Bill Moyers: Bob Herbert and Reihan Salam

on what the 2012 election reveals about America. Bill Moyers: Welcome.It's the weekend after, and Barack Obama is back in the White House, Democrats are back in control of the Senate, and Republicans are back running the House. That's what prevailed before Americans voted, when deadlock reigned in Washington, little got done, and the country was frustrated and angry. Are we in for more of the same? The talk we are hearing in Washington sounds altogether too familiar. So let's consider what's ahead with two people of different philosophies about what should be done. Bob Herbert was a long time liberal columnist for The New York Times until he retired last year and became a distinguished senior fellow for the national think tank Demos. He's been on the road for months now, reporting for his forthcoming book, Wounded Colossus. Reihan Salam writes The Agenda, that's a daily blog for the conservative National Review Online. He is a policy adviser at the think tank Economics 21 and a columnist for Reuters. He is also the co author with Ross Douthat of the much talked about book, Grand New Party, How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.Welcome to you both. Great to see you, Bill. Bill Moyers: Bob, what will you remember about this election? Bob Herbert: Well, the first thing I'll remember is the way people turned out to vote in this election in the face of tremendous voter suppression efforts, and I just think they've been really American heroes because they stood up and said, "You are not going to take the vote away from us." Some people stood in line for six, seven and eight hours. Some had been in areas that had been damaged by the storm, and I just think that they were there upholding democracy. So that's the first thing that I remember about it.      

Ramah Kudaimi: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation!

This past Tuesday, as Americans went to the polls and re-elected President Obama, Israeli occupation forces kept busy by demolishing Palestinian buildings and cisterns in the villages of al-Deirat and Jawaya in the south Hebron Hills area of the West Bank. The video of the destruction shows Caterpillar and Hyundai bulldozers tearing down a two story home belonging to Mohammad Musa Mohammad Abu Aram and a rainwater cistern belonging to Mahmud Ahmed Nasser Nawaja as Palestinian villagers watched. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has demolished 484 Palestinian owned structures in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2012. More than 600 Palestinians were displaced due to these demolitions, including 304 children. These Palestinian families have had their lives disrupted by Israeli actions that are supported by US policies and funded with our tax dollars. Yet when the presidential candidates were debating foreign policy less than three weeks ago, there was zero discussion about home demolitions, expanding settlements, the continuing occupation of Palestinian lands, or the entrenchment of apartheid policies towards Palestinians. We have had many victories this past year to celebrate in our efforts to change US policy toward Palestinian Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality. This includes the removal of Caterpillar Corporation from an international list of socially responsible companies, prompting financial giant TIAA CREF to divest $72.9 million in Caterpillar stock. But as we continue in our efforts, we are also aware of the immediate impact US support for Israeli occupation and colonization is having on Palestinians as the destruction of their homes, olive trees,, and land continues.

James F Tracy: The Realities of Weather Modification!

Over the past decade evidence has increasingly emerged indicating how geo-engineering and weather modification programs designed to inflict major impacts on the atmosphere and environment are fully operational. Despite such developments the CO2 specific anthropogenic theory of global warming touted by foundation funded environmental groups and public relations dominates much of the popular discourse and the prevailing worldwide view of intellectuals. By drawing attention away from actually existing efforts of atmospheric experimentation and manipulation, such as coordinated efforts are complicit in the impending environmental catastrophe they profess to be rallying against. The repeated claim of CO2 driven climate change without acknowledgment of geo engineering related environmental intervention is a severe perversion of both meaningful scientific inquiry and public opinion with overwhelming implications for all life on earth. While scientists continue research int any global climatic effects of greenhouse gases, we ought to study ways to offset any possible ill effects. Injecting sunlight scattering particles into the stratosphere appears to be a promising approach. Why not do that? Edward Teller: To accept opinions in their terms is to gain the good solid feeling of being correct without having to think. "C Wright Mills: For anyone who looks at the sky so often while fostering some recollection of what a sunny day used to resemble, the reality of geo-engineering what are often referred to as chem-trails van no longer be be easily dismissed. For over a decade military and private jet aircraft have been spraying our skies with what numerous independent researchers, journalists, and activists observe to be an admixture of aluminum, barium, strontium, and other dangerous heavy metals. Such substances distributed into the atmosphere as microscopic sub-particulates eventually descend to earth, where they are breathed by living things and absorbed by the soil and plant life. A glimpse into new death technologies intended to modify weather and the environment is in legislation intended to modify weather and the environment is in legislation introduced by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, investigative writer Amy Worthington wrote almost a decade ago.       


