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5 Shockingly Ridiculous Right-Wing Moments this Week

October 10, 2015 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

Beyond Carson, a dizzying amount of crazy spewed forth from the right flank this week.

Donald Trump was eerily quiet for most of the week, or perhaps Ben Carson’s mounting insanity just temporarily drowned Trump’s crazy out. It is unclear what plane of reality the retired neurosurgeon is operating on when he suggests mass shooting victims should have rushed the shooters, and Jews could have prevented their own Holocaust. He then proudly relayed a story of how he bravely faced down an armed robber once by suggesting he go stick up the poor Popeye’s cashier instead. He ended the week by comparing himself to soldiers storming Normandy Beach on D-day and punctuated much of this unhinged talk with a bizarre giggle.

An inadvertent moment of truth-telling occurred this week, when no-longer-in-the-running-for-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blurted out the truth about Benghazi always being a political hit job. Order was restored in the universe when right-wingers and conservatives attempted to deny this obvious truism.

1. Kasich’s very GOP Woman problem? What woman problem?

Ohio Governor John Kasich, you know, the reasonable GOP presidential candidate that even Rachel Maddow admitted might be slightly less horrible than the others. Well, maybe not so much. Kasich’s patronizing attitude towards young women and callous disregard for senior citizens were both on full display this week. On a campaign stop at the University of Richmond, Kasich reportedly had several tone deaf moments when he tried to relate to the young people, especially the female ones. The college paper reported that Kasich chuckled to one female student who was gesticulating to get his attention, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift tickets.”


And to another female student, he said, “I’m sure you get invited to all of the parties,” the paper reported.

Now, we’re pretty sure Kasich has not idea how casually sexist (and ageist) those comments were. Why, he’s probably pleased with himself that he even knows who Taylor Swift is. Boy, he sure knows what makes young women tick. Why was Freud even confused about what (young) women want? Kasich’s got it figured out.

It turns out that Kasich likes …read more


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The Bro Job: Why 'Straight' Men Secretly Have Sex With Each Other

October 10, 2015 in Blogs

By Carrie Weisman, AlterNet

Sexuality is one of the few areas where women are afforded more leniency than men.

At this point, lesbian sex (the porny kind) is practically considered vanilla. But when it comes to two self-identified straight guys getting together, we tend to stiffen up, and not in the fun way.

The term “bro job” generally refers to sex acts taking place between heterosexual men. The phenomenon was recently explored by Dr. Jane Ward in her book Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, who suggests it's a lot more common than most people may think.

Sex therapist Susan Block agrees. “I hear about it going on in Saudi Arabia, in Latin America – I talk to guys from all over the world who are doing this. In all different cultures.”

Block explained to AlterNet that sexual activity between self-identifying straight males is one of the most common topics introduced during her therapy sessions with men. 

“We’ve shut down on the phenomenon of male sexuality. Now, we’re starting to ease up on that natural fluidity of men. But it's always been there,” she says. “Sometimes you hide it because you don’t want to suffer from society’s punishments.”

Of course, identity politics is a messy game. And while arousal makes up just one piece of the very complex puzzle that is sexual orientation, it is a major player. We’re quick to assign the “bisexual” label to those for which sexual arousal is not dictated by gender. But it’s not always a welcome title. “I am often forced to call myself ‘bi,’ but I rarely find labels appropriate,” says model Paul LaBlanc (a pseudonym).

As Block explains, sexual orientation goes a lot further than the sexual activities we engage in. “I think to a great degree when people think about their own sexual orientation, they’re thinking about their hopes and dreams for themselves in terms of love and romance. Not just sex.”

In her book, Ward insists that sex acts between men are not symptoms of a suppressed gay identity, but rather an example of the fluid nature of human sexuality. Still, some ask, why men?

Ward writes, “By …read more


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WATCH: Unarmed Black Woman Beaten and Tackled by Florida Cops for Filming Arrest of Her Husband

October 10, 2015 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

“She was lucky for that video, because without it, I don’t think a judge or jury would believe her against three police officers.”

