Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
"To all those who repeatedly claimed that, no matter what 'mistakes' he might make and regardless of the scope of the devastating effects of those errors, Obama had to represent a markedly better choice than McCain, take note: in certain respects, Obama is far more dangerous than McCain could have been. For the same reasons, Obama is also more dangerous than Bush was. " - Arthur Silber
Once again, Barack Obama has accomplished what George W. Bush never could. There was a method to the madness of establishing this secret police apparatus off shore. The Bush administration were opening up a whole new legal territory, and believed they needed to keep "enemy combatants" off of American soil in order to justify their actions.
But along comes Obama. He claimed he would close Guantanamo, which never impressed me, because he didn't address the legality of holding prisoners with this new and special designation. It didn't address the issue of whether or not a president could declare anyone an enemy and have them held indefinitely without charge or trial or perhaps worse yet, set up military tribunals instead of courts of law if they were ever tried. The state of Illinois will the first victim, with Guantanamo prisoners scheduled to be transferred there.
I argued with my friend Arthur Silber when he first stated that Obama would be more dangerous than McCain. "In large part, the danger represented by Obama arises from the fact that Obama's election gutted whatever effective opposition might have existed." Of course he hit the nail on the head. Obamaites will support whatever he says or does. He can accept a Nobel peace prize and do so in the name of continuing endless warfare and no one says a word. Yes, Arthur, you told me so.
I will have more to say about the Nobel disgrace in the latest issue of Black Agenda Report which will be posted later today.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Woods made this and other remarks in a GQ interview back in 1997. The then up and coming phenom may have known how to play golf, but he didn't know that if you don't want to see something in print, you shouldn't say it in front of a reporter. Tiger was on a roll that day.
"The Little Rascals are at school. The teacher wants them to use various words in sentences. The first word is love. Spanky answers, "I love dogs." The second word is respect. Alfalfa answers, "I respect how much Spanky loves dogs." The third word is dictate. There is a pause in the room. Finally, Buckwheat puts up his hand. "Hey, Darla," says Buckwheat. "How my dick ta'te?"
But wait, there was even more. "He puts the tips of his expensive shoes together, and he rubs them up and down against each other. 'What's this?' he asks the women, who do not know the answer. 'It's a black guy taking off his condom,' Tiger explains."
It is clear from these exchanges that Tiger doesn't see himself as a black man. He made it official when he told Oprah that he was "Cablinasian." OK, fine, up to him, but his self-proclaimed non-black identity gave him even less right to make jokes at the expense of the group he claimed no allegiance to.
Now Tiger is the butt of jokes and fodder for media over kill. The over kill part does bother me, if only because I'm not very interested in his life. But I don't feel sorry for Tiger the man. He is a self-hating asshole and assholes eventually do themselves in.
I doubt that the public relations problems will last. The sponsors will stick with him and he will be wealthy for the rest of his life. I should have such problems.
Monday, November 30, 2009
So says Obama's spiritual soul mate, Rev. Rick Warren. Uganda is considering passage of a law that would execute HIV positive men who commit acts of "aggravated homosexuality." Under current Ugandan law, homosexuality is already punishable with a sentence of life imprisonment. The new law is even worse.
"The proposed law would not just condemn HIV positive gay men and 'repeat offenders' to death, it would also jail for three years anyone who knows a gay man but refuses to report them to authorities. Further, anyone who defends in public the rights of gays and lesbians would be subjected to a seven year prison term."
Who is behind this atrocity? Why, right wing white Americans of course. The Family is a secretive christian conservative organization which gives financial and political support to Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.
What does the preacher who gave the inaugural invocation have to say about all this? He says nothing. "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides." Puhleeze. Warren's church prohibits gay people from becoming members. He also opined that legalized abortion is a "holocaust." Warren has had no problem taking sides up until now. I can only infer that Warren thinks it is just fine to kill people because of their sexual orientation.
What is it about the apocalypse that fascinates so many of us? I happen to think that what we really fear is our own personal apocalypse, death. We are all afraid to die, but it is somehow easier to wonder if Nostradamus or the Mayans or the book of Revelations can explain away the one thing we can't avoid but can't accept either.
This past weekend I saw two Hollywood stories about the end times, 2012 and The Road. 2012 was pretty bad. Yes, I anticipated seeing a not very serious big budget action movie, but I did not anticipate ten cliches in every scene or a plot that was fairly predictable despite the phony suspense. Even special effects laden films must have characters you care about and a sense that you don't really know how it will all end. The film was also a waste of talented actors like John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover and Woody Harrelson. Roland Emmerich really should stop destroying the world unless he can figure out a more clever way of doing it than to have the White House destroyed by the USS John Kennedy.
The Road was another story altogether. It stars Viggo Mortensen as a man struggling to keep himself and his young son alive after an unnamed disaster. (Some say nuclear war but others say meteor strike.) The two not only must find food and shelter but they must avoid their fellow humans, who if they are lucky will steal their meager belongings. If they are unlucky they will kill them and eat them.
The terrors in The Road are unseen. You don't see anyone munching on their neighbors rib cage, but knowing that it happens and how it happens was shown in one of the most frightening sequences I have ever seen on film. The movie could have been completely grim but the family does experience one happy event and the ending is uplifting. I also have to declare my love for Viggo Mortensen. He endorsed Dennis Kucinich after all. What's not to like?
There is one weak link among the very small cast. Charlize Theron does a good acting job as the wife and mother, but her actions don't really make sense other than to find a way to explain her absence in most of the film. Male writers love to get the pesky mom out of the picture and have a man and his son together doing what they want without any feminine interference. Having said that, I still highly recommend The Road to fans of good movies. It is well worth your time and your money.
As for the world ending in 2012, I hope I am still here in January 2013 so that I can give the finger, rhetorically, to the gullible. Some want to be raptured but then fear the millennium or the Mayans or UFOs. Some people just want to be scared. They should see a good horror movie and stop annoying the rest of us with their goofy predictions. They should also see better quality movies. That will make them much happier.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Have you ever heard of Abraham Bolden? I had not until today. Last night I watched "JFK: 3 Shots that Changed America," the latest History Channel documentary on the JFK assassination.
It is an excellent program, comprised entirely of television network news footage from the assassination and the following days. The program inspired me to restart my own amateur investigations about the assassination. In my college days I voraciously followed any and all information about what I had determined to be a conspiracy.
