* WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH IOWA?
By digby, Hullabaloo
… “The larger point is that people don’t really understand what the 9-9-9 plan actually is, and they’re assuming incorrectly that they may not pay one or any of these taxes,” said Joe Rosenberg, a research associate for the Tax Policy Center, a group based in Washington, D.C., that bills itself as a nonpartisan economic research institute.
Cain’s plan would eliminate the current individual income tax, corporate income tax and payroll tax and replace them with a new 9 percent national sales tax, a 9 percent business tax and a 9 percent income tax. Estate and gift taxes would be eliminated.
The Tax Policy Center estimates that the three taxes combined would be the equivalent of a 25.38 percent national sales tax. Because lower-income families spend a larger percentage of their income on tangible goods, they would be affected disproportionately.
The bottom line: A family with an income level of $40,000 to $50,000 would pay $3,407 more a year in taxes, while families making $500,000 to $1 million a year would pay on average $80,315 less, according to the Tax Policy Center. …
* EFFORT TO OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED UNDERWAY
By Dustin Ensinger
… “The Supreme Court’s reversal of its own direction in the Citizens United decision and other recent cases has had a major effect on our election system,” Bennet said in a statement.
“State legislatures and Congress now may not be allowed to approve even small regulations to our campaign finance system. This proposal would bring some badly needed stability to an area of law that has been thrown off course by the new direction the Court has taken.”
The proposed constitutional amendment would also provide the states with some power to regulate campaign finance on a local level.
It would also allow Congress regulate and limit independent expenditures, such as those from Super PACs.
“By equating campaign spending with free speech, the Supreme Court has essentially ruled that the wealthiest among us should have the loudest voices in our elections,” said Schumer.
“The American public is fed up with the outsize influence that money has on our politics. This constitutional amendment will restore the balance to our system that the American people expect in a democracy. It is time to return our elections to the hands of everyday citizens rather than the special interests.” …
* THE HUMAN TOLL OF THE U.S. DRONE CAMPAIGN
By Glenn Greenwald
The principal reason so little attention is paid to the constant victims of American violence in the Muslim world is because the U.S. Government refuses to disclose anything about these attacks and media outlets virtually never report on those victims (MSNBC demoted and then fired its then-rising-star Ashleigh Banfield when she returned from Iraq and pointed out that fact in an April, 2003 speech denouncing the “one-sided” coverage of American wars: meaning, the invisibility in U.S. media of America’s civilian victims).
It’s easy to cheer for a leader who regularly extinguishes the lives of innocent men, women, teeangers and young children when you can remain blissfully free of hearing about the victims. It’s even easier when the victims all have Muslim-ish names and live in the parts of the Muslim world we’ve been taught to view as a cauldron of sub-human demons. That’s why it’s periodically worth highlighting the actual impact of those drones and the actual people they kill, as the BBC did today:
When tribal elders from the remote Pakistani region of North Waziristan travelled to Islamabad last week to protest against CIA drone strikes, a teenager called Tariq Khan was among them.
A BBC team caught him on camera, sitting near the front of a tribal assembly, or jirga, listening carefully.
Four days later he was dead – killed by one of the drones he was protesting against.
His family told us two missiles hit the 16-year-old on Monday near Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan. His 12-year-old cousin Wahid was killed alongside him. . . .
After the missile strike on Monday, Pakistani officials said four suspected militants had been killed.
If the strike actually killed two young boys – as appears to be the case – it’s unlikely anyone will ever be held to account. . . .
Many senior commanders from the Taliban and al-Qaeda are among the dead. But campaigners claim there have been hundreds of civilian victims, whose stories are seldom told.
A shy teenage boy called Saadullah is one of them. He survived a drone strike that killed three of his relatives, but he lost both legs, one eye and his hope for the future.
“I wanted to be a doctor,” he told me, “but I can’t walk to school anymore. When I see others going, I wish I could join them.”
Like Tariq, Saadullah travelled to Islamabad for last week’s jirga. Seated alongside him was Haji Zardullah, a white-bearded man who said he lost four nephews in a separate attack.
“None of these were harmful people,” he said. “Two were still in school and one was in college.” …
* DANGEROUS ALLEGATIONS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
By Dahr Jamail
|A simple swim in the Gulf of Mexico has complicated Steven Aguinaga’s life in ways he could have never imagined.In July 2010, Aguinaga, now 33-years-old, had gone on a vacation with his wife and some friends to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After he and his close friend Merrick Vallian went swimming in the Gulf, they both became extremely sick from what Aguinaga believes were chemicals in BP’s oil and dispersants from the largest marine oil spill in US history that began in April 2010.The 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf continues to affect people living near the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic dispersants, which are banned by some countries, including the UK. According to many scientists, these dispersants create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil.
Aguinaga’s blood has tested positive for high levels of chemicals present in BP’s oil, and he described his ailments to Al Jazeera.
