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(DV) May 2006 Articles

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May 31

Garden Variety Politics
by Zbignew Zingh

It's summertime, and America's horticulturists are planting their gardens. 

The first thing you need to do is to remove the weeds. This has been a particularly bad year for invasive, noxious weeds like Quagmire iraqus, a thorny, deep-rooted plant whose shoots are nearly impossible to eradicate. This weed sends out lengthy tendrils that rapidly reach out into neighboring lots causing wholesale ruination of cultivatable real estate. The thorns of the Quagmire iraqus leave deep, bloody wounds and permanent scar tissue. Quagmire iraqus is a hybrid weed created by crossing cuttings of western colonization with neo-con hubris. It grows wildly in the arid, oily soil of the Middle East, but it has now spread throughout the world as spores are spread by the jackboots of returning “Coalition” troops. Quagmire iraqus is closely related to another weed infestation that once afflicted America's gardens in the 1960s and 70s, Quagmire vietnamis. Washington D.C. is America's worst afflicted region. The Quagmire iraqus weed's twisted, prickly vines have practically enveloped the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and the corporate media like so much political kudzu. Green gardeners have noticed that both Democratic and Republican Whoreticulturists insist on spreading Quagmire iraqus to other parts of the Middle East, Asia and South America where there is also oily soil......
(full article)

A Higher Standard
by Kim Petersen

This writer wrote an article based on a video filmed and edited by Pepperspray Productions and featured on the website of Peacefilms. After a while, the protagonist of the interview, Jesse Macbeth, came under intense scrutiny and was denounced as a fake. Dissident Voice rightly pulled the article and Peacefilms followed by pulling the video. E-mails came in. One e-mailer asked whether there would be “an apology to our fine [sic] U.S. troops whom you are so quick to slander.” Since it was a typed article, there is obviously no slander for which to apologize. Neither is there any libel in the article. Another e-mailer wrote, “I’m sure you performed your usual checks before writing up the story.” Readers deserve an explanation.....(full article)

The Iraqi My Lai?  Tragically, Only Half So
by Michael George Smith

This week's revelations that Marines in Iraq brutally gunned down 24 unarmed civilians, many women and children, last November is a horrific, if somewhat unsurprising, reminder of the inhumanity inherent in imperialist war. It is a tragedy beyond tragedy, revolting and sickening. It has been described by several liberal and leftist bloggers and pundits as the “Iraqi My Lai,” referring to the 1968 massacre in Vietnam by US soldiers of 500 unarmed civilians. Of course, the scale is different, but the basic dynamic is the same -- an extreme form of the racism and dehumanization used by Bush and the military brass to sell the war and convince young men and women to fight and die in a war for the benefit of the rich and powerful. The significance of the My Lai massacre in the political arena was that it helped to galvanize antiwar opinion in the United States, turned millions more against the war and served as a springboard to a stronger antiwar movement. Unfortunately, given the politics of the leadership of the current antiwar movement, Americans' justifiable revulsion at November's events in Haditha is unlikely to produce a similar outcome this time around -- a tragedy that will prolong the occupation and only lead to more bloodshed.....
(full article)

Under the Blue Mango: Belize on Five-K and a Pack of Smokes
by Joe Bageant

Once one becomes aware of the fact that babies die in the third world as an indirect result of our simplest choices, such as buying Ziploc plastic bags or bottled water or driving a car, life changes for any approximately moral American. Restlessness sets in, a nagging guilt that only swells with time until, finally, night thoughts grow so damned anxious and black something has to be done. It's been that way with me for a long time. About a year ago I decided to do something more about it than pat myself on the back for recycling the mountain of bottles and unread magazines our household seems to generate. So last fall I vowed to find a decent third world family and put up the money to do something together to better their lives and my own. The issue was so unbearable by spring this year that, by god, I was determined to get it done.....(full article)

The Four Fundamentalisms and the Threat to Sustainable Democracy
by Robert Jensen

The most important words anyone said to me in the weeks immediately after September 11, 2001, came from my friend James Koplin. While acknowledging the significance of that day, he said, simply: “I was in a profound state of grief about the world before 9/11, and nothing that happened on that day has significantly changed what the world looks like to me.” Because Jim is a bit older and considerably smarter than I, it took me some time to catch up to him, but eventually I recognized his insight. He was warning me that even we lefties -- trained to keep an eye on systems and structures of power rather than obsessing about individual politicians and single events -- were missing the point if we accepted the conventional wisdom that 9/11 “changed everything,” as the saying went then. He was right, and today I want to talk about four fundamentalisms loose in the world and the long-term crisis to which they point.....(full article)

Widening the Racial Wealth Gap
by Betsy Leondar-Wright

It’s happening again. The recent vote in Congress to criminalize undocumented immigrants was just the latest in a centuries-long series of government actions that have blocked people of color from gaining economic security. Employers are getting away with murder, underpaying and overworking people too vulnerable to complain. Our elected officials are not just letting them get away with it -- they’re actually aiding and abetting them. Why does the typical family of color have 18 cents for every white dollar? Literally hundreds of government actions have affected the amount of money that families have today -- most of them not widely known....
(full article)

May 29

“Echoes of Germany Under Hitler”:
The Office of Iranian Affairs, Embedded Journalism,
and the
Disinformation Campaign for War on Iran
by Gary Leupp

According to Laura Rozen of the Los Angeles Times, the Office of Special Plans has been reincarnated as the Office of Iranian Affairs, apparently housed in the same Pentagon offices inhabited by its predecessor and involving some of the same slimy personnel. Notably, Abram Shulsky, who headed the OSP under Douglas Feith, is back. His crew will be reporting to none other than Elizabeth Cheney, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and daughter of the Vice President. Dick Cheney is generally understood to be the strongest advocate for an attack on Iran in the administration. (He is also, by the way, architect of Bush’s “signing statements” appended to laws entitling him to ignore them. He is the man behind the throne, surrounded by neocon acolytes.).....(full article)

Why the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada is
Important to the US Anti-War Movement 
by Virginia Rodino

Iraq. For those of us steeped in fighting our government's occupation of Iraq, the list of descriptors for the war roll off our tongue in our debates on subways and in supermarket lines: illegal, immoral, unjust, unnecessary... Visual representations of the horrors in Iraq flash through our minds daily, fill up our email in-boxes: civilians being tortured, parents holding dead or dying babies, children with missing limbs, battered faces, screaming in pain. We see soldiers and Marines kicking down doors, parents cowering over their children in feeble attempts to shield them. We see men shackled, in hoods, dressed in orange if dressed at all, attack dogs lunging at them. And then we hear of the activism of ordinary people nationwide, who are demanding that the billions -- no, the trillions -- of dollars being poured into the coffers of Halliburton, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, and the like be instead invested into maintaining a healthy society here: into our crumbling schools, our failing health care system, pension plans for our elders, and job training for our youth.....(full article)

Gold Star Mother Urges Americans to Sign the Voters Pledge:
No More Pro-War Candidates, No More Wars of Choice 
by Tia Steele

This Memorial Day let us remember all fallen troops by insisting that the United States no longer engage in wars of aggression. In this election year, the voters must make it abundantly clear to anyone running for office in the United States that candidates will not have their votes, funding or volunteer time if the politicians do not insist on a rapid withdrawal from Iraq and opposition to future wars of aggression.....(full article)

Media Memorial Day
by Norman Solomon

People who are concerned about the state of the U.S. news media in 2006 might pause to consider those who have lost their lives in the midst of journalistic neglect, avoidance and bias. We remember that while TV and radio news reports tell the latest about corporate fortunes, vast numbers of real people are struggling to make ends meet -- and many are in a position of choosing between such necessities as medicine, adequate food and paying the rent. We remember that many Americans have lost their limbs or their lives in on-the-job accidents that might have been prevented if overall media coverage had been anywhere near as transfixed with job safety as with, say, marital splits among Hollywood celebrities.....(full article)

George and Tony Sittin' Up a Tree, K-I-L-L-I-N-G
by Peter Kurth

You can imagine the depth of my emotion, I’m sure, when I read about the joint press conference given in Washington last week by our Fearless Fuehrer, George W. Bush, and his chief ally and co-conspirator in the “war on terror,” British Prime Minister and Quaking Quisling Tony Blair. Blair was in Washington for what are called “talks” with the president -- imagine how much fun those must be! -- and afterward, facing reporters, he appeared “dismayed and tongue-tied,” according to The New York Times. Well, why wouldn’t he? Thanks largely to the ongoing slaughter in Iraq, Blair’s “sagging” approval ratings among British voters are even more awful than Bush’s are at home. Which is to say, in Brit-speak, that they’re very awful indeed, and, in our own lingo, that they’re lousy. They stink. Bush’s “favorable” figures are now in the 30 percent range, while Blair’s clock in at a mere 26 percent. If I may lapse for a moment into TV vernacular and the language of advertisements aimed at teenaged boys, these numbers really suck.....
(full article)

Whither Elementary Morality?
by Kim Petersen

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, the ruling party in Palestine, is under increasing pressure from much of the international community to acknowledge the scofflaw state of Israel’s “right to exist.” The “right to exist” specifically refers to the question of whether or not the Jewish people, have a right to erect a homeland for themselves on the land of the Palestinians. According to acclaimed intellectual Noam Chomsky, the “right to exist” for any geographical entity is “a concept unknown in international affairs.” Chomsky notes the hypocrisy in the Zionists’ rejectionism: “Hamas’s refusal to accept Israel’s ‘right to exist’ mirrors the refusal of Washington and Jerusalem to accept Palestine’s ‘right to exist.’” Chomsky follows up with a criticism of Hamas: “Hamas’s formal commitment to ‘destroy Israel’ places it on a par with the US and Israel, which vowed formally that there could be no ‘additional Palestinian state.’” Chomsky equates Hamas with the US and Israel because it rejects the continuation of a state that came into existence through a pogrom against the Palestinian people.....(full article)

Involuntary Motherhood
by Lucinda Marshall

The deaths of six women who used RU 486, the non-surgical abortion drug also known as mifespristone, is creating the usual cacophony of voices demanding that the drug be taken off the market, even though the link between the drug and the deaths is not clear.  While a drug that causes adverse reactions should certainly be investigated, the reality is that the reaction to these deaths has a lot more to do with politics than the drug’s safety.....(full article

