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(DV) July 2005 Articles

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July 28-29

Blame the Democrats: Passing CAFTA (posted 7/29)
by Joshua Frank

The final vote on CAFTA, the free trade agreement between the US and Central America, rolled out in the wee hours of July 28. It was a tight vote in the House, a squeaking 217-215, where 15 Democrats crossed over to support the measure while 27 Republicans voted against it. Supporters of CAFTA anticipate abolishing custom taxes and undermining labor and environmental laws over time among the countries involved, which will consist of the US, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and Dominican Republic. CAFTA will eliminate tariffs on 80 percent of US exports to these countries. CAFTA was first approved in the Senate a few weeks ago when 10 neoliberal Democrats crossed over to support Bush's obtuse trade legislation, which slipped by with a 55-45 vote. Twelve Senate Republicans opposed the bill. It was California's liberal Dianne Feinstein and Oregon's Ron Wyden who led the way in Democratic support for the legislation. Had the Democrats opposed the agreement in the Senate, CAFTA would have been defeated. But the Dems support for CAFTA in the Senate and now the House of Representatives has handed Bush a major victory....(full article)

Bush, China, Two Deficits, and the Ongoing Decline of US Hegemony
by Paul Street

How about that wild and wacky world capitalist system? The United States is clearly the world's "hegemonic" military power.  The U.S. government's capacity for "forward global force projection" is stupendous and its imperial "defense" budget" matches the combined military expenditures of all potential enemy states many times over. Things are a little different in the economic sphere, however, and all the money the U.S. is spending on militarism and empire is part of the problem for Uncle Sam....(full article)  

“Withdrawal” from Iraq?: Forget About It  
by Mike Whitney

“The bottom line is this, failure in Iraq is now considered an ‘existential threat” to America’s continued dominance in the world. We should not anticipate that that is something that American elites will easily relinquish....(full article)

Conservative Ideology Hinders U.S. AIDS Policy
by Gene C. Gerard

Last month, the Bush administration put further impediments in the way of effectively treating the global AIDS crises. The administration is now requiring American organizations that receive federal funding to sign an agreement pledging their opposition to prostitution. Of course, it’s ludicrous to think that anyone actually supports prostitution. But in requiring organizations to formally declare their opposition, this will put those organizations that are trying to reduce the spread of AIDS among prostitutes in a difficult position....(full article)

Psychotic America: Feeling The Heat
by Aaron Michael Gordon 

It’s summer again in Bush’s America, and without any significant time in therapy, the country has more issues than Time Magazine. We don’t even have to look at “mainstream” stories such as Robert’s nomination to the Supreme Court or the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame scandal to see the depths of the psychosis. At the beginning of last week, I read an article detailing a death in Washington State. It seems that a man passed away from injuries sustained while having sex with a horse. You read that correctly . . . not a fat person, a genuine equine sex partner was instrumental in his demise. Now, a story about a guy who croaked while getting it on with a farm animal doesn’t appear to indict the entire nation into the loony bin…just this man and his need for some good tail. But read further....(full article)

Tony Blair is Unfit To Be Prime Minister
by John Pilger

The latest bombings in London have produced a strange political atmosphere here; I cannot recall anything like it. A truth is struggling to be heard. It is being said guardedly, apologetically. Occasionally, a member of the public breaks the silence, as an East Londoner did when he walked in front of a CNN camera crew and reporter in mid-platitude. "Iraq!" he said. "We invaded Iraq and what did we expect? Go on say it." The Scottish MP Alex Salmond tried to say it on BBC radio. He was told he was speaking "in poor taste . . . before the bodies are even buried." The Respect Party MP George Galloway was lectured by BBC television presenter that he was being "crass". The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said the diametric opposite of what he had previously said, which was that the invasion of Iraq would come home to our streets. With the exception of Galloway, not one so-called anti-war MP spoke out in clear, unequivocal English. The warmongers were allowed to fix the boundaries of public debate; one of the more idiotic, in The Guardian, called Blair "the world's leading statesman". And yet, like the man who interrupted CNN, people understand and know why, just as the majority of Britons oppose the war and believe Blair is a liar. This frightens the British political elite. At a large media party I attended, many of the important guests uttered "Iraq" and "Blair" as a kind of catharsis for that which they dared not say professionally and publicly. The bombs of 7 July were Blair's bombs....(full article)

Deepening the Faith: Bush and Congress Aim to Institutionalize
Faith-Based Initiative

by Bill Berkowitz

One of the first orders of business for George W. Bush in January 2001 was to establish a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the cornerstone social policy of his presidency. At a ceremony attended by numerous religious leaders, Bush announced executive orders that instructed the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, Education and Housing and Urban Development to set up Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives within their agencies. That done, Bush moved to cement his executive actions in congressional legislation. There he was rebuffed, however, over objections that government money would be used for religious proselytization, and that recipients of government grants would be allowed to discriminate in their hiring, based on religion. Bush called on Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to craft a legislative compromise. When they failed to win a consensus, the president went back to issuing executive orders. Now, House allies are trying to come up with a legislative package that will pass muster. One of the keys to the compromise is a "Sense of the Congress" resolution dealing with the religious hiring question....(full article)

(Debate) Revolution and Counter-revolution in Venezuela:
Assessing the Role of the AFL-CIO
by Lee Sustar with a rejoinder by Stan Gacek

There are in fact serious criticisms to be made about the Chávez government from a trade union standpoint. Yet, by rejecting the legitimacy of the UNT out of hand, and backing the CTV, the AFL-CIO has lent political credibility to the conservative Venezuelan opposition. This, in turn, has revived debate over the AFL-CIO’s involvement in U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, a look at the AFL-CIO’s past and present in Venezuela points to two conclusions: that the files on organized labor’s collaboration with U.S. foreign policy should be opened, and that the AFL-CIO’s reliance on government funds for international work should end....(full article)

Vision Mumbai Submerged
Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink
by Lila Rajiva

Over the last two days hundreds of people have died in Mumbai and across Maharashtra as the South-West monsoon lashes the state. 37.1 inches fell in one day -- the highest ever in the country. About 150,000 people were stranded in railway stations, tens of thousands of others on the road or in buses as commuter services were shut down. Electricity and phone links were cut in the city, some 76,000 farm animals have been killed and 1.7 million acres of crops have been destroyed. Tens of thousands of homes, along with roads, railway tracks, and bridges have been washed away. It's a story well-rehearsed in other parts of India, like Gujarat, also hit hard by the monsoons this summer. Just the familiar story of third world countries too poor to defend themselves against Mother Nature's psychotic abuse. Or something else? (full article)

Is DeLay Morally Devoid? (link fixed 7/29)
by Ken Sanders

It was all I could do not to let out a guffaw when I heard House Majority Leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay talk about the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) the other day. While discussing the Republicans' urgent need to pass CAFTA (in the name of national security, no less), DeLay remarked, without a touch of irony, "We find ourselves today with Democratic leaders browbeating members against voting their principles for politics sake." DeLay's hypocritical self-righteousness is simply awe-inspiring. There he was, the man with such a penchant for browbeating that he is not-so-affectionately called "The Hammer," condemning Democrats for allegedly following his lead, albeit in a far less bludgeoning fashion. I mean, this is the guy who threatens to take committee seats away from fellow Republicans who, because of their damnable principles, won't vote the way he wants them to. DeLay has also been known to "primary" recalcitrant Republicans by actively recruiting primary opponents to run against them....(full article)

The Globalization of State Terror
by Mike Whitney

The “evil ideology” that underscores the war on terror is predicated on two basic theories: preemption and enemy combatants. Both of these run counter to fundamental principles of human rights and democratic governance. Both must be met head on and defeated. There is no wiggle room for equivocating or appeasement; this ideology is the greatest manifestation of fanaticism in the world since the rise of Nazism in the 1930s and must be collectively challenged. As Tony Blair says, “This is not an isolated criminal act” but “an extreme and evil ideology” thrusting us towards global war and ever-increasing human rights abuse....(full article)

Speaking Truth to Roberts
by Paul Rogat Loeb

From the moment the John Roberts nomination was announced, the media called it a done deal. NPR and the New York Times gushed over his humility, humor, and congeniality. With Roberts's belief system barely mentioned, you'd think Bush had just nominated Mister Rogers. In the wake of this media love fest, I keep encountering people who oppose everything Roberts has stood for, but see no use in trying to stop what seems his inevitable confirmation. But we can make a powerful impact by raising the discomforting truth that Roberts may be closer to a smiling Antonin Scalia. However the Senators vote -- and it's not foreordained, the more we raise key issues and principles, the more they'll echo down the line around future nominations and policies....(full article)

Bill O’Reilly in Drag
by William Fisher

Michelle Malkin, sometimes known as Bill O’Reilly in drag, opened one of her recent syndicated rants with this question: “Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Civil-liberties activists, anti-war organizers, eco-militants and animal-rights operatives are in a fright over news that the nefarious FBI is watching them. Why on earth would the government be worried about harmless liberal grannies, innocent vegetarians, unassuming rainforest lovers and other ‘peaceful groups’ simply exercising their First Amendment rights?” Ms. Malkin was referring to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, charging that the FBI had amassed hundreds of pages of secret files on that organization and similar groups. Well, let me suggest that this cute-looking new darling of the salivating right is asking the wrong question. What she should want to know is why the FBI is snooping on the ACLU. After all, the rights the ACLU defends include those that allow Ms. Malkin to write exactly what she wants to write, no matter how misinformed....(full article)

“Wagging the Puppy” -- and Unleashing the Deadly Dogs of War
by Norman Solomon

Midway through July, the Karl Rove scandal was dominating the national news -- until the sudden announcement of a Supreme Court nominee interrupted the accelerating momentum of the Rove story. Since then, some anti-Bush groups and progressive pundits have complained that the White House manipulated the media agenda. But when it comes to deploying weapons of mass distraction, the worst is yet to come....(full article)

Flat-Earther Bush’s Style for Wild Salmon (Part I of III)
Dams, Corporations Amok, All the Zealots That Want
to Collapse Nature

by Paul K. Haeder

The wild salmon story has generated a coalition of groups, both native and non-native, in the Pacific Northwest fighting for the salmon’s imperiled existence against the imbalanced needs of humans that require too much ecologically sensitive land for development; that seek to irrigate deserts to grow non-native crops reliant on river water and petrochemicals; and who want hydroelectricity to grow human settlements which hold to an out-of-whack perception of economic growth as an unending cycle....(full article)

Free Judy! The Fine Art of Calling a Bluff
by Jack Random

If we accept the premise that New York Times reporter Judy Miller chose to go to jail rather than reveal a source who blew the cover of a CIA agent, then who in the White House has forsaken a loyal servant and one who went to the ends of the earth to support the president’s foreign policy, even to the extent of treating a notoriously unreliable source as if he were the one true Bohdi Satya? (full article)

* * * *

Two Profiles of a Pathological Asshole

Thomas Friedman, Liberal Sadist?
by Norman Solomon

The acclaimed New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has often voiced enthusiasm for violent destruction by the U.S. government. Hidden in plain sight, his glee about such carnage is worth pondering. Many people view Friedman as notably articulate, while others find him overly glib, but there’s no doubt that he is an influential commentator with inherently respectable views. When Friedman makes his case for a shift in foreign policy, the conventional media wisdom is that he’s providing a sober assessment. Yet beneath his liberal exterior is a penchant for remedies that rely on massive Pentagon firepower....(full article)

Tom Friedman: Fabricating the Roots of Terror
by Mike Whitney

Tom Friedman is the undeclared spokesman of the American establishment. His articles represent a distillation of the current thinking among a broad range of American mandarins, particularly members of the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the driving force behind much of America’s foreign policy. He is the imperial chronicler, the man responsible for promoting the narrow interests of elites and transforming the crimes of the empire into a narrative of generosity and goodwill. If one can decode Friedman’s bi-weekly hieroglyphic, they can also understand how elites use the media to manage public perceptions....(full article)

* * * *

July 27

Doomsday: The Final Months of the “Housing Bubble” 
by Mike Whitney

I sold my home three weeks ago anticipating what I believe will be “Economic Armageddon” in the United States. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. My wife and I have lived in the same home for 25 years, raised both of our children there, and owned the property outright without any loans or mortgage. The house was paid for in “sweat-equity”, that is, by wielding a shovel day-in and day-out in my one-man landscape business. I don’t say that for sympathy, but to illustrate that we played by the rules, worked hard, paid our taxes, and took advantage of the American dream of home-ownership. All that has changed. I sold my home for one reason: George W. Bush. He and his protégé at the Federal Reserve have submerged the country into a morass of “unsustainable” debt, disrupted the nation’s economic equilibrium and thrust us towards fiscal disaster. They’ve also generated a humongous housing bubble through their irresponsible and self-serving manipulation of interest rates. The facts are astonishing....(full article)

