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(DV) August 2005 Articles

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August 31

The National Guard Belongs in New Orleans and Biloxi, Not Baghdad
by Norman Solomon

The men and women of the National Guard shouldn't be killing in Iraq. They should be helping in New Orleans and Biloxi. The catastrophic hurricane was an act of God. But the U.S. war effort in Iraq is a continuing act of the president. And now, that effort is hampering the capacity of the National Guard to save lives at home....(full article)

George W. Bush -- By the Numbers
by Walter Brasch

George W. Bush likes numbers. A day after he received 50.7 percent of the vote in the 2004 general election, he decided he had a mandate. At a White House press conference, one of the few he held in four years, President Bush told America, “[T]here is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell the Congress” His victory, he said, “is like earning capital. . . . I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style.” But, George W. Bush also doesn’t like numbers. First, there’s the economy. When Bush came into office. Bill Clinton left him a $230 billion surplus and a balanced budget. Not only isn’t the budget balanced, that surplus from five years ago has turned into a $7.95 trillion deficit, increasing at the rate of about $1.7 billion a day. That’s about $27,000 for every American, including those who are unemployed....(full article)

Bunny and the War Profiteers
by Joshua Frank

You most likely haven't heard of a feisty woman named Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse, even though you pay her salary. For over 20 years now, Greenhouse has overseen contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers. And up until last Saturday, Greenhouse was the highest-ranking civilian member of the Army Corps of Engineers. She has been demoted for "poor job performance," despite an untarnished career as one of the country's highest-ranking procurement officers. And from what you'll see, her performance has been anything but "poor". So why did she get shoved out of her position? Well, she did a bad thing. She raised a little hell over the Pentagon's no-bid contracts to Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), the fully owned subsidiary of Dick Cheney's old company Halliburton. The Greenhouse/KBR debacle all started back in the early months of 2003, when KBR was awarded a handful of government contracts in anticipation of the invasion of Iraq. One of KBR's major prewar contracts, the one that got Greenhouse in hot water with the good old boys, was allotted to rebuild Iraqi oil fields....(full article)

Triangulation for War 
by Norman Solomon 

A spectrum of liberal responses to Cindy Sheehan has come into sharper focus. The message is often anti-Bush... but not necessarily anti-war....
(full article)

The Democratic Unraveling
by Lucinda Marshall

Democratic Senators Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton recently sent out a fundraising letter. An acquaintance of mine who received the letter tells me that it also included a questionnaire asking him which issues were on his mind. But there was something very strange about the questionnaire. It seems that in the list of issues you could check off, they forgot to include anything about Iraq. My friend was rather peeved about that because as it turns out, he is mighty concerned about Iraq. But perhaps the omission isn't so strange after all. Indeed, as the Washington Post points out, the Democratic leadership seems to be of the opinion that the crucial issue is how best to achieve success in Iraq. Given that, it is unlikely they want folks telling them they're concerned that the 'war on terror' is going badly....
(full article)

An Interview with Celia Martinez of the Worker-Controlled Brukman
Textile Factory in Buenos Aires
by Benjamin Dangl

What started out as a simple demand for back-wages had turned into a fierce struggle for worker control of Brukman. Driven by a need to survive and support their families, the workers tried through legal means to gain ownership, fighting against politicians, judges and police in riot gear. Political differences among the workers themselves threatened to weaken and divide this struggle. Yet more than four years after they confronted their old bosses, the workers are still in charge of Brukman. Their fight has become a symbol of the recuperated factory movement in Argentina and an inspirational example to workers and activists around the world. Celia Martinez, a worker at Brukman, has been part of this struggle from the beginning. In this interview she talks about the worker takeover, how the factory is currently organized, the difficulties of working closely with others in a cooperative, and how this experience has completely changed her political orientation....(full article)

Turning the Hour-Glass: The Empire Against the Clock
by toni solo

The objectives of empire change very little from one century to another. Control of and access to energy and mining resources are only one strong motive driving imperial policy in Latin America. Control over food and water security is also a vital factor in imperial executive calculations. To veil the obvious injustice of the imperial system, co-option of local media is vital so as to manage the very terms in which political, economic and social issues are discussed. Earlier empires eradicated whole languages and cultures from subject countries' public life. Racism has always been an essential imperial tool and continues in both subtle and overt forms across Latin America. The Venezuelan opposition's racist characterization of President Hugo Chavez is a contemporary glaring example. The Mexican ruling elite's attitudes to the indigenous Zapatistas are another. Racist repression of indigenous peoples continues throughout Latin America from Chile to Mexico, but seldom makes the international media....(full article)

The Roller Coaster Ride
by Monica Benderman

I heard an interview yesterday with a man who offered his observations on my husband’s court martial case at Ft. Stewart. The command of my husband’s unit went to great lengths to manipulate evidence to give the appearance of my husband disobeying an order and Missing Movement of a flight to deploy. In actuality, my husband tried for months to get his command to acknowledge his request to file a Conscientious Objector application, and his command did everything they could to keep him from his rights, and in the process disregarded Army Regulation 600-43, which allows a soldier the right to request CO status as his beliefs about war change during his service. The reason that this man felt that the Army had no choice but to make an example of Sgt. Benderman was that “there are 23,000 soldiers who were scheduled to deploy to Iraq and none of them wanted to go. 22,999 went back, and one did not. 22,999 have wives who are saying my husband went, my friends’ husbands went back, why didn’t this soldier go?” (full article)

Where is Peace?
by Monica Benderman

War is promoted. Anti-war responds.  Anti-war protests. War counters.  Somewhere in the middle is the truth.  Peace.  Freedom to make a choice.  Sgt. Kevin Benderman sits in confinement at Ft. Lewis, Washington. His crime? Making a choice. He chose Peace....(full article)

Willy Wonka and the Racism Factory
by Jonathan McIntosh

The most recent film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is shaping up to be one of the highest grossing summer blockbusters of 2005. This is the third re-incarnation of Roald Dahl's controversial story over the past four decades. As such, it is instructive, to examine it's transformation in relation to issues of racism and colonialism....(full article)

The Bonus Army
by Mickey Z.

Long before the cries of "support the troops" became commonplace during every brutal U.S. military intervention, the powers-that-be made it clear how much they intended to follow their own counsel. From Shays Rebellion in 1787 to the quarter-million homeless vets today, generation after generation of U.S. military personnel has suffered a lack of support from their government. The American soldiers who fought in World War I were no exception. In 1924, WWI vets were voted "Adjusted Compensation" by Congress: $1.25 for each day served overseas, $1.00 for each day served in the States. To the "doughboys", it was seen as a bonus....(full article)

Flat-Earther Bush’s Style for Wild Salmon (Part III of III)
Saving Salmon, Saving Grace -- Busting Dams
by Paul Haeder

One of the greatest contrasts for area residents is how the river Spokane is so powerfully sculpted by nature yet so disembodied from its recent past. The Children of the Sun tribe less than 70 years ago made great snatches of Chinook and Coho near where the Maple Street Bridge funnels SUVs and trucks in an endless stream of belching metal. Sherman Alexie, best known for Smoke Signals and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and a member of the Spokane tribe, does more than lament the loss of the salmon runs. He is confrontational and “in the face” of corporate and political forces that deem salmon as “a fish of diminishing value.” For Alexie and Spokane tribal elder Pauline Flett, and for groups like Salmon for All and Save Our Wild Salmon, it’s a no-brainer to bring back the clear waters and an abundance of native fish to a river like the Spokane and a river system like the Columbia/Snake. For some Northwest salmon people, such as Grey Owl, a Southern Cheyenne artist and cultural guide living on the Nez Perce reservation, river and subsequent fish contamination means early, hard deaths....(full article)

August 29

by Patricia Goldsmith

We seem to be on the cusp of achieving a truly independent media -- independent from facts, independent from reality, and now, finally, entirely independent from the views of the overwhelming majority of the American people....(full article)

The Lords of War
by Mike Whitney

George Bush . . .  “One dead American for every day in office.” President Bush’s latest milestone in the war on terror has been predictably ignored in the mainstream media. Bush, who is now in the fifth year of his presidency, has served 1,727 days in office. With the death toll in Iraq currently at 1,873 servicemen, Bush can now boast that at least one American has died for every day he’s been in office, a sobering tribute to a man who wants to be remembered as “a war president.” Every day, another Casey Sheehan or some other faceless patriot dies in Bush’s war of choice. The tragedy of the war cannot be fully grasped simply by listing the number of American casualties on Bush’s watch, but it’s a good place to start....(full article)

Imagine No Countries
by Kim Petersen

Most progressives would probably agree that in many contexts “blind, unquestioning faith” in a president or other person is “foolish and obsequious.” In this respect, Ken Sanders was right on in his recent article “Love Your Country? Demand Impeachment.” Sanders considered such faith to be “contrary to the fundamental principles of this country, as set forth in the Constitution.” Sanders instead advocated patriotism, which he defined as demanding “truth and honesty.” To be brutally honest, “this country” that Sanders loves is an occupied, ethnically cleansed, annexed, conquered, or illegitimately purchased landmass referred to by the colonialists as the United States of America. A landmass birthed so inauspiciously might give pause to professions of love by many self-designated liberals or progressives. The landmass of the United States of America is a betrayal of the rights of first settlement and represents the theft and occupation of the territory from its Original Peoples. So, historically, it is difficult to grasp “the promise” of what such a landmass “stands for”; certainly, it is a demonstration that military might can translate to territorial expansion through genocide....(full article)

Camp Casey, Texas: The Village is the Answer
by Susan Van Haitsma

Every village has its cemetery, its collection of spirit inhabitants who invoke memories of village history and remind the living that death and remembrance of the dead are essential to the natural order of things in human society. But cemeteries usually are found on the edges of town, away from the goings-on of daily life. The memorials of carefully arranged and named crosses, stars of David and crescents comprising “Arlington South” in Camps Casey I and II are not relegated to the edges, but instead form the heart of the community that has sprung up near Crawford, Texas this month. Memorial crosses hug the three original tents of Camp Casey I and line the road leading to the camp. The field of crosses at Camp Casey II adjoins the large community tent and is the first thing visitors encounter as they approach from the road.  In a reversal of the natural order of things, the dead represented by these memorials are society's youngest adults. The doctrine of pre-emptive war forces members of a society to do the unthinkable: to sacrifice the lives of their young to protect their own....(full article)

A Champion of Working People and Internationalism
by Dan Raphael

(Book review) George Galloway is a fighter. From his teenage years on, he has been active in the struggle for economic, social and political justice. Though no comparison of two individuals is ever completely right, it is strongly tempting to compare him with another fighter of the same caliber, Ralph Nader. Both are men of high principle and demonstrated commitment to the public good. Unlike Mr. Nader, George Galloway did not come to party politics late in his long activist career. Instead, he began and continued to rise through the ranks of the Labor Party of Great Britain, first in Scotland and later on the national stage. His continuity of experience as an MP in the House of Commons and within various high councils of the Labor Party enables him now to offer a retrospective analysis of how the Labor Party was transformed from being the unquestioned champion of working people, to the “New Labor” of today.....(full article)

Pain, Anxiety Felt by White Segregationists at End of Jim Crow Era 
by M. Junaid Alam

A timely satire on Israel's "withdrawal" from Gaza, inspired by Elie Wiesel and the highly objective reporting of the mainstream media....(full article)

August 27

Bush Elects to Smear and Dodge Cindy Sheehan
by Ahmed Amr

Thirty years from now, we will get a full account of the White House strategy for dealing with Cindy Sheehan. In the meantime, we are obliged to depend on available fragments of information and our past experience with Karl Rove’s smear machine. So far, we know that the president has altered his vacation plans to cope with a sudden and unexpected outbreak of anti-war fever. As he interrupts his five-week summer siesta to resell the Iraq war, a full-scale smear campaign has been set in motion to discredit the lady from Vacaville. The Rove squads are out in force to change the subject and cast doubt on whether Cindy has the qualifications to argue with the president on the merits of this war of choice. Artful Texan dodgers have been commissioned to paint a canvas portraying a compassionate commander in chief who feels Cindy’s pain but disagrees with her position and her policy recommendations. The desired effect is to convince the public that Sheehan is a distraught uninformed mother of a fallen soldier who needs compassion -- not answers. If things go according to plan, Cindy will be perceived as a weak and vulnerable woman who is being victimized and manipulated by the sinister forces on the extreme left -- a fringe movement that apparently includes every other American. On the other half of Rove’s canvas, the spinmeisters will project a resolute president who wants to ‘stay the course’ and ‘complete the mission’ to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to “fight the terrorists over there before we are forced to fight them over here.” Bush will throw in a couple of obligatory references to 9/11 insinuating that the invasion of Iraq was a legitimate part of the ‘war on terror’ -- and wrap it up with a bit of fiction about spreading democracy in the Middle East....(full article

Drop Kicking Juan Cole and Marc Cooper:
Will the Real Leaders Stand Up?
by Joshua Frank

Go ahead and get excited about Cindy Sheehan’s overnight popularity. It really is an incredibly important development for the antiwar movement. But before we drop what we are doing and follow her lead, we better take a sobering step backward and recognize Sheehan, alone as a one-woman show, has very real limitations. First, we should start listening to what she is actually saying, which is that this is not about her or her loss. It’s about the war. It’s about the slaughter taking place in Iraq right now. She’s also calling for troops to come home right now. Which is exactly what the antiwar movement should be calling for. But isn’t. Not yet anyway....(full article)

American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? 
Part II: Is Supporting the Troops, Patriotism, Dementia,
or Moral Dissolution? 

