Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Bush Regime Must Be Judged By An International Tribunal Set Up By The UN.

The Bush Regime Must Be Judged By An International Tribunal Set Up  By The UN.




The Bush Regime must be judged by an International Tribunal set up ...
PEJ News - Victoria,BC,Canada




US law chief open to antitrust aid for newspapers
Reuters - USA 

* Holder says enforcement should conform to reality

* Some newspapers already have limited antitrust immunity

By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday preserving a healthy newspaper industry was important and he was open to adjusting antitrust policy if it could help.

"I'd like to think 20, 30, 40 years from now people will still be reading the newspaper," Holder told reporters.

He was responding to a call by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging the Justice Department to give newspapers more leeway to merge or combine operations.

The industry is reeling from declining circulation, economic recession and a shift in advertising and reader attention to online media. Venerable newspapers have closed or -- such as the Hearst Corp's Seattle Post-Intelligencer this week -- gone to Internet-only editions with reduced staff.

"I think it's important for this nation to maintain a healthy newspaper industry. So to the extent that we have to look at our enforcement policies and conform them to the realities that that industry faces, that's something that I'm going to be willing to do," Holder said….


US House to vote Thursday to recoup AIG bonuses   USA

Fed to buy long-term U.S. government debt

U.S. inflation rises, trade gap shrinks sharply   |  Video

B of A, Citigroup shares soar after Fed moves

Pimco's Gross: Unclear why Fed moved Wednesday

U.S. nears framework plan for GM, Chrysler

U.S. charges Madoff accountant with fraud

Merrill bonus names are not secret: NY judge

Consumers want unrestricted Internet access: survey

More Latest news... 

Warner Weighs in on AIG Bonuses
WSET - Lynchburg,VA,USA
Virginia Senator Mark Warner says it's morally outrageous, and taxpayers will get their money back, even if they have to take it. Sen. Mark Warner, (D) VA ...
See all stories on this topic


March Madness on Capitol Hill

By Mike Madden Protesters from Code Pink confront AIG CEO Edward Liddy as he arrives to testify before Congress Wednesday. March 19, 2009 | WASHINGTON 


Form A Circle…Ready Aim…FIRE!!!


This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) discussed the creation of a new group of “moderate” Democratic senators whose goal is to “restrain the influence of party liberals.” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explained the implications of Bayh’s new group, saying “this is the group that willcontrol the outcome politically on what can pass on the Senate floor.”


Bayh explained that his office would be issuing a press release detailing the group and its 15 inaugural members. This press release is now available and explains that the group is “will meet every other Tuesday before the Democratic Caucus lunch to discuss legislative strategies and ideas”:


[T]he Moderate Dems are joined by a shared commitment to pursue pragmatic, fiscally sustainable policies across a range of issues, such as deficit containment, health care reform, the housing crisis, educational reform, energy policy and climate change.


In addition to Bayh, Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) will lead the group. Other members include: Sens. Mark Udall (D-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Mark Warner (D-VA).


But Bayh also told MSNBC this morning that there are “three or four” members in what he called the “Witness Protection Program.” These members, Bayh explained, are currently attending the group’s meetings but do not wish to be “publicly identified.” Based on press reports, however, ThinkProgress has compiled a list of who might be the three anonymous “moderates.” The following members have been reported as attending Bayh’s meetings in recent weeks, but are not named in today’s press release:


– Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA)
– Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
– Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)


Additionally, Bayh told MSNBC this morning that yesterday’s meeting featured a presentation by Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) on the upcoming budget debate.


Steve Benen observes, “The president — you know, the one who just easily won a national election and enjoys strong approval ratings — will face governing challenges in a Senate in which his own party has 58 (eventually, 59) members. Part of the problem is Republican obstructionism, and part of it is Bayh and the Blue Dogs who feel more comfortable driving with their foot on the brake.”


UPDATEDavid Waldman notes that this is not the first time Bayh has tried to organize such a group. Waldman quips, "Yawn. Sun rises in East, Evan Bayh forms 'moderate coalition.' Too bad he's not as moderate in the amount of time he dedicates to making sure people hear how 'moderate' he is."

In the wake of Rush Limbaugh's defense of American International Group (AIG) on his March 16 and March 17 broadcasts, several conservative media figures -- including Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin -- have joined him in condemning criticism of the company's employee retention bonuses. In a March 18 post to his Washington Post Co. blog, Greg Sargent cited Limbaugh's and Hannity's comments in reporting that while "GOP Congressional leaders have roundly condemned AIG and its executives, as part of a strategy to position themselves as heroic defenders of the taxpayers and to paint the Obama administration as weak and ineffectual ... increasingly, leading conservative media figures are moving in a different direction: Defending AIG."


