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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daily Kos Ex Pat's Diary: Plutocrat Owned U.S. Media Keeps Americans in the Dark About Death of American Dream

Death of American dream, 60 million no sick leave, 132 million no dental, 59 million without medical
by Democrats Ramshield
Daily Kos
Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 04:20:39 AM PST

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union).
It wasn't until I left America that I started to realize how badly the American plutocrat owned media lies to the American people through its disinformation campaign.

Well today for a span of at least this one Daily Kos diary, you will get to see what the American plutocrat owned media never wants you to see, and that is how Europe in particular and the world in general has come to see America as a country in decline, whose people are so badly misinformed by the media, they actually don't realize that America is the only major industrialized nation in the world that by right of law does not offer universal medical access, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave and paid annual leave. It just seems almost impossible to get that word out to the American people. Even diaries on that subject at the Kos top out at just over 2,000 views. Let's please remember the purpose of the plutocrat owned commercial media isn't so much to inform us but rather to sell commercial advertising space.
Therefore this diary today will try to do something different. It will show you what the European media is saying about the American dream and you will be shocked!

Democrats Ramshield's diary :: ::

Here the British Guardian newspaper says that the so-called American middle class lifestyle for most people was fake and that was financed by three decades of a debt bubble which has now gone bust. The credit ride of working class folks living a middle class lifestyle is dead and gone. Is this article stating bluntly that it's over? The only remaining question is, will it ever come back? I mean, how long can people ride a wave of endless debt before the ride is over, all while pretending to be middle class? Is that what this British Guardian newspaper article is saying? Well, to that end I offer the quote below and a link to the full article. Please read it and decide for yourself what it says.

Continue reading here. 


Monday, November 29, 2010

Market-Based Dogmas Undermine Strong Education

26Dems Editorial Comment:  Rick Ayers explains how much the rightist free-market ideology has deeply infiltrated common knowledge by undermining widely accepted social norms and is sowing the seeds of destruction of our educational system as well as our entire society. According to Ayers, the "reform" movement at its core represents a Darwinian struggle highlighted in the recent film Waiting for Superman.  This is one of the most cogent, comprehensive evaluations of why the social institutions in our country are collapsing I have read. We must realize what has happened if we are to understand how to restore America to its ideals of social justice, equal opportunity and full development of creative potential.  And we must remember that exploitations by the corporate titan class in the nineteenth century were overcome by real reform that yielded a strong more just and prosperous society for all. If we are to turn the tide we must as the author suggests, not to be afraid to champion the values of an educational system based on building community, supporting students and inspiring every child to achieve potential. Moreover, we must do a better job of explaining how damage wrought by an emotionally dysfunctional ideologically driven educational model. It is imperative that we connect educational ills to economic and social suffering many are experiencing as rightists blame the victims and openly celebrate their glee at finally being able to destroy government altogether.

By Rick Ayers
Adjunct Professor in Education, University of San Francisco
Huffington Post
Posted: November 4, 2010 09:22 PM

One of the barriers we must overcome in framing a reasonable debate on school reform is the powerful hegemony of right-wing ideology which sees free-market mechanisms as the only way to organize a large social project such as education or health care. Indeed, the notion of a public space, a democratically controlled community effort, is almost impossible to advance in the current debates. For this, we have to thank the victory of the right-wing Reagan agenda, building on the dogmas of free-market gurus such as Milton Freedman and Ayn Rand.

The current free-market religion makes such pre-Reagan Republicans as Nixon and Eisenhower look like lefties. Politicians and researchers only a generation ago, even conservatives, entertained the possibility of various models of how to organize society, different versions of liberal capitalism, which allowed for aspects of social democratic ideas -- strong social supports, medical care, public education, etc. All of these are now under attack. The ideology of American politics today makes liberals such as Obama and Duncan act like blinkered rightists.

The goal of the most extreme exponents of the new ultra-right is nothing less than the turning back of all the reforms of the New Deal -- privatizing social security, ending trade unions, and even making such services as fire protection and medical care a matter of individual, private purchase. Everything functions when there is competition, self-interested battle, and Social Darwinist struggle. (Of course, as an aside, we note that these ideologues of competition usually end up supporting massive monopoly power -- a command economy where those calling the tunes sit in the top boardrooms).

This debate in American society goes back even before the New Deal. During the late 19th Century, when massive industrialization led to efforts of workers to build trade unions for decent pay and conditions, when Native American and African-American communities were struggling for basic survival, Horatio Alger wrote a series of popular pulp novels which proposed that the plucky determination of individuals could help them pull themselves up by their bootstraps, they could achieve success and happiness by looking out for only themselves. The dream of individual success, of escaping the working class, was supposed to keep the rest, the millions who did not escape, content and hopeful -- hey maybe they could make it. This myth was always in conflict with the vision of the unions and activists, the idea of a public good in public power.

During the 19th century, advanced education was reserved for the elites -- basic literacy and social discipline was the lot of those designated for factory work. As for people of color, the place reserved for them in the rightist universe was even more limited. Chinese men were brought in for railroad construction -- no education. Native Americans were kept out of schools or sent to such centers as the Carlisle Indian School whose mission was to "civilize the savages," by "killing the Indian to save the man." African-American education either did not exist or focused again on the civilizing (subordinating) mission of schools.

Today in the mainstream political discourse, any talk of public space, democratic options, or social justice is seen as just so much fuzzy headed socialism. Reintroduction of the claim that poor people are stuck in ghettos because of a self-destructive "culture of poverty" echoes the charge by school authorities in the 19th century that those who did not do well suffered from moral failings.  
Continue reading here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The US Embassy Cable Leaks: Bradblog Notes JFK and Daniel Ellsberg On Government Transparency

26 Dems Editorial Comment:  The world is astir concerning the impact of the publication of  top secret leaks about U.S. foreign policy in major newspapers, the New York Times, the U.K. Guardian and Der Spiegel .  The leak of some 250,000 documents is unprecedented, and leaves the U.S. diplomatic establishment exposed. 

The New York Times and other papers were given this material weeks ago and did thorough research concerning any adverse impacts on U.S. security. After checking with the State Department first and considering diplomatic concerns, the Times decided to publish information the editors felt was necessary to inform the public about U.S. foreign policy.  The decision for transparency was not made lightly. U.S. officials have known that these papers would soon leak and now are in damage control mode. It appears that embarrasing personal remarks made by U.S. ambassadors may be among the several objections to publication.  

Diplomacy has always operated under a cloak of secrecy. We live in tumultuous times that have caused governments for the sake of national security to put us all under surveillance and do virtual searches of our bodies at airports.  Emails are subject to secret scrutiny.  Newspapers, television and cable stations serve the interests of fewer more powerful masters. The Right Wing scare machine tramples and intimidates, serving to manipulate, not inform.

