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July 30-31

Iraqi Women and Torture, Part II
Theater That Educates, News That Propagandizes

by Lila Rajiva

It is the ambiguity in our ideas of representation that lies at the heart of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal and prevents us from seeing how the act of photographing naked detainees would in itself have been seen as rape by Iraqis, even aside from the specific use intended for the photographs. Knowing the past use of photography in interrogation techniques passed on by CIA trainers to intelligence agencies like the Shah's notorious Savak, it would have been only too credible to many that the photos were being used to blackmail and coerce through the threat of public exposure or publication on porn sites. If that indeed was the case, and there is evidence to suggest as much, then it is our distinction between physical rape and “virtual” rape that may be questionable....(full article)

Thumbs Up
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

Arriving in America the customs agent stamps my passport. “Have a nice day,” he says and gives me the thumbs up. In a café on Ventura Boulevard the girl behind the counter takes my order and smiles brightly. “Have a nice day,” she says and gives me the thumbs up. Walking out into the blasting heat, a bum holds out his hand. When I give him a buck he smiles widely, “have a nice day,” he says and raises his thumb. It’s as if these three things: the cheeseburger grin, “have a nice day” and the thumbs up sign constitute the sum total of just about every interaction with a stranger in North America. But it is the thumbs up that transcends them all, the ubiquitous sign language everyone understands. Politicians are especially enamored with it. They raise their thumbs to accentuate the positive, to affirm that all is well, and, I’m convinced, to distract your attention from the reality happening just out of your peripheral vision. The raised thumb of optimism, an ancient phallic emblem for masculine virility, is so common it could be called the quintessential American symbol....(full article)

Shattering Illusions: Kerry Doesn’t Need or Want Anti-war Activists

by Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls

In the first minute of his July 29 Democratic National Convention (DNC) acceptance speech, John Kerry told us that the Democratic party has “one simple purpose: to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.” The Republicans have set the standard by which a US President will be judged, and listening to peace and social justice activists is not one of the desired qualities. Regardless of who gets elected, the two parties tell us, the next president will be a “Commander-in-chief”: tough on terrorism, national security and Homeland Security, and easy on corporations, while paying lip-service to jobs, healthcare, and education. According to Democrats quoted in the New York Times (July 25th 2004), this year’s DNC was designed so that you “think you’re looking at a Republican Convention.” Kerry is reaching out to the same base that Bush is, so this election year there is hardly even the pretense of progressive values coming from the Democratic elites on the podium....(full article)

The Deadly Contradiction of being John Kerry

by Kim Petersen

"After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power, and the power of our ideal. We need to be looked up to and not just feared. The future doesn’t belong to fear, it belongs to freedom." So spoke Senator John Kerry at the Democratic National Convention. The erstwhile defender cum anti-war activist now seeks to become the next war president. He boasted of “decades of experience in national security” and yet all this experience was for naught in analyzing intelligence that would determine whether or not a country destroyed by genocidal sanctions was a threat to the US. The experienced senator asserted, “I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war.” In other words the self-admitted misled now wants to lead....(full article)

Greetings From the Memory Hole: Our Media Kills a
Troubling Story the Rest of the World Saw

by Joshua Holland

The allegation that Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi shot seven restrained prisoners (killing six) in a fit of anger—with a number of witnesses present—is certainly newsworthy. But, remarkably, the U.S. media has chosen not to cover it, preferring to accept official denials. The foreign press is not so trusting. The disconcerting result is that we simply aren’t getting the same picture of Iraq that citizens of every other English-speaking country see....(full article)

Lying to the “Decent” Blacks: Church, State, Business
and Bush-Speak at the Urban League

by Paul Street

I had the misfortune to hear George W. Bush speak to the African-American National Urban League (NUL) at that organization's annual convention last week in Detroit. It was an unsettling experience. If Bush's speech is any indication, he and his team like to pretend that all African-Americans are current or wannabe business owners. "African-American" and "entrepreneur" seemed practically identical in his oration. Again and again, Bush invoked the great American "entrepreneurial spirit" (a spirit that once brought many millions of Africans across the Middle Passage and covered the United States South with tens of thousands of slave plantations) and mentioned various administration schemes to promote "minority business enterprise." The chief promise Bush made to the Urban Leaguers was that they and their constituents can become prosperous capitalists if they join the Republicans in rolling back the alleged over-taxation and over-regulation imposed on America's heroic business class by the supposed anti-capitalist "class warfare" of the Democratic Party....(full article)

George W. Bush's Record-Breaking Economy
by Mark Weisbrot

"Our economy since last summer has been growing at the fastest rate in 20 years" said President Bush in a speech last week. The word went out from on high, and soon it began to spread: the fastest-growing economy in 20 years! A very important discovery for this election season, with voters none too pleased about the state of the economy. During a TV talk show (CNBC's Morning Call) on which I appeared, this claim was repeated to me. Is it true? (full article)

Such Emptiness! Such Depth of Preparedness!
by Peter Kurth

Ladies and gentleman, citizens of the United States, former free persons and torches of Liberty! I don’t want to be the one who breaks this news to you, but somebody has to, and it might as well be me. Listen up, because this is terribly important. Not just your own future, but the future of all generations after you will depend upon it. You’re not scared enough. You’re not scared nearly enough. You should be frightened out of your wits and, apparently, you’re not....(full article)

I Know You Are But What Am I?
by Sheila Samples

Folks on the Internet are having a field day with Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Network finally getting what it so richly deserves in Robert Greenwald's recently released documentary, "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism."  At long last, the sound of a warped and twisted tree falling in the journalism forest was not only heard, but thanks to American Progress and MoveOn.org, was celebrated in thousands of "house parties" all across the country....(full article)

It’s the End of the World as We Know It
by Thomas Wheeler

A simple fact of life is that any system based on the use of nonrenewable resources is unsustainable. Despite all the warnings that we are headed for an ecological and environmental perfect storm, many Americans are oblivious to the flashing red light on the earth’s fuel gauge. Many feel the “American way of life” is an entitlement that operates outside the laws of nature. At the Earth Summit in 1992, George H.W. Bush forcefully declared, "The American way of life is not negotiable." That way of life requires a highly disproportionate use of the world's nonrenewable resources. While only containing 4% of the world population, the United States consumes 25% of the world’s oil. The centerpiece of that way of life is suburbia. And massive amounts of nonrenewable fuels are required to maintain the project of suburbia. The suburban lifestyle is considered by many Americans to be an accepted and normal way of life. But this gluttonous, sprawling, and energy-intensive way of life is simply not sustainable. Few people are aware of how their lives are dependent on cheap and abundant energy. Are these Americans in for a rude awakening? In a fascinating new documentary, The End of Suburbia – Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream, the central question is this: Does the suburban way of life have a future? The answer is a resounding no....(full article)

Environmental and Community Destruction, Baltimore-Style
by Myles B. Hoenig

Ecological and economic justice is a four-letter word in “Charm City” Baltimore.  For more than four years and two mayoral administrations the working class, predominantly minority community of Woodberry has been under a death sentence from Loyola College of Maryland.  Mayor Martin O’Malley and his toadies in the City Council are the judges and executioners. What Loyola College plans to do is worse than putting in a toxic waste dump in the middle of a forest.  Oh wait. That’s already been done here. See below.  They want to build a monument of greed to themselves that will literally look down on the rest of the city. Woodberry happens to be by TV Hill, the highest point in Baltimore....(full article)

Fencing, Unrest in Gaza and the US Election
by Baruch Kimmerling

No wonder that the disarray in the Palestinian security forces, as manifested by last week clashes between various Palestinian armed groups and gangs in Gaza Strip, evoked great satisfaction within the Israeli official circles. The general context is that since the present right-wing government was established, its only major, though undeclared, goal has been to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, and in fact nullify de facto the Oslo Accords and undermine any mutually agreed-upon arrangement. To this end, Ariel Sharon very effectively exploited the Palestinians' brutal and undiscriminating forms of resistance to the occupation, mainly the suicide bombers, to instigate a chain of mutually escalating responses that would recruit domestic and international public opinion to promote the goal of dismantling the PA and to demonstrate the political impotency of the Palestinian leadership. Under the cover of "fighting terrorism" the intention is to intersperse the West Bank and Gaza Strip with small Jewish enclaves, to be ruled by local strongmen. The ultimate aim is to advance the process of Jewish colonization until exclusive Jewish control over the Territories reaches the point of no return within the fenced area....(full article)

Candidate Kerry
by Alexander Cockburn

I've tried shouting "Kerry-Edwards" on the step out to my garden. The cat yawned and the flowers drooped. Democrats know this in their hearts. Twit them about Kerry's dreariness, reminiscent of thin cold chowder or Weeping Ed Muskie and one gets the upraised hand and petulant cry, "I don't want to hear a word against Kerry!" It was as though the Democratic candidate has been entombed, pending resurrection as president, with an honor guard of the National Organization of Women, the AFL-CIO, the League of Conservation Voters, Taxpayers for Justice, the NAACP. To open the tomb prematurely and admit the oxygen of life and criticism is to commit an intolerable blasphemy against political propriety. Amid the defilements of our political system, and the collapse of all serious political debate among the liberals and most of the left, the Democratic candidate becomes a kind of Hegelian Anybody, as in Anybody But...(full article)

July 27-29

Iraqi Women and Torture, Part One
Rapes and Rumors of Rape
by Lila Rajiva

By now, everyone has heard of the ghost detainees of Abu Ghraib -- the prisoners who were never processed into the system and were kept out of sight of the Red Cross so that they could be whisked from prison to prison unaccounted for. But what about the other ghosts detainees -- the women? Where are the women of Abu Ghraib and why have they been kept out of sight? (full article)

You Are What Consumes You: A Review of The Corporation
by Chuck Richardson

There are two messages—one explicit, the other implicit—in The Corporation, a documentary film by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan. The explicit point is that if corporations are people, then they are psychopaths. In the first of the film’s three parts, Achbar & Company adroitly link the World Health Organization’s symptoms of psychopathology to corporate behavior. The film’s tacit suggestion, however, is that the people who work for them and/or buy into corporate philosophy—as producers and/or consumers—are also psychopathic, or at least possess many of the same symptoms (you are what consumes you)....(full article)

Human Rights Horrors in Haiti
by Anthony Fenton

Anthony Fenton on the terrible human rights situation in Haiti....(full article)

How New Police Strategies are Cracking Down on the
Right to Dissent: An Interview with Heidi Boghosian

by Benjamin Dangl

Within the last few years the strategies police use to control activist events have changed dramatically.  Massive pens divided and contained protesters at the February 15, 2003 anti-war rally in New York City. Hundreds of preemptive arrests took place at The Free Trade Area of the Americas protest in Miami in 2003, and at this year’s G8 Summit on Sea Island, Georgia, roughly 500 protesters were met by a police and military force of nearly 25,000.  Organizers of activist events and marches at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions are already running into road blocks as local officials refuse to cooperate in the issuance of permits.  These are just some of the tactics being used to crack down on the right to dissent and prevent protests before they start. Heidi Boghosian is the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild (www.nlg.org), and is the co-host of the civil liberties radio show "Law and Disorder" on WBAI in New York.  In this interview, Boghosian discusses how police control of protests has changed since September 11th, what the “Miami Model” entails, how the threat of terrorism is being used as an excuse to clamp down on civil liberties, and what activists can do to prevent and fight against such pressure....
(full article)

