Somebody Blew Up America

30 November 2004 |

By Amiri Baraka

They say its some terrorist,
some barbaric
A Rab,
in Afghanistan
It wasn't our American terrorists
It wasn't the Klan or the Skin heads
Or the them that blows up nigger
Churches, or reincarnates us on Death Row
It wasn't Trent Lott
Or David Duke or Giuliani
Or Schundler, Helms retiring

It wasn't
The gonorrhea in costume
The white sheet diseases
That have murdered black people
Terrorized reason and sanity
Most of humanity, as they pleases

They say (who say?)
Who do the saying
Who is them paying
Who tell the lies
Who in disguise
Who had the slaves
Who got the bux out the Bucks

Who got fat from plantations
Who genocided Indians
Tried to waste the Black nation

Who live on Wall Street
The first plantation
Who cut your nuts off
Who rape your ma
Who lynched your pa

Who got the tar, who got the feathers
Who had the match, who set the fires
Who killed and hired
Who say they God & still be the Devil

Who the biggest only
Who the most goodest
Who do Jesus resemble

Who created everything
Who the smartest
Who the greatest
Who the richest
Who say you ugly and they the goodlookingest

Who define art
Who define science

Who made the bombs
Who made the guns

Who bought the slaves, who sold them

Who called you them names
Who say Dahmer wasn't insane

Who? Who? Who?

Who stole Puerto Rico
Who stole the Indies, the Philipines, Manhattan
Australia & The Hebrides
Who forced opium on the Chinese

Who own them buildings
Who got the money
Who think you funny
Who locked you up
Who own the papers

Who owned the slave ship
Who run the army

Who the fake president
Who the ruler
Who the banker

Who? Who? Who?

Who own the mine
Who twist your mind
Who got bread
Who need peace
Who you think need war

Who own the oil
Who do no toil
Who own the soil
Who is not a nigger
Who is so great ain't nobody bigger

Who own this city

Who own the air
Who own the water

Who own your crib
Who rob and steal and cheat and murder
and make lies the truth
Who call you uncouth

Who live in the biggest house
Who do the biggest crime
Who go on vacation anytime

Who killed the most niggers
Who killed the most Jews
Who killed the most Italians
Who killed the most Irish
Who killed the most Africans
Who killed the most Japanese
Who killed the most Latinos

Who? Who? Who?

Who own the ocean

Who own the airplanes
Who own the malls
Who own television
Who own radio

Who own what ain't even known to be owned
Who own the owners that ain't the real owners

Who own the suburbs
Who suck the cities
Who make the laws

Who made Bush president
Who believe the confederate flag need to be flying
Who talk about democracy and be lying

Who the Beast in Revelations
Who 666
Who know who decide
Jesus get crucified

Who the Devil on the real side
Who got rich from Armenian genocide

Who the biggest terrorist
Who change the bible
Who killed the most people
Who do the most evil
Who don't worry about survival

Who have the colonies
Who stole the most land
Who rule the world
Who say they good but only do evil
Who the biggest executioner

Who? Who? Who?

Who own the oil
Who want more oil
Who told you what you think that later you find out a lie

Who? Who? Who?

Who found Bin Laden, maybe they Satan
Who pay the CIA,
Who knew the bomb was gonna blow
Who know why the terrorists
Learned to fly in Florida, San Diego

Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion
And cracking they sides at the notion

Who need fossil fuel when the sun ain't goin' nowhere

Who make the credit cards
Who get the biggest tax cut
Who walked out of the Conference
Against Racism
Who killed Malcolm, Kennedy & his Brother
Who killed Dr King, Who would want such a thing?
Are they linked to the murder of Lincoln?

Who invaded Grenada
Who made money from apartheid
Who keep the Irish a colony
Who overthrow Chile and Nicaragua later

Who killed David Sibeko, Chris Hani,
the same ones who killed Biko, Cabral,
Neruda, Allende, Che Guevara, Sandino,

Who killed Kabila, the ones who wasted Lumumba, Mondlane,
Betty Shabazz, Die, Princess Di, Ralph Featherstone,
Little Bobby

Who locked up Mandela, Dhoruba, Geronimo,
Assata, Mumia, Garvey, Dashiell Hammett, Alphaeus Hutton

Who killed Huey Newton, Fred Hampton,
Medgar Evers, Mikey Smith, Walter Rodney,
Was it the ones who tried to poison Fidel
Who tried to keep the Vietnamese Oppressed

Who put a price on Lenin's head

Who put the Jews in ovens,
and who helped them do it
Who said "America First"
and ok'd the yellow stars

Who killed Rosa Luxembourg, Liebneckt
Who murdered the Rosenbergs
And all the good people iced,
tortured, assassinated, vanished

Who got rich from Algeria, Libya, Haiti,
Iran, Iraq, Saudi, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine,

Who cut off peoples hands in the Congo
Who invented Aids
Who put the germs
In the Indians' blankets
Who thought up "The Trail of Tears"

Who blew up the Maine
& started the Spanish American War
Who got Sharon back in Power
Who backed Batista, Hitler, Bilbo,
Chiang kai Chek

Who decided Affirmative Action had to go
Reconstruction, The New Deal,
The New Frontier, The Great Society,

Who do Tom Ass Clarence Work for
Who doo doo come out the Colon's mouth
Who know what kind of Skeeza is a Condoleeza
Who pay Connelly to be a wooden negro
Who give Genius Awards to Homo Locus

Who overthrew Nkrumah, Bishop,
Who poison Robeson,
who try to put DuBois in Jail
Who frame Rap Jamil al Amin, Who frame the Rosenbergs,
The Scottsboro Boys,
The Hollywood Ten

Who set the Reichstag Fire

Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away?

Who? Who? Who?

Explosion of Owl the newspaper say
The devil face cd be seen

Who make money from war
Who make dough from fear and lies
Who want the world like it is
Who want the world to be ruled by imperialism and national
oppression and terror violence, and hunger and poverty.

Who is the ruler of Hell?
Who is the most powerful

Who you know ever
Seen God?

But everybody seen
The Devil

Like an Owl exploding
In your life in your brain in your self
Like an Owl who know the devil
All night, all day if you listen, Like an Owl
Exploding in fire. We hear the questions rise
In terrible flame like the whistle of a crazy dog

Like the acid vomit of the fire of Hell
Who and Who and WHO who who
Whoooo and Whooooooooooooooooooooo!

Copyright 2002. Amiri Baraka.

911 Poem - Ani DiFranco


us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky

and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far
so far
so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that's been trying to convince me
to participate
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour

so here's a toast to all the folks who live in palestine

el salvador

here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore

here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city
just to listen to a young woman's voice

here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner's guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their
to find peace in the form of a dream

cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
i mean
it don't take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
jeb said he'd deliver florida, folks
and boy did he ever

and we hold these truths to be self evident:
#1 george w. bush is not president
#2 america is not a true democracy
#3 the media is not fooling me
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
i've got no room for a lie so verbose
i'm looking out over my whole human family
and i'm raising my glass in a toast

here's to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
through valleys
under stars
i dream of touring like duke ellington
in my own railroad car
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face

give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else's desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
freedom forever

cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall

and while we're at it
remember the first time around?
the bomb?
the ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn't even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?

can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?!

it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show
that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face
and scoping that scene
the CIA
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn't have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
another key
another door
10% literal
90% metaphor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
should be more than pawns
in some asshole's passion play
so now it's your job
and it's my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn't die in vain
baby listen
hear the train?

