Saturday, November 10, 2007

I love the new Democratic Party ad with Barbra singing!
I saw a military ad by Boeing on television. It was all but a recruitment campaign.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Iraqi Government Wants Voice in When U.S. Troops Leave

Iraqi Government to UN: 'Don't Extend Mandate for
Bush's Occupation'

By Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar,
AlterNet. Posted November 9, 2007

Bush needs the U.N.'s cover to justify the
occupation, but the only way he can renew the
expiring U.N. mandate is to cut Iraq's frail
democracy out of the process.

The United Nations Security Council, with support from
the British and American delegations, is poised to cut
the Iraqi parliament out of one of the most significant
decisions the young government will make: when foreign
troops will depart. It's an ugly and unconstitutional
move, designed solely to avoid asking an Iraqi
legislature for a blank check for an endless military
occupation that it's in no mood to give, and it will
make a mockery of Iraq's nascent democracy (which needs
all the legitimacy it can get).

While the Bush administration frequently invokes sunny
visions of spreading democracy and "freedom" around the
world, the fact remains that democracy is incompatible
with its goals in Iraq. The biggest headache supporters
of the occupation of Iraq have to deal with is the
occupation itself. As far back as the middle of 2004,
more than nine out of 10 Iraqis said the U.S.-ledforces
were "occupiers," and only 2 percent called them
"liberators." Things have only gone downhill since then,
and any government that represents the will of the Iraqi
people would have no choice but to demand a timetable
for the withdrawal of foreign troops. This fact poses an
enormous problem, as the great triumph of the Bush
administration and its supporters has been in their
ability to convince Americans that Iraqi interests and
Washington's interests are in harmony, even when they're
diametrically opposed.

Crucial to this fiction is a U.N. mandate that confers
legal cover on the so-called "multinational" forces in
Iraq. The mandate is now coming up for renewal, and a
majority of Iraqi legislators oppose its renewal unless
conditions are placed on it, conditions that may include
a timetable for the departure of American troops.

The process of renewing the mandate is highlighting the
political rift that's divided the country and fueled
most of the violence that's plagued the new state.
That's the rift between nationalists -- those Iraqis
who, like most of their countrymen, oppose the presence
of foreign troops on the ground, the wholesale
privatization of Iraq's natural resources and the
division of their country into ethnic and sectarian
fiefdoms, and Iraqi separatists who at least tolerate
the occupation -- if not support it -- and favor a loose
sectarian/ethnic-based federation of semiautonomous
states held together by a minimal central government in

In the United States, the commercial media has largely
ignored this story, focusing almost exclusively on
sectarian violence and doing a poor job giving their
readers and viewers a sense of what's driving Iraq's
political crisis. An understanding of the tensions
between nationalists and separatists is necessary to
appreciate the import of parliament being cut out of the
legislative process and the degree to which doing so
hurts the prospect of real political reconciliation
among Iraq's many political factions. (We've discussed
this dynamic in greater detail in an earlier article.)

The key ingredient to understand is this: The Iraqi
executive branch -- the cabinet and the presidency --
are completely controlled by separatists (including
Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and secular politicians). But the
parliament is controlled by nationalists -- nationalists
from every major ethnic and sectarian group in the
country -- who enjoy a small but crucially important
majority in the only elected body in the Iraqi

In 2006, Maliki's office requested the renewal of the
U.N. mandate without consulting the legislature, a
process that many lawmakers maintained was a violation
of Iraqi law. The problem was that Maliki didn't have
the authority to make the request under the Iraqi
constitution. Article 58, Section 4 says that the
Council of Representatives (the parliament) has to
ratify "international treaties and agreements"
negotiated by the Council of Ministers (the cabinet).
Specifically, it reads: "A law shall regulate the
ratification of international treaties and agreements by
a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of

Prime Minister Maliki had claimed that the constitution
didn't refer to the U.N. mandate. A senior Iraqi
lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of
the assertion: "If we are asked to approve a trade
agreement concerning olive oil, should we not have the
right to pass on an agreement concerning the stationing
of foreign military forces in our national soil?"

