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(DV) November 2006 Articles

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November 30

Letter to the CEO of the American Psychological Association 
by Stephen Soldz

There has been considerable controversy regarding the role of psychologists in coercive national security interrogations at Guantanamo and elsewhere. The American Psychological Association (APA) has steadfastly resisted pressure to come out against psychologist participation in these interrogations. (See my "Psychologists, Guantanamo and Torture" and "Protecting the Torturers: Bad Faith and Distortions From The American Psychological Association.") As a result, a movement of APA members has started to withhold dues from the organization as an additional leverage to change the Association's policy. I have been somewhat reluctant to join this movement as I feel it is important for psychologists to stay in the Association for the time being in order to continue attempts to change its policy. However, I have been reassured that withholding dues does not immediately terminate membership. I have thus decided to sacrifice my discounted APA journals and to withhold my dues for 2007. Here is the letter I wrote to Norman B. Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of APA, explaining why I am withholding dues.....(full letter)

Motive and Precedent in the Gemayel Assassination 
by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

In the aftermath of Pierre Gemayel's assassination the Guardian raises a key question: "cui bono" (who benefits)? The paper's answer is typical of the mainstream media response to the event which remains confined in its scope to the usual suspects. While there is ample speculation about who might benefit, the context provided only emphasizes a Syrian (and Hizbullah) motive and avoids mention of possible benefits to any other party -- Israel or the March 14 Alliance for instance. As far as the media is concerned, Gemayel was anti-Syrian, hence a Syrian motive and with its alleged precedent of political murder further investigation is unnecessary. To point out the obvious shortcoming in this approach, it is important to look at the context and parameters which invariably lead to the politically serviceable conclusion of Syrian culpability.....(full article)

Get Feith and Exit Iraq Without Bush 
by Ahmed Amr

As the sectarian bloodletting in Iraq intensifies, it is easy to lose track of the American policies that unleashed the carnage. Even the anti-war movement seems to have accepted the conventional wisdom that the insurgency and the Shiite death squads attired in police uniforms were unfortunate and unpredictable byproducts of a noble neo-con project to establish a progressive western oriented state in a turbulent region. The greatest acts of deception in this war of choice were not the WMD allegations or the canard that Saddam was behind the atrocities of 9/11. The bigger lie is that the United States was on an idealistic expedition to fight tyranny and spread the gospel of democracy.....(full article)

Why Inciting Outrage is Not Enough 
by Aaron Sussman

Over the past several years, people who care about what is happening in the world and who feel compelled to tell the truth about it have had a tremendous realization: we have the means of production to make media. This realization has spurred a media revolution in which the traditional model of passively consuming the news through a corporate filter has given way to a new model of active citizenship and aggressive truth-telling.  With at least 60 million blogs in existence, according to, there are a lot of voices vying for our attention. Though citizen journalists and alternative media-makers often struggle to find distribution and reach a substantial audience, their presence has dramatically and positively altered the media-political complex during this era of columnists bribed by administration officials, news stories created and prepackaged by federal government agencies, increasingly concentrated ownership over the media, nationalism, profit-seeking, risk-averse careerism, and censorship.....
(full article)

Is There a Case for War Resistance? 
by Jay J. Harker

It is fair to assume that war resistance may not be popular in a lot of circles, but in the long haul what really are the accomplishments of war? Few to nil in my opinion except for mass destruction and death. The question is: has the time come for war resistance and will it at some point become a force for mighty social change? (full article)

The Myth of the Kennedys  
by Joe Allen

Emilio Estevez’s film Bobby opened in theaters across the country last week. It received mixed reviews from most critics, who nevertheless praised Estevez, the son of actor Martin Sheen, for making a “serious” movie that attempts to capture the political atmosphere in the U.S. on the eve of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. Whatever its shortcomings as a film, the major problem with Bobby is political -- it regurgitates all of the myths about Robert Kennedy and his brother, President John F. Kennedy. The greatest of all the myths about the Kennedys is that if the two brothers had lived, then much of the “turmoil” of the 1960s, particularly the U.S. war in Vietnam, would have been avoided. For many liberals, Robert Kennedy’s assassination represented “the end of the ’60s” -- the end of the road for progressive political change and the beginning of three decades of conservative rule. Is any of this remotely true? (full article)

November 28

CIA: No Evidence for Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program
White House “Hostile” to Reality-Based Report  
by Gary Leupp

According to Seymour Hersh’s latest New Yorker shocker, the CIA has found no evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program. The White House, given a draft assessment in the fall, has been “hostile” to the agency’s report. Now why would that be? Why no sighs of relief? Why no, “Thank you guys,” and pats on the back for all their careful intelligence work? (full article)

Impeachment Hearings for Bush & Co? How About War Crimes Tribunals? 
by Heather Wokusch

While Bush administration members have made a sport of breaking the law, both domestically and internationally, their intransigence will come back to haunt -- one way or another. The Bush Doctrine of taking "the battle to the enemy," for example, is a direct repudiation of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the use of international force unless in self-defense (after an armed attack across an international border) or related to a UN Security Council decision. And that explains why Bush's 2002 National Security Strategy makes a point to "protect Americans" from "the potential for investigations, inquiry, or prosecution" by the International Criminal Court "whose jurisdiction does not extend to Americans and which we do not accept."....(full article)

Christian Evangelicals: Enablers of the Wayward Republicans 
by Bill Berkowitz

Top shelf conservative Christian evangelicals, GOP political leaders, and a host of right wing pundits, columnists, and radio and television talk show hosts have just about finished hashing out the whys and wherefores of Election 2006's "thumpin." Much post-election talk has centered on both the actions of the so-called "values voters," and what the election results might means for the future of the Christian right. Some conservatives have moon-walked away from their defeated GOP brethren faster than Michael Jackson in his prime. Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson has argued -- in a post-election statement and on a Thanksgiving Eve appearance with CNN's Larry King -- that it wasn't that conservative social issues were rejected by the voters, it was that the GOP didn't push the conservative social agenda hard enough. Meanwhile, direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie, and former Republican congressman and current MSNBC talk shot host Joe Scarborough, appear to have gotten what they had been touting for months -- a repudiation of the GOP. They hope, however, that this will lead to a revitalization of the conservative movement.....(full article)

Using Words, Not Weapons: Students Weigh in on the Draft 
by Susan Van Haitsma

If politicians and pundits are discussing, in retrospect, a universal draft as a war deterrent, it would behoove them to check in with today's prospective draftees to ask what they think about it. In the process, the draft debate might be replaced with a larger question. Instead of older adults arguing about how and which young persons should be used for national defense purposes, the question would be whether adults can figure out how to get along in the world without making the unnatural sacrifice of their young. The volunteer organization with which I work, Nonmilitary Options for Youth, does regular literature tabling in Austin's public high schools. While we are there, we ask students what they think about the draft issue, the Iraq war and military recruitment on campus. Last year, we conducted an informal, anonymous written survey on these issues, with approximately 600 students participating across 12 schools. Responses indicated a variety of strong, reasoned opinions, and students seemed to appreciate being asked....
(full article)

Recording Street Conversation: Another Step Towards
the British Total Surveillance Society  
by Stephen Soldz

The Total Surveillance Society is possibly about to get a new boost in Britain where police are considering posting microphones to identify and record aggressive street conversations, the Times reports: "Police and councils are considering monitoring conversations in the street using high-powered microphones attached to CCTV cameras, write Steven Swinford and Nicola Smith. The microphones can detect conversations 100 yards away and record aggressive exchanges before they become violent. The devices are used at 300 sites in Holland and police, councils and transport officials in London have shown an interest in installing them before the 2012 Olympics." The interest in the equipment comes amid growing concern that Britain is becoming a “surveillance society.” It was recently highlighted that there are more than 4.2m CCTV cameras, with the average person being filmed more than 300 times a day. The addition of microphones would take surveillance into uncharted territory.....(full article)

Blind Obedience to the Canons of Capitalism: Of Sick Societies,
American Dalits, and a Nation of Lady Macbeths 
by Jason Miller

Yesterday [November 23], most of us initiated the “Holidays” by performing the annual rite of gratitude. Millions gave thanks for living in a nation that has become obscenely corpulent by suckling at the teats of genocide, slavery, and imperialism. Sandburg once christened Chicago “hog butcher for the world”. Accounting for a mere 5% of the world’s population while gluttonously devouring a quarter of the world’s resources easily qualifies the United States as “hog to the world.” And meanwhile.....(full article)

Neocon Militarist Joshua Muravchik:
Stoking the Conflagration in the Middle East
by Walter C. Uhler

Viewers of the November 15, 2006 airing of Democracy Now were given the treat of seeing Amy Goodman's interview with former Senator George McGovern, current Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the American Enterprise Institute's Joshua Muravchik. The subject under discussion was titled: "Out of Iraq or More Troops?" A "treat"? Yes, viewers (or readers of the transcript) were able to see Mr. Muravchik, an acerbic-tongued neoconservative militarist, in action. Mr. McGovern started the debate by recommending a gradual withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, commencing in December and ending in June 2007. Congressman Kucinich supported Mr. McGovern's gradual withdrawal, but proposed to give it teeth by having Congress cut off all future funding for the war. Mr. Muravchik advocated sending "a lot more troops" "until we can bring some order to Iraq.".....(full article)

Last Sunday: Digging In and Digging Deep by  
by Robert Jensen

(Remarks to the first in a series of “Last Sunday” community gatherings in Austin, TX, November 26, 2006) We billed Last Sunday as a place for people to come together to explore the intersections of the political, artistic, and spiritual. The idea came out of conversations among friends: Eliza Gilkyson, a singer/songwriter with interests in politics and spirituality; Jim Rigby, a minister who has a knack for stirring up trouble, theologically and politically; and me, a professor involved in a variety of political groups. There are lots of organizations and movements taking up issues that we care about. Last Sunday was designed not to compete with those, but to create a different kind of space, where people could bring all aspects of themselves for conversation and connection. The name plays off the “First Thursday” tradition on South Congress Avenue, with perhaps an invocation of the Last Supper for some, though I want to be clear that none of us has any messianic inclinations.....(full article)

November 24-25

-- The Anti-Empire Report --
Would Jesus Get Out of Iraq?  
by William Blum

The good news is that the Republicans lost. The bad news is that the Democrats won. The burning issue -- US withdrawal from Iraq -- remains as far from resolution as before. A clear majority of Americans are opposed to the war and almost all of them would be very happy if the US military began the process of leaving Iraq tomorrow, if not today. The rest of the world would breathe a great sigh of relief and their long-running love affair with the storybook place called "America" could begin to come back to life. A State Department poll conducted in Iraq this past summer dealt with the population's attitude toward the American occupation. Apart from the Kurds -- who assisted the US military before, during, and after the invasion and occupation, and don't think of themselves as Iraqis -- most people favored an immediate withdrawal, ranging from 56% to 80% depending on the area. The State Department report added that majorities in all regions except Kurdish areas said that the departure of coalition forces would make them feel safer and decrease violence.....(full article)

Freiheit für Mumia Abu-Jamal!
German Book Reveals New Evidence in Death-Row Case
by Hans Bennett

“The history of the criminal case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, which is by now almost 25 years old, has been characterized by bias right from the start: against a black man whom the court denied a jury of his peers, against a member of the economic underclass who did not have a real claim to a qualified defense, and against a radical, whose allegedly dangerous militancy obliged the state to eliminate him from the ranks of society.” So writes German author Michael Schiffmann in his new book Race Against Death. Mumia Abu-Jamal: a Black Revolutionary in White America (an expansion of Schiffmann's PhD dissertation at the University of Heidelberg), just released in Germany this past month. In 1982, Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner and sentenced to death in a trial that Amnesty International has declared a "violation of minimum international standards that govern fair trial procedures and the use of the death penalty." Schiffmann writes that a third person (not Abu-Jamal or his brother Billy Cook) most likely shot and killed police officer Daniel Faulkner on the morning of December 9, 1981. This third person was Kenneth Freeman (Billy Cook's friend and business partner), who -- according to the available evidence -- was a passenger in Cook's car. Freeman likely shot him in response to Faulkner shooting Abu-Jamal in the chest, and was therefore the black male that six eyewitnesses reported to see fleeing the scene moments before other police arrived....(full article)

