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Forget droning on about changed policies: President Obama will have to Prove He’s a Changed Man

By Dave Lindorff


Some on the left are writing hopefully these days that perhaps President Obama has finally realized he needs to back off on his warlike posture on drones and the War on Terror. They are seeing his talk about scaling back the use of drone killing machines and of reconsidering or “investigating” recent Justice Department attacks on the press and its use of leaks by government whistle-blowers, as a sign that he is perhaps regaining his constitutional senses and perhaps even “moving” to the left to rebuild support he has been losing in droves.

Congress Today: Who Does it Really Represent?

With U.S. approval of Congress holding steady at a whopping 15%, one wonders just who it is the elected representatives are representing. Perhaps we can answer that question, by looking at some of their recent activities, and considering some of the things currently left undone.

New Study Shows How Microlending has Gotten Off Track: Stumbling on Its Own Success

 

By Dave Lindorff


An article by TCBH! journalist Dave Lindorff in the May issue of  American Banker magazine details how the mission of microlending has gotten off track, and why helping impoverished women is getting harder to do.
 

On the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign

‘We will march to ignite the revolution King called for’

By the Rev. C. D. Witherspoon

Talk Nation Radio: Here Comes Corporate Nationhood

And you thought corporate personhood was bad enough!  Lacey Kohlmoos, Senior Field Organizer, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, tells us that the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) will create corporate nationhood by empowering corporations to sue and overrule real nations, as well as incentivizing the offshoring of jobs, hurting food safety, damaging environmental protections, enriching drug companies at the expense of human health, banning some generic drugs, further deregulating banks, forbidding the breaking up of too-big-to-fail financial firms, and creating SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) despite its failure in Congress as a result of strong public opposition.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Another Dismal Jobs Report

 

Another Dismal Jobs Report

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Putting lipstick on this pig doesn't wash. One analyst said March data was miserable from every angle. Economist David Rosenberg called it "one soft US jobs report." It "quash(ed) the consensus view of economic re-acceleration."

 

NO CUTS! NO TAX INCREASES ON ORDINARY PEOPLE! Chase Down Mega-Rich Tax Cheats and Recover the Offshore Trillion$

 

By Dave Lindorff


Hold everything!


I mean it. Stop talking about cutting school budgets, Social Security benefits, Medicare, Veteran’s pensions. Stop cutting subsidies to transit systems, to foreign aid. Stop cutting unemployment benefits. Stop it all.

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Wolff on Putting Workers in Charge at Work

Richard Wolff is a professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of Democracy at Work.  See http://democracyatwork.info

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Not Too Big to Resist: Too Big to Jail

 

By Dan DeWalt


Corporate America just received the confirmation that they've been waiting for.

 

True, He’s the First Black President But Obama’s the Worst President Ever

 

By Ron Ridenour


Yes, I mean it: the worst ever!


We’ve had James Monroe and his doctrine of supremacy over Latin America. We’ve had Theodore Roosevelt and his invasion of Cuba; Nixon, Reagan, Bush-Bush and their mass murder, and all the war crimes and genocide committed by most presidents. Yes, but we never had a black man sit on the white throne of imperialism committing war crimes.


Pulling up the Ladder at Yahoo: Marissa Mayer's Faustian Bargain

 

By Alfredo Lopez


The recent order by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, forbidding Yahoo employees from doing their Yahoo work at home, might seem justified. After all, companies tell their employees what to do and Mayer might have good reasons for this edict. But the memo and its fallout raise serious and significant questions about technology, culture and women's role in both.


Sequestration's indiscriminate cuts are no solution to the bloated military budget

An Op-Ed for MLTF by David GespassDavid Gespass

Reprinted by permission from nglmltf.org.

Editor's note: Some on the Left, most prominently former Democratic Party chair Howard Dean, have said that the automatic cuts of the sequester are the only way the military budget will ever be reduced, and that he therefore supports them. In this editorial written for the MLTF website, former  NLG president David Gespass agrees with the sentiment, but argues that the cuts of the sequester will not big enough, or directed enough, to make the kind of difference we hope for.

The “sequester,” as has been well documented, was the Obama administration’s ingenious mechanism, which both parties and houses of Congress bought into, for insuring a rational budget deal. The idea was to require, in the absence of such a deal, uniform spending cuts for all but a specified few federal programs. Thus, the military budget, for example, will require the same percentage cuts in spending on the building of more tanks, for which we have no use, and the provision of food for the troops. The consequence, as we shall see, is that little is done to rein in out-of-control military appropriations while visiting significant hardship on GIs, veterans and civilian personnel.