Now we know that the Bush administration conducted a propaganda campaign to take us to war in Iraq. We later found out that there was no truth to the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The government is obsessed with the activities of millions of Americans, but what are
Americans allowed to know about their government? All too often the main stream press remains silent in its role as a servant to power.

These recently leaked papers change the game by letting Americans know the truth about foreign policy decisions President Obama must make to keep us safe in an increasingly dangerous world.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle have condemned the leaks as irresponsible and threatening.  What will happen now to sensitive negotiations is the subject of debate.  What cannot be denied is that the cables enlighten all of us to the substantial truth about the pressures President Obama and Secretary Clinton are operating under to bring nations with divergent interests to the table to prevent escalation of  armed nuclear  conflict with Iran.  

The cables make it absolutely clear that the U.S. must continue to negotiate with Russia and must ratify the New Start treaty immediately. Why would we not support inspecting and securing loose nukes? Brigadier General Ret John Adams has skillfully dealt with any legitimate questions fueling the "doubts" of Sen. Jon Kyl.  The cables lay bare a foolish irresponsible and dangerous political game when the security of the world  is at stake. 

Read The Bradblog for an insightful analysis of the benefits of disclosure.  If we are interested in preserving our democracy we should hearken back to a time when presidents believed that they were obligated to serve the people and when the press had an obligation to analyze and ask hard questions. 

View the You Tube video featuring JFK's 1961 Secrecy is Repugnant Speech


PDA Action Alert: Keep Social Security Safe

The Co-Chairs of the president’s Deficit Commission have proposed deep cuts to Social Security under the guise of reducing the budget deficit. They want to cut benefits for middle-class workers and reduce annual Cost of Living Adjustments. On top of that, they want to increase the retirement age to 69.

We must stop them!

Tuesday, November 30, is the National Call-In Day to say “No!” to Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts. We need every person to call their senators and representative and demand that they keep Social Security intact. Nothing can happen to Social Security unless Congress lets it.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at
(800) 962-3524 or (202) 224-3121.

Find your representative or senators here
and contact them directly.

When you call, tell them:

•    Gutting Social Security will not reduce the budget deficit. Social Security is funded separately, from employee contributions. It is entirely self-sufficient—even at today’s retirement age and funding levels—until 2037.

•    Americans are hurting right now. The only thing that these misbegotten changes to Social Security and Medicare will do is to harm its beneficiaries—the disabled, the retired, the middle class, and the poor.

•    Every dollar paid out from Social Security goes right back into the economy. People who receive Social Security house, feed, and clothe themselves with the payments.

•    Face the elephant in the room: Military spending must be cut. PDA members will be in DC lobbying Congress to cut military spending while the rest of the country makes calls on November 30.

For talking points on protecting Medicare from cuts, click here.

Take “the pledge” to make these calls on November 30 here.

Let’s make this a call-in day that Congress will never forget.


Tim Carpenter, PDA national director

Friday, November 26, 2010

Brig. Gen. John Adams Discusses New START Treaty on MSBNC

American Security Project

Consensus member and former Deputy US Military Representative to NATO, Brigadier General John Adams, USA (Ret.), discussed why the New START treaty needs to be ratified now on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.

Gen. Adams said:

“This morning, I saw sign that the fire marshall has inspected the elevator for fire safety. I trust the hotel, but I’d like to see the sign that the fire marshall has verified it’s safe from fire. The same with the treaty. We need to get our inspectors back on the ground to verify and monitor the Russian nuclear arsenal. The idea of having 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons between us and the Russians without verification, without monitoring, it’s just irresponsible.”

Campaign for America's Future: Tell President Obama to Reject Social Security Cuts

We must send an urgent message to President Obama – to tell him to reject the proposal to slash Social Security benefits coming from the co-chairs of his deficit commission. If President Obama tries to cut Social Security, it would spell political disaster in 2012.

Sign this critical petition to the President below. And please email at least five friends with the link for this petition, as well share the petition on Facebook and Twitter if you can.

The presidency of Barack Obama depends on it.


Please reject the proposal by the co-chairs of your deficit commission to slash Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age.

Social Security has its own financing and does not contribute one dime to deficit. Social Security has successfully provided secure retirements for 75 years. It is fiscally sound and will never go bankrupt. Yes, work to bring down deficits and spur economic recovery, but don’t cut Social Security, which contributes nothing to the deficit.

I’m also worried that if you embrace proposals to cut Social Security, you will continue to lose seniors and anger future retirees whose retirement security has just been hit hard by the recession. And losing that support would endanger your re-election chances and the rest of your agenda for change.

You have continually fought to protect and strengthen Social Security. Don't stop now.

Take ACTION. Click here.

3 Things You Can Do to Keep the Deficit Fearmongers From Looting Social Security

By Dave Johnson
Nov. 25, 2010

That Washington Post headline is the manufactured reality. Here's your "sharp focus": The public hates this!

Today's Washington Post has punch two of a one-two punch. Punch one was the Simpson/Bowles "plan" to cut Social Security, cut middle-class tax breaks and programs (and dramatically cut taxes on the rich.) Punch two is pushing this plan hard with headlines claiming this solution is actually popular, while shutting out voices who explain why we shouldn't do this. This is full-on Shock Doctrine, wait for an emergency like the terrible recession so people are in shock and want solutions, and then change everything so fast they can't respond while telling them how this is good for them.

This is how they do it, folks, demonstrated by this story in today's Washington Post: Consensus is forming on what steps to take in cutting the deficit,

After an election dominated by vague demands for less debt and smaller government, the sacrifices necessary to achieve those goals are coming into sharp focus. ... Smaller Social Security checks and higher Medicare premiums. [. . .] the plan unveiled this month by co-chairmen Erskine B. Bowles ... and Alan K. Simpson ... has been respectfully received with a few exceptions by both parties. Its major elements are also winning support from a striking line-up of commentators. [. . .] The strange bedfellows are a "testament to the moderate nature" of the ideas under discussion.

Consensus? Sharp focus? Here's your "sharp focus": The public hates this!

That headline is the manufactured reality. The real reality is that the public just hates this, and has voted against and will vote against politicians who push it.

Last month you saw campaign ad after ad hitting Democrats who "cut $500 billion from Medicare," and Democrats lost the senior vote and the midterms. The public hates this.

A recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research report showed that an overwhelming 69% of voters agreed that "politicians should keep their hands off Social Security and Medicare" when they address the deficit. The public hates this.
Only 6% of the public says the government's priority should be deficits now. The public hates this.

An AARP poll finds that 90% of people aged 18 to 29 say Social Security is important. The public hates this.

An NBC/WSJ poll finds that 57% are against cutting Social Security no matter how bad the deficit is. The public hates this.