Syria is a Convenient Fall Guy for Gemayel’s Death 
by Jonathan Cook

Commentators and columnists are agreed. Pierre Gemayel’s assassination must have been the handiwork of Syria because his Christian Phalangists have been long-time allies of Israel and because, as industry minister, he was one of the leading figures in the Lebanese government’s anti-Syria faction. President Bush thinks so too. Case, apparently, settled. Unlike my colleagues, I do not claim to know who killed Gemayel. Maybe Syria was behind the shooting. Maybe, in Lebanon’s notoriously intrigue-ridden and fractious political system, someone with a grudge against Gemayel -- even from within his own party -- pulled the trigger. Or maybe, Israel once again flexed the muscles of its long arm in Lebanon. It seems, however, as if the last possibility cannot be entertained in polite society. So let me offer a few impolite thoughts.....(full article)

America’s Moment in the Middle East is About to End
by Mike Whitney

There are no “accidents” in Middle East politics. This week’s assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister, Pierre Gemayel can only be understood in the context of the ongoing struggle between the competing political forces in the region. Presently, the United States is the big loser in this regard due to its failed campaign in Iraq. The war has severely damaged the perception of US military invincibility and triggered a stunning rejection of Bush’s policies in the in the midterm elections. Now, the political paradigm in America has shifted and a phased withdrawal of American troops could begin in a matter of months. Needless to say, this is not the outcome that the hawks in Washington or Tel Aviv had in mind. Could the assassination of Gemayel be an attempt to forestall the impending withdrawal of American forces?
(full article)

Egypt’s Lion Scribe Goes On Trial 
by Ahmed Amr

Egypt remains the kind of police state where people say pretty much what they please -- in cafes, in taxis and at social gatherings. But if you dare to convert public sentiment to ink on the front page of a major opposition paper -- watch out. Because, one way or another, the powers that be are going to figure a way to get their pound of flesh. Stifling political dissent is an art form and some dictators are better at it than others. The thing about Mubarak is that he always goes for quality -- not quantity. They’ve got this Egyptian saying that if you beat down an unshackled man, the guy in leg irons is going to take notice. So, it should surprise no one that the regime is now going after one of the undisputed lions of the Egyptian opposition press -- Wael El-Abrashi, the executive editor of Sawt Al-Umma. In the dock with her boss is Hoda Abu Bakr -- a tigress who is a prominent journalist with Abrashi’s paper. Remember these two names. Because if Egypt ever emerges from its dark night under authoritarian rule, these two scribes will deserve their fair share of the credit.....(full article)

Economic Empire Building: The Centrality of Corruption
by James Petras

Economic empire building (EEB) is the driving force of the US economy and became more central over the past five years. More than ever before in US economic history, the principal US banks, oil companies, manufacturers, investment houses, pension and mutual funds all depend on exploiting overseas nations and peoples to secure high rates of profit. Increasingly the majority of banking and corporate profits accrue from overseas plunder. As EEB becomes central to the viability of the entire US economy, competition with Europe and Asia for lucrative investment rates and economic resources intensifies. Because of heightened competition, and the crucial importance of overseas profits, corporate corruption has become a decisive factor in determining which imperial centers, MNCs and banks will capture lucrative profit-generating enterprises, resources and financial positions. The centrality of corruption in imperial expansion and in securing privileged positions in the world market exemplifies the increasing importance of politics, in particular relations with states in the imperial re-division of the world. Globalization, so-called, is a euphemism for the increasing importance of competing empires intent on re-dividing the world. Corrupting overseas rulers is central to securing privileged access to lucrative resources, markets and enterprises.....(full article)

Zionism: Pitting the West Against Islam 
by M. Shahid Alam

When we examine the consequences that have flowed from the creation of Israel, when we contemplate the greater horrors that may yet flow from the logic of Zionism, Israel's triumphs appear in a different light. We are forced to examine these triumphs with growing dread and incredulity. Israel’s early triumphs, though real from a narrow Zionist standpoint, have slowly mutated by a fateful process into ever-widening circles of conflict that now threaten to escalate into major wars between the West and Islam. Although this conflict has its source in colonial ambitions, the dialectics of this conflict have slowly endowed it with the force and rhetoric of a civilizational war: and perhaps worse, a religious war. This is the tragedy of Israel. It is not a fortuitous tragedy. Driven by history, chance and cunning, the Zionists wedged themselves between two historical adversaries, the West and Islam, and by harnessing the strength of the first against the second, it has produced the conditions of a conflict that has grown deeper over time....(full article)

Letter to the Judge Who Sentenced My Husband to Federal Prison
for Protesting Nuclear Weapons 
by Michele Naar-Obed

Michele Naar-Obed's open letter to the judge who sentenced her husband, Greg Boertje-Obed, to a year and a day in federal prison in November 2006 for hammering on the concrete lid covering the missile silo which houses the Minuteman III nuclear missile....(full letter)

Fasten Your Seat Belts for Global Warming 
by Mickey Z.

Is O.J. Simpson more important than the greenhouse effect? Consider this: I just typed "O.J. Simpson" into a Google News search. The first page alone provided links for almost 2500 recent stories. The results for "global warming," however, totaled roughly 300. Thus, by media standards, O.J. Simpson appears to be at least eight times more significant than climate change. Obviously, media coverage doesn't always correlate to value. Douglas Futuyma, a professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, recently talked to CNN about global warming. "It's not just down the road somewhere," said Futuyma. "It is just hurtling toward us. Anyone who is 10 years old right now is going to be facing a very different and frightening world by the time that they are 50 or 60." And guess what? It's our fault.....(full article)

November 22

America Has Left the Building: An Open Missive of Anger and Hope 
by Phil Rockstroh 

Recently, we've been plied and pummeled with the absurd proclamation that "the system worked" -- that our congressional representatives listened and took note of the collective, antiwar fulmination of the people, registered in our faux republic's latest, sham plebiscite. Yes, I suspect, the political classes of Washington did hear the people's thunder -- and then went running for cover within the comfort zones of their sheltering smugness, constructed of the brick and mortar of arrogant power and inequitable privilege. Just ask Joe Lieberman. He's the self-satisfied fellow seated comfortably upon the large, plush lounge chair, stuffed with campaign dollars, nearest the door with access to K Street. But we must not let ourselves -- the true beneficiaries of empire -- off so easily: Our national tragedies (from all the corpses amassed, buried and forgotten in our imperial wars to our intransigence and denial regarding Global Warming) are a collaborative effort with our leaders -- a joint and living lie of the mind, made manifest by collective desire and remorseless pursuit. Upon the occasion of our cultural confabulation of colonial hagiography dubbed "Thanksgiving," a tradition when we stuff our overweight bellies by devouring big, growth hormone-injected, flightless birds in order to celebrate, what in truth was a Thanks-taking of this land by our ancestors from its original inhabitants (but a hearty salutation of "Happy Genocide Day" doesn't exactly stimulate the appetite, does it?), I will address the following missive to you my fellow unindicted (perhaps even unconscious) co-conspirators in the crimes of our country.....(full article)

No Peace, No Place for Palestine 
by Sheila Samples

Finally. Someone has noticed what is going on in the Middle East. The UK Telegraph reports that Britain is "furious" with Israel because of the damage it is causing in Gaza. Is it because of the wholesale slaughter of innocent Palestinians -- the bombing of a Gaza beach that turned the entire family of 12-year-old Huda Ghalia into a smoking pile of human flesh and scattered body parts? No? Then, perhaps it is because of Israel using innocent Palestinians as human shields, gunning down children as they scurry fearfully to school, burying the wounded alive Jenin-style? Or maybe Britain is at long last enraged by the massacre of 19 Palestine refugees, mostly women and children in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun on November 8. Maybe Britain was aware of the little-reported six-day siege which had ended just the day before the assault when Israeli ground forces had been withdrawn from Beit Hanoun after slaughtering 50 and injuring many more. In response to the public outcry at the November 8 slaughter, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert explained that it was caused by a mere "technical error." Olmert did admit he was "uncomfortable" with the "event," but said military operations in Gaza would continue, and that further mistakes "may happen.".....
(full article)

Platitudes Are No Defense Against Zionist Terrorism 
by Kim Petersen

CBC News ran an article based on Associated Press files that began: “‘Massive’ human rights violations are being committed in the Gaza Strip, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said Monday as she kicked off a tour of the region.” Human rights violations -- committed by whom and against whom? This passive construction conveys an image of agent-less human rights violations against anonymous victims. The reader is, however, later informed that 19 members of the Al Athamna family in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun were killed in an Israeli artillery attack. CBC News cited “Israeli officials” who acknowledged an error. CBC News never bothered to tabulate the numerous zionist errors/massacres over the years, such as at Qana, Nablus, Jenin, Beit Lahiya, etc. Even if the Beit Hanoun massacre were an error -- and the only error -- should that exculpate the zionist regime from condemnation and sanction? (full article)

Palestinian Solidarity Discourse and Zionist Hegemony 
by Gilad Atzmon

Let’s face it, while the Palestinian and Arab resistance evolves into an absolute example of the ultimate heroism and collective patriotism, the Palestinian solidarity movement in the UK and around the world is not exactly what could be called a profound success story. In fact, it would be erroneous to state that this is really the fault of those who dedicate their time and energy to it. Supporting the Palestinians is a complicated subject. Though the crimes against the Palestinians have taken place in broad daylight and are not some well-kept secret, the priorities of the solidarity movement are far from being clear. When thinking about Palestinian society we are basically used to thinking of some sharp ideological and cultural disputes between the Hamas and PLO. Not that I wish to undermine that staunch disagreement, but I am here to suggest an alternative perspective that perhaps could lead towards a different understanding of the notion of Palestinian activism and solidarity both ideologically and pragmatically.....(full speech)

Big Pharma Hits on Pregnant Women 
by Evelyn Pringle

If Big Pharma cared one iota about the unborn fetus, at a bare minimum, it would call off its hired guns traveling around the country peddling SSRI antidepressants to pregnant women by convincing doctors to prescribe the drugs and ignore the studies and FDA warnings that say SSRIs are associated with serious birth defects. On October 16, 2006, the first lawsuit in the nation was filed against GlaxoSmithKline in which an infant charges that his life-threatening lung disorder was caused by exposure to the SSRI Paxil in the womb during his mother's pregnancy.....(full article)

Lou Dobbs and the Dead End of White Anti-Corporate Populism 
by Ted Glick

When I first began hearing CNN journalist and news anchor Lou Dobbs being interviewed a month or so ago on radio and TV about his new book, “War on the Middle Class,” I was interested in learning more. I’ve never been a fan of Dobbs given what I’ve picked up were his racially discriminatory -- racist -- views on illegal immigration of Latinos from Mexico and Central America. But I was intrigued when, in the media interviews, I heard him castigate the Democrats and Republicans as parties bought and controlled by big business. He called for action to address the health care crisis and took other generally progressive positions. So I bought and read his book.....(full review)

November 21

Third Parties Fight for American Democracy 
by Joel S. Hirschhorn

In this remarkable year of attention to many hot issues, especially political corruption and the Iraq war, voter turnout was just over 40 percent, no better than the previous midterm election. One valid view of why 60 percent of eligible voters did not vote is that they saw little difference between the two major parties and, therefore, that their votes do not matter. It’s “they’re all a bunch of crooks and liars” belief, bolstered this year with so much evidence of crooks in congress and liars in the Bush administration. Where supporters of Republicans or Democrats see different positions on issues, cynical citizens see nothing but campaign propaganda and civic distraction through divisive issues. So they do not vote their conscience or for lesser-evil candidates. Most have too little information about third party candidates to vote for them. . . . The 2006-midterm elections showed the importance of votes for third party candidates who keep fighting for a place in the American political system, despite being intentionally disadvantaged by very little money and media coverage......
(full article)

The Kipplization of Mankind 
by Stacie Adams

Are you drowning in a sea of meaningless words, gestures, and products? Is unfettered inanity driving you to the brink? Will you be rendered a catatonic, drooling, postmodern zombie by superfluous information? Author Philip K. Dick coined the term “kipple” in his 1968 sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It is defined as “unwanted or useless objects” and is capable of reproducing on its own. Dick asserts in the book, via the character of Buster Friendly, that the earth will eventually succumb to an all-encompassing layer of kipple. The concept of kipple has been compared to the second law of thermodynamics, which is known as entropy (the degradation of all matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity). Try to imagine all of the junk currently occupying the world. I mean every useless tchochtke, every synthetic doodad, every single physical object that serves no discernable function or purpose. Now try to imagine this massive store of junk together in one place. Picture a veritable sea of refuse that will surely outlive us all.....(full article)

