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Showing posts from October 19, 2008

Abu Nidal, notorious Palestinian mercenary, 'was a US spy', Robert Fisk, Oct 25, 2008

Secret papers claim the feared assassin was hired to find links between Saddam and al-Qa'ida. Robert Fisk reportsSaturday, 25 October 2008 Iraqi secret police believed that the notorious Palestinian assassin Abu Nidal was working for the Americans as well as Egypt and Kuwait when they interrogated him in Baghdad only months before the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Hitherto secret documents which are now in the hands of The Independent – written by Saddam Hussein's brutal security services for Saddam's eyes only – state that he had been "colluding" with the Americans and, with the help of the Egyptians and Kuwaitis, was trying to find evidence linking Saddam and al-Qa'ida. President George Bush was to use claims of a relationship with al-Qa'ida as one of the reasons for his 2003 invasion, along with Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. Western reports were to dismiss Iraq's claim that Abu Nidal commit…

Noam Chomsky on Myth and Fear in America

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed of American University has taken a sabbatical year with a team of young Americans to study the Muslim experience in the United States. The project is a 6 month continental journey throughout the US. They are meeting with politicians, students, professors, religious figures, etc.

Please be sure to track our journey at journeyintoamerica.wordpress.comAlso check out their YouTube channel.

Do We Really Need an Eighth-Grade SAT? Ben Paris

A guest essay by a friend. Ben wrote this back in August, but here's an article about this test in today's NYT. Feel free to comment or e-mail him directly. I'll send this link to him so he can respond; we'll figure it out.
This op-ed was not published anywhere, unfortunately.
Do We Really Need an Eighth-Grade SAT?Parents and teachers are appropriately mystified by the news that the College Board, the organization that brings you the SAT and the PSAT, is planning on introducing a new national exam for eighth-graders. But don't we have enough tests? What possible value could there be in taking one more? The answer, if you're a student, a teacher, or a parent, is "none." If you're the College Board, however, this new exam is dripping with marketing potential. You have to admire their creativity, but that's still no reason to stress out our children with yet another test.
The College Board claims that the new test would measure help students figure …

Words and terms that must die


Since the world sucks, and looks as though it will continue to suck for the foreseeable future, and since more than one person has asked for some comic relief, I thought we might amuse ourselves as Rome burns as follows.

I thought it might be fun to list terms/words people hate. If I may make a suggestion, please be as ornery (=funny) as possible.

So, I'll list a few:
Table -- as in, "on/off the table," "bring to the table," etc. I'm sick of this Platonic table already. Fuck the table.
To reach out to -- as in, "I'm going to reach out to X on that issue that's on the table." I only reach out to someone if I want to have some serious hardcore intimacy or if they're holding out a flotation device and I'm in the North Sea in February.
Beg(s) the question -- when used improperly. Begging the question does not mean raising a question -- as in, "Doug's little-read blog begs the question of why does he bother?" -- it in…

George Will Patronizing Colbert...And Citing the Wrong Adams Book

This is great. Watch this clip. At 6:20-ish, Will alludes to a famous quote of Henry Adams. The quote is, "Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds...." No, I don't care that Will paraphrased it. What I find funny is that Will was so busy patronizing Colbert, he attributed that quote to Adams' (hilarious, satirical) novel Democracy when it actually appears in the first chapter of The Education of Henry Adams. Dipshit.

Comment on Dowd's Powell Piece

Here is Dowd's opinion piece. My comment has yet to be allowed on the site, even though dozens of posts written later have already been posted. I assume it won't be posted, so here it is:

October 22, 2008 10:05 am

Powell sat in the UN and knowingly lied ( to the American people about a war of aggression. There's no coming back from that for me. He should be on trial, not feted by the supposedly transformational Obama. Or his supporters. This isn't about abortion rights or welfare -- both very important. This is about the supreme international crime, a war of aggression. We hanged Nazis and Japanese fascists for that.

So, by embracing a war criminal, Obama shows his foreign-policy credentials? I mean, after trouncing Hillary in the primaries for supposedly having the wrong judgment? That was before embracing Biden, the surge, Israel, and now Powell. I'm supposed to be impressed by this…

Red Alert: What went wrong in the capitalist casino, Tony Benn, Tribune

Tony Benn argues the credit crunch is the result of too much economic power ending up in too few hands“THE great inter-war slumps were not acts of God or of blind forces. They were the sure and certain result of the concentration of too much economic power in the hands of too few men. These men had only learned how to act in the interest of their own bureaucratically-run private monopolies which may be likened to totalitarian oligarchies within our democratic state, They had and they felt no responsibility to the nation.”These words are from the 1945 Labour manifesto Let Us Face The Future which brilliantly identified the very same crisis which is now described as a “credit crunch” as if it were a mere hiccup in an otherwise wonderful neo-liberal globalised world which could be corrected with a vast subsidy from the taxpayers to put the Wall Street casino and its partners worldwide back into profit. It reminded me of the fact that when slavery was abolished it was the slave owners, an…

Bernie Sanders, I-VT, on Bill Maher

This is what a socialist sounds like. Ooooooooo -- scawy! America, learn a little about socialism, already, will you? Find out who Eugene Debs is. Find out what he and the Socialist Party of America stood for. Stop your knee-jerk reactions already. Democratic socialism does not equal Marxism does not equal totalitarianism.

