Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama To Push Nightmare Carbon Tax In Oval Office Speech

President Barack Obama will tonight dispense with all restraint and fully exploit the BP oil spill to push the nightmare globalist agenda of a green economy, a carbon tax on human emissions, and an army of environmental enforcers to implement total big government tyranny.

Obama will announce the acceleration towards an agenda firmly supported by the transnational oil corporations that he is claiming to be reigning in – a post-industrial revolution characterized by artificial scarcity, soaring gas and electricity prices, and a carbon tax that will cripple the economy and drastically lower the living standards of American citizens, completely eviscerating the middle class.

“His agenda is to exaggerate the significance of the oil spill crisis to massive proportions, for two reasons,” writes the Telegraph’s Gerald Warner. “The first is that, the more Americans can be persuaded to regard the accident as a monumental, historic disaster, the less his patent impotence in the face of it will appear blameworthy. His second reason is that, in accordance with the Emanuel doctrine (never let a good crisis go to waste), he sees this as an opportunity to breathe new life into his moribund Cap-and-Trade climate change legislation.”

The EPA has been busy today floating propaganda about how Obama’s cap and trade legislation would cost Americans an average of $79 to $146 per year. In reality, as we have documented, the bill would see some $2.9 trillion shaved off the economy by the year 2050 if enacted. The legislation would also reduce GDP by 6.9 percent – a figure comparable with the economic meltdown of 1929 and 1930.

This “green economy” has left Spain with a 20 per cent unemployment rate, virtually bankrupt and in need of being bailed out by the rest of Europe.

A newly leaked internal document from Spain’s Zapatero administration outlines how Spain’s “green economy initiatives” have been a financial disaster. In this so-called “green economy”, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” created.

In addition, the alarming indications that strongly suggest those closest to BP and major stockholders like Goldman Sachs exploited foreknowledge of the “accident” to position themselves financially to avoid the consequences only makes Obama’s exploitation of the disaster even more insidious.

Tune in to the Alex Jones Show tomorrow for a full report on Obama’s new push for a nightmare “green economy” backed up by a carbon tax on the very substance humans exhale, which will be enforced by an army of environmental police who will seek to regulate and control every aspect of our existence in the name of saving the planet from a contrived fraud, man-made global warming.

Since Spill, St. Joe's Gulf Presence Not a Plus

Panhandle Land Developer's Shares Have Plummeted on Tourism Concerns; 'Big Bet on Coastline'

The tar balls and petroleum sheens from the wreckage of Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig haven't yet made landfall on the white-sand beaches of the eastern Florida Panhandle, but real-estate developer St. Joe Co. is feeling the heat already.

St. Joe, the region's biggest landowner and an important property developer, owns 577,000 acres in northwest Florida, much of it within 15 miles of the ocean and 5.7 miles on the coast.

The company also owns eight luxury resorts near Panhandle beaches and earns about one-third of its revenue from tourism.

Concerns that the BP PLC oil spill could reduce the ...

More Than 1 In 5 American Children Are Now Living Below The Poverty Line

Perhaps the greatest victims of the economic nightmare that is unfolding right in front of our eyes are our children. The overall economic numbers are really bad, but when you
examine the impact that this economy is having on children things get
really horrifying. Today, 1 in 5 American children live in poverty and 1
in 4 American children are on food stamps. Experts tell us that about
50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point
before they reach the age of 18. Up to half a million American children
are homeless even as you read this. And yet we continue to insist that
we are the wealthiest nation in the world. Well, if we are so wealthy,
then why are so many millions of our children suffering so

Part of the reason is because an increasing number of parents can't find work.');">According to a U.S. Labor Department report, the average duration of
unemployment in the United States hit 34.4 weeks in May, which was
a big increase from 33 weeks during April. To give you some perspective
how incredibly bad that is, the average duration of unemployment was
only 16.5 weeks in December 2007.

The truth is that when U.S. workers lose their jobs they are finding it exceedingly difficult to find new ones.

In fact, 45.9% of those currently unemployed in America have been out of work longer than six months. That is the highest percentage since the Labor Department began keeping track of this
statistic back in 1948.

So is there much hope that things will turn around soon?

No, not really.

In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that unemployment is likely to remain');">"high for a while".

That means a lot of children are going to continue to suffer.');">According to one shocking new study, 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.

That means that more than 1 in 5 American children are now living in poverty.

That is a national disgrace.

Not only that, but the same report estimates that up to 500,000 children may currently be homeless in the United States.

Perhaps we should all think about that while we are enjoying our nice dinners tonight.

But most of us don't think that it is our job to do anything about it. Most of us have been trained that it is the job of the government to fix people's problems.

We have created a monolithic welfare state and record numbers of Americans are now dependent on it.

In fact, for the first time ever, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps.

40.2 million Americans received food stamps in March, which was a whopping 21 percent increase from a year earlier.

But it is bad enough that 1 out of every 8 Americans is on food stamps. What is far more tragic is that');">one out of every four U.S. children is now on food stamps. In fact, as
mentioned previously, experts tell us that half of all U.S. children
will be on food stamps at some point before they turn 18.

So is anyone still not convinced that the U.S. economic system is broken?

So who is doing well these days?

The wealthy.

In 2009, the number of millionaires in the United States rose 16 percent to 7.8 million.

Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

The rich are getting richer as the poor are getting poorer. According to the United Nations, the United States');">has the highest level of income inequality of all of the highly
industrialized nations.

The poor are left with an increasingly smaller slice of the pie to divide among themselves. In fact, those in the bottom 40 percent now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

But the truth is that as the U.S. economy continues to fall apart, we are all going to experience some very difficult times.

In particular, when the U.S. economy finally completely implodes, it is those who are almost entirely dependent on the "system" that will suffer the most pain. The vast majority of Americans live month to
month, don't grow any of their own food and could only last a couple of
weeks on the food that they currently have in their homes. So what will
happen to those people when the system fails?

And in case you think that this kind of talk is fearmongering, perhaps you should start listening to what some of the top financial analysts around the world are saying.

For example, Anthony Fry, the senior managing director at Evercore Partners, recently told CNBC that things are getting so bad out there that he is "considering investing in barbed wire and guns".

Yes, things are really getting that bad.

Years ago the old timers would warn us that someday we would see Americans standing in bread lines.

Well, today food stamps are the new bread lines, and 40 million Americans a month find themselves dependent on the U.S. government for the food that they need to survive.

If that doesn't send a chill down your spine perhaps you should check your pulse.

When a government has to feed 40 million people a month that means that the system is badly broken.

How many tens of millions of people have to be on food stamps before we can all agree that we are in a complete and total economic nightmare?

If you know of family or friends that are hurting, please consider helping them out. The truth is that in the end we are all in this together. The government is not going to save us. The collapsing U.S.
economy is not going to save us. But if we all roll up our sleeves and
work together perhaps we can make it through the difficult years that
are coming.

Why the oil spill is getting the Oval Office treatment

When a US president talks directly to the nation it is often a sign of events spinning out of control

President Barack Obama oval office white house
Barack Obama will address the nation on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Photograph: The White House/Getty Images

If it's a televised Oval Office address, it must be a crisis.

Barack Obama's talk to the nation from behind his White House desk is a rare moment for any president. Far from the rambling state of the union affairs in front of hostile members of Congress or the cosy weekly radio addresses, Oval Office speeches are a focused and powerful tool meant to suggest the smack of authority. But they are usually made when a president is far less in control of events than he would like, making them as much about reassurance as solutions.

John F Kennedy appeared on television from the Oval Office before a worried country at the height of the Cuban missile crisis when nuclear war with the Soviet Union was closer than ever.

