Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cheney pulls a fast one for Halliburton

Magicians rely on slight-of-hand to distract their audience while they pull off a trick. It seems that while vice-president Cheney had the media distracted with his shooting story, he was taking care of business elsewhere.

The New York Times reports that while everyone was focusing on his shooting incident,
"The Army has decided to reimburse a Halliburton subsidiary for nearly all of its disputed costs on a $2.41 billion no-bid contract to deliver fuel and repair oil equipment in Iraq, even though the Pentagon's own auditors had identified more than $250 million in charges as potentially excessive or unjustified."

The NYT goes on to report that: "One of Halliburton's most persistent critics, Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat who is the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform, said in a written statement about the Army's decision, 'Halliburton gouged the taxpayer, government auditors caught the company red-handed, yet the Pentagon ignored the auditors and paid Halliburton hundreds of millions of dollars and a huge bonus.'"

It helps the profit line to have a slight-of-hand expert in the White House. Cheney, the magician, pulled a fast one on us.

March 6: Free Leonard Peltier rally

Political Prisoner held for 30 years by U.S. government

March 6, 6:30 pm

Community Church
35th St. & Park Ave.

Program Includes:

Film - Incident at Oglala: The Leonard Peltier Story, a Robert Redford Documetary

A Special Mesage from Leonard Peltier
Tiokasin Ghosthorse, First Voices Indigenous Radio
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!
Barry Bachrach & Mike Kuzma, Attorneys for Leonard Peltier
Toni Zeiden, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Donation for Leonard Peltier Defense Committee: $5.00 (no one turned away)

Leonard Peltier is a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota Nations who has been unjustly imprisoned since 1976, even though government attorneys and courts acknowledge that the government withheld and fabricated evidence and coerced witnesses in order to fraudulently convict him.

Leonard is recognized worldwide as a political prisoner and a symbol or resistance against the abuse and repression of indigenous people.

This year marks the 30th year of Leonard's imprisonment. Despite the fact that the government has admitted that the trial was a fraud, Leonard remains behind bars because The government doesn't want this vocal defender of indigenous rights to be free.

for more information:


Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bushworld image over substance comes back to kick them in the head.

If you live by public image with no substance, you will die by public image.
Several weeks ago Karl Rove spoke to the Republican National committee, giving them advice on winning in 1906:
"At the core, we are dealing with two parties that have fundamentally different views on national security," He said. "Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview. That doesn't make them unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."
This has, of course, been the mantra of the Bush administration since 9/11. Now it's coming back to bite them big time.

It seems that Cheney and Rumsfeld got King George W. to put down his toy guns long enough to brief him on the sale of our ports to Dubai Ports World - a company owned by the United Arab Emirates' monarchy. And sent him out to once again play a president on TV.
"The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government, the more they'll be comforted that our ports will be secure," He said.
Perhaps not the public image that the "post-9/11-worldview Republicans" want to project.
Those Republicans are abandoning the Bush/Dubai ship as fast as possible. They don't really care whether the criticisms of the deal have any validity. Remember in the new Rove-created right-wing world it's image not substance that counts.

It's hard to believe that there aren't some Bush, or more likely Cheney cronies - if there are any he hasn't shot - who are benefiting from this deal. That's usually the bottom line for this administration.

I have no idea whether the Dubai ports deal makes sense or not. But neither does anyone else at this point. It's not likely at this rate that anyone will stop long enough to find out. As usual the Democrats aren't performing any better than the Republicans. But we'll see.

It's going to be interesting to see how Bush accomplice and current hot potential '08 Republican presidential nominee will be affected by her visit to the UAE Thursday where She met with UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, the emirate that owns the port operations company, and Crown Prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

Donald and Martha: media manipulation

So, what should we make of the latest celebrity pissing contest.
Martha Stewart pisses-off Donald Trump with some dumb comments (justifying her failed version of "Tea Apprentice") and he responds with one of the nastiest "Dear Martha" letters in recent celeb history. It's almost like a Paris Hilton versus almost any twenty-something young female who has had a photo in the media more recently than Paris.
I can certainly understand if you think this is absurdly trivial
If you care about all this, and I can certainly understand if you want to skip on to the next post. There is a point worth making, so pay attention before you move on.
It's about media manipulation, the heart of the current right-wing.

The New York Post hit it on the head - I never thought those words would trip off my fingers - but in this case they are actually right (which means they agree with me).

"The pairs new public 'Apprentice' animosity, media experts say, is likely to give each of them millions of dollars of national, prime-time publicity - for nothing."
"Some need air to live, but publicity is the source of life (for Stewart and Trump) that keeps them going, in a business sense.... They deserve each other."

Startlingly this feud breaks into the media on the eve of a new "Apprentice" season. (Remember how surprisingly Paris' porn tape came to light on the eve of the first season of "The Simple Life"}. These people are not playing in the minor media leagues.

"Martha Stewart's nasty outbursts against The Donald came on the eve of her jubilant unveiling [Wednesday]of the first quarterly profit in two years at her Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia homemaking empire."

Ah! How easy it is to manipulate the mainstream media.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What does "democracy" mean to Bush?

