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(DV) February 2006 Articles

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February 27

One Nation Under Psy-Ops
by Patricia Goldsmith

In my view, Mary McCrory got it right when she said that the Project for a New American Century manifesto reads like it was written in a tree house. Nevertheless, it is documentary evidence showing the direction the worst aspects of our government -- the ones who are now in power -- have been taking for the last thirty plus years. Their goal, as laid out in various PNAC papers, is permanent world domination, and for these people, there is no doubt that the ends justify the means. Professor Alfred McCoy talks about that in his book, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror, a history of the CIA’s decades-long study of techniques of psychological control, including torture. At first, McCoy says, the government dabbled heavily in drugs, including the notorious LSD experiments of the Vietnam era. But what really worked, they discovered after lots of trial and error (and billions of dollars), are a couple of simple principles: sensory deprivation and self-inflicted pain. When Professor McCoy saw the black-hooded figures from the Abu Ghraib photos, posed in stress positions with electrodes dangling from their fingers, he instantly recognized classic CIA technique.....(full article)

The Inalienable Right to Self Defense: Balancing the Power
by Kim Petersen

Given the current foreboding state of affairs in the world, it is fundamentally flawed logic and morality for progressives to denounce the menaced countries over their alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Progressives should instead focus the thrust of their remonstration at the nuclear-armed states and their military belligerency that fillips the need for a nuclear deterrent. Progressivism is about equality and peace. While multilateral disarmament must be a foremost priority, in lieu of attaining this aim, progressives should be defending Iran’s legitimate right to an effective self-defense.....(full article)

When the Whole White House is Criminal,
How Do You Impeach an Entire Administration?

by James Charles

The list of criminal acts is long, depressing as it is frightening. Equally depressing is the silence of the Democrats, the media and ordinary citizens. Is American democracy dead? In the current issue of The National Review, William F. Buckley calls for the Bush administration to admit that it made a hideous mistake by invading Iraq, writing that “the administration has, now, to cope with failure and the acknowledgment of defeat” of its entire policy from launching the war to believing it could unite and pacify religious enemies whose mutual hatred goes back a millennia, to installing a government that superficially resembles a democracy. On one hand, when the dean of modern conservative politics says Iraq was a mistake, even the most ideologically driven neo-con must pay attention. On the other, the “failure” and “defeat” he writes about is not simply another “Oops, we goofed!” mea culpa that White House apologists can spin on the Sunday morning interview shows. While cloaking his condemnation in polite Ivy League-ese terms like “postulates” and “mitigation of policies,” Mr. Buckley overlooks one simple fact: No matter how noble a policy of spreading freedom may look on paper, the White House has been criminal in carrying it out.....(full article)

Keep the South Dakota Time Machine From
Taking Us Back to a Bloody Past!

by Dennis Rahkonen 

For as long as women and girls have gotten knocked up by men and boys whose sense of responsible propriety has been as flaccid as their libidinous yearning was rock hard, abortion has woven a constant sub-text through our collective history. Millions of females over the centuries did not wish impregnation, having had countless, painfully compelling reasons why giving birth against their wills was objectively unacceptable. In the absence of legal sanction or safe and sterile medical conditions for abortion, veritable legions of desperate recipients of misapplied, selfish “love” disastrously took matters into their own, frightened hands. Others submitted to the far from tender mercies of assorted midnight practitioners offering “help” in the form of voodoo chants and rusty knives. If all the females who’ve perished from officially prohibited abortions could be assembled in one place, their ghostly ranks would stretch from left to right -- front to back -- far beyond the naked eye’s vision. It would be like trying to peer across an ocean.....
(full article)

The Good News
by Mary Pitt

Our President is complaining because our media is not reporting the "good news" from Iraq, the order that has been established, the school that has been opened, the fact that there is now power and water some of the time in most places. Well, after three months, there is no power, water or schools in New Orleans, USA! The people there are still homeless, their children still lost to them, and the homes still lying in rubble with dead bodies in some of them. The only reason we have to worry about "re-building" Iraq is because we are the ones that blew it all to hell. They call it the "potter's barn rule": "If you break it, you buy it." We are obligated to "fix" Iraq because we broke it. Why did we break it? Because, or so we were led to believe, because our Fearless Leader believed it necessary, that Iraq was a threat to us. Now we know that they were not but they are now! Now they resent being occupied by our troops and they are blowing up their own facilities faster than our "independent contractors" can rebuild them.....(full article)

February 24

The Case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir: Victim of the US Invasion of Iraq
by Madis Senner & Jennifer Van Bergen

In 2005, Dr. Rafil Dhafir, an Iraqi-born American citizen, was convicted in Syracuse, New York of 59 felony charges.  In addition to charges of mail and wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, Medicare fraud, and mishandling charity money, Dhafir was convicted of violating the sanctions against Iraq.  Dhafir was sentenced to 22 years in jail. Dhafir was one of the few, if not the only person, to be criminally charged with breaking the Iraq Sanctions. Normally, a violation of the sanctions results only in a civil fine. Dhafir’s crime was that he circumvented the sanctions, raising and funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars for humanitarian aid to Iraqis suffering from the U.S. sanctions.  While the prosecution claims that he was a common money launderer and defrauder of donors, the sanction violations remain the centerpiece of the charges and were the direct cause of him receiving the maximum sentence. But it is our opinion that had the U.S. not chosen to invade Iraq, Dr. Dhafir would not have been convicted.  Arguably, he might never even have been brought to trial.....(full article)

Out of Touch with Military Reality
by Gene C. Gerard

For the last two years the Bush administration has insisted that the war in Iraq has not handicapped the military. To the contrary, the administration has insisted that our military is stronger than ever. Last month, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech in which he stated that the armed services “is probably as strong and capable as it has ever been in the history of this country. They are more experienced, more capable, better equipped than ever before.” But a report on military supplies from the Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan investigative office of Congress, indicates that Secretary Rumsfeld is seriously mistaken.....(full article)

Well, I Was Wondering Whose Government It Was
by Mark Drolette

Even a blind Bush produces a kernel of truth once in a while. While trying to defend the selling off of yet another piece of what little remains of America -- the port operations deal with the United Arab Emirates -- George W. said: “The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government, the more they’ll be comforted that our ports will be secure.” (Associated Press, Ted Bridis, 02/23/06) Didja catch the error? Of course you did, because, unlike Dubya, you know a thing or two about how our system works. You know, like checks and balances, laws, that sort of thing. He said “my” government. Oops -- his bad. What he really meant to say, of course, was “Dick and Daddy’s government.”.....(full article)

Nothing Stops Mardi Gras
by Jordan Flaherty 

In New Orleans’ Central Business District, a prominent billboard advertising Southern Comfort liquor proclaims “Nothing Stops Mardi Gras. Nothing.” The festive ad haunts me, seeming callous and cruel, "you've faced a huge loss, and now we want to use your city and cultural traditions to sell a lot of alcohol." Citywide, Mardi Gras is everywhere, but not without controversy. Many are angry at the idea of a huge party taking place while bodies are still being recovered in Ninth Ward houses. And in diaspora communities such as Atlanta, there is a lot of anger at the idea of a huge party going one while they are kept out.  A past leader of the Zulu Mardi Gras Krewe even sued his organization (unsuccessfully) to stop them from parading this year. I have mixed feelings. I love Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Not the parades and Bourbon Street you see on TV, but the other Mardi Gras that the media doesn’t show. There are Mardi Gras traditions for nearly every neighborhood and community, a series of cultural customs ranging from King Cake and the lewd displays of Krewe Du Vieux to the dogs parading in Barkus; the clown punks and shopping cart battles of Krewe Du Poux; the fabulous costumes of the St Ann Parade; and more than anything the cultural traditions of Black Mardi Gras, encompassing everything from Zulu, the one Black major parade, to neighborhood celebrations involving the masked Mardi Gras Indians, Skeletons, and Baby Dolls.....(full article)

The Failure of Our First Amendment Success:
Dealing with the Death of Discourse
by Robert Jensen

There is no shortage of books these days analyzing what contemporary U.S. society gets wrong: Illegal wars of aggression, a cavalier attitude toward potential ecological collapse, narrow-minded religious fundamentalism, widening economic inequality, and lingering racism, sexism, and homophobia. Look too closely at this society, beyond the self-congratulatory triumphalism, and it’s not such a pretty picture. But one of the criteria on which the United States ranks high in the world is legal protection for freedom of expression. Our legal regime built on the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech and press is not perfect, but over time the scope of real expressive liberty has expanded, as popular movements and progressive legal thinkers have demanded that liberty and crafted the rules for making it real in day-to-day life. That’s why Ronald K.L. Collins’ and David M. Skover’s The Death of Discourse is so chilling: The book details why our traditional approach to freedom of expression -- the ideas that led to this expansion of liberty, ideas that are admirable in so many ways -- is ill-equipped to cope with either the contemporary challenges we face or the future. In fact, this traditional approach to freedom of expression may well be hastening the collapse of the culture....(full article)

February 23

Port Folly-0: Outsourcing Our Own Security? 
by Lila Rajiva

President Bush has approved a deal selling control of six major US Ports to an Arab company, Dubai Ports World, for $6.8bn. DP World, a state-owned business based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), bought out London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. which runs major commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. This has the two parties in an upside down tizzy with the Democrats screaming about national security and foreigners and the Republicans -- at least of the free trader sort -- hurling back epithets about anti-Arabism and racism.  It’s enough to make one take to . . . well, port.....(full article)

