The Weekly Steven Lendman 9/24/2012

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Score One for Hedges v. Obama

by Stephen Lendman

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong called his Apollo 11 landing “one step for man, a giant leap for mankind.”

Hedges v. Obama perhaps reflects a baby step, if temporary, for justice.

On September 12, Southern District of New York federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest blocked Obama’s indefinite detention law.

In her 112-page ruling, she called it “facially unconstitutional: it impermissibly impinges on guaranteed First Amendment rights and lacks sufficient definitional structure and protections to meet the requirements of due process.”

She added that:

“If, following issuance of this permanent injunctive relief, the government detains individuals under theories of ‘substantially or directly supporting’ associated forces, as set forth in” the National Defense Authorization Act, “and a contempt action is brought before this court, the government will bear a heavy burden indeed.”

At issue is section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It states in part:

“Congress affirms that the authority of the president to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.”

“Covered persons” are defined as:

Anyone “who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

Plaintiffs argued that broad, ambiguous language like “substantially supported,” “associated forces” and “directly supported” leaves them and others vulnerable to lawless indefinite detention.

For example, meeting someone rightly or wrongly designated a terrorist, staying in their homes, inviting them to speak at conferences or in panel discussions, perhaps interviewing them, or socializing with them can be called dealing with the enemy.

So can writing anti-imperial articles, exposing and/or discussing US crimes of war and against humanity, and participating in anti-war protests.

Hedges and others also said concerns arose from NDAA’s passage. It grants unconstitutional presidential authority. It exceeds the September 2001 congressional approval for Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

On January 16, 2012, Hedges wrote “Why I’m Suing Barack Obama,” saying:

He and others challenged AUMF’s legality “as embedded in the (2012 NDAA) signed by (Obama) on Dec. 31.” He picked New Year’s eve. Perhaps he thought no one would notice.

It created a firestorm but not in the media. They reported virtually nothing on enacted tyranny.

Hedges said NDAA “authorizes the military in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled ‘Counter-Terrorism,’ for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing.”

“With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism.”

“And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until ‘the end of hostilities.’ It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.”

As a journalist, he spent many years abroad. He “met regularly with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.”

He also met Arafat and other PLO leaders when they were called terrorists. He “spent time with the Revolutionary Guard in Iran and was in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.”

They were all called terrorists. So are others journalists meet with regularly and will again. It’s their job.

Hedges said he “suspect(s) the real purpose of this bill is to thwart internal, domestic movements that threaten the corporate state. The definition of a terrorist is already so amorphous under the Patriot Act that there are probably a few million Americans who qualify to be investigated if not locked up.”

Washington’s war on terror is ill-defined and vague. It reflects totalitarian state harshness. It equates dissent with treason. It fosters “mounting state paranoia. It expands our permanent war to every spot on the globe.” It destroys fundamental constitutional rights.

Obama lets CIA torturers, Wall Street crooks, other corporate criminals, lawless war profiteers, and other venal high-level civilian or government officials off scot-free.

In contrast, he usurped unconstitutional diktat authority. At issue is freely targeting US citizens anywhere in the world, indefinitely detaining them, and killing them if he wishes on his say so alone.

Freedom in America is fast disappearing. On December 14, the House passed the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). On December 15, the Senate followed suit. Ironically it was Bill of Rights Day.

Obama signed it into law. The measure ends constitutional protections for everyone, including US citizens. Specifically it targets due process and law enforcement powers.

With or without evidence, on issues of alleged terrorist connections posing national security threats, the Pentagon now supplants civilian authorities. It’s well beyond its mandate.

Militaries exist to protect nations from foreign threats. America’s Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) applies solely to its own personnel as authorized under the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8. It states:

“The Congress shall have Power….To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces.”

In America, state and local police, the Justice Department, and FBI are responsible for criminal investigations and prosecutions. No longer on matters relating to alleged national security concerns.

Enactment means America’s military may arrest anyone anywhere, including US citizens. They can be indefinitely held without charge or trial, based solely on suspicions, baseless allegations, or none at all.

No reasonable proof is required, just suspicions that those detained pose threats. Henceforth, indefinite detentions can follow mere membership (past or present) or support for suspect organizations or individuals.

Constitutional, statute and international laws don’t apply. Presidential diktats replaced them. No one anywhere is safe.

Presidents have unchecked power. They can unjustifiably accuse anyone of posing a threat. They may order arrests and imprisonment for life without charge or trial. Abuse of power replaced rule of law protections. It’s happening in real time.

Ahead of their holiday break, leaders from both Houses met secretly to resolve final language differences before sending NDAA to Obama to sign.

Senate bill sponsor Carl Levin said administration officials, in fact, lobbied against language excluding US citizens from indefinite military detentions without trials or due process. According to Levin:

“The language which precluded the application of Section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved….and the administration asked us to remove (it) which says that US citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.”

“It was the administration that asked us to remove the very language which we had in the bill which passed the committee. (W)e removed it at the request of the administration….It was the administration which asked us to remove the very language, the absence of which is now objected to.”

In other words, Obama wants US citizens indefinitely detained in military prisons whether or not charged. He fully supports police state repression. Only his disingenuous rhetoric says otherwise.

His earlier Executive Order authorized indefinite detentions of anyone designated national security threats. Specifically intended for Guantanamo detainees, it’s now for everyone, including US citizens at home or abroad.

Moreover, CIA operatives and Special Forces death squads got presidential authorization to kill targeted US citizens abroad. As a result, they can be hunted down and murdered in cold blood for any reason or none at all.

