March 2004 Articles











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March 30-31

Condoleezza's Nonsense About Democracy
by John Chuckman

Condoleezza Rice wants to bring democracy to the Middle East. Ms. Rice, an expert on what is now an obsolete subject, the Soviet Union, believes this can be done the way the United States brought democracy to Chile or Iran or Afghanistan -- that is, by violently overthrowing governments. Does democracy come from the full belly of a B-52 and the murderous aftermath of coups? (full article)

The Line
by William Pitt

Former White House Counter-Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke has managed to do something that defies modern political gravity. He has stayed in the news, hour after hour and day after day. He was hurled many days ago into the maelstrom of the 24-hour news cycle, which reports one moment on an incredibly important story, flings that story out beyond the Oort Cloud the next moment, and that story is never seen again. Clarke, somehow, has managed to maintain his position at the top of the news despite this process we mistakenly call "journalism" for longer than any other ten major recent stories combined. . . (full article)

As in Tiananmen Square
by Tanya Reinhart

An extensive discussion has already taken place in Israel regarding the cost-benefit ratio of Yassin's assassination.  But the question of justice has hardly been raised.
(full article)

Haiti’s Troika of Terror: Thugs, a Buffoon, the Pirates
by Glen Ford and Peter Gamble

The United States has delivered George Bush’s ghoulish brand of democracy to Haiti. The nightmarish components of Haiti’s ruling troika gathered last Saturday, in Gonaives, the country’s fourth-largest city – a macabre assemblage that seemed designed to assault the sensibilities of civilized humans. . . (full article)

2004 and the Left

by Ted Glick

2004 is turning out to be an important political year in many ways. For those on the political Left, the independent, non-Green, Ralph Nader Presidential campaign is bringing to the fore a number of important strategic and tactical issues, among them: an assessment of the danger-or not-of a second Bush administration; what our attitude should be toward progressives in the Democratic Party; the political and organizational nature of the kind of "third party" needed; and with whom in the process of party-building we should be willing to make alliances. . . (full article)

Open Letter to Progressive Democrats
by Paul Felton

Dear Progressive Democrat: I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 and I’m proud of it. You voted for Nader and you regret it (or, you voted for Gore, even though you liked Nader better). Ever since then, you participated in a vigorous campaign to convince Nader and the Green Party not to run in 2004. It is unprecedented for so many progressive people to fight so intensely to prevent a progressive voice from entering the campaign. However, I intend to support Nader and/or the Green Party candidate (and I have not given up hope that Nader will be the Green Party candidate). I hope you will have the patience to listen to my point of view. . . (full article)

Defeating George Bush's Assault on American Jobs
by Dennis Rahkonen

You don’t have to go far to realize that an economy tenuously on the rebound for Wall Street is very much in the dumps on Main Street. Just check out the proliferating dollar stores and paycheck loan providers that both owe their existence to far too many of us being too poor to shop at “real” retailers or to go through a month without running completely out of money. Even in cases where usually at least two breadwinners are struggling to make ends meet, a shockingly high number of us look at our forebears’ expectation of seeing their progeny lead better lives than they themselves totally impossible. The American dream has become a forbidding nightmare. . . (full article)

Washington Pinocchios and the Lifting of the Veil
by Manuel Valenzuela

In Washington, noses continue to grow, minds continue to be devoid of intelligence and hearts have yet to be found. Such is the calamity that is the group of liars who comprise the Bush administration, nothing more than an amalgam of unscrupulous beings molded out of the same bed of clay. This clay has yielded us men and women of similar proclivity towards malfeasance who are leading us into bottomless sewers of ignoble and hazardous waste. They have for three years caused us to drown in fear-infested cesspools of toxic insecurity, causing our emotions and lives to be controlled as they succumb to the Bush administration’s incessant fear mongering manipulation. As such, for three years they have been allowed to do as they please, causing nothing but trouble to our beleaguered nation. They are called the Washington Pinocchios. . . (full article)

Being the Government Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
by Ivan Eland

The apology of Richard Clarke, the chief counterterrorism adviser to the Clinton and Bush administrations, for the U.S. government’s failure to protect its citizens on September 11 starkly contrasts with the U.S. government’s standard operating procedure. Sitting government officials, whether in Democratic or Republican administrations, rarely apologize for any transgressions of the state, no matter how grievous. . . (full article)

The Politics of Ecology
by Tracy McLellan

A Review of Jeff St. Clair's Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature: For all the environmental havoc uncovered in these 56 essays it is miraculous we stll have a planet and any clean air and water at all. St. Clair co-edits Counterpunch, along with Alexander Cockburn. To get a sense of the dimensions of what we’ve lost, he says, you have to “get the feel of your fingers skimming over 800 grow rings on the stump of a Douglas fir,” which is all that’s left of ninety-five percent of the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. This book is a dire warning, the work of a singular investigative journalist and master story-teller. . . (full article)

Oiled Again: Free Trade Threatens Costa Rican Environmental Protections
by Mark Engler and Nadia Martinez

When most people think of Costa Rica, they don't imagine oil rigs stationed off the pristine beaches. Nor do they envision pit mines cutting into the cloud-forested mountains. But, despite the country's noteworthy conservation efforts, its scenic vistas and extraordinary biodiversity have faced real threats from extractive industries -- and are now endangered by international trade deals. . . (full article)

The British Threat: By Hardening its Position on Nuclear Weapons,
Labour is Encouraging Proliferation

by George Monbiot

The paradox of modern warfare works like this: by enhancing our military strength, we enhance our opponents' capacity to destroy us. The Russian state developed thermobaric bombs (which release a cloud of explosive material into the air) for use against Muslim guerillas. Now, according to New Scientist, Muslim terrorists are trying to copy them. The United States has been producing weaponized anthrax, ostensibly to anticipate terrorist threats. In 2001, anthrax stolen from this programme was used to terrorize America. The greatest horrors with which terrorists might threaten us are those whose development we funded. . . (full article)

Terrorist Snipers, their Media Allies and Defense of Democracy: Last Part of an Interview by Heinz Dieterich with Venezuelan Armed Forces Commander General Raúl Baduel
Translated with an Introductory Note by Toni Solo

Senator John Kerry's recent aggressive declaration on Venezuela confirms that whoever is in the White House, Venezuela will remain subject to intervention from the United States government and its allies. The role of the Venezuelan army in the face of this reality will be crucial to defend peace and democracy in Venezuela. The first part of this interview, published earlier, covered issues of US intervention, relations with Colombia, and efforts by the government's opponents to create an atmosphere of crisis inside the country. In this final part of the interview, General Raúl Baduel, head of the Venezuelan army explains to Heinz Dieterich efforts to combat terrorist snipers and the role of media manipulation. Baduel ends with a call for respect for democracy and peaceful coexistence. . . (full interview)

March 29

Robert Novak's Allies
by Justin Felux

What do conservative pundit Robert Novak and rapper Ice-T have in common? Believe it or not, they have both glorified murdering policemen. Ice-T did it in his controversial song, "Cop Killer," which he made to protest police brutality. Robert Novak did it more recently when he hailed Guy Philippe's cop-murdering thugs in Haiti as "freedom fighters." Ice-T's song caused a firestorm of controversy among the righteous right in this country, but so far Novak's disgraceful comments have gone unpunished. In another recent column titled "Aristide's Allies," Novak suggests that those who support President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as the duly elected leader of Haiti are only doing so because of seedy financial ties with the exiled leader. What Novak doesn't tell his readers is that he has a history as an apologist for anti-Aristide death squads in Haiti. . . (full article)

Snow Job
by Seth Sandronsky

The Bush White House is picking up its campaign against the U.S. working class. Recently, Treasury Secretary John Snow said that Medicare, the nation’s system of public health care for seniors and the disabled, will be bankrupt in 2019. Bush’s solution is to turn more of Medicare over to health maintenance organizations and pharmaceutical corporations. They are big donors to him and the GOP generally. Meanwhile, Snow wants the American public to think that government spending to meet its needs is at-risk. A frightened citizenry is his goal. . . (full article)

Jihad Comes Full Circle: The US and Pakistan in Afghanistan
by Sonali Kolhatkar

In January 2004, the Chicago Tribune cited military sources in Washington planning a "spring offensive" on the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan "that would reach inside Pakistan with the goal of destroying Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network." That offensive has clearly begun with recent troop deployments in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan . . . The US eagerness to work with Pakistan and even clear arms sales in violation of its own laws seems surprising -- it comes on the heels of a revelation that the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, had been selling nuclear secrets to countries like Libya, Iran and North Korea. Additionally, only three years ago Pakistan was one of three countries that recognized the Taliban as legitimate rulers of Afghanistan, and is widely known as having actually nurtured and sponsored the Taliban. . . . (full article)

Israel, Suicide Nation
by M. Junaid Alam

Politics, being the art of deception, must certainly recognize Israel as its Da Vinci. Its smug self-portrait as a ‘civilized democracy’, rendered with brushes dipped deeply in the oil paint of antipathy for Arabs, has won much admiration among impressionable Americans. Galvanizing and amplifying latent Western hatred of Muslim Arabs in order to rally the West under the banner of ‘Judeo-Christian civilization’, and intimidating doubters by abusing the memory of the Holocaust to claim special ‘unique victim’ status, Israel intones, ‘Stand with us because we are white and bomb towel-heads in F-16s just as you do, and don’t dare stand against us because you once persecuted our forefathers and should atone for your sins – by abetting ours.’ The result of this most cynical ploy is that the Palestinians, dark-skinned victims of Israel’s perpetual campaign of ethnic cleansing, torture, theft, and humiliation, are always grotesquely caricatured as mindless savages with a fetish for suicide attacks. There is, however, one major credibility problem with this racist rhetoric: Israel itself is in the process of committing suicide. . . (full article)

International Condemnation of Israel Mounts
What Lies Behind Israel's Assassination of Yassin?

by Neve Gordon

Jerusalem: A few hours after the Israeli military assassinated Hamas’s spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, I entered the classroom in order to teach my politics of human rights course. Everyone had already heard about the extra-judicial execution, so I asked my students whether they felt safer. The response was unanimous: they all felt more vulnerable. . . (full article)

The Continued Reverse Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo:
Too Embarrassing for the International Community
by Jan Oberg

Back to Square One. A few days before the 5th Anniversary of the war against what was then called Yugoslavia, ethnic cleansing again reared its ugly head in the Balkans. Carl Bildt, most knowledgeable and clear-sighted former diplomat in the region, said that we saw five years of international policy go up in flames. Bildt is right in substance but his time perspective is too short; it is 15 years of Western conflict (mis)management policies that has gone up in flames. And indeed, some have reasons to try to play down this catastrophe and its consequences: the international so-called community and its allies, the Albanian leadership in Kosovo...
(full article)

The Ethnic Cleansing of Africville: Identity Politics in Canada
by Kim Petersen

In the east coast Canadian city of Halifax, there existed a community of Afro-Canadians that once numbered almost 400 citizens. Situated in the north of the city on the shoreline of Bedford Basin, Africville was first settled in the 1700s and as a result of “environmental racism” developed into a shantytown. Human rights activist Denise Allen outlined how Africville came to be surrounded by, among other industries, “three systems of railway tracks; an open city dump; disposal pits for Halifax toxic waste; a hospital for infectious diseases; a stone and coal crushing plant; a toxic waste dump; a bone-meal plant; a cotton factory; a rolling mill/nail factory; a slaughterhouse; sewage disposal units; a prison; and a port facility for handling coal.” . . . (full article)

And Now For Some Good News
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

I rang my mum the other day. "Your column was good this week, dear," she said, and then paused, "but don't you ever have anything good to say?" She has a point. I seem to have the kind of mind that gravitates towards the negative, the underhand and the dishonest. In direct contrast to me, my mother is the living example of the old saying that if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. So in honor of my mum, here's a few good things I've come across recently. . . (full article)

Just My Imagination: Tommy Boy Friedman Does "Imagine"
by Mickey Z.

I keep telling myself to stop wasting time critiquing Thomas L. Friedman. No one can possibly top the self-inflicted damage he does merely by putting his laughable words on the New York Times op-ed page. But then he goes and outdoes himself...and here I am, furiously typing up an article. . . (full article)

March 27-28

The Passion of the Donald
Getting in Touch With Your Inner Psychopath
by Leilla Matsui and Seth Sandronsky

Donald Trump is to corporate America what Mel Gibson is to Hollywood these days -- a savior. After taking a well-deserved albeit symbolic spanking over Enron, Tyco and Halliburton to name just a few, America's corporate leaders have retaliated with their deadliest weapon yet - the Donaldator; a largely forgotten relic of the Reagan era they have revived in time for the November elections.  Donald's comeback has ushered in a new era of “Rogainomics”; a snake oil stimulus package to stave off voter discontent with Bush's job-hemorrhaging economy. After all, who better symbolizes the ecstatic consumer confidence of the 1980s than the fat-fingered mogul who wears a thorny crown of road kill on his own head? (full article)

Kerry is a Sheep in Wolves' Clothing
by Justin Felux

John Kerry recently allowed a group of reporters to follow him around on a shopping spree. According to the LA TImes, the reporters were present as Kerry "bought a jockstrap, among other items, at a local sporting goods shop." Apparently, Kerry organized the publicity stunt in an attempt to prove to the country that he actually has testicles. Sorry, Mr. Senator, but I'm still not convinced. . . (full article)

Coming Soon to Iraq: The Passion of the Handover
Occupation's bad news beat goes on as the Coalition Provisional
Authority hires top British PR firm to spin Year Two
by Bill Berkowitz

If year one of Operation Iraqi Freedom proved anything, it was that public relations firms could have you believe that smoking a roasted banana peel could give you a little buzz. During the run-up to war with Iraq, the administration relied heavily on "perception management," Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber wrote in their book Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq (Tarcher/Putnam, 2003). To that end, Team Bush rolled out a steady dose of misinformation, disinformation, and highly dubious intelligence to sell the war to the public. The selling of the war, however, was a breeze compared to the selling of the occupation. Administration-sponsored propaganda efforts, including the use of in-house hotshots and the hiring of topnotch public relations firms and marketing gurus haven't yet been able to stitch together a coherent or believable message. As the occupation continues to unravel, so does the tapestry of the administration's tall tales. . . (full article)

