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Obama’s Wars

Obama’s Wars

By Bob Woodward
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Graham and Colbert

Was Bob Graham Briefed About Torture?

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham says the CIA didn’t brief him about the use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists, and he has the records in his personal notebooks to prove it, as he points out during a timely book tour stopover on Wednesday’s “Colbert Report.”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / Franco Folini

No California Love for Schwarzenegger

Californians gave the electoral finger to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday when they voted against five ballot measures intended to fix the Golden State’s budget drama by increasing taxes, redistributing state funds and borrowing money. On top of already double-digit unemployment, a plummeting housing market and an eroding educational system, the state now faces a budget gap of more than $21 billion.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Obama Can’t Duck the Tough Ones

President Obama’s lieutenants would love it if all the networks ran a crawl line at the bottom of the screen during news broadcasts that kept repeating: “The economy, health care, energy, education. The economy, health care ... .”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


A Chance to Avert Tragedy

So now we know that pilots responsible for the safety of about a quarter of the flying public rest up for duty by catching a few winks in an airport lounge, or sleeping in idle aircraft or aboard a cross-country flight from their hometowns to their airport home base.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


In Praise of Empathy

So it is that I am watching the run-up to the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice with eyes wide open. We’ve already had pre-emptive strikes against three women on the media short list. Elena Kagan, Diane Wood and Sonia Sotomayor are getting the scary radical treatment without even getting picked.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


Cheney and Bush
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Cheney and the Iraq-Torture Link

Defending their record in office these past eight years, figures from the last administration seem especially touchy on the subject of torture. Led by the former vice president, Dick Cheney, they have argued that there was no torture, preferring more vague and delicate terms such as “enhanced interrogation” or simply “the program.”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama Defends Gitmo’s Closure, Cheney Rebukes It

President Obama spoke on Thursday to clean up the “mess” that Guantanamo Bay has become and stood firmly by his decision to close the detention center. The speech came after the Senate voted 90-6 to block $80 million for shutting down Gitmo. Meanwhile, across town, former Vice President Dick Cheney gave a speech harshly criticizing Obama’s actions and defending the anti-terrorism policies of the Bush administration.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


St. Annes
Flickr / Infomatique

Insult to Injury for Irish Church Abuse Victims

Although the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse found some 2,000 people who described the abuse they suffered at the hands of Catholic church officials in Ireland, resulting in a five-volume study (download the PDF version here), the alleged perpetrators have been shielded from prosecution, thanks to a successful lawsuit that protects their identities.

Posted on May 20, 2009 READ MORE


Gay Fernando

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Posted on May 20, 2009 READ MORE    


Ooooooooooo
switched.com

Craigslist Bites Back in S.C.

Craigslist is seeking legal action against South Carolina’s Attorney General Henry McMaster after McMaster criticized the online classifieds site despite the removal of its erotic ads section. Craigslist is, amazingly, looking for “declaratory relief and a restraining order” from the vigilantly moralizing Southerner.

Posted on May 20, 2009 READ MORE


Israel Soldiers Shells
guardian.co.uk

Gaza Probe Gets No Help From Israel

Investigators with the U.N. Human Rights Council may be forced to enter the Palestinian territories from Egypt because Israel is likely to refuse cooperation in the U.N.’s mission to investigate potential war crimes by the Israeli military and Hamas.

Posted on May 20, 2009 READ MORE


Yoo
Wikimedia Commons / YooTube

Yoo’s Views Make Philly News

The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of that city’s two major daily newspapers, is in the news itself these days after hiring controversial former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo as a monthly columnist.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


BlackRock HQ
AP photo / Mark Lennihan

Our Loss Is BlackRock’s Gain

How much do you know about BlackRock and the hedge funds they manage? Better bone up fast, now that the folks at BlackRock are calling the shots in the government’s trillion-dollar bailout program. BlackRock execs are now directing key elements of the government program at a time when they stand to reap great profits from the fallout of a problem they helped create. 

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Paris mosque
enjoyfrance.com

War-Addicted U.S. Afflicted With Imperialist Hangover

There is an important current in conservative U.S. opinion that believes Western Europe to be under something like a siege, or a potential siege, by its large Muslim immigrant population. I should actually say that it’s not just American conservatives, although they write alarmed books about the impending Muslim domination of Europe, and the collapse of European Christianity and identity. They fear the Decline of the West.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


MLK
yorkblog.com

MLK to Get the Spielberg Treatment

It’s the first time that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s estate has officially approved a movie project about the late civil rights leader, and the MLK biopic will be helmed by none other than mega-director Steven Spielberg, who has acquired the “life rights” to Dr. King’s story, according to Variety.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Hannity and Ventura Step Into the Ring

Fox News gasbag Sean Hannity and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura tackle the state of our nation before and after Bush. Watch them finger-point, talk over each other and play the deficit blame game in their debate on Monday.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

