• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 12 mei 2012

Israel as a Rogue State 338


Truthout:

'Hillary Clinton's Silence Is Deafening on Massive Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike

Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:07By Robert Naiman, Truthout | News Analysis
Hunger StrikePalestinian and israeli protesters demonstrate in support of hunger striking prisoners, outside of Ramle Prison in Ramle, Israel, May 3, 2012. (Photo: Rina Castelnuovo / The New York Times)More than 1,500 prisoners are currently observing an open-ended hunger strike in defense of basic human rights: the right not to be detained without charge, the right not to be subjected to sustained solitary confinement, the right to be visited by one's family. Two of the prisoners have been on hunger strike for more than 70 days and have been widely reported to be "near death."
Is it possible that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could say a few words about this situation?
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finally said something under pressure. So did theEuropean Union. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch have spoken up. There was a report in The New York Times; before that, there was a report in The Washington Post.
But so far, Secretary of State Clinton hasn't said boo. Is it impossible that she could say something?
What might happen if a bunch of Americans tried to put pressure on Hillary to speak up?
Some people may say: Hillary? Dream on. The prisoners that you're talking about are Palestinian. Some will recall that in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Hillary ran as the "more AIPAC than thou" candidate. Before that, she was a senator from New York. At a recent conference in New York City sponsored by the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Daily Forward reports, when former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel should work with the international community in addressing the issue of Iran rather than trying to "go it alone," people in the audience cried out: "Neville Chamberlain!" So, that's what senators from New York have to deal with, apparently.
But Hillary represents the whole country now, and as a representative of the whole country, Hillary has a different history. If you count being first lady as being a US official - and why wouldn't you? - Hillary was the first US official to publicly endorse the creation of an independent Palestinian state. In his book the "The Crisis of Zionism," Peter Beinart reports that as Secretary of State, Hillary argued for President Obama to put pressure on the Israeli government to negotiate seriously with the Palestinians (p. 147). And here's what Secretary of State Clinton said about Israeli settlements in the West Bankin May 2009:
Speaking of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "He wants to see a stop to settlements - not some settlements, not outposts, not 'natural growth' exceptions." Talking to reporters after a meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, she said: "That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly."
What can we conclude from this? Hillary Clinton is a political figure capable of taking different stances in response to different political situations. I know, it's shocking, isn't it?
Writing in Salon about President Obama's historic declaration that gay marriage should be legal, Glenn Greenwald makes a point that should be obvious, but seems to have escaped many people who consider themselves savvy about politics: if you support the Obama administration no matter what it does, or oppose the Obama administration no matter what it does, you are likely to be an impotent political actor. Sometimes, the Obama administration is good, and sometimes it's bad, and the point is to increase the good and decrease the bad: "power concedes nothing without a demand."'

Arab Regimes 187


Abbaseya Aftermath and the Military Council's Reign of Terror

Hundreds of Egyptians were hunted down and detained, including over 20 journalists and medics.
Watch full multipart Egyptian Revolution

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Precis

Following the military's brutal crackdown on a sit-in outside the ministry of defense, Egyptians speak of the Military Council's reign of terror. In the aftermath, hundreds of Egyptians were hunted down and detained, including over 20 journalists and medics. Many more were injured and killed as they fled into the pro-government neighborhood. Throughout the week, Egyptians have been protesting the largest round-up of activists since the military junta came to power last year. Hundreds of Egyptians captured during the raid will be arraigned through military tribunals. Since Mubarak's ouster, nearly 12,000 people have been tried and convicted through military courts.

Late-Stage Capitalism 2


Predatory Capitalism Failed

By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, May 9, 2012


Independent observers knew it long ago. Today's global economic crisis provides added confirmation. In 2008, a staunch champion of the system expressed second thoughts. More on him below.

An ideology based on inequality, injustice, exploitation, militarism, and imperial wars eventually self-destructs or gets pushed. 

Growing evidence in America and Europe show systemic unaddressed problems too grave to ignore. They remain so despite millions without jobs, savings, homes or futures.

Imagine nations governed by leaders letting crisis conditions fester. Imagine voters reelecting them despite demanding change. OWS aside, one day perhaps rage will replace apathy in America. The latest jobs report alone provides incentive enough to try and then some.

On May 4, the Labor Department reported 115,000 new jobs. It way overstated the true number. Official figures belie the dire state of things. At most, two-thirds the headline total were created. Even that's in doubt. 

Most were low-pay, part-time, or temp positions with few or no benefits. Decades ago, workers would have avoided them. Today, there's no choice.

The report also showed economic decline. Expect much worse ahead. In 2008, Main Street Americans experienced Depression. It rages today. Poverty's at record levels. Real unemployment approaches 1930s numbers. Dire conditions are worsening.