The Mrs. Thatcher of the Democrats, Hillary Clinton:
Outflanking Bush from the Right

by Joshua Frank

Senator Hillary Clinton, a likely 2008 presidential candidate, called for a "cease fire" within the Democratic Party as she accepted a leadership post with the Democratic Leadership Council on July 25. The DLC was greatly responsible for her husband's rise to power in the early 1990s, and Hillary's new position within the right-wing organization is a sure sign the New York Senator wants to see the Democrats move further right. Hillary is apparently attempting to build a conservative base for a potential presidential bid in 2008....(full article)

(Media Lens Cogitation)
They Just Never Meant Very Much To Us
by David Edwards

In 1992 a group of neuroscientists traveled to India to research the effects of meditation. In the mountains above Dharamsala, the scientists spent time with a young monk who had been meditating intensively for six years. Richard Davidson, a psychobiologist from the University of Wisconsin, had done pioneering work correlating minute shifts in facial expression with emotions. He explained to the monk that he would be shown a video of Tibetan demonstrators being beaten by Chinese security forces. His face would simultaneously be videoed to record any reactions. Writer Alan Wallace described the result: “As the monk watched the video, we didn’t detect any change of expression in his face at all, no grimace, no shudder, no expression of sadness.” (Wallace, Buddhism With An Attitude, Snow Lion Publications, 2001, p.176) The monk was asked to describe his experience while watching the video. He replied: “I didn’t see anything that I didn’t already know goes on all the time, not only in Tibet but throughout the world. I am aware of this constantly.” It was not that the monk failed to experience compassion while watching these brutal scenes, Wallace explains: “He was aware that he was simply being shown a video -- patterns of light -- representing events that took place long ago. But this suffering was simply one episode in the overall suffering of samsara [existence], of which he was constantly aware. Hence, while looking out over the ocean of suffering, he didn't feel anything extraordinary when he was shown a picture of a glass of water”. (E-mail to author, July 15, 2005) This account came to mind when I saw the response to the July 7 terrorist atrocities in London. In the video experiment, the monk’s mind was so steeped in compassion that his expression did not change at all even when he saw images of his own people being brutalized. So what does it tell us that so many British people were so deeply shaken by the suffering of their fellow citizens? After all, have we not been reading and watching endless accounts and footage of near-identical horrors in Iraq and Palestine on mainstream and internet-based media over the last few years?
(full article)

Victory Over Bush’s Social Security Plan
by Seth Sandronsky

The PR blitz of the Bush White House on the taxpayers’ dime to “save” Social Security from running out of funds “is on life support,” according to a recent article in The Washington Post. Who put the president’s plan there? Many people from all backgrounds and walks of life with no name recognition. Alone they lack political power. Yet together they are powerful. Here is a story to tell and re-tell about the year’s political victory of the many over the few of the upper class in the world’s lone superpower....(full article)

Getting Americans to Spend Some Minutes on the Minutes
by Mark Drolette

I was heartened by the reaction a group of about fifty of us received the other day when, prior to attending a Downing Street Memo (DSM) House Party, we all stood at a busy Sacramento intersection for an hour or so displaying signs and banners emblazoned with messages about the leaked highly classified British government papers that prove the Bushies cooked the Iraq war books.  Honks of support a-sounded, and I personally had only one official bird sighting.  It was encouraging, but there’s obviously a very long way to go before the millions of Americans who are still unaware of the documents finally learn of their existence....(full article)

One American's Apology to the Nation of Japan
by Dennis Rahkonen

My dear daughter was born on March 10, 1983. As I think back on that day, I recall seeing her for the first time, all wrinkled and red. “Hello. I’m your Daddy. Welcome to this world.” Many happy birthdays followed, despite the heartbreaking realization in her second year that she was incurably hearing-impaired. It made for a hard childhood, considering the cruelty of other kids, and her understandable difficulty in learning. But she persevered, applying herself with such determination that she graduated high school with honors and went on to college where she’s been a regular on the Dean’s list. It was only recently that her birthday came to be associated in my mind with something else. Something unimaginably horrible, and the very antithesis of joy experienced over beautiful and precious life permitted to flourish....
(full article)

Electoral Reform Pays: For More Democracy, Let's Keep At It
by Ryan O'Donnell

Some claim a process of sweeping “modernization” is required to fix the structural problems plaguing our elections, something to bring us more in line with other successful Western democracies. While change must indeed come, however, it need not come like a tidal wave. The tools we need to better our democracy are already with us. What is needed is less a fundamental overhaul than steady, vigorous progress -- seeking changes on the local level and using these to build momentum. The following are two basic, commonsense improvements that can make our democracy more open, more inclusive, and ultimately, more fair....(full article)

July 25

Two Conservative Housewives Exchange Views on Winning the Global War on Terror Through Sound Economic Policy and Bible-Based Prophecy
by Jolene Fystenbutt and Stella La Chance

Republican strongman and future presidential candidate Tom Tancredo proposed bombing Mecca if the Islamofascist Suicide Terror Monkeys get any funny ideas about nuking American Holy Sites like Dollywood or Disneyland. America's number one “Security Mom,” Mrs. Jolene Fystenbutt, believes that the House Representative's proposal is a tad bit extreme, but she welcomes the debate as an opportunity to put forward her own vision of prosperity for the billions of wrongheaded people who hate our freedoms almost as much as their own funny looking children. Below is an exclusive interview with Mrs. Fystenbutt and her dear friend Mrs. Stella La Chance, the lovely wife of her pastor Fred....(full article)

John Roberts and the National Security State
by Mike Whitney

John Roberts is the perfect stealth candidate for the Supreme Court. Scrubbed and square-jawed, he should be able to muscle his way through the Senate proceedings without breaking a sweat. The Democratic leadership has already rolled over, so there’s little doubt that the neocons’ favorite Trojan Horse will soon be taking his place next to the Brothers Grimm, Scalia and Thomas, when the court resumes a few months from today. You have to hand it to the Republicans, they know how to rule with a sledge hammer. They come to Washington with bared teeth and don’t mind breaking glass or overturning the political ox cart if it moves the ball further down the field. The Democrats are simply no match; Lieberman, Dodd, Clinton and the insufferable blowhard Joe Biden, a coterie of puffy-chested backslappers who invariably capitulate on every matter of principle. Bill Frist would be doing us all a great favor if he ran a skip-loader through the Democrats front office and dumped the lot of them in the D.C. landfill....(full article)

Focus on the Father
Part One: Dog Whistle

by Patricia Goldsmith

The continuing intense polarization of our country is a direct result of the dominant Republican Party’s refusal to fragment, even in the face of massive corruption, ongoing scandals, and George Bush’s free fall in the polls. This unity is made possible, no doubt, by corporate ownership of the media, but it is driven by a wartime mindset -- and I don’t mean Iraq. As far as most liberals are concerned, however, the Culture War is like a high-pitched dog whistle: outside their range of perception. But you better believe the attack dogs of the right hear it. There is a reason they all start howling at the same time....(full article)

American Revolution, Now!
Eliminate the One Party System with Two Faces
by John Stanton

In the American system of life, the dollar value of an individual, of a group of people is what matters. It's easily calculated. "People are fungible," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It's all about the return-on-investment, the metrics and the data whether you are a military or civilian American. You're just another number. In this system, platitudes like "freedom is not free," "military service is the highest calling," "freedom to buy and sell," are little more than the equivalent of a cosmetic makeup base designed to disguise the hard face of reality that Americans are taught and encouraged to ignore. For example, it costs roughly $30,000 to train a regular US soldier and, perhaps, $40,000 to train a special operations soldier or military academy graduate. Multiply those figures by approximately 2,000 US KIA, and 16,000 US maimed in action or non-operative and returned stateside. Do the math. Using the $30,000 figure and 2,000 US dead equals $60,000,000. Taking the 16,000 maimed and multiplying by $30,000 equals $480,000,000. So those American lives -- men and women -- mostly youngsters, were worth $540 million dollars (have the insurgents spent this much?). What kind of people can tolerate being fungible, can live with the lies of their "leaders", and be happy being a number in a balance sheet?  These calculations take place every day in every organization large and small. It all makes a mockery of the mythical American way of life. Of course, it's not a way of life, it's a cold, calculating system. Will people ever confront the silent horror that is the American system of life? (full article)

“Guilty Until Proven Innocent”
An Interview with Dr. Walter M. Brasch
by Mickey Z.

Journalism professor, columnist and author Walt Brasch began writing his essential new book, America’s Unpatriotic Acts, just as Congress was debating the need to preserve the USA PATRIOT Act. “By exposure of what the federal government has done to our Constitutional rights during the past four years,” he explains, “I hope the people will fully understand that the claims by the Administration are for the most part not innocent inaccuracies, but blatant lies.” Mickey Z. recently interviewed Dr. Brasch....(full interview)

The Yuan of a New Day?: Classes and Currencies
by Seth Sandronsky

I read in the morning paper about the People’s Bank of China’s decision to end its tie of the yuan, the Chinese currency, to the U.S. dollar. The article mentioned the old and new value of the yuan per dollar. This move, I read, will make exports from China to the U.S. more costly. Meanwhile, U.S. exports will become less costly. The new price of the yuan could make the jobs of U.S. manufacturing workers more secure, the article noted. Moreover, the rising U.S. trade deficit, the nation’s excess of imports over exports, may be corrected with the newly priced yuan. Perhaps  the U.S. reliance on foreign lenders that include China’s central bank to finance that deficit would fall. Crucially, the millions of human beings who labor to make the goods that are bought and sold in China and the US. were faceless and nameless....(full article)

BS from the BLS
by Sheila Velazquez

Overseas production guarantees that manufacturers and stockholders and everyone in the pipeline see greater profits. But do the Americans who have lost those jobs benefit from the lower costs of imported goods that we buy every day? In shopping for fabric, I discovered that American-made and Chinese- and Indian-made fabrics were the exact same price per yard. And that price was a third higher than a year ago. Can the North Carolina worker who lost her textile job afford to buy the fabric now produced in other lands? When I need plastic containers, I always buy Sterilite because the company produces its high-quality line in Massachusetts. And the prices are as good or better than some imports. So the question is, does the American consumer gain anything at all from the emigration of U.S. jobs? (full article)

Plame Games Expose WMD “Intelligence Failure” Scam
by Ahmed Amr

The neo-con smear campaign against the Wilsons was standard operating procedures. Still smug from what then appeared to be a cakewalk in Iraq -- the neo-con brigades and their media collaborators had already unceremoniously taken out Hans Blix, Eric Shensenki and a host of others who had cast doubt on the wisdom of their follies. Wilson was only an ex-ambassador and should have been an easy mark. His five minutes of fame were up. Unfortunately for the neo-cons, Wilson again refused to play by their rules. Instead, he again went public and pointed the finger at Karl Rove -- accusing him and the administration of mounting a smear campaign and violating national security laws in the process. This Joseph Wilson character is a piece of work -- a one-man demolition squad tearing down the neo-con temples of power with one blow after another. Maybe if they hadn’t messed with his vulnerable AK-47 wielding wife, he might have gone a little easier on the bastards. Two years on, he is still standing tall and doesn’t appear to give a damn about the incessant smear campaign against his character and his credibility....(full article)

Unicorn Hunting in Nicaragua: Ignoring US Intervention
by toni solo

In a recent article on Nicaragua, Frank J. Kendrick of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), an American NGO, managed to write extensively on the country without mentioning two crucial issues facing the country right now. Curiously, Kendrick's analysis of Nicaragua omitted the continuing sinister US government intervention in Nicaragua's internal politics as well as vitally important arguments about the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Political battle lines in Nicaragua are now being drawn for a presidential election that is still more than a year away in November 2006....(full article)

Executive Blackmail: The Betrayal of Democracy in Haiti
by Jack Random

In a city of desperate poverty -- without jobs, without electricity, without security, without drinkable water, without medical facilities, with little food and less hope -- several hundred well-armed soldiers in armored vehicles laid siege, blocking escape routes, and opened fire. Indiscriminate bullets found the bodies of men, women, children, infants and the elderly. This was not Fallujah. It was not Ramadi, Baghdad or some obscure community in the Anbar province of Iraq. It was Cite Soleil in Haiti where families frequently adorn the bodies of the dead with photographs of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In diplomatic and intellectual circles, there is a heated debate over whether Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. In Cite Soleil, that designation belongs to the United Nations for it was their soldiers, the Peace Keepers that carried out this horrendous deed....(full article)

Let's Be Blunt: Bush's Proxy is Spreading Social Darwinism
to the State Level

by Jason Miller

“Show-Me” the state of Missouri, and I will show you a microcosm of George Bush's domestic agenda for America. Under Governor Matt Blunt, Missouri is rapidly implementing laws reminiscent of the Gilded Age, when corporations ruled and the people were disposable cogs in their profit-making machines. Virtually each day I pick up the newspaper, Blunt has advanced this despicable agenda still further. Watching my former home state (and current neighboring state) become an ally to the American plutocracy in their bid to sweep away the remains of the progressive, humanitarian advances of the 20th Century leaves me deeply sickened and saddened....(full article)