George Bush spoke from the Oval Office hours after terrorists brought down the World Trade Centre on 9/11, and again after the US led the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Richard Nixon used the occasion to announce his resignation over the Watergate scandal.

Perhaps one of the most insightful and maligned Oval Office addresses came from Jimmy Carter in 1979 as years of oil shortages took their toll on America's economy. It looks all the more relevant today as Obama confronts his own oil crisis and a divided country and Congress.

In what became known as his "malaise speech", Carter used a question that still stalks Obama – "Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?" – to reflect on the dangers of an increasingly divided political system and nation that he warned threatened "to destroy the social and the political fabric of America".

"It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation ... Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy," he said.

"There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure."

It might be thought that Obama has had reason enough to deploy the Oval Office speech even before the BP crisis. The president has confronted the worst economic crisis in seven decades, has spent close to a trillion dollars bailing out banks and major industries, and has had to fight hard to pass even the most basic reform to get healthcare to most Americans.

But perhaps the real crisis of the BP oil spill is that mid-term elections loom and Obama's failure to look as if he has any control over the situation is another threat to his grip on Congress.

Oil Executives Break Ranks in Testimony

Doug Mills/The New York Times

From right, Lamar McKay of BP, Marvin E. Odum of Shell, James J. Mulva of ConocoPhillips, John S. Watson of Chevron, and Rex W. Tillerson of Exxon Mobil.

WASHINGTON — The chairmen of four of the world’s largest oil companies broke their nearly two-month silence on the major spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and publicly blamed BP for mishandling the well that caused the disaster.

Seeking to insulate their companies from the continuing crisis in the gulf and the political backlash in Washington, the leaders of Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips insisted at a Congressional hearing that they would not have made the mistakes that led to the well explosion and the deaths of 11 rig workers on April 20.

“We would not have drilled the well the way they did,” said Rex W. Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon Mobil.

“It certainly appears that not all the standards that we would recommend or that we would employ were in place,” said John S. Watson chairman of Chevron.

“It’s not a well that we would have drilled in that mechanical setup,” said Marvin E. Odum, president of Shell.

The hearing was an opportunity for three dozen members of Congress to vent their frustration at top executives of the world’s largest privately owned oil companies. The occasion was reminiscent of the 1994 hearing before a panel of the same committee — the House Energy and Commerce Committee — at which the chief executives of the major tobacco companies were ritually grilled on the dangers of their products. Top banking executives recently got the same treatment.

The oil company leaders presented a similar tableau on Tuesday — a group of middle-aged, dark-suited executives raising their right hands in preparation for nearly five hours of hostile interrogation.

Democrats generally were seeking confessions of error and expressions of regret. Republicans focused more on the economic impact of the spill and the moratorium on most offshore drilling that President Obama imposed in the aftermath of the disaster. They sought assurances that deepwater drilling could resume safely.

But even some Republicans were moved to join the attack on Lamar McKay, president of BP America and designated scapegoat of the day, who was seated at the witness table with the other executives. Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, told Mr. McKay that he should resign; another Republican, Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana, said, “In samurai days, we would just give you a knife and ask you to commit hara-kiri.”

Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, chairman of the energy and environment subcommittee that convened the hearing, demanded that Mr. McKay apologize for what Mr. Markey termed the incompetence and deceit that led to consistently low estimates of the size of the spill and the resulting damage.

After weaving for a bit, Mr. McKay said meekly: “We are sorry for everything the Gulf Coast is going through. We are sorry for that and for the spill.”

He refused repeated requests that he promise to place billions of dollars of BP’s profits in an escrow fund to pay damage claims, as members of Congress and Mr. Obama have demanded. “I cannot commit today one way or another to a fund,” he said. “We said we’ll honor all legitimate claims, and the full company stands behind that.”

Until now, the other major oil companies had provided technical assistance to BP and refrained from criticizing the company’s handling of the disaster. Even as they watched their offshore rigs idled and their stock values fall, they had presented a united front.

But that unity crumbled Tuesday before the House committee, mirroring growing private frustration with being linked to BP. Some executives have been angered at BP’s efforts to paint the gulf accident as an industrywide problem that will require industrywide reforms. The executives of the other companies asserted Tuesday that they believed BP was an outlier, cutting corners to save time and money in ways that they would not tolerate.

The BP spill came just as the industry was about to realize a long-awaited goal of expanding offshore drilling to new parts of the gulf, the Atlantic Coast and parts of the Arctic. That is now all in question.

Although most of the Congressional fire was aimed at BP on Tuesday, the other executives came under criticism as well, particularly for the response plans that they prepared for a major spill in the gulf. The five companies submitted virtually identical plans to government regulators and to the committee. The 500-page document, prepared by a private contractor, refers to measures to protect walruses and gives a phone number for a marine biologist who died five years ago.

James J. Mulva, chief executive of ConocoPhillips, said the citations were “certainly an embarrassment to Conoco,” adding, “Plans need to be updated more frequently.”

Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, noted that each of the companies said it had planned for a much larger spill than the BP accident, even though it is clear that even a spill of the current size is beyond any company’s ability to handle.

“BP failed miserably when confronted with a real leak,” Mr. Waxman said, “and Exxon Mobil and the other companies would do no better.”

Mr. Tillerson admitted that the only way to deal with major spills was to keep them from occurring.

“The point is,” he said, “we have to take every step to prevent these things from happening, because when they happen we are not well equipped to prevent any and all damage. There will be damage. There is no response capability that will ensure that you won’t have an impact.”

Jad Mouawad contributed reporting from New York.


Click this link ......

More college-educated jump tracks to become skilled manual laborers

Armed with a bachelor's degree in theology from Notre Dame, Adam Osielski was pondering a route well traveled: law school.

He watched his friends work long hours as paralegals while studying law and weighed the all-encompassing commitment. That was five years ago. Today, Osielski, 29, is a journeyman electrician rather than a law firm associate. Or, as Osielski might say with his minor in French, an ?lectricien.

In a region in which 47 percent of Washington area residents have a college degree, the highest rate in the nation, Osielski is among a small but apparently growing number of the college-educated who are taking up the trades.

They started out studying aerospace engineering, creative writing and urban planning. But somewhere on the path to accumulating academic credentials, they decided that working with their hands sounded more pleasant -- and lucrative -- than a lot of white-collar work. So bye-bye to term papers and graduate theses, and hello to apprenticeships to become plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics and carpenters.

For Osielski, the attraction was natural. After graduating from Notre Dame, he spent two years in Haiti working with a charity building schools, but he wasn't allowed to do the one task that seemed most intriguing: wiring the electricity.

When he returned from Haiti, he began working as a furniture mover in the District to pay the bills and discovered the satisfaction that comes with an empty truck at the end of a day. A legal career seemed too much like drudgery.

"I have friends my age who are just deciding to go to graduate school," said Osielski, who graduated this month from an apprenticeship program run by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26 in Lanham. "I'm glad to be already working and developing a career."

The college drumbeat

Economists and labor scholars say the rocky economy has been a boon for trade schools. But they also point to policymakers, guidance counselors and parents who don't value the trades and overvalue college as the gateway to success. As a result, American students come to trade apprenticeships relatively late, often after they've already tried college. The average age of the beginning apprentice in the United States is 25; in Germany, 18.

"It's hard to get high school counselors to point anyone but their not-very-good students, or the ones in trouble, toward construction," said Dale Belman, a labor economist at Michigan State University. "Counselors want everyone to go to college. So now we're getting more of the college-educated going into the trades."

Jarrad Taylor, for one, always assumed while growing up in Pennsylvania that he would attend college. An honors student in high school, it's what his guidance counselors advised him to do. It's what his mother and father, who was a machinist and welder, wanted for him.