by Kim Petersen and B. J. Sabri

To frame in concrete terms the issue of the American violence in Iraq since the invasion and through the ongoing occupation, one needs to know first its basic traits. For instance, it is elementary that attacking anyone who is not attacking you is, per se, a pure act of violence. In a global setting, violence begins when an imperialist power such as the United States attacks a defenseless, smaller country with the specific purpose to conquer it. In a practical setting, violence with all its macabre manifestations divides into many protagonists acting collectively on the stage of death: bombs raining down on cities; rubble concealing the “irrelevancy” of murder; hospitals that are prevented from saving life; all while the desolate face of despair and destruction becomes the unforgettable gift of “liberators.” Keep in mind, that if the idea of invading Iraq was not to conquer it, then why has the United States been trying to dismantle Iraq, partition it, write a constitution for it, ignite a sectarian war, and force it to adapt to the needs of its global colonialist imperium under the direction of US imperialists and Zionists?   
(full article)

National Porn Sunday
by Nicholas von Hoffman

The Christian Science Monitor, under a headline announcing the existence of “Elephant in the Pews,” says that members of the Protestant clergy have denominated October 9th as National Porn Sunday. This effort to out the porn threat undermining religion could replace Pentecost  Sunday. (see Despite the name congregants are not invited to dig around in the back of their closets and bring their copies of Hustler with its feeeelthy pictures to church for show and tell. The occasion’s purpose is to fight the porn addiction which has reportedly taken hold of many Christians. “We were tired of hearing stories about people's lives being wrecked, and feeling they had nowhere to go in the church to get help,” quoth Rev. Craig Gross, calling this deplorable sex dependency “America's dirty little secret.” (full article)

The Politics of Slander
by Bill Berkowitz

With the president's poll numbers dropping and anti-Iraq war sentiment rising, the Heritage Foundation is sponsoring an event built around the premise that the anti-war movement is anti-American....(full article)

GM, the UAW, and US Health Care
by Seth Sandronsky

General Motors Corp. is losing market share and money. Basically, GM's business downturn is being driven by UAW members having made more cars and trucks than can be sold in the marketplace. Thus, the company wants to re-open its four-year labor contract with the UAW to cut employee health-care costs, unilaterally if need be. GM says its health-care costs will be $5.6 billion to cover current employees and retirees in 2005. Deep GM discounts on many, but not all, vehicle models have increased sales by extending the "Employee Discounts for Everyone" to the general public. That discount strategy followed a zero-percent vehicle-financing program. Health-care talks between GM and the UAW began this April. There has been no resolution. In late July, the UAW formed a group of financial and legal experts to look more closely at GM's claims concerning employee health-care costs. The conflict over the cost of health care between GM and the UAW creates an opportunity to deepen a discussion about a national health-care program. In my view, such a strategy would have widespread popular appeal for unionized and non-unionized workers in the U.S....(full article)

Pat Robertson's Fatwah and the Emergence of Medieval America
by Zbignew Zingh

Pat Robertson was right when he suggested that the United States would assassinate Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Robertson, of course, is a hypocrite and one of this country's most effective ad men for atheism. In the main, Pat Robertson is a medieval, witch-burning, fool. However, he moves among people who are either within or near to the circles of power. They are not nice people, but they are not fools. Robertson has either heard directly from this country's rulers' own lips, or heard from reliable sources close to them, that the US does, indeed, have President Chavez in its cross-hairs....
(full article)

Listen Up, You Christo-Fascist Bullies -- You Apostles Of Perpetual Psychosis -- It's High Time Somebody Called You Out
by Phil Rockstroh

Listen up, Reverend Robertson, Mary Fowler -- every last one of you Apostles of Perpetual Psychosis -- it's time that you were called out. The time is long past due the rest of us ceased our cowering and stood up to you Christo-fascists bullies. The hour has come round that we look you straight in your bulging, true believer eyes, and told you that we've had it with your smugness, with your blood-drenched crusades, with your victim mentality -- and to wit the madness begot by this cracked-brain belief system of yours, which all began (according to your sacred delusions) more than two thousand years ago when, at the behest of a wicked cabal, a mob of mammon-worshipping, blood-lusting rabble went on a cosmic killing-spree and murdered your god....(full article)

Hugo Chavez and the American Slug:
Pat Robertson’s Call for Assassination
by Jack Random

Christian fundamentalist Pat Robertson, with his unabashed call for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, has secured his reputation as America’s most reprehensible and idiotic spokesperson. Pat Robertson is a slug, a substandard intellect, and an embarrassment to every bible-thumping advocate of the Christian crusades he claims to represent. God forgive you if you count yourself among them. Hugo Chavez is not Saddam Hussein. He is not a former American ally turned rogue agent. He is not a dictator or even a communist. He is a lawfully and overwhelmingly elected democratic leader. He is a champion of democracy and the working class. He is a cog in the right wing, neo-liberal-neocon machine. Hugo Chavez is a Bolivarian....(full article)

Courting Disaster
by Remi Kanazi

The Western version of peace is overrated. The West would have us believe Israel made the ultimate sacrifice by “disengaging” from the Gaza Strip, putting “the ball in the Palestinian’s court.” But let’s look at the facts. Yes, Israel removed 8,500 settlers and is dismantling their military posts in Gaza. Israel, however, still controls the ports, airspace and borders. Egypt may patrol the Philadelphi Corridor in the future, but Israel will retain supreme authority. Israel preserved “jurisdiction” over any person or product that comes in or out of Gaza, including medical supplies and other humanitarian goods. The electricity and water will also be turned on or off at the behest of Israel, but don’t go running to the border waving for help or you may be gunned down by the Israeli forces. What does peace entail for the Palestinian people? (full article)

August 24

-- External Link of the Day --
Carmageddon and Karl Marx by Michael Dawson,
MR Zine

Robertson’s Fatwah: “A Whole Lotta Smitin’ Goin’ On” (posted 10am)
by Mike Whitney

Pat Robertson doesn’t have a monopoly on ignorance, he’s just heavily invested in it. Like his ideological twin in the White House, Robertson’s tongue simply outpaces his wit and gets him in trouble from time to time. It’s no big deal. When did it become a crime to be an old man in the grip of senility? Actually we should be grateful to the prattling preacher for summarizing American foreign policy so succinctly. “I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination,” Robertson sheepishly admitted, “but, if he really thinks we are trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.” Who could argue with that logic? Certainly, no one in the White House where such policies are part of a long tradition.....(full article)

Rethinking the War in Afghanistan
by Gary Leupp

According to the opinion polls, the great majority of Americans supported the war on Afghanistan, seeing it as a War on Terror and appropriate response to the 9-11 attacks. Many, if not most, have come to see the war in Iraq as something distinct from, even unrelated and counterproductive to, that Terror War receding from public memory, eclipsed by the Mesopotamian mess. It has become respectable, even mainstream, to question the propriety of the attack on Iraq. Cindy Sheehan has had a lot to do with that. But Afghanistan, while a largely forgotten conflict reported in the back pages of your newspaper, remains Bush’s good war....(full article)

Turning Cindy Sheehan’s Victory Into Defeat 
by Mike Whitney

The American Research Group just released a poll that shows Bush’s overall approval rating dithering at 36%, with a measly 33% thinking he’s doing a good job on the economy. Bush is looking more and more like the guy who stumbled into the elevator shaft and hasn’t hit the bottom yet. Another couple of weeks and the yellow ribbon bumper magnets will be stacking up at the landfill by the truckload. Call me crazy, but I think the media had a lot to do with Bush’s downward spiral. True, many in the mainstream pounded away relentlessly at Sheehan, but at least they gave her enough camera time to send a laser into the Crawford White House. That wouldn’t have happened a year ago. Last year they would have just passed her over like anyone else who protested the war. Just think of how the tens of thousands of protestors who marched through the streets before the war were marginalized by the predictable coverage of the one woman in the long-hooped skirt and the day-glow pulsating in front of the loudspeakers. This is how the media made the antiwar protestors look like anachronistic fools. In large part the strategy worked. So what has changed? (full article)

The Democrats and Cindy Sheehan
by Joshua Frank

As this new invigorated opposition to the Iraq war comes to a head with media savvy Sheehan at the helm, one would assume the Democratic Party would find its voice. What do they have to lose? Certainly not elections. And certainly not their own popularity. They have none. Even with Bush down in the polls the Democrats are not able to capitalize. They have not added an ounce to the antiwar campaign other than a few laughable gestures concerning the Downing Street Memos. Other than that, they have been completely silent. Pathetic, in fact. Save Senator Russ Feingold who is now calling for a mediocre withdrawal plan. But even Russ's half-assed call to withdrawal troops by December 2006 is being challenged within the Democratic establishment by the liberal warmongers....(full article)

Suddenly this Summer...
by Sheila Samples

Now, it would not be unreasonable for the president of the United States to come out and answer one question from a grief-stricken mother whose child was sacrificed in what Bush so giddily proclaims a "noble" cause. But that's not how this president does things. No one calls the shots for Bush; he does not make mistakes, and he says the great thing about being president is that he doesn't owe anybody an explanation. About anything. Especially about his war, a noble cause which has settled gloriously around his shoulders like a Cicerian ruff. Bush steadfastly refuses to hear the voice of "the people" or to even acknowledge they have a voice at all. The only call Bush hears comes directly from God -- not from the street rabble comprising the cannon fodder required for his legacy, nor from their keening mothers who are beginning to buzz around his head like pesky mosquitoes at a Texas all day singing and dinner on the grounds. Parents shouldn't have to bury their children. Ever. It disrupts the "natural order" of things. Unfortunately, most of the world is in agreement that nobody is better at disrupting order than George W. Bush. Thanks to his callousness and cruelty, the "one-question" meeting with Sheehan that Bush could have resolved in less than an hour while racking up some badly needed positive PR evolved instead into a movement that is gaining both attention and velocity. It is assuming a life of its own, and is sweeping non-stop across the nation. Cindy Sheehan is emboldening Americans awakening to a nightmare of murder, genocide, torture, abuse, assassination, rendition -- lies piled upon grisly lies -- to break through the yellow ribbons encircling the patriotic detention camp their nation has become....(full article)

Love Your Country? Demand Impeachment
by Ken Sanders

It was Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth President of the United States and a Republican, who famously said in 1918, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Put differently, and in modern context, blind, unquestioning faith in President Bush is not only foolish and obsequious, but it is also contrary to the fundamental principles of this country, as set forth in the Constitution. Indeed, those who would merely sit by, without protest or question, while our President sends our armed forces off to kill and die in a nation which did not and could not do us any harm, are more than simply slavish sycophants. Those who refuse to acknowledge, much less criticize, the wrongs committed by this President in the name of the United States, while simultaneously denigrating those who do dare protest, betray this country and the promise it stands for. In short, they are positively un-American. They are traitors....(full article)

Needed: A Global Survival Movement
by Ted Glick

There is no cause, no issue, no crisis more significant and more immediate than the crisis of global warming. There is a very real prospect that, absent a deep and broad clean energy revolution, we will see within our lifetimes a massive disruption of human society throughout the world -- above and beyond the widespread structural injustice and poverty that already exists -- via floods, major storms, rising sea levels, large-scale refugee movements, droughts, deforestation and a major decline in food production. More and more people in the United States are coming to realize this. Why, then, are the many different actions being taken in the U.S. about this crisis, important as they are, so minimal when compared to the urgency? (full article)

Recovering Bush Fiends: Withdrawing from a Dope is a Bitch
by Mark Drolette

Polls show a majority of Americans have had it with George W. Bush and the war.  While I’m usually wary of such reports (especially since in the last two American presidential “elections”, exit polls, which for decades were unfailingly accurate, have been so strangely incorrect), I nonetheless think these numbers reflect some truth.  If so, there has (finally) been some consciousness-raisin’ goin’ on in our beleaguered, buggered nation, which means, in turn, that as people horrifyingly begin seeing the blood on their hands, America’s collective stress level will continually elevate ever higher....(full article)

Pat Robertson is Not Christian!
by Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler

Pat Robertson suggested this past Monday that the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, be assassinated by operatives of the United States government!  Though his comments are newsworthy because of his following in the 700 Club and his political stature and role in the political religious right, his comments however are out of synch with everything that has been handed down to us from the teachings of Jesus Christ. What I am suggesting here is that Pat Robertson and individuals of his ilk are not practicing or preaching Christ but have become adherents of a political movement in this nation that attempts to use Christianity towards their own narrow political ends. I believe that there is a role for Christianity in the events of the world, but the teachings of Christ leads us to love one another, strain and stretch to understand each other, and dare to know each other enough that we come to an understanding of one another and from that create a world that is not built on might and winning but on understanding and unity. Clearly the comments of Robertson defy the framework we find in the gospels of Jesus Christ....(full article)

Making Excuses for Sid Snake
by toni solo

Whenever a New Labour mouthpiece pronounces in public, one can almost see the think balloon over their head with cartoon character Sid Snake hissing "trusssst me...". Financial Times editor John Lloyd's piece in the UK Guardian of August 10th in defense of British government plans to reinforce the country's already tough anti-terror legislation is a fine example of Sid Snake apologetics. Lloyd's piece is entitled "The British did not have it coming," a title that immediately targets a straw man hardly any of Blair's critics have set up. He writes in a context in which the UK government has warned the judiciary not to interfere with the implementation of proposed new courts. As editor of the Financial Times, Lloyd is well used to marketing corporate-friendly myths. In this case he attempts to sell the UK government's red herring that the terror attacks in London were principally the result of Islamic extremism. What most critics of Tony Blair and his Cabinet contend, on the contrary, is that the terror attacks resulted principally from the Blair government's participation in an illegal war of aggression against Iraq and their collusion in the appalling series of war crimes committed during the subsequent occupation. Lloyd wants to defend Tony Blair's repressive new package of proposed measures ostensibly intended to curtail inflammatory propaganda by supporters of terrorism. From the start his arguments are at best obtuse, veering hard towards the disingenuous. He makes five points with a tone of "enough of this nonsense." But instead of strengthening Tony Blair's case, he shows up its fundamental falsity....(full article)