The Economist: Democracy in America. The future of the Republican Party? b

Several of my colleagues have written characteristically incisive pieces about what lessons the Republicans should take from losing an eminently winnable election. Over at the corner, Michael Walsh and Mark Krikorian recommended a few lessons of their own. For Mr Walsh, the number of one lesson learned from Tuesday's defeat is that "the Republicans should never again agree to any debate moderated by any member of the MSM, most especially including former Democratic apparatchiks like Stephanopoulos." That's number one! "Republicans should immediately begin constructing their own media operation," he writes, as if no such enterprises exist. The best rated cable news channel is Fox! Five of the top ten radio programs, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Grenn Beck, Mark Levin and Neal Boortz are conservative. Messrs Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity et al have spent the last four years telling their listeners that Mr Obama is an incompetent Kenyan Marxist Muslim Commie Socialist doomed to defeat. Such sentiments soothe their listeners and are good for ratings, but the parts about incompetence and imminent defeat turned out to be false. The problem is not that conservatives lack media outlets. The problem comes when they fail to venture outside of them. Mr Walsh also advises Republicans to "lay off the social issues", which is probably a good idea. As for Mr Krikorian, he pours water on the suggestion offered by many that Republicans ought to moderate their stance on immigration as a matter of some urgency. His reasoning is this: A more moderate stance on immigration will attract fewer Hispanic voters than it will lose white voters. Thank goodness someone on the right is finally working on the most pressing question question of the day: How can Republicans attract more white voters. Hispanics, you see, "are poorer than average, pay less in taxes, use more in government services, benefit from affirmative action and are less likely to have health insurance, so the Democrats' message of big government and racial quotas is going to resonate with them, as it also has!" 

The Economist: The Obamney Tax Plan. How to solve the fiscal cliff?

Presidents choose their words carefully. So, when Barack Obama talked about "tax reform" but not "tax rates" in his acceptance speech early Wednesday, he was presumably sending a signal, and it was similarly significant that later that day John Boehner repeatedly stated his opposition to higher tax "rates" rather than tax revenue. Within those two statements lies the nucleus of a deal: Raising tax revenue through some means other than higher tax rates. There are myriad ways of doing this, the trick is to find one that both Democrats and Republicans can live with. During the super-committee negotiations last year, Senator Pat Toomey proposed raising $250 billion in revenue over 10 years by closing loopholes. But he would also have cut rates sharply, which would have benefited the richest households most. That was an anathema to Democrats. They wanted more revenue, but not if it made the tax system less progressive. So the price for Democrats is that tax reform must be progressive. After tax incomes of people at the top must be squeezed more than for people at the middle. Thus far, Mr Obama has equated that with allowing the top two income tax brackets to return to their pre-2001 levels. But there is an alternative route to the same goal that does not require higher rates, and it comes courtesy of Mitt Romney. Recall that when asked how he would pay for a 20% cut to marginal rates, he proposed a cap on deductions, an idea proposed by Martin Feldstein, Maya MacGuineas and Daniel Feenberg. I don't have a ready estimate of how much capping deductions for those earning more than $250,000 would raise, but you can ballpark it by looking the Tax Policy Center's estimates!

Ellen Brown: It's the Interest, Stupid! Why Bankers Rule the World!

In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money, released last week, Professor Margret Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of Wall Street greed, but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system. This hidden tribute to the banks will come as a surprise to most people, who think that if they pay their credit card bills on time and don't take out loans, they aren't paying interest. This, says Dr Kennedy, is not true. Tradesmen, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers all along the chain of production rely on credit to pay there bills. They must pay for labor and materials before they have a product to sell, and before the end buyer pays for the product 90 days later. Each supplier in the chain adds interest to its production costs, which are then passed on to the ultimate consumer. Dr Kennedy cites interest charges ranging from 12% for garbage collection, to 38% for drinking water, to 77% for rent in public housing in her native Germany. Her figures are drawn from the research of economist Helmut Creutz, writing in German and interpreting Bundesbank publications. They apply to the expenditures of German households for everyday goods and services in 2006, but similar figures are seen in financial sector profits in the United States, where they composed a whopping 40% of US business profits in 2006. That was five times the 7% made by the banking sector in 1980. Bank assets, financial profits, interest, and debt have all been growing exponentially. Exponential growth in financial sector profits has occurred at the expense of the non financial sectors, where incomes have at best grown linearly. 

RJ Eskow: 7 Big Lessons from Obama's Win.

