Archive for December 18, 2010

Economist’s View – “Springtime for Hypocrites”

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Economist’s View:

“Springtime for Hypocrites”

Paul Krugman:

Just two weeks ago, the deficit was the great evil, and all the VSPs insisted that we needed fiscal austerity now now now. Then, magically, a big tax cut — increasing federal debt by more than the original Obama stimulus, and substantially raising the probability of making unaffordable tax cuts permanent — was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Why, it’s almost as if all the concern about the deficit was a front for opposing anything progressives might want, to be dropped as soon as debt was being run up on behalf of conservative goals. But that can’t be true, can it?

Many Republicans are still playing starve the beast. The next step for the GOP is to use the deficit problems that are created by the tax cut legislation as evidence that government spending is out of control. The biggest target for cuts will be social insurance programs. I wonder how many people realize that the revenue loss from the tax cuts will be more than three times the shortfall in Social Security (the tax cuts to those making over $250,000 alone would eliminate the Social Security shortfall)?

Michael Hudson – Obama’s Sellout on Taxes

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From CounterPunch:

Patrick Cockburn – The Russians Did Better … So Why Did They Lose?

Chris Floyd – Truth in Chains: the Arrest of Julian Assange

Gareth Porter / Jim Lobe – Actual Wiki Cables Belie NYT’s Version of Saudi / Gulf States’ Stance on Iran

Dean Baker – Tales of Economic Apocalypse

Gregory Elich – Menacing North Korea: How S. Korea is Raising the Risk of War

Ralph Nader – GOP Wackopedia

M. Shahid Alam – Unvarnished Truths About the US and Israel

Dave Lindorff – Information Terrorists?

David Macaray – Detroit on Strike

Linda Ueki Absher – The Hipster Librarian

Manuel Garcia, Jr. – Purple Passion Pearl Harbor

Website of the Day – A New Low for Todd Gitlin

Michael Hudson – Deficit Commission Follies

Paul Craig Roberts – The US Government’s Frontal Assault on Freedom

Mike Whitney – How Ireland Can Strike a Blow Against the Imperial Bankers

Sasan Fayazmanesh – Iran and the Leaks of Wikileaks

Steve Breyman – The Return of Debtors’ Prisons

Davey D – The Copyright Police: First They Came for the Hip Hop Sites …

Obama’s Sellout on Taxes

By Michael Hudson

I almost feel naive for being so angry at President Obama’s betrayal of his campaign promises regarding taxes. I had never harbored much hope that he actually intended to enact the reforms that his supporters expected – not after he appointed the most right-wing of the Clintonomics gang, Larry Summers, then Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and other Bush neoliberals.

But there is something so unfair and wrong that I could not prevent myself from waking up early Tuesday morning to think through the consequences of President  Obama’s sellout in the years to come. Contrary to his pretense of saving the economy, his action will intensify debt deflation and financial depression, paving the way for a long-term tax shift off wealth onto labor.

In achieving a giveaway that Democrats never would have let George Bush or other Republicans enact, Obama has laid himself open to the campaign slogan that brought down British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “You can’t believe a word he says.” He has lost support not only personally, but also – as the Republicans anticipate – for much of his party in 2012.

Yet Obama has only done what politicians do: He has delivered up his constituency to his campaign backers – the same Wall Street donors who back the Republicans. What’s the point of having a constituency, after all, if you can’t sell it?

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The Money Masters (Part 1 of 22 playlist)

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment
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Rachel Maddow – Gingrich returns to strip club for money

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Tom Ferguson: Obama-GOP bill a weak stimulus plan but a big give away to the super rich

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Democracy Now! 12/17/2010

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Democracy Now! Headlines for 12/17/2010

Study: Pharmaceutical Drug Companies Top Military Industry in Defrauding U.S. Gov’t

FDA Fails to Regulate Rapidly Growing Industry of Overseas Drug Testing

WikiLeaks Cables: Pfizer Targeted Nigerian Attorney General to Undermine Suit

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Robert Reich – The New Tax Deal: Reaganomics Redux

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From Truthout:

The New Tax Deal: Reaganomics Redux

Thursday 16 December 2010

by: Robert Reich  |  Robert Reich’s Blog | Op-Ed

More than thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan came to Washington intent on reducing taxes on the wealthy and shrinking every aspect of government except defense.

