The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy (And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America). Joshua Holland writes: "Perhaps the most pernicious right-wing lie of late is that the Wall Street hustlers who came close to bringing the global economy to its knees in 2008 were just innocent victims of government-sponsored programs that forced them to lower lending standards in a misguided effort to increase home ownership among the poor (read: dark-skinned). It’s an alluring story line for those who are ideologically predisposed to blame “inner city” people instead of MBAs in suits roaming the executive suite. It’s also patent nonsense—a Big Lie that has nonetheless become an object of almost religious belief for some on the Right." Photo: AFP/File - Timothy A. Clary
Why the U.S. Has Launched a New Financial World War -- And How the the Rest of the World Will Fight Back
Michael Hudson writes for CounterPunch: "What is to stop U.S. banks and their customers from creating $1 trillion, $10 trillion or even $50 trillion on their computer keyboards to buy up all the bonds and stocks in the world, along with all the land and other assets for sale in the hope of making capital gains and pocketing the arbitrage spreads by debt leveraging at less than 1 per cent interest cost? This is the game that is being played today."
Why Is the White House Against Freezing Foreclosures in the Face of Rampant Fraud?
Stop the Anonymous Hit Men: Make Shadowy Campaign Money the Issue
Paul Rogat Loeb comments for Truthout: " We need to talk about the ads of all the front groups from the Chamber of Commerce to Karl Rove's American Crossroads and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity. We also need to highlight the Republican justices who overruled a century of legislative precedent to enact Citizens United, and talk about how Republican senators have stood in unison to prevent requiring corporate interests to at least put their names on their ads."
Personally Invested in Mortgage Banks, House Republican Opposes Fixes for "Foreclosure-Gate"
Lee Fang reports for ThinkProgress: "Many lenders, like Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Ally Financial, have halted foreclosures, while Democratic lawmakers and a cadre of a bipartisan state attorney generals have called for a wider foreclosure moratorium and investigations into the banks' practices. However, most Republicans have balked at any attempt to seriously respond to the banks' fraudulent foreclosures. In particular, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said last Sunday that he opposed any efforts to expand a moratorium on foreclosures. 'Now, come on, people have to take responsibility for themselves,' said Cantor." Photo: republicanconference / Flickr
The Imperial Defense of Pentagon Bloat
David Sirota writes for TruthDig.com: "Beware the sophistry of budget talking points—especially those seeking to deter any criticism of defense spending. That’s the lesson of these last few weeks, as Establishment Republicans desperately try to thwart both progressives and tea party conservatives who are pressuring Congress to reduce Pentagon bloat. The latest talking point du jour has been around in one form or another for years. It asks us to forget that (A) America spends more on defense than all other major nations combined and (B) the Pentagon, whose annual budget is now approaching World War II levels in inflation-adjusted terms, has lost track of trillions of taxpayer dollars. In light of those troubling truths, we are nonetheless urged by Beltway Republicans to focus on the fact that defense spending is “4.9 percent of our gross domestic product, significantly below the average of 6.5 percent since World War II,” as a recent Wall Street Journal editorial proclaimed."
This Year, Contractor Deaths Exceed Military Ones in Iraq and Afghanistan
T. Christian Miller reports for ProPublica: "More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields. More than 250 civilians working under U.S. contracts died in the war zones between January and June 2010, according to a ProPublica analysis of the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks contractor deaths. In the same period, 235 soldiers died, according to Pentagon figures."
Rule of Law Is Alive and Well Outside the United States
David Swanson writes for WarIsACrime.org: "The World Justice Project on Thursday published a 'Rule of Law Index,' and there's no easy way to say this. Let me put it this way: as when rankings on education, infant mortality, work hours, lifespan, retirement security, health, environmental impact, incarceration rates, violence, concentration of wealth, and other measures of quality of life come out, it is time once again for we Americans to shout 'We're Number One!' more loudly than ever. Because, of course, we're not."
Social Issues and the Tea Party: By Their Leaders Ye Shall Know Them
Jodi Jacobson reports for HR Reality Check: "In a late September column for RH Reality Check, Amanda Marcotte asked: "Is the Media's Tea Party Delusion Coming to An End?" The answer quite obviously is no. Over the past several months, as Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, Joe Miller, Pat Toomey and other mad-hatters have stumped for office, I have listened and read in disbelief as one after another otherwise respected media representative or outlet continues to suggest that the Tea Party is not interested in 'social conservative issues.'"
How Democracy Dies: Lessons from a Master
Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber." Photo: AP - Matt York
Violent Hunter of Progressives Tips His Hat to Glenn Beck for Inspiration - He 'Blew My Mind'
John Hamilton reports for Media Matters for American (via AlterNet): "Byron Williams, a 45-year-old ex-felon, exploded onto the national stage in the early morning hours of July 18. According to a police investigation, Williams opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers who had stopped him on an Oakland freeway for driving erratically. For 12 frantic minutes, Williams traded shots with the police, employing three firearms and a small arsenal of ammunition, including armor-piercing rounds fired from a .308-caliber rifle. When the smoke cleared, Williams surrendered; the ballistic body armor he was wearing had saved his life. Miraculously, only two of the 10 CHP officers involved in the shootout were injured."
For more information on this issue, visit Media Matters for America.
Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About What is Happening in Uganda
Rachel Tabachnick writes for Talk to Action blog: "A May 2010 Vanguard documentary, Missionaries of Hate, shows the impact of a conference in Uganda featuring Scott Lively and the "kill the gays" bill proposed in their Parliament, but it took more than one conference to demonize Uganda's gay population. For years there has been a multi-faceted effort by western politicians and evangelists to promote a politicized Christianity in Uganda. Jeff Sharlet exposed the role of The Family in his book by the same name and his newly released C Street House. Kapya Kaoma produced a report on western evangelical involvement in Uganda in The Public Eye. Charismatic evangelicals, now organized under the authority of apostles, have declared Uganda as a prototype in Transformation movies. The situation for gay Ugandans is dire, but for the groups who have helped to bring this about, Uganda is a prototype to be replicated in countries around the globe. Following are six reasons why we should be paying more attention."
Conservatives' Big Hypocrisy: Turning Women Candidates (Who Are Anti-Sex and Anti-Woman) into Sex Symbols
David Rosen writes for AlterNet: "Sexuality is as important to politics as it is to the entertainment industry. The 2008 presidential campaign was a testament to the power of charismatic, highly sexualized candidates capturing national media attention and driving the election. Barack Obama and Sarah Palin represented the future of the American political candidate: sexy, articulate, a saleable commodity. The 2010 election is a replay of 2008, but with a likely very different outcome due in small part to the presence of the sexy sisters, the “new” Republican woman represented by Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Nikki Haley and Michele Bachmann, among others."
absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones," writes the National Journal's Ron Brownstein. Many of the candidates -- whom Daily Kos blogger RL Miller has dubbed the "climate zombies" -- are signatories of the Koch Industries' Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks' Contract From America. The second plank of the Contract From America is to "Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures." The Koch oil billionaires have pumped $1,125,400 into the campaign accounts of congressional candidates and $332,722 to state-level candidates, 87 percent to Republicans, and have contributed $1 million to the Proposition 23 campaign to kill California's AB32 climate legislation. But Koch's main influence is through its Astroturf arm, Americans for Prosperity, which has spent $649,188 in attack ads while organizing a massive get-out-the-vote effort for its Tea Party members across the nation. The polluting power of Koch Industries and other fossil fuel giants over the GOP in the Tea Party age is overwhelming. "[S]kepticism about climate science has become one of the many litmus tests for candidates backed by the surging right," Nature magazine's Jeff Tollefson observes. The denialism is an excuse to oppose green economic policies that would bring jobs back to America and clean the air, and would also limit the influence of the fossil fuel industry's dirty money on our nation's politics."
Family Research Council Leads Fight Against Opponents of Anti-Gay Bullying
Media Matters for American reports: "Family Research Council president Tony Perkins recently suggested that gay youths who committed suicide after being bullied were actually responding to their "despair" after being told by gay-rights groups that "they are 'born gay' and can never change." The FRC has long sought to minimize anti-gay bullying and attacked those who seek to stop it.
WikiLeaks Says Funding Has Been Blocked after Government Blacklisting
WikiLeaks claims that it has had its funding blocked and that it is the victim of financial warfare by the US government. Moneybookers, a British-registered internet payment company that collects WikiLeaks donations, emailed the organisation to say it had closed down its account because it had been put on an official US watchlist and on an Australian government blacklist." Photo: Andrew Winning/REUTERS
FCC Calls for Clearer Phone Bills
Kim Hart writes for Politico: "The Federal Communications Commission wants to make cell phone bills a little less confusing. At the agency’s monthly meeting Thursday, Chairman Julius Genachowski will recommend ways to help consumers avoid “bill shock,” or surprise when they find unexpected charges. Complaints about unexpected charges — the most extreme cases reaching tens of thousands of dollars in fees — have been mounting. A recent survey found that 30 million Americans, or one in six mobile phone users, have experienced bill shock. More than half of those noticed an unexplained increase of $50 or more on their bill."
NPR Bans Employees From Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's Rallies
wrote in a memo Wednesday morning. 'This restriction applies to the upcoming John [sic] Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies.'"
That New Super WiFi? What’s in It For You?
Ryan Singel reports for Wired: "In late September, the FCC announced it would be freeing up spectrum from television broadcasters and opening it to public use to create “super Wi-Fi.” Tech industry groups and public interests groups hailed the new “white-space spectrum” as a way to expand upon the success of the open frequencies that allow anyone to set up a Wi-Fi radio hot spot in their house or coffee shop, without needing to buy spectrum or get a license. But what will this super-Wi-Fi look like in practice? Will it replace the 3G service we pay for for our smartphones? How fast will it be? Will we need new equipment or can our current laptops and cellphones just be upgraded?"
FCC Chairman: Why We Need More Wireless Spectrum
Om Malik reports for GigaOm: "For FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, it’s been a rough summer. He’s come under fire from all sides over his and the FCC’s stance on net neutrality. We haven’t been shy in unloading on the man either, expecting him to do more than he has and he can. But if there’s one bright spot for the FCC Chairman, it’s been the recent order to free up under-utilized TV spectrum and use it for broadband and other open wireless transmission purposes."
Think Again: Just What Exactly Is Fox News?
Photo: Village Voice