Just Hours Later, Cain Fully Disavows His Openness To Negotiating With Terrorists: ‘I misspoke’ |
Herman Cain has fully walked back comments made just hours earlier that he would negotiate with terrorists and agree to release every prisoner in Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a single American prisoner. This afternoon on CNN, Cain said that he approved of an Israeli deal exchanging over a 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier, saying that as president, “I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer.” Negotiating with terrorists flies in the face of years of American policy. During the GOP presidential debate a few hours later, Cain recanted, saying he would “not negotiate with terrorists.” By the time the debate ended, Cain futher walked back initial comment, saying he “misspoke.” Watch it:
Sheldon Adelson at his CNN debate clapping in response to Cain's attacks on Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Former restaurant lobbyist Herman Cain doubled down tonight on his attacks against the Occupy Wall Street movement. In previous weeks, Cain blasted protesters for daring to stand-up to Wall Street power, at one point referring to the Americans in Zuccotti Park as un-American. Cain also reiterated his point that the jobless should blame themselves, not the speculators who crashed the economy.
Many people in the crowd began clapping for Cain’s response. But one person in particular stood out: casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson. Adelson owns casinos in Las Vegas and China, including the Venetian, where the debate was held tonight. Adelson has served as a major donor to far-right causes. This New Yorker profile reveals Adelson’s many years of funding stealth attack group and Bush-era Republican politicians.
Like the Koch brothers, another set of billionaires close to Cain, Cain’s snide attacks against protesters serve the country’s elite. Conservatives have worked overtime trying to pin blame for the economic downturn on President Obama and public school teachers. Such misdirection only helps to shield plutocrats from ever having to pay their fair share.
VIDEO: 100 Occupy Las Vegas Demonstrators Picket CNN’s Republican Debate |
At the CNN debate tonight, about one hundred protesters gathered outside the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas to demonstrate against corporate greed and a political system dominated by big business. Several protesters we spoke to mentioned the Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited corporate money to influence elections. Others talked about inequality, jobs, and the overwhelming power of business lobbyists. At one point, a group of labor union members and Occupy Las Vegas demonstrators surrounded the CNN live set up outside the Venetian and demanded that the network cover issues important to the “99 Percent”:
9:54: Tonight, Romney, Perry, and Santorum broke Reagan’s 11th commandment: “Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican,” engaging instead in verbal slap fights. Gingrich, inexplicably, asks for more debates.
9:47: Santorum’s rationale for his campaign is that he has won Pennsylvania before and he can win it again. In Santorum’s last election, he lost by “the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent senator since 1980.”
9:42: From ThinkProgress’s Lee Fang: “At the CNN debate tonight, about one hundred Occupy Las Vegas protesters gathered outside the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas to demonstrate against corporate greed and a political system dominated by big business. At one point, a group of labor union members and Occupy Las Vegas demonstrators surrounded the CNN live set up outside the Venetian and demanded that the network cover issues important to the ’99 Percent.’” Watch it:
9:39: Paul makes the first Ronald Reagan mention of the night, to note that he negotiated with terrorist-sponsor Iran in the notorious Iran-Contra scandal. Gingrich apologizes on the Gipper’s behalf, saying, “He thought it was a terrible mistake.”
9:37: Romney says we need to cut the pay of government employees to “link it to those In the private sector.” If that’s the goal, we’ll actually have to give many federal workers a raise.
9:36: Ron Paul suggests he’s open to cutting foreign aid to Israel, a third rail in conservative politics: “I don’t think it helps them,” he says. I think it makes them dependent on us and softens them towards their own economy.”
9:33: Pandering to the fringe-right like the John Birch society, Perry says “we should have a serious conversation about defunding the United Nations,” in part because of the international body’s recognition of Palestinian statehood. Of course, 69 percent of Israelis say Israel should accept U.N. recognition of the Palestinian state.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Oct 18, 2011 at 7:14 pm
Far from being “alarmist,” predictions from climate scientists in many cases are proving to be more conservative than observed climate-induced impacts.
The observed rate of Arctic ice loss exceeds the projections of all IPCC climate models — by NSIDC scientist Julienne Stroeve updated through 2011 (via Climate Crocks, click to enlarge).
By Douglas Fischer, Daily Climate editor, in a repost
The warnings were dire: 188 predictions showing that climate-induced changes to the environment would put 7 percent of all plant and animal species on the globe – one out of every 14 critters – at risk of extinction.
Predictions like these have earned climate scientists the obloquy from critics for being “alarmist” – dismissed for using inflated descriptions of doom and destruction to push for action, more grant money or a global government.
But as the impacts of climate change become apparent, many predictions are proving to underplay the actual impacts. Reality, in many instances, is proving to be far worse than most scientists expected.
“We’re seeing mounting evidence now that the scientific community, rather than overstating the claim or being alarmist, is the opposite,” said Naomi Oreskes, a science historian with the University of California, San Diego. “Scientists have been quite conservative … in a lot of important and different areas.”
A decade ago scientists predicted the Arctic wouldn’t be ice-free in summer until 2100. But the extent of summer ice in the North has rapidly shrunk and today covers 70 percent of the area it did in 1979. Now some scientists think the Arctic could be naught but open water within 25 years.
There are a lot of very interesting things in New York‘s latest profile of Joan Didion, pegged to her latest book about her daughter, an oft-glimpsed but little-explained presence in much of her work. But I’m most intrigued by the news that “Didion kept working, tirelessly. There were screenplays, which she had so often written with her husband: a movie on Katharine Graham and an adaptation of her novel The Last Thing He Wanted.”
