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Friday, February 6, 2009
All The News That We Deem Fit to Print
Just as in Vietnam, the Bush Administration made it harder for journalists to tell the truth about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even while the military propaganda machine worked harder to give the public its own embellished version of events, the head of the Associated Press said Friday. Tom Curley said the press must insist on its right to report the truth at all times, even on the battlefield, because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check." Now is the time to re-negotiate the rules of engagement between the military and the media...Now is the time to resist the propaganda the Pentagon produces and live up to our obligation to question authority..."
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The War Is Over, The Struggle is Won. Or Not.
These days, some of the victims of the economic meltdown are getting pretty slim press coverage: progressive grassroots organizations that depend on donations from like-minded but now increasingly broke citizens. On Friday, Michael McPhearson, executive director of Veterans for Peace, sent out an urgent plea on behalf of United For Peace and Justice, a national coalition of over 1,400 anti-war and social justice groups, noting that, "The economic crisis is at our front door." "Do you believe...that this is a time of no war and no U.S. troops in foreign lands?" he asked, "...that the ties between militarism and economic deprivation are not real and inflaming the crisis at home right now?" If not, he said, UFPJ "needs your help" to do its still-vital work. Priorities, people. For more, go here
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Thursday, February 5, 2009
ACLU: Hope is Flickering.
In a new press release titled "Obama Endorses Bush Secrecy On Torture And Rendition" the ACLU lambastes Obama: "Hope is flickering. The Obama administration’s position is not change. It is more of the same."
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Oh Please God, PIease, Are You Listening Just This Once?
In an interview this week, former Vice-President Dick Cheney said November's rout of Republicans will help "clean out a lot of the old underbrush – that's probably me, this time around." Oh, and God? One more thing? How's about some long prison time, too?
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Money Talks, And Sometimes Bites, A Little
Despite or perhaps because of his billions, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is still trying to do good in creative, pragmatic ways – in this case, to halt the spread of malaria in Third World countries. At a posh California technology conference yesterday, Gates unleashed a jarful of mosquitoes to prod his affluent audience with the no-brainer that, "There is no reason only poor people should be infected." Of course, what he should have said is that there's no good reason, no morally or politically palatable reason. But still.
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A Small, Good Thing, With Apologies to Raymond Carver
A modest but important note to the refreshingly frank assessment by President Obama in the Tom Daschle fiasco that, "I screwed up." Obama didn't say, "Mistakes were made," the favorite dodge of errant leaders who hope the passive verb somehow thrusts the burden of the crime to an amorphous, distant other. He said, "I screwed up." It's a distinction that E.B. White would love; the rest of us can at least acknowledge that it matters, and it's a start toward accountability.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Not Change: Is Obama's Rightwing Pick for Commerce Secretary Corrupt Too?
From Mark Nickolas' excellent blog : Yesterday, President Obama nominated Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) as his Commerce secretary. Many Democrats and some Republicans aren't thrilled by the pick. For Democrats, Gregg's record in the Senate shows a strong conservative philosophy that is destined to clash with labor and side with big business... There is another very good reason to be concerned about Obama's decision to bring Gregg into his administration. That involves questions about his actions as a Senate appropriations chairman in 2005 that involve some of his homeland security related donors.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Next Up For the Kids: Their Own Little Guantanamo Play Set. Tasers Optional.
From the Surreal Adventures in Capitalism Department comes Playmobil's Security Check Point ($62), where kids can learn about racial profiling, metal detectors, full-body searches, questionable abridgments of civil rights and other pleasures of our so-called war on terror. This toy is real. The customer reviews, a collective, hilarious holler of protest, are the best part. Read all about it here
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Daschle Withdraws Nomination for HHS Job
AP is reporting: WASHINGTON - Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary. Obama said Tuesday he accepted the withdrawal "with sadness and regret." Daschle has been battling for his nomination since it was disclosed he failed to pay more than $120,000 in taxes.
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Surprise! Beer Sells, Gay Rights Don't
In the wake of California's passage of Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, that state's GetToKnowUsFirst.org has taken to the airwaves with a series of ads aimed at garnering understanding of and support for gay marriage – or at least they had, until Super Sunday. Having run five, 30-second Public Service Announcements (PSA) featuring gay and lesbian families throughout the state during the presidential inauguration, the California group found that their proposed ad, scheduled to run during the Super Bowl, had been rejected by the National Football League. According to KNBC, their local affiliate, the NFL turned down the ad because it excluded "advocacy" ads during the day-long programming. Lo and behold, group members were surprised, while watching the game, to see a number of such ads, including those for TobaccoFreeCA and DontBeAnAsterisk.org, an anti-steroids campaign. The rejected ad shows two married African-American men raising five children; their evidently dangerous message is, "Marriage promotes family." To see their message, get more information, protest or donate, go here
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