December 3, 2006

Is President Bush Sane?
By Paul Craig Roberts

Tens of millions of Americans want President George W. Bush to be impeached for the lies and deceit he used to launch an illegal war and for violating his oath of office to uphold the US Constitution. Millions of other Americans want Bush turned over to the war crimes tribunal at the Hague. The true fate that awaits Bush is psychiatric incarceration.

The president of the United States is so deep into denial that he is no longer among the sane.

Delusion still rules Bush three weeks after the American people repudiated him and his catastrophic war in elections that delivered both House and Senate to the Democrats in the hope that control over Congress would give the opposition party the strength to oppose the mad occupant of the White House.

On November 28 Bush insisted that US troops would not be withdrawn from Iraq until he had completed his mission of building a stable Iraqi democracy capable of spreading democratic change in the Middle East. more...

December 2, 2006

Same Old Same Old
by William Greider  

House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi ought to find a quiet place where she can sit down and recount the election. She was not chosen by her friends in Silicon Valley or by the friendly investment bankers on both coasts. They no doubt contributed generously to the party's candidates. But her House majority was made possible by millions of fed-up Americans ready to gamble that Democrats might try something new--on Iraq, on the soggy economy for working people and other grievances.

So why does Pelosi begin the education of her freshman members with a seminar on Rubinomics? Robert Rubin, the Citigroup executive and former Treasury secretary, will appear solo next week before the party caucus to explain the economy. Pelosi has scheduled another caucus briefing on Iraq, but that includes five expert voices of varying viewpoints. Rubin gets the stage to himself.

When labor officials heard about this, they asked to be included since they have very different ideas about what Democrats need to do in behalf of struggling workers and middle-class families. Pelosi decided against it. This session, her spokesman explains, is only about "fiscal responsibility," not globalization and trade, not the deterioration of wages and disappearing jobs. Yet those subjects are sure to come up for discussion. Rubin gets to preach his "free trade" dogma with no one present to rebut his facts and theories.

A fundamental debate is growing within the party around these economic issues and Pelosi knows this. It is seriously unwise for this new Speaker to leave an impression she has already chosen sides. The interpretation by Washington insiders will be: Pelosi is "safe;" she is not going to threaten Rubin's Wall Street orthodoxy. Far-flung voters will begin to conclude Democrats are the same-old, same-old money party. This is the sort of party "unity" that can earn Pelosi a very short honeymoon.

*****NEW ARTICLE*****

Revote and Verify
(from The Nation)

The most important battle in the effort to fix our dangerously dysfunctional electoral system is playing out on the west coast of Florida. In the race for the 13th Congressional District seat, which had been held by Katherine Harris--who exploited her position as Florida's Secretary of State to tip the 2000 presidential recount in favor of George W. Bush--a mess has developed that almost makes the Bush-versus-Gore debacle of six years ago look like a model of electoral legitimacy.

Officially, Republican Vern Buchanan prevailed by a margin of 369 votes over Democrat Christine Jennings. But in Sarasota County, where Jennings won 53 percent of the votes that were counted, more than 18,000 votes have vanished. That's right, 13 percent of the votes cast in that county November 7 have gone missing into the void created by an electronic voting system that generates no paper trail. Buchanan's supporters want us to believe that almost one out of every eight voters in Sarasota County chose not to cast a ballot in a closely contested Congressional race. But other counties in the district reported a drop-off of only 2 to 5 percent.

Common Cause Florida has called for a revote in the county, as have other clean-government groups. There are precedents: Revotes have been ordered over the years at the county level and above for presidential, Congressional and local races. More important in this era of electronic voting, there is a need to establish a new precedent: Without the paper trail so necessary to a recount in a close contest, only a new and verifiable revote can restore the rapidly dwindling faith of voters in the electoral system that underpins our democracy.

December 1, 2006

Message To West Point
by Bill Moyers  

Many of you will be heading for Iraq. I have never been a soldier myself, never been tested under fire, never faced hard choices between duty and feeling, or duty and conscience, under deadly circumstances. I will never know if I have the courage to be shot at, or to shoot back, or the discipline to do my duty knowing the people who dispatched me to killųor be killedųhad no idea of the moral abyss into which they were plunging me.

I have tried to learn about war from those who know it best: veterans, the real experts. But they have been such reluctant reporters of the experience. My father-in-law, Joe Davidson, was 37 years old with two young daughters when war came in 1941; he enlisted and served in the Pacific but I never succeeded in getting him to describe what it was like to be in harm‚s way. My uncle came home from the Pacific after his ship had been sunk, taking many friends down with it, and he would look away and change the subject when I asked him about it. One of my dearest friends, who died this year at 90, returned from combat in Europe as if he had taken a vow of silence about the dark and terrifying things that came home with him, uninvited.

Curious about this, some years ago I produced for PBS a documentary called „D-Day to the Rhine.š With a camera crew I accompanied several veterans of World War II who for the first time were returning together to the path of combat that carried them from the landing at Normandy in 1944 into the heart of Germany. Members of their families were along this timeųwives, grown sons and daughtersųand they told me that until now, on this tripų45 years after D-Dayųtheir husbands and fathers rarely talked about their combat experiences. They had come home, locked their memories in their mind‚s attic, and hung a „no trespassingš sign on it. Even as they retraced their steps almost half a century later, I would find these aging GIs, standing alone and silent on the very spot where a buddy had been killed, or they themselves had killed, or where they had been taken prisoner, a German soldier standing over them with a Mauser pointed right between their eyes, saying: „For you, the war is over.š As they tried to tell the story, the words choked in their throats. The stench, the vomit, the blood, the fear: What outsiderųjournalist or kinųcould imagine the demons still at war in their heads? more...

