Saturday, September 10, 2011

Paul Krugman | Facts That Strain Personal Incredulity

(Image: CartoonArts International / The New York Times Syndicate) Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: "Somewhere in his writings Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist, talks about anti-evolution types who argue from personal incredulity - they say, 'I just can't believe that chance could create something as complex as an eye,' and think that they have scored an important point. All they've actually done, of course, is rehash their prejudices. (Simulations show, by the way, that chance plus selection can indeed create an eye, in a relatively short time as evolutionary history goes.) I'm getting the same kind of thing a lot on issues macroeconomic." Read the Article

Hartmann: Unequal Responsibility for Crime

Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Koehler Publishers: "Every year the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issues a press release on its Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which determines the 'Nation's Crime Index.' It reports crimes by persons - but it excludes corporate persons, even when the corporations have been convicted of felonies. In its entire history, the FBI has never issued an annual report on crimes by corporate persons, although its reports on crimes by human persons are well researched and well publicized. The upshot of this is that when you ask people how most money and property are stolen, or how most people are killed, they think of burglars and muggers and bank robbers and crimes of passion. They think of human persons. The reality, though, is that more money and property are stolen by or lost to corporate criminals than to human criminals."
Read the Article

Getting Those Republican Attacks Right

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) speaks to the press about the budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 15, 2011. While Republicans claim that higher taxes and regulation would kill jobs, the evidence does not support this assertion. (Photo: Philip Scott Andrews / The New York Times)

Dean Baker, Truthout: "At this point, Republican politicians are beginning to sound almost like wind-up toys when they complain about job-killing taxes and regulations that keep businesses from hiring. The media should at least do the Republicans and the public the courtesy of attempting to discern if these complaints make any sense. (McClatchy gets high marks for this effort.) If the charges are true, then there are logical implications that can be explored. The media should be taking the time to see whether the evidence is consistent with Republican claims. The tax side of the story is pretty simple. The Republicans are making things up."
Read the Article

FOCUS: Obama Team Feared Coup If He Prosecuted War Crimes

Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project
Kreig writes: "President-Elect Obama's advisors feared in 2008 that authorities would revolt and that Republicans would block his policy agenda if he prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a law school dean who served as one of Obama's top transition advisers."

FOCUS: Jim Hightower | Perry Tales

Jim Hightower, Creators Syndicate
Intro: "Presidential wannabe Rick Perry is flitting all around the country - hither, thither and yon - spreading little 'Perry Tales' about himself and the many wonders he has worked as governor of Texas."

FOCUS: Carl Gibson | More for Them, Less for You

Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
Gibson writes: "Corporations continue to hoard $800 billion in cash while jobs continue their flight out of the country. And instead of trickling down, all of the wealth has collected at the top. Since 2009, 88% of income growth went toward corporate profits, not more jobs and higher wages."

The Kochs' Keystone Clique Exposed

By Robert Greenwald, Guardian UK

08 September 11

File photo, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch, 02/26/07. (photo: Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

go to original article

Only the Koch brothers' club of billionaires and political cronies will profit if the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline goes ahead.

harles Koch, one of our country's most prolific conservative donors, was recorded praising his oil, energy and Wall Street friends who contributed millions of dollars to his political causes. That Koch likely referred to President Obama as Saddam Hussein and framed the upcoming election as the "mother of all wars" overshadowed the real news.

Richard A. Clarke | The Lessons of 9/11

President George W. Bush signs the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Stephen Jaffe / Getty Images

Richard A. Clarke writes: "We invaded a country, Iraq, that had nothing to do with the attack on us, but had everything to do with the preconceived plans of a cabal in and out of our government. In the process, we killed 100,000, wounded many times more, and threw millions out of their homes. More Americans suffered violent deaths in Iraq than did on 9/11, and multiples more were scarred for life. Americans, including our troops, were lied to about Iraq's role in 9/11 and some marched to their death motivated by those lies."

Friday, September 9, 2011

New York Times Blames Workers for Postal Service Woes, Glosses Over Real Cause of Problems

NALC President Fredric Rolando testifies before Congress (beginning at minute 40).