Framing Abortion: Gonadal Politics and the Democrats
by Joshua Frank

How can anybody reasonably consider the Democrats the party of opposition? I mean, what exactly do they oppose? Far too many Dems in Washington are reading whatever dyslexic cue cards George Lakoff flashes in front of them. The one issue you'd think the Democrats would want to stand behind, as President Bush appoints a pro-lifer to the bench, is the right for a woman to get an abortion. But here we have commander in chair Howard Dean exclaiming that Democrats should drop their pro-choice shtick and do what they can to pull more pro-lifers into the fold....(full article)

Their Security and Ours: It’s a Set
by Michael K. Smith

The panic signals are out again, and familiar voices are declaring their conviction that “radical Islam” represents an unprecedented diabolical threat to the “civilized” West. Physical security in the face of suicide bombers is, admittedly, a serious problem. Unfortunately, however, it is not the central problem but a diversionary issue that obscures a much deeper reason for alarm. Our ultimate problem is not our leaders’ failure to protect us against terrorists but our inability or unwillingness to stop the terrorism they practice against people throughout the world. Until a solution for U.S. terrorism is found, we may or may not manage to topple additional “rogue states” and kill more Al Qaeda operatives, but we certainly won't solve the overarching problems of Zionism gone mad, imperialism running amok, and a political system utterly unresponsive to the people it claims to serve. In giving these long neglected topics some attention, it wouldn’t hurt to keep in mind that Islamic militants never did us any harm until Washington backed Jewish supremacy over Arab lands, imposed and harbored the fallen Shah, planted military bases near the holiest shrines of Islam, and murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians via bombing, economic sanctions, and occupation....(full article)

Hitler's Shadow and the Coming Storm
by John Chuckman

Despite many differences, there are striking parallels between Bush's invasion of Iraq and Hitler's invasion of Russia, and understanding these parallels serves to warn of the coming storm Bush is calling down upon all of us....
(full article)

John Bonifaz on the Downing Street Memo
by Carl Doerner

Each time I encounter constitutional attorney John Bonifaz I am more impressed with his grasp of contemporary political problems and historical analysis and with his ability to crisply articulate the issues before us. On Saturday afternoon he addressed 160 of us packed tightly into the meeting room of the Media Education Foundation in Northampton, MA. This was one of 350 such July 23 meetings throughout the country, marking the third anniversary of preparation of what is referred to in infrequent media accounts as the Downing Street Memo....(full article)

July 22

Remembering Herbert Marcuse by Doug Ireland. July 19 was the 107th birthday of the late social, political and cultural philosopher Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse's work, though unknown to most younger activists and university students today, inspired countless activists and thinkers from the '50s to the '70s to construct a new radical politics that rejected both capitalism and authoritarian communism. His writings and seminal ideas may indeed be more relevant today than ever before, and people concerned about the future in these agonizing times would do well to revisit Marcuse's work. Journalist Doug Ireland remembers this important figure, and provides many valuable links to web sites featuring Marcuse's writings as well as critical essays and audio/video clips about him.

* * *

America's Downing Syndrome, or Why the Not-So-Secret
Air War Stayed “Secret”

by Lila Rajiva

"Airpower remains the single greatest asymmetrical advantage the United States has over its foes." Exactly. To a government intent on creating the collective illusion of the Iraq war as a defensive campaign against a belligerent dictator, what would be likely to undermine that illusion than the image of a bullyboy in the skies pounding a rag tag, almost-disarmed enemy? That explains the official white out of the air war and the silence of the official media, but not the stunning indifference of the public. Bush lied us into war? It's a nice slogan but rather self-deceiving. It seems more honest to say that most people didn't resist too much when they were being tutored in official mythology and that some even turned out to be rather apt pupils. The media might have kept the story of the pre-war war off the screen but anyone with his wits about him could have put together the story from those telltale tidbits that popped up from time to time from an otherwise comatose press....(full article)

Washington Secures Long-Sought Hemispheric Outpost,
Perhaps at the Expense of Regional Sovereignty
by Mary Donohue and Melissa Nepomiachi

Paraguay and the United States recently entered into an agreement that allows U.S. military personnel to enter Paraguay to train officials in counter-terrorism and anti-narcotrafficking measures. According to the Head of Social Communication of the Paraguayan Armed Forces Col. Elio Flores, these U.S. Special Forces units will be working with the National AntiDrugs Secretariat, the Presidential Escort Regiment and the Air Transport Brigade. . . . This agreement grants U.S. soldiers complete legal immunity from some of their actions while they are in the country, affording them the same privileges as diplomats as well as leaving them free from prosecution for any damages inflicted on the public health, the environment or the country’s resources. According to Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ) Paraguay, the Paraguayan National Congress passed this resolution allowing for the entry of U.S. forces with no debate, behind closed doors and with the public largely unaware of the entire transaction. Joining with SERPAJ, other human rights groups also have voiced their concern, with U.S. military instructors being criticized by human rights activists for having a history of teaching torture tactics to thousands of Latin American mid-level military officers at the U.S.-based School of the Americas since shortly after World War II....(full article)

Support the Troops: Earn the Sacrifice
by Monica Benderman

The wife of a US National Guardsman wrote that if her husband were to have died during his tour of duty in Iraq, “I would be promoting all the good he did in this world and not downsizing it and belittling the efforts he and his comrades made.” (Shona Emery, NH Union Leader, July 15). My husband DID NOT ENLIST TO DEFEND HIS COUNTRY SO THAT ORDINARY CITIZENS COULD REMAIN FREE TO ABUSE THE SYSTEM. “All the good he did in this world” has not stopped war from happening. “All the good he did in this world” has not stopped the citizens of this country from misinterpreting the sacrifice of people like her husband. Sure, soldiers have given their lives to defend their country. Sure, there is honor in their belief that what they did was right, and there is hope that good will come out of it.  DOES THE GOOD COME? Seriously, think about it. Where are the results of our soldiers' good efforts? What are Americans doing to earn the freedoms and rights that our soldiers fought to defend? (full article)

Don't Canadians Care About Marriage?
by Ken Sanders

In what will certainly be viewed as a sign of the apocalypse, Canada became the fourth nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Sarcasm aside, the news that Canada has joined the ranks of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain by granting full legal rights to same-sex couples will most certainly raise the hackles of America's so-called moral majority. Canada's legalization of same-sex marriage will likely rally America's Christian soldiers to renew their call for a constitutional amendment to defend marriage against the onslaught of homosexuality. After all, as President Bush explained in his call for such an amendment, while America is a free society, the "commitment of freedom ... does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions." Actually, Mr. President, it does....(full article)

Element by Element Legal Analysis of The Intelligence Identities Protection Act and Why Karl Rove and Others Legitimately Face Prosecution Under It
by David G. Mills

In the last few weeks, the media and others have been questioning whether Karl Rove and others have committed a crime under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act  [IIPA], sometimes referred to as the “outing” statute. Many reporters and Republican partisan pundits claim that legal experts seem to agree that the IIPA has not been violated. The IIPA’s detractors claim that a case cannot be made for its violation because the proof required of the individual elements of the IIPA present a very high bar for the prosecution. Even Democratic partisans seem to concede that it is likely the IIPA has not been violated. This writer wonders why so many people seem to have summarily concluded the IIPA does not apply to what is (many would say finally) becoming a national scandal. Despite the national implications of the IIPA at this moment, there so far has been no diligent or thorough analysis by any legal scholar of the elements of this crime or of the application of the known facts to the elements of this crime. Most analyses to date have been cursory and faulty. When the elements of this federal crime are properly analyzed, the IIPA will likely become a very serious hammer for the prosecution. Rove and others and their lawyers better beware. The known facts of the case will be applied to each element of the IIPA, and show why Rove and others need to be genuinely concerned about having violated the IIPA....(full article)

Time to Outgrow Our Naiveté
by Ken Sanders

Pity those with the courage to speak the truth. Take London's mayor Ken Livingstone, for instance. Following the damnable terrorist bombings in his city, Livingstone opined that "80years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands" motivated the four suicide bombers. For his remarks, Livingstone (nicknamed "Red Ken" by his critics) was castigated by right-wingers for his alleged membership in the club, "The men who blame Britain." Livingstone is not alone in his sentiments. Chatham House, the prestigious British think tank, released a report this week entitled "Security, Terrorism and the UK." In the report, Chatham House warned that the UK "is at particular risk" for terrorist attacks because of its allegiance to the U.S. in the war on terror, including the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In response, British foreign secretary Jack Straw accused Chatham House of making "excuses for terrorism." Does Livingstone really "blame" Britain for the attacks against it? Is Chatham House really concocting "excuses" for terrorism? (full article)

General Westmoreland's Death Wish and the War in Iraq
by Norman Solomon

After he died on Monday, front pages focused on the failures of William Westmoreland as commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Overall, the coverage faulted him for being a big loser, not a mass killer....(full article)

Peace Groups Confront CA National Guard for Spying on Activists
by Dan Bacher

Northern California peace organizations recently confronted Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Hart at the California National Guard headquarters in Sacramento in response to alarming revelations that the Guard illegally spied upon three anti-war groups at the State Capitol during a demonstration on Mother's Day. In a feature in the San Jose Mercury News on July 3, the Guard confessed -- confirmed by Guard upper echelon e-mails -- that it had tracked at least one anti-war rally held on Mother's Day at the State Capitol that included Gold Star Families for Peace, Raging Grannies and Code Pink. In those e-mails, the Guard said its “folks” continued to “monitor” the rally, including parents of American soldiers killed in Iraq. Over 30 members of the three peace organizations and others, after holding a protest in front of the Guard’s office, tried to talk to the Guard Commander, but were stopped at the front door by armed guards with their guns drawn. That’s when the activists and reporters confronted Hart, the Guard’s public affairs representative, who met them and reporters at the front door....(full article)

Politics and the Playing Field: An Interview with Dave Zirin
by Mickey Z.

It's fashionable on the Left to look down one's nose at the world of sports. To do so, according to Dave Zirin, would be to miss a chance at both inspiration and solidarity. Zirin's new book, What's My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States creates a much-needed bridge between the political and the playing field. I interviewed my fellow sports fan/subversive via e-mail....(full interview)

by Adam Engel

New poem by Adam Engel, inspired by that "eminent domain" nightmare in which the Supreme Court "Liberals" voted to allow cities to invoke "eminent domian" to steal private homes for private/corporate use and abuse....
(full poem)

July 21

Guantanamo: the Calculus of Human Misery 
by Mike Whitney

[Editor's Note: As this article goes to press, Pentagon officials today confirmed that 52 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have gone on a hunger strike to protest their continued imprisonment and mistreatment. The Pentagon's statement stands in contrast to accounts by two Afghan prisoners, released earlier this week, that claim more than 180 Afghan prisoners are on a hunger strike. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, lawyers representing the prisoners say the hunger strikes reflect the prisoners' peaceful demand to be treated as human beings: “The vast majority of prisoners live in appalling conditions… and every prisoner is suffering from the effects of indefinite detention without legal process.”]

A recent article in The New York Times confirmed that psychiatrists, psychologists and other medical professionals worked intimately with the military at Guantanamo advising “officials on how to conduct harsh interrogations of detainees.” Their experimentation focuses on establishing the limits of human endurance; trying to gauge, through original and highly controversial techniques, the maximum agony their subjects can withstand before they die or become unresponsive. This is not merely torture, but the science of sadism, a finely tuned regimen of systematic abuse, the calculus of human misery. It has become a vital adjunct to the new American foreign policy....(full article)

The Record of Judge John Roberts
by Gene C. Gerard

President Bush has nominated Judge John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1979, Mr. Roberts was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. He went on to serve in the Reagan administration as an assistant to Attorney General Smith and as an associate White House legal counsel. He also served as deputy solicitor general in the administration of Mr. Bush’s father. He was in private practice until 2003 when he was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Many people hoped that Mr. Bush would appoint a moderate Republican in the mold of Justice O’Connor. Unfortunately, Judge Roberts is a solid conservative. While his legal record will be reviewed intently over the course of the next few months, his role in the following cases will likely take center stage....(full article)

Turkey Supreme
by Lila Rajiva

Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court is a slap in the face of women. Out of nine justices, there were only two women to begin with -- Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That is to say, until last week, only a bit more than 20% of the most intellectually weighty branch of government was drawn from the 52% of the population that is female. And if Roberts gets in, the female contribution falls to just over 10%. OK, so the justices are not supposed to be representative; the executive gets to appoint the most qualified candidates, letting the chips fall where they may. It just so happens that the chips fell on eight white justices and one black. And that all except one graduated from Ivy League law schools. And that none are progressive, but come out of the center-right and the far right. So let's not suggest that the Supremes aren't a representative body. They represent one part of the population pretty well: male, white, and middle or upper class....(full article)

