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Sun

29

Oct

2006

What’s in a Word: Wal-Mart and the New Jersey Supreme Court

By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

 

Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party used the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred of Jews, gypsies, the physically and mentally impaired and, of course, homosexuals. The Klu Klux Klan still uses the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred of Blacks, Jews and, of course, homosexuals.

 

The American Family Association constantly uses the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred, but they have a more focused target: homosexuals and any group or company that supports the social recognition or legal equality of gay and lesbian Americans, such as the dastardly “pro-homosexual” Wal-Mart chain.

{mosmedia} 

Don Wildmon’s American Family Association – which is dedicated to demeaning, denigrating and, if possible, destroying gay and lesbian Americans and their families – has 

called on Christian consumers to spend their dollars elsewhere as a sign of their displeasure with Wal-Mart’s pro-homosexual leanings, says the nation’s largest retailer is not just working with the homosexual agenda of the NGLCC [National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce], it is promoting it. As proof, AFA offers up examples of books available for purchase through Wal-Mart’s online bookstore – books the pro-family group contends support or defend homosexuality.
 
 

Mon

16

Oct

2006

An Appeal for South India's Wild Elephants!

By Ingmar Lee & Krista Roessingh

We are appealing for your immediate help to protect South India's last significant herds of Wild Elephants! Please take a few moments to familiarize yourselves with the predicament of these magnificent animals!

Recent estimates of the number of Asian elephants (Elephus maximus) remaining in the wild range from 35,000 at the low end to 50,000 at the upper end. Asian elephants once ranged throughout most of Asia, but their habitat has been reduced to isolated fragments, often with boundaries that restrict traditional migrations and gene flow.
This expanding human settlement/wildland interface has lead to increased pressure on populations due to human-elephant conflicts ranging from poaching to crop-raiding and roadkills. The distribution of Asian elephant populations in India is well known but population estimates, ranging from 26,000 to 31,000 are up to 14 years out of date and many are based on less than rigorous data collection. Also, effective population sizes are lower due to selective poaching of males for ivory.

 

Sat

14

Oct

2006

From Liberating Spirituality to Oppressive Dogma: The Politics of Religion

By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

Spirituality is intrapersonal. It’s a liberating and uplifting awareness. It nurtures personal growth. It inspires more conscious perceptions. But when personal spirituality is organized into a religion, an institution is produced and, as all institutions, it then produces a hierarchy who concoct dogma that has nothing to do with spirituality and everything to do with maintaining social and political control.

The Roman Catholic Church lied about and covered-up decades of child abuse by priests. When finally exposed, they responded by banning “gay priests.” But as Kathryn Conroy, assistant dean of Columbia University’s School of Social Work, pointed out in a New York Times piece following the Vatican’s ban on “gay priests”:

What is forgotten in all of the hysteria about priest sexual abuse is that pedophilia is about a sexual attraction to children (most often, regardless of their sex) and about access. …

Reliable studies show that pedophiles (those adults who sexually abuse children) are overwhelmingly heterosexual. In fact, homosexuals are statistically underrepresented as those who sexually abuse children. …

Further, women have far lower rates of sexually abusing children than men do. So if the church were really serious about protecting children from sexual abuse by priests, gays would not be excluded from the priesthood and ordination would be extended to women.

 

Sat

18

Nov

2006

Saving Condi's Life
by Mickey Z.

There's a disturbing dynamic that occurs on every Manhattan street corner, every minute of every day. By simply watching the typical New York City pedestrian when he or she reaches the corner at a red light, you get a pretty good idea of what it's like to deal with an overcrowded, rancorous metropolitan area on a daily basis: No one waits on the sidewalk.

Even if a thousand cars are racing by, practically every single New Yorker insists on stepping a few steps out into the street while waiting for the light to change. They'll even go as far as squeezing themselves past other impatient street-crossers just to get to the front of the pack. We are so hyped up, so overstressed, so programmed to do everything fast that we can't even endure waiting 30 seconds for a damn traffic light. We'll risk death by stepping off the curb in order to get a head start on the green light.

With this in mind, here's a little thought experiment: Let's say I'm on such a corner as a pedestrian pushes past me-too harried to realize that she is stepping directly into the path of an oncoming SUV. I reach out, grab hold of her jacket, and yank her back to safety...only to realize it was none other than Condoleezza Rice. I wonder: How might that make me feel?
 

Sun

29

Oct

2006

No-brainer: Hillary loves Dick (Cheney, that is)
by Mickey Z.

When you're bored, get on board. For some that might mean a surfboard, a snowboard, or maybe a skateboard. For Vice President Dick Cheney, when he's not busy shooting lawyers, hiding out in undisclosed locations, or tampering with the U.S. Constitution, it's waterboarding for him. Plus, if we're to believe the rumors, Deadeye Dick may have an unlikely new playmate... a certain blonde with the initials HRC.