Yes-Surreal-Bob, Those Real Americans are Really Something
by Mark Drolette

From Tom Baldwin of Times Online in his August 12, 2005, story on Cindy Sheehan: “In the local [Texas] paper, the McGregor Mirror, there is an open letter to ‘the woman complaining about her son’s death in Iraq’ from Ann Lehman, a Crawford resident. “‘You dishonour the President, yourself and God when you deny your son the freedom in death that he had in life to choose. He knew the risk when he joined the military, just as President Bush knows the risk for his life every day!’ she said.” Well, now. Lehman sounds an awful lot like one of those folks who I fancy like to consider themselves “real Americans”; you know, those plain-talkin’ sumguns and gun-ettes who take pride in telling it like it is, consistently expressing sentiments amazingly similar to those aired by other salt-of-the-earth patriots like, for example, would-be war heroes Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly (who absolutely would have been war heroes had they only served in the military, gone to war, and then done something heroic).  Lemming-like, check it, Lehman-like views are currently being voiced by other real Americans, too, who, though the cost of their “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers may fall just a crosshair shy of the price Sheehan has paid, still sure as shootin’ know a war when they hear about one on Fox, by jingo....(full article)

Is Anyone Any Better Off?
by Ken Sanders

There can be no dispute that Saddam Hussein was a cruel despot and an embodiment of evil. It is debatable, however, whether the Iraqi people, let alone the world, are better off without him....(full article)

August 22

Tightening the Noose
by John Crabtree-Ireland

In recent weeks, many of us have been shocked and appalled by a compelling photo of two gay teenagers being put into nooses by hooded officials, just moments before they were executed by hanging on July 19 in a public square in Mashhad, Iran. For many young gay people in the U.S., this image is a chilling reminder of their own vulnerability as their families reject them and communities across the country attempt to legislate against them. In fact, the myriad anti-gay messages throughout American society convince many gay teens to slip the noose of self-destruction around their own necks....(full article)

Government by Dirty Tricks
by Patricia Goldsmith

This past week when George W. Bush stood on the lawn of his ranch in Crawford, he declared that he supported Cindy Sheehan’s constitutional right to her strong opinion against the war in Iraq. This is America, he said. And the minute he was on the record as backing her First Amendment rights, the attack dogs went off the leash. That’s the kind of government we have now. It’s run by people who have the mentality of 13-year-olds who repeat everything you say. Everything is carried out in the spirit of a very nasty practical joke whose very stupidity is a tremendous insult. Unfortunately, these puerile tactics do accomplish their purpose: they make us disengage....(full article)

“My Son Died for Nothing”        
by Mike Whitney

The anti-war movement has finally found a pair of shoulders big enough to carry the load: Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan has single-handedly energized the “Bring the Troops Home” campaign and put the Washington warmongers on notice. They have plenty of reason to worry, too. The big guns on the Right, Limbaugh, Hannity, Drudge and O’ Reilly, have been pounding away hour by hour, day by day, wielding every vicious slander they can muster, but without affect. The right wing, mudslinging machine simply hasn’t matched the grit of the unyielding Sheehan. Who could have guessed that a middle-aged mother from Vacaville, CA could be so dogged? (full article)

“Shoot to Kill”: Tony Blair’s First Trophy 
by Mike Whitney

Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician, was apprehended by Scotland Yard’s special Firearms Unit on July 22 in the London subway, and shot 7 times in the head at point-blank range. He becomes the first victim of Britain’s new “shoot-to-kill” policy and the first trophy in Blair’s war on civil liberties. When Tony Blair boasted two weeks ago that “the rules had changed,” he probably never imagined that his edict would produce such immediate and horrific results. But, let’s be clear, Blair’s bloody fingerprints are all over this pointless murder just as they are in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis who have been unable to avoid British and American aggression in their own country....(full article)

The Flag Should Not Infringe on the First Amendment
by Gene C. Gerard

When the Senate returns from its summer break next month it will consider a constitutional amendment to ban desecrating the flag. In June the House of Representatives, in a vote of 286 to 130, passed a resolution that would create a new amendment to the Constitution allowing, “The Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” This is the sixth time since 1990 that the House has approved a flag desecration amendment to the Constitution, only to have the Senate reject it or simply fail to vote on it. Efforts to protect the flag, at the expense of the First Amendment right to free speech and expression, have been a common occurrence during wartime....(full article)

Minutemen to Spread Wings
Anti-immigrant group pledges to bring 15,000 volunteers to both the Mexican and Canadian borders for month-long vigils starting October 1
by Bill Berkowitz

Several months after their self-proclaimed success reducing the flow of immigrants across the Mexico-Arizona border, leaders of the Minutemen are pledging that come Oct. 1, 15,000 volunteers will begin a month-long vigil along both the U.S.-Mexican and U.S.-Canadian borders. Chris Simcox, the head of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a network of groups and individuals, many of them armed, said in mid-July that the volunteers are signing up to "man observation posts and conduct foot and horseback patrols." Devin Burghart, who monitors anti-immigrant movements with the Illinois-based human rights group, the Center for New Community's Building Democracy Initiative, is not surprised by the growth of the vigilante movement -- or its potential for internal strife. "We are seeing a similar trajectory today with the Minutemen movement that we saw with the militia movement in the early 1990s," Burghart told me....(full article)

Drug Wars
by Sheila Velazquez

The government cannot arbitrarily force you to take a drug test. Yet. But not to be dissuaded, they now have a new plan to invade your privacy by tracking your legal drugs. On August 11, at the Texas White House, the president signed a bill to create a program that will monitor prescription drugs in order to prevent abuse. But it seems obvious that just as with illegal drugs, those who want to secure large quantities of legal drugs will find a way. They always have....(full article)

A Mercenary Society
by Robert Jensen

The failed war in Iraq -- and its effect on the U.S. military -- has the potential to spark the U.S. public to fundamentally rethink the role of force in U.S. foreign policy, and one of the central questions for the future of the United States is whether this questioning can mature and deepen. Can we in the so-called “lone superpower” face that we are now a nation of mercenaries?
(full article)

State Secrets?
by William Fisher

As whistleblower Sibel Edmonds asked the Supreme Court to review her dismissed case against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), mainstream media continues to refer to the government’s defense -- the so-called State Secrets Privilege -- as “rarely used.” In fact it has been used over sixty times since its creation in the 1950s. The State Secrets Privilege is a series of American legal precedents allowing the federal government the ability to dismiss legal cases that it claims would threaten foreign policy, military intelligence or national security. A relic of the Cold War, it has been invoked several times since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Judges have denied the privilege on only five occasions....(full article)

There Was No Reason for a Quiet Evacuation
by Baruch Kimmerling

We are witnessing these days the largest show ever produced in Israel and perhaps the entire world. Large army forces, conscripts and reservists, and a substantial part of the police have been mobilized to dismantle a few settlements numbering about 7,000 residents, plus a cast of several thousand backup players who are now starring in the lead roles of the absurd theater being broadcast nonstop and live on all the television channels in Israel and the world. This is a well-directed play. The tears flow like water and the supposed rivals embrace and fall on each other's shoulders, like a Latin soap opera whose main characters make declarations of love peppered with venomous hatred. The professional lamenters weep and shout slogans aimed at shocking the Israeli people, employing an endless reservoir of symbols of the Holocaust and destruction. Even intellectuals and writers, known as proponents of morality, mobilize to aggrandize the collective mourning....(full article)

Diary of a Madman
Excerpts from Important New Documents
by John Chuckman

The following passages were assembled from shredded paper found in an American National Archives dumpster by the Iranian Ambassador. A team of the country's best rug craftsmen is said to be working full-time on puzzling out the complete text. While some portions of this first batch could not be separated from dried globs resembling half-digested pretzels and spattered root beer, much remains legible. Authenticity, while not established, seems likely since the paper bears White House watermarks. The text appears to have been transcribed from recordings with much of the President's special flair for language suppressed, although there is a hand-written note about not making him sound like some "Eastern puke."....(full leaked document)

August 19

Bush Launches “Operation Cindy Sheehan”
by Ahmed Amr

Once again, Karl Rove has let the dogs out. A vicious campaign to maul Citizen Sheehan is in play. Instead of answering her questions -- the right wing media hacks are focusing on her motives, her mental health, her ideology and her family. These are standard and classic Rovian tactics used to smear administration critics. The predictable pundits at FOX have taken the lead by portraying Sheehan as a treasonous “crackpot” who is exploiting the death of her son to gain fame and fortune and advance the extremist political agenda of leftist “anti-American” groups. Hate radio stations across the nations are assailing Cindy’s integrity and questioning her patriotism. The objective of this smear campaign is to draw fire away from Bush. Instead of focusing on the argument between Sheehan and the president -- we now have a contest between Sheehan’s supporters and her detractors. What started out as a search for the truth is being reduced to an ideological spat between the left and the right. The success of the White House plan of attack is by no means certain. Unlike the small band of neo-cons that infest the administration, most Americans are not glued to any ideology. They tend to navigate the political landscape using nothing more than their common sense. Millions of honorable conservatives want answers to Cindy’s questions. As for the phantom “extreme left” in America -- it only exists in the imagination of the extreme right, which unfortunately has a very real constituency....(full article

Column Far Far Right
Patriotic Security Moms to Confront Cindy Sheehan
by Jolene Fystenbutt and Stella La Chance

It has been chaos here at "Chez Fystenbutt" as SLAG (Security Ladies Allied for George) prepares for its annual chartered bus trip to Crawford, Texas. (Semi-Automatic weapons: check. Revlon Super-Hold Styling Mist: Check. Microwave Popcorn: Check.) This year we'll be joining our “Commanderin' Chief” to clear more than just brush from the Presidential retreat. As some of you may be aware, Crawford's pristine wilderness is being poisoned by a particularly deadly strain of “Goldstaricus Momicus.” I'm referring to, of course, “Gold Star” mom, and number one Presidential pest, Cindy Sheehan, who is currently camped out at Crawford like some deranged stalker, waiting to ambush POTUS with pictures of her dead son, and demanding that the US pull its troops out of Iraq....(full chronicle)

The Rise of the Democratic Police State
by John Pilger

Thomas Friedman is a famous columnist with The New York Times. He has been described as "a guard dog of US foreign policy." Whatever America's warlords have in mind for the rest of humanity, Friedman will bark it. He boasts that "the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist." He promotes bombing countries and says world war three has begun. Friedman's latest bark is about free speech, which his country's Constitution is said to safeguard. He wants the State Department to draw up a blacklist of those who make "wrong" political statements. He is referring not only to those who advocate violence, but those who believe American actions are the root cause of the current terrorism. The latter group, which he describes as "just one notch less despicable than the terrorists," includes most Americans and Britons, according to the latest polls. . . . Like so much else during the Blair era, this McCarthyite rubbish has floated across the Atlantic and is now being recycled by the prime minister as proposed police-state legislation, little different from the fascist yearnings of Friedman and other extremists. For Friedman's blacklist, read Tony Blair's proposed database of proscribed opinions, bookshops, websites.....(full article)

Bush's War on Terror Destroys Our Liberties
by Nicholas von Hoffman

My friend Elizabeth told me the other day that she had received a phone call from the United States Marines. They weren’t interested in her but in her son, Garrett, who is a recent high-school graduate currently absorbed in taking the exam for his journeyman’s plumber license. She said that she told the Marines not to phone again and advised the caller that the Marines were “not going to use my son as a target.” She and her son are not alone in such opinions. This year, the Army will fail to make its recruiting goals even though it’s dangling ever more goodies -- like college tuition and chunks of cash—in front of the teenagers it hopes to enlist. Now there’s talk of accepting spry persons over 40 years of age to risk life and limb pro gloria dei and, I guess, patriae too. One of the Army’s problems is that it gets harder to find gullible galoots who believe the promises. Bitter veterans abound with angry stories about care withheld or the quality of the care offered men and women once they leave the services. Nor does it help that potential enlistees are shy of signing up because they fear they may never get out once they are in. The government has broken its word too often. So sing the National Anthem twice at the ball game and put another “I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS” sticker on one or even all of the family cars. Hey, it ain’t my war, ain’t my kid....
(full article)

The Iraq War and MoveOn
by Norman Solomon

The day after Wednesday night’s nationwide vigils, the big headline at the top of the home page said: “Support Cindy Sheehan.” But MoveOn does not support Cindy Sheehan’s call for swift withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Many groups were important to the success of the Aug. 17 vigils, but the online powerhouse MoveOn was the largest and most prominent. After a long stretch of virtual absence from Iraq war issues, the organization deserves credit for getting re-involved in recent months. But the disconnects between MoveOn and much of the grassroots antiwar movement are disturbing....(full article)

How We Left Gaza
by Tanya Reinhart

We will never know with certainty what took place in the mind of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in February 2004, when he first declared, without consulting anyone, that he is ready to evacuate the Jewish settlements in Gaza. But if we try to put together the pieces of the disengagement puzzle, the scenario that makes the most sense is that Sharon believed that this time, as before, he would find a way of evading the plan....(full article)