In my googling last night and today I came across two books which were previously unknown to me. The first is Legacy of Secrecy by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann. Their book caught my attention because it reported that there were two attempts to kill Kennedy in November 2003. One took place in Chicago, and the other in Tampa.
The second book is The Echo from Dealey Plaza, Bolden's story of his knowledge of the mafia conspiracy that killed the president of the United States. Bolden was the first black secret service agent to be part of a presidential detail. He attempted to inform the Warren Commission about the Chicago attempt when he was falsely charged with selling government documents. He spent three years in a federal prison even after witnesses against him recanted their testimony.
I plan to read both books as soon as I can get my hands on copies of them. In the meantime I recommend finding out all you can about Abraham Bolden.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
The Nobel peace prize nominations are due on February 1st. Obama was nominated after only 10 days in office. I guess not being George W. Bush is a good enough reason to get the formerly prestigious prize.
This is the money quote from Afghanistan.
" 'I don't know how he can get this prize," said Najeeb, a 30-year-old shopkeeper attending a friend's wedding party. 'Maybe it's been awarded for all the houses they are bombing, or perhaps it's for all his soldiers that are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq.' "
When I first saw the news I thought it was an April Fools in October prank. I thought the Onion had hacked into the world wide web. I thought I was having a nightmare.
None of the above were true. Barack Obama is in fact a Nobel peace prize laureate. Yes, the man who sends "surgical" strikes to kill civilians in Afghanistan, who sends drones to kill civilians in Pakistan, who wants to pass laws to incarcerate without trial, has now been awarded a prize for peace.
Henry Kissinger received the same honor after killing millions of people, so I suppose it is not very surprising. They do have to be a little embarassed however. Just yesterday Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that there will be no peace agreement for years. Perhaps they had already sent in their ballots and couldn't take it back.
In any case, if you are as angry as I am, you should give the Nobel folks a piece of your mind. Here is the contact information. I hope I'm not the only one they hear from.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
" I was actually black before the election."
Yeah, whatever Barack. I was truly honored to be invited to appear with Laura Flanders on GRITtv as part of the Media Roundtable. I opined on Obama's and others' inanity in the week's news reporting. See the video here.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
How did I do? Yours truly was on GRITtv. Was my make up OK? Allergies and nerves gave me a scratchy voice, but all in all I think my debut went OK. This is just a snippet. I'll post more later.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
"As soon as I finished my professional duties in reporting the daily tragedies, while I washed away the remains of the debris of the ruined Iraqi houses, or the blood that stained my clothes, I would clench my teeth and make a pledge to our victims, a pledge of vengeance.
The opportunity came, and I took it.
I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan."
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
What is the best way to get access to the Obama administration? Simple, oppose Obama. Glenn Beck decides who will work in the white house and anti-abortion republicans get meetings with advisers.
Don't believe me? Read all about it here. A former Mike Huckabee supporter wants an ironclad assurance that health care "reform" will not include federal funding for abortion. As you should recall, public option advocates were treated as if they had cooties and literally could not get arrested by the administration. Pro public option house members were threatened by Rahm Emanuel if they pushed too hard for the right thing.
So, just switch sides. Maybe then you can get a hearing from Obamaland.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
He said he wanted single payer health care but that it all hinged on winning back the presidency and both houses of congress. Didn't that happen last November?
Let's face it, Obama never wanted single payer health care. He just said he did so that simple minded fauxgressives would support him. He was right. He can lie like a dirty rug and still get unconditional love.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Congressman John Conyers
Black Agenda Report and After Downing Street are reporting on Rep. Conyers' extraordinary words. Conyers is an old progressive lion with more than 40 years of service in the House. Sadly, he has been shackled by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, who prevented him from following through on his promise to pursue impeachment against Bush and Cheney.
Hopefully, he will come out of the doldrums and more forcefully speak out against the Obama health care plan, which according to Conyers may undo the Obama administration altogether.
"Conyers suggested that it was very likely Congress would not pass any healthcare bill this year. The Blue Dogs and Republicans don't want anything, he said, and the Progressives are 'saying this is a piece of crap and we're not voting for it.' If you add up all the Blue Dogs and Republicans and Progressives, Conyers said, you get 'more than 218 to sink this bill!'
Or, Congressman Conyers continued, 'suppose we happen to pass it? Big deal. That's what Rahm Emanuel wants -- pass anything just to say we did.' A weak plan, Conyers said, would not help things: 'It's going to fail.'
In either case, Conyers concluded, whether we get no bill or a weak bill, 'they'll blame Barack Obama. Heads he loses, tails he loses.' So, Conyers said, 'we've got to tell Obama now, or he'll be a one term president.'
Unlike Conyers, I don't pretend to know if health care will undo the Obama administration, but I do know that the Obama proposal may actually make health care worse in this country. Check out my colleague Bruce Dixon here. Bruce points out that a limited public option will not be available until 2013 and will only cover 10 million people at most. We will not have universal coverage.
The possible instead of the perfect may be worse than nothing at all. Let's demand what we want and demand that Obama fight for it.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
For more than a week, New Yorkers have been consumed by the story of the Long Island mother who drove in the wrong direction on the Taconic Parkway and killed eight people, including herself. All of her brother's three children, Schuler's own daughter, and three men in an oncoming car died in the accident.
The New York State police didn't help matters any by announcing that the autopsy did not indicate a physical cause for actions. Today they said that her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit and that she also had used marijuana.
I have to say that I was very angry when I first heard the story. I assumed drinking was involved until the police gave their initial incomplete and inaccurate report. Perhaps she had undiagnosed diabetes, no other physical cause seemed to make sense. As late as yesterday police were combing the crash site and the exit ramp she mistakenly entered to find the accident cause.
I think I am also angry because I forsook my usual cynicism and believed what I was told. Now it turns out she was a garden variety drunk and her family had to have known. She did not start drinking heavily the day of the accident, that much is certain. Her husband and her brother had to have been aware of her alcohol problems before that day.
It now makes sense that her husband had no public comment. Her poor brother is now mourning is children and wondering what he could have done to save them before his oldest daughter called to say that she was afraid of the way her aunt was driving.
I'm certain that her family was in denial about the extent of her problem. I'm sure she claimed to be fine when she left the campsite, she may have been sober but started drinking when no other adults could see her. That probably explains why her cell phone was found at a rest stop. She had a sip or two while she was there.
There is a hard lesson here for people who love addicts. You don't help them when you enable and you may be killing other people too.
