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February 27

Movie-Inspired Debate Over “Euthanasia” is Absurd
“Million Dollar Baby” Deserves an Oscar -- but the
Medical Ethics Debate Has Gone Off the Track

by James J Murtagh, M.D.

When they open the envelope for “Best Picture” at the Oscars tonight, I’ll be rooting hard for Million Dollar Baby -- the dazzling new Clint Eastwood film about a woman left paralyzed after sustaining a neck injury during a boxing match. Because I like the movie so much, it’s no fun to report that both the film and its critics have made a major mistake: they forgot that it’s illegal for doctors to treat alert, rational patients against their will. Somehow, the film distorts the medical aspects of end-of-life decision-making almost beyond recognition....(full article)

February 26

Europe to Bush: “Hands Off Iran”?
by Mike Whitney

All in all, it was the most minutely choreographed tour in the history of the Republic. Regrettably, very little was actually accomplished. The Transatlantic Alliance continues to dither on life-support and the savvy Europeans show no interest in Bush’s high-minded rhetoric. True, there were plenty of smiley photo-ops and lofty speeches, but behind the back-slapping and handshakes, the main parties remain as divided as ever. The illusion of a “shared vision” was only held together by announcing agreements that had been worked out weeks earlier. The commitment to provide greater security for Russia’s “loose-nukes” was one such agreement, as was Chirac’s pledge to take a strong stand on removing Syria’s 1,500 man army from Lebanon. Similarly, Schroeder’s support for a “non-nuclear” Iran may look like a Bush triumph, but, in fact, Europe has already done everything possible to dissuade Iran from developing nukes, including lavish economic incentives and a stepped up inspections regime that exceeds Iran’s treaty obligations under the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) These deals were already hammered out long before Bush left Washington. So, what new agreement did the Bush-trek produce? (full article)

The Tsunami, Religion, Science and Our Politicians
by Lenni Brenner

Brenner discusses the deep religiosity of Americans, the attack on teaching of evolution, geology and physics in schools, and why science buffs must organize to force our politicians to educate their ignorant voters regarding the geology behind natural disasters such as tsunamis....(full article)

Teaching Science in an Anti-Empirical Empire
by Mark W. Bradley

I've often heard it said that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but I, for one, find this platitude insulting and offensive. Not only is it ageist and speciesist, it’s nothing but a load of old hogwash. Quadrupedal senior citizens can be reeducated and retrained. But first they must undergo the difficult and often disorienting process of de-education. This involves a complete and thorough divestiture of outdated notions acquired in the canine subject’s formative years, mostly as a byproduct of painstakingly learning the old tricks they erroneously assumed would serve them well right up until the moment they were subterraneously reunited with their favorite dirt-encrusted calcium treats. The same holds true for us increasingly featherless bipeds as we toddle off into the sulfur-dioxide-enhanced sunset of our iron-pyrite years. More and more, we discover to our chagrin that the things we learned in school turn out not to be true at all. Were we wrong to spend so much time studying all those discredited theories like Darwinism, Humanism and Dialectical Materialism? Wouldn’t we have been better off spending our time hanging out with the really cool guys, the guys who never even bothered to go to class because they were too busy packing their noses with blow, drinking bong-water, branding each other with red-hot coat hangers, and spanking their monkeys blindfolded in open coffins? (full article)

Tortures Our Business ... and Business is Good
by Ken Sanders

Who could forget President Bush's repeated invocations of liberty, freedom, and human rights in his second inauguration speech? It warmed the cockles of the heart to hear our beloved President wax poetic about the grand ideals for which America stands. It chills the soul to contrast Bush's lofty rhetoric with the awful truth perpetuated by our government. The truth is, our government condones, promotes and even celebrates torture....(full article)

A Kick in the Pants
by Sheila Samples

It's unfortunate that Bush doesn't understand what is happening in the world he so arrogantly believes he owns. The European trip he's on now is a barely concealed attempt to strong-arm support for his upcoming invasion of Iran. An invasion, according to former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter, which Bush has already approved, and is slated for June 2005....(full article)

Abortion Rights Under Attack: Why are the Democrats Giving Up?
by Elizabeth Schulte

A woman’s right to abortion is one of the few issues where the Democrats can still claim that they look different from the Republicans. But for how much longer? In the aftermath of their loss to George W. Bush and the Republicans in the 2004 election, Democratic Party leaders like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) are pushing a new strategy on abortion rights -- finding “common ground” with anti-abortionists. And mainstream women’s groups are marching right with them....(full article)

by Stephen Gowans

From the country that brought you the Axis of Evil, Outposts of Tyranny and innumerable sanctimonious complaints about the real and imagined human rights abuses of official enemies, comes a new production of: Truncheon-wielding US soldiers in “We Want To Be Your Back Door Men” doing literally to assorted foreigners what successive administrations have being doing figuratively to Third World populations for decades -- giving it to them up the wazoo....(full article)

Syria Out of Lebanon and Israel Out of Syria
by Ahmed Amr

This is a moment of truth for all belligerent parties in the Middle East. Hariri’s assassination has once again focused the world’s attention on the need to get some major Levantine matters resolved and soon.  The quickest solution to these “complex problems” is to shed all complexity and keep it simple. Get Syrian forces - including intelligence operatives -- out of Lebanon. And compel the Israelis to remove all settlements and end the occupation of the Golan Heights....(full article)

When is Genocide Not Genocide?
by Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

When is the heinous crime of “genocide” not “genocide”? Perhaps, when everyone of the targeted national, racial, religious, or regional population is not yet exterminated. Henceforth, “genocide” appears to be the case when it can be demonstrated that the population under attack has been totally destroyed. To prove that genocide has occurred, there must be no survivors. In the case of the Sudan, according to the report of the just-concluded UN investigating commission on the character of the slaughter of the African population in the Dafur region by the Khartoum-based Arab regime and its Janjaweed militia allies, such an outcome hasn’t yet occurred – therefore, there is “no genocide”; at least not yet. Instead, there have been what the commission categorizes, quite curiously, as “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” committed by the regime. For the UN, Khartoum has apparently not yet crossed that “dreadful” threshold into the realm of completing its designated mission, its “final solution”, in Dafur. Until this happens, the Dafur report meanwhile acknowledges that 70,000 Darfuri have been killed during the war waged on them by Khartoum while two million others have been forced into exile, many of them in the neighboring state of Chad. Equally contradictorily, or so it appears, the UN notes that the “killing of civilians, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and enforced displacement” are taking place in Dafur. So, even though these appalling crimes have been indisputably and systematically carried out against the Dafuri, as a people, by the Sudanese state and its allies, it is extraordinary that the UN does not think that these “amount to genocide.”....(full article)

Objectivity in Independent Media
Part 2: “What You See is What Exists”
by Kim Petersen & B. J. Sabri

On 10 November 2004, PINR published, “The Threat of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic Revolutionary Movement”. The opening paragraph read: “On October 29, 2004, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden released a new videotape, revealing the first images of the leader in more than a year. The video offered proof that bin Laden is alive and healthy with access to modern technology. The resurgence of Osama bin Laden emphasizes the threat to the United States and its interests still posed by Islamic revolutionaries.” An objective reading of Erich Marquardt’s analysis and the quotation provided would reveal that PINR is either gullible or guilty of compliance with corporate elites. This is because that analysis does not differ one iota from the logic and thought of the corporate media and its systematic abuse of the majority’s apathy for world politics and history to spread disinformation....(full article

The James Guckert/James Gannon, Fake Reporter
in the White House Question is Moot!

by John Tully

A weekend journalism-school reporter, using a fake name, was given access to the President of the United States at White House press briefings before he even worked for any news organization. He claims that he has seen a confidential, so-called C.I.A. document that reveals the name of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife and shows her recommending him for the trip to Niger to investigate yellowcake uranium sales to the Iraqis. It turns out that Secret Service has been waving James Guckert by the guardhouse for two and a half years and once inside, he became Jeff Gannon. He wrote for a fake website, Talon News, run by Republican strategist Bobby Eberle and the organization GOPUSA....(full article)

Christian Right Mum on Gannon Affair
by Bill Berkowitz

Why have the "traditional family values" folks erected a wall of silence around the Gannon scandal? (full article)

Let’s ‘C’
by William Fisher

Let’s C.
C is for Cat? Car? Connecticut?
No. Not even close.
You’re getting warmer. Hint: You wear it.
Aha, the dreaded “C-word”: CONDOM!
The mere utterance is likely to lead to another battle in the culture wars.
But there: I’ve said it.
Which is more than the Bush Administration is prepared to do.
That’s what I discovered while surfing another bunch of Cs -- the CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention....(full article)

February 24

Pyongyang Waiting for the Spring
by Gavan McCormack

With the lunar New Year in Northeast Asia, the darkness of winter recedes, a pale sun gains strength, daylight hours lengthen and the earth stirs. However, in one of the bleakest and coldest corners of the region, North Korea, the land is still hard-frozen, spring is far off, and political frosts have not melted for more than half a century. Yet all extremes are eventually exhausted and yield, as yang to yin -- and even for North Korea that time may not be far off....(full article)

Is This Your Ownership Society?
by Holly Sklar

Would you invest in a company that cut your wages, laid off your cousin, polluted your neighborhood, cut your health insurance and raided your retirement fund? If so, you'll love President Bush's “ownership society.” At a time of rising support for socially responsible business, Bush's ownership society offers less social responsibility, less opportunity and accelerating dis-investment in the future....(full article)

