Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beck Calls Santorum 'the Next George Washington'

Posted: 17 Nov 2011 03:00 PM PST
By David

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck asked his listeners on Wednesday to consider Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum because he could be "the next George Washington."

"I don’t endorse candidates, I don't get involved in politics," the former Fox News host declared.READ MORE

Now anyone can be a comedian, just copy Republican lines and repeat them in public with a straight face!

Open Thread: What Actually Goes On Inside Herman Cain's Head

By scarce

'Nuff said.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' control over policy development in America must stop. Now.


Practicing the Fine Art of Bitchitude
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Pondering over-the-top exemptions and going-too-far denials of coverage...

I just read this editorial in the New York Times and I’m disgusted.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is roaming the halls of power in Washington, DC…and, unlike the rest of us average folk, it seems they can easily get whatever they want.

A few years ago, they were drafting amendments to attack access to reproductive healthcare and I’m betting they never left the Hill…just camped out and kept working their relationships until an opportunity to impose their ridged interpretation of healthcare on us all presented itself.

That opportunity came in the form of the new Head Party In Charge in the House. Yep, House Republicans and the Bishops are BFFs…and they are now pressuring the Obama administration to radically expand the refusal clause in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Poll: Ron Paul claims frontrunner status, soaring past Gingrich, Romney

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A surprising new poll out of Bloomberg News on Tuesday morning found that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is not the only Republican to benefit from the seeming demise of other prior frontrunners.

Beating all the odds and the pundits’ expectations, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has emerged as one of the new frontrunners in the crucial Iowa primary for the GOP nomination to the presidency, topping even Gingrich and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and virtually tying former businessman Herman Cain for the lead.

All surveys counted, Bloomberg News found that Paul has the support of 19 percent of the state’s GOP primary voters, versus Cain’s 20, Romney’s 18 and Gingrich’s 17.

What's Romney Hiding? Investigation Finds Staffers Destroyed Emails, Covered Digital Tracks

Somehow there is no record of emails from Romney's office during 2002 to 2206.
November 17, 2011

On their way out of the governor’s office and onto the presidential campaign trail, aides to Mitt Romney almost completely obliterated their electronic records, deleting emails, purchasing hard drives, and replacing computers, a investigation by the Boston Globe found. “The governor’s office has found no e-mails from 2002-2006 in our possession,’’ an aide to the current governor, Deval Patrick, told the Globe. Meanwhile, 11 Romney aides — many of whom went on to work on Romney’s 2008 campaign — purchased their state-issued computer hard drives as they left state employment.

Police Chief Who Oversaw 1999 WTO Crackdown Says Paramilitary Policing Is a Disaster

The police chief who oversaw Seattle's crackdown on WTO protesters learned the dangers of militarization.
November 17, 2011

They came from all over, tens of thousands of demonstrators from around the world, protesting the economic and moral pitfalls of globalization. Our mission as members of the Seattle Police Department? To safeguard people and property—in that order. Things went well the first day. We were praised for our friendliness and restraint—though some politicians were apoplectic at our refusal to make mass arrests for the actions of a few.

Then came day two. Early in the morning, large contingents of demonstrators began to converge at a key downtown intersection. They sat down and refused to budge. Their numbers grew. A labor march would soon add additional thousands to the mix.

“We have to clear the intersection,” said the field commander. “We have to clear the intersection,” the operations commander agreed, from his bunker in the Public Safety Building. Standing alone on the edge of the crowd, I, the chief of police, said to myself, “We have to clear the intersection.”


Because of all the what-ifs. What if a fire breaks out in the Sheraton across the street? What if a woman goes into labor on the seventeenth floor of the hotel? What if a heart patient goes into cardiac arrest in the high-rise on the corner? What if there’s a stabbing, a shooting, a serious-injury traffic accident? How would an aid car, fire engine or police cruiser get through that sea of people? The cop in me supported the decision to clear the intersection. But the chief in me should have vetoed it. And he certainly should have forbidden the indiscriminate use of tear gas to accomplish it, no matter how many warnings we barked through the bullhorn.

What to Make of New Polling on Support for the Occupy Movement?

Americans have a long tradition of holding protesters in disdain, even when they are later proven to be on the right side of history.
November 17, 2011

Opponents of Occupy Wall Street seized, shark-like, on a poll released this week by PPP which found that, in the words of the pollsters, the “movement is not wearing well with voters across the country.”

But that's a matter of perspective. In context, it could just as easily have read, “support for the Occupy Wall Street is holding up surprisingly well.”

The context is a relentless propaganda campaign to paint the movement in the worst possible light. As Heather “Digby” Parton noted, “nobody should be surprised” by the poll's findings given the intensity of that campaign in recent weeks.

Why Telecoms Get Away With Screwing Customers to Pump Up Their Massive Profits

The telecom trust’s use of the FCC to raise your rates is a direct example of how corporate greed impacts each of us.

