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Showing posts from February 24, 2008

In Defense of Academic Freedom | 12 October 2007 | Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago

The Seventeen Traditions, Ralph Nader, 2007

Click here to launch RealPlayer. Website here, along with an interview (Windows Media).

Here are the seventeen traditions:

1. The Tradition of Listening 2. The Tradition of the Family Table 3. The Tradition of Health 4. The Tradition of History 5. The Tradition of Scarcity 6. The Tradition of Sibling Equality 7. The Tradition of Education and Argument 8. The Tradition of Discipline 9. The Tradition of Simple Enjoyments 10. The Tradition of Reciprocity 11. The Tradition of Independent Thinking 12. The Tradition of Charity 13. The Tradition of Work 14. The Tradition of Business 15. The Tradition of Patriotism 16. The Tradition of Solitude 17. The Tradition of Civics

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Re-enacted. Not quite up to Obama-Clinton, of course -- no questions about diamonds vs. pearls -- but somewhat interesting, nonetheless:
1st Debate: Transcript | Video 2nd Debate: Transcript | Video 3rd Debate: Transcript | Video 4th Debate: Transcript | Video 5th Debate: Transcript | Video 6th Debate: Transcript | Video 7th Debate: Transcript | Video

Nader Announces Running Mate: Green Matt Gonzalez

Adapted from a campaign e-mail:
This morning, Ralph will appear on C-Span's Washington Journal from 8:00 to 8:30 EST (launches RealPlayer; this is really excellent).
Matt and Ralph will be interviewed on KQED (RealPlayer) radio from 12 noon to 1 p.m. EST.And Ralph will appear Monday on the Lou Dobbs Radio Show from 3:10 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ESTLast night, Ralph and Matt appeared before a young and energetic crowd at George Washington University. C-Span taped that event and it will air on C-Span sometime soon.

Pew Center: One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008

The Land of the Free.

Click on the title to read more and to access the full report.

From Democracy Now:
Record 1 in 100 Americans Behind BarsA new report has found that a record one in 100 American adults are behind bars. According to the Pew Center, the prison population has grown by 25,000 even though the rate of violent crimes has decreased. One in one hundred black women are jailed compared to one in three hundred and fifty white women. One in thirty six Hispanic men and one in fifteen Black men are in jail or prison. The US has the highest rate of prisoners in the world with more than two point three million people behind bars.The graphic is from the Kansas City Star.

The Three Trillion Dollar War: Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard Economist Linda Bilmes on the True Cost of the US Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

Click the title of this post for the 40-minute interview on Democracy Now. The guests are total morons, as you can see:
Joseph Stiglitz, Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics. He is a professor at Columbia University and the former chief economist at the World Bank. He is the co-author of the new book The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.Linda Bilmes, Professor of public finance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is co-author of the new book The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.

Remembering Orson Welles, by Gore Vidal

A classic essay, and ultimately a very moving tribute to a dead friend. Vidal marshals his prodigious literary talent to evoke both the man and his last screenplay, never filmed, a poignant posthumous gift and act of artistic generosity.

The end of this essay is pure Welles; touchingly, and fittingly, Vidal puts his own persona aside and leaves the stage to the great magician.

The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever

I didn't even try to figure this one out, but I thought I'd post the puzzle, the solution, a very recent analysis of an error in the original puzzle, a fix to that, and an even more elegant solution to the fixed puzzle. I can barely follow the logic when it's in front of me -- I have to read it very, very slowly, and repeatedly!

But it's very interesting. Give it a try! If you solve it on your own, my hat is off to you.
Original puzzle/solution.Very recent analysis, etc.Another issue: if you can explain to me how an article with a publication date of April, 2008, can be available in February, 2008, I'll be even more impressed!

Russian election is Putin's power play

This is obvious enough. Why we shouldn't reflect on how "managed" our own elections [sic] are strikes me as the more pertinent, and honest, question. Easy to criticize others; tougher to criticize yourself.

Further, exactly how US and EU policies have set the stage for someone like Putin to become as popular and powerful as he is (without ignoring homegrown motivations) seems to go unanalyzed. For example, if Bush is actually serious about not threatening Russia, and not believing Russia to be a threat to peace, as he recently said, well, there's an easy solution: give them the anti-missile technology, too. In fact, give it to China as well. Then, everyone's happy and we can concentrate on the "evil doers."

No one is going to do that: not Obama, Hillary, McCain or anyone else the owners will let near the highest position in middle management in the country. Obviously, no one is really concerned about Iran launching nuclear missiles against anyone: they…

Anyone interested in getting involved in a new journal on (and for) social movements?

