By Daniel Dombey and Alan Rappeport
The Financial Times (UK)
President George W Bush announced on Friday plans to lend General Motors and Chrysler a total of $17.4bn to stave off bankruptcy for the next three months, in a move set to shift difficult decisions over the fate of the US auto industry to the incoming Obama administration.
In an address from the White House, Mr Bush said that under the conditions of the loan the carmakers would have to draw up restructuring plans by March 31 or opt for bankruptcy.
“If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers,” he said.
“Such a collapse… could send our suffering economy into a deeper and longer recession and it would leave the next president to confront the demise of a major American industry in his first days of office.”
Under the conditions of the loan, the companies will be required to conclude new agreements with their stakeholders, including dealers and suppliers, by March 31.
“The automakers and unions must understand what is at stake,” Mr Bush said. “The time to make the hard decisions to become viable is now – or the only option will be bankruptcy.”
He said that because of Congress’s failure to pass legislation to aid Detroit, he would lend the company money from the Treasury’s $700bn troubled assets relief programme (Tarp), which is intended to prop up the financial sector....(Click for remainder).
A jaw dropping interview with Obama's invocation speaker
Posted by Bret Carbone at 5:06 PM
Kyle does such a great job of pointing out the complete ignorance of this doorknob, that I felt I had to share the entire posting. Please visit the link at the bottom of the page for the original post.
It seems that Joseph Farah, founder, editor and CEO of the right-wing rag WorldNetDaily, is not much of a fan of Wikipedia:
"Joseph Francis Farah is an Evangelical Christian American journalist and noted homosexual of Lebanese and Syrian heritage."– the first line of my bio in WikipediaThe Internet has brought the world some wonderful sources of information.And it has brought us some perfectly dreadful sources of misinformation.Wikipedia falls into the latter category. And this column is my latest effort to demonstrate just how abusive this so-called "online collaborative encyclopedia" really is.It is not only a provider of inaccuracy and bias. It is wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever known....If ever there were a website to avoid at all costs, it's Wikipedia. No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
We have no reason to question Farah's insistence that he is not gay, and the Wikipedia entry has reportedly been corrected, so it seems as if this little controversy will soon evaporate ... but still, you have to admit that it is pretty funny that Farah, of all people, is screaming that Wikipedia is a "vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit" considering what is posted on his website at the moment:
Just when liberals thought it was safe to start identifying themselves as such, an acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist is making the case that the ideology motivating them is actually a mental disorder."Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded," says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." "Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."Amid an economic storm, there is good news for opponents of North American integration under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, Jerome Corsi's Red Alert reports.More than 185,000 people have signed a petition urging authorities to investigate Barack Obama's eligibility to be president prior to his inauguration, and the list is growing hourly.WND's electronic petition calls on all controlling legal authorities to take seriously the matter of where and when and to whom Obama was born and whether he qualifies as a "natural-born American citizen," according to Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution.
And, of course, who can forget one of WND's most striking pieces of investigative journalism - soy makes you gay:
Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them.
And yet it is Wikipedia, proclaims Farah, that is "not only a provider of inaccuracy and bias [but a] wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever known."
Posted by Bret Carbone at 4:56 PM
By Cenk Uygur
The religious right picks and chooses which parts of the Bible they want to apply. And they choose based on which outsider group they would like to hate next. First, they emphasized slavery in the Bible when they wanted to hate black people. Now, they emphasize the parts condemning homosexuality so they can hate gay people.
They are completely and utterly disingenuous. They don't mean a word of it. They don't give a damn what the Bible says. They just want to use it as an instrument of hate.
The Bible says eating shellfish is an abomination. Yet there are no Red Lobster Amendments. The Bible says you shall not wear two different types of cloths at the same time. Yet there are no Propositions against cotton and wool combos.
The Bible says you should leave your family and join Jesus Christ. The religious right pretends that Jesus was about family values. He wanted you to abandon your family. Read the Bible.
The religious right pretends that the Bible says marriage is between one man and one woman. But that is a bald faced lie. Have any of these people ever read the Bible? The Bible is full of men taking on second wives, servants, prostitutes and concubines. And all the while, God heartily approves. How many wives did King David have? Eight? Twelve? Let alone his possibly gay lover, Jonathan.
