Matching Grant Challenge
BruceMatch
We’re slowly making headway in our annual fund drive, but not nearly fast enough to meet our make-or-break goal.  On the bright side, a generous CounterPuncher has stepped forward with a pledge to match every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, he will give CounterPunch a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate.
 unnamed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

See No-Nonsense Representatives Grill Witnesses!

Congress on Steroids

by DAVE LINDORFF

If you watched or read about the Congressional hearings yesterday conducted by the House Government Reform Committee, you’d have thought Congress was a real legislature, with bulldog representatives willing to stop at nothing to get at the truth.

There was Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), saying it "boggles the mind," that a witness would provide Congress with false information.

There was Rep. Patrick McHenry, angrily demanding that a witness stop fudging and give a straight-up "yes or no" answer.

Even the Democrats got into the act, with Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Maryland) sounding for all the world like a pugnacious Senate Watergate committee member or like Richard Nixon on the old House Un-American Activities Committee as he demanded of a witness who was refusing to answer a tough question, "Are you taking the Fifth?"

All this toughness, and what was the issue at hand? The latest $82-billion funding request for the war in Iraq? The CIA’s extraordinary rendition kidnapping and torture of terror suspects? The Bush Social Security wrecking scheme? The White House propaganda strategy of producing and sending out fake "news" videos to local TV stations around the country?

No, this was the House hearing into steroid use by baseball players.

The toughness displayed by the representatives on the Government Reform Committee at this silly hearing into an issue that has almost no impact whatsoever on the lives of average Americans contrasted markedly with the way the Senate Armed Services Committee, on the same day, handled its hearing into the CIA’s torture policies since 2001.

There CIA director Porter Goss, a former House member himself, was treated with utmost politeness and decorum, and was allowed to fudge answers, or not answer questions at all.

Goss wasn’t challenged by panel members from either party when he assured his Senate questioners that the CIA uses no "techniques" that would be "in any way against the law" or that would be "considered torture." No one followed up by asking him who was interpreting the law for him (the new Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, after all, did a bang-up job as White House Counsel, advising the president that the law allowed torture, and the hell with the Geneva Conventions).

When Goss was asked about CIA tactics prior to the present moment, and whether torture might have been used by the agency in the aftermath of 2001, he was allowed to say simply "I am not able to tell you that."

No one pressed him further to ask whether he was, in effect, "taking the Fifth" on the spy agency’s behalf.

With the Republican Party firmly in control of both houses of Congress, and with Democrats selling out on everything from oil drilling on Alaska’s north slope to providing more funds for Bush’s war in Iraq, the one useful thing to come out of the baseball steroid hearings was a reminder of what Congress could be if its members actually took their job even half seriously.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com