Monday, December 31, 2012

PERRspectives: The National Debt? Republicans Built That

PERRspectives: The National Debt? Republicans Built That
"President Bush added $5.1 trillion in red ink to the national ledger. But while the debt has grown by over $5 trillion during Obama's first term, less than $1 trillion can be attributed to new programs he put in place. The rest is the result of the tax revenue loss from the deep recession which began in December 2007 and the continuation of policies inherited from George W. Bush."

American Commitment: Of Koch, By Koch and For Koch

American Commitment: Of Koch, By Koch and For Koch
"Now that the final FEC reports are in for Election 2012 and we can survey the damage, it's clear that the Kochtopus has grown, spread, and infected everything from state redistricting initiatives to the national races."

'Rooftop Revolution': Why It's Time to Join the Solar Boom | Alternet

'Rooftop Revolution': Why It's Time to Join the Solar Boom | Alternet
"There’s an epic struggle afoot for the head and the heart of America. And the fat cats in Dirty Energy who feed off our addiction to fossil fuel have an obvious motivation—profits—to keep us in denial about our bad habit. They don’t want us to dwell on our energy addiction and the damage it does to ourselves, our planet, and our children’s future. So Dirty Energy dips into its very deep pockets to tout its brand of power in the news and keep America in the dark about cleaner, smarter, more-affordable options out there. But as a growing number of Americans are finding out, they do have options."

Secret Human Testing Revealed in Declassified U.S. Army Documents; Lawsuit Follows

Secret Human Testing Revealed in Declassified U.S. Army Documents; Lawsuit Follows
"Martino-Taylor uncovered a mountain of evidence proving that an aerosol spraying campaign was in fact conducted by the U.S. Army during the 1950s and '60s. She has revealed documents clearly showing that sprayers were set up in multiple cities on buildings, deployed from station wagons, and attached to planes.
Despite statements at the time which downplayed the spraying as non-toxic, the evidence shows that the Army knew that what was sprayed consisted of radioactive compounds breathed in by hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens. Furthermore, they went to great lengths to cover up the information."

Intelligence Bill Won’t Include Measure Mandating Report On Consequences Of Iran Attack

Intelligence Bill Won’t Include Measure Mandating Report On Consequences Of Iran Attack: A measure requiring the office of the Director of National Intelligence to report to Congress on the consequences of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities will not be included in the FY2013 Intelligence Authorization Act. The House voted in May to include the amendment calling for a report on the consequences of an Iran [...]/p

The Financial Elite's War Against the US Economy | Common Dreams

The Financial Elite's War Against the US Economy | Common Dreams
"Today’s economic warfare is not the kind waged a century ago between labor and its industrial employers. Finance has moved to capture the economy at large, industry and mining, public infrastructure (via privatization) and now even the educational system. (At over $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt came to exceed credit-card debt in 2012.) The weapon in this financial warfare is no larger military force. The tactic is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain. Indebting companies enables creditors to seize employee pension savings. And indebting labor means that it no longer is necessary to hire strikebreakers to attack union organizers and strikers."

Story of the Year: It’s Global Warming, Stupid | Common Dreams

Story of the Year: It’s Global Warming, Stupid | Common Dreams
"My favorite headline of 2012 was “It’s Global Warming, Stupid,” which appeared on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek on Nov. 1, just days after Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast."

The GOP Has Taken America Hostage -- Is There a Downside for Them? | Alternet

The GOP Has Taken America Hostage -- Is There a Downside for Them? | Alternet
"Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the fiscal cliff "negotiations" is that there is essentially no downside for Congressional Republicans in holding the country and its economy hostage. Democrats are less than two months removed from having resoundingly won the Presidency, gained seats in the Senate, and earned over a million more votes for House candidates than did Republicans. Due to gerrymandering, however, the Republicans still have a narrow majority in the House. Due to the Senate's ungovernable filibuster rules, Republicans can also control the balance of legislation in the Upper Chamber as well."

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Meet the Woman Battling Japan's Whaling Fleet in Antarctic Ocean | Common Dreams

Meet the Woman Battling Japan's Whaling Fleet in Antarctic Ocean | Common Dreams
"Now Fox, a co-founder of the campaigning group Women for Whales, is to be a key player in the Sea Shepherd conservationsociety's Operation Zero Tolerance. In its biggest venture to date, the society will soon be sending four ships to take on the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean with the aim of preventing the death of even a single whale."

FBI Docs Redact Threats to Assassinate OWS Leaders

FBI Docs Redact Threats to Assassinate OWS Leaders
"Naomi Wolf gives an excellent in-depth analysis of those newly released documents that reveal the FBI's counterterrorism monitoring of Occupy Wall Street, and points out the assassination by sniper fire threats against OWS leaders that the FBI never bothered to inform anyone in the movement about."

Americans For Job Security: Conduit For Right Wing Dark Money

Americans For Job Security: Conduit For Right Wing Dark Money
"After Citizens United, attention has been paid to the sheer amount of money the right wing poured into elections and how that money has influenced public opinion, debate, and outcomes. But for the most part, attention has been placed on the so-called SuperPACs and their participation. While American Crossroads and others were certainly big players on the national landscape, little attention has been paid to how they operate on a state by state basis, and how they are used to launder money across state lines in order to subvert even the mildest disclosure requirements. In this post and ones to follow, I'll be putting the spotlight on these organizations and how they operate together to subvert democracy."

