27 Jul

Truth Out Today, July 27,2011

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Air Force Cites New Testament, Ex-Nazi, to Train Officers on Ethics of Launching Nuclear Weapons
Jason Leopold, Truthout: “The United States Air Force has been training young missile officers about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons by citing passages from the New Testament and commentary from a former member of the Nazi Party, according to newly released documents. The mandatory Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare session, which includes a discussion on St. Augustine’s ‘Christian Just War Theory,’ is led by Air Force chaplains and takes place during a missile officer’s first week in training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.”
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Henry A. Giroux | From Benetton to Murdoch: The Culture of Money, Shock and Schlock
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: “Today, much more so, I believe we are witnessing an unprecedented shift in American popular culture toward an utterly depraved form of aesthetics. Images that shocked one generation of viewers and then produced alienation and indifference in the next, have become even more sensationalized, as people eagerly and brazenly consume displays of aggression, brutality and death. In what follows, I suggest that this culture of cruelty is part and parcel of the growing influence of neoliberal policies across all sectors.”
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The Republican Party No Longer Has Its Country’s Best Interests at Heart
Cliff Schecter, Truthout: “Once upon a time, in a land that now seems to have been populated by tooth fairies and unicorns, there was a political party that had a set of core beliefs to which they actually adhered. Today, this once respectable organization has turned into nothing so much as a collective id the size of a David Vitter Pampers shopping spree. When facing changes to this nation that make them uncomfortable, they choose national hate. When facing ideological worship versus the greatness of the US, the former always wins the day. When facing a choice of what is good for the US or their personal bank accounts, they inevitably go with the latter.”
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“Orwell Rolls in His Grave”
Thom Hartmann, Truthout: “As a member in good standing of the media, I watched ‘Orwell Rolls in His Grave’ with a wince and a feeling of intense deja vu. The essence of this documentary is that our media doesn’t tell us the entire story when that story doesn’t work to the benefit of the folks in power. And it’s true. As Michael Moore points out in the movie, the old Soviet Politburo had more turnover than our Congress does with our bought-and-paid ‘elections.'”
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Six Extreme Right-Wing Attacks by ALEC in State Governments
Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischer, PRWatch: “‘Model’ bills voted on by corporations through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) touch almost every aspect of American life. The Center for Media and Democracy has analyzed and made available over 800 ALEC model bills to allow other reporters and the public to track corporate influence in state legislatures across the country (and in Congress) ….”
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Florida Looks for the Lowest Bidder as It Privatizes 30 State Prisons
Marie Diamond, ThinkProgress: “Florida is seeking bids from private companies to take over management of 30 state prisons in an 18-country area in South Florida. The ‘fastest privatization venture ever undertaken by the state of Florida’ is an effort by Gov. Rick Scott (R) to save the state money by outsourcing prison oversight to the lowest bidder.”
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Nearly 4,000 Post Offices Might Close
Sean Collins Walsh, The New York Times: “The financially beleaguered Postal Service announced Tuesday that it would consider closing more than 3,600 of its 32,000 post offices. Continuing efforts to reduce costs by shrinking the organization’s retail network and work force, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe released a list of the targeted offices, which are primarily in rural locations and produce little revenue. There will be a 60-day comment period before the Postal Service makes a final decision, which can be appealed to the Postal Regulatory Commission.”
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Ten Questions the Media Are Not Asking About Norway
Michael Nagler and Stephanie N. Van Hook, Metta Center for Nonviolence: “The law enforcement entities dealing with the appalling massacre in and around Oslo last Friday have been understandably preoccupied with the question, did the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, act alone. That is an important question for them, but it does nothing to help the rest of us understand and respond to this tragedy. Let us assume that he acted alone, in the legal sense that unlike Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City bombing he did not have accomplices. Acting alone does not mean that he acted in a vacuum. Thus we have to understand the climate in which he thought and acted.”
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Jim Hightower | America’s Shameful Leadership
Jim Hightower, Truthout: “OK, Barack Obama has not exactly turned out to be Mount Rushmore material, but – good God! – the petulant pettiness of right-wing Republican congressional leaders has turned them into a national embarrassment. America has big needs right now. But those needs are not even being addressed, because little whiney ideologues like Eric Cantor, the GOP’s House majority leader, keep throwing hissy fits, demanding that they get their way, or there’ll be no way. Of course, their way – on everything from tax policy to Wall Street regulation – is always the corporate way.”
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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Florida Attorney General Fires State Prosecutors for Going After Big Banks’ Foreclosure Fraud, and More
In today’s On the News segment: According to the Congressional Budget Office, Speaker Boehner’s $1 trillion deficit plan only cuts about $850 billion; Florida state prosecutors fired for going after big banks’ foreclosure fraud; Wells Fargo went into African-American neighborhoods; “Cut, Cap, and Balance” dead in Senate; and more.
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How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms, Part II
Charles M. Smith, Truthout: “For many years the DoD has been increasingly contracting out services such as maintenance of vehicles, soldier life support, warehousing of equipment, and so forth. While there have been numerous problems with these efforts, they generally do not involve inherently governmental functions, nor do they create conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, the DoD has also increasingly contracted out the management and oversight of these services.”
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Eugene Robinson | The Influence Industry of Rage
Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post Writers Group: “The monster who slaughtered at least 76 innocent victims in Norway was animated by the same blend of paranoia, xenophobia and alienation that fuels anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. Yes, it could happen here. One could argue that it already did, in Oklahoma City. The difference is that Timothy McVeigh’s apocalyptic anger was diffuse and non-specific.”
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Regardless of the current political theater taking place over the debt ceiling, what drives much of the right wing – in terms of symbols – is the iconic image of the lone male (usually with a gun) who doesn’t flinch from a fight, when his integrity and justice are at stake.


