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Reading Between the Lines 
by Ken Sanders

While reading through the latest issue of Harper's Magazine, I came across excerpts from the more than 750 editorial changes proposed by Ambassador John Bolton, on behalf of the United States, to a draft of the Outcome Document on United Nations Reform. The purpose of the Outcome Document was to delineate the various areas of the UN that Member States, particularly the US, hope to change. The redactions and additions proposed (demanded?) by the US were startling in their implications. Based on the proposed changes, it would appear that the US wants to be able to target and deliberately kill civilians, encourage all but the worst forms of child labor, and make sure that no one does anything to meaningfully address nuclear proliferation, among other things....(full article)

by Patricia Goldsmith

On Thursday, October 27, the impending indictment of Scooter Libby was the second story in a lot of news broadcasts and papers. The lead was the withdrawal of Harriet Miers’ nomination to the Supreme Court. The timing was no accident, of course, but the larger truth is that Miers was simply unacceptable to a rightwing base that has been eating bloody red meat with respect to the courts since the Terri Schiavo case and Justice Sunday earlier this year. William Kristol's reaction on the first day of Miers’ nomination: “disappointed, depressed, demoralized.” Phyllis Schlafly concurred: “[O]ur disappointment is acute.” As a result of the wingnuts’ severe displeasure, a new word has even been coined. If to “get ‘borked’ was ‘to be unscrupulously torpedoed by an opponent . . . to get ‘miered’ [i]s to be ‘unscrupulously torpedoed by an ally.’” The solution, according to uber-Republican Richard Viguerie, is simple: “At 38 to 39 percent support in the polls, the main thing [Bush] needs is a fight, an ideological battle to energize his supporters. He needs to pick someone who will drive Ted Kennedy up the wall.” As far as Viguerie is concerned, Miers’ withdrawal has already pumped up the base. It’s not often that you go toe to toe with the president of the United States of your own party and beat him,” he said. “It is very satisfying.”....(full article

Chocolate, Unchained
by Lee Hall

In the new film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka -- played by a sleek Johnny Depp -- is a factory boss in search of exotic sweets, able to pluck plants or animals from other lands at whim. Returning to the most troubling segments of Roald Dahl’s 1964 book, this year's Wonka brings “a race of tiny people called Oompa-Loompas” out of their tropical huts to become chocolate processors.  A skim of on-line film reviews indicates little interest, let alone dismay, in the message that living “exotics” -- including humans -- are mere corporate resources. Likewise, few people notice that today's wealthiest chocolatiers rely on slavery to keep them in the lifestyle to which they're accustomed. Cocoa is chocolate’s main ingredient, and the vast majority of it comes from financially poor farmlands of the global south, where as many as 300,000 children handle dangerous pesticides and clear fields with machetes. These are kids who have never tasted a chocolate bar....(full article)

Rove and Cheney Are Now Caught in Fitzgerald's Web
Will They Go Down Too?
by Jason Leopold

Now it’s about the Niger forgeries. On Friday, after securing a five-count criminal indictment against Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for lying to a grand jury about what he knew and when he knew it in regard to the outing of a covert CIA agent, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald plans to pursue broader conspiracy charges against Cheney senior White House officials, and top officials at the State Department and the National Security Council, that may finally shed light on how the Bush administration came to use erroneous intelligence that claimed Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger, lawyers involved in the two year old investigation said. While many federal officials and the media have long speculated that Fitzgerald was not only looking into the identity of administration officials who leaked undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to a handful of reporters, it was only recently that those rumors were confirmed....(full article)

Outing Valerie Plame Put Us All in Greater Danger     
by Mike Whitney

Lost in the hubbub surrounding the “outing” of Valerie Plame is the story of Plame’s CIA front company, Brewster Jennings and Associates. B.J. & A was based in Boston and was “intended to infiltrate ties between groups involved in smuggling nuclear weapons. Since NOCs (CIA agents under non-official cover) usually work at companies set up by the CIA as fronts, it has been speculated that other employees of the company may have been doing work similar to Plame. If that were true, the damage done by leaking Plame’s name would be vastly multiplied, as all the other NOC’s would be compromised” (Wikipedia) The fact that the Bush administration’s highest ranking officials deliberately endangered national security to pursue a personal vendetta is alarming, but equally disturbing is the fact that their behavior has greatly enhanced the likelihood of nuclear weapons proliferation. By outing Valerie Plame the administration has exposed the war on terror as a fraud. Brewster Jennings and Associates was a vital part of the United States’ covert strategy to fight the spread of WMD. Cheney and his lieutenants intentionally sabotaged that operation in an effort to destroy a personal enemy of the Bush White House. Their action has put us all at greater risk....(full article)

Karl's Great Escape: Did Rove Rat on Scooter?
by Joshua Frank

At a Critical Mass bike ride here in Albany, New York on Friday, I decided to turn the Halloween theme into a political one, at least for myself. I'm not much for costumes and makeup. So I just slapped a sign on the back of my jacket and off I rode. My sign read, "Rove is Next." Too bad I was wrong....(full article)

After the Libby Indictment, the Press Is Acquitting Itself
by Norman Solomon

Alot of media outlets are now scrutinizing some of the lies told by the Bush administration before the invasion of Iraq. Yet the same news organizations are bypassing their own key roles in the marketing of those lies. A case in point is the New York Times. On Oct. 29, hours after the indictment of Lewis Libby, the lead editorial of the Times ended by declaring that “the big point Americans need to keep in mind is this: There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” On Oct. 30, the Times columnist Frank Rich referred to “Colin Powell’s notorious presentation of WMD ‘evidence’ to the UN on the eve of war.” And so it goes in the opinion section of the New York Times. There’s now eagerness to blast the Bush administration for some aspects of false prewar propaganda -- while the newspaper continues to dodge its own crucial role in promoting that propaganda....(full article)

At the White House, the Spin Doctor Is Ill
by Norman Solomon

While indictment fever gripped the Washington press corps this month, the president's spin doctor was incapacitated. An ailing Karl Rove could not help the Republican search for a media cure. With temperature rising, the political physician was in no position to cure himself or anyone else. Now, a media siege is underway at the White House. A dramatic convergence of legal proceedings and presidential politics has forced the Bush administration into a fundamentally defensive crouch....(full article)

Kansas Attorney General is Bush’s Kind of Guy 
by Gene C. Gerard

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline isn’t a household name yet, but he may be soon. In recent months Mr. Kline has shown that he is the type of judicial nominee that President Bush is looking for. Mr. Kline has that most valuable of assets that right-wing Republicans require of a nominee: a “conservative judicial philosophy.” In recent months he has sought to deny poor women of the right to an abortion, despite federal law to the contrary. And he supported handing out a much harsher sentence to a gay teenager who engaged in consensual sex than to heterosexual adolescents....
(full article


Taxation or Racketeering?
by Reza Fiyouzat

The problem with the American Revolution was that it was (in reality and not in slogans) demanding that representation be extended to a tiny minority of the "locals". The Original Peoples of the continent were to be slaughtered and their land stolen. Slaves were to remain slaves. Further, women, working classes, and huge majorities of the non-property-owning classes were to receive zero representation for the taxation imposed on them by the so-called Founding Fathers. But, we can revisit the slogan, "No Taxation without Representation!" and give it a positively different quality all together. Representation for the taxes paid today, with the statistical sciences and technology that is available, can easily be wedded to the very individual who pays the taxes, and it can therefore be the first real form of direct democracy that can and must be implemented....(full article)

The Mass Killings in Indonesia After 40 Years
by John Roosa and Joseph Nevins

“One of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century.” That was how a CIA publication described the killings that began forty years ago this month in Indonesia. It was one of the few statements in the text that was correct. The 300-page text was devoted to blaming the victims of the killings -- the supporters of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) -- for their own deaths. The PKI had supposedly attempted a coup d’état and a nationwide uprising called the September 30th Movement (which, for some unknown reason, began on October 1). The mass murder of hundreds of thousands of the party’s supporters over subsequent months was thus a natural, inevitable, and justifiable reaction on the part of those non-communists who felt threatened by the party’s violent bid for state power. The killings were part of the “backfire” referred to in the title: Indonesia -- 1965: The Coup that Backfired. The author of this 1968 report, later revealed to be Helen Louise Hunter, acknowledged the massive scale of the killings only to dismiss the necessity for any detailed consideration of them. She concentrated on proving that the PKI was responsible for the September 30th Movement while consigning the major issue, the anti-PKI atrocities, to a brief, offhanded comment. Hunter’s CIA report accurately expressed the narrative told by the Indonesian army commanders as they organized the slaughter. That narrative rendered the September 30th Movement -- a disorganized, small-scale affair that lasted about 48 hours and resulted in a grand total of 12 deaths, among them six army generals -- into the greatest evil ever to befall Indonesia. The commander of the army, Major General Suharto, justified his acquisition of emergency powers in late 1965 and early 1966 by insisting that the September 30th Movement was a devious conspiracy by the PKI to seize state power and murder all of its enemies. Suharto’s martial law regime detained some 1.5 million people as political prisoners (for varying lengths of time), and accused them of being “directly or indirectly involved in the September 30th Movement.” The hundreds of thousands of people shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, or starved to death were labeled perpetrators, or would-be perpetrators of atrocities, just as culpable for the murder of the army generals as the handful of people who were truly guilty....(full article)

Legal Briefing
Iraq and the Laws of War
by Francis A. Boyle

As the belligerent occupant of Iraq, the United States government is obligated to ensure that its puppet Interim Government of Iraq obeys the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, the 1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare, U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956), the humanitarian provisions of Additional Protocol One of 1977 to the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and the customary international laws of war. Any violation of the laws of war, international humanitarian law, and human rights committed by its puppet Interim Government of Iraq are legally imputable to the United States government. As the belligerent occupant of Iraq, both the United States government itself as well as its concerned civilian officials and military officers are fully and personally responsible under international criminal law for all violations of the laws of war, international humanitarian law, and human rights committed by its puppet Interim Government of Iraq such as, for example, reported death squads operating under its auspices....(full article)

Hey Harkavy!
by Sheila Samples

Remember the "Hey, Mikey" TV commercial with two brothers refusing to eat Quaker Oats' new Life cereal until their little brother, Mikey, who supposedly "hates everything" tried it first? Well, I'm not saying I get up every morning and yell, "Hey, Harkavy!" to see what's really happening in the news without all the commercial spin -- but I'm not saying I don't either. Either way, there's no better place to start your morning than with the peerless Ward Harkavy and his Village Voice blog, the "Bush Beat." In his "Morning Report" on Tuesday, Harkavy said, "It's kind of a horse race: Will Harriet Miers withdraw before Patrick Fitzgerald draws on her bosses? The White House needs to clear the decks for possible Plamegate indictments, and Miers will be needed to shuffle papers for George W. Bush's handlers. My money is on the nag to pull out before Fitzgerald pulls up in front of the White House, because everyone knows she can't make the weight." And last Thursday Harkavy wrote..."George W. Bush's handlers have finally put Harriet Miers out of our misery. She just now withdrew her name as a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court." Harkavy's right. Not necessarily about Miers being a "nag" but, with the Fitzgerald storm clouds gathering on the dashboard of Bush's White House, the "cabal" -- as this bunch laughingly dubbed themselves early in this misadministration -- will need every lawyer it can hog-tie and drag into service....(full article)