Now the Bible says that a man shall not lie with another man. That is true. But it also says, in the same exact book, that adultery is an abomination. And the just punishment for this sin is execution. So, who will execute the first adulterer? Please step on up. May the one without any Biblical sin cast the first stone....(Click for remainder).
Posted by Bret Carbone at 2:15 PM
By Juliet Eilperin and Joel Achenbach
The Washington Post
President-elect Barack Obama has selected two of the nation's most prominent scientific advocates for a vigorous response to climate change to serve in his administration's top ranks, according to sources, sending the strongest signal yet that he will reverse Bush administration policies on energy and global warming.
The appointments of Harvard University physicist John Holdren as presidential science adviser and Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will be announced tomorrow, dismayed conservatives but heartened environmentalists and researchers.
Like Energy Secretary-designate Steven Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Holdren and Lubchenco have argued repeatedly for a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions to avert catastrophic climate change. In 2007, as chairman of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Holdren oversaw approval of the board's first statement on global warming, which said: "It is time to muster the political will for concerted action."
In October, Lubchenco told the Associated Press that she believed public attitudes on climate change were shifting, adding: "The Bush administration has not been respectful of the science. But I think that's not true of Republicans in general. I know it's not."...(Click for remainder).
By Noah Shachtman
Danger Room @ Wired.com
Blackwater CEO Erik Prince's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal is so full of spin, sugar-coating, and quarter-truths, I could spend all day debunking it. But I've got better things to do. So here's just one of Prince's many fishy assertions:
Every individual who has worked for Blackwater in Iraq has previously served in the U.S. military or as a police officer.
Not quite. Meet Shannon Campbell, who was a Blackwater employee in Baghdad. "Contrary to most independent contractors, who logically transition into the security industry after having careers in the military of law enforcement, Shannon just read a news article about mercenary outfits... and decided he'd found his calling," Robert Young Pelton writes in Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror. "He ran up credit card debt and worked day jobs, such as managing his father-in-law's flower shops and funeral parlor, to pay for martial arts classes and bodyguard and weapons training, until he had racked up enough experience to break into the industry." So, clearly, not "every" Baghdad Blackwaterite is ex-cop or ex-military.
OK, OK, I can't resist. One more from Prince's opus:
Even amidst such an aggressive and ubiquitous enemy, Blackwater's incident reports during that time period show that personnel discharged their weapons less than one half of one percent of the time.
It's a statistic Prince has used before, before the House Oversight Committe. It's also completely meaningless."The State Department and the military technically required comapnies to report each time they discharged a weapon, but whether they did so was up to them. Two security company officials estimated that just 15 percent of all shooting incidents were actually reported," writes Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Fainaru in his new book, Big Boy Rules: America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq. "One former Blackwater operator told me that his team averaged four of five shootings a week, nearly four times the rate Prince quoted for the entire company" before Congress. One fib in an article full of 'em....(Click for remainder)
Posted by Bret Carbone at 9:28 AM
By Michael A. Fletcher and Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
President-elect Barack Obama has settled on a former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific to fill the nation's top intelligence job, congressional officials knowledgeable about the decision said yesterday.
If he is confirmed, retired Adm. Dennis C. Blair will become the nation's third director of national intelligence, succeeding Mike McConnell as leader of the federal government's 16 intelligence agencies. He had been the rumored front-runner for the job for several weeks, as Obama moved cautiously to make appointments to the nation's most sensitive intelligence posts.
"It's definitely Blair," said one congressional official who had been briefed on the selection and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Obama transition team declined to comment.
Blair would be the second retired naval flag officer, after McConnell, to hold the post. Some members of Congress, in internal discussions with the Obama team, had objected to the appointment of another career military officer to head the country's civilian-run intelligence establishment.
Ultimately, however, resistance to the choice faded as lawmakers were swayed by the retired admiral's knowledge of the spy agencies and his ideas for streamlining and improving the often unwieldy U.S. intelligence apparatus, the sources said....(Click for remainder).
What a dumb-ass! Let's include this retard (no offense to the developmentally disabled) in any war crimes prosecutions.
Glenn Greewald stresses the need for investigation and prosecution of the Bush Administration for war crimes vis-a-vis torture. I have to say I couldn't agree with him more. The rule of law must be inviolate, or we should just kiss our system of government b-bye.
