Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nation of Change, Wed. 12 Dec. 2012

Jim Hightower | The Mass Media Favorites Fall Out of Favor

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: Let us address the declining fortunes of today’s mainstream mass media. (Yes, I can hear your pained screams of “Nooooo ... we don’t want to!” We really must, however, because it’s not about them, but us—about our ability to be at least quasi-informed about who’s-doing-what-to-whom-and-why, in order for us to be a self-governing people. So buckle-up, here we go.) The honchos of America’s establishment media are quick to blame such external causes as the Internet for their problems.

Picking Up a $170 Billion Tab

David Vine, Op-Ed: If someday Washington took to the couch for therapy, the shrink would undoubtedly categorize what we’ve done as a compulsion, the base-building equivalent of a hoarding disorder. And you know what else is unprecedented? Hundreds of thousands of Americans cycle annually through our various global garrisons, ranging from small American towns with all the attendant amenities, including fast-food joints, PXes, and Internet cafes to the most spartan of forward outposts, and yet our “Baseworld,” as the late Chalmers Johnson used to call it, is hardly noticed in this country and seldom considered worthy of attention.

Millionaires Defend the Estate Tax

Isaiah J. Poole, Op-Ed: More than 30 of the wealthiest Americans have signed a letter to Congress and the Obama administration arguing that the estate tax should be raised, not lowered, especially at a time when much of the political establishment is calling for the already economically vulnerable to surrender more of their financial security as the price for backing the country away from the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Several of the millionaires were featured at a news conference today organized by United for a Fair Economy.

Childhood Obesity Rate Drops in Cities With Aggressive Nutrition Policies

Aviva Shen, News Report: New York City and Los Angeles, along with a string of smaller cities, are finally seeing their childhood obesity rates drop for the first time. The decline, though modest, has shocked researchers who have watched the obesity rate in children steadily climb for 30 years. Los Angeles’ rate has dropped 3 percent, while New York and Philadelphia both reported declines around 5 percent. About 12.5 million children under 20 are obese, and the rate has tripled since 1980. Childhood obesity problems are usually concentrated in metropolitan areas, prompting several cities to launch anti-obesity advertising campaigns.

Robert S. Becker | The Right’s Sham Religion of Rugged Individualism

Robert S. Becker, Op-Ed: Behold the damning paradox that bedevils the dazed rightwing. While strictly-scrutinized party factions toe strict ideological lines, every freedom-loving GOP gang glorifies the absurd, frontier badge of rugged individualism. “The great and abiding lesson of American history, particularly the cold war,” declares Rand Paul, “is that the engine of capitalism, the individual, is mightier than any collective.” The right talks individualism and freedom yet practices the politics of punitive submission, extorted by Tea Party primaries, boorish FOX newscasters, loutish televangelists, Rovian political operatives, and unelected Grover Norquist enforcers. “Don’t tread on me” sounds a great war cry but doesn’t advance a country of 300 million.

New York’s Attorney General Files Intent to Sue EPA for Failing to Address Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Industry

News Report: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, leading a coalition of seven states, today notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of his intent to sue the Agency for violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. EPA has determined that methane is a powerful climate change pollutant emitted by the industry in large quantities.

Pepper Spray Contains Protestors in Lansing, Michigan

Video Report: A group of protestors, opposing right to work legislation, gathered outside the Michigan Capitol on Thursday. But when the protest got out of control, according to Michigan State Police, they used pepper spray to contain the crowd. It was reported that when several protestors started to “rush the Senate floor” they began pepper spraying. According to the braodcast news station, WILX, “the Capitol building had been locked and at least four protesters were arrested during the incident.”

Day 452: Live Coverage of the Occupy Movement

Special Coverage: “As we enter Day 452 of the Occupy movements the protests have spread not only across the country but all over the globe. Thousands of activists have descended on Wall Street these past weeks as part of the #OccupyWallStreet protest organized by several action groups. What follows is a live video stream and live Twitter feed of this event.”

Robert Reich | Why Billionaire Political Investors Will Keep Pouring Money Into Politics - Until They’re Stopped

Robert Reich, Op-Ed: I keep hearing that the billionaires and big corporations that poured all that money into the 2012 election learned their lesson. They lost their shirts and won’t do it again. Don’t believe that for an instant. It’s true their political investments didn’t exactly pay off this time around. Rove’s two giant political funds — American Crossroads (a Super PAC) and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (a so-called nonprofit “social welfare organization” that doesn’t have to report its donors) — backed Mitt Romney with $127 million spent on more than 82,000 television spots. Rove’s groups spent another $51 million on House and Senate races. Ten of the 12 Senate candidates they supported lost.

Dean Baker | Profit Share Hits Record High, as Politicians are Distracted by Deficit Dispute

Dean Baker, News Report: The battle between President Obama and the Republican Congress has become a major spectator sport as we approach the end of the year. While this political dispute may provide for good entertainment, unfortunately it is having the effect of displaying the state of the economy as an issue in the public spotlight. This is really unfortunate, because the economy can definitely use some help. Rather than offering help, the real question with the budget standoff is how much further we will impair economic growth with further cuts to the deficit. Rather than posing a problem, the deficit is a crucial support to the economy at present and it is likely to remain a crucial support for the foreseeable future.

Youth Call for ‘Change of Course’ to Solve Climate Crisis

Isolda Agazzi, News Report: While world leaders were wrapping up the United Nations conference on climate change (COP 18) in Doha, Qatar this past weekend with the annual vague promise to tackle the enormous crises brought on by extreme weather and global warming, a delegation of youth gathered far from the high-level conference halls to say “no” to advocacy without action. Calling for a “change of mindset” to stop the warming of the planet, some 60 participants engaged in workshops from Dec. 8 to 11, stressing that high-level political summits such as the one in Doha have, once too often, proven the limits of their efficacy.

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