Citing Citizens United, Federal Appeals Court Blocks Access To Birth Control

Citing Citizens United, Federal Appeals Court Blocks Access To Birth Control: On Friday, a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in an order joined by two conservative Republican appointees, temporarily immunized a company from the Obama Administration’s rules guaranteeing that employer-provided health plans cover birth control. Judge Ilana Rovner, a George H.W. Bush appointee, dissented. The order is brief, [...]/p

Economic Plunder in Recent History » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Economic Plunder in Recent History » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
"In the mid 1990s Republican New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman re-directed contributions from the pension fund for state employees to the state general account while giving tax cuts to wealthy state residents. By purposely under-funding the pension plan Ms. Whitman was able to ‘balance’ the state budget while cutting taxes. And through pension accounting loopholes, the move provided the illusion the pension plan was adequately funded as massive deficits accrued.
Cut to 2011, current Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey legislature pass bi-partisan pension ‘reform’ that ‘solves’ the systematic looting of the pension plan by cutting promised payouts to pensioners."

America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
"Wall Street lobbyists blame unemployment and the loss of industrial competitiveness on government spending and budget deficits – especially on social programs – and labor’s demand to share in the economy’s rising productivity. The myth (perhaps we should call it junk economics) is that (1) governments should not run deficits (at least, not by printing their own money), because (2) public money creation and high taxes (at lest on the wealthy) cause prices to rise. The cure for economic malaise (which they themselves have caused), is said to beless public spending, along with more tax cuts for the wealthy, who euphemize themselves as “job creators.” Demanding budget surpluses, bank lobbyists promise that banks can provide the economy with enough purchasing power to grow. Then, when this ends in crisis, they insist that austerity can squeeze out enough income to enable private-sector debts to be paid.
The reality is that when banks load the economy down with debt, this leaves less to spend on domestic goods and services while driving up housing prices (and hence the cost of living) with reckless credit creation on looser lending terms. Yet on top of this debt deflation, bank lobbyists urge fiscal deflation: budget surpluses rather than pump-priming deficits."

The War Against Teachers | Alternet

The War Against Teachers | Alternet
"Right-wing fundamentalists and corporate ideologues are not just waging a war against the rights of unions, workers, students, women, the disabled, low-income groups and poor minorities, but also against those public spheres that provide a vocabulary for connecting values, desires, identities, social relations and institutions to the discourse of social responsibility, ethics, and democracy, if not thinking itself.  Neoliberalism, or unbridled free-market fundamentalism, employs modes of governance, discipline and regulation that are totalizing in their insistence that all aspects of social life be determined, shaped and weighted through market-driven measures. [2] Neoliberalism is not merely an economic doctrine that prioritizes buying and selling, makes the supermarket and mall the temples of public life and defines the obligations of citizenship in strictly consumerist terms. It is also a mode of pedagogy and set of social arrangements that uses education to win consent, produce consumer-based notions of agency and militarize reason in the service of war, profits, power and violence while simultaneously instrumentalizing all forms of knowledge."

Who Paid for the Log Cabin Republicans' Anti-Hagel NYT Ad? | Common Dreams

Who Paid for the Log Cabin Republicans' Anti-Hagel NYT Ad? | Common Dreams
"Last Thursday, the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) placed a full-page ad in the New York Times that attacked Chuck Hagel as anti-Israel and anti-gay and urged President Obama not to appoint him as Defense Secretary. This was quite a strange event for multiple reasons."

Lindsay Graham: I Will Destroy America’s Solvency Unless The Social Security Retirement Age Is Raised

Lindsay Graham: I Will Destroy America’s Solvency Unless The Social Security Retirement Age Is Raised: Although official Washington is currently fixated on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff,” the biggest threat to American prosperity is the debt ceiling, which must be raised in February to prevent economic catastrophe. If Republicans refuse to reach a deal on the so-called cliff, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that they will spark a new recession in [...]/p

Obama To Introduce Immigration Reform Bill In 2013

Obama To Introduce Immigration Reform Bill In 2013: President Obama reiterated his call for comprehensive immigration reform during an interview on Meet The Press, claiming that the effort will be a top goal in his second term. “Fixing our broken immigration is a top priority. I will introduce legislation in the first year to get that done,” Obama said. Administration officials have hinted [...]/p

5 Ways GOP Tried to Subvert Democracy in 2012 -- And They'll Try Again | Alternet

5 Ways GOP Tried to Subvert Democracy in 2012 -- And They'll Try Again | Alternet
"Creating barriers to voting, demonizing communities of color, attacking voting rights laws and their defenders, unleashing billionaires who financed candidates like an extreme sport, and hiding corporate donors behind opaque front groups—these were the chapters in the Republican Party’s electoral playbook in the 2012 election cycle."

5 Important U.S. Energy Stories of 2012 | Alternet

5 Important U.S. Energy Stories of 2012 | Alternet
"The news cycle was dominated by energy: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made fossil fuel extraction his number one priority; fossil fuel interests spent hundreds of millions of dollars to promote oil, coal, and gas during the election; and President Obama busily defended his promotion of renewable energy after getting attacked by the fossil fuel lobby."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Could Have Been: The Most Important Bills Blocked by Republicans in 2012 | Alternet

What Could Have Been: The Most Important Bills Blocked by Republicans in 2012 | Alternet
"The bills we could have passed if it wasn't for GOP obstructionism -- from a minimum wage increase to the Buffett Rule."

