Politics

940 posts

Marijuana “Experts” Disappoint: Part II – The Law Enforcement Establishment

Opinion | Perspective ‘Experts’ disappoint, part 2 April 17, 2016 in Rutland Herald / Times Argus Surprised and disappointed by the marijuana misinformation in circulation, we set part of the record straight in part one of our commentary (“Marijuana ‘experts’ disappoint,” April 10): Despite what Vermont’s health experts are telling us, science has not shown that marijuana causes laziness or lung cancer or that it lowers IQ. Although marijuana can be used to counter these conditions, we wouldn’t hear about that from Vermont’s vocal health “experts,” who carefully ignore the relevant scientifically established benefits of marijuana. We are surprised, too, […]

Marijuana “Experts” Disappoint: Part I – The Medical Establishment

Opinion | Perspective | Rutland Herald By Brendan Lalor and Philip Lamy Commentary | April 10,2016 Editor’s note: What follows is Part 1 of a commentary piece by Brendan Lalor and Philip Lamy. The second part will run in a future edition. We are concerned by the marijuana misinformation in circulation — and in particular by the number of “expert” sources ignoring relevant scientific data. Vermonters look to medical and scientific bodies to inform our marijuana policy discussion yet find so many so-called experts repeating half-truths and outright falsehoods. Hence, we write to promote greater integrity in our marijuana policy […]

Abe Lincoln on Prohibition

Abe Lincoln: “Prohibition … goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. … A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

Reefer Madness 2.0

Recently, I attended a public showing of the documentary “The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth.” The film has been traveling across the state, sponsored by local drug awareness groups to stimulate public discussion of potential marijuana legalization in Vermont. The film might more accurately be subtitled “Reefer Madness 2.0” …

For the Sake of the Children, Outlaw it!

Thanks to Ms. Slaton’s Letter, we awoke from our slumber, recognizing in her words a call for an about-face from our current focus on marijuana in Vermont. She asks, “What are we teaching [our children] if we legalize a substance that is known to be harmful to their development and their ability to learn?”

Bingo. She’s right.

If our children learn by paying attention to messages implicit in the law as Ms. Slaton suggests they do, then we are in big trouble, and we have already brought down immense harm on them by introducing them to alcohol.

The Perfect Moral Storm: Philosophers Respond to the Impending Anthropogenic Apocalypse

For at least the next 200 years, weather forecasts predict shitstorms, with global temperatures now set to remain elevated for hundreds of years to come. The latest IPCC report explains that our emissions are nearing the point of no return. Even if industrialized nations switched to solar power overnight, it is now too late to fully reverse the planet’s course. Geologists have officially termed this new epoch, where the human species has irreparably shaped earth’s geological history, the
Anthropocene. Policymakers no longer have the luxury to decide how we might “stop” global warming. Instead, we have to figure out how we’ll manage amidst climate instability.

Tocqueville caricature by Honoré Daumier, 1849.

De Tocqueville’s “Democracy In America”

I hold it to be an impious and an execrable maxim that, politically speaking, a people has a right to do whatsoever it pleases, and yet I have asserted that all authority originates in the will of the majority. Am I then, in contradiction with myself? A general law—which bears the name of Justice—has been made and sanctioned, not only by a majority of this or that people, but by a majority of mankind. The rights of every people are consequently confined within the limits of what is just.

Urban agriculture in Cuba (image: WikiPedia)

How Cubans’ Health Improved When Their Economy Collapsed

Richard Schiffman | The Atlantic Monthly Apr 18 2013 Sometimes financial crises can force lifestyle changes for the better. When Cuba’s benefactor, the Soviet Union, closed up shop in the early 1990s, it sent the Caribbean nation into an economic tailspin from which it would not recover for over half a decade. The biggest impact came from the loss of cheap petroleum from Russia. Gasoline quickly became unobtainable by ordinary citizens in Cuba, and mechanized agriculture and food distribution systems all but collapsed. The island’s woes were compounded by the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which intensified the U.S. trade embargo […]

Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq with Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers

Iraq War Anniversary: Birth Defects And Cancer Rates At Devastating High In Basra And Fallujah

The Huffington Post | by Eline Gordts (Posted: 03/20/2013) [ Despite the U.S. military’s repeated denials, it appears the U.S. in fact took action knowing that the “casualties” of war would be the next generation of Iraqi children. ~BL ] Ten years after the start of the U.S. invasion in Iraq, doctors in some of the Middle Eastern nation’s cities are witnessing an abnormally high number of cases of cancer and birth defects. Scientists suspect the rise is tied to the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus in military assaults. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8QOvr0PLW4 On the war’s ten-year anniversary, Democracy Now! spoke with […]

Do academic publishers hold feudal powers?

