Saturday, September 24, 2011

Big Pharma's Eugenics Past 1/2

When Michele Bachmann slammed Rick Perry over his attempt, as governor of Texas, to mandate the very dangerous vaccine Gardasil for girls in the 6th grade and up, it brought an important subject back into the spotlight.

However, the lame stream media is scrambling and falling all over itself to convince you that the vaccine program is not controversial. Well, it IS controversial and worse. Much worse...

Video:

Bank of America Death Watch: Moody's Downgrades B of A Credit, Signals Bailouts Less Likely



The most interesting thing about the credit rating agency's decision to downgrade Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup wasn't the downgrade in their credit rating itself: it was the signal, reported by the New York Times, that the federal government is not going to step in and save the big banks from themselves this time: The downgrades were driven by Moody’s conclusion that the federal government was less likely to step in and provide support for a faltering big bank the way it did after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, when Washington executed a series of actions including capital infusions and credit guarantees to halt the spreading panic. Read more

New Ad Campaign Hits GOP Hard Over "Let Him Die" Moment

As the GOP gathers in Florida for a series of big-ticket events, one group of progressives committed to health care is not going to let the Republicans forget the moment when several of their own shouted out an enthusiastic "yeah" to a debate question about letting an uninsured young man die.

From TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro:

Protect Your Care, which has been keeping the fire burning on the “let him die” moment from the Sept. 12 tea party debate in Tampa, is turning the heat up to 11 with events and a new TV ad that will broadcast for the rest of the week in Orlando, including during Thursday’s Fox News debate.

The ad asks viewers who the GOP is going to listen to, ordinary Americans or those screamers who applauded for unnecessary death.
You have to appreciate this hard-hitting tactic of shaming the GOP for this attitude within their ranks and flat-out acknowledging the absolute extremism of the tea party.

Watch the ad below, and send it to your friends, too!

Jon Stewart Rips Into Out-of-Touch Millionaires, Including Bill O'Reilly

Jon Stewart reserved his most potent strain of sarcasm last night for a group of millionaires including GOP politicians and Bill O'Reilly, who are making the media rounds warning of the dire effects that a minimal increase on their taxes might have.

After some ribbing at their expense, he ended the segment with a faux commercial begging the audience for charity to help these poor "endangered" millionaires--set to the tune of Sarah McLachlan's sappy animal rescue ads. Well-done.

Policy-wise, he also makes a pretty convincing case for progressive taxation.

Watch below.

6 Right-Wing Sports Team Owners Bankrolling Their Radical Agenda With Your Tax Dollars



Professional sports team owners are among the wealthiest people in the world--and some of the most influential right-wing ideologues in the country.
September 22, 2011

Chances are that basketball fans cheering on the Orlando Magic’s star center Dwight Howard haven’t a clue they’re also supporting the radical right-wing ideology of the team’s billionaire owner, Richard DeVos. And when hockey fans root for the Philadelphia Flyers, they are likely unaware that the team’s war-mongering owner, Ed Snider, is profiting off of their support.

While establishment pundits often claim that sports and politics don’t mix, David Zirin, author of Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Loveand sports editor for the Nation, argues just the opposite. He recently told AlterNet that, “The ability to manipulate politics, the ability to pull strings, and the ability to do so without an ounce of public scrutiny -- that is your typical major sports owner.” The exploitation of professional sports by the powerful is most evident in the hyperpatriotism that saturates almost every major sporting event. The aftermath of 9/11 has seen professional sports, particularly the National Football League and Major League Baseball, co-opted to promote a culture of war under the guise of patriotism and “supporting the troops." The military is more visible than ever in professional sports with fighter jet flyovers that follow the national anthem, the NFL’s military recruitment stations at preseason games, and soldiers returned from war surprising their families for all to see.
READ MORE

Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Other Right Wingers Want to Turn Back the Clock to 1900 -- What Was Life Like Back Then?



