“TERROR” WARS ESCALATING
VISITING THE LEFT FORUM, HONORING DANNY CASSIDY
AP: PRIESTS TO PURIFY SITE AFTER BUSH VISIT
GUATEMALA CITY - Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.
"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday
WILL LIBBY BE PARDONED? YOU BET, SAYS RICH
Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times:
Even by Washington's standards, few debates have been more fatuousor wasted more energy than the frenzied speculation over whether President Bush will or will not pardon Scooter Libby. Of course he will.
A president who tries to void laws he doesn't like by encumbering them with "signing statements" and who regards the Geneva Conventions as a nonbinding technicality isn't going to start playing by the rules now. His assertion last week that he is "pretty much going to stay out of" the Libby case is as credible as his pre-election vote of confidence in Donald Rumsfeld. The only real question about the pardon is whether Mr. Bush cares enough about his fellow Republicans' political fortunes to delay it until after Election Day 2008.
Either way, the pardon is a must for Mr. Bush. He needs Mr. Libby to keep his mouth shut. Cheney's Cheney knows too much about covert administration schemes far darker than the smearing of Joseph Wilson. Though Mr. Libby wrote a novel that sank without a trace a decade ago, he now has the makings of an explosive Washington tell-all that could be stranger than most fiction and far more salable.
MORE TROOPS ON THE WAY
The Washington Post reports: Additional Troop Increase Approved
ANCHORENA PARK, Uruguay, March 10 — President Bush approved 8,200 more U.S. troops for Iraq and Afghanistan on top of reinforcements already ordered to those two countries, the White House said Saturday, a move that comes amid a fiery debate in Washington over the Iraq war.
NY TIMES CONDEMNS "LONG-TERM ESCALATION"
Anyone who wanted to believe that all Mr. Bush was seeking was a short-term security push - as part of a larger strategy to extricate American troops from this unwinnable war - now needs to face up to a far less palatable reality. What is under way is a significant and long-term escalation. The Army cannot sustain these levels for more than another few months. And as long as Iraq's leaders refuse to make significant political changes, the civil war will continue to spin out of control.
CHARGE: US BEHIND IRAQ DEATH SQUADS
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
MAIL & GUARDIAN; IRAQ PLEASED WITH CONFERENCE
Iraq signalled that world powers and neighboring states, including Washington and its adversaries Iran and Syria, had agreed in Baghdad it wasin everyone's interest to stop sectarian violence spreading in the region. But while the United States is increasing its number of troops in Iraq, Iran called for the withdrawal of all US forces on grounds they fuelled violence.
CANADIAN CRITIQUE OF AFGHAN MISSION
NOAM CHOMSKY DOUBTS US ATTACK ON IRAN
Despite the sabre-rattling it is, I suspect, unlikely that the Bush administration will attack Iran. Public opinion in the US and around the world is overwhelmingly opposed. It appears that the US military and intelligence community is also opposed. Iran cannot defend itself against US attack, butit can respond in other ways, among them by inciting even more havoc in Iraq. Some issue warnings that are far more grave, among them the British military historian Corelli Barnett, who writes that "an attack on Iran would effectively launch world war three".
Then again, a predator becomes even more dangerous, and less predictable, when wounded. In desperation to salvage something, the administration might risk even greater disasters. The Bush administration has created an unimaginable catastrophe in Iraq. It has been unable to establish a reliable client state within, and cannot withdraw without facing the possible loss of control of the Middle East's energy resources.
Meanwhile Washington may be seeking to destabilise Iran from within. The ethnic mix in Iran is complex; much of the population isn't Persian. There are secessionist tendencies and it is likely that Washington is trying to stir them up - in Khuzestan on the Gulf, for example, where Iran's oil is concentrated, a region that is largely Arab, not Persian.
RAY MCGOVERN: STILL TIME TO RETHINK IRAN
JORDAN'S KING AND GEORGE BUSH
Raghida Dergham, the well-informed UN-based Lebanese journalist writes in Al Hayat:
US President George Bush's two-hour meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, in a private dinner banquet, attended only by their wives, was very important. King Abdullah conveyed to president Bush a message of moderation, a bold initiative and a clear vision that represented the position of Arab and Muslim leaders of heavyweight and significant capabilities, saying: Your turn now!....
Therefore, the next few weeks require scrutinizing every step, rhetoric and statement made by the US administration, since it is part and parcel of the delicate strategy, which has been in the making for months in order to achieve a breakthrough that may re-launch the Middle East peace process on a new track. It is a dance that requires successive steps in the chain of obligations and reassurances through a successive motivating rhetoric forming a package of incentives to respond and move forward. This is provided no one misses, intentionally or unintentionally, any of his due steps. What the Jordanian King has conveyed to the US administration, Congress and people is a message from the Arab and Muslim streets stipulating: We are ready!
