March 4, 2005

A Less Super Superpower
by Jonathan Schell  

One of the most difficult things to judge in the world today is the extent of American power. On the one hand, there is no doubt that the United States possesses a far larger pile of weapons than any other country, that the American economy is also larger than any other country's and that America's movies and television programs are consumed globally. America is widely accorded the title "only superpower," and many of its detractors as well as its supporters describe it as the world's first truly globe-straddling empire. On the other hand, it is not yet clear what the United States can accomplish with these eye-catching assets. For power, as Thomas Hobbes wrote in one of the most succinct and durable definitions of power ever offered, is a "present means, to obtain some future apparent good." Power, after all, is not just an expenditure of energy. There must be results. more....

March 3, 2005

 Canada a Haven Again     

Like draft evaders and deserters of Vietnam era, American soldiers are heading north to find refuge from what they say is an unjust war in Iraq.

Toronto - In the crowded basement of a community library, the young men recounted their stories of escape.

They spoke of crimes perpetrated by their country, of fleeing in the dead of night to avoid a brutal war they would have been forced to fight.

Thousands of people seek asylum in Canada every year, but these were extraordinary exiles: They claimed to be refugees from the United States, soldiers no less, who deserted duty in Iraq and are taking a provocative stance against the nation they vowed to serve. more....

March 2, 2005

48 Vermont Towns Vote Against Iraq War, Call for State's National Guard to Come Home

In Vermont, 48 town meetings voted last night to condemn the war in Iraq and to call on political leaders to bring home the state's National Guard.

Vermont has lost more soldiers per capita than any state, and has the second highest mobilization rate for its National Guard and reservists. more....

**********
from MoveOn yesterday (please click on link below and sign):

...the Senate is debating the nomination of mining and cattle industry lobbyist William Myers III for a lifetime appointment to the Circuit Court of Appeals -- the second highest court in the land. Myers is the first of 20 nominees Bush has re-submitted in his second term. All 20 repeat nominees were rejected last term by Senate Democrats (as compared to 204 judges they accepted) because these nominees consistently sided with corporate special interests over the rights of ordinary Americans.

The Senate has the power to approve or reject judicial nominations because judges -- above all else -- must be trusted by Americans on all sides to rule fairly. So why does Bush refuse to send new nominees both parties can agree on? Because while his presidency will be over in 4 years, the judges he appoints will be on the bench for the rest of their lives. This is Bush's big push to lock in his hard right, corporate-friendly ideology for decades to come -- and that is exactly why we must not back down now.

The fight begins today. The Myers vote is a key test -- and may well determine whether Bush can stack the judiciary, all the way up to the Supreme Court, with a steady stream of hard right, pro-corporate judges. It's crucial that our Senators know that we out here in America are counting on them to hold the line against all 20 of Bush's rejected, partisan judges.

Please sign today:
http://www.moveonpac.org/judges/

March 1, 2005

Howard Dean visits conservative Kan.
TOPEKA, Kan. -- True to his word that he would take his party's message to conservative bastions, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean rallied a crowd Thursday in Kansas, a state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964.

The former presidential candidate and Vermont governor criticized President Bush's budget record and plans for Social Security while urging people to get involved in politics no matter what their philosophy.

"Democracy will fail if it's not nurtured. I'm asking you to run for the school board, I'm asking you to run for the city council, I'm asking you to run for library trustee," Dean told a Washburn University audience of about 800. "Work in somebody's campaign, three hours a week, if that's all you can do." more....

February 28, 2005

1495 Official U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq, 10740 Official Wounded (thru 2/26/05).
Bush Lied, Soldiers Keep Dying.
**********
Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq:
Minimum 16123, Maximum 18395

February 27, 2005

W.'s Stiletto Democracy
By MAUREEN DOWD

It was remarkable to see President Bush lecture Vladimir Putin on the importance of checks and balances in a democratic society.

Remarkably brazen, given that the only checks Mr. Bush seems to believe in are those written to the "journalists" Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Karen Ryan, the fake TV anchor, to help promote his policies. The administration has given a whole new meaning to checkbook journalism, paying a stupendous $97 million to an outside P.R. firm to buy columnists and produce propaganda, including faux video news releases.

---snip---

Certainly the autocratic former K.G.B. agent needs to be upbraided by someone - Tony Blair, maybe? - for eviscerating the meager steps toward democracy that Russia had made before Mr. Putin came to power. But Mr. Bush is on shaky ground if he wants to hold up his administration as a paragon of safeguarding liberty - considering it has trampled civil liberties in the name of the war on terror and outsourced the torture of prisoners to bastions of democracy like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. (The secretary of state canceled a trip to Egypt this week after Egypt's arrest of a leading opposition politician.) more....

February 26, 2005

10 Voters on Panel Backing Pain Pills Had Industry Ties
Ten of the 32 government drug advisers who last week endorsed continued marketing of the huge-selling pain pills Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx have consulted in recent years for the drugs' makers, according to disclosures in medical journals and other public records.

If the 10 advisers had not cast their votes, the committee would have voted 12 to 8 that Bextra should be withdrawn and 14 to 8 that Vioxx should not return to the market. The 10 advisers with company ties voted 9 to 1 to keep Bextra on the market and 9 to 1 for Vioxx's return.

The votes of the 10 did not substantially influence the committee's decision on Celebrex because only one committee member voted that Celebrex should be withdrawn.

Eight of the 10 members said in interviews that their past relationships with the drug companies had not influenced their votes. The two others did not respond to phone or e-mail messages. more....

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