Friday, February 29, 2008

Fidel: Father of Modern Cuba

This is a great article contrasting life in Cuba and the United States.

If only the MSM would be so fair.

We need to normalize relations with Cuba and let the Cubans determine their own destiny and way of life.

I have always admired Fidel and Che and the determination of the Cuban people to free themselves from U.S. imperialist domination.


Fidel: Father of Modern Cuba

Commentary by Saul Landau.

In spite of anti-Castro rhetoric, despite determined US policies to undermine — Fidel has done good for the world.

Fidel decided to retire from almost half a century of leadership this week. I saw him last in April 2001. “The worst is over,” he told the person next to me in the hallway. “The issue is developing socialism.” Poking his finger into my chest, he asked about the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, and the state of poverty in the areas -- far worse than anything Cubans went through.

His worldly concerns stand in stark contrast to Cubans who daily headed north for more prosperity.

Last May in Havana, some whose fathers served in Angola, asked me about life in the United States. Those in their 20s and 30s felt frustrated. Some had the PhDs and Masters degrees and worked at jobs beneath their education and skill levels. The biggest complaint was how they spent parts of their day “resolviendo” problems of material existence.

Last year, a veterinarian who drove a taxi in Havana asked me if the United States was indeed the paradise that she and her friends imagined, that wonderful place seen in movies. Letters from friends and family who had migrated indicated that most of them liked it better. I told her that in Miami I saw Cubans cleaning toilets and mopping floors at the airport while others drove Cadillacs.

“Which one will you be?”

She shook her head. She didn’t know. She would think more about leaving.

In Miami, I asked a waitress in a Cuban restaurant. You want to return to Cuba?

“Some days,” she replied. “I felt less tense there, although I got anxious trying to get food, soap, shampoo. Who knows?”

Cubans arrive each week in Florida, but not all the new arrivals enter Paradise. Indeed, rapid social mobility for people without U.S. college degrees -- the vast majority of immigrants -- has slowed to a crawl. According to a Brookings Institution study, in 2004 “only 15 percent of Miami's households are in that income bracket ($34,000 and $51,000),” compared to 20% nationally.

For African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians median household income in Dade County was at least $20,000 less than “white median household income.” Cubans fare somewhat better. The original anti-Castroistas, Batista supporters, moneyed and professional classes, came with material assets and education. Their children and grandchildren benefited from their original and accumulated wealth -- some of it stolen from the Cuban Treasury. Batista military officials hijacked planes and ships to haul stolen loot to Florida shortly before the revolutionaries seized power. Rather than charge them with theft and airplane and ship hijacking, the U.S. government welcomed them and never returned the stolen money.

Subsequent migrations brought the less affluent, many of whom have joined Miami’s immense underpaid class in underpaid service and retail trades. The Brookings study revealed that “wages, regardless of industry sector or occupation type, are lower in Miami-Dade than elsewhere.”

A native New Yorker, driving through Miami slums, doesn’t get it. The monster-sized airport, the flashy hotels and modern office buildings, the art deco Miami Beach area speak to affluence. In almost all black Liberty City and Little Haiti one doesn’t see rotting tenements, the trademark of northeast cities. Nor do homeless people huddle over subway grates in mid winter ice. Yet, in 2004, Miami ranked as the city with the lowest median household income: $24,031. Newark, NJ ranked second poorest with $26,309. The national median income is $42,000.

Some 10 million people drop in and out of the Miami area during the year. Millions of others know it from the "Miami Vice" series, where cops and drug dealers dress in super mod outfits, or from "CSI Miami," in which expensive technology dominates the set. Miami tourism promoters sell beaches and weather. The celebrity-rich own homes and yachts there. The hotels thrive on conventions and cruise ships await the eager vacationers who might spend one night at a five star hotel before boring themselves into a stupor at sea.

The rich adore the place. At DeVito’s restaurant in South Beach (yes, Danny’s place) the entrees range from $40-60 -- not counting drinks or salads or deserts. On Valentine’s Day the tables began filling early. Those who peel the onions and potatoes and dump the restaurant’s garbage don’t earn the price of a meal for an eight hour shift. Miami’s media median household income ranks lowest in the country: $23,483.

Some of the low income earners came from Cuba. Some of the homeless are also Cubans. One Cuban woman, a “Peter Pan” kid -- a CIA-Catholic Church operation that removed thousands of Cuban kids from their parents to the United States in the early 1960s -- said she “rediscovered my Cuba.” Her first return visit in 1994, during very difficult economic times, “showed me that the values on the island were better, more caring. In the United States if you’re poor you have few resources. In Cuba you have some safety net and you always have family.”

“Poverty in every childhood poisons the brain,” Paul Krugman opened his February 18 New York Times column, quoting a report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In the United States poor kids feel like outcasts and therefore suffer “unhealthy levels of stress hormones, which impact their neural development.”

One understands poverty in most third world countries. Even though income disparity is wildly askew, the total wealth remains insufficient to provide each citizen with basic needs. In the United States, Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty did reduce the rate of poverty from 23 to 14%. “But progress stalled thereafter,” wrote Krugman.

I think of the smug criticisms of Cuba’s inability to provide sufficiently for all of its citizens while Washington poured untold hundreds of billions into wars in Vietnam and Iraq. I think of the hundreds of billions poured into ridiculous weapons systems that defended no one against anything and never will and the little uniformed kids singing the anthem outside of a Cuban school in Havana and little Cuban-American kids in Miami whose parents or parent has yet to rise above the poverty line.

The anti-Castroites won’t have Fidel to kick around any more, but the “post-Castro” era features Raul Castro still in charge and few basic institutional changes in the forecast.

