Indonesians, who welcomed Barack Obama as one of their own two years ago, now want a statue commemorating his Jakarta school years to be removed. The move is an obvious sign the US president's global appeal may be waning. The statue of Obama as a 10-year-old was installed in Menteng park in central Jakarta in December 2009 to mark the four years he attended a local primary school there while living in Jakarta.
The Washington Post's Dana Priest today reports that "U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people." That's no surprise, of course, as Yemen is now another predominantly Muslim country (along with Somalia and Pakistan) in which our military is secretly involved to some unknown degree in combat operations without any declaration of war, without any public debate, and arguably (though not clearly) without any Congressional authorization. The exact role played by the U.S. in the late-December missile attacks in Yemen, which killed numerous civilians, is still unknown.
So said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein of the financial crisis of 2008. He likened its probability to four hurricanes hitting the East Coast in a single season. Blankfein was reminded by the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Committee, Phil Angelides, that hurricanes are “acts of God.” Financial crises are manmade. Yet Blankfein was backed up by Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, who said, “Somehow, we just missed … that home prices don’t go up forever.” The Wall Street titans thus conceded they did not foresee the housing bubble ever bursting and they did not consider the possibility of a collapse in value of the sub-prime mortgage securities piled up on their books.
Federal law enforcement officials on Monday arrested conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and three other men for allegedly trying to wiretap the phone system in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office. Also arrested was Robert Flanagan, 24, son of the acting US Attorney in western Louisiana, William Flanagan.
The Congressional Budget Office’s newly released budget outlook notes that Congress has approved over $1 trillion in direct spending on wars and war-related activities since 2001, and that price tag is only getting higher as the wars drag on.
A London-based Palestinian activist announced that the buildings damaged in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli onslaught last year all showed signs of contamination with depleted uranium. "The ruined buildings and debris left of the Israeli attack on Gaza are contaminated with depleted uranium and similar types of weapons," Sameh Habeeb, spokesperson of the Palestinian Return Center in London, told FNA.
A UN report on Israel's 22-day offensive against Hamas-controlled Gaza is anti-Semitic, an Israeli government minister said, as the Jewish state prepares to formally respond to its allegations of war crimes. "The Goldstone Report ... and similar reports, are simply a type of anti-Semitism," Diaspora and Information Minister Yuli Edelstein told the YNet news agency ahead of a trip to New York, where he will present Israel's rebuttal on Thursday.
While the BASIC bloc countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - will submit their plans for voluntary mitigation actions by the Jan. 31 deadline stipulated by the Copenhagen Accord, they have taken care to emphasise that the agreement, reached at the end of the December climate change summit in the Danish capital, has no legal basis.
The State of the Union address is in danger of purveying the usual euphemisms. I expect Obama to brag that he has overseen a recovery. But can there be any such thing as a jobless recovery? What has recovered are stock market averages and Wall Street bonuses, not disposable personal income or discretionary spending after paying debt service. There is a dream that what can be “recovered” is something so idyllic as to be mythical: a Bubble Economy enabling people to make money without actually working, by borrowing and riding the tide of asset-price inflation to make capital gains.
President Obama will announce in Wednesday's State of the Union address that he's proposing to save $250 billion by freezing all nonsecurity federal discretionary spending for three years, according to two senior administration officials.
“America’s Impending Master Class Dictatorship”, Mr. Dougherty crunches some numbers for us and finds: “According to the Federal Reserve’s most recent report on wealth, America’s private net worth was $53.4 trillion as of September, 2009. But at the same time, America’s debt and unfunded liabilities totaled at least $120,000,000,000,000.00 ($120 trillion), or 225% of the citizens’ net worth. Even if the government expropriated every dollar of private wealth in the nation, it would still have a deficit of $66,600,000,000,000.00 ($66.6 trillion), equal to $214,286.00 for every man, woman and child in America and roughly 500% of GDP. If the government does not directly seize the nation’s private wealth, then it will require $389,610 from each and every citizen to balance the country’s books.”
In a public statement criticizing the major banks Thursday, followed by a speech on jobs in the industrial town of Elyria, Ohio, Friday, President Barack Obama has begun a transparent effort to posture as the defender of the people against corporate interests. In what media pundits and White House insiders have described as a “pivot to populism,” Obama has responded to the shock defeat of the Democratic Party in the US Senate election in Massachusetts with a round of verbal bashing of Wall Street.
The war that was launched this past weekend against the Goldstone report in the New York Times is aimed at the mildmannered Sec’y General of the United Nations. So Norman Finkelstein tells me, and this Haaretz piece confirms. On February 5, Ban Ki-moon will report to the General Assembly on the progress of the report (which was published last summer by the UN Human Rights Council). Before then Ban will have gotten the Israeli gov’t’s response to the Goldstone report–its effort to nullify the findings–and Haaretz says the goal is to get Ban to say, I accept the Israeli response to the charges, let the Israelis investigate the Gaza slaughter.
Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said the result of a weekend mayoral poll could fuel a major rethink about US military bases in Japan. Residents of the Japanese city of Nago, on Okinawa, chose a candidate opposed to the hosting of an American air base.
Glaciers across the globe are continuing to melt so fast that many will disappear by the middle of this century, the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) said today.
Link to this video The Italian government official who led the country's response to the L'Aquila earthquake has condemned relief efforts in Haiti as a disorganised "vanity parade", ahead of an international conference on rebuilding the devastated country.
Just days before Israel is expected to release its own report on the January 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip, Israeli Information Minister Yuli Edelstein declared that the UN report on the war, and every other report since the war ended, “are simply a type of anti-Semitism.”