Inviolable rights are dead. Protesting imperial lawlessness, social injustice, corporate crime, government corruption, or political Washington run of, by and for rich elites can be criminalized.

So can free speech, assembly, religion, or anything challenging America’s right to kill, destroy and pillage with impunity. Tyranny arrived in America. The nation’s unsafe to live in. There’s no place to hide. Anyone challenging injustice can be arrested, charged with supporting terrorism, and indefinitely imprisoned forever.

In response to Judge Forrest’s ruling, administration officials appealed. They claimed she exceeded enjoining NDAA’s section 1021. In a 38-page filing, they said her ruling:

“threatens irreparable harm to national security and the public interest by injecting added burdens and dangerous confusion into the conduct of military operations abroad during an active armed conflict.”

Forrest questioned how AUMF is interpreted. The 2001 authorization and NDAA’s section 1021 aren’t the same, she said. “They are not co-extensive. Military detention based on allegations of ‘substantially supporting’ or ‘directly supporting” the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or associated forces, is not encompassed within the AUMF and is enjoined by this order regarding” NDAA.

Washington uses AUMF and other twisted legal interpretations to wage war on humanity. At issue also is giving Obama diktat authority to indefinitely detain or kill anyone he wishes with or without charges or trials.

Habeas and due process rights are null and void. So are all other constitutional rights. Obama effectively granted himself dictatorial powers.

His minions overstepped by saying Forrest took “it upon (herself) to disagree with an interpretation of the military’s detention authority that had previously been endorsed by all three branches of government.”

“What is more, (she) expressly invites actions for contempt sanctions if the military exercises detention authority in a manner inconsistent with the court’s deeply flawed understanding of that authority.”

In June, she issued a preliminary injunction against enforcing the statute she questions. While appealing her ruling, Obama officials didn’t block it.

After making her injection permanent, they asked for an emergency stay. They claimed she made an “unprecedented” ruling affecting wartime matters.

On September 17, Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Lohier issued a one-page order. It stayed Forrest’s decision until a three-judge panel rules. On September 28, it’ll hear pro and con arguments.

If it upholds her injunction, expect the Supreme Court to decide.

Bruce Afran is one of several attorneys representing plaintiffs. He called the government’s concern unfounded. Forest’s injunction doesn’t touch its separate AUMF powers. “The general thrust of (its) argument seems to be that the president and Congress are immune from judicial review.”

No matter which way the Second Circuit or perhaps Supreme Court rules, this issue is far from resolved. At the behest of Obama or Romney if he’s elected, Congress can pass new overriding legislation. It happened several times during the Bush administration.

If so, we’re back to square one. Repression will continue unchecked. With or without NDAA, it’s largely that way now. America isn’t fit to live in. A new dark age dawned no matter which party wins in November.

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”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

posted by Steve Lendman @ 11:53 PM

Long Knives Target Iran

Long Knives Target Iran

by Stephen Lendman

Some background:

February 11, 2012 marked the 33rd anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution. It ended a generation of repressive rule under Washington’s installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.

In 1953, CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson and Franklin’s cousin, engineered the Agency’s first coup. Democratically elected Mohammad Mossadeq was ousted. The New York Times called him Iran’s “most popular politician.”

As late as 1977, Jimmy Carter declared Iran an “oasis of stability.” He ignored years of brutal Shah repression. In January 1979, he fled the country. Ayatollah Khomeini returned. He proclaimed the Islamic Republic with overwhelming public support.

US officials thought they could control him. They thought wrong. Iran was free from Western dominance and didn’t look back. Tensions escalated. Washington planned regime change. It remains US policy.

In 1975, Iran and Iraq negotiated the Algiers Agreement. It settled border disputes between the two countries. In March 1980, Saddam Hussein unilaterally abrogated it. Carter officials encouraged him.

Journalist/historian Dilip Hiro noted:

“According to the Iranian president, Bani-Sadr, in early August 1980 his government had purchased secret documents containing a detailed account of the conversations in France between several deposed Iranian generals and politicians, Iraqi representatives, and American and Israeli military experts.”

“If so, the administration of President James Carter had an inkling of Iraqi plans. By supplying secret information, which exaggerated Iran’s military weakness, to Saudi Arabia for onward transmission to Baghdad, Washington encouraged Iraq to attack Iran.”

Saddam was supported by CIA-sponsored Iranian military officers given refuge in Iraq. Soviet Russia feared revolutionary Islam spreading to central Asia.

Saddam saw his chance to wage war and win. He hoped to defeat a regional rival, annex parts of Iran, and strengthen his regional position.

Washington wanted its own regional influence enhanced. The Carter Doctrine pledged Middle East military intervention if US interests were threatened.

According to columnist Jack Anderson, he considered invading Iran, seizing its oil fields, and boosting his electoral prospects, he hoped. Soviet Russia threatened intervention if he followed through.

Carter abandoned his plans. At the same time, his administration remained hostile to Ayatollah Khomeini’s government.

Reagan escalated Carter policies short of committing US forces in combat. Saddam got US backing. America pretended neutrality. It proves repeatedly it can’t be trusted.

Support for the Shah was a key element of US regional policy. Iran’s 1979 revolution changed things. Saddam became Washington’s weapon to defeat a government it opposed.

On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. Border clashes preceded all-out conflict. Nearly eight years of war followed. Over a million died, including civilians. America and other Western countries call it the Iran/Iraq war.

Saddam hoped it would be a “whirlwind war.” He renamed it Qadisiyyad Saddam. It was an emotive reference to Arabs defeating Persians in 636. Tehran calls it the “Sacred Defense” or “imposed war.”