Bushspeak: Dark and Garbled Words
by John Chuckman 

The following quotes are from Bush's speech about the War on Terror, as given October 6, 2005, and largely repeated October 28. It was a speech especially dense with Bushspeak, a dialect which never means what it seems to say. Perspective and the occasional translation follow the quotes....
(full translations)

October 27-28

(posted 10/28)
Fitzgerald Expanded Scope of Inquiry in 2004
to Probe Niger Forgeries
by Jason Leopold

The special prosecutor investigating the outing of a covert CIA agent expanded his probe last year to include intelligence information used by the Bush administration claiming that Iraq tried to purchase yellow-cake uranium from Niger. According to a court filing posted on the website of Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating who leaked the name of undercover CIA agent to reporters, was interested in questioning New York Times reporter Judith Miller about the CIA agent or whether she discussed Iraq's alleged efforts to purchase uranium from Niger....(full article)

Scapegoated, Exploited and Preyed Upon:
Victims of a Wave of Anti-Immigrant Violence
by Nicole Colson

One of the most brutal murder sprees in recent U.S. history went largely ignored by the media. On the last night of September, six people were killed in their homes in southern Georgia -- five bludgeoned to death with baseball bats and one shot in the head. But because the victims were Mexican immigrants -- most of them undocumented -- they were easy to overlook. That’s why they were victims of these unspeakable crimes, too. In a system that views some people as “illegal” -- and where politicians and their corporate backers want undocumented workers for cheap labor, but don’t want to give them equal rights--immigrants will be scapegoated, exploited and preyed upon. Nicole Colson looks at the consequences of U.S. immigration policies on the lives of undocumented workers....(full article)

The Agnew Factor: Clearing the Impeachment Path
by Jack Random

Now, as we await the indictments to be handed down by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the Plame Gate case, we are stricken by the parallels to Watergate. Yes, Watergate. This is no Monica Gate. This is not the story of over-zealous prosecutors investigating crooked real estate deals or the sexual escapades of the chief executive.  At its very core, Plame Gate is the story of an abuse of executive power, involving the critical national security matter of exposing a covert agent for political retribution. The through-line of both cases is the incredible arrogance of the White House....(full article)

Breaking Story
Prosecutor Secures Indictment in CIA Outing Case, Lawyers Say
by Jason Leopold

The prosecutor investigating the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson has secured at least one indictment in the case from a majority of the 23 grand jurors, lawyers and intelligence officials close to the case said Wednesday. The final outcome of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's 22-month federal probe is expected to end Friday with indictments of White House officials. The situation remains fluid, however, and several new scenarios have developed over the past 48 hours that could delay an announcement, lawyers close to the probe said late Wednesday....
(full article)

License to Bill: In India, Bill Gates Does Well by Doing Good
by Lila Rajiva

In India, first there was Gandhi-ji, now there’s Bill-g. To his fans, a Randian free market hero, an Atlas barely quivering under the Himalayan chain of operating systems, software packages and security patches with which he feeds the hungering cyber-masses. Or as one Indian model squealed orgasmically, “Mr. Gates, you are my idea of the ideal man. You are rich, and you are powerful.” And a philanthropist… boot. The Gates foundation, which is worth $30 billion, (£17 billion), is now the largest charity run by a single philanthropist or private company. And Gates says he intends to give away 90 percent of his $50 billion fortune. On September 22 this year, Microsoft made its latest corporate raid on humanitarianism, pledging to partner with the Indian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in seven crucial areas. The deal, largely unnoticed by the media, was struck at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters with Minister Dayanidhi Maran....(full article)

Boot Yahoo
by Dan Raphael

One of the standard arguments for the superiority of “free enterprise” is that in the wake of economic freedom -- defined as the freedom of capital to enrich itself -- political and other freedoms follow in its wake. There are a few problems with this argument: first, it is often framed in the broad sweep of history, looking ahead at decades or even centuries. Most people don’t have centuries or even decades to waste, when it comes to being imprisoned, assaulted, tortured, and executed. Second, freedom exists in many places where the marketplace is heavily regulated; in fact, most European countries place greater restraints on the rights of corporations than is the case in the United States. Third, capitalists are more than eager to do the work of tyrants when it will assure them profit in return.  A current example of this third problem is currently gaining new notoriety. The leading multinational internet corporation Yahoo! is under growing fire for its admitted service to the government of mainland China in helping identify political dissidents there....(full article)

The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name
by John Pilger

A Royal Air Force officer is about to be tried before a military court for refusing to return to Iraq because the war is illegal. Malcolm Kendall-Smith is the first British officer to face criminal charges for challenging the legality of the invasion and occupation. He is not a conscientious objector; he has completed two tours in Iraq. When he came home the last time, he studied the reasons given for attacking Iraq and concluded he was breaking the law. His position is supported by international lawyers all over the world, not least by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who said in September last year: “The US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN Charter.”....(full article)

by Kim Petersen

The western corporate media is apoplectic over remarks made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to students attending a conference in Tehran called “The World without Zionism.” Ahmadinejad rejects Iran granting recognition to Israel or normalizing relations with the Jewish state. And why should Iran? (full article)

Sex and the Single Nominee
by Bill Berkowitz

Why did conservatives, including some on the religious right, successfully put the kibosh on President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers? According to HBO's Bill Maher, it had little to do with whether or not she was a master of constitutional law. And it wasn't about her being the President's best friend, either. It wasn't even related to whether she would overturn Roe v. Wade or set back civil rights for another generation. Opposition to Miers' nomination may have had more to do with what the Right didn't know about her than what they did. And what they didn't know are details about her sexuality....(full article)

All the President’s Men
by John Tully

On one of the final episodes of HBO’s breathtaking Six Feet Under, a character named Vanessa gently consoles the grieving sister of an Iraqi war veteran who has just committed suicide after losing many limbs. She tells the woman of watching her kids; sleeping; just being. Right then and there it seems to take the woman’s pain and turn it to something beautiful. 2,000 dead soldiers, sailors and Marines, thousands more injured for life, and countless dead innocent Iraqis. It’s too much for the American people. America tortures and kills prisoners of war, lies about its soldiers' deaths, allows its citizens to starve for days after a hurricane and produces its own news. Meanwhile the press breaks a collective arm patting itself on the back for its gut-check Katrina coverage. Too little and too late....(full article)

Thinking the Unthinkable: Opening Up Negotiations
With the Iraqi Resistance 
by Mike Whitney

The purpose of a constitution is to unify the people under a common commitment to civil liberties, human rights, and the rule of law. All of these are sadly lacking in the Iraqi version, which is primarily designed to strengthen the role of religion in government and allow for regional autonomy. The division of Iraq should not be revered as a “constitution”, but partition. More importantly, the constitution lacks any real credibility because the nation is at war and that conflict poses a direct challenge to the survival of the regime. If representative government requires the consent of the governed, then it naturally follows that massive civil unrest and resistance signal the unwillingness of the people to accept the authority of the government. The current violence in Iraq suggests widespread rejection of the American puppet state. This cannot be resolved by edicts from Washington, but by political dialogue with the warring parties -- negotiations with the resistance....(full article)

October 26

For Whom They Toll
by Kathy Kelly

Today, in cities and towns throughout the U.S. and beyond, activists will gather to grieve and protest the carnage wrought by the unlawful and immoral war in Iraq. Thousands will gather to commemorate the 2,000 lives of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and call upon U.S. people to stop funding the war. Others will focus chiefly upon the well over 100,000 Iraqi lives lost, and, in a campaign launched some months ago, will ring bells 100,000 times -- 1,000 chimes each in 100 different locations -- as names of Iraqi civilians killed since the start of Shock and Awe are read aloud. October 25th marked the 2,000th American service-member death in the Iraq war: October 29th will mark one year since The British Lancet, perhaps the world’s foremost medical journal, estimated from careful research that at the very least 100,000 Iraqi people had died due to this same horrific war. The demonstrations will overlap, but for once we can claim that separate demonstrations, held, simultaneously, can by their very overlapping actually raise awareness and hopefully affect change. These protests are after all the same: One life, two thousand lives, one hundred thousand lives, or many, many more -- are all too much to pay for the imperial ambitions of the few....(full article)

The Burgh, Downsizing
by Lila Rajiva

Habits should shed themselves like decayed petals at the right season. This is the right season for shedding in Pittsburgh: fall. It’s chilly but not bitterly so. But urban habits die hard. It’s time to let go of my car. I live close to work and with gas prices mincing back and forth, I ought to. Like everyone, I tell myself I will just drive less and talk vaguely about the new hybrids. But like everyone else, I don’t mean it. My Honda is now a habit, a new one. She came late into my life. And saw me through divorce, relocation, financial losses, and then relocation again. There is no chance that I will let her ago. She’s my last tenuous link to the stability I once had. Ricardo, who lives on the third floor of our dark, draughty Victorian, is the car expert. He details them on the side to make money. He’s going to Iraq later this week to drive a convoy truck. “One of the sitting ducks,” he says flashing a grin. His dad, a Dominican immigrant, is going to Afghanistan as a flight surgeon and on his way through Pittsburgh might stop to take the Audi off his hands. Too expensive. Ricardo is about 26, muscular, friendly and with enough energy to fuel several cars. Fifteen years younger than me but the oldest of my housemates. Melanie and Roger are 23, from the countryside outside Pittsburgh and a couple. Sam, an artist, is 20 and almost blind. He rarely comes out of his room. This is his first time living away from home. Ricardo hates George Bush and the war but he doesn’t mind going. He thinks the odds are good he’ll return. “I know plenty of guys who got through,” he says stirring six chicken legs in a pan of peppers and examining them meditatively like a soothsayer in imperial Rome. “They’re paying me. I’ll be able to save up some dough. No stress. I’m looking forward to it actually.”....(full article)

Syria in the Imperialist Crosshairs
by Kim Petersen

The New York Times is having a heck of a time dodging scorn and maintaining any semblance of authenticity these days, apologizing for its Jayson Blairs, bogus WMD reporting, and Judith Millers. Even owner Arthur Sulzberger’s feet are being held to the fire now. Yet, the paper persists in its role as a stenographer for the US government. The Times’ coverage of the UN report by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis on the slaying of Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister, and 20 others, is a further example. It is of great importance to note that the Mehlis Report was exclusively an investigation into the possible involvement of Syrians and Lebanese in the assassination of Hariri. Excluded, a priori, with standard imperialistic manipulation of course, was the role of the powers that effectively benefited from the assassination: the United States and Israel....(full article)  

We Will Not Pay for Killing 
by Susan Van Haitsma

Not one more death. Not one more dollar. Dollars and death are connected in more ways than one.  The old adage claims that death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but it is the connection between taxes and death that is the real certainty. The grinding machinery of war needs fuel: soldiers and money. A majority of Americans indicate they want the machine to stop. Parents and students, veterans and military families are working together to withhold human resources from the war. Cindy Sheehan has movingly expressed the ways that one death has been one too many. But what happens when the majority of Americans want war to stop, and the money to wage it keeps flowing in? (full article)

