Hello, Here is another Free Update from ZNet. You can add or remove email addresses at our top page: www.zmag.org/weluser.htm -- Comments from diverse ZNet Blog writers on everything from Iraq, Parecon, Air America, labor and war, firemen and racism, and bob dylan and lady's underwear follow the brief update immediately below.
The Update A blog (short for web log) is a site that displays content usually from one writer (or sometimes many) by date and with a particular look and feel. Blog entries reflect the will and style of their host writers. Entries are often punchy and personal. Blogs often primarily provide critical guidance to other web content -- but many aren't so much gateways and comments on content as means for the author's views to be conveyed more personally and informally than via an article. So far we have two topical blogs online, each with multiple authors. The first is about Participatory Economics and economic vision more broadly and is titled Goodbye Maggie (referring to Maggies Farm and Maggie Thatcher's famous TINA quote. The second is about Z/ZNet policy (with that title). We also so far have ten personally hosted Blog sites online: Noam Chomsky's Turning the Tide, Michael Albert's Thought Dreams, Lydia Sargent's still to begin posting, Hotel Satire, Justin Podur's The Killing Train, Elaine Bernard's The Coffee Room, William Blum's AntiEmpire Report, Tim Wise's Words from the Wise, Jessica Azulay and Brian Dominick's UTS, David Peterson's Rocinante, and Paul Street's Empire and Inequality. To induce more of you to try this new set of ZNet offerings here we include some sample entries from various of these Blogs. There is a whole lot more online; this is just the most recent content. Enjoy. The most recent Blog Entries...for your reading pleasure... The two most recent entries from Chomsky's Blog, Turning the Tide: (1) The Iraq Occupation Typically, military occupations are quite successful, even by the most horrendous conquerors. Take, say, Hitler's occupation of Western Europe and Russia's postwar occupation of Eastern Europe. In both cases, the countries were run by collaborators, security forces and civilian, with the troops of the conqueror in the background. There was courageous partisan resistance under Hitler, but without extensive foreign support, it would have been wiped out. In Eastern Europe, the US tried to support resistance (inside Russia as well) until the early 1950s, and of course Russia was in confrontation with the world dominant superpower. There are many other examples. Consider, in contrast, the invasion of Iraq. It eliminated two monstrous regimes, one of which we are allowed to talk about, the other not. The first was the rule of the tyrant. The second was the US-UK imposed sanctions regime, which killed 100s of thousands of people, devastated the society, strengthened the tyrant, and compelled the population to rely on him survival -- probably saving him from the fate of other gangsters supported by the current incumbents in Washington, all overthrown from within; that was a plausible surmise before the war, and is even more so in the light of postwar discoveries about the fragility of Saddam's rule. The ending of both regimes was certainly welcome to the population. The US had enormous resources to reconstruct the ruins. Resistance had virtually no outside support, and in fact developed within largely in response to violence and brutality of the invaders. It took real talent to fail. (2) Iraq Controversy in Perspective The whole front-page controversy is, in my opinion, not only diversionary but a real tribute to the success of indoctrination. There is a simple point that seems obvious to Iraqis, but is unmentionable here in the mainstream: the conquest of Iraq, if successful, is a tremendous achievement for US power. As pretext after pretext for the war has collapsed, commentators have had to scurry to take the next one seriously. The latest, after the collapse of all others, is that the US goal was to establish democracy in Iraq, indeed the whole Middle East. The assumption is taken for granted in news reporting, and accepted even by the harshest critics, who laud the noble vision but think it is beyond our means, etc. Only Iraqis seem to reject it; in recent polls, 1% of people in Baghdad think the US invaded to defend democracy, 5% to help Iraqis, while most of the rest assume that the goal was to take control of Iraq's resources and to reorganize the region for US power interests -- an option that is virtually inexpressible here, though it sounds pretty simple and obvious. Surely Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc., understand the significance of obtaining the first secure military base in a dependable client state at the heart of the world's main energy reserves, a tremendous lever of world control. By any rational calculation, within