The Ongoing Unemployment Crisis As perpetual as this high unemployment feels, it might be more permanent – Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor announced that even if Obama’s Jobs Bill is passed, the unemployment rate will stay above 9% until after the 2012 election. This is the first bit of news that has made me think that Obama might not have a chance in 2012. Read this article by Alternet that explains why our unemployment crisis is worse than it seems.
Another Government Shutdown Standoff? As much fun as the last showdown over a potential government shutdown was, I’m not keen on another one… but that might be exactly where we’re heading. The problem revolves around the emergency funding for FEMA that is needed in response to Hurricane Irene. Not surprisingly, House Republicans are not keen on passing this funding and may be willing to hold the nation hostage again. Do we all have Stockholm Syndrome yet?
Obama Backs off SS/Medicare Cuts One thing that Obama put out as a potential olive branch to the Republicans to help pass the American Jobs Act – ‘reasonable’ cuts to Social Security and Medicare – now appears to be off the table. This is more of a testament to Obama’s political acumen than his strong principles. Social Security and Medicare are central planks to the Democratic platform. One thing that Obama can’t afford to do this close to the election is alienate his base (more than he has already, to be fair).
How Israel Benefits from either Outcome of Palestine’s UN Bid Once again, I have to say it – no one in the American media has the bravery to do the sort of analysis that Al Jazeera English does. This opinion piece by Joseph Massad argues that Israel will be strengthened whether Palestine’s Statehood bid is accepted by the UN or is rejected/vetoed. This situation is assured because of one person – Barack Obama and his steadfast opposition to Palestine’s push. Read the piece and learn a lot, I know I did.
Shocker – Corporate Speculators Behind 2008 Oil Spike Remember when gas prices spiked over the Summer of 2008? Turns out a large portion of the price increase is because of commodity speculation (betting) by hedge funds, big banks, oil companies and the Koch Brothers. Senator Bernie Sanders leaked confidential documents to media outlets, thus ‘outing’ these oligarchs and showing the American public what they are – the well being of the nation comes way behind personal profit in terms of priorities.
The ‘Rogue Trader’ Meme Matt Taibbi looks at the meme of the ‘rogue trader’ that single-handedly loses money for a huge firm through the lens of the current UBS scandal, where $2 Billion was lost. He doesn’t buy it. The banking culture has more and more valued short term profit over long term stability. Taibbi makes dense financial news easy to understand. Read and share it!
Today we finish the day with a happier story to lighten the mood a bit…
Overrated White Dudes Thanks to Amanda Marcotte for bringing my attention to this Tumblr. White dudes, there are a ton of popular ones out there… do they all deserve it? Um, no. Not at all. I suggest you go directly to the source and bask in the glory.
Thanks for reading and staying informed! Keep reading The Progressive Playbook and check back here tomorrow for another Daily News Drop!
Sources: Alternet, Talking Points Memo, The Nation, Al Jazeera English, Think Progress, Rolling Stone, Pandagon, Overrated White Dudes
Cantor Calls for Slashing of Budget of First Responders On the eve of 9/11, Eric Cantor has once again displayed his extremely poor timing in making political stands. In an attempt to demand cuts to offset the emergency funds FEMA needs to deal with damage from Hurricane Irene and other disasters, Cantor is pushing for a bill that will slash 40% of the budget of first responders… Like the first responders who were so heroic on 9/11 a decade ago. Way to go Eric.
9/11 – The Perfect Time to Celebrate Bush Frank Luntz, Republican pollster and wordsmith extraordinaire, was on Fox News to share his views on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, 2001. His view? It’s a great time to celebrate how safe we are because of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Yes, we are safe because they started two wars in Muslim countries, compromised our civil liberties and tortured many suspects (many of which turned out to be completely innocent). Not so much.
No Grounds for Demonizing Wikileaks Interesting post by Glenn Greenwald on the actual impact of the latest round of disclosures from Wikileaks. If you listened to the mainstream media, Wikileaks is intentionally putting lives at risk. That’s not actually the case. Greenwald makes a couple key points – documents that a government calls ‘super secret’ might not actually be that secret, and a government can make anyone out to be a villain if they want to.
The Eight Takeaways of the Last Wikileaks Dump This is more of a corollary to the previous piece. Sarah Jaffe on Alternet posted a clear analysis of what we learned from the latest leak of over 200,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. It’s way easier than trying to sift through them all yourself!
The Rest of the News
The Truth Behind the Postal Service Battle The U.S. Postal Service is directly in the sights of the Republican House as something they would like to cut back or eliminate entirely. Their justification is the debt that the USPS holds at the moment and a lack of demand. Allison Kilkenny has an astute analysis of what their motivations truly are – they are using accounting inaccuracies to justify eliminating the Postal Service and the largest union in the nation. The story reads completely differently when viewed through the lens of the Conservative war on organized labor.
