A second judge has castigated Wisconsin Republicans for excluding the public from the legislative process. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi has issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of Governor Walker's union-busting bill on grounds that the conference committee's rushed passage of the bill on March 9 likely violated state Open Meetings laws. While both chambers of the State Legislature passed the bill and Governor Walker has signed it, the bill does not become law until it is published by Secretary of State Doug LaFollette.
Aristide arrives in Port-au-Prince on charter plane with family, ending seven years in exile in South Africa. Haiti's former president has arrived back home from South Africa, ending seven years in exile. Jean-Bertrand Aristide waved aside US concerns that his homecoming might disrupt Haiti's presidential runoff scheduled for Sunday, flying to Port-au-Prince, the capital, in a charter plane with his family. The plane touched down at Port-au-Prince airport at 9:10am (1410GMT) on Friday.
US president says "military action" will be used if Libyan leader fails to implement terms of UN resolution. "Let me be clear: These terms [in the resolution] are not negotiable," said Obama. "These terms are not subject to negotiation. If Gaddafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences. The resolution will be enforced through military action."
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu reiterated the Obama administration’s commitment to nuclear power, despite the calamitous events in Japan, at hearings before congressional committees March 15 and 16. “The American people should have full confidence that the United States has rigorous safety regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly,” he told a House subcommittee Tuesday, adding, “The administration is committed to learning from Japan’s experience as we work to continue to strengthen America’s nuclear industry.”
Faced with a Congress hostile to even slight restrictions of Second Amendment rights, the Obama administration is exploring potential changes to gun laws that can be secured strictly through executive action, administration officials say.
With all the focus placed on the Japanese radiation leak as well as the toxic plume of radioactive particles (possibly containing uranium and plutonium) heading for the United States, another potential disaster is receiving virtually no attention.
Legislation to bar federal funds from being spent on National Public Radio passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday, although its ultimate prospects of becoming policy looked doubtful.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is more popular among Republicans than the top GOP presidential aspirants, according to a poll released on Thursday. The Republican governor unleashed a wave of protests in Wisconsin after pushing to curb state workers' union rights. On March 11, Walker signed a bill that was rammed through the Wisconsin Legislature to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public employees.
More than 80 per cent of the jobs created last year were taken by people who were not born in this country, official figures revealed yesterday. In 2010, employment rose by 210,000 compared with the previous year, but 173,000 jobs went to those born in countries from Poland to Pakistan.
The Japanese government's radiation report for the country's 47 prefectures Wednesday had a notable omission: Fukushima, ground zero in Japan's nuclear crisis. Measurements from Ibaraki, just south of Fukushima, were also blanked out.
Although U.S. officials condemned Bahrain’s use of deadly force against unarmed protestors on Wednesday, experts say the Obama administration is reticent to support the people because the Bahraini monarchy best serves U.S. regional interests. Critics accuse the U.S. of employing a double-standard – reluctant to oust the monarchy in Bahrain but more than willing to encourage Libyans to topple Moammar Gaddafi.
30,000 Amazon Indians were enslaved, tortured, raped and starved in just 12 years during the rubber boom, according to a historic report submitted by Irish investigator Roger Casement, 100 years ago today. Agents of the company rounded up dozens of Indian tribes in the western Amazon to collect wild rubber for the European and American markets. In a few short decades many of the tribes were completely wiped out. Much of the detail of this horrific episode has been forgotten, but for the descendants of the rubber boom survivors, the reality of the continuing ‘rainforest harvest’ is impossible to ignore. The uncontacted Indians seen in stunning new footage last month are likely to be descended from rubber boom survivors, whilst nearby another ‘rainforest harvest’ is being played out on uncontacted tribes’ land. Illegal loggers, driven by the high value of endangered woods, are pushing further into their remote forest homes.
US media have been widely and repeatedly reporting on the awful March 11 murder of three small Israeli children and their parents. While no one yet knows who committed this act, reports presume that the murderers were Palestinian, and for this reason the incident is receiving major attention. Various heads of state, including President Obama, have condemned it.
Wisconsin Republican state Senators, fresh from passing draconian anti-labor and privatization legislation, jetted into Washington, D.C., Wednesday night to collect tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from the one constituency group that approves of what Governor Scott Walker and his GOP allies are doing: corporate lobbyists.