Black woman who was punched and tackled to the ground by two white Jacksonville policemen for filming the arrest of her husband claims the cops stole her phone with a recording on the incident, reports NewsJax4.

According to Kelli Wilson, she went down to a local convenience store to record the arrest of her husband and retrieve their car when she was assaulted by the two cops who demanded her name and told her to put her phone away and stop recording.

“I was beaten, and then falsely arrested, my phone was stolen, my car was taken. It was a traumatic experience. It was definitely an experience you never think you would be going through,” said Wilson.

Although police confiscated her phone, video of her arrest was captured by surveillance cameras that showed the unarmed woman talking to the police before they charged, attempting to grab her phone with one officer seen punching her while the other one held her arms.

According to Wilson, one of the policemen demanded she stop filming and she asked him “why?”

“He asked for it, he demanded it again, and I gave him the same, ‘Why do you want my phone? What do you need my phone for?’ He told me he would punch me in my face,”Wilson explained. “I eventually got punched and beaten and the sergeant that was on the scene joined in the beating.”

<p style="border: 0px;margin: 0px 0px 20px;padding: …read more


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Ben's Friends

October 10, 2015 in Economics

By Joseph T. Salerno

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Ben’s Friends

October 10, 2015

Ben Bernanke is officially a celebrity. The New York Post's venerable celebrity gossip section Page Six carried news of former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fete for Ben in honor of the publication of his memoir Courage to Act. In attendance were many of Ben's best–or at least most grateful–friends from Wall Street. These included: NY Fed President Billl Dudley; JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Diamond; J. Tomilson Hill, Blackstone Group's Vice Chairman and President and CEO of its hedge fund group; Robert Rubin, former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary and former director and senior counselor of Citigroup during the financial crisis and subsequent bailout; Ralph Shlosstein, co-founder of Blackrock, “the largest asset manager on the planet,” and now CEO of Evercore investment banking advisory firm; Glenn Hutchins of Silver Lakes Partners, a huge private technology investment fund; CNBC's senior economic report Steve Liesman; Anthony Scaramucci, former Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers banker and a co-founder and co-managing partner of Skybridge Capital, a hedge fund seeding firm.

With no disrespect intended to former Chairman Bernanke, it is unlikely that he won such rich and powerful friends with his scintillating personality, arcane academic publications, or fashionable haircut.

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Robert Reich: 'Wall Street Is on the Road to Another Crisis'—Bernie Knows It, Why Doesn't Hillary?

October 10, 2015 in Blogs

By Robert Reich,

America must bring back Glass-Steagall.

Giant Wall Street banks continue to threaten the wellbeing of millions of Americans, but what to do?

Bernie Sanders says break them up and resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act that once separated investment from commercial banking.

Hillary Clinton says charge them a bit more and oversee them more carefully.

Most Republicans say don’t worry.

Clearly, there’s reason to worry. Back in 2000, before they almost ruined the economy and had to be bailed out, the five biggest banks on Wall Street held 25 percent of the nation’s banking assets. Now they hold more than 45 percent.

Their huge size fuels further growth because they’ll be bailed out if they get into trouble again.

This hidden federal guarantee against failure is estimated be worth over $80 billion a year to the big banks. In effect, it’s a subsidy from the rest of us to the bankers.

And they’ll almost certainly get into trouble again if nothing dramatic is done to stop them. Consider their behavior since they were bailed out.

In 2012 JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank on Street, lost $6.2 billion betting on credit default swaps tied to corporate debt – and then publicly lied about the losses. It later came out that the bank paid illegal bribes to get the business in the first place.

Last May the Justice Department announced a settlement of the biggest criminal price-fixing conspiracy in modern history, in which the biggest banks manipulated the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market in a “brazen display of collusion,” according toAttorney General Loretta Lynch.

Wall Street is on the road to another crisis. 

This would take a huge toll. Although the banks have repaid the billions we lent them in 2008, many Americans are still living with the collateral damage from what occurred – lost jobs, savings, and homes.

