Rotten Eggs and Our Broken Democracy
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "What do a half-billion eggs have to do with democracy? The massive recall of salmonella-infected eggs, the largest egg recall in U.S. history, opens a window on the power of large corporations over not only our health, but over our government. While scores of brands have been recalled, they all can be traced back to just two egg farms. Our food supply is increasingly in the hands of larger and larger companies, which wield enormous power in our political process. As with the food industry, so, too, is it with oil and with banks: Giant corporations, some with budgets larger than most nations, are controlling our health, our environment, our economy and increasingly, our elections."
Reagan Insider: 'GOP Destroyed U.S. Economy'
Banks' Self-Dealing Super-Charged Financial Crisis
Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger report for ProPublica: "Over the last two years of the housing bubble, Wall Street bankers perpetrated one of the greatest episodes of self-dealing in financial history. ... Faced with increasing difficulty in selling the mortgage-backed securities that had been among their most lucrative products, the banks hit on a solution that preserved their quarterly earnings and huge bonuses: They created fake demand."
They Go or Obama Goes
Photo: White House / Pete Souza - President Barack Obama, in background, talks on the phone in the Oval Office earlier this month as National Economic Council Director Larry Summers listens in.
Speculation and the New Commodity Price Crisis: Separating the Wheat From the Chaff
Steve Suppan provides the following news analysis for TripleCrisis.com: "Wheat prices had been climbing prior to the August 5 announcement of a Russian wheat export ban. Kansas Board of Trade wheat futures contracts had gone from $4.92 a bushel on June 10 to spike at $7.95 a bushel on August 5, prompting a reporter to ask, 'How could a Russian drought in the age of instant information escape the world's notice until the country's wheat crop was devastated?' This excellent question does not yet have a clear answer."
Treasury Admits: Program for Struggling Homeowners Just a Ploy to Enrich Big Banks
Let's Be Honest about Taxes
Ruth Marcus writes for Trughtdig.com: "I was pretty tough on House Minority Leader John Boehner the other day, and I don’t regret a word, but the Ohio Republican made one important suggestion that’s worth highlighting. It’s about the obscure-sounding but increasingly costly subject of tax expenditures."
Hawks Box in Obama on Afghan War
Ray McGovern comments for Consortium News: "Just back from Afghanistan, Marine Commandant, Gen. James Conway held a news conference to add his voice to the Pentagon campaign to disparage the July 2011 date President Barack Obama set for U.S. troops to begin leaving Afghanistan."
50,000 Soldiers, 1 Million Pieces of Equipment, and $3 Trillion: A photographic tally of what America is really leaving behind in Iraq.
invasion of Iraq, the last American "combat brigade" picked up stakes and left the country in mid-August. Come September 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom will just be another campaign for the history books. In its place: Operation New Dawn. Time to break out the "Mission Accomplished" banner! Not so fast. The United States is keeping nearly 50,000 troops in Iraq—the fewest since the war started in March 2003, but still enough to fill a stadium. What else are we leaving behind? It's more than just Humvees and huge bases. Here's a photographic tally of the human, financial, and political impacts being left in our wake in Iraq." Photo: US Marine Corps photo by Corporal Bobbie A. Harris / Creative Commons
10 Needed Steps for Obama to Start Dismantling America's Gigantic, Destructive Military Empire
Chalmers Johnson writes (via AlterNet): "However ambitious President Barack Obama's domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union."
E-Verify vs. a National ID
has a post today that sets out the current state of play on E-Verify, an electronic system designed to prevent employers from hiring illegal aliens. The good news is that the system has gotten better over time: the initial error rate for authorized workers is now only 0.8%, and that error rate drops very close to zero when results are contested. Error rates for foreign-born workers were a bit higher, but this has also improved considerably over the past couple of years. (The full report is here.) Photo: Mother Jones
Are Arizona's Political Leaders Deliberately Blocking Electronic Voting Machine Transparency?
Denis G. Campbell provides the following news analysis for Truthout: "Why did Arizona's two main gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Jan Brewer, former secretary of state/head of elections, who contracted for highly criticized and easily-hacked Diebold and Sequoia ballot scanning systems, and Attorney General (AG) Terry Goddard, with his three-year 'criminal investigation' into a 2006 Pima County (Tucson) local election allegedly hacked, according to a whistleblower, do everything in their power for years to stifle polling accountability while expensively fighting enforcement of Arizona's election laws?"
Why I Teach: Catching Kids Before They Sink
MUST READ: Questions About the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’
Factcheck.org provides answers and facts about the proposed cultural center and mosque near New York’s former World Trade Center.
Near Ground Zero, a Shameful Intolerance
Photo: David Shankbone
Alan Simpson, Senator Guttermouth, Spews Again
William Greider writes for The Nation: "Retired Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, who inherited a soft-cushion career in politics from his father, is a garrulous old crank who at 79 seems desperate for attention. Simpson likes to pop off provocatively. He cannot resist mocking lesser mortals like Social Security recipients with mean-spirited ridicule. Simpson is an always quotable darling of Washington reporters, who mistake his nastiness for straight talk, who are too lazy to check out his ugly distortions."
