Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bush silences a key witness

And you thought that the new Sec'y of Defense Robert Gates trip to Iraq was a "fact-finding" expedition designed so that he could contribute to the current Cheney/Bush pretense of discussions about where to go from here in Iraq.

Since former Bush family consigliere James Baker has become a thorn in the side of the current generation, they sent Gates to Iraq to assure that the execution of Saddam Hussein would take place with dispatch. What was the rush to execute him? You might ask. try this for an explanation:

From ConsortiumNews

"Like a blue-blood version of a Mob family with global reach, the Bushes have eliminated one more key witness to the important historical events that led the U.S. military into a bloody stalemate in Iraq and pushed the Middle East to the brink of calamity."

"...Bush has done his family's legacy a great service while also protecting secrets that could have embarrassed other senior U.S. government officials.

"He has silenced a unique witness to crucial chapters of the secret history that stretched from Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979 to the alleged American-Saudi "green light" for Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, through the eight years of the Iran-Iraq War during which high-ranking U.S. intermediaries, such as Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, allegedly helped broker supplies of war materiel for Hussein."

Sadaam Hussein's execution:

Herman Goering on manipulating the people into war against their will

at the Nuremberg trials

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

-- Herman Goering was Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and Hitler's designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Rush Limbaugh does it again: Michael J. Fox's disease is a liberal plot

U.S. Senator-elect Claire McCaskel (D-MO)
Thanks Rush. You did it again.

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-MT., secret plan

In 1972 Richard Nixon had a secret plan to end the war against Vietnam. In 2006 Burns and Bush have a secret plan to end the war against Iraq.

I guess that's the plan Bush is going to reveal after the new year.

(From Daniel Kurtzman, Political Humor)

On December 6, 2006, Burns rose and spoke these words:

"Mr. President, I appreciate the words of my friend from Florida. As I rise today and say my farewell to this body [the Senate].

Rush Limbaugh doing what he does best: Misinforming his audience

"Black" candidate Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
and his family

"And don't forget, Sherrod Brown is black. There's a racial component here, too. And now, the newspaper that I'm reading all this from is The New York Times, and they, of course, don't mention that." --Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, on the Ohio Senate primary race.

(From Daniel Kurtzman, Political Humor)

Words of wisdom from Katherine Harris

Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla.,
with the Bush boys at MacDill
Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.,
on May 10, 2006.

"God is the one who chooses our rulers." --Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), explaining why the separation of church and state is "a lie." Harris also said, "If you are not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."

(From Daniel Kurtzman's Political Humor)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Iraq: It's time to let go (video)

Iraqis are people too. When we kill them we are destroying what's best in ourselves. If you make any New Year's resolutions, resolve to end this war now.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The dark side of Gerald Ford: The Indonesian genocide in East Timor

The death yesterday of Gerald Ford has provoked a debate over his (and his Sec'y of State the ubiquitous Henry Kissinger) relation to the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which killed approximately 1/3 of the Timorese. The almost always reliable Juan Cole in his generally hagiographic post "Ford and Foreign policy" says about the late president:

"Ford did the country the enormous favor of allowing it to transition out of the poisonous Nixon and Vietnam eras, with a gentleman at the helm of state. I can remember the enormous relief I experienced when I saw the picture of him striding confidently once he had become president. Many of us had been afraid Nixon would stage a military coup. Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, I have been told by one interviewee then in government, shared that fear and ordered the senior officers to accept no command directly from Nixon unless they checked with Schlesinger first.

"Ford was clearly unwilling to risk further military entanglements in Asia. The one exception was his aggressive response to the Cambodian capture of the Mayaguez...."

In his comment on Cole's Ford obituary post Juhani Yli-Vakkuri said...

"I think any post with heading 'Ford and Foreign Policy' should mention that this 'gentleman at the helm' of the U.S. ship of state authorized Suharto's Indonesia's genocidal invasion and annexation of East Timor in December 1975. To quote from Joseph Nevins' excellent recent book, A Not-So Distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor (Cornell University Press, 2005):

'President Gerald Ford and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, met with Suharto in Jakarta the day prior to the invasion. They were fully cognizant of Indonesia's plans to invade. According to the transcript of the meeting, Ford assured Suharto that, with regard to East Timor, "[We] will not press you on the issue. We understand ... the intentions you have."

A State Department document released in 2001 "shows that Suharto began the invasion knowing that he had the full approval of the White House."

On Democracy Now yesterday (Wed.) morning Amy Goodman interviewed Brad Simpson who Said:

"In July of 1975, the National Security Council first informed Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford of IndonesiaÂ’s plans to take over East Timor by force. And Suharto of course raised this with Gerald Ford in July when he met with Gerald Ford at Camp David on a trip to the United States. And then in December of 1975 on a trip through Southeast Asia, Gerald Ford met again with Suharto on the eve of the invasion, more than two weeks after the National Security Council, CIA, other intelligence agencies had concluded that an Indonesian invasion was eminent. And that the only thing delaying the invasion was the fear that US disapproval might lead to a cut-off of weapons and military supplies to the regime.

"AMY GOODMAN: How knowledgeable was President Ford at the time of the situation?

"BRAD SIMPSON: Well, Ford was very much aware. He was receiving hourly briefings, as was Henry Kissinger, as his plane lifted off from Indonesia, as the invasion indeed commenced. And immediately afterwards Gerald Ford flew to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, or to Guam—excuse me, where he gave a speech saying that never again should the United States allow another nation to strike in the middle of the night, to attack another defenseless nation. This was on Pearl Harbor Day, of course. Realizing full well that another day of infamy was unfolding in Dili, East Timor. As thousands of Indonesian paratroopers, trained by the United States, using US supplied weapons, indeed jumping from United States supplied airplanes, were descending upon the capital city of Dili and massacring literally thousands of people in the hours and days after December 7, 1975."

It is entirely possible to argue that the imperial presidency - brought to full flower by George W. Bush (under the aegis of Dick Cheney) - was "saved" by Ford after the "national nightmare" of the Nixon years.