October 25

SS Katrina Sinks Bush
by Leilla Matsui and Stella La Chance

The catastrophic success of Hurricane Katrina in carrying out the Bush administration's second term agenda in only a few short days should have been cheering news for the beleaguered war prez. Even though he is being forced to lick his wounds publicly while the key players of “Operation Hurrah Katrina” celebrate “Mardi Graft” behind closed doors, the president should have had plenty of reason to rejoice along with them, if he hadn't already outlived his usefulness both publicly and within his own party. Having secured New Orleans as ground zero for a long awaited ethnic cleansing, while laying out the blueprint for a police state nationwide, Bush is now in the awkward position of having to appear penitent while signaling “Mission Accomplished” to his dwindling base. Already we can see the damage he's inflicted on his trademark smirk, as he snorts and wheezes through his openly scripted public appearances. Not even his renewed hard line stance against Syria can re-ignite his fizzling approval ratings. Funny how the plight of homeless Somalis swimming around in your own backyard tends to put a damper on even the heartiest appetites for destruction. Add a grieving Gold Star mother left to bake outside your Texas ranch and you've got yourself a public relations nightmare. And that's not even counting Tom Delay's recent arrest for money laundering, Bill Frist's SEC woes, and Karl Rove's impending indictment in the Valerie Plame affair. Clearly, Bush is living off the chump change left over from his much vaunted and mostly illusory “political capital.”....(full article)

Shootout At Pooh Corner : Animal Advocates Find Religion, 
as Tots Take Up Arms in Bear Hunt

by Lee Hall

The Animal Rights advocacy community's collective pratfall has become evident in its enthusiastic embrace of former Bush speechwriter's Matthew Scully's Dominion, a book about proper Christian mercy. Paternalism is re-establishing its two-centuries-old grip on animal advocacy -- with a vengeance. So who has serious standing to object when an eight-year-old, Sierra Stiles, kills the first black bear of Maryland's 2005 hunting season?
(full article)

Après Rove le Déluge 
by Mike Whitney

Can Bush survive in a post-Rove world? Not likely. The Bush persona is mainly the invention of its author, Karl Rove: a careful stitching together of religious and western imagery, of pious moralizing and cowboy “straight-talk”. Originally, Bush was nothing more than a formless glob of clay that ϋber-advisor Rove tenderly sculpted and brought to life. In many ways Bush is nothing more than the political vehicle for the aspirations, ambitions, and objectives of his constituents. He wasn’t chosen as a presidential nominee for his abilities, but for his for his willingness to follow orders and carry out the corporate agenda without question. His utter lack of curiosity about anything beyond the range of his immediate experience has proved to be a real godsend in his new assignment. In fact, Bush may be the perfect candidate: a self-absorbed malingerer who flawlessly reflects the identity of the person whispering through his hidden earpiece....(full article)

October 24

Capitalism for Dummies
by Patricia Goldsmith

Last week I caught a glimpse of a local TV news promo warning that the FDA is poised to OK a new drug for diabetes that also sharply increases the risk of “heart problems, strokes and death.” It was the night’s big scare story, very reminiscent of the scandals over Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra. You’ll remember that the FDA allowed Vioxx back on the market, even though studies show it may be responsible for as many as 55,000 deaths. It looks like the diabetes drug will win approval too.  But rest assured, there’s no danger of easy access to the Plan B morning-after contraceptive. In fact, there’s actually been a crackdown on medical doctors’ latitude in prescribing narcotics for pain relief. The use of medical marijuana, in states that have voted to allow it, is avidly prosecuted, SWAT teams and all. Behold, life in the post-New Deal, neocon era, with one spectacular regulatory failure after another -- accompanied by one intrusive, fearmongering initiative after another to make sure we don’t ever connect the dots or see the big picture. Big picture? Even with the unprecedented level of corruption, lawlessness, and moral depravity we see all around us, we have to keep coming back to the economics....(full article)

To Create the Democracy We Want
Challenge the Corrupt Two-Party System Don't Participate in It

by Kevin Zeese

Recently, on the anti-Bush, Democratic Party leaning website Daily Kos an open letter was published urging me to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate in Maryland rather than independent of the two political parties. Below is my response to the suggestion....(full article) 

Voting in Afghanistan: Warlords, Jihadis, and Iranian Agents
by Mike Whitney

The Western media rarely explores the failures of the Afghanistan war. That’s unfortunate, because the conflict tells us a great deal about the suicidal direction of American foreign policy. 95% of the American public supported the war in Afghanistan, feeling that something had to be done in response to the attacks of September 11. Something was done: we invaded a sovereign nation, toppled the fanatical Taliban, and cobbled together an American-friendly regime that has never had any real authority and never provided even minimal security for its people. The toxic effects of the conflict are now tragically evident in the unexpected results of the parliamentary elections. The September 18 elections for the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) show that warlords and ex-Taliban commanders won over half of the seats in the new parliament. Many of those elected are among the most extreme human rights abusers in the country, certainly not what President Bush imagined when he began his “global democratic revolution.” Now, former jihadis, Islamic fundamentalists, and warlords will control a majority of the seats in Parliament ensuring that the security of the Afghani people will continue to be at risk....(full article)

The Scariest Costume
by Walter Brasch

It’s almost Halloween, and some of our nation’s leaders have yet to find appropriate costumes. Of course, I have some suggestions....(full article)

Bush and God -- The View from Abroad
by Peter Kurth 

One of the nicest things about being outside the United States for a while -- no, the nicest thing -- is that you don’t need to waste a minute of your time, energy or thought on George W. Bush. In Europe, I found earlier this month they don’t give a damn about him, wondering only how it is that a great nation -- ours -- could have doubled its initial idiocy by electing him twice. There’s even a saying overseas, in various languages, from the northern tip of Scotland to the southern isles of Greece: “One mistake, OK. Two, and you’re on your own.” In Europe, they don’t even bother to argue about Bush anymore. They just snort and roll their eyes . . . . But in Europe, generally, Bush and his cohorts -- many of them already or soon to be indicted on a wide range of criminal charges -- aren’t eternally in your face. You can overlook them. You can almost forget about them. At least you could until just before I came home and saw, plastered all over the European papers, the news that the president of the United States thinks he’s on “a mission from God” to save the world, and specifically the Middle East (where all the oil is, remember?)....(full article)

Presidential Re-Election in Colombia is Good News for Paramilitaries
by Mario A. Murillo

Press reports in Colombia often credit the president’s dual strategy of negotiating a demobilization deal with right wing paramilitaries and confronting left-wing guerillas militarily with bringing security to many regions of the country. These apparent successes are welcomed in Washington, which has invested over $4 billion dollars in Colombia since 2000, mostly in the form of military and security assistance. But not everybody is convinced that things are going so well. A growing chorus of human rights activists, opposition politicians, trade unionists, and peasant and indigenous leaders are raising their voices not only to counter Uribe and criticize his policies, but also to present alternatives in areas of development, security, and perhaps most importantly, peace....(full article)

October 22-23

Can You Super-Size a Sulzberger? (posted 10/23)
by Ahmed Amr

The New York Times is not just the nation’s paper of record. It’s a policy making institute and a major power player. It’s an ideological think tank with a huge printing press and an arsenal of high profile editorial writers like Thomas Friedman of the American Likud Party and William Safire -- a ghost writer for Ariel Sharon. A reporter with Judith Miller’s credentials could not hope to find a more hospitable environment than the one offered by the “grey lady.” Miller was far from being a rogue operative. Miss “Run A Muck” was awarded her license to “muck” from Sulzberger, the publisher. When Miller was given a subpoena to testify before the Grand Jury, Sulzberger spared no cost to prevent her from making an appearance. Ultimately, it was his ass on the line and he was willing to spend millions to cover up his willing collaboration in the neocon conspiracy to market the invasion of Iraq. And it was his personal choice of colors that converted his media empire into a publisher of yellow journalism....(full article)

Saddam’s Mock Trial  
by Mike Whitney

How do you turn one of the greatest mass murderers of the 20th century into a folk hero? That’s a question only the Bush public relations team can answer, but they seem to be doing a first-rate job. So far, the greatly anticipated trial has been so botched up the only one looking half way decent is Saddam. He marched into the courtroom like Saladin and started barking out answers like he was still in charge. “You know me,” Saddam bellowed, “I’m the president of Iraq.” Yes, he is, and like him or not, he has more right to that office than proconsuls Garner, Bremer, or the puppet of choice, al-Jaafari....(full article)

Disasters Are Us
by Manuel Garcia, Jr

The view that the Department of Homeland Security failed during and after Hurricane Katrina is no doubt based on an incorrect understanding of its name. Hurricane Katrina proved that protection and rescue of the American public are NOT functions of the Department of Homeland Security. This department is the domestic component of the Iraq War, which is the immediate activity in the program to control world oil reserves -- the energy and financial basis of the American Empire. What is the task of the domestic component? Control of the population; the Department of Homeland Security is the Praetorian Guard of the elite capitalist management class, protecting them from the national population. Now, does the name make sense? (full article)

The Struggle to Restore the Dignity of Labor
by Kim Petersen

In some parts of the developing world, workers and the people have faced down the corporatist program (for example, in Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela) that disempowers the masses of people and exacerbates the hideous wealth gap in capitalist societies. In the egregiously named Canadian province of British Columbia (BC), there is an ongoing “illegal” strike that has importance for all people concerned in the fight against further diminishment of workers' rights under the cudgel of inegalitarian hacks imposing the monstrous ideology of neoliberalism....(full article)

The Weapons of Misperceptions
by Fr. Chandi Sinnathurai

It is trendy to view any revolutionary movement worthy of its cause as a bunch of terrorists. This attitude is but a terminally lazy reflection. Should the intelligent impulse to honest enquiry be nipped in the bud in any free and democratic state then the concept of a "free world" becomes slightly more farcical. In any civilized society, the barometer of tolerance has to measure its freedoms (both in speech and thought) inclusive of its civil liberties. At any rate, valid questions will need to be voiced: if humans are essentially inter-related while existing on an inter-dependant globe, what is our moral responsibility in this fractured world? Who is the keeper of the "other"? Or does it all simply boil down to whether your view is not exactly "my cup of tea" and therefore, you could be a potential threat? There is a freedom struggle that has gone on for many decades on the island of Ceylon/Sri Lanka. This blood-soaked struggle began in the '50s as a non-violent protest against state hegemony and terror. The Sinhala state has continued systematic suppression of the Tamil-speaking peoples and denied them equal rights -- even the right to decent education and jobs. In the early '70s, Tamil youths were barred from higher education, in spite of their scoring top-grades. The Sri Lankan system of apartheid has employed violence as a primary mode of oppression since 1958. The straw that broke the Tamil camel's back was the "near-miss" genocide in July 1983....(full article)

The Olive Harvest 
by Mike Odetalla

The Israeli uprooting, destruction and denial of Palestinian access to ancient olive orchards from a personal perspective....(full article)

Condi Lies With the Great Ones
by Jim Glover

Man, that Condi Rice is one great improvisational liar. If she were a drummer, she’d be Buddy Rich. If she played a horn, she’d be Charlie Parker. We all knew Condi had arrived as a trickster when she stood calmly in front of the 9-11 Commission and said nobody in national security ever dreamed hijackers might fly planes into buildings. But she really stepped into her own at her recent testimony before Congress. With a face fairly beaming with sincerity and honesty, she told some major league whoppers. My favorite was that the key to success in Iraq is to follow the Afghanistan Model. In many ways, it appeared the U.S. was already applying the Afghan model in Iraq. The basic model is this....(full article

Escorting Judy to the Gallows   
by Mike Whitney

For the last 85 days the New York Times has been heaping praise on Judy Miller for going to jail rather than divulging the name of her source in the Valerie Plame case. The paper composed 15 editorials lauding her courage and comparing her to everyone from Rosa Parks to Joan of Arc. So, why did Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger suddenly fire her after she was out of prison for less than a week? Did heroism suddenly go out-of-style at the paper of record? Or were Miller’s shenanigans too hot to handle for the right-leaning Times? (full article)

Times Reporter Entangled in Leak Case Had Unusual Relationship
with Military, Iraqi Group

by Jason Leopold

Embattled New York Times reporter Judith Miller acted as a "middleman" between an American military unit and the Iraqi National Congress while she was embedded with the U.S. armed forces searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in April 2003, and "took custody" of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, one of 55 most wanted Iraqis, Dissident Voice has found. Moreover, in one of the most highly unusual arrangements between a news organization and the Department of Defense, Miller sat in on the initial debriefing of Jamal Sultan Tikriti, according to a June 25, 2003 article published in the Washington Post. The Post article sheds some light on her unusual arrangement in obtaining a special security clearance from the Department of Defense which is now the subject of a Democratic congressional inquiry. On Monday, Reps. John Conyers and Ira Skelton, the ranking Democrats on the House Judiciary and Armed Services committees sent Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a letter demanding an explanation to Miller's top secret security clearance, which Rumsfeld reportedly personally authorized....(full article)

Strike for Peace: An Interview with Brian Bogart
by Mickey Z.

