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Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Obama's Moment is Passing Quickly
Thursday, 19 March 2009
If Obama fires and replaces his economic and military teams, and announces both a quick end to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and the immediate break-up of the country's big failed national banks and financial institutions, he has a chance to become a great president.The actions of Obama's Chief Financial Adviser Larry Summers and his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in permitting the payment of $165 million in bonuses to AIG executives (Summers, according to the Wall Street Journal, actually pressed Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT, to secretly remove a bar to the payment of such bonuses from the bailout bill) and storm of public outrage that has followed public disclosure of those payments, provides President Obama, whose administration is stumbling badly on many fronts, to turn things around and avoid political disaster.
He should promptly demand Geithner's and Summers' resignations, and should also fire the CEO of AIG, Edward Liddy (as 80% owner of AIG, the US has the power to do that anytime). It would also be a good idea at the same time to fire the CEOs of all the leading banks that are at this point surviving on government bailouts.
This would allow Obama to correct the fundamental mistake he made during the transition period following the November election in installing a bunch of Clinton-era economic advisors and Bush holdovers to be his economic team.
The US economy is in disastrous shape, and it is going to take new ideas, and people untarnished by the last 30 years of deregulatory excess and unsavory links to Wall Street, to rescue it. Obama has no shortage of good people to turn to: Nobel economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz and economist James Galbraith all spring immediately to mind as people who could offer new and better approaches to addressing both the immediate crisis and the longer-term challenge of restoring the health of the nation's economy, and of making it work for everyone, instead of just the wealthy few.
Of course, it could be that Obama is really not interested in radically changing the US economy, and its financial system. He has certainly accepted the tarnished coin of the Wall Street establishment during his campaign, and could simply be doing their bidding, but one has to operate on the hope that this is not the case. After all, the Obama campaign also raised an unprecedented amount of cash from ordinary folks, and if money is influence, he owes those little people big time.
In any event, it seems clear that if this president who spoke during his campaign of "hope and change" continues to cater to the bankers and the corporate interests that want to see no major revamping of the economic system and the regulatory apparatus, he is headed for a one-term presidency--and a sad and failed one at that.
The voters who sent Obama to Washington have been willing to extend him the benefit of the doubt, even when he made his almost uniformly lousy cabinet picks. They were willing to grant that he had been handed a disastrous situation by the last administration.
But as each week passes, the disaster becomes less Bush's and Cheney's, and more Obama's.
The same can be said of Obama's other big crisis: the two endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Again, Obama has largely retained and accepted the advice of the same people who helped run these huge policy disasters during the Bush/Cheney years, and is buying the basic assumptions of those two wars. He is most certainly not ending the Iraq conflict, and is now talking about leaving as many as 50,000 US troops in Iraq for years--as many as were in Vietnam in the fall of 1965. He is reportedly talking about doubling the number of troops in Afghanistan to over 60,000, and about expanding the war into Pakistan, and not just the tribal areas, but Baluchistan province, a heavily populated part of that country. This latter decision, which could lead to an explosion in Pakistan, and the collapse of the central government, could lead to an huge demand for more US troops in the area--perhaps hundreds of thousands more--and even to India's entry into the conflict.
This is as outrageous and doomed a strategy as is his economic program of trying to salvage the nation's zombie banks while nickel-and-diming a "stimulus" program for ordinary people.
He should seize the moment of s**tcanning his corrupt and inept economic team to also sack his military advisers, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Centcom commander David Petraeus, and bring in people who will tell him how to get the US out of both conflicts pronto.
If he fires and replaces his economic and military teams, and announces both a quick end to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and the immediate break-up of the country's big failed national banks and financial institutions, he has a chance to become a great president. If he does not, it is as predictable as the rising of the seas that his presidency will be a failure. We are nearing a point where the American public is going to lose patience with the half measures, the continuing pouring of national treasure down the twin sinkholes of the failed financial institutions and the two endless wars in the Middle East, and the tone-deaf behavior of cabinet secretaries and advisors who don't have a clue about how average Americans are living these days.
This is President Obama's moment for action. Firing Geithner and Summers would be a good start.
Americans should make an effort to let President Obama know that they want more than token stimulus programs. (Just consider this: official unemployment is now 8.1 percent, but only 4.1% of American workers are able to collect unemployment benefits, and meanwhile, real unemployment is closer to 18 percent. That's a lot of hurt, and not a lot of help.)
A good idea would be to join a march on the Pentagon set for this Saturday, March 21, and a two-day program of demonstrations against Wall Street set for April 3 and 4 in New York City.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on March 20, 2009.