Used the Phone Lately? Worried?
by William Fisher

Anticipating that the U.S. federal government would invoke the so-called "state secrets" privilege to block any lawsuit calling for the disclosure of details about allegations that phone companies shared customer records with the government's biggest spy agency, a major civil rights group has embarked on an alternate course. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed complaints in more than 20 individual states demanding that their utility commissions and attorneys general convene public hearings and call phone company executives to testify....(full article)

Revolt of the Egyptian Elite
by Ahmed Amr

Half way along the Alexandria desert highway -- one encounters a massive block of buildings surrounded by barbed wire. It is the penitentiary that currently serves as the new home of Ayman Nour -- a prosperous lawyer who had the bright idea of challenging Mubarak in “free and fair” elections. For the supreme crime of winning 7% of the presidential ballots -- he now rots away in an Egyptian mini gulag with plenty of time to repent for the political miscalculation that last year was a good year to challenge Mubarak’s grip on power. Over the last few weeks, more than a thousand members of the Egyptian opposition have been rounded up by state security and unceremoniously dispatched to keep Ayman Nour company. Most of these “criminal elements” were caught red-handed protesting the trial of two judges who had the audacity to claim that the recent National Assembly elections were plagued with fraud and vote rigging.....(full article)

Bolivia: A Glimpse of Freedom
by John Pilger

The long, wide, bleak streets of cobblestones and tufts of petrified grass reach for the sacred mountain Illimani, whose pyramid of snow is like a watchtower. There was almost no life here when I first came to Bolivia as a young reporter -- only the freezing airport and its inviting oxygen tent; now almost a million people live in El Alto, the highest city in the world, the creation of modern capitalism. El Alto is as symbolic of Latin America today as Cerro Rico is of the past. A hill almost solid with silver, it was mined by slave labour and served to bankroll the Spanish empire for three centuries. Both places are in the poorest country on a continent of 225 million inhabitants, half of whom are poor. Debt bondage, even slavery, still exists secretly in Bolivia, whose hill of silver now takes second place to other natural treasures of gas and water.....(full article)

One, Two, Three Many Olympias 
by Ron Jacobs

In Olympia, Washington, a small town with a sizable number of citizens that are opposed to Washington DC's wars and other excesses of the imperial state, there have been a number of actions that attempted to prevent the loading of ships that were bound for the battlefields of Iraq. These actions stepped up a notch or two during the week of May 22-28th, 2006.....
(full article)

Little League Fences
by Jeff Cox

Listening to the county commissioner’s words it’s easy to wonder whether this is 2006 or 1965. “Our intent is to integrate, not segregate,” Todd Vonderheid says, sounding like the antithesis to George Wallace, in a statement he could have made on the streets of Selma. Except Vonderheid isn’t from the South and this remark wasn’t made during a heated debate over civil rights. Instead, the Luzerne County official spoke during a recent commissioner’s meeting in the innocuous and ironically named (at least on this night) borough of White Haven. The subject: Little League.....(full article)

Eat Your Heart Out Clooney!
Toward a New Left Filmmaking
by Alexander Billet

Beneath all the furor created over The DaVinci Code (which is shaping up to be the most dreadful film from Ron Howard since… well… his last film), the Cannes Film Festival this year is alive with other debates, with three other films striking quite a chord with audiences -- and becoming a big thorn in the side of juries and censors. The good news: unlike DaVinci, apparently these films are actually watchable; all are in competition to receive the Palme d’Or, Cannes’ highest honor. The bad news: one can only speculate about how they’ll do here in the States.....(full article)

Video Game Genocide
by Xiuhcoatl

The recent debate over immigration and the inevitable backlash from the brown community have made headline news throughout the nation. Despite the broad coverage of the anti-H.R. 4437 movement by the mainstream media, they have failed to address the real issues concerning immigration reform. They do not dare venture into the root of the problem, for they know that it has nothing to do with terrorism or border security. In reality, immigration reform in America is driven by widespread xenophobia, the colonizer’s mentality, and yes, plain old racism. Now, with Minutemen on the border and the President promising National Guard deployment there, the anti-Mexican sentiment and reactionary xenophobia in this country has been manifested in a video game. “Border Patrol,” which is credited to the bigoted neo-Nazi Tom Metzger, puts you in the role of a hunter/murderer who patrols the southern border with Mexico. Your objective: “Keep them out…at any cost!” “Them,” by the game’s definition, are the “wetbacks” trying to cross the border from Mexico....(full article)

Abstaining from Sex Education Politics
by Gene C. Gerard

Earlier this month the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) held a conference on sexually transmitted diseases. The conference was slated to include a panel discussion entitled “Are Abstinence-Only Until Marriage Programs a Threat to Public Health?” However, Indiana’s Republican Congressman Mark Souder complained to the Health and Human Services Department about “the controversial nature of this session and its obvious anti-abstinence objective.” Consequently, the title was changed to “Public Health Strategies of Abstinence Programs for Youth,” and advocates of abstinence-only sex education replaced two members of the panel. It’s troubling that a conservative Republican was able to wield so much influence over a federal agency at the expense of science. A spokesman for Rep. Souder said he was concerned that the panel would promote nothing positive about abstinence-only education. Apparently, that was because one of the panelists was scheduled to address the evidence linking abstinence-only education and rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases. This panelist and another individual were removed from the panel and replaced by Dr. Patricia Sulak and another physician, both of whom are proponents of abstinence-only programs. Although the other panelists went through a peer-review screening process, neither of these individuals did. And while the other panelists had to pay their own way to attend, the CDC used taxpayer dollars to pay for both abstinence proponents.....(full article)

Petting Zoo Blues: Barnyard Exhibits Are Bad
for Both People and Animals
by Heather Moore

Last spring, at least 26 children and four adults contracted life-threatening E. coli infections after visiting petting zoos at the Central Florida Fair in Orlando, the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, and the Florida State Fair in Tampa. The E. coli bacteria was traced to six animals -- two goats, two sheep, and two cows -- used by Ag-Venture Farm Shows, the company that supplied the animals at all three fairs. The outbreak put fear into parents’ hearts, caused a number of schools to cancel field trips to petting zoos, and prompted health officials to scrutinize barnyard exhibits more carefully. But instead of shutting these exhibits down, health officials simply warned people to wash their hands after petting the animals, use hand sanitizer, and/or wear plastic gloves.....(full article)

“Reminiscent of the Holocaust”
More Disinformation on Iran
by Gary Leupp

A Canadian paper, the National Post, published an article on May 19 by Iranian-American journalist Amir Taheri reporting that on May 15, the Iranian Parliament had passed a law establishing “separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public. The new codes would enable Muslims to easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can avoid shaking hands with them by mistake, and thus becoming najis (unclean).” The story was picked up by UPI and reproduced in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, the Jerusalem Post, and elsewhere, and represented as fact by U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. “Despicable,” declared McCormack, adding that Iran was just like “Germany under Hitler.” “This is reminiscent of the Holocaust,” echoed Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.” The National Post pulled the story within hours, as it became apparent that no such law had been passed or even discussed.....(full article)

May 22

The Anti-Empire Report
“Come Out of the White House with Your Hands Up!” 
by William Blum

“I used to be called brother, John, Daddy, uncle, friend,” John Allen Muhammad said at his trial in Maryland earlier this month. “Now I'm called evil.” Muhammad, formerly known as "the DC Sniper," was on trial for six slayings in Maryland in 2002. Already sentenced to die in Virginia for several other murders, he insisted that he was innocent despite the evidence against him -- including DNA, fingerprints, and ballistics analysis of a rifle found in his car. Bereft of any real political power, I'm reduced to day-dreaming . . . a courtroom in some liberated part of the world, in the not-too-distant future, a tribunal . . . a defendant testifying . . .  "I used to be called brother, George, son, Daddy, uncle, friend, Dubya, governor, president. Now I'm called war criminal," he says sadly, insisting on his innocence despite the overwhelming evidence presented against him. Can the man ever take to heart or mind the realization that America's immune system is trying to get rid of him? Probably not. No more than his accomplice can.....(full article

Paranoia, Depression, or a World of Hope:
Destructiveness and Struggle for a Better World
by Stephen Soldz

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson hit the nail on the head recently with his column Nation of Fear. A bare majority may oppose the NSA database on all of us, but it’s pretty terrifying that the same polls indicate that 40% of Americans are willing to have the government record their every call in its enormous database. As Robinson points out, such attitudes are astounding in a country which has long rejected a national identity card and which would launch a revolution sooner than accept modest controls on gun ownership. The explanation, Robinson claims, is the climate of fear that pervades the country, a climate that President Bush and his administration have manipulated, but which they did not create: If a psychiatrist were to put the nation on the couch, the shrink's notes would read something like this: "Patient feels vulnerable to attack; cannot remember having experienced similar feeling before. Patient accustomed to being in control; now feels buffeted by outside forces beyond grasp. Patient believes livelihood and prosperity being usurped by others (repeatedly mentions China). Patient seeks scapegoats for personal failings (immigrants, Muslims, civil libertarians). Patient is by far most powerful nation in world, yet feels powerless. Patient is full of unfocused anger.".....(full article)

Latin America, the EU and the US: The New Polarities
by James Petras

. . . . Beginning in the early 1990s massive extra-parliamentary socio-political movements emerged throughout most of Latin America and were accompanied by large-scale popular uprisings, deposing ten incumbent neoliberal client “Presidents” of the US/EU: Three in Ecuador and Argentina, two in Bolivia, one each in Venezuela and Brazil.  In retrospect, it is clear that the new wave of potentially revolutionary socio-political movements reached their pinnacle of power by 2002. With massive support, widespread legitimacy, facing a corrupt, discredited and an internally divided bourgeois political class and crisis-ridden economies, the socio-political movements were in a strong position to initiate comprehensive structural changes, if they could transform social power into state power.....(full article)

A Little Fascism Still Goes a Long Way
by Greg Moses

On the stock-market channel last Friday afternoon, just before commercial time, comes news that the Senate of the USA has declared Inglés the “national language” of state. Then comes the commercial, cutting to a Chinese couple standing in a busy airport, somewhat startled by a youngish white man who rushes up to them and says “welcome to America” in Chinese. “I practiced all morning,” says the gleamy-eyed realtor. “I hope you understand. Welcome to America!” The Century 21 realty company calls this new series of ads, “Agents of Change.” But if it’s true that the bi-lingual aspirations of the eager realtor qualify him as a change agent, where does that leave the Senate? (full article)

The Coming Financial Crises?
by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

On Wednesday 17 May, the Dow Jones plunged 214 points to 11,206 -- its worst point drop since March 2003. The downward trend started a week ago and is a warning sign of troubles ahead. This sudden drop has come as a complete surprise to the unfortunate small investors and speculators. The so-called “experts” point at the sudden threat of inflation as the main cause of the recent reversals in the markets. What is actually surprising is the surprise of the “experts”. A cursory look at the United States’ finances will reveal the amount of pressure that its economy is under.....(full article)

When Journalists Manufacture a Crisis:
What Decline for Social Security and Medicare?
by Seth Sandronsky

The 2006 Social Security Trustees Report, which includes the Medicare program, was recently released. The trustees projected the year 2040 as the depletion date of the Social Security trust fund versus 2041 in the 2005 report. Thanks to the Greenspan Commission in 1983, the trust fund is running a surplus of Social Security taxes collected. Contributors include employees, their employers and the self-employed. As in the 2005 report, the trustees still project 2017 as the year that the costs of the Social Security program will exceed its tax revenues. The trust fund is designed to address this estimated shortfall. The New York Times ran a report (5/2/06) and the Washington Post a column (5/9/06) that ignored the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s projection of 2052 as the year for the depletion of the Social Security trust fund. This slip shrinks the context of Social Security’s future.....(full article)

Challenging the Auto-Dependant Lifestyle
An Interview with Ken Coughlin of Transportation Alternatives
by Mickey Z.

Here's a sentence you don't expect to read on the CNN website: "As gas prices climb to record highs, more Americans seem to be abandoning their cars and biking to work to save money at the pump." Thus, in the same way Mad Cow fears spurred new interest in vegetarianism, the current gas crisis may inadvertently deliver something else the planet really needs: less cars, more bikes. But bikers beware: this is an uphill battle. Ken Coughlin, a board member of Transportation Alternatives (TA), a 5500-member NYC-area non-profit citizens group working for "better bicycling, walking and public transit, and fewer cars," says: "New York's streets and most streets elsewhere in the country are ruled by the automobile, and bikes are at best an afterthought. Everyone knows this -- drivers, cyclists, pedestrians."......(full interview)

Israel’s Marriage Ban Closes the Gates to Palestinians
by Jonathan Cook

In approving an effective ban on marriages between Israelis and Palestinians last week, Israel’s Supreme Court has shut tighter the gates of the Jewish fortress the state of Israel is rapidly becoming. The judges’ decision, in the words of the country’s normally restrained Haaretz daily, was “shameful.” By a wafer-thin majority, the highest court in the land ruled that an amendment passed in 2003 to the Nationality Law barring Palestinians from living with an Israeli spouse inside Israel -- what in legal parlance is termed “family unification” -- did not violate rights enshrined in the country’s Basic Laws. And even if it did, the court added, the harm caused to the separated families was outweighed by the benefits of improved “security.” Israel, concluded the judges, was justified in closing the doors to residency for all Palestinians in order to block the entry of those few who might use marriage as a way to launch terror attacks.....(full article)

From Galileo to Churchill
by Rosemarie Jackowski 

This is not the first time in history that mob rule has taken the place of intelligent reflection. The earth is flat; the sun revolves around the earth; 9/11 occurred because they hate us for our freedoms. Those who disagree will be charged with Heresy! A modern day Inquisition might be in our future. History tells us that we are due for a Trial. It has been more than 300 years since the Salem Witch Trials and more than 80 years since the Scopes Trial. Ward Churchill is under attack. Will he receive justice through a judicial process? No one knows. Has he ever made an error in any of his writings? I would assume so.....(full article)

Fruit of the Poison Tree
by Charles Sullivan

Millions of citizens are rightly calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush due to his criminal and unethical policies. Bush is a cancer not only on the presidency but upon basic human decency. Any sane person, regardless how marginal they are, can see that Bush must go, and the sooner the better. However, when Bush is gone the system that produced him will remain in place, as healthy and viable as ever. It will continue to bear a plentiful crop of poison fruit, perhaps even more sinister than Bush. The majority of the people are toiling under the illusion that the moral abyss of American politics can be reformed and made to serve the people as well as the public interest. According to this line of reasoning, the malignancy is principally the result of a few bad apples mixed with the good. If they are correct, then removing the bad apples will affect a cure. Yet that has never been the case and it is not the case now. Otherwise, we would not be where we are today.......
(full article)

Why Wait Till November?
Get Your 2006 Congressional Election Results Now!
by Mark Bradley

The other day, I got a letter from an activist organization I joined back in 2000, a group by the name of That’s not unusual, of course, since I get letters and e-mails from all kinds of political parties on a regular basis asking for money to fight corruption and dishonesty in government. I always send them cash in the mail (you know, whatever I can afford) and I always tell Joe, so he can make sure the money gets to where it’s supposed to.) The strange thing about this particular letter is that it was postmarked November 13, 2006. That’s right, I got a letter from the future! My hands were literally shaking with excitement as I ripped open the envelope and read the following message…..(full article)

-- Explosive Video --
US Army Soldier: “It’s like mass genocide on us, you know. Our country has become terrorist. That’s why people hate us.”
by Kim Petersen

Correction: (May 23) The focal point of this article was a video interview of one Jessie MacBeth, who claims to be have been a US Army Ranger that recently finished a tour of duty in occupied Iraq. In the video interview, co-produced by Peacefilms in Vancouver and Pepperspray Productions in Seattle and posted on the Peacefilms website, Mr. MacBeth, who is presented as a spokesperson for Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), makes specific claims about atrocities committed against Iraqis by US forces. Earlier today, IVAW issued the following statement: .....(full article)

May 19

Our Lives On the Line: The Border War Comes Home
by Juan Santos

He looked squarely into my eyes. “So, you see what’s coming,” he said. I was speaking with one of the core leaders of the movement for migrant’s rights, and had laid before him a sketch of a plan of resistance for the nation’s barrios, for the protection of people from the mass raids and mass deportations that will result from new anti-migrant legislation being birthed in Washington. "This is the calm before the storm; they’re going to make it tough,” Professor Armando Navarro had told LA’s La Opinion. “They’re talking about raids, deportations. In every barrio we have to organize migrant defense committees, and get ready for civil disobedience.”.....
(full article)

Misconceptions in the Immigration Debate:
What Would Crazy Horse Do? 
by Jack Random

We are not a nation of immigrants. We might have been. We nearly exterminated the entire population of indigenous peoples but in the end we failed. The natives are still here despite our determined drive to genocide. The tribes are still identifiable despite our determined campaign to scatter and destroy their languages, cultures and religious beliefs. We are not a nation of immigrants; we are a nation of conquerors. We are a nation that seizes by force what we desire. We are a nation that has never been content to share our discovered treasures. We did not steal the land from Mexico; we stole the land from the Apache, Lakota, Iroquois, Cherokee, Nez Perce, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Seminole, Blackfoot, Ute, Paiute and countless other tribes that still exist. We joined Mexico is stealing the land from those who did not wish to possess it but merely to live on it in harmony. We are not a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of natives and ungrateful visitors.....
(full article)

Canadian Federal Court of Appeal to Hear
US War Resister Refugee Cases
by Faisal Kutty 

“Our children did not enlist to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Cindy Sheehan, the prominent American anti-war activist who toured Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa during the first week of May. Sheehan, who lost her own son Specialist Casey Sheehan in Iraq, in April 2004; she rose to prominence last year when she camped out at President George Bush's Texas ranch, demanding answers for the war. Sheehan called on the Canadian government to welcome war resisters as refugees. “I believe our war resisters are legitimate refugees,” she said during a visit to the Legislature in Ottawa. The call comes as Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal gets set to hear appeals from resisters, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey.  Both are appealing April 2006 decisions from the Federal Court which upheld the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) findings that the two did not qualify as Convention refugees.  Both the IRB and the appeal court of first instance appear to have danced around the politically sensitive issues and existing case law.....(full article

Forest Service's Logging-for-Watershed-Restoration Paradigm
Ineffective, Disingenuous
by Jeff Juel

Responding to their own well-deserved bad PR following decades of unsustainable logging and road building on national forest lands in the Northern Rockies and elsewhere, the U.S. Forest Service has been attempting to redefine the terms of the debate so the public will accept more industrial logging and road building in our public forests. These days, as we pore over the government's environmental documents, rarely are timber sales offered up solely for economic purposes. In almost every proposal, we read that "vegetation restoration" (i.e., logging) is needed, ironically enough, in order to compensate for the negative consequences of earlier logging and fire suppression, the latter of which was often done at the behest of the logging industry.....(full article)

May 17

It’s the End of the World as We Know It…
A Review of Some Current Speculative Thinking on Collapse
by Christy Rodgers

A specter is haunting global civilization: the specter of “carrying capacity.” In one forum after another, the idea that we are nearing Malthusian limits in terms of the development of highly organized societies and human habitation of earth is making itself heard. Scientists and sociologists point to different specific phenomena: species extinction and habitat destruction, over-population, global warming, peak oil, falling water tables, the proliferation of super-viruses, and so on, but the theme of most of these analyses is simple: things cannot, and will not, go on as they are much longer. Some of the thinking associated with this idea is rather timid and narrow, some of it is lyrical and reasoned, some of it is flat-out apocalyptic. Sometimes the same author exhibits more than one of these characteristics in the same article or book. Some of the proposed prescriptions for our plight are just about as frightening as the worst-case scenario themselves. What’s most interesting to me is not so much the army of statistics being brought to bear to construct these hypotheses, or the particular focus of any given argument, as the type of thinking that different proponents apply, its relation to the times, and its chances of actually being assimilated and acted upon in any way that truly meliorates the problems it identifies. Three influential authors who’ve recently looked at the whole enchilada (and found that the cheese is disappearing fast) are the nominal subject of this review....(full article)

Join the Legal Fight Against Big Brother Corporations
by Carl J. Mayer

On Friday, May 12, 2006 I, along with fellow public-interest lawyer Bruce Afran, filed the first lawsuit challenging the domestic spying operation conducted by the Bush White House, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the major phone companies. We are seeking to permanently enjoin an Orwellian Big Government/Big Business snooping operation that monitors the calling habits of 200 million Americans. The lawsuit was filed as a federal class action before Judge Sand in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. This program violates the rights of American citizens in two ways.....(full article)

President Ahmadinejad's Letter to President Bush:
The Loss of a Possibility for Dialogue 
by Mina Hamilton 

