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Guest Commentary (5124)

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH

Sarah Palin represents a remarkable brew of celebrity, politics, religion and sex appeal. To borrow a construct from Esquire's Stephen Marche, she "is nothing if not a product of [her] time": instant celebrity, blissful ignorance, a lack of truthiness, and boundless self-esteem.

Whether you like her and get a kick out of her spunk and snark, revel in her celebrity, and find her absolutely fascinating, or you can't stand her, think she's obnoxiously ill-informed, and are tired of hearing and reading about her and her family, Palin is hands down the most compelling political figure in the country.

To fans, her reputation cannot be tarnished, and it won't be, regardless of how many misstatements and gaffes she makes, like her recently calling North Korea, America's ally. The fact that her SarahPAC shamelessly purchased $64,000 worth of her new book, "America by Heart," and is selling autographed copies of same for $100 dollars a pop, is likely to be seen in pro-Sarah quarters as savvy entrepreneurialism.

And, it certainly won't matter to Palin-ophiles if it is true, as comedian Margaret Cho claimed on her blog last week, that Bristol Palin -- her fellow combatant on "Dancing with the Stars" -- was guilt-tripped by her mother

DEE EVANS FOR BUZZFLASH

If I hear one more so-called "Obama supporter" go on national television and claim that he/she is disappointed with President Obama for any issue remotely regarding race, I will plan a Million Man and Woman March myself!

To the Bill Maher's and Gene Simmons' of the world:  If you are disappointed in Barack Obama because you voted for the "Black Guy" thinking he would do certain things and behave a certain way, then you have your wires crossed and not only are your values and ideals warped but so is your perception of how you think a Black person should act...and as an African-American I am deeply offended!

I have heard Bill Maher say on several occasions that he supported Barack Obama because he thought as a Black man he would bring that "gangsta" attitude to the White House.  Well Bill, I have news for you, not all Black men are gangsta, not all Black men are 'ghetto' and not all Black men are eagerly waiting in the wings to help you and the likes of Gene Simmons assuage your white guilt by being able to say, "I voted for the Black guy."

As for Simmons, he recently went on CNN's Parker/Spitzer and claimed that he voted for Barack Obama to prove some kind of "see, we're not all racists" point about our country and then in the same breath claimed that Obama is nowhere near qualified

JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH

Or to put the question differently: Would Martin Luther King Jr. support and defend Julian Assange's efforts to inform the public about war and corporate environmental crimes?

Last night I watched "The Great Debaters" with Denzel Washington again, and it occurred to me that during the arguments given in support of civil disobedience that Julian Assange, publisher of WikiLeaks.org, is practicing civil disobedience and that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history.

For much of his crusading career, Martin Luther King Jr. was regarded by the U.S. Justice Department and Hoover's FBI "an enemy of the state," a "terrorist", and a "communist".   Many more accusations were made against him for his attempt to shed light on human suffering that had its violent roots in the acceptance of racism. Most people remember King for his demonstrations against segregation and racism, but what the history books conveniently leave

DAVID MASCIOTRA FOR BUZZFLASH

The average young American graduates college with $24,000 in debt, according to the Student Debt Project (Link: http://www.projectonstudentdebt.org/). Before Americans in their twenties even have the opportunity to gain independence and fully enter adulthood, they must select a payment plan given to them by the government, which outlines exactly how they will pay not only their tens of thousands of dollars of debt, but also the interest accumulated on that debt. If they fail to comply, the government will destroy their credit or garnish their wages. Not even filing for bankruptcy is a release from the suffocation of student debt.

Now, they must take on this unenviable burden in the worst job market in nearly one hundred years. The Student Debt Project also reports

WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH

It's the most... wonderful time... of the year. And the most frantic and anxious and mind numbing and expensive. The rewarding part is my on- going seasonal side job as a lumpy elfin holiday gift consultant, where it is an honor and a privilege to be able to pass along some hot tips for this year's Christmas shopping lists. None of which involve surplus uranium tailings from sales to the Iranians.

There's still more than a few of us struggling to climb out of financial holes so deep we're being tickled by the tendrils of redwood roots, but we're not that difficult to shop for. Dollar coins. Discount clothing. Used food. Lint covered gum and pennies. Roadkill wrapped in the Sunday Funnies. We are

NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH

In Oliver Stone's recent documentary South of the Border, leftist regimes in Latin America are depicted rather idealistically.   In country after country, Stone interviews the region's leaders who criticize the United States and present a common anti-imperialist front.  Yet, while it's certainly true that politics has taken a decisive leftward shift from Venezuela to Bolivia and beyond, many differences and tensions remain.  That, at any rate, is the impression I got when I read U.S. diplomatic cables released by whistleblower Wikileaks.

Previously, in a couple of online articles, I analyzed internal political fissures within the top echelons of the Brazilian political leadership.  U.S. cables reveal that some members of the Lula administration harbored suspicions about Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, and, more often than not, saw eye to eye with Washington when it came to wider South American geopolitics.  While these revelations are surely eye opening, it now appears

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH

The extremist anti-abortion activist is hanging out with future Speaker Boehner's staff, criticizing impotent mainstream pro-life groups and urging anti-abortion activists to join him in supporting the airing of a graphic anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl.

Randall Terry has a plan. And, if he can pull it off it will likely be his most spectacular accomplishment ever. All he needs is about $2.5 to 3 million dollars. Although his plan will culminate on Super Bowl Sunday in Dallas, Texas, it has nothing to do with the actual football game. It doesn't even have anything to do with Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday, which, coincidentally, will be celebrated on the very same day as the Super Bowl. Terry aims to rock your world just as you and your friends have settled down to some fabulous food, a late afternoon-early evening of Super Bowl football, and a handful of spectacularly hyped ads.

If, however, Terry pulls his magnum opus of a scheme off,

SHAMUS COOKE FOR BUZZFLASH

As the recession grinds on, politicians in most industrial countries have an incentive to make exaggerated claims about the supposed coming economic recovery. Some say the recession is over. Obama is in the group that claims we're on "the road to recovery," while other nations can only spot recovery "on the horizon." Below are seven important social phenomena that point to a more realistic economic and political outlook.

1) Central Banks are Dumbfounded. The usual tricks that U.S. and European central banks use to avoid recessions are long-exhausted.   Interest rates cannot get any lower. And because cheap money wasn't working, the printing press was turned up a notch, into what the U.S. federal reserve calls quantitative easing -- injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into the world economy, escalating an emerging trade war.

2) Trade War. For a global economy to grow, global cooperation is needed. But in a major recession all countries engage in a bitter struggle to dominate foreign markets so that their own corporations can export. These markets

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

Salvador Dali was the master of surrealism, but the Obama administration gave him some competition this week.

The Obama/Clinton State Department warned staff members not to read the WikiLeaks cables that many of the same staff members wrote and had access to, prior to the leak, on a classified government site.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, "The US State Department has directed its staff around the world not to surf the WikiLeaks website, according to employees. The ban is in response to WikiLeaks' decision to publish classified material."

Even more bizarre and chilling: students at Columbia University

TONY PEYSER FOR BUZZFLASH

A sex offender who Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Had pardoned has many protesting
Because this man later victimized a child
With his repeated sexual molesting.

The 2012 hopeful has done well in Minnesota
But the question for Pawlenty
Is how much damage will this pardon do to him?
The answer is ... puh-lenty.  

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