© Ani DiFranco

Pesticides with fizz. Enjoy, drop dead

28 November 2004 |

By TJS George

So the truth is out. All those who have been attacking colas as bad must admit that they were wrong. It has now been conclusively proved that colas are most useful as pesticides.

The proof comes, not from interested lobbies, but from consumers. Farmers of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh were the first to report their findings. Since then farmers from Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh and northern Karnataka have also been heard from. They all say unanimously that Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and Thums Up are extremely effective in killing the pests that afflict their cotton and chilli crops.


A tell-tale quote from a Guntur farmer is worth re-quoting. "We found the three colas had uniform effect on the pests. The pests became numb after tasting the concotion and fell to the ground." The discovery thrilled the farmers because now they could make one acre of crop pest-free at a cost of Rs. 270. Branded pesticides would cost four times as much

The boon is by no means confined to debt-plagued farmers. Some city-dwellers have discovered that colas are quite effective as lavatory cleaners. Some others had used colas instead of distilled water in motor car batteries. The batteries functioned far more efficiently.

The message is clear. Colas are a useful ingredient of modern civilisation and ought to be used widely by both urban and rural populations. The problem is when marketing geniuses insist that people can also drink colas. As every child and her Barbie doll knows, the story of colas is the story of marketing. The geniuses who worked on image-building in the early years were so successful that Coca Cola became a national symbol of America and a synonym for democracy.

The strategic brilliance that achieved such a miraculous triumph is brought out in a story about two corporate chiefs from Coca Cola who visited the Pope in Rome. They asked him to change the line in the Lord's Prayer from "Give us this day our daily bread" to "Give us this day our daily coke." They offered a substantial personal contribution to the Holy Father and a separate more substantial contribution to the establishment he headed. The Pope was not amused and asked the visitors to leave. As the Papal guards showed them the door, the Coke representatives were heard asking each other: "I wonder how much the bread people paid him."

In a world where all values are determined by marketing, the cola companies could just as well have dreamed up fabulous marketing strategies to popularise their products as pesticides and cleaning agents. The profits would have still poured in. But that would not have acquired for their companies the glamour and national flag-carrier status they now enjoy.

So we are left to enjoy what the cotton pests enjoy at their peril. Our kids, including middleaged ones, carry on with their coke even after official sources certified the presence of harmful residual pesticides in colas. A BBC study team had taken sludge from a Coca Cola factory in the now famous town of Plachimada and found the toxic chemical cadmium in excess of permissible limits.

But the glamour of colas continues. The greatest asset of the marketeers is human nature. Man is the only animal that is attracted to what is bad for him. The tiger won't touch vegetables, the elephant won't touch meat, but man will smoke and chew gutka even when he knows that it will kill him.

And, even when he knows the truth, he will go on drinking pesticides.

BBC were the first to expose the Cola poisoning in Kerala.

The Coca-Cola plant in Kerala
The plant denies that the fertiliser is harmful to health
Waste product from a Coca-Cola plant in India which the company provides as fertiliser for local farmers contains toxic chemicals, a BBC study has found.

Dangerous levels of the known carcinogen cadmium have been found in the sludge produced from the plant in the southern state of Kerala.

The chemicals were traced in an investigation by BBC Radio 4's Face The Facts programme and prompted scientists to call for the practice to be halted immediately.

However, Vice-President of Coca-Cola in India, Sunil Gupta, denied the fertiliser posed any risk.

"We have scientific evidence to prove it is absolutely safe and we have never had any complaints," Mr Gupta said.

The results have devastating consequences for those living near the areas where this waste has been dumped
Professor John Henry,
poisons expert

Face The Facts presenter John Waite visited the plant following complaints from villagers that water supplies were drying up because of the massive quantities of water required by Coca-Cola.

Villagers, politicians, environmentalists and scientists have accused the firm of robbing the community of the area's most precious resource.

They say the area's farming industry has been devastated and jobs, as well as the health of local people, have been put at risk.


As part of the probe, Face The Facts sent sludge samples to the UK for examination at the University of Exeter.

A prop used by anti-Coca-Cola protesters in Kerala
Locals have protested at the chemicals and the draining of water

Tests revealed the material was useless as a fertiliser and contained a number of toxic metals, including cadmium and lead.

The lab's senior scientist, David Santillo, said: "What is particularly disturbing is that the contamination has spread to the water supply - with levels of lead in a nearby well at levels well above those set by the World Health Organisation."

According to Britain's leading poisons expert, Professor John Henry, consultant at St Mary's Hospital in London, immediate steps should be taken by the authorities in India to ban the practice immediately.

The levels of toxins found in the samples would, he said, cause serious problems - polluting the land, local water supplies and the food chain.

"The results have devastating consequences for those living near the areas where this waste has been dumped and for the thousands who depend on crops produced in these fields," Professor Henry said.

'Good for crops'

Cadmium is a carcinogen and can accumulate in the kidneys, with repeated exposure possibly causing kidney failure.

The waste-product fertiliser
Cadmium and lead were found in the samples from the fertiliser

Lead is particularly dangerous to children and the results of exposure can be fatal. Even at low levels it can cause mental retardation and severe anaemia.

Professor Henry said: "What most worries me about the levels found is how this might be affecting pregnant women in the area. You would expect to see an increase in miscarriages, still births and premature deliveries."

Mr Gupta said local farmers had been grateful for the fertiliser because many could not afford brand-name products of their own.

"It's good for crops," he said. "It's good for the farmers because most of them are poor and they have been using this for the past three years."

Coca-Cola say they will continue to supply the sludge to farmers.


More on Plachimada

Rediff carried this story: Sludge at Coke Factory

The brother of President George Bush, the Florida governor, Jeb Bush, has been instrumental in securing the release from prison of militant Cuban exiles convicted of terrorist offences, according to a new book. The Bush family has also accommodated the demands of Cuban exile hardliners in exchange for electoral and financial support, the book suggests.

Last year, after September 11, while the justice department announced a sweep of terrorist suspects, Cubans convicted of terrorist offences were being released from US jails with the consent of the Bush administration, according to the book, Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana, by Ann Louise Bardach, the award-winning investigative journalist who has covered Cuban and Miami politics for the New York Times and Vanity Fair.

The Bush family connections go back to 1984 when Jeb Bush began a close association with Camilo Padreda, a former intelligence officer with the Batista dictatorship overthrown by Fidel Castro.

Jeb Bush was then the chairman of the Dade county Republican party and Padreda its finance chairman. Padreda had earlier been indicted on a $500,000 (£320,000) embezzlement charge along with a fellow exile, Hernandez Cartaya, but the charges were dropped, reportedly after the CIA stated that Cartaya had worked for them.

Padreda later pleaded guilty to defrauding the housing and urban development department of millions of dollars during the 1980s.

The president's younger brother was also on the payroll in the 80s of the prominent Cuban exile Miguel Recarey, who had earlier assisted the CIA in attempts to assassinate President Castro.

Recarey, who ran International Medical Centres (IMC), employed Jeb Bush as a real estate consultant and paid him a $75,000 fee for finding the company a new location, although the move never took place, which raised questions at the time. Jeb Bush did, however, lobby the Reagan/Bush administration vigorously and successfully on behalf of Recarey and IMC. "I want to be very wealthy," Jeb Bush told the Miami News when questioned during that period.

