Sep 30, 2012 by Mark Webster
Amy Goodman Green Festival DC September 29, 2012
There is more debate inside Israel about their nation’s illegal and immoral attack on the defenseless people of Gaza than here in the US. In America we witness a non-stop display of Israeli government spokespersons on TV justifying their murderous assault on the Palestinian people. I’ve seen nothing on TV or in the newspaper about protests in our country.
Tonight I even heard Israeli government representatives on CNN and MSNBC denying that more than 400 Palestinian people had been killed in recent days by Israel’s incessant bombing. These bold faced liars accused the Palestinians of making up the numbers of dead in order to sway public opinion. How despicably low can Israel stoop? And how low can the American media stoop in their servitude and complicity?
By James Petras
December 08, 2008
“I have a vision of Americans in their 80’s being wheeled to their offices and factories having lost their legs in imperial wars and their pensions to Wall Street speculators and with bitter memories of voting for a President who promised change, prosperity and peace and then appointed financial swindlers and war mongers.” An itinerant Minister 2008
By Tom Eley
6 December 2008
About three weeks before he won the general election, President-elect Barack Obama was delivered a different sort of distinction—from the advertising world. Obama was named “Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008.” The annual award is voted upon by hundreds of advertising executives and marketers at the annual Association of National Advertisers conference, entitled “Masters of Marketing.”
Obama beat out the marketing campaigns of Apple computers, Zappos.com, Coors beer, and Nike athletic apparel for the award at the Orlando conference, which was held between October 16 and 19. The trade journal Advertising Age selected the shortlist, which was voted upon by the more than 700 industry executives and experts in attendance. John McCain, Obama’s Republican rival, was also placed on the list of nominees. However, he attracted only 4.5 percent of the vote, as compared to Obama’s 36.1 percent.
By Sean Cockerham
Anchorage Daily News
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Democrat Mark Begich appears headed to victory over Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race.
The Anchorage mayor widened his lead to 3,724 votes in Tuesday’s counting of absentee and questioned ballots.
The only votes left to count are approximately 2,500 special absentees from people living outside the U.S. or in remote parts of Alaska with no polling place.
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?
Book Discussion on The Shock Doctrine and Blackwater
92 min – Nov 15, 2008
Naomi Klein talked about her book and the current economic crisis and bail out. Jeremy Scahill then talked about his book and the situation in Iraq. They then responded to questions from members of the audience.
Naomi Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, published by Metropolitan Books. In her book she argues that in the wake of natural and man-made devastation economic reform is introduced to benefit investors and free market advocates while taking advantage of moments of collective disorientation.
Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of The World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, published by Nation Books. Since he wrote this book, the Iraqi government has banned Blackwater from operating in Iraq.
During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama was called mentally unstable; his supporters were called unpatriotic. At Sarah Palin rallies, in newspaper letters-to-the-editor, on conservative radio and TV talk shows, supporters spewed hatreds, resorting to the Bush tactics of fear mongering to support their own candidate.
At many rallies, the word “kill” was often shouted. The ultra right wing, which infiltrated the McCain campaign, told us Obama is a (gasp!) Muslim, not understanding that not only isn’t Obama a Muslim, but that the Constitution prohibits religion as a test for federal office. Falsely linking Muslim to terrorist, these ultra-patriots said that Obama pals around with terrorists. They said Obama is a thief, a liar, and a scoundrel.
Not so subtly disguised beneath a lot of the hatred is the reality that Obama is multiracial, and that means he isn’t White. Some of the racism isn’t even covert. In comments to newspapers and on radio, Obama was called “Monkey ears” and other terms that would denigrate every person of color. At one rally, a McCain–Palin supporter waved around a stuffed monkey with a blue-and-white headband with one word: Obama. It didn’t even take an investigative journalist to find supporters who brazenly claimed they just couldn’t vote for anyone who’s “colored”; many even used even more derogatory terms.
Ironically, although the establishment media did an admirable job of covering speeches, they did a poor job of covering the racial hatred present at rallies. It was up to sites like Keystone Progress, which videotaped numerous rallies and posted them on You Tube, to help a nation better understand not only the political division but the racial hatreds that still exist in the country. Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress says that he noted a significant difference not only between the Obama–Biden and McCain–Palin rallies—”hope versus fear”—but more racist anger in the rallies where Palin was the primary speaker.