their framework, that vastly outweighs the possibility that thousands of Americans might be killed by terror -- a prospect that has clearly been understood since 1993. We know perfectly well from other evidence that their priorities are ranked this way: the invasion of Iraq, for example, was expected to increase the threat of terror, and did. Therefore, it is only natural that they should have downgraded terror in favor of invading Iraq, from the start, and that Wolfowitz and the rest should have hounded the CIA to provide them with some shred of evidence -- WMD, connections with terror, whatever -- to use as a pretext for the real goal. The revelations of Clarke, the memos, etc., tell us virtually nothing that was not clear enough before. The hullabaloo about them derives primarily from our inability to say, even to think, what seems obvious to Iraqis -- for good reason. Seems to me worth thinking about all of this rather carefully. ----- The newest entry from the multi-author Parecon Blog: Goodbye Maggie: (1) Rubber, I have Someone I'd Like You to Meet -- THE ROAD by Eric Patton Greetings. Allow me to introduce myself. I am a nurse aide. In the particular job that I have now, I make twelve dollars an hour. Of course, since I work nights and make an extra two dollars per hour in shift differential, I would only make ten dollars per hour if I worked days. In case you are wondering what exactly a nurse aide does, let me share with you. A nurse aide is not the same as a nurse. On the medical care totem pole of all people who have direct patient contact (e.g., doctors, nurses, therapists), nurse aides are at the bottom. That is, we make the least money, and we have what is probably the least desirable job (even when not accounting for our low wages). We are the ones who clean bedpans, and wipe poo off people's bottoms and vomit off their faces and chests. We change soiled linen and gowns. We do bed baths for people who can't clean themselves, and we feed people who can't lift a fork to their mouths. We turn people every two hours, help them out of bed, and help them back into bed - sometimes at great risk to our backs and our own physical well-being. All for ten dollars an hour. But I didn't decide to write this just so I could tell you a little about my job. I didn't write this so we could all bemoan the state of global capitalism and what it's done to wages and working conditions here and around the world. I wrote this because I have a question. And I want an answer. I expect an answer. And I deserve an answer. I want to know what you think of balanced job complexes and participatory self management. I'm talking to Dollars & Sense - you know, the "magazine of economic justice." I'm talking to Labor Notes - you know, the group who is "putting the movement back in the labor movement." I'm talking to the AFL-CIO and John Sweeney. I'm not asking you what you think about participatory economics generally. I'm not asking you what you think about participatory planning as an alternative to market-based allocation. I'm not even asking you what you think about remuneration according to effort and sacrifice, as opposed to remuneration according to output - though rest assured, that shall be my second question. I only want to know what you, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, or you, MediaLens, think about balanced job complexes. I only want to know what you, World Social Forum, who like telling me ad nauseam that "another world is possible," think about participatory self management. I'm not asking you to give me your vision of a better society. I'm not asking you what you think about vision generally, or whether it's good or bad. I only want to know what you think about balanced job complexes and participatory self management. Mr. Henwood, Mr. Chomsky thinks your Left Business Observer is "invaluable." I agree. Now I want to know, Mr. Henwood, what you think about balanced job complexes and participatory self management. How about you, Mr. Chomsky? What do you think? Ms. Ehrenreich, you are correct when you say that people who work for an hourly wage aren't just selling their labor, they're selling their lives. In my case, the going rate is ten dollars an hour, plus two for shift differential. So what do you, who say you know so well what it means to be nickeled and dimed in order to eke out a living, think about balanced job complexes and participatory self management? How about you, Michael Moore? You're out for trout, but are you out for the liberation of the working class? Naomi Klein, you have words aplenty to address the state of U.S. empire. They are good words. But what do you think about balanced job complexes and self management? I'm not a particularly religious person. But I should like to know if you're for my people or against my people, the working class. If I said I was for women's