David Lightman: Paul Ryan Tosses Red Meat to Conservative Crowd

Paul Ryan gave a cheering, on its feet crowd the kind of passionate political oratory it craved Friday, as he branded President Obama a weak, failed leader "skilled at striking heroic poses against imaginary adversaries." Ryan, the Republican's vice presidential candidate, told about 2,000 people at the Values Voter Summit that "nobody is better at rebuking nonexistent opinions. Barack Obama does this all the time, and in this campaign we are calling him on it." Such attacks on the president are hardly new for Ryan, who's fulfilling the traditional, second spot on the ticket role of partisan lieutenant playing the kind of hardball politics that might look unseemly for someone who's vying to be president. A Wisconsin congressman who's the chairman of the House Representatives Budget Committee, he has an advantage with the conservative crowd, which consider him a star for pushing for deep cuts in federal spending. Ryan charged that some Obama policies pose a threat and insult to every religious group, and that Israel is treated with indifference, bordering on contempt by the White House. The administration got into dispute earlier this year with the Roman Catholic Church over federally mandated insurance coverage for birth control. On Israel, the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney thinks the White House hasn't been forceful enough in attempting to keep Iran's nuclear ambitions in check because of the threat Iran poses to the Jewish state. Ryan also accuses Obama of expanding government. He treats private enterprise as little more than a revenue source for government, Ryan said. He views government as the re-distributor and allocator of opportunity. The Obama campaign struck back quickly. Ryan, spokesman Danny Kanner said, "unleashed a series of over the top, dishonest attacks against the president, that once again reminded voters that he's just not ready for prime time. In the not too distant past, Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan said they wanted a serious debate on substantive issues. We're still waiting. 

Bob Burnett: Welcome to Romneyland!!

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's policies would degrade American life. If Romney had his way, the US would follow the dysfunctional course of Wyoming, a state run by big oil and gas companies and governed by conservative Republicans, a state where pursuit of corporate profits trumps quality of life. In Romney's acceptance speech he promised, "By 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables." Reframing the Republican mantra "drill, baby, drill," Romney's energy plan would "open America's energy reserves for development" and "provide a rational and streamlined process to regulation." A Washington Post analysis of the plan concludes Romney would "open all federal lands and waters for drilling, including the entire Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Currently, the Interior Department has the power to issue drilling permits for Federal lands and waters. "Romney would give that power to the states." In addition, Romney would "approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Canada to the Texas gulf coast." To facilitate his full throttle approach, Romney would significantly weaken the regulatory power of Federal agencies. He would "strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the power to regulate carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas." In addition, Romney would "remove obstacles and regulations" that impede the development of coal. Romney has called the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts "outdated" and said "they need to be overhauled." If this sounds familiar, it's the strategy Republicans have been using in Wyoming since the '60s'. The Cowboy State is the ninth largest in size, 97,093 square miles, but last in population with 568,158 residents.  

Finian Cunningham: Devastating Economic Consequences of Syrian Crisis!!

New economic figures just now out show that Turkey's erstwhile rising star as a powerful emerging economy has suddenly taken a plunge: Second quarter economic data show that the country's halcyon days of stellar growth of more than 8% during 2010 and 2011 are over. While this years 2.9% growth still looks robust compared with stagnant North America and Europe, nevertheless the abrupt fall by 50 percent from previous heights serves as a stark warning that Turkey is heading for tough economic times, and parsing the headline figures, there are signs of much deeper malaise for the Turkish economic outlook. The Financial Times this week notes that the economic news for the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would have been a lot worse, only for a recent surge in exports to Iran. The FT reports that 60 percent of the increase in Turkey's exports during the first seven months of the year was due to soaring gold sales to Iran. Demand for gold in Iran is largely due to the tighter Western economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic this year, which are driving Iranians to seek financial security by buying tangible assets of the precious metal. Thw worrying news for Turkey's government is that the Iranian export surge is likely to be a one off boost. There is only so much gold that Iranian households can buy, thereby giving a limited lifeline to Turkey to fend off an even more precipitous decline in the latter's economy. In recent years, Turkey has been seen as something of an international showcase for economic development, garnering glowing reviews in the business media for its growth in the key industries of agriculture, textiles, manufacture of cars and consumer appliances, and a heavyweight ship building industry. Turkey is now ranked fourth in the world for ship building behind China, South Korea and Japan. Such has been the country's rapid growth that some commentators had begun to class Turkey as a developed economy rather than an emerging one!  


