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(DV) March 2007 Articles

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March 31

Criminalizing Solidarity: Sami al-Arian and the War of Terror
by Charlotte Kates

Dr. Sami Al-Arian, Palestinian political prisoner, is held in a prison hospital after a debilitating 60-day hunger strike seeking to draw the attention of the nation and the world to the injustice visited upon him, jailed for his commitment to justice and dignity for his homeland. This is not a scene from an Israeli jail, however, but from a U.S. prison in North Carolina. Al-Arian's hunger strike ended at the pleas of his family -- yet without justice for Al-Arian, whose imprisonment is part and parcel of a U.S. government policy of targeting Palestinian activists, as well as the broader Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities, in an internal "war of terror" whose policies run parallel to that being waged abroad.....(full article)  

What is Blair Complaining About?
by Pham Binh

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is mad as hell that Iran grabbed 15 sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf. When Iran released a letter from Faye Turney, the only female sailor, Blair said "It is cruel and callous to do this to somebody in this position and playing this kind of game -- it is a disgrace." He even labeled their seizure "blatant aggression." Iran has begun showing TV footage of some of the prisoners asking embarrassing questions like shouldn't the British be getting out of Iraq? Cruel, callous, and disgrace are strong words. But I have two words for Mr. Blair and his phony outrage: Guantanamo Bay. He (and the prisoners) are lucky they weren't detained by U.S. forces where:......(full article)

Liberate Balochistan: USA Should Target Pakistan, Talk to Iran 
by John Stanton

Since 1947,  the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Land of the Pure), a military dictatorship, has been a fragile entity perpetually on the brink of internal civil war, and constantly at loggerheads with India over contested Kashmir. It is a destabilizing factor on the Asian continent. The recent sacking of Pakistan's Supreme Court Justice by President Pervez Musharraf in March of 2007 is just another one of many straws weighing on the central government's back in Islamabad, a portent of what more is to come. The Sunni dominant country is a nation-state in name only being held together by the force of its military and with the Machiavellian support of the USA. It is a powder keg of conflict pitting Pakistan's ruthless military against tribal factions in the North along Afghanistan's border and, in particular, against the Baloch in the South whose homeland is resource rich Balochistan. In many respects, Musharaf's Pakistan resembles the US puppet regime of Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan. There, the central government has little influence beyond its seat of government in the capital city and any authority it does have comes from the barrel of a gun or the bomb rack of an American made military aircraft. And, in rather depressing respects, Islamabad's handling of the Baloch and their homeland is seems a mirror image of the US treatment of local Iraqis in the ongoing US misadventure in Iraq. But, one must have hope that the USA will learn.....(full article)

by Kimberly Kern

Six weeks ago, I began my work here as a human rights accompanier in the Ixcán region of Guatemala. In a very short time, I have had the opportunity to listen to incredible stories which constantly remind me why it is important to continue in this struggle for justice and to remind people (like you) about a forgotten genocide. A civil war ravaged this country for 36 years which ended with the peace accords in 1996 and more than 200,000 civilians dead. 90% of the casualties were at the hands of the US-backed Guatemalan army under the auspices of fighting “communism.” In 2000 and 2001, a courageous group of war survivors filed charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against former military dictators Romeo Lucas Garcia and Efrain Rios Montt and their military high commands in the Guatemalan court system.  Seven years later, these cases remain in the investigative phase due to a lack of political will to bring the accused to justice.....(full article)

What Can be Done About Global Warming? 
by Don Monkerud

Most Americans recognize global warming is happening, but don't believe anything can be done about it or don't want to think about it. A 2006 poll by ABC News and others found fewer than four in ten believed global warming is a serious problem and only three in ten believed it is caused by human activity. Almost 64 percent believe there's disagreement among scientists, which leads to a great amount of doubt among the public. With such a low level of concern, there's little political will to lessen the causes of global warming or plan for the disruption it will create. Although the media's need to provide "a balanced viewpoint" created a controversy where none exists, these attitudes could change with attention given the February release of a UN report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.....
(full article)

Henry Ford Never Envisioned This
A Review of Mike Davis' Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb
by Ron Jacobs

There's a novel by Russian author Ilya Ehrenburg titled The Life of the Automobile that chronicles humanity's relationship with that form of transportation. As any critical observer knows (whether they drive a car or not) the automobile has forever changed the world in which we live, for better and worse. This is an essential point of Ehlenburg's witty and underhandedly sarcastic novel. Mike Davis's newest offering, Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb (Verso 2007), could be considered a bloody sequel to Ehlenburg's novel. It is, of course, not a novel but a disheartening recitation of incident after murderous incident of death and mayhem caused by lots of explosives packed into automobiles by numerous different groups with just as many agendas.....(full article)

March 29

“The Secret”: Creating a Culture of Cheerfulness as Rome Burns
by Carolyn Baker

A friend recently asked me what I knew about The Secret, and I had to confess, absolutely nothing. A couple of days later, another friend asked the same question, so I decided I’d better investigate this supposedly revolutionary new book and DVD that have taken the country by storm. As I did so, I discovered that nothing about The Secret is revolutionary or new but rather a glitzy, twenty-first century redux of what has come to be called in metaphysical circles “New Thought.”.....(full article)

Easter Surprise: Attack on Iran, New 9/11… or Worse
by Heather Wokusch

The Bush administration continues moving closer to a nuclear attack on Iran, and we ignore the obvious buildup at our peril. Russian media is sounding alarms. In February, ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Shirinovsky warned that the US would launch a strike against Tehran at the end of this month. Then last week, the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti (RIA-Novosti) quoted military experts predicting the US will attack Iran on April 6th, Good Friday. According to RIA-Novosti, the imminent assault will target Iranian air and naval defense capabilities, armed forces headquarters as well as key economic assets and administration headquarters. Massive air strikes will be deployed, possibly tactical nuclear weapons as well, and the Bush administration will attempt to exploit the resulting chaos and political unrest by installing a pro-US government. Sound familiar? It's Iraq Déjà vu all over again, and we know how well that war has gone.....(full article)

Why a Vet Disrupted Congress When They Were
Voting $100 Billion More for War
by Lori Purdue

Civil Disobedience has been something I have supported, and advocated. It is a valuable tool for change in our society, a vital part of Democracy. But I have made a point in many conversations to stress that it would take a very clear issue to motivate me to join the ranks of the Activists who so willingly lay their bodies, records and pocketbooks on the line to emphasize a point to their government. Last week, I proudly, but with an overwhelming sadness, added my name to the list of those whose life stories include defying rules and laws to shed light on injustice and express dissent.....
(full article)

Let Him Go Now!
Feds’ Persecution of Sami Al-Arian Goes On 
by Nicole Colson

After 60 days without food, an ailing Sami Al-Arian called off his hunger strike last week at the urging of his wife and children. But just hours later, a federal appeals court upheld a civil contempt ruling that could keep Al-Arian behind bars indefinitely. Al-Arian has been imprisoned since 2003 on trumped-up charges of supporting terrorism -- even though a Florida jury acquitted him or deadlocked on all counts in 2005. Faced with the possibility of a retrial, Al-Arian agreed to plead guilty to a single count of supporting the nonviolent activities of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The deal specified that Al-Arian would be given a short additional sentence, followed by voluntary deportation -- even though Al-Arian has lived in the U.S. since 1975, and his five children are all U.S. citizens. Instead, the U.S. government continued its witch-hunt.....(full article)

A  Citizen's Peace Lobby
It's Time for Citizens to Balance the Defense Industry
by Michael Foley, Ph.D

Tina Richards has an idea. Tina is the mother of a Marine scheduled for his third tour of duty in Iraq who took on Rep. David Obey (Dem., Wisconsin) and the Democratic leadership over funding for the war. Though her home is Missouri, she's in the process of moving to the Washington, D.C. area to keep up the fight to end the war. Her idea is simple. Bring 10,000 concerned citizens to Washington this summer to lobby their Congressional representatives and counter the ten thousand paid lobbyists who ensure that ours is the most lavishly financed and most seriously immune to change legislature in the world. If realized, Tina's idea has the potential to revolutionize politics on Capitol Hill. Not just because it will bring enormous public pressure to bear around a single issue of pressing national importance. That has happened before. More important, it will provide a new model for citizen lobbying that Washington sorely needs.....(full article)

Can There Ever Be Fair Trade Copper?
by Alistair Siddons

Fair trade copper might seem an unfamiliar concept, so I'll start at the beginning. There was once a Midwestern copper smelter called Chemetco. In 2001, it declared itself bankrupt after being fined nearly four million dollars on conviction of sustained and calculated criminal environmental offences. For ten years, the Chemetco Corporation discharged hazardous waste into a tributary of the Mississippi. And when caught in the act, the company tried desperately to lie its way out of trouble. Chemetco treated with contempt the hazardous waste regulations that came into existence almost 30 years ago. Its behaviour was monitored and logged for decades and yet its grossest violation was only discovered by accident....(full article)

March 28

The War of Terror and the US “National Interest”
by Kim Petersen

Why is it that US politicians feel compelled to appear before a small, delimited section of the United States and pronounce unwavering support for Israel -- which is de facto support for ethnic cleansing and slow motion genocide? Why is it the administration of a superpower feels forced to address this small segment of the US population? Is this in the US “national interest”?
(full article)

Broken Promises and Barefaced Lies: The Democrats Strike Again 
by Joshua Frank

We have observed the same song and dance so many times before it's hard to believe more didn't see it coming.  The Democrats once again let down their constituents and all the other voters who ushered them in to power last November -- believing, in utter stupidity, that they would somehow halt the madness of the Iraq war by challenging the Bush administration and their Republican allies in Congress. By now we should all know about the ugly stunt they pulled last week. The Democratic majority in the House passed an appropriations bill that would give Bush more money to continue his war. The legislation, which will likely be knocked out by the White House, calls for the troops to come home later this year. Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, believed this would somehow appease their antiwar base. Regrettably their smarmy attempt has absolutely no teeth whatsoever. Having been one of the unfortunate geeks who actually read the bill, I can tell you only one thing -- it's a complete farce.....(full article)

A Little Good Press 
by Richard C. Cook

Last Friday, the House passed a $124 billion supplemental appropriations bill that would require President Bush to pull combat troops out of Iraq within a year but would continue to fund the war. The legislation went through by a vote of 218 to 212. Voting “no” were 14 Democrats, including 12 who had previously come out against the war and saw the bill as violating the voters’ mandate to get out now as expressed in the 2006 congressional elections. Republican Ron Paul also voted “no” for the right reasons. But was the bill even for real, or was it a kind of make-believe diversion, a show staged for the media and the public to make it seem like something really was happening when it was not? (full article)

Is Iran Next? What Can the Average Person Do to Stop
a New War with Iran? 
by Jenny Anderson

Petitions, calls, and faxes to congress are important channels for political action, but what could possibly stop a new war with Iran?  One has to wonder, are our congressional leaders even reading their faxes? A notable website called recently published over 80 names and organizations of people whom directly influence policy and the president. Maybe through side channels, average Americans can get their message through.....(full article)

Doping Up the Public Mind for War? A Review of the Film 300
by Gary Leupp

I always take in the Hollywood period dramas set in ancient Greece or Rome. My film-buff son is into this too, so we went last week to see 300, the Warner Brothers’ blockbuster produced by Zack Snyder and based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller about the epic battle of Thermopylae between the Greeks and Persians. It had by that time grossed over $100 million and no doubt influenced a lot of minds. The film tells a familiar historical tale. (Rather, it ought to be familiar, but history instruction in our public schools is not necessarily comprehensive.) In 480 BCE, Greece was threatened by an invasion by the Persian army, the greatest war machine of its day. The empire of King Xerxes extended from the Indus River to Egypt, and drew its troops from the ends of the realm. The king personally led them in battle against the Greeks.....(full article)

US Catholic Church in Need of Real Reform
by Nicholas V. Vakkur

Sarbanes-Oxley is a US federal law enacted in response to the rising incidence of corporate and accounting fraud at prominent corporations, as exemplified by Enron, whose annual revenues in 2001 decreased from over $100 billion to nearly zero in a matter of months. Enron's market capitalization prior to its collapse was over $60 billion, while its ten year annual growth rate exceeded 50%. Enron collapsed primarily because its business-model was inextricably linked to the amount of trust customers placed in its financial integrity. Once this confidence withered, Enron's clients became unwilling to trade long-term natural gas contracts due to a concern they may never be fulfilled. The underlying market dynamics are similar to those of a bank run, where panic-driven depositors race to withdraw their funds as quickly as possible. A mounting lack of trust quickly envelops into a self-fulfilling prophecy. These same principles, in a sense, also apply to the Catholic Church.....(full article)

One in a Million: Steve Irwin’s Life Demonstrated That
Animal Welfare is a Complicated Matter
by Chohong Choi

