Photo: AP / Mark Lennihan
Funding Public Services Is the Best Route to Prosperity
Political Economy Research Institute reports (via Truthout): "The New England states, can no longer afford to spend scarce resources on tax credits and other business giveaways. Instead, the region needs to focus its economic development efforts on rebuilding neglected infrastructure and improving education for people at all levels, from pre-school youngsters to older adult workers. Those are the conclusions of a new study released today by economist Jeffrey Thompson of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Thompson's paper is based on his extensive analysis of research on what works and doesn't work to create jobs and strengthen state and regional economies. It suggests a better approach to economic development, one that the New England states should pursue as they slowly dig out from the Great Recession that began in late 2007."
New Study Identifies Revenues for Doubling of Social Security Payout: Guaranteeing the American Dream with Expanded Social Security
Steven Hill reports for CommonDreams.org: "For millions of Americans, the dream of a secure retirement has been threatened by the Great Recession. Since WWII, retirement has been conceived as a "three-legged stool," with the three legs being Social Security, pensions, and personal savings centered around homeownership. But today most private sector employers have quit providing pensions, and state and local government’s public pensions are drastically underfunded. In addition, a collapsed housing and stock market, combined with increased inequality even before the Great Recession, have drastically reduced Americans’ personal savings."
Attacking Social Security
Raj Goyle Social Security Pledge and Why It Matters
Stuart Elliot writes for the Kansas Free Press: "Saturday at the Wichita Hyatt, in front of a crowd of nearly 200 people at Demofest, State Rep. Raj Goyle, candidate for Congress representing the 4th District, signed a pledge promising to work to strengthen and protect Social Security. The event came on the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signing the bill into law. "
There's Nothing Wrong With Social Security That Taxing the Rich Fairly Wouldn't Fix
Dave Lindorff comments for This Can't Be Happening: "New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman, in his column today, is right to expose the attacks on Social Security as being the work of right-wing ideologues eager to destroy a government program that works, backed by cowardly Democrats who want to show their fiscal 'responsibility' by getting tough with future pensioners."
States of Paralysis: America's Surrender to the Spectacle of Terror
The Guns of August
Chalmers Johnson writes for TomDispatch: "In 1962, the historian Barbara Tuchman published a book about the start of World War I and called it The Guns of August. It went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. She was, of course, looking back at events that had occurred almost 50 years earlier and had at her disposal documents and information not available to participants. They were acting, as Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it, in the fog of war."
Last U.S. Combat Brigade Pulls Out Of Iraq
Associated Press reports via The Huffington Post: "As their convoy reached the barbed wire at the border crossing out of Iraq on Wednesday, the soldiers whooped and cheered. Then they scrambled out of their stifling hot armored vehicles, unfurled an American flag and posed for group photos. For these troops of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, it was a moment of relief fraught with symbolism. Seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion, the last American combat brigade was leaving Iraq, well ahead of President Barack Obama's Aug. 31 deadline for ending U.S. combat operations there."
How Truth Can Save Lives
Photo: Jeff Kubina
Other Countries Probing Bush-era Torture — Why Aren't We?
Shashank Bengali reports for McClatchy News: "In June, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a Canadian man who contends that U.S. authorities mistook him for an al Qaida operative in 2002 and shipped him to a secret prison in Syria, where he was beaten with electrical cables and held in a grave-like cell for 10 months. Four years earlier, however, the Canadian government had concluded an exhaustive inquiry and found that the former prisoner, Maher Arar, was telling the truth. Canada cleared Arar of all ties to terrorism and paid him $10 million in damages, and his lawyers say he's cooperating with an investigation into the role of U.S. and Syrian officials in his imprisonment and reported torture."
Immigration and Drugs Along the Mexico/Guatemala Frontier
Andrew Eller, Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "Americans' demand for drugs affects the daily lives of local residents living far south of Mexico. Huge quantities of drugs pass through the Central American land bridge on their trip to consumers in North America. The three northernmost countries of Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, have the highest murder rates in the region, much higher than those in adjacent Mexico."
Feds Threaten to Sue Sheriff Arpaio
Suzy Khimm reports for Mother Jones: "The Justice Department is threatening to sue the infamous Joe Arpaio—the Arizona sheriff who's vowed to persecute any illegal immigrants who've crossed his path—for failing to cooperate with federal investigators. As the Washington Post explains, the feds want to determine whether Arpaio is responsible for "discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures," and discriminating against Hispanic inmates in jail."
Ground Zero for Tolerance
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "Are the Republicans terminally stupid or are they just playing the dangerous fool? In either case, the irrational attack on Muslims everywhere by the GOP’s leadership is not only deeply subversive with regard to the American ideal of religious tolerance but also poses a profound threat to our national security. Nor does it help that some top Democrats like Harry Reid are willing to demean Muslims even as we fight two wars in which victory depends on our ability to convey a respect for their religion."
Who will stand up to the GOP's war on Islam?