Who Is Going to Stop Them?
by Naomi Klein

In London, they unfurled a protest sign on Big Ben, in Rome a million demonstrators filled the streets. But here in Iraq, there were no such spectacular markings of the one year anniversary of the invasion a sign, the BBC speculated, that Iraqis are generally “pleased” with the progress of their liberation. . . (full article)

There Are No Words ...  Radiation in Iraq Equals 250,000 Nagasaki Bombs
by Bob Nichols

This story is about American weapons built with Uranium components for the business end of things. Just about all American bullets, 120 mm tank shells, missiles, dumb bombs, smart bombs, 500 and 2,000 pound bombs, cruise missiles, and anything else engineered to help our side in the war of us against them has Uranium in it. Lots of Uranium. . . (full article)

Memorial Wall Commemorates Iraq Dead and Wounded
by Dan Bacher

In an emotional and heartfelt ceremony followed by the playing of taps, Veterans for Peace unveiled a graphic, oversized "Iraq War Memorial Wall" next to the Vietnam War Memorial at the California State Capitol on March 21. . . (full article)

A Malignant Tumor onto the World: Israel and Its Self-Defeating Actions
by Manuel Valenzuela

What were Sharon and the Israeli government thinking when they decided to decapitate Hamas through the assassination of its founder, Sheik Ahmed Yassin? If the state sponsored murder of Yassin was not so recklessly self-defeating one might be inclined to think that Sharon is on a mission to implode the state of Israel. The evaporation of a wheelchair-laden Yassin through American Apache helicopter missiles underscores the vicious cycle the state of Israel has thrust upon itself for years on end. Its ceaseless terror-inducing actions on an occupied and resisting people continue to haunt it and its own citizens; its continued oppression, violence and dehumanization on the indigenous people of Palestine inevitably always boomerangs back, yet Israel does not relent, nor understands, nor seems to care about the consequences of its actions. . . (full article)

Who Won World War II?
by Ran HaCohen

World War II plays a major role in our conception of human history, because, unlike the senseless carnage of World War I, it stands for an ideological struggle between Good and Evil. Whereas the Allies – Britain, the USA and even the Soviet Union – stressed, at least formally, their commitment to the humanistic values of the Enlightenment, Hitler's Germany did away with them altogether, worshipping barbarian values like power and race instead, taking pride of its brazen contempt for morality, international conventions and the rule of law....Luckily, Nazi Germany lost the War. But almost sixty years after its defeat in the battlefield, Hitler's concept of war – part and parcel of his overall Weltanschauung – celebrates a rising tide in the global ideological arena. Israel's assassination of Hamas' leader Sheik Ahmad Yassin is a milestone in this process of barbarization of the human kind. . . (full article)

Sons of Malkoviches: Who Begat H.R. 3077?
by Richard Oxman

To question or not to question, is that, unquestionably, the question, or what? A federal tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism on American college campuses of...Israel? A bill was passed by the House in support of creating such a tribunal?  On September 17, 2003 the House Subcommittee on Select Education approved H.R. 3077 unanimously?  Slightly over a month later, the International Studies in Higher Education Act was passed by the full House of Representatives? How did your representative vote?  You don't know? (full article)

Five Theses on Shakespeare in the Alley/or
Bob Dylan and Anti-Imperialism

by Jordy Cummings

1. “I was thinking of a series of dreams” I attended this weekend’s rainy but inspiring antiwar march in Toronto - the “World still says no to war”…as diverse a crowd as you could find, and surprisingly large considering the weather and lack of publicity, compared to in other cities. What it lacked in mass, it made up for as a veritable sea of humanity, in the city that the UN referred to as the most multicultural on this small planet. . . (full article)

Oh What A Lovely War -- One Year On
by P. Anthony Farruggio

I can recall the first moments of my country's attack on Iraq. . . (full article)

March 25-26, 2004

The Media Politics of 9/11
by Norman Solomon

For 30 months, 9/11 was a huge political blessing for George W. Bush. This week, the media halo fell off. Within the space of a few days, culminating with his testimony to the Sept. 11 commission Wednesday afternoon, former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke did serious damage to a public-relations scam that the White House has been running for two and a half years. . . (full article)

US and Haiti: Imperial Arrogance at its Worst

by Justin Felux

Maybe I should have known better, but I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I read a recent piece in the Miami Herald about Haiti.  In describing the Bush administration's reaction to Jamaica briefly hosting President Aristide and allowing him to reunite with his daughters, the report said, "Jamaica's decision ... has infuriated Bush administration officials ... Asked whether the United States will take any concrete measures against Jamaica, U.S. officials say the Bush Administration will not cut aid to fight AIDS in the region or reduce other kinds of humanitarian assistance."  How utterly gracious of the Bush administration!  You know a country has become too powerful for its own good when it refrains from denying life-saving aid to a tiny, helpless country and considers it an act of courtesy. . . (full article)

Scary, Scary John Kerry
by Josh Frank

Finally a reason to get excited, as we now have before us an electable candidate worthy of taking on George W. Bush and his coterie of neoconservatives next November. Well, at least that’s what the scared liberals out there would have us believe. But John Kerry is neither electable nor exciting. . . (full article)

Crunch Time for Bush and Opportunity for Kerry
by Ahmed Bouzid

George W. Bush is in trouble. He is in serious trouble. He is in the only kind of trouble that he and his inner circle, headed by his close advisor, Karl Rove, really care about: political trouble. . . (full article)

Killing Rachel Corrie Again: Making Murder Respectable
by Michael Dempsey

In his essay, Politics and the English Language, Orwell writes that “political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” In no case has this statement been truer than that of the Israeli- Palestinian dispute. For over a half a century, an entire people have been denied not only the right of self-determination, but the more basic right of human recognition. . . Most impressive, though, has been the way in which the “superstructure” of capitalist America has failed to notice the one year anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie, or indeed notice that she was killed to begin with. The good American patriots have had nothing to say about the killing of “one of their own” by an unknown member of another clan, forcing one to ask: is jingoism really gone for good? (full article)

Quiet On No Front
by Salik Farooqi

On March 22, 2004, the Israeli government once again, crossed a line – perhaps yet another point of no return - in its brutal occupation of Palestine with its assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader and founder of Hamas.  The assassination brazenly violates international law. No matter what one thinks of Sheikh Yassin's support of armed resistance (in which he echoed the likes of George Washington, Simon Bolivar and Nelson Mandela) to the Israeli occupation, what is indisputable is the fact that contrary to Principle V of Nuremberg, Sheikh Yassin far from receiving a fair trial, did not receive a trial.  Sheikh Yassin's assassination is therefore yet another blatantly unlawful act on the part of an Israeli government that continues to ruthlessly oppress the Palestinians. . . (full article)

Kerry vs. Kerry-lite
by Stephen Gowans

Some advice to politically Left Americans. Most of you will cast a vote for John Kerry in November. There's not much doubt about it. And the reason you'll be backing Kerry is (a) you assume nothing could be worse than Bush, (b) the Democrats must be marginally better, because…well, because they're Democrats, (c) pressuring elites doesn't seem to be working and you can't think of anything else to do to stop "Bush's" drive to war, and (d) all those people who keep warning you about lesser evilism, can't seem to come up with anything better. So Kerry's your man. Oh sure, some of you admire Kucinich. Others even think well of Nader. But you know Kerry's going to be your go-to-guy come November. Okay, fine. Leave it at that. When the time comes, head down to the polling station, and cast your vote. But in the meantime, shut up about it, because, just between you and me, you're starting to look a little silly, twisting yourself into knots to explain why it is that all the things you used to say about the Democrats being the same as the Republicans, no longer apply. . . (full article)

Somalia and Iraq: Looking Back and Ahead
by Mickey Z.

The preamble to the United Nations Charter begins, "We the people of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war...." Such idiom becomes useful when the United States intervenes under the auspices of UN humanitarianism. As the endgame in Iraq grows progressively more muddled and calls for UN involvement increase, it's interesting to note that March 25, 2004 marks 10 years since the last U.S. troops left Somalia. In 1992-93, Somalia experienced U.S./UN munificence firsthand. Operation Restore Hope (sic) was sold to the public as an act of U.S. philanthropy with images of malnourished African children and stories of evil Somali warlords...but little of the nation's history was allowed to get in the way. . . (full article)

What’s to Blame for Lost Jobs? The Debate Over Job Loss and Outsourcing
by Lee Sustar

Is your job going to Guangdong or Bangalore -- and is George W. Bush to blame? While corporate outsourcing and offshoring of jobs has already become a central question in the 2004 presidential elections, the debate has so far only scratched the surface of the real reasons for the worst job growth since the Great Depression of the 1930s. . . (full article)

An Exchange on Venezuela
by Toni Solo, Francisco Toro, Gregory Wilpert and Andrew Buncombe

On March 22, we posted "Mis-reporting Venezuela: Hugo Chavez as Processed by the “Independent” Newspaper," by DV contributing writer Toni Solo, based in Nicaragua. The article critiques The Independent (UK) newspaper's coverage of electoral politics in Venezuela. The following is an exchange over Solo's article... (full exchange)

Bumper to Bumper on the Road to Ruin
by Yves Engler

A couple months back I came across a phenomenal statistic; there are 1.02 cars in the U.S. for every person of driving age. The New York Times confirmed this in an article last week that said there are 230 million cars and trucks in the U.S. and only 193 million licensed drivers. Surely it’s more cost effective to call a cab when a breakdown occurs rather than having a backup vehicle? Or have the robots learned to drive? But in all seriousness, car prevalence has, to put it mildly, many drawbacks. It also contributes significantly to shaping a country and says something about a society. . .
(full article)

“Out, Out Damned Spot!”
by Gary Corseri

Dana Gioia, talking head of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), spoke at Harvard University’s/Radcliffe’s Aggaziz Theatre on February 9th, outlining his plans to bring Shakespeare performances to high schools, military bases, and universities around the country. “I refuse to believe that arts funding is controversial,” Mr. Gioia declared, “and I’m frankly bored with talking about controversies of the previous century.” So, the Great Helmsman has spoken. We must not bore him with talk about funding—who gets what, how judgments are made, what agenda is served. That is SO last century. Nor dare we breach etiquette by inquiring about cultural relevance, the nature of the performance, suitability, message, etc. Is bringing theater to the schools and bases going to make a difference? Depends . . . Peter Brooks' Shakespeare with Puck jumping through fiery hoops -- could be. Same-o, same-o--probably not. Shakespeare, of course, is rather like the Bible: you can read almost anything into it. And we know what W.S. himself had to say about that: “The devil can cite Scripture for his purposes.” But let’s take Mr. Gioia at his word. Bring Shakespeare the Revolutionary, not Shakespeare the Arch-Conservative, into the classrooms and onto the bases. How might that sound? Well, maybe something like the following, where all the dialogue is dripping wet from the Bard’s own quill! (full scene)

March 23-24

Before These Crowded Streets
by William Rivers Pitt

The chill of that place was fresh in my bones on Sunday night when I turned on '60 Minutes' to see Richard Clarke, former Director of Counter-Terrorism for the National Security Council and veteran of every administration since Ronald Reagan, denounce George W. Bush and his whole crew for their failure to deal with terrorism before and after September 11, and for attacking Iraq when no threat to our country was present there. . .
(full article)

World’s Greatest Country: Do the Facts Lie?
by M. Shahid Alam

On March 21, 2003, as I headed home, a day after the United States formally invaded Iraq, I ran into a colleague from Northeastern University – a professor of the humanities – at the Ruggles train station in Boston. I was aware of his political inclinations, and he of mine, from previous encounters. Still, I thought we were on friendly terms. “I bet you oppose the war,” he greeted me, as I approached him. “Not at all,” I shot back, “ I wish to see Iraq liberated as much as you.” Although, it was only the second day of the war, and the bombs and missiles were accurately on target, it appeared that the tension leading up to the war had taken their toll on our colleague’s nerve. He snapped at my banter. Agitated, he began to poke his finger in my face, while lecturing me about how “thankful” I should be about living in “the world’s greatest country ever.” . . . (full article)

By Brad Russell

Is The Fed Playing Election-Year Politics?
by Mark Weisbrot

Is Alan Greenspan trying to get George W. Bush elected President this November? Accusations of partisanship have dogged the Fed Chairman for some time -- especially since he told Congress in January 2001 that, with continuing budget surpluses, we might pay off the entire national debt too quickly. Predictions of record budget surpluses have since been replaced by huge deficits. Mr. Greenspan has lately been advising that the way to deal with this colossal forecasting failure is not to reverse any tax cuts, but to reduce spending. . . (full article)

Sharon's One Way Track
by Ahmed Bouzid

The assassination of Hamas founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Ariel Sharon's actions and has paid minimum attention to how he operates. His logic is straightforward and impeccable: Israel is an overwhelming military power; its strongest ally is the mightiest military force in the world; therefore, as long as Israel's conflict with the Palestinians remains within the military arena, Israel will maintain a strong and steady upper hand. . .
(full article)

Murder Plain and Simple
by Reuven Kaminer

The real intent of the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin is identical with Sharon's disengagement ploy: to block any significant opportunity for the resumption of efforts towards genuine negotiations. The fixed goal is the targeted assassination of any chance for peace. . . (full article)

Israelis Promulgate Extrajudicial Murder and the United States Looks On
by Sherri Muzher

As an American of Palestinian descent and Christian faith, I never cared much for the ultimate goal of Hamas: to establish a religious state in Palestine. But I find myself angered and baffled at Israel's decision to assassinate Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. What is even more baffling is the U.S. response, especially since its close ally, Ariel Sharon, personally commanded this extrajudicial killing. . . (full article)

The Anti-War Movement in a Military Town
by Lou Plummer

On the day after his nineteenth birthday in 1966, my father received his commission as an officer in the same North Carolina National Guard unit that took his father to Europe in World War Two. By 1969, having left the Guard, Dad was in Vietnam with the Fourth Infantry Division for the first of his two tours there. After he returned, our family moved into officer’s quarters at Ft. Bragg, conveniently located near our hometown, Fayetteville, NC. I idolized my warrior father and told him that I wanted to be like him, camping out, eating C-rations and killing Viet Cong, not an uncommon feeling among seven-year-old military kids. . . (full article)

