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What to watch for in 2010:An American world of war


We, of course, think of ourselves as something like the peaceable kingdom. After all, the shock of September 11, 2001 was that "war" came to "the homeland," a mighty blow delivered against the very symbols of our economic, military, and—had Flight 93 not gone down in a field in Pennsylvania—political power.

Since that day, however, war has been a stranger in our land. ...


Although our country delivers war regularly to distant lands in the name of our "safety," we don't really consider ourselves at war(despite the endless talk of "supporting our troops"), and the money that has simply poured into Pentagon coffers, and then into weaponry and conflicts is, with rare exceptions, never linked to economic distress in this country. And yet, if we are no nation of warriors, from the point of view of the rest of the world we are certainly the planet's foremost war-makers. If money talks, then war may be what we care most about as a society and fund above all else, with the least possible discussion or debate.

In fact, according to military expert William Hartung, the Pentagon budget has risen in every year of the new century, an unprecedented run in our history. We dominate the global arms trade, monopolizing almost 70% of the arms business in 2008, with Italy coming in a vanishingly distant second. We put more money into the funding of war, our armed forces, and the weaponry of war than the next 25 countries combined (and that's without even including Iraq and Afghan war costs). We garrison the planet in a way no empire or nation in history has ever done. And we plan for the future, for "the next war"—on the ground, on the seas, and in space—in a way that is surely unique. If our two major wars of the twenty-first century in Iraq and Afghanistan are any measure, we also get less bang for our buck than any nation in recent history.

So, let's pause a moment as the New Year begins and take stock of ourselves as what we truly are: the preeminent war-making machine on planet Earth. Let's peer into the future, and consider just what the American way of war might have in store for us in 2010. Here are 10 questions, the answers to which might offer reasonable hints as to just how much U.S. war efforts are likely to intensify in the Greater Middle East, as well as Central and South Asia, in the year to come.




1. How busted will the largest defense budget in history be in 2010?


Strange, isn't it, that the debate about hundreds of billions of dollars in health-care costs in Congress can last almost a year, filled with turmoil and daily headlines, while a $636 billion defense budget can pass in a few days, as it did in late December, essentially without discussion and with nary a headline in sight? And in case you think that $636 billion is an honest figure, think again—and not just because funding for the U.S. nuclear arsenal and actual "homeland defense," among other things most countries would chalk up as military costs, wasn't included.

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Monsanto, a corporation, might be more powerful than the nation of Germany!
Germany has banned the cultivation of GM corn, claiming that MON 810 is dangerous for the environment. But that argument might not stand up in court and Berlin could face fines totalling millions of euros if American multinational Monsanto decides to challenge the prohibition on its seed.
So let me get this straight. A nation cannot simply ban Monsanto's product, even after said nation decides that it's bad for the environment? Even though EU law says that they, indeed, can ban such things? Wow.

...



1,500 farmers commit mass suicide in India

Over 1,500 farmers in an Indian state committed suicide after being driven to debt by crop failure, it was reported today.
The agricultural state of Chattisgarh was hit by falling water levels.
"The water level has gone down below 250 feet here. It used to be at 40 feet a few years ago," Shatrughan Sahu, a villager in one of the districts, told Down To Earth magazine.
I'm sure there's no connection between the crops failing due to a water shortage, and GM crops being planted that require twice as much water as the traditional varieties. MORE
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Spirt of Resistance in Somalia from unapologetic mexican by way of [livejournal.com profile] a_girl5000

part One


Somalian born rapper Knaan gives the real story about Somalia's infamous pirates (this is the specific bit)

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Frontline - Putting children in jail for life



Interestingly enough, there was only one minority featured in this program. And I KNOW, that minorities have been hit a hell of a lot with these crazy sentencing laws. Aren't
t minorities sympathy-inducing enough? Funny that...
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from the first time I heard about it, my general view was that someone needed to beat the shit out of him. Now, I've seen the pic of her injuries. I now need SEVERAL someones to beat the shit out of him. Wouldn't really care if they killed him.


EDIT: This may be hypocritical of me, god knows, but at the same time? The comments that he needs to the gangraped by prison inmates? rub me the wrong fucking way. The hell are we using rape as an instrument of punishment for? Thats fucking annoying.
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Burger King Bailout Shocker

Goldman Sachs, where former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was once CEO, switched from an investment bank to a bank holding company last year so it could qualify for $10 billion in bailout funds. They then spent $6.8 billion on bonuses for their financial staff. Goldman's recklessness is one of several scandalous stories of Wall Street giants abusing the bailout at the expense of taxpayers and the economy. But in this case, Goldman's excessive spending has had an immediate and profound impact on the American work force.




