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.
Boeing, the American aerospace firm, has won a $30bn contract for 179 new US air force mid-air refueling aircraft, beating out Airbus's parent company, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) company. The US defence department announced on Thursday that the company was the "clear winner" in the fiercely contested competition to replace 50-year-old Boeing-manufactured KC-135 Stratotankers.
Anger over shattered economy expected to trigger a backlash against ruling Fianna Fail party at the ballot box. Europe's debt crisis is set to claim its first political victim in an Irish election dominated by the trauma of economic collapse and the painful path back to financial stability. Ireland's 3.1 million voters began voting early on Friday, with every poll pointing to a new government led by Fine Gael, until now the perennial runner-up in Irish elections.
Opposing political camps rally in Yemeni cities while protesters vent anger after prayers in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. Protesters in Yemen have been calling for an end to Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule. Tens of thousands of people have gathered in a main square in the Yemeni capital for prayers that are expected to be followed by mass protests to press demands for Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country's longtime president, to step down. Yemeni authorities stepped up security in Sanaa on Friday in anticipation of rival rallies between government supporters and opponents, which the interior ministry said could be exploited by "terrorist elements".
Of all the uprisings in the Maghreb, the case of Libya is perhaps the most opaque. Is the country a locus of true spontaneous insurrection or simply the target of an opportunistic maneuver by the West? Does colonialism pay off for anyone? In the long run, definitely not. There is always a payback. The events today in the North Africa reflect this story. The situation today is the living and the dying proof of the payback. An atrocious, insufferable payback. The English in Egypt, the French in Algeria, the Italians in Libya. But especially the occupied Arab peoples of Egypt, Algeria and Libya, have all paid and continue to pay the price of colonialism.
Christopher King considers the cases of two men the USA wants to extradite, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and CIA spy “Raymond A. David”, on remand in Pakistan for murder. He argues that the murky case of “Davis” underlines the need for whistleblowers like Assange.
The standoff between the United States and Pakistan over the arrest of contractor Raymond Davis is not going to be solved unless both nations take a step into that “no man’s land” of trust and honesty. There is no question about diplomatic status, this was a clumsy mistake made by State Department officials in Washington who had little or no understanding of the legal and political issues at stake. Recent admissions that Davis is “CIA” mean nothing. Nobody knows what “CIA” means anymore, not since the wave of privatization that has spread to many of America’s critical security functions.
Israeli jets bombed several sites in the Gaza Strip yesterday in response to a rocket attack on a southern Israeli city. "I don't suggest anyone test the determination of the state of Israel," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. The exchange of fire comes after a day of clashes along the Gaza border in which one Islamic Jihad militant was killed and 10 other people wounded.
Interview with Professor Noam Chomsky, renowned American author and political analyst. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also censured the Libyan government's severe suppression of Libyans and called for an end to the “bloodshed” in the North African country. To learn more on the latest developments in the Arab world, Press TV has conducted an interview with renowned academician Professor Noam Chomsky who says the US and its allies have vested interests in stable dictatorships in energy rich countries rather than real democracies.
As the youth-led Freedom Movement of 2011 spreads rapidly across the Middle East and around the world, one can only wonder what would be happening in Iraq today if the U.S. had not invaded eight years ago. What does the movement portend for the rights of women in other nations, such as Tunisia and in the United States?
After alienating powerful tribes, Gaddafi's regime seems to be falling, but it is unclear who could fill vacuum. European countries worry waves of migrants will use Libya as a jump off point if Gaddafi's government falls. Many believed that Colonel Gaddafi's regime in Libya would withstand the gale of change sweeping the Arab world because of its reputation for brutality which had fragmented the six million-strong population over the past 42 years. Its likely disappearance now, after a few days of protest by unarmed demonstrators is all-the-more surprising because it has systematically destroyed even the slightest pretence of dissidence and has atomised Libyan society to ensure that no organisation – formal or spontaneous – could ever consolidate sufficiently to oppose it.
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.
A lead transportation security officer at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey has admitted that he and his supervisor regularly stole money from travelers' bags during security screenings. Transportation Security Administration officer Al Raimi of Woodbridge pleaded guilty Thursday in Newark federal court to theft by a government officer.
