08 Jul

Truth Out Today, July 8, 2011

Friday 08 July 2011


In today’s On the News segment: Republicans’ blockage of economic stimulus legislation has led to rising unemployment, the corporate jet lobby has spent $6 million on political contributions, Texas Gov. Rick Perry breaks international law, Michele Bachmann commits herself to ruling America like a theocracy, more ethics questions arise about corrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and more. Scroll down to watch the newscast.


Exclusive: Van Jones on the American Dream, the American Nightmare and What We Can Learn From the Tea Party
Amy Dean, Truthout: “In late June, Van Jones – a former ‘green jobs’ czar in the Obama administration and currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress – officially launched a new organization known as Rebuild the Dream. The group’s first mission is to help spark a new economic justice effort called the American Dream Movement, an alliance focused on economic justice fights across the country. Shortly after the New York event, I had a conversation with the ever-busy Jones to discuss the vision for the American Dream Movement, what we can learn from the Tea Party and what it will take to change the direction of national politics.”
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Note to US: Democracy Activists Worldwide Are Watching
Kathy Kelly, Truthout: “I’m here as an activist passenger on the United States flotilla boat, The Audacity of Hope, also blocked by the Greek government decision. We tried to escape to international waters but were towed back to dock by heavily armed boats of the Greek Coast Guard. We haven’t tried an embassy occupation. ‘That’s what your group should be doing,’ said one of the main organizers of the international flotilla effort, referring to the Spanish action. He’s right. And yet, crucial and telling differences exist between the Spanish Embassy in Athens, where I counted exactly one security guard nonchalantly keeping watch in the first afternoon of the Spanish activists’ demonstration, and the US Embassy in Athens.”
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The Market Is Lying: Why We Must Tax Carbon, Not Subsidize It
Rinaldo Brutoco and Madeleine Austin, Truthout: “Slapping a fee on carbon would be the simplest way to include the environmental and health costs of fossil fuels in their retail prices. We should impose a simple, transparent, gradually rising tax on carbon-based energy sources at the points where they enter the economy – such as at ports of entry or the mouths of mines – with most of the revenue returned to the public to offset higher energy prices, as James Hansen and others propose.”
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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Michele Bachmann Endorses Theocratic Rule, and More
In today’s On the News segment: Republicans’ blockage of economic stimulus legislation has led to rising unemployment, the corporate jet lobby has spent $6 million on political contributions, Texas Gov. Rick Perry breaks international law, Michele Bachmann commits herself to ruling America like a theocracy, more ethics questions arise about corrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and more.
Read the Article and Watch the Video

