Breaking news from PNHP. The Weiner amendment ‘could’ come to a floor vote on Friday or Saturday with maybe a 20 minute debate allowed. Your calls and faxes were instrumental in making this happen.
Now is the time to push hard on your congressperson to vote for the Weiner amendment. Even if it fails, it is very important to show that it has support. If the entire health reform bill fails, as it very well may, then Medicare For All has a real shot at enactment when Congress realizes it MUST address health care.
A five-month investigation by McClatchy Newspapers has revealed that Goldman Sachs made secret bets against the housing market while simultaneously selling off billions in soon-to-be worthless securities. In 2006 and 2007, the bank reportedly peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in US housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting. We speak to McClatchy reporter Greg Gordon. [includes rush transcript]
Updated: Nov. 5, 2009 Grayson finishes reading the list; see video below. Also added a short speech.
Rep. Alan Grayson reads the number of dead from each of the Republican congressional districts if the health care bill doesn’t pass. Note at the end of Part 3 his mic is cut off without him finishing his list.
I was so delighted that the Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Obama last Wednesday, included a hard-won concession that the administration can transfer prisoners from Guantánamo to the mainland to face trials (even though the legislation still bears the fingerprints of interfering lawmakers, and still, scandalously, prevents any innocent man from being rehoused in the country that falsely imprisoned him) that I overlooked two other distressing facts.
Firstly, the Act authorizes 680 billion dollars to be spent — a mind-boggling amount of money — and secondly, it includes amendments to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, authorizing the revival of the much-maligned “terror trials” that were first dragged from obscurity by Dick Cheney and his close advisors in November 2001.
“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” — Voltaire
Question: How many countries do you have to be at war with to be disqualified from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize?
Answer: Five. Barack Obama has waged war against only Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. He’s holding off on Iran until he actually gets the prize.
Somalian civil society and court system are so devastated from decades of war that one wouldn’t expect its citizens to have the means to raise serious legal challenges to Washington’s apparent belief that it can drop bombs on that sad land whenever it appears to serve the empire’s needs. But a group of Pakistanis, calling themselves “Lawyers Front for Defense of the Constitution”, and remembering just enough of their country’s more civilized past, has filed suit before the nation’s High Court to make the federal government stop American drone attacks on countless innocent civilians. The group declared that a Pakistan Army spokesman claimed to have the capability to shoot down the drones, but the government had made a policy decision not to. 1
This year began with Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, visiting Colombia in mid-January and meeting with that nation’s defense minister and top military commander. While in Bogota Mullen railed against the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas and accused the government of Venezuela of conniving with them.
Less than two months and the inauguration of a new president later, America’s top military commander returned to Colombia, the third largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the world, as part of a Latin American tour that also took him to Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico. Upon returning to Washington Mullen said that “The U.S. military is ready to help Mexico in its deadly war against drug cartels with some of the same counter-insurgency tactics used against militant networks in Iraq and Afghanistan”  and “the Plan Colombia aid package could be an ‘overarching’ model for Pakistan and Afghanistan….” 
If you want to get an idea of what America once was like, read the poems of Walt Whitman. Whitman was born in Long Island in 1819 and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family was poor, but even though he left school at the age of 11 he gave himself an education by reading and working in the printing shop of a newspaper until he gradually became a published writer. He worked as a teacher and news reporter and owned his own newspaper by the age of 20.
In 1848 Whitman was a delegate to the founding convention of the Free Soil Party. During the Civil War he worked as a nurse in Union military hospitals and held several government jobs, including interviewing Confederate prisoners for pardons. Some of his greatest poems came from his war experiences, including his famous elegy upon the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, “Oh Captain! My Captain!” His great collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, was self-published. He died a national hero in 1892 in Camden, New Jersey, where thousands of people came to pay their respects. Contrary to the opinion of some, he was not a homosexual.
Have you ever seen anything more outrageous? Talk about double standards! For weeks the BBC bombarded us with outrage concerning the elections in Iran with wall-to-wall coverage of the protests and predicting some other kind of ‘colour’ revolution, a green one this time (what will USAID, NDI, Freedom House, George Soros et al do, when they run out of colours?).
“Millions of Iranians simply did not believe the result. The main demand of the protesters has been an annulment of the result and an election re-run.” — ‘Q&A: Iran election aftermath’, BBC News, 22 June, 2009
Compare the BBC’s squeals of outrage over the Iranian elections with how the BBC ‘delicately’ deals with the Afghan elections. No wall-to-wall coverage of Afghan outrage over a stolen election. Instead, Continue reading →
Italian court convicts Robert Lady and 23 others in absentia
First prosecution for US abduction of suspects to torture states
The former head of the CIA in Milan has been given an eight-year jail sentence for kidnapping at the end of the first trial anywhere in the world involving the agency’s “extraordinary rendition” programme.
Robert Lady was tried in his absence and convicted of helping to organise the seizure of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street in February 2003. His superior, Jeff Castelli, the head of the CIA in Italy at the time, was acquitted on the grounds that he was covered by diplomatic immunity. Most of the other 23 alleged CIA operatives on trial were given five-year jail sentences in their absence.
Following a statement on the Floor of the House of Representative, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement about the House health care plan:
“Before we celebrate the new health care legislation, keep in mind that the American people will be required by law to buy private insurance and that they will pay a penalty if they don’t.
“That insurance companies will be subsidized by the government.
“That insurance companies have had double digit increases in premiums in the past four years.
“That we are locking in a for profit structure.
“This is the result of a health care debate of which the flawed premise is that health care reform can not happen without the cooperation of the insurance companies, which make money by not providing health care.
“The truth is that reform can not happen with them. The insurance companies are the problem not the solution. This legislation, no matter how well intended, will likely not be able to deliver, cost too much and be another bail out for big business at the expense of the American people.”
Communist America is an oxymoron – or is it? Carl Dix a representative of America’s Revolutionary Communist Party thinks that political change IS possible in the US. He spoke to RT’s Anastasia Churkina.
At the weekend, six of the remaining 13 Uighurs in Guantánamo — Muslims from China’s Xinjiang province — were released to resume new lives in the tiny Pacific nation of Palau (population: 20,000). I have written at length about the plight of Guantánamo’s Uighurs, innocent men caught up in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, who were mostly seized and sold to US forces by Pakistani villagers after fleeing a settlement in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora mountains where they had been living a Spartan live for several months, free from Chinese oppression. Some were hoping to make their way to Turkey, to find work, but had found their way hard, and had been advised to seek out the settlement; others nursed futile dreams of rising up against the Chinese government, and, while working to make the settlement habitable, occasionally shot a few rounds on their only weapon, an aged Kalashnikov.
I have also written about how the US authorities knew, almost immediately, that these men had no connection to either al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but how, nevertheless, they flew them to Guantánamo, allowed Chinese interrogators to visit them, and tried, in their tribunals at Guantánamo, to make out that they were connected to a Uighur separatist group, which, obligingly had been designated by the Bush administration as a terrorist group to secure leverage with the Chinese government in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.