In an article that ran the day before the Labor Day holiday, the New York Times took the opportunity to fear monger about the current financial problems at the United States Postal Service and blame workers for the financial shortfalls the agency faces.

Crooks and Liars previously reported on this situation, noting that the entire problem could be based on a unparalleled requirement that the USPS fund retirement benefits 75 years in advance. Without this cost, the Postal Service is profitable and none of the other explanations offered by the Times is relevant.

Ron Paul: Abolish Minimum Wage to 'Help Poor People'

By David

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul believes that poor Americans would "absolutely" be better off if the minimum wage were eliminated.

"Do you advocate getting rid of the minimum wage, would that create more jobs?" Politico's John Harris asked Paul during Wednesday's Republican presidential debate.

"Absolutely," Paul declared. "It would help the poor people who need jobs. Minimum wage is a mandate. We're against mandates so why should we have it? It would be very beneficial."

What Good Is a Legal Right to Record Police Activity - If the Cops Target You When You Do It?

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 07:00 AM PDT
By Susie Madrak

This is the kind of tough journalismI'd like to see in more urban dailies. This Philadelphia Daily News reporter takes a national topic (the legal right to record police action) and looks at whether the right is even applied in day-to-day police work in the city's police force:

TAMERA MEDLEY begged the police officer to stop slamming her head - over and over - into the hood of a police cruiser.

Thinking they were helping, passers-by Shakir Riley and Melissa Hurling both turned their cellphone video cameras toward the melee that had erupted on Jefferson Street in Wynnefield, they said.

But then the cops turned on them.

Riley had started to walk away when at least five baton-wielding cops followed him, he said, and they beat him, poured a soda on his face and stomped on his phone, destroying the video he had just taken.

Cheney's Love Letter to Himself

Paul Begala, The Daily Beast
Excerpt: "Dick Cheney calls his memoir 'In My Time.' This is, apparently, Cheney's time; we all just live in it. From the title on, Cheney the author seems hopelessly, blindly, foolishly, sloppily in love with his subject.... Cheney has written a 576-page love letter to himself. It ought to be a 576-page apology."

Watch Gruesome Applause from GOP Crowd At Perry's Execution Record

Just in case you didn't see it, one of the big talked-about moments in last night's GOP debate was the spontaneous applause from the audience at the mere mention of the number of people (234) whose executions Rick Perry had overseen while governor of Texas--even though the question was whether Governor Perry felt any moral compunction on this score. It's a moment that underscored the moral bankruptcy and barbarism active in a large segment of our population. Read more

Military Officials Ignored Cheney’s 9/11 Shoot-down Order

Newly published audio this week reveals that Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous Sept. 11, 2001 order to shoot down rogue civilian aircraft was ignored by military officials, who instead ordered pilots to only identify suspect aircraft. That revelation is one of many in newly released audio recordings compiled by investigators for the 9/11 Commission, published this week by The Rutgers Law Review. Featuring voices from employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and American Airlines, the newly released multimedia provides a glimpse at the chaos that emerged as the attack progressed. Most striking of all is the revelation that an order by Vice President Dick Cheney was ignored by the military, which saw his order to shoot down aircraft as outside the chain of command. Instead of acknowledging the order to shoot down civilian aircraft and carrying it out, NORAD ordered fighters to confirm aircraft tail numbers first and report back for further instructions. READ MORE

Exposing religious fundamentalism in the US

At least three Republican candidates - Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry - have ties to Dominionism [EPA]

With Representative Michele Bachmann's victory in the Ames, Iowa straw poll, and Texas Governor Rick Perry's triumphal entrance into the GOP presidential primary, there's been a sudden spike of attention drawn to the extremist religious beliefs both candidates have been associated with - up to and including their belief in Christian dominionism. (In the Texas Observer, the New Yorker, and the Daily Beast, for example.) The responses of denial from both the religious right itself and from the centrist Beltway press have been so incongruous as to be laughable - if only the subject matter weren't so deadly serious. Those responses need to be answered, but more importantly, we need to have the serious discussion they want to prevent. READ MORE