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 30th August 2011 Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the Western world? Whose monopolistic practices makes WalMart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch look like a socialist? You won’t guess the answer in a month of Sundays. While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers. Theirs might sound like a fusty and insignificant sector. It is anything but. Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently […]

On Americans (Not) Getting By (Again)

It’s the 10th anniversary of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed. Have things improved? Here’s her new, wake-up-call afterward. Posted by Barbara Ehrenreich at 7:05am, August 9, 2011. It was at lunch with the editor of Harper’s Magazine that the subject came up: How does anyone actually live “on the wages available to the unskilled”? And then Barbara Ehrenreich said something that altered her life and resulted, improbably enough, in a bestselling book with almost two million copies in print. “Someone,” she commented, “ought to do the old-fashioned kind of journalism — you know go out there and try it for […]

Monsanto’s New Sweet Corn, Another Unregulated, Unlabeled Frankenfood

Organic Bytes #289 Government regulation of genetically engineered crops, already weak, is increasingly non-existent. The latest example of this new hands-off policy is the commercialization of Monsanto’s first flagship product for the produce aisle: genetically engineered sweet corn, containing the Bt toxin and herbicide-resistant genes. Monsanto’s new sweet corn produces Bt toxin, a genetically modified version of an insecticide from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Until now, Monsanto’s Bt corn and cotton crops have mostly been used in animal feed and highly processed ingredients. Even with this limited exposure, Bt toxin has already been found in the blood of pregnant […]

We Knew It!: The U.S. Continues to Thwart Haitian Democracy

We’ve seen a lot of obfuscation come out of the State Department about Haiti before. Now this. Wikileaks Haiti: The Aristide Files Kim Ives and Ansel Herz | The Nation. August 5, 2011 US officials led a far-reaching international campaign aimed at keeping former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide exiled in South Africa, rendering him a virtual prisoner there for the last seven years, according to secret US State Department cables. The cables show that high-level US and UN officials even discussed a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from “gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning […]

United States Is the Laziest Developed Country in the World

Inspired by the Winter Olympics currently being played in Vancouver, the Daily Beast decided to give out virtual medals—for not the most athletic countries, but the laziest. Starting with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s member countries with extensive data available (24 developed countries), the site took four factors into account: calories per day, television viewing, aversion to playing sports, and Internet usage. After weighing the factors, the Daily Beast found that the United States took home gold as the laziest developed country in the world. “America always goes big, or doesn’t go at all,” the site says. “[G]luttony […]

Retired Officers Rolling in Dough Working for Industry and Military

It’s hardly a secret that retired admirals and generals are highly coveted by defense contractors, who often pay them a pretty penny for their inside expertise and contacts. They might also be paying them for their current inside information. The Pentagon has hired at least 158 retired admirals and generals to serve as well-paid part-time advisers, or “senior mentors” as they’re officially called. They make hundreds of dollars an hour as advisers, which can amount to more than triple the rate of high-level, active-duty officers, while at the same time they get an even bigger paycheck to be consultants and […]

Social Collapse Best Practices

by Dmitry Orlov – 14 February 2009 The following talk was given on February 13, 2009, at Cowell Theatre in Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, to an audience of 550 people. Audio and video of the talk will be available on Long Now Foundation web site. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for showing up. It’s certainly nice to travel all the way across the North American continent and have a few people come to see you, even if the occasion isn’t a happy one. You are here to listen to me talk about social collapse and the various […]

How Aspartame Became Legal – The Timeline

From Rich Murray – rmforall@att.net 12-24-02 From Norfolk Genetic Information Network (Taken from Welcome to the Spin Machine by Michael Manville http://www.freezerbox.com/archive/2001/04/biotech/ http://www.freezerbox.com/ ) In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame’s clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it “might induce brain tumors.” The FDA had actually banned aspartame based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (currently the Secretary of Defense) vow to “call in his markers,” […]

“New Israel”

Can we take truckloads of soil from Israel and dump it on a platform in the middle of the sea, so as to build an Israel-sized island? We could call it “New Israel.” The Fisk piece below, which collects from memory recent evidence, and the Shawn piece, below that, which diagnoses with terrible accuracy the Israeli mind-set that excuses any number of dead, taken together, give me a sense of hopelessness about resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Can Israel ever be made to behave like a global citizen? Perhaps “New Israel” would be a start. (Thanks for these pieces, Eva […]

Half a World Away, Kenya Exults at U.S. Outcome

There was a moment after 9/11 when the world’s attitude toward the United States was one of solidarity. Many of us were deeply grieved that Bush turned his back on the world, and fanned the flames of hatred-based fear of the Other instead. So soon, it seems, we have come upon another such rare moment in U.S. history, and the world again feels solidarity with us, only this time, not in mourning with us, but in celebration of our step in the direction of moral progress. “If America can elect a black man, then why can’t Kenya shun tribalism and […]