A Charter to Intervene
by George Monbiot

The survey the BBC conducted in Iraq last week is shocking to those of us who opposed the war. Most respondents say that life is now better than it was before the invasion. Those who thought the US was wrong to attack are outnumbered by those who thought it was right. Our instinct is either to ignore these findings or to dismiss them. When the questioner is employed by the state broadcaster of one of the occupying powers, the respondents might be expected to answer warily. But this is not how the poll looks to me. When asked "Do you support the presence of the coalition forces in Iraq?", 39.5% said yes, and 50.9% said no. Fewer than 10% said they had confidence in the occupation forces; over 40% said they had confidence in Iraq's religious leaders. These are not the answers you would expect from people too frightened to speak freely. . . (full article)

Taking Stock One Year After the US Invasion of Iraq
by Robert Higgs

One year ago the United States unleashed its armed forces in an invasion of Iraq. Prior to the invasion, the Bush administration offered a variety of justifications for launching it and defended its war plan against critics who claimed that a U.S. invasion was unnecessary and would be immoral or unwise. For everyone except those blinded by partisan loyalty to the Bush administration, the truth is now all too obvious. The administration was wrong and the critics were right. . . (full article)

A Bushless World is Possible
by Benjamin Dangl

The demonstration on March 20th in New York City spoke out against the Bush administration’s foreign policy not just in Iraq, but in Haiti and Palestine as well. While New York City mayor Bloomberg said there were over 33,000 protesters in attendance, protest organizers said the number was closer to 100,000.  In either case the demonstration was largely peaceful with four arrests reported from the New York City Police. Though I attended the march, I, like many people I know had doubts about the message proposed by the march’s coordinators, International ANSWER and United For Justice and Peace, which was to “Bring the troops home now.”  We didn’t think it was practical to demand the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. After the destruction of Iraq by the armed coalition forces, the immediate withdrawal of these troops seems an impractical request and irresponsible action which could fuel a civil war by allowing opposing ethnic and religious groups to battle each other unchecked.  To many of the protesters who were out in full force last year, and continue to show their support today, demanding the withdrawal of all troops immediately seems too simplistic. . .
(full article)

One Man's Flip Is Another Man's Flop
by Peter Kurth

Back up, America! Rewind that film! Your columnist has some flip-flopping to do. You heard me – I’m a flip-flopper. Despite all you’ve been told by the White House, the major media, Ann Coulter and the Ouija board, it takes a big man to flip-flop and I’m going to be the first one on the block to do it. I prefer the term “flip-flop” to “waffle,” because “waffling” makes it sound like I haven’t made up my mind, and I have. I’m flip-flopping absolutely. I’m turning 180 degrees. I’m going the whole nine yards, even though no one has yet figured out what those nine yards refer to. You can look it up. What I’m flip-flopping about is Mel Gibson. Yes, Mel Gibson, a man I wrote off two weeks ago in this column as “a shameless and repulsive movie star.” He may still be a shameless and repulsive movie star, but from now on he’s got my vote. Why? Because Mel Gibson has “doubts” about George W. Bush. . .
(full article)

It Takes a Nitwit
by Sheila Samples

"Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open -- who would wish that more mass graves were still being filled?"Can we have a show of hands, here? You? You? Or, maybe You? While lecturing a group of what he alleged to be representatives and diplomats of "84 countries united against a common danger and joined in a common purpose," George Bush last Friday followed up ghoulishly rhetorical questions that could not be answered, with ridiculous rhetorical assertions that could not be proved -- let alone understood. . . (full article)

March 22

Kerry Indicates He Would Continue Bush’s Pro-Sharon Policy
by Ira Glunts

Senator John Kerry has been defining himself as a Presidential candidate who would, if elected, continue the Bush foreign policy in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you listen to what he is currently saying, you get a feeling that he wants voters (especially Jewish voters) to believe that a Kerry presidency would be even more supportive of the Sharon government, and actually less even-handed in its dealings with the Palestinians than the current administration. This is his present position despite some previous statements Kerry made fairly recently which indicate that he may have supported a more open-minded US policy toward the region. . . (full article)

Sharon's "Disengagement": A Pacifier for the Majority
by Tanya Reinhart

Getting out of the Gaza Strip is an old dream of the majority in Israeli society. Even before the Oslo agreements in 1993, the call to get out of there was heard after every terror attack. Today, according to the polls, it has the support of 60-70% of the Israelis.  But governments come and fall, and still, this majority has not found the political power to realize its will. . . (full article)

Company With Ties to VP Cheney's Energy Task Force Faces
Criminal Indictment for Gaming Cal Electricity Market

by Jason Leopold

Three years ago, while California’s energy crisis was spiraling out of control, Vice President Dick Cheney secretly met with half-dozen corporate executives of the country’s largest energy companies to hammer out a national energy policy for President George W. Bush. . . But Cheney's denials that his friends in the energy sector weren’t to blame for the power crisis are sure to come back and haunt him and could hamper President Bush’s reelection campaign. . . (full article)

Unilateralism: The Christian Right's Influence and How to Counter It
by Duane Oldfield

That the administration of George W. Bush is pursuing a unilateralist foreign policy on issues ranging from the Iraq War to global warming to the International Criminal Court is obvious to observers at home and abroad. Also clear is the fact that the Bush policy, at least in its broad outlines, is very much in keeping with the preferences of the Christian right. As the second two quotes above indicate, the president, himself a born-again Christian, does not hesitate to use a moralistic, implicitly religious language in defense of his policies. What, exactly, is the relationship between the Christian right and the unilateralist foreign policy of the present administration? (full article)

Passion Against Anti-Semitism

by Kim Petersen

The latest Hollywood blockbuster by Mel Gibson, The Passion of Christ, has aroused such passionate sentiment against it that I forced myself to do something that I am loathe to do. Two inflammatory pieces in progressive Canadian media -- “Mel’s anti-Semitic Passion” by Jessica Squires in the Socialist Worker and “A Passion for Hatred That Mocks Christ’s Message” by Robert Scheer in Canadian Dimension -- prompted me to fork out my miserable worker wages to fatten Gibson’s already fat wallet so I could find out for myself whether the film is anti-Semitic, as its detractors allege. . .
(full article)

Sating the Monster

by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

Part of the year we live in a small farming community in New Zealand, where each summer the locals get together for a sports day. In a paddock backed by the impenetrable Kaweka Ranges, kids gallop their horses round barrels and dog racing consists of a dead possum tied to the back of Ute, driven at speed across the paddock with farm dogs in hot pursuit. While the women slap home grown BBQ sausages into white bread, men discuss the recent floods and our neighbors decide it’s the perfect time to try to convert us. “I can’t wait to see Mel Gibson’s, the Passion,” the home-schooling wife and mother says two seconds after we’re introduced. Her husband, a born-again minister with a flock in Napier nods quietly. I ask her why. “Because,” she lowers her voice, “it’s the truth.” “Really?” I know my inflection is rising. “Oh yes, it shows clearly who was responsible for Jesus’ death.” . . .(full article)

The Ten Conundrums
by Adam Engel

1. Moses didn’t make me Jewish, Hitler did. And now, the Sharon keeps me in a locked box labeled "Jew." . . . (full tablet)

Mis-reporting Venezuela: Hugo Chavez as Processed
by the “Independent” Newspaper

by Toni Solo

Many people read the London based Independent newspaper because among its reporters is the outstanding Robert Fisk. The anti-war stance of the newspaper on Iraq and its stance on genetically manipulated foods and other environmental issues may give the impression that the Independent is a responsible newspaper across the board. But a look at its coverage of Venezuela reveals the same old story of distortion, omission and deceit on US intervention in Latin America that one finds everywhere else in the corporate media. . . (full article)

Diary of New York City's Diet Demonstration
by Josh Frank

The cloudy New York sky split and shined down on the 100,000 demonstrators who took their grievances to the streets of Manhattan on Saturday March 20th. It was sort of a quasi protest, as Mayor Bloomberg quarantined activists in fenced in areas which were surrounded by police officers wearing soft gear, as opposed to the Robocop armor sported during most large protests throughout the US. Unfortunately thousands of people couldn’t even reach the scheduled event, as the metal interlocking barricades along the sidewalks kept them out. The day surely wasn't much fun for these folks. . . (full article)

In SF, One Year of Occupying Iraq Is Too Much, Protesters Say
by Seth Sandronsky

Thousands of people rallied in San Francisco on a warm Saturday to oppose the U.S. assault on Iraq that began one year ago. The protesters were part of a global day of action against American military occupation of that Middle East nation. . . (full article)

A Cell's Job: Noam Made 'Em Do It
by Richard Oxman

As per Professor Gasper's piece on Noam Chomsky's stance vis-a-vis John Kerry, let me clue you in on what's taking place around the country that's not going to conform to Chomsky's confines.  It's dangerous stuff, and Noam -- bless him -- is not helping this time around. Word has it that a hard core group of citizens -- disenchanted with our March Madness -- have put on their own Mad Hatter's hat.  To wit, cells are forming around the country (independent of one another) whereby groups of two, three and four individuals will be taking action to stop The War Machine for good.  That's "good" in two senses.  And blobs of MoveOn molasses will become passé.  Large groups will no longer be needed, if not mobilizing meaningfully.  Singular acts will be cool, spotlights will dim and anonymity will rule. . .
(full article)

Duck-Hunting, the High Court, Corruption and Slam Dunks
by Tracy McLellan

Antonin Scalia has announced he will not recuse himself from the Supreme Court case in which it is to be determined whether or not Dick Cheney must make public the notes of his secret energy task force that formulated Bush energy policy in the spring and summer of 2001. Cheney’s task force met on scores of occasions exclusively with executives from the fossil fuels and nuclear industries, including Ken Lay several times, but with nary an advocate of consumers, the environment, nor solar and alternative energies. Only weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to take the case, which had been making its way through the appellate courts, Cheney and Scalia chummed around on a private duck-hunting trip in Louisiana. . . (full article)

March 20-21

Just Another Stupid White Man
by Justin Felux

John Kerry says he wants to be America's second "black president," but sadly, his record on issues of racial justice makes him look more yellow than black.  This could spell trouble for the Democrats. . . (full article)

Which Way John Kerry?
by John Stanton

John Kerry recently chided the incoming Spanish government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for promising to fulfill a campaign promise to bring back to Spain its troops and support personnel deployed in Iraq. Agence France Press reported that Kerry’s view was that if Spain did bring its soldiers home at this point in the US occupation, “it would leave behind a failed state that inevitably would become a haven for terrorists.” With this statement, he seems to have some Richard Nixon in him. On the John Kerry for President website, a section outlines Kerry’s plan for “Winning the Peace in Post-Saddam Iraq” which is eerily similar to phrasing used in Nixon’s Cambodia Incursion Address delivered in 1970 to the American people. Nixon indicated that his plans to expand the war while ostensibly bringing US troops home would result in “winning the just peace we all desire”.  Winning the Peace would be a constant refrain of Nixon’s as would Peace with Honor. The longer the US stays on Iraq the closer its leaders will come to uttering those phrases. Why would John Kerry want to prolong the misery of US troops in Iraq and their families here in the USA with such a strangely Nixonesqe policy? (full article)

The Unmentionable Source of Terrorism
by John Pilger

The current threat of attacks in countries whose governments have close alliances with Washington is the latest stage in a long struggle against the empires of the west, their rapacious crusades and domination. The motivation of those who plant bombs in railway carriages derives directly from this truth. What is different today is that the weak have learned how to attack the strong, and the western crusaders' most recent colonial terrorism (as many as 55,000 Iraqis killed) exposes "us" to retaliation. . . (full article)

Iraq One Year Later
by Stephen Zunes

A full year after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein is over, the killing continues and the quality of life for most Iraqis has actually deteriorated. Meanwhile, the United States is continuing to sacrifice lives and money in an enterprise for which the original rationales -- eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its support for the al Qaeda terrorist network -- are now widely acknowledged to be false. This essay offers a brief overview of the situation on the ground and the U.S. response to it. The violence in reaction to the U.S. occupation has consisted of both urban guerrilla warfare against U.S. and other occupation forces, led primarily by Baathist and other nationalist militias, and terrorism against Iraqi and foreign civilians, presumably led by domestic or foreign radical Islamists. There is also small-scale and potentially large-scale nonviolent resistance, particularly in the Shiite community. . . (full article)

The Global Anti-War Movement and The Beast
by Les Blough

The attacks of the American-led Corporate Global Empire on Afghanistan and Iraq are clear violations of that sovereignty and amount to nothing less than international war crimes.  The anti-war movement should not, cannot compromise our position:  Get all U.S., British, Spanish troops and any others participating in the invasion of Iraq - out of Iraq - unconditionally and now - not by midsummer and not to be replaced with another occupying force, as Zapatero seems to suggest. Any statement by the Anti-War movement supporting U.N. occupation of Iraq as an alternative is not "anti-war" or "anti-occupation" at all. . . (full article)

Mother of a US Soldier in Iraq: "Wrong to Go to War, and Wrong to Stay"
by Wayne Stanley

Family members of soldiers now in Iraq have become a central pillar of the movement against war and occupation. In the first such demonstration since the Vietnam War, military families and veterans groups are mobilizing for a protest on March 20 in Fayetteville, N.C., the home of Fort Bragg. Susan Schuman is a member of Military Families Speak Out. Her son, staff sergeant Justin Shuman, was deployed to Iraq from Fort Bragg a year ago this month. He is currently stationed in Samarra, north of Baghdad. Susan was interviewed by Socialist Worker’s WAYNE STANLEY about the struggle to bring U.S. troops home now. . . (full article)

Spinning the Past, Threatening the Future
by Norman Solomon

Political aphorisms don’t get any more cogent: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell’s famous observation goes a long way toward explaining why -- a full year after the invasion of Iraq -- the media battles over prewar lies are so ferocious in the United States. Top administration officials are going all out to airbrush yesterday’s deceptions on behalf of today’s. And tomorrow’s. . .
(full article)