Within hours of the arrival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush, Condoleezza Rice said the letter was worthless.  It provided no openings for dialogue. With a combination of sharp-toothed Piranha attacks and flip jokes, the media swept into action.....(full article)  

The Extraordinary Rise of a “True Democracy”
by John Pilger

I have spent the past three weeks filming in the hillside barrios of Caracas, in streets and breezeblock houses that defy gravity and torrential rain and emerge at night like fireflies in the fog. Caracas is said to be one of the world's toughest cities, yet I have known no fear; the poorest have welcomed my colleagues and me with a warmth characteristic of ordinary Venezuelans but also with the unmistakable confidence of a people who know that change is possible and who, in their everyday lives, are reclaiming noble concepts long emptied of their meaning in the west: "reform", "popular democracy", "equity", "social justice" and, yes, "freedom"......(full article)

ALBA: Social Debt and Human Rights
Proposals for the New Social, Economic and Cultural Order
by James Petras

Under the leadership of President Chavez, and with the backing of the great majority of the Venezuelan people, a process of social transformation is underway which challenges the old neoliberal, imperial-centered, political-economic order. Equally important, President Chavez has proposed a new project for Latin America integration, ALBA, which challenges the imperial project ALCA, designed to consolidate neocolonial empire. This paper will begin by analyzing two dimensions of ALBA, its critical diagnosis of Latin American problems and its current status, prospects and obstacles. We will follow with an analysis of the “social debt” in Latin America in the context of the imperial-centered model of capitalist accumulation (what is called “neoliberalism”). In part two, proposals for a new social, economic, cultural and ecological order, we will examine the basic principles, institutions and proposals for achieving the new order. Here we will consider the inter-relationship between popular representation, administrative changes, as well as key changes in social relations of production and the development of the forces of production. In the concluding sections we will focus on the necessary security measures and cultural transformations to ensure that the social transformations are sustainable and irreversible.....(full article)

Abandon the Palestinians or Abandon the Dollar
by Ahmed Amr

You know something is wrong when the soft-spoken Jimmy Carter begins an article with the following line “innocent Palestinian people are being treated like animals, with the presumption that they are guilty of some crime.” The former president concludes the same piece by judiciously pointing out that “depriving the people of Palestine of their basic human rights just to punish their elected leaders is not a path to peace.” You know something is wrong because no Arab leader can be bothered to utter similar words -- certainly not with the same passion. The big difference is that Jimmy Carter cares enough to state the obvious: “It is unconscionable for Israel, the United States and others under their influence to continue punishing the innocent and already persecuted people of Palestine.”.....(full article)

Impeachment Is Just One Tiny Step
by Mickey Z.

There's talk of impeachment making the rounds these days ... and it's not just partisan hyperbole. As Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky explain in their new book, The Case for Impeachment, the legal argument for removing George W. Bush from office is clear, present, and urgent. However, for those seeking peace and justice, there are two reasons why impeachment should only be judged as a means to an end.....(full article)

Equality and Unity: Migrants and Natives 
by Seth Sandronsky

The impact of the "Day Without Immigrants" boycott and marches across the U.S. on May Day is far-reaching.  Crucially, this mass action humanized undocumented migrants under economic and political attack. Significantly, their lives are moving from the margin to the center of the U.S. public mind. Such social energy has a force of its own. Energetically, millions of marchers for the dignity of undocumented migrants also struck a collective body blow against the ruling ideology that privileges individualism as the path to equity. May Day’s political actions privileged collectivism and put a human face on the migrant labor that helps to make the U.S. economy what it is.....(full article)

Optimistic Progressivism
Realizing Hope: Life Beyond Capitalism
by Kim Petersen

How often is it that anyone who espouses socialism is greeted with the refrain: “That’s utopian”? It’s as if this refrain is sufficient argument in itself to waylay further discussion on achieving something that by implication should be understood to be unrealizable. First, such a refrain is not an argument. Second, why shouldn't humans strive for a utopia? Shouldn’t humanity always seek better circumstances? What is clear is that for the mass of humanity, life on capitalist planet Earth is far from a utopia. The viability of socialism may be questionable, but the non-viability and unsuitability of the capitalist model is axiomatic.....(full article)

Kathleen Parker’s Duke Rants Miss the Point
by Lucinda Marshall 

Try as one might to ignore her, Kathleen Parker’s claim to so many prime column inches of op-ed real estate makes her a force to contend with in the swaying of public opinion. Recently however, Parker has hit an all time low in obsessively missing the point. While it is practically obligatory for those in the punditry business to “analyze” the Duke rape case, Parker has managed to wax poetic about it not just once but three times, and added a piece about a totally unrelated “he said, she said” case just for good measure. All of these pieces include the standard disclaimer that of course no woman deserves to be raped. But from where Parker sits, the main issue is the press and public’s scandalous treatment of the accused: “About the only thing to emerge with any clarity since a black exotic dancer claimed that three white lacrosse players raped her last month is our willingness to believe the worst about males.”.....(full article)

Israeli Supreme Court Upholds Racist Family Unification Law
by Am Johal

In a razor thin 6-5 vote, the Israeli Supreme Court this week upheld the revised Family Unification Law which denies the right of Palestinians to join their Israeli Arab families in Israel. The revised law made provisions for Palestinian males over 35 and women over 25 to be able to apply for unification. It will mean that many families will be left separated and without access to state benefits....(full article

May 15

Appealing to the United States is Not Very Appealing 
by William Blum

With his recent letter to President Bush, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has become part of a long tradition of Third-World leaders who, under imminent military or political threat from the United States, communicated with Washington officials in the hope of removing that threat.  Let us hope that Ahmadinejad's effort doesn't result in the equally traditional outright US rejection.....(full article)

Undoing a History of Robbery 
by Ron Jacobs 

Isn't it ironic how when the tables are turned, what was once justified and merely business becomes theft, murder and robbery? If one needs an example of this type of incident, they need look no further than the recent decision by Bolivia to nationalize its natural gas industry. Private corporations (and public ones historically controlled by the owning state's elites) moved into Bolivia decades ago and connived deals that essentially robbed the Bolivian nation and its people. Now that the popular anti-corporate government of Evo Morales has turned the tables on the previous owners by nationalizing the industry with no intention of compensating the losing entities, those who stole the resource from Bolivia in the first place are now calling it theft.....(full article)

Requiem for American Democracy 
by Jack Random

What could be more absurd than the Bush administration pushing the United Nations for a resolution of condemnation against Iran? Three years ago the same White House gave solemn assurances that a similar resolution against Iraq would not be used as justification for war. While lying to the Security Council may not constitute an impeachable offense, it eliminates the need for character witnesses the next time you try the same trick. Fool me once… well, we’re not going to get fooled again.....(full article)

Saving the Internet is Saving Freedom 
by Doris Colmes, MSW

Turn on the morning TV news, and you get to learn how the latest celebrity is getting divorced, having a baby, living in Bahrain, dating his ex mother-in-law. Read the newspaper, and learn how the city is reconstructing a sewer pipe, closing schools for lack of money, or messing with local taxes. Oh, sure, there are some choice items, such as the third highest CIA director being chased down for some scandal or other, how Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff are being tried by jury (any year now?) but the actual news behind our government’s decisions, behind how the wealthy are being spared taxation, how a horde of guilty secrets, secrets that affect us all, beginning with our wallets and ending with our actual safety are being hidden?  For that, you need the internet. Except, folks, right now, this very moment, our government is attempting to rid us of internet freedom, and, in that process take away another big chunk of the First Amendment.  How so? (full article)

Russian Identity and the Prospects for Democracy in Putin's Russia 
by Walter C. Uhler

Ignorance falls easy prey to political deception. Witness the ease with which the Bush administration was able to persuade 51 percent of Americans, in March 2003, that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Vice President Cheney never tired of falsely linking Saddam and al Qaeda. Yet he remains in office. Where's the accountability? Consequently, I certainly was not surprised to read that Mr. Cheney not only advised Russia to return to democratic reforms, but that he equates such reforms with "the gains of the last decade." After all, it was during that decade, under the rule of Boris Yeltsin and his "shock therapy," that privatizers in so-called democratic Russia gave away much of the people's wealth, especially oil wealth, to Russian oligarchs. That's certainly the type of backroom democracy Mr. "Halliburton" Cheney understands, and the type that America, under the Bush administration, practices. Thus, as I present you my views about "Russian Identity and the Prospects for Democracy in Putin's Russia," I urge you to keep in mind my conviction that America has failed to achieve its own democratic ideal.....(full article)

The Future? What's That? 
by Peter Kurth

A story in The New York Times last week drew my attention to the plight of the Nukak-Makú, a rapidly vanishing group of nomadic Indians from southern Colombia, who recently -- and “rather mysteriously,” according to the Times -- wandered out of the jungle to the dusty frontier town of San José del Guaviare “and declared themselves ready to join the modern world.” “We do not want to go back,” said a Nukak by the name of "Ma-be," speaking through an interpreter and surrounded by about 80 of his “malnourished and exhausted” compatriots. “We want to stay near town.” A San José doctor, called in to attend to the tribe’s immediate needs, told the Times matter-of-factly, “The Nukak don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into.”.....
(full article)

Hillary, Rupert and the Culture of Corruption
by Jeff Cohen

Excuse me for not getting fired up when I hear Democratic leaders bleating about the "culture of corruption" in Washington under GOP rule. Sometimes I have to laugh. . .and not because the charges against the Republicans aren't true. They're totally true. It's just that top Democrats are up to their eyeballs in that same culture of corruption -- which may be why they seem blind to how activists see them. Take my New York senator, Hillary Clinton. The Financial Times just reported that she and her re-election campaign have lined up rightwing media mogul Rupert Murdoch to host a Hillary fundraiser in July. Murdoch is the symbol of media conglomeration and the owner of Republican mouthpieces like Fox News, Weekly Standard and the New York Post. He and Hillary have lately conducted a public courtship. Last month, Hillary attended the 10th anniversary party for Fox News in Washington, where the presidential contender schmoozed Murdoch and Fox chair Roger Ailes.  According to the Financial Times, Bill Clinton will address the summer conference of Murdoch's media colossus, News Corp.....(full article)