My candidate, myself

Even when faced with new facts and insights, most voters don’t change their minds about their favorite candidates. A neurologist explains how they might. Sept. 22, 2008 | Salon.com by Robert Burton “Let’s make sure that there is certainty during uncertain times” — George W. Bush, 2008 Last week, I jokingly asked a health club acquaintance whether he would change his mind about his choice for president if presented with sufficient facts that contradicted his present beliefs. He responded with utter confidence. “Absolutely not,” he said. “No new facts will change my mind because I know that these facts are […]

FCC Destroyed Media Ownership Report

Study found local ownership means more local news 15 September 2006 | FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) A 2004 Federal Communications Commission study that showed locally owned television stations provide more local news than others was ordered destroyed by FCC officials, and only came to light this week when a copy was leaked to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.). Three years ago, then-FCC chair Michael Powell launched a proceeding on the effects of local ownership on television news as part of his drive to further deregulate media and allow for even greater consolidation. But the report commissioned under Powell turned […]

America’s 100 Years of Overthrow

25 July 2006 | AlterNet by Robert Sherrill George Bush and Dick Cheney may get your vote as the worst, the dumbest, the most venal, and the most dangerous bunglers in foreign affairs in U.S. history. But this book will show you that their equals have appeared before. Author Stephen Kinzer’s Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq (Times Books, 2006) is an infuriating recitation of our government’s military bullying over the past 110 years — a century of interventions around the world that resulted in the overthrow of 14 governments — in Hawaii, Cuba, the Philippines, […]

Feingold: Never Mind

[ This is a July 20, 2006 letter to Senator Russ Feingold from Alexandra Dadlez. –BL ] Senator Feingold, Several years ago, probably around the time of the Iraq War Resolution, I wrote an e-mail to you strongly urging that you run for president of the United States. This is to let you know: Never Mind. I have seldom been so disappointed in my life. You are quoted in the The Jewish Week as follows: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), expected to run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination on an anti-war platform, said, ?I stand firmly with the people of Israel […]

‘Because This Is the Middle East’: CBS’ Schieffer ignores context in Mideast crisis

19 July 2006 | FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) On July 16, CBS Face the Nation host (and CBS Evening News anchor) Bob Schieffer dedicated the entire Sunday morning news show to the Middle East conflict. In his closing editorial, he adapted a well-known fable in an attempt to explain the causes of the current conflict—or rather, the lack of causes: Finally today, when the war broke out in the Middle East, the first thing I thought about was the old story of the frog and the scorpion who were trying to cross a river there. The scorpion couldn’t […]

Ken Lay’s Alive

19 July 2006 | Greg Palast . com Don’t check the casket. I know he?s back. When I saw those lights flickering out at La Guardia Airport yesterday and heard the eerie shrieks and moans in the dark, broiling subway tunnels, I just knew it: Ken Lay’s alive! We can see his spirit in every flickering lightbulb from Kansas to Queens as we head into America’s annual Blackout season. It wasn’t always so. For decades, America had nearly the best, most reliable electricity system on the planet and, though we grumbled, electricity bills were among the planet’s lowest. It was […]

Put Away the Flags

1 July 2006 | The Progressive by Howard Zinn On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed. Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and […]

Bush Is Not Incompetent

3 July 2006 | AlterNet by George Lakoff Progressives have fallen into a trap. Emboldened by President Bush’s plummeting approval ratings, progressives increasingly point to Bush’s “failures” and label him and his administration as incompetent. For example, Nancy Pelosi said “The situation in Iraq and the reckless economic policies in the United States speak to one issue for me, and that is the competence of our leader.” Self-satisfying as this criticism may be, it misses the bigger point. Bush’s disasters — Katrina, the Iraq War, the budget deficit — are not so much a testament to his incompetence or a […]

To Bush Admin’s Chagrin, Chavez Helps the Poor in the U.S.

