Thursday, March 30, 2006

This Earth Day Adopt a Wolf

celebrate earth day

Because I love them one and all!

Mark Earth Day by helping to protect wolves adopt a wolf today!

Adopt Now

As we mark the 36th anniversary of Earth Day, our nation’s wolves are under assault. That is why Defenders of Wildlife is asking you to join with us this Earth Day by adopting a wolf.

We urgently need your help. Here are just a few of the threats facing wolves today.

In Alaska, nearly 500 wolves have been slaughtered under that state’s barbaric aerial gunning program that allows marksmen to gun down wolves from the air, or chase them to exhaustion and then land and shoot them. Hundreds more are slated to die. To help us end this horrific practice, adopt a wolf today!

The Federal Government has turned over wolf management to the state of Idaho which has vowed to rid the state of wolves “by any means necessary.” Now the state has plans to eliminate 75% of the wolves in the Clearwater National Forest. Help us stop them by adopting a wolf today!

Your tax-deductible wolf adoption gift will help fund media, public outreach and grassroots efforts to protect wolves. When you adopt a wolf we’ll send you or someone you choose a plush wolf toy and certificate of adoption suitable for framing.

Act now and you can also save 10 percent on your sponsorship. Just enter discount code ACA10 on your adoption form.

This Earth Day, help ensure a safe future for America’s wolves by making a wolf adoption gift.

Thanks for caring.

Steven Delvecchio Signature

Steven DelVecchio
Vice President for Membership
Defenders of Wildlife

P.S. Help Defenders save America’s wolves by adopting a wolf today. In return, we’ll send you or your gift recipient a plush wolf toy and certificate of adoption. Thanks for your help.

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Defenders of Wildlife can be contacted at:
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Washington, DC 20036
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Rogue Elephants Trample Constitution


"Under the rule proposed by Representative Boehner, no one in the United States could communicate on this topic of public interest because of the defect in the chain of title. I do not believe the First Amendment permits this interdiction of public information either at the stage of the newspaper reading public, of the newspaper publishing communicators, or at the stage of Representative McDermott's disclosure to the news media."

Circuit Judge Sentelle

(dissenting opinion - March 28, 2006)

Dear Friends:

The bottom line is that the people have a right to know what their leaders are doing.

  • When I suggested that the Bush Administration would mislead the public to take us to war, the public had a right to know of their deception.
  • When Speaker Gingrich's team got caught plotting to ignore an agreement with the House Ethics Committee, I was the whistleblower - the people had a right to know.

Our Democratic minority in Congress must challenge the GOP leadership at every opportunity and never let up. You have a right to know what they are doing to us and what they are doing to our country.

Sometimes they get caught, and yes, it is embarrassing to them. Sometimes they are forced out of office; Newt Gingrich resigned. Duke Cunningham went to prison. Abramoff was sentenced today and he is singing like a bird! We'll see what happens to Tom DeLay.

Gingrich's "enforcer" (Boehner) has spent eight years attempting to get even with an expensive, vengeful lawsuit.

And, quite frankly, partisan revenge is one thing that the GOP is pretty good at.

The New York Times called Rep. Boehner's lawsuit "a vindictive, political move . . . that threatens to trample on free speech." NYT's March 11, 1998

The lawsuit has been very expensive. Unless I am able to take this matter to the Supreme Court, the ticket will be due in short order. My campaign fund may be found at: After they are through with me the GOP leadership will find another Democrat who dares challenge them.

But, there are more of us than there are of them. This fall we'll have a chance to throw some of them out of office and maybe take control of Congress. We also have a chance once in a while to show our strength in numbers.

I hope that will be the case today as I ask all of you to support me. My real hope is that large numbers of people will respond to this emergency appeal for help.

I urgently need your help as I continue to challenge the vindictive GOP leadership.

Jim McDermott

P.S. More information about Boehner v. McDermott may be found at

Tell our U.S. Senators and members of Congress to Protect Insurance Benefits

Tucked into a pension reform bill is a little known provision that is a dream for the insurance industry.

The provision in Section 307 of the Pension Protection Act would give insurance companies the right to sue patients for the costs the insurers paid out for patients’ health care. In return, the patients would get nothing. Even when the insurer makes a decision to deny a patient medically necessary care, the patient would have no remedy.

Tell our U.S. Senators to oppose Section 307.

Unbelievably, the House of Representatives passed the Pension Protection Act that included Section 307. Because the Senate did not pass it, a conference committee has been convened to determine whether this provision will be included in the conference report.

Your help is needed to prevent this provision from becoming law!

Section 307 turns the Patients' Bill of Rights on its head. It gives the insurance industry the right to sue patients, but it leaves patients with no remedy against the insurance industry. Section 307 is a completely unfair giveaway to a profitable industry at the expense of health care consumers.

Write your U.S. Senators and tell them to support the Patients' Bill of Rights by opposing provisions like Section 307.

We must fight aggressively against the insurance industry!

What is ERISA?

ERISA regulates employer provided health and pension plans, including limitations on how a plan can be reimbursed for benefits provided to a beneficiary. Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974 after ten years of debate.

How Does the House-Passed Provision Limit Rights?

The House passed language would allow the health plan to be reimbursed first. Before the patient is compensated at all, the plan could be reimbursed for the entire amount it has paid out in medical expenses, leaving nothing for the injured person who brought the claim. So if a person who receives insurance through his employer (ERISA plan) is injured by a drunk driver, a dangerously defective product or a negligent doctor and the person's health insurance pays for his or her medical care, the plan can sue the patient to be reimbursed first for the money it spent on the patient's care, if the injured person’s claim against the wrongdoer is successful. This could leave patients with no money or resources to pay for their future health care or to support themselves if they can no longer work.

Tell a friend about our important work.


Dylan Malone, Chair

Washington Network for Civil Justice and Accountability

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Washington Network for Civil Justice & Accountability.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


March 29, 1973

Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S.
combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American
prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. America's direct eight-year intervention
in the Vietnam War was at an end. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of
Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting
what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam.In 1961,
after two decades of indirect military aid, U.S. President John F. Kennedy sent
the first large force of U.S. military personnel to Vietnam to bolster the
ineffectual autocratic regime of South Vietnam against the communist North.
Three years later, with the South Vietnamese government crumbling, President
Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam, and Congress
authorized the use of U.S. troops. By 1965, North Vietnamese offensives left
President Johnson with two choices: escalate U.S. involvement or withdraw.
Johnson ordered the former, and troop levels soon jumped to more than 300,000 as
U.S. air forces commenced the largest bombing campaign in history.During the
next few years, the extended length of the war, the high number of U.S.
casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes, such as the
massacre at My Lai, helped turn many in the United States against the Vietnam
War. The communists' Tet Offensive of 1968 crushed U.S. hopes of an imminent end
to the conflict and galvanized U.S. opposition to the war. In response, Johnson
announced in March 1968 that he would not seek reelection, citing what he
perceived to be his responsibility in creating a perilous national division over
Vietnam. He also authorized the beginning of peace talks.In the spring of 1969,
as protests against the war escalated in the United States, U.S. troop strength
in the war-torn country reached its peak at nearly 550,000 men. Richard Nixon,
the new U.S. president, began U.S. troop withdrawal and "Vietnamization" of the
war effort that year, but he intensified bombing. Large U.S. troop withdrawals
continued in the early 1970s as President Nixon expanded air and ground
operations into Cambodia and Laos in attempts to block enemy supply routes along
Vietnam's borders. This expansion of the war, which accomplished few positive
results, led to new waves of protests in the United States and
elsewhere.Finally, in January 1973, representatives of the United States, North
and South Vietnam, and the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending
the direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions
included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the
release of prisoners of war, and the reunification of North and South Vietnam
through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place
until new elections were held, and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not
to advance further nor be reinforced.In reality, however, the agreement was
little more than a face-saving gesture by the U.S. government. Even before the
last American troops departed on March 29, the communists violated the
cease-fire, and by early 1974 full-scale war had resumed. At the end of 1974,
South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000 of their soldiers and
civilians had been killed in fighting during the year, making it the most costly
of the Vietnam War.On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South
Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces.
North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, accepting the surrender of South Vietnam later
in the day, remarked, "You have nothing to fear; between Vietnamese there are no
victors and no vanquished. Only the Americans have been defeated." The Vietnam
War was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in U.S. history and cost
58,000 American lives. As many as two million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians
were killed.