Remember Afghanistan?
by Ken Sanders

Does anyone remember Afghanistan, the first stop in Bush's “War On Terror” world tour? It wouldn't be at all surprising if no one did since only Newsweek, the Associated Press, and the Washington Post have full-time reporters in the country. With hundreds of reporters on the ground in Iraq, we hear daily about the successes and failures there, the atrocities committed there by insurgents and U.S. forces alike, as well as constant prognostications about the future of Iraq and its people. When it comes to Afghanistan, however, the home of Al-Qaeda, we hear almost nothing. Pity. There is a lot to be heard....(full article)

Ex-Presidents as Pitchmen: Touting Good Deeds
by Norman Solomon

An Associated Press dispatch from a Thai fishing village summed up the media spin a few days ago: “Former President Bill Clinton’s voice trembled with emotion as he and George H.W. Bush put aside their once-bitter political rivalry...” Ever since his initial checked-out responses to the catastrophic tsunami two months ago drew worldwide derision, the current president has largely relied on two predecessors to do the image-repair chores. In effect, an ad hoc PR outfit -- Bush, Bush & Clinton -- has the three partners laboring to make themselves look good as compassionate great nephews of Uncle Sam. But there are deeper messages and functions here than mere image-polishing.....(full article)

Bush Administration AIDS Policies Continue to Fall Short
by Gene C. Gerard

In the president’s State of the Union address this year, he pledged again to fight the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Mr. Bush asked Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act “to encourage prevention and provide care and treatment” for those infected with the disease. He also stated that “we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases: African-American men and women.” But when his 2006 budget proposal was released two weeks later, a very different picture emerged....(full article)

Progressive Surrender, Progressive Renewal
by Dan Raphael

The basis of progressive politics is commitment to democracy.  The root of democracy is the demos -- the undifferentiated mass of common people.  Without this commitment, this basis, progressive politics reveals itself to be anything but progressive.  Such toxic variants of self-described progressivism are not hard to find, and their effects undercut the hopes and work of progressives everywhere....(full article)

Diagnosing the Green Party: Narcissism Runs Rampant
by Joshua Frank

The ashes of the 2004 election battle have finally settled, and sadly the Green Party is buried in the rubble still grasping for air. Even so, if you have heard any of the sordid mutterings from staunch Green loyalists, they are spinning quite a different tale....(full article)

February 23

The Gray Line
by Adam Engel

A woman's husband is murdered and she is raped by a man who'd been planning to kill her husband, rape her and take her property for some time. All the while she was innocently going about her life. Her rapist decides to “marry” the woman (that is, make her his servant), who is now a widow because of him, “adopt” the children she'd conceived before the rape, and of course raise the child conceived during the rape. He moves into her home, treats her and her children like beasts, beats them, abuses them, all the while doting on the child conceived by force, the child he loves and planned to provide for from the beginning.  Certain, though not all “neighbors” at first think the woman is lucky her rapist didn't kill her and her children like he did her husband, and recognize the rapists’ right to her house, her property, her children, whom he abuses, and of course, his child conceived by rape. What no one suspected is that the woman and the children of her first husband are fierce, intelligent fighters, and keenly aware of the injustice that has been done to them....(full article)

A Season of Depressing Political Re-runs
by John Chuckman

Recent political events resemble nothing so much as re-runs of movies that should never have been released the first time. Bush has gone to Europe to “ease tensions” in the NATO alliance. Of course, those very tensions were his work entirely, but a sense of the ridiculous never discourages a Jehovah's Witness with a long list of house calls to make. If you read the fine print under the marketing blurbs for Bush's trip -- much like the microscopically-printed disclaimer for a new prescription drug that hasn't undergone adequate testing -- you will see that Bush's effort is directed at nothing more than securing European help in the mess he has made of Iraq. This is just a new, more subdued episode of previous Bush whining about being “either with us or against us.” He wants a shred of legitimacy for what he's done, and he wants other people to help pay his enormous bills. Fortunately, it appears at this writing that Europe, while listening politely and offering a cookie to soothe Bush's whining, is not about to alter its sensible course....(full article)

The Incredible Shrinking Dollar
by Mike Whitney

The Bush Euro-junket is taking place just as the economic storm clouds are thickening over the Fatherland. On Tuesday the market plummeted another 175 points mainly due to soaring oil prices (tipping the $50 mark) and a surging Euro headed for the stratosphere. While Bush ambles around Europe waxing on about Camus and Voltaire (I kid you not), America’s tenuous economic plight is becoming alarmingly more apparent. The world has taken stock of the administration’s profligate spending and, now, Central Banks across the globe are shunning the dollar for the more stable Euro. The BBC says that a “poll carried out by Central Banking Publications found that 39 of the 65 banks surveyed were raising their Euro holdings, with 29 cutting back on the US dollar.” Banks are voting with their feet, and the results may spell doom for the Bush plutocracy. As Paul Craig Roberts so aptly put it, “The world is tired of mopping up America’s red ink.”....(full article)


“America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

 -- Hunter S. Thompson
(artwork by Bradley Russell)

February 20

Great Media Critics: Intrepid for Journalism and Labor Rights
by Norman Solomon

When I think of newspaper journalists who became authors and had enormous impacts on media criticism in the United States, two names come to mind. One is George Seldes. As a young man, he covered the First World War and then reported on historic events in Europe for the Chicago Tribune from 1919 until 1928. Seldes quit the paper and went on to blaze a trail as an independent journalist -- ready, able and eager to challenge media business-as-usual. Naturally, he earned hostility from the kind of media magnates he skewered in Lords of the Press. The renowned historian Charles A. Beard called that 1938 book “a grand job.” Forty-five years later, another emigre from newsrooms wrote a book that turned out to have profound effects on critical thinking about media. When The Media Monopoly first appeared in 1983, the media establishment and many of its employees shrugged; if they paid any attention, it was usually just long enough to dismiss Ben Bagdikian’s warning about consolidation of media ownership as alarmist....(full article)

Farewell Hope: The Hogtying of the Deaniacs
by Joshua Frank

The Democrats have finally accomplished something. Yes, I’m talking about Howard Dean’s latest victory, but it’s not what you think. Dean’s scoring of the DNC chair isn’t a win for progressives. Nope, it’s a triumph for the establishment. The Beltway savants have successfully muted the only vibrant contingent within their frail party. The Deaniacs have been corralled....
(full article)

Fed Chief Says Privatize Social Security to Boost Class Equity
by Seth Sandronsky

In his second term, President Bush continues to try and spend the “political capital” that he claims to have earned by defeating Sen. John Kerry last year.  And who better to help the president than Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank?  Officially, he now backs Bush’s plan for younger workers to invest, voluntarily, about two-thirds of their Social Security payroll taxes in private accounts....(full article)

Wade Horn: The Marrying Man
HHS marriage maven promotes Bush Administration's Marriage Initiative
by Bill Berkowitz

If you like the way Wade Horn is doing business with right wing pundits, in the words of Al Jolson, the popular singer of the 1920s, “You ain't seen nothing yet!” In late-December, the Washington Times reported that in addition to his hefty responsibilities as the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families in the Administration for Children and Families, at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Horn will now be in charge of drumming up support for, and doling out grants to, abstinence-only sexual education programs....(full article)

Honoring Rafiq Hariri’s Legacy
by Ahmed Amr

By the end of the Lebanese civil war, Beirut was a mirror image of Grozny. Fifteen years of civil war and two Israeli invasions left the country in a state of total anarchy. Proud middle class families were reduced to abject poverty. Such was the level of despair that desperate young men took to playing Russian roulette -- with real bullets. . . . Fast forward to 2005 and behold the sight of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese -- Christians, Muslims and Druze -- marching together in a funerary procession to bury Rafiq El Hariri. Because of the size of the crowd, it took hours to move the ex-Prime Minister’s remains from his family home in Krayton to the final burial place in the newly built Mohammed El Amin Mosque....(full article)

February 18

Poor, White and Pissed:

A Guide to the White Trash Planet for Urban Liberals
by Joe Bageant

If you are reading this it is very likely that you are a liberal, maybe even an outright screaming burn down the goddam country commie --in which case I say, “Come sit by me comrade! (Especially if you are a blonde.) Like most lefties you probably live in an urban area, or someplace with reasonable cultural diversity. More than likely you are educated and can read this without moving your lips. Maybe you even live in the freethinking People’s Republic of Berkeley, or bustle along under the fabled lights of Manhattan where you can see independent films and buy such things as leeks and soy milk at your grocery store. I, however, live in a town where it is easier to find chitterlings, ponhaus and souse in the grocery store than a leek … and where Smokey and the Bandit still plays to packed movie houses year after year. My hometown’s claim to fame is the 1983 “Rhinehart Tire Fire” in which some five million discarded tires burned for nine months, gaining Winchester, Virginia national news coverage and EPA superfund cleanup status.  The smoke plume was visible in satellite earth photos, the cleanup took 18 years and the fire stands as my hometown’s biggest event of the Twentieth Century. As for intellectual life, this is a town where damned few residents ever heard of, say, Susan Sontag. Even though our local newspaper editor did manage a post mortem editorial on Sontag, which basically said: Goodbye you piece of New York Jewish commie shit!, most people reading the paper at their breakfast tables around town were asking themselves, “Who the hell is Susan Sontag?”  They would ask the same thing about Daniel Barenboim or Hunter S. Thompson because those figures have never been on Oprah. Our general ambience was well summed up by a visiting Atlanta lawyer who looked around town and observed: “Dumb lordee I reckon!” This from a guy who’s seen a lot of dumb crackers. Laugh if you want, but this is the red state American heartland everybody is talking about these days....(full article)

