Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Read This Before You Vote!


If you want to know who NOT to vote for, use this list.

The list linked below the picture is an amazing accounting of the money the pro-Israel lobby has pumped into the current crop of congressional candidates. And Whatreallyhappened gives good advice. Check this list before you vote. Linda

Do the Democrats Believe in Democracy?

This sounds familiar. When a few of us were standing on the sidewalk outside the Garfield Obama/Cantwell event awhile ago with an "Impeach Bush" and a "No Iraq War" sign, Cantwell's campaign had us kicked off the sidewalk. Do the Democrats believe in democracy?

"The American Civil Liberties Union has voiced its support for five students at Bellevue Community College who say their rights were violated last week when they were barred from a campus rally with U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Barack Obama.

"The students say Cantwell staffers did not allow them into Thursday's event because they were wearing red T-shirts with the name of Cantwell's Republican challenger, Mike McGavick.

"They were clearly there to disrupt the event," said Cantwell campaign spokeswoman Amanda Mahnke. She said the students were carrying McGavick signs and refused to take the shirts off or turn them inside out.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Flying Toilets Still Airborne--Kenya--by Joyce Mulama

NAIROBI, Oct 24 (IPS) - An overflowing pit latrine empties its contents in a thick stream of worm-infested filth at the doorstep of Catherine Kithuku's home in Matopeni, a slum on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Less than ten such latrines serve a population of two to three thousand people in this area. Typically, the latrines are housed in dilapidated structures which have cracked stone floors, rusty sheets of iron for walls, and roofs made up of torn plastic and cartons.

Small wonder, then, that many inhabitants of Matopeni still use "flying toilets" in their moment of need. The topic of much press coverage in recent years, these "toilets" are plastic bags into which people defecate, then throw away as far as possible. Out of sight, out of mind, it could be argued -- but for the fact that the toilets seldom remain out of sight.

Heaps of tightly-tied polythene bags adorn the roofs of mud-walled shanties, attracting swarms of flies. Some have burst upon landing, while others clog the drainage system in Matopeni. Open sewers meander through the slum, giving off a choking stench.

"This is the trend (as) there are insufficient toilets to serve the people here. Besides, the latrines are all full and it will be a while before the residents contribute funds to hire someone to empty the latrines," Kithuku told IPS.

Fears abound that the unsanitary conditions will lead to disease.

Found on Interpress Newservice

Sunday, October 29, 2006

No Fast U.S. Shift on Iraq if Democrats Win -Dean

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Even if Democrats win control of Congress in elections next week, an immediate change of course in Iraq policy is unlikely, the party's chairman said on Sunday.

Some Democrats have called for a withdrawal timetable, which Bush rejects.Countering Republican campaign charges that Democrats would "cut and run" from Iraq, chairman Howard Dean said the party did not believe there should be a sudden pullout of all U.S. troops.

"The president will still be in charge of foreign policy and the military ... I don't imagine we're going to be able to force the president to reverse his course," he told the CBS "Face the Nation" program.

"But we will put some pressure on him to have some benchmarks, some timetables and a real plan other than stay the course," he added.

With control of the U.S. Congress at stake in the Nov. 7 elections and sectarian violence raging in Iraq, Democrats and some Republicans have urged U.S. President George W. Bush to change his strategy on the war.

Congress will have some influence on Iraq policy after establishing the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, with Bush's approval. The commission, co-chaired by former secretary of state James Baker, is assessing the war and will release its policy recommendations after election day.

Dean said a small U.S. force should be left somewhere near Iraq to help prevent the establishment of a terrorist haven in the region.

"We will need to leave a force of special-operations folks in the Middle East, not in Iraq but on the periphery of Iraq, so we can deal with terrorism in a timely manner.

"We don't believe now we should suddenly pull everybody out...," he said.

Found on Antiwar.com

"The President Knows more than He Lets on"--About Torture

SPIEGEL ONLINE: With waterboarding, the prisoner [one hundred suspected terrorists from all over the world are still being held in secret American prisons] is made to feel as though he is drowing, even if he isn't really at risk of dying. There are reports that Mohammed was a kind of unoffical record-holder when it came to waterboarding.

Suskind: With extraordinary minutes passing he earned a sort of grudging respect from interrogators. The thing they did with Mohammed is that we had captured his children, a boy and a girl, age 7 and 9. And at the darkest moment we threatened grievous injury to his children if he did not cooperate. His response was quite clear: "That's fine. You can do what you want to my children, and they will find a better place with Allah."

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

Catapulting the Propaganda with the Washington Post--Chris Floyd

Empire Burlesque's Chris Floyd commenting on Angry Arab's catching the Washington Post redhanded passing off the Iraq war as "spreading democracy."

"But to do that would mean breaking with the iron-clad conventional wisdom of Beltway journalism: the war in Iraq is yet another noble cause gone FUBAR because it "wasn't done right." (This is also the prevailing wisdom of much of the Democratic Party as well.). You can see the gang gathering around the water cooler with David Broder, shaking their heads and clucking, "Dang, we'll never get democracy in Iraq now, not after the way Bush and Rumsfeld have screwed this thing up." They might even spend long sleepless hours in the dead of night, fretting that "if only Jerry Bremer hadn't done X, if only we'd gone in with a half a million troops, if only those bad apples hadn't gone sour at Abu Ghraib...." finally trailing off, with a heavy sigh, into troubled dreams.

"There is scarcely an acknowledgement anywhere in the Media Establishment that the Iraq War was an evil and misbegotten enterprise from the very beginning: conceived in greed and arrogance, sold by deceit, a criminal action by every legal and moral reckoning. As Hamlet said: "It cannot and it will not come to good." And it has not. Wars of aggression are evil things -- the "supreme international crime," as the Nuremberg Tribunal recognized -- and they will breed nothing but evil. When Bush sat before the television cameras to announce the invasion of Iraq that night in March 2003, he might as well have pulled out the shredded corpse of a child and began gnawing on the red, corrupted flesh, for he was at that moment consigning thousands upon thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of innocent people to death.

"Now, none of us expect the Washington Post to ever indulge in such tasteless apprehensions of the actual reality of our time, or to ever describe George W. Bush and his handlers and minions as what they really are: murderers. But would it really be so difficult merely to refrain from adopting the murderers' propaganda directly into "news" stories? Would it really be so difficult to practice a little -- what's that word again? -- objectivity?

"Reckon so.

Found on Uruknet.info

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Last Picture of US Activist Photographer Killed In Oaxaca

Last photograph of Bradley Roland Will alive, five seconds
before he received two sniper's shots in the stomach
during the ongoing revolt in Oaxaca.

Brad was from New York, participated in a housing
occupation,sued the police for arresting him, won
a settlement and traveled with the money around
the world filming working class uprisings
and peasant revolts.

He was recently in Bolivia, Venezuela,
Argentina...always covering class struggle.

He was connected with Indymedia NY.
Picture and Text from Marxmail.org

Update: There are comments on this article, but the link isn't showing it. Some glitch on blogspot, I guess.

Corporations Lookingfor [More] Legal Cover

"Now that corruption cases like Enron and WorldCom are falling out of the news, two influential industry groups with close ties to administration officials are hoping to swing the regulatory pendulum in the opposite direction. The groups are drafting proposals to provide broad new protections to corporations and accounting firms from criminal cases brought by federal and state prosecutors as well as a stronger shield against civil lawsuits from investors.

"Although the details are still being worked out, the groups’ proposals aim to limit the liability of accounting firms for the work they do on behalf of clients, to force prosecutors to target individual wrongdoers rather than entire companies, and to scale back shareholder lawsuits.

"The groups hope to reduce what they see as some burdens imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, landmark post-Enron legislation adopted in 2002. The law, which placed significant new auditing and governance requirements on companies, gave broad discretion for interpretation to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The groups are also interested in rolling back rules and policies that have been on the books for decades.

"To alleviate concerns that the new Congress may not adopt the proposals — regardless of which party holds power in the legislative branch next year — many are being tailored so that they could be adopted through rulemaking by the S.E.C. and enforcement policy changes at the Justice Department.

Bush Gets Martial Law Measure

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law."

