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COLUMN NINETY, MAY 1, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
Portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a
news, discussion and debate service of the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It
says it aims to provide varied material of interest to people
on the Left.
Heretofore, we were under the impression that Portside is the Internet's voice of the Left. But it turns out to be the Internet's voice of the fundamentalist Far-Left, which, like all fundamentalist organizations, adheres to an orthodoxy and consequently refuses to post dissident or differing opinions from within the Left---such as HATE YOUR GOVERNMENT BUT LOVE YOUR COUNTRY, available to be read in SECTION ONE of COLUMN SEVENTY. Fundamentalists, like fascists, will not tolerate any disagreements or variations from the fundamentalist orthodoxy.
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Subject: Fill 'er up with Krispy Kreme
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 20:33:44 -0500
Fill 'er up with Krispy Kreme
By Katharine Mieszkowski, Salon
March 27, 2003; AlterNet
Jeffrey Miottel, 36, of San Rafael, Calif., drives a cream-colored, 1984 Mercedes 300TD that inspires hunger pangs. If you're stuck in traffic behind him, you won't be choking on diesel exhaust -- instead, you might find yourself wondering if you've left an old restaurant takeout bag under the back seat. Miottel, a contractor and environmentalist, makes his own fuel from used grease recycled from local Marin County restaurants.
"I haven't been to a gas station since last May," he brags.
Fueling up on biodiesel gives his car's emissions the pungent aroma of whichever kitchen the oil came from. "We were using oil from an Indian place one time, and it smelled like cinnamon chai coming out of the tailpipe," says Miottel. "When we use sesame oil from this organic-chip manufacturer, it smells like you're a walking stir-fry." His favorite source to cadge grease from: sushi bars, because tempura grease comes out of the fryer relatively clean, making it easy to work with.
Miottel's Mercedes gets only 25 miles per gallon, but driving it is better for the environment and air quality
than using petroleum diesel. Plus, no one ever went to war in the Middle East over French fry grease. ##
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Subject: Intolerance In a Time of War
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 20:32:35 -0500
Intolerance In a Time of War
By Brian Willoughby, Tolerance.org
March 28, 2003
And so it begins, the intolerance of war. Already this week, even before the bombs began dropping, it had reared its ugly head. Consider an incident in the Houston area, where a woman of French descent who has lived in the United States for 23 years, a retired real estate agent, found these words spray-painted in red on her garage door: "Scum go back to France."
The words are part of a wave of anti-France animosity, based on France's refusal to support our nation's unilateral march toward war. Francoise Thomas discovered the words Saturday morning. Some neighbors rallied to her side, painting over the hateful graffiti and bringing Thomas flowers and chocolates. She and
others wonder if a neighbor did it. Who else, they ask, know Thomas is from France? ##
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ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF BUSH'S CLASS WARFARE
Subject: Don't Take Away My Overtime Pay
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2003 19:03:46 -0500
March 27, 2003
The Bush Administration today proposed changing federal overtime rules and eroding the 40-hour workweek-- reducing overtime protections and cutting the pay of hundreds of thousands of America's workers. ##
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AND NOT A DROP TO DRINK
Subject: Busting the Water Cartel
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 21:28:57 -0500
Busting the Water Cartel
A Report From Inside the Activist Coalition at the World Water Forum
By Holly Wren Spaulding, Special to CorpWatch
March 27, 2003
Kyoto - The conveners of the third World Water Forum, the World Water Council and Global Water Partnership, tried hard last week to sell the idea that there is a consensus behind their control, distribution and conservation of the world's water. But efforts to turn the Forum into a thinly veiled commercial for corporate solutions to the global water crisis backfired. Instead, many delegates were convinced by arguments put forward citizens' groups framing the water debate as a human rights issue.
The third meeting of the World Water Forum (WWF), held from March 16th to 22nd in Kyoto, Japan, comes at a time when there is growing alarm over the scarcity of water worldwide -- a crisis that is only expected to get worse. It also comes as there are fierce battles being fought over who should control this precious resource. One vision, put forward by major corporations trying to make a buck on water services, and their governmental allies, is that water is a valuable commodity to be controlled by the market. The other, sees water as a basic human and environmental right, to be protected by communities and people around the globe.
The Water Barons Control the Show, or Do They? The schmooze fest between high-ranking government ministers from around the world, and the emerging water cartel including industry giants such as Suez and Vivendi of France, and the German-British conglomerate RWE-Thames, was also a preview of what to expect at the upcoming WTO summit in Cancun, Mexico this September. However, the Water Forum's primary goal was to promote the privatization of water resources, especially by endorsing public-private partnerships in both the north and the south.