Government programmes for me, not for thee

The Texas Tribune found that Governor Rick Perry, despite his anti-stimulus rhetoric, has taken $17.4bn of federal stimulus money [GALLO/GETTY] Although Republicans profess to dislike federal spending, many of their candidates have gained from spending programmes. In other words, if Americans realise that a single-payer healthcare system will help protect their parents and children from disease, then they’ll be for it. But if it can be something abstract that just helps those other people who are mere statistics at best, supplied by an amorphous “big government” with no human face, long tentacles and the ability to force you to drink fluorinated water or strictly require a pulse to purchase a firearm - well, then, it’s easy to hate. And hate it they do. As long as it is government spending for you, and not them. Because the truth is, with very few exceptions, conservative elected officials (of both parties) are hypocrites when it comes to spending money. It’s probably why they hate that darn intrusive government until it’s time to collect those fat farm subsidies for the family estate, or that government-sponsored healthcare they happily take but would be a leftover Soviet plot with a side of El Che if it were offered to you. You need more examples? Well, how about the Social Security-despising, French-cuff cowboy himself, Governor Rick Perry of Texas? Man, does he hate that Obama stimulus plan - except for when he doesn’t hate it so much. Namely, when it helps him. READ MORE

NJ Governor Christie's Secret Meeting With Koch Brothers Causes Political Firestorm

The fallout has led the Democratic Speaker of the NJ Assembly to call the governor "disgraceful," and that she is "beginning to wonder if Gov. Christie is mentally deranged." READ MORE
The audio file and transcripts are here

How Rick Perry's Attempt to Privatize Medicaid Wasted Millions While Enriching Lobbyists and Hedge Funds

Perry's plan to let private firms run Medicaid wasted more than money and time, as paperwork vanished and patients suffered. READ MORE

Food Emergency: How the World Bank and IMF Has Made African Famine Inevitable

Lending policies pushed by the World Bank and IMF transformed a self-sufficient, food-producing Africa into a continent vulnerable to food emergencies and famine. READ MORE

Let's Put 9/11 Behind Us and End the Blank Check it Has Become for America's Endless Wars

We could stop using it to make ourselves feel like a far better country than we are. We could leave the dead in peace and take a hard look at ourselves in the nearest mirror. READ MORE

The New Surveillance Society: How "Community" Policing Follows Your Every Move

A new notion of "community policing" has emerged, where monitoring communities has taken the place of solving crimes.

Controversy and Confusion Over the Latest WikiLeaks Revelations: 8 Things You Really Need to Know

The latest WikiLeaks release comes with a bunch of accusations and confusion.
September 9, 2011

WikiLeaks has become a symbol of resistance to total government and corporate control over information and by extension, our lives.

Yet it often seems lately that the drama surrounding the organization is given more coverage than its actual revelations. Aside from founder Julian Assange's ongoing battle to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape and sexual assault charges, there's growing conflict with the leaks organization's former media partners over unredacted documents, arguments in the press about the proper way to handle sensitive information, and of course the ongoing concern of many for the treatment in prison of alleged leaker Bradley Manning.

Webb, Churchill and the Birth of the Welfare State: Sylvia Nasar

I just discovered the author of "A Beautiful Mind" is about to come out with a book on the history of "the welfare state":

Illusration by Bryan Dalton

By Sylvia Nasar Sep 7, 2011 8:00 PM ET 13 Comments

“You are young, pretty, rich, clever, what more do you want?” Beatrice Potter’s poor relation asked her with a trace of exasperation. “Why cannot you be satisfied?”

Like the heroine of Henry James’s 1881 novel, “Portrait of a Lady,” Beatrice had been brought up with an unusual freedom to travel, read, form friendships and satisfy her “great desire for knowledge.” Born in 1858 as the ninth daughter of a railway magnate and political liberal, she was “brought up in the midst of capitalist speculation” and “the restless spirit of big enterprise.”