On September 21, Press TV headlined “Iran marks (32nd) anniversary of Iraq imposed war with military parades,” saying:

Ceremonies opened “Sacred Defense Week.” They began symbolically at Ayatollah Khomeini’s Tehran mausoleum. Planned events include parades, commemorative concerts, and photo exhibits.

Commemorating the occasion, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a nationally televised address, saying:

“Our sacred defense was not defending a territory, a nation or a school of thought alone. It was well beyond that. It was defending human dignity, the rights of all nations and those of the oppressed people of the world.”

Iran will “stand and defend its rights,” he asserted. He called the blasphemous anti-Muslim film inciting violence an Israeli plot “to divide (Muslims) and spark sectarian conflict.”

He and Ayatollah Khamenei days earlier noted Western hypocrisy. Condemn Washington, other NATO allies, or Israeli crimes and be denounced. At the same time, insulting Islam is called free expression.

He criticized nations backing Saddam’s invasion. They revealed their imperial regional aims. They’re also fake human rights advocates. They say one thing and do another. Scoundrels operate that way.

Iranian officials turned out in force. High-ranking military ones were present. Iran’s latest military hardware was showcased. On display was its new domestically made air defense system.

Called Raad, or Thunder, it’s more advanced than its Russian predecessor. It’s designed to confront jet aircraft, cruise missiles, smart bombs, helicopters, and drones.

Its capability ranges up to 30 miles. It can strike targets high as 75,000 feet. It’s a formidable defense against attack.

“Sacred Defense Week” commemorates Iran’s commitment to deter aggressors and remain free.

Western and Israeli long knives remain threatening. Tensions are especially high. Netanyahu’s bluster aside, longstanding Washington plans call for regime change.

Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is red herring cover used as pretext. If not that, something else would substitute. Excuses are easy to fabricate. Western media scoundrels regurgitate them ad nauseam.

Fear is generated. Other false charges follow. America is hell bent for war. It has a willing partner in Israel provided Washington plays the lead role.

Potentially catastrophic consequences are ignored. Apparently, so is opposition expressed by current and past high-ranking military and government officials in both countries. Updated war plans are ready to be implemented unless cooler heads go all out to prevent it.

Iran is falsely called an existential threat. Netanyahu and Israeli hardliners claim it constantly. Washington does it on and off. It’s wearing thin but take it seriously. One day crying wolf won’t be bluster or bluffing.

On September 20, Haaretz reported the latest outburst. It headlined “US warns Iran: Time is running out on diplomacy over nuclear program.”

This time UN envoy Susan Rice issued the warning. She gives diplomacy a bad name. She’s one of America’s worst ever ambassadors. Her style is belligerent, arrogant, and offensive.

Addressing the Security Council, she said:

“We believe there is still time and space for diplomacy,” but not much.

“(T)he onus is on Iran to respond constructively.” She added that Washington seeks a “clear, united resolution” regarding Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program.

Her comments were a clear warning. At the same time, she and other US officials know Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful. So do others in Israel, European nations and elsewhere.

Nonetheless, warnings persist. This one comes as Washington, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, and other US allies stage large-scale Gulf naval drills. Doing so is provocative. It heightens tensions. Make no mistake. Provocation is Washington policy.

This one is codenamed IMCMEX-12. It involves minesweeping and other measures to keep the Strait of Hormuz open if Iran blocks it defensively. It warned about doing it if attacked.

In September, Tehran plans its own drills. It knows the risks and stands ready to confront them.

So do Israelis wanting no part of war. A mid-August Haaretz article headlined “We’ll all pay on doomsday,” saying:

Attacking Iran is madness. It means sharply higher oil prices, deeper global recession, and Israel becoming “even less popular in Europe and the United States than we already are.”

The Bank of Israel and Finance Ministry predict attacking Iran will cause “serious economic damage.” They’re concerned about bankruptcies, mass layoffs, potential panic, and other protracted effects.

World condemnation will follow. Countries, companies, labor organizations, and consumer groups already boycott Israel for good reason. Attacking Iran will intensify their ire.

When “rockets fall on Tel Aviv,” expect investors to flee. Financial assets will suffer. Tax revenues will drop. Deficits will rise.

Iran’s response will be far more robust than anything Israel previously experienced. “You can’t live a normal life under a daily threat like that.”

Israelis will be fearful. They’ll hunker down. Normal activities will be curtailed. Business will suffer. Tourists won’t come. International airlines will cancel flights. Ports will be “paralyzed.”

The shekel will drop sharply. Inflation will rise. Goods will become scarce. The only good news is that unaffordable housing prices will fall. Who’ll buy property vulnerable to destruction?

Haaretz omitted what’s most important. How many millions of Iranian and Israeli lives will be lost? Bombing nuclear facilities in both countries assures widespread irradiation.

Immediate casualties will be huge in both countries. Longer-term ones will be catastrophically high. War on Iran assures all sides lose. Regional countries will be affected. So will most others from economic fallout.

Haaretz is right saying “We’ll all pay on doomsday.” Assuring it doesn’t happen is the only sensible policy. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense.

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”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

posted by Steve Lendman @ 11:49 PM

Thursday, September 20, 2012

US Media War on Islam

US Media War on Islam

by Stephen Lendman

America never treated Muslims respectfully. US media and Hollywood play lead roles. Jack Shaheen’s book “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” documented how American filmmakers slander them.

For decades, they’ve been fair game. From silent to more recent films, prejudicial attitudes were fostered. They still are regularly. They disparage Islam in contrast to manufactured notions of Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.

Islamic tenets are ignored. The Koran teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism.