Americans love their shrimp. It's the most popular seafood in the country, but unfortunately much of the shrimp we eat are a cocktail of chemicals, harvested at the expense of one of the world's productive ecosystems. Worse, guidelines for finding some kind of "sustainable shrimp" are so far nonexistent.
"Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, armies of corporate lobbyists grease the palms of our elected officials, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia, and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, this product is duping us into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest."
The four-year-old Israeli siege on Gaza has caused unemployment to soar and basic supplies to be expensive and scarce. Seeking a little income any way they can, Gaza women are being forced to dig for gravel, a basic construction material that can then be sold.
A staff member "would use the cable to beat people. On each whip, the person’s skin would come off and stick on the cable," said M’noh*, 16, of his detention in Choam Chao Youth Rehabilitation Centre, a government-run facility for drug dependents in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.
At stake now is President Obama’s credibility as an agent for change. Voters see his main “change” thus far to have been favoritism to Wall Street. Jay Leno jokes that Obama has done the impossible: resurrected the seemingly dying Republican Party and given it the coveted label of the “Party of Change,” running against Wall Street.
Al-Majid was involved in a campaign in which 182,000 Iraqi Kurds were killed. Ali Hassan al-Majid, the cousin of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, has been executed in Iraq for crimes against humanity, a government spokesman said.
In President Barack Obama's first year in office, fellow Democrats and Republicans traded pot-shots over who was to blame for the record U.S. deficit. In 2010, an election year, these are set to become broadsides.
Why in a period of only two days has the security level been upgraded from Substantial (an attack is a strong possibility) to Severe (an attack is highly likely) even though our Home Secretary stressed that there was no intelligence suggesting an attack is imminent. It's all down to the four P's Pursue, Prevent, Protect, and Prepare or should that read Panic People and Prevent Privacy?
More than 150,000 people have been confirmed dead in the Port-au-Prince area alone following Haiti's devastating earthquake, the country's communications minister says.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates hosted a meeting with the nation’s top defense company executives Wednesday, stressing the need for a closer partnership with them and pledging to work with the White House to secure steady growth in the Pentagon’s budgets over time, according to his spokesman.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will cut about 11,200 jobs at Sam's Club warehouses as it turns over the task of in-store product demonstrations to an outside marketing company.
The World Social Forum (WSF) is only "a tool" and must not be confused with the global movement for another world, says Chico Whitaker, one of the founders of this meeting which is celebrating its tenth year with a seminar to assess its track record Jan. 25-29, in its southern Brazilian place of origin, Porto Alegre.
It is a tale of two cities. One has ice-cold beers, internet access, thousands of men and billions of dollars’ worth of gleaming machinery, together with piles of food, blankets, generators and other aid relief from around the globe. This is the heavily fortified US-controlled Port-au-Prince airport and neighbouring United Nations compound. The other is the devastated city of Port-au-Prince, where the stench of death fills the air and starving people are in utter despair, still in need of the basic necessities of food, water, shelter and medical care.
More than 100 members of Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM), a coalition of NGOs, on Sunday participated in a walkabout for about five kilometers here in support of the efforts towards creating a free and independent state of Palestine.
As environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) prepared to meet in the Indian capital on Sunday to draw up a post-Copenhagen strategy, there were great expectations on the role they could play in pushing a consensus on how the world should go about dealing with climate change.
Holocaust denial is repugnant but is entrenched in the mainstream academics, media and political Establishments of the Western Murdochracies. In WW2 Churchill deliberately starved 6-7 million Indians to death, continued to foster Muslim-Hindu antipathy that led to the horrors of Indian Partition and persuaded his War Cabinet on racist Partition of Palestine. Yet the holocaust-complicit Anglo media, academic and politician Establishment is still in denial.
Haitian officials have confirmed that the death toll from the January 12 earthquake now stands at over 110,000, with 193,000 more people wounded and another 609,000 forced into temporary shelters. Following the toll revision, the US Geographical Survey said on Saturday that the 7.0 magnitude quake that devastated the Caribbean nation was possibly the most destructive on record in the region.
Venezuela may have just become the center of an energy-starved world. The Orinoco Belt, situated squarely underneath the South American nation, may hold some 513 billion barrels of crude oil, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). That's twice the size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves, placing Venezuela firmly atop the list of oil-rich nations. The timing of the USGS announcement is striking. On Jan. 28, international firms will take part in an auction for contracts to drill in the Orinoco Belt. The deadline for auction registration was Jan 18, according to industry publication Petroleum World. Results will be announced on Feb. 10.
An estimated 300 people have died in violence between Muslims and Christians in northern Nigeria. Reports on Saturday said that about 150 bodies had been recovered from wells in Kuru Jantar, near the city of Jos, where clashes began last week before spreading to nearby villages. Locals in Kuru Jantar, also known as Kuru Karama, told Andrew Simmons, Al Jazeera's Africa editor, that a massacre had taken place in the village.
Nuclear and Conventional Arms Pacts Stalled. Associated Press reported that the White House will submit its Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress on February 1 and request a record-high $708 billion for the Pentagon. That figure is the highest in absolute and in inflation-adjusted, constant (for any year) dollars since 1946, the year after the Second World War ended. Adding non-Pentagon defense-related spending, the total may exceed $1 trillion.
Reports reaching the Ogaden Online News Desk confirm the burning down of the town of Budle, Shabelle province by the Woyane army. Eyewitnesses indicate that the Woyane militias first looted all valuables in the town. Prior to torching the town, the marauding Woyane militias also took two young girls with them. We couldn't confirm the names of the two young girls.
New claims for unemployment benefits in the US jumped unexpectedly last week, showing that, despite record bank profits, economic conditions for ordinary people continue to worsen.
In Wisconsin, conservative and pro-business groups said Friday that they were considering a lawsuit to block a proposed law that would ban corporate spending during political campaigns.
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