Did Greenspan Know About the London Bombings Two Days Before?
by Mike Whitney

Two days before the London subway bombings, Fed Master Alan Greenspan flushed nearly $40 billion in liquidity into financial markets. The sudden activity was an astonishing departure from the current policy of tightening interest rates to stifle inflation. The Chairman has not explained his erratic behavior, but there’s growing speculation that Greenspan may have had information about the likelihood of terrorist attacks and decided to “preemptively” head off a run on the markets. As it turns out, his actions may have been a positive factor in stabilizing the market following the incident, (check out “Following the Money” by The Cunning Realist for more on the Fed’s unusual action) but that doesn’t address the larger issue of whether Greenspan had inside information that an attack was imminent....(full article)

July 20

A Viler Barbarism
by Tariq Ali

On 8 July I wrote that the London bombings were the result of Blair's participation in the Iraq war. The next day the entire media was united in refusing to accept there was any link. They loyally echoed the Government. Blair said there was no link and tried to prove it by arguing that "President Putin opposed the war in Iraq but his country has been subjected to terrorism." He must have thought that British citizens had never heard of Chechnya (Blair had supported Putin's offensive against the Chechens and applauded Russia). But why did these attacks happen? That is the key question which the entire media and the entire political class in this country tried to ignore. They did so because the government and the main opposition party know perfectly well why it happened. They have a guilty conscience. To accept the link meant that the pro-war politicians and newspaper editors were, at the very least, partially responsible....(full article)

Making Sense of Terrorism
by Kim Petersen

A US diplomat mused over the surrender of the organs of the US government to the Pentagon. The official arrived at a rationalization: “I just wake up in the morning and tell myself, ‘There’s been a military coup,’ and then it all makes sense.” Sensible or not, people exposed to the lethality of US empire are dying with no near end in sight and there has been no let up in the Iraqi resistance or, as the London bombings indicate, the war on terror. Why it happened does not require anything beyond Stegosaurian cognition. As one Iraqi doctor related, “The U.S. induces aggression. If you don’t attack me, I will never attack you. The U.S. is stimulating the aggression of the Iraqi people!” UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has correctly identified an “extreme and evil ideology” lying at the root of the terror. Where the mendacious Blair erred is exclusively ascribing a “poisonous misinterpretation of the religion of Islam” as being the root cause of the terror. The root cause is rather the insidious ideology of capitalism that spawns imperialism, exploitation, and usurpation of wealth by a few people....(full article)

Blame the Democrats & Move On: The Federalist Court
by Jack Random

Judge John G. Roberts of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has been nominated to replace Sandra Day O’Conner as the pivotal member of the Supreme Court. Who is John Roberts? By all accounts, he is a very conservative and brilliant lawyer who will rise to a position of elite power at the age of 50. Most importantly, he is a favored son of the Federalist Society and he will be confirmed....(full article)

Too Close for Comfort: El Salvador Ratchets Up its US Ties
by Kathryn Tarker

With all of the hullabaloo focused on CAFTA, Washington is moving ahead with a new police training facility in a troubled Central American country. As U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice astonishes the world by repeatedly describing El Salvador as a “democracy,” she announced at this year’s Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale (June 5–7) that plans are underway to develop an International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in El Salvador. The school would yearly enroll as many as 1,500 students from various hemispheric countries. Negotiations for the ILEA come during a period when cooperation among Central American nations on matters of national and international security is already at an all time high. The Salvadoran Ombudsperson for Human Rights, Dr. Beatrice de Carrillo, and the Popular Social Block (BPS), a group led by a Lutheran pastor in El Salvador, are at the head of protests against the launching of the controversial U.S. facility as well as the overall expansion of U.S. influence in the country. Today, El Salvador is the consummate Central American Banana Republic....(full article)

Nicaragua: A Three-Way Political Battleground
by Frank J. Kendrick

In February, a new political group was formed in Managua called the Movement for Nicaragua. Some 500 irate citizens, calling themselves non-partisan, rallied under the banner “Tomorrow is too late,” and called upon the people to “rescue” their country that had been “hijacked” by the country’s leftist and rightist party bosses (“Caudillos”) former President Daniel Ortega, of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), and former President Arnoldo Aleman, of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC)....(full article)

Culture of Death
by Peter Kurth

Now that a jury of what I can only imagine to be his peers -- a jury composed of fine, upstanding Vermonters -- has sentenced convicted murderer Donald Fell to death for the 2000 slaying of “North Clarendon grandmother Terry King,” I think it’s time to take a closer look at this “culture of life” everyone keeps talking about. By “everyone,” I mean the righteous, the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” people. Mainly, these are “fundamentalist” Christians, who believe -- no matter which “testament” it comes from and no matter when, where or by whom the texts were translated -- that the published Bible is the "literal" word of God. You can’t argue with people like that and I don’t see why anyone would try. It is their job not to think. They most certainly should never be allowed on juries....
(full article)

A Muslim Problem
by M. Shahid Alam

It appears that Mr. Thomas Friedman has a Muslim problem. He has a great deal of trouble thinking straight when writing about Muslims; and, as The New York Times’ resident expert on Islam, he displays this malaise frequently, often twice a week. In the wake of the recent bombings in London -- as atrocious as bombings get anywhere -- Mr. Friedman sums up his thoughts on this terrible tragedy in the title of his column of July 8, 2005, “If it’s a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution.” The conditional ‘If’ is merely a distraction. I could say that it is a deceptive ploy, but I will be more charitable. It is perhaps the last gasp of Mr. Friedman’s conscience, mortified by his own mendacity....(full article)

Fire Sulzberger and Judith Miller for WMD Hoax (article link has been fixed)
by Ahmed Amr

Now that the Michael Jackson trial is over, a horde of mass media analysts have a little spare time to pour over every last detail of the Plame scandal. Yet, a little scrutiny reveals that these are the same media lads that played a critical role in marketing the WMD hoax. Their new game plan is to drown the public in an ocean of tangential details instead of concentrating on Wilson’s alarming contention that “intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.” They want the whole affair to become a replay of the ‘stain on the dress’ to avoid dealing with the ‘stain on the press.’....(full article)

The Plame Blame Game: More on the Who Said
What When, and to Whom Investigation
by Joshua Frank

Karl Rove could be in a lot of trouble if what journalist Murray Waas has written is true. In a web exclusive for the American Prospect, Waas contends "Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove's first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter…. The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said." f this revelation is in fact correct, Rove could be indicted under 18 U.S.C. 1001 for obstruction of justice -- or what us laypeople have aptly coined the "Martha Stewart Crime." Indeed, if Waas's sources are accurate, the Bush administration could be in a world of hurt -- for Rove wouldn't even have to be the actual leaker to be indicted. Fact is, he wouldn't have to have done anything more than what he is already claiming he did....(full article)

The Battle for the West Bank and East Jerusalem
by Am Johal

As the Gaza withdrawal unfolds in the next few months and much is made of Israel's decision to move unilaterally, the specter of real peace is nowhere on the horizon. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's successful bullying of the legislative agenda and appeasement of the settlement lobby has been carried through from the beginning as a fait accompli. Sharon has been a master at buying time from the US in order to implement an aggressive settlement policy in East Jerusalem and the West Bank....(full article)

An Attempt to Save the Country Falls, Oh, a Hair Short
by Mark Drolette

As Freud once said, “Sometimes an idea is just an idea.”  (That would be Fred Freud, my neighbor.) My plan to inspire one million pissed-off Americans (the “madder’n hells”) to descend upon the U.S. Capitol on September 26, demand Congress hold hearings on the Downing Street Memos (DSM), and then attend said hearings while re-swarming the building daily, has met an early demise. ‘Tis sad, but true: the madder’n hells are deader’n hell....
(full article)


July 18

Another Casualty in Rumsfeld’s Information War
by Mike Whitney

Another chapter was added to Donald Rumsfeld’s booklet of “Information warfare” on Saturday when blogger Khalid Jarrar was picked up by Iraqi Secret Service (Mukhabarat) agents and taken to an undisclosed location. Jarrar has not been formally charged with a crime, but he is author of a popular blog, Tell Me a Secret, that provides valuable information to people outside of Iraq who are curious to know the real details of the ongoing crisis....(full article)

Uncle Sam Wants You: The Identity Stripping of American Citizens
by Walter Brasch

The Army National Guard, faced by extended tours of duty in Iraq, didn’t meet its recruitment quota. So in 2004, it began a multimillion-dollar direct mail advertising campaign. One of those targeted was Petra Gass, a resident of rural northeastern Pennsylvania, who received a full-color 12-inch by 17-inch tri-fold telling her in bold capitals that she could be “the most important weapon in the war on terrorism.” Gass says she doesn’t know how she got onto the database that generated her name. She does know she has no plans to join the Guard. Petra Gass is a 50-year-old German citizen. A little known provision of the No Child Left Behind Act, signed by President Bush in 2001, requires all public high schools to provide to the Department of Defense the names, ages, phone numbers, and addresses of all males. The government has the data for about 4.5 million high school students. Few parents are aware the data is routinely provided to the government; even fewer are aware they have the right to “opt-out” by signing a form that prohibits the school district from sending personal information to the Department of Defense....(full article)

Sidney Blumenthal vs. Norman Solomon on Karl Rove,
the Democrats and Iraq
by Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!

Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton, takes on Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death on Iraq, the Democrats, the invasion of Iraq and much more....
(full article)

Cui Bono
by Patricia Goldsmith

Tony Blair has the virtue of consistency -- in public, anyway. Immediately following the recent terrorist atrocities in London, he did not hesitate to claim, “It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values . . . When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed....” [emphasis mine] Blair sharpened the point when questioned in the House of Commons on July 12, saying, “It is a form of terrorism aimed at our way of life, not at any particular government or policy.” This is in direct contradiction, however, to the conclusions in a leaked British government report titled “Young Muslims and Extremism,” which appeared last weekend in the Sunday Times of London. Like the Downing Street memos, this leaked document is very much at odds with the Blair government’s public pronouncements. The Times’ front-page story included the following highly pertinent comments....(full article)

Temp Workers Are U.S.: New Frontiers in Labor Flexibility
by Seth Sandronsky

The U.S. employment services sector is projected to have a 4.4 percent average annual rate of growth through 2012, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics. People who toil in that sector are usually called temporary workers. Against that backdrop, economic recovery means many things. One thing can be more hiring opportunities for temporary employees in the U.S. In the current phase of the business cycle, American employers are increasing their hiring of temporary workers, slowly. The demand for such employment had dropped in the recession of 2001 that followed the stock market slide. For employers, the basic virtue of temporary employees is their flexibility. What makes them this way is the shaky nature of their employment. Are we talking labor union representation here? (full article)

July 16-17

Rove May Have Lied to Feds in Oct. 2003 Testimony, Report Says
by Jason Leopold

Looks like Karl Rove did break the law, the same federal law that got Martha Stewart sentenced to six months in prison. It now appears that Rove, President Bush's chief of staff, may have lied to the FBI in October 2003 -- a federal crime -- when he was questioned by federal agents investigating who was responsible for leaking information about a covert CIA operative to the media. During questioning by the FBI about his role in the Plame affair, Rove told federal agents that he only started sharing information about Plame with reporters and White House officials for the first time after conservative columnist Robert Novak identified her covert CIA status in his column on July 14, 2003, according to a report in the American Prospect about Rove's testimony in March 2004. But Rove wasn't truthful with the FBI what with the recent disclosure of Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper's e-mails, which reveal Rove as the source for Cooper's own July 2003 story identifying Plame as a CIA operative, and show that Rove spoke to Cooper nearly a week before Novak's column was published and, according to previously published news reports, spoke to a half-dozen other reporters about Plame as early as June 2003....(full article)

Is Sulzberger Hiding Judith Miller in Jail?
by Ahmed Amr

So, who would know more about Valerie Plame? Karl Rove or Judith Miller and her neo-con pals at the Office of Special Plans? Did Rove leak on Miller or did Miller leak on Rove? Why would a hatchet man and a publicist like Rove be privy to the identity of an undercover Pentagon agent? Rove is a prankster and a world-class expert in orchestrating smear campaigns. But Miller is The New York Times expert on WMDs who spent years sleeping with the OSP and Ahmed Chalabi. The OSP actually used to cite Miller’s articles as reliable sources of information on Iraq’s weapons programs. She was, after all, the expert who authored Germs -- a bible whose passages were regularly cited as gospel truth by the neo-con War Party....(full article)

Genesis of an American Gestapo
by Mike Whitney

Tyranny has very few indispensable parts: a compliant media that will regulate information to meet the goals of the state; a “rubber-stamp” Parliament that will endorse the policies of the supreme leader; a judiciary that will adjust the law to serve the requirements of the ruling body, a strong military to seize the wealth of weaker nations; and a security apparatus, that will eliminate any domestic threats to the system. On June 29 President Bush took the great leap forward in transforming the nation’s intelligence services by ordering a restructuring of the FBI and putting “a broad swath of the agency” under the direct control of the executive. Bingo -- Bush’s personal secret police: an American Gestapo....(full article)