In Miami, I’d seen the same desperate Edward Munch Silent Scream look on Cuban faces that I’d witnessed in Havana. A woman waiting for the bus stared vacantly into space as if her lover had left her, her kids had died, and she just didn’t know if she could continue. In Miami I saw a similar expression on a tired middle-aged woman serving the Cuban coffee through a window. She complained her feet hurt, she couldn’t subsist on $9 an hour, and her husband only made $12 an hour as a security guard. “How can we live like this?” she asked me or herself.

“Do you think about going back?”

She shrugged. A non-starter! She, like 1.5 other million Cubans had made a decision to leave and they have to live with it. Some love it, some accept it, and some regret it. All will admit that Fidel Castro changed their lives.

How will Cubans assess him now that he can't carry out the duties of office because of health? In nearly half a century Castro led Cuba from U.S. informal economic colony into nationhood -- sovereignty. Cubans defeated a 1961 U.S.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs, followed by thousands of CIA-led terrorist attacks and survived the 1962 Missile Crisis. By the 1970s, Cubans began to enjoy good health and high levels of education -- unique for most third world countries.

When Castro went to the hospital in July 2006, nothing changed in Cuban daily life. The revolution exacted a price: divided families, absence of procedural freedoms and a struggle against harsh reality since the Soviet collapse.

Castro has become an interesting literary figure in his recuperation. Castro's will, vision, and perseverance helped put Cuba on the stage of history -- despite great efforts from Washington to keep it down. For this, Castro stands as David against Goliath.

That Cubans risk their lives to leave the island for better opportunities in Florida show that Cuban socialism is struggling, but far from dead. While Castro remains alive, even bed-ridden, he will use his agile mind to improve the world's last experiment in socialism.

His successors will be chosen from a pool of capable men and women. Raul in his late 70s will not endure much longer. Look for Carlos Lage and people from his generation to assume leadership; government will become more committee-style.

Fidel was the father of modern Cuba. Think of the thousands of Cuban names etched in honor-rolls throughout the world in science, medicine, sports, art, film, literature and music. Cuban doctors saved lives in Pakistan, Vietnam, throughout Africa the Middle East and Latin America.

Under Castro, a nation without strategic resources changed history in southern Africa. In 1987-8, Cuban troops in Angola defeated the apartheid South Africa forces and thus forced the opening that allowed Nelson Mandela to become President. A Cuban tank unit fought in the 1973 Middle East war. Castro's ideological sons now serve as elected presidents of several Latin American countries America; more distant relative govern other countries -- ones the U.S. used to control.

The U.S. isolated Cuba in the 1960s. Now, Cuba relates to the rest of the hemisphere -- save for the United States. Castro also changed the United States by exporting his enemies -- to his larger enemy. In turn, Cuban-Americans in Florida, especially in the 2000 elections, changed U.S. destiny.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court and Worker Rights

This is a posting like most people will never read anyplace!

Finally someone has the guts to tell it like it is.

These Democratic Party politicians are a bunch l-o-s-e-r-s. Just like the people who sit for hours putting their hard earned money into rigged slot machines.

After reading this and seeing these pictures I won't be voting for any Democrats in November. They can all kiss my butt. The whole bunch of 'em.


-----Original Message-----

From: [] On Behalf Of Richard Myers
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 4:30 AM
Subject: [WCS-A] Job discrimination cases hit new opposition

The U.S. Supreme Court appears more hostile to workers' discrimination

Job discrimination cases hit new opposition

By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Two new job discrimination cases have Supreme Court justices
considering how broadly federal law protects workers from retaliation after
they complain about bias.

The employers and the Democratic and Republican politicians they buy have a set goal in mind for what they want to achieve in the way of what rights working people in this country should have. They have a United States Supreme Court whose primary role throughout history has always been to control the working class for the capitalist class. This has been the primary function and role of the United States Supreme Court since the Constitution created the Supreme Court; one need only spend a few days in any law library going through the case histories of the United States Supreme Court to find this little tid-bit of history out, which historians have tried to conceal.

Anyone who wants to see what goals and objectives the employers have in mind should closely analyze the 400 or so “right-to-work colonies” created by the “Compacts,” which created the Indian Gaming Industry--- an industry now spread out across this country because these “Compacts” clearly demonstrate and provide a working model of what employers hope to achieve and make universal instead of health care.

These are the more than four-hundred casino/resort/hotel/motel/restaurant/theme-park “enterprises” operated by some of the most powerful mobsters in the country who have donned the finest designer suits in operating these casinos through these complex “Compacts” created to establish the so-called Indian Gaming Industry.

Take a good close look at the lives of some two-million of your fellow workers who have been deprived of the most basic and fundamental human rights that you have closed your eyes to for twenty-years now who work in these loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state, federal or tribal labor laws--- all created compliments of elected officials who have been handsomely paid off by the likes of the crooked and corrupt Jack Abramoff and Brownstein/Hyatt/Farber/Schreck the lobbying firm of choice for the mobsters who inherited the “evil empire” of some of the most vicious, most violent, most debased, most anti-human elements “related” by “family ties” to Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky “families.”

Quite literally, in these casinos, management has the “right” to rape employees in these casinos; feed patrons hamburgers made from meat of diseased cows and spare-ribs (all-you-can-eat) from old crippled sows, and boars that have become so fat and sick they can no longer get any action to fish which were “caught” belly-up floating in the polluted Dutch canals passed off as “fresh walleye.”

Not one single politician in this country has had the moral or political courage to address this issue; even the great “progressive,” Dennis Kucinich, has lauded the “accomplishments” of the Indian Gaming Industry, rather than giving these parasites the thrashing deserved.

The major “accomplishment” of the Indian Gaming Industry has been to create these “right-to-work-colonies” raking in billions of dollars for mobsters while leaving Native American communities and reservations even deeper in debt, wallowing in poverty and despair like just so many old, diseased and dying milk cows at the slaughterhouse waiting to be butchered and fed to small school children.

