Dec 262011
 

 

* OBAMA YEAR THREE: CONTINUING HIS ROGUE AGENDA

By Stephen Lendman, OpEdNews

[…] After winning the most sweeping non-incumbent victory in over 50 years, he broke every major promise made, imposed austerity when stimulus is needed, escalated imperial wars, and hardened repression to curb popular anger.

James Petras calls him “the perfect incarnation of Melville’s Confidence Man. He catches your eye while he picks your pocket. He gives thanks as he packs you off to war.”

He spurns human need, rule of law principles, other democratic values, and right over wrong. Supporters expecting change in year four or a second term are delusional and misguided. In fact, his worst policies lie ahead.

Obamanomics: Waging War on American Workers

In April 2011, Obama announced $4 trillion in largely social spending budget cuts over the next 12 years. In December 2010, with Democrats controlling both Houses, he extended Bush’s super-rich tax cuts after saying he’d end them.

He also agreed to $38 billion in vital social services cuts after promising to preserve them. They include:

  • $3.5 billion from Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding;
  • $2.2 billion from nonprofit health insurance cooperatives;
  • $600 million from community healthcare centers;
  • $1 billion from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other disease prevention programs;
  • $1.6 billion from EPA’s clean/safe drinking water and other projects;
  • $950 million from community development grants;
  • $504 million from nutrition aid for poor Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
  • $500 million from education programs;
  • $390 million from home heating subsidies to the poor, as well as $2.5 billion for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) announced in February;
  • $350 million from labor programs, including grants for community service jobs for seniors;
  • other social service cuts;
  • $786 million from FEMA first-responder funding;
  • $407 million from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs;
  • $260 million from National Institutes of Health (NIH) medical research;
  • $127 million from the National Park Service; and
  • billions less for public infrastructure and transportation spending, while increasing war appropriations by multiples more, including for conquering and controlling Libya.

Moreover, Obama agreed to more draconian FY 2012 cuts and corporate tax breaks as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling before reaching its mid-May limit. More as well over the next 12 years, including:

  • $4 trillion overall;
  • $770 billion from education, environmental, transportation, and other infrastructure cuts, as well as lower wages and benefits for federal workers when they need more, not less;
  • $480 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, besides another $1 trillion from Obamacare;
  • $360 billion from mandated domestic programs, including food stamps, home heating assistance, income for the poor and disabled, federal pension insurance, and farm subsidies; and
  • $400 billion from military-related spending from unneeded weapons, as well as healthcare and other benefits for active service members and veterans.

Priority Pentagon items remain untouched to assure annual budget increases, generous supplemental add-ons, and secret open-checkbook intelligence allocations for numerous nefarious purposes.

As a result, people needs are on the chopping block for elimination to satisfy the insatiable appetites of Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and America’s super-rich. Obama’s fully on board.

Eliminating Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Public Pensions

Political Washington hard-liners want them ended to transfer maximum public and private wealth to the recipients explained above.

Claims about Social Security and Medicare going broke are duplicitous. In fact, both programs are sound when responsibly administered. Nonetheless, they’re on the chopping block for elimination, beginning with benefit cuts, then privatizations to let corporate crooks profit at the expense of beneficiaries.

Obama tasked two deficit hawks for the job. They head his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRF) – former Senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff. They’re part of an 18-member team of like-minded members.

They recommended sharp tax reductions for business and super-rich elites. They also want deep Medicare cuts, co-pay increases, Social Security’s retirement age raised, and lower cost-of-living increases among other draconian proposals harming ordinary people enormously.

They’re coming and much more under bipartisan agreement to slash trillions of dollars from domestic spending over the next decade.

By law, automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years will start in 2013. They’re to be equally divided between defense and domestic programs.

In fact, expect sustained military spending at the expense of gutting America’s social contract. Either way, lost purchasing power means less spending, fewer jobs, and greater public anger than today’s high levels.

In fact, deficit cutting is secondary. Key is protecting corporate handouts and Bush era tax cuts, as well as expanding them for business and upper-bracket earners.