. . . As it turned out, Attenborough was ahead of his time, as the close-ups with animals that were the hallmark of Life on Earth were quite radical for most viewers. Fast forward to the age of reality TV today, and Attenborough’s antics would seem subdued compared to the lengths Australian Steve Irwin would go to make contact with a wild animal. Exposed to animals by his parents since he was a child, Irwin became almost a natural at handling many animals most of us would call dangerous. Eventually, he translated his knack into a career, which included inheriting his parents’ reptile park and rehabilitation center in the state of Queensland, eventually renaming it the Australia Zoo, and starring with his wife, Terri, in a wildlife “croc-umentary” series called The Crocodile Hunter, in which he showcased his bizarre and daring (reckless?) way of interacting with animals. If Attenborough came face-to-face with wildlife, Irwin went mano a mano with them. That alone made him a one in a million rarity.....(full article)

March 26

Marine Open Letter: Make the Bold Adjustment Necessary in Iraq
by Voting Against the Supplemental 
by Marine Corporal Cloy Thomas Richards

An Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives 
From Marine Corporal Cloy Thomas Richards, March 22, 2007,
For Marine Corps riflemen, the best shooters in the world, the technique we use for proper engagement of targets is to make drastic adjustments if you are missing you mark. Whether it's because of windage or elevation, you cannot keep firing off-target making small adjustments and hope to hit your target. The legislative and executive branches have continually missed the target in Iraq.....(full article)


For Every 2.6 Children in Prison You Get One Car:
The Walk Against Immigrant Prisons in the Rio Grande Valley
by Greg Moses

The night before his five-day walk to protest immigrant prisons of the Rio Grande Valley, Jay Johnson-Castro drove to Los Fresnos to get an advance glimpse of International Educational Services, Inc. (IES). “Where’s the school?” he asked, as a guard approached him in the parking lot. “What school?” said the guard, explaining that IES was a detention center for “young adults” whose mothers were being held at the nearby Port Isabel Immigrant Detention Center. When Johnson-Castro explained that he was against prisons for children, the guard replied that IES wasn’t really a prison.....(full article)   

Open Letter to Ronald McDonald
by Jordan Buckley

Listen up clown, 
This is a member of your so-called marketing “sweet spot” talking to you. I do not claim to represent all 18 to 24 year olds, nor do I need to because very soon you will encounter an avalanche of correspondence from us, and we, as a diverse, decentralized movement, will have a variety of ways of communicating with you. Perhaps by dispatching letters to your executive bosses, converting the bland walls of McDonald’s’ outlets with our art installations, and fomenting campaigns at our schools to oust your Big Mac-peddling establishments from campus. Now, Ronald, this is not a threat. It is a reasonable assumption based on the spectrum of tactics we students and youth employed during the Taco Bell Boycott, a campaign which Mother Jones awarded the Campus Activism Victory of the Year in 2005. If you want to understand how we think (and we know you do, or else how would you convince us to buy your burgers?) then understand this: we think the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the immigrant farmworker-led crew of activists in southern Florida calling on your bosses to fix their complicity in widespread labor abuse, has initiated a dynamic, unstoppable movement.....(full letter)


Fundamental Workers’ Rights
by Eric Patton

Feminists say, correctly in my opinion, that if one doesn’t support women’s reproductive rights, then one isn’t really a supporter of women’s rights. That is, someone could say, for example, that, “I support equal pay for equal work. I support an end to sexual harassment in the workplace. I support national childcare programs. I support an end to objectification of women in the media. I support all these things, but I just don’t believe abortion should be legal.” But a person saying that would not be considered by feminists to be a supporter of women’s rights. And I agree with feminists that such a person really isn’t a supporter of women’s rights. Now, suppose a feminist from today were time-warped four decades into the past. Suppose she were then to say to lefties of that time that support for women’s reproductive rights was a necessary condition for anyone who wished to be considered a supporter of women’s rights. Would she be believed? Would she even be understood? Many ideas taken for granted today were at some time in the past not only not believed, they weren’t even understood. It is in this sense that I am going to share a new idea with you now that you may not even believe, much less understand -- but that in 40 years will, I hope, be taken for granted by serious lefties. Anyone who supports workers’ rights must support the idea of balanced job complexes, and must be willing to work a balanced job complex himself or herself....(full article)

Pat Tillman: Beyond the Hype 
by Mickey Z.

The American football hero may be gone but details of his mysterious death in Afghanistan just won't go away. Most recently, as reported by Time Magazine, "Nine officers, including up to four generals, should be held accountable for missteps in the aftermath of the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan." This is as good a time as any to contemplate how and why Pat Tillman ended up in position to be killed by his fellow soldiers. Here's how the New York Times described Tillman at the time of his death: "A graduate of Arizona State University, Tillman, a safety, played for four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. But as an unrestricted free agent in 2002, he turned town a three-year, $3.6 million contract offer from the Cardinals and enlisted in the Army.....(full article)

Philippines: Death Squad Democracy
The Arrest of Congressman Satur Ocampo
by James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya

On March 16, 2007, Philippine police arrested veteran journalist, activist, former political prisoner and torture victim, Congressman Satur Ocampo, on the steps of the Philippine Supreme Court. One day earlier, in Washington DC, California Senator Barbara Boxer opened hearings on the mounting death squad executions and kidnappings in the Philippines. Nearly a thousand union leaders, clergy members, lawyers, human rights activists, peasants and elected officials of the social action party lists led by Representative Ocampo have been victimized. While the Philippine government, headed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is under investigation in the US Senate for the ongoing murder of her opponents, Senator Ocampo is charged, together with 50 other government critics, of having ordered the execution of a group of Marcos opponents… 22 years ago. The government ignores the fact that Ocampo was in prison at that time, a political prisoner of the Marcos dictatorship.....(full article)

Oh Lord, Won't You Buy Me an Acre of Land 
by Sheila Velazquez

I couldn't sleep replaying in my mind everything I have recently read and heard from savvy observers who think as I do regarding the looming crisis. I tried counting sheep, but as someone who once raised sheep, it didn't work. It just led to thinking about shearing and spinning and all the nice organic lamb we used to put in the freezer. I won't go into particulars about what is coming down the pike regarding the real estate situation, dollar, foreign entanglements, energy and the corrupt financial, political and corporate non-ethics that are destroying this country. Many are doing that. Instead, I'd like to address self reliance and taking control of one's life.....(full article

Black Snake Groan a.k.a "Riding Miss Crazy"
by Leilla Matsui

Experience tells me that a film so wrong on so many levels must either be a masterpiece, (think DW Griffith's Broken Blossom or John Waters' Female Troubles) or more predictably, an abomination on celluloid on par with Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Driving Miss Daisy. It's probably bad form to comment on a film that I haven't even seen, but the reviews of Black Snake Moan (with very few exceptions) all seem to overlook one simple question: Why does a woman who has been gang-raped, and presumably abused all her life, require, of all things, "redemption"? For the same reason, it turns out, an HIV positive man has to confess his "shame" in a crowded courtroom for succumbing to a one-night stand (Philadelphia), and a promiscuous woman has to succumb to HIV and a sexless, guilt-induced marriage to her mentally challenged suitor (Forrest Gump). In other words, how else will cineplex audiences engage emotionally with characters outside the sexual mainstream, however blameless, unless their transgressions are tearfully atoned for through death and abject obeisance to middle-class values? Or as Black Snake Moan helpfully suggests, forced confinement and cough syrup....(full article)

Remembering and Re-Examining the Third World:
A Review of Vijay Prashad's The Darker Nations
by Ron Jacobs

For those coming of political age after the fall of the Soviet Union, the concept of a Third World might seem antiquated. After all, as Vijay Prashad explains in his new book The Darker Nations (New Press 2007), the concept derived from the so-called two-camp theory put forth by the United States after World War Two. This theory held that there were only two superpowers in the world -- the United States and the Soviet Union. Every other nation would be best served by aligning themselves with one or the other of these camps. Naturally, both capitols would do their best to include as many nations as possible in their camps, since this served their needs for protection and expansion of markets and resources. This is not to say that there was not a difference between Washington's need to expand its capitalist enterprise and Moscow's desire to have some kind of socialist world, but to point out a fundamental understanding that runs through Prashad's book: the Third World saw nonalignment to either capitol as most beneficial to its own goals of independence and local development so they formed a movement of non-aligned nations. These nations shared a viewpoint that countered the view that the first and second world were somehow better. At times, according to Prashad's account, this was the only view they shared. Still, it was the view that united them....(full article)

Burn, Washington, Burn!
by Stacie Adams

The 2008 presidential election is still a few hundred days away and already the field of contenders is teeming with enough clichés and unintentional comedy to fill a Hollywood blockbuster. You have the inexperienced pretty boys (Obama & Edwards) rolling on mob appeal and feel-good rhetoric. If aesthetics aren’t your cup of tea, may I suggest the shameless panderers (Clinton & McCain), the sort of people who would bend over for NAMBLA if there were enough votes in it. Rounding out this ship of fools is a Mormon (Mitt Romney, who is partial to ending stump speeches with Fidel Castro’s signature phrase), a moron (Sam Brownback, who’s name is obviously some sort of homophobic slur) and an ineffectual elf (Dennis Kucinich, who must be filling in for Ralph Nader). And that’s just the scum gathering on the surface....(full article)

March 22

Ol’ Smedley Knew a Racket When He Saw (and Slew for) One
by Mark Drolette

On a picture-perfect St. Patrick’s Day morning, I heard that strangely seductive lament of bagpipes drifting through the open window of my downtown Sacramento apartment, a second-story unit right across the street from beautiful Capitol Park (an expanse of delightful urban greenery sullied only by the presence of the White Sepulcher of Corruption, otherwise known as the State Capitol, sitting smack dab in its middle). Curious, I headed outside. Spotting a sizeable crowd near the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial that sits just inside the park, I moseyed over. As I neared, even these failing old eyes could make out soon enough it was some sort of support the troops/war/killing-of-swarthy-people rally. There were probably about two hundred folks present. Vets, obviously, but also wives, husbands, moms, dads and youngsters. Including a few “Young Marines,” proudly decked out in big black boots and camouflage finery, signifying they were, indeed, well on their way to unquestioningly serving the good, ol’ Imperialistic States of America. The Web site for “Young Marines” says it “is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members.” I don’t know about you, but I find this unsettling. What about all the six and seven year-olds who want to join, too? Anyway, back at the park, it took but moments to sense a weird vibe.....(full article)

Amassing Grace and Bar-Coding Souls
by E. R. Bills

Earlier this month, the Agape Christian Fellowship in Arlington, Texas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It’s former leader, Pastor Terry Hornbuckle, was convicted of rape late last year and now the church is facing multiple lawsuits. The city of Arlington and Tarrant County are suing the Agape Christian Fellowship for back property taxes and related penalties; Hornbuckle’s rape victims have filed civil suits. Agape’s Chapter 11 filing is part of a growing trend. Faced with hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, the Roman Catholic diocese of San Diego, California filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. And it’s filing follows the 2004 bankruptcy-protection filings by Catholic dioceses in Tucson (Arizona), Portland (Oregon) and Spokane (Washington) and a 2006 filing by the diocese in Davenport, Iowa. It goes without saying that pedophiles and sexual predators are bad candidates for help in God’s front office. He obviously needs to screen His mortal representatives more carefully. But He should also go on-line and get an MBA. With all the financial and regulatory breaks that churches and religious organizations are getting these days, it’s ridiculous they can’t stay in the black.....(full article)

The Search for the Elusive Autism Genes
by Anne McElroy Dachel

Last month, the watchdog agency on America's health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made the official announcement that a breath-taking one in 150 kids is autistic in the US. They based this new rate on two studies done on eight year olds in 2000 and 2002. This new rate did not seem to be the least disturbing to CDC officials and we again heard the Really Big Lie About Autism -- that no matter how many autistic kids there are out there, they present no real increase in the disorder, just “better diagnosing by doctors” and “better statistics by the Centers for Disease Control.” The 1 in every 150 revelation was followed by another breaking autism story: Recently uncovered evidence shows that autism is caused by “genetic flaws.” Over 120 scientists from 50 institutions who formed the Autism Genome Project (AGP) performed the research. Headlines indicated a major scientific discovery:  The New York Post had “Gene Foul-ups Eyed in Autism,” the Boston Globe posted “Gene Flaws Found in Patients with Autism,” and the Baltimore Sun announced “Autism's Roots Mix of Chance and Genetics.” Scientists who for so long have been baffled by this disorder that didn’t seem to have a definite cause, are now zeroing in on it. To the casual reader, it appears that autism is inherited. After all, genes involve the traits passed on from one generation to another.  But wait, it's not that simple.....(full article)

The Failure of Cuban Intellectuals
by Bryan Aja

Communist government stands on the brink. Party officials see their power dithering and proclaim they are stronger than ever. A capitalist neighbor prepares its armed forces for a flood of refugees. Thousands have already risked their lives to come. Families separated for decades are eager to be reunited with loved ones. The free world waits, dangling exotic foods and innumerable shampoo brands to further entice the deprived subjects of a failed socialist experiment. On one side of the boundary, intellectuals debate whether the people really have a right to be reunited. In the dark, secretive side of the boundary, intellectuals mutter a little about a so-called new way and then become strangely quiet. Both sides are blind to what will really happen: There won't be a reunion; there will be a takeover. There won't be a new way; there will be a shopping spree.....(full article)