Thank goodness for the progressive era, the New Deal and the Great Society, and heaven (or the founders) help us if we allow the demolition of their gains.
September 22, 2011

Wednesday's 230-195 vote in the GOP-controlled house against Speaker John Boehner's special funding measure to keep the government running past September 30th showed how far the far-right of the already far-right Republican Party will push a principle. They refuse to pass the bill (containing much-needed disaster relief, which is meager enough that the Democrats largely declined to vote for the bill) without deeper budget cuts written in. Boehner will have to rewrite the thing either to placate recalcitrant Democrats, intent on helping the vulnerable, or recalcitrant Republicans, intent on depriving the government of the means to help the vulnerable. One wonders what the odds are regarding his decision.
READ MORE

FBI Library and Online Training Resources Stocked With Islamophobic Material

Photo Credit: Quinn Ryan Mattingly on Flickr

A recent article reveals that the work of well-known Islamophobes permeates the FBI's training culture and the internal reference resources available to FBI agents.
September 23, 2011

Spencer Ackerman’s reports on Islamophobic training sessions at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have sent the Bureau into damage control mode. On Thursday, the FBI held a conference call with Muslim civil rights groups to apologize for the offensive training materials, which Ackerman has published over the past week.

The FBI has promised a “comprehensive review of all training and reference materials,” but Ackerman, in an article published today, reveals that the work of well-known Islamophobes permeates the FBI’s training culture and the internal reference resources available to FBI agents.
READ MORE

What's the Most Popular Porn Site on Earth? (And What Does That Say About Our Relationship to Sex?)



A webcam site featuring mostly underpaid women from non-Western countries gets the most views. What does that say about Western sexuality?
September 19, 2011

This whole article is pretty interesting– who would have guessed that porn only accounts for 4% of the internet? – but this part stood out:

So what's the most popular porn site on the planet?

The single most popular adult site in the world is LiveJasmin.com, a webcam site which gets around 32 million visitors a month, or almost 2.5% of all internet users!

You're telling me a webcam site is more popular than PornHub?

LiveJasmin is the most popular adult site on the web by a huge margin.

Basically, it's interesting that what men prefer the most is watching women strip on a webcam and being able to talk to them while they do, telling the women what they want to see. Once this became available (through high-quality broadband streaming of webcam video) it just shot to the top of popularity; it's even more popular than the tube sites like PornHub and RedTube.
READ MORE

Is the Saudi Royal Family Connected to 9/11 Hijackers?



New evidence links the Saudi royal family to Saudis in South Florida, who reportedly had contact with the 9/11 hijackers before fleeing the US prior to the attacks.

September 22, 2011

WhoWhatWhy has found evidence linking the Saudi royal family to Saudis in South Florida who reportedly had direct contact with the 9/11 hijackers before fleeing the United States just prior to the attacks. Our report connects some of the dots first laid out by investigative author Anthony Summers and Florida-based journalist Dan Christensen in articles jointly published in the Miami Herald and on the nonprofit news site BrowardBulldog.org.

In early September of this year, Summers and Christensen reported that a secret FBI probe, never shared with Congressional investigators or the presidential 9/11 commission, had uncovered information indicating the possibility of support for the hijackers from previously unknown confederates in the United States during 2001.

Now WhoWhatWhy reveals that those alleged confederates were closely tied to influential members of the Saudi ruling elite.
READ MORE

News Corp May Face Legal Action In The U.S.


Jillian Rayfield | September 23, 2011, 11:14AM

A British attorney, who represented the family of a murder victim whose phone was hacked by News Of The World journalists, says he is teaming up with a lawyer in the U.S. to begin legal proceedings against the Murdochs and News Corporation. Mark Lewis announced Friday that he is coordinating with Norman Siegel, an attorney in New York who represents 9/11 families, to help him determine whether he can initiate a class action suit against News Corp under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). FCPA prevents bribery of foreign officials, and may have been violated by News Corp, which is based in the U.S., if reporters for its British News Of The World tabloid bribed members of Scotland Yard.
READ MORE

Conservatives Say It Out Loud: They Hate Democracy



Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future: "The roots of today's toxic conservative movement lie in Ayn Rand's teaching that wealthy 'producers' - now called 'job creators' - should be left alone by the government, namely the rest of us. The rest of us are 'freeloaders,' 'moochers,' 'leeches' and 'parasites' who feed off these producers and who shouldn't be allowed to make decisions to collect taxes from them or regulate them or interfere in most other ways. The Randians hate democracy, and say so, declaring that 'collectivism' sacrifices individual rights to majority wishes."