Activist Brian Bogart asked himself: "Our top industry has been the manufacture and sale of weapons-and we're a peace-loving nation?" Inspired by this paradox, Bogart created Strike for Peace...described on its website as an attempt "to highlight for everyone's sake the dominant role of the military industry in America's economy. We stand for a future of shared resources instead of a future of resource wars. The weapons we help the Pentagon develop in our schools will be used in such wars unless we step away from the microscope to see the macro view and change America's priority from war-industry profit to the Founding vision of prosperity for all." "The action I'm taking is not about political parties," Brian declares. "It's about deadly priorities that have been ruining this country for 55 years and causing a world of suffering, even here at home, and even to our soldiers abroad." I interviewed Brian Bogart via e-mail....(full interview)

Invading Iran: Who Is to Stop Them?
by Joshua Frank

If the Bush administration wants it, they’ll get it. The threat of hurricanes and indictments isn’t going to stop these crazy guys. Nor will the Democrats, France, or that fallible United Nations. Nope, nothing is going to step in their way. Even if what they want is war on Iran. Last week in London, US Ambassador John Bolton expressed his disappointment with the UN Security Council for their "failure" in dealing with Iran’s alleged nuclear threat. Bolton all but threatened military action, deliberately implying that the US government would take matters into their own hands if the UN wouldn’t. It may seem inconceivable that the US government would even be considering using military force against Iran at this point. US troops are already overextended and public opinion about the current war is at an all-time low. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has thus far refused to charge Iran with breaking a single commitment under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, although they have charged Iran with concealing their programs in the past. But this surely can’t be the best climate to start another war in the Middle East. Too bad facts don’t matter to the neocons.....(full article)

Media at a Huge Crossroads, 25 Years After Reagan’s Triumph
by Norman Solomon

By a twist of political fate, the Oct. 28 deadline for special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to take action on the Plamegate matter is exactly 25 years after the only debate of the presidential race between Ronald Reagan and incumbent Jimmy Carter. How the major media outlets choose to handle the current explosive scandal in the months ahead will have enormous impacts on the trajectory of American politics. A quarter of a century ago, conservative Republicans captured the White House. Today, a more extreme incarnation of the GOP’s right wing has a firm grip on the executive branch. None of it would have been possible without a largely deferential press corps....(full article)

Ohio Players
by Bill Berkowitz

Large turnout of Christian evangelical voters in November 2004 sets the stage for the Rev. Russell Johnson and televangelist Rod Parsley to launch the Ohio Restoration Project ....(full article)

Open Letter to President Bush on Harriet Miers
by Ralph Nader

Dear President Bush: 
Your position regarding the nomination of Harriet Miers to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is increasingly untenable, even with your own Party, for reasons well known to you....
(full letter

Real Men Go to Tehran
by Media Lens

Media Lens on the corporate media's rehashing of pre-Iraq War lies in the context of possible US/UK attacks on Iran....(full article)

October 19

Judith Miller’s Bloody Stain on the Press
by Ahmed Amr

Almost 2,000 young Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have already paid the ultimate price in an illegal war that was launched after a systematic propaganda campaign that involved the collaboration of the neocons inside the administrations with the neocons who man the printing press. Fifteen thousand veterans will spend the rest of their lives coping with permanent paralysis, lost limbs, blindness and disfigurement. Thousands more will return with their psyches bent out of shape. Many will be haunted by the knowledge that -- in the fog of war -- they killed innocent civilians. These young soldiers and marines sacrificed their lives, their body parts, their sanity and their innocence in the honest belief that they were avenging the slaughter of 9/11. Among the things they carried into battle were postcards of the WTC in flames. They believed Sulzberger and they believed Judith Miller and her clones. It never occurred to them that neocon operators like Dick Cheney, Lewis Libby, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith were lurking behind the scenes with agendas that have yet to be made public. It never occurred to them that yellow journalists at the “paper of record” would team up with these ideological zealots to put them in harm’s way....(full article)

Adding Another Lock to Our Closet of Tortured Skeletons
by Ken Sanders

With little fanfare, and even less media coverage, last week the Senate Intelligence Committee took the first step in granting the Defense Intelligence Agency increased domestic spying authority, as well as decreased public accountability. With its new powers, the DIA could do something it has longed to do for years: spy on the American public....(full article)

Haiti, Imperialism, and the Treachery of Liberals
by Shirley Pate

What liberals choose to overlook is dangerous. Unfinished Country, a film about Haiti by Jane Regan, aired on PBS on September 6.  I’m not sure if I have seen a documentary so devoid of context. For the life of me, I don’t understand how one can discuss present day Haiti without chronicling the several-year, international effort to destabilize the country that involved a full-court press by: the US Agency for International Development (along with its French and Canadian counterparts) and its funding of the National Endowment for Democracy (and associated NGO-like tentacles); Washington free-market policy wonks; US State Department officials Colin Powell, Condi Rice and Roger Noriega; US-trained and funded paramilitaries and the stooges in the Dominican Republic that hosted them; Haitian elites; fake Haitian human rights organizations; the duplicitous US Embassy staff in Port-au-Prince; the IMF; and the World Bank. The initial goal of the destabilization campaign was two-fold: first, remove Aristide from power and second, systematically “eliminate” his abundant political support (largely, the poor) to pave the way for a Haitian elite victory in the next presidential elections. Regan’s failure to provide this vital background in her film leaves the viewer little context for what is taking place in Haiti today. Not only is this omission inconceivable, it is dangerous. It is dangerous because the “elimination” of Aristide’s supporters involves summary executions by Haitian National Police (HNP), deadly raids in poor neighborhoods by United Nations (UN) troops, and machete massacres by “attaches” or associates of the HNP.  Unless context is provided about why this all-out slaughter of Aristide’s supporters is underway, their deaths lose their political significance. And, make no mistake; what’s happening in Haiti is political....(full article)

What the US “War On Terror” is Really About
by Lee Sustar

Invoking the “war on terror” in connection with Iraq hasn’t helped Bush reverse his fall in the opinion polls. Yet the White House has managed to preserve the foreign policy consensus among Republicans and Democrats around aggressive -- and, when necessary, pre-emptive -- use of military force. Thus, the Democrats’ hawkish presidential aspirants like Senators Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are following John Kerry in trying to out-do Bush as champions of “national security.” Even sections of the antiwar movement are reluctant to portray the U.S. occupation of Iraq as an element of a broader imperial drive to dominate a strategic corridor stretching from the Mediterranean to Central Asia. This creates the political space for Bush and pro-war Democrats alike to use Islamophobia to trump their critics. “Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims,” Bush said in his speech to the NED. “Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination, and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves.” Shamefully, some on the left still chime in with almost identical rhetoric....(full article)

Cuba, We Need You
by Rosemarie Jackowski 

Hurricane Katrina brought offers of help from around the world. One such offer that the government tried unsuccessfully to keep hidden from the American people came from Cuba. It has been reported that President Fidel Castro offered to send as many as 1,500 English-speaking doctors to help the injured and dying in the areas affected by the hurricane. This generous offer comes from a nation that has suffered great hardship for decades under the illegal U.S. blockade.  What most people in the U.S. don't know is that this is not the first time that the offer from Castro has been made. There has been a long-standing offer of aid. Several years ago, in 2001, Castro was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize partly because of such generosity and humanitarianism. He has repeatedly offered free medical school training to the U.S. and other nations with unmet medical needs. The only string attached to the Cuban offer is that when the training is completed, the doctors must return to their home country to help their own fellow citizens....(full article)

The Illusion of Normality
by Ernest Partridge

Never in the 229 years of United States history has this government “of, by and for the people” been in greater peril. Not during the Civil War, not during the Great Depression, and not during the Second World War or the Cold War which followed.Until today, gross incompetence, abuse of power, corruption, corporatocracy, and federal insolvency could be checked and reversed by balanced and separated governmental powers, and at the ballot box by a citizenry informed and provoked by an alert and independent media. Now all branches of government and the mainstream media are dominated by the wealthy elites in control of a single political party. Can you believe this? If not, you are in the company of a majority of Americans who might respond to the above jeremiad with “Oh c’mon now, it can’t be as bad as all that! We’ve always had incompetence, corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, and stolen elections are as old as the republic. It’s no different now.” So long as that majority of Americans believes this, the rule of the Busheviks and its successor oligarch regimes will be secure. Thus Bush, Inc. and its obedient mainstream media are desperately endeavoring to nourish and sustain this “illusion of normality.” (full article)

Why a Water Crisis Exists in Gaza
by Sonia Nettnin

Gaza has a water crisis. Most people in the international community do not know the details as to why it exists and the root causes of the resource deficiency. For the more than 1.4 million Palestinians who live in Gaza water shortages and water deterioration affects their health. Moreover, the water crisis creates agricultural, economic, social, and political instabilities that have regional ramifications. Most of the existing problems are a direct and indirect result of Israeli policy. If the resource inequalities are not rectified soon, the Middle East will be facing an irreversible human and environmental disaster....(full article)

From Chaos to Conscience to Peace
by Monica Benderman

On July 27, 2005, Sgt. Kevin Benderman was found guilty of Missing Movement and sentenced to 15 months confinement, loss of pay and dishonorable discharge. In actuality, Sgt. Benderman’s crime was daring to tell the truth, and daring to challenge the very philosophy of the military machine in which he had volunteered to serve by filing for Conscientious Objection for no longer wanting to participate in war, and for speaking out to end violence as a means of resolving our differences. Conscientious Objection is not just objecting to war. It is objecting to chaos, to everything about life that keeps it from a peaceful path. War is chaos, but chaos is also war....(full article) 

October 18

The Anti-Empire Report
Portrait of Schizo Americanus
by William Blum

All the kindness, all the concern and generosity, the utmost empathy, taking strangers into their homes, donating so much money and goods and time, helping them find a roof over their heads, find a job, locate their loved ones ... But it must be asked: Why is it that so many of these same people can show so little concern for the many, many victims of US foreign policy -- the bombed and the tortured, the maimed and the impoverished, the widows and the orphans, the overthrown and the suppressed? How can these kind and generous Americans take delight and pride in the “shock and awe” of the Pentagon military machine?  How can they exult in the machine’s unstoppable power to smash through brick and flesh? Unquestionably, many of them display more regard for their dog than for any Iraqi or Afghan....
(full article)

