Tag Archives | Democracy

Who Creates Jobs (and Other Critical Questions)

Help WantedTom Matlack writes on The Good Men Project:

The web is abuzz with TED’s decision not to let a former Amazon.com investor make his case for middle-class job creation. Meanwhile Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gets ready to watch his $20 or so billion become liquid when his company opens trading this morning. The French and Greeks have elected liberal leaders who campaigned against austerity as the answer to the Euro debt crisis. And here in the United States the general election is kicking into high gear with the Romney campaign releasing this ad yesterday in key swing states.

Let’s try to get a few things straight here before resorting to mud slinging.

1) Any way you slice it we have a debt problem threatening to kill us.

Government spending here in the United States and across much of the developed world is completely out of control. As of March 2012, debt held by the public was $10.85 trillion or approximately 70% GDP, while the intragovernmental debt was $4.74 trillion or approximately 30% GDP.… Read the rest

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America Is Making Its Own Pilots Sick (Video)

F-22 RaptorDraw your own conclusions, but where active members of the military speak out, we all should be listening. As reported by 60 Minutes:
Military officers rarely speak out against their services, but in our lead story you'll hear from two elite pilots who question the safety of Air Force's most sophisticated, stealthy, and expensive fighter jet, the F-22 Raptor. Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Joshua Wilson have chosen to stop flying the F-22 because they say during some flights they and other pilots have experienced oxygen deprivation, disorientation, and worse. They are concerned about their safety in the air, as well as the long-term health consequences. The Air Force says it is doing all it can to investigate and solve the problem, and are keeping the jets in the air with careful supervision of the pilots.
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Iceberg Ahead: The Big Money That is Sinking Democracy

TitanicI keep thinking of that clear April night 100 years ago when the unsinkable RMS Titanic steamed towards New York. It was actually on its way to dock just a few blocks from where I live at what are now the Chelsea Piers. There was a sense of optimism abroad as a new record for a speedy transatlantic passage was about to be set.

There was music, dancing and fine wine. That is, until they saw that iceberg high in the water. The captain and his mates were aware that 80 percent of it was underwater and out of sight. They didn’t react in time.

Everyone knows the story—most recently recreated in 3D—but the lesson is really not just about that great ship that went down, or even the company that bypassed safety regulations, or even the hubris of the owners whose greed sent so many passengers to that legendary “watery grave.”

It was also about not seeing the dangers in front of us.… Read the rest

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Nuclear Weapons On A Street Near You

Mother Jones on how nuclear weapons quietly pass through major U.S. cities:

At a cost of $250 million a year, nearly 600 couriers employed by this secretive agency within the US Department of Energy use some of the nation’s busiest roads.

Yet hiding nukes in plain sight, and rolling them through major metropolises like Atlanta, Denver, and LA, raises a slew of security and environmental concerns, from theft to terrorist attack to radioactive spills. Moreover, in recent years the OST’s nuke truckers have had a spotty track record—including spills, problems with drinking on the job, weapons violations, and even criminal activity.

nukemap

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Democrats and Republicans Won’t Return Ponzi Payoffs From A Convicted Criminal

Robert Allen Stanford Mugshot

Robert Allen Stanford Mugshot

Michael Winship reports on TruthOut:

On Tuesday, Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 criminal counts of fraud. As the New York Times reported:

The jury decision followed a six-week trial and came three years after Mr. Stanford was accused of defrauding nearly 30,000 investors in 113 countries in a Ponzi scheme involving $7 billion in fraudulent high-interest certificates of deposit at the Stanford International Bank, which was based on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Media accounts of Stanford’s conviction were filled with stories of his excesses — mansions, private yachts and jets, and so much money invested in Antigua — including bribes — the small island awarded him a knighthood. Among his other indulgences, noted the Reuters news service: “He bought a castle in Florida for one of his girlfriends and his oldest daughter lived in a million-dollar condominium in Houston.

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The Declining Influence of the U.S. Constitution

Joel S. Hirschhorn writes at Common Dreams:

Among Americans there remains strong pride about the US Constitution, even though there is widespread support for creating reform amendments to it. Globally, however, what should surprise Americans is a significant loss of respect for it. Other nations, especially those creating new democracies, see better constitutions elsewhere.  This is not opinion. It is fact.  And it is important to understand this historic shift.

new university study sends a disturbing message to all Americans that want to hang on to the fiction that the US constitution is not only the world’s best one, but does not need to be improved.  Do not mentally block this finding: “The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,” according to the study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.

What exists today is far different than what was proudly proclaimed in 1987, on the Constitution’s bicentennial, by Time magazine which calculated that “of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version.”

Why has the US Constitution lost standing abroad even though Americans cling to their belief that it is sacred and the world’s best constitution?

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Are the Koch Brothers Funding Rush Limbaugh?

Rush Limbaugh by Ian MarsdenJust in time for the release of Brave New Foundation’s new film, Koch Brothers Exposed, Rush Limbaugh has thrown in with Charles and David Koch in their letter war with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. No surprise there; Rush has made his fortune defending the rich and powerful against the 99%. But does Rush actually have a vested interest in the Koch brothers’ success?

The letter war started when Messina sent a fundraising letter saying the billionaire brothers bankroll “Tea Party extremism” and manipulate oil prices to buttress their energy business. The Kochs responded that Obama was treading on their “right to free speech.” (To them, I guess, being criticized by the president is tantamount to being arrested for sedition.) Team Obama shot back again, and here we are.

Rush has taken to the airwaves and lauded the Kochs. “This is how you do it,” he says. And on the surface, the reason for Rush’s apologetics is straightforward enough: he’s a man of the Right, and so are the Koch brothers.… Read the rest

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How Accurate Were the Nevada Republican Caucus Results?

NevadaMark Wachtler writes in the Examiner:
For the second time in just five primary states, the Republican Party, with the assistance of the national corporate news media, is raising questions about the legitimacy of this season’s primary election system. First, the Iowa Republican Party and the entire American media knowingly reported the wrong Iowa Caucus results with the wrong person being declared the winner. Last night, it appears the same thing may be happening in Nevada. And again like Iowa, critics are accusing the GOP of suspicious activity. Perhaps it’s indicative that the beneficiary of these recurring vote counting “mistakes” always seems to be former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He’s just happens to be the same man that both the Republican Party establishment and the four corporations that own all of America’s news media outlets are actively supporting.
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Phil Donahue on America’s War Fever (Video)

On Piers Morgan Tonight of all places, Phil Donahue (who was kicked off MSNBC for being too anti-war in the wake of 9/11), speaks about the Bizarro world our political leaders live in when it comes to honest discussion about how America goes to war. (Side note: checking out the book Donahue references War Made Easy by Norman Solomon is enlightening.) Discussion starts around 35 seconds into this clip.
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