In 1985, Jeb Bush acted as a conduit on behalf of supporters of the Nicaraguan contras with his father, then the vice-president, and helped arrange for IMC to provide free medical treatment for the contras.

Recarey was later charged with massive medicare fraud but fled the US before his trial and is now a fugitive.

Jeb Bush sealed his popularity with the Cuban exile community by acting as campaign manager for another prominent Cuban-American, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, when she ran successfully for Congress.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

George Bush Sr famously appeared with her during her campaign in Miami declaring: "I am certain in my heart I will be the first American president to step foot on the soil of a free and independent Cuba."

She has since lobbied successfully for the release of several exiles convicted of terrorist offences held in US jails but who now live freely in Miami.

Most controversially, at the request of Jeb, Mr Bush Sr intervened to release the convicted Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch from prison and then granted him US residency.

According to the justice department in George Bush Sr's administration, Bosch had participated in more than 30 terrorist acts. He was convicted of firing a rocket into a Polish ship which was on passage to Cuba. He was also implicated in the 1976 blowing-up of a Cubana plane flying to Havana from Venezuela in which all 73 civilians on board were killed.

CIA memorandums strongly suggest, according to Bardach's book, that Bosch was one of the conspirators, and quotes the then secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, as writing that the "US government had been planning to suggest Bosch's deportation before Cubana airlines crash took place for his suspected involvement in other terrorist acts and violation of his parole".

Bosch's release, often referred to in the US media as a pardon, was the result of pressure brought by hardline Cubans in Miami, with Jeb Bush serving as their point man. Bosch now lives in Miami and remains unrepentant about his militant activities, according to Bardach.


In July this year, Jeb Bush nominated Raoul Cantero, the grandson of Batista, as a Florida supreme court judge despite his lack of experience. Mr Cantero had previously represented Bosch and acted as his spokesman, once describing Bosch on Miami radio as a "great Cuban patriot".

Other Cuban exiles involved in terrorist acts, Jose Dionisio Suarez and Virgilio Paz Romero, who carried out the 1976 assassination of the Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier in Washington, have also been released by the current Bush administration.

The current administration also maintains a hard line on the continuing Cuban embargo despite the urgings of many in Mr Bush's own party to end it. The president's adviser, Karl Rove, "has urged him to fully accommodate hardliners in return for electoral victories for both his brother and himself", Bardach's book says.

For their help, many hardline Cuban-Americans have received plum jobs in the current administration: Mel Martinez, the Orlando Republican who arranged for the shipwrecked Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, to visit Disney World, was made housing secretary, while Otto Reich was awarded a one year recess appointment for the western hemisphere in the state department.

Copyright - The Guardian
Monday December 2, 2002

Where the People Voted Against Fear

25 November 2004 |

by Eduardo Galeano; Inter Press Service; November 18, 2004

A few days before the election of the President of the planet in North America, in South America elections and a plebiscite were held in a little-known, almost secret country called Uruguay. In these elections, for the first time in the country's history, the left won. And in the plebiscite, for the first time in world history, the privatization of water was rejected by popular vote, asserting that water is the right of all people.

* * *

The movement headed by President-elect Tabare Vazquez ended the monopoly of the two traditional parties--the Blanco and the Colorado parties--which governed Uruguay since the creation of the universe.

And after each election you would hear this exclamation: 'I thought that we Blancos won but it turns out we Colorados did"--or the other way around. Out of opportunism, yes, but also because after so many years of ruling together, the two parties had fused into one, disguised as two.

Tired of being cheated, this time the people made use of that little-used instrument, common sense. The people asked, Why do they promise change yet ask us to chose between the same and the same? Why didn't they make any of these changes in the eternity they have been in power?

Never had the abyss between the real country and electioneering rhetoric been so evident. In the real country, badly wounded, where the only growth is in the number of emigrants and beggars, the majority chose to cover their ears to block out the oratory of these Martians competing for the government of Jupiter with highfalutin words imported from the moon.

* * *

About thirty or so years ago, the Broad Front (Frente Amplio) sprouted on these southern plains. 'Brother, don't leave,' the new movement implored. 'There is hope.' But crisis moved faster than hope, and the hemorrhaging of the country's youth accelerated. The dream of a Switzerland of the Americas ended, and the nightmare of violence and poverty began, culminating in a military dictatorship that converted Uruguay into a vast torture chamber.

Afterward, when democracy was restored, the dominant politicians destroyed the little that remained of the system of production and converted Uruguay into a giant bank. And as is often the case when it is assaulted by bankers, the bank went bust and Uruguay found itself emptied of people and filled with debt.

In all these years of disaster after disaster, we lost a multitude. And as if in a bad joke, not content to just force its youth from the country, this sclerotic system also prohibits them from voting-one of a small number of countries that do so. It seems inexplicable, but there is an explanation: Who would these emigrants vote for? The owners of the country suspect the worst, and with good reason.

In the final act of his campaign, the vice presidential candidate for the Colorado Party announced that if the left won the elections, all Uruguayans would have to dress identically, like the Chinese under Mao.

He was one of the many involuntary publicity agents of the victorious left. Not even the most tireless electoral workers did as much for this victory as the tribunes of the homeland who alerted the population to the imminent danger if democracy were to fall to the tyrannical enemies of freedom and the terrorists, kidnappers, and assassins who oppose democracy. Their attacks were extremely efficient: The more they denounced the devils, the more people voted for hell.

Largely thanks to these heralds of the apocalypse, the left won by an absolute majority, without a runoff. The people voted against fear.

* * *

The plebiscite on water was also a victory against fear. Uruguayans were bombarded with extortion, threats, and lies: A vote against privatizing water will condemn you to a future of sewage-filled wells and putrid ponds.

As in the elections, in the plebiscite common sense triumphed. In their vote, the people asserted that water, a scarce and finite natural resource, must be a right of all people and not a privilege for those who can pay for it. The people also showed they know that sooner rather than later, in a thirsty world, the reserves of fresh water will be as, or more, coveted than oil reserves. Countries that are poor but rich in water must learn to defend themselves. More than five centuries have passed since Columbus. How long can we go on trading gold for glass beads?

Wouldn't it be worthwhile for other countries to put the issue of water to a popular vote? In a democracy, a true democracy, who should decide? The World Bank, or the citizens of each country? Do democratic rights exist for real, or are they just the icing on a poisoned cake?

In 1992, Uruguay was the only country in the world to put the privatization of public companies to a popular vote: 72 percent opposed. Wouldn't it be democratic to do the same in every country?

* * *

For centuries, Latin Americans have been trained in impotence. A pedagogy passed down from the colonial times, taught by violent soldiers, timorous teachers, and frail fatalists, has rooted in our souls the belief that reality is untouchable and that all we can do is swallow in silence the woes each day brings.

The Uruguay of other days was the exception. That Uruguay instituted free public education before England, women's suffrage before France, the eight-hour workday before the United States, and divorce before Spain-seventy years before Spain, to be exact.

Now we are trying to revive this creative energy and would do well to recall that the Uruguay of that sunny period was the child of audacity, and not fear.