She longed for a “real aim and occupation.” Her early mentor was Herbert Spencer -- the libertarian philosopher who coined the term “survival of the fittest” -- who encouraged her to pursue a career as a “social investigator.” She took the advice to heart, and by the time that career was over, Beatrice had invented the think tank, supplied the young Winston Churchill with a reform platform, and conceived the modern welfare state decades before the New Deal.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Before you go to a Government Gone Wild seminar, know speaker's history

By Dan DeWitt, Times Columnist
In Print: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maybe, you Pasco County residents have seen the ads in your subdivision newsletter. Maybe on the Internet.

And maybe, if you don't trust national politicians and you're easily swayed by exclamation marks and capital letters, they might sound like something you need to see, these seminars, these bold, new exposes of waste and dishonesty that go by the name of Government Gone Wild — excuse me, GOVERNMENT GONE WILD! — and that promise to tell you "what the federal government does not want you to know!!''

Because "ADMISSION IS FREE'' and they are scheduled in Pasco for "ONLY 3 NIGHTS!!'' you better "RESERVE NOW!!''

None of this is new to Hernando County, home of GOVERNMENT GONE WILD! star Blaise Ingoglia, who is identified on the website as a motivational speaker, which is one of several titles by which he goes. Professional poker player is another. So is chairman of the Hernando County Republican Executive Committee, which casts doubt on the claim that these seminars, the first of them scheduled for Thursday night at the Word of Life Auditorium in Hudson, really are "NON-PARTISAN.''

"Still, this is my advice to our neighbors to the south who might be thinking of going to one of Ingoglia's productions: STEER CLEAR!!!''"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blair is ‘Godfather to Murdoch’s Daughter’

LONDON — Former British prime minister Tony Blair is godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's young children, sources said Monday, raising fresh questions about British political links to the media mogul's empire. The revelation emerged in a Vogue magazine interview with Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng, which also contains claims that Blair was present when Murdoch and Deng's two daughters were baptised beside the River Jordan in March last year. A spokesman for Blair's London office and a spokeswoman for Murdoch's US-based News Corporation both refused to comment on the story in Vogue's October UK edition, which is out on Thursday. READ MORE

At Strategy Seminar, Koch Refers To Obama As ‘Saddam Hussein’ To Be Defeated In ‘Mother Of All Wars’

Today, Bradblog’s Brad Friedman reports for Mother Jones
about a secret meeting that the right-wing oil billionaire Koch brothers held at a Colorado resort in June with hundreds of wealthy donors who plotted to finance right-wing causes and elect conservative politicians.

Friedman reports that audio he obtained from the conference reveals that Charles Koch alarmingly referred to President Obama as “Saddam Hussein,” saying that the right had to fight the “mother of all wars.” He rallied his guests to donate millions of dollars to help defeat Obama and boost other right-wing causes. Listen to audio of these remarks obtained by Friedman:

Fox News Fakes Hoffa's Labor Speech to Spread Lies, Condemnation

Right wingers are currently stumbling over themselves to condemn the Labor Day speech of James Hoffa, accusing him of making "calls to violence" and accusing Obama of complicity for not denouncing him. But it's just not true:

Video at this site

Right-wing bloggers misled by dishonest Fox News video editing are attacking Teamsters President James Hoffa for supposedly urging violence against Tea Party activists during a Labor Day speech. Conservatives are also attacking President Obama, who appeared at the event, for "sanctioning violence against fellow Americans" by failing to denounce Hoffa. But fuller context included in other Fox segments makes clear that Hoffa wasn't calling for violence but was actually urging the crowd to vote out Republican members of Congress.

Obama, Addressing Unions, Shows Some Fight in Detroit

President Obama recognized Labor Day by speaking at an AFL-CIO event at a GM plant in Detroit, and the White House billed the event as helping set the stage for Thursday’s Joint Session speech. If that’s true, there’s cause for some optimism about what we’ll hear in the address.

Bachmann's Campaign Team Quits—And Why It Matters

Ed Rollins is the only Republican operative in the country who I kind of like. It's probably his blue-collar roots and his history as a boxer that makes him seem like a regular dude. He's a mercenary, like almost all the other great American campaign managers. But he also has a tendency to offer some blunt criticism of his own party. His 1984 "Morning in America" effort set the standard for great campaigns until David Plouffe came along in 2008.