While being interviewed on Fargo radio, the VP was asked: "Would you agree that a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Dick replied, "It's a no-brainer for me." To him, holding someone's head under water until they talk (a.k.a. "waterboarding") is just part of "a fairly robust interrogation program."

Which brings us to the mysterious HRC and I don't think I have to tell you her full name. Just a few months ago Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that the Military Commissions Act "undermines the Geneva Conventions by allowing the president to issue executive orders to redefine what are permissible interrogation techniques." She wondered: "Have we fallen so low as to debate how much torture we are willing to stomach?"
 

Thu

19

Oct

2006

How To Spot A Dictator

by Tom Chartier  

Well, now that we have established a Democratic Dictatorship there seems to be some confusion. This is America! Constitutional Monarchy?  It can’t happen here! We learned that in the third grade.  

It has happened here! With the passing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, America has its very first bona fide dictator! The Silver Spoon Kid from Texas has made good. Yee ha! Ride ‘em cowboy! Oops, excuse me, that phrase best fits Rep. Mark Foley. 

Sadly, not all seem to be hot for Hitler-nouveau. I’m certainly displeased and plan to write a strongly worded letter to my Congressman. Fact is, I’m mad as Hell. I like to think that the U.S. is still a Democratic Republic! Well folks, the times they are a changin’ and not in a good way. Don’t people read or follow the news, beyond FOX infotainment? Never mind answering that question. It’s rhetorical. 

Maybe what we have here is a failure to communicate. We need a refresher course on how to Spot A Dictator! It’s a lot like the old Monty Python skit Spot The Loony but the prizes you win (and lose) are a whole lot more serious. 


 

Thu

09

Nov

2006

Myth of the brave soldier

by Mickey Z.

 

In a recent correspondence, Adam Engel wrote: "One of the greatest myths about America is that it's the 'home of the brave.' Once, perhaps, prior to 1492. Now, it's most likely the greatest collection of cowards in the Milky Way Galaxy." Engel specifically mentioned our lack of response to losing habeas corpus and to being both "subject to eternal imprisonment for liberating animals from vivisection labs" and "complicit in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Afghanis, South and Central Americans, Haitians etc. etc. etc."

He could've also included our acquiescence in a frighteningly broad range of areas, e.g. access to health care, tolerance for voting irregularities, directly funding the Israeli war machine, and stomaching the groupthink behind saluting a flag. Americans talk the talk but when ordered to remove their shoes before going through airport security, it's "yes sir" all the way.

 


For the purposes of this article I'd like to highlight another area in which American bravery is lacking...an area I have touched on before: supporting the troops. As John Kerry's recent episode demonstrated, one cannot appear to criticize the men and women in uniform without paying a high price. There are many who identify themselves as "anti-war" who will vigorously defend the troops. Even when faced with documented evidence of criminality, Americans still cannot summon the bravery to condemn the military.

 

Tue

31

Oct

2006

Texas Versus Tel Aviv: US Policy in the Middle East
 By James Petras

The struggle within the US power structure between the economic empire builders (EEB) and the civilian militarists/Zioncons over US Middle East and global policy is now out in the open and intensifying. The EEB now have a politically powerful organizational expression, the Baker Commission (known officially as the Iraq Study Group) led by the formidable former Secretary of State, James Baker. The EEB are backed by a group of bipartisan congressional leaders, sectors of the traditional military elite, a powerful coalition of Texas-based oil and gas groups and sectors of Wall Street financial houses and potentially a large majority of public opinion. Against them are the civilian militarists in the Pentagon, State Department and White House (Rumsfelt, Chaney, Rice, Bolton and Bush), a declining majority of Congressional Democrats and Republicans, the Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations headed by the America-Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and their influential apparatchiks in the mass media and their numerous ‘grass roots’ political fronts (political action committees).

What is at stake is of fundamental importance to the future of US politics; not only in the Middle East, which is the immediate catalyst for the drawing up of sides, but the entire way in which US policy is formulated and equally important how the US will engage in defending and expanding its global empire.

 

Thu

12

Oct

2006

Who killed Michael Moore? (Why and what's the reason for?)

(Inspired by the recent assassination of Russian journalist Anna

Politkovskaya)
 

There's no shortage of outrage on the Left. Plenty of marches and manifestos to go along with the myriad calls to change this and take back that. Toss in the occasional fighting words and the intermittent flirtation with property damage and the Left typically does just enough to get itself effectively demonized by the mainstream...thus making it that much easier for the police to get away with swinging their nightsticks at the next "anti-globalization" protest.
So, here's my question: What would those who identify as leftists do if one of their high profile icons were openly eliminated? For the sake of argument, let's say the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)‹with the full support of the corporate media‹overtly did away with Michael Moore for his political beliefs and anti-corporate activism.
 

