Christopher Hitchens at Intelligence² Debate [UNEDITED Version]

I put this up because this man is just plain brilliant. That’s not to say that he is right on every issue, but in this debate, on the topic of what the current Pope is in the process of doing to the Catholic church, on whether or not the Catholic church is actually a force for good in the world today,  Christopher Hitchens is right on the money.

Part 1

Part 2 after the break

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Congats Obamaites; You are Now in Bed With Rick Santorum, Greta Van Susteren, Carl Rove, and Fox News. Good Job….

Watch the Fox News interview with Dennis Kucinich and Rick Santorum where Santorum (that’s right, Santorum) argues for Barack Obama’s Af-Pak “surge” position. That’s the same Rick Santorum who supports “intelligent design”, creationism, the privatization of Social Security, and was a whole hearted supporter of the illegal invasion of Iraq.

I wonder if Obama is going to toss out the stale old “cut and run” line tonight.

if the president does send 30,000 plus new troops to Afghanistan, I will be the first to stand up and applaud.” Carl Rove

“In 2001, Santorum tried unsuccessfully to insert language which came to be known as the “Santorum Amendment” into the No Child Left Behind bill that sought to promote the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in public schools.”

“In June 2006, Santorum declared that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) had been found in Iraq.”

“Santorum is also a supporter of partial privatization of Social Security. Since the 2004 presidential election, Santorum has held forums across Pennsylvania on the topic.”

“In 2005, Santorum sponsored the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which appropriated $10 million aimed at regime change in Iran.”

Addicted to Nonsense

by Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Will Tiger Woods finally talk to the police? Who will replace Oprah? (Not that Oprah can ever be replaced, of course.) And will Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the couple who crashed President Barack Obama’s first state dinner, command the hundreds of thousands of dollars they want for an exclusive television interview? Can Levi Johnston, father of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s grandson, get his wish to be a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars”?

The chatter that passes for news, the gossip that is peddled by the windbags on the airwaves, the noise that drowns out rational discourse, and the timidity and cowardice of what is left of the newspaper industry reflect our flight into collective insanity. We stand on the cusp of one of the most seismic and disturbing dislocations in human history, one that is radically reconfiguring our economy as it is the environment, and our obsessions revolve around the trivial and the absurd.

What really matters in our lives—the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the steady deterioration of the dollar, the mounting foreclosures, the climbing unemployment, the melting of the polar ice caps and the awful reality that once the billions in stimulus money run out next year we will be bereft and broke—doesn’t fit into the cheerful happy talk that we mainline into our brains. We are enraptured by the revels of a dying civilization. Once reality shatters the airy edifice, we will scream and yell like petulant children to be rescued, saved and restored to comfort and complacency. There will be no shortage of demagogues, including buffoons like Sarah Palin, who will oblige. We will either wake up to face our stark new limitations, to retreat from imperial projects and discover a new simplicity, as well as a new humility, or we will stumble blindly toward catastrophe and neofeudalism.

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ACLU: Obama’s reversal on Patriot Act reform ‘a major travesty’

(What was clearly “wrong” in 2005 under the Cheney administration is apparently not only “right” now, its pragmatic, its moderate, and it’s progressive. What McCain would never have gotten away with, Obama glides over as if it were nothing at all. This is the legacy of our last few Democratic presidents, aka “fascist neoliberal warmongers in disguise”.)

from Raw Story

Key components in the USA Patriot Act are set to expire at the end of the year, but President Barack Obama is seeking to extend them, reversing his stark opposition in the past to the same provisions.

“The president’s reversal on Patriot Act reform is a major travesty,” said Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel for the leading civil rights group ACLU, in an interview with Raw Story. “There have been many, many abuses of power in the last four years.”

These three main aspects in question allow the government to acquire private information about civilians through warrantless wiretapping of phone calls and emails, as well as seizure of records from credit reporting companies, banks, internet service providers and libraries. Another component includes the loosening of conditions under which an individual can be accused of providing “material support” to terrorists.

In 2005, then-Senator Obama pledged to filibuster a Bush-sponsored bill that included several of these exact components, calling it “just plain wrong” in a Senate speech.

… ABC News reports that “Four years ago, then Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who taught constitutional law, voted down the same provisions along with all Senate Democrats who insisted on changes to the bill that better protected libraries, limited clandestine search warrants, roving wiretaps, and FBI gag orders.”

“This was the most opportune time for the surveillance authorities to reverse course,” Richardson told Raw Story. “If these programs continue, more abuses of power are absolutely inevitable — there’s no way around it. The level of secrecy granted by Congress is very troubling.”

Obama has championed the continuation of all three provisions until at least 2013, a wish that has been granted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and two-thirds fulfilled by the House counterpart

read the rest, here.

Americans Are Deeply Involved In Afghan Drug Trade

(Again, this isn’t news for most people reading here at AE, but it’s good to see more information like this getting out to the average “progressives” on the morning of Obama’s big announcement. And just in case you think this is a freak incident involving this one nation, take a look at a current article, this one from Global Research, by Prof. James Brittain where he talks about the rise in cocaine production in yet another partner nation in the mythical “Global War on Terror”… Columbia.)

from Black Agenda Report

The U.S. set the stage for the Afghan (and Pakistan) war eight years ago, when it handed out drug dealing franchises to warlords on Washington’s payroll. Now the Americans, acting as Boss of All Bosses, have drawn up hit lists of rival, “Taliban” drug lords. “It is a gangster occupation, in which U.S.-allied drug dealers are put in charge of the police and border patrol.”

read the rest, here