An Egotist and a Spoiler
by Carl Mayer

I must say that I have been very impressed by the thoughtful tenor of Democratic Party commentary upon Ralph Nader’s entry into the Presidential race. It is clear to me that when Democrats like New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson says of Ralph Nader that his run “is an act of total vanity and ego satisfaction” they do so out of pure conviction, not because they have used polls and focus groups to fashion an attack on an opponent. It is nice to see Democrats like Richardson not only raise the caliber of debate, but continue the tradition of calling Nader an egotist that Senator Harry Reid of Nevada began in 2000. Why come up with new attack ideas when old ones will do? (full article)

William Huang: The New American Sambo
by jimi izrael

William Huang, American Idol reject, just got a $25,000 record deal with Koch records, but does he realize we are laughing at him, not with him? Has anyone asked Huang if he's in on the joke? (full article)

Emma Goldman for President
by Kurt Nimmo

I don't know if the Diebold computer voting machines in my town will let me to write-in a presidential candidate come November. But if it is possible I'm voting for Emma Goldman. It will be a symbolic vote, of course. Emma died in 1940. . . (full article)

March 18-19

by John Chuckman

There are a few special moments now and then in world affairs that lift your spirit... Now we have the Spanish election and newly-elected Prime Minister Zapatero's words about the Iraq invasion, words like "lies" and "stupid" that are inspiring for their honesty and directness. Truth in world affairs is rare, and Zapatero's comes after three solid years of numbing, depressingly-obvious dishonesty from Bush. . .
(full article)

Spain Flips Off W.: Rejection of the Politics of Lies Starts Abroad
by Doug Ireland

“Old Europe” got its revenge. The Spanish elections eliminated George W. Bush’s most important ally on the European continent, registered a resounding rejection of the White House’s imperial foreign policy, and dramatically shifted the balance of power within the European Union against the Atlanticist alliance that sundered the authority of the United Nations by invading Iraq. . . (full article)

Kicked Out For Exploiting a Tragedy: Bush’s Right-Wing Allies
in Spain Defeated after Madrid Bombing

by Lee Sustar

George W. Bush exploited the tragedy of September 11 for crude political gain--conquering Afghanistan and Iraq, rolling back civil liberties and whipping up fear and hatred to advance the Republican agenda in Washington. The horrific bombings on March 11 in the Spanish capital of Madrid--which killed more than 200 people and wounded 1,200--seemed to present one of Bush’s European sidekicks, Prime Minister José María Aznar, with the same opportunity. Yet just three days after the attacks, Aznar’s conservative Popular Party (PP) was driven from office in a stunning electoral upset. Millions of Spanish voters who skipped the last election turned out to show their fury at the government’s manipulation of information about the March 11 attack to blame the Basque separatist group ETA--when it knew that the available evidence pointed to al-Qaeda’s involvement. . . (full article)

"The Things That Make Men Men"
Leaked White House Transcript (10)
by Lee Waters

Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Ridge, Rumsfeld, Rove

KARL ROVE: Gentlemen, we have a problem. It's called Spain.

PRESIDENT BUSH: This had better be serious, Karl. Your little emergency phone call here is costing me gym time. You know I don't go for that. . . (full transcript)

Thwarting the Democratic Will of Haitians
by Kim Petersen

It is difficult at the best of times to fathom the hubris of the George W Bush administration. Back in April of 2002 Bush and his cabal had engineered a coup in Venezuela and the president Hugo Chávez was arrested. Elite figures quickly seized power, moved to suspend the constitution and stack the courts and other government bodies with corporate-friendly types. But after three days the coup crumbled. Why? Because people took to the streets in support of their president and the military fell in with the people. As reported by Associated Press: “Never before in modern times has an elected president been overthrown by military commanders, his successor inaugurated, and then the ousted leader returned to power on the wings of a popular uprising.” Now the Bush cabal has attempted a second shot at deposing a Caribbean regime. The neoconservatives even went so far as to claim that Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide had resigned and left the country overnight -- identical to the pronouncements made when Chávez was temporarily ousted. Have they learned anything? (full article)



Condi Rice, In a Sense, Makes a Fool of Herself
by Justin Felux


When asked about the overthrow of Haiti's Aristide government in a television interview, Condoleezza Rice lent credibility to Hugo Chavez's claim that she is an illiterate by saying, "We believe that President Aristide, in a sense, forfeited his ability to lead his people, because he did not govern democratically."  She later said, "Haiti is moving forward.  There's a new president.  There is a new prime minister.  There is a new chief of police. There's an Eminent Persons Council that is trying to guide that process."  So let me get this straight:  becoming president by winning an overwhelming majority of the vote in free and fair elections is not democratic, but being arbitrarily appointed by a council of "eminent persons" is?
(full article)



by Nick Pretzlik


Thirty-seven years after Israel’s military might rolled into the West Bank and Gaza the occupation of these Palestinian territories continues. Thirty-seven years of death and destruction, thirty-seven years of illegal settlement building, thirty-seven years of brutality and Palestinian dispossession and still the world averts its eyes. It is the longest occupation of one country by another in modern times; an occupation, which has involved Israel in dozens of violations of UN Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions. And still many casual observers assume the conflict is symmetrical. They adopt pious neutrality rather than mount a serious attempt to understand what is happening. Neutrality and lack of engagement on the Palestinian/Israeli issue are luxuries we cannot afford. It is not acceptable for Western societies to remain aloof while Palestinians are ethnically cleansed from their land and social genocide is implemented.  With all the information in the public domain, it is surprising such attitudes persist ­ particularly with the conflict central to the Global War on Terror. No other issue so enrages the Islamic world. Today that anger affects us all. . . (full article)



Dreams For Sale
by Mickey Z.


The latest issue of Satya Magazine takes a look at violence and activism. This includes a provocative interview with a hardnosed founding member of Greenpeace, Captain Paul Watson. When asked for tactical and motivational advice for new activists, Watson offered his version of a realty check for the next generation: "All people are the same. The poor are simply wannabe rich people. The oppressed are wannabe oppressors." As difficult as it might be to accept, there is some truth in Watson's appraisal. Talk to any non-rich lottery player if you don't believe me. In my neighborhood, playing the lottery is not just state-sponsored's a lifestyle choice. Coercive advertising is used to convince the poor and middle class to accept a cleverly disguised, voluntary tax by promising them a chance to be rich like all their media-created heroes. It's an awesome victory of propaganda that so many downtrodden Americans strive to be exactly like the man whose boot is stomping on their necks. . . (full article)



Bombing the Peace Protestors: People Pay the Price for Realpolitik
by David Edwards and Media Lens


Before last year’s war on Iraq, Media Lens reported the extraordinary level of establishment opposition to the attack. Writing in the Financial Times in January 2003, Douglas Hurd, former Conservative Foreign Secretary, argued that the war ran "the risk of turning the Middle East into an inexhaustible recruiting ground for anti-western terrorism". Anatol Lieven, a Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote that the Bush administration was pursuing "the classic modern strategy of an endangered right-wing oligarchy, which is to divert mass discontent into nationalism," inspired by fear of lethal threats. America, Lieven warned, "has become a menace to itself and to mankind". In similar vein, Ami Ayalon, the head of Israel's General Security Service (Shabak) from 1996 to 2000, suggested that "those who want victory" against terror without addressing underlying grievances "want an unending war". No surprise, then, that as the US-UK “coalition” finalized its plans for war in early 2003, a UN report indicated that al-Qaeda recruitment had accelerated in 30 to 40 countries...
(full article)



Dodging Bullets in Iraq
by Bilal El-Amine


The June 30 deadline for "transfer of power" has been widely peddled as the end of the occupation. But like with much else that comes out of Washington these days, this is sheer deception. The US intends to be in Iraq for years to come, and the caucus scheme was designed to legitimize the Pentagon's hijacking of the country... (full article)



The Peace Movement One Year Later
by Mark Engler


One year after the start of war in Iraq, the peace movement in the United States faces an unusual predicament. Critics of the invasion had many of their key arguments vindicated in the past year, as President Bush's case for war has collapsed. Likewise, activists can take substantial credit for emboldening Democratic criticisms of the Bush administration and for keeping war-related scandals in the spotlight. Yet even as we sense that greater space for progressive activism in the country is opening, it has been hard to maintain a sense of unity and purpose within the peace movement itself. . . (full article)



Rachel Corrie, A Year Later
by Gila Svirsky



I was not present in Rafah that terrible day, but I have frequently replayed in my mind the events leading up to the moment when a bulldozer rolled over Rachel Corrie.  I think to myself:  What compelled this young woman, neither Jewish nor Palestinian, to travel 10,000 miles from home, to throw in her lot with a family not her own, a people not her own, and ultimately meet a death that came suddenly, swiftly, in an instant of shocked comprehension? (full article)



Nader and His Two Black Marks Amidst America's Acne
by Richard Oxman


On October 10, 2002, my daughter Noelle's birthday, I caught Ralph Nader on the campus of the University of Utah.  I was passing through the so-called Great Salt Lake area, and serendipity favored me. . . There were only two points in Ralph's presentation at Kingsbury Hall that night which bothered me. . . (full article)


March 16-17

To Support or Not to Support: The Nader Question
by Josh Frank

Things may be shaping up nicely for Ralph Nader, who could very soon receive an unlikely endorsement from the Ross Perot founded Texas Reform Party. This may prove to be a huge victory for Nader’s solo candidacy, as the support from the conservative Reformers could help him gain ballot access for the upcoming November election. . . (full article)

Liars Lose: The Lessons of Regime Change in Spain
by Jeff Cohen

Political shock in Spain!" blared ABC News on Sunday night, as regime change came to Madrid. Along with Tony Blair, Spain's conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar had been the staunchest of Bush allies. One down, two to go. . .
(full article)

Mayhem in Madrid
by Ivan Eland

It appears that the Spanish people can thank the Bush administration for the horrendous bombing of four commuter trains in Madrid that killed 200 people and injured 1,500. Although the New York Times editorialized that the attacks were a “reminder that terrorism is a worldwide threat and that fighting it is not America’s problem alone,” Spain was not attacked randomly. It was apparently attacked for being one of the few nations in the world to support the unnecessary U.S. invasion of Iraq. . . (full article)

The Spanish Election Was a Repudiation of America's "War on Terror"
by Hanin Othman

The elections in Spain on Sunday were not merely overshadowed by the terror attacks last Thursday, they were actually turned around by them. In only four days a rather sure victory of the ruling PP (People's Party) gave way to an absolute majority of PSOE (Socialist Party). . . (full article)

The Passion for Religion Ebbs In New York and in the United States
by Andrew Beveridge

As the Passion of the Christ continues to break box office records, Christians observe lent, Jews prepare for Passover, more and more politicians from Bush to Lieberman voice their religious conviction from the stump, while the attorney general holds morning prayer meetings in his office, one might get the impression that people in New York and the U.S. are becoming more and more religious. Yet, data from the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey shows that U.S. adults with no religious identification almost doubled from 1990 to 2001. . .
(full article)

Low Hanging Fruit: The Superstores are Mopping Up the
Last Pockets of Resistance
by George Monbiot

Every year the list is the same, but every year it still comes as a shock. Of the ten richest people on earth, five have the same surname. It's not Gates, or Murdoch, or Rockefeller, but Walton. They are the heirs and trustees of the supermarket chain Wal-Mart. Between them they are worth $100bn. Considering how the press fawns on the ultra-rich, we hear remarkably little about them. Perhaps this is because their position is rather embarrassing. The company which enriches them trades on the idea that it is the friend of the common man and woman, distributing rather than concentrating wealth. . . (full article)

Via Haiti US, Megaphones Venezuela: “Will You Comply?”
by Heinz Dietrich, Translated with an introductory note by Toni Solo

An interview with General Raul Baduel commander of the Venezuelan army by Heinz Dieterich: The barbaric violation of basic legal norms revealed by British detainees lately released from Guantanamo is emblematic of US foreign policy root and branch. Open or covert illegal aggression has always been a principal tool of US foreign policy. The energy needs of the US and its allies will dictate the next likely savage intervention: Venezuela. Venezuela is an obstacle to the full implementation of US plans for the region. Those plans require control of extraction and transport of Latin America's energy resources and on destroying the region's food sovereignty. Plan Colombia, Plan Puebla Panama and the “free trade” corporate welfare scams the US seeks to impose on the region are the main policy instruments to achieve those goals. Multinational European corporations are willing collaborators. . . (full article)

Palestinian "Lawlessness" Under Israeli Military Occupation
by Thomas Olson

Anti-Palestinian 'Spin' in the American media has a multitude of flavors. It works to interpret the Israel-Palestinian conflict for its readers by encapsulating 'news' within conveniently simplistic explanations. What is all the fighting about? It's not about a political conflict over land expropriation, much of the American media would insist: it's just that those Palestinians are a naturally violent people. Why have some Palestinians resorted to suicide bombings? In large sections of the American media, the properly political answers to such questions are rejected in favor of farcical racial and religious caricatures: Palestinians don't value life; Palestinians are driven by an all-consuming hatred; Palestinians are brainwashed religious fanatics and anti-Semites; etc. . . (full article)

Salvation Army Discriminates: One of Nation's Largest Charities Sued
by Employees for Religious Discrimination
by Bill Berkowitz

All is not well with one of the nation's largest charities. Eighteen current and former employees of the Salvation Army's social services arm have filed suit against the organization, accusing it of "imposing a religious veil over secular, publicly financed activities like caring for foster children and counseling young people with AIDS," the New York Times reported in late February. "I was harassed to the point where eventually I resigned," said Margaret Geissman, a former human resources manager who told the Times that her superior asked for the religions and sexual orientations of her staff. "As a Christian, I deeply resent the use of discriminatory employment practices in the name of Christianity." . . . (full article)

Peter Gabriel: Car Salesman
by Tracy McLellan

What a disappointment to hear Peter Gabriel's song "Big Time" attached to Lincoln-Mercury car commercials.  Has he sold out?  Is he responsible?  Or does some other entity own the music and sold it to Ford and Madison Avenue?  I always thought the lyrics to that song were a satirical stab at the consuming lust for the so-called success of "Big Time."  Now I'm to believe hitting the Big Time means what it’s always meant - being a successful consumer?  Anybody know any of the particulars in this disappointing turn of events?  Is there nothing sacrosanct from the rapacious clutches of the corporation? (full article)

Surges in Energy Prices
by Ralph Nader

If there was ever a sign as to how consumers have been abandoned, check out the recent surges in the prices of gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas. They are more than comparable to the energy price hikes in the Seventies which caused an uproar in the country, prompted Congressional investigations, Justice Department lawsuits demanding refunds, even calls for breaking up the oil giants under the antitrust laws and starting a federal petroleum company. . . (full article)

Gasoline Prices: A Case of Cheating, Not Competing
Sound Familiar? Think Back to the Electricity Crisis
by Jamie Court and Tim Hamilton

If the recent sticker shock at the gasoline pump feels familiar, that's because it is the same old story that led California's electricity market to become the embarrassment of the nation. California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer is convening today in Los Angeles a panel of industry experts who have blamed the run-up on OPEC crude oil prices, environmentally sensitive fuel and free-market pressures. But the problem is as simple as California's electricity crisis turned out to be: A few giant energy corporations have manipulated supply to keep profits high. . . (full article)

Dude, Where's Your Evidence? The Michael Moore Diet
by Mickey Z.

