Archive for September, 2009

Excerpt: For the record and for the umpteenth time: No version of healthcare reform being contemplated by Congress mandates death for the old, the disabled or the infirm. That’s a canard. It is mendacity, prevarication, a bald-faced lie.
In other words, politics.
The art of the untruth is, after all, the life’s blood of governance. As a brief spin through, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact checking website will attest, no party, ideology or politician has a monopoly on lying. Lying is as bipartisan as it gets.
And yet, the lies that have characterized the debate over healthcare are in a class all their own — not simply because they are outrageous, but because they are designed specifically to inflame and terrorize. As such, those lies are deserving of special rebuke. Last week, they got it.
Sojourners, which calls itself the nation’s largest network of progressive Christians, says its members sent out thousands of e-mails to five of the biggest offenders: Beck, his fellow Fox personalities Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy and Bill O’Reilly, and radio host Rush Limbaugh. Each e-mail said the same thing in essence: stop lying.
Wallis, a celebrated theologian and author of The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America, says Sojourners is trying to redeem things people “really should’ve learned in Sunday school.


Custer Battles, LLC is a security company based in McLean, Virginia, that promotes its services as including “security services”, “litigation support”, “global risk consulting”, “training” and “business intelligence”.
The company’s founders are Scott Custer, a former US Army officer and defense consultant, and former CIA officer Michael Battles, who ran for Congress in Rhode Island in 2002 and was defeated in the Republican primary. Battles is a Fox News Channel commentator. Both Custer and Battles are often described in the media as “former US Army Rangers.” In fact, they are both mere graduates of the US Army Ranger course, a nine week US Army leadership school, and not former members of the US Army Ranger Regiment. Custer Battles was a newly formed company with no experience in the security industry

ISS – SPECIAL REPORT: How is Obama doing on Gulf Coast recovery?

For many people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the election of President Barack Obama to the White House last November brought a sense of renewed hope — or at least an opportunity to change the course of the region’s stalled Katrina recovery.

When eminent scientists, elected officials and diplomats of all political persuasions gather in Copenhagen in December to renew the worldwide effort against catastrophic climate change, there will be at least one discordant voice in the house. Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who has called global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated,” has vowed to bring the conservative message… » Full Story on

ISS – A Portrait of Louisiana: Study shines light on post-Katrina racial, economic disparities

A new study uses post-Katrina data to examine the wide and stark disparities in the life expectancy, educational attainment, and incomes of African Americans and whites in Louisiana. The report reveals that Louisiana, which ranks 49th among U.S. states on the American Human Development Index, has a population that experiences health, education, and income levels that the rest of the country surpassed three to five decades ago.

ISS – ACORN, Blackwater and the accountability disparity

The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to cut off federal funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or ACORN, a national grassroots group that advocates for poor and modest-income families. The House vote of 345 to 75 came three days after the Senate cut off Housing and Urban Development funding to the group. But some of the same members of Congress who were quick to take action against ACORN have not been as responsive when other federal contractors have engaged in wrongdoing — like Blackwater, the North Carolina-based private military company now known as Xe.

Democrats joined Republicans in voting to “Defund ACORN,” yet have done nothing to stop Blackwater’s ongoing taxpayer funded crusade in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Republican Congressional leaders are continuing their witch-hunt against ACORN, the grassroots community group dedicated to helping poor and working class people. This campaign now unfortunately has gained bi-partisan legislative support in the form of the Defund ACORN Act of 2009 which has now passed the House and Senate. As Ryan Grim at Huffington Post has pointed out, the legislation “could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex:”

Rachel Maddow: The Truth About The Lies About Acorn/Video–DyavI

This Week’s Mediscare | The New Republic

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As you may have heard or read by now, the Republicans are angry over proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage, the private insurance alternative to traditional Medicare. The insurers who offer Medicare Advantage plans receive a flat fee for every senior that signs up. But virtually every independent expert who has studied the program has concluded that those fees are way too high–that, in effect, the government is getting a lousy deal

If you thought ACORN was bad …

We’ve all heard plenty about a private U.S. government contractor whose employees were caught behaving unspeakably and which now faces the swift and brutal withdrawal of taxpayer dollars by a Congress demanding accountability.
That was ACORN, of course, which surely will miss the government cash spigot that has irrigated its coffers to the tune of $53 million since 1994. As we’ve written, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now deserved what it got.
But if you thought ACORN was bad, meet ArmorGroup North America. It’s the private U.S. government security contractor whose employees at the American embassy in Kabul were photographed in drunken revels that included urinating on and sexually molesting each other. It also has been alleged by whistle-blowing employees that ArmorGroup cut corners on security hiring, leaving our embassy personnel vulnerable.

Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?

For Glenn Beck-Mad Man-Rubbing the sore has become a lucrative business, extremes draws crowds,fattens wallets at bookstores, cablenews and radio.

Mad Men on Cable News–And if the time comes when every audience is screaming, who, in the end, is left to listen?

Frank Schaeffer: Remember What Civility Was? A Book to Remind Us

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Clinging to civility – The Boston Globe

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Delivery Pains at the Post Office

Delivery Pains at the Post Office 2008 Bush admin.
The Postal Service—a self-sustaining organization that receives no financial support from the government—is mounting an effort to get itself back into the black. But Corbett argues that he is hampered by an uneven playing field because the Postal Service is burdened with requirements not imposed on other government agencies or private companies.
For example, a major component of the turnaround plan is the Postal Service’s attempt to win some leeway on the big payments it’s required to make each year for retiree healthcare. This year it is due to pay $7.5 billion for retiree healthcare, $5.5 billion of which goes to a trust to fund future benefits. No other government organization is required to pre-fund retiree healthcare, Corbett notes, and only about a third of corporations do any pre-funding.

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