A USA Today poll finds that the public by 66/31 says don't cut benefits to fix the deficit. The public hates this.

I can continue citing poll after poll; there are no polls that show the public is in any way behind this. 
Continue reading here. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

START Treaty Must Not Be Derailed

By Valerie Plame Wilson
Fmr. CIA covert operations officer
Huffington Post
November 23, 2010

For me, the most bittersweet moment watching the new movie Fair Game comes when it shows my clandestine CIA work involving nuclear counterproliferation. I remain passionate about the issue of preventing rogue states and terrorist organizations from ever procuring a nuclear weapon. Since resigning from the agency however, I realize that much of what I had been doing may only have served to delay the inevitable. My thinking on proliferation has therefore evolved considerably, and I now believe that the best way to ensure our national security for the long term is to move to achieve the goal of total, global elimination of nuclear weapons.

Recently, I have read with increasing alarm about possible derailment of the Senate ratification of the new START treaty signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April. If a handful of U.S. senators succeed in their efforts to block ratification of the New START treaty this year, it could fray hard-earned Russian support for tough sanctions on Iran and disrupt important strategic initiatives with the Russians to secure all nuclear materials globally so they don't fall into the hands of terrorists.

As a result of my counterproliferation work at the CIA, I believe that nuclear terrorism is the most urgent threat we face and locking down all nuclear materials is a national security imperative. But without Russia's cooperation in those goals, an effective international effort may be impossible to achieve.  

Continue reading here.

Democracy Now: Chalmers Johnson, 1931-2010, on the Last Days of the American Republic

The distinguished scholar and best-selling author Chalmers Johnson has died. He passed away in California on Saturday afternoon at the age of 79. During the Cold War, he served as a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency and was a supporter of the Vietnam War, however, later became a leading critic of U.S. militarism and imperialism. He wrote the book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire in 2000, which became a bestseller after the 9/11 attacks. He went on to complete what would become a trilogy about American empire. Today we re-air part of our last interview with Chalmers Johnson from 2007. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wendell Potter Apologizes to Michael Moore, Exposes Industry Scheme to Smear "Sicko,"Push Moore off the Cliff"

Krugman Sounds Alarm: Simpson Calls for Blood

There Will Be Blood
New York Times
Published: November 22, 2010

 Former Senator Alan Simpson is a Very Serious Person. He must be — after all, President Obama appointed him as co-chairman of a special commission on deficit reduction.

So here’s what the very serious Mr. Simpson said on Friday: “I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. ... When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ’em a piece of meat, real meat,’ ” meaning spending cuts. “And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary,” he continued.

Think of Mr. Simpson’s blood lust as one more piece of evidence that our nation is in much worse shape, much closer to a political breakdown, than most people realize. 
Continue reading here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

D-Day in the Class War

By Joseph A. Palermo,
Associate Professor, American History, California State University, Sacramento
Huffington Post
Posted: November 17, 2010 08:52 PM

After a decade of stagnant or declining real wages, "bipartisan" schemes are proliferating to shift the burden of Washington policymakers' own catastrophic mismanagement of the nation's fiscal policies right onto the shoulders of working people. The press commentary has been abysmal. All "serious" thinkers out there on television or in print are in full agreement that "entitlements" must take a big hit, along with education and health care.

President Obama's "bipartisan" deficit commission, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, (sometimes referred to as the "Cat Food Commission" because of the likely dietary changes some senior citizens will have to make if its prescriptions are implemented), wants to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations. Another high-profile group, headed by Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, (which might be called the "Kibble Commission"), wants to strip $650 billion out of the Social Security trust fund with a payroll tax holiday (to be paid back later!) that they believe will create economic growth. So the Cat Food Commission views Social Security in crisis and bordering on insolvency, while the Kibble Commission believes that Social Security can absorb a $650 billion hit. And these are the best and the brightest.

Both "bipartisan" bodies claim that "tough decisions" must be made. Yet their policies are only really tough if you happen to belong to America's struggling working middle class. They want to inflict the "pain" on the government programs that have traditionally given working people a slight leg up. In these "bipartisan" schemes the financial services crooks who wrecked the economy come away smelling like roses. 

Are we forgetting that it was working- and middle-class taxpayers who bailed out Wall Street's biggest investment banks in what could be the greatest gesture of working-class benevolence toward the super-rich in American history? Working-class taxpayers also paid for the unemployment insurance and infrastructure projects that were needed following the pillaging of America's housing sector. Working-class taxpayers continue to foot the bill for the bloated military budget and two wars. (They've also sent their sons and daughters off to fight.) And about eight million of them who had jobs in 2005 didn't have them anymore by the middle of 2009.

Continue reading here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Poll: Most don't know what GOP won

Fewer than half of Americans know that Republicans have majority only in the House next year. 

11/19/10 7:45 AM EST Updated: 11/19/10 12:11 PM EST

Fewer than half of all Americans know that Republicans will have a majority in the House next year but not the Senate, according to a new poll.

Only 46 percent of respondents in a Pew Research poll released Thursday knew that the GOP had taken over only the House, while a mere 38 percent can identify Ohio Republican John Boehner as the incoming speaker. Three times as many young people, under age 30, could properly identify Google's new phone software, Android, as could identify Boehner.

Read more: 

Think tank: 92% of Afghans never heard of 9/11

By Daniel Tencer

Friday, November 19th, 2010 -- 5:06 pm

Fewer than one in 10 Afghans are aware of the 9/11 attacks and their precipitation of the war in Afghanistan, says a study from an international think tank.

A report (PDF) from the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) shows that 92 percent of those surveyed had never heard of the coordinated multiple attacks on US soil on September 11, 2001. It also shows that four in 10 Afghans believe the US is on their soil in order to "destroy Islam or occupy Afghanistan."

To be sure, the survey can't claim to be definitive: It only canvassed men, and relied primarily on respondents from Helmand and Kandahar, the two most war-torn provinces in the country. But the results nonetheless show that Western forces fighting insurgents in Afghanistan have largely failed to connect with the local population.  

Continue reading here.

The Billionaires Want More, More, More

By Sen. Bernie Sanders,
Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont
Huffington Post
Posted: November 19, 2010 04:27 PM

The billionaires are on the warpath. They want more, more, more.

In 2007, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income -- more than the bottom 50 percent. Not enough! The percentage of income going to the top 1 percent nearly tripled since the mid-1970s. Not enough! Eighty percent of all new income earned from 1980 to 2005 has gone to the top 1 percent. Not enough! The top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Not enough! The Wall Street executives with their obscene compensation packages now earn more than they did before we bailed them out. Not enough! With the middle class collapsing and the rich getting much richer, the United States now has, by far, the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on earth. Not enough!

