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Better Believe It

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Member since: Sun Mar 16, 2008, 11:41 PM
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Journal Archives

Obama Dismisses Latin American Leaders’ Calls for Drug Legalization



Obama Dismisses Latin American Leaders’ Calls for Drug Legalization in Colombia
By: Jon Walker
April 16, 2012


With the total failure of the drug war causing many Latin American political leaders to publicly question the wisdom of prohibition, President Obama was forced to repeatedly address the issue this weekend at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. Unfortunately, Obama did his best to quickly dismiss the topic with incoherent excuses. From the LA Times:

“The capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries if they were allowed to operate legally without any constraint could be just as corrupting, if not more corrupting, than the status quo,” he said.

This is simply an absurd defense of prohibition. If drugs were legalized and regulated like any other product, the business running them would be operate like any other legal business such as beer breweries, pharmaceutical makers, car manufacturers, alcohol distillers, dairies, etc. While corporations can and sometimes do have a corrupting influence over a nation’s politics, the idea that the level of corruption and violence from a legal business would ever be on the scale that we see with the cartels in the illicit drug trade doesn’t pass the laugh test.

If this pathetic defense is the best President Obama can offer to justify the continuation of a policy that is literally killing thousand of people a year, that is truly sad.

Read the full article at:

http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2012/04/16/obama-dismisses-latin-american-leaders-calls-for-drug-legalization-in-colombia/
Posted by Better Believe It | Mon Apr 16, 2012, 07:46 PM (11 replies)

Five Reasons Why The Very Rich Have NOT Earned Their Money

Five Reasons Why The Very Rich Have NOT Earned Their Money
by Paul Buchheit
April 16, 2012



1. They've Taken All the Middle Class Wage Increases

In 1980 the richest 1% of America took one of every fifteen post-tax income dollars. Now, according to IRS figures, they take THREE of every fifteen (doc) post-tax income dollars. They've tripled their cut of America's income pie. That's a trillion extra dollars a year.

For every dollar the richest 1% earned in 1980, they've added three more dollars. The poorest 90% have added ONE CENT.

Yet the average American factory worker, according to Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, produces $180,000 worth of goods a year, more than three times what he or she produced in 1978, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

So workers have TRIPLED their productivity over 30 years while the richest 1% have TRIPLED their share of income. Worker pay remained flat as the top 10% took almost all the productivity gains since 1980.

2. They've Mismanaged Key American Industries

3. They've Benefited from 50 Years of Public Research

4. They've Increased Their Incomes By Not Paying Taxes

5. They've Contributed Little to Society


Read the full article and details on reasons 2-5 at:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/16

Posted by Better Believe It | Mon Apr 16, 2012, 07:33 PM (6 replies)

Mitt Romney to Mothers: Want dignity? 'You need to go to work'


Mitt Romney to Mothers: Want dignity? 'You need to go to work'
By Kalli Joy Gray
April 16, 2012


Last week, when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said that Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life, Republicans thought they had finally stumbled upon an issue they could exploit to counter the accusation that they are waging a war on women—and to do something about that scary 20-point gender gap they refuse to believe is real. By insisting that Rosen was attacking mothers, Republicans could seize this shiny object to declare that it is Democrats, not Republicans, who do not value women and the unpaid work they do. The choice to stay home with one's children is the most dignified choice a woman can make, and how dare the Democrats insist otherwise.

Cue Mitt Romney in January of this year:

"Even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work And people said, "Well that's heartless." And I said, "No, no, I'm willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It'll cost the state more providing that day care, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work."


Mitt's statement perfectly articulates what the Republican Party has always believed. Being a mother isn't work; it is only through employment outside the home that a mother achieves "dignity." And women who don't have the convenience of their husbands' stock portfolio don't deserve to have a choice to stay home with their children. They "need to go to work." Rich women who stay home work hard. Poor women who do are lazy. And undignified.

Read the full article at:

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/894603/mitt_romney_to_mothers%3A_want_dignity_%27you_need_to_go_to_work%27/#paragraph4
Posted by Better Believe It | Mon Apr 16, 2012, 01:45 PM (9 replies)

Latin America rebels against Obama over Cuba: State Department calls Cuba a sponsor of terrorism!



Latin America rebels against Obama over Cuba
By Andrew Cawthorne and Brian Ellsworth
CARTAGENA, Colombia
April 15, 2012


Unprecedented Latin American opposition to U.S. sanctions on Cuba left President Barack Obama isolated at a summit on Sunday and illustrated Washington's declining influence in a region being aggressively courted by China.

