Austerity USA Begins March 1st: Bipartisan Project to Impoverish the American People

Shamus Cooke

U.S. politicians have cried wolf over austerity long enough for the public to ignore them. A perfect time, then, for politicians to actually unleash the wolves. Barring an unlikely last minute deal, here’s a short list of some of the massive, national bi-partisan-created austerity cuts, according to the New York Times:

600,000 food stamp recipients will be cut from the program
Massive education cuts. According to President Obama: “Once these cuts take effect thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. ”
12 billion in Medicare cuts (more to come after 2013)
Millions receiving unemployment will see their checks cut by 11% (an average of 132 a month)
Federal funds to state governments will be cut, creating even more deficits for states and municipalities, and thus more localized cuts (the states have already made austerity cuts of $337 billion!)

Also, 700,000 jobs are expected to be lost, while 70,000 kids are also expected to be kicked off of Head Start.

And this is just for 2013. The current plan for the austerity “sequester” cuts is $100 billion of federal cuts every year for ten years, equaling massive cuts to jobs, Medicare, education, and completely destroying federally funded social programs. - Will it actually happen this time?

Nuclear Roulette Update

Stephen Lendman

Iran threatens no one. Israel's a longstanding a regional menace. It's nuclear armed and dangerous. Washington and Tel Aviv menace humanity.

Multiple P5 + 1 talks were held. Almaty, Kazakstan ones are the latest. Nothing gets accomplished. Washington obstructionism prevents it. Israel does so covertly.

Netanyahu reacted as expected. Bluster substitutes for reason. "(T)here are no measures that will make Iran heed the demands of the international community aside from military sanctions against it," he said. Iran won't end its "military nuclear program. (It) continues to violate all the international standards. Therefore I believe that the world must tighten the sanctions and make it clear that if it continues with its plan, there will be military sanctions." - He means war.

Nuclear talks are subterfuge. Washington, Israel, and EU nations know Iran's program is peaceful. Claiming otherwise is red herring cover for regime change.

US plans are longstanding. Independent governments aren't tolerated. Subservient pro-Western ones are demanded. In 1979, Iran ended a generation of repressive Reza Shah Pahlavi rule. He was Washington's man in Tehran. He remained so until the Islamic Republic of Iran replaced him. Iranians aren't about to roll over for America. Their independence matters more. They're not about to surrender it nor should they.

Will Your Protest Be Terminated By Killer Robots?

Paul Craig Roberts

Did you know that the latest big business is killer robots? Not only drones that can be insect size and lethal, but also Terminator-type machines that will have the power to decide who lives and dies.

Of course, the way has been paved for killer robots and their inevitable mistakes, as the US military no longer differentiates between actual combatants and collateral damage.

The US government no longer pays any attention to the Geneva Conventions and the international laws once supported by the United States until “the war on terror” took over the government. The Bush and Obama regimes have eliminated morality from the picture.

Any combatant who surrenders or is captured is likely to be illegally tortured, as all available evidence shows. Once killer robots are unleashed, under the rights of surrender, how does one surrender to a killer robot? If a robot commits war crimes, how is the robot held accountable?

Obama's Asia Pivot

Stephen Lendman

In late 2011, Obama prioritized reasserting America's Pacific presence. His Asia pivot was announced. It involves advancing America's military footprint. Doing so aggressively is planned.

China's growing economic might and military strength are targeted. So is checking Russia at the same time. Containment is policy. Cold war politics is back. Unchallenged global dominance is prioritized. Anything goes intends to maintain it. War in a part of the world hostile to invaders is possible.

Vietnam echoes remain audible. So are Afghanistan ones today. China's a far more formidable adversary. So is Russia. It's hard imagining any country challenging them militarily. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. America hasn't won a war since WW II. Lessons weren't learned. Permanent war remains policy. War profiteers demand it.

University of Ottawa Racism, Censorship and Abuse of Power

Stephen Lendman

Allan Rock, le recteur de l'Université d'Ottawa (

In June 2008, Allan Rock became university president. He's a former Canadian politician and UN ambassador. He's a pro-Israeli flack. He supports its worst crimes.

His administration is unprincipled. It's marked by secrecy, political censorship, abuse of power, and repudiation of fundamental university values. He targets academic and speech freedoms. He violates Canadian law.

Article 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association."

Article 7 assures "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and the right not to be deprived thereof in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

Hardline rule is university policy. What Rocks says goes. Faculty and student activists are targeted, vilified, persecuted, suspended and dismissed.

Shepherds and Sheep

Thomas Sowell

Cass Sunstein needs to reread John Stuart Mill.

John Stuart Mill’s classic essay “On Liberty” gives reasons why some people should not be taking over other people’s decisions about their own lives. But Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard has given reasons to the contrary. He cites research showing “that people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove extremely damaging.”

Professor Sunstein is undoubtedly correct that “people make a lot of mistakes.” Most of us can look back over our own lives and see many mistakes, including some that were very damaging.

