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Sat, 27 Nov 2021
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Our Decade from Hell Will Get Worse in 2012

Image
© marketwatch.com
Fasten your seat belts: 2011 was far worse than expected. Our earlier predictions for America's Worst Decade just got worse.

As financial historian Niall Ferguson writes in Newsweek: "Double-Dip Depression ... We forget that the Great Depression was like a soccer match, there were two halves." The 1929 crash kicked off the first half. But what "made the depression truly 'great' ...began with the European banking crisis of 1931." Sound familiar?

Yes, huge warnings: But America's deaf. In denial. When we predicted the 2011-2020 "decade from hell" we didn't see the big macro events dead ahead: Arab Spring virus that's now Occupy Wall Street, promising to explode into an even more powerful force in 2012 ... war on the middle class ... widening inequality gap. ... Washington gridlock ... the Super Rich's blind resistance to all new taxes.

As Ferguson puts it: "To understand what has been happening in our own borderline depression, you need to know this history. But hardly anyone does." Get it? America's already in a "borderline depression," and virtually nobody gets it. American leaders are dummies about history. Worse, nobody may be able to stop our depression from turning "great."

Investors beware: Please, protect your assets: "Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it." We've already forgotten the lessons of the 2008 disaster. No wonder we're doomed to repeat the mistakes of the 1930's triggering the Second Great Depression. Soccer anyone?

Bomb

Blast hits Egypt's gas pipeline to Jordan, Israel

Image
© Unknown
Cairo: An Egyptian pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was bombed Sunday, the 10th such attack this year, but no fire erupted because the line that runs through North Sinai was already disabled, a security source said.

The blast took place in an area five km (three miles) south of the Mediterranean coastal town of al-Arish.

"The attack was carried out using remote-controlled explosives by unidentified assailants who arrived at the scene using four-wheel-drive vehicles," the source said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the series of pipeline attacks since a popular uprising toppled Mubarak in February. One attack took place just before he was ousted.

The latest blast broke the pipe, but no flames were seen as gas pumping has been halted since the last attack on November 28.

The government said in November it would tighten security measures along the pipeline by installing alarm devices and recruiting security patrols from Bedouin tribesmen in the area.

Take 2

Angelina Jolie inflames new ethnic emotions in Bosnia with her debut as film director

Angelina Jolie has aroused praise and criticism in Bosnia with her first film as a director, a story of love and war set during the bloody Balkans conflict.


She is Hollywood's highest-paid actress and one half of its most glamorous couple, accustomed to life on the red carpet, her instantly-recognisable face looking out from glossy magazine covers.

This time, however, Angelina Jolie is being feted for her work behind rather than in front of the camera with her directorial debut - a harrowing story of love and war in Bosnia.

Even before the release of In the Land of Blood and Honey, the Oscar-winner garnered her first directing honour, winning the Producers' Guild of America special award for portrayal of social issues.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has just shortlisted the film, which Jolie also wrote, in the best foreign language category for the Golden Globes. And her father, the actor Jon Voight, from whom she was long estranged, joined her for the festivities in a public display of reconciliation.

But in the Balkans, another world from the star-studded American premieres and glitzy after-parties, the film is inflaming old and deeply-held emotions.

Sheriff

Say NO to the Use of the Military in the United States... Is the Use of the Military Designed for the Occupy Movement?

The congress is rushing through S. 1867, the Defense Authorization Bill. It contains a radical change in law - allowing the use of the military inside the United States, against U.S. citizens and residents, allowing their indefinite military detention based merely on suspicion of being engaged in hostilities against the U.S. This amendment, sponsored by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, was added in the senate after a closed door hearing and has received bi-partisan support on the Senate floor, with very little debate.

At the request of the White House language that exempted American citizens and legal residents from indefinite military detention was removed from the bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, as Senator Levin said on the senate floor.

This is a major shift from a country that forbids the use of the military domestically under the Posse Comitatus Act passed in 1878 during the Reconstruction Era. There have been holes in the domestic use of the military primarily in drug enforcement. Indeed, I worked on one case involving Esequiel Hernandez, an 18 year old high school student killed on the Texas-Mexican border by Marines on drug patrol in 1997. The Hernandez killing shows why the U.S. military is the wrong tool for enforcement inside the United States and raises questions for young soldiers ordered to turn their weapons on Americans.


Vader

Welcome To The United Police States of America, Sponsored By Twitter

Imagine my surprise this morning when, without warning, my shiny new Twitter account (@d_seaman) was suspended and taken offline.

No more tweets for you. You now have 0 followers.

