March 10, 2006

The Failure of Hugo-Bashing
Despite U.S. efforts, the Venezuelan leader is winning friends across Latin America
by Mark Weisbrot  

It was yet another public relations coup for Venezuela: Vila Isabel, the samba club sponsored mainly by the Venezuelan government, won the parade competition in Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval last week. A float with a giant likeness of Simon Bolivar, combined with thousands of ornately costumed participants parading down the avenue, trumpeted the winning theme: Latin American unity.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just last month called for "a united front" against Venezuela, continuing a long-term policy of trying to isolate the country. But Washington has been spitting into the wind. Venezuela's influence in the hemisphere has continued to rise while the U.S. has succeeded only in isolating itself more than at any time in at least half a century. It might be worth asking why.

First, Venezuela is a democracy ų despite the best efforts of the Bush team to use President Hugo Chavez's close relations with Cuba's Fidel Castro as evidence to the contrary. Its elections are transparent and have been certified by observers from the Organization of American States, the Carter Center and the European Union. Freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of association prevail, at least as compared with the rest of the hemisphere.

In fact, most of the media remains controlled by the opposition, which attacks the government endlessly on all the major TV channels. It is the most vigorous and partisan opposition media in the hemisphere, one that has not been censored under Chavez. more...

March 9, 2006

Your mind is made up
No need to choose -- South Dakota will choose for you

South Dakota is so rarely found on the leading edge of the far out, the wiggy, the California-esque. But it has now staked its claim. First to Outlaw Abortion This Century. The state legislature of South Dakota, in all its wisdom and majesty, a legislature comprised of sons and daughters of the soil from Aberdeen to Zell, have usurped the right of the women of that state to decide whether or not to bear the child of an unwanted pregnancy. THEY will decide. Women will do what they decide.

These towering solons, representing citizens from the great cosmopolitan centers of Rapid City and Sioux Falls to the bosky dells near Yankton, are noted for their sagacity and understanding. When you think "enlightenment," the first thing that comes to your mind is "the South Dakota Legislature," right?

As well it might. The purpose of the law is to force a decision from the United States Supreme Court, where the appointments of John Roberts and Sam Alito have now shored up the anti-choice forces.

The South Dakota Legislature has made it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion under any circumstances except to save the life of the mother. There are no exceptions for rape, incest or to preserve the health of the mother. more...

March 8, 2006

Frameshop: Citizens Stand Up

Small Town America Passing Resolutions to Impeach President Bush, Citizens Reclaim America

The rising tide of impeachment continues to sweep across America.  Today, all eyes were on the Board of Selectmen in the New England town of Newfane, Vermont, which endorsed a resolution to impeach President Bush.  The resolution will be forwarded immediately to independent Rep. Bernie Sanders, Vermont's only House Representative.

Whether we are for or against impeachment, the actions of this small town are a perfect example of Americans waking up to their own power to reclaim America.

The actual article of impeachment was very brief and included in a long list of articles to be considered at the annual meeting of the Newfane Board of Selectmen:

ARTICLE 29: We the voters of Newfane would like Town Meeting, March 2006, to consider the following resolution:

Whereas George W. Bush has:
1. Misled the nation about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction;
2. Misled the nation about ties between Iraq and Al Quaeda;
3. Used these falsehoods to lead our nation into war unsupported by international law;
4. Not told the truth about American policy with respect to the use of torture; and
5. Has directed the government to engage in domestic spying, in direct contravention of U.S. law.
Therefore, the voters of the town of Newfane ask that our representative to the U.S. House of Representatives file articles of impeachment to remove him from office.

The resolution was approved by paper ballot and passed 121-29. 

March 7, 2006

Torture of Prisoners Still Seen in Iraq, Report Says
The Associated Press
Monday 06 March 2006

    London - Detainees in Iraq are still being tortured, receiving electric shocks and beatings with plastic cables, a report by Amnesty International said today.  

   The U.S. military responded that all detainees were being treated according to international conventions and Iraqi law.

    Many of the cases in the report involve detainees held by Iraqi authorities.     

Amnesty International said that interviews in Jordan and Iraq with former prisoners, relatives of current inmates and lawyers involved in detainees' cases in Iraq showed that prisoner mistreatment had not ceased since the revelations in 2004 of abuse by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.   

  In the new allegations, former detainees asserted that they were beaten with plastic cables, given electric shocks and made to stand in a flooded room as an electrical current was passed through the water, the London-based human rights group said.    

 Its report said the interviews were conducted last year and this year.    