Luddism – that is, the smashing of inhuman technology – always seemed to me to be quite a good idea. If a new machine is killing you, wreck it, as the 19th-century West Riding and Nottinghamshire weavers selectively wielded their God-given hammers to dismantle a certain type of automated loom that was driving them into poverty. King Ludd's followers, who ever since have enjoyed a bad tabloid press as technophobes, lost their class war against the textile factory owners, and many of them were hanged or transported after bloody pitched battles with the British army on the moors.
During debate over a bill that would legislate a dress code for Florida students, Passidomo blamed the alleged gang raping of an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas on the way the young girl was dressed.
U.S. Supplies of potassium iodide pills are taking a huge hit as people flock to the stores in search of protection from possible nuclear fallout. A number of stores across the west coast are reporting that they are completely sold out. And a pharmacist at a Walgreen’s in California told us that they would not be getting anymore because the government has seized all supplies.
Michael Moore: "You must stand up against these Draconian measures and this outrageous attempt to rip our democratic rights from us." Friends and neighbors, The call has gone out and I'm asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats. What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries -- and then ran in the general election as "just a nerd from Ann Arbor" who was a moderate, not an ideologue -- has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I've ever seen in electoral politics.
In the opening paragraph of my most recent Pravda.Ru article WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE (03/03/11, hereinafter WORKERS), I warned that there was “a battle going on in the United States, and it is not hyperbole to suggest that it is a battle for the very soul of the nation.”
That battle is over;
And America is dead:
LezGetReal’s L.S. Carbonell asked when the Egyptian-style protests would hit the United States. Her prediction came true sooner rather than later. Protests against Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker’s push to end the rights of public employees are continuing for a second day with schools in the state capital of Madison closing. It is not sure if there was a case of ‘blue flu’ or something else going on.
Recent events in Wisconsin have been a real eye-opener. Anyone in America not mesmerized with Dancing With The Stars or the latest on Charlie Sheen or their X-Box 360 knows that a class war is on. When the banks and their corporate partners decided to maximize profits and globalize the economy the war was on. It was then that the US was de-industrialized and the great industrial trade unions were smashed. The United Auto Workers, the United Steel Workers, the United Mine Workers unions are just shells of their former selves.
In Wisconsin, more than 100,000 people filled the streets of Madison Saturday in what what has been described as the state’s largest protest ever. The massive rally was held one day after Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a the controversial Bill Act 10, legislation that sharply curbs collective bargaining rights for most public employees in the state of Wisconsin. Speakers at the rally included many of the 14 Democratic senators who had fled the state three weeks ago in an attempt to stall the legislation. Democracy Now! was in Madison to cover the rally on the ground. [includes rush transcript]
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has taught the nation some very important civics lessons. The price is high, but we should pay careful attention to what he teaches by example. The first lesson: Citizens should not be hoodwinked by rhetoric. Governor Walker said that the state was broke. He said that public sector workers had to make larger contributions to the cost of their pensions and health care, even as he handed out generous corporate tax breaks for the same amount. Doing a reverse Robin Hood, he took from the middle class to enrich the powerful. The unions promptly agreed to pay what the governor proposed, effectively cutting their compensation, but the governor would not take yes for an answer. He insisted on breaking the unions, even though no financial issues were involved.
The liberal class is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant. Let hate speech pollute the airways. Let corporations buy up your courts and state and federal legislative bodies. Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment. Let unions wither under corporate assault. Let social services and public education be stripped of funding. Let Wall Street loot the national treasury with impunity. Let sleazy con artists use lies and deception to carry out unethical sting operations on tottering liberal institutions, and you roll out the welcome mat for fascism.
If enough of us say "no," if enough of us refuse to cooperate, the despots are in trouble. The liberal class is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant. Let hate speech pollute the airways. Let corporations buy up your courts and state and federal legislative bodies. Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment. Let unions wither under corporate assault. Let social services and public education be stripped of funding. Let Wall Street loot the national treasury with impunity. Let sleazy con artists use lies and deception to carry out unethical sting operations on tottering liberal institutions, and you roll out the welcome mat for fascism.
A Lyndon Larouche webcast concerning the massive world strikes and growing resistance to exploitation by corrupt governments. A discussion of the Irish elections as they pertain to America and an ongoing power struggle with Briton.
