Here's an odd question: Is it possible that the US military is present in more countries and more places now than at the height of the Cold War? It's true that the US is reducing its forces, and giant bases in Europe, and that its troops are out of Iraq, except for that huge, militarized embassy in Baghdad. On the other hand, there's that massive ground, air, and build-up in the Persian Gulf, the Obama administration's widely publicized "pivot" to Asia, including troops and ships, those new drone bases in the eastern Indian Ocean region, some movement back into Latin America, including a new base in Chile, and don't forget Africa, where less than a decade ago, the US had almost no military presence at all. Now, as Tom-Dispatch Associate Editor Nick Turse writes in the latest in his "changing face of empire" series, US special operations forces, regular troops, private contractors, and drones are spreading across the continent with remarkable, if little noticed, rapidity. Putting together the pieces on Africa isn't easy: For instance, only the other day it was revealed that three US Army commandos in a Toyota Land Cruiser had skidded off a bridge in Mali in April. They died, all three, along with three women identified as Moroccan prostitutes. This is how we know that US special operations forces were operating in chaotic, previously democratic Mali after a coup by a US trained captain accelerated the unraveling of the country, leading more recently to its virtual dismemberment by Tuareg rebels and Islamist insurgents. Consider this a sample of what Nick Turse calls the US military's scramble for Africa, in a seamy, secretive nutshell.
Britain's intelligence agencies were surprised by the Arab spring, and their failure to realize unrest would spread so rapidly, may reveal a lack of understanding of the region, according to the parliamentary body set up to scrutinize their activities. A particularly sharp passage of the intelligence and security committee's (ISC) report describes as "ill-considered" an attempt by MI6 to smuggle into Libya two officers who were promptly seized by rebels. The report says that at the time the Arab spring erupted, both MI6 and GCHQ, the government's electronic eavesdropping center, were cutting resources devoted to Arab countries. The criticism of MI6's attitude is all the more significant, given the agency's traditional close ties to the Arab world. The ISC, chaired by the former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, said it was understandable that the intelligence agencies were taken by surprise, "as indeed were the governments in the countries affected". However, it said there were questions about whether the agencies "should have been able to anticipate how events might subsequently unfold, and whether the fact that they did not realize that the unrest would spread so rapidly across the Arab World, demonstrates a lack of understanding about the region". SAS troops escorted MI6 officers to Libya in a Chinook helicopter, and dropped them off at a desert location south of Benghazi in the middle of the night in March 2011. The mission was an embarrassment to the British government and the anti-Gaddafi rebels alike. MI6 "misjudged the nature and level of risk involved", the ISC said. It noted that the lessons had been taken seriously by MI6, and added: "We would have expected nothing less." The incident "demonstrates a lack of operational planning that we would not have expected from MI6 and other participants" it said.
