350.org, one of the groups coordinating the event. "To build a grassroots movement that can challenge Big Oil and deliver real climate action, we need to root that movement in community solutions to the climate crisis," says Henn. 'By making climate solutions real and visible, we can build broader support for the type of transformation we need.'" Photo: 350.org
Unemployment at 9.6 Percent: Largest Cuts in Local Government Jobs in 30 Years
Photo: Philo Nordlund / Flickr
DOJ's Troubled Case Against Uthman
Dafna Linzer reports for ProPublica: "A security mishap in court filings earlier this year led to the accidental release of the government's case against Uthman, one of the 48 men the Obama administration plans to keep imprisoned.... Until now, it has not been possible to assess the strength of the government's case against the detainees because the identity of the witnesses and other evidence has been redacted. But this examination, based on reviews of previous judicial opinions and court filings, as well as interviews with senior government officials, former military prosecutors, intelligence officials and other key players makes clear for the first time the extent of the weaknesses in the evidence."
Judge to US: Yes, Really, Torture is Illegal
Karen Greenberg reports for Mother Jones: "Finally, it seemed, the moment had arrived. The jury pool had been whittled down to 65, the final voir dire was set to begin, and lawyers on both sides were ready with their opening statements. Anticipation was high, and so, clearly, was nervousness. For the first time in more than a year of pretrial hearings, security held the press and observers on the ground floor of the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan. Anyone who took the elevator to the 26th floor without clearance from the US Marshalls was turned away."
Broken Promises: Thousands of Veterans Denied Crucial Care
Mike Ludwig reports for Truthout: "The Army tacked a five-month extension on Sgt. Ryan Christian Major's term of military service in 2006, and that November, just five days after his original discharge date, Ryan was critically injured when an underground bomb exploded during a foot patrol in Ramadi, Iraq.... For many Americans, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is startling: more than $1 trillion has been spent on the conflicts. At least 5,670 service members have been killed, and 91,384 have been wounded in conflict or evacuated from the war zone for treatment of wounds or illnesses. But for soldiers like Ryan and their families, the true costs of war cannot be summed up with numbers printed on a page. They have paid a price higher than most Americans can imagine, and now veterans' advocates say Congress and the government is in no way prepared to compensate them for their effort and sacrifice."
'Saving' Social Security from Its Previous Rescue
Way back in 1983, corporate media helped sell the dubious notion that Social Security needed saving by a blue-ribbon commission (Extra!, 1–2/88). The panel—headed by future Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan—raised payroll taxes and the retirement age for the ostensible purpose of accumulating a large surplus to help finance the retirement of the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. That this surplus, loaned to the general federal budget in exchange for Treasury bonds, would also help to finance the Reagan-era tax cuts for affluent taxpayers was treated as a complete coincidence."
How Immigration Reform Got Caught in the Deportation Dragnet
Photo: Erin Hollaway
Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite
Isabel Macdonald reports for The Nation: "In Lou Dobbs's heyday at CNN, when he commanded more than 800,000 viewers and a reported $6 million a year for "his fearless reporting and commentary," in the words of former CNN president Jonathan Klein, the host became notorious for his angry rants against "illegal aliens." But Dobbs reserved a special venom for the employers who hire them, railing against "the employer who is so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flouting US law" and even proposing, on one April 2006 show, that "illegal employers who hire illegal aliens" should face felony charges."
Recommended Audio: Media Matters - An Interview with Senator Bernie Sanders
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The Chamber's Foreign Influence
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Following the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in January, the right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken record-breaking steps to influence the 2010 midterm elections. Pledging to spend an unprecedented $75 million this year, the Chamber is in the midst of launching one of the largest partisan attack campaigns to defeat Democrats, including candidates like Jack Conway (KY), Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), Jerry Brown (CA), Rep. Joe Sestak (PA) and Rep. Tom Perriello (VA). Having aired more than 8,000 campaign ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates alone and having spent 85 percent of its current expenditure on Republicans, the Chamber's spending has "dwarfed every other issue group and most political party candidate committee spending." It is well-established that the Chamber has used dues from corporations like health insurance giant Aetna to try to defeat health care reform, received contributions from bailed-out banks to lobby against Wall Street reform, and solicited funds from Fox News' parent company News Corporation for its election season attack campaign. But a new ThinkProgress investigation reveals that the Chamber is leveraging foreign companies to help fund its activities. Foreign corporations that join the Chamber pay dues that go into the Chamber's general account, which the Chamber then employs to fund its attack campaign. The Chamber "firmly denies the charge, saying its internal accounting rules prevent any foreign money from being used for political purposes." But, as a New York Times editorial notes today, foreign money is fungible, so "it is impossible for an outsider to know whether the group is following its rules." "We want to know what the system is. Basically, they claim they have a system, it's not enough to simply trust them, we need to verify," said ThinkProgress' Editor-in-Chief Faiz Shakir on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews yesterday. While Congressional members and watchdog groups are calling for further investigation into the charges, such campaign actions fall into "something of a regulatory netherworld" leading campaign finance watchdogs, lawyers, and current and former federal officials to believe regulatory agencies like the IRS or the FEC will not examine them closely. Thus, with the Citizens United ruling and the Chamber's abuse of its 501(c)(6) standing, the Chamber is set to use 'unlimited money from donors who have no fear of disclosure.'"
Recommended Audio: Rachel Maddow - Campaign Finance Reform We Can Agree on
Rachel Maddow addresses the concern about The Chamber of Commerce's donations to Republican candidates and the potential for foreign influence in American elections.
