Saturday, December 6, 2008

Comedy Night at arabwomanblues

For Laugh Not Quite

Comedy Night over at arabwomanblues. Couple of nice videos.


"Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness." - The Matrix Reloaded

Friday, December 5, 2008

Muslim Revolution

Muslim Revolution by Paul Craig Roberts on

Is Pakistan responsible for the Mumbai attack in India? No.

Is India’s repression of its Muslim minority responsible? No.

Is the United States government responsible? Yes.

The attack on Mumbai required radicalized Muslims. Radicalized Muslims resulted from the US overthrowing the elected government in Iran and imposed the Shah; from the US stationing troops in Saudi Arabia; from the US invading and attempting to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, bombing weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games; from the US violating international and US law by torturing its Muslim victims; from the US enlisting Pakistan in its war against the Taliban; from the US violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by conducting military operations on Pakistani territory, killing Pakistani civilians; from the US government supporting a half century of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands, towns and villages; from the assault of American culture on Muslim values; from the US purchasing the government of Egypt to act as its puppet; from US arrogance that America is the supreme arbiter of morality.

As Justice Brandeis said, crime is contagious. Government teaches by example, and America’s example is lawlessness. America’s brutal crimes against the Muslim world have invited every Muslim to become a law unto himself--a revolutionary. It is not terror that Washington confronts but revolution.

Honeymoans From the Left

Honeymoans From the Left by Alexander Cockburn at

One striking feature of these complaints is that if thethe many of complainers had their suspicions about Obama during the campaign, they kept their mouths firmly shut. Across eight presidential campaigns, since Jimmy Carter’s successful run in 1976, I’ve never seen such collective determination by the liberal left to think only positive thoughts about a Democratic candidate. Indeed, some of the present fury may stem from a certain embarrassment at their own political naivety.

and then ...

The obvious question is whether this chorus of political disillusion on the liberal left is of any political consequence.

Yes it is.

And the one way to show that is in the next elections. And there are two good reasons to start right now. One is that the sort of people-powered, underfunded sort of campaigns we'd have to run take more time to build. The other is that any building that is going on in this area shows the Democrats political power right now.

If key Congresspeople start seeing organizing in their districts this winter and spring, then that tells them the consequence of ignoring the left. We don't have to wait until the election day 2010 to have an impact. Congresspeople are already watching and planning for the next election, thus any building and organizing we start now will be noticed ... and that's a way to influence events now instead of two years from now.

Ralph Nader and Medea Benjamin on Obama’s Cabinet and Grassroots Organizing Under the Next Administration

Ralph Nader and Medea Benjamin on Obama’s Cabinet and Grassroots Organizing Under the Next Administration on

I added an RSS feed from Democracy Now at the top. So that's the links to their recent stories. I had that on my other site and liked it, so its on this one now.

This is one of the stories I saw on today's list.

[Amy Goodman] ... I want to talk with both of you about the cabinet picks. Juan and I have some questions, starting with Ralph Nader. Just go through the cabinet picks—again, they have to be approved—of Barack Obama, your, well, former opponent. You ran for president, as well, Ralph Nader.

RALPH NADER: Well, it’s symbolized in an article in the newspapers a day or two ago. The headline was “Obama Turns to Consider Liberals for Cabinet Positions.” I mean, you know, after appointing all the heavyweights, keeping Gates as Secretary of Defense, Hillary Clinton at State Department, and other positions—Treasury, for example, coming from Wall Street—the article said, well, it’s time now to consider some liberal appointees.

Well, what’s left? Department of Labor. Now, will David Bonior, who is a genuine progressive and spent many years in the House of Representatives from Michigan, get the job? That remains to be seen.

It’s really interesting. As long as liberals and progressives gave Obama a pass during the election and didn’t demand anything in return, he knew that he had their votes and he had their support regardless and moved right, moved to the corporate. And that’s reflected in the appointments that he has been putting in place.

The link goes to the rush transcript of the interview. Also from there you could listen to the audio or watch the video.

Community Organizers Attend Washington Event

Community Organizers Attend Washington Event by Scott Hadley on (link goes through

Their profession mocked by Republicans on the campaign trail, hundreds of community organizers - including more than a dozen from Ventura County - got a little payback this week by flexing their political muscle in Washington and meeting with members of the incoming Obama administration.

Their forum, dubbed Realizing the Promise, attracted more than 2,000 grass-roots, religious and political leaders from around the country.

The meeting was partly a follow-up to the Heartland Forum a year ago, when Barack Obama promised to include community organizers in helping to shape his administration's agenda if elected

Obama Doesn't Plan to End the Iraq Occupation

Obama Doesn't Plan to End the Iraq Occupation by Jeremy Scahill on (link uses anonymous for those banned for saying the same thing in commments).

Anyone who took the time to cut past Barack Obama's campaign rhetoric of "change" and bringing an "end" to the Iraq war realized early on that the now-president-elect had a plan that boiled down to a down-sizing and rebranding of the occupation. While he emphasized his pledge to withdraw U.S. "combat forces" from Iraq in 16 months (which may or may not happen), he has always said that he intends to keep "residual forces" in place for the foreseeable future.

