Friday, April 15, 2011


Friday, April 15th, 2011
Do you wonder (like I do) what the tax accountants and executives are doing over at GE this weekend? Frantically rushing to fill out their IRS returns like the rest of us?
Hardly. They're taking the weekend off to throw themselves a big party and have a hearty laugh at all of us. It must really crack them up to see us like suckers scurrying around to make sure we report everything to Uncle Sam -- and even send him a check, if necessary.
The joke's on us, folks. GE and tons of other corporations will have a tax bill for 2010 of ZERO. GE had $14.2 billion in profits in 2010. Yet they will contribute NOTHING to the federal government while every last dime is soaked from us.
In the latest budget deal, our politicians could have tackled the deficit by stopping the flow of these ill-gotten billions to corporations. Instead they cut billions from "wasteful" programs that do "wasteful" things, like create new jobs, drive economic growth, and help the needy and our nation's children. It's Democracy in reverse and it sickens me.
GE spends $20 million a year to lobby Congress to throw themselves this party. But do you know what speaks louder than $20 million? 20 million votes! 20 million people, and more, standing together and taking to the streets. That starts now, with you.
This coming Monday, April 18th is Tax Day -- and that's the day when "we the people" will demand our country back from these corporations in events all across the country. You can find the nearest event to you here.
MoveOn members -- along with union, community, and environmental allies -- will gather outside the headquarters and local offices of the biggest corporate tax dodgers to deliver tax bills from the American people. And we'll demand that our leaders make these corporate deadbeats pay.
We're doing this because we don't buy into the Big Lie: that greedy teachers caused the crash on Wall Street! That the selfish firefighters sent millions of jobs overseas! That pregnant woman, infants, and children are sending us into deficit!
No, it was the big corporations that did this. It was the CEOs and the top 1% of the country. THEY brought on the mortgage crisis. THEY made off with trillions of dollars from our economy. THEY are systematically destroying the middle class. And THEY have bought and sold the very people elected to represent us!
On Monday, we will have something to say to Exxon, Chevron, and the big banks that crashed our economy and got billions in bailouts, like Citigroup and Bank of America, who pay little or no federal income tax. In fact, the IRS will likely give them a tax REBATE. If that doesn't boggle your mind then nothing will.
The Tax Day events are about sending this message: We are coming after you, we are stopping you and we are going to return the money, jobs, and homes you stole from the people. This is your tipping point, Corporate America. And I, for one, am glad it's going to happen this Monday.
If you've never been to an event like this before, this is the time. And don't go alone, because none of us can win this fight by ourselves. Plus, it's more fun and exciting to go along with friends and family to be part of real democracy in action -- not the store-bought kind Big Business gets on Capitol Hill.
I really hope you can make it. This is our chance, my friends. Take the time on Monday to make your voice heard. I can guarantee you I will. Please join me.
Michael Moore

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Five myths about why the South seceded - The Washington Post


Veterans For Peace has joined in endorsing “Sounds of Resistance,” a concert and protest against Wall Street banks that draws the connections between militarism, Wall Street, the wealth divide and the downward spiral of the wealth of most Americans. The event, on April 15 at 11:00 a.m. in New York City’s Union Square Park, is part of a democratic awakening that more and more Americans are joining.

Americans are recognizing the link between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street oligarchs—a connection that goes back to the beginning of the modern U.S. empire. Banks have always profited from war because the debt created by banks results in ongoing war profit for big finance; and because wars have been used to open countries to U.S. corporate and banking interests. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan wrote: “the large banking interests were deeply interested in the world war because of the wide opportunities for large profits.”

Many historians now recognize that a hidden history for U.S. entry into World War I was to protect U.S. investors. U.S. commercial interests had invested heavily in European allies before the war: “By 1915, American neutrality was being criticized as bankers and merchants began to loan money and offer credits to the warring parties, although the Central Powers received far less. Between 1915 and April 1917, the Allies received 85 times the amount loaned to Germany.” The total dollars loaned to all Allied borrowers during this period was $2,581,300,000. The bankers saw that if Germany won, their loans to European allies would not be repaid. The leading U.S. banker of the era, J.P. Morgan and his associates did everything they could to push the United States into the war on the side of England and France. Morgan said: "We agreed that we should do all that was lawfully in our power to help the Allies win the war as soon as possible." President Woodrow Wilson, who campaigned saying he would keep the United States out of war, seems to have entered the war to protect U.S. banks’ investments in Europe.