rights, but that I was opposed to a woman's right to choose, you'd not very likely think me for women's rights. (Re-read that sentence at least three times before you go on!) So to all the good folks at Socialist Worker, I respectfully say, how could one be against balanced job complexes and self management, yet claim to be for my people? To everyone at The Nation, I say, are you for us or against us? If you say you're for us, yet opposed to balanced job complexes and participatory self management, then how exactly are you different from my boss? Are you saying that, if I leave my boss's world to come to yours, that you'll pay me better and give me better benefits, but that at the end of the day, you'll still be the ones making all the decisions - while I'm still cleaning all the bedpans? Well, before I go do my next set of bi-hourly rounds - turning, checking, and changing - I deserve an answer. Balanced job complexes and participatory self management. It shouldn't be a particularly difficult question. ---- The newest entry from William Blum's Blog: AntiEmpire Interviewed by America One of the joys of being an author, being interviewed and having many essays floating around the Internet is that it brings me into contact with a lot of swell folks I wouldn't otherwise be in touch with: morons, Jesus freaks, NewAgers babbling about "the pure rhythm of the essence of the universal life force" ... Interviewed by America One of the joys of being an author, being interviewed and having many essays floating around the Internet is that it brings me into contact with a lot of swell folks I wouldn't otherwise be in touch with: morons, Jesus freaks, NewAgers babbling about "the pure rhythm of the essence of the universal life force", those whose idea of intellectualism is turning off the TV for an hour, those who have swallowed the American dream whole without even spitting out the pits, those who believe that any foreigner with half a brain would rather be an American ... the whole primitive underbelly of this supposedly rational society. In sum total, a group that represents one of the 12 signs that the world is ending. My contact with them arises when they call in questions during radio interviews, or sometimes it's the person who's actually interviewing me. They also pop up in audiences I speak before, but mostly it's via email that I have the pleasure of encountering their fine minds. I'm waiting to receive my first e-mail with anthrax in it. Well, there are viruses in e-mail, why not bacteria? When New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman called the anti-globalization demonstrators in Seattle "a Noah's ark of flat-earth advocates", Noam Chomsky observed: "From his point of view that's probably correct. From the point of view of slave owners, people opposed to slavery probably looked that way." And that's the way that people like me and Chomsky look to my interrogators. Honed to an unusual deadness of perception by years of Monday night football, Fox News Channel, the local tabloid, and Rush Limbaugh, they are scarcely aware that large numbers of people simply do not think the way they do, that there's an alternative universe of facts and opinions. I think the hostile manner in which they first engage me stems partly from the shock that such people like me even exist and are actually speaking to them over one of their favorite radio programs, or that words written by such a person have found their way to their Internet mailbox. To them, I've just stepped off the number 36 bus from Mars. I present here several fragments of my conversations with these charming creatures as well as some questions from other types: Q. Why do you hate America so much? A: What do mean by "hating America"? Are you asking me if I hate every building in America, every park, every person, every baseball team? Just what do you mean? What I hate, actually, is American foreign policy, what the United States does to the world. Q. If you don't like the United States why don't you leave? A. Because I'm committed to fighting US foreign policy, the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the world, and being in the United States is the best place for carrying out the battle. This is the belly of the beast. Q. What other country is better than the United States? A. In what respect? Q. In any respect. A. Well, let's start with education. In much of Western Europe university education is free or considerably more affordable than here; even in poor Cuba it's free. Then's there's health care ... [Note: I think that the people who ask this question truly believe that there's no good answer to their challenge; my response invariably marks the end of the dialogue.] Q. Do you regard yourself as patriotic? A. Well, I guess you're speaking of some kind of blind patriotism, but even if you have a more balanced view of it, what you're