Yearly Archives: 2005

60 posts

The Man Who Sold the War

[ Thanks to Alexandra Dadlez for news about this piece. –BL ] posted 17 Nov. 2005 | Rolling Stone by James Bamford Meet John Rendon, Bush’s general in the propaganda war The road to war in Iraq led through many unlikely places. One of them was a chic hotel nestled among the strip bars and brothels that cater to foreigners in the town of Pattaya, on the Gulf of Thailand. On December 17th, 2001, in a small room within the sound of the crashing tide, a CIA officer attached metal electrodes to the ring and index fingers of a man sitting […]

Gas Guzzling Food: The SUV in the Pantry

grabbed from Sustainable on 1 Dec. 2005 by Thomas Starrs I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how to reduce my family’s dependence on energy, particularly energy derived from fossil fuels. I commute to work by bicycle or bus, install compact fluorescents when light bulbs burn out, replace major appliances with the most efficient ones I can afford, and cast jealous glances at my friends who drive hybrids or alternative-fueled vehicles. But until recently, I didn’t think of myself as an energy glutton because of the food I eat. Then I read an astonishing statistic: It takes […]

A Journey That Ended in Anguish

[ This is the story of an officer and West Point professor, Col. Ted Westhusing, some of whose last words were: “I came [to Iraq] to serve honorably and feel dishonored.” “A psychologist reviewed Westhusing’s e-mails and interviewed colleagues … [and] concluded that … Westhusing struggled with the idea that monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war.” Thanks to Eva Dadlez for forwarding the piece. –BL ] 27 Nov. 2005 | LA Times by T. Christian Miller Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions. […]

No Thanks to Thanksgiving

[ Here’s another point of view on the Thanksgiving Holiday. –BL ] 23 Nov. 2005 | AlterNet by Robert Jensen One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting. In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas.

One Roof at a Time

November/December 2004 | Mother Jones by Bill McKibben With no help from the Bush administration — but plenty from Europe, Japan, New York, and California — solar power is edging into the mainstream. If you’re like most Americans, you’ve spent your life invisibly attached to an electric meter. When you wake up and switch on the light, you nudge it forward a little faster. When you toast bread, watch TV, open the fridge, flick on the computer, you push its pace. For all practical purposes, it only goes one way. But in the last few years, a small but quickly […]

Money should work for us, not the other way around

2005 Sept. | Ode by Jurriaan Kamp What is money? Do we need more of it to solve some of the world’s problems? Or is money the cause of them? Ex-banker Bernard Lietaer thinks the latter is the case. And he has the solution: a new kind of money. You have no idea what money is. Bernard Lietaer is too friendly and modest a man to say it that way, but this is the easiest possible way to sum up his message. If you did know what money was, then you — we — would see to it that we […]

Proctor & Gamble “Buzz Marketing” Unit Hit With Complaint

19 Oct. 2005 | USA Today by Bruce Horovitz Is Procter & Gamble — the world’s biggest packaged goods marketer — breaking the law by enlisting teens to coax friends to try teen-tailored products? One consumer advocacy group thinks it is. Commercial Alert on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that says P&G’s word-of-mouth marketing unit, Tremor, targets teens with deceptive advertising. If successful, the complaint would have broad impact on the ad business. So-called buzz marketing is the industry’s hottest trend. More than 85% of the nation’s top 1,000 marketers now use some form, estimates Marian […]

Nicaragua: Bush Interferes in Latin American Politics

6 Oct. 2005 | Mother Jones by Charles Norman Todd Here’s an interesting power play: The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick threatened the business community in Nicaragua on Wednesday. Who was that? Yes, you read it right: the business community in Nicaragua was threatened by the U.S. State Department. Zoellick offered an ultimatum: either stop supporting political parties we don’t like, or else the United States will cease to do business with you. The ultimatum came on the second day of Zoellick’s trip in which he said, gathered before a group of business men and women, “Your opportunities […]

God: Better Off Without Him?

