November 2003 Articles











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November 29-30, 2003

Religious Right Relishing Road Map's Collapse: Fundamentalist Leaders Want Bush to Add Palestinians to List of Targets for War Against Terrorism
by Bill Berkowitz

Fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. are looking to last month's attack on a convoy of U.S. diplomatic and CIA vehicles in the Gaza Strip -- which killed several U.S. citizens -- as a watershed event that will hopefully force the Bush Administration to re-evaluate its involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict . . .
(full article)

Tricky Stuff, Evil: The Lies We Tell Our Enemies Who are Now Our Friends  
by Robert Fisk

When George Bush sneaked into Baghdad airport for his two-hour "warm meal" for Thanksgiving, he was in feisty form. Americans hadn't come to Baghdad "to retreat before a bunch of thugs and assassins". Evil is still around, it seems, ready to attack the forces of Good. And if only a handful of the insurgents in Iraq are ex-Baathists - and I suspect it is only a handful - then who would complain if Saddam's henchmen are called "thugs"? But Evil's a tricky thing. . . (full article)

The Dean You Don't Know  
by Steven Rosenfeld

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has been portrayed by his Democratic presidential opponents as a man who is too angry, too loud and too Liberal. But according to a new book by the reporters who covered his administration, Dean's fiscal record and policies were those of a textbook conservative—and Dean would be proud to say so. . . (full article)

The WTO and US: Goliath Endures his First Stone  
by Josh Frank

This past week the Bush administration pressed the WTO (World Trade Organization) to delay landmark sessions that could levy over $2 billion dollars in fines from the European Union (EU) over the United States’ protectionist steel tariffs. EU spokesperson Fabian Delcros said last Friday that, “If the delay allows the United States time to withdraw the protectionist measures, that is better for everybody.” Bush seems to be feeling the same way. Although the White House claims it is only buying time to review the logistics—the rescheduling of the meetings is a strong indication the US will surely cave to the WTO’s whims. Certainly this could be the next tier of the new Global Economy; where industrialized nations are forced to relinquish sovereignty to the global proprietors and policy institutions like the WTO and the IMF. . . (full article)

The Fiction of Free Trade
by Jeff Milchen

The corporate executives promoting the “Free Trade Agreement of the Americas” (FTAA) and the protesters that marched in the streets of Miami share a common habit: using the term “free trade.” For the former this isn’t surprising; for the latter it’s inexplicable. Americans like anything that’s free—both literally and rhetorically—and FTAA boosters naturally embrace the term. Yet, opponents of FTAA hurt their cause by conceding to boosters the terms of debate, as they argue they want "fair trade, not free trade." . . . (full article)

Unions are the Answer to Supermarkets Woes  
by Standard Schaefer

To those who believe that unions are nostalgic relics and that America must support its massively over indebted businesses at all cost, consider the curious logic of Wall Street food and drug analyst Mark Husson for Merrill Lynch Global Securities. It is his report that was so often quoted in the press as evidence that there is simply no other way for supermarkets to stave off the Wal-Mart threat than phasing out full-time employment and shafting workers on benefits... Husson explains Wal-Mart is the once and future king for one reason: insidiously low wage costs. But if this is Wal-Mart's main advantage, then the solution is self-evident: more unionization. . . (full article)

Bush Does Bali 
by Ben Terrall

George W. Bush's late October visit to Indonesia was heavy on the superficial, upbeat sloganeering that characterizes his Administration's explanations of U.S. foreign policy. For this trip, the line seemed to be "message: we don't hate Muslims." Bush explained that in his brief travels in Southeast Asia he wanted "to make sure that people who are suspicious of our country finally understand our motivation is pure." . . . Bush apparently also didn't have time for a briefing on Congressional support for "re-engagement" with the Indonesian military: in an interview with Indonesian TV before departing for his whirlwind tour of Asia, Bush claimed, "Congress has changed their attitude" about support for the Indonesian Armed Forces "because of the cooperation of the government on the killings of two U.S. citizens." This was news to Patsy Spier, a feisty Colorado resident who has been working virtually non-stop to keep military aid from flowing to Jakarta since surviving the August 2002 attack Bush referred to with characteristic brevity. (full article)

Two Million Customers = Good Business = Two Million Kids Drugged
on Stimulant Medications  
by Rob Kall

What would you think of this idea. Identify two million kids who have the personality and inclination to be great hunters. Then drug them throughout their childhood to block those tendencies so they become obedient little drones. That’s pretty much what’s been going on for the last 10-15 years. The first person to describe children with attention deficit disorder as "hunters in a farmers world" was Thom Hartmann, author of over a dozen books on A.D.D. and ADHD. Since then, Johns Hopkins researchers have reiterated this theory that kids and adults with Attention deficit disorder have characteristics that work very well for hunters and not very well for farmers. And lets face it, teachers and administrators in the average school classroom want neat, organized, docile, neatly lined up in a row farmer types, not free-ranging, roving, intense when on the track of game, hunters. So, the pharmaceutical companies came up with a multi-billion dollar profit solution. Drug these millions of kids. Turn them into obedient, neat and organized little farmers who pay attention to boring teachers, who sit quietly, who paint inside the lines, who don’t wander off the beaten path. . . (full article)

The War On Drugs (Prescription Drugs for Seniors, That Is!) 
by James Boyne

Take a calculator and do the math. If a senior has approximately $5000 in prescription drug expenses in a year; with the yearly premium paid ($420), the $250 deductible, the 25% co-pay, and the gap between $2250 and $5200 with no payment; the end result is a senior would pay 75% of their drug costs and many drugs would not be allowed or approved increasing the 75% to even higher. In summary, on the first $5200 in drug costs, a senior will pay $4000. By the time you have taken $5200 in prescription drugs you will then get additional coverage, the theory being, that once you have taken $5200 in prescription drugs you will have so many of the side affects and adverse reactions from taking so many drugs, that the Congress, the Senate, and especially the pharmaceutical companies know you will need additional drugs, and therefore additional coverage to combat the drug induced trauma that your body and your brain are going through. . . (full article)

A Terrible Purchase: AARP's Endorsement of Republican Medicare Bill
Is No Surprise
by Ted Marmor and Jacob C. Hacker

Has the 37 million-member AARP become the American Association of Republican Politicians, as it was recently depicted by The New York Times cartoonist Jeff Danziger? Is its CEO, William Novelli—who once penned a book foreword for Newt Gingrich—a closet GOP operative? Has the organization been co-opted by the health insurance industry, on which it relies for a sizable share of its operating funds? All these criticisms and more have followed the AARP’s stunning—but for those who have followed the organization’s recent evolution, unsurprising—endorsement of the Republican-crafted Medicare bill even before its details had been made public.
(full article)

November 28, 2003

New Purported Bush Tape Raises Fear of New Attacks
by Disassociated Press

A tape today surfaced in U.S. media outlets of someone purporting to be George W. Bush at a U.S. military base in Baghdad. Intelligence analysts around the world are studying the videotapes. "It certainly looked and sounded like him, but we get so few glimpses at Bush in real-life situations that it is hard to tell," said one operative from a Western intelligence agency. (full article)

Photo-Opportunist Bush Goes to Baghdad
by Steve

So, George W. Bush took a secret trip to Baghdad for a Thanksgiving dinner - excuse me while I yawn. What exactly was the purpose of spending two hours in Baghdad, at a cost which we will probably never be told? (full article)

The Jerusalem Declaration 
by Sam Bahour and Michael Dahan

The Middle East is a region locked in history. The core hinge holding closed the doors to a modern and prosperous Middle East is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This conflict may possibly be the most written about and studied in world history. Sadly, all of the writings and studies have done very little, if anything, to relieve the two peoples, Palestinians and Israelis, of a reality of despair and hopelessness. For Palestinians, the receivers of the long-standing Israeli military occupation, life is regularly equated to a living hell by anyone who dares to dig deeper than the daily newspaper headlines. Without a just political agreement soon, not only will the possibility of a two-state solution be lost forever, but also the conflict will move to a level of violence and despair that only those living the reality can feel and fear. . . Therefore, we, a Palestinian and Israeli, whose families, careers and futures are linked to the fact that peace must be realized and not only conceptualized, challenge our peoples and our leaders, both formal and informal ones, to sign on to the following letter that we call the Jerusalem Declaration . . .(full article)

