Eli Clifton reports for Inter Press Service: "World leaders at the two-day G20 Summit in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh agreed to work cooperatively to recover from the global economic crisis and create structural reforms with long-term growth as the goal.... 'The G20 is more representative than the G8 but there is still no seat at the table for the poorest countries,' said Oxfam senior policy adviser Max Lawson. 'South Africa is the only African country included in this club. That means when the G20 talks about growth and stability, they are leaving the poorest countries in the cold.'"
Climate Change: Off the G-20 Agenda?
Robert Eshelman writes for The Nation: "Tuesday afternoon, US District Court Judge Gary Lancaster rejected a request by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Center for Constitutional Rights for an injunction against the Pittsburgh Police. The lawyers alleged in the suit that local law enforcement has been systematically harassing and carrying out unconstitutional searches and seizures of members of two G-20 protest groups--the Seeds of Peace Collective and the Three Rivers Climate Convergence (3RCC). The judge refused to restrain the police and suggested that if police conduct warrants damages claims, then the ACLU should file suit. The ACLU says it will pursue such claims."
Obama and Nukes: Talking the Talk, Awaiting the Walk
David Krieger reports for Miller-McCune: "The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council possess over 98 percent of the more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Today, President Barack Obama led a session of the council focusing on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. We take that opportunity to present a dialogue between David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation - an organization strident in its opposition to nuclear weapons - and Richard Falk, professor emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and the chair of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Falk and Krieger have written widely on nuclear dangers and are co-editors of the 2008 book At the Nuclear Precipice: Catastrophe or Transformation?"
How to Trap a President in a Losing War
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "Front and center in the debate over the Afghan War these days are General Stanley "Stan" McChrystal, Afghan war commander, whose 'classified, pre-decisional' and devastating report -- almost eight years and at least $220 billion later, the war is a complete disaster -- was conveniently, not to say suspiciously, leaked to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post by we-know-not-who at a particularly embarrassing moment for Barack Obama; Admiral Michael "Mike" Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has been increasingly vocal about a "deteriorating" war and the need for more American boots on the ground; and the president himself, who blitzed every TV show in sight last Sunday and Monday for his health reform program, but spent significant time expressing doubts about sending more American troops to Afghanistan. ('I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan... or sending a message that America is here for the duration.')"
Goldstone's Report: A Different Look
Dr. Elias Akleh writes for Dissident Voices: "Goldstone’s report, incriminating Israel for war crimes, has been optimistically received by many as a sign of dismantling Israel’s impunity from legal actions for her war crimes and violations of international laws. Yet, at the same time, it is full of political booby-traps that Israel could use to indemnify herself and turn the blame onto Palestinians. Besides equating the Palestinian victims with the genocidal Israeli criminals, and denying them of their moral humanitarian right of self-defense, the report also grossly ignores historical events, distorts reality, and legalizes Israeli occupation of Palestine."
Administration Won't Seek New Detention System
Peter Finn reports for The Washington Post: "The Obama administration has decided not to seek legislation to establish a new system of preventive detention to hold terrorism suspects and will instead rely on a 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing military force against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to continue to detain people indefinitely and without charge, according to administration officials."
Where Is the Defund Blackwater Act?
Jeremy Scahill writes for Rebel Reports: "Republican Congressional leaders are continuing their witch-hunt against ACORN, the grassroots community group dedicated to helping poor and working class people. This campaign now unfortunately has gained bipartisan legislative support in the form of the Defund ACORN Act of 2009 which has now passed the House and Senate."
How Green Was My Stimulus?
Michael Garbell reports for ProPublica: "The United States is lagging behind some of its peers in the percentage of economic stimulus money being spent on “green” projects, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program . In all, the U.S. is spending $94 billion, about 12 percent, on programs such as renewable energy, high-speed rail and energy efficiency. But that portion pales in comparison to the 79 percent being spent by South Korea’s “Green New Deal” or the 34 percent that China is spending to address climate change. Of the $3.1 trillion in global stimulus, “the amount allocated to renewable energy falls short of the investment needed to reduce carbon emissions and keep the rise in global average temperature under 2 degrees Celsius,” or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the U.N. agency said."
