Posts Tagged ‘politics’

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Che, Part Two-Reviewed

February 5, 2009

kevinby Kevin Egan • Operation Itch Contributing Writer   header 

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At the end of Che, Part One, viewers were left with quite a cliffhanger. After Castro (Demian Bichir) fell to his death in a field of vines and every enemy of Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Benecio Del Toro) had been eliminated through violent means, our protagonist had been dubbed heir to the thrown, while simultaneously shutting out his wife from his affairs. It was an unsettling moment as the door was closed so forcefully in her face. Still, we loved the Guevaras and desperately desired to see more of them. With Che, Part Two, director Steven Sodenbergh pulls no punches, giving us viewers the family epic we had been waiting for. Saturated with plot twists, celebrity cameos (Adam Sandler as Batista) and endings upon endings upon endings, this sequel supercedes the possibilities already established by other films, taking us into unexplored territories.

enecio Del Toro as Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the comedic romp, Che, Part Two.

enecio Del Toro as Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the comedic romp, Che, Part Two.

Part Two begins exactly where Part One left off, except this time around, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) returns to the present time to warn Che about his troubling children and the havoc they are wreaking in the future. This catapults Che on another wacky adventure, outsmarting his old nemesis, Biff (Thomas F.Wilson), and rescuing his family from danger. Then, once Che believes he is clear of all hijinks, an apparition of his mentor, Ben (performed elegantly by the late Alec Guinness) appears, instructing him to go to the Degoba system, to study with an old Jedi master named “Yoda.” While Che follows this path outlined for him by his old friend, his children find themselves in trouble once more, except this time it comes in the form of a shark. Luckily for them, a desperate-for-any-kind-of-work Michael Caine (as himself) shows up to help them in their struggle.

Just like in Part One, Del Toro is again magnificent in the triple roles of Guevara, his wife and his ornery grandfather. And although the “fat suit” he wears through the second half of the film will most likely earn the make-up team an Oscar nomination, it is what Del Toro does with the suit that one finds most appealing. His ability to conjure up deep and funny voices for all three of the characters, as well as contort his face to provide the most comic expressions, is a skill unrivalled in the cinema today. Robert DeNiro himself could do no better.

Without giving too much away in regards to the ending, Che, Part Twoborrows from the classic comedy, Clue, offering multiple endings, each shown separately, depending on which theatre you attend. If you’re like me, you’ll see it more than once, hitting every theatre in town, for no other reason than to ensure you catch all the unbelievable ways in which Che’s fate hangs in the balance. This one’s a keeper!

4 out of 5 stars.  Bring the kids!!!

 

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(VIDEO) Continuing Bush Policies in Israel and Afghanistan

January 26, 2009

Glenn Greenwald    more in NEWS & ANALYSIS header

us-israelBy all accounts, the U.S. is suffering extreme economic woes.  We continue to borrow trillions of dollars simply to prevent financial collapse.  Our military resources are spread so thin that the establishment consensus view blames the failure of our seven-year (and counting) occupation of Afghanistan, at least in part, on the lack of necessary resources devoted to that occupation.  And a significant (though not the only) reason why we are unable to extricate ourselves from the endless resource-draining and liberty-degrading involvement in Middle East conflicts is because our one-sided support for Israel ensures that we remain involved and makes ourselves the target of hatred around the world and, especially, in the Muslim world.

Despite all of that, the Bush administration, just days before it left office,entered into yet another new agreement with Israel pursuant to which the U.S. committed to use its resources to prevent guns and other weapons from entering Gaza.  That agreement cites “the steadfast commitment of the United States to Israel’s security” and “and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself,” and vows that the U.S. will “address the problem of the supply of arms and related materiel and weapons transfers and shipments to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.”

Speaking about that new U.S./Israeli agreement on her show late last week, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (in the course of aggressively questioning an absurdly evasive Sen. Claire McCaskill on the wisdom of Obama’s plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan and noting the cadre of Bush defense officials on whom Obama is relying — video below) observed that the Obama administration has enthusiastically expressed its full support for the new Israeli agreement entered into in the last days of Bush’s presidency.  Maddow said (h/t Antiwar.com):

Also, not particularly change-like, then-President Bush made a deal in his final day in office with Israel about the terms of Israel’s relationship with Gaza. I’m sorry – it wasn’t his last day in office. It was within his last few days in office — my mistake.

The U.S. under President Obama is bound by that last-minute agreement between the U.S. and Israel. And a statement from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today says that President Obama supports the agreement fully.

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Historical amnesia and Gaza

January 7, 2009

From The REAL NEWS NETWORK     header
more in  more in NEWS & ANALYSIS
Phyllis Bennis: Where you decide to start the clock determines how you define the crisis 

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TOP STORIES OF 2009

January 5, 2009

the-hermit-shirt-10The Hermit with Davis Fleetwood   header
more posts from THE HERMIT
more in    more in NEWS & ANALYSIS
& check out the new regular column “NO, I CAN’T”

TAKE THE POLL BELOW THE VIDEO

5 January 2009-  While none of these stories have actually happened yet, we here at operation itch believe in the cyclical nature of history. That, combined with the uncanny instincts of our YT subscribers brings you this list- edited from the many submissions from my (not another) top 10 news stories of 2008 video.