November 17, 2011

In light of Major Mike Bloomberg’s displacement of Liberty Plaza/Zuccotti Park, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) campaign is spreading throughout the nation and the world. Most important, its critique of inequality is getting sharper and more systematic. Its core target has been the banking and financial-services industry, but activists are turning the spotlight on other, equally pernicious sectors of the economy, including the extraction, healthcare military and prison industries. Analyses of these industries reveal a common story: the fix is in. READ MORE

Former JPMorgan Banker: Exploiting Consumers Is ‘The Purpose Of The Banking Organization’

Wall Street continues to ignore America’s anger at it, sipping champagne from rooftops while protesters march below.
November 18, 2011

Wall Street banks, largely spared from the economic ruin felt by millions of Americans since the financial crisis of 2008, have returned to profitability, generating higher profits in the two-and-a-half years since the crisis than they did in nearly eight years preceding it. But that hasn’t stopped them from seeking new ways to generate revenue — like Bank of America’s proposed $5-a-month debit card fee or the millions banks have made from charging consumers to receive unemployment benefits or food stamps.

Privatization Nightmare: 5 Public Services That Should Never Be Handed Over to Greedy Corporations

Why we all pay more when essential services are privatized.
November 17, 2011

Who gains – and who loses – when public assets and jobs are turned over to the private sector?

The corporate right endlessly promotes “privatization” of public assets and public jobs as a cash-raising or cost-saving measure. Privatization is when the public turns over assets like airports, roads or buildings, or contracts out a public function like trash collection to a private company. Many cities contract out their trash collection. To raise cash Arizona even sold its state capital building and leased it back.

The justification for privatization is the old argument that private companies do everything better and more “efficiently” than government, and will find ways to cut costs. Over and over we hear that companies do everything for less cost than government. But it never seems to sink in that private companies don’t do things unless the people at the top can make a bundle of cash; if the CEO isn’t making millions, that CEO will move the company on to something else. When government does something they don’t have to pay millions to someone at the top.

OWS Fight Is Far from Over: Explosive Actions on 2-Month Anniversary of Movement

The 99 percent showed up around the city to stand in solidarity with the evicted occupiers and express their support for a growing movement.
November 18, 2011

New York City showed its billionaire mayor and the rest of the 1 percent that the fight is far from over, just two days after the violent crackdown on Liberty Plaza in the middle of the night Tuesday.

From a 7am march on Wall Street and subway speak-outs around the city to student walk-outs at CUNY and Columbia and a giant, permitted rally in Foley Square with a reported 30,000-plus attendees, the 99 percent showed up around the city to stand in solidarity with the evicted occupiers and express their support for a growing, expanding, living movement. There was also a march across the Brooklyn Bridge and projections on the Verizon building declaring, "We are Winning" and "Occupy Earth."

Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno, registered Republicans

Jerry Sandusky (Credit: AP/Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General)

Update: Trying to clear up what this very slight post was and wasn't supposed to be about Jerry Sandusky, the longtime Penn State defensive coordinator who is facing a 40-count indictment on felony sex abuse charges, is a registered Republican, according to records from the Pennsylvania Department of State:

I know, I know: There’s no link between partisan identification and the propensity to commit child sex abuse. There are Democrats who have done terrible things to children too. But given how quick some on the right can be to insinuate a connection between liberal ideology and appalling individual acts — remember Rush Limbaugh telling his listeners that the Times Square bomber was a registered Democrat? – I figured it was worth pointing out Sandusky’s status.

For what it’s worth, the Penn State football program itself has been a bastion of political conservatism through the years. Joe Paterno, the long-serving head coach who announced his retirement today amid suggestions that he did too little to stop Sandusky, is an outspoken Republican who delivered a nominating speech for George H.W. Bush at the 1988 Republican convention and had headlined GOP campaign events over the years. Here, for instance, is video of him speaking at a rally for George W. Bush back in 2004. And back in the 1980s, as he led his team to two national titles in five seasons, Paterno was talked up as a potential Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.
(Don't just guess about it, google Republican scandals and do the same for Democrats and compare).

Part 1 - Sandusky investigation expands into Texas [NBC 11-11-2011]

Conservatives Smear Hutchinson and Sharpton for Linking Bush to Sandusky’s Foundation

Posted by Earl Ofari Hutchinson on November 16, 2011 at 8:00pm
View Blog

The Hutchinson Report

November 17, 2011

We find a fresh example in yesterday's Keeping It Real With Al Sharpton radio show, where regular guest / activist/Earl Ofari Hutchinson falsely claimed the former president had praised Penn State sicko Jerry Sandusky. READ MORE

George H. W. Bush Endorsed Jerry Sandusky's charity.

Poppy called Second Mile a "shining example."

I bet. Other civic leaders, sports notables and entertainment personalities did as well:
Ex-coach in Penn State scandal built charity with support from sports stars, politicians

Among the big-time athletic figures listed as honorary directors were Cal Ripken Jr., Arnold Palmer, former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris and Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid. President George W. Bush praised the group as a “shining example” of charity work in a 1990 letter. (Sandusky’s reaction: “It’s about time, George! This is long overdue,” he recalled in his autobiography, “Touched.”)