thinking about me would still be correct. I'm not patriotic. In fact, I don't want to be patriotic. I'd go so far as to say that I'm patriotically challenged. Many people on the left, now as in the 1960s, do not want to concede the issue of patriotism to the conservatives. The left insists that they are the real patriots because of demanding that the United States lives up to its professed principles. That's all well and good, but I'm not one of those leftists. I don't think that patriotism is one of the more noble sides of mankind. George Bernard Shaw wrote that patriotism is the conviction that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it. Q. Do you think the United States has ever done anything good in the world? How about World War Two? Would you have fought in that war? A. If I had been old enough, and knowing what I know now, I would have been glad to fight against fascism, but I would not have been enthused about fighting for the United States, or for the United States government to be more exact. Our leaders bore a great responsibility for the outbreak of the world war by abandoning the Spanish republic in the civil war. Hitler, Mussolini and the Spanish fascists under Franco all combined to overthrow the republican government, while the United States, Great Britain, France and the rest of the world (except, arguably, the Soviet Union) stood by; worse than standing by, American corporations were aiding the fascist side. At the same time, the US and Britain refused the entreaties of the Soviet Union to enter into some sort of mutual defense pact. The Russians knew that Hitler would eventually invade them, but that was fine with the Western powers. Hitler derived an important lesson from all this. He saw that for the West, the real enemy was not fascism, it was communism and socialism, so he proceeded accordingly. Hitler was in power for nine years before the United States went to war with him -- hardly a principled stand against fascism -- and then it was because Germany declared war on the United States, not the other way around. When the questioner has no other argument left to defend US policy in Iraq, at least at the moment, I may be asked: Q. Just tell me one thing, are you glad that Saddam Hussein is out of power? A. No. Q. No? A. No. Tell me, if you went into surgery to correct a knee problem and the surgeon mistakenly amputated your entire leg, would you be happy that you no longer had the knee problem? Of course not, the cost to you would not be worth it. It's the same with the Iraqi people, the cost of the bombing, invasion, occupation, and daily violence and humiliation has been a terrible price to pay for the removal of Hussein, whom many Iraqis actually supported anyhow. ---- The newest entry from David Peterson's Blog, Roscinante: The Sludge Report Breaking news....This just in....According to "The Sludge Report <http://www.airamericaradio.com/pub/resNews.htm> " (April 14), Air America's <http://www.airamericaradio.com/> very own "blog" (note that budgetary constraints have prevented this "fledgling liberal talk-radio network featuring Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, and that really loud woman from Florida" from developing BLOBS, so they have to settle for a regular weblog), here's what really happened (cf. "O AIR AMERICA," April 14): This Liu-ser [i.e., Arthur Liu, the guy who owns Multicultural Radio Broadcasting, and who earlier today said that Air America bounced a check and owes him more than $1 million] was ripping off our boss Evan Cohen big time (he can't do that, that's our job). Evan found out about it and he stopped payment on a check to keep Liu-cifer from ripping him off even more. You can touch Evan for the occasional meal or drinks but a million bucks is crossing the line. And if we ever get low on cash, we can always call Barbra Streisand. Or any of the Baldwins. Except Stephen. So we got screwed, Liu'd, and tattooed. How Liu can you get? In Liu of payment. Liu'd and lascivious behavior. These write themselves. What we're getting at is that we hate him. So now everyone's saying we're going down the dumper in Chicago and Los Angeles, but what they don't tell you is that we're still on in Portland. And we OWN Portland. And let's not forget Riverside and Plattsburgh. And New York. And streaming on the internet. And XM. And Sirius. Actually we're fine. So cool your jets. Air America Radio isn't dead, we're in court and we're going to slam Liu's head in a car door. Another metaphor. We hope to be back on the air tomorrow or the next day in those markets. Stay tuned for further announcements. ---- The most recent entry from Paul Street's, Empire and Inequality: Deadly George and the Media Cartel I find few things quite as deadly as George W. Bush's understandably rare prime-time press conferences. A key part of the morbidity of these events is