Glen Ford - Despite the infamous Max Baucus Senate committee's long-anticipated rejection of even a fig leaf of a public health care "option," public opinion remains remarkably firm in support of allowing everyone access to a comprehensive government health plan. A New York Times/CBS News survey last week provided the best polling evidence in recent months that most people favor a public option that is a lot more "robust" than anything the Congress is offering, aside from straight-up single payer. The poll once again confirms that something very much like single payer remains an idea whose time has come. After all these month's of the Obama Administration's attempts to shrivel into near nothingness the very concept of health care "reform," and despite the mad howlings of Republicans about the evils of "socialized medicine," two-thirds of the American people still support a Medicare-like government health care plan. Unlike some recen
GOOD Magazine - William Kamkwamba’s parents couldn’t afford the $80 yearly tuition for their son’s school. The boy sneaked into the classroom anyway, dodging administrators for a few weeks until they caught him. Still emaciated from the recent deadly famine that had killed friends and neighbors, he went back to work on his family’s corn and tobacco farm in rural Malawi, Africa. With no hope of getting the funds to go back to school, William continued his education by teaching himself, borrowing books from the small library at the elementary school in his village. One day, when William was 14, he went to the library searching for an English-Chichewa dictionary to find out what the English word “grapes” meant, and came across a fifth-grade science book called Using Energy . Describing this moment in his autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (co-written with Bryan Mealer), William wrote, “The book has since changed my life.” Using Energy described how windmills could be used to
NY Times - Al Gore was right: This truth is just too inconvenient. Responding to climate change with the vigor that the threat deserves would not, contrary to legend, be devastating for the economy as a whole. But it would shuffle the economic deck, hurting some powerful vested interests even as it created new economic opportunities. And the industries of the past have armies of lobbyists in place right now; the industries of the future don’t. In a rational world, then, the looming climate disaster would be our dominant political and policy concern. But it manifestly isn’t. Why not? For example, one 2007 paper in the journal Science is titled “Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern North America” — yes, “imminent” — and reports “a broad consensus among climate models” that a permanent drought, bringing Dust Bowl-type conditions, “will become the new climatology of the American Southwest within a time frame of years to decades.” Read more .
Independent UK - When does planting a tree become a revolutionary act - and unleash an army of gunmen who want to shoot you dead? The answer to this question lies in the unlikely story of Wangari Maathai. She was born on the floor of a mud hut with no water or electricity in the middle of rural Kenya, in the place where human beings took their first steps. There was no money but there was at least lush green rainforest and cool, clear drinking water. But Maathai watched as the life-preserving landscape of her childhood was hacked down. The forests were felled, the soils dried up, and the rivers died, so a corrupt and distant clique could profit. She started a movement to begin to make the land green again - and in the process she went to prison, nearly died, toppled a dictator, transformed how African women saw themselves, and won a Nobel Prize. Read more .
AntiWar.com - A move that has long been debated by the Obama Administration could soon become reality, as officials say the State Department delivered an ultimatum to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit last week cautioning that if he doesn’t move against the Taliban forces in the city of Quetta the US will. Such attacks would be a major escalation of the unpopular US drone strikes against the nation , so far confined to the area in and around the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Quetta, a city of three quarters of a million people, is the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. The Pakistani government has been reluctant to move against the city, which has reportedly become a hiding point for much of the former Afghan government, citing both the lack of threat posed to the Pakistani government and the lack of intelligence provided by the US about exactly where to act. Read more .
Allison Kilkinney - Pittsburgh police demonstrated the latest in crowd control techniques on protesters when they used “sound cannons” to blast the ears of citizens near the G-20 meeting of world economic leaders. City officials said this was the first time such sound blasters, also known as “sound weapons,” were used publicly. Lavonnie Bickerstaff of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police uses benign language like “sound amplifiers,” and “long-range acoustic device” to explain the new weapons in an attempt to sanitize what is essentially a painful weapon that leaves no visible marks on its victims. The mob utilized a similar tactic on snitches when they would beat everywhere except the face. If victims have no outward bruises to show, the world is less likely to believe their stories of assault and harassment. Read more .