But rather than prevent this by breaking up the big banks and resurrecting Glass-Steagall, Hillary Clinton is taking a more cautious approach.

She wants to impose extra fees on the banks, with the amounts turning not on the bank’s size but how much it depends on short-term funding (such as fast-moving capital markets), which is a way of assessing …read more


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Muslims Hilariously Troll Hate Group Planning Armed Anti-Islam Protests Nationwide Saturday

October 10, 2015 in Blogs

By Bethania Palma Markus, Raw Story

Confronting hate with a good laugh.

An anti-Muslim group has scheduled 20 rallies outside religious centers on Saturday dubbed the Global Rally for Humanity, but Muslim Facebook users have taken them on by trolling them on social media.

The rallies are being coordinated by armed militia group members from the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, the Detroit Free Press reports. On their Facebook page they’ve posted baldly Islamophobic statements like, “Standing up against Islam doesn’t mean you’re a racist or a bigot, it simply means you’re not an idiot and can see the reality of Islam around the world.”

Muslims, joined by non-Muslims, flooded the group’s Facebook page mocking the tortured logic of groups that claim their cause is to protect the Constitution while intimidating people at their places of worship for observing their religion.

“Why are you all so obsessed with Muslims. You must love them to post about them day and night,” Saba Ali wrote.

On a post that claimed incorrectly that Muslim countries don’t give rights to minority groups, Facebook user Tahirah Mohamed wondered where the event organizers were when an American minority group was seeking the right to marry.

“You idiots should have been screaming this when the minority group of ‘gays’ went banging on courthouses to get married! LOL But no, that makes too much logical and moral sense!”

Others also pointed out that Muslim countries have had female heads of state, whereas the United States has not.

“FYI Two Muslim countries have had Women as presidents. How many has the US had so far?” Ali asked.

One user smacked down a bizarre claim by “Tammy Jean” that “Allah is a fake moon god” which she followed up with a long string of false claims with no citations.

“Actually Allah means God [in the Arabic language] and there is no such thing of moon God in Islam. Arab Christians bible refer to God as Allah so are you saying Christians worship moon God,” Wal Sam shot back.

Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is one of the three world religions considered founded by Abraham and they do in fact worship the same god and share religious …read more


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Global Poverty's Defeat Is Capitalism's Triumph

October 10, 2015 in Economics

By Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

Despite the recent recession in the West, absolute poverty is continuing to retreat in fast-growing developing countries. The escape from poverty that was once limited to the industrialized countries of the West is also happening in “the rest.”

Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of the dramatic decline in global poverty, let alone the reasons for it.

According to an announcement released this week by the World Bank, “less than 10% of the world’s population will be living in extreme poverty by the end of 2015.”

The bank has “used a new income figure of $1.90 per day to define extreme poverty, up from $1.25. It forecasts that the proportion of the world’s population in this category will fall from 12.8% in 2012 to 9.6%.”

True, come the New Year, some 700 million human beings will still live in absolute poverty.

But let us put this in proper context. Grinding poverty was the norm for most ordinary people throughout human history. As recently as 1980, the World Bank estimated that 50% of the global population lived in absolute poverty.

Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of the dramatic decline in global poverty, let alone the reasons for it.”

Even in the most economically advanced parts of the world, life used to be miserable until relatively recently.

At the end of the 18th century, to give one example, France had the fourth highest standard of living of any country in the world, behind the U.S., Great Britain and the Netherlands.

Bleak Existence

Yet, 10 million of France’s 23 million people relied on some sort of public or private charity to survive, and 3 million were full-time beggars.

Before the industrial revolution, people on farms, including children, spent their lives engaged in back-breaking manual labor and consumed most of the calories they produced.

There was little time or energy for learning and relaxation. Few people ever left their native villages and visited the nearest town. The life in the cities was not much better.

Before mechanization, jobs were scarce and children were a burden. Returning to late 18th century France, of the 30,000 babies who were born in Paris in 1780, up to 8,000 were abandoned by their mothers. Many died.