Miller’s Confession: The Last Gasp Before the Indictments
by Mike Whitney

If you plan to read Judy Miller’s long and circuitous apology in the New York Times Sunday edition, bring your hip-waders. The obfuscating manure is knee deep and bound to stymie even the most curious reader. Miller’s a slippery customer, but a picture is slowly developing of someone who was deeply involved in White House maneuverings to discredit Joseph Wilson. It’s clear now that Dick Cheney’s right-hand man, Scooter Libby, provided Miller with the name of ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame. Plame’s name appears at least twice in the notebook Miller used when she interviewed Libby although she pretends that she cannot remember whether or not he furnished the name. It’s also clear that Libby tried to coerce Miller into silence by dispatching his lawyer, Joseph Tate, to tell Miller that she “was free to testify” but that Libby “had not told Ms. Miller the name or undercover status of Mr. Wilson's wife.” In other words, Libby lied to the Grand Jury and was signaling to Miller to shut up. If Miller told the truth she knew that Libby would go to jail and the administration would be exposed as plotting to disgrace Joseph Wilson....
(full article)

Bush And Big Oil May Be Making A Killing This Winter 
by Brian McAfee

Earlier this year President Bush enacted an energy bill into law that gave $85 billion dollars to big oil and gas companies, and this month the Republican controlled House of Representatives gave billions more in tax breaks to the oil industry while doing nothing to lower gas prices. Despite this windfall for the already rich stockholders and their friends, President Bush has proposed cutting funds to help the poor heat their homes this winter. The nation's 37 million people that live below the poverty line will be particularly in danger....(full article)

Killing With Impunity:
9-Second Coverage for
Dozens of Dead Iraqi Women and Children
by Media Lens

...Another story from Iraq that is embarrassing US-UK government politicians, and their supporters in the media, has received similarly scant attention in recent days. On October 15 The Independent reported that Jean Ziegler, a senior UN official, had condemned the “coalition” practice of cutting off food and water to force Iraqi civilians to flee before attacks on insurgent “strongholds” as a “flagrant violation” of international law....(full article)

Kevin Zeese’s Antiwar Campaign for the US Senate:
Hope for Changing Politics in Washington
by Joshua Frank

Politics in the United States often seem bleak, if not hopeless. There just aren’t many campaigns or candidates out there that one can get too excited about these days. And if it’s the war and US foreign policy that’s got you in a tizzy, you may as well forget about tracking down a contender that feels the same. There are not a lot out there. Some do exist, however, but they are often left out. The fact is it is people who agree with a candidate’s positions but abandon them that do the most damage, not the media or Beltway insiders. That’s why it is vital that antiwar folks stick to their cause and resist the quicksand of lesser-evil politics in 2006, regardless of the alleged consequences. If a candidate starts to speak up and embody an antiwar stance, the movement against the war should stand behind him/her with full force. Just such a candidate has risen to the challenge....(full article)

Cindy Sheehan Asks Governor Schwarzenegger to Pull
California Guard out of Iraq
by Dan Bacher

Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother whose courageous battle to meet with George Bush at his Crawford Texas ranch this August has reinvigorated the anti-war movement, delivered a letter on October 12 to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office at the State Capitol in Sacramento pleading with him to pull California National Guard troops out of Iraq....(full article)

October 17

Preventing a Fourth Reich
by Patricia Goldsmith 

Back in March of this year, Phil Donahue did an interview on Democracy Now in which he said, “… I could never understand how we could put 120,000 Japanese behind a fence in World War II. I remember being bewildered, how could the United States have -- I don’t have any more confusion about that. I realize what you can do when you scare the population and how media contributes to that.” In fact, the corporate media are delivering a product that is the antithesis of true journalism. Paul Krugman wrote a pointed article this week suggesting that journalistic careerism is the core of the problem. I agree. You could go further, though, and say that such careerism is only possible in a raw corporate culture where everything is always about money. And the sad truth is, when Murdoch make a worse product, his stock goes up. Fox News, Clear Channel, Sinclair, they all give the people what they want. That’s their mission, their mandate, and their cover. What, they ask, is fairer than that for the American consumer? (full article)

Judith Miller, the Fourth Estate and the Warfare State
by Norman Solomon

More than any other New York Times reporter, Judith Miller took the lead with stories claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Now, a few years later, she’s facing heightened scrutiny in the aftermath of a pair of articles that appeared in the Times on Sunday -- a lengthy investigative piece about Miller plus her own first-person account of how she got entangled in the case of the Bush administration’s “outing” of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. It now seems that Miller functioned with more accountability to U.S. military intelligence officials than to New York Times editors. Most of the way through her article, Miller slipped in this sentence: “During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment ‘embedded’ with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons.” And, according to the same article, she ultimately told the grand jury that during a July 8, 2003, meeting with the vice president’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby, “I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq.” Let’s replay that one again in slow motion....(full article)

From Suharto to Iraq: Nothing Has Changed
by John Pilger

“The propagandist's purpose,” wrote Aldous Huxley, “is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” The British, who invented modern war propaganda and inspired Joseph Goebbels, were specialists in the field. At the height of the slaughter known as the First World War, the prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided to C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: “If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know.” What has changed? (full article)

100 Days of Denial
by Milan Rai

There had been British Muslims who have fought for al-Qaeda before, and there had been British Muslims who have carried out, or attempted to carry out, suicide bombings before. But Thursday 7 July was the first suicide bombing in Britain itself -- “suicide bombing” in its modern sense of the indiscriminate killing of civilians by a terrorist willing to kill herself or himself in the act of destruction. The four suicide terrorist attacks were followed by four more attempted attacks on 21 July. All the indications are that there will be further al-Qaeda atrocities, perhaps even more serious in their severity, unless some solution is found. Given that the 7/7 bombers had almost no history which could have been used by the security services to detect them before their mission took place, the “solution” is unlikely to be a purely police or intelligence affair. The burning question of our time, then, is how Britain as a society can prevent more people deciding to become suicide bombers. Given the nature of the crime, no penalty is going to dissuade a potential bomber. There is going to have to be some other solution if the risk is to be successfully reduced....(full article)

October 15

The Silence of Writers
On 2005 Nobel Prize Winner Harold Pinter
by John Pilger

In 1988, the English literary critic and novelist D.J. Taylor wrote a seminal piece entitled “When the Pen Sleeps.” He expanded this into a book A Vain Conceit, in which he wondered why the English novel so often denigrated into “drawing room twitter” and why the great issues of the day were shunned by writers, unlike their counterparts in, say, Latin America, who felt a responsibility to take on politics: the great themes of justice and injustice, wealth and poverty, war and peace. The notion of the writer working in splendid isolation was absurd. Where, he asked, were the George Orwells, the Upton Sinclairs, the John Steinbecks of the modern age? (full article)

The Iraqi Constitution: A Cynical Cover for Partition
by Mike Whitney

Today’s vote on the Iraqi Constitution is the culmination of 15 years of unrelenting aggression against the Iraqi people. Washington has never wavered in its determination to topple Saddam and control Iraqi oil. Saturday’s balloting is just another public relations stunt to disguise the criminal intention of the present occupation. There’s a straight line that runs from Gulf War I, through the genocidal 10-year sanctions, to the present occupation.  Are the American people really stupid enough to believe that this policy will change with today’s referendum? (full article)

Separate and Unequal: The Resegregation of America’s Public Schools
by Sarah Knopp

Sarah Knopp, a high school social studies teacher in Los Angeles, looks at the re-segregation of U.S. public schools -- the subject of a new book, Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, by author Jonathan Kozol....(full article)

VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans
by Gene C. Gerard

The Veterans Affairs Department is currently reviewing approximately one-third of the cases of veterans who are receiving disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After conducting an internal study, the VA believes that they were too lenient in deciding which soldiers were eligible for PTSD benefits. Last year, the VA spent $4.3 billion on PTSD disability payments and the VA hopes to reduce these payments by revoking PTSD benefits for many veterans. This will be the final insult to soldiers who were asked to fight a war in Iraq on false premises. Because of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of veterans receiving compensation for PTSD has increased by almost 80 percent in the last five years. By comparison, the number of veterans receiving compensation for all other types of disabilities has only increased by 12 percent. Under the guidelines of the current review, soldiers who cannot prove that a specific incident, known as a “stressor,” was sufficient to cause PTSD, will have their benefits revoked. However, given the nature of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s not surprising that many returning soldiers are suffering from mental illness....(full article)

Operation Latin American Freedom
by Benjamin Dangl 

Preparations for renewed US militarization and intervention in Latin America are underway. To protect its own hegemony and economic interests, the US government is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for military operations aimed at destabilizing leftist movements and governments and securing natural resources such as oil and gas. By focusing on social programs in education, land reform and healthcare, many of the region’s new leaders have put the needs of the people ahead of the demands of multinational companies. This leftist resurgence makes corporate investors and other harbingers of the free market nervous. Recently, the Bush administration has gone to extreme measures to ensure that this leftist trend is put in check....(full article)

Why Did Earthquake Relief Fail?
by Lee Sustar

Delayed rescue attempts after the massive earthquake that struck Pakistan October 8 led to countless deaths -- and highlighted the human cost of militarism and imperialist power plays in Central and South Asia. The estimated death toll is as high as 38,000. Suffering was intensified by the failure of the military-led relief effort in Pakistan to provide food and shelter to survivors. “We are not mourning our dead today, we are mourning our ties with the government,” said magistrate Raja Mohammad Irshad of the city of Bagh, which is in the Pakistani-controlled section of the disputed province of Kashmir. “We are asking whether they think we are human beings, or animals, or non-living things,” he said. Many survivors were angry because President Pervez Musharraf -- who took power in a 1999 military coup -- posed for a photo op at a collapsed building in the capital of Islamabad, while cities in the affected area and scores of towns of villages went without help. The earthquake -- the worst in the region in a century -- would have had a catastrophic impact in any case. But its effect was greatly magnified by the area’s poverty -- a legacy of British colonialism, as well as the current U.S. effort to use Pakistan as a cornerstone in the “war on terror.”....(full article)

Birth, The Final Frontier Of Spectator Sport?
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

You’re in the last weeks of your pregnancy and the pressure is on; finish up at work, get the baby’s room ready and all that stuff you have to buy. Oh and draw up your labor party plan, complete with seating arrangements, menus and guest lists. The New York Times spotted it first. The headline “Move Over, Doc, the Guests Can't See the Baby,” trumpeted the benefits and downsides of labor parties. “Like bridesmaids and pallbearers,” the article said, “invitees are marked as an honored group of intimates.” Birth as a social event is not a new concept. In many cultures women surround birthing women, but what is different now is the context. Fielding midwife Vanessa Jackson comments that by choosing this path women are leading towards inevitable intervention. “This may sanitize the process and transform it into a performance art as if it were a type of theatre sport, but it creates a massive disconnect between the woman and the experience she is having.”....
(full article)

Gizen: Perverted Principle in Japan
by Kim Petersen

On 5 October, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa urged economic sanctions against the DPRK (Democratic Republic of Korea; northern Korea) because of the Cold War kidnappings of Japanese citizens by DPRK agents. "If it helps solve the abduction issue, I believe [the sanctions] should be launched as soon as possible," Nakagawa reasoned. Clearly, Nakagawa believes that people who commit the crime of kidnapping should be punished. This is fine. But should an entire society be targeted for the decades-old crimes of its dictatorial government? Sanctions will indiscriminately affect DPRK citizens and presumably the perpetrators behind the abductions will be least affected. Indeed, what kind of cabinet minister would advocate sanctions against a half nation recovering from famine?
(full article)

