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Showing posts from March, 2005

Body Double

By Chris Floyd
March 25, 2005

Far from the hurly-burly in Florida, where the Bush brothers and their shameless minions have sought to milk maximum "political capital" from the ravaged body of a brain-dead woman, the true moral values of these gilded hypocrites were on stark display last week in a quiet corner of the Bushes' adopted homeland: Texas.

This week, U.S. President George W. Bush melodramatically cut short one of his innumerable vacations and flew back to Washington to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo when a Florida court granted her husband's request to cut off her life support after she had spent 15 years in a vegetative state. But days before, even as the president was supporting his brother, Florida governor Jeb Bush, and congressional Republicans in "defending the culture of life" in the Schiavo case, doctors in Houston were pulling the breathing tube from the throat of an ailing infant. The boy suffocated within seconds, legally killed -- …

The poodle and the Wolf

If he's serious about Africa, Blair must oppose Bush's World Banker

Noreena Hertz
Saturday March 19, 2005
The Guardian

This is the year Africa will be saved, and we're going to do it - that, more or less, was the prime minister's message at the launch last week of the report of the Commission for Africa. But not with Paul Wolfowitz in charge of at the World Bank, we won't. Key recommendations - for example, that corrupt dictators' cash in foreign bank accounts should be repatriated, and that forcing policies such as privatisation on countries in exchange for debt relief and aid needs to be rethought - are highly unlikely to be endorsed by Wolfowitz. This, after all, is a man who, while US ambassador to Indonesia, was scarcely a vocal critic of the blatantly corrupt Suharto regime; a man who embodies the mindset that compels other countries to adopt a particular set of values and policies, whether they are right or not. Wolfowitz is har…

Portrait - Mikhail Gorbachev

Out in the cold

They don't like Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia, but on the world stage he is still a hero. Twenty years after perestroika, Sophie Arie finds its architect troubled by America's plans for the Arab world and standing up for Vladimir Putin

'Good evening", I say, feeling as if I'm standing in front of a bull. Mikhail Gorbachev, the 74-year-old hero of 20th-century politics, is running late. For a moment he gives only a formidable, expressionless stare. Then it breaks into a broad smile, and he charges straight into me. Amid a flow of Russian I find myself being hugged by Gorbachev and I grab on to his tum as he practically carries me down the corridor.

Things aren't exactly going to plan. But somehow, after some negotiation through interpreters and his bodyguard, he is convinced to turn back.

Gorbachev only got to bed at 3am after his flight to Rome as a guest of honour at the World Political Forum was delayed. All day he has been the belle of the ball at…

The last of the utopian projects

Perestroika plunged Russia into social ruin - and the world into an unprecedented superpower bid for global domination

Eric Hobsbawm
Wednesday March 9, 2005

I have a lasting admiration for Mikhail Gorbachev. It is an admiration shared by all who know that, but for his initiatives, the world might still be living under the shadow of the catastrophe of a nuclear war - and that the transition from the communist to the post-communist era in eastern Europe, and in most non-Caucasian parts of the former USSR, has proceeded without significant bloodshed. His place in history is secure.


But did perestroika bring about a second Russian revolution? No. It brought the collapse of the system built on the 1917 revolution, followed by a period of social, economic and cultural ruin, from which the peoples of Russia have by no means yet fully emerged. Recovery from this catastrophe is already taking much longer than it took Russia to recover from the world wars.

Whatever will emerge from this era…

Remembering Cait Collins

I was in tears today - and I wept like a little kid. Caity will always remain to be a special person to me.

Way back in 1999 November, I met Caity in VP (excite poetry cafe), she used to be a regular there as MS_allthat.

Caity also was the Editor of - an ezine which was filled with Cait's energy.

When I was struggling with my life as a Travel Consultant - Caity taught me the basic HTML stuff - and how to build websites. She urged me to take up writing as a career. Whatever a writer or a journalist I am today - it is all because of what Caity saw in me. I'll never let her down.

Cait always had very kind and inspiring words for me. She used to tell me, "kid, get a raft, and row away to freedom." That was Caity - one who really believed in being positive.

Towards the end of 2004, Caity got in touch with Aunt Kath (in Australia) and conveyed the message that she wants to get in touch with me.

I was so moved.

Caity always asked me about Tanya and her t…

Left, Right, & Wrong

What’s missing from the debate over values in America

By Garret Keizer

SOME TIME AFTER ELECTION DAY and the equivocal Thanksgiving that follows, I receive a call from a woman in my community, the kind of troubled, searching- for-some-answer call I used to get when I worked as a minister, though I am not doing that work now, and the woman never came to my church when I was.

The woman is not dismayed over Blue States and Red States. The woman is dismayed that yet another local kid has died in an alcohol-related car crash. By my count, this makes five in seven years, an alarmingly high number for one rural county in northeastern Vermont. The woman is dismayed by people who want the surviving driver, a young single mother who’s “come a long way” since the accident, to serve a stiffer jail sentence than the one she received. The woman is also dismayed by neighbors who neither know nor seem to care about what their children do on the weekends. Finally, she is dismayed because this annual bloo…

The Road to Riches

What's it like to be a New Russian? According to the first book by "one of them," it's all about contract killings, cheating husbands and dyed poodles.

By Anna Malpas

If one husband gets mown down by a contract killer, and the next runs off with a blonde, what's a girl to do? For socialite and entrepreneur Oksana Robski, the answer was to write a novel about life and death on Moscow's elite Rublyovskoye Shosse.

The book's chic white cover promises the "first novel written by 'one of them,'" and Robski, a resident of the Moscow region's most prestigious residential area, says that her novel "Casual" is based on personal experience. "I put in some authorial embellishments, and of course there were some things I didn't mention. But it's autobiographical," she said, sipping juice at a pizzeria last Friday.

The buzz around "Casual" started before the novel came out last month. Sergei Chliyants, producer o…

Global Eye - March 4, 2005

What on God's earth could possibly constitute a bona fide "legislative" use of the "vibrators, dildos, anal beads" and other stimulators covered by the Alabama law?

By Chris Floyd

Sex, sex, sex -- how it haunts the damp and fervid dreams of the Bushist Party faithful. And nowhere more so than in the depths of Dixie, where stout Christian soldiers were singing hosannas last week after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their righteous warfare against the foulest form of evil in the modern world:

Genital stimulators.

After prayerful consideration, the Supremes refused to hear challenges to an Alabama law that forbids the sale or distribution of "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs," Reuters reports. The law was aimed not only at public vendors of sexual enhancement but also at the growing number of private "Tupperware-style parties," where suburbanites gather to peruse the latest marriage-goos…

The pink revolution?

- Onnesha Roychoudhuri

While commentators cheer the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East, South America has just ushered in another leftist leader. Following the elections of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Ecuador's Lucio Gutierrez, Brazil's Luiz Inacio da Silva, and Argentina's Nestor Kirchner, Uruguay's first leftist president, Dr. Tabare Vazquez, has taken office.

Most of these leaders are far from the radical leftists of the days of yore. As New York Times' Larry Rohter puts it, "they are not so much a red tide as a pink one." Chavez is the one big exception here: nationalizing Venezeula's big businesses, building up his armed forces, stockpiling Russian-made weapons, and, more recently, accusing the Bush administration of trying to oust his government. But even though South America's other leftist leaders don't share Chavez's strident tone, they too are trying to move away from the open-market policies heavily influenced by Wash…