Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The neocons vs. big oil

Remember Dick Cheney's secret meetings to develop an energy policy in the early days of the first Bush administration before 9/11 "legitimated" their already-developed plan to invade Iraq and privatize the oil.

Here's a brief exchange between independent journalist Greg Palast and former Shell Oil CEO Philip Carroll last week on Democracy Now

"GREG PALAST: So I asked Shell's former boss if the neo-con's agenda matched that of the oil industry.

"PHILIP CARROLL: They're absolutely poles apart. Many neo-conservatives are people who do have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this, that and the other. International oil companies, without exception, are very pragmatic, commercial organizations. They don't have a theology. They don't have a doctrine. They are going to do what is in the best interest of their shareholders.

"GREG PALAST: Americans have never paid so much for gasoline. Big oil execs are grinning. They've never seen such big profits. The neo-cons say we missed the chance to stop this run-up in oil prices. All we had to do was sell off Iraq's oil fields. But big oil killed it."

Watch Palast's full report on big oil and Iraq on Democracy Now

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Howard Zinn on the Left, Congress and the war

Chelsea Neighbors Against the War has reprinted Howard Zinn's latest piece on the Left, Congress and the war in Iraq, which will appear in the May, 2007 issue of The Progressive.

At this moment when Congress is debating cutting-off funds for the this immoral and unpopular war, Zinn not only takes issue with the the "Democrats [who] are behaving with their customary timidity, proposing withdrawal, but only after a year, or eighteen months," but also with sectors of the left like "MoveOn, which polled its members on the Democrat proposal, saying that progressives in Congress, 'like many of us, don’t think the bill goes far enough, but see it as the first concrete step to ending the war.'"

So it is clear that Zinn's article is too urgent to wait for the print version of the May issue of The Progressive. I strongly urge you to check it out on the Chelsea Neighbors' website or that of The Progressive.

I think it's particularly important to herald the courage of the Democrats in the House who voted against the war-funding measure out of a commitment to ending the war NOW - Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, Diane Watson and Barbara Lee, all of California, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, John Lewis of Georgia, Mike McNulty of New York and Mike Michaud of Maine.

The Senate vote on a similar measure should happen any minute. And our posture toward these largely political votes will be very important. As Zinn says:

"When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.

"We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress."

Friday, March 16, 2007

March 21: Book party - Blackwater

Wednesday, March 21st at 7:00 pm.
(Doors open at 6:15)

The New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street at Central Park West, New York City.

Jeremy Scahill will discus Blackwater
in conversation with Nation columnist and best-selling author Naomi Klein and
award-winning journalist and host of Democracy Now! Amy Goodman
in a forum presented by The Nation Institute.

$10 requested donation.

A book signing of Blackwater and No Logo will follow the conversation.

For the full story of the world's most powerful mercenary army and what the privatization of the U.S. military means for American democracy, read Scahill's new book Blackwater (Nation Books). It's an invaluable read for anyone concerned with the direction of the American experiment. Click here for info and to order online.

March 18: March for Peace

Sunday March 18:
NYC Peace March

Brooklyn Parents for Peace

join us

On the 4th anniversary of Bush's War in Iraq,

To say

4 years too many!
Not one more death, not one more dollar!
End the war in Iraq!

1:00 pm Assemble:
Brooklyn delegation: 36th Street East Side of 6th Ave
Youth and student delegation: 37th Street East Side of 6th Ave

2:00 pm March to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, United Nations

Festival of Peace and Justice: continues until 6:00 pm at DH Plaza

We demand:
**Bring our troops home now, safe and alive!
**No more billions for war, death, and destruction!
**Fund human needs: jobs, health care, education, and housing!

Sponsored by United for Peace and Justice
Endorsed by Brooklyn Parents for Peace
Join tens of thousands of New Yorkers in a mighty march!

March 18: Chelsea March to end the war

Join your Chelsea neighbors in the March To End The War
Sunday, March 18th
Chelsea Neighbors United to End the War
assemble at 1 pm
at 6th Avenue at 39th Street (enter from east side)

We are marching for an immediate withdrawal of U. S forces from Iraq;
an end to the funding of this war except for the safe withdrawal of all our armed forces;
no military attacks on Iran;
full funding of veterans benefits;
aid to reconstruct Iraq under Iraqi control;
the redirection of our tax dollars for social programs at home.

Look for the Chelsea Neighbors United signs or
the New York Metro Area Postal Union banner

March route goes past the NYC offices of Senators Clinton and Schumer and then on to the United Nations

For further information on the day of the march call
Chuck at 917-693-9427

Chelsea Neighbors United To End The War
P.O. Box 821
JAF Station
New York, NY 10116-0821

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Has O'Reilly left the human race?

