The big-money rent-seekers in the military industrial complex have been lobbying hard against cuts to the defense budgets. The so-called “super-committee” – the group of representatives tasked with deciding where to cut – have been the target for that lobbying. Unfortunately, those representatives come from states where the some of the biggest military contractors build missiles, aircraft, jet fighters and tanks while employing tens of thousands of workers. That has long been a strategy of defense firms: to spread manufacturing bases of employment around the country to make cuts politically unpalatable to key politicians.
But those jobs are not the kind that really get the economy moving and boost productivity. They’re the kind that get their salaries from taxpayers who otherwise would have spent or saved it in productive ways and then build bombs, which only destroy instead of produce.
And that brings us to the new post from Robert Greenwald and Derek Crowe at War Costs pushing against this idea that military spending is good for job creation. It isn’t.
Reported by Ernest Hancock
“Wars between capitalist states are, as a rule, the outcome of their competition on the world market, for each state seeks not only to secure its existing markets, but also to conquer new ones. In this, the subjugation of foreign peoples and countries plays a prominent role. These wars result furthermore from the incessant race for armaments by militarism, one of the chief instruments of bourgeois class rule and of the economic and political subjugation of the working class.
Wars are favored by the national prejudices which are systematically cultivated among civilized peoples in the interest of the ruling classes for the purpose of distracting the proletarian masses from their own class tasks as well as from their duties of international solidarity.
Wars, therefore, are part of the very nature of capitalism; they will cease only when the capitalist system is abolished or when the enormous sacrifices in men and money required by the advance in military technique and the indignation called forth by armaments, drive the peoples to abolish this system.”
International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart,
August 18-24, 1907 Vorwärts Publishers, Berlin, 1907, pp. 64-66;
by Sam Macey 1985; Translated: by Sam Macey; Markup: Daniel Gaido
Myth: Raising Taxes on Wealthy Kills Jobs
CHUCK COLLINS, chuckcollins7 at mac.com, http://www.inequality.org
Collins just wrote the piece “A Tax Plan to Rally Around: The Buffett Rule,” which states: “Over the last decade — and really over the last fifty years — the portion of income paid in taxes by our wealthiest citizens has steadily declined. In 1961, when Barack Obama was born, the effective rate paid by households with income over $1 million was 43 percent. Today it is 23 percent. The richer you are, as Warren Buffett has illustrated, the smaller the percentage of your income you pay.” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/20-4
Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good; he is also co-founder of Wealth for the Common Good, a network of business leaders, high-income households and partners working together to promote shared prosperity and fair taxation. He is co-author of “The Moral Measure of the Economy” and, with Bill Gates Sr., of “Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes.”
SCOTT KLINGER, scottklinger at earthlink.net, http://businessforsharedprosperity.org
Klinger is director of Tax Policy for Business for Shared Prosperity. He said, “The notion that raising taxes on the wealthy will kill jobs is bunk. Job growth was much better before President Bush slashed taxes at the top and tilted the government even more heavily toward the big banks and corporations who killed millions of jobs by driving our economy off a cliff. Less than 3 percent of taxpayers with any business income make over $250,000 (couples) a year, and that includes corporate lobbyists, Wall Street investment partners, big business CEOs paid to sit on the boards of other big companies and others not commonly thought of as small business owners. It’s actually small businesses that create most of the nation’s new jobs, and they need the government to invest in 21st century infrastructure, education and economic development that tax revenue supports.”
FRANK KNAPP, sbchamber at scsbc.org, http://www.scsbc.org
Knapp is president of the Knapp Agency and president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. He said today: “In the last decade, wealthy Americans have gotten a trillion dollars in tax cuts, and we have a jobs crisis instead of job creation. Contrary to myth, money a business owner pays in employee wages or other business expenses is not included in the owner’s taxable income. Most small business owners have middle-class incomes, and personal income taxes don’t figure into our hiring decisions. Small business job creation is driven by demand for products and services, not tax cuts. When government cuts teachers, police, road and school repair, health care, unemployment insurance and other public services to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy that hurts Main Street businesses.”