Remaking the World in America’s Image

Remaking the World in America’s Image by William Pfaff on

“Fundamental” is the key word, meaning change in the goals pursued and the assumptions that underlie policy. One expects an end to the blatant contempt for international law and institutions displayed by the Bush administration. The torture, illegal seizures of individuals and secret imprisonments, and flaunting of generally accepted norms of human rights will probably end, although the records of all the new appointees are not entirely clear on this subject.

However, the war on Muslim radicalism will go on. The evidence suggests that American policy under Obama will be a continuation of the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush administration, given a human face.

According to Obama’s own intention to carry the war against al-Qaida into the Pakistan tribal territories, the current American attitude toward national sovereignty remains unchanged.



By the time he officially enters the White House with his revived cabinet of Clinton appointees, President Obama will have calmed the angry public backlash at the executive responsible for tampering with an established brand of “soft” Imperialism and exposing it as a crude, corpse strewn land grab. Like the subsequently re-branded ‘Coke Classic’, Brand Obama has never been about “change” but merely reversion to an executive branch that pretends to “feel your pain” while continuing to inflict it even more brutally on vulnerable and impoverished populations overseas.

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents?

Who Are the Afghan Insurgents? by Anand Gopal on

Who exactly are the Afghan insurgents? Every suicide attack and kidnapping is usually attributed to “the Taliban.” In reality, however, the insurgency is far from monolithic. There are the shadowy, kohl-eyed mullahs and head-bobbing religious students, of course, but there are also erudite university students, poor, illiterate farmers, and veteran anti-Soviet commanders. The movement is a mélange of nationalists, Islamists, and bandits that fall uneasily into three or four main factions. The factions themselves are made up of competing commanders with differing ideologies and strategies, who nonetheless agree on one essential goal: kicking out the foreigners.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Open thread

During the week I get busy at work and can't post as many article links. So, here's an open thread to put stuff that others think are worth reading and talking about ......

Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality

Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality on

On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.

But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.

Gee, that's a surprise.

So, Obama isn't even going to implement the agreement that Bush negotiated to completely withdraw from Iraq?

The lesson is, for anyone who wants these wars to end, voting Democrat is NOT the answer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why is Single-Payer Health Reform Not Viable?

Why is Single-Payer Health Reform Not Viable? by Mike Dennison on commondreams. (the link should go through if it works like I intended).

When it comes to health care reform in America, there is a relatively simple solution that will cover everyone's basic health care, control costs and save businesses, most people and the country a lot of money.

It's called a single-payer health plan, where the government collects taxes to finance national health insurance. The government, which is the "single payer," covers all citizens and pays the bills when they visit private (or public) doctors, hospitals and other facilities for medical care.

All would have basic coverage, regardless of whether they have a job, or where they work. Nobody gets billed for basic care. No-body goes broke because of medical bills.

Yet this option has been declared "off the table" by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who's among those leading the charge for health care reform in America.

The writer works for a paper in Billings, so he manages not to mention the key point. Money. Go to Its a nice site that analyses campaign contribution records. If you look at Max Baucus, here's what you see as his top contributors.

Total Campaign Contributions Received: $15,975,018

Top 10 Interests Funding
Interest - Contributions
Attorneys & law firms - $950,692
Security brokers & investment companies - $478,703
Lobbyists & Public Relations - $477,870
Insurance companies, brokers & agents - $397,435
Other physician specialists - $322,699
Commercial banks & bank holding companies - $320,157
Pharmaceutical manufacturing - $294,620
Life insurance - $281,900
Pro-Israel - $280,191
Hospitals - $256,097

Gee, so why is it we can't have single-payer?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Barack Obama's security team delights the hawks

Barack Obama's security team delights the hawks on

Barack Obama will announce his national security team today to approval from the military establishment and Republicans, distant cries of dissent from liberals and head-scratching from others.

The President-elect is expected to confirm the nomination of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, ask Robert Gates to remain at the Pentagon, and make General Jim Jones his National Security Adviser.

Yep, that is certainly 'change we can believe in'.

Note: Its now been 1996 to present, 12 years, that the Republicans have controlled the Defense Dept. The Clinton administration also ceded control of 'defense' to the Republicans with Wm. Cohen as Sec of Def. If you vote Democrat, it certainly doesn't mean 'change' in the Pentagon.

Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security

Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security on

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A system on the edge

A system on the edge by Lee Sustar on International Socialist Review (

The Democrats will step into this situation to once again take the role they have played historically—adapting to popular pressure to make some modest reforms on one side, while rationalizing and restructuring capital on the other. Whether or not the “change” promised by Obama becomes a reality will depend on the level of organization, political consciousness and struggle of working people. In the near term, the initial shock of a deep recession may delay a fightback. But with social inequality in the U.S. already at its greatest level since the 1920s, and an utter failure of neoliberal ideology and politics, the stage is set for heightened class struggle. It’s time to get prepared.

'Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government'

'Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government' by Robert Fisk at

The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands – all but a square mile at the centre of the city – and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai's deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad's "Green Zone"; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.