The State That Cried Anti-Semitism
by Samah Sabawi

Living in Canada, seeping of Tim Hortons coffee, Maple syrup and political correctness, we’ve raised our children to oppose every form of racism. So, when we traveled to Gaza through Rafah, much work was needed to wipe away the bitterness they felt when they saw Palestinian elders treated like they were less worthy than the dirt stuck on the young Israeli tormentors’ boots, but we patiently explained that the soldiers were only doing their job, and that they followed the orders of a terrible regime. (I have to admit it will be a challenge to explain why the Jewish settlers harass the Palestinians and take over their land, but we’ll worry about that later). Overall, I thought we were doing well channeling our criticism away from the people of Israel and directing it at the Israeli government and its policies. Yet, according to some Israelis we are guilty of a heinous racist crime. By criticizing Israel, we have been engaging in anti-Semitism. Imagine that!
(full article)

November 27, 2003

Urgent Alert
Help Save the Life of Fuad Moussa 
by Neve Gordon

JERUSALEM: The police officer shoved the Palestinian into the patrol car. “This time,” he said, “we are going to take care of you; I will personally make sure that you are sent back to where you came from.” For Fuad Moussa, a 27-year-old gay man who grew up in Ramallah, these words amounted to a death sentence. Fuad is in imminent danger due to two “crimes”: in Palestine he is persecuted due to his sexual orientation, and in Israel he is persecuted because he chose to live in Jerusalem with his Jewish partner, Ezra, even though he does not have a permit to be in Israel. . . (full article)

Perpetual War, Perpetual Terror 
by Manuel Valenzuela

In the United States last year there were over 11,000 deaths by firearms. No other nation comes even close to matching this appetite for death. That is eight thousand more than died on 9/11, but about the same number as those innocent Iraqi civilians that perished by our actions in Gulf War II. And the costs to society from injuries and death due to firearms you ask? More than $60 billion. Those who produce instruments of death in this country are not ignorant, however; they know the statistics, they simply brush them aside. Profit, after all, is much more important than stopping Americans from arming themselves to the teeth and killing each other. What else explains the gun lobby’s attempts to go against common sense? The Second Amendment must be honored and preserved, they say, even if the Founding Fathers lived in times of muskets, Indians, English threats and manifest destiny, never imagining the killing power of today’s firearms. It is no coincidence, then, that the same nation that allows so many of its citizens to die at the hands of loaded weapons would naturally export its appetite for human death abroad. . . (full article)

Attacked for Telling Some Home Truths: Are We Now to Support Atrocities Against the "Scum of the Earth" in Our Moral Campaign Against Evil?  
by Robert Fisk

In Iraq, they are just numbers, bloodstains on a road. But in the little town of Madison in Wisconsin last week, they were all too real on the front page of the local paper, the Capital Times. Sergeant Warren Hansen, Specialist Eugene Uhl and Second Lieutenant Jeremy Wolfe of the 101st Airborne Division were all on their way home for the last time. Hansen's father had died in the military. Uhl would have been 22 at Thanksgiving but had written home to say he had a "bad feeling". His father had fought in Vietnam, his grandfather in the Second World War and Korea. Two of the three men were killed in the Black Hawk helicopter crash over Tikrit just over a week ago. But of course President Bush, our hero in the "war on terror", won't be attending their funerals. The man who declined to serve his nation in Vietnam but has sent 146,000 young Americans into the biggest rat's nest in the Middle East doesn't do funerals. . . (full article)

The Doomsday Machine 
by John Chuckman

It occurred to me to write a satire about Osama and the boys sitting around in the mountains somewhere holding a conference about the worst possible damage they could inflict on the United States and deciding that it would be whatever act got Bush re-elected. But retired American General Tommy Franks came along and spoiled the fun. General Franks has followed the advice of the fictional Doctor Strangelove by announcing to the world what he believes will happen if the United States is attacked by terrorists using strategic weapons: he says Americans will scrap the Constitution and set up a military government. . . (full article)

Nuclear Energy, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ostrichism 
by Mina Hamilton

Something to be happy about this Thanksgiving: The billion dollar give-away to the nuclear, oil, and gas industry that was the Energy Bill bit the dust on November 24. To the dismay of the Bush administration this disastrous legislation crafted in secret committee meetings by Senators Pete Domenici and Congressman "Billy" Tauzin was at the last minute knocked out by a Democrat-led filibuster. . . The bill - long coveted by huge donors to the Republican Party -- is not dead. It will be back to haunt us in 2004. Come the New Year the US Congress will be poised to pass the bill and dole out taxpayer money to needy corporations. Each section of the bill is more egregious than the last, but the insanity of Section 45L that calls for a first-ever $6 billion tax break for operating NEW nuclear reactors takes one's breath away. The lunacy is stunning. As the US government supports policies that are generating more and more terrorists, it also wants to build more nukes, one of the forms of energy most vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Just how vulnerable is embodied in the three words: spent fuel pool. These are the virtually unprotected pools in which tons and tons of unimaginably toxic irradiated fuel sits at reactors across the land. . . (full article)

Senate Puts Pork Barrel Energy Bill On Hold Until January  
by Dan Bacher

Under pressure from a wide-ranging coalition of conservation groups, the US Senate on November 21 rejected the Bush-backed energy bill that would give billions in subsidies to the oil and gas industry while hurting fish and wildlife. . . (full article)

From FTAA Lite to War Lite 
by Naomi Klein

In December, 1990, U.S. President George Bush Sr. traveled through South America to sell the continent on a bold new dream: "a free trade system that links all of the Americas." Addressing the Argentine Congress, he said that the plan, later to be named the "Free Trade Area of the Americas" would be "our hemisphere's new declaration of interdependence ..... the brilliant new dawn of a splendid new world. Last week, Bush’s two sons joined forces to try to usher in that new world by holding the FTAA negotiations in friendly Florida. This is the state that Governor Jeb Bush vowed to “deliver” to his brother during the 2000 presidential elections, even if that meant keeping many African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. Now Jeb was vowing to hand his brother the coveted trade deal, even if that meant keeping thousands from exercising their right to protest. . . (full article)

Militarization in Miami: Threatening the Right to Protest  
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

There was a real threat to the social order on the streets of Miami last week, during the Ministerial Meeting of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). It wasn't protesters, not even those calling themselves anarchists or even those dressed in black. No, the threat came from the Miami police, Florida state troopers and the other police and military forces patrolling the city. With more than $10 million in special funding (including an $8.5 million allocation in the federal government's Iraq appropriations bill), 2,500 or so officers -- many clad in full body armor and backed up by armored vehicles -- turned Miami into a veritable police state. . . (full article)

Hogtied and Abused at Fort Benning  
by Kathy Kelly

On Sunday, November 23, I took part in a nonviolent civil disobedience action at Fort Benning, GA, to protest the U.S. Army´s School of the Americas (SOA, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation – WHISC) Shortly after more than two dozen of us entered Fort Benning and were arrested, US Military Police took us to a warehouse on the base for "processing." I was directed to a station for an initial search, where a woman soldier began shouting at me to look straight ahead and spread my legs. I turned to ask her why she was shouting at me and was ordered to keep my mouth shut, look straight ahead, and spread my legs wider. She then began an aggressive body search. . . (full article)

Mission Accomplished
by Manuel Valenzuela

Air Force One had barely landed, its tires still warm from its reluctant touchdown onto English soil, and already raucously large protests had started amidst an army of 14,000 police officers, all welcoming King George and his 700-person personal entourage of aids and army of soldiers. Snipers, Secret Service, fighter jets, Blackhawk helicopters, a mini-gun tank, bullet-proof windows, concrete blast barriers and a host of other foot soldiers accompanied the King to London, capital of America’s staunchest ally in the war to oust Saddam and find those pesky immediate-threat, mushroom-cloud-spewing WMDs. Had not Big Ben been standing proudly overlooking the Thames, one would have been under the impression that King George was landing in Baghdad, Tehran or Damascus. Such has become the traveling circus that is the President of the United States, relegated to visiting his few ally’s nations trapped inside a pretentious bubble – a creation largely of his own making. . . (full article)

Generating Crises and Winning Votes by Pretending to Solve Them 
by Ivan Eland

President Bush’s first political ad for the 2004 campaign indicates that he will play on post-September 11 public fear to attempt to convince voters not to change presidents in the middle of a national security “crisis.” Yet such opportunism is a classic case of a politician contributing to and exacerbating a crisis and then taking advantage of it politically. . . (full article)

