Walking home from seeing “Milk,” I found myself humming a song about another great American leader of people, Joe Hill. He was an organizer for the International Workers of the World who was framed on a murder charge and killed in Utah in 1915. A song by Earl Robinson that was famous when I was a boy (frequently performed by Pete Seeger) goes in part: Continue reading
Obama’s plan and Mumbai
In the third interview with Security Consultant Sunil Ram, he discusses Obama’s Afghanistan foreign policy plan and how it impacts Pakistani-Indian relations. There are currently thousands of troops from both nations stationed on the Kashmir border. Ram says this highly impedes on Obama’s hopes that Pakistan’s military forces will assist him in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. According to Ram, dismantling the heavily armed Kashmiri border is a challenge because of the nervousness created by the recent attacks in Mumbai. In spite of the expected escalation in tensions, India has demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with Pakistan. Resolution of the escalation in terrorism from Pakistan, Ram says, will depend on how much pressure is placed on the Pakistani leadership and how willing the Pakistani military is to work with the civil leadership. Jay and Ram conclude that armed resistance in the region could be significantly decreased by funding economic development as opposed to the military.
Orchestrating the Mumbai attacks
Sunil Ram: Mumbai attackers were well equipped, informed, and trained for at least a year
Sunil Ram speaks to Paul Jay about the logistical organization of the attacks on Mumbai. Ram says an operation of this scale requires intricate equipment, the space to practice in daylight and at night, as well as the intelligence to organize. For a Special Forces soldier to be trained to the level the Mumbai attackers were, they must be trained for at least a year. They must also be well acquainted with the target layout and they must be well equipped in order to hold out a multi-day firefight with the Indian security forces. Ram says the evidence that links the attackers to Islamic extremist would support their motivation to dedicate the length of time they did to training and to be willing to die for their cause.
Jewish Voice for Peace
Dec. 19, 2008
Yesterday, December 18th, was the Shministim Day of Action in Israel. Even as Tamar Katz remained in solitary confinement, the Shministim were thrilled. They told us they had not seen this much media coverage in Israel of young refusers in years. The global response, which continues to grow, has been overwhelming. I want to share with you this first-hand account that Rebecca Vilkomerson wrote about the day. And, thank you so much from all of us at Jewish Voice for Peace.
“I am more concerned with the return of my money than the return on my money.”
– Mark Twain
In the last two weeks, two federal interest rates hit all-time record lows. On December 16, the market was taken by surprise when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke lowered the federal funds rate (the interest banks pay to borrow the reserves they need to meet their reserve requirement) to zero. The explanation given was that the Federal Reserve was just setting the rate closer to where banks had already been trading with each other for weeks.1
In an even more stunning development, the week before that the federal government itself began borrowing money for free. “We were all watching it agog,” said a Treasury spokesman of the December 9 auction of three-month Treasury bills. Investors were so hungry for Treasury debt that they were snatching up the T-bills at zero percent interest. In the secondary market (investors buying from each other), Treasuries were actually trading at a negative interest rate. That meant buyers were paying more than they would get back when the Treasuries came due. Even at these unprecedented rates of non-return, the Treasury was having trouble keeping up with the demand. Four times as much money wanted in as was sought by the government, indicating much more demand than availability.2
By Juan Cole
December 18, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse”
18 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Baghdad Bombings;
Coup Plot Foiled;
US Fires on Fallujah Shoe-Throwers
The news from Iraq on Wednesday shows that the Iraqi government’s hold on power is fragile, and that it faces shadowy coup plotters from within and a continued guerrilla insurgency from without. Parliament is so divided that it had to go home after vehement wrangling in which the shoe-throwing journalist, Muntazar al-Zaidi, figured prominently. Al-Zaidi continued to be lionized by many Iraqis, including in Fallujah, where a student rally in his defense drew the fire of the US military. The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, showed up unexpectedly in Baghdad, to announce that British troops would be out of the country by June. Turkey bombed positions of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq for a second straight day.
