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Beyond Bogotá

Beyond Bogotá

By Garry Leech
$17.13

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Tag: Not For Profit

Obama’s Fight Against the Politics of Evasion

Critics who argue that he is asking Congress to do too much are finding it far easier to talk about an overloaded system than to tell those without health insurance that they will have to wait a few more years.

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / epicharmus

Putting the ‘Toxic’ Back in Tarp

The Toxic Asset Relief Program was originally designed to save the banks from their bad bets by purchasing toxic assets, but has since evolved into something of a multipurpose slush fund. Now the Obama administration is getting back to the business of buying junk, elaborating on a plan that sent the Dow tumbling when it was first announced. Update

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Looks for an ‘Exit Strategy’ in Afghanistan

The president has frustrated his anti-war base with plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan, but he told “60 Minutes” on Sunday that he’s not looking to stay indefinitely: “What we can’t do is think that just a military approach in Afghanistan is going to be able to solve our problems. ... So what we’re looking for is a comprehensive strategy. And there’s got to be an exit strategy.”

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE


White House
Flickr/dcJohn

White House Looking to Curb Wall Street’s Excesses

Faced with the glaring problem of indulgence and intractability on the highest tiers of Wall Street’s corporate behemoths, the Obama administration is putting together a plan to make financial institutions more accountable and more transparent to the government and to the taxpayers who granted them buoyancy.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Geithner
White House / Pete Souza

Wouldn’t Let Geithner Quit Even if He Tried, Obama Says

Although Timothy Geithner is under fire from several directions, especially because he failed to stop the AIG executive bonus train from arriving at its destination, President Obama continues to actively support him. In fact, Obama says he wouldn’t let Geithner quit even if the treasury secretary tried to do so at this point.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 READ MORE


Salim el-Hoss
secint50.un.org

Human Rights Defenders Have It Tough in the Mideast

Dr Salim el-Hoss is 80 now but remains a staunch defender of human rights and democracy, an opponent of the death penalty and an outspoken supporter of Palestinians. When I recommended to him a long article on American torture, he read it right through to the end and then put the paper down with a slap on his knee. “Terrible, terrible,” he muttered.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 READ MORE


Madoff
msrb.wordpress.com

Madoff’s Victims Speak Out

Some of them have only their homes, while others have no remaining assets and no means to earn income, but all of the former clients of Bernard Madoff (above) whose statements were made public by the government on Friday described in nightmarish terms their experiences since Madoff’s fraudulent investment empire crumbled.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 READ MORE


AIG sign
visitbulgaria.info

AIG Claims It Overpaid Taxes, Sues Government

Having succeeded in dispensing tens of millions of dollars to company executives last week as the country—and Congress—cried foul, the insurance titan is now suing the government to reclaim millions in taxes. Apparently AIG officials believe they paid the IRS too much and now are demanding a huge tax rebate.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: AIG Angst; Happy New Year, Iran!

Have the American media become too fixated on AIG and its nefarious bonuses—at the cost of focusing too little on the whereabouts of the other gajillions of dollars doled out in bailout funds? What’s to become of Timothy Geithner? And how about those warm New Year’s wishes that winged their way to the people of Iran from the U.S. and Israel?

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Obama

Obama Talks Banks, Bonuses and Basketball on Leno

The merger of the entertainment and political spheres is now complete. Witness this lengthy chatfest between President Barack Obama and Jay Leno on Thursday’s “Tonight Show.” During the broadcast Obama cracks jokes about the Secret Service, the Special Olympics (oops) and “American Idol” between more serious discussions about the economy and alternative energy.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Nuclear
scrapetv.com

Playing Chicken of the Sea

The same day that President Obama released a message of new understanding and diplomacy to the Iranian people via his vlog, two U.S. Navy vessels collided in the Strait of Hormuz off southern Iran. More than 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled and 15 sailors were slightly injured.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Deficit
mariopiperni.com / Mario Piperni

Budget Deficit Hits $1.8 Trilly

The current year’s federal budget deficit, according to congressional economists, will top $1.8 trillion, the biggest ever by far. And their projection for the fiscal 2010 budget shortfall is tickling $1.4 trillion, putting both estimates much higher than they were in forecasts back in January.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Warren CIA
abcnews.com

Sex Scandal Calls CIA’s Self-Policing Into Question

A CIA sex scandal, or, more precisely, allegations that a CIA agent raped two Algerian women, has raised questions in Congress about how the agency polices itself. Oddly, discussions of the controversy have failed to emphasize another significant “oops” moment in CIA operations regarding corruption and the need for oversight: torture.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Vlogging

Obama’s Diplomacy Vlog

President Obama has gone digital, releasing an online video of diplomacy to the people and politicians of Iran, suggesting “new beginnings” between the two nations to coincide with Iran’s new year holiday, Nowruz.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE



Jacob Heilbrunn on Alger Hiss

Susan Jacoby’s lucid new book reminds us that the Hiss case offered a vengeful postwar right a golden opportunity to tar the New Deal as a crypto-communist conspiracy—and why it still matters.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


What Is the Point of NATO?