[ “Christian fundamentalists claim religion is associated with lower rates of violence, teen pregnancy and divorce. A new study says they couldn’t be more wrong,” reads Alternet’s header for the story. This piece is thought provoking for theists and atheists alike! –BL ] October 13, 2005 | AlterNet by George Monbiot Are religious societies better than secular ones? It should be an easy question for athiests to answer. Most of those now seeking to blow people up — whether with tanks and missiles or rucksacks and passenger planes — do so in the name of God. In India, we see men […]

Solar Cell Panels Made out of Everyday Plastics

[ From the piece: Made of a single layer of plastic sandwiched between two conductive electrodes, UCLA’s solar cell is easy to mass-produce and costs much less to make – roughly one-third of the cost of traditional silicon solar technology…. “We hope that ultimately solar energy can be extensively used in the commercial sector as well as the private sector. Imagine solar cells installed in cars to absorb solar energy to replace the traditional use of diesel and gas. People will vie to park their cars on the top level of parking garages so their cars can be charged under […]

Reimbursement Program for Troops Stalls

[ The Bush Administration’s repeated assertions that the troops have all the equipment they need may dupe the portion of the public doing the knee-jerk cheering; but it hasn’t duped the troops. Although DoD “initially opposed” a program program to reimburse soldiers for money spent on protective equipment “arguing that it would be a financial burden”(!), “[s]ome troops in Iraq have complained that equipment is … lacking.” See this piece for a little background.] 3 Oct 2005 | New York Times by JOHN FILES WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 – The Pentagon has not completed guidelines for allowing soldiers, their families and […]

Buying of News by Bush’s Aides Is Ruled Illegal

01 October 2005 | New York Times by Robert Pear Washington – Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush’s education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party. In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated “covert propaganda” in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.


[ It was not a matter of whether there would be a catastrophe in New Orleans, but of when. Once it was clear that the catastrophe is now upon us, the question for the powers that be seems not to have been when to evacuate New Orleans’ most vulnerable citizens, but whether to do so. Alexandra Dadlez pointed out to me that the Associated Press reports “In addition to Guard help, the federal government could have activated, but did not, a major air support plan under a pre-existing contract with airlines. The program, called Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, lets the […]

Chavez offers Americans cheap fuel

24 August 2005 | Reuters Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, popular with the poor at home, has offered to help needy Americans with cheap supplies of petrol. “We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States,” the populist leader said at the end of a visit to Communist-run Cuba on Tuesday. Chavez did not say how Venezuela would go about providing petrol to poor communities. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA owns Citgo, which has 14,000 petrol stations in the United States. The offer may sound attractive to Americans feeling pinched by soaring prices at […]

Robertson Called for the Assassination of Venezuela’s President

[ The Rev. Pat Robertson — a man whose confusion and influence together make him a threat to justice, democracy, and intelligent discourse — has done it again. This time he is calling for the assassination of a democratically elected leader who dares threaten U.S. hemispheric hegemony. What’s interesting is that Robertson has no problem supporting violent dictators (see below) and investment under repressive regimes (see below) in order to make a buck. ] 22 August 2005 | Media Matters for America Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network’s The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, […]


11 Aug 2005 | Organic Bytes Monsanto has filed patents in 160 nations for… pigs. The World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva recently published the patent requests, which has left the pork industry squealing with contention. If approved, Monsanto would gain ownership of certain types of breeding techniques that are already in common use by farmers around the world. The patents also request Monsanto overtake of ownership of the pigs born of those breeding techniques as well as their related herds. Although controversial, the profit incentive of this legal maneuver for Monsanto is enormous, as annual pork sales in the […]

War on Terror, Rest in Peace

[ Lakoff points out: It is important to note the date on which the phrase “war on terror” died and was replaced by “global struggle against violent extremism.” It was right after the London bombing. Using the War frame to think and talk about terrorism was becoming more difficult. –BL ]1 August 2005 | Alternet by George Lakoff The “War on Terror” is no more. It has been replaced by the “global struggle against violent extremism.” The phrase “War on Terror” was chosen with care. “War” is a crucial term. It evokes a war frame, and with it, the idea that […]

