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Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it (please?)...
Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Veterans' Affairs ID can be used to vote under new GOP voting restrictions in TX. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
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Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Ernest A. Canning on 7/29/2011 4:17pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Anti-war sentiments today are strikingly similar to what they had been in March 1968 when Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) challenged fellow Democrat and incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. In March 1968 only 41% of Americans said "no" when asked whether we made a mistake in sending troops to Vietnam. Today six out of every ten Americans surveyed (70% of Democrats) favor an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. Another 59% oppose our involvement in Libya.

While opposition to war is similar, the "democracy deficit" --- what Prof. Noam Chomsky refers to in Failed States as the significant gap between the policy positions of the electorate and their elected representatives --- is much wider today than it had been in 1968.

Medicare, the centerpiece of President Johnson's Great Society, like Social Security, the centerpiece of FDR's New Deal, remains immensely popular with the American people. As revealed by a recent Washington Post poll, 78% of Americans oppose cutting Medicare. 72% favor raising taxes on incomes over $250,000 and only 17% oppose raising taxes on those making more than $250,000.

Yet, the political elites of both major parties, operating, as they did during the Wall Street bailout of 2008, under a contrived crisis mode, are advancing alternative deficit reduction proposals that will, in the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (see video below) "do just the opposite of what the American people want."

While third parties are an option, today we sorely need an option that was available in 1968: a Eugene McCarthy...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 7/4/2011 12:05am PT  

As taken last year during a great 4th of July fireworks display in Culver City, CA, as sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce.

Upon entering the fairgrounds, they were kind enough to hand everyone a plastic U.S. flag (which included a special note, see above), to help us all celebrate our patriotism and remind us of our independence.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/29/2011 12:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Sunday, Los Angeles Times added the name Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to a very long list of wealthy hypocrites who scream "socialism" all the way to the bank.

Bachmann, like most members of the Plutocrat (aka Republican) Party, rails against what she describes as "entitlements" (Social Security, Medicare and just about any other program designed to promote the general welfare of the American people – in her case even going so far as to label the 9/11 Responders bill as a "new entitlement program"). Yet, as the Times revealed, Bachmann not only voted against ending such "corporate entitlements" as subsidies for the oil and gas industry, but personally benefited from some $260,000 in federal taxpayer subsidies paid to her family farm and another $30,000 state subsidy to her husband's counseling clinic, part of which included monies from the federal government.

While Bachmann denied directly benefiting from either subsidy --- she went so far as to say "my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm" --- her financial disclosure form reveals that she received income from the farm during the same period the farm received federal subsidies. Her claim that the clinic's public subsidies went to train its employees rather than her pocketbook provides a typical form of plutocratic denial that fails to acknowledge that the use of public funds to educate private sector employees eliminates the need for private employers to expend their own funds for training.

But the Bachmanns are but bit players in the great American corporate welfare scheme...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Adding to Robert Reich on 'What’s Wrong with the Economy' and what a real jobs initiative would look like...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/27/2011 12:15pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

"In a time of universal deceit --- telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

Ah, the 2012 election cycle is fast approaching. The Plutocrat (aka 'Republican') Party is in the process of garnering funds from far-right billionaires like the Koch brothers in order to present their usual "jobs, jobs, jobs" propaganda.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs" will come to us not only by way of paid-for political ads, but by way of corporate MSM "coverage" which will conveniently neglect to mention that the GOP-controlled House has not offered a single bill that would create a single job, or that the 2010 GOP "victories" have merely produced an all out assault on the middle-class including an effort to eliminate Medicare, an assault on the fundamental right to engage in collective bargaining, and drastic cuts in programs designed to protect the health, safety and economic well being of the vast majority of the American people at the same time they tirelessly strive to protect subsidies for the oil cartel and tax breaks for billionaires.

Against this backdrop, Robert Reich has come up with this two minute, fifteen second explanation of "What’s Wrong with the Economy..."

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2011 4:00pm PT  

Our friend Mike Stark got through to Rush Limbaugh's radio show on Thursday and introduced a few actual facts over our public airwaves. Rush was clueless about how to handle it and had to resort to telling listeners that all of the independently verifiable facts Stark was presenting were completely made up fantasies.

