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(DV) April 2006 Articles

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April 28

A Way Forward, Out of Iraq  
by Hany Khalil 

While members of Congress are feeling pressure from antiwar constituents --indeed, some pro-war Democrats, such as Senator Joe Lieberman, are facing challenges from within their own party -- most are paying little cost for their embrace of, or at least failure to oppose, the war. If the antiwar movement cannot mount more pressure soon, Congress could cave in to Bush's drive to launch another, potentially far more disastrous war on Iran, just as it did in the lead-up to the Iraq war. There is a way forward for supporters of peace, one suggested by the mass mobilizations of undocumented immigrants and their supporters across the United States. Their ongoing demonstrations have reshaped debate regarding immigration and boundary control, and have weakened the hand of many of the politicians pushing the most draconian measures. Antiwar activists can similarly change the parameters of debate, and pressure Congress to push for an immediate withdrawal.....(full article)

Nativo López on May 1: “You Get What You’re Ready to Fight For”  
by Sarah Knopp

Nativo López is president of the Mexican American Political Association and a spokesperson for the Great American Boycott 2006 -- a national day of action for immigrant rights on May 1. Nativo talked about the huge protests against anti-immigrant legislation and plans for May 1 with Sarah Knopp, a Green Party candidate for state superintendent of schools in California and member of the International Socialist Organization.....(full interview)

Immigration Endgame: May 1st and America’s New Race War
by Juan Santos

We can no longer use the term loosely -- America’s war against migrants is real, and the nation’s rulers mean to sweep the nation’s barrios the way Katrina swept the Black wards of New Orleans. And like the military operations visited upon the Black population of that city in the wake of the winds and floods, the war against migrants is a race war -- one directed from the highest levels of power. The recent strikes by ICE against migrant workplaces in dozens of cities across 26 states served as a crystal clear declaration: no matter what immigration bill passes in Washington, “enforcement” is the order of the day. Whoever the government “legalizes”, it means to round up the rest in massive raids, ship them en masse to detention camps, then deport them, creating an atmosphere of mass repression and terror among brown people nationwide. Everyone with brown skin will be targeted. The only question still on the table is who will be directly subject to deportation.....(full article)

Which Side Are You On? Renewing the Traditions of May Day  
by Sharon Smith

For the first time in six decades, International Workers Day will be celebrated on US soil with mass working-class demonstrations on May 1. May Day, celebrated the world over, commemorates the seismic upheaval inside the U.S. that launched the struggle for the eight-hour workday in 1886, a time when native-born workers had few rights and immigrants had still fewer, yet both united in a class-wide battle. The decision to organize a national day of protest for immigrant rights on May 1 this year is a conscious nod toward the traditions embodied by this working-class holiday, in which immigrants have played such a vital role historically.....(full article)

Kerry's Halfhearted Reversal 
by Joshua Frank

The search is finally over. Senator John Kerry is believed to have found his heroic voice. He apparently misplaced it back in the early '70s after standing up to the US war in Vietnam upon his saluted return from battle. Now many antiwar liberals believe Kerry is dissenting yet again.....(full article)

There is No “Israel Lobby” 
by Kim Petersen

Notable writer William Blum hinted acknowledgement of the power of an “Israeli lobby” in a 2004 article. In his most recent Anti-Empire Report, Blum discusses again the entity that doesn’t exist: the “Israel Lobby” or the permutations of that wording, “Israeli Lobby” and “pro-Israel Lobby.” The paper entitled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by professors John Mearsheimer Stephen Walt has pushed the topic of the “Israel lobby” and its influence over US foreign policy into a more prominent spotlight.....
(full article)

Why Leftists Mistrust Liberals  
by Robert Jensen

Some of my best friends are liberals. Really. But I have found it is best not to rely on them politically. Bashing the left to burnish credibility in mainstream circles is a time-honored liberal move, a way of saying “I’m critical of the excesses of the powerful, but not like those crazy lefties.” For example, during a discussion of post-9/11 politics, I once heard then-New York University professor (he has since moved to Columbia University) Todd Gitlin position himself between the “hard right” (such as people associated with the Bush administration) and the “hard left” (such as Noam Chomsky and other radical critics), implying an equivalence in the coherence or value of analysis of each side. The only conclusion I could reach was that Gitlin -- who is both a prolific scholar and a former president of Students for a Democratic Society -- either believed such a claim about equivalence or said it for self-interested political purposes. Neither interpretation is terribly flattering for Gitlin. Perhaps more important than such cases are the ways in which liberals can undermine the left even when claiming to be supportive in a common cause.....(full article)

The Moral Quandary Well-Meaning Imperialists Face or How Does One Convince The Occupied That This Mayhem Is For Their Own Good?  
by Ron Jacobs

. . . Despite overwhelming evidence that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, US troops, CIA agents, diplomat, and mercenaries have been attempting to show the Iraqis how we do things and make them do them our way. Although more and more of us regular citizens are getting fed up with this exercise, there has been no groundswell of opposition to this project in the halls of power. Not in Congress, not in the Pentagon, not in the establishment media, not in the courts, and definitely not in the Executive Branch. Why is this so? Simply put, it's because the powers that run this country believe that it is absolutely necessary for Washington to control that part of the world. Like that gentleman in Washington Square Park that day, the establishment in the United States does not question the fact of US hegemony. Nor does it question that hegemony's rightness or reasonableness. Furthermore, the powers that run this country are willing to spend whatever it takes in taxpayers' money and lives to maintain that dominance.....(full article)

Delusion and Exclusion: The Harm that Occurs When
Women are Under- and Mis-Represented  
by Lucinda Marshall 

Convincing our children that women can pursue their dreams, achieve success and be leaders is a daunting task in a world where women are routinely objectified and frequently ignored by the media and entertainment industries and where women are not yet full and equal voices in the political or corporate worlds. A recent study of media coverage in 76 countries by the Global Media Monitoring Project found that women are grossly underrepresented and frequently ignored as both subjects and sources of news. Only 10% of the stories surveyed were about women. The study also found that female journalists were routinely relegated to soft news stories and that when women do make the news, it is usually as celebrities or ordinary women, not as authority figures. Women are also twice as likely as men to be portrayed as victims.....(full article

Give Us Your Huddled Masses -- But Not Your Battered Women 
by William Fisher

Should the US Congress reach agreement on an immigration bill, it is unlikely to include one of the simpler issues in this complex debate: granting asylum to battered women. This is far from a new issue. It first drew national attention in 1995, when a Guatemalan woman named Rodi Alvarado escaped from her brutal husband, who subjected her to extreme domestic violence. He broke her jaw, kicked her when she was pregnant, wielded a machete and threatened that if she tried to escape he would leave her wheelchair bound for the rest of her life.....(full article)

April 26

Wilkerson Speaks Out

“The Secret Cabal Got What It Wanted: No Negotiations with Iran”  
by Gary Leupp

It was May 2003. President Bush had declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. The State Department, which had been unenthusiastic about that war, was not inclined to provoke another with Iran and indeed had been calling for diplomatic engagement with the reform-minded Khatami regime. That regime for its part asked the Swiss ambassador to Tehran to forward to the United States a request for talks. These would address U.S. concerns about its nuclear program, as well as the lifting of sanctions and normalization of relations. Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage were inclined to accept the offer. Vice President Cheney, soon to declare, “We don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it,” was not. Nor was Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and his Office of Special Plans. Indeed, Cheney and his neoconservatives had the State Department rebuke the Swiss intermediary as they began to ratchet up the tension level between the countries to its present near-breaking point. This is the extraordinary narrative provided in large part by a highly reliable source, Powell’s former chief of staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson.....(full article)

Eight Months After Katrina: “Don’t Come Back to New Orleans
Unless You Intend to Join the Fight for Justice!”
by Bill Quigley

On Monday, April 17, 2006, two bodies were found buried beneath what used to be a home in the Lower 9th Ward. Their discovery raised to 17 the number of Hurricane Katrina fatalities that have been discovered in New Orleans in the past month and a half. Katrina is now directly blamed for the deaths of 1,282 Louisiana residents. Eight months after Katrina, the state reports 987 people are still missing. Chief Steve Glynn, who oversees the New Orleans Fire Department search effort that found the latest two bodies told CNN: “You want to put it to rest at some point. You want to feel like it's over and it's just not yet.” Eight months after Katrina, there are still nearly 300,000 people who have not returned to New Orleans. While we can hope that our community is nearing the end of finding bodies, the struggle for justice for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people continues.....
(full article)