Obama supports making ordinary Americans and seniors bear the burden so corporations and rich folks are spared. As usual, he talks tough, then caves, no matter the harm and injustice caused. […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=143291

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* GLOBAL REBELLIONS: THE COMING CHAOS?

By William I. Robinson, Aljazeera

 As the crisis of global capitalism spirals out of control, the powers that be in the global system appear to be adrift and unable to propose viable solutions. From the slaughter of dozens of young protesters by the army in Egypt to the brutal repression of the Occupy movement in the United States, and the water cannons brandished by the militarised police in Chile against students and workers, states and ruling classes are unable to hold back the tide of worldwide popular rebellion and must resort to ever more generalised repression.

Simply put, the immense structural inequalities of the global political economy can no longer be contained through consensual mechanisms of social control. The ruling classes have lost legitimacy; we are witnessing a breakdown of ruling-class hegemony on a world scale.

To understand what is happening in this second decade of the new century we need to see the big picture in historic and structural context. Global elites had hoped and expected that the “Great Depression” that began with the mortgage crisis and the collapse of the global financial system in 2008 would be a cyclical downturn that could be resolved through state-sponsored bailouts and stimulus packages. But it has become clear that this is a structural crisis. Cyclical crises are on-going episodes in the capitalist system, occurring and about once a decade and usually last 18 months to two years. There were world recessions in the early 1980s, the early 1990s, and the early 21st century.

Structural crises are deeper; their resolution requires a fundamental restructuring of the system. Earlier world structural crises of the 1890s, the 1930s and the 1970s were resolved through a reorganisation of the system that produced new models of capitalism. “Resolved” does not mean that the problems faced by a majority of humanity under capitalism were resolved but that the reorganisation of the capitalist system in each case overcame the constraints to a resumption of capital accumulation on a world scale. The crisis of the 1890s was resolved in the cores of world capitalism through the export of capital and a new round of imperialist expansion. The Great Depression of the 1930s was resolved through the turn to variants of social democracy in both the North and the South – welfare, populist, or developmentalist capitalism that involved redistribution, the creation of public sectors, and state regulation of the market. […]

READ @ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/20111130121556567265.html

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* 2011 YEAR OF THE DUPE: ONE YEAR INTO THE ENGINEERED “ARAB SPRING,” ONE STEP CLOSER TO GLOBAL HEGEMONY — TIMELINE AND HISTORY

By Tony Cartalucci, Global Research

dupe n.

1. An easily deceived person.

2. A person who functions as the tool of another person or power.

               tr.v. duped, dup·ing, dupes To deceive (an unwary person).

December 24, 2011 – In January of 2011, we were told that “spontaneous,” “indigenous” uprising had begun sweeping North Africa and the Middle East in what was hailed as the “Arab Spring.” It would be almost four months before the corporate-media would admit that the US had been behind the uprisings and that they were anything but “spontaneous,” or “indigenous.” In an April 2011 article published by the New York Times titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” it was stated:

“A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.”

The article would also add, regarding the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED):

“The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department. “

It is hardly a speculative theory then, that the uprisings were part of an immense geopolitical campaign conceived in the West and carried out through its proxies with the assistance of disingenuous foundations, organizations, and the stable of NGOs they maintain throughout the world. As we will see, preparations for the “Arab Spring” and the global campaign that is now encroaching on both Russia and China, as predicted in February 2011’s “The Middle East & then the World,” began not as unrest had already begun, but years before the first “fist” was raised, and within seminar rooms in D.C. and New York, US-funded training facilities in Serbia, and camps held in neighboring countries, not within the Arab World itself. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28343

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* TOXIC TRASH PITS TAKE TOLL ON U.S. SOLDIERS

By Keith Goetzman, UTNE Reader

Did the United States poison tens of thousands of its own soldiers in Iraq with fumes from burning toxic trash? Before you consider it an outlandish suggestion, I suggest you read J. Malcolm Garcia’s moving account in the Oxford American of two American soldiers who made it back from their tours of duty having escaped insurgents’ shells, bullets, and improvised explosive devices—only to die slow, torturous deaths from the effects of garbage torched in open pits by the U.S. military.

