January 2009 archive

Sweating Our Way to a Genuine Economic Recovery

Burning the Midnight Oil to Drag Economics into the Real World

As Jerome a Paris has noted, among others, Paulson and others of his ilk have started blaming the Chinese and Germans for our economic woes:

The US Treasury Secretary said that in the years leading up to the crisis, super-abundant savings from fast-growing emerging nations such as China and oil exporters – at a time of low inflation and booming trade and capital flows – put downward pressure on yields and risk spreads everywhere.

This, he said, laid the seeds of a global credit bubble that extended far beyond the US sub-prime mortgage market and has now burst with devastating consequences worldwide.

What a sorry load of … well, let me go for a better analogy than that … and then dig more deeply into the whys and wherefores of its load of …

… uh, after the fold.

Veterans of george’s War Want a Bailout

The following is a Twofur of Information:

392,000 Pending Appeals to VA for Help

It’s not easy to get the runaround when you have a traumatic brain injury from george’s war.

Did You Know 200,000 Vets Are Sleeping on the Streets?

America’s promise to “Support the Troops” ends the moment they take off the uniform and try to make the transition to civilian life.

Demand O’Reilly apologize to the “non-existent” homeless vets he attacked ?

Docudharma Times Sunday January 4

George Bush Thinks

U.S. National Forests Are Best Used

For Housing Sub-Divisions  

Sunday’s Headlines:

Portrait Emerges of Anthrax Suspect’s Troubled Life

Sri Lankan forces pound Tigers in battle for control

Pakistan arrests former Taliban spokesman

Gas war prompts crisis talks in Brussels

Dozens vanish as South Ossetia and Georgia wage war by kidnap

Lead for car batteries poisons an African town

Mugabe tightens grip as cholera epidemic grows

Israeli Arabs on Gaza firing line lack shelter

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki visits Iran

Israel launches assault across Gaza’s borders

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 4 January 2009 01.03 GMT

Israel last night dramatically escalated its war with Hamas, sending troops and tanks pouring over Gaza’s borders in a move designed to reoccupy parts of the northern Gaza Strip. Amid reports of fierce clashes inside Gaza, columns of military vehicles and what the army said was “a sizeable number of troops” moved across the border at several points, backed by an intense air and artillery bombardment.

The move followed the failure of a week-long air force offensive, which has claimed more than 460 Palestinian lives, to halt the Hamas rockets. More than 30 hit Israel yesterday, wounding three people. Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, said his country was a peace-loving nation but Hamas had given it no choice and brought the assault on the Palestinian people. “Now is the time to do what needs to be done,” he said. “It won’t be easy. It won’t be short. I don’t want to delude anyone.” The government in Jerusalem ordered the call-up of tens of thousands of reservists, suggesting the operation will be expanded further. The army said it expected to be in Gaza “for many long days”.

Beijing strikes at dissidents

Clampdown on Charter 08’s call for democracy also aims to gag parents of tainted milk children and Sichuan quake victims

David Stanway in Shanghai

The Observer, Sunday 4 January 2009

China has launched a tough countrywide crackdown on a new network of political activists, writers and lawyers who have supported a bold new manifesto that presses for the end of one-party rule.

The group of 300 or so people had all signed Charter 08, which called for democracy and the rule of law in China and was named after the famous Charter 77 dissident group formed in cold war Czechoslovakia.

Charter 08 has been hailed as the most significant act of public dissent against China’s Communist party since the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests were brutally crushed in 1989. It was posted online on 10 December, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It condemned recent economic modernisation efforts as having “stripped people of their rights”, and called for political reform and a new liberal, democratic constitution.



Security Agencies Alter Strategies, Add Backup for Inauguration Week

By Mary Beth Sheridan

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, January 4, 2009; Page A01

Authorities are organizing what appears to be the largest security operation ever for an inauguration, bringing in thousands of extra police, agents and troops to handle crowds as President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in.

Security officials are bracing not just for the ceremony and parade Jan. 20 but also for at least 70 concerts, balls and other events surrounding the inauguration. Those include the welcome celebration featuring Obama on Jan. 18 at the Lincoln Memorial, which could draw 500,000 people, according to the D.C. mayor’s office.

Late Night Karaoke

Speech Makers May Enter

Robert Plant Big Log

Three Women

Three transwomen whose tragedies may or may not have been related to their lives as sex workers were shot on the mean streets of Memphis in the past six months.  

Duanna Johnson was well known by Memphians from local and national coverage of her arrest for prostitution and the beating she received from police in February 2008.  http://www.nowpublic.com/world…

In Feburary of this year police offers at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis,TN were caught on camera beating a transgender woman by the name of Duanna Johnson. Johnson was hancuffed at the time and was severely beaten and called names while being detained by police. Duanna Johnson spoke to news stations in Memphis several times stating that the beating was a hate crime and that she had plans to sue the Memphis Police Department. It has been reported that just recently Ms. Johnson had gone forth with her plans to sue the city, but before her case could be heard she met her fate.

Duanna Johnson was found dead November 9, 2008 a few blocks from her home. She was shot in the head execution style.

Rumors of police affiliation with Ms. Johnson’s murder are ripping through Memphis. Some believe that Ms. Johnson was sought out and killed due to her reporting of the beating and the fact that those reports cost two Memphis police officers their jobs. Ms. Johnson’s lawyer, Murray Wells says that those accusations are just heresay, but the federal lawsuit against the Memphis Police Department will move forward.