Congress Disgracefully Approves the FISA Warrantless Spying Bill for Five More Years, Rejects All Privacy Amendments | Common Dreams

Congress Disgracefully Approves the FISA Warrantless Spying Bill for Five More Years, Rejects All Privacy Amendments | Common Dreams
"Incredibly, the Senate rejected allthe proposed amendments that would have brought a modicum of transparency and oversight to the government's activities, despite previous refusals by the Executive branch to even estimate how many Americans are surveilled by this program or reveal critical secret court rulings interpreting it."

Crown Thy Good, America | Common Dreams

Crown Thy Good, America | Common Dreams
"Dennis Kucinich leaves office next week after 16 years in Congress, vowing  he'll serve to the end "with great energy....The whole concept of a lame duck doesn't work with me. I am not lame. I am not a duck. I am an eagle, and I'm still flying high." As a fond farewell, the great 2002 anti-war speech/prayer he offered "with hope for our country... with the understanding that freedom stirs the human heart, and fear stills it"."

How Corporate Interests Killed Common Sense

How Corporate Interests Killed Common Sense
"All in all, $40 million was spent to defeat a measure which would have expanded food labels. Food labels! Here is the million-dollar plus Hall of Shame, much of it reported after the election:"

Presenting America's Top Ten Greediest of 2012

Presenting America's Top Ten Greediest of 2012
"Most of them wear power suits and dart in and out of the executive suites that sit high atop America’s most elegant corporate towers. Year in and year out, these greedy grab ungodly rewards for their own labor — and deny their employees anything close to decent compensation for theirs."

The Ten Most Outrageous Economic Calamities of 2012 | Alternet

The Ten Most Outrageous Economic Calamities of 2012 | Alternet
"It was another year of Wall Street treachery. Those who took down our economy still have not been held accountable. Instead, Wall Street successfully lured the political establishment into a phony fiscal cliff/austerity debate. So instead of creating programs to put millions of Americans back to work, Washington is debating how much more to take away from the poor and the middleclass. Let's take a closer look at the most disastrous economic events from 2012. 
Here's our countdown:"

Climate Risks Have Been Underestimated for the Last 20 Years | Alternet

Climate Risks Have Been Underestimated for the Last 20 Years | Alternet
"The world's most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent, say a growing number of studies."

Friday, December 28, 2012

U.S. Sailors File Lawsuit: TEPCO Lied About Radiation Levels

U.S. Sailors File Lawsuit: TEPCO Lied About Radiation Levels
"How awful; I can't begin to imagine how many other unwitting rescue workers were exposed to dangerous levels. It seemed clear from the start that TEPCO was not telling the truth about the radiation levels:"

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi on the biggest Wall Street story of the year: Libor

GOP Senators Want To Take Debt Ceiling Hostage In Order To Raise Retirement Age

GOP Senators Want To Take Debt Ceiling Hostage In Order To Raise Retirement Age: Two Republican senators want to use the threat of an economic meltdown to raise the retirement age and cut Medicare. Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a plan today that would raise the federal debt limit by $1 trillion in exchange for $1 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, [...]/p

The Ruling Party of Billionaire-istan

Seven States Propose 'Irresponsible and Dangerous' Laws to Arm Teachers | Common Dreams

Seven States Propose 'Irresponsible and Dangerous' Laws to Arm Teachers | Common Dreams
"The concept, renewed by NRA President Wayne LaPierre a week after the shootings, has drawn harsh criticism from teachers unions, gun control advocates and individual educators, who call such proposals irresponsible and dangerous."

FL Pawn Shop Owner: 'I'm Not Going To Be Part Of It Anymore'

FL Pawn Shop Owner: 'I'm Not Going To Be Part Of It Anymore'
"Here's a powerful story about a gun seller's epiphany that has the gun nuts climbing the walls. "Turn in your man card," one poster on a gun site proclaimed. Well, yeah. If posturing with an assault weapon is what makes you a man, and not the ability to be a good dad and have empathy for other human beings, I guess that makes sense. Via Wonkette:"

Congress Delays Aid Bill as Sandy Victims Suffer

As U.S. Infrastructure Crumbles, China Opens World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line

As U.S. Infrastructure Crumbles, China Opens World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line
"as we're seeing U.S. infrastructure crumble due to Republican intransigence, China continues to leave us in the dust: Jobs and innovation, leaving the station:"

The Fiscal Cliff Is Just An Early Battle In A War Dems Will Win | The New Republic

The Fiscal Cliff Is Just An Early Battle In A War Dems Will Win | The New Republic
"So yes, by all means Mr. President, please bargain hard for as much revenue as you can get. The Bush tax cuts were terrible policy that saddled us with trillions in debt for little discernible economic payoff, and they exacerbated income inequality to boot."

Why Claiming US Has 'Best Health System' Is a Sick Joke | Common Dreams

Why Claiming US Has 'Best Health System' Is a Sick Joke | Common Dreams
"If simply spending more money qualified as "the best," then New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., could be forgiven for imagining we have "the best health care system in the world." Yet that money comes from somewhere, and it's coming from suffering families. A patient diagnosed with lung cancer in this country carries a 7 percent chance of bankruptcy within five years. Most family bankruptcies are precipitated by medical crises, and most of those families had insurance when the crisis began."

