Chart source: thepoliticalcarnival.net.
Drill, Gamble, Loot, Starve: The Chamber of Commerce, the GOP, and the Politics of Plunder
Richard Eskow writes for the Huffington Post: "The United States Chamber of Commerce has released an "open letter" to the President, Congress, and the American people which contains its blueprint for our political future. It lays out the current Republican playbook in stark terms, and it reads like the battle plan for those alien spaceships from Independence Day: Drain the resources, take everything from the population, strip the land to a husk... and then presumably sail away in mile-long spaceships toward the next targeted planet."
The New Finance Bill: A Mountain of Legislative Paper, a Molehill of Reform
James Kwak writes for The Baseline Scenario: "It's become a commonplace observation by now that the reform bill, instead of making structural changes to the financial sector, instead increases regulators' discretionary powers to constrain - or not constrain - the behavior of the industry. As a result, the success of reform, in the words of its supposed architect, depends on hoping that presidents will appoint good people and that that will be enough to attract people to being regulators."
Taking Financial Reform into Our Own Hands
Stacy Mitchell comments for Yes! Magazine: "With the passage of the financial reform bill, giant banks see a golden opportunity to finally put the financial crisis, along with their culpability for wrecking our economy, in the rearview mirror."
The Myth of the Global Economy
Photo: Sergio Bonachela / Flickr.
GOP Fairy Tales
Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones: "Back in the day, one of the key Republican arguments against the estate tax was that it forced hardworking, salt-of-the-earth children of small farmers to sell the family plot in order to pay their taxes after dad died. It was a sad story, but with one problem: no one could find even a single small farmer who had been forced to liquidate in order to satisfy Uncle Sam's voracious maw. Even the American Farm Bureau Federation was eventually forced to admit that it couldn't come up with a single example, and a few years later the Congressional Budget Office estimated that under the now-current exemption level, only a tiny handful of small farms were likely to owe any estate tax to begin with — and of those, only about a dozen lacked the assets to pay their taxes. And even those dozen had 14 years to pay the bill as long as the kids kept running the farm. In other words, the story was a fraud from beginning to end."
The Retirement Nightmare: Half of Americans Have Less Than $2,000 Banked for Their Golden Years
Scott Thill reports for AlterNet: "The days of quietly retiring with a nest egg built up from years of savings from a long career on the verge of disappearing. For tens of millions of Americans, facing rising costs, shrinking incomes and growing debts they already have disappeared."
Obama's Done a Lot, but Gets Little Credit for It; Why?
Despite 54 Percent for Afghan Exit, Petraeus Move Could Nix Peace Talks
Robert Naiman comments for Truthout: "The majority of Americans want the Obama administration to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, CBS News reports. Fifty-Four percent think the US should set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, with 41% opposed. Among Democrats, 73% think the US should set a timetable, with 21% opposed; among independents, 54% support a withdrawal timetable, with 40% opposed; among Republicans, 32% support a withdrawal timetable, with 66% opposed."
Congress Wants More Scrutiny of US Spending in Afghanistan
Reid Davenport reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Members of a House subcommittee drilled three US agencies Thursday for not tracking billions in US money invested in the rebuilding of Afghanistan since 2002. After reports of more than $3 billion being smuggled out of Kabul's airport since 2007 and that Afghanistan ranks as the second-most corrupt country in the world, lawmakers demanded to know where their constituents' money is going."
New Orleans Police Charged With Killings After Katrina
Jordan Flaherty reports for ColorLines: "As revelations of police violence and corruption shake New Orleans, the city's new mayor, Mitch Landrieu, has signaled the disturbing direction he plans to take, asking the Department of Justice to help restructure the police department while at the same time appointing a new police chief whose daughter lives with a police officer involved in a racist brawl now under federal investigation."