Racism and the Cherokee Nation
by William Loren Katz

As President Bill Clinton and others arrived in Selma, Alabama for the 42nd anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" march that prodded Congress to pass the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Cherokee Nation chose a lower road. It voted overwhelmingly for an amendment to their constitution that revokes citizenship rights for 2,800 members because their ancestors included people of African descent. Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, has long fought racism from both governmental officials and indigenous figures. In this instance, she claims, Cherokee leaders misled voters by insisting "freedmen don't have Indian blood," "the freedmen were forced on the tribe," "the freedmen do not have a treaty right to citizenship," "the people have never voted on citizenship provisions in the history of the tribe," and "the amendment will create an all Indian tribe." Cherokee voters were also influenced by the racist charge "that the freedmen if not ejected, would use up all of the tribal service monies.".....
(full article)

Chico Grandmother Goes to Prison for Trespassing
at US Army’s School of the Americas  
by Dan Bacher

After having lunch with family and supporters, Cathy Webster of Chico, CA turned herself in at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility in Elk Grove today to spend 60 days behind bars and high security fences for a simple trespassing charge at last November’s protest at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. Webster hugged her daughter, Stephanie Tarrago, and her grandchildren, Alicia and Alejandro, before two Sacramento County Sheriffs Deputies escorted her into the jail. Meanwhile, Chico and Sacramento area supporters, including Grandmothers for Peace and other peace advocates, sang “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Down by the Riverside.” Webster trespassed on the U.S. Army base to protest the teaching of counter-insurgency techniques and torture to Latin American soldiers that return to their home countries and commit atrocities, including massacres of women and children. In the same spirit as the civil rights movement, she used non-violent civil disobedience to shine a spotlight on the teachings of the school, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2000. “The soldiers that are trained at the SOA are not defending their country, but are killing civilians for corporate greed and domination,” said Webster. “They go back to their countries to kill and torture their own people. The graduates of this school are among the worst human rights violators in Latin America.”......(full article)

Pet Food Recall: What's Your Cat Eating? 
by Mickey Z.

Detecting corporate media bias often requires us to discern omissions. For example, consider how the recent pet food recall was reported. Los Angeles Times staff writer Kimi Yoshino penned an article ("Recall of pet food alarms owners") on March 19, 2007 that was widely syndicated. In the piece (which was consistent with almost all corporate media accounts), readers learned what brands were in question, how many animals had been affected, and (of course) that the company's stock has plummeted. Yoshino also interviewed a handful of pet owners [sic], including Victoria Levy, who declared: "That's so disturbing. When they put food on the shelves, you trust that it's safe." When they put food on the shelves, you trust that it's safe.....(full article)

March 20

* Listen to DV Co-Editor Joshua Frank discuss with AntiWar Radio's Scott Horton the relationships between the major Democratic presidential candidates and the Israel Lobby and the negative consequences. (MP3 file)

Global Ruling Class: Billionaires and How They “Made It”
by James Petras

While the number of the world’s billionaires grew from 793 in 2006 to 946 this year, major mass uprisings became commonplace occurrences in China and India. In India, which has the highest number of billionaires (36) in Asia with total wealth of $191 billion USD, Prime Minister Singh declared that the greatest single threat to ‘India’s security’ were the Maoist led guerrilla armies and mass movements in the poorest parts of the country. In China, with 20 billionaires with $29.4 billion USD net worth, the new rulers, confronting nearly a hundred thousand reported riots and protests, have increased the number of armed special anti-riot militia a hundred fold, and increased spending for the rural poor by $10 billion USD in the hopes of lessening the monstrous class inequalities and heading off a mass upheaval. The total wealth of this global ruling class grew 35% year to year topping $3.5 trillion USD, while income levels for the lower 55% of the world’s six-billion-strong population declined or stagnated. Put another way, one hundred millionth of the world’s population (1/100,000,000) owns more than over three billion people. Over half of the current billionaires (523) came from just three countries: the US (415), Germany (55) and Russia (53).  The 35% increase in wealth mostly came from speculation on equity markets, real estate and commodity trading, rather than from technical innovations, investments in job-creating industries or social services.....(full article)

Iraq: Why Won't MoveOn Move Forward?
by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. To commemorate the occasion, the online advocacy group is organizing more than 1,000 candlelight vigils throughout the United States. "We’ll solemnly honor the sacrifice made by more than 3,000 servicemen and women, and we'll contemplate the path ahead of us," states MoveOn's website. "We cannot send tens of thousands of exhausted, under-equipped, and unprepared troops into the middle of an Iraqi civil war. . . . Honor the sacrifice. Stop the escalation. Bring the troops home." MoveOn's 3.2 million members strongly oppose any continuation of the war, and the language above seems to suggest that MoveOn's leadership agrees. But MoveOn's organizing around Iraq has become notably ambiguous lately. Although it talks in general terms about bringing the troops home, specific timetables or meaningful steps in that direction are nowhere discussed. Most strikingly, MoveOn has adamantly refused to support the Iraq amendment from Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters, which calls for "a fully funded, and systematic, withdrawal of U.S. soldiers and military contractors from Iraq" by the end of 2007.....
(full article)

Lessons of the Antiwar Movement and
The Washington Post's Lessons of the War
by Ron Jacobs

The biggest impression I got was that it might be time for an umbrella organization that would encompass the two current supposedly umbrella antiwar organizations: UFPJ and ANSWER. Both groups have proven their ability to draw crowds and both organizations seem unwilling to move beyond the folks in each group that refuse to compromise and cooperate on the calling of national protests. I say this because the March 17, 2007 march on the Pentagon was called partially to summon forth the spirit of the 1967 march on the Pentagon against the US war in Vietnam. That protest was called by the New Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam or New Mobe. It was an amalgam of hundreds of organizations against the war. Churches, communists, liberal Democrats, labor unions, civil rights organizations, student groups, socialists, anarchists, hippies, people without a group or ideology, and a multitude of others. The groups within the Mobe worked together on the national stuff and left each local group to its own agenda. UFPJ does this to an extent and so does ANSWER. If there were a coordinating group that existed solely to organize large gatherings, there would most likely be fewer such gatherings, but the ones that did occur would enjoy the unconditional support of the entire movement.....(full article)

PERC Receives Templeton Freedom Award for
Promoting "Enviropreneurs"
by Bill Berkowitz

On the 15th anniversary of Terry Anderson and Donald Leal's book Free Market Environmentalism -- the seminal book on the subject -- Anderson, the Executive Director of the Bozeman, Montana-based Property and Environment Research Center (PERC, formerly known as the Political Economy Research Center) spoke in late-January at an event sponsored by Squaw Valley Institute at the Resort at Squaw Creek in California. While it may have been just another opportunity to speak on "free market environmentalism" and not the kickoff of a "victory tour," nevertheless it comes at a time when PERC's ideas are taking root. In a story written just before Anderson's northern California appearance, Truckee Today's Karen Sloan described PERC as an organization that "contends that private property rights encourage good stewardship of natural resources." The story, headlined "'Enviroprenuer' scholar to speak at Resort at Squaw Creek," pointed out that "PERC scholars argue that government subsidies often degrade the environment, that market incentives can spur individuals to conserve and protect the environment and that polluters should be liable for the harm they cause others."......(full article)

Religious Overtones of the Global Warming Debate
by Sheila and (primarily) Jason Velazquez

My son Jason and I were involved in an e-mail conversation about global warming. When I brought up the possibility of the cyclical nature of this event, he linked the debate to religion in a way I would never have thought of. He said: (First of all, you should review the info found here.) I realize that a stubborn bunch of right-wing conservatives continue to preach the gospel of "cyclical warming," and they will probably continue to do so long after tornadoes have leveled Denver and the term "Boston Aquarium" is a redundancy. They think this because they believe that it's an article of faith, like Jesus or the Apocalypse. And they believe that if enough people, especially Christians with scientific (any branch of science, which one doesn't matter) credentials shout long and loudly that there is NO PROOF, NO PROOF, NO PROOF, NO PROOF of the human causes of global warming, somehow 40 years of data tracking and climate modeling with increasingly sophisticated technologies can be ignored......(full article)

The Process of Preventing a Diplomatic Settlement
by Chandi Sinnathurai

Hundreds of thousands of indigenous Tamils from both the East and the North in Sri Lanka are fleeing to relative safety from the indiscriminate air attacks and multi-barrel rocket launchers from the Sri Lankan Armed Forces even as we write.  A public statement released on 9 March by the Amnesty International reported: "Many civilians are caught up in the fighting between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and urgently require effective protection. More than 220,000 civilians have been displaced by the violence. Amnesty International is concerned that the parties to the conflict are not doing all they can to protect the civilian population.".....(full article)

March 19

Welcome to the United States of Foreclosure
by Mike Whitney

The stock market is about to crash. The only question is whether it will quickly fall down the elevator shaft or follow the jerky flight path of a man pushed down a stairwell. Either way, the outcome will be the same: stocks will nose-dive, the dollar will plummet, and the bruised US economy will be splattered on the canvas like George Foreman in Rumble in the Jungle. Troubles in the sub-prime market have just begun to materialize and already 38 main sub-prime lenders have gone kaput. Foreclosures have reached a 37-year high, and an estimated two million homeowners will be put out on the street in the next few years. And that’s just for starters.....(full article)

Too Guilty to Fly, Too Innocent to Charge? 
by Faisal Kutty

As the Canadian government forges ahead with its cleverly named Passenger Protect Program, the timing could not be better to seriously reconsider what is for all intents and purposes a no-fly list. The attention to the issue of watch lists generated by the struggles of Maher Arar (the Canadian citizen detained by Americans and shipped off to torture and interrogation in Syria) to clear his name should make us all sit back and reflect. There are many lessons to be learned from the Canadian government’s recent apology and financial settlement with Arar for its role in his “extraordinary rendition.”.....(full article)

The Reasons Why Nader Took a Stand
by Alan Maass

No one can say that the documentary An Unreasonable Man sugarcoats the case against its subject. The film opens with Ralph Nader mumbling through a brief statement at a sparsely attended press conference during his 2004 presidential campaign. Then comes several minutes of vitriolic denunciations of Nader by three of the most unpleasant, puffed-up and dishonest fixtures of the liberal firmament -- Democratic “strategist” James Carville, author Todd Gitlin and Nation columnist Eric Alterman. If you aren’t familiar with their complaints on the subject, they are easily summarized: Ralph Nader, because he ran for president in 2000 as a third-party candidate against Al Gore and George Bush, is responsible everything bad that’s happened during the Bush presidency. Every. Thing.....(full article)

Open Letter to Pfizer's CEO:
$11 Million Salary, 36% raise and 10,000 Fired Employees
by Peter Rost

Dear Jeff,
You made $11 million last year, you just fired 10,000 employees, and you got a 36% raise this year. And that's the problem.....(full letter)

 R.I.P. Tanya Reinhart (1943-2007)

Dissident Voice is deeply saddened to report that contributing writer Tanya Reinhart passed away in New York on Saturday, March 17 after suffering a stroke. The Israeli-born scholar and activist received her B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is widely acclaimed for her work in syntax, semantics, discourse analysis and psycholinguistics. She had taught at MIT, Columbia University, Université de Paris 8, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and for over twenty years at Tel Aviv University. She most recently was Distinguished Global Professor at New York University (NYU), after having quit her post at Tel Aviv University in late 2006 and moving to New York from Israel in protest of Israel's building of an apartheid wall around the West Bank. Tanya was one of the most important and eloquent voices on behalf of the Palestinian cause. Her razor sharp op-eds in the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot, expanded and translated into English for publications like Dissident Voice, CounterPunch and ZNET, cut through the smoke and propaganda of US-Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and the Arab states like no other, and her extensive and critical reading of the Hebrew language press in Israel often brought to light crucially important information missed by most others, making her work indispensable for Middle East activists, scholars, and the general public. Tanya's painstaking attention to essential details and her powerful analysis are crystallized in two must-read books on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: The Roadmap to Nowhere (Verso, 2006) and Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948 (Seven Stories, 2002). She will be deeply missed. Her DV articles are archived here.