November 30, 2006

Nursing a Movement
By: Dave Maass
The national health-insurance plan would cover all U.S. residents, including undocumented immigrants.

Far be it for a tiny, local alternative news-weekly to predict the future of the Dem-Dem Congress (particularly when palms are so much harder to read with a thinner grease trail to follow), but even us yokels understand four out of five Doonesbury strips and know that the points on Bush‚s crown have all gone moot. The proof is in the Google search for „Republican Agenda.š The Republican National Committee‚s hit:  „Error 404, File Not Found.š

The Democrats will steer congressional debate, but the greater government overhaul will have to wait until Bush is yanked away from the veto button (not that he‚s made much use of it). Instead, the Democrats will spend the next two years treading heavily and carrying small sticks. Their success will hinge on how noisily they gut certain presidential pet projects and call the public‚s attention to key liberal issues. If they can hold out until 2008 and take the presidency, then they can start passing the real (new) deal.

For the rest of the nation, this means grassroots organizations have two years to build their bases and pick their 2008 candidates and hype their positions.

Three weeks before the November 2006 election, the Texas Coalition for Universal Health Care Rights hosted their first community „Congressional Hearingš on the need for single-payer health insurance. Using the plan proposed by Representative John Conyers in 2003, the coalition seeks to eliminate health-insurance companies and pay doctors using government funds provided by repealing the Bush tax cuts, leveling a 3-percent payroll tax increase on employers, and a 5-percent tax on the top 5-percent income earners. The national health-insurance plan would cover all U.S. residents, including undocumented immigrants. more...

November 29, 2006

Former Prosecutor Imagines Bush's Judgment Day
by William Fisher  

The scene is a U.S. federal grand jury room. There, impaneled ordinary citizens listen intently as a veteran federal prosecutor asks them to return an indictment unique in U.S. history.

The charge is conspiracy to defraud the United States. And the defendants are President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

On the first day of grand jury proceedings, the prosecutor addresses the jurors. "Please remember that you must decide the case based solely on the evidence that's presented and applicable law, without regard to prejudice or sympathy. In other words, your politics, and any personal feelings you may have toward the defendants -- positive or negative -- should have no bearing on your deliberations."

The prosecutor then passes out the indictment, reminding jurors, "don't forget your reading glasses..." more...

*****NEW ARTICLE*****

Rural America Suffering Higher Death Toll in Iraq, Afghanistan
by Aaron Glantz  

Rural communities are experiencing a disproportionate amount of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new study by the Carsey Institute, a think tank at the University of New Hampshire.

"The mortality rate for soldiers from rural America is about 60 percent higher than the mortality rate for soldiers from metropolitan areas," the Institute's William O'Hare told OneWorld.

According to the study, 825 of the first 3,095 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan--or 27 percent--came from rural America, even though rural areas account for only 19 percent of the U.S. population.

Soldiers from rural Vermont have the highest death rate in the nation, followed by Delaware, South Dakota, and Arizona. more...

November 28, 2006

All-American Anti-Semitism
Barbara Ehrenreich
Everyone is suing „Boratš – the drunken frat boys who give the eponymous hero a ride in their van, possibly the government of Kazakhstan, and certainly the people of Glod, Romania, apparently for portraying them as residents of Kazakhstan. If there‚s a class action suit underway, I‚d like to join in, because I laughed so hard at „Boratš that a mild cold turned into near-fatal paroxysms of coughing.

The overarching joke that drives „Borat: Cultural Learnings of America to Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstanš is that America, despite its widespread prohibition on taking a dump in public, bears some remarkable resemblances to the grossly medieval fictional Kazahstan of the film. more...

*****NEW ARTICLE*****

The bottom line for New Haven Diaper Bank is helping parents
by Randall Beach

Most people don‚t think about poor people and their kids‚ diapers. Most of us don‚t realize that paying for diapers is a huge problem for families who don‚t have a lot of money.

Joanne Samuel Goldblum noticed it. As a social worker in New Haven, she frequently observed parents who were unable to afford diapers at the end of the month, after their government assistance funds ran out.

What happens when you can‚t afford diapers for your kid? Diaper rash. Incessant crying. And, sometimes, child abuse when the parents can‚t take the crying anymore.

More commonly, the result of a diaper shortage is shame and embarrassment.

Two years ago, Goldblum put her thoughts and desire into action. more...

November 27, 2006

Survey Says: "US Most Unfriendly Country To Visit"
by Brigitte Schön  

While this survey, published a few days ago, might not have made headline news in America - although it should, in my humble opinion - it did make the headlines around the world. For more details, search the web or try a site like Exploring the Globe.

I have to admit that when I only scanned this headline in my seat neighbor's daily on a bus one morning a few days ago, I bristled. "No!! What are they talking about!" I thought. "People are so utterly friendly everyhwere in America, are they out of their minds??"

Then I bought my own daily which also carried the story and read the details. The headlines only referred to the way travelers are treated when entering the United States, mostly by plane. And all of a sudden, the headline made sense. Oh yes!!! It's a nightmare!
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