What Cass Sunstein does not tell us is what sort of creatures, other than people, are going to override our mistaken decisions for us. That is the key flaw in the theory and agenda of the left.

Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.

Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger and more catastrophic mistakes?

Pakistan transfers strategic Gwadar port to China

Sampath Perera

On February 18, the Pakistani government transferred operational control of its strategically-located deep-sea port at Gwadar, Balochistan province to China. India, a rival of Pakistan and of China, has expressed concerns over the deal—highlighting the increasingly complex geo-political rivalries stoked by the Obama administration’s policy of “pivot” to Asia.

Gwadar is situated on the Arabian Sea, just 180 nautical miles (330 kilometres) from the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world’s oil supply passes. It offers a prime location to monitor shipping passing through the Strait of Hormuz from the Persian Gulf, as well as access to cheap land routes or Middle East trade through Pakistan into western China and Central Asia.

The agreement to transfer the port to the state-owned China Overseas Port Holding Company was signed in a ceremony attended by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, several ministers, and Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian. The previous operator, the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), withdrew after Islamabad refused to provide large land allotments the PSA wanted for development work around the port.

IAEA Report Confirms Iran's Peaceful Nuclear Program

Stephen Lendman

It's no surprise. It's been that way for years. Iran's legally entitled to enrich uranium. Dozens of other countries do the same thing. Tehran alone is criticized.

Managed news misinformation begets more of it. Washington, Israel, and European partner collaborators repeat it ad nauseam. They lie. They know they're lying. They repeat what they know is false. Media scoundrels regurgitate it. Doing so makes them complicit.

Americans are the least informed, most entertained people anywhere. They're mindless about what matters most.

Propaganda works. A new Gallup poll explains. It found 99% of Americans believe Iran's nuclear program threatens US security. Its nonexistent nukes are considered more dangerous than nations with real ones. Previous polls called Iran America's top enemy. China ranked second.

Paul Craig Roberts calls thinking America's "national disability." Indifference lets Washington get away with murder and much more.

Iran fully complies with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions. Its nuclear program is peaceful. US intelligence says so. Annually it repeats earlier assessments.

Polluted America

Paul Craig Roberts

A river bleached white with the waste of aluminium production snakes
through the parched Louisiana landscape before emerging into a muddy
red lake in Darrow where the colours swirl together "as on a palette".

In the United States everything is polluted.

Democracy is polluted with special interests and corrupt politicians.

Accountability is polluted with executive branch exemptions from law and the Constitution and with special legal privileges for corporations, such as the Supreme Court given right to corporations to purchase American elections.

The Constitution is polluted with corrupt legal interpretations from the Bush and Obama regimes that have turned constitutional prohibitions into executive branch rights, transforming law from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of government.

Waters are polluted with toxic waste spills, oil spills, chemical fertilizer run-off with resulting red tides and dead zones, acid discharges from mining with resulting destructive algae such as prymnesium parvum, from toxic chemicals used in fracking and with methane that fracking releases into wells and aquifers, resulting in warnings to homeowners near to fracking operations to open their windows when showering.

The soil’s fertility is damaged, and crops require large quantities of chemical fertilizers. The soil is polluted with an endless array of toxic substances and now with glyphosate, the main element in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide with which GMO crops are sprayed. Glyphosate now shows up in wells, streams and in rain.

Air is polluted with a variety of substances, and there are many large cities in which there are days when the young, the elderly, and those suffering with asthma are warned to remain indoors.

All of these costs are costs imposed on society and ordinary people by corporations that banked profits by not having to take the costs into account. This is the way in which unregulated capitalism works.

Washington discovers Afghanistan’s mineral wealth

Alex Lantier

This article was first published on 15 June 2010

For anyone who was still undecided, the New York Times has made it official: the war in Afghanistan is an imperialist war of plunder.

This is the inescapable conclusion of yesterday’s lead article, “US Discovers Mineral Riches in Afghanistan,”[*] on Pentagon plans to hand over Afghan mineral resources to major mining corporations and financial firms.

The New York Times cited “senior American government officials” saying that US surveying teams had found “nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan.” At current market prices, this includes $421 billion in iron ore, $274 billion in copper, $81 billion in niobium (a metal used in producing superconducting steel), $51 billion in cobalt, $25 billion in gold, $24 billion in molybdenum, and $7.4 billion in “rare earth elements.” The Times left out the value of Afghanistan’s extensive supplies of gemstones and natural gas. Nonetheless, it concluded that Afghanistan might “be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world.”

This bonanza is safely in the hands of the US military and major transnational corporations, the Times explained.

Afghan regime accuses US forces of torturing, murdering civilians

Alex Lantier

The exposure of the bloody record of US Special Forces raids and air strikes in Afghanistan highlights the criminal character of Washington’s deployment of troops and drones to Niger, announced on Friday, ostensibly to fight Al Qaeda. Niger is a strategically located country near oil pipeline routes for the massive Nigerian oil industry and itself home to some of the world’s largest uranium mines. France last month invaded its neighbor, Mali, with US support. As in Afghanistan, these forces will soon be engaged in the torture and murder of African civilians and opponents of US imperialist intervention.