Let Them Drink Coke 
by Peter Kurth

So, they’re going to fry the Sniper, are they? Good work, America! Evidently, John Moo-ha-ha Muhammad, the elder of the two snipers under charge, never actually pulled the trigger of the gun that killed 13 people last year in the Washington, D.C. area. But he’s going to his death all the same, inasmuch as the “strong influence” he had on his (just barely) underage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, is thought to have been the … uh, trigger for Malvo’s murder spree. Got it? Malvo will undoubtedly get off, in one way or another, either by grace of his youth or on grounds of insanity, whichever comes first. But Muhammad will die, because -- well, his name is Muhammad and his murders weren’t sanctioned by the U.S. military. The only way you get to kill people lawfully in this country is by going to war. Then you can do whatever you want. . . (full article)



November 25-26, 2003

Amnesty International: The Case of a Rape Foretold 
by Paul de Rooij

Human Rights organizations used to play an important role raising awareness of human rights abuses, scoring an occasional point with one state or another, and were instrumental in releasing a handful of hapless prisoners. However, they have increasingly abdicated their role as modern-day paladins of justice, to become politically manipulated organizations that are more concerned with fundraising or appearing on TV. Several authors have described how human rights organizations have played a role in priming the propaganda pump prior to war; these accounts make sobering reading, and they dispel preconceptions about some of these organizations. A recent UN report confirmed that the situation for the Palestinians is desperate and has reached crisis proportions. The report goes so far as to state: “a UN committee monitoring human rights abuses of Palestinians [for the last 35 years] has concluded that the situation in the Israeli-occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank was the worst ever last year.” This situation is chronic, and indeed, mass abuses of human rights have been going on for decades. Anyone concerned with justice for the Palestinian people must wonder what position human rights organizations have taken on the issue and what they have reported. In the case of Amnesty International, it is a sorry and dubious record. This article presents an in-depth look at AI’s poor record in monitoring the plight of the Palestinians during the second intifada. . . (full article)

The Moral Myth: Superpowers Act Out of Self-Interest, Not Morality
by George Monbiot

It is no use telling the hawks that bombing a country in which Al Qaeda was not operating was unlikely to rid the world of Al Qaeda. It is no use arguing that had the billions spent on the war with Iraq been used instead for intelligence and security, atrocities such as last week's attacks in Istanbul may have been prevented. As soon as one argument for the invasion and occupation of Iraq collapses, they switch to another. Over the past month, almost all the warriors - Bush, Blair and the belligerents in both the conservative and the liberal press - have fallen back on the last line of defense, the argument we know as "the moral case for war". . . (full article)

The Reality of Bush’s Iraq, Part II: The Resistance  
by Manuel Valenzuela

Contrary to White House, Pentagon and corporate media propaganda, Iraq today is an amalgam of Saddam loyalists, a few foreign fighters and an ever-growing number of ordinary civilians joining what Bush calls "terrorists" but that in reality are nationalists and insurgents fighting a resistance against our Iraqipation. To Iraqis and the rest of the world, they would be called "freedom fighters," much like the ones clandestinely trained, supplied and supported by the United States in their resistance against the Soviets in 1980’s Afghanistan. . . (full article)

US War Tactics Slammed by Rights Groups  
by Jim Lobe

International human rights groups are raising new questions about US counterinsurgency tactics in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In a letter sent to Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld late last week, London-based Amnesty International asked whether the US military has adopted a policy of demolishing houses of the families of suspected insurgents in Iraq. At the same time, New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR) dispatched a letter to the US Commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, regarding the status of military investigations announced over the past 11 months into the deaths of three suspected Taliban members while they were in US custody. . . (full article)

Inequality and Work in the Global System: An Interview with
Michael Yates 
by Derek Seidman

Derek Seidman interviewed Michael Yates, author of the new book Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy. Yates is a radical economist, a longtime labor educator, and a former Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He is the author of numerous other books, including Longer Hours, Fewer Jobs and Why Unions Matter. He is currently the associate editor of Monthly Review. Read Seidman’s review of his new book. . . (full article)

A Vital Resource in the Struggle to Change the System
by Derek Seidman

(A Review of Michael Yates' Naming the System) The short lived economic boom of the 1990s brought in a wave of self-congratulatory praise on the part of neoliberal partisans. We had entered a “new economy”, where serious recessions were a thing of the past and the development of technology provided limitless possibilities for workers to obtain high paying skilled positions. The stock market was on an unswerving ride up to hitherto unimaginable peaks, and the trend would (of course) only continue. Furthermore, underdeveloped nations that would just follow the neoliberal prescriptions and kneel down obediently to the law of the market would surely experience similar growth—eventually. With the loss of 2.7 million jobs in the USA and the economic collapses in nations that most openly embraced the neoliberal program, we are now presented with quite a different picture, one as bleak and miserable as the proclamations of the 1990s were saucy and untouchable. Inevitability and invincibility in the success of the market have given way to uncertainty and an anxious pessimism. . . (full article)

Let the Democrats Drown 
by Josh Frank

Ralph Nader told a crowd at the National Conference on Media Reform in Madison, Wisconsin in the first week of November that, “the Democrats can be fairly charged with chronic whining.” The ex-Green Party Presidential candidate and consumer advocate was referring to the constant grumbling among Democrats that Nader and the Green Party stole the election from Al Gore in 2000. "They should realize that the retrospect on Florida concluded Gore won Florida," said Nader, "It was stolen from the Democrats. And they should concentrate on the thieves and the blunderers in Florida, not on the Green Party." Nader didn’t mention the real factor that would place blame on the actual appeasers; that being the exit polls in Florida indicated more Democrats voted for George Bush than the total number of people who cast their vote for Ralph Nader. That’s right; Democrats gave Bush Florida, or at least allowed it to be so close that the Supreme Court could intervene. But instead of going after the heart of the issue—why Democrats voted Republican—most have taken the liberty of blaming Mr. Nader and the Greens for Bush’s victory in 2000. . . (full article)

Starve the Beast
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

A media leak in New Zealand has given us non-political types an interesting insight into the workings of a political party retreat. For New Zealand's centre-right party Act, humour is clearly a big part of it. But I was looking for something more; a hint of serious political debate from the party that positions itself as the low-tax, less-government saviour of New Zealand. Instead we heard of a plan to use stunts and cartoons to generate media attention, a call to define the party as a person, and a publishing pitch for a kids' book about a crusading yellow plastic duck. So in the absence of anything (at least in the media) resembling intelligent discussion, here's a little analysis of my own. For the hard-working and fiscally responsible, low tax is an alluring prospect: More money in your pocket to spend however you choose. But what really happens when you cut taxes? (full article)

Preserving Colonialism 
by Kim Petersen

Few people seem to understand what the colony of Hong Kong represented. Many viewed it as a bulwark against Chinese communism even though communism wasn't really a factor back at the close of the nineteenth century. What the colonization of Hong Kong represents is the most insidious elements of capitalism and imperialism. (full article)

November 24, 2003

Imperial Teflon Terrorism 
by Kim Petersen

As usual, it depends on which source you get your news from, but estimates of the crowd of anti-imperialists greeting US President Bush on his visit to London ranged anywhere from 70,000 to 350,000. Nonetheless, the news of the demonstrations was soon overshadowed by terrorist bombings in Turkey. UK Prime Minister was quick to state: "What is responsible for that terrorist attack is terrorism; are the terrorists." One logical inference from Mr. Blair's tautology would be to consider this an admission that the attacks in Istanbul were in response to the US-UK terrorist campaign in Iraq -- a counter-terrorism. Political scientist and ex-marine C. Douglas Lummis boldly declared: "Air bombardment is state terrorism, the terrorism of the rich. It has burned up and blasted apart more innocents in the past six decades than have all the antistate terrorists who have ever lived. Something has benumbed our consciousness against this reality." . . . (full article)

Mad in the USA: Several Hundred Thousand Mentally Ill Prisoners Are Warehoused in Correctional Facilities Throughout the Country  
by Bill Berkowitz

"They are afflicted with delusions and hallucinations, debilitating fears, extreme and uncontrollable mood swings," reads a disturbing paragraph from a recent Human Rights Watch report. "They huddle silently in their cells, mumble incoherently, or yell incessantly. They refuse to obey orders or lash out without apparent provocation. They beat their heads against cell walls, smear themselves with feces, self-mutilate, and commit suicide." This description isn't about conditions faced by prisoners in a gulag in the old Soviet Union, it isn't detailing life in one of Saddam Hussein's hell holes, and it isn't about a concentration camp in some far-off place. This is a description of the situation too many mentally ill prisoners are subjected to in U.S. correctional facilities in 2003. . . (read more)

A Sort of Exit Strategy
by Troy Skeels

Just like that the Bush administration has come up with an "exit strategy," for Iraq. Faced with a rapidly disintegrating "security situation," the Bush brain trust decided that, by golly, the Iraqis are ready to manage their own country after all. Sort of. . (full article)

Victory in Miami: Original FTAA Draft Scrapped
by Walden Bello

Miami -- The United States will try to paint the Miami meeting of the Free Trade of the Americas (FTAA) as a success, but the reality is that the opponents have pulled off a victory. This was the assessment of movement leaders as thousands of protesters from all over the Americas converged on this city for Friday's March for Global Justice and the Miami-Dade Country police mounted a massive show of force to intimidate the opposition. . . (full article)

Anarchy and the FBI
by Mickey Z.

