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01 Apr

Truth Out Today, Friday 01 April 2011

As many of you know, a number of Truthout’s articles were vandalized and deleted earlier this week. Since then, we’ve been working to restore the missing articles and are now operating on a new server. Because we’re still in transition mode, you may experience some interruptions in accessing articles today. We’ve provided an alternate link underneath each article in this newsletter; if the primary story link doesn’t work for you, please try the other one. We apologize for the inconvenience – thanks so much for your patience!

Paul Krugman | Extensive Outsourcing Leads to Trouble
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: “There’s a new article in the March/April edition of the Washington Monthly making the point that the United States needs federal bureaucrats to manage spending, including spending on private contractors, and that understaffing the government – which we’re doing already, and will do more of if the right gets its way – actually increases the deficit. I agree. ‘In practice, cutting civil servants often means either adding private contractors or … resorting to the belief that industries have a deep capacity to police themselves,’ John Gravois writes.”
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Afghans Angry Over Florida Koran Burning Kill UN Staff
Enayat Najafizada and Rod Nordland, The New York Times News Service: “Stirred up by a trio of angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at Florida church, thousands of protesters overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said. The dead included at least seven United Nations workers – five Nepalese guards and two Europeans, one of them a woman. None were Americans. Early reports, later denied by Afghan officials, said at least two of the dead had been beheaded.”
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WikiLeaks Cable Casts Doubt on Guantanamo Medical Care
Carol Rosenberg, McClatchy Newspapers: “The Bush administration was so intent on keeping Guantanamo detainees off U.S. soil and away from U.S. courts that it secretly tried to negotiate deals with Latin American countries to provide ‘life-saving’ medical procedures rather than fly ill terrorist suspects to the U.S. for treatment, a recently released State Department cable shows.”
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House to Vote on Overturning Net Neutrality Laws
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: “Armed with an ideological agenda, House Republicans took aim at net neutrality again this month, quietly introducing a Congressional ‘resolution of disapproval’ to overturn recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) laws prohibiting anti-competitive behavior among Internet providers. H.J. Res. 37 passed 30-23 on March 15, and will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote, which House Speaker John Boehner said in late February could happen ‘as early as next month.'”
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Debt, Austerity and How to Fight Back
Frances Fox Piven and Cornel West, The Nation: “Wall Street Banks, American corporations and their political allies have declared a one-sided war on the American people. This war is being waged at our schools and colleges, the workplace and in our communities. Today, Americans are working harder and earning less while corporate profits soar. As homeowners, consumers and students we see our wealth being stripped away by banks.”
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Sen. Bernie Sanders: The Top Ten Worst Corporate Income Tax Avoiders (Video)
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “While hard working Americans fill out their income tax returns this tax season, General Electric and other giant profitable corporations are avoiding U.S. taxes altogether. With Congress returning to Capitol Hill on Monday to debate steep spending cuts, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations must do their share to help bring down our record-breaking deficit.”
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Unemployment for African-Americans Rises, Despite Job Growth
Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research: “The economy added 216,000 jobs in March, pushing the overall unemployment rate down to 8.8 percent. The growth was driven entirely by a 230,000 gain in the private sector, as the government sector lost jobs for the fifth consecutive month. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) also edged up to 58.5 percent – the highest ratio since September – although this is still 4.4 percentage points below the pre-recession peak.”
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News in Brief: Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto, and More …
Organic farmers and their allies filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Monsanto to challenge the biotech giant’s patents and its habit of suing organic and family farmers for growing crops contaminated by transgenes from Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops; negotiations between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the political opposition movement have reached a stalemate as thousands of people prepare for more massive protests in the country’s capital and other cities; young Afghanis are expressing revolutionary sentiments after being inspired by the youthful activists who participated in uprisings against the leaders of countries like Egypt and Tunisia.
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Remembering Satomi in Post-Fukushima India
J. Sri Raman, Truthout: “For me, as for many others who knew her even slightly, the first thing that the news of Japan’s nuclear disaster did was bring back memories of Satomi Oba. The gentle and brave antinuclear activist gave decades of her life to alert the Japanese against just such a deadly danger and to avert it before dying of a brain hemorrhage at age 54 on February 24, 2005.”
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The Truth About the Economy That Nobody in Washington or on Wall Street Will Admit
Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog: “Why aren’t Americans being told the truth about the economy? We’re heading in the direction of a double dip – but you’d never know it if you listened to the upbeat messages coming out of Wall Street and Washington. Consumers are 70 percent of the American economy, and consumer confidence is plummeting. It’s weaker today on average than at the lowest point of the Great Recession.”
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Koch Operative May Have Deceived Officials to Take $2.7 Million in Taxpayer Money for Governor’s Race
Steve Lebowitz and Lee Fang, ThinkProgress: “In 2008, Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey state director for David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group, announced a campaign to run for governor. Running as a Republican, Lonegan lost to Chris Christie (R-NJ) in the Republican primary, and Christie went on to win the general election later in 2009. But recent tax disclosures examined by ThinkProgress reveal that Lonegan, who used $2.7 million in taxpayer matching funds for his gubernatorial campaign, may have deceived public officials in order to collect the public money used for his campaign.”
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US Wants Others to Arm, Train Libyan Rebels
Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers: “Hemmed in by two other wars, an overstretched military and serious budgetary woes, the United States is reducing its role in the multinational military operation in Libya and is looking to other nations to arm and train rebels fighting to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi, top U.S. defense officials said Thursday. ‘My view is that the future of Libya – the United States ought not take responsibility for that. I think there are other countries both in the region and our allies in Europe who can participate in the effort,’ Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee. ‘I just don’t think we need to take on another one.'”
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Return to Wisconsin: The Beginning or the End?
Andy Kroll , TomDispatch: “In the February weeks I spent in snowy Madison, Wisconsin, that line of Didion’s, the opening of her 1967 essay ‘Goodbye to All That,’ ricocheted through my mind as I tried to make sense of the massive protests unfolding around me. What was I witnessing? The beginning of a new movement in this country – or the end of an existing one, the last stand of organized labor? Or could it have been both?”
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The Right to Possess Firearms, Strong Money Behind a Weak Argument
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, Truthout: “In spite of all of this senseless death, tragedy and mayhem, the NRA, their paid lobbying henchmen, and others continue to oppose reasonable, responsible and necessary gun laws. They base their argument on a misguided reading of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.'”
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The War on Child Labor Laws
Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress: “Maine State Rep. David Burns is the latest of many Republican lawmakers concerned that employers aren’t allowed to do enough to exploit child workers…. Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, is sponsoring the bill, which also would eliminate the maximum number of hours a minor over 16 can work during school days. Burns’ bill is particularly insidious, because it directly encourages employers to hire children or teenagers instead of adult workers. Because workers under 20 could be paid less than adults under this GOP proposal, minimum wage workers throughout Maine would likely receive a pink slip as their twentieth birthday present so that their boss could replace them with someone younger and cheaper.”
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BUZZFLASH DAILY HEADLINES
 