The aggressive corporate campaign for control the world's water has activists concerned. The World Water Forum is "greenwashing, poor washing, and hope dashing," noted Anuradha Mittal of Food First, an Oakland,
California-based policy group. Mittal and other activists were appalled by workshops like "How Will the Poor Become Customers?"
Mittal was part of a broad coalition of over 30 organizations from some 27 different countries which came
together to challenge the drumbeat towards privatization at the World Water Forum. Summit organizers like to portray the WWF as an international body with a mandate to protect water resources. But human rights advocates charge that it is really an exclusive club accountable only to the demands of the market.
With room for dialogue blocked by the Forum process, activists decided to speak out at a panel of top executives from the leading water companies. The grand stage had been prepared with bamboo arrangements and massive video screens for the corporate presentation, but the twenty men on stage received a different kind of attention than the enthusiastic response they expected.
Grassroots activists took control of the discussion from the floor. Apart from telling the "suits" to go to hell,
speakers told story after story of the daily crises caused by water privatization in their countries. Among them was Briggs Mokolo of South Africa who is fighting to defend poor families whose water is cut off by private service providers. A Mexican activist from Cancun brought a plastic bottle of brackish tap water, which was dark brown and smelled of gasoline, to pass around the panel for inspection. ##
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WHEN HONESTY DOESN'T PAY
Subject: When Telling The Truth Will Get You Fired
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 21:30:03 -0500
Honesty: The Worst Policy When Telling The Truth Will Get You Fired From The Networks
By Doug Ireland
Tom Paine - Common Sense A Public Interest Journal
Mar 31 2003, Published on www.tompaine.com
When NBC -- which is owned by General Electric, a prime military-industrial complex contractor -- decided to fire Peter Arnett for the thought crime of plain speaking, it was undoubtedly responding both to pressure from the White House (which accused Arnett of "pandering" to the Iraqis) and to the imperatives of its MSNBC ratings chase against the gung-ho, pro-war frothers of Fox News.
What provoked Arnett's defenestration? In an interview he accorded on Sunday to Iraqi television (which an MSNBC spokesperson initially described as a "professional courtesy"), Arnett allowed as how media reports of civilian casualties in Iraq "help" the "growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war and also opposition to the war. The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another plan."
"The Americans don't want the independent journalists in Iraq."
Of course, these are rather commonsense observations of the sort that can be read daily in the pages of our
newspapers, and which even find their way onto U.S. television. Yet when NBC snatched the mic from Arnett's hands, on Monday morning CNN 's Jeff Greenfield rushed to endorse the veteran war correspondent's firing. Greenfield dismissed the notion of an anti-war movement whose challenge was "growing" -- as if the millions who have taken to the streets of major U.S. cities and the some 5,000 American civil disobedients who have so far been voluntarily arrested in "die-ins" and other nonviolent forms of political action -- part of the rising crescendo of protest on a scale not seen since the Vietnam war -- were not energized by the heart- rending accounts of civilians shredded by American bombs and bullets in an
unnecessary and obtusely-run war.
Greenfield accused Arnett of pro-Iraqi "propaganda." Well, Jeff, one should never judge a book by its reader -- and Arnett's matter-of-fact account of the effects of reports on civilian casualties revealed nothing not already known to your average news consumer, both here and abroad. Take Dexter Filkins' dispatch in the March 29 edition of The New York Times:
At the base camp of the Fifth Marine Regiment here, two sharpshooters, Sgt. Eric Schrumpf, 28, and Cpl. Mikael McIntosh, 20, sat on a sand berm and swapped combat tales. The marines said they had little trouble dispatching their foes, most of whom they characterized as ill-trained and cowardly. "We had a great day," Sergeant Schrumpf said. "We killed a lot of people.... We dropped a few civilians," Sergeant Schrumpf said, "but what do you do?" [In one incident], he recalled watching one of the women standing near the Iraqi soldier go down. "I'm sorry," the sergeant said. "But the chick was in the way."
The firing of Arnett is just one more example of the way in which the White House and Pentagon propaganda machines are trying to stifle independent reporting. Take the following account from Newsday, the respected large-circulation newspaper on Long Island, on how four reporters were arrested by American soldiers and expelled from the country after a harrowing period of custody in which they said they were mistreated and accused of being Iraqi spies.
The reporters -- Boaz Bismuth of the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Dan Scemama of Israel's Channel One television, and Luis Castro and Victor Silva of Radio Televisao Portuguesa -- had been traveling independently of the Army when they were detained at gunpoint on March 25, 62 miles from Baghdad. "It was really unpleasant," Bismuth was quoted as saying on one of Israel's main Hebrew-language news Web sites. "The Americans don't want the independent journalists in Iraq." ##
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