National Fiscal Hypocrisy Week
Robert Reich writes on his Blog: "Welcome to National Fiscal Hypocrisy Week. Today (Monday), Congress takes up a measure delaying by one month a scheduled 23% cut in federal reimbursements to doctors. The cut will automatically go into effect unless Congress acts. But of course Congress will act. Doctors threaten to drop Medicare patients if their rates are cut. Congress has delayed scheduled Medicare cuts for years."
Deficit Commission Moves the Goalpost, Disses Leading Progressive Member
Isaiah J. Poole writes for Campaign for America's Future: "Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., says that as of this morning she had not been shown the latest proposal of the White House deficit commission, even as she says it is being 'shopped around' by its co-chairs in an effort to get the support of a simple majority of its 18 members - not the support of 14 members as was its original goal. Schakowsky confirmed this shift in an interview with OurFuture.org after giving a private briefing to members of the Tuesday Group, a meeting of progressive organization leaders convened by the Campaign for America's Future."
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "On Monday, President Obama announced that he will propose freezing the salaries of non-military federal workers "for two years to help cut federal spending." In making his announcement, Obama pointed to the sacrifices made by Americans who serve in the military and said federal workers have to be able to make similar sacrifices by accepting a pay freeze. "These are also times where all of us are called on to make some sacrifices," he said. "And I'm asking civil servants to do what they always do and play their part." While streamlining the operations of the federal government and cutting back on wasteful spending is a key progressive goal, the pay freeze is the wrong way to accomplish it. A freeze on federal workers' pay would have little impact on the budget deficit, discourage talented workers from staying in the federal workforce, harm the economy, fail to win over desired political support from conservatives, and bolster the conservative philosophy that unfairly blames the modest pay of public sector workers for a deficit caused by disastrous wars, tax cuts for the rich, exploding health care costs, and a recession spurred by Wall Street's misdeeds. As an alternative to the freeze, public officials should champion bold progressive ways to cut the deficit that would both lower U.S. debt and protect spending on programs that grow the economy and invest in America. "
Stop Them From Eating My Town
Eleven Years After WTO: The Impact of Uprisings
David Solnit comments for Truthout: "Eleven years ago yesterday, on November 30, 1999, a public uprising shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) and occupied downtown Seattle. That same week in 1999, three thousand miles away in Immokalee, Florida, farm workers carried out a five-day general strike against abusive growers paying starvation wages.... Now seems like an important time to remind ourselves that when we organize, have some strategy and rebel we can build power and win change. The Seattle uprising was just a warm-up for what is needed and to come as we face the crisis of wars, corporate capitalism and climate. We continue to win victories and build movements; from recent, historic farm worker victory in Florida, to the successful US Social Forum in Detroit in the spring to the climate justice mobilization today in Cancun, Mexico."
Controversial Drug Given to All Guantanamo Detainees Akin to "Pharmacologic Waterboarding"
Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Okko Pyykkö, electron
Why WikiLeaks Is Good for Democracy
Bill Quigley comments for Truthout: "Since 9/11, the US government, through Presidents Bush and Obama, has increasingly told the US public that 'state secrets' will not be shared with citizens. Candidate Obama pledged to reduce the use of state secrets, but President Obama continued the Bush tradition. The courts, Congress and international allies have gone meekly along with the escalating secrecy demands of the US Executive. By labeling tens of millions of documents secret, the US government has created a huge vacuum of information. But information is the lifeblood of democracy."
WikiLeaks vs. The Empire
Tom Hayden writes for The Nation: "Informed sources say that the current deluge of Wikileaks documents will continue for another week and grow in significance. Leading US human rights lawyers Leonard Weinglass and Michael Ratner have joined the defense team for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. US officials are employing cyber-warfare and prosecutorial steps to deny any safe haven for the Wikileaks operation with a fervor comparable to their drone attacks on Al Qaeda havens in Pakistan and Yemen. WikiLeaks' Julian Assange was placed on Interpol's "most wanted" list as US authorities intensified efforts to suppress the whistleblower organization's deluge of classified US diplomatic cables. Assange's location was not immediately known. His choices are to turn himself in or be tracked down by local police. If outside of Sweden, he could face extradition on charges to stand trial there. Or the US could seek his extradiction on charges of espionage or theft of classified documents."
The National Security State Cops a Feel
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "It's finally coming into focus, and it's not even a difficult equation to grasp. It goes like this: take a country in the grips of an expanding national security state and sooner or later your 'safety' will mean your humiliation, your degradation. And by the way, it will mean the degradation of your country, too.... Directly or indirectly, you pay for the screeners and scanners and a labyrinthine intelligence bureaucracy that officially wields an $80 billion budget, and all the lobbyists and shysters and pitchmen who accompany our burgeoning homeland-security complex. And by the way, no one's the slightest bit nice about it either, which isn't surprising since it's a national security state we're talking about, which means its mentality is punitive."
Clock Ticks on Immigration Reform Bill
William Fisher reports for Inter Press Service: "Democratic lawmakers will attempt to summon up their waning power by using the so-called 'lame duck' session of Congress to pass what will likely be the closest they will get to comprehensive immigration reform. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will shepherd remaining members of their dwindling flock to pass the DREAM Act, which provides a six- year conditional path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents before they were 16 years of age."
Matt Taibbi on Deluded Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand and How the U.S. Is Like the Soviet Union
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Lomo Cam
"We Are at War": How Militias, Racists and Anti-Semites Found a Home in the Tea Party
David Neiwert writes for AlterNet: "Maybe it's the gun-making kits that are being raffled off as door prizes. Or maybe it's the fact that nearly everyone inside this hall at the Ravalli County Fairground is packing heat. But most of all, it's the copy of Mein Kampf sitting there on the book table, with its black-and-white swastika, sandwiched between a survivalist how-to book on food storage and a copy of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals."
Pentagon Confirms: The Only Argument That Remains for 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Is Bigotry
John Nichols writes for The Nation: "The last lame excuse for retaining the cruel and dysfunctional "don't ask, don't tell" law has been debunked. For years, White House officials and members of Congress have acknowledged fundamental flaws in the rule that allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military only if they remain closeted. Yet, even as the uneven and irresponsible application of the policy has driven tens of thousands of able soldiers out of their units, and even as it has prevented tens of thousands of potential recruits from putting their skills to work in the service of their country, the politicians have said they could not do away with "don’t ask, don’t tell" until they knew whether doing so would harm "unit cohesion" within the branches of the military. Now, however, the Pentagon officials charged with studying the impact of the law have concluded that repealing it will not harm military missions."
6 of Glenn Beck's Most Paranoid, Dangerous Attacks on Progressives
John Hamilton wrote in a Media Matters article, "On July 18 this year, Byron 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. ... In an affidavit, an Oakland police investigator reported that during an interview at the hospital, Williams 'stated that his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.'"