* * *

It will not be easy. Implacable reality will promptly remind us of the inevitable distance between the desired and the possible. The left is coming to power in a shattered country, which, in the distant past, was at the vanguard of universal progress but today is one of the furthest behind, in debt up to its ears and subjected to the international financial dictatorship, which doesn't vote but simply vetoes.

Today, we have very little maneuvering room. But what is usually difficult, even impossible, can be imagined and even achieved if we join together with neighboring countries, just as we have joined together with our neighbors.

* * *

In the Broad Front's very first demonstration, which flooded the streets with people, someone shouted, half-joyous, half-scared, 'Let's dare to win.'

Thirty or so years later, it came true.

The country is unrecognizable. Uruguayans, so unbelieving that even nihilism was beyond them, have started to believe, and with fervor. And today this melancholic and subdued people, who at first glance might be Argentineans on valium, are dancing on air.

The winners have a tremendous burden of responsibility. This rebirth of faith and revival of happiness must be watched over carefully. We should recall every day how right Carlos Quijano was when he said that sins against hope are the only sins beyond forgiveness and redemption.


Eduardo Galeano

Uruguayan essayist, journalist and historian. Galeano's best-known works include Memoria del fuego (1982-1986, Memory of Fire) and Las venas abiertas de América Latina (1971, The Open Veins of Latin America), which have been translated into some 20 languages. Galeano defies easy categorization as an author. His works transcend orthodox genres, and combine documentary, fiction, journalism, political analysis, and history. The author himself has denied that he is a historian: "I'm a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia."

- The woman and the man dreamed that God was dreaming about them.
--God was singing and clacking his maracas as he dreamed his dream in a tobacco smoke, feeling happy but shaken by doubt& mystery.
--The Makiritare Indians know that if God dreams about eating, he gives fertility and food. If God dreams about life, he is born and gives birth.

(from Genesis, part one of Memory of Fire, 1982)

Eduardo Galeano was born in Montevideo into a middle-class Catholic family of Welsh, German, Spanish and Italian ancestry. He was educated in Uruguay until the age of 16. In adolescence Galeano worked in odd jobs - he was a factory worker, a bill collector, a sign painter, a messenger, a typist, and a bank teller. At the age of 14 Galeano sold his first political cartoon to El Sol, the Socialist Party weekly, and in the 1960s he started his career as a journalist. He was the editor-in-chief of Marcha, an influential weekly journal, which had such contributors as Mario Vargas Llosa, Mario Benedetti, Manuel Maldonado Denis and Roberto Fernández Retamar. For two years he edited the daily Épocha and worked as editor-in-chief of the University Press (1965-1973). As a result of the military coup of 1973, he was imprisoned and then forced to leave Uruguay. In Argentina he founded and edited a cultural magazine, Crisis.

After the military coup of 1976 in Argentina his name was added to the lists of those condemned by the death squads and he moved to Spain. Galeano lived mainly on the Catalan coast and started to write his masterpiece, Memory of Fire. At the beginning of 1985 Galeano returned to Montevideo.

Las venas abiertas de América Latina won a Casa de las Américas Prize in 1970 and was the first book by the author to be translated into English. It is a series of essays in which the central theme is the exploitation of natural resources of Latin America since the arrival of European powers at the end of the 15th century. The well-documented analysis of political and social consequences of economic imperialism is written "in the style of a novel about love or about pirates", as the author himself describes his book.

Memoria del fuego is a story of America, North and South, in which the characters are real historical figures, generals, artists, revolutionaries, workers, conquerors and the conquered. It starts with pre-Columbian creation myths and ends in the 1980s. The text of the trilogy consists of short chapters, episodes which portray the colonial history of the continent. "Each fragment of this huge mosaic is based on a solid documentary foundation. What is told here has happened, although I tell it in my style & manner," Galeano wrote about his work. He also often used non-literary sources, songs, letters, newspaper advertisements, oral tradition. Fragmentary Memoria del fuego turns its back on pseudo-objective history - it is subjective, the prose is poetic and the author's own vision comes clearly through the elaborate web of historical scenes and facts. Among the central characters of the last part, Century of the Wind, is Miguel Marmol, a revolutionary labor organizer, who survives tortures and escapes execution. eescapes execution.

- ...They are not giving him rum to drink or the water of life brought from Malaga, because nothing is left but to wait for the convulsion that will tear him from the world.
--...Madrid is full of potholes and garbage and armed vagabonds; and the soldiers, who keep alive on the thin soup of monasteries, do not put themselves out to defend the king.
--...Charles II, his bulging eyes red, trembles & raves. He is a small piece of yellow flesh that runs out beneath the sheets as the century also runs out, & so ends the dynasty that conquered America.

(from Genesis, part one of Memory of Fire, 1982)

Memoria del fuego was widely praised by reviewers. The structure of the book was considered as fascinating as the history it related, and Galeano was compared to John Dos Passos and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ronald Wright wrote in the Times Literary Supplement: "Great writers... dissolve old genres and found new ones. This trilogy by one of South America's most daring and accomplished authors is impossible to classify."

"Reality speaks a language of symbols. Each part is a metaphor of the whole."
(from An Uncertain Grace, 1990)

In his childhood Galeano had dreamed of becoming a soccer player, as do many Latin American young boys. In Soccer in Sun and Shadow (1995) the author covers the history of soccer and gives highlights of the best games and goals throughout history. Galeano compares soccer with a theater performance and with war; he criticizes its unholy alliance with global corporations but attacks leftist intellectuals who reject the game and its attraction to the broad masses because of ideological reasons. Galeano's other major work includes We Say No (1989), a collection of essays, autobiographical El libro de los abrazos (1989, The Book of Embraces), and Las palabras andantes (1993, Walking Words). It combines urban and rural oral tradition and insights into Latin-American reality with illustrations typical of the popular literatura de cordel. Galeano has received several awards, among them Premio Casa de las Américas (1975) and the American Book Award (1989). Galeano has been married three times - in 1959 to Silvia Brando, in 1962 to Graciela Berro and in 1976 to Helena Villagra.

"From the standpoint of the great communications media that uncommunicate humanity, the Third World is peopled by third-class inhabitants distinguishable from animals only by their ability to walk on two legs. Theirs are problems of nature not of history: hunger, pestilence, violence are in the natural order of things." (from An Uncertain Grace)
For further reading: Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature, ed. by Verity Smith ( 1997); World Authors 1985-1990, ed. by Vineta Colby (1995); Silencio, voz y escritura en Eduardo Galeano by Diana Palaversich (1995); El vendedor de reliquias by Mauricio Rosencof (1992); 'Hope Springs Eternal' by Gerald Martin (1992, in History Journal Workshop 34); Spanish American Authors, ed. by A Flores (1991); Literary Exile in the Twentieth Century, ed. by M. Tucker (1991); Latin America: the Writer's Journey by Greg Price (1990) - Links: Eduardo Galeano; Los Mejores Textos; Eduardo Galeano en el Web - SPECIAL THANKS to Rasunah Marsden who gave the idea for this page, helped with its material, and selected quotations from Memory of Fire: Genesis.