Democrats Block Funds to Close Gitmo

On Tuesday, even before the Republicans had the chance to do it, Senate Democrats blocked $80 million allocated for the closure of Guantanamo Bay in a supplemental war bill approved last week. The decision comes as a blow to President Obama, whose plan to shut the base by next January had given him major popularity points. Despite this new funding cut, plans to close the base will move forward.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo prisoner
AP photo / Lynne Sladky

A Truth Commission Beckons

The partisan firefight over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s incendiary allegation that the CIA lied to Congress about its use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—torture—is a blessing. It turns the compelling case for a public inquiry into the Bush administration’s policies toward terrorism detainees into an urgent necessity.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Pelosi Finds Some Backing

Three new developments in the Nancy Pelosi drama this week: The Democrats are said to stand “solidly behind” the House speaker, who is under fire from Republicans for talking smack about the CIA that “misled” her on waterboarding. Meanwhile, President Obama gives a vote of confidence to Pelosi, while CIA Director Leon Panetta urges Congress to focus on actual national security threats, stating “We are a nation at war.”

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


credit cards
ehow.com

Got Good Credit? Too Bad

Those credit card holders who pride themselves on paying their bills on time, and who have enjoyed rewards in the past for so doing, are in for an unpleasant surprise: They may soon be targeted by the very companies that used to ply them with perks.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Pakistani Official: No New Nukes

Responding to a recent assertion by Adm. Mike Mullen, current chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Pakistan is actively adding to its array of nuclear weapons, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira insisted on Monday that Mullen was in error.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Credit Card Debt for the Tween Set

On Monday, Sen. Byron Dorgan took the chamber floor with visual aids to warn of the dangers of luring small children into bad spending habits with colorful credit cards. While we applaud his efforts, he does seem a bit fixated on Hello Kitty.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Smash-Me Bernie
minimemodelworks.com

Madoff Investors Under Investigation

File under “honor among thieves?” A group of prominent investors in Bernard Madoff’s failed financial enterprise are being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in New York City for allegedly playing Madoff’s fraudulent system to their advantage.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


mike huckabee
www.craigmichaelsinc.com

Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was visited by the GOP Muse and out plopped this elephant patty of a poem. The chef-d’oeuvre comes at a time when Republicans and Leon Panetta are calling for an apology from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the CIA for accusing the agency of “misleading” her on their interrogation methods.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Netanyahu

Bibi and Barack Talk Mideast Peace

While the cameras rolled, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddled at the White House on Monday and waxed diplomatic about the usual lineup of regional concerns: Israeli-Palestinian relations, Iran and the possibility of peace in the Middle East.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Moses at ND
Flickr / Paul J Everett

Obama Scores at Notre Dame

There were many messages sent from South Bend on Sunday. Obama’s opponents seek to reignite the culture wars. He doesn’t. They would reduce religious faith to a narrow set of issues. He refused to join them.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Wikimedia Commons / www.af.mil

Inside Rummy’s Crusade

An GQ expose reveals Donald Rumsfeld’s alarming penchant for melding scripture and foreign policy during his time as secretary of defense in the Bush administration. The report also discloses how disliked Rummy was by his peers. “There was exasperation,” one former Bush aide said.“How much more are we going to have to endure? Why are we keeping this guy?”

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


SCOTUS
Flickr / NCinDC

High Court Lets Ashcroft, Mueller Off the Hook

The nation’s top court decided on Monday that former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI honcho Robert Mueller aren’t directly accountable for the abuses that Pakistani detainee Javaid Iqbal, a Muslim, says he endured as a result of his race and religion in a New York prison in 2002.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Seth Wenig

Woody Allen Strips American Apparel of $5 Million

Woody Allen walked away with $5 million American Apparel dollars on Monday in a settlement of his lawsuit against the hipster-magnet clothing company. The actor-director had sued American Apparel for $10 million after the company put up billboards with an ad showing Allen dressed as a rabbi—an image taken from a scene from “Annie Hall”—without his permission.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


F-111
AP photo / Rich Pedroncelli

The Disease of Permanent War

The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation. Permanent war extinguishes liberal, democratic movements. It turns culture into nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Obama Sparks Abortion Protests at Notre Dame

President Barack Obama attempted the impossible during his commencement speech at Notre Dame University in Indiana on Sunday: He asked those on both sides of the abortion debate to “join hands in common effort.”

Posted on May 17, 2009 READ MORE


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.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Farah injury
AP photo / Abdul Malek

Report: U.S. Marine Unit Killed Hundreds of Afghan Civilians

The Independent reported Saturday that a single group of American troops, the U.S. Marines Corps’ Special Operations Command, otherwise known as MarSOC—a creation of one Donald Rumsfeld—was responsible for “at least three of Afghanistan’s worst civilian casualty incidents” to date.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi and Panetta
Wikimedia Commons / digitaljournal.com

The Pelosi Puzzle

It’s been a rough week for Our Lady Speaker of the House. In Act I, she claimed ignorance about the full extent of the CIA’s torture repertoire. However, thanks to the magic of technology and documentation, her version of the story clashed with that of a pissed-off Leon Panetta. (See Robert Scheer’s latest column for an editorial critique.)

