MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The Guardian UK headline on November 4 reconfirms the outlaw depravity of the US after 9/11 in terms of torture, "CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds: Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes."
One of things that the "Change" slogan of the 2008 Obama campaign meant to many ethical people who uphold standards of international law and decency is that those responsible for torture under the Bush administration would be held accountable. No such efforts were made under a president who boasts of his assassination list.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
As they accumulate more and more wealth, the very rich have less need for society. At the same time, they've convinced themselves that they made it on their own, and that contributing to societal needs is unfair to them. There is ample evidence that this small group of takers is giving up on the country that made it possible for them to build huge fortunes.
1. They've Taken $25 Trillion of New Wealth While Paying Less Taxes
The 2013 Global Wealth Databook shows that U.S. wealth has increased from $47 trillion in 2008 to $72 trillion in mid-2013. But according to U.S. Government Revenue figures, federal income taxes have gone DOWN from 2008 to 2012. Even worse, corporations cut their tax rate in half.
American society has gained nothing from its massive wealth expansion. There's no wealth tax, no financial transaction tax, no way to ensure that infrastructure and public education are supported.
Just how much have the super-rich taken over the past five years? Each of the elite 5% -- the richest 12 million Americans -- gained, on average, nearly a million dollars in financial wealth between 2008 and 2013.
2. For the First Time in History, They Believe They Don't Need the Rest of Us
The rich have always needed the middle class to work in their factories and buy their products. With globalization this is no longer true. Their factories can be in China, producing goods for people in India or Europe or anywhere else in the world.
MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's not official, and it may never come to pass.
But various press sources are reporting about a growing movement to have NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden testify in Germany.
According to the newspaper that broke the Snowden NSA revelations, The Guardian UK:
Some German politicians and newspaper columnists have backed calls for Snowden to be invited as a witness. The justice minister, Sabine Leuheusser-Schnarrenberger, told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper: "If the allegations build up and lead to an investigation, one could think about calling in Snowden as a witness."
Thomas Oppermann, of the Social Democrats, said: "Snowden's claims appear to be credible, while the US government has blatantly lied to us on this matter. That's why Snowden could be an important witness, also in clearing up the surveillance of the chancellor's mobile."
STEVEN JONAS MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Regular readers of mine may wonder why I am spending so much time on Ted Cruz. He did not get what he apparently wanted out of the last budget/deficit crisis, repeal of “Obamacare.” He is being roundly criticized, even by reactionaries in his own party like Sen. Orrin Hatch and former Sen. Trent (Fix my Porch) Lott, for helping to engineer the government shutdown (being roundly blamed on the GOP) and the threat of fiscal default. Nationally, he is polling terribly. Yet he seems not to care. So why, we must ask, is that so. Because in terms of what his real goals are, he didn’t lose. He won.
Ted Cruz had three goals for his “anti-Obamacare” crusade. First, he was clearly out to make himself the legislative leader of the Tea Party Reactionaries in the House of Representatives. As a Senator, to accomplish this he had to do something very unusual in the Congress: reach across the Capitol Rotunda to the other House. But he did that and he became the most visible leader of the “anti-Obamacare” faction in the Congress. (Oh yes, of course the GOP would love to repeal Obamacare, not, as many observers have noted, because it is a bad law [well, since it leaves the system in the control of the “health” insurance companies it is, but that’s another story] but because they are afraid that it will become at least a modest success --- and guess whose name will be on it forever?)
Second, it is becoming more apparent by the day that he (and his powerful, wealthy, Corporate State backers) wanted to place himself in the running, now, for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. (Why, he has already gone to Iowa, with the first primary over two years away.) He sees that his path to doing this is to place himself as far to the Right as he possibly can, continuing to follow through on the “Rightward Imperative” that has been central to the politics of the GOP since the time of Goldwater (of which I have written on a number of occasions).
EUGENE ROBINSON ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It takes chutzpah, or perhaps just an extraordinary lack of self-awareness, to argue vehemently that a program should never be implemented -- and then complain it isn't being implemented well enough.
But that seems to be the new Republican position: We want the Affordable Care Act, and we want it now.
Given that House Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal Obamacare, you'd think more of them would be cheering the "debacle" of a barely functioning website that keeps people from signing up. Instead, they demand to know who is responsible and insist that heads should roll.