The very rich want more, more and more and they are prepared to dismantle the existing political and social order to get it. During the last campaign, as a result of the (Republican) Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, billionaires were able to pour hundreds of millions of dollars of secret money into the campaign -- helping to elect dozens of members of Congress. Now, having made their investment, they want their congressional employees to produce.

Republicans in Congress, needless to say, are all on board. The key question is whether a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate go along to get along, or whether they draw a clear line at protecting the interests of the middle class and vulnerable populations of our country while tackling our economic and budgetary problems in earnest.

Continue reading here.

Now That He's Been Elected, KS Sec. of State-Elect Kris Kobach Can't Find Any 'Voter Fraud'

26Dems Editorial Comment: Kris Kobach is one of the authors of SB1070. He was hired by Russell Pearce.  According to KansasWatchDog.com Sheriff Joe Arpaio appeared at a rally for Kobach's campaign for Secretary of State. The rally was moved to  Overland Park Ritz Charles convention center after MidAmerican Nazarene University withdrew permission.

By Brad Friedman
1/19/2010 4:45pm 

Now That He's Been Elected, KS Sec. of State-Elect Kris Kobach Can't Find Any 'Voter Fraud'
"Our campaign had an undeniable, unmistakable message," he told his supporters during his victory speech on Election Night, "and that message could be summed up in three words, three words which were on every one of our 4 billion highway signs: 'stop voter fraud'."

"And now that clear message becomes transformed into a clear mandate," Kansas' Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach (R) told his fans that night, promising "significant reforms" to the state's election system. Answered with cheers in the Topeka ballroom Kobach promised: "We are gonna have Photo ID at the polls."

As he stated himself, Kobach's campaign was almost entirely built on the promise of putting a stop to the state's out-of-control (and also, non-existent, but ssshhh, don't tell anybody) "voter fraud" epidemic. But now that the election's over, he's having trouble identifying any actual instances of the horrible scourge he helped tricked Republican voters into believing actually existed.

Talking Points Memo, who has done a bang-up job of keeping tabs on Kobach's duplicity over the past year, caught up with the SoS-elect yesterday after he spoke on a "civil rights" panel at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention and asked him how the hunt is going.

He, um, had trouble actually citing any evidence of voter fraud since, as of now, he "hadn't heard of any". "There have been a few cases where I've heard allegations of voter fraud," he says, "but we're just a few weeks out from the election."

No doubt, the evidence will come rolling in soon. The only question is will it come in before or after Kobach and his anti-democracy GOP cronies enact disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at the polling place, as promised, despite the fact that such laws have been shown time and again to keep millions of legal minority, elderly & student (read: Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their ballot.

Here's TPM's short video interview with Kobach in which --- just in case you hadn't any doubt about the bankruptcy of his claims --- he also alludes to the long-discredited Rightwing scam-artist/"voter fraud" fraudster John Fund, whose book on "voter fraud" has, itself, been debunked as a fraud over and again...

Continue reading here.

SIGN AFL-CIO Petition: House Republicans Block Unemployment Benefits Extension

by James Parks
Nov 18, 2010
     Last week, members of Working America delivered thousands of job applications and signatures on jobs petitions to incoming House Speaker John Boehner’s district office, urging him to extend crucial jobless benefits for millions.        
House Republicans today blocked an effort to maintain federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, making a lapse in benefits all but certain when they expire at the end of the month.

House Democrats tried to speed the extension through by calling for a suspension of the rules, a procedure which requires a two-thirds majority. Although 258 members—a significant majority—supported the bill, the final vote fell short of the needed margin. The bill, H.R.6419, would have extended UI through February 2011 for those who have exhausted 26 weeks of insurance provided by states. It also would provide 100 percent federal funding to state unemployment programs to cover additional costs.

A total of 143 Republicans and 11 Democrats voted against suspending the rules. Twenty-one Republicans voted for it. Check out the roll call vote here.

Democratic leaders could bring the bill back to the floor under a rule requiring only a simple majority. (Sign the petition here to tell Congress to maintain UI for long-term jobless workers.)

Continue Reading here.

A Mighty Wind

By Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm
Governor of Michigan
Huffington Post
November 19, 2010

Last century, Michigan led the automotive revolution, putting the world on wheels. This century, Michigan will lead the green industrial revolution, making wind turbines, solar panels, advanced batteries, and other technologies to power our nation's 21st-century progress. The investments from the federal Recovery Act complemented state policies we enacted three years ago to diversify our economy. The result: Since the passage of Michigan's renewable energy standard in 2008, Michigan has attracted 48 clean-energy companies that are projected to create 89,918 jobs and $9.4 billion of investment in Michigan.
Our big, hairy, audacious goal is to make Michigan the international hub of the clean-energy industry, creating jobs by transforming our state from rust belt to green belt. I've written here before about Michigan's leadership in advanced batteries, solar energy, and the electrification of the automobile. We've also worked to build Michigan's wind-energy sector. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Michigan is one of only four states projected to create more than 30,000 jobs in the wind manufacturing sector alone. Michigan's offshore wind capacity is estimated to be more than 320,000 megawatts -- nearly 12 times our peak electricity demand -- meaning that we have the potential to create even more jobs for Michigan workers installing and maintaining wind turbines to power our nation. Wind energy is a perfect fit for Michigan.
Let me share with you some of our recent wind successes:
  • In Saginaw, the first utility-scale wind turbine manufactured in Michigan just rolled off the line. Merrill Technology Group, a family-owned Michigan company that previously machined parts for General Motors, partnered with Vermont-based Northern Power to produce a utility-scale wind turbine expected to go into full-scale production in 2011. Thanks to the Recovery Act, Merrill is able to diversify into a growing field like wind energy, creating jobs and producing products that will lead our nation toward energy independence. Merrill says it has already saved or created 40 jobs, and expects to add another 125 workers in 2011 as production ramps up.
  • In Eaton Rapids, URV USA, LLC is planning to build the largest specialized foundry for wind turbine castings in the world, which would supply two-thirds of the North American large casting market. Following a recent meeting I had with the managing director of URV USA in Sweden, the company announced it will double its initial plans for the Eaton Rapids foundry -- with a possibility of even quadrupling the initial foundry plans through support from the U.S. Department of Energy! Right now, there is a major shortage of large-cast wind turbine components in North America, with most supplies coming from foundries in Asia and Europe. URV USA's Eaton Rapids facility has the potential to revolutionize the way wind turbines are made through their next-generation casting process, which could create even more jobs in Michigan supplying superior quality castings that are priced to be globally competitive.
  • In Holland, S2 Yachts used its core expertise in composite manufacturing from boat building to form Energetx Composites, a company that makes wind turbine parts. The company plans to hire 700 workers to build large turbine blades and other wind-energy components.
Continue reading here.