(See Concern Over Republican Embrace Of The Ayn Rand Poison.)

For decades these selfish, childish, "you can't make me" beliefs stayed largely below the radar, because conservatives understood that voicing them in public risked alienating ... well, anyone with any sense at all. But for various reasons sense has departed the country and conservatives are finally saying it out loud, for everyone to hear: they hate democracy. They want to limit the country's decision-making and the rewards of our society and economy to those they feel "deserve" to be on top, namely the "producers" and "job-creators." Read the Article

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FOCUS: Lloyd's Sues Saudi Arabia for 'Funding 9/11 Attacks'



Investor's Business Daily Excerpt: "The complaint, filed in US court, states that without official Saudi sponsorship, 'al-Qaida would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the Sept. 11 attacks.' In other words, absent Saudi support, the Twin Towers would still be standing - along with nearly 3,000 Americans." READ MORE

9/11: A Conspiracy Theory In 5 Minutes



Here's a website, operated by Pilots, where you can read and discuss all things 911: READ MORE

Is Andrew Breitbart Encouraging Domestic Terrorism?

Is Andrew Breitbart Encouraging Domestic Terrorism?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wealthy Republican Congressman Apparently Pays Workers Less than $11,400 Per Year



Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) owns a number of small businesses—according to the clip, Subway and UPS outlets, so franchises of national corporations—and he's objecting to President Obama's proposal to tax the wealthy a little more for deficit reduction, because it might hit non-rich people like him and then they'd create fewer jobs.

As Think Progress describes the scene:

Fleming is himself a businesses owner, so Jansing asked, “If you have to pay more in taxes, you would get rid of some of those employees?” Fleming responded by saying that while his businesses made $6.3 million last year, after you “pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment, and food,” his profits “a mere fraction of that” — “by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.” READ MORE

Foo Fighters Protest Westboro Baptist Church Via Song

Hot on the heels of lots of people hating Foo Fighters for not being punk in the comments of our Nirvana piece, the multi-platinum rock band turned around and did something entirely punk rock, and admirable to boot. On August 30 in Kansas City, the WBC had called for a picket of a Foo Fighters show, presumably because they are gay-friendly (oh, and this video of the band members taking a shower together, naked, for the song "Hot Buns," which is awesome). But the Foos had a little surprise up their sleeves: they rolled up on a flatbed truck and parked it right in front of a line of white people holding "God Hates Fags" signs, and proceeded to counter-protest with a country song about acceptance. We're a little disappointed they didn't make out at the end (some of the Foos are married; maybe they have a thing about monogamy). Either way, good job. Watch the whole thing below, via Spin Magazine. Read more

Tablet Computers Replacing Servers at Some Restaurants

Flickr / Caroline on Crack

Posted on Sep 16, 2011

The quest for efficiency and maximum profits has led some restaurateurs to do away with wait staff and enable customers to place orders through tablet computers installed at their dining table. The trend toward automation is not new. Major supermarkets began using self-checkout machines years ago. But new devices such as the iPad are expanding the practice to other industries.

One wonders how many jobs will be lost in the switch to automation. Also, what businesses, if any, will pass the additional profits made from eliminating staff on to remaining employees, or to reduced prices for their customers? —ARK

Mosaic with Los Angeles Times:

At Stacked in Torrance, which opened in May, iPads mounted on 60 tables enable patrons to flip through a touch screen to view pizza, burger and salad offerings. Diners can choose entrees and sides, pick out toppings, send their orders to the kitchen and divvy up the bill, all without talking to a staff person.