Remember the Bastille: A Response to Mickey Z  
by Jack Random

A recent article by the incomparable Mickey Z in Dissident Voice (“15 Minutes of Radical Fame: America Meets Blum and Churchill,” 4/24/06) raised the question: “Can mainstream exposure to progressive ideas really make a difference?” The inquiry garnered responses from a fair sampling of free thinkers: Howard Zinn: “It’s only the accumulation of small differences that may occasionally reach a critical point and be identifiable as having been effective.” Joe Bageant: “Until Ward [Churchill] is on Oprah nobody will care.” William Blum: “Who’s to say what the long-term effect will be?” Michael Parenti: “Where in the major media are Churchill and Blum now? Back into oblivion.” Greg Elich: “For most viewers/listeners, the ideas are likely to come across as being from another planet.” Rosemarie Jackowski: “For meaningful change to occur it will take more than just exposure to a different set of facts.” The response that he did not get is: What’s your point? (full article)

April 24

-- Link of the Day --
Dissident Voice contributing writer Lila Rajiva, author of the must-read book,
The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the US Media, in an excellent interview conducted by Jeffrey Blankfort on KZYX public radio station in Mendocino Co, CA. Rajiva and Blankfort discuss the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, corporate media coverage of the scandal, the possibility of war with Iran, war propaganda, and the militarization of American society and culture. (Click here to play or download the audio file of this interview)

*  *  *  *

The Twilight of Capitalism  
by Natylie Baldwin

Kentucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry once made an astute observation about the profound flaw underlying both communism and capitalism as systems of human organization: both force humans to be subservient to a colossal institution -- in the case of communism it is the state and in the case of capitalism it is the “free market” -- a market run by anonymous and unaccountable piles of money voraciously seeking to acquire still bigger piles of money, otherwise known as corporations. Economic analyst David Korten took this observation about the nature of capitalism a step further. He described how capitalism is eerily comparable to the disease of cancer in that the economic players in a “free market” economy that is run capitalistically will forget that they are one unit of a larger network of units that comprise a systemic whole, all of which are ultimately dependent upon each other for survival. When this forgetfulness occurs in a cell in the human body, and the body’s various lines of defense against it are overridden, a tumor will develop as the cell seeks endless growth by dividing itself incessantly, eventually destroying major organs and killing the host through its selfish consumption of resources.....(full article)

Iraq Can’t be Compared to Post-World War II 
by Gene C. Gerard

In the past three years the Bush administration has vigorously made comparisons between reconstruction in Iraq and post-World War II Germany and Japan. Many of the administration’s analogies have been forced, at best. A variety of historians, political scientists, and even former government officials have suggested that the comparisons are rather tenuous. But a new report by the Congressional Research Service has essentially demolished the administration’s analogies.....(full article)

The Anti-Empire Report
All War, All the Time
by William Blum

William Blum on the Israel Lobby, a tale of two terrorists, the mind-numbing effects of anti-communism, Liberian president Charles Taylor and the Democrats, and more.....(full article)

We're Staying! -- Unless the Iraqis Force the United States Out,
The Evidence Shows the US Isn't Leaving  
by Kevin Zeese

The message is clear. Indeed, it's gigantic for all Iraqis and the entire world to see: a 100-acre compound -- ten times the size of the typical US embassy, the size of 80 football fields, six times larger than the UN, the size of Vatican City. The US Embassy Compound, in the middle of Baghdad -- the center for US domination of the Middle East and its resources. The compound towers above the Tigris River like a modern fortress. It will have its own sources of power and water, and will sit in the heart of Baghdad. If there is any thought that the U.S. is planning on leaving Iraq, the new embassy should make it clear “We're staying!”.....(full article)

We Are the Deciders 
by Sheila Samples

If it weren't so dangerously sad, the media gyrations to deflect attention from the sordid mess defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld has made in Iraq would be amusing. But efforts to hide the truth are futile because Rumsfeld is literally surrounded by "stars" -- retired general officers speaking publicly about the fatal mistakes Rumsfeld made in his mad dash to "sweep everything up" and dash blindly off to war.....(full article)

America’s Gulag 
by John Chuckman

Often small things provide the most disturbing evidence for world-changing events, as when naturalists observe the quiet disappearance of some little known species. The CIA's firing of senior officer Mary O. McCarthy is a political event of just this nature.....(full article)

Shifting Centers of Gravity in Latin America 
by toni solo

COPA, the Panamanian airline, is now flying the Brazilian company Embraer's E-190 commercial airliners on routes previously dominated by Boeing 737s. This detail highlights broader shifts in the economic balance of power in Latin America away from United States corporations. US businesses over-accustomed to hefty direct and indirect government subsidy and support are steadily going to have to make sharp adjustments. The Bush regime's desperation to force through "free trade" deals with Latin American countries is partly an attempt to soften, if not avoid, the blows to come. Embraer's sale of airliners to COPA indicates the incipient displacement of European and US aerospace industry in Latin America by Brazil. Last week President Lula decorated Brazil's first astronaut, who had successfully completed a mission with the Russian space program. Brazil is also developing its nuclear industry. Both Brazil and Venezuela are making significant widespread use of free software in preference to proprietary software like Microsoft's Windows operating system. Global trade links between Brazil and China, Venezuela and Iran combine with regional integration initiatives that are remaking Latin America's traditional networks of international relations.....(full article)

The GOP and California’s Levees A Deficit Hawk and Flood Funds 
by Seth Sandronsky

“Inexcusable” is what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently called the lack of federal funds to improve the state’s system of flood control. In late February on a trip to Washington, he had asked for $56 million for emergency repairs on 24 levee sites eroded by rising river waters in Central and Northern California. Following heavy rains in March and April, Schwarzenegger had declared a state of emergency in counties along the San Joaquin River in the central part of the state. People there scrambled to evacuate before a flood surge was forecast to arrive. They dodged the flood bullet as state funds slated for future upgrades to the levee system were diverted to emergency labor. Workers placed tarps and sand bags on levee sites, watching 24/7 for breaks. The governor’s recent news-conference rhetoric referenced the federal failure to protect people from the floods and storms of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.....(full article)

Strike Iran, Watch Pakistan and Turkey Fall  
by John Stanton

Just when it seemed unlikely that domestic and international events would unfold to test an already incompetent US government, along comes the acceleration of the movement to destroy Iran. That effort has been well documented over the past few years in scores of articles and position papers from the usual suspects in the media, think tanks, and the Net. What’s missing in that coverage, though, is an understanding of the consequences of such an action, or “consequence management” in Pentagon parlance. More’s the pity in this discussion, comes the knowledge that the majority of Americans who are calling for military action -- from all strata of society -- do so as if they were casually ordering a pizza from Dominoes. Just pick up the cell phone and, while salivating, order the Iranian War Special. Sit back and enjoy the pizza while watching the war coverage on television and gruesome videos on the Net. Ooo ahhh, look at that Spectre Gunship at work! Whoa! Look at those body parts flying around. Pass me another piece of pizza! (full article)

The Little Mermaid on Highway Six:
Rooting for Ordinary Israelis to Wake Up 
by Deb Reich

Palestinian children are not made for war, any more than Israeli children are made for war. Yet while the politicians jockey for power, our Israeli mothers go on loyally sending their children to join the army and terrorize the neighbors, as if that were a normal thing to do, believing it their duty to the nation; and Palestinian mothers continue to live in fear when their kids sneak out to throw stones at the tanks those Israeli kids are driving, and sometimes they come back in a box. Miki, a former babysitter for my children, granddaughter of a good friend, a sweet, charming girl, was conscripted into the Israeli army at 18 with all the other kids, and became a sharpshooter instructor. Her trainees, still children themselves, go out and shoot Palestinian children in the streets of Nablus or Hebron. Who can make sense of this? And what of another friend’s only son, Haggai, the dreamer, the nature-lover, who will never sit under a tree again on a summer’s day, watching the clouds sail by in the sky? The Czar’s army (they call it the IDF here) got him, and ate him alive.....(full article

The Real Meaning of Deporting Hamas Members of Parliament  
by Jonathan Cook

The policy of hitnatkut, or unilateral disengagement, developed by Ariel Sharon needed a swift facelift following the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza last year. And Israel’s prime minister-designate, Ehud Olmert, has found it in the related concept of hitkansut, variously translated as “convergence,” “consolidation” and “ingathering”. After all, Olmert could hardly campaign convincingly for a West Bank disengagement when it was clear Jewish settlers and soldiers would continue occupying a significant proportion of Palestinian land at the withdrawal’s end. So convergence is usefully, and misleadingly, supplanting disengagement. Many critics of Israel assume convergence is simply jargon disguising the government’s intention illegally to annex swaths of West Bank territory. The grand land theft will be sold to the world as a painful withdrawal of Jewish settlers, even if the great majority (probably 80 per cent) are left in place and only the most remote settlements are dismantled. But events this week suggest that the principle of hitkansut will have a far wider application than just to the West Bank settlement blocs, with results even more sinister than many had anticipated. Olmert’s consolidation, it is becoming clear, will embrace Palestinians too....(full article)

