Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Does anyone know where George W. Bush is?

You don’t hear much from him anymore. The last image most of us remember is of the president ducking a pair of size 10s that were hurled at him in Baghdad.

We’re still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel is thrashing the Palestinians in Gaza. And the U.S. economy is about as vibrant as the 0-16 Detroit Lions.

But hardly a peep have we heard from George, the 43rd.
Party To Murder
By Chris Hedges —
Can anyone who is following the Israeli air attacks on Gaza—the buildings blown to rubble, the children killed on their way to school, the long rows of mutilated corpses, the wailing mothers and wives, the crowds of terrified Palestinians not knowing where to flee, and our callous indifference to this widespread human suffering—wonder why we are hated?

Gaza Clouds Obama’s Prospects
By Robert Scheer —
So, why didn’t they give peace a chance? Why did the leaders of Hamas and Israel not wait for the incoming U.S. president’s inauguration before mutually escalating hostilities?

How to live a useful life

Simple work, low paying but highly rewarding. We should all leave such a legacy. Service and purpose to you in 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

by Robert Dreyfuss:
As Israel presses its bloody assault on Gaza, it's clear that the country's actions are likely to bolster, not weaken, the very enemy it is fighting.
Blagojevich Names Obama Replacement
CHICAGO (Dec. 30) – Defying U.S. Senate leaders and his own state's lawmakers, Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder, praised the 71-year-old Burris' integrity and asked that the corruption allegations not "taint this good and honest man.

Reid Blasts Blagojevich For Making Pick

Blagojevich Pick Raised Money For The Governor

Monday, December 29, 2008

Olmert's Final Failure
By Jackson Diehl
Israel's new battle with Hamas in Gaza means that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will be remembered for fighting two bloody and wasteful mini-wars in less than three years in power.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Marty Peretz and the American political consensus on Israel
The New Republic Editor-in-Chief expresses anti-Arab hatred in the starkest terms possible, but are his policy views towards Israel any different from the standard American position?
by Glenn Greenwald
Jib Jab 2008 Year In Review

by Timothy Egan
Soon enough, the mess will be all Barack Obama’s. But in the holiday interregnum, the winter air is thick with excuses at the White House no-regret fest. The president has given 10 exit interviews, spinning an unnecessary war, the shredding of the Bill of Rights and an epic run of economic negligence as bold action taken with Churchillian fortitude.

by Frank Rich
Barack Obama’s disingenuous defense of his tone-deaf invitation to the Rev. Rick Warren is an asterisk to the joyous inaugural of our first black president.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Media Morons' War on Christmas

Bob Herbert: Stop Being Stupid
Over the past few decades, the American way has been to pay for things with money that wasn’t there. Americans must resolve to be smarter going forward.

Friday, December 26, 2008

President-elect Obama's Weekly Address Dec. 24, 2008

By Joe Conason —
To understand the philosophy of government that Dick Cheney brought to Washington over the past seven years, it is most instructive to see “Frost/Nixon,” with Frank Langella’s remarkable reanimation of Tricky Dick for a generation that never knew him.

by Aziz Huq:
Don't assume that the end of the Bush administration marks the end of the imperial presidency he established

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sean Hannity: Media Matters' 2008 Misinformer of the Year
As Media Matters for America has demonstrated time and again, Fox News' Sean Hannity has been a prolific and influential purveyor of conservative misinformation. But never has he so enthusiastically applied his talents for spreading misinformation as he did to the 2008 presidential race, focusing his energies primarily on President-elect Barack Obama
Harold Pinter Is Dead at 78

(from Wikipedia):
Pinter's Recent political views

For over the past two decades, in his essays, speeches, interviews, and literary readings, Pinter has focused increasingly on contemporaneous political issues. Pinter strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War, the United States's 2001 War in Afghanistan, and its 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