With Democrats in Power, Will Anything Change?  
by Don Monkerud 

With a newly elected Democratic Congress trying to put the brakes on the worst American president in history, many are breathing a sigh of relief. A number of Democratic legislative goals would impact working people positively: increasing the minimum wage, decreasing student loan rates, negotiating for lower Medicare drug prices, and promoting alternate energy sources. To prove they are tough on national security, Democrats will tighten security at ports and vulnerable industrial plants, and possibly increase the size of the military. Egregiously destructive Republican environmental policies will be stymied and small positive steps will be taken to decrease our ravenous appetite for oil. A mild ethics law may be passed. Republicans will fight each issue with every political weapon in their arsenal. Unfortunately, Bush and the Republicans dug the country into a hole so deep, we may never recover. After an orgy of deregulation, globalization, free-market pirating, privatization and the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, Americans will have to cope with the destructive long-term results.....(full article)

Limiting Family Planning for the Poor 
by Gene C. Gerard

Last week President Bush appointed Dr. Eric Keroack to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Population Affairs. This position is primarily responsible for overseeing the Office of Family Planning, which is charged with providing access to contraceptive information and supplies to low-income individuals. But Dr. Keroack has a long-standing opposition to contraception and abortion. Through this appointment, President Bush will severely limit contraceptive information and choices to many of America’s poorest women.....(full article)

Deconstructing The End of Faith 
by Theo Papathanasis

“Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” Who penned this ugly little medievalism? The Taliban? Stalin? A National Socialist contemplating what to do with German labor organizers? Perhaps a puritanical do-gooder off to purge satanic elements hidden under the foliage's bright taches shrouding sleepy seventeenth century Salem in a gorgeous autumnal firestorm? No, this winsome sentiment was recently expressed by yet another of America's just-add-water "public intellectuals," one Sam Harris, atheism's would-be heresiarch in the politically incoherent age of War for Oil on Terror. In his The End of Faith, a short work the careless might take for a polemic against organized religion, Harris’s central theme is that "all reasonable men and women have a common enemy . . . Our enemy is nothing other than faith itself.".....(full article)

Opportunities Lost: When Bullies Derail Dialogue, We All Lose 
by Robert Jensen

In a world of spin, no one expects truth from corporate executives or the politicians who serve them, but many of us hold out hope that in the classroom and sanctuary we can engage one another honestly in the struggle to understand the world and our place in it. So, while I’ve had my share of squabbles with schools and churches over the years, I remain committed to them as important truth-seeking institutions. As a university professor who has recently returned to church membership, I have a lot riding on those hopes, which is why it was particularly disappointing in recent weeks to be scheduled for speaking engagements and then abruptly canceled by a Catholic diocese and a private high school in Texas. In both cases, some people in the institutions were eager to have me share my knowledge and experiences, only to have the leadership give in to complaints from conservatives. My disappointment wasn’t personal -- I’ve been rejected enough to be able to roll with these punches -- but about a concern for the future if the institutions we count on to create space for dialogue are so easily cowed. The problem isn’t that I lost chances to speak, but that everyone lost a chance for engagement.....(full article)

November 20

An Open Letter to the People and Government of the US
(And a Reply to the FARC) 
by James Petras

On November 9, 2006, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army, (FARC-EP) sent an “Open Letter to the People of the United States.” It was specifically addressed to several Hollywood producers and actors (Michael Moore, Denzel Washington and Oliver Stone) as well as three leftist academics (James Petras, Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis) and a progressive politician (Jessie Jackson). The purpose of the open letter was to solicit our support in facilitating an agreement between the US and Colombian governments and the FARC-EP on exchanging 600 imprisoned guerrillas (including two on trial in the US) for 60 rebel-held prisoners including three US counterinsurgency experts.....(full article)

Housing Bubble Smack-down
by Mike Whitney

For some time now we’ve been hearing about the so-called housing bubble and what effect it could have on your net worth and future. Well, the numbers are finally in and you can decide for yourself whether its time to sell now or try to ride out the storm. In 2000 the total value of homes in the US was $11.4 trillion. Today that number has shot up to $20.3 trillion, nearly double. At the same time, mortgage debt in 2000 was a trifling $4.8 trillion (about half) while in 2006 it skyrocketed to a whopping $9.3 trillion. So, how do we explain these enormous increases in value? After all, wasn’t the housing boom just the natural outcome of “supply and demand”? No it wasn’t. That’s an unfortunate myth that should be interred with the withered remains of Milton “free market” Friedman.....(full article)

Respect for All 
by Patricia Goldsmith

So it seems Republican voters have finally turned. With the arsenal of election-rigging techniques the Republican Party has been working up since 2000 -- including caging and purge lists, push polls, insufficient machines in Democratic areas, uncounted provisional ballots, robocalls, unfair rules from corrupt secretaries of state -- it has long been abundantly clear that Democrats will never take office with a narrow win. And those are just the surface obstacles. The deep structure of our electoral system tilts to the right: the senate is an anti-democratic institution with empty-box red states getting the same number of senators as far more populous blue states; the mid-census gerrymandering of districts favors Republicans across the country; and the electoral college’s winner-take-all rules and weighting in favor of smaller states blunt liberal gains. Given all of that, it’s hard to fault Howard Dean’s fifty-state strategy of putting up conservative Democrats to run in conservative states. It worked. That’s the good news and the bad news....(full article)

The Plain and Persuasive Case for Getting Out of Iraq Now  
by Dennis Rahkonen

A typical day in Iraq will see two or three U.S. troops and dozens of Iraqis killed. That day will be followed by many more of the same. All because our government leaders cling to the nationalistic vanity of futilely seeking to “win” a despicable war that’s absolutely wrong and utterly indefensible by universally accepted standards. Meanwhile, antiwar activists chant “Peace, now!” in our streets. They do so because peace deferred means indefinite death, terrible dismemberment, and long years of suicide inducing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many more Americans who served in Vietnam committed suicide, after returning home, than were actually killed in combat. That grim reality should haunt us all during uneasy, pensive moments before our nightly sleep. How do we exit Iraq?  There’s only one correct way.....(full article)

When History Becomes Chopped Liver 
by Carolyn Baker

On Friday, George W. Bush arrived in Vietnam with the intention of strengthening business ties with that nation and used his photo op to make one of the most jaw-dropping statements of his presidency regarding the subject of history. “History has a long march to it,” he banally proclaimed as we all yawned, recalling that his major at Yale, where he barely managed to maintain a 2.3 average, was history. Then came the clincher as Bush was asked if any lessons from Vietnam apply to the war in Iraq: “One lesson,” he babbled, “is that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take awhile. It’s just going to take a long time for the ideology that is hopeful, and that is an ideology of freedom, to overcome an ideology of hate. We’ll succeed unless we quit.” Oh really, the “lesson” of Vietnam is that we shouldn’t “quit”? There it is again, that Orwellian mindset that has pervaded this administration; war is peace, and evil is good. No one should be shocked that Bush has no sense of history, that he has never read anything beyond the Reader’s Digest version of it, and that he willfully ignores the genuine lessons of the Vietnam era, but every American should be outraged by this statement, but one of the myriad reasons the vast majority of Americans have allowed the most criminal administration in the history of this nation to continue unabated, with nary a peep of indignation, is that they themselves have so little knowledge of their history.....(full article)

Back in the Aether Again: Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day 
by Ron Jacobs

Against the Day is the story of a quest. Perhaps for reason, perhaps for reasons beyond reason. Perhaps for an understanding of the human experience. The story of a family named Traverse, which must be more than a mere family name. The father, Webb Traverse, ostensibly an itinerant miner in North America's West a couple decades after the US civil war, he is also a bomber whose sympathies lie with those opposed to the robber baron capitalists that populate the estates and boardrooms of the United States. The men whose general perception of the men from whose sweat and blood they make their millions is a perception that sees those workers as unworthy of life. Pynchon doesn't exactly condemn capitalism as much as he describes the inevitable progression of that system of economics to its ultimate expression in war and bloodshed. Which is condemnation enough. To the robber baron Scarsdale Vibe, Webb Traverse is somehow different. He is considered not just an opponent, but an opponent that must be sought out and killed. Once dead, he is brought to a place that is beyond boot hill, beyond Tombstone -- a place where vultures of the human and avian type rule. Reading this particular section, I was reminded of William Burroughs' grotesque visions of the western lands. As it turns out, the youngest Traverse is provided an education by the same robber baron that ordered Webb's death. The daughter, meanwhile, marries the triggerman. Of course, the desire for justice cum revenge reveals its head along the plot line. Indeed, two of the brothers begin their travels with exactly such a thought. The Traverse family finds itself part of every facet in the tale. Mathematics and monopoly capitalists. Anarchy and anal sex. Airships and manned submarines built by Italian anarchists. Meteors that change the earth and murders accompanied by grotesque tortures that defy belief. It is not a pretty world provided here, but it is an interesting one that is full of adventure and surprise.....(full article)

November 17

Harper’s Way Out of War: The Unworkable Blueprint of George McGovern and William Polk  
by Thomas Riggins

The October issue of Harper’s Magazine contains an essay by George McGovern (the Democratic anti-war presidential candidate who ran against Nixon in 1972, he carried one state -- Massachusetts) and William Polk (founder of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago). This essay “The Way Out Of War: A Blueprint For Leaving Iraq Now” is an attempt to give a workable liberal democratic exit strategy to extricate the U.S. from the chaotic mess the Bush Administration has gotten us into in Iraq. Unfortunately the “blueprint” is unworkable and unrealistic.....(full article)

The Lincoln Group: Unethical Weapon of Mass Deception 
by Bill Berkowitz

Since the inception of the Iraq war, and even during the run-up to the invasion, the Bush Administration aimed to control the news about, and from Iraq. Early on, embedded reporters told stories about the toppling of the statue of Saddam and the heroism of individual soldiers as the military quickly seized Baghdad. Over the course of the subsequent three-plus-year occupation, several hundred million dollars have been spent on an assortment of media projects that were specifically designed to sell "good" news about the occupation. Perhaps the most notorious U.S. effort involved a U.S. public relations company that was contracted to pay for positive news stories -- written by U.S. military personnel -- to be placed in Iraqi publications. In late-September, the Pentagon once again turned toward that company, and inked a two-year contract with the Lincoln Group (website), which "put together a unit of 12-18 communicators to support military PR efforts in Iraq and throughout the Middle East from media training to pitching stories and providing content for government-backed news sites," reported....(full article)

Hollow Visions of Palestine’s Future:
Peace Will Need More than David Grossman -- or Uri Avnery 
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

David Grossman’s widely publicized speech at the annual memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin earlier this month has prompted some fine deconstruction of his “words of peace” from critics. Grossman, one of Israel’s foremost writers and a figurehead for its main peace movement, Peace Now, personifies the caring, tortured face of Zionism that so many of the country’s apologists -- in Israel and abroad, trenchant and wavering alike -- desperately want to believe survives, despite the evidence of the Qanas, Beit Hanouns and other massacres committed by the Israeli army against Arab civilians. Grossman makes it possible to believe, for a moment, that the Ariel Sharons and Ehud Olmerts are not the real upholders of Zionism’s legacy, merely a temporary deviation from its true path. In reality, of course, Grossman draws from the same ideological wellspring as Israel’s founders and its greatest warriors. He embodies the same anguished values of Labor Zionism that won Israel international legitimacy just as it was carrying out one of history’s great acts of ethnic cleansing: the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians, or 80 percent the native population, from the borders of the newly established Jewish state.....(full article)

The New York Times Marginalizes Palestinian Women
and Palestinian Rights 
by Patrick O’Connor and Rachel Roberts

November 7, 2006 New York Times news article about a Human Rights Watch report on domestic violence against Palestinian women brings welcome attention to human rights issues. Unfortunately, the same article, viewed in the context of The New York Times’ reporting on Israel/Palestine over the last six years, provides a powerful example of typical US mainstream media bias against Palestinians. Research shows clearly that The New York Times pays little attention to human rights in Israel/Palestine, downplays the larger context in which violence against Palestinian women occurs and generally silences Palestinian women’s voices. By omitting crucial details and emphasizing certain others, The New York Times, one of the US’ most respected and powerful media outlets, has turned a valuable piece of human rights reporting into a tool that can be used to reinforce a Western agenda that has cynically exploited “saving Muslim women” as an excuse for dominating and abusing the rights of people from other cultures.....
(full article)


Blood-Pouring Anti-Nuke Clowns Sent to Prison:
Weapons of Mass Destruction Protected  
by Bill Quigley