Kyl Makes Political Sport of National Security: A Dangerous Game

CONTACT: Jennifer Johnson
jjohnson@azdem.org, 602-298-4200


Nov. 19, 2010

In case you missed it:
Kyl makes political sport of national security

Obstructionism is nothing new for Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, but he's managed to take it to new heights: the upper echelons of national security. Kyl is now aiming to block the lame-duck Senate from ratifying the New Start arms control treaty.

This important treaty between the United States and Russia would call for both countries to reduce the number of deployed nuclear warheads and would restore verification inspections of each other's arsenals.

Why would Kyl stand in the way of this effort? A Nov. 17 New York Times editorial put it this way:

The treaty is so central to this country’s national security, and the objections from Mr. Kyl — and apparently the whole Republican leadership — are so absurd that the only explanation is their limitless desire to deny President Obama any legislative success.

In other words, Kyl is making political sport of national security issues.

The Times is just one of many news sources calling out Kyl. Here are a couple more examples:

The Hill -- The story notes that even Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, disagrees with Kyl.

"We’re talking about the national security of the United States of America," Lugar said. "This treaty must be ratified, and it must be ratified in this session of Congress. … This is very serious. We are at a point where we are unlikely to have either the treaty or modernization unless we get real.”

Politico -- The op-ed notes that the majority of Republicans are likely to support the treaty if it comes to a vote.

The Republican leadership, however, appears to be stalling -- perhaps to extort as much as possible out of the Obama administration, or maybe just to make the president look ineffective and weak.

These articles also note something that Kyl conveniently does not: The treaty is supported by six former secretaries of State, five former secretaries of Defense, three former national security advisers and seven former commanders of the U.S. Strategic Command. The entire U.S. military leadership also supports the treaty.

What does Kyl know that they don't? Nothing, except for how to play a dangerous game.

Do Airport Screenings Really Make Us Safer?

Submitted by Anne Landman on November 17, 2010 - 3:30pm.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been taking a beating lately over its new, full-body X-Ray imaging scanners that show people naked. People are concerned about both the humiliation of the procedure and the extra doses of X-rays they get from these scanners, but travelers who refuse to be scanned must submit to a TSA "enhanced pat-down," which now involves a newer, more aggressive policy: frisking with the front of the hand instead of the back of the hand, and feeling people's crotches and women's bras. These more invasive practices are leading the public from skepticism to rage and outright resistance to the new procedures, and for good reason, since TSA's track record of facilitating crime against travelers arguably far outstrips the amount of crime the agency has prevented.

A Pat Down Confrontation Goes Viral

A traveler at the San Diego airport recently made news after he used his cell phone to record an incident that involved the new airport security measures. The man had heard about the new X-Ray scanners and wanted to avoid them, so prior to leaving for his flight he checked the airport's Web site to see if the facility was using one of these devices. According to the site they were not, and he went to catch his flight.

But the traveler soon found the airport's Web site was out of date. As he stood in a security line awaiting his turn to go through a metal detector, a TSA agent pulled him out and ordered to submit to a backscatter/full-body X-Ray scanning machine -- the very type of machine he was trying to avoid. When the traveler refused the scan, TSA agents informed him that he would have to submit to a pat-down search that would include someone touching his groin. The traveler said he considered a stranger touching his groin to be a sexual assault, and pointed out that in any other venue such a touch would be illegal. He agreed to submit to the metal detector -- as about 80% of the other people in line were doing -- but told TSA agents he didn't want to be "groped." After refusing both the invasive pat-down search and the X-ray scan, TSA agents told him he would be prevented from flying. They escorted him back out to the ticketing area, where he got his airline ticket refunded. As the traveler was leaving the airport, a man in slacks and a sport coat approached him and told him that since he had initiated a screening in the secure area, he was not allowed to leave the airport until the screening was completed. The man informed the traveler that he was would get a $10,000 fine and a civil lawsuit -- even though TSA officers had escorted him out of the screening area.

The traveler recorded the entire incident on his cell phone, and uploaded it onto YouTube, where it has gone viral. The recording obviously hit a nerve with people who, like him, are fed up with the degradation of airport screenings.

Questionable TSA Activities

TSA's activities provide substantial fodder for both citizen and professional journalists. YouTube is full of citizen-made videos of TSA agents engaging in questionable activities, like aggressively patting down a three year old child or pulling the pants off a wheelchair-bound, 71 year-old man to examine his knee implant. A surveillance video shows a mother getting harassed by TSA over her baby's sippy cup. People report that their prosthetic limbs or body piercings routinely make them subject to degrading TSA searches whenever they travel. One woman says she was ordered to get out of a security line and undergo additional frisking because she was wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey. After being subjected to a embarrassing public body search in a clear, Plexiglas enclosure, the TSA agent then asked her "How does it feel to be a Dallas Cowboys fan in Philadelphia?" The woman sought an apology from TSA. Another video shows a TSA Supervisor asleep at work. 

Continue reading here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Immigration law has cost Arizona millions: study

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 18th, 2010 -- 10:47 pm

WASHINGTON — In the four months since Arizona passed a harsh immigration law the southwestern state has lost an estimated $141 million in visitor spending, a study said Thursday.

Meetings and conferences canceled in protest at what critics considered draconian, anti-immigrant measures would also cost the state nearly 2,800 jobs over the next two to three years, The Center for American Progress (CAP) said in its report.

It said the job losses would trigger over a quarter billion dollars in lost economic output and more than 86 million in lost wages.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mother Jones: Is the Deficit Commission Serious?

By Kevin Drum
We. Nov. 10 2010 8:46 PM PST

I've been trying to figure out whether I have anything to say about the "chairman's mark" of the deficit commission report that was released today. In a sense, I don't. This is not a piece of legislation, after all. Or a proposed piece of legislation. Or even a report from the deficit commission itself. It's just a draft presentation put together by two guys. Do you know how many deficit reduction proposals are out there that have the backing of two guys? Thousands. Another one just doesn't matter.
But the iron law of the news business is that if people are talking about it, then it matters. So this report matters, even though it's really nothing more than the opinion of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. So here's what I think of it, all contained in one handy chart from the Congressional Budget Office:

Here's what the chart means:

Discretionary spending (the light blue bottom chunk) isn't a long-term deficit problem. It takes up about 10% of GDP forever. What's more, pretending that it can be capped is just game playing: anything one Congress can do, another can undo. So if you want to recommend a few discretionary cuts, that's fine. Beyond that, though, the discretionary budget should be left to Congress since it can be cut or expanded easily via the ordinary political process. That's why it's called "discretionary."
Social Security (the dark blue middle chunk) isn't a long-term deficit problem. It goes up very slightly between now and 2030 and then flattens out forever. If Republicans were willing to get serious and knock off their puerile anti-tax jihad, it could be fixed easily with a combination of tiny tax increases and tiny benefit cuts phased in over 20 years that the public would barely notice. It deserves about a week of deliberation.
Medicare, and healthcare in general, is a huge problem. It is, in fact, our only real long-term spending problem.