The Mouse on Steroids 30 May 2006 | TruthOut.org by William Fisher We can’t be blamed if Venezuela’s mini-public diplomacy program reminds us of “The Mouse That Roared” – and we can almost hear the gnashing teeth in the White House SitRoom. I refer to the program being waged in the US by Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez. Under that program, Citgo, Venezuela’s wholly-owned gas and oil subsidiary, provides discounts up to 60 per cent on heating oil to poor communities in the US. Known as petro-diplomacy, the program is currently operating in Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode […]

Rising Wages for Nurses? Nanny State to the Rescue

24 May 2006 | TurhtOut.org by Dean Baker The New York Times had an article today that inadvertently revealed a huge amount about how wages are set in the US economy (“US Plan to Lure Nurses May Hurt Poor Nations,” 5-24-06; A1). We all know the official story – wages are supposed to be set by the market, our old friends supply and demand. When certain skills are in short supply, the wages for workers with these skills are bid up. This leads more people to acquire the skills and may also reduce the demand. Eventually, supply increases and demand […]

Music & Comedy on the Bush War: Must-Visit Links

Music. If you have not heard the new Neil Young album, it is well worth it, and he is streaming it free at www.neilyoung.com. Apparently, he was inspired and composed the whole thing in three days. Comedy. If you have not seen Stephen Colbert’s performance at the 92nd Annual Dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association from 29 April 2006, you ought to: it made the Bush cabal very uncomfortable (click here or search the CSPAN archive, which requires Real Player).

Bush challenges hundreds of laws

30 April 2006 | Boston Globe by Charlie Savage WASHINGTON President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, “whistle-blower” protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research. Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush’s assertions […]

TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANTS MOVE TO CONTROL HOW YOU SURF THE WEB

28 April 2006 | Organic Bytes (Organic Consumers Assn) A nationwide network of nonprofit organizations, including the Organic Consumers Association, are mobilizing to stop Congress from passing a law that would enable telecommunications giants to control the flow of traffic on the internet. Companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are pressuring Congress to pass the “Telecom Reform Bill” that would allow them to restrict or slow down your access to certain websites on the internet. As an example, last year, Canada’s version of AT&T — Telus — blocked their internet customers from visiting a web site sympathetic to workers with […]

How Massacres Become the Norm

[ Dahr Jamail, one of the few independent U.S. journalists in Iraq, does not write for Corporate Media in the insulated U.S. However, his work can be found in stories reported by the BBC, Inter Press Service, The Asia Times, The Sunday Herald, the Guardian, The Independent, and elsewhere. This piece ties in with other important articles appearing here on the psychology of evil. –BL ] 04 April 2006 | t r u t h o u t by Dahr Jamail US soldiers killing innocent civilians in Iraq is not news. Just as it was not news that US soldiers slaughtered […]

37 Million Poor Hidden in the Land of Plenty

19 Feb 2006 | The Observer (UK) Americans have always believed that hard work will bring rewards, but vast numbers now cannot meet their bills even with two or three jobs. More than one in 10 citizens live below the poverty line, and the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening by Paul Harris in Kentucky The flickering television in Candy Lumpkins’s trailer blared out The Bold and the Beautiful. It was a fantasy daytime soap vision of American life with little relevance to the reality of this impoverished corner of Kentucky. The Lumpkins live at the definition of […]

The Defense of the Bush Admin. and Enron: (1) Play Dumb about the Facts and (2) Claim “Good Intentions”

Trial of the True Believers 7 Feb 2006 | AlterNet by Onnesha Roychoudhuri As the trial of Enron’s Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay enters its second week, journalists are again pointing to the connections between the Bush family and administration and the former corporate Goliath. It’s certainly not difficult to unearth the laundry list of ties between Bush’s tight-knit Republican circle and the company that cheated Americans out of over $1 billion in retirement funds and some 4,500 jobs. But perhaps the more interesting connection between the Bush administration and Enron is how people from both entities have flouted the […]

Is It Warm in Here? We Could Be Ignoring the Biggest Story in Our History

[ I presume you’re up on recent news from my Progressive Trinity — TruthOut, Common Dreams, and DemocracyNow! — which has reported a lot of scary news lately about the extent to which the impeachable Bush administration‘s illegality is documentable, about nuclear noise from Iran, and other depressing matters. But as much as climate change seems like background noise, it may force its way into the foreground before long. –BL ] 18 Jan. 2006 | Washington Post by David Ignatius One of the puzzles if you’re in the news business is figuring out what’s “news.” The fate of your local football […]

How Many Iraqis Have Died Since the US Invasion in 2003?

[ Many right-wingers continue to dismiss reports about the John Hopkins University study published in the British medical journal The Lancet which concluded, at the time of the study, there were probably about 100,000 excess deaths since the Anglo-American invasion. But my informal survey suggests that very few people have heard the telling interview about the study’s methodology which aired on This American Life (“What’s in a Number?,” 28 October 2005, episode 300) with one of the researchers (to get to the most relevant point in the interview, move ahead 12 minutes into the show). The article below, forwarded by […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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.

BUSH STRAFES NEW ORLEANS; WHERE IS OUR HUEY LONG?

[ 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, […]

MONSANTO FILES PATENT CLAIMING OWNERSHIP OF MILLIONS OF PIGS

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 […]

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 | AsiaNews.it 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 | CommonDreams.org 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. […]

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.

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 […]