SF Chronicle - Donald Fisher, who co-founded Gap Inc. with a single San Francisco blue jeans outlet in 1969 and turned it into a worldwide, 3,100-store casual-wear empire, died Sunday of cancer at his San Francisco home, the company said. He was 81. Mr. Fisher's company - which markets the Banana Republic and Old Navy brands, among others, and has stores geared for kids and babies - influenced the nation's lifestyle as well as its economy. It fostered an acceptance of informal apparel that helped lead to the widespread adoption of "casual Fridays." "They were one of the first to treat basics as fashion," said Cynthia Cohen, president of Strategic Mindshare, a Los Angeles retail consulting firm. "Gap was the first to realize that everybody needs a good pair of khakis, everyone needs jeans and a good quality white T-shirt." Mr. Fisher's death comes two days after the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art announced that it had formed a partnership
A glossary of terms in foreign affairs Glenn Greenwald @ Salon - As we debate the many scary enemies and exciting possibilities for new wars -- escalation in Afghanistan, our very own "Cuban Missile Crisis" against the Persian Hitlers, the Socialist Menace in Venezuela -- events can become very confusing. Compounding that problem are the many complex, technical terms often used in media discussions of foreign affairs. It's therefore helpful to keep track of the relevant terms --- ones just from the events of the last week alone -- to maximize clarity as we debate our imperial responsibilities: The act of dangerous, threatening Hitlers -- NYT , today : Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf in what seemed a show of force. The acts of a peace-loving democracy - Telegraph , January 18, 2008 : Israel has carried out the successful test launch of a long-range, ballis
Christian Science Monitor - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's dull but durable strategy of "no-surprises, no-conflicts" earned her party the best possible outcome in German elections tonight – with voters enabling her to form a politically comfortable "center-right" coalition with the pro-business, tax-cutting Free Democratic Party (FDP), from which she can govern from a position of relative strength, despite evident polarization between right and left in Germany. "We accomplished something amazing ... a sustainable majority ... for a new coalition ..., " said Merkel, adding: "I want to be the chancellor for all Germans ... at a moment of crisis." The outcome marks the end of the "grand-coalition" between Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Party and the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD), which will leave the government of Europe's largest economy after 11
Bill Quigly @ Common Dreams - For days, downtown Pittsburgh, home to the G20, was a turned into a militarized people-free ghost town. Sirens screamed day and night. Helicopters crisscrossed the skies. Gunboats sat in the rivers. The skies were defended by Air Force jets. Streets were barricaded by huge cement blocks and fencing. Bridges were closed with National Guard across the entrances. Public transportation was stopped downtown. Amtrak train service was suspended for days. In many areas, there were armed police every 100 feet. Businesses closed. Schools closed. Tens of thousands were unable to work. Four thousand police were on duty plus 2500 National Guard plus Coast Guard and Air Force and dozens of other security agencies. A thousand volunteers from other police forces were sworn in to help out. Police were dressed in battle gear, bulky black ninja turtle outfits - helmets with clear visors, strapped on body armor, shin guards, big boots, batons, and long guns. In addition to he
Raw Story - In a remark extraordinary even by the standards of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio heavyweight declared on his program Wednesday that the United States needed to return to racially segregated buses. Referring to an incident in which a white student was beaten by black students on a bus, Limbaugh said: “I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.” A full transcript of Limbaugh’s comments on his radio show is available at MediaMatters.org . Limbaugh’s comments came after a called complained to say that local law enforcement said the attack probably wasn’t racially motivated. The incident had been hyped by the conservative Drudge Report, which posted a video of the fracas. “Police initially said the beating of the white
Democracy Now! - Beginning with the 1989 classic Roger & Me , the Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore says his films “come back to a central core concern: the economic system we have is unfair, unjust and undemocratic.” With his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story , Moore tackles the financial system and the interchanging circles of Washington politicians and corporate managers that run it. Moore says, “I thought I’d cut to the chase and propose we deal with this economic system and restructure it in a way that benefits people and not the wealthiest one percent.” Watch @ Democracy Now!
- Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor - Max Eternity - In the age of the Robber baron, the mid to late 19th Century, America's judicial system gave unprecedented powers to the railroad industry and other mega-corporations by awarding them 14th Amendment Rights; deeming corporations as "human beings" when the court granted the businesses "personhood" status. The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution was not originally intended for this purpose; actually having been instituted as a protection for former African slaves living in America, who had prior been declared non-human entities. With the 14th Amendment however, Black people, if only by law and not in practice, became recognized by the United States government via the Supreme Court, human beings. Yet no sooner than the courts began to enforce the amendment as law, big corporations seeking to evade paying taxes, began crafting legal arguments; subverting the intent of the law for their own private inter
Yahoo News - "I think there is no doubt that in 2002, the United States had at the very least full knowledge about the coup, and could even have been directly involved," Carter said in an interview with El Tiempo published Sunday. The former US leader said it is understandable that Chavez continues to blame the United States for the failed overthrow attempt. The Venezuelan president, considered a bulwark of leftism in Latin America, was overthrown by a civilian-military junta for about 48 hours in April 2002 , before returning to power. Then- president George W. Bush denied any US involvement in the abortive coup and called on Chavez, a fierce US critic, to "learn a lesson" from the attempted overthrow. Carter told El Tiempo that he believed Chavez was elected in a "fair" vote in 1999, had carried out necessary reforms for Venezuela and ensured that "those who are traditionall
AntiWar.com - Despite persistent mass demonstrations protesting June’s disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a new survey of Iranian public opinion released here Saturday suggests majority domestic support for both him and the country’s basic governing institutions. Four out of five of the 1,003 Iranian respondents interviewed in the survey released by WorldPublicOpinion.org (WPO), a project of the highly respected Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland, said they considered Ahmadinejad to be the legitimate president of Iran. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they had "a lot of confidence" in the declared election results, which gave Ahmadinejad 62.6 percent of the vote within hours of the polls’ closing Jun. 12 and which were swiftly endorsed by the Islamic Republic’s Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Three of four respondents said Khamenei had reacted correctly in his endorsement. Re
Glenn Greenwald @ Salon - In a truly shocking development being treated as major news , seven former CIA Directors -- including all three who served under George W. Bush -- jointly concluded that the CIA should not be criminally investigated for torture deaths, and they have written a letter to President Obama (.pdf) expressing that view. Do leaders of organizations in general ever believe that their organizations and its members should be criminally investigated and possibly prosecuted for acts carried out on behalf of that organization, and do CIA Directors specifically ever believe that about the CIA? Has a CIA Director ever advocated that CIA agents be criminally investigated for illegal intelligence activities? Read more .
don't celebrate me, celebrate my work for i could never be as beautiful or important as the designs that come through me as the gift that God has given to me and of these works of art, these peerless creations i play second fiddle, i am but an ugly duckling yet, if I am to have one distinction think of me only as the trusted guardian of sacred treasures and while it's true that i am but a mere mortal my love, my art, my work...is eternal and they shall live forever. ______________________________________________ Art Is Eternal A poem by Max Eternity 18 Feb 2006 All Rights Reserved (Image: Butterfly Kiss #6 by Max Eternity)
Max Eternity - Yesterday, Clarence B. Jones, Scholar in Residence at Stanford University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute, and the co-author of "What Would Martin Say", wrote for the Huffington Post an article, which candidly ponders the question of whether or not on the subject of race, President Obama has his "Head in the Sand?" An excerpt from his article: I've written and posted here before about how race is clearly the 800-pound gorilla in America's communal living room. I'm tired of that analogy; it offers a cartoonish version of a problem that I see more in the horrifying vein of a Francis Bacon painting. So let's instead see it that way -- as a raw and open wound on every citizen's back. We look in the mirror and we don't see it. We could if we turned just so and tried, but we don't really want to. Few people in the public eye ever want to acknowledge or talk about this wound. To do so is to risk accusations of "play
Maureen Dowd @ The New York Times - The normally nonchalant Barack Obama looked nonplussed, as Nancy Pelosi glowered behind. Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t. But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy! The outburst was unexpected from a milquetoast Republican backbencher from South Carolina who had attracted little media attention. Now it has made him an overnight right-wing hero, inspiring “You lie!” bumper stickers and T-shirts. The congressman, we learned, belonged to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, led a 2000 campaign to keep the Confederate flag waving above South Carolina’s state Capitol and denounced as a “smear” the true claim of a black woman that she was the daughter of Strom Thurmond, the ’48 segregationist candidate for president. Wilson clearly did not like being lectured and even re
Max Eternity - After an entire summer of heated discussions and culture clashes at town hall meetings created by the government as a forum to discuss healthcare reform in America, the specter of Southern white supremacy tied-at-the-hip with a particular slice of the blue collar white, working and middle class , erupted in fury of vitriol, putting on full display the racist slant that a portion of America has of the current state of affairs in the United States and its current president--a bi-racial, black man named Barack Obama. Not suprisingly, FOX News was at the center of it all, with one of it's prime time anchors, Glenn Beck, leading the way. The climax of this nation-wide fiasco began to reach a fever pitch once corporate sponsors started pulling advertising revenues from Beck's show, after he accused Obama of being anti-white, in so many words, calling the President a racist. But Beck would not be deterred. He shifted gears, and within a few weeks had launched yet ano
New York Times - The Russian avant-gardist Wassily Kandinsky — who dressed like the college professor he had trained to be and sounded like a mystic when he wasn’t thinking like a scientist — is the central god in the Guggenheim pantheon and genesis myth. The museum owns more of his work than of any other major Modernist and mounts some form of full-dress Kandinsky show like clockwork every 20 years or so. Read more .
