Archive for December 7, 2010

Traffic – Dear Mister Fantasy

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Ed Show – Obama backs down to GOP bullies

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A Discussion with Ilan Pappe – Palestine Solidarity Conference

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Robin Trower – Bluebird

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Keith Olbermann – Special Comment On Tax Cut Deal

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Keith Olbermann – Outrage grows over tax deal

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Robin Trower – In City Dreams (playlist)

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Julian Assange – Don’t Shoot Messenger for Revealing Uncomfortable Truths

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Information Clearing House:

Don’t Shoot Messenger for Revealing Uncomfortable Truths

By Julian Assange

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department:

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Columbia Journalism Review

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Columbia Journalism Review:

Slice of the Onion? The satirical newspaper and website The Onion has hit on a unique way to expand in print and get out of print all at once: The Onion has decided to franchise its print edition out to local partners. Franchisees will pay a weekly fee to license Onion content; they’ll sell their own ads, pay to print and distribute the papers, and keep the profits from the ads they sell. Lauren Kirchner reports on a unique business plan.

Here Comes Jennifer Rubin: The Washington Post’s new conservative blogger doesn’t mince words. Ali Gharib reports.

Hacks and Heroes: Who’s missing from Salon’s “biggest media hacks” list? CJR’s readers weigh in, in this week’s News Meeting.

Do the Math: Justin D. Martin argues that statistics is too pressing a global language for journalists to neglect. Statistically untrained journalists are watchdogs without olfactory cells; they’ll catch wrongdoing when it’s visible, but they lack the skill to sniff a sour deal.

Jamie Dimon, All Shiny: Our Peterson Fellow, Felix Simon, is not a fan of Roger Lowenstein’s NYT Magazine piece on Jamie Dimon, which comes complete with a positively glowing cover photo. It seems altogether too sympathetic to the man, Simon reports.

Bolivia: Climate Change Delegates Rally for International Climate Justice Tribunal

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John Vidal talks about Bolivia’s role in the climate talks

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Guardian Environment Editor John Vidal on WikiLeaks Cables and U.S. Manipulation of Climate Talks

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Smearing the Wiki Messenger

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Sen. Sanders: Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich Caused Loss of 500k Jobs During Bush Admin.

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Climate Progress – Energy and Global Warming News for December 7th: China’s cap and trade to come within 5 years; Chu says improved electric car batteries are 5 years off; Germany to add record 8 GW of solar power in 2010

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Climate Progress:

Energy and Global Warming News for December 7th: China’s cap and trade to come within 5 years; Chu says improved electric car batteries are 5 years off; Germany to add record 8 GW of solar power in 2010

December 7, 2010

China’s Cap and Trade to Come Within Five Years

China will have a cap-and-trade system to limit its emissions by about 2015 as the world’s biggest polluter takes a lead role in developing clean energy, London School of Economics professor Nicholas Stern said.

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Climate Progress – Veron: The end is in sight for the world’s coral reefs

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Climate Progress:

Veron: The end is in sight for the world’s coral reefs

December 7, 2010

Reefs are the ocean’s canaries and we must hear their call. This call is not just for themselves, for the other great ecosystems of the ocean stand behind reefs like a row of dominoes. If coral reefs fail, the rest will follow in rapid succession, and the Sixth Mass Extinction will be upon us — and will be of our making.

When J.E.N. Veron speaks, we all should listen.  Veron is the former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.  He is principal author of 8 monographs and more than 70 scientific articles on the taxonomy, systematics, biogeography, and the fossil record of corals.  His books include the three-volume Corals of the World and A Reef in Time: The Great Barrier Reef from Beginning to End (2008).  His research has taken him to all the major coral reef regions of the world during 66 expeditions.

In a Yale e360 piece reprinted below, Veron explains that “the science is clear: Unless we change the way we live, the Earth’s coral reefs will be utterly destroyed within our children’s lifetimes.”

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Hank P. Albarelli Jr – CIA’s Denial of Protecting Nazis is Blatant Lie

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Voltairenet:

CIA’s Denial of Protecting Nazis is Blatant Lie (Part 1)

by Hank P. Albarelli Jr.*

Leaks or revelations are often more compelling because of what they don’t reveal. Through Operation Paperclip, the U.S. organized a monumental transfer of black technology by actively recruiting Nazi scientists guilty of war crimes for employment by U.S. intelligence. In his three-part investigation, author H. P. Albarelli dredges up the part that was omitted from the recently-outed official report: the U.S. pointedly chose ’fervent’ Nazi scientists with experience in chemical, biological and radioactive warfare to become the architects of the CIA’s darkest military experiments involving human guinea pigs, as was the case in Nazi Germany.

