November 8, 2008 archive

David Swanson and Paul Jay on Rahm Emanuel

If you’d like to discuss this and other topics with me, feel free to tune in tomorrow at noon EST at Blog Talk Radio:…

The call-in number is (347) 884-9121.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Dem leaders want Bush to help ailing automakers

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

16 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Democratic leaders in Congress asked the Bush administration on Saturday to provide more aid to the struggling auto industry, which is bleeding cash and jobs as sales have dropped to their lowest level in a quarter-century.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that the administration should consider expanding the $700 billion bailout to include car companies.

“A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy, and the livelihood of the automobile sector’s work force,” they wrote. “The economic downturn and the crisis in our financial markets further imperiled our domestic automobile industry and its work force.”

In Their Boots

Brave New Foundation: In Their Boots Webcast 18

Topic: Employment After Service Beyond Basic Training Chapter 1

Originally aired on October 29th, 2008

Beyond Basic Training

After being medically retired from the Army, Iraq veteran Kevin Randolph and his family are without options. They move to a transitional housing facility, and Kevin must enter one of the worst job markets in recent history to support his wife and their new baby.

The Latest from The Environmentalist

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST has had an influx of new writers, including the executive director of PCAP (Presidential Climate Action Project charged with the environmental agenda for the new administration’s first 100 days), the International Climate Policy Director from the NRDC and others.  Excerpts and links:

Struggling for Obama’s Soul

by William S. Becker, Executive Director, PCAP

Now that we know Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States, we can turn to the next critical question of national leadership: In this historic moment, how bold will President Obama be?


Restoring America’s Leadership in International Global Warming Negotiations

by Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director, NRDC

We now have a new leader in the US that understands global warming and recognizes that it requires leadership both at home and abroad. Addressing this challenge (and opportunity) will be a key task of both President-elect Barack Obama (and his Administration) and Congress.


The 100 Day Action Plan to Save the Planet

On January 1st, 2007, the Presidential Climate Action Plan (PCAP), a project of the University of Colorado, Wirth Chair in Environmental and Community Development Policy, was launched to produce a 100 day action plan on climate change for the next President of the United States.


THE ENVIRONMENTALIST has more new posts.


Preemptive Impeachment to Prevent Pardons!

Ok, we have gotten the Agenda thing going. Hopefully folks will continue to submit stuff there, and in future editions,

Time for the next project!

All of the “politically pragmatic” excuses for NOT Impeaching George and the boys are now….off the table! There is now no excuse for excusing their crimes.


As always when there has been some sort of trauma…and we have had eight years of so much trauma that we are all suffering a sort of PTSD, I think, there is the urge, the instinct to …move on, to not dwell on the trauma. To put it behind us as fast as possible. But if we are to get over the PTSD, well

Meteor Blades put it far more eloquently than I can:

…..that healing cannot occur, not wholly, unless the crimes that have brought our nation to such a ruinous condition – morally, economically and politically – are investigated thoroughly and a proper penalty imposed. Most importantly, the bent machinery that allowed, nay encouraged, those crimes must be rebuilt with safeguards so that they never occur again. That’s not vengeance. It’s justice. And true healing and progress cannot come about without it.

(For more background on the Never Again theme you might want to read MB’s Palling Around with Terrorists as well, if you haven’t already.)

Healing, Justice, Repairing the past before and as we move into the future. It is not vengeance, though if anyone ever deserved retribution it is they and I am not without that impulse by a long shot, it is about doing the right thing. It is about being a people and a nation and a world that does the right thing. Retribution and revenge are not the important things here, reclamation, reparation and the Rule of Law are.

There is no doubt that they are guilty, none.

Of all of the laws, treaties, conventions and just plain moral codes they have violated, and they have violated nearly all of them, the one thing that stands out and the one thing that there is a smoking gun on is…torture.

From the Washington Post in October, when it was obscured by the election:

The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency’s use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects — documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

Guilty. Guilty of the most heinous of crimes. Beyond doubt, beyond question. The only question that does remain is…are they beyond justice? Can WE allow them to be beyond justice?

The Gatekeeper

In his essay Friday A Progressive/Liberal Agenda Buhdy initiated some discussion here of what changes would be considered and desired to be included by progressives as an agenda to be lobbied for to Barack Obama as he takes up his new job as President, and people here offered a range of ideas, many based on rolling back things that George Bush had instituted during his eight years in office.