Another Day in the Empire via Uruknet.info

A Blue Print for Leaving Iraq Now--McGovern & Polk

10/28/06 "Harpers" -- -- Staying in Iraq not an option. Many Americans who were among the most eager to invade Iraq now urge that we find a way out. These Americans include not only civilian ``strategists'' and other ``hawks'' but also senior military commanders and, perhaps most fervently, combat soldiers. Even some of those Iraqis regarded by our senior officials as the most pro-American are determined now to see American military personnel leave their country. Polls show that as few as 2 percent of Iraqis consider Americans to be liberators. This is the reality of the situation in Iraq. We must acknowledge the Iraqis' right to ask us to leave, and we should set a firm date by which to do so.

We suggest that phased withdrawal should begin on or before December 31, 2006, with the promise to make every effort to complete it by June 30, 2007.

Withdrawal is not only a political imperative but a strategic requirement. As many retired American military officers now admit, Iraq has become, since the invasion, the primary recruiting and training ground for terrorists. The longer American troops remain in Iraq, the more recruits will flood the ranks of those who oppose America not only in Iraq but elsewhere.

From Information Clearinghouse

Dems: No Difference Between Us & Repubs on Israel

"Democratic lawmakers made an effort to stress that support for Israel is a bipartisan issue and that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans in the extent of backing they provide Israel with. At the same time, Rep. Linda Sanchez, a California Democrat, staked out a different view than that of the administration regarding Syria’s latest calls for negotiations with Israel. While the Bush administration reportedly asked Israel to reject talks, Sanchez says that “If Israel believes such a process would lead Syria to abandon support for terrorism and instead embraces peace, then I would welcome such a move.” Sanchez did, however, emphasize that the Democrats oppose removing Syria from the State Department list of states that sponsor terrorism.

"Many of the questions in the online town hall meeting were from Democrats worried about the new book by former president Jimmy Carter and about claims that the Democrats are not as pro-Israeli as the Republicans.

Angry Arab Newservice

"Pelosi repeated her criticism of Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” saying he does not represent the Democratic Party on this issue. Hastings said that those who do not support Israel are only on the fringes of the party.

Nato Forces Kill 'up to 85' Civilians in Afghan Attack

"Nato forces in Afghanistan have killed scores of civilians in a single operation, bombing them in their own homes as they celebrated the end of Ramadan.

"Nato commanders were facing serious questions yesterday as the Afghan government said it had confirmed that at least 40 civilians were killed in Nato bombing raids in Panjwayi district, near Kandahar.

"Nato said its own initial investigation found that only 12 "non-combatants" were killed, but it had no explanation for the discrepancy with the government's figures. Local Afghan officials said they believed as many as 85 civilians died - which would make the incident the worst single atrocity committed by Western forces in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.

I think this was Angry Arab Newservice.

Dems "Recalibrating" for Election Expediency

"While the number of pro-life Democrats still represents a small fraction of the party's candidates, the views they represent have begun to exert a disproportionate influence over its direction. The perceived need to engage with Christian voters prompted Hilary Clinton's recalibration of her abortion position from safe, legal and rare, to safe, legal and never.

"The party's repositioning on this issue is part of a wider attempt to reconnect with cultural conservatives on a basket of issues including guns, gay marriage and the role of the church in people's lives. The Democratic leadership has recognised that the White House will continue to elude them if they appear culturally out of sync with a middle America, for whom faith and traditional family values direct choices at the ballot box.

"So far, the liberal wing of the Democratic party has stayed remarkably mute during the party's shift to the new middle. Expediency has been the byword, especially as the Democrats are so tantalisingly close to regaining one or both Houses of Congress. But as '08 approaches, the Republicans will be ruthless in flushing out dissension in the ranks.

Judge Sees the Light on Corruption; Abramoff Buddy Doesn't

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 — A former White House budget official who became entangled in the criminal investigation of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison for lying about his relationship to Mr. Abramoff.

"The former official, David H. Safavian, wept as he pleaded for leniency from Judge Paul L. Friedman in Federal District Court here. The judge used the sentencing hearing to speak out against what he said was a growing culture of corruption in Washington encouraged by high-priced lobbyists.

“He came to work in an environment that has become, frankly, more and more corrupt,” Judge Friedman said in announcing Mr. Safavian’s sentence, which was half of the three-year prison term sought by the Justice Department.

“It’s become corrupted by money,” Judge Friedman added. “You’ve literally got lobbyists sitting in Congressional offices writing legislation. That’s what’s going on.”

"Mr. Safavian’s crimes, he said, were a “classic case of abuse of the public’s trust.”

"Mr. Safavian was convicted in June of lying to federal investigators about Mr. Abramoff and the circumstances of his decision to join the lobbyist on a golfing trip to Scotland by private jet in 2002.

Savavian's take on things:

"Mr. Safavian, who resigned in December as head of federal procurement policies at the White House budget office, was the first person to go to trial in the investigation and, even Friday, did not concede that he had lied to investigators or obstructed justice, the crimes for which he was convicted.

"Choking back tears, he stood before Judge Friedman and insisted that while his actions might have created the appearance of impropriety, “there was no conspiracy to defraud anybody, least of all taxpayers.” He said that while “Jack Abramoff was my friend, he wasn’t my co-conspirator and I wasn’t his.”

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Center for Responsive Politics Predicts '06 Election Will Cost $2.6 Billion

WASHINGTON—This year’s intensely competitive election for control of the House of Representatives and Senate will be the most expensive midterm election ever, the Center for Responsive Politics predicts. Candidates, national political parties and outside issue advocacy groups will spend roughly $2.6 billion by the end of 2006 to influence the 472 federal contests around the United States and pad the war chests of incumbents not running this year.

The non-partisan Center, which has been tracking the money in federal politics since the 1980s, based its 2006 prediction on spending to date and the final tally for the 2002 midterm election. In 2004, which included a presidential contest, the election cost $4.2 billion. About $2.2 billion was spent in 2002, which preceded campaign finance reforms that limited the influence of large corporate and union donors. The estimate for 2006 would represent an 18% increase over ’02.

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

From "Mission Accomplished" to "Mission Impossible" in Iraq--Patrick Cockburn

"The US has lost more than 500 of its soldiers, dead and wounded, this month. Every month this year the combined figure --more telling than that for dead alone --has been creeping up, as the area of US control is diminishing. The handover of security to Iraqi government forces --the long-trumpeted aim of American and British policy --is, in practice, a handover to the local militias.

"The problem for the US and British is that many Iraqi leaders outside the government think the British and Americans are on the run. Wait, they say, and they will become even weaker. The US is talking to senior Baath party military officials in Saudi Arabia and Jordan who control the insurgency if anybody does. But it is unlikely that they would call a ceasefire except on terms wholly unacceptable to other Iraqis.

"Can the US extract itself from Iraq? Probably it could but only with great loss of face which the present administration could not endure after its boasts of victory three-and-a-half years ago.

The Charnel House of Baghdad--Mike Whitney

"What happens when the war is lost but the fighting continues?

"We are about to find out.

"There are now 650,000 reasons for withdrawing from Iraq and for allowing events to take their course. Iraq's militias are presently locked in mortal combat to determine the ultimate political make-up of the future Iraq. We should stand down and let that process unfold. The belief that we need to supervise the transition is just more paternalistic claptrap intended to support the ongoing occupation. The Iraqis want us out of their affairs and out of their country.

"We've turned Iraq into a charnel house; unleashing the full-force of the world's most powerful military on a small country that never posed a threat to our national security. That's enough. It's time to end the occupation and bring the troops home.

From Counterpunch.org

John Walsh: Has "The Nation" Mag Reneged on Its Pledge to Endorse Antiwar Candidates

"Where was The Nation in all of this? Perhaps I missed it, but there were no endorsements forthcoming, and no warnings about the hawkish Democrats. These Dem hawks hid their opinions on the war beneath a barrage of criticisms of Bush but without backing early withdrawal. In many cases there was mumbo jumbo about timelines (to be produced by Bush not the candidates) and the responsibility of the Iraqis – but no backing of either the Murtha bill for immediate redeployment or the McGovern bill calling for terminating all funding for the war on Iraq save for moneys needed to bring the troops home quickly and safely. And The Nation has not uttered a word of support for Green or independent antiwar candidates like Kevin Zeese, a colleague of Ralph Nader, who has won the endorsement of both Greens and Libertarians in his race for Senate in Maryland against a Dem and Republican candidates, both prowar. The Nation’s readers are largely in the dark about all this if they rely on The Nation for their information.

