20 Aug

Truth Out Today, August 20, 2011


On the News With Thom Hartmann: Pope Criticizes Market Deregulation, and More

Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Program:

You need to know this. The Republicans lost a friend in the pope. Speaking in Spain yesterday – Pope Benedict called for major reforms to the world economy saying, “The economy cannot be measured only by maximization of profit but rather according to the common good.” His comments struck right to the core of what Republicans are trying to do here in America with their war against government regulations saying a market, “cannot function as a self regulated economy.” And back in 2009 – the pope expressed his support labor unions, wealth redistribution to help the poor, a stronger United Nations, and protection of the environment. With that kind of message – I’m sure sometime today – Fox so-called News will call the pope a socialist.

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William Rivers Pitt | The Unacceptables

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “And so begins again the Herculean task of wrapping my poor, abused mind around yet another crop of Faustian caricatures lined up to scrap and scrape for the Republican presidential nomination. They seem to get worse every year, but this time around, there are definitely a lot more bananas in the bunch.”

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Syria Said to Fire on Protests in Defiance of Global Rebuke

Nada Bakri, The New York Times News Service: “Thousands of Syrians took to the streets across the country on Friday calling for the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad, keeping up the pressure on him in the five-month-old uprising one day after an alliance of nations led by the United States publicly called on him for the first time to step down and toughened the sanctions against his government. At least 16 people were reported killed, including some soldiers who disobeyed orders to shoot at protesters.”

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The Super Committee’s Super-Close Ties to Banking and Finance

Lynn Parramore, New Deal 2.0: “The folks at Maplight have released some disturbing numbers on who has been the most generous to the 12 members of the newly-formed Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, fondly known as the ‘Super Committee.’ Maplight reports that the 10 biggest organization contributors (this includes PACs and Employees) to Super Committee Members are: Club for Growth, $990,066; Microsoft Corp., $810,100; University of California, $629,495; Goldman Sachs, $592,684; EMILY’s List, $586,835; Citigroup Inc., $561,081; JPMorgan Chase & Co., $494,316; Bank of America, $349,566; Skadden, Arps, et al., $347,356; General Electric, $340,935 … Guess how these folks feel about paying their fair share in taxes?”

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Eugene Robinson | Where’s the Syria Plan?

Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post Writers Group: “It’s hard to argue with President Obama’s call for Bashar al-Assad, the bloodthirsty Syrian dictator, to step down. But it’s also hard to discern any logic or consistency in the administration’s handling of the ongoing tumult in the Arab world.”

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Verizon Workers’ Strike “Most Important Labor Battle Going on Today” (Video)

Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!: “As Verizon’s profits soar, the company is demanding unprecedented givebacks from workers, including pension freezes, health insurance premium increases, and an end to some paid holidays, including Martin Luther King Day and Veteran’s Day. Workers are vowing to keep up their strike as long as possible in ‘the Wisconsin of the private sector unions.'”

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Richard D. Wolff | Deficits, Debts and Deepening Crisis

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout: “Standard & Poor’s downgrades US debt, stock markets gyrate around the world, Sarkozy and Merkel perform yet another empty summit, the Chinese and Japanese economies look worrisome. Serious commentators worry about global recession, another global banking collapse, eurozone dissolution and austerity programs that only make matters worse. Nouriel Roubini, famed professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business asks this month, ‘Is Capitalism Doomed?’ His answer: maybe.”

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Bush III Takes His Stand in South Carolina

Tolu Olorunda, CounterPunch: “When Perry speaks, a notion is nudged – that a joke far too turbulent is traveling within him, and only the truly perverted hold antennas strong enough to detect the signals. He smiles using up as little fraction of chin space possible, speaking of his Horatio Alger parents, sinking his right and left pupil deep down, casting a gaze far off beyond the camera’s lenses. And those bullet eyes seem to hold his darkest secrets, flashing every now and then, as the cadences pick up and arms rise and drop like hammers, rhythmically knocking every word into place: the governor has just resurrected Reagan and Lincoln to remind supporters what presidents once used to be: White.”

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Israel Launches Airstrikes on Gaza

David D. Kirkpatrick and Isabel Kershner, The New York Times News Service: “Egypt has registered a formal complaint with Israel over the killings of three Egyptian officers at the Sinai border and demanded an immediate investigation, state television reported Friday, as tensions threatened the once stable alliance a day after armed attackers carried out deadly strikes near the Red Sea resort of Eilat in Israel.”