Of course, they weren't. They are are easily verifiable and correct.

But this is the world we now live in, folks. Reality vs. Rush and the Right. As of now, Rush and the Right are winning. Those of us in the World of Reality are taking a serious hit in the bargain, thanks to corporate ownership of the public airwaves which allows a guy like Rush to use our own airwaves against we, the people who own them to pretend to millions of Americans each day that Facts are Lies, that Up is Down, that White is Black, that killing Medicare is saving Medicare, that Global Warming is a hoax, that "conservatives" believe in small government and the rule of law and the Constitution, that teachers and firefighters are the cause for our debt problems, and that Obama is a radical Leftist who hates America, is anti-business, and has raised your taxes.

Remember when Karl Rove said "We create our own reality," in 2004? That's the world we all now live in. One created from whole cloth and spewed to millions of gullible citizens each and every day over our own public airwaves. No actual facts required. No public interest obligations met in exchange for use of those airwaves. And so we all keeping heading down the long road to nowhere, or to ruin.

The Majority Report's Sam Seder takes us through Stark's call to Rush...and through the looking glass...

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PLUS: GOP Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty triples down on Bush's tax cuts in major economic speech today...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2011 4:01pm PT  

By way of marking today's 10th anniversary of George W. Bush's job-killing, society-crushing tax cuts for the rich --- which we recently illustrated via one very clear chart, as the largest factor, by far, in exacerbating our current public debt --here, courtesy of Think Progress, is just a few of the things this country could have had for the same 10-year price tag as those tax cuts for rich people who didn't need them...

- Give 122.7 Million Children Low-Income Health Care Every Year For Ten Years

- Give 49.2 Million People Access To Low-Income Healthcare Every Year For Ten Years

- Provide 43.1 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years

- Provide 31.5 Million Head Start Slots For Children Every Year For Ten Years

- Provide VA Care For 30.7 Million Military Veterans Every Year For Ten Years

- Provide 30.4 Million Scholarships For University Students Every Year For Ten Years

- Hire 4.19 Million Firefighters Every Year For Ten Years

- Hire 3.67 Million Elementary School Teachers Every Year For Ten Years

- Hire 3.6 Million Police Officers Every Year For Ten Years

- Retrofit 144.6 Million Households For Wind Power Every Year For Ten Years

- Retrofit 54.2 Million Households For Solar Photovoltaic Energy Every Year For Ten Years

Well, that all might have been nice for all Americans.

So how are the current crop of GOP contenders for the 2012 Presidential nomination responding? Here is former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's economic plan, as outlined in a speech today, which promises to triple the size of the existing Bush tax cuts...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2011 12:18pm PT  

Via TPM:

By way of reminder, George W. Bush inherited a federal budget surplus from Bill Clinton in 2000, when the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had forecast that, at that rate, the debt would be entirely wiped out by 2012.

Any questions?

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/12/2011 1:26pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Oil industry on the hot seat --- again --- fighting to hold on to their billion-dollar taxpayer "incentives" (a.k.a. corporate welfare); Renewable energy can replace fossil fuels by 2050; PLUS: Satirists Attack! And fossil-fuel companies cry foul! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Sec. Clinton at Arctic Council mtg. for treaty on climate change, drilling; Wikileaks cables show race to carve up the Arctic; Now the Pope is down with climate change; There is NO 'rebound effect'; Yucca Shutdown Was Political; Unusual "Mishaps" At 3 U.S. Nuclear Power Plants; NRC Waives Enforcement of Fire Rules; Panel Urges Germany to Close Nuclear Plants ; 'People power' blocks dam construction in India; Mega-Fire risk is global and growing; The psychological roots of resource over-consumption; LOL: Oil front group argues against tax breaks for natural gas; Surprise! Fox News lies again about climate science; Oil CEOs Among Highest Paid ... PLUS: Bill Gates' [big glaring] Blind Spots [climate change, energy, efficiency]...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2011 1:24pm PT  

At the end of the "New Rules" segment on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher last night, Maher called out Republicans for being "neither fiscally conservative nor strong on defense," adding "they have to tell us what exactly it is they're good at."