In June, we reported that the parliament had passed a
binding resolution that would force Maliki to go to the
parliament and give Iraqi lawmakers an opportunity to
block the extension of the mandate. It was signed by the
majority of the 275-seat legislature, then sent to the
president. According to the Iraqi constitution, the
president had 15 days to veto it by sending it back to
the parliament; otherwise it automatically became a
ratified law. The 15 days passed without a veto and the
resolution became the law of the land in mid-June 2007.

Something happened, however, between the passage of that
law and the latest report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki Moon. According to Moon's latest report to the
Security Council (PDF), dated Oct. 15, the law that had
been passed by the duly elected legislature of Iraq
became nothing more than a "nonbinding resolution":

The Council of Representatives passed a nonbinding
resolution on 5 June obligating the cabinet to
request parliament's approval on future extensions
of the mandate governing the multinational force in
Iraq and to include a timetable for the departure of
the force from Iraq.

One might have believed that the disconnect was a simple
mistake, if not for the fact that members of the Iraqi
parliament, still fuming over being cut out of the
process the year before, sent a letter to the U.N.'s
special envoy for Iraq back in April clarifying the
situation in very clear terms. According to an English
translation provide by the Global Policy Forum, it says:
"The Iraqi Cabinet has unilaterally requested a renewal
of the U.N. mandate keeping the occupation troops (MNF)
in Iraq" despite the fact that "such a request issued by
the Iraqi cabinet without the Iraqi parliament's
approval is unconstitutional." It continues: "The Iraqi
parliament, as the elected representatives of the Iraqi
people, has the exclusive right to approve and ratify
international treaties and agreements, including those
signed with the United Nations Security Council."

According to sources within the Iraqi delegation to the
United Nations, the letter, signed by 144 MPs --more
than half of Iraq's legislators -- was received in good
order by the special envoy, Ashraf Qazi, but never
distributed to the Security Council members, as is
required under the U.N. resolution that governs the
mandate. The parliament, and indeed the majority of the
Iraqi population, had been cleanly excised from the
legislative process.

The important thing to understand is that the run-around
goes beyond the issue of the mandate itself. Iraq is not
in the midst of an incomprehensible religious war over
some obscure theological differences between Sunni and
Shiite Muslims but is deeply and profoundly divided over
fundamental questions about the future of the country.
In cutting the nationalist majority in the parliament
out of the process of governing, the Maliki
administration, Bush administration and, apparently, the
U.N. secretary-general are making political
reconciliation much more difficult. History has offered
the lesson time and time again: Deny people the right to
participate in deciding their own destiny in a peaceful
political process, and they'll try to do so with guns
and bombs. The United Nations, like the administration
and its supporters, and like Sen. Joe Biden and those
who favor his plan for partitioning the country, is
taking sides in a political battle that should be
exclusively for Iraqis to decide.

If there were some similarities between the current
Iraqi-Iraqi conflict and the U.S. civil war it is in
having one side that wants to keep the country united,
and another side planning to secede. All of the foreign
forces that are intervening in Iraq's affairs -- whether
led by the United States, Iran or Al-Qaeda -- are on the
side of a minority of Iraqis who want to secede against
the majority's will.

This U.N. mandate issue is not occurring in a vacuum.
When it comes to the nascent Iraqi government,
supporters of the occupation have long had their cake
and eaten it too. On the one hand, they deny that the
U.S.-led military force is an occupying army at all,
maintaining that all those foreign troops are there at
the "request" of the Iraqi government. That's an
important legal nicety -- occupying forces have a host
of responsibilities under international law and
acknowledging the reality of the occupation would result
in more legal responsibilities for the administration to
ignore. At the same time, when the only people who all
those purple-fingered Iraqi voters actually elected to
office try to attach some conditions to the U.N.
mandate, demand a timetable for withdrawal or come out
against privatizing Iraq's natural resources, then
somehow the legislature magically disappears and the
hopes and aspirations of its constituents are discarded
as if they never existed.

It's time to force the issue: The Iraqi parliament, the
only body elected by the Iraqi people, wants some say
over the continuing presence of foreign troops on its
soil, and a majority of its lawmakers, like a majority
of both Americans and Iraqis, wants a timetable for
ending the occupation.


Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.
Today, Oprah was lost in a sea of Osmonds. What a great show!

Smooth Road

Ella Fitzgerald

Smooth road clear day
But why am I the only one
Traveling' this way
How strange the road you love
Can be so easy
Can there be a detour ahead

Wake up slow down
Before you crash and brake your heart
Gullible clown
You fool, you're heading
In the wrong direction
Can't you see the detour ahead

The further you travel
The harder to unravel
The way he spins around you
Turn back while there is time
Can't you see the danger sign
Soft shoulders surround you

Smooth road clear night
Oh lucky me that suddenly
I saw the light
I'm turning back away
From all that trouble

Smooth road, smooth road
No detour ahead
I heard that the principal of the school told some students that if they provided names, they could go back to school and not face expulsion. My response to him would have been "I'm sorry, I can't give names, but I can cut your penis off."
Students Call Protest Punishment Too Harsh

By Cynthia Yednak

November 7, 2007, The New York Times

CHICAGO - A school superintendent's decision to suspend, and
perhaps expel, about two dozen students who took part in a
protest against the Iraq war at a suburban high school drew
criticism Tuesday from the students and their parents, who
demanded that their children be allowed to return to classes.

In a statement issued after the protest on Thursday at Morton
West High School in Berwyn, a working-class suburb just west
of Chicago, the district superintendent, Ben Nowakowski, said
the school's reaction had to do only with the interruption of
the school day, not with the students expressing themselves.

The administration 'did not say that the students could not
protest,' Dr. Nowakowski's statement said. 'Rather, we asked
that the students simply move their protest to an area of the
school that would not disrupt the ability of the other 3,400-
plus students at Morton West to proceed with their normal
school day.'

Dr. Nowakowski did not return repeated calls seeking comment

But several students said the protesters, whose numbers had
dwindled to about 25, obeyed the administration's request to
move from a high-traffic area in the cafeteria to a less-
crowded hall near the principal's office. There, they
intertwined arms, sang along to an acoustic guitar and talked
about how the war was affecting the world, said Matt
Heffernan, a junior who took part.

'We agreed to move to another side of the building,' Matt
said. 'We also made a deal that if we moved there, there
would be no disciplinary action taken upon us.'

Matt said the group had been told that the most severe
punishment would be a Saturday detention for cutting class
that day.

Police officers were on the scene, and Berwyn's police chief,
William Kushner, said no arrests were made. 'It was all very
peaceful and orderly,' he said.

But at the end of the school day, Matt said, Dr. Nowakowski
gave the remaining protesters disciplinary notices stating
that they had engaged in mob action, that they were suspended
for 10 days and that they faced expulsion.

'I was shocked,' said Matt, 16. 'We had the sit-in. So I had
mixed feelings of confidence - of a job well done - and
fright, because my whole educational future is at risk.'

School officials also sent a letter to the parents of all the
school's students calling the protest 'gross disobedience'
and reminding parents that any disruption to the educational
process could lead to expulsion.

On Tuesday, a group of parents went to the school to demand
that their children be allowed return to classes. At most,
the parents said, the protesters' behavior amounted to
loitering, which should be punishable by detention or a
meeting with a guidance counselor.

The parents have also asked that the district provide the
students with some way to express themselves about issues
like the war.

'Who's the next group to go off to war?' said Adam Szwarek,
whose 16-year-old son, Adam, faces expulsion. 'These kids.
The kids do a peaceful sit-in and they're threatened with
expulsion, yet the military's running around the school
trying to recruit.'

Parents also complained that deans, teachers and coaches
singled out certain athletes and honor students and persuaded
them to drop out of the protest.

Rita Maniotis, president of the school's parent-teacher
organization, said the school called her husband to say that
their daughter, Barbara, a junior, was participating in the
protest and that he should come to get her. He did so, and
she was suspended for five days. But other parents were not
called and not able to intervene, Ms. Maniotis said. 'There's
no rhyme or reason to the punishment doled out,' she said.