The new tax deal embodies the essence of Reaganomics.

It will not stimulate the economy.

A disproportionate share of the $858 billion deal will go to people in the top 1 percent who spend only a fraction of what they earn and save the rest. Their savings are sent around the world to wherever they will earn the highest return.

The only practical effect of adding $858 billion to the deficit will be to put more pressure on Democrats to reduce non-defense spending of all sorts, including Social Security and Medicare, as well as education and infrastructure.

It is nothing short of Ronald Reagan’s (and David Stockman’s) notorious “starve the beast” strategy.

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Columbia University – Wikileaks and Academia: a Panel Discussion at Columbia SIPA

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For Profit and For Peace? The Corporate Role in International Conflict

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Israeli army demolishes water cisterns in Khashem Ad-Daraj, South Hebron Hills

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Amnesty International – A wall of silence on Croatia War Crimes

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John Ress on The General Strike, Student protests and the Coalition of Resistance

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In the Spider’s Web

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From abumiz | December 12, 2010

In the Spider’s Web is a 47-minute long documentary produced in 2004 by Al-Haq and directed by Hannah Musleh. The film is part of Al-Haq’s campaign to stop collective punishment practiced by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians.

Through In the Spider’s Web Al-Haq provides an overview of these punitive measures against the Palestinian civilians. While the film mainly addresses the accounts of two women, it also highlights the impact that collective punishment has on the whole civilian population. The film also takes the audience to a girls; school in Hebron, where it shows a typical day in the lives of these students. The documentary also seeks to capture and relay some of the disastrous implications of the continuing construction of the Annexation Wall and the further expropriation of land for its construction.

في شباك العنكبوت فيلم وثائقي من انتاج مؤسسة الحق وإخراج حنّا مصلح عام 2004. جاء الفيلم في سياق حملة دولية مناهضة للعقوبات الجماعية التي تمارسها قوات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي ضد المدنيين الفلسطينيين في الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة. وقد أطلقت “الحق” هذه الحملة في كانون ثاني 2004 بهدف وضع الدول الموقعة على اتفاقية جنيف الرابعة أمام مسؤولياتها القانونية بموجب المادة الأولى منها

يتناول الفيلم على مدى 47 دقيقة بعض جوانب المعاناة التي يعيشها الفلسطينيون تحت الاحتلال، ويركز على امرأة استشهد زوجها أثناء نقلها للمستشفى وهي تعاني آلام المخاض، وكذلك قصة عائلة فلسطينية أخرى في الخليل تعاني نتيجة منع التجول الطويل وممارسات المستوطنين

Beyond Words: Palestinian Voices in Search of Justice

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Azmi Bishara on Apartheid Israel

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December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From Countercurrents:

Abuse ‘Widespread’ In Kashmir Jails
By Aljazeera

Leaked cable suggests US diplomats were briefed by the Red Cross of continued torture in Indian-administered Kashmir

Getting To Assange Through Manning
By Glenn Greenwald

Federal investigators “are looking for evidence of any collusion” between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning — “trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped” the Army Private leak the documents — and then “charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.” To achieve this, it is particularly important to “persuade Private Manning to testify against Mr. Assange.” I want to make two points about this. This raises several questions about investigative journalism

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks Faces ‘Very Aggressive’ Investigation By US
By Peter Walker

Assange says he is reliant on public opinion to rein in ‘superpower that does not appear to be following rule of law’

Climate Capitalism Wins At Cancún
By Patrick Bond

Patrick Bond, author of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society: Negative Returns on South African Investments and director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Center for Civil Society, assesses the outcome of the United Nations climate summit

Cancun Agreement Stripped Bare By Bolivia’s Dissent
By Nick Buxton

Bolivia’s indefatigable negotiator, Pablo Solon, put it most cogently in the concluding plenary, when he said that the only way to assess whether the agreement had any ‘clothes’ was to see if it included firm commitments to reduce emissions and whether it was enough to prevent catastrophic climate change

Manufacturing Discontent
By Gregory Vickrey

Manufacturing discontent is an important method for the climate movement to employ in order to implement sound reasoning for moving away from modern capitalism and its predatory effects to something of the people. It is probably the most important component, because learning the truth about corporate control of our lives inherently leads to discontent amongst all but the richest in society

Does Peak Oil Even Matter?
By David Murphy

The question is no longer “when will peak oil occur,” but “how long will the effects of peak oil last?”