“I have terrible chest pain, at times I can’t seem to get enough oxygen, and I’m constantly tired with pains all over my body. At times I’m pissing blood, vomiting dark brown stuff, and every pore of my body is dispensing water.”
His symptoms mirror those which scores of other Gulf Coast residents have told to Al Jazeera, all of them also having had their blood tests reveal chemicals in BP’s oil.
Yet Aguinaga’s hardships have not ended with his health problems.
“After we got back from our vacation in Florida, Merrick went to work for a company contracted by BP to clean up oil in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Two weeks after that he dropped dead.” …
* WHEN IT COMES TO JOBLESS FIGURES DISHONESTY AND PROPAGANDA REIGN
By Dave Lindoff
Once again we got a cheery report from most of the media about employers hiring, albeit “not enough,” and about the jobless rate falling, albeit “it’s still too high.”
The proximate cause of this latest round of propaganda from the corporate media is the latest monthly jobless figure reported out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which said that employers had added 80,000 net new jobs (actually they found that private sector employers had added 104,000 jobs while public agency employers had pink-slipped 24,000 people), and that the official unemployment rate was 9.0 percent, just a notch lower than last month’s 9.1 percent figure.
The Associated Press, which is now the de facto national desk for the eviscerated national newsmedia, trumpeted these anemic results with a headline reading: Employers add 80K jobs, Rate dips to 9.0 pct. This was followed by an upbeat lead, credited to AP Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber (who surely should know better if he’s an economics specialist) that read: “WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. jobs crisis may be easing slightly on the strength of a fourth straight month of modest hiring and a dip in the unemployment rate.”
Only it’s not that simple. For one thing, economists agree that the economy would have to be adding 100,000 jobs a month just to keep up with the number of people who are entering the labor force, and double that to make any real progress towards lowering the jobless number, so 80,000 jobs is really going backwards. For another, most of the jobs being created are low-paying and often temporary, which is not going to do much if anything to boost consumer spending, which accounts for almost three-quarters of Gross Domestic Economy in the hollowed-out US economy. …
* HEY MAYOR BLOOMBERG! NO, THE GSEs DID NOT CAUSE THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN (BUT THAT’S JUST ACCORDING TO THE DATA)
By Mike Konczal
“It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp… But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody.”
It seems there are people who can’t accept that some markets, particularly financial ones, are disastrous when completely unregulated — and thus find any far-fetched excuse to blame the government instead. Since this line of argument continues to pop up, how should one respond to the idea that Congress and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac caused the housing crisis? Here are six facts to back you up: …
* OAKLAND POLICE STRIKE ARMY RANGER WITH NIGHTSTICKS ON HIS BACK, RIBS, SHOULDERS AND HANDS, LACERATING HIS SPLEEN AND CAUSING INTERNAL BLEEDING … THEN DENY HIM MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR 18 HOURS
By Washington’s Blog
… Local San Francisco ABC affiliate KOFY News interviewed Sabehgi’s sister tonight, who said that Sabehgi lived near Frank Ogawa Plaza (the center of the Occupy protests), and was walking home Wednesday night away from violence when police stopped him. Sabehgi said that police ordered him to walk in another direction, and he simply asked “why?
In response, according to Sabehgi’s sister, the police beat him mercilessly with batons.
Sabehgi was then kept in a holding cell for 18 hours. Despite begging to see a doctor, Sabehgi was refused medical assistance. Instead, according to Sabehgi, his jailors accused Sabehgi without any cause of being a heroin addict and alcoholic and – instead of providing medical help for his severe injuries – told him to stop taking heroin. …
READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/11/oakland-police-strike-army-ranger-with-nightsticks-on-his-back-ribs-shoulders-and-hands-lacerating-his-spleen-and-causing-internal-bleeding-then-deny-him-medical-treatment-for-18-hours.html
* CO-INTEL, AGENT PROVOCATEURS, AND PROPAGANDA TECHNIQUES OF THE US REGIME (GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA)
Patriots should familiarize themselves with this knowledge before taking any pro-freedom action against this regime.
* AGENT PROVOCATEUR 77
By Peter Lumetta
… The most dangerous problem for the OWS is this type of hidden sabotage that is being perpetrated on the movement and will continue to become more serious as time goes on. There is no reason for the protesters to resort to violence except for self protection. The agent provocateurs are the tools of those who would undermine the expression of the OWS by inciting violence to cause the Police and Governments to react with violence on the protesters like the right wing fanatic Howley. The real danger will be when these agents fire weapons at the police, then the riot squads and the SWAT teams will be let loose on the unarmed crowds resulting in injury and death. The longer the protests go on the more likely the powers behind the “Wall” will start to try and escalate the violence, and the easiest way is to attack the police who are trained and conditioned to react with overpowering force. …