Abuse, What Abuse?
by William Fisher

The U.S. Army general widely considered the “architect” of abusive prisoner interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and in Afghanistan used “creative” and “aggressive” tactics, but did not practice torture or violate law or Pentagon policy. Despite the recommendations of military investigators, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey C. Miller will not be reprimanded -- thus bringing to a close what could be the last of 15 separate investigations into detainee abuse....(full article)

Muting the Muslims
by Joshua Frank

First it was folk singer Yusuf Islam, better known as Cat Stevens, who was denied entry into the United States, and now we have internationally renowned British Muslim scholar Dr. Zaki Badawi, who this week was also denied entry and sent back to the UK. Popular Muslims aren't popular in America. Badawi is the head of the Muslim College in London and is the former imam of London's most famous mosque, Regent's Park Mosque. On July 14, Badawi flew to New York City to give a talk at the prestigious Chautauqua Institute. Unfortunately he never made it to his lecture, as he was stuck in a small room and forced to answer the secret service's invasive questions for six long hours, only to be put on a plane and flown back to the UK....(full article)

July 14

Medicating The Dead
by Phil Rockstroh

To a self-inflicted, by way of alcohol and cocaine, head-wound case such as George W. Bush, the ascendancy of pharmaceutical fascism must seem an inspired idea. Bush, who spent a large percent of his life sloshing though rivers of booze and hiding out in mountains of South American powder (and who is, at present, in all likelihood being secretly propped up with powerful psychoactive meds) is the perfect corporate icon for our nation of highly medicated sleepwalkers. But Christ on a crack pipe, how long do we Americans believe we can go on like this, benumbed to the point of stupefaction, waddling about, cooing at all the shiny consumer goods, here, in our infantilized, corporate dystopia -- The United States of Teletubbies (a demented, collective fantasy that resembles what baby Adolph Hitler's dreams must have looked like when he was given opium-based medication for colic) -- before the high gets totally harshed? (full article)

by Patricia Goldsmith

Many of us continue to behave as if popularity polls and public outrage matter. As if, when enough of us get tired of the Bushitters, they will lose their power. As if we can simply vote them out of office. I think we’re seeing signs that a magic tipping point is indeed being reached -- but it’s not the one we might wish for. I also believe that the almost superhuman feat of denial being performed by the American people on the level of mass consciousness comes from an instinctive understanding that it is better to be brainwashed than . . . well, they’d rather not know what....(full article)

The Dead Children’s Society
by Lucinda Marshall

The global pandemic of abusive behavior towards children is the human species’ ultimate form of self-sabotaging behavior. Execrable as they are, out of sheer psychic necessity we avoid adding up the individual bits and pieces and totaling the damages; quite simply, we can no longer process all the horror that we are confronted with. But this isn't about one or two instances that we can pawn off as an aberration, it’s not just about Boy Scout leaders accused of child pornography or clergy accused of sodomy. We are talking about human rights abuses on a grand scale, abuses that add up to some sort of hideous endgame where if we can't pollute, poison, nuke or bomb ourselves to death, then we go to Plan B and make damned sure that the next generation doesn't stand a chance of survival....(full article)

Beyond Guilt and Innocence
by Susan Van Haitsma

In the wake of the London bombings, reporters and commentators have referred to the deaths of innocents and have speculated about unstated motives of the unknown perpetrators.  Reading these commentaries, I wonder who is guilty, who is innocent, and whether it is helpful to discuss the bombings using these dichotomies....(full article)

Bush’s Orgy of Carnage
by Mike Whitney

America has never been involved in a war more clearly immoral than Iraq. From the phony pretext of weapons of mass destruction to the sadistic treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the conflict has been a nauseating chronicle of butchery and deception. Now, the victims of that massive crime are striking back in London and Madrid while the Bush press-corps regurgitates the same stale theories about radicals and Islam. What baloney. Baghdad has morphed into an assembly line for extremists churning out enough fanatics for 1,000 London-type bombings. This is Bush’s work, and Blair’s. The people who were killed in the London subway died for the crimes of their government, not because some young Muslim studied under a fiery cleric in South Leeds. The carnage is as much Bush and Blair’s responsibility as if they had carried the bombs on the subway and detonated them themselves....(full article)

Lest We Forget: These Were “Blair’s Bombs”
by John Pilger

Adapting his current New Statesman column on the G8 circus and Iraq, John Pilger writes that no one should doubt the atrocious inhumanity of those who planted the bombs that have caused such death and mayhem in London, and no one should doubt that this outrage, entirely predictable, has been coming since Blair and Bush invaded Iraq, and that Blair "ought not to be allowed to evade culpability with yet another unctuous speech about other people's violence". He was warned this would happen yet he went ahead with an invasion based on deceiving the British people....(full article)

The Anti-Empire Report
More Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends
by William Blum

William Blum on the London bombings, the G-8 and Live 8 circus, withdawal from Iraq, more US air strikes in Afghanistan, the uselessness of mainstream economists, and the Guantanamo tropical resort for enemy combatants....
(full article)

Commending Karl Rove
by Joshua Frank

So it looks as if Karl Rove actually did it. President Bush's top strategist purportedly leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the press in an attempt to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had criticized the Bush Administration's faulty claim that Saddam Hussein was going nuclear. The latest revelation that Karl Rove served as Matt Cooper's inside guy thrills many liberals in Washington. Senator John Kerry and Hilary Clinton, along with several other top Democrats, have all called on Bush to fire Rove for threatening our national security by outing a CIA operative. David Corn declared in The Nation that Rove acted "in a reckless and cavalier fashion, ignoring national security interests to score a political point against a policy foe." The White House press corps is also up in arms over Press Secretary Scott McClellan's blatant lies, as he assures them repeatedly that the leak did not originate within the White House. It's all a bunch of liberal hoopla, however....(full article)

Monkeys are Preferable as Ancestors Over the Bible’s God Anytime!
by Lee Salisbury

Fundamentalism is in denial over their God’s immorality. Have you ever heard a fundamentalist preacher carrying on about the devastating effects of teaching evolution? They say, “If people believe evolution is true then humans will behave like monkeys . . . there will be no right or wrong and immorality will run rampant.” Such preaching provokes me to ask: why is teaching that humans are created in the image of the Bible’s God more beneficial than teaching that monkeys might in some way be distantly related to humans? Comparing the Bible’s God with monkeys should not be too difficult....(full article)

Christian Pity Party
by Ken Sanders

Listening to them tell it, one would think Christians in America are the most ostracized and oppressed group of people in the country. According to them, they are the constant object of ridicule and persecution, demonized by liberal media, hated nationwide. Christians claim they are denied equal rights and protections under the Constitution and complain that gays, liberals, and lawyers are conspiring to eradicate Christianity from American government and culture....(full article)

William Greene's Angry and Mobile Rapid Response Machine
by Bill Berkowitz

Shortly after the Senate reached its "compromise" -- avoiding a Republican-imposed "nuclear option" to end Democratic filibustering -- William Greene was angry, yet again. The right wing founder of called on its "base of over one million conservative activists to take action against the Senate 'compromisers' who cut a bad deal." When Terry Schiavo's parents needed fundraising firepower to keep their daughter's case afloat, they called on Greene. He is currently defending the embattled and ethically challenged House Majority Leader, Rep. Tom DeLay, as well as the beleaguered John Bolton, President Bush's nominee be the next US ambassador to the United Nations. Last December, Greene was out front defending Christmas from "attacks" by anti-Christians. Recently, Greene gave over his online e-Alert to a fundraising appeal from the right wing European Conservative Union. In 2002, Campaign & Elections magazine selected Greene as one of its "Rising Stars of Politics," the Washington Times has called him a "conservative Internet guru," and "Who's Who in America" recognized him in 2003 and 2004....(full article)

Water on the Brain
by Mickey Z.

Walk down most streets on Manhattan's Upper East Side on a weekday morning and you'll find yourself dodging the watery spray kicked up by dozens of hose-wielding doormen cleansing the pavement for the daily parade of designer shoes and custom running sneakers. "Sixty-three hundred people in the world die every day from lack of water," says Regina Birchem. She's president of the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom Congress...but I don't know if her building has a doorman. Your typical human being is 66 percent water and could survive roughly a month without food...but only a week without water. The 2004 UNICEF report on the State of the World's Children found that one in seven of the world's children had no access to safe water. It's not a shortage...there is the same amount of water on Earth today as there was 3 billion years ago....(full article)

Parental Consent -- TeenScheme Sets The Record Wrong
by Evelyn J. Pringle

On July 6, 2005, TeenSceen's Web Site posted the following statement: "Recently, TeenScreen has seen growing amounts of inaccurate, intentionally deceptive misinformation about mental health screening and the TeenScreen Program proliferating primarily through one or two individuals on the Internet. Some of this inaccurate information has been posted on other websites." In its own defense, TeenScheme addressed several points. In this article, I will limit my remarks to their responses to whether they endorse Bush's plan to screen all school kids and whether they actually do seek parental consent before screening children....(full article)

A Worldwide Call to Free Akbar Ganji
by Reza Fiyouzat

Iran’s most prominent and internationally known political prisoner and dissident journalist, Akbar Ganji, has as of July 14, 2005 entered his 34th day of a hunger strike to protest the conditions of his unjust imprisonment. His wife, Massoumeh Shafeih, is the last person to have visited him (on Monday, July 11, 2005), and reports him being in critical condition, having lost 50 pounds of his body weight. Mr. Ganji suffers from asthma, and only one of the reasons for his hunger strike is the lack of attention paid by the prison authorities to address his health problems. Mr. Ganji was originally imprisoned in 2001 for writing articles documenting the serial political assassinations of prominent writers and intellectuals in the 1990s, linking those assassinations to high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic regime, implicating Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former two-term president from 1989 to 1997....(full article)

The Enemy of Our Enemy May Still Be the Enemy of Democracy
by Paul Rogat Loeb

As right-wing religious leaders attack Alberto Gonzales for being insufficiently doctrinaire, it's tempting to accept him as the best we can get for the Supreme Court. In a recent HuffingtonPost blog, Rob McKay suggested we mute our opposition voices precisely because a Gonzales nomination would divide the political right and fracture their coalition. But accepting someone with the track record and values of Gonzales would be a grievous mistake. We're in our current mess in large part because our culture has been unable to confront the profoundly destructive consequences of the choices made by our leaders. To equivocate about Gonzales's role in these choices is to accept a culture of lies....(full article)

Gay Marriage Critics Are Misguided
by Gene C. Gerard

One of the strongest criticisms of gay marriage is that it threatens the institution of marriage itself. James Dobson, the founder and leader of the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family, wrote a book devoted to this argument entitled Marriage Under Fire. In the book, Mr. Dobson warned, “...when the State sanctions homosexual relationships and gives them its blessing, the younger generation…quickly loses its understanding of lifelong commitments.” Rather than merely obtaining the same rights that heterosexual married couples enjoy, Mr. Dobson advised, “marriage between homosexuals will destroy traditional marriage [because] this is the ultimate goal of activists.”....(full article)

Are We Choosing Failure? A Review of Jared Diamond's Collapse
by Paul K. Haeder

What in Charles Darwin’s name do the people of the Turtle Island or those SUV-ing my neck of the woods, the Inland Northwest, have in common with the ancient Mayans and their pyramids, the folk of Easter Island and their massive carved heads, and the Vikings of Greenland who lived their 500 years until their 1410 “disappearance?” According to Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond -- ornithologist, evolutionary biologist, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and professor of geography at the University of California in Los Angeles -- our modern society is plowing through resources and tipping the scales of economic and social justice to the point that environmental and social disasters are bound to be the 21st Century’s biggest woes....(full article)

July 11-12

Rove's Trove of Trouble (posted 7/12)
by Ken Sanders

In a turn of events worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy, Karl Rove is falling from the dizzying heights of untouchable omnipotence to the sordid depths of political scapegoat. Long regarded as Bush's political Svengali, Rove now finds himself in the cross-hairs of a legal and political manhunt for the White House official responsible for revealing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Having staunchly defended Rove in the past against his alleged involvement in the outing of Plame, the White House now finds itself in the untenable position of withholding comment in deference to the ongoing criminal investigation. No one, not even the press, is buying the White House's current policy of silence on Rove's involvement in the Plame affair. The skepticism arises out of the fact that, while the investigation was ongoing, the White House on repeated occasions summarily dismissed any question of Rove's involvement as "totally ridiculous." The White House's abrupt switch from dismissive boasting to contrite silence speaks volumes....(full article)