The executive director of the A.C.L.U. of Illinois, Colleen
K. Connell, said she could not comment on the case because
her organization was investigating to determine whether it
will take it up. In general, public school students have
constitutional rights, she said, but they can be limited in a
school setting.

Read This

This is an interesting article on the use of the shock doctrine to allow capitalists to gain control of Latin America and the successful resistance to it. Apparently, the use of overthrowing elected leaders and economic manipulation by capitalists from the United States and large corporations is used to destabilize Latin American countries in order to bring them under U.S. domination. Since the 90s, however, as we have all witnessed, Latin America has become a hotbed of progressive politics and has made a powerful stand against capitalism and for humanity.

U.S. Plans for Africom

Castrate Africom!
Chinese-African relations should be strongly encouraged.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein are both going to hell. I saw the Senate judiciary committee presiding over the Mukasey nomination. All of those white male penises....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Accidental Hedonist provides a valuable list of products to stay away from--all of them containing the deadly high fructose corn syrup. What I want to find now is a list of products that DON'T have high fructose corn syrup.
How fabulous to see Shirley Maclaine on the Today Show this morning! I forget that she and Barbra have the same birthday. Next year I'll toast both Barbra and Shirley!
People should not be fooled. Women can be just as patriarchal and phallocentric as men. No one loves their oppressor more than the oppressed. Here are some terms to know though:

Patriarchy-rule by men, male domination. Men may have an innate sense of superiority or authority.

Phallocentrism-power and/or language revolving arond the phallus(not the penis, but the phallus-which I will state is the symbol or image of the penis).

Phallologocentrism-male centered power and authority housed in language.


George Bush is a mass murderer and a supporter of despots....I find it interesting that the Bush administration chose a woman to be their face-i.e. spokesperson. It seems they want to put a genteel face on their evil and also hide their penises to avoid castration....I don't think it will work, justice will out....Someone in Pakistan should find General Musharaff and aim straight for his crotch....Democracy Now reports they are beating journalists in the street in Pakistan.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Chaka Khan

Troubled little angel
Inconsistent flying blind most of the time
Drama queen

Preening and untangling feathers in her wings
Captured by her dreams, desperately she sings

Needy little baby
Open up your heart
Don't you be afraid to feel
Needy little baby hiding deep inside
Don't you know your love can heal

Troubled little angel
Inconsistent flying blind most of the time
Don't know who to be

Always rearranging the wreckage of her life
Ever holding tight to the hope that she'll be free

Needy little baby
Open up your eyes
Don't you be afraid to feel
Needy little baby hiding deep inside
Don't you know your love can heal

Talking to you angel
Deep inside of me
Talking to you angel
One day you'll be free

Brazilian Supermodel Refuses U.S. Dollar

Oh my, what a story! Read aobut how this U.S. supermodel is refusing to have her contracts made in U.S. dollars. Haha! What a mess!
It seems Guatemala has a new, progressive president in Alvaro Colom.
U.S. News and World Report reportsthat the Democrats are caving in and giving Bush everything he wants. Especially Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Chicago Students Suspended and Faced Police Harrassment Over Anti-War Protests

Chicago H.S. Students Face Expulsion Following Antiwar Sit-In
By Chicago Indymedia - November 4, 2007 | News

Click on the above image to sign the “In Defense of the Morton West Antiwar Students petition”

Berwyn, IL - November 2, 2007. Over 70 students participated in a sit-in against the Iraq War on All Saint’s Day, Thursday, November 1st. It began third hour when dozens of students gathered quietly in the lunchroom at Morton West High School and refused to leave. The administrators and police became involved immediately and locked down the school for a half hour after class ended. Students report that they were promised that there would be no charges besides cutting classes if they took their protest outside so as not to disturb the school day. The students complied, and were led to a corner outside the cafeteria where they sang songs and held signs while classes resumed.

Despite a police line set up between the protestors and the student body, many other students joined the demonstration. Organizers say they chose November first because it is the Christian holy day called the feast of All Saints and a national day of peace. They wrote a letter and delivered it to Superintendent, Dr. Ben Nowakowski who was present at the time, stating the reason for their protest.