This, then, must appear less incredulous to a lot of people:

The good-guy aura around Sandusky was so great that when some children questioned behavior that didn’t seem right, no one took the complaints seriously. READ MORE
I'm starting to understand Sen. Vitter better.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nevada Indicts Two LPS Employees on 606 Counts of Robo-Signing

By: David Dayen Thursday November 17, 2011 6:10 am

A grand jury in Nevada yesterday indicted two title officers, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, on 606 counts of robo-signing between 2005 and 2008, a scheme that resulted in the fraudulent filing of tens of thousands of other documents with the Clark County register of deeds. This has the potential to be a groundbreaking case; it’s the first I can think of which actually indicts a robo-signer on criminal charges for fraud. And by going after the title officers, the Attorney General of Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, appears to be laying out a strategy to go up the chain and hollow out the entire industry and their illegal document fraud. READ MORE

Internet posting pointed to Sandusky

Investigation breakthrough reportedly came from random online mention

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A breakthrough in the investigation of Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky came from a random posting on the Internet, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Investigators with the Pennsylvania attorney general's office — who were already convinced Sandusky was a serial molester — were alerted to an Internet forum posting that mentioned a Penn Statefootball coach had kept silent about abuse he had witnessed years earlier, sources told the newspaper. READ MORE

Bank of America: Always Thinking of You

Wednesday 16 November 2011
by: Jim Hightower, Truthout | Op-Ed

One way you can tell that a bank is in trouble is that it suddenly starts buying full-page ads in newspapers across the country that tell us what great shape it's in and what a fine job it's doing for our communities.

Such a PR push is now being made by Bank of America, which -- despite its happy-face ads -- is in a heap of hurt. How big of a heap? So big that it's trying to share the hurt with you and me. READ MORE

Karl Rove Flips Out at Protesters: "Who Gave You the Right to Occupy America?"

Wednesday 16 November 2011
by: Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress | Report

Last night, former Bush official Karl Rove appeared at Johns Hopkins University to speak as a part of the annual Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium. Rove soon discovered that he wasn’t going to deliver his right-wing rhetoric unopposed, as a cry of “Mic Check!” rang out among the audience.

“Karl Rove is the architect of Occupy Iraq, the architect of Occupy Afghanistan!” yelled the demonstrators. Occupy Baltimore had infiltrated the crowd and began chanting against Rove. “Who gave you the right to occupy America?” asked Rove to the protesters, apparently unaware of the Bill of Rights. As they repeated their slogan, “We are the 99 percent!” Rove petulantly responded, “No you’re not!” He snidely added, “You wanna keep jumping up and yelling that you’re the 99 percent? How presumptuous and arrogant can you think are!” Watch Occupy Baltimore confront Rove:


On the News With Thom Hartmann: Court Rules in Favor of the One Percent, and More

Wednesday 16 November 2011
by: Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Program | News Report

In today's On the News segment: an online petition has started calling for Mayor Bloomberg to resign, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admitted the Occupy crackdown in her city was part of a larger conspiracy, Republicans want pizza and French fries to constitute "vegetables" in school lunches, and more.

The Great GOP Primary Crash and Burn: 5 Republican Would-Be Saviors Flame Out in Hilarious Ways

The GOP's "anyone but Romney" strategy has backfired.
November 16, 2011

In a normal democracy, a competent opposition party would have no difficulty in defeating Barack Obama next year.

After all, unemployment is still around 9 percent, economic growth is sluggish at best and the Democratic base feels disenchanted with the hope and change they voted into office a mere three years ago. A competent opposition party shouldn’t have to nominate a superlative candidate in this environment; instead it can win by simply nominating someone with decent hair, who can string together words in a language vaguely resembling English and who has no obvious debilitating mental illnesses.

For Republicans, this generic good-hair, able-to-talk, not-overtly-insane candidate is Mitt Romney. But there’s just one problem with this scenario: The Republican base hates Mitt Romney. READ MORE

Occupy Roundup: Olbermann's Devastating Special Comment Nailing Bloomberg Plus New Video of Eviction

Keith Olbermann's special comment last night explained why he thought Mayor Bloomberg's crackdown on Zuccotti Park would only strengthen the movement rooted there, because overreactions traditionally make movements more mainstream.

Keep watching past a strong historical context to hear the most insanely accurate speechifying against Mayor Michael Bloomberg you will ever hear. He calls Bloomberg "an archetype" and a "cartoon," (and much worse) who is nonetheless "the most irreplaceable man" of the Occupy Wall Street movement because his actions had been successful at "vault[ing] it back into the headlines." Read more

Undaunted by Crackdown, Occupy Wall Street and New York Activists Plan Massive Day of Action

Just days after the brutal raid on the Occupy movement's home base in Liberty Plaza, a huge day of action is planned to take the movement to another level.
November 16, 2011

New York's 99 percent aren't letting a massive middle-of-the-night police raid get them down.

November 17, the two-month anniversary of the Liberty Plaza occupation in Manhattan's financial district, has been the center of plans for massive actions for weeks now, and the crackdown by billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg's forces early Tuesday morning has only given new determination to the organizers and activists.

“Everyone as of last night was totally exhausted and drained,” Olivia Leirer of New York Communities for Change told me, “But ready to put their energy into the 17th and to make sure the energy on the 17th is not about the police crackdown, but about the message of the movement.” READ MORE

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pot Patient: "If I Didn't Smoke Marijuana, I Would Be Blind"

Photo Credit: Erik R. Bishoff on Flickr

In 1988, a federal program made Elvy Musikka one of the first Americans to receive medical marijuana. Now a marijuana activist, she shares her inspiring -- and enraging -- story.
November 14, 2011

LOS ANGELES — In 1988, Elvy Musikka (pictured) became the first woman in the United States to be legally permitted by the federal government to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, due to a case of Glaucoma that threatened to render her blind.