Film Review: Since You've Been Gone
by Sonia Nettnin

Since You've Been Gone is the autobiographical documentary of actor and director Mohammad Bakri. He focuses on the violence inflicted on Palestinians and Israelis in recent years -- caused by Israeli occupation and oppression. Bakri incorporates his tumultuous media life in Israel. After the death of his dear friend and mentor, the late Israeli-Arabic writer and politician, Emil Shukri Habibi (1921-1996), Bakri visits Habibi's grave site. He shares what has happened in his life and the lives of Palestinians and Israelis since his friend's death. Through archival news clips and personal video footage Bakri employs flashbacks of chaotic events within Israel and the West Bank -- beginning with September 28, 2000. On this day, a former Israeli parliament member at the time, Ariel Sharon, surrounded by dozens of Israeli police officers, Shin Bet security and Israeli Army soldiers walked the esplanades of the Temple Mount, which contains the Al Aqsa Mosque.....
(full article)

May 12

What Mothers Really Want 
by Lucinda Marshall

The great thing about Mother’s Day is that for one day, everyone has to at least pretend to listen respectfully to what mothers have to say. So come on Moms, let’s not pass up 24 hours of precious soapbox time, we can talk about what we always talk about. Children.....(full article)

A Perfect Mother's Day Gift : Create a Peace Movement That Ends
the Iraq Occupation and Prevents Future Wars of Aggression  
by Cindy Sheehan

Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, became so horrified with the carnage of the Civil War that she began advocating for a Mother's Day of Peace. She published the Mother's Day Peace Proclamation in 1870. By 1873, 18 cities celebrated Mother's Day of Peace celebrations -- some of these celebrations continued for 30 years. Still today, we have the enduring legacy of Mother's Day. Now we are faced with the modern carnage of the occupation of Iraq, and still there are threats of another war of aggression in Iran. The Iraq policy is fatally flawed, especially for the nearly 2,500 US deaths and for every one of these there have been 100 dead Iraqi civilians. We have to do something to build a peace movement that can stop blood-bathed foreign policy. We've demonstrated, written letters, sung songs, engaged in civil disobedience and traveled far and wide engaging our fellow Americans to demand that the troops come home. Hundreds of thousands of us marched in the streets of New York City for Peace, Justice and Democracy on April 29th. What's next? What can we do now? What tools do we have left in this democracy of ours? (full article)

It’s Mothers Day Again and We’re Still at War 
by Murray Polner

After the carnage of the Second World War, the members of the now defunct Victory Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers in St. Petersburg, Florida knew better than most what it was to lose their sons, daughters, husbands and other near relatives in war. “We’d rather not talk about it,” Ceil Rindfuss, whose son was killed in WWII, told the St. Petersburg Times fifteen years after the war ended. “It’s a terrible scar that never heals. We hope there will never be another war so no other mothers will have to go through this ordeal.” But thanks to our wars in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and the Gulf War -- not to mention our proxy wars around the globe -- and now Iraq, too many Moms now have to mourn family members lost to wars dreamed up by demagogic politicians.....(full article)

Why the United States Invaded Iraq and is
Now Thinking About Invading Iran  
by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

On April 28, the IAEA released its report on Iran. The IAEA reported that: "the Agency cannot make a judgment about, or reach a conclusion on, future compliance or intentions." The report came as no surprise to those who have been following the ongoing dispute between Iran, United States and the IAEA. The United States, for quite some time now, has been accusing Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons and Iran has been insisting that its intentions are peaceful and that it is only interested in peaceful use of the nuclear energy. Iran, to allay the international community's fear, froze its enrichment program and started a series of negotiations with the U.K., Germany, and France. However, without the United States these negotiations were not going to produce any results, since it was only the United States that could address the Iranian's national security concerns. Iranian seeing themselves surrounded by American forces wanted a security guarantee that United States would not invade Iran, something that United States was not prepared to give. So the negotiations with the European three failed and Iran resumed its enrichment program. Iran was threatened with Security Council and even invasion without any effect. Now once again there is talk of a Security Council resolution under Article 7 and continuous threats of invasion. There have even been talks of tactical nuclear strike on suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.....(full article)

War Against Iran and an Appeal to the New York Times 
by Mina Hamilton

Recently the New York Times called on the Senate Intelligence Committee "to finally hold the Bush administration accountable for the fairy tales it told about Saddam Hussein's weapons."  The May 7 editorial focused on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pre-war lies about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. The editors described Rumsfeld's attempt to cover-up the lies as "profoundly twisted." "Profoundly twisted" is strong language. In 2002 and 2003 the Times was not so refreshingly outspoken. During the build-up to the Iraq War the Times faithfully reported the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld lies about Saddam's "mushroom cloud" and "bioweapons in mobile trailers" with nary a challenge. Question: In 2006, will the Times unquestioningly report all the Bush administration's bombast, bluster -- and lies -- in the build up to the War against Iran? (full article)

Dying for Wall Street: America’s Worsening Healthcare Travesty  
by Dennis Rahkonen

Two health-related news items underscore how backward the United States is, apart from technologically sophisticated ways to murder foreign innocents in unprovoked wars, or how to illegally spy on its own populace. We’ve got smart bombs to terrorize people in the Middle East, but a completely dumb, ineffective system of private medical lethality that often kills those it’s supposed to cure here at home.....(full article)

Israel’s Road to “Convergence” Began with Rabin  
by Jonathan Cook

With his coalition partners on board, Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert is plotting his next move: a partial withdrawal from the West Bank over the next few years which he and his government will declare as the end of the occupation and therefore also any legitimate grounds for Palestinian grievance. From hereon in, Israel will portray itself as the benevolent provider of a Palestinian state -- on whatever is left after most of Israel’s West Bank colonies have been saved and the Palestinian land on which they stand annexed to Israel. If the Palestinians reject this deal -- an offer, we will doubtless be told, is every bit as “generous” as the last one -- then, according to the new government’s guidelines, they will be shunned by Israel and presumably also by the international community. Even given the normal wretched standards of Israeli double-dealing in the “peace process,” this is a bleak moment to be a Palestinian politician.....(full article)

The White Washing of Muhammad Ali™  
by Mickey Z.

The man who shocked a nation by changing his name has sold that name for $50 million in cash. Last month, Muhammad Ali™ was paid that amount by CKX, an entertainment and licensing firm, in return for an 80 percent interest of his name and likeness. So, before Muhammad Ali™ becomes a corporate logo, let's pause to recall the brave young firebrand who told the world: "Man, I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong."....(full article)

May 10

Bush to Palestine: “Go Starve to Death”  
by Mike Whitney

The United States and Israel have finally agreed on a plan to resolve the decades-long Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel will continue lobbing missiles into civilian areas of Gaza and the West Bank while the US cuts off food and other vital aid to the territories. That way they can maximize the human suffering while preparing the Palestinian people for a violent death. This is not what Palestinians bargained for when they accepted the western-model of democracy. The Road Map has become a cul-de-sac of aggression, subjugation and outright murder. I wonder how many Palestinians would have stayed home if they knew how they’d be treated for voting for the party of their choice? (full article)

The Threat from Iran Is to Israel:
Bush Spins His Iran Attack Plans
by Gary Leupp

I read again in this morning’s Boston Globe a matter of fact reference to Iran’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map.” This echoes the repeated allegation by President Bush and other top administration officials that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has issued such a call. “We are talking about a specific threat on a partner of the U.S. and Germany,” Bush told the German newspaper Bild last week. But is this not just more neocon disinformation, designed to inspire fear that Iran’s nuclear program, which heads the long list of Washington’s charges against Iran, is really designed to annihilate Israel?
(full article)

The Analytical Skewer 
by Kim Petersen

On May 4, former CIA veteran Ray McGovern attended a public gathering at the Southern Center of International Studies in Atlanta where Secretary of Defense [sic] Donald Rumsfeld was speaking. McGovern, during an open question and answer session, skewered the hapless neocon with his own disinforming words around the invasion of Iraq. If only the rest of the administration officials were available for genuine probing, especially by authentic journalists, who are not a part of the recalcitrant corporate media.....(full article)

Silent Protest, Vocal Response 
by Walter Brasch

“Enraged” would be too mild of an adjective to describe the caller to Spectrum magazine, a national award-winning student-produced magazine for the permanent residents of two rural counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. “Take my wife off of this circulation list. I don’t know how she ever got on!” he demanded. My business manager, a junior, asked what was wrong, thinking she might defuse his anger -- or at least find out what bothered him. “We don’t believe in alternative lifestyles, and don’t want to be associated with this!” he angrily shouted, and again demanded to be pulled from our circulation list. He didn’t want to talk to the circulation manager or the editor; he didn’t even want to tell us what infuriated him. He just didn’t want his wife to receive the magazine. The business manager politely thanked him for his call, took his wife’s name off the subscriber list, and came to see me. My office is adjacent to the Spectrum office. I teach journalism at Bloomsburg University, and serve as editor-in-chief/advisor to Spectrum. Together, we quickly went through the 20-story index -- shorts, features, in-depth investigative reports, trying to figure out what was in our recently-distributed issue to cause such outrage. In a couple of minutes of rapid-fire thought, we finally made the connection. The current issue was distributed within a week after the Day of Silence. The only connection was our name; at Danville High School, the only one of seven high schools in our circulation area to officially support the Day of Silence, the sponsoring club, with both gay and straight students, was also known as Spectrum....
(full article)

May 8

LA’s New Immigrant Movement: Observations and Questions 
by Sonali Kolhatkar

Los Angeles is being seen as the epicenter of the new immigrant movement, mobilizing the largest numbers of people nationally at the recent protests. On May Day, there were two separate marches and I was fortunate enough to be at both, reporting for KPFK, Pacifica radio. While the mass-movement for immigrant rights is still relatively new, it’s time for some observations and questions.....(full article)

Revolt of the CIA Analysts 
by Ahmed Amr

. . . . There is a lot of speculation as to why Porter Goss was outed from the CIA. Some suggest it had something to do with losing a turf battle with John Negroponte -- his immediate boss. Other reports make a convincing case that his resignation is related to his staff’s passion for hookers, poker and bribes -- a fallout from the scandals surrounding Congressman Duke Cunningham. But the above quotes lead me to suspect he was outed as a result of a mutiny by the CIA’s rank and file. When the neocon priests at the Weekly Standard groan and the folks at Langley cheer -- it’s a sure sign that the Feith/Libby crowd has lost a major battle with the intelligence community.....(full article)