Constitution Puts Burden Of Budget Blame On Boehner

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Anti-Westboro Baptist Church Petition Reaches White House Milestone - Truthdig

Anti-Westboro Baptist Church Petition Reaches White House Milestone - Truthdig
"The petition, which was submitted on Dec. 14 by Grant B., had more than 270,000 signatures as of late Thursday morning. According to the site, the petition must be signed by at least 25,000 people to elicit an official White House response."

America Poised to Reap The Benefits Of Obamacare

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Robert Scheer: Cerberus Collected Ex-Government Opportunists - Truthdig

Robert Scheer: Cerberus Collected Ex-Government Opportunists - Truthdig
"How fitting that Dan Quayle, a bumbling excuse for a vice president of the United States, should end up as a top executive of a $20 billion private equity firm mired in controversy. Quayle, who signed on with Cerberus in 1999, was with that company during its takeover and subsequent bankruptcy of Chrysler, questionable military contracting deals in Afghanistan and, most recently, manufacturing the assault rifle used in the Newtown, Conn., massacre."

2013 Is Year Zero for Climate Change | The Nation

2013 Is Year Zero for Climate Change | The Nation
"As this wild year comes to an end, we return to the season of gifts. Here’s the gift you’re not going to get soon: any conventional version of Paradise. You know, the place where nothing much happens and nothing is demanded of you. The gifts you’ve already been given in 2012 include a struggle over the fate of the Earth. This is probably not exactly what you asked for, and I wish it were otherwise—but to do good work, to be necessary, to have something to give: these are the true gifts. And at least there’s still a struggle ahead of us, not just doom and despair."

Generals speak out on the War Profiteers & the Cliff

Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr., Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, joins Thom Hartmann. 4 days to go until the nation goes off the so-called "fiscal cliff." And nobody is paying closer attention to what's going on on Capitol Hill than the war profiteers in Virginia. What impact will looming defense cuts have - and might they actually be just the thing America needs to get back on the right track?

West Antarctica Warming Three Times Faster Than Global Average, Threatening To Destabilize This Unstable Ice Sheet

West Antarctica Warming Three Times Faster Than Global Average, Threatening To Destabilize This Unstable Ice Sheet: This is a repost of a National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) news release (plus links and excerpts from other recent studies at the end). BOULDER—In a finding that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study finds that the western part of the continent’s ice sheet [...]/p

Kidnappings, Pirates, Halliburton, Fracking, And Me.

Kidnappings, Pirates, Halliburton, Fracking, And Me.: by RL Miller The London-based Control Risks holds itself out as “an independent global risk consultancy specializing in helping organizations manage political, integrity, and security risks in complex and hostile environments.” Or, in practical terms, it provides anti-piracy services, handles kidnappings and other crises, and writes white papers analyzing terrorism risks in various countries. One [...]/p

Palm Oil Is in Everything from Soap to Waffles -- And Causing Massive Human Suffering and Environmental Harm | Alternet

Palm Oil Is in Everything from Soap to Waffles -- And Causing Massive Human Suffering and Environmental Harm | Alternet
"The ubiquity of palm oil may surprise you. At least one-quarter of all the products found in a grocery story contain palm oil or one of its hundreds of chemical derivatives. Here’s a short list of some of the common brands that use palm oil: 
  • Neutrogena: Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Night Cream
  • Aveda: Aveda Green Science’s Firming Face Cream
  • Clinique: Liquid Facial Soap Extra Mild
  • Kellogg’s: Girl Scout Cookies
  • NestlĂ©: Wonka Chocolate Bars
  • Kraft: Cool Whip
  • Earth Balance: Organic natural buttery spread
  • Nature’s Path: Organic buckwheat wildberry waffles
  • Clif Bar: Lemon Zest Luna Bar

Is Marijuana an 'Exit Drug'? Study Suggests Some Are Taking It as a Substitute for Prescription Drugs and Alcohol | Alternet

Is Marijuana an 'Exit Drug'? Study Suggests Some Are Taking It as a Substitute for Prescription Drugs and Alcohol | Alternet
"Three quarters of medical cannabis consumers report using it as a substitute for prescription drugs, alcohol, or some other illicit substance, according to survey data published in the journal  Addiction Research and Theory."

Whaddya Know? Professional Economy Wrecker Alan Greenspan Is at the Heart of the Insidiious 'Fix the Debt' Campaign | Alternet

Whaddya Know? Professional Economy Wrecker Alan Greenspan Is at the Heart of the Insidiious 'Fix the Debt' Campaign | Alternet
"Alan Greenspan will go down in history as the person who has done more damage to the U.S. economy and society that anyone who was not a foreign enemy. In fact the destruction he wreaked through his incompetence would also exceed the damage caused by almost all would-be enemies as well.
Greenspan accomplished the remarkable feat as Fed chair of ignoring the growth of the $8 trillion housing bubble. This bubble could not have been easier to see if it had been 500 feet high and lit up with huge neon signs saying "Huge Housing Bubble." But Greenspan insisted the bubble was not there. And Greenspan somehow didn't recognize that the collapse of this massive bubble would devastate the economy."