To pay, customers swipe credit cards through slots built into the iPad holders.

The co-founder of the restaurant, Paul Motenko, said he spent more than a year and $1 million developing the digital ordering regimen. It allowed him to open with a smaller-than-average staff, but he maintained that the hands-on system made customers feel more involved in the process.
Read more

Ready to Fight: Has Obama Finally Shaken Up Washington?

The proposals outlined in the president's fiery speech aren't new, but the administration appears to be getting serious about fighting for them.

September 20, 2011

On Monday, Barack Obama proffered a deficit reduction package that would complement his call last week for a new focus on jobs. The proposals, especially the president's endorsement of the “Buffet Principle” -- which holds that the richest Americans should pay the same share of their incomes as their secretaries do – appears to have fired up the Democratic base. “This is not class warfare—it's math," became the line of the day, and even Firedoglake, a site known for attacking Obama from the left, acknowledged that while he “spent the first 2 1/2 years of his presidency courting” pundits and blue dog Democrats, Obama now appears to be “on the right track.”
READ MORE

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Hmmm... "pay the same"?!? How about "pay more"? Is that fair? Or... Perhaps the rich should eat the same food as their secretaries? wear the same clothes? Live in similar houses? How is it fair that someone who pays more for a suit of clothes, than the car you drive, gets to pay the same tax rate you do? Pays as much for a car, as your house costs you, or buys a yacht or a plane that cost more than you'll ever earn in your entire life, but has to save money on taxes. Makes no sense and that's what is being complained about, government isn't making much sense these days. That kinda means that it can hardly be called on to govern. Government is being pushed from the right, to rule like a Monarch, even though the days of monarchy have been tried, failed and moved past. We are now faced with a creeping monarchy under development again.

Believe me, no sane person in these United States, likes this loss of time and social/economic disarray more than anyone else, be they rich, middle class or poor. But everyone sane is coming to agree that it's just some corporations and some of the wealthy, some of the middle class, and even some of the poor, who haven't the sense to see what they're doing.

Will Ties to Pentagon Contractors Push 'Supercommittee' Democrats to Cut Entitlements?

Photo Credit: Department of Defense

AlterNet teams up with Salon and Brave New Foundation to document how Dems on the Congressional "supercommittee" get far more military campaign money and contracts than the GOP.

September 21, 2011

Arizona’s Republican Senator Jon Kyl wasted little time. A member of the bipartisan Congressional “supercommittee” charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions, he did his best to forestall even discussion of cuts to the Pentagon’s budget. “When we had our first meeting the chairman asked, ‘Well what do we think about defense spending?’ and I said, ‘I’m off of the committee if we’re gonna talk about further defense spending,’” he told the audience at a recent forum sponsored by several conservative think tanks.

The Senate Minority Whip may be the most outspoken member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction when it comes to the military budget, but the Democrats currently considering whether to cut the deficit via reductions in defense spending or programs like Medicare and Medicaid have received far more money from Pentagon contractors than Kyl or any of their Republican colleagues on the panel, according to an investigation by AlterNet, with assistance from the Brave New Foundation and Salon.com.

Since 2007, Democrats on the supercommittee have received more than $1 million in defense industry donations, while contributions to the Republicans added up to only $321,000. Panel co-chair Senator Patty Murray, for example, has received more defense industry dollars over that period than the combined total of the top four Republican recipients on the super committee. Even so, her haul from the Pentagon’s weapons-makers isn’t the largest by a panel Democrat, a distinction held by her colleague from South Carolina, John Clyburn. An analysis of official government data paints a disturbing picture of big money, cozy relationships and potential influence that, alongside a concerted lobbying effort by the Pentagon and its powerful defense contractors, makes substantial reductions to the Department of Defense’s budget improbable and steeper cuts to entitlement programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, more likely.
READ MORE

Is Andrew Breitbart Encouraging Domestic Terrorism?