Plame Games Originated with Judith Miller (posted 7/12)
by Ahmed Amr

The pundits are slobbering all over their keyboards writing odes to Judith Miller -- currently in jail for refusing to identify confidential sources. Perhaps these editorial writers have yet to digest that the administration insiders in question are not “whistleblowers” out to expose a government scandal. In fact, these individuals are felons who committed a national security crime to punish one Joseph Wilson -- the first whistleblower to reveal that the intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq was fixed. All this fuss about the First Amendment and the public’s right to know is a smokescreen. The mainstream press has no real fear from outside censors -- if only because they do such a fine job of censorship without a need for government intervention. In fact, the seven or eight mass media conglomerates that dominate the collection and distribution of news often act like a media Gestapo that controls the exact dosage of information they set as our daily allowance. We should never lose sight of the fact that we live under a media controlled state -- a virtual Murdochracy where Rupert Murdoch combines forces with Arthur Sulzberger to start wars and cut estate taxes. They did more to quash anti-war dissent than the Bush administration could ever hope to do. Could the Bush administration have launched this invasion without the able assistance of the folks at CNN, FOX, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal? Fortunately, this remains a country of laws. And media moguls are not entitled to commit felonies at will -- even while engaged in warmongering journalism....(full article)

A Thank You Note To The Murderous Bastards
by Phil Rockstroh

Thank you, fellow murders. Before you made your return to us by way of the London Underground, our existence was beginning to get tiresomely complicated again. In the late summer of 2001, you bestowed us with a simple, easy to follow story line -- a tale so preposterous it even allowed a dullard, usurper prince to be perceived as a strutting warrior king. Hopefully, once again, animus will replace equivocation. The stagnant air will crackle with talk radio alarums. Dull avenues of will blaze with torch-lit processions. The War God will be restored to his former glory and he will rouse us from introspective gloom. Self-doubt will dissolve. The inequities of life will fall away; we will all be made equal in our shared and sacred enmity towards you, our beloved mutual enemy....(full article)

Are the Good Times Really Over For Good?
by Sheila Samples

Where are the Christians? Where is the revulsion at Bush roaming freely on hallowed ground while belching out lies and deceit that have caused the slaughter of 1,942 coalition troops -- 1,752 of them American -- more than 18,000 wounded or maimed; 10,000 stricken with lifelong disease? Where is the raw horror that Christians should feel for a charlatan who boasts that he is on a mission from God -- a mission to rule over a world of hate and lies and fear and death and disease? You'd think the souls of true Christians would surely shrivel when a man who claims Jesus Christ as his "philosopher" murders hundreds of thousands of innocents, abuses and tortures hundreds, maybe even thousands, more and then raises blood-stained fists -- shakes them in the face of the Almighty, and shouts, "Thou Fool!" You'd think, as a minimum, Christians would remember who in the Bible is known as the "Great Deceiver." You'd think. But alas...(full article)

Song of Colliding Worlds
by Chuck Richardson

Too many Americans accept the label of “consumer” without protest. The evolution from savage to citizen and now consumer has been seamless. Few have noticed, fewer still have any understanding of it… Is it possible for the human being in America to advance—in the political economic sense— beyond the role of citizen? Perhaps, but we must get there first before considering it. From here, it’s impossible to tell because extra-constitutional powers—corporations and the two party system (Republicans and Democrats)—are standing in the way. They see us as consumers, and we have a recent history of looking up to their bullshit. Both groups have acquired their political economic prominence through chicanery. To behave according to their standards is to aid and abet their criminal enterprises. Each of us, at some point, must face the dilemma of how to live decently in an indecent world. The responses to these crises are as numerous as the people experiencing them....(full article)

Witches and Bastards: An Imperial Wizard and
a Prescription for Anti-Imperialism

by Lila Rajiva

Now that we've learned from yet another posthumous tape what “Tricky Dick” Nixon thought of assassinated Indian PM Indira Gandhi (old witch) and her billion-odd compatriots (devious bastards), I find myself in a bit of a dilemma. As an Indian immigrant, I feel -- vaguely -- that I ought to be insulted. But I'm not. Instead I'm actually a little disappointed with this rather paltry display of verbal fire-power from a man whom I, like many others growing up in the third world, considered a villain of classic magnitude. Who can forget that cartoon of the Seventh Fleet chugging menacingly into the Indian Ocean while the Indian army was trying to end the whole-sale massacre of East Pakistanis by the West Pakistan army? It was one of the few modern wars that met the stringent definition of a just war and Nixon's interference was greeted with universal scorn in India. R. K. Lakshman, the nonpareil of Indian political cartoonists, incarnated him as a scowling whale, “Mopy Dick,” (or was it “Morbid Dick”?) spouting off in a corner of the Pacific and anxiously eyeing the progress of his buddy, the blood-drenched General Yahya Khan. And now we're bastards. Weak stuff. Down under, in the land of sheilas and billabongs, they might mistake that for a compliment, a “bastard” being more comic there than insulting, and in come circumstances, downright complimentary. But at any rate, good or bad, it's fairly inaccurate. Indians are not bastards in anything approaching the same numbers as Americans, fully a third of whom are born to unwed mothers, if we are to believe Family Research Council numbers. Indians may do better at infanticide or female feticide, at dowry deaths or some other domestic sport, but they are definitely behind in bastardy, as are most countries when compared to the West, although given a generation or two of imperial influence this might change....(full article)

State Media
by Patricia Goldsmith

Whatever Karl Rove’s fate, and however Thursday’s terrorist attack in London mitigates or affects that fate, we will be living with his handiwork -- a giant spin machine fueled by tremendous wealth and government power -- for the foreseeable future. For example, the recent dual controversies concerning PBS funding and management are classic Rove. The very same day the House Appropriations Committee voted to restore $100 million of the amount they had cut from the budget, the CPB voted to make Patricia de Stacy Harrison  its new president....(full article)

Against the Wind: The Inevitable End of the Iraqi Occupation
by Jack Random

Regardless of where they began in the tragic chain of events that led to current quagmire in Iraq, the vast majority of mainstream politicians (we can no longer call them leaders) have arrived at the consensus opinion that we must stay the course no matter the cost in lives, limbs, treasure and international esteem. The question that stymies otherwise rationale beings is: What happens when we leave? (full article)

GITMO’s Forgotten Soldier
by William Fisher

Many people will remember Janice Karpinsky, the Army Reserve Brigadier General who was reprimanded and demoted for failing to stop the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But few will remember Brigadier General Rick Baccus, who was sacked as commander of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO), for coddling detainees....(full article)

Meet the “Truth Tour”: Right-Wing Radio Hosts Go To Iraq
by Seth Sandronsky

To counter the U.S. public’s rising distaste for the American-led occupation of Iraq, some right-wing radio hosts are traveling there for a “Truth Tour.” Finding truth in Iraq to provide the public with is the aim of these right-wingers. I have a suggestion for them on their trip. They can find truth by following in the footsteps of Kathy Kelly and Voices in the Wilderness, the pacifist group she co-founded in her Chicago apartment....(full article)

You Can't Say You Weren't Warned, Mr. Blair
by Dilip Hiro

Last Thursday's bombings were not unexpected. Senior police officers had often warned that an attack in Britain was inevitable, a prediction they repeated as recently as last month. What the police officers and others did was to connect the dots, examining where coordinated explosions had occurred since the build-up to the Iraq war....(full article)

July 6-7

The Message from the London Bombings (updated July 8)
by Kim Petersen

The London Underground was hit today by a series of dastardly terrorist bombings during rush hour. At least 50 fatalities have been confirmed and more than 700 hundred wounded. A visibly shaken UK Prime Minister Tony Blair quickly enveloped himself and his country in the cloak of victimhood and responded with a stern warning. Blair considered it “particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, and the long term problems of climate change and the environment,” as if there were a day on which such an attack would not be barbaric. Blair tried to draw the listener’s attention away from the obvious question: why did they bomb London? It is ludicrous to insinuate that there was any connection between the bombings and the agenda of the G8 Summit. The purpose of the bombings at the G8 Summit must be interpreted to demonstrate to the Western leaders who wreak terrorism from afar that they are also vulnerable to attack. This is the message that rang out loud and clear from the London bombings....(full article)

London and Madrid: Reflections on the War on Terror
by Jack Random

A year ago in March, when the innocent people of Madrid were attacked by terrorists, their government lied about the nature of that attack and the people responded by removing the government from office. Among the first acts of the new government was fulfilling their promise to withdraw from the American alliance in Iraq. The people of Spain are not cowards. When one is attacked -- even by fanatics that take the law into their own hands -- it is not cowardice to look inward as well as outward. It requires strength and courage to recognize that the attackers may have cause. It did not diminish the Spanish resolve to bring the terrorists to justice but to recognize the error of their ways and correct their course required a strength of character unknown to the American government in the post-911 environment....
(full article)

“It’s as if there’s no history that matters”
An Interview with Norman Solomon -- War Made Easy
by Adrian Zupp

Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist on media and politics, as well as founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, a national consortium of policy researchers and analysts. His new book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, has been described by the Los Angeles Times as “a must-read for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee, or to arm themselves for the debates about Iraq that are still to come.” Writer-journalist Adrian Zupp interviewed Solomon about the book, which was published in July....
(full interview)

Hephalumps and Woozels: A Review of Joshua Frank's Left Out
by Adam Engel

First the good news: Joshua Frank is a first-rate journalist who's written a superbly researched, incisive book about who and what the Democrats really are. Now the bad news: Joshua Frank is a first-rate journalist who's written a superbly researched, incisive book about who and what the Democrats really are. Depending upon your outlook, you may not care that there are still real journalists out there, like Frank, who are willing to search for and describe the truth. You may be one of those "fundamentalist" types who still believe what Mommy and Daddy and whatever relevant Authorities told you when you were one to ten years old -- the years of impression, the mind-minting years, the years of language-acquisition and consequently, myth acquisition: that the Democrats are the "party of opposition," the defenders of "the little guy" and all that's worth fighting for. Mr. Smith goes to Washington, etc....(full article)

Condemned to Relive the Past
by Ken Sanders

In Iraq, U.S.-backed counterinsurgency groups are engaging in the same practices of kidnapping, torture, and murder that were employed in Guatemala and El Salvador. With each passing day in Iraq, more and more bodies of suspected insurgents are turning up exhibiting clear signs of torture and summary execution....(full article)

One Soldier’s Fight to Legalize Morality
by Monica Benderman

On July 28, 2005, in a small non-descript courtroom on Ft. Stewart, Georgia, a Courts Martial is scheduled to begin. Again. One Army NCO who decided that he had no choice but to make a conscious choice NOT to return to war is being put on trial for caring about humanity. This soldier fulfilled his commitment, he kept his promise to his enlisted contract, and when ordered to deploy to Iraq at the start of the invasion, he went, not because he wanted to “kill Iraqis” or “destroy terrorist cells,” but because he wanted the soldiers he served with to come home safely. He returned knowing that war is wrong, the most dehumanizing creation of humanity that exists. He saw war destroy civilians, innocent men, women and children. He saw war destroy homes, relationships and a country. He saw this not only in the country that was invaded, but he saw this happening to the invading country as well -- and he knew that the only way to save those soldiers was for people to no longer participate in war. Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a Conscientious Objector to war, and the Army is mad....(full article)

Is Rove the Leaker? Stay Tuned...
by Joshua Frank

Earlier this week I reported that a handful of Washington insiders had admitted that they believed Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove, would be indicted for perjury within the next two weeks. Rove, who has spoken to a grand jury on more than one occasion about the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, has relayed through his lawyer, and most likely told the grand jury, that he never "knowingly" passed along any confidential information to the press. The claim that Rove may be indicted for perjuring himself could be inching toward reality. As Time reporter Matthew Cooper spills the beans to a grand jury, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may be receiving the testimony he needs to finally charge Rove with a federal crime....(full article)

From Iraq to the G8: The Polite Crushing of Dissent and Truth
by John Pilger

In Edinburgh, a shameless invitation-only meeting of Christian Aid supporters and church leaders was addressed by Britain's treasurer, Gordon Brown, the paymaster of the Iraq carnage. Only one person asked him, "When will you stop the rape of the poor's resources? Why are there so many conditions on aid?" This lone protestor was not referring specifically to Iraq, but to most of the world. He was thrown out, to cheers from among the assembled Christians. That set the theme for the G8 week: the silencing and pacifying and co-option of real dissent and truth. It was Frantz Fanon, the great intellectual-activist of Africa, who exposed colonial greed and violence dressed up as polite do-goodery, and nothing has changed, in Africa, as in Iraq. The mawkish images on giant screens behind the pop stars in Hyde Park beckoned a willful, self-satisfied ignorance. There was none of the images that television refuses to show: of murdered Iraqi doctors with the blood streaming from their heads, cut down by Bush's snipers....(full article)

President Bush Supports Alternative Fuels Research
Instead of Conservation

by Zbigniew Zingh

In an effort to dampen consumer and Wall Street fears about skyrocketing oil prices, and to assuage the scientific community's concerns about global warming, President Bush has announced a major new effort to support the research and development of clean, alternative fuels. As world petroleum prices continue to oscillate around $60/barrel, Mr. Bush told reporters at a hastily called news conference by the pumps of a newly opened CNOOC filling station that “There is absolutely no basis for anyone to be concerned about oil production peaking. I think Americans should continue to drive their cars and golf carts and lawn mowers and run their air conditioners just as much as they like and not worry about anything because there's plenty of oil out there. We just need to figure out whose got it and how to take it from them.”....(full article)