Dubai Does Dallas
by Niranjan Ramakrishnan 

OK, you got me. Dallas doesn't have a port. But if it did, it would likely be among those given over to be run by a Dubai company, as are the ports of New York, Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami and New Orleans. Arguments are flying about who decided what, whether safeguards are in place, and about the fact that a British company had been doing it earlier, etc. None of this should obscure the single most significant aspect of this bombshell, which is this: in the so-called “post 9-11” world which the superpatrioitactors in Washington keep talking about, it is OK to traduce liberties at will, but real national security can be freely shortchanged in the name of tradition. Worse, such dubious (Dubaious?) decisions are justified in the name of trade. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Mr. Michael "Bird Flu over the Superdome" Chertoff, said on television that while national security needs were important, they could be attended to while still maintaining our commitments to global trade. Who died and made him chairman of WTO? Why is he talking about global trade when asked about homeland security? (full article)

Israeli Defense Minister Declares Palestine “Axis of Evil”
by Genevieve Cora Fraser

Call it déjà vu but Israeli television reports are branding Mahmoud Abbas as irrelevant in a move identical to their position toward the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. And though Hamas has largely honored the truce established last year, not only has Israel broken that truce over 24,000 times resulting in nearly 200 Palestinians deaths, Shin Bet has rejected an extended truce with Hamas. IMEMC & Agencies reports that 31 Palestinians have been killed since Hamas won the majority vote in the Palestinian elections on January 25th. These deaths are part of a retaliatory strategy as outlined by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. According to Mofaz, the Palestinian people have made their government part of the "Axis of Evil" along with Syria and Iran. As a result, “punitive measures” will be taken by Israeli forces against all the Palestinian people, he stated.....(full article)

SSRIs: Wonder Drugs From Hell 
by Evelyn Pringle

Yhe Glenn McIntosh family has to introduce their 12-year-old daughter Caitlin with a photograph because that is all they have left. Caitlin committed suicide eight weeks after being prescribed the SSRIs Paxil and Zoloft.....(full article)

The Democrats' Withdrawal Plan: Another Election Year Stunt
by Joshua Frank

The Democrats are getting ready for the upcoming election season. Having done so poorly for the past . . . well, decade or so, they may finally be seeing an opportunity to capitalize on one of the Bush administration’s many misfortunes. Whether it’s Jack Abramoff’s lobbying sleaze, Cheney’s happy trigger finger, or Scooter Libby’s indictment -- they sure have plenty of Republican mishaps to choose from. They certainly would like us to believe they're pulling it all together. The Democrats are trying to latch on to one of the many Bush blunders -- they want us to believe they are finally catching on to the fact that the majority of Americans think this war isn’t going so hot. So the Democrats are putting forward a plan to get the troops out of Iraq. Seems like a logical idea. People would go for that, they think. So, reluctantly, the Democrats have drawn up plans to do just such a thing. But, in order not to look soft on terror, the Dems won’t be calling for a “withdrawal” of US troops, rather, they’ll just “redeploy” them. It’s tricky stuff, really.....(full article)

Iran Was Not Referred to the Security Council for Noncompliance
by Mike Whitney

How powerful is the mainstream media? Is it powerful enough to convince the public that Iran was “referred” to the UN Security Council for violations to the NPT when, in fact, it wasn’t? The IAEA did not report on Iran’s “noncompliance” to the Security Council, because there is no evidence that Iran has done anything wrong. As nuclear physicist Gordon Prather points out in his recent article, “March Madness”, “the Board didn't report anything.” (emphasis in the original) Nothing? Then why do the media keep insisting that Iran has been called before the Security Council for noncompliance?
(full article)


Any Military Critics Out There Today? 
by Murray Polner 

When Rep. John Murtha, the ex-Marine hawk who has always been close to the Pentagon, spoke out recently against the war in Iraq and called for drawing down the number of American troops, he was in all likelihood echoing the private doubts and objections of senior military officers. When, for example, General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, contradicted Donald Rumsfeld about Iraqi forces’ harsh treatment of captives, he “won silent cheers from many senior uniformed officers by standing firm,” as Eric Schmitt reported in the New York Times last December 30th.  Pace had to back down as administration flacks moved quickly to soft-pedal any differences between Rumsfeld and the top brass. Nevertheless, these two incidents -- and obviously many other whispered conversations held among officers and their friends -- only underscore the fact that some in the professional military have serious  doubts about a war and occupation that has cost so much in lives, money and moral standing, not to mention the serious impact it has had on the military.....(full article)

The Unholy Alliance Strikes Back 
by Neve Gordon

It was a beautiful winter day. I was among approximately 80 Israeli activists who set out to plant trees in the South Hebron region, home to hundreds of Palestinian cave-dwellers. The desert air was chilly, the land moist after the rains, and the hills full with wild flowers. Yet the tranquil setting was deceptive. For years the cave-dwellers have been subjected to ongoing harassment by the Israeli military, police, and Jewish settlers, whose aim is to undercut their livelihood so that they will “voluntarily” move to other parts of the West Bank. The idea, so it seems, is to cleanse this region of its Palestinian inhabitants.....(full article)

What Condi Rice Has in Store for Iran
by Mehdi Hosseini

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has informed a Senate panel that the Bush administration plans to be spending $75m (on top of the $10m in 2006 budget) to “reach out to Iranian people and support their calls for freedom.” Of this amount, $50m is to be spent on radio and satellite TV transmissions into Iran. The rest of it on things like “expanding Internet access,” supporting “political dissidents,” sponsoring “labor unions and political organization,” granting fellowships and scholarships to Iranian students “who have never experienced democracy,” etc. She added that "the United States will actively confront the policies of this Iranian regime," but the $75m package is intended to "support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom in their own country." She went on to say that she thinks “the solidarity model is a good one”, that when “people organize themselves and really become unified in calling for change, then you get the change you need”, and -- lest we forget she is a concert pianist -- that she had “read that it is forbidden in some quarters to play Beethoven and Mozart in Tehran,” so she hopes that Iranians can one day “play it in New York or Los Angeles.”.....(full article

Province of Michigan: A Modest Proposal
by Jerry Politex

Toyota recently had to decide whether to put its new auto plant in the U.S. or in Canada. It chose Canada because that country's health care policy is such that Toyota's workers would receive full health care through their taxes, and the auto company would not have to share in that cost, making the price of their cars lower. More recently, Ford followed in the footsteps of other U.S. auto makers, laying off tens of thousands of workers and closing a number of plants because, in part, its cars were too expensive, due to the company's health care coverage of its workers added to the cost of its cars. The solution to this problem is obvious.....(full article)

February 21

Six Months After Katrina
Who Was Left Behind Then and Who is Being Left Behind Now?
by Bill Quigley

Nearly six months ago, my wife Debbie and I boated out of New Orleans. We left five days after Katrina struck. Debbie worked as an oncology nurse in a New Orleans hospital. She volunteered to come in during the hurricane so that other nurses with children could evacuate. There were about 2,000 people huddled in the hospital -- patients, staff and families of staff and patients. Plate glass windows exploded in the lobby and on crosswalks and on several floors. Water poured in though broken windows, ceilings, and down the elevator shafts. Eight feet of brown floodwater surrounded us. The entire city immediately lost electricity. Soon the hospital backup generators located in the basement failed. No lights. No phones. Even the water system stopped. No drinking water. No flush toilets. . . . . The Katrina evacuation was totally self-help. If you had the resources, a car, money and a place to go, you left. Over one million people evacuated – 80 to 90% of the population. No provisions were made for those who could not evacuate themselves. To this day no one has a reliable estimate of how many people were left behind in Katrina -- that in itself says quite a bit about what happened. Who was left behind in the self-help evacuation? (full article)

Living the American Ream
by Mark Drolette

From Reuters, 02/14/06: "The [U.S.] government may waive up to $7 billion in royalty payments from companies pumping oil and natural gas on federal territory in the next five years, the New York Times reported…The royalty relief would amount to one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in U.S. history, even though the administration assumes oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period…The report cited estimates in the Interior Department’s recent budget plan that would allow companies to pump about $65 billion in oil and natural gas without paying royalties. 'We need to remember the primary reason that incentives are given,' said Johnnie M. Burton, director of the federal Minerals Management Service [MMS], according to the report. 'It’s not to make more money, necessarily. It’s to make more oil, more gas, because production of fuel for our nation is essential to our economy and essential to our people.'" Whoa! I can’t believe my luck. This came out just in time. Now I have my defense for the bank robbery rap I face in court next week: I’ll tell the judge that when I thrust that gun into the teller’s face and handed her the note, I wasn’t making a demand for money, necessarily; rather, it was to make banks more aware, more alert, because, by golly, protection of their assets is essential to their economics and essential to their people.....(full article)

Bubblicious: Looking at the US Real Estate Market
by Seth Sandronsky

Many eyes are on the U.S. real estate market. “During the past five years, home prices have risen at an annual rate of 9.2 percent,” according to the 2006 Economic Report of the President released on Feb. 13. Was this normal growth, or not? We need the historical context of home price increases to reply.....(full article)

Starving the Beast: Programmed Ineptitude
by Jack Random

Neoconservative Republicans essentially do not care how poorly the institutions of government work because their ultimate goal is to decimate those institutions. Whether it is mining regulations, banking, securities, health care, social security, environmental protection, education, communications, immigration, port security or emergency management, the goal is the same: Privatize basic functions and reduce government oversight responsibility to a rubber stamp. In neoconservative parlance, it is called “Starving the beast.” The beast is the government, itself, and while our elected officials are not so bold as to deliver a killing thrust, they can bleed the beast with a thousand razor-like cuts and deny essential funding required to maintain its functions. From the perspective of society’s well-being, the failures of the Starve the Beast policy have been nothing short of spectacular yet few analysts or pundits have bothered to connect the dots between the policy and its outcomes.....(full article)