Hello, everyone!

Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements is about to launch. Blurb; and pasted below. I'm the North American editor, and part of my job is to seduce the unwary into either writing for the journal, serving on the N.A. editorial board (i.e., we help each other edit, get submissions, shape the N.A. section, etc.), or even volunteering to be webmaster for the whole thing. We've got someone who's doing it now but who can't commit permanently.

Please contact me at, and feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested. If you're not in North America but still want to get involved, please email


Doug Tarnopol
The development and increased visibility of social movements in the last few years, has made it clear just how much knowledge movements generate. This knowledge is generated across the globe, and in many contexts and a variety of ways.

We are activists from different movements and dif…

Dominic Lawson: Obama must beware of turning into a cult

Couldn't have said it better myself; best part of the essay is the last few paragraphs. Exactly my concern. It's not the religiosity that bothers me -- though I think it's mostly vote-getting bullshit -- it's the Dear-Leader-worship that is truly scary.

Key quote, my emphasis below:
[Obama] also wrote that for Democrats to shun religiosity is "bad politics" adding: "When we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts ... others will fill the vacuum." Well, if there ever was such a vacuum, Barack Obama is filling it now. As he will certainly have anticipated, many erstwhile Republican voters are seduced by this form of rhetoric and have been indicating that they will vote for Obama. In fact, he has invented a word for these voters: he calls them "Obamicans".It is interesting that this seems to have been an unmitigated benefit. Not only has Obama successfully made an appeal to Republicans who viewed other Democrats as godless, but …

Audio: Finkelstein at Birkbeck College (University of London)

From NF's site:Topic: "How can we help the Palestinian cause?"

01.23.2008 | Indymedia UK

On Wednesday 23rd January, The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) hosted a workshop entitled "How can UK Residents Help the Palestinian Cause?" The guest speaker was Norman Finkelstein, and this audio is a record of the event. The first part consists of Finkelstein's Introductory remarks, and Part 2 is a recording of the workshop, and a short Q&A session. Finkelstein's introductory remarks - mp3 (58MB)How can we help the Palestinian cause? - mp3 (79MB) During the workshop, Norman Finkelstein recommends 4 books as good introductory texts to the conflict. They are:

1) Noam Chomsky - Fateful Triangle
2) Robert Fisk - Pity the Nation
3) Benny Morris - Righteous Victims ("good up until 1956")
4) Zeev Maoz - Defending the Holy Land

If you're thinking of reading them, try ordering them through your public library.

Link to the Hebron report refe…

Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Political Culture, Noam Chomsky

A classic work by Chomsky, free and online, courtesy of the Chomster and Z; click the title to read.

Not only is this of historical interest, but in the glare of a New Camelot, a new criminal war (the latest of many), and a new distracting conspiracy-theory industry (on 9/11), it helps to see how little changes among the self-described "liberal doves," and in American political culture in general.

Foreign Policy: How to Break a Terrorist

Wow, you mean real life isn't like TV? But I thought 24 was a documentary? Lots could be said about what this guy has to say, and about interrogation procedures, etc. But one thing is clear: torture is not only unnecessary but also counterproductive. Not that such testimony as this, whatever else you may think of it, will stop commissars like Alan Dershowitz from spouting off, despite the fact that relevant representatives of his Holy State (I mean, Israel, not the US, his other Holy State) dismiss "ticking time bomb" as fulsome bullshit.

(Of course, he's now writing an opera, so he's a Renaissance man.)
How do you make a terrorist talk? Veteran FBI interrogator Jack Cloonan has broken some of al Qaeda’s toughest operatives. In this special interview with FP, he shares some of his methods for making a terrorist tell all. In the first video below, Cloonan explains that there’s more than one way to make a terrorist cry: But what about the worst of the worst? And what …

El Baradei and Iran's nuclear issues

From The Real News Network:
Aijaz Ahmad commentary: Western calls for sanctions against Iran ignore IAEA reportTuesday February 26th, 2008Based in New Delhi, Aijaz Ahmad is The Real News Network Senior News Analyst, Senior Editorial Consultant, and political commentator for the Indian newsmagazine, Frontline. He has taught Political Science, and has written widely on South Asia and the Middle East.

A Personal Message From Noam Chomsky on Z, February 13, 2008

For more accolades of Z, click the title or look at the first comment.

