Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Studs Terkel: The World's Greatest Interviewer

Portion below; whole thing here: http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article3076965.ece

Terkel, as unembedded a reporter as ever lived, once described himself as "a guerrilla journalist. I know my terrain. Like the colonials against the British. Like the Vietnamese against us." In the time I spend with him, the only living reporter he commends with enthusiasm is Robert Fisk. He has no interest in celebrity for its own sake, and becomes especially waspish when discussing politicians.

"You try to shame them," he complains, "but they are shameless." He dismissed Ronald Reagan as "a mean-spirited prick" and castigated Margaret Thatcher for legitimising the basest of human instincts. ("It's dog eat dog," he said, in a classic Radio 4 documentary Under American Eyes, in 1987. "But we're not dogs; that's the problem.") He caricatures Tony Blair as Jeeves to George W Bush's Bertie Wooster, and speaks of Gordon Brown in terms of one of the dour agency butlers who torment Wooster when his regular man is on leave. When he wrote his 1995 book, Coming of Age, about people over 70, somebody suggested he call it Mellowing. "I said: 'Mellowing? A lot of these people are god-damn furious... they're doing what Dylan Thomas told them to: raging against the dying of the light. Did my mother mellow as she got older? Sure as hell, no. She got worse.'"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Civilian Casualties--Sadr City Iraq

Maliki Promises Inquiry Into Civilian Deaths from U.S. Air Attack

From Antiwar.com

UPDATE: Layla Anwar about the above picture:

I have often wondered if Americans are breast fed criminality...or maybe some especially made, designed baby formula only available in the U.S.

And exported to Great Britain, Israel and other corners of the world where you have your trusted allies.

Or maybe it is the other way round, an Israeli baby formula injected into your own infants, or maybe a British baby formula patent that you took over and refined...

Whatever it is that you were given as children has proved to be very effective.
You have indeed grown up into the perfect strong adults, into the perfect "master" race, of...criminality. Of this, I have absolutely no doubt.

As a matter of fact, your breast feeding has not stopped in childhood, it continues right into your advanced years, ensuring that you remain an orally voracious group, sublimating raw cannibalism through murder.

A series of pictures, or should I call them your trophies, or maybe the remains of your today's meal, have appeared following your aerial bombardment of Madinat Al Thawra now baptized Sadr city.

Many toddlers in these pictures, blown to pieces...and a few youngsters, blown to pieces too and a few adults blown to pieces, as well...

Charred and barbequed, just the way you like 'em.

So what was it, rare to medium rare or well done ?

Whole article here: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=37429&s2=22

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bipartisan Perversity: Rebuking the Truth, Mocking the Dead--Chris Floyd

I don't know if you saw the Youtube of Stark reaming out Bush http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsGaNR9dVPM
but here is what happened after that. Portion below; whole thing here: http://www.chris-floyd.com/index.php

"Here's how it works in the fightin' progressive liberal anti-war Democratic majority in Congress: if you speak the actual truth about George W. Bush's murderous war crime in Iraq, you get slapped down.

Pelosi Rebukes Stark for Iraq Comments (AP)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuked a fellow San Francisco Bay-area liberal Friday for what she said were "inappropriate" comments about Iraq during a congressional debate. During a debate on children's health care Thursday, Rep. Pete Stark accused Republicans of sending troops to Iraq to "get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

[This is what he said: "They sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where ya gonna get that money? You going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement...But President Bush's statements about children's health shouldn't be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up. In Iraq, in the United States and in Congress."]

Pelosi issued a statement Friday evening rapping Stark, who is in his 18th term representing the liberal East Bay. He's California's longest-serving House members...

After numerous Republicans called on him to apologize, Stark said it was they who should be apologizing, for failing to provide the votes to override Bush's veto.

"Stark told the absolute truth about Bush; as Buzzflash and others noted, Bush has quite literally turned the war into a matter of mirth, particularly in the infamous "comedy" bit at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, when he hilariously pretended to hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- the ostensible reason he had sent thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths -- behind the curtains and under the sofa in the Oval Office. Not even Hitler or Stalin ever turned war into such a macabre public joke. But Bush did, in front of the national press -- whose high mandarins roared with laughter at the sickening display.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Payback Time for Putin--No Iran War--Srdja Trifkovic

Portion below; whole thing here on Global Research.ca:

"The result of Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Caspian Summit in Iran earlier this week is that there will be no “Operation Iranian Freedom” (or some equivalent thereof) in the remaining 15 months of this administration. A powerful Euro-Asian bloc, based on the Moscow-Peking axis that opposes American challenges along the Continental Heartland’s outer perimeter, is now preempting threats to the existing balance in real time. Mr. Putin is effectively helping President George W. Bush avoid an adventure that would bring ruin to all involved, save the promoters of an Islamic end-times scenario.