the illegitimate boy king himself, of course. The callous dogmatism, ignorance, stupidity, and insincerity of the man is obvious to anyone who can bear to watch or listen. You can see, hear, and even feel (last night's performance made me cringe) it all in his awkward and incomplete sentences, his closely repeated use of the same words and phrases, his contorted look of hopeless confusion, his childish body-language and smirks, and his pathetic attempts to feign concern for others. This stupid, cold, disingenuous, and inarticulate man is not fit to be president of a "Fantasy Baseball" team, much less the most powerful nation on earth. Just as chilling, however, is the routine, dispassionate, and obedient fashion in which the on-screen media professionals who introduce and comment upon the president's performance work to cover up his inadequacies and deceptions. After Bush's show last night, it took some work for these smooth operators to pretend that "the president" is not a dangerous moron and pathological liar - a toxic impostor foisted on the fading body of democracy by the most reactionary sections of the business class. The talking heads I saw last night - Jennings, Stephanapalous, and Brokaw - knew how bad "the president" had sounded and looked. But any concerns they feel about the quality of American "leadership" is nothing compared to something else they know too well: their network bosses and corporate sponsors have no interest in disturbing the deep symbiosis that exists between the corporate media monopoly and the imperial corporate state. And so Bush's shocking ineptitude and terrible lies - we heard him claim again last night that pre-invasion Saddam was a serious WMD and terror threat (linked somehow to 9/11 and al Qaeda) to Americans prior to the invasion and that nobody in the pre-9/11White House had any reason to believe that terrorists would use commercial jet-planes to strike U.S. buildings - go unchallenged as the populace is transitioned back from Orwell to Huxley... from Big Brother Bush to the regularly scheduled fare of infantilizing "entertainment" culture and commercials. "So much," as Mark Crispin Miller wrote in 2001, "for the democratic ardor of [America's] 'liberal media' - an institution every bit as docile and reactionary, in its own ironic way, as the Fourth Estate in Baghdad or Havana." The talking heads make millions shilling for the masters of a "media cartel" whose "aim is not to serve us, but to serve us up to advertisers" (Miller, The Bush Dyslexicon: Reflections on a National Disorder [New York, NY: 2002], pp. 274-75) - a mission best enabled (the media lords think) by keeping the masses in the upbeat darkness of childish denial, focused on lurid scandals and trivial pursuits: more concerned with lies about oral oval office sex than with oval office deceptions about deadly foreign and domestic policies to richly advance empire abroad and inequality at home. Would the "mainstream" media like to issue an apology about this? ---- The most recent entry from Dominick and Azulay's UTS Carnage Times Ten (Dominick) I had written an extensive, analytical post with about 15 links in it picking apart this new, disturbing trend in US military doublespeak, harkening back to that dreaded moment in US history: Vietnam. But my beloved Avant Browser <http://www.avantbrowser.com/> crashed and I lost the whole thing (!). Since I don't want to redo that whole entry, I'm just going to do highlight this quote General Kimmitt -- spokesperson for US occupation forces in Iraq -- blurted out at a press conference <http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2004/tr20040412-0602.html> Monday. It splatted on my computer screen like a giant, blood-laden mosquito hitting a Humvee windshield. Kimmitt said: I can tell you that the coalition casualties since the 1st of April runs about 70 personnel have been killed in action. I can tell you that the casualty figures that we have received from the enemy is somewhere about 10 times that amount -- what we've inflicted on the enemy. [emphasis added] Some of you may not know this, but 10 was the factor by which the McNamara/Westmoreland war machine multiplied enemy "body counts" during the Vietnam war. Sometimes they multiplied actual counted enemy dead, sometimes they multiplied US casualties (to make sure for every fallen American boy there were 10 fallen "enemy" personnel) -- usually they multiplied by 10. Sometimes, in the cases of massacres, they just counted the civilian dead. And on occasions, I imagine, when they were desperate for good figures, they counted civilians and multiplied that by 10, though I don't know of any such cases. (I am not one to go for all the parallels being drawn <http://www.nationinstitute.org/tomdispatch/index.mhtml?pid=1369> between what is happening right now with the US in Iraq and what happened at the peak of