Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (then director of the CIA) still expected the Cold War to go on and on. In Washington, eyes were trained on the might of the Soviet military, which the Soviet leadership had never stopped feeding, even as its sclerotic bureaucracy was rotting, its economy (which had ceased to grow in the late 1970s) was tanking, budget deficits were soaring, indebtedness to other countries was growing, and social welfare payments were eating into what funds remained. Not even a vigorous, reformist leader like Mikhail Gorbachev could staunch the rot, especially when, in the late 1980s, the price of Russian oil fell drastically."
First Signs of Strain in Kandahar Offensive
Ben Gilbert reports for GlobalPost: "These are some of the first casualties of an 'offensive' in southern Afghanistan that the military has suddenly grown reluctant to call an 'offensive.' It has begun quietly, with the U.S.-led NATO force here seemingly confused about whether the operation is about bringing 'governance' to Kandahar or clearing areas of insurgents. What is clear is that the slow trickle of wounded and the dead back to America has started. Fifty-three NATO troops have died so far this month if the pace continues, it will be the deadliest month since the Afghan war began."
G-20 Summit: Financial Reform Is Needed. But How Fast?
Why Wall Street's Generous to New Democrats in House
David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall report for McClatchy Newspapers: "Members of the powerful New Democrat Coalition in the House of Representatives are among the top Democratic recipients of Wall Street campaign money this election cycle - and also among the most vocal advocates for weakening a plan to regulate complex financial instruments called 'derivatives' that helped fuel the near-collapse of the economy in 2008."
Did Democrats' Deal With the NRA Kill Campaign Finance Reform?
Report Finds ACORN Did Not Support Voter Fraud; O'Keefe Is the Real Criminal
Mike Ludwig reports for Truthout: "A new government report debunks claims made by right-wing politicians and media that the now defunct community advocacy group ACORN violated elections law and supported voter fraud."
US Social Forum to Target Long-Term Progressive Goals
Witness: US Agent Aimed at Mexican
Dennis Bernstein and Jesse Strauss report for Consortium News: "An eyewitness to the June 7 shooting death of a 14-year-old Mexican youth said a U.S. Border Patrol agent took aim at the boy for several seconds after the boy emerged from behind a pillar of a bridge on the Juarez side of the border near El Paso, Texas."
A Green 'New Deal' Now
No Energy in Obama's Energy Plan
Alexander Cockburn comments for Truthout: "Every president since Nixon has tried to sell an energy plan, and the only one to yield any tangible results was Reagan's consummated pledge to rip the Carter-installed solar system off the roof of the White House. Carter wore his cardigan and America laughed and turned up the heaters in their SUVs."
Fixing Global Warming For 40 Cents a Day
Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones: "I was pretty hard on President Obama's oil spill speech on Tuesday, and one reason was his unwillingness to use the occasion to press for a serious climate policy. It's true, as Dave Roberts points out, that Obama talked about raising efficiency standards, investing in clean energy tech, and setting renewable energy standards, all of which are important things. But he very deliberately didn't mention climate change, didn't mention cap-and-trade, and didn't mention carbon pricing even in passing. He just punted."
Life Aboard the Drilling Rig That's the Gulf's Last Hope
Photo: Ann Marie Gorden / US Coast Guard
Gulf Oil Spill: A Hole in the World
Naomi Kline writes for The Guardian UK: "Everyone gathered for the town hall meeting had been repeatedly instructed to show civility to the gentlemen from BP and the federal government. These fine folks had made time in their busy schedules to come to a high school gymnasium on a Tuesday night in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, one of many coastal communities where brown poison was slithering through the marshes, part of what has come to be described as the largest environmental disaster in US history."
Exclusive: New Documents, Employees Reveal BP's Alaska Oilfield Plagued by Major Safety Issues
The People Versus the Powerful
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "As BP CEO Tony Hayward testified before Congress yesterday, oil continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico for the 58th day after the oil rig his company operated exploded and initiated the largest oil spill in U.S. history. While many lawmakers used this opportunity to press Hayward on his company's incompetence and malfeasance, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologized to BP for the White House's efforts to make sure the oil giant compensates the victims. Barton's stunning apology to a giant foreign oil corporation that has devastated the Gulf Coast economy is emblematic of a larger philosophical divide in U.S. politics. On issue after issue, progressives have fought to hold big corporations accountable, stand by everyday Americans struggling to create a better life for themselves, and create a more just America for all. Conservatives, on the other hand, have aligned themselves with the nation's most powerful interests -- Big Oil, Wall Street, insurance companies, labor rights violators, and others whose mantra may as well be "greed is good." At stake in the battle between these two sides is the very idea of the American Dream -- that anyone who plays by the rules and works hard will succeed. The question Americans must ask of their politicians is clear: Which side are you on -- the people or the powerful?"
Taking on Tarmageddon
Photo by: Thomas Ball
Coming to Terms With Equality and Diversity in America's Ongoing Culture Wars
Photo: Associated Press
Mama Grizzlies to Working Moms: Drop Dead
Betsy Reed writes for The Nation: "First, let's swallow hard and be fair. There is something to cheer in the so-called Year of the Woman. You don't have to credit the Republican Party, which did next to nothing to bring on the wave that swept Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Sharron Angle and Nikki Haley to victory in June's primary elections. Indeed, before the RNC began heralding its Mama Grizzlies, in Sarah Palin's typically catchy but grating phrase, it was brushing off complaints about how its roster of 104 rising "Young Guns," lavished with party attention and resources, included only seven women. Fiorina and Whitman bought their gleaming California wins with their own money, while Angle charged to victory in Nevada on sheer Tea Party adrenaline. There's certainly nothing progressive about these women, but their brash, unapologetic and largely unsolicited emergence in Republican politics—in American politics—does represent progress, of a sort."
McDonalds Chief: 'I'm Christian - no gay ads for USA'
Joe Barton Apology-Fest Continues: First BP, Now AT&T, Comcast ... [Your Company Here]
Craig Aarom writes for the Huffington Post: "Joe Barton is really, really sorry. The Texas congressman made headlines today for publicly apologizing to oil giant BP for what he called a government "shakedown" against the company; the government is asking BP to pay into a fund for those harmed by the disastrous Gulf oil spill. "I'm not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize," he said."
The Uncommon Courage of the FCC
FCC to Consider First Step Toward Broadband Regulation
Grant Gross writes for PC World: "The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on the first step toward reclassifying broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service, despite objections from many U.S. lawmakers and broadband providers. The FCC, in a Thursday morning meeting, is scheduled to vote on a notice of inquiry on new legal frameworks for enforcing network neutrality rules, redirecting telephone subsidies to broadband and implementing other parts of the agency's national broadband plan. In a notice of inquiry, or NOI, the FCC seeks public comment on a topic. NOIs often lead to FCC rulemaking proceedings."
AT&T: Drop Net Neutrality or U-Verse Gets It
fiber-to-the-home trial network, we profiled a host of municipalities that tried every possible publicity stunt in the book to get the search engine giant's attention. These included a North Carolina city council member who promised to name his offspring after Google's co-founders, along with the mayor of Topeka... who tried to rename his town 'Google, Kansas.'"