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Monday, July 26, 2010

Facts, Not Fear

By John Dougherty,
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Arizona
Posted: July 21, 2010 11:13 AM

On the road to the November election, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer continues to see an illegal alien under every bush. This is the path she has chosen and this is the path from which she will not stray.

Brewer announced she is granting $10 million in federal stimulus funds to Arizona law enforcers so they can fight crime caused by illegal immigrants.

In this overheated political environment, this seems like a prudent move. Trouble is, it's well established that border crime and the apprehensions of illegals have been on a steady decline. These are facts Brewer hopes you ignore.  

Thanks to leaders like Brewer, the police state ossifying along the border will continue to grow. Adding insult to injury, much of the $10 million will be spent on SUVs.

That money would have been better used to lure alternative-energy businesses, to help residents convert to sustainable energy sources, to help school districts facing teacher layoffs.

The Washington Post is in the midst of a blockbuster series that attempts to quantify the unbridled growth of our security apparatus. This series illustrates that billions of dollars are being wasted in the name of security -- including border security-- with a burgeoning expansion of law enforcement, an alphabet soup of spy agencies, too many private contractors to count.

More than 850,000 people now have top-secret security clearance. That's more than the populations of five U.S. states -- Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont.

We throw ever more of our dwindling resources at the Security Industrial Complex, which has become a self-perpetuating machine. The larger it grows, the more it demands, and politicians like Brewer obediently feed it. Redundancies beget redundancies -- more money for more gadgets, more gas-guzzlers, more National Guard troops to militarize the border -- and still the root causes of our problems remain unaddressed.

Continue reading here.

6 Reasons Nuclear Energy Advocate Stewart Brand Is Wrong

By Harvey Wasserman
July 25, 2010

Nuclear energy is a Dark Age technology, defined by unsustainable costs, inefficiencies, eco-destruction, radiation releases and much more.

  Stewart Brand has become a poster boy for a "nuclear renaissance" that has just suffered a quiet but stunning defeat. Despite $645 million spent in lobbying over the past decade, the reactor industry has thus far failed to gouge out major new taxpayer funding for new commercial reactors.

In an exceedingly complex series of twists and turns, no legislation now pending in Congress contains firm commitments to the tens of billions reactor builders have been demanding. They could still come by the end of the session. But the radioactive cake walk many expected the industry to take through the budget process has thus far failed to happen.

The full story is excruciatingly complicated. But the core reasons are simple: atomic power can't compete, and makes global warming worse.

In support of this failed 20th Century technology, the industry has enlisted a 20th Century retro-hero, Stewart Brand. Back in the 1960s Brand published the Whole Earth Catalog. Four decades later, that cachet has brought him media access for his advocacy of corporate technologies like genetically modified foods and geo-engineering.....and, of course, nuclear energy.

In response to a cover interview in Marin County's Pacific Sun, I wrote the following to explain why Stewart is wrong wrong wrong:

Stewart Brand now seems to equate "science" with a tragic and dangerous corporate agenda. The technologies for which he argues--nuclear power, "clean" coal, genetically modified crops, etc.--can be very profitable for big corporations, but carry huge risks for the rest of us. In too many instances, tangible damage has already been done, and more is clearly threatened.

If there is a warning light for what Stewart advocates, it is the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which much of the oil industry said (like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl) was "impossible." Then it happened. The $75 million liability limit protecting BP should be ample warning that any technology with a legal liability limit (like nuclear power) cannot be tolerated.  

Continue reading here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

No to Oligarchy

by Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator VT (I)
July 24, 2010

The American people are hurting. As a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, homes, life savings and their ability to get a higher education. Today, some 22 percent of our children live in poverty, and millions more have become dependent on food stamps for their food.

And while the Great Wall Street Recession has devastated the middle class, the truth is that working families have been experiencing a decline for decades. During the Bush years alone, from 2000-2008, median family income dropped by nearly $2,200 and millions lost their health insurance. Today, because of stagnating wages and higher costs for basic necessities, the average two-wage-earner family has less disposable income than a one-wage-earner family did a generation ago. The average American today is underpaid, overworked and stressed out as to what the future will bring for his or her children. For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.