Bringing Social Justice to the Table

by Lee Hall

Speech presented by Lee Hall on 22 July 2004, North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), Vegetarian SummerFest, University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown, Pennsylvania Campus. Lee Hall is the legal director for Friends of Animals, and a member of the Adjunct Faculty of Law at Rutgers University. Lee researches, writes, and speaks on the topics of global migration, detentions, and nonhuman rights. With Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, Lee is currently working on a pure vegetarian cookbook, Dining with Friends....(full speech)

Report Omits Key Player -- Foreign Policy

by Ivan Eland

Although the 9/11 commission’s investigation has won praise in the media for being bipartisan, on balance it has not made us safer. The commission discovered new information to rewrite the history of the Sept. 11 attacks, uncovered government incompetence that should make Americans wonder if those attacks could have been prevented and made some useful recommendations. But the panel avoided the most important question surrounding the attacks—their underlying cause....(full article)

What Price Unanimity?

by Ray McGovern

The 9/11 commissioners generally get lost in a sea of details in their report, and often forget the bigger picture—like the terrorists' motivation for the 9/11 attacks. But a careful reading will show that it's much more than our freedoms and democracy that terrorists despise. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says it's the Middle East policy, stupid....(full article)

Ill Bred: The American Eugenics Movement
by Baruch Kimmerling

The eugenics movement in the U.S. led it to close its doors to immigration -- and was a source of inspiration for the Nazis. In the wake of my review of Samuel P. Huntington's book Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity ("The Crumbling of Apple Pie," Dissident Voice, June 29), several American friends and colleagues, who read it on the Haaretz English Web site, wrote to me to say that there was an important and chilling aspect of American heritage -- and a dismal chapter in United States history -- that I had left out....(full article)

Blair’s Butler and the OSP
by Ahmed Amr

As I watched Lord Butler do his little snow job, I couldn’t help but admire his talent. What a brilliant performance! Ship that man to Los Angeles to run circles around the likes of Johnny Cochran. If the gloves actually fit, Butler would still acquit. In the press conference that followed his report on British “intelligence failures,” he was a one-man stampede stomping on every question fielded by the Fleet Street wizards. Lord Butler basically sold the premise that Blair was taken in by reasonable intelligence that turned out to be wrong. The Prime Minister didn’t lie – he was just clueless about the truth. MI6 was also found to be innocent of charges that they had doctored and sexed up intelligence. The universally admired English spooks had apparently reached the same erroneous conclusions as other foreign intelligence agencies. As it turns out, those damn foreigners across the pond were recycling the same batch of fibs that MI6 had gullibly imbibed from Iraqi exiles. There was just one big hole in Butler’s doughnut. Blair could not possibly have been ignorant of the American Office of Special Plans (OSP) and their well-orchestrated campaign to subvert intelligence on the fabled WMDs....(full article)

Coca-Cola in Colombia: Increased Profits, Downsized Workforce

by Lesley Gill

Coca-Cola is the second most widely understood word in the world, after “okay.” Yet less well known than this quintessential U.S. symbol are the labor practices of the Coca-Cola Company, which claims that it “exists to benefit and refresh everyone it touches.” The multinational engages in union-busting practices in Colombia and bears responsibility for some of the violence directed against workers over the last 20 years, according to the National Food Industry Workers Union (Sinaltrainal), which organizes Coca-Cola laborers in Colombia....(full article)

Dennis, We Hardly Knew You
by Zbignew Zingh

Ah, Dennis, we hardly knew you, and now you've been taken from us. Now that the Democratic Convention is under way in Boston, you have formally endorsed Mr. Kerry and encouraged your delegates to vote for him. We still like you, Dennis. You're still an okay guy. Even though you have sold out your platform and your principles, and even though you misled some of your more naive supporters into thinking you really meant to campaign right to the bitter end, we really cannot fault you too much for being, well, just another pragmatic politician. Those who revered you as part saint and part tooth fairy needed to be disabused of their idolatry. Some of us suspected that your job assignment in 2004 was to be a Political Pied Piper who would round up all the errant Green mice and lefty rats who had bolted the Democratic Party over the years and deliver them in November to the Party's anointed candidate. Maybe you succeeded, Dennis, and maybe you didn't. Anyway, it truly was a great party while your campaign lasted, and we learned a lot. Here's what we learned, Dennis....(full article)


by Keren Batiyov

A poem by Keren Batiyov on torture, guilt and responsibility....(full poem)

July 25-26

Iran in Bush's Sights
by Juan Cole

The same techniques used to get up the Iraq war are now being applied by the political Right in the United States, including President Bush, to Iran. These include innuendo, guilt by association, vague fears, and hyped capabilities. If Bush gets a second term, it seems very likely that his administration will make war on Iran....(full article)

The Path of Evil
by Kim Petersen

"We want our land to be freed of the enemies; we want our land be free of the Americans." -- Osama bin Laden, 1999
"They hate our freedoms." -- President George W. Bush, 2001
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat." -- Sun Tzu

The philosophy of the sixth century BC Chinese military strategician Sun Tzu is relevant to a glaring disconnect between two aggrieved parties. Bush, after overcoming his apparent initial befuddlement (recorded for posterity) to the attacks on 9-11, defiantly voiced his anger. Hatred of American freedoms, according to Bush, had spurred some Muslims to carry out an unprovoked attack on US soil. This claim is ludicrous; and it is refuted by the 9-11 commission’s final report that identifies 9-11 mastermind
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s motivation for the attacks as his “strong disagreement with American support for Israel.”....(full article)

Cheney Lobbied Congress To Ease Sanctions Against
Terrorist Countries While He Was CEO Of Halliburton

by Jason Leopold

Vice President Dick Cheney is a bad guy. He can toss around the F-word all he wants in response to the criticism directed at him as a result of his close ties to Halliburton, the company he headed from 1995-2000, but he can’t hide from the truth. It was Cheney who urged Congress in 1996 to ease sanctions against Iran, a country that’s part of President Bush’s axis of evil, so Halliburton could legitimately do business there....(full article)

Faith in the Postmodern World

by Harold Williamson

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” This line from As You Like It is but one example of what was William Shakespeare’s creative genius to transform a few words into profound metaphors of the complex human condition. Ever since entering on stage without a script, we have overcome the physical limitations of our species by specializing in a superior brain capable of improvisation. All that we have constructed has been accomplished by making do from available materials, our progress being constrained only by our inability to successfully cope with Uncertainty – an influential character that cloaks in a shroud of mystery the theme of this exciting drama that includes us. Not the least exciting is that we know as much about it when we are asleep as when we are awake....(full article)

Lousy Work and Larger Wealth in America
by Seth Sandronsky

The poster nation for the world system is setting a standard of sorts. In America, lousy jobs are increasing as top corporations are awash in cash. “Fully 81 percent of total job growth over the past year was concentrated in low-end occupations in transportation and material moving, sales and repair and maintenance services,” wrote Stephen S. Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley, in the NY Times of July 22. Such are the new jobs being created for American workers as the economy recovers from the recession. This trend that is shaping the lives of workers and their families is in motion as the national economy is growing. The two points are connected....
(full article)

Ready, Aim, Pray!
by Mike Reizman and Michael Jensen

Those of you who are praying for the end of war in Iraq, and for the defeat of President G.W. Bush in November, don't stop. Certain Evangelical Christians are praying overtime, and not just for their man in the oval office. Iraqi cities have been “heavily targeted” with prayer, as have U.S. troops and the intelligence gathering capabilities of the CIA. Operation Iraqi Care and The Presidential Prayer Team (not associated with the White House) were both launched as conduits for prayer....(full article)

Remember Afghanistan
by Marty Jezer

Afghanistan has not been in the news much in recent months. A good thing for the Bush administration if not for the Afghan people: for the news coming out of Afghanistan has not been good....(full article)

Ten Ways to Become a Better Democrat
by M. Junaid Alam

Fellow radicals: recent events have made it clear that the primary task facing good people everywhere is unconditional support for the Democratic Party, the only party capable not only of removing a very, very bad man from office, but also increasing the pay envelope of starving and desperate Nation, Salon, MoveOn, and Sierra Club coffee-coolata-warriors across America. I submit my humble contribution to this effort by offering a list of ten virtues to cultivate in your personal journey towards becoming a better Democrat....(full article)

Donkeys Buck Antiwar Support: Unity a Futile Effort

by Joshua Frank

It is sad indeed, but it was inevitable: Dennis Kucinich, the feisty progressive from Ohio who has been running (dragging lately) for the Democratic nomination for president has decided to roll over and play dead for Senator John Kerry. "Unity is essential to bring change in November," announced Kucinich on July 22. "Unity is essential to repair America. Unity is essential to set America on a new path."....(full article)

Black Power(less): The Decline of Black Politics in America

by Norman Kelley

Social commentator and novelist Norman Kelley's damning anatomy of contemporary black politics in America....(full article)

Banana Republicans and the Marketing of War
by Ben Terrall

Australian social scientist Alex Carey wrote, “The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” The Madison-based newsletter PR Watch is dedicated to exposing that propaganda, and, along with its affiliated website, provides essential ammunition for peace and justice activists and others fighting corporate disinformation. The journal’s editors, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, have also put out a series of muckraking books that, thanks to meticulous research, careful sourcing and finely-tuned B.S. detectors, are among the best examples of modern-day muckraking. Their latest book, Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing is Turning America Into a One-Party State, follows on the heels of Weapons of Mass Deception, a thorough examination of the lies and disinformation used to sell the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The two complement each other, providing a motherlode of information about the machinations of the Bush Administration and the right wing movement that put W. into office....(full article)

What you should know about...
The John-John Team

by Elizabeth Schulte

The media portrayed the weeks before John Kerry announced his running mate as a real nail-biter. Rumors circulated about secret midnight meetings with a range of contenders, and Kerry campaign officials painted the process as the most serious of decisions. But in the end, the choice of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was about as "mysterious" and "serious" as a beautiful baby contest. In Edwards, the Democrats found the most obvious possible middle-of-the-road choice for their uninspiring campaign to defeat George W. Bush. Edwards is the perfect expression of the whole phony idea of "what the public wants" in a political candidate--boyish good looks, "down-home" appeal, salt-of-the-earth beginnings, and father of two photogenic young children. But this isn’t where the Edwards "appeal" ends. Kerry has found his twin on any number of policy issues--and like Kerry himself, Edwards is hard to distinguish from Bush....(full article)

“War Party Lite” Gears Up for Boston Gabfest

by Wiliam Hughes

The Democrats, a/k/a “War Party Lite,” are preparing to take center stage. They are headed for Boston, Massachusetts, to conduct their 2004 National Convention. Boston is also the final resting place of that inestimable rebel, Sam Adams, one of the original Sons of Liberty. The idea that America would end up serving as a Global Cop would have appalled Adams. Kicking the imperial Brits out of the country was his pride and joy, but exporting “democracy” to Iraq, via a war, as initiated by the Bush-Cheney Gang, would simply be unthinkable. Unfortunately, the Democrat kingpins are coming off as clones of the War Hawks or worse! Adams wouldn’t like them either....(full article)