In a November 23, 2003 piece entitled, "FBI Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies," New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau broke the rather unsurprising news with this lead: "The Federal Bureau of Investigation has collected extensive information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators and has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at protests to its counterterrorism squads, according to interviews and a confidential bureau memorandum." Representing the land of the free, FBI officials told Lichtblau the comforting news that the "intelligence-gathering effort was aimed at identifying anarchists and 'extremist elements' plotting violence, not at monitoring the political speech of law-abiding protesters." If there was ever a fail-safe, catch-all band of villains, it's the anarchists. . . (full article)

Poetry in Turbulent Times: The Role of Poetry in Political Struggles in the Muslim World (audio lecture)
by Tariq Ali

* In this talk, Ali explains the reasons that poetry is so central to his latest book, Bush in Babylon. He reads a number of poems in their entirety, and explains the political context and importance of them. The question and answer section is every bit as interesting, in particular his discussion of the history of the Inquisition, the expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula or forced conversion of Muslims and Jews in the 15th century, and the creation of the modern European identity. An audio player is required. . . (full article)

November 22-23, 2003


Under US Control, Press Freedom Falls Short in Iraq 
by Robert Fisk

Freedom of the press is beginning to smell a little rotten in the new Iraq. A couple of weeks ago, the Arabic Al-Jazeera television channel received a phone call from one of U.S. Proconsul Paul Bremer's flunkies at the presidential palace compound. The station had to answer a series of questions in 24 hours, its reporters were told. . . (full article)

California Cruelty, Arnold-Style 
by Seth Sandronsky

In California, the other shoe is dropping. Less than a week after becoming the new governor in a recall vote, Arnold Schwarzenegger has launched an assault on government spending for the poor. Of course, he is doing this in the name of reducing the state’s budget deficit. Fiscal austerity is in fashion when it weakens government’s safety net for folks short on cash. Schwarzenegger’s finance director, Donna Arduin, knows the deal. She has experience cutting government spending for needy people in Florida under Gov. Jeb Bush. . . (full article)

Patriot Act Expansion Moves Through Congress  
by Jim Lobe

Congress is poised to approve new legislation that amounts to the first substantive expansion of the controversial USA Patriot Act since it was approved just after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon. . . (full article)

We Are Paying The Price For An Infantile Attempt To Reshape The
Middle East
by Robert Fisk

It's the price of joining George Bush's "war on terror". They couldn't hit Britain while Bush was on his triumphalist state visit to London, so they went for the jugular in Turkey. The British consulate, the British-headquartered HSBC bank. London-abroad. And of course, no one -- least of all the Turks -- imagined they would strike twice in the same place. Turkey had already had its dose of attacks, hadn't it? (full article)

George W. Bush Loves Michael Jackson
by William Rivers Pitt

A number of explosions tore through the British consulate in Turkey today, killing scores of people. George W. Bush is in England, surrounded on all sides by enraged British citizens whose massive protests have required nearly every police officer in London to be put on the line of defense. . .It is 3:16 p.m. on Thursday afternoon as I write this. CNN has been covering, with total exclusivity, a parking lot outside a police station for the last hour. They covered an airplane landing. They covered the same airplane sitting still on the tarmac. They covered the airplane slowly moving into a hangar. All the while, talking head after talking head explored every conceivable facet of the parking lot, the plane, the tarmac, and the hangar, as well as a variety of parallel issues. No stone of data was left unturned. Why? Michael Jackson is about to surrender to police. . . (full article)

Who's Afraid Of International Law? 
by James Brooks

Most people of good will are inclined to welcome the recent Swiss (“Geneva”) Accords forged between non-official Israeli and Palestinian parties. US support has ranged from Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to former president Jimmy Carter. Even Colin Powell sent a note of congratulations to the negotiators. Support in Europe is strong, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan declared the Accords consistent with the ‘road map’ to peace. . . The Swiss Accords admit indirectly what the monstrous “security fence” is making brutally clear: Israeli “democracy” supported by lavish US funding is not capable of pursuing a just or peaceful solution. Only a minority faction of the domestic opposition is willing to take on the task of actual peacemaking. . . (full article)

Zionism's Useful Idiots
by Kurt Nimmo

That's you and me, taxpaying US citizens.

We're useful idiots for the Zionists in Washington and Tel Aviv. Useful because our hard-earned paychecks can be harvested to pay for war and mass murder in the Middle East, idiots because we don't do anything about it. . . (full article)

Jew and Me
by Adam Engel

Well, it's one thing to detest the Zionists for the Nazi-like racists that they are. It's even plausible to hate the Jews in general, at least those living in America, for not doing everything in their power to stop the Israeli War Machine.  If I were a Palestinian, I would not distinguish between an IDF soldier and the "Israel Uber Alles" American Jew who supports him morally and financially.  If I were a Palestinian I would indeed be an "anti-Semite." But while I'll take seriously any accusation that the Jews are to blame for the Palestinians' woes, and that to distinguish between "Jews" and "Zionists" is a stretch, since nearly every Jew I've ever known – not including writers on the web – has been a "supporter" of Israel and its land-grabbing, people stomping ways, I won't take shit from yahoos who could give a damn about the Palestinians, but just want to "get in on the act" by indulging in a little Jew-baiting of their own. . . (full article)

Exposing The Final Lie Of The War On Iraq 
by David Edwards and Media Lens

No links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, no weapons of mass destruction, and now no question that the invasion of Iraq has led to a massive increase in the threat of terrorism, as the series of bombings across Iraq, in Riyadh (May 12 and November 9), Casablanca (May 16), Jakarta (August 5) and Istanbul (November 17 and 20) have made horrifically clear.
(full article)

November 20-21, 2003

Presidential Placebos: Sugar-Coated Alternatives to Empire-as-Usual
by Leilla Matsui

With each and every stunning revelation scripted daily into 'As the World Burns', one would expect by now the torch wielding extras of 'Frankenstein' storming the capital, or at least a few neo-con heads rolling around in the gutters. Instead, we see Karl Rove's even more poorly stitched together abomination still smirking from his Crawford castle while a lead booted Rumsfeld lurches perilously through the White House wings. (Clearly, we've failed to smoke them out of their holes). The majority of us, though, seem merely content to sit back and count down the days to November 2004 when we can all get back to the business of watching television without the imbedded horsemen of the apocalypse interrupting regularly scheduled programming. Through the skillful ministrations of the tight-lipped and correctly postured media elite - the 'Nurse Ratched' corporate guardians of our limited attention spans, Americans have become artificially immunized against the ravaging effects of their own government. The mounting casualties in Iraq, the shredded and gasoline soaked 'roadmap', a spiraling deficit, the scorched earth policies of Bush Co.'s environmental record...all this we've been led to believe, will be swept away in 2004 with the simple wave of a ballot. . . .(full article)

Linking the Occupation of Iraq With the “War on Terrorism”
by Norman Solomon

Reuters is one of the more independent wire services. So, a recent news story from Reuters -- flatly describing American military activities in Iraq as part of “the broader U.S. war on terrorism” -- is a barometer of how powerfully the pressure systems of rhetoric from top U.S. officials have swayed mainstream news coverage. Such reporting, with the matter-of-fact message that the Pentagon is fighting a “war on terrorism” in Iraq, amounts to a big journalistic gift for the Bush administration, which is determined to spin its way past the obvious downsides of the occupation. . . (full article)

Democracy and Occupation
by Phyllis Bennis

Facing the most serious escalation in U.S. casualties in Iraq, with the New York Times proclaiming "Iraq Policy in Crisis," and with the spectre of Viet Nam-style quagmire hovering over the 2004 elections, the Bush administration has issued two major policy pronouncements. One was the November 6 speech on democracy in the Middle East, the other a high-profile timetable for ostensibly turning some authority over to Iraqis. Both statements are critical. The first lays out the administration's official new rationale for the Iraq war - designed to public divert attention from the lies regarding weapons of mass destruction. The second is primarily the Bush campaign effort to convince Americans the U.S. will not be bogged down in Iraq by July 2004, just five months before the elections. The effect of the shift will be to abandon even the current claim of "democratization" in Iraq in favor embracing the Iraqization of the U.S. war. . . (full article)