I was a little bit disgusted with Rollins when he accepted Michele Bachmann's offer to run her campaign. He doesn't need the money and he knows better than to think she'd be an acceptable president. Rollins quit as H. Ross Perot's campaign manager when he figured out that Perot had a screw loose. So, why was he going to help Bachmann? READ MORE

$1 Million Donation to the Kochs? Meet the Wealthy Right-Wingers Helping Fund the Brothers' Agenda

In a speech recorded at the secretive Koch gathering, Charles Koch thanks donors who gave more than $1 million to the cause. Here's who they are.
September 6, 2011
of the Koch brothers' Vail seminar, and listen to the exclusive audio.

Twice a year, the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch host secretive retreats for an exclusive list of corporate America's rich and powerful to strategize and raise money for their right-wing political agenda. Mother Jones has obtained
exclusive audio recordings
Read Mother Jones' inside accountthat shed some light on the brothers' latest retreat, held at a resort near Vail, Colorado, in late June.

In a speech that is part of these recordings, Charles Koch thanks donors who gave more than $1 million to the cause. We checked the audio against a list of participants at the Kochs' 2010 seminar in Aspen that was obtained by ThinkProgress.organd did additional research on these individuals. Below are the names Koch read that appeared on the previous guest list.

8 Things You Should Know About the New Lawsuit Against the Banks That Torpedoed the Economy

The FHFA filed lawsuits last Friday alleging nearly $200 billion in fraud by the nation's biggest banks. Could this be the beginning of accountability for the banksters?
September 6, 2011

It was Friday afternoon, near market closing time, when the Federal Housing Finance Agency filed lawsuits against 17 big banks for their role in the subprime mortgage crisis that created, in turn, the financial crisis we're still struggling with today.

The suits accuse the banks of fraud, of lying to the federal government and to investors about the quality of the securities they were making by cranking out more and more subprime loans. The charge allows the FHFA to ask for punitive damages as well as actual damages. The amount of the suits is not yet known, but they allege nearly $200 billion in fraudulent securities were sold just to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed (and now, post-bailout, basically government-owned) mortgage lenders.

The news was big, yet it was dropped in the Friday news-dump hole before a holiday weekend, probably to try to mitigate its impact on stock prices. (Markets also take a day off for Labor Day, though one has to doubt they thank workers for the rest.) Otherwise, you'd think they would have broken the news in a big way on a day when people might actually be paying attention.

How Rick Perry Has Been on the Public Dole His Whole Life

Photo Credit: AFP

When this taxpayer-supported lifer flits into your town to declare that he will slash public benefits, he means in your life, not his.
September 6, 2011

Presidential wannabe Rick Perry is flitting all around the country -- hither, thither and yon -- spreading little "Perry Tales" about himself and the many wonders he has worked as governor of Texas.

His top Perry Tale is a creationist story about what he has modestly branded "The Texas Miracle." While the rest of the country is mired in joblessness, says the miracle worker, his state has added 1.2 million jobs during his 10-year tenure.

I've built "a job-creating machine," the governor gushed during one of his recent flits across Iowa, and a Perry PR aide smugly added, "The governor's job creation record speaks for itself."

Actually, it doesn't. Far from having the best unemployment rate in the nation, the Lone Star State ranks a middling 26th, behind New York, Massachusetts and other states whose "liberal" governments he routinely mocks.

Even more damning, Perry's Texas is not creating nearly enough jobs to keep up with its fast-growing population. Those 1.2 million new positions are 629,000 short of the jobs needed just to bring the state's employment level back up to where it was in 2007. Some miracle.

