November 12, 2008
2008 Presidential nominee Ralph Nader calls it as he sees it on MSNBC.
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by Rebecca Vilkomerson
Nov 17, 2008
We’ve asked Rebecca Vilkomerson, a veteran JVP activist now living with her family in Israel, to give us regular updates about anti-occupation activism in Israel. Rebecca is also on staff with the Israeli environmental and social justice NGO Bustan, which works with Bedouin and Jewish communities in the Negev. Listen to what Rebecca has to say, from a place where “leftists aren’t allowed.”
Several weeks ago, while on a solidarity visit with Ta’ayush in the South Hebron hills region of the West Bank, we were stopped by a makeshift Israeli Army roadblock and told that we could not pass into a closed military zone. Having all traveled that road many times before with no problem, and watching settlers whiz by us, we asked to see the military order. Before producing it, the soldier said, “I am very happy for any Jew to visit the Land of Israel, but leftists aren’t allowed.”
Obama plans to name Clinton to State 20 Nov 2008 President-elect Barack Obama is “on track” to name Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as his secretary of state shortly after Thanksgiving, two senior Obama aides said. Financial disclosure issues have been worked out, aides said. The officials said they expect her to accept. Clinton aides had no comment. h/t: CLG
by Ewen MacAskill in Washington
guardian.co.uk, Monday November 17 2008 21.48 GMT
President-elect Barack Obama reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration
Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned.
Obama’s advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton’s foundation, which distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats do not believe that the vetting is likely to be a problem.
As part of the coalition-building, Obama today also reached out to his defeated Republican rival, John McCain, to discuss how they could work together to roll back some of the most controversial policies of the Bush years. Putting aside the bitter words thrown about with abandon by both sides during the election campaign, McCain flew to meet Obama at his headquarters in the Kluczynski Federal Building, in downtown Chicago.
Hillary Clinton as choice for Secretary of State is an Embarrassment! Chris Hitchens
November 17, 2008 MSNBC HARDBALL
Nov 17, 2008
George Bush is the most hated president in American history. Number Two, Harry S. Truman, left office with a 64% disapproval rating and George Bush’s is now a very dismal, yet richly deserved 76%. I can’t remember a time when Americans have been so united in anything since we were actually a compassionate country after the tragedy on 9-11.
Barack Obama and the Democrats rode this wave of hatred for nearly all things Republican on November 4th. The reason for the Democratic victories could not have been because the Democrats give a viable alternative to the Republicans, because most of the time, they do not. In the contest for the highest office in the land, the Republicans threw a bone to their old and decrepit dog, McCain and offered us an even weaker (but younger) choice for his running mate. The deck was stacked for Obama and this was a year that practically anyone could have beaten McCain/Palin (in fact, polls showed that Hillary would have beaten McCain even worse).
I confess, I have become cynical about the political process since I witnessed little (if any) progress towards peace and economic justice after the Democrats regained some power in 2006. I have little hope that Emperor-Elect Obama will voluntarily give up any imperial power or reduce the size of the US Empire as he has already promised to increase US presence in Afghanistan and Super-Duper-Size our military to levels never seen before and can only be used for spreading corporate-imperialism. I hope I am wrong but I am not going to drink the blue flavored Kool-Aid anymore than I would drink the Red flavored Kool-Aid and give Obama a free pass because he chooses to put a (D) behind his name instead of the dreaded (R).
I am willing to give an Obama regime the chance to prove me wrong but I do not think that the movements that put him in power should relax. Obama has proven to be resistant to constituent pressure as he voted to give telecom companies and BushCo immunity from prosecution for smashing the 4th Amendment to bits and pieces as he voted to and pressured other people to vote for the bankster bailouts which has proven to be disastrous. How can anyone who has been alive the last 8 years, but especially a Constitutional attorney/professor vote to give billions (really trillions) of dollars to a corrupt administration that has proven to be criminally inept and callous in every way?
In my refusal to be coma-tized by Obama, whom I have met several times and think he is very smart and very likable (like some people think about George), I have been confronted by friends and strangers alike who do not want facts pointed out to them, just like Republican war hawks and troop “supporters” do not want the facts that Dick and George dodged Vietnam and reduced Veteran’s benefits pointed out to them.
Recently, I was on a cable access show here in San Francisco and I was talking about the FISA abomination and pointed out the “pesky” fact that Obama voted for it and a very nice woman who had already voted for me in early voting called and said: “I don’t believe that Obama would vote to take away our rights!” I told her that it was a fact that I did not pull out of thin air and she said: “Then he must have had a good reason.” Where have our critical thinking skills gone? It is human nature to be partisan for your political party, but to give up your brains and your rights to either party is just plain wrong.
After election day, I received an email from a person who said that he “liked” me and would have voted for me, if I didn’t lie about Obama and his funding. He said: “the reason that he has so much money is that WE GAVE IT TO HIM!” I haven’t heard from him since I sent him this link that shows how much corporate money Obama also took.
The most gut wrenching emails I have received are from friends who have literally been in the ditches with me saying things like: “Obama has to send more troops to Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden, that’s a no brainer.” Well, I guess I have no brains, because in the first place, has it been established that bin Laden is even in Afghanistan and secondly, do we need two combat brigades in Afghanistan to catch one very tall man with failing kidneys? Afghanistan is now our second longest military misadventure and was the downfall of the USSR’s empire. Iraq, Afghanistan and our warfare state may be the downfall of ours if Obama continues the Bush trajectory and his war OF terror. Do not get me wrong, I believe our empire should crumble, but if we do it voluntarily, we may retain some dignity. Additionally, when the empire crumbles, it will crumble on We the People and the ones who have been making immoral profits are already scampering away to places like Dubai (Halliburton after it has soaked US taxpayers for over 20 billion) to preserve their ill-gotten gains.