"How many Muslims does a black guy have to kill in one weekend before crackers climb down off his ass?" Maher asked, before offering a flashing "FACTS" light at the bottom of the screen so Fox "News" viewers would know to keep the sound turned down until it disappeared. He then went on to call out the GOP for, among other things, implementing policies over the past decade that revealed them to be anything but fiscally responsible.

"When Bill Clinton left office in 2001," Maher said, "the Congressional Budget Office predicted that by the end of the decade, we would have paid off the deficit and have a 2 trillion dollar surplus. Instead, we have a 10 trillion dollar public debt, and the difference in those two numbers is mostly because the Republicans put tax cuts for the rich, free drugs for the elderly, and two wars on the layaway plan and then bailed on the check."

Maher then criticized George W. Bush's failure to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, after his admission that he "didn't spend that much time on Osama, [and] that he was no longer concerned about him, just as he wasn't before 9/11 when he blew off that mysterious, inscrutable memo entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the U.S.'"

"Why focus on the terrorists who reduced Wall Street to rubble, when you can help Wall Street reduce the whole country to rubble?" the satirist asked rhetorically.

Near the end of his "New Rule," after eviscerating Republicans such as Bush for his "War on Terror" strategy, and Sen. John McCain for being "naive" in his criticism of Obama's promise to focus on bin Laden during the 2008 Presidential election, Maher went on to declare President Obama "one efficient, steely-nerved, multitasking, black ninja gangsta President." WATCH...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2011 11:35am PT  

Couldn't have not said it better ourselves...

[Hat-tip @NicoleSandler on the Twitters.]

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By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2011 12:05pm PT  

[Via @LuddLite, hat-tips @OTOOLEFAN & @ShannynMoore]

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U.S. government support for 'democratic transition' in Egypt, elsewhere in Middle East, masks behind-the-scenes betrayal, CIA duplicity, and decades of torture and deception...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/21/2011 8:09am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The United States, so far, is essentially following the usual playbook...[for] when some favored dictator...is in danger of losing control. There’s a kind of a standard routine --- Marcos, Duvalier, Ceausescu...Suharto: keep supporting them as long as possible; then, when it becomes unsustainable --- typically, say, if the army shifts sides --- switch 180 degrees, claim to have been on the side of the people all along, erase the past, and then make whatever moves are possible to restore the old system under new names."-Noam Chomsky, 2/2/11

If we have learned anything from WikiLeaks, it's that we must consider the words emerging from the mouths of our political elites as the equivalent to a magician's sleight-of-hand.

During the transition between the Bush and Obama administrations, an astute observer could gain far greater insight on the direction of the new administration by ignoring the then President-elect's lofty rhetoric and focusing instead upon the fact that he chose the Wall Street-connected Larwrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, as opposed to Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, to serve as his chief financial advisers.

Today, Egypt remains in the midst of a genuine, yet to be completed, democratic revolution. So far, it has produced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and a dissolution of Egypt's parliament. However, it has not, as yet, led to real "regime change". Mubarak's hand-picked cabinet remains. So does Vice President Omar Suleiman, whom a May 14, 2007 U.S. Diplomatic cable referred to as "Mubarak's consigliere," and whom Middle East expert Lisa Hajjar refers to as "Egypt's Torturer-in-Chief".

[Listen to Brad Friedman's interview with Hajjar in the first hour of the 2/10/11 Mike Malloy Show right here.]

Egypt and the world --- and, indeed, the several other Middle Eastern nation's now seeing similar popular uprisings --- would do well to ignore public remarks by the U.S. President and Secretary of State to the effect that they supported the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian demonstrators and an end to the Mubarak presidency. While their public condemnations of violence against the press and the Egyptian people were appropriate, their reported behind-the-scene effort to have Suleiman lead a "so-called" transitional government speaks volumes.