Keith Olbermann once again awarded Bill O'Reilly the "Worst person in the world" label and said that O'Reilly had left the human race in response to his comments about the legal status of the victims of last week's fire in New York (9 children and 1 adult). O'Reilly's major concern was whether the children were in this country illegally. He said that the children died because of "an excess of compassion" that allowed them to be here in the first place.

Olbermann . Although acknowledging that immigration could be a legitimate topic of discussion, that his focus on that as the victims were being buried was outrageous.

Although Olbermann's outrage is more than legitimate since O'Reilly has once again shamed us all, the question is how can someone leave the human race who has never been a part of it in the first place. Buffy where are you now that we need you.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hey Martha! What do you think about scooter's conviction?

Scooter Libby has been convicted of lying, under oath, to a federal grand jury. Apparently, right-wing pundits Bill Kristol and Joseph diGenova do not believe that this kind of offense is worthy of prosecution.

the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol on Fox:

"[Fitzgerald] indicted one person, not for any underlying crime, but for allegedly mis-remembering a couple of conversations with reporters when talking about them to the grand jury — these were conversations that went nowhere. No one thinks Scooter Libby actually leaked Valerie Plame’s name, even if that were a crime, which it isn’t.

"Bush should pardon Scooter Libby and get the whole thing over with…I am blaming Ashcroft for recusing himself. And the CIA was out to get people in the White House at that point. And Bush should pardon Scooter Libby."

Conservative pundit and attorney Joseph diGenova is trying to portray a pardon of Libby as standard operating procedure:

"I think ultimately, of course, there are going to be pardons,” said Joseph diGenova, a former prosecutor and an old Washington hand who shares that view with many pundits. “These are the kinds of cases in which historically presidents have given pardons."

This, of course, is only the tip of the pardon-scooter-today iceberg.

So Martha, what do you think of all this fuss about Scooter's conviction for lying to the authorities? Although he will almost surely be pardoned, he might actually go to jail.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

March 27: Book party: The Cost of Privilege

Many of you have heard about Chip Smith's incredible book--The Cost of Privilege: Taking on the System of White Supremacy and Racism-- . The book is now out, and there's a...

Book Party/Forum

Tuesday, March 27, 7 p.m.

with Bill Fletcher Jr., Harmony Goldberg and the author, Chip Smith

Brecht Forum
451 West St. (betw. Bank & Bethune)

Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15-No one turned away

(A/C/E/L to 14th St. & 8th Ave, walk down 8th Ave. to Abingdon Square, turn right onto Bethune St., walk west and turn left on West St., the last block before the highway)

Bill Fletcher Jr. is former president of TransAfrica Forum and a long-time activist in the labor and Black liberation movements.

Harmony Goldberg, a veteran of Bay Area youth organizing and popular education projects such as SOUL (School of Unity and Liberation) and a former trainer with the Challenging White Supremacy workshop, is currently a student of Cultural Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Chip Smith is the author of The Cost of Privilege: Taking on the System of White Supremacy and Racism, which will be available for sale. He has been a Machinists union departmental steward and a founder of Fayetteville Peace with Justice, and is a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The death of [Capt.] America

Captain America is dead (Captain America #25}. He probably won't be laid out in the Capitol rotunda. The masses won't be able to pay their respects. He might even be resurrected like his D.C. cohort Superman. Perhaps when the villains currently occupying the White House are gone. But for now, he's dead.

When an icon dies it is a moment for reflection. The death of the Capt. is clearly such a moment.

In the ancient world the people had to live up to their ideals in order not to anger the gods. So today we need to earn the right to our superheros. Capt. America was one of the modern pantheon. Not exactly a superhero - Steve Rogers actually had no super powers - but the ultimate human being. Created to fight Hitler and the Nazis in the age of FDR, perhaps he no longer had a role to play in "the new American century" represented by miniatures such as Bush, Cheney and the recently departed Rumsfeld.

Bush could never fill out the uniform.

According to the Marvel Universe:

"From art student to super soldier to symbol of America to rebel leader, Steve Rogers is the living symbol of the ideals of America."

But America has to live up to those ideals in order to justify a living symbol to protect them.

Goodbye Capt. in your 66 years you've been a true super-hero. Come back soon. Till then rest-in-peace.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Paris Hilton of the right

Just as Paris Hilton will do anything to get attention, (for example, her porn video mysteriously appeared on line just before the debut of her TV "reality" show) so it seems will Ann Coulter.
There is nothing political about Coulter's screeds. If there were the level of our political discourse would have descended below even that of Bush and Rove. Just like Hilton when Coulter has something to sell, like a book, she trashes a few 911 widows. When she needs to be noticed at a right-wing conference, she pushes the ugly envelope further than even her right-wing cohorts can stomach.

She brought her March 2 speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)in Washington, D.C., to a conclusion with these words:

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm - so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions."

To not see this as a desperate cry for attention by a person of very limited talents is to be manipulated by her as she twists the corporate media. The only thing she's actually good at.

Ann Coulter doesn't need rehab, she needs Super Nanny.