War on Syria and Imperial Hubris: Clinton Demands Russia and China to pay the Price. At the third meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria in Paris on July 6, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proved once again that diplomacy is to the United States what refined dining etiquette is to a jackal. The third such meeting, earlier versions were held in post-revolution Tunisia and in Turkey, a NATO member with military forces massed on Syria's border, was opened by French President Francois Hollande, who already is making his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy appear less anomalously egregious, who declaimed, Bashir al Assad must go. A transitional government must be set up. The head of state of Syria's former colonial master also engaged in comic opera theatrics by observing a moment of silence for some of the victims in Syria, and insisted that the Syrian governments fall is inevitable. Just as Sarkozy had done last year with the governments of Ivory Coast and Libya. Just as Clinton had done last year with the governments of Ivory Coast and Libya. Just as Clinton had done with both as well and now with Syria. But Hollande was only the compere who warmed up the audience for the true personification of 21st century imperial hubris Clinton. She, who in February referred to Russia and China as being despicable for blocking a resolution in the United Nations Security Council aimed at the regime change in Syria mentioned above, abandoned any remaining element of restraint, a quality she has never been noted for, any more than the subtlety, judgment, humility, fairness and other seemingly outdated virtues and exploited the Syrian crisis to crudely excoriate Russia and China once again. Her shrill diatribe included an attempt to incite attendees from over 100 countries and organizations against two alleged villains: I ask you to reach out to Russia and China and to not only urge, but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
In all the hullabaloo over the Supreme Court's decision on health care, another of its rulings quickly fell off the public radar. Before deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act, the Court announced it would not reconsider Citizens United, the odious 5-4 decision two years ago, that opened our elections to unlimited contributions. Within minutes of that announcement, right wing partisans were crowing about the advantage they now own, an advantage not due to ideas or personalities, but to the sheer force of money. They were remarkably candid and specific. For three weeks in May, Republica super Pac's took turns attacking Democratic senator Claire McCaskill in TV ads, Republicans hadn't held their primary, it's not until August 7, but McCaskill wound up trailing all three of the GOP candidates in polls. Now McCaskill, unnerved, is struggling to recover: That's what super-PAC's can do! When they emerged in 2010 and worked in tandem, they were a critical force in the Republican landslide in the congressional elections. This year, they're playing an even bigger role. The size and reach of their efforts dwarf what they did two years ago. Attaboy, Fred, for telling it like it is, for exposing the hoax that the Court's original decision was about "free" speech. No, it's about carpet bombing elections with all the tonnage your rich paymasters want to buy. Try not to laugh, when you hear one of its perpetrators, the noted lawyer Floyd Abrams, say, as he did not too long ago: "I don't think we should want as a matter of policy, to make decisions which are essentially, people can't do all the speaking that they can in a political campaign: I don't think we can ration speech." Speech already is rationed. On your playing field, Barnes and Abrams, those who have no money have no speech!
What happens when a nation that was once an economic powerhouse turns its back on democracy and on its middle class, as wealthy right wingers wage austerity campaigns and enable extremist politics? It may sound like America in 2012, but it was also Germany in 1932. Most Americans have never heard of the Weimar Republic, Germany's democratic interlude between World War I and World War II. Those who have usually see it as a prologue to the horrors of Nazi Germany, an unstable transition between imperialism and fascism. In this view, Hitler's rise to power is treated as an inevitable outcome of the Great Depression, rather than the result of a decision by right wing politicians to make him chancellor in early 1933. Historians reject teleological approaches to studying the past. No outcome is inevitable, even if some are more likely than others. Rather than looking for predictable outcomes, we ought to be looking to the past to understand how systems operate, especially liberal capitalist democracies. In that sense, Weimar Germany holds many useful lessons for contemporary Americans. In particular, there are four major points of similarity between Weimar Germany and Weimar America worth examining: Today's German leaders preach the virtues of austerity. They justify their opposition to the inflationary, growth creating policies that Europe desperately needs, by pointing to the hyperinflation that occurred in 1923, and became one of the most enduring memories of the Weimar Republic. Yet the austerity policies enacted after the onset of the Depression produced the wost of Germany's economic crisis, while also destabilizing the country's politics. Cuts to wages, benefits and public programs dramatically worsened unemployment, hunger and suffering.
President Obama has usurped all available forms of communication for use and discretion of the US government. Under executive order (EO June 6, 2012). Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions. Obama has enabled the executive branch to control communications under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience. Radio and wired communications systems of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications policies, programs, and capabilities. Cellular phone corporations like Sprint, owned Boost Mobile have released messages to their customers concerning the US governments allocation of their phone communications at the whim of the President. In a text message to customers, Boost Mobile said that You can receive national and local emergency alerts directly on your phone. Back in 2011, Hillary Clinton admitted that the US government, via the mainstream media, is losing their information war with the American public. As alternative media becomes more prevalent, the propaganda must be taken up a notch in order to keep the masses on-board with the agendas of the US government. Danny Schechter, filmmaker and investigative journalist, explains that MSM cannot compete with the alternative media. Schechter says that America feels on the defensive, because it can no longer monopolize the thoughts of citizens domestically and abroad. Since the US government thinks its point of view these new news outlets are extremely damaging to the US continual purveyance of propaganda.
