Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people from the worlds of politics, business, culture and social movements about the key questions of our day. The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at Lauraflanders.com.
Condoleezza Rice is off to India this week, to "stand in solidarity with the Indian people " in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
The Bush administration says it shares the horror and pain of the Indian people. In fact, it shares a good deal more than that.
It shares experience in ignoring terror warnings, for one thing. In 2007, a report to the Indian Parliament warned that that country's shores were open to attack (and several of the Mumbai attackers seem indeed, to have come by boat. ) As U.S. National Security Advisor, Rice was present on August 6, 2001 when the Presidential Daily Briefing was presented to George W. Bush at his ranch: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." Condoleezza Rice knows all about ignoring warnings like that.
The President-elect is still selecting his cabinet. He's met with Hillary Clinton who's said to be under consideration for Secretary of State and more former Clinton administration officials have been named to top posts.
Gregory Craig will probably get the headlines. He is to be White House counsel. Craig led Bill Clinton's legal team through the 1998 impeachment proceedings. But also on board the new administration will be Ronald Klain. Klain, who's to be Chief of Staff to the Vice President previously served as Vice President Al Gore's Chief of Staff and as a lobbyist for among others the failed mortgage giant Fannie Mae, the media giant Time Warner, and the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, a business group that sought government help resolving asbestos lawsuits.
It's all well and good, we're told. Obama's assembling a cabinet like Lincoln's - moderate and bi-partisan. But bi-partisanship when it comes to things like settling Asbestos suits is the kind of "bi-partisanship" with corporate America that makes people sick -- and not just for political reasons
Tuesday night's Presidential debate in Nashville featured a notable clash or two, but on one topic there was agreement: Warren Buffett. The so-called "Oracle of Omaha" is an Obama supporter but also received a nod from John McCain. When asked who would be a suitable Treasury Secretary both men invoked Buffett's name. So who is the Oracle everybody admires?
Warren Buffett is the 78-year old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company based in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2007 Forbes ranked him the richest man in the world, worth $62 billion, now only $50 billion...but you get the idea.
How does somebody get that rich? By buying the stocks of companies that make good returns for their investors. Some of Buffett's picks over the years include: Coca-Cola and McDonalds as well as Dow Chemical, and of course WalMart. Trouble is, those that make the best returns for their shareholders don't generally treat their workers all that well -- or the environment. All that shareholder profit's got to come from somewhere. Buffett also owns Mid-Atlantic Energy, a utility that burns coal and runs nuclear power plants.
A threatened elite seeks to consolidate control and tighten its grip on a nation's resources ...
You could be forgiven for thinking I'm describing Bolivia, where conflict between landowners and backers of the democratically elected president Evo Morales claimed 30 lives so far this month, but I'm not. Reading the economic plan proposed by the Bush Administration for Wal St., I'm struck by the thought that what we're going through right here might not be an election season, but rather a coup.
The oligarchs in Bolivia used bullets and batons to undermine democracy. Here the weapons look like bailouts and blank checks, but the end goal is the same: Put the economy in a vice and you've tied the hands of whomever's in office. You, the voter, may not vote for the team that promises -- as the GOP service-cutters have promised -- to shrink the Treasury to a puddle that can be drowned in a bathtub. But no matter, your candidate gets the keys to the Treasury and - presto, the Treasury is bare.
There was caution as well as exuberance at the Democratic Convention Monday night. First the exuberance - the place was packed to the brim. The first thing I heard when I reached the floor was the Fire Marshall telling the stewards to close the doors.
The crowd rose to its feet as one after Massachusetts Sen Edward Kennedy appeared.
But the feelings that brought tears to many eyes were mixed with grief. The party's liberal leader is sick. The event was billed as a "tribute" to Teddy – and that's how the occasion felt.
It's 6 am in Denver and the sky's beginning to light up. An anti-war march starts in a few hours. The kick off event -- Live From Main Street Denver -- takes place at the Big Tent this afternoon. Denver's filling up. And in the most expensive hotels, I imagine, some are sharpening their knives and preparing to pour cold water on all of it.
There is an unspoken rule in the legacy media: Wherever two or more Americans shall gather with change on their minds, pour scorn. Before you can say "Joe Biden" the media big-boys are moving into their favorite mode: scoff.
The John McCain campaign has already done its best to frame every hopeful American at an Obama rally as a crazy celebrity-seeker or cult airhead. CNN's reportedly planning on using $100,000 sky-cam to swoop over the 75,000 at Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night. That's their version of coverage. For way less money, the Media Consortium and GRITtv believe in getting closer than that.
The New York Times ran a feature August 12, on Georgian civilians who've joined the fight against the Russian invasion of that former Soviet republic. The story, by Nicholas Kulish and Michael Schwirtz is full of empathy and heart.
Nika Kharadze and Giorgi Monasalidze went to war last week, the Times report begins… "even though they were not warriors."
August 6 marks the anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima – which makes it a day to consider power and vulnerability. Johnathan Schell, writing in Yes Magazine, reflects that, "During the Cold War, the principal objection in the United States to a nuclear-weapon-free world was that you could not get there." That objection melted away with the Soviet Union and then the arguments became that because nuclear weapons could not be disinvented, a world free of nukes is "at worst a mirage, at best, highly dangerous"
History shows the opposite, points out Schell. Just look at Iraq or Afghanistan: while the arms race imperils the planet, nuclear weapons haven't helped their possessors vanquish even tiny non-nuclear adversaries.
"If the nuclear powers wish to be safe from nuclear weapons," writes Schelll. "They must surrender their own. Then we will all work together to assure that everyone abides by the commitment."