"Why has The Nation been silent? They are pretty secure and solvent these days and awash in new subs, the magazine’s readership having gone from 100,000 to 170,000 in the era of Bush. But compared to the attacks on the war by The American Conservative and Justin Raimondo’s libertarian Antiwar.com, The Nation’s stance is pathetically weak. I can only conclude that The Nation is to a large degree in thrall to the Democratic establishment, which in itself is controlled by the military contractors, the profiteers of war and empire and the Israeli lobby. Those are not the bedfellows we subscribers wish for the magazine we support. And this is not new. In 2004 The Nation vigorously endorsed the prowar (at that time) Kerry while the American Conservative refused to endorse Bush because of its opposition to the war. Again in January 2005 when Ted Kennedy defied the Dem establishment and called for immediate withdrawal, he got virtually no coverage in The Nation. The mainstream media and the Sunday talk shows gave Kennedy more coverage than The Nation. What shame!

Keith Olbermann Interviews One of the Military Whistleblowers Against the War

You have to scroll down some to the interview:

"It‘s [PETITION TO CONGRESS TO END IRAQ WAR] being coordinated by antiwar groups like Military Families Speak Out. It is comprised of rank and file servicemen, like Marine Sergeant Liam Madden, who was based at the Haditha Dam in Iraq for seven months, ending in February of last year, and is now stationed in Quantico in Virginia.

"Sergeant Madden joining us now from Washington.

"Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

"SGT. LIAM MADDEN, U.S. MARINES: Thank you for having me, Keith.

"OLBERMANN: This would seem to be a very drastic, risky step for an active-duty Marine to take. Let me begin by asking you what compelled you to make this decision, to take this decision? Was there something specific about the war in which you have fought that you find objectionable?

MADDEN: The only thing about the war that I don‘t like is, the more I find out about it, the less I like the war. I oppose the war because there is no benefit to the parties involved, including the American service members, the Iraqi people, and the American people. There‘s—it‘s a war for no benefit, in my eyes.

Found on Cursor.org

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Grass-Roots Group of Troops Petitions Congress for Pullout From Iraq

"More than 100 U.S. service members have signed a rare appeal urging Congress to support the "prompt withdrawal" of all American troops and bases from Iraq, organizers said yesterday.

"Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home," reads the statement of a small grass-roots group of active-duty military personnel and reservists that says it aims to give U.S. military members a voice in Iraq war policy.

From Washington Post via Angry Arab Newservice

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Connecticut Green Party Withdraws Candidate to Back Democrat

IMHO, how not to build a third party in the US--Linda

HARTFORD, Conn. -- With polls showing a tight matchup in this year's 4th Congressional District race, the Green Party is withdrawing its candidate and throwing support to Democrat Diane Farrell.

"We decided to have a strategic alliance with the Democratic Party because we believed this was the quickest way to achieve peace in the Middle East," said John Sieh, treasurer for Richard Duffee, the Green Party's 4th District candidate.

Connecticut district, has called on President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. She has also urged Congress to set benchmarks for the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

Shays has supported the war. But in August, he said the U.S. should consider setting a timeline for troop withdrawals from Iraq.

The race is a rematch of the 2004 contest, which Shays won with 52 percent of the vote to Farrell's 48 percent. Shays won by about 14,000 votes.

In the recent Courant/UConn poll, Shays and Farrell are running even with other. Poll results, released by The Hartford Courant Monday night, has each candidate with 43 percent support among likely voters with the war in Iraq as the driving issue.

End of article:
[Green party's] Sieh called the alliance with the Democrats "an historical event" and said it will ultimately empower the Greens and improve voters' perceptions of the minor party.

"We are not spoilers. We want to let the press and the country know that we are modern 21st century politicians," he said. "We're way beyond egos. We're about issues and getting them done."

Found on Cursor.org

Nancy Pelosi Gives the Neocons a Get Out of Jail Card

If you didn't see the 60 Minutes episode where Pelosi gives forth, click on the article link--Nimmo (Another Day in the Empire) provides a clip.--Linda

"Once again, demonstrating there is essentially no difference between Democrats and Republicans, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has told CBS’s 60 Minutes that the war criminal cabal deserves to escape justice. “Wouldn’t they just love it if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth after 12 years is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney? This election is about them. This is a referendum on them. Making them lame ducks is good enough for me.”

"According to Pelosi, prosecuting Bush and Cheney for torturing children, killing 650,000 Iraqis, and destroying the United States economy is “off the table.” Of course, this makes sense, as Democrats will continue killing Iraqis and deficit spending the nation into bankruptcy.

"Finally, making Bush and Cheney—that is to say, the neocons—lame ducks will add a jolt of adrenalin to the neocon plan to decimate the Muslim and Arab Middle East, lest the neolib faction, under a Democrat president and Congress, go back to its old ways, that is, instead of mass murdering Iranians in one fell swoop, imposing the sort of sanctions levied against Iraq under Clinton, resulting in the slow death of 1.5 million Iraqis, 500,000 of them children.

"We can only hope, when the day finally arrives, Nancy Pelosi will be paraded before the world in her stylish orange jumpsuit, along with Bush, Cheney, and the vile neocons.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Don't Be An Ass--Don't Vote Democrat--Louis Proyect

"It is not that difficult to understand the psychology of a William Greider, David Moberg, or Roger Toussaint [for saying "VOTE DEMOCRAT," like Stan Goff]. They are being "practical." Since the election will be won by either a Democrat or a Republican, one might as well vote for the candidate less hostile to your overall goals. If [Democrat Elliott] Spitzer would jail the TWU president 10 days rather than 30 days, this was grounds for the union to back him.

"This kind of slave mentality was ruthlessly exposed by Malcolm X, an opponent of both the jackass and the elephant. At a January 7, 1965 meeting billed as "Prospects for Freedom in 1965" (which I attended), the martyred black nationalist said:

'In 1964, 97 per cent of the black American voters supported Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey and the Democratic Party. Ninety-seven per cent! No one minority group in the history of the world has ever given so much of its uncompromising support to one candidate and one party. No one people, no one group, has ever gone all the way to support a party and its candidate as did the black people in America in 1964 .... And the first act of the Democratic Party, Lyndon B. included, in 1965, when the representatives from the state of Mississippi who refused to support Johnson came to Washington, D.C., and the black people of Mississippi sent representatives there to challenge the legality of these people being seated -- what did Johnson say? Nothing! What did Humphrey say? Nothing! What did Robert Pretty-Boy Kennedy say? Nothing! Nothing! Not one thing! These are the people that black people have supported. This is the party that they have supported. Where were they when the black man needed them a couple days ago in Washington, D.C.? They were where they always are -- twiddling their thumbs someplace in the poolroom, or in the gallery.'

"His courageous leadership eventually got him killed. The ruling class in the USA was desperately afraid of any black leader, including Martin Luther King Jr. as well, who showed a capacity to rouse the masses into action. Malcolm was especially dangerous because he refused to accept the "lesser evil" logic. A black political party led by somebody like Malcolm X would have certainly posed a significant challenge to the hegemony enjoyed by the Democrats.

"With all proportions guarded, the Green Party represents the same kind of threat today. Any electoral formation that implicitly challenges the two-party system will soon run into all sorts of challenges no matter how tepid the leadership. In 1948, Henry Wallace ran as an independent favoring the continuation of the New Deal domestically and the wartime alliance with the USSR, while promoting desegregation -- something that FDR would never do as long as his party included the Dixiecrats. No matter how mild this program seemed, Wallace was subjected to fierce red-baiting attacks in the liberal press and outright violence in the South.

"No matter the missteps of Green candidates like Ralph Nader or the presence inside the Greens of elements that refuse to conduct a serious struggle against Democrats and Republicans alike, the party is the only organized electoral formation in the USA today that has any sort of independence.