Armed with a mountain of paperwork, a dedicated doctor and a savvy attorney, she managed to get both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to sign off on her right to access the only medicine that alleviated her symptoms, joining a tiny, exclusive group who have successfully used the legal system to gain access to medical marijuana grown by the feds.

To this day, reform advocates point to the Compassionate Investigational New Drugs program as a glaring hypocrisy. After all: How can the government continue to insist that marijuana has no medicinal value when it is also producing it as a medicine for this select group of patients?

Each and every month, Musikka eligible to receive 300 marijuana cigarettes, grown, rolled, packed and shipped by employees of the U.S. government, as part of a program that officially stopped accepting patients on orders of President George Bush, Sr. in 1992.

GOP Hits Shameless New Extremes to Protect Interests of Wealthy at the Expense of Everyone Else

From Iraq to OWS, Republicans are going to increasingly absurd measures to protect the wealthy.
November 15, 2011

According to the most reliable counts, the United States’ invasion and occupation of Iraq has killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians, 650,000 Iraqi civilians
or more than 1 million Iraqi civilians. In other words, we’ve vaporized the equivalent of Billings, Mont. (pop. 104,170), Memphis, Tenn. (pop. 646,889) or San Jose, Calif. (pop. 945,942).

Horrifying as these statistics are, imagine how much more disgusted you would be if a foreign power actually did vaporize those cities, and then followed up that annihilation by having its leading politicians and pundits demand that Americans pay reparations for the privilege of experiencing such devastation.READ MORE

Comic book artist Frank Miller: ‘Occupy’ protesters are ‘losers, schmucks’

By Andrew Jones
Monday, November 14, 2011

Renowned comic book artist and film director Frank Miller sure doesn’t have positive feelings on ‘Occupy’ protests.

On his website last week, Miller expressed his displeasure about the movement, calling it ”nonsense.”

“The ‘Occupy’ movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment,” he wrote. “‘Occupy’ is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.”

Miller was far from done issuing his harsh sentiments on the protests.

“This is no popular uprising,” he continued. “This is garbage. And goodness knows they’re spewing their garbage – both politically and physically – every which way they can find.”

GOP Sen. claims equal rights are just too expensive

By David Edwards
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why shouldn’t same sex couples have equal rights? According to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), it’s because equality is just too expensive.

“Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would actually result in an expansion of federal benefits and spending at a time when we know that federal spending is way out of control and our entitlement programs are unsustainable,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

“Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act would actually increase the cost of Social Security that is already insolvent,” he added. “No one has paid into the Social Security system expecting benefits to be paid to same sex partners.”

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) later explained that same sex couples, like everyone else, deserved the benefits of the system they had been paying into.

“If you have a same sex couple, both of whom have paid into Social Security, both of whom have fulfilled all the things required, that somehow it would be wrong if they got the same benefits as an opposite sex couple would,” he said. “Fair is fair. They paid. They should be allowed. … I think if you’re paying the taxes, you’re fulfilling the obligations, you ought to get the same benefits as anybody else.”

Message to Occupiers: Stay Strong -- They Can't Beat Down Hopes, Dreams and the Fight for a More Humane World

There is a long road ahead, but every obstacle overcome leads to a better tomorrow. We just have to refuse to take no for an answer.
November 15, 2011

Who knew, or could even imagine, that in such a short time, the Occupy Wall Street movement would inspire a striking transformation of public consciousness, capturing the imagination of the country and the globe, and fundamentally changing the public discourse? And it's just the beginning.

Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza was recoccupied last night by hundreds of protestors, after a brutal display by the NYPD the night before. Police snuck in under the cover of darkness in the early morning hours Tuesday, and violently cleared the park, destroying everything that had been creatively built over the past two months. It was a sad and infuriating moment; an action that spoke volumes about the fears and pettiness of a mayor and a city that can't seem to help but be immature and brutal, arbitrary and capricious, and totally lacking in any of the imagination the protestors have in bundles.

There's a Photo of Herman Cain Being Inappropriate

Look at where his hand is. His thumb is on her boob!

By Tina Dupuy

I saw this picture a couple of days ago and I wasn't going to write about it. I don't think Herman Cain is going to get the nomination. He's not going to ever have any real elected power. He's just a local radio talk show host Americans for Prosperity has propped up to be the straight-talking reason the tea party isn't racist (wink, wink). Speaking of which, yesterday I was on a right-wing radio show (he says he's "independent"...wink) and there were John Birch Society ads running during the break and the narrator had a distinctly African-American voice. Interesting.

