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When the Military Had Less Money It Produced More Jobs

Never mind these facts, we must spend more more MORE on the military or we'll all die of something other than the military!

Olympic Security's Dual Motive: Conservative English Officials Ignore Lessons of 2011 Riots

 

By Linn Washington, Jr. 


One year after riots rocked 66 areas across England for five days in some of the worst disturbances in that nation’s history, the issue that initially ignited those disturbances – police abuse – remains an unresolved problem.

America a Democracy? Really?

By Dave Lindorff

This article was originally written forPressTV

We Americans are taught it in school. The propaganda put out by Voice of America repeats the idea ad nauseum around the globe. Politicians refer to it in every campaign speech with the same fervor that they claim to be running for office in response to God’s call: America is a model of democracy for the whole world.

But what kind of democracy is it really that we have here? 

Guilty Conscience or Cynical Ploy? Architect of Too-Big-to-Fail Banks Says It Was a ‘Mistake’

 

By Dave Lindorff


Imagine for a moment what would happen if former President George W. Bush were to give an interview on television and declare that his invasion of Iraq, and the ensuing nine years of death and mayhem that resulted from that war, had been the wrong thing to do. Imagine if he were to say of that decision, “Mistakes were made.”


Demanding that Chipotle’s ‘Food With Integrity’ Include Farmworkers, Calling on the Restaurant Chain to Commit to the Fair Food Program

Florida Farmworkers and Allies from Around the Country Announce National Day of Action

Immokalee, FL (July 25th, 2012):  

This Wednesday, July 25th, conscientious consumers and fair food advocates in 25 cities around the nation will call on Chipotle Mexican Grill in a National Day of Action, demanding that the restaurant chain live up to its marketing image as a socially responsible corporation and join the Fair Food Program, an innovative program pioneered by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization of Florida farmworkers. 

The Fair Food Program is a unique partnership among farmworkers, tomato growers, and ten leading food retailers – including major fast food corporations Subway, McDonald’s and Burger King – that advances both the human rights of farmworkers and the long-term interests of the Florida tomato industry. It is the first large scale program for real, lasting social accountability in the domestic produce industry. The program improves the wages and working conditions of Florida farmworkers by committing major buyers of tomatoes to pay a premium of a “penny per pound” of tomatoes to be passed through to farmworkers by the growers for whom they work, and to target their purchases to growers willing to implement the Fair Food Code of Conduct developed together by farmworkers, growers and buyers.

Talk Nation Radio: U.S. Poverty Is Expanding and Worsening

Poverty in the United States is surrounded by myths and misunderstanding.  Poverty is expanding, and extreme poverty is expanding.  The social safety net is retracting.  Congress has just slashed food stamps.  But corporate media coverage that misleads us on the nature and causes of poverty is neither expanding nor improving.  Karen Dolan is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and coordinator of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.  She discusses this project, which is producing reporting on poverty while providing work to unemployed and under-employed journalists. Learn more at http://economichardship.org

Total run time: 29:00

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The Spread of Sacrifice Zones

Chris Hedges' and Joe Sacco's new book, "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt," is a treasure. Hedges wrote the plain text. Sacco produced the text-heavy cartoon sections and other illustrations, which even I -- not a big fan of cartoon books -- found to enrich this book enormously.

Elmer in Dairyland

 

By Charles M. Young

Between college and graduate school, I worked for a year in a factory in Verona, Wisconsin, which is a few miles and a paradigm shift outside of Madison. It wasn’t the worst place to work. We had a union. We had benefits. We chopped, folded and riveted large sheets of metal and turned them into the air diffusers that you can see in the ceilings of theaters and other large buildings.

'Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs,' G-8 Leaders

By Michael Collins
So, now it's an imperative to "promote growth."

The joint statement (full text after the jump) from the G-8 meeting in Chicago documents the utter failure of the very leaders who issued it.  Were they capable leaders with the least knowledge of economic downturns, the statement would not be necessary.  Nevertheless, they deserve some credit for admitting their deficiencies.  Unfortunately, they have no serious solutions.  (Image Banksy)

The joint statement has some weasel words like "We commit to fiscal responsibility" to balance the urgent words about growth and jobs".  That reflects the atavistic positions of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Merkel suffered a huge set back in the Westphalia  state elections with her Christian Democratic Party losing 25% to 50%.  Corporate media maintains that her popularity as a leader is higher than ever.