Also on Amy Goodman's special Democracy Now devoted to correcting the generally rose colored history of the Ford administration Veteran Investigative Journalist Robert Parry said:

"So I think while Ford gets a great deal of credit, because he helped mend the nation's wounds over Watergate, it wasn't entirely this pleasant experience that some people are making it out to be. It was, in a sense, the incubator for the resurgence of the Imperial Presidency. People like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney [and Paul Wolfowitz] were in the Ford White House, and many of their feelings about re-establishing that Imperial Presidency have lived to this day."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

John Mohawk Indian activist and scholar dies

Indigenous Prophecies
by John Mohawk

John Mohawk, a leading scholar and spokesperson for the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy died in Buffalo, New York, December 12th.

On Tuesday Dec. 17 Amy Goodman noted John Mohawk's life and death on Democracy Now. Since then I have been searching the corporate owned press for any mention of John Mohawk's death. I have found none. Activists and scholars of color often get short shrift when it comes to acknowledging their achievements. Here's what Amy Goodman said:

Mohawk was a leading advocate for the rights of indigenous people worldwide. He served as director of Indigenous Studies at the Center for the Americas at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Mohawk was also director of the Iroquois White Corn Project, which promoted and sold Iroquois white corn products and foods and supported contemporary indigenous farmers. John Mohawk was a columnist at Indian Country Today, and his last book was Utopian Legacies: A History of Conquest & Oppression in the Western World.

John Mohawk spoke last month in New York at the "Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Economic Globalization: a Celebration of Victories, Rights and Cultures." The teach-in was sponsored by the International Forum on Globalization and the Tebtebba Foundation.

John Mohawk began by talking about the Spanish conquest of the Americas and ended by discussing the domination of indigenous people in the United States. (more)

Stop funding the war (video)

From PDAmerica

Friday, December 22, 2006

"The road to victory in Iraq is paved with the Gospel of Jesus"

Yesterday I noted that Va. Rep. Virgil Goode called for an end to Muslim immigration in order not to have any more Muslims elected to Congress and asking to take the oath of office on the Koran.

Today we have a new congressional outrage to report:

According to BlueNC, N.C. Rep. Robin Hayes says that victory in Iraq depends on "spreading the message of Jesus."

Rep. Hayes in duck blind

"Stability in Iraq ultimately depends on spreading the message of Jesus Christ, the message of peace on earth, good will towards men. Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior."

No doubt, Rep. Hayes, spreading the Gospel of Jesus at the point of a gun in an Islamic nation will win us many friends in the Middle East. Where do these congressmembers come from? Is there no end to the depth of their ignorance?

Isn't the real problem that Bush agrees with his outrageous Republican brethren?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The demonization of the enemy: Muslims and Iraqis

There were probably as many reasons for the 2003 invasion of Iraq as there were cooks to spoil the broth. Just a few of these were oil, Israel, the enrichment of a few favored (by the Cheney/Bush administration) U.S. corporations and by no means least, the 2004 presidential election. Had there been no invasion, it would very likely be President Kerry today.

I will come back to these explanations in a upcoming post. But today I want to talk about a fundamental necessity for the "justification" of any war: the demonization of the enemy. Remember the "weapons of mass destruction." Without that PR ploy the invasion would have been far less easy to sell. But with the congressional and media puppet brigades it might not have been impossible.

Now that there is a push for a new invasion (referred to by politicians and the media as a "surge."), the enemy has to be demonized again - in case we have forgotten how dangerous they are.

Amy Goodman reported this morning (Wed.) on Democracy Now that

"...a Republican Congress- member is under fire for saying he fears an influx of Muslim immigration in the United States. In a letter sent to constituents this month, the Congressmember, Virgil Goode of Virginia, writes: 'I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States' if we do not adopt 'strict immigration policies.' Goode also warns over the recent election of Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress. Goode writes '...If American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.'"

The extremely dangerous abandonment of any concept of religious freedom that once led a group of colonists to abandon England and set up shop here should be obvious in Goode's remarks. And I would assume that he will soon propose that we wrap the Statue of Liberty - which he clearly abhors - and send it back to France, because we obviously can no longer live up to its invitation to the world's "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Clearly those like Goode no longer want "...these, the homeless, tempest-tost [sent]to me."

But in this new era of the Bush surge in Iraq, Goode isn't the only demonizer. USA Today & N.Y. Post columnist Ralph Peters trumps Goode. In pre-election November he wrote:

"...for all our errors, we did give the Iraqis a unique chance to build a rule-of-law democracy. They preferred to indulge in old hatreds, confessional violence, ethnic bigotry and a culture of corruption. It appears that the cynics were right: Arab societies can't support democracy as we know it. And people get the government they deserve.

"For us, Iraq's impending failure is an embarrassment. For the Iraqis — and other Arabs — it's a disaster the dimensions of which they do not yet comprehend. They're gleeful at the prospect of America's humiliation. But it's their tragedy, not ours.

"Iraq was the Arab world's last chance to board the train to modernity, to give the region a future, not just a bitter past. The violence staining Baghdad's streets with gore isn't only a symptom of the Iraqi government's incompetence, but of the comprehensive inability of the Arab world to progress in any sphere of organized human endeavor. We are witnessing the collapse of a civilization. All those who rooted for Iraq to fail are going to be chastened by what follows.

"Iraq still deserves one last chance — as long as we don't confuse deadly stubbornness and perseverance. If, at this late hour, Iraqis in decisive numbers prove willing to fight for their own freedom and a constitutional government, we should be willing to remain for a generation. If they continue to revel in fratricidal slaughter, we must leave.

"And contrary to the prophets of doom, the United States wouldn't be weakened by our withdrawal, should it come to that. Iraq was never our Vietnam. It's al-Qaeda's Vietnam. They're the ones who can't leave and who can't win."

But Goode and Peters are only the tip of the demonization iceberg. Neo liberal Peter Beinert posted on the the New Republic online onDec. 11:

"Across ideological lines, American politicians and pundits are finally coming to a consensus on Iraq: It's the Iraqis' fault. 'We gave the Iraqis their freedom,' pronounced liberal California Senator Barbara Boxer on November 16. 'What are they doing with this freedom? They're killing each other.' The next day, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer heartily concurred, writing: 'We have given the Iraqis a republic, and they do not appear able to keep it.'"