"This remains as an irritant to the powers that be and, more importantly, a breach in the dike that is holding back a mighty torrent of discontent. If Bush is unpopular, the Congress fares little better in the eyes of the American voter. Last month the Zogby poll reported that only 19 percent give it a favorable rating, a number that cuts across geographical and party lines. The job of progressives would seem to be opening that breach in the dike rather than sticking one's thumb in it, like the Dutch boys of American liberalism.

From Swan's Commentary

Dems Iraq Plan: "Monty Python Does the governance of Iraq"

Helena Cobban ridicules the Dems Iraq strategy but then says later in her column she will help them get elected:

"On that same op-ed page, veteran WaPo political commentator David Broder writes about a conference call that Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, both longtime members of the Armed Services Committee, held recently with a number of reporters.

"He wrote:

"Reed, who has made many trips to Iraq and returned just weeks ago from his most recent visit, described the "very, very difficult situation" he found there. "We have to begin to work toward redeployment without setting a timetable," he said. "We have to start laying out some red lines for the Iraqis . . . give them some clear goals we want them to achieve." They need to set plans for disarming militias, conducting elections at the provincial level and spending some of the funds being hoarded in Baghdad on better services for the people, he said.

"Implicit in their comments is a belief, based on their firsthand observations, that the current rulers in Baghdad have a different agenda for themselves than the Bush administration's bland assurances suggest. As Levin put it, "Our only leverage for change is to force the politicians in Iraq to realize we're not there as their security blanket. When they recognize that reality, they're more likely to make the necessary compromises on sharing of oil revenues and sharing power. The prospect of losing us as their personal security blanket will focus their minds."This is extremely close to where the administration's current policy is-- if not identical with it. Today's news pages are all full of reports that the Bushites have decided to establish "benchmarks" and whatever for the Maliki government to live up to in Iraq... This is nearly all, at this stage of how bad things are in Iraq, meaningless posturing before the US voters. (And quite likely to backfire badly with Maliki and others who might consider this as a quite unwarranted form of US bullying, not to mention unwarranted intervention in Iraq's internal affairs...)

"Also, at one level, it's a hilariously misdirected "threat". "Look here, Maliki, you better do as we tell you, or otherwise we'll-- well, we'll do just exactly what you, your party, and the vast majority of Iraqis want us to do."

"Monty Python does the governance of Iraq.

"But Broder continues with the crux of why these two senior Democratic good ol' boys are so disappointing:

"When the senators were asked if a Democratic majority in the House or Senate would force the issue in Iraq by threatening to cut off funds for the war, they quickly ruled out any such action. Levin said that a simple resolution recommending to the president that he set a date to begin redeployment might do the trick.Cutting off the funding for the war in Vietnam was, of course, the only way that Congress was able, back in the day, to end the militaristic madness there. And these guys want to "quickly rule out any such action" even before they've even come anywhere near any taste of real Congressional power?

"Almost beyond belief.

Found on Cursor.org

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bush to Courts: Don't Even Think About It!

"Moving quickly to implement the bill signed by President Bush this week that authorizes military trials of enemy combatants, the administration has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

"In a notice dated Wednesday, the Justice Department listed 196 pending habeas cases, some of which cover groups of detainees. The new Military Commissions Act (MCA), it said, provides that "no court, justice, or judge" can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future.

Craven Pat Buchanan Sinks to New Low on Foley Scandal

"The Nambla [National Man Boy Love Association] charge has also been thrown at Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco congresswoman who would become the next Speaker of the House if the Democrats win a majority on 7 November and who has thus become a multi-purpose pincushion for the Republicans. The maverick right-winger and erstwhile presidential candidate Pat Buchanan told a television interviewer this week that Ms Pelosi had been on gay pride parades where Nambla members were also present and had thus been "marching with paedophiles".


Commentary on the above article by a Marxmail correspondent:

"After blaming demon rum failed to deflect attention from Foley's tasteless, but so far totally legal, e-mails, he now drags up youthful massages from his priest, apparently on grounds that decades-old massages lead to sending tacky e-mails. It's gratifying to see an antigay oinker like Foley bite the dust, but don't expect the toadying U.S. gay groups to show any principles or backbone by pointing to the fact that man-boy friendships go on in every American neighborhood and have existed throughout human history--nor that NAMBLA is not a "pedophile" organization, but rather a group that advocates sexual freedom for consenting individuals (a goal of the Stonewall revolution that groups like Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force long ago abandoned). Foley's attraction to teenage youths shows that he's a pederast, not a pedophile, but such distinctions mean nothing to the antisex gestapo or to "leading" gay and lesbian groups. These groups are too busy trying to get married and aping heterosexuals to defend relationships and attractions that were embraced by many of history's same-sexers, whom they nevertheless continue to claim as part of the homosexual heritage. Like Stalin, they prefer to rewrite history, and ignore science and reality, in their quest for acceptance by the heterosexist dictatorship. For America's pathetic and incompetent one-party system, focusing on sexual pecadilloes is a convenient way to cover up the crimes of both Democrats and Republicans in killing off innocent youth in Iraq to advance their imperialist goals and financial scams, in genuflecting before a private-enterprise ripoff health system instead of junking it for socialized medicine or a single-payer system, in supporting a police state and building prisons for all the victims of their failed drug war and their criminalization of any sexual behavior that falls outside their shrinking definition of bourgeois morality. The bigger scandal is that most U.S. gay/lez groups don't have the principles or the cojones to stand up for truth and freedom. Indeed, they have helped to lay the groundwork for witchhunts by adopting the heterosexist, police, bourgeois feminist, and psychiatric lingo whereby love is rape, the erect cock is a weapon of torture rather than an instrument of pleasure, and dirty (gay) old men are a threat to innocent youth."

Cindy Sheehan on Independent Politics & the Antiwar Movement--Joshua Frank Interview

"Frank: You are currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Progressive Democrats of America, a pro-Democrat organization that calls for reform of the Democratic Party from within. The PDA consistently ignores progressive antiwar alternatives to the Democrats. Do you think that such a position could actually hurt the antiwar movement? Should we instead be supporting antiwar candidates who want to hold both parties accountable?

"Sheehan: I think that the PDA endorses candidates based on their entire platforms. Of course, I only care about candidate's record on the war and what they say about peace. I prefer to call our movement a "peace" movement, because "antiwar" is too narrow.

"I think it would be great if we didn't need a PDA, if all Democrats were progressive peace candidates, but we know they are not.

"I would vote for a Republican if they were calling for the withdrawal of troops and for impeachment, and I definitely think a viable third party could rein in the "two" parties we have now.

"We will never have a viable third party, though, as long as we vote out of fear and not out of integrity. Instead of voting for the "lesser of two evils" we should be voting for a candidate that reflects our "beatitudes" and not the war machine's.

Cindy Sheehan also says she is supporting these peace candidates:

"Sheehan: So far I have supported three who ended up losing in the primaries: Marcy Winograd, Jonathan Tasisni and Christine Cegelis -- all of whom are Democrats, first two up against pro-war incumbents. I have also supported Jeanne Cricenzo, a Democrat, Malachy McCourt for Governor of New York who is a Green and Michael Berg and Todd Chretien, both of whom are Greens. Kevin Zeese of Maryland who is an independent candidate. And most recently I told Howie Hawkins, who is running against Hillary Clinton in New York as a Green, that I would support his antiwar campaign.

"Frank: I've heard a rumor that you may be looking to start your own third party. Is that true?

"Sheehan: Yes, it is true. I think that to save our democracy our country needs a viable and credible third party. This nation was founded on rule by a few rich white males, and for all intents and purposes, we are still ruled by a corporate elite.

"We need a third party that will represent all the people, not just the wealthy.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Stan Goff: Vote Democrat, He Says

It's a good thing someone makes a corrective comment on Stan's website, Feral Scholar, after this. --Linda

"I abstained from the last election because the Democratic Party took the issue of the war off the table; and because I believed the world would be better off after the Bush adminstration spent a bit more time exposing the true character of today’s mono-imperialism. I still stand by that.

"This year, however, I will work a polling site for the Democrats.

"My “issue,” if we are restricted to one, is the war. The majority of my fellow US voters now agree with my position that the US needs to get its ass out. I’m all about “cut and run,” and may get a nice t-shirt saying just that. But a lot more has happened, and even though it took a sex scandal to hit the tipping point, the polarization of American society ( a good thing, in my view) has increased, there is rumbling from the ‘hood to the ‘burbs, and political changeovers are inherently destabilizing (also a good thing). This disequilibrium creates space for popular movements to operate.