March 18

Bush’s Foreign Aid Surge: A New Era of Responsibility
to Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa or Bush’s Broken Promise?
by Aaron Sussman

While most discussion of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy centers around the much maligned invasion of Iraq, the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, and the escalating tension with Iran, only slight attention is usually given by the media and the public to this administration’s policies in Africa concerning the HIV/AIDS crisis. Bush, in fact, is responsible for a “dramatic increase in U.S. aid to Africa,” boosting “direct development and humanitarian aid… to more than $4 billion a year from $1.4 billion in 2001,” thanks to the passage of the AIDS Leadership Act in 2003. Behind these impressive numbers, though, are underlying issues that have outraged some international health and aid organizations, invigorating a debate over how aid should be distributed and what the priorities should be. One of the most controversial clauses in the AIDS Leadership Act states that federal funding is unavailable “to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.” Stipulations like this one, which is currently the subject of ongoing litigation, have served to undermine the potential of foreign aid to curb the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Africa.....
(full article)

Aiding the Enemy
by Pham Binh

They cut and run in the face of danger. They aid the enemy and give comfort to him in his hour of need. They don't understand the nature of the threat we face today. Who am I talking about? The Democrats, of course. The enemy they aid, give comfort to, capitulate to, and retreat from, is President Bush. Although they rode a wave of anti-war sentiment into office, the Democrats are doing their best to betray the voters by giving Bush every thing he wants -- money, troops, and his choice of generals -- but whining about it every step of the way. Hence all the non-binding resolutions, the schemes by folks like John Murtha to continue the war while appearing to oppose it, and the shameless posturing for 2008 by opportunists like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.....(full article)

Marine Mom Tina Richards Continues to Pressure the Democrats
by Kevin Zeese

Tina Richards, the mother of a Marine facing his third deployment to Iraq, is continuing her efforts to pressure Democrats to end the war. After her chance encounter with Rep. David Obey in a Capitol Hill hallway, she returned this week to meet with him and met with his staff to get clarification of the Iraq supplemental. Richards is also focusing on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs as her son exemplifies many of the dysfunctional qualities of the Veterans Administration. In the Capitol Hill meeting with Obey’s appropriations staff, she was joined by Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, Linda Schade of Voters for Peace and myself. The meeting was videotaped by WHYNotNews and is available on the web providing an insider's view of Capitol Hill.  In response to hearing the details of the supplemental Ms. Richards said: “Their supplemental is not good for our troops, for our country or for Iraq. US troops need to come home now. Continuing to fund the war will not protect our sons and daughters, it will put them at risk. Iraqi Parliamentarians say they are able to take care of their own country and create their own destiny. The US has an obligation to provide the funds to allow them to rebuild their country since we destroyed it. The Democrats have the power to end the war. It is their war now -- 198 service members have been killed since the Democrats had the power to end the war.”....(full article)

Obama's Israel Problem 
by Joshua Frank

Sen. Barack Obama isn't quite sure how he feels about the lopsided situation between Israel and Palestine. Less than two weeks after Obama gloated to AIPAC about his love for Israel, he unexpectedly admitted the truth while campaigning in Iowa recently. "[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..." said Obama, "the Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart . . ." The truth hurts indeed, and Obama has been feeling the wrath of the pro-Israel activists since his statement last week. Nonetheless, Obama shouldn't be trusted on the issue. While Rep. Dennis Kucinich hired avid pro-Palestine advocate Noura Erakat to sit on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Obama has been backpedaling -- assuring AIPAC and others that he is unwavering in his support for Israel's continued bullying of Iran and occupation of Palestine.....(full article)

The History of Israel Reconsidered: A Talk by Ilan Pappe
by gyaku

Professor Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and senior lecturer of Political Science at Haifa University. He is the author of numerous books, including A History of Modern Palestine, The Modern Middle East, The Israel/Palestine Question and, most recently, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, published in 2006. On March 8, he spoke at a small colloquium in Tokyo organized by the NIHU Program Islamic Area Studies, University of Tokyo Unit, on the path of personal experiences that brought him to write his new book. The following is a transcript of his lecture, tentatively titled "The History of Israel Reconsidered" by organizers of the event.....(full article)

Nakba: The Israeli Holocaust Denial
by Kim Petersen

Ilan Pappe deserves credit. He goes further than most Israelis in deconstructing the Jewish state’s historical revisionism, which he calls a “Zionist whitewash of words.” But does Pappe go far enough? The iconoclastic Haifa University historian has written a book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, destroying the “Israeli foundational myth,” which he describes as a “sheer fabrication.” Pappe sets straight the Israeli historiography. Central to Zionist historical revisionism is Nakba (catastrophe) denial. Pappe affirms the occurrence of the Nakba which he states was not a “voluntary flight” but part of a Zionist blueprint (Plan Dalet) for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. It was ethnic cleansing, but was it not also something more sinister? (full article)

From Guilt to Responsibility
by Gilad Atzmon

The impossible condition of being an ex-Israeli as well as an ethically orientated human being necessary leads towards a serious guilt complex. I am referring here to the obvious case of one feeling guilty for the crimes committed on one’s behalf by one’s brethren. Yet, I have to confess that while guilt can be charming, at least for a while, it is far from being a productive state of mind in the long term. Guilt is a self-centered endeavor, it doesn’t aim towards a change. In guilt alone, there is not much hope for better future. In fact, the only way to translate guilt into productivity is to transform remorse into responsibility. At least in my case, responsibility is primarily grounded on the deep acknowledgment that, though totally against my will, as things are set by the Jewish State, every atrocity committed by Israel is actually committed in my name and on my behalf. In other words, my commitment to the Palestinian issue is evoked by my acceptance of my responsibility. Though shouting ‘not in my name’ would have helped to vindicate me as an individual person, it won’t change the grave sinister fact that every Israeli war crime is actually done in the name of the Jewish people. Thus, I have never been an advocate of the ‘not in my name’ call. Clearly, I am not searching for my own self-redemption but rather for a metaphysical shift of awareness. Consequently, responsibility is for me a form of intervention that bridges the necessary gap between silent acceptance and ethical commitment. My responsibility is my pledge to do whatever I can to bring the suffering of the Palestinians to an immediate halt....(full article)

Why Oaxaca Matters
by James Cooke

For anyone interested in social progress, the ‘Oaxaca Commune’ stands out as an event worthy of attention and study. In the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the overwhelming majority of people suddenly awoke from political hibernation and became active in shaping social life. In consequence, the old apparatus of the state, dedicated as it was to the interests of the rich, was destroyed, and a new structure, based on direct representation of the many, was established.....(full article)        

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Confesses: “I Killed Jesus!”
by Gary Corseri

Faux Fair-and-Balanced News Flash:
The confessed “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks -- “from A to Zed” -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) has now confessed to scores of other crimes committed over the past two millennia. Appearing distraught, head bloody and bowed, wearing the same t-shirt he has worn since his capture in Pakistan four years ago, with disgusting back and body hair even more unkempt than before, KSM’s new confessions have come fast and furious during a special hearing to determine the Sheik’s status as an “enemy combatant.” In a shocking revelation, KSM described how, in a previous lifetime, incarnated in the body of Judas, he betrayed Jesus with a kiss on the cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane. “I knew what I was doing,” the Sheikh admitted. “You think I did it for 30 pieces of silver?” he spat contemptuously. “I knew what would happen. I had bigger objectives!....
(full article)

An Intolerant Minority  
by Walter Brasch

Capt. Joan Darrah (USN-ret.) was the Navy’s first female intelligence officer. Lt. Col. William Winnewisser (USA-ret.) was a battalion commander, executive officer of the Army Operations Center at the Pentagon, and a White House social aide. Lt. Col. Hank Thomas (USMC-ret.) was an infantry and intelligence officer who served two tours of duty in Vietnam; he later served as assistant secretary for international affairs in the Reagan administration. Lt. Col. Steve Loomis, wounded in action in Vietnam, was awarded the Bronze Star with a “V” for valor. Capt. Joe Lopez, a West Point graduate, and Blackhawk pilot, earned an Air Medal in Iraq. Capt. Rebecca Kanis, a West Point graduate, was a company commander in Special Operations at the time she resigned her commission after nine years of service. Capt. Phil Adams, a Naval Academy graduate, spent eight years as a Marine infantry officer. 1st Lt. Gina Foringer, during her four years of service, was a convoy commander in Somalia when she was wounded in action. SSgt. Eric Alva, who lost a leg in Iraq, served 13 years in the Marines before receiving a medical discharge. Each of them has a stack of medals and commendations; each of them is gay or lesbian. And every one of them is immoral, according the Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military “says that we, by policy, would be condoning what I believe is immoral activity,” Gen. Pace told the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune. When Pace’s comments went public, he was forced to issue a written statement, but never apologized for his opinion about gays: “In expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some personal opinions about moral conduct. I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views.”....(full article)

“Let's Roll”: The Lessons of United 93
by Mickey Z.

Let's say you're a passenger on a 737. You paid the ever-increasing price to jam your ever-widening butt into an ever-shrinking seat. Yep, you whipped out the plastic to willingly endure zero leg room, artificial air, phony friendliness, something loosely resembling food (sic), edited-for-mass-consumption movies, and it doesn't matter whether you're seated near the left wing or the right wing . . . the pilot calls the shots. If you choose to speak up, you can guarantee there'll be a uniformed, armed servant of the State waiting for you when the plane lands. Can anyone say "microcosm"? However, on the topic of plane rides, there is one type of rebellion that's always welcome in the home of the brave . . . and the more violent it is, the better. Rise up against official U.S. enemies and they'll make movies about you, build statues, write speeches, and all that good stuff. The powers-that-be in the land of the free may pretend to admire pacifism but never forget: Genuine hero worship is reserved for those ready, willing, and able to shed blood even if it may cost them their our lives.....(full article)

Keep the Candle Burning:
Opening Night at “My Name Is Rachel Corrie”
by Zbignew Zingh

This week, I watched the opening night of the West Coast performance of “My Name is Rachel Corrie.” It was the fourth anniversary of Rachel's death. At the age of 23, she was crushed beneath the blade of a Caterpillar bulldozer operated by the Israeli IDF while trying to defend a Palestinian family's house from destruction. The official investigation whitewashed the incident and, in an exercise of boring familiarity for our times, it blamed the circumstances of amorphous terrorism, the fog of war and the innocent victim herself for having tried to interpose her own body in an effort to avert injustice. Unlike its fulsome praise for the sole Chinese man who, in 1989, stopped bare-handed a column of “Communist” government tanks at Tiananmen Square, the United States government has, at best, ignored Rachel Corrie and, at worst, slighted her as a naïve and liberal fool. This, then, is the 90-minute one woman play that New York did not dare to perform. It is now showing in Seattle, almost as far from Broadway as one can get in the continental United States.....(full article)

Thanks a Lot New Mexico!: Louisiana Forced to Look at
Peculiar Cultural Tradition of Cockfighting
by Martha Rosenberg

After a year of battling FEMA, the state of Louisiana has a new enemy: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. This week the Governor signed legislation to make cockfighting illegal in his state, leaving Louisiana in conspicuous isolation as the only state to be Cockfighting Friendly. Of course last year Richardson hedged on the issue saying there were "strong arguments on both sides" of the cockfighting debate. ("Really?" replied Jay Leno. "What's the good argument for cockfighting? [It] keeps roosters off the street. It gives those roosters without any skills a chance to make it?  What reason is there for cockfighting?") But then he wasn't running for President. Efforts to ban cockfighting in Louisiana have gone over like a dry Mardi Gras.....
(full article)

March 15

Crouching Tiger, Tumbling US Economy
by Heather Wokusch

Bush and Cheney may be declaring "Mission Accomplished" now that the Iraqi Cabinet has approved the draft of an oil law granting foreign companies unprecedented access to the country's fields. But Beijing is having the last laugh. Just last week, Chinese oil company officials arrived in Baghdad to revive Hussein-era contracts  for developing Iraq's oil, specifically, the Ahdab oil field in south-central Iraq. Hundreds of millions of dollars and a reduction in Iraq's Chinese debt are already on the table. It wasn't supposed to work this way. The US had a major role in developing Iraq's proposed oil law, with its scandalous long-term agreements enabling foreign oil companies to plunder the nation's most precious resource. Yet despite the US "investment" of more than 35,000 dead or wounded troops and over 400 billion dollars to secure access to Iraq's oil for itself, China is poised to sign the first major contract......(full article)

Closing the Gap Between Torturer and Victim
by John Pilger

John Pilger reports on new revelations that torturers in America's “war on terror” were directed personally by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He argues that the historical antidote to such barbarity is the new exuberant democracy movement in Latin America.....(full article)

Hugo Chavez: “Bush Should Get the Gold Medal for Hypocrisy    
by Mike Whitney

Bush’s trip to Latin America has turned into another public relations disaster. Every time Air Force 1 touches down in a southern capital, the streets turn into a battleground between incensed protestors and fully-armored, truncheon-wielding Robo-cops. At the same time, Bush has to be whisked away in an armored-plated limousine to an undisclosed spider-hole in the Andean outback. Is this any way to promote “free trade”? How is Bush expected to change hearts and minds when he can’t even stick his nose beyond the small army of mercenaries which surrounds him 24-7? Bush now faces stiff headwinds wherever he goes. He is the most unpopular president in modern times and no one is hoodwinked by his silly promises to help the poor and needy. It’s just a shabby excuse to mollify the public. “We care about our neighborhood a lot,” Bush purred in Brazil. Nonsense.....
(full article)

Black Lawmakers Digitally Redline African Americans
by Bruce Dixon

Last year big cable and bigger telephone companies deployed platoons of lobbyists and up to a hundred million dollars in an attempt to enact national cable franchise legislation. They greased its way through the House of Representatives, proving along the way that willful ignorance and lots of corporate cash could make two thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus vote for the digital broadband redlining of their own communities. The power play of big phone and the cable guys stalled in the US Senate, thanks to a national grassroots campaign campaign spearheaded by Free Press, a national not-for-profit media reform group, and a constellation of forces including the Alliance For Community Media and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisers. Had they succeeded, big phone and cable interests would have thoroughly privatized the internet, and frozen in place the highly profitable digital divide between blacks and whites, between richer and poorer communities, between urban and rural areas which has been the heart of the cable industry's business model for a generation. Although Ma Bell and the cable guys failed in Congress, their backup plan was already well underway. Plan B for giant cable and phone companies was to push the same or worse legislation virtually simultaneously in all fifty states, one state legislature at a time.....(full article)

Harriet Miers Fired Investigator in 1997 to Cover Bush Draft-Dodge 
by Greg Palast

The Mister Big behind the scandal of George Bush's firing of US Attorneys is not a 'mister' at all. The House Judiciary Committee has released White House e-mails indicating that the political operative who ordered the hit on prosecutors too honest for their own good was Harriet Miers, one-time legal counsel to the President. But this is not the first time that Miers has fired investigators to protect Mr. Bush.....(full article)

by Gary Corseri

I’ve been meaning to have a talk with you, God.