A meeting of Afghanistan’s National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Hamid Karzai asked US Special Forces to leave Wardak and Logar provinces in two weeks, following an NSC review of reports that the American troops had tortured and murdered Afghan civilians.

The statement issued by the Afghan government—itself a puppet regime set up by the United States and its allies—is a damning indictment of the US-led NATO occupation of Afghanistan, now in its thirteenth year.

Why Are The Domestic Extremists All White?

Eric Peters

Perhaps you have seen the loathsome “no more hesitation” target practice sheets (see here, if you haven’t) provided to the Department of Heimat Sicherheitsdienst by an entity called Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. They depict old men, young mothers, pregnant women – even a little boy. Anyone who has seen these cretinous confections has been dismayed – and outraged. What sort of sick mind would even think to create such things – let alone actually create them? And can you imagine the reaction if someone made shooting targets depicting cops? No doubt there would be two-in-the-morning SWAT raids and probably a Waco-style barbeque of the offenders.

But I’d like to bring up another aspect of this despicable affair that’s just as telling – and perhaps even more dismaying. The same government that hectors the country relentlessly about diversity is apparently very happy with a certain homogeneity when it comes to portraying “domestic extremists” on shooting targets: White older man; white young mother; white grandmother; white little boy. No diversity at all.

UNESCO Peace Prize to a War Criminal

Stephen Lendman

"J'ai confiance, l'Afrique est en marche."

It shouldn't surprise. Nobel committee members prioritize doing it. America's Presidential Medal of Freedom honors genocidists. So does Israel's equivalent award.

UNESCO is the UN's educational, scientific and cultural organization. It stresses "building peace in the minds of men and women." It "works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values." Through dialogue it hopes "world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities."

Its rhetoric and policies differ. Double standards reflect UN priorities. Officials are Western tools. They honor their own. They violate UN Charter provisions. They do so with impunity. Millions die as a result. Millions more suffer horrendously. Imperial ruthlessness assures it. Global dominance is prioritized. Mass destruction and slaughter further what international law prohibits.

UNESCO paid no attention. Doing so allies it with wrong over right. It betrays its mandate. It calls for respecting commonly shared values and human rights.

On February 21, the UN News Centre headlined "French President François Hollande awarded UNESCO peace prize." It's for his "valuable contribution to peace and stability in Africa."

He's gone all out to wreck it. He's waging lawless imperial aggression. He's slaughtering innocent civilians. He's committing crimes of war and against humanity.

What If?

Paul Craig Roberts

Thinking is America’s national disability.

“What If?” histories are a good read. They are entertaining, and they provoke thought and encourage the imagination. How different the world would be if different judgments, decisions, and circumstances had prevailed at history’s turning points. Certainly English history would have been different if King Harold’s soldiers had obeyed his order not to pursue the defeated fleeing Normans down the hill. This broke the impenetrable Saxon shield wall and exposed King Harold to Norman calvary.

Would there ever have been a Soviet Union if the Czar had stayed out of World War I?

Would there have been a World War II if British, French, and American politicians had listened to John Maynard Keynes’ warning that the Treaty of Versailles would result in a second world war? Germany had been promised a different outcome–no reparations and no territorial loss–in exchange for an armistice. As Keynes realized, the betrayal of the peace led to another great war.

There are a couple of what ifs that I have been waiting for historians to explore. As no historians have risen to the challenge, I will have a go. Keep in mind that a what if outcome is not necessarily a better outcome. It might be a worse outcome. As what if did not happen and there is no what if history, there is no way of making a judgment.

Obama administration denies Congress drone assassination memos

Bill Van Auken

John Brennan, the president’s choice to lead the C.I.A., with
Senator Dianne Feinstein of the intelligence committee

There is no significant opposition within the US ruling establishment to the president acting as judge, jury and executioner in the name of an endless “war on terror.”

The Obama White House has stonewalled requests from Congress for access to legal opinions written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel justifying the administration’s drone assassination program.

According to a report published Thursday in the New York Times, the administration has worked out a cynical political strategy to keep the documents secret while avoiding any disruption in its bid to gain Senate confirmation of its nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, the architect and director of the assassination program.

While denying the drone legal memos requested by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, thereby risking having one or two of them cast votes against the nomination, the White House is soliciting Republican votes by releasing classified material on the attack last September that killed four Americans at the US consulate and a secret CIA annex in the eastern Libyan port city of Benghazi.

“The strategy is intended to produce a bipartisan majority vote for Mr. Brennan in the Senate Intelligence Committee without giving its members seven additional legal opinions on targeted killing sought by senators and while protecting what the White House views as the confidentiality of the Justice Department’s legal advice to the president,” the Times reported.

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