The System Works
by Adam Engel

In the Summer/Fall of 2000 I decided to Identify myself as a “stop-light green,” that is, “if I couldn’t vote red, I’d vote green, but never yellow.” True, I could have voted red, but I thought that by voting Green and helping them qualify for funding, it would open the way toward making a third party a reality in U.S. politics. I would hardly call Nader or any of the Greens “radicals.” In fact, their most radical proposition was to cut military funding for Israel until it agreed to withdraw from the territories and discuss a genuine two-state solution. The Greens were what people used to call liberals. The flack I got from Democrats – friends, strangers, colleagues, “discussion” groups on the web – actually shocked me. . . (full article)

The Hidden and Unseen: The Reality of Bush’s Iraq
Part I: The Dead & Wounded

by Manuel Valenzuela

Autumn leaves continue to fall inconspicuously throughout the United States just like our cannon fodder troops fall dead, maimed and scarred in the Mesopotamian deserts of Iraq. Throughout our nation, lawns surrounded by white-picket fences and small blotches of green in concrete jungles are covered by dry and dead brown leaves signaling the change in the seasons, as warmth and comfort gives way to the dreaded doldrums of winter. As each day passes, more leaves fall to the ground, leaving bare the skeletons of wood around and above us, a stark reminder of the hibernation of life in the natural world. In similar ways, the loss of life and limb of our soldiers in Iraq continues unabatedly in a far away land. Like our leaves, soldiers continue to fall and die, their bodies devoid of a life once so full of energy. . . (full article)

New Leak Smells of Neocon Desperation
by Jim Lobe

This week's blockbuster leak of a secret memorandum from a senior Pentagon official to the Senate Intelligence Committee has spurred speculation that neo-conservative hawks in the Bush administration are on the defensive and growing more desperate. . . (full article)

Laying Siege to Empire (book review)
by Neve Gordon

In War Talk, Arundhati Roy exposes both the deceit and danger of the new discourse on terrorism while uncovering the paranoia and ruthlessness of power now prevalent in the United States and India. In her words, war talk is used to distract the world’s attention away from fascism and genocide and to avoid dealing with any single issue of real governance that urgently needs to be addressed. Roy, author of the highly acclaimed novel The God of Small Things, uses a series of examples to illustrate how the discourse on terrorism is tied to the rise of a nationalism that defines itself “not through the respect or regard for itself, but through a hatred of the Other.” She goes on to point out how this kind of nationalism dovetails into fascism, asserting that “while we must not allow the fascists to define what the nation is, or who it belongs to, it’s worth keeping in mind that nationalism -- in all its many avatars: communist, capitalist and fascist -- has been at the root of almost all the genocide of the 20th century.” (full article)

International Standards on Child Labor: ILO Cites a Surprising Offender
by Paul Germanotta

In an unusual development, the Committee of Experts of the UN's International Labor Organization (ILO) has found the United States Government to be in violation of Convention 182. Convention 182, the newest "core" convention of the ILO, calls for the prohibition and elimination of the "worst forms" of child labor. . . (full article)

India's Duplicity in the Middle East
by Sadu Nanjundiah

We fully support Palestinian cause," India's Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee said on his recent visit to Syria. But what is the evidence for that, other than pro-forma statements by some of India's leaders and bureaucrats? None whatsoever since the coming to power of the right-wing Hindu nationalists in India. . . (full article)

A Royal Mess: An American Moron Meets the British Dinosaurs
by Jerre Skog

Amid security measures the world has never before witnessed -- the most hated dictators of all time could only dream of having their important asses protected by such heavy forces -- the "president" of the US has arrived in London. The reason for this unprecedented security is a mystery. Some think that both the British Foreign Office and the population are scared to death that the president might be assassinated and replaced by the only man who could be worse, Dick Cheney. Some say that Bush's entertainment value is such that he's simply too good to lose. Even if a hit in the head wouldn't damage any vital organs, it would undoubtedly destroy his uncanny resemblance to MAD's supermoron Alfred E. Newman. Anyway, it couldn't be for the sake of Tony Blair. He could be replaced for a fiver in the nearest pet shop. . . (full article)

Bye-bye Birdie
Lindsay M. Levesque

A short play starring Bush and Cheney (full article)

November 18-19, 2003

Smoke and Mirrors: Fatal Weapons in US War Against Reality
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

Years ago a New Zealand publisher of tarnished repute told me his simple secret to life. "Deny, deny, deny," he said, over one of his legendary dinners. I was young and for a short while taken by him and his defective philosophies. I was reminded of him as I stood on a balcony in Los Angeles and watched a thin trail of smoke rise elegantly above the hill behind my hotel. It was the tinder-dry first day of the fires that were to ravage many parts of California and I had just read Joan Didion's new book, Where I Was From. Her insights into the mindset of that community, the greed, acquisitiveness and wasteful extravagance lurking beneath eternal sunshine, were prescient. But it was the denial that Didion got right into, the state of mind that blithely builds and rebuilds along flammable chaparrals and into high, dry forests without concern for the ecological burden, or the reality of fires, that have been part of that ecology from time immemorial. . . (full article)

As the Iraqi Resistance Grows, So Does Demoralization of the Troops
by Derek Seidman

As the situation in Iraq spirals into evermore chaos for the occupying forces, there are some telling letters coming home from America’s bravest: “What are we getting into here? The war is supposed to be over, but everyday we hear of another soldier getting killed. Is it worth it? Saddam isn’t in power anymore. The locals want us to leave. Why are we still here?” (Anonymous Sgt., 2th Infantry Division). . . (full article)

Olympia Remembers Rachel Corrie and Rafah: Naomi Klein Speaks of Rachel’s Refusal to be “Blinded by the Blood”
by candio

The Second Annual Conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association [PJSA] October 9-12 in Olympia, Washington at The Evergreen State College [TESC]. The mission of the PJSA is promotion of peace studies for all ages – from pre-kindergarten to university level and beyond. Their work is based on forging alliances between peace practitioners, participating in wider activities of “education, research and action” and discovering “innovative solutions to violence whether it manifests itself in our home, schools, streets and/or foreign policy.” The title of the event, “Fostering Alternatives to Violence,” was deeply felt by the participants whose talk frequently turned to the post-September 11th world, the Bush administration and the conflicts in Iraq and the Occupied Territories [OT]. International educators, students, artists and activists joined to discuss progress and problems within the movement, challenges in politics and policy and the rampant resurgence of war and militarism. . . (full article)

Alliance for Environmental Disaster
by Bill Berkowitz

For folks who think that groups like the Sierra Club have too much influence over environmental policy, liberal environmentalists run the EPA, most environmental regulations are cumbersome and outdated, environmental terrorists are running amok, "environmental racism" is related more to "political correctness" than political reality, and that President George W. Bush is getting a bad rap on his environmental record, a new organization has emerged to set the record straight. . . (full article)

Trade Off: NAFTA has Been a Disaster for our Nation and its Workers. Why Would we Make the Same Mistake Twice?
by Jonathan Tasini

Almost 10 years ago to the day, the North American Free Trade Agreement passed the House by a narrow margin. A decade later, it's clear NAFTA's proponents were dead wrong -- NAFTA has been a disaster for our nation and its workers. But, more importantly, NAFTA's implementation has valuable lessons for the future, from this week's negotiations over the Free Trade Area of the Americas to U.S. presidential politics to the very question of our country's self-governance. Today's column begins a three-day exploration of these issues. . . (full article)

The "Free Trade" History Eraser: Honduras, Maquilas and Popular Protest in Latin America
by Toni Solo

Three things hold people's attention currently in Latin America, the nationwide protest in Bolivia in defense of the country's natural resources, the ongoing popular defense of the Chavez government in Venezuela and the heavy political defeats suffered by President Uribe in Colombia. Uribe's party lost humiliatingly both the mayoral elections in Bogota and the national referendum on his government's policies. These events represent serious unraveling of US government aims in Latin America. Despite the setbacks, official US policy is committed to forcing through as hard as it can the Free Trade Area of the Americas. That commitment is primarily a continent-wide strategy to safeguard US corporate commercial dominance. But it also works as a piecemeal country-by-country bilateral strategy to lock economically vulnerable countries into the US plutocracy's international political agenda. Latin American resistance to this centuries-old colonial practice is largely a forgotten history in the United States. "Free trade" ideologues pretend current conditions are inevitable and God-given. It is a profoundly anti-historical, carefully contrived illusion. Hard doses of reality help see through it. . . (full article)