"The Declaration signed at the end of the summit commits the littoral states to a de facto non-aggression pact. It warns the outside powers to refrain from using the Caspian region for military operations or interfering in any other way, and supports the right of Iran to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Articles 14 and 15 of the Declaration specifically state that the littoral states would not use their armed forces against each other, and—more importantly—that they would not allow any other state to use their territory for military operations against any of the littoral states. Regional commentators are in no doubt that this agreement has thrown a decisive wrench into any plans the Bush Administration may have against Iran:

The entire Caspian region, including the convenient territory of Azerbaijan, is suddenly out of bounds for American military. It would leave Afghanistan and Iraq as the possible staging areas for American military operations against Iran. The fact that the US military options are suddenly limited is just one of the effects of Tehran summit. By a symmetrical sequence of commission and omission, the littoral states have locked Azerbaijan into a push-pull bracket. On the one hand Azerbaijan has been warned against any flirtation with the American military and on the other hand there is a big carrot of North-South corridor. If the Azeri leadership is half as smart as it appears to be, it would lose no time in barricading itself against any foreign military overtures.

"This is payback time for Mr. Putin. His displeasure over U.S. missile defense installations along Russia’s western borders and over the stated intention of Washington to recognize Kosovo come what may, was on symbolic display when he kept the US secretaries of state and defense waiting for over 40 minutes when they visited him in Moscow earlier this month. Now he has helped produced something tangible: before leaving Tehran he commented that the use of force in the Caspian region had been rendered unthinkable: “We must not submit to other states in case of aggression or some other kind of military action directed against one of the Caspian countries. We regard that authority in Caspian only belongs to littoral states. It is also connected with subsoil resources.”

Nobel Hypocrisy--Stephen Lendman

There's more; click on the link to read about GORE!

"Henry Kissinger was likely the most noted war criminal ever to win the Nobel Prize (in 1973 with Vietnam's Le Duc Tho who declined his award saying there was no peace in his country). The sheer scope of his crimes is breathtaking:

-- three to four million Southeast Asian deaths in the Vietnam war,

-- the bloody overthrow of a democratic government in Chile and support for Latin American dictators,

-- backed Surharto's takeover of West Papua and his invasion of East Timor killing hundreds of thousands,

-- supported the Khmer Rouge early on and its reign of terror rise to power,

-- backed Pakistan's "delicacy and tact" in overthrowing Bangladesh's democratically elected government causing a half million deaths, and much more around the world as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Abstinence 1, S-Chip 0--Dems Caving on Every Front

The Democrats--Why Do They Bother? They Should Join the Repugs and Get It Over!

"DEMOCRATIC leaders are right to contest President Bush’s veto of their bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance program. But sadly, their “bipartisan compromise” will leave millions of young Americans vulnerable to sickness and suffering of the most preventable kind.

"To entice Republicans to support the bill, the House of Representatives agreed to increase money for abstinence-only sex education by $28 million, to a total of about $200 million a year. Abstinence-only courses, the only form of federally financed sex ed, teach that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to cause psychological and physical harm.

"If that were true, our health care system would be not only broken, but besieged. A 2002 survey found that 93 percent of American adults had had premarital sex by the age of 30.

"In addition to provoking shame about a nearly universal activity, abstinence-only sex education is ineffective and dangerous. Last April, a 10-year study found that students who took abstinence-only courses were no more likely to abstain from sex than other students. Previous studies revealed that abstinence-only students avoid using contraception.

"Programs in public schools teach patently false information like “the chances of getting pregnant with a condom are one out of six” and H.I.V. “may be in your body for a long time (from a few months to as long as 10 years or more) before it can be detected.”

"The results are tragic. The United States has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world (about the same as Ukraine’s), and the highest abortion rate in the Western world. Sexually transmitted infections like syphilis and gonorrhea are on the rise for the first time since the 1980s, and chlamydia is being diagnosed twice as often as it was a decade ago.