Continue reading here.
 And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Wall Street TARP Gang Wants to Take Away Your Social Security

By Dean Baker
November 9, 2010, 8:01AM

Just over two years ago, the Wall Streeters were running around Congress and the media saying that if they don't immediately get $700 billion the world will end. Since they own large chunks of both, they quickly got their money.

Even more important than the hundreds of billions of loans issued through the TARP was the trillions of dollars of loans and guarantees from the Fed and the FDIC. This money came with virtually no strings attached. It kept Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America and many others from collapsing. As a result, folks like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein are again pocketing tens of millions a year in wages and bonuses, instead of walking the unemployment lines. Instead, 15 million ordinary workers are being told to just get used to being unemployed; it's the "new normal."

But wait, it gets worse. The thing about Wall Streeters is that no matter how much money you give them, they always want more. Now they are using their political power and control over the media to attack Social Security.

This effort is being led by billionaire investment banker Peter Peterson. Mr. Peterson has personally profited to the tune of tens of millions of dollars from the "fund managers' tax subsidy," an obscure provision of the tax code that allows billionaires to pay a lower tax rate than schoolteachers and firefighters. However, Peterson believes in giving back. He has committed $1 billion to an effort that is intended to take away the Social Security benefits that people have worked and paid for.

As part of this effort, Peterson set up a whole new foundation, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. He and/or his foundation created a "news service," the Fiscal Times, which is intended to promote the view that we have no choice but to cut Social Security. The Fiscal Times has entered into agreements with the Washington Post and other credible newspapers to provide material.

Peterson is also funding the creation of a high school curriculum which is intended to tell our children that the in the future the country will be too poor to finance Social Security. He funded a silly exercise called "America Speaks," which was supposed to convince an assembly of selected participants that we must cut Social Security after a daylong immersion in Peterson-style propaganda. (The people didn't buy it.) And now his crew is spending $20 million on an ad campaign to convince people the world will end if we don't cut Social Security.

Attacks on Social Security have been fended off in the past and it is possible that this one will be too. It is an incredibly popular and successful program. It does exactly what it was supposed to do. It provides a modest income to the retired and disabled, and their families, to ensure that people who have spent their lives working will not fall into poverty. It is also extremely efficient, with administrative costs that are less than 1/20th as large as the costs of private insurers.

Continue reading here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dickens' Father Was in a Debtors' Prison: Now the GOP are Putting Americans in Jail for Owing Money

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 4:42pm.

When the Republicans promise to take us back to the past, they mean it, including such horrors as prison for debtors.

The headline for an article earlier this year in the Minneapolis Star Tribune says it all, "In Jail for Being in Debt." The article paints the dire picture of being poor and suddenly being arrested in your home: "You committed no crime, but an officer is knocking on your door. More Minnesotans are surprised to find themselves being locked up over debts."

"It's not a crime to owe money, and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found."

The debtor laws vary from state to state, but the trend is not promising: "In Illinois and southwest Indiana, some judges jail debtors for missing court-ordered debt payments. In extreme cases, people stay in jail until they raise a minimum payment. In January, a judge sentenced a Kenney, Ill., man 'to indefinite incarceration' until he came up with $300 toward a lumber yard debt."

At the height of the dark days of industrial age exploitation in the 1800s in England, debtors' prisons were common. In fact, much of Charles Dickens' social consciousness is attributed to the imprisonment of his father for debt in the infamous Marshalsea jail in London.

Until recently, the abolition of abominable debtors' prisons in England was considered great social progress and a movement toward a more just society.

Now, the GOP is heralding a return to the wretched past, where owing a few bucks is a crime punishable by incarceration.

It's a dreadful, almost incomprehensible injustice that should have been locked up forever.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Van Jones: We Must Prepare for Battle

By Adele M. Stan
 November 6, 2010  |

We went from We Are One to We Are Done, Jones tells a D.C. audience; it's time to stop waiting for cues from Washington.

In a darkened space bedecked with impressionistic portraits of the progressive movement's great heroes, Van Jones -- community organizer, environmental activist and erstwhile presidential adviser -- steps onto a tiny stage that has just been warmed up by two local teenage poets and graced by Amy Goodman, the voice of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" The audience is filled with Washington activists, including the comedian and civil rights leader Dick Gregory, CodePink founder Medea Benjamin and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president of the Hip-Hop Caucus.

The room is packed, and a line snakes along the sidewalk outside Busboys and Poets, a restaurant designed as a gathering place for progressives, even as the event begins.

In a passionate speech focused mainly on the costs and horrors of America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Goodman sets the stage for Jones' talk by imploring activists to organize. While a portrait of Rosa Parks by Anna Rose Soevik glimmers behind her, Goodman debunks the mythology surrounding the woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus sparked the civil rights movement. 

"Yes, she was a tired seamstress," Goodman says, "but Rosa Parks was an organizer."
It's the evening after the big Rally to Restore Sanity hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and an odd mixture of exhilaration and anxiety fills the room -- the thrill of having been part of a gathering of like-minded people who flooded the National Mall in a repudiation of the harsh rhetoric of the Tea Party and cable news media, and anxiety about the Republican tide about to come crashing into the nation's capital in the midterm elections.

Jones has taken the temperature; he knows the score. But he's not about to let anybody off the hook.
"Now, here's our problem," he says. "Most of the people who are in this room have given away, over the past two years, almost all of our power. The reason the country is in the shape that it's in is not just because bad people created a hate machine; it's that good people shut down the hope machine."

Hard as it is to argue with that, Jones makes no mention of the impact on hope machine operators by his own ascendence to the White House and abrupt purge from its ranks, thanks to a smear campaign conducted against him by Fox News and Americans for Prosperity, the astroturf group that organizes Tea Party activists.

Perhaps no one in the progressive movement can ignite the passions of his listeners like Van Jones; that's one reason why AlterNet's Don Hazen welcomed his untimely exit from the White House because it returned Jones to the community, releasing him from the bonds of rhetorical restraint that come with a job inside the power structure.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bush's Empire Struck Back: Book Bomb, Family of Secrets, Exposing The Bush Empire

Bob Fertik's picture

Amazon rank 11/7/10: 238 191 179

After Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, many thought George Bush's political empire was over - like Darth Vader's Galactic Empire at the end of the original Star Wars.

But in last week's election, Bush's Empire Struck Back.

The "Architect" of stolen election 2010 was Karl Rove. He raised and spent hundreds of millions in secret money, sat at FOX spinning lies, and ran smear attack ads to defeat Democrats and elect a new generation of rightwing Republicans who are loyal to him.