Paul Krugman | Default, Downturn, Then Recovery
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: “I guess I don’t quite see how Argentina’s default, of all examples, can be viewed as a cautionary tale for Greece. I explained in a previous column that Argentina suffered terribly from 1998 through 2001, as it tried to be orthodox and do the right thing. After it defaulted at the end of 2001, it went through a brief severe downturn, but soon began a rapid recovery that continued for a long time, as the chart on this page shows. Surely the Argentine example suggests that default is a great idea; the case against Greek default must be that this country is different (which, to be fair, is arguable).”
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Dean Baker | Just 18,000 New Jobs in June Leads to Another Rise in Unemployment
Dean Baker, The Center for Economic and Policy Research: “The Labor Department reported that the economy created just 18,000 jobs in June. It also revised down the previous two months’ numbers, bringing the average rate of job growth over this period to 87,000 jobs a month. The slow job growth led to another rise in the unemployment rate, which edged up to 9.2 percent. The employment-to-population (EPOP) ratio fell to 58.2 percent, the low hit in December of 2009 and again in November in 2010. This means that the job growth thus far in the recovery has been just sufficient to keep pace with the growth of the labor force.”
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Progressive Caucus to Obama: No Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
Isaiah J. Poole, Campaign for America’s Future: “The Progressive Caucus, in a letter being sent to President Obama today, says any budget deal he agrees to that contains cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid won’t get their votes. Given that any deal that President Obama agrees to is unlikely to win over enough Republicans to pass the House of Representatives unless it represents absolute capitulation to the most radical of Republican demands, push-back on Obama’s left side from the Progressive Caucus at this stage of the game could prove significant.”
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Revolution in Bahrain: Defying the Conspiracy of Convenience
Umar Farooq, Truthout: “An unlikely alliance is the latest obstacle for Bahrainis in their struggle for self-determination. Israel may have reached a shaky peace with the Arabs, but it refuses to see Iran as anything but an existential threat. And the United States has found a great market for its high-tech killing machines. Meanwhile, the struggles for self-determination in nations like Bahrain continue to fall victim to campaigns of delegitimization.”
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Obama’s Debt Talks Alarm Democrats About Social Security
Steven Thomma and David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers: “President Barack Obama looked forward Thursday to a weekend of ‘hard bargaining’ with Republicans over the federal budget deficit – but faced a rebellion from his own Democrats and the elderly over possible cuts to Social Security, adding yet another explosive issue to an already volatile mix. Obama met with congressional leaders of both parties Thursday morning in the Cabinet Room of the White House, their first session to discuss the deficit cuts Republicans demand as their price for voting to raise the government’s debt ceiling.”
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British PM Orders Two Inquiries Into Murdoch Hacking Scandal
Alan Cowell and Sarah Lyall, The New York Times News Service: “British police arrested a former editor of The News of the World tabloid on Friday who had also been a senior aide to Prime Minister David Cameron, deepening the crisis swirling around Rupert Murdoch’s news empire over allegations of phone hacking and corruption. Struggling to contain the biggest scandal since he took office more than a year ago, Mr. Cameron announced two separate inquiries into the revelations, saying ‘no stone will be left unturned.'”
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David Sirota | The Finland Education Phenomenon
David Sirota, Truthout: “The inherent parallels between Finland and the United States make the former’s lessons indisputably relevant to us. As Tony Wagner says, Finland is a fellow industrialized country ‘rated among the highest in the world in innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity.’ And though Finland is more racially homogenous than America, Wagner points out that ‘5 percent of the population speaks a second language’ – meaning the country’s schools face some of the same cross-cultural challenges as our schools. That said, for all the similarities, Finland finds its comparative success in how it chooses to differ from us.”
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Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Philosopher Slavoj Zizek in Conversation With Amy Goodman (Video)
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: “In one of his first public events since being held under house arrest, WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange appeared in London Saturday for a conversation with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, moderated by Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman. They discussed the impact of WikiLeaks on world politics, the release of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and Cablegate – the largest trove of classified U.S. government records in history.”
Watch the Video

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One American’s tax subsidy (or loophole) is another American’s tax burden.Bernie Sanders Says Hands Off Social Security
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Take the money out of the middle-class taxpayers’ pockets and put it into the super wealthy hands of the oil companies or hedge fund managers, for example.

In essence, people of limited means who work by the hour are paying higher taxes in order to make wealthy people wealthier. Why? Because someone has to pay taxes for the services provided by the government.

ThinkProgress noted this in terms of the tax subsidy we all pay to hedge fund managers:

The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people – police officers, for example, or teachers – the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.

So, you and I are taxed at a higher rate than hedge fund managers for their personal gain on behalf of customers. Middle-income earners are subsidizing billionaires.

Of course, taxpayers also subsidize oil companies that have been making record profits, including ExxonMobil, which recorded the highest corporate quarterly profit in history awhile back. As the Center for American Progress reports, the middle class is paying indirect taxes to the oil companies: “In effect, U.S. taxpayers wrote a collective $7 billion bonus check to the oil industry when they filed their taxes last month [for 2010].”

Mainstream media euphemistically calls these taxpayer-subsidized profits by hedge fund managers and oil companies “loopholes.”

That’s like a pickpocket saying that he didn’t steal a wallet, it just jumped into his hand.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Paul Krugman Is Skeptical About Obama’s Intentions With Entitlement Programs
Read the Article at The New York Times

Bachmann Hopes Higher Unemployment Will Help Her Campaign for President
Read the Article at ThinkProgress

Koch Brothers Promise False “Hope of the Future” to Those They Cheat “of the Enjoyment of the Present”
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Pelosi Warns Obama Not to Mess With Medicare
Read the Article at Talking Points Memo

Gun Control Advocates Chide Obama for Inaction
Read the Article at NPR

Talk of Medicare and Social Security Reductions Spooks Democrats
Read the Article at Politico

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