I was at the No on 8 Protest at City Hall yesterday when a participant and I got into a discussion about civil rights. He said that we reclaimed them on November 4th when Obama (who does not support same gender marriage) was elected. I said, “How so, Obama voted to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT ACT.” The young man brilliantly retorted with: “No, he didn’t.” I replied with: “He most certainly did and what did you think of him voting for the FISA Modernization Act?” At which point, the man turned around and walked away. That’s the rabid Republican way and the new rabid Obama-ite way. If a fact doesn’t conform to your worldview, then walk away from it and the un-truth fairy will hopefully scrub it from your mind with a wave of her magic wand.
Obama’s statements on Iraq are exactly the same as Bush’s. He will bring the troops home in a responsible manner when the Generals on the ground tell him it is safe to do so. However, the Iraqi Cabinet has now agreed to the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) that keeps US troops in Iraq until 2011. I do not think the Parliament or the people of Iraq will agree to this SOFA, as one Bagdad resident put it: “We don’t want an agreement with America. We don’t want an agreement with Israel… We fully and totally reject this security pact.” The Iraqi people will not lie down and accept this as US citizens have. It is unconscionable to think that our forces will be under Iraqi authority, but to also think that we will be infecting that unfortunate nation for another three years after we never should have gone in there in the first place.
The anti-war movement must stick to its “Troops home immediately” mantra and not be lulled into complacency by slick marketing and empty rhetoric. We never accepted the “Troops home eventually” crap and we must not accept it now.
Red, Blue, Green or Purple, we should not allow ourselves to be rocked back to sleep and re-abdicate our responsibilities to our Republic or to humanity. We are going to go through some very rocky economic times before we come out the other end.
Are we going to come out the other end as victims or victors?
by Larisa Alexandrovna
Monday November 17, 2008
Email noting relationship with White House came just a month after Bush took office
Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff told his colleagues at his former law firm that he had an “agreement” regarding communications with a former assistant to then-Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, perhaps the most substantial documented tie between Abramoff and the White House to date.
In the email, dated Feb. 27, 2001, Abramoff reprimands a colleague who asked him to use Susan Ralston – Special Assistant to the President George W. Bush and then-Bush senior adviser Karl Rove – to arrange a meeting with the President for one of his clients.
In response, Abramoff writes that Ralston and he have an “agreement with her as to what we are going to ask her and when.”
by John Byrne
Monday November 17, 2008
Federal law enforcement may be able to track cellular phones users’ locations without the help of the telecommunications companies themselves, according to a report Sunday.
Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that existing technology allows law enforcement to bypass wireless companies in locating individual cell phone users.
Nov. 17, 2008
Ex-CIA Officials Tied to Rendition Program and Faulty Iraq Intel Tapped to Head Obama’s Intelligence Transition Team
John Brennan and Jami Miscik, both former intelligence officials under George Tenet, are leading Barack Obama’s review of intelligence agencies and helping make recommendations to the new administration. Brennan has supported warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition, and Miscik was involved with the politicized intelligence alleging weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the war on Iraq. We speak with former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights. [includes rush transcript]
Obama, Gitmo, and Rendition
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Nov. 17, 2008
Naomi Klein on the Bailout Profiteers and the Multi-Trillion-Dollar Crime Scene
“The more details emerge, the clearer it becomes that Washington’s handling of the Wall Street bailout is not merely incompetent. It is borderline criminal,” says Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine. [includes rush transcript]
I’m coming across quite a few essays by lefties bemoaning the fact that Barack Obama has somehow ‘let us down’. For example there’s a piece by Dave Lindorff ‘Obama’s First Big Mistake on the Job – Rescuing Joe Lieberman’
Mistake? There is no mistake. The gist of the piece is about the “treacherous” Joe Lieberman, former Dem, who when he lost the race for nomination as Democratic Senator for Connecticut, turned around and ran as an ‘independent’ (with the support of many Democrats and Republicans) and got elected. Okay, the guy is as Lindorff says, “…a wretched example of a man without principle—a back-stabbing slimeball of a politician whose only allegi[a]nce, apparently, besides to himself, is to Israel”, something else I object to in Lindorff’s piece is his qualification of his reference to Lieberman’s Zionist ‘credentials’, Continue reading
Just a reminder to not go shopping the day after Thanksgiving in the US, Nov 28 and/or Sat Nov 29 (International Buy Nothing Day). ~ DS
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compiled by Cem Ertür
17 November 2008
excerpt from ‘RAF exercise over Iceland is cancelled‘
by Hildur Helga Sigurdardottir, Times, 15 November 2008
Nato has decided to cancel RAF air patrols over Iceland that had been due to take place next month.
The Icelandic Prime Minister, Geir Haarde, and the Foreign Minister, Ingibjörg Sólrún GÍsladóttir, insist that the decision has nothing to do with the political and monetary conflict with London.
There can be little doubt, however, that the cancellation of a routine military exercise is related to the current public mood in Iceland and the country’s dire financial situation, as Iceland bears some of the cost of those Nato exercises.
The issue of British fighter planes patrolling Icelandic air space next month has been hotly debated. Last Thursday Össur Skarphéðinsson, then acting Foreign Minister, said that having British fighter jets circling above Iceland in the coming weeks would feel like “kissing the rod of those who are beating you”.