01 Aug

Truth Out Today, August 1, 2011


Monday 1 August 2011

Robert Reich | Ransom Paid
Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog: “Anyone who characterizes the deal between the President, Democratic, and Republican leaders as a victory for the American people over partisanship understands neither economics nor politics. The deal does not raise taxes on America’s wealthy and most fortunate – who are now taking home a larger share of total income and wealth, and whose tax rates are already lower than they have been, in eighty years.”
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Forget Compromise: The Debt Ceiling Is Unconstitutional
Ellen Brown, Truthout: “The debt ceiling crisis can be averted by enforcing the 14th Amendment, which mandates the government to pay its debts already incurred, including pensions. That means Social Security, which IS an ‘entitlement,’ in the original sense of the word. We’re entitled to it because we’ve paid for it with taxes. The game of Russian roulette being played with the US federal debt has been called a ‘grotesque political carnival’ and political blackmail. The uproar stems from a statute that is unique to the United States and never did make much sense. First passed in 1917 and revised multiple times since, it imposes a dollar limit on the federal debt.”
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End the Drug War: Face the New Jim Crow (Video)
Laura Flanders, GRITtv: “The NAACP has just passed a historic resolution demanding an end to the War on Drugs. The resolution comes as young Black male unemployment hovers near 50 percent and the wealth gap’s become a veritable gulf. So why is the forty-year-old ‘War on Drugs’ public enemy number one for the nation’s oldest civil rights organization? Well here’s why: it’s not extraneous – it’s central: the war on drugs is the engine of 21st century discrimination – an engine that has brought Jim Crow into the age of Barack Obama. Author Michelle Alexander lays out the statistics – and the stories – of 21st Century Jim Crow in her ought-to-blow-your-socks off book: ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness.'”
Watch the Video

On the News With Thom Hartmann: President Gives in to Right-Wing Hostage Takers, and More
In today’s On the News segment: President let right wingers take the American people hostage then gave in to hostage takers, $55 million dollars intended for Florida public school redirected exclusively to for-profit charter schools, Iraq more violent today than a year ago, court strikes down paid sick leave for Milwaukee’s workers, Michele Bachmann getting foreign affairs advice from Frank Gaffney, and more.
Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

Syrian Forces Renew Strike on Restive City of Hama
Nada Bakri and Anthony Shadid, The New York Times News Service: “Syrian security forces bombed the central city of Hama for a second day on Monday as the government pressed its campaign to crush a four-month-old popular uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. On Sunday, at least 70 people were killed when the military and security forces assaulted Hama and other restive cities before dawn, in the broadest and fiercest crackdown yet. The shelling resumed Monday in the early hours of the morning as people were returning home from mosques where they had performed dawn prayers, according to residents and protesters.”
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Arctic Scientist Who Exposed Climate Threat to Polar Bear Is Suspended
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian UK: “It was seen as one of the most distressing effects of climate change ever recorded: polar bears dying of exhaustion after being stranded between melting patches of Arctic sea ice. But now the government scientist who first warned of the threat to polar bears in a warming Arctic has been suspended and his work put under official investigation for possible scientific misconduct.”
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Dean Baker | Will the US Credit Rating Be Downgraded?
Dean Baker, Truthout: “As we get the final details of the debt ceiling deal between President Obama and Congress, we still have to wait for the verdict of the credit rating agencies. Will they give us the thumbs up or will they tell Congress that it has to take even more money from the poor, the sick and the elderly before the credit rating agencies reaffirm the top credit rating of the US government? The media have spent much of the last two weeks telling the public that the judgment of any deal by the big three credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch, will be the key to its success.”
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The $1 Trillion Debt Ceiling Deal of July 31
Jack Rasmus, Truthout: “On Sunday evening, President Obama and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, announced they had reached an agreement on cutting $1 trillion in spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. House Speaker John Boehner indicated he was also in agreement, subject to voting to take place in the House on Monday. This latest ‘deal’ is essentially the same that was reached by Harry Reid in the Senate on July 29 and Boehner in the House on July 27, with two major changes – one favored by the Republicans and another by Obama.”
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Hope for the Hell of It
Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch: “Hope, on the other hand, is based on uncertainty, on the much more realistic premise that we don’t know what will happen next. The next thing up might be as terrible as a giant tsunami smashing 100 miles of coastal communities or as marvelous as a new species of butterfly being discovered (as happened recently in Northern Ireland). When it comes to the worst we face, nature itself has resilience, surprises, and unpredictabilities. But the real territory for hope isn’t nature; it’s the possibilities we possess for acting, changing, mattering – including when it comes to nature.”
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Obama’s Capitulation to the Tea Party
Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future: “The raw deal on the budget ceiling has been cut. The Tea Party terrorists – the extremist faction willing to hold the economy hostage to get their way – have won. The Republic, common sense and decency have been trampled. With the economy deeply depressed, 25 million people in need of full time work, the raw deal will impede any recovery. It precludes any serious action on jobs from the federal government. It will cost jobs as spending is cut. Instead of getting serious about a plan to revive this economy and put people back to work, Washington will remain fixated on what and how much to cut.”
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Did Bush Leave Us Bankrupt, Corrupt, Ungovernable?
Dave Johnson, See the Forest: “When you sell the farm, the farm’s gone. Is it already too late for America?”
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A Forecast for When the Debt Ceiling Dust Settles: Greece Will Look Like a Good Place to Live
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Banking Giant Plans to Cut 25,000 More Jobs After Big Profit
Read the Article at MSNBC