Anyway, it wasn't until last night at the 84th GOP primary debate when Cain called the first female Speaker of the House "Princess Nancy" right in the middle of his sexual harassment scandal did he really get my ire up. "Queen" I think I'd be OK with. But really? Princess? She's a history maker, a grandmother and a respected Democrat wrangler - not a vacuous tween irritant. Men who don't see women as equals, don't get how not to be demeaning. READ MORE

My Night Trying to Save Liberty Plaza: Firsthand Account of NYPD's Eviction of OWS

When your supporters are facing an unknown fate in the park that has become the base for a global movement, separation is tough.
November 15, 2011
walked up to Liberty Plaza at 1:30 Tuesday morning to find out I was too late. The barricades were up; the police were everywhere. We couldn't even get close enough to see inside the park.

People were pissed. They were blindsided -- separated from their friends, their homes, their families. Occupy Wall Street runs on camaraderie, on solidarity. And when your supporters are facing an unknown fate in the park that has become the base for a global movement, separation is tough.

And yet, the demonstrators stood strong as their hard work, all their infrastructure -- the people's library, the kitchen, the tents, media, medical--was destroyed.

Stephen Colbert's Hilarious Takedown of Republican Paranoia on Birth Control (It Involves Dinosaurs and Condoms)

Republicans think birth control being covered by health insurance as "preventative care"--something that should have happened long ago--is going to bring about the end of civilization. Seriously.

This insane kind of paranoia is the perfect target for Stephen Colbert, who launched into a killer satire of this reaction on his show last night. It's a must-watch. And yes, it involved Colbert's impression of a dinosaur trying to use prophylactics.

Matt Damon Continues Defending Teachers, Makes Libertarians Look Silly

It wasn't enough that actor Matt Damon gave a passionate speech in defense of public school teachers at a rally last weekend. No, the Bourne Identity star (and Oscar winner for the screenplay of Good Will Hunting) managed to become a YouTube sensation when a camera crew stuck a microphone in his face and tried to imply that the free market is the reason he's a successful actor.

Damon, with his mom standing by proudly, schools the libertarians on their "MBA-style thinking" and, with slightly NSFW language, provides the line of the year against the cameraman and knocks the "intrinsically paternalistic" thinking in education policy these days. Read more

Mortgage Company Bailed Out By Taxpayers Is Caught Forging Documents to Forclose on Them

GMAC, one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, faced a quandary last summer. It wanted to foreclose on a NYC homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork.

August 1, 2011

GMAC, one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, faced a quandary last summer. It wanted to foreclose on a New York City homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork needed to seize the property.

GMAC has a standard solution to such problems, which arise frequently in the post-bubble economy. Its employees secure permission to create and sign documents in the name of companies that made the original loans. But this case was trickier because the lender, a notorious subprime company named Ameriquest, had gone out of business in 2007.

The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor

Mike Elk and Bob Sloan, The Nation: "Although a wide variety of goods have long been produced by state and federal prisoners for the US government - license plates are the classic example, with more recent contracts including everything from guided missile parts to the solar panels powering government buildings - prison labor for the private sector was legally barred for years, to avoid unfair competition with private companies. But this has changed thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), its Prison Industries Act, and a little-known federal program known as PIE (the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program). While much has been written about prison labor in the past several years, these forces, which have driven its expansion, remain largely unknown."
Read the Article

Noam Chomsky | America in Decline

Noam Chomsky, Truthout: "Corporate power's ascendancy over politics and society - by now mostly financial - has reached the point that both political organizations, which at this stage barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate. For the public, the primary domestic concern is unemployment."
Read the Article

Cain Is Not Able

As usual, we ask that you click on the song link here before reading this blog post so that you may enjoy some very appropriate background music which we now refer to as “Herman’s Theme”.

Part-time Republican Presidential candidate and full-time “player” Herman Cain was forced to hold a press conference last night to address the five (and counting) separate allegations of sexual misconduct which have emerged during the last two weeks. Before a throng of inquisitive media members, he said of all the allegations, “They simply didn’t happen. They simply did not happen.”

Cain’s denials came on the very same day that a fifth woman, Donna Donella emerged with the charge that in 2002, Cain tried to get her to arrange a dinner with a “lovely young lady” in the audience at a speech that he was giving. Additionally, just prior to Cain’s press conference, one of his original accusers revealed her identity. Karen Kraushaar was one of the women who received a settlement payment as the result of her sexual harassment charges and she told CNN that Cain is a “serial denier”. She also said that she would like to hold a joint press conference with all of the other alleged Cain victims so that the public could better understand his misbehavior. READ MORE

Clinton And Gingrich Now Say It Was A Mistake To Help Wall Street End Glass-Steagall

Wall Street made it clear to the political class they would pay-- and pay big-- to get out from under the restrictions of Glass-Steagall. They tried all during the Reagan and the Bush I years but it wasn't 'til the right had the disgraced Bill Clinton by the balls that they were able to get what they wanted. Conservative Democrat turned reactionary Republican, Texas Senator Phil Gramm, one of the most corrupt Members of Congress in the entire 20th Century, teamed up with conservative Republicans Jim Leach (IA) and Tom Bliley (VA) to help Wall Street game the system in such a way that they could be sure to drain immense wealth from the middle class. READ MORE Be sure to read the comments section while there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Court Order Allows Occupy Wall St. Protesters Back

Colleen Long, Verena Dobnik, Associated Press
Long and Dobnik report: "Hundreds of police officers in riot gear raided Zuccotti Park early Tuesday, evicting dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters from what has become the epicenter of the worldwide movement protesting corporate greed and economic inequality. Hours later, the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters to return with tents to the park. The guild said the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters."

