In the Belly of the Beast: 4/15/11: Grace Lee Boggs on Detroit and “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century”

INDEX (articles follow)

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 139

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell
“POLITICS”
CIVIL LIBERTIES TODAY
“Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary sector of monopoly capital”
THE ECONOMY



NUCLEAR POWER

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 139

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Frank Gaffney: Radical Plant Out to Destroy Republican Party?

from Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Placeby Richard Silverstein

1 person liked this

gaffney norquistNorquist: sympathy for the devil? The Muslim devil, that is.

After reading this post at Think Progress, and the absolute wackiness it attributes to Frank Gaffney, it occured to me that either he’s a radical plant out to destroy the Republican Party from within, or he’s the Party’s worst nightmare. This guy is waging global jihad against, of all people, Grover Norquist! He’s the patron saint of the anti-taxers, fer chrissakes! It just boggles the mind. Here are a few of Gaffney’s choicer comments about this “friend of the Muslim Brotherhood:”

GAFFNEY: “One might ask, how did an organization like this [Norquist’s] with Brotherhood ties and personnel and funding, get into the conservative circles?…This is how that has happened. [Puts Grover Norquist’s picture up on the PowerPoint.] I don’t know how many of you were in the room when he addressed this very meeting earlier today. But I have had it as my personal burden for the past 12 years to have been trying to warn conservatives that one of their own has been actively involved both enabling and empowering Muslim Brotherhood influence operations against our movement and our country. And I must tell you, I think this is time to bring it to a stop.”

Gaffney has long made a name for himself with fabulous claims like the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the federal government and even the conservative movement.

Other than the fact that Gaffney has taken leave of his senses, what is one to make of such lunacy? Is he deliberately trying to destroy the Republican Party? Or is he just another True Believer who’s willing to see the Party commit hara-kiri if it doesn’t endorse his cock-eyed view of the political universe.

Daniel Pipes trumpets the fact that Norquist is married to a Palestinian woman and even produces the marriage certificate, as if Norquist would attempt to deny it. When you think of it, for the loop-de-loop crowd this is the equivalent of race-mixing to a bygone era. Imagine sharing one’s bed with such a she-devil and even mixing bodily fluids! The thought of it is enough to make one faint!

And of course, in the Pipesian alternate political universe, this makes Norquist an “agent of Muslim influence” in Washington. Wow, I though that “agent of influence” crap went out of fashion with McCarthy’s 201 Communists in the State Department around 1953 or so!

Pipes even opines that if his wife was a faithful Muslim she could only marry a fellow Muslim, meaning…you guessed it, that Norquist must be a convert to the religion of the devil himself (though Pipes does generously acknowledge they were married in a church). Norquist’s wife too must be a “radical Islamist” because she worked at the Islamic Free Market Institute. Sounds like a hotbed of al Qaeda, doesn’t it? Proof, you ask for? Since when does Daniel Pipes needs proof of anything to bandy about his lunacies?

And it’s no accident that Gaffney’s legal Sancho Panza in this holy war is David Yerushalmi, an ardent anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-minority, anti-woman, pro-settler Jew with views a white supremacist would love.

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“POLITICS”

Candidate Obama vs. President Obama

Update: In fairness to Krugman (see below), he has also said things like this:

So what we got today was much better than some of the hints and trial balloons; it’s a plan that we could live with. But it’s a center-right plan already; if it’s the starting point for negotiations that move the solution toward lower taxes for the rich and even harsher cuts for the poor, just say no.

So he’s not an unreserved Yes. On the other hand, he hasn’t reversed the praise quoted in my main post. Looks like we’re all working overtime on this one.
_____

Just a short comment. I don’t want to parse Obama’s Grand Bargain speech; I just want to bottom-line my reaction to it.

It seems that many on the left were pleased. Here’s Krugman(my emphasis):

Substance: Much better than many of us feared. Hardly any Bowles-Simpson — yay!

The actual plan relies on some discretionary spending cuts, this time including defense — good, although I think too much is being cut from domestic spending. It relies on letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire — finally! — plus unspecified reductions in tax expenditures.

Rachel Maddow also likes the plan, along with a great many other lefties. Her tag-line display for much of the program was the Obama quote, “It’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.” Woo-hoo, as she often ironically says.

