Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "Outraged babble and sanctimonious tut-tutting over President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize will pour forth until the very evening he accepts the prize in Oslo, and then for years afterward. His critics are infuriated, they say, because he didn’t earn the prestigious award, or because he didn’t refuse it—or just because those left-wing Norwegians have a lot of nerve. How dare they insult us by bestowing their highest honor on the president of the United States and inviting him to deliver a lecture?"
Health, War, Hypocrisy and Taxes
Roberto Rodriguez writes for Truthout.org: "Over the past several months, conservatives seemingly made headway convincing a good portion of the US public that Congress may not be able to produce a national health care plan that will not bust the budget - something that President Barack Obama has promised not to sign. And then came Afghanistan."
The New Confederacy of Republicans
Michael Hittleman comments for Truthout: "South Carolina Sen. Jim Demint travels to Honduras to endorse the military coup. Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk tells China not to believe our government's figures. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe will tell the upcoming Copenhagen climate summit that global warming is a hoax as he shadows President Obama. South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson shouts, "You lie!" at the president at a joint session of Congress. What do these events have in common? I believe the answer is that the Republican Party's 1968 "Southern Strategy" has morphed into the Southern Democratic Party's 1860 strategy - do not recognize the federal government as a legitimate institution and advocate policies reminiscent of the antebellum South."
Veteran Army Office Urges Afghan Troop Drawdown
Gareth Porter reports for Inter Press Service: "A veteran Army officer who has served in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars warns in an analysis now circulating in Washington that the counterinsurgency strategy urged by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal is likely to strengthen the Afghan insurgency, and calls for withdrawal of the bulk of US combat forces from the country over 18 months."
The Imperial Presidency 2.0
David Swanson writes for TomDispatch: "October 7th marked the eighth anniversary of the Bush administration's invasion of Afghanistan and so of the... well, can we really call it a war?... that won't end, that American commanders there now predict could last for another decade or more. And yet, here's the weird thing: because Congress no longer actually declares war, we officially must be fighting something else entirely. Put another way, we are now heading for the longest undeclared war in U.S. history (depending on how you count up the Vietnam years)."
House Sneakly Passes Bill Banning Release of Photos Showing Detainee Abuse
Dick Baumann writes for AlterNet: "President Obama has won his fight to ensure that the Defense Department can conceal evidence of its employees' wrongdoing. On Thursday, the House passed a measure allowing the DoD to withhold essentially any photos of detainee abuse that it doesn't want the public to see. The move is a huge defeat for the ACLU, which has been fighting a years-long legal battle to obtain such photos under the Freedom of Information Act. But now an amendment sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), makes all that moot and slashes a huge hole in FOIA. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) was a key figure in stopping Lieberman's photo suppression bill the first time around. In a floor speech Thursday, she explained that this time, the provision was slipped into the Homeland Security spending bill during the conference between House and Senate negotiators -- 'apparently under direct orders from the Administration.'"
UN Vote to Endorse Goldstone Report Increases Pressure on Israel
Joshua Mitnick reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "The United Nations Human Rights Council's decision Friday to adopt the controversial Goldstone report on the Gaza war increases the pressure on Israel to conduct its own investigation into alleged war crimes."
Financial Regulation Bill Passed Despite Financial Lobbying
Yana Kunichoff writes for Truthout: "The Obama administration achieved one small step Thursday, successfully passing legislation that would guarantee oversight of the financial derivatives market. This bill, passed by the House Financial Services Committee on a 43-26 vote, would be the first time the market would be forced to rein in this multi-trillion-dollar industry."
Replacing America’s Accountable Democracy with Unaccountable Corporatism – Privateering
Andy Hailey writes for The Daily Censored: "The following is based on chapter seven of George Lakoff’s The Political Mind: Privateering is a special blend of privatizing and profiteering. Privateering is the surreptitious destruction of the government’s capacity to carry out its critical moral missions of protection and empowerment. Privateering results in the loss of public accountability and the transfer of wealth from the public coffers to corporations. Each instance of privateering that diminishes the governments moral responsibilities damages the foundation of our American democracy."