Monday, October 08, 2007

U.S. Cultural Worker in Iraq: I Survived Blackwater--

Does this woman seem incredibly naive for someone who spent a couple years in Iraq? Especially, calling Iraqis her "hosts"??? Portion of article below; whole thing here (found on the Progressive Review): http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-gans6oct06,0,1155563.story?coll=la-opinion-center

"One particularly infuriating time, I was in the town of Irbil in northern Iraq, being driven to a meeting with a Kurdish political leader. We were on a narrow stretch of highway with no shoulders and foot-high barriers on both sides. The lead Suburban in our convoy loomed up behind an old, puttering sedan driven by an older man with a young woman and three children.

"As we approached at typical breakneck speed, the Blackwater driver honked furiously and motioned to the side, as if they should pull over. The kids in the back seat looked back in horror, mouths agape at the sight of the heavily armored Suburbans driven by large, armed men in dark sunglasses. The poor Iraqi driver frantically searched for a means of escape, but there was none. So the lead Blackwater vehicle smashed heedlessly into the car, pushing it into the barrier. We zoomed by too quickly to notice if anyone was hurt.

"Until that point I had never mentioned anything to my drivers about their tactics, but this time I could not contain myself.

"'Where do you all expect them to go?" I shrieked. "It was an old guy and a family, for goodness' sake. Was it necessary for them to destroy their poor old car?"

"My driver responded impassively: "Ma'am, we've been trained to view anyone as a potential threat. You don't know who they might use as decoys or what the risks are. Terrorists could be disguised as anyone."

"'Well, if they weren't terrorists before, they certainly are now!" I retorted. Sulking in my seat, I was stunned by the driver's indifference.

"The Iraqis with whom I dealt quickly learned to differentiate between the U.S. military and private contractors. The military has established rules of engagement, plus it is required to pay compensation for damages (though it is a difficult and bureaucratic process). Blackwater seemed to have no such rules, paid no compensation and, per long-standing Coalition Provisional Authority fiat, had immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.

"As we do the work of bridge building and improving our host citizens' lives, if the people providing our transportation and security are antagonizing, angering and even killing the people we are putatively trying to help, our entire mission is undermined.

Military Sees Big Decline in Black Enlistees--Iraq War Cited in 58% Drop since 2000

Portion of article below; whole thing here: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/10/07/military_sees_big_decline_in_black_enlistees?mode=PF
Found on the Progressive Review: http://prorev.com/

"WASHINGTON - African-Americans, whose longstanding relationship with the US military helped them prove their abilities and offered a way to get ahead, have turned away from the armed forces in record numbers since 2000, a period covering the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the start of the Iraq war.

"Defense Department statistics show the number of young black enlistees has fallen by more than 58 percent since fiscal year 2000. The Army in particular has been hit hard: In fiscal year 2000, according to the Pentagon statistics, more than 42,000 black men and women applied to enlist; in fiscal year 2005, the most recent for which a racial breakdown is available, just over 17,000 signed up.

"The unpopular Iraq war is the biggest reason, according to military analysts, Pentagon surveys, and interviews with young African-Americans. But they say mistrust of the Bush administration is adding to the problem - along with the notion that black soldiers are being steered to combat jobs, a lingering perception from the Vietnam War.

"The decline in enlistment applications among blacks is by far the fastest of any demographic group. Between fiscal 2000 and 2005, white applicants declined by more than 10 percent. Hispanic applicants dropped by almost 7 percent.

"The Army Recruiting Command acknowledged that the Iraq war has presented special challenges in the African-American community, but said it continues to reach out to black recruits.

"'The main thing everyone has to realize is that an all-volunteer force is just that," said S. Douglas Smith, public affairs officer for the US Army Recruiting Command. "We try to make sure we communicate to every part of society and let them know what we have to offer. We try to be as open as we can about the risk of service and the benefits of service. After that, it's a matter of people choosing if they want to come in and serve."

"But some military specialists worry that the trend could persist long after the current administration and war are over.

"'African-Americans have been such a key part of the modern military," said Michael O'Hanlon, military analyst for the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. "There's obviously been a degree where the black community in the United States has seen [military service] as culturally valuable and promoted it. That whole culture and value system is at risk in the black community. That is a big, big change. To me, it portends the possibility of a longer-term loss of interest. It can be tough to get it back."

"Interviews with young African-Americans confirmed a lack of faith in the president and the war.

They Coulda Left Off the Flag, But Cool Anyway

1,000-plus war protesters in Berkeley spell out opposition to Bush


Sunday, October 07, 2007

War on terror' has been a 'disaster': British think tank

Portion below; whole article here: http://www.afp.com/english/news/stories/071008003156.4a37l4c6.html

"On Afghanistan, the ORG said ousting the hardline Taliban from power in late 2001 had been of "direct value" to Al-Qaeda and militia sympathetic to its violent Islamist ideology were now re-invigorated, it added.