The American Empire is failing. A number of its puppet rulers are being overthrown by popular protests, and the almighty dollar will not even buy one Swiss franc, one Canadian dollar, or one Australian dollar. Despite the sovereign debt problem that threatens EU members Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, it requires $1.38 dollars to buy one euro, a new currency that was issued at parity with the US dollar. The US dollar’s value is likely to fall further in terms of other currencies, because nothing is being done about the US budget and trade deficits. Obama’s budget, if passed, doesn’t reduce the deficit over the next ten years by enough to cover the projected deficit in the FY 2012 budget.
Wisconsin Republicans pushed through a measure stripping state public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Late Wednesday, Wisconsin Republicans rammed a measure through the Senate stripping collective bargaining rights from most public workers in the state. Although the 14 Democrats who fled the state to block Governor Walker's union-busting bill remain in Illinois, Republicans were able to push through the measure anyway by separating the collective bargaining provision from the other elements of Governor Scott Walker's "budget repair bill." (This, after claiming for months that killing public workers' right to negotiate was all about reining in the state's debt.) The measure passed 18-1, with Republican Sen. Dale Schultz voting against. Critics say the rushed legislative session -- with only one Democrat in attendance -- may have violated the state's open meetings law.
As a wave of anti-union bills are introduced across the country in the wake of Wall Street financial crisis, many analysts are picking up on the theory that award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein first argued in her 2007 bestselling book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In the book, she reveals how those in power use times of crisis to push through undemocratic and extreme free market economic policies. “The Wisconsin protests are an incredible example of how to resist the shock doctrine,” Klein says.
This one is shaping up pretty much the way we predicted. Ireland's Fine Gael party enticed voters a couple of weeks ago with their tough talk about giving haircuts to bank bondholders and renegotiating Ireland's IMF "bailout," but before they've even taken power, the new Fine Gael-Labor coalition government has already capitualted to the IMF and European banksters. In spite of all the pre-election talk, the new government plans to follow the original bailout and austerity plans with hardly any modification whatsoever.
View of downtown Seattle. A US lobby group is taking legal action to challenge a local authority's refusal to let it put posters on Seattle buses criticizing Israel's "war crimes" in Gaza. The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SMAC) vowed to pursue a lawsuit, despite a judge's refusal to force officials who run the bus system in Seattle and surrounding suburbs to allow the posters to be displayed.
Monday, Think Progress released a video that showed Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown slavishly fawning over David Koch and begging him for money. "Your support during the election, it meant a ton. It made a difference and I can certainly use it again," said Brown on the tape.
The federal government posted its largest monthly deficit in history in February, a $223 billion shortfall that put a sharp point on the current fight on Capitol Hill about how deeply to cut this year’s spending.
US president lifts two-year ban on controversial military tribunals as he acknowledges the prison will not close soon. The US president has approved the resumption of military trials for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. The move ends a two-year ban and was the latest acknowledgment that the prison Barack Obama had vowed to shut down within a year of taking office will remain open for some time to come.
The British magistrate court has decided to surrender Julian Assange to the Nordic Amazons who were hunting for his head – pending appeal. Thus the long Saga of the Broken Condom, or whatever name by which it will become known to posterity, took a definite turn for the worse. The judge decided to honor the European Arrest Warrant issued by man-eating Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. Julian has appealed to the High Court, ensuring that the saga will go on as a side divertissement to the main story, Cablegate.
So after all that cash is gone, what are we left with? Not a whole heck of a lot for the rest of us. There’s been a joke going around the labor protests. It goes something like this: A union member, a CEO and a Tea Party member are sitting at a table with 12 cookies. The CEO grabs 11, turns to the Tea Partier and says “The Union’s out to take your cookie!”
From state legislatures to Congress to tea party rallies, a vocal backlash is rising against what are perceived as too-generous retirement benefits for state and local government workers. However, that widespread perception doesn't match reality. Protesters rally against a budget bill outside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. (AFP/Getty Images/File/J.D. Pooley) A close look at state and local pension plans across the nation, and a comparison of them to those in the private sector, reveals a more complicated story. However, the short answer is that there's simply no evidence that state pensions are the current burden to public finances that their critics claim.
By trying to destroy us corporate America has given birth to a movement -- a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. America is not broke. Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.
Raiding 911 funds is an easy way for politicians to scoop up loose cash -- far easier than taxing the rich. The Great Blizzard of 2010 dumped record levels of snow throughout the Northeast. On day one of the snowstorm, New York's 911 service got nearly 50,000 calls and, at its peak, had a backlog of 1,300 calls that almost brought the service to its knees. Sadly, the combination of 911 failures and the inability of EMS ambulances to get through the snowdrifts likely contributed to a number of needless deaths.