Uncle Chutzpah and His Willing Executioners on the Dire Iran Threat: With Twelve Principles of War Propaganda in Ongoing Service

By Edward S. Herman

Back at the time of a major Bush-1 “drug war” in 1989, Hodding Carter pointed out that with increasing attention to the newly declared “crisis” by the administration and media, the public’s estimate of the importance of the drug problem rose spectacularly. “Today’s big news is the drug war. The president says so, so television says so, newspapers and magazines say so, and the public says so.” Today’s big news is the possibility that Iran, the Little Satan, might some day acquire a nuclear weapon: the administration says so, the media say so, and now three times as many people regard Iran as the U.S.’s greatest menace than four months ago and 47 percent of the public agrees that Iran should be bombed if needed to prevent its acquiring any nuclear weapon capability.

The system works this mobilization process like a well-oiled propaganda machine--which it is--and it can apparently sell almost anything in the way of justifying external violence to a large fraction of the populace, at least in the short run. The attack on Iraq was a remarkable achievement in this respect, given that it was built on a series of lies about Iraq weapons, links, and threats that were extremely dubious at best, a number clearly false and even quite silly (the mushroom cloud and threat to U.S. national security); and given that the actions taken were in blatant violation of the UN Charter. To put this over required tacit collusion between the administration and mainstream media, with the latter serving as de facto propaganda arms of the war-makers.

We may recall that the justification for NATO’s bombing of the Serb TV broadcasting facilities in 1999 (killing 16 people) was that it was a propaganda arm of the Serb military. On that logic, accepted by respectable opinion and Carla Del Ponte on behalf of the Yugoslavia Tribunal, in a just world, where Bush and company would surely be brought to trial for manifold war crimes in the Iraq aggression-occupation, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, Bill Keller, Thomas Friedman, Donald Graham, Leonard Downie, Jr., Richard Cohen, George Will, Rupert Murdoch, Bill O’Reilly, and numerous others would be in the dock alongside them.

The further remarkable thing is that, despite their semi-apologies for betraying the public interest and their readers in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq--at least at the New York Times and Washington Post--the media are going through the same routines of propaganda service in the buildup to a possible attack on Iran. They quite generally avoid mentioning the similarity of the arguments made earlier, or that the administration lied egregiously earlier, or their own earlier hyper-gullibility. A tabula rasa is required if the system calls for serial propaganda service that entails the serial conveying of disinformation and suppression of inconvenient evidence. The “Drumbeat sounds familiar” to Simon Tisdall in the London Guardian (March 7, 2006), but not to the servants of power in the U.S. media.

Twelve Principles of Propaganda Used in Setting the Stage for War: the Iran Case

The first principle in manufacturing propaganda for the U.S. war party is to take it as a given that the United States has the legal and moral right to take the lead in making a case that the international community must act—here to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Consider that the United States is in the midst of an occupation in Iraq in which it is daily committing war crimes, all of which follow on a major act of aggression that violated the UN Charter. A lesser power doing this would be declared an international outlaw, and would not be considered a proper leader to guide the international community in the pursuit of villainy. In fact, containing the outlaw would be deemed of primary importance. Furthermore, the United States showed its contempt for the rule of law and for any UN legal procedures in the runup to the Iraq war, when it fabricated a crisis—Iraqi violation of international rules and an Iraqi threat to U.S. national security—and on that basis simply ran roughshod over UN processes and international law.

Beyond these outrages, the United States has unclean hands as regards the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that Iran is allegedly violating: as a signatory to the NPT, the United States pledged “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” It has not met this pledge, nor the promise not to threaten or use nuclear weapons against signers who agreed to forego developing nuclear weapons. It is even “upgrading” and “modernizing” its nuclear weapons to make them more “practical.” In theory, Iran or any other party could complain to the IAEA that the United States is in clear breach of the NPT, but somehow this doesn’t happen; only possible breaches that the United States sees fit to pursue can be attended to in the New World Order. Furthermore, the United States has given crucial support to Israel, engaged in a massive ethnic cleansing operation in violation of international law, with both superpower and client simply brushing aside a stream of UN rulings and an International Court condemnation of Israel’s apartheid wall. The United States has either aided or given tacit approval to breaches of the NPT by Israel, Pakistan and India. In short, its moral right to challenge Iran is non-existent—it can do so only by virtue of power, bribery and threats, and because the patriotic mainstream media take its moral right as an undiscussible given.

The second principle, paralleling the U.S. right to do as it pleases, is the absence of the target’s right even to defend itself. The United States and Israel may possess nuclear weapons, the latter refusing to subject itself to the NPT and the former violating it and threatening Iran with “regime change,” but any Iran move to right the balance by acquiring such weapons for itself is a terrible thing that threatens “international peace and security,” as stated in House Concurrent Resolution 341. The United States and Israel have been bringing “peace and security” to the Middle East! It should be noted that in the EU negotiations on Iran’s nuclear activities, the United States has refused to give any security guarantee to Iran as part of the package, making its un-peaceful intentions toward Iran clear, but this still does not give Iran the right to acquire weapons that might reduce that open threat. For the media this is all irrelevant, as its leadership says that Iran is a menace and nothing else matters.

A third principle is inflating the menace that would follow from Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons. This of course parallels closely the earlier inflation of the Iraq threat, where the Bush administration propagandists were not laughed off the stage for talking about mushroom clouds off New York and other dire threats. Then and now the media have not pointed out that Saddam Hussein had only used chemical weapons in the 1980’s against Iran (and Iraqi Kurds) at a time when he was serving U.S. interests--and therefore with tacit U.S. approval--but that he didn’t use them at all in the Persian Gulf War when the United States was the opponent and could retaliate in kind and with greater force. By the same token, as the United States and Israel have enormous retaliatory capability, the Iranians could never use nuclear weapons as an offensive tool without committing national suicide. But nuclear weapons would serve as a default weapon if Iran were attacked; that is, it would contribute to self-defense. This line of argument is carefully avoided in the mainstream propaganda flow.

Of course, demons shouldn’t have the right of self-defense, and the fourth principle applied in the media’s beating the drums of war is unrelenting demonization of the target. This was easy to do with Saddam Hussein, but it can be worked for almost anyone, as there are few political leaders who don’t have some unsavory elements in their record or who haven’t made indiscreet or wild statements that can be latched onto, taken out of context, and used to suggest irresponsibility and menace. Iran’s mullahs have run a fairly repressive state, although its repression has eased up and democratic voices have not been silenced. The newly elected president Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, of course, made an indefensible statement on the Holocaust (a “myth”) and a wild statement that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” In his recent classic of war propaganda (“Judicious Double Standards,” Washington Post, March 7, 2006), Richard Cohen even says that the Iranian leader is a “zealot who has pledged to eradicate Israel,” a straightforward lie. Victor David Hanson makes the current scene one of “appeasement.” as in the treatment of Hitler in the 1930s, and Iran now a threatening “bully.” (“Appeasement 101: dealing with bullies,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 17, 2006). Iran of course has zero nuclear weapons, whereas the United States and Israel both have massive numbers and delivery systems, and Iran hasn’t once moved beyond its borders, whereas the United States and Israel have done so regularly and are pummeling Middle East populations right now, but Iran is the “bully,” and appeasement means failing to make sure by threat or violence that it cannot ever acquire a single nuclear weapon. But lies and inflated rhetoric are par for the course, and in the panicky environment of the pre-war threat buildup there is no cost to lying or comical threat inflation.

A fifth principle is to avoid discussion of any current relationships with governments that might deserve demon status as much or even more than the target (here Iran). Saudi Arabia is more fundamentalist Islamic and more repressive than Iran, and Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco, and Uzbekistan are at least as vulnerable to criticism for undemocratic practice as Iran, but they are U.S. client states, hence relatively free from criticism let alone threat of destabilization or attack. Pakistan even has nuclear weapons, and the United States finds that tolerable.