This is Not Progressivism
by Kim Petersen

The progressive spectrum is wide ranging. Progressives are not homogeneous and dissension on viewpoints should be expected. But certain characteristics are defining features of progressives. The stereotyping of a group and holding prejudices based upon such stereotypes is contrary to progressive principles. When someone from the progressive spectrum writes viewpoints considered anathema, it is incumbent that other progressives dissociate themselves from such views. John Kaminski is a writer described on his website as an “Internet phenomenon [who] is the prototype of a new generation of political reporters and social analysts who are not corrupted by the thought-deadening corporate media mindlock.” Kaminski does deftly capture the despair and outrage, shared by many progressives, at the poverty, carnage, and horror being wreaked in the world by imperialist-Zionist interests. Kaminski, however, separates himself from many people usually considered progressives.....(full article)

J'accuse: Facilitating Fascism
by Zbignew Zingh

What kind of doctors has the United States trained who stand by idly while prison guards force-feed prisoners in Guantanamo Bay with plastic pipes shoved down the noses of the shackled and tortured? What kind of psychologists have we educated who assist the Pentagon inventing new ways to torture men and women, breaking their minds without breaking their skin; who help create government propaganda, plant false news stories, devise “psy-ops” to mislead us all? (full article)

February 20

Europe's Free Speech Paradox
by Kim Petersen

Whether questioning conventional history is anti-Semitism is debatable. Illuminating is that Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa brings to the fore the dichotomy in adherence to free speech depending on who is making that speech and who is on the offended end of remarks made under the cover of free speech. The infamous Danish caricatures of the Islamic prophet Mohammed are argued to be a free speech issue. The cartoons are published, so free speech was exercised. That does not make the issue one about free speech. The issue was rather about the right to make choices. What kind of choice did Flemming Rose, the culture editor at Jyllands Posten, make when he commissioned the cartoons? It was a calculated choice to be provocative, blasphemous, offensive, and to stir up enmity between Denmark’s majority population and its Muslim minority. . . . If the Europeans were so concerned about freedom of speech then they should speak out against the denial of the right of free speech to historian David Irving in Austria and others imprisoned elsewhere in Europe for their views.....
(full article)

Exposing Incitements: Those Danish Muhammad Cartoons
by Gary Leupp

I visited Denmark as a child and have fond memories of Copenhagen’s immaculate streets, bright sunlight, and touristy Viking-icon ambiance. I remember, too, visiting the Tuborg brewery and consuming a little too much free soda. I had to urinate into a bottle in the back seat of the car, pouring it out onto the spotless street when my dad came to a stoplight. Even as I defiled their public space, I had good feelings about the Danes and Scandinavians in general. Having 1/4 Swedish and 3/8 Norwegian ancestry, I already felt great pride that “my people” (or some of my people since my other roots are Swiss, German, English, and Scottish) had once won terrorized the world as they roamed it aboard their dragon-ships....
(full article)

WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran
by Heather Wokusch

Witnessing the Bush administration's drive for an attack on Iran is like being a passenger in a car with a raving drunk at the wheel. Reports of impending doom surfaced a year ago, but now it's official: under orders from Vice President Cheney's office, the Pentagon has developed "last resort" aerial-assault plans using long-distance B2 bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with both conventional and nuclear weapons. How ironic that the Pentagon proposes using nuclear weapons on the pretext of protecting the world from nuclear weapons. Ironic also that Iran has complied with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing inspectors to "go anywhere and see anything," yet those pushing for an attack, the USA and Israel, have not.....(full article)

The US and Iran: Birds of a Feather
by Gene C. Gerard 

Given the Bush administration’s rhetoric regarding the Iranian government you wouldn’t think the two have much, if anything, in common. In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush referred to Iran as part of an “axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” And he criticized the Iranian government’s efforts to “repress the Iranian people’s hope of freedom.” This week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before the Senate regarding the administration’s request for $75 million to help further democracy in Iran, in which she stated that Iran was under the control of a “radical regime.” Yet the Bush administration recently went out of its way to support an Iranian initiative to deny access to gay and lesbian organizations within the United Nations.....(full article)

Capitalism is Racism: An Update on the New Orleans Tragedy
by Thomas Harrelson

It was reported in a headline of the Jan. 27, 2006 New York Times that a “Study Says 80% of New Orleans Blacks May Not Return.” Why might they not return? (full article)

Attack on America’s Middle East Studies
by Sonia Nettnin

Since Sept. 11, private advocacy groups that promote U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the war on terror have targeted professional academics who disagree with right-wing agendas. Although the assault on academic professionals who disagree with U.S. foreign policy is not new, the right-wing thought police have been churning the political rhetoric against professors who express “patriotic incorrectness.”.....(full article)

Women Who Make the World Worse: A Letter to Kate O'Beirne
by Rosemarie Jackowski 

Dear Kate,
Right now I am watching your interview on C-Span Book TV. Thank you for the book, which covers many important topics.
 Women Who Make the World Worse contains some valid arguments. There is much in your book that is irrefutable; but during the interview you made a serious mistake. At one point you said that a single mother should look for a father for her children. That statement is evidence of your lack of understanding of the root causes of childhood poverty, a leading social problem of our time. It feeds into the myth that these children have no fathers. I need to remind you that there have not been any Immaculate Conceptions in recent years. There is no bright star shining in the East.....(full article)

Clouds of Missed Buckshot
by Peter Kurth

Curses, foiled again. I wanted to write this week about that new test for people over 50 -- “baby boomers and their parents,” as the Associated Press calls them -- published by the American Medical Association and measuring the risk a generic geriatric has of "dying within four years." You can imagine this is a subject dear to my heart.  I’m over 50 myself and, let’s face it, a bit sloppy when it comes to “maximizing” my health and keeping an eye on all those “co-morbid factors” that can lead to an early death.  Frankly, I don’t want to spend what time remains with my doors locked and blinds drawn, hiding under the bed and eating seaweed and sawdust in exchange for a few months of life -- if I’m lucky, that is, have the right genes and health insurance, and don’t go hunting with Dick Cheney.  It just isn’t worth it, and I wanted to tell you why.....(full article)

An End to Forest Service Abuse on Montana's
Kootenai National Forest?
by Matthew Koehler

The 2.2 million acre Kootenai National Forest in the extreme northwestern corner of Montana is home to our state's most biologically unique national forest, containing Montana's only temperate rainforest ecosystem and providing critical habitat for grizzly bear, gray wolf, Canada lynx, woodland caribou, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, inland redband trout and over 190 bird species. Unfortunately, crisscrossed by over 8,300 miles of logging roads and fragmented by over 750,000 acres that have been logged at one time or another, the Kootenai is also home to one of Montana's most overexploited forest ecosystems. Hopefully the Forest Service's pattern of abuse on the Kootenai National Forest is about to come to an end.....
(full article)

by Gary Steven Corseri

Cheney says he’s sorry.

He shot his friend in the face.

(So what?  He shot America in the ass!)

Let’s send him to Wuziristan!......(full poem)


The Night Show Lives
by Adam Engel


All this
Daddy O'Molloch,
Producer, induced,
imagined, produced,
all this introduced

(Oh Daddy-0 fast cars
salmon- pink cadillac
days of making it making it,
made it more
Celebrities born
of his shows
than anyone knows
Daddy-0 legend
Daddy-0 Ours
Daddy-0 Galaxy of
Immortal Stars): ......(full poem)


by Vi Ransel


A poem by Viola Ransel about depleted uranium.....(full poem)



by Vi Ransel


A poem by Viola Ransel about napalm and white phosphorous.....(full poem)


February 16

Pictures Not at the Exhibition:
The Torture Photos Congress Didn’t Want Us to See
by Lila Rajiva

Yesterday, Australia’s public broadcaster, SBS, aired some 60 unpublished photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison on its show Dateline at 8:30 PM. The images were rapidly re-broadcast on Arab TV and other news outfits and have been condemned immediately as violations of international law by the International Red Cross. The new detainee diorama -- a world exclusive, apparently -- includes pictures of bleeding and hooded prisoners bound to beds and doors, of naked men handcuffed together or in a pile, of corpses, of dogs snarling at the faces of prisoners, of cigarette burns on buttocks and wounds from shotgun pellets, and of even more graphic sexual torture. And it comes on the heels of a British video showing British soldiers brutally assaulting unarmed Iraqi teens in Basra. No one can now question that criminal behavior was rampant among Coalition Forces.....(full article)  

Imprisoned in New Orleans 
by Jordan Flaherty and Tamika Middleton

When hurricane Katrina hit, there was no evacuation plan for 7,000 prisoners in the New Orleans city jail, generally known as Orleans Parish Prison (OPP), or the approximate 1,500 prisoners in nearby jails. According to first-hand accounts gathered by advocates, prisoners were abandoned in their cells while the water was rising around them. They were subjected to a heavily armed “rescue” by state prison guards that involved beatings, mace and being left in the sun with no water or food for several days, followed by a transfer to state maximum security prisons. Although their treatment brought national attention to the condition of prisoners in Louisiana, and comparison to prison abuse scandals from Attica to Abu Ghraib, local government officials have attempted to dodge accountability and continue with business as usual.....(full article