Who is Karl Rove? The mastermind of the Bush Empire and strategist for the billionaires and bureaucrats behind it. Where did Rove's money come from? The same billionaires and bureaucrats who put the Bushes in power for 12 years - and are determined to do it again.

If we want to stop them we must know the truth, which is exposed in Russ Baker's brilliant book, just $13.60 on Amazon:
Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years

George W. Bush himself struck back this week with the pre-release of "Decision Points," which hit  #1 on Amazon even before its release. He's desperate to rewrite history since he created such historic disasters during his eight long years in power.

Here's one key rewrite you may have heard: Bush insists he was against conquering Iraq, but Rumsfeld and the Neocons made him do it. But Bush's own ghostwriter revealed to Russ Baker how candidate Bush was already talking privately in 1999 about invading Iraq - an action he believed would gain him "political capital" as president (chapter 21).

That's why we're doing a "Book Bomb" to replace Bush's lies now at the top of Amazon with Russ Baker's truth (just $13.60 on Amazon):
Family of Secrets: the Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years 

Despite 12 years in the White House, Americans never got the real story about the Bush Empire. Who is really behind their power? Why, despite election rejections, do they play permanent role in our lives?
Russ Baker, perhaps the most important investigative reporter of our era, reveals the truth. Gore Vidal called it one of the most important books of the decade. Russ Baker's work is also praised by Dan Rather, Sydney Schanberg, and Bill Moyers.
For just $13.60, let's make it #1 on Amazon:

Family of Secrets: the Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years

Friday, November 5, 2010

REPORT: More than 30 Fox Newsers support GOP in 600-plus instances during midterms

October 27, 2010 9:29 am ET

During the 2009-2010 election cycle, more than 30 Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances. The Republican support has been given to more than 300 different races or party organizations in at least 47 states. Fox News personalities and hosts have also helped start pro-Republican organizations, which have raised tens of millions of dollars.

Continue reading here.

Shocker: Keith Olbermann Suspended Indefinitely Without Pay

By Tana Ganeva | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at November 5, 2010, 11:18 am

MSNBC has suspended Keith Olbermann, host of the network's highest-rated show, following revelations that he donated to three Democratic candidates in the midterm election. In a brief statement Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, said: "I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."

Griffin didn't go into why other MSNBC on-air personalities have not faced disciplinary action for contributing to political campaigns: Joe Scarborough donated to a Republican House candidate in 2006. Atrios notes that Pat Buchanan, an official MSNBC contributor, made 5 political donations between 2005 and 2008.

Also, as Steve Benen points out, Olbermann gave money -- a total of $7,200 -- from his personal account, disclosed his contributions, and did not lobby for the candidates on air. Compare that to the election activities of Fox News' and its  parent company News Corps:

News Corp made multiple undisclosed donations to the Republican Governors Association, totaling at least $1.25 million, in addition to a $1 million contribution to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its pro-Republican election-year activities. Fox News has helped GOP candidates raise money on the air; Fox News personalities are featured guests at Republican fundraisers; while other Fox News personalities continue to help generate financial support for Republican candidates now, even after the elections.

 A "Let's Bring Keith Back" Facebook page has already been created. 

Election Day Poll: Voters Weren't Backing Extreme Right Agenda

By Isaiah J. Poole
Campaign for America's Future
November 5, 2010 - 11:37am ET

A poll released today by the Campaign for America's Future and Democracy Corps proves what we've been saying this week about the message voters were sending to the White House and Congress.

Conservative leaders in both parties are flat wrong to claim they have a mandate for the dramatic government retrenchment that top congressional Republicans are calling for.
What a majority of Americans want is for the government to step up to the plate, repair the economy and set the stage for creating new jobs—not by stepping back and lavishing tax cuts on the wealthy but with policies that revive American manufacturing, fix bad trade deals, and invests in the basics we need for a thriving domestic economy and a growing middle class.

"We were rather surprised in many ways at the fact that the voters in large numbers are still looking for larger answers to an economy that is not working for therm in a situation that they find for the country very worrisome," Robert Borosage said during a presentation of the poll earlier today.
"People are not looking for a cramped vision," pollster Stan Greenberg said. "Folks are not looking for a period of austerity. They are looking for a period of growth and for America not being in decline but being on the rise."

The survey covers interviews with 1,000 people who voted in 2008 on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, including 114 who decided not to vote in the 2010 election, to determine the issues driving both voters and nonvoters on Election Day.

Some noteworthy poll findings:

  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents who voted said they were trying to send a message about how dissatisfied they are with things in Washington. But they were not necessarily embracing the Republican party and its policies: Both political parties received equally poor favorability ratings, as did the Tea Party movement. Twenty-six percent of voters said they were trying to send a message to "both parties" with their vote, while only 20 percent cited President Obama and 15 percent said Democrats in Congress.
  • "Too much bickering in Washington" was the top complaint of voters in the poll (39 percent), followed by "too much spending, taxes and deficits" (35 percent). 
  • A majority opposed the Republican plan to cut $100 billion from domestic spending programs while extending the Bush tax cuts to those earning more than $250,000, while 51 percent said they agreed that those top-end tax cuts should expire and with proposals offered by Democrats to reduce the deficit over time. That's particularly bad news for House Republican leader John Boehner and Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell, who are making perpetuating the Bush top-end tax cuts plus deep domestic spending cuts the centerpiece of their legislative agenda.
  • Likewise, 69 percent said that "politicians should keep their hands off Social Security and Medicare" as they attempt to address the national deficit.
  • Fifty-eight percent of voters said they were much or somewhat more likely to vote for a candidate that promised "to change Washington for the middle class. That means eliminating the special deals and tax breaks won by corporate lobbyists for Wall Street, paid for by American taxpayers and workers' outsourced jobs. Republicans have pledged to protect those breaks. We should cut taxes for the middle class and small business to create jobs."
  • Compared to a candidate who attacked Democrats for the economic stimulus and health care reform, 57 percent of voters said they were much or somewhat more likely to support a candidate with a "made-in-America" campaign message that points out that Republicans have "pledged to support free trade deals and protect tax breaks for companies that send American jobs to India and China."
  • Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that "America is falling behind" in the global economy and that "we need a clear strategy to make things in America, make our economy competitive, and revive America's middle class.
  • Significant majorities in the poll also supported new investments in infrastructure through a national infrastructure bank, and a five-year strategy for reviving manufacturing in America.
Many of the poll results show that progressives have a lot of work to do to convince a broad majority of voters that they can once again trust government to act in their interests. But progressives have an opportunity to make that case and to get voters to embrace their vision for how the economy can work for everyone.

It can't be stressed enough: the Democrats got a "shellacking," to use President Obama's word, on Tuesday not because America has fallen in love with so-called "Tea Party" policies, but because Democrats failed to offer their own compelling vision for restoring the economy.