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On 11 November 1954, thirty-nine of the German-born scientists who entered the United States through Project Paperclip were sworn in as U.S. citizens. Military Intelligence “cleansed” the files of Nazi references. By 1955, more than 760 German scientists had been granted citizenship in the U.S. and given prominent positions in the American scientific community. Many had been longtime members of the Nazi party and the Gestapo, had conducted experiments on humans at concentration camps, had used slave labor, and had committed other war crimes.

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Pat Garofalo – Analysis: Obama’s Components Of Tax Deal Help 150 Million More People Than GOP’s Components

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Think Progress:

Lieberman: ‘I Don’t Understand’ Why The Department Of Justice Hasn’t Charged Australian Assange With Treason

The Legacy Of Elizabeth Edwards

Today Presents Early Test Of Tea Party Strength In House GOP: Committee Chair Elections

Facing Backlash From The U.S. Chamber’s Right-Wing Ads, More Local Chambers Plan To End Their Membership

In Climate Solidarity, Palestinian Firefighters Help Israelis Fight Wildfire

Obama Agrees To Extend All Bush Tax Cuts And Cut Estate Tax In Deal With Republicans

Exclusive: Memos Reveal Anti-Muslim Group’s Early Efforts To Bring Islamophobia Into The Mainstream

TX GOP Official Opposes Jewish House Speaker: Christians ‘Are The People That Do The Best Jobs’

Weekly Standard Editor Fred Barnes Calls On Conservatives To ‘Infiltrate The Mainstream Media’

Analysis: Obama’s Components Of Tax Deal Help 150 Million More People Than GOP’s Components

By Pat Garofalo

Yesterday, the White House agreed with Congressional Republicans on a “framework” for extending the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts. In exchange for a two-year extension of all the tax cuts — including those for households making more than $250,000 per year — the deal includes a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits, a two percent cut in the employee side of the payroll tax for one year, and a retention of the some expanded tax credits included in the 2009 Recovery Act. To get Republicans on board, Obama also agreed to a two-year cut in the estate tax.

For comparison’s sake, The Wonk Room has a chart detailing both the number of people (in millions) who benefit from each side’s priorities, as well as the total cost (in billions). Obama’s components of the tax deal (extended unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cut, and the extended credits) will cost $214 billion to aid 156 million people. The Republicans priorities (extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and cutting the estate tax), meanwhile, will cost $133 billion, but only benefit roughly 4.8 million people.

So, in order to get desperately needed help for the long-term unemployed and to provide the middle-class with tax relief in a weak economy, Obama agreed to tax cuts for a small, wealthy portion of the population that the Republicans were willing to go to the mat for, even if it meant that everyone’s taxes went up if the Bush tax cuts expired. Excluded from this analysis is extension of the broad-based Bush tax cuts, on which everyone agreed. The total package will cost about $900 billion over the next two years, entirely financed through deficit spending.

Read more about the tax deal in today’s Progress Report, “Tough Pill To Swallow.”

Update As CAP’s Michael Linden and Michael Ettlinger noted, the various components of the tax deal (outside of the broad Bush tax cuts) will save or create about 2.2 million jobs. If, however, the GOP’s priorities were discarded in favor of further cuts in the payroll tax, that number would increase to 2.7 million, an addition of 500,000 jobs.

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The Progress Report – Tough Pill To Swallow

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Progress Report:

Tough Pill To Swallow

Yesterday, President Obama announced a tentative deal with congressional Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans for two years in exchange for a 13-month extension in unemployment benefits and other tax benefits for American workers. Given the fact that Republicans had indicated that they will not compromise on their desire to extend the costly tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the President decided to get a deal done now to avoid an economic hit to the middle class during this holiday season. “I’m not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington,” Obama said in a statement. “Sympathetic as I am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, as much as the political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems, it would be the wrong thing to do.” Despite Republican wrangling over the past two years about deficit spending and debt, the New York Times reports that the entire package “would cost about $900 billion over the next two years, to be financed entirely by adding to the national debt.” However, “[o]n balance,” CAP President and CEO John Podesta said in a statement, “I think the President was right to choose helping working Americans over a December conflagration. But the question hanging over Washington and the country today is how will he avoid repeating the same scenario being played out again and again for the next two years? That’s a question that’s keeping me awake at night.”

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Tom Engelhardt – Epitaph from the Imperial Graveyard

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From TomDispatch:

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Epitaph from the Imperial Graveyard

Posted by Tom Engelhardt at 10:21am, December 7, 2010.

One November’s Dead
The American War Dead Disappear into the Darkness

By Tom Engelhardt

America’s heroes?  Not so much.  Not anymore.  Not when they’re dead, anyway.

Remember as the invasion of Iraq was about to begin, when the Bush administration decided to seriously enforce a Pentagon ban, in existence since the first Gulf War, on media coverage and images of the American dead arriving home at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware?  In fact, the Bush-era ban did more than that.  As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote then, it “ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers’ homecomings on all military bases.”