Luis Posada Carriles: To the US Government,
Embarrassment or Asset?

by Mina Hamilton

Why would the US want Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles sprung from a jail in Panama and at large in the US? (full article)

Judith Miller -- Drum Major for War
by Norman Solomon

Judy, it's been so many wars since we've talked. Now people are hailing your dedication to the principle of journalistic independence. For many, you will always be the courageous reporter who went to jail. But I'll always remember what happened when we met under hot lights and you showed your stuff. Far from today's headlines, what will endure is your approach to journalism in a time of war. (And in this era, what other time is there?) Long before your current stratospheric fame, you were upholding the media spirit that has made you emblematic of the nation's press. Of course there are some who still recall how you pushed stories about Saddam and WMDs onto the front page of the New York Times. And they remember that officials who helped to funnel disinformation into your articles grew fond of going on television to cite them as evidence that the Iraqi regime was a menace to the world. But you were no overnight sensation. Your type of zeal about war was long apparent to those who cared to look. Judy, we all know that memory can be foggy. But a transcript can help bring it back. The way we were...(full article)

The New Anti-Semitism: It's Not Anti-Semitism,
But it Could Become That

by Michael Gillespie

In Britain, Christian Zionist leaders are striking out at church leaders and writers who defend the human and civil rights of Palestinians and question the theology of Armageddonism. Two have lambasted the Rev. Stephen Sizer, Vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surrey, and author of Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon?  Some outspoken champions of human rights here in the States have also been attacked by Israel-firsters, but the situation is changing....(full article)

Tony Perkins' Family Research Council
by Bill Berkowitz

Battling against same-sex marriage and activist judges, and raising hell over Terri Schiavo, Tony Perkins has come a long way since his David Duke mail list-buying caper in Louisiana....(full article)

Democrats Can Succeed Without the Filibuster
by Gene C. Gerard

Since the resignation announcement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, various reporters and pundits have concluded that whomever President Bush nominates will win confirmation. Last week, a reporter for The Washington Post told listeners of National Public Radio that since Republicans control the Senate, Mr. Bush’s nomination would be essentially guaranteed. However, if history is any indication, this is far from certain....(full article)

Judith Miller: The Anti-Hero
by Jack Random

The ironies of history are plentiful. Richard Nixon opened relations with Red China, Deep Throat was lap dog for J. Edgar Hoover, Dan Rather was a cheerleader for war, and Judith Miller was a mouthpiece for the lies that led to war. Now, she is a martyr for her profession. When you play with the devil, sometimes you get burned. When Newsweek Magazine revealed the desecration of the Koran by American interrogators, the White House laid the blood of the innocent at the reporters’ door. If there was any justification for that charge (there was in fact precious little), what then can be said of the reporter whose tireless “journalism” gave credibility to the now infamous weapons of mass destruction fraud? What can be said of an esteemed professional who shamelessly espoused the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection? Is there no blood on her hands? (full article)

California Spying, Schwarzenegger-Style
by Seth Sandronsky

An intelligence unit of the California National Guard monitored anti-war protesters who gathered at the state Capitol on Mother’s Day, the June 26 San Jose Mercury News reported. The article noted that press staff of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had given the Guard unit advance notice of this demonstration. The Guard, in turn, tapped a program dubbed “Information Synchronization, Knowledge Management and Intelligence” to protect the public from possible civil unrest as a result of the protest. The anti-war activists who were spied on hailed from the women’s peace groups CodePink, Gold Star Families for Peace and Raging Grannies. At first glance, the Guard’s monitoring their protest from afar as a way to pre-empt any potential trouble appears comical. But not if such an exercise of government power is put into the context of Schwarzenegger’s political agenda....a
(full article)

Goodbye to Sandra Day O’ Connor . . . and Good Riddance   
by Mike Whitney

Now that Sandra Day O’ Connor is stepping down from the Supreme Court we can begin to address the painful legacy she has left us all by inserting herself into the 2000 presidential election. The 5 to 4 decision to stop the hand counting of ballots, which overturned the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court, will be remembered as a seminal event in US history, sending US democracy and prestige in the world into steep and, perhaps, irreversible decline. The decision was made by invoking the 14th Amendment, the “Equal Protection” clause, which had never been used previously for anything other than civil rights cases. The argument was that candidate George Bush would suffer “irreparable harm” if the counting of votes was to continue. As it turned out, even the ultra-conservative attorney Robert Bork disputed the feeble rationale of the Bush defense strategy. Nevertheless, by the thinnest of margins, Bush prevailed, and the 200-year democratic mandate was successfully overturned. It was clearly the most partisan ruling in Supreme Court history. As for American democracy, it has suffered mightily under the current regime. The nation has seen sweeping changes in the laws that have traditionally protected civil liberties, culminating last week in the signing of a presidential order that will create a National Security Service, America’s first secret police....(full article)

July 5

-- Breaking Story --
Rove To Be Indicted?
by Joshua Frank
(updated July 6)

Occasionally I get e-mails from Washington folks who work on the Hill claiming to possess juicy insider digs on our public servants and their corporate paymasters. I usually delete said e-mails, as I don't want to be responsible for propagating dirty rumors or false information that can't be corroborated. I'd rather let Judith Miller and the New York Times do that. Nonetheless, in the past 24 hours I have been contacted by three separate congressional Democrats in Washington, and a Justice Department official, first by e-mail and later phone, who all say the same thing: Karl Rove is about to be indicted....(full article)

The MSM Box Set
by Patricia Goldsmith

Spin cycles are supposed to last little longer than 24 hours, especially when it’s bad news for Bush & Co. That is, perhaps, one reason why the Downing Street Memos (DSM) are causing such consternation in journalistic circles. A recent column by Newsday editorialist James Klurfeld, “Downing St. memos: Been there, knew that” (6-24-05), is of particular interest to me, since I live on Long Island, and because it is a fascinating window into the thought processes of an influential member of the Mainstream Media (MSM), a man who plays an important role in creating storylines about George Bush. The entire interest of the piece is in watching Klurfeld frame the issues, beginning with his opening shot: “Somebody needs to explain to me all this furor over the Downing Street memos” -- from which I conclude that he’s furious. According to Klurfeld, the proper way to understand the DSM is in terms of partisan politics, the eternal clash between the extreme right wing and the center-right. “Bush, say the critics, misled everybody because he said war was a last resort when, in reality, it was his first choice.”....(full article)

Fruit Flight
by Peter Kurth

Peter Kurth on War of the Worlds, homosexual penguins and fruit flies, and scientific literacy in Christian America....(full article)

Africa's New Best Friends:
The US and Britain are putting the multinational corporations that created poverty in charge of its relief
by George Monbiot

I began to realize how much trouble we were in when Hilary Benn, the secretary of state for international development, announced that he would be joining the Make Poverty History march on Saturday. What would he be chanting, I wondered? "Down with me and all I stand for"? Benn is the man in charge of using British aid to persuade African countries to privatize public services; wasn't the march supposed to be a protest against policies like his? But its aims were either expressed or interpreted so loosely that anyone could join. This was its strength and its weakness. The Daily Mail ran pictures of Gordon Brown and Bob Geldof on its front page, with the headline "Let's Roll," showing that nothing either Live 8 or Make Poverty History has done so far represents a threat to power....(full article)

No Negotiations
by Neve Gordon

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a man of deeds rather than words. So on those rare occasions when he does disclose his political goals it is important to pay close attention and carefully consider every word. Incidentally, it was during his recent visit to the U.S. that Sharon revealed how he foresees the developments between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to a group of Jewish donors. He divulged a plan he has not yet talked about in Israel, at least not in a public forum....(full article)

July 4

What's To Celebrate?
by Philip Anthony Farruggio

Another July 4th is upon us. Many of my neighbors are hoarding up on the fireworks, the barbecue specialties, and the booze. “Its Independence Day” they exclaim...“This is America, with much to celebrate!” Yeah, right!....
(full article)

The Rumsfeld Solution: “Liberating Iraq, One Journalist at a Time” 
by Mike Whitney

Last week, Yasser Salihee, a reporter for Knight Ridder news agency, was assassinated in a perfectly executed gangland-style hit a few miles outside of Baghdad. He was struck by a single bullet to the head by an American sniper. Salihee’s murder resulted from his extensive coverage of the torture and murder of “suspected insurgents” by US-backed death squads. Many readers will remember Donald Rumsfeld rushing off to Baghdad a few months ago to ensure that the “newly elected” Iraqi government didn’t fiddle with the new regime he’d installed in the Interior Ministry. With the help of former CIA-operative Iyad Allawi, Rumsfeld put together a cadre of thugs who operate under the rubric of “The Wolf Brigade” (also referred to as “Rumsfeld’s Boys”). Salihee had uncovered the gruesome details of how this counterinsurgency unit really works: roaming the countryside in white Toyota Land Cruisers, dressed as police, rounding up anti-occupation suspects and either killing and torturing them as they see fit. These special units are similar to the death squads that were used by Ronald Reagan in El Salvador during the 1980s. Now they are thriving in Iraq under the auspices of the Defense Department, operating freely behind the façade of a democratically elected Iraqi government....(full article)

A New Declaration of Independence
by Emma Goldman
Mother Earth, Vol. IV, no. 5, July 1909

When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.

The mere fact that these forces -- inimical to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--are legalized by statute laws, sanctified by divine rights, and enforced by political power, in no way justifies their continued existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race, color, or sex, are born with the equal right to share at the table of life; that to secure this right, there must be established among men economic, social, and political freedom; we hold further that government exists but to maintain special privilege and property rights; that it coerces man into submission and therefore robs him of dignity, self-respect, and life.

The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians. Sturdy sons of America are forced to tramp the country in a fruitless search for bread, and many of her daughters are driven into the street, while thousands of tender children are daily sacrificed on the altar of Mammon. The reign of these kings is holding mankind in slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the human family into a camp of Ishmaelites.

We, therefore, the liberty-loving men and women, realizing the great injustice and brutality of this state of affairs, earnestly and boldly do hereby declare, That each and every individual is and ought to be free to own himself and to enjoy the full fruit of his labor; that man is absolved from all allegiance to the kings of authority and capital; that he has, by the very fact of his being, free access to the land and all means of production, and entire liberty of disposing of the fruits of his efforts; that each and every individual has the unquestionable and unabridgeable right of free and voluntary association with other equally sovereign individuals for economic, political, social, and all other purposes, and that to achieve this end man must emancipate himself from the sacredness of property, the respect for man-made law, the fear of the Church, the cowardice of public opinion, the stupid arrogance of national, racial, religious, and sex superiority, and from the narrow puritanical conception of human life. And for the support of this Declaration, and with a firm reliance on the harmonious blending of man's social and individual tendencies, the lovers of liberty joyfully consecrate their uncompromising devotion, their energy and intelligence, their solidarity and their lives.

July 2-3

Conspiracy: The Downing Street Memo (posted 7/3)
by Media Lens

At the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal in 1946, Nazi leaders like Goering, von Ribbentrop, Jodl and Streicher were sentenced to death by hanging for “Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing.” (Article 6, Charter of the International Military Tribunal, August 8, 1945) It is remarkable, but now indisputable, that the current leaders of Britain and the United States are responsible for just such a conspiracy....(full article)

... And a Justice for All (posted 7/3)
by Walter Brasch

Walter Brasch on the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the Bsuh Power grab....(full article)

Show Your Independence on the 4th -- Burn a Flag
by Mike Whitney

It’s odd that Congress would pass a bill banning flag burning on the same week that reports confirmed the US military used napalm in Iraq. Apparently, it’s alright to incinerate Iraqis, but not okay to burn a 5’x7’ piece of tri-colored cloth. For the Republican faithful, the action was just another cynical demonstration of feigned patriotism meant to divert attention from an increasingly bloody war. Only a handful of these uber-nationalists ever served a day in uniform so they try to limit their loyalty to meaningless displays of political buffoonery. No one believes for a minute that any one of these stuffed shirts would ever venture into an angry crowd to save Old Glory from the torch. They’d rather pontificate from the safety of the House, where their high-flown rhetoric can be mistaken for courage. If the Congressman were sincere in their regard for the Bill of Rights they’d honor the basic tenets of the First Amendment: (that) “Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech”; a clear defense of unpopular forms of expression, like flag burning. Instead, they choose to ignore the principle behind the icon and flaunt their ignorance like a badge of honor....(full article)

Mourn on the Fourth of July
by Norman Solomon

Am I the only U.S. citizen who finds the annual Fourth rituals to be cloying and deceptive? Yeah -- just me and probably tens of millions of other people. Ever since the Vietnam War, the Fourth of July has seemed to be a celebration of the past in the midst of a distinctly un-glorious present. In 2005, as in 1965, lyrical appreciation of “bombs bursting in air” is chilling in the context of current realities....(full article)