There is much more to be said on this question of demonization (and I will come back to it) but for the moment suffice it to say that since the reinvasion ("surge") of Iraq will require a much more heavy handed occupation - no more making believe the Iraqis are in charge of their own nation. Here are just a few of the suggestions Peters makes in his 12/18 N.Y. Post column:

"* Temporary movement restrictions, with passes required for any person desiring to leave his neighborhood and enter another. Identify who belongs where.

"* Simultaneous crackdowns on Shia militia and Sunni insurgent strongholds. Establish the principle that we go where we want, when we want - and stay as long as we want.

"* Thorough searches of every building in Baghdad. No safe havens - not even mosques (trusted Iraqis can help). Structures used as weapons-storage facilities or safe houses for armed factions to be leveled.

"* Disarmament of all private security elements in Baghdad not vetted by U.S. authorities. Foreign security contractors subject to Iraqi law."

In other words, no more nice guy for us. Once we have demonized and infantalized the Iraqis (and more broadly Muslims) we can move in and take over.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

George Stephanopolous interviews Harry Reid

George Stephanopolous talks to Sen. Harry Reid on ThisWeek.

Pay particular attention to the discussion of sending more troops to Iraq.

Here we go again. Is this payment to buy the allegiance of right-wing independent sen. Joe Lieberman and his ilk within the Democratic party?

"The Senate's top Democrat offered qualified support Sunday for a plan to increase U.S. troops in Iraq, saying it would be acceptable as part of a broader strategy to bring combat forces home by 2008."

And as Stephanopolous asks Reid, "What guarantee is there that the troops will come home in '08? No matter what he has to agree to, to get the increase in troops over there, will the administration live up to these promises."

Who'd have ever thought Time's "Person of the Year" would be ME? My mom would have been so proud.

Time magazine's
"Person of the Year" cover
(Dec.25, 2006 issue)

Clearly it's possible on many levels to disagree with Time's choice of "me" as "person of the Year." Here's Time's rationale for their decision.

"To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the bomb, and the president of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.

"But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men [sic]. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

"The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution."

Although I'm not sure that "it's really a revolution," the web users is a very interesting choice. It seems to me that, although the potential is there, at this point web users - especially in politics - have had a far more negative than positive effect. It much easier to attack someone and knock them off their perch (Dan Rather, for example) than to build someone or something up and actually make positive change.

Time also selected 27 people (or pairs and groups) who they think "made a difference."
International figures such as, the Iraqi people and Muqtada al-Sadir, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Cuba's Raul Castro, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Germany's Angela Merkel, Korea's Kim Jung IL, and Pope Benedict XVI. (Why not, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah and Israel's Ehud olmert or Chile's Michelle Bachelet?)

From the U.S. political scene, obviously the "Three Stooges" [my label] Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, the Democrats' "Gang of Four" [Time's label] the leaders Nancy Pelosi and Reid and the managers, Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel, Al Gore, the Iraq Study Group, John Murtha, Condoleeza Rice (what has she done?), Superpastor Ted Haggard, chairman of the National Association of Evangelicals, Rep. Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff (all three of whom probably had more effect on the Democrat's victory than anyone in the party). But given Time's ultimate choice, what about Connecticut's Sen. Joe Lieberman and netroots supported challenger Ned Lamont?

Obviously show biz contributed its "difference" makers: Katie Curic (no Dan Rather? Curic would still be getting up every morning if it weren't for him), Stephen Colbert (I think Democracy Now's Amy Goodman or even Countdown's Keith Olberman has made more difference, Colbert is just an extended Daily Show [or SNL] sketch), Michael J. Fox, the cast of TV's Heroes, oddball Brit comic Sacha Baron Cohen (He made alot of money, but difference?) and from sports Roger Federer and Tiger Woods (What difference have they made?). From business the Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwartzman and Bill Ford and the grain farmer. And let us not forget Pluto, who was demoted.

Perhaps the most interesting choice is Mexican citizen Elvira Arellano, the undocumented worker who took refuge in a Chicago storefront church when threatened with deportation. With the brewing fight over immigration, she may actually be the real "Person of the Year." "She says she will not take her son back to a country she gave up for a better life; nor will she leave him to fend for himself in the U.S. 'It's wrong to split up families. I'm fighting for my son, not for myself. It's a matter of principle. I don't want him treated like garbage,' she says, adding, 'I am a mom and a worker. I am not a terrorist.'"


There will always be bitching over choices like Time's "Person of the Year," but afterall I'm not a bad choice, my mom really would be proud.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Did Kofi Annan forget Truman's crimes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Earlier this week outgoing UN Sec'y General Kofi Annan traveled to Independence, Mo. to pay tribute to Harry Truman at the same time that he criticized Bush in his farewell address. Here's how the International Herald Tribune reported Annan's speech:

"In a clear reference to the lack of international support for the American action in Iraq, he said, 'No state can make its own actions legitimate in the eyes of others. When power, especially military force, is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose - for broadly shared aims - in accordance with broadly accepted norms.'" [My emphasis]

"Annan also cited Truman's statement that 'the responsibility of great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world,' and noted approvingly how Truman had used American power to face down a threat to international order during his administration.

"'He believed strongly that henceforth security must be collective and indivisible,' Annan said. 'That was why, for instance, that he insisted, when faced with aggression by North Korea against the South in 1950, on bringing the issue to the United Nations and placing U.S. troops under the UN flag, at the head of a multinational force.'"

I understand how Truman's role in the founding of the UN in 1945 and the contrast between Truman's actions in Korea and Bush's invasion of Iraq may have influenced Annan's choice of a location for the speech, but I think he must have forgotten those two horrible days in August 1945 when following Truman's orders the first atomic bombs ever used rained down on the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Nothing Truman did as president trumps giving those orders. That is the true Truman legacy.