Why Obama's Beltway Apologists are Letting Us Down

Progressive defenders of Obama need to stop trying to discredit critics like Drew Westen and be honest with Americans about the President and our politics. September 4, 2011 This essay, which has been linked hundreds of times since it went up two days ago on Huffington Post,is as long (4300 words) as it is damning. I hope that you'll copy it onto a document and print it out in order to read it over the weekend and that you'll agree with me that the subtle horror of the rightward shift in "Democratic Party" public discourse I'm describing justifies its length. My argument here isn't that the Obama apologists I'm knocking -- Jonathan Chait, Fareed Zakaria, others -- should abandon him, even though he's abandoned a lot of what most Democrats think he promised to fight for. My argument, rather, is that his defenders should stop trying to discredit sharp critics of Obama, like Drew Westen, who've shown what kind of leadership the President still can and must exercise as a strategist and, yes, as a story-teller, the latter role being far more essential to good politics than some Beltway "realists" understand. Westen's game-changing essay, "What Happened to Obama?," landed in The New York Times' "Sunday Review" section on August 7 like "a rhetorical nuke dropped on ground zero in the liberal heartland," according to the blogger Andrew Sprung in a post titled, none too gently, "A Lover of Fairy Tales Casts Obama as Villain in Chief." READ MORE

Bachmann Open to a '0% Corporate Tax Rate'

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said Sunday that she was "open" to implementing Sarah Palin's suggestion that all corporate income taxes be abolished. READ MORE ------------- Thing is, foreign countries aren't going for this. Instead they tax corporations and give the public job security, free college education, cradle to grave healthcare, vacations and unemployment pay. In fact, as illustrated below in the Lush Bimbo, video, some corps are actually getting U.S. refunds, and yet they're still not hiring. So, while we're funding corporate tax breaks, letting them walk away with billions in profits that they give to their top executive in the form of bonuses and multimillion dollar pay outs, instead of distributing them as dividends. Our college grads are burdened with enourmous debt loads, while most of our population can't even go to college. Stuck in low paying jobs, with no heath coverage, no vacations, they're doomed to a life of flipping burgers, mopping floors and emptying often steamy bedpans. All while paying taxes, to make up for what the rich aren't being required to pay. Some country eh?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Robo-Signed Mortgage Documents Date to the 1990s

Banking Law

Posted Sep 2, 2011 7:20 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

The problem of robo-signed mortgage documents is more widespread and stretches back more years than originally thought.

Registers of deeds in counties across the country are finding suspect signatures on mortgage paperwork as far back as 1998, the Associated Press reports.And the problems aren’t confined to affidavits that banks file when a mortgage is issued. All sorts of mortgage documents have been improperly notarized, signed by people forging executives' names, or signed without an accuracy review, the story says.

In Guilford County, N.C., for example, a review of 6,100 mortgage documents filed since 2006 revealed that 74 percent have questionable signatures. In Salem, Mass., more than 25,000 mortgages dating back to 1998 had suspect signatures.

The problems can complicate home sales and mortgage applications. The findings have also hindered a settlement deal between state attorneys general and banks accused of improper mortgage practices, the story says.

Found here

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sheriff Saves $1 Million By De-Privatizing County Jail

Posted: 03 Sep 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Privatization has nothing to do with saving money and everything to do with giving kickbacks to politically connected contractors like Corrections Corporation of America:

Sheriff Michael Page of Hernando County, Florida, is the latest in a line of Sheriffs to inherit the headache that is the county jail. After being operated by CCA for 22 years, the facility had fallen into exceptional disrepair,after CCA had neglected to perform millions of dollars worth of required maintenance.The county took over the facility a little more than a year ago and started the long process of upgrading the security, staff, and conditions of the jail.

Initial projections by then-Sheriff Richard Nugent hypothesized that the county could save up to $200,000 compared to what CCA would have charged. It turns out that de-privatizing the jail has actually saved Hernando County taxpayers more than $1,000,000 this year.

Maybe Ric Scott and JD Alexander ought to reconsider their bullheaded push to privatize half the state’s prison system.