ZAWIYA FALLS TO GADDAFI IN TODAY'S LIBYAN BLOODBATH, FRIENDS IN WASHINGTON, LONDON AND TEL AVIV PARALYZE THE WEST. “Israel is flooding Libya with mercenaries, Gaddafi is slaughtering his own people and the rebel leaders who have called for help from America are being ignored while Gaddafi is consolidating for a full scale civil war which could easily have ended a week ago.” This is the scenario being played out in Libya. Gaddafi will be allowed to survive, weakened and muted, facing “elimination” at any time for “war crimes” now being carefully documented. He will have to pay out billions to keep his business running, if, if he lasts.
None other than the US Secretary of State herself, Hillary Clinton, paid fulsome tribute to Al Jazeera last Wednesday, March 2. Appearing before a US Foreign Policy Priorities committee, she was asked by Senator Richard Lugar to impart her views on how well the US was promoting its message across the world.
Environmental protection in US under attack from extremist Tea Partiers backed by big business. It started on a sultry day in Houston when hundreds of protesters, mostly oil company employees, were bussed to a concert hall in their lunch hour to rally against a historic first step by Congress to reduce the pollution that causes climate change.
Tenth Amendment allows for local governments to regulate airports. Legislation has been introduced into the Texas House of Representatives that directly challenges the authority of the TSA in airports within the state, specifically aimed at criminalizing the use of naked body scanners and enhanced pat-downs.
The House has passed a devastating budget plan that would destroy bedrock safeguards that have protected our health and environment for decades. As a new mother, it breaks my heart when I hear stories from parents who are struggling with their kids' health problems. I know parents who live in fear of their child's next asthma attack. Some can't even let their kids play outside when local air pollution hits dangerous levels. We do everything we can to protect our kids, even before they're born.
The astonishing story of the last few decades is a massive redistribution of wealth, as the rich have shifted the tax burden. Over the last half century, the richest Americans have shifted the burden of the federal individual income tax off themselves and onto everybody else. The three convenient and accurate Wikipedia graphs below show the details. The first graph compares the official tax rates paid by the top and bottom income earners. Note especially that from the end of the second world war into the early 1960s, the highest income earners paid a tax rate over 90% for many years. Today, the top earners pay a rate of only 35%. Note also how the gap between the rates paid by the richest and the poorest has narrowed. If we take into account the many loopholes the rich can and do use far more than the poor, the gap narrows even more.
This essay is about three recent books that explain how we lost our economy, the Constitution and our civil liberties, and how peace lost out to war. Matt Taibbi is the best--certainly the most entertaining--financial/political reporter in the country. There is no better book than Griftopia (2010) to which to turn to understand how stupidity, greed, and criminality, spread evenly among policymakers and Wall Street, created the financial crisis that has left Americans overburdened with both private and public debt. Taibbi walks the reader through the fraudulent financial instruments that littered the American, British, and European financial communities with toxic waste. He has figured it all out, and what in other hands might be an arcane account for MBAs is in Taibbi’s hands a highly readable and entertaining story.
The US has a proven track record of empowering and sustaining dictators all over the world, using them for internal and regional leverage, says a professor from Irvine, CA. Dr. Paul Sheldon Foote, professor from California State University, Irvine, reports that the US government holds strong relationships with dictators throughout the world, using them to strengthen US power in national and regional areas. Sometimes, when times get tough for these dictators, the US may offer them asylum; at other times, the US freezes their assets having never returned the money to the people from whom they were stolen, adds Foote.
• Drilling method criticised for contaminating water sources
• MPs hear US energy firm must only disclose details in 2015
Doug Shea, drill informant for EnCana walks past an EnCana gas drilling well east of Calgary. Gas drilling near Calgary. The first exploratory drilling for shale gas in the UK is about to begin near Blackpool. The results of the first attempt to extract shale gas in the UK using a controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", will be kept secret for four years, MPs were told on Tuesday.