Studies Show How and Why Organic Farming Must Become the Norm in the USA

Organic farming produces same corn and soybean yields as conventional farms, but consumes less energy and no pesticides, study finds Susan S. Lang Cornell University, July 13, 2005 [via agnet] ITHACA, N.Y. — Organic farming produces the same yields of corn and soybeans as does conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, less water and no pesticides, a review of a 22-year farming trial study concludes. David Pimentel, a Cornell University professor of ecology and agriculture, concludes, “Organic farming offers real advantages for such crops as corn and soybeans.” Pimentel is the lead author of a study that is […]

Nine Defy Vatican’s Ban on Ordination of Women

26 July 2005 | Washington Post by Doug Struck GANANOQUE, Ontario, July 25 — Nine women in white robes knelt on the deck of a cruise boat Monday in religious ceremonies they say will make them the first female Catholic priests and deacons ordained in North America. The Roman Catholic Church immediately dismissed their claim. In 2002, the Vatican excommunicated a group of women who participated in a similar ordination ceremony in Europe. The women here said they expect the same reaction by the Vatican, but they believe they are in the vanguard of social change that will bring equality […]

Venezuela’s Chavez hits back at Catholic critics

Jul 13, 2005 | Reuters by Pascal Fletcher CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez accused Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday of opposing his left-wing rule and being “out of touch with reality” after they questioned his populist policies. The firebrand nationalist has clashed publicly in the past with Catholic Church leaders he accuses of siding with the rich against his self-styled “revolution” in Venezuela, which he says is using the country’s oil wealth to help the poor. Chavez said he had complained this week about the attitude of local bishops to Apostolic Nuncio Monsignor Giacinto Berloco, who presented […]

Good Things Happening in Venezuela

July-Aug 2005 | Zmag by Michael Parenti Even before I arrived in Venezuela for a recent visit, I encountered the great class divide in that country. On my connecting flight from Miami to Caracas, I found myself seated next to an exquisitely dressed Venezuelan woman. Judging from her prosperous aspect, I anticipated that she would take the first opportunity to hold forth against President Hugo Chávez. Unfortunately, I was right.

Illegal Flag Shirt For Sale in OK

The shirt pictured below is the first item released from the new Red Flag Press. You can order it here for $14 ($15 for XXL) plus $2 s/h. The company warns: “Wearing this t-shirt in Oklahoma is a crime under unconstitutional Oklahoma Statute 21 — 374. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

Bush and Blair Refuse to Acknowledge Bombing Motives

by Brendan Lalor Bush and Blair continue systematically to misrepresent the best information available as to the motives behind the bombings in a growing list of cities including New York, Madrid, and recently London. Refusal to consider these motives can only perpetuate the misguided “war on terror.” As Sun Tzu put it, “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.” I don’t usually watch cable network news; but yesterday, in airports between Hartford and Oklahoma City, I was appalled at the shallow coverage of the London bombings by CNN. Preferring […]

Chavez to raise spending on education, health care, housing and pensions to 40 percent of all government expenditure

Venezuela’s Chavez Runs Up Debt Shunting Oil Wealth to the Poor 16 June 2005 | Bloomberg Venezuelan housewife Sabrina Munoz saves as much as a third on the price of flour, meat and beans by shopping at Mercal, a government-owned supermarket near her Caracas home overlooked by hillside shanties. She thanks President Hugo Chávez. “Mercal is an example of the good Chavez does,” says Munoz, 50, a mother of four. “He’s such a humanitarian.” Backed by a quadrupling of oil prices since he took office in early 1999, Chavez, 50, has boosted spending on food subsidies, education and health care […]

New Memos Detail Early Plans for Invading Iraq: British officials believed the U.S. favored military force a year before the war, documents show.