It will be either moving to comprehensive peace and collective normalization with Israel brokered by a US central leadership, or the ongoing status quo will eventually become a disaster for everyone. According to the Arab message of moderation, the historical window of opportunity will not remain open for years; it will only be available for a few weeks. Afterwards, the Arab-Israeli conflict will turn from a dispute between the Arabs and Israel into a global conflict of religions.
PADILLA TAPES "MISSING"
SURPRESSING "SENSITIVE" INFORMATION
Feds Seek To Gag D.C. Madam
Prosecutors fear leak of sensitive client, escort information
MARCH 7–Federal prosecutors want to gag an indicted former Washington, D.C. madam who has recently threatened to go public with details about her former customers. In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court, investigators are seeking a protective order covering discovery material tobe provided to Deborah Palfrey and her lawyers. Palfrey, 50, was indicted last week on racketeering and money laundering charges stemming from her operation of the Pamela Martin & Associates escort service, which closed last summer after 13 years in business. In their motion, a copy of which you'll find on Smokinggun.com, government lawyers claim that some discovery documents contain "personal information" about Palfrey's former johns and prostitutes that is "sensitive."
CLIFTONRECORD.COM: THE OTHER CANDIDATE — MIKE GRAVEL
ARLINGTON, Va. – Maurice "Mike" Gravel is running for president.
What? You haven't heard of him
Gravel represented Alaska in the United States Senate for two terms from 1969-1981.
The bells still aren't ringing, huh?
He launched a global campaign to halt the Pentagon's plans –the Cannikin test – to detonate nuclear bombs under the seabed of the North Pacific at Amchitka Island, Alaska.
The U.S. military wanted all five tests performed, even though the warheadsit was testing was obsolete and would have destroyed the food chain of the North Pacific for generations to come. One test, however, went ahead.
Sen. Gravel was also the first in Congress to oppose the use of nuclear fission as a commercial source of electricity.
Today, nuclear fission is no longer considered an environmentally clean energy alternative to fossil fuels as it once was in the 1950s and 1960s. Remember him now? No?
Sen. Gravel successfully orchestrated the passing of legislation on a policy to construct the Alaska Pipeline.
The bill passed the Senate by one vote, and now, 20 percent of the oil that powers the continental United States runs through this pipeline. Did that jog your memory? Still, no?
Well, it could be said that Sen. Gravel is the reason why President George W. Bush has no more boots on the ground in Iraq than he already has.
In 1973, Gravel mounted a one-man filibuster lasting five months that forced a deal to stop the military draft. President Richard Nixon – in orderto regain political clout – sealed the deal to let the draft expire, thereby ending the defense policy that had been on the books since 1947.
Is he coming back to you now?
Perhaps Gravel's most famous accomplishment is his reading of the "Pentagon Papers" into the congressional record in 1971
DOUG IRELAND ON FRENCH ELECTIONS
A new poll out today shows, for the first time, that centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou — who has enjoyed a rapid rise in the opinion
surverys — has now pulled dead even with the Socialists' presidential candidate Segolene Royal. And there is now a distinct possibility that the Socialists will be shut out of the run-off against conservative Nicolas Sarkozy when the first round of voting takes place on April 22. There is panic in the Socialist ranks.
DEBT WATCH: MORE ON "TERRIBLE TUESAY"
Carl Bloice writes on The Black Commentator:
Over and over, for the past few months, the nation's newspaper financial pages have speculated on whether the crisis in the mortgage lending sector was going to have an effect on the economy as a whole. Well, now they have the answer. The day after Terrible Tuesday, the day the stock market tumbled, the business page of the New York Times reported that while 'calm' had returned to the trading floor, 'one important concern - that Wall Street's bet on home loans to people with weak, or subprime, credit is souring quickly as defaults rise and home prices weaken- has not gone away.'
Nor has the insecurity of the people caught up in the subprime market, the working people, disproportionately Latino, African American and Asian, who were lured into the home ownership market by all sorts of exotic loan arrangements and now face foreclosures in increasing numbers. It threatens to get worse. While the new chair of the Federal Reserve was assuring the public that he could see no signs that the general economy is at risk of contagion from the subprime mortgage market, the ratings for major investment firms were being downgraded in part because there was clear evidence
that the troubles had spread to the 13 percent of mortgages written last year that are right above the subprime level....
It is easy to blame the people who are losing their homes but why is no one talking about new housing and subsidy programs for the working poor.