I am sure the Justices of the United States Supreme Court, most all of whom, have been put on the Court with help and arm-twisting of Brownstein/Hyatt/Farber/Schreck (check it out--- this bunch who has its “humble” beginnings defending the Kansas City mob’s cronies) has created the present United States Supreme Court will be looking very favorably upon employers seeking to “level” their “playing fields” through depriving working people of their rights… especially those rights attained in the “New Deal” period which have hobbled employers so.

And now, the United Auto Workers union has conducted a successful “card signing campaign” among casino workers at the largest casino in the United States and they will never attain a union contract because these “Compacts” provide the legal and constitutional basis to keep the union out and a union leadership who would spit in the faces of its present members by subjecting auto workers to pre-1950 wages and benefits sure isn’t going to initiate the kind of fight required to win a contract for casino workers at Foxwoods, the largest casino/resort complex in the United States.

We were the first in the Nation to initiate union organizing activities in the Indian Gaming Industry at the Red Lake Nation’s three Seven Clans Casinos in Northern Minnesota, not one single union would support our efforts because the AFL-CIO is so wedded to the Democratic Party which gets major campaign contributions from these casino managements.

In spite of all of this, eighty-six percent of the workers signed union cards authorizing our union organizing committee--- Red Lake Casino, Hotel and Restaurant Employees’ Union Organizing Committee--- to represent them. The first time I met with Red Lake Nation tribal Chair Butch Brun I was attacked and beaten by Red Lake Nation Tribal Police. The next time I met with Red Lake Nation Chair Floyd “Buck” Jourdain for over three hours and as a result of this meeting several of our organizers were beaten to a pulp.

Today we have organizing campaigns in each of the casinos in Minnesota, casinos in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa and we are now working to represent a number of workers in the entertainment/hospitality industry in Branson, Missouri hoping to link the struggles of workers with no rights to workers with limited rights. I would note: The Fertitta Family and their Colony Enterprises operating the Station Casino empire was thrown out of Missouri after trying to bribe a high public official for which they were fined a mere one million dollars. Corruption, bribery and the ruthless and Draconian exploitation of workers is the name of the real “game.”

However, until progressives, in and outside the labor movement, decide to consider the circumstances created by the “Compacts” employers are going to be demanding “equal treatment;” here in Minnesota this has already happened where bar owners are insisting they have a right to a “level playing field” with the Indian Gaming Industry when it comes to the rights of their employees to be free of second-hand smoke. Before long, we will probably see Minnesota’s “Freedom to Breath” (No Smoking in the workplace) challenged in the United States Supreme Court. And if these judges rule that bar owners in Minnesota have a “right” to a “level playing field” the door will be opened to challenge just about any labor law on the books along with a number of social programs like Social Security.

Just thought I would give all of you something to think about.

Oh, both Hillary Clinton and Obama receive big-time campaign contributions from this Indian Gaming Industry and the notorious Fertitta Family whose attorneys--- Brownstein/Hyatt/Farber/Schreck cited my postings on the Working Class Studies list serve in their pending actions aimed at silencing me on this issue.

It is very interesting indeed that the UAW, United Steel Workers, Teamsters, UFCW and SEIU who all now want a “piece of the action” (dues and pension monies) in the Indian Gaming Industry as they try to prevent the rebirth of a “red” union, are unwilling to join me in speaking out against the injustices of these “Compacts” which have created over four-hundred “right-to-work colonies” here in the United States systematically through institutionalized methods deprived so many working people of their basic human rights and dignity, not to mention their rights to have a voice in the workplace.

There is a real sad irony to all of this… on the eve of a strike by security guards affiliated with the SEIU, the officers of this union have contacted me to help them convince the “casino cops” not to work as scabs when they go on strike in the Twin Cities! For twenty years this union has sat in silence and watched without uttering a single word of protest as casino workers are brutally exploited, abused and misused in every conceivable manner by these mobsters, and now SEIU leaders come crying to me that they want our help.

It is very sad to see the chickens coming home to roost.

Mr. Dubovich, the head of the United Steel Workers organizing department in Minnesota, asked to meet with me to inform me that his union was going to be horning in on our organizing campaigns here in Minnesota as the USW has sat without struggling while more than 50,000 iron ore miners have lost their jobs on the Iron Range and the USW has castrated its present membership with its attacks on rank and file committees and rank and file activists. And Mr. Dubovich, whose boss--- Mr. Bob Bratulich--- sits in his office with his feet up on his desk playing computer games all day long complains that he has a two foot high stack of unresolved grievances from the taconite plants.

The entire scenario would be laughable, if not so pathetically sad, with so many working people suffering as their standards of living is constantly being driven down, down, down.

How low can the standards of American workers go? Right down to where two-million casino workers are at.

What is that song Utah Phillips enjoys singing, “They kicked the reds out of the unions?” And the working class is paying the price for the dumbing down of the U.S. labor movement.

Yes, Professor Martin Zweig would also prefer that this issue involving the rights of casino workers not be talked about because he forgot to include this issue in the expensive books he sells which are supposed to be educating working people who enroll in his working class studies programs, which come up short in teaching about rank and file initiated action, as he tries to keep the working class tethered to the current crop of labor fakers like John Sweeney and that anti-communist phony Leo Girard, who would rather no one knows about how he and his dad orchestrated a campaign of terror on behalf of the employers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police working together with the FBI to divide the working class community of hard rock miners in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

Anyways, just thought I would add a few comments on the U.S. Supreme Court and workers’ rights.