Ben Bernanke is confident that his policies have paved the way for a self sustaining recovery, but there's plenty of reason to be skeptical. For one thing, the Fed's zero rates and bond buying program (QE2) have had a negligible effect on unemployment and housing. And for another, they've led to a surge in speculation. That's hardly a reason to celebrate. In the last week, a number of reports confirm that hedge funds have been loading up on debt believing that improving economic data and the Fed's liquidity support will push stocks even higher. That seems like a risky bet given the unevenness of the rebound and the spreading mayhem in the Middle East. Even so, fund managers are levering-up like there's no tomorrow convinced that this is the beginning of another bull market. Here's the rundown from Bloomberg:
How on earth do you get a bipartisan consensus against cuts and for stimulus? Call it the defence budget. With a new Congress with a House controlled by Republicans who have trumpeted deficit reduction as one of their central priorities, it would be logical to expect that there might be trimming in one of the largest and most bloated areas of US government spending: the nation's $700bn military budget. However, the realities of Washington, DC are different than the rhetoric. While spending for the Iraq war should be decreasing, as planned, in coming years, recently released budget proposals by both Democrats and Republicans show that base levels for Pentagon funding continue to rise.
More than a dozen Dems have called on Republicans to investigate the Chambers' proposed $12 million smear, forgery, fraud, and disinformation campaign. Washington Post's Dan Eggen reports that "more than a dozen" Democrats in the U.S. House are now calling on "Republican leaders" to open an investigation into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot which had been set to target the Rightwing lobbying firms' perceived political enemies (which turned out to include me and my family at the top of their list,
Water fluoridation around the world is achieved through the purchase of chemically contaminated toxic waste chemicals from China which are then labeled "fluoride" and dumped into public water supplies in local cities and towns. That's the conclusion of a shocking new mini documentary released today by the Consumer Wellness Center (www.ConsumerWellness.org).
Vast majority of 130,000 unsettled claims do not have adequate documentation, says Ken Feinberg, Ken Feinberg has come under pressure from the Obama administration and BP over his handling of the oil spill compensation fund. Upwards of 100,000 claims arising from the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico may never be paid, the beleaguered administrator of the oil company's compensation fund has acknowledged.
More than 100,000 people rallied in Madison on Saturday against Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to remove the collective bargaining rights of most public-sector workers. It was the largest demonstration Madison has seen since the Vietnam War. We broadcast some of the voices from the rally. [includes rush transcript]
The brazen choices of the Republican governor shows the real ideology behind attacks on unions – in the US and beyond. You can tell a great deal about a nation's anxieties and aspirations by the discrepancy between reality and popular perception. Polls last year showed that in the US 61% think the country spends too much on foreign aid. This makes sense once you understand that the average American is under the illusion that 25% of the federal budget goes on foreign aid (the real figure is 1%).
We're chumps unless we force Congress to stop tax haven abuse. Instead of cutting state and federal budgets, the United States should crack down on the corporate tax dodgers thumbing their noses at us. Across the nation, states are making deep cuts that will wreck the quality of life for everyone to close budget gaps that total more than $100 billion.
A new report out Monday from Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi estimates that the House-passed seven-month spending bill, which cuts $61 billion in spending, would cost 700,000 jobs by the end of 2012. Zandi’s report echoes one by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, which concluded the GOP bill would cost 800,000 jobs. Goldman Sachs has found that it could cause as much as a 2 percent loss in economic growth. (Image: Daily Kos) He predicts that this year the bill could cost 400,000 jobs and run the risk of a new recession.
“OUTLAW GOVERNORS” TAKE ON AMERICA “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. In Wisconsin, State Police cars are searching for missing legislators. The fist pounding on the door in the middle of the night, reminders of Germany, 1936.
It began outside the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union. A few dozen members of the Teaching Assistants Association, the oldest graduate employee union in the world, rallied to object to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights. The message from the TAA was blunt: “All public sector workers are under attack. Faculty and staff are under attack. The UW as a whole is under attack. With these extreme acts, Scott Walker is seeking to undermine the labor peace of 50 years…. You need to get active now!”
ZAGREB, Croatia -- About 60 people were arrested during an anti-government rally attended by about 15,000 people in Zagreb on Saturday (February 26th). In all 25 people, -- 12 of them police officers -- were injured in clashes that erupted when dozens of youth tried to reach the central square, where the government is headquartered. Pelted by rocks and sticks, police responded with tear gas. Video
Follow the latest developments and analysis on the democratic uprising spreading from Wisconsin to the rest of the country. The protests in Wisconsin continue into their third week, with thousands holding strong in the capitol in Madison, a huge showing of support for the economic rights of union members and the restoration of a strong middle class. The following is a collection of updates and items on what's happening in Wisconsin and the rest of the country.
Signatories to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) demand "immediate" military action. Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman wants the US to arm Libyan rebels. In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage US intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.