Selected works:

  • Los días siguientes, 1963
  • China, 1964, 1964
  • Guatemala, 1967 - Guatemala: Occcupied Country
  • Reportajes, 1967
  • Los fantasmas del día del léon, y otros relatos, 1967
  • Su majestad el fútbol, 1968
  • Las venas abiertas de América Latina, 1971 - The Open Veins of Latin America
  • Siete imágenes de Bolivia, 1971
  • Violencía y enajenación, 1971
  • Crónicas latinoamericanas, 1972
  • Vagamundo, 1973
  • La cancion de nosotros, 1975
  • Conversaciones con Raimón, 1977
  • Días y noches de amor y de guerra, 1978 - Days and Nights of Love and War
  • La piedra arde, 1980
  • Voces de nuestro tiempo, 1981
  • Memoria del fuego, 1982-86. 1. Los nacimientos, 1982 - Genesis - Tuulen muistot: Vanha ja uusi maailma; 2. Las caras y las máscaras, 1984 - Faces and Masks - Tuulen muistot: Kasvot ja naamiot - 3. El siglo del viento, 1986 - Century of the Wind - Tuulen muistot: Tuulen vuosisata
  • Aventuras de los jóvenes dioses, 1984
  • Ventana sobre Sandino, 1985
  • Contraseña, 1985
  • El descubrimiento de América que todavía no fue y otros escritos, 1986
  • El tigre azul y otros artículos, 1988
  • Entrevistas y artículos (1962-1987), 1988
  • El libro de los abrazos, 1989 - The Book of Embraces
  • Nostros decimos no, 1989 - We Say No
  • América Latina para entenderte mejor, 1990
  • Palabras: antología personal, 1990
  • An Uncertain Grace: Essays by Eduardo Galeano and Fred Ritchin, photographs by Sebastiao Salgado, 1990
  • Ser como ellos y otros artículos, 1992
  • Amares, 1993
  • Las palabas andantes, 1993 -Walking Words
  • Úselo y tírelo, 1994
  • El fútbol a sol y sombra, 1995 - Soccer in Sun and Shadow - Jalkapallo valossa ja varjossa
  • I Am Rich Potosi: The Mountain That Eats Men, photographs by Stephen Ferry, 1999
  • Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World, 2000 (trans. Mark Fried)


24 November 2004 |

Fawlty Towers, Torquay, Devon, England

To the citizens of the United States of America

In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the United
States and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the
revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties
over all states, commonwealths and other territories except Utah, which she
does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for
the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world
outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need
for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A
questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following
rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then
look up "aluminium". Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at
just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be
reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter
'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn
to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. You will end your
love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the
suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise". You will learn that the
suffix 'burgh is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to
respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct
pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable
levels. Look up "vocabulary". Using the same twenty seven words
interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an
unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up
"interspersed". There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer
show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you
shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then
you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know on
your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account
of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize".

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It
really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney,
upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to
learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as
"Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're talking
about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in
England. The name of the county is "Devon". If you persist in calling it
Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire,
Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the
good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play
English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red
Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American
audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen",
but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get
confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one kind of
football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good
game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your
borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You
will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper
football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is
a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to
play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve
stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body
armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby
sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not
reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is
not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that
there is a world beyond your borders, your error is
understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls'
game called "rounders" which is baseball without fancy team strip,
oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer
be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a
vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to
handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish
to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new
national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day".

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your
own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we
mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will
start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you
will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion
tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British
sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries
are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though
97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are
not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling
potato chips are properly called "crisps". Real chips are thick cut and
fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which
should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more
aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all
tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be
doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually
beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter
will be referred to as "beer", and European brews of known and accepted

provenance will be referred to as "Lager". The substances formerly known
as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's
Urine", with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser
company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's
Urine". This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000
years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline" as you
will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the
former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA
and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US
gallon - get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers
or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows
that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be
handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without
suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough
to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to
ensure the orderly acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Church air is 'threat to health'

21 November 2004 |

BBC reports that church air is a "threat to health"

I have always believed the smoke and fumes - would never invoke any divine interventions...

If candle smoke can cause cancer - what about this man in a church??

Is he really praying? I doubt it.

Anyway, read on.

Air inside churches may be a bigger health risk than that beside major roads, research suggests.

Church air was found to be considerably higher in carcinogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons than air beside roads travelled by 45,000 vehicles daily.

It also had levels of tiny solid pollutants (PM10s) up to 20 times the European limits.

The study, by Holland's Maastricht University, is published in the European Respiratory Journal.

The researchers say that December, with churches lighting up candles for Christmas, could be an especially dangerous month for the lungs.

It is now believed that respiratory health is increasingly at risk from so-called "indoor pollution" in the home, workplace and other enclosed spaces.

The Dutch team set out to examine the air quality in churches, as they are often poorly ventilated, with candles burning all day, and frequent use of incense. Both could, in principle, be expected to have some harmful effects.

The researchers analysed the particulate matter concentration found in the air of a small chapel and a large basilica in Maastricht following lengthy use of candles or a simulated service in which incense was burned.

Fine particulate matter is a major ingredient in air pollution. Consisting of solid particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less, it contains different types of toxic chemicals, including soot, metals and various carcinogenic molecules.

The particles can penetrate very deep into the lungs and trigger various lung and heart conditions.

The researchers found that, after nine hours of candle-burning, the church air had PM10 levels of 600 to 1000 micrograms per cubic metre - more than four times higher than before the start of the first morning mass.

This represents 12 to 20 times the European allowed average concentration over 24 hours.

The study also found very high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, also known to be carcinogenic.

It also uncovered various types of free radicals, including some previously undocumented ones.

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that damage lung tissue and can trigger or exacerbate inflammatory reactions, including those connected with major respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.

The researchers say priests and people working for long periods in churches are at greater risk than ordinary worshippers.

However, worshippers devout enough to spend several hours each day in church could also be affected.

Researcher Dr Theo de Kok said: "While we still have to assess more precisely what level of risk these people are running and how toxic the newly identified free radicals are, this discovery is very worrying."

A spokesman for the Church of England said that during candle and incense-burning ceremonies the doors of churches were often open, with people coming in and out.

He said many factors would govern pollution levels, such as the height of the church, and whether the high level windows were open.

He also took issue with the idea that churches were poorly ventilated - pointing out that many are notorious for being draughty.

However, he added: "This study certainly bears further investigation, and we will keep a watching brief."

Dr Richard Russell of the British Thoracic Society, said: "Particle pollution, whether it be in an outdoor or indoor environment, can be a danger to lung health and cause respiratory diseases such as emphesyma and bronchitis.

"More research needs to be done in this area but we would also recommend that churches look at ways to reduce indoor air pollution such as improving ventilation."

RealVoice: Update

20 November 2004 |

Join Real Voice Yahoo Group

To receive the updates in your email.

-- Sans

Tolerating a No Fault Government

19 November 2004 |

If Only Voters Were as Diligent as Sports Fans


Whenever I hear sports fans on talk radio or personally chat with people about sports both Spectator and participatory games the depth and breadth of the conversations are not surprising. As a teenager fan, I knew the batting averages of half the players in the American League. It is the American way.

This mental diligence does not carry over, by and large, into their role as voters. Compare the differences.

1. Sports fans do their homework. They know the statistics of the players and teams are deeply involved in analyzing strategies and tactics on the playing filed. To them the game is a study not a hunch or knee jerk reaction. The looks, smiles, big salaries and rhetoric of the players mean nothing unless they are based on performance. Fans also look forward, thinking about foreseeing and forestalling their opposing team's adjustments and responses.

