Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Michael Moore says the real IRS scandal is corporations not paying taxes

Michael Moore says the real IRS scandal is corporations not paying taxes (via Mlive.com)

FLINT, MI -- The real IRS scandal is the agency allowing General Electric "and 50 other corporations" not to pay any taxes, Flint native and filmmaker Michael Moore said on HBO's “Real Time With Bill Maher."  According to a report in the Huffington Post, Moore said Americans are focusing on the…

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How New International Food Aid Rules Could Save Millions — In Lives And Dollars

How New International Food Aid Rules Could Save Millions — In Lives And Dollars: pThe Somali famine of 2011 was a massive, monstrous failure on the part of the international community at almost all levels. A new report released on Thursday indicates that the crisis took the lives of a far greater number than many experts predicted: Up to 260,000 Somalis died that year, over half of them children, [...]/p

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The 10 Worst Prisons in America: ADX | Mother Jones





If you can't do the time, don't do the crime." So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment.
Doing time is not supposed to include being raped by fellow prisoners or staff, beaten by guards for the slightest provocation, driven mad by long-term solitary confinement, or killed off by medical neglect. These, however, are the fates of thousands of prisoners every year—men, women, and children housed in lockups that give Gitmo and Abu Ghraib a run for their money.
The United States boasts the world's highest incarceration rate, with close to 2.3 million people locked away in some 1,800 prisons and 3,000 jails. Most are nasty places by design, aimed at punishment and exclusion rather than rehabilitation; while reliable numbers are hard to come by, at last count 81,622 prisoners were being held in some form of isolation in state and federal prisons. Thousands more are being held in solitary at jails, deportation facilities, and juvenile-detention centers. Nearly 1 in 10 prisoners is sexually victimized, by prison employees about half of the time—more than 200,000 such assaults take place in American penal facilities every year (PDF), according to estimates compiled under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. Suicides, meanwhile, account for almost a third of prisoner deaths, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics, while an unknown number of fatalities result from substandard nutrition and medical care.



The 10 Worst Prisons in America: ADX | Mother Jones

O’Donnell tells Libertarians: You deserve better spokesmen than Ron and Rand Paul | The Raw Story





MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell extended sympathy to who he called “honest Libertarians” on Tuesday, while picking apart the flaws in recent statements by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and retired Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) over authorities’ tactics during the search for and capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
“You deserve better spokesmen than Ron and Rand,” O’Donnell said. “But until you get better Libertarian advocates, you’re going to have to continue to endure paranoid, lying politicians in the Paul family.”
O’Donnell began his account by focusing on Rand Paul’s April 23 statement that, “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”



O’Donnell tells Libertarians: You deserve better spokesmen than Ron and Rand Paul | The Raw Story

Monday, March 18, 2013

Legacy of Iraq War Myths Ten Years Later | Accuracy.Org


Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He said today: “The tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion comes at a time of chilling statements from the top of the U.S. government. Days ago, speaking of possible actions against Iran, President Obama told an Israeli TV reporter: ‘I continue to keep all options on the table.’ Earlier this month, Vice President Biden told the AIPAC annual conference that Obama ‘is not bluffing’ and declared that ‘all options, including military force, are on the table.’ These statements are similar to the threats uttered by President Bush and Vice President Cheney prior to the invasion of Iraq.”
Solomon added: “Despite the myth that just about everyone believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, many experts and independent groups in the United States — including the Institute for Public Accuracy — thoroughly debunked such claims during the year before the invasion.” For examples of pre-invasion news releases and public reports refuting U.S. government claims of Iraqi WMDs, click here,here and here.
For video of a live televised debate last month between Solomon and Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, click here.
Available for radio use: historic audio from “War Made Easy” documentary film.
SAM HUSSEINI, [email]@samhusseini
Communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said today: “It’s common to simply blame Bush and Cheney for the Iraq war, but it’s not accurate. Many voted for or otherwise backed the Iraq war — including Obama’s entire foreign policy team from Kerry to Hagel; from Clinton to Rice to Biden. Even among those who voted against the war, many facilitated it, like Pelosi, who claimed during the buildup to the Iraq invasion that ‘there was no question Iraq had chemical and biological agents.’ None of these individuals have ever seriously come clean about their conduct during this critical period (and I’ve questioned most of them) — so there’s never been a moment of reckoning for the greatest foreign policy disaster of this generation. The elevation of Democrats who did not seriously question the war likely facilitated Bush and Cheney never being held accountable for their conduct.
“Persistent myths include that after the invasion, we learned that Bush deceived about Iraqi WMDs. In fact, it was clear before the war that the Bush administration was engaged, as an Institute for Public Accuracy news release headline put it the day before the bombing campaign started, in a ‘Pattern of Deceit.’ Some of these falsifications were brazen, like claiming the UN weapons inspectors were dissatisfied with Iraqi compliance, when they were saying Iraq was making progress and they wanted more time to complete their job. Bush’s deceptions were helped along by the fact that the Clinton administration had also deceitfully hyped Iraqi WMDs, maintained sanctions and a belligerent stance for nearly a decade — a pattern that the Obama administration seems to be repeating in many respects now with Iran and North Korea. Tragically, the peace movement, which took center stage with quasi-global protests on Feb. 15, 2003, went on to marginalize itself by focusing on Bush rather than building a serious global movement for peace and justice.”
See FAIR’s 2007 report “Iraq: A Critical Timeline,” which documents much of the media drumbeat for war, as well as notable exceptions.