Tipping Points, Are We Headed Toward Theocratic Fascism?
Steven Jonas writes for BuzzFlash: "Back on March 21, 2007, in a column on The Political Junkies.net, the predecessor webmagazine to TPJmagazine.us, I speculated that perhaps the primary objective of the Iraq Invasion from the beginning was not "oil and bases" which so many of us figured it was when the war was commenced. Rather, I then surmised, it was to establish the basis for Permanent War. At that time I thought that the reason for doing this was political, to establish the basis for Karl Rove's dream of a Permanent Republican Majority. The real purpose of the so-called "Surge" in my view, an action that was strongly opposed by none other than James Baker et al and Bob Gates (see the article referenced above), was to establish the on-the-ground implementation of that strategy."
Why Dr. Laura Can't Say Whatever She Wants
Elon James White writes for Salon.com: "White people saying "nigger." That's always pleasant, right? White people saying "nigger" while minimalizing the feelings of racism? Even more pleasant. Like a massage. A really racist massage. The drama that has been this past week's news cycle due to someone simply expressing her right to free speech (if you go by Dr. Laura's resignation interview on CNN) has once again brought race to the forefront of American media. The popular memes of "blacks can say it, why can't whites?" and "No one should use the word!" are running rampant throughout the blogosphere. The underlying uncomfortableness of the discussion of "nigger" being in the everyday American vernacular comes from the underlying uncomfortableness of blacks being in everyday America."
Regulatory Agencies' Attempts to Sweep Oil Under the Rug Raise Questions
Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch: "'A recent report by the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center (a collaboration between the federal government and BP) claiming that only 25 percent of spilled oil remains in the Gulf has been refuted by researchers with the Georgia Sea Grant and University of Georgia, who released a report yesterday concluding that in fact nearly 80 percent of the oil remains in the Gulf. The report confirms the fact that the federal government should have taken a more cautious and responsible approach to testing marine life before opening the Gulf for fishing.'"
Where's the Math on Gov't Oil Spill Report?
I noted that the official report "doesn't include much in the way of specifics on the supporting data used to reach these conclusions." I've repeatedly asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which took the lead on the report, for more of the supporting data. Those requests have not been fulfilled. Heck, I can barely even get anyone to return a call over there. A spokesperson finally told me today that she would look into whether the supporting information on the report would be made public." Photo by d3 Dan, via Flickr.
The 19th Amendment Turns 90 Despite the Haters
90th anniversary of our right to vote, ladies, and with that comes a modicum of responsibility. With great power, yadda yadda yadda. American women tend to take a great deal for granted: We can work, own land, drive our own cars (alone), walk the streets with our arms and legs on display and get pregnant without relying on the presence of a penis (sorry, Bill O'Reilly). All of these inalienable rights have set us apart from present-day women in hundreds of countries. We can cheat on our spouses without being stoned to death. We can express heteroflexibility more readily than men. We can lie, cheat, steal and maim our way to the top of the corporate ladder. Just like boys!"
US Chamber: Equal Pay “a Fetish for Money,” Women Should “Choose the Right Partner at Home”
Michael Whitney writes for FireDogLake: "The US Chamber of Commerce has apparently spent too much time watching Mad Men: in a blog post this morning, Chamber blogger Brad Peck called women’s fight for pay equity to be nothing more than a 'fetish for money,' and said women complaining about their pay should focus instead on 'choosing the right partner at home.' The Chamber’s Peck also approvingly quoted a post that asked, 'Should government force gym-man to share his beautiful babes with couch-potato man?' This is all in a post on the Chamber’s blog called: “Equality, Suffrage, and a Fetish for Money.” You can’t make it up.
Your Fears Confirmed: "Up to" Broadband Speeds Are Bogus
Nate Anderson reports for Ars Technica: "Broadband providers in the US have long hawked their wares in "up to" terms. You know—"up to" 10Mbps, where "up to" sits like a tiny pebble beside the huge font size of the raw number. In reality, no one gets these speeds. That's not news to the techno-literate, of course, but a new Federal Communications Commission report (PDF) shines a probing flashlight on the issue and makes a sharp conclusion: broadband users get, on average, a mere 50 percent of that "up to" speed they had hoped to achieve."
ACTION ALERT: Stop an Internet Hijacking
Jay Inslee writes for Daily Kos: "Massive corporations are cooking up backroom deals right now that could end this era of online innovation and fundamentally alter how we use the Internet. And there is little to stop them -- unless we act now. I firmly believe that Congressional action is the only way to truly protect our online rights. For years, I've done everything I can in the halls of Congress to find the support for legislation that will protect the open Internet, and unfortunately the will is just not there -- the telecoms hold too much sway."
Sign on to our letter today demanding FCC action now– Democrats, Republicans, Independents, political or non-political -- anyone you know who uses the Internet. This affects us all, and we all need to join together to stop it. We need everyone involved if we're going to stand up to corporations the size of Verizon and Google.