The Pullout of Gaza: Its Real Meaning
by Baruch Kimmerling

Despite the dramatic and unprecedented uprising in Israel, of the settler community, the national religious youths and a part of secular right wingers; despite Voodoo ceremonies, the huge money invested in an anti-disengagement campaign and emotional extortion of the Jewish public; despite all this, the dismantling of Gaza settlements can be considered an established fact. However, a fascinating puzzle lingers. Why has Sharon, who is considered a vehement enemy of the Palestinian people and the major engine behind the settlement process of the occupied territories, made such a considerable unilateral concession? Did Sharon indeed undergo a deep metamorphosis to become the big peacemaker and play the role of an Israeli De Gaulle or De Klerk? A careful examination of Sharon’s steps, lead to completely contradictory conclusions....(full article)

August 17

-- Website of the Day --
The Definitive Article on the Phony Social Security "Crisis"
by Doug Henwood, The Left Business Observer

Greenspan’s Role in the Housing Bubble
by Mike Whitney

It’s strange that Alan Greenspan hasn’t been blamed for the housing bubble. After all, he set the “easy money” policies that put the whole thing in motion and he’s the one who should be held responsible when it goes up in smoke. Let me explain. Most people expect the Federal Reserve to lower rates when business is flagging to stimulate the economy by making loans more available for commerce, home buying, recreational spending etc. But, just as higher rates can stop the economy in its tracks by making money too expensive to borrow, so too, lower rates can have equally adverse consequences. For example, when Greenspan lowered rates to 1% in 2002 he knew that money would surge into the economy and create the appearance that everything was hunky-dory. Predictably, the economy sputtered along from the economic activity generated by the housing boom and from the 30% increase in government spending. But, what else did Greenspan’s lower rates achieve? (full article)

Running On Fumes: A Journey to the End of Empire
by Phil Rockstroh

The rising price of gasoline troubles Americans because it threatens the sustaining cultural illusion of our freedom of mobility -- a commercial con job that, over time, has served to transform us from the citizens of a sprawling republic into de facto slaves of the corporate classes. Our masters have the mobility, we have a long commute. How, in any way, shape, or form, are American freeways free? (full article)

When the Oil Pan’s Empty . . . Bye-bye Conspicuous Consumption
by Paul K. Haeder

The fix is in for the extractors, who envision -- each and every one of them standing proudly on their third 6,000-square-foot homes and plucky yachts -- a world that believes two barrels of oil expended to extract one dirty, rotten barrel is sustainable. With our 1.5 party system mucking up anything sustainable (.5 being a few Republicans and Democrats who can think abstractly and without the 1.0’s Christian Scientology War Party determining energy policy based on a six-month long view and a cornucopian view that the earth has unlimited energy and food for, oh, let’s be conservative and say another 6 billion people), the Bush-Pelosi Mister Rogers Neighborhood is one where global warming, climate change and wasted billions of greenbacks and a trillion here and there will see the world getting ever so closer to the abbreviated version of The Long Emergency....(full article)

The NPT is Dead.... And It's a Good Thing Too
by Lila Rajiva

This past July Indian PM Manmohan Singh struck a deal with President Bush by which the US promised full support for India's civil nuclear program if it submitted to IAEA controls. For those who've signed the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), not developing weapons is the condition for getting US help on nuclear energy, so a non-signatory like India getting it anyway had a lot of people wringing their hands over the death of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as we know it. In the end, it may only leave the two countries where they've been for years -- coyly playing he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not with each other, this time with nukes glittering up front rather than tucked away in the background. Still, coming as it did just a few weeks before the August 7 anniversary of Hiroshima and the August 15 anniversary of Indian Independence, it churns the debate about whether developing countries, especially one born out of a struggle that claimed to be non-violent, should be building nukes anyway. And it provides a little morality play for the rest of the globe with the contrast between India chomping happily on the tasty little carrot usually reserved for those who agree to the NPT and poor Iran, an NPT signatory for years, bludgeoned night and day with US threats and sanctions. The message is clear. Defy the US, and be invited over to meet the family, grovel, and feel the imperial heel on your neck....(full article)

President Bush Must Address Outsourcing
by Gene C. Gerard

In a recent radio address to the nation President Bush said, “Our economy is strong, yet I will not be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job.” If Mr. Bush truly wants to ensure that everyone who has lost a job can get back to work, he’s going to need to take a stand against sending jobs overseas. At best, his administration has done very little to address this issue. At its worst, the Bush administration has implicitly encouraged outsourcing....(full article)

Deceive, Divide, and Devour
The Uses and Meanings of Disengagement”
by James Brooks

Many theories have been advanced concerning the intentions of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s “disengagement” plan. Some point to its function as a smokescreen to hide Israel’s accelerated theft and walling-off of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Others believe the plan is fundamentally an effort to improve Israel’s security by abandoning an untenable position in the Gaza Strip. “Disengagement” has also been called a diplomatic ploy to garner US approval for Israel’s annexation of most of its illegal West Bank settlements. Many Israelis believe Sharon launched his plan in late 2003 to foment the national crisis that ultimately sidelined his looming indictment on corruption charges. All of these approaches have merit, but none encompasses the entire process and reach of the “disengagement” plan. A full analysis of the goals of “disengagement” would have to account for all of these observations as well as other, less noticed features of Sharon’s execution of the plan to date....(full article)

Blaming the Antiwar Messengers
by Norman Solomon

The surge of antiwar voices in U.S. media this month has coincided with new lows in public approval for what pollsters call President Bush’s “handling” of the Iraq war. After more than two years of a military occupation that was supposed to be a breeze after a cakewalk into Baghdad, the war has become a clear PR loser. But an unpopular war can continue for a long time -- and one big reason is that the military-industrial-media complex often finds ways to blunt the effectiveness of its most prominent opponents. Right now, the pro-war propaganda arsenal of the world’s only superpower is drawing a bead on Cindy Sheehan, who now symbolizes the USA’s antiwar grief. She is a moving target, very difficult to hit. But right-wing media sharpshooters are sure to keep trying. The Bush administration’s top officials must be counting the days until the end of the presidential vacation brings to a close the Crawford standoff between Camp Casey and Camp Carnage. But media assaults on Cindy Sheehan are just in early stages....(full article)

Mona in the Field of Crosses at Camp Casey, TX
by Greg Moses

Every voice that comes behind Cindy Sheehan sparks a new voice, and someone else stands up. Someone else is not afraid anymore.” Mona is speaking from the back seat of a Camp Casey shuttle as the Texas prairie speeds past. Today Mona is not afraid what the President will think. But she is worried to death about her son, who is headed for Iraq next month. Mona’s anti-war movement is on a tight schedule indeed. Even the national protests scheduled for Sept. 24-26 in D.C. may be too late. “I was on Air America earlier this week,” says Mona, answering to the usual round of “where you from?” She called the radio station from Ohio to defend Cindy Sheehan’s protest action, and someone asked her if she was planning to go. “Well, if I can arrange it, I’ll go,” Mona recalls. After she hung up, the station got calls. Someone offered a plane ticket from Ohio to Texas. Another offered the rent car. “So I’m here for at least a week, but I can always just turn in the rent car and stay longer.”....(full article)

August 15

by Patricia Goldsmith

Once again, in the case of Right Wing Media Circus versus Cindy Sheehan, we are solemnly invited to examine the evidence: she met with the President once and she didn’t have this problem then. And, even more devastating: members of her family disagree with her and think she ought to shut up. Contradictions between what she said before and what she’s saying now are examined, weighed -- and condemned. After all, the woman was under oath! . . . Oh. Wait a minute. I’m shocked the wingnuts are doing this, because Mom is the deepest archetype of all, and Cindy Sheehan is a grieving mother. She no longer has the American sense of privilege standing guard on polite silence. Her loss and her rage have made her into that most fearsome thing: someone who feels she has nothing to lose. Because of her, a lot of people who were sitting on the fence are seeing that George Bush is, just like she says, a lying bastard and an evil maniac. It is the extreme discomfort of this perception that is fueling some of the strident talk about Sheehan. But it will not stand....(full article)

Cindy Sheehan Confronts Judith Miller’s War
by Ahmed Amr

This war can best be told by narrating the stories of two women. One woman played an instrumental role in launching the invasion of Iraq and the other is determined to end the occupation and bring the troops home. One woman wants to shed light on the lies that led to war and the other is willing to hide in jail to avoid telling the truth about her role in this catastrophe. One lady is the mother of a fallen soldier who only demands a few rational answers as to why her son died. The second is a warmongering tramp and WMD huckster who refuses to divulge her role in outing Valerie Plame. One woman is an outsider demanding a single hour of the President’s attention. The other is a power broker from Sulzberger’s New York Times with ready access to Bush administration insiders like Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. One woman is invigorating the entire peace movement and the other is a bona fide neo-con operative of a War Party in retreat....(full article)

Get a Life, Mr. President
by Peter Kurth

Cindy Sheehan makes no secret of her desire to see George W. Bush impeached and, as of Saturday, had actually called him “a s---” (modesty courtesy of the Fourth Estate, which apparently believes that the sight of a good old Anglo-Saxon expletive will bring America apart at the seams). Her “intemperate” outburst, her lack of “civility,” her “name-calling,” will win Sheehan a lot of friends on one side and a lot of enemies on the other, but she has those already, and it doesn’t faze her. As Bush himself remarked last week, “She feels strongly about her position. She has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America.” It sure is, Junior, and something tells me that Cindy Sheehan’s example is going to make you realize it in a way you’ve never had to face it before. While her opponents are busy smearing Sheehan as “treasonous,” an “America-hating idiot,” a “tool”, a “pawn”, a “peacenik” and -- whatever this means -- “more antiwar protester than grieving mother,” let’s not forget that she isn’t the only one out there, not even the only grieving mother in Crawford....(full article)

Failing in Iraq
by Mike Whitney

There is no longer any possibility of the United States achieving its objectives in Iraq. Whatever opportunity there might have been following the initial invasion has been swept away by the abusive treatment of detainees, the wanton slaughter of civilians, and the systematic destruction of Iraqi society. The war has entered a period of retrenchment, with both sides firmly committed to their own objectives, doing whatever is within their power to succeed. This situation will undoubtedly persist for a number of years until the US is ultimately forced to withdraw....(full article)

American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery?
Part One: Bully, Cheat, Kill, and Conquer  
by Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri 

Concentrating on the Iraq war is a fundamental prerequisite to the understanding of the new wars of colonialist conquests ushered in by the United States under President Bush. To begin with, one cannot address the morally senseless American violence in the world, its application, and its rationales without considering all factors contributing to its emergence as the primary philosophy of the United States under Bush. However, a basic approach to define the parameters of said violence resides in evaluating the environment in which the imperialist coalition executes its strategy for world domination....(full article)  

Nuclear Proliferation May Be a Neocon Goal
by David Sugar

....More recently the rhetoric of Mr. Bush and the new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have continued to undermine those actively seeking diplomatic solutions to this problem even as North Korea plans for its first nuclear weapons test. The recent Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty review also offered a chance for the American government to demonstrate its resolve in preserving a nuclear weapons free world. The collapse of this most recent review and efforts to change the NPT were not unique, as this has happened before. What was new was the complete lack of effort and deliberate lack of diplomatic pressure from Washington to try and salvage the treaty or get any needed changes made. This deliberate failure echoes Mr. Bolton's similarly deliberate failure to curb North Korean nuclear ambitions. Some assumed the policies of Mr. Bolton were an aberration or work of a maverick. However, if this were true, it would seem strange to reward a maverick operating outside of administration policy with a new U.N. post. Nor could the administration be blind to the fact that reprocessing was occurring unabated at Yongbyon during these five years where diplomacy was clearly failing. Finally, given the similar actions of Ms. Rice and the deliberate lack of action by the American government at the NPT review, one is left to presume a nuclear-armed North Korea and nuclear proliferation represents the desired outcome of the Bush administration. Let’s consider then: what are the benefits to the Bush administration if North Korea conducts a successful nuclear test and nuclear proliferation becomes the norm rather than the exception it remains today?(full article)

Japan’s Modern Historical Loop
by Reza Fiyouzat

The thing that is too depressing is what everybody knows yet gets zero negative mention in the official press, especially the right wing newspapers such as the Yomiuri Shimbun or its associated papers and magazines: the shame of Japan’s rapid remilitarization, much encouraged and helped along by the US since at least the 1990s, and much accelerated since the coming to power of George W. Bush.   The International Herald Tribune of August 8, 2005, reporting on the atomic bombings’ anniversary ceremonies in Hiroshima, described the survivors’ mood as worrisome. An interviewed survivor who is a physician summed up well how the sands have shifted. “Ten years ago, few could question Article 9 of the Constitution [which bans participation in offensive wars]. But people talk about it openly now.” Another survivor, Akihiro Takahashi, former director of the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, was quoted as saying, “The dispatch of the Self Defense Forces to Iraq is completely out of line with pacifism. In the future the peace constitution will no doubt be revised, and that will lead to conscription and, eventually, the possession of nuclear arms.”....(full article)

Are You Trying to Kill Us?
Famine Politics and Aid
by Yves Engler

Starving children get media attention, well-fed imperial economists don’t. Yet modern history shows they are usually two sides of the famine coin. Over the past month thousands have died of starvation in Niger. All the while food has been available. The poor simply don’t have the money to pay rising food costs, so they starve. In the spring the International Monetary Fund pressured Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja to implement a 19 percent value added tax with foodstuffs included. The tax was added even though food costs rose more then 75 percent in the previous five years. Concurrently the country’s nomadic herders main income -- livestock -- fell a quarter in value, leaving the poor with less money to purchase basic foods. When international groups began drawing attention to the worsening food crisis the interests of the “market” were placed above those of the poor. “The Niger government,” August 7th London Observer reveals, “under instruction from the IMF and European Union, at first refused to distribute free food to those most in need.” The powers that be did not want “to depress the market prices” that benefited wholesalers and speculators....
(full article)

Ecuador: Sovereignty Takes One Step Backwards
by toni solo

Just as the longstanding political crisis in Bolivia hangs fire pending future elections, so too in Ecuador people await some serious attempt at a new political settlement. In both countries the fundamental cause of unrest is widespread popular rejection of "free market" economic policies that have resulted in deepening poverty for the majority. Former President Lucio Gutierrez was ousted in April by a combination of the urban middle classes and disillusioned indigenous rural people. In all the Andean countries, continuing political crisis stems from the refusal of entrenched traditional political classes to reject foreign influence and work for their peoples. These internal Andean conflicts embody the wider drama of declining US power throughout Latin America. It may be true that as the United States government loses influence in one place it seizes it back elsewhere, as it has done recently with the immunity it won for its military personnel in Paraguay. But the trend is clear. Unless the US and its local allies implement repression across the continent at the levels prevalent in Haiti and Colombia, it is surely only a matter of time before Latin American countries finally realize the liberation so long postponed since the days of Simon Bolivar and Toussaint L’ouverture....(full article)

Helen Keller: Not Blind to War Crimes
by Mickey Z.