The sense of urgency surrounding the program is palpable -- and largely artificial. The Obama administration royally screwed up the launch, no question about it. But there's time to get it right. Plenty of time.
The real deadline for creating a sleek, seamless, customer-friendly website allowing people to buy insurance through the federal exchanges isn't three weeks or even three months. It's three years and change -- the time President Obama has left in office.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Obama is the great man of reason, one of the smartest presidents we have had. Therefore, he is constantly astonished that Americans don't listen to reason when it comes to public policy.
Well, President Obama welcome to the real world: this is the visual age. Most Americans receive their "news" from television, and that news is largely derived from visual images.
This realization first came into its zenith in politics when the television advisers packaged the actor known as Ronald Reagan for the "television moment." Every appearance during the 1980 campaign was designed for how it looked on television. That also became the hallmark of his presidency.
In fact, the marketing of his presidency policies were in large part dependent upon the visual frame of Reagan's television appearances. In those messages to the nation, he also often relied on two techniques: charts and anecdotes.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"To all of our atheist friends: Thank God you're wrong."
Move over, WeBuyUglyHouses.com and Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa. Here was religious faith on a billboard, refuting non-belief in letters three feet high. I was visiting Los Angeles, driving with a friend along La Cienega Boulevard, when this king-size ad for religious certainty smacked us in the eye.
Turns out that Answers in Genesis, an evangelical organization with money to spend, took the God debate to billboards this month in New York and Los Angeles. They were pushing back against a group called the American Atheists, who at Christmas time last year sponsored a billboard featuring images of Jesus and Santa Claus with the words: "Keep the Merry, dump the myth."
OMG, a billboard war about the existence of God. The whole thing agitates, for me, an endemic cultural despair that has little to do with the point of view of either organization. Well, we've reduced politics to an advertising game, not to mention health and love and pretty much everything else — that is to say, we've reduced all that was once sacred to commodities with price tags — so why not the whole God-vs.-science thing, i.e., reality? It's already been reduced to a survey question.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The watchdog group the Institute for Research & Education On Human Rights is reporting that the National Socialist Movement is planning a rally in the Kansas City area on November 9. According to IREHR, "Most of the chatter about the would-be rally place it in downtown Kansas City, Missouri; although the NSM leaflet advertising this event places it in Kansas City, Kansas."
Why has the NSM chosen to rally on November 9?
Kristallnacht – Night of Broken Glass
Seventy-five years ago, in the late evening and early morning hours of November 9–10, 1938, Adolph Hitler unleashed his Storm Troopers and gangs of Hitler Youth in cities throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops. The violent anti-Jewish pogroms resulted in deaths, massive destruction and deportations. Those assaults on the Jewish community became known as Kristallnacht (literally translated as "Night of Crystal" and often referred to as "Night of Broken Glass").
ROBERT REICH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Republicans will seek to delay a requirement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty. ”With so many unanswered questions and the problems arising around this rollout, it doesn’t make any sense to impose this one percent mandate tax on the American people.”
While Republicans plot new ways to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, it’s easy to forget that for years they’ve been arguing that any comprehensive health insurance system be designed exactly like the one that officially began October 1st, glitches and all.
For as many years Democrats tried to graft healthcare onto Social Security and Medicare, and pay for it through the payroll tax. But Republicans countered that any system must be based on private insurance and paid for with a combination of subsidies for low-income purchasers and a requirement that the younger and healthier sign up.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Those persons who disparage the Occupy Movement as having been just a failed blip on the radar screen don't understand how uprisings and paradigm shifts are usually the result of a series of events. It is unfair to judge one stupendously successful movement at getting income inequality on the radar screen of even the mass media by how easily the police literally crushed the public presence of the movement.
Nathan Schneider, author of "Thank You, Anarchy: Notes From the Occupy Apocalypse," shed light on the bum rap the Occupy Movement received (whatever its flaws) in a recent interview with Truthout.
The legacy of the Occupy Movement on the ground has spread across the country, and was most visibly nationally reported on when Occupy supporters became the de facto volunteer FEMA in many locations -- particularly hard-hit areas of Brooklyn -- after Occupy Sandy. But the Occupy-inspired uprisings of activism and volunteerism are spread across the nation -- and continuing to accelerate. Maybe they are morphing into new forms and new names, but the Occupy Movement was the kindling wood for many of them.