Three men protesting the presence of weapons of mass destruction in North Dakota were sentenced to federal prison terms of over three years and ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution by a federal judge in Bismarck. The three dressed as clowns and went to the Echo-9 launch site of the intercontinental Minuteman III nuclear missile in rural North Dakota in June 2006. They broke the lock off the fence and put up peace banners and posters. One said: "Swords into plowshares - Spears into pruning hooks." They poured some of their own blood on the site, hammered on the nuclear launching facility and waited to be arrested....(full article

Joe Camel Isn’t the Only Animal Who Smokes 
by Heather Moore

Unless they’ve been living under a rock, smokers know that cigarettes are bad for them and for the people in their homes. But not everyone realizes that cigarettes are harming animals too. Dogs, rats, primates and other animals are forced to inhale smoke and injected with nicotine in experiments funded by the tobacco industry. These experiments should be stopped now. The companies say that they just want to determine how harmful cigarettes are to human health. But we’ve already determined that smoking can be deadly, and as everything we know about lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses has come from human epidemiological and clinical studies -- not from animal experiments -- there must be another reason.....(full article)

-- Continuing Debate on Pornography --
My Ex-Girlfriend Responds To Robert Jensen 
by Eric Patton

This is a reply to Robert Jensen’s Dissident Voice article of November 14, “Pornographic Query: Is a DP Inherently Sexist?” . . . Before I sat down to write my response, I decided to solicit the opinion of a female friend of mine, with whom I was at one time extremely close. I’ll call her Colleen, though that is not her real name (she asked that I not mention her name, for reasons that will become apparent in a moment). Here is how she opened her e-mail to me, after reading Jensen’s latest article for herself.....
(full article)


A Skeptic’s View of the Midterm Elections 
by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Forget political correctness. As a progressive that did not drink the Democratic Kool-Aid I remain skeptical about what will now happen. To begin with, the revolution has NOT arrived! Bush is still president. The corporate state is safe. The Upper Class has little to fear. Lobbyists will be writing different names on checks. Winning Democrats will entertain more than they will produce historic restorative reforms. Did Republicans deserve to lose? Of course!  Was there a set of promised political and policy reforms by the Democrats to justify enthusiastic voting for them? No. Appropriate rejection of Republicans should not be conflated with passionate embrace of Democrats. Those Americans who thought their votes would bring much needed systemic change to our political system lost. They just don't know or admit it yet. As usual, the third-party movement lost, because the two-party duopoly maintained its stranglehold on our political system. Populists and true progressives lost. Who or what was the biggest winner? The short-term and delusional tactic of lesser-evil voting won big.....(full article)

Plans for New Native American Football League (NAFL)
Will Only Disrespect Non-Native American Heritage  
by Swan LeFitte

Today the NFL announced plans to form a second league specifically for Native American reservations. The commissioner proclaimed at today’s press conference, “Native Americans have been outraged over the disrespectful use of their heritage. I am proud to declare in reconciliation we will give the Native Americans their own league.  Team names and symbols will only disrespect non-Native Americans.” He went on to say, “This gesture goes a long way towards honoring Native Americans and leveling the playing field.” There are currently plans to have a new league with 12 teams based at Indian Reservations. None of these teams will be hosted by a reservation with a casino. The chief of one reservation with a casino stated, “We would not want to be a part of this.” A tribal counsel elder from another reservation said, “While some reservations with sovereignty over their land have been allowed to open casinos, the rest of our sovereign nations are denied the freedom to rule ourselves. The United States is a great land of freedom and it has denied us this freedom. We are allowed football and we could use this to generate income. Besides, I think a lot of us would love to paint ourselves and go half naked to something as sacred as a football game. Cheering our team would help us forget about how bad we have been treated.”......
(full article)

The Courage to Say the “I” Word 
by Lucinda Marshall

That is the deal with Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers’ impeachment paranoia? We finally get a woman and a black man in positions of power and the first thing they want to do is give Bush a Get Out of Jail Free card? Talk about a cold dash of post-election reality. Pelosi made it clear right before the election that as far as she was concerned, impeachment was “off the table” and a recent letter from Conyers reiterates that the Democratic leadership has no plans to defend the Constitution. In Conyers' view, impeachment seems to be some sort of immature act of retribution.....(full article)

Human Rights Denial Deserves Impeachment 
by Peter Phillips

If a national movement calling for the impeachment of the President is rapidly emerging and the corporate media are not covering it, is there really a national movement for the impeachment of the President? (full article)

-- Poetry --
Hamlet, the “New Democrat,” Reflects Upon Impeachment
Slightly edited and updated by Gary Corseri

To impeach or not to impeach: that is the question.
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?  To impeach: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished.  To impeach, to sleep.....(full poem)

November 15

To Hell with Centrism: We Must Reclaim the Inspired Edge 
by Phil Rockstroh


Rumsfeld is gone. Mehlman is gone. Delay is gone. Yet let's not have our progressives' version of a strutting on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier moment. Because mission has not been accomplished. For those who haven't noticed, while we were busy with other concerns, many of our rights and liberties went missing. Moreover, along with them have gone or are going fast: our planet's polar ice caps; accountability of the corporate sector (our nation's true power brokers); as well as, a sense of place, history, and even a cursory understanding, among a large percent of the populace of the US, of the precepts of civilization and of democratic discourse. These circumstances, like the melting of the polar ice caps, have transpired, incrementally, and have been going on for longer than that Reign of Terror in Tiny Town known as the Bush presidency. For example, regarding the increasingly authoritarian terrain we negotiate our way through daily: In American work places, bosses routinely snoop into underlings' personal e-mails and monitor our web-surfing practices. How did it come about that so many Americans have grown to accept such demeaning intrusions into our privacy? (full article)

The Hijacking of a Nation
Part I: The Foreign Agent Factor 
by Sibel Edmonds

In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned that America must be constantly awake against “the insidious wiles of foreign influence…since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.” Today, foreign influence, that most baneful foe of our republican government, has its tentacles entrenched in almost all major decision making and policy producing bodies of the U.S. government machine. It does so not secretly, since its self-serving activities are advocated and legitimized by highly positioned parties that reap the benefits that come in the form of financial gain and positions of power.....(full article)

Defining the New Woman (for the slack-jawed masses) 
by Stacie Adams

Does modern femininity strike you as schizophrenic? On one side we have the leftover feminists, a dying breed still doggedly insisting to be taken seriously and failing miserably. Their opponents, ladies having come down from their brief taste of freedom brought to you by sexual revolt, are now reclaiming their roots as delicate flowers to be admired and handled gently. This is exemplified by former new woman icon Sara Jessica Parker.  Remember those heady days Mrs. Parker and crew assured women everywhere that it was OK to be as brash and vulgar as men, to sleep around and carouse, and to sow those wild oats on Sex and the City? Parker opted out of the revolution and now is a proud stay at home mom. Apparently she was unable to further the feminist agenda via casual sex. I could have told you this along time ago. Casual sex is no revolution. Any woman can throw on hooker heels and stalk their male prey through seedy bars and the wastelands of night life. But come morning, these ladies are still prostrate under ancient mores regarding love, sex, and gender. Once the novelty of anonymous fucking wore off, it was business as usual. Women went back to pining for their uninterested lovers, labeling each other sluts and whore for their indiscretions, and thusly passed on these values to their daughters.....(full article)

Yo Ho Ho, and an Embottled Rummy 
by Walter Brasch

The forced resignation of Donald Rumsfeld the day after the midterm elections says as much about the Secretary of Defense as it does about the President of the United States. Almost seven months before the elections, six retired generals, including two who commanded divisions in Iraq, called for Rumsfeld’s resignation. In response, President Bush said that Rumsfeld was “doing a fine job.” Two months before the midterm elections, Josh Bolten, the President’s chief of staff, told the Democratic leadership, who had demanded Rumsfeld’s resignation, “We strongly disagree.” By the President’s direction, he told the opposition party that Rumsfeld “is an honorable and able public servant [who] retains the full confidence of the President.” One week before the midterm elections, President Bush said that Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney “are doing fantastic jobs and I strongly support them.” Lying through his ever-present smirk, he said he planned to keep Rumsfeld until the end of his term; with Cheney, a constitutionally elected politician, he had no choice. The only comment the President hadn’t made the previous few weeks was, “Rummy, you’re doing a heckuva job.”....(full article)

A Socialist in the Senate?
The Unfortunate Truth about Bernie Sanders 
by Ashley Smith

On the surface, the election in Vermont to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords was a classic battle between capitalists and workers. In one corner loomed the Republican’s forward Richard Tarrant, a multimillionaire and former CEO of the software company IDX. Nicknamed “Richie” Rich, he spent nearly $7 million of his own money to create the illusion of popular support, blanketing the state with obnoxiously large campaign signs. In the other corner thundered Independent Bernard Sanders, known throughout Vermont as simply “Bernie.” Sanders served four terms as mayor of “the People’s Republic of Burlington” during the 1980s, and eight terms after that as Vermont’s lone representative in the House of Representatives. He built a reputation for attacking corporate interests, supporting universal health care and defending union jobs. Sanders knocked out “Richie” Rich, winning the vote by a whopping 2-to-1 margin. Everyone -- from the British newspaper, the Guardian, to Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman -- has heralded the election of the first socialist senator in U.S. history, an independent who will stand up to the two mainstream parties, oppose war, roll back corporate power and lead the fight for workers and the oppressed. While it was fantastic to see Tarrant humiliated, Sanders’ election to the Senate doesn’t represent a radical departure from politics as usual. He may have a portrait of Eugene Debs hanging in his office, but his politics have little in common with that great American socialist....(full article)

Will the Real Dr. King Please Stand Up?  
by Mickey Z. 

There was no shortage of opportunists present as they broke ground the other day for the $100 million Martin Luther King memorial in Washington, DC. Charlatans from Oprah to Hilfiger lined up in the hope a little of Dr. King's integrity might rub off on them. But the most out of place speaker was, of course, President George W. Bush, who told the crowd, "our journey to justice is not complete. There are still people in our society who hurt, neighborhoods that are too poor . . . there's still prejudice that holds citizens back." That whirring noise heard in the background . . . well, you know the rest....(full article)

November 14

Buying Our Way Out of Iraq  
by Ahmed Amr

The antiwar movement is often accused in mainstream media discourse of lacking any viable peace plan for Iraq. Ahmed Amr puts the lie to this charge and offers a well thought out proposal to end the war and occupation, and give the people of Iraq hope for a brighter future.....(full article)

Pornographic Query: Is a DP Inherently Sexist? 
by Robert Jensen

Is the sexual practice in which two men penetrate a woman anally and vaginally at the same time -- a “DP,” or double penetration in the vernacular of the pornography industry -- inherently sexist? When I first got into academic life, I couldn’t have predicted some of the questions that would come my way. But after nearly two decades of writing and speaking about the contemporary pornography industry, not much surprises me. This question was posed to me recently by a man who had read an essay of mine in which I had argued that men’s ability to achieve sexual pleasure by masturbating as they watch DP scenes in pornographic movies was an example of a failure of empathy. Is a DP inherently degrading and therefore sexist, as my essay implied? After corresponding a bit with the man, I realized I had never addressed the question directly in print. He pressed for a simple yes-or-no answer, but it seems more useful to walk through a careful response to the question.....(full article)

Principles Over Realism: The Zero-State Solution 
by Kim Petersen

Kim Petersen comments on a recent exchange between DV contributing writer Neve Gordon and Jeff Blankfort (a friend of DV's whose work has also been published here) over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.....(full article)

Prachanda and the Corporate Convergence in Khatmandu 
by Chris Salzberg

After a decade of conflict and more than 13,000 deaths, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Chairman Prachanda, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal and commander of arguably the most successful modern-day anti-feudal rebellion, has signaled an apparently abrupt ideological change of course. In an interview with Thomas Bell of the Telegraph, Prachanda declared that he and his party "are not fighting for socialism." Interpreted in the article as a move to the "centre," the statement went conspicuously further. While reiterating his party's opposition to feudalism, the communist leader claimed to be "fighting for a capitalist mode of production," with the aim "to give more profit to the capitalists and industrialists.".....(full article)

Conservatives Sifting Through the Ashes of Last Tuesday's
Overwhelming Electoral Defeat 
by Bill Berkowitz

As conservative Christian evangelical leaders continue to sift through the ashes of Tuesday's overwhelming electoral defeat, some are playing the blame game, others are already in attack mode, and still others are planning for the next battle. Some leaders are blaming Republican Party corruption for the defeat, while others are again rallying their troops by continuing to hammer away at the "Beware of Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco values" theme -- a theme that didn't resonate with voters -- as if they preferred that the atmosphere in Washington continued to be poisoned by partisan politics.....(full article)