In a textbook example of whitewashing, if today's America knows Helen Keller (1880-1968) at all, it's the easy-to-digest image portrayed in the 1962 film, The Miracle Worker. Brave deaf and blind girl "overcomes" all obstacles to inspire everyone she meets. "The Helen Keller with whom most people are familiar is a stereotypical sexless paragon who was able to overcome deaf-blindness and work tirelessly to promote charities and organizations associated with other blind and deaf-blind individuals," writes Sally Rosenthal in Ragged Edge. But, in 1909, Helen Keller became a socialist. Soon after, she emerged as a vocal supporter of the working class and traveled the nation to voice her opposition to war. "How can our rulers claim they are fighting to make the world safe for democracy," she asked, "while here in the U.S. Negroes may be massacred and their property burned?" Of course, as a woman with disabilities, she was patronized by the same mainstream media that previously championed her as a heroine. The editors of the Brooklyn Eagle wrote: "Her mistakes spring out of the manifest limitations of her development."....(full article)

Give War A Chance
by Paulibus

(With sincerest apologies to John Lennon & Paul McCartney)
This revision was inspired by a woman named Amy Proctor, whose delightful Republican, Right Wing, “Christian” beliefs enable her to utter the following remarkable statement in response to a visitor to her website: ‘I know you find it hard to be positive, Chevy. I know you aren't hopeful about this. But we ARE winning the war, we ARE welcomed and wanted in Iraq, and President Bush was very just in this endeavor. You say "Stop the killing and let real peace begin." I say, "We've tried that. Give war a chance!"....
(full lyrics)

August 12

August 24 DC Protest -- What's Everybody Mad About?
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Approving and marketing lethal drugs, while concealing the results of studies that reveal deadly side affects, should be a jailable offense. This conduct is not due to mistakes, it is representative of, by now, an all too familiar pattern of criminal behavior by top officials within the nation's top regulatory agencies and the pharmaceutical industry. This year Eli Lilly was made to pay nearly $700 million to settle charges that it did not warn consumers that the drug Zyprexa could cause diabetes, which resulted in grave injuries and death to hundreds of people. But nobody was charged with a crime. Activists who are fed up with waiting for the FDA to take proper action to protect the public from dangerous psychotropic drugs are holding a 3-day rally in front of White House to condemn the FDA's failure to act on the matter. On August 24, 25, and 26, between 9 am and 5 pm, prominent activists from all over the nation will join victims and family members who have lost love ones due to these drugs to raise public awareness about their potential dangers. They will specifically target the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include: Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Citalopram, Celexa, Lexapro, and Paroxetine....(full article)

It All Started at the Pig Farm

The Revolution is NOW...
by Sheila Samples

The incomparable Raw Story website is publishing a letter it acquired on Tuesday, August 9, from 16 Democratic Representatives (whose number has now burgeoned to 38) urging George Bush to meet with Cindy Sheehan, whose son, Casey, was slain in Iraq in 2002. Sheehan has been camped on Bush's doorstep since Saturday when she and a small group of supporters were forced to walk in a ditch struggling through knee-deep weeds as they made their way to Prairie Chapel, the Bush "ranch," a former pig farm in Crawford, Texas. According to The Iconoclast, Bush's hometown paper, Sheehan said she decided to go to Crawford because of comments Bush made which coincided with the deaths of 12 Marine reservists from Ohio who were killed in perhaps the deadliest roadside bombing of U.S. troops in Iraq. Sheehan was outraged at Bush's remarks to about 1,800 members of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Grapevine on Aug. 3 that the men and women who’ve lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan died in a noble and selfless cause. We all know by now that that’s not true, and I want to ask George Bush, ‘Why did my son die? What was the noble cause that he died for?’” said Sheehan. “I don’t want [President Bush] to use my son’s name or my family name to justify any more killing or to exploit my son’s name, my son’s sacrifice, or my son’s honor to justify more killing. As a mother, why would I want one more mother to go through what I’m going through, Iraqi or American? “And I want to tell him that the only way to honor my son’s sacrifice is to bring the troops home now.”....(full article)

Rage Against the Killing of the Light
by Norman Solomon

Mid-August 2005 may be remembered as a moment in U.S. history when the president could no longer get away with the media trick of solemnly patting death on its head. Unreality is a hallmark of media coverage for war. Yet -- most of all -- war is about death and suffering. War makers thrive on abstractions. Their media successes depend on evasion. President Bush has tried to keep the loved ones of America's war dead at middle distance, bathed in soft fuzzy light: close enough to exploit for media purposes, distant enough to insulate the commander in chief's persona from the intrusion of wartime mourning in America. What's going on this week, outside the perimeter of the ranch-style White House in Crawford, is some reclamation of reality in public life. Cindy Sheehan has disrupted the media-scripted shadow play of falsity. And some other relatives of the ultimately sacrificed have been en route to the vigil in the dry hot Texas ditches now being subjected to enormous media attention a few miles from the vacationing president's accommodations. At this point, Bush's spinners are desperate to divert the media spotlight from Sheehan. But other bereft mothers arriving in Crawford will hardly be more compatible with war-making myths....(full article)

Child for Sale: The Corporate Takeover of Our Classrooms
by Lucinda Marshall

As any parent will tell you, the only school prep that counts is the late summer quest for cool -- cool shoes, cool clothes, and for lack of a better technical term, cool stuff. Case in point, the ruler that folds into one-inch increments which caught my son's eye when we recently went scavenging for the items on his school supply list. It of course goes without saying that no child is going to succeed academically if you buy the wrong jeans or sneakers. There's nothing new about children wanting to fit in, be cool, be accepted. But the amount of gear necessary to accomplish this has skyrocketed in recent years as more and more advertising is geared at our children. What is particularly disturbing is how much of the sales pitch takes place in the schools themselves....(full article)

Vermin and Souvenirs: How to Justify a Nuclear Attack
by Mickey Z.

Because Japan chose to invade several colonial outposts of the West, the war in the Pacific laid bare the inherent racism of the colonial structure. In the United States and Britain, the Japanese were more hated than the Germans. The race card was played to the hilt through a variety of Allied propaganda methods. Spurred on by a growing Chinese lobby and vocal American trade protectionists wary of inexpensive Japanese goods, the campaign would eventually help cajole the American public into a pro-war, anti-Japan position. By 1938, as historian Michael C.C. Adams writes, polls showed more Americans favored military aid to China than to Britain or France. Even more so than the Third Reich, Japan was the U.S. villain of choice. “Periodicals that regularly featured accounts of Japanese atrocities,” says author John Dower, “gave negligible coverage to the genocide of the Jews, and the Holocaust was not even mentioned in the “Why We Fight” [film] series Frank Capra directed for the U.S. Army.” The Japanese soldiers (and, for that matter, all Japanese) were commonly referred to and depicted as subhuman: insects, monkeys, apes, rodents, or simply barbarians that must be wiped out or exterminated. The American Legion Magazine’s cartoon of monkeys in a zoo who had posted a sign reading, “Any similarity between us and the Japs is purely coincidental” was typical. A U.S. Army poll in 1943 found that roughly half of all GIs believed it would be necessary to kill every Japanese on earth before peace could be achieved. Their superiors in Washington appeared to agree. By December 1943, as Adams notes, there were more troops and equipment in the Pacific than in Europe and it has been estimated that 1,589 artillery rounds were fired to kill each Japanese soldier. As a December 1945 Fortune poll revealed, American feelings for the Japanese did not soften after the war. Nearly twenty-three percent of those questioned wished the U.S. could have dropped “many more [atomic bombs] before the Japanese had a chance to surrender.”....(full article)

The False Promise of Profiling Terrorists
by Ken Sanders

In the wake of the bombings in London last month, there has been much ado here in the States on the merits of racial profiling as a means of netting would-be terrorists. The logic (such as it is) goes something like this: most terrorists are Islamic radicals; most Islamic radicals are of Middle Eastern dissent; that guy looks like a Middle Easterner; therefore, that guy is more likely to be a terrorist than that white guy next to him. As is so often the case, however, simplistic ideas rarely solve complex problems....(full article)

Still Separate, Unequal: Race, Place, Policy and Racism Avoidance
in and Around Chicago
by Paul Street

....What would King see and think if he could magically return to Chicago four decades later? He would be disappointed to learn that that within Chicago, 74 percent of black residents live in 22 neighborhoods that are 90 percent or more African-American -- this in a city that is home to 77 officially designated neighborhoods or community areas.  King would be intrigued to learn that blacks have recently gained unprecedented entrance to the suburbs and that one third of the metropolitan area’s black population now lives outside the central city, but it would bother him to learn that more than half (52 percent) of all suburban Chicago area blacks reside in just 18 south suburban Cook County towns -- this in a six country metropolitan area that is home to 265 local municipalities....(full article)

The Lie of a Strong Economy (Beneath the Towers of Avarice)
by Jack Random

A man born with a silver spoon, who failed at every business venture he ever attempted, can no more understand the hardships of economy than a man who avoided military service (yet charaded as a fighter pilot for the cameras) can understand the hardships of war. The president tells us the economy is strong and assembles a chorus line of neocon ideologues, charading as economists, to tell us he is right, yet none of these silver spoon pretenders live in the economy they have created. If they can find numbers that tell us how fortunate and prosperous we are, it is the final proof that numbers lie -- or rather, the unscrupulous can bend them to any purpose. The numbers the administration and its shameless promoters use to inform us of our good fortune are job creation, the unemployment rate and income relative to inflation. Using these numbers to document a strong economy is analogous to recalculating the casualty rate in Iraq by expanding the definition of “non-combat” death and discounting those soldiers who are mortally wounded in the war but die in a German hospital....(full article)

The Selling of Brand Kurdistan
by Bill Berkowitz

As the “Truth Tour” fades into the ether, Russo Marsh & Rogers, a California-based public relations firm with close ties to the Republican Party, is now helping the Kurds prepare for the future....(full article)

Flat-Earther Bush’s Style for Wild Salmon (Part II of III)
History of Salmon as Microcosm: Humans’ Out-of-Whack Carrying
Capacity, and Failure to Grasp Earth’s Biological Web

by Paul Haeder

As climate cooled 40 to 20 million years ago, streams and rivers decreased in nutrient productivity, and so the sciences says that freshwater fish went anadromous and developed a sea-going life cycle as oceans became rich sources of food. In this part of the America, the salmon’s evolution linked and adapted to the changes in topography. For millions of years salmon have been here in abundance. In the past 100 years, human evolution in the Pacific Northwest has brought some species of salmon to extinction and has impoverished the continued existence of a sustainable salmon ecosystem. Salmon have been part of the lifeblood of peoples from Finland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, to Japan and British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. Salmon sustain the life of a forest, and this species is the link in the natural gear work and framework of an ecosystem that has grown because of the returning spawning salmon. From the nitrogen in grizzlies’ bones and hair, to the nitrogen in valley-bottom forests, and nutrients fed to gargantuan trees growing along salmon rivers, the salmon has delivered the lifeblood to the forest. Of course, this is all ancient history. Wild salmon are threatened, and the techno-fixes devised by one of the most creative creatures on earth will be the salmon’s demise....(full article)

Evolution and the Space Dog
by Aaron Michael Gordon

Evolution is back, people! Your favorite theory and mine, under attack from creationists. Err, intelligent designers. It’s so piping hot that Time Magazine put the controversy right on the cover. It seems that 25 states have proposed education policy “against” evolution, and some have actually moved forward into quasi-policy, where “you don’t have to do this, but we want you introduce a variety of ways to think about how life originated on earth.” Of course, both sides are up in arms, but I think these intelligent designers are onto something here. Let’s think about this for a second. If life didn’t evolve from the same amoeba right up all the various branches to man, but is, in fact, the product of some guiding hand … some alternate theory, then let’s go with it. Why not? C’mon! It’s going to be fun, and I can prove it, although that’s not really important to science anymore. Besides, our side has a stake in this fight too: diversity in the classroom....(full article)