The same cannot be said about most voters. Half of them do not even know the name of their member of Congress. Half of them do not even come to the game on Election Day to register their opinion.

2. Fans hold the hierarchy responsible from the players to referees (umpires), to the coaches, managers and owners.

Voters, on the other hand, have allowed top down forms of no-fault government. This is true even when votes are not properly counted or elections are stolen. Presidents, Governors and Senators, Representatives are rarely held accountable for their most series boondoggles, failures or wrongheaded policies. Smiles and rhetoric go a long way on the likeability index in contrast to studying their actual voting records. Voting records recede into the dark mists while the propaganda materials of the politicians shine in the bright lights.

3. Fans analyze reasons for defeat or victory not just on what happened in the ninth inning or in the last two minutes of the final quarter. They understand that the seeds of winning or losing are planted throughout the game.

Voters just look at the final voting count at the end of Election Day. As a result, they miss the dynamics before elections to understand what were the influential factors. Focusing on the latter had led some scholars to conclude that Al Gore cost me more votes than I cost Al Gore in the 2000 election.

4. Fans evaluate the dual performance of the teams offensive and defensive. They know that both who made it happen and who let it happen are keys to grasping the game. They know when a team beats itself.

:Voters almost always focus on which Party or elected officials proposed a policy or a nomination. Rarely do they criticize their favorite Party for not stopping bad bills or judicial nominees.

5. Fans understand that chronically losing teams need different players and managers. Beyond just booing loudly at their home team, they have many specific ideas about replacements and which positions need fresh talent.

Voters, many of whom are on automatic because they are hereditary Republicans or hereditary Democrats, seem resigned to the same field year after year. After ten years of losses to the Republicans at the local, state and federal level, Democratic voters still meekly go to the polls sensing they are voting for the least worst choices. Instead of asking "why not the best?" voters too often appear resigned, not demanding a new game plan, new players and managers.

6. Sports fans complain loudly, and engage in robust arguments with opposing fans. They have a long memory. I know because my small Connecticut home town was split down the middle Red Sox fans on one side and Yankee fans on the other. The Red Sox fans never let us forget that their team gave the Yankees their best early players, including Babe Ruth.

Except for one or two fervent issues, voters tend to give politicians a free ride about dozens of other positions that may affect them adversely in their daily lives and dreams of a better future for their children. Single-issue voters are easily captured by politicians who support them on that issue and are allowed to escape accountability for dozens of other subjects.

7. Fans are never satisfied­observe Yankee fans for example­but voters settle for very little and let their expectation levels run down year by year. Their cynicism makes them say that they're not turned onto politics which is why politics has been turning onto them very disagreeably. And the golden rule of this brand of politics becomes "he who has the gold rules."

One thing is for certain. If fans were as serious about politics as they are about sports they, as taxpayers, would not be paying for stadiums and arenas that should be paid for by private capitalists and the wealthy owners of professional sports teams.

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp warned Asian governments on Thursday they could face patent lawsuits for using the Linux operating system instead of its Windows software.

The growing popularity of Linux -- an open-code software that is freely available on the Internet and easily modified by users -- is a threat to the global dominance of Microsoft's Windows.

Linux violates more than 228 patents, according to a recent report from a research group, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said at the company's Asian Government Leaders Forum in Singapore.

"Someday, for all countries that are entering the WTO (World Trade Organization), somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property," he added.

The Open Source Risk Management Group said earlier this year that potential intellectual property claims against Linux could expose users to unexpected claims that might result in lawsuits.

Software developer SCO Group Inc. , which claims that Linux is based on its Unix software, is suing companies including International Business Machines Corp.

Singapore's Ministry of Defense last month switched 20,000 personal computers to run on open-source software instead of the Microsoft operating platform.

Other governments in the region are also looking to use more open-source software. China, Japan and South Korea this year agreed to jointly develop applications running on Linux.

At a conference in Milan later on Thursday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates avoided a direct answer when asked whether he was worried about competition from Linux.

"In the market where Microsoft is, there's a lot of competition," he said. "We compete with Unix and we're doing very well because the Windows (market) share has increased every year. It's out there; it's something we compete against."

The Chinese government, in particular, sees its reliance on Microsoft as a potential threat. Conspiracy buffs believe certain patches in the Windows code might give U.S. authorities the power to access Chinese networks and disable them, possibly during a war over Taiwan.

Ballmer said the security fears some governments had about using Microsoft software were overblown.

"We think our software is far more secure than open-source software. It is more secure because we stand behind it, we fixed it, because we built it. Nobody ever knows who built open-source software," he added.

Register Your Complaint with FCC - now!

18 November 2004 |

An Official Presidential Smooch! [White House Approved!]

File your complaint with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for profanity!!


Bookmark this link:

Is Bush a racist? Spellings got a smooch; Ms Rice must have been devastated with this peck on the cheek!

DARFUR: The new killing fields

15 November 2004 |

Panorama: The new killing fields

BBC One, Sunday, 14 November 2004 at 22:15 GMT
Panorama asks whether the first genocide of the 21st century is occurring in Darfur.

Travelling behind the rebel lines to areas where no television team has previously reached, the programme uncovers evidence of systematic killings on a horrifying scale.

Hilary Andersson - who for much of this year has been reporting from Darfur - goes on the trail of the killers to find out who the Janjaweed are.

She also investigates where their orders are coming from and confronts the tribal head who is number on the US State Department's list of suspected Janjaweed leaders.

Production team:
Reporter: Hilary Andersson
Producer: Darren Kemp
Editor: Mike Robinson
Deputy Editors: Andrew Bell, Frank Simmonds

'They raped me, one after the other'

Panorama travelled across the Darfur region and heard stories of atrocities being committed by Arab militia soldiers against black Africans.

One of the worst cases came when the team reached the mountains of Jebil Mara, where some areas here have been cut off from the outside world for years.

It is in places like this that the killings have yet to be documented.

When the Panorama team arrived at one village - hundreds of women had gathered. Everyone wanted to talk about the ordeals they had been through.

Dozens of women from the African Fur tribe told of seeing their children being killed in attacks by the Janjaweed.

He (Janjaweed attacker) grabbed my son from me and threw him into a fire --Kalima

One said: "(I've lost) two girls and one boy, in the school." Another added: "(I lost) a boy, in the house."

Everywhere that Panorama went, there was a similar story.

In the village of Kidinyir, the women went into more detail about the abuses that they allege were carried out by the Arab tribesmen known as Janjaweed.

One woman called Hawa told the programme: "Five of them surrounded me I couldn't move I was paralysed. They raped me, one after the other."

Another woman, called Kalima, spoke of the brutality used in the attacks.

She said: "My son was clinging to my dress. An Arab looking man, in a uniform with military insignia, stopped his car next to me. He grabbed my son from me and threw him into a fire."

A third villager Hikma, claimed the Janjaweed hurled racist insults as they carried out their attacks.

She said: "They were saying 'the blacks are slaves, the blacks are stupid catch them alive, catch them alive, take them away with you, tie them up'.

"They were terrorising our civilians. They would say 'kill them'".

When Panorama travelled to the crowded refugee camps the story was also one of extreme suffering.

At Mornei in Chad, a woman called Juma told the BBC that she had walked for miles with her 10-month-old daughter Nadia to reach the camp.