But, not everybody is hurting. While the middle class disappears and poverty increases the wealthiest people in our country are not only doing extremely well, they are using their wealth and political power to protect and expand their very privileged status at the expense of everyone else. This upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country.

The 400 richest families in America, who saw their wealth increase by some $400 billion during the Bush years, have now accumulated $1.27 trillion in wealth. Four hundred families! During the last 15 years, while these enormously rich people became much richer their effective tax rates were slashed almost in half. While the highest paid 400 Americans had an average income of $345 million in 2007, as a result of Bush tax policy they now pay an effective tax rate of 16.6 percent, the lowest on record.

Last year, the top 25 hedge fund managers made a combined $25 billion but because of tax policy their lobbyists helped write, they pay a lower effective tax rate than many teachers, nurses, and police officers. As a result of tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and elsewhere, the wealthy and large corporations are evading some $100 billion a year in U.S. taxes. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people on earth, has often commented that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.

But it's not just wealthy individuals who grotesquely manipulate the system for their benefit. It's the multi-national corporations they own and control. In 2009, Exxon Mobil, the most profitable corporation in history made $19 billion in profits and not only paid no federal income tax -- they actually received a $156 million refund from the government. In 2005, one out of every four large corporations in the United States paid no federal income taxes while earning $1.1 trillion in revenue.  

Continue reading here.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks about the economy and jobs at the Netroots Nation Convention.

Friday, July 23, 2010

STATEWIDE CANDIDATES-Democratic Primary August 24; Early Ballots Will Go Out July 29

Introducing Our Democratic Candidates
Visit their websites.

Terry Goddard

U.S. Senate

John Dougherty

Rodney Glassman

Randy Parraz

Dr, Cathy Eden


Chris Deschene

Sam Wercinski


Vince Rabago

David Lujan

Felecia Rotellini


Andrei Cherny


Jason Williams

Penny Kotterman


Renz Jennings

David Bradley



Jorge Garcia


Manuel Cruz

Thursday, July 22, 2010

'Tea Party' Future: Fascism, Feudalism, Economic Collapse

By Ernest A. Canning
Guest Editorial
July 22, 2010

The madness in AZ provides ample warning, but is anyone paying attention?

The radical-right agenda, hidden from so many of the uninformed, working class useful idiots (aka post-2008 "Tea Party" followers) was aptly described by Chalmers Johnson on the cover of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine as "a conspiracy to privatize war and disaster and grab public property for the rich few...[as part of] our headlong flight back to feudalism..."

In Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit', we cited a Pew Research Center study on how the campaign by America's political elites to ravage the middle class has, for "wide layers of the population," destroyed "faith in the US government to secure their most basic social needs." As we observed at the time:

What has become painfully obvious is that many within these "wide layers of the population" simply do not realize that the source of the middle class demise lies not in government "starve the beast" by massive tax cuts for those who already have too much in order to, in the words of Grover Norquist, reduce government to the point it could be "drown in a bathtub" and in order to privatize the commons so that the privileged few can be enriched beyond the wildest imagination of ordinary citizens.

An American Political Science Association study, cited by Bill Moyers in Moyers on America (2004) referred to a "radical political elite who have...inequality as its mission and has organized 'a fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory cannons, and the intellectual and cultural framework that have shaped public responsibility from social harms arising from the excesses of private powers.'"

Into this mix comes "Tea Party in Sonora": Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Says Arizona is Laboratory for Radical GOP Policies, a powerful, must-see segment of Democracy Now (Click on link for video) which exposes the bleak future, indeed the madness, in store for all of us if we permit the radical right to assert the same control at the national level that they have already secured in Arizona.

An eerily prescient 1944 New York Times op-ed written by Franklin D. Roosevelt's then-Vice President may have best described the ultimate goal of the hard-right agenda of those who now drive the so-called "Tea Party" in 2010...

Continue reading here.

AZ Democratic Senate Candidates Debate: KAWC Public Radio, Yuma

July 22nd 12:52 PM

The four candidates in the Democratic primary to serve Arizona as US Senator face off in a debate at KAWC.

 Part 1 includes opening statements and the first part of the question/answer period.

Click here Part 1

The four candidates in the Democratic primary to serve Arizona as US Senator face off in a debate at KAWC. Part 2 includes the second part of the question/answer period and closing statements...