15 Minutes of Radical Fame: America Meets Blum and Churchill 
by Mickey Z.

Search the archives of any left-of-center website and you'll find no shortage of prose extolling the importance of "getting the message out there." If only the huddled masses could consume something more than a steady diet of corporate the story goes. For example, try to imagine Ralph Nader being included in the presidential debates. What a wake-up call that would be, right? Well, not so fast.....(full article)

Killing Us Gently: The Crass Vigilance of The Soft Drink Molochs and
Their Slow Throttling of the American Public For Loaves and Fishes
by James L. Secor

The American Beverage Association (ABA) sells some of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the world. Carbonated soft drinks make up 73% of that total. Americans spend roughly $93 billion annually on refreshment beverages (about $357/person). The ABA believes that all beverages are part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and helps this along by producing various sized beverages so as to incorporate different, that is larger, serving portions into diets. This is what the ABA says about itself. Let us stop here for a moment. $93 billion in refreshment beverages. $93 billion -- why? What has Americans hooked? Caffeine, yes, but the ABA sells 7-Up and Sprite, which contain no caffeine, if we believe the PR and product labeling (which the ABA is fighting to get rid of). But even more disturbing is the contention that soft drinks are part of a healthy diet. Which healthy diet? Whose -- Atkins'? Other than the ABA, who else makes the same claim? But it sounds good, so people believe it. After all, the ABA is an authority. In reality, this claim about soft drinks being part of a healthy diet is specious.....(full article)

April 20

Breaking Down Our Kids: Child Abuse for Profit is Occurring in America by Joshua Chiappelli

“You wouldn’t believe the terrible things that were done to me,” says Alexia Parks’ niece in An American Gulag. But she continues: “I know now it was for my own good.” Thus ends Parks’ account of her struggle to help her niece after she was enrolled in several behavior modification schools. The similarity to the end of 1984 is striking: a previously headstrong individual returns from months of torture as merely a shell of their former self, having learned to love their tormentors. The difference is that Parks’ story is true. Usual definitions of torture include the use of practices such as solitary confinement, non-medical application of psychiatric drugs, unprovoked beatings, starvation, and verbal abuse as means to change a person’s behavior. Many Americans are reluctant to support the use of these techniques even on criminals, much less teenagers with behavioral problems. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is being done on a large-scale basis as “tough-love” programs have become a booming industry. These programs come in several varieties, including boot camps, “therapeutic” boarding schools or academies, and wilderness programs. At the cost of several thousand dollars per month (up to $40,000/year), these schools supposedly provide a climate where troubled teens can continue their regular education while receiving treatments designed to improve their behavior.....(full article)

Cracks in the Coalition of the Crackpots 
by Zbignew Zingh

Silvio Berlusconi, one of George Bush's most strident supporters, has lost a watershed election, just like Spain's Bush-man José Maria Aznar did in 2004. New center-left Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi will likely pull Italy's troops out of Iraq and orient his economic policy more closely with Europe than with America. In France, Jacques Chirac, though not a formal member of GW's Iraqi invasion coalition, is still a conservative sympathizer. An energetic alliance of French high school and college students, resurgent labor unions and the politically savvy French middle class successfully shut down the country with a powerful mix of national strikes and street demonstrations. The French people literally rose up and forced President Chirac to withdraw proposed legislation that would have begun “Americanizing” France's work force by making young workers more globally “competitive” (read: exploitable and disposable). In Thailand, pro-business billionaire and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra could not muster enough voters to validate his snap elections, thus jeopardizing his political career and his plans for more trade pacts with the United States.....(full article)

Cheney, the Neocons, and China
The Solution to “Enemy Deprivation Syndrome” 
by Gary Leupp

Robert Dreyfuss’ article “Vice Squad,” about the Office of the Vice President in the American Prospect) is the best piece I’ve seen in awhile on the neoconservatives and their persistent influence in the Bush Administration. But it also places the neocons’ Middle East preoccupation in wider perspective.....(full article)

Innocence Killing Innocence 
by Sam Bahour

This week’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, which took nine innocent Israeli lives and one innocent Palestinian life, was the most predictable act by any novice observer of the ongoing conflict. A Palestinian in his late teens, early twenties, possibly the youngest suicide bomber ever, from a small, besieged village near the Palestinian city of Jenin in the northern part of the Palestinian Authority, entered a restaurant in Tel Aviv, Israel and used his body, strapped with explosives, as a weapon to kill as many patrons as possible. Horrifying indeed, but, no more or less horrifying than what this Palestinian probably faced since his birth, while living under Israeli military occupation every single day of his life. Suicide bombings feed modern media, whereas, a decades old military occupation feeds on the occupied.....(full article)

The Israel Lobby and Chomsky’s Reply  
by Gabriel Ash

Noam Chomsky responded to the paper by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (M&W), judging their thesis “not very convincing.” I agree with Chomsky, but for different reasons. Chomsky disputes the inference from the evidence (of the Israel Lobby’s influence) to the conclusion (that the Lobby has the power to move U.S. foreign policy away from the U.S. national interest.) I contest the analytical framework of M&W, which includes the concept of “national interest,” and the separation between domestic politics and foreign policy. Chomsky’s critique, however, shows that he concedes too much of the conceptual framework of M&W. As a result, he is forced to reject too much of their specific claims. Paradoxically, getting rid of M&W’s conceptual baggage makes their actual claims more relevant.....
(full article)

Autism: Worst Welfare Disaster in History 
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Science and medical experts say that unless the government forces the pharmaceutical industry to pay for the damage caused by mercury-laced vaccines, in the not too distant future, Americans will experience the worst welfare disaster in the history of this country. No doubt with that in mind, eight members of Congress are calling for a new investigation into the link between the autism epidemic and the mercury-based preservative thimerosal that children received in vaccines during the 1990s, and that some children received as late as 2003. After six years of hearings and testimony from medical experts, scientists, special education teachers, school nurses, and parents of autistic children, several lawmakers say they are convinced that a review of the vaccine database will show a causal link between autism and thimerosal.....(full article)

Let the Peace Camp be a Wide Open Field 
by Ahmed Amr

One by one, they’re coming to terms with the absurdity of this ruinous war of choice. As they make their way to the peace camp, roll out the red carpets. Let them stroll in with heads held high. Even if they only repent for what the war has done to “us”, embrace them as your brothers in the struggle. If they insist on wearing blinders, let them be. Avoiding the glare of Iraqi casualties is a sin we can deal with at a later time. If Francis Fukuyama and Bill Buckley have a change of mind that leads to a change of heart -- respect them for the courage to modify their convictions. It serves no purpose to tattoo time stamps on the arms of those who come tardy to the peace party. Let the peace camp be a wide open field that welcomes every American with ideological indifference. But be very wary of those in a hurry to exit Baghdad only to launch an invasion of Iran. When John Kerry shows up, bolt the gates, shut him out and shout him down. Those who want to make peace in Iraq to make war in Iran should find other quarters to market their agendas.....(full article)

A Plan to End the War: Dump the Democrats  
by Joshua Frank

Across the country opposition to the war in Iraq is fast setting in. The latest Bush job approval ratings are dismal, hovering around 35%, in large part due to peoples’ wariness about the disorder and uncertainty engulfing Iraq. Two weeks ago, 24 towns in Wisconsin passed antiwar resolutions. According to the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, that pushes the total number of cities nationwide that have passed similar referendums to 100. But as the sentiment against the war continues to mature, the most significant question still remains unanswered: What are all of us who want to bring our troops home now going to do to stop the war? (full article)

When “Diplomacy” Means War 
by Norman Solomon

One of the nation’s leading pollsters, Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, wrote a few weeks ago that among Americans “there is little potential support for the use of force against Iran.” This month the White House has continued to emphasize that it is committed to seeking a diplomatic solution. Yet the U.S. government is very likely to launch a military attack on Iran within the next year. How can that be? (full article)

When Justice Isn’t Blind: Double Standards
for Rich and Poor in New York
by Anthony Papa