You’re not all you’re cracked up to be!

You’re always testing, testing, testing—

Like a an old school-marm

Or a ruler-packing knuckle-cracker.

You stack the cards against us

Then tell us that we’re free:

Free to choose the Tree of Knowledge

Or live in holy bliss—doorknob dumb.

If we choose knowledge, we choose death.

Some parable!  Some choice!......(full poem)

March 13

In Debt We Trust as the Economy Goes Bust: A Return to Serfdom?
by Carolyn Baker

Last week the Senate Banking Committee began an investigation of credit card companies and that industry’s lending practices of which Chairman, Carl Levin of Michigan said, “Millions of families . . . are kept in debt and are in over their heads not just because of their own purchases . . . but because of the abusive practices and excesses of the credit card companies.” Simultaneously, MSN’s Money Markets Editor, Jim Jubak, published an enlightening piece “Debt Pyramid Threatens To Topple Markets” in which he analyzes the gargantuan February 27 sell-off in world markets and its continuing reverberations throughout the global economy. Whether personal or planetary, a tornado of foreclosures, bankruptcies, missing money -- now arriving on the world stage as a housing bubble, soon devolving into a credit bubble -- is ripping through the United States economy and world markets and will ultimately shatter, splinter, and shred, not only the fiscal fabric of America but is likely to catapult the global economy itself into massive meltdown. Consequently, I’m not holding my breath that Levin or his committee will have any influence on the debt cyclone and the industry that has set it in motion.....(full article)  

The Pragmatism of Prolonged War
by Norman Solomon

The antiwar movement is now coming to terms with measures being promoted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi and Reid have a job to do. The antiwar movement has a job to do. The jobs are not the same. This should be obvious -- but, judging from public and private debates now fiercely underway among progressive activists and organizations, there’s a lot of confusion in the air. No amount of savvy Capitol-speak can change the fact that “benchmarks” are euphemisms for more war. And when activists pretend otherwise, they play into the hands of those who want the war to go on... and on... and on.....(full article)

Olmert’s Testimony Reveals the Real Goal of the War in Lebanon
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Israel's supposedly "defensive" assault on Hizbullah last summer, in which more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed in a massive aerial bombardment that ended with Israel littering the country's south with cluster bombs, was cast in a definitively different light last week by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. His leaked testimony to the Winograd Committee -- investigating the government's failures during the month-long attack -- suggests that he had been preparing for such a war at least four months before the official casus belli: the capture by Hizbullah of two Israeli soldiers from a border post on 12 July 2006. Lebanon's devastation was apparently designed to teach both Hizbullah and the country's wider public a lesson. Olmert's new account clarifies the confusing series of official justifications for the war from the time.....(full article)

9-11: The Truth Matters
by Kim Petersen

On 11 September 2001, I sat with a Palestinian family in the living room of their home in Aqaba, Jordan and watched subdued as planes struck US landmarks. It wasn’t long before the Saudi rebel Osama bin Laden was fingered as the culprit. That the corporate media had so quickly named a responsible party was suspicious. My suspicion was further aroused when, days later, I spoke with a friend who trained pilots for Royal Jordanian Airlines. The captain claimed that flight 93 had not crashed; it had been shot down. To adduce his point he pointed out how there were no large chunks of fuselage among the wreckage and that the wreckage was scattered over too wide an area. Assuming his facts were true, then the media portrayal of the 9-11 Gestalt was immediately questionable. Reports quickly surfaced about Israelis celebrating during the attack, that no Arabs were on the planes, that onboard cell phones could not function under those circumstances, that US air force interceptor planes had taken inordinately long to scramble, that the WTC buildings’ owner had massively insured the buildings for a terrorist attack, that only a demolition could collapse the buildings in such a manner, that jet fuel did not burn hot enough to melt steel, that the president sat with school children apparently unfazed by the news of the attack, and so on. True or not, it was no wonder that people became engaged in a movement to determine what happened on 9-11. How does one arrive at the “truth”? (full article)

Confronting the War Machine in the Pacific Northwest
by Ron Jacobs

On March 5th, 2007, several people were attacked and at least three arrested by police in Tacoma, WA. at a series of protests against shipments of military supplies at the city's port. The reasons for the attacks and arrests were not clear to onlookers, who told the press that the protesters were doing nothing but holding signs. In an exchange I had with Jeff Berryhill of Olympia, WA (who was arrested along with Wally Cudderford and Caitlin Esworthy), I was told that all he was doing when he was shot with a rubber bullet by the police was "holding a sign that read "Courage to" (Courage to Resist is an organization supporting military resisters.) The next thing he knew he was hit in the thigh by a police-fired projectile. All of this occurred in the predawn hours of March 5th, 2007. The reason for the unusual timing of the arrests is because even though the protest began the evening before, the actual loading of the equipment did not begin until after midnight. Protests continued each evening throughout the week, although no more arrests were made until Friday, March 9th when a woman was taken in by police for carrying a unauthorized backpack into a zone. The Friday protests were some of the largest of the week and were met with tear gas, concussion grenades and other forms of police violence. Among the protesters was Attorney Lynne Stewart, who is out on bail following her questionable conviction on "providing support to terrorists" charges.....
(full article)

Propaganda and Conscience
by Patricia Goldsmith

Watching Shut Up and Sing took me right back to the national dementia of 2003, when the Bush administration worked the country with into war frenzy with lies, innuendos, and delusional images of mushroom clouds ascending from the ruins of American cities. BushCo was so confident, the propaganda was so overwhelming, that even people who knew better had occasional spasms of doubt.  The corporate media were nothing less than reverent as Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld did whatever it took to sell the war. And it worked. New York City restaurants poured expensive French wines into the sewer, while the congressional cafeteria started serving “freedom fries.” UN weapons inspector Hans Blix was a spineless fool who didn’t know what he was talking about. Scott Ritter was accused of being a spy. The UN was a bunch of timid old ladies whose time had passed.  Diplomacy itself was reviled as nothing but a euphemism for appeasement. Even when the war propaganda failed to convince, it intimidated. In my own little village on Long Island, I saw a bumper sticker that said “War Protesters Makes Great Speed Bumps,” and a diner with a sign in the window that said “No War Protesters Welcome.”.....(full article)

Review of Challenging the New Orientalism
by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

A sad legacy of prolonged Western domination has been that few people read in Muslim world; fewer still do so critically. This has left the field wide open for Orientalists to extend their pernicious influence. They have taken liberties with the history, culture, traditions and beliefs of the Islamic world and with the notable exception of Edward Said, they have encountered little resistance. In the tradition of Said, and in the spirit of al-Khashab, then, Challenging the New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on the "War Against Islam" is M. Shahid Alam's bracing riposte to the New Orientalists.....
(full review)

March 12

Behind the Walter Reed Scandal
by Joseph Szczekoski

In the wake of the recent reports over poor treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), as described in the Washington Post, it would do well for us to consider the possibility that the outrage we are expressing may have been in fact intended to appear at this very moment in time. We may unleash fury at this “scandal,” and it is probably our fury at the war, but we may also be missing an important development. The existence of an underhanded attempt to revamp the military healthcare system according to administration and Pentagon geopolitical demands but with the emotional responses of Americans largely opposed to these demands as the justification for this revamping cannot be ruled out as impossible. Indeed, this situation is probable. The popular response to the “scandal” at WRAMC and the subsequent Veterans Affairs “scandal” will be used to justify the modernization of a healthcare system that could not be modernized without such a popular mandate. Many people opposed to the war are currently advocating, by expressing admittedly justified outrage, the expansion of an important part of the very system they may be trying to contain. The unpopularity of the war would not allow this modernization to occur upon request and certainly not upon demand. Any attempt to revamp the system, without a popular mandate, would therefore be immediately recognized as an expansionary effort at a time when military expansion is unpopular. This mandate is our outrage, and the war itself cannot continue without such a mandate. With the numbers of wounded steadily growing, there is no choice but to stop the war or to refurbish the healthcare system. If we support this refurbishment as dictated by the war’s architects, we also support the war.....(full article)

Are They Holding Suzi Hazahza for Profit?
Lessons from the Road to Hell
by Greg Moses

Inside the Rolling Plains prison since early November are 20-year-old Suzi Hazahza and her 23-year-old sister Mirvat. They spent their first two chilly days at Haskell on the concrete floor of a drunk tank, because no beds were available. The sisters had been abducted and detained with their parents and three brothers by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during a pre-election roundup of immigrants called “Operation Return to Sender.” Mother Juma and 11-year-old brother Mohammad were shipped to the T. Don Hutto prison camp at Taylor, Texas. Father Radi and two older sons, Ahmad and Hisham, were shipped with the sisters to Haskell.....(full article)

Israel Looking for an Extreme Makeover
by Bill Berkowitz

It hasn't been the easiest year for Israel. There was this past summer's widely condemned attack on Lebanon and the recent disclosure by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that his country has a nuclear arsenal, not to mention the ongoing death and destruction resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's strongly criticized Israel in the new bestselling book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, and a recent consumer survey found that Israel has the worst "brand name" of any country in the world. Finally, The Sunday Times of London recently reported that the Israeli Air Force may be preparing to use low grade, tactical nuclear weapons to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities. So perhaps it is not surprising that Israel -- whose international image is of a country in continuous conflict -- would engage in a serious long-term effort to reshape global perceptions of itself. As part of its "re-branding" strategy, according to a report in the Washington Times, Israel is turning to "the wisdom of Madison Avenue.".....
(full article)

The Students are Stirring:
A Campus Antiwar Movement Begins to Make Its Mark
by Ron Jacobs

Folks often ask, rather cynically, where are the students protesting the war? Well, the answer is that they are there -- on their campuses and in the dorms -- organizing speakers, rallies and teach-ins. The fact that folks off campus do not hear about these events does not mean that they aren't occurring. What it does mean is that the media is choosing not to cover them. Here in Asheville, NC, the local SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) linked group at University of North Carolina-Asheville (UNCA) organized a counter-recruitment protest in January 2006, a walkout and march against the war last October and is now actively involved in getting students to go to the March 17th March on the Pentagon. At UNC's Chapel Hill campus, six students were arrested on February 17, 2007 after refusing to leave Congressman David Price’s office in a protest demanding that he vote against further war funding. Meanwhile, on February 15th, students at campuses around the country held rallies and teach-ins against the war. While the movement has not reached the proportions organizers want to see, it is growing. The next student day of protest is scheduled for March 20th -- three days after the March on the Pentagon. I recently connected with UNCA SDS member Kati Ketz over email. Besides her activities here in Asheville, Kati is also a spokesperson for the SDS call for the March 20th Day of Action Against the War. The exchange with Kati was an opportunity for me to learn what antiwar students have been up to and how they see the future.....(full interview)

March 11

-- Website of Day --
The Democrats After November
, by Mike Davis (New Left Review, Jan-Feb 07)

Global Realignment and the Decline of the Superpower  
by Mike Whitney

The United States has been defeated in Iraq. That doesn’t mean that there’ll be a troop withdrawal anytime soon, but it does mean that there’s no chance of achieving the mission’s political objectives. Iraq will not be a democracy, reconstruction will be minimal, and the security situation will continue to deteriorate into the foreseeable future. The real goals of the invasion are equally unachievable. While the US has established a number of military bases at the heart of the world’s energy-center, oil output has dwindled to 1.6 million barrels per day, nearly half of post-war production. More importantly, the administration has no clear strategy for protecting pipelines, oil tankers and major facilities. Oil production will be spotty for years to come even if security improves. This will have grave effects on oil futures, triggering erratic spikes in prices and roiling the world energy markets. If the contagion spreads to the other Gulf States, as many political analysts now expect, many of the world’s oil-dependent countries will go through an agonizing cycle of recession/depression.....(full article)