Opportunity Knocks
by Remi Kanazi

Formal talks between Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were put on hold this week. The first face to face dialogue between the two since the “disengagement” of the Gaza Strip was sidelined for a second time because of a difference in “objectives.” Israel essentially intends on acting as the High Court, examining Palestinian requests, while Palestinians -- trying to break Israel’s cycle of unilateral procedure -- demand action and fundamental change. This postponement symbolizes the Palestinian people’s unending struggle in their efforts to achieve justice. It is not a coincidence that Israeli forces have already invaded the Gaza Strip in the post-disengagement era, reserving the “right” to reinvade in the future. The power and the decision to exert it rests firmly in Sharon’s hands as it has since the start of US President George Bush’s “war on terror.” The world witnessed the onslaught of Israel’s Operation First Rain two weeks ago. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the invasion left eight Palestinian civilians dead, 35 civilians injured, and over 300 arrested. By taking on the role of a strict warden, Sharon will show mercy on the Palestinian prisoners, so long as they exhibit their ability to fall in line and follow his orders. Until then, it is lights out in the Occupied Territories....(full article)

Iraq & New Orleans:
The ABCs of Police Lawlessness
by Jack Random

As we witness the brutal beating of a retired school teacher, come to New Orleans to contribute his share to the rebuilding of a broken city, some of us dare wonder what the citizens of Tikrit, Fallujah, Ramadi and other targeted communities of Iraq must endure on a daily basis, where there are no civil authorities, no cameras (except the embedded kind), no civilian oversight and no judicial recourse. Police abuse, bias and corruption are serious problems not only in New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York but in every city, town and village in America where otherwise ordinary people become enamored with the power of the badge....(full article)

What’s Happening Out of Camera Range?
by Norman Solomon

By now, millions of TV viewers have seen the video numerous times on television: Two police officers are beating a man on the pavement. It’s big news -- because a camera was there. Robert Davis, a 64-year-old retired teacher, suffered injuries during the incident on the night of Oct. 8 in New Orleans. He’s scheduled to go on trial with charges that include resisting arrest and battery on one of the police officers who beat him. But under the circumstances, the man on the receiving end of the violence got lucky. Ordinarily, there’s no evidence to dispute the accounts provided by police officers after such violence occurs. The news media and the legal system are oriented to accept the word of uniformed authorities and discount the claims of defendants. For journalists and judges, the official story becomes The Story....(full article)

POW Abuse: Nothing New Going on Here
by Mickey Z.

As news of a prisoner hunger strike finally begins to trickle out from Guantanamo, rest assured any wrongdoing will be pinned on a few bad apples. However, even a cursory glance at U.S. treatment of enemies captured during military interventions will demonstrate that the goings-on at Gitmo (or Abu Ghraib for that matter) are standard operating procedure for the home of the brave....(full article)

Progressive Ideals: Rooted in American Values
by Peter Phillips

The term progressive is widely used by contemporary writers, politicians, and liberals, but an understanding of what makes up a progressive agenda is generally unknown. Many people have a vague sense that progressives are left-of-center folks mostly concerned with societal fairness and governmental transparency. This notion is rooted in the Progressive movement that occurred in the US between 1900 and 1915. According to Richard Hofstadfer in his book The Progressive Movement, 100 years ago our grandparents and great grandparents faced the accumulated evils of political bosses, banking trusts, railroad greed/overcharging, unjust taxation, millionaire senators, yellow-dog journalism, and cities filled with pollution and tenements. A nationwide multi-party political movement of mostly middle class working people emerged that sought political reform, increased governmental regulation, city sanitation, and objective media. The movement was closely tied into women suffrage and the formation of the NAACP....(full article)

The Christian Right's Piece of the “Promised Land”
by Bill Berkowitz

After more than 30 years of organizing testimonial dinners for right-wing Israeli politicians, handing out checks to Israeli charities, and forming alliances with conservative Jewish leaders and groups, evangelical Christians may finally be getting a chunk of the “Promised Land.” In a move geared toward solving northern Israel's unemployment crisis, increasing tourism to the country, and solidifying relations with U.S. evangelical Christians, the Israeli government has offered 35 acres of land on the shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) for development by Christian evangelicals....(full article)

Some Notes on Current Reporting on Judith Miller
by Sam Husseini

Yesterday's Washington Post piece by Howard Kurtz on the Judith Miller case quotes New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller: "It's excruciating to have a story and not be able to tell it, and annoying to be nibbled at by the blogs and to watch preposterous speculation congeal into conventional wisdom." Hmmm. That feels familiar, like when some of us raised questions about claims about Iraqi WMDs before the invasion of Iraq but the mainstream media congealed a conventional wisdom about WMDs that was utterly false -- excruciating like that? No, not at all that excruciating....(full article)

October 13

Preview of Abu Ghraib in New Orleans
by Lila Rajiva

Less than two weeks ago, on September 29, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the government to release fresh evidence -- 87 photos and 4 video tapes -- of detainee torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib which the ACLU had sought in a lawsuit brought against General Richard Myers in 2003. But for anyone looking for confirmation that brutality and abuse is not a wartime aberration but a homegrown reality in American law enforcement, there’s no need to wait. An Associated Press Television News tape from New Orleans provides a sneak preview....(full article)

Can Attacks on Oil Facilities Lead to Peace?
by Mike Whitney

The extra dollar per gallon that Americans are paying at the pump is the direct result of the war in Iraq. Think of it as the Bush Gas Tax for unnecessary wars. In 2001, Iraq was exporting 2.7 million barrels of oil a day through the Oil for Food program, which kept the price per barrel in the $25 range. In 2005 the amount has been chopped to 1.8 million barrels. That “extra million barrels per day” may not seem like a lot of oil, but with no excess capacity in the system, it has pushed the price up into the stratosphere, at times tipping the $70 per barrel mark. These prices were unimaginable before the war and are largely the result of the failed occupation strategy....(full article)

The Miers Nomination: Washington Politics at its Finest
by Joshua Frank

Who would have thought that Harriet Miers, President Bush’s choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, would be such a divisive figure? The conservative establishment hates her and the Democrats could care less. It’s not so surprising, really, that liberals aren’t posing any probing questions about Miers’ close connection to GW. Clearly it doesn’t bother the Dems that she was paid $19,000 to help Bush dodge National Guard questions back in Texas in the mid-1990s by playing a scandalous role in silencing Benjamin Barnes, the man who supposedly had the lowdown on how Bush got out of serving in Vietnam. Nor does it bother the Democrats that Miers’ old firm Locke, Liddell & Sapp, was allegedly complicit in aiding a client in defrauding investors while she was an acting partner. Nope, the liberals are agreeably silent as usual. Only conservatives seem infuriated this time around....(full article)

Oh, the Craving for Filthy Lucre: RSS and the Politics of Disaster Relief
by Ra Ravishankar

“[I]n order to weed out the evil of Pakistan, it is inevitable that we erase the existence of Pakistan itself from the face of the earth. Pakistan was born in hatred and violence. How can such a seed of poison give rise to fruits of love and amity? The more we feed it with the milk of love and generosity the more venomous it grows ... As long as Pakistan exists, it is bound to be a constant source of irritation to us.” Golwalkar, the second dictator of India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was not one to mince words. His above comments aptly describe the modus operandi of the RSS -- stigmatization of and a longing for the extermination of the Other (Muslims and Christians). Not surprisingly, if there is one set of people that's smugly delighted with the earthquake that has devastated Pakistan, it has got to be the Hindu fascists owing allegiance to the RSS ideology. RSS apologists routinely point to its alleged relief work during disasters (as if this could recompense for its numerous crimes), but a peek into the Hindutva list-serves offers a different reality....(full article)

Beyond Chutzpah: Israel and the Corruption of American Academia
by Neve Gordon

It is not everyday that a professor hires a prestigious law firm to threaten the University of California Press, yet for months Alan Dershowitz, Harvard’s Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, tried to stop UC Press from publishing Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah. When the Press’ director Lynne Withey replied that she believed in academic freedom and would therefore go ahead with the book, Dershowitz sent letters to the university’s board of trustees and even to California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, asking them to intervene on his behalf. Following both the trustees’ and governor’s decision not to get involved, one would have thought that the struggle had ended, but now that the book is on the shelves it seems that a new campaign is underway; this time an attempt to cancel the author’s reading engagements, for example at Harvard Bookstore and Barnes and Noble in Chicago. So what is the controversy about? (full article)

Fiction Holds On at the Atlantic Monthly
by Jaime Omar Yassin

Recently, editors at the Atlantic Monthly announced that they would no longer regularly feature fiction in its pages. The change was billed as a question of real estate or as "777 North Washington Street," the monthly letter from the editors, explained, more space is now required for long-form narrative journalism, because “the deeper features of the world requires a different and more expansive kind of reporting." (May 2005) In the same issue, ironically, the magazine’s literary editor, Bernard Schwarz, hints at the quality this "expansive" journalism will take, in his "Will Israel Live to be 100."....(full article)

Child Arrested For “Multiplication Denial”: Anti-Defamation League Sees New Form of Jew-Hatred in Numeric Disease
by Michael K. Smith

Hebron -- A high school student in this West Bank town has been arrested for "multiplication denial" after repeatedly insisting that a negative number multiplied by another negative number yields a negative product. A world-wide consensus of mathematicians determined long ago that two negative numbers multiplied together produces a POSITIVE product. "But it's obvious," said the 14-year-old student, Rihab Hanafi, as she was led away in chains by Uzi-toting guards, "multiplication magnifies; therefore two negative numbers multiplied together necessarily produces a MORE NEGATIVE product." Hanafi's repeating her false claims over and over and refusing to instantly accept the word of others gave her away as a died-in-the-wool Holocaust Denier right off the bat. "This kind of superficially plausible reasoning is characteristic of Holocaust Deniers, to which Mathematics Denial is obviously related," said Abraham Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League. "But the underlying motive is obviously hatred for truth and hatred for Jews, the principal bearers of truth."....(full satire)

October 11

Industrialized Greed Produces Pandemics
by Manuel García, Jr.