NATO today, approaching its 60th birthday, faces the prospect of sending home all of its units not willing to fight in Afghanistan under the American flag. They will go home to “defend” Europe. From whom?

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE



White House

Idealism in Short Supply

President Obama has called on Americans to volunteer in their communities, but the economic meltdown makes civilian service a tough sell. In this interview, Russ Finkelstein, associate director of idealist.org, argues that “we all have something to give,” even those of us without much time and money.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


A Government of Men, Not Laws

In the 21st century Gilded Age, the blue-collar shower-after-work crowd is given the tough, while the white-collar shower-before-work gang gets the love, and never before this week was that doctrine made so clear.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


The Geithner Problem

The treasury secretary may indeed be the hardest-working man in Washington. But in order to survive, let alone succeed, he’s going to have to make a more convincing case that he’s part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Scheer

Amy Goodman and Robert Scheer: Should Geithner Step Down?

Truthdig’s Robert Scheer appeared on “Democracy Now!” on Thursday to tell host Amy Goodman who exactly sent the U.S. into financial dire straits and to recommend some changes that could put the country on a better track. Here are some hints: One culpable party rhymes with “Shmoldman Shmacks,” and another is at the top of President Obama’s economic team.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Sarah Palin
Flickr / geerlingguy

Sarah Palin Doesn’t Want Your Money

Sarah Palin is turning down about half of her state’s stimulus money, complaining that Washington is trying to engineer a bigger Alaskan government with funding for health care, energy programs and schools. Schools? How dare you, Washington?

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner and Obama
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

And Now, This Tepid Message From Our Treasury Chief

We’ve seen a lot of Timothy Geithner lately in the news—usually looking concerned yet purposeful as he stands behind the president in photos and press conferences—but we haven’t heard a great deal straight from the source. On Thursday, CNN’s Ali Velshi managed to get the treasury secretary talking, but what Geithner had to say is distinctly underwhelming.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hatem Omar

Israeli Soldiers Tell of Their Army’s Crimes in Gaza

Hot on the heels of a damning U.N. report, Israeli soldiers have offered personal accounts of atrocities committed in Gaza, including the murder of unarmed women, children and the elderly. As one soldier put it, “... the lives of Palestinians, let’s say, are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers.”

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

U.N. Human Rights Investigator Accuses Israel of War Crimes

Richard Falk, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, writes in his annual report that Israeli actions during the recent offensive in Gaza constitute war crimes. Falk, who was denied entry to the region by Israel, says Hamas’ human rights record should also be investigated.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Boehner
AP photo / Evan Vucci

House Passes Bonus Tax Bill

After the top brass at AIG couldn’t be stopped from dishing out $165 million in bonuses to executives who didn’t exactly deserve gold-star treatment, Congress is attempting to recoup most of the money by slapping a 90 percent tax on such executive windfalls.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


The Geezer Gang Is Staying on the Job

Amid the talk of generational conflict in these depressed times, there’s a chance for the boomer generation to make a virtue—or a revolution—out of the necessity of working longer.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Push Back Against AIG’s ‘Best and Brightest’

Having long flattered themselves as “masters of the universe,” the creative financiers of Wall Street and London are today exposed as grifters rather than geniuses, yet their arrogance remains intact.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Our Justified Populist Rage

We are at the beginning of a great popular rebellion against those who showed no self-restraint when it came to lining their own pockets.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


If You’re a ‘Little Guy,’ a Contract Means Nothing

If only the contracts entered into by shop-floor workers at auto plants were as inviolate as those secured by the incompetent pirates of the American International Group.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


In the Beginning

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Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE    


America’s Most Wanted

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Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE



barackobama.com

Good News and Bad News for Alternative Lifestylists

The good news: The United States now supports a U.N. statement urging governments everywhere to decriminalize homosexuality. The bad news: In the words of the State Department, “supporting this statement commits us to no legal obligations,” such as ending discrimination in employment, housing and the military in the U.S. itself.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly Gets Nasty

No one expects the former “Inside Edition” host and Fox News provocateur to be a class act, particularly not since he made his intentions with that falafel clear, but what Bill O’Reilly does with a pipe metaphor in this clip is just lame.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Stands by His Treasurer