A Katherine Graham movie is such a good idea. Obviously some of the relevant, exciting territory, namely the Washington Post’s reporting on Watergate, is covered masterfully in All the President’s Men. But as with the Pentagon Papers, which the Post ran after Attorney General John Mitchell got a federal injunction to keep the New York Times from publishing them, Graham had to make difficult decisions about publishing Watergate material and stand up to considerable federal pressure on her reporters. Mitchell’s threat that “Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s published,” is a revealing — and immortal line that, delivered by the right actor, would be a marvelous encapsulation of the sexism Graham had to overcome as one of the first and most powerful female publishing executives.
And it’s a genuinely moving story. Hollywood tends to overdo it on the ladies-with-self-esteem-issues, but Graham had to genuinely overcome some psychological issues, from her husband’s affair and suicide, to a crushing lack of self-confidence fostered both by her upbringing and her marriage. Her growing confidence, her friendship with Truman Capote (who founded the Black and White Ball to cheer her up), and her triumphs as a publisher, all make for a powerful illustration of institutionalized sexism, and a story about how you move a big institution forward. Graham wasn’t a perfect progressive hero — she could be tough on her unions. But she’s a fascinating women. And good journalism movies rarely acknowledge the importance of executives.
Currently, his two major ideas center on relying on the wealthy and “mak[ing] sure the people at the the top stay there.” But in case he’s legitimately considering the issue, we’d like to be helpful and offer five tangible ways Cantor and Congress could effectively address income disparity:
1. Promote Unionization: Unions are a key building block of a strong middle-class, ensuring fair wages and treatment of working families. Research shows that today’s union workers make about $2.50 more per hour than their non-union counterparts. However, union membership has seen a sharp decline in membership over the past forty years, matched by an significant drop in the middle class’s share of the nation’s income, while America’s wealthy take their largest share of national income in over 80 years. If unionization rates were just 10 percent higher, the Center for American Progress found that a “typical middle class household would earn $1,479 more every year.” Cantor’s home state of Virginia’s unionization rate currently stands at 4.7 percent. If it was 10 percent, Virginia’s middle class families would gain over $3 billion in income.
2. Rein in CEO Pay: Executive pay continues to greatly outpace worker’s wages, with CEOs at America’s largest companies earning 343 times more than the typical worker. Indeed, “the largest single chunk of the highest-income earners, it turns out, are executives and other managers in firms.” And while executive pay has “more than quadrupled” since the 1970s, pay for a typical worker “has dropped more than 10 percent” over the same period. 90 percent of major U.S. companies “expressly set their executive pay targets at or above the median pay,” which for “top executives” stands at about $4.9 million.
3. Fair, Progressive Tax Reform: Preferential tax treatment for America’s wealthy is a driving force behind income inequality. The Bush tax cuts that Republicans continually fight for increased the economic divide “by delivering more than half of their benefits in 2010 to the top 10 percent of earners, who make over $170,000 a year.” In fact, 25 percent of millionaires in the U.S. pay a lower effective tax rate than 10.4 million middle-class Americans because of favorable tax treatment. Overall, the working poor are actually paying a higher percentage of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthy in 49 states. If Cantor would champion progressive tax policies like the Buffett rule, it would put every taxpayer on a more equal footing and help to alleviate the income disparity.
4. Increase the Capital Gains Tax Rate: As TP Economy editor Pat Garofalo notes, capital gains (including stock, bonds, and real estate profits) “are almost exclusively made by the very wealthy and are taxed at lower rates than wages and salaries,” which serves to drive income inequality. Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of capital gains income in the U.S. has gone to the top 5 percent. Because the capital gains tax is capped at 15 percent, “anyone making more than $34,500 a year in wages and salary is taxed at a higher rate than a billionaire is taxed on untold millions in capital gains.” If Cantor — who currently champions reducing this tax rate — really wants to address the disparity, he’ll reconsider this position.
Most of these policies would require Cantor to reject the entire portfolio of GOP talking points and thus are unlikely to make it into his speech. However, if he is serious about finding a solution for income disparity, he should start by recognizing the problems behind it.
The 27-story Bosco Verticale in Milan, designed by Stefano Boeri as the world’s first ‘vertical forest’. Click to enlarge.
If you can’t plant a forest horizontally in a dense urban setting, how about vertically? The architect explains his design on his website here:
Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a project for metropolitan reforestation that contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. Bosco Verticale is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city….
The first example of a Bosco Verticale composed of two residential towers of 110 and 76 meters height, will be realized in the centre of Milan, on the edge of the Isola neighbourhood, and will host 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 m tall) apart from a wide range of shrubs and floral plants.
On flat land, each Bosco Verticale equals, in amount of trees, an area equal to 10,000 sqm of forest. In terms of urban densification the equivalent of an area of single family dwellings of nearly 50,000 sqm.
The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates and produces energy. The Bosco Verticale aids in the creation of a microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment. The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect from radiation and acoustic pollution, improving the quality of living spaces and saving energy. Plant irrigation will be produced to great extent through the filtering and reuse of the grey waters produced by the building. Additionally Aeolian and photovoltaic energy systems will contribute, together with the aforementioned microclimate to increase the degree of energetic self sufficiency of the two towers….
Christopher Woodward, director of London’s Garden Museum, has the story on “Living Architecture” with lots of images in the Financial Times. He reports that in this case, the green design “adds only 5% to construction costs.”
Woodward has a great figure on Harmonia 57, an office block in São Paolo, which he calls “the cult ‘green building’ of the moment”: