Sameh Habeeb reports on the humanitarian crisis taking place inside Gaza’s sealed borders
By Patrick Martin
29 November 2008
President-elect Barack Obama announced Wednesday the appointment of former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker to head a White House advisory board to oversee the new administration’s policies for stabilizing financial markets. The selection of the 81-year-old Volcker puts an inveterate enemy of the working class at the side of the new president, and demonstrates the class character of the right-wing government that Obama is assembling.
In the course of the week, Obama selected his entire economic team: Timothy Geithner, currently president of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve, who will become secretary of the treasury; Lawrence Summers, former Clinton treasury secretary, who will head the National Economic Council, the chief White House group for coordinating economic policy; and Peter Orszag, who will become budget director. Summers, Geithner and Orszag are all protégés of former Clinton treasury secretary Robert Rubin, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and now director and vice chairman of Citigroup.
Bill Moyers Journal
November 28, 2008
Bill Moyers sits down with Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, to discuss what direction the U.S. should pursue in the often-overlooked question of food policy. Pollan is author of IN DEFENSE OF FOOD: AN EATER’S MANIFESTO.
Crossposted on Foreign Policy Journal
The New York Times and other major U.S. media sources commonly report on the production of opium in Afghanistan as though it were under the control of the Taliban. The facts on the ground, however, tell a different story. Who dominates the Afghan opium trade? Foreign Policy Journal investigates.
The New York Times reported this week that the Taliban have cut back on poppy cultivation and is stockpiling opium, grossly overstating the group’s role in the Afghanistan drug trade.
“Afghanistan has produced so much opium in recent years,” the Times reported Thursday, “that the Taliban are cutting poppy cultivation and stockpiling raw opium in an effort to support prices and preserve a major source of financing for the insurgency, Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the United Nations drug office, says.”
Mr. Costa’s remarks came last week as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) prepared to release its Afghan Opium Survey 2008 report, the executive summary of which has already been available for some time. The now released report shows that poppy cultivation was reduced in much of Afghanistan and is even more highly concentrated in the south, with Helmand province being by far the biggest producer.
By Gary Corseri
Nov. 29, 2008
He wants a new language!
The old one’s full of homonyms
That sound too much like war:
“Bombs bursting in air”;
“Predator”; “duty … honor … country. …”
BAM! Ker-pling! Ka-boom! BAM!
Even “pride,” even “love”–
Drafted into service.
Every word has a medal
Stapled on its buttocks.
Every word’s a hero
In an honor-guard casket
With a flag drooling over.
S p l a t !
Armor-piercing bullets say,
“Accept the world as it is!”
The shock and awe of their logic
Like cancer in children’s dreams.
Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom….
Guns talk to guns–
A crimson tete-a-tete.
Nothing succeeds like excess.
Under the din of mourning–
Litigious sirens wail.
Snap! Crackle! Pop!
There is no light except for
Laser-guided missiles … and … possibly
Enhanced night-vision goggles.
Gary Corseri has posted/published his work at Dandelion Salad, The New York Times, Village Voice and hundreds of other venues. He served as the Arts Coordinator of Prout’s “Building a New World Conference” (Radford, Virginia) in May, 2008. His books (which may be ordered at Borders, etc.,) include the novels, A Fine Excess and Holy Grail, Holy Grail, and the anthology, Manifestations (edited). Contact: Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.
Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly
Patrick Bond, Durban
Green Left Weekly
21 November 2008
One of US president-elect Barack Obama’s leading advisers has done more damage to Africa, its economies and its people than anyone I can think of in world history, including even Cecil John Rhodes.
That charge may surprise readers, but hear me out.
His name is Paul Volcker, and the 82-year-old banker was recommended as “a legend!” to Obama by Austan Goolsbee, his chief economic adviser.
Volcker was profiled by the October 21 Wall Street Journal: “The cigar-chomping central banker from 1979 to 1987, he received blame for driving up interest rates and tipping the US into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.”
But why dredge up crimes nearly 30 years old?
