Ominous developments in America have been a long time coming, in part precipitated by “we the people” – a citizenry that has been asleep at the wheel for too long. And while there have been wake-up calls, we have failed to heed the warnings. Just consider the state of our nation:
In a letter cosigned by nine US senators, President Barack Obama is urged to apply “crippling sanctions” on Iran immediately, warning that failure to do so imperils the entire planet as well as his credibility.
Remember the Pentagon Office of Special Plans that helped collect dubious intelligence that led to the war in Iraq? Or the program where the Pentagon secretly briefed military analysts to promote the Iraq war?
Indonesians, who welcomed Barack Obama as one of their own two years ago, now want a statue commemorating his Jakarta school years to be removed. The move is an obvious sign the US president's global appeal may be waning. The statue of Obama as a 10-year-old was installed in Menteng park in central Jakarta in December 2009 to mark the four years he attended a local primary school there while living in Jakarta.
The Washington Post's Dana Priest today reports that "U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people." That's no surprise, of course, as Yemen is now another predominantly Muslim country (along with Somalia and Pakistan) in which our military is secretly involved to some unknown degree in combat operations without any declaration of war, without any public debate, and arguably (though not clearly) without any Congressional authorization. The exact role played by the U.S. in the late-December missile attacks in Yemen, which killed numerous civilians, is still unknown.
So said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein of the financial crisis of 2008. He likened its probability to four hurricanes hitting the East Coast in a single season. Blankfein was reminded by the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Committee, Phil Angelides, that hurricanes are “acts of God.” Financial crises are manmade. Yet Blankfein was backed up by Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, who said, “Somehow, we just missed … that home prices don’t go up forever.” The Wall Street titans thus conceded they did not foresee the housing bubble ever bursting and they did not consider the possibility of a collapse in value of the sub-prime mortgage securities piled up on their books.
Federal law enforcement officials on Monday arrested conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and three other men for allegedly trying to wiretap the phone system in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office. Also arrested was Robert Flanagan, 24, son of the acting US Attorney in western Louisiana, William Flanagan.
The Congressional Budget Office’s newly released budget outlook notes that Congress has approved over $1 trillion in direct spending on wars and war-related activities since 2001, and that price tag is only getting higher as the wars drag on.
A London-based Palestinian activist announced that the buildings damaged in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli onslaught last year all showed signs of contamination with depleted uranium. "The ruined buildings and debris left of the Israeli attack on Gaza are contaminated with depleted uranium and similar types of weapons," Sameh Habeeb, spokesperson of the Palestinian Return Center in London, told FNA.
A UN report on Israel's 22-day offensive against Hamas-controlled Gaza is anti-Semitic, an Israeli government minister said, as the Jewish state prepares to formally respond to its allegations of war crimes. "The Goldstone Report ... and similar reports, are simply a type of anti-Semitism," Diaspora and Information Minister Yuli Edelstein told the YNet news agency ahead of a trip to New York, where he will present Israel's rebuttal on Thursday.
While the BASIC bloc countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - will submit their plans for voluntary mitigation actions by the Jan. 31 deadline stipulated by the Copenhagen Accord, they have taken care to emphasise that the agreement, reached at the end of the December climate change summit in the Danish capital, has no legal basis.
The State of the Union address is in danger of purveying the usual euphemisms. I expect Obama to brag that he has overseen a recovery. But can there be any such thing as a jobless recovery? What has recovered are stock market averages and Wall Street bonuses, not disposable personal income or discretionary spending after paying debt service. There is a dream that what can be “recovered” is something so idyllic as to be mythical: a Bubble Economy enabling people to make money without actually working, by borrowing and riding the tide of asset-price inflation to make capital gains.
President Obama will announce in Wednesday's State of the Union address that he's proposing to save $250 billion by freezing all nonsecurity federal discretionary spending for three years, according to two senior administration officials.
“America’s Impending Master Class Dictatorship”, Mr. Dougherty crunches some numbers for us and finds: “According to the Federal Reserve’s most recent report on wealth, America’s private net worth was $53.4 trillion as of September, 2009. But at the same time, America’s debt and unfunded liabilities totaled at least $120,000,000,000,000.00 ($120 trillion), or 225% of the citizens’ net worth. Even if the government expropriated every dollar of private wealth in the nation, it would still have a deficit of $66,600,000,000,000.00 ($66.6 trillion), equal to $214,286.00 for every man, woman and child in America and roughly 500% of GDP. If the government does not directly seize the nation’s private wealth, then it will require $389,610 from each and every citizen to balance the country’s books.”
In a public statement criticizing the major banks Thursday, followed by a speech on jobs in the industrial town of Elyria, Ohio, Friday, President Barack Obama has begun a transparent effort to posture as the defender of the people against corporate interests. In what media pundits and White House insiders have described as a “pivot to populism,” Obama has responded to the shock defeat of the Democratic Party in the US Senate election in Massachusetts with a round of verbal bashing of Wall Street.
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