At Occupy Camps, Veterans Bring the Wars Home

Iraq War Veteran Michael Patterson, 21, near the Occupy DC encampment, 11/11/11. (photo: Tina Dupuy/The Atlantic)

By Tina Dupuy, The Atlantic/Crooks and Liars

12 November 11

Expert at living in tents, some veterans are finding new purpose in the streets.

We're in a coffee shop near McPherson Square, the location of Occupy DC, and Michael Patterson, 21, and I are having hot cocoa on a cold November night. He's wearing an Iraq Veterans Against the War sweatshirt and baggy shorts. It's freezing outside. "I'm from Alaska," he offers as an explanation. He's been sleeping in a tent in D.C. for over a month now. I've traveled to five Occupations in two countries. In every demonstration (including the one in Canada) I've found a vet to talk to:

Football is NOT an Absolute Monarchy

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 07:00 PM PST

It all reads like an overheated John Grisham novel: A trusted football hero and director of a respected child refuge center is charged with sexually assaulting eight young boys for over a 14 year period. An assistant coach who was an eye-witness to the anal rape of a ten year old boy and rather than trying to stop the crime, or even report it to the police, instead told his boss, a legendary head coach, who along with a university president and his athletic director, covered it up.


Breaking the Faith – A Close Look at Covenant House

(From a village voice story, and you thought you knew John aka Bruce Ritter?)

By Russ Baker

Recent revelations of insider loans from an unregistered trust fund to board members and friends of Father Bruce Ritter, including a $131,000 loan to Father Ritter’s sister, Cassie Wallace, have splintered the management of Covenant House and raised doubts about the future of the $85 million charity. But the Voice has learned that the pattern of favoritism didn’t end there: Father Ritter’s niece, Ellen Wallace Lofland, was given the exclusive contract to decorate and furnish Covenant House crisis centers throughout the country, overseeing hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures annually. In addition, Lofland’s husband Tandy was hired to manage multimillion dollar construction and remodeling projects at the Houston and Fort Lauderdale Covenant Centers.

The spreading financial scandal has already led to the forced resignations of two board members, including Ritter’s personal physician, James T. Kennedy, who left after his loan from the hidden trust was revealed by The New York Times. But the Voice has learned that Kennedy remains Covenant House New York’s medical director, earning $100,000 a year for his 20-hour-a-week position. The increasingly compromised board has descended into charges of scape­goating over the extraordinarily high per client costs and huge salaries for top administrators. But the central question is how such a wasteful and ill managed program could become the brightest of a thousand points of light beamed on the problems of troubled youth of right wing "voluntarism" by accident. Working closely with former board member Robert Macauley, a wealthy businessman and life long chum of President George Bush, Ritter built a network of well-connected allies across the country to help pave the way for Covenant House’s rapid expansion. He made friends with many Reagan­/Bush friends, like Peter Grace, the conservative billionaire head of W. R. Grace, William Simon, the former Treasury secretary, and Charles Keating, chief of California’s failed Lincoln Savings and Loan, which is under federal investigation for influence peddling in Congress. Many of these new friendships went well beyond a hefty Christmas contribution. Keating’s company, for example, made so many “substandard” loans - as much as $40 million worth - to Covenant, that the S&L took out a $10 million “key man” life insurance policy on Father Ritter, based on his proven ability to raise money via direct mail appeals.

Sandusky admits he 'horsed around,' but insists he's innocent

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:09 AM EST, Tue November 15, 2011

State College, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky insisted in an interview Monday night he is "innocent" of charges that he sexually abused young boys, denying to NBC's Bob Costas that he's a pedophile.

In a telephone interview with NBC's "Rock Center With Brian Williams," Sandusky admitted that some details in the graphic 23-page grand jury report released earlier this month are correct.

"I could say I have done some of those things," he said. "I have horsed around with kids I have showered (with) after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact."

Still, Sandusky claimed he has been falsely accused of crimes. When pressed, the 67-year-old Sandusky said the only thing he did wrong was having "showered with those kids."

Prosecutors: Coach went from mentor to predator


Monday, November 14, 2011

Hacking police find 'bombshell' emails: Now detectives may want to question James Murdoch

Grilling: Mr Murdoch was questioned for two and a half hours by a Commons select committee on Thursday

By Stephen Wright

Last updated at 12:36 PM on 12th November 2011

Police investigating phone-hacking at the News of the World have recovered a series of ‘bombshell’ emails which they believe takes the inquiry to ‘a new level’.

The emails were among tens of thousands held by the newspaper at a data storage facility in India.

Police are believed to want to question News International chief James Murdoch and former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks about their contents.

Discussions have taken place with the Crown Prosecution Service about whether Mr Murdoch should be arrested and interviewed under caution.

Ray Gricar, Missing Pennsylvania DA, Opted Not To Prosecute Jerry Sandusky

According to a Pennsylvania grand jury report Ray Gricar investigated Jerry Sandusky before he disappeared.

The criminal case against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky has put the media spotlight back on the missing persons case of Ray Gricar. An esteemed district attorney, Gricar failed to prosecute Sandusky for sex crimes in 1998, and later disappeared without a trace.