A mere 10 days since Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefish survived the recall election launched against them by state's liberal coalition, Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, is ebullient as he takes the stage at his organization's Washington, DC gala on the final night of FFC's national conference at the Renaissance Hotel. Reed has good reason to be happy. His return to the religious right spotlight is a turn of events that few would have bet on. Since he first burst on the political scene in the 1990s as the "Wunderkind" executive director of Rev. Pat Robertson's "Christian Coalition", Reed's political trajectory took him so close to the sun that his wings nearly melted. When George W Bush signed him as a strategist for the 2000 presidential campaign, Reed's career soared, only to crash four years later with revelations of his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Along the way, he made a lot of money, and is reported to live with his wife and two of his four children in a house in Duluth Georgia, worth $2.2 million. The boyish contours of his face, now marked with the occasional line, Reed, at 51, still conveys a youthful vigor, fit and trim in a well tailored dark suit, with his full head of hair brushed neatly back to display a smooth forehead. Taking no small measure of credit for the triumph of Walker and Kleefish, Reed boasts of the 600,000 voter contacts he says his organization made to get conservative Wisconsinites to the polls on June 5. Later that evening, Reed will present to Kleefish, who is billed as Wisconsin's answer to Sarah Palin, FFC's Courage in Leadership Award.
In a recent column, Can The World Survive Washington's Hubris, I promised to examine whether the US economy will collapse, before Washington in its pursuit of world hegemony brings us into military confrontation with Russia and China. This is likely to be an ongoing subject on this site, so this column will not be the final word. Washington has been at war since October 2001, when George W Bush concocted another excuse to order the US invasion of Afghanistan. This war took a back seat when Bush concocted another excuse to order the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a war that went on without significant success for 8 years and has left Iraq in chaos, with dozens more killed and wounded every day, a new strong man in place of the illegally executed former strongman, and the likelihood of the ongoing violence becoming civil war. Upon his election, President Obama foolishly sent more troops to Afghanistan and renewed the intensity of that war, now in its eleventh year, to no successful effect. These two wars have been expensive. According to estimates by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, when all costs are counted, the Iraq invasion cost US taxpayers $3 trillion dollars. Ditto for the Afghan war. In other words, the two gratuitous wars doubled the US public debt. This is the reason there is no money for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the environment, and the social safety net. Americans got nothing out of the wars, but as the war debt will never be paid off, US citizens and their descendants will have to pay interest on $6,000 billion of war debt in perpetuity. Not content with these wars, the Bush/Obama regime is conducting military operations in violation of international law in Pakistan, Yemen, and Africa.
As a multitude of hazardous technologies are deployed in homes, schools and workplaces, government officials and industry representatives continue to insist on their safety despite growing evidence to the contrary. A major health crisis looms, that is only hastened through the extensive deployment of smart grid technology. In October 2009, at a Florida Power and Lights (FPL) solar energy station President Barack Obama announced that $3.4 billion of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act would be devoted to the country's smart energy grid transition. Matching funds from the energy industry brought the total national Smart Grid investment to $8 billion. FPL was given $200 million of federal money to install 2.5 million smart meters on homes and businesses throughout the state. By now, many residents in the United States and Canada have the smart meters installed on their dwellings. Each of these meters is equipped with an electronic cellular transmitter that uses powerful bursts of electromagnetic radio-frequency (RF) radiation to communicate with nearby meters that together form an interlocking network transferring detailed information on residents electrical usage back to the utility every few minutes or less. Such information can easily be used to determine individual patterns of behavior, based on power consumption. The smart grid technology is being sold to the public as a way to empower individual energy consumers by allowing them to access information on their energy usage so that they may eventually save money by programming smart (ie, wireless enabled) home appliances that will coordinate their operability with the smart meter to run when electrical rates are lowest.