CBO and Lack of Kamikaze Tea Party Republican Votes Sends Boehner Back to the Drawing Board
Read the Article at CNN

“1984”: The Misleading Spectacle of the Corporate Media
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

New York Times Editorial: How Can So Many Republican Lawmakers Justify Pushing Their Country Toward Catastrophic Default Just to Score Ideological Points?
Read the Article at The New York Times

“We Get the Sacrifice, They Get the Wealth”: A Fired-Up Pelosi Tears Into GOP
Read the Article at Talking Points Memo

Wednesday Marks the 45th Anniversary of the Implementation of Medicare
Read the Article at

The Reason Obama Will Not Invoke the 14th Amendment: The Supreme Court
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Taxing the Poor: The Only Tax Increase Republicans Support
Read the Article at ThinkProgress

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Let’s call this “The John Wayne Syndrome.”

Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood colleague and buddy of Wayne, was the epitome of this – in large part because he could act the role so well.

This brings us to the issue of form vs. content in the Obama presidency. Obama has positioned himself as a mediator between the Democrats and the Republicans, not as an unwavering leader for a specific agenda or vision. Since his presidency began, he has been primarily on the defensive, caught on the Republican side of the football field with has back to the goal line.

This is where his emphasis on “compromise” may have compromised his presidency. The Republicans, in general, value strength in politics over concession. They tend to look at a man who is frequently backing away from his positions, whatever his lofty rhetoric, as weak and as someone who can be pushed around.

The intangible in all this is that, while most Americans want the “gridlock to break in DC,” it hasn’t broken. Despite polling that shows Obama is perceived a bit better on the debt ceiling issue than the Republicans, he is starting to lose advance polls against some GOP candidates for the next election.

What Obama may not understand is that most Americans want strong leadership standing up to bullies and thugs, as Gary Cooper did as the sheriff in “High Noon” (popular culture drives our image making, after all). They didn’t elect a mediator in 2008; they elected a leader who would break the DC logjam not by showing weakness, but by showing resolve and an ability to forcefully exercise the power of the presidency.

Republican political leaders are jackals at sensing weakness in opponents. In the end, President Obama’s insistence on pleading with the GOP to accept legislation that is similar to what they originally proposed as a first-step debt reduction target is a sign of a failed strategy and risk aversion, not strength.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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