Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The Nightowl Newswrap
The Chuck Hagel interview in Spiegel Online is definitely worth a read, but here is my favorite q&a...SPIEGEL: Is the era of the hawks in your party definitely over? Hagel: I hope so. That segment of the Republican Party, the so-called neocons, held the Republican Party hostage much of the time. What this element has done to our party is clear now and I would hope that it will come back to the party of Eisenhower, even the party of Ronald Reagan. Today’s party is no longer Ronald Reagan’s party, who, contrary to his reputation, governed from the center. But he sat down with the Soviets, the great evil empire, and was able to get results, for example in nuclear disarmament.
In a desperate attempt to cling to power, Mugabe cracks down on aid organizations that the 84-year-old dictator absurdly claims are backing the opposition party. Among the groups that have been thrown out of the country is CARE. This month alone, CARE would have fed more than 110,000 people in schools, orphanages, old-age homes and in various programs, it said. Muktar Farah, deputy head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Zimbabwe, said Tuesday that millions of people had lost assistance because of what he called “the shrinking of humanitarian space. NGOs have been told to scale down or stop operations throughout the country.”
America's favorite second banana is threatened by foreclosure Countrywide mortgage has filed foreclosure action against Ed McMahon and his wife Pamela. They are approximately $644,000 in arrears on the mortgage on their Beverly Hills mansion. Mr. McMahon, 85, broke his neck in a fall about 18 months ago and has been unable to work. A spokesman said that the McMahon's were having "very fruitful negotiations" with representatives of the lender, and was hopeful that a solution could be reached that would allow them to stay in their home until it sells. It has been on the market for a little over two years.
The "blue dogs" screw us again This is reason number - hell we have lost count - why we need more and better Democrats who have their priorities in the right order. House Democrats, caving to the dastardly blue dogs, are planning to ax a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits to find a way to pay for the Iraq war.
Gas lines, ugly clothes, platform shoes, high gas prices, inflation, recession and Disco Ask us, "what are the things we hated most about the seventies?" and that list leaps off the keyboard. Well, dig through that old box of buttons and find your WIN button and put it on your lapel. U.S. consumers expect prices to rise 7.7 percent in the coming year, according to the Conference Board, a research company. Investors expect inflation over the coming decade to average 3.4 percent based on bond market data analyzed by the Cleveland Fed. That is well above the Fed's unofficial target of about 2 percent.
McKahane at AIPAC sent chills up the spines of moderate and liberal Jews the world over when he invoked the "Never again!" mantra of the most rabid Jewish racist of the past 50 years. Our friend Richard Silverstein puts it this way, and we agree enthusiastically, so we quote him directly: It’s a nifty sound bite, especially before a hard-right Jewish audience like AIPAC. However, it completely twists political reality. While Ahmadinejad articulates hatred for the U.S. and Israel and the wish that they would disappear (and don’t we feel the same way about his regime?), he has never advocated genocide against Israel. He certainly realizes, unlike McCain and Israeli right-wing politicians like Bibi Netanyahu, that Iran doesn’t have the capacity to seriously damage, much less eradicate Israel. This is yet another example of misusing the Holocaust for pure partisan political gain...Another point to keep in mind is that the slogan “Never Again!” was first popularized by Meir Kahane. Is this the Jewish model that McCain wishes to embrace? It tells you how poorly McCain’s advisors are guiding his efforts that he should embrace the words of the foremost Jewish racist of the past 50 years. Whoever’s advising him is either Jewishly ignorant or has a very bad case of amnesia. The Nightowl would remind you that the categories are not mutually exclusive, and sheer, unadulterated dumbassery can never be ruled out.
The German Marshall Fund website has a spiffy new feature to help Europeans interested in tracking the U.S. election keep abreast of good, factual information. (h/t Steve Clemons at the irreplaceable Washington Note)
U.S. Navy withdraws from waters off Myanmar after the military junta refused to allow the ships to offload their relief supplies for the victims of last months Cyclone Nargis more than 1 million of whom still don't have adequate food, water or shelter, and junta policies are hindering relief efforts. Myanmar's state media has said that it feared a U.S. invasion aimed at seizing the country's oil deposits. (We wonder where they would get a notion like that?)
Japanese Supreme Court finds "Nationality Law" unconstitutional, clearing the way for children born out of wedlock to non-Japanese mothers and Japanese fathers who had not stepped forward before the children were born. Yesterdays ruling granted nationality to ten children but is certain to affect thousands more.
Following mortar attack on depot, Israel again freezes fuel shipments to Gaza A mortar fired by Palestinian militants struck the territory’s only fuel depot at Nahal Oz, wounding a Palestinian worker. There was no immediate effect on delivery of utility services because no immediate deliveries were scheduled, but if the situation isn't resolved quickly, that will be a likely outcome.
Opposition leader jailed in Mugabe's pre-vote crackdown Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces President Robert Mugabe in the June 27 run-off, was detained for several hours after addressing a rally, accused of failing to have the proper authorization to address the gathering. "It is nothing but the usual harassment which is totally unnecessary," Tsvangirai said after his release. "We have seen worse things than this."
Construction slump drives unemployment spike among Latinos The unemployment rate among Hispanics has seen sharper increases than that for any other group, currently pegged at 7.3% for the first quarter of 2008, compared with 6.1% for the same time period last year.
The next man on the moon will probably be from China The head of NASA's lunar exploration program said Wednesday that the Chinese are on schedule to beat the United States back to the moon by two or three years. ``If they keep on the path they're on, they can" land before Americans do, said Rick Gilbreth, NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems. The goal of NASA's Constellation program is to return astronauts to the moon by 2020, as proposed in President Bush's Vision for Space Exploration. Gilbreth said the Chinese could accomplish that by 2017 or 2018.
Judge allows Blackwater to resume work on San Siego training facility A federal judge cleared the decks for Blackwater International to open and operate a training facility in San Diego. We are still nonplussed that an outside source is the preferable entity to provide weapons training and other "force protection" techniques to U.S. Navy sailors. WTF, over?
Waxman wants transcripts of bu$h and ¢heney interviews on Plame leak Citing passages from Scot McClellan's new book. The passages of interest to Waxman relate McClellan's tale of being deceived by Rove and Libby, manipulated into telling reporters that then-White House aides scooter and Turd blossom were not involved in the episode. Aside from receiving assurances from the two men, McClellan described a meeting in which Bush and Cheney decided to have McClellan issue a special statement saying that Libby had no involvement.