In accepting an honorary degree at the University of Turin (27 Nov. 2002), he stated: "I believe that [the United States] will [attack Iraq] not only to take control of Iraqi oil, but also because the American administration is now a bloodthirsty wild animal. Bombs are its only vocabulary." Distinguishing between "the American administration" and American citizens, he added the following qualification: "Many Americans, we know, are horrified by the posture of their government but seem to be helpless" (Various Voices 243). He has been very active in the current anti-war movement in the United Kingdom, speaking at rallies held by the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), which reprinted his Turin speech.[25]

Since then he has called the President of the United States, George W. Bush, a "mass murderer" and the (then) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, both "mass-murdering" and a "deluded idiot" and has described them, along with past U.S. officials, as "war criminals." He has also compared the Bush administration ("a bunch of criminal lunatics") with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, saying that, under Bush, the United States ("a monster out of control") strives to attain "world domination" through "Full spectrum dominance". Pinter characterized Blair's Great Britain as "pathetic and supine," a "bleating little lamb tagging behind [the United States] on a lead." According to Pinter, Blair was participating in "an act of premeditated mass murder" instigated on behalf of "the American people," who, Pinter notes, increasingly protest "their government's actions" (Public reading from War, as qtd. by Chrisafis and Tilden).

Pinter published his remarks to the mass peace protest demonstration held on 15 February 2003, in London, on his website: "The United States is a monster out of control. Unless we challenge it with absolute determination American barbarism will destroy the world. The country is run by a bunch of criminal lunatics, with Blair as their hired Christian thug. The planned attack on Iraq is an act of premeditated mass murder" ("Speech at Hyde Park"). Those remarks anticipate his 2005 Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth, & Politics", in which he observes: "Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force–yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish" (21).

In accepting the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry, on 18 March 2005, wondering "What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the conception of international law?", Pinter concluded: "I believe Wilfred Owen would share our contempt, our revulsion, our nausea and our shame at both the language and the actions of the American and British governments" (Various Voices 247-48).

In March 2006, upon accepting the Europe Theatre Prize, in Turin, Pinter exhorted the mostly European audience "to resist the power of the United States," stating, "I'd like to see Europe echo the example of Latin America in withstanding the economic and political intimidation of the United States. This is a serious responsibility for Europe and all of its citizens" (Qtd. in Anderson and Billington, Harold Pinter 428).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Price of Their Security
by Eugene Robinson
Understanding isn't the same as forgiving. The history-be-my-judge interviews that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been giving recently help me understand why they acted with such contempt for our Constitution and our values -- but also reinforce my confident belief, and my fervent hope, that history will throw the book at them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dick Cheney: Unplugged and Unglued
by Jeff Schweitzer
During a Fox News segment, Cheney calmly claimed that the president is not bound by law during times of war. Allow that thought to sink in for a moment

Sunday, December 21, 2008

White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire
The global financial system was teetering on the edge of collapse when President Bush and his economics team huddled in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a briefing that, in the words of one participant, “scared the hell out of everybody.”

by Peter Rothberg
President Bush may have hospitably welcomed his successor and his wife into the White House while promising a "transition of the highest order," but despite voters' overwhelming rejection of Republican ideology, his administration has been using its waning days in power to codify a host of harmful new pro-industry, anti-environmental rules and regulations.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hurled Shoes: Bush's Epitaph
by Robert Scheer
The loathing that led an Iraqi to hurl shoes at Bush serves as the world's final verdict on US folly in Iraq. It's also a caution for Obama as he ponders Afghanistan.
The Trouble With Appointing Caroline Kennedy
by John Nichols
Anyone who purports to be seriously concerned that an untested Caroline Kennedy might "inherit" the U.S. Senate seat from New York has not been paying attention.

You Can Never Have Too Many Kennedys in the Senate
By Ellen Goodman —
There is something refreshing in seeing a mother and public citizen auditioning for a second act. Beyond that, there is something tender and timely in seeing this particular woman coming home to the family business.

Should She Be Sen. Kennedy?
By Joe Conason —
In the culture of celebrity, the media have instantly deemed Caroline Kennedy a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate, much to the frustration of elected officials who feel they have earned a chance to win what she would merely take.

