If you are angry at what the bank executives are getting away with in the banks too big to fail, and think that Wall Street is corrupt, you may wonder if our government is also entirely corrupt because it would seem they’re letting these sharpsters get off scot-free.
But everyone in government isn’t corrupt, nor even everyone who works for a bank or Wall Street… well, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
“War! Good God, ya’ll. What is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!”
So went the Bruce Springsteen pop hit of the 1980s, first produced as an anti-Vietnam War song in 1969. The song echoed popular sentiment. The Vietnam War ended. Then the Cold War ended. Yet military spending remains the government’s number one expenditure. When veterans’ benefits and other past military costs are factored in, half the government’s budget now goes to the military/industrial complex. Protesters have been trying to stop this juggernaut ever since the end of World War II, yet the war machine is more powerful and influential than ever.
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
September 11th is around the corner and our nation flounders in an economic and psychological depression. Are you aware that our defense budget, the one we know about (not the extra Black Budget), grew from $316 billion in 2001 to $708 billion in 2011? Both houses of this controlled Congress and our controlled presidents overwhelmingly supported it. Continue reading →
By every one of countless measures the US is in a death spiral. Its political system, government and economy are hopelessly broken. No wonder that the vast majority of Americans express severe dissatisfaction with Congress, both major parties, and increasingly with President Obama. And only the wealthy elites have any reason to be positive about corporate powers, Wall Street and the whole banking and finance sector. They not only own the nation, they run it.
I arrived in Times Square around 9:30 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. A large crowd was transfixed by the huge Jumbotron screens. Billows of smoke could be seen on the screens above us, pouring out of the two World Trade towers. Two planes, I was told by people in the crowd, had plowed into the towers. I walked quickly into the New York Times newsroom at 229 W. 43rd St., grabbed a handful of reporter’s notebooks, slipped my NYPD press card, which would let me through police roadblocks, around my neck, and started down the West Side Highway to the World Trade Center. The highway was closed to traffic. I walked through knots of emergency workers, police and firemen. Fire trucks, emergency vehicles, ambulances, police cars and rescue trucks idled on the asphalt.
The Great Debate on the Left about whether to support Barack Obama for re-election had been building already, even before the debt limit debacle. And now it is on in full force and will be with us right up until Election Day, 2012. You can tell from the title of this commentary which side I am on. Except for the election of 1980, when I supported and actually did some work for John Anderson (until for reasons to this day entirely unknown to me he finked out right after Labor Day), I have been a “lesser of the evils” guy. But not this time around.
The first “political” book I read in Cali was the Noam Chomsky book on 9-11 and that was my introduction to his work. When the towers fell I wanted to understand WHY anyone would do that, and this seemed a good place to start. This perspective sent me on a path that has lead me to where I am today, ideologically. It’s also a nod to some of the other major influences in my writing that have passed; Howard Zinn & Kurt Vonnegut.
On 13 September, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs opens in London, backed by the British government. On 8 September, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry will hold a preview entitled “Middle East: A vast market for UK defence and security companies”. The host was the Royal Bank of Scotland, a major investor in cluster bombs. According to Amnesty international, the victims of cluster bombs are 98 per cent civilians and 30 per cent children. The Royal Bank of Scotland has received £20 million in public money. The blurb for the bank’s arms party reads: “The Middle East is one of the regions with the greatest number of opportunities for UK defence and security companies. Saudi Arabia… is the world’s top defence importer, having spent $56bn in 2009… a very worthwhile region to target.”
WASHINGTON, Sep 5, 2011 (IPS) – When David Petraeus walks into the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday, he will be taking over an organisation whose mission has changed in recent years from gathering and analysing intelligence to waging military campaigns through drone strikes in Pakistan, as well as in Yemen and Somalia.
But the transformation of the CIA did not simply follow the expansion of the drone war in Pakistan to its present level. CIA Director Michael Hayden lobbied hard for that expansion at a time when drone strikes seemed like a failed experiment.