Social Security and Bush’s War Budget
by Joel Wendland

With Bush propagandizing about the fiscal “crisis” of Social Security and his critics on the left and right pointing to a bloated $600 billion budget deficit, it is time to look at where all the money went. Clinton’s presidency closed with a $300 billion surplus and rosy dreams about paying down the national debt. (Of course, billions of that surplus were created by cutting or eliminating programs related to welfare.) So where did all the money go? And why did it go there? (full article)

February 17

(The Anti-Empire Report) What Do the Imperial Mafia Really Want?
by William Blum

After what was humorously designated an “election” in Iraq, there was a marked increase in calls for the United States to announce a timetable for withdrawal from that unhappy land.  Senator Kennedy, The Brookings Institution, and a British government official were amongst numerous of the influential class to propose such action.  The rationale behind the timing of these requests, one would assume, is that now that Iraq has displayed a measure of what the White House calls “democracy”, the United States can and should declare, once again, “mission accomplished” and leave, without loss of face. Such a proposal might make sense if this thing called democracy was indeed the reason the United States invaded and occupied Iraq.  But the fact that Washington officials do not miss an opportunity to make it abundantly clear that they have no intention of leaving in the foreseeable future reveals how unenlightened are these calls for departure; for the reasons the US is in Iraq have very little to do with democracy, by whatever description....(full article)

The United States’ Hypocritical Nuclear Policy
by Ken Sanders

With all of the recent talk about North Korea's not-so-surprising admission that it possesses nuclear weapons, as well as Iran's refusal to cease its pursuit of nuclear technology, it is worth considering the United States’ own policy. That policy, such as it is, basically boils down to this: the U.S. and its proxies (e.g., Israel) may possess nuclear weapons. Everybody else is a global threat....(full article)

Shadowboxing: The Imminent Risk of Non-Nuclear States
by Kamyar Arasteh

Recent months have witnessed a flurry of news regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program and the Western reactions to it.  Once again the specter of weapons of mass destruction is raised, as it was in the run-up to the war on Iraq.  Talks of military strikes, invasion, and regime change have come up.  Bunker-busting missiles changed hands between U.S. and Israel ostentatiously, giving credence to the reported plans for destroying putative underground facilities. These developments are extremely alarming. The historically unstable region has been pushed to the limit by the additional chaos ensuing the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Aggressive action, such as a military strike, against Iran could have tremendous, unforeseen consequences.  It can further destabilize the region and easily spill over to other parts of the world.  Yet, Iran and the U.S. seem locked-in, helplessly observing the growing tension spiral out of control....(full article)

Attacking Our Memory
by John Pilger

How does thought control work in societies that call themselves free? Why are famous journalists so eager, almost as a reflex, to minimize the culpability of political leaders such as Bush and Blair who share responsibility for the unprovoked attack on a defenseless people, for laying to waste their land and for killing at least 100,000 people, most of them civilians, having sought to justify this epic crime with demonstrable lies? What does BBC reporter describe the invasion of Iraq as “a vindication for Blair”? Why have broadcasters never associated the British or American state with terrorism? Why have such privileged communicators, with unlimited access to the facts, lined up to describe an unobserved, unverified, illegitimate, cynically manipulated election, held under a brutal occupation, as “democratic” with the pristine aim of being “free and fair”? (full article)

Bush’s Judicial Nominations are Hardly Mainstream
by Gene C. Gerard

President Bush has re-nominated seven candidates for the federal appeals courts. Each was blocked by Senate Democrats during his first term. He also sent back to the Senate five other nominees for the federal appeals courts whose confirmations were slowed because of Democratic concerns regarding their legal backgrounds. Bush has accused Democrats of blocking votes on so many of his nominations that they have created “judicial emergencies.”....(full article)

McLibel Overturned: Strasbourg Denies McJustice
by Matt Reichel

Earlier this week, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg overturned the infamous McLibel ruling. In McLibel, a British activist couple was sued for basically stating what everyone in this world already knows to be true. That is: McDonald’s food is horrendous. It is undeniably horrible for one’s health to frequently eat at the world’s largest restaurant chain. I have traveled extensively through four continents, and talked to people of many political stripes: conservatives, liberals, communists, anarchists, right wing idiots, etc. In this time, I’ve never heard anyone try to claim that McDonald’s food is anything other than crap. One needn’t even bother with digging into the numbers: 99% of this world wouldn’t even ask me to show them nutritional information in order for them to believe that this food can pose a threat to one’s well-being. In fact, this can be considered one of those self-evident truths: there are very few things about this world that we can take for granted, I will admit, but the fact that the burger monolith serves out disgusting, pre-processed, dirty and dangerously addictive grease is one such thing....(full article)

Assassinating Al-Hariri Fits Washington’s Plan
by Mike Whitney

To understand who assassinated Rafik al-Hariri we don’t need to look any further than the $1.5 billion US Embassy currently under construction in Baghdad. The new embassy, the largest of its kind in the world, will facilitate 1,800 employees and serve as the regional nerve center for American political and economic activity. What does this have to do with al Hariri?
(full article)

The New Inquisition
by Lydia Howell

Last week, New York City civil liberties attorney and National Lawyers Guild member Lynne Stewart faced a guilty verdict on the vaguest of charges: conspiracy. It's a prosecutor’s favorite charge because so little actual evidence is required. What does Stewart now face up to 35 years in prison for? The charges read: “conspiracy to prepare to assist terrorists” and “conspiracy to give material aid to terrorists.” What did Stewart actually do? Her job....(full article)

The Republican War
by Am Johal

Recently in Vancouver, former US Marine Sergeant Jimmy Massey addressed a small crowd and clearly described US human rights violations and direct violations of Geneva conventions in Iraq. He talked about how the military taught recruits to hate another culture and did not give them the tools to appreciate or understand adequately those who they were being sent to kill and to liberate....(full article)

Hunting Hillary Clinton
by Bill Berkowitz

“Stop Her Now,” is the name of the new Web site soon to be launched by Arthur Finkelstein, the chief political guru of New York Governor George Pataki, and one of the country's most successful yet least known political consultants/spin doctors. The “Her” at is New York Senator Hillary Clinton. According to the New York Post, Finkelstein, the longtime master of the political attack ad, hopes the site will raise as much as $10 million from Hillary-haters across the nation and provide a gathering point for conservative activists working to defeat her in next year's Senatorial election. Hillary's defeat would likely derail any presidential aspirations she might have....(full article)

Halliburton Contracts Illegal -- Bush & Cheney Say So What
by Evelyn J. Pringle

After millions of tax dollars were spent investigating how Halliburton ended up being awarded billions of dollar worth of no-bid contracts in Iraq, the Government Accounting Office determined that the company should never have been awarded the contracts in the first place.  In response to those findings, Cheney and Bush both, as much as thumbed their noses at taxpayers as if to say “so what, what are you going to do about it?” Well, it's beginning to look like they were right, there is nothing we can do about it....(full article)

Free as in Freedom, Part Two

“New Linux”
by Adam Engel

I was fortunate to have found the perfect guide for my journey through the politics of GNU/Linux past and present, Ben Okopnik, Editor-in-Chief of the Linux Gazette (LG). Yoga instructor and practitioner, Unix instructor and practitioner, writer, editor and Linux aficionado, Ben was both open to new ideas, familiar with “old” ones, and willing and able to point me in the various directions I needed to go to “explain the GNU/Linux model” to mostly non-technical “left” and “progressive” readers. Okopnik wrote, “Linux is inextricably political -- and deliberately so, from its very inception. The OS itself is a tool, as sharp, bright, and beautiful as it may be; creating a better world, in which human beings cooperate rather than fight each other ‘to achieve the same exact ends’ which is, from my perspective, the goal.”....
(full article)

Bush's New Defense Budget
by Robert Higgs

When the Bush administration released its budget for fiscal year 2006 recently, the news media, as usual, had a tough time in making sense of the government’s proposals for defense spending. To some extent, we can’t blame them for their confusion, because even people who follow this subject closely have trouble sorting out the government’s various ways of stating the defense budget. Figures that appear at one place in the budget documents are often difficult or impossible to reconcile with figures that appear at other places in the documents. Conspiracy theorists might easily conclude that the government deliberately tries to make a clear understanding impossible. More charitably, we might conclude that the government simply does not know how to keep a clean set of books....
(full article)

A Fresh Approach to North Korean Nukes Is Needed
by Ivan Eland

North Korea has declared that it has nuclear weapons, a capability that U.S. intelligence agencies had suspected for some time. President Bush is known to have a personal distaste for Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s quirky ruler, and his abysmal human rights record. Although regime change in the north is not a publicly stated U.S. goal, the president’s ever idealistic approach is to ratchet up the pain in an attempt to squeeze the life out of Kim’s tyrannical regime. Although this approach may seem plausible, it’s counterproductive....(full article)