Its five pillars include profession of faith, prayer five times daily, fasting during Ramadan, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime for those able to afford it.

Nonetheless, Muslims are stereotypically portrayed as dangerous gun-toting terrorists. Hate messages repeat regularly. Fear is stoked. Imperial wars of aggression are called justifiable ones.

At home, Muslims are vilified and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, and at times prominence, activism and charity.

They’re lawlessly targeted. They’re hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, and given long sentences.

For extra harsh treatment, they incarcerated as political prisoners. They’re segregated in Communication Management Units (CMUs).

Doing so violates US Prison Bureau regulations. They strictly prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political beliefs.

In February 2005, the Supreme Court’s Johnson v. California decision affirmed 14th Amendment protection against racial discrimination. It “rejected the notion that separate can ever be equal or neutral.”

Bush administration officials violated rule of law provisions regularly. So do Obama’s. Innocent victims suffer grievously. It happens abroad and at home.

Guantanamo and other torture prisons exist globally. Muslims fill them. Post-9/11, they became public enemy number one.

Many in America are consigned to CMU prison hell. Treatment is ruthless and demeaning. Extra punishment may be ordered for any reason or none at all.

They get fewer rights than other prisoners. Their dietary requirements are compromised or denied. So is proper medical care when needed. Emergency treatment takes days to get. It’s not delivered properly when gotten.

Rotten, inedible food quality is commonplace. Tap water is inferior. Privacy is denied. The entire CMU is monitored round the clock with cameras and listening devices. Policy assures mistreatment and disrespect. Prisoner complaints go unanswered.

Virtually every imprisoned Muslim is innocent. They’re war on terror victims. They’re locked up for praying to the wrong God. They’re alive, but for those getting inordinately long sentences, they’re among the living dead.

Their families suffer with them. It’s the wrong time to be Muslim in America and in nations abroad Washington targets.

Major media scoundrels back the worst of US crimes. When Bush administration officials declared war on Islam, they marched in lockstep. They still do. They’re reliable imperial cheerleaders.

They headline inflammatory accounts of innocent Muslims charged domestically. They play the same blame game. Targeted victims are considered guilty by accusation. Before indictment and prosecution, they’re convicted in the court of public opinion.

Their coverage of anti-Muslim hate film violence is appalling. They ignore what’s really going on. On the one hand, it reflects rage over imperial wars on Islamic countries. People don’t burn buildings or harm others over blasphemous materials alone.

The film sparked what followed. It ignited violence. Promoting it on social media spread it. Something else could have done it as easily. People take abuse only so long before reacting. Once begun, it replicates elsewhere.

In the 1960s, racial segregation, related police violence, other denied civil rights, and economic depravation ignited violence across America. Neighborhoods in northern US cities were set ablaze. It can happen again and likely will. Provocative incidents spark it. It can happen anywhere.

Other factors also lie behind the anti-Muslim film. Dark forces produced it. Killing a US ambassador reinforced it. Israeli fingerprints are all over it. Jewish donors funded it. They got what they wanted.

Justifiable rage across the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia, as well as elsewhere lets them portray Muslims as violent terrorist threats. US and other Western headlines reflect it. More on that below.

Also at issue is America’s November election. Netanyahu and Obama dislike each other. It’s no secret that the Israeli leader favors Romney. He thinks he’ll be quicker to attack Iran.

He’s angry about Obama’s reluctance to show rock solid support. He wants him Carterized. He picked a very public fight to get his way.

Perhaps he’s directly responsible for the blasphemous film. If not, very likely extremists around him. It has all the earmarks of a Mossad false flag. At issue is weakening him politically and fomenting war.

San Francisco anti-Muslim bus ads stoke it. They’re planned for New York and perhaps elsewhere. They read:

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Concluding words say “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Pam Geller’s running them. She’s a notorious hatemonger. US media scoundrels publish her writing. She’s interviewed on television. CBS’ 60 Minutes ran a full feature profile.

She and Robert Spencer co-founded the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America. It’s legal to be bigoted in America. It’s appalling that media scoundrels support what they should condemn.

The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo fanned its own flames. It ran blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed. Some showed him naked in pornographic poses.

Editor in chief Gerard Biard claimed he did it to satirize the anti-Muslim video. He called its violent reaction absurd. Editorial director Stephane Charbonnier said “We have the right to express ourselves.”

Biard added the Charlie Hebdo is “a newspaper against religions as soon as they enter into the political and public realm.” He claims Muslim religious leaders manipulate French followers for political reasons. “You’re not meant to identify yourself through a religion, in any case not in a secular state,” he claims.

Christians and Jews do it freely in France, America, and other Western countries without incident. Only Muslims are targeted for their faith unfairly.

Who speaks for their rights? No one in high places or with media influence able to reach large audiences in America and across Europe daily.

White House spokesman Jay Carney stopped short of denouncing Charlie Hebdo editors, saying:

“We don’t question the right of something like this to be published. We just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it.”

Call it a back door endorsement. French officials also backed their hate speech rights.

Try denouncing the holocaust in France and see what happens. Try wearing a hijab, other head covering, or head to toe burqah and find out.

Try denouncing Israeli crimes on US television or in mainstream publications, and see how long you keep your job. Try supporting right over wrong and fair no better.

Major media in America and other Western countries suppress truth and full disclosure. Imperial wars are cheerled. Friendly dictators are supported. Independent governments are called terrorist ones. News, information, and analysis get turned on their head.

On September 19, a New York Times editorial was typical. It headlined “The United States and the Muslim world.”