So he attended Penn State for two years, taking courses in engineering and creative writing. Then he went looking for a summer job. A family friend who is a plumber needed an assistant for a job in the Washington area, and Taylor's parents urged him to go.

"My parents told him to work the hell out of me so I'd run back to college," said Taylor, now 30. "Seven years later, here I am."

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King David and His Howling Commandos

As Renaissance political scientist Niccolo Machiavelli noted, the fall of Rome came about when its military elite, known as the Praetorian Guard, gained control over the emperor and the Senate. Had irony survived the Bush Jr. administration, it would relish that America’s empire is crumbling under the undue influence of its military elite, the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

A May 24 New York Times story by Mark Mazzetti informed us that last September “King David” Petraeus empowered himself, through a secret directive, to expand “clandestine military activity” throughout his Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility without seeking permission of Congress or the commander in chief. “Clandestine military activity” involves SOCOM assets.

The Mazzetti story, sourced to unnamed “defense officials,” was the first volley in the next round of the information warfare being conducted among elements of the national security structure to avoid taking the fall for the miserable failures of our Iraq and Bananastan* misadventures while managing to keep the Long War going for an indeterminate length of time.

The rest of the media gave little bandwidth to Mazzetti’s story until unnamed “senior military and administration officials” leaked in anger to Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post. A June 4 article titled “U.S. ‘Secret War’ Expands Globally as Special Operations Forces Take Larger Role” announced that the “Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups.”

DeYoung and Jaffe hint that the White House is driving the escalation of special force activity against the Evil Caliphate (the neocons’ post-Cold War successor to the Evil Empire), or is at least a willing victim. Special-ops types have “become a far more regular presence” at the executive mansion, even more so than they were during the Bush administration. “We have a lot more access,” one military official told DeYoung and Jaffe. From the way this military official talked, the White House is doing everything shy of handing out sexual favors to attract SOCOM’s help and loyalty. He says OBAMACOM is “asking for ideas and plans … calling us in and saying, ‘Tell me what you can do. Tell me how you do these things.’”

“These things” boil down to those things that Stanley McChrystal and his band of merry assassins did when he commanded the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC): zorch around the western half of Asia like Sergeant Fury and his Howling Commandos blowing away “suspected” terrorists and civilians galore on the basis of intelligence gathered from human sewers – like Afghan drug lord Wali Karzai – who love nothing better than having the U.S. military pay them handsomely for the privilege of rubbing out their enemies.

(Here’s something else irony would have liked: Adm. Gary Roughead, the sycophant who became chief of Naval Operations after Adm. Mike Mullen got promoted to Joint Chiefs chairman for changing his vote to “aye, aye, sir” on the Iraq surge, said for the record in 2009 that “The biggest breakthrough in the current fight in [Iraq and Afghanistan] is the successful integration of intelligence with operations.” Judas hanging from a redbud tree, how do cement-heads like Roughead wind up in positions of such enormous power?)

What’s more, Gen. Stan and his Hooligan Clan pulled their deadly shenanigans under direct orders of Dick Cheney, who as vice president didn’t have a pig’s wings’ worth of constitutional or legal standing in the military chain of command. Special operators were shaking in their jump boots at the prospect that all their beautiful wickedness might melt away if a Democrat became their commander in chief, but lo! Obama turned out to be their newest, biggest, bestest buddy since Sgt. Hulka from Stripes.

Candidate Obama got his tongue stuck in a wringer when he begged for the war mongrel vote by promising to “get the job done” in Afghanistan. When it came time to decide whether to keep executing all those drone raids that were killing so many innocent Bananastani bystanders, Commander in Chief Obama said, sure, heck, what else we got going for us? YES YOU CAN execute more special force assassinations. This COIN (counterinsurgency) bull plop we’ve been feeding the public isn’t going to work. We have to do something, even if it’s something stupid like blindly striking at suspected evildoers and killing lots of civilians in the process. Sure, that just adds more recruits to the ranks of the evildoers than we had before, but it’s better than doing nothing, right?

So you’d think the SOCOM commandos have all the autonomy to spread mayhem globally that they could possibly want, but no, they’re howling for more. They don’t want to work for anyone who isn’t a special operator and doesn’t understand their special needs. They “bridle” at the authority of wimp ambassadors who “control who comes in and out of their country.” They “chafe” at needing permission from the president and secretary of defense to use lethal force outside of war zones. They want to wreak whatever havoc they feel like wreaking whenever and wherever the feel like wreaking it, and they don’t want to hear any guff about it.

Will no one protect the world from these psychopaths? This invertebrate president and Congress certainly won’t. The Constitution won’t save us. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin would have anybody who challenged SOCOM in court bludgeoned to death with tea bags for failure to support the troops.

Be on the alert for Joe Lieberman or some other congressional concubine of the warmongery to introduce legislation that cancels the parts of Title 10 of U.S. Code that require SOCOM forces to conduct missions under the “command of the commander of the unified combatant command in whose geographic area the activity or mission is to be conducted” unless “otherwise directed by the president or the secretary of defense.”

Yeah, the snake eaters and frogmen have a good thing going now, what with their buddy Petraeus in charge of CENTCOM, and a pushover president, and bureaucratic twit Bob Gates for a SECDEF. But they’d like to get their civilian chain of command neutered in writing in case somebody with a pair of baby-makers ever gets elected president (you never know, it might happen).

And look for the recent discovery of “vast riches” of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan to be the excuse Obama needs to cave in to the military’s demands to flush his withdrawal timeline all the way to the chow hall. The decades it will take for Afghanistan to exploit its riches plays into SOCOM’s “Era of Persistent Conflict” [.pdf] like an egret plays into an oil spill.

*The Bananastans are Afghanistan and Pakistan, our Central Asian banana republics where U.S. and NATO troops are under the command of “Bananas” Stan McChrystal.

Iran to cut mineral exports to sanction supporters-paper

TEHRAN June 15 (Reuters) - Iran will curb its mineral exports to countries that supported a new round of United Nations sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme, an official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

The sanctions resolution, approved by the Security Council last week, expanded existing measures targeting Iranian banks and arms imports.

Iran refuses to halt its nuclear enrichment work that the West suspects is geared to making nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

"Soon, the exports of mineral products to those countries that voted in favour of the sanctions against Iran will be limited," Mohammad Masoud Samienejad, deputy industries and mine minister, said in comments carried by the daily Arman.

"The exports subtracted to these (sanction supporting) countries will be given to those others with whom we have not been able to trade due to production limitations," he said.

He did not did not say who the buyers of Iranian mineral products are.

Iranian government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Iran is the second-largest crude producer within OPEC and the fifth largest oil exporter in the world, and has the second-largest gas reserves. It also has minerals including chromite, lead, zinc, copper coal, gold, tin and iron.

BP ignored warnings on Gulf well: investigators

BP knew its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico was a "nightmare" in the days leading up to its fatal April 20 blowout, congressional investigators said yesterday, but the company "appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure."

From the company's uncommon well design to its fatal decision not to fully circulate drilling mud -- which could have cleared out pockets of gas -- and the lack of critical testing -- which could have pinpointed problems with the well's cementing -- BP had many opportunities to prevent an explosion, investigators with the House Energy and Commerce Committee have found.

Instead, the company violated industry guidelines and proceeded "despite warnings from BP's own personnel and its contractors," said the chairman of the committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, and the chairman of the investigative subcommittee that handled the probe, Rep. Bart Stupak.

The investigators cite one of BP's own engineers, Brian Morel, who told his colleague Richard Miller in an e-mail six days before the explosion that "this has been [a] nightmare well which has everyone all over the place."