Nadia Macri, who claims to have had sex with Italy's prime minister, says she has received menacing messages. Nadia Macri Nadia Macri, insists she has received money from Silvio Berlusconi in exchange for sex but says: 'I really don’t think that the prime minister has anything to do with my car.'
The protests in Wisconsin continue into their third week, with thousands holding strong in the capitol in Madison, a huge showing of support for the economic rights of union members and the restoration of a strong middle class. The following is a collection of updates and items on what's happening in Wisconsin and the rest of the country.
The leader of Ukraine's opposition says the gains of the 2004 'orange revolution' are under threat. Ukrainian's took to the streets in 2004 during a disputed election, in a push for democratic reforms. From snowy Kyiv, the Ukranian capital, I have watched the successful revolutions in Cairo and Tunis with joy and admiration. Egyptians and Tunisians are right to be proud of their desire to peacefully overthrow despotic governments. But, as someone who led a peaceful revolution, I hope that pride is tempered by pragmatism, because a change of regime is only the first step in establishing a democracy backed by the rule of law. Indeed, as my country, Ukraine, is now demonstrating, after revolutionary euphoria fades and normality returns, democratic revolutions can be betrayed and reversed.
Stand with brave protesters for human rights in Wisconsin; and as the police continue locking down the capitol, demand that peaceful protesters and capitol occupiers are not met with violence, arrested and that the public is let into the capitol today. Demand that Scott Walker begin negotiating immediately or resign, and that the Koch brothers stop buying state governments and fracking for natural gas.
The debate has moved from whether or not to cut social security, to how many cuts, how much, and when they’ll start. Threatened with the prospect of a government shutdown, Democrats are pushing for compromise by agreeing to cut social security to avert a manufactured “shutdown” disaster. For years the government has had no problem raiding the surplus in the social security fund to pay for wars, bank bailouts, General Motors, and a slew of other unfunded giveaways. Yet, now, as they claim bankruptcy, they seek to take even more from the program.
If you have the stomach to listen to the likes of Glenn Beck or track the antics of people like Sarah Palin you might get the idea that today’s American political conservatives are a bunch of radicals and extremists. And, as we will see, you would be correct. But this is not how it always was. There was a time when conservatism was a more low key affair with a certain sense of pragmatism and even fair play. There is not much of this traditional conservatism left here in the U.S. except in certain intellectual circles. And, even there, one has the sense that it is hanging on by its fingernails.
Embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has now acknowledged in a press conference and in a nationally television interview -- with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren -- that he engaged in discussions with political allies about hiring "troublemakers" to disrupt peaceful demonstrations against his budget repair bill.
by Ralph Nader, The large demonstrations at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin are driven by a middle class awakening to the spectre of its destruction by the corporate reactionaries and their toady Governor Scott Walker. For years the middle class has watched the plutocrats stomp on the poor while listening to the two parties regale the great middle class, but never mentioning the tens of millions of poor Americans. And for years, the middle class was shrinking due significantly to corporate globalization shipping good-paying jobs overseas to repressive dictatorships like China. It took Governor Walker’s legislative proposal to do away with most collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions to jolt people to hit the streets.
Tens of thousands of people protested in Wisconsin on Saturday against a state government push to curb the power of public sector unions, sparking solidarity rallies for labor rights around the United States. Protesters see the proposals as an effort to weaken the labor movement. Other states considering similar proposals include Ohio, Tennessee, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas.
The Wisconsin protests are about much more than budgets and unions. As I observed in What the Right-wing Assault on Women, Unions, the Environment, Health Care and PBS Is All About, the conservative story about budget deficits is a ruse to turn the country conservative in every area. Karl Rove and Shep Smith have made it clear on Fox: If the Wisconsin plan to kill the public employees’ unions succeeds, then there will be little union money in the future to support democratic candidates.
The U.S. Treasury’s Financial Bailout. The bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced at the time into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with. The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
Even though no one on Capitol Hill is talking about it, unless it is stopped, the provisions of The Real ID Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-13, 119 Stat 392), through the Department of Homeland Security, will require the federalization of State-issued driver's licenses by May 11, 2011. This is the type of card the Nazi's and the communists in the Soviet Union made people carry. The new cards, disguised as a uniform drivers' license, will be biometric. Each card will store up to a gigabyte of personal data about the card holder AND will contain a GPS tracking chip---so that means the government will know where you are at all times.
In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage U.S. intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.