Chuck Hagel Slams The ‘Astounding Lack of Responsible Leadership’ in the GOP

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) sat down with the Financial Times this week, talking, among other things, about the recent fiasco surrounding the debt ceiling.The clip is worth watching, and ThinkProgress posted this excerpt:

For those who can’t watch clips online, Hagel directed nearly all of the blame at his own party. “The irresponsible actions of my party, the Republican Party over this were astounding. I’d never seen anything like this in my lifetime,” he said. “I was very disappointed, I was very disgusted in how this played out in Washington, this debt ceiling debate. It was an astounding lack of responsible leadership by many in the Republican Party, and I say that as a Republican.” Read more

Sometimes It’s Easy: US Uncut Exposes Rush Limbaugh with One Simple Question

(Just in case someone doesn't get it, Lush Bimbo, after being caught, tries to "recover" by letting his listeners know that, indeed corporations do not pay U.S. taxes and indeed do get money back. Of course the taxes they pay over there, pay for things like free health care for all German citizens, for example. Or free college educations, paid vacations etc. While the taxes they don't pay over here get passed on to guess who? How about -->The people screaming and yelling to keep corporate taxes non-existent? Watch the video down below. Rush needs to sell a Maybach, head off to Kansas before Dorothy leaves, to see if the Wiz might just have a brain he can buy.)

Carl Gibson, one of the founders of US Uncut,just steamrolled the drugged one. It was a thing of beauty. Rush would take a punch, hit the canvass, struggle to his feet, only to be flattened again. Eventually, as is always the case when right wing talkers find their asses handed to them, Ruash cheated. He spoke over Gibson, cut him off, spewed a slew of irrelevant right wing talking points, hung up on him, and then spent the next 10 minutes flailing desperately in an effort to make his audience forget what Carl’s question was.

So… What was the question? Well, a bit of background is in order first. Did you know that 47% of American households pay no income taxes? Let me tell you, every listener to right wing talk radio has heard that tired old talking point hundreds of times. It’s the ear bug of right wing talk that establishes the foundation of their resentment politics. After all, somebody has to be paying for all those welfare checks, right?

I probably don’t have to mention it to this crowd, but it is true, of course, that Limbaugh and his lieutenants (and the cultists that tune in faithfully every day) ignore the fact that everyone that works pays payroll taxes to the feds (about 12% of every dollar they earn)… They don’t mention the federal tax on gasoline… Or state, local and sales taxes. The truth is that nobody escapes the tax man, and that many of the folks that pay no federal income taxes nevertheless lose a higher percentage of their earnings to taxes than the super-rich do.

So yeah, virtually every day, Limbaugh tells his listeners that they are paying income taxes so that leech scum underclass of America can be coddled by the nanny state. So Carl called and politely as can be, asked:

Columnist: Registering Poor To Vote 'Like Handing Out Burglary Tools To Criminals'

Updated: September 2, 2011, 5:05 PM

Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is just going to come right out and say it: registering the poor to vote is un-American and "like handing out burglary tools to criminals."

"It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country -- which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote," Vadum, the author of a book published by World Net Daily that attacks the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, writes in a column for the American Thinker.

"Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn't about helping the poor," Vadum writes. "It's about helping the poor to help themselves to others' money. It's about raw so-called social justice. It's about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers."

Get Out of the Way of Eric Schneiderman!

Thom Hartmann, The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann: "Meet Eric Schneiderman - he's our best shot at making sure banksters pay for the crimes they committed on Wall Street - crimes that have led to millions of Americans losing their jobs, homes, and livelihoods. Crimes that SO FAR - have gone unpunished. Earlier this week - Schneiderman - who is New York's Attorney General - was kicked off a panel of state officials from around the country who are working with the Obama administration to come up with a one-time settlement for banksters to pay up for their crimes."
Read the Article

US Awash in Oil and Lies, Report Charges

Oil Change Internationa

Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service: "The country's oil industry is primarily interested in who will pay the most on the global marketplace. They call that 'energy security' when it suits, but in reality it is 'oil company security' through maximising profits, say energy experts like Steve Kretzman of Oil Change International, an NGO that researches the links between oil, gas and coal companies and governments."
Read the Article

How Prisons Imperil Black Voting Power in Post-Katrina Louisiana

A prison cell at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. (Photo: michele molinari / Flickr)

Prison-based gerrymandering has been drawing scrutiny in other states as well.

