November 19, 2008 archive

Can socialist planning work?

Original article, subtitled With economic crisis sweeping the globe, many people are asking if there is a better way to organise society. Kate Connelly and Esme Choonara explain how a planned socialist economy might work, via Socialist Worker (UK):

Capitalism is chaotic and extremely destructive. War, hunger and unemployment are all permanent features of the system.

Top 25 Censored Stories

Every year Project Censored identifies and prioritizes the 25 most important stories that were ignored by the MSM. The project is a part of Sonoma State University and here’s a bit about how they make their selections.

Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each year from journalists, scholars, librarians, and concerned citizens around the world. With the help of more than 200 Sonoma State University faculty, students, and community members, Project Censored reviews the story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national significance. The university community selects 25 stories to submit to the Project Censored panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance.

So, what made the list this year?

Tiny clay figures are reminders of growing Iraq death toll

Nearly 100,000 hand-fired clay figures, representing lives lost in the Iraq war, will be the backdrop on Friday for an Iraq Moratorium action in the California community of Aptos, near Santa Cruz.

The display is the work of artist Kathleen Crocetti, a high school art teacher, who told the San Jose Mercury News :

“I’m doing this to help people visualize the number of people killed in the Iraq war. We need a physical connection to that number. I thought we went into the war under false pretenses, and I can’t sanction pre-emptive war.

I feel such shame and sadness in my name as an American,” she said. “I feel responsible for the pain and grief because of this war.”

The 4,000-plus small white clay figures, each holding a U.S. flag, represent dead American service members. The 92,000 dark clay figures, behind the Americans like a shadow, represent Iraqis. She uses the number from Iraq Body Count, which includes documented civilian deaths.  It is a very conservative number; others estimate the count could be as high as a million.

On Friday, as individuals and groups across the country interrupt their regular routines to mark the Iraq Moratorium and call for an end to the war and occupation, people in Aptos will peacefully protest the war during rush hour on the sidewalks in front of the Resurrection-Aptos cemetery where the figures are displayed. The evening’s vigil, with music and poetry will be near the memorial in the cemetery.

The action is one of many taking place on Friday, Iraq Moratorium #15. Despite the election, despite a proposed, sketchy new US-Iraq status of forces agreement, the war drags on and on.

The President-elect and the new Congress need to know that we want our troops home — and not in three years.

The Iraq Moratorium website includes a list of actions planned across the country on Friday, and suggestions for individual action.  If you can’t make time to take part on Friday, consider a donation. The killing has to stop, and we have to stop it.


Iraqi Cabinet Approves SOFA With U.S.

How long it will last is anybody’s guess.

The Real News analyzes the agreement in a discussion with Sabah al-Nasseri, Professor of Political Science (Middle East Politics) at York University, Toronto, and previously Lecturer of Political Science at the J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt.

Real News: November 18, 2008 – 12 minutes

Iraqi cabinet accepts US agreement

Sabah al-Nasseri: Strong nationalist movement has mobilized against the agreement, and they have guns.

The Iraqi cabinet agreed by a vote of 27-1 on Sunday to approve the newest US draft of the Status of Forces Agreement between the two countries.

The agreement speaks to a variety of issues concerning the occupation, including the complete withdrawal from Iraq of US forces by the end of 2011. Moreover, it includes a promise from the US to not use Iraqi territory as a launch pad to attack inside other Middle-eastern countries, as it did in late October during a raid on a village inside Syria.

Sabah al-Nasseri believes that the Iraqi parliament will eventually turn down the agreement for political reasons, in the interests of securing one with Barack Obama when he comes to power in January.

The timing is important as the Iraqi provincial elections, which are extremely significant given the power granted provinces under the Iraqi constitution, will take place on January 31.

Sabah believes that the importance of fairing well in those elections will force the parliament to reject an agreement which has received the rebuke of numerous groups, both religious and secular, who have organized massive protests over recent weeks.

One piece of the agreement that very few people are talking about, which Sabah believes has angered many nationalists of all stripes, is the labeling of any armed resistance against occupation forces as terrorists, thereby criminalizing their activities under Iraqi law.

Sabah believes that the most recent violence in Iraq was carried out by secular nationalists who are opposed to the deal, given that the targets of the attacks were all US and Iraqi government elements.

Sabah, who was born and raised in the Southern Iraqi city of Basra, reiterates his support for an immediate withdrawal of all foreign occupiers, believing that the violence in Iraq stems from the occupation.

On the flip, Tina Susman reporting from Baghdad for the LA Times, has put together A guide to the U.S. security agreement with Iraq:

Cheney Indicted!!!!!

 The indictment criticizes VP Dick Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds

interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers.

Vice-President Cheney Indicted!

Associated Press

 McALLEN, TX — A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers.

The indictment criticizes Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

Another indictment charges state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies.

The indictments were first reported by KRGV-TV.

There have been numerous reports of torture and abuse in private prisons.  Looks like Cheney just can’t stop himself!

Load more