 
General Electric (GE) wanted me to know that the corporation is not a tax-dodger – and allegedly was maligned by a New York Times (NYT) article entitled, “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.”

So, GE paid for a Google email teaser, which I clicked through to a slick public relations web page that claimed the NYT article was “distorting and misleading.”

Except as far as I can see, nothing on the GE “crisis management” explanation page refuted the basic NYT fact that the firm “reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, GE claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.”

GE asserts, as its first point of defense, that it “pays what it owes under the law and is scrupulous about its compliance with tax obligations in all jurisdictions.”

Technically, it is possible that statement is true, but specious, because GE gets legislation passed that allows it to legally avoid paying its fair share for the maintenance of democracy.

According to the NYT, “A review of company filings and congressional records shows that one of the most striking advantages of General Electric is its ability to lobby for, win and take advantage of tax breaks.”

That’s what financial journalist David Cay Johnston describes in his book, “Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich – and Cheat Everybody Else.”

Just call what GE does “legalized theft.”

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Why Did the Federal Reserve Provide Billions of Dollars in Loans to Qaddafi? Bernie Sanders Wants to Know
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

The Good Boy and the Afghanistan “Kill Team”
Read the Article at Der Spiegel

Vermont’s Single-Payer Salvation
Read the Article at In These Times

Malalai Joya: Kill Teams in Afghanistan. The Truth
Read the Article at The Guardian UK

Why Is the Media Not Challenging Trump on His Obama Lies?
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

NBC Doesn’t Report That Long-Time Parent Company, General Electric, Did Not Pay US Corporate Income Taxes
Read the Article at The Washington Post

What Are We Doing Subsidizing Corporations Through Tax Giveaways?
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

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