Thanks to the industrial revolution and global trade, economic growth in the West accelerated to historically unprecedented levels.

Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, real incomes in the West increased 15-fold. A huge chasm had opened up between …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Washington's Unwise Exclusion of China

October 10, 2015 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The Obama administration is understandably proud of finalizing the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. By greatly reducing trade barriers, the new measure is certain to broaden the economic prospects of the member states. Indeed, experts speculate that the TPP could be a bonanza especially for Vietnam and some other countries.

Notably missing from the membership of the TPP, however, is China, the world’s second largest economy and the single most important economy in East Asia. The United States, in its role as the leader of the TPP negotiations, quite deliberately excluded Beijing from the diplomatic project, although Obama administration officials insist that the door remains open to Chinese membership at a later date. For their part, Chinese officials have long viewed the TPP with suspicion and were especially annoyed that their country was not invited to be a part of the proceedings.

The exclusion of China from the TPP is consistent with the overall US approach to relations with that country. The two nations maintain a vigorous bilateral trade relationship, but that aspect cannot conceal Washington’s growing suspicions that China is intent on becoming the dominant power in East Asia, and that those ambitions pose a threat to important American interests. Although US leaders rarely concede the point publicly, the United States seems increasingly intent on curbing China’s diplomatic, economic, and military influence. The much-discussed “pivot” or “rebalancing” of US military forces to East Asia is the centerpiece of a de facto containment policy directed against Beijing. But there have been other manifestations of that attitude as well.

Using the TPP as an instrument of a containment policy is extremely unwise.”

Washington has interpreted its defense treaty with Japan to cover the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which are the focus of a bitter territorial dispute between China and Japan. Similarly, the Obama administration has escalated US involvement in the multi-sided territorial quarrels between China and its neighbors regarding the South China Sea. Washington’s tilt toward Vietnam, the Philippines, and other rival claimants has become increasing apparent in recent years. Indeed, the attitude of the US government concerning those complex, murky disputes seems to be “anybody but China.” As Beijing has pressed its claims, including by building a number of artificial islands and reefs in the South China Sea, Washington has reacted with growing hostility. Recently, US military officials even asserted the right to conduct air and sea surveillance missions in the disputed …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Chris Hedges Has a Term for Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris: 'Secular Fundamentalists' (VIDEO)

October 10, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet

“New Atheism's political agenda dovetails with the most retrograde elements of the Christian right.”

Given Abby Martin's new teleSUR show Empire Files covers American empire and its negative effects on the rest of the globe, it was only logical one of her first interviews would be with one of empire's most consistent and articulate critics, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges. In the roughly 30 minute interview (the entirety of which can be seen below) the two discuss a wide range of issues but one, the rise of New Atheism and its indifference to imperialism, is of particular note.

“These people are fundamentalists,” Hedges insisted. “[Noam] Chomsky calls them 'religious fundamentalists', meaning that they are subservient to the state religion.” That state religion, Hedges and Martin believe, is capitalism and its logical extreme, imperialism. 

“Having debated members of the Christian Right, I ran into exactly the same mindset,” Hedges said in reference to New Atheists he had debated, like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. “It's a binary view of the world, between black and white. It's a sanctification of violence against “the other” – the Christian Right sanctifies violence against Muslims because they're satanic, Hitches and Harris do because they are barbarians.”

Richard Dawkins and fellow “New Atheist” Sam Harris have repeatedly expressed confusion as to this line of critique. Harris even popularized the term “Regressive Left”, a term coined by noted Jeremy Corbyn-hater Maajid Nawaz, to describe what they view as fraudulent, radical Muslim-coddling liberals that are so obsessed with being P.C. they accept the most reactionary forms of religious extremism from minority religions, namely Islam.  But for Hedges, the issue is fundamentally a political one. 

“[New Atheism] has been used quite effectively at seducing people in secular society, even on the left,” Hedges said. “But it's political agenda dovetails with the most retrograde elements of the Christian Right, and that's not accidental.”

Watch the clip below:

Watch the entire segment below:

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