Zionist Lobby’s New Orders For Obama
By Alan Hart

House Resolution 1734, approved unanimously by the House of Representatives on 15 December which strongly and unequivocally opposes any attempt to seek recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations or other international forums and calls upon the Administration to continue its opposition to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state is the new order to President Obama from the Zionist lobby

Insisting On Their Humanity: ‘The Plight Of The Palestinians’
By Ramzy Baroud

It is the very balance between destruction and rebuilding, despair and hope, occupation and perseverance that makes the Palestinian people powerful. Their power cannot be demonstrated in numbers, but it can be felt, experienced, and understood. ” The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction” spreads the seeds of understanding, which is so essential to any meaningful and lasting change

Censorship And Genocide Ignoring By Australian Mainstream Media and WikiLeaks
By Dr Gideon Polya

Two major features of WikiLeaks are that (1) the leaked US cables simply provide documentary confirmation what sensible people had surmised already about the conduct of the US Alliance; and (2) the real scandal is that neither WikiLeaks nor Mainstream media (MSM) will report the horrendous carnage of 8 million dead so far in the US War on Terror. Below is documentary evidence of how one of Australia ‘s leading newspapers, The Age (Melbourne), actively censors reportage of this ongoing, largely Muslim Holocaust

Beverages Bottled In PET Plastic Maybe Not Safe To Drink
By Sarah (Steve) Mosko

New evidence that PET drink bottles can leach substances into the contents that mimic the sex hormone estrogen – phthalates and antimony – has put PET bottles in the crosshairs also of scientists worried about their health safety

Afghans: Victimized By Conflict, Occupation, Extreme Deprivation And Genocide
By Stephen Lendman

A December 15 ICRC press release expressed deep concern about how dire conditions have gotten in Afghanistan, their worst ever since America’s illegal war of aggression began in October 2001

Procter & Gamble To Use Rajasthan Health Workers To Sell Sanitary Napkins
By Devinder Sharma

The multinational giant Procter & Gamble will now utilize the government machinery to sell its products, thereby opening up a marketing channel that the private companies had never thought of. Socializing the costs, and privatizing the profits. Isn’t this a remarkable marketing strategy?

Post Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi Verdict: Whither Indian Democracy?
By Teesta Setalvad

The September 30 2010 verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi case, that began as a dispute over a title suit but escalated into a full blown politico-religious conflict — one that legitimized the criminal assault on a 450 plus year old mosque as also targeted minority life and property — has raised serious issues for the future of Indian democracy given the fact that the verdict was disproportionately based on issues of contested faith and disputed histories

Divestment Action Across USA

Investors and supporters in 23 cities across the US tell financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from CATERPILLAR and other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation

Beyond The Politics Of Ban
By Mahtab Alam

Do you think extremist organizations of Sangh Parivar would ever be banned? Many would say it would not ever but it should be. But, the question is that, is banning a solution? No matter, what is the color of extremism, Red, Green or Bhagwa. Certainly, it is not a solution

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War in Context

December 18, 2010 1 comment

From War in Context:

Threat of civil war looms in Lebanon

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 10:30 AM PST

The Guardian reports: More than six months of menacing political rhetoric is likely to reach a potent day of reckoning in Lebanon soon when indictments are handed down after a five-year investigation to determine who killed the fragile state’s former leader Rafik Hariri. The indictments are almost certain to implicate at least three members of the militia […]