Here are photos of two Democratic United States Senate Candidates happily meeting with Floyd “Buck” Jourdain, one of the most depraved elements the human race has ever created, as they beg for his endorsement and pander like prostitutes for campaign contributions for the upcoming election.

Neither Al Franken, nor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, both pictured below, had the moral or political courage to address the violation of the human rights of hundreds of casino workers employed by Red Lake Gaming Enterprises, even though the liberal professor--- Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer turned Democratic politician--- boasts that he has the support of “the real Norma Rae,” and his written widely about “Christian ethics and morality” in politics and the economy. For some reason making the link from words on the pages of his books to the real life situation of casino workers evades comprehension for this enlightened humanist.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer meets with corrupt Red Lake Band Members who have sacrificed the Red Lake Nation’s historic sovereignty in a number of casino ventures; destroying a once proud, vibrant community built in the best socialist and cooperative traditions.

In this photograph United States Senate Candidate Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and his staff person Kathleen Blake--- both of whom are fully aware of the repressive conditions enforcing the poverty of employees of Red Lakes’ three Seven Clans Casinos are forced to endure--- remain silent as they beg for support from Band Secretary Beaulieu and another corrupt Band Council member, Billy King.

Below, Floyd “Buck” Jourdain, one of the most violent and corrupt Tribal Chairs in the Nation, who the New York Times has tied in with drug dealers using the three Seven Clans Casinos as distribution centers for everything from meth to cocaine, yacks it up with comedian turned politician, Al Franken who came looking for support to buoy his floundering campaign as onlookers suck it all up--- DFL Party hack Michael Meuers, and Mike Barrett (red an black coat) responsible for manipulating the “internet news service” on behalf of Floyd “Buck” Jourdain who runs the Red Lake Nation like an old Finnish Feudal Lord; depriving people who dare to speak up of their right to their jobs, and even takes away their homes.

Jourdain “explains” to Franken the dire poverty conditions of the Indian people living on the Red Lake Reservation. Al Franken doesn’t think to ask Jourdain how people being paid poverty wages working in these casinos might escape poverty.

As Jourdain is explaining the dire “poverty of my people,” the Red Lake Nation has announced that it will spend over sixty-million dollars in casino expansion projects so the mobsters who own the slot machines can live in luxury.

Floyd “Buck” Jourdain is responsible for one of the most corrupt politicians in Minnesota history being elected to public office, DFL State Representative Brita Sailer who represents the most “mobbed-up” union pension fund in America teamed up with the Fertitta Family.

It must be noted that when Floyd “Buck” Jourdain came to power supported by the mobsters who really own Red Lake’s Casino empire, he took on as economic adviser the man responsible for destroying all of Red Lakes publicly owned industries that paid Red Lakers wages higher than the best union contracts in Minnesota… in return Red Lakers are now getting the poverty wages of the casino industry while getting treated less than human.

Jourdain and George Bush carried on a conversation for the world to hear shortly after the mass killings at Red Lake High School; Jourdain got along famously with Bush as the two of them discussed the need for “parental responsibilities;” a few days later Jourdain’s own son was implicated for having a role in the murderous killing spree, found to have known about the killing spree in advance but didn’t tell his dad or anyone in authority… today, the young Jourdain is incarcerated in a place where his father should be.

On the evening before the Red Lake killing spree, Jourdain sat in his office talking with officials of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI, the Minnesota Attorney Generals Office and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety trying to figure out how to keep me out of their casinos and out of the reservation. Had Jourdain care about his son’s well-being as much as he cared about the profits of these mobsters who have taken control of the Red Lake Nation, this killing spree could have been prevented. In fact, the violence that these mobsters has introduced to the once peaceful Red Lake Nation is responsible for the violence the Red Lake Nation is experiencing, the drug dealing, the illegal gambling and the prostitution which have become the major “industries” having replace the home building and lumber mill industries and water bottling plant.

Jack Abramoff and his gang “laundered” millions of dollars destined for bribes and payoffs of politicians, which they transported in brown paper shopping bags, through Red Lake Nation businesses and agencies.

The employers’ next argument for the United States Supreme Court? Give us a “level playing field” with the Indian Gaming Industry… I predict these employers will cry, “It’s our constitutional right.” Far fetched? Bar owners and the Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota are already making the plans with the help of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party.

Both Al Franken and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer have asked for my endorsement. I will leave it to your imagination what my response was to each of them.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541


Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Election Madness

"The very people who should know better, having criticized the hold of
the media on the national mind, find themselves transfixed by the press,
glued to the television set, as the candidates preen and smile and bring
forth a shower of clichés with a solemnity appropriate for epic poetry."

sounds like you?; sounds like me

Election Madness
By Howard Zinn
The Progressive
March 2008 Issue

There's a man in Florida who has been writing to me for years (ten
pages, handwritten) though I've never met him. He tells me the kinds of jobs
he has held-security guard, repairman, etc. He has worked all kinds of
shifts, night and day, to barely keep his family going. His letters to me
have always been angry, railing against our capitalist system for its
failure to assure "life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness" for working

Just today, a letter came. To my relief it was not handwritten because
he is now using e-mail: "Well, I'm writing to you today because there is a
wretched situation in this country that I cannot abide and must say
something about. I am so enraged about this mortgage crisis. That the
majority of Americans must live their lives in perpetual debt, and so many
are sinking beneath the load, has me so steamed. Damn, that makes me so mad,
I can't tell you. . . . I did a security guard job today that involved
watching over a house that had been foreclosed on and was up for auction.
They held an open house, and I was there to watch over the place during this
event. There were three of the guards doing the same thing in three other
homes in this same community. I was sitting there during the quiet moments
and wondering about who those people were who had been evicted and where
they were now."

On the same day I received this letter, there was a front-page story in
the Boston Globe, with the headline "Thousands in Mass. Foreclosed on in

The subhead was "7,563 homes were seized, nearly 3 times the '06 rate."