The US military budget is clearly out of control. In 2012, the country spent $711 billion on the military. The next fourteen biggest military spenders, including a number of presumed U.S. allies and two countries, Germany and Japan, that are not supposed to have armies  – China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Turkey – spent a total of $713 billion. Only Saudi Arabia, at 8.7%, spent as high a percentage of its gross domestic product as the U.S. at 4.7%.

Watch Your Wallet! Much Ado about Nothing in Budget Debate

 

By Dave Lindorff


By Dave Lindorff


All the sturm and drang in Washington over the March 1 deadline for a budget deal is an act. Two acts really.

A new video by Class War Films: 'Financial Crime'

 

Class War Films, the brainchild of three filmmakers, Lanny Cotler, and Paul and Jason Edwards, have offered to provide ThisCantBeHappening! with occasional short videos on topics like this, military spending, political fraud, financial crime, etc. They are working on creating a website, which will be called ClassWarriors.org, which should be functioning "soon" we are informed.

We're happy here at TCBH! to be able to help get their films out to a wider public.

 

The Foodopoly: Too Big to Eat


We've come to understand that the banks are too big to fail, too big to take to trial, too big not to let them write our public policy, too big not to reward them for ruining our economy.

Why have we come to understand that? 

We've been told it by a mega media cartel that has itself been deemed too big to fail, too big not to subsidize with our airwaves, too big not to reward with political ads buying back our airwaves in little bits and pieces.

Speaking of which, the buying of elections is moving rapidly in the direction of monopoly ownership itself.

Talk Nation Radio: Robert Pollin: There Is No Fiscal Crisis

There is no fiscal crisis. There is an unemployment crisis. And there is a solution: tax the banks. The support for this argument is explained by Robert Pollin, the co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst.  His latest book and papers discussed during the program are here: http://backtofullemployment.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Obama: Jobs Destroyer

 

Obama: Jobs Destroyer

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Phantom numbers conceal dire conditions. Reports are manipulated to distort reality. Last year's data overstated about half a million jobs.

 

Seasonal adjustments turn reality on its head. So does the so-called "birth-death model." It estimates net non-reported jobs from new businesses minus losses from others no longer operating.

US Economy: Troubled or All's Well?

 

US Economy: Troubled or All's Well?

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Headlines flashed warning signs. Commentaries downplayed them. A Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "As Contractions Go…."

 

Growth is the Enemy of Humankind

 

By Dave Lindorff


What is wrong with America?

            

Big question.


Simple answer.

America’s Political Dysfunction at Root is an Unwillingness to Cut War Spending

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

I was asked earlier this week by an reporter for PressTV, the state television network in Iran, if I could explain why the US political system seemed to be so dysfunctional, with Congress and the President having created an artificial budget crisis 17 months ago, not “solving” it until the last hour before a Congressional deadline would have created financial chaos, and even then not solving the problem and instead just pushing it off for two months until the next crisis moment.

 

Talk Nation Radio: Sam Pizzigati: What Serious Progressive Taxes Would Look Like

Sam Pizzigati provides perspective on what serious progressive taxation (and labor organizing and populist activism) would look like via the lessons of his new book "The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph Over Plutocracy That Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970."  Pizzigati is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of http://toomuchonline.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

FBI Ignored Deadly Threat to Occupiers: US Intelligence Machine Instead Plotted with Bankers to Attack Protest Movement

 

By Dave Lindorff


New documents obtained from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security by the Partnership for Civil Justice and released this past week show that the FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies began a campaign of monitoring, spying and disrupting the Occupy Movement at least two months before the first occupation actions began in late September 2011.


Capitalism and Mental Illness: Back to the Future?

 

By Charles M. Young


A 21st century psychotherapist steps into a time machine and comes out in Atlanta in 1855. Having no other marketable skills, he hangs out a shingle and promises new remedies for mental illness. A well-dressed gentleman knocks on the door and inquires if the psychotherapist might come to his plantation to examine the slaves.


Feigning Panic at the Cliff's Edge

 

By Dan DeWalt


Thank God for the fiscal cliff. With the election over, the media needed something upon which they could incessantly fixate, and our daily updates on the fate of the cliff-hanger negotiations are plenty of fodder to hold us until we have the final Christmas sales figures to talk about.


US Intelligence Analysts: American Power is in Terminal Decline

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The US is on the way out as a hegemonic power. 


That is the primary conclusion of a new report out of the National Intelligence Council -- a government organization that produces mid-term and long-range thinking for the US intelligence community.


We Used to Make the Rich Poorer and the Poor Richer

Many of us have heard the current period referred to as a second gilded age.  Or we've seen the current inequality in wealth in the United States compared to that of 1929.  But we have not all given sufficient thought to what ended the first gilded age, what created greater equality, what created the reality behind that category our politicians now endlessly pretend we are all in: the middle class.  We have a sense of what went wrong at the turn of each century, but what went right in between?