So, let's get this straight: A Republican President is re-elected in 2004 with 284 electoral votes, and the pundits say he has the "political capital" to push an extreme right wing mandate. A Democratic President gets re-elected in 2012 with 303 electoral votes, and they're telling us he needs to unite a divided country. Nonsense! This election was a clear and unequivocal victory for the populist positions the President took on the campaign trail. Don't believe the hype: This was a great night for progressives, populists, and agents of change. Our political system may be dominated by big money, but this was a victory for the 99 Percent. We've been through our dark night of the soul. Now it's time for inspiration, and for determination to build on these victories in the weeks, months, and years to come. I'm not known for being a "silver lining" kind of guy, but there's a lot of silver in the sky this morning. Here are seven lessons from this election that have been under reported, or overlooked completely in all the media frenzy. They include Occupy Wall Street's victory, the Harold and Kumar factor, Harry Reid's big mandate, and the fact that "Socialism" sells. 1. Occupy Wall Street won big. The Occupy movement may have disappeared from the national media eye, but this election was a big win for its vision and language. As that movement caught the national imagination, the President quickly and wisely adopted its populist rhetoric. That may have hurt the tender feelings of America's CEO's, especially on Wall Street, but it helped cement his decisive victory. The nature of that victory was underscored by wins for staunch progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, even as far right candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock went down in defeat. The President's populist theme didn't end with his victory. He spoke last night of a "generous America," a "compassionate America," a "tolerant America." His deeply moving victory speech mentioned deficit reduction once, but emphasized the following themes: Our "common bond." The weakening effect of inequality. The destructive power of a warming planet. The best schools and teachers. Ending our two wars. Investment in tecnology and discovery and innovation, with good jobs to follow.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: Presidential Elections: Powerful Special Interest Groups!!

The election that was supposed to be too close to call, turned out not to be so close after all. In my opinion, Obama won for two reasons: (1) Obama is non threatening and inclusive, whereas Romney exuded a us vs them impression that many found threatening, and (2) the election was not close enough for the electronic voting machines to steal. As readers know, I don't think that either candidate is a good choice or that either offers a choice. Washington is controlled by powerful interest groups, not by elections. What the two parties fight over is not alternative political visions and different legislative agendas, but which party gets to be the whore for Wall Street, the military security complex, Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and energy, mining, and timber interests. Being the whore is important, because whores are rewarded for the services that they render. To win the White House or a presidential appointment is a career making event as it makes a person sought after by rich and powerful interest groups. In Congress the majority party can provide more services, and is thus more Thevaluable than the minority party. One of our recent presidents who was not rich ended up with $36 million shortly after leaving office, as did former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who served Washington far better than he served his own country. Wars are profitable for the military security complex. Israel rewards its servants and punishes its enemies. Staffing environmental regulatory agencies with energy, mining, and timber executives is regarded by those interests as very friendly behavior. Many Americans understand this and do not bother to vote, as they know that whichever candidate or party wins, the interest groups prevail. Ronald Reagan was the last president who stood up to interest groups, or, rather to some of them. Wall Street did not want his tax rate reductions, as Wall Street thought the result would be higher inflation and interest rates, and the ruination of their stock and bond portfolios. The military security complex dis not want Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev to end the cold war. What is curious is that voters don't understand how politics really works. They get carried away with the political rhetoric and do not see the hypocrisy that is staring them in the face. Proud patriotic macho American men voted for Romney who went to Israel and, swearing allegiance to his liege lord, groveled at the feet of Netanyahu. Obama plays on the heart strings of his supporters by relating a story of a child with leukemia now protected by Obama care, while he continues to murder thousands of children and their parents with drones and other military actions in seven countries. Obama was able to elicit cheers from supporters as he described the onward and upward path of America toward greater moral accomplishments, while his actual record is that of a tyrant who codified into law the destruction of the US Constitution and the civil liberties of the American people. The election was about nothing who gets to serve the interest groups. The wars were not an issue in the election. Washington's provoking of Iran, Russia, and China by surrounding them with military bases was not an issue. The unconstitutional powers asserted by the executive branch to detain citizens indefinitely without due process and to assassinate them on suspicion alone were not an issue in the election. The sacrifice of the natural environment to timber, mining, and energy interests was not an issue, except to promise more sacrifice of the environment to short term profits. Out of one side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class, while from the other side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class while from the other side of the mouth issued defenses of the off-shoring of their jobs and careers as free trade. The inability to acknowledge and to debate real issues is a threat not only to the United States, but also to the entire world. Washington's reckless pursuit of hegemony driven by an insane neoconservative ideology is leading to military confrontation with Russia and China. Eleven years of gratuitous wars with more on the way, and an economic policy that protects financial institutions from their mistakes have burdened the US with massive budget deficits that are being monetized. The US dollars loss of the reserve currency role and hyperinflation are plausible consequences of disastrous economic policy. How is it possible that the world's only superpower can hold a presidential election without any discussion of these very real and serious problems being part of it? How can anyone be excited or made hopeful about such an outcome?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


The Economist: Barack Obama. A Country Divided!