the US invasion of Vietnam. But there are some striking similarities, even if in truth they resemble the earlier days of Vietnam more than the peak days or the infamous Tet Offensive of January, 1968. Nevertheless, it is the omen the parallels signify that is important. But there's one parallel not so many people have been pointing to: the body count multiplier.) In actuality, Kimmitt started slipping body counts into press briefings <http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1202-07.htm> late last year. The big one that forewarned of this trend involved the Samarra incident last November 30, in which civilian casualties were suppressed and insurgent casualties greatly exaggerated <http://electroniciraq.net/news/1246.shtml> . What it really seems is that civilian casualties are at about 10 times the reported US military dead (not counting mercenaries <http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=5256> ), and they're doing the massacre equation, which happens to dovetail nicely with the factor-ten equation. (Gen. Kimmitt, cigar-in-teeth, reportedly turned to Mr. T and said, "I love it when a plan comes together.") Anyway, Kimmitt rejoined that statement with this gem on Monday: In terms of civilian casualties, there is no reliable, authoritative figure out there. We would ask the Ministry of Health -- perhaps once Iraqi control remains inside or is allowed back in Fallujah, they can get a fair, honest and credible figure, and not one that is somehow filtered through some of the local propaganda machines that are operating inside Fallujah. Sure, General, whatever you say, Sir... Oh, there I've done it, commented at length and stuck the links in, too. ---- The most recent entry from Elaine Bernard's Blog, The Coffee Room Labor and Peace and War Is there ever a more important issue for working people than the issue of war? And yet, it's sad to see that national unions in the US are quite timid in speaking out against the war, and now occupation of Iraq. Of course, many unionists and many local unions have joined the anti-war movement. There's even a very exciting, US labor anti-war organization -- USLaw -- U.S. Labor Against the War. Check out their website at www.laboragainstwar.org <http://www.laboragainstwar.org/> USLaw is gathering support of local unions, state labor organizations, and even has received the endorsement of two AFL-CIO national affinity organizations -- the Coalition of Labor Union Women and Pride at Work. But, as the situation in Iraq spins out of control and as the US economy goes even further into debt - there's a disturbing silence from labor on this big issue that faces the nation. Historically, unions, even in the US, preached socialism, and the brotherhood (and by extension sisterhood) of working people internationally. They were adamently anti-war -- arguing that war only killed working people and was perpetrated by capitalist interests seeking to extend their control and markets. Unions felt it was important that they address the big questions in politics and not simply advocate for their members at the level of the firm. As a social movement, unions understood that one of the biggest question is the issue of state sponsored violence -- the domestic version, aimed at workers attempting to organize and stand up for their rights, or the foreign policy version, aimed at the state helpiong to extend the reach of capital and seeking to repress the rights of workers in distant lands. While USLaw is doing a terrific job in educating union activists about the war and the situation of Iraqi workers -- wouldn't it be so much better if some of the national unions and indeed, the AFL-CIO put its weight behind this excellent activist initiative? Some unions fear raising the issue of the war because it might be divisive -- however, unions by their very nature are constantly dealing with divisive issues -- younger workers vs older workers, skilled vs unskilled workers, individual vs collective concerns -- and one of the most important roles that unions play socially is that they provide a democratic vehicle for workers to discuss and debate differences, to educate themselves about politics, the economy, in a supportive, collective environment. Few union leaders would argue that unions should not be involved in politics -- as is abundantly clear from all of the attention currently being given in the labor movement to the upcoming Presidential elections. Yet, the issue of war, peace and the middle east, is no where to be seen. ---- The most recent entry from Tim Wise's Blog, Words to the Wise: Firefighters: White Boys Club So it appears as though the Chicago Fire Department is having a hard time dealing with racists in its ranks...or rather, they're simply not dealing with them at all. Recent racial slurs broadcast over a department radio by one white firefighter led to