October 14, 2005

Published on Thursday, October 13, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Mr. Bush Goes to Tikrit (Sort of)
by Jeremy Scahill  

Just when you think that President Bush couldn't out-Saddam Saddam any more, he goes and does something that proves you wrong. If any Iraqis caught the hilarious videoconference today between Bush at the White House and troops from the 42nd Infantry Division in Tikrit, it may have seemed like a high-tech version of a familiar scene from the old days when Saddam used to travel to Tikrit to feel (and more importantly to have others feel) his greatness.  

The videoconference was a display of just how far the propaganda system has come since Bush took over from Saddam. Instead of visiting Tikrit, which the president lightly acknowledged he could not safely do, Bush addressed-- via satellite--an adoring bunch of US soldiers that had apparently been given a heavy dose of Kool-Aid before the telecast began. Oh, there was one Iraqi there--Sergeant Major Akeel from the 5th Iraqi Army Division, whose role in the affair was limited to smiling like a good Iraqi and saying to Bush, "I like you."

---snip---

It turns out that the soldiers had actually been coached by Pentagon official Allison Barber before the event and were given Bush's questions in advance. At one point during the coaching, which was caught on videotape, Barber asked, "Who are we going to give that [question] to?" more...

October 13, 2005

A Prize And A Warning
by Phyllis Bennis

The Nobel Peace Prize is rarely just about peace.  It's almost always as much about making a diplomatic point -- or several -- as it is about acknowledging a noted peacemaker.  Often the political purpose is subtle, even hidden.  

But that wasn't the case this time around. In awarding the prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N'.s nuclear watchdog, and its director-general Mohamed el Baradei, the political point was open and clear. It was the Nobel Committee's slap in the face to the Bush administration's unilateralism, its undermining of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and especially its war in Iraq. more...

October 12, 2005

New Orleans: Leaving the Poor Behind Again! 
By Bill Quigley. 

They are doing it again! My wife and I spent five days and four nights in a hospital in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We saw people floating dead in the water. We watched people die waiting for evacuation to places with food, water, and electricity. We were rescued by boat and waited for an open pickup truck to take us and dozens of others on a rainy drive to the underpass where thousands of others waited for a bus ride to who knows where. You saw the people left behind. The poor, the sick, the disabled, the prisoners, the low-wage workers of New Orleans, were all left behind in the evacuation. Now that New Orleans is re-opening for some, the same people are being left behind again. 

When those in power close the public schools, close public housing, fire people from their jobs, refuse to provide access to affordable public healthcare, and close off all avenues for justice, it is not necessary to erect a sign outside of New Orleans saying "Poor People Not Allowed To Return." People cannot come back in these circumstances and that is exactly what is happening. 

There are 28,000 people still living in shelters in Louisiana. There are 38,000 public housing apartments in New Orleans, many in good physical condition. None have been reopened. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimated that 112,000 low-income homes in New Orleans were damaged by the hurricane. Yet, local, state and federal authorities are not committed to re-opening public housing. Louisiana Congressman Richard Baker (R-LA) said, after the hurricane, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."  more...

October 11, 2005

Randi Rhodes Rocks

Check out this video.

Randy gets into it with Janet Parshall the right winger over NYC. JP uses the talking point of  "we're fighting them over there rather than over here" nonsense. Randi quickly points her to the NYC subway scare.

October 10, 2005

Feingold Leads Way on Iraq War  
  By Robert Kuttner     

    President Bush, faced with plummeting support for the war in Iraq, keeps turning to an old standby. In another high-profile speech on Thursday, Bush warned Americans to be terrified of terror, and tried once again to tie Iraq to Al Qaeda and the attacks of 9/11.

    The public isn't buying it. A large majority - 64 to 32 in CBS polls - opposes Bush's conduct of the war.     

Yet the opposition party has been mostly missing in action. Democratic pollsters and political advisers seem to believe that with Bush failing as a war president Democrats should stay out of the way and let him sink.

---snip---

 One Democrat who has offered another course - and he must be feeling very lonely - is Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. He has urged the United States to make a commitment to get all combat troops out of Iraq by the end of 2006. As Feingold says, we need a coherent alternative to either "stay the course" or "cut and run." That alternative is phased withdrawal. more...  

October 9, 2005

This from Tom Tomorrow:
Just a remarkable coincidence

The Pentagon found nothing worth investigating in the story about the porn site trading free access to soldiers in return for their grisly war photos--but in what is described as an entirely unrelated development, the operator of the porn site has been arrested on obscenity charges.

Not that anyone wanted to, you know, shut the site down or anything.

**********

Race, Relief and Reconstruction
by Jordan Flaherty

The national conversation about New Orleans has shifted from relief to reconstruction. While alliances form among local and national elites, the majority of the city‚s population faces being shut out of the discussion entirely. New Orleans is less than 30% white, but the white power structure is poised to seize control of the debate over the city‚s future, while New Orleans‚ distinct legacies of colonialism, white supremacy and Jim Crow, along with the personal loss and devastation faced by most city residents, has created a cocktail of obstacles in the path of forming a strong and unified resistance.

---snip---

This white supremacist dynamic has also affected alliances between Black New Orleanians and other people of color, such as the city‚s immigrant populations. more...

October 8, 2005

A Cruel Nationalism

In a sordid slime, harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom--and for others' goods an itch.
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich--
Our god is marching on.
~Mark Twain

By Sheila Samples 

While recently watching George Bush's carefully orchestrated performance from New Orleans' French Quarter a week late and a billion dollars short, I was struck by the confused desperation in his eyes, and I was overcome with sympathy. Not at the spectacle of an out-of-touch derelict engineer racing to catch the presidential train as it careened crazily out of the station, but for the vulnerable and abandoned Americans whose very survival depends upon his empty platitudes and promises.

---snip---

The miserly response to Katrina should serve as a wake-up call to those Americans who can still think. Fascism is on the march and, when this administration threw down the gauntlet in New Orleans, it declared open war on this nation's poorer citizens, most of whom were Black.

White Americans swallowed the spin that FEMA's disaster brigades, widely heralded for their immediate response to even a spring shower blowing over the Florida coast, suddenly became so incompetent when Katrina hit Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, they couldn't even figure out how to use the telephone or deliver a bag of ice.

Black Americans know better. more...

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Klezmatics

Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.

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