By Glenn Greewald
For obvious reasons, the most blindly loyal Bush followers of the last eight years are desperate to claim that nobody cares any longer about what happened during the Bush administration, that everyone other than the most fringe, vindictive Bush-haters is eager to put it all behind us, forget about it all and, instead, look to the harmonious, sunny future. That's natural. Those who cheer on shameful and despicable acts always want to encourage everyone to forget what they did, and those who commit crimes naturally seek to dismiss demands for investigations and punishment as nothing more than distractions and vendettas pushed by those who want to wallow in the past.
Surprisingly, though, demands that Bush officials be held accountable for their war crimes are becoming more common in mainstream political discourse, not less so. The mountain of conclusive evidence that has recently emerged directly linking top Bush officials to the worst abuses -- combined with Dick Cheney's brazen, defiant acknowledgment of his role in these crimes (which perfectly tracked Bush's equally defiant 2005 acknowledgment of his illegal eavesdropping programs and his brazen vow to continue them) -- is forcing even the reluctant among us to embrace the necessity of such accountability.
It's almost as though everyone's nose is now being rubbed in all of this: now that the culpability of our highest government officials is no longer hidden, but is increasingly all out in the open, who can still defend the notion that they should remain immune from consequences for their patent lawbreaking? As Law Professor Jonathan Turley said several weeks ago on The Rachel Maddow Show: "It's the indictment of all of us if we walk away from a clear war crime." And this week, Turley pointed out to Keith Olbermann that "ultimately it will depend on citizens, and whether they will remain silent in the face of a crime that has been committed in plain view. . . . It is equally immoral to stand silent in the face of a war crime and do nothing."(Click for remainder).
Posted by Bret Carbone at 8:53 AM
I don't know much about her, I'll have to do some research. However, everything I'm seeing in the progressive blogosphere seems to be positive.
By Alec MacGillis
The Washington Post
Barack Obama has selected Los Angeles congresswoman Hilda Solis to run his Labor Department, a labor source confirmed today.
Elected to Congress in 2000, she previously served two years in the California Assembly and six in the State Senate, where she was the first female Hispanic state senator. She attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, beginning her career in the Carter White House Office of Hispanic Affairs. She later worked as a management analyst with the Office of Management and Budget.
Solis has pushed in Congress for more training for so-called green-collar jobs -- jobs that advance industries toward greater energy officials. In the California state Senate, she successfully advocated in 1996 to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour. She the only member of Congress on the board of American Rights at Work, a pro-labor group helmed by David Bonior.
In Congress, Solis sits on the House Energy and Commerce committee, the Natural Resources committee, the select committee on energy independence and global warming and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She has also been outspoken against domestic violence.
Solis, who was born in Los Angeles in 1957, will be the third Hispanic in the Cabinet (in addition to Bill Richardson and Ken Salazar), and the fifth woman (in addition to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Susan Rice, Janet Napolitano and Lisa Jackson), should she win Senate confirmation. She is also yet another Obama pick who originally supported Clinton in the primaries. Solis was an avid supporter of Clinton but was then aggressively courted by Obama as the primaries ended as part of his push to win over Hispanic voters....(Click for remainder).
All I can say is a-freakin'-men!
By The New York Times Editorial Board
Most Americans have long known that the horrors of Abu Ghraib were not the work of a few low-ranking sociopaths. All but President Bush’s most unquestioning supporters recognized the chain of unprincipled decisions that led to the abuse, torture and death in prisons run by the American military and intelligence services.
Now, a bipartisan report by the Senate Armed Services Committee has made what amounts to a strong case for bringing criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William J. Haynes; and potentially other top officials, including the former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.
The report shows how actions by these men “led directly” to what happened at Abu Ghraib, in Afghanistan, in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in secret C.I.A. prisons.
It said these top officials, charged with defending the Constitution and America’s standing in the world, methodically introduced interrogation practices based on illegal tortures devised by Chinese agents during the Korean War. Until the Bush administration, their only use in the United States was to train soldiers to resist what might be done to them if they were captured by a lawless enemy.
The officials then issued legally and morally bankrupt documents to justify their actions, starting with a presidential order saying that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to prisoners of the “war on terror” — the first time any democratic nation had unilaterally reinterpreted the conventions....(Click for remainder).