After a panel discussion on the US elections hosted by a Dutch radio station the other night, I began to talk to a fellow American who's looking for work stateside. His Dutch government funded job had been eliminated by austerity measures, so he was trying to convince his wife of the virtues of moving back to America. The main reason he was hesitating was the mood of vicious and increasingly entrenched political animosity. "Do you get the feeling." he asked, "that it could get violent?" I said I didn't know, but it's certainly not a silly question. A recent broadcast of "This American Life" which focused on people who have lost close friends in recent years over politics, seemed to capture the mood pretty accurately. One sequence portrayed a student with a life threatening pre existing condition that until recently rendered him uninsurable, who has stopped talking to a conservative friend who refuses to support Obama Care, because he said it felt as though the friend didn't value his life. A conservative man describes being unable to continue talking to a former friend who supports a president he is convinced is destroying the country. Two sisters can't agree on who is being rude and condescending to whom, after a furious falling out over political philosophy. Barack Obama has just won re election, but America remains a country bitterly divided, as it has been for well over a decade. The divide is simultaneously very narrow in numerical terms, and gaping in ideological or partisan terms. This is what strikes one most strongly looking back at America from across an ocean: The country seems repeatedly embroiled in savage 51-49 electoral campaigns, and it seems to be increasingly paralyzed by irresolvable rancor between right and left.

The Economist: Obama's Win Raises Questions for Republicans!

A sharply divided America has given President Barack Obama a second term: an extraordinary result, given economic fundamentals that should have doomed the incumbent, according to the usual rules of electoral gravity. Scotching fears of drawn out legal wrangling over disputed ballots in dead heat races, the result became clear soon after the polls closed on the west coast. After billions of dollars in campaign spending, many thousands of vicious attack ads and unprecedented interventions by deep pocketed outside groups, the balance of power looked remarkably to how it did a day before. Mr Obama is on course to lose just two states that he had taken in 2008, Indiana and North Carolina. Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats kept hold of the Senate. Mr Obama told supporters in Chicago, that he had heard the call of voters to move beyond the partisan gridlock in Washington. He went out of his way to reach out to Republicans, with whom he must strike a deal to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax rises that threaten to push America off a so called fiscal cliff in the new year. He even promised to meet with Mitt Romney to discuss ideas for fixing the economy. In a nod to the speech that made his name, he vowed: "We remain more than a collection of red and blue states, we are and will forever remain the United States." On the other side of the aisle, the questions now facing Republicans could hardly be bigger. A comforting interpretation of their defeat would point to Mr Romney's showing in the popular vote, in which he is on course to lag Mr Obama by only a percentage point or two. It could be argued that this near draw shows that millions of American voters are disappointed with the president and were ready to embrace a Republican alternative. This reassuring narrative would blame Mr Romney and top aides for errors of campaign strategy, such as their failure to effectively combat the Obama campaign's summertime effort to define the Republican nominee as a heartless plutocrat. 

Prof Rodrigue Tremblay: Four More Years for Obama

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919, 26th President of the United States, 1901-1909. "We have used our taxpayer dollars not only to subsidize these banks, but also to subsidize the creditors of those banks." Elizabeth Warren, Democratic senatorial candidate in Massachusetts and Harvard professor. "We're  not very far from the level where the economy is not self sustaining." Ben Bernanke, Fed Governor, Sunday, December 5, 2010 - on CBS 60 Minutes. US officials have relayed to a "very senior Israeli figure that, in the eyes of the Democratic administration, Netanyahu is perceived as campaigning on behalf of Mitt Romney. Yossi Verter, September 2012, Israeli journalist writing in Haaretz. American voters must be congratulated for their democratic decision in this 2012 election for giving President Barack Obama a second chance, even if it was done within a close margin. Indeed, President Barack Obama not only defeated his Republican opponent, but he overcame a concerted effort to defeat him by right wing billionaires, buttressed by the US Supreme Court's decision of January 19, 2010 to open the gate for unlimited corporate money in US elections. A majority of Americans have decided not to give more power to the super wealthy in the US government as compared to the huge influence that they already have. During this campaign, President Obama was subjected to some not so subtle racist attacks that he had to sidestep. Similarly, Barack Obama overcame the efforts by a powerful foreign politician, ie Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to replace him. Indeed, Netanyahu shamelessly and openly campaigned against the incumbent American president, and he enrolled the powerful pro Israeli lobby and its neocon cohort in the media in that endeavor. His incendiary war statements also had the effect of pushing up oil prices, thus weakening the US economy at a crucial political time for the President. A Romney win could easily have been viewed as a Netanyahu electoral victory in the US.       