When it turned out that every pre-invasion excuse turned into mythology - no 9/11 connection, no weapons of Mass Destruction, etc. - the Bushies turned to the old saw: bringing democracy to the previously unenlightened.

Now the question arises: What does democracy mean in the Bush lexicon?

We've known since 2000 that it doesn't mean the will of the majority or Al Gore would be president.

When the people in the Middle East took Bush at his word about bringing democracy to them and went out to vote in numbers unknown in the "cradle of democracy" what has it meant? Iran, under it's newly-elected leadership, has been told that if it doesn't behave as Bush wants, it is likely to be the next victim of "regime change." The Palestinians have been told that if they don't change their newly-elected Hamas-led government, the U.S. and Israel will not do business with them.

And now: Remember a short time ago the great success that was claimed by the Bushies and their clowns on Fox News and the N.Y. Post for the the elections in Iraq? Well here's the latest twist on the democracy Bush brought to Iraq

According to the New York Daily News, "The U.S. Ambassador bluntly warned Iraqi leaders yesterday that they risk losing American support unless they establish a national unity government that places the police and the army out of the hands of religious parties."

He went on to say: "We are not going to invest the resources of the American people and build forces that are run by people who are sectarian."

In other words: Do as we say, not as we do. You didn't really think we meant all that stuff about an independent democracy, did you?

How long will it be before the changed regime in Iraq will have to be changed? I guess the WMD were the ballot boxes or what the Iraqis put in them.

Bryant Gumble on the Winter Olympics

Bryant Gumble on the Winter Olympics:

"So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."

Bush's Mistakes

Drawing from: Clueless George
Goes To War
by Pat Bagley
The day when an accounting will have to be made is coming soon - Dan

Who's Counting Bush's Mistakes?

By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real.

"Given how ambitious and wide-ranging the incompetence of this administration has been, it's high time we started keeping track of its many failures.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, "The louder he spoke of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." And no administration in U.S. history has spoken louder, or as often, of its honor.

So let us count our spoons."

(For more of this)

A quiz

Which current president is Peter Brookes talking about in Monday's N.Y. Post?

"[He] has seized private property, closed radio and TV stations for anti-government content and jailed critics. He has consolidated single-party rule, stacked the courts...and won a[n] election by stuffing ballot boxes...."

Nope, it's not the one you think it is.
Brookes is at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, so he's talking about Venezuela's Hugo Chavez;
but we know who this really describes to a T.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Real conservatives v. Phony (Bush) conservatives

For an interesting piece on some divisions within the right wing (real conservatives v. neo-Bush-conservatives) check out Glenn Greenwald's "Do Bush followers have a political ideology?" It's on his blog: Unclaimed Territory.

I know internecine warfare isn't always interesting to outsiders, in this case it's quite fascinating.

For another much less sophisticated version of the same story from outside the right wing try R.J.Eskow's "Shot Through the Heart & You're to Blame: Conservatism as Psychopathology" on The Huffington Post

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Feb. 18: Talk - Confessions of an Economic Hitman

Photo by H. Abbink

Feb. 28, 6:00 PM

Hear author JOHN PERKINS speak about his provocative book, Confessions of an
Economic Hitman
, and his story of how America built an empire on third world debt.

15th Floor (1501 IAB),
420 West 118th Street

Sponsored by Columbia University’s Forum on Globalization, Economic and Political Development Program, Corporate Social Responsibility Network, Human Rights Working Group, and Students for Economic and Environmental Justice

*Books will be available courtesy of Labyrinth

In CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN Perkins reveals for the first time how he played the deadly game of U.S. imperialism and names other players involved. He will tell you:

• Why he was a perfect candidate for EHM. Who selected him and how.
• What an EHM does. How sex, extortion, and murder are used.
• Why he did it. What he got out of it.
• How companies such as Bechtel and Halliburton manipulate the
• The dire consequences of defaulting on a loan, such as the
expropriation of natural resources, assignment of UN votes to the
U.S., assassination, etc.
• Why this drive to global empire has recently escalated and
how major corporations like Nike, General Electric, and K-Mart have
entered the EHM folds with Washington’s support.
• Which countries are next on the Economic Hit Mans’ lists?
• Why Perkins is finally disclosing this dark and secret side of his

For more information about the book see:

John Perkins is founder and president of the Dream Change Coalition, which works closely with Amazonian and other indigenous people to help preserve their environments and cultures. He was previously founder and CEO of Independent Power
Systems, an alternative energy provider. From 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas. T. Main, where he became Chief Economist and Director of Economics and Regional Planning.

Questions? Contact: Karena (klc2106 @ columbia.edu)

About the Forum on Globalization (FoG): FoG seeks to bring critical analysis on issues of globalization to Columbia University. Through speaking events and debates, we seek to bridge the gap between academic, civil society and governmental perspectives and broaden the discussion and debate of the implications of economic globalization. By doing this, FoG hopes to inspire future leaders throughout the Columbia community to better perceive the complexity and relevancy of globalization toward the advancement of the common good.