THE HOUSING CRUNCH IS NOW ON PAGE ONE
Gretchen Morgenson compared the bursting of the tech bubble to an even more serious crisis in the mortgage market on page 1 of yesterday's Times.Sudddenly, this story which I have been tracking even since I started making my film IN DEBT WE TRUST has moved off the business section and into the main news section, a sign that it is being treated more seriously:
Now, as then, Wall Street firms and entrepreneurs made fortunes issuing questionable securities, in this case pools of home loans taken out by risky borrowers. Now, as then, bullish stock and credit analysts for some of those same Wall Street firms, which profited in the underwriting and rating of those investments, lulled investors with upbeat pronouncements even as loan defaults ballooned. Now, as then, regulators stood by as the mania churned, fed by lax standards and anything-goes lending.
Investment manias are nothing new, of course. But the demise of this onehas been broadly viewed as troubling, as it involves the nation's $6.5 trillion mortgage securities market, which is larger even than the United States treasury market.
Hanging in the balance is the nation's housing market, which has been a big driver of the economy. Fewer lenders means many potential homebuyers will find it more difficult to get credit, while hundreds of thousands of homes will go up for sale as borrowers default, further swamping a stalled market.
For years, there have been debates about what's left of the left. The long hair of years past is now dominated by white hair in many cases but, there is still fire in the rhetoric and passion of those carrying on the American radical tradition in the fight for a better world.
I spent part of Saturday and Sunday at Cooper Union, the institution that hosted the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglass Debate before the civil war. Talk about old.
The annual Left Forum was in town with a plethora of panels and discussionsof a kind that are all too rare these days on campuses or even on TV, except for an occasional public access show or C-SPAN event.
The Left Forum 2007 on the theme of "Organizing a Radical Political Future" was ably organized by Julie Ruben and drew 1500 paying participants– including activists and academics from 30 countries. There was even a delegation from the People's Republic of China discussing that country's brand of market Leninism. (Even though China seems to have taken the Capitalist road, they insist theirs if a "socialist" market economy. It was announced at the session that China has just formed a new Marxist Institute, news that will not exactly be welcomed on Wall Street which is so dependent on China.)
All the left magazines and publishers were also on hand and the discussion sessions among the comrades were packed and volatile as you would expect. "We live in dark times, but also hopeful times," says their welcoming statement. The Forum posed three questions that were debated endlessly and without any consensus:
"Is protest and resistance a sufficient strategy to stay the hand of the forces of global devastation? Is reform the farthest horizon of our own hopes, or, if not, what are the steps towards fundamental economic, political and social transformation? Can the Left advance an alternative vision capable of capturing the popular imagination?"
Some of the discussions exploring these issues were intellectually charged. Others seemed predictable and polemical.
I was disappointed that the Forum did NOT have any panels addressing media issues or media reform or even any debates about a force that dominates our culture and shapes ideology. Even as we live in media drenched society, the left seems to have tuned out staying with older issues. That may be becausethe Forum attracts a bookish crowd that doesn't watch TV. There were alsono bands playing or films shown.
Deedee Halleck from Deep Dish TV was there selling new DVDS of historic Paper Tiger shows from the archive that had prominent intellectuals commenting on what's missing in the media. See www.papertiger.org
Deedee also took some pictures of some of the "delegates." The email she sent me was labeled "left forlorn."
That could see between progressives and liberals, activists and Democrats" I attended provocative panels on the future of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the state of the debate in post apartheid South Africa, culture and radicalism, a survey of the prospects for America's unions and two onour economy. I will report more on those later.
Years ago, there used to be socialist scholars conferences. But Socialism seems now to be deemed a non-starter. The Left Forum seems loosely based onthe World Social Forum approach — a big tent in which all perspectives can be heard. There were people there I haven't seen in years and they struck me as old as I may have struck them. But still members of a community that sometimes feels like a tribe or subculture.
There were some younger people there but not enough to sustain these forums unless more is done to popularize a more progressive perspective and find away to bring a new generation into the mix and the fight. That will take progressive media. There was a panel on student movements but the generational and culture clashes that need to be looked at analytically were not as discussed as much as one would have liked. I guess you can't do everything but clearly fresh blood is needed.
It was a nice Sunday in New York, and the streets of the Lower East Side were packed. But so were the halls of Cooper Union where radical left ideas reigned but have yet to rule. I was glad I stopped by.
THE DEATH OF INTERNET RADIO
From The doc searl weblog:
On the continuing death of Internet radio Internet Radio on Death Row isa 5,399-word piece I just put up on Linux Journal. In it you'll find background on the tortured logic behind the Copyright Royalty Board's decision last Friday to execute Internet radio as we know it. Again.
Only this time Jesse Helms isn't around to save it. We have to find other means. Or it will die.
Here's some background many mainstream (and online) journals are missing: The insane fee structure that the CRB process today impose on Internet radio traces back to a deal between Yahoo and the RIAA that was based on plans Mark Cuban made when he was still at Broadcast.com (the company he founded and sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion) that were intended to snooker small webcasters out of a market that Broadcast.com/Yahoo then dominated...