It invoked “Arab Spring” terminology. It’s a Western, not Middle East, term. Since regional protests erupted in winter 2011, nothing changed. In countries like Egypt, things are worse.

The Times inverts reality. It calls regional states run by despots “liberated” ones. They’ve “become battlegrounds for Islamic extremists, moderates and secularists, all contending for power and influence over the direction of democratic change.”

Except for confessional-style Lebanese democracy, no Arab state tolerates it. Neither does Israel, America and hardcore NATO allies.

The Times blames regional violence on extremist elements beyond US control. They’re “eager to exploit unrest for their own purposes.”

Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah is a powerful force against Western and Israeli imperialism. The Times calls him a “particularly destructive force.” It denounced his ability to get tens of thousands of anti-US/Israeli protesters onto Beirut streets and elsewhere across Lebanon.

It pilloried his support for Assad. It condemned Anti-American regional protesters. It claimed they “reinforced the worst fears of those who see Muslims” as violent extremists.

“In 2009, (Obama) wisely sought rapprochement with Muslims.” His Cairo speech “endorsed an approach of mutual respect and promised, that….America never would be at war with Islam.”

From day one, Obama waged multiple direct and proxy wars against Muslim countries. Iraq remains occupied. Tens of thousands of US combat troops never left. Daily violence harms innocent civilians.

Afghan war rages. It’s America’s longest conflict. No end in sight looks near. Obama destroyed Libya. He killed tens of thousands of civilians. Violence continues daily across the country. No one’s sure who’ll live or die.

He supports the worst of Bahraini despotism, its war on people wanting democratic freedoms, and its persecution of activists supporting it.

He’s waging proxy wars against Somalia, Yemen, and indirectly against Palestine with billions of dollars of Israeli aid and strong support for occupation harshness.

He bears direct responsibility for ravaging Syria. He plans eventual war on Iran. Since January 1991, America killed millions of Middle East, North African, and Central Asians Muslims. Most were non-combatant civilians. Many were children.

How many more millions will die before The New York Times and other media scoundrels acknowledge decades of US mass murder?

Instead, The Times praised Obama’s commitment to Middle East democracy. It urged America “to stay engaged in whatever ways it can.”

Millions across the region feel otherwise. They want Washington out for good reason. It’s a scourge. It menaces people wanting peace and freedom, not war, occupation, genocide and destruction. Don’t expect The Times or other media scoundrels to explain.

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”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

posted by Steve Lendman @ 11:43 PM

Bailout Fraud and Unaccountability

Bailout Fraud and Unaccountability

by Stephen Lendman

On December 8, 2008, the Senate confirmed Neil Barofsky’s nomination as Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) watchdog. He assumed the post of SIGTARP (Special Inspector General for TARP).

On July 20, 2009, he estimated the $700 billion bailout fund could balloon to $23.7 trillion. Obama administration secrecy conceals what’s essential to reveal. Over $9 trillion is known. Some analysts think true figures may be three times that amount. Only crooked bankers and corrupt bureaucrats know for sure.

In February 2009, Barofsky submitted an initial report to Congress. In the past two months, he said, Washington handed out hundreds of billions of dollars (like confetti) to troubled financial institutions.

Where did the money go, he asked? What assurances exist that it’s not stolen or wasted?

TARP didn’t require recipients to report or internally track funds used. Accountability wasn’t mandated. Banks took full advantage. Instead of loans to stimulate recovery, they hoarded cash, acquired other financial institutions, paid off debt, speculated, and knew then and now there’s plenty more help for the asking.

Fraud prevention standards weren’t imposed. Barofsky doubts the program’s longterm success.

On March 29, 2011, he headlined a New York Times op-ed “Where the Bailout Went Wrong,” saying:

Two and a half years after legislation passed, Obama officials declared mission accomplished. “On my last day as the special inspector general….I regret to say that I strongly disagree.”

TARP and what followed struck out. It “failed to meet some of its most important goals.” Main Street was sacrificed for Wall Street.

Congress was told TARP funds would buy up to $700 billion of mortgages. Authorizing legislation (the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act – EESA) emphasized preserving homeownership.

Treasury officials promised help. EESA mandated it. Struggling homeowners got none. Legislative provisions were violated. Treasury changed the rules. Money went to banks with no accountability or mandate to extend credit.

“There were no strings attached: no requirement or even incentive to increase lending to home buyers, and against our strong recommendation, not even a request that banks report how they used TARP funds.”

Instead of increased lending, it declined. As inspector general, Barofsky had no enforcement power. He could only recommend. Suggested policies fell on deaf ears. Treasury and Wall Street conspired to commit grand theft. Ordinary people were hung out to dry and scammed.

Helping homeowners was shelved. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was introduced. Obama promised four million families help. The program was “a colossal failure.”

It was designed to fail. Its provisions included no accountability. Guidelines only were provided. Banks and other mortgage services ignored them. Foreclosures mounted. Millions of homeowners were defrauded. Nothing changed to this day.

One of HAMP’s most pernicious abuses was letting servicers “direct borrowers who were current on their mortgages to start skipping payments, telling them that that would allow them to qualify for a HAMP modification,” said Barofsky.

“Homeowners who might have been able to ride out the crisis instead ended up in long trial modifications, after which servicers would deny them a permanent modification and send them an enormous ‘deficiency’ bill.”

“Borrowers who might otherwise never have missed a payment found themselves hit with whopping bills that they couldn’t pay and now faced foreclosure. It was a disaster.”

Geithner bears full responsibility. Understating problems, he admitted solutions “won’t come close” to expectations. He refused to address glaring shortfalls. He abandoned Main Street for Wall Street. He’s complicit in grand theft. He and banker cronies belong in prison.

