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The big banks have sold us out.
Democrats and Republicans have sold us out.
No one is defending our interests.
Our future is going up in flames.
It’s time for us to stand up and defend ourselves.
Trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity by the big banks on Wall Street caused our current economic crisis. Paid off politicians from both parties, along with secret deals made by the Federal Reserve, gave trillions of taxpayer dollars and subsidies to the very people who caused our crisis. After taking our tax dollars, they had the audacity to give themselves all-time recording-breaking bonuses and consolidate wealth in unprecedented fashion within the economic top 0.01% of the population.
By Annika Breidthardt
BERLIN | Mon May 30, 2011 3:04pm EDT
(Reuters) - Germany plans to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022, Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition announced on Monday, in a policy reversal drawn up in a rush after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
The nation formerly known as the Ottoman Empire is building a strong foundation for a bright future. The nation is also addressing its scandalous recent past as it reaches out to old enemies. The dynamics producing real change in Turkey are well worth understanding. Turkey is on a path to rapid economic growth, cultural liberalization, and will emerge as a key player in world affairs.
Turkey elected a new government in 2002. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became Prime Minister after his AK Party gained an absolute majority in the nation's unicameral legislature. The AK party was tagged as a threat to Turkey's secular democracy by corporate media. This is, as usual, a perversion of the political and social realities.
By Dave Lindorff
Amid all the nonsense and gobbledegook that has been written about banking industry and about the economic slump during the last four years of the global financial crisis, New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson has stood out both for the clarity of her analysis, and for her willingness to go after the guilty parties in the political and especially the banking system, naming names and calling it as she sees it.
So it was kind of disappointing--even shocking--to read her latest article reporting on a new “study” by Peterson Institute for International Economics Senior Fellow Joseph Gagnon, warning about the nation’s growing debt crisis.
The Peterson Institute, founded by Wall Street tycoon Peter Peterson, has long been gunning for the Social Security and Medicare systems, which he, and the rest of the Wall Street gang, see as unfairly competing with Wall Street for the assets of the public, and as destructive of the “free market.”
A Jarring Disconnect: If Joblessness and Hopelessness Undermine Democracy in the Middle East, What About Here at Home?
By Dave Lindorff
In his latest speeches on the Middle East, President Obama, both at the State Department and at the G8 meeting in France, has pledged billions of dollars in economic aid to Middle Eastern countries, drawing a direct connection between the unrest and demonstrations that brought down the dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and the joblessness and hopelessness felt by the young people in those two countries.
His adviser on international economics, David Lipton, has been more specific, saying that, “We believe that these two pillars go hand in hand. Without economic modernization, it will be hard for governments trying to democratize to show people that democracy delivers.”
Unemployment in Egypt among young men and women is about 30%. In Tunisia, it is over 40%. The White House claims that with figures like that, the future for democracy in those countries is tenuous.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
The U.S. government won convictions against 23,506 drug traffickers nationwide during 2010, sending 96 percent of the offenders to prison, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics.
Yet one of the biggest entities busted by the feds for involvement in drug trafficking last year received just a wrist-slap deal from federal prosecutors with nobody getting prison time.
During 2010, the U.S. government also won convictions against 806 persons involved in smaller-time drug-related money laundering, sending nearly 77 percent of those offenders to prison.
Yet when it came to a case involving billions of dollars in illegal drug profits, the federal government gave the same unusual wrist-slap to the same entity caught giving greed-blinded assistance to Mexican drug cartels by laundering billions of dollars in illegal profits for them.
By Catherine Hornby
ROME | Wed May 18, 2011
(Reuters) - Up to 27 million people are modern-day slaves, and migrants fleeing violence in North Africa are among those most at risk of being exploited, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Countries where migrants arrive should try to identify potential victims and protect them, rather than opting for immediate repatriation which often sends them back into the hands of human traffickers, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said.
Tens of thousands of migrants are fleeing turmoil in North Africa, with many trying to reach Europe by boat, but the problem of slavery exists all over the world and India, Thailand and Malaysia are among the worst-affected countries.
BBC News - 19 May 2011
A US governor has signed a bill requiring a French railway company to disclose its role in the Holocaust if it is to win state contracts.
Martin O'Malley of Maryland signed a bill aimed at Keolis, a Paris company owned by French national railways SNCF.
The company had bid to operate commuter trains in the state of Maryland.
Historians say SNCF moved 76,000 Jews to Nazi camps during the Holocaust. The laws' supporters say it will force disclosure of war records.
"We hope this legislation can become a national model sooner rather than later so that Holocaust survivors who are still with us can know that the atrocities inflicted upon their families and their people will remain in our minds, will never be forgotten and will never be repeated," Mr O'Malley said on Thursday.