A few nights before, CBS television reported that 750,000 people with
disabilities have been waiting for years for their Social Security benefits
because the system is underfunded and there are not enough personnel to
handle all the requests, even desperate ones.

Stories like these may be reported in the media, but they are gone in a
flash. What's not gone, what occupies the press day after day, impossible to
ignore, is the election frenzy.

This seizes the country every four years because we have all been
brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny,
that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls
and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us.
It is a multiple choice test so narrow, so specious, that no self-respecting
teacher would give it to students.

And sad to say, the Presidential contest has mesmerized liberals and
radicals alike. We are all vulnerable.

Is it possible to get together with friends these days and avoid the
subject of the Presidential elections?

The very people who should know better, having criticized the hold of
the media on the national mind, find themselves transfixed by the press,
glued to the television set, as the candidates preen and smile and bring
forth a shower of clichés with a solemnity appropriate for epic poetry.

Even in the so-called left periodicals, we must admit there is an
exorbitant amount of attention given to minutely examining the major
candidates. An occasional bone is thrown to the minor candidates, though
everyone knows our marvelous democratic political system won't allow them

No, I'm not taking some ultra-left position that elections are totally
insignificant, and that we should refuse to vote to preserve our moral
purity. Yes, there are candidates who are somewhat better than others, and
at certain times of national crisis (the Thirties, for instance, or right
now) where even a slight difference between the two parties may be a matter
of life and death.

I'm talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election
madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two
minutes-the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting

But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be
spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the
workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to
build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it
reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House,
in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social

Let's remember that even when there is a "better" candidate (yes, better
Roosevelt than Hoover, better anyone than George Bush), that difference will
not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that
the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore.

The unprecedented policies of the New Deal-Social Security, unemployment
insurance, job creation, minimum wage, subsidized housing-were not simply
the result of FDR's progressivism. The Roosevelt Administration, coming into
office, faced a nation in turmoil. The last year of the Hoover
Administration had experienced the rebellion of the Bonus Army-thousands of
veterans of the First World War descending on Washington to demand help from
Congress as their families were going hungry. There were disturbances of the
unemployed in Detroit, Chicago, Boston, New York, Seattle.

In 1934, early in the Roosevelt Presidency, strikes broke out all over
the country, including a general strike in Minneapolis, a general strike in
San Francisco, hundreds of thousands on strike in the textile mills of the
South. Unemployed councils formed all over the country. Desperate people
were taking action on their own, defying the police to put back the
furniture of evicted tenants, and creating self-help organizations with
hundreds of thousands of members.

Without a national crisis-economic destitution and rebellion-it is not
likely the Roosevelt Administration would have instituted the bold reforms
that it did.

Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a
popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential
candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an
immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for

They offer no radical change from the status quo.

They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out
for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum
income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or

They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical
changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for
social programs to transform the way we live.

None of this should surprise us. The Democratic Party has broken with
its historic conservatism, its pandering to the rich, its predilection for
war, only when it has encountered rebellion from below, as in the Thirties
and the Sixties. We should not expect that a victory at the ballot box in
November will even begin to budge the nation from its twin fundamental
illnesses: capitalist greed and militarism.

So we need to free ourselves from the election madness engulfing the
entire society, including the left.

Yes, two minutes. Before that, and after that, we should be taking
direct action against the obstacles to life, liberty, and the pursuit of

For instance, the mortgage foreclosures that are driving millions from
their homes-they should remind us of a similar situation after the
Revolutionary War, when small farmers, many of them war veterans (like so
many of our homeless today), could not afford to pay their taxes and were
threatened with the loss of the land, their homes. They gathered by the
thousands around courthouses and refused to allow the auctions to take

The evictions today of people who cannot pay their rents should remind
us of what people did in the Thirties when they organized and put the
belongings of the evicted families back in their apartments, in defiance of
the authorities.

Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or
Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until
forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of
black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and
desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally
useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct
action by concerned citizens.


Howard Zinn is the author of "A People's History of the United States,"
"Voices of a People's History" (with Anthony Arnove), and most recently, "A
Power Governments Cannot Suppress."

visit my website

Monday, February 18, 2008

recalled beef

You really need to watch the video further down in this story!

Knock, knock... Sam Webb... are you reading my blog or any other newspapers?

Sam, I notice you have not mentioned this issue. Whatchya waiting for, Mr. Obama to say something?


From Minnesota to Michigan... thirty-four states!

To whom it may concern at the Center for Responsive Politics:

Re: I can not locate political campaign contributions made by Steve Mendell or his company WESTLAND/HALLMARK MEAT CO. also d/b/a: Westland Meat Co.

Can you help me?

This company, in addition to supplying meat/meat products to public school children, also sells meat to the Indian Gaming industry. I do not know if you are aware of this, but, the meat sold through these casinos, hotels, motels, theme parks and restaurants does not require any inspections so millions of casino patrons may be at risk as there are some 400 of these operations strung out across the United States.

Right now I think it becomes very important to find out if United States Congressman Collin Peterson (Minnesota 7th Congressional District) has been the recipient of any campaign contributions made by this company (and or its affiliates), its executives and employees or any industry organizations receiving funds from them, which are tagged for campaign contributions. I also think we need to know if State Representatives Bernie Lieder, Dave Olin, Frank Moe, Brita Sailer, and State Senators Leroy Stumpf and Rod Skoe were recipients of such contributions.

Obviously a company slaughters sick and old cows with full and complete knowledge of what they are doing and I find it completely unacceptable that the politicians representing the areas have not called for full and complete prosecutions and I find something very strange and unusual the that Chair of the powerful House Committee on Agriculture has not forcefully asserted his voice calling for full prosecution of these corporate officials and the inspectors employed by the USDA.