Banks know they can steal with impunity. They’re larger and more powerful now than when crisis conditions erupted. They can speculate recklessly. They’ll be bailed whenever they get in trouble.

Treasury “ignore(d) rather than support(ed) real” reforms. Its “broken promises” turned TARP and other programs into a giant Wall Street “giveaway.”

Its “mismanagement” and criminal complicity “damaged the credibility of the government….” Conditions are so out of control that future policy makers may be unable “to save the system the next time a crisis arises.”

Perhaps that’s TARP’s “most lasting, and unfortunate, legacy.”

Barofsky’s new book “Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street” explains.

Writer/Roosevelt Institute fellow Matthew Stoller calls it “a very important” account of the financial crisis aftermath. In April 2010, Barofsky met a key adversary.

Herbert Allison formerly headed Merrill Lynch, TIAA-CREF and Fannie Mae. He came out of retirement to oversee TARP. He became Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Stability.

“Have you thought at all about what you’ll be doing next,” he asked. “Out there in the market, there are consequences for some of the things you’re saying and the way you’re saying them.”

Barofsky knew he was being threatened “with lifelong unemployment.” Going along instead of bucking the system assures revolving door plum positions. “It was gold or the lead,” he explained.

Cooperate and get rich. Don’t and lose out. At first, he “had no idea that the US government had been captured by” bankers. He was “shocked (at) how much control” they have over policy on their own terms. Treasury goes along deferentially. Republicans or Democrats agree on core issues.

He was hijacked and hamstrung. Too big to fail constitutes near omnipotence. Whatever Wall Street wants it gets. Contesting its power is futile.

Stoller calls “Bailout” an account of “the importance of Congressional oversight in reigning in corruption, and the problems of our imperial Presidency.”

Barofsky hoped for press and congressional attention. “Our message was simple,” he said. “Treasury’s desperate attempt to bail out Wall Street was setting the country up for potentially catastrophic losses.”

Throughout his tenure, he was obstructed. He faced road blocks, ambushes, trench warfare, and threats in trying to do his job.

On arrival at Treasury, he saw ornate large offices given top officials. He got a small, foul-smelling basement one with barred windows. He spent most of the next three years there. He wasn’t welcome unless he played ball. It’s not his style and he refused.

He explained what he saw graphically. Homeowners were abandoned and scammed. A tsunami of evictions, foreclosures, fraud, mortgage document robo-signings, blighted neighborhoods, and homelessness continues without relief.

Taxpayers got the bill. Bankers got benefits. So did lobbyists and go-along politicians. The combination of Treasury criminality, White House complicity, congressional laxity, and regulatory failure keeps the dirty game going.

Since crisis conditions erupted five years ago, ordinary people were sold out and lied to. Obama exceeded the worst Bush administration policies. Political corruption is rampant.

Barofsky’s best efforts failed. Attempts to achieve accountability, transparency, controls, and consumer protections proved no match for entrenched bureaucratic power, privilege and complicity with Wall Street.

He issued numerous reports. Geithner and other Obama officials buried them. Media scoundrels largely ignored them.

Barofsky believes Geithner, complicit officials, and Wall Street crooks should be fired and prosecuted. Don’t expect it as long as criminals run America.

Five years after crisis conditions erupted, no top Wall Street or government official faced charges. Unaccountability is institutionalized. An eventual greater crisis looms. Unresolved problems assure it. When is anyone’s guess.

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”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

posted by Steve Lendman @ 11:42 PM

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hypocrisy not Democracy in America

Hypocrisy Not Democracy in America

by Stephen Lendman

US elections are farcical. Obama and Romney represent two sides of the same coin. Neither offers choice. Democracy never existed and doesn’t now. Rhetoric substitutes for reality.

Republicans and Democrats offer the worst of all possible worlds. Ordinary people are entirely shut out. Growing numbers reject both parties for good reason. Money power owns them.

“Are you better off” than four years ago, asked The New York Times? “There is really no reason for any hesitancy. The country is unquestionably better off than it was in 2008.”

Fact check

True to form, The Times offered a litany of lies. Bankers, other corporate favorites, and war profiteers fared handsomely. They still do. America’s 99% got stiff-armed. Most US households were thrown under the bus.

Virtually no jobs were created. Full-time/good pay and benefit ones are disappearing. Real unemployment approaches 23%. In the Great Depression, it reached 25%. Serious efforts were made then to reduce it. Virtually nothing is done now.

US Census figures confirm half or more of US households living in poverty or bordering on it. Record numbers need food stamps to survive. Congress plans cuts when they’re more than ever needed.

Feeding America says over 50 million Americans face hunger. One in six people are affected, including over one in five children. Political Washington ignores food insecurity. Serving corporate interests and imperial warmongers alone matter.

Duplicitous political convention rhetoric was enough to make a brash brigand blush. Banality took center stage. Demagogic deception hid reactionary extremism.

Convention delegates and ordinary people inhabit worlds apart. Pre-scripted yammering was predictable. Republicans showed contempt for human needs. Phony populism hid a similar Democrat agenda.

Privilege alone matters. Ordinary folks increasingly are on their own sink or swim. Obama’s first term reflected it. Betrayal and failure defined it. Another four years assures more of the same and then some.

The man promising hope and change broke every major pledge made. Four demagogic years did Lincoln one better. He fooled most people enough to matter. He’s beholden to big money. He never cared about ordinary people and doesn’t now.