AlterNet Editorial Staff: Obama Called Winner!

Today's the day. We've reached the end of a long, brutal campaign season. 2012's Presidential race saw nasty character attacks and shameless deceptions, wide scale voter suppression efforts, the purchase of our democracy by obscene wealth thanks to Citizens United, and way too much Donald Trump. As we round the final stretch, Alter Net will be updating all day to keep you up on congressional races, ballot initiatives, voting issues, and everything else you need to know, so check back in! 11:40. Marijuana initiatives appear to pass in Washington, Colorado and Massachusetts. Stop the Drug War says the news looks like a clean sweep for drug reform. Per NBC projects Obama as the winner. Progressive Alan Grayson called winner for House Race. Grayson will be back in Congress. 174 electoral votes for Romney, 162 for Obama, according to MSNBC. 10:07 Obama Romney tied at 162 Electoral Votes. Per NBC News. Claire McCaskill declared the winner by Fox News. Obama called winner in New Hampshire. Big first swing state victory declared by NBC News. Florida's Bill Nelson and Connecticut's Chris Murphy called winners for the US Senate by the networks. 9:38 Tammy Baldwin called the winner of Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson loses to Tammy Baldwin, a progressive pick up for Democrats. 158 Obama to 153 for Romney, says NBC. Fox News declares Sherrod Brown the winner in Ohio and Donnelly the winner over Murdock in Indiana. Fox News calls Pennsylvania for Obama & More. Fox News says Obama has won Pennsylvania , CNN has called the House for Republicans, Elizabeth Warren has won in Massachusetts, say the exit polls. CNN with new results: 152 for Romney to 123 for Obama.   

Joshua Holland: Six Excuses In Case Obama Beats Romney

Obviously, Fraud. There have already been a slew of stories in the conservative media about unauthorized immigrants who were registered to vote. Not that they voted, This is being pushed by William Gheen, a belligerent anti immigrant hard liner who runs ALIPAC."Conservatives" have been predicting a Romney blow out for weeks, because polling is like climate science, a total hoax: The headline of the week goes to Rush Limbaugh: "Everything except the polls points to a Romney Landslide". Now is the day when we find out the result, and their reputations are on the line. Nobody in the conservative media ever pays a price for being perennially wrong! There's more at stake than personal pride, of course. Conservatism must be defended. Although Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan, embraced his budget, offered foreign policy that boiled down to being really belligerent and increasing military spending, said Arizona's immigration law, is a model for the country, and cut ads for two politicians who implied that rape is God's will and therefore no excuse for getting an abortion, it will never be that the campaign lost because of its severely conservative positions. It must be something else: Here are six something else's that conservatives are already teeing up to be the Real Reason the Kenyan Interloper won:  immigrants who were registered to vote, not that they voted. This is being pushed by William Gheen, a belligerent anti immigrant hard liner who runs ALIPAC. 2. Voter Suppression. Yes, irony is dead. Voter Suppression was the headline for a breathless Fox News story about that one guy, the one called "the new Black Panthers" who is apparently standing outside a Philadelphia polling place doing nothing in particular except being Scary and Black. 3. Mitt Romney's to the left of Dennis Kucinich. Obviously, Mitt's purportedly "moderate" reputation will be primarily to blame. It's unclear what evidence there is that Romney is a moderate, other than the fact that he Etch sketched into one.   

Michael Keefer: Evidence of Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election

The following article was published by Global Research one month after the November2, 2004 elections. The original URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KEE412A.html This reading list, a substantially expanded version of previous lists published on 11 and 15 November, has been prepared with the aim of making a wide range of readings on the subject of the integrity, or the lack of integrity of the recent US presidential election readily available. It is being published as a companion piece to my article "The Stolen US Presidential Election: A Comparative Analysis." I have sought to facilitate analytical use of the materials in this revised and expanded list by dividing them into five subject sections: 1. The Openness of New Voting Technologies to Fraud. 2. Allegations and Evidence of Fraud in Recent US Elections. 3. Advance Warnings of Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election. 4. Allegations and Evidence of Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election: The Developing Controversy. 5. Appendix: Selected Articles on the 2004 Presidential Election Recall Referendum in Venezuela and the 2004 Presidential Election in Ukraine. Section 1 includes writings by computer scientists who have specialized in issues of electronic security, by statisticians who have studied questions of the detection of electoral fraud, and by journalists and activists who have assembled and critically analyzed the opinions of experts. Section 2 provides some historical context for the present situation, by offering a selection of writings in which evidence of electoral fraud in recent US elections is documented and analyzed. Section 3 shows how insistently computer scientists, investigative journalists and activists warned during the past two years about the dangers to democracy posed by electronic voting machines which remove the possibility of electoral recounts and audits, and how, despite their warnings, the US entered the 2004 presidential elections equipped with voting machine systems, most of which were demonstrably open booth to back door manipulation and to hacking at the voting tabulator level.  