Common Dreams - Food activist Michael Pollan, author of "In Defense of Food," has called America's dietary habits the "elephant in the room" in the debate over healthcare. "But so far, food system reform has not figured in the national conversation about health care reform. And so the government is poised to go on encouraging America's fast-food diet with its farm policies even as it takes on added responsibilities for covering the medical costs of that diet," Pollan argued in a recent New York Times opinion piece. Health experts say spiraling health costs are caused in part by maladies that could be prevented by healthier diets. "Today, chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke), cancer, and diabetes are among the most prevalent, costly, and preventable of all health problems," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website. Read more .
African-Americans will ask you, ‘What do polar bears and hybrid cars have to do with my situation?’ GOOD Magazine - The power of a solution that bridges economic and environmental development, explains Jones, is that it has the potential to unite traditionally disparate factions of the progressive movement. “For at least a generation, activists of all constituencies have believed they could fix their problems on their own,” he says. “But separatism won’t work. On the environmental side, you’ll end up leaving so many people out that they’ll be undoing all the good and undermining your efforts.” On the social-justice side, says Jones, boosting wages with the same old dirty jobs inevitably ends up hurting the poor, accelerating problems like cancer and asthma. Jones grew up in rural west Tennessee and attended Yale Law School before settling in Oakland. He has spent as much time among Prius drivers as he has among those who ride the bus (and his fellow bus-riders were not there because
The Huffington Post - Mary Travers, who as one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary helped popularize such tunes as "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" and "If I Had a Hammer," died in a Connecticut hospital Wednesday after battling leukemia for several years. She was 72. Read more . Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/16/mary-travers-dead-dies-at_n_289448.html
Image: Joel Pett McClatchy News - In their effort to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson, both white and black lawmakers in the House of Representatives voiced deep concern over a string of what they think are racially motivated attacks on the nation's first black president. Read more .
Common Dreams - Shortly after his release from nine months in a Baghdad prison, Muntadar al-Zaidi demanded an apology - and said he would name the officials later. Iraqi officials told the BBC his claims should be investigated. His protest last December made him a hero for many Arabs. He was convicted of assaulting a foreign leader. Initially, he was sentenced to three years in jail. But he had the term reduced to 12 months on appeal and was released three months early for good behaviour. Read more .
The Guardian UK - Last night Barack Obama defended his administration's response to the financial crisis, but the reality is that a year on from Lehmans' collapse, it has failed to take adequate steps to restrict institutions' size, their risk-taking, and their interconnectedness. Indeed, it has allowed the big banks to become even bigger - just as it has failed to stem the flow of profligate executive bonuses. Obama's call on Wall Street yesterday to support "the most ambitious overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression" is welcome - but the devil, as ever, will be in the detail. Read more .
The BBC - The Belgian city of Ghent is about to become the first in the world to go vegetarian at least once a week. Starting this week there will be a regular weekly meatless day, in which civil servants and elected councillors will opt for vegetarian meals. Read more .
Deepak Chopra @ The Huffington Post - If you hear someone softly crying, "I'm melting, I'm melting," in the distance, it's not the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz but Fox News. One must listen through the din of hysteria that dominates almost every program. The shrinking credibility of the right wing, like the shrinking of a defeated witch, will be very good for innocent children everywhere. When Fox News tried to strike fear into the public heart by claiming that President Obama's televised speech to schoolchildren was secret indoctrination, the wind whistled down the empty canyons of Mediaville. Read more .