She said: "The Arabs attacked our village in the early morning. They opened fire. Women and children escaped here. They burnt the village. Everything was burnt. They killed young children. My brother was shot whilst he was trying to escape."

Both Juma and Nadia were painfully thin when they were interviewed in June, their food rations had run out 20 days previously.

The situation was made worse in the camps because Sudan's government had blocked much foreign aid with bureaucracy.

And when cameramen returned to the camp in July - Nadia had died.

They started beating us. We tried to resist and defend ourselves but we failed because they threatened us with knives --Khatra

In another camp in Kebkabiya, the refugees who had fled there still felt in serious danger.

One woman called Khatra told the programme the camp was like "a prison" as the women were frightened to step over the boundaries and into Janjaweed controlled territory.

However, she felt she had no choice but to leave the camp to collect much needed firewood.

Khatra said her worst fears were realised just four days before the Panorama team arrived in the camp, when she was attacked and raped by the Janjaweed.

She told the programme: "We went to get the firewood at eight o'clock in the morning. Suddenly we were confronted by the attackers.

"They started asking us: 'Where are you going, fur women?', and calling us donkeys. 'Where are the rebels?'

"They started beating us. We tried to resist and defend ourselves but we failed because they threatened us with knives. Four of them raped me."

Panorama: The new killing fields will be broadcast at 2215 GMT on Sunday, November 14 on BBC One


The Janjaweed tactics 14 Nov 04 Panorama

Frustration of Darfur 'observer' 14 Nov 04 Panorama

'They raped me, one after the other' 12 Nov 04 Panorama

Sudan: charities and information 12 Nov 04 Panorama

Janjaweed 'leader' denies genocide 14 Nov 04 Panorama

Saving First Amendment as well as 'Ryan'

14 November 2004 |

HOW did a patriotic movie about young men giving their lives for their country turn into such a hot-button issue?

On Veteran's Day, ABC decided to continue its tradition of showing the unedited version of Steven Spielberg's passionate plaudit, "Saving Private Ryan."

While ABC-owned stations, including KGO-Channel 7 in San Francisco, aired the World War II movie, 66 ABC affiliate stations owned by a variety of companies, including Cox Television (which also owns KTVU-Channel 2, the Bay Area's Fox affiliate station), did not -- out of fear.

Stations located in Atlanta, Dallas, Honolulu, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Portland, Maine, decided not to air the movie because they might get fined for the movie's profanity.

"Ryan" tells the story of a group of Army soldiers on a mission to find and bring home a soldier whose three brothers are killed in action. It was inspired by the real story of the five Sullivan brothers of Iowa who perished when their ship went down during the war.

The film, a brutal look at war, has language reflecting that reality. Parental warnings are rampant. Spielberg sold the rights to air the film with the clause that it cannot be edited.

Who would have thought that in the heartland of Red States, this of all films would result in ABC affiliates deciding to break rank by refusing to broadcast the Oscar-winning picture?

Saying they were afraid of the current climate of intolerance for profanity on the airwaves by the President and Congress -- should we invoke the name of Joe McCarthy here? -- the affiliates told reporters across the country that they feared severe fines from the Federal Communications Commission.

The Founding Fathers felt freedom of speech was important enough to make it the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Apparently, that's not enough for broadcast stations to risk saving "Private Ryan."

I've always thought it odd that those who are the most fervent flag-wavers are the first to shut down the most basic tenet of our Constitution.

Again, keep in mind that this film already has aired twice on the broadcast network with nary a whimper. (Well, one complaint was filed with the FCC for language when it first aired in 2001, but the complaint was found to be groundless.)

Of course, that was before Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl halftime, which resulted in each CBS station being fined $550,000.

Stations can be fined and their licenses revoked by the FCC for fouling the public airwaves. ABC offered to cover any fines the FCC might levy, but those affiliates who chose not to air the film told reporters they aren't taking any chances in the current political atmosphere.

Even a supportive statement from L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council watchdog group, which fired up the FCC about Jackson's mammary slip, wasn't enough to make the station owners change their minds.

"Context is everything," argued Bozell, who generally is on the sending end of FCC complaints. "We agreed with the FCC on its ruling that the airing of 'Schindler's List' on television was not indecent and we feel that 'Saving Private Ryan' is in the same category. In both films, the content is not meant to shock, nor is it gratuitous. We applaud ABC for letting viewers know ahead of time about the graphic nature of the film and that the film would be uncut.

"We will not be filing an indecency complaint with the FCC over the airing of this film, particularly because it has aired on television in the past."

So when you and most of the country are watching ABC's phenomenally successful, saucy adult drama "Desperate Housewives," it's being preempted tonight in the Bay Area -- keep in mind that this "Sex and the Suburbs" sort of show is next on TV watchdogs' hit list. At least one conservative group has been getting advertisers to drop out because of the salacious scripts.

Can the Witch Trials be far behind?

Investigating the Bay Area

Retired "60 Minutes" uber producer Don Hewitt always had an idea that the formula for the investigative news magazine could be transplanted locally.

Tonight, we'll get to peek at the shortened prototype, aptly named "30 Bay Area Minutes" at 6:30 on CBS-Channel 5. Hewitt, a consultant on the show, has transplanted familiar elements of the show, from the ticking stopwatch to the introductory billboards.

Instead of Andy Rooney, we get the Sugermans. KPIX reporter Mike Sugerman and his wife Janice do a little he-said, she-said on clothes shopping, which is cute.

The best report, however, may seem like deja vu to KPIX viewers. On Thursday's 11 p.m. newscast, a special report explained the Isologen technique, or tissue engineering, which lets the body rebuild itself.

Essentially the same report airs on "30 Minutes" tonight. The piece features Santa Rosa plastic surgeon Dr. Greg Chernoff, who used the technique on a badly burned woman with wonderful success.

Oh, and you can also get rid of your wrinkles.

The first segment is about Ford Motor Company's feckless venture into alternative fuel cars. Its program with the city of San Francisco and, in particular, the electric Think cars, failed according to this report because Ford couldn't get enough people on board to make it profitable.

The weakest segment centers on former 49ers Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Harris Barton and their company, HRJ Capital. We're told it's one of the fastest growing investment companies in Silicon Valley. The company raises money and invests in start-ups, real estate and leveraged buyouts.

The reporter on the 49ers story, Joan Ryan, deserves her solid reputation as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. But for her performance in this TV story, well, there's a reason why most of us write for newspapers instead of appearing on-air. Her voice is weak and reedy, and there's no on-screen charisma, which this story sorely needed.

A movie of destruction

And finally, file this under We Watch TV So You Don't Have To.

Instead of watching the four-hour catastrophe "Category 6: Day of Destruction" at 9 tonight and concluding at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS-Channel 5, you'd be better entertained standing in grocery store rush hour.

Or, you could throw caution to the wind and watch this natural disaster about three enormous weather systems that ultimately collide over Chicago. As if that wasn't enough, evil corporate types have taken short-cuts, so the power grid goes down at the hands of a hacker.

Of course, there's always the silly factor. Like, the ranting reporter trying to put out the real story. The city energy honcho cheating on his wife with a corporate spokeswoman/bimbo. And we haven't even gotten to the boyfriend holding up a bank because his girlfriend broke up with him.