For more information, email FOG at
sipa-fog-request @ lists.riseup.net

Deadeye Dick and the Wasington press corps

Well the right-wing blowhards are foaming at the mouth about the press attention to Deadeye Dick's shooting. Here's Rich Lowry in the N.Y.Post:
"Let's stipulate that hunting accidents are bad things. Let's further stipulate that Vice President Dick Cheney should have immediately made public his accidental shooting of a friend while quail hunting, rather than waiting roughly 18 hours — the missing 1,080 minutes of the shooting scandal. None of that can account for the raving lunacy that has seized the Washington press corps in its treatment of the incident."

What do you think would "account for the raving lunacy that has seized the Washington press corps?" Oh yes, the president getting a blow job. Now there's something important, not the vice-president shooting someone.

Priorities! Priorities!

It's so hard to figure out what the right wing is going to thin k is important from administration to administration.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bill O'Reilly, Brokeback Mountain & the Oscars

In whichever dimension Bill O'Reilly comes from it seems clear that above all ignorance is bliss, because the less he knows about a subject the more authoritatively he writes about it. Here's his take on the likelihood of Brokeback Mountain winning an Oscar March 6:
"So that's what's in play this year at the Academy Awards--a social and political statement. And that's why Star Wars and Harry Potter and Narnia, the three largest grossing movies of the year, are not in the best picture running. Spectacular movies often make tons of money, but they do not advance any cause. Gone are the days when "Gone With the Wind"-type entertainment ruled the Hollywood day.

"So how should we process the current Hollywood award process? Well, I don't have a problem with it. Certainly, it is wrong that some gay Americans, especially teenagers, are made to suffer because of their predilections. Every American should be able to pursue happiness on an equal basis, including gays [By getting married?].

"But I also think the entertainment industry should be up front in explaining what films it values and why it finds them especially worthy. Most Americans are not gonna see "Brokeback Mountain" because they don't relate to the subject, and if Hollywood is now in the "culture-shaping business," it should admit it.

"So look for Oscar night to be a huge night for shepherds who roam the range in their own consensual way. Hollywood is making a statement and Americans should be getting the message loud and clear."

What could this nonsense possibly mean? So Hollywood once upon a time honored money-making O'Reilly-type films like Gone with the Wind (which is, of course true), but now, only message-driven Hollywood only honors films that try to change the world.

This is, of course, standard O'Reilly operating procedure: he finds something offensive, he attributes the same opinions to "most Americans," for whom he speaks. He says that he has no intention of going to see Brokeback Mountain, so obviously most Americans "don't relate to the subject." Obviously my views on Brokeback Mountain and O'Reilly's vastly differ (partly because I have actually seen the film), but that's not what's important about this. It's O'Reilly's blatant ignorance of film history. He just creates reality as it is convenient for his message, a bit like James Fry (A Million Little Pieces).

Here are just a few of the "non-Message" films that have won the Best Picture Oscar: All Quiet on the Western Front, Gentlemen's Agreement, On the Waterfront, In the Heat of the Night, Dances with Wolves.

I guess O'Reilly missed those, since he only goes to see films that the American people like. Come on Bill! Why not stick to what you actually know something about, like who says Merry Christmas and who says Happy Holidays. And leave views on films and awards to those who doesn't have a homophobic ax to grind.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Feb 21: Protest Hillary Clinton fundtaiser

Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m

Join Code Pink as they continue the campaign to Bird-dog Hillary Clinton for her stance on the Iraq War!

Protest outside "Late Night with Hillary Clinton" Fundraiser

Outside Crobar
530 West 28th Stt (bt 10th and 11th Aves)

(Photo by Nancy Kricorian.
courtesy of CodePink)

COSTUMING & SIGNS: We will be wearing large theatrical ears and pink gear. Please wear pink.

Hillary Clinton said the U.S. should not set a deadline for troop withdrawal because "it would play into the hands of the insurgents."
She characterized Representative John Murtha?s call for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops as "a big mistake."

Polls show that a majority of Iraqis want the U.S. troops to leave, as do a majority of U.S. voters, including 62% of women queried in a recent poll. So why is Hillary incapable of taking a clear stand on this issue? While Hillary waffles and panders, people are dying.

And join us this Friday, February 17th from 12:30-1:30 for our weekly
vigil outside Hillary?s office on the southwest corner of 49th and 3rd.

Feb 20: Anti-war coffin march

Feb. 20,


assemble at 11:30 am
at noon there will be a procession to the military recruiting offices on Flatbush Ave. (at Livingston).

Brooklyn Borough Hall, opposite the intersection of Remsen and Courts Streets (subways: "Court St." stop on R, "Borough Hall" stop on 2, 3, 4, 5, and the "Borough Hall/Jay St." stop on A, C, F is just a block away).

Contact nycwrl@att.net for more information.

Frida Berrigan 347.683.4928
Todd Eaton 917.620.7781
Ed Hedemann 718.768.7306

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012

The New York City Local of the War Resisters League (WRL) will hold a funeral march on Feb. 20, (Presidents Day) to protest the loss of life in the war being waged against Iraq.
Participants will carry coffins draped in black and American flags, representing the Iraqis and Americans killed in the war.