This is from Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Ralph Raiko:

"The most spectacular episode of TrumanÂ’s presidency will never be forgotten, but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians, including several thousand Korean workers. Twelve U.S. Navy fliers incarcerated in a Hiroshima jail were also among the dead."

"Thus, the rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication, which has gained surprising currency: that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives. These, supposedly, are the lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of Kyushu in December, then in the all-out invasion of Honshu the next year, if that was needed. But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives [possibly]lost The ridiculously inflated figure of a half-million for the potential death toll - nearly twice the total of U.S. dead in all theaters in the Second World War - is now routinely repeated in high-school and college textbooks and bandied about by ignorant commentators. Unsurprisingly, the prize for sheer fatuousness on this score goes to President George H.W. Bush, who claimed in 1991 that dropping the bomb 'spared millions of American lives.'"

"...Truman's multiple deceptions and self-deceptions are understandable, considering the horror he unleashed. It is equally understandable that the U.S. occupation authorities censored reports from the shattered cities and did not permit films and photographs of the thousands of corpses and the frightfully mutilated survivors to reach the public. Otherwise, Americans - and the rest of the world - might have drawn disturbing comparisons to scenes then coming to light from the Nazi concentration camps."

For all the good Annan may have done in his UN years and even in the farewell speech the choice of location will forever be a stain on his record.

Gallop predicts history's judgement on the Bush regime

Here are a couple of recent Gallop Poll results on the historical destiny of the Bush presidency. (One might question the evaluation of the Reagan presidency, but what the hell).

Monday, December 11, 2006

Murderous Chilean strongman Pinochet Dead

Gen. Augusto Pinochet
(AP File Photo)

If there is an intelligent designer out there of one thing there is no doubt: she has a wonderful sense of irony. What better day to end the life of murderous Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet than Human Rights Day.

Isabel Allende, deputy of Chile's Socialist Party, daughter of the democratically elected president who Pinochet drove to suicide in the process of taking power Sept 11, 1973 and cousin of the famous novelist of the same name "said her thoughts were with Pinochet's victims, not the dead man."

"Her father...committed suicide in La Moneda presidential palace rather than surrender to the military."

"'The truth is I never expected to see Pinochet in jail," the 61-year-old politician told a news conference in Madrid. 'Neither did it bother me. At 90 years of age it was all the same.'"

"Gen Pinochet took power...more than 3,000 people were killed or 'disappeared' in his 17-year rule.

"He was accused of dozens of human rights abuses as well as fraud but poor health meant he never faced trial.

"No state funeral or national mourning has been authorised. He will be buried with military honours on Tuesday.

"'The government has authorised flags to fly at half-mast at army facilities,' government spokesman Ricardo Lagos Weber said.

"Thousands of anti-Pinochet protesters took to the streets in the centre of the capital, Santiago, with tear gas and water cannon used to disperse crowds."

But Pinochet and his army cohorts did not overthrow Chile's democratically-elected government without help from outside. SF reports on Pinochet's closest ally,

"In recent years, declassified U.S. government documents have shown that the Nixon administration began a program to destabilize the Allende government, which had earned President Richard Nixon's wrath by nationalizing U.S. copper mines and other foreign-controlled businesses, rural estates and banks and recognizing Cold War foes of the United States such as Cuba, North Korea and North Vietnam. Led by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Washington financed labor strikes, propaganda and military plotters, paving the way for Pinochet's rise to power, some historians have argued. 'It is not part of American history we are proud of,' former Secretary of State Colin Powell said in 2003."

In a discussion this morning with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now , Peter Kornbluh, author of The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability and a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a public-interest documentation center in Washington, expanded on Pinochet and the Kissinger/Pinochet link:

PETER KORNBLUH: Well, that he will go down in history along with a pantheon of other deceased dictators -- Francisco Franco, Milosevic, Mussolini -- a man whose name became synonymous with human rights violations. He and the US support for him galvanized the human rights movement in the United States of America, as we know it today. The American public rose up and said, “We don't want our tax dollars to be spent supporting a dictator like Augusto Pinochet,” and they forced Congress to pass laws that restricted Henry Kissinger from giving military and economic aid to Pinochet.

We should remember that Pinochet set the precedent, when he was arrested in London in October of 1998 -- the Pinochet precedent, it's known as now -- that dictators of his ilk can no longer freely travel abroad and think that they have immunity outside of the safety of their homeland. In the future, future dictators are going to think twice before they leave their cities, because Pinochet established that there is a possibility of universal jurisdiction, that many years later, the long arm of international justice and the kind of the tenacity of their victims can track them down and lead to their arrest.

AMY GOODMAN: How did Pinochet rise to power in Chile in 1973?

PETER KORNBLUH: Well, I think, as so many of your listeners know, Amy, that the United States, under the Nixon administration, a policy orchestrated by then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, worked to undermine and destabilize the democratically elected Socialist government of Salvador Allende. The United States helped create the conditions to justify a coup in Chile, create the chaos and instability to promote a Pinochet. There were secret meetings with Pinochet as early as a year before the coup, in which US military officials said to him, “When you’re ready for a coup, we’re ready to help you.” And then, immediately following the coup, the message was passed to him secretly from Kissinger’s office that the United States was going to help in any way for him to consolidate his rule, so his death does remind us of the US role in undermining democracy and supporting dictatorship in Latin America.

U.S. attempts to undermine the democratically-elected governments of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega - not to mention what the U.S. has in store for Cuba when Fidel dies - echo the behavior of the U.S. toward Allende's government in Chile.

At some point things have to change, but as we know from the U.S. invasion of Iraq it hasn't happened yet-Dan.

The undermining of our democracy

From an Oct.23 Project Vote Smart press release:

"As part of the data collection efforts, the Project [Vote Smart] has conducted a ten-year study called the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT), which has asked every congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative candidate in the country since 1996 one question: Are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you will most likely face on their behalf?