Social Security is not a Ponzi Scheme Rick Perry voiced a stance at the GOP debate this week that has been repeated over and over on the Right Wing media – Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme. This isn’t true. Social Security discloses all of its finances and works on an entirely different system than that of a Ponzi Scheme. Media Matters has put out the definitive debunking of this meme. Read and share it with all of your Conservative family members or co-workers.
New Mexico Governor’s Immigration Hypocrisy New Mexico governor Susana Martinez has made political hay by denouncing illegal immigrants as ‘terror threats.’ This week, it came out that governor Martinez’s father came into this country without papers (hence an illegal immigrant). Sam Seder tore her apart for her hypocrisy on Countdown last night. Watch and enjoy!
Today we end the day with two happier stories… because they’re both great
Michael Savage Wrote a Novel… Really Hate spewing radio host Michael Savage has taken a page out of Glenn Beck’s book and wrote a political thriller. Digby hits all of the hilarious parts including: defeating evil Jewish bankers (George Soros?), killing plenty of Muslims (with offensive dialogue) and one sex scene with a Muslim woman that you just have to read.
How to Not Harass an Asian Woman Not much to say, this an entertaining video that points out the strange objectification that some men think is ok to use towards Asian women.
August Jobs Report is Dismal The hiring has stopped for the most part, or at least that’s what the new jobs numbers show. August was an abysmal month for hiring – so much so that the economy added no jobs. None. Anything that was gained was cancelled out by job losses – this news is a great way to start the weekend, and only spells bad news for Barack Obama.
Feds are Suing the Banks The federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are apparently going to sue the big banks! JOY AND RAPTURE! The suits will argue the banks”failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified.” Yeah, that sounds about right… let’s see if this gets anywhere – we can only hope!
Iran Intelligence is suggesting that Iran is working on it’s nuclear weapon program. This is something we should be taking very seriously and watching closely – Iran can never be trusted, and it’s almost expected that they would continue their weapons program, but this report is, nevertheless, alarming. See the Associated Press story here.
Who Doesn’t Love Bernie Sanders? Just watch the video… that’s all.
Apple I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the second (possible) iPhone prototype mishap. The plot thickens now as we’ve learned that the San Francisco Police Department WAS involved in the case; apparently members of the force stood guard outside somebody’s house while Apple “investigators” looked for the iPhone. I’m going to go ahead and guess that Apple didn’t have a warrant… maybe I’m wrong – I hope so!
Billions Wasted Billions of dollars have been wasted in Afghanistan and now we have reports detailing exactly how. The Pentagon tripled the amount of no-bid contracts, and the article states “the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting concludes that between $31 billion and $60 billion spent on projects in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10 years has been lost to waste and fraud.” Meanwhile, 25% of children in the United States live in poverty. I see our priorities in this country.
GOP Candidates’ Views on Women’s Health This informative article clearly lays out where each candidate stands on the issue of Women’s healthcare -definitely read it and share with everyone you know!
That’s it for tonight! Enjoy the first night of this long weekend and please come back tomorrow for the next edition of the Daily News Drop!
Sources: CNN, Crooks&Liars, The Washington Post, Move On, Talking Points Memo, Democracy Now, The Huffington Post
The Rick Perry Primer The Right is touting Rick Perry’s announcement of his Presidential run as the arrival of their savior – making Perry out to be the perfect candidate to defeat Barack Obama. Think Progress has put out a few posts to reasonably explain Perry as a hypocritical social conservative zealot. Take a quick look at his stances on Medicare and Social Security, the Stimulus, the Environment and Gay Rights. After reading them, Perry looks less like an independent Governor focused on job creation and more like a usual Republican candidate.
Appeals Court Rules Against Affordable Care Act The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld part of a lower court ruling which declared the Individual Mandate to buy health insurance, which was an aspect of the Affordable Care Act, unconstitutional. The decision will now likely go to the Supreme Court. The individual mandate to buy insurance from private companies was initially a Republican idea that they have since soured on (probably because President Obama supported it). Now that it appears that many from the Right and the Left disapprove of it, why can’t we find a better alternative? John Nichols from The Nation has that alternative – Medicare for All. This would be a way to cover all Americans without providing a windfall to already super wealthy private health insurance companies.
Alabama’s Harsh Immigration Law Criminalizes Good Samaritans The state of Alabama has passed an immigration in the vein of Arizona’s draconian policy, but with a few more even harsher aspects. Beyond empowering law enforcement officers to be able to compel individuals to produce verification of citizenship during routine traffic stops, it also criminalizes transporting, harboring and renting to known illegal immigrants. It also renders all contracts with illegal immigrants null. Churches are legitimately upset that these provisions prevent them from providing shelter to the needy and inviting them to services. I’m appalled by this law, not only because churches can’t assist illegal immigrants, but neither can you or I. Laws like this dehumanize these people, and it’s sickening that a policy this callous can be passed in this nation.