Michael Moore makes movies, writes books, produces TV shows, and has built-in pacifist radar (hey, he endorsed "anti-war" candidate Wes Clark, didn't he?). But that's not the extent of his varied skills. . . (full article)

Road Kill
by Mary La Rosa

A poem on the one year anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie by the Israeli Defense Forces. . . (full poem)

March 15

The A Word
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

I'm told the fastest way to ruin a columnist's career is to write about abortion. Just the mention of it brings out the letter writers and an entire column on the subject can overwhelm the editor's desk with furious mail. So be it. Last November the United States signed into law a rule banning a procedure known by supporters as partial birth abortion. Coined by the National Right to Life Committee, the term is as spurious as it is emotive. Despite this, it's been adopted by an unquestioning mainstream media and has led to an uninformed public somehow believing that by supporting the legislation they are saving thousands of babies, on the verge of viable birth, from being killed. . . (full article)

"Depraved Indifference": Caesareans, Patriarchy, and Women's Health
by Mickey Z.

Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, of Salt Lake City was pregnant with twins. Her doctors claim they warned her about complications requiring a Caesarean section. Without the procedure, they believed the unborn twins might not survive. According to a nurse, Rowland refused the C-section because she didn't want scars. Rowland's attorney, Michael Sikora, says his client has a long history of mental illness. He called a C-section major surgery and explained, "It would come as no surprise that a woman with major mental illness would fear it." Only one of the twins survived childbirth. Rowland was arrested and charged with one first-degree felony count of criminal homicide: "depraved indifference to human life." If convicted, she faces between five years and life in prison. . . Unexamined in the press reports is the efficacy of the C-section and the state of women's health care in America. . .
(full article)

Under Bush, Labor Surplus Grows
by Seth Sandronsky

President Bush is presiding over a growing surplus of U.S. workers who are unable to find paid work. . . (full article)

Sofia's Critics Lose it in Translation
by Leilla Matsui

Film Review: Even before Sofia Coppola's Oscar winning “Lost in Translation” opens in Tokyo where it was shot on location, a mini-controversy has erupted here over the film's alleged racism; a charge that at least one local observer has already leveled against the filmmaker in an editorial on the Japan Today website. The now widely circulated article has generated mudslinging between the film's defenders and its outraged critics who condemn it for its apparent portrayal of Japanese people as little more than buffoonish backdrops in yet another unwelcome Hollywood incursion onto these shores. It should be noted, though, that very few on either side of this particular internet debate have actually seen the film as it isn't due for release here until the end of April. . . (full article)

What Are We Trying To Achieve?
by Zbignew Zingh

Progressives and leftists and liberals and environmentalists and populists and socialists all around the world can thank George W. Bush. We were all asleep and now we are awake. We were scattered and now we have connected. We were divided, but he, the Great Uniter, has started to unite us. But is it all just a surface phenomena? Is there substance to the movement that Mr. Bush has re-energized? Does it have stamina? Will we stay connected and united? (full article)

Steel Yourself To Steal Away: Multiple Corporate Personality Disorder Impact on Traditional Injunctions
by Richard Oxman

Following WWI, real life -- grotesque and full of disillusionment -- demanded something of its theatrical fare that was very different from what had been on the boards forever, from Shakespeare and Moliere through Ibsen.  However, George Bernard Shaw -- immediately after the war -- did not go so far as to disintegrate long-standing theatrical traditions, his art's inherited techniques, in order to make the necessary adjustments.  Rather, resisting the notion in vogue among playwrights at the time, which asserted that the meaningless fragmentation of democratic society was the destined end for one and all (greatly affecting dramatic form), he clung to hope and belief, retaining a very strong dramatic structure in the process. I'm afraid the world's not a very sweet stage these days, and some of "the mystifications of the past" must be done away with, even if it means structure weakening as hope or faith wavers. . . (full article)

Banning Same-Sex Marriage Violates Church-State Separation
by Allen Snyder

Most gay marriage supporters rightly argue such an amendment ought to be soundly defeated, since it curtails rather than expands individual rights, something the US Constitution has never before done (fractions of black slaves notwithstanding). Not really a good legal argument.  A more fruitful strategy would be to argue the proposed amendment is  prima facie unconstitutional; not because it writes blatant discrimination into the law, but because it violates the constitutionally recognized separation of church and state.  The Christian right’s disguising this issue as a moral and social one conveniently obscures its patently religious roots. . . (full article)


March 14

Debunking the Media's Lies about President Aristide

by Justin Felux

If you believe the stories of the corporate media and the Bush administration, you would think Aristide is getting what he deserves. He is a "corrupt dictator" who abuses human rights. He is a "psychopath" who advocated "necklacing" his opponents. He didn't do anything to bring Haiti out of poverty; in fact, he made Haiti more poor than ever. All of these statements are distortions or outright lies. Aristide's true crime was the same crime committed by L'Ouverture 200 years ago: he stood up to the powers that be. He empowered the Haitian people and belied the racist caricature of Haiti as a land of savage, voodoo-practicing black people who aren't fit to govern themselves; the view expressed by William Jennings Bryan when he said "Think of it, niggers speaking French," or by Pat Buchanan when he disgracefully referred to Haitian refugees as "the Zulus off Miami Beach." Aristide showed those who painted the Haitian people as ungovernable savages needed to take a look in the mirror before they presumed to control the affairs of Haiti, and for that, he had to be deposed. . . (full article)

Terrorism's Future
by Rahul Mahajan

Whether Thursday's attacks in Spain, in which 190 people were killed and nearly 1500 wounded, were carried out by the Basque separatist ETA or by al-Qaeda, they make one thing very clear: terrorism cannot be fought by military means. . .
(full article)

“Let’s Put on a Show!”
Spectacle Versus Reality in the US Peace Movement

by Pattrice Jones

Yet again tens of thousands prepare to descend on major metropolitan areas to march in circles through empty streets. We will exercise our legs and our lungs and our egos and then go home again. Nothing will change and nobody will be surprised at that. As usual, exorbitant expenditures of time and money will add up to exactly zero. Meanwhile, people and animals and ecosystems in Iraq and elsewhere will continue to pay the price for our failures of courage and imagination. The French have a word for it: spectacle. Back in the 1960s, Guy Debord and other Situationist theorists and activists described late capitalist culture as “the society of the spectacle.” Long before the advent of reality shows and ring tones for disposable cell phones, Situationists were already chafing at the degree to which the lively variety of everyday life had been reduced to a deadening array of things to watch and buy. . . (full article)

Demographic Wars
by Neve Gordon

On the southern tip of the West Bank, situated on the slope of a mountain, there is a small village of Palestinian cave-dwellers. Its name is Jinba, and it is home to roughly three hundred inhabitants. A visitor might see the sheep grazing on a nearby hill and a tractor plowing the fields. An idyllic scene, especially following the rainy season, when the desert has turned green. But here too, the ostensible tranquility is little more than an illusion. Not unlike other cave-dweller villages in the Mount Hebron region, life in Jinba has become unbearable, and the small rural community is now on the verge of being annihilated. . . (full article)

Driven to Tears: Getting Stung by Terror
by Mickey Z.

Today, I actually found myself in the rare position of being thankful for riding the NYC subway at 6:00 a.m. A terror attack would be more likely during rush hour, I posited. When I got to work at the gym that employs me, "Driven to Tears" by The Police was playing on the stereo. The above line, on this day after the Madrid bombings, struck a chord. I'm no big fan of Sting or his safe, trendy political stances...but he did write some provocative lyrics back in the day. . . (full article)

Why John Kerry Doesn’t Deserve Your Support
by Alan Maass

The results of the 2004 presidential election are in--eight months before November 2. The winner supported the U.S. war on Iraq and favors a continued occupation. He backed the USA PATRIOT Act. He favors more tax breaks for the rich, such as a cut in the capital gains tax. He supported No Child Left Behind Act and wants to expand education "reform" to promote "school choice." "To be sure," as Progressive Review editor Sam Smith puts it, "there will be a consolation runoff in which we get to decide who we would rather do battle against for the next four years." But John Kerry’s emergence last week as the Democrats’ certain presidential nominee--barring a freak accident or scandal--guarantees that the White House will be occupied by a loyal member of the ruling political establishment who agrees on most of what has happened in Washington under George W. Bush..
(full article)

Nuke Nation: Putting Profits Before Safety
by Heather Wokusch

President Bush has always been a good friend to the nuclear industry, but his recent overtures should sound alarm bells. The White House has begun pushing to replace governmental safety standards at federal nuclear facilities with requirements penned by contractors. As one US lawmaker quipped, "It's like the fox guarding the hen house." What prompted the Bush administration's move? Simple: Congress insisted the government start fining contractors for violations. . .
(full article)

The Aladdin Sisalem True Survivor Show
by Mary La Rosa

Lombrum Detention Center in Papua New Guinea, 2004: Predestined to refugee status by the political circumstances of his birth in Kuwait to a Palestinian father and an Egyptian mother, 25 year old Aladdin Sisalem now sits in solitary confinement on an island that costs the Australian government almost as much in bad public relations as it does in money. . . (full article)

Justice on the Range
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

The cowboy and rancher once stood as symbols of American individualism. Those days are long gone. Today, most U.S. cattlemen and women operate at the mercy of huge meatpacking conglomerates. Small meatpackers are, for the most part, a thing of the past, acquired or driven out of business by a handful of giant corporations. . . (full article)

Natural Selection
by Adam Engel

An excerpt from Adam's new book Topiary. Corporate drone wakes up one day and decides to go fishing at the pond he fished during his youth. He skips work and goes there. Finds two old men fishing and starts a conversation with them. One of them is retarded. The articulate one explains that they can fish there, but they dare not eat the fish they caught, for the entire area is contaminated by toxic waste dumped by the nearby hospital. Which is why the pond still exists and hasn't been turned into a Condominium complex. The man, who is Not-Yet-Accused will go on to poison his family with the fish and stand trial. He feels that struggling with the fish he caught was the only real work he'd done in his life. . . (full article)

March 11

Breaking the Chains of Illusions -- Part Two
The Catastrophe Of Corporate Work
by David Edwards and Media Lens

My early sense that people had a tendency to trade their authenticity for a socially approved, false version of happiness was reinforced mightily when I entered the world of business. . . My experience of business was of stress and futility, but above all of boredom: the hamster-wheel commute to work, the suit-uniform I had to wear ­ with a colourful tie as a fig leaf of "individualism" -- the mindless, repetitive tasks empty of interest; it was all unimaginably boring. . . (full article)

They Shoot Journalists, Don’t They?

by Norman Solomon

To encourage restraint in war coverage, governments don’t need to shoot journalists -- though sometimes that’s helpful. . . (full article)

Don't Get Duped Out of Your Social Security
by Holly Sklar

George W. Bush won't need Social Security for retirement. He's a millionaire many times over. Taxpayers will pad Bush's retirement with a large presidential pension. Former presidents receive $175,700 this year plus office, travel, medical and other benefits. Social Security isn't broke, but millions of retirees who depend on it are, and many more would be broke without it. . . (full article)

CIA Chief Plays Dumb on Neo-Con Intelligence
by Jim Lobe

Was Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet really the last person in Washington to find out that both the president and vice president were being fed phony or "sexed up" intelligence about prewar Iraq by a Pentagon office staffed by ideologically driven neo-conservatives? (full article)

Of the Evil Empire, Imperialist Devastation of Peoples and
the Evils Done in Our Name

by Manuel Valenzuela

Let us for a few moments put aside our lavish lifestyles of fortuitous endowment and providence that have made us blind to the realities of billions of our fellow humans.  Let us ignore our plasma televisions, our DVDs, our two-story cookie cutter homes and gas-guzzling SUVs.  Let us promise to not open our overstocked pantries and refrigerators, or to go out and eat at one of many corporate controlled franchise restaurants offering vast assortments of gargantuan meals.  We should ignore the opulence of our society that dwells permanently in our minds that makes us forget the severe indigence and suffering that transpires beyond our shores and borders.  In short, we should come out of our luxurious bubble that has shielded us from the evils inflicted on billions of humans that have not been as privy to a life of safety and security.  Let us traverse the road of reality, sojourning through history and through mirages of hidden truths.  Let us dive into the making of the Evil Empire so that we may see what our government has and continues to do in our name.  The road ahead will not be easy to swallow or comprehend, yet we must open our minds to the possibility that what has happened is real and what is occurring is not fiction.  Only then will we understand why our hands are smeared in the blood of tens of millions of human cadavers and countless more whose lives and futures have been devastated at the hands of the United States of America. Only by knowing who and what we are can we correct ourselves. . . (full article)

Venezuela at the Crossroads: National Endowment for Democracy Channels Money to Recall Campaign Against Democratically Elected President
by Bill Berkowitz

While news about U.S. participation in what many observers believe to be the forced removal of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide continues to unfold, the situation in Venezuela is once again reaching a tipping point. Over at David Horowitz's right wing FrontPage Web site, columnist and radio talk show host Lowell Ponte, overjoyed by Aristide's removal, hysterically called Venezuela President Hugo Chavez the "third domino in the axis of red evil." In an op-ed piece for the Houston Chronicle, Douglas MacKinnon, former press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole, and a former White House and Pentagon official, called Chavez a "madman" and "an evil just as unpalatable, just as real and potentially just as lethal as Osama bin Laden." With the U.S.'s oil supply threatened, is the Bush Administration organizing "regime change" in Venezuela? (full article)

