You wouldn’t think handling a notebook or a camera could be a hazardous line of work. But according to the latest global Press Freedom Index, abuse and oppression of reporters has made journalism an increasingly risky job in many countries. The past year has even left a notable taint on the U.S. press, despite the country's mythos as a beacon of free expression. [Occupy Wall St. protesters—and journalists—stand in front of the residence of NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch on Oct. 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)] In the space of two months in the United States, more than 25 [journalists] were subjected to arrests and beatings at the hands of police who were quick to issue indictments for inappropriate behaviour, public nuisance or even lack of accreditation.The most high-profile violations of press freedom took place during the Occupy protests, as reporters were abused by police and otherwise stonewalled by authorities.But as usual, the crackdowns only challenged activists to push back more fiercely as digital images and reports of police brutality and oppression went viral. And much of the heavy lifting was accomplished by a deft, if somewhat chaotic, grassroots media sphere.
The Obama administration has lifted a ban on military assistance to Uzbekistan in order to preserve a supply line for the war effort in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan has seen reduced U.S. military aid in recent years amid widespread human rights abuses, including torture earlier this month, allowing the United States to provide non-lethal military equipment. On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters the move will help Uzbekistan fight terrorism.
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's visit to Cuba served to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, leverage the South American giant's investments in the Caribbean island, and deepen political ties. In what was her first trip to Cuba, Rousseff judged as wrong "a blockade that denies a people access to food," in reference to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, and said her government would be granting 350 million dollars in credit for food purchases from Brazil. On Feb. 1, Rousseff travelled to Haiti, where she was set to meet with government officials to discuss a number of issues, According to official press accounts, during her stay in the capital she signed several agreements with Cuba, but no details of their content were released. "We also agreed to finance the purchase of equipment, machinery, small tractors, and harvesters, with a 200 million (dollar) credit to boost food production in Cuba," Rousseff said, and insisted on a partnership between the two nations that will help the island's development and ensure better living conditions for its people.
A Republican State Senator from Alabama claimed this week that keeping teacher salaries low is actually an order from the Christian deity figure, imparted in ancient texts written by Jewish tribesmen thousands of years ago. Speaking at a prayer breakfast recently, Alabama state Senator Shadrack McGill praised giving pay raises to politicians, saying that it helps to prevent bribery. Then he shifted gears and went in the opposite direction with regards to teachers, arguing against a bill that would increase their salaries, it wouldn’t matter how much you would pay them.McGill voted in favor of a 67 percent pay raise for lawmakers in 2007.Alabama ranks 31st in the nation in average teacher salaries, although the state did see an 11 percent increase in teacher pay from 2007-2009. The state’s Republicans have adopted so-called “right to work” laws that forbid public employees from collectively bargaining for better wages and benefits.
Memo to Israeli Defense Minister Barak: if you feel you must strike Iran, I would caution you, very seriously, to take to heart what US Joint Chief of Staff Dempsey said last week regarding the US response to an uncoordinated Israeli attack against Iran. Russian and Chinese officials have said, very clearly and publicly, that they will support Iran in the event of either an Israeli or US attack against it, enjoy all the pleasures of a 3-front war between Israel, Iran, China, and Russia; that ought to be spectacular. Defense Minster Barak, you and your colleagues in Israel need to get one thing straight: thinking Americans are sick and tired of paying the cost in American blood and American money as a sacrifice on the altar of potential Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. We want that practice stopped by the US government, and right the heck now!!
President Barack Obama linked his economic policies to his Christian faith, saying on Thursday that meeting the nation's challenges requires strong values as much as smart policies. Obama, making his third appearance as president at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, used his remarks to justify many of his actions, such as his call for the wealthy to pay more in taxes and his health care overhaul. He said they were not only economically sound but also rooted in his Christian values. "When I talk about shared responsibility, it's because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling and at a time when we have enormous deficits, it's hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone," Obama said. "But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that, for unto whom much is given, much shall be required," he said.
The reason why we have an unstable world and a goverment out of control is because we have the International Bankers in control.These are the people who cause famines wars and misery. These are the people who impoverish nations and kill leaders who do not play ball with the moneychangers. This reason to go to war with Iran is insane to do in the first place. Iran has not attacked any country ever. Israel and the United States needs a fabled enemy to justify its police state at home while attacking nations into submission to set up a private central bank under the control of the European bankers. We have become a rogue state antagonizing the world as the bullies for the bankers. The saber rattling beating the war drum to bomb Iran is nothing more than the European bankers using the American Military as a hired gun to bomb nations into submission to accepting a private central bank to put the people into debt slavery and for the Military industrial complex so they can keep making bombs. When there is no wars, that is not good for business for the defense contractors. This impending war is about the bankers gaining control of the issuance of the currency. The rest of the propaganda is just a cover story to sell the public to justify a war. Follow the money and you will see that the bankers are pushing this war. Weapons of mass destruction or not. The enemies of humanity must be taken down or we all be working for funny money as debt slaves.
Detroit city union leaders said Tuesday that they had reached concession agreements in 25 of the 48 bargaining units for city employees, including huge cuts in the health benefits for thousands of workers.
According to a report Wednesday in the Detroit Free Press, the deals include a $20 million cut in prescription drug benefits and what the newspaper called “substantial” reductions in pension benefits.
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." -- Ronald Reagan (1986)
As tensions between the US and Iran heat up, author Michael T. Winter believes the main reason behind America’s harsh stance is Tehran’s move to seek an alternative to the dollar as an oil currency. - Economic sanctions, spearheaded by the US and, less willingly, the EU could have a disastrous effect on both of their respective economies. If Iran cannot sell their oil to Europe, there are plenty of customers waiting in the wings, and if they come bearing not petrodollars, but gold and sovereign currencies, then all the better for Iran. These sanctions, if enforced, will in effect place a serious dent in the power of the petrodollar. Any rhetoric regarding Iran’s nuclear program and the insistence on crippling it is nothing more than a US attempt to force regime change for one more receptive to maintaining the hegemony of the petrodollar.