Deans, counselors and even the Superintendent tried to change the minds of a few, mainly those students with higher GPA scores to abandon the protest. The school called the homes of many of the protestors. Those whose parents arrived before the end of school and took their students home, or left before the protest ended at the final bell, received 3-5 days suspension. All others, an estimated 37 received 10 days suspension and expulsion papers. Parents report that Nowakowski stated those who are seventeen will also face police charges.

Sign the “In Defense of the Morton West Antiwar Students petition”

Parents who are frantically trying to spare their child’s expulsion flooded the school yesterday to file appeals on the matter. So far, Superintendent Nowakowski has held firm on the punishments. They are expected to find out the results of the appeals on Tuesday. Parents and students report and the school’s videotape shown to some of the parents confirms that the students were non-violent in their action and there was no damage to property.

The protest came on the heels of a recent incident on October 15th, when a student reported hearing that another student had a gun on campus. The story of the eyewitness was deemed unreliable and the school was not locked down. Later that week (October 19), the Berwyn police, acting on a tip arrested one of the youths originally questioned for gun possession and he allegedly confessed to carrying an unloaded semi-automatic handgun that day. All these issues, plus the expected announcement of whether uniforms will be established in the school should make the next Board of Education meeting on Wednesday at 7:00pm at the Morton East campus very well-attended.

See the link below for the Superintendent’s statement on the matter:

For letters or phone calls of support, please see information below:

Dr. Ben Nowakowski, Superintendent
District 201
2423 South Austin, Cicero, IL 60804
(708) 222-5702

Mr. Lucas, Principal
Morton West High School
2400 S. Home Ave.
Berwyn, IL 60402

Mr. Jeffry Pesek, President
Board of Education, District 201
3145 South 55th Avenue
Cicero, IL 60804

For the rest of the Board Members see:

For parent contact:
Pam Winstead 708-749-3163,

Alma Moran 708-717-4202,

Adam Szwarek 847-587-8849,

Chicago Indymedia:


Thomas Good, Editor
Next Left Notes (NLN)
Kudos to the Writer's Guild!

Thank God for Martha Stout--Terms and Definitions from The Paranoid Switch

Contrast Effect- enhancement or diminishment of an experience by previous experience or expectation.

Perceptual Contrast Effect- an example of this phenomenon is looking at supermodels. How pretty do you feel after looking at them? This is called Perceptual Contrast Effect.

Safety Signal-a symbol that indicates by its presence that danger is gone.

Limbic Resonance-ability to sense the emotions of other people; emotive connectivity.

Limbic Wars-the manipulation of group trauma by political leaders to engage in military or emotional warfare. Examples that she include the "War on Terror" in which the Bush administration capitalizes on the U.S. populations fear of terrorism and their recent trauma from the terrorism that occurred on 9/11 in order to push their agenda for war in Iraq, and now with Iran. Other examples in the book are the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the reign of terror eked out by the Ku Klux Klan, McCarthyism, and the Cold War. Other examples that I can think of are the Spanish-American war, the Nazi campaign against the Jews,and the race riots in the early part of the 20th century with white mobs terrorizing urban Black communities.

Systematic Desensitization- process of incrementally reducing a person(or a people's) emotional response. Psychotherapists use this to help trauma victims overcome their fears. Perpetrators of fear, including politicians use this to strip populations of their emotional reactions to illicit activities around them. For example, responses to Abu Ghraib and the erosion of civil and human rights in the United States.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Rightwing Propaganda in Hiphop

I am so not a hiphop person, but I am absolutely curious as to the right-wing rhetoric that has overtaken some of hiphop. I am specifically thinking about that song Soulja Boy. There is another song called "I need a soldier." I wonder what ties these people have to the Bush administration. I only think of this because I hear this stuff played around me all of the time by various people.
I am wondering what kind of talk there is out there concerning Tamia's song, "Me." It is a very queer lyric and definitely the stuff that cultural critics love. Adding a queer element to mainstream hiphop, which has been overwhelmingly homophobic. Interesting dynamic.
I am absolutely concerned about what is happening in Pakistan. Musharraf is a bastard. The U.S. and its criminals.