I hit the pavement today, running a reel of the past few months through the windmills of my mind. I’ve spent so much time, lately, in rooms of joy and sorrow, and hotels, and towns where I catch my reflection in some store window and think: Who is she?
I traveled with one son to visit another. Was sitting outside when the younger said, “Mom, you have beautiful feet. You have the feet of a sixteen-year-old.” Before I could tell him I know this, he continued, “It’s a shame I can’t say the same about your face.”
He and I had been discussing the dollar and what he calls my freak-ass economic doomsday tune. The whole foot thingy probably was an attempt to shift the subject.
Speculation reigns supreme in your nation’s capital. Who is next in line after the bin Laden operation? The bipartisan coalition directing the war on terror forgot one important fact about the security of the United States of America. It doesn’t matter who they kill overseas, the assault on almost all citizens continues unabated at home. No one is doing anything to stop it. Only the financial and political elite remain immune. (Image-WikiCommons)
You're headed for bankruptcy court tomorrow. It's been a long and difficult road. You and your husband both worked. You made decent money. Then your husband became ill. There was no sick leave because he worked for himself. His disability insurance had a six-month delay and only covered half of the lost income. That was all you could afford. (Image Wikimedia Commons)
Phantom Jobs and Economic Recovery in America - by Stephen Lendman
On May 6, headlines cheered the new jobs report, New York Times writer Motoko Rich headlining, "Payrolls Show Strong Growth but Jobless Rate Rises," saying:
"For three straight months, the nation's employers have delivered solid job growth, easing some concerns that the economy could be slowing."
Bloomberg.com's Timothy Homan said:
At 244,000, "American employers in April added more jobs than forecast....indicating the world's largest economy is weathering the impact of higher fuel prices."
Wall Street Journal writer Sara Murray wrote:
"Job engine shifts to higher gear (as) companies cranked up hiring in April to the fastest pace in five years...."
April seemed to drift in, whimpering and, then, banging shut. Caresses and blows.
Easter slid by. Where was I? North Carolina? Kentucky? Maryland?
Easter’s just candy, anyway, shaped like eggs, and a White House lawn with children on the hunt. Though I do remember something about a rock rolled away from a tomb.
Prince William and Kate were royally rocking and rolling, a circumstance of pomposity.
Now, we’re a week into May, Derby time with a parade of hats and thoroughly bred animals. Oh, and horses, too, racing for the first jewel in the Triple Crown, no thorns allowed.
This is celebration season. And many are celebrating death—the assassination of that mythical decider who claimed responsibility for “inspiring” 9-11 and scared us to bookstores to purchase bibles in freedomville where we can shop and choose a wireless plan with a special friends-and-family rate, radiation exposure, dropped calls, and surveillance included.
No Future, No Peace
by Allison Kilkenny | April 30, 2011
New York City organizers from the anti-tax dodging movement US Uncut today staged two peaceful teach-ins at Bank of America branches. Carl Gibson, the founder of the original US Uncut chapter in Jackson, Mississippi, joined the NYC protesters. Gibson was in town after playing a major role in the Washington, DC Power Shift flash mob  that successfully shut down a BP gas station, and the GE-oriented prank  pulled on the media in tandem with the Yes Men.
The bank is a familiar target for the tax dodging movement, and has been an object of the group’s outrage since US Uncut’s inception. “Bank of America hasn’t paid taxes on earnings in the last two years,” Gibson explains. “While they’re getting away with not paying taxes, we’re getting budget cuts.”
Orangutans are endangered by loss of their forest habitat. (Photo © naturepl.com / Anup Shah courtesy WWF)
April 29, 2011 (ENS) - Environmental leaders and politicians from around the world today called for an urgent move towards a global green economy in order to achieve sustainable development and wildlife conservation over the next 50 years.
Low-carbon technology, green infrastructures, investment in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture are essential in combating climate change, poverty and water shortages, said participants in the summit convened by WWF to mark the global conservation organization's 50th anniversary.
I'm feeling pretty guilty. I hadn't known I was causing billionaires so much suffering. The former co-chair of President Obama's deficit (a.k.a. catfood) commission just asked me during a public event to stop going after rich people. Then he came up to me after the event to make sure I'd gotten the point. He seemed truly worried about it.
The White House has a handy website to mislead you about your tax dollars at http://www.whitehouse.gov/taxreceipt
It claims that only 26.3% goes to "National Defense". This is similar to the claim in the 1040EZ US income tax form booklet (see pages 36-37). Here are those two pages in a PDF. There the claim is that the U.S. government only spends 22% of its money on "National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs." The form admits that you could leave out the "foreign affairs" part and still be at 21%.
The White House website claims to calculate both veterans' expenses and foreign affairs separately and still put "defense" alone at 26.3%.
However, take a look now at the pie chart created by the War Resisters League, which shows 51% of the budget going to the military.