New York’s drug laws ensure that the privileged and connected receive leniency for the same offenses that send thousands of Blacks and Latinos to prison. Julia Diaco, the rich and connected so-called “Pot Princess” was sentenced on March 22 in Manhattan Supreme Court to five years’ probation for drug dealing. Diaco was 18-years-old when she was arrested for multiple sales of drugs to undercover narcotics officers from her dorm room at New York University. Despite having a “strong” case against her and facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted, she received probation upon completion of a drug rehab and education program....(full article)

April 18

State Department Memo: “16 Words” Were False  
by Jason Leopold

Sixteen days before President Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address in which he said that the US learned from British intelligence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Africa -- an explosive claim that helped pave the way to war -- the State Department told the CIA that the intelligence the uranium claims were based upon were forgeries, according to a newly declassified State Department memo. The revelation of the warning from the closely guarded State Department memo is the first piece of hard evidence and the strongest to date that the Bush administration manipulated and ignored intelligence information in their zeal to win public support for invading Iraq.....(full article)

Warning: Tax Cuts for Rich Harm Nation's Health 
by Holly Sklar

Did you get a $1 million dollar cut in your taxes? Taxpayers with incomes above $10 million saved $1 million on average on their 2003 taxes, according to the latest available IRS data, thanks to tax changes under President Bush. Tax breaks will be bigger this year. It would take about 29 years for a full-time worker to make a million bucks at today's average hourly wage, which is falling behind inflation.....(full article)

Elections Fever 
by Jordan Flaherty

The coming days will bring another step towards the new New Orleans. On April 22, voters in the city (Absentee and in-state satellite voting began last week) will choose between 22 mayoral candidates, as well as sheriff, city council, and other positions.  If no candidate in a race receives more than 50%, there will be a run-off between the two highest vote-getters on May 20. Elections have always been a big deal here in the state that gave the nation Clinton campaign manager James Carville and Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, but this election feels more weighted with significance. While local media has made a division between the “serious” candidates and less likely contenders such as Manny “Chevrolet” Bruno  (“A troubled man for troubled times”), the truth is that in New Orleans politics, even the front runners are, if nothing else, uncensored. “Early on, the media sorted based on name recognition and financial backing,” says community organizer and mayoral candidate Greta Gladney. “But they haven’t presented the full picture. Yes, we have some crazy people who qualified. But there are also some important messages from candidates that aren’t receiving attention.  And among the main contenders, you have some crazy people running too.”.....(full article)

Why Oppose the Israel Lobby?
Comments on Mearsheimer and Walt 
by Gabriel Ash

Two academics from the Chicago University Political Science Department and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University shocked the tender sensibilities of the chattering classes when they published a damning study of how and to what extent “the Israel Lobby” influences U.S. foreign policy. The paper has been dissected and criticized, often hysterically, by both left and right, and by both the mainstream and radical media. The hysteria is in itself telling, and I hope to address it in a separate article. But first, I wish to examine the Mearsheimer and Walt (M&W) argument in its own right. My purpose is to offer an antidote to the paralysis that befalls significant portions of the U.S. left whenever the Israel Lobby is mentioned. To do so, I will criticize M&W’s paper, but also reconstruct its argument within a coherent leftist framework.....(full article)

Pastor John Hagee Spearheads Christians United for Israel  
by Bill Berkowitz

Charismatic televangelist Pastor John Hagee thinks that the Rev. Pat Robertson's suggestion that Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was payback from God for withdrawing from Gaza was "insensitive and unnecessary." But he nevertheless appears to share Robertson's concern that Israel may be giving up too much land to the Palestinians. To prevent the Bush Administration from pressuring the Israelis into turning over even more land, Hagee, the pastor of San Antonio's Cornerstone Church, and the head of a multi-million dollar evangelical enterprise, recently brought together 400 Christian evangelical leaders -- representing as many as 30 million Christians -- for an invitation-only "Summit on Israel." The result was the launching of a new pro-Israeli lobbying group called Christians United for Israel....(full article)

Bush's Destabilizing Nuclear Deal with India:
An Idiotic Tango Begets Irradiated Mangos
by Ingmar Lee

In July 2005, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh traveled to Washington to discuss with Bush how India and the USA could patch up their differences and start the free-flow of nuclear material, fuels, technology and expertise once again. America had boycotted India's program since the latter started detonating its bombs. Bush then visited India in March to further the deal, but before he left the US, in a bizarre bargaining feint, he arbitrarily demoted India from the ranks of "leading countries with advanced nuclear technology" (the phrase used in the July 18, 2005 India-US Statement) to those who merely have a "developing nuclear energy program." In his speech to the Asia Society in Washington, Bush named India as a country that would have to hand over its spent nuclear fuel to a handful of "supplier nations" for reprocessing, forgoing in the bargain its right to reprocess the waste generated from its civilian nuclear program. But after flying half way around the world in a highly publicized PR adventure, the Indian negotiators knew very well that Bush just had to emerge with a deal, at any cost, so they easily got around all that eleventh hour bluster.....(full article)

April 17

The Politics of Foreign Aid 
by Gene C. Gerard

Last week the Senate confirmed Randall Tobias as the new administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also appointed Mr. Tobias to serve as the Director of Foreign Assistance, a newly created position that will oversee $19 billion in foreign aid. USAID has operated independently from the State Department’s political and military concerns for more than 40 years. But with the confirmation of Mr. Tobias, foreign aid will almost certainly become victim to the whims of the Bush administration.....(full article)

How Long Will Fail to Oppose Bombing Iran? 
by Norman Solomon sent out an e-mail with the subject line “Don’t Nuke Iran” to three million people on April 12. “There is one place where all of us can agree: Americans don’t support a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran, and Congress must act to prevent the president from launching one before it’s too late,” the message said. And: “Please take a moment to add your name to our petition to stop a nuclear attack on Iran.” The petition’s two sentences only convey opposition to a “nuclear” attack on Iran: “Congress and President Bush must rule out attacking Iran with nuclear weapons. Even the threat of a nuclear attack eliminates some of the best options we have for diplomacy, and the consequences could be catastrophic.” In MoveOn’s mass e-mail letter, the only reference to a non-nuclear attack on Iran came in a solitary sentence without any followup: “Even a conventional attack would likely be a disaster.” “Likely” be a disaster? Is there any U.S. military attack on Iran that plausibly would not be a disaster? There’s no way around the conclusion that the signers of the letter (“Eli, Joan, Nita, Marika and the Political Action Team”) chose to avoid committing themselves -- and avoid devoting MoveOn resources -- to categorical opposition to bombing Iran.....(full article)

Iran Was Not Ordered to Stop Enrichment  
by Mike Whitney

Here we go again. It’s easy to get confused about developments in Iran because the media does everything in its power to obfuscate the facts and then spin the details in way that advances American policy objectives. But, let’s be clear, the Security Council did NOT order Iran to stop enriching uranium. It may not even be in their power to do so since enrichment is guaranteed under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). For the Security Council to forbid Iran to continue with enrichment activities would be tantamount to repealing the treaty itself. They didn’t do that.....(full article)

Designated Fall Guy: Replacing Rummy  
by Jack Random

When the weight of our government’s failure to respond to the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina dropped like a Daisy Cutter on America’s mainstream consciousness, a convergence of political operatives and media spokespersons demanded a fall guy. They received one post-haste in the person of wide-eyed FEMA Director Michael Brown, who was suddenly portrayed as an unqualified political appointee, a deer caught in the headlights, utterly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster. Of course, Michael Brown did not appoint himself. Months later it became apparent that White House operatives (perhaps preoccupied with other pressing concerns) miscalculated. They failed to purge video records portraying the beleaguered “Brownie” as a fully informed and engaged administrator desperately pressing the president for coordinated action. Michael Brown was not the reason for our government’s failure in the Gulf Coast region and Secretary of Defense Donald “Rummy” Rumsfeld is not the reason for the catastrophe in Iraq.....(full article)

Donald in Miscalculand 
by Mark W. Bradley

One day, when he was in the third grade, Donald Rumsfeld brought a bomb to school. He put it on the teacher’s desk.

“Is it real?” she asked.

“Maybe,” he replied.

“You mean you brought it to school, and you don’t know whether or not the thing is armed?” she asked.

“It’s really hard to know something like that,” he said. “At least until all the facts are in.”.....(full story)

The Hidden Terror of HR4437:
What We Must Learn Now from the Black Civil Rights Movement  
by Juan Santos

They’re lying to us.
They want us to keep playing their way.
To keep waving American flags.
To keep trusting them to do the right thing.
We dare not.
Millions of people’s lives are at stake.

