20 Feb

Truth Out Today, Sunday 20 February 2011

Greenspan’s Incompetence Badgers Wisconsin’s Workers
Dean Baker, Truthout: “Alan Greenspan has been strangely missing from the fierce battle over the future of public sector unions in Wisconsin and other states. His absence is strange because he bears more responsibility for the current conflict than anyone else alive. The reason is simple. Mr. Greenspan’s incredible incompetence in allowing the $8 trillion housing bubble to grow unchecked created the fiscal crisis that is gripping Wisconsin and most other states… How does it change anything if we know that Greenspan (last seen being feted at the Brookings Institution) is the real villain in the Wisconsin budget crisis? First, it should turn the heat where it belongs: Washington.”
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Cycle of Suppression Rises in Libya and Elsewhere
Anthony Shahid, The New York Times News Service: “Libyan security forces moved against protesters Saturday in Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city and the epicenter of the most serious challenge to four decades of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule, opposition leaders and residents said. The death toll rose to at least 104 people, most of them in Benghazi, Human Rights Watch reported… A day of antigovernment marches in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, took a violent turn as government supporters opened fire on a group opposing the 31-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, wounding at least four people. And hundreds of police officers in the Algerian capital, Algiers, used clubs to overwhelm antigovernment demonstrators.”
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Back to the Future With Comcast
Peter White, Truthout: “After hammering out the details in daily meetings with Comcast over a three-month period in late 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the $30 billion merger of Comcast and NBC/Universal in January 2011. In other words, Comcast met behind closed doors with the FCC to map out the future of broadband service and video streaming over the Internet. Anyone who wonders how federal banking regulators got captured by the financial industry, or how lawmakers got neutered by the insurance companies on the health care bill, or how big money is going to buy the next presidential election, should study the Comcast merger. It is a cautionary tale of things gone awry in Washington, where corporate speech is heard and heeded and the voices of actual citizens are ignored.”
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After the Revolution, Egypt Takes a Step Back From IMF Ways
Emad Mekay, Inter Press Service: “Egypt could soon be looking for a new economic model – one that will be different from the traditional system that has been promoted for years by international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), under the reign of ousted president Hosni Mubarak… Since the mid 1980’s, the World Bank, the IMF, and USAID have sought to encourage policies that limit the role of government in the economy, cut budget deficits, and give more influence to the private sector and corporations. Under pressure from the public following the success of the January revolution, the government …. quickly rolled back some of the controversial policies.”
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We’re All Mad Here
Brian Moench, Truthout: “As Alice (in Wonderland) stumbles upon the Matter Hatter’s Tea Party, the Cheshire Cat greets her with ‘Come on in, we’re all mad here.’ The Cheshire Cat should be posted at the door of the new House of Representatives. With the Republicans turning Congress into a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, first in line to receive the sentence of ‘off with their heads’ are environmental regulations, the scientific community, if not the scientific method itself… At the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party reality is turned upside down in a frenzy of nonsense. But this anti-science, anti-regulation nonsense will create a world more like J.R.R. Tolkien’s hideous industrial wasteland of Mordor, hardly a Wonderland with silly white rabbits.”
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China Cracks Down on Protest Threats, Rounds Up Dissidents
Tom Lassetter, McClatchy Newspapers: “Chinese officials on Sunday cracked down against protests, or rumors of them, sending police to detain dissidents and breakup public gatherings in the capital and Shanghai. After Internet messages calling for demonstrations in 13 cities surfaced on Saturday, apparently from Chinese language sites based overseas, there were reports of activists being preemptively hauled away. Very few Chinese responded, and in only a couple of cities, but Beijing’s authoritarian regime still mobilized large teams of police to ensure all remained quiet. The heavy response by Chinese officials was a reminder of the government’s low tolerance for any hint of political discord.”
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Fairer Tax Reporting, Finally
Gerald E. Scorse, Truthout: “Income from wages has been reported to the Internal Revenue Service ever since World War II. Starting in 2011, income from stock market capital gains will effectively begin to get the same treatment. This closes a loophole that cost the Treasury billions every year. It takes a big burden off taxpayers. And it never would have happened without a man the Left loved to hate. He’s Evan Bayh (D-IN), newly retired from the Senate. His Blue Dog politics rankled liberals, and he was trashed for giving up a seat that would flip to the GOP. All the same, Bayh made tax reporting fairer than it’s ever been in America. He did it by passing a bill that requires brokers to report basis prices to the IRS… It was easy faking numbers on tax returns. It was hard keeping basis records year after year, adjusting them for distributions and stock splits, even remembering where they were.”
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Scott Walker Padded Salary Increases for Cronies During Budgetary Distress: 24% Salary Increase for Aide with Two Public Pensions
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Pro-Union Protesters Outnumber Tea Party Mad Hatters by At Least 35-to-1 in Madison!
Read the Article at DailyKos

Frank Rich: The GOP’s Post-Tucson Traumatic Stress Disorder
Read the Article at The New York Times

Weekend of Violence Leaves Scores Dead in Afghanistan
Read the Article at The Wall Street Journal

Bob Herbert: The Human Cost of Budget Cutting
Read the Article at The New York Times

It’s Tough to Be a Pinhead Elitist, as Bill O’Reilly Calls Liberals
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Message to Scott Walker: Report, Public Employees Make Less, Including Benefits, Than Private Workers
Read the Article at Wisconsin State Journal

Trumka: Walker “Can’t Have Our Freedom”
Read the Article at AFL-CIO Blog

Present, Former Green Bay Packers Say They Back AFL-CIO
Read the Article at The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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The BuzzFlash commentary for Truthout will return on Monday.

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