A Washington Lefty in King George's Court: A Conversation in Medieval America with Progressive Review Editor Sam Smith
by Adam Engel

ENGEL: We're constantly bombarded by Mainstream Media Polls that portray "The American People" as idiots. Each time I hear or read about one of those polls in which the "American People" (whoever or wherever they are) belie their almost super-human capacity for ignorance, I say to myself, "why bother?" Obviously, as the title of your book, Why Bother? Why Bother? Getting a Life in a Locked Down Land, indicates, I'm not the only one thinking this. . . (full article)

Next Stop: Syria. The Road to Damascus Looks a Lot Like the Road to Baghdad
by Paul E. Maciekowich

It’s not only hard to be humble but downright scary when you “nail it right on the head”. In an earlier article titled Bush World, I stated the following: 1) Secretary of State Colin Powell’s initiative to the U.N. was a ruse to ensure passing of Bush’s Iraqi Reconstruction Fund Bill; 2) that the UN resolution would change little in the way Iraq was administered; 3) that once passed, Powell would recede into the background; 4) the neocons would resurface and continue their anti-Syria, anti-Iran rhetoric; and finally 5) that passage of the bill would forestall any investigation into the misappropriation of the Iraqi funds by the White House. However, my read of George Bush, although accurate, were lacking in overall perspective (full article)

Murder of UN Worker Spotlights Resurgence of Taliban
by Jim Lobe

The killing of a French UN relief worker Sunday in the Afghan provincial city of Ghazni underscores both the deteriorating security situation in much of the country two years after the ouster of the Taliban regime, and the degree to which the United Nations and aid workers in general have become targets in the ongoing "war on terrorism" between US-led western forces and Islamic radicals (full article)

Sami Al-Arian and the Dungeon: A Fable for Our Time?
by Sarah Shields

When he came to North Carolina, Professor Al-Arian was in the middle of a renewed battle. Horrified by the attacks of September 11, he had agreed to be interviewed on national television to share his anger. Instead, Al-Arian became the victim that night, accused of terrorism because he supported the struggle of Palestinians for their own state. The America of September 2001 provided the stage for a new drama: accusation, rounding up Arabs and Muslims, and imprisonment without trial. In that setting, a few notable terrorism experts demanded an end to the career and freedom of Professor Al-Arian. The President of his university, a political appointee of Jeb Bush, relieved him of his duties and prohibited his stepping foot on his campus. . . (full article)

Jack Ruby's Dog
by Mickey Z.

Almost one in three American families share their home with a dog. November 22, 2003 marks 40 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. November 24 is 40 years since Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald. These seemingly disparate facts intersect nicely when contemplating the past four decades of speculation and theory. From the Warren Commission to Oliver Stone, from the grassy knoll to the book depository, from John-John's salute to Jackie's pillbox hat...all of these are seared into the collective American pop culture consciousness. . . (full article)

Butte Creek Fish Kill Update: PG&E Pleads Ignorance To Sediment Spill On Spawning Beds
by Dan Bacher

After the largest fish kill of threatened adult salmon in U.S. history, you’d think that Pacific Gas and Electric Company would more carefully monitor its hydroelectric operations on Butte Creek. After the federal government intervened and ordered PG&E to take immediate action regarding its practices that resulted in huge fish kills the past two years, you’d think that the company would go out of its way to preserve the several thousand survivors of this year's kill and make sure that they spawned successfully. But PG&E apparently seems committed to business as usual . . . (full article)

November 15-17, 2003

* Clintontime: Was It Really a Golden Age?
   by Alexander Cockburn

To gauge the level of hatred entertained by liberals for the Bush administration take a look at the bestseller lists. Rubbing shoulders in the top tiers we find the liberal populists Michael Moore, Al Franken, Paul Krugman and Molly Ivins all pouring sarcastic rebukes on Bush2 and, categorically or by implication, suggesting that in favoring the very rich and looting the economy in their interests Bush stands in despicable contrast to his immediate predecessor in the Oval Office. So just get a Democrat, any Democrat, back in the White House and the skies will begin to clear again. But suppose a less forgiving scrutiny of the Clinton years discloses that these years did nothing to alter the rules of the neoliberal game that began in the Reagan/Thatcher era with the push to boost after-tax corporate profits, shift bargaining power to business, erode social protections for workers, make the rich richer, the middle tier at best stand still and the poor get poorer....(full article)

* Howard Clinton?
   by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

Howard Dean is a man with strong Clinton-esque tendencies. He's a self-described triangulator. Say good words about the environment. Take some positive action. Schmooze with the environmentalists. But when push comes to shove, don't offend the powers that be. . . (full article)

* Voiding the Palestinians: An Allegory
   by M. Shahid Alam

On October 29, 2003, a leading Israeli daily, Ha’aretz, reported a rape-murder that occurred more than fifty years ago at Nirim, an Israeli military outpost in the Negev. The victim was a Palestinian girl, in her early or mid-teens, or younger; the perpetrators of this crime were members of the Israeli Defense Force. Six days later, The Guardian also reported this crime, but US papers did not think this was news that is fit for print. In the United States, the media prefers to shield Israel from adverse notice. What is the significance of a single rape-murder in the long and tortuous history of the dispossession of one people by another? (full article)

* The Other Memo Scandal
    by William Rivers Pitt

The wires were buzzing last week over a memo leaked to Sean Hannity at the Fox News Network. The memo came from the offices of Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, who is serving as the ranking minority member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. This is the committee, chaired by Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, that has been tasked to investigate the dazzling lack of mass destruction weapons in Iraq. The Rockefeller memo outlined a variety of strategies he believed were needed to counteract the partisan defensiveness of Roberts and the majority on the Committee. Roberts has declared that all investigations surrounding the claims made about Iraq's weapons capabilities will be focused only on the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Rockefeller is adamant that the investigation should also include questions aimed at the White House, as well as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's special Defense Department organization called the Office of Special Plans.... (full article)

* Washington's New Sound and Fury Hide Fear and Worry
   by Jim Lobe

While the US' new military aggressiveness against alleged enemy targets in Iraq provided good video to lead TV news broadcasts this week, its effectiveness, as well as the latest political strategy to win Iraqi "hearts and minds," remain very much in question. While the military put on a display of firepower in Baghdad and in the notorious "Sunni Triangle" – no doubt to "shock and awe" an increasingly effective and sophisticated resistance – all that sound and fury failed to drown out the growing impression the administration is at a loss as to how to reverse negative trends on the ground....(full article)

* Hold On to Your Humanity -- An Open Letter to GIs in Iraq
    by Stan Goff
(US Army Retired)

Dear American serviceperson in Iraq,
I am a retired veteran of the army, and my own son is among you, a paratrooper like I was. The changes that are happening to every one of you--some more extreme than others--are changes I know very well. So I'm going to say some things to you straight up in the language to which you are accustomed. . . . (full article)

* NAFTA On Steroids
   by Lori Wallach

This week, when trade ministers gather in Miami for a Free Trade Area of the Americas summit, they will be greeted by thousands of protestors. FTAA negotiations have been quietly underway since 1995 with a December 2004 target deadline. The Miami summit is a deciding moment—as awareness about FTAA has grown, so has opposition. The draft FTAA text contains hundreds of pages of rules to which every country would be required to conform its national, state and local policies—regardless of whether voters and their democratically-elected representatives had previously rejected the same. FTAA is a proposal to extend NAFTA to 31 Latin American and Caribbean nations. If you liked NAFTA, you will love FTAA. It is NAFTA on steroids. . . (full article)

* A Radical's Guide to Miami
   by Lissa Rees

More than 100,000 people are expected in Miami from November 19-21 for demonstrations, puppet shows, workshops and a myriad of other events being organized in opposition to the extension of NAFTA-style free trade to the whole of Latin America. Ministers from the US, Canada and Latin America (except Cuba) will be attending a summit in Miami to discuss the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a huge free trade zone stretching over 34 countries with a total population of 800 million people. Activists have dubbed the FTAA "NAFTA on steroids." . . . (full article)

* Recount in the Forests: Bush Puts Out a Contract on the Spotted Owl
   by Jeffrey St. Clair