Pissing in the Liberal Punchbowl -- Again: 
The Democratic Conga Line in the American House of Lords
by Joe Bageant

Democrats are dancing around the head of Donald Rumsfeld like a scene from Lord of the Flies, heating up the tar buckets and plucking the goose in eager, nay, wild anticipation. Personally, I love the smell of tar and feathers in the morning and am quite willing to march on the White House as we speak. I like revenge as well as the next guy. But I also consider myself a compassionate man, one perfectly willing to let Bush's cabinet choose whether they wanna play the mommy or the daddy in the Big House, then move on to the real problems, such as the fact that a gallon of Old Grandad is nearly 50 bucks here in Virginia, or the fact that we are still a nation of people, half of whom were happy to elect a bunch of war criminals -- TWICE! -- and still are. Ah, but lo and beshit, the Democrats have rescued us. If you can call running around like chickens with their heads up their asses while the Republicans did what they always do -- get caught stealing the national silverware, while bombing the hell out of some miserable piece of dirt as a distraction, thereby self-destructing in 12 years as usual, but getting obscenely rich in the process. Pardon my cynicism, but the view is pretty damned sorry from here in the cheap seats. From down here it looks like every Yankee liberal north of Virginia seems convinced they are now shitting in such tall cotton that all they need do from here on out is foist Hillary Clinton on the many poor miserable bastards unfortunate enough to be called heartland Democrats because we don't have the balls to become heavily armed libertarians. Nominating Hillary might just drive us to it.....
(full article)

Not the Revolution, But an Opening 
by Ted Glick

Fundamental, revolutionary, political and social change is clearly needed in the USA and the world. Corporate domination of the economic and political system and mass culture is a huge threat to the possibilities for a decent and sustainable future for humankind and for all forms of life on the earth. King Coal and Big Oil continue to use their power and vast wealth to keep us locked into a reliance on earth-heating fossil fuels that, if not quickly reversed, will lead to a steady escalation of catastrophic climate events and a breakdown of an already-stressed ecosystem. The dominance of the Pentagon and corporate-supporting, militaristic approaches to problems, the immense amounts of money wasted in weapons production, robs the masses of people of badly-needed resources for housing, health care, education and economic development. It also generates armed resistance, including the terrorism of the stateless that, in a nuclear age, is indeed terrifying. And the widening gulf between the ever-richer, tiny ruling elite of the world and the vast majority of the world’s population, almost half of whom try to get by on no more than $2 a day, is an obscenity justifying rebellion on a wide scale. What happened on November 7, Election Day, was not that rebellion. It was not the revolution. But it could be a start, an opening up of prospects for strengthening independent, issue-oriented movement building......(full article)

Hanging Saddam Hussein, Burying Western Complicity 
by Media Lens

The BBC websites reporting of the judgment was big, bold and triumphal: “Celebrations hail Saddam verdict in Baghdad's Shia-dominated Sadr City.” (BBC news online, November 5, 2006) The following day, the New York Times website echoed the emphasis: “Quotation Of The Day: ‘This is a very great happiness. I will never forget this day.’ Abdul Razzaq Hassan, a laborer, on the sentencing of Saddam Hussein.” A few lines below, however, a more realistic version of events could be found: “In a Divided Iraq, Reaction to Saddam Death Sentence Conforms to Sectarian Lines -- The guilty verdict was met with carefree celebration in Shiite towns and brooding bitterness in Sunni ones.” (Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, November 6, 2006) In other words, the response in Iraq was, of course, mixed. But both the BBC and the New York Times chose a focus that presented the verdict as a joyous success for the occupying forces.....(full article)

Varieties of Imperial Decline: The Nicaraguan Election 
by toni solo

The significance of the electoral triumph of the FSLN-led Unida Nicaragua Triunfa alliance can hardly be overstated. It is a decisive and damning setback for US diplomacy in the region from which it is hard to see the current Bush administration recovering. It marks a decision to work out redistributive alternatives promoting equality against the catastrophic economic policies imposed by international financial institutions and the imperial centers of power in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo for the last twenty years. The election result also opens up both Nicaragua and the wider Central American region to the influence of Latin American integration processes as represented variously by Ignacio Lula da Silva and Nestor Kirchner in Brazil and Argentina and by Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro in Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba.....(full article)

November 13

Robin Hood in Reverse: Corporate and Government
Looting of the Gulf Coast 
by Bill Quigley

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. On the Gulf Coast, the reverse is happening. Federal state and local governments are teaming up with corporations and developers to systematically steal hurricane relief funds from the poor to enrich themselves. Billions of dollars were given to help the communities damaged by Katrina. The people gave this money to help the working, elderly and disabled people of the Gulf Coast rebuild and restart their lives after Katrina. The need is still great. Over 300,000 people remain displaced from the City of New Orleans alone. Hundreds of thousands of others on the rest of the Gulf Coast are also not home. Over 80,000 families in Louisiana are living in FEMA trailers. Texas says they have 250,000 displaced people and Georgia reports another 100,000. Tragically, money that was supposed to go to those in need is instead being diverted by federal, state and local politicians and corporations who have swooped down on these billions and are taking them for other purposes.....(full article)

A Progressive Sweep? 
by Joshua Frank

Hardly. John Nichols of The Nation claims that the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is now "crowded" as a result of last week's Midterm elections. Indeed the CPC will be growing by 8, which is almost on par with the growth of the conservative Blue Dog faction. Nick Burt and Joel Bleifuss of In These Times also chime in, writing that the Democratic takeover of the House was not a victory for centrist Democrats, but for left-leaning progressives. “CPC members will now be in a position to both promote progressive legislation and investigate administration wrongdoing." All of these sentiments are extremely misleading. If you combine the growth of New Democrats and Blue Dogs, two of the more conservative Democratic groups in the House, their numbers far surpass the numbers and growth of the CPC this year....(full article)

Judgment Day 
by Peter Kurth

Frankly, the only thing the Democratic “sweep to Congress” has proved so far is that we’ve got a long way to go to undo the damage the Bush administration has wrought over the last six years. And this column isn’t titled “Crank Call” for nothing -- I’m already tired of Nancy Pelosi and her gavel. Sure, it’s nice to see “a woman” third in line to the throne, after Baby and Cheney, but Bush wasn’t entirely wrong when he asked, in his last-minute stomp through parts of the country you’ve never heard of, “What’s their plan?” The fact that Bush doesn’t and never did have “a plan” beyond corporate fascism isn’t, right now, the issue. The fact that this trust-funded weasel wouldn’t know “a plan” if it burned a cigarette mark on his arm at a “Skull and Bones” initiation isn’t, right now, the issue. Even the fact that Rumsfeld has finally been booted out in favor of a soulless CIA spook isn’t, right now, the issue. The issue is: Where are we going, and how? (full article)

Liberal and Conservative? 
by Jordan Besek

Bill Clinton is the icon liberal and George Bush is the icon conservative. We know they are poles and polls apart, but do the L and C words really tell us the difference between them? Under Bill Clinton one would suppose that American policies took a liberal turn. Yet, in his first term Bill Clinton announced, “The era of big government is over.” Isn’t big government a liberal standpoint? Also in his first term he supported the North American Free Trade Agreement and helped the formation of the World Trade Organization, two very conservative economic moves. Then, in his second term he signed a landmark trade agreement with China, which opened the doors for Wal-Mart to take a strangle hold on American consumers. Meanwhile, President Bush, who is much more open about his own “conservatism” than Bill Clinton was about his liberalism, does not always fit the bill either. Small government being a virtue of conservatives, the government has grown under President Bush more than any other president in recent history. But Bush is a different case. Bush has molded his political stances based on the popular understanding of conservatism. Labeling himself as a “compassionate conservative” did wonders for his political career, although “compassionate conservatism” doesn’t really mean anything. It is simply the accessible persona he chose because it gave him the best chance of getting in office. Considering the ubiquity of their use, a closer look at the terms “liberal” and “conservative” is necessary to determine their practicality.....
(full article)

Zamole Zingh: One Size Fits All Universal Politician for Every Office
translated from the Svengalese by Zbignew Zingh
(distant third cousin of Zamole Zingh)

Hallo. I am Zamole Zingh and I am running for political offices. Yes, I know that you just voted, and I know that you would like to just go to sleep again. But I am running for next time, after you wake up and find that your wallet and nose have again been picked, your kids packed off to fight another war and it's the same old thing all over again. I am running for all elected offices, all at once. One size fits all. No matter what position or where it is, remember to vote next time around for the “Zamole Zingh” ticket. Zamole Zingh stands firmly on the issues. The longer and more firmly I stand on them, the fewer issues you will see and the less you'll be bothered by them. I am not on the Left or the Right, but firmly in the Muddle. I have the courage of my convictions (three of them felonies, in fact, but that was a long time ago, and I have since then found Christianity, Judaism and Islam and rehabilitated myself, except at night and on weekends)......(full article)

Veteran's Day, 2006 
by Ron Jacobs

Veterans Day. When I was a kid and lived in the Washington DC area, this was one of the two days a year that my dad would take me to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The other day was Memorial Day. We would stand there, my dad, a sibling or two, and myself, while the Marine guard did his stretch of time. Then there was a shortchanging of the guard ceremony. Afterwards, my dad would take us to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Today, children probably still go to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch a changing of the guard before their father takes them to the Vietnam War Memorial or the Korean War Memorial or even the World War Two memorial (none of those existed when I was a kid). Even back when I was a little boy -- knee high to a grasshopper as the expression goes -- that tomb of the unknown soldier had me asking not only how could a soldier be unknown but why did such a thing happen.....(full article)

November 10

Democrats Can Be Neocons Too:
Keeping Congress’s Feet to the Fire
by Gary Leupp

The great hope among Americans seriously opposed to the war in Iraq is that the Democratic majority in both houses of Congress will now bring the troops home. But everyone paying attention realizes that the Democratic leadership, however much it’s recently rejected, and even ridiculed, the Bush “stay the course” mantra, is as committed as its Republican rivals to somehow “winning” in Iraq. So the best hope of those committed to electoral politics as the only option to effect social change is that the Congress will now conduct honest investigations into what many Americans already realize were the administration’s dishonest, even fascist-like, efforts to justify the war through the dissemination of disinformation. Once the scope of the lie campaign becomes regular screeching headline news, that mercilessly revealed history will impact the present, making the war even more unpopular, the administration even more exposed and despised. Then Pelosi, Reid & Co. -- however naturally inclined they might be to occupy a reconciliatory “center” that combines criticism for the war with support for its basic objective (U.S. imperialist hegemony in Southwest Asia) -- might be pushed despite themselves towards supporting unconditional withdrawal. That’s the hope.....(but first the full reality)


Bye-Bye Coke, Hello Pepsi: Anatomy of the Midterms
by Joshua Frank

It’s going to take a little time to get used to it. The Republicans will no longer control Congress come January. Voters on November 7 stormed the polls to denounce the Bush administration’s scandal-laden entourage and the occupation of Iraq. One by one they went down. Even so, the defeat of the neo-cons certainly doesn’t mean Republican values are on the skids. You would guess that with the massive anti-Bush uproar the Democrats would now possess a progressive mandate to reshape the corruption that engulfs Washington. But you’d be wrong. Many of the Republicans’ substitutes are anti-choice, pro-war, socially conservative centrists. Of the newly elected House Democrats at least 9 will be joining the conservative Blue Dog caucus. According to the coalition’s spokesperson Vicky Walling, the organization had endorsed 16 new candidates this year.....(full article)

*   *   *   *

The Bill of Rights Party Soundly Beat the Article II Party 
by David G. Mills

Tuesday night the Bill of Rights Party soundly beat the Article II Party. The party that favors freedom of speech and separation of church and state soundly beat the party that disfavors both. (1st) The anti-tyranny party soundly beat the party seeking to amass all power in the executive and soundly beat the party that seeks to nationalize state militias. (2nd) The anti-search and seizure party soundly beat the party that advocates spying on its own citizens and the party that would use illegally acquired information to blackmail its citizens and restrict their free movement. (4th).....(full article)

-- Response to David G. Mills --
Let’s Not Support Lesser Evilism
Much Ado About Nothing Election Results  
by Kim Petersen

Post-November 8, the debate on lesser evilism and how best to break away from the military-corporate grip on the United States political landscape continues. David G. Mills wrote a sanguine assessment of the Democratic Party electoral gains in his “The Bill of Rights Party Soundly Beat the Article II Party.” While jubilation among Democratic Party supporters in the aftermath of the November election results is understandable, curious is the excitement among some progressives because, no matter how disdainful the administration of self-proclaimed “war president” George W. Bush is, on major issues the regressive status quo will prevail under either of the evils: lesser and greater.....(full article)