This is the theme of Sam Pizzigati's new book, "The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph Over Plutocracy That Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970."  I take away three primary answers short enough to include in a brief summary. First, we taxed the riches right out from under the rich people.  Second, we empowered labor unions.  And third -- and this one came first chronologically as well as logically -- we developed a culture that saw it as absolutely necessary for the greater good that the rich be made poorer.

Nowadays, it's not hard to find people who would like the poor to be richer.  But who wants the rich to be poorer?  It seems so impolite and improper and cruel.  Surely Bill Gates earned, deserves, and needs his $66 billion.  While he might live exactly as comfortably as before if he lost 65 of those billions, how could we expect others to do all the good Gates has done (surely he's done some) if they can't expect to also be permitted to hoard $66 billion while other people starve and go homeless.  In fact, without the possibility of hoarding your own $66 billion, nobody will work (will they?) or "create jobs" for others, and in the end if we took $65 billion away from Gates it would vanish into the air leaving the poor even poorer than they'd been.  Or so we like to fantasize.

Pizzigati points to the polling that shows that Americans imagine their nation is much more equal than it is, and that they would like it to be more equal still -- would in fact far prefer Sweden's distribution of wealth to our own.  But what does this tell us about our willingness to do what it takes to get there?  I just saw an article in Mother Jones Magazine claiming that President Obama's caving in and permitting the continuation of the "Bush" tax cuts for the super wealthy was actually a progressive victory because of other things Obama got in the process.  Such analyses suffer, I think, not just from hero-worship and partisan defensiveness, but from misplaced priorities.  Taxing the rich is absolutely essential to every humanitarian cause and the viability of representative government. 

"We can have democracy in this country," Louis Brandeis accurately said, "or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

The history that Pizzigati tells demonstrates this.  Democracy and wealth concentration rise and fall in opposition to each other.  Limitations on extreme wealth do nothing to reduce work and initiative.  Extreme wealth impoverishes the poor; it doesn't enrich them.  Trying to enrich the poor while allowing the rich to grow richer is an uphill if not impossible struggle, as the super-rich rewrite the rules to their own advantage.  Thus "Tax Cuts For Everybody!" is an even worse policy than we commonly understand.  It's not just that Congress rigs such deals to give the wealthiest the biggest cuts, but beyond that the wealthy will gain the power to quickly enact even worse legislation for the rest of us.

In the decades before World War I, authors and activists built an understanding that survived that horror, an understanding that the rich needed to be brought down if the poor were going to be brought up, that a rising tide doesn't lift all ships, that voodoo economics doesn't work just because preaching it can get you elected.  It took decades of struggle, partial victories, and many setbacks.  It took civil disobedience.  It took third political parties.  It took a willingness to spend money on World War II that we have yet to compel our government to spend on green energy or infrastructure or education or health.  It took the alternative of communism competing for the world's approval.  It took until the 1940s and 1950s for success to come.  It was never a perfect success, and it came under greater threat of reversal the more people came to take it for granted.  The success came after some who had worked for it had died.  It came slowly.

And this is what worries me.  Dave Lindorff speculated the other day that the rich and powerful in the United States may be driving climate disaster forward because they actually think that they and their friends will be able to weather the storms (and the millions who will suffer and die be damned).  If at the start of the last century global warming had been what it is now, the struggle for success by mid-century in bringing down plutocracy would have come too late.  We don't have a half century to play with.  We can't leave power in the hands of maniacs willing to destroy the planet for a half century.  "Those who succeed us," said Senator William Andrews Clark at the turn of the last century as he proposed hacking down the national forests, "can well take care of themselves."  Many U.S. senators clearly feel the same way today under the cloud of greater dangers.

This is not an argument against reading Pizzigati's book.  It's an argument for reading it immediately and acting on it even more swiftly than that.  It's an argument for building a cultural awareness, not of hatred and vengeance, not of violence, not of counterproductive spasms of rage, but of awareness that aristocracy is incompatible with democracy, that in one form or another 99% of us must join together, undo the status of the 1%, and then welcome them as 1% among equals.  There is much we can learn from the history of how the rich have sometimes lost.

 

Is there ought we hold in common with the greedy parasite

Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?

Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?

For the union makes us strong.

 

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,

But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.

We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn

that the union makes us strong.

Where’s the News?: World Bank Warns Globe Could be Cooked by 2060

 

By Dave Lindorff


Run a google search of “World Bank” and “climate change” and you’ll discover that this month the World Bank released a major study predicting a global “cataclysm” if world-wide temperatures increase by a predicted four degrees celsius (that’s roughly 8 degrees fahrenheit).  

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