“I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net there,” he said. “If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich — they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
Welcome to the new INTERPOL – the International Criminal Police Organization -- a carbon copy of the INTERPOL that was briefly headquartered in Berlin under the Nazi regime. Today, INTERPOL, an international law enforcement agency composed of 190 members nations, INTERPOL, headquartered in Lyon, France, is under the control of Secretary General Ron K. Noble, a former Undersecretary for Enforcement of the U.S. Treasury Department. Under Noble, INTERPOL is tracking political dissidents while leaving gangsters and other criminals, especially those wanted by Russia, remain at large. INTERPOL’s Secretaries General included four German SS generals: Otto Stenhausl, Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst (SD) Security Service chief Reinhard Heydrich – assassinated in a Prague suburb by Czechoslovak agents in 1942, Arthur Nebe – head of the KRIPO criminal police and executed for his part to assassinated Adolf Hitler in 1944, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner – executed for war crimes after the Nuremburg trials.During INTERPOL’s control by Nazi generals, the international law enforcement organization became a virtual arm of Nazi German intelligence.
During a broadcasted meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, CIA Director, panel Chairperson indicate they met Tamir Pardo in Washington this week; U.S. official: Iran willing to attack U.S. targets if threatened. Mossad chief Tamir Pardo held secret talks with top U.S. officials in recent days, cursory comments made during a public Senate hearing indicated on Tuesday.The clandestine Washington visit was exposed during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which was participated by CIA Director David Petraeus, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate panel. During the meeting, Feinstein asked Clapper whether or not Israel intended to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, with the top U.S. intelligence official answering that he would rather discuss the issue behind closed doors. Feinstein then indicated that she had met Mossad chief Pardo earlier in the week in Washington, with Petraeus adding that he too met Pardo and cited what he called Israel's growing concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions. The CIA chief also said that it was important to note that Israel considered a nuclear Iran as an existential threat. The entire exchange was broadcasted live on American television.
The command post of NATO’s European anti-missile shield will be deployed to the German military base of Rammstein, AFP cited today European diplomatic sources as saying.NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated late January that the European missile shield would be built in 8-10 years.
Mr. Rasmussen went on to say he hoped NATO would be able to announce the initial stage of the operational readiness at its May 2012 summit in Chicago.
An airline passenger going through security at JFK airport last night was relieved of $5,000 cash by a quick-fingered TSA officer, authorities say. A TSA spokesperson tells us the employee has been working for the TSA for over four years, and she's been identified as Alexandra Schmid. She was allegedly caught on surveillance camera taking the cash from a passenger's jacket as it moved along the X-Ray conveyor belt at the A checkpoint in Terminal Four.
ashington loves free trade – if it produces a surplus for the U.S.
In an election year, with a modest economic recovery underway, American politicians are trumpeting their credentials in saving and creating jobs and protectionism sentiment against foreign products is rising.
And the number one target?China
SOME 10,000 nurses at four of the largest New York City hospitals recently settled contracts that include modest raises and increased staffing. The deals also include lump-sum payments that partially offset a recent arbitration decision requiring private-sector nurses represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) to contribute to their health care fund for the first time.
'A Hawaii politician who proposed legislation requiring Internet providers to keep records of every website their customers visit has finally acknowledged that the bill is dead in the water.State Representative John Mizuno says he has conceded to an “incredible” national backlash against H.B. 2288 (PDF) a bill that would have required the creation of virtual dossiers on state residents.'
After a wave of strikes and protests by truck drivers and fishermen paralysed Italy early last week, protests continue against the harsh austerity measures the unelected government of Prime Minister Mario Monti is imposing on the Italian working class.Last Friday, a 24-hour national strike was called by main transportation unions in response to a series of tax and fee increases affecting broad layers of the population: IVA (value-added, or sales, tax) from 21 to 23 percent, taxes on individuals, health care co-pays, fuel taxes and the reinstitution of the tax on first homes (ICI).
Tthe BBC now “reveals”, almost a year after the information was relayed by several alternative media, that British Special Forces played a key role in steering and supervising Libya's "freedom fighters" to victory. Known and documented many of these so-called rebels were mercenaries under contract to NATO.British efforts to help topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground - and on the quiet - special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters: The existence of E Squadron is well known within the special forces community but has not hitherto been discussed publicly. It was formed five years ago to work closely with the intelligence service MI6, and is mainly involved in missions where maximum discretion is required, say Whitehall insiders. According to special forces people, E Squadron is a composite organisation formed from selected SAS, SBS and Special Reconnaissance Regiment operators. It is not technically part of the SAS or SBS, but at the disposal of the Director of Special Forces and MI6. The squadron often operates in plain clothes and with the full range of national support, such as false identities, at its disposal.
Last year I already exposed one secret, Europe-wide network dealing with police spies, the European Cooperation Group on Undercover Activities. Previously, even parliamentarians had been unaware of the group’s existence. The Federal Government cited ‘politically motivated’ crime as one of the group’s ‘main issues’.There are also secret police groups dealing with surveillance technology and the use of spy software by the state. A picture is increasingly emerging of an international police network operating without oversight.
Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Steve Beshear proposed budget cuts of 8.4 percent for many state agencies and spending freezes for other critical areas. Among the most austere budgets in Kentucky history, the plan will cripple the already underfunded public infrastructure at a time when record numbers of families are in need.
LOCAL AUTHORITIES in Charlotte, N.C., have passed a law designed to restrict demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), scheduled for September.The key part of the legislation, which takes the form of an amendment to city code, is a provision empowering the city manager--an appointed, not elected, official--to declare an event "of international or national significance" to be an "extraordinary event." The city manager may then specify and limit the times and locations in which demonstrations can occur. The law further empowers the city to establish permit deadlines for protesters wishing to stage marches and demonstrations. The bill has no sunset clause, meaning that it will stay on the books permanently.
In an automated “robocall” to Florida voters, the Gingrich campaign claimed that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney prevented Jewish Holocaust survivors from eating kosher food.“As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes,” a recorded voice says. “Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors?”As tasteless as the ad may be, The New York Post reported last week that that Romney had used his veto in 2003 to reject $600,000 in funds that would have allowed poor Jewish nursing homes to get Kosher meals.