For those whose lives were formed in the crucible of the Vietnam years, including the civilian and military leadership of the Bush era, the dead, whether ours or the enemy’s, were seen as a potential minefield when it came to antiwar opposition or simply the loss of public support in the opinion polls.  Admittedly, many of the so-called lessons of the Vietnam War were often based on half-truths or pure mythology, but they were no less powerful or influential for that.

In the Vietnam years, the Pentagon had, for instance, been stung by the thought that images of the American dead coming home in body bags had spurred on that era’s huge antiwar movement (though, in reality, those images were rare).  Nor were they likely to forget the effect of the “body count,” offered by U.S. military spokesmen in late afternoon press briefings in Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital.  Among disillusioned reporters, these became known as “the Five O’clock Follies.”  They were supposedly accurate counts of enemy dead, but everyone knew otherwise.

In a guerrilla war in which the taking of territory made next to no difference, the body count was meant as a promissory note against future success.  As it became apparent that there would be no light at the end of the tunnel, however, that count began to look ever more barbaric to growing numbers of Americans.

Body Bags and Body Counts

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Alex Doherty – Digging in a Hole

December 7, 2010 1 comment

From ZNet:

Below is an interview with ZWriter Robin Hahnel, conducted by Alex Doherty of the New Left Project. In the interview Hahnel discusses economic crisis in the UK, Ireland, and the U.S.

Before getting to that interview however, we would like to point you to ZNet’s extensive coverage of the WikilLeaks’ CableGate release. We have published commentary and analysis from variety of ZWriters and from diverse angles too. Content is available in articles, audio, and video. Here are links to just some of our coverage so far, including how to visit the cables yourself:

Wiki Mirror Sites at:
However your best bet for getting to CableGate may be:

Daniel Ellsberg: Letter to Amazon
Steve Ragan: WikiLeaks Heat

Eva Golinger: WikiLeaks Venezuela

Alexander Cockburn: Wanted by Empire

Noam Chomsky: Cable Revelations
Paul Street: Lives at Risk
John Pilger: CableGate
Ben Dangle: WikiLeak Bolivia
Justin Podur: CableGate
Sherwood Ross: Persecution of Assange
Robert Naiman: WikiLeak Honduras
Phyllis Bennis: New Mind Set?
Chris Spannos: Wikileaks & Beyond

Please check ZNet daily for regular updates…

Finally, we want to reminded you that Z Magazine’s December 2010 issue is now available online from our site, and also on news stands and in book stores near you. Z Magazine is also offering an “Outrageous Offer.” Please check the ZMag site for more details.

Here now, below, is Robin Hahnel…



Digging in a Hole

By Robin Hahnel and Alex Doherty

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Source: New Left Project

Robin Hahnel is Professor of Economics at American University. His most recent book is Economic Justice and Democracy and he is co-author with Michael Albert of The Political Economy of Participatory Economics. In this interview he and NLP’s Alex Doherty discuss the continuing mismanagement of the economic crisis in the UK, Ireland and the US.

Is the choice facing the UK economy simply whether to cut the deficit immediately, as the government is doing, or to do it over a much longer period of time, as the economy grows?

The Tory/Liberal Democrat government austerity program is not only callous and unfair, it is completely counterproductive since it will further depress the economy and not only increase unemployment, but reduce production, income, and therefore tax revenues. In the midst of the greatest economic decline in over eighty years, what is needed is fiscal stimulus, not fiscal austerity. Tory austerity policy will only damage the UK economy and make it even harder to balance budgets in the future. The Tories are practicing misguided nineteenth century economics—acting as if Keynes had never been born, and no lessons had ever been learned from the Great Depression about what is needed to reverse recessionary dynamics.

The common “wisdom” that advanced economies can no longer “afford” to provide high quality public services and adequate welfare programs is total malarkey. The productive potential in the advanced economies is considerably greater today than it was during the height of the welfare state, which means it is easier to provide even higher quality public services and more generous welfare programs than in the past.

When we look at the budget picture in the long-run, what has changed is that large corporations and the wealthy have managed to avoid paying the taxes they used to be required to pay. Not only Tories but the Labour Party has lost the political will to require them to pay their fair share of what it costs to provide adequate public services and welfare. That is what is creating long-run deficit problems in the UK, which means after the economy is up and running again the solution to any deficit problems is to force those who have benefited tremendously from capturing over 90% of productivity increases over the past thirty years toante up!