*   *   *   *

Bush’s Chernobyl Economy: Hard Times are on the Way    
by Mike Whitney

In the next few months, a financial crisis will arise somewhere in the world which will jolt the American economy and trigger a swift and precipitous decline in the value of the dollar. This is not speculation. It will happen and there is nothing that the Bush administration can do to stop it. All of the traditional supports for the dollar have been removed by the shrinking economy, a massive $800 billion account deficit, dramatic increases in the money supply, and the reckless manipulation of interest rates. Now, the noose is tightening. Our foreign trade partners can see that we are drowning in red ink and are refusing to buy back our debt in the form of US Treasuries. This is a death sentence for the dollar. It means that in a matter of months the once mighty greenback will crash through the floor and free fall through open space.....(full article)

After the Post-Election Celebrations:
Examining the Decline of the American Empire 
by Shepherd Bliss

Much more than the loss of the neoconservative Bush regime was revealed on Nov. 7, if one looks beneath the surface. Some Americans may now relax, hoping that the Democratic Party can fix things.  This is not the time to hold back and give Democrats space to get the troops out of Iraq and remedy the many other sins of the Empire. Now is the time to deepen our understanding of the nation’s imperial role in the world. Most Democrats seem content to shore up American power by making a few minor reforms, rather than attempt to manage the decline in power that is occurring. Many describe the election as a victory for moderate Democrats, especially the centrist Blue Dogs, over the extreme Republicans. This will incline the Democratic Party further to the center. Internal and external political, economic, and military signs exist that the American Empire is declining. Given space limitations, this essay will focus on Latin America. However, I want to note that the 20th Century American Empire ran on fossil fuels.  The world’s supply of petroleum and natural gas is declining, as the demand for them increases, especially from China and India. (See for my writing on this.) So the U.S. is in a mad scramble to secure its oil and gas resources. As fossil fuels decline, so will the American Empire.....(full article)

The 2006 Elections and the Coming Train Wreck:
Does it Matter if We Slow Down the Train? 
by Robert Jensen

As I stood in line for coffee on the morning after election night, a Democratic Party supporter ahead of me in line said, “Thank God this country is finally switching trains.” If only that were true. On Election Day 2006, the U.S. public didn’t switch trains but simply ratified a different group of conductors. It’s the same old train, on the same tracks, heading in the same direction. This isn’t an argument that there are never any meaningful differences between politicians; sometimes it does matter who is giving the orders on the train. But on this day after the morning-after, it’s crucial for those with a critical perspective to highlight that this train -- contemporary U.S. society -- is barreling forward toward disaster, no matter who’s punching tickets. Here’s the unavoidable reality: Our train is on an unsustainable course in cultural, political, economic, and ecological terms. In a predatory corporate capitalist economy in an imperial state -- a system that values the concentration of wealth and power, and devalues people -- certain things are inevitable.....(full article)

As I Lay Dying 
by John Chuckman

Sadly, little coming from America's politics can fire my enthusiasm. During my lifetime, America has busied itself with the task of burying liberalism, reminding one of October's frenetic squirrels hunting and burying acorns. The nation is pretty much at ease with ugly imperial government. Liberalism, and I mean liberalism in the broadest, richest sense of the word, is a topic of bathroom humor. We read and hear a great deal about the Democrats' sizable victory in mid-term elections, and I suppose after six years of Bush's near-insanity, people have a right to a little excitement, although one is sobered by the recollection that the same people returned him to office just two years ago. At least, the world can be grateful that Bush has been hobbled for his last two years.....(full article)

Mid-Term Election Post Mortem 
by Mickey Z.

So, the Democrats have a majority in Congress. The bad times are over. The evil ones have been vanquished. Let's go ahead and declare world peace, an end to global warming, and -- while we're at it -- the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. I mean, what could be better, right? Hmm, we could also have a Democratic president to go along with a Democratic Senate and Democratic House. Can you say Hillary Rodham Clinton, boys and girls? Imagine that: A pinko by the name of Clinton running the White House with a merry band of liberals calling all the shots in Congress. How grand it would be . . . Well, if you want a good idea of how things may go under the above scenario, you might want to reflect back upon the years of 1993 and 1994 because that's when President William Jefferson Clinton was enjoying the "advantage" of a Democratically controlled Congress.....(full article)

Listen Carefully to Condi’s Silence on Beit Hanoun 
by Ahmed Amr

Come take a casual winter stroll under Israeli Autumn Clouds with the queen of birth pangs in a small town named the House of Kindness -- Beit Hanoun. Pitch in a hand to bury the latest harvest of mutilated bodies -- sixteen from the same clan. Gaze at Gaza then turn around and contemplate the devious smile on the Condoleezza Rice. Ponder the classical tune she will pound on her piano to celebrate the carnage. Eighty dead. Hundreds wounded. Sewage and electricity lines destroyed. An eight-hundred-year old mosque and hundreds of family homes reduced to rubble. All for one Israeli soldier missing. A fair exchange for the queen of birth pangs. And who cares to mention the other 350 Palestinians who made early visits to their graves before the Olmert’s Autumn Clouds darkened the skies of Beit Hanoun......(full article)

Two White Sisters in Asia: Israel and Australia 
by M. Shahid Alam

In a recent interview published in Haaretz, Naftali Tamir, the Israeli ambassador to Australia, articulates a perennial need for ‘white’ collaborators that has defined the Zionist project since its inception. He speaks bluntly of an Israeli partnership with Australia, founded on racial solidarity, to “enhance” Israeli influence over East Asia. Only perhaps in the nineteenth century could a Western diplomat have spoken so plainly about race as the basis of a political alliance. Infinitely better armed against their Arab victims, the Israelis have no need for caution. They can dispense with diplomacy, with political correctness. The Israeli ambassador feels no compunction in speaking the language of racial stereotypes. “Israel and Australia are like sisters in Asia,” he says. “We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don’t have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not -- we are basically the white race. We are on the western side of Asia and they are on the southeastern side.” The Israeli ambassador’s plan is ambitious. With Israel dominating the western flanks of Asia and Australia anchored off the east of Asia, it appears that these two white sisters have all of Asia cornered. The plan is malicious too. It expects to appeal to, and deepen, Australian anxieties about the growing power of people with “yellow skin and slanted eyes.” If necessary, the ambassador can also remind the Australians how they got to be in Asia: like the Israelis, they too had the power to steal other peoples’ land....(full article)

Thoughts on Sex and Pornography 
by Eric Patton

I believe we, as lefties, have to be very careful when we deal with questions of sex and sexuality. There is a definite perception among the general population that we’re a bunch of anti-sex prudes whose views on sex differ very little from those of the Southern Baptist Convention (except that we’re pro-choice). Unfortunately, there is more than a grain of truth to this perception -- we’ve earned it honestly in many regards. I read Robert Jensen’s Dissident Voice article of October 31, “The Consequences of the Death of Empathy,” with some concern.....(full article)

Our Fight for Social and Economic Justice 
by Jessie Muldoon and Todd Chretien

Fernando Mendoza has taught public school in Oaxaca, Mexico, for 26 years. He is father to four children, and his wife is also a teacher. Both have been on strike since May, along with 70,000 other teachers. Fernando represents his section of Local 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) in the People’s Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO), the coordinating committee directing the struggle in Oaxaca. He was sent to California by APPO and his union to spread awareness and build solidarity. He has spoken to more than 50 meetings of students, union members and community activists. This interview was held on October 29 after a meeting hosted by the Oakland Education Association -- just as Mexico President Vicente Fox was ordering 5,000 federal police to invade Oaxaca.....(full interview)

November 8

To the Killing Floor: Mid-Term Reflections* 
by Paul Street

* This article was written on the morning of Tuesday, November 7
So it’s Election Day and you are a progressive living in a Red (Republican) district.  Will you go up into the killing floor and cast your vote against the vicious Republican foreman in your gerrymandered political slaughterhouse? If so, it appears that you will be one of many millions in a moment when a considerable majority of Americans prefers the Democratic over the Republican Party even as they tell pollsters that they don't particularly like the Democrats and don't really know what the Democrats stand for.  If you must vote Democratic, I recommend doing so without illusion. Drop any hope that it will make much if any positive progressive difference in the nation. The national media hyperbole about the policy significance of this mid-term polling is over the top.....(full article)


Divine Chocolate: Now with Nuts! 
by Stacie Adams

People often see examples of the divine in every day minutiae. A bored housewife, all hopped up on Zoloft, sees the Virgin Mary in her George Foreman grill. A schizophrenic hobo takes a short break from mainlining his breakfast to notice that a piss stain on the freeway underpass also looks a lot like the holy mother. An illiterate factory worker mistakes chocolate scraps as a sign from the ubiquitous virgin, who apparently makes more personal appearances than Paris Hilton’s scabby labia. The aforementioned chocolate dribblings bore a slight resemblance to the standard posture of religious icons (i.e. flowing robes, arms outstretched), but it was akin to looking at a cloud; I happened to see nothing more than a delightful snack, but perhaps that is why I am an atheist.....(full article)    

Ted Haggard and Fundamentalist Christian Soul-Murder 
by Carolyn Baker

The past week witnessed the unfolding of a made-for-Hollywood drama in fundamentalist Christian circles. A male prostitute from Denver exposed his three-year sexual relationship with Colorado Springs’ rabidly anti-gay pastor Ted Haggard that has rocked the secular and Christian worlds. While the gay and lesbian community and those who despise fundamentalism giggled and gloated, I experienced another emotion, even as I joined them in rejoicing over one of the most glaring revelations of jaw-dropping hypocrisy in the history of Christianity. While my atheist friends are yawning and moving on to what they consider more urgent matters, some of us in the gay and lesbian community, who embrace a spiritual path and may have once walked in Ted Haggard’s shoes, are wincing at a particular nerve struck in our souls by his demise.....(full article

Some Things To Keep In Mind While Watching Borat:
An Alternative Discourse Analysis  
by Gilad Atzmon

Without a doubt Borat is a funny man. A Kazakh misogynist and a racist buffoon, a primitive vulgar clown as well as a loud anti-Semite. A quick glance at Borat makes it evidentially clear that the man is totally fictional, he just can’t be real. Hence, there is no offence in Borat to women, Jews, Kazakhs, Black people or anyone else. Yet, there are some things we better keep in mind while watching Borat and laughing our heads off.....(full article)


November 7 (The Day Not Much Changed)

How They Stole the Mid-Term Election 
by Greg Palast

Here's how the 2006 mid-term election was stolen. Note the past tense. And I'm not kidding. And shoot me for saying this, but it won't be stolen by jerking with the touch-screen machines (though they'll do their nasty part). While progressives panic over the viral spread of suspect computer black boxes, the Karl Rove-bots have been tunneling into the vote vaults through entirely different means. For six years now, our investigations team, at first on assignment for BBC TV and the Guardian, has been digging into the nitty-gritty of the gaming of US elections. We've found that November 7, 2006 is a day that will live in infamy. Four and a half million votes have been shoplifted. Here's how they'll do it, in three easy steps....(full article)

Dead Dictator Talking 
by Ahmed Amr

As a general rule, I am against capital punishment. In America, earning the death penalty depends on your race, your class, your geographic location and who happens to be the governor of Texas. When the state executes an innocent man, there are precious few remedies available. However, in the case of Saddam Hussein, I am willing to make an exception. But before we dispatch him to the hangman's noose, we should be gracious enough to give him a little time to pen his memoirs. Now that he has been condemned to death, lets hand him a yellow pad and give him thirty days to give us a last testament on the life and times of the Butcher of Baghdad. As the old adage goes “nothing quite concentrates the mind like the prospect of getting hanged in the morning.” Before we measure Saddam's collar for a noose, let us first agree to give him the creative space to set the record straight for the history books. Unlike other death row inmates, he should be able to appear on Al-Jazeera or the BBC at will. Give him the right to conduct interviews with anyone he pleases. Let him have his own TV show. We can call it Dead Dictator Talking . . . . If he accepts, I want the first interview. After all, it was my idea. I can almost predict Saddam's answers to many of my questions...(full article)

Saddam’s Unindicted Co-Conspirator: Donald Rumsfeld 
by Norman Solomon

Saddam Hussein has received a death sentence for crimes he committed more than a year before Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand in Baghdad. Let’s reach back into history and extract these facts....(full article)