A charter school near Flint, Michigan is refusing to make an exception for a 17-year-old leukemia survivor who is growing out his hair to donate to other cancer patients.I fought cancer my entire life; I’m going to keep fighting this,” he told The Detroit News. “I’m not going to not give back just because my school says no.”“Female students can grow and donate their hair, yet boys cant not, we’re asking for an ammendment to this policy, my son has now been kicked out of school, until he agrees to cut his hair, we are simply asking for compromise and to allow not only my son, but anyone wanting to donate to be allowed to do so, to allow the boys the same rights and freedoms as the girl students.”
Greece's financial crisis has made some families so desperate they are giving up the most precious thing of all - their children. - One morning a few weeks before Christmas a kindergarten teacher in Athens found a note about one of her four-year-old pupils. "I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her," it read. "Please take good care of her. Sorry. Her mother." In the last two months Father Antonios, a young Orthodox priest who runs a youth centre for the city's poor, has found four children on his doorstep - including a baby just days old. [...] One of the children cared for by Father Antonios is Natasha, a bright two-year-old brought to his centre by her mother a few weeks ago. The woman said she was unemployed and homeless and needed help
Oil embargos against Iran are not new. In 1951, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh with the support of the Iranian Parliament nationalized the Iranian oil industry. As a result of Dr. Mossadegh’s nationalization program, the British militarily blockaded the territorial waters and national ports of Iran with the British Royal Navy and prevented Iran from exporting its oil. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both the U.S. dollar and the euro together constitute 84.4% of the world’s currency exchange reserves (end of 2011 date). The U.S. dollar alone, consists of largest share of the world’s currency exchange reserves in 2011, namely 61.7%.Energy sales are an important part of this equation, because the American dollar is tied to the oil trade. Thus, oil trade, through what is called the petro-dollar, is helping sustain the American dollar’s international standing. Countries around the world have been virtually forced to use the U.S. dollar to maintain their energy and trade needs and transactions.
The bilateral talks between Washington and Manila on January 26 and 27 to negotiate the expansion of the US military presence and the deployment of US warships and surveillance aircraft in the Philippines are another step in the Obama administration’s strategy of encircling China.. The deployment of troops and ships to the Philippines, in addition to those stationed in Australia and Singapore, enhances the US ability to shut down China’s imports of energy and raw materials, and cripple its economy.Washington iscompensating for its economic weakness by recklessly wielding its military power to undermine China and pre-empt its rise as an economic and military rival.The strategic regional deployment of US forces recalls Washington’s oil blockade against Japan in 1941, which set in motion a sequence of events that led to the Pacific War. As the United States encircles China and poses the threat of a potentially crippling blockade, the options left open to the Chinese ruling elite become increasingly limited.
Despite claims that its focus is on diplomatic and economic sanctions against Iran, the Obama administration is making barely disguised preparations for military strikes to back its threat to use “all options” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.The article pointed out that “some Pentagon planners believe conventional bombs won’t be effective against Fordo and that a tactical nuclear weapon may be the only military option if the goal is to destroy the facility.” Discussion of the possible use of nuclear weapons against Iran underlines the recklessness of US foreign policy and Obama’s oft-repeated mantra that “all options are on the table.”
The New York Times on Sunday published a lengthy article in its weekly magazine that sympathetically and clinically lays out the arguments of Israeli policy makers in favor of a military attack on Iran sometime this year.Appearing in the context of newly announced US and European sanctions against Iranian oil exports and a buildup of US naval forces in the Persian Gulf, the article serves a definite and sinister purpose: to provide the pretexts and condition public opinion for a preemptive and unprovoked war of aggression that will have catastrophic consequences for the people of Iran and the Middle East and ultimately for the entire world.One can imagine similar articles appearing in the German press in the run-up to the Nazi invasion of Poland, calmly laying out the matters of self-defense obliging the Third Reich to subjugate its neighbor to the east.
Arturo de los Santos, a U.S. Marine veteran who was evicted last year in Riverside, California, after Freddie Mac and JPMorgan Chase foreclosed on his house last June. De los Santos and his family reoccupied their home in December with help from the Occupy movement, but face eviction again this week.
"It is not possible for India to take any decision to reduce the imports from Iran drastically, because among the countries which can provide the requirement of the emerging economies, Iran is an important country amongst them," the Indian finance minister said.
Inequality is a disease of society, a cancer growing out of control at one end of the body while the rest of it withers away. It's not just about the money, although income and wealth inequality have never been worse in the United States. It's also the pathological adherence to free market principles that have not worked for most of the country. And a bizarre idolization of the "innovators" who have rigged the financial system in their favor.High-priced schemers and swindlers and scoundrels roam free on Wall Street, while the downtrodden are condemned for trying to survive. "If you steal $10 from a man's wallet," observed former Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel, "you're likely to get into a fight, but if you steal billions from the the commons, co-owned by him and his descendants, he may not even notice.
No War on Iran Banner
In 48 Cities -
FEB 4 MASS ACTIONS Demanding:
NO War! NO Sanctions! NO Intervention! NO Assassinations on IRAN
IN NYC, NY 1pm North end of Times Square - Duffy Square. March to the US & Israeli missions to UN.
In politically correct San Francisco, a six year old boy was charged with sexual assault after playing a game of tag on the playground.The child was accused of brushing his best friend’s leg or groin while the two were playing on the playground at Lupine Hills Elementary in Hercules two months ago, according to CBS in San Francisco.The parent of the child said his son was held in the principal’s office and interrogated. The school coerced a confession from the child. He was suspended and a sexual battery charge was placed on his permanent school record, even though there is no such thing as sexual assault for a six year-old in California. Only after the boy’s parents hired a lawyer and threatened to sue did the school back down.And while school officials claim students are engaged in sexual abuse and perversion, more often than not it is teachers and administrators who are the perverts. In
For Time, the events of 2011 are seen as a wake-up call. The ruling elites should be aware of the danger that may arise from their own social isolation. There is the vast mass of working people, whose conditions of life are undergoing an immense and unrelenting deterioration. An improvement in their conditions of life is impossible without entering into open struggle against the capitalist system, with all the revolutionary implications that such a struggle entails. T
Science has confirmed what some of us long suspected but were (sometimes) too polite to say: People who hold racist and rabid right-wing views are, to put it bluntly, stupid, or at least stupider than other people. A new study finds that children with low intelligence grow into Tea Party-ish adults who hold socially conservative views and would like black, gay and other troublesome types to just go away, please. It is suspected that some of these people will not be happy with the findings and may even take to the streets with signs like this. As always, we wish them better spelling."There is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world."