Every summer for the past ten years young biologists head off into the forests of the Pacific Northwest to call spotted owls. Every year they get fewer and fewer responses. The spotted owl, which thrives only in the oldest of forests, is in a downward spiral toward extinction. Take the rainforests of Washington's Olympic peninsula. There the owls, isolated in a desert of clearcuts and sprawl, are rapidly disappearing. According to the most recent surveys, these Olympic peninsula owls have declined by more than half in the last decade alone. At this rate the secretive bird may well become extinct by 2010. In the Cascade Range of western Washington and Oregon, the owls, jeopardized by continued logging on private and federal forest lands, aren't doing any better. Populations are plummeting at a rate of 5 to 8 percent every year. Give the owl in those tattered mountains another 25 years at most, unless all logging stops. So the numbers just aren't adding up right for Bush, who promised the timber industry that he would reinvigorate logging across the owl's habitat. As it now stands, the Bush administration has produced far less timber for its clients than did the Clinton administration. The natives are getting restless. . . (full article)

* The Word "Chaos" Cannot Do Justice To the Omnibus Energy Bill
   by Ralph Nader

The word "chaos" cannot do justice to the omnibus energy legislation properly mired in something called the House- Senate conference. Inside tyranny by the Republicans and the outside full nelson grip on Congress by the oil, gas and coal corporations are driving the Democrats to think about Filibuster. And deservedly, the bill merits defeat. In fact, nobody but a few insiders even know all that is in the bill. Where are the pages containing the changes, rejections, additions and golden handshake insertions, ask the Democrats and the press. The Republicans have excluded the Democrats from many deliberations on this monster legislation, marinated in oil and driven by cash register politics. . . (full article)

* Mr. Kurtz! The Horror! The Horror! The Assault on Post-Colonial Studies
   by Vijay Prashad

In mid-October, my email in-box began to receive forwards from Michael Bednar, a graduate student in the department of history at the University of Texas, Austin. The subject line suggested that it was an email joke: "Congress moves to regulate postcolonial studies." Thanks to the vigilance of Michael Bednar many of us now know that the US Congress is poised to transform the relationship between university and college level international or area studies and the US government. The study of the world has been cultivated by federal funds via Title VI legislation, but the government has, by and large, not been involved in the career choices of those who take the money, study and then go forward into their lives. The government, when the President signs HR 3077 into law, will be now create an International Education Advisory Board made up of members of the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency and Homeland Security "to increase accountability by providing advice, counsel, and recommendations to Congress on international education issues for higher education." In other words, the government wants our students to enter a War Corps, to provide the translators, the intelligence analysts and others who will do the bidding of this era's Evangelical Imperialism. . . (full article)

* Media Clash in Brazil: A Distant Mirror
   by Norman Solomon

RIO DE JANEIRO -- After a quarter-century of intensive grassroots organizing and a victorious presidential campaign a year ago, Brazilian social movements are in a strong position as they push the left-wing Workers Party government to fulfill its promises. The contrast to Washington’s current political climate is as diametrical as the opposite seasons of the two countries. Yet Brazilian activists are now giving heightened priority to the same concern that preoccupies an increasing number of people in the United States -- the imperative of challenging the corporate media. . . (full article)

* The Republican Moloch
   by Dennis Rahkonen

After years of effort, conservative ideologues have succeeded in legislatively winning a “partial birth” abortion ban. Although no such terminology exists in any medical literature, the rarely used procedure has been sensationally made into a guilt icon, obfuscating the fact that it’s primarily employed when no other options exist to protect the well being -- and very lives -- of the women involved. Or when a fetus has severe abnormalities precluding its survival. . . (read more)

* Sacramento Joins 209 Cities in Opposition To Patriot Act
   by Dan Bacher

In a jam-packed room filled with hundreds of community members, the Sacramento City Council voted 8 to 1 on November 13 to support a resolution opposing the Patriot Act’s unconstitutional provisions. . . (full article)

November 13-14, 2003

*  Bush to Veterans: Drop Dead
    by Harvey Wasserman

As another Veteran's Day passes by, George W. Bush has sent a clear and present message to the men and women of America's armed forces: Drop Dead. . . (full article)

* One Meal a Day for Most Palestinians
   by Jim Lobe

Most Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank are eating only one meal a day, leading to malnutrition at levels found in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new United Nations report. . . (read more)

* The Silence of the Writers
   by John Pilger

For the great writers of the 20th century, art could not be separated from politics. Today, there is a disturbing silence on the dark matters that should command our attention....That the menace of great and violent power in our own times is apparently accepted by celebrated writers, and by many of those who guard the gates of literary criticism, is uncontroversial. Not for them the impossibility of writing and promoting literature bereft of politics. Not for them the responsibility to speak out - a responsibility felt by even the unpolitical Ernest Hemingway. Today, realism is declared obsolete; an ironic hauteur is affected; false symbolism is all. As for the readers, their political imagination is to be pacified, not primed; after all, what do they care? (full article)

*Brave Face Belies Administration's Panic Over Iraq
  by Jim Lobe

While maintaining a brave face on the accelerating stream of bad news coming out of Baghdad, the administration of President George W. Bush appears increasingly at a loss, not to say panicked, about what to do. This week's abrupt and unscheduled return here by L. Paul Bremer, Washington's proconsul in Baghdad, for top-level White House consultations, as well as the partial leak of a pessimistic Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report on public attitudes in Iraq, pushed the administration off balance. . . (full article)

* The Tip of the Iceberg: Toledo Blade Report on Vietnam War "Tiger Force" Atrocity Is Only the Beginning
by Nick Turse

On October 19, 2003, the Ohio-based newspaper the Toledo Blade launched a four-day series of investigative reports exposing a string of atrocities by an elite, volunteer, 45-man "Tiger Force" unit of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division over the course of seven months in 1967. The Blade goes on to state that in 1971 the Army began a 4.5 year investigation of the alleged torture of prisoners, rapes of civilian women, the mutilation of bodies and killing of anywhere from nine to well over one hundred unarmed civilians, among other acts. The articles further report that the Army's inquiry concluded that 18 U.S. soldiers committed war crimes ranging from murder and assault to dereliction of duty. However, not one of the soldiers, even of those still on active duty at the time of the investigation, was ever court martialed in connection with the heinous crimes. Moreover, six suspected war criminals were allowed to resign from military service during the criminal investigations specifically to avoid prosecution. The Toledo Blade articles represent some of the best reporting on a Vietnam War crime by any newspaper, during or since the end of the conflict. Unfortunately, the articles tell a story that was all too common. As a historian writing his dissertation on U.S. war crimes and atrocities during the Vietnam War, I have been immersed in just the sort of archival materials the Toledo Blade used in its pieces, but not simply for one incident but hundreds if not thousands of analogous events. I can safely, and sadly, say that the "Tiger Force" atrocities are merely the tip of the iceberg in regard to U.S.-perpetrated war crimes in Vietnam. . . (full article)

* The General, the Election, and America's School of Assassins
   by Troy Skeels

Visiting Guatemala for the first time recently, the hardest thing to get used to were the election signs for the November presidential elections urging people to vote for Efrain Rios Montt. The man should be in prison for crimes against humanity, not running for president. But then I wondered why I found Rios Montt's candidacy particularly creepy. A graduate of the notorious School of the Americas, "The General," as he is called, was basically an enthusiastic servant of the US government when he committed the worst atrocities in Guatemala's bloody history. . . (full article)

* Crashing the Party
   by Geov Parrish

Hollywood has a long tradition of films in which the ridiculous plot serves only as the flimsy excuse for the soundtrack. And so it was that even twenty years ago, the 1984 movie "Footloose" featured an idiotic plot in which the parents of a high school rebel (a young Kevin Bacon) move to a Utah town and Bacon discovers that it has outlawed -- can you believe it? -- dancing. Fast forward twenty years. To virtually no attention, this year Congress passed an onerous new anti-drug bill -- one whose explicit effect is to outlaw certain types of dancing. Welcome to the RAVE Act. . . (full article)

* Bush's Faith-Filled Life
   by Bill Berkowitz

Did you know George W. Bush was at church with his mom when he first heard "the call" to run for president? Did you know Bush told a prominent television evangelist that he felt God wanted him to be president? Did you know the president "told the leader of Turkey that the two would do well together because they both believe in 'the Almighty'?" If little factoids like these don't get you to log on to your favorite book-selling Internet site or to take a quick trip to your local (independent) bookstore and buy "The Faith of George W. Bush," the soon-to-be released book by Stephen Mansfield, the publishers will be sorely disappointed. . . (full article)

* Learning in Saffron: Anti-Minority Curriculum in RSS Schools in India
   by Angana Chatterji