What Could Have Been: The Most Important Bills Blocked By Republicans In 2012

What Could Have Been: The Most Important Bills Blocked By Republicans In 2012: 1. A minimum wage increase. House Democrats proposed legislation in June that would have raised the national minimum wage to $10 an hour, but Republicans blocked it. The minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, even though it would need to be raised to $9.92 to match the borrowing power it had in 1968. If [...]/p

Hobby Lobby To Deny Contraception To Employees, Ignoring Court Order

Hobby Lobby To Deny Contraception To Employees, Ignoring Court Order: Craft store chain Hobby Lobby announced on Friday that it will ignore the ruling of U.S. courts and refuse to provide copay-free birth control access to its employees. It will do so despite whatever costs it may incur, even if they are higher than the cost of birth control itself. Upon learning that Obamacare required [...]/p

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chick-fil-A’s Latest Horror -- Children's Book Loaded with Propaganda to Conceal the Horrors of Corporate Agriculture | Alternet

Chick-fil-A’s Latest Horror -- Children's Book Loaded with Propaganda to Conceal the Horrors of Corporate Agriculture | Alternet
"This is not an overstatement. Chick-fil-A, like most fast-food companies, is the retail expression of the factory farming industry — an industry whose  hideous treatment of animals, vertical integration and rooting in monoculture is the opposite of the diversified family farm so beautifully glorified in “The Jolly Barnyard.” Perhaps worse, as a primary buyer — and, thus financial supporter — of the factory-farmed products, Chick-fil-A is one of the major fast-food players responsible for the demise of “Jolly Barnyard”-esque family farms.
But rather than own up to its record with a children’s book about its odious business model, Chick-Fil-A (not surprisingly) wants kids to think of it through a much more pleasant story."

This 15-Year-Old Kid May Have Just Saved Your Life

This 15-Year-Old Kid May Have Just Saved Your Life
"Of all the things that happened this year, one of the most important innovations is one you probably didn't know about. A fifteen-year-old boy named Jack Andraka has developed a cheap, easy and highly accurate paper sensor for the early detection of pancreatic cancer, and in May, he won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the medical and health sciences category, earning a $75,000 prize."

Arizona Attorney-General Calls For Arming School Principals

Arizona Attorney-General Calls For Arming School Principals: Merging an environment of state budget cuts with calls for heavily arming schools, Arizona Attorney-General Tom Horne has suggested arming school principals or “another designee.” On Friday, the National Rifle Association in a press conference called for there to be armed police officers in every school to prevent attacks along the lines of the elementary [...]/p

Why We Should All Care About Today's Senate Vote on the FISA Amendments Act, the Warrantless Domestic Spying Bill | Common Dreams

Why We Should All Care About Today's Senate Vote on the FISA Amendments Act, the Warrantless Domestic Spying Bill | Common Dreams
"Today is an incredibly important vote for the future of your digital privacy, but some in Congress are hoping you won’t find out."

How Big Business Poisons Academic Research | Common Dreams

How Big Business Poisons Academic Research | Common Dreams
"Yet public funding for that kind of research has eroded over recent decades, and these schools have turned to corporations to augment their budgets. The consequences of increasing dependence on profit-driven research in academia are becoming troublingly clear. The recent exposure of numerous sham scientific reports generated by biased individuals at supposedly objective institutions should draw intense public scrutiny to this new era of corporate-funded science."

Matt Taibbi on the Biggest Wall Street Scandal of 2012 | Alternet

Matt Taibbi on the Biggest Wall Street Scandal of 2012 | Alternet
"16 biggest banks in the world fixing global interest rates -- that's hard to beat."

The Craziest Republican Legislative Proposals Of 2012

The Craziest Republican Legislative Proposals Of 2012: 1. Outlawing the dollar. Washington state lawmakers introduced a bill that would have outlawed the paper dollar, because “only gold and silver may be recognized as government legal tender.” This is just part and parcel of the extreme right’s continuing fascination with goldbuggery, a fascination to which the Republican party’s presidential candidates gladly pandered. 2. [...]/p

Don't Cut Social Security -- Double It | Alternet

Don't Cut Social Security -- Double It | Alternet
"Fiscal cliff chatter about slashing the venerable program ignores its fundamental potential and underlying strength."

As America Mourned a Shooting Tragedy, Cynical Christian Right Leaders Tried to Cash in by Blaming Atheism | Alternet

As America Mourned a Shooting Tragedy, Cynical Christian Right Leaders Tried to Cash in by Blaming Atheism | Alternet
"The idiots -- religious village idiots that is -- are at it again. I thought Dobson was dead but I guess not. He's just retired. He's still alive enough to act like the zombie-for-Jesus'-younger-dumber-brother he is.(I went on his show 3 times back in the day when I too was part of the religious idiots club.) Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association hate host talk-show host, and Franklin-sell-my-soul-to-the-Mormos-because -I-hate-Obama-so-much-Graham (of course), the president and CEO of the tax-exempt Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was not to be outdone."

The NRA and Gun Companies Stand to Profit From Newtown Tragedy | Common Dreams

The NRA and Gun Companies Stand to Profit From Newtown Tragedy | Common Dreams
"Gun companies, like almost any profit-driven enterprise, must keep pace with investor demands. Unlike most consumer businesses, however, people generally only need to buy their product once. Guns are very durable, and a well-maintained one can last a lifetime.

That’s where the National Rifle Association comes in."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Payback! Hundreds of Homeowners Associations Threaten Banks with Foreclosure | Alternet

Payback! Hundreds of Homeowners Associations Threaten Banks with Foreclosure | Alternet
"Florida is one of the states hardest hit by foreclosures, and there are nearly a half-million foreclosed houses now standing vacant and often slowly deteriorating. When a bank forecloses on a house, evicts the family and then repossesses the property, it also assumes responsibility for maintaining the home and yard and paying homeowner or condo association fees. Yet, some of the nation’s largest and richest banks have been unable or unwilling to upkeep their properties—prompting neighbors across Florida to declare enough is enough."