Oakland officials have shifted tactics since conducting a series of violent assaults on Occupy Oakland in October and November in the glare of the national media. Oakland officials have taken a new tack in their suppression of the Occupy movement, one that seems addressed to the city's public relations problems. Gone are the mass arrests, “less-lethal” weaponry and tear gas, replaced with a kind of "lawfare" on the few protesters who remain in the plaza at the foot of Oakland City Hall where the occupation's tent city once stood.
Thatcher was the minister of education in Edward Heath's Conservative government, and she became notorious for ending the practice of giving British children free milk at school."Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher," became one of the most widely known political chants She became Britain's prime minister.she enacted brutal policies that included sharp cuts in social spending, tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of the financial sector, attacks on unions, and a huge increase in poverty and inequality.She was finally forced to resign by members of her own party after her attempt to introduce a poll tax led mass demonstrations and riots.
WASHINGTON -- On a single day this past fall, the United States government held 13,185 people in immigration detention who had not been convicted of a crime, some of whom will not be charged with one, according to information The Huffington Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Instead, at a cost of roughly 2 million taxpayer dollars per day, the men and women were detained while immigration authorities sorted out their fates.
The WSJ is the voice of the DC-New York GOP establishment, and that voice was crackling with anger and tears on Tuesday Let's just say right now what voters will be saying in November, once Barack Obama has been re-elected: Republicans deserve to lose.Well, yes. They deserve to lose because they've learned nothing from spectacular failures of the Bush/Cheney years and are doubling down on every right-wing fetish: Even lower taxes! Even more wealth inequality! Even more war! Even fewer regulations! Let's deport 12 million people! Let's bring back child labor! But I digress. Above all, it doesn't matter that Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing. All they need is to be reasonably sure that the alternative won't be another fiasco. But they can't be reasonably sure, so it's going to be four more years of the disappointment you already
Breaking down what we know about Foxconn, the massive factory in China where workers manufacture popular products like iPhones and iPads. 1.2 million: number of workers employed by Foxconn in China, according to the New York Times.83.2: Average hours of overtime worked each month, according to a 2010 survey of Foxconn employee.230,000: number of workers at "Foxconn City" in Shenzhen, according to the New York Times.70,000: number of workers at Foxconn's Chengdu plant who live in company dorms, according to the New York Times.200: Reported number of police officers who responded to a Foxconn dormitory riot.70: number of psychiatrists employed by Foxconn to prevent suicides, according to a 2010 announcement by CEO Terry Gou. 34: continuous hours a Foxconn employee worked in 2010 before he collapsed and died, according to media reports.100: Estimated number of employees at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan who stood on the roof of a factory building this month to protest working conditions and wages. Several threatened to commit suicide, according to the New York Times.
Scandinavian workers realized that, electoral “democracy” was stacked against them, so nonviolent direct action was needed to exert the power for change. . Sweden and Norway, for example, both experienced a major power shift in the 1930s after prolonged nonviolent struggle. They “fired” the top 1 percent of people who set the direction for society Both countries had a history of horrendous poverty. When the 1 percent was in charge, hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to avoid starvation. Under the leadership of the working class, however, both countries built robust and successful economies that nearly eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment
Conservatism is a reaction to democratic movements, like OWS, that challenge the authority of elites. Economic elites have faced a concerted attack on their riches and power, their arrogant and unaccountable ways.House Majority Leader Eric Cantor declared, "I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country."Mitt Romney told an audience in Florida that "I think it's dangerous—this class warfare.It is a reaction to democratic movements from below, movements like Occupy Wall Street that threaten to reorder society from the bottom up.Since the modern era began, men and women in subordinate positions have marched against their superiors. They have gathered under different banners—the labor movement, feminism, abolition, socialism—and shouted different slogans: freedom, equality, democracy, revolution. In virtually every instance, their superiors have resisted them.
The legitimacy of rule by giant corporations and Wall Street banks is crumbling. the legitimacy of rule by giant corporations and Wall Street banks is crumbling. This system of corporate rule also benefits few and harms many, affecting nearly every major issue in public life. Some examples: Powerful corporations socialize their risks and costs, but privatize profits. That means we, the 99 percent, pick up the tab for environmental clean ups, for helping workers who aren’t paid enough to afford food or health care, for bailouts when risky speculation goes wrong. Meanwhile, profits go straight into the pockets of top executives and others in the 1 percent.
The conflict between property rights and human rights has entered a new chapter. It is a debate that goes back to the challenge by landowners and merchants behind the American Revolution’s war on British control over the colonial economyOnly today, as those speaking in the name of the 99% challenge the super wealthy of the 1% (actually the .001 %) there is a new battleground in what’s known as the housing market with as many as 14 million Americans in or facing foreclosure. The defense of property rights is the holy of the holies for the propertied classes with a whole industry set up to enforce their claims of ownership. We have seen how this plays out with the courts, run by often bought off and complicit judges rubberstamping claims by banks and realty interests even when laws are disregarded amidst fraudulent filings, biased contracts, and phony robot signings. They control the marshals who seize your property, and constantly denigrate the real victims as “irresponsible.” It’s not surprising any more to read about banks foreclosing on properties they don’t even own.
One of the greatest perils we face today is the difficulty in properly identifying and distinguishing friend from foe; it is increasingly difficult to understand who – even what – the enemy or adversary is which means that society's key vulnerability stems from its incapacity to properly identify risk, peril and danger.No longer can national leaders rally mass popular support to "fight the Soviets or the Germans, or the Japanese." A decade ago, they had to resort to weaker abstractions like the Bushian "war on terrorism," which is meaningless until you actually define what "terrorism" isWhat we have today is basically a public invisible enemy that is very difficult to specifically pinpoint, but the effects of whose actions we all increasingly suffer everywhere. Perhaps "Global Power Elite" is the closest we can come to describing this veritable global enemy whose planetary interests and objectives for the most part run counter to the common interests of "We the People" everywhere, and yet that too is still quite abstract and faceless.