Fundamentalist Christianity: A Dangerous Force When it Denies
Rational, Scientific Thinking

by Lee Salisbury

Religious leaders hate rival sources of authority. 18th Century European Enlightenment thinking with its concepts of rationalism and science provided religious authoritarianism with that rival. America’s founding fathers, products of the Enlightenment, had the audacity to effectively say to Christianity, "worship all you want, but our Constitution does not need your influence!" Roman Catholic traditionalists and Protestant Christian bible-based fundamentalists still seethe over this rejection. Then as now, zealous Catholics and Protestants claim to speak for God versus Enlightenment thinkers who boldly experiment with new ideas independent of Christian dogma. Today's clergy shudder if their members hear the Thomas Edisons of this world, whose invention catapulted America to prosperity, exclaim as he did that, "religion is all bunk!"....(full article)

August 10

Plaming Cindy Sheehan
by Ahmed Amr

A few weeks ago, David Frum -- the neo-con author of the “axis of evil” doctrine -- had the audacity to call Cindy Sheehan an “anti-war crazy.” The neo-cons are good at that sort of thing. When they come up against compelling arguments for which they have no canned retort, they never hesitate to go for the jugulars. As Ambassador Joseph Wilson or Hans Blix can attest, they have a nasty habit of viciously Plaming dissenters to teach them the proper etiquette for addressing impertinent questions to our White House governors. Within 48 hours after Cindy marched on Bush’s Texas ranch, the long knives were being sharpened. Instead of answering her questions, the Rove squads made the decision to give her the “Valerie Plame” treatment. Plaming is a two-step process -- first you denigrate the offending serf in the public square. You then call in the mass media muscle guys to dump the remains some place where the victim can safely be ignored. In keeping with the game plan, CNN and FOX are back filming the endless soap opera in Aruba and monitoring shark attacks and Tsunamis. If only they could spare that kind of coverage for Cindy Sheehan -- George Bush would be permanently retired in Crawford and the neo-con brigades would be sharing bunks in a federal penitentiary....(full article)

C'mon Dubya, Talk to the Lady
by Ken Sanders

Can there still be any question that President Bush is a coward? Is there still any question that not only is Bush a coward, but that he doesn't give two shakes about the thousands of men and women he has sent off to die, be mutilated, or be psychologically traumatized? Any such questions should be put firmly to rest by the story of Cindy Sheehan. On April 4, 2004, Cindy's son, Casey, died while ridding the world of Saddam's WMD, or liberating the oppressed Iraqis, or bringing peace and stability to the Middle East, or whatever lie the Bush administration happened to be telling at the time to justify their arrogant and short-sighted decision to thrust the U.S. into a wholly unnecessary and irresponsible war. In short, Casey died because his Commander in Chief, our dear President, sent him off to war. Now, a little more than a year after her son's death, Cindy wants answers. She wants to know why her son had to die. She wants to know why we invaded a country that posed no legitimate threat to our national interests. She wants to know the meaning of the Downing Street Memo's statement that within the Bush administration, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." She wants to know what Bush means when he refers to the "noble cause" for which her son was killed. She wants to know, if the cause is so damn noble, why aren't Bush's kids fighting for it?(full article)

How Building a Saudi City Made a Lefty Out of Dick Underhill, VFP
by Greg Moses

Back in the ‘60s you could say two things about Navy and Air Force veteran Dick Underhill: he liked to do the work that nobody else wanted to do, and he was a Goldwater Republican. Today as Underhill shuttles in and out of Crawford, Texas, running supplies and tending to lists of things to do in support of Cindy Sheehan, you could still say he likes to do the work that nobody else wants to do, but you couldn’t call him a Goldwater Republican anymore. “You have heard about PTSD, haven’t you?” asks Underhill in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon from his Austin home. “That’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Well, I have a name for something else that I call PASD. That’s Post Awareness Stress Disorder. It’s what happens to you when you’ve been raised all your life to believe the story that the slaveholders and merchant pirates who founded the USA were good people and that the government of the USA is the best in the world. When you find out that’s not true at all, it does leave you under stress.”....(full article)

Open Letter to President Bush and Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
Sgt. Kevin Benderman, Conscientious Objector

by Monica Benderman

Dear Sirs: 
As I am certain you are all aware, my husband, Sgt. Kevin Benderman, was sentenced to 15 months confinement, loss of rank, forfeiture of pay and a dishonorable discharge last week, the charge being “Missing Movement” or failure to get on a plane. In actuality, the charge was “filing a Conscientious Objector packet against the recommendation of his commander, who had no intention of allowing my husband to follow his conscience, and therefore serving notice to the rest of our military that they should not follow suit.” I need to assure you that I do not make this statement out of anger, but rather by simply pointing to the facts. Not only did my husband’s commander address this in a public comment to the media, the prosecutor used this in his closing statements, and the military representative was adamant about this in his public comments to the media immediately following my husband’s court martial....(full letter)

Focus on the Father
Part Three: Scapegoat
by Patricia Goldsmith

Democrats seem only to believe in means -- policies, tactics, rules. This would include the Democratic Leadership Council’s fixation on triangulation; only last week Al From insisted that there has never been a liberal majority in this country. Delicacy prevented him from adding the understood “and there never will be.” The problem is, the words liberal and conservative no longer have any intelligible meaning whatsoever, just as the concept of compromise no longer has any meaning. If liberals are those who believe in means, above all -- and there is no shame in it; democracy is, after all, a process, and progressives know you have to start wherever you are -- we are in big trouble right now.  Because a rule-based attitude will not work against a powerful, wealthy movement that firmly believes that the ends justify the means. One of those means is scapegoating....(full article)

Revving Up World War III
by Mike Whitney

The facts about Iran’s “alleged” nuclear weapons program have never been in dispute. There is no such program and no one has ever produced a shred of credible evidence to the contrary. That hasn’t stopped the Bush administration from making spurious accusations and threats, nor has it deterred America’s “imbedded” media from implying that Iran is hiding a nuclear weapons program from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). In fact, the media routinely features the unconfirmed claims of members of terrorist organizations, like the Mujahedin-e-Kalq, (which is on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations) to make it appear that Iran is secretively developing nuclear arms. These claims have proved to be entirely baseless and should be dismissed as just another part of Washington’s propaganda war. Sound familiar? (full article)

Impediments to the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
by N.D. Jayaprakash

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the ruthless atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, over 10,000 delegates from Japan and nearly 300 delegates from 29 other countries assembled in Hiroshima to attend the 2005 World Conference Against Atomic & Hydrogen Bombs. The Conference paid homage to the hapless victims of the nuclear holocaust (including the Hibakusha -- atomic bomb survivors), vowed to strive steadfastly to strengthen world opinion to prevent the recurrence of the horrific event ever again, and demanded the abolition of nuclear weapons. N.D. Jayaprakash, who attended the Conference, recounts the background of the nuclear arms race and about the present dilemma facing humankind....(full article)

Prices and Values
Why Economics Fails as a Sole Foundation of Public Policy
by Ernest Partridge

Immediately upon assuming office in 1981, President Ronald Reagan issued an Executive Order requiring all federal administrative agencies and departments to justify proposed regulations with a cost-benefit analysis. Similarly, on his first day in office, January 20, 2001, George Bush ordered all cabinet officers to withhold implementation of more than fifty federal regulations that had been approved late in the Clinton administration. They were to be kept “on hold” until Bush’s Office of Management and Budget determined that their benefits exceeded their costs. As Amanda Griscom (of reported in September 2003:  “The frozen rules included more than a dozen significant environmental ones. They called for less arsenic in drinking water, a ban on snowmobiles in national parks, controls for raw sewage overflow, stronger energy-efficiency standards, and protections against commercial logging, mining, and drilling on national lands. Of the environmental regulations that came under scrutiny, only half have since made it past the cost-benefit analysis and into the Federal Register.” Cost-benefit analysis (CBA), an exclusively economic assessment of public policy proposals, is based upon the assumption that the public values that enter into policy decisions can all be quantified in monetary terms. This is a remarkably impoverished concept of “values” to be coming from an administration that proclaims its commitment to “moral values.”....
(full article)

A Tale of Two Cities
by Sheila Velazquez

A few days ago I returned from a visit to New Orleans where an incident that occurred during Mardi Gras was related to me. A small black boy sitting in front of his building caught a handful of beads flung from a parade float. An obviously drunken elderly white woman walked up to him, slapped him hard enough across the face to leave a mark, and snatched the shiny colored trinkets as they fell from his hands (you can buy these things for very little in local shops). A group of young adults (white) approached the child's father and told him that he should find a policeman and report the incident, and that they would back him up. When the officer came over, he addressed the white woman by her first name and asked if there was a problem. She said that the boy had tried to take her beads, but that she had held on to them. The officer made no reference to her abuse of the child. The young people and father of the boy were stunned. The incident is a metaphor for our times....(full article)

Don’t Believe the Hype: Howard Dean and the PDA
by Joshua Frank

After all they have been through, they still don’t get it. The Democrats are as inept a political opposition as George W. Bush is at running his daddy’s oil companies. DNC Chairman Howard Dean has just finished a long 30-state trip across the country, during which he met with thousands of enthusiastic Democrats looking for some way to challenge the Republican Party....
(full article)

August 6, 2005

The United States of Dixieland: Corporatism, Jesus, and the Death Genes
by Phil Rockstroh

....Moreover, as was the case with so many poverty stricken whites in the Deep South, the inequities of the present order have endowed many contemporary Americans with a sense of nebulous rage and nettling resentment begot by having one’s spirit repeatedly crushed by the inhuman demands of a seeming implacable system. Then as now, these anguished sentiments rise, tragically, displaced as fear, resentment, and hatred of minorities, homosexuals, reformers, and outsiders. From the Klan meetings, the Jim Crow laws, and the lynching of the bad-old-days of Dixieland, right up to the right wing hate-speak of talk radio, the de facto segregation of gated, suburban subdivisions, and the Christofascistic queer bashing of these bad-new-days -- the hateful legacies linger....(full article)

Halliburton Secretly Doing Business with Key Member
of Iran's Nuclear Team

by Jason Leopold

Scandal-plagued Halliburton, the oil services company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, was secretly working with one of Iran’s top nuclear program officials on natural gas related projects and, allegedly, selling the officials' oil development company key components for a nuclear reactor, according to Halliburton sources with intimate knowledge into both companies’ business dealings. Just last week, a National Security Council report said Iran was a decade away from acquiring a nuclear bomb. That time frame could arguably have been significantly longer if Halliburton, which just reported a 284 percent increase in its fourth quarter profits due to its Iraq reconstruction contracts, was not actively providing the Iranian government with the financial means to build a nuclear weapon....(full article)

The Neocon Cookbook
Savory Recipes for the Power Hungry by the Power Elite
A Special Dispatch by Political Gourmand Zbigniew Zingh

These are the dog days of August, and the Bush Administration held its annual summer picnic and barbeque last week at the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas. The guests kicked off their shoes, loosened their ties, unbuttoned their brown shirts, forgot for the moment about world conflagrations, torture, extreme rendition, diseases, domestic and geopolitical intrigue, and gathered around for an all American cook-out. As the Bush family led their guests in patriotic song and revelry and the roasting of marshmallows over a napalm fire-pit, the august gathering shared their favorite culinary recipes with the author....(full article)

From Hiroshima to Iraq and Back
by Sharon K. Weiner and Robert Jensen

August 6 asks much of U.S. citizens, as the date silently demands an accounting of the decision in 1945 to drop a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima and unleash on the world the atomic age. But this date also should compel us to consider our current choices about freedom and security, an equation that has haunted us since 1945 and is at stake today in Iraq....(full article)

An 800-Pound Gorilla Goes to the UN
John Bolton's New Internationalism
by Lila Rajiva

Whether John Bolton did or did not “swing” with various extramarital bodies at the DC club Plato's Retreat, as porn publisher Larry Flynt claims, is largely irrelevant. As far as other foreign bodies go, however, screw everyone is pretty much Bolton's philosophy. So, despite what Joe Biden thinks, Bolton at the U.N. will be no bumbling bull in a china shop. His abrasive rhetoric is not in the slightest bit unintended. It reflects with complete accuracy his own undemocratic attitude and that of his bosses -- kiss-up and kick-down, says Senator Voinovitch (R-Ohio), who compares the way Bolton tears into low-level employees and other little people to an 800-pound gorilla devouring bananas. His appointment on August 2 to the post of U.N. ambassador thus drives a gruesomely large nail into the metal container in which, for the past several years, the Bushies have been gleefully interring the U.N. and every other international body around. Hands, feet, and mouth duct-taped, the U.N. will in due course join all the other legal non-persons created by Bush's contempt for the rule of law within the state and abroad. No wonder that the appointment itself flouted standard procedure and was hustled through while Congress was in recess, a first time for such an important appointment....(full article)

Pretty Hot in Crawford, Pretty Hot in Hell
by Mike Whitney

Fourteen Marines touched down at Dover Air Force Base on Thursday, their lives cut short in a brutal war that has yet to produce a rationale. The architect of that war landed at nearly the same time at his vacation home in Crawford, Texas, resting up from the grueling task of sending other-mothers'-sons to die for nothing. Where’s the outrage? Of the 14 men who were killed, not one was named Bush, or Cheney or Rumsfeld. They were all just grunts doing their jobs, fighting for their country. Or, so they thought....(full article)

Rethinking Immigrants’ Health Costs
by Nicholas Skala

In the mixed-up America we live in, where skyrocketing insurance premiums leave 45 million uninsured, half of all personal bankruptcies come in the wake of an illness or medical bill, and 96 percent of millionaires report being worried about health costs; friends of the status quo have had a tough time coming up with reasons we should avoid fundamental reform of our health system. As one popular argument -- that American health care is just a little “market competition” away from perfection -- has all but withered entirely, we’ve seen the resurgence of a golden oldie: blaming immigrants for our high health costs. The Bush campaign predicated a comeback tour for this timeless classic, and recent history has seen politicians and policy groups in New York, California, Texas, Arizona and Florida dust off complaints about immigrants squeezing their state budgets by lavishing themselves with “unlimited free health care.” But with the publication of a groundbreaking study last week, researchers at Harvard and Columbia Universities have finally laid this debate to rest. Published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health, a distinguished team led by Dr. Sarita Mohanty found that not only is the assumption that immigrants are using more than their fair share false, in fact the opposite is true....(full article)

“Karl Rove Isn't the Only Monster Out There”
An Interview with Josh Frank
by Mickey Z.