Companies Discriminating Against the Unemployed Interesting story from the Daily Kos about a new policy that some companies are instituting – requiring that applicants must be currently employed to be qualified for their positions. This discrimination, however upsetting, is legal. Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to make it illegal to refuse to consider applicants due to their unemployment. Hopefully a law will pass soon to end this deplorable practice.
Battle Against DADT Not Over As we wait for the final repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the court battle determining the legality of the policy seems unimportant. It matters quite a bit for individuals who have already been discharges under the policy. If the policy is just repealed, individuals who have been discharged have no recourse for lost wages or rank and must re-apply with no priority. With the economy in as bad a shape as it is, there are a surplus of individuals trying to enlist - getting back into the military is no sure thing for discharged gay and lesbian soldiers. The success of this lawsuit might be the only way back into the service for many. The Obama Administration is fighting the lawsuit in the courts.
Real Life Class War Ann Coulter, given the platform of the Fox Nation blog to spout her hateful views, took full advantage. In regard to the uprising in London, Coulter advocated more than ‘a few rifle shots.’ Claiming that a “more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself” because it would “remov[e]” more people from the welfare rolls. Wow, calling for a literal class war resulting in a mass murder that would save the nation some money. The blog then devolves to racism and bigotry. This post is shocking, but I suggest you read it to see what qualifies for borderline acceptable rhetoric on the Right.
Once again we conclude with a happier story…
Colbert Looks Back at the Week While searching for a positive story to end today’s post, I couldn’t find a better example than Stephen Colbert’s satire. Colbert has been on fire recently with his creation of a Super PAC that he has used exclusively to underline how crazy our new campaign finance structure is (Thanks Supreme Court).
The Importance of Anger With this Debt Deal leaving everyone feeling pretty awful about the direction of this country, it’s ok to be upset about it. No matter how you feel about Keith Olbermann, his righteously indignant commentary is completely honest. His Special Comment from yesterday hit me in a visceral way. As Keith’s show evolves on Current, you can see him broaching topics that would have been taboo on a Corporate network.
Double Dip Recession In our current economic recovery, unemployment is still nearly 10% with many more either underemployed or no longer counted in the official unemployment statistic. One of the largest employers in this country is the Government. What could go wrong if we start immediately slashing government spending? The threat of a double dip recession is real, which is a terrifying thought.
Rhetoric in the Wake of the Deal Heading into the ‘Super Congress’ portion of the Debt Deal, Democratic leaders are optimistic that they will be able to extract some sort of revenue increases while Social Security and Medicare are being slashed. Without the support of Majority Leader Reid and President Obama, that seems next to impossible. Sen. Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, is more than willing to cut Social Security so there’s more money to… fight ‘Islamic Extremists.’ Yes, Lieberman still caucuses with the Democrats. No, I’m not quite sure why.
The Obama Myth Looking back at the deal, it’s easy to say that Barack Obama negotiated poorly and caved on his ideals. That’s probably only partially true. Though he did want tax increases included in the deal, he was not opposed to draconian budget cuts. Both Glenn Greenwald and David Corn point to multiple examples of where Obama’s rhetoric was far more liberal than his actual policy proposals. After so many times that he has ‘caved’ to Conservative opposition, it might be time to admit that Obama might not be the extremist, socialist, Marxist that Fox News makes him out to be – in fact he might be quite the opposite.
A Positive Step for Women’s Health In a completely positive story to contrast the rest of the week in the news, HHS has decided that insurance plans must cover birth control, AIDS screening and counseling, and domestic violence counseling starting in 2013. All of these will be provided without co-pays. Amanda Marcotte explains why this is not only good for women but the economy – they are all preventative care measures that will lower health care costs. It is rather amusing to see the Right claim that access to birth control is some sort of luxury much like pedicures.
Workers Paying to Work in FAA Shutdown With the Congress caught up in completing this Debt Deal, and now planning to go into recess for the rest of the month of August, the budget of the Federal Aviation Administration has fallen by the wayside. Because the budget has lapsed without another in place, the FAA has been partially shut down for lack of funds. 4,000 employees have been furloughed until the budget is resolved. A handful of inspectors have been asked to stay on to work because they are needed. There is no money to pay them and they will be expected to pay for their own transportation costs. It’s ridiculous that something this unnecessary could happen in this country.
Broadway Reaches Out Broadway composer Andrew Lippa wrote a song dedicated to young LGBT individuals in the vein of the It Gets Better project started by Dan Savage. He recorded the song using performers from the Texas State University musical theater program. Follow the previous link for the Youtube clip of the performance. You can also buy the song here, all proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project – another great organization that provides both a community and support for LGBT youths against bullying and other social ills.
Thanks again for reading and staying informed! Please read and share and get the message out there! I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.
Sources: Current, Common Dreams, Fire Dog Lake, Daily Kos, Salon, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast, Think Progress, Huffington Post, Youtube