punishment for the offender, but since then dozens of anonymous slurs have also been sent over the internal radio system as well, with nothing done to ferret out who's responsible. The problem is clearly with the top of the food chain, which is less the fire chief and more the Union President. Although Union chief James McNally could take action to root out bigots in the department he isn't likely to do so. After all, as with police unions, firefighter unions are less about solidarity and social justice than protecting the privileges of the old guard, which means white guard. Secondly, McNally himself has a history. A few years ago he dressed up in blackface to protest affirmative action, and then did nothing when racial slurs were thrown around loosely a few years ago at a retirement party for one firefighter. Of course, whites on the force in Chicago have a ready excuse for the slurs. According to some, it's all because of affirmative action. In the words of Lt. Dan Mullaney, "everybody knows someone who was passed over," for a less qualified minority. So let's get this straight...affirmative action now prompts people to use the n word, or other racial slurs? And this is supposed to be an excuse? More to the point, who is Mullaney trying to kid? If every white person who said they new a white victim of "reverse discrimination" were telling the truth, black and brown folks would have all the best jobs in this country. And the leadership ranks of the Chicago Fire Dept would be far more colorful than at present: about 15 percent. But when dealing with old boys clubs like cops and firefighters, it's best to remember that 85% of leadership isn't enough. They want it all, they feel entitled to it all, and will do whatever it takes to keep it all. Also, I have always found it interesting to hear white firefighters say that they did better on the written job test than a bunch of people of color, and thus, they deserve to be promoted/hired first. Not only does this argument presume that a written test can predict firefighting ability (an even more absurd and unjustified position than with most jobs), but it also ignores the built-in advantages that so many of the white test takers have going in to the exam: namely, many of them are second and third generation firefighters (as with Dan Mullaney mentioned above), who have grown up essentially "knowing the answers" to tests like that. I mean really, to have a dad or even best buddy who was or is on the force gives one a leg up come test time, in that one would likely know the kinds of questions that were going to be asked ahead of time, and would also have the kind of testing confidence that a true "newbie" wouldn't. Hell, under those kinds of conditions, white test takers ought to do better! But they shouldn't be rewarded for it...and those using racial slurs, dressing up in blackface, or looking the other way at either kind of behavior need to be booted out with a quickness. ---- The two most recent entries from Justin Podur's Blog, Killing Train: (1) Irony Anyone? Okay, so what is the textbook, classic example everyone thinks of first when they think of a US-sponsored coup in Latin America to install a murderous dictatorial regime? Hint: Castro told Chavez not to become the assassinated President of this country on the phone during the April 2002 coup in Venezuela. Hint #2: Kissinger said, about this country: "I don't see why we have to sit back and let a country go communist just because of the irresponsibility of its own people." Answer? The same country that is sending more troops to help the US with its post-coup occupation of Haiti, of course! Yes, it's true. Chile, the country that suffered so brutally under Pinochet's dictatorship, is now sending soldiers to occupy Haiti, or so said Chile's ambassador to Haiti Marcel Young, today. There are over 300 Chilean troops in Haiti, along with US Marines, Canadians, and French soldiers. (On the hints: Castro apparently told Chavez 'No seas un Allende', or 'Don't become another Allende': Salvador Allende was the president who was murdered during the 1973 coup in Chile -- on 9/11, as I'm sure most people reading this blog know. The Kissinger quote comes via Noam Chomsky <http://blogs.zmag.org/ttt> , of course, so I'm sure most have read that one as well!) (2) Bush and Sharon agree on Palestinians' fate! That ought to come as a shocker. It seems that Bush has endorsed <http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040414.wbush0414/BNSt ory/International/> Sharon's plans for the unilateral destruction -- oops, I meant starvation -- oops, I meant withdrawal -- of Gaza. He has also said that Palestinian refugees ought to forget about the right of return, and he has said nothing about the settlements on the West Bank. Or the bombings. Or the starvation. Or the closures. But then, how could he, when he's applying