The new decade finds the US working class suffering a level of social misery not seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment, poverty, hunger, utility cutoffs, homelessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies have become common experiences for millions.
Tensions mounted Monday in advance of a widely expected expansion of US military operations inside Yemen, with the US, British, French and other embassies either closing down entirely or sharply curtailing operations.
An article published in the business section of the January 1 New York Times notes in passing that the three top Wall Street banks will pay out an estimated $49.5 billion in cash bonuses and stock awards.
A few months ago I inquired, rhetorically, "does anyone in the healthcare debate really care about health?" Obviously the answer was and is a resounding NO, as the discussion has wholly devolved upon insurance coverage to the exclusion of substantive aspects of health like nutrition and preventive care. Yet not only is the focus of the deliberations far removed from any talk of improving health -- now it has explicitly gone to the next level in which it is simply about who will pay and who will profit. It isn't health care being produced in this process, but rather, health carelessness.
Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr, mayor in southern Maguindanao province, Philippines, denies charges of murder after the massacre of 57 people in November. The prime suspect in one the Philippines' worst cases of political violence today pleaded not guilty to murder charges over the massacre of 57 people last November. Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr sat quietly and looked bored as a court employee read 41 murder charges against him at a clubhouse-turned-courtroom inside Manila's main police camp.
US drone missile attacks have claimed the lives of over 700 Pakistani civilians since Barack Obama took office a year ago, according to figures released this week by officials in Islamabad. The escalation of Washington’s AfPak war, now in full swing, will mean the slaughter of thousands more men, women and children in 2010.
The bodies of slain activists are piling up in Honduras. While it's being kept quiet in most Honduran and international media, the rage is building among a dedicated network of friends spreading the word quickly with the tragic announcement of each compañero/a. Now that the world heard from mainstream news outlets such as the New York Times of a “clean and fair” election on Nov. 29 (orchestrated by the US-supported junta currently in power), the violence has increased even faster than feared. The specific targets of these killings have been those perceived as the biggest threats to the coup establishment. The bravest, and thus the most vulnerable: Members of the Popular Resistance against the coup. Their friends and family. People who provide the Resistance with food and shelter.
Unless you work on Wall Street, you've probably had a hard year. Don't expect 2010 to be any better.
If we really saw what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be harder to embrace the myths propagated by our warmongering government.
Progressive activists have put a good deal of energy into preparing for an anticipated House-Senate conference committee, in which the distinct health-care reform bills enacted by the two chambers would be reconciled. The theory has been that, in the conference process, it might be possible to strengthen the especially weak language and policies of the Senate bill.
From Obama terrorism adviser John Brennan, on this weekend's Meet the Press:
MR. GREGORY: Why isn't [Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab] being treated as an enemy combatant instead of a criminal?
MR. BRENNAN: Well, because, first of all, we're a country of laws, and what we're going to do is to make sure that we treat each individual case appropriately. In the past Richard Reid, the former shoe bomber; Zacarias Moussaoui; Jose Padilla; Iyman Faris; all of them were charged in criminal court, were sentenced some in -- in some cases to life imprisonment.
MAJOR CITIES across the country--including places largely known for their wealth and abundance--are becoming centers of hunger and homelessness. Requests for emergency food assistance increased a staggering 26 percent last year in cities across the country, according to the recently released findings of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Hunger and Homelessness Survey. This is the largest average increase in demand in the last 18 years.
THE ATTEMPT by a 23-year-old Nigerian man to explode a bomb on a Detroit-bound airplane has THE ATTEMPT by a 23-year-old Nigerian man to explode a bomb on a Detroit-bound airplane has become the excuse for a return to some of the worst "war on terror" hysteria of the post-September 11 period.
Dolphins are not only the world's smartest animal after humans, they're so intelligent they deserve to be classed as "non-human persons." So say scientists who argue their research on dolphins' brains shows it is unethical to keep such the animals captive in amusement parks or to kill them for food or accidentally through fishing, the London Times reports.
TexDen 5: C'mon already. He's a lying Republican! You didn't actually believe he was a man of honor did you.
DUBAI yesterday unveiled the world's tallest skyscraper and a new name for the towering structure in honour of the man who helped rescue the Gulf emirate from its financial crisis. Fireworks light up the 2,717-ft tall Burj Khalifa at yesterday's opening ceremony in Dubai. Rising some 2,717 feet from the desert, the tower was opened in a lavish ceremony that will see numerous records rewritten. Home to the highest occupied floors, service lift and observation deck, the 160-floor structure also boasts the world's highest mosque and swimming pool.