Gonzales Withholding Plame E-Mails
by Jason Leopold

Sources close to the investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson have revealed this week that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has not turned over e-mails to the special prosecutor's office that may incriminate Vice President Dick Cheney, his aides, and other White House officials who allegedly played an active role in unmasking Plame Wilson's identity to reporters. Moreover, these sources said that in early 2004 Cheney was interviewed by federal prosecutors investigating the Plame Wilson leak and testified that neither he nor any of his senior aides were involved in unmasking her undercover CIA status to reporters and that no one in the vice president's office had attempted to discredit her husband, a vocal critic of the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence. Cheney did not testify under oath or under penalty of perjury when he was interviewed by federal prosecutors.....(full article)

More Proof of Prewar Intelligence Manipulation
by the Bush Administration

by Walter C. Uhler

Writing in the March/April 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs, Paul R. Pillar launched a furious assault on the Bush administration for its manipulation of prewar intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and links to al Qaeda. Mr. Pillar should know, because he was the CIA's National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia (NESA) from 2000 to 2005. Most damaging is his assertion: "The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made." That decision, of course, was to invade Iraq. And, as we know, plenty of evidence exists -- especially as provided by Bush administration insider, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- to prove that the Bush administration plotted, from its very first day in office, to effect regime change in Iraq.....(full article)

Riding High with Hugo Chavez
by Mike Whitney

The divisions between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and George W. Bush are more than just personal. Chavez imagines a world where government is deeply involved in the health and welfare of its citizens and where certain guarantees of security are provided under the rule of law.  He has worked tirelessly to actualize a modern Bolivarian Revolution, loosening the centuries-long grip of colonial rule and binding the continent together in a shared vision of peace and cooperation.....(full article)

The Anti-Empire Report
My Warhol Moment
by William Blum

In case you don't know, on January 19 the latest audiotape from Osama bin Laden was released and in it he declared: "If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you.  And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State, which states in its introduction ..." He then goes on to quote the opening of a paragraph I wrote (which appears actually in the Foreword of the British edition only, that was later translated to Arabic), which in full reads.....(full article)

Who is the Savage and Who the Hero?
by Paul D’Amato

The almost unanimous presentation of the conflict over the publication of cartoons caricaturing the prophet Muhammad as an issue of free speech papers over the fact that it’s part of a fairly systematic propaganda campaign against Muslims in Europe and the U.S. in recent years. This is not new. The assault belongs on a long historical list with the dehumanization of Africans to justify slavery, of Irish Catholics to justify British conquest of Ireland, of Indians to justify the takeover of the “New” world, of Jews and Slavs to justify Nazi conquest, and of various peoples to justify colonialism. The almost forgotten case of the 1952 “Mau Mau” rebellion in Kenya is an instructive case in point.....(full article)

The Buckshot Stops Here?
Cheney’s Dodge: Taking Responsibility

by Norman Solomon

When Dick Cheney surfaced on Feb. 15 long enough for an interview with Fox News eminence Brit Hume -- an event that CNN’s Jack Cafferty promptly likened to “Bonnie interviewing Clyde” -- the vice presidential spin emerged from a timeworn bag of political tricks. Cheney took responsibility. Whatever that means. The New York Times website swiftly made its top headline “Cheney Takes Full Responsibility for Shooting Hunter.” Just before Fox News Channel aired interview segments at length, the summary from anchor Hume told viewers that Cheney had accepted “full responsibility for the incident.” Hours later, the Washington Post’s front-page story led this way: “Vice President Cheney accepted full responsibility yesterday...” Ironically -- while news outlets kept using the phrase “full responsibility” -- the transcript of the interview posted on shows that Cheney never used any form of the word “responsibility.”.....(full article)

Turn Again, Dick Cheney, Lord Sprayer of Whittington Drinks,
Shoots and Leaves?
by Niranjan Ramakrishnan

The "Official Story" as of today is that Mr. Whittington approached Dick Cheney from behind. He who had other priorities during Vietnam had none now. He wheeled around and sprayed him liberally in the face, neck and chest, confusing him with a quail or a duck, thus adding insult to injury, as it were. After which Mr. Cheney apparently went incommunicado for nearly a day, thus rendering himself unavailable to the police for questioning. Theories on why this might be are rife, with rather high odds for the likelihood that the old campaigner was tight as an owl when he loosed said pellets on his unfortunate hunting companion. The jokes came thick and fast, from Letterman to Leno and of course the inimitable John Stewart, who looked up and uttered a prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ for this godsend.....(full article)

The Rhetoric of Al Gore: Not to Be Trusted
by Joshua Frank

Al Gore has become somewhat of an American idol these past few years. After his departure from Washington in 2000 the ex-presidential candidate has switch-backed across the county giving thundering sermons to overflowing auditoriums and town halls. He’s railed against the Republican agenda in Iraq, denouncing President Bush and the neocons at every turn. Gore is fast becoming the antiwar celebrity du jour, capturing the imaginations of many who fear the vicious Bush cartel. . . . Despite all the lofty rhetoric, Al Gore’s record on Iraq is anything but dovish.....(full article)

February 14

Axis of Child Abusers: British Troops Beat Up Barefoot Iraqi Teens
by Lila Rajiva

A video shown on BBC TV on February 11, 2006 shows British soldiers savagely beating and kicking unarmed Iraqi teenagers in an army compound. Officials at the Ministry of Defense are said to have investigated and established beyond doubt the authenticity of the video. Shot secretly “for fun” as a home movie from a rooftop in Basra in southern Iraq by a corporal and shown to friends at a home base in Europe, it was given to the News of the World later by an anonymous whistleblower. The footage shows soldiers pulling four Iraqi boys in their early teens into their army base after a riot and beating them with batons, then punching and kicking them repeatedly on the body and head and between the legs. Within the space of one minute, some 42 blows are rained on the four teens whom the whistleblower said “were just kids” who did not even have on shoes. One soldier can also be seen kicking a dead Iraqi in the face. The unidentified cameraman can be heard laughing and urging his colleagues on with vulgarities.....(full article)

The Pentagon’s War on the Internet
by Mike Whitney

The Pentagon has developed a comprehensive strategy for taking over the internet and controlling the free flow of information. The plan appears in a recently declassified document, “The Information Operations Roadmap,” which was provided under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and revealed in an article by the BBC. The Pentagon sees the internet in terms of a military adversary that poses a vital threat to its stated mission of global domination. This explains the confrontational language in the document, which speaks of “fighting the net,” implying that the internet is the equivalent of “an enemy weapons system.” The Defense Department places a high value on controlling information. The new program illustrates their determination to establish the parameters of free speech.....(full article)

Constitutional Suspension: An Abdication of Democracy 
by Jack Random

It is increasingly difficult to find outrage against the assault on civil liberties epitomized by the USA Patriot Act and the NSA domestic spying scandal. The sad truth about the recent “compromise” to extend the Patriot Act is that it may not matter. Under the most arrogant interpretation of constitutional war powers in recorded history, congressional mandates have been reduced to an exercise in symbolic posturing for the duration of an eternal war.....
(full article)

The New Liberation Movement
by Rosemarie Jackowski

The recent death of Betty Friedan has once again put the spotlight on the Feminist Movement. There is no question that during much of history, women have been devalued. There is also no question that Friedan and other leaders of the women's movement are owed a debt of gratitude for their efforts. But there is another side to this story that is too often dismissed as just unintended consequences. The movement did not always free women and give them more choices. Often, women were forced out of the home to work at jobs even more mundane than the ones they left behind. There was not much liberation afforded to the women who were forced to become bean counters for corporations. Many women were transformed from homemakers into widget makers. Leaving the frying pan behind only to be pushed into the fire was how many viewed the liberation movement.....
(full article)

-- Satire --
The Windbag in the Willows: How Christopher Rabbit Lost His Stones

by Mark W. Bradley 

The last chill wind of early spring did its best to wriggle through the cracks of Christopher Rabbit’s cozy little warren, nestled snuggly as it was along the banks of the Main Stream. Christopher was a comfortably plump little rabbit, with tiny impish eyes set narrowly in his chubby little rabbit head, a thick pelt of golden fur the color of alpine sunshine, and a cute little nose as brown as a roasted chestnut. Yet in spite of his deceptively soft appearance, Chris Rabbit was a surprisingly dexterous little critter. He (or at least his mouth) was said to be as swift as a runaway boulder, and he was known on occasion to make towering leaps (of faith) over seemingly unbridgeable chasms (of logic). But perhaps the most astounding of his abilities was his prowess as a swimmer, a skill not easily mastered by rabbits. Many summer days would find him paddling around contentedly in the Main Stream, always swimming in the direction of the current, and laughing all the way to the bank. It was generally agreed that among the many creatures who inhabited the marshlands surrounding legendary Toady Hall, Chris was far and away the cleverest little “toady” of them all.....(full article)

John Ashcroft Spreads His Wings
by Bill Berkowitz

Of the many chums and political appointees that have passed through the George W. Bush administration's revolving door, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft practically disappeared from the news after he resigned in November 2004. Unlike former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was fired by Bush, or Richard Clarke, the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism -- both of whom spilt the beans about the administration's shortcomings in best-selling books -- Ashcroft moved quietly on. . . . Instead, the former AG has founded a lobbying firm which, in a very short time, has managed to rake in a fair amount of money representing an assortment of corporate clients, several of whom stand to reap great profits from the president's war on terrorism.....(full article)

This Ain't No Video Game:
A Review of Jeffrey St. Clair's Grand Theft Pentagon
by Ron Jacobs

Jeffrey St. Clair's most recent book, Grand Theft Pentagon (Common Courage Press, 2006), is a collection of muckraking exposes of the corruption and greed that help fuel Washington's wars. Many of the pieces in the book originally appeared in CounterPunch, but their presence here in one volume brings together the full force of the theft and corruption we live with. Although the scope of the ruling elites' arrogance is easy enough to see, the scope of the corruption isn't. St. Clair's book changes that.....(full article)