I was looking at comments from New York Times readers and this one stands out.
I guess what’s most interesting is how the national Cult of the Mother got the best of everyone… where the story of this crash was about the mystery of this wonderful mother driving the wrong way. Nothing about the three guys in the other car that she killed. Nobody would DARE suggest that a nice mother from a nice town on the Island had been drinking!
Frankly if the husband and/or brother knew she was drinking I think it would be quite likely they’d try to cover it up with a story about how she was “feeling ill” or whatever.
Sick of this country’s mommy cult. It clouds the judgement.
She could have added the word "white" to mommy and nice. That completes the explanation of the press coverage.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Alternet attempts to tell us why the most famous atheism evangelists are also war mongering right wingers. They make a good effort but miss the point entirely.
Christopher Hitchens and friends are white men before they are anything else. They should not be thought of as more enlightened because they don't believe there is a god. These particular nonbelievers are followers of the most pernicious belief system of all, white supremacy. That is why they think that the United States government should have the right to do what it wants in the world. And yes, it is still a white government despite the fact that it is now represented by a black man.
Atheists do not deserve more or less credit than anyone else who promulgates any other belief system. There are atheists I find more trust worthy than some self-proclaimed christians I know. But I don't find them to be inherently superior to anyone else, and that includes Hitchens, Dawkins and company.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
One month has passed since the disputed presidential election in Iran. Iran was front page news until South Carolina governor Mark Sandfordwas caught cheating on his wife. Then Michael Jackson died and well, so much for serious reporting. What do you expect? Isn't two weeks enough?
All the hours of broadcasting and pages of news print didn't really tell us very much of importance anyway. It has been little more than stale rehashes of the "Ahmadinejad is crazy" narrative and assumptions that charges of election fraud were valid. Neda Sultan's terrible death was chronicled, but alas, America's killing of thousands of innocent people goes unreported. Protests in Tehran were covered, but most of the anti-war protests that I attended in New York or Washington passed without any media attention.
Today I checked out Asia Times and found the only thing I have read that makes since of the Iran situation. Mahan Abedin does a great job of explaining the roles of all the players in this situation. Of course if we had real journalism, this caliber of reporting wouldn't be unusual. But we don't, so it is.
Do yourself a favor and read the Asia Times article.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Why do progressives say nothing about endless war? Why does Juan Cole advocate attacking Iran? It is all very simple. They too believe in Manifest Destiny and the right of white America to have its way. I explain it all in my Black Agenda Report column.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I first saw Michael Jackson and his brothers at the Central Park Zoo. It was the same weekend they made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.
I can recall vividly the hype and promotion. They were discovered by Diana Ross. Actually they weren't but what better way to sell them to the public. My siblings, friends and I bought every record and I still know the lyrics by heart.
Was he gay? Were he and Clifton Davis lovers? Why did he marry Elvis' daughter? Only one nose job? No way. Why are his kids' faces hidden? Did he molest children or was it innocent love as he claimed?
It will all be replayed ad nauseum. Celebrity worship is a sickness in our culture and it is about to be on full display for days, weeks, months and years on end. I recall joking with a friend and telling her that I hoped Jackson lived well into old age. If he died young, it would be like Elvis and Marilyn, but on steroids.
I don't want to watch the news tonight or tomorrow either for that matter. I can't think of anything else that will be the lede story. Iran is off the front pages. As my sister just pointed out to me, the philandering governor of South Carolina knocked Iran off the front pages.
We will see that insanity sells. Despite his legal problems, Jackson had millions of fans and had sold out more than 50 concerts scheduled to take place in London. Those fans are even now finding ways to make spectacles of themselves and weep on camera. Former employees and distant cousins will sell stories to the press.
It will be a hot mess. Too bad. Jackson had enormous talent and was an icon of popular culture. May he rest in peace and may we get back to thinking about what is important in our lives and in the world.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
"Tweet" for Neda but screw the Palestinians. Won't repeat myself, read my Black Agenda Report column here.
I wrote the column before the videos and photos were released. I hasten to add that no one should die because they engage in protest, but people shouldn't die because they live in Gaza or Afghanistan either.
Poor Larry Franklin. He had already taken the fall as the only person convicted in the AIPAC spying case, but he was asked to take an even bigger fall than that. Prior to entering a guilty plea in 2005, Franklin was approached by two individuals and asked to fake his death by suicide and disappear. This allegation was made in a Justice Department brief in the case.
"In January 2006, Franklin conducted five consensually recorded telephone conversations with one of these individuals, in support of an obstruction of justice/witness tampering investigation; however, the FBI was unable to obtain the requisite incriminating evidence to support a criminal investigation," the Justice Department brief said.
How much more evidence would you need to prove obstruction? Sorry. I forgot we are talking about Israel. The regular rules just don't apply.
Monday, June 22, 2009
"I am aware that there are good people among the demonstrators and that there are people who don't like Moussavi. But it is important to dissociate any struggle agianst the Iranian regime from the lousy Moussavi who--like the regime of Ahmadinajad--has blood on his hands--more blood indeed. I also notice that the Shah stooges are jumping in the frey among the Iranians in exile and the largest rally in support of the Iranian protest movement in Paris was sponsored by none other than the pro-Saddam Mujahdin Khalq which sent car bombs into Iran. I am looking for an independent leftist movement that does not chant Islamist slogans (like Moussavi) to support, while identifying with the innocent victims who have been killed. Somebody wrote to me complaining that I don't need to invoke Palestine. Let me explain: I will invoke Palestine at every corner, and every second. If I can, I would skip sleep to invoke Palestine. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also because it is symbolic of the hypocrisy and falsehoods of Western governments and media. If somebody has a problem with my Palestinian refrains, tough...potato. And notice that Western media which usually expresses horrror at any act of suicidal bombing, reacted with a measure of admiration at the act of suicidal bombing against Khomeini shrine. I would really be happy if demonstrations break out against every single regime in the Middle East, and all of them are overthrown. However, I understand that the US and Europe would really panic if the likes of Mubarak or House of Saud or Hashemite KingStation are threatened, let alone overthrown."
Angry Arab - June 22, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Oh my! What would that be like? I'll quote my own response to Salon's stupid article.