We live in an era of media concentration, vast efforts on many fronts (political, economic, military, ideological) to insulate state and private power from critical discussion or even popular awareness, and to reduce citizens to isolated atomized creatures restricted to satisfying personal 'created wants.' This massive and coordinated campaign has been partially successful, but only in a limited way.

The range and scope and dedication of popular activism has also increased, all over the world, reaching a level of international solidarity and mutual support that has never been seen before. The basic conflicts are very old, but they have taken quite dramatic and significant new forms, and the stakes are far higher than ever before. It is, regrettably, no exaggeration to say that the survival of the species is at risk -- and many others with it. We all know why.

The popular movements are the hope for a decent fut…

Nader's Running

February 25, We had a great launch yesterday.Ralph Nader appeared on Meet the Press with Tim Russert.Major media outlets throughout the world ran headlines about Ralph’s historic challenge to the corporations that dominate our society.And the names, the volunteers, the money started to flow.Now, we’re starting to build a national organization to get Ralph on the ballot so that together we can challenge the corporate political parties in this momentous election year.Ralph has been on major television news outlets already today. He’s scheduled to be on CNN’s Anderson Cooper tonight at 10 p.m. We want to thank all of you for your encouragement and support. Now, we need you – our loyal supporters – to spread the word, volunteer, and donate as generously as you can. And if you haven’t already, take the Civics Test we posted yesterday on See how you do.OnwardThe Nader Team PS: Remember to forward this message to your friends. If you received this me…


Seems to make sense to me:
The Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries ("CPLC;" made up of: Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, St. Thomas and Prince Islands, East Timor) must be a community of Peace and as such an example for the world. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet reached a time in which Peace can be guaranteed without the use of Peace-keeping police and military forces. Obviously, true Peace is beyond such strategies. It must be, above all, the result of a continued activism within the civic and cultural spheres. However, in order for such activism to be effective, it is fundamental to guarantee minimal conditions of security and stability.

The recent attempt to the lives of Ramos Horta and Xanana Gusmão in East Timor left it once more clear that there is an imperative need for a Peace-keeping police and military force that, under the auspices of the UN, may act with the resources of the CPLP and with the efficacy, impartiality, independenc…

The Nuke Situation in Iran: Straight from the IAEA's Mouth

22 February 2008 | Latest Iran Safeguards Report Delivered to IAEA Board.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei today circulated his latest report on nuclear safeguards in Iran to the Agency´s Board of Governors, the 35-member policymaking body.Full StoryVideo:Q & A with IAEA Director General on Activities in IranAudio: Q & A with IAEA Director General on Activities in Iran:
- Verification of Outstanding Issues
- Monitoring of Iran´s Nuclear Programme
- Measures to Build ConfidenceTranscript of VideoFollow up here; primary sources!

Anatomy of a Liberal Interventionist

Here's Obama's senior foreign policy advisors, Samantha Power -- a perfect example of a liberal apologist:
Samantha Power v. Jeremy Scahill: A Debate on U.S. Actions in the Balkans, the Independence of Kosovo, the Iraq Sanctions and Humanitarian InterventionBarack Obama’s Senior Foreign Policy Adviser Samantha Power on Obama’s Call to Increase the Pentagon’s Budget, Hugo Chavez, Funding the Iraq Occupation and Attacking PakistanTo laugh out loud at her smarmy, wholly inauthentic mode, forward to 16 minutes, 11 seconds on the second link. I literally laughed out loud at her.

Update:Here's a good piece on Power and power from Znet, and here's the Charlie Rose interview. I can't take the time to point out every false piece of "conventional wisdom" herein. It should be obvious; it's really disgusting:

Why the McCain-Iseman Story Matters

Nothing to do with sex -- who cares about such trivial matters?

I'm talking corruption. You know, things that actually matter.

Click the following for DN! on this: Behind the John McCain Lobbying Scandal: A Look at How McCain Urged the Federal Communications Commission to Act on Behalf of Paxson Communications.

More here: new developments. And this:
New Questions Raised Over McCain Lobbying StoryIn news on John McCain’s run for the White House, Newsweek has uncovered more information on the McCain lobbying scandal. Last week McCain issued a sweeping denial to rebut a New York Times story about his ties to a Washington lobbyist. According to the Times, McCain wrote two letters to the Federal Communications Commission regarding Paxson Communications, a client of the lobbyist Vicki Iseman. At the time, McCain served as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. Last week, McCain said he never spoke to anybody from Paxson or the lobbying firm about the matter. But that claim seems to be cont…