"We've had a lot of twists and turns. This is another -- obviously on a much greater scale than in the past," Gricar's nephew, Tony Gricar, told The Huffington Post.

According to a Pennsylvania grand jury report,Ray Gricar investigated allegations that Sandusky had inappropriate contact with an 11-year-old boy in a school locker room in 1998.

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly indicted Sandusky on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys. According to the grand jury report, there are eight victims who were targeted between 1994 and 2009.

Since Sandusky's arrest, Penn State has been the subject of widespread criticism because of an alleged cover-up of the former coach's alleged illegal activities. Recently, that criticism has also fallen on Ray Gricar, the man who opted not to prosecute Sandusky in 1998.

The former DA, however, is not around to defend his actions. Ray Gricar has been missing since 2005, when he vanished under mysterious circumstances. READ MORE

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Has Obama Just Kicked Off Another Oil War -- This Time in Africa?

Here's what is likely behind Obama's decision to send special forces to Uganda.
November 8, 2011

On Friday, October 14, President Barack Obama announced he would be sending 100 Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) forces to Uganda to "remove from the battlefield" (meaning capture or kill) the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony. "I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa," wrote Obama in a letter to U.S. House Majority Leader, John Boehner, R-OH.

The LRA, whose horrific deeds have been have been well-documented by scores of human rights reports and the documentary film, Invisible Children, can best be described as a Christian cult militia engaged in violent armed rebellion against the Ugandan government, located primarily in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. An arrest warrant was issued in 2005 by the International Criminal Court against the LRA leadership for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kony, the LRA ringleader, possibly has over 80 wives (i.e. sex slaves), according to a 2009 story by the Guardian, and has fathered over 40 children.

It gets worse.

According to a May 2009 article in Newsweek, "[H]e and the hundreds of forcibly conscripted children who serve as his killing squads are feared throughout the region for their horrific levels of brutality and the butchery of tens of thousands of defenseless civilians. Their swath of destruction has displaced well over 2 million people. Kony has forced new male recruits to rape their mothers and kill their parents. Former LRA members say the rebels sometimes cook and eat their victims."

Mexico City Mayor Calls U.S. Drug Policy "Schizophrenic"

As Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard pointed out, the United States and Mexico are clearly tied when it comes to the black market for drugs, but this relationship is not reflected in policy.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard says that if elected president he would remove his nation's military forces from the fight against violent drug cartels and seek a dialogue with policymakers in the United States over narcotics laws in both countries, which he called "schizophrenic."

"If the United States is legalizing marijuana and we're over here killing ourselves on the street over marijuana, that does not make sense," Ebrard said Tuesday, referring to U.S. states, such as California, that have sought to decriminalize the sale and use of cannabis. READ MORE

Finally, Berlusconi's Departing -- But That Won't Help the Eurocrisis Unless Austerity Plans Exit, Too

Berlusconi’s exit –though welcome -- will not solve Italy’s problems. Forced austerity measures are preventing investment in precisely the areas needed for recovery.
November 11, 2011

What exactly is the eurozone crisis? Is it a financial crisis? An economic crisis? Actually, it’s a growth crisis. And as such, it must have growth solutions. Instead we are being bombarded every day with theatrical new developments (Papandreou’s referendum, Berlusconi’s wavering on reform and elections) that would make us think that it is all the fault of some corrupt and/or lazy politicians. Or the result of Europeans, and their governments, refusing to live within their means. The solution, we are told, is better politicians and belt-tightening.

We are told, for example, that Italy’s enormous debt (118% of GDP), has caused the “markets” to doubt the country’s ability to pay it back, causing the interest it pays on its bonds (the way it funds its debt) to rise to an unsustainable level (7% on November 9th). That rate, we hear, brings Italy to the ‘tipping point’ of default, and will cause it to exit the euro. Pundits claim that in order to “save” Italy, almost all the funds in the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) would need to be used (1 trillion euros). That figure is so big that it is deemed not only “too big to fail,” but also ‘”too big to bail out.”

Rick Perry's Epic 'Gaffe" Was so Much More Than Just a Stumble

The New York Times reinforced yesterday something I said on Twitter as well: the fact that Perry's debate "gaffe" was about a lot more than someone failing to remember a talking point. We've all had our embarrassing "duh" moments where we forget something simple--though Perry could certainly have handled the moment better. (In his place, I might have made a self-deprecating joke like "see, that's the problem--so many of these agencies, sometimes it's hard even for me to keep 'em all straight. Y'all know I'm not the best talker up here. I'll leave the speechifying to Mr. Obama. But You can see my proposals on my website, all the details are there." The fact that he couldn't do even that to recover is a gaffe in its own right.)

But the problem is that eliminating a federal agency isn't a minor talking point. It's a big, big deal involving hundreds or even thousands of regulatory consequences and tens of thousands of jobs. It's one thing not to remember the name of a world leader, or the precise percentage of a tax or benefit policy tweak. It's quite another to forget an entire government agency you want to eliminate. In non-political terms, that's not like forgetting the name of your coworker. For someone who wants to be President, that's like forgetting the name of your kid. It defies credibility.

"Say Goodnight Rick!"