Racist lawmakers on the Republican ultra-Right now assure us -- after they were deeply stung by the protests of millions, and after we won the hearts of 62% of the US population -- that they want to drop the provisions in new immigration laws that would make migrants felons. ?Y que?.....(full article)

Hamas Being Forced to Collapse 
by Sam Bahour

As many predicted, including myself, the newly elected Palestinian government led by Hamas has already started to show an impressive level of pragmatism, however, Israel and the U.S. seem to not be interested.  As a matter of fact the U.S., in specific, is leading a global campaign to isolate the Palestinian government in such a haphazard way, that they are also causing a troubling level of despair among the average Palestinian citizen as well..... (full article)

April 14

Empire, Inequality, and the Arrogance Of Power  
by Paul Street

One of the great privileges of power is the right to attack others for doing -- or allegedly doing (see below) -- exactly what you do without anybody who matters calling you on your hypocrisy. Think of the affluent white Americans who criticize the alleged personal irresponsibility, cultural inadequacy, and welfare dependency of the inner city poor. Never mind that these wealthy Americans engage in an ongoing orgy of conspicuous and ecologically toxic consumption. Forget that they typically invest in and/or receive generous salaries from corporations that receive massive public subsidies while cheating customers, subverting regulations, deepening inequality, slashing wages and benefits, abandoning communities, discriminating against women and minorities, and/or otherwise contributing to human misery at home and abroad. Such blatant hypocrisy generally proceeds without public notice or exposure.....(full article)

The Trouble with Big Greens: Trapped Inside the Beltway  
by Joshua Frank

As business and environmental groups attempt to influence government environmental decisions, only one side consistently comes out on top. You don’t have to dig too deep into campaign contributions to see who hands over more money to candidates and both major political parties. Oil and gas companies hand over millions more dollars to special interest groups and presidential campaigns than do environmental organizations. And their investments pay off quite well. Rarely is there an environmental victory that comes out of Washington. On the contrary, big oil companies win time and time again. Certainly there are not many policy wonks that keep an eye on Washington who would deny that campaign contributions influence public policy. This may well be the ill fate of the environmental movement -- attempting to play ball with the big boys in Washington. Will they ever be on par with the likes of Enron or others who virtually write our environmental and energy legislation year after year? It has long been my belief that the Sierra Club and rest of the big environmental groups, along with the Democratic Party itself, that do the most harm to environmentalism. It’s not the Republicans. If anything, the Republicans have been the best mobilizers of environmentalists by rallying people against their policies, even though many of the same policies were present during Democratic administrations.....
(full article)

On “Preventive War,” Kissinger Becomes Bush's “Useful Idiot” 
by Walter C. Uhler

Having recently revisited the international law governing the use of military force by reading Christine Gray's book, International Law and the Use of Force, I approached Henry Kissinger's April 9, 2006 op-ed in the Washington Post with eager interest. Unfortunately, as I waded through his Rules On Preventive Force, I found myself in the midst of a smoke and mirrors justification for "extending" international law to permit the type of illegal preventive war that should earn President George W. Bush impeachment and a subsequent trial by a War Crimes Tribunal. Like Mr. Bush in both editions of his National Security Strategy, Mr. Kissinger appears to intentionally confuse "preemption" with the actual type of illegal war that the Bush administration waged in Iraq and is contemplating against Iran. In fact, Mr. Kissinger devotes his first five paragraphs to preemption before actually turning to preventive war.....(full article)

Not So Fast, Colin Powell
by Evelyn J. Pringle

This week I read an article by Robert Scheer that said Colin Powell now says he and his department’s top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that Bush followed misleading advice from Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. To that I say, not so fast Mr. Powell, the time to come clean has long passed. In fact, the window of truth-telling time for you ended when the first US soldier was killed in Iraq. This admission proves that Powell knew the truth and could have stopped the freight train long before it made it to Iraq.....(full article)

The Not-So-Secret Foreign Energy Source 
by Walter Brasch

President Bush, several years after most Americans, has decided the nation can’t be dependent upon foreign energy sources. For much of his life, when he wasn’t stoned or wasted, and especially when he was running what came to be a series of failed corporations, Bush worshipped the power of oil, while denouncing global warming as junk science. But now, as an enlightened president who is prevented by his own incompetence and inability to deal with the insurgency and unable to drill for oil in Iraq, Bush has decided that alternative energy is necessary. He has a plan -- ethanol. It’s cheap, he says. It’s available from American corn crops, he claims. It’s primarily provided by Archer Daniels Midland, which has consistently been a large donor to political campaigns, primarily Republican. But, just in case ethanol isn’t as reliable as Bush believes it could be, there’s still the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Our oil-slicked President believes killing animals and disrupting the ecological balance in the ANWR to drill for oil beneath the frozen tundra is also part of the solution to the oil crisis. By 2025, according to government projections, and assuming a ten year development during which no oil is pumped, oil produced in ANWR will represent only about 1 to 2 percent of the Americans’ daily needs; if all the oil in ANWR were successfully mined, it would represent less than a one year supply. But, while Bush says we shouldn’t depend upon foreign energy, he really means we should depend upon foreign energy, not in the form of natural resources but in a human form.....(full article)

Resistance: The Rx for Fear  
by Ron Jacobs

The French students and workers force the repeal of a law that would have provided employers complete control over the work lives of French youth. Immigrants and their supporters maintain a growing series of protests across the United States to oppose proposed legislation that would criminalize the existence of any US residents without the proper papers and those that assist them. On a smaller scale, students and other young people organize nationwide challenges to the concerted attempts by recruiters to entice them into the military and the empire's wars.....(full article)

by Troy Skeels

God drove his big blue tractor across the sky, his long white beard trailing behind him like a cloud. He said, “It is good. But then, maybe those folks down at the Monsanto Corporation have a point. Maybe it is a little slow. Maybe them chimpanzees ought to get themselves a job.” Feeling a little old fashioned he said, “Maybe I ought to finally plant those seeds that zealous young fellow from Monsanto gave me.” God remembered how that young man had just laughed when He had cut an apple in two, revealing the perfect five-pointed star in the center. How he'd said, “Grandpa, forget that down home shit, these seeds I've got are guaranteed to increase your yield.”.....(full article)

April 11

Springtime in the Republic of Larry
Amid the Comforts of Empire, the Citizens Blithely Bumble
by Joe Bageant

Big Larry is not blind. He has noticed that some working folks like himself seem to be going tits up financially of late. Or is that just his paranoia? “Fug it. Just mind your own business, work hard and everything will be OK.” As to the politics behind the looting of the economy, he doesn’t have dog in that fight and doesn’t want one. Like so many working class folks, he blows it off with a single worn out line: “They’re all crooks.” Torture in Iraq? “If it makes us safer, go for it! Have another beer.” The most common citizens of the Empire -- and Larry sure as hell is common -- being smothered in the commodities and comforts of its far flung corporate and military domination, are always the last to care about the situation out there in the resource colonies.....(full article)

Bush Wrong 36 Ways 
by Edward Jayne

Conservative pundits such as Ann Coulter lash out against Democrats and liberals in general about such issues as affirmative action, racial preferences, illegal immigration, and campus speech codes. All of these issues necessitate finding an appropriate balance between freedom and regulation, usually with different standards relevant to different circumstances. Excesses are possible, and there is often room for criticism, even ridicule.  On the other hand, such pundits avoid taking into account President Bush’s current foreign and domestic agenda, which is far more deserving of critical scrutiny. For most of his supposedly conservative policy decisions are not debatable, as if one might reasonably support or reject them at one level or another. Time and again they have simply been wrong and nothing but wrong. Here are 36 Reasons Why......(full article)

Loser Nation 
by Greg Palast

America is a nation of losers. It's the best thing about us. We're the dregs, what the rest of the world barfed up and threw on our shores.....(full article)

Immigrations and Occupations 
Legislating Labor Protection for Some Professionals  
by Seth Sandronsky

The U.S. Congress has delayed discussion of a new immigration bill for two weeks. Now is a useful time to put into a broader context what the congressional debate on foreign workers has covered and covered up, with help from the mainstream press.....(full article)