Friday, December 19, 2008

W. Mark Felt, Watergate Deep Throat, Dies at 95
Mr. Felt, the No. 2 F.B.I. official when he helped bring down President Richard M. Nixon, became the most famous anonymous source in American history.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What Obama Doesn't Know
Much has been hidden from the new president by the Bush team
By Nat Hentoff
Arianna Huffington: Clint and Cheney: a Tale of Two Dicks
Two scowling faces fill my head today, the result of taking in Dick Cheney's sudden flurry of media appearances, and Clint Eastwood's new film Gran Torino.

Demands for war crimes prosecution now growing in the mainstream
The emerging evidence of culpability among top leaders, combined with their increasingly brazen admissions, is rendering real investigations an unavoidable option
by Glenn Greenwald

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

By Amy Goodman —
Bernard Madoff’s criminal pyramid scheme, in which losses are expected to be $50 billion, paints a grim picture—unless you are a corporate executive. Read the fine print. Of the TARP bailout funds, only those that were technically spent “in an auction” carry limits on executive pay.

Congress handed Wall Street a huge wad of cash to jump-start the economy. It didn't work -- so where did all that money go?
By Mike Madden

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lemmings on Wheels
By Eugene Robinson
Despite the popular belief, lemmings don't really hurl themselves off cliffs to reduce their numbers. That sort of behavior is seen only among Republicans in the Senate, who gave us a demonstration when they torpedoed legislation to bail out the auto industry.
Caroline Kennedy? Thanks, but no thanks

Her name has been floated for Hillary Clinton's old job, and now it's clear that Caroline Kennedy wants it. According to media reports, the 51-year-old daughter of JFK has decided to pursue the position of junior senator from the state of New York. Here's hoping she reconsiders, and/or that Gov. David Paterson appoints somebody better suited for the post.

Not to denigrate Kennedy's commitment to public service, but the only line on her CV that truly recommends her for the post is the one at the top: her name. New Yorkers support her selection because they recognize that name, and because many have abiding affection for her family and memories of a little girl in the White House.

Among New York's 19 million citizens there are many more appropriate options. She is not the most qualified scion of a famous political family – New York's abrasive attorney general Andrew Cuomo outranks her on that front. Though she might be able to argue she's the best available Kennedy -- more suited for the gig than the disappointing Ian Kennedy, though less knowledgeable about the rough-and-tumble of New York politics than William J. Kennedy -- she is not even the most qualified New Yorker named Caroline. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who represents parts of Manhattan and Queens and is beginning her ninth term, has made it known she wants the job too. She has hired someone to help her lobby for it (and has complained aloud about the other Caroline's lack of experience.)

If not Maloney, how about one of three Democrats who have demonstrated they can win in purple parts of the state? Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand just won her second term in the House from a previously Republican upstate district. If she's too much of a Blue Dog, how about Long Island's Tom Suozzi or Steve Israel? In other words, how about somebody, anybody, who has something to offer besides celebrity and good intentions, and who can do something for New Yorkers besides scratch the itch of baby boom nostalgia?

― Mark Schone

Monday, December 15, 2008

Glenn Greenwald on Bill Moyers' Journal

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush during press conference
By scarce

An Iraqi man throws a shoe at President George W. Bush during a new conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, in Baghdad. A man threw two shoes at Bush, one after another, during the news conference. Bush ducked both throws, and neither man was hit.
Here's more via Bloomberg:

In Arab culture, throwing shoes is a grave show of disrespect. The man shouted an Arabic phrase, which an Iraqi present translated as “this is a farewell kiss, dog.”

The shoe-thrower, who was in a group of journalists, was wrestled to the ground and taken away. “This is the end,” shouted the man, later identified by the Associated Press as Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt.

Bush tried to sneak up on the Iraqi press. Not a good idea

Official History Spotlights Iraq Rebuilding Blunders
An unpublished federal history of the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts the effort as crippled by poor planning, waste and deception.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

ROD BLAGOJEVICH is the perfect holiday treat for a country fighting off depression. He gift-wraps the ugliness of corruption in the mirthful garb of farce. From a safe distance outside Illinois, it’s hard not to laugh at the “culture of Chicago,” where even the president-elect’s Senate seat is just another commodity to be bought and sold.