By the day of the explosion, the Transocean-owned rig that was drilling the well was 43 days late for its next job, Waxman and Stupak wrote. At $500,000 in daily leasing fees, financial considerations "may have set the context for the series of decisions that BP made in the days and hours before the blowout," the two wrote in a 14-page letter to BP chief executive officer Tony Hayward that the committee released yesterday.

Those decisions led to 11 deaths and the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and not only will affect the Gulf of Mexico's environment for decades but also will shape the future of deepwater offshore drilling in the U.S.

The committee will ask Hayward to address its findings Thursday, when its members look at five areas that could have contributed to the explosion.

"The common feature of these five decisions is that they posed a tradeoff between cost and well safety," Waxman and Stupak wrote. BP, their investigation found, "repeatedly chose risky procedures in order to reduce costs and save time and made minimal efforts to contain the added risk."

Also yesterday, Obama vowed to protect the way of life of residents in the Gulf of Mexico region, as the U.S. government ramped up efforts to ensure seafood is safe to eat.

Obama announced a multi-agency bid to aid the stricken seafood industry and restore consumer confidence, which includes precautionary closures of Gulf waters that may be contaminated by the oil spill, as well as more rigorous testing of seafood.

"There is a sense that this disaster is not only threatening our fishermen and our shrimpers and oystermen, not only affecting potentially precious marshes and wetlands and estuaries and waters that are part of what makes the Gulf coast so special," Obama said after meeting local officials.

"There's also a fear that it could have a long-term impact on a way of life that has been passed on for generations. And I understand that fear."

It also emerged yesterday that BP PLC may lose control of its U.S. oil and natural gas wells and be barred from doing business with the federal government as punishment for the spill, industry and regulatory analysts said.

Obama and lawmakers are debating penalties that would cripple the company's ability to do business in the U.S. as public outrage intensifies. In addition to BP's culpability in the Gulf of Mexico spill, a 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers and a 2006 pipeline leak that dumped 200,000 gallons of crude at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, will figure in the debate, said Michael Wara, associate professor of environmental law at Stanford University.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Osama bin Laden: A dead nemesis perpetuated by the US government

Osama bin Laden is dead. The news first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan almost six months ago: the fugitive died in December [2001] and was buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan. Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, echoed the information. The remnants of Osama's gang, however, have mostly stayed silent, either to keep Osama's ghost alive or because they have no means of communication. Click for full sized image
With an ego the size of Mount Everest, Osama bin Laden would not have, could not have, remained silent for so long if he were still alive. He always liked to take credit even for things he had nothing to do with. Would he remain silent for nine months and not trumpet his own survival? [New York Times. July 11, 2002]

Bin Laden has often been reported to be in poor health. Some accounts claim that he is suffering from Hepatitis C, and can expect to live for only two more years. According to Le Figaro, last year [2000] he ordered a mobile dialysis machine to be delivered to his base at Kandahar in Afghanistan. [Guardian]

Peter Bergen: Bin Laden has aged 'enormously'

This is a man who was clearly not well. I mean, as you see from these pictures here, he's really, by December [2001] he's looking pretty terrible.

Bin Laden December 27, 2001 video

Healthy bin Laden

But by December, of course, that tape that was aired then, he's barely moving the left side of his body. So he's clearly got diabetes. He has low blood pressure. He's got a wound in his foot. He's apparently got dialysis ... for kidney problems. [CNN]

The [December 27, 2001 video] was dismissed by the Bush administration ... as sick propaganda possibly designed to mask the fact the al-Qa'eda leader was already dead. "He could have made the video and then ordered that it be released in the event of his death," said one White House aide. [Telegraph]

Pakistan's Musharraf: Bin Laden probably dead

Pakistan's president says he thinks Osama bin Laden is most likely dead because the suspected terrorist has been unable to get treatment for his kidney disease.

[A Bush administration official] said U.S. intelligence is that bin Laden needs dialysis every three days and "it is fairly obvious that that could be an issue when you are running from place to place, and facing the idea of needing to generate electricity in a mountain hideout." [CNN]

Renal dialysis -- talking about hemodialysis -- is something that really is reserved for patients in end-stage renal failure. That means their kidneys have just completely shut down. The most common cause of something like that would be something like diabetes and hypertension. Once that's happened, if you're separated from your dialysis machine -- and incidentally, dialysis machines require electricity, they're going to require clean water, they're going to require a sterile setting -- infection is a huge risk with that. If you don't have all those things and a functioning dialysis machine, it's unlikely that you'd survive beyond several days or a week at the most. [CNN]

Karzai: bin Laden 'probably' dead

Osama bin Laden is "probably" dead, but former Taliban leader Mullah Omar is alive, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said. [CNN]

FBI: Bin Laden 'probably' dead

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation's counter-terrorism chief, Dale Watson, says he thinks Osama bin Laden is "probably" dead. [BBC]

Magazine runs what it calls bin Laden's will

The editor-in-chief of a London-based Arab news magazine said a purported will it published Saturday was written late last year [2001] by Osama bin Laden, and shows "he's dying or he's going to die soon." [CNN]

Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader. "The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead," the source said. [FOX News]

Translation of Funeral Article in Egyptian Paper:
al-Wafd, Wednesday, December 26, 2001 Vol 15 No 4633

News of Bin Laden's Death and Funeral 10 days ago

A prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of al-Qa'da organization, stating that binLaden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death. [Welfare State]

Osama bin who?

Israel does not view bin Laden as a threat. [Janes]

Israeli intelligence: Bin Laden is dead, heir has been chosen

Israeli sources said Israel and the United States assess that Bin Laden probably died in the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan in December. They said the emergence of new messages by Bin Laden are probably fabrications, Middle East Newsline reported. [World Tribune]

[See also The Fake bin Laden Audio Tape]

[See also Benazir Bhutto says Osama is dead.]

When you hear a threat which is "probably" made by bin Laden, just remember that he's "probably" dead.

Also think about who benefits from your believing he's alive.

"Osama bin Laden"

Fitter than ever in 2004


By Stephen Zunes

Dr. Zunes is an assistant professor in the Department of Politics at the University of San Francisco

Since 1992, the U.S. has offered Israel an additional $2 billion annually in loan guarantees. Congressional researchers have disclosed that between 1974 and 1989, $16.4 billion in U.S. military loans were converted to grants and that this was the understanding from the beginning. Indeed, all past U.S. loans to Israel have eventually been forgiven by Congress, which has undoubtedly helped Israel's often-touted claim that they have never defaulted on a U.S. government loan. U.S. policy since 1984 has been that economic assistance to Israel must equal or exceed Israel's annual debt repayment to the United States. Unlike other countries, which receive aid in quarterly installments, aid to Israel since 1982 has been given in a lump sum at the beginning of the fiscal year, leaving the U.S. government to borrow from future revenues. Israel even lends some of this money back through U.S. treasury bills and collects the additional interest.

In addition, there is the more than $1.5 billion in private U.S. funds that go to Israel annually in the form of $1 billion in private tax-deductible donations and $500 million in Israeli bonds. The ability of Americans to make what amounts to tax-deductible contributions to a foreign government, made possible through a number of Jewish charities, does not exist with any other country. Nor do these figures include short- and long-term commercial loans from U.S. banks, which have been as high as $1 billion annually in recent years.

Total U.S. aid to Israel is approximately one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world's population and already has one of the world's higher per capita incomes. Indeed, Israel's GNP is higher than the combined GNP of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. With a per capita income of about $14,000, Israel ranks as the sixteenth wealthiest country in the world; Israelis enjoy a higher per capita income than oil-rich Saudi Arabia and are only slightly less well-off than most Western European countries.