The “Darfur Advocates” and the “Boromir Fallacy” 
by Gary Leupp

I want to call it the “Boromir Fallacy.” Recall how in the movie The Fellowship of the Ring the Council of Elrond has learned the long history of the Ring and the evil it has done for ages. The delegates have learned how the Dark Lord, wielding this Ring, wants to “rule them all and in the darkness bind them.” Yet seeing the golden band, the man of Gondor Boromir, exclaims: “It is a gift! A gift to the foes of Mordor! Why not use this ring?” No, replies Aragorn, “You cannot wield it!  None of us can.  The One Ring answers to Sauron alone.  It has no other master.” The Ring, the Council concludes, must be destroyed. The ranks of good liberals, including many in the amorphous peace movement, are replete with many Boromirs. Decent, well intentioned, brave, but oh so naively inclined to believe they can use for good the Ring that is U.S. imperialism! Have these people learned nothing from the last five years of relentless U.S. aggression? Or the century of imperialism before that?
(full article)

by Aaron Michael Gordon

You know, I’m really annoyed at the utter lack of imagination regarding America’s switch away from non-renewal energy sources. Now mind you, I’m not surprised, in that only a fool underestimates the stupidity of the American Public and their right to SUV® (a registered trademark of the eternal American Way Of Life, all rights reserved.) But everyone seems to think that the switch from oil to ethanol will require a significant shift in land usage regarding farms that make food. Check out articles critiquing Brazil’s successful ethanol program. Now, don’t get me wrong: Brazil does indeed have issues with their ethanol production. They are competing for space with agriculture, and they are now producing a monoculture crop of sugar. Like China, Brazil is a developing world power, and so their environmental waste disposal is a bit behind. And, of course, there is even more pressure to develop the fertile lands of the Amazon for energy and food, since they’re now competing for the same plots of land. This issue, paired to increase in demand, is the primary wrench thrown in the “use ethanol” machine here in the United States. Well, I have a solution that will make everybody happy. We don’t have to switch out our “food fields” for “gas fields.” We have plenty of wasted land throughout the United States that could easily be used for ethanol production. It’s called suburbia, and it’s the answer to our ethanol problem.....(full article)

Peak Oil Discomforts: Losing Hot Water, Computer, Car, Electricity....  
by Shepherd Bliss

My hot water heater recently sprang a leak. So I dumped it. Inconvenient, but not a big deal -- quickly replaceable, at least these days.  But the incident did stimulate me to reflect on temporary, annoying, but currently fixable discomforts. But what will happen when breakdowns are not so temporary or so quickly or inexpensively repairable or replaceable? What will happen when the impacts of declining petroleum supplies grow numerous and persistent? (full article)

The Truth Force of Sorrow  
by Susan Van Haitsma

My neighbor, who is almost five, is one of my greatest teachers.  For most of his life, we've shared weekly play dates, and I cherish this window he gives me into the fascinating, focused mind of a child living in the very present moment. Lately, my little neighbor has been exploring the realm of weapons and combat. Following the lead of his parents, whose wisdom I trust and admire without reservation, I tend to go with the flow when he sets the stage for our imaginary battle scenarios. Our war play provides interesting opportunities to experiment with various responses to violence. Generally, when my young friend asks me or the “bad guy” Lego or Playmobile characters I represent to take up weapons against his “good guy” characters, I suggest alternative means of engagement. Are his guys hungry? Would they join my guys for lunch? Gradually, we find that the weapons and armor we or the characters are toting around impede doing things like eating imaginary lunches, and often by the time we are done playing, the weapons have been discarded due to impracticality. Sometimes, however, his characters simply kill my characters. During our most recent play session, my surviving character said that he wanted to be alone for a minute because he was sad that his friends were dead. My young neighbor, who of course is wise to my motives, replied, "Susan, there's no sad in this game." Soldiers themselves, those who have "skin in the game," often use the same metaphor for war, according to my veteran friends. "Just play the game," they tell each other -- a game in which sadness and stress are supposed to be denied.....(full article)

A Very Questionable Judicial Nomination 
by Gene C. Gerard

The Senate will soon vote on the nomination of Terrence Boyle to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. President Bush nominated Mr. Boyle, who has served as a federal district court judge in North Carolina for the last 20 years, in 2001. But Democrats have blocked his nomination since that time, owing to his poor judicial record. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has recently said that he will force a vote on Judge Boyle, even if it requires triggering the so-called “nuclear option” of abolishing the longstanding tradition of the filibuster. But a new report revealed that Judge Boyle has repeatedly ruled on litigation in which he had a financial interest. A review of Judge Boyle’s judicial record suggests that he has a racial bias when it comes to Congressional redistricting. In Cromartie v. Hunt, Judge Boyle sided with white voters who alleged that their district had been illegally drawn to create a black majority district. But the Supreme Court unanimously reversed his ruling. In another case, Judge Boyle issued a ruling in favor of white voters in a lawsuit that wasn’t even assigned to his court. An appeals court rejected this ruling.....(full article)

Martial Law Declared as Troops Occupy Korean Village 
by Jepu

For three days, 1,000s of protestors have clashed with police and soldiers in resistance to a US base expansion. The expansion of Camp Humphreys (K-6) is part of the United State's Global Posture Review, following the agenda of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), and implemented by the Bush Administration to consolidate its military hegemony over Northeast Asia. The Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) has declared martial law in the village of Daechuri and surrounding areas in its latest attempt to seize land slated to be property of the United States military. In an attempt to control the escalating chaos that ensued when it sent troops and riot police to evict residents and activists, the MND is conducting door to door searches and arresting people on sight. Road blockades of sand bags and police buses have been placed around the village to prevent anyone from entering or exiting. At least 400 people have been injured and nearly one thousand arrested since Thursday. The three days of violence has prompted criticism of the police force's conduct during the eviction. Human rights advisors to the National Police Agency described the scene as a "blood bath," and an "embarrassing moment" for the national government.....(full article)

Cinco de Mayo

The Invisible M3 and Plumping Up the Economy:
The Subsurface World of Inflation, Cannibalism
and the Plight of the Squeezees

by Zbignew Zingh

In March 2006,with practically no explanation, the federal government stopped reporting on M3, the broadest measure of the money supply in the U.S. economy. The most important “asset” in the 21st Century is not cash, gold, real estate, guns or even petroleum, but Information. “Knowledge” trumps everything. That is why, for example, the telecommunications industry is right now in the process of buying up Congress so that it can finish off “network neutrality” and, eventually, strangle your access to knowledge and information on websites like this one. Thus, when the federal government suddenly withdraws a well-established multi-trillion dollar measure of the economy's health, skeptical minds wonder if, yet again, the Government's penchant for secrecy is intended to keep us ordinary citizen types from seeing what it is up to. What the Administration is likely “up to” is flooding the economy with billions and billions of digitally created “cheap” dollars. The massive influx of money will juice the stock markets, plump up the economy and, of course, create price inflation.....(full article)

Mi Casa es Tu Casa: Welcoming “The United States of The Americas”
by Gary Corseri

Our foolish yellow-journalistic, mainstream media banner-headline, “Reconquista!”, conjuring visions of Pancho Villa crossing the border with hordes of sombreroed peasant guerillas. Sensenbrenner and Tancredo play to the basest of their base, prating about Homeland Security and the sanctity of “our borders.” But there is neither sanctity of borders nor reconquest here. Greater matters are at stake for our security and humanity: a higher definition of what it means to be American in this bludgeoned, fossil-fuel choking, Amazon-burning Western hemisphere; real integration of the various peoples of the two Americas; recognition and renunciation of the distorted, murderous policies of the past; and the ascension and celebration of true human values under the banner of a Great Spirit of mercy and reconciliation. Not reconquest, but reaffirmation. And that means recognizing some truths our sports-loving, spectator-democracy will find difficult to swallow. But I know this: this America belongs to the Mexicans and los indios and los africanos as much as it belongs to me or anyone else who was born here. In many ways, it is more their country, though my father, a Sicilian Catholic, and my mother, a Ukrainian Jew, were also born here. But my grandparents were not. And I know this: It is not for the conquistadores -- Spanish or Anglo-Saxon -- to define the parameters of “legal” and “illegal” when their courts and councils of government are established upon illegal wars, genocide, racism, forced treaties, fire and smoke.....(full article

Nativists Declare Open Season on Undocumented Immigrants
by Bill Berkowitz

Even as millions of people demonstrated across the United States Monday to call for amnesty for the nation's 11 million undocumented workers, other events have shed more heat than light and have turned into boisterous anti-immigrant gatherings where violence against immigrants has become a rallying cry. On April 27 -- four days before a mass movement that included undocumented workers, legal immigrants and U.S. citizens who refused to go to work or school in observation of the “Great American Boycott” -- more than 1,000 people attended an anti-immigrant meeting called “Demagnetize America” in Franklin, Tennessee. Those in attendance heard Nashville radio talk show host Phil Valentine say that he thought that U.S. Border Patrol Agents should consider shooting undocumented immigrants as they come across the border.....(full article)

Return of the Death Squads: Iraq’s Hidden News 
by John Pilger

Now that al-Zarqawi has been replaced by "sectarian violence" and "civil war," the big news is the attacks by Sunnis on Shia mosques and bazaars. The real news, which is not reported in the CNN "mainstream", is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the breakup of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush's administration.....(full article)

Spinning Our Forgotten War 
by William Fisher

“Contractors in Afghanistan are making big money for bad work.” This is the conclusion reached in a new report from CorpWatch written by an Afghan-American journalist who returned to her native country to examine the progress of reconstruction. “The Bush Administration touts the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan as a success story,” the report says, and claims that reconstruction has been “bungled” by “many of the same politically connected corporations which are doing similar work in Iraq”, receiving “massive open-ended contracts” without competitive bidding or with limited competition. “These companies are pocketing millions, and leaving behind a people increasingly frustrated and angry with the results,” the report says. Foreign contractors “make as much as $1,000 a day, while the Afghans they employ make $5 per day,” the report charges...(full article)