"Moreover, the actual period is unique. The Republicans have made an absolute shambles of everything (give them enough rope…), so much so that the Dems will unlikely be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again. The Dems are looking to 2008. If they take the House of both the House and Senate this year, then they will chair all the committees. Motivated by the need to shred the Republican Party prior to posting whichever nitwit they post for the 2008 Presidential Follies, they can use those committee chairs to issue subpeonaes… lots of subpoenaes, subpoenaes like snowflakes fluttering across the Ameircan political landscape.

Which Democrats have "put the war back on the table, Stan????" And what makes you think that having voted in their "saviours," the "movement" will stick around to make sure they do right? The antiwar movement here in Washington state seems to be falling into line behind Senator Cantwell who voted for the war, the Patriot Act and most every other bad thing in sight. Even though they have two genuine antiwar candidates (a Green and a Libertarian) to vote for. She doesn't seem to be feeling much pressure to change her ways, much as we are trying with the Green Party's campaign behind Aaron Dixon.

PI Counting Cantwell's Chickens (& I Do Mean Chickens)

"Cantwell, 47, faced a rebellion earlier in the year from the left flank of her party angered over her vote in favor of the Iraq war and her refusal to recant. Anti-war protesters dogged her events [Hmmm wonder who that was???] and her backers worried that her Seattle-area base might defect in droves, throwing a close election to McGavick.

"But over time, she and party elders persuaded the disaffected voters to come home. She managed to get two of her strongest anti-war critics to abandon their own Senate campaigns and join her team, paying one $8,000 a month to be her outreach director to the left wing.

She eventually said she would have voted against the 2002 war authorization if she had known that Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction.

When "Anti-War" Doesn't Anti-War--MickeyZ

"A casual stroll through most major U.S. cities would provide ample opportunity to encounter numerous stickers, buttons, t-shirts, and window signs bearing anti-war messages. Well, maybe not exactly "anti-war," but more like: anti-THIS-war. There's been some version of a peace movement in America for over a century, but far too many of those speaking out against the U.S. invasion of Iraq are not strictly "anti-war." From what I can tell, more than a few of them have absolutely no problem with: wars started by their (sic) party and/or wars that the U.S. easily wins (sic).

"Case in point: Operation Iraqi Freedom (sic) has provoked far more protest/outrage than 78 days of U.S./NATO bombing over Yugoslavia in 1999 ever did. Where were all the Hitler moustaches and facile Nazi analogies when it was Bill Clinton ordering the use of cruise missiles and depleted
uranium in the name of humanitarianism (sic)?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Olbermann--End of America--He Might Be Right

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done to anything the terrorists have ever done.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that “the United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values” and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens “unlawful enemy combatants” and ship them somewhere—anywhere — but may now, if he so decides, declare you an “unlawful enemy combatant” and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

And if you think this hyperbole or hysteria, ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was president or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was president or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

And if you somehow think habeas corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an “unlawful enemy combatant”—exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this attorney general is going to help you? This President now has his blank check.

Found on the War in Iraq site

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Laurie King: USA's Troubles Won't End When Troops Come Home

"Iraq has plunged into a civil war that can easily explode into a regional conflagration. The number of Iraqis killed in just three and a half years has passed half a million according to a scientifically sound study published this month in the British medical journal, The Lancet. Lawlessness, despair, poverty, fear and danger are the constant companions of Iraqis from all social classes.

"American soldiers are not faring much better lately: over 70 have been killed in the first two weeks of this month. Some US troops are on their third and even fourth tours of duty. Thousands of those who have come home to stay are afflicted with grave physical and emotional disabilities, which the Veterans' Administration is poorly equipped to treat in a sustained and effective manner. According to recent army studies of mental health of returning vets, 19.1% of soldiers and Marines who returned from Iraq met risk criteria for a mental health concern, compared with 11.3% for those deployed to Afghanistan and 8.5% for those sent to other locations.

Telling end of article:

"That howling chaos will reverberate throughout America for years, whether US troops stay in Iraq or not. This reality is here and now, in the USA; it is not a bad dream that can be left behind in the crowded, stinking morgues of Baghdad. Despite the stress it will incur, Americans must face the nightmarish reality that their government has created, and acknowledge that it was forged with their tacit complicity and silent assent. It is time to howl back."

From Electronic Iraq

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hillary Clinton on Torture: Okay, But Let Someone Know When You Do It. Uh-huh.

"Despite her apparent opposition to torture, Hillary Clinton said in a Daily News editorial board meeting yesterday that the practice is acceptable in some circumstances.

"Clinton got a rousing reception from the human rights community, and seemed to take an uncharacteristically bright-line stance, in a recent statement on the Senate floor during the debate over torture.

"Have we fallen so low as to debate how much torture we are willing to stomach?" she asked at one point, and left anti-torture commentators, and even Clinton critics like Andrew Sullivan, with the impression that she'd emerged into a kind of un-Clintonian moral clarity and said no to torture.

"But at yesterday's Daily News editorial board meeting, it emerged that she's not actually against torture in all instances, and that her dispute with McCain and Bush is largely procedural.

"She was asked about the "ticking time bomb" scenario, in which you've captured the terrorist and don't have time for a normal interrogation, and said that there is a place for what she called "severity," in a conversation that included mentioning waterboarding, hypothermia, and other techniques commonly described as torture.

"I have said that those are very rare but if they occur there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing that," she responded. "Again, I think the President has to take responsibilty. There has to be some check and balance, some reporting. I don't mind if it’s reporting in a top secret context. But that shouldn’t be the tail that wags the dog, that should be the exception to the rule."

Found on Stop Me Before I Vote Again
There is a great pic on the article which I didn't steal. :0

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

King 5 TV's Self-Serving Report of Their Arrest of Aaron Dixon at Debate

"Seattle Police arrested Green Party candidate Aaron Dixon for trespassing after he tried to push his way into a U.S. Senate debate at KING 5 Television Tuesday afternoon.

"The debate was taped at 2 p.m. for broadcast at 9 p.m.

"Witnesses say Dixon attempted to push into the building after he was told by KING 5 staff that he was not allowed to enter. Seattle Police officers took him into custody for trespassing.

"Dozens of supporters and protesters filled the sidewalks outside KING 5 waving signs and chanting, "Let him go!"

"Dixon was not among the candidates that met KING 5's criteria of public support and fundraising to qualify for the debate. Maria Cantwell, Mike McGavick and Bruce Guthrie met those qualifications.

Death Still Inevitable for the Rich, But Not Taxes

"Washington voters are being asked this fall to repeal a tax that very, very few residents - or their relatives - ever will pay.

"The tax in question is the estate tax, and it will hit an estimated 210 Washington estates this year. That's a tiny fraction of the more than 45,000 people expected to die, according to state Department of Revenue data. The tax puts about $100 million a year into public schools and college enrollment slots.

"Initiative 920 would repeal the tax, along with the revenue for schools, which has prompted a costly fight by the state's teacher union and tax-fairness advocates to retain the tax.

"The leading supporters of I-920 include ultra-conservative tax activist Dennis Falk of Fox Island and two major business associations. So far, the pro-I-920 campaign is funded heavily by donations from a Seattle developer, Martin Selig, who put in $840,000 to help get the measure qualified for the Nov. 7 ballot using paid signature-gatherers.

Thanks to the Olmpian for this illuminating article.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Abughraib Had A [CIA-inspired] Culture of Warped Violence

"Lynddie England, the young woman associated with some of the most notorious photographs to emerge from Abu Ghraib, has offered new insights into the abuse scandal that rocked the US military and revealed how she acted to please her former lover.

"Speaking for the first time since she was jailed more than a year ago, England revealed the abusive nature of her relationship with fellow reservist Charles Graner and suggested that her actions inside the Baghdad jail were largely directed by him. She has also reiterated claims made by her lawyers that much of the mistreatment of prisoners was carried out at the behest of military intelligence officers or the CIA.

From The Independent via Angry Arab Newservice.

