Friday, March 26, 2010

Truthout 3/26

Secrets of the Tea Party: The Troubling History of Tea Party Leader Dick Armey
Beau Hodai, In These Times: "As the Tea Party movement has gained momentum during the last 12 months, it seems few Tea Partiers have caught on to the troubling past of the man at the center of their movement: FreedomWorks chairman, former House Majority Leader and recently-retired lobbyist extraordinaire, Dick Armey."
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Froma Harrop | Take Student-Loan Companies Off Welfare
Froma Harrop, Truthout: "When the government hands money to poor people, that's welfare, Republicans say. That's taking money from productive taxpayers and encouraging dependency, they assert.... But when corporations get taxpayer handouts, that's not welfare in the GOP book of rhetoric. Take away a company's subsidy, and you have a 'government takeover.' Such is the Republican stance on Democratic plans to remove the corporate middleman from the federal student-loan program, included in the recently passed House health care reform bill."
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Pentagon Wants $33 Billion More for War in Afghanistan
Gordon Lubold, The Christian Science Monitor: "The Pentagon wants $33 billion in additional funding to pay for the war in Afghanistan this year and train the Afghan military, but members of Congress want to make sure they're not writing a blank check."
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Why the President's Next Big Thing Should Be Jobs
Robert Reich, "Few presidents get a second honeymoon of their own making. (George W. got one when terrorists attacked the United States.) Barack Obama's victory on health care reform has breathed new life into his administration, recharged the Democratic base, and given the rest of America a sense of someone who fights for average working people. The question now is: What does he do with his second honeymoon?"
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Now on the Ballot, Could Marijuana Legalization Happen in California?
Daniel B. Wood, The Christian Science Monitor: "An initiative to control and tax marijuana qualified Wednesday for the November 2 state ballot, and could make California the first state to legalize cannabis.... Proponents of marijuana legalization are celebrating the announcement as a victory in a decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition, and seem convinced of the measure's passage. Opponents are lamenting the demise of social standards and airing concerns about a rise in crime, and promise a fight."
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US, Russia Sign New Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout: "President Barack Obama finalized a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia on Friday that will commit the countries to reduce their Cold War nuclear arsenals....Bringing an end to a year of negotiations, Obama and Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev agreed in a telephone conversation to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads each. The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty allows about 30 percent fewer nuclear warheads than are currently permitted."
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Running From Race Leaves You Mired in Its Middle
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, Truthout: "On August 10, 2008, The New York Times published an article by Matt Bai entitled 'Is Obama the End of Black Politics?' The premise of the article was that as the Democratic Party was poised to deliver its nomination for the nation's highest office to an African-American, this somehow signaled the end of black politics. As candidate Obama won primary after primary, NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr saw these victories as an indication that America had moved into a 'post-racial era.' He defined it as an 'era where civil rights veterans of the past century are consigned to history and Americans begin to make race-free judgments on who should lead them.'"
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Allawi Wins Iraqi Election by Two Seats; Maliki Demands Recount
Hannah Allam, McClatchy Newspapers: "Secular Muslim politician Ayad Allawi Friday won Iraq's landmark parliamentary election by just two seats, defeating incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who immediately repeated his demands for a recount and warned that the outcome 'is not final.'"
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Treasury Blacklists Mexican Drug Gangs
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout: "The Treasury Department Wednesday imposed financial sanctions on 54 members of two powerful Mexican drug cartels blamed for the recent spike in border violence under a law that allows the government to freeze their bank accounts."
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Bank of America, Wells Fargo Might Not Pay Federal Taxes for 2009
Christina Rexrode, The Charlotte Observer: "This tax season will be kind to Bank of America and Wells Fargo: It appears that neither bank will have to pay federal income taxes for 2009.... Bank of America probably won't pay federal taxes because it lost money in the US for the year. Wells Fargo was profitable, but can write down its tax bill because of losses at Wachovia, which it rescued from a near collapse."
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"Soul of a Citizen": Barack Obama, Vaclav Havel and When Small Steps Yield Unforeseen Fruits
Paul Rogat Loeb, Truthout: "To keep the political hope to stay involved, it helps to remember that our actions can bear unforeseen fruits. Change comes, to be sure, when we shift governmental or corporate policies, elect better leaders, or create effective local alternatives that can serve as broader models. Despite the limits of the just-passed health care bill, and the need to improve it through further legislation, it's a major victory that over thirty million more Americans will now have health insurance, largely paid for through taxes on the wealthy. So concrete results matter, including the sometimes razor-thin elections that shifted the Senate and House from bodies dedicated to handing favors to a tiny elite, to ones at least beginning to pass legislation benefiting ordinary Americans."
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Jim Cohen | Springtime in France Begins With a Broad Street Mobilization for Employment, Retirement, and Other Social Rights
Jim Cohen, Truthout: "Only two days after the end of French regional elections, in which candidates associated with conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy took a drubbing, civil servants and other workers took to the streets to protest a broad range of neoliberal reforms that are contributing to growing social and economic insecurity. On Tuesday, March 23, an 'inter-professional day of action,' called for by all major trade unions, mobilized over half a million in the streets of French cities, including about 60,000 in Paris. Public elementary and secondary schoolteachers, who are fighting not just cutbacks, but an authoritarian reorganization of the whole teacher education program, were among the most mobilized in the one-day event."
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Taxation: Not Exactly a New Idea
Rachel P. King, Truthout: "The health care debate is over, but Republicans are still peddling their lies. It is hard to find the energy or will to refute all of them. Still, one of their talking points appears in the media with such regularity that it ought to be addressed."
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Obama Appoints New Chief for War Court at Guantanamo
Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald: "In the clearest sign yet that the Obama administration is re-energizing tribunals for captives at a Guantanamo it wants closed, the Pentagon this week installed a retired three-star admiral with national security and international law experience to run the war court."
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E.J. Dionne Jr. | How the Pope Can End the Scandal
E.J. Dionne Jr., Op-Ed: "How in the name of God can the Roman Catholic Church put the pedophilia scandal behind it? ... I do not invoke God's name lightly. The church's problem is, above all, theological and religious. Its core difficulty is that rather than drawing on its Christian resources, the church has acted almost entirely on the basis of this world's imperatives and standards."
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