By Marcy Gordon
Associated Press via Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON – Federal regulators on Thursday adopted sweeping new rules for the credit card industry that will shield consumers from increases in interest rates on existing account balances among other changes.
The rules, which take effect in July 2010, will allow credit card companies to raise interest rates only on new credit cards and future purchases or advances, rather than on current balances.
Amid the economic crisis and rising job losses, consumers — even those with strong credit records — have been defaulting at high levels on their credit cards. Banks already battered by the mortgage and credit crises have been bleeding tens of billions in red ink from the losses.
The rules were approved by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department's Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration. The changes mark the most sweeping clampdown on the credit card industry in decades and are aimed at protecting consumers from arbitrary hikes in interest rates or inadequate time provided to pay the bills.
"The revised rules represent the most comprehensive and sweeping reforms ever adopted by the (Federal Reserve) for credit card accounts," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a statement. "These protections will allow consumers to access credit on terms that are fair and more easily understood."
Most of the rules were first proposed in May and drew more than 65,000 public comments — the highest number ever received by the Fed. They also restrict such lender practices as allocating all payments to balances with lower interest rates when a borrower has balances with different rates....(Click for remainder).
Maddow: One of the things I think has been so I guess challenging to the American debate about this is that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have essentially argued that they have legalized waterboarding. That they have legalized torture. They think that the actions of their Justice Department made things like waterboarding not war crimes any more. Are they right?
Levin: You can't just suddenly change something that's illegal into something that is legal by having a lawyer write an opinion saying that it's legal. Things can't work that way or else someone could get a lawyer to say a crime is not a crime and then that would be a defense. That is not a defense and I just, I was astounded frankly when I heard the Vice President of the United States sort of just blandly, blithely saying that oh he thought that was an appropriate thing and yes he was involved in the discussions about it.
By Sarah Posner
Now it has officially gone too far: Democrats, in their zeal to appear friendly to evangelical voters, have chosen celebrity preacher and best-selling author Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration.
There was no doubt that Obama, like every president before him, would pick a Christian minister to perform this sacred duty. But Obama had thousands of clergy to choose from, and the choice of Warren is not only a slap in the face to progressive ministers toiling on the front lines of advocacy and service but a bow to the continuing influence of the religious right in American politics. Warren vocally opposes gay marriage, does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Warren has done a masterful job at marketing himself as a "new" kind of evangelical with a "broader agenda" than just fighting abortion rights and gay marriage. He dispatches members of his congregation to Africa to perform AIDS relief and has positioned himself as a great crusader for bringing his "purpose-driven" pabulum to the world.
Faith in Public Life, a nonprofit cultivated by the Center for American Progress, was so wowed by Warren that it co-sponsored a presidential forum in August at Warren's Saddleback Church. There, his "broader agenda" included asking Obama whether he believed that life began at conception (which Warren believes, he says, based on the Bible, not science) and to ruminate on the nature of evil. (As for Pastor Rick, he believes the Bible dictates that the US government "punish evildoers," as in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)...(Click for remainder).
By David Corn
A week and a half ago, I published an article in the Washington Post in which I reviewed the reasons for progressives to be concerned about Barack Obama's first rounds of appointments (Clinton, Gates, Summers, etc.) and noted that the president-elect seemed to be pursuing a change-by-cooption strategy. He was, I speculated, recruiting centrists and conventional members of the Establishment to advance a left-of-center policy agenda.
That might still be the case. But what to make of Obama's decision to hand over a slice of his inauguration to Rick Warren, the best-selling evangelical leader?
Warren is not your father's fundamentalist. He has talked much about addressing climate change, poverty, and AIDS. But he does share with his fellow fundamentalists a passionate aversion to homosexuality and gay rights (and, of course, opposes abortion). He has fiercely opposed gay marriage. According to People for the American Way, he has compared homosexuality to incest and pedophilia. (Warren also has said that nonbelievers are indeed going straight to H-E-double hockey sticks.) It's no surprise that some progressives are mighty ticked off.
They have a right to be.
On the campaign trail, Obama did vow to reach out and push beyond the traditional partisan and ideological tussles that clog up American politics. He has kept his promise to include Republicans in his Cabinet (retaining Bob Gates at the Pentagon and tapping outgoing Republican Representative Ray LaHood to be transportation secretary). But he's stepped over a line by picking Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration--even if this is only a symbolic gesture....(Click for remainder).
