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The vision for Evergreene Digest is to be the preferred one-stop on-line source for information and perspectives that major news entities exclude from the present day American conversation. The Internet makes it possible to loosen the grip on big media by taking the news into our own hands. We readers-turned-reporters can restore integrity to the nation's single most vital conduit for democratic participation, our media.

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Policy Lessons from Canada’s Deficit Slashing Days Are Limited

  • Country’s Experience Shows Austerity Measures Didn’t Generate Growth
  • Nobel LaureateKrugman: The Myths of Austerity
  • Nobel Laureate Stiglitz: EU Austerity Is Wrong Bet

Jordan Eizenga, Center for American Progress

Under Finance Minister Paul Martin, above, Canada's Liberal Party made large spending cuts in the 1990s in an effort to reduce Canada's deficit and bring down the debt.

Recent claims that 1990s Canadian fiscal policy should serve as a model for other countries trying to achieve stronger economic growth show a misunderstanding of what actually happened in Canada’s economy during that decade. The bottom line is that Canada’s budget cutting was appropriate under a unique set of circumstances, and in fact had little to do with the growth that ensued.

In 1993, following a prolonged economic recession, Canada’s Liberal Party took over a federal government that had incurred historically high debt and deficit levels. Government debt was over 60 percent of gross domestic product, and deficits were running at 8 percent of GDP, more than twice the OECD average. Under Finance Minister Paul Martin’s helm the Liberal Party made large spending cuts in an effort to reduce the deficit and bring down the debt. Martin’s 1995 budget slashed departmental spending by 20 percent to cut the deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 1998. By 2000, government debt levels had dropped, the deficit was eliminated, and economic growth had increased.

George Osborne, British chancellor of the exchequer, calls 1990s Canada a “striking example” of cuts leading back to prosperity and recently sought the advice of Mr. Martin. The British Government has even gone so far as to establish a Canadian-style “cuts committee” in which cabinet ministers must justify every dollar of expenditure to a panel of their colleagues.

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The Myths of Austerity, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

  • The next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to parse their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.
  • This isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters.

Nobel Laureate Stiglitz Says EU Austerity Is Wrong Bet, Reuters, in Common Dreams

  • 'If that (austerity) happens I think it is likely that the economic downturn will last far longer and human suffering will be all the greater,' he said.
  • The Myths of Austerity


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Why Becoming a Legal Immigrant Is Next to Impossible

  • Many wrongly assume there is a process you can easily go through to become legal. In reality, our immigration system is a bureaucratic nightmare.
  • No One is “Illegal”
  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!

Mari Herreras  Tucson Weekly

The young woman sitting at a kitchen table with her father looks like any other Arizona teenager. Her hair is pulled back in a ponytail, and she's wearing jeans and a T-shirt emblazoned with a large silver peace sign.

Moments ago she was running around her family's house in slippers being chased by a little black puppy her family got her -- a perfect distraction from her family's worries that her father faces deportation back to Mexico, where the family came from more than 14 years ago.

At the request of the family's attorney, the Tucson Weekly will not identify her or her father or mother. The family is undocumented, in the country illegally. But this 18-year-old wants you to know a few things about her. She wants you to know that she works extra hard to be a good person. She obeys the law, works hard in school and cares about her community. She is in almost every way a model U.S. citizen.

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No One is “Illegal” Jim Wallis, Sojourners/God's Politics

Today (Sep 15) is a day of hope for immigration reform. More than 500 immigration activists and faith leaders have gathered in Washington, D.C. to call on Congress to act on immigration reform. They represent the tens of thousands of you reading SojoMail today who, over the past few years, have taken action on immigration reform. It has been a long road, and a tough fight.

But your actions make a difference. Due, in part, to this ongoing pressure, Senator Harry Reid announced yesterday (Sep 14) that the DREAM Act will be voted on as early as next week (Sep 19-25). The DREAM Act is bi-partisan legislation that allows young people who have been raised in the United States, excelled in school, and then pursued higher education or service in the military to have a pathway to citizenship.

 

Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!, Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI), in Change.org
Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI) supports higher education for all students both documented and undocumented; however, we denounce the military component of the DREAM ACT. Unfortunately, this deadly component is strategically excluded from the debate by many Democrats and organizations who support the DREAM ACT.

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Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor

  • Experts say a jump in the poverty rate could mean that the liberal viewpoint – social constraints prevent the poor from working – will gain steam over the conservative position that the poor have opportunities to work but choose not to because they get too much help.
  • Special Report | American Labor in 2010
  • The jobs emergency

Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti, Huffington Post

Joe Ledesma comforts his nine-year-old daughter, Brehanna, outside a day shelter in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 3, 2009. Ledesma, a homebuilder for 20 years, lost his job last October, his family lost their home and became homeless in January. (AP/File)

The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

Census figures for 2009 – the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat's presidency – are to be released in the coming week (Sep 12-18), and demographers expect grim findings.