[ Many Bush supporters seem not to grasp the significance of these and other recent revelations. They seem instead to prefer to grasp the nettle of absurdity (ignoring the reports, rejecting all unfriendly facts as “liberal lies”). Grasping this nettle demonstrates not the toughness of their skin, but the thickness of their skulls, their insulation from plains facts, and the impossibility of rational discourse with them. –BL ] 15 June 2005 | Los Angeles Times by John Daniszewski LONDON — In March 2002, the Bush administration had just begun to publicly raise the possibility of confronting Iraq. But behind the scenes, […]

More Babies, Young Kids Going Hungry in US

June 12, 2005 | Agence France Presse Increasing numbers of young American children are showing signs of serious malnourishment, fueled by a greater prevalence of hunger in the United States, while, paradoxically, two-thirds of the US population is either overweight or obese. In 2003, 11.2 percent of families in the United States experienced hunger, compared with 10.1 percent in 1999, according to most recent official figures, released on National Hunger Awareness Day held this year on Tuesday, June 7. Some pediatricians worry that cuts in welfare aid proposed in President George W. Bush’s 2006 budget will only exacerbate the situation. […]

China, Venezuela and the U.S.A — trouble brewing

[ Thanks to Popi and Tom Natsoulas for passing this insightful piece along. –BL ] 26 May – June 01 | Progresso Weekly by Saul Landau “So what did you think of China’s recent economic foray into Latin America,” I asked a university student. “Huh”? she replied. “I read something about it,” said another, “but I don’t remember any details.” “Why not,” said a third. “They make everything I buy at Wal-Mart. So why shouldn’t they invest in other places?” He shrugged, indifferent to the news. Indeed, Washington warns China over any moves on Taiwan, but has barely responded to […]

Almost 10 Million People Work in Slave-Like Conditions in Asia

19 May 2005 | Forced labour generates profits worth US$ 9.7 billion. The International Labour Organisation calls on the international community to punish this crime and adopt plans to fight poverty. Geneva – Some 9.5 million people are working as forced labourers in the Asia-Pacific region, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said.

Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!

[ Would you like to mitigate the effects of your participation in the oil economy? Jeff Cohen has an interesting angle on this — one I like: This is one of the ways to take the “lesser-evil” approach to driving cars; and it’s better than altogether ignoring the moral ramifications of driving gas-powered autos. Thanks to Matt Miller for passing this along. –BL ] May 16, 2005 | by Jeff Cohen Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations. And […]

The Einstein-Russell Manifesto on Nuclear Weapons: The 50-Year Shadow

17 May 2005 | New York Times by JOSEPH ROTBLAT London – FIFTY years ago, I joined Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and eight others in signing a manifesto warning of the dire consequences of nuclear war. This statement, the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, was Einstein’s final public act. He died shortly after signing it. Now, in my 97th year, I am the only remaining signatory. Because of this, I feel it is my duty to carry Einstein’s message forward, into this 60th year since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which evoked almost universal opposition to any further use of nuclear weapons. […]

What is there It Is . org? is a left-oriented political site, and I’m Brendan Lalor, the one who runs it. Starting in 2003, before the Iraq war, I published some of my own political writings here, in large part for my students at the University of Central Oklahoma, and for some right-wing members of my extended family. From January through December of 2004, the site became a venue for daily news and analysis pieces to which I (and 400 subscribers) pointed right-wing relatives, students, neighbors, or acquaintances for the antidote to delusions induced by propaganda from FoxNews, ClearChannel radio, the Bush Administration, and others. Although […]

Ecuador Gets Chávez’d

11 May 2005 | The Nation by GREG PALAST George Bush has someone new to hate. Only twenty-four hours after Ecuador’s new president took his oath of office, he was hit by a diplomatic cruise missile fired all the way from Lithuania by Condoleezza Rice, then wandering about Eastern Europe spreading “democracy.” Condi called for “a constitutional process to get to elections,” which came as a bit of a shock to the man who’d already been constitutionally elected, Alfredo Palacio. What had Palacio done to get our Secretary of State’s political knickers in a twist? It’s the oil–and the bonds. […]

Chiquita’s Children

May 10, 2005 | In These Times by Nicolas B?rub? and Benoit Aquin In the ’70s and ’80s, the banana companies Dole, Del Monte and Chiquita used a carcinogenic pesticide, Nemagon, to protect their crops in Nicaragua. Today, the men and women who worked on those plantations suffer from incurable illnesses. Their children are deformed. The companies feign innocence.