The issue raised here is the integrity of the United States Department of Agriculture and the health and safety of the entire country’s food supply. This is just one more indication that corporate profits trump everything else when it comes to the Bush Administration and its cozy relationship with the corporations. Do we even know what put these animals down? Do we know where these animals are coming from?

Why Minnesota public schools are purchasing beef from a California company rather than from Minnesota farmers and processors needs to be examined. If the prices are so much cheaper than this should have set off alarm bells on the part of these highly educated public school officials along with the elected members of public school boards.

We also need to know if Brownstein/Hyatt/Farber/Schreck is the attorney of record or lobbyist for this company or any of the industry organizations this company may be affiliated with or belong to.

I am looking for campaign contributions this company may be making to politicians. I find it strange I can’t find anything given what is taking place:

Link to news article from our local paper, Northern Watch:

Written by April Scheinoha

Eighteen local school districts and two local private schools likely received beef from a California company that is accused of slaughtering sick and old cows, according to the Minnesota Department of Education. Four of those local school districts are listed as having Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing company beef on hold.

The MDE indicated that there haven’t been any reports of illnesses in connection with the beef. It noted that the majority of the beef sent to
Minnesota was “likely served to students before the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its advisory.” It estimated that 240,000 pounds of Hallmark/Westland raw beef was sent to Minnesota schools. Of that amount, about 60,000 pounds wasn’t used and has been isolated. Another 15,500 pounds of Hallmark/Westland products were sent to Minnesota schools. Those processed products included beef crumbles and hamburger patties. Those items have also been isolated. Eighteen local school districts and two local private schools likely received beef from a California company that is accused of slaughtering sick and old cows, according to the Minnesota Department of Education. Four of those local school districts are listed as having Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing company beef on hold.

The MDE indicated that there haven’t been any reports of illnesses in connection with the beef. It noted that the majority of the beef sent to
Minnesota was “likely served to students before the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its advisory.” It estimated that 240,000 pounds of Hallmark/Westland raw beef was sent to Minnesota schools. Of that amount, about 60,000 pounds wasn’t used and has been isolated. Another 15,500 pounds of Hallmark/Westland products were sent to Minnesota schools. Those processed products included beef crumbles and hamburger patties. Those items have also been isolated.

The MDE has indicated that 374 school districts “likely received” Hallmark/Westland beef. On the list are the following local school districts and the following local St. Bernard’s Catholic School, Thief River
Grygla-Gatzke;private schools: Falls; St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Red Lake Falls; Thief River Falls; Tri-County (Karlstad); Win-E-Mac (Erskine); Warren/Alvarado/Oslo; Badger; Greenbush/Middle River; Marshall County Central Schools (Newfolden); Lancaster; Kittson Central (Hallock); Fosston; Goodridge; Oklee; Red Lake County Central (Plummer); Red Lake Falls; Roseau; Stephen-Argyle Central; and Warroad.

Of those local school districts, the MDE has indicated that the following four school districts have placed Hallmark/Westland beef on hold: Kittson Central,
MCC, Roseau and Warroad. MDE said the school districts have been notified on how to isolate the beef if they have it in their possession.

Kittson Central Superintendent Bruce Jensen said the district is holding 150 pounds of meat from Hallmark/Westland. “Chances are that meat is going to be gone no matter what the [USDA] says,” said Jensen, who expected that the district would throw away the meat even if the USDA said it was safe. He said some of its meat from the company had already been fed to students and staff before the advisory from the USDA. No illnesses have been reported.

Jensen noted that the district hasn’t notified parents about the meat because no illnesses have been reported, the district has put a hold on the other meat, and the district probably won’t use the other meat. Jensen said he suspected that the whole thing wasn’t necessarily about the meat but that the issue was that USDA was in the process of investigating the company for cruelty to animals.

District Superintendent Craig Oftedahl said the district has 33
SchoolWarroad cases, or 1,320 pounds, of Hallmark-Westland ground beef. “The meat we have doesn’t match up with any recall numbers,” Oftedahl said. He added that the district hasn’t notified parents about the situation for that reason and also its Hallmark/Westland groundofanyservedbecause the district hasn’t beef.

The district is currently waiting to find out what the next course of action will be. “We’ll do what we’re told,” Oftedahl said.

MCC Schools Superintendent Ron Paggen said the district is holding onto a 40-pound case of that matches the recall numbers. “To the best of ourmeatHallmark/Westland knowledge, we haven’t used any of the meat,” said Paggen, who noted that the district throws away its empty meat boxes.

Larry Guggisberg, superintendent of the
Roseau School District, said that he has been informed by the district’s food service supervisor that the district doesn’t have any with Hallmark/Westland. He said the district didn’t havearrangementsvending any ground beef on hand from Hallmark/Westland nor any products made by the company at the time of the initial hold.

On Jan. 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture placed “an administrative hold” on Hallmark/Westland products. That hold has been extended until Tuesday, Feb. 19. In January, the USDA also indefinitely suspended the company’s ability to supply meat to the National School Lunch Program, and other federal food and nutrition programs.
On Jan. 30, the Minnesota Department of Education was notified about the matter. Following recommendations from the USDA, MDE then placed a hold on all beef products from the company and alerted
Minnesota school districts to hold any beef products that they had from the company.