Feds bust Twitter Tweeter, Impound Curious George and Buffy Videos in Terror Probe
Michale Niman writes for ArtVoice: "I love headlines like this—I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. This story begins last month at the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh, where finance ministers and leaders from the 20 richest nations met to scheme on how to prop up global capitalism for another year. Protesters from around the world came to Pittsburgh to demand economic justice from the G-20. And New York City social worker Elliot Madison came to Pittsburgh to work with the Tin Can Communications Collective a group of anarchist communications activists providing real-time logistical reporting for, as they explain on their Web site, 'activists fighting the state and capitalism.'"
2010 Census Faces Challenges
Desiree Evans writes for Facing South: "Lawmakers and community advocates continue to work to ensure accuracy in the rapidly approaching 2010 Census. The count will play an important role in determining the amount of dollars flowing to communities across the nation and in the South over the next decade, as well as political representation. But the Census continues to face challenges on several fronts."
Charter Schools, The Repression of Free Speech and Authoritarian Autocracy: The New but Old, Educational Reform
Danny Weil writes for The Daily Censored: "You might have heard of Marisol Alba and Sean Strauss, but chances are you haven’t. They were two courageous charter school teachers who worked at the Celerity Nascent Charter School in southwest Los Angeles until 2007. In concert with some of their students, they tried to learn about the story of Emmet Till and participate in power and decision-making at their school in terms of what curriculum they found appropriate for student learning. That is when the two teachers were fired and the students’ resistance was suffocated. Their story, like many other disenfranchised narratives left out of the corporate press, is simply one more in the sordid saga of surveillance and authoritarianism cropping up in the neo-liberal minds of the new charter school CEO’s; it is a reflection of the thinking deeply implicated in the need for vaulted test scores and intensely imbedded in the autocratic charter school movement in general. But it’s a must tell story, for its rancid resonance seems to broaden each day. "
American Health Care's Big Secret
David Drumm writes for Mother Jones: "It's become sort of a truism over the years that America has the best healthcare in the world. By nearly any measure this isn't true, but that's never stopped a truism before.
Until now. In a recent Pew poll only 39 percent of respondents rated American health care above average. The rest rated it average or below. So even if this year's health care debate has done nothing else, it's apparently convinced people of what was once unthinkable. We're not #1. We're #37. (According to the World Health Organization, anyway. France ranks #1.)
But here's something even more interesting: When it comes to health care, the more money you make the less you know. When Pew broke out the results by income, 50 percent of those with incomes over $100,000 thought American health care was above average. That number dropped steadily with income, with only 32 percent of those reporting incomes under $30,000 giving American healthcare a positive rating. It's easy to understand why people responded this way, since the well-off get better health care than the poor. But it turns out that being well off also blinded them to the broader reality. And it's an ironic reality, too, because the well-off are the ones who pay the most for the distinctly mediocre care that most of us get. They just don't know it.
Is the Climate Bill Being Fossil/Nuked?
Harvey Wasserman writes for The Free Press: "Is the Climate Bill morphing into an excuse to promote fossil fuels and new nuclear power plants? Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) recent promotion of a pro-nuke/pro-drilling/pro-coal agenda in the name of Climate Protection has been highlighted in a New York Times op ed co-authored with Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC). The piece brands nuke power 'our single largest contributor of emissions-free power.' It advocates abolishing 'cumbersome regulations' so utilities can 'secure financing for more plants.' And it wants 'serious investment' to 'find solutions to our nuclear waste problem.'"
National Equality March: It's Time for a Change
Christopher Renner writes for the Kansas Free Press: "The National Equality March organized by Equality Across America drew an estimated 200,000 marchers to Washington, DC, on Sunday October 11th. Included in the sea of marchers were 13 marchers from Manhattan - 11 students from Kansas State University's LGBTQ & More organization and two from the Flint Hills Human Rights Project. This was my third march for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. At the height of the AIDS crisis, I had returned to the US in 1987 from my then home in Italy to be part of a very angry march as the LGBT community dealt with President Reagan who refused to respond to the growing AIDS crisis or even speak of it in public. By the time the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt was unfolded on the Mall at that march, I had made eight panels, including one for my former partner."