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
by Mathew Maavak

Mathew Maavak on the upcoming US elections, ramped up terror alerts, and the question: Where is Osama bin Laden? (full article)

Strangelove Revisited: Or How I'm Trying to Relax
and Love the Bombs

by Jim Glover

When it comes to bombs, our "leaders" in Washington are thinking big. They’ve asked their friends in the war industry to develop a new bunker-buster that will weigh -- get ready for this -- 30 THOUSAND pounds. To grasp the size of this one bomb, imagine SEVEN Ford Explorer XLS SUVs, with gas tanks full. Put the weight of all of these vehicles into one bomb and you have the "Massive Ordnance Penetrator," or MOP....(full article)

Teaching Torture: Congress Quietly Keeps
School of the Americas Alive

by Doug Ireland

Remember how congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle deplored the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as “un-American”? Last Thursday, however, the House quietly passed a renewed appropriation that keeps open the U.S.’s most infamous torture-teaching institution, known as the School of the Americas (SOA), where the illegal physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of the kind the world condemned at Abu Ghraib and worse has been routinely taught for years....(full article)

Macho Politics and Major Consequences
by Norman Solomon

With two words, the governor of California has managed to highlight the confluence of anti-gay bias and misogyny. Open contempt for “girlie men” would have raised fewer eyebrows in the past. Reactions to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s put-down of Democrats in the state legislature -- “if they don’t have the guts, I call them girlie men” -- tell us a lot about how far we’ve come. The good news is the media outcry; the bad news is that the outcry hasn’t been stronger....(full article)

Rachel Corrie and Klinghoffer
by Ahmed Amr

Last May, in a speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), George Bush waxed eloquent on the murder of three American citizens by terrorists who “kill without mercy” and “kill without shame.” Two of these Americans, Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl, were executed during Bush’s tenure in the White House. The third, Leon Klinghoffer, was killed two decades earlier when Reagan was president. In his AIPAC speech, Bush made it clear that he was familiar with all three victims and the circumstances that led to their murder. He noted that “followers of the terrorist ideology executed an elderly man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, and pushed his body over the side of a ship into the sea.” He made no mention of Rachel Corrie, another American victim of those who “kill without mercy.” Unlike Klinghoffer, Rachel was killed on Bush’s watch, not Reagan’s. An Israeli Army used a Caterpillar Bulldozer to murder the young American peace activist from Olympia, Washington....(full article)

The Wall: There and Here
by Frank Scott

The tragedy of Palestine would be impossible without history’s greatest job of mind management. Lincoln was wrong; you can fool most of the people, most of the time. The physical apartheid wall in Israel is possible only because of a mental apartheid wall in American consciousness....(full article)

Living Beyond The Grid

by Michael Gillespie

The Grid, introduced earlier this week by TNT (Turner Network Television), is the latest anti-terrorism action/adventure fantasy dreamed up by Hollywood movers and shakers eager to profit from the ongoing disaster that passes for American foreign policy in the Middle East and anxious to maintain a steady flow of propaganda and misinformation to naive and gullible audiences....(full article)

Bolivia Innovates: Boyle Mariotte Gas Law Restated

by toni solo

The July 18th referendum in Bolivia is likely to be a short lived, temporary setback for radical opponents of the government of President Mesa. Their call for a mass boycott failed. The government was able to promote an effective propaganda campaign and could also rely on legal penalties obliging people to vote. In effect, public dissent against the referendum and for a boycott was criminalized. Many older voters feared losing State pension rights had they refused to vote. Public servants such as teachers, especially in rural areas, might also have faced sanctions affecting their jobs. Such is democracy in Bolivia. But despite the upbeat public relations gloss laid on by government representatives, close up the sums look bad for President Mesa and augur deeper political crisis if he fails to acknowledge what they mean....(full article)

July 21-24

Torturing Children

by William Rivers Pitt

The biggest story of the Iraq war is not about missing weapons of mass destruction, or about deep-cover CIA officers getting their covers blown by vengeful White House agents, or even about 896 dead American soldiers. These have been covered to one degree or another, and then summarily dismissed, by the American mainstream news media. The biggest story of the Iraq war has not enjoyed any coverage in America, though it has been exploding across the international news media for several weeks now. The biggest story of the Iraq war is about the torture of Iraqi children....
(full article)

Absent on AIDS
by Peter Kurth

Lemons. Lemons? Could anyone have imagined it would be that simple? I’m talking about the tiny bit of actual, practical, graspable treatment news that managed to escape the maelstrom of the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand last week – a conference that otherwise was given over almost entirely to criticism of U.S. AIDS policy under George W. Bush. The biannual summit of doctors, scientists, health-care workers, activists, politicians, patients and government officials is the largest of its kind in the world, the Mother of all AIDS gatherings, and this year Mother gave Bush and the boys a good whack with the paddle....(full article)

Four Missiles, 14 Deaths and the Crisis of Information in Baghdad

by Robert Fisk

This is how they like it. An American helicopter fires four missiles at a house in Fallujah. Fourteen people are killed, including women and children. Or so say the hospital authorities. But no Western journalist dares to go to Fallujah. Video footage taken by local civilians shows only a hole in the ground, body parts under a grey blanket and an unnamed man shouting that young children were killed. The US authorities say they know nothing about the air strike; indeed, they tell journalists to talk to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense--whose spokesman admits that he has "no clue what is going on". And by the time, in early afternoon yesterday, that the American-appointed Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, said that he had given permission for the attack--even though US rules of engagement give him no such right--there had been car bombs in Tikrit in which two policemen died, one of Saddam's former generals was captured, and Fallujah became just another statistic, albeit a deeply disturbing one: this is the sixth air strike on the insurgent-held city in less than five weeks. None of the six was independently reported. The dead were "terrorists", according to Mr. Allawi's office. So were the doctors lying? (full article)

Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War
by Leuren Moret

Geoscientist and Lawrence Livermore nuclear lab whistleblower Leuren Moret on depleted uranium, DU-related health maladies, international law, and US geostrategic motivations....(full article)

Oops, They Invaded the Wrong Country?
by Ivan Eland

A potentially major news story—that Iran had more connections with al Qaeda than Iraq ever did, according to the 9/11 Commission’s interim report—has been relegated to the back pages of national newspapers and underplayed by the electronic media. The commission found that as many as 10 of the September 11 hijackers were given safe passage by the Iranians during the year before the attacks. Has the U.S. media already become so cynical about the Bush administration’s motives for invading Iraq that this does not even rate a front page news story? (full article)

Neocons Revive Cold War Group

by Jim Lobe

A bipartisan group of 41 mainly neoconservative foreign-policy hawks has launched the third Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) whose previous two incarnations mobilized public support for rolling back Soviet-led communism but whose new enemy will be "global terrorism." The new group, announced at a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday, said its "single mission" will be to "advocate policies intended to win the war on global terrorism – terrorism carried out by radical Islamists opposed to freedom and democracy."....(full article)

History Lesson: When Democrats Lean Right, They Lose

by Paul Rockwell

George Bush eats centrist Democrats for breakfast. Senator John Kerry is a centrist, and as Michael Moore puts it: "We cannot leave the 2004 election to the Democrats to screw it up." Ever since the demise of the once-progressive Johnson administration in 1968, when a lawless war on Vietnam destroyed the hopeful war on poverty, centrist Democrats have blamed the misfortunes of the Democratic Party in national politics on excessive liberalism, on progressive politics that appear too radical for the general population. Centrists claim that only by moving the Party to the right, even to the point of co-opting nationalism and military postures of the Republicans, can Democrats regain the White House. The centrist theory, so often repeated in media commentary, contradicts the historical record -- not only the record of three successive defeats in presidential elections from 1980 to 1988, when the party shifted to the right -- but the overall record of Democratic presidents from Roosevelt to Carter....(full article)

Nader's "Grassroots" Campaign...Courtesy of GOP

by Jeff Cohen

Four years after the Florida debacle, with nearly all of Ralph Nader's longtime progressive allies now tactically supporting Kerry in swing states to retire the Bush regime, the Nader campaign has created none of the grassroots thunder of 2000. Indeed, it's been a hollow enterprise -- attracting a few leftwing sects and polemicists. Given this vacuum, it's no surprise that pro-Bush forces have rushed to Nader's side. What is a surprise is the brazenness of their support. And, how readily Nader has accepted the rightwing help....(full article)

Sleeping with the Enemy? Let's Be Fair

by Joshua Frank

Democrats and liberal defenders of John Kerry, are throwing tantrums over Ralph Nader’s new found affinity for conservatives who are aiding his ballot efforts in swing states....Well, if Nader is so bad, what about the Kerry/Edwards ticket? Where is the Democrat support coming from? As usual, convicted corporate criminals have been pouring tons of cash into both major parties this election season. But since the Democrats seem to be the only party up in arms over Nader’s bid, it is only fair to focus on their blatant follies....(full article)

The Disappointing Selection of John Edwards, a Foreign Policy Hawk
by Stephen Zunes

John Kerry’s decision to select a vice presidential running mate who shares his militaristic foreign policy agenda has once again demonstrated the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s willingness to take the party’s activist core, which overwhelmingly supports human rights and international law, for granted....(full article)

Deserting a Ship of Rats

by Maria Tomchick

Reporters interviewing US troops in Iraq tend to hear them say the same thing over and over again: "If we could just get things up and running, get something rebuilt, these people wouldn't hate us so much." But the aid money has been very slow in coming. The White House's own Office of Budget and Management admitted recently that the US has spent less than $400 million out of the $18 billion in Iraq reconstruction funds that Congress approved in an emergency spending bill last year. More than half of that money was supposed to have been spent by now. The Bush administration offered no explanation for the delay, other than to reassure us that contractors are busy working on many projects in Iraq, and that they won't be paid until those projects are completed....(full article)

Kerry Discovers Black Voters!
by Greg Palast

Like Christopher Columbus blinking in shock at first seeing an American Indian, John Kerry has just discovered African-American voters....(full article)

The World Is Knocking on Israel’s Door
by Sam Bahour

When The Hague speaks, the world listens, especially when a threat to international peace is involved. At least this was the case until the International Court of Justice took aim at Israel. At issue was the Israeli government’s building of a separation wall on occupied Palestinian lands in the West Bank, which, in essence, has caged Palestinian communities into ghettos reminiscent of the Jewish ghettos in Europe during World War II. The now infamous separation wall is center stage of an international campaign aimed to end the illegal Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem - all areas occupied by force in 1967 when Israel’s military assumed control, the same way the US entered Iraq and assumed control of everyday life there....(full article)