Yes, Blame the Lobby: A Response to Prof. Joseph Massad 
by Jeff Blankfort

The appearance last month of a critical article on the “Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” in the London Review of Books by Professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Steven Walt, Academic Dean of the Kennedy Center at Harvard University, two nationally known academic figures with impeccable credentials, propelled into the mainstream an issue that had long been confined to the margins, not only by the efforts of the lobby, itself, but by those on the Left who prefer to view US foreign policy as being determined by corporate elites who are largely unaffected by the agenda of what Noam Chomsky, the foremost proponent of this theory, has described as another “ethnic lobby.” That the authors squarely placed the blame for US policy in the Middle East and for the war in Iraq on the influence of the Israel Lobby elicited the predictable reactions from both camps. The attack dogs of the lobby, led by Alan Dershowitz and CAMERA, smeared the article -- an abbreviated version of a longer Harvard monograph -- as an updated version of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” based on sources from “Neo-Nazi” web sites and, of course, “anti-Semitic.” From the Left, Prof. Chomsky was not long in providing a subtle dismissal of the paper on ZNet and on Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! After a perfunctory sentence praising the two professors for having raised the issue, he writes, “we still have to ask how convincing their thesis is. Not very, in my opinion.” His comments, predictably, were picked up and quoted approvingly in the Jewish and mainstream press. What was surprising to this writer, however, was that the very first attack from the Left came from someone who had himself been victimized by the lobby, Prof. Joseph Massad, of Columbia University.....(full article)

Palestinian Health Care Conditions Under Occupation 
by Sonia Nettnin

Members of the Ibdaa Health Committee are on tour in the US. They are educating Americans on the devastating health conditions of Palestinians and health care workers in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The facts on the ground are shocking, yet the international community ignores Israel’s widespread violence and warfare against the Palestinians. The violence against health care workers, the health care system and the Palestinian infrastructure are equally appalling.....(full article)

April 10

April 10 National Day of Action & Rally for Immigrant Rights: 
Exposing the Real Culprit in the “Illegal Immigrant” Controversy  
by Dennis Rahkonen

Who rips off the Third World through resource theft and sweatshop employment, plus usurious lending, leaving native populaces incapable of proper development, and bereft of the ability to rise above chronic, devastating poverty? Capitalist profiteers. Who, therefore, selfishly creates the underlying conditions that drive vast numbers of migrants to come to the United States to try to simply survive? Capitalist profiteers. Who then takes cruel advantage of them once they’re here, seizing upon their desperate status to pay them next to nothing?  Capitalist profiteers. Who manipulates the immigrant issue to make many Americans think their declining quality of life -- resulting chiefly from aggressive union busting and rightwing stonewalling on direly needed federal minimum wage hikes, or an actual living wage -- is caused by “those Mexicans?” Capitalist profiteers. Who’s scared to death that all their divisive demagoguery will be revealed, allowing a multi-racial working class with an all-for-one, one-for-all outlook to gain the necessary clout that only standing united can achieve, forcing  thieves in corporate/financial power to accede to economic justice or be kicked into the trash bin of history? Capitalist profiteers. Sorry for being repetitive. But we can’t permit any misidentification of our mutual enemy.....(full article)

Ending Terrorism Against Women Begins at Home:
The Urgent Need To Fully Fund VAWA  
by Lucinda Marshall 

The Violence Against Women Act  (VAWA) was unanimously reauthorized by Congress late last year. Funding for the act's various programs, however, is far from assured.  For the fifth year in a row, President Bush's budget request did not provide full funding for existing VAWA programs and, because it was passed after the budget proposal for 2007 had already been drafted, no funding was requested for the new VAWA programs that were also approved by Congress. Of the $1 billion authorized by Congress, the President’s budget requested only$546.2 million. “The reason that VAWA is so important is that it provides resources and tools that communities need to not only address but also end violence against women. VAWA 2005 expands upon current programs and provides the first federal funding stream that supports sexual assault programs,” explained  Cheryl O’Donnell, Communications Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.....(full article)

Did Judas Have God on His Side? Or Is That a Dumb Question?
by Gary Leupp

The National Geographic Society has dramatically raised the curtain on the long lost “Gospel of Judas,” which depicts Judas and his action of betrayal in a positive light. It was known to have been composed by the 2nd century but a copy was only found in Egypt three decades ago. Having admirably underwritten the long process of reconstructing and translating the text, the Society has embarked on a massive public relations campaign to sell its magazine coverage, television special and two new books about the gospel. I just wish it would do so with a little more scholarly dispassion and a little less hype. The text is described on the Geographic’s website as “a lost gospel that could challenge what is believed about the story of Judas and his betrayal of Jesus.” The video preview, to an ominous musical background, declares: “For centuries his name has meant treachery and deceit. Now hidden for nearly 2,000 years an ancient gospel emerges from the sands of Egypt. It tells a different story, one that could challenge our deepest beliefs.” It obviously does conflict with the canonical gospel accounts. But will it really challenge beliefs (of Christians and others) about events supposed to have occurred circa the year 30? (full article)

Brave New Movement 
by Phil Primeau

More Americans are in school than ever before. Better yet, more Americans from more diverse backgrounds are in school than ever before. Good news for the good guys.  Here is why......(full article)

We Don’t Get Any Respect: Democracy Under Bush 
by David Model

The malfeasance of President Bush is seeping into the public consciousness despite the nefarious propaganda campaign of his co-conspirators and the irresponsible subservience of the mainstream media. His crimes of violating international laws, the American constitution, American law and lying to the American people and Congress are now well documented. Lying to the American people and to Congress is a symptom of a very malignant cancer in the leadership of the American polity which can be traced back to the founding of the Republic. The cancer is paradoxical in a sense because the founding fathers and virtually every president since have resonantly trumpeted with pride the democratic nature of the American system of government despite the fact that these very same leaders didn’t respect the judgment of the American people when it came to important decisions and therefore had to “manufacture consent” to win their approval.....(full article)

The Alternative to War and Poverty
Turning Washington’s Upside-Down Priorities Right-Side Up 
by Todd Chretien

The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering most acutely from the U.S. government’s militarism. But working-class people here in the U.S. are bearing the costs as well. Over the past few years, the Bush administration and Congress have cut billions of dollars in social spending, hitting the poorest people in our society the hardest. These cuts have done real and lasting damage to millions of people’s lives. But to understand the structural role of the federal budget in maintaining inequality in U.S. society, you have to step back from the budget cuts and look at the overall budget itself. There is no better way to understand the bipartisan consensus in Washington than to compare the endless rhetoric of both parties about “putting education first” with the actual amount they are willing to spend on it.....(full article)

America’s “Noble” Cause: Preserving its Right to Murder, Exploit,
Torture and Impoverish with Impunity  
by Jason Miller

“Why are we over there in Iraq?” 

“To protect our freedoms.” 

“How are the Iraqis threatening our freedoms?” 

“They attacked us on 9/11.” 

“If that is true, why are so many Americans against the war?” 

“I don’t know, but I think Cindy Sheehan and all the other war protestors should be rounded up and shot.” 

I was involved in this exchange with a co-worker about two months ago. I was utterly perplexed at how this individual managed the obvious cognitive dissonance created by thinking that we are fighting to protect our “freedoms” while simultaneously holding the notion that non-violent dissidents “should be rounded up and shot.”.....(full article)

Parenti Does Culture 
by Mickey Z.

Every time I get a review copy of a new book in the mail, I’m reminded that the only difference between a so-called critic and your garden variety reader is this: the critic didn’t have to pay for the damn book. So it was when Michael Parenti’s latest, The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories Press, 2006), arrived last month. From where I sit, Parenti is at the top of his game…still producing fresh concepts and vivid prose, still challenging readers of all stripes. But, since this is merely my opinion and the idea here is to share Parenti’s opinion, I’m going to let his words do the talking.....(full article

Colin Powell Disagrees With David Gergen’s Claim
That There Is No Israel “Lobby” 
by Ira Glunts

Two Israeli journalists wrote that Colin Powell understood and feared the power of the lobby. In an op-ed column critical of his Harvard colleagues, ludicrously titled “There Is No Israel ‘Lobby’” the well-known political consultant David Gergen proclaimed, “Over the course of four tours in the White House, I never once saw a decision in the Oval Office to tilt U.S. foreign policy in favor of Israel at the expense of America's interest.” America’s massive financial support of Israel’s territorial expansion in the West Bank is very much contrary to its own interests, his two colleagues would respond. Gergen’s blanket denial is one of the most preposterous statements in the ongoing media reporting that impugn the motivations of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, two political scientists who recently published the “Israel Lobby.” Their essay described what the writers understand to be the many deleterious effects of pro-Israel activists upon the formulation of American foreign policy. In his critique of the essay, Gergen displays a level of chutzpah which would astound even the most blindly loyal devotee of the Israeli cause, when he excoriates Walt and Mearsheimer for “impugn[ing] the unstinting service to America's national security by public figures like Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk …”.....(full article)