Legacy of Iraq War Myths Ten Years Later | Accuracy.Org

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chained CPI: An economic, moral disaster - The Hill


How many candidates for Congress last year won on the following platform?
1. That Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are too generous. Social Security should be cut over the next two decades by more than $1,000 a year for 85-year-old widows living on $1,200 a month. 
2. That benefits earned by disabled veterans as a result of losing their arms, legs or eyesight in Iraq and Afghanistan are too generous. Disabled veterans’ benefits should be cut over the next 15 years by more than $1,400 a year.


Chained CPI: An economic, moral disaster - The Hill

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why Chief Justice Roberts’ Voting Rights Act Math Doesn’t Add Up | ThinkProgress


The US Supreme Court seems poised to invalidate a key section of the Voting Rights Act after last week’s hostile oral argument. Conservative justices insisted that special protections for minority voters in historically discriminatory districts are now obsolete. While Justice Antonin Scalia brashly attacked the law as “a perpetuation of racial entitlement,” Chief Justice John Roberts attempted a more measured statistical argument. Roberts claimed that Section 5′s focus on southern states was outdated because Mississippi has the highest black voter turnout, while Massachusetts has the lowest.
Statistics guru Nate Silver dismantled Roberts’ argument in his New York Times column today, pointing out that Roberts cherry-picked two states outside the norm:
In fact, it would be dangerous to infer very much from Massachusetts and Mississippi. In 2004, for instance, while Mississippi was reported to have strong black turnout, black turnout was poor in Arizona and Virginia, which are also covered by Section 5.
Silver examined data in states covered by Section 5 versus states not covered by Section 5, finding little difference in black voter turnout:
However, Silver argues, Roberts’ reasoning that the improved minority turnout in covered states means the Voting Rights Act is no longer necessary is flawed. It may well be that the Voting Rights Act is responsible for correcting the huge regional disparity in voter turnout in 1964. Therefore, Roberts’ examples of Massachusetts and Mississippi turnout say little about the actual effects of the VRA.




Why Chief Justice Roberts’ Voting Rights Act Math Doesn’t Add Up | ThinkProgress

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Florida GOP Takes Voter Suppression to a Brazen New Extreme | Ari Berman | Politics News | Rolling Stone