March 6, 2006

from Baghdad Burning:

∑ not to be outdone by Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey- we bring you the Baghdad Burning Oscar Special!! Except, for our award show I suggest we change the name of the little statuette from Oscar to something more local and familiar. (Oscar is too close in pronunciation to the Arabic word „Iskarš which means „get drunkš. Should we use „Oscarš I fear the award show would be hijacked by Sadr‚s religious militia, hence I would like to suggest the „Sayidš Awards!)

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, we bring you the nominees for the 2006 Sayid Awards! more...


Kurt Vonnegut's "Stardust Memory"
by Harvey Wasserman  

On a cold, cloudy night, the lines threaded all the way around the Ohio State campus. News that Kurt Vonnegut was speaking at the Ohio Union prompted these „apatheticš heartland college students to start lining up in the early afternoon. About 2,000 got in to the Ohio Union. At least that many more were turned away. It was the biggest crowd for a speaker here since Michael Moore.

In an age dominated by hype and sex, neither Moore nor Vonnegut seems a likely candidate to rock a campus whose biggest news has been the men‚s and women‚s basketball teams‚ joint assault on Big Ten championships.

But maybe there‚s more going on here than Fox wants us to think.

Vonnegut takes an easy chair across from Prof. Manuel Luis Martinez, a poet and teacher of writing. He grabs Martinez and semi-whispers into his ear (and the mike) „What can I say here?š

Martinez urges candor.

„Well,š says Vonnegut, „I just want to say that George W. Bush is the syphilis president.š

The students seem to agree.

„The only difference between Bush and Hitler,š Vonnegut adds, „is that Hitler was elected.š

„You all know, of course, that the election was stolen. Right here.š

Off to a flying start, Vonnegut explains that this will be his „last speech for money.š He can‚t remember the first one, but it was on a campus long, long ago, and this will be the end. more...

March 5, 2006


MS MAGAZINE - Following the passage of a disastrous abortion ban in South Dakota, the Women's Medical Fund and other abortion-rights activists are calling for pro-choice Americans to boycott all tourism in the state. . .  more...  

-  Tourism: South Dakota has a billion dollar a year tourism business

- South Dakota is the second-largest producer of flaxseed and sunflower seed in the nation.

- Citigroup has 3,200 employees in South Dakota  

- John Morrell has 3,000 employees in South Dakota

- Tyson Foods has 900 employees in South Dakota

March 4, 2006

Cegelis vs. The Machine
by Cindy Sheehan  

I am beginning to wonder what it is that such "Democrats" like Rahm Emanuel (IL), Chuck Schumer (NY), and Nancy Pelosi (CA) are protecting in Iraq. What is it that they have at stake in keeping the occupation of Iraq going? Their constituents in every case are solidly anti-war and anti-Bush. They all come from the bluest of states and/or districts. Yet when faced with the chance to defend and promote antiwar candidates who agree with the majority of Americans that it's time to get out of Iraq this year, they go into overdrive to try to destroy their candidacies.

Take the case of Christine Cegelis. Cegelis opposed the war before it started. She supports single-payer health care and a strong transition to renewable energy.

She's pro-choice, and anti-CAFTA. And she has a strong grassroots following in her district. In short, Christine Cegelis is exactly the kind of candidate that the Democratic Party needs.

On top of that, in 2004 Christine took on the thankless task of running against arch-conservative Henry Hyde (R-IL). You remember Henry Hydeųthe man whose name is on key right-to-life, the man who led the impeachment fight against Bill Clinton, the man who now chairs the International Relations Committee in the House and routinely buries antiwar Democrats' attempts to investigate the lies that took us into the Iraq War that then took Casey.

Surprisingly, Christine racked up 44% against Hyde, despite being outspent by 4-1. She immediately announced that she would run again, and faced with her continuing strong grassroots opposition, Hyde decided to retire.

What was her reward for this service? Not an infusion of money to help her win an open seat against a former Tom DeLay aideųNo! Instead, DCCC head Rahm Emanuel went out and found a candidate to run against her, a woman who did not even live in the district. Then, led by Emanuel, almost all the prominent Democrats in the countryųJohn Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and many othersųhave weighed in on behalf of Cegelis' opponent. more...
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August 21, 2004 - August 19, 2005

August 20, 2005 - August 26, 2005
August 27, 2005 - September 2, 2005
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January 28, 2006 - February 3, 2006
February 4, 2006 - February 10, 2006
February 11, 2006 - February 17, 2006
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February 25, 2006 - March 3, 2006

No War in Iraq march.

San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
San Francisco, Ca., February 16, 2003


Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.


This site consists of original photographs and composites by Fletcher Oakes, unless otherwise credited.

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