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

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

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


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

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

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
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

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

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

"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
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
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
), 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

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

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

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

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

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"

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

(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
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

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