That suspension came after the Humane Society of America released a video allegedly showing Hallmark/Westland workers “using sticks, electric prods and water hoses to force downers to stand on their feet to pass USDA inspection. Downers, cows that are too old or too sick to stand on their own feet, are likely to harbor health risks such as mad cow disease and pathogens. The USDA has regulations that prohibit downers from being processed into meat for human use,” according to

Hallmark/Westland voluntarily stopped its operations on Feb. 1. Three days later, the Food Safety and Inspection Service suspended inspections at the company. A USDA press release noted that the notice of suspension is “a regulatory course of action available when FSIS finds egregious violations of humane handling regulations.” The FSIS found that the company had insufficient procedures to handle all animals humanely. As a result, the company won’t be allowed to operate until FSIS can verify that the company has taken corrective action. An FSIS official said Feb. 8 that the FSIS had been unable to substantiate the Humane Society of America’s claims so far, but FSIS was still investigating the group’s claims.

Alan L. Maki

Member, State Central Committee, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541


Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


GR schools holding 10 tons of recalled beef

Posted by Barton Deiters | The Grand Rapids Press February 17, 2008 21:15PM

GRPS Food Service Director Paul Baumgartner walks through a freezer at the school district's nutrition center Monday where they have some of the recalled meat set aside to be destroyed.
Posted 11:27 a.m. Monday None of the three major grocery chains are impacted by the beef recall. The Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walker-based Meijer Inc. and Spartan Stores Inc., the Byron Township-based grocery distributor that owns D&W Fresh Market and Family Fare stores, reported they do not distribute any product from the packing company and are not affected by the recall.

Posted 9:15 p.m. Sunday
GRAND RAPIDS -- In a freezer at the Grand Rapids Public Schools food service facility sits 20,000 pounds of hamburger that will never rest on a bun.

The meat, bought through a contract with the federal government, is part of a recall by a California meatpacker being investigated for abusing its cattle.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co.

Cattle is seen at Hallmark Meat Packing Co. on Jan. 30 in Chino, Calif.

Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats. No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat likely was small.

Area school districts were made aware of a potential problem two weeks ago, when the USDA sent out a notice telling them not to use the meat until further notice, according to Paul Baumgartner, director of nutrition services for Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Baumgartner said the USDA provided lot numbers for the meat, which was sold under a variety of brand names, and the district separated the meat out.

He said this is typical operating procedure for school districts throughout West Michigan.

"As soon as the notices go out, we're calling each other and taking the same action," Baumgartner said.

Westland/Hallmark meats, according to food service director John Henry. Wyoming Public Schools nutrition director Mike Slager would not comment on whether his district used the meat, but said he was aware of the possible recall for more than two weeks.

West Ottawa Public Schools had some meat it had to set aside and, like other districts, has procedures in place whenever they receive notifications of recalls or possible problems, according to Sara Scheuermann, director of child nutrition and food service.

"This is something we all take very seriously," she said.

The hamburger was part of a variety of meats provided through the USDA's high-volume contracts in the National School Lunch Program. The affected meat was primarily used by schools, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Meijer Inc. spokeswoman Stacie Behler said the grocery retailer never sold any of the meat.

McDonald's and Burger King said it did not use Westland/Hallmark meats, and a pair of West Coast-based fast food chains, Jack-In-the-Box and In-N-Out, stopped using the meat. Neither has locations in West Michigan.

Federal officials suspended operations at Westland/Hallmark after an undercover Humane Society video surfaced showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts.

A Humane Society video shows cows being abused at a slaughterhouse

Two former employees were charged Friday. Five felony counts of animal cruelty and three misdemeanors were filed against a pen manager. Three misdemeanor counts -- illegal movement of a nonambulatory animal -- were filed against an employee who worked under that manager. Both were fired.

Authorities said the video showed workers kicking, shocking and otherwise abusing "downer" animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse. Some animals had water forced down their throats, San Bernardino County prosecutor Michael Ramos said.

No charges have been filed against Westland, but an investigation by federal authorities continues.

Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably has already been eaten.

"We don't know how much product is out there right now. We don't think there is a health hazard, but we do have to take this action," said Dr. Dick Raymond, USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety.

Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease because they typically wallow in feces and their immune systems are often weak.

Baumgartner of the Grand Rapids Public Schools said the USDA inspects the meat after it is processed and it detected no diseases or contamination in the meat from Westland/Hallmark.

Baumgartner said he hopes the USDA will replace or reimburse schools fully for the lost meat.

"For us this is a significant amount of money," Baumgartner said.

Nonetheless, he said, students will not notice any interruption in service as the district either changes its menu or substitutes meat from other sources.

Federal lawmakers on Thursday had called for the Government Accountability Office to investigate the safety of meat in the National School Lunch Program.

Upon learning about the recall, some legislators criticized the USDA, saying the federal agency should conduct more thorough inspections to ensure tainted beef doesn't get to the public.

Advocacy groups also weighed in, noting the problems at Westland wouldn't have been revealed had it not been for animal right activists.

"On the one hand, I'm glad that the recall is taking place. On the other, it's somewhat disturbing, given that obviously much of this food has already been eaten," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union. "It's really closing the barn door after the cows left."

Press wire services contributed to this story.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

President Bush Is A Liar And A Fascist

Countdown Special Comment on FISA: President Bush Is A Liar And A Fascist

video_wmv Download | Play video_mov Download | Play

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on today’s Countdown was a scathing rebuke of President Bush for continuing to play the fear card, trying to scare the hell out of the American people and vowing to veto any FISA legislation that does not contain telecom amnesty.

You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.

And your minions like John Boehner — your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happen to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them — they should just keep walking, out of Congress and if possible, out of the country.

For they — and you, sir — have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The lot of you, are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic, to whom “Freedom” is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for, when you want to get away with its opposite.

Thus, Mr. Bush, your panoramic invasion of privacy is dressed up as “protecting America.”

Full transcripts below the fold:

Democrats in the House of Representatives are closing the shop down tonight, until a week from Monday… leaving President Bush twisting slowly in a wind of his own creation.