Click here Part 2

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Arizona's Axis of Hysteria

John Dougherty.
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Arizona
Posted: July 14, 2010 01:29 PM
Huffington Post

Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce have teamed up to create a parasitic fund-raising web site, BanAmnestyNow.com.

This is a cynical attempt to boost their political careers and enrich their Republican cronies by whipping up still more division and fear-mongering in Arizona.

I dub their latest bid for money and power as the Arpaio/Pearce Axis of Hysteria.

Arpaio shamelessly bills himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff." He's also currently under federal grand jury investigation for abuse of power.

Pearce, who introduced the infamous Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which would make the state safe for racial profiling, was once a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy. Today, when he isn't plotting to make life miserable for brown-skinned people, Pearce pals around with avowed neo-Nazis.

With Arizona families suffering through one of the worst economic declines in generations, the Arpaio/Pearce Axis of Hysteria responds not by rallying Americans to help others in need, but by fomenting more resentment and pursuing a policy that will only exacerbate the Great Recession.

How did we get SB1070? Sen. John McCain and other congressional leaders failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. McCain, a big proponent of that federal bill, instead wound up forsaking a golden opportunity so he could salvage his Republican bid for the presidency.

Continue reading here.

Pt. 3 Democratic Senate Debate: Border Issues

Monday, July 19, 2010

Viewpoints: Broadband rules are crucial to expand access and protect users

By Josh Silver
Special to The Sacramento Bee
Published: Sunday, Jul. 18, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 5E
Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 18, 2010 - 2:40 pm

Have you heard about the battle over the future of the Internet?
It's raging right now in Washington, D.C., where a court recently ruled that the Federal Communications Commission – the government agency that sets communications policy for the country – lacks authority over broadband networks. The agency is now deciding whether to reassert its legal authority over broadband, and it's no exaggeration to say that our online future rests on its decision.

The FCC must have the power to protect consumers, expand access and promote innovation on the Internet, the most important communications medium of our time. In just a few years, the Internet has evolved from the hobby of techies to an essential engine of free speech, civic participation and economic growth. Americans rely on the Internet to find jobs – or increasingly, to telecommute, get an education, access government services, find news and information, connect with family and friends, and engage politically. Now cable and phone companies like AT&T and Comcast want to free themselves from any and all rules, and find new ways to charge customers more for the right to communicate online.

Unfortunately, we can't depend on market competition to discipline their prices or actions either – more than 90 percent of homes in the United States have only two broadband providers to choose from.

So the FCC has recommended we start putting in place new creative policies to make sure this giant engine of wealth and growth continues to benefit the entire country and not just a few cable and telephone executives. But after an expensive legal battle, Comcast has struck a crippling blow to the FCC's ability to keep an eye on broadband communications infrastructure.

Read more: And here is the rest of it.

McCain: Teacher Pay is Pork; Cut Taxes for Contractors Who Make "Wonderful Missiles"


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Conservatism's Death Gusher

By George Lakoff
Author, The Political Mind, Moral Politics, Don't Think of an Elephant!
Huffington Post
Posted: July 16, 2010 09:00 AM

The issue is death -- death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf.

Many, perhaps a majority, of the Gulf residents affected are conservatives, strong right-wing Republicans, following extremist Governors Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour. What those conservatives are not saying, and may be incapable of seeing, is that conservatism itself is largely responsible for what happened, and that conservatism is a continuing disaster for conservatives who live along the Gulf. Conservatism is an ideology of death.

It was conservative laissez-faire free market ideology -- that maximizing profit comes first -- that led to:
  • The corrupt relationship between the oil companies and the Interior Department staff that was supposedly regulating them
  • Minimizing cost by not drilling relief wells
  • The principle that oil companies could be responsible their own risk assessments on drilling
  • Maximizing profit by outsourcing risk assessment that told them what they wanted to hear: zero risk!
  • Maximizing profit by minimizing cost of materials
  • Maximizing profit by failing to pay cleanup crews and businesses for their losses
  • Focusing only on profit by failing to test the cleanup methods to be used if something went wrong
  • Minimizing cost by sacrificing the health of cleanup crews, refusing to allow them to use respirator masks to protect against toxic fumes.

Continue reading here.