Israel of course has a sizable nuclear arsenal, which the United States helped Israel develop and which the United States accepts as reasonable. Richard Cohen explains that this is part of the judicious double standard because “Israel has not threatened to blow Iran off the map; because it is vastly outnumbered in a tough, belligerent neighborhood; and because it is the lone real democracy in a region run mostly by thugs.” But Israel has threatened to bomb Iran, and made this threat long before Ahmadinejad’s pugnacious statements, which have never been as specific or realistic as Israel’s threats; and Israel has regularly invaded its neighbors, which Iran has not done (although it was invaded by Iraq, which was helped in this by the United States). Cohen fails to mention that the “thugs” in the neighborhood are mainly U.S. client states, whose thuggery is accepted because used only against their own citizenry. Israel is “outnumbered” in people but not in tanks, modern aircraft, missiles, and nuclear arms, and it has the full backing of the United States, so that it threatens and beats up others, but remains invulnerable. It is not a true democracy—it is a racist democracy, and it is the world’s only state that is free to occupy another people’s land and ethnically cleanse them over many years in violation of international law and accepted standards of morality, from which it is exempt by virtue of its and its patron’s military power. In short, this “judicious double standard” is built on racism, lies, and Orwellian thought, now institutionalized (see my “Ethnic Cleansing and the ‘Moral Instinct’,” Z Magazine, March 2006).

A sixth and closely related principle is the need to keep under the rug any awkward past actions or relationships with the target that might show both hypocrisy and the fraudulence of the claimed threat. This was dramatically so in the case of Saddam Hussein, aided and protected by U.S. (and British) officials in the 1980s when he was actually using the dread “weapons of mass destruction,” although he was using them on a U.S.-approved target (Iran) as well as on some of his own citizens. In the case of Iran, the United States actually promoted that country’s development of nuclear energy when the Shah of Iran was in power. He was far more oppressive of his people than the mullahs are today--his torture chambers were state-of-art, with U.S. and Israeli aid--but he took orders, so using Cohen’s “judicious double standards” it was reasonable that he should be encouraged to go nuclear. The media’s ability to forget these inconvenient facts and to dredge up long neglected “principles” now applied to Iran with the utmost seriousness is a reminder of the principles of Newspeak (Ingsoc) described in Orwell’s 1984.

A seventh principle is keeping under that (rapidly bulging) rug any current actions of the United States that might appear incompatible with its harsh stand opposing Iran’s pursuing any nuclear program. Most obvious today is the new agreement with India just signed by U.S. president George Bush and Indian president Manmohan Singh, that offers U.S. nuclear aid to India for its civilian uses of nuclear energy, but which therefore frees India’s ongoing processing of nuclear fuel for use in its nuclear weapons program. The mainstream media have not buried the fact of this agreement, but they have done an outstanding job of avoiding any stress on its violation of principles: India, a country that has avoided joining the NPT and instead built nuclear weapons, instead of being penalized for this evasion and contribution to nuclear proliferation is accepted as a nuclear weapons power and helped to enhance its nuclear status, civilian and military; whereas Iran, which did sign that treaty and allowed itself to be subjected to IAEA inspections, and which has no nuclear weapons, is denied even the right to civilian uses of nuclear energy and is threatened with sanctions and even attack.

An eighth principle is that the United States not only has a right to ignore the NPT as it applies to itself, it can also alter the terms of the NPT as it applies to its target. In this case, the NPT gives Iran the “inalienable right to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” (Art. IV.1). But the U.S. Ambassador to the UN has asserted that “no enrichment in Iran is permissible” because it “could give Iran the possibility of mastering the technical difficulties it’s currently encountering in its program,” and having done that it could use these processes elsewhere. Once again, the law is irrelevant, and the violator of the UN Charter in the Iraq aggression is once again threatening aggression because it deems Iran to be a menace. Of course all the serious threats are emanating from the United States and Israel, and there is no hard evidence that Iran is going beyond its perfectly legal rights under the NPT, but these considerations can be disregarded as the biggest and strongest has spoken.

A ninth principle is that if the target cannot prove a negative, the severity of the threat to U.S. “national security” requires that Iran be bombed and that there be a change in regime to one that can be trusted (like that of the Shah of Iran, or Sharon, or Musharraf). This of course parallels the course of events in Iraq in 2002-March 2003, where the inspectors found nothing, despite very extensive searching (including searches in all places that U.S.-British intelligence had suggested as promising), but on this principle an invasion was required because the negative was not (and could not be) proved. We may see the same process in the Iran case.

A tenth principle is to use the mechanisms of international regulation linked to the UN to serve the war and goal of regime change: by pushing for ever more intensive inspections and ultimatums; by denigrating the adequacy of inspections; by taking any absence of proof of the negative and any target country foot-dragging on cooperation with increasingly intrusive inspections to demonstrate its nefarious character and virtual proof of its secret operations; and by getting the UN and Security Council to make concessions appeasing the aggressor that give his aggression an aura of semi-legality. The UN and France and Germany took a lot of flak in the runup to the Iraq aggression for failing to give the United States carte blanche, although they all bent over backwards to placate the aggressor (and eventually gave their sanction to his illegal and murderous occupation). In the runup to the attack on Iran, the United States has kept intense pressure on the IAEA and EU to condemn Iran for its “concealment” and lack of “transparency,” pressing the IAEA to inspect frequently and intensively (it has put up 17 written and four oral reports on its inspections of Iran to its board since March 17, 2003), possibly hoping that Iran will be provoked into withdrawing from the NPT and giving the aggressor his casus belli. Again, this is being pressed by an aggressor who has still not digested his last meal and that is himself in gross violation of the NPT.

An eleventh principle is to pretend that all the frenzy and activity of the Great Powers to deal with the Iran threat is based on a universal worry, and does not reflect U.S. power and the attempts to appease that power. The EU has cooperated with the Bush administration even more willingly than they did before the attack on Iraq, going along with publicizing and condemning Iran’s supposed misbehavior, and pressing the IAEA to go after Iran more aggressively—while of course ignoring completely the U.S. violations of the NPT, its open threats directed to Iran and openly announced programs of intervention and destabilization, threats that once again violate the UN Charter. So the “international community” is actively cooperating in a planned and threatened further U.S. aggression.

A twelfth principle is to disregard any hidden agenda the U.S. may have in going after Iran. In fact, as the explicit agenda of removing a threat to U.S. national security is as fraudulent as the threat to U.S. security posed by Iraq, and as the United States refuses to give Iran a security guarantee as part of a weapons control package, the failure to examine the real reasons for the U.S. program is the height of “international community” and journalistic irresponsibility. Is it a simple projection of power by an imperial state, as urged by many Bush officials in the Project for a New American Century, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (2000) and spelled out in the ”National Security Strategy of the United States” (2002)? Is it part of a quest for domination of oil supplies, which may call for a controlled client state in Iran as well as Iraq? Is it to prevent the rise of an oil bourse in Iran and potential diminution of the role of the dollar as a dominant currency? Is it to prevent an energy-based power alignment between Iran, China, and other Asian countries? Is it to help Israel retain its dominance in the Middle East and its ability to continue the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and East Jerusalem without any interference? Some combination of these undoubtedly underlies the U.S. bullying and threats. A democratic media and a responsibility international community would be debating these and drawing the proper conclusions.


Uncle Chutzpah and his willing executioners—the media, UN and coalition of the cowardly and bribed—have isolated Iran and set her up for possible destabilization and aggression. One wouldn’t think this possible given the remarkable parallels in argument and (phony) evidence in this case and that of the failed aggression in Iraq, but the power of the aggressor and subservience of the media and international community are apparently boundless.

It is certainly not assured that Iran will be attacked, and if it is attacked that is most likely to be by bombs only, but it can well happen. The stage is being set, and the folks likely to make those decisions are proven killers, torturers and law violators, confident in their military superiority and invulnerability to prosecution for criminal behavior and with a great capacity for righteous self-deception. And the international community is not only doing nothing to stop them, it is helping them prepare the “(im)moral” and quasi-legal groundwork . The leaders of the aggressor state are also politically astute, and recognize the political value of war as a means of retrieving political fortunes. They may be failures at home as well as abroad, but their service to the business community has been far-reaching, and those successes have protected and sustained them. To continue them, as they damage the great majority, may require forcible action. As Thorstein Veblen pointed out a hundred years ago, “The direct cultural value of a warlike business policy is unequivocal. It makes for a conservative animus on the part of the populace…At the same stroke, it directs popular interest to other, nobler, institutionally less hazardous matters than the unequal distribution of wealth” (The Theory of Business Enterprise [1904], pp. 391-3). When each day you are adding to your service to the rich and damaging the majority, war can come in handy to get folks to turn again to the “nobler, institutionally less hazardous” matters like stopping the dire threat of an Iranian bomb.


