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EditorBlog (1634)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

This summer, Truthout concluded a 10-installment series called Truthout on the Border. It is a paradigm shifting analysis of the squalid underside of the so-called US war on drugs in Mexico and Latin America.

Tens of thousands have died in Mexico (recent estimates, which will be discussed in a forthcoming Truthout article, indicate that the homicide total under the six year rule of Felipe Calderon may reach 120,000) and in other Latin American nations.  As far as stopping drug flow goes, the war on drugs in Latin America is a dismal failure.  

But what perhaps are the real goals of the war on drugs -- US militarization south of the border and opening markets for global corporations under free trade agreements -- have been achieved.  The flow of illegal narcotics continues unabated into the United States as the price of the drugs fall and the purity improves.  Meanwhile, there is virtually no large scale domestic effort to decrease consumption in the United States, except for incarcerating minorities for non-violent drug offenses at record rates.

Recently, Mark Karlin, editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout and author of the Truthout on the Border series, talked with Paul Jay of the Real News about what are the real US intentions behind the Mexican and Latin American (DEA agents and marines are in Guatemala, for example) alleged war on drugs.  Since that taping, the death toll in Mexico alone during the Calderon years (which will end on November 30, 2012) has, as noted earlier, been revised dramatically upwards.

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

So now it comes out that the Romney campaign allegedly required potential vice presidential candidates to provide ten years of income tax returns during the vetting process.

According to the Daily Beast:

As part of its vetting, the Romney campaign required at least some of the candidates on the short list—including the eventual winner of the GOP veepstakes, Ryan—to submit fully 10 years of tax returns, according to a knowledgeable source.

The requirement was consistent with the past practices of both Republican and Democratic campaigns.  Indeed, in 2008, Mitt Romney turned over 23 years of taxes to John Mccain’s campaign when he was under consideration to be the Arizona senator’s running mate.

As for a Romney tax return recap, thus far he has only provided a partial 2010 return and has yet to release his 2011 tax form.

romney smirking twit

(Image by Lynn Larrow, InternetWeekly.org)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

What's important to remember here, beyond Romney's flame throwing opportunism, is that the statement Romney claims Obama apologized in (it was actually a statement from the US embassy in Egypt) -- which he didn't -- occurred before news of the killings were received by the White House. Yet, when questioned Wednesday morning by journalists about the timing of the original Obama statement (which was trying to cool things down, we remind you), Romney basically said that it didn't matter.

This is consistent with the recent statement of a Romney campaign aide who said that facts wouldn't get in the way of the campaign (paraphrased).

After Romney's ignominious political theatrics of last night and this morning, President Obama appeared before the press at the White House.

He stated that "Yesterday  (9/11) was already a solemn day." Obama praised the diplomats who died and condemned the killings, as is appropriate.  He acted entirely presidential in representing the dignity and mourning of the nation.

Romney will continue to repeat the lie about the original and diplomatically strategic foreign policy statement (aimed at defusing the situation in Egypt) because he is lashing about for some Hail Mary demagoguery to save his foundering campaign.

The cost of his irresponsible behavior may be an explosion in the Middle East.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

But this commentary is about political strategy: both Romney and Obama have a "blame the teachers" approach when it comes to education in areas of economic need (although they claim, as the Bush administration did, that there is an outcome crisis nationally. That plays better politically).  Obama stayed away from actively supporting public employees – including teachers – in their revolt against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's crushing of collective bargaining.  Obama's administration played almost no role in the successful 2-1 referendum reversal of a similar law in Ohio.

However, like many progressives who have serious doubts about Obama's fiscal centrism and many of his policies, most union members are going to vote for him because the only other option is a party without any pretense of crushing unions completely.  Furthermore, the bailout of the auto industry represented a difference on union jobs between the two parties, even if the Obama administration is erratic at best in publicly supporting unions (although the Department of Labor has clearly been more union friendly than under the Bush administration).

So when the Romney campaign endorses Rahm Emanuel, who served as chief of staff under both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, they are in effect backing Obama's high-level insider policy surrogate.  