These Memories Can't Wait: Review of the Film "Aftershock"
by Victor Kattan

Whilst I was there, I lost all my faith in the Israeli army. They put it right in your face: 'Go be the oppressors for your people. Force yourselves upon them'. They told us...'take these bats wrapped up in plastic and...calm things down'...We had skulls on our helmets, dude. We walked around with machetes, all kinds of crazy stuff. Sheriff badges. We'd improvise some very unique solutions.This is Ehud, speaking 12 years after having served in the occupied Palestinian territories. Like the thousands before him, he was a paratrooper in the Israeli army during the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993). Some of the improvised solutions he came up with while serving in the occupied territories included attaching the plus and minus cables from a two-way radio battery to the ears of a Palestinian to give him an electric shock. "We had lots of 'sophisticated methods'," Ehud related. "Aftershock" is a film about four former soldiers - Ehud, Haim, Omri and Haliva - who served in the occupied territories during the first Palestinian intifada and were interviewed by Yariv Horowitz, who had been given a mission to make a film for the Educational Corps. The army hoped the film would boost moral in Nablus, but after they saw it they decided to censor it, for as soon as Horowitz turned on the camera: "Things were said that would get everyone into trouble."....(full article)

July 19-20

The Powder Puff Pink Alert
by Leilla Matsui

As expected, the attempts by the White House to amend the constitution to include the phrase “Homo and Lesbo-sapiens shalt not unite in holy hetero-matrimony” fell flat with a resounding thud on the Senate floor.  Those who favored a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages were only able to garner 48 votes, falling embarrassingly and predictably short of the necessary 60 to move it ahead.  For the majority of Republicans, though, even ones like Senator John McCain, who called the move to desecrate the constitution by members of his own party, “un-Republican” and “un-American,” this represented somewhat of a “victory” (in the Orwellian “doublespeak” sense of the word, that is).  For a few moments, at least, Americans were distracted long enough to forget “all that good news coming out of Iraq” and temporarily spared the sight of Dick Cheney's daughter walking down the aisle in a lumberjack shirt and veil. After their disastrous handling of Iraq, Republicans more than ever need to pour over their pop-up bibles to answer the burning cross question of which irrelevant social issue will deflect criticism of their corrupt and incompetent leadership....(full article)

Can Dr. Frankenstein “Secure” this November’s Election?
by Chuck Richardson

If the corporate regime locks up its coup d’etat by calling off this November’s big election show, will the diverse American volken, or boobois class, deprived of our quadrennial spectacle, rise up against those who would rule us? And if we did, what would “we” be rebelling against? Being deprived of the illusion of “democracy,” or the Constitution’s mortal wound? In other words, if the Bushistas succeed in calling off the election, will it be enough to awaken middle and lower working class Wal-Mart shopping Americans to the fact we’ve been brainwashed and enslaved? Wouldn’t it also signal a shift in the public image of American corporate hegemony? How will it affect the value of our logo—or flag? (full article)

Christians, Capitalism, and Corruption

by Sandi Magathan Droubay

The Religious Right, Multinationals and the Bush/Cheney Administration
are all in bed together, but who’s getting screwed? (full article)

America's Pathetic Liberals: The Sequel
Featuring Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 9/11"

by John Chuckman

The controversy over Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" provides sharp insight into contemporary American liberalism. You might think from all the noise that something radical or revealing or important was happening. But you would be wrong. The noise represents another example of what Robert Hughes called America's "Culture of Complaint," an endless bickering, never deciding anything but enjoyed purely for itself. . . .Why does Moore, and I use him to represent all of liberal America, so want to be rid of Bush that he takes what I regard as the unprincipled position of supporting someone as bad or worse? I do not believe it is because Bush represents a danger to American values, the favorite charge of many fuzzy-thinking American liberals, because in many ways Bush accurately reflects those values. I think they are desperate to be rid of Bush because he is an embarrassment. There is something excruciatingly American about Bush, revealing some painful truths about the society he represents, much the same as was the case with President Nixon's brother and his efforts to create a fast-food empire based on Nixon-burgers or President Carter's whining, beer-swilling brother, Billy. Yes, Bush has done a lot of damage in the world, but Presidents can't act alone....(full article)

Kerry to Edwards: “Let's Lose!”
by Joshua Frank

Washington is always abuzz with crazy rumors. The latest? Dick Cheney will step aside as George W. Bush’s running mate for November’s election. The pretext? Health problems. The replacement? Senator John McCain from Arizona. On Friday, July 16, McCain met up with Cheney in Michigan as he was on a swing to garner funds for Bush’s re-election campaign. If indeed the rumor is accurate, the changing of the guard may happen within the next month, just in time for the Republican National Convention in New York City, which is scheduled for the end of August. But mark my word. It ain’t gonna happen....(full article)

The Bush Administration’s War on Women & Children
by Becky Burgwin

By now everybody knows that Martha Stewart has been sentenced to 5 months in prison for lying about a phone call. I think it was Jeffrey Toobin who said, “The government has sent a clear message to all Americans. If you lie, you’re going to suffer the consequences.” Isn’t that just rich. The government sent a clear message that if you lie you’re going to suffer the consequences. I think they should clarify that a little and say, “If you lie you’re going to suffer the consequences, unless of course you happen to BE in the government, or you’re insanely greedy and your lies happen to kill tens of thousands of people or purposely bankrupt the second largest state in the continental United States with the third largest economy in the world.”....
(full article)

Israel Splitting Families Apart
by Am Johal

Nabil Ayesh, one of the parents holding his baby in his arms, says that because of Israel's Citizenship Law he doesn’t have a family life.  He says he feels as if he’s only dating his wife because they are forced to live apart.  She can’t come out of the West Bank, he has to go in. On a bright Sunday morning at the Prime Minister’s Office, about 50 people, including family members and children directly affected by the law, gathered to take part in a demonstration against Israel’s Citizenship Law organized by a number of human rights organizations including the Mossawa Center, Physicians for Human Rights, B’tselem, HaMoked, Adalah, and the Arab Human Rights Association....(full article)

Gung-Ho Dung Beetles Spin the World
by Gary Corseri

Gary Corseri's latest short play, featuring Bush regime heads and their press stenographers as dung beetles....(full article)

July 17-18

Red-State America Against Itself

by Thomas Frank

An essay adapted from Thomas Frank's must read new book, What's the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. That our politics have been shifting rightward for more than thirty years is a generally acknowledged fact of American life. That this rightward movement has largely been accomplished by working-class voters whose lives have been materially worsened by the conservative policies they have supported is a less comfortable fact, one we have trouble talking about in a straightforward manner....(full article)

Bloodshed in Baghdad as Insurgents Try to Isolate Government
by Robert Fisk

Lord Butler told us yesterday that Tony Blair acted in good faith. So that's all right then. At the al-Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad yesterday morning, there was blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood on the doctors, blood on the stretchers. In the dangerous oven of Baghdad, 10 more lives had just ended. So what was it Tony Blair said in the Commons yesterday afternoon? "We are not killing civilians in Iraq; terrorists are killing civilians in Iraq." So that's all right then. Question: Are Baghdad and London on the same planet? (full article)

Terrorism and the Election: Trial Balloons and Spin
by Norman Solomon

Tom Ridge, the federal official in charge of defending the United States against terrorism, was on message when he told a July 14 news conference: “We don’t do politics at Homeland Security.” Such high-level claims of patriotic purity have been routine since 9/11. But in this election year, they’re more ludicrous than ever. Days earlier, alongside a photo of Ridge, a headline on USA Today’s front page had declared: “Election Terror Threat Intensifies.” There was unintended irony in the headline. While a real threat of terrorism exists in the United States, we should also acknowledge that an intensifying “election terror threat” is coming from the Bush administration. With scarcely 100 days to go until Election Day, the White House is desperate to wring every ounce of advantage from the American Flag, patriotism, apple pie -- and the subject of “terrorism.”....(full article)

Will There Actually be a 2004 Presidential Election?
by Dennis Rahkonen

It’s quite possible that a terrorist attack designed to disrupt our upcoming election is authentically in the offing. But what if it isn’t? Suppose the neo-con zealots who populate the White House like frenzied ants at a badly chosen picnic spot have decided to fabricate a provocative incident to trigger bedlam, ensuing martial law, and “postponed” balloting. Suggesting such a scenario is hardly groundless absurdity....(full article)

John Kerry Ain’t No Democrat

by Rachel Olivieri

Ok, time for a concession. I, Rachel Olivieri, of somewhat sound mind and body, do hereby bequeath my franchise of “one” self-elected vote to one undeserving John Kerry on Nov. 2nd, 2004: with great trepidation and reservation. I do this for that great American cause: ABB. I urge all others to grant and reserve as well. And, hold on to your reserve. Having said that, I am “free” to exact the consequence of my vote; critical analysis....
(full article)

Anybody but Bush or Kerry
by Ahmed Amr

Time was when Americans were more interested in the NASDAQ average than presidential polls. Those were the days when the whole country – from sea to shining sea – was caught up in the frenzy of a dot.com bubble. With a few strategic clicks of a mouse, a day trader in his bathrobe could make a few hundred dollars. Back then, who had the time to pay attention to a couple of party hacks chasing a civil service job that paid a miserly four hundred grand a year? Every kid with a bright idea dreamed of an IPO that would give him enough loose change to build his very own White House and another one for his pet gorilla. Last election season, only the most entrenched political partisans were paying attention to the most boring election campaign in the history of the nation. Future generations will be astounded that 280 million Americans, most of them functionally literate, could only spare Bush and Gore as viable candidates for the White House....(full article)

The Green Deceivers: Chronicle of a Nomination Foretold
by Jeffrey St. Clair

So now that the American people are finally turning against the occupation of Iraq in huge numbers across both poles of the political landscape, the Green Party, the supposed banner of peace, justice and environmentalism, has settled on a plan of inaction that supports the perpetuation of the war and the corporate contamination of the American political system. That's the real import of the party's decision to support David Cobb, the stealth candidate, and his safe state's presidential strategy. . . . The Greens have rendered themselves irrelevant as anything more than a feel-good subaltern to the Democratic Party, a kind of decompression tank for thumb-sucking progressive malcontents....(full article)

Ad Infinitum? Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Television
by Mickey Z.

