Yesterday, hundreds rallied in Duluth, Minnesota for marriage equality. Minnesota faces a ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2012, but the local Fox affiliate inaccurately reported that it will be on this year’s ballot. Watch coverage from the rally:
For over forty years now whenever I hear the loud demands, especially by the elected representatives of the people, for tax cuts my first thought has always been the long underfunded Veterans Administration and related to our wars of choice, second is[...]
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by Marin Katusa, Casey Energy Report
A rancorous debate over TransCanada Corp.’s (T.TRP) proposed Keystone XL Pipeline has given rise to two uncomfortable prospects: If the US$7 billion project is not built, Alberta’s oil sands will become landlocked, at least for a while, and the United States will lose access to one of its few reliable, friendly sources of oil.
Keystone XL is a proposed pipeline that would run from Edmonton—the hub of Canada’s massive oil sands—through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, to Houston. The line is critical to ensure a continued, smooth ramp-up in oil sands production, because producers need to send the heavy bitumen extracted from the sands to refineries able to handle that . . . → Read More: America?s Oil Supply: The Keystone for Survival
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Rupert Murdoch?s empire was the subject of not one, but two, hacking stories this weekend. You probably heard how, in the US, someone hacked Fox News? Twitter account in the middle of the night leading into Fourth of July. Shortly thereafter, that thread[...]
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Union members are alive and well in some places of the state. Matter of fact, the First Congressional District.
Republican puppet Tim Scott would never show his face in the City of Georgetown, at the steel mill or at the USW Local 7898 union hall to face people in public. However, Scott had no choice in Charleston.
Standing just steps from one of the busiest highways in Charleston, Republican congressman Tim Scott and federal employee union leader John Gage verbally sparred over anti-union legislation Thursday while a crowd of gawkers from both sides of the aisle looked on, jeering and cheering.
For about 20 minutes, the two played "point and "counter-point" as their impromptu debate went from civil to confrontational, then to a sweat-producing workout. Voices were raised, but no blows were struck. At one point, Scott did refuse to shake Gage's hand, saying the union leader had misrepresented his position. They later made up.
One of Gage's many retorts included "You just want to take away from unions, and that looks like an attack on working people."
He also accused Scott of wanting to be a union buster -- a charge Scott strongly denied, saying he wasn't out to kill unions but is more an advocate for economic productivity.
Seasoned dictator with over 40 years of experience seeks challenging new assignment as exiled strongman. Or, if Qaddafi flees Libya what country might still take him in?[...]
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Wrong hat, asshole
Over the last several months, DWT has been featuring a series of posts about financial and conservative political elites making common cause with European fascists in the 1930s and '40s. The 4th of July festivities yesterday-- coupled with pious pronouncements by conservative hacks (see tweet below)-- reminded me that conservatives were undermining America long before they financed the rise of Hitler in the '30s.
The Wikipedia entry on the Revolutionary War Loyalists begins with a simple paragraph that might give contemporary American conservatives, particularly teabaggers, cause for pause.
Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain (and the British monarchy) during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution. When their cause was defeated, about 20% of the Loyalists fled to other parts of the British Empire...
? Psychologically they were older, better established, and resisted innovation.
? They felt that resistance to the Crown-- the legitimate government-- was morally wrong.
? They were alienated when the Patriots resorted to violence, such as burning houses and tarring and feathering.
? They wanted to take a middle-of-the road position and were angry when forced by the Patriots to declare their opposition.
? They had a long-standing sentimental attachment to Britain (often with business and family links).
? They were procrastinators who realized that independence was bound to come some day, but wanted to postpone the moment.
? They were rightly cautious and afraid of anarchy or tyranny that might come from mob rule, which did cost many their property and security after the revolution.
? Some say they were pessimists who lacked the confidence in the future displayed by the Patriots, while others point to the memory and dreadful experience of many Scottish immigrants who had already seen or paid the price of rebellion in dispossession and clearance from their prior homeland.
If you look at our country?s long history, from the days of the first stirrings of our revolutionary impulses against Britain to today, progressive leaders and progressive movements have moved this country forward in the face of bitter-- and frequently violent-- opposition from reactionaries and defenders of the status quo. Consider the major advances in American history:
? The American Revolution
? The Bill of Rights and the forging of a democracy
? Universal white male suffrage
? Public education
? The emancipation of the slaves
? The national park system
? Food safety
? The breakup of monopolies
? The Homestead Act
? Land grant universities
? Rural electrification
? Women?s suffrage
? The abolition of child labor
? The eight hour workday
? The minimum wage
? Social Security
? Civil rights for minorities and women
? Voting rights for minorities and the poor
? Cleaning up our air, our water, and toxic dump sites
? Consumer product safety
? Medicare and Medicaid
Every single one of those reforms, which are literally the reforms that made this country what it is today, was accomplished by the progressive movement standing up to the fierce opposition of conservative reactionaries who were trying to preserve their own power. American history is one long argument between progressivism and conservatism.