Our third story on the Countdown: the FISA bill — and the retroactive immunity for the telecom giants that helped Mr. Bush illegally eavesdrop on Americans — will thus just sit there, unacted upon, not even a temporary extension which the Republicans and Mr. Bush refused, despite the President’s threats that if the bill isn’t passed by Saturday, there’d be a breakdown in counter-terrorism surveillance and plagues of locusts and stuff.

A Special Comment, in a moment.

First the details.

House Democrats, in essence, calling the Republicans’ bluff.

They staged a walkout at mid-day… led by John Boehner, who in one act managed the cheesy political theater, and managed to get out just as Representatives were to vote on Contempt of Congress citations against Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten.

That the Republicans just happened to walk to a stand-full of microphones… pure coincidence.

The President had started all this, with his now-daily message of fear, with what he apparently sees as a threat, to postpone his scheduled trip to Africa.

The House should not leave Washington without passing the Senate bill. I am scheduled to leave tomorrow for a long-planned trip to five African nations. Moments ago, my staff informed the House leadership that I’m prepared to delay my departure, and stay in Washington with them, if it will help them complete their work on this critical bill. The lives of countless Americans depend on our ability to monitor terrorist communications.

Having lost, he now says he’s going to Africa — another threat, or promise, unfulfilled.

Now, as promised, a Special Comment.

A part of what I will say, was said here on January 31st.

Unfortunately it is both sadder and truer now, than it was, then.

“Who’s to blame?” Mr. Bush also said this afternoon, “Look, these folks in Congress passed a good bill late last summer… The problem is, they let the bill expire. My attitude is: if the bill was good enough then, why not pass the bill again?”

You know, like The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

Or Executive Order 90-66.

Or The Alien and Sedition Acts.

Or Slavery.

Mr. Bush, you say that our ability to track terrorist threats will be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger.

Yet you have weakened that ability!

You have subjected us, your citizens, to that greater danger!

This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough even for you to understand.

For the moment, at least, thanks to some true patriots in the House, and your own stubbornness, you have tabled telecom immunity, and the FISA act.


By your own terms and your definitions — you have just sided with the terrorists.

You got to have this law or we’re all going to die.

But practically speaking, you vetoed this law.

It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an Ex Post Facto law, which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive, and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn’t even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared.

“The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America.” Believed?

Don’t you know?

Don’t you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you?

Does this endless presidency of loopholes and fine print extend even here?

If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business — come out and say it!

There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend.

You’re a fascist — get them to print you a t-shirt with “fascist” on it!

What else is this but fascism?

Did you see Mark Klein on this newscast last November?

Mark Klein was the AT&T Whistleblower, the one who explained in the placid, dull terms of your local neighborhood I-T desk, how he personally attached all AT&T circuits — everything — carrying every one of your phone calls, every one of your e-mails, every bit of your web browsing into a secure room, room number 641-A at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.

Not some of it, not just the international part of it, certainly not just the stuff some spy — a spy both patriotic and telepathic — might able to divine had been sent or spoken by — or to — a terrorist.


Every time you looked at a naked picture.

Every time you bid on eBay.

Every time you phoned in a donation to a Democrat.

“My thought was,” Mr. Klein told us last November, “George Orwell’s 1984. And here I am, forced to connect the big brother machine.”

And if there’s one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, is that he is — you are — a liar.

“This Saturday at midnight,” you said today, “legislation authorizing intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications will expire. If Congress does not act by that time, our ability to find out who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning, will be compromised…You said that “the lives of countless Americans depend” on you getting your way.

This is crap.

And you sling it, with an audacity and a speed unrivaled even by the greatest political felons of our history.

Richard Clarke — you might remember him, sir, he was one of the counter-terror pro’s you inherited from President Clinton, before you ran the professionals out of government in favor of your unreality-based reality — Richard Clarke wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.”

You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.

And your minions like John Boehner — your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happen to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them — they should just keep walking, out of Congress and if possible, out of the country.

For they — and you, sir — have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The lot of you, are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic, to whom “Freedom” is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for, when you want to get away with its opposite.

Thus, Mr. Bush, your panoramic invasion of privacy is dressed up as “protecting America.”

Thus, Mr. Bush, your indiscriminate domestic spying becomes the focused monitoring, only of “terrorist communications.”

Thus, Mr. Bush, what you and the telecom giants have done, isn’t unlawful, it’s just the kind of perfectly legal, passionately patriotic thing for which you happen to need immunity!

Richard Clarke is on the money, as usual.

That the President was willing to veto this eavesdropping, means there is no threat to the legitimate counter-terror efforts underway.

As Senator Kennedy reminded us in December:

“The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity.

No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he’s willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.”

And that literally cannot be.

Even Mr. Bush could not overtly take a step that actually aids the terrorists.

I am not talking about ethics here.

I am talking about blame.

If the President seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it means we can safely conclude… there is no baby.

Because if there were, sir, now that you have vetoed an extension of this eavesdropping, if some terrorist attack were to follow…

You would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists…

You would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people…

You would not merely be guilty of stupidity…

You would not merely be guilty of treason, sir…

You would be personally, and eternally, responsible.

And if there is one thing we know about you, Mr. Bush, one thing that you have proved time and time again… it is that you are never responsible.

As recently ago as 2006, we spoke words like these with trepidation.

The idea that even the most cynical and untrustworthy of politicians in our history — George W. Bush — would use the literal form of terrorism against his own people — was dangerous territory. It seemed to tempt fate, to heighten fear.

We will not fear any longer.

We will not fear the international terrorists — we will thwart them.

We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety — we will call it what it is: terrorism.

We will not fear identifying the vulgar hypocrites in our government — we will name them.

And we will not fear George W. Bush.

Nor will we fear because George W. Bush wants us to fear.