The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11
Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout: "Nearly twice as many Americans have died fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than were lost in the 9/11 attacks. The total cost of these long wars will be in the trillions of dollars. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, the cost of oil was less than $25 a barrel; the price reached $140 a barrel in 2008 and, currently, the price is still three times the 2001 levels. The entire national security system has suffered as a result of the wrong-headed actions of the Bush administration in Iraq and the Obama administration in Afghanistan."
Hate Takes Center Stage
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, and Max Bergmann write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Hate pastor Terry Jones and his small Dove World congregation are planning an event to burn the Quran in Gainesville, FL on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. His plan -- dubbed "International Burn a Quran Day" -- has now become a global story that, according to top American commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, could endanger the lives of American forces and American foreign policy goals. While similar acts from Jones and others went widely ignored in the past -- in 2008 the incendiary Kansas-based Westboro church burned a Quran on a Washington D.C. street -- today they are front-page news. So what changed? Jones' event comes at the end of a hate-filled summer in which the right wing fostered anti-Muslim vitriol has risen to unprecedented levels. This has led to a growing sense both in the U.S. and around the world that perhaps Jones' hateful plan is not just an isolated incident, but is reflective of an increasingly intolerant America. If Jones follows through, it will inevitably further endanger our troops and increase animosity toward the United States. But this act of hate -- just like the burning of a cross, or painting of a swastika -- is also about the response it elicits. The response in the form of public statements and counterprotests will likely demonstrate the strengths, not the weaknesses, of American values: a country that not just protects the freedom to demonstrate, while showing that hate-filled individuals such as Jones in no way represent America."
How Much "Success" Can Afghans Stand?
Calls for Change of US Strategy in Afghanistan Grow Loude
Jim Lobe reports for Inter Press Service: "In a new report released here Wednesday, a bipartisan group of some three dozen former senior officials, academics, and policy analysts argued that the administration's ambitious 'nation-building' efforts in Afghanistan are costing too much in U.S. blood and treasure and that, in any event, '(p)rospects for success are dim.'"
Soldiers With Brain Trauma Denied Purple Hearts, Adding Insult to Injury
Photo: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images - A U.S. Marine runs to safety moments after an IED blast in Garmsir district of Helmand Province in Afghanistan on July 13, 2009.
Why Peaceniks Should Care About the Afghanistan Study Group Report
Robert Naiman, The Huffington Post: "Peace activists can't be satisfied with being right; they also are morally compelled to try to be effective. And part of being effective is giving consideration to, and seeking to publicize, arguments are likely to end the war sooner rather than later. This is why it is important for as many people as possible to read and digest the short and accessible report of the 'Afghanistan Study Group' which has been publicly unveiled this week. The assumptions and conclusions of the ASG report should be the subject of a thousand debates. But there are a few things about it that one can say without fear of reasonable contradiction. The authors of the report oppose the war and want to end it."
Racialized Memories and Class Identities - Thinking About Glenn Beck's and Rush Limbaugh's America
Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Gage Skidmore, Karl Schmeck 1, 2
The Tortoise Economy
Robert Reich comments for Robert Reich's Blog: "Word from the twelve Federal Reserve Banks, summarized in the Fed's so-called 'Beige Book,' shows the economy slowing in July and August. Duh. But the Fed is quick to point out the economy overall is still growing - even though it's growing more slowly than in the spring. Can we have a moment of realism here, please? In 2008 and 2009 the economy fell into the deepest hole it's been in since the Great Depression. Since then we've been struggling to get out. We're failing big time."
The United States of Inequality - The Great Divergence 2010: What's causing America's growing income inequality?
Timothy Noah writes the first in a six-part series for Slate: "In 1915, a statistician at the University of Wisconsin named Willford I. King published The Wealth and Income of the People of the United States, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. The United States was displacing Great Britain as the world's wealthiest nation, but detailed information about its economy was not yet readily available; the federal government wouldn't start collecting such data in any systematic way until the 1930s. One of King's purposes was to reassure the public that all Americans were sharing in the country's newfound wealth."
Other titles is this series:
- The Usual Suspects Are Innocent
- Did Immigration Create the Great Divergence?
- Did Computers Create Inequality?
- Can We Blame Income Inequality on Republicans?
- The Great Divergence and the Death of Organized Labor
Kevin Drumm writes for Mother Jones: "Why has income inequality grown so explosively over the past 30 years? Why do so many working and middle class voters cast their ballots for a party that's so obviously a captive of corporations and the rich? Why is there no longer any real sustained effort to improve the lot of the middle class?"
It's the Mortgages, Stupid
Illegal immigration: What's the real cost to taxpayers?
Edward Schumacher-Matos comments for the Washington Post: "In 1909, at the height of the last great immigration wave, when immigrants reached a peak of almost 15 percent of the U.S. population, they made up about half of all public welfare recipients. They were two-thirds of welfare recipients in Chicago. In the country's 30 largest cities, meanwhile, more than half of all public school students were the children of immigrants. They were three-fourths in New York."
