Monday, June 16, 2008

BREVITAS

Because of technical problems the video musical version of editor Sam's "Apology to Younger Americans" has been moved to Youtube

On June 5th, after a federal judge cleared the way, Blackwater Worldwide, the 'World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army', opened a large training facility in San Diego, just three blocks from the border that separates California and Mexico. Blackwater is setting its sights on the so-called "war on drugs" and recently opened its own private CIA, called "Total Intelligence Solutions," marketing "CIA-type services" to Fortune 500 companies. Indybay

Steve Aftergood, Secrecy News: Secrecy News was removed from the distribution list for the U.S. State Department history publication "Foreign Relations of the United States" after we reported on errors in several FRUS volumes. A spokesman for the State Department Historian's Office confirmed that officials had ordered the removal of Secrecy News from the FRUS mailing list in response to our critical coverage.

In an email message to the series editor yesterday, I asked the Historian's Office to reconsider its action. To do so would serve the best interests of FRUS, I suggested. The request to reinstate Secrecy News on the FRUS mailing list awaits a decision by the State Department Historian, Dr. Marc J. Susser.

THE FAILED STATES INDEX

Mark Kleiman Some people have expressed doubt that John Bottom-of-his-Class McCain has the intellectual wherewithal to function as President. But McCain seems to have some mental skills that others lack. Any politician can change his position, either in the face of new information or under pressure. And any politician can remain consistent. But McCain can adopt a position (for privatizing social security, against warrantless communications monitoring, against torture even if we don't call it that) then adopt the opposite position (against privatizing social security, for warrantless communications monitoring, not against torture as long as we don't call it that) without changing his mind. Whatever position McCain holds at the moment is the position he has always held, just as Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. This is an impressive feat, and McCain makes it look easy. Remember, though he's a trained professional; don't try it at home, kids.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama called for higher payroll taxes on wage-earners making more than $250,000 annually, a step that would affect the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans. The presidential candidate told senior citizens in Ohio that it is unfair for middle-class earners to pay the Social Security tax "on every dime they make," while millionaires and billionaires pay it on only "a very small percentage of their income." The 6.2 percent payroll tax is now applied to all wages up to $102,000 a year, which covers the entire amount for most Americans. Under Obama's plan, the tax would not apply to wages between that amount and $250,000. But all annual salaries above the quarter-million-dollar amount would be taxed under his plan, Obama said. AP

Obama's tax plan is one of the more radical to be proposed by a major candidate. It's the sort of thing progressives have urged for years without attracting much support or interest in the media.

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