AID does not term economic aid to Israel as development assistance, but instead uses the term "economic support funding." Given Israel's relative prosperity, U.S. aid to Israel is becoming increasingly controversial. In 1994, Yossi Beilen, deputy foreign minister of Israel and a Knesset member, told the Women's International Zionist organization, "If our economic situation is better than in many of your countries, how can we go on asking for your charity?"

Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns

Growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production will send prices soaring, according to the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

Somalis burn tyres and throw stones during a demonstration over inflation and food prices in Mogadishu
Somalis protest over high food prices during the spike of 2008. Photograph: Abdurashid Abikar/Getty Images

Food prices are set to rise as much as 40% over the coming decade amid growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production, according to a United Nations report today which warns of rising hunger and food insecurity.

Farm commodity prices have fallen from their record peaks of two years ago but are set to pick up again and are unlikely to drop back to their average levels of the past decade, according to the annual joint report from Paris-based thinktank the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The forecasts are for wheat and coarse grain prices over the next 10 years to be between 15% and 40% higher in real terms, once adjusted for inflation, than their average levels during the 1997-2006 period, the decade before the price spike of 2007-08. Real prices for vegetable oils are expected to be more than 40% higher and dairy prices are projected to be between 16-45% higher. But rises in livestock prices are expected to be less marked, although world demand for meat is climbing faster than for other farm commodities on the back of rising wealth for some sections of the population in emerging economies.

Although the report sees production increasing to meet demand, it warns that recent price spikes and the economic crisis have contributed to a rise in hunger and food insecurity. About 1 billion people are now estimated to be undernourished, it said.

Fairtrade campaigners said the predictions of sharply rising prices provided a "stark warning" to international policymakers.

"Investment to encourage the 1 billion people whose livelihoods rely on smallholder agriculture is vital. Not only will this increase yields but will go a long way to increase prosperity in poverty stricken regions," said Barbara Crowther, director of communications at the Fairtrade Foundation.

"At the same time, the promise of increased agriculture commodity prices could spark a new surge in land grabbing by sovereign wealth funds and other powerful investors which risks marginalising further rural communities who must be included in solutions to secure and maintain food supplies."

The report says that agricultural production and productivity must be stepped up and it argues for a well-functioning trading system to ensure fair competition and that surplus food is getting to where it is needed.

It also painted a growing role for developing countries in both boosting demand and production. Brazil is by far the fastest growing agricultural producer, with output expected to rise by more than 40% in the next decade and production growth is also expected to be well above 20% in China, India, Russia and Ukraine.

"The role of developing countries in international markets is growing quickly, and as their impact grows, their policies also have an increasing bearing on conditions in global markets," said FAO director-general Jacques Diouf.

"This makes their role and contribution to global policy issues critical. Policy discussions must be global in scope and we need to improve the framework for such exchange of views."

Another factor driving up food prices is the controversial biofuels industry. The report predicts that continued expansion of biofuel output – often to meet government targets – will create additional demand for wheat, coarse grains, vegetable oils and sugar.

SEC’s Senior Staff/Inmates Are Running the Asylum **STRONGLY RECOMMENDED**

Any employee in any organization knows that an internal disciplinary double standard is the quickest way to kill morale. Happens all the time, right? Likely even worse in organizations with lots of bureaucracy? Uncle Sam would not know how to operate otherwise, you say? The answers to all those questions may be the affirmative, but that does not make a double standard right nor does it mean that it should be tolerated. Why do I broach this topic?

Our friends at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released a report just yesterday highlighting the pathetic disciplinary measures and massive double standard at the SEC in responding to recommendations from its own Office of Inspector General (OIG). POGO reports:

….this is not the first time the SEC has refused to follow an OIG recommendation for disciplinary action. A report recently released by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) made note of the fact that the SEC has repeatedly failed to implement reforms or hold wrongdoers accountable. The report mentioned an investigation by POGO which revealed that the SEC has failed to act on hundreds of recommendations made by the OIG in recent years.

Following up on that investigation, we’ve prepared a new document summarizing the agency’s response to reports in which the OIG specifically recommended disciplinary action. This information mostly comes from the OIG’s semiannual reports to Congress and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As you can see, the SEC has taken little to no action on many of these recommendations, especially when the individual cited is a senior official.

By failing to take disciplinary action against the two senior officers named in the OIG’s FWRO (Fort Worth Regional Office) report, the SEC continues to broadcast the message that senior management will not be held personally accountable for misconduct, no matter how egregious.

Just how egregious are some of the findings made by the OIG? Let’s navigate and review the report from POGO highlighting 18 separate instances in which the OIG recommended disciplinary action and in which ‘no action’ was taken. I found the following six to be the most outrageous. The OIG’s findings include (I recommend you take a deep breath first!!):

1. Disclosure of non-public information
2. Inappropriate conduct
3. Misuse of official position
4. Misuse of government computer resources to assist Ponzi scheme and violations of standards of ethical conduct. (Are you kidding me? This is not a major front page story? A Supervisor in the SEC’s Office of Administrative Services is found by the OIG to have engaged in these behaviors and is allowed to retire without disciplinary action being taken?? What a joke!!)
5. Suspicions of insider trading and appearances of impropriety in financial transactions. (In light of this reality, we should certainly not expect the SEC’s OCIE to pursue the insider trading and front running at FINRA in its liquidation of auction-rate securities in 2007!!)
6. Conflict of interest and improper solicitation of gifts.

For those interested in viewing the POGO report in its entirety, please click on the image:

Yes, boys and girls, that is your government and your tax dollars at work. Accountability? Transparency? Integrity? A ‘new’ SEC? Talk is cheap. This report is strong evidence that the senior inmates are running the asylum at the SEC.

In light of this report, is there truly any surprise how and why Wall Street has run roughshod over Main Street?

What happened to our country?


P.S. Hats off to POGO for great work!!

Please subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks!!

153. We Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

What does the state-bank-military complex plan next? As the second stage of the financial crisis hits, says Gerald Celente, we can expect them to start another war to divert people’s attention from the wholesale robbery of the productive. He also fears that WWIII will start when Israel or the US attacks Iran. It could go nuclear, or involve biological WMD. But that won’t prevent the default of the UK, Spain, Ireland, and the rest, and the continued rip-off the people by the “Harvard-Princeton-Yale-Bullets-Bombs-Banks” regime. The result, says Gerald, will be worldwide civil unrest. This is, after all, a bunch that can’t stop an oil leak. He tells us what he is doing to protect himself.

BP Gets OK To Burn Off Captured Oil, Gas At Sea

PASS CHRISTIAN, Mississippi (AP) ― BP won permission to start burning oil and gas piped up from its broken seafloor well as part of a pledge to more than triple how much crude it stops from spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal authorities gave permission late Monday for BP PLC to use a new method that involves pumping oil from the busted wellhead to a special ship on the surface, were it would be burned off rather than collected.

The British oil giant announced Monday it hopes to trap as much as 2.2 million gallons (8.3 million liters) of oil daily by the end of June as it deploys additional containment equipment, including the flaring system.

But BP suffered a setback on Tuesday when a bolt of lightning struck the Discoverer Enterprise, which is the ship capturing oil from the blown-out well, and ignited a fire that halted containment efforts.

The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured. BP said it resumed containing oil from the well Tuesday afternoon after a five-hour interruption in operations.

The new BP plan, unveiled after the federal government pressed BP to work faster on containing the gusher, came as President Barack Obama paid his fourth visit to the stricken Gulf and promised residents that life would return to normal after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, which has disrupted fishing and tourism and spoiled ecologically rich estuaries.

Some Gulf Coast residents seemed skeptical of the promises from the president and the oil company.