It is just the beginning of the year, but M. Manju Laxmi already feels anxious. In four months or so, she will be back to her old routine: stuffing the wide chinks under her weathered closed doors and windows with her old saris.
On the surface, it appeared to be a textbook example of a “no-brainer.” In July of 2009 both Houses of Congress passed a resolution urging Barack Obama, America’s first African-American president and symbol of racial progress, to pardon Jack Johnson, America’s first African-American heavyweight boxing champion and symbol of racial injustice.
Arctic air and record snow falls gripped the northern hemisphere yesterday, inflicting hardship and havoc from China, across Russia to Western Europe and over the US plains. There were few precedents for the global sweep of extreme cold and ice that killed dozens in India, paralysed life in Beijing and threatened the Florida orange crop. Chicagoans sheltered from a potentially killer freeze, Paris endured sunny Siberian cold, Italy dug itself out of snowdrifts and Poland counted at least 13 deaths in record low temperatures of about minus 25C (-13F).
Christopher King argues that rather than slavishly pimp for the US and cheer “its reflex to bomb and shoot everything in sight” in Yemen, he should instead try to win the hearts and minds of Yemen’s destitute people by helping to develop their economy and thereby give them a stake in peace. Things surely must get better. It’s bad enough blowing up Afghans in their mud brick houses in one of the poorest countries of the world. We have now gone lower down the scale. Our illiterate Chiefs of Defence Staff who can’t read the Nuremberg Principles and our politicians who don’t want them to, are probably going to bomb what is probably the very poorest country in the world. The United States and Saudi Arabia are already doing it.
That’s the contention by more than a dozen members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which reportedly plans to conduct an inquiry into the influence that drugmakers may have had on the World Health Organization, scientists and governments. A resolution was introduced last month by Wolfgang Wodarg, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party who chairs the PACE health committee, and it reads:
It's hard to ignore the ongoing coverage of the underwear bomber and the TSA's new security regulations. We think Amy Davidson of The New Yorker's Close Read blog put it best, writing of the Christmas Day bombing attempt: It's a bit hard to follow the arguments Cheney et al. are making about how the near-miss over Detroit on Christmas Day shows that we really need to waterboard people and lock them up in places like Guantanamo. This is especially odd because, in the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, we seem to have had the raw intelligence we needed, and just didn't use it intelligently—it was more a failure of reading comprehension than information gathering. (It might also have helped to read his Facebook page.)
U.S. consumers and businesses are filing for bankruptcy at a pace that made 2009 the seventh-worst year on record, with more than 1.4 million petitions submitted, an Associated Press tally showed Monday. The AP gathered data from the nation's 90 bankruptcy districts and found 1.43 million filings, an increase of 32 percent from 2008. There were 116,000 recorded bankruptcies in December, up 22 percent from the same month a year before.
"Obama’s surge has another dimension as well: it is aimed at Pakistan hence the demand that it must deal with the Taliban as well as al-Qaeda “sheltering” in Pakistan. This is merely a pretext; America’s real aim is the dismantling of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. This explains the constant harping on the issue. The specter of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists is constantly invoked. The US would like to take them out because these weapons are viewed as a potential threat to the Zionist entity...
Stuart Littlewood views British Premier Gordon Brown’s weasel words in response an open letter by Medical Aid for Palestinians calling for an end to the criminal blockade of Gaza. He calls on Brown to do what really counts for Israel: impose sanctions. "...while Brown prattles about how unacceptable it is that Israel still prevents aid from reaching those who so badly need it, there is no sign that he’s prepared to do anything about it. On the other hand Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, is much more positive. He tells UN Radio: ‘Israel does not respond to language of diplomacy, which has encouraged the lifting of the blockade, and so what I am suggesting is that it has to be reinforced by a threat of adverse economic consequences for Israel.'"