February 13

CIA Chief Porter Goss’ Op-ed: “Ignoturn per Ignotius”!
by Sibel Edmonds (a.k.a. whistleblower)

Dear Mr. Goss, the timing of your recent op-ed in the New York Times interestingly coincides with the upcoming congressional hearing by the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats & International Relations on National Security Whistleblowers. Your comments are predictably consistent with the pattern of “preemptive strikes” you and the administration have been keen on maintaining. I do not blame you for your opposition to legislation to protect courageous whistleblowers, which will enable the United States Congress to reclaim some of its authority and oversight that it has given up for the past five years. No sir, you have all the right and reason to be nervous. However, I must take issue with your attempt to mislead the American public -- another habit of your heart -- by presenting them with false information and misleading statements.....
(full article)

Bush Administration Ignored Coal Mine Safety Issues
by Gene C. Gerard

In the last month, 16 coal miners have died in West Virginia. As a result, West Virginia’s governor recently asked all of the state’s coal mines to voluntarily suspend operations until safety inspections can be carried out. Although the public has only recently become aware of problems with mine safety, the Bush administration has known for three years that there were significant safety issues. In 2003, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the nonpartisan investigative office of Congress, issued a blistering report on coal mine safety.....(full article)

by Patricia Goldsmith

I’m tired of playing the self-defeating electoral game. We have no reason to expect that in 2006, after six years of rigged elections, everything is suddenly going to work. In 2006, HAVA will really kick in; our situation could well be worse. I know in my own state of New York, lobbyists are busily flogging voting machines. Now and then I get a notice from a committed activist, and I write e-mails requesting optical scanners with paper ballots, but it’s a pretty secret process. Responsibility for purchase decisions passed from the state level, where legislators could be attacked en masse, down to the county level, and I just have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that the people in charge of choosing our new black box voting systems can be bought for a not-too-fancy lunch. There’s a lot of money sloshing around out there, and there’s a lot of takers. Even Democrats are lobbying for Diebold et al. now, after years of being frozen out. Happy days!.....(full article)

The Next War: Crossing the Rubicon
by John Pilger

. . . . That, demonstrably, is Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the cabal that has seized power in Washington. But there is a logic to their idiocy -- the goal of dominance. It also describes Blair, for whom the only logic is vainglorious. And now he is threatening to take Britain into the nightmare on offer in Iran. His Washington mentors are unlikely to ask for British troops, not yet. At first, they will prefer to bomb from a safe height, as Bill Clinton did in his destruction of Yugoslavia. They are aware that, like the Serbs, the Iranians are a serious people with a history of defending themselves and who are not stricken by the effects of a long siege, as the Iraqis were in 2003. When the Iranian defense minister promises "a crushing response," you sense he means it.....(full article)

Trade Deficit Rises: Financial Fragility and the US Economy
by Seth Sandronsky

According to the conventional wisdom, the federal government’s budget deficit harms the private sector of the U.S. economy. In an AP article on the nation’s record trade deficit (excess of imports over exports) in 2005, there was no mention that it is double the size of the federal budget deficit. Size matters. But there is more to this story.....(full article)

February 9

Welcome to Middle-Class Lockdown . . .
Now Shut Up and Buy Something
by Joe Bageant

I never in my life imagined it would be so hard to escape the various American forms of institutionalized extortion and blackmail. Becoming debt free was the least of it. And having everyone you know and love believe your have slipped your moorings is just the beginning. Meanwhile, you become a Kafkaesque character wondering if you’ve gone nuts, as you simmer in the ambient wrongness pervading American society and watch the futility of our vast life-consuming program of intense management and control of everything, the money, the bombs, the roads, the retirement fund, the communications, the propaganda, the entire buzzing tower of bullshit so massive as to make Babel look like a chicken coop. And you ask every passing stranger in the shopping mall, “Is all this fucking necessary?” Only to discover that you are in an isolation chamber, a vacuum, a void in which no one can hear your voice at all. They are sleepwalking. They are shopping. Shhhh......(full article)

The Color of Job Cuts in the US Auto Industry 
by Seth Sandronsky

Ford Motor Company announced in late January that it is cutting 30,000 jobs and closing 14 factories in North America over the next seven years.  If the recent past is an indication of future employment trends in the U.S., the effects will be far-reaching on black autoworkers.....(full article

Time to Scrap the NPT  
by Mike Whitney

The purpose of the NPT (Nonproliferation Treaty) is to reduce or eliminate the development of nuclear weapons. If it is to have any meaning at all it must be directed at nations that not only have weapons, but that demonstrate a flagrant disregard for the international laws condemning their use. The IAEA should focus its attention on those states that have a clear record of territorial aggression, military intervention, or who consistently violate United Nations resolutions....(full article)

I Spy: Gaming the Senate
by Niranjan Ramakrishnan

Niranjan Ramakrishnan on the debate that never took place during the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrantless spying by the Bush Administration.....(full article)

This Column Doesn’t Exist
by Rosemary and Walter Brasch

What if there were no media? What if for some ethereal reason the media all got together, decided they really were tired, needed a sabbatical, and created a self-imposed moratorium on news, their decision being the last story they published or aired? (full article)

Horowitz Bombs Again:
Foaming Campus Cleanser Sputters at Temple
by Bill Berkowitz

In early December, aiming to start out 2006 with a bang, David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture (CSPC) sent out a fundraising appeal asking for contributions to place full-page advertisements in campus newspapers across the country warning students that they are surrounded by anti-American leftist academics who hate America. A month later, at a hearing on academic freedom at Temple University sponsored by a committee of the state legislature of Pennsylvania, Horowitz could find only one student to testify against "liberal" professors on campus; that testimony was purely anecdotal, as the student had not filed an official grievance with the university.....(full article)

Nukes, Terror, Iran and Blowing Up the Louvre
by Baruch Kimmerling

It has become abundantly clear that the very existence of N-weapons is not only useless for the defense of any country but is the only major threat against the very existence and survival of human civilization and indeed of human life itself. The usual arguments are that, so far, nuclear weapons have not been used since the end of World War II and that nuclear powers are usually headed by responsible leaders who recognize the doomsday outcomes resulting from the use of their arsenals. Nevertheless, both arguments do not provide us with any insurance that ultimately the devil will not be freed from the bottle, even by a supposed “responsible” and stable state or leadership....(full article)

Germany Must Deliver a Palestinian State
by Ahmed Amr

Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel wasted no time dictating terms to Hamas after it swept to victory in the Palestinian elections. Her blatant threats to the Palestinians is proof enough that a few Germans still have a little Nazi lingering in the closets of their inner souls. Why is it that so many Germans continue to live in blissful denial of their critical role in the Nakba? The ethnic cleansing of the native Arab population of Palestine in 1948 might never have happened if Hitler had never been born. If Merkel had a gram of decency, she would get off her high Nazi stallion and watch her language when addressing the Palestinian people -- who continue to pay an intolerable price for the genocidal crimes committed by her kin against European Jews.....(full article)

Why Hamas Won and What it Means
by Neve Gordon

Although it is still unclear what the future holds for Israelis and Palestinians, a few things can be said about the processes that enabled Hamas to win a landslide victory in the January 25 democratic elections and how the organization’s triumph will likely affect the local political arena. Founded in Gaza at the beginning of the first Intifada (December 1987) by Sheik Ahmad Yassin, Hamas is a direct extension of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although in the media Hamas tends to be identified with its military arm, Izzeddin al-Qassam, which is well known for its suicide attacks against Israeli targets, the organization’s popularity in the Occupied Territories actually stems from its being seen as the voice of Palestinian dignity and the symbol of the defense of Palestinian rights at a time of unprecedented hardship, humiliation, and despair.....(full article)

Covenant Marriage on the Rocks
by Don Monkerud

After gaining media attention in the late 1990s with a promise to lower divorce rates across the nation, the Covenant Marriage Movement has hit the skids. The movement seeks to establish a legal category of marriage that makes divorce more difficult. It requires pledges such as a declaration of intent to live together "forever," and divorce is only allowed for infidelity, physical or sexual abuse, conviction of a felony or the death penalty, abandonment for one year, or living separately for two years. Irreconcilable differences are not grounds for divorce.....(full article)

Iran -- The Media Fall Into Line
by Media Lens

Media Lens on the UK press coverage on Iran: When officialdom targets a new “deadly threat,” journalists often embarrass themselves in their rush to be “on side.”.....(full article)

-- Perspectives on the Danish Cartoon Controversy --

The Row Over the Danish Cartoons
by Harsha Walia

From the burning of its flag to a boycott of its brands of butter and cookies, Denmark is feeling global outrage over newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The Danish paper Jyllands-Posten first published the cartoons on Sept. 30, 2005. The drawings included one showing Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a lit fuse. Another portrayed him with a bushy gray beard and holding a sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle. A third pictured a middle-aged prophet standing in the desert with a walking stick, in front of a donkey and a sunset. The purpose of the cartoons, the chief editor said, was “to examine whether people would succumb to self-censorship, as we have seen in other cases when it comes to Muslim issues.” The paper insisted that it meant no offense.  In the past week alone, crowds of angry people in several Arab countries burned the Danish flag. In Palestine, the European Union offices in Gaza were surrounded; Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Denmark; Libya closed its embassy; and Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Sudan lodged official protests. Danish products were taken off the shelves in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, Bahrain and other countries, forcing one Danish dairy firm to lay off 800 workers.....(full article)  

Why Muslims Are Right To Be Angry:
Danish Cartoons are Latest in a Campaign of Racist Abuse
by Lee Sustar

The publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper was a calculated racist provocation in a country where Muslim immigrants are increasingly under attack. The outrage expressed in demonstrations across the Muslim world is entirely justified. The U.S. media took a “can’t they take a joke” line, and Washington politicians sanctimoniously denounced the violence at Danish embassies in Lebanon and Syria. But they ignored the fact that Muslims’ anger is fueled by the deaths of well over 100,000 Iraqis since George Bush’s invasion; the ongoing U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; and Washington’s support for Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, as well as authoritarian and corrupt Arab regimes. Unlike other mostly right-wing papers in Europe, the major U.S. news outlets haven’t republished the offensive cartoons. Nevertheless, assorted corporate media hacks used the protests in Muslim countries as an excuse to bash Islam some more.....(full article)

To An Egyptian Friend, On The Cartoons
by Manuel Garcia, Jr. 