Knee-deep in another presidential election circus, everyone has an opinion. Families are divided, friendships split, and boatloads of good energy is wasted in the futile attempt to differentiate between corporate candidates (this time, it's two warmongering Yale grads). In fact, if one were to judge by campaign television commercials, the two parties have barely even tried to disguise their formulaic approach to control for over five decades....(full article)

Building Bridges with Cubans: An Interview With Kathryn Hall

by Seth Sandronsky

Kathryn Hall is the director of Birthing Project USA, the only national African American, grassroots community-based maternal and child health program in the U.S. She is based in Sacramento. Hall talks with Seth Sandronsky about health care in Cuba under a US embargo, and American activist efforts in solidarity with the Cuban people....(full interview)

Black Cultural Criticism, Inc.
by Norman Kelley

Norman Kelley, author of The Head Negro in Charge Syndrome: The Dead End of Black Politics (Nation Books, 2004), critiques the Black popular culture criticism industry....(full article)

Israel Builds Another Wall
by M. Shahid Alam

In editorials and speeches ringing across Israel and America, a thousand apologists are protesting that beleaguered Israel is building a ‘security fence’ -– not a wall -– whose only purpose is to safeguard innocent Israeli civilians against the primordial violence of Palestinians. Yet, as M. Shahid Alam points out, there is a terrible irony for Israel in this latest phase of its anti-Palestinian project....(full article)

From Hague to Mas'ha

by Tanya Reinhart

The International Court of Justice has determined that Israel “has the right, and indeed the duty, to…protect the life of its citizens” but that “the measures taken are bound nonetheless to remain in conformity with applicable international law.” The Court found the present route of the separation fence or wall to be a serious and egregious violation of international law. In an interview given last weekend, Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon contested the applicability of international law. Such a system was appropriate for the conditions of World War II, he declared, but not for the present war on terror. Apparently, as Ya’alon envisions it, in this war the armed forces are bound only by their own law. Indeed, a battle is being waged in the world today over the status of international law. While the US and Israel are agitating for its nullification, the rest of the world understands that international law, as the framework that governs the conduct of states, is a necessary apparatus for the preservation of society. Even if it does not always function perfectly, without international law there is a danger that large segments of the human race will simply be wiped out, as we Jews learned through our own terrible experience during World War II....(full article)

Clinton on Barak’s Generous Offer
by Ahmed Amr

One of the urban legends that have gained wide currency over the last few years is that the Syrians and Palestinians rebuffed Barak’s “generous” peace overtures. Not according to Bill Clinton’s new book, My Life. His thousand-page diary, a day-by-day account of his two terms in office, sheds new light on how Barak and Netenyahu both deliberately sabotaged the peace process. On the Syrian front, Clinton’s book leaves the reader with no doubt that it was the Israelis who derailed the negotiations in Shepherdstown. The ex-president’s account is scattered all over his book. What follows is Clinton’s own version of how Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak aborted the peace negotiations with the Syrians....(full article)

Legerdemain and Imperial Puppetry: The Gas Referendum in Bolivia

by toni solo

The Bolivian referendum will go ahead on Sunday July 18th after a relentless government publicity campaign and amid repressive legal and security measures aimed at trying to intimidate people into voting. People refusing to vote or attempting to boycott the vote face penalties which include disqualification from holding public office or even opening a bank account. They can also be fined - simply for refusing to vote in the referendum. The authorities are also empowered to refuse passports and identity cards for the "offence" of not voting or for opposing the vote. The government had tried to push these oppressive measures through the national legislature. But legislators wanted people to be free to vote or not, as they chose. When they defended that basic right successfully, US government protegé President Carlos Meza turned to the Supreme Court to get the verdict he needed so as to be able to impose the referendum on voters - like it or not. The justices duly obliged. Subsequently, Meza's enforcer, Minister of Government Alfonso Ferrufino, announced that protesters against the referendum will be imprisoned....(full article)

Imperialism With a Spin

by Tracy McLellan

Tracy McLellan reviews Mickey Z.'s excellent new book The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda....(full article)

Court Orders Restoration of Trinity River Flows!
by Dan Bacher

In a landmark decision greeted with jubilation by representatives of the Hoopa and Yurok tribes, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the release of flows mandated under the Trinity River Record of Decision (ROD) of December 2000....(full article)

Subway: Junk Food, Junk Economy 
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

What's the largest fast junk food chain in the country? Wrong. It's not McDonald's. It's Subway. Subway overtook McDonald's last year in the United States and now has 15,874 locations in the U.S. compared to 11,533 for McDonald's. Worldwide, Subway has 21,528 restaurants in 75 countries. McDonald's has more than 30,000 restaurants in 119 countries. Subway founder Fred DeLuca says he wants 30,000 outlets worldwide by 2010. Of course, Subway would not want you to think that it is not a fast junk food chain....(full article)

Section One: Call Me Plantman

by Adam Engel

The first installment of Adam Engel's novel Topiary. Dedicated to all who have worked in cubicles, behind counters, or on rooftops for THE MAN and believed there was a better world, and still believe. Even if the only way out is in....(full article)

David Went to Canada... & Johnny Got His Gun
by Jack Random

David went to Canada, Dick received a college deferment, Charlie was granted conscientious objector status, George joined the National Guard, Sam was classified 4-F, and Johnny got his gun....(full article)

July 14-16

The "Vile Maxim" Versus The Common Good:
Different Approaches to November

by Paul Street

It's a presidential election year, so it's time to observe United States lefties engage in their quadrennial ritual of ripping each other apart over the question of how to best respond in the good-conscience names of social justice and democracy to the all-too-narrow "choices" presented by the polyarchic, business-dominated U.S. electoral system. It's time to watch our connection to common core peace, democracy, and equality agendas fray as the election obsession sucks up scarce progressive resources. Meanwhile, it's interesting and instructive to observe the cool, calculating, and self-interested election angle of the great monied interests. Structurally generated super-citizenship has a way of calming its holder's political nerves in "America, the best democracy that money can buy."....(full article)

Senate Intelligence Committee Lets the Bush Administration
Off the Hook on Iraq

by Ivan Eland

The Bush administration has been let off the hook by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s skewering of U.S. intelligence agencies for providing unfounded or overstated conclusions on Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD). The key issue, unaddressed by the Senate committee, is whether the Bush administration created pressure for the intelligence agencies to reach such an exaggerated opinion of the Iraqi threat. The Democrats on the committee foolishly bought into an agreement that will likely postpone a committee report on that more important issue until after the election. Yet voters would profit from information about whether the Bush administration pressured the intelligence community or exaggerated, twisted the truth or even lied about the Iraqi threat in its rush to justify war. The very fact that the Republicans wanted a delay in resolving such important questions should indicate where the evidence leads....(full article)

Corrupted Intelligence
by Ray McGovern

In our various oral and written presentations on Iraq, my veteran intelligence officer colleagues and I took no delight in sharply criticizing what we perceived to be the corruption of intelligence analysis at CIA.  Nothing would have pleased us more than to have been proven wrong.  It turns out we did not know the half of it....(full article)

Remember Who The Enemy Is
by Harold Williamson

Amnesty International charged that the Bush administration has openly eroded human rights” in waging its war on terrorism.  And Amnesty's secretary general, Irene Kahn, said, as a strategy, the war on terror is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle.” White House spokesman Scott McClellan quickly dismissed Kahn's charges by saying that “[T]he war on terrorism has resulted in the liberation of 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the protection of their rights.”  He went on to say, People in those countries did not have the kinds of protections that we're used to in the United States.  And now they do.”  Apparently McClellan's boss is not the only one at the White House who doesn't watch the news or read newspapers....(full article)

Only Cowards Cancel Elections
by William Rivers Pitt

A number of trial balloons have been floated in recent days, from Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge specifically, about canceling or postponing the national election because of a terrorist attack. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., the Bush-appointed chairman of the newly minted U.S. Election Assistance Commission, apparently got the ball rolling with Ridge by writing a letter to him. In it, he bade Ridge ask Congress for the power to put off the November election in the event of an attack. There are wild cards shuffled all through this deck. The simple fact, however, is that no national election has ever been cancelled in all of American history. This is not a streak to be broken under any circumstances. In the darkest hours of the Civil War, when the continued existence of the nation was gravely in doubt, Abraham Lincoln wrote, "We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us."...(full article)

Halloween in July: Scaring Kids and Voters
by Kurt Nimmo

Big deal. So a right-wing christer appointed by Bush to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission says he wants “guidelines” to postpone the election if Osama pulls off a terrorist attack because he hates our freedom. Our freedom—some call it a duty—is to vote every four years for a few rich and mostly white guys who dress and talk like each other and call themselves Congress and the Executive branch of the United States Government. I don’t necessarily see how postponing this charade would be a bad thing. Or put differently I don’t see how it would make a lick of difference. If Bush puts a kibosh to the election because a former CIA agent in Afghanistan or Pakistan threatens to blow up Washington—or New York or Baltimore—it will be business as usual the same as it would be under the “leadership” of the other rich white guy who says pretty much the same thing and has pretty much the same policies....(full article)

Bound by Morality

by Kim Petersen

Kim Petersen on the recent International Court of Justice decision on Israel's apartheid wall in the West Bank, John Kerry and Fahrenheit 9/11....
(full article)

Court Serves Israel's Interests

by Neve Gordon

Socrates was the first thinker to contend that it is better to suffer injustice than to perpetrate it. Those who carry out injustices, he argued, corrupt their own souls and are ultimately ruined from within. The great Greek philosopher consequently maintained that society helps the criminal by imposing upon him or her a penalty, since the punishment serves to cleanse the soul and thus allows the lawbreaker to live a more just life. Accordingly, courts of law that mete out sentences -- insofar as they follow universal principles of justice -- not only protect society from offenders, but also save offenders from themselves. It is precisely in the context of Socrates’ teachings that Sharon’s government and United Nations Security Council should understand the ruling regarding Israel’s separation barrier. Although the International Court of Justice (ICJ) claimed that Israel is in breach of international law and is therefore guilty of wrongdoing, its decision is, paradoxically, also pro-Israeli....(full article)

It's the Questions Stupid!
by Sheila Samples

On July 4th, Bush told a meticulously selected right-wing crowd in Charleston, West Virginia that war brings security at home.  He said it's his duty as our Leader to keep seizing opportunities to make us safer and safer.  In fact, eternal safety for the American people is his goal.  His will is strong, Bush says.  He will not be deterred.  He is resolved.  Relentless.  Won't quit trashing and smashing until he has personally delivered God's gift of freedom to every single man and woman on the face of the earth, or until he is reselected, whichever comes first.  No matter how many body bags it takes....(full article)

King James and King George
by Peter Kurth

I also love it when the Bible speaks directly to current affairs, like Nostradamus, foreseeing the reign of George W. Bush, for instance, and understanding that nothing occurring under Bush's watch is ever, ever his fault, much less his responsibility as Commander and Executive in Chief. Listen to the Bible on this – I know you will: (Proverbs 20) "The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth." Did you get that? “Whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth.” It’s the only possible explanation for the utter capitulation of Congress, the media, the so-called chattering classes, Christopher Hitchens and half of the American electorate to everything and anything that Dubya says or does. It's also the way Hitler got in....(full article)

Bring Me the Head of Silvino Herrera
"Us vs. Them" and Other "Modern" Myths of War and Civilization

by Daniel Patrick Welch

They behead -- we do it with smart bombs. There is, of course, an ugly truth to this recently minted axiom: the horror of state terrorism is that the overwhelming machinery of death in the hands of all-powerful governments far outweighs individual atrocities by madmen, groupuscules and non-state entities. While the heathen thugs and killers may indeed be barbarians, such an axiom tacitly concedes, with their beheadings and murders of innocents, it is almost impossible to accomplish the slaughter of half a million children, as did the Anglo-American/UN sanctions in Iraq, with such amateur methods. This is the same reasoning which, fairly convincingly, puts the lie to a sanitized concept of war and destruction which makes the self-satisfied "West" so smug and confident of its moral superiority....(full article)

The Pledge, Part II: Time For It To Go
by Allen Snyder

In a previous article on the Pledge, I argued that although including the phrase "under God" is clearly unconstitutional, the US Supreme Court's unabashedly conservative majority would nevertheless vote 6-2 to leave it in (with Injustice Scalia abstaining). Well, the Supreme Embarrassment ruled alright, just not like I expected. They copped out and tossed the case on a legal technicality, arguing the plaintiff had no legal standing to file the suit. But while everyone’s hopped up about the constitutionality of impressionable children saying "under God" in public school, hardly anyone’s discussing the whole twisted idea of having kids (and, not coincidentally, kids alone) pledge allegiance in the first place. Whether or not "under God" is constitutionally appropriate obscures the larger questions of "why pledge allegiance at all’ and ‘what’s the point of doing so"? (full article)

