Monthly Archives: July 2011

Six Extreme Right-Wing Attacks by ALEC

By Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy, at Reader-Supported News, 7/28/11

“Model” bills voted on by corporations through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) touch almost every aspect of American life. The Center for Media and Democracy has analyzed and made available over 800 ALEC model bills to allow other reporters and the public to track corporate influence in state legislatures across the country (and in Congress) at http://www.ALECexposed.org. Here is a quick summary of six of the many “hot” topics on the ALEC corporate-politician agenda this year.

Disenfranchising American Citizens Through Voter ID…

Union-Busting…

Undoing Efforts to Address Climate Change…

Filling For-Profit Prisons Through Anti-Immigrant Bills…

Opposing Health Insurance Reform…

Privatizing K-12 Education…

read the full article at Reader-Supported News

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NAACP Passes Historic Resolution Calling for End to War On Drugs

NAACP, July 26, 2011

President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous: Major step towards equity, justice, effective law enforcement

(Los Angeles, CA) – Today the NAACP passed a historic resolution calling for an end to the war on drugs. The resolution was voted on by a majority of delegates at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention in Los Angeles, CA. The overall message of the resolution is captured by its title: A Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrow.

“Today the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice and effective law enforcement,” stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.”

The resolution outlines the facts about the failed drug war, highlighting that the U.S. spends over $40 billion annually on the war on drugs, locking up low-level drug offenders – mostly from communities of color. African Americans are in fact 13 times more likely to go to jail for the same drug-related offense than their white counterparts.

“Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate,” stated Alice Huffman, President of the California State Conference of the NAACP. “This dual system of drug law enforcement that serves to keep African-Americans and other minorities under lock and key and in prison must be exposed and eradiated.”

Instead of sending drug offenders to prison, the resolution calls for the creation and expansion of rehabilitation and treatment programs, methadone clinics, and other treatment protocols that have been proven effective.

“We know that the war on drugs has been a complete failure because in the forty years that we’ve been waging this war, drug use and abuse has not gone down,” stated Robert Rooks, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program. “The only thing we’ve accomplished is becoming the world’s largest incarcerator, sending people with mental health and addiction issues to prison, and creating a system of racial disparities that rivals Jim Crow policies of the 1960’s.”

Once ratified by the board of directors in October, the resolution will encourage the more than 1200 active NAACP units across the country to organize campaigns to advocate for the end of the war on drugs.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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‘Centrism’: The Cult That Is Destroying America

by Paul Krugman, New York Times, 7/26/11

Watching our system deal with the debt ceiling crisis — a wholly self-inflicted crisis, which may nonetheless have disastrous consequences — it’s increasingly obvious that what we’re looking at is the destructive influence of a cult that has really poisoned our political system.

And no, I don’t mean the fanaticism of the right. Well, OK, that too. But my feeling about those people is that they are what they are; you might as well denounce wolves for being carnivores. Crazy is what they do and what they are.

No, the cult that I see as reflecting a true moral failure is the cult of balance, of centrism.

Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. …

continue reading at New York Times

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, US President

War Is a Racket

[n.b. Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler, 1881-1940, author of “War Is a Racket,” was born in Chester County. For more on him, see here and here]

By Amy Goodman, Truthdig, 7/27/11

“War is a racket,” wrote retired U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, in 1935. That statement, which is also the title of his short book on war profiteering, rings true today. One courageous civil servant just won a battle to hold war profiteers accountable. Her name is Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse. She blew the whistle when her employer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gave a no-bid $7 billion contract to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) as the invasion of Iraq was about to commence. She was doing her job, trying to ensure a competitive bidding process would save the U.S. government money. For that, she was forced out of her senior position, demoted and harassed.

Just this week, after waging a legal battle for more than half a decade, Bunny Greenhouse won….

As Bunny Greenhouse told a congressional committee, “I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.”…

According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone will exceed $5 trillion. With a cost like this, why isn’t war central to the debate over the national debt?

Two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winner Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler had it right 75 years ago when he said of war: “It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious [racket]. … It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives … It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many.”

As President Barack Obama and Congress claim it is Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that are breaking the budget, people should demand that they stop paying for war.

continue reading at Truthdig

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, Peace, Security, Terrorism, War