January 20, 2006

note: Today's photo is by Nancy Burch.

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Castro's Prophecy Fulfilled as Bolivia Joins Latin America's "Axis of Good"
Revolution in the Andes
By RICHARD GOTT

One of the most significant events in 500 years of Latin American history will take place in Bolivia on Sunday when Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian, is inducted as president. People of indigenous origin have, on occasion, risen to the top in Latin America. But Morales's overwhelming election victory took place on a tide of indigenous mobilisation that is especially powerful in Andean countries; elections in Peru and Ecuador this year might also bring success to indigenous movements. more...

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Is the Past a Prologue for the Roberts-Alito Court?
Abortion Before Roe
By ELIZABETH SCHULTE

Throughout history, women have had unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. And throughout history, women have found ways to terminate those pregnancies.

But what has not always been guaranteed is whether they can do so legally, with the medical care necessary to protect their health--or if they must seek illegal, "back-alley" abortions.

In the years just before abortion became legal in 1973, hospital wards were filled with women seeking abortions--who either had been injured or become sick obtaining an illegal abortion under dangerous conditions, or who had tried to induce the abortion themselves.

Desperate women used a number of dangerous means to terminate pregnancies. Some sought abortions from back-alley abortionists, with usually humiliating and sometimes deadly results.

Other women tried to induce abortions with homemade means--such as a bleach douche, or inserting sharp instruments into her cervix. This is why the now almost forgotten image of the wire coat hanger became the symbol of the abortion rights movement. more...

January 19, 2006

Why the Democrats Have To Filibuster Alito (excerpt from the Rude Pundit):

As Tim Grieve writes in Salon, "[F]or years now, Democratic senators like [Dianne] Feinstein have justified their existence by warning voters about the possibility of a court full of Scalias: Send me back for another term in the Senate -- send money to get me there -- and I'll stand up for an independent judiciary and protect a woman's right to choose. So here we are, confronted with another Supreme Court nominee who shows every sign that he'll roll over for the executive branch and roll back Roe the first chance he gets, and the Dianne Feinsteins of the world say the nomination doesn't rise to the level of a filibuster." Or, in other words, put the fuck up or shut the fuck up.

The Rude Pundit has said it before and he'll say it again: Democrats need to think of themselves as an organized resistance, an insurgency against a dictatorial government, an uprising with popular support among the citizens of the United States. A resistance doesn't succeed unless it actually, you know, resists. And if not on Alito, then what? Dianne Feinstein-leaning Democrats need to take a page from the anti-abortion movement: if you believe it's about life and death, then act like you wanna save lives. more...

January 18, 2006

Time to Go Long
By Molly Ivins
What matters here is not what the Republicans or the Democrats do -- it's what you do before November.

It takes a Texas Republican to get that fine hairline reading on the ethical sensitivity scale we all prize so highly. Thus, it comes as no surprise that a couple of six-packs of Texas Republican congressmen have signed up to endorse Rep. Roy Blunt, Tom DeLay's chosen successor, in the House leadership fight. Glad to see they're taking this ethical stuff seriously.

---snip---

What matters here is not what the Republicans or the Democrats do -- it's what you do before November. Sit up, join up, stir it up, get online, get in touch, find out who's raising hell and join them. No use waiting on a bunch of wussy politicians. more...

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Repeat After Us: Alito Is NOT A Done Deal
NOT A Done Deal, NOT A Done Deal
by thepen
CALL YOUR SENATORS RIGHT NOW at 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073.
NEWS FLASH: THE ALITO VOTE HAS BEEN DELAYED A WEEK. WE CAN WIN THIS!!! more...

January 17, 2006

NEW ACTION PAGE TO FILIBUSTER ALITO: http://www.nocrony.com

CALL YOUR SENATORS RIGHT NOW at 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. If you can't leave a message try back again first thing in the morning, and submit the action page above in the meantime.

When they surrendered on the original filibuster confrontation without a fight they told us they were "saving our ammunition." Strike one.

When they waved Roberts through without demanding access to any of his records for the last 20 years they told us they were "keeping our powder dry." Strike two.

Don't DARE try to tell us that now rubberstamping the most radical jurist on the appellate bench is yet more "picking our battles."