ATHANASIUS KIRCHER SOCIETY - This week, we turn our attention to
visionary musical instruments. We start, of course, with an idea from
Father Kircher, the arca musarythmica, a device by which a non-musician
could compose a piece of four-part music using prearranged musical
fragments inscribed in wands arranged in columns inside the box. Each
type of wand corresponded to a particular metrical unit e.g. 4, 5, or 6
syllables, and on each wand there were examples of florid counterpoint
on one side and more simple note-against-note settings on the other.
Once the phrase to be set had been analyzed into its fundamental
syllabic units, each of these could be set to an example taken from a
wand of the appropriate type. There are many arcas still extant.

Harry Partch – composer, theorist, musical innovator, inventor of the
43-tone scale, creator of dozens of bizarre and visionary musical
instruments — is a Hero of the Athanasius Kircher Society. We have
recently discovered an incredibly enjoyable web site that uses Flash
technology to let you play Partch’s ingenious instruments, including the
Boo, the Zymo-Xyl, the Quadrangularus Reversum, and the Eucal Blossom.

A member of the Kircher Society writes to us about the Sea Organ in
Zadar, Croatia: Simple, elegant stone steps have been built on the
quayside, perfect for sitting on. Underneath, 35 pipes end in whistles
with openings on the quayside above. The movement of the sea pushes air
through, and – depending on the size and velocity of the wave – chords
are played.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns, Virginia is billed as “the
world’s largest musical instrument”: Stalactites covering 3 1/2 acres of
the surrounding caverns produce tones of symphonic quality when
electronically tapped by rubber-tipped mallets. . . .




A UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT poll found that 66% of Burlington voters liked
the instant runoff voting used in the recent mayoral election and only
16% didn't. 62% would like to see it used in the governor's race and 26%
said no. The only group that didn't favor it were Republicans (only 40%
said yes)



RICHARD MORIN, WASHINGTON POST - It's easier to rig an electronic
voting machine than a Las Vegas slot machine, says University of
Pennsylvania visiting professor Steve Freeman. That's because Vegas
slots are better monitored and regulated than America's voting machines,
Freeman writes in a book out in July that argues, among other things,
that President Bush may owe his last win to an unfair vote count.



WASHINGTON POST - "Artists' Suicides as a Public Good" by Samuel
Cameron, Bijou Yang and David Lester in Archives of Suicide Research,
Vol. 9 No. 4. A British and U.S. research team argues that artist and
celebrity suicides may benefit society by increasing the emotional
benefits fans derive from the dead star as well as boost "sales of the
artist's products and associated merchandise."



GUARDIAN - The Lords tonight defied the government for a third time on
its controversial plans to introduce identity cards. Peers voted 218 to
183, a majority of 35, to keep the scheme voluntary. The parliamentary
battle between the two chambers continues after peers again voted to
reject what they regard as "creeping compulsion" by forcing passport
applicants to also get an ID card.,,1731606,00.html?gusrc=rss



BENEDICT CAREY - Antidepressants work better than psychotherapy in
preventing relapses in elderly men and women who have recovered from
depression, a new study suggests. The government-financed study,
published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that a
combination of drugs and therapy was the best way to restore well-being
in seriously depressed patients 70 and older. Once the patients had
recovered, however, drug treatment was more effective over the next two
years than once-a-month psychotherapy. . . Dr. Reynolds and members of
his team have received research support from GlaxoSmithKline, the maker
of Paxil.



that baseball and football are solely American inventions. Yet soccer,
football, and baseball evolved in virtually the same way. Just as
baseball developed out of modifications made to the British game of
rounders (the Abner Doubleday myth has been proven thoroughly
unfounded), and football evolved from an unorganized version of English
rugby, so soccer grew out of informalized versions of a game that had
been played for centuries on both sides of the Atlantic. The same
precursor to soccer played in England was recorded in Boston in 1657.
The first recorded soccer club formed in the U.S. was the Oneida
Football Club, which played on Boston Common from 1862-1865. This
predates the formation of the English Football Association in 1863. The
idea that soccer is originally less American than baseball and football
was invented much later, with little basis in historical fact.

Though soccer made a brief appearance as an intercollegiate sport in the
Ivy League between 1869 and 1875, Harvard had refused to compete under
the soccer rules, proclaimed the rugby rules more "manly." Harvard had
been the center of the Muscular Christianity movement since the 1850s,
and their inclination toward more physical games had long been
demonstrated in the annual "Bloody Monday" - a free-for all brawl
between sophomores and freshmen. In a powerful display of Harvard's
prestige, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale coalesced and switched from
soccer to rugby at the 1876 formation of the Intercollegiate Football
Association in order to compete with Harvard. By 1900, Ivy League rugby
had metamorphosed into American football, which Walter Camp, the father
of American football, hailed in Harper's Weekly as a great scientific
advancement over the unorganized kicking game that was football's

The popular press was quick to glamorize American football as the
crowning portrayal of America's cultural and intellectual superiority
over the rest of the world - particularly its English forbearers.
Newspaper and magazine articles regularly compare American football and
English football - and invariably found the American game more manly and
more progressive. They took incredible license in concocting tales to
prove football the ultimate American game. The New York World claimed in
1885, just nine years after rugby rules had been adopted by the
Intercollegiate Football Association, that "when George Washington's
father was a boy learning his ABC's the lads of Yale College used to
play foot-ball. Long before the blue stars of the American flag were
born the boys of Princeton played the same game." In 1889, the New York
Evening World even published an illustration of what it claimed to be
"The Original Football Game, 4-11-44 B.C.," complete with the markings
of aged parchment. Football games were turned into fashionable
spectacles for the trendy social elites, and anyone wanting themselves
identified as truly American was strongly encouraged to cheer on their
favorite Ivy League team.

Such outlandish attempts to prove football's supreme destiny served to
relegate soccer to insignificance. While coverage of six or seven
college football games every fall averaged 3-4 full pages each including
illustrations by 1895, the hundreds of amateur soccer teams throughout
the northeast garnered no more than 2-3 column inches in the local

But just because soccer had vanished from the college campuses did not
mean it did not exist. On the contrary, soccer continued to be
passionately played and followed by millions of first or second
generation Americans, sponsored by social clubs and industries scattered
throughout the major industrial centers. Even in San Francisco in 1909,
senior league matches drew crowds between six and seven thousand. Teams
like the Brooklyn Wanders, Fall River Rovers, and Bethlehem Steel
Football Club regularly produced great teams and great players from both
American and foreign-born stock. Fall River beat the legendary
Corinthians of England 3-0 in front of 8000 fans in 1906. An American
player who starred on one of these teams often found a professional
career waiting for him in England or Scotland.

But despite the number of American-born soccer players and youths who
had learned the game in the states, soccer was continually tagged as an
ethnic sport. As early as 1915, a New York Times article quoted the
physical director at Northwestern (IL) saying, "We do not believe in its
[soccer's] success in the ordinary college community. It takes a leaven
of good Scotch, English, and Scandinavian boys to make it a success."
The derisive "ethnic" tag continues to be a stumbling block to the
success of soccer in the mainstream. . .

While football was portrayed as a manly, virile game representing all
that was good about capitalist America, soccer was reintroduced as a
return to the gentlemanly ideal of amateur sportsmanship. Football was
often called "a moral agent" or "a training for life." In a 1905
editorial in The Independent, the author proclaimed football to be the
very "epitome of our commonwealth, the real national game, the symbol of
our civilization." . . .

However, football was never a participation sport. It was a battle for
survival, weeding out the lesser men through a contest that demanded
stature, strength, character, and the ability to play with pain. Soccer
was all-inclusive; a game where everybody could enjoy the benefits of
outdoor, physical exercise. Though it was a good argument for a gym
class, it stripped soccer of its ability to create collegiate heroes
like the football gods worshipped weekly in the popular press. Soccer
could not embody the essential American character traits because it was
either ethnic or exercise. Had soccer been presented as a fiercely
contested game that taught the fastest, strongest, most intelligent team
how to win through determination and teamwork, the history of soccer in
this country might have been much different.