Conservatives Redefine the Abuse of Power
GoolsbeeGate: The GOP's Latest Obama "Scandal"
David Corn writes for Mother Jones: "If the Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives in the coming congressional elections, Americans can expect to see subpoenas flying like pigeons around Washington next year. Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican likely to take over the House oversight committee, has pledged that if the GOPers win the House, he will double the size of his staff in order to mount multiple investigations of the Obama White House. But will these be real probes or trumped-up witch hunts? A taste of what's to come can be found in the Republicans' current effort to whip up an Obama scandal: GoolsbeeGate."
5 GOP Candidates Who Want to Force Rape Victims to Bear Their Attacker's Child
Tana Ganeva reports for AlterNet: "The GOP has always pandered to the right-wing base by promising to strip women of the right to control their own bodies. In the interest of not alienating sane people though, many Republican lawmakers make an exception in cases of incest and rape, and when a mother's life is in danger. But a group of ultra-conservative Republican Senate candidates -- recently propelled to victory in the primaries by Tea Party groups who claim to oppose government intrusion into people's lives -- want the government to force women to carry fetuses to term, even in cases of incest or rape. Rachel Maddow, in her show on Wednesday night, called this group the 'Bear Your Rapist's Baby Caucus.' According to Raw Story, at least 78 GOP candidates for the House would qualify for this extreme voting bloc.
Boon? or Bust?
Tim Unruh's Salina Journal piece Sunday, Sept. 26. It laid out how Clay Center (and Herington, Junction City, Abilene, and many others) are laying out the welcome mat for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Count the benefits: Bud's Tire service sales tripling, with guaranteed overstock buyout/bailout; referrals for boat sales, doctors, and dentists; full restaurants; swelling campground rentals; pipeline spouses as public service volunteers; pump station/power generation cash cutting Clay Center's electric rates "up to" twenty percent; six million dollars for a 14.5-mile transmission line; and most heart-warmingly, 1,000 charity bucks from TransCanada and 500 from the pipeline company for Clay Center's Orchestra, which just lost funding from the Kansas Arts Commission. "
Tribal Councils in US and Canada Uniting Against Oil Sands Pipeline
Elizabeth McGowan reports for SolveClimate: "Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States are singing the same tune in opposition to TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Last week, representatives from Canada's First Nations traveled to Washington, D.C., to explain how mining of tar sands for heavy crude oil is causing severe health problems and environmental upheaval across their communities. They've also joined forces with Native American groups in the U.S., calling on tribal councils along the Keystone XL's route to come out against the proposed pipeline."
Follow Wyoming on Fracking Regs
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "Frank Sinatra once said that if he could make it in New York, he could make it anywhere. Thanks to new drilling rules, environmentalists can now say the same about Wyoming. To review: Wyoming is as politically red and pro-fossil-fuel a place as exists in America. Nicknamed the “Cowboy State” for its hostility to authority, the square swath of rangeland most recently made headlines when its tax department temporarily suspended levies at gun shows for fear of inciting an armed insurrection. The derrick-scarred home of oilman Dick Cheney, the state emits more carbon emissions per capita than any other, and is as close as our country gets to an industry-owned energy colony. So, to put it mildly, Wyoming is not known for its activist government or its embrace of green policies."
Against 'Bullying' or On Loving Queer Kids
How the Phone Companies Are Screwing America: The $320 Billion Broadband Rip-Off
David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick report for AlterNet: "Since 1991, the telecom companies have pocketed an estimated $320 billion --- that's about $3,000 per household. This is a conservative estimate of the wide-scale plunder that includes monies garnered from hidden rate hikes, depreciation allowances, write-offs and other schemes. Ironically, in 2009, the FCC's National Broadband plan claimed it will cost about $350 billion to fully upgrade America's infrastructure. The principal consequence of the great broadband con is not only that Americans are stuck with an inferior and overpriced communications system, but the nation's global economic competitiveness has been undermined."
Web of Dependency: The Thin New Line
Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Joseph Hatfield, 96dpi
Do ISPs Pay Minorities to Oppose Net Neutrality?
Gred Sandoval report for CNET: "The Los Angeles Times has raised questions about the financial relationship between some large telecommunications companies and influential minority groups. According to the report, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications have poured big money into the coffers of such groups as the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Urban League, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."
Group: Merger Should Include Public Affairs Programming Support
Juliana Gruenwald writes for the National Journal: "A union representing online, film and television writers Wednesday called on federal regulators if they approve the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal to require the combine company to donate at least $10 million a year for a decade to support public affairs programming on television and online. In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the Writers Guild of America East said it hopes the commission and the Justice Department will block the proposed merger. But if regulators approve the deal, the combined company should "contribute significant resources to the production of truly independent content," the guild said.
Right-Wing Tilt on Sunday Morning: The conservative records of talking-head lawmakers
Ten Ways Your Mobile Phone Company Tried to Screw You in 2010
Josh Levy writes for the Huffington Post: "According to the Chinese calendar, it's the year of the Golden Tiger. But for mobile users in the US, 2010 is the Year Wireless Carriers Tried to Screw You. Don't think the phone companies' actions warrant their own year? Check out how they've systematically conned consumers using hidden fees, self-imposed hardware limitations, restricted speech, and the mangling of perfectly good software."
AT and T: No One Can Stop Our "Paid Prioritization"
Nate Anderson reports for Ars Technia: The "paid prioritization" train is leaving the station, and not even the FCC's drive to "reclassify" Internet services as limited common carriers can derail it. Net neutrality advocates, incensed when AT&T's predecessor first suggested the need to charge some Internet companies for "using his pipes free," won't be pleased to hear that AT&T won't let such deals be halted by the FCC. Even if Chairman Genachowski succeeds in bringing ISPs under "Title II"—a prospect that looks increasingly unlikely—AT&T says it will have no effect on its ability to charges companies more for priority Internet access."