No sooner had George W. Bush won (sic) re-election did the jockeying for position begin for 2008. Will Hillary run? Which Republican will step up? Can the law be changed to allow Ah-nuld a shot? It's never too early, so it seems, to lay the groundwork for the spectacle of a presidential campaign. (If only the rest of us were so forward thinking.) After eight years of Dubya, will progressives yet again hold their noses and vote Democrat? "Backing the lesser-evil, like the majority of liberals and lefties did in 2004, keeps the whole political pendulum in the US swinging to the right," says Josh Frank, author of Left Out: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush. "It derails social movements, helps elect the opposition, and undermines democracy. This backwards logic allows the Democrats and Republicans to control the discourse of American politics and silences any voices that may be calling for genuine change." For more on our alleged two-party system, do not miss Josh Frank's book. To get an idea of what else he has on his mind, I asked him a mixed bag of questions....(full interview)

Consumer Confidence Decline Surprises Only the Bush Administration
by Gene C. Gerard

A new survey released last week shows that Americans are increasingly worried about the economy.  The Consumer Confidence Index declined by three percent in July. Economists monitor the index closely because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity in America. The Conference Board survey determined that more consumers expect the economy to worsen over the course of the next six months. The number of people expecting fewer jobs to be created in the next few months increased, while those expecting their personal incomes to increase declined. Americans who believe that business conditions are “bad” increased according to the survey, as did those who responded that jobs are “hard to get.” Consumers who expect business conditions to improve declined in July, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen increased. The Bush administration responded to the decline in consumer confidence by fawning surprise. However, it’s hard to believe that anyone else was caught off guard....(full article)

Hiring Crisis for US Black Teens
by Seth Sandronsky

U.S. employers added 207,000 new jobs in July, while the national unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent, the Labor Department reported on August 5. Yet for one group of workers in America, there is little to cheer about when it comes to being hired by employers. The July jobless rate for America's black teens was 33.1 percent, up by 0.7 percentage points from June. In other words, black teens are out of a job at nearly seven times the national rate!....(full article)

From Tehran, With Love
by Ken Sanders

Don't be surprised if sometime in the near future, President Bush gets a big balloon-o-gram from Tehran, or perhaps chocolates, thanking him for all of his help in Iraq. After all, what the Iranians had been trying to do for decades, Bush accomplished in only a matter of days: topple Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, thanks to the Bush administration's lack of foresight and apparent ignorance of history, Iraq is primed to become another Iranian-style Islamic republic. Who knows? Someday we might just find Iraq resuming its place in the Axis of Evil. Talk about irony....(full article)

Media Flagstones Along a Path to War on Iran
by Norman Solomon

On Tuesday, big alarm bells went off in the national media echo chamber, and major U.S. news outlets showed that they knew the drill. Iran’s nuclear activities were pernicious, most of all, because people in high places in Washington said so. It didn’t seem to matter much that just that morning the Washington Post reported: “A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis. The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House.”....(full article)

Chevron, Peak Oil, and China
by Shepherd Bliss

“It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil,” notes Chevron Corporation’s two full-page ad that began appearing in July in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Financial Times and elsewhere. “We’ll use the next trillion in 30,” the ad continues, thus quietly admitting to the Peak Oil that the industry has not previously disclosed publicly. “One thing is clear: the age of easy oil is over,” the ad reveals in a folksy letter from “Dave”, Chevron’s Chairman and CEO David J. O’Reilly. Most Americans are still unaware of the pending Peak Oil or try to deny the tremendous impact it will have. Chevron proudly presents itself as “the Good Guy” by informing the public of the lessening supply of petroleum at a time when the demand is soaring, especially in China, India, and other industrializing countries. Chevron’s multi-million dollar global corporate goodwill campaign includes TV teaser ads throughout the US, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Airport locations in Beijing, Moscow, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere broadcast the ad, also available on-line. Yet as the prices of crude oil and gasoline soar -- symptoms of Peak Oil -- so do the profits of Big Oil....(full article)

Honesty Is The Best Foreign Policy
by Ahmed Amr

Without minimizing the carnage inflicted by Al Qaeda and their fellow travelers -- the terrorists who assaulted American shores on 9/11 never presented a threat level even remotely close to the one posed by the Third Reich. At a very primal level, neo-cons -- whose roots can readily be traced to the Israeli lobby -- are still fighting Hitler in the eternal hope that they can stop the Nazis at the Polish border. For these Likudnik ideologues, any negotiation or flexibility is considered appeasement and anyone who attempts to rationally trace the roots of terrorism is an apologist for Bin Laden. If the neo-cons are right, we should all be very afraid and we should prepare to nurse our paranoia for a long time to come. Because their dogma suggests that there are only two possible ways to deal with terrorism. We can either make drastic social and cultural changes -- starting with our skirt lines. Or, alternatively, we must defeat the enemy in an epic “war on terror’ against an infinite number of angry and irrational Middle Eastern young men who will stop at nothing short of covering American women with burkas....(full article)

The New Antiwar Majority: Can There be Progress Without Struggle?
by Sharon Smith

With opinion polls consistently showing a majority of Americans against the Iraq occupation, some prominent liberals are stepping forward to take credit for this welcome development. The “antiwar movement is winning by staying silent,” was the theme of a recent column by American Prospect editor Harold Meyerson in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Congratulations are apparently in order to those responsible for the antiwar movement’s hiatus throughout John Kerry’s election campaign last year. “[H]owever perverse this may sound,” Meyerson wrote, “the absence of an antiwar movement is proving to be a huge political problem for the Bush administration.” Today’s movement has cleverly avoided the mistakes made during Vietnam, according to Myerson, when a massive, militant movement helped Richard Nixon get re-elected by alienating the “silent majority.” Today, he insists, the rising tide of antiwar opinion is a direct result of Democrats’ failure to oppose the war....(full article)

-- Dissident Poetics --

America Liberates Fallujah
by T. Patrick Donovan
....(full poem)

by Gary Steven Corseri
....(full poem)

Miraculous as Air
by Adam Engel
....(full poem)

by Gary Steven Corseri
....(full poem)

* * * *

Armed Blockade Illustrates Failure of Plan Colombia
by Garry Leech

There is perhaps no more graphic an illustration of the failure of Plan Colombia than the current armed blockade of the southern department of Putumayo by leftist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). As the original five-year, $3 billion Plan Colombia nears its end, the FARC continues to implement an almost two-week long armed blockade that has paralyzed Putumayo and forced the government to airlift food to the region’s isolated towns. Putumayo was Plan Colombia’s primary target when the counternarcotics program was launched in December 2000. The objective was to dramatically reduce cocaine production, improve the economy and seriously diminish the FARC’s military capabilities by reducing the rebels’ funding derived from coca. The current rebel blockade raises serious questions about the effectiveness of Plan Colombia at a time when the Bush administration is promising to extend the program....(full article)

What is the US Military Doing in Paraguay?
by Benjamin Dangl

The U.S. military is conducting secretive operations in Paraguay and reportedly building a new base there. Human rights groups and military analysts in the region believe trouble is brewing. Benjamin Dangl gets to the bottom of this questionable activity, cuts through the rumors and discusses the ramifications of a new US presence in the region, which include a possible intervention in Bolivia....(full article)

Activists Stand Up for Free Speech at California Department of Justice
by Dan Bacher

An art exhibit in the cafeteria of the California Department of Justice’s headquarters building, featuring Stephen Pearcy's painting of an American flag being flushed into a toilet with the inscription "T'anks to Bush," has spurred a battle between progressive supporters of the exhibit and its right wing opponents....(full article)

Fooled Again: Major Party Turnabout
by Jack Random

Four months before the end of the year 2005, an image in the political crystal ball is coming into focus. Reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s Secret Plan to end the war he had so faithfully prosecuted, Republicans are angling to become the anti-occupation party for the midterm elections. The punch-drunk Democrats, thirsting for the winning duplicity and deception of a Karl Rove special, are positioning themselves as the occupation party. The former mantra of the Republicans will become the bray of an ass: Don’t cut and run. In the ultimate irony, those who oppose the occupation yet still embrace the pragmatic principle of politics, will confront the ultimate dilemma: Vote Republican to end the occupation or Democrat to prolong it indefinitely....
(full article)

The Masses and Fascism
by Ted Glick

While on vacation last week I visited the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley, Maine. I first heard of Reich several decades ago. I knew that he had been active in the socialist/communist movement in Germany during the time that Hitler and the Nazis rose to power, and I knew that he had written a book in the early 30s, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, which was reviewed favorably in the no longer published magazine, Liberation. I also remembered that he was a strong proponent of sexual liberation as an essential aspect of an overall freedom program. Given the strength of the Christian right in the USA, as well as rightist Islamic fundamentalism in the Arab world, I bought and read Mass Psychology, hoping that it would provide some insights into these dangerous political phenomena....(full article)

Straight-Shootin’ George Galloway
by Mike Whitney

British MP George Galloway is quite a guy. His trip to the Middle East is causing a ruckus back in London, where his criticism of Bush and Blair is appearing like a spreadsheet on the front pages of the tabloids. Congrats, George, those two deserve a good lambasting. Yesterday he fired off another barrage, landing a direct hit on Prime Minister Milquetoast and his Texas twin. He said, “There’s far more blood on the hands of George Bush and Tony Blair than there is on the hands of the murderers who killed those people in London.”....(full article)


The Incredible Blight of TV Punditry
by Norman Solomon

When super-pundit Robert Novak stormed off the set of a live CNN show Thursday -- just after uttering what the New York Times delicately calls “a profanity” -- it was an unusual episode of TV punditry. With rare exceptions, the slick commentators of televisionland keep their cool. But we’d be much better off if they all disappeared. Novak’s unscripted exit from the telecast may have been a preemptive strike -- a kind of semiconscious work stoppage -- to avoid squirming under the hot lights. “The moderator of the program, Ed Henry, later said on the air that he had warned Mr. Novak that he planned to ask him  ‘about the CIA leak case,’” the Times reports. As a bottom-feeding big fish in the pond of political journalism, Novak wants control over the sunlight in his face....(full article)

Valuing Form Over Substance In Iraq
by Ken Sanders

Based on the Bush administration's recent public statements, one could be forgiven for thinking that everything in Iraq will be fine so long as the August 15 deadline for drafting a constitution is met. In his speech to the nation on June 28, President Bush emphasized the importance of Iraqis staying on schedule with respect to drafting and voting on a constitution. During his "surprise" visit to Iraq on July 27, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was more blunt. "We don't want any delays," Rumsfeld warned Iraq's constitutional committee. Iraq's constitutional process is so important to the Bush administration because it is one of two requirements that must be met before the U.S. can begin to bring its occupation of Iraq to an end. As explained by the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, continuing Iraq's constitutional process and improving Iraq's security forces are integral to the U.S. military's plan to pull out of Iraq in the summer of 2006. (Although it is becoming increasingly clear that Bush plans to pull out of Iraq in 2006, no matter what.) While it is frequently helpful, even necessary, to have deadlines, it is generally unwise to emphasize the deadline over the quality of the work. Nevertheless, this is precisely what the Bush administration is doing in Iraq....(full article)

Dining with the Posse (of Peace)
by Greg Moses

“That’s Cindy Sheehan,” points the Vietnam War veteran from his seat at the table. “She lost her son Casey in Iraq. And I’m going to follow her to Crawford. You coming?” Looking up from my plate, I take the vet’s direction and turn to see Sheehan standing on the grass, stage left, mixing with three generations of veterans who have gathered this evening for peace and Bar-B-Que. Twenty-four-year-old Casey Sheehan was killed at Sadr City on April 4, 2004 during the historic uprising (16 months ago to the day). Cindy blames the President for “creating that insurgency by his failed policies,” and on Saturday morning she is going to attempt to visit Bush at his vacation ranch in Crawford, a couple hours’ drive to the South. The vet I’m sitting with was born and raised in California. His tan slim face looks perfectly fit for Hollywood, the place where he was born. After High School he joined the Army to see Japan and Hong Kong. “If you’ve ever been in a war situation,” says the vet, “imagine what it must be like to find out while it’s still going on. That they lied. While you were into it.” He looks at me directly, shakes his head slowly, and digs at some food on his plate. He’s talking about the Downing Street memo, and he references AfterDowningStreet.Org....
(full article)

New Rules for Liberals
by Rosemarie Jackowski

1. You can't have it both ways. Stop supporting pro-war candidates, while pretending to be anti-war. That would have been like opposing the invasion of Poland, while voting for Hitler. If you continue to field pro-war candidates, you will continue to loose elections. You can't outwar the other Party, though you have made a good try at it. Pro-war voters vote the other way, and you have already lost the votes of all who are truly opposed to war....(full list)

Still Colson After All These Years
by Bill Berkowitz

Despite running a multi-million dollar Christ-centered prison reform organization and re-emerging as a political power broker, Charles Colson is forever locked in a fatal embrace with Watergate....(full article)

