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Archive for May 17th, 2009

As Smash-and-Grab Capitalism Collapses, the French Economy Shines

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

As Smash-and-Grab Capitalism Collapses, the French Economy Shines

Many in Britain and the United States are in mourning for what’s taken as the suicide of the American (or Thatcherite, or Chicago-school) model of capitalism, accompanied by the non-interventionist state that hands the national economy over to business and financial leaders to run.

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Workers of the World Show Who’s Boss

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Across Europe and even in the U.S., a new wave of direct action to “rebuild the economy from the ground up” is rising. Some workers are responding to layoffs and workplace shutdowns by ousting their bosses and seeking to run things their own way. Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis report on the state of worker-control movements today in light of the current economic crisis.

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Geoffrey Miller, Gitmo General, Told Iraq WMD Search Team To Torture

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Geoffrey Miller, Gitmo General, Told Iraq WMD Search Team To Torture
It’s one thing if, as former Vice President Dick Cheney keeps saying, the United States brutally interrogated people to keep our kids safe from another…

Catholic Priests Defend Obama
On the eve of President Obama’s controversial commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame, priests and lay ministers who worked with him in his…

Taking On Craigslist Good Politics For Elected Officials
CHICAGO (AP) — Law enforcement officials who successfully pressured Craigslist to remove an erotic services category they say had become little more than an Internet…

Obama Soccer PHOTOS: Sasha, Malia Cheered On By Soccer Dad Obama
***SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS*** It’s a busy Saturday for Barack Obama. First he named a new ambassador to China and then he switched from being…


Hannity falsely compared Obama replacing U.S. attorneys to Bush’s controversial firings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Hannity falsely compared Obama replacing U.S. attorneys to Bush’s controversial firings

On the May 15 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity suggested that President Obama’s plans to replace current U.S. attorneys with his own appointees are analogous to President Bush’s controversial firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. In fact, there is no comparison between Obama’s actions, which are consistent with incoming presidents’ practice of replacing their predecessor’s U.S. attorneys with new appointees, and Bush’s firings of his own appointees during his second term, which were characterized as “unprecedented” by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in a September 2008 report.

During the segment, Hannity said: “[R]emember how outraged Democrats were when President Bush replaced a handful of his own U.S. attorneys? Now, liberals claim the prosecutors were unjustly removed for political reasons and argued that President Bush had no right to replace his own appointees. Well, get this — according to the AP, on the very same day that Karl Rove is reportedly meeting with a prosecutor to discuss President Bush’s decision, President Obama is one step closer to ousting a group of U.S. attorneys.” Hannity later aired a clip of Attorney General Eric Holder stating during a May 14 congressional hearing, “Elections matter. It is our intention to have the U.S. attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as we can.” Hannity then said: “All right. ‘Elections matter’? That’s your reason? Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that considered politically motivated?”

As Media Matters for America has noted, in a March 23, 2007, Los Angeles Times article, David G. Savage wrote that the “pattern” of presidents’ replacing U.S. attorneys upon taking office “go[es] back to President Reagan.” From Savage’s article:

But historical data compiled by the Senate show the pattern going back to President Reagan.

Reagan replaced 89 of the 93 U.S. attorneys in his first two years in office. President Clinton had 89 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years, and President Bush had 88 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years.

In a similar vein, the Justice Department recently supplied Congress with a district-by-district listing of U.S. attorneys who served prior to the Bush administration.

The list shows that in 1981, Reagan’s first year in office, 71 of 93 districts had new U.S. attorneys. In 1993, Clinton’s first year, 80 of 93 districts had new U.S. attorneys.

The report by the OIG and OPR, which explored the Bush administration’s “reasons for the removals of the U.S. Attorneys and whether they were removed for partisan political purposes,” found that the firings were “an unprecedented removal of a group of high-level Department officials.” The report concluded:

In sum, we believe that the process used to remove the nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 was fundamentally flawed. While Presidential appointees can be removed for any reason or for no reason, as long as it is not an illegal or improper reason, Department officials publicly justified the removals as the result of an evaluation that sought to replace underperforming U.S. Attorneys. In fact, we determined that the process implemented largely by Kyle Sampson, Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, was unsystematic and arbitrary, with little oversight by the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, or any other senior Department official. In choosing which U.S. Attorneys to remove, Sampson did not adequately consult with the Department officials most knowledgeable about their performance, or even examine formal evaluations of each U.S. Attorney’s Office, despite his representations to the contrary.

[…]

The Department’s removal of the U.S. Attorneys and the controversy it created severely damaged the credibility of the Department and raised doubts about the integrity of Department prosecutive decisions. We believe that this investigation, and final resolution of the issues raised in this report, can help restore confidence in the Department by fully describing the serious failures in the process used to remove the U.S. Attorneys and by providing lessons for the Department in how to avoid such failures in the future.

From the May 15 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

HANNITY: And tonight in “Hannity’s America”: Now, remember how outraged Democrats were when President Bush replaced a handful of his own U.S. attorneys? Now, liberals claim the prosecutors were unjustly removed for political reasons and argued that President Bush had no right to replace his own appointees. Well, get this — according to the AP, on the very same day that Karl Rove is reportedly meeting with a prosecutor to discuss President Bush’s decision, President Obama is one step closer to ousting a group of U.S. attorneys. Listen to this.

HOLDER : We are working as quickly as we can to put new U.S. attorneys in place. I expect that we’ll have an announcement in the next couple of weeks with regard to our first batch of U.S. attorneys.