A federal judge in Washington, DC has thrown out all charges against the five Blackwater operatives involved in the 2007 Nisoor Square massacre that killed seventeen Iraqi civilians. Judge Ricardo Urbina handed down his ruling late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve. Urbina accused the Justice Department of building its case on sworn statements that the guards had given under a promise of immunity. We speak with attorney Scott Horton. [includes rush transcript]
War is brutal and impersonal. It mocks the fantasy of individual heroism and the absurdity of utopian goals like democracy. In an instant, industrial warfare can kill dozens, even hundreds of people, who never see their attackers. The power of these industrial weapons is indiscriminate and staggering. They can take down apartment blocks in seconds, burying and crushing everyone inside. They can demolish villages and send tanks, planes and ships up in fiery blasts. The wounds, for those who survive, result in terrible burns, blindness, amputation and lifelong pain and trauma. No one returns the same from such warfare. And once these weapons are employed all talk of human rights is a farce.
Rivers, 76, was deemed a danger to national security and booted from a Newark-bound flight in Costa Rica on Sunday by a jittery Continental Airlines gate agent who found the two names on her passport fishy. Her passport reads: Joan Rosenberg AKA Joan Rivers. Rosenberg was her late husband's last name. The "nasty and cruel" Continental gate agent bumped Rivers from the last flight out Sunday and the comedian found herself alone (her daughter, Melissa, flew out to Los Angeles earlier in the day) and with no ATM card and just $100 cash, she said.
Despite some $40 billion dollars spent by the American people on airline security since 2001, allegedly to thwart attacks on the heimat, the botched attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day was foiled, not by a bloated counterterrorist bureaucracy, but by the passengers themselves.
IN THE last week of 2009, 1,360 activists from 43 countries converged on Cairo for the Gaza Freedom March. We intended to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing, controlled by Egypt, for a display of mass international solidarity with the Palestinian people on the one-year anniversary of Israel's punishing attack that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and injured thousands more.
A BRITISH soldier and four American servicemen have been killed in two separate improvised bomb explosions in southern Afghanistan. The British soldier, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, died in a blast while on foot patrol in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand Province, yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said. Next of kin have been informed.
As China moves up in the world and the need for investment in its own infrastructure declines, Chinese investors and financiers are eyeing lucrative contracts in less developed countries, winning bids to build dams, power plants and highways from Burma to Uzbekistan and Angola.
"If British Prime Minister Gordon Brown were genuinely interested in finding out why his predecessor followed George Bush into the Iraq quagmire, his appointment of Sir Lawrence Freedman to the five-member Chilcot Inquiry was an odd choice. As the political editor of the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Michael Crick, pointed out, “Critics of the war might argue Sir Lawrence was himself one of the causes of the war!”
The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned.
The occupied government of Afghanistan and the United Nations have both concluded that U.S.-led troops recently dragged eight sleeping children out of their beds, handcuffed some of them, and shot them all dead. While this apparently constitutes an everyday act of kindness, far less intriguing than the vicious singeing of his pubic hairs by Captain Underpants, it is at least a variation on the ordinary American technique of murdering men, women, and children by the dozens with unmanned drones...
Just eight months ago, President Obama was calling Brazilian President Lula Ignacio Da Silva "my man" and suggesting that the South American giant could become a leading U.S. partner in the region.
The Taliban suicide attack that killed a group of CIA agents in Afghanistan on a base that was directing US drone aircraft used to attack Taliban leaders was big news in the US over the past week, with the airwaves and front pages filled with sympathetic stories referring to the fact that the female station chief, who was among those killed, was the “mother of three children.”
Knut Haugland, the last surviving member of the six-man crew that sailed on the Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, and a leader of the Norwegian resistance who helped carry out one of the most daring acts of sabotage of World War II, died in Oslo on Dec. 25. He was 92. His finest hour came in 1943, when he took part in a raid to sabotage the giant Norsk Hydro plant in Vermork, Norway.
Is the Fed manipulating the stock market? TrimTabs CEO Charles Biderman seems to think so, and he makes a strong case for his theory in an article at zerohedge.com.
Amid signs that a fringe group of self-proclaimed “Jewish anti-Zionist” pretenders are planning to distract attention from the accelerating theft and colonization of occupied Palestinian territories and the deadly siege of Gaza, Redress Information & Analysis advises Palestine activists to steer clear of these pretenders and not to engage with them in any shape or form. "To our 'Jewish anti-Zionist' time-wasting pretenders – Greenstein, Elf, Downing and whoever else stoops to their gutter – we say this: Palestine is and shall remain at the centre of the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people. We Palestinians and Arabs played no part in your Holocaust and we have nothing to do with anti-Semitism, past or present, real or imagined. It is us, not you, who are continuing to suffer from the legacy of the Nazis. Go forth and take your Jewish issues elsewhere. We shall have nothing to do with you."
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