Using software to model death row outcomes

27 April 2005 | Christian Science Monitor by Susan Llewelyn Leach Convicts on death row can wait for years while appeals are filed and protests lodged. Many never get beyond this limbo. Others are executed. What determines the final outcome? That is the question two professors, one a criminologist, the other a computer scientist, asked as they took 28 years of data on prisoners facing the death sentence and fed it into a software program. What the software – known as an artificial neural network – managed to do was to predict with more than 90 percent accuracy who would […]

Feeling Overworked? Well who isn’t?

[ Americans are “trapped” in a dysfunctional culture of work: Why not value leisure and take increases in productivity as time off? –BL ] 2 May 05 | Mother Jones by Bradford Plumer A little fodder for those grumbling at the water cooler. The Families and Work Institute just put out a new report (pdf) entitled “Overwork in America” that deserves a bit of discussion. The crucial findings: 44 percent of Americans are overworked using at least one of three different measures, and those overworked employees have, on average, poorer health and higher rates of clinical depression, both of which help […]

IRS Winks at Rich Beadbeats, Cracks Down on the Poor

Stroke the Rich 11 April 2005 | San Francisco Chronicle by David Cay Johnston IRS has become a subsidy system for super-wealthy Americans IRS winks at rich deadbeats. The federal tax system that millions of Americans are forced to deal with before April 15 is not at all what you think it is. Congress has changed it in recent decades from a progressive system in which the more one earns the more one pays in income taxes. It has become a subsidy system for the super rich. Through explicit policies, as well as tax laws never reported in the news, […]

Times’ Coverage of Nicaragua Misleads and Propagandizes

by Brendan Lalor To the editor of the New York Times: Ginger Thompson’s April 5 piece, “Old Foe of U.S. Trying for a Comeback in Nicaragua,” misleads about history and promulgates State Department propaganda. It is misleading because it depicts Daniel Ortega as an anti-democratic “strongman” who lost in 1990 when he finally agreed to an election. In fact, he won office democratically in 1984, when he took almost 70% of the vote in an election which drew 83% of the country’s electorate to the polls. The election was declared fair by impartial, third-party monitors, despite unsubstantiated claims to the […]

“A Moment of Silence”

by Emmanuel Ortiz Before I start this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence in honour of those who died in the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon last September 11th. I would also like to ask you a moment of silence for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S. And if I could just add one more thing… A full day of silence for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have […]

The Long Emergency: What’s going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle?

Posted Mar 24, 2005 | Rolling Stone by JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER A few weeks ago, the price of oil ratcheted above fifty-five dollars a barrel, which is about twenty dollars a barrel more than a year ago. The next day, the oil story was buried on page six of the New York Times business section. Apparently, the price of oil is not considered significant news, even when it goes up five bucks a barrel in the span of ten days. That same day, the stock market shot up more than a hundred points because, CNN said, government data showed no […]

The Nature of CIA Intervention in Venezuela: Interview with Philip Agee

22 March 2005 | by Jonah Gindin Philip Agee is a former CIA operative who left the agency in 1967 after becoming disillusioned by the CIA’s support for the status quo in the region. Says Agee, ?I began to realize that what I and my colleagues had been doing in Latin America in the CIA was no more than a continuation of nearly five-hundred years of this, exploitation and genocide and so forth.  And I began to think about what, until then would have been unthinkable, which was to write a book on how it all works.?  The book, Inside […]

When Democracy Failed – 2005: The Warnings of History

[ This is a chilling piece, drawing out a common parallel in uncommon detail. Thanks to J. Mock for passing it along. –BL ] 22 February 2005 | by Thom Hartmann This weekend – February 27th – is the 72nd anniversary, but the corporate media most likely won’t cover it. The generation that experienced this history firsthand is now largely dead, and only a few of us dare hear their ghosts. It started when the government, in the midst of an economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few […]

The dysfunctional society: US billionaires on the rise–roads, bridges in decay

22 March 2004 | World Socialist Web Site by Jamie Chapman and Kate Randall Two recent reports cast light on the impact of growing social inequality in the US. The first, the annual inventory of the very rich compiled this month by the business magazine Forbes, tracks the wealth of the world’s billionaires, and their increasing numbers in the US. The second is the “report card” issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on the state of the infrastructure in the United States. Together these studies provide a devastating exposure of the price being paid—in the form of […]