I may have the right to insult you ("freedom of speech"), but both intelligent self-interest and a sense of humane courteous fellowship with the rest of humanity ("morality") would inform me to exercise this right with care and forethought, so I make a positive social contribution that outweighs the misery I may be adding to the world. The exercise of a right does not disguise the intent of the user, and base motives are in no way justified by taking advantage of noble principles.....(full article)

Right and Responsibility:
Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed 
by Jack Random

The great Lakota warrior and spiritual leader Crazy Horse had a vision in which he was told never to take honors for the victories he would achieve. In time, he learned to honor his vision, refusing to allow his likeness to be depicted in any form. To this day, while there are paintings and photographs of many of his contemporaries, there is no historical likeness of Crazy Horse. His spiritual belief was honored even by those responsible for the near genocide of his people. By the standards of a free press or freedom of expression, every journalist in the west had a right to depict the greatest warrior of them all.  Surely, every photographer and artist had a motive to secure for posterity the first and only likeness ever captured yet they chose to refrain. I consider it a tribute of the highest order to both Crazy Horse and those who honored him that they chose to uphold a personal religious decree. Flash forward to the Prophet Mohammed and the Islamic prohibition on any reproduction or depiction of his likeness.....(full article)

Punishing Denmark: Taking on the Wrong Enemy
by Ramzy Baroud

Not even the handy excuse of freedom of the press is so reasonable a defense to the mockery. Such freedom should not be the kind of versatile pretext unleashed only to widen the divide between the West and the Muslim world. Moreover, why not admit that in most Western societies, there are many unquestionable values, ancient and recent, that are taboo, which few dare to approach, the Holocaust being one of them. But it's not the Western media's inconsistencies that I wish to focus on here. What I wish to examine are the inconsistencies of the Arab and Muslim collective response to aggression, tangible or otherwise....(full article)

February 7

Tax Shelters Disguised as Health Care Reform
by Gene C. Gerard

In his State of the Union address last week President Bush finally acknowledged, after five years in office, that “we must confront the rising cost of [health] care … and help people afford the insurance coverage they need.” Millions of Americans have lost access to health insurance since Mr. Bush took office in 2000. But his proposal to “strengthen health savings accounts by making sure individuals and small business employees can buy insurance” will have little if any impact on the poor and middle class who lack coverage. Instead, it will help the wealthy protect their assets, and actually increase the ranks of the uninsured.....(full article)

Why Can’t We All Insult One Another?
by Ahmed Amr

All this crap about “free speech” is intellectual rot. It’s just the Scandinavian way of burning a cross on your front yard. They don’t do anti-semitism anymore because the European Jews have packed up and left their ancient continental homes. Why do you think Europeans are so tolerant of Israeli repression against native Palestinians? There must be something comforting in seeing your victims as tormentors? It helps alleviate any lingering guilt. It allows Europeans to claim that “we all do genocide.” Which brings us back to the art of showing contempt for European racists. How exactly can you hurt their feelings? Would it help to curse their mothers and fathers who home schooled their kids in how to vilify neighbors with different cultures? Is it safe to make a habit of giving a homicidal skinhead the one finger salute? Should you burn effigies of Hitler on their front lawns? Is it enough to boycott their cheese and butter? Do you think they would be offended if you label them racists or do they feel a sense of entitlement to publicly flaunt their bigotry?  (full article)

Beware Osama bin Saddam Hugo Chavez
by Mark Drolette

I read a headline the other day that was enough to make me spit out my early-morning coffee, “Rumsfeld Likens Chavez’s Rise to Hitler’s.” Chavez, of course, is Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. Rumsfeld, of course, is Donald Rumsfeld, recently voted for the fourth year running Man Most Likely to Utter Inanities Causing Sudden Beverage Expectoration (Non-George W. Bush Division). It’s not that I’m surprised by anything the Bushies do, because I’m not. It’s been Kristallnacht clear to me for years now that this group of homicidal chickenhawks is capable of doing anything and quite willing to do it, no matter how, um, fowl. Even so, I’m still caught off-guard now and then by their sheer chutzpah, their cheekiness, their gall.....(full article)

Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan: Challenging the Pro-War Democrats 
by Jack Random

You are right to challenge Senator Feinstein but you are mistaken to challenge her from within the establishment of the Democratic Party. At risk of being crude, while the spectacle of a leading antiwar spokesperson challenging a Democratic senator in a progressive state may concern them, they will crush you like a bothersome insect. They will smear you by proxy and cast you aside like a broken toy. They will go about their business as if it never happened. They are not afraid of you as a Democrat. If you wish to stage a symbolic protest and capitalize on media exposure, it could be a worthwhile endeavor, but if you wish to have an impact, to shake the Democratic Party from its pro-war slumber, challenge them as an independent.....(full article)

Jewish Secular Fundamentalism
by Gilad Atzmon

While most commentators on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict do restrict themselves to political and ideological criticism and analysis, a bunch of commentators take it one step further. They see themselves as the saviors of the Palestinians and cosmic representative of universal values. Rather than just enlightening us with some revolutionary visionary outlook, they insist upon suggesting an operative agenda. Resolutely, they insist upon telling the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular what is good for them. In an article published a few days ago in Dissident Voice, Shraga Elam, an Israeli journalist who lives in Zurich and presents himself as a supporter of the Palestinian cause, makes a clear call to the Hamas to dissolve the Palestinian Authority was announced. “Facing an impossible situation,” stresses Elam, “Hamas can still correct its mistake of participating in the election by dissolving the Palestinian Authority (PA) and ending the farce introduced by the Oslo Accord.” This is no doubt a courageous statement by an Israeli who pretends to express his love for the Palestinians. Considering the sweeping victory of the Hamas, there is no other choice but to admit that the Hamas represents the Palestinian spirit at least at the current stage. And it is that very spirit that elected the Hamas to govern the PA. Yet to call Hamas’s participation a “mistake” is to undermine the choice, the will and the spirit of the Palestinian people. I would admit that it is rather strange to hear such a demand from a ‘solidarity’ campaigner.....(full article)

There's Something Rotten Far Beyond the State of Denmark: NATO's Caricature of “Freedom of Speech” and its Allies in the Peace Movement 
by Gary Zatzman

At the ideological level, the racism of those by-now-notorious Danish cartoons is clear enough. The denunciation of this racism is growing and this is positive.  However, in terms of the forces actually organizing and mobilizing something quite dark by means of this allegedly light-hearted caricature of a "war" among caricaturists, it is seriously incumbent on all of us also to penetrate its political significance.....(full article)

The Iran Crisis -- “Diplomacy” as a Launch Pad for Missiles
by Norman Solomon

The current flurry of Western diplomacy will probably turn out to be groundwork for launching missiles at Iran. Air attacks on targets in Iran are very likely. Yet many antiwar Americans seem eager to believe that won’t happen....(full article)

Should Maryland Carry Out the Premeditated Killing of Vernon Evans?
by Kevin Zeese

Maryland's premeditated killing of Vernon Evans was stayed by the Maryland Court of Appeals yesterday. The State's use of the power to kill another human should be a time for reflection by Maryland and the nation. Do we want to be a nation of executioners? Do we want to participate in killing people through a very flawed justice system? Do we want to continue to continue the cycle of violence? (full article)

Hillary and George: Two Warmongers in a Pod
by Joshua Frank

There aren’t many elected officials in Washington who want to throw the gauntlet down on Iran more than Hillary Clinton. The New York Senator believes the president has been too soft on the militant Islamic country, claiming that Bush has played down the threat of a nuclear-armed Tehran. "I believe we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations," Clinton told an audience at Princeton University on January 18. "I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines … We cannot and should not -- must not -- permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," Clinton added. "In order to prevent that from occurring … we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations."....(full article)

When Promoting Truth Obscures the Truth:
Iraq Body Count and Iraqi Deaths
by Stephen Soldz

David Edwards of Media Lens has a brilliant critique of the shortcomings of the Iraq Body Count tally of civilian deaths in Iraq: Paved With Good Intentions: On Iraq Body Count, Part 1 and Part 2. Edwards points out the generally recognized fact that IBC's methodology -- only listing deaths reported by two or more Western sources -- likely results in their tally being a conservative estimate of civilian deaths. However, Edwards goes further by showing that there is a systematic source of bias in that Western news agencies are more likely to report deaths caused by "insurgents" than those caused by "Coalition" (aka American) forces. Edwards reports on an examination of the IBC database for the six-month period from January through June 2005. They found that, of 58 incidents involving at least 10 deaths, only one death was attributed to US/Coalition action. Further, during this period, only 15 civilian deaths total were attributed "to 'coalition' air strikes, helicopter gunfire and tank fire," a result that is completely implausible to anyone who has followed news of the repeated massive attacks by US and allied forces on alleged "insurgent strongholds." Very disturbing was the tone of IBC's founder John Sloboda's response to being e-mailed a question about this potential bias....(full article)