This is the fourth funeral procession in as many months and the NYC War Resisters League plans to continue the processions until the war in Iraq is ended and the last
soldier is returned home.
Organizers have announced that the marches will occur monthly and will visit a wide variety of New York City recruiting centers - in all five boroughs.
This is the first of these marches to occur outside of Manhattan.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Feb. 16: Forum: Military out of our Schools

Feb. 16, 7:00 pm

Forum: Military Out of Our Schools!

The Renaissance Charter School
35-59 81st ST. (corner of 37th Ave.)
Jackson Heights, Queens
(Subway: 82nd St. stop on the #7 line)

-Victor Paredes, brother of war resister and former Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes who refused to deploy to Iraq
- Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union
- Bob Fertik, founder of Democrats.com & Afterdowningstreet.org
- Representative from the Campus Anti-War Network
- Representative from the YaYa Network (Youth Activist/ Youth Allies)

The U.S. Military is invading our schools. The Pentagon is desperate to recruit new bodies to fight in an illegal, immoral and losing war in Iraq. Recruiters are targeting our children with lies and half truths about money for college, job training, and adventure. Federal laws give recruiters access to school buildings and students’ files, including home addresses and phone numbers.

But we can fight back. Around the country, students and parents have been standing up to military recruiters, reducing their presence and their influence. Hear the facts that recruiters won’t tell you and learn how we can organize to drive the military out of our schools.

Sponsored by the Queens Anti-War Committee. Contact for more info or to sponsor: 718 393-7583 queensantiwarcommittee@yahoo.com

Endorsed by: DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association, International Socialist Organization, Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines, Sunnyside Woodside Peace, West Queens Greens

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cheney and the lawyer hunt

Since most of the really funny people have weighed in on Cheney lawyer hunt:

My favorites: "Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick Cheney." (David Letterman on The Late Show )

From Wonkette:
Scalia thinks you're an idiot, if you believe in "The Living Constitution," But did you go quail hunting with Dick Cheney? So, whose the idiot now?

I don't want to belabor the point, but it seems to me that it so clearly symbolizes this gun happy, totally incompetent administration, that it's worth a brief mention.

On the President and evolution

"Not only does the President not believe in evolution, ironically he has become his own best argument."

From: Will Durst, "Off the Map," The Progressive (Oct., 05)

The sexist right-wing attack on Hillary Clinton picks up steam

As I suggested a few days ago it would seem that some high-placed Republicans may very well be the best friends Hillary Clinton has. The idiot who passes himself off as the Republican National Chairman (sic) accused the Senator of "anger" when she expresses differences with the Bush administration. The only surprise in the Chairman's sexist outburst was somehow he restrained himself from calling her "an angry bitch" - that is after all what he meant. This whole "label her angry" had obviously come from the top (ie. political commisar Karl Rove).

Since then the N.Y. Post reported that "top presidential adviser Karl Rove is getting directly involved in the effort to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton."

The administration spokespaper further reports that "while national Republicans don't expect [former Yonkers Mayor John]Spencer beat Clinton they hope he can do enough to bloody her in anticipation of a possible 2008 presidential run." A run which the mainstream media and the Right-wing Republicans (redundant?) have virtually conceded to Clinton.

If there was any doubt about the sexism of dismissing the criticisms of a U.S. Senator and a major political figure as simply "anger," now that the anti-Clinton campaign has dribbled down to paid right-wing flacks like Post columnist Dick Morris, it has become even more obvious. He says: "In her speeches and interviews, she has two speeds: bland and shrill." Now she's not only angry, but also shrill.

"He goes on to say: "...[sometimes] she relaxes and acts casual - tossing her head, giggling, feigning intimacy...." "But when she has something to say. the passion burns inside her and metastasizes into anger and thence to shrillness." Then in case you missed the point that she is a woman and can't be trusted to handle men's work, he goes on:

"Like Bella Abzug before her, Hillary can't speak about issues without coming across as harsh and angry."

Actually, many of us wish the Senator was more angry (particularly about the war) and had more passion, but of one thing I am certain her failings have nothing to do with her gender, but most likely from listening to the wrong advisors.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The anti-Islam cartoons and the world-wide protest they have inflamed

Normally I try not to post comments on this site without photos or graphics (often lifted from other web sites without permission). In this case I have chosen to violate that practice. I believe that freedom of the press works two ways: it gives me the right to print (almost) anything I think is politically important or sometimes just funny, but it also gives me the freedom not to post anything I think is wrong.In this case, not because the Danish cartoons are offensive, (I post lots of stuff that will offend some people), but because I think the cartoons are fundamentally dishonest and present a false image of Muhammad and Islam. I simply don't believe that exercising freedom of the press requires me to defame anyone. Acton H. Gorton, The editor of the Daily Illini, after struggling with the same problem came to a different conclusion, here's some of what he said:
To the right [you'll have to click on the link to actually see the cartoons, that's your choice -Dan] you'll see a series of cartoons about the Islamic prophet Muhammad that have fueled a firestorm of debate all over the world.

