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Breaking the sound barrier

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Too big to fail, too big to jail

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Karl Rove recently described George W. Bush as a book lover, writing, "There is a myth perpetuated by Bush critics that he would rather burn a book than read one." There will be many histories written about the Bush administration. What will they use for source material? The Bush White House was sued for losing e-mails, and for skirting laws intended to protect public records. A federal judge ordered White House computers scoured for e-mails just days before Bush left office. Three hundred million e-mails reportedly went to the National Archives, but 23 million e-mails remain "lost." Vice President Dick Cheney left office in a wheelchair due to a back injury suffered when moving boxes out of his office. He has not only hobbled a nation in his attempt to sequester information -- he hobbled himself. Cheney also won court approval to decide which of his records remain private. Read more.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

A long train ride

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 2:21 PM

By AMY GOODMAN

It started with a train ride. Barack Obama rode to Washington, D.C., for his presidential inauguration on a whistle-stop tour. "To the children who hear the whistle of the train and dream of a better life -- that's who we're fighting for," Obama said along the tour, which was compared to the train ride taken by Abraham Lincoln from Springfield, Ill., to Washington, D.C., in February 1861, en route to his first inauguration. The comparisons between Obama and Lincoln abound, describing the arc between the abolition of slavery in the United States and the election of the first African-American president. Read more.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nothing to fear but no health care

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 6:00 PM

By AMY GOODMAN

Fifty million Americans are without health insurance, and 25 million are "underinsured." Millions being laid off will soon be added to those rolls. Medical bills cause more than half of personal bankruptcies in the United States. Desperate for care, the under- and uninsured flock to emergency rooms, often dealing with problems that could have been prevented.

The U.S. auto giants are collapsing in part due to extraordinary health-care expenses, while they are competing with companies in countries that provide universal health care. Economist Dean Baker calculated how General Motors would fare if its health-care costs were the same as costs in Canada: "GM would have had higher profits, making no other changes ... that would equal $22 billion over the course of the last decade. They wouldn't have to be running to the government for help." GM is sometimes referred to as a health-care company that makes cars. Former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca said in 2005, "It is a well-known fact that the U.S. automobile industry spends more per car on health care than on steel." He supports national health care. Read more.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Israeli voices for peace

Posted By on Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Israel's assault on Gaza, by air, sea and now land, has killed (at the time of this writing) more than 600 Palestinians, with more than 2,700 injured. Ten Israelis have been killed, three of them, Israeli soldiers, killed by friendly fire. Beyond the deaths and injuries, the people of Gaza are suffering a dire humanitarian crisis that is dismissed by the Israeli government. There is, however, Israeli opposition to the military assault.

Israeli professor Neve Gordon is chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel, the region most impacted by the Hamas rockets.

Speaking over the phone from Beersheba, Gordon said: "We just had a rocket about an hour ago not far from our house. My two children have been sleeping in a bomb shelter for the past week. And yet, I think what Israel is doing is outrageous. ... The problem is that most Israelis say Israel left the Gaza Strip three years ago, and Hamas is still shooting rockets at us. They forget the details. The detail is that Israel maintains sovereignty. The detail is that the Palestinians live in a cage. The detail is that they don't get basic foodstuff, that they don't get electricity, that they don't get water. And when you forget those kinds of details, all you say is, 'Why are they still shooting at us?' That's what the media here has been pumping them with, then you think this war is rational. If you look at what's been going on in the Gaza Strip in the past three years and you see what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians, you would think that the Palestinian resistance is rational. And that's what's missing in the mainstream media here."

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Workers laid off, executives paid off, Bernard Madoff

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 4:36 PM

The global financial crisis deepens, with more than 10 million in the United States out of work, according to the Department of Labor. Unemployment hit 6.7 percent in November. Add the 7.3 million "involuntary part-time workers," who want to work full time but can't find a position. Jobless claims have reached a 26-year high, while 30 states reportedly face potential shortfalls in their unemployment-insurance pools. The stunning failure of regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission was again highlighted, as former NASDAQ head Bernard Madoff (you got it, pronounced "made off") was arrested for allegedly running the world's largest criminal pyramid scheme, with losses expected at $50 billion, dwarfing those from the Enron scandal. The picture is grim -- unless, that is, you are a corporate executive. Read the full article

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tutu, Obama and the Middle East

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 12:24 PM

As President-elect Barack Obama focuses on the meltdown of the U.S. economy, another fire is burning: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

You may not have heard much lately about the disaster in the Gaza Strip. That silence is intentional: The Israeli government has barred international journalists from entering the occupied territory.

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Chevron in the White House: Continuity we can believe in

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 12:12 PM

President-elect Barack Obama introduced his principal national-security Cabinet selections to the world Monday and left no doubt that he intends to start his administration on a war footing. Perhaps the least well known among them is retired Marine Gen. James Jones, Obama's pick for national-security adviser. The position is crucial -- think of the power that Henry Kissinger wielded in Richard Nixon's White House. A look into who James Jones is sheds a little light on the Obama campaign's promise of "Change We Can Believe In."

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

President Obama can redeem the White House

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Alice Walker is the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. But Monday, I called her to talk about a true story.

The Obamas had just visited the White House. The first African-American elected president of the United States had visited his soon-to-be residence, a house built by slaves.

Walker told me: "Even when they were building it, you know, in chains or in desperation and in sadness, they were building it for him. Ancestors take a very long view of life, and they see what is coming." The author of The Color Purple, who writes about slavery and redemption, went on, "This is a great victory of the spirit and for people who have had to live basically by faith."

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Unchaining history with the election of Obama

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2008 at 5:53 PM

By AMY GOODMAN

You could almost hear the world's collective sigh of relief. This year's U.S. presidential election was a global event in every sense. Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a black Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, represents to so many a living bridge -- between continents and cultures. Perhaps the job that qualified him most for the presidency was not senator or lawyer, but the one most vilified by his opponents: community organizer, on the South Side of Chicago. As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin mocked: "This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer."

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Celebrate Release

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 12:42 PM

It is fantastic to see Ingrid Betancourt free. She was the Green Party candidate running for president of Colombia against Alvaro Uribe in 2002 when she was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) just days after appealing to the FARC to stop its campaign of kidnapping. She was held hostage for more than six years, and was just released last week, along with 14 others. The flamboyant rescue operation by the Colombian army has been splashed across newspapers and TV screens globally, but the celebration of their release should not be confused with celebration of the Colombian government.

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