Her Scrooge faction comrade, PM Cameron is also pushing austerity.  Nobody can pretend that his polling is any better than his party.  The Conservatives were wiped out in local elections and Cameron is going down without a life jacket.

Texas and the World Say NO to a "NAFTA of the Pacific"



The TPP Opening Bash
Global Activist Reception & Teach-in on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
 
     Thursday, May 10, 2012
     Reception at 6:00pm  *  Teach-in at 7:00pm
 
     Community Center for Cooperation
2900 Live Oak St  *  Dallas, TX
 
     Free and open to the public

 

As trade negotiators from throughout the Pacific Rim continue to meet in Addison to hammer out final details on the secretive new Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement, it is worth exploring what trade policy has meant and could mean for the economy, the environment and democracy itself.
 

The TPP is poised to become the largest trade deal of its kind ever.  It is likely to influence the types of jobs available in our communities; the wages and benefits that many jobs pay; tax revenues available for public services; greenhouse gas emissions and the environment; access to affordable, generic medications; consumer safety standards; financial regulations; the health of family farms; global migration patterns; and more. 

 

Corporate lobbyists are advocating for a business-as-usual vision for international trade - but veteran "trade justice" campaigners from around the country and around the world are offering alternative visions on what trade policy could mean to communities at home and abroad.   

 

Rub elbows, ask questions and scheme with long-time trade justice champions from the U.S. and beyond during a free, public reception from 6:00 to 7:00pm, followed immediately by a panel discussion featuring:

  • Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, on the significance of the Dallas Round of TPP negotiations
  • Celeste Drake, trade policy specialist at the national AFL-CIO, on the potential economic impacts of the TPP
  • Ilana Solomon, trade representative for the national Sierra Club, on the TPP's threats to the environment
  • Sanya Reid Smith, an attorney with the Third World Network, on the TPP's rollback of access to medicine and the global movement around it
  • Kelli Seals-Obazee, executive director of the Dallas Peace Center will moderate

NEW:  Please help us spread the word by promoting the new Facebook event page http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/429902193705698/.

 

Sponsored by the Dallas Peace Center, Texas Fair Trade Coalition and Citizens Trade Campaign.  This is one of several events taking place will the TPP negotiations occur at the Intercontinental Dallas Hotel from May 8 to 16.  Learn more at TPPDallas.org.  For more info, please contact the Texas Fair Trade Coalition at (512) 912-6630.

First-of-its-kind "Refrain From Political Spending" Resolution to Be Voted on Today at Bank of America Shareholder Meeting

Resolution would ask the corporation to opt out of the unlimited, often secret spending ability afforded to it by the Supreme Court in Citizens United
 
*UPDATE:* On Tuesday, May 8, at 3M Corp.’s shareholder meeting, investors urged the board to adopt the resolution to refrain from spending the company’s general treasury funds on influencing elections. Despite evidence that political spending can lower stock performance, the board voted down the measure.
 

The ‘Subsidized’ Loan Charade: The US Government is Profiteering on Struggling Students

By Dave Lindorff

The Senate is currently deadlocked on taking action to prevent the interest on new Stafford guaranteed student loans from rising on July 1 from 3.4% to 6.8%, with Democrats saying they want to “pay for” keeping the current “lower” 3.4% rate by closing a loophole that allows some wealthy people to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes, while Republicans want to “pay for” keeping the lower rate by eliminating a fund for preventative health care in the 2010 health care reform law.


But what is all this nonsense about “paying for” a supposedly “lower” interest rate of 3.4%?

Bank of America Prepares for Shareholders Meeting as if Under Assault

Bank of America has hired G4S for its shareholder meeting.  According to Wikipedia:

"G4S plc (formerly Group 4 Securicor) (LSEGFS, OMXG4S) is a global security services company headquartered in Crawley, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest security company measured by revenues and has operations in more than 125 countries.[2][3] With over 630,000 employees, it is the world's second-largest private sector employer (after Wal-Mart Stores).[2][4]"

G4S and its subsidiary Wackenhut have a lengthy criminal record:

"In March of 2006, whistle-blowers employed at Wackenhut released information to the press revealing that the company cheated on an anti-terrorism drill at a US nuclear site.