"In addition, mass detentions of suspected extremists, torture, prisoner abuse and the "extraordinary rendition" of suspects for questioning in third countries outside US legal jurisdiction was a useful propaganda weapon.

"But he said even if that were successful, it would still take at least a decade to make up for mistakes so far.

"Among the ORG's recommendations are the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq and an increase in diplomacy, including with Syria and Iran; greater civil aid to Afghanistan, a scaling down of military action and talks with militia.

"'Extraordinary rendition", detention without trial and prisoner abuse should stop immediately; countries should commit to advancing the stalled Middle East peace process, because of its central role in anti-Western sentiment, it said.

Medicare Audits Show Problems in Private Plans

Portion below; whole thing here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/us/07medicare.html?hp=&pagewanted=print
Single payer, anyone?

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

"The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.

"Medicare officials have required insurance companies of all sizes to fix the violations by adopting “corrective action plans.” Since March, Medicare has imposed fines of more than $770,000 on 11 companies for marketing violations and failure to provide timely notice to beneficiaries about changes in costs and benefits.

"The companies include three of the largest participants in the Medicare market, UnitedHealth, Humana and WellPoint.

"The audits document widespread violations of patients’ rights and consumer protection standards. Some violations could directly affect the health of patients — for example, by delaying access to urgently needed medications.

"In July, Medicare terminated its contract with a private plan in Florida after finding that it posed an “imminent and serious threat” to its 11,000 members.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Annals of Alliance: Democracy Marches Onward Under Bush Bud Musharraf

From the NYT: "A plainclothes police officer in Karachi detained an opponent of Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Saturday during protests against the re-election of General Musharraf as the president of Pakistan."

This is the portrait of authoritarian, militarist "managed democracy" under a "unified executive" regime. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you -- if it's not there already. Boycotts and Legal Fight Cloud Victory for Musharraf.


Friday, October 05, 2007

AP: Iraqis Say U.S. Targeted Civilians in Air Attack

Portion below; whole story here:
Can the U.S. and its hangers-on please just get out of Iraq now??????????

"The two versions over the airstrike deaths emerged following a U.S. mission in the violence-wracked province of Diyala.

"U.S. forces launched a mission seeking the commander of a Shiite militia group linked to members of the Quds Force, an elite branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Intelligence indicated he was helping smuggle weapons from Iran to Baghdad, the military said.

"Ground forces called for air support as they faced an onslaught by gunmen armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades in Khalis, a Shiite enclave surrounded by Sunni areas, the military said. At least one man was carrying what appeared to be an anti-aircraft weapon, it added.

"An American attack helicopter and a warplane destroyed two buildings, said Maj. Winfield Danielson, a military spokesman in Baghdad. The military said 25 militiamen were killed. Danielson said no civilian deaths had been confirmed.

"But a different account was offered by local leaders and hospital officials.

"'They said U.S. aircraft bombed the neighborhood repeatedly, killing at least seven children and local men who organized watches to guard against extremist attacks.

"'We were on a night watch in the village because we were afraid of possible al-Qaida attacks. There were no militias, we were trying to protect our families," said 28-year-old Muntasir Abbas, who was wounded in his left leg.

"The mayor of Khalis, Odai al-Khadran, said "locals were protecting themselves by guarding their village. They are not militias."

"Mahmoud Khazim said he had just left a guard post to get tea when it was hit by an airstrike, killing his son and several other men.

Right on, Ted Rall

The Children of 5767--Gideon Levy

Portion below; whole article here: http://counterpunch.org/levy09292007.html

"It was a pretty quiet year, relatively speaking. Only 457 Palestinians and 10 Israelis were killed, according to the B'Tselem human rights organization, including the victims of Qassam rockets. Fewer casualties than in many previous years. However, it was still a terrible year: 92 Palestinian children were killed (fortunately, not a single Israeli child was killed by Palestinians, despite the Qassams). One-fifth of the Palestinians killed were children and teens - a disproportionate, almost unprecedented number. The Jewish year of 5767. Almost 100 children, who were alive and playing last New Year, didn't survive to see this one.