These cartoons are bigoted and insensitive to the Islamic faith because they are depictions of the prophet Muhammad. In much of the Muslim faith, there is an absolute ban on drawing or portraying religious figures. I agree they are bigoted and insensitive, as do many others.

However, this serious controversy has not been addressed by the press. By refusing to run the cartoons, Americans have no idea how "offensive" they are. The ensuing death threats, riots, murders and laying siege to embassies, leave most of us confused and appalled. [more].

(Also check out the editorials in the current issue of The nation)

In the same issue of The Nation, Gary Younge says:
The right to offend must come with at least one consequent right and one subsequent responsibility. people must have the right to be offended, and those bold enough to knowingly cause offense should be bold enough to weather the consequences, so long as the aggrieved respond within the law. [In this case] Muslims were in effect being vilified twice - once through the original cartoons and then again for having the gall to protest them. Such logic recalls the words of the late South African Black nationalist Steve Biko: 'Not only are whites kicking us; they tell us how to react to being kicked.'

This whole issue takes me back to my childhood and the mantra: "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me." (No matter how offensive).
In other words, being dis-respected isn't an excuse for violence outside a New York City Hip hop studio or in the Middle East.

Next two weeks: Boycott Starbucks @ 2 Ave. & 9 St.

Justice for Joe

Boycott of Starbucks at 2nd Ave. and 9th St.

For the next 2 weeks there will be people outside the store

In response to constant unlawful anti-union activity the IWW has called for a Boycott of Starbucks at 2nd Ave. and 9th St.

Anyone who is willing to leaflet please call Tomer at 646-753-1167.
Starbucks workers will be leafleting at scattered times through out the week.

Feb. 15: Sweatshop speakout

Feb 15, 8 pm

Workers from the Garment Industry Speak Out

Jerome Greene Hall
Columbia Law School
(116th and Amsterdam)

Come hear workers from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador share their stories about producing for university brands like Nike, Reebok, and Adidas and their struggles for fair wages and good working conditions on

In the fall, SEEJ and student groups on nearly 50 other campuses presented their administrations with a "Designated Suppliers Program" which demanded that in order to produce collegiate apparel, brands most produce it in factories where workers have democratic representation and are paid a living wage.

Josefina Hernandez Ponce, Vladimir Acevedo Andujar, Joaquin Alas, who will speak out, come from factories which would meet this criteria. Unfortunately, their
victories are being threatened by the international apparel industry who are systematically blacklisting or shifting production away from their factories. As of yet, Columbia has not publicly supported the "Designated Suppliers Program" which will allow these workers to earn decent wages in factories that respect their rights.
Come learn about workers' struggles and how you can take part!

Josefina Hernandez Ponce is a worker and union leader from the Mex
Mode factory (formerly Kukdong) in Puebla, Mexico.
Vladimir Acevedo Andujar is a worker and union leader from the BJ&B factory in the
Dominican Republic.
Joaquin Alas is a worker and union leader from the just garments factory in El Salvador.

This event is sponsored by Students for Environmental Justice, Forum
on Globalization, and the Student Labor Action Project.
Karena Cronin

Impeachment on the move

John Nichols in the Nation

"Twenty-two members of the House have now signed on as co-sponors of the call by Representative John Conyers, D-Michigan, to establish a select committee of the Congress to investigate whether the Bush administration's actions before and after the invasion of Iraq violated Constitutional requirements, statutes and standards in a manner that would merit impeachment of the president or vice president.

"Conyers introduced the resolution last December, and only a handful of members agreed to cosponsor the measure before Congress went on its long holiday break: California's Lois Capps, Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey, New Jersey's Donald Payne, New York's Charles Rangel and Texan Sheila Jackson-Lee. The list of cosponsors swelled after the long holiday break, when ten members from around the country -- California's Barbara Lee and Pete Stark, Hawaii's Neil Abercrombie, Illinois' Jan Schakowsky, Minnesota's Jim Oberstar, Missouri's William Lacy Clay, New York's Jerry Nadler and Major Owens, Washington's Jim McDermott and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin -- came back to Washington convinced that the American people are a good deal more interested than most DC insiders recognize in reasserting checks and balances on an administration that has spun out of control.

"In the past week, six additional members have signed on: California's Mike Honda and Sam Farr, Georgia's John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney, and New York's Carolyn Maloney and Maurice Hinchey."

(For more on this)

Pro-war Democrats must go

At this point defeating Bush Democrats should be near the top of our agenda - while still reserving the right to support independent candidates - Dan

"You may have heard the buzz about Ned Lamont challenging pro-Bush Sen.Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary this year.

"Ned is considering running because, like most Connecticut Democrats, he is tired of being represented by a senator who won't stand up to the President on the war — and on the rest of his extreme right-wing agenda which is so harmful to our country.

"Ned Lamont is a successful businessman who understands the importance of health care and education to our economy. He will fight for universal health care and to bring all U.S. schools into the 21st Century. He believes the federal government should stay out of people's private lives and stop spying on its own citizens. He would push for energy conservation and bio fuels as better alternatives than the liquefied natural gas plant in Long Island Sound. And he would demand that corrupt public officials be held accountable for their actions.