"Results of the National Political Awareness Test from 1996-2006 indicate a dramatic nosedive over the last five election cycles in the willingness of candidates of both major parties to say "yes" to that question, and then prove it by answering a few questions on issues known to be of concern to voters in their state. In the 1996-1998 tests, a high of 72 percent of all federal candidates and 38 percent of all state legislative candidates responded "yes" to the question. Since then, the decline has been steady and dramatic. The 2006 statistics are at an all time low of 48 percent and 26 percent for federal and state legislative candidates respectively. Gubernatorial candidate rates for 2006 are at 43%, also an all time low.

"Following documented advice from their campaign consultants and party leaders, candidates of both major parties cite fear of opposition research and a need to control their campaign message to justify withholding information from voters.

"Now candidates for public office attempt to tailor their images to what they think will sell in the political marketplace. This campaign strategy counts on the voters buying these images instead of requiring straight-forward answers from the candidates to fair-minded questions on the issues they will have to face if elected.

"'Campaign consultants now have enormous power over our election process, and they are not accountable to the public in any way,' Kimball said. 'One campaign consultant told us, "It's not our job to educate--it's our job to win." Another said, "I advised my candidate not to answer issue questions unless they came with a campaign donation." This cynical advice strips citizens of the information the Founding Fathers considered essential if they were to cast the vote out to the masses."

Anti-Muslim racism rears its ugly head as Ellison prepares to take office

Minn. Rep.-elect Keith Ellison

Here's what right-wing nut Dennis Prager has to say about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's choice of a Koran for his oath taking ceremony. Note particularly how fragile he thinks "American civilization" is in the face of the threat of one oath on the Koran. This seems to be much the same as the fragility of "hetero-sexual marriage" in the face of the threat from gay and lesbian marriage. How come everything these people believe in is so fragile?

I wonder if Joe Lieberman will take his Senate oath on a New Testament. Or would Prager consider the Old Testament less of a threat to "American civilization."

These people just keep lampooning themselves.

"Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

"He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization."

A right wing divided: Brownback on engaging Iran & Syria

"One of the key recommendations of the Iraq Study Group was direct, unconditional engagement with Iran and Syria. It was quickly rejected by the Bush administration.

"[Sunday] morning on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Sam Brownback — one of the most conservative members of the Senate — embraced the recommendation, but with an unusual twist. Brownback said that the administration should 'park' Vice President Cheney in the region, leading the diplomatic effort. Watch it:"

But keep in mind, Brownback wants the 2008 presidential nomination - so seeming reasonable not crazy might help his effort

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Democrats play nice with Bush defense nominee

Prior to the Nov. 7 election a number of key Democrats and liberal pundits called for the firing of Secy. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The Democrats handily won the election. In order to divert media attention from the Democratic victory and buy himself more time in Iraq, Bush fired Rumsfeld (although immediately before the election he blatantly lied saying that Rumsfeld's job was safe).

Bush then selected an old Washington hand Robert Gates, who is known to comply with whatever his bosses want. Among other misdeeds Gates was intimately involved with the Iran-Contra deception of the 1980s.

The corporate media pundits, following the right-wing definition of the situation, have argued that the Democrats still have to prove that they can play the anti-terrorism game with the big boys and "keep the American people safe." The fact that it is the Bush administration and its puppet brigade in Congress that have totally failed the American people (not to mention the Iraqis) doesn't seem to have shaped the post-election discussion. It remains for the Democrats to prove that they are capable of standing up to the terrorists.

It seems that they took a step toward "manhood" Tuesday. It wasn't yet their bar mitzvah, but it was definitely a step in the "right" direction. In other words, instead of offering a serious alternative to the Bush Iraq mantra "we will not stop short of victory," whatever that means, the Democrats are still chanting "we can fight the war better than you can." When clearly what the people want is an end to this Bush fantasy.


"Robert Gates won approval by a Senate panel Tuesday to be the next defense secretary after a daylong hearing in which he said the U.S. is not winning the war in Iraq and there could be a "regional conflagration" if the country is not stabilized.

"At a Senate confirmation hearing that was long on praise for Gates and short on criticism, the man President Bush picked to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld said he is open to new ideas about correcting the U.S. course in Iraq. He said the war would be his highest priority if confirmed as expected.

"In a closed-door meeting following five hours of open testimony, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 21-0 to recommend approval of Gates' nomination, said panel chairman John Warner, R-Va."

Baby Bush still trying to stand up to his dad

"President George W. Bush, facing growing public discontent over the Iraq war, admitted on Monday his parents are worried about him but insisted he rarely talks policy with his father."

"Asked to comment on widespread view that his father's influence was coming to bear on his administration, Bush insisted: 'I am the commander-in-chief.'"

(from Yahoo News)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Can "Socialist" Sanders make Democrats live up to a liberal agenda?

Senator-elect Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
at his office in Burlington, Vermont
Nov. 28, 2006. {REUTERS/Brian Snyder}

Here's a fascinating story By Jason Szep (from Reuters), which I think highlights the political divide on the Democratic side of the aisle in the new Congress.

"From pressing for hearings on Iraq to probing no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton Co., America's first socialist senator aims to give Congress a hard tilt to the left.

"Bernie Sanders, a 16-year veteran of the House of Representatives who swept 65 percent of the vote in Vermont running as an independent in the November 7 elections, says Congress owes voters an exhaustive probe into the White House.

"'It is time to ask some hard questions. Why did we go into Iraq and what did the president know and when did he know it,' Sanders said in an interview in his Burlington office on a hillside above Lake Champlain near Canada's border.

"'The war in Iraq has been an absolute disaster and it's absolutely imperative that America never again goes that route. That's why we have to ask those questions,' he said."

These are obviously the questions that any self-respecting Congress (Democratic or Republican) would ask. Why does it require a "socialist" to make them do their job?

Oh wait, maybe there's an answer.

"Sanders has voted with Democrats in the House since his first election in 1990 and plans to continue to do so in the Senate, where his vote is needed for Democrats to keep its slim 51-49 majority. Democrats ran no candidate against him in this year's election.

"His views described as democratic socialist underscore tension in the new Democratic-controlled Congress between urges to confront and investigate President George W. Bush's administration and to govern from the middle while refraining from the most controversial elements on the liberal agenda."