Dime's worth of difference
If McCain were president his justice department would defend the Defense of Marriage Act, he would argue that he didn't have to reveal who visited the white house, he would go to court to prevent torture photos from being released and he would expand war into Afghanistan and Pakistan and he would be willing to take away our right to file malpractice suits and he would propose indefinite detention without trial and um, um, oh, never mind.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I was honored to share the stage with Cynthia as a speaker at this event. It was wonderful to participate with my presidential candidate.
Former pentagon employee Larry Franklin had been sentenced to 12 years in jail for giving classified documents to AIPAC staffers Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. Fortunately for Franklin, the Obama Justice Department declined to prosecute Rosen and Weissman. Now Franklin's sentence has been reduced to probation. Israel's influence would be just too obvious if Franklin ended up behind bars. Clearly, persons at the top wanted all of this to just go away.
So let me get this straight. AIPAC turns over classified documents to a foreign government, the U.S. government declines to prosecute, everyone involved gets away with the crime, but if I say Israel is powerful I'm labeled an anti-Semite. Another sweet deal for the Israel lobby, and the shaft yet again for the interests of the American people and the rest of the world.
It isn't surprising that an incumbent politician should win in any nation. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election victory in Iran should not be at all note worthy. Were it not for the usual lies and outright incompetence displayed by America's corporate media, the outcome would have been predicted.
Instead, foolish stories about an Iranian Michelle Obama and wishful thinking about an Ahmadinejad defeat were repeated endlessly. I for one don't know who should run Iran. I don't know who has the best education policy, or economic policy or health care policy. Unlike American liberals like Rachel Maddow, "And now, all of Mr. Ahmadinejad‘s electoral opponents appear to have come together around the idea that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is just too much of a kook to be re-elected president in Iran. . ." who follow the government line as much as conservatives do, I did not hope for an Ahmadinejad defeat.
It is none of my business who runs Iran. If the American president doesn't like Iranian foreign policy or doesn't want that nation to have a nuclear capability, that is his problem. I see no reason to be a lap dog for my government or for Israel or for any other government in forming my own opinions.
I have defended Ahmadinejad's right to defend his country and his right not to be threatened by violence from other nations. As for the wishes of Iranians on those issues, they should decide for themselves without any two cents worth of opining from Americans. The United States does not have the right to dictate its will on the rest of the world and that is the most important lesson to learn from the Iranian presidential election.
Friday, June 12, 2009
"You need to understand one very simple foundational point: Women are evil. More than that, women are the ultimate source of all evil in the world.
Almost no one will admit the belief in this form, but this is what most people in the West believe, to one degree or another. Western culture is saturated with this perspective; it directs and finds expression in our films and television, in books, in our relationships, in business -- and in our politics. Whatever one may think of their political convictions (and I myself would never vote for either of them), Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin both represent historic candidacies. It is the belief that women are evil that underlies the blindingly intense hatred directed at them."
Silber is one point as always and the recent brouhaha over David Letterman's jokes about Sarah Palin and her family prove it. On his nightly Top Ten List Letterman thought it would be funny to joke about her daughter being "knocked up by (New York Yankee) A-Rod." He also mused that Palin went to Bloomingdales to "update her slutty flight attendant look."
He apologized, sort of, for the joke about the daughter, but he bragged about the slight attendant joke that gave me the creeps. Letterman and his writers gave us all an unwanted front row seat to observe their sexual fantasies. What is up with the flight attendant fetish anyway?
Ever since women were employed by the airlines and first called stewardesses and now the gender neutral but apparently still loaded flight attendants, they have been the butt of jokes and the subject of cringe inducing males fantasizing. I can recall the old commercials advertising the now long defunct National Airlines. The commercial showed young stewardesses singing "I'm National. Fly me." Even female comedians like Joan Rivers told offensive jokes about stewardesses. It wasn't funny in the 1960s and it isn't funny now.
It is difficult to defend a neo-con of any gender, but Palin makes it especially difficult. When her daughter Bristol first publicly discussed her pregnancy she stated the obvious. Abstinence only sex education championed by her mother and the rest of the right wing just doesn't work. More recently she went on a strange contrition tour with her dad and her infant son and then declared that abstinence only is the way to go. Palin used her own child to score political points with the republican base, and looks like a lousy parent and lousy politician in the process.
No matter. Men should not be allowed to make derisive comments about women without being criticized. I don't care if the woman in question is someone I think is very dangerous.
I must also say that Palin and McCain were no more dangerous than Biden and Obama. Joe Biden, given the kinder label "gaffe prone" is no smarter than Palin. He is just a man who has been on the national political scene for decades. He gets a pass for his dumb remarks. I never thought Palin was any worse than he was and I said so in my Black Agenda Report column. They all believe in maintaining the American empire and protecting its right to kill with impunity. Some are smart and slick (Obama) about it and some are obvious and not so slick (McCain/Palin).
To Silber's point, Palin is demonized in large part because she is a woman. Her credentials were no more lacking than many men who actually became president. She is working class and horror of horrors she is attractive. Much of the criticism directed at her was class based and sexist. No she didn't help herself any with her bad interview performance and obvious lack of desire to do her homework, but that makes her no worse than Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.
Monday, June 08, 2009
The French are rude, and stupid too. Idiotic indeed.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
And yes, I do wish I'd said that, but I didn't. As'ad AbuKhalil did. He is a professor at California State University, Stanislaus and he is the Angry Arab. Angry Arab is on my blogroll but I have to confess that I haven't read it lately. The miseducation I have received from schools, colleges and the corporate media has made me very ignorant of the Middle Eastern world. I'm trying to catch up and learn all the things I should have been taught years ago. Reading AbuKhalil is a great way to do that.
Hat tip goes to Chris Floyd.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
“This offense is a grave one that implicates the national security of the United States,” Judge Pauley said, adding, “Why it took the government 23 years to charge Mr. Kadish is shrouded in mystery.”
He also wondered why Mr. Kadish had been allowed to plead guilty to a single charge that seemed to understate the seriousness of his crime.
“It’s clear,” Judge Pauley said, “that the government could have charged Mr. Kadish with far more serious crimes.”
At one point, Judge Pauley questioned a prosecutor about the 23-year “hiatus,” as he put it, in the bringing of charges.
The prosecutor, Iris Lan, said that it was not until last year that the F.B.I. had been able to “put all the pieces together.”
“There’s no mystery behind it,” Ms. Lan said. “It’s just what happened.”
“It’s a mystery to me,” Judge Pauley said tartly. “I’m wondering what happened.”