There is still that anger and fear among a part of the conservative movement, but something changed with the election.
On television, you’ll find there are more Blacks in TV commercials. More Blacks are being interviewed. The news media have developed a fascination with Blacks who were in the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s. Blacks whose parents were in the civil rights movement. Blacks who were first time voters.
Barack Obama’s campaign and election have not only revitalized America’s Black population, they have revitalized media interest in minorities.
For a couple of centuries, most newsrooms were staffed only by White men. And then there were a few women. And then a few other minorities. Blacks. Latinos. Asian-Americans. Native Americans. Jews. And an occasional Buddhist or Muslim. Staffing has come a long way. Almost 14 percent of newsrooms have at least one minority, up from 4 percent 30 years ago, according to studies conducted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. However, one-third of America is composed of minorities, so there is still a long way to go. Even today, four decades after Martin Luther King’s murder, and with a heavy campaign by several journalism organizations, about 40 percent of all newspaper newsrooms still have no minorities.
In many rural and suburban cities, just about the only time a newspaper reader sees a minority in a picture is not for an achievement, with the exception of the sports pages, but during an arrest.
For a long time, radio believed that a white male voice was more authoritative than a female voice, or a voice that sounded Black. For most of TV’s first 20 years, there were no Blacks on air. And when the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s shocked America to realize that Blacks might be just as competent as Whites, TV reluctantly hired Blacks—as long as they looked, acted, and spoke White.
We’re now seeing more coverage of Blacks About Blacks. If it isn’t a “fad,” if the media, especially TV, don’t return to their never-ending focus upon celebrities and fluff, maybe in four years there will be more minorities in our newsrooms, and Americans will understand that most Blacks aren’t on welfare, in gangs, or in prison.
[Walter Brasch’s latest book is the second edition of Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (October 2007), available through amazon.com, bn.com, and other bookstores. Dr. Brasch has covered several Presidential campaigns, usually away from the “press gaggle.” You may contact Brasch at email@example.com or through his website at: www.walterbrasch.com]
Updated: Nov 25, 2008 added Part 2
Democracy Now! Exclusive (Part 1): Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn on the Weather Underground, the McCain Campaign Attacks, President-Elect Obama and the Antiwar Movement Today
Nov. 14, 2008
In the late stages of the presidential race, no other name was used more by the McCain-Palin campaign against Barack Obama than Bill Ayers. Ayers is a respected Chicago professor who was a member of the 1960s militant antiwar group the Weather Underground. In their first joint television interview, Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn discuss the McCain campaign attacks, President-elect Obama, the Weather Underground, the legacy of 1960s social justice movements, and more. [includes rush transcript]
Third-party presidential candidates had a miserable showing this year, totaling just over one percent of the grand total with 1.5 million votes nationwide, compared to almost 123 million votes for Barack Obama and John McCain. It couldn’t be clearer that Americans are not willing to voice their political discontent by voting for third-party presidential candidates. The two-party duopoly and plutocracy is completely dominant. The US lacks the political competition that exists in other western democracies.
For many years, third parties have not been able to offer a presidential candidate that captures the attention and commitment of a modest fraction of Americans, unlike Ross Perot (8.4 percent in 1996 and 18.9 percent in 1992) and John Anderson (6.6 percent in 1980).
This year, among the four most significant third-party presidential candidates, Ralph Nader without a national party did the best with 678,683 votes or 0.5 percent of the grand total (a little better than in 2004’s 0.4 percent but much worse than in 2000 running as a Green Party candidate with 2.7 percent). He was followed by Bob Barr the Libertarian Party candidate with 499,744 votes or 0.4 percent of the total (typical of all Libertarian candidates in recent elections), followed by Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party with just 180,615 votes or 0.1 percent, and then Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party with only 146,494 votes or 0.1 percent.
Showing the problem of ballot access, engineered by the two major parties, is that there were only 15 states where all four were on the ballot. In all but one, Nader received more votes than the other three third-party candidates. In four states only one of the four candidates was on the ballot; in one state none of them were (Oklahoma).