Open Letter to General Petraeus
by James Petras

I am told by the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post that you have impeccable academic and battlefield credentials. President Bush has appointed you “Commander of the Multinational Forces in Iraq,” and so you have the power to implement your highly publicized counterinsurgency theories. You are nearly my namesake -- having a Romanized version of my Hellenized name (Petraeus/Petras). You are dubbed a ‘warrior’ or ‘counterinsurgency intellectual’. I hold credentials as an ‘insurgency intellectual’ or as Alex Cockburn calls it ‘a fifty-year membership in the class struggle.’ Your publicists have billed you as ‘America’s last best hope for salvation [of the empire] in Iraq.’ Predictably the Democrats in Congress, led by Senator Clinton, went down on their knees in praise and support of your professionalism and war record in Northern Iraq. So let it be recognized that you enjoy an advantage: the support of both parties, the White House, Congress and the mass media, but still being an insurgent intellectual, I am not convinced that you will or should succeed in saving Iraq for the empire. Better still, I think you undoubtedly will fail, because your military assumptions and strategies are based on fundamentally flawed political analyses, which have profound military consequences......(full letter)

War on Terror, War on Women
by Heather Wokusch

Under Bush, the US has become more militaristic and less tolerant of diplomacy and dissent. Women's rights have deteriorated accordingly. Sabotaging programs for women has become something of a sport for this administration -- in fact, one of Bush's first acts as president was to shut down the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach. Among other activities, the office had monitored policy initiatives and coordinated federal programs affecting women. Bush then tried to close the Department of Labor Women's Bureau regional offices, thus prohibiting women from learning about their legal rights in the workplace. Most recently, the administration took revenge on the Office of Women's Health, presumably because it had backed scientific research supporting the emergency contraceptive Plan B. Previous attempts to punish the office had included appointing a veterinarian as its director (speaks volumes, Bush wanted an animal doctor to be in charge of US women's health), but two weeks ago, the hammer fell. The Women's Health Office learned that its budget for this year would be slashed by 25%, thus threatening ongoing operations and research into everything from menopause to birth control....(full article)

“We Don't Have the Votes” 
Mother of Soldier Crosses Paths With Rep. David Obey
by Tina Richards

As I've been walking the halls of congress these last few weeks, I have been shocked at the arrogance, the finger shaking, and statements such as Rep. Obey (D-WS), "It's time these idiot liberals understand. . . ." (watch the video) Or Russ Carnahan's chief-of-staff, "you can't trust those activists." As the mother of an Iraq War Veteran who has seen what this war has done to her son, her family and many others, I have become an activist and a liberal, which apparently is anyone working to end the war. So each day I am creating opportunities to discuss with our lawmakers how to help our troops by bringing them home. Many of the staffers I meet start with handing me their latest press release about being against the surge. "That is not what I am there to discuss," I respond. "I do not understand how anyone can be against the escalation while leaving 144,000 soldiers and Marines stranded in Iraq without a way home." 123 soldiers and Marines have died since I left Missouri -- 23 families who will receive their husband, wife, son, daughter home in a flag draped coffin. Tens of thousands will come home to families that will wonder what happened to their son or daughter, because who returned is barely human. Struggling everyday to keep them alive while their Commanding Officers ignores their cries for help, while the VA leaves the signs of PTSD untreated, while their families weep for needless suicidal deaths.....(full article)

In Good Conscience I Cannot Pay a Fine for Speaking Out
Against this War
by Janine Maria Allwine

Dear Judge King: 
You have ordered me to pay a fine of $50 for the above-referenced conviction. I have thought long and hard about this matter and, even though the money would go into a Victim’s Restitution Fund, my conscience dictates that payment of any money into any fund for something I have the Constitutionally protected right to do is wrong. I am writing to respectfully tell you that I will not pay this fine, but, more importantly, I want to tell you why. I want to be sure that you understand that I mean no disrespect to you or to your court. But because I know that your conviction of me was wrong, I also know I can not pay a fine and continue to look at myself in the mirror. I was arrested while exercising my Constitutional right to petition my government. It would take me several pages to tell you what I have done since 2002 (indeed since the installation of George W. Bush as president in 12/2000) to stop the downward slide of this country into what I know is already here -- a particularly dangerous brand of American fascism that infects our foreign and domestic policies. I do not use this term lightly -- in fact, I have hesitated to use it -- but because it truthfully states what is happening, I now use it when discussing this subject.....(full letter

ADHD Drug Warnings Come Too Late For Many
by Evelyn Pringle

The makers of drugs used to treat attention disorders have known about the serious health risks associated with the medications for years, but instead of warning the public, the industry has consistently focused its efforts on expanding the market and colluding with FDA officials to keep warnings off the labels of ADHD drugs. On February 21, 2007, the FDA finally directed the drug companies to develop Patient Medication Guides to inform patients about the adverse psychiatric symptoms associated with Adderall, Concerta, Daytrana, Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate CD, Methylin, Ritalin, Strattera, and the extended-release, patch and chewable versions of these drugs. An FDA report titled, "Adverse Events Associated with Drug Treatment of ADHD: Review of Postmarketing Safety Data," by Kate Gelperin and Kate Phelan, was presented at the March 22, 2006, Pediatric Advisory Committee meeting and stated in part: “The most important finding of this review is that signs and symptoms of psychosis or mania, particularly hallucinations, can occur in some patients with no identifiable risk factors, at usual doses of any of the drugs currently used to treat ADHD.”.....(full article)

The Union Makes Us Strong!
by Ron Jacobs

Thirty-five years ago this month, workers at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio left their positions on the shop floor. The reason for the wildcat strike was the institution by the company of new disciplinary rules and a general speed-up of the manufacturing process. This action by the workers not only ticked off management, it also upset the union bureaucrats, who had promised cooperation from its members regarding the new rules. It wasn't only the new rules that caused the rebellion, but the addition of those rules to an already tedious and backbreaking job. The line speed at Lordstown greatly exceeded that of older plants, and the worker unrest at the plant came to symbolize worker alienation in general. The wildcats also represented the rebellious youthful working-class militancy of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Instead of merely striking over wages and hours, the Lordstown wildcatters and their brothers and sisters in plants of all kinds were contesting the alienation of modern work. Where there was no mechanism to strike, these protests took the form of sabotage and individual outbreaks of resistance......(full article)

President Bush Takes His Unpopularity to Latin America
by Jim Schultz

A January poll of 603 prominent Latin Americans (leading politicians, government officials, academics and journalists) found that 86 percent gave the Bush administration a fair or poor grade for its handling of the region. Poll after poll in the region shows that Bush's resounding unpopularity looks just as deep both on the street and even among self-described conservatives. It is likely that more people believe that professional wrestling is real than believe the Bush Administration is much of a friend south of the border. To be sure, Bush has launched his trip with rhetoric as sunny as the South American summer into which he is headed. Bush told Colombian TV: "It's nothing more than to say we want to be your friends, and we've got a very strong policy of improving the lives of others. My trip is a chance to tell the people of Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil and Guatemala and Mexico that the United States cares deeply about the human condition." South Americans aren't buying it. In Bogotá, Colombia this week, a full three days before Bush was even set to arrive, more than 2,000 people filled the streets to protest his visit. More than 6,000 protested today in Sao Palo Brazil, Bush's first stopover. Similar greetings await him at most every visit ahead.  In a region of the world that once named broad avenues after modern US Presidents, Mr. Bush is not even likely to score having a bus bench erected in his name.....(full article)

Bush in Guatemala: Time to Tackle Impunity
by Buddy Rutzke

President Bush will be touching down for a visit to Guatemala about two weeks before the twenty-fifth anniversary of the coup d’état that brought to power General Efraín Ríos Montt, one of the most murderous US-backed dictators of the Cold War era. While Guatemalans are engaged in a struggle to bring that man to justice, a White House press release says Bush will be visiting “to experience the rich cultural diversity of this Central American nation, meet with President Oscar Berger, and emphasize the close relationship between our two countries.” While the President should be sure to appreciate Guatemala’s diversity and beauty, he also has the opportunity and obligation to make this trip a serious and productive one by helping bring to a close one of the bloodiest periods in Guatemala’s history, for which the US bears much responsibility......(full article)

Honeybees Of The World, Unite?
by Frank Scott 

The stress factor in human life may be approaching that of the Honeybee, which seems to be vanishing at alarming rates and for some of the same reasons that people feel pressured. An economic crime against nature is creating massive strains on all environments, and on all creatures great and small which depend on those environments. Commonly dubbed a globalization that is spreading wealth and democracy wherever it goes, the blight on natural and social environments is nothing but old fashioned capitalism. The Honeybees are placed under perverse burdens by the economics of agriculture, which have been breeding them in special forms so as to assist in creating larger crops of food products to sell at markets. Under the domain of capital, the word product is far more important than the modifier, food. Whether it is food, clothing, shelter, medical care, consumer conceits or manipulated fancies, under the rules of capital accumulation it is the product and its sale that looms largest. That is the antihuman nature of a system that effects private profits by causing social loss.....(full article

The Myth of Biofuels
by Edivan Pinto, Marluce Melo and Maria Luisa Mendonça

Recent studies about the impacts caused by fossil fuels contributed in highlighting the theme of bioenergy. The energy matrix is composed of petroleum (35%), coal (23%) and natural gas (21%). On their own, the ten richest countries consume 80% of the energy produced in the world. Amongst these, the USA is responsible for 25% of pollution to the atmosphere. Analysts estimate that within 25 years, the world demand for petroleum, natural gas and coal may have an increase of 80%. The acceleration of global warming is a fact that places in risk life on the planet. It is necessary, however, to demystify the principal solution presented at the moment and spread through propaganda about the supposed benefits of biofuels. The idea of "renewable" energy must be dismissed from a viewpoint that takes into account the negative effects of these sources.....(full article)

Just Look What “Your Country” Did to You
by Adam Engel

Surfing the web for the usual rants by Mainstream Americans about "what went wrong with their beloved homeland" and "how it can be fixed," I came across an article by one of my favorite web writers, Mickey Z, "All That's Wrong With America," which address the stuff I've been thinking about recently with a bit more acuity, a bit more venom, than your average "let's agree to disagree" sloshy Republicrat goop. Besides having the same resentment of cars -- I get especially pissed when I'm walking my dog . . . if Boobus Americanus kills my dog, Bella, I'll take him out for the good of the planet -- I just read a story in a "liberal" (i.e., watered down left) "webzine" about "flag waving" families who lost sons and daughters in Iraq only to be screwed outta hundreds of thousands, such as the one whose daughter stepped on a landmine, leaving behind a kid with someone previous to her current marriage. By "law" the husband/wife gets the $100,000 death pay-off plus $400,000 life insurance (the only time you're worth anything in America is when yer dead).....(full article)

March 8

Black Tuesday”
Après le deluge 
by Mike Whitney

Hank Paulson is sweating bullets right now. In fact, a shrewd investor could probably make a fortune just figuring out what type of high-blood pressure medication the US Treasury Secretary is on and then betting the farm on the manufacturer. Last week the stock market bull plopped down on an I.E.D. and wound up in intensive care sucking food from a straw and drifting in and out of consciousness. That put Paulson on the road to South Korea, Japan and China where he’ll meet up with his foreign counterparts to strategize on the deteriorating state of world markets. It’s a daunting task. The sudden rise in the yen has set off a brushfire that’s swept through the global system clearing out the deadwood and sending panicky fund managers out onto the streets. Paulson downplayed worries that the roiling markets were reason for concern. Before leaving for Japan he confidently proclaimed that the global economy was “as strong as I’ve seen in a lifetime. All the economies are growing, inflation is low, and liquidity is high.” That may be, but today’s market is built on an ocean of red ink and any upward movement in the yen is likely to send listing indexes to Davy Jones locker.....(full article)

Is the US Killing African Farmers?
by Katie Danko

Terry Steinhour and his wife Phyllis farm about 650 acres in Springfield, Illinois, the heart of corn-producing country. The Steinhours’ are well-respected in their central Illinois community, and Terry is active with his church and the Illinois Farm Bureau. During the last six months, Terry has also been involved and vocal about reforming US farm policy. “It should address the needs of family farmers, not industrial-sized farms,” he said. In July of 2006, Terry’s views on US farm policy began to broaden when he went to West Africa with Oxfam America, an international development agency. Terry traveled with four other farmers to Senegal and Mali and met with African farmers and public officials to discuss the impact American farm policies have on the rest of the world. They all delivered the same message: “Do something about your country’s farm subsidies . . . they’re killing us!”.....(full article)

Lost in the Lust of Werewolves
by Sheila Samples

Sometimes I wonder if Americans are unaware of the malicious devastation the Bush administration is wreaking upon this good earth and its inhabitants, or if they just don't give a damn. I wonder if they ever put a "face" on even one of the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children who are lost forever -- victims of arrogance, lust for power, insatiable greed. And lies . . . all lost because of evil, deliberate lies. I wonder why so many denizens of this Christian nation seem unable or unwilling to wrap their minds around the reality that Iraqi people are human beings just as they, themselves, are -- not rabid dogs to be hunted down and slaughtered. Perhaps it's because, in order to remain sane or to avoid being targeted by the Bush administration, they traded their Christianity for Religion, their Love for Hate -- their Life for Death. For protection from the Butcher of Baghdad, far too many Americans far too easily traded their souls to the Werewolf of Washington.....(full article)