Scott Horton Interviews Dean Ahmad
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, founder of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, discusses the differences and commonalities of the three major Abrahamic religions; why Islam’s theological distinctions don’t make all Muslims into budding terrorists – despite what the Islamophobes would have you believe;
by Sarah Posner
More background on Bachmann’s fact-free world.
In his New Yorker profile of Michele Bachmann, Ryan Lizza quotes the presidential hopeful as saying that after becoming interested in the teachings of David Noebel, “I went on to serve on the board of directors with Summit Ministries.” Noebel, the Christian anti-communism crusader who until recently led Summit, teaches that the “Christian worldview” is superior to other “worldviews,” including secular humanism, Islam, and Marxism-Leninism, which are on a coliision course with Christianity.
Bachmann, however, did not serve on the board of Summit Ministries, according to its current executive director, John Stonestreet. Rather, she served on the board of a Minnesota non-profit, the Minnesota Summit Project, which was intended to encourage students in the state to attend Summit’s conferences. One of the founders of the Minnesota Summit Project was Jack Oakes, who was also one of the founders of The King’s College in New York City, whose current president is Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative pundit who argues that President Obama is motivated by “Kenyan anti-colonialism.” Last year, Noebel spoke at King’s, where he lectured students about what he claimed are the dangers posed by secular humanism and socialism to Christianity.
Bachmann, while campaigning for Congress in 2008, told the Summit-sponsored Christian Worldview radio program that “we need more biblical worldview” and “the principles that God stands for.”
by Jason Ditz, September 18, 2011
Last week’s cluster bomb conference has come to an end, and according to Human Rights Watch has had a powerful impact, and the goals of moving forward with the destruction of the arsenal globally looks promising, despite the United States’ opposition.
Rainbow flag stolen from historic Cambridge church
By Hannah Clay Wareham, Sep 20, 2011
A rainbow flag that has been hanging outside of Cambridge’s First Parish for a month was stolen last week, the church reported Sept. 20.
The outer countenance of Cambridge’s First Parish is a little less colorful this week following the theft of the church’s rainbow flag that’s been hanging outside of the historic building for the past month, and this isn’t the flag’s first departure.
During Hurricane Irene, the flag was found in a bundle outside of the church. Doubting that the storm could have had such an effect, the flag was restored 20 feet higher than it had originally hung. It was not accessible without a ladder and considerable effort, the congregation said, voicing fears that its second disappearance could have intentionally targeted the church’s LGBT members.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to respond to the spiteful acts of one or perhaps a handful of people who are themselves caught in the grip of fear and ignorance,” Senior Minister Fred Small said. “We have compassion for them, but we can’t ignore public assaults on our property, and far more important, on our principles. The rainbow flag will wave again at First Parish in Cambridge.”
The First Parish congregation is considering a re-dedication ceremony to raise a new rainbow flag and reaffirm their support for the LGBT community and commitment to human rights.
Abuse scandal, rows blight pope’s image
September 19 2011 at 12:05pm
By Richard Carter
Pope Benedict XVI’s election sparked joy in Germany, but the Church’s reaction to a sex abuse scandal and a series of controversies have dented his image ahead of his first state trip home.
“Wir Sind Papst” (“We are pope”) crowed Germany’s top-selling Bild daily in a famous front-page when Benedict was elected in 2005, encapsulating a nation’s pride in the first German-born pontiff for more than 500 years.
“It’s the sensation of the century,” the influential paper wrote, as the German Church noted the significance of a countryman elected to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics 60 years after the capitulation of Nazi Germany.
But that was six years ago.
By Lauri Apple Sep 17, 2011
A disabled Atlanta woman says she was sitting outside and waiting for the ice cream man when a cop showed up and ordered her to move. When she refused—because she wasn’t in anyone’s way, or doing anything wrong—the cop allegedly manhandled her and caused her to fall to the ground. Then he bought her a medium-sized cone.