July 12-13

Why Does Fahrenheit 9/11 Pursue Conspiracy Theory?
by Yoshie Furuhashi

Some left-wing viewers of Fahrenheit 9/11 -- perhaps out of wishful thinking? -- believe that the film makes an argument that Riyadh and Washington "have collaborated for decades in a violent project of repression" (Doug Henwood, LBO-talk, July 9, 2004) based only on well-checked facts provided by credible experts (Dennis Redmond, LBO-talk, July 9, 2004). I wish that Fahrenheit 9/11 made such an argument, but it doesn't, even though, if only Michael Moore had wanted to do so, he had mountains of indisputable facts readily available to all that he could have used to provide historical analysis, which, with his talent for sharp satire, he could have also made as entertaining as the film he did make....(full article)

God Must Be Watching
by Derek Seidman

How fortuitous! Just when you thought Fahrenheit 9/11 was dishing out anti-Bush conversions by the thousands (amidst the din of Yankee-fan boos directed at Dick Cheney), Bush's team has come to the rescue with a vengeance....(full article)

From Nuremberg to Abu Ghraib
by Andrew Lichterman

Andrew Lichterman on the significance of international law and the US invasion of Iraq and subsequent atrocities, the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy, and the meaning of "civil disobedience"....(full article)

Health and Stupidity
by Yves Engler

U.S. residents are dumber than people living in every other industrialized nation. That conclusion doesn’t come from some left-wing Frenchman or Russian commie or pinko Canadian -- it is the logical inference of a recent Forbes magazine article. In “Why the Rich Live Longer” Dan Seligman provides “a stunning new explanation for upscale longevity”: wealthier people live longer because they have higher IQs -- this according to research by a U.S. sociologist and British psychologist summarized by Seligman for Forbes’ (well-to-do) readers. Of course Seligman doesn’t draw the conclusion himself, but since the life expectancy of the USA is right near the bottom of the list of industrialized countries that must mean American citizens have the lowest average IQ....(full article)

In US, Hired Without Health Benefits

by Seth Sandronsky

I'm no TV critic. Truth is, yours truly can barely stomach a few hours of the BBC and U.S. network news a week. Still, consider my idea for a new reality TV show: “Hired Without Health Benefits.”....(full article)

Nicholas Kristof's Fox Pas(s)
by Lila Rajiva

Nicholas Kristof’s recent column in the New York Times makes you wonder what’s in the drinking fountains at the Times. What does the title “Al Jazeera: Out-Foxing Fox” suggest to you?  That Al Jazeera the Arab station that broadcasts out of Qatar is worse than our own vendor of agitprop?
(full article)

We Need a New Media Relationship

by Paul Street

You know when you reach that point in a relationship where apologies don’t matter? You need a change of behavior. Actually, more than that, you need a change of relationship. That’s where the U.S. populace needs to get with “their” media. Gee, wasn’t it great that certain key “mainstream” (corporate-state) media institutions saw fit to admit to -- and even to apologize for -- uncritically reporting George W. Bush administration lies about the supposed grave threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s alleged great stocks of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)? Not really. Sorry, but too many people died because of their reporting “mistakes” to accept the apology....(full article)

Rummy’s Don’t Do List
by Ahmed Amr

Over the course of the last three years, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has made a series of announcements declaring that there are certain assignments that are not part of his job description. A brief analysis of these proclamations demonstrates that Rummy has consistently gone way beyond the call to duty and taken on exceptional burdens to demonstrate his enthusiasm for public service.   In performing his tasks, he has been willing to put aside his initial reluctance to engage in affairs of state that traditionally were performed by other government officials. Donald has proven to be a duck that can quack and fly high in the sky to hunt down enemy drones.  We should hold him up as an example to all derelict public servants that shirk from taking on additional duties and are slaves to the narrow boundaries of their job descriptions....(full article)

An Uncivil Administration
by Walter Brasch

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) was furious. Once again, the Bush Administration managed to subvert not only American civil liberties, but the democratic process as well. Nadler, one of the nation’s leading advocates of social justice, and whose district includes the area where the World Trade Center once stood, called the Republican leadership “shameful,” their tactics “corrupt.” “For all of their talk of patriotism, the Republicans showed something quite different,” said Nadler. It was nothing less than “an abuse of power more likely to be seen in a police state than in a democratic society,” he said....(full article)

No Time for Democracy: This is an Emergency!

by Joshua Frank

Ralph Nader finally fought his way into a presidential debate on Friday June 9th. However he didn’t spar with John F. Kerry or George W. Bush on national TV, but rather took on the “insurgent” turned “detergent” of dirty Democratic linen, Howard Dean. At least Nader called the ex-Vermont governor as much during their one-hour contest that aired on CSPAN and NPR, which offered no new insights into the Kerry campaign, nor showed Nader supporters why they should indeed run and join up in Kerry’s army....(full article)

The Militarist and Messianic Ideologies
by Neve Gordon

Two weeks after 60,000 Likud Party members voted against a pullout from the Gaza Strip, about 150,000 Israelis filled Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, calling on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government to proceed with the withdrawal plan. Those opposing the pullout from Gaza support the vision of a Greater Israel, while those favoring the pullout support the state of Israel. The first group believes that without Gaza, Israel will be destroyed; the second believes that with it, Israel will be destroyed. Ironically, many of those who packed Rabin Square and today are over 40 years old also participated in a famous protest in 1982, only then the demonstration was against Sharon and his invasion of Lebanon, and the plaza was not called Rabin Square. The fact that many of those who protested against Sharon "the war criminal" in 1982 took to the streets to support him and his unilateral plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2004 warrants an explanation. Has Sharon undergone a metamorphosis in the 22 years separating these two protests or, alternatively, has the Peace Now rank and file who chanted in the Tel Aviv plaza changed over the years? (full article)

There are Judges in The Hague

by Uri Avnery

One of the Israeli newspapers, Haaretz, put the two events on the front page: the 100th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, and the judgment of the International Court of Justice, which declared the Israeli Separation Wall illegal. This coincidence may seem fortuitous. What connection could there possibly be between a historical anniversary and the latest topical event? (full article)

Thank You, Your Honors
by Gila Svirsky

In a carefully reasoned but unequivocal decision, the International Court of Justice in the Hague did the expected: It found that Israel's construction of its security wall inside Palestinian territory is illegal according to international law. As an Israeli deeply concerned about the security of my country, and a Jew deeply concerned about the moral implications of building this barrier, I applaud this decision....(full article)

Tear Down the Palitentiary Walls, Mr. Powell
by Ahmed Amr

During the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, Colin Powell dropped what many considered a daring bombshell on the Israelis. In an interview with CNN, Powell used the “B” word – Bantustans. Perhaps we should be grateful for small favors. But the “B” word hardly begins to describe the horrible realities of the Israeli project to incarcerate entire Palestinians neighborhoods and villages....(full article)

The Importance of Solidarity

by Kim Petersen

Kim Petersen on Canada's complicity with Israeli war crimes against Palestinians and the need for solidarity with the victims....(full article)

Liberty Cover-Up and John McCain’s Conscience

by William Hughes

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is the “Conscience of the Senate.” Nevertheless, he won’t come clean about what really happened to the USS Liberty, at the hands of the Israelis, via napalm, gunfire, torpedoes and missiles, on June 8, 1967, 13 miles off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula. McCain’s conscience, it seems, has its limits. I suspect it’s because the powerful Israeli Lobby weighs in so ominously in Washington, DC, protecting the interests of its favorite country -- Israel -- and making sure the mostly mousey congress people are kept totally in line or else....(full article)

July 9-11

Bloody Uniform
by Media Lens

As anyone who has worked in a modern corporation will know, the people working in those corporations are good, caring people. It’s just that, in their work, they are required to obey a system of economic logic that subordinates human and animal suffering to short-term profit. They are decent, civilized people -­ their actions result in mass suffering and death. It is wrong to think that evil comes with a black hat, horns, scarred face, handle-bar moustache, or even mad, staring eyes. Endless testimony has documented the banal nature of evil. Men, women and children are generally burned alive, not by grinning monsters, but by fresh-faced kids pushing throttles, raising flaps and pressing bomb releases....(full article)

Iraq Survey Group: Donald Rumsfeld's Al Qaeda
by John Stanton and Wayne Madsen

A recent email from Bielomawicz.Wilkes@isg.mil (iraq survey group.military), commenting on our last article, "Torture Inc.: Oliver North Joins the Party," indicated that “I work for one of the company’s [sic] you mentioned in your article and it holds up to its title.  You are just jealous and ignorant. Both of you are flaming morons and your article is full of crap. Freedom of speech is wonderful isn’t it.” Indeed, it is, but we were intrigued by the fact that one of the defense contractors we named in our last piece [CACI, ZKD, Calnet, USIS, United Placements, Design Staffing] would use the US military’s Iraq Survey Group’s (ISG) email to express his view. So we looked a little bit closer into the ISG's charter and the characters that run the show....
(full article)

Kerry and Edwards: White America's Dream Team
by Justin Felux

In a move that didn't surprise many, John Kerry selected Senator John Edwards to be his running mate. Kerry announced his choice after returning from a bus tour of the Midwest which he labeled the "Spirit of America" tour. And just what kind of people embody the "Spirit of America," according to Kerry? Well, white people, of course! The photos of the trip indicate as much. Analysts are predicting the addition of Edwards will increase the ticket's appeal to rural, middle class, Midwestern, and Southern voters (white voters, in other words). The recruitment of Edwards is simply the next major step in the Democratic Party's epic struggle for the hearts and minds of white America....(full article)

The Fall: Beltway Democrats Sink Dean

by Josh Frank

(Excerpt from Josh Frank’s forthcoming book, Left Out!: How Liberals Did Bush’s Work for Him.) Dean’s Titanic campaign began to take on water shortly after Al Gore endorsed Dean for president on December 9, 2003. Hailed by many as a huge boost to Dean’s bid, the endorsement, came at the same exact moment Democratic insiders were meeting to discuss how to sink Dean’s advances....(full article)

Terrorist Tree Huggers

by Bill Berkowitz

Ron Arnold, father of the 'wise use' movement, sets his sights on 'eco-terrorists'....(full article)

Preaching to the Choir
by Marty Jezer

I thought of Rush Limbaugh as I watched Michael Moore’s movie, Fahrenheit 9/11. An unfair comparison, perhaps: Limbaugh is a radio talk-show host, Moore a maker of documentary movies. But both are masters of their particular genre who, regrettably, like to use cheap, personal attacks to nail their political points. Does Limbaugh change people’s minds? At first, he politicized angry and alienated white males, giving them scapegoats (“feminazis,” the poor -- from his mouth, a code word for “African-Americans -- and, most of all, liberal politicians) for their own personal insecurities. Now, having rallied that constituency, he speaks only to that particular choir. Michael Moore, for his part, wants to convince Americans to vote against the Bush administration in the November election. Does he achieve his purpose? I hope scholars are studying the film’s effectiveness. How many independents or Republicans are in the audience? Is it changing anyone’s mind? Or, like Limbaugh, is Moore merely preaching to his own equally partisan choir? (full article)