Assaulting Cynthia McKinney 
by Remi Kanazi

Joe Scarborough, political hack and host of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, went on yet another odious rant on April 3. This time his scurrilous remarks were aimed at six-term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The Congresswoman is accused of punching a Capitol Hill security officer in the chest (with cell phone in hand). After McKinney skirted a metal detector (members of Congress are not required to go through metal detectors) an officer, according to a witness, asked McKinney to stop several times. The officer claimed that he didn’t recognize the six-term Congresswoman (although each officer is given pictures of members of Congress); it seems that the confusion was due to McKinney’s new haircut. What would they have done to Dick Cheney in hunting gear? McKinney’s lawyers allege that a skirmish ensued after the officer “harassed” the Congresswoman and forcefully grabbed her by the arm. The Washington Post quoted McKinney, “Let me be clear: This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman.”.....
(full article)

April 7-8

-- DV Alert --
I Do Believe We Have a Death Threat 
by Sunil K. Sharma

Dear Readers,
CounterPunch co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair this morning brought to my attention a screed by a disturbed individual named George M. Weinert V of Chicago, Illinois, whose blog, American Jihad, features a March 24, 2006 article (to put it charitably) that reads clearly as an incitement to violence . . .  a call to "hunt down the treasonous operators" of Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Uruknet, and other "radical left wing hippy commie Muslim sucking" (wow, what a mouthful) web sites.  Particularly singled out for targeting in Weinert’s deranged ramblings are Dissident Voice contributing writers Mike Whitney, Ken Sanders, as well as our friend and past contributing writer Kurt Nimmo. Weinert is hardly subtle in issuing what is clearly a death threat against us. Here is a snippet.....(full article)

“Ideologies of Hatred”? What Does Condi Mean?
by Gary Leupp


On NBC’s Meet the Press, March 26, Condoleezza Rice told Tim Russert: “Saddam was not related to the events of 9/11. But if you really believe that the only thing that happened on 9/11 was people flew airplanes into buildings, I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on 9/11. We faced the, the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of a new Middle East, and we will all be safer.” Russert might have asked whether the new, liberated Afghanistan and Iraq represent any improvement in the hatred department. In the former, to the administration’s embarrassment and the consternation of its Christian fundamentalist supporters, people face death for conversion to Christianity. In the latter, women are now obliged to follow a religious dress code or risk attack. These countries are in Bush-theory “free and democratic” now, apparently solely because their regimes have been changed by U.S. military force. They’re free by definition, much like the countries of the “Free World” labeled such during the Cold War.....(full article)

Libertad Y Justicia Para Todo! 
Liberty and Justice For All  
by Jack Random

The immigration issue has been cast as an insoluble problem pitting the philosophy of “free trade” against the rights of the exploited. This representation is fundamentally wrong. Free trade is not the root of the immigration problem; it is the solution. We must initially acknowledge the essential role of the rights of labor in trade agreements. Any nation that does not provide workers with living wages, decent working conditions and basic benefits is subsidizing corporate profits. It is no different than a government providing direct funding to an industry or imposing tariffs on targeted imports. It is therefore a violation of the essential principles of free trade. What are the consequences of recognizing the rights of labor in the free trade equation? CAFTA, NAFTA and virtually all international trade agreements negotiated under the banner of free trade are rendered invalid and subject to renegotiation. When trade agreements are contingent on labor rights, there will be a reduction in the influx of migrants across the border. More and more citizens of Mexico and Latin America will opt to remain in their own nations when their respective governments guarantee that their basic needs will be provided.....(full article)

This Land is Their Land, and We Are the Illegal Aliens 
by Paul K. Haeder

“We are all illegal aliens.” It’s a bumper sticker many of us on the frontlines of the fight against the United States’ government’s assault on Central Americans plastered on our car bumpers down El Paso way. That was in the 1980s. You know, when Reagan was running amuck ordering his captains Ollie North, McFarland, Casper Weinberger, the whole lot of them, to send bombs, CIA-torture manuals and US agents in order to aid terrorist contras and other despotic sorts in killing hundreds of thousands of innocents in civil wars in Salvador and Guatemala and El Salvador. We worked with women and children who had witnessed fathers, uncles and husbands eviscerated by US-backed military monsters. Victims of torture, in Texas illegally. You know, what those brave Smith and Wesson-brandishing, chaise lounge Minutemen of today would call aliens....(full article)

Immigration: A Nation of Colonists and Race Laws 
by Juan Santos

You hear it everywhere. Even from Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, author of the vicious anti-migrant legislation that has polarized the US. “We are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws,” he says. And like almost everyone else, he’s got it wrong. The original Europeans in what is now the US were not immigrants, but colonists. And the US is not a nation of immigrants -- it is a white colonial settler state, like South Africa under Apartheid, the former Rhodesia, Australia and Israel. Like those states the US has always operated on a sometimes hidden, sometimes overt system of Apartheid. Like those places, the US is a nation of colonists -- and race laws....(full article)

Bin Laden’s Favorite American Author:
An Interview with William Blum
by Gary Corseri

The following interview with William Blum was conducted in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2006. Gary Corseri [Q] asked the questions of Blum [A].

Q. In his January 19, 2006 audio tape message to the world, Osama bin Laden stated: “If Bush carries on with his lies and oppression, it would be useful for you to read the book, Rogue State.” Then, he quoted the line in which you write that you would end US interference in the nations of the world as soon as you become president. Now, I’ve read Rogue State, and I know that your projected first four days in office would actually be even more interesting than that. How do you conceive the first four days of a Blum Administration? (full interview)

Yellow Think Tanks and Yellow Journalism 
by Ahmed Amr

The conduct of our current crew of mass media charlatans has often been compared to the yellow journalism that ignited the Spanish/American war of 1898. But with the Iraq conflict we have a new combustible ingredient: yellow think tanks. When the pundits of the American Enterprise Institute speak, the New York Times listens and then proceeds to report their opinions as gospel truth. Every time the Brookings Institute sneezes, FOX catches a cold. If we were to depend on New York Times narratives, we would be left with the impression that think tanks come in two flavors -- liberal and conservative -- red and blue. That is an incredible exaggeration. Because, in the case of Iraq, think tanks only offer a single blended choice with the telltale yellow coloring of the war party.....(full article)

Dems and Integrity, the Moon and Green Cheese --
Detect a Pattern Here? 
by Mark Drolette

Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it. Stop it now, stop it, just stop it. Please: Stop it now! For those who continue to suggest the Democrats can somehow save our wretched and forsaken land, I beseech thee: Wake up and smell the corruption. You are intelligent. You are kind. You care deeply about your fellow human beings. We know you have superb taste in columnists. You are also clearly on the correct side, because if there were ever anything in this heavily gray area-tinged world that is laid out in stark black-or-white, right-or-wrong terms, it’s Us the Good Guys and Gals vs. the neocon-driven Bush Bastards. But you have a curious -- and maddening -- blind spot that is a big-time time-waster, a non-starter, an energy sucker-upper, the Mother of All Dead-Ends: You still engage in the fantasy that if we work really hard, even harder then we all worked last time which was damn ass-busting hard, we can get the Democrats back in power, buy some breathing room and start the long uphill climb back to semi-respectability for America.....(full article)

A Trillion Good Reasons to Keep the Estate Tax 
by Mike Lapham

My grandparents and great-grandparents paid the estate tax when they passed along the family business. Some decade soon, my own parents will. With hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars to gain, I should be cheering for the proposal coming before the Senate in May to do away with the estate tax, which applies only to multimillion dollar inheritances. Instead, I’m organizing wealthy members of Responsible Wealth to oppose repeal of the estate tax. As multi-millionaires, we have benefited handsomely from all that our country provides: public education, roads, clean water, legal protection, research funding and public safety, just for starters.....(full article)

The Air Force Soars to the Right 
by Gene C. Gerard

The Air Force recently released new guidelines on religious expression. The guidelines come after several investigations that documented a lack of religious tolerance at the Air Force Academy. Consequently, last year the Air Force issued revised guidelines that struck a good balance between the right to free speech and religious toleration. But evangelical Christian organizations and members of Congress complained, prompting the Air Force to issue new guidelines that pander to the religious right. In 2005 the Air Force received numerous complaints of religious discrimination, coercion, and intolerance at the prestigious Air Force Academy, where an elite group of young cadets are trained to become officers. In response to the complaints an Air Force review board investigated the academy. The board’s report maintained that although there was “no overt religious discrimination” there had been instances of “insensitivity,” which was putting it mildly.....(full article)

