Robert Johnson: Nothing in current financial reform legislation will stop another crash
January 01, 2010
El Ma’asara weekly demo – 1-1-10
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It’s a brilliant strategy if you think about it. Make the public afraid of each other. Every person could be a terrorist – everyone is suspect. There is no better way to defeat an organized anti-war opposition than to make the people terrified of each other.
The corporate oligarchy is now doing under Obama what it could not accomplish under Bush. Total war. The anti-Bush movement in the US and worldwide was gaining too much ground. So the oligarchy let the air out of that balloon. In Bush’s place they put in a magician who has proved very effective at keeping the left off balance and thus unable to pump new life into the reeling anti-war movement.
I was watching the History channel for lack of something better to do yesterday, and the program airing was Gangland. I don’t usually watch this show as it seems to glorify gang warfare and the interviews with gang members always make me recoil with horror at what passes for acceptable behavior inside the gangs themselves. However, the show yesterday made me think of the world in a newer light.
In an interview with a gang member, the interviewer was told that the gang would always retaliate if it were “dissed” by another gang. That, in this case, meant that the “dissed” gang would go into the offending gang’s territory and generally kick ass and take names. When asked about the situation, a law enforcement officer told the interviewer that this kind of behavior by gangs would not be tolerated and that law enforcement was obliged to try to stop this violence by any means possible.
My anger has morphed into sadness, heartbreak actually. As the decade of zeros ends I see nothing but a tragic, historic and deadening American Disappointment, a terrible replacement for a once noble American Dream. The Great Recession was merely one symptom of the nation’s slide into slime, a quicksand created by the two-party plutocracy.
Free of delusion I have come to this sad reality: Once upon a time Americans could confidently believe that their nation was on the right track, getting better, offering most citizens a decent chance of living securely and proudly. Now, that view has been smashed by many years of undeniable evidence that our political system is frighteningly corrupt by forces that have ensured an economy serving the interests of the rich and powerful. Their pursuit of happiness enslaves ordinary Americans. America’s middle class is a disappearing and suffering set of distracted victims, slipping continually into the lower class of an inevitable two-class system. Most are oblivious to their fate, to the electoral tyranny that manipulates and consumes them as fuel to keep the corpocracy humming.
by Larry Derfner
Jan. 1, 2010
There’s a question we Israelis won’t ask ourselves about the Palestinians, especially not about Gaza. The question is taboo.
Not only won’t anyone ask it out loud, but very, very few people will dare ask it in the privacy of their own minds.
However, I think it’s time we start asking it, privately and in public. If we don’t, I think there’s going to be Operation Cast Lead II, then Operation Cast Lead III, and each one is going to be worse than the last, and the consequences for Palestinians and Israelis are going to be unimaginable.
The question we have to ask ourselves is this: If anybody treated us like we’re treating the people in Gaza, what would we do?
We don’t want to go there, do we? And because we don’t, we make it our business not to see, hear or think about how, indeed, we are treating the people in Gaza.
All these shocked dignitaries, all these reports, these details, these numbers – thousands of destroyed this and tens of thousands of destroyed that. Rubble, sewage, malnutrition, crying babies, humanitarian crises – who can keep up? Who cares? They did it to themselves. Where to for lunch?
Jan. 1, 2010
Hope, War and Resistance: 2009 in Review
Democracy Now! looks back at 2009, including the Israeli assault on Gaza, Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, the economic crisis, Goldman Sachs and the AIG bonus scandal, the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, drone attacks on Pakistan, the coup in Honduras, healthcare reform, the release of the Bush administration torture memos, the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, the protests in Iran, the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Blackwater and other private military contractors, the firing of White House environmental adviser Van Jones, the gay rights movement, the global food crisis, the ongoing occupation of Iraq, the Copenhagen climate summit and the growth of the climate justice movement, plus our exclusive interviews with former jailed activist Jeff “Free” Luers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Barstow, Bolivian President Evo Morales, death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and many more. [includes rush transcript]
by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
Dec. 31, 2009
Those long-hoping, long-enduring members of the liberal intelligentsia are starting to break away from the least-worst mindset that muted their criticisms of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.
They still believe that the President is far better than his Republican counterpart would have been. Some still believe that sometime, somewhere, Obama will show his liberal stripes. But they no longer believe they should stay loyally silent in the face of the escalating war in Afghanistan, the near collapse of key provisions in the health insurance legislation, the likely anemic financial regulation bill, or the obeisance to the bailed out Wall Street gamblers. Remember this Administration more easily embraces bonuses for fat cats than adequate investment in public jobs.
Shoeless in Cairo
by Mary Hughes-Thompson, part of the GFM convoy that has been trying to get into Gaza.
01 January 2010
In about an hour the Gaza Freedom Marchers in Cairo will be meeting in Tahrir Square to celebrate the beginning of 2010. January 1st will be the fifth day of my hunger strike.
All around us we saw other small groups receiving the same reception. After sitting on a bench in front of the Nile Hilton for half an hour, with half a dozen police standing close and trying to persuade us to continue walking away, we suddenly saw a surge of people crossing the street a few yards from us, and we quickly rushed to join them. Free Gaza signs appeared, chants of “Free Gaza” were heard. Passengers in cars and buses gave us a wave and a smile. We were immediately encircled by several hundred policemen who placed barriers around us and began to push us more tightly together. We tried to keep space around Hedy, as we were pushed and squeezed. I feared my ribs would be crushed as I was squeezed tighter and closer to people around me. A few people fell or tried to sit in the middle of the circle and the police went after them.
This Commentary is based in part on one of the same name by me that appeared on TPJmagazine on December 20, 2009.
Many of us on the Left, whether the Democratic Party Left or the Real Left, are becoming increasingly disturbed, upset, concerned, what-have-you, with the behavior of the president in office. Obama came into office promising to be a different kind of president. Although certain of our compatriots were not so easily taken in, many of us (including myself, I must admit) thought that he would be, certainly in comparison to Carter and Clinton. But there were straws in the wind that he might not be. Earlier on, I had even noted some of them myself. However, for a while during the first few months of Obama’s term, I did get caught up in the rhetoric. I should have paid a lot more attention to those earlier thoughts, as it has turned out, and will briefly review of some of them here. This brings us to the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).