I'm under attack all the time. They call me gay, there are death threats... There are times where I'm not thinking as clearly as I should, and in those unclear moments, I always think to myself, 'Fire the first shot.' Bring it on. Because I know who's on our side. They can only win a rhetorical and propaganda war. They cannot win. We outnumber them in this country, and we have the guns... I'm not kidding. They talk a mean game, but they will not cross that line because they know what they're dealing with. READ MORE


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I'm afraid this man has lost touch with reality! Most people are trying to earn a living and put something away for retirement, not out "gunning" for some political radical, no matter how much of a lunatic he may be.

The people he's helped "dis empower"... News Flash---they come from both sides of the aisle! The news just reported that 54% of Americans are living in homes they can no longer afford. Not many homeless people can afford guns, in fact, not many of them are even thinking about them. Their time is occupied with trying to reverse their dire situations. While he supports a party that is trying to bring on disaster, in the hopes that it can be blamed on Obama!

The last resident in the white house wrecked the economy so badly, that many economist were recommending that we let it fail, sweep it away and start rebuilding from scratch. Nobody wanted that to happen, so we elected someone to try and fix it. Now that we're begining to discover, the damage done was so bad, that those economist who wanted to start over, were probably right, we're supposed to blame the man who tried to fix it and failed? Put the people who wrecked it back in office? Why? They made wrong guesses, lied about it to sell it. Did not know what they were doing, but ensured that they got paid well, for whatever it was they were doing. They left the laws, that underlay economic stability, in ruins. They mangled the rules, that underlay social stability, so badly they scarcely function. It is only anyone's guess, how long we can continue to follow the old themes by rote, before they too fail to function as expected.

There's a big difference between what it took to recover in the aftermath of '29 and what it will take to recover today. That difference is the very same widely spread automation, that allows so much productivity from so few workers. The problem with that is this: Those complex and costly machines, can only be profitably employed, if there are large numbers of consumers to uptake the sheer volume of merchandise they're able to turn out.

Sales of 500,000 cars might seem like a lot, but a half million car sales, would not sustain a profitable, modern and automated, General Motors! Worse, many of the parts suppliers who serve GM, also sell parts to other companies as well. But, without GM they couldn't survive, so those other companies would have to close, if GM's parts suppliers failed. So, as the economy gets worse, if those companies are doing more business off shore, they'll have little choice but to move.

In the meantime, the in-ability of Congress to set fair ground rules, for how the people and companies should interact -- the meat and potatoes of what we need government for -- creates a level of uncertainty, that gives companies and investors, too many trepidations about where or what to invest in.

The financial pages keep pointing to rising prices, as evidence of a healthy recovering economy. But there's another way to view the same data; that perhaps prices are rising because the consumer base is shrinking. Such that higher prices for the remaining customers are necessary, to provide the same level of service. Because it's either that or bankruptcy. Recovery?!? Really?!? I don't see where there are more people buying. No more "shop till you drop", anywhere in sight. Just historically high levels of unemployment, under employed and people who can't afford to live in their homes. All while wealth continues to concentrate at the top and move off shore.

Say what you will about how the economy is doing, you can't fool your bank accounts (if you still have them), you can't fool your 401k's either, when they're empty, they're empty. So, there's some one million millionaires out there still buying stuff? Try to figure out how long an economy, structured to serve some 300 million people, can survive on roughly 1 million sales! And I repeat: These companies that are going towards idle, are running automated equipment that costs millions to operate.

Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Signs God Is Furious With the Right



Whatever disaster strikes, there's always an upside in religious rightland, always somebody to point the finger at with glee. Let's turn the tables.

September 16, 2011

Editor's note: the following is satire... for the most part.

Why is it that whenever disaster strikes, right-wing religious nuts seem to have all the fun? Some might say it's just because they're sadists, but they always seem to find the silver lining. 9/11? God's calling on America to repent! (No, not for it's foreign policy, you dummy!) Hurricane Katrina? It was that darned homosexual parade the organizers forgot to tell anyone about!