Zoe Sullivan, New America Media: "For criminal justice advocates, this discrepancy between eligible voters and counted population is a stark example of how prisons are skewing Louisiana’s political process, shifting power from urban areas to rural ones and further disenfranchising African-American communities suffering from the historic legacy of racism and the recent calamity of Hurricane Katrina."
Read the Article

Files Note Close CIA Ties to Qaddafi Spy Unit

Walid Musbah, a self-proclaimed fighter loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi, in the custody of rebels near Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound, in Tripoli, Libya, Sept. 2, 2011. (Photo: Moises Saman / The New York Times)

Rod Nordland, The New York Times News Service: "Documents found at the abandoned office of Libya’s former spymaster appear to provide new details of the close relations the Central Intelligence Agency shared with the Libyan intelligence service - most notably suggesting that the Americans sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country’s reputation for torture."
Read the Article

"The Reason For Attacking Libya?"

Is this for real?

The topic can be found here:

The Empire Is Eating Itself

Ralph Nader being interviewed during his 2008 presidential campaign, 08/01/08. (photo: Scrape TV)

By Ralph Nader, CounterPunch

03 September 11

he commemorative ceremonies that are planned for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 massacre are those of pathos for the victims and their families, of praise for both the pursuit of the supporters of the attackers and the performance of first responders and our soldiers abroad.

Flags and martial music will punctuate the combined atmosphere of sorrow and aggressive defiance to those terrorists who would threaten us. These events will be moments of respectful silence and some expressions of rage and ferocity.

But many Americans might also want to pause to recognize - or unlearn - those reactions and overreactions to 9/11 that have harmed our country. How, in this forward-looking manner, can we respect the day of 9/11?

Here are some suggestions:


DOJ vs. Gibson Guitar Company Enforcing Foreign Laws on Americans

(Will we enforce British Law on News Corp?)

The Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378) was signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25, 1900. It was the first federal law protecting wildlife and was originally proposed to counter illegal commercial gaming. It also makes it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant in violation of the laws of the United States, a State, an Indian tribe, or any foreign law that protects plants.

Recently, armed federal agents raided the famous Gibson Guitar company. Why? Well, not for violating any U.S. laws, but to enforce FOREIGN laws on the export of certain hardwoods. Did Madagascar or India ask the Department of Justice to help them enforce their laws on the export of Rosewood and Ebony? No. Apparently, neither Madagascar nor India feel that their laws were violated.

How the CIA Became 'One Hell of a Killing Machine'

Precision targeting provided by unmanned drones has become a favored strike weapon in Afghanistan, and could help NATO pinpoint Gaddafi forces in Libya. (photo: Rex Features/Sipa Press)

n April 14, 2004, CIA Director George Tenet looked so impotent he might have starred in a Viagra commercial. Tenet had come before the 9/11 Commission for what was sure to be a public flogging. In response, he alternately apologized for the agency's failure to stop 9/11 and explained it away. Finally, the exhausted panelists posed him a bottom-line question: how long would it take Tenet to get the CIA in a position to counterattack al-Qaida?

"It's going to take another five years,"Tenet confessed, "to build the clandestine service the way the human intelligence capability of this country needs to be run."

Seven years later, no one views the CIA as anything resembling impotent. The drone strikes it operates are the most important counterterrorism tool the Obama administration uses, battering a relatively small section of Pakistan so intensely that in 2010 they struck an average of once every three days. Osama bin Laden is dead as the result of a military operation the CIA commanded, highlighting the unprecedented coordination between CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). In the words of the head of CIA's Counterterrorism Center, its central nervous system for counterterrorism: "We are killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them now."

9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean judged Tenet's admission "one of the most appalling comments we heard." But as it turned out, Tenet's timetable was prescient. A remarkable Washington Post story explores the rejuvenated CIA, which one veteran calls "one hell of a killing machine."


Are WikiLeaks and Anonymous All We Have Left?

Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Joshua Holland writes, "It may not be appropriate to say in polite company, but there's no doubt that some Americans who hold a deep respect for the rule of law also find themselves cheering the information-age ronin who appear capable of waging war against the mightiest states and the most powerful corporations with impunity - the WikiLeakers and shadowy hackers that make up groups like Anonymous."