If they do this for real, if they do this like an Enron-style investigation, you could have half the luminaries on Wall Street doing prison time., or "will it be a cosmetic investigation" only?
Latinos in East Haven, Connecticut delivered hundreds of tacos to the town’s mayor Thursday, just two days after he made a flippant, derogatory comment about them while discussing alleged police discrimination and violence in his community.In the wake of those allegations, Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. was asked what he would do to reach out to the Latino community. “I might have tacos when I go home, I’m not quite sure yet,” Maturo said. The comment drew strong rebukes from area Latinos, and one group responded with a campaign to respond, as CNN reported today: That set off the activist group, a local branch of the Reform Immigration for America organization, which said that anytime someone texts the word “taco” to 69866, it will deliver a taco to the mayor on their behalf.They’ve received more than 2,600 texts, the group said in a statement Thursday.Maturo twice apologized for the comments, saying his words were largely a product of stress.Still, some 500 tacos were placed inside his office; the rest are already being rerouted to local food-assistance outlets.
Banks Weren’t Meant to Be Like This. What will their future be – and what is the government’s proper financial role?
The inherently symbiotic relationship between banks and governments recently has been reversed. In medieval times, wealthy bankers lent to kings and princes as their major customers. But now it is the banks that are needy, relying on governments for funding – capped by the post-2008 bailouts to save them from going bankrupt from their bad private-sector loans and gambles. Yet the banks now browbeat governments – not by having ready cash but by threatening to go bust and drag the economy down with them if they are not given control of public tax policy, spending and planning.How banks broke the social compact, promoting their own special interests People used to know what banks did. Bankers took deposits and lent them out, paying short-term depositors less than they charged for risky or less liquid loans. The risk was borne by bankers, not depositors or the government. But today, bank loans are made increasingly to speculators in recklessly large amounts for quick in-and-out trading. Financial crashes have become deeper and affect a wider swath of the population as debt pyramiding has soared and credit quality plunged into the toxic category of “liars’ loans.”
The court granted review for two rulings that dealt major blows to the medical pot industry, and has the opportunity to lay the foundation for future regulation. Ctr. The Pack decision held that some local regulations governing medical marijuana dispensaries may be preempted by federal law and the Riverside decision held that localities could legally ban dispensaries altogether. Both have been used by localities to justify suspending local medical marijuana ordinances and instituting further moratoria or outright bans. Both cases have generated considerable fear and instability among medical marijuana providers and led to decreased access to medicine by patients.
With this new strategy, the U.S. switches from large scale theater operations to smaller "cost effective" covert military ops. The latter inevitably result in the violation of the national sovereignty of the targeted country. The deployment of commandos “closer to new crisis zones” will, according to AP, replace “land invasions [like] Iraq and Afghanistan […] by fast and light special operations raids that leave little trace, or better yet, raids by friendly local forces the U.S. has trained, helping fight mutual enemies side by side.”Those troops could carry out raids or, more likely, work with local allies to teach them how to target regional enemies, as well as fostering long-term relationships, soldier to soldier, that can help defuse a crisis or coup years later. Basically the U.S. army is going underground. Worldwide.
the ineluctable fiendish nature of global capitalism, which over generations feeds on the lifeblood of workers, and emaciates them and their families, while the system’s executors become bloated to the point of bursting, with all the wastefulness and destructiveness, including wars, that that entails. There is no way of legislating against such parasitism because the legislators are, or will sooner or later become, part of the parasitism – as the rich get richer and power and wealth inevitably polarize under capitalism. It is like a centrifugal force; always taking, taking, taking until the majority are left looking like a spent liquid to be discarded. Look at every nation state under the diktat of capitalism at this time in history, and dare say that that isn’t so.The only protection to be gained is from crushing the system and replacing it with a different paradigm of relationships (democratic socialism – an alternative that has scarcely ever been given the chance to develop under the tyranny of capitalist imperialism). In truth, this is not an impossibly tall order. The tormentor is in actual fact puny in number and size when compared with the collective body and power of the people. In many ways, the tormentor is only able to continue his parasitical tyranny because the people have chosen thus far to cower and take relative disorganized shelter.
PM Cameron's call for a "moral capitalism" would be laughable if it weren't so tragic and hypocritical. After all, hasn't it been capitalism's alleged occupation of the 'moral high ground' what they now choose to call 'humanitarian intervention' that has been used as a justification for mass murder and genocide? But plainly the millions killed and the countries decimated don't fall under Cameron's definition of what is and isn't 'moral'. Clearly, it's for 'local consumption' only. What it does epitomize is a desperate capitalism that has just plain run out of excuses for the world's desperate state of affairs. After all what does 'moral capitalism' really mean? The rich sharing their wealth with the poor? Fewer crooks and gangsters in government? An end to crony capitalism? The end to a political class that works solely on behalf of capital?
From Social Security hysteria to "Obamacare" madness, right-wing propaganda is increasingly divorced from reality. One benefit of the prolonged campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has been the revelation that most of the 20 or 30 percent of Americans who describe themselves as conservatives live in a fantasy world. In their imaginations...
The wave of social revolts that rocked the Middle East, the US, Greece, Spain and other countries last year has now reached Eastern Europe. The large demonstrations against the Orban regime in Hungary, strikes of railway workers and miners in Bulgaria, and two weeks of angry protests in Romania testify to this.The driving force of the protests is the deep social divide that has opened up in the twenty years since the restoration of capitalism. The promises of democracy and prosperity used to justify the restoration of capitalism in 1989 have given way to a social nightmare.