The legal assault on WikiLeaks and press freedom

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 08:30 AM PST

As the Justice Department develops a legal strategy for attacking WikiLeaks it will be looking for political cover to defend itself from the charge that it is attacking the First Amendment rights of a free press and will do so by arguing that what WikiLeaks does is not journalism. The administration’s lack of interest in defending […]

The United States: imperial by design

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 06:00 AM PST

In The National Interest, John Mearsheimer writes: In the first years after the Cold War ended, many Americans had a profound sense of optimism about the future of international politics. President Bill Clinton captured that mood when he told the UN General Assembly in September 1993: It is clear that we live at a turning point in […]

The House Committee for Promoting Islamophobia in America

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 04:00 AM PST

The New York Times reports: The Republican who will head the House committee that oversees domestic security is planning to open a Congressional inquiry into what he calls “the radicalization” of the Muslim community when his party takes over the House next year. Representative Peter T. King of New York, who will become the chairman of the […]

India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 03:00 AM PST

The Guardian reports: US officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir, according to leaked diplomatic cables released tonight. The dispatches, obtained by website WikiLeaks, reveal that US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the […]

Al Qaeda braced for a war without end

Posted: 16 Dec 2010 07:14 PM PST

Syed Saleem Shahzad reports: Richard Holbrooke, the United States special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan who died on Monday aged 69, had come to the realization that the nine-year war in Afghanistan had to come to an end. Stopping the war will not be an easy matter. The situation on the ground is not so simple. […]

Who gets to feed from the trough of classified information?

Posted: 16 Dec 2010 05:00 PM PST

Robert Naiman points out that the only reason we know that President Obama’s Afghan “progress” report is at variance with the reports coming from the intelligence community, is thanks to classified information being made public — without being declassified. [T]he reason that we know that the collective assessments of the 16 US intelligence agencies give a […]

The DOJ’s conspiracy to criminalize investigative journalism

Posted: 16 Dec 2010 04:30 PM PST

The New York Times has reported that the Department of Justice is investigating the possibility that Julian Assange could be charged as a conspirator in the leaking of classified documents. The aim would be to draw a distinction between Assange’s actions and those of journalists. But as Glenn Greenwald points out, investigation journalism involves all […]

Will the Afghanistan war break Obama’s presidency?

Posted: 16 Dec 2010 03:47 PM PST

Simon Tisdall writes: Barack Obama puts a brave face on it. The Afghan war is winnable, he insists. “We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum,” he told US troops at Bagram this month. He repeated the mantra today. But American commentators and analysts, across the political spectrum, are wondering aloud: will it happen the other […]

Bill McKibben: Why Obama and Cancún miss the point

Posted: 16 Dec 2010 01:07 PM PST

Reprinted with permission of At the moment, if you live in the American Midwest, where part of the roof of a football stadium just collapsed under the weight of a massive snowfall, or in Europe in the grips of a frigid cold spell, it may seem strange to be talking about warming, global or otherwise, no less vanishing […]

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Columbia Journalism Review

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From Columbia Journalism Review:

This Could Make You Cry: Joel Meares hurls a pointy, oversized CJR dart at Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis’s head-scratchingly bad piece, “John Boehner’s Crying: Is He Drinking Too Much?” The premise of the column is that there must be something deeper at the heart of John Boehner’s propensity to cry. And—leaping off of a comment from that sober voice of reason, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz—that the something deeper might be his drinking. The fact that Lewis has zero evidence for this, something he  acknowledges repeatedly, doesn’t stop him from lining up the experts and shaping a 1,200-plus word nick-of-time entry into the competition for worst column of 2010.

Now They Tell us. This week’s coverage of the Virginia court decision declaring health reform’s individual mandate unconstitutional was surprisingly thorough and contextual, Trudy Lieberman writes. But what a pity the points made in the last few days were not presented during the fifteen months the law wound its way through Congress.

No Regrets: Craig Silverman pored over a year’s worth of his Regret the Error columns and gathered a collection of comments that speak to the problems and positive developments that marked the year in accuracy, errors and verification.

What to Read: This holiday season, there’s nothing better you can give your favorite overworked journalist than a good book. Our readers’ list of suggestions for books for journalists is already a good one; please jump in and add your own suggestion.