GAIL SCHILLER, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - "There are more local news stations
that are incorporating brands into news in innovative, cutting-edge
ways," said Aaron Gordon, president of entertainment marketing firm Set
Resources Inc. "The line, which has always been black and white in terms
of what's news and what's commercials, is now being blurred." Media
agency Initiative said it has been working on integrating advertising
content into local news on behalf of several of its clients.

A number of local stations, including Young Broadcasting's indie KRON-TV
San Francisco and Univision O&O KMEX-TV Los Angeles, confirmed that they
have integrated advertisers into their newscasts and are actively
seeking out product-integration deals. Meredith Broadcasting's Fox
affiliate KPTV-TV Portland, Ore., launched a new lifestyle show in
January called "More Good Day Oregon" as an extension of its morning
news program "Good Day Oregon" that airs weekly segments designed to
serve as vehicles for brand integration. . .

"We're all trying to find ways of integrating commercial messages into
content that satisfy the audience and advertisers without hurting our
product," KRON president and general manager Mark Antonitis said. . .

"We are already seeing an erosion of the 'editorial wall' in network
newsrooms, particularly for morning news and newsmagazines," said Jim
Johnston, partner at the law firm Davis & Gilbert, which represents both
media agencies and entertainment clients.

"I think you'll find that this type of activity will continue to take
place, and other forms of product integration will find their way into
news divisions as well," he said. "The news organizations will continue
to seek a balance between editorial independence and advertiser
interests, but you will likely see a lot more boundary-pushing in the
future.". . .

Just last month, "Good Morning America" broadcast segments of the show
live from a Norwegian Cruise Line ship as part of a weeklong series
called "Girls' Week Out." According to "GMA" spokeswoman Bridgette
Maney, Norwegian Cruise Lines did not pay integration fees for the
segments, hosted by correspondent Mike Barz and co-anchor Diane Sawyer,
but did foot the bill for airfare, room and board to send nearly 300
women -- contest winners and their girlfriends -- on a cruise to
Honduras, Jamaica and the Grand Cayman Islands. Most of the segments
broadcast from the ship focused on the women who won the cruise by
writing in to say why they deserved time away with their girlfriends,
she said. . .

According to RTNDA's ethics guidelines, "news reporting and
decision-making should be free of inappropriate commercial influences"
and "should not show favoritism to advertisers," and "news organizations
should protect the integrity of coverage against any potential conflict
of interest.". . .

[A] KRON integration that aired this month, Tourism Australia -- the
government body responsible for international and domestic tourism
marketing for Australia -- paid KRON to run a weeklong series featuring
stories about the country in its morning news program. In addition to an
integration fee, Tourism Australia bought traditional spots in the KRON
newscasts, paid all expenses for a five-member news crew to travel to
Australia and sponsored trips to Australia for two winners of an e-mail
contest promoted on-air. . .

Since premiering Jan. 9, "More Good Day Oregon" already has integrated a
major local shopping center for a segment on last-minute gifts for
Valentine's Day and a local spa for a two-part series featuring the
spa's services and a makeover giveaway won by a viewer. In both cases,
the advertisers' involvement was disclosed in the end credits.



will have to ignore the recommendation of citizen advisers if it wants
to accept a controversial gift of bronze statues from Portland Sea Dogs
owner Daniel Burke.

The Public Art Committee, an advisory group appointed by the council,
voted 6-1 Wednesday to recommend that the council reject the statues,
which depict a traditional family of four going to a baseball game. The
vote came after Burke's attorney said no changes will be made to the
sculptures. . .

Committee members said the statues would be too large for their intended
location, on the sidewalk outside Hadlock Field, and that they would
violate the city's ban on public art that includes commercial
advertising. The boy figure wears a hat and a shirt with Sea Dogs logos.
. .

"It's an awful big assumption that you can create something and give it
to the city and expect them to accept it," said committee member Lauren
Silverson, who voted against Burke's gift . . .

Burke's attorney, William Troubh, said the Sea Dogs logo reflects what
many baseball fans wear to the stadium on Park Avenue. While committee
members said they wanted "timeless" art and questioned how long the Sea
Dogs would be in Portland, Troubh said the logo would provide historical
interest in the future. Regarding the statues' size, Troubh clarified
that the father figure is 9 feet tall, including a 1-foot pedestal, not
11 feet tall, as he previously told the committee. Still, Troubh said,
the sculptures are "97 percent done" and can't be changed without
violating the concept and integrity of the artist's work.


Commission yesterday proposed nearly $4 million in fines for violating
the agency's indecency standards, targeting a range of TV programming
from a hit CBS drama to Spanish-language broadcasts to a PBS documentary
on bluesmen.
The CBS network was hit hardest, with a record $3.6 million in proposed
fines for a December 2004 broadcast of "Without a Trace," a procedural
drama featuring an FBI missing-persons unit. The show contained a
segment in which teenagers were depicted engaging in various sexual
activities including group sex, though none of the shots contained
nudity. . .

The FCC also denied CBS's appeal to nullify a proposed $550,000 in fines
for network-owned stations for airing singer Janet Jackson's brief
nudity during the halftime show of the 2004 Super Bowl. CBS, which had
claimed the fleeting glimpse of Jackson's right breast was not indecent,
must now pay the fine or appeal it in court. Some First Amendment
experts have speculated the case may end in the Supreme Court, as
broadcasters grow eager to challenge the government's ability to police
the airwaves.

"The number of complaints received by the commission has risen year
after year," [Republican FCC Chairman Kevin J] Martin said. "They have
grown from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. And the number of programs
that trigger these complaints continues to increase as well.". . .

The FCC also found that the Martin Scorsese-produced documentary "The
Blues: Godfathers and Sons" was indecent because it aired profanity.
Aired on a non-commercial, educational channel in San Mateo, Calif., it
contained "numerous obscenities, including the F-Word, the S-Word and
various derivatives of those words," the FCC said. The station was fined
$15,000. . .



[This is how the East German secret police, the Stasi created a network
of hundreds of thousands of informants]

Department is getting ready to greatly enlarge its public safety ranks,
with what's being called the Virtual Community Patrol, Police Director
Jose Cordero said yesterday. Soon-to-be-chosen residents will get access
to a Web site that provides panoramic views of their block, allows them
to type in general complaints, pinpoint a problem location, immediately
send that information to police headquarters, and simultaneously
activate hidden police surveillance cameras, Cordero said. With its
potential to include a vast number of crime-fighting community
participants, the Virtual Community Patrol may be the first such project
of its kind in the nation, Cordero said.



GARY EMERLING, WASHINGTON TIMES - The mayor's office wants to allow
police officers to use surveillance cameras every day throughout the
District -- not just during special events on the Mall. Deputy Mayor
Edward D. Reiskin plans to propose legislation this month that would
expand the Metropolitan Police Department's network of closed-circuit
cameras. The bill would increase the number of surveillance cameras and
allow police to watch "for regular anti-crime activity" in a pilot
program. . . In 2002, the D.C. Council voted 7-6 to allow the police
department's 19 closed-circuit cameras to be activated only for special
events, such as protests and marches. Those cameras can be used only in
public places, where there is no expectation of privacy. . . London
authorities and businesses operate about 500,000 surveillance cameras,
and the network helped identify the attackers. Meanwhile, Baltimore
police have said their 250 surveillance cameras have cut crime in
problem neighborhoods. Chicago also has served as a model for camera
networks, and cities such as Philadelphia and Scranton, Pa., are
considering starting their own programs.

Critics of surveillance cameras say they are an unnecessary encroachment
on citizens' privacy, and point to a 2002 British Home Office study of
networks in the United Kingdom and the United States that found cameras
have reduced crime "to a small degree." "If such a bill does come
forward, we will work very hard to oppose it," says Stephen Block,
legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of the
National Capital Area. "We think it's misplaced and the cameras provide,
at best, a false sense of security." Marc Rotenberg, executive director
of the District-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, says
significant privacy issues are associated with camera surveillance and
the case has not yet been made that cameras are an effective means of
crime control. "It becomes very intrusive," Mr. Rotenberg says. "Just
like we have, or used to have, laws on wire surveillance, we need to
have laws on video surveillance."