"... In 2009, an Aboriginal man from Western Australia died of heat stroke after being transported in a G4S (then GSL) van without air conditioning or water.[26]

"... On June 13, 2010, a video posted on YouTube by documentary filmmaker James Fox showed Wackenhut guards preventing reporters from covering the BP oil spill.[30]

"... In October 2010, three G4S-guards heavily restrained and held down 46-year old Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga on departing British Airways flight 77, at Heathrow Airport. Security guards kept him restrained in his seat as he began shouting and seeking to resist his deportation. Police and paramedics were called when Mubenga lost consciousness. The aircraft, which had been due to lift off, then returned to the terminal.[31] Mubenga was pronounced dead later that evening at Hillingdon hospital.[32]"

The kind souls from G4S, being housed in two downtown hotels by B of A, will be joined by off-duty police hired by B of A, wearing their police uniforms, and empowered to arrest on B of A's behalf and at the order of B of A security.

What is this militarized, privatized emergency preparation for? 

Are foreign armies descending upon the shareholders meeting of the Bank of America?

Nope.

Actually citizens of the Country of America.  Newspaper headlines explain:

Bank of America braces for protesters onslaught

"In Charlotte, protesters are expected to demand a complete halt to foreclosures, forgiveness of student loan debt, a stop to financing coal projects, an end to political spending and an end to seven-figure compensation packages."

Uh oh. More cops! More guns! Quick! What would Bloomberg do?

The protesters' plans, of course, are for a nonviolent march and rally.

B of A billionaires aren't afraid for their physical safety.  They're afraid their shareholders may side with their victims.

'Human Rights Won’t Get in the Way': The Selling Out of a Chinese Dissident

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

There are two truths about the US that come clearly to the fore in the current diplomatic blow-up between the US and China over the case of people’s lawyer Chen Guangcheng, though neither is really getting stated in the corporate media coverage of the story.

 

The first is that the US does not, and has not really ever, cared about the issue of human rights abuses in China, and the second is that the Obama administration, including the supposedly “tough” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, doesn’t know squat about how to negotiate -- not when it comes to dealing with Republicans in Congress, and certainly not when it comes to China.

 

May Day and the Ass Bomber of Ray Kelly’s Dreams

 

By Charles M. Young

I got home at 10:00 pm on the nose, and the first thing I did was take off my shoes after 14 hours of May Day marching with 30-40,000 other conscientious objectors to capitalism. My feet hurt, okay? My second priority was turning on the local news, which happened to be Fox Five New York. According to my watch, it was 10:02. I didn’t see the first few seconds of the story, but it must have have been the lead. There was Ray Kelly, the chief of police, talking about...not Occupy Wall Street?...no, it was a video of him on some talk show, warning of the apparently imminent threat of Arab terrorists “implanting” bombs in their bodies and blowing up airplanes and buildings.

Shaky Economies

  Shaky Economies

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Since 2009, an ocean of easy money saved American, EU, and Japanese economies from collapse.

 

Daddy, Where Do Taxes Come From?

I'll tell you when you get a little older.

But I want to know.

Well, I'll tell you where taxes come from in other countries, OK? They come from the idea that if we all pool our resources we can better acquire things like schools, hospitals, parks, trains, you know, things that belong to everybody.

But what about our country?

Well, in our country we pay for private schools if we want good schools, and we all buy something called health insurance to take care of us if we get sick, and a teeny bit of our taxes goes to parks and trains, but we don't have very many of those, and we pay for some of them with local taxes. We pay local taxes, state taxes, and national taxes, and lots of other fees. We pay as much in taxes as people in those other countries, but our taxes are different. They come from a different place, and we'll talk about it when you're a little bit bigger.

Why? Why can't I know now?

America's Fiscal Cliff

  America's Fiscal Cliff

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America's weak economy shows further deterioration. According to former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh, "(t)he fiscal cliff in early 2013 - when the government stimulus spending and tax relief are set to fall - is not misfortune. It is the inevitable result of policies that kick the can down the road."

