Parting Favours: Bush's Gift to America

Bush's Only Gift to America
by Robert Parry
George W. Bush’s gift to the American Republic may be that he has discredited a host of right-wing theories and practices – “trickle-down economics”; “self-regulating markets”; “tough-guy” foreign policy; the “imperial presidency”; and the notion that “government is the problem.”
As the United States gazes out on the wreckage of the past eight years – a $1.2 trillion (and growing) budget deficit, 7.2 percent (and rising) unemployment, two open-ended wars, a sullied U.S. image abroad, environmental degradation and a world that seems to be ripping apart – the hope must be that Bush has so tarnished these policies, which trace back to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, that they will never be tried again.

If that is the lesson that the United States learns, then Barack Obama’s election truly could mark the end of an era and the start of something very different. However, if Obama and the Democrats fail to drive these lessons home – if they let bygones be bygones – they are courting a huge risk in that the same behavior could reemerge and the misjudgments could reoccur.
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Planet of Lost Souls

Planet of Lost Souls
by Mickey Z.
I wasn’t supposed to be born. After my mother gave birth to my sister, the doctors told her she’d never have another child. They couldn’t say exactly why (later, she was diagnosed with endometriosis) but they were pretty damn certain…the way doctors tend to be pretty damn certain. Wisely, my mother ignored such white coat condescension and less than two years later, yours truly arrived on the scene. Mom called me her “miracle baby” and I think this played a role in the amazingly close relationship we always had.

In the U2 song “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own,” Bono warbles: “That’s all right, we’re the same soul.” This simple line have given me the poetic license to imagine that my mother defied the medical odds by choosing to “share her soul” (so to speak) with me. This selfless act is what made it possible for me to be born and for us to have been such good friends.

We’re the same soul…
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Let Judgment be the Legacy

Let Judgment Be Bush's History
by David Swanson
History cannot be the judge of Bush and Cheney. The corporate news really is the first draft of history, and there will be no magical leap from its dishonesty to an honest account. Most in the Washington establishment want to protect Bush and Cheney and gang, although the New York Times has now printed one column admitting the obvious point that if the outgoing criminals are not punished, their heirs will repeat their crimes.

What is Bush's legacy? Wars, ruined economy, destroyed relations, increased terrorism, global warming? Yes, but for the most part Bush's legacy will be determined by what happens after he's gone. If all power remains in the White House and Congress devolves into a royal court, that will be Bush's legacy, and the historians who are permitted to publish their thoughts will glorify, not judge, it. If, instead, we choose to enforce the laws of the land, then judgment will be Bush's history. In fact, the books judging the need for judgment have already been written.
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Gaza Grotesquerie: Spoiling the Obama Ball

Israel Should Stop the War and Let US Enjoy the Inauguration; Cease fire Mooted; 55 Palestinians Killed Friday, Including Little Girls
by Juan Cole Informed Comment
There are rumors that the Israeli government may declare a unilateral cease fire Saturday. They had better. Because if they ruin the Obama inauguration by splashing the bloody bodies of dead Palestinian children all over the press during the next few days, no Americans, even the most pro-Israeli, are going to forgive them.
The war has left 1,140 Palestinians dead, over 300 children, and over 5,000 wounded including many women and children, as well as 13 Israelis (4 of them civilians killed by rocket fire). We pay for these wars, we provide the fighter jets, bombs, and tanks. And we don't want our money used for this sanguinary purpose in the first place; we have enough to be guilty about all on our own. And we especially don't want to hear a peep from over there while we swear in our first African-American president.

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Filling the Graves of Gaza

"Dizzy With Success": Running Out of Graves in Gaza
by Chris Floyd
While Barack Obama was dining with rightwing agitators and Hillary Clinton was glowering with menace toward "non-state actors" (her curious -- not to mention ignorant -- term for the democratically elected government of Palestine), the killing in Gaza kept grinding on.
So many have died in such a short space of time that "there is not tomb and continent enough for the slain": the Palestinians are running out of graves.
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Veterans an Afterthought

Wounded Veterans Treated as an Afterthought
by Dahr Jamail
But the [George W.] Bush administration was never seriously interested in helping veterans. The sorry state of care for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is not an accident. It’s on purpose.”

Journalist Aaron Glantz makes this stunning statement in his recently released book, 'The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans' (UC Press). And his controversial claim is backed up by an extremely well-researched overview of the dismal state of care provided by the government for this new generation of war veterans. Glantz, an IPS correspondent who has been covering the U.S. occupation of Iraq for years, including several months of reportage from inside Iraq, provides a devastating overview of the plight of war veterans.