[The Cable] Foreign Policy - House defense spending cardinal John Murtha , an early bellwether of congressional opposition to the Iraq war, has made his strongest comments yet opposing more U.S. troops for the war in Afghanistan. The Pennsylvania lawmaker and Vietnam veteran, who plays a crucial role in forming the budgets that would fund an increased troop presence, is skeptical of the basic logic of adding personnel. "In Vietnam it took 500,000 troops and that didn't solve the problem. So we have to take a different approach," Murtha told The Cable in an exclusive interview. "I think that's what McChrystal is trying to do," he said, referring to Gen. Stanley McChrystal , the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, who recently delivered a status report to the White House on the situation there. Murtha's dissent comes at a critical juncture, with the Washington debate heating up and public support for the war effort dropping. The Pennsylvani
The Huffington Post - A recent poll published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that 63 percent of physicians support a health reform proposal that includes both a public option and traditional private insurance. If the additional 10 percent of doctors who support an entirely public health system are included, then approximately three out of four physicians nationwide support inclusion of a public option. Only 27 percent support a private-only reform that would provide subsidies for low-income individuals to purchase private insurance. Read more .
Forbes - Bank of America seemed to have dodged a big legal fight when it reached a $33 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over its handling of the Merrill Lynch acquisition, but a federal judge in New York is putting them right back on the firing line. Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District Court tossed out the settlement Monday and ordered the matter to trial in February, a move that will force the company to disclose more about its communications internally and with shareholders in the days and weeks leading up to the closing of the Merrill transaction in January. Judge Rakoff said the settlement, reached early in August, was "neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate."
The Huffington Post - It's all there: the well-known desk lamps, the original metal tube chairs and models of boxy white buildings. Ninety years after the founding of the Bauhaus school, a new exhibition in Berlin brings together the collections of three museums for the largest celebration ever of the most famous and influential school of avant-garde art and design in the 20th century. The 1,000 objects that are presented in 18 galleries at the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Berlin extend far beyond the familiar images of Bauhaus. There are little-known paper cuttings by Bauhaus students, expressionist paintings by their teachers, metal sculptures, pottery, a chess board and even a sleekly designed baby cradle. "We created a show that has never been seen like this before," Annemarie Jaeggi, director of the Berlin Bauhaus Archive and one of the exhibit's three curators, said Wednesday. Read more .
Whereas , Universal Health Care was proposed by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1912; and Whereas today, nearly 100 years later, 47 million Americans are uninsured and another 50 million are underinsured bringing great social and economic harm to the American family; and Whereas , HR 676, authored by Congressmen John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich provides for Medicare for All, a universal, single payer, not-for-profit health care system which means the end of premiums, copays and deductibles; and Whereas we are already paying for a universal standard of care but are not getting it because one of every three dollars in the health care system goes to the activities of the for-profit insurance system; and Whereas HR676 firmly establishes health care as a Civil Right, consistent with the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States and Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution which defines a purpose of government "to promote the General Welfare," now therefore, I HER
Brad Blog - Separate articles appeared in Monday's New York Times and in the Washington Post . Both suggest that the resignation submitted by Van Jones , a special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council for Environmental Quality, were the result of inadequate White House "vetting." Neither newspaper examined the question as to whether the true problem was the inability to withstand a smear campaign led by extreme right-wing whack jobs like Glenn Beck; an inability reflected by the Times' description of a "terse" acceptance of the resignation, with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs taking pains to stress that President Barack Obama "did not endorse" Jones' views. The three Jones sins were his having uttered an expletive in referring to Republicans, his having "signed a petition in 2004 questioning whether the Bush administration had allowed the terrorist attacks of September 2001 to provide a pretext for war in the Middle
Brad Blog - During my interview last night with 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern on the Mike Malloy Show (which I've been guest hosting all this week), the man who used to personally deliver the CIA's Presidential Daily Briefings to George Bush Sr., among other Presidents, offered an extraordinarily chilling thought --- particularly coming from someone with his background. In a conversation at the end of the hour ( audio and transcript below ), as I was trying to pin him down for an opinion on whether or not he felt it was appropriate for CIA Director Leon Panetta to have reportedly attempted to block a lawful investigation into torture and other war crimes committed by the CIA, McGovern alluded to a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and noted he felt it likely that both Panetta and President Obama may have reason to fear certain elements of the CIA. "Let me just leave you with this thought," he said, "and that is that I think Panetta, and to a
The Guardian UK - Americans began the summer still celebrating the dawn of a "post-racial" era. They are ending it under no such illusion. The summer of 2009 was all about race, beginning with Republican claims that Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama's nominee to the US Supreme Court, was "racist" against whites. Then, just as that scandal was dying down, up popped "the Gates controversy", the furore over the president's response to the arrest of African American academic Henry Louis Gates Jr in his own home. Obama's remark that the police had acted "stupidly" was evidence, according to massively popular Fox News host Glenn Beck, that the president "has a deep-seated hatred for white people". Read more .