Detainee Abuse Continues at Guantanmo According to Guards

The woman who came forward with this is very courageous, considering what she is up against.--Linda

"SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A paralegal and a military lawyer who brought forward allegations about prisoner abuse at the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been ordered not to speak with the press, lawyers and a military spokeswoman said.

"Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, who represents a detainee at the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba, filed a complaint with the Pentagon last week alleging that abuse was ongoing at the prison. He attached a sworn statement from his paralegal, Sgt. Heather Cerveny, in which she said several Guantanamo guards bragged in a bar about beating detainees, describing it as common practice.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

When Empires Die, Things Get Rough--The Brits in Kenya

"A Kenyan judge, Arthur Cram, offered a damning verdict after an investigation into torture, murder and cover-up at one interrogation centre, not under Gavaghan, by drawing comparisons with infamous Nazi labour camps. "They not only knew of the shocking floggings that went on in this Kenya Nordhausen, or Mathausen, but must be taken to be the men who were said to have carried them out. From the brutalising of flogging it is only a step to taking life without qualm," he said in his judgment.

"The executioners were also working at a rate unprecedented in the final years of the British Empire. At the height of the emergency, about 50 Kenyans a month were being hanged for rebellion. Prominent Britons, including Bertrand Russell, Michael Foot and Tony Benn, wrote to a senior Kenyan cabinet minister objecting to the numbers of people executed for offences other than murder. The letter noted that in the two years to November 1954, 756 Africans were hanged, more than 500 of them for crimes other than murder and 290 for "unlawful possession of weapons". Only a minority of the 1,090 eventually executed for Mau Mau-related offences during the emergency were convicted of killings.

"What some saw as the inevitable outcome of the camp regimes was realised in March 1959 at a place called Hola, where African guards clubbed 11 prisoners to death while European officers looked on. The camp authorities immediately moved to cover up the cause of the killings. When the local district officer, Willoughby Thompson, arrived, he was told that the dead Mau Mau prisoners were overcome by heat and that water had been thrown over them and they had drowned. Thompson described the explanation as "very improbable", but it was accepted by the colony's governor, Baring, and passed on to London. The truth came out in part because Nyingi and other prisoners gave accounts at an inquiry into the killing of the 11 inmates. The investigating magistrate, W H Goudie, blamed officially sanctioned brutality for the deaths.

"An official report into the emergency concluded that about 12,000 Mau Mau were killed in the conflict. Some historians put the figure much higher. But the numbers are not what concerns the former prisoners now suing the British government. They are worried that their accounts will not be believed in London because the British do not think they are capable of such abuses. "The British see themselves as good," says Njero Mugo, another veteran of the camps. "But from the day the first missionaries arrived we never believed that the British stood for the rule of law. They stole our land. They treated us as though they had more right to be in our country than we did. Did you know that if you were walking down the street and you met a white person you had to remove your hat?"

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

Union Sundown: The Corporate Elite Takes Off its Mask

Click on the first link in the article below and scroll down to: "Union Sundown: The Corporate Elite Takes Off its Mask"--Linda

"Nothing encapsulates the obscene and depraved mindset that drives the corporate elite – and their avid partners in government – than the first two paragraphs of this straightforward New York Times business story:

China is planning to adopt a new law that seeks to crack down on sweatshops and protect workers’ rights by giving labor unions real power for the first time since it introduced market forces in the 1980s.

The move, which underscores the government’s growing concern about the widening income gap and threats of social unrest, is setting off a battle with American and other foreign corporations that have lobbied against it by hinting that they may build fewer factories here.

"Read that again. Let it soak in. The corporate elite are threatening to lash out because China is considering a few very belated and, as the story makes clear, most likely ineffective steps to provide a modicum of protection for its working people, many of whom labor in conditions of near-slavery in order to stuff the bellies and the wallets of foreign fat-cats. The elite are saying – openly, brazenly – that they might choke off economic growth in China if they can't keep paying peon wages to defenseless people in hell-hole conditions.

From Chris Floyd's Empire Burlesque

Price of a Broken Deal--Simon Tisdall on North Korea

"Twelve months ago it seemed the west's nuclear confrontation with North Korea had reached an unexpectedly happy ending. Then the US treasury department stuck its oar in. In a deal brokered by China on September 19 2005, Kim Jong-il's regime pledged to give up its atomic weapons, abandon existing nuclear programmes and rejoin the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that it had repudiated in 2003.

"In return the US agreed to recognise North Korea's territorial integrity and eschew all hostile actions. The Bush administration thereby effectively withdrew its earlier threats of forcible regime change levelled against a founder member of President George Bush's "axis of evil".

"The US also promised to move towards normalised relations if Pyongyang kept its side of the bargain. It even revived the idea of helping North Korea build a light-water nuclear reactor for civilian power generation, a scheme promoted by the Clinton administration in the 1990s but later dropped by Mr Bush.

"The September deal brought sighs of relief across Asia and in Washington, where rightwing newspaper editorials hailed a "triumph of US policy". It spawned talk of a new era of strategic cooperation between the US and China, a denuclearised Korean peninsula, and the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea.

"But the celebrations were premature. For reasons that remain unclear, the US treasury department chose almost the exact moment the deal was struck to move against a Macau-based bank called Banco Delta Asia.

I believe I found this on Angry Arab.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sgt. Ricky Clausing's Story in NYTimes--He'll Serve 3 More Months

"Arriving in Iraq in November 2004, he said he was stunned at the number of Iraqis he was assigned to interrogate who were either innocent or disgruntled citizens resentful about the American occupation. He said he told his commander: “Your soldiers and the way they’re behaving are creating the insurgency you’re trying to fight. It’s a cycle. You don’t see it, but I’m talking to the people you’re bringing to me.”

"Sergeant Clousing said he looked into the eyes of the Iraqi teenager as he died and saw the unjustifiable loss of a life that unhinged him. He wrote in his journal, “I want to be a boy again, free of this.”

Thursday, October 12, 2006

General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal

The head of the British Army has said the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems".

In an interview in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, is quoted as saying the British should "get out some time soon".

Found on Antiwar.com


Plus: The head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, says, "We must quit Iraq soon." The Brits get it. -- snips follow -->

"He added: 'I am going to stand up for what is right for the army. Honesty is what it is about. The truth will out. We have got to speak the truth.' ...

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman Michael Moore said: 'This is the frankest assessment we have had about Iraq. It illustrates that the government has no clear strategy.' ...

The party's defence spokesman Nick Harvey added: "This drives a coach and horses through the government's foreign policy."

Why We Still Fight--William S. Lind

"There is a great deal of material available to the Democrats to offer an alternative, much of it the product of the military reform movement of the 1970s and '80s. Gary Hart can tell them all about it. There is even a somewhat graceful way out of Iraq, if the Dems will ask themselves my favorite foreign policy question, WWBD – What Would Bismarck Do? He would transfer sufficient Swiss francs to interested parties so that the current government of Iraq asks us to leave. They, not we, would then hold the world's ugliest baby, even though it was America's indiscretion that gave the bastard birth.

"But donkeys will think when pigs fly. A Democratic Congress will be as stupid, cowardly, and corrupt as its Republican predecessor; in reality, both parties are one party, the party of successful career politicians. The White House will continue a lost war in Iraq, solely to dump the mess in the next president's lap. America or Israel will attack Iran, pulling what's left of the temple down on our heads. Congress will do nothing to stop either war.

"By 2008, I may not be the only monarchist in America.

Found on Antiwar.com

John Pilger on Tony Blair, War Criminal

"The past few weeks have seen a fiesta of these rational, liberal people who dominate British mainstream politics. For them, the most basic forms of morality and shame, the kind you learn as a child, have no place in public life. On Sept. 27, the Guardian published a front-page photograph of Tony Blair, a prima facie war criminal, his arms outstretched, his grin fixed. Beside this was a headline, "Charm and eloquence. But a missed chance." Beneath this, Polly Toynbee wrote: "There were some damp eyes dabbed with hankies and men blowing noses. 'Don't go,' someone said."