Juan Cole: Coming Disasters If America Picks Romney!!

What will the United States look like in 2016 if Mitt Romney wins? While predicting the future is of course impossible, actually my experience is that you play out known possible scenarios in your mind, you can often get a fair idea of the likely course of events. 1. Austerity does not work. It produces massive unemployment and deficits. The tight money policies tried in Europe, predictably, have produced spiraling unemployment and ballooning deficits with a continued mortgage crisis in Spain. US corporations are sitting on trillions that they are refusing to invest in the US economy, and only government can continue to get money into the economy. If Romney follows through on his pledge of austerity policies, US unemployment will likely increase, and we will replicate manyof the Rajoy government's mistakes in Spain. Romney will abolish the Affordable Health care Act, or Obama-care, throwing tens of millions of Americans back out of health insurance programs, and leaving them, as he suggests, to the mercies of emergency room treatment. Emergency room treatment is much more expensive for taxpayers than would be the ACA, and having 30 or 40 million people dependent on it is highly undesirable. It cannot provide pregnant women with prenatal care, which in turn is correlated with better health for mother and child. And, there simply are not enough ER doctors and nurses to care for that many people. With ACA, we have a chance to forestall the current 26,000 deaths a year, resulting from people lacking health insurance. If ACA is repealed, they'll still die, and over the four years of a Romney administration there will be 104,000 extra needless deaths among the uninsured.

Joseph Stiglitz: We're Living in an Obama World. Here's Why!

Most people around the world will not be able to vote in the upcoming US election, even though they have a great deal at stake. Overwhelmingly, non US citizens favor Barack Obama's re election over a victory for his challenger, Mitt Romney. There are good reasons for this. In terms of the economy, the effects of Romney's policies in creating a more unequal and divided society would not be directly felt abroad, but in the past, for better and worse, others have often followed America's example. Many governments quickly subscribed to Ronald Reagan's mantra of deregulated markets, policies that eventually brought about the worst global recession since the 1930's. Other countries that followed America's lead have experienced growing inequality, more money at the top, more poverty at the bottom, and a weaker middle class. Romney's proposed contractionary policies, the attempt to reduce deficits prematurely, while the US economy is still frail, will almost surely weaken America's already anemic growth, and, if the euro crisis worsens, it could bring on another recession. At that point, with US demand shrinking, the rest of the world would indeed feel the economic effects of a Romney presidency quite directly. That raises the question of globalization, which entails concerted action on many fronts by the international community. But what is required with regard to trade, finance, climate change, and a host of other areas is not being done. Many people attribute these failures partly to an absence of American leadership, but while Romney may summon bravado and strong rhetoric, other world leaders would be unlikely to follow him, owing to the belief, correct in my judgment, that he would take the US in the wrong direction. Moreover, it turned out that US style capitalism was neither efficient nor stable. 

James Petras: US Elections: From the Lesser to the Greater Evil!

There is ample evidence that the Obama Presidency has pulled the US political spectrum further to the Right. On most domestic and foreign policy issues Obama has embraced extremist positions surpassing his Republican predecessor, and in the process devastating what remained of the peace and social movements of the past decade. Moreover, the Obama Presidency has laid the groundwork for the immediate future, promising a further extension of regressive policies, following the presidential elections: Cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Incumbents and their opposition compete over hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funding from wealthy donors, which they will have to repay in the post election period in billion dollar handouts, subsidies, tax abatements, anti labor and environmental policies. Not a single positive proposal was put forth by the Obama campaign, but numerous militarist and regressive social policies were articulated. The Obama campaign ran a fear campaign, playing off of the reactionary proposals of the Romney Tea Party alliance: A coverfor his own record of unprecedented military spending, sequential wars, immigrant expulsions, mortgage foreclosures and Wall Street bailouts. In the process, critical liberals have crossed the line, surrendering their integrity by deflecting attention from Obama's militarist socially regressive policies, to focus on opposing Romney as a greater evil: Progressives and critical liberals have multiplied and magnified the duplicity of the Obama political apparatus. In the name of opposing Romney, the current greater evil, they dare not enumerate and specify the wanton political crimes and monumental socio economic in justice perpetrated by their lesser evil candidate Obama. Will the progressives ever honest and publicly state: We back Obama in swing states because he has only murdered 10,000 Afghans, 5,000 Iraqis, is starving 75 million Iranians via sanctions, gives $3 billion for Israeli displacement of millions of Palestinians, personally oversees the arbitrary executions of US citizens, and promises an extended kill list, because Romney promises to be worse.   