More McCarthyism: 53 Republicans Seek Ouster of Obama Schools Official
David Kirkpatrick reports for the New York Times: "Fifty-three House Republicans have signed a letter to the Obama administration asking for the ouster of Kevin Jennings, an official charged with promoting school safety, because of his career as an advocate of teaching tolerance of homosexuality."
DOMA Repeal Bill Tops 100 Cosponsors
Carlos Santoscoy writes for On Top magazine: "Sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act said Tuesday the bill has exceeded 100 co-sponsors. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the bill that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at a Washington outdoor press conference in September. DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton 13 years ago. The law defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies and allows states to ignore gay marriages performed in other states. Under DOMA legally married gay and lesbian couples cannot access federal benefits, including Social Security and pensions."
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, and Zaid Jilani write for The Progress Report at Think Progress: "In recent days, a war of words has erupted between Fox News and the White House. It began last week when White House communications director Anita Dunn told Time magazine, '[Fox News] is opinion journalism masquerading as news.' Last weekend, she told CNN, 'Fox News operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.' This set off a blustering reaction from Fox, whose senior vice president Michael Clemente responded, 'It's astounding the White House cannot distinguish between news and opinion programming. It seems self-serving on their part.' Fox News host Glenn Beck went further, comparing the White House effort to call out Fox News's partisanship to Richard Nixon's attacks on the press and compiling of an enemies list. The truth is, Fox engages in practices that a legitimate news network would never do, regularly promoting GOP talking points and misinforming its audience on key policy debates."
FCC Study: Open Access Spurs Broadband Growth
Roy Mark reports for eWeek.com: "Nations that have exceeded the United States in a number of broadband metrics embraced a policy of open access for competitors to traditional carriers. Open access was originally a policy objective of the 1996 Telecommunications Act but the FCC abandoned the idea when the United States began transitioning from dial-up to broadband. Industrialized nations that rank above the United States in broadband in a variety of metrics implemented; open access policies -- unbundling, bitstream access, collocation requirements, wholesaling, and/or functional separation -- to achieve their success, according to a study commissioned by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and conducted by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society."
CNN to Disclose Contributor's Ties to Advocacy Group
Brian Stelter reprots for the New York Times: "CNN said Thursday that it would disclose one of its contributors’ ties to an insurance industry advocacy group in the future, but did not explain why it had not done so in the past. The cable news network was reacting to a claim by Media Matters for America, a progressive media monitoring group, that one of its regular commentators, Alex Castellanos, was tied to an advertising campaign by America’s Health Insurance Plans, an association of about 1,300 insurers. AHIP opposes a government-run plan."
National Amusements to Sell Shares of Viacom, CBS
Andrew Vanacore and Ryan Nakashima write for The Huffington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone's holding company, National Amusements Inc., is selling some of its stake in CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. as well as 35 movie theaters to pay off its debts. The stock sale will raise nearly $1 billion in cash and allow National Amusements to meet a $500 million debt payment this month, alleviating concerns that the company could lose control of the media conglomerates or run into trouble with its creditors."
In His Latest McCarthyism, Hannity Distorts And Smears Obama’s Muslim Advisor
Ellen writes for News Hounds: "So many smears, so little time! That could have been the motto for a one-minute portion of Hannity’s America last night (10/15/09). In that brief time, Sean Hannity and his producers misrepresented the background of the CEO of Britain’s The Islam Channel, attacked a member of President Obama’s Faith Advisory Council for appearing on the station and suggested she’s a terrorist-sympathizer because she expressed a willingness to accept Sharia law for Muslim-majority societies. So where was Hannity’s outrage when the Bush administration backed Islamic law in Iraq? Answer: nowhere to be seen. With video."