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Speaking as a Canadian who is fond of judicious language, I feel that this situation deserves careful and measured thought.  So let me just open with:

Is your entire f*cking country on crack???  Are all you Americans out of your cotton picking minds???  Are you completely freaking delusional?  Homicidal?  Psychotic?  Have you lost any shred of a moral compass?  WHAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS H. CHRIST ON A CRUTCH IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!

Let me offer up one small datum which may completely change the equation for you.   According to the CIA, Iran is at least five years away from a nuclear weapon.

Five years.   Assuming that the CIA has any credibility whatsoever left, its five years.   Five years, is time for diplomacy to accomplish a hell of a lot.

In the meantime, I would also point out that the Atomic Energy Commission, that various other international bodies, that inspections have essentially found no sign that Iran is even working on a nuclear weapon. more...

January 16, 2006

We Could Each Be Dr. King
    By Geov Parrish   
Real story of Dr. King could inspire action; instead, we hear feel-good whitewash.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would be 77 on Sunday. He has been dead for 38 years. As his living memory fades, replaced by a feel-good "I have a dream" whitewash that ignores much of what he stood for and fought against, it's more important than ever to recapture the true history of Dr. King - because much of what he fought against is resurfacing or still with us today.   

---snip---
    King is not a legend because he believed in diversity trainings and civic ceremonies, or because he had a nice dream. He is remembered because he took serious risks and, as the Quakers say, spoke truth to power. King is also remembered because, among a number of brave and committed civil rights leaders and activists, he had a flair for self-promotion, a style that also appealed to white liberals, and the extraordinary social strength of the black Southern churches behind him. And because he died before he had a chance to be widely believed a relic or buffoon. more...

January 15, 2006

Stuck Between Scalia and Thomas: Democrats Drop the Ball - Again
by Ralph Nader  

The right wing columnist for the Wall St. Journal, Daniel Henninger, in a mocking column on the Democrats' performance during the Samuel A. Alito Jr. nomination hearings called them "intellectually exhausted and politically befuddled." Overall, with some exceptional moments, his description was not that far off the mark, though he also could have applied this description to the Democrats letting through now Justices Scalia and Thomas in years past. more...

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Chomsky: 'There Is No War On Terror'
By Geov Parrish
The acclaimed critic of U.S. foreign policy analyzes Bush's current political troubles, the war on Iraq, and what's really behind the global 'war on terror.'

George Bush would be in severe political trouble if there were an opposition political party in the country. Just about every day, they're shooting themselves in the foot. The striking fact about contemporary American politics is that the Democrats are making almost no gain from this. The only gain that they're getting is that the Republicans are losing support. Now, again, an opposition party would be making hay, but the Democrats are so close in policy to the Republicans that they can't do anything about it. When they try to say something about Iraq, George Bush turns back to them, or Karl Rove turns back to them, and says, "How can you criticize it? You all voted for it." And, yeah, they're basically correct. more...

January 14, 2006

Taxing Wealth At The Very Top
Time For A Property Tax On All Forms of Property...Starting Now, State by State
by Gar Alperovitz  

Many advanced industrial countries tax not only income but wealth–including especially stocks and bonds, the most highly concentrated form of wealth. The United States does not. Is there any way to reverse this situation?  

The ownership of financial and business wealth is almost Medieval in nature, so highly concentrated is the picture at the very top: A mere 1% owns just a bit under half of all such wealth in the United States!  

Many observers have suggested this situation must ultimately be addressed. Yale Professors Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, for instance, have proposed a 2% tax on wealth, Colgate University professor Thomas Michl has proposed a general net-worth tax, and Hofstra Law professor Leon Friedman has urged 1% tax on wealth owned by the top 1%.  

Kevin Phillips and Jeff Gates have also urged that wealth taxation must now be put on the American agenda. Robert Kuttner adds that a wealth tax is „by definition, the most progressive way to raise revenue, since it hits only the very pinnacle of the income distribution.š Even Donald Trump a few years ago proposed a one time net-worth tax?of 14.25% on Americans with more than $10 million in assets. more...

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January 20, 2006


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No War in Iraq march.

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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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