"Consider such vomit against the facts of Blair's actual crime – the unprovoked invasion of a defenseless country, justified by lies now voluminously documented, and causing the violent deaths of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Indeed, according to a study published in The Lancet, the British medical journal, 655,000 civilians have died as a result of the Anglo-American invasion. The word "crime" is verboten among those about whom Victor Jara sang. To spell out the truth would illuminate the collusion of an entire political class. Instead, the shameless neither-fish-nor-fowl tribunes speak and write incessantly of a "mistake," a "blunder," even a Shakespearean tragedy (for the war criminal, not his victims). From their studios and editorial offices, they declare the mendacious and dishonest banalities of their unclad emperor "brilliant." Al-Qaeda, said Blair in his speech to the Labor Party conference, "killed 3,000 people including over 60 British on the streets of New York before war in Afghanistan or Iraq was even thought of." The breath is swept away by this one statement. Half a million infants lie dead, according to UNICEF, as a result of the Anglo-American siege of Iraq during the 1990s. For Blair and his rational, liberal, neither-fish-nor-fowl court, these children never lived and never died. Clearly, the Emperor Tony was a leader for his time and, above all, clubbable, whatever the "mistakes" he had made in Iraq.

From Antiwar.com

An Echo from 2004--But Even More Relevant Today

"Why does the peace movement refuse to wave the banner of the peace candidate? Why can’t we see the obvious – that the Peace Party can very easily become a majority party? In fact, we may already be a majority.

"Perhaps the greatest success of the two ruling parties has been their ability to project themselves as the only institutions with major constituencies. As a result, peace partisans have internalized their status as a fringe movement. We have become a minority in our own minds. Many of us sit at home frustrated in the ‘knowledge’ that we’re the very last peaceniks on the planet. A casual head count of your neighbors, relatives and friends should convince you otherwise. Just take a look around you. How many war rallies do you see?

"On the issues of peace and justice, Nader is no fringe candidate. In fact, peace is the single issue most likely to appeal to both liberals and conservatives.

Found on Whiskey Bar, Billmon

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pundit Lou Dobbs Calls Out the Middle Class

"There's something all of us could do that would have an immediate impact and send a powerful message to both corporation-dominated political parties and to our elected officials in Washington. Our so-called representatives in both parties have been working against the interests of the middle class for so long that they take our votes for granted, or they take advantage of the fact that a sizable number of us don't vote at all.

"So what if a majority of us decided once and for all to walk into our town and city halls all over the country and change our party affiliation from Republican or Democrat to independent? What if that sizable number of us who don't vote at all decided to register as independents? For the first time in decades, working middle-class Americans might just get the attention of our elected officials in Washington.

The Bush administration's torture of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla--scroll down to this title

When reading this at Unclaimed Territory--Glenn Greenwald's blog--I was reminded of the episode of "Eyes on the Prize" I had seen on PBS on Monday night. One of the Freedom Riders going through the south on buses trying to enforce equal rights laws was jailed and was beaten when he wouldn't relinquish his mattress to his jailers. We've been here before folks--the Freedom Riders were amazing. Next week is another installment of "Eyes on the Prize," I believe. Well worth watching.--Linda

"In addition to his extreme isolation, Mr. Padilla was also viciously deprived of sleep. This sleep deprivation was achieved in a variety of ways. For a substantial period of his captivity, Mr. Padilla’s cell contained only a steel bunk with no mattress. The pain and discomfort of sleeping on a cold, steel bunk made it impossible for him to sleep. Mr. Padilla was not given a mattress until the tail end of his captivity. . . .

"Other times, his captors would bang the walls and cell bars creating loud startling noises. These disruptions would occur throughout the night and cease only in the morning, when Mr. Padilla’s interrogations would begin. Efforts to manipulate Mr. Padilla and break his will also took the form of the denial of the few benefits he possessed in his cell. . . .

Israeli Realtor--from Lawrence of Cyberia

"[S]hooting Palestinian civilians is not like shooting Vietnamese or Chechen civilians. The Palestinians aren't 'collateral damage' in a war against well-armed communist or separatist forces. They are being shot because Israel thinks all Palestinians should vanish or die, so people with one Jewish grandparent can build subdivisions on the rubble of their homes. This is not the bloody mistake of a blundering superpower but ... the deliberate strategy of a state conceived in and dedicated to an increasingly vicious ethnic nationalism.
--What is Antisemitism? by Michael Neumann; 4 June 2002.

Cartoon: Mr Fish, for Harper's Magazine.

Just Another Mother Murdered

"It hadn't been a tank shell that had killed her, according to witnesses. It had been bullets, multiple ones, fired up close.

"Neighbors report that Israeli soldiers had been beating her husband because he wasn't answering their questions. Foolishly or valiantly, how is one to say, the 35-year-old woman had interfered. She tried to explain that her husband was deaf, screamed at the soldiers that her husband couldn't hear them and attempted to stop them from hitting him. So they shot her. Several times.

"Her name was Itemad Ismail Abu Mo'ammar.

"She didn't die, though. That took longer. It required her life to flow out of her in the form of blood for several hours, as Israeli soldiers refused to allow an ambulance to transport her to help. Her husband and children could do nothing to save her.

"Finally, after approximately five hours, an ambulance was allowed to take her to a hospital, where physicians were able to render one service: pronounce her dead, a few days before the commencement of Ramadan, a season of family gatherings much like the Christmas season for Americans. She left 11 children. None of this was in the Washington Post story, which had reported her death in one half of one sentence.

"Her husband's brother, who lived in the same house, was also killed. He was a 28-year-old farmer.

From Alison Weir at If Americans Knew via Counterpunch

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is Puget Sound Dying? Can We Stop It?

"Warnings are dire.

"Recent studies show that Puget Sound's herring -- a key link in the food chain -- contain higher contamination levels than those in Europe's highly polluted Baltic Sea. In May, leading federal and state scientists reported that the "food web of Puget Sound appears to be more seriously contaminated than previously anticipated."

"And orcas now are among the more chemically contaminated marine mammals in the world's oceans.

Nuclear Hypocrisy

How dare North Korea? Nuclear testing worldwide. From Angry Arab Newservice.

Nuclear Hypocracy

How dare North Korea. Nuclear testing worldwide. from Angry Arab Newservice

Who Knew That an Elephant's Butt Could Be So Beautiful?

"As welcome as a Republican departure might be, the Democrats continue to show themselves a less-than-inspiring alternative."

End of article:

"While I would most heartily welcome a sweeping defeat for the Republicans in the coming midterm election as well as in 2008, therefore, I would also like to see the Democrats persuaded to work a little harder at proving themselves an alternative that progressives can take seriously. One very useful example of such persuasion, I think, is the punishment dealt conservative Democrat Joe Lieberman by progressives in Connecticut. Another might be the threat of a progressive voter migration to third parties such as the Greens, or "selective" voting rather than voting strictly along lines of party loyalty. For example, while I plan in the November 2006 election to vote for my Democratic US Representative, Barbara Lee, on the basis of her solidly progressive voting record in Congress, I will be voting against conservative Democrat Dianne Feinstein for the Senate in favor of her Green Party challenger, Todd Chretien. I don’t expect Chretien to actually beat Feinstein, but I do think that a large number of angry progressive votes against her would be a good thing for Feinstein to see.

"The Democratic leadership needs, I think, some firm encouragement to spend a little less time pandering to conservatives and a little more time listening to the concerns of progressives whose votes they also need. We already have one conservative party in America; we don’t need two. In particular, they should be pressed to explain precisely what change we can expect to see from them in terms of actually narrowing the gap between rich and poor both nationally and globally, and in terms of a more just American policy on the Middle East and around the world.

"Given such persuasion, perhaps we can avoid simply exchanging an elephant’s butt for a jackass.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Democrat Apologist Joni Balter: Cantwell "Fighter" for Citizens

So convenient to quote Cantwell's campaign manager, rather than Maria herself--is Maria "evolving" her position. Smacks of plausible deniability to me. Even then it's a hardly a call to bring them home now.

"The Iraq war

"McGavick loves to say he and Cantwell have the same position on the war. They did for about a minute.

"Cantwell voted for the war resolution in 2002 and has been reluctant to apologize for it or take it back, as other Democrats have.

"Her position, however, has been evolving. In May, she said 2006 should be a year of transition in Iraq. No one quite knew what that mushy sentence meant, but over time she has added new phrases and adjusted a bit.