Toxic Contaminant Levels in Farmed and Wild-Caught Salmon Species

PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, accessed 21 March 2005 through their website Recent studies surveying contaminant levels in farmed and wild-caught salmon have shown that, on average, farmed salmon contain substantially higher concentrations of a variety of persistent organic contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins, and pesticides. These studies indicate that wild salmon, being generally lower in toxic contaminants, is a healthier choice for consumers. However, closer inspection reveals that contaminant levels in individual fish can vary widely across wild and farmed salmon of various species and from various geographic regions, so the issue is not black and white.

Five A Day For Fish? Veggie-Eating Creatures Healthier For Humans

4 March 2004 | Scripps Howard News Service by Joan Lowy You are what you eat, even if you’re a fish. And fish that thrive on veggies tend to be less toxic than flesh eaters. With new studies showing PCBs, dioxin, and pesticides in salmon and mercury in canned tuna, consumers who find themselves struggling to figure out what’s safe to eat will find some species of fish are high in contaminants, while others are generally low. The reason is usually diet — some fish eat smaller fish, but other fish eat veggies and tiny organisms.

Reagan’s Daughter Slams Bush & Senate for ANWAR Policy

[ True to the pattern, ignorant Americans may again be duped by short-sighted politicians under the sway of large corporations which aim to hide the unsustainability of our energy consumption as long as possible. While recent U.S. government claims suggest that drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge will yield “up to” 1.4 billion barrels of oil, this is at best a stopgap measure: the U.S. consumes 20 million barrels a day; hence one way to quantify the net effect of the proposed destructive drilling is to think of it as a 50-day appeasement of our oil-greedy appetites […]

Haiti: the forgotten milestone in Bush?s crusade for ?freedom?

12 March 2005 | World Socialist Web Site by Bill Van Auken Dozens of Haitian men, women and children drowned when their rickety homemade craft went down in the waters of the Caribbean, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Some 50 people had crowded onto the boat, which sank under their weight. Three survivors made it ashore to tell of the disaster, while officials reported recovering nine bodies, which were buried in a mass grave. ?There?s nothing we can do,? said Cap-Haitien Mayor Apile Fleurent. ?We?re just waiting to see how many bodies are brought in by the waves.? While the […]

FCNL: 42 Percent of Your Tax Dollars Buys More War

[ FCNL is the Friends (Quaker) Committee on National Legislation. –BL ] FCNL Email | 11 March 2005 Tax day is April 15. Did you know that about 42% of our income taxes this year will go for military purposes? This figure is computed based on federal funds outlays in fiscal year 2004 (FY04) of $1.7 trillion. The federal funds budget includes spending for all discretionary programs (for which Congress appropriates funds each year) and for all mandatory programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, Earned Income Tax Credit, and other needs-based programs (which are paid for out of general revenues). The […]

US bars Nicaragua heroine as ‘terrorist’

[ One or more of the anti-democratic Reagan-era appointees in the State Department are responsible for barring anti-dictatorial, Sandinista movement leader Dora Maria Tellez from entering the U.S. Or perhaps John Negroponte himself has pulled strings to block her entry. After all, as ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte played a key role in running Reagan’s terrorist war against the popular Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Either way, this move only increases the Orwellian flavor of the times we live in here in the U.S.A.: Those who oppose U.S.-backed dictators are terrorists. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. –BL ] Writers and […]

Rocket Fuel Chemical in Breast Milk?

Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Breast Milk of Women in 18 States 24 February 2005 | by Robert Roy Britt A toxic component of rocket fuel has been found in breast milk of women in 18 states and store-bought milk from various locations around the country. The chemical, perchlorate, can impede adult metabolism and cause retardation in fetuses, among other things. It leaches into groundwater from various military facilities. Previous studies have found perchlorate in drinking water, on lettuce, and in cows milk.