The most decorated Marine in history, Smedley Butler, described fighting for U.S. banks in many of the wars he fought in. He said: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes how World Bank and IMF loans are used to generate profits for U.S. business and saddle countries with huge debts that allow the United States to control them. It is not surprising that former civilian military leaders like Robert McNamara and Paul Wolfowitz went on to head the World Bank. These nations’ debt to international banks ensures they are controlled by the United States, which pressures them into joining the “coalition of the willing” that helped invade Iraq or allowing U.S. military bases on their land. If countries refuse to "honor" their debts, the CIA or Department of Defense enforces U.S. political will through coups or military action.

Tarak Kauff, Veteran For Peace activist and organizer, stated, "There are trillions for wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya, billions yearly to support Israel's occupation and oppression of Palestine, again trillions in bailouts to make those at the top of the economic food chain even more powerful, but relative pennies for our children's education, adequate health care, infrastructure, housing and other necessities of Americans. Yet big corporate banks are thriving and, like Bank of America, pay no taxes. But you do, and I do, and working people all across this country pay taxes. I ask, what are we paying for and into whose pockets is it going? The wealth of this country is disappearing down the tubes into the stuffed pockets of the financial/military/industrial oligarchs. Americans are being bled dry while people of the world are literally bleeding and dying from U.S.-made weapons and warfare. Do we not see the connection?"

More and more people are indeed seeing the connection between corporate banksterism and militarism; they are seeing how uncontrolled spending on war is resulting in austerity at home. In a recent interview, Cornel West brought the issues of the wealth divide, Wall Street and militarism together. Prof. West also spoke about Obama, calling him “a cagey neoliberal at home and a liberal neoconservative abroad" who expanded the wars and military while re-enforcing the existing Wall Street-dominated power structure at home, a president who has abandoned the poor and working class and is becoming” a pawn of big finance and a puppet of big business." See the interview with Professor West here:


Robert Reich | Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich
Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "It's tax time. It's also a time when right-wing Republicans are setting the agenda for massive spending cuts that will hurt most Americans. Here's the truth: The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich."
Read the Article