The Telecom Scam: 5 Behemoths That Strangle Innovation and Ensure You Pay Too Much for Bad Service

America’s communications system is in crisis, hijacked by a handful of giant companies coddled by the agencies that are supposed to regulate them.
November 11, 2011

America’s communications system is in crisis and the longterm consequences will be profound. Most distressing, this issue is not on the political agenda for the 2012 electoral campaign.

The nation’s historic strength is embodied in the ongoing development of its communications infrastruture: the telegraph helped launch 19th-century modernity; the telephone fashionend the 20th-century business and consumer society; and broadband communications is shaping the 21st-century global marketplace.

Unfortunately, where the U.S. was once a world leader in communications, it is now devolving into a secondrate telecom nation. In a December 2010 report, Europe’s Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked the U.S. 15th in “broadband” subscribers. READ MORE

Who's Behind the Mayhem at the Occupy Oakland Protests?

Oakland officials are gearing up for another crackdown on the Occupy Oakland camp, justified in part by recent acts of vandalism by people who may not even be part of the movement.
November 11, 2011

During an Occupy Oakland camp meeting on November 3 – the morning after a boisterous but peaceful day of protests in Oakland devolved into a barrage of teargas and “less lethal” bullets after nightfall -- about a dozen “occupiers” expressed their frustration with the vandalism that had marred the evening; acts of mayhem committed by a small number of people among the thousands who took part in the protests.

“Who are these people?” asked one protester who would only identify himself as Dave. “They're not staying here with us, they're not participating in the GAs [general assemblies] and as far as I'm concerned, they're not a part of this movement.”

Walking Wall Street

On the streets of Oakland, California, a handful of rubber bullets, 10/26/11. (photo: dinab/flickr)

By Stephen Eric Bronner, Reader Supported News

11 November 11

Reader Supported News | Perspective

Certain times require a spark: not merely to ignite action but to foster some sense of historical understanding. This is one of those moments and Occupy Wall Street struck the match. Frustrated over the seemingly intractable character of the financial crisis that began in 2007, and the inability of established political organizations to do anything about it, American activists and anarchists of a new stripe took up a suggestion from the Canadian magazine Adbusters to occupy the center of New York's financial district and the heart of global capitalism. These activists were not part of some half-crazed mob of fanatics as suggested by Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor, Bill O'Reilly and other luminaries of the Tea Party and Fox News. Occupy Wall Street was inspired by the Arab Spring, but even more by the street protests in Greece, Italy, and other nations teetering on the brink of financial insolvency. READ MORE

Michele Bachmann Gets a, MIC CHECK!

By Holly Bailey, The Ticket

11 November 11

Michele Bachmann was forced off the stage at a speech in South Carolina Thursday after a group of Occupy Charleston protesters swarmed the event and began shouting down the congresswoman.

The protest occurred as Bachmann was delivering a foreign policy speech aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston.

"This will only take a minute," the two dozen protesters shouted, using the "human microphone" technique that has become a symbol of the Occupy Wall Street protests. "You capitalize on dividing Americans ... claiming people that disagree with you… are unpatriotic socialists ... and you promote discrimination." READ MORE

Wave Of Inaccurate Reporting Follows GOP's Latest Solyndra Release

November 11, 2011 1:22 pm ET — 10 Comments

Reporting on emails selectively released by House Republicans, numerous media outlets falsely claimed the documents show Obama donor George Kaiser -- whose family foundation invested in Solyndra -- discussing Solyndra's federal loan with the White House, with Fox going even further to claim "quid pro quo." In fact, the emails occurred after Solyndra had already received the loan guarantee and do not indicate that Kaiser discussed the loan with the White House.
Emails Do Not Show Political Influence In $535m Loan Guarantee

Wall Street Journal: Emails "Don't Offer Evidence" Supporting Claim "That Politics Influenced" Granting Of Loan Guarantee. The Wall Street Journal reported:

FOCUS: Legality of Police Violence at Berkeley Questioned

Will Kane and Demian Bulwa, San Francisco Chronicle

Excerpt: "Many law enforcement experts said Thursday that the officers' tactics appeared to be a severe overreaction. Both the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild said they had 'grave concerns about the conduct' of campus police."

Sen. Lindsey Graham probes candidates on Gitmo

Sen. Lindsey Graham probes candidates on Gitmo

November 12, 2011 9:18 PM

During the CBS News/National Journal debate, Republican presidential candidates answer a question by Senator Lindsey Graham, R - S.C., about how they would handle the use of enhanced interrogation techniques and imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay.

Read more:

Sandusky's Second Mile charity probed for clues

(CBS News)

Another key member of the Penn State coaching staff is out in the child sex abuse scandal that has already cost Joe Paterno and the university president their jobs. The university put Mike McQueary on indefinite leave Friday -- saying he cannot function as assistant football coach under the circumstances.

It was McQueary who told Paterno that he saw another assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, rape a child on campus. CBS News correspondent Armen Keteyian looks into a children's charity Sandusky ran for years.

It was 1977, nine years into his illustrious coaching career at Penn State, that Jerry Sandusky founded "The Second Mile." Its mission, according to its website: "helping young people," especially at risk-kids, "achieve their potential." READ MORE