[Compiled by FAIR]

"Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?" (Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)

"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what
begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's
unrivaled power and how best to use it." (CBS reporter Joie Chen,

"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from
the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over
and domestic issues are regaining attention." (NPR's Bob Edwards,

"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom
that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless
victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered
skeptics' complaints." (Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/27/03)

"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside
liberals, and a few people here in Washington." (Charles Krauthammer,
Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)

"We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the
country and brought the military back." (Newsweek's Howard
Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)

"We're all neo-cons now." (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)

"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a
coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and
winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but
it is not as hard as winning a war." (Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes,

"Oh, it was breathtaking. I mean I was almost starting to think that we
had become inured to everything that we'd seen of this war over the past
three weeks; all this sort of saturation. And finally, when we saw that
it was such a just true, genuine expression. It was reminiscent, I
think, of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And just sort of that pure
emotional expression, not choreographed, not stage-managed, the way so
many things these days seem to be. Really breathtaking." - Washington
Post reporter Ceci Connolly, appearing on Fox News Channel on 4/9/03,
discussing the pulling down of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, an
event later revealed to have been a U.S. military PSYOPS operation.

"The war winds down, politics heats up.... Picture perfect. Part
Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes
the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific." (PBS's Gwen Ifill,
5/2/03, on George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech)

"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president,
a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated
guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys,
McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's
president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having
a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)

"He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie
star, and one of the guys." (CNN's Lou Dobbs, on Bush's 'Mission
Accomplished' speech, 5/1/03)

"Why don't the damn Democrats give the president his day? He won today.
He did well today." (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)

"If image is everything, how can the Democratic presidential hopefuls
compete with a president fresh from a war victory?" (CNN's Judy
Woodruff, 5/5/03)

"I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or
at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative
pronouncements were over the past four weeks." (MSNBC's Joe Scarborough,

"This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To
hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory
meant cheering for President Bush. The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at
least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend.
Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and
for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a
defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened.
Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront
an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might
can set the world right." (New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)

"This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless
military intervention.... The president will give an order. [The attack]
will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.... It will be greeted by the
majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it
on." (Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate-- cited in the Observer,

"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego
that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to
take that wager?" (Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 1/29/03)

"It won't take weeks. You know that, professor. Our military machine
will crush Iraq in a matter of days and there's no question that it
will." (Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)

The Mouse That Roared

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 24 March 2006

When I walked into the headquarters of the Christine Cegelis for Congress campaign, I was immediately struck by the bustling energy in the hallways and offices. Campaign headquarters was on the third floor of a cookie-cutter building on Highland Street, a nice space with all the amenities. There was a body at every phone, groups gathered in conference rooms to pour over maps and walking sheets, and volunteers banging through the glass doors on their way to work the precincts.

The frenetic energy within campaign headquarters reflected the overall mood of the race itself. This was no ordinary primary. It had turned into a David v. Goliath brawl within the Democratic party, a challenge to see just how far a grassroots organization could carry the fight against a well-funded campaign that was supported by some of the leading lights of the Democratic establishment.

The story of the race for the Illinois 6th District House seat, which encompasses portions of both Cook County and DuPage County, shakes out like this. In 2004, Christine Cegelis, a mother of two who worked in the technology sector, challenged Henry Hyde for the seat. Hyde had been an institution in the 6th to this point, holding the seat for sixteen terms in a district that had been reliably Republican for decades. Hyde, as well as many others, were quite surprised when Cegelis managed to get 44.2% of the vote after stomping her primary opponent by nearly a 2-1 margin.

Hyde chose to retire in 2005, making the Illinois 6th an open seat for the first time since the Carter administration. The work done by the Cegelis campaign in 2004 essentially established, for the first time in a long time, a serious Democratic presence in the district. Cegelis chose to continue campaigning even after the '04 election, and had been working ever since towards a run in 2006. She had established a ground game and name recognition among the constituents she hoped to represent, and based her campaign on the need to bring jobs back to the area.

Enter Rahm Emmanuel and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Emmanuel, himself a congressman from a neighboring district, has been a kingmaker with the DCCC as chairman. He saw the open seat in the 6th as an excellent opportunity to cut into the GOP majority in the House, and made the race for that seat a central priority of the DCCC. For whatever reasons, however, Emmanuel chose to ignore Christine Cegelis and the work she had done, and instead endeavored to pull a different candidate into the race.

Emmanuel spent eleven months searching for an alternative to Cegelis. He started with an Illinois state senator, who turned Emmanuel down for personal reasons. He next approached Peter O'Malley, a lawyer who works with the Illinois Mediation Service. O'Malley got into the race, but finding his campaign unable to raise any money to challenge Cegelis, dropped out in the summer. Emmanuel next approached Brian McPartlin, Chief of Administration of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, who did not want to leave his job and turned the offer down. A local businesswoman was approached after McPartlin refused the job, but the campaign never materialized. It appeared, for a time, that Christine Cegelis was going to weather this inter-party storm and stand as the candidate.

After a long and fruitless search, Emmanuel finally located a candidate willing to challenge Cegelis. Tammy Duckworth was an Army Major and an Iraq War veteran who had lost both legs when her helicopter was attacked. Duckworth was not a resident of the district, and has a voting record that is only two years old. Emmanuel and the DCCC, however, believed her status as a veteran would be a boon to fundraising efforts, and would be attractive to moderates and conservatives who swoon over anyone who has worn a uniform. The running of Iraq veterans is a DCCC plan being enacted in a variety of other districts across the country.

During Emmanuel's long search, a third candidate for the Democratic primary in the 6th district emerged. Lindy Scott, an evangelican Christian college professor, jumped into the race with the belief that he could bring religiously-oriented voters back into the party. Throughout the primary, Scott polled in the low teens, but would wind up having a significant effect on the overall outcome.

The Cegelis campaign, meanwhile, was sailing through rough waters of its own. The campaign manager managed to spend $250,000 on nothing, putting the campaign into a deep financial hole. The ground network established since 2004 was left fallow. Six weeks before the primary, Cegelis fired her campaign manager, along with virtually her entire staff, and brought in a man named Kevin Spidel. Spidel, who was at the time serving as Deputy National Director for Progressive Democrats of America, took a leave of absence from PDA to take over as campaign manager. He organized a whole new staff, took a look at the money they had on hand, and engineered a whole new plan based on the ground network that had once been the main strength of Cegelis' run.

The challenge was daunting. Emmanuel brought in Senators Durbin, Obama and Kerry, along with a variety of other leading lights, to do vigorous fundraising for Duckworth. He reached out to David Axelrod, a powerful campaign and media consultant in Chicago, to help with a media blitz. By the end of the campaign, the Duckworth crew had sent eleven different pieces of direct mail to voters in the district, covered the airwaves with commercials, and had spent close to $1,000,000.

The Cegelis crew, however, was not interested in quitting. First of all, their candidate's stand on a variety of local and national issues was far clearer than those of Duckworth, especially on the issue of the Iraq occupation. They believed their candidate to be more than a match for the GOP opponent they would face in November, a far-right DeLay clone named Peter Roskam.

More than anything, however, was a sense of outrage directed at Emmanuel, the DCCC and the Democratic party establishment in general. Where did they get off bringing in an outsider with no local support? Where did they get off trying to poach the hard work Cegelis had done over the previous two years to establish a Democratic presence in a district that had not known of such a thing for decades? All the money in the world, and all the endorsements from Democratic worthies, could not change the essence of their beliefs.

And so, last Tuesday, the primary to determine the Democratic challenger for the 6th District went down. Cegelis lead by a whisker throughout the night, until the results from Cook County began trickling in. The campaign had expected to do poorly in Cook, and their expectations were met. By the time the clock wound past midnight, the slim advantage Cegelis had enjoyed in DuPage County also began to bleed away. Thanks to the mayhem that took place in Cook County's election stations that night, a winner in the race for the 6th was not declared until the wee hours of the morning. It was Duckworth by a nose.

The final numbers are telling. Duckworth got 43.8% of the vote to Cegelis' 40.4%. The margin of victory for Duckworth was exactly 1080 votes. The 6th District has 512 precincts, which means Duckworth's margin of victory was 2.1 votes per district. Given the fact that her campaign spent nearly a million dollars to win this race, the price tag on those 2.1 votes per district is staggering.