Whatever disaster strikes, there's always an up-side in religious rightland, always somebody to point the finger at with glee. How come they get all the fun?READ MORE

The End of Wall Street's Big Payday

UBS trader Kweku Adoboli leaves the City of London Magistrates court, 09/16/11. (photo: Getty Images)

By Zachary Karabell, The Daily Beast

18 September 11

UBS's 'rogue trader' lost $2 billion of his company's own money - it didn't really harm investors. The real story is that the era of big Wall Street profits is over, writes Zachary Karabell.

On September 15, a 31-year old UBS trader in Londonwas arrested for fraudulently attempting to hide "rogue" trades that led to at least $2 billion in losses for the Swiss bank.

The episode was greeted with incredulity. How could a large financial institution, Swiss no less, let its risk controls slip so much that a person in a relatively junior position could lose so much of the bank's capital? But on multiple scores, the reaction misses the point. Risky trading activity is not rare; it is ubiquitous. It is not unprecedented, and in the wake of the financial crisis that is barely three years past, banks are faced with a choice: Take ill-advised risks in a desperate attempt to maintain levels of profit that they have become distressingly accustomed to, or become accustomed to distressingly less profit.
READ MORE

The American Dream

Monday seems as good a day as any to have a laugh.
WARNING: George Carlin has a potty mouth.

Video:

Why Do the Koch Brothers Want to End Public Education?

By Robert Greenwald, Open Mike Blog

16 August 11

Call David Koch and tell him to stop funding school resegregation now! His number is 212-319-1100." -- CW/RSN

he Koch brothers have more than $42 billion to make public policy out of their anti-government ideology, and their assault against public education epitomizes their tactics to remake our nation.

The Koch brothers founded Americans for Prosperity and have contributed more than $5 million to its political coffers. Americans for Prosperity, in turn, contributed to organizations that financially influenced a community school board election.

That's right: the Koch brothers are involving themselves, through their wealth-backed political apparatus, in local schools.

READ MORE

HOMEPAGE VIDEO: The Koch Brothers' Influence

Intro: "A few years back, practically no one in America knew who these guys were, the Koch brothers, much less how to pronounce their name. But now Charles and David Koch have replaced Dick Cheney as the chief villains for many. For years, they have been using their vast fortune, estimated at a combined $44 billion, to help fund conservative think tanks and politicians." WATCH HERE

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Our Capitalist System Is Near Meltdown

The Wall Street Crash of 1929. (photo: file)

The ailing euro is part of a wider crisis. A 1930s-style crash threatens us and our financial partners. Collective action is the only solution. ighty years ago, faced with today's economic events, nobody would have been in any doubt: we would obviously be living through a crisis in capitalism. Instead, there is a collective unwillingness to call a spade a spade. This is variously a crisis of the European Union, a crisis of the euro, a debt crisis or a crisis of political will. It is all those things, but they are subplots of a much bigger story: the way capitalism has been conceived and practised for the last 30 years has hit the buffers. Unless and until that is recognised, western economies will be locked in stagnation which could even transmute into a major economic disaster. Simply put, the world has trillions upon trillions of excessive private debt financed by too many different currencies whose risk is allegedly mitigated by even more trillions of financial bets which in aggregate do not minimise the systemic risk one iota. This entire financial edifice, underwritten by tiny amounts of capital, has been created over three decades backed by the theory that markets do not make mistakes. Capitalism is best conceived and practised, runs the theory, by hunter-gatherer bankers and entrepreneurs owing no allegiance to the state or society.