As distasteful as it may be to many quite possibly the most important thing to be considered in developing such an agenda is not what people might want, but what is going to be politically possible to achieve with an Obama presidency. The dark spirit of political pragmatism rears its ugly head here, since there is little point, though I’d be the last to say no point, in asking for things that are not politically likely.

Which raises the questions, what or who will determine politically what is possible to achieve? What are the roadblocks? Who will be standing in the road fending off or screening all comers to Obama with  requests?

Who do you have to please? Who do you have to get past? Who will decide whether Obama even hears your pleas? Who will set the tone, at least initially, for Obamas presidency?

The White House Chief of Staff is the second highest-ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and a senior aide to the President. Some individuals who have held the position, including Sherman Adams, have been dubbed “The Second-Most Powerful Man in Washington” due to the nature of the job.

The duties of the White House Chief of Staff vary greatly from one administration to another. However, the chief of staff has been responsible for overseeing the actions of the White House staff, managing the president’s schedule, and deciding who is allowed to meet with the president. Because of these duties, the Chief of Staff has at various times been dubbed “The Gatekeeper” and “The Co-President”. (wikipedia)

More from The Real News and The Wall Street Journal on the flip…

Keeping an Eye on the Lame Duck

OK, so I’ll admit it, I’m a Rachel Maddow groupie. But watching her show, I really appreciate that in the middle of everyone focusing all of their attention on the election and feeling the need to pontificate on every word Obama says, she is spending at least a few minutes keeping her eye on the criminals that will continue to be in office for the next two months.

Rachel has a segment called Lame Duck Watch (that’s a link to the video of last night’s segment) where she’s highlighting what the Bush administration does over its last few days in office (boy, does that feel good to write!!)

In last night’s installment, Rachel tells us that the Bush administration has, this week, scrapped the work they were doing on Mideast peace. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing – I don’t trust what those guys would even try to pull off in that arena. And given their love affair with everything Israeli and complete dismissal of Palestinian concerns, it was destined to fail anyway.

Five Laws I’d Like to See

Over the last few days, the blogosphere has been abuzz with the idea that we should be asking the Obama administration to reflect the progressive wishes of his supporters (or conversely, letting us know that those were all used up at the ball, and it is back to pumpkins and mice).  As a cynical outlier on the queer edge of queer and the socialist edge of left, my wishes might as well be for glass slippers and don't seem worth stating except as a general plea for solidarity and recognition from other lefty types (waving frantically with big grin).  My wish is for a commons, for a shared floor for society, for social justice in the positive sense; and for a society which does not disintegrate around me, in the negative.

I did start thinking that there are some smaller things we could fight for.  Levers of modest size which because of their length or tensile strength, would bring greater change.  Here's my list…

Docudharma Times Saturday November 8

Wall Street Goes To K Street

There Goes The Neighborhood

Saturday’s Headlines:

Wall Street Decamps to K Street for Work on Bailout

‘The soldiers didn’t ask any questions. They just shot him’

Congo rebel leader Nkunda vows to keep fighting

Judge orders exhumations from Franco basilica

Psychological tests for priests to screen out homosexuals

New personality tests for seminarians criticised by gay rights groups

US troops find a new tactic to thwart suicide bombs in Iraq

Syrians stare terror in the face

North Korea ‘is being run by Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law’

Retracing the Path Toxic Powder Took To Food in China

Living on the frontline of the new cold war

Russians in Baltic enclave on EU’s doorstep endorse challenge to US missiles

Luke Harding in Kaliningrad, Saturday November 8 2008 00.01 GMT

The Soviet-era radio station is visible from the road. Rising above a forest of tall pines and birches, the radio masts near the town of Bolshakova were a listening post during the cold war. Up the road is Lithuania. In the other direction is Poland.

Two decades later, the Soviet Union has gone. But the town with its pretty German cottages and gardens full of geese is now on the frontline of a new cold war. On Wednesday Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, said he would deploy Iskander nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad – the small Baltic Sea chunk of Russian territory encircled by what are now Nato countries.

The Button Man of France obsesses in sets of 12

At Paris’ Puces de Vanves flea market, Eric Hebert offers a mind-boggling array of yellowing cards covered in vintage buttons. Please don’t ask how many he has.