Conservatives’ Infighting Reaches Melt-Down Levels | Alternet

Conservatives’ Infighting Reaches Melt-Down Levels | Alternet
"Most recently, on Christmas Day, those of us who loathe Dick Armey received the gift of Amy Gardner’s Washington Post expose, which detailed the way he tried to take over FreedomWorks backed by a gun-toting thug, and wound up, defeated, with an $8 million golden parachute."

Fix the debt? How about fixing private pensions first

Fix the debt? How about fixing private pensions first
"While America's CEOs are fretting about the government's so-called "fiscal cliff," millions of American workers face a financial disaster that gets much less media attention. There's a half-trillion-dollar deficit in the nation's worker retirement benefits."

11 Pieces Of Pro-Voting Legislation For 2013

11 Pieces Of Pro-Voting Legislation For 2013: The past two years have not been kind to voting rights. Across the country, the Tea Party wave of 2010 led to new restrictive voting measures, including photo identification requirements and cuts in early voting. In total, these changes had the potential to disenfranchise more than 5 million Americans. However, with progressive victories in the [...]/p

Murdered Woman’s Family Sues For Greater Online Gun Control

Murdered Woman’s Family Sues For Greater Online Gun Control: On December 12, 2012, the family of shooting victim Jitka Vesel sued the online gun market Armslist.com for the wrongful death of their loved one, who had been shot about 12 times in a parking lot in Illinois, by a gunman who had illegally obtained his weapon on the website. Vesel’s brother hopes that lawmakers [...]/p

CNBC Anchor Bartiromo Attacks Sen. Cardin Over 'Fiscal Cliff' Negotiations

CNBC Anchor Bartiromo Attacks Sen. Cardin Over 'Fiscal Cliff' Negotiations
"Bartiromo is being paid pretty well to make sure the interests of the 1 percent in this country are protected, and she's got that feigned outrage down pat just like a ton of Republicans we sadly get treated to on the air these days. If anyone isn't sure what a hissy fit looks like about the fact that it's possible their taxes might go up, all you have to do is watch the clip above.
Bartiromo is being paid a salary of $1 million a year and has a net worth of about $22 million. It's a shame that information isn't run in the chyron under her name on the air every time she opens her mouth so the viewers would be made aware of her conflict of interest with her so-called "reporting" every time she starts carping about taxes on the rich going up. It's her own taxes she's complaining about."

5 Biggest GOP Mess Ups | Alternet

5 Biggest GOP Mess Ups | Alternet
"What Republicans got wrong in 2012."

Bipartisan Group Of Former National Security Advisers Condemn Attacks On Hagel

Bipartisan Group Of Former National Security Advisers Condemn Attacks On Hagel: Four former national security advisers in a letter to the editor in the Washington Post published on Tuesday denounced what New York TImes columnist Tom Friedman described as “disgusting” attacks on former Republican senator Chuck Hagel and praised Hagel’s prior service to the United States. Responding to a Dec. 21 Post story on Hagel’s potential [...]/p

There Are Now As Many Nonreligious Americans As Evangelicals -- 6 Ways Politicians Can Court Their Vote | Alternet

There Are Now As Many Nonreligious Americans As Evangelicals -- 6 Ways Politicians Can Court Their Vote | Alternet
"The nonreligious are proving to be a crucial voting bloc."

Endangered Colorado: Is it Too Late to Save One of Our Greatest Rivers? | Alternet

Endangered Colorado: Is it Too Late to Save One of Our Greatest Rivers? | Alternet
"What once was a majestic river is today a saline slurry, with a salt content so high it cannot be used to water even the most hardy of garden plants. What have we done?"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Doing Time for Peace » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Doing Time for Peace » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
"Hundreds of Americans, young and old, are regularly going to prison, sometimes for months or years or decades, for nonviolently resisting U.S. militarism."

Two US Firefighters Shot Dead in Arson 'Trap' | Alternet

Two US Firefighters Shot Dead in Arson 'Trap' | Alternet
"We are being shot at. Multiple firemen down. Multiple firemen are shot. I am shot. I think he is using an assault rifle. We have multiple firemen down. Working fire," said the injured man, according to a police scanner recording broadcast by Fox News.

Monday, December 24, 2012

How a Country With One of the World's Largest Economies Is Ditching Fossil Fuels | Alternet

How a Country With One of the World's Largest Economies Is Ditching Fossil Fuels | Alternet
"The country is headed for 80 percent renewable energy and has complete buy-in from all political parties."

GOP Rep: NRA Plan To Put Guns In Schools Would Create ‘Orwellian Surveillance State’

GOP Rep: NRA Plan To Put Guns In Schools Would Create ‘Orwellian Surveillance State’: Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) blasted National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s plan to put armed guards in school, worrying that it would lead to “an Orwellian police state in America.” Paul, a libertarian most famous for his numerous presidential runs, connected the NRA proposal to onerous TSA regulations in statement on his [...]/p

STUDY: Antarctica Is Heating Up Even Faster Than Previously Thought

STUDY: Antarctica Is Heating Up Even Faster Than Previously Thought: Dangerous climate-change induced melting of Antartica’s ice may be happening even faster than we think, as a new study has found that Antarctica is warming far more quickly than scientists had previously thought. The study, published in the journal Natural Geoscience, reviewed a previously spotty dataset on Antarctic temperature, correcting several gaps. The New York [...]/p

'Ominous' New Research: Earth's Coldest Regions Warming Fastest | Common Dreams

'Ominous' New Research: Earth's Coldest Regions Warming Fastest | Common Dreams
"The litany of extreme weather events this year and the mounting discoveries supplied by climate scientists have made 2012 a year in which the realities of a warmer planet make ignoring the impacts of human caused climate change no longer possible."