September 17th, 2011
Illinois Judge Dismisses Charges Against Michael Allison- was facing up to 75 years in prison for recording public officials with a digital recorder
Allison, who I first wrote about here, was facing up to 75 years in prison for recording public officials with a digital recorder. Those charges have been dismissed.“A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties,” the judge wrote in his decision dismissing the five counts of eavesdropping charges against defendant Michael Allison.“Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information,” he wrote….
09-15-2011 David Isenberg, Huff Post
To appreciate the importance of this report keep in mind that one of the biggest talking points of PMSC advocates is that the virtue of using them is that they are cheaper than using full time government employees and that private sector rates are cheaper than government salaries. That is because they can be hired just for the task/mission, don’t have to be paid pensions and other benefits, et cetera. As talking points go it’s a good one and seemingly difficult to dispute; although when it comes to using private military and security contractors in the field there has not yet been much in the way of methodologically sound, peer reviewed evidence to support it.
So POGO decided to fill the data gap, or lacuna, as an academic would say. It compared total annual compensation for federal and private sector employees with federal contractor billing rates in order to determine whether the current costs of federal service contracting serves the public interest.
To summarize: our invasion and occupation is what enables the Taliban to recruit massive numbers of Afghan teenagers into their cause. And now, we have to stay until we either kill all the people who hate us and want us gone from their country or propagandize deradicalize them into meekly accepting our presence.
The teenage insurgents spend their days learning to make shoes and bookshelves, listening to religious leaders denounce the radical interpretation of Islam they learned as children.
But when they return to their cells at Kabul’s juvenile rehabilitation center, the boys with wispy beards and cracking voices talk only of the holy war from which they were plucked and their plans to resume fighting for the Taliban.
As the Taliban presses its efforts to recruit teenage fighters, Afghan officials and their international backers have crafted a program to reintegrate the country’s youngest insurgents into mainstream society. But that ambition is coming up against the intransigence of the teens, who say they would rather be on the battlefield.
“We’ll fight against America for a thousand years if we have to,” said Ali Ahmad, 17, sitting at a desk that has hearts and Koran verses scratched in the wood . . .
“They bring us here to change us,” said Nane Asha, in his late teens. “But this is our way. We cannot be changed.” . . .
(NOTE: Too bad Christians in America dont step in an get other Christians to stop taking American taxpayer’s dollars to Uganda, to support the anti-gay movement. Most Christians in the USA want non-Terrorist Muslims to get very active in stopping Muslim Terrorist. I doubt American Christians will, how else did so many Christian extremists get into congress if they werent elected…which they were, usually on the “Jesus” ticket, demonizing gays non-stop.)
By Katy Migiro, 9-19-2011
NAIROBI (TrustLaw) – Despite her sexual attraction to women, Kate Kamunde married a man in a desperate bid to be ‘normal’ in conservative, homophobic Kenya.
“I had a constant attraction to women and girls at a tender age. But I kept telling myself I would grow out of it,” she said.
After leading a double life for two years – a married schoolteacher by day and a partying lesbian by night – she walked out of her marriage.
“I was miserable. I was tired of trying to make people happy,” she said.
It is common for gays and lesbians in Kenya to get married and have children because they feel obliged to safeguard their reputations and to please their families.
Homosexuality is a taboo, condemned by Kenya’s previous president, Daniel arap Moi, as an un-African “scourge”.
Some 96 percent of Kenyans believe homosexuality should be rejected by society, according to a 2007 survey by the U.S. think tank the Pew Research Center (PDF).
“Most of the lesbian women that are in the closet are actually married,” said Kamunde.
In a 2011 survey, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) found that only 18 per cent of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Kenyans had told their families about their sexual orientation. Of these, 89 per cent were subsequently disowned.