"Jan Brewer Unleashing Police on Arizona Students"


Deficit Caused Mostly By Bush

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

President Obama's Weekly Address: GOP Filibustering Recovery & Obstructing Progress

White House Blog
Posted by Jesse Lee on July 17, 2010 at 06:00 AM EDT
The President blasts Republicans in the Senate who are blocking unemployment insurance and small business tax breaks to create jobs -- even as they push for permanent, massive tax cuts for the richest Americans.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Arpaio on 16th immigration sweep; takes out the ‘big gun’

By Aureli Fierros
LA Border and Immigration Examiner
July 16, 2010

The Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched its 16th crime and immigration sweep in a stretch of desert in the southwestern U.S.-Mexico border, on Thursday.
Although the next crime suppression operation had been announced for July 29, Arpaio said the one-day sweep was executed sooner due to reports of many drug and immigrant smugglers activity through the Vekol Valley.

Arpaio ordered the deployment of a powerful belt-fed .50 caliber machine gun to be on site during the operation to ensure deputies' safety, as there have been recent reports of violence in the desolate desert areas.

“If anyone shoots at our deputies, they are going to have a problem,” said Arpaio in a news conference in the minutes prior to the sweep.

In a later statement, Arpaio also said that he is not afraid, but well prepared to face drug traffickers.
"I want to send a message to these criminal traffickers that we will not be intimidated by reports claiming that traffickers are better equipped than our law enforcement officers […] we have the machine guns too and we will not hesitate to use them if the situation calls for it."

By late Thursday night, sheriff's deputies said they had arrested 11 people, including seven of those being investigated for human trafficking. The rest were detained for outstanding warrants and traffic violations.

Thursday's crime sweep coincided with the very first federal hearing regarding Arizona's new immigration law, but Arpaio denied any connection between the two. The next planned sweep is set to take place July 29th, the same day Senate Bill 1070 is scheduled to take effect.

And here is the rest of it.

Hate Groups donate to SB1070 defense?

 White Supremacists urge members to help Brewer.

Deficits of Mass Destruction

 By Christopher Hayes
The Nation
July 15, 2010

If you've been paying attention this past decade, it won't surprise you to learn that the country's policy elites are in the midst of a destructive, well-nigh unhinged discussion about the future of the nation. But even by the degraded standards of the Washington establishment, the growing panic over government debt is shocking.

First, the facts. Nearly the entire deficit for this year and those projected into the near and medium terms are the result of three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession. The solution to our fiscal situation is: end the wars, allow the tax cuts to expire and restore robust growth. Our long-term herestructural deficits will require us to control healthcare inflation the way countries with single-payer systems do.

But right now we face a joblessness crisis that threatens to pitch us into a long, ugly period of low growth, the kind of lost decade that will cause tremendous misery, degrade the nation's human capital, undermine an entire cohort of young workers for years and blow a hole in the government's bank sheet.
The best chance we have to stave off this scenario is more government spending to nurse the economy back to health. The economy may be alive, but that doesn't mean it's healthy. There's a reason you keep taking antibiotics even after you start to feel better.

And yet: the drumbeat of deficit hysterics thumping in self-righteous panic grows louder by the day. Judging by its schedule and online video, this year's Aspen Ideas Festival was an open-air orgy of anti-deficit moaning. The festival is a good window into elite preoccupations, and that its opening forum featured ominous warnings of future bankruptcy from Niall Ferguson, Mort Zuckerman and David Gergen does not bode well. Nor does the fact that there was a panel called "America's Looming Fiscal Emergency: How to Balance the Books." This attitude isn't confined to pundits. The heads of Obama's fiscal commission have called projected deficits a "cancer."

The hysteria has reached such a pitch that Republican senators (joined by Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson) have filibustered an extension of unemployment benefits because it was not offset by spending cuts. Keep in mind, the cost of the extension for people unlucky enough to be caught in the jaws of the worst recession in thirty years is $35 billion. The bill would increase the debt by less than 0.3 percent.

This all seems eerily familiar. The conversation—if it can be called that—about deficits recalls the national conversation about war in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. From one day to the next, what was once accepted by the establishment as tolerable—Saddam Hussein—became intolerable, a crisis of such pressing urgency that "serious people" were required to present their ideas about how to deal with it. Once the burden of proof shifted from those who favored war to those who opposed it, the argument was lost.