Haiti: No News is Bad News
by David Edwards and Media Lens

The beauty of news for a society like ours is that it doesn’t have to make sense. If we were introducing students to modern physics, we would feel obliged to explain Newton’s Laws and Einstein’s famous theorem, E=mc2; we would naturally point to issues raised by quantum mechanics. There would obviously be no prospect of students understanding, much less tackling, the latest problems in modern physics without first achieving this basic understanding. But when our media broadcast news on, say, the crisis in Haiti they fail, as it were, even to mention that Newton ever existed, or that Newtonian mechanics provide a pretty good description of the everyday world. Their attempts at explanation are limited to reporting, in effect: "Some physicists are flying to a meeting in Switzerland," while "others will be writing papers about what was discussed there." . . . (full article)

Behind Aristide’s Fall: What Led to the US-Engineered Coup?
by Helen Scott and Ashley Smith

Helen Scott and Ashley Smith look at how Jean-Bertrand Aristide arose as a leader of the mass movement against dictatorship in Haiti--and why his compromises with U.S. imperialism set the stage for his overthrow. . .
(full article)

Are the Taliban Really “Gone”?
by Mark Sedra

America's got the watches, but the Taliban has the time” (BBC, January 16, 2004). This telling statement, attributed to a Taliban spokesperson in early 2004, illustrates a fundamental truth about the present situation in Afghanistan: The longer it takes to consolidate the peace and deliver a peace dividend to the beleaguered population, the greater the likelihood that antigovernment spoiler groups, whether they are the Taliban, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami, or al Qaeda, will be able to unravel the nascent state-building process. The Taliban are acutely aware that sustained donor interest and military support will not last forever; donor fatigue, shifting budgetary priorities, and waning donor attention are inevitable. With the world's eyes firmly fixed on Baghdad--not Kabul--maintaining high levels of donor support for Afghanistan is an arduous task. An historic window of opportunity exists to stabilize and reconstruct this war-torn country, but with each passing day that window closes ever more slightly. Once that window is closed, there is no guarantee that a similar opportunity will arise again, for the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups will be waiting to take advantage. . .
(full article)

Pillar Fight: The "New" U.N. Blames the Poor
by Mickey Z.

"Make no mistake," declared Paul Martin, Canada's prime minister and co-chairman of the U.N. Commission on Private Sector and Development. "This is a new pillar of development - unleashing local private enterprise, supported by strong, indigenous, democratic institutions." With at least a billion people on the planet subsisting on the equivalent of one US dollar a day or less, a March 8 report issued by the U.N. commission explained that its "new pillars" includes "access to bank loans, encouraging job skills and training, and setting up simpler, fairer rules and regulations can all help small-scale business flourish." . . . (full article)

Sharon's Disengagement: Pre-empting the "Growing Danger" of Peace
by Reuven Kaminer

Never a day goes by without a flood of commentaries on Sharon's disengagement plans. Sharon insists on a major pull out from the Gaza area, the removal of some 7,500 Jewish settlers, with most of their settlements. Sharon talks about also dismantling several settlements in the West Bank and gives everyone to understand that all this is going to be coordinated with the U.S. administration, down to the last detail. The new arrangements in the Gaza region, the timing of the withdrawal, and some sort of financial assistance from the U.S. government are already the subject of intensive negotiations between the Israeli and U.S. governments. Naturally enough, the super hawks in his coalition and in his own party are fuming with indignation over the fact that the boss himself is going to grant, heaven forbid, a colossal "prize to terror." But there is nothing mysterious about Sharon's intentions. . . (full article)

Sport as War
by Kim Petersen

Ice hockey captures both the sublimity of sports and the absurdity as elucidated by the oft-told joke: “I went to the fights last night and a hockey game broke out.” Hockey-as-a-sport’s reputation is once again tarnished following a brutal retaliatory attack in a game between two top teams: Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche. . . (full article)

"God" is Starting to Scare Me!
by Jack Ballinger

I've just read The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party, a public information project from Adding the info in that report to what one finds in the mainstream media every day and you begin to realize how scary the new "American God" can be. . . (full article)

March 9

Tweedle Democrat Progressive Internationalists
by Kurt Nimmo

Come November, America will have two unpalatable choices: either Tweedle Bush or Tweedle Kerry. Given such, nothing of substance will change. Oh, those of us who cringe at the sight of neocons may be momentarily relieved to see the "creative destructionists" pack their bags and leave the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House, head out for their radical right-wing foundations and conspiracy tanks, but it will be, all told, little more than a shuffling of deck chairs and a change of stationary. . . (full article)

Replying to the American Embassy
by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

On February 9, Dissident Voice published "On Not Being Anti-American," by Barbara Sumner Burstyn, which was originally published in the New Zealand Herald newspaper. Burstyn's weekly column for the Herald is also a regular feature on DV. The following is an exchange between Burstyn and William Millman, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Wellington. Mr. Millman's letter to Burstyn contains a passing shot at DV, which Burstyn recommended to her readers as a worthwhile American website to consult in her article. DV editor Sunil Sharma will post a lengthy reply to Mr. Millman's next week. First is Millman's letter, followed by Burstyn's response. . . (full exchange)

Sanctioning Syria in the War on Terrorism:
Neocons’ Iraq Strategy Now Focused on Syria

by Tom Barry

Even before the U.S. occupation forces settled into Saddam Hussein's palaces in Baghdad, the neoconservatives who have set the direction of the Bush presidency's radical foreign and military policies were looking toward Syria. Before the month is out, it's likely that President Bush will announce new sanctions against Syria--accusing the northern neighbor of Israel, Lebanon, and Iraq of many of the same offenses that were leveled against the Hussein regime in Iraq. The charge list includes developing biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction, condemning the U.S. occupation of Iraq, supporting international terrorism, and succoring anti-U.S. and anti-Israel guerrilla forces. . . (full article)

Kee-reist is More Like It
by Peter Kurth

Just imagine my surprise on Friday afternoon when, after a long day stringing words and sentences together in my new “manufacturing” job, I opened my email and saw the following “breaking news alert” from  “Attorney General John Ashcroft in ICU.” My heart skipped a beat.  “A car wreck?” I wondered. “A pulmonary embolism?  Or did somebody knock him senseless with a Bible?”
(full article)

The Ultimate Oligarch: Greenspan's Spin on Social Security and Medicare
by Ralph Nader

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan strayed away from his charter once again to warn about the people's entitlement programs -- Social Security and Medicare -- becoming unaffordable. He suggested cuts in benefits to reduce deficits. In the same breath, Mr. Greenspan urged that Mr. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy -- a huge cause of the growing federal deficits -- be made permanent. His priorities should come as no surprise, for Mr. Greenspan is the ultimate oligarch...
(full article)

Seeds of Distraction: The Biotech Companies Want Us
to Consider Everything Except Their Motives
by George Monbiot

The question is as simple as this: do you want a few corporations to monopolize the global food supply? If the answer is yes, you should welcome the announcement the government is expected to make today, that the commercial planting of a GM crop in Britain can go ahead. If the answer is no, you should regret it. The principal promotional effort of the genetic engineering industry is to distract us from this question. . . (full article)

In Memory of Ricardo Ortega: Spanish Journalist Killed in Haiti
by Daniel Estullin

This is the last time we saw him alive, an average size man with a microphone, gazing out from the screen, meeting our eyes, but unable to recognize them, to help and to comfort because he is only a photographed figure and cannot see beyond the flat world which contains him. He is alive because he moves and because he speaks, because he was alive when the film was taken; but also dead—photographed people always are, already a memory. . . (full article)

Are We Waging An Anti-Civilizational War?
America and Israel on the Front Line of Colonialism

by M. Junaid Alam

For the past five hundred years, humanity has witnessed the ascension of a civilization which acclaims the Rights of Man but kills non-white man wherever it finds him. The Western authors of social contracts and constitutions granting freedom and liberty for their kinsmen also granted themselves the freedom to take liberties with the lives and fate of the non-white world. For while it was widely understood that humans have certain inalienable rights, chaining or whipping Black ‘sub-humans’ and expropriating or uprooting Indian ‘savages’ were considered well within these rights. And so, within its own selective borders the glowing attributes of Western civilization shone brightly, but for the untamed darker sections of humanity, rifles and bayonets, later replaced by bombs and missiles, were the preferred methods of enlightenment. . . (full article)

Hindu Nationalism and Orissa: Minorities As Other
by Angana Chatterji

In October 2003, DV contributing writer Angana Chatterji wrote a report on Orissa for Communalism Combat about the political economy of Hindutva in the Indian state. In this article, she continues to map the entrenchment of the Sangh Parivar, the umbrella group comprised of various Hindu communalist organizations. . .
(full article)

Democracy vs. Corporate "Free Speech"
by Jeffrey Kaplan and Jeff Milchen

Think of corporate influence peddlers and you might envision distant figures working the halls of Congress and state capitols. But more and more, they roam city halls, municipal offices and even local shopping malls attempting to snuff the growing trend of communities setting limits on corporate activities. But regardless of location, the goal of the corporate lawyers and lobbyists remains the same: to use the enormous wealth of their employers to get what they want -- even if it means trampling democracy. . . (full article)

Payback: The Bush Connection to Clear Channel Firing 
Howard  Stern -- It's Worse than You Thought

by Dean Creekmore

I am surprised more people are not a more concerned about the connection between the Bush administration, Clear Channel Radio and Howard Stern. This could possibly the most frightening example of a government using party-friendly corporations to squash dissenting opinions I have ever seen. . . (full article)

Religious, Science Groups Urge US to End Nukes
by Jim Lobe

An international group of religious and scientific leaders Monday appealed to the United States and all other nuclear states to pledge never to use nuclear weapons and to reaffirm their commitments to achieving total nuclear disarmament. . .
(full article)

March 8

VP Cheney Helped Cover Up Pakistani Nuke Proliferation In '89 So
US Could Sell Country Fighter Jets

by Jason Leopold

Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and top members of the administration reacted with shock when they found out that Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist, spent the past 15 years selling outlaw nations nuclear technology and equipment. So it was sort of a surprise when Bush, upon finding out about Khan’s proliferation of nuclear technology, let Pakistan off with a slap on the wrist. But it was all an act. In fact, it was actually a cover-up designed to shield Cheney because he knew about the proliferation for more than a decade and did nothing to stop it.  . . (full article)

Rubber Numbers and the Sanctity of Human Life

The Expendability of Them to Attain Our Political Ends 
by Kim Petersen


In pursuit of their conquest of Iraq both US President George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair denounced then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for deceiving the world and clandestinely building up stockpiles of WMD. Hussein’s prior use of poison gas (with Washington’s knowledge) and other horrible deeds had led Bush to declare in his 2003 State of the Union address: “If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning!” Bush claims to answer to a higher calling. He also claims to identify most with the political philosopher Jesus Christ who changed his heart. It is curious to contemplate in what way Christ changed Bush’s heart. . . (full article)


The Rape of Haiti
by Justin Felux

The recent events in Haiti are yet another sad chapter in the history of Western imperialism.  The roots of the current crisis trace all the way back to January 1, 1804, when Toussaint L'Ouverture and his army of African slaves humiliated France and the rest of the "civilized" world by liberating the island of St. Domingue, the place now called Haiti. . . (full article)

Former President Bush Involved with Donation to Group
with Terrorist Connections

by Robert Jensen

Read the shocking details here . . . (full article)

The Coming Uncivil War: The Fire This Time
by Richard Oxman

Garland's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" had just ended.  I was lounging around, sipping my slave-picked Earl Grey from Sri Lanka, and pouring over my May 11, 1911 original edition of Le Petit Journal when the postman rang twice.  A typical Tuesday afternoon, although it could have been Wednesday this week.  Unreal. I'll tell you what was in the parcel post piece shortly, a bombshell of sorts for America.  First, the obligatory parsing of pain. . . (full article)

Some Billionaires and Many Workers
by Seth Sandronsky

A Forbes magazine list of global billionaires in 2003 was the longest ever. Their ranks rose to 587 from 476 the previous year. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, was the wealthiest person on the planet as he has been for the past decade, worth an estimated $46.6 billion in 2003. Second to him was investor Warren Buffet, whose fortune of $12.4 billion more than tripled to $42.9 billion. For the top billionaires, there was a five-way tie for sixth place between the widow of Sam Walton, Wal-Mart founder, and four of her family members. . . (full article)

Steal a Tree Go to Jail; Steal a Forest, Meet the President:
The Politics of Timber Theft
by Jeffrey St. Clair

Stealing trees is as old as the King's timber reserves. The sanctions for such sylvan thievery have always been harsh. In medieval England, it meant public torture and slow death. In the US, the levy was a kind of financial death penalty -- triple damages plus serious jail time. . . According to internal documents from the US Forest Service, more than 10% of all trees cut off of the national forests are stolen, usually by timber companies that deliberately log outside the boundaries of timber sales offered by the agency. The annual toll involves hundreds of thousands of trees valued at more than $100 million. . . (full article)

US-Iran: Ad Hoc Detente to Continue Despite Conservative Sweep
by Jim Lobe

Despite the sweeping victory of staunchly anti-U.S. conservatives in Iran's elections last month, analysts here believe the tentative detente between the two countries that began late last year will continue at least through the November U.S. elections. . . (full article)

March 6-7

Mission Accomplished in Haiti: Is Venezuela Next?
by Kurt Nimmo

Hugo Chavez, in no uncertain terms, has warned the Bushites he will use the oil weapon against the United States if Bush attacks Venezuela, America's fourth-largest oil exporter. "[I]f Mr. Bush is possessed with the madness of trying to blockade Venezuela, or worse for them, to invade Venezuela in response to the desperate song of his lackeys... sadly not a drop of petroleum will come to them from Venezuela," Chavez recently told supporters, according to AFP/Reuters. Is Chavez paranoid? Hardly. . .
(full article)