HANNITY: All right. I bet that’s really going to get the Democrats’ blood boiling. Hey, Mr. Attorney General, what’s the reason for these firings?

HOLDER : Elections matter. It is our intention to have the U.S. attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as we can.

HANNITY: All right. “Elections matter”? That’s your reason? Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that considered politically motivated?


Watch The Pelosi Presser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Watch The Pelosi Presser
Here’s the full video of that remarkable 19 and a half minute appearance by Nancy Pelosi this morning, in which she reads a statement and then takes questions — and accuses the CIA of lying to Congress about torture. Watch:…

Pelosi Expresses “Respect” For “Men And Women Of The Intelligence Community”
Here’s a statement just put out by Nancy Pelosi, which seems designed to turn down the heat on her claim that the CIA lied to her about torture, but doesn’t back off the claim: Pelosi Statement on Panetta Message to…


The Real Enemy in Iraq

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

The Real Enemy in Iraq


The Pope and Ruby’s Tuesday

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

The Pope and Ruby’s Tuesday
Pope Benedict XVI is not a man to feel sorry for himself, or even think his pronouncements just those of a man. Yet it is hard not to extend him some sympathy for braving a trip to Jerusalem this week….

Dueling Congressional Letters: Choose Between Obama or Netanyahu
The status quo lobby (SQL) is getting worried. Very worried. It knew that President Barack Obama was determined to move aggressively on his Middle East peace agenda but never imagined that he would be this bold. He telephoned the Israeli,…


Uruguay lifts ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Uruguay lifts ban on gays serving openly in the military.
On Thursday, Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez announced that his government will “allow gays to join the armed forces by scrapping military rules that define homosexuality as a disorder.” Vazquez explained his decision saying, “The Uruguayan government does not discriminate against citizens based on their political, ethnic or sexual identity.” Urugquay’s Deputy Defense Minister elaborated, “There […]

vazquezOn Thursday, Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez announced that his government will “allow gays to join the armed forces by scrapping military rules that define homosexuality as a disorder.” Vazquez explained his decision saying, “The Uruguayan government does not discriminate against citizens based on their political, ethnic or sexual identity.” Urugquay’s Deputy Defense Minister elaborated, “There were a series of rules … regarding the psycho-physical requirements (for entry into the armed forces) in which homosexuality was seen as a sexual identity disorder, and this is what is being repealed.” President Obama insists that he still intends to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which bans gays from openly serving in the U.S. military, but has not said when he will begin the process.

Conservatives Express Hope That Their Attacks On Pelosi Will Quiet Calls For Truth Commission
For weeks, conservatives have been launching hypocritical and disingenuous attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) regarding her level of knowledge of the Bush administration’s torture program. Fox News conservatives are revealing one of the underlying motives for these attacks — to diminish calls for a truth commission on torture. While interviewing Newt Gingrich, and later, […]

For weeks, conservatives have been launching hypocritical and disingenuous attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) regarding her level of knowledge of the Bush administration’s torture program.

Fox News conservatives are revealing one of the underlying motives for these attacks — to diminish calls for a truth commission on torture. While interviewing Newt Gingrich, and later, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Fox host Neil Cavuto wondered whether “both parties will cease and desist” from investigations:

Is it a potential Mexican standoff? And by that, I mean, Senator, that Democrats feel they have the goods on the prior administration to drag out hearings on what they knew about Iraq and when. Now Republicans have the goods, presumably, on Nancy Pelosi about what she knew about interrogation and when. So to avoid mutual self-destruction, both parties cease and desist.

Last night on Fox, Dick Cheney’s official biographer Stephen Hayes said, “Democrats who have been so enthusiastic about truth commissions have to be stopping and saying, OK, wait a second.” Mort Kondracke chimed in with some advice for the President: “I think Obama really has to get this stuff stopped.” Watch a compilation:

Pelosi has been clear that recent questions about her level of knowledge about Bush’s torture program only add more — not less — need for an investigation to take place. “Until a truth commission comes into being, I encourage the appropriate committees of the House to conduct vigorous oversight of these issues,” Pelosi said.

If conservatives were being honest about their criticisms, they’d be taking up Pelosi’s desire for a full investigation, an inquiry that would not only examine what members of Congress knew but also the prominent role Cheney played in authorizing illegal acts.


Obama Picks Huntsman, Republican Governor of Utah, as Ambassador to China

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Obama Picks Huntsman, Republican Governor of Utah, as Ambassador to China
President Obama reached across the aisle yesterday to tap a leading Republican governor as his ambassador to China, indicating his continuing desire for bipartisanship in his administration while signaling to Beijing his intent to build “a new understanding” with the United States’ largest economic…


Republicans See Chance to Unseat Corzine in New Jersey Governor’s Race
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Dispirited Republicans, hoping to prove the Grand Old Party is not yet extinct in the Northeast, have placed their final hopes this year on the governor’s race in New Jersey, where Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) has seen his approval ratings plummet as fast as the state’s financial…


Obama and Israel’s Netanyahu Likely to Have Calm Meeting Despite Differences
When President Obama meets one on one with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office tomorrow morning, one thing is virtually guaranteed not to happen: fireworks.


Obama to Visit Ghana in First Official Trip to Sub-Saharan Africa
President Obama will make his first official trip to sub-Saharan Africa this summer, the White House announced today, spending two days in Ghana with his wife, Michelle, after visiting Russia and Italy.



My Personal Credit Crisis

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 17th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

My Personal Credit Crisis
Edmund Andrews, New York Times Magazine

New Approach to Afghanistan

Pelosi’s Ever-Shifting Tales