Of Teddies and Twits
by Peter Kurth

If there’s anyone out there still unaware of the Current Most Raging Controversy in the State of Vermont, let me explain it for you. No, it’s not about “civil unions” or our former Governor, Howard Dean, MD, having beat every flack in the pack to become the new chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.  (You go, Howard!)  It’s about a teddy bear. Yes, a teddy bear, called the “Crazy For You” bear, priced at $69.95 and produced by the chic, up-market Vermont Teddy Bear Co. in Shelburne -- a sort of Ben and Jerry’s of stuffed animals. The “Crazy For You” bear, which was designed as a “light-hearted” Valentine’s Day gift, comes wrapped in a straitjacket and accompanied by commitment papers -- “commitment,” get it? -- and has so outraged what I believe are called mental health experts that the president and CEO of VTBC, Elisabeth Robert, has had to resign from the board of Fletcher Allen Health Care, Vermont’s largest hospital....(full article)

February 14

Valentine's Day Sweatshops
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

Before you buy your sweetie those roses for Valentine's Day, pause for a moment to consider where they come from, and at what cost -- and what can be done to give a bit more joy not just to the flowers' recipients, but their producers....(full article)

The American Turkish Council:
US Association Helps Create New World Order
by John Stanton

Operating tax-free and out of the media or watchdog spotlight is the most powerful “non-profit” association in the United States, the American Turkish Council. Like the thousands of Associations operating inside the Washington, DC Beltway, the ATC is chartered to provide “legal and ethical” venues for American-Turkish government and business interests to meet face-to-face to improve business, security and cultural relations between the two countries. The ATC, and other Associations, has a dues structure and committee structure that includes a government relations or “educational” committee that lobbies the public and US government representatives on behalf of its members. But that’s where the similarity ends. While the ATC is an Association in name and in charter, the reality is that it and other affiliated Associations are the US government. Theirs is the voice that matters and is the one that is heard on television and radio networks through the mouths of newsreaders, senators, congressmen, presidents and military leaders. It is in and through such Associations that US political, economic and military policy is made and the American public subsequently “educated” to support policies that are not, and could not, be debated in public because of their illegality, audacity, complexity and, arguably, necessity. Instead, the creation of policy and action -- or even reaction to events -- is hammered out in corporate boardrooms, foreign governments, research institutes, and think tanks. It all comes together in Associations like the ATC. If you want to know what’s really going on or about to come down, take a visit via the Net to the world of Associations....(full article)

President Bush, Market Opportunity and Personal Responsibility
by Seth Sandronsky

Is the market really our best hope for the future? President Bush's plan for Social Security suggests so. In fact for him, personally investing in the stock exchange is a virtue. With Bush's twist, that notion is a holdover from the "new" economy hype of the 1990s --President Clinton-style -- that saw price bubbles in the dot-com, high-tech and stock markets....(full article)

The “Other” Iraqi Conflict
by Ken Sanders

Flying well below the radar of the mainstream media and America’s collective consciousness is a conflict brewing in Iraq. It is not the conflict that so dominates our TV screens with endless tape loops of death and destruction. It is taking place in northern Iraq, in the Kurdish autonomous zone known as Kurdistan, and revolves around the future of Iraq’s Kurdish population and control of the city of Kirkuk. As it currently stands, this "other" Iraqi conflict seems capable of shattering any possible peaceful future in Iraq by thrusting the nation into civil war, possibly dragging the neighboring Turkey, Iran, and Syria into the fray....(full article)

Washington’s Plan to Foment Civil War in Iraq
by Mike Whitney

It comes as no surprise that Washington’s party of choice has won the election in Iraq with a whopping 48% of the vote. The United Iraqi Alliance (UAI) prevailed in the final vote count ensuring that they will control at least 140 of the 275 seats in the new Iraqi National Assembly.  This guarantees that the Bush administration will have key figures at the top levels of government to do their bidding on crucial policy issues. Their influence will also factor heavily in the shaping of the nation’s new constitution....
(full article)

Objectivity in Independent Media
Part 1: Introduction
by Kim Petersen & B.J. Sabri

Independent or progressive versus corporate or monopoly media, is there any difference? Without any doubt, no honest observer of both media can deny that the progressive media is a revolution in an ocean of controlled information, a solid reference for informed research, and a source of critical analyses. Despite the present writers’ vote of confidence for the progressive media, the fact remains that sometimes the distinction between balanced and objective reporting versus structured, opinionated reporting is unclear. When this blurred distinction occurs, the designation of “progressive” becomes irrelevant, as from that point on the intent to spread disinformation sets in despite protestations to the contrary....(full article)

From Aqaba to Sharm el-Sheikh: Fake Peace Festivals
by Tanya Reinhart

The Sharm el-Sheikh summit of Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas is hailed in the Western media as the opening of a new era. This is the climax of a wave of optimism that has been generated since the death of PLO leader Yasir Arafat. In the last four years, the Israeli leadership singled Arafat out as the main obstacle for peace.  Adopting the Israeli perspective, the media world believes that his departure would enable a renewal of the peace process. This, in the media world, is coupled with the faith that Israel is finally led by a man of peace. Sharon, who might have had some problems in the past, so the story goes, has changed his skin, and now he is leading Israel to painful concessions. . . . But the bitter reality is that nothing has changed. The new “peace plans” are no more real than the previous ones, and on the ground, the Palestinians are losing more of their land and are being pushed into smaller and smaller prison enclaves, surrounded by the new wall that Sharon's government keeps constructing. On the day of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit Israeli sources announced that even the illegal outposts that Israel has committed to evacuate long ago will not be evacuated until "after implementation of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.”....(full article)

Where are the American Conscientious Objectors?
by Baruch Kimmerling

As an Israeli researcher and political analyst, I follow the American political and cultural scene with great interest. It is not just a matter of pure intellectual curiosity, but of direct self-interest. Almost every development in the American socio-political theater has a direct or indirect impact on Israel. This influence stems not only from Israel’s almost complete economic, political and military dependence on the US, but also from my country’s movement within the American cultural and moral orbit. The Americans have become a behavioral model and a substitute for our own collective conscience....(full article)

Hiroshima, Mon Amour
by John Chuckman

A few columnists and commentators who questioned or opposed the invasion of Iraq, now say, having been touched by pictures of Iraqis bravely casting ballots, that George Bush was right. Such is the persuasive power of positive propaganda, which works by focusing on true details, ignoring their ugly context, and such is the wisdom imparted by need-to-get-a-column-out thinkers....(full article)

Is George Bush Listening?
by William Fisher

Now that President Bush has disgorged himself of his Olympian rhetoric about spreading freedom around the world, perhaps he is now wondering just how he’s going to achieve this noble goal. His inaugural address, as West Wing speechwriters like to say, had “altitude”. But they, and hopefully he, know that real progress toward freedom takes place on the ground, not at 35,000 feet. How is the President going to spread freedom in, say, Egypt? Over the last twenty-eight years, the U.S. has sent some $50 billion in military and economic aid to Egypt. America’s generosity was originally based on one issue: the U.S.S.R. We sent money to keep the Egyptians in our sphere of influence and out of theirs. And then came a second issue: Israel. We rewarded Egypt for making peace with Israel. Finally, came the “war or terror,” and we paid Egypt to suppress its own Islamic extremists and to help us to do the same with ours....(full article)

Condi’s Euro-Tour
by Mike Whitney

In case you missed it, Condi's Euro-tour was a complete flop. Far from being the “triumph” celebrated by FOX News, the trip was just another opportunity to parrot the belligerent policies of the Bush Administration to our former allies. Unlike her predecessor, Rice never deviates from the White House script she has painstakingly memorized. Powell, however lacking in candor, was known to diverge from the hard-right fanaticism of his superiors from time to time. That will never be said of Condi, who flatly refuses to engage in any impromptu conversation that might take her off message. The press coverage was nearly as abysmal as her lackluster diplomatic performance. Of the 1,200 or more articles entered on Google, at least half of them use the term “fence mending” to describe her trip. It's clear that the media had decided on a strategy for their coverage long before Rice had left Washington. The stories invariably shower praise on the Ice Princess for her magnanimous gesture of reconciliation. In fact, Rice has simply mastered the art of giving directives through a frigid grin. There was no sign of compromise whatsoever....(full article)

Faith, Fabrications, and Fantasy (Part 1)
Four years in the life of Bush's faith-based initiative
by Bill Berkowitz

In the coming year, while secular organizations providing much-needed social services to the poor will likely need the Jaws of Life to pry money from the Bush Administration, faith-based organizations will be taking in money hand over fist. In 2003 alone, the administration handed out $1.17 billion in grants to religious organizations, and if the president has his way, individual states will soon be handing over hundreds of millions of dollars to faith-based organizations....(full article)

Faith, Fabrications, and Fantasy (Part 2)
by Bill Berkowitz

After more than $1 billion in handouts, Bush's results-impaired faith-based initiative is coming to a state near you....(full article)

It Just Takes One McVeigh to Ruin Your Day
An Interview with Randy Blazak
by Joshua Frank

Randy Blazak is an associate professor of sociology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He is the director of the Hate Crime Research Network (, which connects academic work on bias criminality. He is also the co-founder of Oregon Spotlight, which monitors hate groups in the state of Oregon and he is the chair of the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes. His latest book is entitled Renegade Kids, Suburban Outlaws: From Youth Culture to Delinquency (Wadsworth, 2001)....
(full interview)