"I think that as long as BP is still in control, there's not a lot he can do other than show support for the residents of these Gulf states," Jennifer Jenkins, 34, of Long Beach, said of Obama.

The president visited Mississippi and Alabama Monday as part of a two-day stop. He sought to assure residents — and the country — that the government will "leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." He visits Florida on Tuesday ahead of a national address on the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, which has become a stern test of his presidency.

While the president was on the Gulf, congressional investigators released documents that showed BP made a series of money-saving shortcuts and blunders that dramatically increased the danger of a destructive spill from a well that an engineer ominously described as a "nightmare" just six days before the April blowout.

Investigators found that BP was badly behind schedule on the project and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars with each passing day, and responded by cutting corners in the well design, cementing and drilling efforts and the installation of key safety devices.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee released dozens of internal documents that outline several problems on the deep-sea rig in the days and weeks before the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and set in motion the catastrophe. The committee has been investigating.

"Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense. If this is what happened, BP's carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig," said Democratic Reps. Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak.

Asked about the investigation, BP spokesman Mark Proegler said the company's main focus right now is on the response and stopping the flow of oil.

The breached well has dumped as much as 114 million gallons (432 million liters) of oil into the Gulf under the worst-case scenario described by scientists — a rate of more than 2 million gallons (7.5 million liters) a day. BP has collected 5.6 million gallons (21 million liters) of oil through its latest containment cap on top of the well, or about 630,000 gallons (2.4 million liters) per day.

To trap more oil faster, BP would continue to siphon off the flow from a containment cap sitting above the well to a drill ship sitting on the ocean surface. More oil from the blowout preventer — a stack of pipes sitting on the seafloor — also would be drawn through hoses and pipes to a drilling rig where it will be burned using a specialized flare.

Still, BP warned its containment efforts could be hampered if hoses or pipes clog and as engineers struggle to run the complicated collection system.

Also, BP spokesman Bill Salvin told The Associated Press that the company has contracted with actor Kevin Costner and Ocean Therapy Solutions to use 32 of their centrifuge machines that are designed to separate oil from water.

"We recognized they had potential and put them through testing, and that testing was done in shallow water and in very deep water and we were very pleased by the results," Salvin said.


Associated Press Writers Matthew Daly in Washington, Erica Werner in Theodore, Alabama, Jay Reeves in Orange Beach, Alabama, and Harry R. Weber in Houston contributed to this report.

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Water on Fire: Controlled Burns of Spilled Oil

(CBS) People here in the oil's bull's-eye need a lot more help than just protective boom. So out in the Gulf, smoke is a signal that less oil's coming ashore.

Fire on the water: It's oil, burning in towering columns of smoke and flame. Sixty miles into the Gulf is one of BP's frontline defenses against floating oil reaching shore reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

"As far as the front line goes, you can't get more front than this," says oil spill expert Al Allen.

This is by far the biggest controlled burn in history. Sometimes multiple fires burn at once. They resemble a roaring tornado of flames.

Up close there's a sound this burning oil makes, a crackling, bubbling noise like a Fryolator along with a whooshing noise from the flame tornados inside the bigger fire. The heat is intense. Flame temperatures can reach 2,000 degrees. That's hot enough to melt steel, and with so much oil in these waters some of these fires burn for more than six hours.

BP's "Burn Box" Ignites Oil Collecting on Gulf
BP Engineer Called Doomed Rig a "Nightmare Well"
Oil Spill Underwater Sensors to Gauge Flow
Obama Set for 4th Tour of Gulf Oil Spill Damage
Obama Compares Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill to 9/11
BP Speeds up Containment Plan for Gulf Oil Spill
Govs: Media Over-Hyping Extent of Spill Damage
Allen: Oversight Needed of BP's Claim Payments

Here's how the operation works. From a plane, spotters like Al Allen look for long streamers of heavy crude and direct shrimp boats with fire resistant boom down below into position.

"We talk to pilots and we talk to captains on the boats and we vector them into the oil," says BP engineer Nere Mabile.

The shrimpers corral the oil, what they call "the pudding." Then they wait for the "igniter boat."

Controlled burn igniter Anthony Verdin lights the flare that melts a jug filled with kerosene and accelerant gel. It ignites the oil. Within minutes a small fire can become a massive one. Big fires burn off 2,000 gallons a minute.

"Sometimes they get bigger. Sometimes they get smaller. It's never the same fire," says Verdin.

So far these fires have burned more than 4.5 million gallons of oil. That's only a fraction, maybe three days worth, of BP's overall leak. Every gallon burned is one less gallon making landfall on someone's coastline.

Coordinators of those burns say breathing that smoke is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes, but it is a nuisance.

Nightmare vision for Europe as EU chief warns 'democracy could disappear' in Greece, Spain and Portugal

  • EU begin emergency billion-pound bailout of Spain
  • Countries in debt may fall to dictators, EC chief warns
  • 'Apocalyptic' vision as some states run out of money

Democracy could ‘collapse’ in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless urgent action is taken to tackle the debt crisis, the head of the European Commission has warned.

In an extraordinary briefing to trade union chiefs last week, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso set out an ‘apocalyptic’ vision in which crisis-hit countries in southern Europe could fall victim to military coups or popular uprisings as interest rates soar and public services collapse because their governments run out of money.

The stark warning came as it emerged that EU chiefs have begun work on an emergency bailout package for Spain which is likely to run into hundreds of billions of pounds.

Crisis point: Demonstrators protest cuts announced by the Government in Malaga last week in an echo of the Greek crisis

Crisis point: Demonstrators protest cuts announced by the Government in Malaga last week in an echo of the Greek crisis

A £650 billion bailout for Greece has already been agreed.

John Monks, former head of the TUC, said he had been ‘shocked’ by the severity of the warning from Mr Barroso, who is a former prime minister of Portugal.

Mr Monks, now head of the European TUC, said: ‘I had a discussion with Barroso last Friday about what can be done for Greece, Spain, Portugal and the rest and his message was blunt: “Look, if they do not carry out these austerity packages, these countries could virtually disappear in the way that we know them as democracies. They've got no choice, this is it.”

‘He's very, very worried. He shocked us with an apocalyptic vision of democracies in Europe collapsing because of the state of indebtedness.’

Greece, Spain and Portugal, which only became democracies in the 1970s, are all facing dire problems with their public finances. All three countries have a history of military coups.

Greece has been rocked by a series of national strikes and riots this year following the announcement of swingeing cuts to public spending designed to curb Britain’s deficit.

Spain and Portugal have also announced austerity measures in recent weeks amid growing signs that the international markets are increasingly worried they could default on their debts.

General Francisco Franco
Georgios Papadopoulos

Dictatorships: An end to democracy in Europe could see a return of figures ruling dictatorships. General Franco was dictator of Spain until 1975; Georgios Papadopoulos led a military junta until 1973; and Antonio de Oliveira Salazar ruled as Portugese president until 1968

Other EU countries seeing public protests over austerity plans include Hungary, Italy and Romania, where public sector pay is to be slashed by 25 per cent.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who visited Madrid last week, said the situation in Spain should serve as a warning to Britain of the perils of failing to tackle the deficit quickly.

He said the collapse of confidence in Spain had seen interest rates soar, adding: ‘As the nation with the highest deficit in Europe in 2010, we simply cannot afford to let that happen to us too.’

Mr Barroso’s warning lays bare the concern at the highest level in Brussels that the economic crisis could lead to the collapse of not only the beleaguered euro, but the EU itself, along with a string of fragile democracies.


GREECE: Georgios Papadopoulos was dictator from 1967 to 1974.
The Colonel led the military coup d'etat in 1967 against King Constantine II amid political instability. He was leader of the junta which ruled until 1974.
Papadopoulos was overthrown by Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis in 1973. Democracy was restored in 1975.

