All Further Articles

Thursday, February 12, 2009
Question Afghanistan Now
With alarming signs of both increased internal turmoil and likely American escalation in Afghanistan, input from peace advocates is more crucial than ever at today's hearing by the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. strategy there. United For Peace and Justice is urging people to contact their representatives and otherwise let their voices be heard. They have posted names and numbers of the 60 Representatives on the committee, those testifying today, and key issues. For info on UFPJ's Afghanistan Working Group go here
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The Theory of Relativity, Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Flying Coach
Today's big economic story is the testimony of eight banking honchos before the House Financial Services Committee, their first such appearance, somehow, since we the people gave them over $160 billion but forgot to ask what they planned to do with it. While the event has been rife with political theater – bus, train, humble pie anyone? – the big question remains: We all know they got it (the money) but do they Get It? We are, in general, hopeful. On this score, alas, we're not holding our breath.
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A Request from Michael Moore
Will You Help Me With My Next Film? Friends, I am in the middle of shooting my next movie and I am looking for a few brave people who work on Wall Street or in the financial industry to come forward and share with me what they know... I am humbly asking you for a moment of courage, to be a hero and help me expose the biggest swindle in American history.
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See No Evil: The Cost Of War, Made Plain
Far too late and far too little, it's nonetheless welcome news that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a review of the Pentagon policy of hiding from public view the coffins of military dead arriving home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The media ban of the sight of the true cost of their disastrous wars was one of the most abhorrent, cynical ploys of the Bush-Cheney administration – who argued it was all for the families – and God knows there were many. Two Democratic senators, John Kerry and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, have also asked President Obama to let news photographers attend ceremonies when soldiers' remains come home. Obama is reviewing the ban. Lautenberg asked Obama to end "misguided policies of the past that seek to hide the sacrifice of our soldiers and the public recognition and pride that should accompany it." And, of course, the rage, shame and urge to act that would logically follow.
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Wow. With The State of the Economy, the World, the Planet And All, These Guys Really Have Their Priorities In Place
It's so very heartening to see that conservative Republicans still know where to focus their impressive energies. It seems the National Republican Trust PAC, which advocates less government spending, has pledged to support primary challenges to any turncoat – Snowe, Collins, Specter, that's you – who had the audacity of hope to support the economic stimulus plan. "Republican senators are on notice," said director Scott Wheeler. "If they support the stimulus package, we will make sure every voter in their state knows how they tried to further bankrupt voters in an already bad economy." For more on this sage public policy thinking, go here
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Veteran Suicides: More Reasons Than Ever To Bring Them Home
Suicide is taking more lives of American soldiers than Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency combined, says Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who are leading a delegation to Washington this week to mobilize support for veterans' issues. They've dubbed the initiative "Storm the Hill '09." Activists have long charged that suicides were vastly underreported under the Bush-Cheney VA, with suicide rates rising every year since the start of the Iraq War and 2008 marking the highest rate of military suicide in decades. Other issues affecting veterans over the last seven years of war are ever-rising rates of divorce, unemployment, homelessness and undiagnosed or untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For more on the harsh realities veterans face, go here
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Yes Pecan Goes Nougalar, With Nuts
With Ben and Jerry's creation of a "Yes Pecan!" flavor in honor of Obama, some tasty suggestions for a George W. flavor have been circulating. Among them: Grape Depression, Abu Grape, Cluster Fudge, Nut'n Accomplished, Chock 'n Awe, Guantanmallow, Impeach Cobbler, Impeachmint, Death by Chocolate...and Torture, Credit Crunch, Chunky Monkey in Chief, Bloody Sundae, Caramel Preemptive Stripe, and my favorite, I Broke the Law and Am Responsible For the Deaths of Thousands....With Nuts.
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The Truth and Nothing But, Which is Way Overdue.
Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy's proposal of a "truth commission" to examine the many abuses of the Bush-Cheney administration is welcome, and long overdue (though if anyone had been listening to Dennis Kucinich way back when, it wouldn't be.) Still, as John Nichols notes in his CD Views piece here, its "the least that Congress can do to begin taping together a shredded Constitution." President Obama has been sounding reluctant on the issue, stressing that he wants to focus on "moving forward." That's understandable, but not good enough: We should push him and Congress to go with Leahy on "a fair-minded pursuit" of the betrayals of the last eight years. "Sometimes the best way to move forward is getting to the truth, finding out what happened, so we can make sure it does not happen again...We need to come to a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past." And geez. Between Leahy and the tireless Bernie Sanders, who proposed the aptly-named "Stop the Greed on Wall Street Act" to rein in oblivious bankers getting bailout funds, Vermont is our hero.
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Give The Guy His Due, For Now
For all the alarming missteps of the first few weeks of the Obama Administration – Daschle, Geithner, Lynn, Gregg come to mind – it's nonetheless bracing to hear our President speak, and it's been a long eight years since we could say that. In his press conference last night, Obama was in equal parts precise, critical and eloquent, reminding us that if anyone can break through the historic disconnect of Washington to find solutions here, he might just be the guy. We've heard him speak. Let's see him act.
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Monday, February 9, 2009
The Smallest Tent in the World (And We Thought They Were Bereft of Ideas)
Even after lo these many years of jaw-dropping, black-is-white-and-mission-is-accomplished pronouncements from tone-deaf Republicans, it's hard not to gasp a bit at assertions that their party's blind obstructionism in the face of pretty much any economic stimulus plan constitutes a moral and political triumph, or what Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin calls "standing on our core principles." Ryan sees his party's return to "fiscal conservatism and economic liberty" as the resurrection of "the tallest pole in our tent." "We're so far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time... It's not a sign that we're back to where we need to be, but it's a sign that we're beginning to find our voice." And that voice is telling us, what, precisely? Oh, right: thank God they lost. For more on the Republican so-called renewal, go here
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