US and France Kiss and Makeup, Haitian Democracy Dies
by Justin Felux

Leave it to the New York Times to turn the bloody overthrow of a democratically elected President into a veritable love story. In an article published on March 3rd entitled "U.S. and France Set Aside Differences in Effort to Resolve Haiti Conflict" the newspaper of record reported that "the joint diplomacy over Haiti is a dramatic example of how the longtime allies can set aside differences, find common ground, play to their strengths and even operate in an atmosphere of trust." The story goes on to weave a tale so charming and rosy that one would never guess scores of people were being needlessly slaughtered in the background. . . (full article)

Bush or Kerry? Look Closely and the Danger is the Same
by John Pilger

A myth equal to the fable of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is gaining strength on both sides of the Atlantic. It is that John Kerry offers a world-view different from that of George W Bush. Watch this big lie grow as Kerry is crowned the Democratic candidate and the "anyone but Bush" movement becomes a liberal cause celebre. . . (full article)

Kerry’s Foreign Policy Record Suggests Few Differences with Bush
by Stephen Zunes

Those who had hoped that a possible defeat of President George W. Bush in November would mean real changes in U.S. foreign policy have little to be hopeful about now that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has effectively captured the Democratic presidential nomination. . . (full article)

Osama Lama Ding Dong: The "War Without End" of Bush and bin Laden
Has Terrorist splinter Groups Multiplying

by Bill Berkowitz

Nearly thirty months after President Bush declared open season on Osama bin Laden, the much-vaunted U.S. spring offensive along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is getting ready to roll. According to the Miami Herald, “the Central Intelligence Agency has moved at least two unmanned aerial vehicles, both armed with Hellfire missiles, from Iraq to Afghanistan, and that the military's Central Command is moving an unspecified number of Special Forces soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan.” The offensive, which may produce a Spring Shocker, a Summer Stunner or an October Surprise, is clearly aimed at capturing and/or killing al Qaeda’s terrorist leader. But, while bin Laden’s capture or death may give the flagging re-election fortunes of George W. Bush a much needed boost, it will not put an end to terrorism or the war against terrorism. Just as the capture of Saddam Hussein didn’t end the resistance in Iraq, bin Laden’s capture or death will not end terrorism in Afghanistan. . . (full article)

Outsourcing the Friedman
by Naomi Klein

Thomas Friedman hasn't been this worked up about free trade since the anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. Back then, he told New York Times readers that the work environment in a Sri Lankan Victoria's Secret factory was so terrific "that, in terms of conditions, I would let my own daughters work" there. He never did update readers on how the girls enjoyed their stint stitching undergarments, but Friedman has since moved on--now to the joys of call-center work in Bangalore. These jobs, he wrote on February 29, are giving young people "self-confidence, dignity and optimism"--and that's not just good for Indians, but for Americans as well. Why? Because happy workers paid to help US tourists locate the luggage they've lost on Delta flights are less inclined to strap on dynamite and blow up those same planes. . . (full article)

What We Can Learn from Ashcroft's Gallbladder
by Mickey Z.

I just read in the New York Times that Attorney General John Ashcroft was "hospitalized in an intensive care unit for a severe case of gallstone pancreatitis." I'm not gonna take the low road and use this occasion to mock the worse Attorney General, Janet Reno? In fact, as ruthless and repressive as Ashcroft can be, I do hear he has a sweet side. Recently, in light of all the trouble Iraq is having in coming up with a constitution, Ashcroft was kind enough to offer them ours. He figures, hey, we're not using it anyway (insert rimshot here). But I digress. What I did want to point out in light of the gallstone heard 'round the world, is this: It matters little if you love the NEA or the NRA; there are physical laws that cannot be ignored. For example, gravity applies whether you vote for Kerry, Bush, or Nader. The same can be said for the side effects of nuclear energy, electro-magnetic radiation, exhaust fumes...and pharmaceuticals. . . (full article)

Radical Continuity: An Interview with Paul Buhle
by Derek Seidman

There is probably no one in the world that knows more about the history of American radicalism than Paul Buhle. A former member of Students for a Democratic Society and a disciple of CLR James, Buhle founded the journal Radical America as well as the Oral History of the American Left project. He is the author/editor of nearly thirty books, including: Images of American Radicalism, Marxism in the United States, Radical Hollywood: The Untold Story behind America’s Favorite Movies, The Encyclopedia of the American Left, The Immigrant Left in the United States, The New Left Revisited, Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz, and the forthcoming From the Lower Eastside to Hollywood: Jews in American Popular Culture. Buhle is currently teaching at Brown University. Left Hook’s Derek Seidman recently caught up with him for a short interview. . . (full interview)

Democrats Slam Bush Administration Over Aristide Ouster
by Jim Lobe

The Bush administration's role in facilitating the ouster of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide came under sharp and sustained attack by Democrats in Congress Wednesday, while leaders of the of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) called for an independent investigation into the circumstances that led to his exile aboard a U.S.-chartered jet Sunday. . . (full article)

. . . And God Said
by Norma Sherry

It would appear that the messages Pat Robertson has been hearing from God are not from God at all, but a cruel, conniving imposter. It’s sad, but true. But, he’s in very good company. For instance, my 4-year-old neighbor predicted that if she kissed a raindrop she’d become a fairy princess. Clearly, she’s no prophet, either. There have been many self-proclaimed prophets in our history. . . (full article)

Destroying Pension Rights
by Ralph Nader

Over thirty years ago, I started the Pension Rights Center which concerned itself with such issues as shortening the time of corporate pensions vesting or improving their portability for job-changing employees. No one nightmared that companies would dramatically cut their contributions to these defined benefit plans during years of economic growth and record company profits. That is not the least of a trail of broken promises by these vastly overpaid corporate executives (with their gigantic special pensions) to their loyal workers. . . (full article)

Grocery Strike Ends in Defeat: UFCW Officials’ Failed Strategy
Led Workers into a Dead End

by Gillian Russom and Karl Swinehart

LOS ANGELES: After four months and 18 days on strike and locked out, grocery workers in Southern California voted February 28 to accept a new three-year contract. Voting on the contract was confined to a single day in which the workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), received the contract and had to decide how to vote. Although 59,000 workers were involved in the strike and lockout, just 17,000 votes were required to approve the contract--and union leaders claimed an 86 percent "yes" vote. The contract gives in on almost all the major demands by the nation’s biggest grocery chains. . .
(full article)

March 4

Assuming the Right to Intervene
by Norman Solomon

If Mark Twain were living now instead of a century ago -- when he declared himself “an anti-imperialist” and proclaimed that “I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land” -- the famous writer’s views would exist well outside the frame of today’s mainstream news media. In the current era, it’s rare for much ink or air time to challenge the right of the U.S. government to directly intervene in other countries. Instead, the featured arguments are about whether -- or how --  it is wise to do so in a particular instance. It’s not just a matter of American boots on the ground and bombs from the sky. Much more common than the range of overt violence from U.S. military actions is the process of deepening poverty from economic intervention. Outside the media glare, Washington’s routine policies involve pulling financial levers to penalize nations that have leaders who displease the world’s only superpower. . . (full article)

Regime Change in Haiti: A Coup By Any Other Name
by Mark Weisbrot

We still don't know the exact circumstances of President Aristide's departure from Haiti last Sunday. Aristide, as well as some members of the U.S. Congress, call it a kidnapping. The Bush Administration denies these charges. But one thing seems clear: he did not voluntarily step down from the presidency. He was forced out, and the United States helped force him out. . (full article)

Godfather Colin Powell: The Gangster of Haiti
by Glen Ford and Peter Gamble

The new order congeals like blood on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Haiti’s dance of death begins anew, a convergence of low-life assassins, high-living compradors, preening French imperialists and global American pirates – an unspeakable bacchanal. . . (full article)

The US-Backed Coup in Haiti Continues
by Heather Williams and Karl Laraque

With President Jean-Bertrand Aristide driven out of Haiti U.S. officials now magnanimously declare that Haiti can start a new chapter in its history. Declaring with the same straight face he wore when insisting there were WMDs in Iraq, that the U.S. and its partners in an international force will sponsor a "responsive, functioning, non-corrupt government" in Haiti, Secretary of State Colin Powell has dismissed charges from Representative Maxine Waters, TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus that what took place on Sunday morning in Port Au Prince was a palace coup rather than a resignation. Whatever the precise circumstances of President Aristide's exit from power, there is little question three days later that occupying powers have every intention of cobbling together a new ruling order from an odious collection of armed groups with grim agendas. . . (full article)

"A War Waged on the Aristide Regime": Author Robert Fatton
on the Background to the Crisis

by Eric Ruder

Robert Fatton is the Haitian-born author of Haiti’s Predatory Republic: The Unending Transition to Democracy. He teaches political science at the University of Virginia. Fatton talked to Socialist Worker’s Eric Ruder after the U.S. government engineered the toppling of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. . . (full article)

If John Kerry is the Answer, What is the Question?
by William Blum

Of all the issues that the presidential campaign will revolve around, none is more important to me than foreign policy. I say this not because that is my area of specialty, but because the bombings, invasions, coups d'état, depleted uranium, and other horrors that are built into United States foreign policy regularly bring to the people of the world much more suffering and despair than any American domestic policy does at home. I do not yearn for "anybody but Bush". I yearn for a president who will put an end to Washington's interminable indecent interventions against humanity. This is, moreover, the only way to end the decades-long hatred that has spawned so many anti-American terrorists. So desperate am I to have the chance to vote for someone like that, that a few days ago I allowed myself to feel a bit buoyed when John Kerry, in response to a question about the situation in Haiti, said that the Bush administration "has a theological and ideological hatred for Aristide" which has led to the administration "empowering" the rebels. To me that remark revealed a significant nuance of understanding of the world of US foreign policy that rarely makes it to the lips of an American politician. Could it be, I wondered, that Kerry is actually a cut or two above prevailing wisdom and rhetoric on such matters? (full article)

Mainstream Media Fails Itself
by  Peter Phillips

On February 29, Richard Boucher from the U.S. Department of State released a press release claiming that Jean Bertrand Aristide had resigned as president of Haiti and that the United State facilitated his safe departure. Within hours the major broadcast news stations in the United States including CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, and NPR were reporting that Aristide had fled Haiti. An Associated Press release that evening said "Aristide resigns, flees into exile." The next day headlines in the major newspapers across the country, including the Washington Post, USA Today, New York Times, and Atlanta Journal Constitution, all announced "Aristide Flees Haiti." The Baltimore sun reported, "Haiti's first democratically-elected president was forced to flee his country yesterday like despots before him." However on Sunday afternoon February 29, Pacific News network with reporters live in Port-au-Prince Haiti were claiming that Aristide was forced to resign by the US and taken out of the Presidential Palace by armed US marines. On Monday morning Amy Goodman with Democracy Now! news show interviewed Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Waters said she had received a phone call from Aristide at 9:00 AM EST March 1 in which Aristide emphatically denied that he had resigned and said that he had been kidnapped by US and French forces. Aristide made calls to others including TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson, who verified congresswomen Waters' report. Mainstream corporate media was faced with a dilemma. . .
(full article)

Breaking the Chains of Illusion
by David Edwards

Many of the dissident philosophers and rebels of the past like Rousseau, Rocker, Tolstoy, Thoreau, Emerson and Fromm wrote often about the personal experiences, motivations and concerns that informed their political dissent. Tolstoy, for example, eventually came spectacularly clean about his life as a writer: “Horribly strange, but I now understand it all. Our genuine, sincere concern was how to gain as much money and fame as possible. And the only thing we knew how to do in order to achieve this was to write books and journals.” (Tolstoy, A Confession, Penguin, 1987, p.24) This was a deeply personal comment, but it shone a brilliant light on the intellectual culture of Tolstoy’s time, and ours. But today, personal, psychological, philosophical and spiritual issues are hardly mentioned at all, with dissidents insisting that their own experiences are surely of little interest to the public. The operative theory seems to be that the world is in the mess it’s in because people do not have access to the facts revealing the criminality and irrationality of power. . . (full article)

New Word Order
by Mickey Z.

John Kerry is liberal, Wesley Clark is anti-war, and an un-elected president is seeking re-election. When Colin Powell recently said: "Whether or not he is able to effectively continue as president is something he will have to examine carefully," Powell was not talking about Bush...he was discussing Jean Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti (until ousted by "rebels" and "students"). Of all the beguiling propaganda tactics Corporate America has cultivated, the usurping of language is the greatest victory of all. (full article)

Ah!: Arsonists for Haiti?
by Richard Oxman

I almost spilled a hot cup of coffee on my son's lap when I overheard the talk in the adjacent booth at Peet's.  I think I actually soughed, "Ah!". As George Monbiot points out in his March 2nd piece, "Extreme Measures: The Only Way to Bring Down Blair and Change the Political Context is to Take Direct Action", people taking to the streets "must be accompanied by polite campaigns of lobbying and letter-writing."   However, he's crystal clear that nothing will happen "unless we get off our butts and make it happen."  He addresses the need to take some risk, and as I read his words I found myself nodding in agreement, noting the parallels for us in the U.S. . . (full article)

Raw Prejudice: The Politics of Gay Marriage
by Doug Ireland

A cartoon in the March 1 New Yorker shows a balding, middle-aged man and his wife gazing at the telly, as the man says: “Gays and lesbians getting married — haven’t they suffered enough?” The line is not only funny, but subversive. It hints at the feminist critique of marriage as an oppressive patriarchal institution — a view embraced by what used to be called gay liberation, whose attitudes and analyses a few of us unrepentant queers still share. But for most same-sexers, gay liberation was long ago supplanted by assimilationist demands for full gay citizenship. AIDS, more than anything else, drove the issue of same-sex marriage to the top of the gay agenda — the pandemic starkly confronted us with partnership issues like health insurance, visitation rights when we’re ill, property inheritance and a host of other vital concerns. All of this preceded the desire to participate in the 1,049 federal rights of marriage (the General Accounting Office’s count) that benefit gender-discordant couples, but are denied to ours. . . (full article)

Gaza Striptease
by Roni Ben Efrat

When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced his decision to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip and dismantle 17 settlements, there was reason, one might think, for celebration in certain quarters. Yet few rejoiced. There is the uneasy feeling that his words do not bode an end to the 37-year-old Occupation, rather further entanglement. . . (full article)