Presidential campaigns don't convey messages subtly.  When Romney and Ryan say that they support Emanuel, most Americans know that Emanuel is tied at the hip with Obama.  Romney and Ryan might as well have endorsed Obama's educational policies.

emanuelobama3(Photo by Christopher Dilts)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Of course, being a Republican, you need the sweepers to follow the candidate and clean up the dung.  As TPM clarified, Romney's "campaign later told TPM he wasn’t signaling a shift in policy and was instead referring to his existing stance in favor of protections on preexisting conditions only for those with continuous insurance coverage — not for first-time or returning buyers."

Which is to say, Romney is back to supporting legislation that existed prior to the Affordable Healthcare Act, which still leaves millions in dire need of health insurance for pre-existing conditions uncovered and basically uninsurable.

 In short, the so-called pro-life candidate on abortion is once again pro-death when it comes to health insurance coverage.

That the mainstream corporate media doesn't report clearly and forcefully on such basic brazen opportunism and hypocrisy in a candidate's position is another form of abandonment of those who are in dire need of medical care in order to live.

elephant3 

 (Photo: Cybjorg)

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

After all, we have two economies – and one of them you barely hear about as billionaires whine about the threat of higher taxes on their wealth.  The second economy, the economy of the privileged, is booming.  The other day the stock market reached near record highs.  

A September 6th Bloomberg story states it quite clearly: "The $1.9 trillion restored to U.S. equity prices in 2012 has pushed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index within 10 percent of a record, more than 7 percentage points closer than any country among the world’s biggest stock markets."

The rich are making out like bandits in the booming Wall Street economy that is based on profits squeezed out of firing workers, lowering net wages (adjusted for inflation), and outsourcing jobs to exploited labor overseas.  There is no crisis in the top 1%; there is only increasing wealth.   In that second economy, the financial returns are rising like a high tide.  The rich are not living in a recession; they are living in a gilded-age-bubble of increased profits and assets.

If it is true that the richest 400 people in the US own more wealth than the bottom 185 million, that imbalance is increasing, not decreasing.

That is the story of the tale of two economies, the story that you don't read about in the mass corporate media – but it is the financial reality of our times.

It should be at the center of this presidential election in bold stark terms.

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

 

No, corporations don't have hearts. They should be at the service of people who do.

 

Call it a divine spark or just the radiant human soul, Elizabeth Warren spoke to the heart of the matter: the blood and spirit of life run through the veins of people, not corporations.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Even though the translator on the tape says that Sarah asserts that Obama was born in Hawaii, Corsi lays out the WND account.  That shouldn’t be surprising, since Corsi is a guy who makes his money off of Obama take down books and birther writings, such as "Where's the Real Birth Certificate: The Case That Barack Obama is Not Eligible to Be President"

That Romney tipped his hat to the pathological birther brigade is a testament to the role of race in the virulent absurdist opposition to Obama on the basis of the color of his skin.

Jerome Corsi and World Net Daily just keep feeding the racist beast that to be anything but white is to be un-American.

Sometimes you just wish that we could bring back the straight jacket.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

If you think that this is some far out accusation, just listen and watch this interview that George Romney's wife gave when he was running for governor of Michigan in 1962 (courtesy of The Political Carnival). Lenore Romney, Mitt's mother, says that her husband, Mitt's father, "was on welfare relief for the first years of his life."

Mitt Romney's father and family were welfare "leeches" after returning to the United States – after first emigrating to Mexico to practice polygamy and then returning to the States – now there's a testament to the Romneys that "they didn't build it themselves."

They abandoned the US for multiple marriages and then came back and went on the dole.

Mitt Romney wouldn't be a multi-billionaire today if it weren't for the federal aid safety network provided to his father, period.

Monday, 03 September 2012 06:02

Exposing the "Job Creator" Fraud

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

With cunning and contempt and catechismal fervor the super-rich have argued that all money should move to the top, where it will be used to stimulate the economy and create jobs. But they ignore the facts that prove them wrong. And it doesn't take much to prove them wrong....

So what becomes of the jobs?

Corporations are hoarding over a trillion dollars. The richest 1% take a trillion dollars a year more than productivity-based earnings since 1980. Over eight trillion untaxed dollars is being hidden overseas.

That's a present value of ten trillion misdirected dollars. Just 1/10 of that would create 25 million jobs, one for every unemployed or underemployed worker in America. Or a $45,000 a year job for every college student in the United States.

But the people who call themselves "job creators" do nothing to make that happen.

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