As Media Matters for America noted, on his March 17 broadcast, Rush Limbaugh -- "a great leader for conservatives" -- declared, "A lynch mob is expanding: the peasants with their pitchforks surrounding the corporate headquarters of AIG, demanding heads. Death threats are pouring in. All of this being ginned up by the Obama administration." On March 16, Limbaugh challenged a caller who opposed the bonuses. The caller said, "I do agree with [President] Obama trying to get these bonuses back from the AIG execs because, I mean, that's our money." Limbaugh replied, "Let me ask you a question. ... You have a company -- let's take AIG out of this 'cause they're so emotionally charged. Let's say that the company being bailed out is the XYZ Widget Company. ... We need them to manufacture widgets and sell widgets and so forth. So why in the world -- or how do you get to the point where you're going to bail out the company, but you don't want the employees to get paid?" Limbaugh later added: "[T]his is not just executives, but executives are employees, too. And in many of these firms, Nathan, their salaries are pretty small. They work on bonuses, via contract based on merit."


Several other conservative media figures joined Limbaugh in defense of AIG. For example:


  • On the March 17 edition of his syndicated radio show, Hannity aired Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) statement that if AIG employees do not voluntarily return their bonuses, "we plan to virtually tax all of it. ... [W]e'll put in place a new law that will allow us to tax these bonuses at a very high rate." Hannity then stated: " 'Tax all of it.' In other words, Chucky is coming for you. The government is coming to get your money." Hannity later added: "Whether you like the AIG bonuses or not, think about this: They're going to make a law, and they're going to tax every single penny of it, virtually all of it. In other words, we're going to just steal their money. And they're not going to be able to do a darn thing about it, because we're the government, and if we decide we can confiscate all of their wealth, we're gonna do it."


  • On the March 18 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated that by proposing to recoup the AIG bonuses, Congress is not "trying to solve this problem" but rather trying to "channel the outrage away from their roles" and "direct it toward the faceless bonus recipients at AIG." After stating that he doesn't "like the idea of failed businesses paying bonuses," Beck stated: "But what I really, really don't like here is the idea that we are willing to give in to mob rule, and that's what this is." He added: "I mean, the only thing they haven't said is, 'Bring out the monster.' It's mob rule. They are attempting to void legally biding contracts."


  • Later on the March 18 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated that "I think what these guys are doing in Washington is whipping up mob rule" and asked Malkin, "True or false?" Malkin replied, "Absolutely. Anybody who watched the horror that was the AIG hearing this morning saw the mob rule fomenting." Malkin went on to criticize Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), and Rep. Steven Lynch (D-MA) -- who she stated was "appropriately named" -- for "going after [AIG CEO] Edward Liddy and the employees of AIG, searching for names of the executives and their families for accepting these bonuses."



Spring Break for Iraq

Submitted by davidswanson on Wed, 2009-03-18 17:39.


By David Swanson


I'm honored to have been included in this event and applaud what Our Spring Break and DC Students for a Democratic Society are doing here in cold, wet Washington, D.C., for spring break.


We're now at 6 years of bloody and horrific occupation of Iraq, and 7.5 years in Afghanistan. That means that most college students in the United States were not yet college students when this began. Opposing something that you grow up with takes more wisdom and more nerve, and yet we see young people in this town and in this country opposing the way old people have always destroyed the environment, the way old people have always borrowed and misspent money, and the way our nation treats other people around the world exactly as we teach little children never to treat each other.


Little children in Iraq and Afghanistan have grown up with these wars and been scarred by them in ways it's hard to think about very long. An Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush, and who could - if he chose - be elected president of Iraq in three years when they let him out of prison at age 33, was only 24 when this occupation began. And for a decade before that, he knew our nation through the sanctions we imposed and bombs we dropped on his. We've now built permanent U.S. military bases all over his country, which most people there -- including U.S. generals -- believe we will never abandon.


Meanwhile we don't provide housing, basic shelter to our own people, to the people of this city, much less the people of Iraq, 5 million of whom have been displaced from their homes, over a million killed, many millions injured, virtually everyone's family impacted in a way that's not familiar to most parts of America outside of New Orleans.


And what have we learned in 6 years? Many Americans have learned that the war in Iraq was based on lies and have learned to be suspicious of similar lies about Iran. But some have not yet learned to oppose war as an instrument of policy, because the occupation of Afghanistan is not yet as unpopular as the one in Iraq. And I doubt most Americans know that we pay to maintain a thousand bases in nations around the world, or the harm they do.


What has been learned has in large part been taught by the peace movement. We knew 6 years ago and a year before that, that this war would be fraudulent, illegal, and disastrous. Many of you knew it and could have served better in Congress than the actual Congress members if you hadn't been busy attending high school.


Today there are hearings in Congress on suicides in the US military. The people we recruit to commit our crimes now end up killing themselves at an alarming rate. If that finally wakes up a few of the zombies roaming Capitol Hill, it won't be a moment too soon. But it has to be asked: Where are the hearings for Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Palestinians? A victim of US torture testified last year via satellite to a nearly empty committee room, after which Congressman Rohrabacher explained to him that in a war mistakes must be tolerated. And our senators now talk about truth and reconciliation, oblivious to the fact that involving the people with whom we need reconciliation is literally unthinkable. The idea, instead, is for us to get reconciled with ourselves. Tell me this: will you ever be reconciled with your nation committing war crimes? Will you?


