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Archives from December 2007
Intelligence Failures, Battlefield Myths and Unaccountable Prisons in Afghanistan
In the last week, while the media’s attention has focused on the release of two Sudanese humanitarian aid workers from Guantánamo, the 13 Afghans who were flown to Kabul at the same time have barely been mentioned. The reasons for this oversight are c...
Why Leon Russell Still Matters
There’s a moment in the film of the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh that shows how great rock music can be. Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Leon Russell are singing Dylan’s "Just Like A Woman." All three men join in the chorus, creating an unusual...
Democrats Continue to Capitulate on Iraq
For those who might still be harboring some doubts, it is now official: the Democratic Party has officially abrogating any responsibility for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Tuesday, December 18, 2007 marked a milestone for the party, as its leaders in the Sena...
Christmas Eve Freedom Fighters
This Christmas Eve, the freedom-loving Bush administration has a chance to mark the anniversary of a great victory for formerly oppressed people on U.S. soil. The President is unlikely, however, to notice or heed the meaning of this particular milestone, whose cas...
Enhanced Hazing Techniques
A few years ago, in my last album, right after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, I talked about how furious Senators and congressmen were, looking at such photos as a prisoner forced to wear women’s panties on his head and a naked prisoner with a dog collar atta...
The Comedian of Pakistan
TIME magazine has declared Vladimir Putin as Man of the Year, even though he has severely restricted civil liberties in Russia and slowed its march toward democracy. The argument is that he has brought stability to the country and restored its status as a great po...
Blessed are the Peacemakers
The greatest threat to Christmas is not local governments’ preventing Nativity scenes from being displayed in public places but America’s overthrow of Iraq’s government and occupation of it public places. The greatest threat to the "Prince o...
Society on Steroids
There’s been talk all this week about that stunning report from former Senator George Mitchell revealing that Major League Baseball players, including some of the sport’s biggest stars, have been using steroids for years. The findings prompted my fello...
Repealing California’s Three Strikes Law
Thirteen years is enough. It is time to repeal California’s Three Strikes law, passed by lawmakers and voters on the watch of former GOP Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994. The Inland Empire (San Bernardino and western Riverside counties) is headquarters of Fa...
War is Over! (If Only We Really Wanted It)
It was thirty eight years ago today, that John and Yoko gave us all something to play, a message that’s never really been in style, though its guaranteed to raise a smile. . . . . . . and maybe even save the world, if only w...
In the Dungeon of the Zabita
Until recently the big squares of Istanbul, at Beyazit between the university and the mosque, the streets around the old Spice Market, and the seafront promenade along the Golden Horn were alive with street sellers peddling their wares, ranging from imitation bran...
New Massacres Loom in Mexico
The men milled about on the shoulder of the mountain road, their faces hooded and masked. Christmas was just three days away but first they had some killing to do. When the signal was given, they picked up their weapons–at least five AK-47s were included in ...
A Declaration of Independence from the USA
Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status today in Washington D.C. following Monday’s withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government. The withdrawal, hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy...
Put God Back in the Closet Where It Belongs
While millions of other Americans have somehow managed to minimize the impact of the 2008 presidential election campaign on their collective consciousness, the candidates from both parties have had a transformative effect on me. They’ve made me a militant at...
Business as Usual as Recession Looms
TThe stock market remains unsettled, as the nation’s economic problems grow. Washington from the White House to Capitol Hill to the Federal Reserve gives us lots of bustle but no truly comforting action. The Democrats pushed through an energy bill tha...
Nothing Can Morally Justify the Invasion of Iraq
Neo-con supporters of the U.S. government’s war of aggression against Iraq are undoubtedly holding their collective breath in the hope that U.S. military forces have finally smashed any further violent opposition to their conquest of Iraq. The attitude would...
Zuma, the Center-Left and the Left-Left
Congratulations are due Jacob Zuma ­ apparently far more Machiavellian than even his arch-opponent since 2005, Thabo Mbeki ­ and the tireless band of warriors from the Congress of SA Trade Unions, SA Communist Party and African National Congress Youth Leag...
Sex and Revolution
The alliance between Zapatistas, sex workers, and transvestites shows the power of social change in a key cultural way-when it’s anchored to daily life. In Mexico, one of the strongest and most overbearing enclaves of patriarchy and machismo, Subcomandante M...
Union Aftermath
Even after a group of employees goes through the hassle of getting enough signatures (30% of the workers) to force an employer to submit to a NLRB-sanctioned union election, and even after they survive the company’s comprehensive anti-union propaganda campai...
The 2007 P.U.-litzer Prizes
Many journalists qualified for the sixteenth annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, but only a few were able to win recognition for turning in one of the truly stinkiest media performances of the year. As the judges for this un-coveted award, we have done our best to confer t...
Let Us Now Praise Judith Regan
OJ ("If I Did It") Simpson has all but admitted he did do it, that is kill wife Nicole Simpson and hunky waiter Ron Goldman. Jose ("Long Live Steroids!") Canseco long ago admitted in his 2005 book Juiced that he did it, ie, used steroid...
A Way Out of the Newspaper Abyss
For ten years newspaper publishers and editors have been wringing their hands about declining "household coverage," the percentage of households that subscribe to a daily newspaper. Coverage figures have declined from more than 80 percent in the 1950s, t...
Mitt Romney’s Secret Life as a Pornographer
The summer scandal about Mitt Romney’s role as a closet pornographer appears to be resurfacing as the Iowa Republican caucuses near. While never raised during the Republican debates, the rumor has been gaining momentum as local press and Christian groups con...
The Return of the Bread Riot
On September 13th, 2007, Italian shoppers, led by a confederation of consumer organizations, staged one of the country’s first pasta strikes. In the elegant but rather grimy deindustrialized city of Turin where I’m currently living, erstwhile home to t...
The Huckster and the Wreckage
It was a classic run on the bank. Until his recent resignation under fire, Coleman Stipanovich, a Bush loyalist, headed the Florida State Board of Administration, responsible for investing billions of dollars of state funds. Stipanovich’s brother, "Mac&...