18 May

GOP Sources Altered Benghazi Emails and More

Nation of Change
Saturday, 18 May 2013

The AP Seizures and the Frightening Web They’ve Uncovered

Alfredo Lopez, Op-Ed: This week, we learned that the Obama Justice Department seized two months of records of at least 20 phone lines used by Associated Press reporters. These include phone lines in the AP’s New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn offices as well as the main AP number in the House of Representatives press gallery, the private phones and cell phones belonging to AP reporters and a fax line in one AP office. In many ways, this is the most blatant act of media information seizure in memory.


Genetically Modified Democracy: Monsanto and Congress Move to Stomp on States’ Rights

Ronnie Cummins, News Analysis: Reliable sources in Washington D.C. have informed the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) that Monsanto has begun secretly lobbying its Congressional allies to attach one or more “Monsanto Riders” or amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill that would preempt or prohibit states from requiring labels on genetically engineered (GE) foods. In response to this blatant violation of states’ rights to legislate, and consumers’ right to know, the OCA and a nationwide alliance have launched a petition to put every member of Congress on notice: If you support any Farm Bill amendment that would nullify states’ rights to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we’ll vote—or throw—you out of office.


Robert Reich | The IRS and the Real Scandal

Robert Reich, Op-Ed: The IRS has interpreted our tax laws to allow big corporations and wealthy individuals to make unlimited secret campaign donations through sham political fronts called “social welfare organizations,” like Karl Rove’s “Crossroads,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and “ Priorities USA.” This is the real scandal and the real abuse, Congressman Camp. Your indignation over the IRS’s alleged “targeting” of conservative groups is a distraction from the main event.


How the IRS’s Nonprofit Division Got So Dysfunctional

Justin Elliott and Kim Barker, News Investigation: The IRS division responsible for flagging Tea Party groups has long been an agency afterthought, beset by mismanagement, financial constraints and an unwillingness to spell out just what it expects from social welfare nonprofits, former officials and experts say. The controversy that erupted in the past week, leading to the ousting of the acting Internal Revenue Service commissioner, an investigation by the FBI, and congressional hearings that kicked off Friday, comes against a backdrop of dysfunction brewing for years.


The People Provide Obama a Path to Escape the Quagmire of the Marijuana War

Kevin Zeese, Op-Ed: The U.S. is stuck in a marijuana war quagmire. When Justice Brandeis described the states as “laboratories for democracy” he warned “to stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility.” “Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the nation.” The president should let democracy and federalism work and follow the path the people have presented and escape the quagmire of marijuana prohibition.


GOP Sources Altered Benghazi Emails to Suggest Cover-Up, Reporter Confirms

Rebecca Leber, News Investigation: Since September, Republicans have claimed the Obama administration covered up the truth about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya by altering the talking points Susan Rice used on the Sunday morning talk shows. To bolster the story, Republicans misquoted or significantly embellished the emails officials used to draft Rice’s remarks, the CBS Evening News reported Thursday. Since the congressional hearings last week, the White House on Wednesday released a hundred pages of emails from after the consulate attack.


Obama Worse than Nixon? Pentagon Papers Attorney Decries AP Phone Probe, Julian Assange Persecution

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Video Interview: The Justice Department’s disclosure that it had secretly subpoenaed phone records from the Associated Press has prompted a wave of comparisons between President Obama and Richard Nixon. Four decades ago, the Nixon administration attempted to block The New York Times from publishing a secret history of the Vietnam War leaked to the newspaper by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. The question was raised again of whether the Obama administration’s probe of the emails of Associated Press reporters and editors recalls Nixon’s targeting of the press. This time the question was posed directly to President Obama.


Consumers Not the Best Drivers in Health Care

Froma Harrop, Op-Ed: Yes, there are those who could easily afford health coverage and don’t buy it, preferring to roll the dice that nothing awful will happen. If they lose, they’re still let into the emergency room. The responsible ones will pay for their care. When they’re old enough, they’ll have Medicare. And if conservatives have their way, forcing more means-testing into Medicare, those who didn’t protect their finances by buying insurance will pay less into the program than those who did. ObamaCare does not get into the backstory of why people don’t have health coverage. What it does is make sure they get it.


Occupying the Barbie Dreamhouse: Berliners Take on Mattel

Louise Osborne, News Report: A luxurious life-size playhouse complete with a kitchen ready to bake cupcakes, a walk-in closet and a dazzling jewelry display—all in pink. Every little girl’s dream, or so believes Mattel and EMS Entertainment, the masterminds behind the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience soon to open its doors in the center of Berlin. But a youth group linked to Germany’s Left Party thinks differently. And while they cannot prevent the attraction opening on May 16, they want parents to think twice about bringing their children to a real-life dollhouse they say embodies tired and damaging female stereotypes.


Billionaires Unchained

Andy Kroll, Op-Ed: Billionaires with an axe to grind, now is your time. Not since the days before a bumbling crew of would-be break-in artists set into motion the fabled Watergate scandal, leading to the first far-reaching restrictions on money in American politics, have you been so free to meddle. There is no limit to the amount of money you can give to elect your friends and allies to political office, to defeat those with whom you disagree, to shape or stunt or kill policy, and above all to influence the tone and content of political discussion in this country.


A Penny a Pound, Plus Power: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers Changes History

Beverly Bell, News Analysis: For most tomato pickers in the U.S., a bucket brings in 50 cents, a piece rate that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 30 years. Because the rate is set so low, a worker has to pick more than two and a quarter tons of tomatoes per day—the weight of a young elephant—to make the minimum wage. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is transforming all of this. CIW members hope that soon all tomato pickers throughout the country will have greater rights and wages, and then all agricultural workers, with the establishment of an industry-wide standard.


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