Extorting Alums: Colleges Withhold Transcripts from Grads in Loan Default

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

(This article originally appeared in The Nation online, where it can be read in full)

 

Student leaders arrested at D.C. protest on student debt

From the Badger Herald:

Washington, D.C. police arrested three University of Wisconsin students who serve or have been elected to serve in student government positions during a protest against rising student debt outside a prominent student loan lender.

Associated Students of Madison Chair Allie Gardner, Student Services Finance Committee Rep. Tia Nowack and newly-elected Maxwell Love were arrested outside of Sallie Mae’s offices in the city’s Northwest section.

Lawyers Guild Expects More Documents: Evidence Homeland Security Coordinated Occupy Crackdown

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

If you want to know where the real government of the United States is located, just check out one of the documents received by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in response to their Freedom of Information Act request to the Dept. of Homeland Security relating to surveillance of the Occupy Movement. That document, from the Secret Service, dated September 17, 2011, the day the Occupy movement began on Wall Street, from the US Secret Service Intelligence Division, titled Prism Demonstrations Abstract, list the location as “Wall Street Bull” -- a reference to the bronze statue of a bull on Wall Street in front of the

 New York Stock Exchange, and the “protectee” as “The United States Government.”

Rep. Introduces Legislation to Forgive Student Loan Debt

Rep. Hansen Clarke says student debt crisis has 'destroyed countless dreams'

- Common Dreams staff -

Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Michigan) introduced legislation to the House that would enable students to be forgiven from student loans. The bill, The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, would forgive the debt of student borrowers who make 10 years of payments (no more than 10 percent of one's discresionary income). The bill would also cap interest rates and protect borrowers who suffer financial hardship, such as unemployment.

Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Michigan) recently introduced a bill into the House that would forgive student loans for millions of Americans. Student loan debt, both private and public, has become an increasingly severe problem in recent years.  In 2010, student loans, which now total more than $1 trillionsurpassed credit card debt in the United States.  Since the economic downturn hit in 2008, unemployment has gone up considerably among recent college graduates and more and more students have been unable to pay back their student loans. Unlike most forms of credit, student loans are not dischargable in bankruptcy court.

President Obama did reform some aspects of federal education lending policy, but limited his reforms to public loans, leaving current debtors without any resolution. "These are steps in the right direction. Yet we need more decisive action to get America's 'underwater' students and graduates back on dry land," Clarke wrote in a recent op-ed for the Detroit Free Press.

Student debt and the lack of jobs for recent graduates has been a major focus of the Occupy movement.

Obama, Pelosi, and Reid Have an Offer on the Table That Cuts Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

From the Washington Post:

That night, Obama prepared his party’s congressional leaders. He warned Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that he might return to the position under discussion the previous Sunday — that is, cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for just $800 billion in tax increases.

Would they support him?

The Democratic leaders “kind of gulped” when they heard the details, Daley recalled.

By this time, Obama had become the face of the bitter debt-ceiling talks and his poll numbers were dropping. His allies on Capitol Hill cringed at his predicament but also at what he was asking them to do.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, recalled that the president and his team felt the weight of the global economy “on our shoulders.”

“Is there political benefit to coming to a big budget deal with John Boehner? Sure,” Pfeiffer said. “But every other political and message imperative was thrown out the door to prevent a disaster and do the right thing for the country. That’s why we were willing to do things we wouldn’t normally do.”

Reluctantly, Reid and Pelosi agreed to do their best to support the plan.

Boehner, meanwhile, had gone dark. . . .

. . . White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table.

How Weapons Sales Caused the 2008 Financial Crisis

I just read an interesting new book called "The Economics of Killing: How the West Fuels War and Poverty in the Developing World" by Vijay Mehta.  I especially recommend the first chapter, which argues that the U.S. economy has become very heavily dependent on weapons sales (to the U.S. government and foreign governments) but refuses to sell weapons or "duel use" high-tech products to China, even as U.S. consumers buy everything they consume from China.  This trade balance results in China buying up U.S. Treasury bonds, which results in low interest rates and lots of personal debt and eventually financial crisis.  Mehta's conclusion: either we sell China our weapons (which would be a short-term fix, as China would quickly shift to manufacturing the same products itself) or we shift our economy toward production of non-military products.  A similar argument is found in this article:

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