“Dangerous” Academics:
Right-wing Distortions About Leftist Professors

by Robert Jensen

In an “urgent” e-mail last week, right-wing activist David Horowitz hyped his latest book about threats to America’s youth from leftist professors. The ad for The Professors -- The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America describes me as: “Texas Journalism Professor Robert Jensen, who rabidly hates the United States, and recently told his students, ‘The United States has lost the war in Iraq and that’s a good thing.’” I’m glad Horowitz got my name right (people often misspell it “Jenson”). But everything else is distortion, and that one sentence teaches much about the reactionary right’s disingenuous rhetorical strategy....(full article)

February 6

Detroit Dialectic: The Irony of the Super Bowl in a Supercilious Nation
by Zbignew Zingh 

General Motors has announced that it lost billions of dollars last quarter. Delphi, GM's primary parts supplier, has demanded that its workers cut their salaries by half or more and reduce their health care benefits. Ford will lay off 30,000 blue collar employees and close factories. Daimler-Chrysler will lay off 6,000 white collar employees. Throughout the country, American industry is curtailing pension funds or eliminating them altogether. The naked pursuit of profit causes companies to cannibalize themselves and to decimate their work forces. Wall Street cheers while business cuts labor to the bone in the name of shareholder value. But while it rains pink slips on the workingmen and women of Motor City, Detroit hosts the Super Bowl. The Chief Executive Officers, the captains of industry, the bankers, the politicians, the financiers, the business gurus and show biz glitterati, the movers and shakers of our times, will pack the luxury boxes dining and wining like Roman patricians. The proles, sitting in the bleachers or at their big screen televisions (purchased on revolving credit at 18% interest), will watch the spectacle and lustily indulge in the party. Eat. Drink. Be merry. For tomorrow we lose everything.....
(full article)

Bush Beckons the God of Pluto: Nuclear Reprocessing
by Mina Hamilton

On Monday, February 6th the Bush administration is planning to unveil a new energy policy initiative. After a 30-year ban, the US is about to gut a key non-proliferation tool and resume nuclear reprocessing. To the uninformed, reprocessing sounds as bland and harmless as, well, processed cheese. The nuclear industry has contributed to this notion by sometimes referring to reprocessing as "recycling". Quite the contrary, nuclear reprocessing is a dangerous activity that, among other potentially catastrophic downsides, makes plutonium accessible for theft and use in atomic bombs. . . . The new initiative sends a confusing message to the world. How can the US government continue to urge, cajole and threaten "rogue" countries that want to reprocess -- while, simultaneously saying, oh, by the way, we're going to do it in the US? (full article)

Don’t Be Evil
by Patricia Goldsmith

Don’t be evil is Google’s corporate motto, and a very good one. Google aspires to be a different kind of corporation, and it’s taking the heat for it. The Bush Reich wants Google’s “honey pot” of high-quality, comprehensive information, and Wall Street wants to knock it down to size for thinking it can be different. It stumbled on predicted earnings this quarter and got a little taste. We’ll see how long they hold out on keeping their materials private. Sasa Zorovic, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. confidently predicts, “At some point Google will be humbled.” And that’s what happens when you go public. Every time. Cause and effect. The market system is designed to produce a reliable result -- profitability -- every time, regardless of the human or environmental cost. There is no way to be a publicly traded corporation and remain free to be moral. Evil isn’t optional. (On the other hand, the truly evil, real black holes, are also privately held; I’m thinking Carlyle Group.) The Democratic Party has undergone the same process.....(full article)

Facts are Facts
by Peter Kurth

My previous column about the James Frey-Million Little Pieces-Flog It to Death literary scandal, still blazing in the media heavens as I write this, led to some interesting responses. Mainly these had to do with the nature of truth, memory and fact, which aren’t the same things.  Last I heard, truth was unknowable, memory unreliable, and facts -- well, facts are facts. Sort of. For instance, a reader wrote in to say that, contrary to my report, A Million Little Pieces never sold “3.5 million copies in hardcover.” And it didn’t, as I discovered when I looked farther -- less than breathlessly, I admit, because Frey’s fictitious “memoir” has been a huge commercial blockbuster, and other writers can be forgiven for getting their millions mixed up....(full article)

Palestine’s Olive Oil in North America
by Sonia Nettnin

An economic market with international growth potential that has emerged recently is the fair trade of Palestinian products in North America. Farmers in village cooperatives and farming collectives have the opportunity to sell goods, such as olive oil and olive soap at fair prices. Moreover it enables Palestinian farmers, workers and press operators to sustain an integral part of their culture that goes back centuries....(full article)

The Passing and Passion of Grandpa Al Lewis, 1910-2006 
by Mitchel Cohen

Brooklyn Green Party activist Mitchel Cohen remembers Al Lewis, who passed away last Friday, February 3....(full article)

February 2

Enron: The Bush Administration's First Scandal
by Jason Leopold

For many people familiar with Enron’s meteoric rise and sudden downfall four years ago, the high-flying energy company and the company's crooked "E" logo have come to represent corporate greed, corruption and excess at its worst. But more important, Enron should be symbolic for something else: it was the first in a long list of corporate scandals involving the Bush administration and numerous members of Congress. Back in August 2001, just two months before Enron imploded in a wave of accounting scandals in which thousands of employees lost their jobs and their pensions, and which wiped out $60 billion in shareholder value, an Enron lobbyist tipped off the Bush administration about the company's impending financial problems.....(full article)

The Case For Bush
by Michael Smith 

“Human life is a gift from our Creator --
and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.” 

Dear George, 

I can’t tell you how relieved I was to hear you speak these words. I’m particularly gratified that you’ll be abolishing wage slavery now that you’ve admitted human beings can’t be put up for sale. Like so many others I’ve really loathed selling myself in the marketplace all these years. Job interviews are the worst. Anyway, once you get that new and improved Emancipation Proclamation in the works I’ll turn in my resignation letter and never prostitute myself for wages again.....(full letter)

Questioning The Twinkie
by Aaron Michael Gordon

Tuesday night, as King George rambled through his Greatest Hits talking points during the State of the Union address, I had an epiphany (I was playing the drinking game, after all). Republicans succeed politically because they control the discourse. Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, this isn’t really news, nor cause for me to trot out 50-cent words like “epiphany” or “catharsis”. Nope, that’s not the “Eureka” experience I had. I know the why and the where … but I think I understand the how now. Republicans win because they purposely ask the wrong questions....(full article

Poverty, Consumerism and Anti-Imperialism
by toni solo

Several responses are standard to criticism of ideologically bankrupt and morally schizophrenic initiatives like the UK's Make Poverty History campaign. One is to rail at the impudence of calling into question the campaign organizers sincerity and good intentions. Another is to pout, "well, what alternative do YOU offer...?" Or, more disingenuously, critics will be accused of sneering at the genuine heartfelt desire among the millions of people who contribute hard-earned money to projects and programs meant to alleviate world poverty's all-too-numerous symptoms. At the global elite's Davos summit in the last few days, leading representatives of corporate capitalism have made superficially impressive commitments to fund health and other program in less developed countries. A phrase that comes to mind is one used in Latin America in work with women in abusive relationships -- no mas confites en el infierno, no more chocolates in hell. When people ask why so many tens of millions of people lack decent health care and education, one answer is clear. For over two decades the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the governments that control those institutions have consistently told weak national governments in less developed countries to reduce public social spending....(full article)

Smothering the King Legacy With Kind Words
by Norman Solomon

Hours after Coretta Scott King died, President Bush led off the State of the Union address by praising her as “a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream.” For good measure, at the end of his speech, Bush reverently invoked the name of her martyred husband, Martin Luther King Jr. The president is one of countless politicians who zealously oppose most of what King struggled for -- at the same time that they laud his name with syrupy words. It wouldn’t be shrewd to openly acknowledge the basic disagreements. Instead, Bush and his allies offer up platitudes while pretending that King’s work ended with the fight against racial segregation. Now that Dr. King’s widow is no longer alive, the smarmy process will be even easier: Just praise him as a beloved civil rights leader, as though the last few years of his life -- filled with struggles for economic justice and peace -- didn’t exist. Ignore King’s profound challenge to the kind of budget priorities and militarism holding sway today....
(full article)

Congress’ Cushy Pension Plan: What They Have That You Don’t
by Joe Allen

The list is becoming endless. Enron, WorldCom, United Airlines, Delphi, Verizon, IBM and many more major corporations have abandoned, bankrupted, stolen, cut back or “redefined” the pension plans of their employees. When workers try to collect in the future, they’ll find their pension benefits drastically cut back -- or, in some cases, eliminated altogether. “Things are not looking good for retirees with the collapse of the defined benefit plans,” said Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University. “In 20 years, the only people with these plans will be government employees.” Old-age poverty is once again a thing to fear in America. But in Washington, the politicians who let this corporate hurricane destroy our pensions enjoy a retirement savings system and other benefits and perks that ordinary workers couldn’t imagine, even in the best of times....
(full article)