I have a sideline answering questions about radioactivity. Recently, a friend asked: does prolonged exposure to radioactive weapon residue (like depleted uranium dust) lead to outbreaks of mutated strains of viruses, such as Avian Flu? This leads to the further question of why pandemics, like the killer 1918 "Spanish Flu" -- which originated in the United States -- arise in the first place....(full article)

New Orleans: Leaving the Poor Behind Again!
by Bill Quigley

They are doing it again! My wife and I spent five days and four nights in a hospital in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We saw people floating dead in the water. We watched people die waiting for evacuation to places with food, water, and electricity. We were rescued by boat and waited for an open pickup truck to take us and dozens of others on a rainy drive to the underpass where thousands of others waited for a bus ride to who knows where. You saw the people left behind. The poor, the sick, the disabled, the prisoners, the low-wage workers of New Orleans, were all left behind in the evacuation. Now that New Orleans is re-opening for some, the same people are being left behind again....(full article)

Down the Rabbit Hole of Supply Side Economics:
The Death of the Virtual Economy and the Middle Class
by John M. Kelley

While politicians on both sides of the aisle refuse to talk about the war on the working class by the Bush administration, the increasing cliff edge disparity of wealth distribution in America is creeping precariously closer for the middle class. The grinding suffocation of poverty, always clear to the people on the bottom of our economy, is coming into view for a lot of folks who never suspected it would happen to them. Long sold a bill of goods that the poor were victims of their own bad judgment, middle class whites displaced by economic policies will soon be acutely aware of the personal impact of economic policy. Changes in several measurements reveal what many poor people have known for a long time: that there are severe class divides with high fences in between....(full article

The Public’s Right to Know All About Judith Miller
by Ahmed Amr

Upon her release from voluntary incarceration, it didn’t take long for Judith Miller to arrange for an appointment with CNN’s Lou Dobbs. After finally conceding that Libby was involved in the Plame scandal, she appeared on Lou’s show and declared that, “If people can't trust us to come to us to tell us the thing the government and powerful corporations don't want us to know, we're dead in the water.” Miller continues to insist on playing the farcical role of a First Amendment martyr. She is now demanding the passage of a federal shield law “so that the public’s right to know can be protected.” Maybe I missed something -- but I thought she spent twelve weeks in jail to avoid providing the public with some essential facts about the role of high-powered administration insiders in the Plame affair. There is a whole bunch of questions that the public wants answers to. And Judith is a walking treasure trove of all kinds of information that the government and powerful corporations -- like the New York Times -- don’t want you to know....(full article)

Connected at the Roots?  
Judith Miller, “Scooter” Libby, and the June Notes 
by Gary Leupp

....The incarceration and release of Judith Miller is of course at the core of the investigation. Following her release on September 29 after almost three months in confinement, having refused to cooperate with Fitzgerald in order to protect her sources and some concept of journalistic freedom, it’s been revealed that she had a conversation with Libby including reference to Wilson on June 25, eleven days before Wilson’s op-ed. The existence of a notebook containing notes about that meeting, which has been stored in the offices of the NYT, has just been revealed. It has or will occasion further discussion between the Special Prosecutor and the principals in the investigation. Its content may be critical, and explain the confusion about Libby’s waiver of confidentiality and earlier permission to Miller to answer the special prosecutor’s questions. It may be that Libby while partly cooperative with the investigation for some reason hoped to conceal details about the June conversation....(full article)

Religion May Be Dangerous to Our Health
by Lee Salisbury

The Roman Catholic Jesuit Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, in its Journal of Religion and Society recently published a report by social scientist Gregory Paul. The report is entitled “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies.” The study contradicts a commonly held belief that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society. Belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society, but may actually contribute to social problems....(full article)

George Bush and the Four Horsemen
by Mike Whitney

It’s becoming apparent to even the most avid Bush loyalist that the current charlatan-in-chief has been the greatest catastrophe in the nation’s 200-year history. Regrettably, there are strong indications that the Crawford albatross is planning to pull us further downward towards the ocean floor. At present, the republic is buckling beneath the weight of deception, violence and incompetence. In Iraq, the plan to chop up the country into three smaller parts is moving ahead despite the intensity of the resistance or the objections of the Sunni minority. Bush has assumed the mantle of an Iraqi Jefferson Davis championing the merits of reformation and regional autonomy. The new constitution provides only the thinnest cover for a neocon master plan that destroys what little is left of Iraqi society while legitimizing a permanent American occupation. Al Jaafari, Talibani, Chalabi and the long list of rogues and collaborators have made their Faustian bargain with their US overlords and put their country on a course that will result in decades of hardship and slaughter. All for what? (full article)

Always There: The Voice of a Gold Star Mother
by Walter Brasch

Laura Bush was at the Colonial Fire Hall in Hamilton, N.J., telling about 700 pre-selected ticket-holding Bush faithful why they needed to vote for her husband. The First Lady went through the usual litany of what she believed were her husband’s accomplishments, frequently invoking the memory of 9/11. And then she told the crowd why the nation needed to support her husband’s war. “It’s for our country, it’s for our children and our grandchildren, that we do the hard work of confronting terror and promoting democracy,” said the First Lady. That’s when Sue Niederer, a 55-year-old teacher and Realtor, standing at the back of the hall, just couldn’t take it any more. “If the Iraq war is so necessary,” she called out, “why don’t your children serve?” That’s when the Secret Service came by, when Republican volunteers pushed and shoved her, and raised Bush campaign signs around her to block her from talking and to prevent the media from turning their cameras to her. A few in the crowd had tried to come to her defense, one person shouting out, “She has a right to speak. She’s a mother.” But, the “right to speak” was drowned out, as were Niederer’s own comments, by the partisan chant, “Four More Years! Four more years!” -- just in case Niederer or anyone else had anything to say that the crowd thought might be high treason....(full article)

Whose Freedom Do We Mean?
by Gary Steven Corseri

A new poem by Gary Corseri on the essence of our "freedom"....(full poem)

The Need to Speak Out: Canada’s Governor Generalship
by Kim Petersen

There is a lot of hullabaloo recently on the swearing in of a youthful, attractive Haitian-Canadian governor-general. The GG is the politically appointed Canadian representative of Canada’s head-of-state who absurdly happens to be a foreigner ensconced on a throne in Great Britain. That the anachronistic institution is undemocratic and represents a paucity of Canadian sovereignty is bad enough, but what about the person that embodies the governor-generalship? (full article)

October 10

Accusations and Smear
An Interview With Ward Churchill ( Part 3 of 5)
by Joshua Frank

On this Columbus Day, we bring you Part Three of an explosive five-part interview series Joshua Frank, author of Left Out!, conducted with University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill this past summer....(full article)

Antithetical Heroism
by Kim Petersen

I was somewhat taken aback when I read progressive sportswriter David Zirin describing ex-professional football star Pat Tillman as a “war hero” in an e-mailing entitled: “The Meeting That Never Was: Pat Tillman and Noam Chomsky.” It was unclear whether Zirin was expressing his own opinion or not. But the e-mailing noted that the article also appeared in The Nation where it became clear, as the title was “Pat Tillman, Our Hero.” Undoubtedly, Tillman was motivated by some undefined concept of personal conviction in giving up millions to go to Afghanistan, put his life at risk, and supposedly defend his country against the terrorism behind the 9-11 attacks [assuming 9/11 was an external attack against the United States, and also separating it from all US foreign policy actions in the Middle East]. Yet it is unclear just whose hero Tillman is. Is he now the hero of progressives that Tillman’s respect for dissident professor Noam Chomsky has been revealed? Nonetheless, more important is whether the willingness to kill perceived enemies, in fact, constitutes heroism....(full article)

by Patricia Goldsmith

George W. Bush has famously expressed a certain contempt for history: “History? We’ll all be dead.” A smirker’s philosophy in a nutshell. And yet he cared enough about history to make Bob Woodward his official biographer. Shaping opinion, now and if possible for all time, is a primary focus. It’s only been a little over a month since Hurricane Katrina hit, but already it is clear that the disaster was a bonanza for those who are in the self-declared business of bending the world to their reality. The world has indeed changed. As usual, active efforts are being made by the Bushitters and the mainstream media to prevent what we’ve just experienced from sinking in, while they bury the truly significant aspects of the story and begin the long tedious process of editing our memories. So I want to take a minute and look at three altered or suppressed aspects of what we just witnessed and provide a memory resource for the future....(full article)

Bunker Days with Reichsführer George
by Mike Whitney

Bush’s speech to the National Endowment for Democracy was a long and tedious journey through the shadowy world of terrorism. It was loaded with the same wearisome phantoms and dreary evildoers that have appeared in every Bush speech since September 2001. Bush is beginning to sound like the three-wheeled ox-cart trundling down the road emitting the same shrill screech with every rotation. The man needs some new material. His dismal performance last Thursday further demonstrated his inability to grasp reality or to deal with the mess he’s created. He dredged up the lackluster imagery of 9-11 to cobble together a 40-minute monologue that excluded every topic of national interest except terrorism. Even his audience, which was chock full of flag-waving jingoes and “democracy-spreading” zealots, appeared dumbstruck....(full article)

By John Chuckman, Copyright © 2005

October 7

Opting Out
by Said Shirazi

If it is not possible to change society, is it possible to escape it? (full essay)

The Left-Wing Gatekeepers of the American Anti-Israeli
Occupation Movement

by Seth Farber

As progressive Jews our concern should be entering into an alliance with Palestinians, not with reaching an agreement within Jewish ranks (first) of what Palestinians should be offered, or what face Jews should present to the world. More than any other group on the left, Michael Lerner and Tikkun promulgate this latter approach. One has the impression that Lerner is talking in Tikkun only -- or primarily -- to other Jews. Since from Lerner's perspective Jews had the right to set up a state in Palestine in the first place, there can be no question of expressing remorse for the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948. Self-respecting Palestinian and Arabs are not interested in an alliance with Lerner -- since he defends the "original sins" by which Israel came into existence. Tikkun represents an interest group for progressive Jews, and it thus sets the standards for most non-Jewish progressives of what is acceptable criticism of Israel. (Although Tikkun does publish writers with more radical perspectives than Lerner's.) The fly in the ointment is that Jews do not need yet another interest group. We need groups that demonstrate to the world that Jews too can place the exigencies of justice over that of bargaining for our "interests" -- however progressively defined....(full article)

A Horrid Reality
by Sheila Samples

The miserly response to Katrina should serve as a wake-up call to those Americans who can still think. Fascism is on the march and, when this administration threw down the gauntlet in New Orleans, it declared open war on this nation's poorer citizens, most of whom were Black....(full article)

Martial Law and the Advent of the Supreme Executive
by Mike Whitney

On Tuesday, President Bush warned the nation that outbreaks of Bird Flu may require massive quarantines enforced by the US Military. He said that the military would be better able “to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the flu”, although he failed to explain why that task couldn’t be carried out by the National Guard.  Bush’s comments echoed the same themes we’ve heard repeatedly since Hurricane Katrina: that the president needs the power to deploy troops within the country at his own discretion and without any legal restrictions. It is a conspicuous attempt to militarize the country and declare martial law, although the media has scrupulously avoided the obvious conclusions....(full article)

The IAEA Vote Against Iran
by Gary Leupp

Last month the International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a resolution targeting Iran’s nuclear energy program. Specifically, 22 of the 35 delegates voted to resolve that Iran’s “many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement [voluntarily signed by Iran in 2003]…constitute non-compliance” with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to claim that the “history of concealment of Iran’s nuclear activities” and “resulting absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes have given rise to questions that are within the competence of the Security Council.” They urged Iran to take five measures to avoid referral to the UN Security Council, most important of which is the “full and sustained suspension of [uranium] enrichment activity.” But the NPT itself guarantees to all signatory nations the right to enrich uranium, and some countries without nuclear weapons (Japan, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands) enjoy that capacity without international censure. To renounce that right would require Iran to voluntarily accept an inferior status, validating the vilification heaped upon it by Washington while also limiting its options for dealing with energy and security crises in the future....(full article

Water and Wind as Dance Partners and the Warming Globe 
by Shepherd Bliss

Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Jova were watched closely here in the tropics. We have a personal stake in the swirling connection when water and wind meet, become dance partners and take a spin on the floor. I have this image of the roof on my house lifting off and rain rushing down on me and my stuff. A mere tropical storm transferred part of a neighbor’s roof to their yard. As we recently saw in the Gulf Coast, the elemental water/wind partnership can break down stout human structures -- even cities like New Orleans -- with a mere gesture....(full article)