Because of the awesome financial destruction Volcker imposed, within most Africans’ living memory. His policies stunted the continent’s growth when it most needed internal economic coherence.
Even the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) official history cannot avoid using the famous phrase most associated with the former Reserve Bank chair’s name: “The origins of the debt crisis of the 1980s may be traced back to and through the lurching efforts of the worlds’ governments to cope with the economic instabilities of the 1970s … [including the] monetary contraction in the United States (the ‘Volcker Shock’) that brought a sharp rise in world interest rates and a sustained appreciation of the dollar.”
Electing Barack Obama president was the first step in redeeming American democracy. The second step must be indicting ex-president George W. Bush, giving him a fair trial, finding him guilty of many criminal acts and putting him in prison. Forget revenge. Think rule of law and justice.
I want President Obama soon after taking office to go on television and announce the formation of a special group of outstanding jurists and attorneys to make a recommendation whether or not the US Justice Department should bring criminal charges against George W. Bush. Based on earlier analyses, including work by the American Bar Association, I have no doubt they will recommend indictment.
If moral honesty and courage have any meaning, then the nation must take seriously the concept that no president can ever be allowed to be above the law. How can President Obama not strongly support this? Surely no president must be allowed to disrespect and dishonor the US Constitution. George W. Bush broke his oath of office. His behavior was treasonous. Instead of defending the Constitution he disgraced it. Instead of protecting constitutional rights, including privacy, he sullied them. He asserted his right to ignore or not enforce laws so he could break them. Respect for the office of the presidency must never be allowed to trump truth and justice.
Millions and millions of Americans and people worldwide know that George W. Bush made 9/11 the trigger for initiating an illegal war in Iraq that has killed and maimed so many thousands of people. What Vincent Bugliosi, author of “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” called “the most serious crime ever committed in American history.” I say convict Bush of myriad counts of criminally negligent homicide related to both Iraq and the Katrina disaster and put him in prison. A former president in prison would not disgrace the presidency. It would restore honor to the office and the Constitution.
Surely millions more people now understand that George W. Bush bears responsibility for creating the conditions that encouraged greed-driven capitalism to rape and murder the middle class and push us into the current global economic meltdown. By removing government oversight and regulation he committed the greatest acts of fraud in the history of mankind. After he made American democracy delusional he made prosperity delusional.
We the people are paying the price for George W. Bush’s criminal acts and so must he. When George W. Bush is sent to prison everyone will see that American democracy has earned the respect of the world. Everyone will better understand that evil comes in many forms and that even an elected president of the United States of America can and must be recognized as a perpetrator of horrendous criminal acts.
Please President-elect Obama, make it so. Be the principled person we want you to be. Make the USA the nation it is supposed to be. Have the courage to do what Congress refused to do when it did not impeach George W. Bush. Change history by showing the world that American justice applies as equally to the president as it does to anyone else. Do not let George W. Bush escape the justice and prison sentence he deserves. Do not let respect for the presidency trump respect for justice. If we do not bring George W. Bush to justice that probably only you can make happen, then surely we do not restore respect for the office that you worked so hard to achieve.
To ensure that no future president behaves like George W. Bush we must punish him. Not merely through the words of historians, but through the physical punishment that he has inflicted on so many millions of people. In previous eras citizens would have demanded “off with his head.” Now we must demand “lock him up.” How poetic for a pro-torture ex-president. As summed up at www.imprisonbush.com: “Bush must be made accountable to the law, to serve as a lesson to all those who would attempt to destroy the American system of laws and liberty for the sake of their own power.” This is a test for both President Obama and American democracy.
If there is any kind of God in the universe, then George W. Bush must go to prison. When he does, then and only then should God bless America.
[Formerly a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association, Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of nonfiction books, including Prosperity Without Pollution, Sprawl Kills and Delusional Democracy.]