Hey judge, wake up and smell the coffee. This is Israel we are talking about. Spying for that country is never a big deal. The Obama justice department recently decided to drop the prosecution of two AIPAC staffers, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, who gave defense department documents to Israel. The Attorney General concluded that no crime had been committed. That's funny, a pentagon employee named Larry Franklin was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail for providing documents to the two men. Not to worry about Franklin, he isn't in jail. It wouldn't look good for him to be behind bars when Rosen and Weissman still walk the streets. Whatever.
The spy in this case, Ben-Ami Kadish, plead guilty to not registering as a foreign agent, paid a $50,000 fine and walked out of court a free man. He was a civilian employee of the U.S. army and gave documents to Israeli agents in the early 1980s. He says he wasn't paid for his services, but when the judge demanded the fine be paid within 60 days, Kadish replied, "No problem."
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I am glad the former Minnesota governor is unequivocal in his assessment that water boarding is torture. I am not glad that he still allows himself to be called a navy seal.
KING: You were a Navy SEAL.
VENTURA: That’s right.
This evening he did just that on the Keith Olbermann show on MSNBC. Ventura did say that he was a member of the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) which is true, but he didn't correct Olbermann when he introduced him as a seal. This story is old, ten years old in fact, and shouldn't be an issue any longer.
". . . the Governor's office confirmed that Ventura had been a member of an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT), and not an elite Navy SEAL. But, they argued that because the two entities merged under the SEAL banner in 1983, UDT's can now refer to themselves as SEALs, even though in Ventura's case, his active military service ended ten years before the merger occurred-- . . .
In print articles and broadcast appearances, Ventura lets interviewers refer to him as a Navy SEAL, or an ex-Navy SEAL--which they routinely do--without correcting them."
No wonder Americans are so uninformed. The corporate media doesn't know how to fact check. Google makes it easier than ever you know.
Monday, May 25, 2009
As always, Glenn Greenwald brilliantly dissects the Obama indefinite detention policy and why it is so horrific. As always, he then punks out and refuses to make the case for opposing him. I told him so personally in this little missive.
"Ambinder doesn't mean me personally or exclusively; he means people who are criticizing Obama not in order to harm him politically, but in order to pressure him to do better."
What is wrong with wanting to harm Obama politically? You spell out clearly why his indefinite detention plan is so terrible, but then you apologize for opposing him and justify that opposition in terms of wanting to help him.
I suggest you focus on helping yourself and 300 million other people. Obama couldn't care less about us. He is as cynical as they come. He will do what he can get away with and it is pretty clear that he will get away with making imprisonment without charge legal.
Who in congress will oppose him? Will it be the republicans, or Pelosi, or Reid? Will the congressional black caucus stand up? The answer is a resounding "no" to all of the above. In the past they have all either gone along with the program or remained silent, which amounts to the same thing.
Stop worrying about helping Obama. That is the sure pathway to political hell. Stand up for what is right and legal, whether it helps or hurts him is irrelevant. To do otherwise makes you and I just chumps in his eyes and potentially his next victims.
Our country has changed for the better only when citizens demand it without regard for the political fortunes of people who are doing them harm. If you don't stand up and make the case for opposing Obama, your brilliant words ultimately will mean nothing.
New York NY
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Hallelujah! A few progressives may be turning against Obama. It is about time.
Rachel Maddow says it. Obama is asserting presidential powers that even Bush did not. Once again we have a president who pisses on the constitution, but this one has the gall to announce that he will do so while standing in the national archives. What a bastard!
In the future I prefer dumb presidents. People don't like them and let them get away with less. No more smooth talking smarty pants presidents. They get away with advocating indefinite detention without trial and very few will fight them.
Develop a legal regime? Preventive detention? Ten years behind bars? How could we be any worse off if McCain had won? I am proud to say that I didn't vote for Obama. It is a tradition that I plan to uphold every four years. The jackass party will not get my vote in a presidential election ever again.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Many events are being held tomorrow in solidarity with Troy Davis. Davis is awaiting execution in Georgia after 20 years on death row. His conviction for murdering a cop is based on nothing more than now recanted witness testimony.
I will be in Union Square here in New York City between 6 and 8 tomorrow night. Link here to find an event near you.
"The American Left may not be much, but it won't be anything at all until it ditches the Democrats."
One of my favorite websites has linked to little old me. Many thanks to them. It is quite a compliment.
The subject of that post was Obama's future Supreme Court appointee, whomever he or she may be. Those of us who advocate ditching the democrats are constantly told that the power to remake the federal judiciary is so important that our other concerns must be over looked.
Yet Obama makes it clear that he won't appoint a liberal. He will consult with the republicans before making his choice. What a little bastard.
Actually, I should thank him. His constant perfidy only helps me make the case against him.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Barack Obama can't without choking on the words. BET reporter Andre Showell, not Andrea, asked Obama about high levels of black unemployment at the over hyped 100 day press conference.
I remembered this moment when I was interviewed last Saturday by Warren Jones on WBOK. I was joined by my BAR colleague Bruce Dixon and by Larry Pinckney of Black Commentator. Unfortunately the interview isn't available online.
Warren asked about Obama's non-response to the unique problem of black unemployment. He was only willing to talk about the rising tide lifting all boats, and not about black people specifically and not without also mentioning latinos, lest he be accused of singling us out for assistance.
I remembered the question and I remembered that Obama mumbled the words African American towards the end of his response. Check it out starting at 46 minutes 21 seconds and lasting until about 48 minutes 49 seconds.
Al Schumann at Stop Me Before I Vote Again hits the nail squarely on the head in assessing Pelosi and the not so new revelations that she knew all about torture yet said and did nothing about it.
Even in the most generous interpretation of her actions, Pelosi is the worst kind of politician. She lacked the street smarts to cope with experts in plausible deniability. She leapt into the role of useful idiot. She lacked the sense of self-preservation, never mind integrity, to sound an alarm once it was clear she'd been set up as a patsy. She was stupidly eager to collude with vicious thugs, and now she's paying the smallest possible price for it. She's an accessory to crimes against humanity, she walked into the role with her eyes wide open, and she shows no signs of remorse. Worse, I'll bet she gets reelected easily. She's perfectly representative of her defenders."
Sorry I can't come up with a more lyrical title, but I'm cutting to the chase this morning. It is official, he will keep military tribunals. Just as I said in Black Agenda Report last week.
