary
by Mike Whitney

The portentous comments of Tom Delay are critical in understanding the underlying agenda of the Terri Schiavo affair. The Republican Congress has no more interest in sustaining the life of a brain-dead patient on life-support than they do of ameliorating the suffering of malnourished Iraqi children. They’re just trying to augment Bush’s powers by bludgeoning the judiciary; that explains why Delay and the rubber-stamp Congress have been enlisted to act as a battering ram against so-called rogue judges. They’re simply doing Bush’s dirty work....(full article)

Activist Judges
by Patricia Goldsmith

Whatever else the sad case of Terri Schiavo represents, it marks the first time that there has been mass awareness of the fact that we are living in an incipient theocracy. Alarm bells started to ring when people saw all the big guns -- the executive branch, Congress, the media -- pointing at one court deciding one case in Florida. For the first time, people imagined themselves, rather than some demonized other, clashing with an intrusive religious government -- with courts helpless to put a stop to it. Tom DeLay’s official statement on Terri Schiavo’s death upped the ante: “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.” DeLay obviously intends to start impeaching judges with whom he disagrees on religious grounds, in defiance of our constitutionally mandated separation of church of state....(full article)

Pope John Paul II: The Full Legacy
Let us not ignore the facts in our efforts to be "politically correct"
by Katherine Brengle

Although the Pope's dedication to truly walking in the footsteps of Christ is one of his legacies, there were many things the Pope believed and many actions he took that do not jive with progressive politics. While many on the left are celebrating his life and claiming progressive ideas as his overwhelming legacy, there are quite a few facts that seem to be slipping into the cracks....(full article)

John Paul II's Economic Ethics
The departed Pope's vision of an alternative globalization should
challenge narrow debate about "moral values."

by Mark Engler

A steady feature in Pope John Paul II's obituaries has been mention of his unwaveringly conservative stances on issues such as abortion, birth control, gay rights, and the ordination of women. While these positions were sources of consternation for many American Catholics, they far from represent the whole of John Paul's ethical beliefs. Particularly in his teachings about the global economy, the Pope advanced a vision of social justice that challenges narrow political debate about "moral values."....(full article)

Super Duper George Bush
by Sheila Samples

So this guy Zack says he's been watching me, and I'm at it again. He says the only thing I'm good for is just one ad hominem attack after another on my "favorite of scorn" (whatever that is) -- George W. Bush. Zack says he'll give me $100 if I can write a piece on Bush extolling a single aspect of his personality; if I can cite just one credible attribute of his character or discuss even one good point about Bush....(full article)

April 4

Does the US Really Need a Bigger Military?
“Progressive” Dems Sound Like Conservative Repubs
as Draft Drums Beat Louder

by Kevin Zeese

The debate over the size of the military inside the beltway is how to increase the number of troops by 100,000, not whether to do so. At a recent debate on the draft sponsored by the Center for American Progress, the views ranged from reinstating the draft to enhancing economic incentives to increase enlistment. Rather than questioning the administration's policy of preemptive strikes, or the vast size of the military industrial complex or urging cuts in the wasteful, redundant defense budget which consumes half the federal budget's discretionary spending, the inside-the-beltway crowd's analysis starts from the U.S. needing a larger military to achieve its foreign policy and economic agenda. We should be asking: If the largest military on the planet cannot achieve U.S. objectives, maybe we need to question our objectives -- do we want the U.S. to be an empire? (full article)


Overview: The Great Energy War
US & Allies Neutralized, World War III Ends

by John Stanton

The Treaty of Jakarta, signed in 2045, brought an end to the global conflagration that was World War III. That conflict saw the US, Pakistan, Israel, Japan, Taiwan, England and Australia in bloody conflict against China, India, Russia, France, Germany, Iran, Venezuela and Brazil. Other nations joined the fray and formed uneasy alliances with one side or the other. For example, Vietnam lent its considerable knowledge of combat against US forces to China. Mexico took sides with the US and put its population surplus at the disposal of the US military apparatus. The war killed billions, put to waste and made uninhabitable sizeable areas of the globe, and led to a global pandemic that killed millions more....(full article)