In this I will just add a few reports I've come across this morning while waking up, might add some more as they trickle in.
April 20, 2011 - L. Tammy Duckworth came to Hartford on Monday and told a sad story.
Duckworth was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in 2004 when she lost both legs and the partial use of one arm in combat. Now, she's assistant secretary of veterans affairs in D.C., and recently, she was in Vermont talking to a man who was staying with his family at a homeless shelter.
That's sad enough, but the man was excited. A member of the Vermont National Guard, he was getting ready to deploy, and his family had received permission to stay in the shelter for the duration of his tour overseas.
Imagine. Excitement that your family could stay in a homeless shelter.
Under the command of the Rockefeller family, the National Guard fires at strikers and their families to suppress a strike of twelve thousand workers
How do you get politicians living off legalized bribery to criminalize bribery? How do you persuade the corporate media to report on the interests of flesh-and-blood, non-corporate people? How do you take over a political party when the only other one allowed to compete is worse? These are not koans, but actual problems with a single solution.
It might seem like there are a million solutions: pass state-level clean election laws, build independent media, build a new party, etc. But the fundamental answer is that when the deck is stacked against you, you insist on a new deck. Power, as Frederick Douglas told us, concedes nothing without a demand. We cannot legislate our way out of plutocracy. Instead, we the people must seize power.
Credit Rating Agencies Have No Authority to Dictate Terms to Congress
Washington D.C. (April 19, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement after Standard & Poor’s (S&P) threatened the fiscal health of the nation by announcing the possibility of a future downgrade of the United States’ credit rating.
“No nation, agency or organization has the authority to dictate terms to the United States Government,” said Kucinich. “S&P and its compatriot Moody’s were a direct cause of the near collapse of the economy of the United States. That industry should be subject to greater oversight, regulation and fundamental overhaul as Washington gets serious about the deficit.”
An 'Oh Please!' Moment; Is S&P Running Interference for the Right to Help Crush Social Security and Medicare?
By Dave Lindorff
Today’sbreathless anxiety-inducing headline was that Standard & Poors, the rating agency, has issued a “negative outlook” warning on US sovereign debt, claiming that the US, in comparison with other countries with a top AAA credit rating, has "very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us". S&P warned that there was a “a one in three chance that the US could lose its AAA rating in two years because of its mounting debt.”
The ratings firm--one of three global companies that Wall Street relies upon to establish the credit ratings of companies and nations around the world--said its analysts had “little confidence” that the Obama administration and the divided Congress would reach any agreement on a deficit-reduction plan before the next national election in the fall of 2012, and that they doubted that any such plan would be adopted until after 2014, two whole Congressional elections away.
Striking miners and their families being evicted from company houses
April 18 1912 - Members of the United Mine Workers of America on Paint Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia, demanded wages equal to those of other area mines. The operators rejected the wage increase and miners walked off the job. Miners along nearby Cabin Creek, having previously lost their union, joined the Paint Creek strikers and demanded:
• the right to organize
• recognition of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly
• an end to blacklisting union organizers
• alternatives to company stores
• an end to the practice of using mine guards
• prohibition of cribbing
• installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal
• unions be allowed to hire their own checkweighmen to make sure the companies' checkweighmen were not cheating the miners.
Obama’s Deficit Plan Starts at the Center Right; Where Will He End Up?
By Kevin Zeese
President Obama announced the outlines of his deficit plan, leaving a lot up for negotiation. He planted his poll at the center right and where he ends up, with his history of compromising to bring right wing Republicans and Democratic corporatists together, can only be worse.
USA Today, AP fall for US Uncut ploy; GE stock loses billions
Washington, DC - US Uncut, a burgeoning grassroots movement pressuring corporate tax cheats to pay their fair share, posted today a fake GE press release announcing that they would return their illegitimate (but legal) $3.2 billion tax refund, and that they would lobby to close the sort of corporate tax loopholes that had allowed them to skip taxes in the first place. Several major media outlets, including USA Today, ran the story as true. (Here is a link to the original USA Today story; here is the first article debunking the release.)
By Betsy Ross
We are now on the brink of the mother of all meltdowns in more ways than one.
Last weekend, The Times quoted Alan Hansen, a nuclear engineer and executive vice president of Areva NC, a unit of Areva, a French group that supplied reactor fuel to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plan, who spoke before a private gathering at Stanford University. “Clearly,” he summarized, “we’re witnessing one of the greatest disasters in modern time.” What the on-going release of cancer-causing radioactive fragments means in terms of human health and the environment is only beginning to come to light.
Anybody know of a state, or national mega, that has a lottery, playing mostly to the lower income citizen, dedicated to prison spending, me neither!
A new report from the NAACP shows states are devoting increasingly larger portions of their budgets to prisons, while education gets smaller and smaller portions. Judy Woodruff discusses the report with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Transcript