Steven Rosenfeld: Romney Says Middle Class Homes Earn $250,000 per year

Another day, another out of touch statement from Mitt Romney. Speaking today on ABC's Good Morning America program, Romney said: The typical middle income household in America earned a quarter of a million dollars a year. Wouldn't it be nice if, for once, we all lived in Romney's America? The actual figure is one-fifth of his estimate, the Associated Press reported this week, relying on US Census data. The federal agency found median household income, or the midpoint for the nation, is just over $50,000. Back to paying the bills: "Both presidential candidates are fighting to win over working class voters," the AP said, stating the obvious. "President Obama has defined "middle class" as income up to $250,000 a year. Obama wants to extend Bush era tax cuts for those making less than $250,000. Romney wants to extend the tax cuts for everyone." The Romney campaign sought to clarify his remarks afterward. You can decide what needs clarifying by reading the ABC account of the interview and appearance with George Stephanopoulos. The exchange starts with Romney saying he hasn't read an economic study that he cites in his speeches: "When I pressed Romney on that point, he conceded that he actually hadn't read the Feldstein report that he and Paul Ryan cite on the campaign trail. "I haven't seen his precise study," he said. "I said that there are five different studies that point out that we can get to a balanced budget without raising taxes on middle income people. Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policies are these. Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle income people. Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policy are these: Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle income people. So no one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle income people, because principle number one is keep the burden down on middle income taxpayers," he said.

Lars Schall: Governments are Complicit in the Illegal Drug Trade

The following interview helps us understand the drug war from a dramatically different perspective than the one the corporate media paints. Instead the traditional portrayal of the war on drugs as a fight between law enforcement and illicit drug dealers, scholar Oliver Villar explains that the illegal drug trade is a tool of empire, a means of social control as much as profit. Villar, a lecturer in politics at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia's insight is well worth the read: Lars Schall: What has been your main motivation to spend 10 years of your life to the subject of the drug trade? Oliver Villar: The main motivation goes sometime back. I think it has to do first with my own experiences in growing up in working class suburbs in Sidney, Australia. It always has been an area that I found very curious and fascinating, just to think about how rampant and persuasive drugs really are in our communities, and just by looking at it in more recent times, how much worse the drug problem has become, not just in lower "socio-economic areas", but everywhere. But from then on, when I finally had the opportunity to do so, I actually undertook this as a PhD thesis. I spent my time carefully looking at what was written on the drug trade, but as coming from Latin America. I was very interested in particular in the Latin American drug trade as well. So I looked at the classic works such as Alfred W McCoy's Politics of Heroin, Peter Dale Scott's Cocaine Politics, Douglas Valentine's The Strength of the Wolf, and works that related not just to the drug trade, but from various angles, including political science perspectives to see what we know about drugs. 

James Corbett: The Unanswered Questions of 9/11?

In his latest weekly address to the nation, President Obama asserts that Americas questions about 9/11 have been answered. If only it were so! The questions of 9/11 have only continued to pile up higher since that fateful day, and despite official platitudes we are no closer to having those questions answered today than we were when they first arose. In fact, for some of the most important 9/11 questions, the government's own documents and records that could conceivably answer them have been destroyed, meaning we may never have answers: The unanswered questions of 9/11 are too numerous to enumerate, but they include: Why has NIST classified the data that they used to make their computer animation of the WTC7 collapse? Would knowledge of how NIST believes the building collapsed really jeopardize public safety? Why did the DIA destroy more than 2.5 terabytes of data on their Able Danger investigation that reportedly identified four of the alleged hijackers years in advance of the attack? Why did the Pentagon buy up and burn the entire first print run of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffers book on the program? Why did the SEC destroy their records on the 9/11 insider trading question, presumably the most important investigation in the agency's history? Why did the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, confess not only to plotting 9/11 from A to Z, but also confess to masterminding numerous crimes that hew could not have committed? Why did Osama bin Laden repeatedly deny any involvement in the attacks until a series of mistranslated and otherwise manipulated videos came along, appearing to portray him as taking credit for those attacks? Why was the report of US State Department official Frank Taylor supposedly proving the case for Al Qaeda's role in 9/11, which NATO used to justify its invasion of Afghanistan, presented in a classified briefing? Why is that report still classified to this day? 

Russ Baker: The Real Reason for the Afghan War!

When the United States decided to invade Afghanistan to grab Osama bin Laden, and failed, but stayed on like an unwanted guest, could it have known that the Afghans were sitting on some of the world's greatest reserves of mineral wealth? According to the New York Times, the vast scale of Afghanistan's mineral wealth was recently discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. Other evidence and logic point to the fact that everyone but the Western public knew for a long time, and before the 2001 invasion, that Afghanistan was a treasure trove. We were interested to see a new piece from the Times that emphasized those riches without stressing the crucial question: Was the original impetus for the invasion really Osama, or Mammon? The failure to pose this question is significant because the pretense of a "recent discovery" serves only to justify staying in Afghanistan now that the troops are already there, while ignoring the extent to which imperial style resource grabs are the real drivers of foreign policy and wars, worldwide. As long as we continue to dance around that issue, we will remain mired in disaster of both a financial and mortal nature. As long as we fail to tote up who are the principal winners and losers, then we fail to understand what is really going on. Some of the least likely candidates for insight are waking up. To quote Alan Greenspan: "I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." Who will say the same about Afghanistan and its mineral wealth? Once we acknowledge what General Wesley Clark claims, and which the media keeps ignoring, that he was told the US had plans ready at the time of the 9/11 attacks to invade seven countries including Iraq and Afghan, then the larger picture begins to come into view. At this point, we can't help but revisit our "WhoWhatWhy" exclusive tying the 9/11 hijackers to that very reliable US ally, the Saudi royal family, which itself needs constant external war and strife throughout the Middle East to keep its citizens from focusing on its own despotism and staggering corruption, and to maintain its position as an indispensable ally of the West in these wars. So, learning that the hijackers themselves may have been sponsored by, or controlled by elements of the Saudi royal family is a pretty big deal!