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has developed a bad reputation in his short time on the job. He appears to have the fortitude of porridge and a love of banks and the bankers who bankrupt them. Despite calls for Geithner’s ouster over the AIG bonus blunder, the president says he has “complete confidence” in his top economist.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


Money Bags
U.S. Department of Justice

Madoff Accountant Arrested

David Friehling, the accountant of Bernard Madoff (pictured above), was arrested Wednesday on charges of securities fraud. Friehling is the first alleged accomplice to be named by authorities in connection with Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scam, though the accountant was charged with auditing failures, not direct participation in the scheme itself.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


Russia Red Square Tank
foreignpolicy.com

Mutually Assured Defense Spending

A hawkish speech by President Dmitry Medvedev may signal a massive overhaul and escalation of the Russian military. Fears of a growing threat posed by NATO have pushed Russian officials to plan a modernization of the country’s conventional and nuclear forces by 2011.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


British Intel Building
The Guardian / Frank Baron

This Is How We Did It

Growing evidence of British complicity  in “unacceptable activities,” including participation in U.S. torture practices, has prompted Prime Minister Gordon Brown to publish the rules that determine how U.K. intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 can interrogate suspects.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE


Sarkozy’s Courtship of NATO Defies Rationality

France’s president has lived up to the stereotype that his people, fond as they are of home vacationing and generally convinced of their own superiority, not infrequently fail to know what they are talking about when dealing with foreign countries.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Colbert

‘Colbert Report’: Take Out Your Pitchforks

What’s to be done when companies that received major bailouts from taxpayers turn around and brazenly offer beaucoup bucks to the executives who helped put us in the hole in the first place? Here are a couple suggestions by way of an answer: Pitchforks! Angry mobs!

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



Geithner image from Presidencia de la Nación Argentina

Geithner’s Bonus Plan as Perplexing as His Other Proposals

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has sent Congress an explanation of his plan to deal with the AIG bonus fiasco. Essentially, Treasury will dock the $165 million in bonuses from AIG’s next bailout payment. Here’s a question: If AIG can do without that $165 million, why were we giving it to the company in the first place?

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Pope on a plane
AP photo / Andrew Medichini

Pope: Condoms Don’t Help in Fight Against AIDS

On his way to his first visit to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI told attendant members of the press that he believes encouraging condom use not only doesn’t help in the fight against AIDS, but actually worsens the situation. 

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young

Military Rapes Jump 9 Percent

“Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” said Rep. Jane Harman in response to the news that the number of sexual assault reports in the military last year increased by about 9 percent to 2,923. The Pentagon believes the actual number of assaults is five to 10 times higher, because most go unreported.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Madoff estate
gawker.com

Mrs. Madoff Heading to Palm Beach

While her husband is entering a decidedly less lavish living arrangement, it appears that Ruth Madoff is getting ready to live the Palm Beach life in her $9.4 million spread in Florida—a state known for property laws that protect owners from losing their homes even when other assets are seized.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Maddow and Letterman

Maddow on the Economy, Olbermann’s Giant Head

MSNBC’s resident smartypants, Rachel Maddow, paid a visit to “Late Night With David Letterman” on Monday to guesstimate the size of Keith Olbermann’s coconut, describe her rise to the heights of punditry and opine about how Wall Street is like a bumper-car ring.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Failure Retention Payments

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Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Mark Lennihan

N.Y. Attorney General Investigates AIG’s ‘Staggering’ Bonus Mess

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, reprinted here, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo shares what his office has discovered so far about AIG’s scandalous bonuses, which “made more than 73 millionaires in the unit which lost so much money that it brought the firm to its knees, forcing a taxpayer bailout.”

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Those Hit Hardest Get No Bailout

Taxpayers’ bailout money for AIG bonuses has rightfully provoked a massive backlash against AIG, Wall Street, President Barack Obama and his economic advisers, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


Now It’s Personal

The last thing the surgeon said to me before they rolled me into the operating room was, “You know, if you and Obama had your way with health care, it wouldn’t be me doing this operation. It would just be some guy.”

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Time to Put the Clamps on Tobacco

An idea that has been around for years now has reached that rarest of moments: There is a political environment that should, if reason prevails, produce legislation to require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ed Andrieski

Small-Town Homophobia, On and Off the Stage

While trying to teach her students about homophobia, Debra Taylor could have done without what appeared to be an illustrative demonstration: The Oklahoma high school teacher was forced to resign in a controversy that grew out of a gay-related project undertaken by her class. Taylor and her students had been working on their own production of “The Laramie Project,” a play and film based on the murder of Matthew Shepard.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


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