Who's Keeping Burger King Workers Below the Poverty Line?



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Bush's Final F.U.


In early December, the administration finalized a rule that allows the industry to dump waste from mountaintop mining into neighboring streams and valleys, a practice opposed by the governors of both Tennessee and Kentucky. “This makes it legal to use the most harmful coal-mining technology available,” says Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Factory farms are getting two major Christmas presents from Bush this year. Circumventing the Clean Water Act, the administration has approved last-minute regulations that will allow animal waste from factory farms to seep, unmonitored, into America’s waterways. The regulation leaves it up to the farms themselves to decide whether their pollution is dangerous enough to require them to apply for a permit.
In October, two weeks after consulting with industry lobbyists, the White House exempted more than 100 major polluters from monitoring their emissions of lead, a deadly neurotoxin. Seemingly hellbent on a more toxic future, the administration will also allow industry to treat 3 billion pounds of hazardous waste as “recycling” each year, and to burn another 200 million pounds of hazardous waste reclassified as “fuel,” increasing cancer-causing air pollution. The rule change is a reward to unrepentant polluters: Nearly 90 percent of the factories that will be permitted to burn toxic waste have already been cited for violating existing environmental protections.


In another last-minute shift, the administration has rewritten rules to make it harder for workers to take time off for serious medical conditions under the Family and Medical Leave Act.In addition, the administration has upped the number of hours that long-haul truckers can be on the road. The new rule — nearly identical to one struck down by a federal appeals court last year — allows trucking companies to put their drivers behind the wheel for 11 hours a day, with only 34 hours of downtime between hauls. The move is virtually certain to kill more motorists: Large-truck crashes already kill 4,800 drivers and injure another 76,000 every year.


In a rule that went into effect on December 8th, the administration also limited vision and dental care for more than 50 million low-income Americans who rely on Medicaid. “This means the states are going to have to pick up the tab or cut the services at a time when a majority of states are in a deficit situation,” says Bass of OMB Watch. “It’s a horrible time to do this.” To make matters worse, the administration has also raised co-payments for Medicaid, forcing families on poverty wages to pay up to 10 percent of the cost for doctor visits and medicine. One study suggests that co-payments could cause Medicaid patients to skip nearly a fifth of all prescription-drug treatments.


Under midnight regulations, the administration is seeking to lock in the domestic spying it began even before 9/11. One rule under consideration would roll back Watergate-era prohibitions barring state and local law enforcement from spying on Americans and sharing that information with U.S. intelligence agencies.
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And its going be fucking hard to overturn:

John Podesta, the transition chief for the Obama administration, has vowed that the new president will leverage his "executive authority" to fight Bush's last-minute rule changes. But according to experts who study midnight regulations, there's surprisingly little an incoming executive can do to overturn such rules. The Bush administration succeeded in repealing just three percent of the regulations finalized before Bill Clinton left office in 2001. "Midnight regulations under Bush are being executed early and with great intent," says Bass of OMB Watch. "And that intent is to lock the next administration into these regulations, making it very difficult for Obama to undo what Bush just did."

To protect the new rules against repeal, the Bush administration began amping up its last-gasp regulatory process back in May. The goal was to have all new regulations finalized by November 1st, providing enough time to accommodate the 60-day cooling-off period required before major rule changes — those that create an economic impact greater than $100 million — can be implemented.

Now, however, the administration has fallen behind schedule — so it's gaming the system to push through its rules. In several cases, the Office of Management and Budget has fudged the numbers to classify rules that could have billion-dollar consequences as "non-major" — allowing any changes made through mid-December to take effect in just 30 days, before Obama is inaugurated. The administration's determination of what constitutes a major change is not subject to review in court, and the White House knows it: Spokesman Tony Fratto crowed that the 60-day deadline is "irrelevant to our process."MORE



Thanks a LOT, Republicans. Thanks a LOT. The only consolation I have at the mo' is that a fucking lot of you are going to feel it, right along with us traitorous, ungodly, unAmerican libruls. You see, funny thing about Ayers and Wright. You all screamed about them left and right. How wicked they were. How they are terrorists. How they hate America. Etc. etc. And yet, your evangelical president. The one who came to power on "compassionate conservatism" . Has and IS fucking over millions of Americans. In ways that will be far-reaching and and damned hard to contain, much less eradicate. Unto your own children's children. Much, much, MUCH more damage than those guys would EVER have done. And yet. They are the enemy. And Obama, the black guy. Is teh one you are scared of. Fucking ignorant fools.

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