The Huffington Post - On "Real Time" Friday night, host Bill Maher closed his show with some sharp words for the Obama administration with regards to how they have responded to criticism from figures such as Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Maher called the White House "cowards" for allowing Van Jones to resign following a series of right-wing attacks and for capitulating to those who complained about the nature of Obama's back-to-school speech. "The Democrats just never learn. Americans don't realy care which side of an issue you're on as long as you don't act like pussies," Maher said. Click here to watch video. *** Commentary Bill Maher @ The Huffington Post New Rule: Democrats must get in touch with their inner asshole. And no, I'm not being gratuitously crude when I say that. I refer to the case of Van Jones, and I'm sure you know who Van Jones is. At least I hope you do, because I haven't a clue, or at least I didn't
More than 700 architects and engineers have joined call for new investigation, faulting official collapse reports The facts are in. The evidence is conclusive. These experts lay it all out. For Some, the Doubts Began Early "Something is wrong with this picture," thought Nathan Lomba, as he watched replays of the Twin Tower collapses on television on September 11, 2001. A licensed structural engineer trained in buildings' responses to stress, Lomba saw more on the screen than you or I. He puzzled, "How did the structures collapse in near-symmetrical fashion when the damage was clearly not symmetrical?" Read entire article (pdf)
The Hill - Warren Buffett, the renowned investor and the world's second richest man, told Senate Democrats that wealthy Americans need to pay higher taxes, giving Democrats something to mull as they address healthcare reform and soaring federal deficits. Buffett told lawmakers that because of the cuts to the capital gains tax passed under former President George W. Bush, he pays taxes at a lower rate than some of his company’s employees. It is an argument the investor has made before. Buffett said he paid a 16.5 percent tax rate on all his income because the tax rate on investment dividends and long-term capital gains is only 15 percent. By contrast, a single employee at Buffet’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, who earns between $33,000 and $83,000 must pay a 25 percent federal income tax rate. Sen. Ben Nelson, a centrist Democrat from Nebraska, said he wasn’t sure whether Buffett’s chat would embolden his colleagues to raise taxes. “I don’t know that people will move toward tax increase
Plum Line - Speech or no speech, it looks like House liberals have no intention whatsoever of easing their pressure on Obama to keep a meaningful public option in the health care bill. House progressive leaders just sent another letter to the President — which was sent over by a source — reiterating their demand for inclusion of the public option and insisting on a face to face meeting to discuss it. “We were pleased that you explicitly expressed your support for a public option as a central piece of achieving true reform,” says the letter, which is signed by Dem Reps. Raul Grijalva and Lynn Woolsey, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We look forward to meeting with you regarding your support for defining the public option in any final health care reform bill and request that the meeting take place as soon as possible.” Read more .
Erica Williams @ CNN - Just Thursday, there were more than 880,000 Facebook status updates posted with the meme of a demand for health care reform, generated organically and spread virally from young people and other Facebook users across the country. Some are regarding this as the first symbolic demonstration of young people's engagement in the debate despite the common, and categorically false, notion that young people "don't care about health care reform." Young Americans have the most at stake and the longest to live with the result, and they are often the primary voice of a moral imperative (the idea that health care reform is not only economically necessary but the just and fair thing to do). Without their voices, the health care reform debate will continue to be stalled and hemmed in by older Americans who are in a better economic position than young people and who are afraid to change the status quo, despite all signs that it is rapidly failing. Young pe
Allison Kilkenney - Between Obama’s peddling of exchanges and Baucus’s mandate pimping, Americans are faced with the nightmarish bastard of corporate whoring and endless concessions: no public option, possible mandates, and healthcare exchanges. Seriously, if you had asked me at the start of this process what my worst case scenario would be — short of a meteor slamming into the Earth — this is it. Exchanges are like a watered down version of the original watered down compromise of co-ops. And let’s remember that the public option was supposedly a compromise derived from Progressive’s true desire, universal healthcare. Under Obama’s proposal, insurers may not be able to deny double mastectomy procedures anymore, but without a public option, breast cancer victims will continue to pay skyrocketing premiums, which is also no treat when cancer is ravaging one’s body. Once again, Americans are being asked to let the free market solve all their problems, but without some heavy regulation, i
John Nichols @ The Nation - President Obama spoke loudly but carried a small stick Wednesday night , when he outlined what's left of his health-care reform agenda in a rare address to a joint session of the Congress. But for all of its rhetorical flourishes, this was not a too-the-barricades address by a president who was prepared to battle not just the lies about his plan but the compromises that would make universal health care the dream deferred. When it came to the task of offering the explanations, arguments and details that have been so hard to come by during a frustratingly unfocused debate about how to develop a functional health-care system for a country where tens of millions of Americans have no insurance coverage and tens of millions more are under-insured, Obama remained disturbingly vague. Read more .