We are poised on the same tipping point with regard to the debt. Amid official unemployment of 9.5 percent and a global contraction, we shouldn't even be talking about deficits in the short run. Yet these days, entrance into the club of the "serious" requires not a plan for reducing unemployment but a plan to do battle with the invisible and as yet unmaterialized international bond traders preparing an attack on the dollar.

Continue reading here.

KGUN9: History Shows SB 1070 Nothing New for Arizona

Click on Headline to view in separate window if video doesn't load.

KGUN9: Statistics Refute Claims Made by Arizona Politicians

Click on headline to view in separate window if video does't load.

The CLEAR ACT "Double Dividend: Make Money by Saving Nature"

By: George Lakoff,
t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
Friday 16 July 2010

Saving nature is the central issue. Carbon fuels destroy nature. The Gulf Death Gusher is the most visible sign. But signs are everywhere. Overall global warming increases hurricanes and floods; destroys habitats for plants, fish, birds and ground animals; spreads deserts; causes deadly waves; and destroys glaciers and our polar ice caps. The use of carbon fuels has been destroying nature. Our job now is to save it.

Interestingly, there is a short, 39-page bill before the Senate that would allow us to save nature and get paid substantially for doing it. It is the CLEAR bill, first suggested by Peter Barnes and introduced by Maria Cantwell (D-Washington and Susan Collins (R-Maine). It is simple; it works and it pays you!

The principle behind it is this: We US citizens own the air over the US equally. Carbon-fuel sellers are dumping pollution in our air, not just poisoning the air, but destroying nature. At least they should pay for permits to dump, poison and destroy and should be forced year-by-year to stop. Who should the sellers pay for permits? All of us, the citizens who live here, should be paid handsomely. And there should be predictably fewer permits every year, till the practice ends or reaches tolerable levels.

Here's how cap-and-cash works. Carbon-fuel profiteers introduce polluting fuels at only 2,000 distribution points in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) already monitors how much polluting fuel each seller distributes. The CLEAR Act requires sellers to compete at auction each year to buy pollution permits to sell their poisonous fuel, with a minimum and maximum price per permit set each year. Every year, for 40 years, the number of permits is reduced, until 80 percent of the carbon pollution has been eliminated.

Who gets the permit money? You do. The money goes into a trust. Twenty-five percent goes to developing nonpolluting fuels and mitigating existing environmental disasters. Most of it - 75 percent - is distributed equally to all citizen-residents every month via electronic bank transfers. A family of four, the first year would get between $1,000 and $1,500, and the amount would go up each year. Why? The law of supply and demand. As there are fewer permits to sell fuel and as the air gets cleaner, the price rises and you get more cash. 

Continue reading here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tim Geithner Opposes Nominating Elizabeth Warren To Lead New Consumer Agency

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed opposition to the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner's views.

The financial reform bill passed by the Senate on Thursday mandates the creation of a new federal entity charged with protecting consumers from predatory lenders.

But if Geithner has his way, the most prominent advocate for creating the agency may not be picked to lead it.

Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School whose 2007 journal article advocating the creation of such an agency inspired policymakers to enact it into law, has rocketed to prominence since the onset of the financial crisis as one of the leading reform advocates fighting on behalf of American taxpayers.

Warren has been an aggressive proponent for the bureau in public and behind the scenes, working regularly with President Barack Obama's top advisers and the Democratic leadership in Congress. Since 2008, she has overseen the Congressional Oversight Panel, a bailout watchdog created to keep tabs on how two administrations spent hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out Wall Street while struggling to keep distressed homeowners out of foreclosure and small businesses from collapsing.

Yet while her work on behalf of a federal unit designed solely to protect borrowers from abusive lenders has been embraced by the administration, Warren's role as a bailout watchdog led to strained relations with the agency her panel has taken to task with brutal reports every month since Obama took office: Geithner's Treasury Department.

It's no secret the watchdog and the Treasury Secretary have had a tenuous relationship. Geithner's critics have enjoyed watching Warren question him during his four appearances before her panel. Her tough, probing questions on the Wall Street bailout and his role in it -- often delivered with a smile -- are featured on YouTube. One video is headlined "Elizabeth Warren Makes Timmy Geithner Squirm."