By Geraldine Baum

November 8, 2008

Reporting from Paris — Her fingers ran over the smooth red buttons with flecks of gold and the wavy sea-green buttons and the black buttons with ridges that made them look like miniature fans. Yoshini Kondo admired them all — buttons sewn in lots of 12 on yellowing cards, buttons in every color and size, buttons in Bakelite, casein, ceramic, shell, wood, even silk thread.

But did she need old buttons in her life?

Does anybody need old buttons, or, for that matter, rusted old keys or 1930s posters advertising butter or tarnished brass cheese knives lined up in threadbare velvet boxes?

Kondo, a 40-year-old tourist from Japan, had come to the puces (literally, “fleas”) on the edge of Paris to poke around for old vases for her florist shop outside Tokyo, but she was distracted by the treasure-trove of the Button Man of France



G.M. Says U.S. Cash Is Its Best Hope


Published: November 7, 2008

DETROIT – The rapidly deteriorating finances of General Motors are forcing the federal government to decide whether to bail out the largest American automaker or face the prospect that it might go bankrupt.G.M. said Friday that its cash cushion had been dwindling by more than $2 billion a month recently and that it could run short of money by mid-2009 unless it got emergency federal assistance.

It also said it had suspended merger talks with Chrysler to focus on its own increasingly urgent problems, brought on by higher gas prices, a weakening economy and tight credit – a combination afflicting the entire auto industry, but hurting G.M. the most.

Quote for Discussion: The Evil Pleasure

We feel a deep pleasure from realizing that we believe something in common with our friends, and different from most people.  We feel an even deeper pleasure letting everyone know of this fact.  This feeling is EVIL.  Learn to see it in yourself, and then learn to be horrified by how thoroughly it can poison your mind.  Yes evidence may at times force you to disagree with a majority, and your friends may have correlated exposure to that evidence, but take no pleasure when you and your associates disagree with others; that is the road to rationality ruin. 

~Robin Hanson

Senator-Elect Jeff “Energy Smart” Merkley’s blogger call

This afternoon, newly minted Senator-Elect Energy Smart Jeff Merkley (D-OR) took the time to reach out to the netroots with a blogger conference call.  “The Netroots were critical to my election … It is 40 years since an incumbent lost in Oregon and only the second time in 100 years that a Republican incumbent lost … the Netroots put the campaign over the top.”  

But, more important than any plaudits for bloggers (“Netroots Nation was one of the best things that I did during the campaign.”) and promises to remain engage for the future, was Merkley’s evaluation as to the election’s mandate and visions for moving forward.

We have a very strong mandate for a progressive agenda. We have had two cycles in a row with winning six [at least] seats in the Senate.

Bush claimed a mandate when he didn’t even win the popular vote.

We absolutely have a mandate and we should not be shy in anyway in claiming it.

If not now, when?  Our people need us, our planet needs us …

Random Japan

Hold the anchovies… and the melamine

A Japanese youngster living in China developed kidney stones after drinking powdered milk that was apparently tainted with melamine, said embassy officials.

A 69-year-old realtor from Sapporo received a suspended sentence for grounding a Tokyo-bound flight with a bomb threat at Hokkaido airport close to where Group of Eight leaders were meeting in July.

Kuidaore Taro, a mechanical doll mascot formerly used to promote a restaurant in the Dotonbori district of Osaka, made its showbiz debut. The doll’s owner said her family started a management agency, called Taro Company, just to book their “client” for events, commercials and TV programs.

Tobuta-kun, the mascot of, home of the All-Japan Dissatisfaction Release Championship, has become an internet sensation. The website allows users to enter their complaint, which is fed into Tobuta-kun and used to send him into the air.

“I wonder if ¥85 million includes my value,” joked Daigo, the 30-year-old vocalist for rock band Breakerz. The grandson of former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita was appearing at a promotional event for jewelry brand Chopard wearing sparklers worth ¥85 million.

In other Daigo news, several media reports surfaced that public broadcaster NHK was refusing to have him appear on its programs because of his family’s political history.

Yuri Fujikawa, a 28-year-old politician in Aomori Prefecture has been called “too beautiful” to be in politics after posing for a photo album and DVD in a swimsuit.

It’s believed that more than 300,000 tranquilizer tablets that were stolen from a clinic in Osaka were sold to organized crime figures.

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