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Showing posts from November 2, 2008

Change you can believe in: Bipartisan determination to hit Iran

Links and bracketed info added by yours truly.

November 3, 2008 Editorial Observer

New Beltway Debate: What to Do About Iran By CAROL GIACOMO It is a frightening notion, but it is not just the trigger-happy Bush administration discussing — if only theoretically — the possibility of military action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Of course, no president or would-be president ever takes the military option off the table, and Barack Obama and John McCain are no exception. What is significant is that inside Washington’s policy circles these days — in studies, commentaries, meetings, Congressional hearings and conferences — reasonable people from both parties are seriously examining the so-called military option, along with new diplomatic initiatives. One of the most thorough discussions is in a report by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, founded by four former senators — the Republicans Robert Dole and Howard Baker and Democrats Tom Daschle and George Mitchell — to devise…

New Afghan myths bode ill for western aims, Roderic Braithwaite, FT, 10/15/08

Think Obama, et al, will listen? Doubtful.
Published: October 15 2008 19:25 | Last updated: October 15 2008 19:25Afghanistan is a place of myths. One myth tells us that the British were defeated in their wars against Afghanistan; or, as an American official remarked recently: “The British screwed up there for two hundred years.”History tells us different. After losing one army in 1842, the British sent in the Army of Retribution which burnt villages, razed the centre of Kabul and hanged a lot of people. The second Afghan war ended in 1880 when another army captured Kabul, hanged more people and burnt more villages.The British aimed to reduce Afghanistan to a protectorate under a puppet leader with a British political adviser – the imperial formula that worked so well in India. Once they realised that it would not work for Afghanistan, they sensibly settled for their minimum objective – a monopoly of Afghan foreign policy which lasted for 80 years.The Russian military claim that they we…

No Title Necessary

Can Grassroots Movement that Propelled Obama to Victory Chart a Better Economy?

From Democracy Now!President-elect Barack Obama is moving swiftly to fill his administration and form his response to the economic crisis. Obama is expected to soon choose his Treasury Secretary and the two names reportedly at the top of the list are Lawrence Summers, who held the post during the Clinton administration and Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.In one of his first orders of public business since the election, Obama has convened an economic advisory board to meet today in Chicago. The group includes billionaire investor Warren Buffett, former presidential Cabinet officials and executives from various corporations including Xerox, Time Warner, Google and the Hyatt hotel company.This comes as more signs emerge that the nation will be facing a prolonged recession. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people receiving unemployment benefits has jumped to 3.8 million – the highest level since 1983. On Wall Street, the S&P 50…

Institute for Policy Studies: A Sensible Plan for Recovery

A Sensible Plan for Recovery(PDF)By Inequality and the Common GoodAuthor(s): Sarah Anderson, John Cavanagh, Chuck Collins, Dedrick Muhammad, Sam Pizzigati
Rebuilding Accountability and TrustThe grassroots blowback against the Bush Administration’s proposed Wall Street bailout is rooted in deep distrust. Americans recognize the need to act on our current crisis but detest the idea that ordinary taxpayers should bear the brunt of bailing out the kingpins of Wall Street.The following program, if incorporated into the bailout, could far better address our current problem’s root causes and restore trust and confidence in our economic system.Program Basics:• Fund a green stimulus for the real economy
• Restructure mortgages for families put at risk by predatory lenders
• Make Wall Street speculators pay for the bailout
• Shut down the global casino: Assert real oversight of financial markets
• Limit CEO pay and prohibit profiteering from the bailout

Why Did the Media Not Predict the Crash?

Panelists: Paul Lashmar is an investigative journalist and is currently undertaking a research project into the reporting in the UK of the sub-prime market prior to August 2007 for publication in Journalism Practice. He writes for various newspapers including the Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Evening Standard, and his specialist areas include terrorism, intelligence, organised crime, offshore crime, business fraud and the Cold War.Gillian Tett is an assistant editor of the Financial Times and oversees the global coverage of the financial markets. In 2007 she was awarded the Wincott prize, the premier British award for financial journalism, for her capital markets coverage. She was named British Business Journalist of the Year in 2008.Ann Pettifor is a political economist and author of The Coming First World Debt Crisis (Palgrave, 2006) and editor of The Real World Economic Outlook (Palgrave, 2003). She is a fellow of the new economics foundation (nef) in London and direc…

Nader, Obama, Uncle Toms, the Democrats, the War, and Reality vs. Postmodern Personas

In response to this clip --

-- Truthdig posted the following:
Not entirely sure how to unpack what exactly is going on in this startling exchange between Fox News’ Shepard Smith and third-party avenger Ralph Nader, but here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

It’s from election night, and an indignant (!) Smith appears to be attempting to school Nader (?!) on the unseemliness of invoking racially charged literary allusions when referring to America’s first black president-elect—especially, Smith suggests, when Nader is about to fade into obscurity.

Nader, meanwhile, maintains that it was perfectly valid for him to question, as he had earlier, whether Obama will be “Uncle Sam for the people of his country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations.” Just as Nader is about to further elaborate, Smith makes it clear that he has entered a nuance-free zone, and thus Nader’s final attempt to explain his statement is cut short.

