I can smell the newest giveaway looming a mile off. The Wall Street bailout, health-insurance giveaway and support of real estate prices rather than mortgage-debt write-downs were bad enough, not to mention the Oil War’s Afghan extension. But now comes a topper: the $50 billion transportation infrastructure plan that Obama proposed in Milwaukee – cynically enough, on Labor Day.
It looks like the Thatcherite Public-Private Partnership, Britain’s notorious giveaway to the City of London underwriters. The financial giveaway had the effect of increasing prices for basic infrastructure services by building in heavy financial fees – guaranteed for the banks, who lent the money that banks and property owners used to pay in taxes in more progressive times.
It seems we’ve lost a revolution before it even got started
I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to get my head around the absurdity that is British capitalism as it tries to square the circle. Engaged in what can only be called even by capitalist standards, an act of economic suicide, aside from an inevitable increase in strikes as capital exerts pressure on what’s left of the organized working class, the response from the public is noticeable only by its absence to the proposed massive cuts in public spending.
For almost 40 years, the United States has waged a war on its own citizens who have used marijuana as a part of a drug culture originally encouraged by the government. The war was commenced despite the government’s own findings that marijuana posed less of a risk to American society than alcohol, and that the greatest harm that would result from criminalization would be the injury caused to those arrested for possession and use. The harm caused by the war extends beyond its 15 million prisoners; its cost has exceeded a trillion dollars, and it has benefited only those who profit from the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana.
Sometimes a story is so troubling that it takes some time to digest, and the ruling delivered last Wednesday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (PDF), in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of five men subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and torture, is one such story. The men — Binyam Mohamed, Ahmed Agiza, Abou Elkassim Britel, Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah and Bisher al-Rawi — claim, with some justification, and with copious amounts of evidence in their possession, that their rendition, and their torture in a variety of countries, was facilitated by Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing whose role as “The CIA’s Travel Agent” was first exposed, through statements made by a former Jeppesen employee, in an article by Jane Mayer for the New Yorker in October 2006.
Ever been shopping, or getting a bite to eat, and suddenly shrieking kids invade your space? Perhaps good parents interceded, dragging ear-splitters from center stage; perhaps they’re really Tea Partiers in training. While most families moderate small-time irrationality, in North Carolina a frustrated restaurateur had to post: “Screaming children will not be tolerated.”
Too bad no national stop sign exists to restrain spitfire tantrum throwers called “kamikaze Republicans,” willing to destroy America to save it. Or rogue Florida pastors who need to read many more holy books, not burn any. Or bigoted, one-note media opportunists chastising diverse New Yorkers about religious tolerance.
“A Washington rally for jobs, justice and peace that makes no specific demands on President Obama would amount to a capitulation to the status quo on all counts.” The October 2 “One Nation” rally, initiated by the NAACP and organized labor, is a huge work in progress, drawing numbers from “nearly the entire spectrum of labor, social justice and peace formations in the United States.” Some will come to protest massive unemployment, war, bailouts and other injustices, and call out the perpetrators by name. Others want only to join in a campaign rally for Democrats.
On August 22 a drone strike against the house of “suspected militants” in North Waziristan killed 20 people. It also destroyed a neighboring house full of women and children. So what! Collateral damage. And, as our dear Mr. Rumsfeld once said  – ‘Shit happens. Get over it.’
On July 28, the dams burst in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area of north-western Pakistan after unprecedented monsoon rains. In the next few days the news was slowly trickling out to the world of the imminent disaster from the worst floods in Pakistan’s history.