"The polls show that Connecticut Democrats are ready for a change, but the entrenched interests behind Joe Lieberman are going to fight tooth and nail and pour millions of dollars into this race. To win, Ned Lamont will need volunteers working hard in every city and town — and will need thousands more people pledging to contribute financially as well."

(For more on Ned Lamont; Also see Daily Kos on Lieberman and Sean Hannity)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Republican Representative defies Commisar Rove and calls for full inquiry into domestic wiretapping

From ActForChange

"Congresswoman Heather Wilson, a New Mexico Republican who chairs the House Subcommittee overseeing the National Security Agency, has just broken ranks with her party, defied Karl Rove, and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the recently-disclosed domestic wiretapping program. We couldn't agree more.

"Attorney General Gonzales appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this past Monday and attempted to justify the legality and constitutionality of the eavesdropping program; most observers agreed that he failed to do so. In an unprecedented move, that Committee voted along party lines that Mr. Gonzales's testimony would not be under oath. Nonetheless, his responses to the Committee were full of evasions and contortions of logic, and noticeably short on actual legal reasoning to justify the program.

"We deserve to know the full truth about the Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. Does it violate the constitutional rights guaranteed to us by the Fourth amendment? Has this program actually produced any useful information for investigators, or just sent FBI agents on thousands of wild-goose chases? Why did the Administration refuse to seek the warrants it needed through expedited procedures explicitly spelled out in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Were Americans spied upon for non-terrorism-related reasons?

"Only a full Congressional inquiry can answer these questions and determine if the wiretapping program -- which is still ongoing -- is legal and constitutional, and whether or not violations of the law occurred."

Call to action

Ask your representative to support Congresswoman Wilson's call for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

For more on Bush and domestic spying see Harvey Silverglate in The Phoenix

Bush plays dirty tricks with budget and social security

Bush obviously hasn't given up on his obsession with social security privatization; this time he's just trying to do it behind our backs. Check out Allan Sloan in the Washington Post - Dan

Bush's Social Security Sleight of Hand

By Allan Sloan

If you read enough numbers, you never know what you'll find. Take President Bush and private Social Security accounts.

Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.

(For more on this)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Feb.16: Talk on Palestinian Legislative Elections

Feb. 16, 5:30-7:30 pm

Palestinian Legislative Elections: Report and Analysis

Rabab Abdulhadi

The Brecht Forum
451 West St. (Bt Bank & Bethune)
(212) 242- 4201
Suggested donation: $6/$10/$15

(1,2,3 A,C,E to 14th st. 14A,11,20 buses to Abingdon Sq/12th St, 8 bus to Christopher St., L to 8th Ave @14th st., F,V to 14th St. B,D to W. 4th)

Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, Director of the Center for Arab American Studies and Associate
Professor of Sociology at UM-D, has just returned from a research trip to the Middle East where she observed the Palestinian Legislative Elections. With the help of 10 field researchers from An-Najah University (Nablus), Professor Abdulhadi is among a few scholars in North America to attend this historic event.
A scholar of gender, nationalism, and post-colonial studies, Dr. Abdulhadi was in Palestine during the illness and passing of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser
Arafat (Nov. 2004), the Palestinian Presidential elections of Mahmoud Abbas in Jan. 2005, and the launching of the Legislative electoral campaign in early Jan. 2006. Dr. Abdulhadi will discuss the insights of her team on the elections and their impact on the Palestinian people, the Middle East region and U.S. Palestinian relations.

Rabab Abdulhadi served for 10 years as a U N journalist, Media Al-Quds.
She is the Director for Arab American Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology at the Univ. of Michigan-Dearborn. She guest edited with Nadine Naber and Evelyn Alsultany for MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies, "Gender, Nation and Belonging: Arab and Arab-American Feminist Perspectives" (May/June 2005) She is the author of many articles including "Activism and Exile: Constructing and Contesting Palestinianness" , "The Palestinian Women's Autonomous Movement: Emergence, Dynamics and Challenges", New Century International Scholar, Toward Equality: The Global Empowerment of Women, "From Self-Determination to Self-Rule (and Back
to Occupation: What Prospects for Palestinian Women?" and "The Empowerment of Palestinian Women" which appeared in Palestinian Elections: A Special Report for the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine.
Dr. Abudulhadi is a board member of the Brecht Forum.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Republican Chairman [sic] reduces Hillary Clinton's ideas to "anger"

I think that there is a real possibility that Republican National Committee Chairman [sic] Ken Mehlman [left] is the best thing to happen to Sen. Clinton's re-election campaign in a long time.
Here's what he has been quoted as saying on last Sunday's This Week on ABC: "Whether it's the comments about the [Congress being run like a Republican] plantation or [the Bush administration being] the worst administration in history, Hillary Clinton seems to have alot of anger. [And] I don't think the American people, if you look historically, elect angry candidates."