Personal stories like those of Billy McKenna and Kevin Wilkins may only become more common in coming years, according to Garcia, since the U.S. military operated at least 23 burn pits in Iraq before combat operations ended this year, including a notoriously noxious one that often literally cast a pall over Balad Air Base.

“The burn pit at Balad consumed about 250 tons of waste a day,” he writes, “exposing 25,000 U.S. military personnel and thousands of contractors to toxic fumes.”

Garcia’s immersive narrative is a humanizing look into a slowly unfolding story that has been reported in bits and pieces for a few years, but hasn’t entirely sunken into the national consciousness, perhaps in part because it runs so counter to a reflexively patriotic, military-booster mindset: We wouldn’t have harmed our own soldiers, would we?

It just so turns out that we probably did. Writes Garcia:

The Veterans Administration states on its own webpage that chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, metals, aluminum, unexploded ordnance, munitions, and petroleum products among other toxic waste are destroyed in burn pits. Possible side effects, the department notes, “may affect the skin, eyes, respiration, kidneys, liver, nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, peripheral nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract.”

The issue first came to public light in 2008 when the Military Times reported on the use of burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, spurring Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) to request a probe by the General Accounting Office.

The GAO looked into it and warned in 2010 that the burn pits violated laws designed to keep service members safe. Pressure mounted on legislators to take up the cause, and despite a general lack of public outrage, the campaign has finally had an effect: Both Missouri Republican Sen. Tom Akin and a bipartisan group of eight senators last month introduced identical bills that would create a registry for service members affected by health problems from burn pit exposure. […]

READ @ http://www.utne.com/Wild-Green/Toxic-Trash-Pits-Take-Toll-on-U.S.-Soldiers.aspx

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* SPRINGTIME FOR TOXICS

By Paul Krugman, NYTimes

[…] So, naturally, Republicans are furious. But before I get to the politics, let’s talk about what a good thing the E.P.A. just did.

As far as I can tell, even opponents of environmental regulation admit that mercury is nasty stuff. It’s a potent neurotoxicant: the expression “mad as a hatter” emerged in the 19th century because hat makers of the time treated fur with mercury compounds, and often suffered nerve and mental damage as a result.

Hat makers no longer use mercury (and who wears hats these days?), but a lot of mercury gets into the atmosphere from old coal-burning power plants that lack modern pollution controls. From there it gets into the water, where microbes turn it into methylmercury, which builds up in fish. And what happens then? The E.P.A. explains: “Methylmercury exposure is a particular concern for women of childbearing age, unborn babies and young children, because studies have linked high levels of methylmercury to damage to the developing nervous system, which can impair children’s ability to think and learn.”

That sort of sounds like something we should regulate, doesn’t it?

The new rules would also have the effect of reducing fine particle pollution, which is a known source of many health problems, from asthma to heart attacks. In fact, the benefits of reduced fine particle pollution account for most of the quantifiable gains from the new rules. The key word here is “quantifiable”: E.P.A.’s cost-benefit analysis only considers one benefit of mercury regulation, the reduced loss in future wages for children whose I.Q.’s are damaged by eating fish caught by freshwater anglers. There are without doubt many other benefits to cutting mercury emissions, but at this point the agency doesn’t know how to put a dollar figure on those benefits.

Even so, the payoff to the new rules is huge: up to $90 billion a year in benefits compared with around $10 billion a year of costs in the form of slightly higher electricity prices. This is, as David Roberts of Grist says, a very big deal.

And it’s a deal Republicans very much want to kill. […]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/opinion/krugman-springtime-for-toxics.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

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* CIA: NO BIG DEAL THAT WE TRAINED NYPD TO CONDUCT DOMESTIC SPYING

By Marcy Wheeler, Emptywheel

The CIA announced in September it was going to review a narrow aspect of the way CIA officers set up NYPD’s domestic spying agency in the wake of 9/11. As I pointed out then, the investigation was scoped to ignore key parts of the NYPD’s program.

The NYPD program is, by all appearances, a massive ethnic profiling operation that hasn’t been all that effectiveat finding potential terrorists. DOJ ought to be conducting this investigation as a potential civil rights violation.