The Brussels Lobby Youth
by Matt Reichel

In the year 2005, everybody wants to be a lobbyist. Of course, when these young, hip corporate pawns admit to you that they lobby for their company in Brussels (home of the European Union), they usually do it under their breath. It could be my rather unorthodox, punkish attire that sends signals to their brains saying maybe I don’t like the lobby game, but, regardless, it’s always the same “…and…and I lobby in Brussels.” And I respond: “Ah so that’s what “Public Relations Assistant” means!” One of the great things about existing snugly on the Left is I’m pretty sure that I’m never going to own one of these dastardly job titles intended to cover the disgusting work that I, in fact, am in charge of doing for my mercenary organization. But for an alarmingly increasing number of kids my age in Europe, Brussels is where the business is at. Behind the hip façade of revelers at many popular Parisian discotheques lies the unfortunate reality of a cadre of neoliberalism’s ground troops....(full article)

February 10

Link of the Day
Video of Ward Churchill's February 8 speech at University of Colorado, Boulder

Cause for Alarm: Regime Change Redux
by Ken Sanders

Having declared the elections in Iraq a resounding success and that freedom is on the march, it now appears that the Administration's focus is increasingly honing in on Iran. The hairs on America's collective neck should be standing on end. Iran, a member of Bush's infamous axis of evil, is known to have improperly concealed its nuclear activities from the International Atomic Energy Agency for 18 years. According to Iran, it is intent on developing a peaceful nuclear energy program and has no designs on nuclear weapons. To date, the IAEA has not found any conclusive evidence to contradict Iran's claims....(full article)

Bush’s Budget is at Odds With His Rhetoric
by Gene C. Gerard

President Bush submitted a $2.57 trillion budget to Congress that eliminates or drastically cuts 150 governmental programs. The budget is an attempt to meet his goal of slashing the deficit in half by 2009, without giving up tax cuts for the wealthy that were implemented during his first term. When asked about the cuts, Bush said, “Spending discipline requires difficult choices.” But much in Bush’s budget runs contrary to his administration’s rhetoric. Although Bush has now called for fiscal discipline, during his first term the nation’s deficit rose to record levels. And his administration is currently spending an estimated $5 billion per month on the war in Iraq. And although the president acknowledged that difficult choices are needed to reduce the deficit, his budget includes no funds for military action in Iraq in 2006. The administration said they could not predict how much money would be needed, so rather than approximating the cost in the budget, they will ask Congress for additional funding next year. However, Bush will ask Congress for an additional $81 billion later this month for Iraq. Since the administration believes this amount is needed for 2005, shouldn’t “spending discipline” require it to estimate next year’s military costs for Iraq in the budget? (full article)

Taking Jesus from the Hijackers:
Texas Pathmarkers to Peace
by Greg Moses

Results from last Sunday's election at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas (and its branch in Oklahoma City) have yet to be officially announced, but it's safe to predict that Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson will win the congregation's endorsement as senior pastor to the largest gay, lesbian, and transgender congregation in the world.  When linked to the November general election of Lupe Valdez as Dallas County Sheriff, the election of Dr. Hudson this week may not signal a clear trend toward lesbian leadership in North Texas, but it is another pathmarker in hard country, and therefore a sign worth noting. . . .Stoner, with 30 years of peace activism behind him, is working on a project named Every Church a Peace Church (ECAPC), and this is his first official try at converting the religious economy of Texas into a peace faith....(full article)

Priorities of Power: The Real Meaning of Elections in Iraq
by Media Lens

In truth it is quite wrong to describe the corporate media as “mainstream”. We wouldn’t describe Flat Earthism as mainstream geology, nor would we describe Mein Kampf as mainstream political philosophy. There isn’t a cultural or philosophical tradition on the planet that takes seriously the idea that truth telling can be reconciled with greed. The idea that it can be reconciled with the unlimited greed of corporate profit maximizing is too ridiculous even to discuss. Or should be.Of course might makes right. Of course corporate journalists bask in the limelight, with salaries and status to match. But if the influence of profit and power were somehow magically neutralized, their performance would be revealed as a highly marginal, extremist, and in fact weird offshoot of mainstream human culture. If not “weird”, which adjective could we possibly use to describe the following “free press” nuggets? ....
(full article)

Forget the Lies: Who is Jeff Gannon?
by Katherine Brengle

When I first started writing about the elusive “Jeff Gannon” last week, I had no idea how serious the situation was. Since writing the original article, “Why is Jeff Gannon Lying,” I have been filtering through an enormous body of research done by the bloggers of Daily Kos and the staff of Media Matters for America, and all of us following this story have settled on some basic, but very important, questions that must be answered about this guy. Since this erupted in the blogosphere and in the alternative press (and also the mainstream media to some extent), Gannon has closed up shop ( and apparently resigned or has been fired from Talon News.  However, these questions still need answers, as they may cut to the heart of the Bush Administration propaganda scandal....(full article)

Social Security “Reform”: A Smokescreen for Benefit Cuts
by Lee Sustar

George W. Bush’s Social Security privatization plan rests on three big lies. The first is that the current system is in crisis and doomed to fail. The second is that gains in private retirement accounts will exceed traditional benefits from the program. And the last is that such accounts will become a cornerstone of an “ownership society” in which working people will steadily build wealth. Each of these assertions can be easily exposed as nonsense -- and a smokescreen for drastic cuts in benefits and the dismantling of the entire system. But because the Democratic Party accepts much of the White House’s political framework, Bush has been handed an excellent opportunity to destroy the most successful social program in U.S. history....(full article)

Stop Paying the Exorbitant Price of George Bush’s Lies!
by Dennis Rahkonen

1,400 Americans, who clearly should have never been taken from the joys of everyday pleasures with family and friends at home, came back from Iraq in aluminum caskets because of the Bush administration’s audacious WMD lie. They’re joined by many more young men and women who’ve lost limbs, eyesight, hearing and sanity for the same shameful deception. Meanwhile, the journal Lancet reports that 100,000 Iraqi noncombatants -- mainly women and children -- have perished since Bush’s totally unprovoked, unjustified aggression began. Considering Iraq’s population, that’s the equivalent of a 9/11 casualty count every ten or eleven days, which should harrowingly haunt all conscientious, decent souls....(full article)

What They Really Mean...
by Norman Solomon

Since the 1950s, many young Americans have first encountered critiques of mass media in the pages of Mad. With its intricate cartoons and satirical sendups, the monthly magazine gained a reputation for skewering politicians, advertisers, TV shows and a variety of print outlets. One of Mad’s recurrent shticks has involved making fun of gaps between words and meaning -- an especially welcome form of humor because mainstream news so often amplifies the words of public figures with scarcely a hint of irony, much less deprecation. Notwithstanding the zany image of Alfred E. Neuman, the magazine’s grinning icon of absurdity has overseen plenty of sobering antidotes to the phony self-importance of major media. One-third of the way through February, looking at a few of the day’s top news stories, I tried to imagine the properly Mad way to annotate them. Here’s what I came up with:....(full article)

Folksy Tom Friedman and New Age Imperialism
by Mike Whitney

Putting through the baloney in a Tom Friedman article is like picking a nickel out of a dog's breakfast -- damn near impossible. His knack at jiggering the truth to co-opt his readership puts him light-years beyond his piers. Without a fair grasp of the facts before reading one of his columns, you’ll never know you’re being drawn into a parallel universe of calculated distortions. His latest ruminations focus on the shabby, murderous occupation of Iraq. Friedman endorsed the war from the get-go with proviso that it should be “done right.” Yup, according to Friedman the laser-guided carnage, leveling of Falluja and the subsequent torture of suspects was “okie-dokey” as long as it was “done right.” The great error of the war, according to Tom, was that we didn't provide enough troops to stabilize the country. That's it. Not a word about the torture, death and destruction just practical, “nuts-and-bolts” stuff about how to win the war from our Pulitzer Prize winning prognosticator....(full article)

Iraq’s Election Will Not Guarantee Democracy
by Gene C. Gerard

The Bush administration was understandably happy with the Iraqi election. Despite the death of approximately 50 people, 57 percent of the population voted. President Bush declared that “The people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom.” However, a quick glance at recent history easily dispels the myth that elections lead to democracy and freedom....(full article)

February 9

Ward Churchill's Real Sins
by Michael Smith

In all the hysteria surrounding his essay comparing 911 victims with Adolf Eichmann no one has focused on Churchill’s own view that certain perspectives are too reprehensible to see print....(full article)

What Ward Churchill Didn't Say (It's the singer...not the song)
by Mickey Z.

