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Archive for August, 2009

by Norman Solomon | CommonDreams.org, Aug 28, 2009

This month, a lot of media stories have compared President Johnson’s war in Vietnam and President Obama’s war in Afghanistan. The comparisons are often valid, but a key parallel rarely gets mentioned — the media’s insistent support for the war even after most of the public has turned against it.

This omission relies on the mythology that the U.S. news media functioned as tough critics of the Vietnam War in real time, a fairy tale so widespread that it routinely masquerades as truth. In fact, overall, the default position of the corporate media is to bond with war policymakers in Washington — insisting for the longest time that the war must go on.

Continues >>

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The US public largely opposes America’s foreign wars and economic meddling. They need a voice in US foreign policy

Mark Weisbrot | The Guradian/UK, Aug 27, 2009

Americans are famous for not paying much attention to the rest of the world, and it is often said that foreign wars are the way that we learn geography. But most often it is not the people who have little direct experience outside their own country that are the problem, but rather the experts.

The latest polling data is making this clear once again, as a majority of Americans now oppose the war in Afghanistan, but the Obama administration is escalating the war, and his military commanders may ask for even more troops than the increase to 68,000 that the adminstration is planning by the end of this year.

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Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

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New York Times

By PETER BAKER, DAVID JOHNSTON and MARK MAZZETTI
Published: August 27, 2009

Leon E. Panetta, left, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tried to persuade Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., right, to drop plans to investigate the treatment of C.I.A. detainees.

Leon E. Panetta, left, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tried to persuade Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., right, to drop plans to investigate the treatment of C.I.A. detainees.

WASHINGTON — With the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses, long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week, threatening relations between two critical players on President Obama’s national security team.

The tension between the agencies complicates how the administration handles delicate national security issues, particularly the tracking and capturing of suspected terrorists overseas. It also may distract Mr. Obama, who is trying to move beyond the battles of the Bush years to focus on an ambitious domestic agenda, most notably health care legislation.

The strains became evident inside the administration in the past several weeks. In July, Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, tried to head off the investigation, administration officials said. He sent the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, Stephen W. Preston, to Justice to persuade aides to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to abandon any plans for an inquiry.

More.

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Telegraph.co.uk

The man who allegedly abducted American schoolgirl Jaycee Lee Dugard almost two decades ago has admitted that he did a “disgusting thing” but went on to defend himself, saying the public would be surprised by the “heart-warming story”.

By Alex Spillius in Washington
Published: 8:15AM BST 28 Aug 2009

Jaycee Lee Dugard who was kidnapped in 1991 at the age of 11. She disappeared when a man and a woman pulled her kicking and screaming into a car at a school bus stop just yards from her home in South Lake Tahoe

Jaycee Lee Dugard who was kidnapped in 1991 at the age of 11. She disappeared when a man and a woman pulled her kicking and screaming into a car at a school bus stop just yards from her home in South Lake Tahoe

Convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido, 58, is being held on suspicion of various kidnapping and sex charges relating to the disappearance of Miss Dugard, who was aged 11 when she was snatched from her school bus stop in 1991.

Mr Garrido, gave a bizarre and sometimes incoherent phone interview to KCRA-TV from the El Dorado County jail.

According to investigators Mr Garrido allegedly raped Miss Dugard and fathered two children with her, the first when she was about 14. Along with Miss Dugard, who is now 29, the children, both girls now 11 and 15, were also kept hidden away from the world in the backyard compound of the Garrido house in California.

More.

Jaycee Dugard and the parallels with Fritzl and McCann

The Californian’s abduction in 1991 was similar to the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann, from the media frenzy surrounding the missing girls to the desperate appeals to find them.

More.

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If they’re going to name the final healthcare reform bill after Senator Kennedy, we ought to be demanding with voices as powerful and booming as the late senator’s…

The bill must not suck.

But if it does, perhaps they should name it after Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley. The Blame Baucus and Grassley for This Sucky Act. Or maybe borrow the name of the House bill, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, which, by the way, reminds me more of a frozen diet meal than a robust healthcare reform bill (the final House bill is actually pretty robust — it’s just a ridiculous name).

On this day of national mourning, we’re reminded that Senator Kennedy’s political legacy has been inextricably bound to the cause of universal healthcare. Affordable, portable, reliable healthcare.

It’s difficult to know for sure, but I can’t imagine, had he not been stricken with cancer, that the senator would be lending his unmistakable baritone to the awfulness, equivocation and bipartisan hackery that’s on display within the ranks of the Max Baucus ‘Gang of Six’. It goes without saying that left to their own spineless and corrupt devices, these six senators will absolutely deliver a terrible healthcare reform bill, one that would only serve to besmirch the Kennedy legacy.

So what exactly does a sucky healthcare bill look like?

Naturally, without a beefy public health insurance plan, healthcare reform would be an utter disaster — or worse. To refer to the public option as just a “sliver” of the bill, or to push for eliminating it altogether is almost as bad as having no reform at all. Journalists, writers and bloggers who I otherwise respect have been damning the public option with faint praise lately. Let’s not sabotage healthcare reform with partisan ultimatums, they say. We can have a great bill without it, they say.

No, sirs. No we can’t.

They’re not seeing the big picture here. I get it, though. There are many other meaningful aspects to healthcare reform. Banning exclusions for pre-existing conditions, setting caps on out of pocket expenses, bans on rescission. These are all excellent and historic.

(more…)

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If you’re a reporter looking for a hot quote, Waxman’s the wrong man to see. Anyone watching his “Daily Show” appearance with Jon Stewart could tell you that. Waxman is all policy, determined to explain everything in detail. But he’s smart, tough and knows how to get results. He showed that last year when he went against the House seniority system and took over the Energy and Commerce Committee by unseating John Dingell, its longtime chairman.

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Bill Boyarsky
Truthdig
Aug 25 2009

By the time Congress returns from its recess and takes another whack at the health insurance mess, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., will have started revealing the deceit that protects health business profiteers.

Waxman has already begun by demanding that major insurance companies reveal how much they pay top executives and board members and, most important, the size of their profits from selling policies.

He is getting to the heart of the health insurance debate. It’s all about the health business—insurance, hospitals, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical equipment makers and others.

Their economic goal is bigger profits. Their political goal is to protect their interests by making sure the 2010 election puts enough Republicans and sympathetic Democrats in Congress. Even if the Democrats retain control of the House and Senate, health care lobbyists will pour celebratory drinks as long they have enough power to shape legislation. That’s how it works. Don’t be deluded by party labels.

Read more…

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This is Ted Kennedy’s presidential concession speech to Jimmy Carter in 1980 on the floor of the Democratic Convention. It is widely recognized as the last of the famous Camelot speeches by the Kennedy’s.

This is just an excerpt. To hear the entire oration, and to see his appearance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention to support Obama’s nomination as Democratic candidate for President of the United States, please click on link below.

I’ve also posted his 2004 DNC speech which I watched live on my TV in my room in the YMCA hostel just off Central Park South West, New York, on my first and, as yet, only visit to the USA.

The 2004 DNC was held in Boston, where I had first set foot on American soil a few days earlier, and Kennedy’s speech contain many references to that wonderful city. (more…)

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