    Imagine this: a Republican governor in a crucial battleground state instructs his secretary of state to purge the voting rolls of hundreds of thousands of allegedly ineligible voters. The move disenfranchises thousands of legally registered voters, who happen to be overwhelmingly black and Hispanic Democrats. The number of voters prevented from casting a ballot exceeds the margin of victory in the razor-thin election, which ends up determining the next President of the United States.
    If this scenario sounds familiar, that’s because it happened in Florida in 2000. And twelve years later, just months before another presidential election, history is repeating itself.
    Back in 2000, 12,000 eligible voters – a number twenty-two times larger than George W. Bush’s 537 vote triumph over Al Gore – were wrongly identified as convicted felons and purged from the voting rolls in Florida, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. African Americans, who favored Gore over Bush by 86 points, accounted for 11 percent of the state’s electorate but 41 percent of those purged. Jeb Bush attempted a repeat performance in 2004 to help his brother win reelection but was forced to back off in the face of a public outcry. Yet with another close election looming, Florida Republicans have returned to their voter-scrubbing ways.
    The latest purge comes on the heels of a trio of new voting restrictions passed by Florida Republicans last year, disenfranchising 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons who'd been granted the right to vote under GOP Governor Charlie Crist in 2008; shutting down non-partisan voter registration drives; and cutting back on early voting. The measures, the effect of which will be to depress Democratic turnout in November, are similar to voting curbs passed by Republicans in more than a dozen states, on the bogus pretext of combating "voter fraud" but with the very deliberate goal of shaping the electorate to the GOP's advantage before a single vote has been cast.
    Florida Republicans have taken voter suppression to a brazen extreme. After the 2010 election, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, instructed Secretary of State Ken Browning to compile a massive database of alleged "non-citizen" voters. Browning resigned in February rather than implement Scott’s plan, saying "we were not confident enough about the information for this secretary to hang his hat on it."
    But in early May his successor, Kurt Detzner, a former beer-industry lobbyist, announced a list of 182,000 suspected non-citizens to be removed from the voting rolls, along with 50,000 apparently dead voters. (Seven thousand alleged felons had already been scrubbed from the rolls in the first four months of 2012). On May 8, the state mailed out a first batch of 2,600 letters to Florida residents informing them, "you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote." If the recipients do not reply within thirty days and affirm their U.S. citizenship, they will be dropped from the voter rolls.
    The first batch of names was riddled with inaccuracies. For example, as the progressive blog Think Progress noted, "an excess of 20 percent of the voters flagged as 'non-citizens' in Miami-Dade are, in fact, citizens. And the actual number may be much higher." If this ratio holds for the rest of the names on the non-citizens list, more than 35,000 eligible voters could be disenfranchised. Those alleged non-citizens have already included a 91-year-old World War II veteran who’s voted since he was 18 and a 60-year-old kennel owner who has voted in the state for four decades. It’s impossible to quantify how many eligible voters will be scrubbed from the rolls if they’ve moved, aren’t home, don’t have ready access to citizenship documents, or won’t bother to reply to the menacing letter.
    "There are lots of things that can go wrong when you have these large-scale systematic purges," says Myrna Perez, senior counsel in the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice. "They need to be done really carefully, with a lot of transparency, well in advance of the election. And this is too close." Florida Republicans are following the lead of GOP secretaries of state in places like Colorado and New Mexico, who’ve made outlandish and unsubstantiated claims about non-citizens voting based on sketchy data, bad methodology, and anti-immigrant sentiment.
    The purge has sparked a bipartisan outcry from local election officials in Florida. "The state’s supervisors of elections are very, very disturbed," says Ian Sancho, supervisor of elections in Leon County, which includes the state capital of Tallahassee. "This was dumped into our laps at the 11th hour. Those of us who have been here long enough get this eerie similarity to the flawed felon databases of 2000 in Florida."
    Adds Deirdre Macnab, president of the Florida League of Women Voters: "We are very, very concerned about this news because of the track record in this state of purging thousands of voters who should not have been purged. We’re deeply troubled and appalled this is happening just months before a major national election."
    As in 2000, the purge disproportionately targets Democratic voters. Two-thirds of the alleged non-citizens on the initial purge list reside in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County, which supported Obama by 17 points over McCain in 2008. The county had the third highest number of naturalized citizens from 2009 to 2011, meaning that many new citizens could very likely be listed as non-citizens in the state databases. Florida Hispanics, who voted 57 percent for Obama in 2008, are only 13 percent of the state's electorate but make up 58 percent of the non-citizens list. Whites, by contrast, account for 68 percent of registered Florida voters but only 13 percent of alleged non-citizens. Democrats outnumber Republicans on the list by two to one. “Attempts to purge the voter roll so soon after signing one of the nation’s most controversial voting laws raises concern, especially among young and minority voters,” Florida Senator Bill Nelson wrote in a letter to Scott.