This is nonsense.READ MORE

Robert Reich | Don't Be Silenced

Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog Excerpt: "By continuing to push and prod we give hope to countless Americans on the verge of giving up. We give back to them the courage of their own convictions, and thereby lay the groundwork for a future progressive agenda - to take back America from the privileged and powerful, and restore broad-based prosperity." READ MORE

Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the opening session of the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College, in Peosta, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Sunday 18 September 2011 by: Jackie Calmes, The New York Times News Service | Report

Washington - President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials. With a special joint Congressional committee starting work to reach a bipartisan budget deal by late November, the proposal adds a new and populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political pressure on Republicans to agree to higher revenues from the wealthy in return for Democrats’ support of future cuts from Medicare andMedicaid.
READ MORE

FOCUS: Robert Parry | Tea Party Gets the Constitution Wrong

Robert Parry, Consortium News Robert Parry writes, "The Tea Partiers love to cite the US Constitution as supporting their contempt for the federal government. But they don't realize that the Constitution represented the most important assertion of central authority in American history." READ MORE

FOCUS | Protest: Wall Street Impoverished More Than 60 Million People


Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress
Intro: "Over a thousand demonstrators began protests as a part of a campaign they are calling 'Occupy Wall Street.' The protesters intend to engage in long-term civil disobedience to draw attention to Wall Street's misdeeds and call for structural economic reforms."
READ MORE

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When Retirees Are Shortchanged


By BRYAN BURROUGH
Published: September 17, 2011

THE world needs more newspaper reporters like Ellen E. Schultz of The Wall Street Journal. For nearly a decade, Ms. Schultz and her colleagues have been rooting through the minutiae of accounting regulations, government filings and corporate retirement plans to expose how many of the largest American companies have systematically plundered their employees’ pension funds, at once robbing their workers of hard-won benefits and enriching their own profits. Her work has led to Congressional hearings, to a Washington investigation or two and to numerous journalism awards.
READ MORE

Bush's Toronto appearance cancelled



14 Sep 2011 Next week's appearance by former U.S. president [sic] George W. Bush at an event hosted by a local evangelical Christian university has been cancelled. The decision came Wednesday, the same day three former students launched a petition urging the university to cancel the speech. On Tuesday, a class valedictorian and professor publicly spoke out against the appearance following the resignation of another staff member. Bush was scheduled to speak Sept. 20 to about 150 people at an invitation-only breakfast hosted by Tyndale University College and Seminary, home to about 1,400 students at two campuses in Toronto's north end.
READ MORE

Major discovery: a purpose of the war in Afghanistan

Medical nurses of U.S Marines carry the injuried Afghan boy to hospital after he fell from a wall at Forward Operating Base Edi in the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan

By Glenn Greenwald

The U.S. is determined to stay until there are no Afghans left who wants it gone. Then it can leave. Click here to read the entire article...

The Washington Post today describesthe failure of regimented programs in Afghanistan to reintegrate Taliban teenagers ("Taliban" (alt.: "Terrorist") means "any Afghan who fights against the presence of foreign military forces in their country" and "reintegrate" means "persuading or compelling them to passively acquiesce to those forces"):

The teenage insurgents spend their days learning to make shoes and bookshelves, listening to religious leaders denounce the radical interpretation of Islam they learned as children. But when they return to their cells at Kabul's juvenile rehabilitation center, the boys with wispy beards and cracking voices talk only of the holy war from which they were plucked and their plans to resume fighting for the Taliban. As the Taliban presses its efforts to recruit teenage fighters, Afghan officials and their international backers have crafted a program to reintegrate the country's youngest insurgents into mainstream society. But that ambition is coming up against the intransigence of the teens, who say they would rather be on the battlefield. READ MORE

Matt Taibbi on the ‘Rogue Trader’ banking scandal at UBS [video]

“Countdown” guest host David Shuster and Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi discuss the “Rogue Trader” scandal at UBS. Kweku Adoboli, a 31-year-old trader for the Swiss bank, is under arrest in London on charges of losing $2 billion in unauthorized trading. Taibbi says the financial industry is too powerful in Washington right now for politicians to pass any meaningful legislation that might prevent this kind of scandal.

Watch “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” live each weeknight at 8/7c on Current TV. Click here to find the show in your area.