We Are All Ratbags Now: Kangaroo Court for a Kangaroo Skinner
by Zbignew Zingh

David Hicks is a 31-year-old Australian convert to Islam who was "captured" by US forces in Afghanistan. Actually, he was “sold” by warlord bounty hunters to the American military. Mr. Hicks has rotted in the prison at Guantanamo Bay for five years without charge, without trial and without conviction. Until recently, Australia's conservative prime minister, John Howard, was content to leave his compatriot to rot in an American prison camp. Now, the Australian people are up in arms . . . livid at the US and livid at their own prime minister because Mr. Hicks' case has taken so incredibly long to resolve. Australians are livid because Mr. Hicks' military defense counsel, including Major Michael Mori, Mr. Hicks' family and a determined campaign by Australian activists, have managed to put David Hicks in the Australian spotlight. In the beginning, the United States was prepared to try Mr. Hicks on charges of conspiracy, aiding the enemy and "attempted murder". However, when he was finally formally charged on March 2nd 2007, all of the original accusations were dismissed for lack of evidence... except for a new charge of providing "material support for terrorism". This "crime" did not even exist when Hicks was "arrested" by the US in 2001. The charge was "invented" by Congress in 2006, five years after Mr. Hicks was sold by Afghan warlords as an “enemy combatant.”.....(full article)

Bush's New US Attorney a Criminal?
BBC Exposed 2004 Voter Attack Scheme by Appointee Griffin,
a Rove Aide; Black Soldiers and the Homeless Targeted 
by Greg Palast

There's only one thing worse than sacking an honest prosecutor. That's replacing an honest prosecutor with a criminal. There was one big hoohah in Washington yesterday as House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers pulled down the pants on George Bush's firing of US Attorneys to expose a scheme to punish prosecutors who wouldn't bend to political pressure. But the Committee missed a big one: Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove's assistant, the President's pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Griffin, according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand behind a scheme to wipe out the voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior to the 2004 election. Key voters on Griffin's hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men and women.....(full article)

New Orleans Community Spaces in Crisis 
by Jordan Flaherty

Community centers have long been central to New Orleans organizing, serving as a gathering location for people, culture and ideas. One activist recently explained, "organizing here looks like neighborhood get-togethers, potlucks, block parties, and conversations on a neighbor’s porch. It's about culture and community." But 18 months after Katrina, many of New Orleans’ community spaces, vital resources in the reconstruction of the city, remain shuttered. Traditional sources for support, such as foundations or charities, often miss this aspect of New Orleans' community, and many of these spaces have received little outside assistance. In a city where many people are still in crisis, most federal support still has not arrived, insurance companies have evaded responsibility, and every repair seems to take longer than expected, a lot of these spaces need help. Few of have received anything close to the funding, resources, or staff they need for their work, and some are working unsustainable hours while living in a still-devastated city. Because New Orleans’ education and health care systems have been dismantled, many have either personal or family issues around health or school that they must deal with.....(full article)

March 7

--The Anti-Empire Report--
About That Cold War
by William Blum

Flash! This Just In! The Cold War Was Not a Struggle Between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was a struggle between the United States and the Third World. What there was, was people all over the Third World fighting for economic and political changes against US-supported repressive regimes, or setting up their own progressive governments. These acts of self-determination didn't coincide with the needs of the American power elite, and so the United States moved to crush those governments and movements even though the Soviet Union was playing virtually no role at all in these scenarios. (It is remarkable the number of people who make fun of conspiracy theories but who accepted without question the existence of an International Communist Conspiracy.) Washington officials of course couldn't say that they were intervening to block economic or political change, so they called it "fighting communism," fighting a communist conspiracy, fighting for freedom and democracy. I'm reminded of all this because of a recent article in the Washington Post about El Salvador. It concerned two men who had been on opposite sides in the civil war of 1980-1992. One was José Salgado, who had been a government soldier, and is now the mayor of San Miguel, El Salvador's second-largest city.....(full article)

Caught! The FBI Lies Again 
by Curt Maynard 

Remember when the FBI informed us that the notorious anthrax letters sent through the mail came as a complete surprise, especially the fact that the contaminated letters cross-contaminated others? Well by now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the FBI lied to us yet again. According to an October 1998 Discover magazine article entitled “Filthy Lucre,” the FBI was fully aware of the fact that counting/sorting machines were capable of cross-contaminating items made of paper. The entire article was devoted to the scientific study of money including a historical, and anthropological view. Of course the article focused on the cross-contamination of currency at the federal reserve’s counting/sorting machines, but even a fool should be able to understand that there can’t be a tremendous difference between those machines and the ones at the post office that do pretty much the same thing.....(full article)

An Attack Dog Coming to a School Near You: 
The Witch-Hunts of David Horowitz
by Dana Cloud

David Horowitz is a self-appointed general of the right-wing thought police. In 2006, he published The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. In it, he named me and 100 other professors as threats to national security akin to terrorists. This spring, he is coming out with the next salvo in the war over the academy -- a book called Indoctrination U, in which he has taken special aim at University of Texas (UT), where I teach, among others. On February 17, the Daily Texan student newspaper published his op-ed claiming that there are two Universities of Texas -- one a world-class institution, and another where “faculty regard themselves as activists, not scholars, and their curriculum is designed not to teach students how to conduct a disinterested inquiry, but to convert them to a sectarian ideology and recruit them to its causes.” “Students are being given an indoctrination, not an education,” he claims -- and as examples, he points to the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Communication Studies Department, and the Division of Rhetoric and Writing. I am affiliated with all of these programs and a clear target in his “new” book, but the Texan would not print my rebuttal.....(full article)

Solidarity with Palestine in Sweden 
by Lasse Wilhelmson

One thing that should be expected of a solidarity movement for the Palestinian people is that the “right to return,” a question that unifies the Palestinians, becomes a major issue. Let me start by saying that I have no intention of belittling the admirable work done for many years by the movement for solidarity with the Palestinian people, particularly the very successful and internationally acclaimed projects carried out by the Swedish solidarity movement in Palestine. Not forgetting, either, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and its praiseworthy activities in Palestine and in Sweden. These are just a few examples. But in hindsight, I think it could be said that there has not been a significant rise in the Swedish public’s awareness of the plight of the Palestinians, nor have the organizations that set out to accomplish this been out on the streets campaigning to an extent on par with the urgency of the Palestinian question......(full article)

March 5

Dump the Democrats and Unite! 
by Joshua Frank

We should have known it was coming. Even though the Democratic Party rode the antiwar wave in to Congress last November they've done little since to end the bloody war in Iraq. Just last week House Democrats met to discuss how best to halt Bush's request to send more troops into the region but couldn't come to an agreement on whether or not to put any restrictions on the administration's plea for an additional $93 billion to continue the occupation. The only way to stop the war, as Sen. Russ Feingold understands well, is to cease all funding for the ongoing tragedy. But the majority of Democrats, already preparing for the next round of elections, aren't about to step up and represent their constituents. Hate to say we told you so but we predicted this outcome long ago here at Dissident Voice. While some, including John Nichols at The Nation, claimed Washington was being taken over by progressive Democrats, we knew the numbers proved otherwise. Progressive Democrats did gain strength, however conservative pro-war Blue Dog and DLC patrons gained the most seats in last election cycle. Virtually all ran on pro-war platforms -- guaranteeing that they would continue to support Bush's efforts to eradicate terrorism by terrorizing Iraqis and Afghanis instead...(full article)

Hoping Against Hope? The Struggle Against Colonialism in Canada
by Kim Petersen

On 24 July 1534, the French explorer Jacques Cartier landed at Baie de Gaspé on territory inhabited by the Haudenosaunee. The French erected a large cross there and Cartier claimed possession of the land in the name of the French king François I. When confronted by the Haudenosaunee, Cartier lied and said the cross was merely a navigational marker. Later, Cartier was guided to the village (kanata) of Stadacona (present day Québec City) by two Haudenosaunee youths. Cartier designated the entire region north of the St. Lawrence River as “Canada.” Canada is a colonizer’s designation that came to encompass a massive swath of Turtle Island, where a nation state was born on hundreds of nations already existing across the breadth of what is now called Canada. A three-part audio documentary series, Hoping Against Hope? The Struggle Against Colonialism in Canada (HH) -- produced by Praxis Media Productions and the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group, examines the current reality of colonialism in Canada.....(full article)

Purim Special
From Esther  to AIPAC
by Gilad Atzmon

Jewishness is a rather broad term. It refers to a culture with many faces, varied distinctive groups, different beliefs, opposing political camps, different classes and diversified ethnicity. Nevertheless, the connection between those very many people who happen to identify themselves as Jews is rather intriguing.  In the paragraphs that follow, I will try to further the search into the notion of Jewishness.  I will make an attempt to trace the intellectual, spiritual and mythological collective bond that makes Jewishness into a powerful identity. Clearly, Jewishness is neither a racial nor an ethnic category. Though Jewish identity is racially and ethnically orientated, the Jewish people do not form a homogenous group. There is no racial or ethnic continuum.  Jewishness may be seen by some as a continuation of Judaism.  I would maintain that this is not necessarily the case either. Though Jewishness borrows some fundamental Judaic elements, Jewishness is not Judaism and it is even categorically different from Judaism.   Furthermore, as we know, more than a few of those who proudly define themselves as Jews have very little knowledge of Judaism, many of them are atheists, non-religious and even overtly oppose Judaism or any other religion. Many of those Jews who happen to oppose Judaism happen to maintain their Jewish identity and to be extremely proud about it.  This opposition to Judaism obviously includes Zionism (at least the early version) but it also is the basis of much of Jewish socialist anti-Zionism. Though Jewishness is different from Judaism one may still wonder just what constitutes Jewishness: whether it is a new form of religion an ideology or if it is just a ‘state of mind.’.....
(full article)

American Mamlukes
by M. Shahid Alam

It is a fact little known in the West, outside the circle of historians of Islamicate societies, that Islamicate states often employed soldiers and bureaucrats who were ‘slaves’ of the king or emperor. Commonly, these ‘slaves’ were recruited as young boys: they were levied from the ranks of the ruler’s Christian subjects or bought as ’slaves’ from areas outside the Islamicate world. These ‘slaves’ were converted to Islam, tested, sorted by aptitude, and given an education that prepared them for employment in the service of the sovereign. The smartest ‘slaves’ could became generals or rise to the highest ranks in the civilian bureaucracy. ‘Slaves’ we call these members of the emperor’s household because they were the property of the emperor: in Arabic, mamlukes. But how appropriate is this description? Aside from the manner in which they were recruited, however, these mamlukes had little in common with the slaves who worked the plantations in the Americas. More appropriately, they were life-time employees in the service of the emperor. Ernest Gellner has drawn attention to the parallels between these ‘slaves’ and today’s wage workers.....(full article)

Democrats Buy War From Bush and Use it to
Fund Projects for their Constituents
by Kevin Zeese

The Democrats' Iraq War may be even more disgusting than the Republicans'. They are using it as a Christmas tree to fund a host of projects that they could not get funded in any other way. The Democrats have reportedly decided to pass the Iraq War supplemental with meaningless restrictions designed to embarrass the president rather than end the war or bring the troops home safely. They will require the president to explain why he is using troops that are not combat ready, rather than stopping him from doing so. The article reports: “Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the goal was 'to get consensus within the caucus on this' and 'pass the war funding bill.'” So, while the Democrats claim to be passing the supplemental to support the troops they are providing funds to allow ill equipped, non-combat ready troops to be sent into a quagmire with no clear goal in a war that cannot be won and is not supported by the American public.....(full article)

March 4

Juicing the Stock Market:
The Secret Maneuverings of the Plunge Protection Team
by Mike Whitney

The Working Group on Financial Markets, also know as the Plunge Protection Team, was created by Ronald Reagan to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown of October 1987. Its members include the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Chairman of the SEC and the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Recently, the team has been on high alert given the increased volatility of the markets and what Hank Paulson calls “the systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives.” Last Tuesday’s 416-point drop in the stock market has sent tremors through the global system. An 8% freefall on the Chinese stock exchange triggered a massive equities sell-off that continued sporadically throughout the week. The sudden shift in sentiment, from Bull to Bear, has drawn more attention to deeply rooted “systemic” problems in the US economy. US manufacturing is already in recession, the dollar continues to weaken, consumer spending is flat, and the sub-prime market in real estate has begun to nosedive. These have all contributed to the markets’ erratic behavior and created the likelihood that the Plunge Protection Team may be stealthily intervening behind the scenes.....(full article)

Assessing Economic Options
by Eric Patton

Anti-capitalism is in vogue on the left.  From environmentalists to media activists to labor activists, it seems like everyone can find something to hate about capitalism. Now, this is not a bad thing. However, if you’re going to be able to intelligently assess post-capitalist options, what are some things you need to keep in mind? Put another way, it’s all well and good to despise capitalism -- as well you should -- but how do you usefully think about what to replace it with? How does one think about economics at this level, when one is not an economist? (full article)

“Anyone Can Go To Baghdad; Real Men Go To Tehran”
by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