“Yes we can” conceals his dark side. No pun intended. He’s a consummate con man. It’s easy to know when he’s lying, just watch his lips move.

Throughout his political career, he’s been pro-corporate, pro-war, pro-Israel, anti-populist, anti-civil and human rights, and anti all values real democrats support.

He put Wall Street crooks in charge of looting the nation’s wealth. He furthered the greatest wealth transfer in history. Rules, regulations, legal restraints with teeth, and taxes were slashed to help them. Plans are on track to make America resemble Guatemala.

Full-time/high pay/good benefit jobs are disappearing. So are social services. They’re on the chopping block for elimination. The nation’s middle class is targeted for destruction. A huge underclass is replacing it. America’s more than ever militarized to control it.

Police state laws threaten freedom. Big Brother spying is policy. Privacy is a figure of speech. First Amendment rights and dissent are endangered. Tyranny, torture, corporate empowerment, and permanent wars define Obama’s agenda.

He exceeded the worst of George Bush’s harshness, lawlessness, and belligerency. Imagine what he plans if reelected. He waged war on Islam, Latino immigrants, animal and environmental rights activists, whistleblowers, people of color, the poor, anyone challenging state power, and civil rights lawyers who defend them too vigorously.

In Obama’s America, only the privileged matter. Growing numbers of others are on their own hungry, homeless, and jobless.

He looted the nation’s wealth, wrecked the economy, ravaged one nation after another, and continues waging war on humanity.

He executed two Latin American coups. Honduras’ democratically elected president was ousted. So was Paraguay’s. He militarized Haiti, opened the country for business, occupied it for plunder, rigged its election, installed a pro-Western stooge, and increased the growing burden of impoverished Haitians who deserve better.

He supports the world’s worst despots. He sucks up shamelessly to Israel. He spurns long denied Palestinian rights. He plans war on Syria and Iran. Neither nation threatens anyone. America and Israel menace humanity.

He presides over a bogus democracy under a repressive police state apparatus. Habeas rights, due process, judicial fairness, and other civil liberty protections are quaint artifacts increasingly discarded.

Torture is official policy. So is Murder, Inc. Death squads operate in over 120 countries. Special forces and CIA operatives are licensed to kill. US citizens may be targeted at home or abroad. No one anywhere is safe.

Summary judgment means no arrests. No Miranda rights. No due process. No trial. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat. It’s official Obama policy. Diktat authority affords justice to no one ordered killed.

It also lets Obama order US citizens arrested and indefinitely held without charge or trial. No proof is needed, just suspicions that those detained pose threats. Constitutional protections no longer apply.

US military personnel may arrest and indefinitely detain anyone globally. No one anywhere is safe. Tyranny is policy. Obama seized virtual dictatorial powers. Anyone designated a potential enemy of the state, true or false, is targeted.

Political prisoners fill America’s gulag. It’s the world’s largest by far and one of the worst. Muslims and people of color are most at risk. America’s super-rich and corporate crooks are free to do what they please. Bad as things are now, expect worse.

War rages against labor. Budget-strapped states get little help. Welfare is being cut. So are Medicare for seniors, Medicaid for the needy, and other New Deal/Great Society programs.

Public education is being commodified. Plans call for making it another business profit center and ending government’s responsibility. Health care is being rationed. Only those who can afford it will get help when they need it.

Food and drug safety don’t matter. Nor do clean clean air or water. Small farms and businesses are being destroyed. Large ones are bigger and more dominant than ever.

Wall Street ones are up to one-fourth larger today than four years ago. They’re double their size a decade ago relative to the economy. Ordinary Americans are much poorer and more deprived.

Financial reform was fraudulent. Institutionalized grand theft is policy. Business as usual lets Wall Street run the country. Consumer protections don’t exist.

The worst of bad practices continue. Rules either don’t exist or are made to be broken. Bankers get what they want. Ordinary people get scammed.

Obama promised “change you can believe in.” He delivered betrayal instead. He’s anti-progressive, hard-right, reactionary, belligerent, pro-corporate, and anti-populist. He’s heartless, merciless, morally corrupt, and soulless.

Austerity is policy when help is needed. Draconian cuts were enacted. Many more are planned. Eliminating trillions of dollars in social service spending is policy. Democrats are in lock step with Republicans.

Corporate handouts, tax cuts for the rich, and Pentagon spending remain virtually untouched. Bad as things are now, imagine America in four years under either party.

Obama plans more of the same and then some. Romney is a religious extremist/corporate crook/socially destructive/imperial rogue.

He and Ryan plan exceeding the worst of Obama. Both are unapologetic. They’re indifferent to human need and welfare. They represent everything wrong with a broken system. It’s too corrupted, dysfunctional, and rotten to fix.

They’re frontmen for financialized America, super-rich privilege, and imperial lawlessness. They guarantee worse wide awake nightmares than Obama.

America’s choice in November is none. Bad as things are now expect worse. Bipartisan complicity assures it.

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”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

posted by Steve Lendman @ 11:54 PM

Unconditional Surrender in Chicago

Unconditional Surrender in Chicago

by Stephen Lendman

September 18, 2012 will be remembered in Chicago as a day of infamy. Corrupt city officials and union bosses won. Teachers, parents, and kids lost.

On September 10, teachers walked out. Core issues were at stake. Most important is saving public education. An American tradition is disappearing.

It’s being commodified. Corporate predators are gaining control. Contract terms agreed on do nothing to stop them.

On Tuesday, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) House of Delegates voted to suspend strike action and resume classes. By 9:00AM Wednesday morning, they reopened across the city.