But instead, CIA will conduct the investigation, meaning the chances the public will know the result are slimmer even than if DOJ conducted it.

[snip]

So is CIA particularly worried? Both James Clapper and the CIA flack appear to be narrowly parsing the potential problem: whether or not there are CIA officers on the streets of NY, whether they are investigating domestically as opposed to overseas (remember, the NYPD is sticking its nose into overseas investigations, too).

And, surprise surprise! CIA’s Inspector General just announced that it found no problem in its narrowly scoped investigation.

The agency’s inspector general concluded that no laws were broken and there was “no evidence that any part of the agency’s support to the NYPD constituted ‘domestic spying’,” CIA spokesman Preston Golson said.

[snip]

David Buckley, the CIA’s inspector general, completed his review in late October. It’s not clear if his report opens the door for other municipal police departments nationwide to work closely with the CIA in the war on terror.

Let the ineffective, wasteful domestic spying continue then, I guess! […]

READ @ http://www.emptywheel.net/2011/12/24/cia-no-big-deal-that-we-trained-nypd-to-conduct-domestic-spying/

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* TWO MINUTE VIDEO: O, DAMN YE WALL ST. GENTLEMEN

By Washington’s Blog

Art is in the brilliant video from ovaria; following are the independently verifiable facts that the “99%” are embezzled by the “1%” for over a trillion of our dollars every year.

How does the 1% do this?

They purchased corporate media to cover their assets, that’s how.

This article shows how the Federal Reserve System causes the opposite of their stated goals. This is, obviously, criminal fraud. Upon your basic economics education, I invite you to embrace the power of calling what the 1% does as CRIMES. When the 99% recognize the 1% as CRIMINALS and demand arrests and prosecutions, we’ve won.

My Open proposal for US Revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic economics is my strongest work to explain and document these CRIMES.

My Occupy This: US History exposes the 1%’s crimes then and now is my strongest work to explain and document that criminal Wars of Aggression and looting have been central in US policies for over 150 years. History’s purpose is to recognize patterns of behavior in the present.

May 2012 be the best year yet for us all, and may that be ongoingly true each new year for all beings on this beautiful and so far dominated planet.

I admonish and invite the criminals among the 1% to reclaim their heart, their love, and stand with 100% of humanity, and 100% of themselves. […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/

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* OCCUPY CHICAGO CHRISTMAS CAROLS: JINGLE BELLS

source: youtube.com (h/t Jerry Boyle)

Special thanks to Lance Robbins (the awesome street drummer)

Emanuel, Emanuel
The Mayor sold us out!
16 million to his banker friends
That’s what he’s all abou-out!
Emanuel, Emanuel
The Mayor sold us out
Fines and fees and job layoffs
Cutting workers till they shou-out!

You’ll be a one term Mayor
Cause the people who you serve
Don’t think that you really care
About their jobs at all (no, no, no!)
We’ll occupy all day
and we’ll occupy all night
Until you change your way
We won’t give up our fight!

Emanuel, Emanuel
The Mayor sold us out!
16 million to his banker friends
That’s what he’s all abou-out!
Emanuel, Emanuel
The Mayor sold us out
Fines and fees and job layoffs
Cutting workers till they shou-out!

The Mayor’s only friends
Line his pockets full of cash
He’ll sell out city piece by piece
Till we’re left with only ash (cough, cough, cough)
We are here to say ENOUGH
That we just won’t take no more
When Rahm tries to take your job
Just tell him: there’s the door!

Occupy, Occupy
Occupy in your heart!
People fighting for their human rights
Can never be torn apa-art
Occupy, Occupy
Occupy in your heart
Join us against these budget cuts
And the Mayor will fall apart!

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PXXJufcojg

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* FELIZ NAVIDAD FROM TENT CITY 2011

source: youtube.com (h/t Jerry Boyle)

Be grateful for what you have, some people are doing time for a chance to be an American in the 21st Century. La lucha sigue hermanos y hermanas. Citizen Me: The Forgotten Class (2012) Documentary Film

www.facebook.com/citizenmethemovie
www.twitter.com/citizenmemovie

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4zjK_72uLs&sns=fb

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