Under Kenyan law, homosexual activity is a crime, described as “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”. It can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.
Six out of 10 men who have sex with men in Kenya are also currently living in heterosexual relationships, according to the Health Rights Advocacy Forum, a non-governmental organisation.
STRANGLED AND PUNCHED
With piercings in her eyebrow, nose and lip, 30-year-old Kamunde is no longer trying to conform.
She is part of a bold, new generation of LGBT Kenyans who are openly campaigning for their rights, in contrast with neighbouring Uganda where they are being driven underground by rising homophobia.
“We are moving steadily from a homophobic society to a society that’s more tolerant — unlike Uganda, which is seeing the opposite,” said Monicah Kareithi of KHRC.
In January, a gay rights campaigner David Kato was beaten to death in his home after being outed in a local Ugandan magazine. In May, the government temporarily shelved a bill that would have introduced the death sentence for homosexuality, following an international outcry.
In contrast, Kenya held its first public gay film festival, dubbed ‘The Out Film Festival’ earlier this month and launched Freedom in Speech, a website run by sexual minorities to tell their own stories.
Gays and lesbians are also participating in Kenya’s Hay Festival for literature for the first time on September 16 – 18, where they will publicly debate homosexuality with religious leaders.
Kamunde’s work is not without its risks.
She was accosted by two men in black coats and dark glasses while walking to the bus stop one evening.
“One of them held my throat and another punched me in the stomach,” she recalled.
“They were like: ‘Why do you do what you do? Do you have to be so loud about it? We are watching your moves, so be careful.’”
She now changes her phone number every few months and uses taxis when she feels threatened. She’s twice been evicted from her apartment after the landlords discovered she was a lesbian.
She remains unfazed.
“I do it because I want to live in a society where who I am is secondary and I can comfortably walk along the streets of Nairobi,” she said.
“At the end of the day, who I go to bed with is a non issue. I am a human being just like anyone else.”
September 7, 2011:
‘Kill the gays’ bill still alive in Uganda
September 2, 2011:
Prayer Cures AIDS, Says Uganda Health Minister Tied To Presidential Hopeful, Rick Perry’s New Apostolic Reformation Allies (http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2011/09/02/prayer-cures-aids-says-uganda-health-minister-tied-to-rick-perrys-new-apostolic-reformation-allies/)
August 20, 2011:
Retired Anglican bishop Rt. Rev. Christopher Senyonjo’s picture was published under the headline tagged with “hang them”. Ugandan Bishop To Speak At Sunday Forum: San Diego. Retired Anglican bishop Rt. Rev. Christopher Senyonjo will begin the American leg of his Compass to Compassion tour tomorrow with a talk at San Diego’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. Bishop Senyonjo has been an outspoken defender of LGBT rights and dignity in Uganda, a position that he has taken at great personal cost and risk. His picture was published alongside the late David Kato’s photo under the headline tagged with “hang them” during last year’s outing campaign by the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. magazine by the same name). (http://wp.me/pE2RF-a24)
August 18, 2011:
UK Denies Visa for Ugandan LGBT Advocate (http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2011/08/18/36215)
July 31, 2011:
Texas Governor Rick Perry’s upcoming “Day of Prayer and Fasting,” funders include ‘International House of Prayer’, founded by Mike Bickle, a self-trained evangelist, an affiliate of Bickle’s is Lou Engle, who travelled to Uganda last year to support pathological homophobes who want to impose the death penalty on gays. (http://wp.me/pE2RF-9Qr)
July 11, 2011:
Presidential hopeful and Conservative Christian Michelle Bachmann, Welcomes Her Supporters Even Those Who Say Gays Should Be Killed (http://wp.me/pE2RF-9wx)
July 11, 2011:
Christian Group Family Resource Council (FRC) Fought Congress When They Denounced Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill
May 23, 2011:
Scott Lively was one of three American activists to speak at an anti-gay conference in Uganda in 2009 – bragged that he delivered a “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.”