New Documents Suggest DoD Watchdog Covered Up Intelligence Unit’s Work Tracking 9/11 Terrorists
Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold, Truthout: “Senior Pentagon officials scrubbed key details about a top-secret military intelligence unit’s efforts in tracking Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda from official reports they prepared for a Congressional committee probing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, new documents obtained by Truthout reveal.” 

An Unending Crisis – America in the 21st Century Cary Fraser, Truthout: “For more than four decades, the American political system has been defined by a growing gap between the electorate and the presidency as a symbol of good governance and political legitimacy. It would appear that the serial crises affecting presidents since 1968 have served to entrench a ‘credibility’ gap within American politics. That gap is now a bellwether of the American political system and it is an indicator of the political polarization that has overtaken the American political system. The fissures in American politics have been provoked by and contributed to, the escalating conflicts among the three branches of government – the legislature, the judiciary and the executive – and internecine war within the two major political parties.” Read the Article  

Obama to Congress: Pass My $447 Billion Jobs Plan Now Lesley Clark, McClatchy Newspapers: “With the nation verging on renewed recession, President Barack Obama urged a divided Congress Thursday night to back his new $447 billion jobs package … The plan includes tax breaks for employees and companies that hire the unemployed, programs to help cities and towns retain teachers, firefighters and police officers, and money to rehab vacant and foreclosed homes. It also calls for $50 billion to improve transportation and $10 billion toward a public-private ‘infrastructure bank.'” Read the Article  

September 11 Lessons: Combating Ignorance, Avoiding Arrogance Robert Jensen, Truthout: “On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, it is tempting to want to linger on the part about ‘being right,’ but it’s more important to focus on why ”it didn’t matter’ because we are still right, and it still doesn’t matter. Understanding this is necessary to shape a realistic political program for the next decade – as bad as the past ten years have been, the next ten are likely to be worse, and we need to speak bluntly about these political/economic/social realities in the United States.” Read the Article  

On the News With Thom Hartmann: DC and New York City on High Alert After Officials Confirm Terrorist Attack Threat, and More In today’s On the News segment: Obama calling Congress to immediately pass “The American Jobs Act” – a $447 billion proposal; FEMA estimates that states have been hit with over $36 billion in disaster damages; DC and New York City on high alert after officials confirmed a terrorist attack threat; after first meeting of Gang of 12 Super Congress, John Kyl threatens to quit; Department of Justice warns that Mexican drug cartels have opened up for business in over 1,000 US cities; and more. Watch the Video and Read the Transcript  

Is the Corporate Media Still Censoring Stories? Mark Karlin, Truthout: “Project Censored has an illustrious history of drawing attention to stories that the mainstream press overtly censors or ignores through a corporate media culture that dismisses the existence of topics that threaten the status quo … With the forthcoming publication of the newest edition of Project Censored, Truthout interviewed long-time project Director Peter Phillips and current Director Mickey Huff to gain a sense how this project began, and how it intends to continue making an impact in a constantly transforming media landscape.” Read the Article  

California Health Insurers Hire Tobacco Lobbyists, Pay Top Lawmaker Tens of Thousands in Direct Payments Lee Fang, ThinkProgress: “Health insurance companies have concealed their lobbying efforts by funding many of the so-called ‘pro-business’ trade groups in California, which have in turn lobbied or released letters opposed to AB 52. But a closer look at the health insurance lobby’s disclosure reports paints an even broader picture of their influence.” Read the Article  

Ten Years Later: Will We Ever Hold Torturers Accountable? Stephen F. Rohde, Truthout: “The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is a fitting opportunity to ask the urgent question: What has the US government done to human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law in the name of fighting terrorism?… In a revealing new book, ‘The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse,’ Marjorie Cohn, law professor and president of the National Lawyers Guild, has collected 14 incisive and comprehensive essays which, taken together, serve as a detailed indictment of the Bush administration for its acts of commission and the Obama administration for its acts of omission.” Read the Article  

Hunger Rate Spikes in Rick Perry’s Texas, Even as National Rate Holds Steady Marie Diamond, ThinkProgress: “A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that household hunger remained steady from 2009 to 2010, even though almost 49 million people – a near record number – were affected by food insecurity. Some states even saw their hunger rates decline. But one glaring exception was the state of Texas, which has been hailed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) as a model for the rest of the nation during these tough economic times.” Read the Article  

House Conservatives Charter Ideology Over Educational Reality Isaiah J. Poole, Campaign for America’s Future: “The House is poised to vote on legislation that would increase federal support for charter schools and would encourage states to authorize new charter schools. The ‘Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act’ represents the latest triumph of ideology over reality in public education.” Read the Article  

The Die-Hard Recession Heads Off the Charts Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, New Geography: “The unusual slump has provoked a stream of commentary that attempts to define the problem, but it hardly matters whether the downturn is identified as the second dip of a ‘double-dip’ recession, a continuation of the ‘Great Recession,’ a fast-moving slowdown, a slow nosedive, a long-term stall-out, or a confirmation that the economy has entered a Japanese-style ‘lost decade’. Growth during the 21st century is following a different trend line than it did in the 20th, and employment is also responding in new, different ways from earlier post-World War II recessions.” Read the Article

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The GOP position on health care is killing us.

That’s a narrative that President Obama should have used when battling for health care reform. His absence of doing so is indicative of his inability – even while giving stirring speeches, as he did on jobs – to instill a larger vision and narrative into his presidency.

The reality is that the current health care system for those with insurance – many of whom opposed the White House’s health care reform package – increasingly means that they are paying more and getting less in coverage. This is resulting from escalating deductibles, co-payments, out-of-pocket limits and higher premium co-pays. Ask any American, except for the wealthiest, and this is most likely a growing financial challenge that they are experiencing.

Ezra Klein of The Washington Post wrote a column entitled, “How Health Costs Wiped Out a Full Decade of Income Increases.

Klein notes:

All evidence points to American voters not really caring about rising health care costs. But here’s one pretty compelling reason they should: The escalating cost of health care has wiped out nearly all income gains made by the average American family in the past decade….

[Rising health care costs, in the form of increased insurance premiums and co-pays, ate up nearly all of that [increase in wages].

So, instead of emphasizing the larger narrative of rising personal medical insurance costs that threatens most Americans, Obama emphasized the uninsured. The Republicans turned this to their advantage through code words and fear – but mostly through the usual wink and nod that this was some scheme to benefit minorities and dead beats.

Obama lost the battle over this narrative, even though it was his to win, because he all too often is afraid of speaking in terms that reflect the contextual reality of public policy options in plain, homespun terms. Instead, he accepts the debate “frame” of the likes of right-wing think tanks funded by the heavy-hitting Koch brothers’ crowd.

The choice was never between “Obamacare” and a system that works. It was between a health care delivery system that is eating away at the wages of all but the wealthiest Americans and a paradigm shift in providing medical care in the US.

Obama avoided the paradigm shift and created a system that will enrich insurance companies that are themselves a key cause of rising health care costs, while managing to provide the Republicans a cudgel with which to hit him over the head.

Without a vision, without resetting the terms of the debate, without bringing the truth to bear down upon the important public policy issues of the day, Obama is a trapped man trying to punch his way out of an alternative universe narrative created by three decades of right-wing propaganda and bullying.

What about that average $1,500 in payroll tax deduction that the president proposed in his new jobs bill? Most of us will be spending it on increased health insurance premiums, deductibles and paying for non-covered services.

President Obama needs to spell out the real narrative of America, not to de facto accept the one forced down our gullets by Fox News.

Mark Karlin

Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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