Words Have Failed Us
by Amira Hass

This is an admission of failure. The written word is a failure at making tangible to Israeli readers the true horror of the occupation in the Gaza Strip. When something is written about the sea being closed off to Palestinians in the north and south of the Strip, the response will be "they are terrorists." If something is written about neighborhoods in the western part of the Khan Yunis refugee camp and how the buildings are all full of bullet holes from heavy machine guns and cannon shells, the response will be "the Palestinians started it." Tell the story of how 15-year-old Yusuf Bashir's family home in Dir al-Balah has been turned into an army fortress, and in Israel they'll say, "there is no choice, the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom must be protected, like Kfar Dekalim, Atzmona and Morag." A report that the soldiers in a military position right next to Yusuf's house agreed to allow a UN team into the family's courtyard will be used in Israel as proof of the humanitarian attitudes of soldiers who are ready to take risks while doing their duties. And when it's reported that suddenly one of the soldiers - an officer, as the IDF spokeswoman would later say - "shot at the wheels of a suspicious vehicle" (the UN team's car), in Israel that will be a shooting that never happened. And then, it will be reported that the boy, Yusuf Bashir, was shot in the back as he waved goodbye to the visitors from the UN, and it is possible he'll remain paralyzed for life - maybe that word "paralyzed" will give a few readers pause. But so many stories about so many Yusufs never get reported, and never will get reported. . . (full article)

Dearest Dr. Rape
by Kap Fulton

Imagine if you will, turning on the television and seeing an infomercial for "breast pills." This new miracle cure will help women feel confident about their racks in the hope the miracle pill will add much needed size. The ingenious producers of this infomercial have brought in a male sexuality expert to explain how men love the size of women's mammary glands. The doctor rambles on about all the attention that big boobed women receive. Plausible? Probably not today in the land of the liberal American who wants to save the whales and kill the terrorists. Many will be surprised to hear that this infomercial IS being broadcast across the great land of liberal Americana. The catch: the doctor is a woman and the mock talk show is advertising for "penis pills." . . . (full article)

March 2

One Year Later, Justice Still Not Served:
Remembering the Death of Rachel Corrie
by Elizabeth Corrie

Only a year ago, the approach of the month of March would have held the same positive associations for me as it has for many -- the beginning of the end of winter, the promise of springtime and even summer not too far behind. This year, and for every year for the rest of my life, the approach of March will mean something else entirely -- the anniversary of the brutal death of my cousin, Rachel Corrie. On March 16th, 2003, an Israeli soldier and his commander ran over Rachel with a 9 ton, Caterpillar bulldozer while she stood -- unarmed, clearly visible in her orange fluorescent jacket -- protecting a Palestinian home slated for demolition by the Israeli army. . . (full article)

Killing Hope: Bringing Hell to Haiti, Part 2
by David Edwards and Media Lens

Jean-Bertrand Aristide told the Associated Press yesterday that he was forced to leave Haiti by US military forces. Asked if he left on his own, Aristide answered: “No. I was forced to leave. Agents were telling me that if I don’t leave they would start shooting and killing in a matter of time.” (Eliott C. McLaughlin, Associated Press, March 1, 2004) “Haiti, again, is ablaze”, Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics at Columbia University, writes: “Almost nobody, however, understands that today’s chaos was made in Washington - deliberately, cynically, and steadfastly. History will bear this out.” . . . (full article)

Aristide Kidnapped by U.S. Forces?
by William Rivers Pitt

The front pages of major American newspapers and the talking heads on the news channels would have you believe that the resignation of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from his presidency in Haiti was voluntary. Questions have been raised, however, about the manner in which his departure unfolded. In short, there is mounting evidence to suggest that Aristide was removed involuntarily from power by American forces. . . (full article)

Head of US Security Firm That Guarded Aristide Speaks Out:
White House Blocked Deployment of More Guards to Protect Aristide
by Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!

Reports emerged yesterday that the private U.S. security firm guarding President Aristide was prevented by the White House from sending reinforcements to Haiti last week to bolster his security. We speak with the CEO of the firm Kenneth Kurtz. . . (full article)

Haiti: A View from Canada
Does Our New Prime Minister Support Democracy In the Americas
or US Orchestrated Coups?
by Yves Engler

In his first major foreign policy move Paul Martin’s government faithfully followed the U.S. (and French) lead in removing the legally elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, from power. Contrast this with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) whose chairperson, Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, said in a statement that CARICOM deplored  “the removal of [Haitian] President Aristide “ from office, as setting  “a dangerous precedent for democratically-elected governments anywhere and everywhere.” . . .
(full article)

Haiti: Dangerous Muddle
by Conn Hallinan

In 1994, when President Bill Clinton sent 20,000 American troops into Haiti to restore Jean-Bernard Aristide to the presidency, there was widespread support for a mission aimed at restoring democracy and relieving the misery of the Haitian people. It also seemed to herald a new day in the post-cold war world, when American invasions were not automatically synonymous with supporting some Latin American caudillo or South East Asian despot. With the exception of the isolationist Right, virtually every voice in the political spectrum cheered the policy of “liberal intervention.” The use of American power to make good things happen was a heady drug. Unfortunately, an addictive one. Although there is no question that the 1994 intervention was good for Haiti , military intervention has turned out to be fraught with problems, particularly when it is wielded by one country. . . (full article)

by Paul Dean

Witness the unceasing workings of the worm upon our world. The worm demands that our understanding of any political and economic situation is only as deep as yesterday's news. Haiti’s Aristide is out, (we tried, honest we did, but it was too late to save him) but now the U.S. Marines, out of concern for our southern neighbors, will step in to insure the peace. Democracy will reign! Reform will be the word of the day. And what is the recipe for reform? Reinstate the pre-form, call it reform, and deform the form of democracy to conform to the norm, because we win all contests the old fashioned way. Just call it good old smash-mouth democracy, because the best defense is a good offense. . . (full article)

So Where’s Kerry Now? The Downside of Super, Tuesday
by Josh Frank

By the end of Super Tuesday, John Kerry may well be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Yellow journalists and liberal defenders of the Empire have been scouring Kerry’s senate records hoping to unearth something, anything, that could entice progressives and former Deaniacs to come on board Kerry's vessel of a campaign. . . (full article)

Colombia-US Free Trade Treaty - Far More Than Trade: An Article by Emilio Sardi, With Context and Reflections
by Toni Solo

Arguments against bilateral US "free trade" agreements with other countries that make it into mainstream Anglophone media tend not to come from industrialists or business people. But in Latin America many people in private enterprise are alarmed and disturbed at US attempts to impose its imperialist plans on their countries. A recent article by Colombian industrialist Emilio Sardi gives the view of one of Colombia's leading businessmen. It's worth noting. . . (full article)

The Liberation That Isn't: Interview with RAWA on Afghanistan
by Ra Ravishankar

While Iraq continues to hog the headlines, Afghanistan has slipped beyond the mainstream media's radar screen. In a region of ever-changing allegiances, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan has won wide support and respect for its principled anti-fundamentalist stance. On the current state of affairs in "liberated" Afghanistan, let's hear from a RAWA representative, who, for security reasons, will only be identified by her pseudonym Mariam. . . (full article)

Between Kim Jong Il and a Hard Place
by John Feffer

Some presidential candidates have extramarital affairs they hope won't come to light before the elections. Other candidates fear that a past financial indiscretion will be revealed just before Americans go to the polls. George W. Bush has Kim Jong Il. (full article)

Burn the Maps and Get Lost in the Territory: Review of Jeffrey St. Clair's Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me
by Josh Frank

Politics leaves its boot-print on almost every aspect of our lives. From our schools to health care, jobs and the environment, it seems we can never win when up against the powers that be. Casting our votes for the evil of two lessers, as dutifully citizens do every election cycle, surely leaves us with a lesser by the end of the day. So you would think “hope” should be brushed to the waste side as naïve optimism, clamored to by only the most stubborn of idealists. If this is how you feel, you have yet to pick up the latest book by environmental writer Jeffrey St. Clair, Been Brown So Long it Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature, where St. Clair masterfully shatters the myth that all hope should be abandoned. Perhaps the most clairvoyant writer of our times, St. Clair understands the environmentalist plight like no other living writer. He recognizes that neither major political body in the US sides with those that seek to protect our diminishing natural landscapes. He dutifully dissects the “Big Green” cabal, which claims to be the voice of nature, but instead drools at the feet of their foundation backers in order to guard their six figure salaries. . . (full article)

Revolution and Reform: An Interview with Lenni Brenner
by Adam Engel

Lenni Brenner is a writer and political activist, whose books include,  51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, and The Jews in America Today.  A frequent contributor to CounterPunch, one of his essays was included in CounterPunch's controversial new book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.   He is currently at work on a book about the politics and ideas of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. . . (full article)

The Splendid Failure of Occupation, Part Eight
American Modified and Accepted Hitlerism
by B.J. Sabri

We have tentatively established that mentality is a precursor to ideology, which in turn acts as a unified system of thought, action, and alibi. In view of that, ideology and stringent capitalistic control is the locomotive that has been guiding U.S. power from its early continental colonialistic expansions, through global imperialistic domination, to its current hyper-imperialistic consolidation of empire. . . (full article)

Extreme Measures: We Can’t Rely on the Establishment To Topple Tony Blair, We Must Do it Ourselves
by George Monbiot

So now what happens? Our prime minister is up to his neck in it. His attorney-general appears to have changed his advice about the legality of the war a few days before it began. Blair refuses to release either version, apparently for fear that he will be exposed as a liar and a war criminal. His government seems to have been complicit in the illegal bugging of friendly foreign powers and the United Nations. It went to war on the grounds of a threat which was both imaginary and known to be imaginary. Now the opposition has withdrawn from his fake inquiry. Seldom has a prime minister been so exposed and remained in office. Surely Blair will fall? (full article)

Oscar Smiles on "Fog of War" and its Warnings on Iraq
by Harvey Wasserman

Even on Oscar night, the war in Vietnam still rages. With a billion people glued to their tubes, the old battle cry that "the whole world is watching" was once again true. As "Fog of War" won Sunday night for best documentary, we have an AWOL president prancing in a flight suit he did not earn, and a Democratic front-runner who was a hero on both sides an issue that still deeply divides us. . . (full article)

March 1

Bringing Hell to Haiti, Part 1
by David Edwards and Media Lens

Have you noticed how stupid you feel when you watch the news? Hands up anybody who understands what’s going on in Haiti? The media is good at repeatedly broadcasting footage of armed gangs roaming in trucks, and of quoting senior officials. But the absence of meaningful context and informed analysis ­ and above all the unwillingness to question the official version of events - means that it is often literally impossible for viewers to make sense of what is happening. For all their satellite communications and computer-generated studios, the news media often do not give us news at all ­ they give us noise. . . (full article)

War for Souls in Iraq: In their Zeal to Convert Muslims, are US Evangelicals
Ignoring the Suffering of Iraq's Christians?
by Bill Berkowitz

Last March, in anticipation of a quick U.S. victory, several U.S. Christian evangelical organizations set their sights on delivering band-aids and Bibles to Iraq. Now, more than eleven months later, concerned that the window of opportunity will soon be slammed shut, evangelical groups are hustling about the country. Ironically, while these U.S.-based Christian missionaries are struggling to convert Muslims, the country's Christian community -- numbering less than one million out of a population of 23-25 million and made up of mostly Assyrian Catholics -- is under attack. . . (full article)

Friedman's Education:
Tommy Boy Pats Some Good
Little Indians on the Head

by Mickey Z.

Criticizing the op-ed columns of Thomas L. Friedman is often redundant. His writing is so laughable, one is typically tempted to "stand back and let it all be" (as The Boss might suggest). However, on February 29, 2004, Tommy Boy took his standard paean to globalization to a new level of smugness and oblivion. In a column called "30 Little Turtles," he tells of visiting an "accent neutralization" class at the call center 24/7 Customer in Bangalore, India. . . (full article)

Oscar's Obituary
by Richard Oxman

I knew it the moment I saw Michael Moore crushed underfoot by a huge monster.  Or was it a dinosaur?  The action was so fast-paced, I honestly can't remember what it was that shut him up in mid-speech.  But what I do remember is that he allowed Hollywood to bury his anti-Bush banter/blather of 2003.  In allowing Oscar to ridicule his remarks during its prelude to this year's presentations, he joined hands with reactionary forces in La La Land to move in lockstep with our sitting president.  At that early point, I knew the whole show -- in spite of our simultaneous stripping of Aristide -- was slated to be a Patriotic Parade. . . (full article)

Leaked Classified Memo
by Ductape Fatwa

Dear Messrs. Tenet and Cheney,

Attached please find the results of our latest and we believe, our most impressive, effort to provide the Occupation Forces a credible Osama bin Laden in time for the fall launch of your new automated vote "tally" system. We understand the new system is modeled on the manual process that has been employed so successfully in Egypt for many years, and we would like to extend our congratulations to the Diebold company for this significant contribution to democracy. . . (full article)

Grave and Gathering Dangers: The War President's Threat to National and Global Security (Part I of III: War Against Science, Health and the Environment)
by Manuel Valenzuela

The tip of the iceberg continues its ominous melting and the giant unseen mass of ice below remains submerged, a grave and gathering danger lying waiting in the path of the vessel that is human existence. The state of the planet’s environment and by consequence human health continues its steady decline, in no small part a result of the Bush administration’s ignorant and hypnotizing love of the almighty dollar and the Corporate Leviathan that has shredded rules, regulations and protections once designed to slow the progress of environmental devastation. Today, after three years of the war president’s reign, our environment and health have been methodically pilfered through a carefully orchestrated strategy of lies, deceits and appointments designed to suppress and alter scientific fact and facilitate the Leviathan’s unhindered exploitation of land and man. . . (full article)

Credit Card Crack
by Stephen Pizzo

Borrow, spend—borrow, spend. No, I am not talking about the Bush administration this time. I'm talking about you. That's right, you, the American consumer. Not only is the ship of state heading full steam towards the shoals of deficit disaster, but its passengers continue to party as the band plays on. An administration chorus accompanies the band, singing the praises of rising economic indicators. But their jaunty ditty highlights only carefully selected indices. There are all kinds of rising indicators—some good, some bad. The administration's hymnal only lists the good rising indicators. Let's look at them all: the good, bad and the ugly. . . (full article)


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