    Minority voters also bore the brunt of the voting restrictions passed by the GOP last year. Hispanic and African-American voters were twice as likely as white voters to register to vote through non-partisan voter registration drives run by the likes of Rock the Vote and the League of Women Voters, which had to suspend their registration efforts in the state due to new onerous bureaucratic requirements, which threaten to turn civic-minded volunteers into criminals. As a result, black and Hispanic voter registration has declined 10 percent in Florida relative to 2008, according to the Washington Post, with 81,000 fewer voters registered during a comparable period in ’08, says the New York Times. African Americans also made up 54 percent of early voters in 2008; early voting has subsequently been cut from 14 to 8 days, with no voting on Sunday before the election, when black churches historically mobilize their constituents. (The Department of Justice has objected to the changes under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against minority voters.)
    The registration and early-voting restrictions took effect one day after the law passed, under an emergency statute designed for "an immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare." Like the purge, the election changes were sold under the banner of "voting integrity," even though so-called voter fraud cases are virtually non-existent in Florida, as in the rest of the country. From 2008 to 2011, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received just 31 complaints of suspected voter fraud, resulting in only three arrests statewide. "No one could give me an example of all this fraud they speak about," said Mike Fasano, a Republican state senator who opposed the new restrictions.
    The state has already pledged that "several thousand" more alleged non-citizens will be targeted from the purge list. "The state told us we’re going to get names routinely," says Carolina Lopez, special project administrator for the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections. The purge is likely to be challenged by a host of voting rights groups under the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits changes to the voter rolls ninety days before an election (Florida holds state and local primaries on August 14). The Justice Department could also intervene under the authority of the Voting Rights Act. But, despite widespread condemnation, there’s no sign that Gov. Scott is preparing to reverse course.
    Following the 2000 election, a major report from the US Commission on Civil Rights found that "statistical data, reinforced by credible anecdotal evidence, point to the widespread denial of voting rights [in Florida]." Ian Sancho, the Leon County elections official, says the political climate surrounding voting in the state is even "more hyper-partisan than in 2000," which is hard to fathom. If the presidential election is once again decided in the Sunshine State, heaven help us all.
    Update - Thursday, May 31: A Florida district court judge today issued a preliminary injunction against the state's crackdown on voter registration drives – which includes fines of up to $1,000 if forms are not turned in to the state within 48 hours and the threat of felony prosecution – based on a lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Rock the Vote and the Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. "When a plaintiff loses an opportunity to register a voter," wrote Judge Robert Hinkle, "the opportunity is gone forever." That same principle, incidentally, should apply to eligible voters wrongly purged of their right to vote by the state.
    Update - Friday, June 1: In another victory for the cause of voting rights, the Justice Department yesterday told Florida that it needs to get approval for its voting purge under Section 5 of the Voting Right Act to make sure it does not discriminate against minority voters and that the timing of the purge violates the National Voter Registration Act.
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    • Mitch Ruch 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      If you know who Glen Beck is but not Leon Panetteta... Your good to go
    • James Williams 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      Interfering with elections is an American art form. And let's not pretend that only republicans engage in it. Hopefully any malfeasance will be punished by the appropriate authorities, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
    • yoshimoto 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      Call me crazy, but I would say the bedrock of Democracy is that if you are not eligible to vote, then maybe YOU SHOULDN'T BE VOTING.
      Why is this even an issue?
    • Because the information they are using to purge ineligible voters is flawed. They are purging eligible voters, mainly poor minority voters, alongside people who are legitimately ineligible.
    • Elliot 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      This is so brazen it is sickening.
    • apeman2502 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      Some people just need a brick along side the head. A person with so little respect for the electoral process that they would do like this governor are old enough to know better and young enough to have their hands surgically removed.
    • Big Obummer 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      You need an ID to vote.........assuming minorities are too stupid or lazy to get an ID is disgusting Liberal/Democrat racism.