Nader’s best state was California with 81,434 votes, as it was for McKinney’s with 28,624 votes. Baldwin was not on the ballot there. Alan Keyes received 30,787 votes in California. Barr’s best state was Texas with 56,398 votes. None of the other three were on the ballot there. In his home state of Georgia where he had been a Representative Barr received 28,420 votes (and none of the other three were on the ballot). Baldwin’s best state was Michigan with 14, 973 votes. Nader was not on the ballot there.
In round numbers, Barack Obama raised $639 million or about $10 per vote, and John McCain raised $360 million or $6 per vote, compared to Ralph Nader with $4 million and $6 per vote, Bob Barr with about $1 million or $2 per vote, and Cynthia McKinney with only about $118,000 or less than $1 per vote. Money matters, but the ability of the two-party duopoly to keep third-party presidential candidates out of the nationally televised debates matters more for media attention, money and votes.
It must also be noted that there were countless congressional races with third-party and independent candidates, but none were able to win office, with only a very few reaching the 20 percent level. That third-party candidates can win local government offices means little because political party affiliation at that level is overshadowed by personal qualifications.
I say that current third-party activists should admit defeat, shut down their parties, and move on. Unlike so much of American history, current third-parties no longer play a significant role in American politics or even in affecting public policies. Current parties have shown their inability to matter.
We need a new, vibrant political party that could bring many millions of American dissidents, progressives and conservatives, and especially chronic non-voters, together behind a relatively simple party platform focused on structural reforms (not merely political change) in the political and government system. It should position itself as a populist alternative and opponent to the two-party plutocracy. It should define itself as against the corporate and other special interests on the left and right that use money to corrupt our political system. I suggest the name: Patriotic Party, with Thomas Jefferson as its spiritual founder and seek the political revolution he said was needed periodically.
Here is what helps. Despite considerable enthusiasm for Barack Obama, there is widespread unhappiness with both the Democratic and Republican Parties. One indication is that the majority of voters register as independents. Plus there has always been a chorus of negative views about the two-party system. In one pragmatic sense this is the ideal time to create a new party. Why? Because of the incredible loss of stature of the Republican Party. Why not envision a new party that could replace the Republican Party on the national stage and provide a sharp alternative to the Democratic Party? In other words, we don’t need a new third party as much as we need a new major party.
[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]
Terrorizing Dissent Part 1
Fall in St Paul
Vodpod videos no longer available.
h/t: Coleen Rowley
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Countdown: No Decision On Detainees’ Trials
Keith reports on the latest news that the Obama administration has not yet decided how the detainees at Gitmo should be tried. Keith talks to Charles Swift about what closing Gitmo would mean and how these people might be tried.
ACLU Calls On Obama To Close Guantánamo On Day One Of Presidency
Group Launches Campaign Urging New Administration To Restore Fundamental Rights And Reclaim America’s Moral Leadership
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new campaign today calling on President-elect Barack Obama to close the Guantánamo Bay prison and end the military commissions on Day One of his presidency.
Obama, as a candidate, pledged to “close Guantánamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions.” In a full page ad in the New York Times today, the ACLU urges Obama, as president, to fulfill those promises and immediately restore America’s moral leadership in the world.
“There is no room for patience or delay in these areas. We have to hold President-elect Obama’s feet to the fire if we’re going to turn hope into reality,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “We hope that President-elect Obama, as soon as he is sworn in, will take bold action and sign an executive order closing Guantánamo and ending the sham military commissions there. It is time to restore American values of justice, due process and human rights.”
In addition to ordering the closure of Guantánamo, the ACLU calls on President-elect Obama to sign Day One executive orders banning the use of torture and abuse and ending the practice of extraordinary rendition.
“We welcome the end to a Bush administration that is leaving behind a disastrous legacy of civil liberties violations, abuse of power and executive overreaching, yet there is no room for complacency,” said Romero. “We are hopeful that President Obama will honor the U.S. Constitution and passionately promote all the rights for which it stands.”
In addition to the ad in the New York Times, the ACLU launched a new Web site where it will premiere a series of short videos about Guantánamo produced in partnership with Brave New Foundation, a leading producer of online videos about today’s most pressing issues. The videos will feature interviews with attorneys, former prison guards and released prisoners, some of whom will be speaking publicly for the first time.