Last week America engaged in one of its perennial paroxysms of constitutional cogitation, this time over the Obama health care bill, with mostly predictable results. Four of the great legal priests on our High Temple's Council of Scriptural Interpretation said that, yes, the Affordable Care Act was within the boundaries of what a small collection of men riding horseback to a meeting in Philadelphia one summer two and a quarter centuries ago allow us today as a continent wide superpower society of 300 million people in the age of atom bombs, space travel, heart transplants and genetic engineering. George and John and Thomas say it's okay, we can have health care. Whew, That's a relief. But then the other priests insisted, "Oh, no, this is fundamentally not allowed. Not at all." And one apparently went both ways, voting against it before he was for it. Such, in "the greatest country in the world" as regressives, doing their national equivalent of Allahu Akbar, seek to assuage their insecurities and reassure themselves by constantly shouting at the rest of us, is the way we determine whether tens of millions of children will or will not receive pediatric care.
In all the hullabaloo over the Supreme Court's decision on health care, another of its rulings quickly fell off the public radar. Before deciding the fate of the Affordable Care act, the Court announced it would not reconsider it would not reconsider Citizens United, the odious 5-4 decision two years ago, that opened our elections to unlimited contributions. Within minutes of that announcement, right- wing partisans were crowing about the advantage they now own, an advantage not due to ideas or personalities, but to the sheer force of money. They were remarkably candid and specific. Here's what Fred Barnes wrote in The Weekly Standard about the Senate race in Missouri: For three weeks in May, Republican super-Pac's took turns attacking Democratic senator Claire McCaskill in TV ads. Republicans hadn't held their primary, it's not until August 7, but McCaskill wound up trailing all three of the GOP candidates in polls. Now McCaskill, unnerved, is struggling to recover. That's what super-Pac's can do. When they emerged in 2010 and worked in tandem, they were a critical force in the Republican landslide in the congressional elections. This year they're playing an even bigger role. The size and reach of their efforts dwarf what they did two years ago.
It shouldn't surprise you that Illegal Drugs R'Us. In fact, nearly 9% of this country's population above the age of 12 uses them, more than 22 million people, according to the government's 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Nor should it surprise you that the business behind such use is booming on one side of the US border and blowing remarkable numbers of heads off to get its product to market on the other. After all, what businessman, assured that his venture would have a guaranteed 9% market in the US, and that, in the future , those numbers would only rise, wouldn't be eager to plunge in? The nightmare of those dead bodies south of the border and the deadheads north of it is a "problem" that is quickly being militarized as the US employs its experiences in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, still the heroin poppy capital of the world, by the way, to go after the drug trade in Central America and Mexico, drones soaring and guns blasting, only adding to the pyramid of bodies along the way. You might think that the same old militarized same old that had been such a dismal failure in the Greater Middle East might give way to a little new thinking when it came to our "war" on drugs. But not in Washington. Not these days. Fortunately, every now and then, Tom- Dispatch regular Rebecca Solnit has the urge has the urge to write a letter to someone, alive or dead, or in this case, the living, the barely living, and the dead, to offer new ways of thinking about our world, including today about the drug horror show that Americans have become. Too bad our government doesn't call a truce in that "war" for 24 hours, just to give a little new thought to how to proceed. If it won't, the rest of us still should.
Friday, we read in the New York Times and elsewhere about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most important supporters and allies having defected. The impression one gets is that Assad's government is in a state of collapse, and this gives credibility to those pushing for Assad to turn over power. But what the media are not mentioning is that Brigadier General Manaf Tiass did not defect directly from the Assad inner circle. He had already fallen into disfavor early in the uprising and lost his command in May 2011, 14 months ago. If you had that additional piece of information, you would interpret the news reports in a totally different way: When a piece of evidence that contradicts the overall impression is absent from the reportage, the reportage itself is almost worthless. As are reports of horrific events without adequate fact checking and follow up. Remember the Houla massacre? Who carried that out? The media told us that more than 100 people, including women and children, were brutally slaughtered at close range in the village of Houla in late May. The bloodshed, reported around the world, was ascribed to a militia, the Shabiha, which is loyal to Assad. Here's an example from the BBC website: Survivors of the massacre in Syria's Houla region have told the BBC of their shock and fear as regime forces entered their homes and killed their families. Most witnesses who spoke to the BBC said they believed that the army and shabiha militiamen were responsible. "We were in the house, they went in, the shabiha and security, they went in with Kalashnikovs and automatic rifles," said survivor Rasha Abdul Razaq. Later, a dribble of accounts cast doubt on this, since the people killed were, by and large, themselves supporters of Assad.