My sources tell me that U.S. intelligence has just uncovered a chilling pre-9/11 edict from Osama bin Laden on the topic of striking the infidels where it hurts: “What is necessary is cruel and strong reactions. We need precision in time, place, and casualties...we must strike mercilessly, women and children included. Otherwise, the reaction is inefficient. At the place of action, there is no need to distinguish between guilty and innocent.” Actually, not only do I not have any “sources”, but that quote does not come courtesy of the reigning’s a January 1, 1948 diary entry by one of Israel's founding fathers, David Ben-Gurion (talking about the Palestinians, of course).....(full article)

What First Amendment?
by William Fisher

While authoritarian states in much of the world are routinely jailing journalists and others for expressing their views, a substantial proportion of U.S. high school students believes the government should censor the American press and that the free speech protections of the Bill of Rights First Amendment go “too far.”....(full article)

Still Playing Cute with the Law
by Ken Sanders

As the graphic images of torture, degradation, and abuse at Abu Ghraib slowly fade from America's collective consciousness and as scapegoats are prosecuted while those who created legal loopholes justifying torture are promoted to the President's Cabinet, it is worth noting that very little has actually changed. The U.S. and its proxies still engage in torture and abuse as part of the global war on terror. At the same time, the White House, Congress, and U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies continue, in the words of Senator Lindsey Graham, “playing cute with the law.”....
(full article)

The Gates to Hell
by Dan Raphael

Speaking in code is one of the ways evil pays homage to virtue.  Not willing to quite come right out and express his enthusiasm for the inhuman working conditions and corresponding suffering that the Chinese government’s labor policies entail, Bill Gates burbles about how working people in China do “not quite” have the legal or medical “overhead” that exists in the United States.  “Overhead,” as we know, is the cost of doing business that any enterprise must factor into its operating plans and daily routine.  What this means in legal and medical terms—the ones just cited by Mr. Gates—is that working people in the United States have legal protections limiting the hours and conditions in which they can be worked, dangers to which they are exposed, and provision of avenues for appeal when these protections are violated.  Medical “overhead” means that a (diminishing) portion of the workforce in the United States is provided varying kinds and degree of medical coverage by their employers, insurance intended to protect them in the case of catastrophic injury or disease, and corresponding encouragement to seek regular, preventive examination. Mr. Gates is enthusiastic that these impediments to business do not fetter the flow of profits in the Chinese mainland....(full article)

The Neoliberal EU Treaty: French Labor Says No
by Matt Reichel

The current project of the neoliberal economic machine is approval of the European constitution: with the aim of solidifying the political ties that have made it easier for transnational corporations to control European economic affairs. Thus far, champions of the constitution have sloughed off the opposition as the extreme right and extreme left up to their old tricks: using nationalism and class antagonism to destroy the journey of liberal peace-making. However, this idea was dealt a blow on February 3 when France’s largest trade union, the Confédération Général du Travail (CGT), urged its membership to oppose the constitution. Despite the support thrown at the project by the Socialist Party (PS) and most mainstream leaders of the Left in France, there is growing fear that the rank-and-file will not be going along. To no one’s surprise, the major parties are completely in bed with the spread of neoliberal political economy, while real people and their communities have grave fears. Indeed, what’s brewing in Brussels ought to be opposed by anyone on the Left. The consolidation of a trans-European neoliberal economic model will have untold consequences for workers, independent shopkeepers, retirees, and families throughout the continent. The growing controversy over the treaty is just another sign of the increasing resentment through the world of the Washington consensus....(full article)

Mike Farrell Urges California to Declare Moratorium on Executions
by Dan Bacher

While all other Western nations have abolished the “outdated, immoral and illegal” practice of Capital Punishment, the U.S continues executing people, said Mike Farrell, former MASH TV star and President of Death Penalty Focus, in Davis recently. “If killing is wrong, then it is at least as wrong for the state to kill in cold blood,” he said. “It’s a cold, dehumanizing ritual that teaches us that taking life is permissible.” The U.S. Supreme Court allowed states with newly drafted laws to resume executions in 1976. Thirty-eight states now have death penalties. A total of 877 people have been executed since 1977, when executions resumed. The nation's largest death row is in California, with 625 condemned inmates. The state has executed 10 people since 1976....(full article)

Oh Lord, Ain't it Hard!
by Sheila Samples

The curious thing about George Bush's State of the Union speech is that anybody who's paid attention to Bush over the last four years -- or 40 years -- would find it, or him for that matter, even remotely curious. Those who expected Bush to be different in his Second Coming, who thought they would at long last hear specifics on the true state of the union rather than the usual soaring generalities, have to be a bit disappointed. Or not. After all, most Americans seem hesitant to question Bush's grand scheme to fight terror by creating even more terror with his “doctrine” of assassination and collateral damage. Only a few have dared to approach him with even a tentative suggestion that perhaps the public deserves an explanation for the heinous torture, abuse and even murder of those unfortunate enough to be scooped up and detained in prisons such as Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay. And, sadly, nobody seems to notice the growing daily death toll of American citizens in Iraq....(full article)

Taking on the American Taliban
by Bernard Weiner

One of the books I've read, Khaled Hosseini's touching, best-selling novel The Kite Runner, deals in part with the Taliban period in Afghanistan. Yesterday, on a cable channel, I also saw the movie "Osama," which likewise focuses on that period. Taliban rule in Afghanistan was brutal, murderous religion run amok, a return to the strict fundamentalism of 7th-century Islam. Though such behavior turned my stomach, I could detach a bit from it because it was Over There. Harder to detach here in the USA. In a much more civilized fashion, that kind of Know-Nothingism is infecting our culture as well. And threatening to take down that which historically had made America great -- our driving curiosity, our tolerance for and celebration of diversity, our institutions enshrining freedom for all our citizens....(full article)

February 7-8

Ward Churchill And The Imminent Destruction
of American Higher Education
by Carolyn Baker

. . . .Little did I realize, however, that on that same day, another college professor in another state who had been teaching another subject was not being told to “just talk” but rather to shut up and leave his teaching position. That professor is Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado whose comments have been taken out of context and grossly distorted and who has now become a poster boy for “terrorist professors” by the neo-con, neo-fascist thought police of the cult which journalist Seymour Hersh recently declared has taken over America. However, I did not need the Ward Churchill affair or Seymour Hersh’s assessment to deduce that higher education in the United States is dying a slow and tragic death. I relive that death every day in my classes as I witness students who are unable to define the word democracy, who tell me that “we did what we had to do in Iraq,” and who have little idea that when they leave college, they will discover that the job they now believe will help them repay the $30,000 student loan that allows them to attend college, will have been outsourced to a third-world country. As my classes have more students enrolled in them every semester as a result of hordes of unemployed people attending or returning to college, I wonder how long it will take for unprecedented enrollment numbers to dry up as graduates realize that no professional jobs exist and as the middle class of America is destroyed. Young people will increasingly discover that there is little purpose in going to college. After all, who needs a degree to work at Wal-Mart or Target? (full article)

The Distortions of Acumen: Liberals Trash Ward Churchill
by Joshua Frank

I am sure you’ve heard of Ward Churchill’s latest tribulations -- so I’ll save you the repetition. However, I bet what you didn’t know was that liberals were running hand in hand with conservatives in hopes of clothes lining the radical professor. In a recent column titled “Ward Churchill's Banality of Evil,” Anthony Lappé argues that Churchill’s critique of 9/11, along with his calling the workers in the World Trade Center “little Eichmanns,” was utterly reprehensible...(full article)

The Distortions of Acumen Continued:
More Liberal Trashing of Ward Churchill
by Joshua Frank

The continued trashing of radical professor Ward Churchill from the left end of the political spectrum is ever-increasing. Take Marc Cooper, contributing editor to The Nation magazine, and columnist for the LA Weekly, who on his personal blog responded to Churchill’s essay “Some Push Back”: “Move over, Mumia. The Left has a new cause celebre that’s a guaranteed loser: Ward Churchill … I saw the essay at the time and was nauseated by it. I have been tempted over the years to write something about it, but have always decided not to. Only because I consider Churchill to be an irrelevant and clearly deranged loner on the edge of the looniest left. Now I regret not having denounced him. Too bad others on the left also didn’t quickly hurry to divorce themselves from this guy. Churchill, as you know, surfaced in the news last month when he was invited to speak at an upstate New York university and some conservatives raised a ruckus – as they damn well should. If this guy can hang on to his tenure at CU fine. But damned if student funds from somewhere else should be used to host him as some sort of guest speaker....(full article)

Spy Cams on Campus
by Bill Berkowitz

Evan Maloney is offering a measure of fame and a few decent prizes to students documenting political transgressions of their liberal professors....
(full article)

Bush Puppets Push for New Law to Protect Drug Companies
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Autism rates across the country have grown over 1000% since 1990, according to the National Autism Association. Autism was first diagnosed as a disorder in the 1950s.  The symptoms described then are essentially the same as those used to diagnose autism today.  They may include, limited speech, impaired social interaction, and repetitive behaviors such as arm flapping.  In the broader autistic spectrum of less severe cases, children may speak but have unusual behaviors and learning disabilities, or they may have high IQs but great difficulty with social interaction. What used to be a very rare condition has now become a nationwide epidemic. The difference in the new cases of autism is that the symptoms did not appear at birth. They appeared shortly after a child received vaccinations in the second year of life. According to the 2004 spring issue of Mother Jones magazine, “In 2002, an estimated 1 in 250 American children was diagnosed with autism, up from 1 in 500 in 2000, and 1 in 5,000 in the 1980s.”  Research has now determined that the cause of the escalation is Thimerosal, a mercury-based product that until recently was added to childhood vaccines as a preservative in multi-dose bottles to increase profits for the drug companies that manufacture vaccines....(full article)