 

Thu

16

Nov

2006

The Price of Imperial Arrogance
by Stephen Lendman

Lyndon Johnson was a conflicted man about Vietnam almost from the time he took office. As early as May, 1964, he confessed his doubts about the conflict to his good friend Senator Richard Russell in one of the many phone calls he taped in the Oval Office. That was three months before the fateful Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave him congressional authorization for military action in Southeast Asia without needing a formal declaration of war for it. Later that year, he privately acknowledged the Tonkin Gulf incident never happened and told Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara "we concluded maybe they hadn't fired at all." He was referring to the claimed attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on two US destroyers which, on its face, seemed preposterous but which propelled this country deeply into the Vietnam conflict that didn't end until President Gerald Ford evacuated the last of the US forces and a few South Vietnamese collaborators in humiliation from the rooftop of the US Embassy in Saigon 11 years later in April, 1975.

They left behind a nation in ruins, its landscape devastated and chemically poisoned that remains so today, and a few million dead Southeast Asians in three countries showing the kind of men Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were - imperial war lords who never had to answer for their war crimes as they never do under a system of victor's justice. The only compensation the victims got was their freedom from US aggression when realizing it couldn't win it decided to give up a futile fight and pull out.

Long before he left office, Johnson knew the war was unwinnable, and in 1965 told Secretary McNamara "I don't believe they're ever going to quit. And I don't see....that we have any....plan for victory - militarily or diplomatically" - spoken as he was about to escalate the conflict dramatically by shipping over many thousands more US forces that would eventually exceed a half million before things began to be scaled down in preparation for the final exodus in disgrace and defeat. Johnson did it even while confiding to his closest Senate friend, Richard Russell, that he was on the horns of his greatest dilemma. He had to find a way out of the Vietnam mess he felt was pointless but said he couldn't do it without being impeached - for Johnson, a classic Hobson's choice or in his own words "I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't." He asked his savvy friend for advice, but Russell told him he had none. Johnson felt trapped, and in May, 1964, (when the US commitment stood at a 16,000 troop strength level) he told Russell "We're in quicksand up to our necks, and I just don't know what the hell to do about it."
 

Thu

09

Nov

2006

The Emperor's New Clothes

by D.A. Weaz

The most remarkable thing about what the future holds for Dubya will be the prospect that he will have far fewer shields for his patent idiocy. For it was quite easy for George to hide behind Congressional Majority leaders of both Houses to offer guidance, support and the "jumpstart the propaganda" sound bytes, allowing the President's own one line regurgitations to have already had a phalanx of pundits and more eloquent speakers translating his one liners into a larger policy. The days of Congressional leaders supporting, rather than challenging, the President's vision are over. And even Rummy, for all of his arrogance, bluster and errant judgment, did actually have proficient command of the English language and a condescending air of authority that hinted that he might know more than what our own lyin' eyes were telling us every day. Rummy is history.

 



So it now leaves a handful of translators and apologists. And even these are in disarray. "Shoot a man in the face" Dick Cheney has about the personality and charm of soiled toiletpaper and is one of the few politicans with an even lower approval rating than Dubya's. He is not likely to help. Ken Mehlmann, perhaps after looking like he's aged ten years in two, is rumored to be on the way out. And though Ken was on the dark side, he was smart enough to at least be both likeable and knowledgeable about issues, and yet that didn't stop him from running a clearly racist ad in Tennissee, which, though detestable, wound up winning the Senate seat in the best tradition of race baiting Southern politicians. Ken will be sorely needed, and his loss to the newly needed, kinder, gentler Rethuglican will be catastrophic, thinking about two years out.

So that leaves Condi. Articulate and loved by the media, she has constantly shown that she is incapable of earning the respect of those who matter most: the President and his army of warmongers. She might have more of a chance now that all of the NeoCons jumped off of the President's rotting carcass before yesterday's bloodbath, but there will still be a Dick in the corner office. And getting around that Dick has really be tough for Condi. They apparently don't mix well together.

And yes, there will always be the echoing media. But even these normal Republican doves have started taking shots at the Administration. They will surely try to limit the damage as much as possible, for example still refraining to declare Virginia's Senate race over, though all the votes are counted. But there is only so much spinning you can do, especially when Americans have finally woken up to the fact that our media is ranked #53 worldwide for good reason.

In short, these two years will be even more taxing than the string of disasters that brought George to this place. For now Congressional inquiries will mean that he will finally have to do something that he or his administration haven't had to do in six years: establish that their conduct fell WITHIN the bounds of the law. This will tax the President to no end because the prospect of criminal liability looms. And while he will certainly not be impeached, who can say what will happen if a Democratic President emerges in 2008 and we can explore much more completely the extent of George's criminality. And if then a Justice Department were worthy of its name, George's already historic string of bad luck could get much, much worse.