It was that close. Had Spidel been brought in a few weeks earlier, and had the previous campaign manager not spent a quarter of a million dollars worth of campaign funds on shadows and dust, the outcome probably would have been much different. The Lindy Scott factor likewise cannot be ignored. In the end, he got nearly 8,000 votes, amounting to somewhere around 16%. It is telling, when thinking of Scott, to see the blog post he made days before the election, in which he bragged that a majority of the votes he expected to get would come from erstwhile Cegelis voters.

The "If" factor cannot alter the outcome, but there is a significant lesson for the Democratic party establishment to learn here. Tammy Duckworth, Rahm Emmanuel, the DCCC and all those big-time endorsers got brought down to the wire by a grassroots campaign with a tenth of the money, and in the end came within an eyelash of losing. Conventional wisdom says Cegelis should not have made it that close. She didn't have the cash, the endorsers, or the media team Duckworth had. It should have been an easy win, but it wasn't.

The next time the Democratic establishment decides to come barnstorming into a district to force an outsider candidate upon a grassroots network that has been working day and night for an already-established and campaign-seasoned candidate, they will look at what happened in the Illinois 6th and, perhaps, think twice. The next time a grassroots organization in a district looks at a big-money primary challenger and sees no chance to succeed, they will look at the Illinois 6th and, perhaps, think twice.

In the meantime, many Cegelis supporters have begun the process of swallowing the bitterness of defeat in order to organize for the defeat of Peter Roskam. They do this not because they suddenly like Tammy Duckworth, but because of the larger issues at hand. Kevin Spidel noted in the aftermath of the election that the point is not to elect Duckworth in November simply for the sake of electing Duckworth. The point is to win the November race in order to take one step closer to ending the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The point, Spidel will tell you, is to see Rep. John Conyers Jr. sitting as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when all is said and done.

That, Spidel says, is the worthiest and most progressive-minded goal he could possibly imagine.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.

VIDEO SPECIAL | Latino March for Peace

A film by Scott Galindez and Ted Sapphire
On March 12, 2006, Fernando Suarez del Solar and Pablo Paredes started a march
with a coalition of the willing across 240+ miles in a quest for peace that aims
at raising the Latino voice of opposition to the war in Iraq. The March will run
from Tijuana, Mexico, all the way to the mission district of San Francisco,
making strategic, symbolic and ceremonial stops along the way. The 241-mile
march is inspired by Gandhi's 1930 Salt March protesting British imperialism and
will serve as a loud cry for an end to the bloodshed in Iraq.

Roberts Dissent Reveals Strain Beneath Court's Placid Surface

By Linda Greenhouse
The New York Times

Thursday 23 March 2006

Washington - A Supreme Court decision on Wednesday in an uncelebrated criminal case did more than resolve a dispute over whether the police can search a home without a warrant when one occupant gives consent but another objects.

More than any other case so far, the decision, which answered that question in the negative by a vote of 5 to 3, drew back the curtain to reveal the strains behind the surface placidity and collegiality of the young Roberts court.

It was not only that this case, out of 32 decided since the term began in October, provoked Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to write his first dissenting opinion. He had cast two earlier dissenting votes, and had to write a dissenting opinion eventually. And although there has been much commentary on the court's unusually high proportion of unanimous opinions, 22 so far compared with only 27 in all of the last term, few people expected that rate to continue as the court disposed of its easiest cases and moved into the heart of the term.

Rather, what was striking about the decision in Georgia v. Randolph, No. 04-1067, was the pointed, personal and acerbic tone in which the justices expressed their disagreement over whether the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches was violated when the police in Americus, Ga., arriving at a house to investigate a domestic dispute, accepted the wife's invitation to look for evidence of her husband's cocaine use.

The dueling opinions themselves were relatively straightforward; as has often been the case in the court's recent past, although not so far this term, the justices revealed their real feelings in the footnotes.

Writing for the majority, Justice David H. Souter said the search was unreasonable, given the vocal objection of the husband, Scott Randolph. True, Justice Souter said, the court had long permitted one party to give consent to a search of shared premises under what is known as the "co-occupant consent rule." But he said that rule should be limited to the context in which it was first applied, the absence of the person who later objected.

The presence of the objecting person changed everything, Justice Souter said, noting that it defied "widely shared social expectations" for someone to come to the door of a dwelling and to cross the threshold at one occupant's invitation if another objected.

"Without some very good reason, no sensible person would go inside under those conditions," he said.

"We have, after all, lived our whole national history with an understanding of the ancient adage that a man's home is his castle," Justice Souter said. "Disputed permission is thus no match for this central value of the Fourth Amendment."

Justices John Paul Stevens, Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the majority opinion, as did Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who explained himself in a concurring opinion notable for its ambivalent tone. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. did not vote, as he was not a member of the court when the case was argued.

The dissenters, in addition to Chief Justice Roberts, were Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. In his opinion, the chief justice took aim at the majority's description of social custom, as well as its reliance on that description to reshape "a great deal of established Fourth Amendment law."

Every lower federal court to have considered the issue, as well as most state courts, had concluded that one party's consent was sufficient. The Georgia Supreme Court, in its 2004 decision that the justices affirmed, was in the minority, ruling in this case that the evidence of Mr. Randolph's cocaine use was inadmissible.

"The fact is that a wide variety of differing social situations can readily be imagined, giving rise to quite different social expectations," Chief Justice Roberts said. For example, he continued, "a guest who came to celebrate an occupant's birthday, or one who had traveled some distance for a particular reason, might not readily turn away simply because of a roommate's objection."

Noting that "the possible scenarios are limitless," he said, "Such shifting expectations are not a promising foundation on which to ground a constitutional rule, particularly because the majority has no support for its basic assumption - that an invited guest encountering two disagreeing co-occupants would flee - beyond a hunch about how people would typically act in an atypical situation."

The majority missed the point, the chief justice said; the fact is that someone choosing to share space has also, already, chosen to share privacy.

"Our common social expectations may well be that the other person will not, in turn, share what we have shared with them with another - including the police," he said, "but that is the risk we take in sharing."

That was the analysis, and then came the footnotes.

Justice Souter, usually mild-mannered to a fault, said in Footnote 4 that "in the dissent's view, the centuries of special protection for the privacy of the home are over." By invoking a "false equation" between inviting the police into the home and reporting a secret, he said, the chief justice "suggests a deliberate intent to devalue the importance of the privacy of a dwelling place."

Chief Justice Roberts responded in turn. The majority had mischaracterized his position on privacy and "seems a bit overwrought," he said in a footnote.

In a concluding paragraph of his dissent, he said: "The majority reminds us, in high tones, that a man's home is his castle, but even under the majority's rule, it is not his castle if he happens to be absent, asleep in the keep or otherwise engaged when the constable arrives at the gate. Then it is his co-owner's castle."

Justice Souter also attacked as a "red herring" a warning by Chief Justice Roberts that the rule the court was adopting would hamper the ability of the police to protect victims of domestic violence.

Justice Souter said the law was clear on the right of the police, despite any objection, to enter a home to protect a crime victim. But that issue "has nothing to do with the question in this case," he said.

The discussion by Chief Justice Roberts of the implications for domestic violence cases might have been an effort to win, or a failed effort to hold, the vote of Justice Breyer.

When the case was argued on Nov. 8, Justice Breyer raised the issue of domestic abuse. Addressing Mr. Randolph's lawyer, Thomas C. Goldstein, he said, "I haven't seen anything on your side that wouldn't prevent many cases of domestic spousal abuse from being investigated." He added, "Quite frankly, it bothers me a lot."

In his concurring opinion on Wednesday, Justice Breyer noted that in this case, the police were searching "solely for evidence," and domestic abuse was not at issue. While he pronounced himself satisfied by "the case-specific nature of the court's holding," he said the outcome might well be different in the context of domestic abuse, in which police entry even over one spouse's objection could be reasonable.

This case was the oldest undecided case on the court's docket, and it is likely that Justice Breyer's vote was in play until the final stages. One indication was Chief Justice Roberts's reference in his opinion to Justice Breyer's having joined "what becomes the majority opinion," an odd present-tense locution suggesting that the outcome had once been otherwise.

