A Realist View on Libya Now that it appears that the initial conflict in Libya is nearing its end, it’s vital to take a step back and try to figure out what the next step is. Stephen Walt sees this as anything but a ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment. Beyond the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine that has been agreed upon by NATO allies, there is no clear vision of what to do next. Without a plan, Libya could either fall into chaos or we might be forced to undertake a full intervention and help build another nation – neither are good options.
SEC Whitewashing Wall Street Crimes Matt Taibbi has uncovered another potential scandal – the SEC’s policy of shredding of their records after a short waiting period, thus destroying evidence of potential crimes by Wall Street firms. This story goes beyond party lines, with Senator Chuck Grassley showing concern after receiving a letter from a whistleblower explaining that the policy has led to the unlawful destruction of records of 9,000 investigations. This story smacks of corruption, and there’s no one better than Taibbi at explaining Wall Street corruption. Check him out on Democracy Now, great interview.
Bachmann Losing Support to Perry Michele Bachmann’s meteoric rise to the top of the GOP Presidential race might be nearing the end. With Governor Rick Perry entering the race, he is taking a good portion of Bachmann’s Tea Party and Business support. Going the way of Herman Cain and Donald Trump, it’s interesting to see how quickly support for someone like Bachmann can wane in the Primary process.
Slave Wages for Hershey Workers Labor reporter Mike Elk broke this shocking story. Hershey, the candy manufacturer, has been exploiting the J-1 Visa program for cheap foreign labor. Meant to be used for cultural exchange trips, Hershey has exploited these visiting individuals by employing them and paying them between $40-$140 a week for full time work. According to Elk, these workers are organizing for better pay and work conditions and are instituting a Sit-In Strike. I wish them luck.
The Failure of Welfare Reform On the 15th anniversary of Democratic President Bill Clinton ‘ending Welfare as we know it,’ we can look back and see whether or not Welfare Reform was good for this country. As our country has fallen into recession, there has been no leeway in the system allowing for increased funding into the TANF program. As usage for similar programs like Food Stamps have increased dramatically, the number of families receiving TANF benefits are at an all-time low. This can mean only one thing – Welfare reform has resulted in keeping welfare away from those who qualify for and need it.
Number of Student Loans Skyrocket As a result of self-imposed austerity measures, the number of grants available to students has dwindled, forcing students to take out more and more student loans if they want to go to college. This may seem like a positive budget position of the federal government, but it’s really little more than cost shifting from the government to individuals that cannot afford it. As personal debt has ballooned in reaction to the stagnation of wages over the last thirty years, individuals are less and less able to afford higher education. An often pointed to statistic, only 5% unemployment for college graduates, makes sense when you look at it through this lens – the cost of higher education is becoming too high for many Americans, thus broadening the wealth gap between the educated (moneyed) and the uneducated (poor). This is class war.
Once again we conclude with a happier story…
Tim Hardaway – Former Bigot Turned LGBT Ally Tim Hardaway, on a radio show four years ago directly after John Amaechi became the first former NBA player to come out of the closet, spoke in no uncertain terms, “I hate gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic.’ After plenty of much deserved criticism, Hardaway promised to go to counseling and to change. Just recently, Hardaway spoke at a press conference decrying the recall movement of the Mayor of El Paso, Texas. Citizens are attempting to recall the mayor and two city counsel members for re-instituting domestic partner benefits for gay couples. ‘It’s not right not to let the gays and lesbians have equal rights here,’ he said to the crowd. Whether this stance is the result of a good PR firm or legitimate change, Hardaway’s transformation is proof that bigotry and homophobia can be combated and reversed.
Thanks for reading and staying informed! This will be my last blog from Oregon, the next one will be from the Belly of the Beast – Washington DC! As always share this and other blogs on the site if you feel so inclined.
Sources: Foreign Policy, Democracy Now!, Talking Points Memo, Alternet, Think Progress, The Raw Story, Edge of Sports
Debt Ceiling Today, after much publicity, John Boehner’s bill passed the house, and then failed in the Senate (as everyone knew it would). So, now what? There are only a few days left until the deadline to get something done, and average Americans are fearfully watching this debacle. It really does seem that Republicans are truly willing to run this country into the ground for ideology and to oust President Obama. This whole thing is embarrassing, scary, and disgusting.
5 Arrested Protesting Eviction In Illinois, a mother and her three sons were going to be evicted from their house, and it drew protesters; it also drew the police, who arrested the protestors for “Criminal Trespass and Obstruction of Justice.” The mortgagor was attempting to work on a loan modification with the bank, which didn’t work out, and now doesn’t have anywhere else to go. This story is far too common, and people like this are the people who are being forgotten by our country. People get evicted every day, and as long as they are sight, they are out of mind. Also, how sad that people protesting a woman and her children being thrown out of their house were arrested. Of course we don’t know all of the details behind this story, but it appears to be a highly unfortunate situation, made more unfortunate by the fact that people who were trying to defend the defenseless were punished for doing so. Sad.
Religious Fanatics and the Debt Ceiling This is a really great article about religion and how it influences those who would push our government to default. Definitely a great read!
Murdochgate! Well, it’s been a few days since we’ve heard much about Mr. Murdoch and his corrupt empire, but employees of the New York Post were told to keep any documents that might relate to the phone hacking scandal. The plot thickens, and authorities are still trying to find out what, if anything, illegal was done in the United States.
Scientist Suspended Charles Monnet, the scientist that first “rang the alarm” about climate change, has been suspended, among other stories. Read on for this past week in science.
War On Whistleblowers ”Despite being largely vindicated, Thomas Drake’s life was all but destroyed, while Jim Risen spent years facing the prospect that he’d have to go to prison in order not to reveal his source. That climate of fear aimed at those who expose government wrongdoing is the prime outcome, if not the prime goal, of the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers.”
Thousands Unfollow Obama Barack Obama has a twitter account (@barackobama) that I, too, follow. On Friday, his account basically spammed everyone by sending out a ridiculous amount of tweets with House members’ twitter addresses. I saw these tweets and elected to ignore them, but I guess some people were annoyed enough to cut the President’s account off. Though this isn’t front page news, I think it illustrates how politicians need to learn how to use social media better – it is surprising that out of all of them, Obama’s account was the one to commit this faux pas. He was a pioneer online during the last presidential election, but now, not as much. Obama uses his account for spam, Sarah Palin uses her as the equivalent of an interview…. c’mon, politicians, get it together, or get off of twitter.
Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend, and stop by later for some more news!
Sources: CNN, The Chicago Tribune, Pandagon.net, The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Salon, The Washington Post