Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Now, are you happy?

Repeatedly I pointed out Obama's economic leanings and repeatedly I was accused f being pro-Clinton or worse, repeating Republican talking points (more on that later).
Now Barakamaniacs will excuse him with the rationale that he is running to the center 'just to win'. If anyone had cared to look further-- and be less afraid that Clinton would LOSE the election-- they could have seen Barak's economic leanings from a variety of sources and none too distant as this last spring from Mother Jones News.
ABC News' Teddy Davis, James Gerber, and Gregory Wallace Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., underscored his affinity with Democratic centrists this week when he tapped Jason Furman, who worked closely with former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, to be his director of economic policy.

But the selection is now drawing criticism from some on the left who are wondering if the presumptive Democratic nominee will challenge corporate power and make good on his promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"When people see someone like Barack Obama promise change and then see that same person make their first move the hiring of a Wall Street economic team, that’s what sows disengagement and cynicism in the public,” said David Sirota, a one-time backer of former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who is the author of “The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington."

Furman comes to the Obama campaign from the Brookings Institution where he headed the Hamilton Project, an economic policy research group which was founded by Rubin. Furman is the author of a Center for American Progress report which argues that some efforts to pressure Wal-Mart have ended up undermining low-income consumers. He also has backed a reduction in the corporate tax rate that would be financed by increasing the number of firms covered by the tax.

Before the presidential race got underway, Obama spoke at the Hamilton Project's 2006 launch and praised its leaders for taking on "entrenched interests" while serving in the Clinton administration and for being willing to "experiment with policies that weren’t necessarily partisan or ideological."

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 06-08-2008: The Reference Shelf

Today's article and item links:
  • NEW WEBSITE: THE SWAY BLOG: Aside from being Action Point's interviewees for today, coauthors of SWAY, Rom and Ori Brafman's excellent The SWAY Blog brings us clear action we can take to help check our all-too-emotional selves.
  • MINORITY ISSUES: MISOGYNY: Like it or not, misogyny was alive and well in the campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination. The question of why Obama's subtle “gender card” play was not as vehemently rebuked as Clinton's “race card” play will have to be answered. Skirting that question directly but at least putting the general question in play The Nation starts here: Iron My Skirt:
    Clinton's run has put to rest the myth that we are living in a postfeminist wonderland in which all that stands in women's path is women themselves. Like a magnet--was it the pantsuit?--Clinton drew out the nation's misogyny in all its jeering glory and put it where we could all get a good look at it. "Iron my shirt" hecklers. Wearers of Bros Over Hos T-shirts and buyers of Hillary nutcrackers. Fans of the Citizens United Not Timid website (check the acronym). Vats of sexist nastiness splattered across the Comments section of hundreds of blogs and websites. It's as if every obscene phone caller and every exhibitionist in America decided to become an amateur political pundit.
  • NATIONAL SECURITY: IRAN: From Project for a New American Policy on Iran, comes a day of action (Tuesday June 10) in which you can play a role.
    The Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran (CNAPI) is organizing an innovative “Time to Talk with Iran” event and press conference on Capitol Hill. With the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, Members of Congress, celebrities, former officials, and other citizens will use a row of 60’s-era red “hotline” telephones to talk directly to ordinary Iranian citizens. Concurrently on June 10, the Campaign is organizing a nationwide Call-in to Congress for Diplomacy with Iran so those outside of DC can participate and make their voice heard.
    AND: An interesting observation from Firedoglake : Why Are Democrats Giving Bush a Green Light On Iran?
    Even more troubling, if the Bush Administration is planning to attack Iran, claiming it's necessary to carry out their promise not to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, it doesn't appear the Democrats said anything to AIPAC that could be interpreted as demanding the Administration stop. If everyone says, "we won't allow Iran to do this," while adding "we won't rule out military force to make sure they don't," then there's no reason to expect George Bush and Dick Cheney to interpret these statements as anything other than a green light to do as they please. The only thing to decide is the timing.
    AND: 'Unavoidable' attack on Iran looms, says Israeli minister:
    "If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective," Mofaz, who is also Israel's transport minister, said in comments published today by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. "Attacking Iran in order to stop its nuclear plans will be unavoidable."
  • NATIONAL SECURITY: IRAQ: US issues threat to Iraq's $50bn foreign reserves in military deal:
    The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.
    AND: America's Medicated Army:
    While the headline-grabbing weapons in this war have been high-tech wonders, like unmanned drones that drop Hellfire missiles on the enemy below, troops like LeJeune are going into battle with a different kind of weapon, one so stealthy that few Americans even know of its deployment. For the first time in history, a sizable and growing number of U.S. combat troops are taking daily doses of antidepressants to calm nerves strained by repeated and lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The medicines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resource: soldiers on the front lines. Data contained in the Army's fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that, according to an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, about 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope. Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials say.
  • POLITICS: ELECTION 2008: Adviser Says McCain Backs Bush Wiretaps: As we go forward it behooves us to stay on the clear distinctions of the nominee-elect candidates of the party. Here is one are important to those concerned about the expansion of the “imperial presidency”. Let's just say given this, I would think we will not see that expansion collapsed under the hand of McCain:
    In a letter posted online by National Review this week, the adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain believed that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a 1978 federal statute that required court oversight of surveillance.
  • PERSONAL SECURITY: THE ANDREW MYERS FILE: As the mercenary firm Blackwater continues to expand into security affairs internationally I think it is just a matter of time before they will be a mainstay of “institutional” government invasion. Somehow, we must find a way to stop it: Blackwater's Private Spies:
    Such an arrangement could find Blackwater operating in an arena with the godfathers of the war industry, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. It could also see Blackwater expanding into Latin America, joining other private security companies well established in the region. The massive US security company DynCorp is already deployed in Colombia, Bolivia and other countries as part of the "war on drugs." In Colombia alone, US military contractors are receiving nearly half the $630 million in annual US military aid for the country. Just south of the US border, the United States has launched Plan Mexico, a $1.5 billion counternarcotics program. This and similar plans could provide lucrative business opportunities for Blackwater and other companies. "Blackwater USA's enlistment in the drug war," observed journalist John Ross, would be "a direct challenge to its stiffest competitor, DynCorp--up until now, the Dallas-based corporation has locked up 94 percent of all private drug war security contracts." The New York Times reported that the contract could be Blackwater's "biggest job ever."
  • POLITICS: ELECTION INTEGRITY: Does RECOUNT do more harm than good? If you haven't seen the HBO dramatization of the 2000 election race that ended with the SCOTU appointing the worst president in histroy to the position, do so. And afterward, see if you agree with media critic Mark Crispin Miller's thoughtful critique above:
    Now, some might praise the movie for so strong an evocation of that moment some eight years ago, but I would say that, by inducing that old feeling of paralysis, Recount does more harm than good. Indeed, I liked it less and less the more I thought about it, realizing that it could have left us in a very different frame of mind.

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