The article ends this way:

"Abir Aramin was even younger; she was just 11. The daughter of an activist in the Combatants for Peace organization, in January she left her school in Anata and was on the way to buy candy in a little shop. She was fired upon from a Border Police vehicle. Bassam, her father, told us back then with bloodshot eyes and in a strangled voice: "I told myself that I don't want to take revenge. Revenge will be for this 'hero,' who was so 'threatened' by my daughter that he shot and killed her, to stand trial for it." But just a few days ago the authorities announced that the case was being closed: The Border Police apparently acted appropriately.

"'I'm not going to exploit my daughter's blood for political purposes. This is a human outcry. I'm not going to lose my mind just because I lost my heart," the grieving father, who has many Israeli friends, also told us.

"In Nablus, we documented the use of children as human shields - the use of the so-called "neighbor procedure" - involving an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy. So what if the High Court of Justice has outlawed it? We also recorded the story of the death of baby Khaled, whose parents, Sana and Daoud Fakih, tried to rush him to the hospital in the middle of the night, a time when Palestinian babies apparently mustn't get sick: The baby died at the checkpoint.

"In Kafr al-Shuhada (the "martyrs' village") south of Jenin, in March, 15-year-old Ahmed Asasa was fleeing from soldiers who had entered the village. A sniper's bullet caught him in the neck.

"Bushra Bargis hadn't even left her home. In late April she was studying for a big test, notebooks in hand, pacing around her room in the Jenin refugee camp in the early evening, when a sniper shot her in the forehead from quite far away. Her bloodstained notebooks bore witness to her final moments.

"And what about the unborn babies? They weren't safe either. A bullet in the back of Maha Qatuni, a woman who was seven months pregnant and got up during the night to protect her children in their home, struck her fetus in the womb, shattering its head. The wounded mother lay in the Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus, hooked up to numerous tubes. She was going to name the baby Daoud. Does killing a fetus count as murder? And how "old" was the deceased? He was certainly the youngest of the many children Israel killed in the past year.

"Happy New Year.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wanted: Who Killed the Antiwar Movement? -- Gabriele Zamparini

Portion below; whole thing here at The Cat's Dream.com http://www.thecatsdream.com/blog/2007/10/wanted-who-killed-anti-war-movement.htm
Found on Uruknet.info.

See, the thing that bothers me is that we are asking people to be inconsistent when we ask them to condemn only the occupation in Iraq, but not in Afghanistan and Palestine. Isn't much easier to ask people to condemn imperial occupations everywhere? Isn't this a "teaching moment"? Are some land- and resource-grabbing occupations good?

Or is it possible to clean out all the wounds of empire that are festering so close
to the surface now by flooding them clarity? It seems at least a failure of courage and may be, as Zamparini says, be a fatal mistake, when we don't even try.

Is this failure to explain consistently the reason we are finding it so difficult to dislodge people's illusions in the Democratic Party, the alternate face of imperial aspiration? Linda

"Even though the brainwashing for the war of aggression against Afghanistan worked very well, there was a very high and organized opposition in the US and in the UK for the coming war of aggression against Iraq. That opposition was much higher in the rest of the world and possibly for the first time in history, thanks also to the Internet, we experienced a real internationalist movement connected and mobilized against the World’s warlords. On 15 February 2003 millions of people took the streets of the world to denounce their opposition to the mass murderers’ plans; where the United Nations failed, the United Nations’ Peoples claimed their democratic sovereignty: DON’T ATTACK IRAQ – NOT IN OUR NAME.

"Four and half years later, the anti-war movement is just a shadow of itself while in Iraq the genocide of a whole People and the annihilation of the whole country is business as usual; the banality of evil in XXI Century flavour.

"What happened?

"Of course, everybody agrees with Howard Zinn, “there is no magical panacea, only persistence." But in these past few years the anti-war movement’s establishment has taken all the wrong decisions and the worst directions.

"In the US especially, the anti-war planners wanted to go mainstream.

"The oldest, most experienced and committed segments of the movements have been isolated because too “old fashioned” and not presentable to the “new friends”, the generous foundations linked to the Democratic Party. Socialism and Marx can’t really be welcomed at fundraising dinners and cocktail parties.

"In spite of the many anti-war planners’ claims that the Israel Lobby has no real power to influence the US government’s policies, that Lobby is so very powerful to influence even the anti-war movement from within. The Palestine issue needed to be downplayed and many Palestine’s supporters and campaigners have been marginalized.

Monday, October 01, 2007

From Angry Arab Newservice--U.S. Arms--They're Everywhere

"The United States maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006, followed by Russia and Britain, according to a Congressional study to be released Monday. Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia were the top buyers."