Senior Democratic Party leaders, from President Obama on down, were mobilized over the weekend in a last-ditch effort to prevent an upset Republican victory in the special election January 19 to fill the US Senate vacancy in Massachusetts.
In the following interview Bill Moyers and Thomas Frank, author of "What's the Matter With Kansas" and "The Wrecking Crew," talk about why conservatives can get away with blaming Obama for the past decade of conservative failures. Bill Moyers: There were hands in the air in Washington this week, but it wasn't a stickup. The new Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, appointed by Congress to find out how America got rolled, began hearings this week. These four are not the victims of one of the greatest bank heists in history - they're the perpetrators, bankers so sleek and crafty they got off with the loot in broad daylight, and then sweet talked the government into taxing us to pay it back.
Protestors said Obama's use of drones during the first six months of his presidency has surpassed that of the Bush. American anti-war peace activists have rallied against the increasing use of unmanned drones by CIA around the world — especially in Pakistan. Peace activists and anti-war advocates staged a protest rally on Sunday in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia.
The US has denied its military has taken charge of Haiti amid claims by France that the Americans were "occupying" the earthquake-ravaged country. Alain Joyandet, the French Cooperation Minister, has called on the UN to "clarify" the American role in the impoverished country, which was previously colonised by both countries. "This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," he said.
THE FARCE of the climate change summit in Copenhagen affirmed a world war waged by the rich against most of humanity. It also illuminated a resistance growing perhaps as never before: an internationalism linking justice for the planet earth with universal human rights, and criminal justice for those who invade and dispossess with impunity. And the best news comes from Palestine.
Help hasn't reached most of the victims of Haiti's earthquake--because the priority of the U.S. government is on imposing its control. WHEN HURRICANE Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, George W. Bush displayed a callous disregard for the Black victims of the disaster. When his administration finally responded, it deployed the National Guard and armed Blackwater personnel to impose order, rather than putting the priority on providing food, shelter and safe water. Kanye West's words during an NBC Concert for Hurricane Relief--"George Bush doesn't care about Black people"--were proved right.
THE TIMING couldn't have been better for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which held its first public hearings on January 13-14. With their top employees set to enjoy huge bonuses thanks to taxpayer bailouts, the CEOs of the country's big banks should have been in the hot seat for their role in the financial panic of 2008. The Obama administration's proposed levy on banks seemingly would have upped the pressure, too.
AMID growing desperation in Haiti and with foreign aid teams struggling to cope, there are new tensions over the role of the United States in the post-earthquake operation.
With 160 active-duty soldiers killing themselves last year, the US Army set a new record for suicides. As Jason Ditz reports, "This surpassed the previous record of 140 in 2008, and the previous record before that was 115 in 2007. The Army has been keeping track of suicides since 1980, with the level suddenly rising to epidemic levels in recent years."
Tensions are rising on the streets of Haiti as the bulk of earthquake survivors continue to go without food, medicine or proper shelter. Desperately needed aid is still not reaching large swathes of the population (Reuters)Aid organizations continued to struggle to reach them with supplies on Sunday, six nights after the devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
Search giant probes whether its employees may have helped hackers in 'sophisticated' breach. Google is investigating whether one or more of its employees in China helped launch the cyber attack against it last month, according to reports. It is thought the line of inquiry is a routine part of its investigation into the attack, which Google says was sophisticated, originated in China and targeted intellectual property and the email accounts of human rights activists.
They are the Yippies of the square community -- but the Tea people and their kind are activism adolescents, and like movements before them they are experiencing growing pains.
"Extending Article 5 protection, hitherto limited to full member states, to Israel was being advocated with the inescapable implication that a coalition of most of the world's most powerful military nations, led by the self-designated world's sole military superpower, would retaliate against Iran if it responded to an Israeli first strike attack. As the U.S. stations hundreds of nuclear warheads at NATO bases in Europe, including in Iran's neighbor Turkey, invoking NATO's war clause could provoke a nuclear conflagration....The U.S., Israel and NATO are preparing for momentous events in the Middle East. They will not be peaceful ones."
Haiti has announced that it has buried 70,000 bodies in mass graves as search and rescue personnel are continuing their efforts to find more survivors or dead trapped under the debris caused by last Tuesday's massive earthquake. The country has declared a state of emergency until the end of January and a month-long period of national mourning, Haitian government minister Carol Joseph said on Sunday.
The medical marijuana debate among American voters is over. Eight in 10 Americans -- 81% overall -- support allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. That's up from just 69% in 1997, the last time the two firms asked that question, and from 75% in 2003, according to Gallup.