"In June, she supported a resolution saying troop redeployment should begin by the end of the year. In July, her campaign manager, Michael Meehan, said the senator is for changing course and believes troops should begin coming home by the end of the year and "30,000 is not enough."

"Follow the bouncing ball.

"McGavick's position is closer to the president's. He is not for any so-called "political timetable," and no scheduled withdrawal. But he criticizes the president for underestimating, from the beginning, the symbolic and psychological importance of securing Baghdad.

Hidden Victims of a Brutal Conflict: Iraq's Women

"It is a story familiar to women across Iraq, betrayed by the country's new constitution that guaranteed them a 25 per cent share of membership of the Council of Representatives. That guarantee has turned instead into a fig leaf hiding what women activists now call a 'human rights catastrophe for Iraqi women'.

"After a month-long investigation, The Observer has established that in almost every major area of human rights, women are being seriously discriminated against, in some cases seeing their conditions return to those of females in the Middle Ages. In areas such as the Shia militia stronghold of Sadr City in east Baghdad, women have been beaten for not wearing socks. Even the headscarf and juba - the ankle-length, flared coat that buttons to the collar - are not enough for the zealots. Some women have been threatened with death unless they wear the full abbaya, the black, all-encompassing veil.

"Similar reports are emerging from Mosul, where it is Sunni extremists who are laying down the law, and Kirkuk. Women from Karbala, Hilla, Basra and Nassariyah have all told The Observer similar stories. Of the insidious spread of militia and religious party control - and how members of those same groups are, paradoxically, increasingly responsible for the rape and murder of women outside their sects and communities.

From Guardian Observer found on Angry Arab Newservice

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Progressives Push Trojan Horse Bill on Iraq

"The Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) trumpets its continued support of Rep. James McGovern bill (HR 4232) as "a top legislative priority." PDA urges all to sign its petition to support the bill, as PDA is "committed to cutting off all funding for the deployment of US troops in Iraq and for the removal of all funding for the occupation of Iraq." http://www.pdamerica.org/articles/news/2006-09-12-13-20-02-news.php

"PDA assures its members and website visitors that the bill would 1) "end all funding for the deployment of US troops in Iraq; 2) "in no way prohibit nor interrupt US non-defense funding" in support of "democratic institution building" and reconstruction; and 3) that the bill "provides for the safe, orderly, and honorable withdrawal of the United States from military operations in Iraq.

"By continuing U.S. support for the economic and social reconstruction of Iraqi society and the financial and material needs of Iraqi security, it maintains our moral and political obligations to the Iraqi people, while concretely promoting, supporting, and providing for greater multilateral engagement in these serious tasks." (emphasis supplied)

"Code Pink and United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) also support this bill.

"Warning flags should go up by just reading PDA’s pitch for the bill. The bill would not get in the way of the US meddling in governing Iraq - or as PDA puts it "democratic institution building." And, the bill provides for continued financial and material support for the ’security’ forces (secret police, military and uniformed police) that the US has established in Iraq.

"So, a lot of dirty business is allowed by the bill, but how to do that without US troops? Well, there’s more to the story, a story not told by PDA in its pitch.
How would the US hope to continue shaping Iraq’s governing institutions and its internal ’security’ forces without US troops? (A hint: take a look at how the US is trying to do it in Afghanistan.)

From Socialist Worker via Uruknet.info

Larry Beinhart: Fear the Penis

"I was watching CNN yesterday. It was All Penis, All the Time.

"Here’s a quote, from one of their reporters, “One question always rises to the top who knew what, and when did they know it?”

"That’s true, but only when it has to do with a penis.

"Last week Bob Woodward’s new book came out. One of the things he revealed was an additional meeting between the head of the CIA and Condoleeza Rice, back in July, 2001, in which he tried to shock her, shake her up so she would do something about terrorism.

"That meeting is important for several reasons.

"The fact that she didn’t anything about it led to the deaths of at least 3,000 people. Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but that seems more important than an old queen hitting on young teens.

After Machismo's Long Reign, Women Gain in Spain

"MADRID -- When Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega graduated from law school in the 1970s, Spanish law prohibited her -- and any other woman -- from becoming a judge, serving as a witness in court or opening a bank account.

"Today, the angular, outspoken 57-year-old is Spain's first female vice president, helping orchestrate a cultural revolution in the boardrooms and living rooms of the country that coined the word machismo -- male chauvinism -- five centuries ago.

"We have a prime minister who not only says he's a feminist -- he acts like a feminist," Fernandez de la Vega said in her cavernous office of polished wood floors and cream-colored sofas. "In two and one-half years, we have done more than has ever been done in such a short time in Spain."

"Her Socialist government is requiring political parties to allot 40 percent of their candidate lists to women and is telling big companies to give women 40 percent of the seats on corporate boards. Half of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero's cabinet members are women -- the highest proportion in any government in Europe.

****also in article:

"The push for gender equality in one of Europe's most macho cultures comes as both internal and outside forces are creating seismic social shifts: Spanish women are taking greater control of their own lives by waiting longer to marry and having fewer children. The European Union is exerting more pressure on members to enforce equality. And the growth of high-tech businesses with a greater sensitivity to hiring women is expanding job opportunities."

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

U.S. Nuclear Accidents


If you set aside Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the safety record of nuclear [power] is really very good.
-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, June 2001
Contrary to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's assessment, nuclear power and nuclear devices have not enjoyed a safe history at United States facilities. At least 50 nuclear weapons lie on the ocean bottom due to U.S. and Soviet accidents. A large number of incidents mar the safety record of nuclear plants, facilities, bombers and ships, of which Three Mile Island is only the best remembered. Numerous deaths and injuries resulted from these incidents. In addition to accidents, the day-to-day operations related to nuclear materials processing and handling have led to massive contamination of this country's landscape. The U.S. Department of Energy spends over $4 billion each year for the restoration and management of sites contaminated by nuclear materials. Their 2000 Federal budget noted: "The Environmental Management (EM) program is responsible for addressing the environmental legacy resulting from the production of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons complex generated waste, pollution, and contamination that pose unique problems, including unprecedented volumes of contaminated soil and water, radiological hazards from special nuclear material, and a vast number of contaminated structures. Factories, laboratories, and thousands of square miles of land were devoted to producing tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Much of this is largely maintained, decommissioned, managed, and remediated by the EM program, which is sometimes referred to as the 'cleanup program.' EM's responsibilities include facilities and sites in 30 states and one territory, and occupy an area equal to that of Rhode Island and Delaware combined - or about 2.1 million acres."

The US Occupation of Iraq: Casualties Not Counted--Dahr Jamail

"Employing civilian contractors supposedly saves money in the long run and, more importantly, frees trained soldiers for battle. The notion of low expenditure stemmed from the assumption that civilian contractors were hired for temporary/emergency engagements. This assumption no longer holds worth in the face of the current long-term (permanent) guerrilla war (read-Iraq and Afghanistan) without clear front-lines.

"Given the astronomical profits posted by these defense contractors, in addition to widespread fraud and waste, it is difficult to believe that any administration would want to adhere to this model, unless of course certain members of that administration were financially profiting from it.

"Those vague front lines stretch all the way back home, for it was at home that Tim Eysselinck became one of the thousands of uncounted and unaccounted-for civilian casualties in Cheney's so-called war on terror.

A Corporate-Made Calamity in Indonesia

October 6, 2006

New Indonesia Calamity: A Man-Made Mud Bath

KEDUNGBENDO, Indonesia, Oct. 5 — It started as a natural gas well. It has become geysers of mud and water, and in a country plagued by earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis another calamity in the making, though this one is largely man-made.

Eight villages are completely or partly submerged, with homes and more than 20 factories buried to the rooftops. Some 13,000 people have been evacuated. The four-lane highway west of here has been cut in two, as has the rail line, dealing a serious blow to the economy of this region in East Java, an area vital to the country’s economy. The muck has already inundated an area covering one and a half square miles.

And it shows no signs of stopping.

The mud is rising by the hour, and now spewing forth at the rate of about 170,000 cubic yards a day, or about enough to cover Central Park.

Foreign companies, environmental groups and political observers are now watching closely to see whether the government will hold the company that drilled the well accountable for the costs of the cleanup, which could easily reach $1 billion.