I'm Tired of Bushes and Clintons  
by Jeff Cohen

Every presidential election since 1980 has had a Bush or a Clinton on a major party ticket. And the pundits say we're likely to see a Clinton atop the next Democratic ticket. Unlike the last seven presidential elections, I dream of a 2008 contest that is Bush- and Clinton-free. Our country needs new leadership and fresh ideas beyond the realm of just two families. Of course, influential political families are as old as the Republic. Our nation's first vice president and second president was an Adams; his son was our sixth president. A Republican Roosevelt dominated U.S. politics at the turn of the 20th century; a Democratic Roosevelt, his distant cousin, was even more dominant decades later (joined by our country's greatest first lady, a Roosevelt by birth as well as marriage, who toiled for human rights for years thereafter.) Then came the '60s and the brothers Kennedy... but both John and Robert were killed before the age of 47. Those earlier eras were marked by hope or social progress. By contrast, the Bush-Clinton era is marked in many respects by political regress and decline. And as major national problems fester, neither Team Bush nor Team Clinton are willing to seriously address them.....(full article)

The Long Path Back to Umm al-Zinat for Palestine’s Refugees  
by Jonathan Cook

Across Israel, the sirens have been blaring out this week, closing shops and offices early and bringing Israelis to a minute’s silent halt wherever they find themselves, whether in the house or pulled into a layby at the side of the road. Israel has been commemorating its soldiers who fell in the country’s many wars: a long roll call of names appeared on television screens, and military cemeteries were packed with visiting families. But on Wednesday 3 May, the somber mood finally lifted as Israel celebrated its 58th Independence Day, marking the declaration of statehood on midnight 14 May 1948 (the anniversary varies every year because it is commemorated according to the Hebrew calendar). Boisterous youngsters piled into the streets, enjoying free public concerts and firework displays, and families headed to the forests for barbecues. Every other car seems to be flying an Israeli flag. In Nazareth Elite, the Jewish town built above Nazareth on land confiscated from its Arab neighbor, children barely able to walk were guided by parents over the massive metal frames of two bunting-festooned tanks stationed in a public park. Older boys and girls played at being gunners or learnt how to operate an army radio. Similar scenes were played out in towns across the country. But not everyone was included in the celebrations. One in five of Israel’s population is Palestinian. The names of their dead from the 1948 war -- including unarmed women and children killed in a spate of massacres documented by Israeli historians -- were not listed on television. In Nazareth the local children were not offered tanks as playthings, nor did friendly officers come offering lessons in soldiering.....(full article)

Darfur Crisis Sparks Calls for US Action, But Can There Be . . . 
A “Humanitarian” Invasion?  
by Lance Selfa

The ongoing crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan brought thousands of people to “Stop genocide” rallies held in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country April 30. Dozens of members of Congress, prominent religious leaders and Hollywood entertainers lent their voices to the calls against the atrocities in the region, which is on the western edge of Sudan, bordering Chad. In stark contrast to the movement against the Iraq War -- which most elected officials won’t touch -- dozens of politicians flocked the stage on the Capitol Mall in Washington. Six members of Congress were arrested April 28 protesting the Sudanese government’s arming of paramilitary forces held responsible for butchering tens of thousands and for driving as many as 2 million from their homes. George Bush himself announced last week that he endorsed the April 30 rallies, saying they would send a message that “genocide in Sudan is unacceptable.” An even broader coalition of groups, called the Save Darfur Coalition, sponsored the rallies. “The National Association of Evangelicals and the American Humanist Association might not agree on much,” wrote Matthew Hay Brown in the Baltimore Sun. “When it comes to abortion or homosexuality, the Union for Reform Judaism and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops find themselves on opposite ends of the debate. But when the subject is genocide in Darfur, all are on the same page.”....(full article)

Nicaraguan Solidarity: Making the US Ambassador Redundant? 
by toni solo

Is there any significant difference between the political intervention of the North American solidarity movement in Nicaragua and that of the US government's ambassador? The recent deal on fuel and fertilizer between the Association of Nicaraguan Municipalities and the Venezuelan authorities has helped everyone concerned about Nicaragua by clarifying political allegiances. As might be expected, the Nicaraguan social democrats' flagship newspaper El Nuevo Diario covered the deal in a misleading, dismissive way. Less expected was a factually mistaken account from the main US solidarity organization Nicanet in one of its information bulletins. The managerial solidarity class in North America and elsewhere needs to review what is leading them to behave similarly to the US ambassador to Nicaragua. They even use similar vocabulary. Several elements are tangled up in the matter. The inevitability of taking sides is there and the inescapable criteria of class on which those choices tend to get made. Also, there is the relation between solidarity-based interventions and their impact on local politics. In Nicaragua, one wonders at the convergence between comment from foreign solidarity and peace activists and poor reporting by local social-democrat media with a very clear anti-FSLN bias.....(full article)

Don't Like The Message? Fire the Messenger! 

Former Bush Press Secretary Scott McLellan Heads Home to Texas
as His Mother Seeks to Run for Texas Governor
by Sarah Whalen

Is it his messenger, or his message? Which has caused US President George W. Bush to become one of the world's most unpopular leaders -- right behind North Korea's Kim Jung Il? A lesser man might do a little soul-searching to wonder why he became not just unpopular, but almost universally loathed. And even some Republicans who think they might like to win a local election or spare their party historic ignominy beg Bush to reconsider his message.  But Bush doesn't soul-search or second guess, nor does he “do nuance.”  He mocks the word. So why did Bush fire his junior neocon, native Texan Scott McLellan? Is it because he's not a good enough liar? (full article)

Film Review: I Remember 1948  
by Sonia Nettnin

The narrative documentary, I Remember 1948, explores the lives of four, Al-Nakba (The Palestinian Catastrophe) survivors. After living in the Palestinian Diaspora for 58 years, they share the intimate details of their lives at the time Zionist terror gangs invaded their villages and expelled Palestinian families for more land.  From 1947-49 an estimated 750,000 Palestinians fled Palestine. It is the side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict told from the Palestinian, historical perspective....(full article)

Photo Essay: Chicago Immigrant Rally
by Charles Shaw

Twelve inspiring photographs from the massive May 1 Immigrant Rally in Chicago, twhich drew an estimated 400,000 people, shot by Charles Shaw. [Note: page may take a couple of minutes to fully load].....(full photo essay)

~~ Poetry Slam ~~

The Knacker 
by Vi Ransel

The lot

of most

of mankind

throughout all of history

has been abject poverty.

Not the artificial kind

designed by advertising

instigated by insufficient quantities

of de rigueur commodities,

but from the reality

of the eternal, relentless


of the flesh -- (full poem)



Too Many Mexican Poets! 
by Gary Corseri


Mexico has too many poets!
Ay caramba!
Pouring over the border,
Hiding their bebes inside their sombreros,
Carrying bombs inside their tortillas --
Mariachi bands exploding everywhere!..... (full poem)


A Desire Deferred 
by Adam Engel

The Ad-man, retired,

fed me leafy vegetables

and meaty plant proteins,

grown, hydroponically,

in his basement.


Posters lined long and narrow walls

of polished stone, like mausoleum halls:

Ad campaigns he had designed

to muddle minds of generations.....(full poem)

by Vi Ransel


Literally a slave

if you need a wage

you life is not your own.....(full poem)


May 3

The Burka, the Castro, and the Unborn Child 
by Charlie Hinton

I am a child of the sexual revolution. I grew up in a family in Missouri so sexually repressed that when my father explained the “facts of life,” he told me the penis enters the vagina while we’re asleep. I tried to be sexual with women, but felt no chemistry. I didn’t just come out as gay, I exploded into a world of free love, marijuana, LSD, and radical politics. That experience saved my life, and in many ways still defines it. On January 21 this year, I went to a demonstration called by the Bay Area Coalition For Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR) to counter a large demonstration of Christians, called to oppose Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe decision. What I found was a group of perhaps 500 supporters of choice and more than 10,000 opponents, bussed in from all over the Bay Area,  all carrying the same sign about abortion hurting women. I realized most of these anti-choice marchers also oppose gay rights. Their sheer numbers plus their controlled, disciplined message made me feel threatened and concerned for the future. Christian fundamentalists have since organized a youth rally at SBC Park called Battlecry. Their announced goal is to create a Christian theocratic government in the United States, and they have made San Francisco a major organizing target. These developments have made me think about my own history in San Francisco, about the need for gay men to support reproductive rights for women, and about the role of fundamentalist religions in the seemingly out-of-control state of the world.....(full article)

AIPAC: Lobbies and Whistleblowers Yes!, Spies No!  
by James Petras

The arrest of two leading members of the principal pro-Israel lobby AIPAC for procuring confidential information from a leading Pentagon official and passing it to an Israeli spymaster seems to be an open and shut case of espionage. This is especially so when the Pentagon employee later confessed and agreed to testify against the accused AIPAC leaders. AIPAC, after reviewing the case, decided to fire the two accused spies and stopped paying their legal expenses. The Israeli agent, recipient of the confidential information fled to Israel, and has refused attempts by the prosecution to interview him. The information disclosed to the Israeli state touched on very sensitive material pertaining to US strategy toward Iran and Iraq and was a grave matter of state, considering that the AIPAC functionaries passed on the information during wartime. At first, the issue of AIPAC’s involvement in a spy ring on behalf of Israel split the major pro-Israel organizations, out of fear of possible repercussions, or anger that it might hurt their credibility on pushing Israel’s agenda. However the hard-line Israel Firsters soon went on the offensive, writing editorials, opinion pieces and pressing academic and professional groups to see the issue as a constitutional one of free speech. With time the liberal pro-Israelis jumped on the bandwagon pushing the issue as one of possible persecution of government whistleblowers, who act in the best interest of the government. There are many very solid reasons why the accused AIPAC leaders cannot be considered lobbyists, whistleblowers or investigative reporters seeking out “inside information.”.....(full article)

The Fruits of Capitalism: Inequality Matters
by Kim Petersen

Capitalism is a system that has untoward repercussions for the masses of society. Capitalism may create wealth, but it also, by dint of its nature, creates gross inequalities that belie Adam Smith’s faith in an invisible hand. Editors James Lardner and David Smith have compiled a book of essays, Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and Its Poisonous Consequences, that elaborates on how inequality permeates society and affects the masses of people adversely. The book describes a link between some “elites” and the religious Right in an assault on middle and working classes. The result has been $2 trillion in tax cuts mainly benefiting ultra wealthy. The inequalities are woven into the American workplace where workers face an uphill battle to gain equality. Lardner writes, “In American workplaces today workers can be compelled to listen to presentations on the evils of unions but be forbidden to meet for the purpose of forming one.”....(full article)