Just a few days ago, he announced he will not release photos of prisoners being tortured. The phony bastard claimed that doing so would endanger the troops. What a crock.
It seems that Dick Cheney has won after all. His seemingly bizarre series of interviews have done the trick, and the craven Obama has caved. He was never one to buck the system and now he is obeying the rules. The first one of those is "Don't f_ _k with the rulers."
He didn't get to be president without knowing rule number one.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The full interview is here. Glen tells us how the Obama administration sabotaged the Durban II conference. Slavery, genocides, indigenous rights, and immigrant rights have all been swept under the rug because Israel wants to silence condemnation of its human rights abuses.
"Our villages are not where the terrorists are. And that's what we kept telling the U.S. administration, that the war on terrorism is not in the Afghan villages, not in the Afghan homes. Respect that. Civilian casualties are undermining support in the Afghan people for the war on terrorism and for the, the, the relations with America. How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?"
Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan
Tough luck Hamid. Bush and now Obama say that your people have to die. If they live they could turn into al-Qaeda or the Taliban. They are better off dead and it is for their own good.
What would you expect from a guy named Cutie? Alberto Cutie, pronounced koo-tee-AY, is the host of a Spanish language talk show. Called Father Oprah, he is a Roman Catholic priest who was recently caught in a full state of pitch and woo with a divorced woman.
I like scandal as much as the next person, but there is a serious issue here. Cutie admitted he had a romantic relationship with the woman and was immediately removed from his parish. I for one was glad that he was involved with another adult. Some of his colleagues who were accused of molesting minors were allowed to remain in the church for years, shuffled from parish to parish, as they continued their assaults on unsuspecting victims.
So get your love on Father Cutie. Life is too short to worry about what the vatican thinks.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
(Mr. Fish cartoon)
A Very Bad Week
Where to begin? David Souter announced his resignation from the Supreme Court. Sounds good to have a republican appointee retiring during a democratic administration, but all is not what it seems.
"I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded, and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.
As I make this decision, I intend to consult with members of both parties across the political spectrum."
Well, f_ _ k me. I'm sorry to have dropped the old F bomb twice in one day, but I have had enough. When we speak out against the democratic party we are always told to remember the power of judicial appointments. It is terribly important for a democratic president to be able to put his stamp on the judiciary.
OK, if that is the only great thing about a democratic president, why should I be happy that he is planning to consult republicans about his choice? Obama has a 68% approval rating and the republican party has a paltry 21% approval rating. If he can't fight for a liberal on the court what the hell can he fight for?
Limits on the judicial role? What does that mean? It sounds very right wing to me, but then again so does Obama.
Sorry, but we would be no worse off if John McCain were president. No I wouldn't want to look at him and Cindy, who if they did live in the White House would be living together for the first time in years, but let's stick to substance shall we.
The United States government is openly undermining the elected president of Pakistan, a man was sentenced to five years in prison for broadcasting Hezbollah, AIPAC spies got off scot free, and Bush policy on Guantanamo continued seemlessly. The Employee Free Choice Act is declared dead on arrival, thanks to democratic senators who also killed "cram down" legislation that would have allowed renegotiated mortgage agreements in case of bankruptcy.
Well, Arthur Silber is posting again, so there was one bright spot after all.
Barack Obama is going to do what George W. Bush would not. His Defense Secretary, and Bush Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, told congress that Guantanamo detainees will be held on U.S. soil after the prison is closed.
Now the New York Times reports that the Obama administration will revive the military tribunals they once criticized.
So what was that about change? There is nothing like that coming any time soon to this country. As my friend and fellow blogger Arthur Silber pointed out,"Any individual who rises to the national political level is, of necessity and by definition, committed to the authoritarian-corporatist state. The current system will not allow anyone to be elected from either of the two major parties who is determined to dismantle even one part of that system."
Don't listen to any nonsense about polls or opposition from republicans. Obama won't dismantle the Bush era system because doing so would jeopardize the very foundations upon which the entire political system is built. Truly changing anything that Bush did would send a signal that the rulers don't like. If he changes Bush policy who knows what is next? He might get crazy and actually promote democracy or something and we just can't have that.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
What is the big deal? Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did nothing but state the truth. He spoke of the "dire consequences of racism in Europe," in short, the Jewish holocaust. Why is it so terrible for him to repeat what most Jews say about the rationale for Israel's existence? My whole life I have been told that genocide against the Jews in Europe justified the establishment of the state of Israel.
At any rate, that walk out was as phony as a three dollar bill. I'm sure the European nations who attended the conference had already agreed to leave the room if Ahmadinejad mentioned Israel.
The U.N. conference on racism has been killed by Obama and by zionists who have their noses out of joint because of any criticism of Israel. People all over the world should know about debates on reparations for slavery or for genocide against indigenous people, but you can forget that happening.
Israel has destroyed any effectiveness this conference might have had. Ahmadinejad is right about the damage that western nations have done to the world. He is right that the Security Council is powerless. Why should the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China have veto power 60 years after WWII? That current set up means that UN members have no way to condemn Israel when it massacres people in Lebanon or Gaza or wherever they choose to kill next. It means that China can veto resolutions regarding Tibet. The UN is a paper tiger and there is nothing wrong with Ahmadinejad pointing that out.
You go Mahmoud!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a very smart man. We are told he is a lunatic, hell bent on the destruction of Israel. Take a look at this interview in Salon that first appeared in Der Spiegel. Here are some of his choice statements.
"But think of the things that were done to Iranians! We were attacked by Iraq. Eight years of war. America and some European countries supported this aggression. We were even attacked with chemical weapons and [Western countries] aided and abetted those attacks. We did not inflict an injustice on anyone. We did not attack anyone, nor did we occupy other countries. We have no military presence in Europe and America. But troops from Europe and America are stationed along our borders."
"I agree that our reputation with the American government and some European governments is not positive. But that's their problem. All peoples are fed up with the American government."
>"The Afghan government should have been given more responsibility in the last seven years. President Hamid Karzai said to me once: They don't allow us to do our work."
"We are talking about Europe and the United States, where not a single politician wants to meet with you. Senior Italian politicians avoided you at a U.N. conference in Rome last year."
"We see that too, of course. But we are saying that Europe is not the whole world. Why do you believe this? Besides, I didn't even want to meet the Italian politicians."
