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Showing posts from November 9, 2008

Bailout Lacks Oversight Despite Billions Pledged, WaPo

Oh, my god, I'm so shocked that nothing at all has been done. Aren't you?

Key quote:
In the six weeks since lawmakers approved the Treasury's massive bailout of financial firms, the government has poured money into the country's largest banks, recruited smaller banks into the program and repeatedly widened its scope to cover yet other types of businesses, from insurers to consumer lenders.Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed."It's a mess," said Eric M. Thorson, the Treasury Department's inspector general, who has been working to oversee the bailout program until the newly created positio…

Don't Let Barack Obama Break Your Heart: Why Americans Shouldn't Go Home, by Tom Engelhardt

On the day that Americans turned out in near record numbers to vote, a record was set halfway around the world. In Afghanistan, a U.S. Air Force strike wiped out about 40 people in a wedding party. This represented at least the sixth wedding party eradicated by American air power in Afghanistan and Iraq since December 2001. American planes have, in fact, taken out two brides in the last seven months. And don't try to bury your dead or mark their deaths ceremonially either, because funerals have been hit as well. Mind you, those planes, which have conducted 31% more air strikes in Afghanistan in support of U.S. troops this year, and the missile-armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) now making almost daily strikes across the border in Pakistan, remain part of George W. Bush's Air Force, but only until January 21, 2009. Then, they -- and all the brides and grooms of Afghanistan and in the Pakistani borderlands who care to have something more than the smallest of private we…

Ralph Nader’s Statement on the Truncated Quotation Used by Shepard Smith on Fox News

Posted by Ralph Nader on Friday, November 7, 2008 at 07:40:00 PM Fox talk show host Shepard Smith repeated my question that was posed for Senator Barack Obama in an interview with Fox radio station KTRHHouston but deleted the last several words after giant corporations. The full question posed to Senator Obama that is his to answer in the coming months was as follows:He is our first African American president; or he will be. And we wish him well. But his choice, basically, is whether he’s going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations who are running America into the ground. Click this Hipcast link for audio of the entire interview:
Anyone who has worked in the areas of civil rights, economic justice, and health and safety over the decades knows that whenever minority candidates are elected to legislative offices, their minority constituents remain wary regarding whether the entrenched power structures are affecting these sel…

Obama: Wiping the Slate Clean, Medialens

Appearance And Reality In The Relaunch Of Brand America

In 1997, the British media filled with talk of “historic” change. Blair’s victory that year “bursts open the door to a British transformation,” the Independent declared. (Neal Ascherson, ‘Through the door he can begin to create a freer land,’ The Independent, May 4, 1997)

A Guardian leader saluted the nation: “Few now sang England Arise, but England had risen all the same.” (Leader, ‘A political earthquake,’ The Guardian, May 2, 1997)

The editors predicted that, by 2007, Blair’s triumph would be seen as “one of the great turning-points of British political history... the moment when Britain at last gave itself the chance to construct a modern liberal socialist order.” (Ibid)

The Observer assured readers that the Blair government would create "new worldwide rules on human rights" and implement "tough new limits on arms sales." (

This, after all, was the dawn of B…

John PIlger, Beware of the Obama hype. What 'change' in America really means

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger writes that the lauding of Barack Obama has a history and that 'historical moments' ought to be less about their symbolism and accompanying histrionics than what they really mean. The question is: what is Obama's true relation to unchanging American myths about the imposition of its notorious power?

My first visit to Texas was in 1968, on the fifth anniversary of the assassination of president John F Kennedy in Dallas. I drove south, following the line of telegraph poles to the small town of Midlothian, where I met Penn Jones Jr, editor of the Midlothian Mirror. Except for his drawl and fine boots, everything about Penn was the antithesis of the Texas stereotype. Having exposed the racists of the John Birch Society, his printing press had been repeatedly firebombed. Week after week, he painstakingly assembled evidence that all but demolished the official version of Kennedy’s murder.

This was journalism as it had been be…

"Thus Spoke The Spectacle" Sunday November 16, NYC

Hey all,

We hope this message finds everyone well. We'll be screening and discussing "Thus Spoke The Spectacle" this Sunday, November 16, at 1:30 as part of a symposium sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics. The symposium follows and relates to the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture this Friday night at the Princeton Club in New York City, given by renowned media scholar Douglas Rushkoff.
The symposium will take place on Saturday and Sunday at Fordham University, Lincoln Center campus, and is free and open to the public (with the exception of the dinner preceding Friday night's lecture). Our presentation on Sunday is in McMahon Hall, 60th St. between Columbus and Amsterdam. For more information on general semantics or the full list of speakers and locations for this weekend's lecture/symposium, see the institute's website at

Among other things, general semantics is concerned with the sanity of the human race. It was fo…

Wars, Bailouts, and Elections: Barsamian interviews Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky, internationally renowned MIT professor, practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice. Author of scores of books, his latest include Perilous Power, The Essential Chomsky, and What We Say Goes. I talked with him on September 10, 2008. BARSAMIAN: Given the unpopularity of Bush, the wars, and the tumbling economy, why isn't Obama way ahead of McCain? CHOMSKY: That's an interesting question. Most of the models that political scientists use predict that the Democrats should be way ahead. In fact, by and large they are way ahead, except on the presidential vote. So you have to look for other factors. One is probably race. It's well known that when people are asked on polls whether they have questions about racial prejudice, they deny that they have it. But when you see their behavior, you see that they're underestimating their own racial prejudice. Another element…