Chris Hedges: The S&M Election!!

I learned at the age of 10, when I was shipped off too a New England Boarding school, where the hazing of younger boys was the principal form of recreation, that those who hunger for power are psychopathic bastards. The bullies in the forms above me, the sadistic masters on our dormitory floors, the deans and the headmaster would morph in later life into bishops, newspaper editors, college presidents, politicians, heads of state, business titans and generals. Those who revel in the ability to manipulate and destroy are demented and deformed individuals. These severely diminished and stunted human beings, think Bill and Hillary Clinton, shower themselves, courtesy of elaborate public relations campaigns and an obsequious press, with encomiums of piety, patriotism, devoted to public service, honor, courage and vision, not to mention a lot of money. They are at best mediocrities and usually venal. I have met enough of them to know. So it is with some morbid fascination that I watch Barack Obama, who has become the prime "dominatrix" of the liberal class, force us in this election to plead for more humiliation and abuse. Obama has carried out a far more egregious assault on our liberties, including signing into law Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), than George W Bush. Section 1021(b)(2), which I challenged in federal court, permits the US military to detain US citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities. US District Judge Katherine B Forrest struck down the law in September. The Obama administration immediately appealed the decision. The NDAA has been accompanied by use of the Espionage Act, which Obama has turned to six times in silencing whistle blowers. Obama supported the FISA Amendment Act so government could spy on tens of millions of us without warrants. He has drawn up kill lists to exterminate those, even US citizens, deemed by the ruling elite to be terrorists.     

Tom Burghardt: HSBC Caught in New Drug Money Laundering Scandal

While HSBC's Canary Wharf masters are back peddling furiously over charges that they gave a leg up to terrorist financiers and drug traffickers as a recent US Senate report charged, new evidence emerged that its business as usual for the multinational banking giant, founded by Hong Kong based British opium merchants. Earlier this month, The Independent reported that French police had intercepted one of the dozens of go fast cars which transport cannabis at high speed from Spain to Paris. The seizure banal in itself unraveled an extraordinary network of drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud and tax evasion, which sprawled over the invisible barrier which separates Paris from the city's poor, multiracial suburbs." The bank embroiled in this latest scandal? Why HSBC, of course! According to reporter John Lichfield, "bank notes handed by clients to street drug dealers in the suburbs were ending up, French and Swiss investigators discovered, in the safes of seemingly law abiding, well heeled citizens in the French capital." But that's not the only place where crisp bundles of cash were turning up. "A trio of Moroccan brothers, including a prominent fund manager in Geneva, are alleged to have concocted an elaborate scheme to launder money by balancing two illegal flows of cash," The Independent averred. At the center of this multimillion euro money laundering spider's web were: Meyer El Maleh, the managing director of the fund management firm GPF SA, and brothers Mardoche El Maleh, the alleged bagman of the cannabis for cash scheme and Nessim El Maleh, a fund management specialist with the Swiss private banking arm of HSBC, HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA. The Independent reported that the trio "are suspected of handling up to 12m euros in cash , gold ingots, art treasures and guns."

Julian Pecquet: Russia Skewers US Election as Undemocratic!!

The Russian government is lambasting the US presidential race as an undemocratic spectacle, amid growing concerns about the country's own commitment to free and fair elections. The Foreign Ministry this week accused America of hypocrisy, following reports that some US states would turn away international election monitors at the polls. The Kremlin funded Russia Today television station, meanwhile, is serving up a steady stream of outraged US election coverage, reporting on topics such as the lack of polling places in Indian country, and the short shift given to third party candidates by the American media. The US electoral system, Russian elections chief Vladimir Churov declared this week, "is the worst in the world." Observers say the attacks against America's election system are largely fueled by domestic politics in Russia. Voting has become a touchy subject for the Kremlin, following the massive demonstrations that pro democracy activists staged against the legislative elections that were held in December. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the fraud allegations that sparked the turmoil raised "serious concern." Further, observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said President Vladimir Putin's election to a third six year term in March was marred by "serious problems." The US Russia relationship "has become a part of the chess game of domestic Russian politics," said Matthew Rojansky, the deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "It's not surprising that attacking the United States, and trying to diminish the credibility of what is said by Americans and what comes from Washington, is very much now in the interest of the Russian authorities," Rojansky said. "It says something about the state of the relationship. There's not a lot of trust right now. We're defaulting to a lot of bad old habits, this kind of tit for tat criticism, which was common during the Cold War." 