Meet the Grandfather of the Fiscal Cliff: He Works for ALEC | Alternet

Meet the Grandfather of the Fiscal Cliff: He Works for ALEC | Alternet
"Arthur Laffer, author of the discredited trickle-down economics of the Reagan administration, is back with a vengeance, selling his snake oil to state legislatures across the nation."

The 7 Worst Things About McDonald's | Alternet

The 7 Worst Things About McDonald's | Alternet
"McDonald’s has become synonymous with food that’s terrible for you, low-wage jobs and overzealous marketing to children. Largely that’s because of McDonald’s scale; the company serves more customers each day than the entire population of Great Britain, and it hires some one million workers each year (reportedly one in eight Americans have been employed by McDonald’s).
This is all to say that there’s a lot to hate about McDonald’s. As such, here is a not-comprehensive list of some of the more outrageous facts about McDonald’s, past and present."

Firefighters Shot While Battling Christmas Eve Blaze

Firefighters Shot While Battling Christmas Eve Blaze: At least 4 firefighters were shot, and two reportedly killed, while responding to a house fire in Webster, New York early Monday morning. As first responders moved in to battle the blaze, a gunman who is still at large opened fire, prompting officials to evacuate the entire scene while the flames enveloped the house and [...]/p

Sunday, December 23, 2012

PERRspectives: Romney "Had No Desire" to Be President

PERRspectives: Romney "Had No Desire" to Be President
"At the end of the day, Mitt Romney didn't care about half the voters; certainly not enough to tell them the truth."

Lindsey Graham Continues His Hostage Taking Threats on the Debt Ceiling

Lindsey Graham Continues His Hostage Taking Threats on the Debt Ceiling
"Here we go again with Lindsey Graham continuing to threaten to use the debt ceiling to inflict pain on the working class, or as he calls it, "saving Social Security and Medicare." Graham made this exact same threat almost a year ago where he was a little more specific about his plans for our social safety nets."

Michelle Malkin: NRA Has Been Demonized by 'Crazed, Anti-Gun, Liberal Media'

Michelle Malkin: NRA Has Been Demonized by 'Crazed, Anti-Gun, Liberal Media'
"Regardless of what Rupert's publication thinks, here was Malkin on Fox & Friends this Saturday, attacking liberals for rightfully going after LaPierre and his bizarre, tone deaf press conference this week, and right in there with wingnuts like Rick Perry and company that want to arm school teachers."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mosque Arsonist: Fox News Made Me Do It! | Alternet

Mosque Arsonist: Fox News Made Me Do It! | Alternet
"An Indiana man who pleaded guilty yesterday to setting an Ohio mosque on fire told a judge he was motivated by media accounts – specifically those on Fox News – suggesting Muslims were threatening Americans and were in control of parts of the federal government."

Pastor: 9/11 and CT School Shooting were 'Gracious' Acts of God's Judgment | Right Wing Watch

Pastor: 9/11 and CT School Shooting were 'Gracious' Acts of God's Judgment | Right Wing Watch
"Pastor Bill Elliff of the Arkansas-based The Summit Church and the Religious Right group OneCry appeared on AFA Today with host Buster Wilson this week where he explained that the September 11 attacks and the elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut were “gracious” acts of divine punishment. He said that God allowed the two tragedies to occur because of “our humanistic pride” and secular government in order to “bring us to our senses and bring us back to him.”
Wilson was positively dumbfounded as to why people would be offended by such rhetoric and similar language by AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who said that God refused to stop the school shooting because he’s a “gentleman,” and Elliff worried the U.S. is going the way of the Roman and British empires."

Climate-denying Indiana Regulator Helps ALEC Coal Companies Delay EPA Climate Rules | Alternet

Climate-denying Indiana Regulator Helps ALEC Coal Companies Delay EPA Climate Rules | Alternet
"Leaked documents reveal that ALEC's anti-environmental jamboree was inundated with coal money and featured an Indiana regulator advising coal utilities on delaying EPA rules."

PERRspectives: The Fiscal Cliffs of Dover

PERRspectives: The Fiscal Cliffs of Dover
"That doesn't mean the world will end if the U.S. goes over the cliff on January 1st. After all, Congress and the Obama administration can take action any time before or after December 31, 2012 to avoid the new recession inaction would likely produce. But whatever agreement President Obama reaches with Congressional Republicans cannot slash the debt too fast too soon. Economic growth and job creation, not deficit reduction, must be the top priority for the United States.
This week, the Washington Post summed up what premature austerity looks like. "Fiscal cliff?" Anthony Faiola asked, "Britain has already jumped." And we know what happened after that leap."

Can Boehner Be Bailed Out?

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Wisconsin's Scott Walker Trusts Teachers with Guns, But Not Collective Bargaining | Alternet

Wisconsin's Scott Walker Trusts Teachers with Guns, But Not Collective Bargaining | Alternet
"Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, who became nationally known for severely limiting the union rights of teachers and other public employees, has indicated support for arming those same school officials who apparently cannot be trusted to collectively bargain."