Author, investor and longtime Wall Street observer James Dale Davidson says our government is lying to us: There is no genuine economic recovery happening. “I think what we have seen ... is a simulated recovery which has been generated by the government faking it in a lot of different ways," putting out what he calls statistical falsehoods on economic numbers "to make it seem that the economy is stronger than it is,” Davidson told Newsmax. For example, calculations for the recently released unemployment figures released failed to include the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics had undercounted
We saw this type of Iraq-style disaster profiteering in New Orleans and you can expect to see a lot more of this in Haiti over the coming days, weeks and months. Private security companies are seeing big dollar signs in Haiti thanks in no small part to the media hype about “looters.” After Katrina, the number of private security companies registered (and unregistered) multiplied overnight. Banks, wealthy individuals, the US government all hired private security. I even encountered Israeli mercenaries operating an armed check-point outside of an elite gated community in New Orleans. They worked for a company called Instinctive Shooting International. (That is not a joke).
Americans say job losses, too many bills keep them down. The Great Recession seems to have pushed Americans into a negative mindset about their prospects for getting rich. Seven out of 10 say it is harder to get rich in America today than it used to be, according to the most recent Bankrate.com survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
Harper’s magazine cites soldiers on the scene at the Camp Delta detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as casting serious doubt on the “suicides” of three detainees in early June of 2006.
Today is the federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King. He was born January 15th, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just thirty-nine years old. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of US foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We play his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which he delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, as well as his last speech, “I Have Been to the Mountain Top,” that he gave on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated. [includes rush transcript]
Demands Deployment of Lifesaving Medical Equipment Given Priority Port-au-Prince/Paris /New York, 17 January 2009—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urges that its cargo planes carrying essential medical and surgical material be allowed to land in Port-au-Prince in order to treat thousands of wounded waiting for vital surgical operations. Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying lifesaving equipment and medical personnel. Despite guarantees, given by the United Nations and the US Defense Department, an MSF cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical hospital was blocked from landing in Port-au-Prince on Saturday, and was re-routed to Samana, in Dominican Republic. All material from the cargo is now being sent by truck from Samana, but this has added a 24-hour delay for the arrival of the hospital.
THE CARIBBEAN Community’s emergency aid mission to Haiti, comprising Heads of Government and leading technical officials, failed to secure permission Friday to land at that devasted country’s aiport, now under the control of the United States. Consequently, the Caricom ’assessment mission’, that was to determine priority humanitarian needs resulting from the mind-boggling earthquake disaster of Haiti last Tuesday, had to travel back from Jamaica to their respective home destinations.
The Executive Branch of our federal government has become a 500 pound tick that's being fed by a 50 pound dog (the American people) due to presidential Executive Orders (EOs).
US drones fired several missiles at a house in the Shaktoi region, straddling North and South Waziristan, killing at least 20 people. 15 of them were labeled as suspected Taliban, with the others totally unknown. It is the third attack in the Shaktoi region in less than a week, with a Thursday attack in North Waziristan’s Pasalkot village killing 18 people. Officials say the Thursday strike was an assassination attempt against Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, GOP luminaries Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh have once again waded into a catastrophic tragedy with all the care and concern of hammerhead sharks unleashed into a fish tank full of orphans. For those not yet in the know, the dynamic global response in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti was accompanied by comments from Robertson and Limbaugh that would be unutterably sickening if they were not so completely predictable.
Palestine, January 17, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 14 Palestinians off the coast of Gaza Strip and West Bank, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said today. At dawn on Sunday, the Israeli navy stopped a Palestinian fishing boat in the waters of Rafah city, in southern Gaza Strip, and ordered the four fishermen to swim to...
As 'indirect food additive,' substance is exempt from scrutiny. Warning: Chemicals in the packaging, surfaces or contents of many products may cause long-term health effects, including cancers of the breast, brain and testicles; lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other reproductive system defects; diabetes; attention deficit disorder, asthma and autism. A decade ago, the government promised to test these chemicals. U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials say they are powerless to regulate BPA, although they have declared the chemical to be a safety concern for fetuses, babies and young children.
Democracy Now! received this email from a medical worker at Hopital Sacre Coeur in Milot, 75 miles north of Port-Au-Prince. From Tim Traynor at Hopital Sacre Coeur in Milot: I am sitting at Hopital Sacre Coeur in Milot, Haiti, 75 miles north of PAP waiting for patients that have yet to arrive. I have a 7 member trauma/ general surgery team that arrived from the States earlier this afternoon and have received only 4 people from PAP. Those that made it by USCGS helo were so septic that they would have died had they not been transported to us early this PM. We have 6 Orthopedic surgeons arriving at noon tomorrow and we have no patients for them. We have created space for one hundred people and have differed all non-emergency cases until we have handled the crisis. I am told that within three to four days all those injured in the quake will be dead and the extraordinary efforts accomplished by these generous doctors will have been wasted. What in the name of God can we do or who can we talk to in an effort to alleviate the misery and keep this tragedy from turning into one of the biggest calamities in our time.