The NYT reports that an elite counter-terrorism unit that reports directly to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has arrested 38 officials in the Interior Ministry (similar to US Homeland Security). They are accused of belonging to the neo-Baath “al-`Awdah” party and of plotting a coup against the Iraqi government.
This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
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“Abbas May Call for Early Elections,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Truce Ends Between Hamas and Israel,” IBA TV, Israel
“Iraqi Officials Accusd of Attempted Coup,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Iraq Tightens Security on Iran’s Border,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Iran Shells PKK in Northern Iraq,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Stategic Road in Kurdistan, Iraq,” Alsumaria TV, Iraq
“Russia Gives Lebanon Fighter Jets,” Nile TV, Egypt
“Grand Mufti of Azhar Faces Criticism for Shaking Israeli President’s Hand,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“OPEC Reduces Oil Production,” Press TV, Iran
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.
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By Ronnie Cummins
December 18, 2008
Tom Vilsack’s Kind of Agriculture
Yesterday’s announcement that former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, has been selected as the new Secretary of Agriculture sent a chill through the sustainable food and farming community who have been lobbying for a champion in the new administration.
“Vilsack’s nomination sends the message that dangerous, untested, unlabeled genetically engineered crops will be the norm in the Obama Administration,” said Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of Organic Consumers Association. “Our nation’s future depends on crafting a forward-thinking strategy to promote organic and sustainable food and farming, and address the related crises of climate change, diminishing energy supplies, deteriorating public health, and economic depression.”
“In a crisis, discount and discount heavily.” — Walter Bagehot (1826-1877), British economist
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power (of money) should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.” — Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd U.S. President.
“By this means [printing money] government may secretly and unobserved, confiscate the wealth of the people, and not one man in a million will detect the theft.” — John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), British economist
On December 16 (2008), the Bernanke Fed took the most unusual step of lowering the overnight inter-bank lending rate, the federal funds rate, to a level never reached before, i.e. zero percent with an upside limit of 0.25 percent. It also announced that it will buy “large quantities of” mortgage-backed securities and is considering doing the same thing with Treasury bonds of longer maturities, in order to lower the entire yield curve. What it did not say explicitly is that the Fed is ready to debase the U.S. dollar to artificially low levels in order to reflate the U.S. economy. What the Fed wants is to trigger monetary inflation and change deflation expectations at all costs through large-scale debt monetisation and thus floating excess debts in a sea of newly created money.
by Andrew G. Marshall
December 18, 2008
US Intelligence: A Review of Global Trends 2025
The United States’ National Intelligence Council has released a report, entitled “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World“. This declassified document is the fourth report of the Global Trends 2025: The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project.
The report outlines the paths that current geopolitical and economic trends may reach by the year 2025, in order to guide strategic thinking over the next few decades. The National Intelligence Council describes itself as the US Intelligence Community’s “center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking,” with the tasks of supporting the Director of National Intelligence, reaching out to non-governmental experts in academia and the private sector and it leads in the effort of providing National Intelligence Estimates.
The report was written with the active participation of not only the US intelligence community, but also numerous think tanks, consulting firms, academic institutions and hundreds of other experts. Among the participating organizations were the Atlantic Council of the United States, the Wilson Center, RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, Texas A&M University, the Council on Foreign Relations and Chatham House in London, which is the British equivalent of the CFR.
by Linn Cohen-Cole
MONSANTO’S DESTRUCTION OF SEED CLEANERS AND THE IMMENSE THREAT TO HUMAN ACCESS TO SEEDS
I have been reporting on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s raids on Mennonite dairy farmers, on the recent Ohio Department of Agriculture SWAT team raid on an organic coop, on the USDA’s terrible weapon against all farmers with animals (NAIS – the National Animal Identification System) – trying to give an idea of the destructive forces being used intentionally against non-corporate farming.
But unless one sees what is happening to seeds themselves, one misses the scope of things.