Sarah Palin's Alleged Drug Use Hypocrisy



Tony Newman, Alternet
Excerpt: "I have mixed feelings when I hear about Palin and other politicians' drug use. The revelations are beneficial by helping shatter the myth that if you try drugs you are going to be an unproductive person who ruins your life. But the hypocrisy is infuriating. Our prisons are exploding with more than 500,000 people behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses - and these politicians are perpetuating the policies that created this catastrophe."
READ MORE

FBI Raid Involving Walker Campaign Records May Foretell Bigger Threat

FBI Emblem at the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo by cliff1066 on Flickr.)

By Roger Bybee

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and his Republican allies have been conducting themselves with contempt toward those opposing their policies. This contempt includes an utter disregard not just for labor and Democratic legislators, but the vast majority of Wisconsin citizens, judging from polls about the right to a union voice for public workers and Walker’s 59 percent disapproval rating. But an FBI raid on the Madison home of a former top Walker aide—who served him both during his term as Milwaukee County executive and as governor—may signal big trouble for the governor and might also diminish his "I'm-on-a-mission-from-God" zealotry. The biggest step thus far
READ MORE

Geithner Ignored Obama Order to Dissolve Citigroup

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, 02/11/11. (photo: Getty Images)

By Justin Sink, The Hill
16 September 11

A new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind reveals that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ignored a direct order from President Obama for the reconstruction of major banks during the financial crisis. The reports call into question the president's leadership and financial savvy at a time when the president is most vulnerable on those topics, with poll numbers on his handling of the economy hitting record lows. According to reports Friday, Geithner ignored a March 2009 order that asked the Treasury Department to consider dissolving Citigroup, one of the nation's largest financial services companies. Citigroup was among the worst hit by the financial crisis in 2008, and needed billions in bailout money to stay afloat. Many have criticized the Obama administration - and Geithner, the former president of the New York Federal Reserve, specifically - of being too focused on helping the banking industry after the recession. Critics on both the left and right argue that the government should not have bailed out banks that submarined the economy after issuing bad mortgages. READ MORE

Report: What Happens if the Tea Party Wins

Friday 16 September 2011 by: Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress Before President Obama entered the White House, there was a widespread consensus — even among leading conservatives — that the Constitution leaves most decisions to We the People and the leaders we elect. The election of a center-left president eager to move the nation in a progressive direction, however, killed many conservatives’ belief that democracy is a good thing. As an alternative, Tea Partiers embraced tentherism, the belief that everything fromSocial Security to Medicare to child labor laws to the Affordable Care Act violates the Constitution. Watch a brief compilation of leading lawmakers declaring that virtually everything is unconstitutional: READ MORE

Former Senator Bob Graham Urges Obama to Reopen Investigation into Saudi Role in 9/11 Attacks

Former Florida governor and senator Bob Graham is calling on President Obama to reopen the investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks after new information has emerged about the possible role of prominent Saudis in the 9/11 plot. According to recent news reports, a wealthy young Saudi couple fled their home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida, just a week or so before Sept. 11, 2001, leaving behind three cars and nearly all of their possessions. The FBI was tipped off about the couple but never passed the information on to the 9/11 Commission investigating the attacks, even though phone records showed the couple had ties to Mohamed Atta and at least 10 other al-Qaeda suspects. Graham joins us to discuss the news he’s called "the most important thing about 9/11 to surface in the last seven or eight years." As the former chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a post he held on September 11, 2001, Graham chaired the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the attacks. He’s just written a novel called "Keys to the Kingdom,” which follows a fictitious former senator and co-chair of the 9/11 congressional inquiry who is murdered near his Florida home after he uncovers an international conspiracy linking the Saudi Kingdom to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Graham says he chose to write the novel after his 2004 non-fiction book, "Intelligence Matters," was heavily censored. [includes rush transcript]

Thom Hartmann & Jim Hightower - a Texan's view of Governor Rick Perry

Thom Hartmann hosts National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author Jim Hightower ! They show us how Gov. Perry puts the "Guber" in gubernatorial.