Yesterday I was delighted to be invited to take part in an edition of “Inside Story” on Al-Jazeera English, to discuss the closure of Guantánamo in light of the recent concession, by President Obama’s Detention Policy Task Force, that it had missed its six-month deadline to issue recommendations about how to close Guantánamo, which has made observers wonder if the President will now miss his deadline of January 21, 2010 for the closure of the prison. Continue reading →
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow launched Culture Project’s “Blueprint for Accountability” series on May 31 with a gripping evening on accountability and the U.S. policy of torture in the War on Terror. This first episode is titled “Working The Dark Side.”
“Working The Dark Side” was produced for television by Link TV, which is proud to be Culture Project’s media partner on the “Blueprint for Accountability” series. http://www.linktv.org/blueprint
On June 29 US President Barack Obama hosted his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe at the White House and weeks later it was announced that the Pentagon plans to deploy troops to five air and naval bases in Colombia, the largest recipient of American military assistance in Latin America and the third largest in the world, having received over $5 billion from the Pentagon since the launching of Plan Colombia nine years ago.
Six months before the Obama-Uribe meeting outgoing US President George W. Bush bestowed the US’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, on Uribe as well as on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
A press account of the time expressed both shock and indignation at the White House’s honoring of Uribe in writing that “Despite extra-judicial killings, paramilitaries and murdered unionists, Colombia’s President Uribe has won the US’s highest honor for human rights.” 
The congressional healthcare reform bill, H.R. 3200, now contains the Kucinich amendment thus keeping hope alive for a single-payer system.
Two weeks ago, Dennis Kucinich proposed an amendment to the healthcare reform bill that keeps the single-payer option alive. Kucinich’s amendment will permit states the power to introduce single-payer healthcare systems. Importantly, Kucinich’s amendment drew bipartisan support by uniting proponents of single-payer healthcare with states rights advocates, and it is now the crucial part of the landmark bill that is due to be voted on by the end of this month.
by Kip Sullivan – PNHP’s official Blog
Monday, Jul 20, 2009
The people who brought us the “public option” began their campaign promising one thing but now promote something entirely different. To make matters worse, they have not told the public they have backpedalled. The campaign for the “public option” resembles the classic bait-and-switch scam: tell your customers you’ve got one thing for sale when in fact you’re selling something very different.
When the “public option” campaign began, its leaders promoted a huge “Medicare-like” program that would enroll about 130 million people. Such a program would dwarf even Medicare, which, with its 45 million enrollees, is the nation’s largest health insurer, public or private. But today “public option” advocates sing the praises of tiny “public options” contained in congressional legislation sponsored by leading Democrats that bear no resemblance to the original model.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the “public options” described in the Democrats’ legislation might enroll 10 million people and will have virtually no effect on health care costs, which means the “public options” cannot, by themselves, have any effect on the number of uninsured. But the leaders of the “public option” movement haven’t told the public they have abandoned their original vision. It’s high time they did.
A month into his reign that began on January 30, 1933, things are not going so well for Adolf Hitler. He has already made his first roundups, of known Communists and left-wing labor leaders. But, the Depression is still on, he still has Reichs President Paul von Hindenburg to deal with, the army is on the fence (in fact, many of the Old Prussians can’t stand the “Little Corporal,” an enlisted man and an Austrian to boot), and there is still a functioning Reichstag (Parliament) to deal with. It does not have the Communist elected deputies, but does have enough Socialists and other Nazi-opponents to deny him the two-thirds majority he needs to change the Constitution. What to do?
He gets a half-wit ex-Communist to either really set the fire or let himself get set up as the scapegoat. He blames everything on the “Communist terrorists.” He then manipulates the remaining membership of the Reichstag in his favor by scaring off some of the Socialists who are still there and intimidating a few other opponents, and gets the “Enabling Act,” giving him dictatorial powers, passed by the two-thirds vote it needs, since it is a Constitutional amendment. The rest is history.
A careful reading of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, shows that Bernanke thinks the economy is in a deflationary spiral that will last for some time. Ben Bernanke:
The depth and breadth of the global recession has required a highly accommodative monetary policy. Since the onset of the financial crisis nearly two years ago, the Federal Reserve has reduced the interest-rate target for overnight lending between banks (the federal-funds rate) nearly to zero. We have also greatly expanded the size of the Fed’s balance sheet through purchases of longer-term securities and through targeted lending programs aimed at restarting the flow of credit….My colleagues and I believe that accommodative policies will likely be warranted for an extended period.”
No talk of recovery here; just a continuation of the same radical policies that were adopted after the collapse of Lehman Bros. The only sign of improvement has been in the stock market, where Bernanke’s liquidity injections have jolted equities back to life. The S&P 500 is up 40% since March. Conditions in the broader economy have continued to deteriorate as unemployment rises, the states find it harder to balance their budgets, and the real estate bubble (commercial and residential) continues to unwind. The Fed’s policies are Bernanke’s way of saying, “The states are not the country. The banks are the country.” The public seems slow to grasp this message.