To understand not only the why of Egypt's democratic revolution --- and many other similar popular revolts now under way in that part of the world --- but also the U.S. response to it, one must understand both the history of an ostensibly benevolent but quietly brutal U.S.-led corporate Empire and the role played by the covert dimension of Empire, particularly as described in Part IV of The BRAD BLOG's five-part 2009 special series on "The History of CIA Torture."* Suleiman, it must be remembered, long served as the chief of Egypt's General Intelligence Service, where he served as the key point man for the U.S., in what what we've described as "surrogate torture" as well as extraordinary rendition...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Revolution threatens Egypt's authoritarian regime, U.S. Empire...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2011 6:00am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The problems the protesters are trying to address are extremely deep-seated…Egypt and other countries of the region have just been through a neoliberal period which have led to…high concentrations of extreme wealth and privilege, tremendous impoverishment and dismay for most of the population." Noam Chomsky, 2/2/11

As more than a million protesters are said to have "flooded into central Cairo" this week, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule, William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation and author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, explained a little understood fact about the "tens of billions of dollars" in US military aid used to prop up the authoritarian Mubarak regime.

It is money that Egypt never received, as he explained during an appearance on Democracy Now (see video at end of article):

WILLIAM HARTUNG: It’s a form of corporate welfare for companies like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, because it goes to Egypt, then it comes back for F-16 aircraft, for M1 tanks, for aircraft engines, for all kinds of missiles, for guns, for tear gas canisters, as was discussed, a company called Combined Systems International, which actually has its name on the side of the canisters that have been found on the streets there. So these companies—for example, Lockheed Martin has been the leader in deals worth $3.8 billion over that period of the last 10 years; General Dynamics, $2.5 billion for tanks; Boeing, $1.7 billion for missiles, for helicopters; Raytheon for all manner of missiles for the armed forces.

Hartung, however, has merely focused upon the military component of a much broader scam --- foreign aid --- which John Perkins, in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and in The Secret History of the American Empire exposes to be corporate welfare designed to enhance the power and control of a corrupt and brutal corporate Empire that benefits only a select few local authoritarian elites and the billionaires at the pinnacle of U.S.-based, giant multinational corporations. All at the expense of the great mass of humanity and a sustainable planet...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Updated: Egypt revokes Al Jazeera's broadcast license...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/29/2011 11:22am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The Egyptians have risen up. They’re not going home until their demands are realized….until justice and democracy is restored," says the highly respected Dr. Mohamed ElBaradai, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over Al Jazeera English. "The state of Egypt is in a state of collapse."

ElBaradai, who returned to the country earlier this week, "called upon the Egyptian army to take the side of the people," and called upon Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to immediately step down.

What is unfolding on the streets of Egypt may well be confirmation of one of the core observations presented by Howard Zinn, who died one year ago this week...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2010 1:09pm PT  

As this noteworthy New York Times editorial was buried by its publication on Christmas Day, it's worth highlighting here today in hopes that a few more folks may actually read it.

To date, the lack of alarm (by both media and, subsequently, the public) caused by the idea of major U.S. financial services companies serving as little more than instruments of unofficial U.S. governmental policy is troubling enough as is. That WikiLeaks, the organization being outrageously penalized by these enormous corporations, has been been charged with absolutely no violation of law, makes the actions of these banks even more extraordinary and chilling.

And finally, the entire affair is made most disturbing of all, perhaps, due to the fact that in 2010 none of this seems to come as much of a surprise to anybody, as reflected by the lack of concern expressed in the bulk of the mainstream media and, therefore, by the populace at large (most of whom, thanks again, MSM, likely have no knowledge of any of it, or why it's extraordinary in the first place)...

The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.

Visa, MasterCard and PayPal announced in the past few weeks that they would not process any transaction intended for WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, Bank of America decided to join the group, arguing that WikiLeaks may be doing things that are "inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments."
...
[A] bank's ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.

The fact of the matter is that banks are not like any other business. They run the payments system. That is one of the main reasons that governments protect them from failure with explicit and implicit guarantees. This makes them look not too unlike other public utilities. A telecommunications company, for example, may not refuse phone or broadband service to an organization it dislikes, arguing that it amounts to risky business.
...
The decisions to bar the organization came after its founder, Julian Assange, said that next year it will release data revealing corruption in the financial industry. In 2009, Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks had the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.

What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was “too risky”? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.

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