Monday, September 27, 2004

Under Bush, Workers Pay More for Less Health Coverage

U.S. workers are paying more for health insurance and receiving less than they were four years ago and the situation is particularly acute in several states important in the presidential race, said a consumer group that has been critical of President George W. Bush.
Girl Blog from Iraq

from Baghdad Burning
I can't seem to decide what is worse--when Bush speaks in the name of Iraqi people, or when Allawi does. Yesterday's speech was particularly embarrassing. He stood there groveling in front of the congress--thanking them for the war, the occupation and the thousands of Iraqi lives lost... and he did it all on behalf of the Iraqi people. It was infuriating and for maybe the hundredth time this year, I felt rage. Yet another exile thanking the Bush administration for the catastrophe we're trying to cope with. Our politicians are outside of the country 90% of the time (by the way, if anyone has any news of our president Ghazi Ajeel Al Yawir, do let us know--where was he last seen or heard?), the security situation is a joke, the press are shutting down and pulling out and our beloved exiles are painting rosey pictures for the American public--you know--so everyone who voted for Bush can sleep at night.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The World Wants Kerry

A new poll in 35 countries suggests that people around the world would prefer Democratic challenger John Kerry as US president over George W Bush.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ashcroft on Terror: 0 for 5,000

from AlterNet
With the latest Detroit convictions overturned, Ashcroft has not convicted a single person of terrorism since 9/11.
On Government

I don't think people should respect governments. Governments don't respect people. They're violent. Most of their violence is directed toward their own citizens--a heartbreaking discovery after paying into Social Security for so long. It's important not to identify too closely with them, for this reason.

People, on the other hand, are much more deserving of our fealty. People are creative and dynamic--so much so that we don't even understand how they work or how they came into being. All cultures believe, in unique ways, that the very existence of people suggests even greater possibilities beyond our understanding. Because we don't know, and because people don't exist for very long, it seems prudent to celebrate and protect them. This is quite apart from the role of government, which protects possessions from people, takes possessions from people, and possesses people for protection. It's strange and sad that we would be drawn so willfully to this power--in the words of Foucault, "to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Put Away Your Hankies

by Michael Moore
If I hear one more person tell me how lousy a candidate Kerry is and how he can't win... Dammit, of COURSE he's a lousy candidate--he's a Democrat, for heavens sake! That party is so pathetic, they even lose the elections they win! What were you expecting, Bruce Springsteen heading up the ticket? Bruce would make a helluva president, but guys like him don't run--and neither do you or I. People like Kerry run.
Safe for Democracy

from The Week Magazine
Belarus’ authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has proposed abolishing presidential term limits so he can remain in power. He has drafted a referendum on the subject, to be voted on during parliamentary elections next month. Lukashenka is in his second term, which under the country’s constitution would be his last. But he insists that, given the recent horrifying hostage crisis in neighboring Russia, Belarus needs stability above all else. “In the referendum you will vote for the security of the country, for the life and health of your children and grandchildren,” he said. Lukashenka has ruthlessly suppressed the political opposition, and international observers said the 2001 presidential election that gave him a second term was rigged.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Republicans Critical of Bush on Iraq

from CNN International
"The fact is, we're in trouble. We're in deep trouble in Iraq," said Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Liberals Will Ban Bibles, GOP Mailing Says

from The Associated Press
Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

9/11 Widows Group to Endorse Kerry

from The Associated Press

A group of activist Sept. 11 widows said Tuesday they will campaign for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, charging the Bush administration stonewalled their efforts to uncover intelligence failures leading up to the attacks and took the nation into a misguided war in Iraq.
For My Conservative Friends: An Alternative Point of View

from FrontPageMag
Republicans always rant about big government, but government has grown under every single Republican administration since WWII and continues to grow under this one. We are a party of big government whether we want to admit it or not. Handouts will always be popular with their recipients. If you have a way to actually make Republicans reduce the size of government, I'm all for it, but until then, tell the truth.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The New Face of Public Television

from FAIR
A new public television program called The Journal Editorial Report, featuring writers and editors from the arch-conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page, will debut tonight on public television stations around the country. The show joins Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered, hosted by conservative CNN pundit Tucker Carlson, and a planned program featuring conservative commentator Michael Medved as part of what many see as politically motivated decisions to bring more right-wing voices to public television.
White House Wants to Cut FAA Budget

from The Associated Press
The Bush administration wants to trim the Federal Aviation Administration's budget for buying new air traffic control equipment at a time when more planes are in the air.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Pentagon Contracts w/ Another Lemon

from The New York Times
A Pentagon contractor that has been entrusted with handling the unsealed absentee ballots of military and civilian voters overseas was sued two years ago by a Tennessee business that accused it of fabricating information and other fraudulent behavior involving an overdue bill, according to federal court records.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Social Security: The Phony Crisis