By Suki Falconberg
The turkey on your table went through a lot before she got there. She was ‘factory farmed.’ This involves procedures that can be defined as extreme torture. Within the first three hours of her birth, the baby turkey had three-toes chopped off and she was debeaked, all without anesthetic. Debeaking involves amputating the highly sensitive beak tissue with a hot blade, and it causes life-long pain and suffering. Both debeaking and toe amputation are regarded as ‘necessary,’ so the birds will not peck and claw each to death out of misery and frustration in the warehouses where they ‘live’ until slaughter.
Factory farming, also called ‘intensive confinement,’ crowds thousands of birds together in large barns where they stand in their own excrement, breathing in the ammonia fumes caused by the build up. They live their entire lives under these conditions, which cause ulcerated feet, destroyed lungs, and eyes burned out by the fumes—not to mention emotional frustration, stress, and eventually insanity. They’re also fed a steady diet of antibiotics, to keep them alive in their hell long enough to get them to slaughter.
via » The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving (link no longer working)
“The bourgeoisie [are] out of answers, and with the increasing costs of production and transportation driven by the price of oil, with the price of oil driving the bourgeoisie into greater capital expenditures to increase the rate of surplus value; with oil undermining growth in the mass and rate of value added– manufacturing, hidden beneath all the noise and clamor of Wall Street, of all the investment bankers at all the trading desks slapping themselves on the back with each new deal– manufacturing had all ready rung the closing bell.
“Those who didn’t hear it, couldn’t hear it. They were too smart. They were too stupid.
“The only answer left for capitalism…is the destruction of assets.” — ‘Pimp My Assets Part 3’, The Wolf Report.
So desperate are we for real change that Obama’s election promises became a veritable mantra for millions of people, especially the young, black and poor. Understandably, there is more than a little wishful thinking involved here given the disastrous decade we’ve been through. And after all the guy is young, apparently gifted and black, what more could anyone ask for?
However, a degree of realism is required and not only about Obama but concerning what is possible under the circumstances.
So what are the circumstances?
Fri, 28 Nov 2008 15:40:41 GMT
Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets to protest parliament’s approval of a pact which allows US troops stay in the country until 2011.
Outraged by parliament’s move, thousands of people rallied throughout Iraq on Friday torching US flags, chanting slogans and carrying black banners of mourning.
“We condemn the agreement and we reject it, just as we condemn all injustice,” Sheikh Hassan al-Husseini told the worshippers at the weekly Friday prayers in Baghdad.
Earlier in the day, in a show of protest senior Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr declared three days of mourning across Iraq, beginning on Saturday, calling for peaceful demonstrations.
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By David Irving
(Four Thanksgiving Day Vignettes)
Among twenty snowy mountains the only thing the hunter saw in the early morning light from behind his blind was a deer moving at the edge of the woods. The young doe lifted her head and sniffed the crisp air just as the 160 grain bullet tore into the flesh of her left hip and shattered the bone there. A whine cut the air as the doe leaped in agony. Adrenalin poured through her system, fear coated her eyes, a gush of red erupted onto the snow at her feet.
“God dammit! Missed the fucking bastard again!” the hunter swore, smacking the side of his 7mm Remington Magnum with his paw. He pressed a gloved thumb against the right side of his nostrils and blew out a wad of snot on the snow at his feet. “Wish the hell Harry would hurry and get back with the God damned coffee!!”
via » Over the River and through the Woods
video no longer available
Jun 27, 2012 by Billy Talen
An examination of the commercial-ization of Christmas in America while following Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse (the end of humankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt.)
The film also delves into issues such as the role sweatshops play in America’s mass consumerism and Big-Box Culture. From the humble beginnings of preaching at his portable pulpit on New York City subways, to having a congregation of thousands – Bill Talen (aka Rev. Billy) has become the leader of not just a church, but a national movement.
by Jeffrey Kaplan
Published in the May/June 2008 issue of Orion magazine
And the better future we left behind
PRIVATE CARS WERE RELATIVELY SCARCE in 1919 and horse-drawn conveyances were still common. In residential districts, electric streetlights had not yet replaced many of the old gaslights. And within the home, electricity remained largely a luxury item for the wealthy.