Scott Walker's Attorney Says Justice David Prosser Is Vital to Anti-Worker Agenda
Travis Waldron, ThinkProgress: "The success of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's anti-worker agenda is hinging on the outcome of the state Supreme Court election, according to an e-mail sent to Walker's supporters by his chief counsel, Brian Hagedorn. The race is currently too close to call, with challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg holding a 309-vote lead over Walker ally Justice David Prosser with five precincts left to report."
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US Sees Array of New Threats at Japan's Nuclear Plant
James Glanz and William J. Broad, The New York Times: "United States government engineers sent to help with the crisis in Japan are warning that the troubled nuclear plant there is facing a wide array of fresh threats that could persist indefinitely, and that in some cases are expected to increase as a result of the very measures being taken to keep the plant stable, according to a confidential assessment prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."
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Robert Scheer | "The Peasants Need Pitchforks"
Robert Scheer, Truthdig: "The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled 'Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%' Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: 'Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.'"
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If US Government Shuts Down, Some Services Would Continue
Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers: "If the federal government runs out of money this weekend with no agreement to extend the budget, some essential services would continue even though the U.S. government would shutdown. But much of the government would shut down. Roughly 800,000 federal employees would be furloughed, including many civilian workers at the Pentagon, and much of the White House staff. National parks would close. Hand-mailed tax returns would go unopened. The National Institutes of Health would treat current patients, but deny admission to new ones. Social Security checks would still go out. Soldiers would remain on duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and sailors off the coast of Libya. FBI agents would still work. Tax refunds for e-filed returns would go out."
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Jim Hightower | Sacrificing Teachers and Firefighters to Hoovernomics
Jim Hightower, Truthout: "America owes a debt of gratitude to such insightful Republican governors as Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, Rick Snyder of Michigan and Chris Christie of New Jersey. Were it not for them, many Americans - myself included - would still be thinking that today's state budget messes are mainly the product of a national economic crash caused by the reckless greed of Wall Street banksters and rich speculators, as well as the abject failure by political leaders to tax their super-wealthy campaign contributors in order to meet the growing needs in education and other essentials. Luckily, the GOP guvs have set the record straight by explaining that the budget woes are the fault of teachers who have health coverage and firefighters who get pensions."
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Seventeen Rooms and What do You Get? Apparently, a Workforce in Rebellion
Dmitri Iglitzin, Campaign for America's Future: "According to a 2009 report in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, hotel employees, and especially housekeepers, have relatively higher rates of occupational injury, and sustain more severe injuries, than most other service workers. This was not a surprising conclusion. A 2005 survey of 941 hotel room cleaners found that during a twelve-month period, 75 percent experienced work-related pain, 83 percent report taking pain medication for discomfort due to work, and 62 percent reported work-related pain that forced them to visit a doctor."
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Former Afghan Lawmaker Joya Says US Soldiers Disregard Lives
Adam Ashton, The Tacoma News Tribune: "A former Afghan lawmaker told an audience of South Sound peace activists Tuesday that photos of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers grinning over the corpse of a boy they allegedly murdered revealed a disregard for civilian lives among U.S. forces fighting in her country. 'They are making fun with the dead bodies of my people,' said Malalai Joya, 32, a human rights activist who visited the University of Washington Tacoma on her U.S. speaking tour. About 80 people attended her talk, which was hosted by the group Peace Action of Washington and was her seventh in the Puget Sound area this week."
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Ten Everyday Acts of Resistance That Changed the World
Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson, Yes! Magazine: "The Arab spring of 2011 has already changed the region and the world. Ordinary people have lost their fear and shattered the perception that their rulers are invincible. Whatever happens next, the changes across the region in the first few months of 2011 will prove historic. In Tunisia, the now famous 'jasmine revolution' began with protests in December, triggered by the self-immolation of a 26-year-old vegetable seller, Mohammed Bouazizi. Bouazizi, remembered by his younger sister Basma as 'funny and generous,' could finally take no more of the official harassment and humiliation meted out to him."
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Mass Incarceration Creates Costly Disaster Across America
Linn Washington Jr., This Can't Be Happening: "Herman Garner doesn't dispute the drug charge that slammed him in prison for nine years. Garner does dispute the damning circumstance that doing the time for his crime still leaves him penalized despite his having ended his sentence in the penal system. Garner carries the 'former felon' stain."
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Opposition Forces Move on Ivory Coast Strongman
Adam Nossiter and Alan Cowell, The New York Times News Service: "Opposition forces in Ivory Coast said Wednesday that they had begun an assault to dislodge the nation's strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, from a bunker under his residence after he refused French and United Nations demands to leave. The aim was 'to seize Gbagbo physically and, if he is alive, to bring him to justice,' said Apollinaire Yapi, a spokesman for Alassane Ouattara, who is recognized internationally as the winner of the presidential elections last year. Mr. Gbagbo has rejected the outcome and refused to step down, reigniting a civil war."
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News in Brief: Wisconsin Supreme Court Election in Dead Heat, and More ...
A Wisconsin Supreme Court election that pits a longtime Republican incumbent against a relative unknown has resulted in a tight race; in Wisconsin, Walker ally defeated in race to succeed him for former position; Florida pastor Terry Jones says no more Quran burning - for now; the Senate voted to repeal the controversial 1099 component of the health care reform bill.
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Paul Krugman | Such Elegant Ideas, but Not Always Simple
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: "One question that comes up occasionally from readers is: What would make me change my mind about how the economy works? Associated with this is the question of whether I have ever changed my views drastically in the face of events. Let me answer the latter question first. I had a major change of views in the late 1990s, driven by events in Asia."
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This Modern World: The Adventures of Middle Man!
Award-winning cartoonist Tom Tomorrow features Middle Man's "Budget Battle Royale."
View the Cartoon

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Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg holds an extremely narrow lead over incumbent pro-Scott Walker State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. The eventual winner - and there will be a recount - will likely be the swing vote when Walker's union-crushing legislation comes before the state's highest court.
It's a testament to the strength and vitality of the progressive and pro-union forces that Kloppenburg ran such a strong race. Beating an incumbent Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin is a rare occurrence.
As we await - and it may take weeks - the final outcome of the Supreme Court election, let's not forget that Walker received a decisive proxy rejection by the voters of Milwaukee.
As Truthout notes, Republican state Rep. Jeff Stone - a Walker protege - was trounced by Democrat Chris Able for the office of Milwaukee County chief executive. Just a few weeks ago, Wisconsin political pundits had pegged Stone as a shoo-in. What makes this so politically significant is that Stone, who is a supporter of Walker's policies, was vying to fill the position left vacant by Walker when he became governor.
The landslide 61 percent to 39 percent victory of Able for Walker's former political job - which he held for many years - was a stinging rebuke to the policies, statements and actions of the current governor of Wisconsin. It should not go unnoticed.
Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Boehner's Budget Blowback
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Ann Davidow: For Republicans, It's Always Just About Politics, Not Our Common Good
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Glenn Beck to Exit Fox Stage Right
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Ryan Gets Roughly Two-Thirds of His Huge Budget Cuts From Programs for Lower-Income Americans
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Why Republicans Persist in Demanding the Elimination of 700,000 Jobs: Must Read by Robert Creamer
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Federal Government Shutdown Would Furlough 800,000 Workers
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