SPAIN: General Francisco Franco led Spain from 1936 until his death in 1975. At the end of the Spanish Civil War he dissolved the Spanish Parliament and established a right-wing authoritarian regime that lasted until 1978. After his death Spain gradually began its transition to democracy.

PORTUGAL: Antonio de Oliveira Salazar's regime and its secret police ruled the country from 1932 to 1968. He founded and led the Estado Novo, the authoriatan, right-wing government that controlled Portugal from 1932 to 1974. After Salazar's death in 1970, his regime persisted until it eventually fell after the Carnation Revolution.

But it risks infuriating governments in southern Europe which are already struggling to contain public anger as they drive through tax rises and spending cuts in a bid to avoid disaster.

Mr Monks yesterday warned that the new austerity measures themselves could take the continent ‘back to the 1930s’.

In an interview with the Brussels-based magazine EU Observer he said: ‘This is extremely dangerous.

'This is 1931, we're heading back to the 1930s, with the Great Depression and we ended up with militarist dictatorship.

‘I'm not saying we're there yet, but it's potentially very serious, not just economically, but politically as well.’

Mr Monks said union barons across Europe were planning a co-ordinated ‘day of action’ against the cuts on 29 September, involving national strikes and protests.

David Cameron will travel to Brussels on Thursday for his first summit of EU leaders since the election.

Leaders are expected to thrash out a rescue package for Spain’s teetering economy. Spain is expected to ask for an initial guarantee of at least £100 billion, although this figure could rise sharply if the crisis deepens.

News of the behind-the-scenes scramble in Brussels spells bad news for the British economy as many of our major banks have loaned Spain vast sums of money in recent years.

Germany’s authoritative Frankfurter Allgemeine Newspaper reported that Spain is poised to ask for multi-billion pound credits.

Mr Barroso and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank are united on the need for a rescue plan.

The looming bankruptcy of Spain, one of the foremost economies in Europe, poses far more of a threat to European unity and the euro project than Greece.

Greece contributes 2.5 percent of GDP to Europe, Spain nearly 12 percent.

Yesterday’s report quoted German government sources saying: ‘We will lead discussions this week in Brussels concerning the crisis. It has intensified to the point that the states do not want to wait until the EU summit on Thursday in Brussels.”’

At the end of last month the credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Spain, triggering sharp falls on stock markets.

On Friday the administration in Madrid continued to insist no rescue package was necessary. But Greece said the same thing before it came close to disaster.

Yesterday the European Commission and the statistics authority Eurostat met to consider Spain‘s plight as many EU countries consider the austerity package proposed by the Madrid administration insufficient to deal with the country‘s problems.

Dual Loyalty Revisited

Four-fifths of the U.S. House and Senate recently declared in correspondence to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the U.S. must reaffirm its “unbreakable bond” with Israel. What persuaded our Congress to proclaim their loyalty to Israel while our military is waging war in the Middle East based on fabricated intelligence?

Any sober assessment of this bond must concede a need to reappraise its cost in blood and treasure. Yet the Congress—our Congress—opposed that reassessment even as our commander-in-chief seeks to end a brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine that has provoked worldwide outrage for more than six decades.

The Congress and the president are sworn to the same oath of office. That oath obliges them to protect the U.S. from all threats, both foreign and domestic. The facts confirm a common pro-Israeli source of the phony intelligence that took our military to war in Iraq. All the evidence points to Israel or its surrogates, including those in the Congress. Is that why the Israel lobby pressed the Congress for a pledge of allegiance to Israel?

Giving Aid and Comfort
The U.S.-Israeli relationship has proven itself a consistent threat to our national security. That peril has only worsened with time. Tel Aviv’s massive land grab in 1967 was not “defensive”— as Israeli leaders have since conceded. That assault on its neighbors was a long-planned seizure of territory that Zionists see as rightly theirs as part of Greater Israel.

That attack provoked precisely the reaction that any competent war-planning game theorist could foresee as Israeli conduct outraged everyone in the region. As Israel’s loyal ally, the U.S., was widely perceived as guilty for our unfailing support of an expansionist agenda that the Pentagon urged we shut down in 1948.

In advising President Harry Truman against recognition of this extremist enclave as a legitimate state, the Joint Chiefs detailed the Zionists’ “fanatical concepts” including their plans for “military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.” Our military was correct.
Facing a decline in his approval ratings and depleted campaign coffers in the lead-up to his 1948 presidential race, Truman put his signature on a two-sentence note that on May 14th gave the Zionists what they sought: U.S. recognition. That decision began a “special relationship” that has proven consistently harmful to U.S. interests.

The Truman campaign train was then “refueled” with $400,000 from grateful Zionists ($3.6 million in 2010 dollars). As editorial support from pro-Israeli media shifted in Truman’s favor, his approval surged long enough for him to prevail in November over New York’s Tom Dewey.
Absent the Holocaust, Truman could not have recognized Zionism as a lawful basis for a sovereign state in Palestine over intense opposition from Secretary of State George Marshall, the Pentagon, the State Department Policy Planning staff and the Central Intelligence Agency. All were adamantly opposed, as were members of the U.S. diplomatic corps. They knew better.

While the politics of campaign finance clearly played a role, Truman also acted out of humanitarian and religious concerns informed by his Christian Zionist upbringing in rural Missouri where he famously read the Bible cover-to-cover five times by age 15.
His decision was also shaped by sentiments developed as a youngster steeped in a fundamentalist Baptist theology that revered the Jews’ “return to Zion” as a prerequisite for the return of the Christian messiah.

Fast forward to 2001 when, in reaction to the provocation of a mass murder on U.S. soil, another Christian Zionist (G.W. Bush) was predisposed to support a military response that coincided with an expansionist agenda long sought by those our military earlier described as fanatics.
The Six-Day Land Grab

In the minds of those who comprise the Jewish Diaspora, the Six-Day War of 1967 reactivated the mental and emotional insecurity associated with the fascists of WWII. In combination, those two events catalyzed a worldwide “internal Diaspora” based on:
Nationalism—a shared emotional bond among those persuaded they share an identity of interest between themselves and a piece of real estate on which they may never set foot. After the Six-Day War, the state of Israel became the Land of Israel based on the more expansive area it occupied and the additional territory it has yet to seize.

Insecurity—a shared sense of vulnerability and victimhood as Jews saw themselves pitted against a widely marketed and steadily shifting threat. After September 2001, the 1967 “Arab Ring of Steel” morphed into the threat of “Islamo-fascism.” When, as now, Israeli policies come under attack, media campaigns claim an outbreak of “anti-Semitism.”

Throughout this saga, certain facts have been taken for granted that are now being questioned. The Zionist premise of the Right of Return relies on an historical account now under scholarly assault. In The Invention of the Jewish People, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand challenges the factual accuracy both of the Exile and the Exodus, thereby putting in question the legitimacy of the Return, the moral foundation for Israeli statehood in Palestine.

As Egyptologists point out, this ancient civilization records little of an Exodus even though Egyptian kings were meticulous in documenting details of their monarchies. How then did such a cataclysmic event as the parting of the sea and the drowning of a mighty king along with his army pass undocumented by the Egyptians while filling an entire chapter of the Torah? Where does fact end and fiction begin?
Christians and Muslims were weaned on similar oral histories. Both faiths are derived from Judaism, an earlier religion also “of the book.” Yet the two derivatives were induced to wage war with each other by those long skilled at displacing facts with what a targeted populace can be deceived to believe—as with the fabricated “facts” about Iraq WMD, Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda, Iraqi mobile biological weapons labs and so forth. All were false. Yet all were widely believed.