Alex Pareene's Super Hack List: Politico, The Washington Post, Newsweek | Alternet

Alex Pareene's Super Hack List: Politico, The Washington Post, Newsweek | Alternet
"A list of the worst of political media highlights."

The NRA Breaks Its Silence

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Sen. John Kerry Chosen for U.S. Secretary of State | Common Dreams

Sen. John Kerry Chosen for U.S. Secretary of State | Common Dreams
"U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry on Friday to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him “the perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead"."

Connecticut School Officials Blast NRA’s Reaction To Newtown

Connecticut School Officials Blast NRA’s Reaction To Newtown: Teachers, school superintends, mayors and police chiefs in Connecticut are rejecting the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) response to the shooting in Newtown, describing the gun lobby’s proposal to equip schools with armed guards and more guns as too simplistic, shameful, and opportunistic. One Connecticut school superintendent dismissed the NRA’s suggestion as “an ill-conceived reaction from [...]/p

The Right’s Second Amendment Lies | Common Dreams

The Right’s Second Amendment Lies | Common Dreams
"Right-wing resistance to meaningful gun control is driven, in part, by a false notion that America’s Founders adopted the Second Amendment because they wanted an armed population that could battle the U.S. government. The opposite is the truth, but many Americans seem to have embraced this absurd, anti-historical narrative."

Friday, December 21, 2012

10 Energy Numbers To Remember From 2012

10 Energy Numbers To Remember From 2012:  Sometimes energy makes headlines, sometimes it doesn’t.  But it almost always has important implications for the global economy, the environment, and our day-to-day lives. Here are 10 energy statistics from 2012 that capture some of the most noteworthy trends of the year, and that will shape the energy world in [...]/p

It’s a Mad, Mad Michigan

It’s a Mad, Mad Michigan
"It is a lot to take in. But, look: Michigan is worth your attention. And it’s worth the fight."

NRA Slammed for Push for Guns in Every School | Common Dreams

NRA Slammed for Push for Guns in Every School | Common Dreams
"The reaction from Newtown, Connecticut to gun control advocates to commentators is clear: putting more guns in schools is not the answer."

Morning Joe Host Goes Off On Republican Congressman For Questioning His Embrace Of Gun Safety

Morning Joe Host Goes Off On Republican Congressman For Questioning His Embrace Of Gun Safety: Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) accused MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and other gun safety advocates of politicizing the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to advance a “political agenda” of greater gun safety, outraging the former Florida Congressman. “I think it’s an issue of the Second Amendment,” Huelskamp said in response to a question abut why he opposes [...]/p

NRA Blames Everything Except Guns: Outdated Video Games, Hurricanes, And Corporate Media Led To Newtown

NRA Blames Everything Except Guns: Outdated Video Games, Hurricanes, And Corporate Media Led To Newtown: The National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun advocates lobby, attributed the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to “school free zones,” arguing that “genuine monsters” are attracted to schools because its administrators and teachers are not armed. “Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them,” NRA Executive Vice President [...]/p

The 10 Craziest Quotes From The NRA Press Conference

The 10 Craziest Quotes From The NRA Press Conference: After remaining completely silent in the week following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held a press conference in Washington D.C. on Friday to call for more guns in schools and blame the media for glorifying violence, while demonizing gun owners. Below are the 10 craziest statements from NRA Executive Vice [...]/p

Milk Prices Likely To Soar In January After Republican Obstruction Blocked The Farm Bill In The House

Milk Prices Likely To Soar In January After Republican Obstruction Blocked The Farm Bill In The House: House Republicans let the five-year farm bill expire at the end of September without a new law to replace the massive measure covering billions of dollars in programs, including food stamps and agriculture subsidies. The Senate passed its own bipartisan, 10-year farm bill in June, and House Democrats and farm state Republicans attempted to force [...]/p

Front Group for Military-Industrial Complex Pushes Hard to Slash Social Programs and Avoid Pentagon Cuts | Alternet

Front Group for Military-Industrial Complex Pushes Hard to Slash Social Programs and Avoid Pentagon Cuts | Alternet
"As the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations drag on in Washington with the media covering Repubican House Speaker John Boehner’slatest temper tantrums, a bipartisan coalition of former government officials with deep ties to the defense industry and Wall Street are ratcheting up the pressure to cut retirement programs while sparing military contractors."

Is Our Republic Ending? 8 Striking Parallels Between the Fall of Rome and U.S. | Alternet

Is Our Republic Ending? 8 Striking Parallels Between the Fall of Rome and U.S. | Alternet
"When read together, striking parallels emerge -- between our failings and the failings that destroyed the Roman Republic. As with Rome just before the Republic's fall, America has seen:"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bill Moyers: Remember The Victims of Sandy Hook, and Reject the Violence | Alternet

Bill Moyers: Remember The Victims of Sandy Hook, and Reject the Violence | Alternet
"It helps to say their names, to rescue them from the statistical anonymity that always settles over these awful events. It helps those of us distanced from the loss to imagine, even grieve, the emptiness in the homes and hearts of those who loved them. They will never forget. We mourn, move on, and too soon forget. And then it will happen again one day, and we will scratch our heads and ask ourselves, “Was the last time Newtown? Or Columbine? Was it Aurora? Or that college in Virginia?” And once again we will mourn, move on, and too soon forget."