Continue reading here.

Nancy Altman on deficits and Social Security, Alfie Kohn on education

CounterSpin (7/2/10-7/8/10)

Click here to stream this week's show

This week on CounterSpin: a special look at two issues that seem to bring out the worst in the corporate media. First up, the deficit. Worrying about the budget deficit is a corporate media staple, so President Obama's deficit commission must appear a godsend. Early reports are that Social Security cuts, another media obsession, have become the commission's main focus. Somewhat tellingly, the commission has announced that it will not be reporting on its recommendations until after the November elections. We'll talk about the President's commission, social security, public opinion and the media, with Nancy Altman, the co-director of Social Security Works, and author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR's Vision to Bush's Gamble.

Click here to contact Congressman Gabrielle Giffords
Also this week: If you try to follow the media discussion of education policy, it tends to be black and white—there are reformers on one side, teachers unions on the other. There are calls to Leave No Child Behind and get all schools to Race for the Top. Right-wing foundations and think tanks have steered this conversation right where they want it, emphasizing things like achievement, accountability, school choice and so on. Critics of what's labeled "reform" are rarely heard in a media system that emphasizes the need to get tough on teachers. We'll be joined by author and education expert Alfie Kohn to talk about that.

Continue reading here.

The Attack of the Real Black Helicopter Gang: The IMF Is Coming for Your Social Security

By Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
Posted: July 12, 2010 04:49 PM

A few years back, there was a fear in some parts about black UN helicopters that were supposedly taking part in the planning of an invasion of the United States. While there was no foundation for this fear, there is basis for concern about the attack of another international organization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Last week, the IMF told the United States that it needs to start getting its budget deficit down. It put cutting Social Security at the top of the steps that the country should take to achieve deficit reduction. This one is more than a bit outrageous for two reasons.

First, the IMF deserves a substantial share of the blame for the economic crisis that gave us big deficits in the first place. The IMF is supposed to oversee the operations of the international financial system. According to standard economic theory, capital is supposed to flow from rich countries like the United States to poor countries to finance their development. In other words, the United States should be having a trade surplus, which would correspond to the money that we are investing in poor countries to finance their development.

However, the IMF messed up its management of financial crises so badly in the last 15 years that poor countries decided that they had to accumulate huge amounts of currency reserves in order to avoid ever being forced to deal with the IMF. This meant that capital was flowing in huge amounts in the wrong direction. One result of this reverse flow was that the United States ran a huge trade deficit instead of a trade surplus.

Continue reading here.

"Tea Party in Sonora": Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Says Arizona is Laboratory for Radical GOP Policies

Democracy Now

A new article by Harper’s Magazine Washington editor Ken Silverstein argues that Arizona has become a laboratory not just for immigration policy, but a broad range of issues. It’s a place, he writes, where the Tea Party is arguably the ruling party, and should the Republicans retake nationwide power, "the country might start to resemble the right-wing desert that Arizona has become."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Behind the Arizona Immigration Law: GOP Game to Swipe the November Election

By Greg Palast
April 26, 2010

Our investigation in Arizona discovered the real intent of the show-me-your-papers law.

Phoenix - Don't be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don't buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What's new here is not the politicians' fear of a xenophobic "Teabag" uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote - and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for "Rolling Stone" with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters . . . directed by one Jan Brewer.

Brewer, then secretary of state, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer's command, no fewer than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanic, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.

Continue reading here


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How Brokers Became Bookies: The Insidious Transformation of Markets Into Casinos

by: Ellen Brown, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
Tuesday 13 July 2010

"You all are the house, you're the bookie. [Your clients] are booking their bets with you. I don't know why we need to dress it up. It's a bet." - Sen. Claire McCaskill, Senate Subcommittee investigating Goldman Sachs (Washington Post, April 27, 2010)

Ever since December 2008, the Federal Reserve has held short-term interest rates near zero. This was not only to try to stimulate the housing and credit markets, but also to allow the federal government to increase its debt levels without increasing the interest tab picked up by the taxpayers. The total public US debt increased by nearly 50 percent from 2006 to the end of 2009 (from about $8.5 trillion to $12.3 trillion), but the interest bill  on the debt actually dropped (from $406 billion to $383 billion), because of this reduction in interest rates.