Nader thinks Smith is a bully. Smith thinks Nader is kaput. We thi…

Neocons Plot to Co-Opt Obama, William Pfaff

My main problem with this analysis is the use of the term, "co-opt." Though the Kool-Aid drinkers have made Obama into their wish fulfillment, he wasn't the protege of Joe Lieberman for nothing. He's a hardline, cruise-missile liberal -- and not too far from the neocons. Just smarter: he knows that you need to have a nice smile to keep the masses happy while you rule the empire.

Word on the street in NYC: "I'm already disappointed" t-shirts are popping up.

President-Elect Obama and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy: A Roundtable Discussion

Along with Amy and Juan:
John Pilger, Australian investigative journalist, bestselling author, and documentary filmmaker. His latest book is Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire, and his most recent film is called The War on Democracy.Mahmood Mamdani, Professor of Government and Anthropology at Columbia University. He has written extensively on post-colonial African politics, and his most recent book is Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror. His latest article for The Nation magazine focuses on recent events in Darfur and is called “The New Humanitarian Order.”Ali Abunimah, author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and co-founder of The Electronic IntifadaLaura Carlsen, director of the Mexico City-based Americas Policy Program of the Center for International Policy. She has written extensively on US relations with Latin America.Tariq Ali, veteran journalist, commentator and activist. He was born in Lahore, Pakistan…

Nader's Concession Speech: Next Steps

Watch it on RealPlayer here.

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

-- Yogi Berra In this case, at the end of the road that is the presidential election, we do actually come to a fork. It's called Congress -- the House and the Senate. And we should follow Mr. Berra's famous advice and take that fork. Whomever President-elect Obama chooses for his various cabinet posts, chief of staff, and so on, he is now pretty much out of reach of the American people. To sway a vote to Nader/Gonzalez, one could speculate on Obama's potential appointees, given his campaign contributors, and the thick phalanx of former Clinton advisers and hawkish military types around him. Now is the time to rapidly shift the focus to Congress. Bringing our efforts to bear on Congress is the only way we can achieve a single-payer system of health care, a living wage comparable to that at the end of the 1960s -- $10 -- and a less belligerent foreign policy. In each Congressional district…

SPECIAL REPORT ON THE ELECTION OF 2008 prepared for No More Stolen Elections! by John Nichols

Appearing on the HBO talk show “Real Time With Bill Maher” a few weeks before Tuesday’s election, actor Tim Robbins urged voters to stand their ground when it came to demanding their right to vote:

“Refuse provisional ballots. They’re throwing those out. They can throw those out. If that’s your last resort, take it, but fight in the polling place to vote. It’s your right as an American. You have every right to vote if you’re registered. And if you’re not on the rolls and something went wrong, document it. Video cameras at polls are going to be an effective way to fight this Election Day.”

In an Orwellian twist on the actual Election Day, Robbins had to take his own advice. When he showed up at the New York City polling place where the politically-active actor has been voting for more than a decade, he was told that his name was not on the list of registered voters. So he refused to leave his polling place in Greenwich Village, even after an election worker suggested that the police migh…

Citizen Gore Vidal, Interview with David Barsamian, 11/3/08, In These Times

Elections won’t reverse the decline of American democracy, the prolific literary legend says Gore Vidal is one of the singular literary figures of this era. A scion of a political family, he grew up in a milieu of power and politics. Winner of the National Book Award in 1993 and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1982, Vidal is the author of scores of plays, screenplays and historical novels, including Lincoln and Julian. He also has written a number of bestselling nonfiction books, including Dreaming War, Imperial America and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. The Washington Post calls him “the master essayist of our age.” You have a role as a kind of Cassandra of the United States. A couple of years ago, you were talking about the impending economic collapse of the country.We’re in it. But my predictions — I’m a master of the obvious. If you spend money at this rate on an unjust war — and a war that will have no outcome favorable to us, ever — don’t be surprised. Bush is ins…

Obama and Dreams: A Reply to a Liberal Friend

Written last night in response to how moving it was that a young, black trick-or-treater dressed up as Michelle Obama, and how important the election (most likely) of a black man would be for the country:

I am happy to join with Chris today in what will go down in history (most likely) as a symbolic passage of limited, but real, significance for the progress of our nation.

Forty-five years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow I write tonight, gave a great oration in front of the Lincoln Memorial. This momentous speech came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of human beings who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end a long night of their suffering.

But forty-five years later, African Americans are still not equal. Forty-five years later, even with an African American about to ascend to the presidency, African Americans still suffer from a lower life expectancy, a higher incarceration rate, a higher infant mortality rat…

Avraham Burg: Israel's new prophet

Avraham Burg was a pillar of the Israeli establishment but his new book is causing a sensation. It argues that his country is an "abused child" which has become a "violent parent". And his solutions are radical, as he explains to Donald MacintyreClick the title for the whole article -- extremely interesting.