It's unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase – from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent – would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

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Special Report | American Labor in 2010, David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest
The U.S. economy will eventually rebound from the Great Recession. Millions of American workers will not. What some economists now project -- and policymakers are loathe to admit -- is that the U.S. unemployment rate, which stood at 9.6% in August, could remain elevated for years to come.

The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.


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VA Made Secret Deal With Prudential Over Soldiers' Life Insurance Payouts

  • Prudential and the VA wrongly manipulated a federal contract at the expense of military members and their relatives. “At a minimum, survivors ought to be made whole with their missed interest,” he says. “The VA really seems to have had the best interests of the insurance company at heart, instead of those of the soldiers and their families."
  • Alan Simpson Condemns Disabled Vets for Breathing Agent Orange


David Evans, Bloomberg

Submitted by Evergreene Digest by Contributing Editor Chante Wolf

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request.

The amendment to Prudential’s contract is the first document to show how VA officials sanctioned a payment practice that has spurred investigations by lawmakers and regulators. Since 1999, Prudential has used so-called retained-asset accounts, which allow the company to withhold lump-sum payments due to survivors and earn investment income on the money for itself.

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Alan Simpson Condemns Disabled Vets for Breathing Agent Orange, David Dayen, FireDogLake

  • Maybe if Simpson and the ruling class weren’t so damned
  • bloodthirsty, we wouldn’t have choices like this to make.
  • Veterans Group Calls for Removal of Alan Simpson
  • Show Alan Simpson, Vet Hater, the Door


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"Hope-and-Change," A Hoax

  • We believe that Obama’s rhetoric was a complete fabrication aimed at diverting real energy for change into a cul de sac of Democratic apologetics. It was, in short, a hoax.
  • A post-9/11 betrayal endures

Michael Rectenwald and Lori Price, Citizens for Legitimate Government

In our encounters on various social networking sites and political blogs, we consistently encounter the faithful remnants of the “hope-and-change” believers. To combat the onslaught of evidence and opinion that leads one to the conclusion that Obama is a fraud at best and represents a hoax at worst, they point to lists of his accomplishments and the ways he has delivered on his campaign promises. Such lists, we believe, are generally misrepresentations and fail to rise to the level of credibility. They are misleading because they represent minor deeds that might very well have been accomplished otherwise. We have characterized them as delivering on promises to “sharpen the pencils in the White House --mission accomplished.” There are some notable changes, but are they commensurate with Obama’s euphuistic campaign rhetoric? We think not. We believe that Obama’s rhetoric was a complete fabrication aimed at diverting real energy for change into a cul de sac of Democratic apologetics. It was, in short, a hoax.

By “hoax” we mean that it represents a corporate takeover of the dissent that bubbled up in the country against the Bush administration, including his economic but mostly his imperialist agenda in Iraq and Afghanistan. Presenting Obama as a candidate of amorphous “hope-and-change,” the corporate sponsors of Obama intended to divert this dissent into acceptable (Democratic) channels. Some if not most of it had, indeed, arisen from Democratic channels, but the meaning of this dissent far exceeded anything that the Democratic Party represented either in its stated platform, or its actual practices, especially the consistent and over-riding support of the wars. The corporate and military backers of Obama bet on Obama’s oratorical skill and civil-rights-sounding rhetoric to effect a prestidigitation of incredible proportions. The intention of the magic was to fool tens of millions of voters, small-scale individual contributors, and campaigners into believing that Obama was the genuine article, that he represented change from the very policies and practices that had made Bush so virulently despised and vehemently opposed. These policies include first and foremost the war.

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A post-9/11 betrayal endures, Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times | CA

  • President Obama and his administration have embraced the secrecy and usurpations of power that made possible the Bush-Cheney betrayal of American values
  • A step backwards on privacy
  • Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A.
  • The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11


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A post-9/11 betrayal endures

  • President Obama and his administration have embraced the secrecy and usurpations of power that made possible the Bush-Cheney betrayal of American values
  • A step backwards on privacy
  • Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A.
  • The Self-inflicted Wounds of 9/11

Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times | CA

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Ken Mitchell

James Madison once wrote, "Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." In armed conflict, he argued, "the discretionary power of the executive is extended ... and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people.... No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Nine years ago today, the roar of falling aircraft and crumbling buildings gave way to the cries of dying innocents, and that tragic cacophony shook this nation to its foundations. The echoes of that awful, unnatural din still resound in unwelcome ways. Who, for example, could have foreseen that it would crowd from our national conversation the quiet wisdom of voices like Madison's?