Although, I think anyone viewing the consistently self-serving and utterly incompetent actions of the Bush administration and the Republican Congress would be hard pressed not to be furious, that's not what caught my attention.
It's the amazingly sexist reduction of the Senator's political arguments to "anger." Is there a woman out there who at one-time-or-another hasn't been told by a man in her life - husband, lover, boss, etc. - that her ideas were the product of "anger" or "the time of the month," not rational thought. Dismissing someone's criticism as "angry," is a neat male method for not having to deal with it.
Rarely are male politicians described as angry. In fact, the only one I can think of recently is current Democratic National Chair, Howard Dean. I seriously believe that labelling Dean as "angry" during the primaries leading up to the 2004 presidential elections was an attempt to "feminize" him and make it seem as if he would not be capable of protecting the U.S. from terror. I think Mehlman's reduction of Sen. Clinton's ideas (agree with them or not, and I certainly have issues with the Senator) they certainly cannot be reduced to "anger" and dismissed.
So I think Mehlman owes all women an apology, not just the Senator.

Vanity Fair Joins the anti-feminist, anti-lesb ian/gay counter-revolution

This is a very disturbing photo and I am reproducing it only to help make a point.
First let me be very clear, it is not the nudity by itself that concerns me. In fact, I agree, for the most part, with fashion-industry icon Tom Ford - the man in the photo and the artistic director of this year's Vanity Fair Hollywood issue - who, according to columnist Liz Smith, said, "...I find people better looking without clothes than with clothes."
It's the anti-feminist and anti-lesbian implications that underlay this photo of a clothed man and two extremely vulnerable naked young women on the cover of a major magazine that I find so disturbing.
The anti-lesbian/gay implications are fairly obvious once you know the story behind the photo. According to the New York Post, the photo was originally supposed to include three young naked female actors. But when Rachel McAdam reneged because of the nudity and left the magazine with only two nude young women (Scarlet Johannson and Keira Knightly), what did photographer Annie Leibovitz say to Ford? "Three girls in a bed is a bed full of girls. Two girls in a bed are lesbians." So, at Leibovitz's suggestion, Ford slipped himself into the photo. Obviously the classic menage-a-trois male fantasy implications of the resulting photo didn't bother any of these people - or Ms. Smith, who effuses in her column about the photo and Mr. Ford.
But the problem with the photo is even broader than that. It goes to the heart of the deep-seated anti-woman aspects of the current right-wing counter-revolution. Ten, or even five, years ago Vanity Fair would never have published such an anti-feminist photo, particularly on the cover.
Just look at it. Two young women at their most vulnerable with a fully dressed man - obviously older - in a position of power. What a striking contrast. Just in case the sexual implications of the photo are not missed Ford is "nuzzling" Ms. Knightly. I guess the anti-woman and anti-lesbian implications of this cover don't make much difference, when your your faced with competition for newsstand space with Playboy, Maxim and their anti-feminist brothers.
So Tom, what happened to people looking better without clothes?

Friday, February 03, 2006

The latest dispatch from the "war on T-shirts"

The moral of this story - "The War on T-shirts" - is, if you ave no idea how to fight the war on terror, GO AFTER THE T-SHIRTS. -Dan

Here's the latest dispatch in the "war on T-shirts" [from Bush Watch]:

"On [Thursday's edition of] ABC's Good Morning America, [Cindy]Sheehan described what happened: "This man was yelling at me, 'Protestor, you have to get out of here,'" she said. "They grabbed me out of my seat and put my arms behind me and rushed me out and handcuffed me [see photo above]. I thought that was a little excessive for wearing a T-shirt." Rep. Young (R-Fla) [whose wife was removed from the gallery during the speech for wearing a message t-shirt] emphasized that he did not know the circumstances that led to Sheehan's arrest. But he added: "If she was just sitting there wearing a shirt then she should not have been kicked out." He also said he called both White House adviser Karl Rove and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, along with Capitol police Chief Terrence Gainer, to complain [about his wife's treatment]. Capitol police have requested that the U.S. attorney's office drop the charges against Sheehan. "As the department reviewed the incident, it was determined that while officers acted in a manner consistent with the rules of decorum enforced by the department in the House Gallery for years, neither Mrs. Sheehan's manner of dress or initial conduct warranted law enforcement intervention," said [Capitol Police Chief Terrance] Gainer in a statement today. <ABC)

"Neither guest should have been confronted about the expressive T-shirts," Gainer's statement said. Gainer added that he was asking the U.S. attorney's office to drop the charge against Sheehan. The statement also said he apologized to the Youngs and "share the department's plans for avoiding this in the future. A similar message has been left with Mrs. Sheehan," Gainer said.

For his part, Bill Young said he was not necessarily satisfied. "My wife was humiliated," he told reporters. He suggested that "sensitivity training" may be in order for Capitol Police. A foreign-born American citizen who was the guest of Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., also was taken by police from the gallery just above the House floor, Hastings said Wednesday. The congressman met with Gainer and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., about the incident. [Their has been no report that the Dem Rep who gave Sheehan the gallery guest pass had contacted anyone. --Politex] AP.[Unfortunately, you will have to sign-in to access this Washington Post article - I'm not sure it's worth it - Dan]

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Feb. 6: Rally to Free Leonard Peltier

Feb 6, 4:00 - 6:30 pm

Leonard Peltier!
Political Prisoner held for 30 years by U.S. government

Union Sq.
Park Ave. & 15th St.