Nicaragua: From Sandino to Chavez 
by toni solo 

Reviewing the Adolfo Diaz period one realizes that patterns of US imperial behavior, of Nicaraguan domestic resistance and oligarchical betrayal, have changed little in the intervening century. Right now, a sell-out government of mediocre placemen struggles to maintain some shred of legitimacy, using a border dispute over the Rio San Juan with Costa Rica as a smokescreen to cover its failures. As of this writing, a handful of senior government ministers have skipped the country to avoid a judicial process for electoral finance offences. Sandinista opposition leader Daniel Ortega persistently calls for dialogue. President Bolaños equally persistently insists on pre-conditions underwritten by foreign allies. The US State Department and the local US embassy intervene openly, giving orders and making threats to local politicians, demonizing anyone who resists their will. The dominant Nicaraguan oligarchy hurry to impose yet another US-authored treaty -- this time the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). They expect to do well out of it themselves, while CAFTA's terms leave Nicaragua's poor majority and the country's precious natural resources at the mercy of US corporate investors....(full article)

October 5

Growing Gulf Between Rich and Rest of US
by Holly Sklar

Guess which country the CIA World Factbook describes when it says, "Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20 percent of households." If you guessed the United States, you're right. The United States has rising levels of poverty and inequality not found in other rich democracies. It also has less mobility out of poverty. Since 2000, America's billionaire club has gained 76 more members while the typical household has lost income and the poverty count has grown by more than 5 million people....(full article)

Cronyism and Capitulation: The Scoop on Harriet Miers
by Joshua Frank

So you thought that Harriet Miers, George W. Bush’s new Supreme Court pick, has no paper trail. You were wrong. One of Miers only qualifications for the high court -- as she hasn’t an ounce of judicial experience -- is that she was the head of Locke, Liddell & Sapp, a sleazy corporate law firm based in Dallas, Texas. According to the InterNet Bankruptcy Library (IBL), Locke Liddell & Sapp paid $22 million in a suit alleging it aided a client in defrauding investors. The Dallas-based firm agreed in April of 2000 to settle a suit stemming from its representation of Russell Erxleben, a former University of Texas football star whose foreign currency trading company, Austin Forex International, was a pyramid, get-rich Ponzi scheme....(full article)

Abort Every White Baby!
by Justin Felux

Bill Bennett, a prominent right-wing blowhard, has recently come under intense fire for remarks made on his radio show, in which he stated, "I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could ... abort every black baby in this country."  He quickly backed away from the proposition, saying, "That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."  It's unfortunate that Bennett chose to be so politically correct, because I think he may be onto something here.  He's just wrong about the target. If we really wanna get tough on crime, it's the white babies who should start getting the coat hanger treatment....(full article)

Soldiers Shouldn’t Serve as Police Officers
by Gene C. Gerard

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Bush administration has asked the Department of Defense to reconsider its longstanding compliance with a nineteenth century law that precludes active military personnel from playing a role in law enforcement activities. And President Bush has called on Congress to consider amending the law so that the military could assume greater responsibility immediately following a natural disaster. But asking the military to serve as a police force is dangerous in many respects....
(full article)

Red Ink for Sulzberger and Judith Miller
by Ahmed Amr

After Judith Miller finally decided to testify before a Grand Jury investigating the Plame scandal, her paper narrated the story in a report that can easily induce a coma: “The agreement that led to Miller's release followed intense negotiations among her; her lawyer, Robert Bennett; Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate; and Fitzgerald. The talks began with a telephone call from Bennett to Tate in late August. Miller spoke with Libby by telephone this month as their lawyers listened. It was then that Libby told Miller that she had his personal and voluntary waiver. The discussions were at times strained, with Libby and Tate's asserting that they communicated their voluntary waiver to another lawyer for Miller, Floyd Abrams, more than year ago. Other people involved in the case have said Miller did not understand that the waiver had been freely given and did not accept it until she had heard from Libby directly. On Thursday, Abrams wrote to Tate disputing parts of Tate's account. His letter said although Tate had said the waiver was voluntary; Tate had also said any waiver sought as a condition of employment was inherently coercive. Tate said in an interview on Thursday, "Her lawyers were provided with a waiver that we said was voluntary more than a year ago." Abrams would not discuss the question in a brief telephone conversation on Thursday.” (Douglas Jehl, NYT, 9/30/2005) If you’re still awake, here is a brief translation: Miller believed Libby was coerced into giving her a waiver to testify about his role in the Plame case. That’s why she spent 12 weeks rotting in jail until she was certain that he meant it from the bottom of his heart. A whole bunch of lawyers were engaged to determine Libby’s sincerity....(full article)

The Evil of Torture and the Power of Non-Violence   
by Mike Whitney

Leftists and intellectuals have a tough time explaining the presence of evil in the world so they steer away from the topic like the plague. This is a big mistake and will eventually inhibit our ability to deal effectively with the present crisis. Typically evil is understood in the context of spiritual belief and depends heavily on one’s acceptance of the ultimate division of reality into unseen forces of good and evil, God and Satan. The trouble with this analysis is that it completely eschews demonstrable phenomena that can help us understand the nature of the problem itself. There are things we can know about evil in a practical, provable way that provide both insight and remedy. These things do not require belief in a Supreme Being or faith in an afterlife. The Leftist approach sidesteps evil altogether, looking instead for hidden psychological causes or deep-seated emotional problems to explain the erratic behavior of destructive people....(full article)

“Think Hard Before You Go Setting Patterns”
An Interview with Thaddeus Rutkowski
by Mickey Z.

He's got the credentials: Cornell grad, two novels published, nominated for literary awards, reviewed books for the New York Times, teaches writing in the Big Apple, and flaunts a name any middle linebacker would be proud of. Most notably, perhaps, Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of the just-released novel Tetched, is a man of few words. His prose is sparse...each word weighed carefully. Each paragraph like a painting; each chapter possessing the power of a one-act play-Rutkowski crafts literary fractals of individual force that add up to form a singular, powerful narrative. Witty, sad, provocative, and sexy, Tetched is what one might expect from a true original. I asked Thad a few questions recently...and here's what he had to say....(full article)

October 3

The Crude Truth about the War in Iraq
by Ahmed Amr

For a rational discussion of our Middle Eastern imperial obsessions, Americans need to understand that our military adventures in the region are not driven by mere ‘crude’ considerations. More precisely, our soldiers and marines are killing and dying in Iraq to coerce an oil starved world to horde American dollars for future purchases of Saudi and Kuwaiti crude. Now, that might seem like a distinction without a difference and it does make for a piss poor anti-war slogan. However, it is a distinction that allows for an iron clad rebuttal against those who still buy into the silly notion that we are in the region to promote democracy and export ‘our values.’ In reality, we place military garrisons in the region to maintain the status of the dollar as an international means of exchange and convince the world of accepting our trade deficits as an American entitlement program. It’s our way of making the world an offer they can’t refuse....(full article)

by Patricia Goldsmith

We have reached the paralytic stage of Bush spin, where a large percentage of the population are ready to forget the horrors they’ve just seen and felt, in return for comforting lies -- lies they can live with. A large proportion of people are willing to place major responsibility for the recent bloodbath on the Gulf Coast on media-targeted scapegoats -- both local officials and the victims themselves -- in exchange for the ability to deny the most threatening portion of the Bush response: the active intervention of the federal government to prevent outside help from getting in.  This was not neglect, incompetence, or failure. This was what Rummy calls a “catastrophic success.” In the press of events, certain mainstream figures did go off the reservation. New York Times columnist David Brooks actually admitted that the Bushitters lie quite deliberately and have from Day One.  Brooks characterizes the position of White House insiders this way: “[I]f you admit a mistake, you get no credit from your enemies, and then you open up another week’s story, because the admission of a little mistake leads to the admission of big mistakes and another week’s story.  It’s totally tactical and totally insincere.” It’s all a story. One big story from beginning to end....
(full article)

The Occupation of New Orleans
by Mike Whitney

The appearance of fully armed mercenaries on the streets of New Orleans tells us that the city is currently under occupation. Whenever foreign troops are deployed within an urban area it can only mean one thing: the loss of sovereignty. It’s no different here. Blackwater mercenaries are part of a privately owned army that has seized control of the streets from their rightful owners, the people of New Orleans. They are an integral part of a much broader plan to militarize the nation and turn America into a garrison-state....(full article)

Do Feds Secretly Control The States' Emergency Management
Assistance Compact (EMAC)?

by Lynn Landes

Who controls state-to-state requests for disaster assistance, the states or the federal government? Most people would say the states, of course. But, that might not be the case. The federal government may secretly control state-to-state assistance requests through a little-known entity called, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). In the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, which included communications and logistics failures across the board, and with similar problems after Hurricane Rita (voiced last Thursday in Congress by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)), EMAC has largely escaped public scrutiny....(full article)

The Booby Trap: Does Breast Cancer Awareness Save Lives?
A Call to Re-think the Pink

by Lucinda Marshall

You know that it's October when the leaves start turning and the world turns a glorious pink. Yes pink, the mascot color of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Each year we are exhorted to race for the cure and go for our mammograms because, according to the NBCAM mantra, "Early detection saves lives". We buy pink lipstick and wear pink ribbons because part of the proceeds goes to benefit breast cancer research. The question we fail to ask however is does being 'aware' save lives? To begin with, it is inconceivable that there is a thinking adult in this country who isn't aware of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, one in seven women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime (in 1975, the risk was only one in eleven). More than 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Each year, more than 40,000 women die from breast cancer. Maddeningly, the treatment options offered to women with breast cancer vary little from the treatments used 40 years ago, radiation, chemotherapy and surgery....(full article)

Cindy Sheehan Rattles the Democrats
by Joshua Frank

In a recent article in these pages I criticized Cindy Sheehan for going soft on Hillary Clinton’s war mongering. Well, I was wrong. Sheehan hasn’t gone soft on Clinton; she's attacked the New York Senator for her hollow position on the Iraq conflict. At a rally outside Hillary Clinton’s office in New York, Cindy Sheehan declared to the crowd on hand that Clinton either speak out against the war or risk losing her job. In fact, New York antiwar advocates are hoping Sheehan will run against Clinton in the Democratic primaries in 2006. Others out West are hoping Sheehan will take on Dianne Feinstein in California....(full article)

Flattened Worlds, Modest Reforms and Utopian Impulses
by Michael Hirsch

Like Oscar Hammerstein’s Kansas City, everything’s like a dream in Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. The brave new world of instant communication, uniform standards and easy capital mobility is better than a magic lantern show. Except this sleight of hand comes without human intervention or conscious planning, and certainly without the capacity to dream languorously or think deeply or value much beyond the technical innovations that raise the bottom line....(full article)

Why Not Torture Judith Miller?
by Mike Whitney

Let’s see if I got this right. The New York Times’ star investigative reporter Judith Miller spent 12 weeks in the hoosegow only to discover that she actually had permission to testify before the Federal grand jury the whole time? Is this what the Times means when they say that she had to confirm that she “finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver” from her source. (Ass. Chief of Staff “Scooter” Libby) Oh, so it was all just a big mistake?
(full article)

Republicans Require Health Insurance for Immigrants Only
by Gene C. Gerard

This month, Congress will consider an immigration reform bill introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ). A component of the bill would require employers to provide health insurance to all workers who are registered immigrants. To be sure, immigrants who lawfully enter the country to work, and who pay taxes, should have access to health insurance. But this bill is poorly reasoned and has the potential to create tremendous problems. Although the bill will mandate that employers provide health insurance coverage to immigrants, this is a luxury that no American enjoys. Employers are not required to provide health insurance to citizens. At the very least, this will provoke animosity and tension between immigrants and citizens. At its worst, this will result in an increase in American workers without insurance....(full article)

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