The Pragmatist
by Christopher Hayes:
We get it: Barack Obama is pragmatic. But what does that really mean--politically and philosophically?

Meet the GOP's wrecking crew
Why did a small group of Southern Republicans turn the auto bailout into a demolition derby? Introducing the senators who hate unions and love foreign cars
By Alex Koppelman and Mike Madden

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Clinton rules are back. The right is trying to link Obama to Blagojevich and corruption -- and the mainstream media is playing along.
By Joe Conason

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bob Cesca: Obama Unfairly Tainted by Crimes He Didn't Commit
We've seen this before: specious attempts to connect Barack Obama with corrupt or controversial figures in Chicago, followed, then, by a Republican and establishment media outcry for the president-elect to denounce and reject them. It appears as if in this post-Bushie universe, the president-elect doesn't have to be involved in corruption in order to be pegged as corrupt. Indeed, he can be entirely and vigorously declared to be absolutely corruption-free and still be tagged with the red letter "T" for "taint." This is what we can expect for the next four years. The crazy has only just begun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

by Sam Stein
Senator Harry Reid is drawing a fairly bold line in the political sand in regards to the ethical missteps surrounding Rod Blagojevich.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Making a new New Deal: Sitdown Strike in Chicago
by John Nichols:
The bailed-out Bank of America cut off credit to a Chicago factory; now its laid-off workers won't leave the building until back wages are paid.

Paul Rieckhoff: Shinseki for VA Secretary: A Bold Choice
General Shinseki has a record of courage and honesty, and I believe he is a bold choice to lead the VA
Spend, Obama, Spend! And save jobs
The first thing Obama should do is use federal funds to keep public employees from joining the swelling ranks of the unemployed.
By Joe Conason

Paul Krugman's Depression Economics
On his way to Stockholm, the Nobel Prize winner and New York Times columnist takes time to explain the "awful" economy that looms ahead of us.
by Andrew Leonard

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Brightest Are Not Always The Best
by Frank Rich
Long before the phrase “the best and the brightest” became the accolade du jour, it was meant to strike a sardonic, not a flattering, note.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Guns Will Be Allowed In National Parks
by Peter Fimrite
Campers may now pack heat along with their sleeping bags when they travel to national parks.

Feinstein Issues Statement on Torture
By Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti
After some bloggers raised concerns that Senator Dianne Feinstein might be shifting her stance on the issue of American interrogation policy, the California Democrat has sought to clarify her views.
Obama: Biggest public works investment since Eisenhower planned
by SusanG
In this morning's weekly address, President-Elect Obama promised to roll out the biggest investment in public infrastructure since the federal highway system of the 1950's was undertaken. In addition to roads and bridges, the new administration will upgrade public schools, build out broadband, make public buildings energy efficient and modernize medical record-keeping.

Friday, December 05, 2008

By Eugene Robinson —
Remember that long-ago news conference when George W. Bush couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made? Unbelievably, he still can’t.

On bended knee, and with promises to retool their operations, the Big Three ask Congress for billions to save the auto industry. They might get it this time.
By Mike Madden

Thursday, December 04, 2008

by Matthew Yglesias
In a Dec. 1 interview with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, Bush said that "the biggest regret" of his presidency was "the intelligence failure in Iraq."

Not a Team of Rivals At All
By Joe Conason —
When the journalistic pack bites into a tasty cliché they often refuse to let go, lazily chewing and regurgitating a phrase like “team of rivals” long after the flavor is gone.

In the most coherent and cogent explanation I've seen of the financial crisis, AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Damon Silvers lays out how the decline in unionization which began in the mid-Seventies led to the burst of the sub-prime bubble, and ultimately to today's recession.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Will Obama stay the course?
By Robert Scheer —
I do so want to believe that Barack Obama is on the right track. His brain is big, his style fresh, his pronouncements both logical and compelling, and it does feel good to have a president-elect elicit universal respect rather than make the world cringe.

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