Emilio Godoy: Social Cleansing in Mexican Cities!

Homeless People and Panhandlers Targeted by Police: Non governmental organizations in Mexico are presenting a complaint before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights about government mistreatment and "social cleansing" of thousands of people living on the street in several of the country's cities. Among the cases cited by the plaintiffs are Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, on the US border,where they allege that homeless people and panhandlers are being removed outside the city limits by the police. The same practice, with variations, is occurring in the western city of Guadalajara, which has an urban planning program designed to remove the homeless from the center of the city, and in Mexico City itself, where they are being taken from the historic center of the city and forced to live under bridges, viaducts or elevated highways, increasing their vulnerability. Activists say the common denominator of all these actions is the violation of the rights of street people, a sector for which the outgoing Mexican government of conservative President Felipe Calderon lacks specific policies. The session of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights "will make the state give an appropriate answer, and will open up a long term process for human rights violations to be redressed as part of a public agenda," Juan Martin Perez, the executive director of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico (REDIM) told IPS. Perez, whose coalition is made up of 73 child rights advocacy groups, will attend the hearing of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC. Perez, whose coalition is made up of 73 child rights advocacy groups,will attend the hearing of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC.  

Juan Cole: Five Disturbing Signs Romney Would Steer Us Wrong!

The mainstream media and even Democrats, have been slow to call Mitt Romney's deliberate falsehoods "lies." But after just calling them what they are, it is also important to analyze their meaning. Lies on Romney's scale do not simply show contempt for the intelligence of American voters. They show contempt for democracy, and display some of the features of capitalist dictatorship of a sort that was common in the late twentieth century. Mohammad Reza Pahlevi in Iran, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay, Park Hung Chee in South Korea, and PW Boetha in South Africa are examples of this form of government. Capitalist dictatorship has declined around the world in favor of capitalist parliamentarism, in part because of the rising power of middle and working classes in the global South. Capitalist dictatorship has many similarities to fascism, but differs from it in lionizing not the workers of the nation but the entrepreneurs of the nation. Fascism seeks a mixed economy, whereas capitalist dictatorship privileges the corporate sector and attacks the nationalism. Both glorify military strength and pick fights with other countries to whip up nationalist fervor. Both disallow unions, collective bargaining and worker strikes. Both typically privilege one ethnic group within the nation, marking it as superior and setting up a racial hierarchy. One big difference between capitalist dictatorship is the willingness of the business classes to play by the rules of democratic elections, to allow a free, fair and transparent contest, to acknowledge the rights of unions, and to respect the universal franchise. Businessmen in such a society share a civic ethic that sees these goods as necessary for a well ordered society, and therefore as ultimately good for business. They may also be afraid of the social disruptions that would attend any attempt to whittle away workers' rights. Attempts to limit the franchise, to ban unions, and to manipulate the electorate with bald faced lies are all signs of a barracuda business class that secretly seeks its class interests above all others in society.

Stephen Rosenfeld: Republicans Whip Up Fears of Rigged Voting Machines!

The Republican National Committee has opened another front in its propaganda war to discredit potential election results in a half dozen swing states. The RNC sent a letter to top state election officials this week, saying that it has received reports of electronic votes that are cast for Romney, immediately turning into votes for Barack Obama. The top election officials in two of those states, Nevada and North Carolina, quickly wrote back letters calling the RNC's charge "irresponsible and unfortunate," and based on little more than "rumors and Internet hysteria." Both gave detailed explanations why the RNC's alleged vote hopping scenario was little more than a blip. They said machine errors occur, but noted that voters are given multiple chances to review and change their choices. "The rumors and Internet hysteria surrounding allegations of DREs, direct recording electronic voting machines switching votes in North Carolina has centered around Guilford County," wrote Gary O Bartlett, Executive Director of North Carolina's Board of Elections. "Since early voting started in Guilford County October 18th, there have been reports of 24 alleged incidents on DRE machines. That is out of more than 1000,000 ballots cast. These incidents occurred early in the voting period, and all these voters in the alleged incidents noticed the concern in the review ballot and changed their vote." "Unfortunately, your letter fails to provide any direct evidence that any particular voter in Nevada experienced 'errors' with their voting machine, or any details which could be used to open an investigation," wrote Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat, in his reply to RNC Chief Counsel John R Phillippe Jr. "To date, our multi jurisdictional task force has not received any direct, first hand complaints from voters experiencing voting machine errors of the type you describe."