Global Eye: Game Boy


By Chris Floyd
Published: November 12, 2004

We said it here over and over, going back to 2003: If the U.S. presidential election was close enough to be gamed, it damn sure would be gamed. And the chunks of evidence now rolling in -- like so many cracked shells of fact in a high tide of pompous drivel -- increasingly indicate that millions of votes were indeed monkeyed with on the way to amassing George W. Bush's teeny-tiny one percent majority last week.

It seems we were all a bit too quick to concede the reality of Li'l Pretzel's "mandate." For example, in county after county, state after state, unprecedented discrepancies between the exit polls and the final result turned up -- in areas that used electronic voting, that is, usually without a recountable paper trail. In almost every such case, exit poll leads for John Kerry -- sometimes very substantial leads, beyond the realm of statistical error -- were converted in the end to narrow victories for Bush. Yet strangely enough, in those areas that relied on paper ballots -- utterly tangible records of voter intent -- the exit polls and final counts were in virtual lockstep. Of course, for decades exit polls have been phenomenonally successful in gauging the actual electoral outcome -- until the advent of national elections involving Bush and his political puppeteer, Karl Rove.

There was also the wild imbalance between party identification in voter registration and the actual vote in key counties across the nation, particularly in Florida. In the latter, counties where Democrats comprise more than 70 percent of the voters suddenly showed Bush winning 50, 60, even 70 percent of the total. In Calhoun County, for example, an 82 percent Democratic registration somehow morphed into a 63 percent Bush vote. To be sure, an incumbent in wartime, running on a campaign of wild fearmongering and deliberately stoked (or is it stroked?) sexual panic might peel away a few of the other party's voters. Yet every single measure of the electorate this year showed that partisanship was extraordinarily high and remarkably solid: Only a sliver of party-identified voters crossed the line to vote for the other side. So where did they come from, these astounding registration reversals that produced, in discrete packets here and there, hundreds of thousands of extra Bush votes that no one had expected?

We've often spoken here of the fact that more than one-third of all American votes were counted this year on machines owned, programmed, installed -- and in some cases even inspected -- by private companies whose bosses are major Bush financial donors and campaign officials. Some of the main players in the virtual-vote game were originally bankrolled by a single Bushist tycoon, Howard Ahmanson, who spent decades pushing "Christian Reconstructionism" -- i.e., complete theocratic rule of society and government by Christian mullahs who advocate, among other delights, death by stoning for homosexuals. Studies by leading scientists at Stanford, Johns Hopkins and other bastions of the "reality-based community" showed that these corporate e-vote systems are eminently -- even laughably -- hackable, either from the inside, by the Bushist companies themselves, or from the outside, by, say, "information warfare" specialists at the CIA or Pentagon, as investigative journalist Robert Parry notes. Nor would this hackery require placing gremlins in the thousands of voting machines operated by the Bushist firms; the final tabulations are actually made by a handful of central computers drawing together totals from outlying precincts, as analyst Thom Hartmann reports. Thus one little aptly placed "worm" could poison the well of an entire state.

Meanwhile, legions of phantom voters stalked polling booths across the land. In one key Ohio county alone -- carried by Bush -- the number of votes cast outstripped the number of actual registered voters by 93,000 -- a pattern repeated in numerous e-voting precincts. Yet another Ohio county sealed its vote count from public scrutiny after Bush's Homeland Security commissars told terrified local officials that their suburban area had suddenly become a terrorist target of "the highest order," MSNBC reports.

Bush's limp mandate was also engorged with a double dose of electoral Viagra: voter purges and voter suppression. As intrepid investigator Greg Palast notes, key states controlled by Bushist officials conducted mass purges of qualified voters from the rolls, utilizing an array of arcane laws, obscure regulations and -- as in Florida 2000 -- race-specific lists of supposed convicted felons, drawn up by private corporations using deliberately vague criteria that guaranteed false "matches" with legitimate voters, disenfranchising thousands of people -- the majority of them law-abiding African-Americans. Meanwhile, an unprecedented voter suppression operation flooded low-income areas with bogus "official" letters and phone calls warning the poor they could be imprisoned for voting if they had unpaid bills or outstanding debts.

Even when these targeted minorities were able to get to the polls, they had to run a gauntlet of antiquated machinery that produced a massive amount of "spoiled" votes by mangling ballots, leaving those infamous chads unpunched and otherwise failing to register the voter's choice. Official U.S. government studies confirm that the majority of this "spoilage" does indeed occur in minority precincts; in 2000, for example, more than 1 million African-American votes were simply thrown in the trash. With this year's higher turnout straining the thin resources of such precincts, experts say the spoilage rate will be even higher.

Of course, given Bush's strong support among the vast Deluded-American community, he might have won the election anyway, even without all this criminal katzenjammer. But now we'll never know. His "mandate" -- miniscule as it is -- will be forever tainted by doubt, smeared with the vicious sleaze and contempt for democracy that has marked every aspect of his malevolent reign.


GOP Doing All It Can to Keep Minorities from Voting
Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 2, 2004

Evidence of a Second Bush Coup?
Consortiumnews, Nov. 6, 2004

An Election Spoiled Rotten
Greg, Nov. 1, 2004

Democracy Spoiled
Harvard University Civil Rights Project, July 12, 2002

Bush's Incredible Vote Tallies
Consortiumnews, Nov. 9, 2004

Worse than 2000: Tuesday's Electoral Disaster, Nov. 11, 2004

The Ultimate Felony Against Democracy
CommonDreams, Nov. 4, 2004

Electronic Voting Angst
MSNBC, Nov. 7, 2004

Exit Poll Variance
Scoop, Nov. 4, 2004

Evidence Mounts That Election May Have Been Hacked
CommonDreams, Nov. 11, 2004

Congressmen Call for Vote Inquiry
U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Nov. 8, 2004

Vanishing Act: Disappearing the Republic at the Touch of a Button
CounterPunch, Sept. 26, 2003

Broward County (Fla.) Machines Count Backwards
Palm Beach Post, Nov. 5, 2004

Surprising Pattern of Florida's Election Results
US Together, Nov. 3, 2004

Kerry Won, Nov. 4, 2004

Voter Suppression: It Can't Happen to Me
Liberal Slant, Oct. 21, 2003

The Ohio Code
Eschaton, Nov. 9, 2004

Warren County (Ohio) Vote Tally Walled Off
Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 5, 2004

How a Private Company Counts Our Votes
American Free Press, Nov. 4, 2004

Could The Associated Press Rig an Election?
Ecotalk, Oct. 22, 2004

E-Voting: How it Can Put the Wrong Candidate in Office
Common Dreams, Sept. 3, 2003

The Theft of Your Vote is Just a Chip Away
Thom Hartmann, July 31, 2003

Mishaps Run Deeper Than New Machines
San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 7, 2004

Diebold's Political Machine
Mother Jones, March 3, 2004

Slavery Under God's Laws
Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators, Institute for Christian Economics, 1981,

Stoning: Integral to Commandment Against Murder
The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandment, Institute for Christian Economics, 1986,

World Conquest: The Obligation of Christian Politics
The Changing of the Guard, Dominion Press, 1987

An Anthology of Reconstructist Thought
Christian Reconstructionism, November 2002

Judicial Warfare: Christian Reconstructionism and its Blueprint for Dominion
Crown Rights Press, 2003