Bush Administration Knew Childhood Vaccines Cause Autism
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Vaccines are the only drugs that American children are mandated to receive. Although it may be true that state governments mandate vaccines, the decision to mandate a vaccine is based on the recommendations of Federal advisory committees.  In the interest of public safety, Congress has a duty to ensure that advisory committee members involved in vaccine policy making are not improperly influenced by conflicts of interest. In recent years, public trust in the Federal policymaking related to vaccines causing Autism has been broken by the practice of ignoring obvious conflicts of interest. At this point, immediate action by Congress is necessary to restore public confidence in the safety of childhood vaccinations....(full article)

The Boogeyman and Social Security
by Ken Sanders

President Bush devoted a large portion of his State of the Union address to describing the gloomy future of Social Security. Currently, he is gallivanting around the country in something reminiscent of a medicine show, doing his best to scare people into thinking Social Security is in “crisis” and will be “bankrupt” by the time younger workers begin to retire. He preaches before a background of charts and graphs, dripping red ink, showing Social Security in a kamikaze-like nosedive.  He even goes so far as to admonish the young to not look at the charts, fearing the images are too grisly for such tender youth. Then, after scaring everyone out of their wits, Bush declares that the only way to “save” Social Security and prevent future retirees from living on the streets in abject poverty is through personal savings accounts. Is the future of Social Security really so dire? Economists far more knowledgeable than I don't seem to think so. In fact, according to the folks at Dollars and Sense magazine and the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Social Security, while far from perfect, is in much better condition than Bush would have us believe. As with the Boogeyman lurking under the bed, turn on the lights and things aren't so scary....(full article)

Why is Jeff Gannon Lying?
by Katherine Brengle

The Boston Globe and Editor & Publisher have been tracking the Jeff Gannon story for a while.  Unfortunately, in light of the State of the Union, the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales, and the ongoing battle for Social Security, this story has been set on the backburner of the political commentary stovetop. The controversy over Gannon is heating up due to the softball questions he consistently asks during White House press briefings and the fact that he has repeatedly been denied a White House “hard pass” press credential and has instead been granted repeated daily press passes directly from the White House Press Office.  There are several reasons he has been denied a permanent pass, including the fact that the news site he writes for,, could not provide evidence that they were an independent news organization, not tied to any political organization.  In addition to that, The Standing Committee of Correspondents (the group of congressional reporters who oversee press credential distribution on Capitol Hill) also requires that in order to get a permanent pass, would have to prove it carries paid advertising and paid circulation, as regular newspapers do.  They could not do so....(full article)

Government Without Consent
by Mike Whitney

Moral legitimacy is the cornerstone of democratic government. Without it the ruling body cannot claim the consent of the people. This simple fact is of no concern to the Bush administration, but it should be to those of us who are alarmed by steady decline of our basic institutions. The administration operates entirely according to the expedients of deception and brute force, the antithesis of our government’s original design. It garners its dwindling support through lies, public relations antics and jingoism. Even so, the public has seen through the fog of propaganda and is rejecting the administration’s most cherished project: the occupation of Iraq. (Latest polls show that 6 of 10 Americans no longer believe the war was worthwhile) This fact attests to the innate ability of the majority to see through the fabrications of the state and recognize the basic injustice of the current policy; no mean task given the astonishing efforts of the corporate media to distort the news from Iraq....(full article)

February 3-4

The Senate Confirms Our Country's Errant Path
by Carl Doerner

The contentious confirmations of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State and Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General are now in place, but they rest uneasily with respect to both contemplation and our history. More senators voted against Rice than any State nominee since 1825, and Gonzales was acceptable to only six Democrats and the compliant Senate majority. During recent weeks I was either present as a photojournalist in the hearing room in Washington or closely following the daily C-SPAN coverage of both Senate hearings and debate. In addition, I have keenly observed moves the Bush administration has made in the past four years that undermine the Constitution, that manipulate the public on both foreign and domestic issues through the use of fear, and the lies to the American people and to other nations. All of these are designed to serve its elite and corporate sponsors, consolidate undemocratic power, and advance an ideological program of foreign and domestic ambitions written before it illegitimately grasped power in 2001 and instituted after allowing the major terrorist attack on this country to occur....(full article)

The Desperate State of the Union
by Mike Whitney

No doubt about it, the State of the Union was Bush’s lamest performance to date. He may have lunged to the dais like a prizefighter, soaking in the adulation of the Republican faithful, but when the bell rang he made a few wheezing sounds before nose-diving to the canvas. Off his game, was he? The soliloquy was familiar enough: Bush promising to take the broad-ax to popular domestic programs so that more revenue could be loosened up for high-tech weaponry and exorbitant tax cuts. But the delivery was as flat as Texas road kill. It had none of the gusto of his earlier speeches, just the monotone whimpering of a political understudy reciting his lines to the teleprompter. Bleak, very bleak....(full article)

Lessons Not Learned and the War on Free Speech
by Ward Churchill

In the last few days there has been widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage concerning my analysis of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, coverage that has resulted in defamation of my character and threats against my life. What I actually said has been lost, indeed turned into the opposite of itself, and I hope the following facts will be reported at least to the same extent that the fabrications have been....(full article)

Iraq Media Coverage: Too Much Stenography, Not Enough Curiosity
by Norman Solomon

Curiosity may occasionally kill a cat. But lack of curiosity is apt to terminate journalism with extreme prejudice. “We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out,” President Bush said in his State of the Union address. “We are in Iraq to achieve a result: A country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors and able to defend itself.” President Johnson said the same thing about the escalating war in Vietnam. His rhetoric was typical on Jan. 12, 1966: “We fight for the principle of self-determination -- that the people of South Vietnam should be able to choose their own course, choose it in free elections without violence, without terror, and without fear.” Anyone who keeps an eye on mainstream news is up to speed on the latest presidential spin. But the reporters who tell us what the president wants us to hear should go beyond stenography to note historic echoes and point out basic contradictions....(full article)

Giving Ground to the Anti-Abortionists:
Have Democrats Surrendered on Abortion Rights?
by Nicole Colson

“We can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic, choice to many, many women.” It sounds like something straight out of the mouth of George W. Bush -- or some other anti-choice Republican looking to repeal abortion rights. But this was the comment of Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, as she spoke last month to a 1,000-strong crowd of abortion rights supporters on the 32nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Taking a page straight from the Bush administration’s “moral values” playbook, Clinton celebrated faith and organized religion as the “primary” reasons why teenagers would abstain from sexual relations -- and insisted that there “is an opportunity for people of good faith to find common ground in this debate.” Unfortunately, the “common ground” Clinton is talking about is squarely on the turf of the right wing. Clinton’s comments are just one example of the Democratic Party leadership’s attempt to embrace a more conservative stance on abortion rights after their November election losses....(full article)

Feinstein Gathering Co-Sponsors for Bill to Abolish Electoral College
by Matthew Cardinale

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is currently gathering original co-sponsors for her proposed bill to abolish the Electoral College system for the U.S. Presidential Election, and to replace it with a direct vote for the Presidency, according to Feinstein press secretary, Adam Vogt. The Electoral College has been described by critics as confusing, complicated, alienating, diversionary, unnecessary, undemocratic, and moreover, as hypocritical to the fundamental principles of American governance, which has otherwise been a global leader in democracy....(full article)

Australia: The Sickening of Democracy
by John Pilger

National myths are usually partly true. In Australia, the myth of an egalitarian society, or "fair go", has an extraordinary history. Long before most of the world, Australia had a minimum wage, a 35-hour working week, child benefits and the vote for women. The secret ballot was invented in Australia. By the 1960s, Australians could boast the most equitable spread of personal income in the world. Today, these are forgotten, subversive truths. As schools are ordered to fly the flag (its British Union Jack still mocking from on high), the maudlin story of Australian soldiers dying pointlessly for an imperial master at Gallipoli is elevated, along with barely veiled colonialism and racism. Self-promoted as a bastion of human rights, Australia has become a sideshow of their denial and degradation. Many Australians are aware of this, not least those who filled a small Sydney theatre on 26 January, "Australia Day", which celebrates the dispossession of the Aboriginal people by the British in 1770. The Australian playwright Stephen Sewell's remarkable play Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America was showing at the Stables Theatre. Inspired in part by Franz Kafka's The Trial, it strips away the democratic facade of Bush's America -- "if you want to see America, look into the eyes of its prisoners", says one of the principal characters. Rapacious power dressed as democracy, and the fear and silence of its privileged -- notably academics -- are Sewell's theme and one that is rarely discussed in public in Australia....(full article)

The Knave of Diamonds
by Dan Raphael

As of this writing, it appears that Dr. Howard Dean will be the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee [DNC].  He has been campaigning amongst Democratic Party powerbrokers for the post, and has presented himself as the best available person to begin re-cementing the Second Party’s fortunes after the latest electoral disaster.  This turn of events is significant in two respects.  Dealing Dean to a post that is largely administrative and heavily involved in fundraising neatly sidetracks a sometimes progressive-sounding prospective candidate to a post where he is politically neutered.  Because of the Chairman’s duties, the DNC does not serve well as a bully pulpit for anyone trying to influence policy.  Like his predecessor, Dr. Dean will be inextricably bound up with the minimalist politics lately packaged as “Anyone But Bush”—with the minimalist results that have led to the Democrats' current state of demoralization.  Thus, any pretensions the doctor has had to be a popular and populist Democratic voice of “new” concerns for peace and justice will be drawn into the black hole of cash concerns and crushed in the gravity well of corporate corruption.  Dean will be finished as any kind of alternative force for more than purely cosmetic changes in his party....(full article)

Howard Dean’s Been Suckered: The Establishment Corrals the Deaniacs
by Joshua Frank

So it looks like Howard Dean is going to become the next leader of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The official vote will not come until February 12, but Dean is stacking up endorsement after endorsement, as his top competitor former Rep. Martin Frost dropped out of the race on Tuesday. Dean is also likely to bump off newcomer Donnie Fowler, who only recently entered his bid for the DNC post. Fowler, whose father Don led the DNC in the mid-1990s, served as John Kerry’s campaign strategist in Michigan in 2004. Many Democrats seem to think Dean’s future ascendance to the throne of the DNC will breathe new life into their dead party. They are right about one thing -- the party is out cold -- even so, Dean is not likely to resurrect its corpse....(full article)

Leslie Gelb Asks Iraq: Who's Your Daddy?
More Lessons from our Founding Fathers(tm)
by Mickey Z.