July 7-8

Dispersing Demonstrations -- Or Chemical Warfare?
by James Brooks

James Brooks surveys clear evidence that Israel is using toxic chemicals against Palestinian demonstrators....(full article)

Sex and the Swingle Voter
by Leilla Matsui

Much has been written recently on the millions of single women in the US who sat out the last presidential elections in 2000, and who look unlikely to be breaking any nails over voting machines this coming November, either.  So far, though, neither the incumbent Republican president (sic) or his rival, the presumptive Democratic nominee, have shown much interest in winning the lonely hearts and minds of these approximately 38 million political wallflowers. In what is expected to be a tightly contested race, these untapped “swingle” voters could determine the outcome of the election, yet Bush and Kerry seem as unenamoured with this voting bloc as these women are to the candidates themselves....(full article

War and Tax Cuts
by Holly Sklar and Chuck Collins

More Americans have died in Iraq than in all U.S. military operations since Vietnam combined. Some states have reported their first National Guard combat deaths since World War II. The Bush administration expects tens of thousands of troops to be in Iraq well past next year. Reserve and Guard members on extended duty in Iraq and Afghanistan have lost savings, homes and businesses. Now the Army is recalling thousands of honorably discharged soldiers who served less than eight years on active duty. Meanwhile, millionaires are getting tax breaks....(full article)

The Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Unwitting!
by William Hughes

Welcome to America -- the land of the unfree! On June 28, 2004, in the case of Yaser Hamdi, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5 to 4 vote, struck a severe blow that went directly to the heart of our revered liberties. And yet, as that poorly-reasoned decision tore into the foundation of our once-grand Republic, there was hardly a murmur of opposition heard throughout the nation or in the Controlled Media. The Court gave the Bush-Cheney Gang a green light to arrest any American citizen, like Hamdi, and to hold him or her, indefinitely, without charges or trial. All the administration has to do in order to initiate that terrifying process is to classify an individual as an “enemy combatant.”....(full article)

Cranky Reflections on the Fourth of July
Would somebody pleeeze turn off that goddam radio!

by Joe Bageant

It is a real problem that our most educated liberal leaders tend to be considerate, well-read, navel gazing, pussies. This makes for great human beings but poor warriors against this developing fascist state. We need to get enough balls to whip the tar out of neocons instead of cataloging their latest lies and amputations performed on the Bill of Rights. Not too long ago many of us were demonstrating in the hundreds of thousands for no less than world peace. Now we have accepted the only offer on the table, perpetual war....(full article)

Don't Call it a Wall
by Ran HaCohen

A year ago, I urged readers to forget about President Bush's "Road Map to Peace" – on which so much attention was wasted at the time, by now a dead letter – and concentrate on the real map of Palestine, radically changed by the construction of Israel's Apartheid Wall, which was virtually ignored by the international media. A year has passed, and the silence has been broken: thanks to the work of several conscientious journalists, thanks to Palestinian efforts culminating in referring the Wall to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which is due to decide on its legality soon, and – last but not least – thanks to thousands of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, of Ta'ayush, Gush Shalom and many other groups, whose daily non-violent demonstrations are dispersed with ruthless brutality by the Israeli army. The Wall is now on the agenda, and it should be. But is it a Wall at all? (full article)

A Different War on Terror, But the Same Old Propaganda

by Garry Leech

A recent op-ed by Thomas W. O’Connell, assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, is yet another example of the Bush administration distorting facts in order to sell its war on terror to the U.S. public and Congress. In this case, it is not an attempt to justify the forceful imposition of “democracy”—naturally, a U.S.-devised neoliberal democracy—on Iraq, but a good old self-congratulatory pat on the back for the “successes” of U.S. military intervention in Colombia at a time when Congress is debating a Bush administration request to increase the number of U.S. troops and contractors permitted in that South American country. In an ideal democracy, U.S. government officials would fully and accurately inform the public about the administration’s policies so as to allow citizens to effectively participate in the democratic process, especially crucial in an election year. O’Connell clearly fails to do this. In fact, by distorting the realities of the Bush administration’s war on terror policies in Colombia he has grossly misinformed and misled the U.S. public and Congress, and thus, undermined democracy in the United States....(full article)

A Deafening Silence of Meaning
by John Chuckman

John Kerry likes to say, "This is the most important election of our lifetime," and his guests heard it again over dollops of tapioca in Dixie Cups. It's his best line when he doesn't muff it, although he never explains why the claim should be true. Its threadbare, re-tread quality begins to suggest Richard Nixon's "It's time for a change!" a line that got him elected in 1968 so he could vastly expand the pointless killing and destruction in Vietnam. Everyone understands, though, that Kerry's slogan is about "anyone but Bush," exactly the kind of substitute for thinking that gave the world Bush in the first place. Anybody-but-Bush is about the only positive adjective you can apply to the candidacy of John Kerry....(full article)

A Visit to Shatila

by Bilal El-Amine

On a recent visit to Lebanon where I’m from, a friend who works with Palestinian refugees arranged for a group of us to visit Shatila camp in Beirut. I had seen some of Lebanon’s camps from the outside—one boarding school I attended when I was young was close to the Ein Hilweh camp, the largest and most militant camp in Lebanon. Another, Borj el-Barajneh camp, greeted you just outside the airport on the main road, there was no avoiding it. There are close to 400,000 registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon living in 13 camps ranging in size from 1,000 to 45,000. They are carefully (and deliberately, according to some refugees) distributed throughout the country but well away from the border with Palestine....(full article)

The Limits of Media Dream Machines
by Norman Solomon

A recent Associated Press dispatch -- headlined “Gadget May Help Sleepers Choose Dreams” -- told the story of a new product that “can be programmed to help sleepers choose what to dream.” Made in Japan, the 14-inch gizmo is called “Dream Workshop.” After so much progress has been made to ravage the natural environment all around us (fulfilling Francis Bacon’s recommendation that we torture Mother Nature for her secrets), it stands to reason that technology should also besiege our inner nature. But like wild animals and flighty birds, our dreams are loath to be tamed....
(full article)

Invitation to a Beheading Redux
by Mina Hamilton

In 2002, when the Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl was beheaded we gasped in anguish and horror, not only at his and his family's suffering, but at a new 21st century manifestation of human depravity. Beheading as political statement. Beheading as threat and revenge. Beheading as public execution. Enter the case of Nicolas Berg, the 26-year-old Jew decapitated in Iraq sometime in early May, 2004. Our hearts recoiled. There was an outpouring of public outrage. Bush denounced the savage act. End of story. Not end of story....(full article)

by Peter Kurth

I think it’s time we started talking about the “beheadings.”  In fact, I think it’s past time. Just now, the cutting off of the heads of “kidnapped victims” in Iraq – where God knows how many civilians have already been killed or “maimed” in Bush’s war – is depicted as a uniquely barbaric and medieval form of punishment – just the kind of thing you’d expect from the Infidel, who knows no compassion like the electric chair, the hanging, or the murder by “lethal injection.”  This is all wrong. Beheading is a very quick and easy form of execution.  It never fails; neither does it light a man’s hair on fire and leave him burning alive, as the electric chair sometimes does.  It doesn’t allow for the mistakes of hanging, where the wrong kind of “fall” from the platform or the gibbet can leave the victim squirming in agony for 10 minutes or more....(full article)

Against the Grain: Safire's Hollow Musings
by Thomas Riggins

William Safire, one of the ultra-right luminaries featured regularly in the New York Times', has decided that NATO is now a "hallow alliance." In two recent Times’ columns, "The Hallow Alliance" (6/28) and "Beware of Certitude" (6/30), he tells us why NATO is in trouble, and at the same time reveals by his subtext the imperial ambitions of his far right buddies....(full article)

“Fahrenheit 9/11” is a Stupid White Movie:
What Michael Moore Misses about the Empire

by Robert Jensen

I have been defending Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” from the criticism in mainstream and conservative circles that the film is leftist propaganda. Nothing could be further from the truth; there is very little left critique in the movie. In fact, it’s hard to find any coherent critique in the movie at all. The sad truth is that “Fahrenheit 9/11” is a bad movie, but not for the reasons it is being attacked in the dominant culture. It’s at times it is a racist movie. And the analysis that underlies the film’s main political points is either dangerously incomplete or virtually incoherent....(full article)

War x 4
by George Monbiot

Any government concerned about global security and climate change should be banning SUVs....(full article)

Elie Wiesel: Madman or Commissar?
by Mickey Z.

Parade Magazine took full advantage of Independence (sic) Day falling on a Sunday by hiring none other than Elie Wiesel to pen a little something called "The America I Love" for their patriotic cover story. Over a two-page spread, the "Nobel Laureate" explained how America "for two centuries, has stood as a living symbol of all that is charitable and decent to victims of injustice everywhere...where those who have are taught to give back." The perpetually disheveled Wiesel explained that in the U.S., "compassion for the refugee and respect for the other still have biblical connotations." Those same thoughts coming from a housewife in Peoria or truck driver in Boise are typically chalked up to ignorance so, perhaps Elie Wiesel is just an idiot...too simple-minded to discern reality from fantasy. But we can't let him off the hook so easily when, after reminding us -- yet again -- of his Holocaust experiences, the winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom admits, "U.S. history has gone through severe trials" (apparently this is how Nobel Peace Prize winners think: it's "history" that undergoes trials). Ever careful to point out his bearing witness to the civil rights movement (and equally careful to avoid explaining what that means), Wiesel calls anti-black racism "scandalous and depressing." But, take heart, black America, because dear Elie adds "racism as such has vanished from, the American scene." Roll over, Mumia...and tell Leonard Peltier the news....(full article)

July 3-6

My America
by Josh Frank

Ruminations on the 4th of July....(full article)

Happy Independence Day, Daddy

by Daniel Patrick Welch

Sung to the tune of "America the Beautiful," in honor of the US "handover" of Iraq to George's Dad's oil buddies! (full poem)

Dead Dictator Talking
by Ahmed Amr

As a general rule, I am against capital punishment. In America, earning the death penalty depends on your race, your class, your geographic location and who happens to be the governor of Texas. When the state executes an innocent man, there are precious few remedies available. However, in the case of Saddam Hussein, I am willing to make an exception. But before we dispatch him to the hangman’s noose, we should be gracious enough to give him a little time to pen his memoirs. May I propose that we immediately condemn him to death then hand a yellow pad and give him thirty days to give us a last testament on the life and times of the Butcher of Baghdad. May I further suggest that we do it now -- before the November elections? (full article)

The Witch Hunt Intensifies
by Justin Felux

The witch hunt against pro-democracy activists in Haiti intensified this week with the arrest of Yvon Neptune.  Neptune served as Prime Minister under the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. After a violent military coup drove Aristide from power, Neptune became a prime target for anti-government militants.  His home was looted and burned. Rebel leader Guy Philippe led a mob in a march on his office.  After the installation of Gerard Latortue's puppet regime, Neptune, along with other former officials, was barred from leaving the country.  Fearing for his life, he went in to hiding.  News that his arrest warrant had been issued came shortly after he publicly denounced the new government's policies....(full article)