these very techniques in Iraq? Speaking of Iraq, what's this I see? A new headline that 'fighting flares up again in Fallujah' <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4667742/> ? Now, class, what does it mean when the passive voice is used? It means that friends of ours (or us, ourselves) are killing people. Of course, that headline is doubly dishonest because the assumption is that there was a period before the 'flareup' when there wasn't fighting going on in Fallujah -- a lie. The first line of the AP story has a bit more of an honest description of what's going on: "US warplanes strafed gunmen in Fallujah..." ---- And Finally, the most recent entry from my own blog -- Michael Albert's Blog, Thought Dreams: My Shoes...and Mr. Dylan Bob Dylan meant and means a lot to me -- so you can perhaps imagine my mood on seeing him advertising Victoria's Secret. I don't know which is sadder. That he did it. Or that reports indicate there is a huge sales bump as a result. In any event, I can assure you, it wasn't me buying lingerie on his say so. Perhaps Bob should listen to his own lyrics -- as should those who take his advice -- and here are just a few choice items. Read em. Trust me. You'll like em, and be moved by em...even without accompaniment. And hey, Bob, is your lawyer looking? Maybe he should sue me for using your lyrics without permission for the purposes they held for you when you wrote them... (I put many more quote in the actual Blog Entry, but for reasons of brevity include only a few here...) --- So many roads, so much at stake So many dead ends, I'm at the edge of the lake Sometimes I wonder what it's gonna take To find dignity --- Money doesn't talk, it swears --- The motorcycle black madonna Two-wheeled gypsy queen And her silver-studded phantom cause The gray flannel dwarf to scream As he weeps to wicked birds of prey Who pick up on his bread crumb sins And there are no sins inside the Gates of Eden --- Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn Suicide remarks are torn >From the fool's gold mouthpiece The hollow horn plays wasted words Proves to warn That he not busy being born Is busy dying. --- Ah get born, keep warm Short pants, romance, learn to dance Get dressed, get blessed Try to be a success Please her, please him, buy gifts Don't steal, don't lift Twenty years of schoolin' And they put you on the day shift --- But it grieves my heart, love, To see you tryin' to be a part of A world that just don't exist. It's all just a dream, babe, A vacuum, a scheme, babe, That sucks you into feelin' like this. --- I ain't lookin' to compete with you, Beat or cheat or mistreat you, Simplify you, classify you, Deny, defy or crucify you. All I really want to do Is, baby, be friends with you. --- Disillusioned words like bullets bark As human gods aim for their mark Made everything from toy guns that spark To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark It's easy to see without looking too far That not much Is really sacred. --- >From fixtures and forces and friends, Your sorrow does stem, That hype you and type you, Making you feel That you must be exactly like them. --- I don't want to straight-face you, Race or chase you, track or trace you, Or disgrace you or displace you, Or define you or confine you. All I really want to do Is, baby, be friends with you. --- Advertising signs that con you Into thinking you're the one That can do what's never been done That can win what's never been won Meantime life outside goes on All around you. --- Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing. --- Oh, the leaves began to fallin' And the seas began to part, And the people that confronted him were many. And he was told but these few words, Which opened up his heart, "If ye cannot bring good news, then don't bring any." --- Now at midnight all the agents And the superhuman crew Come out and round up everyone That knows more than they do Then they bring them to the factory Where the heart-attack machine Is strapped across their shoulders And then the kerosene Is brought down from the castles By insurance men who go Check to see that nobody is escaping To Desolation Row --- My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards False gods, I scuff At pettiness which plays so rough Walk upside-down inside handcuffs Kick my legs to crash it off Say okay, I have had enough What else can you show me? And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only. --- And now I know you're dissatisfied With your position and your place Don't you understand It's not my problem I wish that for just one time You could stand inside my shoes And just for that one moment I could be you Yes, I wish that for just one time You could stand inside my shoes You'd know what a drag it is To see you ===================================This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.