Julie Levesque: 911: Facts, Fiction and Censorship!

Whoever dares raise questions about the 9/11 narrative, will be excluded from both the mainstream and progressive media, dismissed as a mentally disturbed individual, lost in delirium, harboring wild conspiracy theories. In reality, the governmental spoon fed 9/11 myth crumbles like a house of cards when confronted with facts and scientific analysis: That is why to keep the myth alive, the facts surrounding 9/11 need to be continuously censored. In the process, the US governments propaganda has reached all-time highs. In addition to the 9/11mainstream media myth factory, both presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama have seized every opportunity to fuel the myth since the fatal attacks on September 11, 2001. As James Corbett notes: In his latest weekly address to the nation, President Obama asserts that Americas questions about 9/11 have been answered. If only it were so: The questions of 9/11 have only continued to pile up higher since that fateful day, and despite official platitudes, we are no closer to having those questions answered today, then we were when they first arose. In fact, for some of the most important 9/11 questions, the governments own documents and records that could conceivably answered them have been destroyed, meaning we may never have answers. (James Corbett, The Unanswered Questions of 9/11)!


Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: America's Takeover of the United Nations

Prof Michel Chossudovsky: America's Anti-Soviet Peace Warrior

and CIA Intelligence Asset! On September 11, 2012, let us not only renew our efforts to expose the truth, but also take our awareness a step further to understand that the wars launched since that fateful autumn day in 2001 in the bitterly ironic name of justice and supposedly to combat terrorism, continue to take lives of people across the world. These wars are based on lies and their costs are staggering: The eleventh commemoration anniversary of 9/11 brings to the forefront the issue of 911 truth. The official story is that Al Qaeda, with the complicity of the Taliban government was behind the 9/11 attacks: Both George W Bush and Barack Obama claim that the late Osama bin Laden was the architect of 9/11, responsible for overseeing the 9/11 hijackers, and that is why, we are told, that America is waging a Global War on Terrorism under the Pentagon's doctrine of preemptive warfare. The Global War on Terrorism not only targets non-state terrorist entities including Al Qaeda, it is also directed against "alleged" state sponsors of terrorism. In this regard, several Western countries including the US, Britain and Canada consider that Iran is supportive of the Sunni "jihadist" terror network, an absurd proposition. In December 2011, a Manhattan court judgment, based on selected testimonies and fabricated evidence, accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of supporting the 9/11 Al Qaeda hijackers. The investigation into Tehran's alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation was that the apparent link required further investigation by the US government. In the December 2011 court judgment, Havlish v Iran, US District Judge George B Daniels ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case: The US administration tacitly acknowledges that Osama bin Laden had been recruited by the CIA in the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. Osama bin Laden was the leader of Al Qaeda, which was supported covertly by the CIA!


Tom Burghardt: America's Secret Deal with Mexican Drug Cartelsy

In a story which should have made front page headlines, Narco News investigative journalist Bill Conroy revealed that a "high ranking Sinaloa narco trafficking organization member's claim that US officials have struck a deal with the leadership of the Mexican cartel appears to be corroborated in large part by the statements of a Mexican cartel appears to be corroborated in large part by the statements of a Mexican diplomat in email correspondence made public recently by the nonprofit media group WikiLeaks." A series of some five million emails, The Global Intelligence Files, were obtained by the secret spilling organization as a result of last year's hack by Anonimous of the Texas based "global intelligence" firm Stratfor. Bad trade-craft aside, the Stratfor dump offers readers insight into a shadowy world where information is sold to the highest bidder through a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss bank accounts and prepaid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world. One of those informants was a Mexican intelligence officer with the Centro de Investigacion y Seguridad Nacional, or CISEN, Mexico's equivalent to the CIA. Dubbed "MX1" by Stratfor, he operates under diplomatic cover at the Mexican consulate in Phoenix, Arizona after a similar posting at the consulate  in El Paso, Texas. His cover was blown by the intelligence grifters, when they identified him in their correspondence as Fernando de la Mora, described by Stratfor as being molded to be the Mexican tip of the spear in the US. In an earlier Narco News story, Conroy revealed that US soldiers are operating inside Mexico as part of the drug war and the Mexican government provided critical intelligence to US agents in the now discredited Fast and Furious gin running operation, the Mexican diplomat claimed in email correspondence.