How GI Resistance Altered The Course Of History: Sir, No Sir, A Timely Film 
by Paul Rockwell

Sir, No Sir, the untold story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam, is a documentary. It’s not a work of nostalgia. It’s an activist film, and it comes at a time when GI resistance to the current war is spreading throughout the United States. There are more than 100 films -- fiction and nonfiction -- about the war in Vietnam. Not one deals seriously with the most pivotal events of the time -- the anti-war actions of GIs within the military.....(full article)

April 4

The Conscience of a Nazi:
What Immigration Reform Means for the U.S.  
by Leslie Radford

Eleven days ago, the Senate was poised to pass legislation that would have initiated the final step toward a Fascist regime in the U.S. Then the legislative juggernaut crashed to a halt, confronted by what may well be the largest series of mass demonstrations ever in the United States.  On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee was poised to approve enforcement-only immigration legislation. The following Monday, after a month of protests across the country by people of immigrant-descent and, on Saturday, a million-person Marcha flooding the streets of downtown Los Angeles, all eight Democrats and four Republicans shifted gears and sent a guest-worker and citizenship proposal to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was so irate that he sent his own enforcement-only bill to the floor, with the worst of the provisions of the draconian House proposal, HR 4437. To make sure the Senate got the message, tens of thousands of students across the nation walked out of class on Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. What do these immigrants and their children see that long-time U.S. citizens have missed? What does this legislation portend for the U.S.? (full article)

News of Neoconservative Demise are Somewhat Premature 
by Gabriel Ash

While the hermetic circles around George Bush and Tony Blair are drowning in their platitudes (corners, tipping points, milestones, God, etc.) further out the sacrificial priesthood is getting cold feet. Bill Kristol blames Rumsfeld for botching it. William F. Buckley blames Iraqis for being too stupid to prosper under American tutelage. Francis Fukuyama describes his fellow travelers along with the Bush bandwagon as (gasp) “Leninists” who fail to understand that history cannot be rushed towards its inevitable end in U.S. style liberalism (but only nudged gently by “realistic Wilsonianism,” whatever that means.) Christopher Hitchens, apparently exhausted from his long engagement to liberate Kurdistan by any means necessary, is now calling for the U.S. to make peace with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And Andrew Sullivan blames the Iraq quagmire on American narcissism (no kidding!) Hard not to feel a sense of glee amidst all this frantic backpedaling. After all, however cheap it is to say “we told you so,” we told you so. The danger, however, is to fall for the comfortable belief that the political struggle over the war was primarily a war of ideas; as if all the antiwar camp lacked was a clinching argument, one that now, with major neocons throwing in the towel (sort of,) we have finally found. Sadly, it was never really about ideas. Behind the apparent sparring of arguments, a ruthless political war was fought over the usual fault lines -- power and money. Forget the ideologues. Did the warmongers achieve their ends? In asking this, we should pay no attention to the blather about WMD, exporting democracy and the rest of the marketing brochures regularly churned out by the White House’s creative team. We should focus on the money. Three questions: Who among the powerful groups behind the Bush administration pushed for the war? What did they stand to gain? What did they gain? (full article)

“The Case Against Israel” and “Munich”
by Julian Samuel

Steven Spielberg’s film Munich is about Israeli agents who cloak-and-dagger around Europe murdering dark, hooked-nosed Palestinians thought to have conducted the 1972 Munich attack on Israeli Olympic athletes. Is Munich a morally complex film which shows us how and why Israel has to use terrorism to stop terrorism? If one’s source of history and international understanding and compassion is, somehow, taken from news media such as CNN and the BBC, then the film offers a deep experience on morality and politics. However, if one looks at Munich through Michael Neumann’s book, The Case Against Israel, the film becomes a transparent work in the tradition of American filmmaker D. W. Griffith.....(full article)

Why Leaving Iraq Now is the Only Sensible Step to Take 
by Ron Jacobs

Coherent. That's the one word review of Anthony Arnove's latest book, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. Incoherent. That's what Washington's policy in Iraq seems to be. What makes Arnove's book so important is that he dissects that policy and proves that the war in Iraq is not an incoherent bumble that's gone awry. In fact, as Arnove makes abundantly clear, it's US foreign policy as it's always been. This remains the case even in the light of Condoleezza Rice's admission of thousands of tactical errors. After all, Ms. Rice didn't admit that the war itself was an error, only the manner in which it is fought. As the war drags interminably on and people continue to die, the antiwar movement in the US is still fumbling around questions of timetables and demands. One element of the movement has hitched itself to the progressive wing of the Democratic party -- a connection that has stifled that element's ability to make the only reasonable demand an antiwar movement can make: Get out of Iraq now and bring the occupying troops home. The rest of us in the movement continue to make this demand, but seem to go unheard. Part of the reason for this lies in the fact that our allies do have those connections in the public mind to the Democrats, but the greater reason is our inability to mobilize the broader mass of the US public -- a public that opinion polls tell us is overwhelmingly opposed to the continuation of the war.....(full article)

April 3

Housing Cuts for the Poor, Tax Cuts for the Rich  
by Gene C. Gerard

President Bush’s 2007 budget that was released last month includes significant cuts in housing assistance. The new budget for the Housing Choice Voucher Program underfunds 70 percent of the state and municipal housing agencies that oversee the program, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Although the Republican Congress has debated the cuts affecting the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it appears unlikely that Mr. Bush’s cuts will be opposed. Ironically, Congress is also considering yet another tax cut for the wealthy.....
(full article)

America’s Brutal Tactics 
by John Chuckman

Naturally enough, few details of what American troops do in Iraq and Afghanistan reach the nation's television screens, the main source of news for most Americans. American television takes the approach of the New York Times when it refers to professional soldiers as GIs, as though they were humble mechanics and bricklayers of America drafted into the titanic struggle against Hitler and Tojo. But if you are genuinely interested in discovering the truth, there are plenty of sources for first-hand information. And anyone taking a little time to search through some of these comes away with a sick feeling.....(full article)

Pentagon Thievery: An Interview with Jeffrey St. Clair 
by Joshua Frank

Jeffrey St. Clair is the co-editor of CounterPunch and the author of numerous books, including most recently Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror (Common Courage Press 2006). He recently spoke with me about his latest book......(full article)

All Black Folk Left Behind?  
by R. Darryl Foxworth

When Camus imagined his absurd hero, it is unlikely that the image of black folk served as his inspiration. Yet the Sisyphean nature of Black American struggle suggests that their collective plight might have prepared them well for coronation into the League of Absurd Heroes, taking their rightful place alongside the likes of Don Juan and the Rebel. (Sisyphus, you might recall from Greek myth, is the king of Corinth condemned to an eternity of pushing a large boulder up a hill, only to have it tumble back down each time it nears the top.) Having been inundated my entire life with such tired refrains as "Things ain't as bad as it was when I was comin' up" or "We've made a great deal of progress" or "We've come a long way," I began, at some point in my young life, to question the very rationale employed by those who spoke such sincere rhetoric. Very recently my suspicions were confirmed, as revealed by stories featured in my hometown daily paper, the Baltimore Sun, and in that most venerable of national newspapers, the New York Times.....(full article)

Walkout in Red, White, and Green 
by Greg Moses

Be careful what you say, the children are listening. For the past year, children of immigrants have been hearing the worst things about their parents. Finally, across the country from Los Angeles, California, to Bastop, Texas, teenagers agreed all at once that it was time to talk back. “Another day, another walkout” said a recent headline. This time the news was from Tyler, Texas, where students marched from Tyler High to the Smith County Courthouse carrying Mexican flags. Across the country, similar stories played.....(full article)

Through the Looking Glass 
by Peter Kurth

I sat down to write this column on Sunday in a state of more than usual confusion and bewilderment. It’s always that way with “commentary” -- confusion and bewilderment, until the thing actually gets off the ground.  It isn’t that I don’t have ideas -- it’s that I have too many. And the first rule of commentary, in a limited space, is that one must pick a single idea and focus on that. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.  I’d already decided by Saturday night that I’d write this week about the unmitigated, unrelieved, unbelievable timidity and cowardice of the Democratic “leadership” in Congress. I even had my opening lines: “So, what’s with these so-called Democrats? Do they really have no program and no ideas? Or are they all just a version of Hillary Clinton, trying to play to ‘the center’ so as not to seem, you know, ‘liberal’ or ‘soft on terror.’  Are they that worried about their chances in the next election?  I don’t think so, because there won’t be one if they don’t do something -- fast.”.....(full article)

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