Like not having child labor? Thank the left. Like your weekends? Thank the left. Like civil rights? Thank the left. Like a fully expanded voter franchise (on paper at least)? Thank the left. Like some level of accountability for product safety, workers' safety? Thank the left. The list goes on and on.

Democratic socialism, libertarian socialism, anarchism -- these are frankly the species' only hope.

The Right's Final Attack: Obama is a Black Muslim, Anti-Christian Socialist Plotting with an Evil Jewish Billionaire, David Corn, Mother Jones

With less than three weeks to go before Election Day, time is running out on the rightwing effort to delegitimize Barack Obama. At the last debate between John McCain and Obama, McCain finally confronted his opponent directly with the Bill Ayers charge. It was a half-hearted effort: he noted that he didn't "care about an old washed-up terrorist" but insisted that "we need to know the full extent" of Obama's relationship with the former Weather Underground radical, who has since become an education expert. Though McCain succeeded in appeasing conservatives who demanded he pounce on the Ayers matter, the polling evidence has indicated that whining about Obama's casual association with Ayers has not yet become a winning tactic for McCain and Republicans trying to depict Obama as an untrustworthy pol outside the American mainstream. But Ayers is not the only ammo for rightwingers striving to brand Obama as anti-American. Various conservatives are pushing ot…

Nader on NBC Evening News

Here's more -- the web-only interview. Notice that the reporter is pretty hostile (not in tone, people, as if that mattered much), even pulling out the "socialism" boo-word at the end. Constantly hammering home that Nader is ineffective, should step aside, should step down. Nader handles it all very well, as per usual.

Roundtable on the Economy, Such as it Is

"Can We Save the Global Economy?"

Check out the archived video posted here

George Soros, global financier and philanthropist, founder and chairman of the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations network, and chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC.Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics and international business at the Stern School of Business, New York University.Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Moderated by John Roberts of CNN.An open and frank conversation on the breakdown of financial markets around the world and if we can save the global economy. Will the Wall Street bailout plan work? What steps need to be taken in Europe and Asia to stem the market’s downward spiral? Are we headed for a global recession? Three of the leading minds in global economics will discuss the options.

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The Idiots Who Rule America, Chris Hedges

Posted on Oct 20, 2008Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care and safeguarding individual rights. That it is still in power, and will remain in power after this election, is a testament to our inability to separate illusion from reality. We still believe in “the experts.” They still believe in themselves. They are clustered like flies swarming around John McCain and Barack Obama. It is only when these elites are exposed as incompetent parasites and dethroned that we will have any hope of restoring social, economic and political order. “Their inability to see the human as anything more than interest driven made it impossible for them to imagine an actively organized pool of disinterest called the public good,” said the Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul, whose books “The Unconscious Civilization” and “Voltaire’s Bastards” excor…

Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout: Pay and bonus deals equivalent to 10% of US government bail-out package

Should anyone be surprised by this?
Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism. The government's cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay would be curbed.Pay plans for bankers have been disclosed in recent corporate statements. Pressure on the US firms to review preparations for annual bonuses increased yesterday when Germany's Deutsche Bank said many of its leading traders would join Josef Ackermann, its chief executive, in waiving millions of euro…

Chomsky Says Pick the Lesser of Two Evils (If You're In a Swing State)

I was surprised to hear him mention that people have done better under Democrats than Republicans -- implying: over many decades -- not because it's false, but because I wonder whether that was the case over the past 30 years. Is it in fact true that people did better under Clinton than Reagan-Bush-Bush? And, if so, which people?

Anyway, I don't live in a swing state, so I'm voting for Nader. If I were in a swing state, especially with the addition of Palin, I'd think long and hard about it.

Misused words misrepresent facts, by Dr. Walter Ehrlich

An unpublished essay by Dr. Walter Ehrlich. Had I written it, I'd've put Obama in my sights as well -- in fact, the two candidates stances on Iraq are indistinguishable, once the rhetoric is peeled away -- but otherwise, I agree:

Over five years have passed since the United States invaded Iraq, but in the media and in our everyday discourse we still use inappropriate and misleading words for describing our actions there. Language itself has become a weapon in this conflict, a tool for misrepresenting vital problems and a way to mislead the country.

We hear and read every day, for example, that there is a "war" in Iraq. Senator John McCain promises to bring the boys home after 16 months, but only if the "war" has been won. The truth, however, is that after the first 6 weeks of the unprovoked invasion, the U.S. Army had already destroyed the badly outnumbered and outgunned Iraqi Army. It was five years ago that President George W. Bush, standing on a battleship…

Block the Vote, Greg Palast and RFK, Jr., Rolling Stone

Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president? ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. & GREG PALASTPosted Oct 30, 2008 11:10 AM • Video: Behind the Story With Kennedy Jr. and Palast
These days, the old west rail hub of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is little more than a dusty economic dead zone amid a boneyard of bare mesas. In national elections, the town overwhelmingly votes Democratic: More than 80 percent of all residents are Hispanic, and one in four lives below the poverty line. On February 5th, the day of the Super Tuesday caucus, a school-bus driver named Paul Maez arrived at his local polling station to cast his ballot. To his surprise, Maez found that his name had vanished from the list of registered voters, thanks to a statewide effort to deter fraudulent voting. For Maez, the shock was especially acute: He is the supervisor of elections in Las Vegas.Maez was not alone in being denied his right to vote. On Super Tuesday, one in nin…