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Economist’s View – A Few Reactions to the Tax Cut Agreement

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Economist’s View:

A Few Reactions to the Tax Cut Agreement

Update — More Reactions:

Paul Krugman:

So the tax deal is out. Obama extracted some concessions, with the big surprise being a payroll tax cut. How much better do these concessions make the thing? …[T]his raises GDP by 0.7 percent relative to otherwise; rule of thumb is that one point on GDP is half a point on unemployment, so add 0.35 points to the CBO numbers.

That’s a two-year average; what about timing? Both the payroll tax break and the unemployment extension are for the first year only. So, a bigger boost next year, fading out in 2012. Since all the evidence says that elections depend on the rate of change of unemployment, not its level, this is actually bad news for Obama: he’s setting himself up for an economic stall in the months leading into the 2012 election.

Oh, and he’s overpromising again:

“It’s not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery,” Mr. Obama said. “It will stop middle-class taxes from going up. It will spur our private sector to create millions of new jobs, and add momentum that our economy badly needs.”

Millions of new jobs? Millions? Not by my arithmetic.

So, was this worth it? I’d still say no, although it’s better than what I expected over the weekend. It still greatly increases the chances of the Bush tax cuts being made permanent — especially because the front-loading of the stimulative stuff actually worsens Obama’s 2012 electoral prospects.

Overall, enough sweetener has been added to diminish, but not eliminate, the bitterness of the disappointment.

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Economist’s View – Median Duration of Unemployment

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Economist’s View:

Median Duration of Unemployment


Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

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Boing Boing – Julian Assange demonstration today in London 1330h Westminster Magistrate’s Court

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UTNE – Breaking Into Guantánamo Bay

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From the UTNE Reader:

Breaking Into Guantánamo Bay

The Miami Herald‘s Carol Rosenberg has spent more hours doggedly covering the controversial prison than any other journalist. As a result, she’s been hassled, temporarily excised, and given a First Amendment Award.


Alfred McCoy – How America will collapse (by 2025)

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Salon:

How America will collapse (by 2025)

Four scenarios that could spell the end of the United States as we know it — in the very near future

By Alfred McCoy

How America will collapse (by 2025)

This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.

A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America’s downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.

But have no doubt: when Washington’s global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.

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Assassination of John Lennon

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techdirt – No Surprise: Wikileaks Leak Shows US Entertainment Industry Wrote Spain’s New Copyright Law

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From techdirt:

No Surprise: Wikileaks Leak Shows US Entertainment Industry Wrote Spain’s New Copyright Law (Politics)

by Mike Masnick from the but-of-course… dept on Monday, December 6th, 2010 @ 6:56AM

This won’t come as much of a surprise of course, but according to reports about some of the latest Wikileaks State Department cable leaks, it appears that Hollywood and US diplomats were behind the crafting of Spain’s newly proposed copyright law. You may recall, of course, that Spain actually has a fairly reasonable copyright law. It says personal, non-commercial, file sharing is okay, and does not seem to agree with the idea that you should blame third parties for actions of their users.

Of course, that’s resulted in Spain constantly being put on the “worst of the worst” lists by the entertainment industry and a media campaign by the industry about how awful Spain was when it came to copyright. How dare you have more reasonable copyright laws that don’t criminalize everyone! Of course, it didn’t take long for Spain to introduce new copyright laws that even local economists said would be bad for everyone.

So, of course it’s no surprise at all that the US entertainment industry and US diplomats had a huge role in shaping the new laws. In fact, when the reports came out, we even titled our post on the subject “Looks Like Entertainment Industry Lobbyists Got To The Spanish Government.” It’s just that, now, thanks to these cables, this information has even more evidence behind it, showing that the MPAA and US diplomats were heavily involved in getting Spain to change its copyright laws.

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Ahmad Hasan and Danielle Bäck – Why we walked out

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Electronic Intifada:

Why we walked out

Ahmad Hasan and Danielle Bäck

Students across the US are protesting a public relations campaign that brings soldiers from the Israeli army to speak on campuses. These tours are an attempt to justify recent war crimes committed by the army and are coordinated by various organizations, the most well-known being the Zionist organization StandWithUs.

Our protests have drawn attention to the massive Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The protests started on 20 October 2010, when two Israeli army soldiers visited the University of Michigan campus. Students, staff and community members collectively engaged in a silent walk-out in memory of and in solidarity with the Palestinian children who were silenced by the Israeli military during Israel’s three-week bombardment of the Gaza Strip in winter 2008-09.

As students at the University of Michigan, we simply could not let these soldiers attempt to justify atrocities on our college campus. We decided that a silent protest would be a creative way to give voice to the victims of these human rights abuses, but we had no idea that our protest would spark such momentum, strengthening the growing sense of collaboration and unity across the nation and inspiring international solidarity across college campuses. Specifically, it was the protest footage that allowed our actions to resonate with many other universities and communities across the world (video available on YouTube).

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Keiser Report №101: Markets! Finance! Scandal!

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment
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