The Case for Real Aid
Jonathan Glennie writes for The New Internationalist: "I knew this would happen. The intellectual initiative on African development seized by a free-market ideologue, now listed by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. It is clear what side of the fence Dambisa Moyo is sitting on. The foreword to her book Dead Aid is written by leading conservative historian Niall Ferguson, and her write-up in Time was written by none other than (ex-President of the World Bank) Paul Wolfowitz. In her eight years with Goldman Sachs, I doubt she was a subscriber to the New Internationalist."
Recommended Audio: Naomi Klein in Conversation with Michael Moore
The Nation writes: "On September 17, fresh from the premiere of Capitalism: A Love Story at the Toronto Film Festival, filmmaker Michael Moore talked with The Nation's Naomi Klein by phone about making Capitalism; the roots of the economic crisis; and the promise and peril of the current political moment. Below, you can listen to the full audio recording of their thirty-minute conversation. How is President Obama handling the economic crisis? Who is taking on Wall Street? And who is letting Wall Street take advantage of us? Find out in this exclusive podcast conversation between The Nation's Naomi Klein and documentarian Michael Moore."
To read the transcript of the interview, click here.
Obama TV: How the President Revived the Health Care Debate
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "President Barack Obama has been a calming force in the debate over health care reform, bringing a tone of rationality to counter the influence of right-wing talk radio, Fox News and the Republicans’ staged “grass-roots” town hall meetings. He’s not turning the other cheek. Rather, he’s sticking it to his critics with intelligence and wit."
Health Reform Money is Aimed at Red States
Marie Cocco writes for Truthdig: "It is “a stunning assault on liberty” (Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona). It is “trying to force or foist a one-size-fits-all solution on the states” (Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah). It is a plan that “taxes too much and grows government too much” (Sen. John Cornyn, Republican of Texas). It is also a massive shift of tax money from constituents of traditionally liberal and Democratic states to constituents of traditionally conservative and Republican states."
The Real Cost of Medical Malpractice
Kevin Drum comments for Mother Jones: In his column today, David Leonhardt makes a point about medical malpractice that doesn't get enough attention:
The fear of lawsuits among doctors does seem to lead to a noticeable amount of wasteful treatment. Amitabh Chandra — a Harvard economist whose research is cited by both the American Medical Association and the trial lawyers’ association — says $60 billion a year, or about 3 percent of overall medical spending, is a reasonable upper-end estimate. If a new policy could eliminate close to that much waste without causing other problems, it would be a no-brainer.
At the same time, though, the current system appears to treat actual malpractice too lightly. Trials may get a lot of attention, but they are the exception. Far more common are errors that never lead to any action.
After reviewing thousands of patient records, medical researchers have estimated that only 2 to 3 percent of cases of medical negligence lead to a malpractice claim.
This deserves more attention. We can argue about the costs of defensive medicine forever. But I'm willing to tentatively accept $60 billion as a conversation starter. It's never going to be possible to get a precise answer anyway since, as Leonhardt says later, virtually every incentive in our medical system is to do more. Trying to isolate and quantify the blame for each particular unnecessary test just isn't possible."
Your Electronic Vote in the 2010 Election Has Just Been Bought
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman write for The Free Press: "Unless US Attorney General Eric Holder intervenes, your electronic vote in 2010 will probably be owned by the Republican-connected ESS Corporation. With 80% ownership of America's electronic voting machines, ESS could have the power to shape America's future with a few proprietary keystrokes."
Teen Birth Rate Higher in States Where Religion is Widespread
US News and World Report states: "Teenage birth rates are higher in states with greater levels of religious belief, possibly due to strong disapproval of contraception, a new U.S. study suggests. In the study, researchers compared U.S. data on teen birth rates with data from the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscapes Survey. A state's level of religious belief was determined by averaging the percentage of respondents who agreed with the eight most conservative opinions in the survey, such as 'Scripture should be taken literally, word for word.'"
Whoops: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud
Ryan Grim reports for the Huffington Post: "Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately -- but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process. The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things."