I'm glad students want a democratic society. If we had direct democracy or even reasonable representation -- something that DC doesn't even have the pretense of -- every soldier, mercenary, and contractor would have come home from Iraq years ago. A solid majority of Americans has opposed this occupation for years. And about half and rising now oppose the occupation of Afghanistan as well.


A democratic society cannot coexist with the presidential powers seized by Bush and now being maintained and expanded by Obama. A democratic society does not have secret government agencies, secret laws, laws rewritten by the executive, one man with the power of war, one man with the power of the purse, one man with the power of treaty. Yet President Obama, who to his credit has said he will end torture and close one of the many places where we detain people outside the law, last week wrote a signing statement telling Congress not to interfere in his Constitutional power to make treaties, despite the fact that the Constitution says two-thirds of the senate must approve any treaty.


We are being sold changiness when we asked for transformational change. We're done with extraordinary rendition, but rendition will now be ordinary. We have no more enemy combatants, but we are detaining hundreds of combative nemeses. Yesterday I got an Email from Amnesty International asking me to object to Obama reviving Bush's policies. Well, they never died and they are not policies. They are what we used to call crimes. Also yesterday, the ACLU finally, finally, finally -- FINALLY! -- came to its senses and asked the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor and enforce the law.


And yet too many in the peace movement don’t want to talk about the law, even the laws against aggressive war. Many don't even want to talk about wars, preferring to talk about military spending. And we must talk about military spending, but doing that alone will not end wars. And the wars are just as bloody no matter who is sleeping in the White House. It's easier to talk about money now that everything that needs it lacks it, but it's also harder because we now have toy money, borrowed from China or invented by the Fed at the drop of a hat and in military quantities.


We may even end up halting some weapons programs, especially weapons that don't work or are designed to fight the Soviet Union or the Japanese fleet. But this Congress and president want to increase the overall budget for killing. This will be a victory against corruption on behalf of the greatest moral corruption known to our species.


For what we're giving to bankers we could give tens of thousands of dollars to every American, but for what we're spending -- including indirect economic costs -- on the occupation of Iraq, we could give $100,000 to every Iraqi.


Let's get our priorities straight -- including ending wars not just because they are badly fought or corruptly managed, but because they kill human beings.


End the occupations.

End the missile strikes.

Close the bases.

Bring our brothers and sisters home.

Prosecute the war criminals.

And create a truth and reconciliation commission that reconciles the United States with the other 95 percent of humanity.



Impeach The Pope  (OH, Why Not?)

By Robert S. McElvaine
Professor of Arts & Letters, Millsaps College


Enough! No--Too much!


Amid all the justified outrage we all feel at Bernie Madoff and the AIG bandits, let us save some intense outrage for Pope Benedict XVI.


After insulting Muslims by declaring in 2006 that Muhammad had brought "things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached," after reiterating (through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) in 2008 that the subject of the ordination of women is not even open for discussion and declaring that anyone involved with the ordination of women will be automatically excommunicated, after lifting in January of this year the excommunication of Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson, now Benedict XVI opens a visit to Africa by telling the people of a continent decimated by AIDS that the distribution of condoms "increases the problem" of the spread of AIDS.


I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God's spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.


There are, of course, no provisions in the hierarchical institution set up, not by Jesus but by men who hijacked his name and in many cases perverted his teachings, for impeaching a pope and removing him from office. But there ought to be.


As I detail in my latest book, "Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America" (Crown), the cardinal sin of the Catholic Church -- a literally deadly sin, if ever there was one -- is its opposition to birth control. Far from being, as the Church contends, part of its moral doctrine, this policy is, plainly, the immoral doctrine of the Church. The use of condoms is a pro-life position.


Why does the Church persist in such a manifestly immoral doctrine? One suspects that it must be the usual twisted thinking about sex and women. The Church's opposition to birth control is largely an outgrowth of its all-male composition and those males' attempts to degrade women's physical powers by asserting that women and the intercourse into which they supposedly tempt men are necessary evils ("It is well for a man not to touch a woman," Paul instructed the Christians of Corinth), the only purpose of which is procreation.


Misogyny may not be "the Church's one foundation," but it is a major part of the base on which it was constructed.


It should be obvious that the sin in an over-populated world is not attempting to control birth, but attempting to control birth control.


And now for the pope to go so far as to indicate that condom use worsens the spread of AIDS -- there's an outrage that tops Madoff and AIG!


Let's start a movement within the Catholic Church to impeach Pope Benedict XVI and remove him from office. While we're at it, let's replace him with a woman.


He reversed the excommunication of a Holocaust denier. Will he excommunicate me for pointing out that he is a misogyny denier?


If this be heresy, make the most of it.


Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College. His latest book is Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America (Crown).


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