The striking thing about this long debate is how much the arguments that have occurred are repetitive over time, in terms of their rhetoric, constituencies, philosophy, and the values they represent. From generation to generation, the conservatives who oppose reform and progress have used the same kinds of arguments over and over again. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. described the division as one between "public purpose and private interest." If you sketch out the broad lines of the conservative case against the progressive case, it flows something like this:
The Conservative Argument
Successful businessmen and their allies make America great, and we should not undermine their authority or cost them money because that will mean bad things for the economy and all of us. Their freedom to run things as they like benefits everyone in the long run. And they should be the ones who control the government as well, because they know how the world works, and we can trust them to protect out national interests because of their knowledge and wisdom. An excess of democracy is a dangerous thing.
We must adhere to tradition because once we tamper with tradition, society goes to hell. It's a scary world out there, and the people who have always run things can protect us, but only if we stay with our traditions and keep things the way they have always been. People who are different from us create problems, and we don't want our traditions or the carefully built structure of our society undermined.
If people are poor, it's probably their own fault because they are too lazy to work, didn't study in school, and are generally bad people. Society shouldn't spend any money on helping people who can't help themselves, and we can't afford it anyway. Ultimately, each of us is responsible for ourselves in the world, and we shouldn't be relying on government or anybody else to make it.
We should fear change and be wary of hope because when things change, we just don't know what the unintended consequences will be.
The Progressive Argument
We are all created equal and deserve both equal rights under the law and equal opportunities to make good lives for ourselves and families. That means that the laws should not be formulated to favor one race of people or to help the wealthy over the poor. And it means that we all should have a good education, enough food to eat, adequate health care if we get sick, and a decent place to live.
Our society works well only when it has a sense of community, an understanding that we are all interdependent on one another, that we are all diminished if any one of us is suffering, and that we look out for those who can't take care of themselves.
America is a democracy that should be a government of, by, and for the people. We don't trust elites to look out for the rest of us, and we want everyone to have a say in how the government and the economy are run.
Fear and Hope
The arguments by conservatives all too frequently invoke fear-- of change, of one another, of foreigners and foreign enemies, or of certain people. They proclaim a loud and fervent patriotism and a love of traditional values, quite often quoting the Bible to justify their point of view, while ignoring those patriots and Bible quotes that don't fit their agenda.
Progressives, on the other hand, have called for hope, rather than fear, and for changing things for the better, rather than just leaving things the way they have always been. We have been for more power for regular folks and less power for elites. And we have been for a stronger sense of community, rather than the sense that each of us is on his or her own.
The central theme of this book is to show how these political arguments have been repeated over time and time again since the American Revolution, how the same alternative visions of America keep being argued over and over, and how when progressives have won the day politically, the country has moved forward.
The good news is that a more progressive vision of what America can aspire to has prevailed enough times over the years to make us a far better country. While it is certainly true that the United States is more conservative by many measures than the industrialized countries in Europe, and that progress has been uneven and painfully slow, we are also the country that invented the modern notions of democracy and equality, and that legacy has echoed down through the generations and inspired new movements to make their claims on the American dream.
American history has always been a mixed bag, with vision and courage and progress mixed together with slavery, the brutal killing of many millions of American Indians, wars that shouldn't have been fought, and altogether too much greed. There have been plenty of times when the progressive movement was too weak and small to stop bad things from happening, or when it settled for compromises on fundamental issues, such as slavery and women's suffrage.
It should be noted that the communist China has consistently lied about numbers over the years. As bad as Moody's may be, even their numbers may be too conservative. In the past this led to famine but this time it could lead to social unrest.
China's local government debt burden may be 3.5 trillion yuan ($540 billion) larger than auditors estimated, putting banks on the hook for deeper losses that could threaten their credit ratings, Moody's said on Tuesday.
Addressing the estimate by China's state auditor that its local governments have chalked up 10.7 trillion yuan of debt, Moody's said it found more potential loans after accounting for discrepencies in figures given by various Chinese authorities.
"The potential scale of the problem loans at Chinese banks may be closer to its stress case than its base case," Moody's said in a statement.
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When Michael Solomon reads the words of Sarah Palin he sees poetry.
Solomon's searched through 24,000 emails Palin sent while governor of Alaska to create "I Hope Like Heck," a newly published book of poetry.
Current's Keith Olbermann celebrated the Fourth of July holiday by offering a dramatic reading of some of those poems.
"I did not change a word," Solomon told Olbermann. "You know, I left in all of her misspellings because I wanted to be true to the source material."