New York Daily News columnist and Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez reports the Treasury Department has approved payouts exceeding $5 million for 49 executives at firms that most benefited from the Wall Street bailout. The executives’ pay came despite the $500,000 salary cap established under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). [includes rush transcript]
On 25 December 2011, the government of Peoples Republic of China and Japan unveiled plans to promote direct exchange of their currencies. This agreement will allow firms to convert the Chinese and Japanese currencies directly into each other, thus negating the need to buy dollars. This deal between China and Japan followed agreements between China and numerous countries to trade outside the sphere of the US dollar. A few weeks earlier, China also announced a 70 billion Yuan ($11 billion) currency swap agreement with Thailand.After visiting China, the Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda went on to India and signed another currency swap agreement with the government of India.After visiting China, the Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda went on to India and signed another currency swap agreement with the government of India. T
Some 10,000 angry workers swarmed around the Indiana State House January 23 to protest a pending anti-union ‘right-to-work’ bill that the Republican-controlled state Senate passed by a vote of 28-22. The next day, another 7,000 workers returned, enraged by the Senate vote. The crowd was broad and diverse, including members of the Ohio AFL-CIO who came by bus from Columbus to join the fight. The crowd carried signs like “Indiana-Ohio-Wisconsin,” which linked the struggle against Indiana's right-to-work legislation to the successful union-led campaign to overturn anti-labour legislation in Ohio and the effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
The overwhelming scientific evidence that says humans are causing the warming of the planet has emerged as the new battlefield in middle and high schools in the U.S.
Gingrich doesn’t live by the strict sexual rules laid out by conservatives, because those rules are meant for other people: the poor, Democrats, gays, and minorities. He’s the living id of the Republican Party: a spoiled brat who takes what he wants without apology, and then dresses down perceived inferiors for their supposed lack of morals and work ethic. You could easily imagine him drifting out of Tiffany’s, having bought wife number three fancy baubles with money generated from one of his direct mail schemes only to pause to lecture a homeless vet on how he deserved his fate because he didn’t sacrifice enough.
Standardized testing is a common method by which colleges and universities evaluate the competency of applying high school students. But an increasing amount of students are cheating on such tests, which has caused lawmakers in New York to consider actually harvesting “digital DNA” from students and applying it to special ID cards that students would be required to furnish both before and after taking the SAT or ACT exams to prove their identities.
Retired Cuban leader says Republican primaries are 'the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been'Romney's rival Newt Gingrich said he would authorise increased covert operations to bring down the Cuban government. And at another moment of the debate, Romney and Gingrich sparred over whether Castro's soul would go to heaven or hell. Asked what he would do as president if he found out Castro had died, Romney said he would first "thank heavens" that the revolutionary had "returned to his maker", to which Gingrich replied: "I don't think Fidel's going to meet his maker. I think he's going to go to the other place."
On January 13th the Atlanta Jewish Times featured a column by its owner-publisher suggesting that Israel might someday need to “order a hit” on the president of the United States. In the column, publisher Andrew Adler describes a scenario in which Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would need to “give the go-ahead for U.S. based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel.” The purpose? So that the vice president could then take office and dictate U.S. policies that would help the Jewish state “obliterate its enemies.”
a number of influential members of the foreign policy establishment – including several prominent liberal interventionists who had supported the Iraq war – to warn against any further escalation either by the U.S. or Israel.
"As before, we're letting a bunch of ignorant, sloppy-thinking politicians and politicized foreign-policy experts draw 'red line' ultimatums. As before, we're letting them quick-march us off to war," warned Gelb, a repentant Iraq-war hawk, about the chorus of neo- conservatives and other hawks with whom he had previously been aligned.The more publicly the West threatens Iran, the more easily Iranian leaders can portray America as the Great Satan to parts of the Iranian population that have recently been inclined to see the U.S. as their friend," wrote Slaughter, who stepped down as director of the policy planning office under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Under Section 121 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the government has the power to force a financial institution that poses such a systemic threat to divest assets, limit activities, or otherwise down-size so it's not “too big to fail.” According to Public Citizen's David Arkush, even though many of the big banks became even larger and more threatening after the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, “Bank of America looks like it is the most systemically dangerous of the large banks and is at the greatest risk of actually failing.”
CALIFORNIA GOV. Jerry Brown is proposing more heavy cuts to public health and welfare in his 2012-13 state budget plan released January 5. But activists are ready to resist--plans are in the works for days of action and an occupation in March, and the California Federation of Teachers is promoting a ballot box initiative to raise taxes on the rich.The impact will be felt across the state if Brown gets his way with the budget. Families with children face a $450 million cut in child care subsidies, and seniors would suffer a $678 million loss to the Medi-Cal health program. The In-Home Supportive Services program serving people with disabilities would be cut by $168 million, and CalWORKS, the program that assists poor families, would lose $1 billion. "We are making some very painful reductions," Brown told reporters at the Capitol. "This is not nice stuff, but that's what it takes to balance the budget."
Just because some of its wheels have come flying off, that doesn't mean the GOP clown car isn't still moving down the road toward Election Day.
The U.S. remains the most influential foreign actor in Colombia. In 2011 it provided approximately US $562 million in aid, about 61 percent of which was military and police aid. Thirty percent of US military aid is subject to human rights conditions, which the US Department of State has not enforced. The Colombian military has been guilty of more than 3,000 extrajudicial killings of civilians in what is known as the "false positive" scandal wherein "army personnel murdered civilians and reported them as combatants killed in action, apparently in response to pressure to boost body counts." This "pressure to boost body counts," moreover, is coming ultimately from the U.S.paramilitary successor groups continue to grow, maintain extensive ties with public security force members and local officials, and commit widespread atrocities. There has also been ongoing violence against rights defenders, community leaders, and trade unionists.Colombia's national police chief publicly stated that such groups are the largest source of violence in Colombia.
There is another downside, a potential threat now lurking in the shadows. The value of the US dollar is determined in large part by the fact that oil is sold in US dollars. If that trade shifts to a different currency, countries around the world won't need all their US money. The resulting sell-off of US dollars would weaken the currency dramatically.Everybody says the US goes to war to protect its oil supplies, but doesn't it really go to war to ensure the continuation of the petrodollar system? Iran may be isolated from the United States and Western Europe, but Tehran still has some pretty staunch allies. Iran and Venezuela are advancing $4 billion worth of joint projects, including a bank. India has pledged to continue buying Iranian oil because Tehran has been a great business partner for New Delhi, which struggles to make its payments. Greece opposed the EU sanctions because Iran was one of very few suppliers that had been letting the bankrupt Greeks buy oil on credit. South Korea and Japan are pleading for exemptions from the coming embargoes because they rely on Iranian oil. Economic ties between Russia and Iran are getting stronger every year.Iran's energy resources are a matter of national security for China.