For Bush, Surplus Labor Hidden In Plain Sight

by Seth Sandronsky

When it comes to paid work, President Bush just doesn’t get it. His focus on job creation conceals more than it reveals....(full article)

Nicholson Baker: A New Kind of Anger for Bush
by Kurt Nimmo

I can hear it now. Nicholson Baker wants to kill the president. He’s a threat to national security. He should be locked up. Maybe share a rubber-room with John Hinckley. If Bill O’Reilly thinks Amiri Baraka is a “pinhead” for writing a poem about 9/11, what does he think of Baker for writing prose about the assassination of Bush? Barker’s short novel is entitled Checkpoint. It’s basically a conversation between two characters who discuss assassinating George Bush with “radio-controlled flying saws” and a “remote-controlled boulder made of depleted uranium.” It’s an absurd novel, according to Andrew Gumbel of the Independent, hardly anything to be worried about. But then Richard Humphreys of Portland, Oregon, made an absurd and no less surrealistic comment about a “burning Bush” during Dubya’s March 2001 trip to Sioux Falls. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison for making the comment in a bar....(full article)

The 2004 Political All-Star Game
by Zbignew Zingh

Once again, it was time for that All American pastime, the mid-season political All-Stars Baseball Game. In the stands, on the left side of the stadium, sat the Democrats, screaming to avenge their most recent defeat by the Republicans. On the extreme right side of the stadium, sat the Republicans, taunting the Democrats for having lost the last contest so meekly. And way back in the bleachers sat the Greens and Progressives, the Libertarians and the Socialists, and way, way back in the bleachers sat the Blacks, Native Americans and Latinos where their shouts and chants could barely be heard at all. In the center of the stadium, high up in the air-conditioned, security glass-enclosed box seats, sat the Elite, the wealthy deal-makers, the Corporate Executives, the Rich and the Powerful. They were eating and drinking and not really watching the field of play. They already knew who would win and who would lose. Then everyone stood for the singing of our National Anthem....(full article)

Take Me Out to the Antiwar Ballgame

by Derek Seidman

Dick Cheney was able to score a hot ticket to see the biggest rivalry in baseball when he attended the Yankees-Red Sox game on Wednesday. The Vice-President even made his way into the locker room before the game to mumble at a few players. It was a proud moment for Yankee coach Joe Torre, who told the press, "It's great any time a dignitary like that visits. It slaps you with pride." Come the seventh inning stretch, it was Cheney’s turn to get slapped....(full article)

Ralph’s Revolt: A Discussion with Greg Bates

by Josh Frank

Greg Bates co-founded Common Courage Press in 1990, and is the Publisher. He is also the author of the new book, Ralph’s Revolt: The Case for Joining Nader's Rebellion. Bates recently spoke with Joshua Frank about his upcoming book, the elections, and the future of progressive politics in America....(full article)

A Golden Green Gamble: Greens and the Expansion of American Democracy

by José M. Tirado

The recent decision by the Green Party National Convention to choose David Cobb as their Presidential candidate is both a golden opportunity and a golden Green gamble. By nominating Cobb, Greens have signaled their intent to build the Party up a bit more slowly, away from the harsh glare of the (mainly misleading) mainstream media attention given Ralph Nader....
(full article)

The Green Party’s Step Backward

by Alan Maass

The Green Party rejected the independent campaign of Ralph Nader at its convention last weekend. Instead, the Greens nominated a little-known attorney and activist from California, David Cobb, as their presidential candidate. Cobb won the party’s presidential nomination by a narrow majority of the nearly 800 delegates voting at the convention, heading off a further vote that could have led to an endorsement of Nader’s independent campaign. Nader and his vice presidential running mate, Peter Camejo--a Green Party veteran who ran twice for governor of California, winning more votes in these elections than any Green candidate in the U.S. other than Nader--had asked for an endorsement of their independent presidential campaign, rather than the party’s nomination. As close as the outcome was, the contrast between Cobb and Nader-Camejo--and what these campaigns mean for the future of the Green Party--was stark....(full article)

The Chokehold of "Anybody But Bush"

by Sharon Smith

For those who wondered why the U.S. left has never built a social democratic or labor party, last weekend’s Green Party convention in Milwaukee offered a bird’s-eye view....(full article)

Anatomy of a Home Demolition
by Am Johal

In the Moredechai Richler novel, while growing up in the heart of Montreal's Jewish ghetto, Duddy Kravitz is obsessed with his grandfather's saying, “A man without land is nothing.” Here in the Middle East, in this land of the Torah, the Bible and the Koran there are stories of families and villages where houses and land were bartered for two chickens.  Those were simpler times. In February of this year in Israel, I arrived in the Upper Galilee Village of al-Bea’neh a few hours after it had been under siege during a house demolition....(full article)

Pictures from Bethlehem and the Village of al-Wallajeh of June 28, 2004
Photos by Musa Alshaer

Photos of Palestinian homes demolished by the Israelis in Bethlehem and al-Wallejeh....(full article)

The Whole World Is Watching and Yawning
by Ahmed Amr

You can’t make this stuff up. A study by the Media Group at Scotland's Glasgow University recently reported that “many people in Britain think the Palestinians are occupying Israeli territory and not the other way round and some think Palestinians are refugees from Afghanistan.”  Well, that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the truth and consequences of mass media journalism.... The repression of the Palestinians would not be possible without willing enablers like the BBC and the FOX pundits who pollute the airwaves with their peculiar brand of Murdochracy. It takes an extraordinary amount of talent to twist the basic outlines of the Israeli/Palestinian narrative. It takes a mountain of spin to cover up the heaps of lies required to obscure a story that can be honestly explained to a child of ten in a matter of hours....This phenomenon can not be written off as a series of typing errors.  History will show that mass media journalists in Britain and the United States deliberately conspired in a concerted effort to mislead the public. They collaborated in this venture with the full knowledge that their cowardly conduct might result in another Israeli bullet lodged in the skull of a Palestinian child....(full article)

Imperial Misconceptions
by Roni Ben Efrat

In late May 2004, interviewed on CBS's 60 Minutes, former US general Anthony Zinni castigated US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his coterie of neo-cons with regard to their misconceptions concerning the war in Iraq. He had already published his views in a book called Battle Ready, co-authored with Tom Clancy. Zinni claims that political ideologues have hijacked American policy in Iraq. It was the wrong war at the wrong time, he says, because "Saddam was effectively contained," whereas the real problem facing America was the war on terror. Moreover, on the way to achieving and justifying their end, the Pentagon and the civilian heads of the Bush Administration made every conceivable error: They relied on mistaken intelligence that was infected with ulterior motives. They underestimated the force that would be needed to rebuild Iraq. They disregarded international criticism and belittled the UN. We find a similar phenomenon in Israel....
(full article)

The "Quiet" Christians
by Mary Pitt

In perusing newspapers and websites regarding current events, one would be led to believe that all Christians are right-wing Republicans and that all Democrats and "leftists" are Godless Communists. In fact, quite the reverse is true. There are many in our nation who are devout Christians and are Democrats and Progressives by way of living their deeply-held beliefs....
(full article)

Michael Moore’s Flaming Thunderbolt: Bush Fiddles While New York Burns

by Shepherd Bliss

Michael Moore hurled a flaming thunderbolt in what may become the most historically significant documentary film ever made. “Fahrenheit 9/11” smoldered for months as censors at Disney and the White House tried to prevent you from seeing it. The film may boil the besieged Bush right out of his ailing presidency. The folksy, shuffling, overweight populist Moore takes on “the leader of the free world.” Moore won round one by getting the film shown and round two by garnering awards and front page stories around the world before the film even opened. Becoming the highest-grossing documentary of all time in its opening weekend gave him round three. A growing mass movement may deliver Bush a knockout punch....(full article)

The End of Gap Sweatshops?

by Mark Engler

"When I decided to join Gap Inc. in the fall of 2002," writes Paul Presser, President and CEO of the clothing giant behind the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic brands, "one of the first things my teenage daughter asked was, 'Doesn't Gap use sweatshops?'" This question, effectively pushed into consumer consciousness by an aggressive global movement for workers' rights, has haunted Gap for nearly a decade. In May, the company released its first Social Responsibility Report, providing an important window into how far that movement has come-and highlighting challenges that continue to confront apparel workers in an industry where "remaining competitive" fuels a search for ever-cheaper production....(full article)

Against the Grain: Kerry and Evil (online)

by Thomas Riggins

The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger has figured out that the barbaric beheadings by “Islamic” terrorist groups “could pose a political problem for John Kerry.” Henninger used his column “Wonder Land” in the Journal’s Friday edition (6/25) to try and reap some partisan advantage for the ultra-right out of the recent murders of Nicholas Berg, Paul M. Johnson and Kim Sun Il. His article, besides being grossly distasteful, shows the extreme lengths the ultras have to resort to in order to justify Bush’s war mongering policies. In this case, Henninger maintains that conservatives have a monopoly on the belief in “evil” and liberals like Kerry don’t....(full article)

Tribes, Fishermen Take Klamath River Fight To Scottish Power
by Dan Bacher

Scotland is a long way from the Klamath River, but the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk and Klamath tribes are planning to send representatives to Scotland later this year. They will be protesting the damage that Scottish Power is causing to the salmon and steelhead populations of the Klamath River by the operation of Iron Gate, Copco and other dams....(full article)

On Kwame Ture's Birthday: No More "Waiting for Griot"

by Richard (the Ox) Oxman

This is a belated birthday tribute ... plus. Wanted to wait a day first … to see if some site might honor his coming into this troubled world. To see if this was needed. Just as I suspected. Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael) and L. Russell Brown (aka Larry Brown) were both born June 29th, almost within a minute of one another in 1941. Same Hemisphere too. But an ironic and instructive contrast begs for consideration here, a dark stark difference that almost makes the entire edifice of Astrology come tumbling down. The one left people with Black Power resonating in their bones, shaking Afro-Saxons in white corridors (screaming Liberation for all!), while the other is leaving a legacy of abominable super-patriotism and racism, his “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ’Round the Old Oak Tree” vibrating with every tassel worn by/waved for U.S. troops....(full article)

Divining Responsibility

by Col. Dan Smith

In a fitting end to the week-long national retrospective of the life of actor-governor-president Ronald Reagan, his three surviving children -- Michael, Patti, and Ron Jr. -- recalled his most important role: as their father and, by extension, as a husband. Ron, speaking last, also touched on his father’s religious sense and sensibility, describing him as “a deeply, unabashedly religious man.” The son noted that, in the wake of John Hinckley’s assassination attempt, President Reagan believed “God had spared him in order that he might do good. But,” Ron added, “he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.” For a presidential candidate who carried 44 states in 1980 and then 49 states in 1984, the pressure to abandon this distinction must have been severe -- and there were instances during the two Reagan terms in which the distinction was not evident. Nonetheless, reflecting his private conviction as described by Ron Jr., President Reagan in his public life displayed neither the “imperial” mode of governance favored by Richard Nixon nor the apostolic-apocalyptic tenor of the current Bush administration....(full article)

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