The White House and Democrats in Congress would do well to study this poll. The election would clearly have turned out differently if Democrats had presented a more populist, more progressive and more coherent message about the road ahead.

‘There are no rich,’ Senator-elect Rand Paul claims

By David Edwards
Raw Story
Friday, November 5th, 2010 -- 11:48 am

Following his big win in Tuesday's midterm elections, Senator-elect Rand Paul explained his economic philosophy in about 30 seconds during a CNN interview, claiming he wants to shield the wealthiest Americans from paying higher taxes -- in the name of protecting the working class.

"I would say that [Democrats] must be in favor of a second American depression, because if you raise taxes to that consequence, that’s what will happen in this country," Paul told CNN host Wolf Blitzer.

"What if they just raised taxes on the richest, those making more than 250,000 dollars a year?" Blitzer asked.

"Well, the thing is, we're all interconnected. There are no rich. There are no middle class. There are no poor," Paul explained. "You remember a few years ago, when they tried to tax the yachts, that didn’t work."

Continue reading here.


Keith Olbermann Donated To Raúl Grijalva, Gabrielle Giffords Reelection Bids

Keith Olbermann Donated To Three Democrats: Politico

By Jack Mirkinson

The Huffington Post  First Posted: 11- 5-10 08:35 AM   |   Updated: 11- 5-10 09:33 AM

Politico reports that Keith Olbermann made campaign contributions to three Democratic candidates during the midterm elections.

Olbermann donated the maximum legal amount of $2,400 each to Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, and to Kentucky Senate contender Jack Conway. All three were in tight races with their Republican counterparts. The MSNBC host made the donations on Oct. 28, the same day that Grijalva made an appearance on "Countdown."

Olbermann released the following statement to Politico:

"One week ago, on the night of Thursday October 28 2010, after a discussion with a friend about the state of politics in Arizona, I donated $2,400 each to the re-election campaigns of Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. I also donated the same amount to the campaign of Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky...I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."
Politico quotes NBC News' official policy on political activity by employees. The policy does not ban staffers from donating to political campaigns, but it does require them to "report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the President of NBC News or his designee." It is not clear whether Olbermann obtained such approval.

In recent weeks, Fox News has been criticized for Sean Hannity's on-air fundraising for Republican John Kasich; earlier this year, however, network boss Roger Ailes pulled Hannity from a starring role in a Tea Party event.

Taking America Back to the Gilded Age

By William Loren Katz
Consortium News
November 5, 2010

Editor’s Note: This week's Republican electoral victory was driven by the GOP's ability to sell many American voters on the idea that over-reaching government -- not under-regulated business -- was primarily at fault for the nation's economic pain.
So, the solution, according to the victorious Republicans, is to curtail the efforts of government to ameliorate the suffering of the working- and middle-classes while further deregulating corporations and sparing the rich from paying higher taxes, a Gilded Age solution that harkens back to a century ago, says William Loren Katz:

In 2010, with the blessing of a five-to-four U.S. Supreme Court decision, unlimited money from anonymous corporate sources was allowed to call the nation’s political tune and decide the fate of American candidates for office.

It is hardly surprising that the party best able to tap these funds scored major gains and that reformers, the likes of Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, were turned out of office.

While suspicious of a repentant witch like Delaware Republican Christine O’Donnell and some other Tea Party zanies, the voters fell for pro-corporatist Republicans who spouted a heroic narrative of capitalist individualism and a nostalgic version of the supposedly vibrant early 20th Century.

Rand Paul, the clearest voice of the victorious Republican Party, championed the tried-and-true values of American individualism, extolling the unregulated freedoms and robust capitalism from this earlier time.

Politicians often evoke warm and fuzzy feelings for “the good old days,” but this nostalgia is usually for a past that never was. Some pols make up the history while others “misremember” it.

In 1980, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan fondly recalled the 1920s and 1930s when “we did not have a racial problem.”

Others might think back more accurately on a South of lynching, legal discrimination and disenfranchisement for Blacks, and on a North of de facto discrimination, anti-Black race riots and all-white Major League baseball.

In praising the early 20th Century, Rand Paul was correct that it was a time of few government efforts to regulate business. But he also might have mentioned there were no pure-food-and-drug laws, no progressive income tax, no votes for women, and a U.S. Senate called “the Millionaires’ Club.”

He also did not discuss how “robber barons” amassed fortunes with scant regard to legalities, how government protection of “free enterprise” made corporations masters of the political and economic landscape, how working families lived in misery, and how middle-class aspirations rarely flowered.

In 2000, when George W. Bush came to power (by another five-to-four Supreme Court vote), he also gazed nostalgically at this earlier era when a politician’s wealthy patrons (what Bush might call his “base”) had no taxes to worry about and the protection for consumers amounted to the slogan, “let the buyer beware.”

When Bush advocated privatizing Social Security as a chief goal of his presidency, my wife, Professor Laurie Lehman, and I thought it was time to remind everyone what life was like for real people in the early 20th Century.

We put together a collection of 22 autobiographical writings by ordinary people of the day – a coal miner, sweatshop operator, union organizer, policeman, farming wife, shoe-shine boy, Irish, Jewish, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican immigrants, and Black sharecroppers.

Casting the book from their standpoint, we called it The Cruel Years: American Voices at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. My Introduction filled in the background sounds and stress of an unlamented era for most.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Boehner and the Republicans Didn't Win a Majority to Deny Our Care

By Ethan Rome,Executive Director, Health Care for America Now!
Huffington Post
Posted: November 3, 2010 11:22 AM

Here's a crucial fact that should not be obscured by the ballyhoo surrounding the shift in control of the House: Most of the Republicans who won last night got a lower percentage at the ballot box than the percentage of Americans who support the new health care law's requirement that insurance companies cover people regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.

That's why yesterday was hardly a repudiation of the health care law.

Furthermore, this election was clearly dominated by voter worries about the economy and jobs. Only 19 percent of voters named health care as their top concern, a distant second to the 61 percent most focused on the economy, according to CNN. There were winners and losers among both supporters and opponents of health reform. For example, more than half of the 34 Democrats who voted against the health care legislation still lost their races.

After a wildly toxic political debate over the issue, people are split over the larger question of "reform" and key components of the law enjoy overwhelming public support. Specifically, over the last several months, even as the public has been divided on reform, two-thirds of Americans have supported the outlawing of pre-existing condition exclusions (Anzalone Liszt Research poll conducted for the Herndon Alliance of 1,000 2010 likely voters, conducted April 19-25, 2010. Margin of error +/-3%). For example, while a recent New York Times/CBS poll showed the public split over on the new law, only one-quarter of repeal supporters stuck with their position when told repeal would mean that insurance companies would no longer be required to cover people with medical conditions or prior illnesses.

Continue reading here.