August 3

Bad Taste(s)
by Peter Kurth

How is it that anyone, anywhere, still cares that Lance Armstrong has won his seventh Tour de France? How many times is he supposed to do that? This “cancer survivor” thing is wearing a bit thin. Alternatively, how much suspense can we endure about the “space shuttle,” whether they send it up or not, raining or shining, last week or never? Let’s face it -- and God forbid it should ever happen again -- but the only really exciting thing about the space shuttle to date is that it blew up twice. I’m sorry. That’s in bad taste. But so much is nowadays. It was in bad taste for President Bush to “flip the bird” at journalists on his way to yet another vacation in Texas, as he reportedly did last week, when they asked him some questions about the CAFTA agreement. It’s in bad taste for Bush, ever, to call his wife, Laura, “the lump next to me in bed,” as he has definitely done in the past....(full article)

In Praise of Kevin Benderman
by Norman Solomon

Conscience is Not in the Chain of Command. "Before being sentenced to 15 months for refusing to return to Iraq with his Army unit, Sgt. Kevin Benderman told a military judge that he acted with his conscience, not out of a disregard for duty," the Associated Press reports. Benderman, a 40-year-old Army mechanic, "refused to go on a second combat tour in January, saying the destruction and misery he witnessed during the 2003 Iraq invasion had turned him against war." Three weeks ago, his wife Monica Benderman wrote: "He returned knowing that war is wrong, the most dehumanizing creation of humanity that exists. He saw war destroy civilians, innocent men, women and children. He saw war destroy homes, relationships and a country. He saw this not only in the country that was invaded, but he saw this happening to the invading country as well -- and he knew that the only way to save those soldiers was for people to no longer participate in war. Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a Conscientious Objector to war, and the Army is mad."....(full article)

Darwinian Survival of the Fittest Meets Wal-Mart and Hiroshima
by Kim Petersen

Review of The American Empire and the Fourth World by Anthony Hall: Using 1492 as a starting point, Lethbridge University professor Anthony Hall takes various strands such as of capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, socialism, environmentalism, the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, the Covenant Chain, and corporate globalism and weaves them into a tapestry that illuminates the impact on humanity with a spotlight on the Fourth World. Hall extends his synthesis right up to the current so-called War on Terrorism, which he sees as transcending 9-11, being deeply rooted in US history. The result is an ominous culmination between social-Darwinist forces and American capitalism: a “‘survival of the fittest’ meets Wal-Mart and Hiroshima.”....(full article)

Why I Am No Longer A Radical
by M. Junaid Alam

Like most radicals my age, I see myself facing these kinds of decisions in the next couple years. My particular poison of choice is a Journalism major, with a couple of other toxins (History, Political Science) mixed in as minors for good measure. Being a radical journalist sure wouldn’t guarantee me a secure living, what with mainstream journalism’s emphasis on “objectivity” -- most succinctly defined as (a) strict adherence to AP style guidelines, which dictate important things like the placement of commas and periods, combined with (b), total disregard for tiny details like the class context and history behind what’s being reported. But context and history don’t pay the bills, brother. Given this reality, it’s not too hard to understand why most radically-minded youth start to abandon their political outlook when they finish college; why they begin to pay very careful attention to where exactly they place those commas and periods, so that life does not place a big fat question mark over their financial security. And that’s usually where the slippery slope of disappearing radicalism begins....(full article)

Time for Health Care For All on Medicare's 40th Anniversary
by Holly Sklar

When Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law on July 30, 1965, former President Harry Truman received the first Medicare card. He would be shocked that 40 years later, more than 45 million Americans have no health coverage, half of all personal bankruptcies are health-related, and lack of universal insurance is increasingly hurting our economy as well as our health. Truman proposed national health insurance for all Americans in 1945. He said, "By preventing illness, by assuring access to needed community and personal health services...and by protecting our people against the loss caused by sickness, we shall strengthen our national health, our national defense and our productivity." If Americans without health insurance were a nation, the population would be bigger than Canada -- plus Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire and Vermont. Canada, like other industrialized nations besides ours, provides universal health coverage. Contrary to myth, the United States does not have the world's best health care. It has the costliest....(full article)

“Operation Community Shield”: Comrade Chertoff’s Preemptive Crackdown 
by Mike Whitney

Homeland Security’s Michael Chertoff is a busy man. In the last month alone he’s arrested more than 600 gang members. There’s only one problem. None of them has been charged with a crime. No matter. In Chertoff’s world that’s only a minor glitch. After all, Chertoff engineered the infamous round up of 1,100 Muslims following 9-11, tossing them all in the federal hoosegow and barring them from legal counsel. It was quite a coup, and probably helped the public feel more secure from the looming threat of domestic terror....(full article)

Kristallnacht: What Happens When the Public Says Nothing?      
by Mike Whitney

“On the nights of November 9 and 10, gangs of Nazi youth roamed through Jewish neighborhoods breaking windows of Jewish businesses and homes, burning synagogues and looting. In all, 101 synagogues were destroyed and almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed. 26,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Jews were physically attacked and beaten and 91 died (Snyder, Louis L. Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: Paragon House, 1989, p201).” Haven’t we seen a facsimile of this following the London subway bombings when hooligans roamed through the Muslim areas of London vandalizing mosques and intimidating the local people? Certainly, the incidents of racial and sectarian violence are up considerably in England just as the suspicion of Muslims has grown exponentially throughout the West since 9-11....(full article)

Bush Teaches Intelligent Design in Prison
by Greg Moses

Actually that wasn't the headline. According to Yahoo News, the USA President thinks intelligent design should be taught in schools. That was the headline. And I have no problem with that. In a perfect world, it would be taught in schools And for just the reasons that Bush gives to the AP: “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.” But in which class should intelligent design be taught, and under which subject? It might be mentioned in physics class, the way that Stephen Hawking's wonderful book History of Time mentions the anthropomorphic principle. But it's not really physics so much as one of those things that physics yields to the delight of inquiring minds....(full article)

Noriega, Bolton and Condoleezza Rice’s New Financial Subsidy
to Rightwing Cuban America

by Sarah E. Schaffer, Kathryn Tarker and Phil Morrow

Last Thursday, in a move that further cheapened the Bush administration’s already tawdry Latin American policy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the creation of a new State Department staff position to implement recommendations of the U.S. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, a body which hopes to “accelerate the demise” of Cuban President Fidel Castro’s government. Caleb McCarry, a Republican Party warhorse, and former Vice President for the Americas program at the Center for Democracy (a USAID-funded “non-partisan” organization that works to “promote the democratic process in the United States and abroad”), as well as a veteran staffer at the House International Relations Committee, was her choice to hold the Cuba Transition Coordinator job. The position was first concocted in the “Free Cuba Commission’s” 2004 report, which was not meant as much to be a vehicle for a high minded review of stagnant U.S.-Cuba relations, than as a one-sided White House manipulated cabal composed mainly of anti-Castro Miami hardliners. Nor was there any pretense made that the group was balanced or even qualified to do the job....(full article)

Color Coded Justice: John Roberts' Racial Hang-up
by Joshua Frank

First, Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr. lied about his membership with the far right-wing Federalist Society, and now file cabinets full of documents are being released which indicate Roberts' penchant for justice is color coded. He says he won't be an activist judge. But he's lying again. Right-wing activism is all Roberts knows. On Thursday, July 28, Senator Edward Kennedy alleged that Roberts has a “rather cramped view of the Voting Rights Act.” What an understatement....(full article)

The New American Security State
by David Sugar

Fresh on the heels of the London Bombings overseas, our government, known otherwise for dismembering state involvement when used to protect citizens from corporate greed, has been quick to exploit these incidents to further usher in the new security state, which claims to protect citizens from a threat it wishes the public to imagine requires governmental solutions. Never mind that none of these new measures actually increase anyone's security, except the security of those in power from those they govern....
(full article)

Fascism Then and Now
by John Pilger

Impeccable gentlemen now invade defenseless countries in our name, destroying hospitals, shooting doctors, rounding up thousands and writing a number on their forehead or forearm, then imprisoning and torturing them. They speak of freedom and democracy, and our way of life and our values, and they deride those who reason why. They do not wear armbands and they do not strut. They are different from fascists. But their goals are not different: conquest, domination, the theft and control of vital resources....(full article)

The New War Candidate: Major Paul Hackett for Congress
by Jack Random

There is something obscene about the media enchantment with the congressional candidacy of Marine Major Paul Hackett of Ohio, a man who opposed the war yet volunteered to serve in it. That the Democrats seem infatuated with such a candidate is a spectacle that taxes the equilibrium of all reasonable observers. Clearly, the minority party has learned nothing from the failed candidacies of Albert Gore and John Kerry....(full article)

August 1

Of Karl Rove, Nixon's Gray Ghost, Pinball Proto-Fascism, Muscle Car Imperialism, and the Gong Show of the American Political System
by Phil Rockstroh

An unpopular war drags on, gas prices rise and rise, as a cloud of scandal gathers over Washington D.C. At times, it seems as though the 1970s never ended: it's just Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton's Quaalude-laced, faux populist snake oil caused us to sleep through the 80s and 90s -- and now we're awakening, hungover, groggy, queasy, still in the midst of that ugly and odious era. At least that's the encrypted message I've been able to decipher, using my Super-Secret, Decoder Mood Ring, special limited, Karl Rove edition. George W. Bush and Karl Rove are as much products of the 1970s as were Naugahyde pit group sofas and outbreaks of the Herpes Simplex Retrovirus at Plato's Retreat. Historically, the world will regard The Bush Administration as the Dacron Polyester of American presidencies: its legacy will carry all the beauty, style, and enduring appeal of a powder blue Leisure Suit. George Bush, himself, will be remembered as the Pet Rock of the American plutocratic class. Accordingly, if there is any presiding spirit possessing the current zeitgeist, it is the gray ghost of Dick Nixon. During the Watergate Era, Karl Rove apprehended a fact the rest of us pushed out of our minds, due to its troubling implications: Nixon wasn't brought down because Americans were troubled by having a sick, corrupt bastard as their president -- we simply found it embarrassing to have the White House curtains pulled open, thus allowing the world to witness Nixon pacing the floors, draped in a dingy bathrobe, muttering expletives at the yellowing, West Wing wallpaper....(full article)

Cognitive Dimwits: The Unbearable Rightness of Being
by Leilla Matsui and Stella La Chance

Cognitive dissonance occurs when a long held assumption or existing belief is thrown into question by new or contradictory information, causing a person to reinterpret this evidence after it has been presented to justify a falsely held notion. The theory refers to the phenomenon of the mind's failure to assume its equilibrium after having to accept an unwelcome intrusion of this kind into its “comfortably held assumption zone.” It results in a willful refusal to acknowledge that a shift in perception has even occurred. When exposed to information inconsistent with his/her beliefs, such a person remains fiercely loyal to the original falsehood to prevent an increase in the magnitude of dissonance felt in the face of a humiliating confrontation with inconvenient facts. The phenomenon is most often associated with the resulting psychological struggle of cult members trying to come to terms with the failure of some cataclysmic event to occur, as predicted by the group's charismatic leader. Less committed members are more likely to acknowledge that they had been “had” and move on from there, while more fervent believers deal with the potential loss of face by reinterpreting past events to accommodate a present psychological dilemma. If the end of the world fails to materialize on schedule, it is thanks to the “power of prayer,” or newly emerging interpretations of prophecy....(full article)

Focus on the Father  
Part Two: Trojan Horse 
by Patricia Goldsmith

People don’t even say Culture War anymore; they just say gay marriage. Progressives immediately tune out the discussion, while a whole other segment of the population feel their ears prick up. These are the people who followed the Terri Schiavo case for years, long before you or I knew there was such a person. But the truth is, the Culture War is not about gay marriage. Marriage movement leader Bryce Christensen of Southern Utah University, as quoted in The Nation, July 18-25: "If those [anti-gay-marriage] initiatives are part of a broader effort to reaffirm lifetime fidelity in marriage, they’re worthwhile. If they’re isolated—if we don’t address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness -- then I think they’re futile and will be brushed aside." Notice that Christensen is talking about lifetime marital fidelity, cohabitation, and “deliberate childlessness” in the context of legislative initiatives. These initiatives, part of a coherent rightwing “marriage movement,” are not far off in the future; they’re happening here and now.... (full article)


Burying Blair: Post-Mortem for the British PM        
by Mike Whitney

No one was the least bit surprised when Tony Blair announced that the only antidote for the bombing attacks on the London subway was a fresh batch of regressive laws. Blair is a master at turning tragedy into political capital and the slaughter of 50 Londoners was no different. It only sharpened his appetite for carrying out the directives of his paymasters by further savaging civil liberties. It always astonishes how quickly the demagogues in Washington and London swing into action when there’s a chance to hack away at personal freedom. They seem to operate on the theory that people will only be safe when the country assumes the same standards of justice as, let’s say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Isn’t this where Blair is pointing England? (full article)

The Dumbest Story Ever Written 
by John Chuckman

Devoted to human freedom, you must embrace even the freedom to express stupidity. So I can happily report that a week ago at this writing Thomas Friedman struck a mighty blow for freedom with one of the dumbest columns he has ever written, "Giving the Hatemongers No Place to Hide" (NY Times, July 22, 2005 ), although his regular readers may not forgive my distinguishing this column from his regular output. The theme of the column is captured by one of the pithy bromides of which he is so fond, "Guess what: words matter." To make sure that you understand, Friedman repeats this a number of times with slight variations, a favorite technique of propagandists and, for that matter, police interrogators. You can't help smiling for here is a man who has spent his entire adult life twisting and torturing words to give imperial hubris a happy face. As we will see, the words that really matter to Friedman are the ones that disagree with his view of the world and current events. Like an unpleasant, spoiled child Friedman uses a tantrum in print to get what he wants....(full article)

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