So, in other words, there's going to be a steel-cage match between the right-wing Democrats (led by independent-Democrat Joe Lieberman and the Democratic Leadership Council) and "the liberal agenda" of independent socialist Bernie Sanders. Well, it's going to be interesting.
Perhaps most interesting will be on which side of this political divide the potential Democratic presidential candidates will fall.

(The article is also available at news center)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Joe "more troops" Lieberman: some people never learn

So you thought Joe Lieberman might learn something from the Nov. 7 election. Well, listen to this. He's to the right (not just on the video) of Rep. Sen. Chuck Hagel. From what he's saying, he would probably make a good vice-presidential candidate with John McCain. They're the "more troops" boys.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bush brings democracy to Iraq

Bush and Iraq's al-Maliki

(from Democracy Now)

"... the Iraqi government has announced it will prosecute journalists who fail to correct stories the Iraqi government decides are incorrect. Iraq’s Interior Ministry has established a new unit to monitor journalists and their news coverage."

Way to go Georgie, are there any other countries to which you can bring democracy? - Dan

Giants take a page from Rove's playbook

#58 Antonio Pierce

(from USA Today)

"They claim it's Team Togeth- erness now, the Giants vs. the media, their new fuel source heading into Sunday's showdown for first place in the NFC East against the Dallas Cowboys at Giants Stadium.

"'I want to thank you guys for causing all of the disruption on our team,' Antonio Pierce said. 'You all did this last time when we were 1-2 and good things came out of it. So keep writing negative things and keep trying to make guys bicker on our team. ... We're angry at all of you guys and we thank you for that. We're not angry at one another. Strahan and Plax kissed this morning. It was a beautiful thing.'"

I'll bet it was. I suspect they will file for a marriage certificate as soon as possible.

Giant Coach Tom Coughlin
Hey Coach, It looks like the Giants have taken a page from Karl Rove's playbook , when you lose blame the press.

Mel Gibson feels Michael Richards pain

If you were Michael Richards, except for the Grand Dragon of the KKK, who would you least like to publically support you? Right.

well guess what:

"Though he's lost many fans after being captured on video hurling racist epithets at a comedy club audience, Michael Richards has an ally: Mel Gibson. 'I felt like sending Michael Richards a note,' Gibson says in an interview in Entertainment Weekly's Dec. 8 issue.

"'I feel really badly for the guy. He was obviously in a state of stress. You don't need to be inebriated to be bent out of shape. But my heart went out to the guy.'"


Monday, November 27, 2006

A Civil War by any other name will kill just as many

If it looks like a civil war, smells like a civil war and feels like a civil war, what else can it be?

According to Reuters AlterNet NBC finally got the message. (Also Marty Kaplan on The HuffingtonPost)

"NBC News on Monday branded the Iraq conflict a civil war -- a decision that put it at odds with the White House and that analysts said would increase public disillusionment with the U.S. troop presence there.

"NBC, a major U.S. television network, said the Iraqi government's inability to stop spiraling violence between rival factions fit its definition of civil war.

"The Bush admini -stration has for months declined to call the violence a civil war -- although the U.S. general overseeing the Iraq operation said in August there was a risk -- and a White House official on Monday disputed NBC's assessment.

"National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said while the situation on the ground is serious, neither President George W. Bush nor Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki believe it is a civil war.

"Democrats used NBC's decision to accuse the White House of "splitting hairs."

"'The American people want their leaders in Washington to tell the truth and find a solution to the problems in Iraq,' said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. 'No amount of spin on the part of the Bush White House can prevent news organizations and independent observers from calling the war ... what it is: a civil war.'"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What are they talking about?

(photo: AP)

"Vice President Dick Cheney, left, arrives Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for talks on Iraq and other trouble spots in the Mideast."

If you think they're not talking about how to make money-lots of money-on Iraqi oil. I have a bridge to sell you.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New York City Labor Chorus annual Mini-Concert

(photo by Dan Cohen)
Come celebrate the holidays and the year's end with


at the 2006 Mini-Concert


6:15 PM

216 West 14th Street
Between 7th & 8th Avenues

Contribution: $5.00

No Tickets in Advance

A letter from Michael Moore

A letter from Michael Moore to the Democrats: exerpts

Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do


"Tomorrow marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.

"That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.

"And we haven't even done THAT."


"This is what we demand:

1. Bring the troops home now. Not six months from now. NOW. Quit looking for a way to win. We can't win.

2. Apologize to our soldiers and make amends.

3. We must atone for the atrocity we have perpetuated on the people of Iraq."


"But at our core we are a good people. We may be slow learners, but that "Mission Accomplished" banner struck us as odd, and soon we began to ask some questions. Then we began to get smart. By this past November 7th, we got mad and tried to right our wrongs. The majority now know the truth. The majority now feel a deep sadness and guilt and a hope that somehow we can make make it all right again.

"Unfortunately, we can't. So we will accept the consequences of our actions and do our best to be there should the Iraqi people ever dare to seek our help in the future. We ask for their forgiveness.

"We demand the Democrats listen to us and get out of Iraq now."


Michael Moore

U.S. Keystone Cops 'allowed terror gang to escape'

(From The Independent)

By Jason Bennetto

"A team of suspected terrorists involved in an alleged UK plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners escaped capture because of interference by the United States, The Independent has been told by counter-terrorism sources.

"An investigation by MI5 and Scotland Yard into an alleged plan to smuggle explosive devices on up to 10 passenger jets was jeopardised in August, when the US put pressure on authorities in Pakistan to arrest a suspect allegedly linked to the airliner plot.

"As a direct result of the surprise detention of the suspect, British police and MI5 were forced to rush forward plans to arrest an alleged UK gang accused of plotting to destroy the airliners. But a second group of suspected terrorists allegedly linked to the first evaded capture and is still at large, according to security sources

Thursday, November 23, 2006

How can we worry about Michael Richards when Trent Lott has been welcomed back by the GOP?