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Pelosi Waffles, Obama Falters

Will Nancy Pelosi survive the onslaught of scrutiny and criticism in the wake of recent CIA torture-briefing revelations with her House speaker status intact? Is President Obama in over his head, what with all the hubbub over torture photos and military tribunals?

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Lauren Victoria Burke

‘Nancy, It’s Leon. We Have to Talk.’

On Friday, CIA Director Leon Panetta fired back at Nancy Pelosi’s claims that she had been misled by the agency on its use of harsh interrogation techniques, declaring that congressional leaders had been “briefed truthfully” on the methods in September 2002. The controversy surrounding Pelosi has led some to call for a probe of Bush administration abuses while others, such as Rush Limbaugh, are demanding her resignation.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Cheney’s Chains to Torture

As new information leaks out on the Bush administration’s torture program and as Dick Cheney pumps up his role as the poster child for waterboarding, we can slowly start connecting the dots on the previous administration’s criminal practices. Rachel Maddow and guest author Jane Mayer break down the shaky legal justifications behind the invasion of Iraq and the use of waterboarding—a method now known to produce false confessions—to try to force detainees to reveal a link between al-Qaida and Iraq.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / HSeverson

Health Care’s Enigma in Chief

The most stunning and least reported news about President Obama’s press conference with health industry executives this week wasn’t those executives’ willingness to negotiate with a Democrat. It was that Democrat’s eagerness to involve those executives in a discussion about health care reform even as they revealed their previous plans to pilfer $2 trillion from Americans.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Workers of the World Show Who’s Boss

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.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Drawing the Chorus Line in the Sand

President Obama this week blocked the release of controversial photos of detainees in order to not “further enflame anti-American opinion.” But without the pictures, whatever are we to do with all these frames? Meanwhile, Lt. Dan Choi an Arabic interpreter (for those who give in to harsh interrogation techniques) has been discharged because he is gay. Once again, torture is rendered less intelligible.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Gingrich
bioguide.congress.gov

Newt vs. Nancy

Nancy Pelosi has made herself vulnerable to attacks after appearing to venture into Equivocation Land this week in her public tussle with the CIA over when she knew the U.S. was employing what we call “torture” on suspected terrorists. Enter Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, stage right, to do his part to bring Pelosi down from her vaunted position.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Torture
rebelreports.com

Torture on Obama’s Watch

Gang-beatings, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles and dousing detainees with chemicals. Those Bush-era actions are still going on under Obama’s regime at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, as the narrowing of the “torture debate” has occluded attention from such grotesque practices.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Love Land
guardian.co.uk

Wait Till Wal-Mart Hears About This

Trying to raise some ... consciousness about sex education in China, an entrepreneur plans to open the country’s first sex theme park in October. It’s raising some local eyebrows too as development continues in the southwest city of Chongqing.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Pride
flickr.com

The Fierce Urgency of Whenever

Andrew Sullivan has some sharp words for how the Obama administration is dealing with LGBT issues: “I lived through eight years of the Clintons and then eight years of Bush. Through it all, gay people were treated at the federal level like embarrassments or impediments. With Clinton, we were the means to raise money. With Bush, we were the means to leverage votes by exploiting bigotry. Obama seemed in the campaign to promise something else.”

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


military tribunal
AP photo / Brennan Linsley

Again With the Military Tribunals

Funny how declarations made in the heat of campaign season can be later forgotten by our nation’s elected officials. President Obama continued to do the reversal cha-cha late into the week with his decision to take up the very military tribunals he had sharply criticized before taking office.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Chalmers Johnson on the Cost of Empire

Author, scholar and Truthdig contributor Chalmers Johnson passed away Nov. 20. In his honor, we are reposting this 2009 book review, which, like much of Johnson’s work, remains relevant to this day.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama dramatically changed course twice on May 13 when he announced he would not release photos of American military personnel “abusing” detainees, reversing the Pentagon’s statement on April 26 that it would comply with a court order—with the president’s own prompt and emphatic support for release.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Milk
Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Nicoletta

One Step Closer to Harvey Milk Day

Friends and admirers of the late San Francisco supervisor and gay rights activist have been rallying to establish an annual commemorative day in his honor, and on Thursday, the California Senate approved a bill that would officially make Milk’s birthday, May 22, Harvey Milk Day in the Golden State.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Crist
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Will Republicans Back an Obama Hugger?

When Charlie Crist, Florida’s popular governor, announced this week that he would run for the U.S. Senate, it was the best news the Republican Party has had in an otherwise unpleasant year.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / Kevin Burkett

Mo’ Money, Mo’ War

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $91.3 billion supplemental measure to finance the Iraqi and Afghan wars. An additional $80 million has been set aside to support the shutting down of Gitmo, $50 million of which is contingent on the Pentagon coming up with a plan on relocating prisoners. Another $900 million has been allocated to aid Pakistan in its battle against the Taliban.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


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