Plugging the Gaps in the Global Map 
by Lila Rajiva

Well before Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat, another ideologue of globalization, Thomas Barnett, had announced much the same thesis in his book, The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2002) -- an expansion of a much discussed Esquire article of the same name. Uncle Tom Secondus calls for jihad to be waged on the “disconnected” world and sees imposing globalization by force as America’s manifest destiny. The world is imperiled by a “gap” in the order of the liberal democratic state system, he argues; the gap needs to be plugged immediately by the rule-enforcing states of the core, which consist of the established democracies of the west, headed, of course, by the grandest panjandrum of all states -- the United States: We the people needs to become we the planet, says he.....(full article)

“They’re Too Lazy.” “We Can’t Trust Them.”
GIs Grow Frustrated With the Iraqi People
by Gary Leupp

Army Capt. Alexander Shaw commands the 372nd Military Police Battalion, which oversees the training of all Iraqi police in western Baghdad. It seems to be a frustrating job. “How can we expect ordinary Iraqis to trust the police when we don’t even trust them not to kill our own men?” he asked after officers from the Soleh police station ambushed and killed Army Cpl. Kenny F. Stanton Jr. this month. “To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure we’re ever going to have police here that are free of the militia influence.” Probably not as long as the Interior Ministry is controlled by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which has an armed wing, the Badr Brigade, of between four and ten thousand men. SCIRI is one of the largest and most popular political parties in Iraq, and its leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of the most powerful Iraqi politicians. Founded in 1982 as a pro-Iranian party, committed to the Iranian model of government by Shiite Islamic scholars, it has cooperated with the US occupation, winning a measure of power through the “democratic elections” organized under foreign guns. So has its historical rival and current ally, the Islamic Dawa (“Call”) Party, which rejects the Khomeini model and promotes government by the laity, rather than clerics. The former “transitional prime minister” Ibrahim al-Jaafari heads this party, which has its own militia. While in the service of these quisling politicians, the militiamen resent the occupiers’ presence and at times indeed, as Shaw notes, kill some of them.....(full article)

Why I Won't Concede 
by Rosemarie Jackowski

Article 4 of the Vermont State Constitution reads as follows: "Every person within this state ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which one may receive in person, property or character; every person ought to obtain right and justice, freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; completely and without any denial; promptly and without delay; conformability to the laws." On Tuesday I will receive fewer votes than the incumbent. That was a fact well known from the beginning. Third party candidates do not have a large party machine to support them. Also, in Vermont, as across the nation, the Press does not cover the campaigns of third party candidates. A well financed, well connected Incumbent is guaranteed a win in most elections. The Press marginalizes third party candidates to "Also Ran" status.....(full article)

November 6

Neocons Fear Failure In Iraq, Blame Bush 
by Gary Leupp

It’s quite amazing how some of the vicious thugs who lied through their teeth to get their war on Iraq are now expressing second thoughts on the wisdom of the enterprise they organized. At least those out of power, those who deftly stepped out of the limelight as the project went so horribly wrong. They now want to distance themselves from George Bush (perhaps with an eye on a future neocon-friendly Democratic administration). Just listen to what Richard Perle, a key architect and advocate of the criminal invasion of Iraq (and registered Democrat), is saying about the war these days.....(full article)

Tell Me How Long It Is . . . or Get It Stuck in Iraq:
The Left Decides What the “Real Issues” Are  
by Patricia Alessandrini

The fact that the mainstream media in America has covered the Foley affair in an irresponsible manner does not exempt those on the Left from engaging in an intelligent manner with the issues raised by this so-called "sex scandal": on the one hand, the disregard for the rule of law by those in power; and, closely connected to this disregard for the rule of law, the continuing degradation of conditions in the American workplace, which has led to a banalization of sexual harassment. In a moment when the constitution is being undermined and international law flouted by the US Government, why is it trivial for the Left to call out the administration and its allies for their arrogant disregard for the rule of law? Why shouldn't we be outraged that Foley assumed that the laws he drafted wouldn't apply to him, and that the Republican leadership wasn't interested in complying with Title VII protections against sexual harassment as workplace discrimination? The American Left has missed this important opportunity to open a discussion on sexual harassment -- and more generally, discrimination -- in the workplace, partly in order not to seem “hypocritical” or “partisan” in light of its misplaced defense of former President Clinton’s exploitative behavior.....(full article)

The Blair Doctrine: Blood and Money 
by John Pilger

John Pilger describes how the disintegration of real and mythical democracy in the United States influences British politics under Tony Blair, such as the reduction of Parliament to a “craven talking shop” and the promotion of war and “thoughtcrimes”.....(full article)

Eve on Election: Women’s Electoral Wisdom 
by Lucinda Marshall

Late last week, HBO started airing an astounding documentary called “Hacking Democracy” which documents Black Box Voting’s Bev Harris' efforts to prove that electronic voting is not only hackable, it has been hacked. As Doris “Granny D” Haddock points out in her commentary about the show, "What is shown by the film is that, if Diebold designed their ATM machines the way they design their voting machines, none of us would have a dime left in our bank accounts. Such remarkable facts are usually not the result of incompetence, but of design." Perhaps the most jaw-dropping piece of information in this documentary is that John Kerry not only knew that the voting machines could be hacked and votes manipulated before he conceded the election, he knew that in fact it had happened. Yes, that is right, Kerry knew there was evidence that the election could have been rigged and he still threw in the towel.....(full article)

Ruminations on Thomas Friedman, Part IV
Mirrors on the Ceiling: Globalization Means
Never Having to Say You’re Wrong  
by Lila Rajiva

What is particularly odd about Thomas Friedman is that the man has had a ringside seat to the whole process of globalization. Jetting up and down to the frontlines in the U.S. and Asia no doubt at is paper’s expense, teeing off with a bevy of well-known CEOs on golf courses in Bangalore, you’d think he would come up with something better than breathless snippets from conversations clearly mangled in recollection. The first chapter of The World is Flat gives you some idea of the pattern throughout. In fifty odd pages Friedman manages to cram in chitchat with six CEOs -- Nandan Nilekani of Infosys, “Jerry” Rao of MphasiS, Tom Glocer of Reuters, Rajesh Rao of Global Edge, Vivek Paul of Wipro, and David Neelman of Jet Blue. He’s on first name basis; he lets you know repeatedly, with every one of them.....
(full article)

Who Is Hamas?  
by Ron Jacobs

Despite the constant presence of Hamas in the news of the western world, most people reading that news know very little about the group. This is true no matter what those readers' politics happen to be. Thanks to Pluto Press, there is now a book to fill this breach between the news and knowledge. Leaving aside the prejudices of all sides -- pro-Hamas and anti-Hamas; pro-Palestinian and anti-Palestinian, journalist Khaled Hroub has written a clear, concise and informative guide to Hamas. Simply titled Hamas: A Beginner's Guide, Hroub utilizes a question and answer format to explain the politics and tactics of Hamas, their relationship to and with other Palestinian organizations, Israel and the rest of the world Hroub, a Palestinian supporter of a secular and independent Palestinian state, also examines the role of religion in Hamas' internal and external politics, as well as the group's opinion of democracy and theocracy.....(full article)

November 4-5

It’s 2004 All Over Again...  
by Joshua Frank

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has promised there will not be a change of course in Iraq if the Democrats take back Congress. Potential House leader Nancy Pelosi has assured voters that impeachment is not in the cards for Bush, either. Yet the liberal establishment is beckoning antiwar voters to clamor for the Democratic Party next Tuesday. It seems like 2004 all over again. I recently disparaged the positions of progressive media critic Jeff Cohen and The Nation magazine for not supporting independent antiwar candidates, and instead calling for more of the same: i.e., voting for the Democrats even though we disagree with them on the war and a host of other issues. If we want to take on Bush, they argue, the Democrats have to take back Congress, and only then can we start to build a genuine progressive movement. In the meantime, however, the war will rage on and Bush will remain at the helm of Empire with Congress’s blessing. As the Washington Post reported on August 27, of the 46 candidates in tight House races this year, 29 oppose a timetable for troop withdraw. That’s a whopping 63% of Democrats in hotly contested races who have exactly the same position on the war as our liar-in-chief, George W. Bush.....(full article)

They Hate Our Freedom:
The Truth About the Military Commissions Act
by Aaron Sussman

On October 17th, with Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, and Donald Rumsfeld standing behind him, George W. Bush solemnly announced, “in memory of the victims of September 11th, it is my honor to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law.” It is apt that Bush invoked a terrifying assault on America as he signed the Military Commissions Act (MCA), legislation that chisels away at our civil liberties, abets and immunizes top-level torturers, and strikes at the core of American values and tradition. The message that Bush gave when he signed the Defense Bill in 2005 is now truer than ever: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” “In memory of the victims of September 11th,” Bush passed a law that Robyn Blumner of the St. Petersburg Times calls “an obscenity against liberty and decency” and that the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) calls “unconstitutional and un-American.” A fitting tribute indeed for the victims whose names have been manipulated by this administration to justify everything from invading Iraq, to the USA PATRIOT Act, to torture, to tax cuts. This “honor” to the victims of September 11th is a national disgrace for which the Bush administration, both houses of Congress, and the media are to blame.....(full article)

The Reciprocity Principle: Questions That Need to be Asked 
by Kim Petersen

Why not hold the professed Christian administration of so-called United States president George Bush to the Golden Rule of Christianity? Jesus commanded, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31) Bush and his colleagues have indicated their approval of waterboarding. But how would Americans react if the situation were reversed? What would Americans say if captured United States troops were tied to a board, their faces covered in cellophane, and water poured over them until the point of retching? Would Americans then agree that waterboarding is a legitimate means to try and gather information? It would, surely, be considered barbaric. Americans would fulminate against the inhumane torture. The US regime would decry it as a violation of universal conventions against torture. But when the US regime has its willing agents carry out torture, dissent at home is palpably muted. If such methods of interrogation are inappropriate for usage on Americans, then they are inappropriate to use on other humans. To state otherwise would be to submit to a racist ideology whereby other humans are considered a lower form of humanity unworthy of protection. But why stop at waterboarding? (full article)

Torture Memories 
by Shepherd Bliss

I try not to think about torture. Then I read the following: Vice-President Dick Cheney apparently defends it, a US soldier who objects to interrogation techniques commits suicide, articles with titles like “Torture’s Not So Bad, If It’s Done for a War Worth Fighting,” and Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet was recently arrested and charged with torture. Feelings about close friends tortured over thirty years ago in Chile rush in.  Unfortunately, my experiences with US-supported torture have been quite direct and specific. To most people, torture is just an idea, probably abstract and distant. Not to me. Hearing the word, I feel, rather than think. I remember . . . a sharp pain rises in my stomach.....(full article)

Ask Not For Whom the Wall is Built (It's Built For You)
by Zbignew Zingh

The president has signed the law to wall off Mexico from the United States. This sends the same friendly message to Mexico as if you were to string up concertina wire, surveillance cameras and an electric fence between your house and your neighbor's. It is George Bush's “thank you” message to Mexico's pro-American outgoing president, Vicente Fox, who staked his domestic political prestige on his “friendship” with GW to avert the construction of The Wall. We could have warned you, Mr. Fox -- George has no “friends” except those he can use, and a soon-to-be former President of Mexico is not worth the effort. The border project, which could eventually cost up to $9 billion, is a boondoggle for military contractors, like Boeing. The “high technology” physical and electronic barrier will initially stretch for 700 miles and, if fully implemented, would eventually girdle the entire southern border of the United States. It is America's version of East Germany's Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China and Israel's Wall of Palestinian Partition.....
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Bush Surrenders Iraq to Maliki’s Death Squads 
by Ahmed Amr

When the time eventually comes to make historic documentaries about the Iraq war, there is one scene that will leave no doubt about the dark and sinister nature of George W. Bush. The timing is a week before mid-term elections. Along with his senior aides, the president is holding a videoconference with Nouri Al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq. After an extraordinary public feud, the two men kiss and make up in front of the cameras. But both walk away from the encounter -- which was initiated at the request of Maliki -- with the understanding that the United States will abandon efforts to tackle the death squads in Iraq.....(full article)

Israel’s Large-Scale Killing of Palestinians Passes Unnoticed 
by Patrick O'Connor