Leslie H. Gelb is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. As a former editor and columnist for The New York Times, however, he transforms into the Amazing Gelbo and gets to spout his ill-informed paeans to denial on that paper’s op-ed page. February 2, 2005 saw the publication of a little something called “The Lessons of 1787,” in which Gelbo waxed poetic about the “truly heartwarming effects of Sunday’s (Iraqi) elections.” He reminded us: “Elections decide who is to govern” but warned that only a Constitution can “define the reach and limits of electoral power, and the viability and legitimacy of a government.” The new Iraqi National Assembly, says Gelbo, “should forgo drafting the constitution and establish a special constitutional committee” that engages “Iraq’s James Madisons and Ben Franklins” (I’m not making this up). That where the whole 1787 thing comes into play. Iraq needs to follow in America’s footsteps (then again, doesn’t everyone?) It’s as if Gelbo was asking those poor Iraqis: “Who’s your daddy?” because, as we all know, you ain’t nothing without Founding Fathers(tm)....(full article)

February 1-2

The Violence Of Hypocrisy
by T. Patrick Donovan

It seems to me that the political philosopher Hannah Arendt nailed it when she wrote: “Moreover, if we inquire historically into the causes likely to transform engagés into enragés, it is not injustice that ranks first, but hypocrisy.” Yes, hypocrisy as the principal cause of violence, transforming the “engaged” into the “enraged.”  Arendt goes on to explain that, “Only where there is reason to suspect that conditions could be changed and are not does rage arise.” Are we not surrounded and bombarded by hypocrisy every single minute in America? Are we not the most violent -- ragefully violent -- society on the face of the planet? Do we not wonder why the richest, most powerful nation on earth does nothing to change conditions of poverty, starvation, and environmental despoliation? (full article)

The Never Again Mantra: The Independent’s Case for Genocide in Iraq
by Kim Petersen

“Never again” must be one of the most hypocritical phrases ever mouthed. In October 2001, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged to the Labour Party Conference: “And I tell you if Rwanda happened again today as it did in 1993, when a million people were slaughtered in cold blood, we would have a moral duty to act there also.” It was Blair’s version of the “Never again” mantra. His sincerity was damned by what the International Committee of the Red Cross called “the most deadly war ever documented in Africa. Indeed, the highest war death toll documented anywhere in the world during the last half century,” and ongoing since 1998 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yet, it was allowed to slide under the UK media radar, as it was in the US and elsewhere....(full article)

The Great Distraction
by Rachel Olivieri

Who will win the Super Bowl? That is as easy as saying, “Culture Industry,” the hands down winner for perhaps the last 38 Super Bowls. An anticipated 145 million predominately male US viewers are expected to tune in [tune-out]. Who says Big Brother is watching? Quite unnecessary -- far too many are more than willing to watch him, on their dime. Perhaps some Americans need a break from the war, pending economic doom, social security privatization, world poverty, global warming, prayer in schools and gay marriage. Well, I suppose it is just as well that they excuse themselves from the necessity of living their own lives. Why bother when we can sit down, pop a beer and watch someone else’s reality. Ooops, just a Matrix thought....(full article)

Spellings Slashes, Dobson Stews
by Bill Berkowitz

New Education Secretary Margaret Spellings puts cartoon bunny & PBS on notice over episode featuring lesbian parents; Dobson mounts post-SpongeBob attack....(full article)

No Citizen Left Behind: All Governments Can Govern Well
by Jack Random

Given the heart-warming success of the president’s education reform, it is time to expand the application of its principles to government itself....
(full article)

The Real State of the Union
by Marty Jezer

George W. Bush presents his State of the Union address tonight. He’s sure to talk about spreading “freedom” and “democracy” the world over, the “ownership society,” and the greatness of our country. Here are some subjects he won’t talk about....(full article)

Embracing Empire
by Ryan Winger

Ryan Winger reviews neoconservative author Niall Ferguson's book Colossus, which argues in Machiavellian fashion that empire -- particularly American empire -- is not to be denied, but instead desired....(full article)

There Is No Longer Any Room For Doubt
(An Open Letter To Americans)
by Rev. José M. Tirado

Dear fellow Americans,
Last week, George Bush took the Presidential oath of office for the second time to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." As usual, even the most hardened news reporters displayed their misty-eyed awe at the occasion as if it marked the high point of humanity's democratic aspirations. It didn't. Because left unsaid was a growing but palpable unease within parts of the United States and in many places around the world. his unease stems in part, from the manipulation of religiosity to further ends so anti-democratic and so against the grain of American ideals that our very system of government is now threatened. The growing, so-called Christianization of our political and civic life poses a threat to all of us, not just to non-Christians like myself. This trend is now joining forces with equally frightening trends in corporate America that are coalescing, with awful consequences for all concerned....(full article)

The Prince of Wonderland
by William Fisher

Good news! The Prince of Darkness has morphed into The Prince of Peace. Having fixed Iraq, Richard Perle is now ready to advise us on Iran. The former Assistant Defense Secretary in the Reagan Administration, and Neocon darling, appeared on a recent Charlie Rose show on PBS, following his nemesis, Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker magazine. When Perle appeared, Rose quoted Hersh: “The Neocons believe that if we take out Iranian nuke sites with precision airstrikes, the people will rise up and overthrow the mullahs.”....(full article)

Lessons from the Heckling of Lula
by Matt Reichel

The defining element of the 2005 World Social Forum is that the superstar of previous years was heckled off of the stage: Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) being perceived as a sell-out by the movement that helped propel him into power. Once an inspiring labor organizer who helped formulate a grassroots political party within a political system replete with corruption and instability, Lula is now perceived as just another leader in the pocket of the Washington consensus. Popular left discourse now paints him as a traitor, whose policymaking has been more in line with those discussed in Davos, and not Porto Alegre. Others have argued that Brazilian military involvement in Haiti, under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), has served to further reveal how changed Lula has become since entering power. The easy conclusion to make is that this is a case in point: power corrupts. Then it follows that our goal as a movement seeking “another world” is to embrace anarchy or, minimally, radical de-centralization of power. While not opposed to either of these concepts, I think that it’s extremely important to take away another very important lesson from Lula’s fall from grace. Aside from the fact that a movement advocating power decentralization and social justice should never have had a superstar in the first place, I find the Lula dilemma to be grounded in the core terminology: “Another World is Possible.” As Social movement activists, we should be embracing the sheer plurality of worlds that would exist if we could effectively work to remove the political and economic superstructure that now dominates world affairs. Neoliberalism is all about one world; we should, in contrast, be all about the very many histories and lives that exist in making up this singular planet....(full article)

Drink It Up
by Peter Kurth

The Iraq elections, the potential health benefit of bon-bons and no exercise, and fast sperm collide in Peter Kurth's latest pastiche....(full article)

-- The Iraq Election --

Iraq’s Election Fiasco
by Mike Whitney

If the Bush administration had any confidence in their Iraq policy they would have plopped Saddam’s name on the ballot. That way we’d know whether Iraqis would rather continue on the ruinous path of occupation or return to the “good old days” of the former tyrant. Instead, we’re left with a spaghetti bowl of candidates whose names tell us nothing about the success or failure of the American strategy. Despite Junior Bush’s assertion of “resounding success,” the elections have only further obscured the real source of the current dilemma: occupation....(full article)

(Dispatches from Iraq) What They’re Not Telling You About the “Election”
by Dahr Jamail

The day of blood and elections has passed, and the blaring trumpets of corporate media hailing it as a successful show of “democracy” have subsided to a dull roar. After a day which left 50 people dead in Iraq, both civilians and soldiers, the death toll was hailed as a figure that was “lower than expected.” Thus…acceptable, by Bush Administration/corporate media standards. After all, only one of them was an American, the rest were Iraqis civilians and British soldiers. The gamble of using the polling day in Iraq to justify the ongoing failed occupation of Iraq has apparently paid off, if you watch only mainstream media....(full article)

Are Iraqi Elections a Panacea?
by Ivan Eland

President Bush, in his second inaugural address, used soaring idealistic rhetoric to tell us that he was going to democratize the Middle East. After the recent Iraqi elections, he declared a triumphant moment in that effort. Yet those elections—with their predictable results—may not mean much for the future of Iraq and might, when combined with other U.S. policies in the Islamic world, reinforce world perceptions of U.S. foreign policy as hypocritical....(full article)

  by John Chuckman

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