How Gov. Walker, Republican lawmakers, Tea Party groups, Fox News and conservative pundits have gone after Wisconsin's public workers and their supporters. When conservatives seized townhall meetings, yelled racial insults at black lawmakers and threatened politicians who voted for health care, the right-wing celebrated their corporate-backed efforts as a populist uprising. And when teachers, police officers, firefighters and students took to Wisconsin's capitol in peaceful protest, the right-wing crusaders against government overreach have embraced creepy authoritarian tactics to shut down the demonstrations.
A huge coalition of progressive groups have organized rallies across the country to stand up against harsh budget cuts and tax cheats, and protect the middle class.
Barack Obama's administration is facing allegations that key officials have been furtively meeting with lobbyists, once derided by the President as Washington "influence peddlers." As part of his commitment to bring change to Washington, Mr Obama began made logs of visitors to the West Wing public, so anyone could keep track of who was being granted an audience with his aides and when. But administration officials have evaded public scrutiny by meeting lobbyists away from the White House, where no record will be kept of their meetings – and the President's pledge to keep them out of the White House will not be undermined.
While Fox News feeds its rabble the anti-union line, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal columnists front for Koch's Americans for Prosperity and coddle elite investors. In the week-long battle taking place in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights, you'd expect Fox News to be doing what it's done: misreporting the story, mistakenly characterizing a poll supporting public workers to mean its opposite, featuring Glenn Beck painting the protests of union workers as something cooked up by Stalinists.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s ruling to destroy the young plants currently being grown to produce genetically modified sugar beet seeds with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genes.
Unions have the strength to block everything in Scott Walker's union-busting bill. THE BATTLE for Wisconsin's future has come to a crossroads--and the movement that has electrified the country with its opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's anti-labor assault needs to step up the fight to win.
It was not until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walked to the George Washington University podium last week to enthusiastic applause that I decided I had to dissociate myself from the obsequious adulation of a person responsible for so much death, suffering and destruction. I was reminded of a spring day in Atlanta almost five years earlier when then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld strutted onto a similar stage to loud acclaim from another enraptured audience.
A conservative deputy AG let his emotions get out of hand. It wasn't the first time.
On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn't end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: "Use live ammunition." From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police." Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin spoke out forcefully Tuesday after it was discovered that the state Capitol had blocked a website that was attempting to organize those protesting Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip unions of their rights. Anyone trying to use the state Capitol's Wi-Fi connection to access www.defendwisconsin.org Monday and early Tuesday received an error message.
Robin Gee, an editor at Madison Area Technical College, member of American Federation of Teachers Local 3872 and delegate to the Madison-area South Central Federation of Labor, reports on efforts to block Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting bill. Workers and students fill the Capitol building in Madison protesting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's attacks on unions (Jessie Reeder)Workers and students fill the Capitol building in Madison protesting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's attacks on unions (Jessie Reeder) FOLLOWING A weekend that included one of the largest protests in Wisconsin history, labor activists and the Madison-area labor council are organizing to oppose all provisions of Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting "budget repair bill."
The Wisconsin Assembly is set to begin debate today on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s plan to cut pay and eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees. The unions have agreed to accept all of Walker’s proposed cuts, which would see them pay 12 percent of their health benefits and half their pension costs. But they have refused to relinquish their right to collective bargaining. We speak to Peter Rickman, an activist in the Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has helped occupy the Capitol building in Madison for the past week to protest the bill. “People understand that this is a fundamental attack on basic worker rights,” Rickman says. “So, people like ... the firefighters, steelworkers and other folks—nurses, home care workers—who are joining us are doing this because this is a struggle for all working folks.”
Deploying his customary technocratic aloofness in the service of the usual screw-the-workers narrative, President Obama sided with the union-busters: "Everybody has to make some adjustments to the new fiscal realities," he scolds. "Everybody," naturally, does not include ultrarich dudes like our multi-millionaire president. Obama, who declared a whopping $5.5 million in annual income for 2009 (the last year available), has neither reduced his salary nor donated a penny of his $7.7 million fortune to the Treasury to help adjust to those "new fiscal realities."
In the past 24 months, those of us who longed for positive change have gone from hope to heartbreak. But hope is returning to America -- at last -- thanks largely to the courageous stand of the heroes and heroines of Wisconsin. Opponents to Governor Scott Walker's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers are taking part in their seventh day of protesting. Reinvigorated by the idealism and fighting spirit on display right now in America's heartland, the movement for "hope and change" has a rare, second chance. It can renew itself and become again a national force with which to be reckoned.