Heading into a "World War III Scenario"? THe US has launched a witch hunt "reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition" to "demonize" Muslims. "While President Obama may uphold freedom of religion, the US inquisitorial social order has institutionalized patterns of discrimination, prejudice and xenophobia directed against Muslims," writes Professor Michel Chossudovsky of the Center for Research on Globalization, Montreal. "Ethnic profiling applies to travel, the job market, access to education and societal services and more generally to social status and mobility," he writes in his new book,"Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War". "What is now unfolding is a generalized process of demonisation of an entire population group. Muslims are considered a potential threat to national security. The threat is said to be 'much closer to home', 'within your neighborhood'. In other words, what is unfolding is an all out witch hunt reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition," Chossudovsky writes. "The arrests, trials and sentences of so-called 'homegrown terrorists' from within Americas Muslim community on trumped up charges sustain the legitimacy of the Homeland Security State and its inquisitorial legal and law enforcement apparatus," he asserts. Chossudovsky writes: "The objective is to sustain the illusion that America is under attack and that Muslims across the land are complicit and supportive of 'Islamic terrorism'. The demonization of Muslims sustains a global military agenda. Under the American Inquisition, Washington has a self-proclaimed holy mandate to extirpate Islam and spread democracy throughout the world."
TS Eliot, The Hollow Men: "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper." Barack Obama, May 21, 2012: "As Afghans stand up, they will not stand alone." The war in Afghanistan is going badly for everyone. The ordinary people of that chaotic country, who are the most important element in the whole horrible shambles, are suffering enormously, and the vast quantities of money poured into their country by US and other taxpayers have not benefited them in any way whatever. But these oceans of cash have certainly benefited several thousand not-so-ordinary Afghans who have siphoned off countless millions of dollars into bank accounts in Dubai and elsewhere. One of these loyal citizens was the country's former vice-president, Zia Masood, who on arrival in Dubai was found to be carrying $52 million, but was allowed to go laughing to the bank without any action being taken. The US Inspector General on Afghan Reconstruction reported last year that : "As much as $10 million a day in cash is being smuggled through Kabul airport," and in March the deputy governor of Afghanistan's Central Bank told Reuters that his countrymen "have been moving up to $8 billion in cash in suitcases and carry-on bags from Afghanistan's airports every year." But it seems there is nothing that the US or anyone else can do about it. This is the totally corrupt country that is expected by Obama to "stand up" within the next year or so, and be left to look after its own domestic security in 30 months. This is the country in which this week five US soldiers were shot by an Afghan soldier. In 2009 Obama declared that "Afghanistan is not lost, but for several years it has moved backwards." Three years later, during his seven hour presidential electioneering visit to the country, during which he did not dare to travel anywhere, he declared "we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly."