We’re being tested. Republican politicians and pundits are busy testing the American public, trying to assess how ignorant and distracted we are. While they already have a pretty good idea, they’re determined to get a precise reading. Testing is vitally important to these people because, if the United States is to be turned into a plutocracy, our collective ignorance is an absolute necessity.
The US government is so full of self-righteousness that it has become a caricature of hypocrisy. Leon Panetta, a former congressman who Obama appointed CIA director and now head of the Pentagon, just told the sailors on the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier, that the US is maintaining a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers in order to project sea power against Iran and to convince Iran that “it’s better for them to try to deal with us through diplomacy.” If it requires 11 aircraft carriers to deal with Iran, how many will Panetta need to project power against Russia and China? But to get on with the main point, Iran has been trying “to deal with us through diplomacy.” The response from Washington has been belligerent threats of military attack, unfounded and irresponsible accusations that Iran is making a nuclear weapon, sanctions and an oil embargo. But it is in the War Crimes Arena where Washington shows the greatest hypocrisy. The self-righteous bigots in Washington are forever rounding up heads of weak states whose countries were afflicted by civil wars and sending them off to be tried as war criminals. All the while Washington indiscriminately kills large numbers of civilians in six or more countries, dismissing its own war crimes as “collateral damage.” Washington violates its own law and international law by torturing people.
Iceland is free. And it will remain so, so long as her people wish to remain autonomous of the foreign domination of her would-be masters — in this case, international bankers.These were private banks and we didn’t pump money into them in order to keep them going; the state did not shoulder the responsibility of the failed private banks,” Iceland President Olafur Grimsson told Bloomberg Television.“Taxpayers should not be responsible for paying the debts of a private institution,”
hYes, you read correctly’. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence. Think about it. If you have thought of this Tom-Clancy-type scenario, don’t you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles?”o/
The United Nations may think  they’re weapons of mass destruction, but Americans seem to disagree. 2011 was yet another record breaking year for gun sales, with Americans purchasing some 10.8 million firearms, a 14% increase over the previous year and up over 50% from ten years ago as reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation .As sales climb, recent FBI data shows violent crime continuing to fall  in the United States, with homicides dropping out of the top 15 causes of death in the country. The statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups that “more guns equal more crime.” “These statistics vividly demonstrate that the lawful possession and use of firearms by law-abiding Americans does not cause crime,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “There have never been more firearms in civilian possession in the history of the United States, and crime, including homicide, continues to decline throughout the country.”
The Left Front is an ideological movement that stands for social justice and the fair distribution of resources among the entire population. Today Russia is run by a clan around the President (Dmitry Medvedev) and the Prime Minister (Vladimir Putin), and we have a situation in which elites representing 10 percent of the population control 90 percent of the resources, while the vast majority lives in poverty. This is the critical problem of contemporary Russia. What we want to see is broader public participation in the management of natural resources, transport, industry and all other strategic fields. We want a direct democracy, where the people would have their say through fair and transparent referendums, where they could interact with authorities using the Internet, where they could have a say in social reforms. We are not nostalgic about the Soviet Union, we do not argue for a return to a centrally planned economy where social iniative was stifled, but we do want to preserve what was good in the Soviet system .Citizens with low political education are not able to distinguish the truth,
"I had to fight to be treated like a human, not animal," dissident Nikolai Avtukhovich wrote from prison. Last month Avtukhovich, Belarusian political activist and entrepreneur, convicted to five years in the penal colony for illegal storage of five cartridges for a hunting rifle, cut his veins.
In recent years, particularly since the onset of the Great Recession, it has become clear to many Americans that their country is composed of two different societies with clashing interests — a very small minority in possession of great wealth and power, and everyone else, with some getting by and many falling by the wayside..Which ever party wins in November — and we think President Barack Obama will be reelected — the contest is not between right and left but between right/far right and center right. No matter what the result, progressive change will not be the product.Abruptly, the U.S. is supposed to be confronted with a "threat" from China, necessitating that the Pentagon surround that country with even more of its far superior weaponry, more troops, battle fleets heading in closer proximity, surveillance aircraft, space weapons and long range nuclear missiles. In addition, there seems to be an imminent "threat" to our way of life from Iran, as well as the continuing "threat" to U.S. democracy from some poor tribes in Afghanistan.
Opponents of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker have submitted more than a million signatures seeking his recall in a statewide vote. The million-plus signatures amount to nearly double the required number of 540,000 and may mark the largest recall effort in U.S. history. Walker is being challenged for pushing through a controversial law ending collective bargaining rights for most public workers. The million signatures "represent almost half of the electorate in the last election, in 2010,
Tax Justice Network USA chair Jack Blum, a former top congressional investigator of financial crimes, who says tax evasion could seriously cripple the already struggling economy.... We must not only rewrite the Internal Revenue Code, but we must get a fair contribution from the very wealthy and from corporations, and that is the only way to balance the budget."
ITensions in the Gulf could reach a breaking point as a senior Iranian official said Iran would “definitely” close the Strait of Hormuz if an EU oil embargo disrupted the export of crude oil, the Iranian FARS news agency reports. The 27 EU foreign ministers officially adopted the measures later Monday. The embargo would immediately forbid new contracts for crude oil and petroleum products while existing contracts are allowed to run until July, 2012.ran oil sanctions spIran's FARS news agency is reporting: If the US seeks adventurism against Iran, the country "will make the world insecure for the Americans in the least possible time and all the US military men will be forced to leave the Middle-East region to save their lives", Vice-Chairman of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Jahangir Kosari told FNA on Monday.ark war of words between Tehran and Washington
GPS tracking unconstitutional without warrant Today, Supreme Court justices unanimously placed restrictions on Police use of GPS tracking devices in the case United States v. Antoine Jones, No. 10-1259. The use of such devices is now considered a 'search' and requires a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The high court's ruling was a defeat for the Obama administration, which defended the use of global positioning system devices without a warrant and without a person's knowledge as a legal way to monitor a vehicle on public streets.