from Z Magazine
...The only “crisis” Social Security faces is posed by its enemies, who have created a phony one to provide the moral and intellectual basis for weakening and destroying a highly successful and completely viable system. It is Social Security’s very success that upsets ideologues of the market and their corporate backers, as an efficient and effective government-managed poverty reduction program suggests that marketization of everything may not be in the public interest and that the government can serve ordinary citizens well. If acknowledged, Social Security’s success might justify its extension to a program to universalize medical insurance and control medical costs by a national medical budget policy, highly desirable—even urgent—and widely used elsewhere, but threatening to powerful insurance and medical profession interests. Of course privatization of Social Security would be a huge bonanza to the securities industry, which has pumped money into the Cato Institute and elsewhere to foster claims of a crisis.
Scott McClellan, Hardest Working Man in Show Business

from The New York Times
The White House asserted that progress was being made in Iraq. "You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," Scott McClellan, the chief White House spokesman, said at a news briefing. "And every step of the way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future."
C.I.A. Unit on bin Laden Is Understaffed

from The New York Times
Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency has fewer experienced case officers assigned to its headquarters unit dealing with Osama bin Laden than it did at the time of the attacks, despite repeated pleas from the unit's leaders for reinforcements, a senior C.I.A. officer with extensive counterterrorism experience has told Congress.
See also:

More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden

Shifts From Bin Laden Hunt Evoke Questions

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Hitler and the Native Americans

from Z Magazine
Hitler took note of Native Americans, indigenous people of the Americas, specifically within the area of the U.S. and Canada. He used the treatment of native people, the policies and processes that were imposed upon them, as a model for what he articulated as being Lebensraumpolitik, the politics of living space. In essence, Hitler took the notion of a drive from east to west, clearing the land as the invading population went and resettling it with Anglo-Saxon stock, primarily, as a model by which he drove from west to east into Russia, displacing, relocating, dramatically shifting or liquidating populations to clear the land and replace it with what he called "superior breeding stock," meaning Germanic peoples. It was essentially the same process, and he was very conscious of the fact that he was basing his policies in the prior experience of the Anglo-American population, or Nordic population, as he called it, in the area north of the Rio Grande River.
Treasury Study Warned Against Bush Tax Plan

from The Washington Post
President Bush has vowed to make tax reform a centerpiece of a second term, but an internal Treasury Department study in late 2002 warned that any fundamental simplification of the nation's tax system would "produce windfall winners and losers," would likely lower taxes for the rich, and could have devastating political consequences for its champions.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Time to Consider Iraq Withdrawal

from The London Financial Times
The core question to be addressed is this: is the continuing presence of US military forces in Iraq part of the solution or part of the problem?
Iraq War Poorly Planned, Unjustified, Badly Executed

It astonishes me to hear people say that no comparison can be drawn between what’s happening in Iraq, and the failed "democratization" of Vietnam nearly 40 years ago. I believe the parallels are striking and unmistakable. For one thing, the Vietnam conflict ramped up in exactly the same fashion as Iraq, with an escalating involvement but never a clear plan of engagement or a plan for withdrawal.
Sewer Socialism

from The Los Angeles Times
Missing today from national and local agendas is anything remotely resembling the progressivism that spurred the successful evolution of U.S. cities in the last century. Sometimes dubbed "sewer socialism," this program for development started at the municipal level and aimed to repair the legacy of the Industrial Revolution.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Sympathy for Bin Laden

commentary from
I think a close examination of US foreign policy is in order if we want to understand why murderers like bin Laden enjoy wide sympathy in the Middle East--even among people who don't agree with his tactics. The US is perceived as propping up corrupt dictatorships throughout the region--regimes which ordinary Arabs suffer under daily. Generally, moves towards representative government are blocked by the US as being "anti-democratic," meaning they preclude access to markets and resources on behalf of American businesses and investors. A passing familiarity with American foreign policy reveals a very consistent record of undermining popular, democratic movements (Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Haiti, El Salvador, the Philipines, etc., etc.) in favor of dictators who will protect US business interests in their countries at the expense of their own populations. The state department calls it "democracy" because it preserves private property rights for the people who matter.
Ellsberg Calls for Disobedience in Government

from The Associated Press
Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, is urging government insiders to provide similar classified documents about the invasion of Iraq.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Costa Rica Politely Declines

from Voice of America
Costa Rica is asking the United States to remove the Central American country from a list of coalition members supporting the war in Iraq.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Curse of the Lasting Perception

The war wasn't necessary. It was successful for the Americans and they have the oil reserves now.

I hope the Americans learnt a lesson from all of this and I hope they do not think that everything will be just fine now.

It won't, because the people of Iraq and the whole world saw what happened. People have lots of hatred inside them now--which is not helpful for the future of the world.

- 18 year old Ozgur Yazici, from Turkey
Terror and the Elections

commentary from
...I don't think Islamic radicals care very much about our elections; certainly not about our "democracy," which they, contrary to hating us for, probably don't even acknowledge as reality. These are things that have a much greater significance to American audiences than Muslim ones. No doubt the idea that anyone would hate you for your "greatness" is naturally appealing--even if it fails to explain why Bin Laden never targeted the US before we happened to open our first military base in his home country during the first Gulf War. Weren't we just as free and spectacular before Desert Storm as we were after?
This is Your Life

from The Washington Post

President Bush failed to carry out a direct order from his superior in the Texas Air National Guard in May 1972 to undertake a medical examination that was necessary for him to remain a qualified pilot, according to documents made public yesterday.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Of Police and Protesters

from The New York Times
...The story of exactly what came to pass between the New York Police Department and the nearly 2,000 people who were arrested last week continues to unfold, and the resulting narrative may affect history's view of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's performance during the Republican National Convention....