Michael Richards racist tirade:

Does this mean we can expect Richards to lead the MLK Day parade? Isn't that what celebrities do after they hire a crisis manager? Remember when Mel Gibson "said he wants to meet with Jewish leaders to help him 'discern the appropriate path for healing.'" As I recall he was going to participate in some Rosh Hashana services.

"First [Richards] went on national television to apologize for his racial tirade against two black hecklers. Now Michael Richards is taking his contriteness to the next level: he's hired a public relations expert with deep contacts in the black community.

"New York publicist Howard Rubenstein took on Richards as a client Wednesday after being contacted by the actor-comedian. He then arranged for Richards to call the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

"'I've known those gentlemen for many years,' Rubenstein told The Associated Press.

"'Michael apologized profusely. He wants to heal the tremendous wound that he's inflicted on the American public, and on the African-American community,' he said."

(Read more)

Although Richards comments cannot be condoned isn't he really a minor character in a week that has seen Trent Lott rehabilitated and welcomed into the leadership of the new Republican party which has essentially abandoned the Black vote.

Remember Lott's "comment that the United States would have avoided 'all these problems' if then-segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948."

The perks of the presidency

Bush enjoys the perks of the job. But at least it's not in the Oval Office. And it's more than likely that the turkey won't talk to Linda Tripp.

(Photo from the WP, via BushWatch)

A wounded Bush can be very dangerous

A wounded animal can be very dangerous.

(From Common Dreams News Center

"President George W. Bush could choose military action over diplomacy and bomb Iran's nuclear facilities next year, political analysts in Washington agree."


"Joseph Cirincione, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, a Democrat-friendly think tank, also believes the US government could decide to attack Iran."


"With the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, hardliners in the government have lost one of their leading advocates, and his replacement, former former Central Intelligence Agency chief Robert Gates, has in the past favored direct talks with Iran, said the expert.

"'But they remain within the administration at the highest level, the office of the vice president, the national security council staff, perhaps the president himself,' Cirincione added.

"He also accused neoconservative circles of promoting the military option against Tehran."


"Israel has also been pushing Washington to get tough on Iran."

(noted in BushWatch)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nov. 27: Protest NYPD threat to our rights to freely assemble

(Photo by Dan Cohen)

ASSEMBLE FOR RIGHTS NYC OPPOSES NYPD proposed Restrictions on Political Speech in Public Spaces

Rally to voice opposition to recent New York Police Department proposals that would restrict public gatherings

Sponsored by Assemble for Rights NYC

Monday, November 27, 2006, 10-11AM

At NYPD Headquarters, One Police Plaza

Our rights to free speech and to freely assemble are again under threat from the NYC police dept!

If approved these New Rules Could Go Into Effect By The End of This Year
This is the second time this year the NYPD has tried to create new draconian rules dictating when people can peacefully assemble.
In late October the NYPD announced the latest version of new rules they plan to impose. You can read them HERE.
These rules are not significantly different from the rules the NYPD tried to sneak in during the summer, but were defeated by public outcry in August.

Sample Amy Goodman's new column

Check out Amy Goodman's new column. Here is the Nov.22 column:

"Rumsfeld and a mountain of misery"


"Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist, began life as a slave on Maryland's Eastern Shore. When his owner had trouble with the young, unruly slave, Douglass was sent to Edward Covey, a notorious "slave breaker." Covey's plantation, where physical and psychological torture were standard, was called Mount Misery. Douglass eventually fought back, escaped to the North and went on to change the world. Today Mount Misery is owned by Donald Rumsfeld, the outgoing secretary of defense.

It is ironic that this notorious plantation run by a practiced torturer would now be owned by Rumsfeld, himself accused as the man principally responsible for the U.S. military's program of torture and detention."

If you like it try to get your local paper to pick it up.

Monday, November 20, 2006

UCLA campus police taser an Iranian-American student

According to Amy Goodman on this morning's (Mon.) Democracy Now:

"Officials at the University of California in Los Angeles are launching an independent investigation into campus police officers' repeated shocking of an Iranian-American student with a Taser stun gun. The student was handcuffed the entire time. The incident was captured on video has and sparked outrage across his campus and the country."

Ralph Nader on the recent elections

Check out Ralph Nader's take on the recent elections on Common Dreams News Center:

"Bush's Brain, Karl Rove, outsmarted himself and lost a chance to keep control of the Senate in Republican hands. It started and ended in the Connecticut Senate race with Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman as his 'fatal attraction.'"


"On the Democrats' side, the recriminations against Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman, Howard Dean, have begun from the proxies for Hillary and Bill Clinton-namely, James Carville and Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). Their ostensible hostility flows from Dean's determination to run viable Democratic Party races in all fifty states, reversing the policy of ruling out most of the so-called more conservative Red States."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Elizabeth Holtzman calls for impeaching Bush and Cheney

Former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman speaks on impeachment at a forum in Philadelphia, PA, on Nov. 11, 2006,

Friday, November 17, 2006

Next GOP Senate leader threatens to clog up the legislative pipes

Sen. Mitch McConnell

How politically tone deaf are these people? Sounds like a threat to me, but who is he threatening? Isn't this exactly the kind of stuff that the people voted against last week? - Dan

(AP - from The Raw Story)

"The Senate's next Republican leader issued a veiled threat to block action on legislation if Democrats refuse to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's troubled judicial nominations.

"Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will become minority leader Jan. 4, told the conservative Federalist Society Friday not to feel bad about the Senate election results because Republicans will hold 49 seats in a body that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring legislation or presidential nominees to a final vote.

"If the "Democrats want our cooperation, they'll give the president's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote," McConnell said."

Who really won this month's election? And what happens now?

The votes have been counted, the celebrations have been held and the Democrats have majorities in both the House and the Senate, but the question remains: who really won this month's election?

The right-wing pundits are doing their level best to spin the results so that it appears to be a conservative leaning vote. Although, on the face of it, that appears to be ridiculous, it leads me to ask again, who won last week's election? Whose Democratic party is it?

Maybe this question will be clearer if we look at right-wing godfather Richard Viguerie's answer to John Stewart (some months ago on The Daily Show) when asked what the right still wanted given that they controlled both Congress and the White House. Viguerie (who has since written a book Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.) said that they didn't control Congress and the White House, the Republicans did. And until they were actually in control they had to depend on the Republicans.