I want to encourage you take a the poll (below the video) declaring which of the following stories will end up being a top story of 2009 & use the comments to defend your thinking. Vote as often as you like, use the “add” feature in the poll to add & vote on your own predictions  & check back throughout the year to see how we are doing.

So then, in no particular order, here are the headlines, created by my YouTube viewers, edited imperfectly by yours truly. – D

 

 

 

 

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America’s Hidden Role in Hamas’s Rise to Power

January 5, 2009

Stephen Zunes, Alternet.org     more in NEWS & ANALYSIS 

gaza_hamas_demonstrationEditor’s note: In the U.S., the claim that the actions of Hamas forcedIsrael to launch a massive assault on the impoverished population of Gaza is almost universally accepted. But, as scholar Stephen Zunes explains below, the picture of Hamas as an organization of wide-eyed radicalism without electoral legitimacy or the support of a significant portion of the Palestinian population is simplistic. In this important piece, Zunes examines the ways in which Israeli and American policy-makers encouraged the rise of the conservative religious group Hamas in an effort to marginalize secular and leftist elements within the Occupied Territories.

The United States bears much of the blame for the ongoing bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and nearby parts of Israel. Indeed, were it not for misguided Israeli and American policies, Hamas would not be in control of the territory in the first place.

Israel initially encouraged the rise of the Palestinian Islamist movement as a counter to the Palestine Liberation Organization, the secular coalition composed of Fatah and various leftist and other nationalist movements. Beginning in the early 1980s, with generous funding from the U.S.-backed family dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, the antecedents of Hamas began to emerge through the establishment of schools, health care clinics, social service organizations and other entities that stressed an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam, which up to that point had not been very common among the Palestinian population. The hope was that if people spent more time praying in mosques, they would be less prone to enlist in left-wing nationalist movements challenging the Israeli occupation.

While supporters of the secular PLO were denied their own media or right to hold political gatherings, the Israeli occupation authorities allowed radical Islamic groups to hold rallies, publish uncensored newspapers and even have their own radio station. For example, in the occupied Palestinian city of Gaza in 1981, Israeli soldiers — who had shown no hesitation in brutally suppressing peaceful pro-PLO demonstrations — stood by when a group of Islamic extremists attacked and burned a PLO-affiliated health clinic in Gaza for offering family-planning services for women.

Hamas, an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (Islamic Resistance Movement), was founded in 1987 by Sheik Ahmed Yassin, who had been freed from prison when Israel conquered the Gaza Strip 20 years earlier. Israel’s priorities in suppressing Palestinian dissent during this period were revealing: In 1988, Israel forcibly exiled Palestinian activist Mubarak Awad, a Christian pacifist who advocated the use of Gandhian-style resistance to the Israeli occupation and Israeli-Palestinian peace, while allowing Yassin to circulate anti-Jewish hate literature and publicly call for the destruction of Israel by force of arms.

American policy was not much different: Up until 1993, U.S. officials in the consular office in Jerusalem met periodically with Hamas leaders, while they were barred from meeting with anyone from the PLO, including leading moderates within the coalition. This policy continued despite the fact that the PLO had renounced terrorism and unilaterally recognized Israel as far back as 1988.
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Hilda Solis: Obama’s Labor Secretary

December 19, 2008

AP          more in: NEWS & ANALYSIS    GREEN    top

Democratic Rep. Hilda Solis of California will be Barack Obama’s pick for labor secretary as the president-elect fills the last open positions in his Cabinet, a labor official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Solis, who is the daughter of Mexican and Nicaraguan immigrants, has been the only member of Congress of Central American descent. She just won a fifth term representing heavily Hispanic portions of eastern Los Angeles County and east LA.
Obama planned to announce Solis’ selection on Friday along with his selection of Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois for transportation secretary. The official spoke on conditions of anonymity because an announcement has not been made yet. A call to Solis’s office was not immediately returned.

Solis, in 1994, was the first Latina elected to the California Senate, where she led the battle to increase the state’s minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996.

In Congress, she wrote a measure that authorized $125 million for work force training programs in areas such as energy efficiency retrofitting and “green building” construction.

Andy Stern, president of the 1.9-million member Service Employees International Union, the 51-year-old praised Solis for her deep roots in the union movement. He recalled marching with her in Los Angeles — well before she was elected to Congress — to seek higher wages and benefits for janitors.

“We were with her fighting for the rights of people who work from the beginning and we’re so proud that she’s been chosen to be the labor secretary,” Stern said.

More high praise for Solis in statements from SEIUUnite to WinAmerican Rights at Work, andChange to Win.

Here’s video of Solis speaking on the House floor about the Employee Free Choice Act, a top legislative priority for the labor movement.


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Obama, Iran and control of the Middle East

December 18, 2008

Real News

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