Me, I’ll go back to my Grand Bargain drinking game. See the part in the Krugman quote about letting the Bush tax cuts expire? Never gonna happen. See those defense cuts? Never gonna happen, not in any non-cosmetic way. He’s had two years to do lots of stuff like that, and folded on all of it. Never gonna happen.

I think the target of this speech wasn’t the nation — but us, the rebellious left. I think the political geniuses in the White House finally got scared of losing the base. Finally. So they retired President Obama for one inning and brought out Candidate Obama to pinch hit. Candidate Obama can put one over the fence.

So my take-away is two-fold:

▪ We had an effect; I think we changed the speech. Don’t forget that. This is one thing we can learn from the Teabags. Finally, a small but noticeable liberal victory. It’s been like forever since one of those.

▪ This is just a speech — “Words, words, words” to quote the Bard. We’ve seen this act before. In fact, it’s been the great one-two punch of this administration; Candidate says this, President does that. So stay rebellious until you get what you want, until the action matches the promise. That’s the other thing we can learn from the Teabags.

My personal opinion, of course, and no one else’s.

GOP Senator threatens to filibuster debt ceiling vote, throwing country into recession and costing us billions for years to come, if Obama and Dems don’t cave more

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truthby John Aravosis (DC)

1 person liked this

Sadly, the hostage taker knows exactly who he’s negotiating with.

A top conservative senator on Thursday indicated he is willing to go to extreme lengths to prevent a vote on raising the debt ceiling, even if it hurts the Republican Party politically.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on the conservative Laura Ingraham Show he is considering filibustering an upcoming vote to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit if it doesn’t contain other fiscal reforms.

Meanwhile, GOP leaders have said they would be open to doing so if serious spending cuts or fiscal reforms are attached to the vote. Some GOP senators have called for their balanced budget amendment to be attached to the vote.

I’m so confused. I thought caving on the stimulus, and health care reform, and the Bush tax cuts was supposed to make the Republicans stop taking hostages because all the Democratic genuflecting would make the GOP’s small hearts grow three sizes that day.

And keep in mind, if DeMint and the Republicans succeed in killing the debt ceiling vote, it’s over for the economic recovery. The “best case scenario” is another severe recession if this vote fails.

But once the Treasury exhausts this authority, the United States would default on its debt for the first time in its history, which could have consequences like the ones that Mr. Boehner has imagined: a severe global financial crisis (possibly larger in magnitude than the one the world began experiencing in 2007 and 2008), and a significant long-term increase in the United States’ borrowing costs, which could cost it its leadership position in the global economy. Another severe recession would probably be about the best-case scenario if that were to occur. three sizes. Yet, somehow, they just keep taking more hostages, and this time are taking the most dangerous hostage of all.

And just to remind you, another severe recession would be the “best case scenario” if DeMint and the Republicans succeed in killing this vote.

The White House and the Democrats should be running television ads about the Republicans’ threat to send the country into another recession. Instead, I’m smelling a ransom payment in the air.


CIVIL LIBERTIES TODAY
“Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary sector of monopoly capital”

AZ Senate passes “Birther” bill today with an exemption if your, um, little commander in chief is circumcized

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truthby John Aravosis (DC)

1 person liked this

See, and you thought Arizona was all about hating Latinos and shooting members of Congress. They’re about foreskin too.

They don’t call Arizona the “meth lab of Democracy” for nothing — where else could a lack of foreskin prove citizenship?

The Arizona Senate formally passed the “Birther Bill” today, but not in its original version.

Apparently, requiring presidential candidates to provide a long-form birth certificate before allowing their names on the ballot in Arizona — despite it already being a federal requirement to run for president — was a bit too much for a few GOP lawmakers. So they made some amendments: if you can’t find your birth certificate, and you have a penis, a document describing your lack of foreskin will suffice.