"If a technology is beneficial, everyone should have it. If it is not, no one should have it. Can it be ... [that] we are not even permitted to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy? Our logic is completely clear: equal rights for all. The composition of the Security Council and the veto of its five permanent members are consequences of World War II, which ended 60 years ago. Must the victorious powers dominate mankind for evermore, and must they constitute the world government? The composition of the Security Council must be changed."
"We hope that the changes in American policy are of a fundamental nature, and that more has changed than the color. And that American policy will become more equitable, for the benefit of Africa, Asia and, most of all, the Middle East."
"Do you believe that the German people support the Zionist regime? Do you believe that a referendum could be held in Germany on this question? If you did allow such a referendum to take place, you would discover that the German people hate the Zionist regime."
I think such a referendum would have the same result all over the world.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thank to John Caruso at Distant Ocean for pointing out something I noticed last week.
I was trying to find a quote from Obama's Prague speech for my Black Agenda Report column, Phony Nuclear Disarmament. I went first to the White House website, which in the Bush days was easy to navigate.
To make a long story short, I had to do some creative googling because the White House site didn't have a link to the president's most recent speech. Go figure.
I wouldn't tell a lie, even if I thought it would make Obama look bad, so please take my word for it when I say that the Bush administration made it much, much easier to find out what the president was saying.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
The Group of 20 summit can be summed up thusly, thanks to George Monbiot writing in the Guardian.
"We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, will use every cent we don't possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back onto the path of unsustainable growth. We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks, so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth's living systems. Now we're going to spend another $1.1 trillion. As an exemplary punishment for their long record of promoting crises, we will give the IMF and the World Bank even more of your money. These actions constitute the greatest mobilisation of resources to support global financial flows in modern times.
Oh - and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don't have any definite plans as yet, but we'll think of something in due course."
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Isn't Barack Obama wonderful! He is going to build hospitals in Pakistan. He ought to because the drones he sends there, the first within 48 hours of taking office, certainly maim enough people to warrant more hospital beds.
Well Rachel Maddow certainly thinks it is a very big deal. She starts this segment by comparing creepy code words like "homeland" and hackneyed phrases like "standing down when they stand up" that Obama shares with one George W. Bush.
But like a good little liberal she can't bare to follow through on the obvious conclusion that Obama is continuing every aspect of the Bush policy of military aggression. She even manages to wax enthusiastic because Obama shows up in public with his secretary of state. You see, he is different because he includes diplomatic niceties before he kills thousands of people, or whatever. See for yourself. Maddow and her fellow useless liberals will find a way to defend anything coming from Obama, including a future attack on Iran. Mark my words.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
"Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret."
The Israel lobby always tells American presidents what to do. Eventually the Israeli prime minister will drag Obama off of stage and tell him what to do and they will brag about having done it. So what else is new?
"The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth.
There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government - in this case, the government of Israel.
The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government."
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
He is right. Limbaugh looked like a Sopranos wannabe in that black shirt at the CPAC convention. He should be pitied and left alone.
All jokes aside, Limbaugh is a very dangerous man who appeals to millions of people. Correction, he is dangerous because he appeals to millions of people.
What was the most important news story of the past week? Was it Rihanna and Chris Brown and whether or not they should get back together? Maybe the Rush Limbaugh hullabaloo kept you glued to the news. Or perhaps Michelle Obama's latest ensemble fits the bill for news worthiness. The correct answer is none of the above.
The biggest story of the week was the release of a Pew report which proves once and for all that the United States is the number one prison nation on earth. One in thirty-one Americans are behind bars, sentenced to probation or are on parole. The mass incarceration rate is directly tied to race of course. One in eleven black people are in jail, 1 in 27 Latinos and 1 in 45 whites.
One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections is a sobering study of the pernicious effects of incarceration which costs more than any other government program except medicaid. Incarceration costs states much needed revenue yet it thrives.
It thrives because it is racism perfected. What better way to keep black people in line after the civil rights movement gave us big ideas about being free? No Jim Crow, no problem. Just lock us up.
But black people won't speak up about this awful problem. We don't speak up for one simple reason. We are embarassed. We don't want to be connected with people who have broken the law. I don't defend law breaking, especially violent crime, but no one should be in jail for writing a bad check or failing to pay child support. Sentences for those infractions accomplish only one thing. They make sure that black people are always punished disproportionately and are kept under control.
Yet incarceration is not on the national agenda at all and the ascendancy of Barack Obama has only heightened the propensity for black people to ignore some of their brothers and sisters who are very hard to defend. Very few people are so hopelessly lost that their misbehaviour should only result in time behind bars. Most people can be rehabilitated into leading productive lives, but that has to be seen as a worth while goal.
It isn't seen as being a worthy goal because it would mean an end to racism, a system which is still so useful in maintaining the status quo and in keeping white people in line. White Americans haven't taken to the streets against bank bail outs or endless war because they still have a privileged position, however tenuous it may be.
One in thirty-one. Disgraceful.
"With his speech today, President Obama has essentially agreed to continue the criminal occupation of Iraq indefinitely. He announced that there will be an occupation force of 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq for at least three more years. President Obama used carefully chosen words to avoid a firm commitment to remove the 50,000 occupation troops, even after 2011.The war in Iraq was illegal. It was aggression. It was based on lies and false rationales. President Obama's speech today made Bush’s invasion sound like a liberating act and congratulated the troops for 'getting the job done.' More than a million Iraqis died and a cruel civil war was set into motion because of the foreign invasion. President Obama did not once criticize the invasion itself."
The video in the previous post is a picture that speaks 1,000 words. It shows just a small part of the reasons why we must continue to march against America's evil occupation of Iraq. The occupation is no less evil under Obama than it was under Bush. Occupation still kills and maims in Iraq or in Afghanistan.
The nature of occupation doesn't change. A democratic occupation is the same as a republican occupation. That is why we must march on Saturday, March 21st.
BTW, I know how the president's name is spelled.
This is it. This is occupation. The soldier in this video can be replaced or demoted or whatever, but occupation will look the same. That is what it looks like all the time. This is what Obama wants to continue. No change and nothing I want to believe in.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
I Can't Wait to Kill or Be Killed
"No matter what the commander in chief says, I will follow."
"I am excited. I am serving my country. We have to fight back and take action."
"As a Marine, you have to be ready to go when the military says so. I am ready to serve wherever my country needs."