My crime? Talking too much about Occupy Wall Street (I'm not an Occupier, but as a blogger and journalist it strikes me as one of the most important stories out there -- hence the constant coverage), and talking too much about the controversial detainment without trial provisions contained in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would basically shred the Bill of Rights and subject American citizens to military police forces. The same level of civil rights protection that enemy combatants in a cave in Afghanistan receive!

Question

Mystery Kidney Disease in Central America

Mystery Disease
© Anna Maria Barry - Jester
A mysterious epidemic is sweeping Central America - it's the second biggest cause of death among men in El Salvador, and in Nicaragua it's a bigger killer of men than HIV and diabetes combined. It's unexplained but the latest theory is that the victims are literally working themselves to death.

In the western lowlands of Nicaragua, in a region of vast sugar cane fields, sits the tiny community of La Isla.

The small houses are a patchwork of concrete and wood. Pieces of cloth serve as doors.

Maudiel Martinez emerges from his house to greet me. He's pale, and his cheekbones protrude from his face. He hunches over like an old man - but he is only 19 years old.

"The way this sickness is - you see me now, but in a month I could be gone. It can take you down all of a sudden," he says.

Maudiel's kidneys are failing. They do not perform the essential function of filtering waste from his body - he's being poisoned from the inside.

When he got ill two years ago, he was already familiar with this disease and how it might end. "I thought about my father and grandfather," he says. Both died of the same condition. Three of his brothers have it too.

All of them worked in the sugar cane fields.

Cowboy Hat

US: The Fight to End Corporate Personhood Heats Up

Occupy wall street coporate personhood
© dopey, via Flickr
It's been nearly two years since an intensely divided Supreme Court solidified the idea of corporate personhood by ruling that political spending by corporations is protected as a form of free speech under the First Amendment. Since then, that landmark decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Committee has allowed for unrestricted and undisclosed campaign spending by corporations, a concept that we are just starting to see the effects of as the 2012 election draws near.

Since the Occupy Wall Street protests began in September, there has been a lot of attention on the potential for political corruption by powerful corporations and the subsequent gross imbalance of wealth and power it creates. Over the past few weeks, it looks like there is finally some momentum starting to build in efforts to overturn the landmark Citizens United case, cut the ties between corporations and the government, and put an end to the idea that Corporations should enjoy the same rights as people.

Pirates

US: The scandal of the Alabama poor cut off from water

poor no water
© Unknown
The poorest citizens in Birmingham, Alabama, say they can no longer afford running water.
Banks stand to lose millions of dollars in debt repayments if the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history is allowed to proceed.

But the real victims of the financial collapse in the US state of Alabama's most populous county are its poorest residents - forced to bathe in bottled water and use portable toilets after being cut off from the mains supply.

And there is widespread anger in Jefferson County that swingeing sewerage rate hikes could have been avoided but for the greed, corruption and incompetence of local politicians, government officials and Wall Street financiers.

Tammy Lucas is the human face of a financial and political scandal that has brought one of the most deprived communities in America's south to the point of what some local people believe is collapse.

She says: "If the sewer bill gets higher, my light might get cut off and if I try to catch up the light, my water might get cut off. So we're in between. We can't make it like this."

Mrs Lucas's monthly sewerage rate bills - the amount levied by the county to flush away waste and provide water for baths and showers - has quadrupled in the past 15 years. She says it is currently running at $150 (£97) a month, which leaves little left out of her $600 social security cheque for food and electricity.

"We need to keep the water running because we're women," she says. "We need to take baths. I try to pay the sewer bill and the water bill together and then what little I got left I try to put on my lights. I got to have lights."

Stormtrooper

Will Russia let the United States start a war in mid-January?

Syria

Syria
The Western media has showcased the latest report from Human Rights Watch, "By All Means Necessary!", wherein it is alleged that crimes against humanity were committed under the authority of President Bashar al-Assad. At no time does the press inquire about the identity of the authors or the methodology of the report.

The Atlanticist press has hailed the Russian resolution proposal to the Security Council as a sign that Moscow has come around to Washington's views. However, the newspapers have not seen the full text, but only a few sentences quoted by Reuters.

The Canadian press echoes the call of its Foreign Minister for all Canadian citizens to leave Syria not later than mid-January, when their evacuation will become problematic. It is not clear what disaster is anticipated around this date.

Play

Occupy Psychopaths 1 (OWS vs. the Pathology of the 1%)

An Occupy Wall Street activist explains why he thinks it is very important to spread knowledge about psychopaths and psychopathy.

Find out about the important connection between psychopaths and the ruling 1%.

This is not taught in schools (but should be).