President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration puts LGBT Americans on notice: While the next four years hold unprecedented promise for our rights, we may sometimes feel forsaken.
By Kerry Eleveld
Does anybody else feel like they are in an abusive relationship?
It seems like every time lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people start feeling a sense of hope, President-elect Obama, America’s single greatest civil rights advancement in a century, manages to deal a blow to the community.
LGBT Americans, the one group in this country that was unable to fully share in the unadulterated bliss of our national achievement on November 4, will now be deprived of that joy again on January 20.
Choosing Reverend Rick Warren –- the evangelical pastor who has equated same-sex marriage with incest and pedophilia and strongly supported California’s gay marriage ban -- to give the invocation at his inauguration on the heels of the community’s gut-wrenching Proposition 8 setback pushes past a simple insensitivity to seeming downright cruel.
How many times is the president-elect going to gouge this gaping wound before it even has a chance to scab over? He says he doesn’t play interest group politics -– that he’s trying to rise above the fray of pitting one constituency against another. And ye, a sense of basic fair play dictates that you don’t kick a group when they’re down. No LGBT person expected the incoming president to choose a gay pastor to bless his inauguration, but neither did they in their darkest moments dream that he would be so tone-deaf to our misery as to choose a man who compares our love to criminal offense.
Does he not remember that we can still be fired in 30 states simply for being gay without having any legal recourse?
Does he not realize that we have never had a single piece of major federal legislation protecting our rights signed into law?...(Click for remainder).
By Sam Stein
Democratic challenger Al Franken finds himself on the cusp of winning a seat in the United States Senate after Minnesota's canvassing board awarded him a host of challenged votes during deliberations on Thursday.
As of 8PM ET, the Minneapolis Star Tribune projected that Franken would finish the recount process with a lead of 89 votes, positioning him to become the 59th senator caucusing with Democrats in the upcoming Congress.
According to local paper tallies, Franken currently trails Sen. Norm Coleman by a mere five votes, down from the 358-vote margin that the Republican held just last night. The Associated Press has the count even closer, with Coleman ahead by two votes. An aide to Franken told the Huffington Post that, according to the campaign's internal count, Franken has already taken a small lead.
The gains came as the canvassing board sifted through hundreds of ballots that Coleman had contested during the recount process. On Friday, the canvassing board will consider another 400 or so Coleman challenges. If the pattern remains consistent, Franken should vault past his opponent to a projected lead of approximately 89 votes, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The process by which the Senate race has come to this stage is often confusing. Coleman held an approximately 200-vote lead after the state went through a hand recount of all ballots. However, there remained approximately 1,500 ballots that one or the other campaign contested (and temporarily removed from the overall vote tally). Coleman challenged about 1,000 of these, Franken the rest....(Click for remainder).
We can't forget what bold and ingenious leadership can accomplish against the caution of low expectations in harsh economic times.
By Gary Brechin
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasted no time cautioning Americans that they should not let their hopes run away with them just because the Democrats scored an electoral landslide. Calling herself a "proud progressive," Pelosi advised president-elect Obama's supporters to exercise the diminished expectations of political prudence: "The country must be governed from the middle," she said a day after his victory.
November marked the 75th anniversary of one of the least known relief agencies to come out of the New Deal -- the Civil Works Administration. At a time when the press regularly fuses FDR's jaunty image with that of Barack Obama's -- and when the president-elect himself vows to create 2.5 million new jobs within two years as "a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face" -- we should remember how much more one short-lived agency accomplished through the winter of another economic crisis.
The Speaker, whose father represented Baltimore as a New Deal Democrat, must know that Franklin Roosevelt did not govern from the middle. He chose a Midwestern social worker steeped in the Social Gospel movement at Iowa's Grinnell College to run his relief programs, Harry Hopkins knew that legions of impoverished Americans could not wait for the cautious policies of Harold Ickes' Public Works Administration to provide them with jobs. Neither could his boss.
On November 9, 1933 President Roosevelt issued an executive order creating the Civil Works Administration. He did so by moving $400 million ($6.4 billion in today's dollars) previously allocated to the PWA into the CWA account. A meeting of governors, mayors and other public officials six days later at Washington's Mayflower Hotel effectively launched the agency....(Click for remainder).