A Chance for Supreme Court Damage Control
E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes for Truthdig: "Imagine that your neighbors started getting letters describing all sorts of horrific deeds you had allegedly performed. Wouldn’t you feel you had the right to know who was spreading this sleaze—especially if the charges were untrue?"
The Neoliberal Bait and Switch
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "In simplistic, Lexus-and-Olive-Tree terms, the neoliberal economic argument goes like this: Tariff-free trade policies are great because they increase commerce, and we can mitigate those policies’ negative effects on the blue-collar job market by upgrading our education system to cultivate more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) specialists for the white-collar sector."
Why Is College So Expensive? The War on Public Universities
Amy DePaul writes for AlterNet: "With 220,000 students, 10 campuses strung across America’s most populous state, five medical centers, three national science laboratories and groundbreaking academic research, the University of California (U.C.) has long symbolized excellence in public higher education. But all that may be changing as a result of budget cuts, reduced access and tuition hikes plaguing public colleges in California and across the country."
Tea Party vs. U.S. Social Forum: Mass movements that matter for media—Round 2
Julie Hollar writes for Extra!: "When it comes to covering activist gatherings, corporate media have established clear standards: Numbers don’t count nearly as much as politics do. Last fall, when tens of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists and their allies marched on Washington in a grassroots rally for equality, media gave it far less coverage than the similarly sized, largely corporate-funded Tea Party protest in Washington just a month earlier (Extra!, 12/09). So it came as little surprise that the Tea Party Convention this February would get more coverage than the June U.S. Social Forum, five days of strategizing, organizing and activism inspired by the World Social Forum launched in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001. What was a little shocking, though, was just how stark the difference was."
Right-Wing Republicans vs. Corporate Democrats vs. Progressive Populists
Norman Solomon comments for Truthout: "Progressives need to fight back - today, tomorrow and every day. The electoral struggle is just one part of what's needed to build effective social movements, but it's an important part. And that effort should include primary battles to elect real progressives to Congress. One such election is coming up Tuesday in Rhode Island, where progressive populist David Segal is running against corporate Democratic insiders to fill the seat of retiring Congressman Patrick Kennedy."
Koran-Burning Pastor Was Once The GOP's Poster Child For German Intolerance Of Christians
pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center who plans to burn Korans on Saturday to the chagrin of many anti-Islam and anti-mosque advocates, has a long history of claiming that he is the one subjected to discrimination. Before he moved to Florida in 2008 to take the helm of the DWOC, he had a small church in Cologne with some pretty big problems -- and plenty of prominent Republicans had his back."
Two Multibillionaire Brothers Are Remaking America for Their Own Benefit
Jim Hightower comments for Truthout: "Do you buy Northern tissue, Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups or Vanity Fair napkins? These well-known brands are owned and produced by Koch Industries (pronounced 'coke') in Wichita, Kan. Koch is also a major producer of oil, gas, timber, coal, cattle, refined petroleum, asphalt, polyethylene plastic ... and much, much more.... Charles and David Koch, who control this family-owned empire, have a net worth of $14 billion each, ranking both in a tie for the 19th richest person on the planet.... Charles and David have used the wealth they draw from Koch Industries to fuel a network of three Koch Family Foundations, which have set up and financed a secretive army of political operatives dedicated to achieving the brothers' antigovernment, corporate-controlled vision for America."
Fox Calls for Repeal of the 20th Century
Matthew Gertz provides the follow news analysis for Media Matters: "Since President Obama's election, Fox personalities have expressed opposition to or called for the repeal of virtually every progressive achievement of the 20th century, including Social Security, Medicare, the Americans with Disabilities Act, portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution."
GOP Recruits Homeless People to Run as Green Party Candidates
Photo: Joshua Lott for The New York Times - Steve May, right, a Republican, recruited three street people, from left, Thomas Meadows, Anthony Goshorn and Benjamin Pearcy, to run as Green Party candidates in Arizona.
Right-Wing Tilt on Sunday Morning: The conservative records of talking-head lawmakers
Jim Naureckas and Alyssa Figueroa write for Extra! : "Lawmakers talking about U.S. policy issues are the bread and butter of the Sunday morning news shows—NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday. An Extra! study of the lawmakers who appear on these shows finds they have voting records that tilt to the right. Extra! studied the guests on these four programs from January 25, 2009—the first show after Obama’s inauguration—until April 25, 2010, more than a year into his administration. Guests who were current members of the Senate or House of Representatives, or former members since 2001, were tallied by voting record (in the 111th Congress or, for former lawmakers, the most recent available) according to the VoteView system."
The Military's Media Megaphone and the US Global Military Presence
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "To grasp the changing nature of military influence domestically, consider the military's relationship to the media.... Generals and admirals now mouth off regularly on a wide range of policy issues, appealing to the American public both directly and via deferential (sometimes fawning) reporters, pundits, and commentators. They and their underlings clearly leak news repeatedly for tactical advantage in policy-making situations. They organize what are essentially political-style barnstorming campaigns for what once would have been 'foreign policy' positions, and increasingly this is just the way the game is played."