U.S. Human Rights Record (Flayed in China)
by Mark Drolette

Remember when communists used to be our mortal enemies?  Now, apparently they’re our mortal friends, ‘cause if weren’t for reds, particularly those of a Chinese bent, we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone else to regularly buy ever-riskier U.S. Treasury bonds to enable our continued borrowing of over $1 billion a day to throw away on Iraq, make our aristocrats even more aristocratic, and prop up a ridiculously unsustainable lifestyle fostered by an infantile belief that we possess a birthright to unrelentingly consume the world’s resources like the compulsive, spiritually empty, wasteful automatons that we are but it still don’t matter, dammit, ‘cause, you know, we’re, like, Americans. Plus, without our good Chinese friends and their blessed abundance of forced labor, not only would I not have been able to purchase about 95% of the goods I needed for my new apartment (precipitated by impending Divorce Number Three; I plead guilty without an explanation), but the U.S. would also be sans its new moral compass.  You see, China recently issued a report excoriating America for its human rights record. Yes, that China....(full article)

Zimbabwe’s Very American Election
by Gene C. Gerard

Last week, the African nation of Zimbabwe held parliamentary elections. It was viewed, both within the country and by foreign observers, as a referendum on the country’s elderly and dictatorial ruler, President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980. Mr. Mugabe’s party, The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, won 71 seats in the election, while the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, garnered only 39. Both the opposition party and independent observers have accused President Mugabe of stealing the election. Morgan Tsvangarai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, said Mr. Mugabe won only through the use of intimidation tactics and vote-rigging. The U.S. State Department called the election “seriously flawed.” And Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice stated, “the election was not free and fair.” Yet ironically, it appears as if Zimbabwe’s election was very American-like, if our election in 2004 is any indication....(full article)

April 1

Website of the Week: Against the Grain, a radio program about politics, society and ideas. Contains audio files of many recent and excellent programs. 

Scumbag Prize of the Week: Canada, which just kicked off its annual massive hunt for baby seals.
Take Action!
(video report)

"Somehow, though, charges of 'cruelty', 'barbarism' and the like have never quite resonated with the sealers. Such terms have a plaintive, weepy ring that only plays into their image of "outsiders" as soft and over-refined, and of themselves as rugged and daring men. So this time around let us put the point more plainly, in terms they will understand: The problem with clubbing and skinning these most defenseless of creatures is not merely that it is merciless. The problem is that it is low, dishonourable and cowardly. These men are forever telling us to take a hard, unsentimental look at the baby seals. They would do better to take a hard, unsentimental look at themselves for once, for their country's sake and for their own." -- Matthew Scully, former speechwriter for George W. Bush, author of Dominion: The Power of Man, The Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (photo by International Fund for Animal Welfare)

The White House Plays Extreme Dodge Ball
by James Charles

Unlike the 9/11 Commission, the presidential commission charged to examine pre-Iraq war intelligence failures dodged the ball. On the key, tough issues such as use of the intelligence and White House pressure on analysts, the Silberman Commission avoided asking the tough -- or the right -- questions. So once again, everyone is responsible but no one is accountable....(full article)

WMD Commission: Yet Another Intelligence Failure
by Rahul Mahajan

The "Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction" has done reasonably well what it was created to do. Unfortunately, it was created to provide political cover for the Bush administration in the middle of a scandal that dwarfs Watergate, Iran-contra, and even Lewinsky-gate, but that, in contrast to those events, has led to no in-depth investigation, minimal television coverage, and hardly any calls for the heads responsible to roll. Think back to late January 2004 and the preliminary report of the Iraq Survey Group, which concluded that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. This came on top of what was by then a mounting wave of revelations that the Bush administration had repeatedly and deliberately deceived the American public -- and attempted to deceive the world -- about the evidence it claimed to have regarding Iraq's WMD....(full article)