George Santayana wisely said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Oblivious to history and its lessons, America and its Western allies are repeating their actions of the 1950s, that of imposing an oil embargo on Iran. The American-led alliance has forgotten the past. Iran remembers! When under the leadership of the nationalist Dr. Mossadegh, Iran opted to nationalize its oil industry. The British Royal Navy blocked Iran's oil exports to forcefully prevent it from nationalizing its oil. In retaliation to Iran's nationalistic ambitions, and to punish Iran for pursuing its national interests, the British instigated a worldwide boycott of Iranian oil. In the 1950s, Iran did not have the military might to retaliate to the oil embargo and the naval blockade was aimed at crushing the economy in order to bring about regime change. The subsequent events described in The New York Times article as a lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid when an oil-rich Third World nation goes berserk with fanatical nationalism. Iran leaned that sovereignty and nationalism necessitate tactical, military strength and determination. Not heeding the aftermath of the 1950s, the American led Western allies have once again imposed an oil embargo on Iran. In retaliation, Iran has drafted a bill to stop the flow of oil through its territorial waters, the Strait of Hormuz, to countries which have imposed sanctions against it. This bill is not without merit and contrary to the previous oil embargo. It would appear that Tehran has the upper hand and the heavy cost associated with the embargo will not be borne by Iran alone. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that vessels can exercise the right of innocent passage, and coastal states should not impede their passage.
"This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, bit with a whimper." TS Eliot, The Hollow Men "As Afghans stand up, they will not stand alone." Barack Obama, May 21, 2012. The war in Afghanistan is going badly for everyone. The ordinary people of that chaotic country, who are the most important element in the whole horrible shambles, are suffering enormously, and the vast quantities of money poured into their country by US and other taxpayers have not benefited them in any way whatever. But these oceans of cash have certainly benefited several thousand not-so-ordinary Afghans, who have siphoned off countless millions of dollars into bank accounts in Dubai and elsewhere. One of these loyal citizens was the country's former vice-president, Zia Masood, who on arrival in Dubai was found to be carrying $52 million, but was allowed to go laughing to the bank, without any action being taken. The US Inspector General on Afghan Reconstruction reported last year that "As much as $10 million a day in cash is being smuggled through Kabul airport," and in March the deputy governor of Afghanistan's Central Bank told Reuters that his countrymen "have been moving up to $8 billion in cash is being smuggled through Kabul airport," and in March the deputy governor of Afghanistan's Central Bank told Reuters that his countrymen "have been moving up to $8 billion in cash in suitcases and carry-on bags from Afghanistan's airports every year." But it seems there is nothing that the US or anyone else can do about it. This is the totally corrupt country that is expected by Obama to "stand up" within the next year or so, and be left to look after its own domestic security in 30 months. This is the country in which this week five US soldiers were shot by an Afghan soldier!
How long ago seem the promising months of early 2012, when the American economy added jobs at a healthy 225,000 monthly clip, and how disappointing when the labor market slumped back into its now traditional spring-and summer slump. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' June employment report released the June employment report this morning, but it is anti-climatic in its confirmation of the already-too-obvious: Job creation is back in the rut that seems the default position for this recovery. Employers added just 80,000 jobs in June, up negligibly from an increase of 77,000 in May and 68,000 in April. Private employment growth did a bit better once again, coming in at an 84,000 increase for the month. That compares quite unfavorably to the more than 250,000 private positions added in January and February. Government continued to drag down payroll growth, albeit it was a slower pace than earlier in the year. IN the year to June, private employment was up 1.9m, while government at all levels slashed 169,000 jobs. Since the labor market hit a bottom in February of 2010, private employment is up 4.4m jobs, while government employment is down over 500,000. Manufacturing job growth has slowed sharply since the first quarter, unsurprising given the broad weakness in industrial activity in recent months, in America and elsewhere. Perhaps more disconcerting is the disappointing performance of employment in construction. Home prices and sales seem to have reached a bottom and commenced rising, and new permits are up strongly this year, but that has yet to translate into strong residential construction employment growth. The household portion of the BLS survey largely echoes the establishment side, conditions are soft, far softer than they were earlier in the year, or than we'd expect given the gap between potential and actual employment.