John Adams: “the Government of the United States…is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion”

[ In light of all the negative attention Bill Maher has gotten from predominantly religious groups such as Concerned Women for America and the American Family Association for his remark that “religion is a neurological disorder,” it’s worth noting that his position — about fundamentalist religion at least — is closer to that of Thomas Jefferson than is that of our nation’s fundamentalists! The following article is of independent interest as well. –BL ] Our Godless Constitution 21 Feb. 2005 | The Nation by BROOKE ALLEN It is hard to believe that George Bush has ever read the works of George […]

Healthcare in U.S. Most Expensive Per Capita in Industrialized World

Health care tab ready to explode: Costs could be 19% of economy by 2014 24 Feb. 2005 | USA TODAY (Page 1A) by Julie Appleby The nation’s tab for health care — already the highest per person in the industrialized world — could hit $3.6 trillion by 2014, or nearly 19% of the entire U.S. economy, up from 15.4% now, a sobering government projection says. Growth in health care spending will outpace economic growth through the next decade, and the government will pick up an increasing share of the tab. By 2014, the nation’s spending for health care will equal […]

Bush Nominates Convict to be First Director of National Intelligence

by Brendan Lalor In yet another loss for human rights and peace, Bush nominated John Negroponte — his previous ambassador to the U.N. and recently to Iraq — to be the first director of national intelligence. Negroponte is a Reagan-era criminal who illegally subverted democracy in Latin America.’s previous articles on Negroponte are worth another look, for instance, “Negroponte, a Torturer’s Friend.”

2018: The Magic Number (Alarm, Deception, and Social Security)

4 Feb. 2005 | AlterNet by Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research Sometimes a number can take on great significance as a symbol. The number on a famous athlete’s uniform, or the date of an historic event. Anniversaries, the turn of a century, or fears associated with such events — remember the Y2K scare? “Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in,” declared President Bush in his State of the Union speech. President Bush, along with others who want to cut Social Security benefits and partially […]

All Players Gained From ‘Oil-for-Food’

3 February 2005 | Los Angeles Times On the U.N. Security Council, competing national interests and economic stakes in Iraq chilled willingness to scrutinize the program. by Maggie Farley UNITED NATIONS — It was the summer of 1990, and Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard had just stormed into oil-rich Kuwait. The U.N. Security Council, hoping to induce Iraq to withdraw and disarm, responded by imposing sanctions. Nearly 15 years, two wars and a regime change later, those sanctions and the multibillion-dollar “oil-for-food” program that followed them still shadow the United Nations. Eight investigations are underway in Washington and New York into […]

Newsletter Worth Reading: OrganicBytes

[ I’ve sung the praises of, DemocracyNow!, and other sites before. Now it’s worth bringing OrganicBytes (from to your attention! There’s an excerpt of the newsletter below. FYI: It only comes out every week or two. –BL ] Organic Bytes #49 Food and Consumer News Tidbits with an Edge! 1/28/2005 Subscribe __________________________________ ALERT: NEW EPA DEAL LETS FACTORY FARMS POLLUTE AIR WITHOUT RESTRICTION The day after the inauguration, January 21, the Bush Administration signed an agreement that allows factory farms to freely violate any and all clean air standards for the next two years, and forgives these same companies […]

Martin Luther King’s Anti-war Words Ring True Today

[ I hope you’ve been keeping up with the latest news via,, and other sites. I thought this piece from the Herald an especially poignant reminder of Martin Luther King’s relevance to our current situation. –BL ] 05 Jan. 17 | Miami Herald by KEVIN DANAHER and TONY NEWMAN We usually honor great historical figures by studying their entire body of work. For many years, every January, Americans have heard 30 seconds of Martin Luther King Jr. from the I Have a Dream speech. It was a great speech, but why do we never hear the many speeches […]

Baboons, Humans, and Aggression

The end of war excerpted from 30 Dec. 2004 | Toronto Star by GWYNNE DYER The good news for humans is that it looks like peaceful conditions, once established, can be maintained. And if baboons can do it, why not us? ? Frans de Waal, Yerkes Primate Centre, Emory University About 20 years ago, a disaster struck the Forest Troop of baboons in Kenya. There was a tourist lodge within their range, and the biggest and toughest males in the troop would regularly go to the garbage dump there to forage for food. Subordinate males, however, did not go — […]