Racism in the Tea Parties
notes, critics bemoaned the resolution as a silly stunt that "heightened division" and implied that racist extremists define the membership of the Tea Party. Such a wholesale charge would certainly be exaggerated and inaccurate, but that was not the charge the NAACP made. 'The resolution was amended during the debate to specifically ask the Tea Party itself to repudiate the racist elements and activities of the Tea Party.' As NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous said, 'We're simply asking them to repudiate racist acts and bigotry in their ranks or accept responsibility.' But instead of acknowledging and disassociating themselves from the more radical actions of their membership, Tea Party leaders have said that racist elements are non existent. In hurling accusations of racism back at the NAACP, Tea Party leaders have wielded a professed desire for colorblindness as a whitewashing tool. But Tea Party members are employing a defense that only perpetuates the racism they are desperately trying to refute."
Glenn Beck's Golden Advertiser Under Investigation
California said today they have opened an investigation into Goldline International, a company that pioneered the practice of weaving its sales pitches into broadcasts by popular conservative political personalities -- including two former presidential candidates and Fox News host Glenn Beck -- to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold every year." Illustration: Dale Stephanos.
BP's Scheme to Swindle the "Small People"
Dahr Jamail, Truthout: "Gulf Coast fishermen and others with lost income claims against British Petroleum (BP) are outraged by a recent announcement that the $20 billion government-administered claim fund will subtract money they earn by working on the cleanup effort from any future damage claims against BP. This move, according to lawyers in Louisiana working on behalf of Louisiana fishermen and others affected by the BP oil disaster, contradicts an earlier BP statement where the company promised it would do no such thing."
Big Oil Makes War on the Earth: The Gulf Coast Joins an Oil-Soiled Planet
Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle
The following article was reported by Kurt Eichenwald, Gina Kolata and Melody Petersen and was written by Mr. Eichenwald for the New York Times in January 2001: "In late 1986, four executives of the Monsanto Company, the leader in agricultural biotechnology, paid a visit to Vice President George Bush at the White House to make an unusual pitch. Although the Reagan administration had been championing deregulation across multiple industries, Monsanto had a different idea: the company wanted its new technology, genetically modified food, to be governed by rules issued in Washington — and wanted the White House to champion the idea."
Calling All Future-Eaters
Chris Hedges comments for Truthdig: "The human species during its brief time on Earth has exhibited a remarkable capacity to kill itself off. The Cro-Magnons dispatched the gentler Neanderthals. The conquistadors, with the help of smallpox, decimated the native populations in the Americas. Modern industrial warfare in the 20th century took at least 100 million lives, most of them civilians."
USDA Admits Link Between Antibiotic Use by Big Ag and Human Health
hearing of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, a representative of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally caught up with the rest of the world -- and his peers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- and admitted that the use of antibiotics in farm animal feed is contributing to the growing problem of deadly antibiotic resistance in America."
Read the PEW Charitable Trust's report: Antibiotic Resistance and the Industrial Animal Farm (PDF).
Earth's Upper Atmosphere Collapses. Nobody Knows Why.
type of collapse is not rare, but its magnitude shocked scientists. 'This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,' said John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. 'It's a Space Age record.'" Photo: NASA/Reuters/File.
Birth Control by the Numbers
Jen Phillips reports for Mother Jones: "Contraceptives aren't included in the list of preventive services health insurance companies will have to cover copay-free in new plans starting in September. At least, not yet. Insurance plans will also have to cover a range of preventive services just for women. Health and Human Services is expected to release that list by August 2011, and groups like Planned Parenthood are hoping contraception will be included. Personally, I think birth control should absolutely be covered, especially the long-term methods like IUDs and implants. And as this is a list of preventive services, contraception is, by its nature, preventive. But hard-working lobbyists and the common misconception (pardon the pun) that birth control is a "woman problem" are a powerful double-whammy, so much so that I wonder if they'll delay this crucial health care step for years, maybe even administrations."
A Queer Calculation
Photo: Associated Press.
Managed News: Inside The US/NATO Military Industrial Media Empire
Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Sgt. Russell Gilchrest / The U.S. Army, liquidx, trevhunter.
Does God Talk to Glenn Beck?