Announced job cuts are increasing. Hiring plans are down. Compared to year ago levels, they're off 80%. Income is stagnant for those lucky to have work. The private diffusion index measuring growth fell sharply month-over-month.

The unemployment rate decline reflects discouraged workers dropping out. They want jobs but can't find them. The Labor Department considers them non-persons. They're not counted to make official figures look better. 

Moreover, the broad based Household Survey showed employment dropping 169,000. It was the second consecutive monthly decline. The Labor Department uses a "population and payroll concept adjusted" calculation. Doing so tries to compare monthly payroll and household figures.

The measure plunged 495,000 in April after dropping 418,000 in March. The calculation represented the largest back-to-back decline since late 2009.

At 63.6%, America's labor force hit its lowest level since September 1981. Since then, population totals grew from 229 million to about 312 million today. The state of the nation today reflects lots of people facing few jobs, and no policy to create them.

The employment/population ratio stands at 58.4%. Alone, it represents a shocking testimony to failure. So do other data. Long-term unemployment remains near record levels. Credit deleveraging continues. Housing's in its worst ever depression. Prices keep falling. Inventories of unsold homes are huge. Foreclosures are at epidemic levels.

State and local downsizing continues. Personal income suffers. Conditions are bad and worsening.

On May 4, Pimco's Mohamed El-Erian headlined his Financial Times article "Confirmed: America's jobs crisis," saying:

"Friday’s US jobs data sound a warning that should be heard well beyond economists and market watchers."

Americans with jobs have poor ones. Wage growth is stagnant. Purchasing power can't keep up with inflation. For ordinary Americans, secular income headwinds blow at gale force strength.

Crisis conditions today make "a mockery of the published unemployment rate of 8.1 per cent....The economic implications are clear." At a time, Europe's recession deepens, America's declining.

Risks are increasing. A "potential (austerity caused) year-end 'fiscal cliff' (may) suck out some 4 per cent of GDP in purchasing power, and do so in a disorderly fashion."

Instead of addressing crisis conditions responsibly, political Washington campaigns for reelection, and plans huge domestic budget cuts when stimulus help is needed. 

Main Street Americans are pushed to the edge. Potential "social consequences" suggest "the possibility....of a lost generation."

Unemployed teenagers "face the risk of going from being unemployed to becoming unemployable." Today's reality is bleak. It reflects "a multi-faceted unemployment crisis that politicians, both in America and Europe, are failing to comprehend, unite around, and respond to."

"I worry greatly that facts on the ground will unfortunately warrant future analyses to be even more disheartening."

Alan Greenspan's Too Late to Matter Mea Culpa

As Fed chairman for nearly two decades (1987 - 2006), he engineered today's crisis. Some call him the Maestro of Misery for good reason. Those benefitting most sing his praises. In 2008, he had second thoughts.

A longtime Ayn Rand disciple, he strayed noticeably in October 2008 House testimony. Her libertarian views influenced his. She championed regulatory free markets. So did Greenspan. He practiced what she preached.

Perhaps House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members couldn't believe their ears. He acknowledged his worldview failure, saying:

"You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 yeas or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."

While trying to have it both ways, he admitted his faith in regulatory free markets was shaken, saying:

"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms."

"The Federal Reserve had as good an economic organization as exists. If all those extraordinarily capable people were unable to foresee the development of this critical problem...we have to ask ourselves: Why is that? And the answer is that we're not smart enough as people. We just cannot see events that far in advance."

In his book "Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country" William Grieder called Greenspan one of "the most duplicitous figures to serve in modern American government." 

He used "his exalted status as economic wizard (to) regularly corrupt the political dialogue by sowing outrageously false impressions among gullible members of Congress and adoring financial reporters."

His ideology was hokum. Somehow he managed a Columbia doctorate without its dissertation requirement. His economic consulting firm flopped. It faced liquidation. He closed shop to join the Fed after serving earlier in the Reagan, Nixon and Ford administrations.

His background in government got him his job. His inability to forecast made him a perfect Fed choice. So did his reliability to serve monied interests over populist ones.

Saying he got it wrong after the fact hardly matters. Where was he when it counted. In 2006, Bernanke replaced him. He made a bad situation worse. Since 2008, he more than tripled the Fed's balance sheet from about 6% of GDP to 20%. 

His day of reckoning approaches. Perhaps in future congressional testimony, he'll address his own shortcomings. Doing it when it counts matters. After the fact turns memoirs into best-sellers. 

His cross to bear and Greenspan's could fill volumes. Millions their policies harmed won't line up to buy them. 

How can they? They're broke, on their own, out of luck, and unreceptive to hear defrocked Fed chairmen say they're sorry. If so, they'd have done it right in the first place.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.