Unlike the rock-star status he enjoyed at the 2009 Summit of the Americas after taking office, Obama has had a bruising time at the two-day meeting in Colombia of some 30 heads of state.

For the first time, conservative-led U.S. allies like Mexico and Colombia are throwing their weight behind the traditional demand of leftist governments that Cuba be invited to the next Summit of the Americas.

.... Latin American leaders are increasingly militant in opposing both Cuba's exclusion and the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo on the Caribbean island.

Read the full article at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/16/us-americas-summit-idUSBRE83D0E220120416


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The U.S. State Department Department continues to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism while lacking any evidence to back up that assertion.

Here's the latest State Department statement regarding this designation which was released on August 18, 2011: BBI


Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Country Reports on Terrorism 2010
August 18, 2011

CUBA

Overview:
Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982, the Government of Cuba maintained a public stance against terrorism and terrorist financing in 2010, but there was no evidence that it had severed ties with elements from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and recent media reports indicate some current and former members of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) continue to reside in Cuba. Available information suggested that the Cuban government maintained limited contact with FARC members, but there was no evidence of direct financial or ongoing material support. In March, the Cuban government allowed Spanish Police to travel to Cuba to confirm the presence of suspected ETA members.

Cuba continued to denounce U.S. counterterrorism efforts throughout the world, portraying them as a pretext to extend U.S. influence and power.

Cuba has been used as a transit point by third-country nationals looking to enter illegally into the United State. The Government of Cuba is aware of the border integrity and transnational security concerns posed by such transit and investigated third country migrant smuggling and related criminal activities. In November, the government allowed representatives of the Transportation Security Administration to conduct a series of airport security visits throughout the island.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: Cuba did not pass new counterterrorism legislation in 2010. The Cuban government continued to aggressively pursue persons suspected of terrorist acts in Cuba. In July, Venezuela extradited Salvadoran national Francisco Antonio Chavez Abarca to Cuba for his alleged role in a number of hotel and tourist location bombings in the mid to late 1990s. In December, a Cuban court convicted Chavez Abarca on terrorism charges and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. Also in December, the Cuban Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of two Salvadorans, René Cruz León and Otto René Rodríguez Llerena, who had been convicted of terrorism, and sentenced them both to 30 years.

Regional and International Cooperation: Cuba did not sponsor counterterrorism initiatives or participate in regional or global operations against terrorists in 2010.

http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2010/170260.htm


Wow! This is pretty strong State Department evidence of Cuba's ongoing operations to promote terrorism and protect terrorists in the world! Scary!

" Available information suggested that the Cuban government maintained limited contact with FARC members, but there was no evidence of direct financial or ongoing material support. In March, the Cuban government allowed Spanish Police to travel to Cuba to confirm the presence of suspected ETA members.

In November, the government allowed representatives of the Transportation Security Administration to conduct a series of airport security visits throughout the island.

The Cuban government continued to aggressively pursue persons suspected of terrorist acts in Cuba. In July, Venezuela extradited Salvadoran national Francisco Antonio Chavez Abarca to Cuba for his alleged role in a number of hotel and tourist location bombings in the mid to late 1990s. In December, a Cuban court convicted Chavez Abarca on terrorism charges and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. Also in December, the Cuban Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of two Salvadorans, René Cruz León and Otto René Rodríguez Llerena, who had been convicted of terrorism, and sentenced them both to 30 years."

BBI







Posted by Better Believe It | Sun Apr 15, 2012, 11:02 PM (13 replies)

Polls Show Huge Public Support for Federal Gay and Transgender Workplace Protections

This should be a terrific and popular issue for President Obama and other Democratic candidates to campaign on in this election. Sign a Presidential Executive Order banning employer discrimination in jobs that use federal funds and let the Republican politicians foam at the mouth act like nutcases with their attacks! BBI



Polls Show Huge Public Support for Gay and Transgender Workplace Protections
By Jeff Krehely
June 2, 2011


A new poll from the Center for American Progress shows that the American public strongly supports workplace nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people.* This support comes at a time when new research shows just how much dis- crimination and harassment this population faces on the job.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research fielded the poll of likely 2012 voters in the first and second weeks of April 2011. Nearly three-fourths of voters (73 percent) support protecting gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination. This support cuts across political party affiliation, with 81 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents, and 66 percent of Republicans supporting workplace nondiscrimination laws for gay and transgender people.