A Promised Land of Myth-Makers and Story Tellers

Bound by a shared anxiety and the allure of a Promised Land offering refuge through a Right of Return, Israel initially emerged as a shared mental state. In 1948, that mental state emerged as a physical “homeland” in Palestine offering residency for those it considered “Jewish.”
In combination, the Holocaust and the Six-Day War made Zionism a geopolitical possibility. Without the fascist abuses of WWII, Truman’s recognition of Zionism as a legitimate state would have proven impossible. Absent the 1967 war, moderate Jews would have continued their opposition to a “Jewish state” as a barrier to assimilation and contrary to their values.

By regarding an enclave of religious fanatics as an entity on a par with other sovereign nations, forces were set in motion that were destined to discredit and endanger the U.S. Anti-Zionist Jews rightly worried that this expansion-seeking “state” would imperil the broader faith tradition by enabling all Jews to be portrayed as foreign agents of an aggressor nation.Moderate Jews saw that charges of “dual loyalty” could be deployed to impugn by association even those Jews appalled at what Israel was destined to become—as the Pentagon predicted.
Meanwhile pressure from the Israel lobby discredited the U.S. worldwide by ensuring Congressional indifference to six decades of Palestinian suffering. Adding insult to injury, the lobby again prevailed by persuading Congress to proclaim this “unbreakable bond.”

Turning Fiction to Fact
Tel Aviv’s 1967 land grab also enabled the “Israelites”—with support from their Christian Zionist allies—to occupy territory that Jewish Zionists consider theirs—because they are Jewish.

Thus the strategic necessity to oppose anyone who challenges either Israel’s retention of occupied land or its seizure of more territory for a more expansive Land of Israel. Or, as Jewish fundamentalists argue, the “redemption” of land that is rightly theirs as The Chosen of God because the land they occupy was given to them—by a god of their own choosing.

Thus also the need to maintain an aggressive strategy that seeks to discredit, isolate, ostracize or marginalize anyone critical of Tel Aviv’s expansionist policies – even when those policies undermine the prospects for peace essential to protect U.S. interests in the region. Thus the perilous timing of this Congressional pledge of allegiance to an “unbreakable bond.”

Israel’s treatment of its Muslim neighbors has long been appalling. Yet it is clear to all but the willfully blind that Israeli behavior is enabled by its “special relationship” with the U.S. This latest pledge makes it appear that Israeli conduct is condoned and even welcomed by Americans—with precisely the effect on U.S. troops that the Israel lobby could anticipate. The perilous impact of this pledge on U.S. national security makes the lobby’s conduct reprehensible.

Americans who want to restore our national security must hold accountable under the law those pro-Israelis who conspired to displace the facts essential to informed choice with the false beliefs that took us to war in Iraq. We also must ensure that never again are foreign interests allowed to exert such control over what little remains of “our” representative government.

The Israel lobby should be forced to register as foreign agents subject to all the restrictions that implies, including a dramatic reduction in the funding it provides to Congress.

In practical effect, those Senators and Representatives who recently pledged their loyalty to Israel gave aid and comfort to an enemy within. Those who led this latest dual loyalty effort are adhering to an enemy and should rightly be indicted for treason while this nation is at war.
That crime, for good reason, was made a capital offense by those who founded this nation to protect our freedom as Americans from those who manipulate beliefs to influence behavior.

This behavior—traceable to a common source—has long undermined our national interest and endangered our military. Those elected to the Congress face a stark choice: either defend this nation and support our troops or resign.

Those who do not resign risk a charge of treason when a long-deceived American public grasps that this pledge of allegiance was made while our military remains at risk based on intelligence fabricated by those to whom Congress just pledged an unbreakable bond.

An informed public will see the signatories of this pledge as prime suspects when federal law enforcement turns to identifying and indicting those complicit in enabling this ongoing treason.

Any American not outraged is not yet fully informed. Members of the military, both active duty and retired, should let an ill-informed public know what is being done in their name.

Bailing Out Politicians Now?

Even lifelong Democratic pol Steny Hoyer, majority leader of the U.S. House, is balking at Barack Obama's latest bailout proposal.

"I think there is spending fatigue," said Steny. "It's tough in both houses to get votes."

Hoyer was referring to Obama's weekend letter to Capitol Hill calling for a $50 billion bailout of state and city governments, to spare our elected politicians the pain of balancing their budgets with their own tax revenues.

Obama calls it an "emergency" measure to prevent "massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters." Yet, none of the 20 million state, county or municipal workers can lose their job unless an elected legislature and a chief executive agree that they should go.

Obama is calling for a taxpayer rescue of the political class to which he belongs, to spare it the painful duty tens of thousands of business executives have had to perform. Private employees – 25 million of whom are out of work, underemployed or have given up looking for jobs – may be expendable, but government workers are not.

As America is running a second consecutive deficit of $1.4 trillion, however, the U.S. government has no tax revenue to send to the cities and states. We would have to borrow the $50 billion from China, Japan and the Persian Gulf nations.

Obama is thus asking Congress to deepen America's fiscal crisis and put the next generation on the hook for another $50 billion so today's mayors and governors can get an exemption from their political duty.

Where is the justice here?

Government workers enjoy far greater job security than private-sector workers. At the state and local level, their average pay and benefits, about $40 an hour, far exceed the $27 per hour in the private sector. The federal worker has it even better, receiving $30,000 a year more in pay and benefits than the average worker in the private sector.

Obama's proposal is thus about taking care of his own and the Democratic Party's political base.

Consider. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the Transport Workers Union of America and other government unions in the AFL-CIO are all powerhouses of the Democratic Party.

Obama is proposing a $50 billion payoff for his own voters.

Democrats are the Party of Government. The more government programs and agencies there are, the more government bureaucrats and beneficiaries there are. As government grows – it now consumes close to 40 percent of the entire economy – the larger and more solid the base of the party becomes.

In Washington, D.C., the largest employers, far and away, are the U.S. and D.C. governments. They dominate the city, which is why city elections are so one-sided. The district has the only three electoral votes never to have gone for a GOP presidential nominee.

Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984, in their 49-state landslides, did not carry 20 percent of the district's popular vote. John McCain got 6.5 percent.

As Democrats are the party of government, Washington, D.C., is the capital of the Democratic Party as well as the nation. When the rest of America suffers a depression and recession, Washington knows prosperity. An economic crisis for the country means job opportunities here.

But there is a more critical reason Congress should reject Obama's "Save-Government-First!" policy.

The fiscal crises gripping Europe and America, which could portend a crisis of Western democracy, was caused by the unbridled growth of government. And it cannot be cured without a rollback of government programs and a downsizing of government workforces on both sides of the Atlantic.

As Greece is staring at unpayable debt because of government's conferring of jobs, benefits, salaries, pensions and health care the tax base could not sustain, California and New York are in the same boat and headed for the same reef.

Once the richest and most populous of states, both now face a steady exodus of business and taxpayers. But, of the people coming in to enjoy the cornucopia of benefits these states provide, many lack the skills, education or earning power of those departing.

And why should states like Virginia, that said no to many benefits, have to bail out the spenders in Sacramento and Albany who could not say no?

For the U.S. government to bail these states out again, as Obama did with his $800 billion stimulus, would only be to postpone the inevitable day of reckoning, to deepen the federal fiscal crisis and to raise the odds further that America herself will one day have to default.

In the recession of 1981, Ronald Reagan, with his across-the board tax cuts of 25 percent, bet the ranch on the private sector – and won his gamble.

Obama, with his $800 billion stimulus, bet it all on the public sector. It appears not to have worked. Now Obama wants to double-down.

Congress should give him no more chips.