    • jackeyb 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      ...and the WWII war hero that was purged? He is lazy & stupid. He had voted for 14+ years in Florida and was purged.
    • Prince albert 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      Why is it we require an ID to check into a hotel but not 1 to vote. I am all for stopping this purge so long as efforts continue to uncover those who voted illegally are continued; of course any found to have voted illegally should be fined $1,000,000.00 and sent to prison for ten years
    • Kbelx 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      do you browse leftwing blogs before you write? if you didnt your writings wouldnt be so foolish and your readers wouldnt be so misinformed. why should an illegal vote? thats the issue. not race and voter suppression. but what would i expect by a simple-minded writer of so-called politics on a music site. politics and especially a fool hardy political writer have no business in music. i feel dumber after reading your colums. sad that so many of your readers have taken the bait. comical
    • Uncephalized 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      Did you miss the part where a significant number of the "non-citizens" being purged from the rolls are, in fact, citizens wh were naturalized since the last major election and whose records have not been updated in the databases being queried to decide who gets purged? Moron.
    • Kat Mitchell 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      ok this type of behavior rarely works,OBAMA 2012
    • Michael Smith 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      Wrong. It worked in 2000 in Florida. Well helloooooo, President Bush! They're all rigged. Even Obama's win was rigged. Ron Paul is kicking Mitt Romney's ass in the conventions, the entire media is lying about it... but it looks like this thing is in the bag to hand it over to Romney to continue the looting of our economy. Obama has done a good job for his controllers, but he's too dangerous... might cause a revolution, now they need a new puppet. Mittwit Romney, The Vulture Capitalist. This country is over.
    • jackeyb 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      Well...at least we're watching Florida now. In 2000 they did it without much attention. Now they have Federal government breathing down their back. Think they got away with it last time because no one was paying attention. Thanks to the net, the whole world will know how they're planning on rigging the election in November.
    • Kat Mitchell 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      this kinda crap normally backfires!!!! OBAMA 2012
    • Danieljmohr 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      Of course if you are a republican you love the fact that republican Governor across the country are doing everything they can think of to stack the deck in their favor, it doesn't make it right & doesn't make voter fraud real. In 1877 Georgia passed a literacy test in order to vote, now you could argue that this did not say that blacks could not vote but that was the out come. So you can argue that this is to stop voter fraud, that does not exist, but in reality it is suppressing the votes of college students, minorities,poor & elderly. I find it ironic that republicans love to fight wars across the world to promote democracy & do everything & anything to end it here.
    • yoshimoto 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      yes, and centuries ago they thought the world was flat - bringing up something from 1877 doesn't make your case - or do you believe people who are not eligible to vote should be voting?
    • eat_swim_read 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      Interesting that Obama-nauts are hysterically ranting about Gov. Rick Scott.
      One of whose first actions in office was to end the dreadful 'rocket docket' where retired {cough, senile} judges were paid by the day to ram foreclosures thru the system.
      As well-documented here @ RS by Taibbi. People were losing their homes - their homes! - in "hearings" as short as two minutes.
      Thanks to Scott this nonsense came to an end.
      My Haitian foster daughter (now in college,) my Jewish mentor and my Baptist neighbors have all had to verify voter paperwork in the past year or so. It is a simple process and there are many places to do this. Translators, help with special needs, and free advocates from law school clinics are available free for the asking.
      Florida had its 2008 Dem primary , a rout for Hillary Clinton, stolen. This time we are on guard to stop this.
      Cheers.
    • Alohajonny 4 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      Really?? So making sure people are properly registered and are legal to vote is not a good thing?? VOTER ID NOW!!!!!
    • Really? 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      Maybe layman terms work for you better
      No white voters are receiving letters. Does that register better for you? They know the people are eligible. Those who are not eligible or are illegal are not getting the letters.
    • Kbelx 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      whites are generally here illegally dopey
    • inLA 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand
      This is not about making sure people are properly registered. Florida is purging ELIGIBLE voters. As the article describes.
    • Giveup 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
      It is simple. Have a valid ID, be registered in your district and you get to vote. How hard is that?
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    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/florida-gop-takes-voter-supression-to-a-brazen-new-extreme-20120530#ixzz1xQzclYTS



    Florida GOP Takes Voter Suppression to a Brazen New Extreme | Ari Berman | Politics News | Rolling Stone