Dylan's America
by Greg Moses

For this Fourth of July, I’m sitting with young Dylan at a reading room in the New York Public Library scrolling through newspapers from 1855-1865: “There is a riot in New York where two hundred people are killed outside the Metropolitan Opera House because an English actor has taken the place of an American one.” In the build-up years to the Civil War newspapers portray a certain would-be Senator from Illinois as a baboon. No way to suspect what Lincoln would become. “Anti-slave labor advocates inflaming crowds in Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Cleveland, that if the Southern states are allowed to rule, the Northern factory owners would then be forced to use slaves as free laborers.” Defeat the South, save our jobs! “This causes riots, too.” Writes Dylan, “You wonder how people so united by geography and religious ideals could become such bitter enemies.” What was the Civil War about? For Dylan’s friend Van Ronk, “It was one big battle between two rival economic systems is what it was.” Slave system vs. imperialist capital. If Van Ronk was correct post-war Reconstruction in the South would stand for imperialism at its progressive best -- the kind of thing one might believe could work better in Baghdad than it did in Dallas. But then again, Baghdad had no General Lee. On Lee’s word and Lee’s word alone, writes Dylan, “America did not get into a guerilla war that probably would have lasted ’til this day.”....(full article)

They Died for Their Country
by Paul Rogat Loeb

It's tempting to assume that all the sacrifices of our soldiers are worthwhile. But mere courage guarantees no inherent moral rightness: German and Japanese soldiers fought bravely in World War II. The September 11 hijackers were willing to surrender their lives to murder 3,000 innocent people, including Al Filipov, whose widow would initiate the peace and justice lecture series where I spoke. Even when we're told our soldiers are fighting for freedom, we have to look at the broadest consequences of their actions. For instance, an international Pew Center survey right after our Iraqi invasion found that we'd so embittered the Islamic world that majorities to near-majorities in countries like Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt now said they trusted Osama bin Laden "to do the right thing in world affairs." They now viewed him as a hero, not a murderer. Unfortunately, those who initiated the Iraq war now use each additional American death to justify the need to stay.  If we challenge this war, we're told we're being disloyal to the troops, undermining their resolve and disdaining their sacrifices. We heard this as well during Vietnam, after which the media rewrote the history of the antiwar movement to imply, through images like protestors spitting on soldiers, that those working to bring the troops home were their enemies....(full article)

The Shadow Of Nationalism Darkens America: God Bless Our Malls
by Bernd C. Geels

With the 4th of July holiday looming on the horizon, it seems an appropriate time to explore what it means to be an American citizen. I imagine I am not the only one who has noted the profusion of American flags plastered over any and every single thing you can imagine in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Indeed, within a few days flag waving as a national pastime had been thoroughly reinvigorated, mostly as a way to unify the masses around the extraordinarily arrogant and destructive actions George Bush would take on our supposed behalf. In some places you could (and still can!) see rows and rows of huge flags draped in a long sequence that could leave your jaw slack from their immensity. Simply reduced: America=American flags=best nation on earth=we have the right to destroy anyone who does not agree with us or that assessment=how dare anyone attack us....(full article)

Judith Miller is No Martyr and Sulzberger is No Saint
by Ahmed Amr

This should be considered the real trial of the century -- a trial that could re-chart the political map of America. If the mass media wasn’t putting up so much resistance, we could all be watching a blockbuster of a diabolical political soap opera -- played before a canvass of a real live war. Every character in this epic saga is a serious power player -- men and women who ultimately decide how to use and misuse raw American military might. When convenient -- the actors in this show play together and share the same sandbox. On rare occasions, they start throwing sand at each other. That’s when things get interesting....(full article)

Schizo Scherzo: The Last Waltz
by Jack Random

The psychological theory of cognitive dissonance holds that two incompatible thoughts cannot be held in one mind simultaneously -- or rather, they cannot be held without damage to the psyche. For example, if you believe that good people do not do bad things and that Joe is a good person and then learn that Joe hit his wife, you are confronted with a dilemma: Either Joe is not a good person or good people do bad things. Something must give. A recent poll suggested that nearly 70% of Americans no longer support the war in Iraq. They do not believe that the war was necessary, justified or worth the cost. A subsequent poll suggested that fully 60% of the people believe we must stay in Iraq to a successful conclusion. Curiously, these polls mirror the position of the mainstream Democrats and support the current policy of the Bush White House (though they object to certain administrative details). It is a portrait of two parties in spasmodic harmony, waltzing in blissful ignorance while the flames of war rage just beyond the sight and sound of our fearless patriotic leaders. It is the portrait of a mythology-pathology designed for cinematic rendition and set to the tune of Schizo Scherzo in B-flat major. It is strangely reassuring and hauntingly stimulating but it is not founded in reality.  Something must give....(full article)

Hoping for a Miracle
by William Fisher

This weekend, one of Latina Magazine's top 10 women of the year will enjoy a place of honor by riding in the lead float in the Jefferson City, Missouri, Fourth of July parade. The next day -- unless something dramatic and unexpected happens -- 19-year-old Marie Gonzales and her parents will be deported from the U.S....(full article)

All Roads Lead to Baghdad:
A Strategic Analysis of Unity in the US Anti-War Movement
by Virginia Rodino

At the start of this week about 100 representatives and leaders of the anti-war movement met in Washington, DC to discuss primarily how to create the strongest internal unity, particularly regarding the September 24 national anti-war mobilization to be held in Washington, DC. Facilitated by a prominent African American minister, an African American imam, and a Native American civil rights activist, the discussion sometimes delved into negative past interactions between the national anti-war coalitions, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER); possible communication disconnect between local member groups and the leadership bodies of these coalitions; and the potential neglect of the global justice movement (given that the annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings are taking place in Washington that same weekend, and events already are being planned by anti-corporate globalization groups such as the Mobilization for Global Justice, 50 Years is Enough, and Jubilee 2000). Much of the 3-hour meeting, however, focused on the possibility of unifying around a common theme for the anti-war calls to action, and the marches and rallies for that weekend of action. In order to justify the following proposal for future political direction of the anti-war movement, it is necessary to assess the barriers and opportunities the movement faces at this moment....(full article)

Where's The Jubilee?
by Mark Engler

Seeing President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair touting their good deeds on behalf of the world's poor is enough to make any opponent of empire and corporate globalization cringe. Perhaps because of this objectionable sight, progressives have been divided in their response to the announcement of a major deal on debt cancellation. In advance of next week's summit in Scotland, the leaders of the G8 industrialized countries, led by Bush and Blair, agreed to cancel 100 percent of debt owed by 18 of the world's poorest countries to the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. While some on the left have applauded the deal, many others have focused on asking, "What's the catch?" Some have gone so far as to charge that the agreement actually does more harm than good by attaching harmful strings to debt relief. Certainly, there is reason to be skeptical: You don't have to be a hardened cynic to wonder about the true scope of Bush and Blair's compassion. Yet ultimately, the debt deal, while far from perfect, is a genuine advance -- the product of a decade of increasing social movement pressure....(full article)

Face to Face with the Absurd
by Kim Petersen

The US self-declared war president, George W. Bush, declared that the enemy terrorists “murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent.” Yet, the enemies of Bush’s attack are also dissenting against the undemocratic regimes in the Middle East that quash freedoms and reject religious expression. It was one of the many falsehoods and absurdities that permeated Bush’s address to the servicemen and women at Fort Bragg on June 28....(full article)

Turkey is Not a Role Model for the Middle East
by Gene C. Gerard

In recent weeks President Bush has given several speeches promoting Turkey as the type of democracy that Iraq and Afghanistan should strive to emulate. Mr. Bush even went so far as to state, “Turkey’s democracy is an important example for the people in the broader Middle East.” Turkey is far less repressive than many other Muslim countries. But it is a nation with such serious problems that it should not serve as a role model, even for fledgling Islamic democracies....(full article)

Who Put These Guys In Charge?
by Ken Sanders

Bush's failed attempt to put the brakes on the nation's plummeting support for his fool's errand in Iraq seems an appropriate occasion for reflecting upon the Bush administration's history of lies and incompetence regarding the Iraq war. It is a colorful history, rich in duplicity and arrogance. It reveals an administration eager for war, but uninterested in such trivialities as facts or law or consequences. It also reveals an administration that had no idea what it was getting itself and this country into....(full article)

Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America
by Peter Phillips

Mainstream media is the term often used to describe the collective group of big TV, radio and newspapers in the United States. Mainstream implies that the news being produced is for the benefit and enlightenment of the mainstream population -- the majority of people living in the US. Mainstream media include a number of communication mediums that carry almost all the news and information on world affairs that most Americans receive. The word media is plural, implying a diversity of news sources. However, mainstream media no longer produce news for the mainstream population -- nor should we consider the media as plural. Instead it is more accurate to speak of big media in the US today as the corporate media and to use the term in the singular tense -- as it refers to the singular monolithic top-down power structure of self-interested news giants....(full article)

Canada's Blessings, Including Gay Marriage
by John Chuckman

Only a few days before the national holiday, with the passing of Bill C-38, Canada became just the third country in the world, after Holland and Belgium, to expand human rights by giving gays the same right to marry as others. Any person aware of history and the gradual expansion of human rights over the last few centuries understands that this is something that will come eventually to all advanced countries (Spain became the fourth the next day), but it is nice to be in the forefront of progress and decency. Contrary to the harsh uninformed preaching of fundamentalists mainly in the United States, the fully-formed modern idea of marriage only appears in the twentieth century, a time when people choose their companions, often for love and a time when we treat children as being rather precious and needing expensive education. Many marriages are of course childless, but they are still regarded as marriages in every meaning of the word. Control of human fertility for the first time in human history gives us an idea of children new in some respects. Many do not want them. Most have a small number of them and invest a very great deal in them....(full article)

Bush Strikes Another Blow Against Salmon Restoration:
NOAA Fisheries Puts Hatchery and Wild Salmon Under Same Umbrella

by Dan Bacher

Trout Unlimited, a nationwide conservation group, said the feds' new hatchery policy "defies science and common sense," although they were relieved that 16 stocks of salmon previously listed under the ESA would remain protected. They forecasted that the new policy would "lead to more controversy and lawsuits and ultimately diminish the protection and hinder the recovery of salmon and steelhead."....(full article)

A Gold Standard for Texas Education: Portales on Education
by Greg Moses

This brand new release from two long-time Texas educators reminds us once again that the most important relationship in education is the one established in classrooms between teachers and students. If everyone in the education establishment from principal to governor could keep this single idea at the center of attention and organize their philosophies accordingly, then "quality education" would be a more likely result. "But few education systems are actually set up to empower teachers," write Rita and Marco Portales, "and few endeavor to do everything possible to promote the one central relationship on which the education of the young either succeeds or fails." With the Texas legislature now convened in special session to solve the problem of public education -- and with a Texas Supreme Court hearing on school funding coming up in early July -- the new book by Portales and Portales might encourage a policy discussion organized around the central relationship of teachers and students in the classroom. Yet, in speeches and press releases by various stakeholders in the 'school funding debate' we see how far the language and organization of ideas have strayed from the gold standard encouraged by Portales and Portales....(full article)

The March/Swarm of the Madder’n Hells, Part II
by Mark Drolette

'Twould appear I’m not the only American who’s fed up with the political goings-on in our country today.  Fancy that! My most recent article, “The march of the madder’n hells,” calling for one million of us to march to both the White House and Capitol to demand, respectively, responses to and hearings on, the Downing Street Memos (DSM), has touched a bit of a nerve.  Yep, it’s true, all right: People are ticked and want their country back.  Go figure....(full article)

Bush Wants Answers on Whether Chavez, Castro and Osama bin Laden Led US Embassy Siege in Iran
A Special Report by Zbigniew Zingh

US President George W. Bush said yesterday he not only wanted answers on whether Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a leader in the 1979 US Embassy siege, but also whether Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro were involved behind the scenes, too. Some Americans who, more than thirty years ago, watched televised footage of the Carter-era hostage crisis say that they recognized the Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a ringleader among the students who took American hostages. “Look”, they exclaimed, “Ahmadinejad has that same dark hair and eyes, the same dark beard and mustache as the men in the television videotapes. What are the chances that any other guy in that part of the world looks like that? It has to be the same man!” FBI security analysts say that these witnesses are extremely trustworthy. After all, the FBI points out, for years patriotic informants and eyewitnesses have also reported credible sightings of the Virgin Mary on roadside advertising billboards, Elvis in Vegas, space aliens who have abducted their puppies and the face of Jesus in pepperoni pizzas....(full article)

Anagrams for the Disemployed!
by Gary Steven Corseri

Now that I’ve finally killed my TV, I’ve got more time for serious endeavors. Anagrams, for example. “What’s in a name?” Juliet asked the stars, and, as it turns out, the answer is much (chum). Some mystics claim that every number and letter has its own vibration. The latest thinking of cosmologists is that we’re all a bunch of vibrating strings. And in the dark, impenetrable, steely hearts of those who run this sad world now, who make the wars, trash the First Amendment, stand in high places and piss on the good and beautiful -- what secrets? What vibrations? My little ditty to maintain balance: To cut the bastards down to size, Anagramize! Anagramize!....(full article)

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