Primary and secondary education in Chicago and across America is a shadow of its former self. An article written two years ago next month compared earlier America with today. Rewritten parts are below, saying:

A personal note. I grew up in Boston from the mid-1930s – mid-1950s through college. Post-graduate work followed military service.

Times were different, good and bad. Eisenhower was still president. Unemployment was low. Anyone wanting work found it. Financialization hadn’t taken hold. Industrial America was strong. Most jobs were high pay/good benefit/full-time ones.

Most years the economy grew during a post-WW II expansion. Inflation was low. The average new car cost $1,500. A typical home was under $10,000. College was affordable.

Harvard’s 1952 full year tuition was $600. Four years later it was $1,000 – for a full, two-semester year. Anyone could attend evenings for $5 a course and get a Harvard degree for about $175.

My mother did it that way. On June 14, 1956, we graduated together in the same class. We were Harvard’s first ever mother and son to do it. Perhaps no parent and child did it since.

America was unchallenged economically. Its manufacturing base was solid. It offered high paying/good benefits jobs. No longer.

Union representation was high. Today it’s a shadow of its former self. Southern and northern US cities were segregated. They still are.

All 1960s civil rights gains plus most good jobs and benefits are gone. Alaska and Hawaii additions grew America to 50 states. The Korean War left an unsettled armistice. Six decades later, things haven’t changed.

Cold War politics settled in. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) prevented WW III. Censure ruined Joe McCarthy. By May 1957, he was dead at age 48. He’s not missed or mourned.

The CIA’s first coup deposed Iran’s democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh. A generation of terror followed. A year later, America toppled Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. Decades of genocide followed. Indigenous Guatemalans suffered horrifically. They still do.

Throughout the decade, few followed Vietnam events, France’s defeat, and America’s growing involvement. Palestine wasn’t occupied. Israel was mostly out of sight and mind.

Times indeed changed, and not for the better, including in education.

June 14, 1956 reflected a different time. Thousands filled Harvard’s yard that day. Dignitaries showed up. Jack Kennedy delivered the commencement address. Senator JFK. It was 1956.

He was thoughtful and scholarly. Politicians don’t talk that way today. He said political parties and politicians only think of winning. Truth and honor are sacrificed for political advantage.

His entire address was full of scholarly references. He quoted Lowell, Milton, Bismark, Goethe, Macauley, and others. He had intellect and showed it.

He reminded listeners that long ago books were politicians’ tools, not their enemies. Locke, Milton, Sydney, Montesquieu, Coke, Bollingbroke and others were widely read and quoted in political pamphlets.

“Our political leaders traded in the free commerce of ideas with lasting results” long ago. He named Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin, Adams, his son John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster among others.

He said when freedom is endangered, politicians and intellectuals “should be natural allies, working more closely together for the common cause against the common enemy.”

He ended saying “if more politicians knew poetry and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live on this commencement day of 1956.”

He also said one of his contemporaries spoke of Jefferson as a man for all seasons. He called him “A gentleman of 32, who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play the violin.”

He was also a statesman, third US president, and supporter of public and university education. He said “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

“….whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that, whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right.”

He called education fundamental for democracy. He believed ignorance and sound government can’t co-exist. He said government must provide education.

Only popular government can safeguard democracy. “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree….”

“Democracy cannot long exist without enlightenment….it cannot function without wise and honest officials.”

In free societies, everyone “should be educated regardless of wealth, birth or other accidental conditions….Children of the poor must be educated at common expense.”

On December 2, 1806, in his State of the Union Address, he urged Congress pass a constitutional amendment mandating federal support for education. He said:

“An amendment to our constitution must here come in aid of the public education. The influence over government must be shared among all people.”

He never got what he wanted. It’s our loss today. He believed primary and secondary education were vital. He wanted them kept public. He had six objectives. He hoped they’d create a more productive, informed electorate. They included:

(1) “To give every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business;

(2) To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts, and accounts, in writing;

(3) To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties;

(4) To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either;

(5) To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment;

(6) And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.”

Hopefully he meant “she” as well as “he.”

He devoted his later years to education. He wanted to create an “academic village.” In 1819, he founded the University of Virginia. He envisioned a new kind of university. He wanted emphasis placed on practical affairs and public service.

It was America’s first nonsectarian institution of higher learning. It was the first to adopt an elective course system. He called founding the university one of his greatest achievements.

He did it late in life. He planned its curriculum, recruited its first faculty, and designed its “academic village.” In 1825, classes began with eight teachers and 68 students.

Kennedy also believed in the importance of education. He said “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

“A child miseducated is a child lost.”

He supported keeping primary and secondary education public. He proposed aiding them with federal grants. He stressed investing in our youth from grade school through post-graduate studies. Imagine what he, Jefferson, and like-minded leaders would say today.

On September 19, the Chicago Tribune headlined “Teachers, students return to Chicago public schools,” saying:

On Tuesday, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) House of Delegates members voted to end strike action and return to classes.

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) president Karen Lewis pressured them to accede. She should be hung in effigy, fired and replaced. Instead she practically gloated saying:

“We feel very positive about moving forward. We feel grateful that we have a united union, and that when a union moves together, amazing things happen.”

Sugar-coating sellout doesn’t wash.

Mayor Emanuel was no better. He called the deal “an honest compromise.”

It was sellout. Money and power won. Teachers, parents and kids lost. At issue is how long will it take before they know? Then, what’ll they do about it?

Short-term, it’s too late. Across America, ordinary people are losing out consistently. Human, civil and worker rights are being lost. A previous article said Occupy Wall Street is right. The only solution is world revolution. Nothing less will work.

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

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