The communalization of education is a serious concern across India. Sectarian education campaigns undertaken by Hindu extremist groups demonize minorities through the teaching of fundamentalist curricula. Such corruption of education incites the political and social fires of communalism. The RSS has spearheaded the movement, successfully penetrating into the educational systems of both the grassroots and centralized regulatory commissions. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has fashioned an institutional umbrella that is having a damaging impact on education at the grassroots. . . . For the diversity of cultures allied under the rubric of 'adivasi', the ongoing reality of Hinduization offers evidence of their gradual and brutal incorporation into this caste system. . . (full article)

* Forty Years of Lies
   by John Chuckman

Bertrand Russell's penetrating question, one of sixteen he asked at the time of the Warren Commission Report, remains unanswered after forty years. That should trouble Americans, but then again there are many things around national secrecy today that should trouble Americans. The most timely lesson to be taken from the fortieth anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination concerns secrecy and the meaning of democracy in the world's most powerful nation. Perhaps no event better demonstrates the existence of two governments in the United States, the one people elect and another, often far more influential, as capable of imposing false history about large events as the fabled Ministry of Truth. . . (full article)

* The Frankencandidate
   by Zbignew Zhingh

Dr. Demo sat in his parlor watching by flickering candlelight the television news about George Bush’s latest disasters. "We must do something to replace that man," said Dr. Demo to his loyal laboratory assistant, Igor. Outside, an electrical storm flashed brighter and louder. The winds howled. "Yesh, Master," mumbled Igor as he watched the television transfixedly. Dr. Demo stroked his chin and pondered the candidates who were running for his party’s nomination for President. "Hmmm, hmmmm," muttered Dr. Demo. "There’s a little to like in all of them, but not one of them has the power to take down the monstrous Bush machine. Hmmmm, hmmmmm," he said stroking his chin. "Yesh, Master," mumbled Igor, "you almost want to mash them altogether into one candidate." Dr. Demo looked suddenly at his assistant. "Great Scott, Igor, you’ve got it! Let us build a composite candidate! Let us build a FRANKENCANDIDATE!"... (full article)

November 11-12, 2003

Rustie Woods
I HAVA Dream… Or Is It a Nightmare? 

Heather Wokusch
From Bring 'Em On To Bring 'Em Home

George Monbiot
Dreamers and Idiots: Bush and Blair did Everything Necessary to Prevent the Outbreak of Peace

Scott Ritter
Defining the Resistance in Iraq: It's Not Foreign and It's Well Prepared

Jim Lobe
Rumsfeld Takes More Friendly Fire

Robert Fisk
Frightening Winds Swirl Around the House of Saud

Andrew Nowicki
What Went wrong in the 'New' South Africa? "Free Trade" and Water Mostly

Toni Solo
From the Franklin River to the Chalillo Dam: Energy and Repressive Politics in Central America

Terry Gibbs and Garry Leech
Displacing Development in the Chocó (Part Two in a Series)

Terry Gibbs and Garry Leech
The Indigenous Struggle in the Chocó (Part Three in a Series)

Mickey Z.
Does William Safire Need Mental Help?

Jim Lobe
Relaxed US Rules Fuelled Toxic ''Ghost Ships''

Dan Bacher
Mystery Shrouds Dept. of Fish and Game Director’s Resignation

November 10, 2003

Barbara Sumner Burstyn
A GM Question or Two

Kim Petersen
Killing by Remote Control: The Bulldozing of Morality

James Brooks
Israel's New War Machine Opens the Abyss -- "We Didn't Know" Will Be No Excuse

Robert Fisk
How We Denied Democracy to the Middle East

William Rivers Pitt
Without Honor

Seth Sandronsky
A U.S. Jobs Boom for Whom?

Adam Engel
Raising JonBenet: A Review of Cowboy's Sweetheart by Walter Davis Plus an Interview With Davis


November 8-9, 2003

Mina Hamilton
Learning the Geography of Syria, USA Style

Mary La Rosa
The Palestinian Political Prisoners We Never Hear About (Children), Part III

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
Say No to Silicone

Bill Berkowitz
Defense Dept.'s Deadly Garage Sale

Naomi Klein
Ditch the Deals and Bring Halliburton Home: Iraq is Not America’s to Sell

Ahmed Amr
Does Liberty Matter?

Jim Lobe
Hawks Fleeing the Coop: Does the Departure of a Recent Pentagon Hawk Foreshadow a Policy Shift?

Mickey Z.
Sports Fans of the World Unite!

Jerre Skog
Letter to the Editors of American News Media: Cause for Concern


November 6-7, 2003

Standard Schaefer
After the New Economy

Norman Solomon
The Iraq Trap: Watch Out What You Ask For

Neve Gordon
Why is the World Silent in the Face of Israeli Apartheid?

Robert Fisk
When Did 'Arab' Become a Dirty Word?

Jeffrey St. Clair
Just a Match Away: Fire Sale in So Cal

Nick Turse
The Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex Takes Training Over "There"

Norman Solomon
War, Social Justice, Media and Democracy

David Edwards and Media Lens
Patriotism, Progress And A Beautiful Thing

Sam Hamod
Amneh Mounah, Political Prisoner in 8th Day of Hunger Strike in Israel

P. Anthony Farruggio
Circuses and Sleeping Giants

Mark Weisbrot
Anti-Sweatshop Movement Provides Needed Counterweight in the Global Economy

Josh Frank
The Silencing of “The Reagans”: Too Bad, It Might Have Been Good For a Laugh

Jim Lobe
What's Gonna Happen With Feith?

Mickey Z.
Stepping on a Flea (Sound familiar?)


November 4-5, 2003

Tariq Ali
Resistance is the First Step Towards Iraqi Independence

Adam Engel
What It Is

James Boyne
President Boooosh, We Are “In A Pickle”

George Monbiot
Acceptable Hatred: Beneath the Enduring Hostility to Gypsies Lies an Ancient Envy of the Nomadic Life

Yacov Ben Efrat and Challenge
The Geneva Accord: Beyond Time and Space

Bill Berkowitz
Bush's Afghanistan Predicament

Kim Petersen
Elitist, Racist, Religionist, Sexist, Inegalitarian: Canada’s Head-of-State

Richard Oxman
The Party’s Over Party

Mickey Z.
Epicurean Evolution: A New Theory of (un)Natural Selection

November 3, 2003

Josh Frank
Dean’s White Following

Noam Chomsky
The Iraq War and Contempt for Democracy

Holly Sklar
Deadly Tunnel Vision in Iraq

Barbara Sumner Burstyn
Hooker Look in Fashion as Porn Becomes de Rigueur

Kim Petersen
Not Getting It: The Mind of Thomas Friedman

Ahmed Amr
Fraudulent Thomas Embraces Wolfie the Liberator

Norman Solomon
The Steady Theft Of Our Time

Toni Solo
Robert Zoellick and "Wise Blood": The Hazel Motes Approach to International Trade

Seth Sandronsky
Temporary Work Grows in Bush’s America

Harvey Wasserman
The Cheney-Bush Energy Disaster is About to Come to a Vote


November 1-2, 2003

Josh Frank
Howard Dean: Anti-Black and Law Breaking?

Joseph Nevins
“Tiger Force” and the Costs of Forgetting US Crimes in Vietnam

Kurt Nimmo
No Apologies for Wolfowitz the Microbe

John Stanton
Landmine Mania: America’s Love Affair with Anti-Personnel Mines

Hans Bennett
They’ll Never Silence the Voice of the Voiceless: An Interview With Mumia Abu-Jamal

Norman Solomon
Cracking the Media Walls

William Rivers Pitt
The Revolution Was Not Televised

Richard Oxman
Leavitt and The Utahnization of America

Ahmed Amr
Bush: Causus Beli, Baby: Text of Bush WWW Press Conference

Robert Fisk
Iraq's Guerrillas Adopt New Strategy: Copy The Americans

John Chuckman
Banging Your Head Into Walls

Jason Leopold
Halliburton Won’t Back Off Doing Biz In Iran, Despite NYC Pension Funds Concerns of Terrorism

Kim Petersen
Thermogeddon: Canada Thaws

Allen Snyder
Is Florida Run By Sadists?

David Cromwell
Fear of Being an Individual

Mary LaRosa
The Chomskybot Code: Conduct in the Time of Terror

Mark Weisbrot
Top Gun Fires Blanks on the Economy

Ivan Eland
Having a Bad Day, Wolfie?

Peter Kurth
Crank Call October 29

Alexander Cockburn
Paul Krugman: Part of the Problem

Dennis Rahkonen
Bush’s Betrayal of Our Troops

George Monbiot
Tony Blair’s New Friend: A Dictator Who Boils Prisoners to Death

Angana Chatterji
Orissa: A Gujarat in the Making


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