There are more details about Duanna, her beating, and her death at http://www.lgbthatecrimes.org/…  Good-bye, Duanna.

Soft On Crime: Deterrence, The Death Penalty, and George Bush

For all of my fifty years on the planet the Republicans have been the party of crime and punishment. Republicans were tough on crime, Democrats were Soft on Crime. From Nixon onward, this has been a major line of attack against all Democrats. Democrats coddled criminals like Willie Horton, for instance, while Republicans would have locked him up for life….or put him to death.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the administration of Republican President Richard Nixon continued the full-on attack against crime begun by Johnson — but with an emphasis on law and order. Nixon’s policy, however, came under attack, largely from liberals, who saw Nixon’s law and order campaign as attempts to put down civil rights activists and antiwar demonstrators. President Nixon, on the other hand, used the rising public sentiment that criminals were out of control and city streets unsafe to assail members of the Democrat Party as being “soft on crime.”

Though many Liberals support it too, the Republicans have always been the party of the death penalty as well. By far the most used argument being that facing the ‘punishment’ of death will deter people from killing others. The death penalty deters murder. Stiff sentences deter crime. Three Strike laws deter career criminals. It is not inaccurate to say that ‘Soft on Crime’ and deterrence through harsh punishment and penalty was one of the Right Wings great themes of the late 20th Century.

Republicans are tough on crime. Because being tough on crime….prevents future crimes. If you do not harshly punish crime, it just leads to more and greater crimes.

Which brings us to George Bush….and the various and sundry crimes that he and the officials of his administration have committed. And make no mistake, crimes HAVE been committed. From outting an entire CIA network, to the 269 War Crimes that have been documented to the outright confessions of Bush on Domestic Spying and Cheney on authorizing the torture program and the resulting homicides, there can be no doubt left that there is plenty of cause for, at the very least, a thorough investigation. In fact you see very little if any questions as to whether Bush and company have committed crimes. The debate now is over what to do about them.

Virtually none of the comments I have seen opposing the idea of appointing a Special Prosecutor to even investigate the crimes of the last eight years have centered on guilt or ignorance. Every piece of punditry, comment and column has centered not on the criminality and the crimes themselves….but on the politics of the situation. Not the crimes…not the victims. And certainly not what it means to be an American in an America that tortures. They do not want to think about that….they do not want to know. And so they dimish it to a “political matter” and refer to the false meme of “criminalizing politics” ….rather than as the politicization of a War Crime.

Some say it is revenge, not justice, that is the motivation for a Special Prosecutor. Is prosecuting crime, any crime, and punishing crime, any crime….just revenge? What about merely investigating whether crimes have been committed or not, is that revenge too? Or is it being….tough on crime?

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Analysis: Bush’s personality shapes his legacy

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 37 mins ago

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush will be judged on what he did. He will also be remembered for what he’s like: a fast-moving, phrase-mangling Texan who stays upbeat even though his country is not.

For eight years, the nation has been led by a guy who relaxes by clearing brush in scorching heat and taking breakneck bike rides through the woods. He dishes out nicknames to world leaders, and even gave the German chancellor an impromptu, perhaps unwelcome, neck rub. He’s annoyed when kept waiting and sticks relentlessly to routine. He stays optimistic in even the most dire circumstances, but readily tears up in public. He has little use for looking within himself, and only lately has done much looking back.

Bush’s style and temperament are as much his legacy as his decisions. Policy shapes lives, but personality creates indelible memories – positive and negative.

Sign The Goddamn War Crimes Petition Already!

Don’t expect me to or even ask me to tell you why you should sign the petition.  

You already know why you should sign the petition. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you why you should sign the petition.

Petition Badge Click the Badge to read and sign the Formal Petition to Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.
Get Badge Click “Get Badge” to get the html code and post the badge on your blog or website so other people can find and sign the petition too.

A Century Of Progress

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles


Well, not really.  On my drive home from running errands, I heard part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday broadcast of La Boheme.  It amazes me that an Opera set in 1830 and written in 1896, would have a setting that is so very timely in 2009.

Please join me in the nosebleed seats.

“The Old Man and the Storm”

Last night, 1-02-009, on the PBS News Hour they held a discussion with “Frontline” correspondent and filmmaker June Cross who describes her documentary “The Old Man and the Storm” which will air on PBS’s “Frontline” on Jan. 6th, New Orleans: Three Years After Katrina.

This is a timely documentary more than three years after Katrina and especially as to the way the Government has been handling that compared to the extremely quick bailouts of the financial institutions in the present economic collapse and at other times when the corporate elite demanded their political friends come to their aid. There are three short video’s at the ‘Frontline’ site that I’m embedding below, the third one touches on just that, especially as to the promises made by the President bush and other Government Officials and to the rapidly failing ‘free market’ ‘trickle down’ economic policy of the GOP.

Obama’s Weekly Address

US and global manufacturing collapsing

Original article, by Joe Kishore, via World Socialist Web Site:

Manufacturing in the US is collapsing, with a key index falling to its lowest level in 20 years on Friday. Other figures released yesterday show a downturn in production throughout the world.

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