Rally and speak out to demand the release of Leonard Peltier on the 30th anniversary of his incarceration.

Feb. 6,
6:30 pm - COFFEE & DESSERT

St. Mary's Episcopal Church
521 W. 126th St,
[bt. Amsterdam & Old Broadway:
#1 train to 125th or A, B, C, D to 125th & then walk 4 blocks; bike Hudson Greenway to 125th]

Feb. 6, is the 30th anniversary of Leonard Peltier's capture in Canada.

To acknowledge his commitment to the people and our commitment to his release, NYC Jericho and ProLibertad will have a showing of the film Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier

Q&A with members of the Leonard Peltier Defense Ctte.

For more information, please call: 718-220-6004

$5.00 on a sliding scale. All money raised to be sent to Leonard's
commissary fund.

"An intimate look at the circumstances surrounding the incarceration of Native American activist Leonard Peltier, convicted of murder, with commentary from those involved, including Peltier himself."

Listen to Toni from the Leonard Peltier Defense Cte.
www.worldtalkradio.com/show.asp?sid=141 After you click on the link, click
on "Listen to this Show" at the top of the righthand column.

When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it, at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice." --Mumia Abu-Jamal

Leonard Peltier is a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota Nations who has been unjustly imprisoned since 1976, even though government attorneys and courts acknowledge that the government withheld evidence, fabricated evidence, and coerced witnesses to fraudulently convict him. Leonard is recognized worldwide as a political prisoner and a symbol of resistance against the abuse and repression of indigenous people. To many Indigenous Peoples, Leonard Peltier is a symbol of the long history of abuse and repression they have endured.

This year marks the 30th year of Leonard’s imprisonment. Despite the fact that the government has admitted that the trial was a fraud, Leonard is still behind bars because the U.S. doesn’t want this vocal defender of indigenous rights to be free.

A Hearing has been scheduled for February 13, 2006 to correct the illegal sentencing that occurred in Leonard Peltier's case. The basis for this motion is that the United States District Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction under the statutes upon which Mr. Peltier was convicted and sentenced.

For more information: 212-633-6646

To learn more about the case of Leonard Pelter and how you can support the struggle, go to

In the TV section of Wednesday's N.Y. Post (the day after the State ofv the Union speech), Adam Buckman opened his article with this line: "Is this guy the worst President ever?"
I thought (to myself), "Holy Cow! The Post has had an epiphany." Alas, he was talking about Pres. Charles Logan on 24.
But I still choose to think about it as I originally did.

Oscar and the media: Tolerance v. homophobia

Here are three headlines from the three New York City dailies on Wednesday, the day after the Oscar announcements. I think they say alot about their relative journalistic integrity v. ideological propaganda.

"Small Films With Potent Themes Lead Oscar Nominations"
New York Times

"Oscar Pat on 'Back'"
"'Mountain' leads charge with 8 nominations"
Daily News

"Oscar Out Of The Closet As H'wood Flips For Gay Films"
"ABC now fearing a mass tuneout" (sidebar)
New York Post

The worst in movies this year - The Razzies

So you thought Tuesday's Oscar nominations were the big story, not by a long shot. The golden Raspberry Award Foundation nnounced its Razzie nominations for the year's worst movies and performances.
According to CNN:
"Bad sequels and remakes tortured movie audiences last year, and they provided a smorgasbord for the Razzies, an Academy Awards spoof that pays heed to the worst in Hollywood.

Four of the five worst-picture nominees for the Razzies were sequels or remakes, led by Son of the Mask, which had eight nominations Monday, including worst actor for Jamie Kennedy and supporting actor for Alan Cumming and Bob Hoskins.

The other worst-picture contenders were Rob Schneider's sequel Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Jenny McCarthy's raunchy romance Dirty Love, the TV update The Dukes of Hazzardand the horror remake House of Wax."

Razzies will be announced March 4, the day before the Oscars.

Tom Cruise earned three Razzie nominations, as worst actor for War of the Worlds and two of the five slots in a new Razzies category for most tiresome tabloid targets. Cruise was nominated there for his anti-psychiatry rant and for his very public romance with Katie Holmes.

The majority of worst picture nominees also get a mention in the worst sequel/remake category along with Bewitched.

Son of the Mask's nominations also included worst supporting actors for Alan Cummings and Bob Hoskins.

Worst actress nominations included Jessica Alba for Fantastic Four and Into the Blue, Hilary Duff for Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Perfect Man and Jennifer Lopez for Monster in Law.

Holmes was also nominated for worst supporting actress for Batman Begins, Hilton for House of Wax, Jessica Simpson for Dukes of Hazzard and her sister Ashlee for Undiscovered.

I think that perhaps it's time to create a Lifetime Achievement Award for Jenifer Lopez. Remember last year's Gigli.