Richard Geldard writes for the Hugginton Post: "Evidently so. Mr Beck has said that God has given him a plan for America and, presumably the rest of the world as well. How, we wonder, did this so-called 'plan' arrive to his attention? In a dream perhaps? On the internet? Through a special messenger in the Vatican? Perhaps he got a call from Roger Ailes. Unlikely sources all, but we'd like to know. It is doubtful, though, that he will share this information.
Broadband Rules Are Crucial to Expand Access and Protect Users
Washington, D.C., where a court recently ruled that the Federal Communications Commission – the government agency that sets communications policy for the country – lacks authority over broadband networks. The agency is now deciding whether to reassert its legal authority over broadband, and it's no exaggeration to say that our online future rests on its decision.
Telco Lobby Loses its Best Stats as the U.S. Falls in Broadband Ranking
Stacey Higginbotham reports for GigaOM: "Sweden has overtaken the U.S. in a survey that measures how well a country uses broadband, primarily because the U.S. has stagnated on the consumer broadband side as compared to other top-performing nations. The Connectivity Scorecard, which is sponsored by Nokia Siemens Networks, measures not only the raw infrastructure used to deploy broadband, but also policies and the way people use it. The U.S. scored a 7.77 on a 10-point scale, while Sweden scored a 7.95."
Recommended Audio: On the Media - Newspaper of the Future
News existed before newsprint. Will it exist after? Of course, according to Yochai Benkler. What we confront, he argues, is a set of practical questions: what do we need in our news? What do we care about? The author of The Wealth of Networks describes our shift from the newspaper we get to the newspaper we seek.
PBS Leads Emmy Nods for News
PBS flexed its usual strength when the News and Documentary Emmy nominations were announced Thursday, racking up 37 nods for its coverage of Taliban youth, the death of Iranian protester Neda Agha-Soltan and a community battle over a mosque in West Virginia, among other topics. The public television system was followed closely by CBS, which had a particularly good showing, scoring 31 nominations, including 16 for its long-running Sunday newsmagazine " 60 Minutes." HBO placed third with 20 nominations, one of its largest hauls ever, followed by National Geographic, which earned 19. NBC had 17 and ABC got 9." Photo: Iason Athanasiadis / PBS - Iranians protest Ahmadinejad's UN visit on September 23, 2009, carrying an image of Neda Soltan, who was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran following Iran's controversial presidential election this summer.
BBC Launches U.S. News Site
Multichannel News reports: "BBC.com launched a U.S. edition and new redesign with advertising partner HP today. The edition will be staffed by a new team of online journalists now based in the BBC's Washington, D.C. bureau, led by BBC.com U.S. editor Matthew Davis. Herb Scannell, newly appointed president of BBC Worldwide America, said "BBC.com is a business with a great future and a strong blue chip advertiser base. We're growing fast and this investment underscores our commitment to bringing America some of the best journalism in the world. The talented team behind BBC.com, lead by global director Luke Bradley- Jones, has done an incredible job." Later this summer, BBC.com will launch a travel section, in partnership with sister company Lonely Planet. It will be led by former NYTimes.com travel & style editor David G. Allan, recently appointed editorial director at BBC Travel. The travel section will launch with Emirates as the key sponsor. Enhanced sports, technology, business and entertainment sites will follow. BBC.com, with almost half of its audience under the age of 35, also offers a range of successful apps, including the BBC News and the BBC Sports app. The BBC News app currently ranks #6 among U.S. news applications. BBC.com is now viewed by more than 16 million users a month in the U.S."
Will the White House Sell Out to Big Telecom? Or Will 'Dear Valerie' Jarrett Save the Day?
Art Brodsky writes for the Huffington Post: "Did White House business liaison "Dear Valerie" Jarrett just give the big kiss-off to Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg? Or did she invite more negotiations on some crucial telecommunications issues? A meeting between the two and the subsequent letters followed up Seidenberg's blast at the Obama administration on June 22, in which, speaking as chairman of the Business Roundtable, he said the administration's policies, including telecommunications policy, were creating a hostile environment for investment and job creation."
Should the Government Bail Out Journalism?