Catholic (74 percent support) and senior citizen (61 percent support) voters are also clearly in favor of employment protections for gay and transgender people. Even among voters who identify themselves as feeling generally unfavorable toward gay people, a full 50 percent support workplace nondiscrimination protections for the gay and transgender population.

Since at least the early 1980s, a majority of Americans have supported equal rights and opportunities for gay people in the workplace. Polling questions about transgender workers have only been asked recently. But the CAP poll shows that voters support transgender protections at almost the same rate they support gay protections. Seventy- five percent of likely voters say they favor “protecting gay and lesbian people from dis- crimination in employment,” while 73 percent say they favor these protections for “gay, lesbian, and transgender people.” The responses are essentially identical.

Read the full article at:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/06/protection_poll.html
Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:51 PM (5 replies)

North Korean regime threatens South Korea with toilet paper!


North Korea Expelled from Axis of Evil
PYONGYANG, North Korea
April 14, 2012


Just hours after an embarrassing launch of a rocket that crashed to the ground in a little over a minute, North Korea suffered another blow to its prestige as it was expelled from the Axis of Evil.

For a rogue nation that prides itself on threatening the world community, membership in the Axis of Evil is considered essential, which makes North Korea’s expulsion from the group a particularly damaging setback.

“The rocket thing is hurting our credibility, evil-wise, no question about it,” one aide to North Korean President Kim Jong-un said today. “This afternoon we tried to threaten Japan and it went straight to voicemail.”

In a possible sign of newly reduced ambitions, North Korea today hurled a roll of toilet paper over the border at South Korea.

Read the full report at:

http://www.borowitzreport.com/
Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Apr 14, 2012, 01:49 PM (5 replies)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Caves on Credit Card Fees: Credit card companies win battle

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Caves on Credit Card Fees
Credit card companies win battle over introductory fees
by Common Dreams staff
April 13, 2012


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has decided not to challenge credit card companies on introductory fees. Credit card companies had been more aggressive in charging fees to users before they use a credit card, ever since new regulations made it so they could no longer charge more than 25 percent of the total credit limit in standard fees.

The CFPB originally proposed regulations to eliminate the introductory fees, but on Thursday relented and decided not to pursue the matter.

Consumer advocate groups expressed discontent over the decision, and what it says about the possibility of the CFPB as a sufficient consumer watchdog of financial products.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/04/13-7


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Consumer Bureau Declines to Resist Upfront Credit Card Fees
By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD
April 12, 2012


In one of the first tests of its willingness to show its muscle, the new agency created to protect consumers declined on Thursday to put up a fight.

The agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, introduced a proposal that would make it easier for credit card issuers to charge fees before borrowers’ accounts were officially open.

The bureau declined to say why it took this course. But some consumer advocates said they believed that the consumer agency, led by Richard Cordray, may be backing down because it has decided to “pick its battles,” while trying to show that it is not unfriendly to business.

But other advocates said they could not understand why the agency was not taking a more aggressive stand. “Even if it is a small rule, it affects the most vulnerable of consumers — consumers with impaired credit records, often of limited means, who end up with these expensive fee-harvester cards,” said Chi Chi Wu, a lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center, referring to cards marketed to people with tarnished credit histories. “Exactly the sort of consumers that we think C.F.P.B. should stand strongest for.”

Read the full article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/your-money/regulator-eases-limit-on-card-fees.html?_r=2


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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Backs Down In Fight To Limit Credit Card Fees
by Loren Berlin
April 12, 2012


The government agency tasked with protecting consumers is backing down in its fight to limit credit card fees.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal watchdog for all things that affect consumers' wallets, has proposed doing away with an amendment to existing legislation that would limit the amount of fees a credit card company can charge a consumer when applying to open an account.

"It's a big deal for those consumers who end up getting one of these credit cards that charge extremely high fees up front," said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center, in an interview with The Huffington Post. "Basically, it reopens a loophole that the Federal Reserve had closed."

The agency's change of heart is a win for credit card companies, said Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve examiner, in an interview with the Associated Press.

Read the full article at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/12/credit-card-fees_n_1421170.html

Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Apr 14, 2012, 01:10 PM (7 replies)

Stop the nuclear industry welfare program by Bernie Sanders and Ryan Alexander



Stop the nuclear industry welfare programme
After 60 years, the taxpayer should not continue to subsidise multibillion-dollar corporations in the nuclear energy sector
by Bernie Sanders and Ryan Alexander
April 13, 2012


The US is facing a $15 trillion national debt, and there is no shortage of opinions about how to move toward deficit reduction in the federal budget. One topic you will not hear discussed very often on Capitol Hill is the idea of ending one of the oldest American welfare programmes – the extraordinary amount of corporate welfare going to the nuclear energy industry.