From reporting on Bush administration funding cuts to the Veterans Administration (VA), to how key Republican senators like John McCain consistently vote against veteran’s benefits and supporting legislation, “The War Comes Home” makes the case.
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The Monster of Gaza

The Blood-Stained Monster Enters Gaza
by Uri Avnery
Nearly seventy years ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz.

This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.

Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as “hostages” and exploit the women and children as “human shields”, they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.
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Peace. Propaganda and the Promised Land

Free film download: Israel, Palestine and the Media
by Art Threat
In response to the uncritical response by western media to Israel's massacre of Gaza, the Media Education Foundation has made their feature documentary on the topic available for free download.

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land reveals the ways in which western media are complicit with American and Canadian governments and their unyielding support for Israel and its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

Feel free to read our story on the issue, or head straight to MEF"s site and download the full film for free.
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Japanese Whalers Expelled from Java

A Great Victory for the Whales in Indonesia
by Captain Paul Watson
It is a humiliating defeat for the Japanese whaling fleet. The Japanese harpoon ship Yushin Maru #2 has been ordered to leave the Port of Surabaya, East Java in Indonesia without repairs.  The Indonesian Forestry Authorities, the CITES Authorities and local government officials in East Java demanded the expulsion of the Yushin Maru #2 from Surabaya harbour and from Indonesian waters.
Thanks to a combined effort on the part of Jakarta Animal Aid, Earth Island Institute, The Green Party of Australia and Senator Bob Brown, Peter Tagliaferri, the Mayor of Fremantle, Western Australia, former Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell, the Indonesian Forestry Department and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the whaling industry has been struck a very costly blow.

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Wiretaps Program Originated From DOJ

Warrentless Wiretaps Program Originated From DOJ Legal Memos
by Jason Leopold   
The idea for the National Security Agency’s warrantless domestic surveillance program appears to have originated out of two different legal memorandums drafted by John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, and Special Counsel Robert Delahunty, according to a congressional report released Tuesday on the “imperial Presidency” of George W. Bush

The report was prepared by John Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The Michigan Democrat seized upon Yoo and Delahunty’s Oct. 23, 2001, legal memo to demonstrate how President George W. Bush had implemented policy directives immediately after 9/11 that may have been unlawful.

Conyers said that although the 37-page Oct. 23, 2001 memo is unclassified, the DOJ has refused to turn it over to his committee or release it publicly. He said that his staff had been given “limited access” to the document and could only review it at the DOJ with “no ability to make copies or to take detailed notes.” He has been trying to access a copy of the memorandum for more than a year.

Still, “from that limited review, it is clear that this is a very troubling memorandum which should immediately be released,” Conyers said in his 487-page report released Tuesday.
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Lifejacket or Money Down a Rathole

Fiscal Lifejacket or Money Down a Rathole
by Mike Whitney
There's no guarantee that Obama's stimulus package will work, but there is growing consensus that something has to be done...and fast! The economy is contracting faster than anytime since the 1930s. Unemployment is soaring, consumer spending is plummeting, and the country appears to slipping towards another Great Depression.
The Federal Reserve's near-zero interest rates and massive liquidity injections haven't helped at all. That's why the focus has shifted from monetary policy to Keynesian fiscal stimulus. When businesses and consumers cut back on spending, the government has to make up for the loss in aggregate demand.
That's what Obama's $775 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is really all about. It won't fix the economy; it's just a way to minimize the shock of a hard landing. Economists Lawrence Mishel and John Irons make the case for stimulus in their recent article "How Bad Can It Get"
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Future Shock at the Army Science Conference

Future Shock at the Army Science Conference: Eco-Explosives, a Bleeding BEAR, and the Armani-Clad Super Soldier
by Nick Turse
On paper, every session looked like gold to me. Technology and the Warfighter. Neuroscience and Its Potential Applications. Lethality Technologies. Autonomous/Unmanned Systems. (Robots!)

But when I got to the luxury hotel in sunny Orlando, Florida, for the 26th Army Science Conference, all that potentially glittered, it often seemed, was nowhere to be found -- except, perhaps, in the threads of the unlikeliest of military uniforms.

I expected to hear about nefarious new technologies. To see tomorrow's killing machines in a dazzling exhibit hall. To learn something about the Army's secret plans for the coming decades. To be awed -- or disgusted -- by a peek at the next 50 years of war-making.

What I stumbled into, however, seemed more like a cross between a dumbed-down academic conference and a weekend wealth expo, paired with an exhibit hall whose contents might not have rivaled those of a regional auto show. I came away knowing less about the next half century of lethal technologies than the last eight years of wheel-spinning, never-winning occupations of foreign lands.
If you didn't know that the Army held its science conference last month -- much less that they've been going on biennially since 1957 -- you can't be faulted. Only a handful of reporters were on the premises, most of them with small defense industry publications.
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