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
My column does not appear this week, but that is no reason to miss Black Agenda Report. One issue of BAR tells you more of what you need to know than the New York Times or the Washington Post ever will. If you think I'm exaggerating, just observe how the Times has noticed that the Obama administration is reproducing the Bush doctrine on civil liberties, rendition and torture. “It was literally just Bush redux — exactly the same legal arguments that we saw the Bush administration present to the court.”
The august Times figured out what I said in my column last week and what anyone paying attention has noticed ever since Obama was inaugurated. Bush crimes against national and international law will not be investigated or prosecuted, mostly because the Obama administration plans to do the same things. As the ACLU says, "The Obama administration's position is not change. It is more of the same. This represents a complete turn-around and undermining of the restoration of the rule of law. The new American administration shouldn't be complicit in hiding the abuses of its predecessors."
But I digress from the topic of this post. Israel is America's chief partner in crime, its mini-me bully around the world. Even worse, despite getting more U.S. aid than the rest of the world combined, Israel quite openly tells American presidents what they can and cannot do. Last week Israel scuttled the appointment of General Anthony Zinni as ambassador to Iraq. Zinni got the thumbs up from Secretary of State Clinton and a congratulatory phone call from Vice President Biden. Unfortunately neither of them had checked in with "some major supporters in New York State" who couldn't abide the fact that Zinni has criticized Israel in the past. Bye-bye Anthony.
One of Bush's last actions in office was to change his position on a UN vote calling for a cease fire in Gaza. Why did he do it? Because Ehud Olmert got him on the phone and forced him to.
"Olmert told the crowd that when he heard a Security Council vote was to come in 10 minutes, he tracked down Bush, who he was told was speaking in Philadelphia. Bush left the podium, according to Olmert’s account, to take his call." We know this happened because Olmert quite publicly bragged about it.
So Obama and Clinton know who is the boss. It is Israel. No change here, nothing to see, just move along.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Forget Sully and Suleyman. Watch Leon Panetta. He is the former Clinton administration chief of staff who is now Obama's CIA director nominee.
Panetta had stated quite correctly that the Bush administration kidnapped people and had them tortured. He stuck with his story until a Republican senator got all testy with him at his confirmation hearing and he then folded like a lawn chair. "I'm not aware of the validity of those claims."
But wait, there is more. There was great celebration when the Obama team said they would abide by the Army Field Manual directives in their treatment of prisoners. That promise lasted for all of two weeks. Now Panetta supports the old ticking time bomb excuse.
“If we had a ticking bomb situation, and obviously, whatever was being used I felt was not sufficient, I would not hesitate to go to the president of the United States and request whatever additional authority I would need."
Of course, we all know the problem with the ticking time bomb. CIA agents, soldiers, cops, teachers, and dog catchers will all claim that a ticking time bomb is all that stands between us and death and they will torture people. They will do it a lot. Not to mention that torture is a violation of U.S. and international law.
But wait, there is even more. Panetta announced that he will violate international law, just like his predecessors. He will not prosecute anyone who claims they were ordered to torture and he won't go after Bush administration officials who broke the law in ordering the torture. "I'll leave that for others," said the cowardly Mr. Panetta.
Panetta knows the truth about torture and rendition, but he didn't get to be where he is without also knowing the rules and he isn't about to buck them.
Yes we can!
You should be watching your new president as he acts just like the old one.
"Let's be very clear about all this. The Obama Administration is going to court to uphold -- to uphold -- the president's "prerogative" to arbitrarily declare any U.S. citizen an "enemy combatant" -- even if the citizen is arrested on U.S. soil -- and have that citizen held for years on end, without charges, in federal brigs where he can be isolated, broken and subjected to 'harsh interrogation techniques.' The Obama Administration is going to court to uphold -- to uphold -- the "prerogative" of government lawyers to proffer blatantly illegal memos concocted solely to justify an already existing system of crimes that are punishable by death under American law. The Obama Administration is continuing the Bush Administration's blatant blackmail against the nation's closest ally in order to keep evidence of torture -- evidence which involves no "sensitive" national security information whatsoever -- from being made public."
Turn off the idiot box, and read Chris Floyd.
As I watched WCBS television here in New York, I heard a brief promo. "Salute Sully, Monday at 5 a.m.!"
Americans are as dumb as dirt. Instead of paying attention to the debate in Washington about the stimulus bill, they are stuck on stupid, worrying about octuplet moms and airline pilots.
The economy is tanking fast and Obama and Congress are making thinks worse with an ineffective stimulus plan. Paul Krugman tells us. ". . . to appease the centrists, a plan that was already too small and too focused on ineffective tax cuts has been made significantly smaller, and even more focused on tax cuts." That is what we should all be worried about. Instead we are besotted with Nadia Suleyman and Chesley "Sully" Sullenburger
No one had ever heard of Nadia Suleyman until she gave birth to octuplets two weeks ago. It turns out she already has six kids, all conceived by IVF, and then had six more embryos implanted in her uterus. OK, that is pretty hardcore, but so what?
I don't know her, I won't be supporting her kids, she hasn't asked me to babysit, so I just don't give a damn. Many Americans do not share my lack of interest. First they were fascinated by the story, then they wondered who the mommy was, then they foamed at the month when they found out she was unmarried. She is the wreck at the side of the road that people claim they won't watch but instead slow down to gaze upon.
Speaking of wrecks. There was a plane crash here in New York a few weeks back. A US Airways jet lost both engines when they sucked in a few geese. Who knew? I thought the worst thing geese did was poop on golf courses, but I digress.
The pilot and co-pilot were forced to ditch the plane in the Hudson river and they did so without loss of life. Sullenburger and the rest of the crew deserve kudos for doing their jobs well, but of course our dumb ass culture and corporate media bent on getting ratings for broadcasting stupid crap won't leave the story alone.
CBS won the exclusive 60 Minutes interview and will be shoving Sully and company down our throats for the next couple of days. The Early Show will devote its entire Monday morning show to the US Airways story. The demand from the media is so great that Sullenburger, the pilots unions, the flight attendants union and US Airways all have their own media representatives deciding who they will and won't talk to.
We don't have the luxury of being distracted by this bullshit. There is not that much to say. The crew were skilled and lucky that conditions permitted them to land safely. End of story. Nothing to see here, just move along.
As for Suleyman, who cares that a weird chick keeps making babies when the nation is on the verge of an economic depression? Unfortunately, too many people care about things that are none of their business when things that are their business cry out for attention.
I will not be watching and Sully or Suleyman interviews. I will be watching Congress.