One of the dire unintended consequences of that maneuver, however, was that municipal governments across the country have been saddled with very costly bad derivatives bets. They were persuaded by their Wall Street advisers to buy credit default swaps to protect their loans against interest rates shooting up. Instead, rates proceeded to drop through the floor, a wholly unforeseeable and unnatural market condition caused by rate manipulations by the Fed. Instead of the banks bearing the losses in return for premiums paid by municipal governments, the governments have had to pay massive sums to the banks - to the point of bankrupting at least one city (Montgomery, Alabama).

Another unintended consequence of the plunge in interest rates has been that "savers" have been forced to become "speculators" or gamblers. When interest rates on safe corporate bonds were around 8 percent, a couple could aim for saving half a million dollars in their working careers and count on reaping $40,000 yearly in investment income, a sum that, along with Social Security, could make for a comfortable retirement. But very low interest rates on bonds have forced these once-prudent savers into the riskier and less predictable stock market, and the collapse of the stock market has forced them into even more speculative ventures in the form of derivatives, a glorified form of gambling. Pension funds, which have binding pension contracts entered into when interest was at much higher levels, need an 8 percent investment return to meet their commitments. In today's market, they cannot make that sort of return without taking on higher risk, which means taking major losses when the risks materialize.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pt. 5 Democratic Debate: The War in Afghanistan

Pt. 4: Democratic Senate Debate: Arizona's Budget Deficit

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pt 2 Democratic Senate Debate: What Experience Will you Take to DC?

Pt. 1 Democratic Senate Debate: How Will They Change the Status Quo?


Battle for Arizona Attorney General

By Bill Buckmaster
July 8, 2010

Vince Rabago is a career prosecutor and has been an assistant Arizona attorney general since 2002. He says SB 1070 is a misguided solution to a serious problem and doesn't provide border security.
Democrat Felecia Rotellino(i) worked in the Arizona Attorney General's Office and served as superintendent of the AZ Banking Department before entering private law in 2009. She says she will focus on the drug cartels and criminal syndicates and will push the federal government to reimburse Arizona for the price we pay to protect our border.
The third Democratic candidate for Arizona Attorney General is Arizona House Minority Leader David Lujan, who was unable to take part in the Arizona Public Media interview.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

GRITtv: Beyond SB 1070: Immigration Bills and the States

The Obama administration set up a clash with Arizona over the state's immigration bill, SB 1070, this week when it filed suit in federal court claiming that the law is a breach of federal authority. ; The law goes into effect later this month and would allow law enforcement officials to stop anyone on suspicion of being undocumented.In the wake of SB 1070's passage, states around the country have initiated copycat bills and other legislation aimed at cracking down on immigration. But in addition to the Holder Justice Department's lawsuit, progressive state legislators are fighting back on the state level, and activists are pushing for commonsense immigration bills on both a state and federal level. We are joined by Arizona state legislator Kyrsten Sinema and Suman Raghunathan of the Progressive States Network to discuss the continuing fight.

$200 Million GOP Campaign Avalanche Planned

By Sam Stein
Huffington Post

Over the past few weeks, top Democratic Party strategists have been passed a chart by a concerned, well-respected operative underscoring the daunting task they face in the 2010 elections.

On the left hand side of the chart is a list of ten Republican aligned institutions, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Family Research Council. Next to it is a column listing the amount of money each group has pledged to spend by Election Day. A third column on the right details what those groups actually spent in 2008 on federal elections.

The number at the bottom delivers the key message. If their pledges are fulfilled, these ten groups will unleash more than $200 million in election-focused spending -- roughly $37 million more than every single independent group spent on the 2008 presidential campaign combined. This time around, almost every single penny will be going to Republican candidates or causes.

Update: A Democratic operative makes the case that the total could rise to roughly $300 million if it includes additional pledges for campaign spending from Americans for Prosperity, promising $45 million, the Club for Growth, $24 million, the National Rifle Association, $20 million, and the Susan B. Anthony List, $6 million)

Democrats who received the chart -- which include staff at both congressional committees, the major unions, and many of the most respected campaign hands in the party -- have admitted to greeting it with nervous expletives. It has been passed along to big fundraisers in hopes that they will be compelled to open up their checkbooks.

