The economy continued to shrink in the first quarter of 2009 at an annual pace of 6.1 percent, making it the worst recession in more than 50 years. Gross Domestic Product slipped into negative territory from January to March for back-to-back quarters of negative 6 percent growth. The news of falling GDP was preceded on Tuesday by a dismal housing report which showed that housing prices have continued their historic downward plunge with only modest improvement. Since their peak in July 2006, housing prices have dropped 31 percent, falling 18.6 percent in the last year alone. The rate of decline has decelerated slightly but–on their present trajectory–prices are on target to tumble 45 to 50 percent from their 2006 highs. Another 20 percent loss in home equity means another $4 trillion loss for US homeowners.
For five years and eight months, the Bush administration held Qatari national and legal US resident Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri without charge or trial as an “enemy combatant” in the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Arrested by the FBI in December 2001, and subsequently charged with crimes including credit card fraud and identity theft, al-Marri, who had arrived in the US with his family on September 10, 2001, to study at Peoria University in Illinois, was subsequently pulled out of the criminal justice system and held as an “enemy combatant,” when further investigation of his computer and other possessions indicated that he had been sent to the US to establish an al-Qaeda “sleeper cell.”
In the last months of his confinement, before the Obama administration swiftly reviewed his case and moved him into the federal court system, al-Marri had been allowed a modicum of personal freedom — such as watching TV and making calls to his family — although he was still held in isolation in a cell block in which all the other cells were unoccupied.
by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
May 1, 2009
The Swine Flu (or H1N1 virus) is in the air. The public health authorities are acting “in excess of caution” to curb its spread from Mexico into this country. Already, however, this virus and the publicity around it is providing another occasion to question our nation’s priorities.
Let’s put it this way—the gravest terrorists in the world today are viruses and bacterium and their astonishing ability to mutate, hitchhike and devastate human beings. Yet despite small outbreaks—such as the SARS virus from China—we collectively seem to be waiting until the “big pandemic” before we come to our senses and redefine national security and national defense.
It is not that we are unaware of the massive toll that tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS and many other infectious diseases exact year after year. Just those three diseases take over 5 million lives a year. It is not that we fail to realize how international trade, tourism and other travels—together with environmental disruptions—accelerate the spread and range of these silent forms of violence.
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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The Peace and Love era of the 60’s and early 70’s, with its flower power gimmick, was such a ridiculous idea, I would not have been caught dead being associated with it. It was not my generation you see, so instead I hated anything related to it, including The Beatles and Donovan. I think back now and I wonder, perhaps we need to recycle that era. Let me explain… perhaps because there is only hate left in this world right now? Continue reading
Howard Zinn, 86-year old folk hero, activist, professor, historian, and author of one of the great books of American popular literature, A People’s History of the United States, is telling people that searching for the truth about what really happened on 9/11 “is a diversion.”
Say it ain’t so, Howard Zinn!
He used the word “diversion” several times during an interview on The Real News Network with senior editor Paul Jay. Zinn on investigating 9/11
Here are some excerpts:
“There are some issues that are interesting but are diversions from what we really have to do. This is one of them.”
“Maybe there was a conspiracy. Who knows?”
“It’ll go on and on and on and people will write books and talk about it; it’ll be an enormous waste of good energy….I just don’t think that it leads anywhere.”
In the interview, Paul Jay points out to Zinn that much of current U.S. foreign policy, such as the Afghan War, “still has its roots in 9/11.” Making it clear that no matter what we may think about conspiracies, Jay states that peculiarities about 9/11 are part of the historical record.
For instance, he cites the fact that then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice acknowledged to the 9/11 Commission that she had been warned about an attack by Osama bin Laden during the summer of 2001 but that she did nothing about it. Jay also points out that “hundreds of thousands or even millions of Americans” question the official version.
Zinn: “It will never be clear. It will be one of those situations where nobody will ever be able to prove anything, and it will lead us nowhere.”
To be fair to Zinn, he also states that “9/11 was used as an excuse by the Bush administration to go to war,” but adds that what should be investigated is, “Why are there people in the world who want to blow up our buildings, who want to scare the American people, who want to do terrorist [things],” and who “are enraged by American foreign policy.”
He says, “We should be concentrating on in what way is American foreign policy responsible for the terrorism that exist in the minds and hearts of so many people in the world and which in a small number of them results in violent acts.”
It reminds me of another famous 9/11 conspiracy debunker, Professor Noam Chomsky. On October 6, 2006, Chomsky said on ZNet:
“One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis.” http://www.oilempire.us/chomsky.html
It would be easy to criticize Zinn for failing to be consistent. He knows how important the study and writing of history really is. In his People’s History of the United States he set out to correct the record about the role of the labor movement, U.S. imperialism in Latin America and around the world, the violence of our culture, and many other issues.
Zinn knows, as we all do who have worked in the genre, that the writing of history is about discovering the truth. We know that absolute truth about the past is an impossibility. But we can try to get close, because the truth matters. A good historian is a scientist, attempting to draw conclusions from factual data. A good historian knows that even small discoveries, properly validated, can change the way we view the past and make decisions in the present.
But doesn’t what Zinn is saying about 9/11 go beyond the writing of history? Isn’t he suggesting by talking about “the people who want to blow up our buildings” that it is probable that those who carried out the 9/11 attacks really were a few angry Arabs with box-cutters, just like the Bush administration told us? Isn’t he asking us to buy into the government’s own flawed conspiracy theory regardless of whether we think the World Trade Center towers were brought down by controlled demolition or the Pentagon was attacked by a missile rather than an airliner, or whatever?
It doesn’t seem to me Howard Zinn really is saying we’ll never know what actually happened on 9/11 or that trying to find out is a “diversion.” It seems to me that what he is saying is itself a diversion. Please correct me, Mr. Zinn, if I am wrong.
Richard C. Cook is a former federal analyst who writes on public policy issues. His book “We Hold These Truths: the Hope of Monetary Reform” is now available at http://www.tendrilpress.com. His website is http://www.richardccook.com.
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, May 1, 2009
What is the flu? Influenza (the flu) is a serious contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Millions of people in the United States get the flu each year. Most people are sick for about a week. Some people (especially young children, pregnant women, older people, and people with chronic health problems) can get very sick and may die from the flu. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
The World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert level to Phase 5 on a 6 point scale.
The WHO’s Phase 5 alert means “there is sustained human-to-human spread in at least two countries and that global outbreak of the disease is imminent… It also signals an increased effort to produce a vaccine… Human cases have been confirmed in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain.” (emphasis added)
May 1, 2009
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Prosecutors asked a judge to drop charges against two ex-AIPAC staffers accused of passing along classified information.
In a statement Friday, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia said restrictions on the government’s case imposed by Judge T.S. Ellis III made conviction unlikely.
“Given the diminished likelihood the government will prevail at trial under the additional intent requirements imposed by the court and the inevitable disclosure of classified information that would occur at any trial in this matter, we have asked the court to dismiss the indictment,” Peter Carr said.
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