Teachers. These are the people who put Obama in office. They did everything a candidate could ask of his supporters and more. And what have they gotten in return? A bigger war in Afghanistan, a renewal of the Patriot Act, a porno-scanning system at the airports, more blank checks for Wall Street, and a lot of empty posturing about Guantanamo. And when their pay and pensions and their jobs were on the line, Obama was no where to be found. Poof! The vanishing president. Name one thing that Obama has done for working people? Health care? That fetid trillion dollar giveaway to big pharma? That just doesn't cut it.
During my years of writing for Pravda.Ru, I have frequently been critical of America’s legal system, which, in turn, has prompted many readers to ask why and how this disillusionment took place. In truth, it is doubtful my disillusionment would ever have occurred had I entered law school with the requisite cynicism, selfishness, greed and lust for power typical of many who seek careers in the legal profession. Instead I entered with the idealistic notions that America’s legal system was about truth, justice and preserving the rights of the individual. Only after I graduated and opened a law practice did I come to realize that the “system” is really nothing more than a cesspool of hypocrisy, corruption, exploitation, blind ambition, cover-up, mendacity and even sadism.
In the largest rally yet, an estimated 80,000 people protested in Madison on Saturday against a "budget repair" bill that would strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights. The state’s Democratic Senators—who have fled the state to stall a vote on the bill—sent a letter to Gov. Scott Walker on Friday telling him labor would accept cuts to pensions and increased contributions to health and retirement plans if he would negotiate on collective bargaining. The cuts Walker has proposed in a sweeping budget bill would exclude public safety workers like police, state troopers and firefighters, but this does not mean they are in support of the legislation. To discuss this further, we are joined by Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Wisconsin Professional Firefighters Association. “An assault on one is an assault on all,” Mitchell says.
Last week, in the face of protest demonstrations against Wisconsin’s new union-busting governor, Scott Walker — demonstrations that continued through the weekend, with huge crowds on Saturday — Representative Paul Ryan made an unintentionally apt comparison: “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”
This must be what it’s like when a country goes insane, when it falls down a rabbit hole and tries to pretend that everything is normal. It can’t tell truths from lies. Hucksters pose as upright men, and people imagine they are Solons, avatars of insight come down from the ages. Sleazy operators pass themselves off as statesmen, as thinkers of deep gravitas, and the crowds, unable to distinguish sanctimony from sincerity, bravado from bullshit, lap it up. Let’s be clear. It was the Republicans who wrecked the economy. Both their people and their policies drove the economy into the ditch. They wrecked the economy not once, but twice in the last eighty years.
The fight over Republican Governor Scott Walker's Union-busting bill may have just begun. Here's a run-down on the unfolding events. The drama unfolding in Wisconsin enters its second week, and as tens of thousands of workers and their supporters ring the state's capitol expressing outrage over Union-busting Republican Governor Scott Walker's bill, the impasse doesn't appear to be headed towards a resolution anytime soon. AlterNet has stayed on top of this momentous story, and here are the latest developments.
An America that understands that the settlements are the obstacle should have joined in condemning them. This weekend, a new member enrolled in Likud - and not just in the ruling party, but in its most hawkish wing. Located somewhere between Tzipi Hotovely and Danny Danon, U.S. President Barack Obama bypassed Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan on the right and weakened their position. The first veto cast by the United States during Obama's term, a veto he promised in vain not to use as his predecessors did, was a veto against the chance and promise of change, a veto against hope. This is a veto that is not friendly to Israel; it supports the settlers and the Israeli right, and them alone.
As protests escalate in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker isn't showing any signs of backing down from his plan to slash union benefits and eliminate collective bargaining rights. Wisconsin's 14 Democratic state senators have gone into hiding to prevent Republicans from holding a vote on Walker's proposal.
Alan Greenspan has been strangely missing from the fierce battle over the future of public sector unions in Wisconsin and other states. His absence is strange because he bears more responsibility for the current conflict than anyone else alive.
US decision to use UN security council veto sparks furious reaction in West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians are planning a "day of rage" on Friday in response to the US wielding its veto against a UN security council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. "Obama cannot be trusted," he wrote in an open letter to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. "We knew his promises were lies. The time has come to spit in the face of the Americans."
The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy. The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on. Budget deficits are a ruse, as we've seen in Wisconsin, where the governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.
GOP forces are trying to deflect attention from the growing wealth transfer to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish. The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class - pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don't believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.
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