One top-ranking Democratic operative involved in crafting campaign strategy said he "wouldn't be surprised" if outside groups on the Republican side "outspend us four-to-one." Another top official at a campaign committee called it "one hell of a wake-up call to the left."

"Despite accomplishing much of the check list on the progressive agenda," the official added, "they risk losing it all unless they come together and put their money on the table.

Continue reading here."

AFL-CIO President Trumka on Jobs and the Economy

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Clean Elections Debate - Democratic Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction

 Horizon Eight KAET Phoenix Public Television
June 30, 2010

Brewer Cancels Annual US-Mexico Border Governors Meeting In Phoenix

By Michelle Price
Huffington Post
July 7, 2010

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer has called off a September border conference in Phoenix due to Mexican governors' objections to Arizona's tough new immigration enforcement law, though some officials are discussing holding the annual gathering elsewhere.

It was Arizona's turn to host the 28th annual U.S.-Mexico Border Governors Conference for four U.S. governors and six from Mexico. But Brewer said Wednesday the meeting was canceled because the Mexican governors planned to boycott it.

Brewer said she was disappointed about the boycott and hoped the governors of New Mexico, Texas and California would support her decision.

"The people of Arizona and the people of America support what Arizona has done," Brewer said. "For them to basically not attend here because of that, I think is unfair."

However, the governors of New Mexico and California are trying to go ahead with the conference in another state, with or without Arizona's participation, spokesmen said.

Continue reading here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Melvin: A Member of the "Coalition of the heartless, clueless and confused"

 By 26Dems
July 05, 2010

State Senator Al Melvin disdainfully brushed off any concerns he might have about reports that Democratic legislative candidates Cheryl Cage and Representative Nancy Young Wright have outraised Republican adversaries more than two to one in the last campaign finance reporting period.

He made excuses to the Tucson Weekly (See Democratic Double: LD26 Dems Way Ahead in Fundraising  that the reason for the successful Democratic fundraising is because the Democrats are "scared." (Didn't he say he would not talk to the "liberal" media?)  He said “I think there’s going to be a Republican tsunami in November,” the Republican freshman says. “And I think they see it coming. I think they’re desperate… and they’re trying to throw a bunch of money at (the race).”
He actually thinks that he represents the voters of LD 26 and does not shy away from his support for what he calls a mainstream agenda that favors the few over the rest of us. These extreme views and a voting record loyal to his Phoenix bosses that strands the majority of Arizona voters and boosts corporate monopolies make a vote for Al Melvin, a vote against a secure future for Arizona.

He's clinging to a leaky life raft  and has faith that the market will "lift all boats."  It hasn't happened yet as thousands of desperate jobless Arizonans will tell you.  Long ago hopes and dreams of many Arizonans for a good education, life saving health care, and a secure financial future were sunk by card carrying Arizona members of what economist Paul Krugman terms "a coalition of the heartless, clueless and the confused."

Democratic Fundraising Stars

Cheryl Cage for Senate

Re-Elect Nancy Young Wright
Democrats Cheryl Cage for Senate LD 26
and Rep. Nancy Young Wright 
 represent the mainstream--you and me--
we the people!
Check out their websites.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4 Declare Your Independence From War

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Maude Barlow: "The World Has Divided into Rich and Poor as at No Time in History"

From Democracy Now
By Amy Goodman
July 2, 2010

As world leaders gathered in Toronto for the G20 summit last week, leading activists from around the world joined thousands in Toronto’s Massey Hall to oppose the G20 agenda. Maude Barlow was one of the key speakers at the event. She heads the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and is a founder of the Blue Planet Project.[includes rush transcript]And here is the rest of it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fact Check: Brewer Beheading Claims False

From Rawstory:
 By John Byrne
Friday, July 2nd, 2010 -- 8:50 am

The Arizona Guardian followed up on Brewer's remarks, finding them completely false. (Read County Coroners can't back Brewer beheadings claim.)

A spokesman for Gov. Brewer told the paper in response, "I'm not aware of any statements where the governor specifies where any crimes were committed," saying he thinks that Brewer was speaking about beheadings that have occurred in Mexico which could spread to Arizona.

On the contrary, he claimed that Brewer was talking about the fear that crimes that occur in Mexico could spread to Arizona.