Dissent, within notionally acceptable parameters, has a functional role: it helps sustain the illusion that civil society can be an arbiter of the state’s destiny. In the lead up to the Iraq war, the antiwar movement itself became the contested space where ideas had to be contained, managed and neutralized, lest they undermine the tenuous support necessary for legitimizing the war. A carefully orchestrated media campaign set the terms of the debate -- WMD, regime change, and democracy promotion. The conspicuous absence of oil in the mainstream discourse allowed plenty of room for non-conformist posturing, to triumphantly expose this egregious oversight without having to identify the sources of policy. “No blood for oil” read the popular slogan -- this was a war for the control of Iraqi oil. While the prognosis is accurate, the provenance of the policy is invariably misplaced. Any policy bearing on oil is identified, by default, with Big Oil. That there was no evidence that the industry lobbied for the war was of little significance. With its tendency to frame analysis in economic terms alone, the antiwar movement entirely overlooked alternative motivations for the war. In most instances this was deliberate, since, with the neocon vanguard of the Israel lobby beating the war drums, few wanted their reputations stained by incurring the reflexive charge of anti-Semitism that invariably accompanies mention of Israeli involvement. Instead, most reached for sanitized meta-theory: “It’s imperialism, stupid,” read one explanation. True once again, but insufficient. Imperialism is an abstract notion; mere structure -- it requires agency for its imposition.....(full article)

A Pig Looking at a Watch: Assessing Iran's Nuclear Program
by Walter C. Uhler

Now that North Korea might reopen its doors to weapons inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), U.S. "intelligence agencies are facing the possibility that their assessments will once again be compared to what is actually found on the ground." Perhaps that explains why, during "a little-noticed exchange" at the 27 February 2007 session of the Senate Armed Services Committee, an official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence seized the opportunity to publicly soften earlier intelligence findings about North Korea's uranium enrichment program. "We still have confidence that the program is in existence" but now "at the mid-confidence level." Yet, it was during that very same session that the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, boldly asserted: "Although Iran claims its program is focused on producing commercial electric power, DIA assesses with high confidence Iran remains determined to develop nuclear weapons." . . . . Thus, while Americans might take comfort in knowing that there's plenty of time for diplomacy with Iran, they should be disturbed to find nothing in the prepared testimony presented by either General Maples or Director McConnell -- and certainly nothing contained in their answers to the questions asked by the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- that could be considered hard or direct evidence that substantiates the assessment that "Iran remains determined to develop nuclear weapons.".....(full article)

Democrats Want Peace Movement to Work for Them --
The Peace Movement Needs to Demand the Democrats End the War
by Kevin Zeese

Rep. Chris Van Hollen is the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  It is his job to preserve and expand the Democrats’ majority in Congress in 2008. Rep. Van Hollen is also my congressman.  So, this week when he held a town hall meeting I was paying close attention to his message on the Iraq War. From his talk it is quite clear what they Democrats want. They want the peace movement to work for the Democratic Party rather than the Democratic Party representing the peace movement.....
(full article)

Progressive Principles: Israel and the Duty to Obey Conscience
by Kim Petersen

. . . Some take exception to any criticism of Israel or questioning of its legitimacy. I have previously described Israel as “a terrorist entity spawned in hatred and disregard of other humans.” Is not the uprooting of almost 800,000 people and the destruction of 531 villages terrorism? Can terrorism be an act of love? Can it be a demonstration of compassion for other humans? As an anarchist, I do not profess a love of the state. In fact, I abhor borders and the dementia that so often accompanies patriotism. I do not focus my efforts upon a geographical entity but for humanity -- all humanity, regardless of nationality, color, race, religion, ideology, etc. A love of all humanity is a non-negotiable principle of progressivism. However, when one segment of humanity victimizes another segment of humanity, the actions of the victimizing group must be denounced and opposed. In the case of Israel, it is undisputed that Zionists created their state upon the homeland of indigenous Palestinians by terrorizing them, driving them from their homes, and preventing their return. These are crimes against humanity, committed then and now. If opposing such crimes causes people to smear defenders of the victims, then the smear becomes a badge of honor.....(full article)

International Women’s Day 2007:
We Stand with the Women of the World
by Lucinda Marshall

For the past 5,000 years, give or take a century or two, there has been a persistent tendency to leave unexamined the impact that social, economic, environmental, and military policies have on the lives of women throughout the world.  As a result, women make up the majority of those living in poverty, millions of women have died needlessly due to lack of healthcare and safe living conditions and there is a worldwide pandemic of violence against women. For those reasons, International Women’s Day (IWD), which is observed on March 8 is a time not only to celebrate women’s lives and achievements, but also a chance to join hands in solidarity with women around the globe and to focus much needed attention on the many problems women face today.....(full article)

Voodoo Central: The Way of the Dow
by Jack Random

The year was 1987. Cocaine was the drug of choice. Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken were the leading names in a widespread insider trading scandal. The Tower Commission held Colonel Oliver North and President Ronald Reagan accountable for the Iran-Contra “arms for hostages” scandal. Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds played their first full seasons in the major leagues. It was also the year of a precipitous decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average: On October 19, the same day US warships shelled an Iranian oil platform in the Persian Gulf, the Dow dropped 508 points. In and of itself, the crash was not unique. What was unique, in the wave of reforms that followed, was that the New York Stock Exchange instituted a braking system to slow the process of panicked stockholders selling en masse. It was hoped that the newly designed, computer controlled system was “crash proof” but of course that was not the case.....(full article)

A Television Snow Job 
by Walter Brasch

With more than a foot of snow, sleet, and ice falling over much of Pennsylvania, the television news teams went into overdrive. This may be an accurate description of one of those minute-by-minute broadcasts. “I’m Harry Hansom. Co-anchor Polly Prattle just called. Her car slid into a ditch about eight miles from the studio. Fortunately, she had her roller-blades, and is skating furiously to get here so she doesn’t lose a day’s pay. We begin our Team Weather Coverage with chief meteorologist Hugh Miditty.”......
(full coverage)

Bashing Britney: The Face of a Shameless Industry
by Alexander Billet

I am loath to defend the likes of Britney Spears. I, like many others, cringed when MTV dressed her up as the sexist stereotype of the naughty schoolgirl and billed her as "wholesome." I shuddered when the media subjected us to the minutiae of her personal life, from her tour squabbles to K-Fed. I almost vomited when I heard her thoughts on the Iraq war: "I think we should trust the president." And when Rolling Stone or MTV names her the “best female artist” of any year it makes me want to blast my Janis Joplin records out of sheer protest. But this needs to be said: the coverage of Spears’ very public meltdown is disgraceful. It is depraved, sexist, and exploitative. And while it may go without saying that she has always represented the most shallow and shameless side of the entertainment business, this whole debacle has given us a chance to see how sinister and ruthless that business can be.....(full article)

March 1

Tuesday's Market Meltdown: Greenspan's “Invisible Hand”
by Mike Whitney

Tuesday’s stock market freefall has former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s bloody fingerprints all over it. And, no, I’m not talking about Sir Alan’s crystal ball predictions about the impending recession; that’s just more of his same circuitous blather. The real issue is the Fed’s suicidal policies of low interest rates and currency deregulation that have paved the way for economic Armageddon. Whether the Chinese stock market contagion persists or not is immaterial; the American economy is headed for the dumpster and it’s all because of the wizened former Fed chief, Alan “Great Depression” Greenspan. So, what does the stumbling Chinese stock market have to do with Greenspan? (full article)

Humpty and Goldie: Fairy Tales from Grimm that Just Got Grimmer
by Lila Rajiva

On February 27 2007, the Dow Jones stock market index sank by more than 500 points during the day -- a follow through of an earlier collapse of the Chinese market index. It was the biggest hit that the Dow has taken since September 11, 2001, although not in percent terms. As usual the financial press was ready with a raft of explanations, prognostications, rationalizations and rebuttals. The party might be over, but on paper, at least, investor confidence is high and consumer confidence even higher.....(full article)

500-Year Siege
by David Rovics

I was in San Francisco, California a couple months ago, and I saw Klee Benally there. It had been a long time since I’d seen him. I tend to go where the gigs take me, which often means going in and out of certain orbits in unpredictable ways. There at the American Indian Center of San Francisco, Klee was the master of ceremonies for an event that was attended by 200 or so people, mostly indigenous. The event was one of many of its kind to draw attention to plans by the Arizona Snowbowl Corporation to build a 14-mile pipeline from the city of Flagstaff to the nearby San Francisco Peaks. They want to expand a ski resort there, and make snow out of the wastewater. These mountains are sacred to 13 different local tribes, but as usual, this is not a problem for the corporation. The message here is not lost on anyone. Once again, it is a case of the USA saying to Native America: we shit on you. Your land, your religion, your people. The 500-year siege continues.....(full article)

Africa: Where the Next US Oil Wars Will Be
by Bruce Dixon

On February 7, George Bush announced the formation of AFRICOM, a new Pentagon command which will, under the pretext of the so-called "Global War On Terror", plan and execute its oil and resource wars on the African continent. What does this mean to African Americans?  And to Africans? The Pentagon does not admit that a ring of permanent US military bases is operating or under construction throughout Africa. But nobody doubts the American military buildup on the African continent is well underway. From oil rich northern Angola up to Nigeria, from the Gulf of Guinea to Morocco and Algeria, from the Horn of Africa down to Kenya and Uganda, and over the pipeline routes from Chad to Cameroon in the west, and from Sudan to the Red Sea in the east, US admirals and generals have been landing and taking off, meeting with local officials. They've conducted feasibility studies, concluded secret agreements, and spent billions from their secret budgets.....
(full article)

Mark Wilkerson: Standing for a Soldier's Right to Conscience 
by Susan Van Haitsma

My favorite photograph of Mark Wilkerson shows him smiling, looking relaxed. He is standing in a grove of trees whose trunks radiate outward from his image as though they are drawing life from him.  One side of his face glows with reflected sunshine. He wears a black "Iraq Veterans Against the War" T-shirt with a small star over his heart. I first met Mark on the grounds of the Texas Capitol during a peace demonstration on Gandhi's birthday, October 2, 2004. Mark was stationed at Ft. Hood, and he and his wife had driven down to attend their first anti-war demonstration in Austin. I didn't know then the extent of Mark's experience in Iraq, but he looked stressed, his eyes circled with dark shadows. He exuded nervous energy. He looked at the materials on our Nonmilitary Options for Youth table and described how he had been recruited through the JROTC program in high school with assurances that he would receive training to become a peacekeeper. At the demonstration, Mark met local members of Veterans for Peace, who understood more profoundly than I the internal and external battles he was facing.....(full article)

Mother of Vet Getting Ready for His Third Deployment to Iraq
Responds to Claims that Iraq War Debate is Demoralizing Troops
by Tina Richards

Demoralizing the troops . . . Those were the words that inspired me to challenge Orin Hatch (R-UT) in the Senate hearing a few weeks ago. Those were the words that echoed so loudly in my mind I couldn’t, no, I wouldn’t stay silent. Demoralizing the troops . . . Today I had to drop off Polly, a friend who flew out to help me this last week in DC with my occupation project (details at website, at the Baltimore airport. The majority of customers waiting in line were soldiers, all dressed in desert camis. Instantly, I thought of the days when I saw my son off to war dressed in those same camis and tears came to my eyes. I think the second to worse event for a mother is seeing her son off to war, not knowing if he’ll return. The worst is when he doesn’t return....(full article)

“They’re taking a stand for all of us”
Resister Agustín Aguayo Faces Court-Martial 
by Gillian Russom

Agustín Aguayo will face a court-martial at his base in Germany starting March 6--because he refused to abandon his principles and participate in a war he believes is illegal and immoral. Agustín, an Army specialist, applied for conscientious objector (CO) status before his first deployment to Iraq in February 2004. He performed his duties as a medic, went on patrols and did guard duty -- but without ever loading his weapons. After the Army several times denied his application and appeals for CO status, and his unit was scheduled for a second deployment to Iraq, Agustín said he would refuse to go, and would accept whatever punishment the Army imposed. But his commanding officers tried to send him to Iraq anyway -- shackled in leg irons, if necessary, they said. Agustín went absent without leave (AWOL) rather than go. Now he faces a court-martial that could land him in a military prison for as long as seven years. Agustín’s wife Helga Aguayo has led the campaign to support her husband.....(full interview)

Thoughts on the Meaning of “Protest” in Song:
An Interview with Samm Bennett
by gyaku

Just over ten years ago, percussionist Samm Bennett made the move to Tokyo from his former home in New York City, where he had been active in the improvised music scene since the mid-1980s. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, and influenced by a wide range of musical genres -- from African traditional drumming, to free jazz, to country & western, to experimental -- Bennett has lent his musicianship and unique blend of rhythms and styles to countless groups, ensembles, and projects over the decades. We met up with Samm at Cafe L'Ambre in Shinjuku to talk about the lyrics of his songs, his thoughts on social-political commentary in music, and the relation between simplicity and timelessness in musical expression.....(full article)

America's March Madness 
by Mickey Z.

Last month, I touched on a fraction of February's forgotten history vis-à-vis America's long history of global brutality. Here's a small taste of March's madness....(full article

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