Scores of protesters and their lawyers have relayed stories about people being separated from their medications, contracting rashes from the dirty floor and other maladies that they said went unaddressed for hours.
Jackson Lambasts Corporate Consultants in Kerry Campaign; Press Coverage Disappears

from Common Dreams
Yesterday, on CNN's Inside Politics, Jesse Jackson delivered a blistering attack on the Kerry campaign for running away from the Democratic base and the issues it cares about. Jesse cited, among other things a daylong West Virginia Rainbow/labor "Invest in America" jobs rally at which Jesse spoke at yesterday, that he said drew 30,000 folks with a raft of entertainers like Willie Nelson and Judy Collins.. Jesse was furious that Kerry had ducked the rally, even though he was campaigning only 30 miles away. Jesse sneered at the inadequacy of the Kerry campaign's much-publicized "shakeup" and its whitebread, retread Clintonista imports, snarling that "it can't be just a vanilla shake."
With Us or Against Us


US Vice-President Dick Cheney has said a vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry could make a terror attack on the US more likely.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Meanwhile, in Iraq...

Peace Activist a 'Danger to Israel'

from The Guardian UK
...Last year, the 29-year-old legal secretary from Tel Aviv picked up a newspaper and read about Zakariya Zubeidi, the Jenin leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the group responsible for killing hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and shootings. Ms Fahima decided she would ask Mr Zubeidi why he killed Jews.
Halliburton to lose contract

BBC News
The Pentagon plans to end a contract given to Halliburton to provide US troops in Iraq with logistical support, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Palestinians weigh the non-violent option

from Aljazeera

Speaking to on Thursday, the director of Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem, Sami Awad, said the demand from Palestinians to learn how to practise passive resistance was greater than his six trainers could provide.
Battered Activists Charged with Assault, Inciting a Riot inside RNC

from Democracy Now!
AMY GOODMAN: What did you do exactly?

KRIS HERMES: Well, we sat on the floor in the New York delegation area and when Andrew Card began to speak, we blew whistles, stood up on the chairs, and chanted and held signs. There was a banner that was attempted to be unfurled, and then proceeded to be assaulted by Young Republicans.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

"The strategic adversary is fascism... the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us."

- Michel Foucault
Strange Bedfellows

from Learning to Love Totalitarianism
In the early days of the rise of corporations, conservatives were opposed to them because they undermined both individual liberty and competition in the marketplace. Those who today carry the banner of conservatism are a different sort entirely. They support a concentration of wealth and political control among a corporate elite, which is antithetical to freedom of the individual, a free market and democracy. The corporate state is closer to the formula of fascism than to democracy.
Take a chance on me...

from Slate
For $2.4 trillion, guess what word—other than "a," "and," and "the"—occurs most frequently in the acceptance speech George W. Bush delivered tonight.

The word is "will." It appears 76 times. This was a speech all about what Bush will do, and what will happen, if he becomes president.
Rocket-Propelled Premiums

The Washington Post
As most Americans began the Labor Day holiday weekend, federal health officials held a late-afternoon briefing to announce that the 42 million disabled and elderly Medicare beneficiaries will be hit with the largest premium increase in 15 years.
Concluding the RNC

USA Today
New York officials released about 470 protesters late Thursday after being fined by a judge because the protesters had been held too long without being arraigned. New York Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo fined the city $1,000 for every protester held past 5 p.m. "These people have already been the victims of a process," he said.
Author's Note

This election year one word in the English language has been so abjectly overused and abused that I cannot help but make some attempt to intervene on its behalf: disingenuous.

Please, please--be you pundit or political hack: don't use words you don't understand because they are hot and big. And stop using words you might comprehend just because they come out of somebody else's mouth. That's how the worst cable news is spread.

For the health of the nation and the sake of my sanity, please just stop.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Staying On Message

Somebody give the Bush administration a medal for negativity during their national convention this week. Maybe earning their first will help them see genuine veterans in a more positive light.
Hitler was Decisive, Too

As I watched Tuesday night's network coverage of the unrelenting political propaganda hour known as the Republican National Convention, the first thought that came to mind was of old newsreels of those self-congratulatory Nazi rallies held in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler.
The Anti- Americans

The New York Times
There was plenty of hatred in Manhattan, but it was inside, not outside, Madison Square Garden.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Halliburton Says Officials Spoke of Nigeria Bribes

Halliburton Co., the world's No. 2 oilfield services company, said an internal probe found information suggesting that members of a consortium it helps lead considered bribing Nigerian officials to win business a decade ago.
Fanning the Flames

As speakers at the GOP convention trumpet Bush administration successes in the war on terrorism, an NBC News analysis of Islamic terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, shows that attacks are on the rise worldwide-—dramatically.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

A Name to Call Myself

"Fascism should more accurately be named corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

- Benito Mussolini