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A step backwards on privacy, Anthony D. Romero, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

  • The Obama administration is proposing its own changes to Electronic Communications Privacy Act ECPA aimed at weakening—not strengthening—your personal on-line privacy.
  • The administration's plan would allow government officials to obtain more of your personal information using warrantless National Security Letters, without going to court and without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A., Charlie Savage, New York Times | NY
The Obama national security team has also authorized the C.I.A. to try to kill a United States citizen suspected of terrorism ties, blocked efforts by detainees in Afghanistan to bring habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the basis for their imprisonment without trial, and continued the C.I.A.’s so-called extraordinary rendition program of prisoner transfers — though the administration has forbidden torture and says it seeks assurances from other countries that detainees will not be mistreated.

The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11, Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout

  • "Nearly twice as many Americans have died fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than were lost in the 9/11 attacks. The total cost of these long wars will be in the trillions of dollars. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, the cost of oil was less than $25 a barrel; the price reached $140 a barrel in 2008 and, currently, the price is still three times the 2001 levels. The entire national security system has suffered as a result of the wrong-headed actions of the Bush administration in Iraq and the Obama administration in Afghanistan." Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout
  • A post-9/11 betrayal endures

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Corporate kings grab our tax subsidies but create no new jobs.

  • In the past two years 55 percent of workers have lost a job or taken a cut
  • Obama fiddles

Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

By gollies, when the economic going gets tough for America's workaday people, you can always count on our tough-minded political leaders to get going! Get going, as in: rush like hell to find some gimmick to make it look like they're doing something without actually, you know, doing anything.

A golden classic of the gimmick game came from Gerald Ford. Remember Gerry? In 1973, this bland Republican House leader was chosen to be vice president when incumbent Spiro Agnew had to abdicate the office due to his untimely indictment on a mess of corruption charges. Ford then unexpectedly fell into the presidency itself in August of 1974 after Dick "I am not a crook" Nixon was forced to resign due to his own mess of corruption charges.

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Quran Burning Story: This Is How The Media Embarrass Themselves

  • The story of how one lone idiot, pimping an 18th-century brand of community terrorism, held the media hostage and forced some of this nation's most powerful people to their knees to fitfully beg an end to his wackdoodlery is an extraordinary one.
  • Top Stories More Important than Quran-Burning Nut Job

Jason Linkins, Huffington Post

Yesterday (September 9) afternoon, the leader of a microscopic cult of idiots who announced plans to stage an "international" day of Quran burning in Gainesville, Florida held a press conference, for a rapt media which decided that his moronic plans were the single most important thing going on in America. At that press conference, in front of "9/11 Truther" signs, this cult leader lied to everyone who was watching, telling them that he was going to call off his 9/11 book burning festival because he had successfully reached a deal with the people behind the Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan, in which they would move their facility away from the site of the World Trade Center.

Not a word of this was true, but it was amazing, all the same -- at one fell swoop, we had finally knit up the strands of a season of irrationality into one big, shiny, synergized knot. This was supposed to be the end of Recovery Summer? More like Relapse Summer.

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Top Stories More Important than Quran-Burning Nut Job, Juan Cole, JuanCole.com

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

The horrible era of anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States yielded a one-day silly season on Thursday (Sep 9), covered wall-to-wall by the US cable news channels. The weird cultist Terry Jones, fired from his church in Cologne, Germany last year for abusing his congregants, preaching hate-filled sermons, and demanding absolute obedience, was favored by an unprecedented telephone call from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asking him not to burn the Quran, the Muslim scripture, on Saturday. Jones, who can’t seem to get even 50 people to follow him in Gainesville and is a nobody with a nasty stunt, is nevertheless getting millions of dollars worth of free advertising for his lunacy courtesy Time Warner, Newscorp, etc. If there were any responsible adults left in the producers offices of the major television news shows, they would have long since pulled the plug on this non-story. Then Imam Mohammad Musri of central Florida came out and announced that he and Jones would be flying to New York to see Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on Saturday. Jones seemed to be under the impression that he was in a position, by calling off the Quran-burning, to force Abdul Rauf to move his proposed inter-faith community center. Then Abdul Rauf came out and said he’d had no contact with Musri or Jones and though he was glad the book-burning had been called off, he wasn’t going to have the issue toyed with. Jones replied that he had been lied to and was only suspending the Quran burning and reserved the right to go ahead with it.

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