Just a week after the Tunisian revolution, at a conference in Beirut, an astute Egyptian social scientist was asked, would the Tunisian contagion spread to Egypt? And his answer was a categorical, ‘it is not likely, Egyptians are religious, conservative and the security apparatus has a good grip on the country.’ Not long after, of course, the Egyptian popular uprising had proven once more that not only cultural explanations of revolutions were inapposite tools of analysis, but it has also shown that when the time comes for people to rise up, they just do so unexpectedly. Suddenly, all the facts on the ground explain the revolution.
Protesters wrest control of more cities as unrest sweeps African nation despite Muammar Gaddafi's threat of crackdown. Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's long-standing ruler, has reportedly lost control of more cities as anti-government protests continue to sweep the African nation despite his threat of a brutal crackdown. Protesters in Misurata said on Wednesday they had wrested the western city from government control. In a statement on the internet, army officers stationed in the city pledged "total support for the protesters".
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 Seattle cafe has sensationally banned TSA workers from entering its business premises, refusing service as a consequence of the odious reputation the agency has required in the aftermath of a nationwide revolt against invasive pat down procedures and naked body scanners. My boss flies quite a bit and he has an amazing ability to remember faces. If he sees a TSA agent come in we turn our backs and completely ignore them, and tell them to leave. Their kind aren’t welcomed in our establishment. A large majority of our customers — over 90 percent — agree with our stance and stand by our decision.
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.
A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposal to reclassify the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana as a Schedule III substance would allow pharmaceutical companies to market the drug while still penalizing common recreational use, according to marijuana law reform advocates.
It’s stormy, the wind is whipping through the trees, and scattered rain drops hit us in the face as we go down the muddy dirt road to Nasser's house. It’s a few hundred yards from the couple of houses around the cemetery, which form the village of Juhor al-Dik, to his small house near the border. "Goodbye," shouted the driver who will pick us up from this remote area again, and with a look at the path we chose he added laughingly: "Insha Allah - God willing."
CUBA and Nicaragua have sprung to the defence of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, with Fidel Castro claiming Washington plans to order a NATO invasion of Libya to seize oil interests. "To me, it's absolutely clear that the Government of the United States is not interested in peace in Libya," said the 84-year old former Cuban leader, who still heads the Cuban Communist Party.
The mass demonstrations in the Wisconsin state capital, which have already involved more than 200,000 workers and young people, continued for the seventh straight day Monday, with tens of thousands demanding the withdrawal of Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to slash public spending and attack the wages and rights of the state’s 175,000 public employees.
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.
The USDA recently approved Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa. Government regulators openly rely on data and research provided by the biotech industry when approving GE technology.
The recent approval of Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa is one of most divisive controversies in American agriculture, but in 2003, it was simply the topic at hand in a string of emails between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Monsanto. In the emails, federal regulators and Monsanto officials shared edits to a list of the USDA's questions about Monsanto's original petition to fully legalize the alfalfa. Later emails show a USDA regulator accepted Monsanto's help with drafting the initial environmental assessment (EA) of the alfalfa and planned to "cut and paste" parts of Monsanto's revised petition right into the government's assessment.
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.
Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has vowed to fight on and die a "martyr", calling on his supporters to take back the streets from protesters demanding his ouster, shouting and pounding his fist in a furious speech on state TV.
Leader appears on state TV briefly to signal defiance in the face of mounting revolt against his 41-year rule. Protesters in Libya have called for another night of defiance against Muammar Gaddafi's government Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has appeared on state television to signal his defiance in the face of a mounting revolt against his 41-year rule. "I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe the channels belonging to stray dogs," Gaddafi told Libyan state TV, which said he was speaking outside his house on Tuesday
The exact language Petraeus used in the closed-door session is not known, and neither is the precise message he meant to convey. But his remarks about the deadly U.S. military operation in Konar province were deemed deeply offensive by some in the room. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions. They said Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, dismissed allegations by Karzai's office and the provincial governor that civilians were killed and said residents had invented stories, or even injured their children, to pin the blame on U.S. forces and force an end to the operation. "I was dizzy. My head was spinning," said one participant, referring to Petraeus's remarks. "This was shocking. Would any father do this to his children? This is really absurd." Petraeus, through a spokesman, declined to comment.
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.
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” - Nelson Mandela January 25 was the date the Egyptian youth decided to launch their revolution. As the fear barrier was broken, Egyptians throughout the country and from all walks of life joined the protests by the millions. Their main chant for eighteen continuous days was ‘The people want the fall of the regime.’
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.
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