Right-Wing Agenda-Driven Journalism Nothing New When It Comes to ACORN
John Santore write for Media Matters: "Media Matters for America recently released a report documenting the obsessive attention Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have devoted to ACORN -- due, of course, to their self-professed determination to expose taxpayer-funded waste, fraud, and abuse wherever it appears. As such, Media Matters compared the focus each host's television programs have given to the story with their coverage of well-documented political scandals involving Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney, as well as massive corruption scandals engulfing Halliburton, Blackwater, and KBR -- corporations which have received thousands of times more money from the government than ACORN ever has."
Mainstream Media and ACORN-like Video Stings
James Rainey reports for the L.A. Times: "You've got to give James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles credit for abundant chutzpah and guile. The two young political provocateurs decked themselves out as a pimp and prostitute and rocked ACORN with a series of secret videos showing the sketchy behavior of employees of the activist organization that registers voters, organizes communities and advocates for cheap housing for poor people."
What Net Neutrality Is Really All About
Karl Bode writes for Broadband Reports: "If you've paid attention, you know the modern "network neutrality" debate took off in 2005, when then AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre proudly, though dumbly, proclaimed that Google got a "free ride" on his network. According to Ed, this unfairness could only be rectified by charging companies who already pay for bandwidth money to ensure their traffic reaches AT&T consumers quickly. Such a bizarre statement obviously resulted in fear that phone companies planned to act as trolls under the metaphorical Internet bridge, grumpily extorting passers by. That created a desire by content companies and consumers for laws that would prevent this from happening."
The Moguls' New Clothes
Bruce Greenwald, Jonathan Knee and Ava Seave write for The Atlantic: "me Warner announced in May that it plans to spin off its AOL division by year end. The new AOL’s value will likely be barely 1 percent of the market price of the inflated stock that Time Warner accepted in the original $175 billion merger almost a decade ago—despite the inclusion of numerous subsequent expensive add-on acquisitions. While extreme, the Time Warner–AOL combination was no aberration. The deal represents less than half the financial damage done during an unprecedented era of excess in the media business. Since 2000, the largest media conglomerates have collectively written down more than $200 billion in assets, a record that would make even Citigroup blush. These write-downs reflect a broad-based legacy of value destruction from relentlessly overpriced acquisitions, “strategic” investments, and contracts for content and talent."
The Turth about Two Racists - Beck and Limbaugh
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "With admirable calm, President Obama has sought to deflect the supercharged politics of race by expressing his optimism about American attitudes and ignoring the most extreme statements by his critics. For his own sake, as well as the nation’s, he is wise to give a pass to the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. That is not, however, what they deserve."
Hannity’s And Beck’s Massively Disproportionate Focus On ACORN Vs. Other Scandals
Ellen at News Hounds writes: "Those America lovers, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, seem to have some serious blinders when it comes to scandals involving taxpayer money. Media Matters did a bit of research and surprise! Surprise! Despite the fact that the two self-described patriots claim to be concerned about wasting "taxpayer dollars," they have consistently overlooked or offered minimal coverage of extensive fraud at Halliburton and KBR as well as the scandals involving the private security contractor Blackwater (now Xe), lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Rep. Bob Ney. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that ACORN involves minorities and Democrats while the other scandals implicate Republicans."
Tell The Real Story about Glenn Beck
ColorOfChange.org notes that Glenn Beck is getting a lot of media attention right now (and he'll probably get more now that his latest book has been released). Unfortunately mainstream reporters have failed to confront his extremist, incendiary rhetoric, or his antics which actively stoke the fires of racial paranoia. He repeatedly makes inflammatory claims that simply aren't true. ColorOfChange is asking people familiar with Beck's racial fearmongering to write letters to the editors of their local papers asking them to call out the extremist hate mongering of Glenn Beck. Click here to participate.
Fox is the Most - and Least - Trusted
Marla Jean Tenore reports for Poynter Online: "Results from a national Sacred Heart University survey released today reveal that many news consumers believe the media played a significant role in electing President Barack Obama and that the media continue to promote his presidency. Titled "Trust and Satisfaction with the National News Media," the national survey of 800 Americans renews attention to the issue of liberal media bias and its effect on political coverage."