Alleged Cuban Airline Bomber Free After Acquittal on Immigration Charges

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

Play-kornbluhLuis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative best known as the suspected mastermind of the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban airline jet, was acquitted Friday. He wasn’t facing terrorism charges, but 11 charges of perjury, immigration fraud, and obstruction of justice. Although the U.S. government believes he is an international terrorist, Posada Carriles was freed on Friday. Will the Obama administration let him walk the streets of Miami? [includes rush transcript]

THE ECONOMY

While Obama Touts Compromise with GOP, Progressive Lawmakers Unveil “People’s Budget”

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reformby mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

2 people liked this

Seg1In a televised address yesterday, President Obama set a goal of cutting the U.S. budget deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. He countered Republican budget plans with what he said was a more balanced approach that relies in part on tax increases for the wealthy as well as on spending cuts. The Congressional Progressive Caucus meanwhile has unveiled an alternative plan called the “People’s Budget.” We speak to Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. [includes rush transcript]

Roundtable: Assessing Obama’s Budget Plan & State of U.S. Economy with Author Thomas Frank, Rev. Jim Wallis, and Activist/Philosopher Grace Lee Boggs

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

Seg2To discuss President Obama’s budget talk and the state of the American economy, we are joined by three guests: Thomas Frank, a columnist at Harper’s Magazine and the author of several books, including The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation; Rev. Jim Wallis, the founder of the Sojourners Community and editor of Sojourners magazine, who has been on a hunger fast since March 28 to protest congressional budget cuts; and Grace Lee Boggs, 95-year-old activist, author and philosopher based in Detroit. She has been involved with the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice, and feminist movements over the past seven decades. Her new book The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, has just been published. [includes rush transcript]

Will the DoJ charge Goldman traders who “squeezed” the market in 2007?

Despite the whining on Wall Street, we have yet to see the Obama administration aggressively pursue the bankers who brought down the global economy. Outside of a few side shows (insider trading) the industry has been untouched. The Senate is now releasing details of their own investigation into the crashand found some rather interesting information about a team from Goldman Sachs.

Company documents show traders led by Michael J. Swenson sought to encourage a “short squeeze” by putting artificially low prices on derivatives that would gain in value as mortgage securities fell, according to the report yesterday by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The idea, abandoned after market conditions worsened, was to drive holders of such credit-default swaps to sell and help Goldman Sachs traders buy at reduced prices, according to the report.

“We began to encourage this squeeze, with plans of getting very short again,” Deeb Salem, a trader in the structured product group, said in a 2007 self-evaluation excerpted in the report. Swenson, Salem’s supervisor, sent e-mails in May 2007 urging traders to offer prices that will “cause maximum pain” and “have people totally demoralized.” In interviews with the committee, Salem and Swenson denied attempting a short squeeze, the report said.

Salem “claimed that he had wrongly worded his self- evaluation,” the report said. “He said that reading his self- evaluation as a description of an intended short squeeze put too much emphasis on ‘words.’”

Now the question is what will happen next. Senator Levin says that it’s up to the Department of Justice to take action. Considering the lack of interest in any cases against Wall Street and the crash plus the new (but really old) attempts by the Obama administration to be friends with Wall Street, this is likely to go nowhere. Why is there so little accountability and why doesn’t this administration show any seriousness about the origins of this economic crisis?

It’s a Hoax: GE Does Not Plan to Return $3.2 Billion Tax Refund to U.S. Treasury

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reformby mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

5 people liked this

Seg4The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that “General Electric announced it will repay its entire $3.2 billion tax refund to the U.S. Treasury on April 18.” The company’s tax record has been in the spotlight since the New York Times reported it paid no federal incomes taxes last year despite earning $14.2 billion in worldwide profits. It turns out AP’s story was based on a press release that was actually written by members of the group US Uncut, a new organization that describes itself as a “grassroots movement taking direct action against corporate tax cheats.” We are joined by Andrew Boyd, a member of US Uncut. [includes rush transcript]

ENVIRONMENT

Grace Lee Boggs on Detroit and “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century”

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

Seg3We discuss the state of the economy in Detroit, “ground zero” for the economic downturn in the United States, with civil rights activist and author, Grace Lee Boggs. “I think it’s very difficult for someone who doesn’t live in Detroit to say you can look at a vacant lot and, instead of seeing devastation, see hope,” says Boggs, “see the opportunity to grow your own food, see an opportunity to give young people a sense of process, that’s very difficult in the city, that the vacant lot represents the possibilities for a cultural revolution.” [includes rush transcript]





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This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Corporations, Corruption, Environement, Events, Human Rights, Islamophobia, Japan, Nuclear Power, Obama, UltraRight. Bookmark the permalink.

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