In the meantime, look to George to put on his most polite manners and congenial, back slapping persona. But this just reveals what a historically pathetic character he is: given a bit of power, he runs power amok, intoxicated with arrogance, infallibility and irreverence. When, however, he is called to account, he will retreat like a sheepish child, and hope a couple chuckles and shy smiles will get him out of the mess that he's made.

He is and has been a national disgrace. Having him explain the actions of his Administration, after stripping him of the wall of spokespeople separating him from reality, should be punishment enough.

But it is not. If Saddam can hang, "serious consequences" should ensue to George.

Maybe not now. But his time will come.

Just like he said: "We ARE a nation of laws."

 
A Self-Defeating War

by George Soros

 

The war on terror is a false metaphor that has led to counterproductive and self-defeating policies. Five years after 9/11, a misleading figure of speech applied literally has unleashed a real war fought on several fronts -- Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia -- a war that has killed thousands of innocent civilians and enraged millions around the world. Yet al Qaeda has not been subdued; a plot that could have claimed more victims than 9/11 has just been foiled by the vigilance of British intelligence.

Unfortunately, the "war on terror" metaphor was uncritically accepted by the American public as the obvious response to 9/11. It is now widely admitted that the invasion of Iraq was a blunder. But the war on terror remains the frame into which American policy has to fit. Most Democratic politicians subscribe to it for fear of being tagged as weak on defense.

 

Fri

17

Nov

2006

Iran turns up the Heat
by Mike Whitney

By now, anyone with a lick of sense can see that the war in Iraq has been a dead-loss. Still, few people understand how it has disrupted the region’s strategic balance and is quickening America’s decline as a world power.

The US is already facing fierce headwinds in the near future withthe deflating housing market,the falling dollar, and the growing prospects of a deep recession. A sudden realignment in the Middle East would be a major hit to the American economy. Even so, it’s looking more and more like big changes are on the way.

The problem is that American power is waning just as Iran’s is ascendant. This doesn’t bode well for the “Great Satan” whose economy relies on dependable sources of cheap oil.

Iran is playing a clever game in Iraq using US occupation forces to crush the Ba’athist-led resistance while expanding their influence via the Shiite militias. This is a “lose-lose” situation for the United States. American troops must continue to focus on one enemy while they inadvertently strengthen the other. How long will it be before the Bush administration sees that they’ve been supporting the very group which is most hostile to American interests?
 

Wed

08

Nov

2006

Torture Memories

By Shepherd Bliss


I try not to think about torture. Then I read the following: Vice-President Dick Cheney apparently defends it, a U.S. soldier who objects to interrogation techniques commits suicide, articles with titles like “Torture’s Not So Bad, If It’s Done for a War Worth Fighting,” and Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet was recently arrested and charged with torture.

Feelings about close friends tortured over thirty years ago in Chile rush in. Unfortunately, my experiences with U.S.-supported torture have been quite direct and specific.

To most people, torture is just an idea, probably abstract and distant. Not to me. Hearing the word, I feel, rather than think. I remember…a sharp pain rises in my stomach.

 

Thu

12

Oct

2006

The Mushroom Cloud over the U.N.

 

The Bush administration has repeatedly rejected North Korea’s appeals for a “non-aggression” pact. Bush believes that he has the inherent right to attack whomever he chooses if it is in the national interest, which is to say, if it furthers his ambitions for global domination.

Bush has openly supported “regime change” in North Korea and placed the country on his axis of evil list. On a personal level, Bush stated that he “loathes” Kim Jung-il and has referred to him as “a pygmy”.

These provocations have been duly noted in North Korea. Kim knows that he’s a top candidate for a preemptive attack unless he develops a credible deterrent. Any sane person would draw the same conclusion even if they hadn’t been humiliated in public as “evil”.

 

Fri

17

Nov

2006

Family Feud: Little Bush Hits Back at Daddy

by Chris Floyd

Bush Initiates Iraq Policy Review Separate From Baker Group's (Washington Post)

Excerpt: President Bush formally launched a sweeping internal review of Iraq policy yesterday, pulling together studies underway by various government agencies, according to U.S. officials. The initiative… parallels the effort by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to salvage U.S. policy in Iraq, develop an exit strategy and protect long-term U.S. interests in the region…The White House's decision changes the dynamics of what happens next to U.S. policy deliberations. The administration will have its own working document as well as recommendations from an independent bipartisan commission to consider as it struggles to prevent further deterioration in Iraq.

When I saw the Newsweek cover featuring Big Daddy Bush muscling toward the front with a diminished little Dubya skulking in the background, my first thought was: How is Junior going to react to this? Bush II's resentment toward his father is well-known -- a resentment no doubt compounded by his lifelong, abject dependence on Daddy's financial and political pull -- and I knew that Little Bush would not simply accept this media humiliation and move on.
 
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