Another war would destroy America’s painful recovery from the indebtedness of two wars and the 2008 economic crash. Gasoline prices would probably go up another dollar per gallon Iran has four times the population of Iraq, many times the military capability, and would seek support from other nations like Russia and China, possibly sparking an unpredictable regional war.
Gov. Paul LePage (R-Maine). The Tea Party favorite who won the governorship with less than 40% of the popular vote has threatened to close Maine schools if he is not granted the cuts he's proposed to the state's Dept. of Health and Human Services . It's unclear what authority he has to take such a measure.
Mitt Romney was asked a question about the 99% ouside of his Charleston headquarters. He did not take kindly to the question Mitt Romney on Thursday afternoon snipped at a questioner, who seemed to be a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, for waging class warfare, MSNBC reports. Romney was walking the rope line outside of his headquarters in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday when a person off camera asked, "What would you do to support the 99 percent, seeing as how you're part of the 1 percent?" Romney responded in anger saying, "If you've got a better model, if you think China's better, or Russia's better, or Cuba's better, or North Korea's better, I'm glad to hear all about it, but you know what, America's right, and you are wrong." Consequently, the bystander's question was never answered.
The campaign manager for Ken Aden, an Iraq veteran and Democratic House candidate in a staunchly conservative Arkansas district, found his cat killed with the word "liberal" painted on its corpse. Actually, Jacob Burris' five-year-old son found the cat when the family got home Sunday evening. We're speechless.
Showing a marked aversity to anything remotely resembling reality, Tennessee Tea Party leaders have issued "demands" to state legislators that schools stop teaching - through "neglect and outright ill-will" - all that bad stuff about our fine Christian Founding Fathers like that maybe they owned slaves or killed Indians or did other icky things. This, after Texas did likewise for its almost fivemillion students.
Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, has announced plans for a new television series. The program will launch mid-March and will include ten weekly half-hour episodes featuring "in-depth conversations with key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world."
49 million people are struggling to get enough to eat in America, GOP candidates' posturing isn't helping. FOOD-INSECURE MOTHER: I’m struggling so much every day to be able to even feed my kids. Hunger isn’t just someone in Africa that’s real skinny and you can see their ribs. It’s right here in the United States.
Instead of Protecting People, Governments Cover Up by Raising “Safe” Radiation Levels. American and Canadian authorities have virtually stopped monitoring airborne radiation. Neither American nor Canadian authorities are testing fish for radioactivity. Does that mean that we don’t have to worry about radiation from Fukushima?
Jason Farbman reports on another terrible chapter--one the Obama administration doesn't want told--in the suffering the U.S. government has inflicted on Guatemala.Dr. John Charles Cutler with victims of the Tuskegee studyDr. John Charles Cutler with victims of the Tuskegee study FROM 1946 to 1948, doctors working for a U.S.-funded project injected unsuspecting Guatemalans with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Among the infected were soldiers, sex workers, prisoners and mental patients. The tests included re-infecting a dying woman and injecting syphilis into epileptic women between their neck and their skull. At least 83 people died in one the most sinister chapters in the history of U.S. imperialism or the medical industry at large.
“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.” --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967
Over the last week, finance organisations, the banks, European heads of state and leading European Union (EU) officials applied intense pressure on Greece for more punitive austerity measures, including public sector lay-offs and privatisations. According to a deal worked by the “troika” (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, European Union) last October, the Greek government must rapidly implement new spending cuts to receive the next instalment of its €130 billion bailout.
Billionaire George Soros is predicting protests by Occupy Wall Street will turn violent, while warning the U.S. financial system may collapse.Soros claimed the riots will “be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States.”
The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times has resigned under pressure after writing a column suggesting that Israel consider assassinating President Barack Obama, a Jewish news agency reported Monday.In the column, Adler suggested that there were three options for Israel, should Iran acquire nuclear weapons: A strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, a strike against Iran, or "three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies."
As he dismantles a 50-year military dictatorship without a shot being fired, Burmese President Thein Sein is resorting to the political art of compromise. In some Southeast Asian capitals, comparisons are being made between Thein Sein and two international figures who played pivotal roles in ending oppressive regimes: Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, and F.W. de Klerk, who presided over the end of apartheid in South Africa. Even Western leaders who were trenchant critics of the juntas that preceded the current administration are lavishing praise on the quiet, unassuming 66-year-old Thein Sein that would have been improbable a year ago.
I was asked to speak at an “Occupy the Courts” rally outside the federal courthouse in Madison, Wisconsin, yesterday. It was nine degrees out, and it was snowing, but about 85 people showed up to denounce the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. People held signs that said, “Supreme Court plus Supreme Corruption Equals Supreme Calamity” and “End Corporate Personhood.”
Watching the spectacle of the Republican primaries evokes deep sadness over the unavoidable truth that now, in the wake of Citizens United, it has become totally legal for rich people to run politicians the same way they might run horses or greyhounds. Just like that. Maybe that’s what provides the eerie, zombie-like atmosphere in politics these days. You really have the sense that most politicians, especially the ones at the top echelons of power, are like old-fashioned Kabbalistic golems, animated out of clay by skilled magicians who can control them from afar.
Are American politicians out of sync with the public when it comes to foreign policy? There is considerable reason to believe so. Throughout the scramble for the GOP presidential nomination, the major candidates have certainly been rabidly nationalistic. In a major foreign policy address on October 7, 2011, Mitt Romney proclaimed that “the twenty-first century can and must be an American Century.” Championing a vast military buildup, he argued that, to secure this “American Century,” the United States should have “the strongest military in the world.”
Okay. It’s time somebody says it. Something seems very strange about the GOP primary pre-polling and vote thus far. As a Ron Paul fan, I didn’t want to seem like a sore loser after the odd Iowa result where the failed no-name Senator, Rick Santorum, was catapulted to victory with very little tangible support. But now, how on earth could Newt Gingrich win the South Carolina primary when the day before the vote he had to cancel a major campaign stop because of lack of attendance?
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