Challenging Hillary Clinton: New York Takes on the War Party 
by Joshua Frank

From Manhattan to Hollywood, Hillary Clinton is pocketing enormous amounts of cash across the country for her reelection campaign. Yet, Hillary is facing what seems to be fierce opposition from within her own party, as well as from third parties here in New York. The main reason candidates have signed up to challenge Hillary is her position, er, non-position on the disgraceful "war on terror." Hillary, in a letter to constituents last November, expressed her belief that the war in Iraq shouldn't be "open-ended" but was clear that she would never "pull out of Iraq immediately." Translation: Hillary Clinton supports a continued occupation of Iraq. Her stance on Iran isn't much better; in fact, it may be worse. In the same letter, Clinton hoped contingents of U.S. soldiers would remain in the region with "quick-strike capabilities. . . . This will help us stabilize that new Iraqi government," she attested. "It will send a message to Iran that they do not have a free hand in Iraq despite their considerable influence and personal and religious connections there."....(full article)

Why United 93 Matters  
by Charbonneau Gourde

With all the fervor over the recent release of United 93, our thoughts are forced, for good or ill, back to that painful day in 2001, when, as we are constantly reminded, "the world changed." Regardless of political viewpoint, most of us agree that the events of 9/11 are too important, too historic, too tragic, to ever forget. Many say it is too soon to be reminded of that day on the big screen, and some say it will never be the right time. Still others, however, say it is exactly the time to see these events replayed, because Americans are beginning to forget; our attention spans are those of gnats at best, so we need to be reminded what happened that day in the most painful, realistic, dramatic way. To what end, though? (full article)

The Inevitable Collapse of the Greenback  
by Mike Whitney

Yesterday, Iran fired the first shot in a battle that will ultimately change the global economic system. Mehr News Agency announced that the long-anticipated Iran Oil Bourse (OIB) will open sometime next week on Kish Island competing head-on with the US dollar. Currently, all oil transactions are denominated exclusively in greenbacks (via the London and New York oil exchanges) giving the US a virtual monopoly on the oil trade and maintaining the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency. This privilege has allowed the US to generate massive deficits as well as a national debt of $8.4 trillion without fear of economic collapse but, the “time’s they are a-changin’.” If Iran proceeds with its plan, the central banks around the world will convert some of their reserves into euros sending billions of dollars back to the America. This will result in either recession or depression.....(full article)

Neil Young Kicks Out the Jams!  
by Ron Jacobs

Neil Young has done it again. A week or so ago, he went into the studio with the same sense of urgency that the producers of the “Ohio” single recall to record a new antiwar work called /Living With War/. The CD should be in stores by May 15, 2006. As a favor to fans and other interested folks, Young's record company released it as streaming audition on his website April 28th. The first fuzzy bass tones came out of my speakers a little after 7 AM. Then came Neil singing "Won't need no?/Won't need no stinkin' war... after the garden is gone..." That ever-so-recognizable Silvertoney sound that Young makes with his electric guitar plays a melodic arpeggio in between the and behind the lyrics. Lyrics that appear at first to be as fuzzy in their meaning as the bass that is part of Young's signature electric sound, but turn out to be as clear as his ringing guitar licks.....(full article)

May Day

“Out of Iraq, Into Darfur”?
Just Saying No to Imperialist Intervention in Sudan  
by Gary Leupp

At the huge, inspiring antiwar march in New York yesterday, I noticed many placards with the massage, “Out of Iraq, Into Darfur.” They were held by members of a group called “Volunteer for Change,” described as “a project of Working Assets.” I wasn’t sure what to make of the slogan. Was it somehow satirical, playing on “Out of the frying pan, into the fire” and warning about a future Somalia-like intervention in Africa? Or was this really a call to take US troops out of Iraq and deploy them instead in “humanitarian” “peacekeeping” in western Sudan? (full article)

Nuestro Paranoia 
by Peter Kurth

Gentle reader: ¡Hola! ¿Que tal?  I’m afraid that’s all the Spanish I know, if you don’t count isolated words -- mañana, tequila, Evita and so on. About 20 years ago, I took two months of Spanish lessons during a research trip to Madrid, but the only phrases that stick in my head, for some reason, are “Where are the skin creams, please?” and “I’m a stewardess for British Airways.” Neither of them will get me very far in the current raging debate over Nuestro Himno, the new, “Spanglishized” version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and evidently the greatest threat to national security and American amour propre since French fries and the Axis of Evil. In case you missed it, Nuestro Himno is the brainchild of British-born producer Adam Kidron, the head of Urban Box Office, who recently pulled together a number of Latino pop stars -- Mexico’s Gloria Trevi, Puerto Rico’s Carlos Ponce, Cuban rapper Pitbull, etc. -- to record a Spanish version of the national anthem as “a statement of solidarity with the immigrant movement,” and to coincide with what were expected to be further massive protests for immigrants’ rights on Monday, May 1. By the time you read this, we’ll know if the nation has survived the indignity or not.....(full article)

No Immigrants Need Apply 
by Sheila Velazquez

Pity the poor government that isn't able to erect a fence along our southern border. Over the years, we have excelled in technology of all kinds, but we can't build a fence. Don't you think that if the government really wanted to stop illegal immigration they would put in a big order at Home Depot. Rather than fashion a fair immigration policy, they use the immigration issue like a shell game that they have fomented to distract the attention of Americans from bigger issues that benefit the ruling-class predators. This country will exploit immigrants and suppress citizen workers as long as there is profit to be made from it. This is not a new phenomenon. It began when slaves and indentured servants were whisked off from Africa and Europe to work the plantations of the South and the Caribbean. The criminal practice continued through the years to include foreign technology workers who have been given work permits to replace American engineers and programmers who owe huge student loans and who can't compete with workers from overseas, many of whom were educated under government programs and who owe nothing for their knowledge. It includes jobs that are exported and now services. The only jobs that seem safe are those that include contact with an actual person. And I'm sure many of those are being looked at as candidates for automation.....(full article)

DHS's Raids on Undocumented Workers: 
Securing the Homeland for Whom? 
by Seth Sandronsky

Recently, U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents helped to arrest over a thousand undocumented immigrant laborers in more than two-dozen states. Some of them were deported. These immigrant laborers had produced wealth for IFCO Systems North America, a firm that makes and sells wooden crates and pallets. IFCO is part of the U.S. manufacturing sector with over 14 million workers. These employees produced $107 billion of wood products in 2004, according to Department of Commerce data. Undocumented immigrant workers who earn low (non-union) wages contributed to that output. Companies and the politicians they fund grasp that low wages create high profits. The lower the wages of immigrant workers without documents the more their bosses gain. Officially, the DHS crackdown was designed to make the U.S. public feel safer and securer from the threat posed by undocumented immigrant workers such as those on the IFCO payroll. For that reason, DHS chief Michael Chertoff called these laborers “criminal aliens.”.....(full article)

The Decider Nominates Chief Polluter for the EPA 
by Gene C. Gerard

President Bush, the nation’s self-appointed “Decider,” has nominated William Wehrum to serve as Assistant Administrator for the office of air quality at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He’s been serving as legal counsel and interim head of this office since 2001. During his tenure at the EPA, Mr. Wehrum has consistently worked to weaken the nation’s air pollution laws and regulations. And his actions have resulted in a revolt within the EPA and serious criticism by the federal courts.....(full article)

Paradigm Shift: Embracing the Power of Green  
by Jack Random

There is something profoundly disturbing in observing George W. Bush the environmentalist. If we had not already observed Bush the peacemaker, Bush the compassionate and Bush the advocate for immigrant rights, we might be tempted to take it seriously. The president’s peacemaking turned out to be a magician’s poorly executed sleight-of-hand at the United Nations’ Security Counsel while a predetermined plan of attack was executed on schedule. His compassion translated into a prescription drug program shell game in which every choice was ultimately wrong.  His compassion for the working class was another round of tax cuts for the elite and another “free trade” agreement with Central America (CAFTA). His compassionate words for migrant workers were delivered almost simultaneously as Homeland Security rounded up the undocumented in 26 states. Is this the best way to use our Homeland Security department, rounding up migrants from Mexico and Latin America? Just when we thought we had heard it all, the president proposes to save us from our addiction to oil through “clean coal” and nuclear technology.....(full article)

Have a Koch and a Smile: Free Markets and Property Rights Trump Humanity and the Environment!  
by Jason Miller

America’s wealthiest owe a significant debt of gratitude to their patron saint, Charles G. Koch. Mr. Koch’s Herculean efforts have virtually ensured that the United States’ plutocracy and its complimentary corporatocracy will continue their reign in America’s highly dysfunctional democracy. Blessed with a significant number of Americans still rendered somnambulant by a mass media machine, Koch and his fellow patricians are riding high. Mr. Koch has virtually endless resources at his disposal to keep “his people” in power. Charles owns 40% of the shares of the largest privately held company in the world. Koch Enterprises generated revenues of $40 billion in 2004. Koch recently acquired gargantuan lumber and paper producer Georgia Pacific, which significantly expands his empire of oil, pipeline, fiber, and chemical enterprises. By shunning public sale of Koch Enterprise stock, Charles Koch has maintained a tight-fisted grip on his company while cloaking its finances behind a veil of secrecy.....(full article

In Support Of Mutiny 
by Dennis Morrisseau 

Just this past week there was a flicker of information or rumor across the internet that a number of senior U.S. Military officers had threatened to resign if the Iran Operation comes on, as it now looks like it will. In addition, it was said that the DoD was treating the communication of the threat to resign as a "mutiny". (Against civilian authority was the Administration's spin.) If, in fact, such a thing did occur, it is indeed a mutiny in my opinion. One I have been expecting for quite some time. The Administration's planned attack on Iran following upon the Bush/Cheney disaster in Iraq is indeed likely to stimulate a mutiny among our armed forces. As a declared candidate for Congress here in Vermont and a former Army officer myself, with some legal training, I hereby formally state that I support the "mutineers" if they exist. And if they are so far only rumors, only ghosts, then I hope to God that real flesh and blood American soldiers will stand against war in Iran soon. It has come to that. I will support it.....(full article

White House to Fill Key Posts with Idol Finalists 
by Jolene Fystenbutt for Faux News Service

Faux News Service, Japan Bureau -- President Bush announced this morning that he will replace key members of his administration with some of the finalists (past and present) of American Idol, the popular FOX reality series. With his approval numbers at an all-time low, the President emphasized the need for a “major shakedown” (sic) of his cabinet. He said that he hoped these changes would reflect the “values and aspirations” of the American people. When pressed by reporters, he simply retorted, “I'm an aspirator.”.....(full breaking story)

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