“We’ve all seen the reports in the news about the tragedy that is Guantánamo Bay,” said Robert Greenwald, president of Brave New Foundation. “But Americans haven’t yet heard it directly from those who were there. The ACLU is pioneering the use of new media in their work and we are so proud to be a part of it. They’re planning to release these videos in full public view on the Internet, representing a major step forward in terms of transparency on this issue in particular and on government policy in general. The ACLU and Brave New Foundation are taking a first, big step out of the secrecy of the Bush era.”
On November 13, the ACLU will hold a nationwide telephone town hall with supporters and activists from across the country to discuss the state of civil liberties transitioning from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. The call will be moderated by Romero and Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. A question and answer period will follow the discussion.
More information about the town hall is available online at: www.aclu.org/townhall
The new ACLU Web site goes live with the first video today at: www.closegitmo.com
Romero has posted a statement about the ACLU’s campaign at: blog.aclu.org/2008/11/10/obama-close-gitmo-on-day-one-you-can-do-it-weve-got-your-back/
By Howard Zinn
November 09, 2008
Those of us on the Left who have criticized Obama, as I have, for his failure to take bold positions on the war and on the economy, must join the exultation of those Americans, black and white, who shouted and wept Tuesday night as they were informed that Barack Obama had won the presidential election. It is truly a historic moment, that a black man will lead our country. The enthusiasm of the young, black and white, the hopes of their elders, cannot simply be ignored.
There was a similar moment a century and a half ago, in the year 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Lincoln had been criticized harshly by the abolitionists, the anti-slavery movement, for his failure to take a clear, bold stand against slavery, for acting as a shrewd politician rather than a moral force. But when he was elected, the abolitionist leader Wendell Phillips, who had been an angry critic of Lincoln’s cautiousness, recognized the possibility in his election.
Phillips wrote that for the first time in the nation’s history “the slave has chosen a President of the United States.” Lincoln, he said, was not an abolitionist, but he in some way “consents to represent an antislavery position.” Like a pawn on the chessboard, Lincoln had the potential, if the American people acted vigorously, to be moved across the board, converted into a queen, and, as Phillips said, “sweep the board.”
Obama, like Lincoln, tends to look first at his political fortunes instead of making his decisions on moral grounds. But, as the first African American in the White House, elected by an enthusiastic citizenry which expects a decisive move towards peace and social justice, he presents a possibility for important change.
Obama becomes president in a situation which cries out for such change. The nation has been engaged in two futile and immoral wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American people have turned decisively against those wars. The economy is shaken by tremendous blows, and is in danger of collapsing, as families lose their homes and working people, including those in the middle class, lose their jobs, So the population is ready for change, indeed, desperate for change, and “change” was the word most used by Obama in his campaign.
What kind of change is needed? First, to announce the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and to renounce the Bush doctrine of preventive war as well as the Carter doctrine of military action to control Mideast oil. He needs to radically change the direction of U.S. foreign policy, declare that the U.S. is a peace loving country which will not intervene militarily in other parts of the world, and start dismantling the military bases we have in over a hundred countries. Also he must begin meeting with Medvedev, the Russian leader, to reach agreement on the dismantling of the nuclear arsenals, in keeping with the Nuclear Anti-Proliferation Treaty.
This turn-around from militarism will free hundreds of billions of dollars. A tax program which will sharply increase taxes on the richest 1% of the nation, and will tax their wealth as well as their income, will yield more hundreds of billions of dollars.
With all that saved money, the government will be able to give free health care to everyone, put millions of people to work (which the so-called free market has not been able to do). In short, emulate the New Deal program, in which millions were given jobs by the government. This is just an outline of a program which could transform the United States and make it a good neighbor to the world.
(written for l’Humanité in Paris)
Against all odds, American voters have elected a mixed-race, multi-cultural young man, who was born in modest circumstances, as their president to lead them through an economic and military crisis that threatens the future of their democracy.
Barack Obama campaigned on a platform of “Change”; however, the fact of his election proves that America has already changed.
I was born in my grandmother’s farmhouse in West Texas almost 68 years ago, and my father often said every American boy had a chance to be president, but I’m certain he never imagined the boy could be black. Continue reading