Guardian UK - Since President Obama took office, his charm and confidence have allowed him to successfully put lipstick on one neoliberal pig after another: the bank bailout, the big coal bailout, the IMF bailout, escalation of the war in Afghanistan, expansion of the defence budget. All done in the name of "bipartisanship," which is popular in theory with the public but hardly necessary with a strong Democratic majority. It's largely been used as an excuse to backtrack on promises made to the progressives who put him in office, who continue to be held in curious contempt by the White House. Through all these disappointments and failures, the president's popularity has held. But that may be coming to an end. Whether the President mentions the public option tonight is moot. More important is whether he realises he's on the road to a one-term presidency and decides to change course before it's too late. Read more .
The Huffington Post - In a full-page New York Times ad released Wednesday, Obama campaign workers demand that the president fight for a public health care option. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee raised over $100,000 online to fund the ad , which will be published in the paper this week. It features a petition signed by 400 former Obama campaign staffers, 25,000 Obama volunteers, and 40,000 Obama donors that states health care reform without a public option is not "change we can believe in." The full page can be seen at ActBlue, where the group is now raising money to turn it into a television spot featuring Obama organizers. Read more .
One of President Barack Obama ’s former top campaign advisers is “losing patience” with the White House, he told POLITICO Tuesday morning, as frustrations among the president’s liberal allies crest over issues from health care legislation to gay rights . “I am one of the millions of frustrated Americans who want to see Washington do more than it's doing right now,” said Steve Hildebrand, the deputy campaign manager who oversaw the Obama campaign ’s field organization and was an architect of his early, crucial victories over Sen. Hillary Clinton in Iowa and South Carolina. Obama, he said, “needs to be more bold in his leadership.” “I’m not going to just sit by the curb and let these folks get away with a lack of performance for the American people,” he said, speaking of Washington’s Democratic leadership as a whole. “I want change just as much as a majority of Americans do , and I’m one of the many Americans who are losing patience.” Read more .
"Into Forever" by Max Eternity Truthout - Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have tough truths to tell, and it has been well demonstrated that the establishment media does not want to broadcast these. Given the lack of an outlet for anti-war voices in the corporate media, many contemporary veterans and active-duty soldiers have embraced the arts as a tool for resistance, communication and healing. They have made use of a wide range of visual and performing arts - through theater, poetry, painting, writing, and other creative expression - to affirm their own opposition to the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The first Warrior Writers Project workshop was led by veteran Lovella Calica. To help other veterans deal with their experiences in Iraq, she encouraged them to write. Those who were willing to do so were asked to share their writings with the group. An anthology of these compositions was produced as the book "Warrior Writers: Move, Shoot and Communi
Arianna Huffington @ The Huffington Post - Thank you, Glenn Beck. By helping force the resignation of Van Jones , you have done a great service to your country. But in the exact opposite way than what you intended. Your vile and vicious smear campaign has helped reverse one of the worst examples of miscasting since John Wayne took on the role of Genghis Khan in The Conqueror . Don't get me wrong: Van Jones was the best person for the job he just gave up. But the job was not the best use of Van Jones. Contrary to the media caricature, the real Van Jones is a thoughtful leader who knows how to use words to move people to action. To stick him behind a desk, working out the details of tax credits for green jobs -- incredibly important though the job is -- was never the best use of his unique and abundant skills. This is not an attempt to put a positive spin on an ugly episode. I've actually been feeling this way ever since Van told me he was taking this job. I remember g