The Wild Palms of Etowah
In Praise of Holy Madness
by Joe Bageant

One mark of our soulless New American Century is the lack of respect for saintly madmen. By that I mean holy seers of the Blakean-Coleridge stripe who could be found on America’s streets as recently as the hippy era. The kind of crazy adepts and enlightened iconoclasts honored by Allen Ginsberg and the beats, holy foolishness in the tradition of Saint Simeon with the dead dog tied to his waist and throwing nuts at the congregation, or Tibetan lama myonpas and India’s avadhutas. Perhaps such holy madmen are still out there among the homeless and the crack whores. Maybe there are legions of Zen alcoholics and the like, and maybe we have lost the ability to see them in this season of imperial hubris, consumer fatigue and existential numbness. But I don’t think so. I know crazy wisdom and saintly madness in men’s eyes when I see it, and I am not seeing it very often in America these days. It has been outlawed by the Republicans and soundly condemned as Devil’s work by the Christian Right....(full article)

US Intelligence “Dead Wrong”
by Joshua Frank

The presidential Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction released its findings on March 31, and the jury is no longer undecided. The intelligence community was “dead wrong” in almost all of its prewar claims leading up to the Iraq invasion. Many of the failures that the US encountered when selling the war on Iraq “are still too common” says the report. The US government still knows “disturbingly little” about global weapons threats, “and even less about the intentions of many of our most dangerous adversaries.”....
(full article)

U.S. Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman Steps Up to the Plate,
Conscientious Objector Status Pending

by Robert S. Finnegan

The ongoing saga of Sergeant Kevin Benderman's denial regarding the legitimacy of war and his refusal to participate in it has now crystallized into a war of words and legalities, pitting his beliefs and first-hand battlefield knowledge against an action by the U.S. Government and Army prosecutors who are charging him with desertion for choosing to follow his conscience, in a war declared illegal by U.N. Secretary General Kofi  Annan....(full article)

The Starving of the Five (Hundred) Thousand
by Ken Sanders

Ah, the hollow piety of the sanctimonious and self-righteous. They who shout and weep, curse and pray, toot horns and even juggle outside a Florida hospice where one very famous woman has died, and several other less-known and therefore unimportant people, gradually, slowly, and even painfully die. Sadly, none of them can die peacefully so long as the circus from on high is in town....(full article)

Terri Schiavo, 84,000 Black Men, and Dominant Media's Selective Morality
by Paul Street

It's instructive contrast to this short catalogue of dominant U.S. media's savagely selective morality: the death of Terri Schiavo versus recent reports showing that unequal health care contributes to more than 100,000 black Americans dying earlier than whites each year. Thanks to that media's obsessive coverage of the Schiavo tragedy, nearly every moderately cognizant American adult has an opinion on whether it is right for doctors to act to release Schiavo from her dreadful vegetative state. Sadly, only a small number of Americans have any kind of opinion on a recent report showing that middle-aged black men are dying at nearly twice the rate as white men of a similar age....(full article)

Lurching Toward Theocracy
by Bill Berkowitz

Are Milton Mayer's conversations with Germany's “ordinary” Nazis, Frank Zappa's warning of a theocratic America, and the Christian right's “Christian Nation” mantra signs of a nation drifting towards theocracy? (full article)

A Quarterly Report from Bush-Cheney Media Enterprises
by Norman Solomon

The first quarter of 2005 brought significant media dividends for the Bush-Cheney limited liability corporation. Stakeholders received windfalls as mainstream news outlets deferred to consolidation of power from the November election. A rollout of new "democracy" branding -- kicked off by the State of the Union product relaunch -- yielded at least temporary gains in psychological market share. For instance, repackaging of images in the Middle East implemented makeovers for several client governments. Actual democratic threats, inimical to Bush-Cheney LLC interests, remain low....
(full article)

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