Elizabeth Drew: What Were They Thinking About the Debt Ceiling?
Read the Article at The New York Review of Books

Debt Ceiling Fix Could Mean Problems for States
Read the Article at The Associated Press

What Is in the Debt Ceiling Deal
Read the Article at The Associated Press

Ezra Klein: Why Debt Ceiling Deal Is Bad for the Economy
Read the Article at The Washington Post

Paul Krugman: The President Surrenders
Read the Article at The New York Times

Click here for more BuzzFlash headlines

Recently, BuzzFlash at Truthout talked about how Republican Congressional “deficit reduction” and tax cuts for the rich and corporations don’t help and even hurt small businesses in America, because the actual policies facilitate large companies in crushing small business competitors. But another reason the GOP claim to tax cuts for the wealthy is dishonest in that most small businesses bring home less that $250,000 a year. That means, if the US reinstated the taxes for the rich from the Bush administration, small businesses would not be affected, but our national deficit would decrease – and perhaps some funds could be allocated to really help small businesses. That is because President Obama wants to keep the tax cuts for those households making less than $250,000 a year, but raise them for wealthier households.

The New York Review of Books recently noted, “But relatively few small business owners earn $250,000 – in fact, fewer than 3 percent of the 20 million people who file business income on their personal tax forms (the 1040s) earn that much.”

As Elizabeth Drew – seasoned Washington, DC, analyst (formerly for The New Yorker) – writes in The New York Review of Books, the Republicans have controlled the debate on “debt reduction” by continuing to move the goal posts, as the White House then gives up more yardage. But facts cannot be argued, as in the case of small businesses, in reality, getting the short end of the stick from the GOP. As Drew observes:

The antitax dogma of the Republican Party is strongly rooted in mythology. The theory that tax cuts create jobs has been discredited by the results of George Bush’s tax policies. The Republicans cling to the myth that “small business” owners are the “job creators,” and so they oppose proposals to eliminate the Bush rate cuts for even those earning over $250,000. But relatively few small business owners earn $250,000 – in fact, fewer than 3 percent of the 20 million people who file business income on their personal tax forms (the 1040s) earn that much.

In fact, to repeat, the GOP Congressional policy hurts small businesses – as they are shrinking in America – by facilitating the growth of mega-corporations that drive small stores and manufacturers out of business. That turns the Republican Party into a job killer.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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