09 Feb

Truth Out – Wednesday 9 February 2011

Wednesday 9 February 2011

William Rivers Pitt | A Rich Fantasy Life
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “I know I should be immune to this by now, but I still find myself awestruck by the incredibly detailed, insulated fantasy world that the American conservative ‘movement’ has created for themselves. No lie is too big to be told, no fact is too firm to be bent around ideology, no myth is too absurd to defend to the knife. The ability to spew deliberate nonsense into the credulous ears of Fox-watching right-bent voters – and to be utterly without shame while doing it – is the core of this ‘movement’s’ political muscle, and has been for a number of decades now.”
Read the Article

Maybe This Time: How We Can Reform the Pentagon and Cut Its Budget
Dina Rasor, Truthout: “Yesterday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, put out a statement as he released his 2011 National Military Strategy. In it, he spoke words that have been rarely uttered by any high-ranking military or civilian member of the Department of Defense (DoD). He said that the ‘national debt poses a significant national security risk … Both our nation and military will face increased budget pressures and we cannot assume an increase in the defense budget,’ and he added, ‘As we adjust to these pressures, we must not become a hollow force with a large force structure lacking the readiness, training, and modern equipment it needs.'”
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Protest in Egypt Takes a Turn as Workers Go on Strike
David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times News Service: “Protesters demanding the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak appeared on Wednesday to have recaptured the initiative in their battle with his government, demonstrating a new ability to mobilize thousands to take over Cairo’s streets beyond Tahrir Square and to spark labor unrest.”
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Robert Scheer | Hey, Obama, Read WikiLeaks
Robert Scheer, Truthdig: “After a good start, the Obama administration’s response to the democratic revolution in Egypt has begun to exude the odor of betrayal. Now distancing itself from the essential demand of the protesters that the dictator must go, the administration has fallen back on the sordid option of backing a new and improved dictatorship. Predictably, it is one guided by a local strongman long entrusted by the CIA, Vice President Omar Suleiman, described by U.S. officials in the WikiLeaks cables as a ‘Mubarak consigliere.'”
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High-Speed Rail Becomes First Obama-GOP Budget Battle
Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers: “In a preview of the epic budget fight that will kick off in earnest next week, the Obama administration on Monday proposed a $53 billion plan for high-speed rail, and Republicans who control the purse strings said not so fast. The quick clash over a relatively small item in a budget expected to total about $3.8 trillion that President Barack Obama will propose next Monday underscored how tough it could be for Obama and the Congress to agree on federal spending.”
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News in Brief: House Fails to Re-Authorize PATRIOT Act, and More …
House of Representatives fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the PATRIOT Act; the centrist Democratic Leadership Council suspended operations Monday; Obama administration will seek tax relief for states burdened by unemployment rates; Colorado’s GOP Chair Dick Wadhams will not seek re-election.
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“Orderly Transition” or “Nothing Burger” Reforms? Benchmarks for US Policy in Egypt
Robert Naiman, Truthout: “To the disappointment of many, the Obama administration’s policy of ‘orderly transition to democracy’ in Egypt, which just a few days ago seemed to be embracing pro-democracy protesters’ demand that Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak leave office, now seems to be backtracking to the idea that Mubarak and Vice President Omar Suleiman can lead a credible process of transition to democracy, despite the unwillingness of the US-backed Egyptian government so far to accept any concrete demands for reform.”
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Sen. Jim Webb Will Not Run for Re-Election
Michael D. Shear, The New York Times News Service: “Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, has decided not to run for re-election, avoiding a blockbuster rematch with the man he beat in 2006, George Allen, and giving Senate Republicans another opportunity to help them reclaim the majority. In a statement, Mr. Webb said that he had ‘decided to return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life, and will not seek re-election in 2012.'”
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Jim Hightower | Obama Walks in the Wrong Direction
Jim Hightower, Truthout: “As part of his odd and demeaning determination to hug up America’s avaricious corporate powers, President Obama walked across Lafayette Square on Feb. 7 to enter the imperial gates of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and show deference to the business establishment. Apparently, his ongoing obsequiousness is an effort to woo corporate donors and show conservative voters how moderate he can be. But does he really think that that either of those groups is going to give any love back?”
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This Modern World | Summarizing Egypt
In Tom Tomorrow’s latest editorial cartoon “Conservabot” discusses the Egyptian uprising.
Read the Cartoon

Only New, Fair Voting Can Help Haiti Now
Keane Bhatt, Truthout: “It is bad enough that, by delaying reconstruction aid to Haiti, the United States has failed to give adequate assistance to our neighbor, which was struck by a devastating earthquake one year ago. It is far worse that we have actively cooperated in its deeply flawed election. Our government helped impose an election process upon the Haitian people that gave rise to foreseeable human rights violations and is, therefore, complicit in the resulting harm. After helping fund and organize the exclusionary elections that led to outrage and unrest, the United States used strong pressure to bolster an unfair outcome. It is not too late to make amends for our wrong. As a first step, the United States should support a fair and inclusive do over.”
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Peak Oil Lessons From the Soviet Union (Video)
The Nation and On The Earth Productions: “Dmitry Orlov, engineer and author, warns that the US’s reliance on diminishing fuel supplies might be sending it down the same path the Soviet Union took before it collapsed. In this fifth video in the series ‘Peak Oil and a Changing Climate’ from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, Orlov, who was an eyewitness to the collapse of the Soviet Union, asserts that as oil becomes more expensive and scarcer, the US will no longer be able to finance its oil addiction and the economy will hit a wall.”
Watch the Video

Click here for more Truthout articles



GOP Continues Assault on a Woman’s Right to Choose
Read the Article at TPM

Ann Davidow: The Reagan Myth
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Obama to Propose Electric Car Rebate of $7,500
Read the Article at The Hill

Dave Lindorff: The Deepening Mystery of the US “Diplomatic Official” Who Shot Two Pakistanis Dead
Read the Article at This Can’t be Happening

Prosecutors Seek Immediate Trial in Berlusconi Sex Case
Read the Article at The New York Times

Catholic Church Releases Confession App
Read the Article at ABC News

Click here for more BuzzFlash headlines

If you don’t like the conversation, change the subject.

BuzzFlash and Truthout have written and posted several columns on how the conversation about education has been shifted from social, economic and creative context to blaming the public schoolteachers and principals. Add to this that standardized testing has become the benchmark of both the Bush and Obama administration’s measure of schooling success – and you’ve shifted the conversation 180 degrees from the reality of failing schools in failing communities in a failing economy.

It’s easy for Bush and Obama to blame public educators rather than deal with social and economic injustice (and the increasing corporate abandonment of the American workforce), as BuzzFlash pointed out in “Now George W. Bush Wants to ‘Miseducate’ Public School Principals.”

But the emphasis on standardized testing in the so-called “race to the top” is actually a “race to the bottom” because it leads to a lack of critical thinking, innovation and individual ideas that helped make America a past leader in so many fields.

Standardized testing ensures good corporate consumers and uncritical vessels for the “conventional wisdom” of the mainstream media and government, but it doesn’t create the Thomas Edisons of the future.

The Obama and Bush administration policies on public education are just aimed at avoiding the elephant in the room: a society with few jobs for those who graduate, and communities that function at a third-world level economically.

Go ahead, change the subject; blame the teachers and principals, but it’s not going to change our social, employment and income distribution failures.

It’s just a diversion of our attention from the real tasks that lie before us.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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