CNN HIRES TOM "THE HAMMER" DELAY AS COMMENTATOR
By Mary MacElveen
In an op-ed piece written by John Fund former Congressman Tom 'The Hammer' Delay will be joining CNN as a commentator. Oh great, just what America needs is another hot-headed and spiteful pundit on the airwaves. Asif the American people did not have enough coming from the likes of Ann Coulter. Just to show how stupid an idea this is coming from CNN, why don't they create a program called 'The Hammer and the Man-her Show'? Then again, Ann may wish top billing.
This is what DeLay said of this deal, "I may be their only conservative on air, but someone has to do it." Note to Tom DeLay: quite the contrary, you do not have to do it. In fact, we have heard quite enough coming from you over the years and here we thought we may never hear from you again. Life is certainly cruel if this is the best that stations like CNN can offer their viewers. Then again to offset this cruelty we will only have to look forward to what Keith Olbermann has to say of this on his MSNBC show Countdown. What name can he give DeLay as he has called Bill O'Reilly, "Bill-O"? I cannot wait to hear his commentaries.
CNN often gives conservative pundits such as Bay Buchanan a podium. Do they really need another? In fact this is what Buchanan stated of those who werethe victims of Hurricane Katrina while on CNN's 'Situation Room' with Wolf Blizter, "I think Katrina has worn its welcome.- I think the American people are tired of it." In a responsorial fax to Bay Buchanan sent on April 28, 2006, I wrote in part, "Would you dare say that of those who died on September 11, 2001? In both situations, there was massive loss of life."
And What about Glenn Beck? CNN seems to be trying to outfox Fox, a testament to the absence of new ideas.
...tonight on C-Span I'm watching as Roger Ailes is receiving a "First Amendment Leadership Award." UNREAL!
What a horribly mean and arrogant man he is. The Chairman of Fox News Channel receives an award like this? Could it be any more corrupt?
Ailes on Thursday, March 8, said: "I think we all need to go easy on this global warming thing. Maybe we should all get our anchors to give up blow dryers."
He tried to make another joke about the Fox News "Obama-Osama” faux pas (or intentional mixup) — the comment that caused the Nevada Dems to cancel the Fox-sponsored debate?
Even tonight he's suggesting that Iran wants to destroy Israel andthe U. S. A. He is continuing the "fear" strategy that has worked so well for them.
Radio & TV News Directors Foundation Awards — John Siegenthaler, NBC News, Host (www.rtnda.org) — the promoters of this travesty.
I'm writing to Ailes, Siegenthaler, et al. to add my meager voice to the many others who view Fox as a propaganda tool of the right-wing corporatists of our government and nation.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY USAMA?
Within just six short years, with the help of George W Bush and the Cheney-Bush White House neocon, Usama bin Laden cost the US economy, in cold hard cash, more dollars than were ever spent in the history of US involvement in foreign wars, and domestically, Bush and bin Laden affected a reversal of rights; human rights, civil rights and the Constitutional Bill of Rights, which all may be laid at the doorstep of Usama bin Laden and George W Bush, and the Cheney-BushWhite House neocon as well.
What makes Usama a truly "great" (as in horrific) man, is that on his terrorist watch, along with George W Bush, deemed to be the Number One terrorist in the world, was their undoing of the Writ of Habeas Corpus thathad been on the books of civilization since the 1300s, but which ended single-handed for some at the hands of George W Bush in the wake of Usama's 9/11. See Padilla. See Guantanamo. See CIA renditioning. See Valerie Plame.
CONGRATULATIONS TO DANNY CASSIDY
My friend of 40 years, former Cornell roommate and fellow cultural warrior Daniel Patrick Cassidy who founded the Irish Studies Program at New Collegein San Francisco was honored last night as one of Irish America Magazine’s top l00 at a ceremony at the Hilton Theater on 42nd Street. Hillary Clintonwas the featured honoree but she was trumped by a group of black and Puerto Rican kids from PS 59 in the Bronx doing Irish dancing in the aisles as part of the Celtic Dreams project to promote Irish culture in the schools.
A new epic Irish musical, The Pirate Queen, performed some musical numbers from the show in the Riverdance tradition of powerful and uplifting theater.
I was pleased that Cassidy brought me along as an honorary Irishman. He was recognized for his five year investigative research project into how the Irish language influenced American culture and slang. His new book "The Secret Language of the Crossroads: How The Irish Invented Slang" will be published in May by Counterpunch Books.
It's pretty amazing and a corrective to the many putdowns the Irish have suffered as recently as Saturday in an offensive review of a new play by the Irish Repertory Company in the NY Times. Times reporter Dan Barry and op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd were also honored last night.
VIDEO: Larry Houghteling sends this video along.
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