As thousands of people filled Notre Dame Cathedral here Saturday evening in a special mass for victims of the earthquake in Haiti, the solidarity and sadness reflected the historical ties that bind France to the Caribbean nation.
People in Leogane, at the quake's epicentre, have so far been left to fend for themselves in ad hoc squatter camps. Great concrete slabs, once roofs or second floors, have concertinaed down crushing people who had no chance of survival. Almost every concrete structure in the town is flattened, and the town is said to be more devastated than the capital, with dead bodies still littering the streets.
Over the course of the past decade, Canada's leading officials and most prestigious commentators have learned how to approach Haiti in the spirit of cynical power politics and racist condescension (or worse) while maintaining a posture of national self-flattery. With attention again riveted on Haiti following the horrific tragedy inflicted by Tuesday's earthquake, this ugly mixture is once again on display.
There are certain newspaper headlines that catch your eye and stop you in your tracks. Like the New York Post's famous "Headless Body in Topless Bar." Or such tabloid greats as "Evil Cows Ate My Garden," "Double Decker Bus Found on Moon," and my personal favorite, "Proof of Reincarnation: Baby Born with Wooden Leg." Along similar lines, I was startled this week when London's Daily Mail published an article headlined, "Could we be in for 30 years of global COOLING?" »
Like pathetic knights of another era jousting at windmills, industry shrills attack health care reform, claiming it “tramples individual liberty” and stifles “free enterprise.” Far from protecting individual liberty or promoting free enterprise, these forces uphold monopoly control of health care insurance that has a stranglehold on American consumers. And they pay huge sums to control the debate and twist legislation to their advantage.
Even if Democrats lose the Jan. 19 special election to pick a new Massachusetts senator, Congress may still pass a health-care overhaul by using a process called reconciliation, a top House Democrat said.
All the signs point to Yemen being the next target in the US-led “war on terrorism”. The Obama administration seized on the failed attempt by Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to set off a bomb on a US-bound flight on Christmas Day to dispatch the CIA and military trainers to the impoverished country. Pressure is being exerted on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to intensify military operations against the organisation known as Al Qaeda in South Arabia.
The Wall Street Journal published an estimate Thursday that total pay at the largest Wall Street firms reached $145 billion last year. The Journal’s figure, based on preliminary figures, is more than any other year in history. JP Morgan strengthened this prognosis Friday by announcing that it paid its employees $9.3 billion in 2009, 18 percent more than in 2008. The figure sets a new record for the bank, up from $7.9 billion in 2007 and $8.1 billion in 2006.
Hunger and thirst turn to violence in Haiti as planes unable to offload aid supplies fast enough. The death toll from Haiti's earthquake climbed to as high as an estimated 140,000, as logistical bottlenecks delayed aid and stoked looting by survivors desperate for food and water.
Stuart Littlewood takes the British government to task for failing to deliver aid it pledged to beleaguered Gaza, for the lack of any sense of urgency or determination "to actually deliver real help into the living (and dying) hell that our so-called friends in Tel Aviv have created", and for making Britain "appear complicit in prolonging the criminal devastation” of Gaza. ”... with reports coming in of Israel massing its military strength in the western Negev and elsewhere near the Gaza border, presumably for a second Gaza war as if last year’s wasn’t unforgivable, and the US storing extra ordnance in Israel presumably for the Israeli military to use against Palestinian civilians, it’s time Dogsbody Britain finally snarled a little at the bloodthirsty lunatics
Whether or not you now have health insurance, Obama's health care bill will cost you dearly. If you don't have insurance, you will be required to buy it. The legislation specifies how much you will have to pay for the coverage before any subsidy kicks in. All during the campaign, Obama kept speaking about affordable coverage. Now it appears that his definition of “affordable” might be a bit elastic. If your household income is $66,000 a year, slightly above the national average, Obama's health care bill will require you to spend 12 percent of your income — about $8,000 a year or almost $700 a month — to buy health insurance before you get any federal subsidy.
Journalists are the target of such violence in Mexico that many have been forced to seek refuge in the United States, or to give up their profession. And the outlook at the start of this year is even grimmer for media workers in this country.
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