Elaine Gil is the only gym teacher at PS 24, a large and growing dual language elementary school in the heart of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The 50 year old bounds from class to class in her sweatpants, sneakers and t-shirt, teaching 40 minute periods for kindergarten through fifth graders, one after the other. Yet, of the 750 students at the school, only about 450 are able to take physical education in a given year because of limited space and money, and those who do, have gym class only once a week. The loss of gym time in city schools is not new, but it's become ever more urgent. Slightly more than half of the children in PS 24 have been found to be overweight or obese. "My main goal is to get them moving," Gil said as 23 third graders filed into the second floor gymnasium for their weekly gym period. Gil is a self taught phys ed teacher, using her early childhood education training combined with the internet and common sense. "Most kids, if they have PE, have lost weight." Two decades ago, 42 percent of public school children attended daily physical education classes. Today, like PS 24, gym has been reduced to once a week in many city schools. Nationally, only 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools, and 2 percent of high schools in the US provided daily physical education or its equivalent for all students in all grades, according to a 2006 report from the Centers of Disease Control. "We try to have incentives and programs that support physical education or its equivalent for all students in all grades, according to a 2006 report from the Centers of Disease Control." "We try to have incentives and programs that support physical education and healthy eating," said PS 24 Principal Christina Fuentes, but creating more gym classes is physically impossible.
Turns out internal Fox News talking points about what NOT to discuss on the air might be just as influential as the guidelines that coach hosts on which stories to push each day. What else could explain the fact that it's been 52 weeks since Rupert Murdoch's News Corp phone hacking scandal broke big, yet Sean Hannity has never addressed the story on his show, according to a search of Nexis. And Hannity's prime time partner Bill O'Reilly isn't much better. To date, he's committed just seven minutes to the story, and during his single segment on the story, O'Reilly falsely claimed there hadn't been any "intrusion of this story thus far on News Corp. properties" in the United States. There had. Les Hinton, CEO of News Corp's Dow Jones division, was forced to resign as a result of the widening scandal. The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity have aired more than 500 hours of programming in the last year, but set aside just a few minutes for the hacking story. Amazing. This week marks the one year anniversary of the shocking Guardian scoop about how Murdoch's News of The World tabloid hacked into the voice-mails of an abducted schoolgirl who was later found murdered. The ghoulish revelation catapulted the News Corp's long simmering British phone hacking scandal into the news stratosphere and uncorked a twelve month ride that has been brutal for CEO Murdoch at every turn, as allegations have tumbled out about rampant phone hacking and the paying off of public officials, and there is no end in sight to his woes. Since that scoop, the hacking story has arguably been the biggest media business news story of the year, as the controversy has completely roiled Rupert Murdoch's company, causing him to close an entire newspaper and jettison top lieutenants, including his own son, who became tainted by the scandal.
One of the most striking socio economic economic features of the past two decades is the reversal of the previous half century of welfare legislation in Europe and North America. Unprecedented cuts in social services, severance pay, public employment, pensions, health programs, educational stipends, vacation time, and job security are matched by increases in tuition, regressive taxation, and the age of retirement, as well as increased security are matched by increases in tuition, regressive taxation, and the age of retirement as well as increased inequalities job insecurity and workplace speed up. The demise of the welfare state demolishes the idea put forth by orthodox economists, who argued that the maturation of capitalism, its advanced state, high technology and sophisticated services, would be accompanied by greater welfare and higher income, standard of living. While it is true that services and technology have multiplied, the economic sector has become even more polarized, between low paid retail clerks and super rich stock brokers and financiers. The computerization of the economy has led to electronic bookkeeping, cost controls and the rapid movements of speculative funds in search of maximum profit, while at the same time ushering in brutal budgetary reductions for social programs. The Great Reversal appears to be long term, large scale process centered in the dominant capitalist countries of Western Europe and North America and in the former Communist states of Eastern Europe. It behooves us to examine the system causes that transcend the particular idiosyncrasies of each nation. There are two lines of inquiry which need to be elucidated in order to come to terms with the demise of the welfare state and the massive decline of living standards. One line of analysis examines the profound change in the international environment: We have moved from a competitive bi-polar system, based on a rivalry between the collectivist welfare states of the Eastern bloc and the capitalist states of Europe and North America to an international system monopolized by competing capitalist states.