And that's what we have to understand. We don't control Congress, the Democrats do. So, whose Democratic party is it?

This enlightening colloquy occurred several days ago between Juan Gonzales and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and activist Alice Walker on Democracy Now.

"JUAN GONZALES: I'd like to ask you, as you well know, our nation has just gone through a national election, and there's been some kind of a change. And I'm wondering whether you have any hope that this will be a significant change in the direction of the country. Or is it going to be more of the changing of the guard, but no real substantive change?

"ALICE WALKER: I think it's a good beginning, because you can see that people are awake, and they're really awakening. But it is just a beginning, and the great fear is that people will fall back now and feel that they have actually accomplished something substantive, and that is not true. We have to really just understand that we're beginning, and I think if we know that, we can continue. And one of the things I wanted to mention was how important it is now, instead of rushing forward immediately, that we take some time to reflect on where we're actually going and what kind of society we want."

So there are really three forces at work with the potential to make history at this moment: the Democrats, the Republicans and, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, "we the people" -- the last having voted to put the Democrats in charge. But the Democrats are in charge, not us.

The Democrats and the Republicans are not really "political" parties. They are really collections of legislators who are primarily interested, like all of us, in keeping their jobs. And no matter what "we the people" voted for last week the Democrats will, if history teaches us anything, go back to business as usual as soon as possible. That's why we have to keep applying pressure to remind them why they won control of Congress and what we expect of them.

I suppose how we apply pressure depends on who "we" are. It can mean anything from writing letters, making phone calls and signing petitions on specific issues to massive street demonstrations, particularly to end the war - which may be the first order of business for the upcoming congressional session. But not sitting back and waiting for the results of our votes. Remember the old religious saw - "god helps those who help themselves" - applies in politics as well.

John Stewart (The Daily Show) on 2008 candidates

John Stewart on 2008 candidates

SNL - Nancy Pelosi

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Robert Gates controversial history

By Robert Parry
from Consortiumnews

"One risk of putting career intelligence officer Robert Gates in charge of the Defense Department is that he has a secret – and controversial – history that might open him to pressure from foreign operatives, including some living in countries of U.S. military interest, such as Iran and Iraq.

"Put more crudely, the 63-year-old Gates could become the target of pressure or even blackmail unless some of the troubling questions about his past are answered conclusively, not just cosmetically."

Monday, November 13, 2006

the Bush turns to daddy

Father knows best

Interview with Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, who wrote this week's article on the Bush turning to his father's made men to pull his rocks out of the fire.

Ellen Willis: 1941-2006

I was sad to read about the death of Ellen Willis, a founder of Redstockings, an early and militant feminist organization, and ongoing cultural and political critic.

Although I didn't know Ellen I have known her life partner Stanley Aronowitz for many years. Their work stands for the ideals that need to inform any serious democratic left politics.

Ellen never shied away from the tough issues. From her 1985 Village Voice article, "Abortion: Whose Right to Life is it Anyway" which is still the definitive word on the centrality of the right to control one's body to the very possibility of women's liberation to her recent critique of Tom Frank and "the lefties who love him."

The women's movement and any serious left will be less without her. But in her honor we need to keep fighting for the ideals she insisted we adhere to.

For lots more on Ellen, see Bitch/Lab blog

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Buy Palestinian olive oil for the holidays

From Brooklyn
Parents for

Support Palestinian farmers and families by purchasing fairly-traded olive oil from small farmer cooperatives in the West Bank. Olive Branch Olive Oil comes to us from the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) a non-profit non-governmental organization in the West Bank.

Enjoy delicious, extra-virgin, first-cold-pressed olive oil, produced without pesticides or sprays. (Palestinian farmers traditionally care for their trees without the use of pesticides or sprays. The process is underway for obtaining organic certification.) Bottled in dark green glass bottles for optimal storage, to avoid light; storage advised in cool conditions.

Support tree re-planting and other development projects in Palestine.

Give gifts of olive oil as a way to initiate conversation with friends and family about conditions in Palestine.

Price: $20 per 750 ml bottle. Olive Branch Olive Oil is bottled in dark green glass bottles to avoid light. Storage is advised under cool conditions. (Both light and heat are known enemies of olive oil.) A portion of the purchase price is donated to tree replanting and other development projects in the West Bank. Proceeds also support the ongoing peace and justice work of Brooklyn Parents for Peace.

To arrange for pick-up times and locations, or to purchase larger quantities, contact us at, or call 718-624-5921. (Sorry, we cannot mail or deliver to you.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Post-election videos

(1) John Stewart & Howard Dean celebrate
(2) Jack Murtha
(3) Panel on Bush
(4) Bush "The Cooler"
(5) Returns, etc.

music from MySpace

listen to some music

Can Cheney be smoked out, be careful - he may have a gun

Since last Tuesday's election alot of attention has been paid to the Bush and the incoming Democratic leadership. Meanwhile The Dick has been very far in the background, especially since the firing of his buddy in the Defense Department. But

"[In] the new make-up of Congress. Not only will Conyers be chairing the Judiciary Committee, but Henry Waxman, D-Cal, will be taking over the House Committee on Government Reform.

"Complementing [new judiciary committee chair John] Conyers’s [D-Mich] investigations into pre-war manipulations of intelligence have been Waxman’s investigations into administration favoritism toward Halliburton, which was formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney.

"The Texas-based company has profited handsomely by securing no-bid contracts for everything from rebuilding in Iraq, to supplying U.S. troops with food, to repairing government facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, to building detention facilities in the U.S. ....

"According to an analysis by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, these no-bid contracts have contributed to the value of Cheney’s Halliburton stock options rising by more than 3,000 percent. In 2005, Cheney’s stock options increased in value from $241,498 to over $8 million.

"'It is unseemly," noted Lautenberg, "for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his administration funnels billions of dollars to it."

But isn't that what getting and holding power has been for this administration. Getting richer.

(quotes from Nat Perry on