The case also produced dueling opinions by Justice Stevens, concurring, and Justice Scalia, in dissent, over how a true believer in interpreting the Constitution in light of the framers' original understanding would have resolved the issue. There was a tone more of banter than anger to this exchange between the old adversaries, as if after some months of forced and unaccustomed unanimity, they were now free once again to acknowledge their differences.

Apocalyptic President

By Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian UK

Thursday 23 March 2006

Even some Republicans are now horrified by the influence Bush has given to the evangelical right.

In his latest PR offensive President Bush came to Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday to answer the paramount question on Iraq that he said was on people's minds: "They wonder what I see that they don't." After mentioning "terror" 54 times and "victory" five, dismissing "civil war" twice and asserting that he is "optimistic", he called on a citizen in the audience, who homed in on the invisible meaning of recent events in the light of two books, American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips, and the book of Revelation. Phillips, the questioner explained, "makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this? And if not, why not?"

Bush's immediate response, as transcribed by CNN, was: "Hmmm." Then he said: "The answer is I haven't really thought of it that way. Here's how I think of it. First, I've heard of that, by the way." The official White House website transcript drops the strategic comma, and so changes the meaning to: "First I've heard of that, by the way."

But it is certainly not the first time Bush has heard of the apocalyptic preoccupation of much of the religious right, having served as evangelical liaison on his father's 1988 presidential campaign. The Rev Jerry Falwell told Newsweek how he brought Tim LaHaye, then an influential rightwing leader, to meet him; LaHaye's Left Behind novels, dramatizing the rapture, Armageddon and the second coming, have sold tens of millions.

But it is almost certain that Cleveland was the first time Bush had heard of Phillips's book. He was the visionary strategist for Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign; his 1969 book, The Emerging Republican Majority, spelled out the shift of power from the north-east to the south and south-west, which he was early to call "the sunbelt"; he grasped that southern Democrats would react to the civil-rights revolution by becoming southern Republicans; he also understood the resentments of urban ethnic Catholics towards black people on issues such as crime, school integration and jobs. But he never imagined that evangelical religion would transform the coalition he helped to fashion into something that horrifies him.

In American Theocracy, Phillips describes Bush as the founder of "the first American religious party"; September 11 gave him the pretext for "seizing the fundamentalist moment"; he has manipulated a "critical religious geography" to hype issues such as gay marriage. "New forces were being interwoven. These included the institutional rise of the religious right, the intensifying biblical focus on the Middle East, and the deepening of insistence on church-government collaboration within the GOP electorate." It portended a potential "American Disenlightenment," apparent in Bush's hostility to science.

Even Bush's failures have become pretexts for advancing his transformation of government. Exploiting his own disastrous emergency management after Hurricane Katrina, Bush is funneling funds to churches as though they can compensate for governmental breakdown. Last year David Kuo, the White House deputy director for faith-based initiatives, resigned with a statement that "Republicans were indifferent to the poor".

Within hours of its publication, American Theocracy rocketed to No 1 on Amazon. At US cinemas, V for Vendetta - in which an imaginary Britain, ruled by a totalitarian, faith-based regime that rounds up gays, is a metaphor for Bush's America - is the surprise hit. Bush has succeeded in getting American audiences to cheer for terrorism.

Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is the author of The Clinton Wars.


This comes from The Progressive review( I thought it was an interesting view of labor reporting.................Scott


Our story about the media's war on labor referred to NPR's Marketplace.
We meant to say public radio's Marketplace. Marketplace is actually the
product of PRI not NPR as Corey Flintoff reminded us:

"I have to take exception to your assertion that NPR is anti-labor.
'Marketplace' is not an NPR program. It's produced by our competitor,
Public Radio International. NPR has a full-time labor correspondent,
Frank Langfitt, and if you look into some of his stories in the NPR
archive, you'll find he's doing excellent, straight-ahead
reporting on labor issues from workplace safety to pension benefits and
the decline of unions."

We apologize for the misplaced aspersion. As we have pointed out in the
past, however, it is significant that public radio features such a
business-centered program without any similar show serving American
workers. Even though they may not contribute as much to the annual fund
drives, there are more of them.

We have also received an e-mail from Steve Greenhouse, 'labor and
workplace reporter' for the NY Times: "I would strongly defend my
colleague Micki Maynard as being a scrupulous, balanced reporter who is
every bit as fair to labor as she is to business. Indeed, Micki has a
reputation for being tough on business and on G.M.-- and on some labor
unions. Her coverage of Northwest Airlines and the labor dispute there
was a model of toughness and fairness. Counting which paragraph goes
where is a cute idea, but it misses the point. The important thing is
to look at the overall fairness of a piece, not to count which paragraph
goes where. Besides, articles that are extremely unfair to labor might
do well under your test because they contain some labor response up high
before the rest of the article goes on to bash labor."

Greenhouse's comments were inspired by our count of the number of
paragraphs it took several papers - including the NY Times - to report
the reaction of labor reaction to the planned buyouts of Delphi workers
by GM.

Our graf counter is simply an application of one of the principles we
laid out a decade ago in our plan for a new newspaper called USA
Tomorrow: "Opposition to any policy will be reported on the same page as
the main headline and not on the jump page as is now commonly the case.
In fact, jump pages will be eliminated where possible and no story will
jump more than two pages. Editors know that few readers turn to the jump
page, which is why they bury so much good stuff there. "

Greenhouse's praise of Maynard may be justified but it does not in any
way answer the problem of the story in question. Nor does it explain
why so many stories are written in a similar fashion. Why do so many
papers bury so much good stuff in that journalistic dumpster known as
the jump page?

One reason, in the case of labor coverage, is the bias of newspapers
themselves. Beginning with the successful defeat of the Washington Post
pressmen in 1975, newspapers have become ever more hostile towards their
own unions. This idiosyncratic involvement in the story being reported
is seldom mentioned in the press.

But another problem is the unnoticed cultural slant of reporters
themselves who, in an increasingly socially and economically divided
America, have increasingly become among the winners in the split. No
conspiracy, no intentional bias is necessary, simply using office talk
and class presumptions is enough.

Thus we doubt that Micheline Maynard is even aware of how much more
concern she displayed in her article for the fate of GM than for the
fate of its workers. GM is "staggering under the weight of $10.6 billion
in losses," and "still has much more to do in its effort to rebuild
itself as a smaller, more competitive automaker after losing ground for
two decades in the United States against the growing strength and
sophistication of Asian and European rivals."

Then there is the problem for G.M.'s chief executive, Rick Wagoner,
"whose future is now in serious doubt. He must deliver even broader cost
cuts to save both G.M. and his own job. Already, he is under growing
pressure from the company's largest individual shareholder, Kirk
Kerkorian, whose representative has joined the board."

And, of course, the ubiquitous foreign competition: "Beyond the buyouts,
analysts said, G.M. must take further steps to become more competitive
or risk being pushed aside by strong rivals like Toyota, which could
unseat G.M. to become the world's biggest auto company as soon as
sometime this year."

The ever present 'Industry analysts' also have "raised fears that G.M.
could be forced into its own bankruptcy filing as a result of a flood of
bad news at the company." And " Analysts also said they were not
convinced that the plan had gone far enough to push G.M. and Delphi over
the hump."

But there are also workers who are staggering, who might be forced into
bankruptcy, for whom the plan might not have gone far enough to push
them over the hump, who need to take further steps to become more
competitive or risk being pushed aside when they look for a new job, who
still have much to do to rebuild themselves as smaller, more competitive
former auto parts makers, and are losing ground against the growing
strength and sophistication of outsourcing. But they never seem to get
the same level of concern in these stories.

Finally, the fact that our graf counter elicited a negative reaction
from a labor reporter is itself noteworthy. Another response might have
been to take the piece to the editor and say, "See, we've got to treat
labor better." And maybe even thank us for giving a little nudge to the
undernourished and noble cause of labor reporting.

[It may be assumed by some that your editor's views are related to his
being a member of Local 1981 of the United Auto Workers Union - also
known as the National Writers Union. This is probably not the case since
he has been strongly pro labor since he was about nine years old, when
his father gave him a record of union songs including one that went,
"After 30 years as a worker, they say 'My boy, the job you did was
swell.' And off you pack with an ache in your back and a pin for your