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Libyan Rebels Gain Control of Oil Refinery as Qaddafi Forces Flee

Kareem Fahim, The New York Times News Service: “Rebel fighters claimed complete control of a sprawling oil refinery in this coastal town on Thursday, seizing one of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s most important assets after just three days of fighting and delivering the latest in a string of small victories that have suddenly put the rebels at Tripoli’s door.”

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Beyond the Attack on Teachers: Unions as Leaders for Better Schools

Amy Dean, Truthout: “Parents, teachers and students across the country are busy preparing for the return to school in the fall. For teachers, anticipating the needs their students will have in the new school year goes beyond the text books and the syllabus. They are preparing to meet a new wave of attacks on public education and on themselves personally.”

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The Obama Wars: Why Do We Tear Each Other Apart Over Whether the President Is a Failure or Success?

Joshua Holland, AlterNet: “What, if anything, is the matter with Obama? This is a question that sharply divides progressives today, the central front on what has become known as the ‘Obama Wars.’ The Obama Wars can be vicious – they’re often reminiscent of the 2008 primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In online communities, the conflict pits ‘Obamabots,’ whose mindless fealty to Our Dear Leader renders them incapable of independent thought, and ’emo-progs,’ members of the ‘professional left’ whose lust for attacking the administration and refusal to give it credit for its accomplishments will only discourage Democratic voters and ultimately usher in a Bachmann presidency and a Supreme Court packed with far-right activist judges.”

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Violence, Interrupted

Ken Butigan, Waging Nonviolence: “‘The Interrupters,’ a new documentary from director Steve James and producer Alex Kotlowitz, vividly dramatizes this gamble in the midst of a culture of extreme youth violence on Chicago’s South and West Sides. The film is an up-to-the-minute account of the haunting terror of seemingly inescapable gang conflict that is continually threatening to spin out of control – and that often does. What sets this sobering account apart, however, is that it settles neither for ineffectual hand wringing nor a more traditional criminal justice perspective.”

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The “Big Dog,” Bill Clinton, Turns 65 and Declares Himself a Vegan

Read the Article at The Sydney Morning Herald

Texas State Board of Education Declares War on the Declaration of Independence

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Bill McKibben: A Watershed Moment for Obama on Climate Change

Read the Article at The Washington Post

Murdoch’s Lawyers Turn on Him

Read the Article at The Daily Beast

California Unemployment Rises in July to 12 Percent

Read the Article at The Los Angeles Times

Job Discrimination Hitting Women Hard

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Al Franken: The Corruption of the Credit Rating Agency Industry

Read the Article at CNN

Click here for more BuzzFlash headlines

The creationist crowd does have some proof that Darwin wasn’t right about every individual in a species. They are living proof: after all, they haven’t evolved.

The other day, a very young boy in New Hampshire got the better of Rick Perry with a question about evolution: Perry responded, “That’s a theory that is out there – and it’s got some gaps in it.”

Perry then went on to assert to the boy: “In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution. I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

Except the US Supreme Court has ruled that it is a violation of the Constitution to teach creationism in schools.

Let’s take another example that disproves evolution in the likes of Governor Perry. Texas has the third-highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. When queried by an interviewer about why the governor supports taxpayer funding of abstinence education in the Lone Star State when it doesn’t work, Perry adamantly defended the program. This is not only a Victorian outlook, it contradicts the right-wing notion that every government program should be judged by its effectiveness.

And then there’s Michele Bachmann, who just this week stated that Americans are concerned about the “rise of the Soviet Union.” Maybe she was confused because it is the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall being erected. As with most embodiments of creationism, Bachmann’s frame of reference moves backward in time, not forward.

BuzzFlash at Truthout noted earlier this year, “a fundamentalist Christian may feel reassured that – at the Creation Museum in Kentucky – a dinosaur wears a saddle to show that all life began simultaneously with a divine spark.

Maybe the Creation Museum should replace the dinosaur with a wax replica of Rick Perry and put a saddle on his back.

Evolution, on its path to the future, just passes some people by.

Mark Karlin

Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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No, the pope’s comments struck right to the core of more than the Republicans’ core beliefs of what they are trying to create in America, the pope’s comments struck right to the core of capitalism. Face it, America, capitalism is not directed toward the common good, it is focused only and always on profit, profit, profit. Profit that has no room for the common good. Why is this so hard for the American people to understand. Face it, free market capitalism will end. Should not we be thinking of what we will replace it with?

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