At least 19 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military on Friday November 3, 2006 , including two women, and other civilians. No Israelis were killed. Though photos of Friday’s Israeli attack on Palestinian women have been widely disseminated, the bigger story is still not being told. These killings are part of a new, longer-term pattern -- a dramatic rise in the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military since the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority took office seven months ago, despite a continued low number of Israelis killed by Palestinians. Palestinians, already subjected to Israeli military occupation and overwhelming violence, have been killed at a rate of 26 Palestinians for every Israeli killed since Hamas took power on March 29, 2006, and 76 Palestinians per Israeli since July 1. Though the mainstream media still reports on a “conflict” between “two sides,” over the last seven months it has simply been a slaughter.....(full article)

Gay Pride 
by Patricia Goldsmith

it seems the Mark Foley scandal was only the beginning of a long-overdue communal discussion about the ethics of outing. In Florida, gay journalists are the ones who advocate asking Republican candidate for governor, Charlie Crist, about rumors that he’s gay. The mainstream media continues to claim that it’s a non-issue, ignoring Reform Party candidate Max Linn’s statement that he will “swear on a stack of Bibles” that Crist is gay. But even the mainstream media can’t ignore news that Ted Haggard, pastor of an influential anti-gay evangelical megachurch, was outed by a gay male prostitute. Given the startling homophobia of many in those fundamentalist pulpits, it’s a wonder more ministers haven’t been outed, until you remember that those most likely to know about a political figure’s homosexuality -- prostitutes, children, and LGBT people in general -- have been understandably afraid of the right-wing attack machine. My position on outing is rooted in the idea of gay pride.....(full article)

Questioning the Logic of Occupation in Iraq 
by Jeremy R. Hammond

The debate over what to do about the crisis in Iraq has, on one hand, those who argue for immediate withdrawal and, on the other, those who argue, justification (or lack thereof) of the initial invasion aside, that the US must remain lest the country descend further into chaos. Among the latter, the focus is on finding a “timetable for withdrawal,” which would be dictated by how quickly “Iraqization” could be successfully implemented to a degree that Iraqi forces could take over the job currently being done by US troops. That this needs to occur seems to be the general consensus. This view is predicated upon a number of assumptions that are in need of serious questioning if any real solutions to the ongoing crisis are to be found.....
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US Corporate Mafia Fighting Chinese Efforts to Help Workers 
by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Greedy and powerful American companies not content with using economic inequality to devastate working- and middle-class Americans are now using their clout to fight efforts in China to combat economic inequality there. They want to keep wages low there so they can drive wages down here and everywhere else.....(full article)

Israeli Left-Right Divide Unmasked as Phony 
by Nicola Nasser

Avigdor Lieberman’s ascent to a strategic executive role in Israel has unmasked the artificial divide between left and right and revealed the mainstream ruling elite as still in consensus on the Zionist goals, a fact that rules out any credible peace process in the foreseeable future and dooms peace and left as wishful thinking as they have been ever since the creation of the Jewish state, until a forcible outside intervention could enforce a de-Zionization of peace-making. The line dividing Israeli right and left on the prerogatives of peace with Arabs, Palestinians inclusive, is too thin to be considered conducive to peace and as such peace-making will continue to be illusive and evasive.....(full article)

Unmasking the Second Palestinian Intifada 
by Remi Kanazi

Over the last five years, the Palestinian people have faced a host of obstacles in their fight for sovereignty, preventing them the opportunity to create a life those in the Western world brag about. A principal impediment facing the Palestinian struggle today is the constant reaffirmation that the Palestinian people -- deemed by Israel and the US -- are “terrorists,” “militants,” or animalistic beings lesser than those of the “civilized world.” In Ramzy Baroud’s new book, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of People’s Struggle, this myth is shattered. The propaganda that has infiltrated Western discourse has proven counterfeit; misinformation that has framed US policy regarding Israel, leading to a multitude of double standards imposed upon Palestinians. These inconsistencies have exponentially magnified the suffering of the Palestinian people and hindered their efforts to gain control of the land in which they live.....(full article)

Botched or Not, the Joke's On Us 
by Mickey Z.

Every now and then, a series of events (and the reaction to those events) converge to effectively illustrate just how deeply the indoctrination runs in the home of the brave/land of the free. Senator John F. Kerry was the catalyst for the most recent such convergence. His "botched joke" laid bare the passionate cult of the soldier, America's enduring military fetish. It has been and remains career suicide for any public figure to even hint at criticizing the men and women in uniform. Consider Kerry's apology: "I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform." It's not even an issue of actually being critical of the military. Among a war-loving people, you must be cautious to not even "wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform." Kerry himself said people were "crazy" to think he would denigrate America's military. As profound as this may be, the realities exposed by the "stuck in Iraq" affair go much deeper than that.....(full article)

November 2

Midterm Elections 2006: It's Always Darkest, Right Before . . .
It Goes Completely Black
by Phil Rockstroh

One's actions grow out of one's beliefs. Beliefs grow out of the ecosystem of our collective lives known as culture. In this way, cultures are organic: they germinate, sprout, grow, bloom, bear fruit, then fade in accordance with the climes and terrain of the times. America now grows: paranoid delusions and wishful thinking. These are our national plant and staple crop, respectively. A strange genus of the former has overgrown the land. It began as a small hybrid, a member of the Bush family, growing mostly in southern and western states. Some theories hold that its origins were in Connecticut, although, when it was transplanted to Texas, it spread, unchecked, due to the fact that there are few herbivores in the region to limit its pernicious growth. There, in the dry Texas soil, it grew dense and thorny, and thrived when watered with blood and oil. Left unpruned and unregulated, it grew thicker than an ancient oak, larger than a redwood. It became a Paranoia Sequoia, growing ever larger in the hot greenhouse gases of global climate change; its massive branches spread across the world, casting a shadow of fear and revulsion beneath it. And it has bore strange and terrible fruit, indeed -- as well as proliferate assorted nuts. Unfortunately, its oily wood limits its use as timber that might be used to build anything constructive: Its wood is mostly suitable for crucifixes and coffins. Yet, due to its aforementioned oily base, it can be used to build a bonfire large enough to set the world ablaze. At present, the people of the United States are lost in a dark woods overgrown by these sun-occluding trees. Some among us have taken to ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms (the aforementioned staple crop) sprouting from the forest floor. Upon ingestion, they tell of having strange visions involving a covey of Democratic dwarfs who will fell the dark forest with their K Street provided axes.....(full article)

US-Latin American Relations:
Ruptures, Reaction and the Illusion of Times Past  
by James Petras

Numerous writers, journalists, public officials and academics on the Right and Left have noted changes in relations between the US and Latin America. Those on the Right bemoan the ‘end of US hegemony,’ the growth of a ‘New Left,’ the ‘revival of populism’ and the ‘loss of US influence.’  Those on the Left herald the purported changes as a moment of progressive regional realignment.  The Right speaks pessimistically of the threats to ‘national security and democracy’, and access to energy and other resources.  One sector on the Left claims to perceive a new regional ‘axis of counter hegemony’ led by Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia sweeping the continent. While other prudent conservative observers argue that a broad ‘center-left’ alternative headed by ‘social democratic’ regimes like Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay are replacing traditional US allies and challenging both the Leftist regimes and past US policies. Inside the US Government, policymakers focus on isolating and destabilizing the Left, downplaying the challenges from the center-left and emphasizing political continuities and economic opportunities with neo-liberal regimes. Faced with radically different assessments of the strength and weakness of US influence in Latin America, an independent analysis of the historic context for measuring the rise or fall of US power is required. This requires a serious assessment, which avoids overblown generalizations, and examines specific issues, areas and particular conjunctures in which agreements or disagreements between the US and Latin America occur. This includes looking at how differences are resolved as well as the structural convergences and divergences....(full article)

Bush’s Permanent War Economy Must Crash
(Before it Endangers You and Your Bank Account Even More) 
by Heather Wokusch

The Bush administration's military adventurism and the economy are two issues expected to impact next week's US midterm vote. We ignore their interplay at our peril. Rarely discussed is how the endless war on terror requires a permanent war economy, with taxpayers subsidizing the military industry at the expense of domestic social programs and global security. In 2000, for example, the US military budget was roughly $289 billion, but the administration's military budget request for 2007 has soared to $462.7 -- and that doesn't even include funding for military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. The term "permanent war economy" was coined in the mid-1940s by the former CEO of a General Electric subsidiary, who called for increased subsidies and corporate control over the military industry. But this administration has taken the collusion of war and societal restructuring to new and dangerous levels.....(full article)

Dick Cheney Fitted for New Halliburton Uniform: A Striped Jumpsuit 
by Evelyn Pringle

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting a formal investigation into whether Halliburton made improper payments to government officials in Nigeria in connection with the construction and expansion by TSKJ of a natural gas liquefaction complex and facilities at Bonny Island in Rivers State, Nigeria. TSKJ is a company registered in Portugal whose members include Technip SA of France, Snamprogetti Netherlands BV, a subsidiary of Saipem SpA of Italy, JGC Corporation of Japan, and Kellogg Brown & Root, a successor to the MW Kellogg Company, each of which has a 25% interest in the venture. TSKJ entered into various contracts to build and expand the liquefied natural gas project for Nigeria LNG Limited, which is owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp, Shell Gas BV, Cleag Limited, and Agip International BV, an affiliate of ENI SpA of Italy. MW Kellogg Limited is a joint venture in which Halliburton has a 55% interest; and MW Kellogg Limited and the MW Kellogg Company were subsidiaries of Dresser Industries before Halliburton's 1998 acquisition of Dresser Industries. The MW Kellogg Company was later merged with a Halliburton subsidiary to form Kellogg Brown & Root.....(full article)

by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

Anyone remotely familiar with the American political landscape knows that the Israeli lobby plays a very large role in shaping US foreign policy in the Middle East. This influence has been achieved through clever use of financial muscle and control of large sections of the media from newspapers to cable TV channels to think-tank organizations. Many of the Israeli lobby groups of today can trace their roots to the early '50s, when the American Jewish population needed to organize itself to fight the existing hidden prejudices and discrimination and to break the hidden barriers to their advancement. In their fight to overcome these difficulties they targeted both the media and the politicians. It was thought (correctly) that media played a very important role in creating or destroying the public image of any minority group in the country. But somehow along the way, some of these organizations were hijacked by Zionists who equated Jewishness with being the loyal supporters of Israel. This minority group set about turning these lobbying groups’ agendas from one of fighting against prejudice to one of working to advance Israel’s interest. A large number of Jewish Americans naturally did not, and do not, agree with the aim of these Zionists. This silent majority (such as the Neturei Karta group, Peace now movement etc) is seen by the Zionists as false Jews who are traitors to the state of Israel. These lobbying groups have consistently worked to advance their perceived interest of Israel around the world, not realizing that their policies and actions may not be in the long-term interest of the state of Israel and may even be counterproductive to the Jews’ interest around the world. By relying on the force of money and media, they have tried hard to persuade people to see the world from their point of view, not noticing that extreme use of these tools will eventually create a counter reaction.....(full article)

Fool-Proof Plan to Save America From Fascism (At Least for a While) by Mark Bradley

Pssst. Don’t tell Karl Rove, but I’ve just come up with a fool-proof plan guaranteeing a national Democratic Party sweep in 2008. And the best thing about it is, it works no matter whom the Dems throw up as their presidential candidate: Barack Edwards, Hillary Obama, or John Clinton. Hell, they could run a Howard Zinn-Noam Chomsky ticket, and back it up with senatorial candidates from the Grateful Dead. It just wouldn’t matter! Interested? Okay, then listen up, because I’m not going to repeat this for you sluggards in the back who’d rather watch reruns of American Idol than learn anything useful. Time is of the essence here, so let’s not waste any more of it sitting around drooling into our tippy-cups. We need to act fast in order to take advantage of the opportunity right in front of our noses. Ready? Here goes.....(full article)

Lieberman Is Not an Israeli “Internal Affair” 
by Nicola Nasser

The absence of a proportionate Palestinian reaction to the ascendancy of Israel’s far right leader, Avigdor Lieberman, into the mainstream strategic decision-making in Tel Aviv has indicated of how dangerously the inter-Palestinian divide is overshadowing the Israeli threats and encouraged the visiting European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, to legitimize with a public meeting the only man who could abort not only the mission of his visit but all prospects of regional peace. In a move that threatens to destabilize the already explosive regional situation, heralds an Israeli escalation towards a war with Iran in tandem with the U.S.-led anti-Iran campaign and pre-empts any credible prospects for initiating a new peace process if not reviving the old “Road Map”-based process, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed a deal last week to bring Lieberman and his party Israel Beitenu (Israel Our Home) into his ruling coalition, in a bid for political survival following the fiasco in Lebanon, thus consolidating his power but confusing whatever Israel has of a peace vision.....(full article)

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