Afghanistan Four Years Later
by Mike Whitney

Over four years after toppling the fanatical Taliban, Hamid Karzai is expected to sign an agreement for economic assistance from more than 60 donor countries. The Afghanistan Compact is just the latest of many plans to restore security to the war-torn nation and revive the fragile economy. It is a poignant reminder that the Bush administration’s promises to rebuild the country and establish democracy have never been realized. Afghanistan has been a policy disaster from the get-go. The country is ravaged by war and unemployment, security beyond the capital of Kabul is virtually nonexistent, and malnutrition rates among children are higher than they are anywhere other than sub-Saharan Africa. Now, Karzai, who has seen his funding from the US slashed year after year, is forced to take his begging bowl to the world community, asking for the crumbs they can spare to bandage his failed state together....(full article)

The Improvised Explosive Device Will Defeat Bush in Iraq
by Dennis Rahkonen

All progressives extend their heartfelt wishes for a speedy, full recovery to ABC journalists Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt, victims of a terrible roadside bombing in Iraq. Where we differ from conservatives who express similar sentiments is in our honesty regarding IED use by the Iraqi insurgency. No delusions cloud our understanding of what it means, especially in the long run. Improvised explosive devices -- as made clear in media coverage of hospital care provided those wounded by such weapons -- are the most lethal of all means employed against U.S. troops. Despite body armor and other countermeasures, the constantly evolving sophistication of these horrific explosives renders them impossible to thwart. They would kill and maim young Americans who should have never been sent to Iraq in the first place...for years and decades into the bloody future.  If we allowed that to happen, that is, by continuing to adhere to the mad, meat-grinder mentality of George Bush and all those who cruelly, absurdly believe that we must “honor those who’ve died” by dispatching an unending stream of vulnerable vehicles down deathtrap highways until “complete victory” is achieved....
(full article)

Report from the World Social Forum in Venezuela
by Carl Doerner

Caracas, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez delivered a brief, for him, 90-minute speech on January 27 to about 18,000 of the delegates gathered here for the Sixth World Social Forum. He referred to George W. Bush as “Mr. Danger” and to Cindy Sheehan, who was seated near him, as “Mrs. Hope.” The other 100,000 delegates from around the world found other venues. One that struck me as more indicative of what is happening in Venezuela and its Bolivarian Revolution than any political speech might provide was at a Mission School. Teachers from Cuba were key to the establishment of a literacy campaign in poor neighborhoods throughout this country, and these are now producing their own teachers. Venezuelan leaders, deeply committed to the development of their own rendering of a socialist economy, one free of the exploitation of Latin America’s resources and labor and the flooding of its markets with cheaper produce, describe three grave threats to their revolutionary process....(full article)

Street News and NYC's Homeless: 
An Interview with John “Indio” Washington 
by Mickey Z.

John "Indio" Washington, 67, is editor-in-chief of Street News (SN), a longtime New York City publication that focuses on issues of homelessness ... primarily written and sold by homeless New Yorkers. This wasn't always the case. In the late 1980s, Indio was homeless. "In December 1989," he recalls, "I was riding on the #3 train 'n I saw this Black sister selling SN. I asked her if I could help sell the paper 'n she could hit me with whatever she wanted to give me for helping her. She instead took me downtown to SN headquarters 'n they gave me 5 or 10 free papers to sell. I never looked back.".....(full article)

Hamas and Us
by Gila Svirsky

Listening to the reactions of passersby at the recent Jerusalem vigil of Women in Black, you would think it was our peaceful little group that put the Hamas into power.  This stems from Israeli right-wing politicians who are asserting that Hamas won because of the Gaza withdrawal and other conciliatory overtures, i.e., “rewarding terrorism.”  Indeed, Bibi Netanyahu & Co. are delighted with the Hamas victory, on which they can now build a fear-saturated election campaign, and return voters to the fold who lately had slipped into something more moderate. But here’s my take on what made Hamas victorious in the recent elections:  Israel’s failure to sit down and negotiate an end to the occupation. This is often phrased as “the failure of Fatah to make progress on peace,” but they amount to the same thing: the Fatah failed because Israel refused to offer any reward for moderation, refusing to sit down and negotiate with them....(full article)

Hamas's Electoral Victory Serves the Israeli Government
by Shraga Elam

The sweeping electoral victory of Hamas is primarily a triumph for the Israeli government and a big defeat for Palestinian interests. The international pressure on the Palestinians is growing. If Hamas will not make substantial and painful concessions it risks a massive cut in the financial international support and further escalation in the Israeli anti-Palestinian measures. If Hamas commits to such concessions, it will not only betray its voters, but the Israeli government will demand more....(full article)

February 1

The State of the Union: A Stumbling Illusion of Strength 
by Jack Random

If ever there was definitive proof that our president is suffering under a spell of delusion, it occurred in the opening sixty seconds of the State of the Union Address. The state of our union may be strong if you are the chief executive officer of Exxon, Chevron or British Petroleum but it is anything but strong on Main Street. I have not yet seen the usual word count of the president’s address but one of the most glaring attributes of this speech was a contrast of conceptualization.  The president used the words freedom and liberty (oblivious to the assault he has led on American liberty) repeatedly but, by my count, he used the word “justice” only once -- and then in reference to New Orleans, where the homeless, destitute, dead and displaced have lost all hope of justice for a crime of federal negligence spanning multiple administrations. There is no justice in the president’s vision....(full article)

Cindy Sheehan and Lesser-Evil Politics:
Campaigning Against the War in California
by Joshua Frank

Cindy Sheehan may be elevating her activism to the next level. The mother of the antiwar movement, while attending the World Social Forum in Venezuela, told reporters that she is considering running against Senator Dianne Feinstein in California’s Democratic primary next June. Shinning a spotlight on Feinstein’s malignant war blemishes would be the focal point of her campaign. Undoubtedly, Sheehan would receive generous support for her quest from California’s ever-increasing war resistance. Sean Penn would likely race to her side for photo-ops. The New York Times would write their slimy op-eds. Fox News would deploy their smear brigades -- this could potentially be the biggest thing the antiwar movement has seen since Sheehan propped up her tent outside Dubya’s Crawford ranch. At the very least it would get the American public talking....(full article)

The Democrats: Fulla-Bluff-and-Bluster
by Sharon Smith

John Kerry’s scheme for a last-ditch filibuster blocking Judge Samuel Alito’s Senate confirmation vote on Monday backfired badly. To be sure, Kerry made an impassioned plea last Thursday. “It’s our right and our responsibility to oppose [Alito] vigorously and to fight against this radical upending of the Supreme Court,” his statement read. Yet Kerry was not even present to read the statement in person last Thursday, or to attend the full Senate hearings. He had jetted off to Davos, Switzerland, to join other representatives of the rich and famous at the World Economic Forum. His “vigorous” opposition was apparently conducted by phone (conjuring up images of Kerry calling out, “Save me a seat at the bar, Bono. I just have to make a phone call.”) Kerry’s eleventh-hour campaign might seem in contradiction to explicit instructions from the party’s powerbrokers in the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), issued last Tuesday. “A filibuster is certain to fail,” the statement read. “The second-best way for Democrats to avoid still more Alitos on the Court is to make major gains in the Senate this November. And the best way is to win the White House in 2008.” But Kerry’s scheme was also launched with an eye toward 2008. His feeble maneuver came only when it was clear that Republicans already had the 60 votes to defeat an attempted filibuster....(full article)

What's Next: Spitballs? or Where's Zell When You Really Need Him?
by Mark Drolette

But putting aside such trifling technicalities like the basis for all American law (which, come to think of it, exactly mirrors Bush administration policy), there’s another aspect of this military meltdown thing that kind of bothers me: I'm no budget expert, and I realize a billion dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to, but still, I'm thinkin' if you can't defend one lousy country (and that’s what we have now: one lousy country) with 400-plus billion dollars a year (which doesn’t even account for those periodic oh-so clever off-budget multi-billion dollar war-fueling “supplemental appropriations” inappropriately passed by a lapdog Congress), then maybe some rethinking needs to occur. (Or thinking, period.)....(full article)

Betting on Biscuit: Does Post-Fire Logging Make Ecological
or Economic Sense?
by Matthew Koehler 

It’s rare to find two diametrically opposed sides using the same exact posterchild to support their views. However, that’s essentially what’s developed over the past few years as the logging industry have locked horns with conservation groups and scientists in a battle over so-called “healthy forests” policy and the future of America’s public lands following wildfires. That “same exact posterchild” is the 2002 Biscuit Fire that burned nearly 500,000 acres in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area of southwestern Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest and the U.S. Forest Service’s subsequent Biscuit “Fire Recovery Project” that approved cutting down 19,000 acres of ancient forest reserves and roadless wildlands in a forest of global ecological significance....(full article

Osama's Book or Oprah's Book
by Rosemarie Jackowski

The queen of trivia does it again. Am I the only person on the planet who is outraged with recent Oprah Shows? Usually the trivial nature of the topics she chooses is enough to liquefy brain cells. That is not the worse of it. Recently she seemed to enjoy her one-upsmanship in the book scandal with author James Frey. The frying of Frey was troubling because there are more important lies out there. Hey Oprah, remember the big WMD lie? What about the lies about the numbers of homeless among us? What about the lies about the causes of poverty in the USA? What about the lies about the number of civilians killed in Iraq? Killed kids should at least rate a nod from someone in the US media....(full article)

“America as the World’s Only Superpower Actually Detracts from our National Security”: Interview with the Editor of The American Conservative, former Neocon, Scott McConnell
by Kevin Zeese

Scott McConnell is the editor of The American Conservative, a magazine he founded with Pat Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos in 2002. McConnell has a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, and was formerly the editorial page editor of The New York Post. He has been a columnist for and New York Press. His work has been published in Commentary, Fortune, National Review, The New Republic, and many other publication....(full interview)

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