Many in Congress talk of getting "big government off the back of private industry". Here's an industry we'd like to get off the backs of the taxpayers.

As, respectively, a senator who is the longest-serving independent in Congress and the president of an independent and non-partisan budget watchdog organisation, we do not necessarily agree on everything when it comes to energy and budget policy in the US. But one thing we strongly agree on is the need to end wasteful subsidies that prop up the nuclear industry. After 60 years, this industry should not require continued and massive corporate welfare. It is time for the nuclear power industry to stand on its own two feet.
Well, as secretary of energy Steven Chu confirmed at a recent Senate hearing, without federal liability insurance and loan guarantees, no one would ever build a new nuclear plant. Whether you support nuclear energy or not, we should all be able to agree that with record debt, we cannot afford to continue to subsidise this mature industry and its multibillion-dollar corporations. If the nuclear industry believes so fervently in its technology, then it and Wall Street investors can put their money where their mouth is. Let's let them finance it, insure it, and pay for it themselves.

Read the full article at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/13/nuclear-industry-us-welfare
Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:56 PM (2 replies)

Bill Maher: "I think Rosen meant that Ann Romney's never gotten her ass out of the house to work"

Maher on Rosengate: "I Think What She Meant Was That Romney's Never Gotten Her A** Out of the House to Work"
By Lauren Kelley
April 14, 2012


On last night's episode of Real Time, Bill Maher took on Hilary Rosengate -- the ongoing saga over Rosen's comment that Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life," Romney's subsequent baiting of stay at home moms, and the ensuing national discourse over what constitutes "work" for a mother. Everything about the kerfuffle is unfortunate.

Maher starts the conversation off by talking about candidate Romney's massive women voter problem -- his favorability rating among women is a scant 30%, compared to 47% for John McCain. "Why don't girls like Mitt Romney?" asks Maher, semi-sarcastically. The answer, of course, is that Romney supports rolling back women's and reproductive rights. For help understanding women's issues, he's turned to his wife.

Maher's panelists -- former Canadian PM Kim Campbell, Reagan-era budget director David Stockman, and conservative journalist Matthew Continetti -- discuss Romney's backwards views for a while before they get around to Rosengate. Quote Maher, "No one's denying that being a mother is a tough job...but there is a big difference between being a mother in that rough job, and getting your ass out the door at 7am when it's cold, having to deal with a boss, being unhappy at a workplace where even if you're unhappy you can't show it for 8 hours." Indeed, but even more important here is the class issue:

Ann Romney doesn't understand "work," as defined by lower income of American women, because she is not impacted the same way by the costs of healthcare, childcare, unpaid time spent on maternity leave, and food, to name just a few things.

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/880921/maher_on_rosengate%3A_%22i_think_what_she_meant_was_that_romney%27s_never_gotten_her_a%2A%2A_out_of_the_house_to_work%22/#paragraph3
Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:41 PM (18 replies)

President Obama Supported Executive Order Against Gay Discrimination in 2010. Now He's Against It!


WH Press Secretary bellyflops when questioned about thumbs down on ENDA exec order
By: Pam Spaulding
April 12, 2012


There’s no chance that Congress will pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act any time soon, so yesterday’s negative news — delivered to Beltway LGBT establishment figures summoned to a special meeting at the White House to receive the smackdown — was offensive. Hope they at least got a box of Obama M&Ms for their trouble.

Underscore the offensiveness once you remember what the President actually told Kerry Eleveld back in the day (The Advocate, Dec. 22, 2010):

“Let me just say there are still a lot of things we can do administratively even if we don’t pass things legislatively. So my ability to make sure that the federal government is an employer that treats gays and lesbians fairly, that’s something I can do, and sets a model for folks across the board.”


Whoopsie. I guess it depends on the meaning of “a lot of things we can do.” One of them is not picking up the executive pen and signing his John Hancock to stop discrimination where he can — when it comes to LGBTs.

Read the full article at:

http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2012/04/12/wh-press-secretary-bellyflops-when-questioned-about-thumbs-down-on-enda-exec-order/

Posted by Better Believe It | Sat Apr 14, 2012, 09:33 AM (54 replies)
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