Covert Operations: The Billionaire Koch Brothers' War Against Obama
Jane Mayer writes for the New Yorker: "Members of the John Birch Society developed an interest in a school of Austrian economists who promoted free-market ideals. Charles and David Koch were particularly influenced by the work of Friedrich von Hayek, the author of “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), which argued that centralized government planning led, inexorably, to totalitarianism. Hayek’s belief in unfettered capitalism has proved inspirational to many conservatives, and to anti-Soviet dissidents; lately, Tea Party supporters have championed his work. In June, the talk-radio host Glenn Beck, who has supported the Tea Party rebellion, promoted “The Road to Serfdom” on his show; the paperback soon became a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon. (Beck appears to be a fan of the Kochs; in the midst of a recent on-air parody of Al Gore, Beck said, without explanation, “I want to thank Charles Koch for this information.” Beck declined to elaborate on the relationship.)"
In Ken We Trust: Why do Ken Cuccinelli's legal opinions always match his personal ambitions?
Dahlia Lithwick writes for Slate: "It must be Wednesday, because Virginia's hyperactive attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, is back in the news. Of course, he was also in the news on Tuesday, on Monday, and last Friday. Religious displays on public land, abortion, immigration, climate change. Is there a single issue from the culture wars over which Cuccinelli hasn't picked a fight? But that's one of the perils of treating one's elected office like a Fox News show: If Cuccinelli isn't launching five national ideological battles per week, his ratings might slip. And so ever onward he trudges, devoting his every working day to treating the commonwealth like it's the Lord's Disneyland.
What's Glenn Beck Afraid of?
"Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial being held this Saturday. He has repeatedly told people coming to DC not to bring political signs. What? No signs? The hallmark of the last year's worth of tea party rallies that he helped fuel? But it's true. In an info packet on his website about the rally, Beck instructs, 'Please refrain from bringing signs (political or otherwise) as they may deter from the peaceful message we are bringing to Washington.'" Photo: Truthout
Could This Be A Crime? U.S. Climate Bill Is Dead While So Much Life On Our Earth Continues To Perish
Subhankar Banerjee, Climate StoryTellers: "Consider for a moment the top two carbon sinks of our planet. Oceans absorb more than 25 percent of the CO2 humans put in the air, and forests absorb almost the same amount. By doing so, our forests and oceans together make living possible on this earth for life as we know it now. All of that is changing rapidly and for the worse."
Factory Farms Make You Sick. Let's Count the Ways.
Why Is Obama Siding with Polluters?
Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones: "The Obama administration has repeatedly vowed that tackling climate change is among its top priorities. But in a landmark legal case that could force the nation's dirtiest power plants to clean up their acts, the administration this week sided with some of the biggest polluters in the country. This latest development has left a number of environmental advocates wondering whose side the White House is really on when it comes to global warming."
Surprise Surprise! Latest GOPer to Come Out of the Closet Fought Hard Against Gay Rights
Facebook Now Believes It Owns the English Language, Too
Tom Scocca writes for Slate: "Facebook, the data-mining and junk-software-marketing Internet behemoth, is suing a startup in Northbrook, Illinois, because the new company plans to use '-book' in its name, according to a Tribune report. The startup, Teachbook.com, is meant to help teachers 'share lesson plans and other resources,' and has 'fewer than 20 users signed up.'"
Verizon: Please, Only We Can Lie About Network Neutrality
We've explored how the Goorizon alliance is the regulatory equivalent of a bobble-head doll: cute and stuffed largely with air, but primarily designed to pre-empt tougher consumer protections. Worse perhaps, Google and Verizon's defense of their proposal has been one distortion after another, the companies insisting the weak-kneed framework is solely about empowering the consumer, and has nothing to do with keeping wireless consumer protections away from their tablet/smartphone Android partnership." Photo: DoomDaily.com
Net Neutrality argument Names the Wrong Villain
The Boston Globe writes in an editorial: "IN HIS Aug. 21 response to your editorial “After
In Minnesota, Hundreds Urge FCC to Protect Net Neutrality
Jenn Ettinger reports for SavetheInternet.com: "It was standing room only at South High in Minneapolis on Thursday night as more than 750 people turned out to show their support for Net Neutrality and free speech online. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn listened to hours of impassioned public testimony about the future of the Internet."
Franken Goes Ballistic on Verizon, Google, Comcast, and NBCU
public hearing on the Internet, held in his home state of Minnesota. 'Unless it's freedom of religion,' he added, 'which, until last week, I thought we had kind of worked out.' The audience at Minneapolis' South High School cracked up over Franken's reference to the Ground Zero Mosque slugfest. But this was a warm-up rally for their own cause—getting the Federal Communications Commission to pass rules that would partially reclassify ISPs as common carriers and apply various neutrality provision to their activities. Two Democratic members of the FCC also attended the event: Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn." Photo: Ars Technica