Bad things are happening in Arizona … again. Good things too!
The extremist Arizona legislature enacted a law that just recently caused the banning of nearly 100 books from Tucson public schools. The list includes prominent Latino authors, plus Shakespeare, Thoreau, and James Baldwin. They even banned Zorro!
The real goal was to totally dismantle the Tucson school district’s Mexican American Studies program. Mission accomplished. The program is gone. Not a class survived. Continue reading →
We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.
The authenticity of this interview, which is available in recognized electronic news archives, is confirmed. Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.
In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of the September 11 attacks.
This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.
Arthur Laurents’ story about love, racism and violence set in 1950s New York City took on a new twist under the direction of David Saint in Broadway Across America’s Ft. Lauderdale production of West Side Story. By making subtle changes (from the 1961 film version starring Natalie Wood), Saint softens the criticism of US racism and salutes same-sex love.
When I first saw the film as a teen, the song “America” shocked me with its blunt lines, “Life is all right in America … if you are white in America.” Given our media-fostered culture of anti-Arab sentiment, I looked forward to hearing those words again. Instead, under Saint’s direction, the song mocked Puerto Rico. “Twelve in a room in America” became San Juan’s burden.
The events in Egypt cannot help but remind me of Portugal. Here, there, and everywhere, now and before, the United States of America, as always, is petrified of anything genuinely progressive or socialist, or even too democratic, for that carries the danger of allowing god-knows what kind of non-America-believer taking office, writes William Blum
Please see info about ordering my new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, following this week’s column.
By Robert C. Koehler
The easy violence of empire washes over everything. It washes into our psyches.
I’m thinking about this in connection with the juxtaposition of anniversaries this week: Martin Luther King Day; President Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation in 1961, in which he sounded the warning about the military-industrial complex; and George H.W. Bush’s bombing campaign that launched the Gulf War in 1991, pounding not only Saddam (our kill ratio was 1,000-to-1) but also the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome” and America’s post-modernist antipathy to war, thus re-energizing . . . the military-industrial complex.
By 1967, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. had become the country’s most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic. In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 — a year to the day before he was murdered — King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”
Time magazine called the speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi,” and the Washington Post declared that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”
The Nazi “Doctor of Death,” Joseph Mengele, lived out his last years in hiding and infamy in South America. But the American Dr. Mengele, Dr. John C. Cutler, who infected human beings with syphilis in Guatemala, and studied syphilis in men in Alabama while denying treatment to them, died in the bosom of the American medical community, a man of honor and high esteem. Cutler’s diabolical crimes were “normalized and praised” because they were committed against non-white people.
“The holiest of all spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.”
All along, Sept. 11 has cried out for words like this, for such a vision of global compassion. Instead, of course, we launched the 100 Years War, or whatever this goldmine for the war complex and the American empire now calls itself. And just as the war effort has started to flag (no pun intended), America is under attack again — from a proposed Muslim community center a few blocks from the site where the World Trade Center once stood.
Why Systems Become Murderous Exploitation Machines
Arguably the three most influential end-point models of political organization are best represented by Adam Smith (capitalism), Karl Marx (socialism/ communism), and Mikhail Bakunin (anarchism). These three men and many other persons who contributed to critiquing, perfecting and adapting or combining these end-point models were unquestionably brilliant, acute and incisive.
Baton Rouge police officers showed racial bias, conducted illegal searches and employed excessive force, said some New Mexico state troopers who left Louisiana after only two days of working alongside the Baton Rouge cops. Reports filed by the New Mexico officers have now been published in a local newspaper, The Advocate.
The documents from an internal investigation by the Baton Rouge Police Department have become public just now, after a lawsuit initiated by The Advocate in July 2006 was successfully argued before the Louisiana state Supreme Court last year.
In a speech at the Sydney Opera House to mark his award of Australia’s human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize, John Pilger describes the “unique features” of a political silence in Australia: how it affects the national life of his homeland and the way Australians see the world and are manipulated by great power “which speaks through an invisible government of propaganda that subdues and limits our political imagination and ensures we are always at war — against our own first people and those seeking refuge, or in someone else’s country”.
“Millions of children and youth are denied educational opportunities in the United States,” begins the National Resolution for Ending School Pushout, which some 200 organizations in 43 states have so far signed. “This injustice results from systemic inequality and a lack of public commitment to doing what is necessary to keep all young people in school.”
Can we sit with this statement a moment, please? Can we sit with it without blame, denial or quick opinions, and simply let it wash at the edges of our sense of national greatness? Our military, political and cultural thrust reaches every corner of the globe. We’re the world’s only superpower. And we’re feeding our own children — a shocking percentage of them, at any rate — into a sort of Darwinian meat grinder of low expectations, zero tolerance and fend-for-yourself hopelessness.
Of all the explanations for Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, the one that rang truest came from French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “It sets the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples.” In other words, this was Europe’s way of saying to America, “We love you again”—sort of like those weird “renewal of vows” ceremonies that couples have after surviving a rough patch.
Now that Europe and the United States are officially reunited, it seems worth asking: is this necessarily a good thing? The Nobel Committee, which awarded the prize specifically for Obama’s embrace of “multilateral diplomacy,” is evidently convinced that US engagement on the world stage is a triumph for peace and justice. I’m not so sure. Continue reading →
Since thirteen states have legalized marijuana for medical use, with another fifteen possibly doing the same by next year, Roger Parloff argues in a humongous Fortune magazine feature (“How Marijuana Became Legal”) that the plant has essentially been legitimized, at least on a “local-option” basis. Moreover, medical marijuana in California offers the benefit of an economic model for how pot might be merchandized in the event of legalization. But watch out for that backlash: Continue reading →
Isn’t Joe Wilson a hoot-and-a-half? I’m not referring to the Joe Wilson who was married to Valerie Plame, the CIA operative whose cover was blown by Karl Rove and company in an act of cynical (and illegal) political revenge. The Joe Wilson I refer to in this piece is the ideologically challenged congressman from South Carolina who interrupted President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress the other night in words that will be in the first sentence of the first paragraph of his obituary:
Get your permit or whatever and you, too, can bring an assault rifle to the next presidential speech you attend. There’s nothing the police can do — amazing! If only the Democrats, back when George Bush was president, had known there was a safe, legal way to protest presidential policy and register discontent with the direction the country was headed. Can you imagine?