Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
The Most Important Economic Story Nobody is Talking About
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
Behind every great president stands a great central banker. Ronald Reagan had Paul Volcker. Dwight Eisenhower had William McChesney Martin. And FDR had, well, FDR.
There's a corollary. Behind every great central banker stands a great central banking committee. Or at least a pliant one. It's this latter reality that President Obama still has not quite recognized. And this malign neglect of most matters monetary has added a wholly unnecessary degree-of-difficulty to the economic recovery.
Here's a depressing reminder: We're in a $1 trillion hole. That's how much income we have been losingevery year since the onset of the Great Recession. Ben Bernanke and Co. have done a good job preventing a full-on replay of the Great Depression, but Ben Bernanke and Co. have not done a good job preventing a lost decade. The key phrase here is "and Co."
States To Use Gold And Silver As Legal Tender
By Susanne Posel, Contributor - Activist Post
As America slips into monetary oblivion, some states are turning to the US Constitutional right and desiring to use alternative currencies – preparing for the hyper-inflation that Bernanke is currently creating.
Minnesota, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina and Georgia are awaiting approval from their respective governments to create a separate currency. This number is up from 2011, when just 3 states were brave enough to attempt this constitutional right.
More Americans Stashing Cash in Home Safes Have Americans lost trust in banks?
More folks are keeping valuables at home,
whether in room-size vaults or under-bed safes.
By CHARLES PASSY - SmartMoney.com
When Carlos Felipe decided to shop for the ultimate night's sleep, he headed to the New Jersey showroom of Hollandia, an Israeli manufacturer that creates custom beds running as much as $35,000. And sure enough, Felipe, a sales representative, found plenty of appealing features and options, from the adjustable bed frame powered by German-made motors to the hypoallergenic, antimicrobial latex mattress (the cover is "treated with aloe vera for a soft feel," Hollandia boasts). But the accessory that most caught Felipe's eye was designed to help him rest easy in a different way. It was a small safe, good for holding a few valuables or gold coins, ingeniously built into the base of a bed -- a modern-day answer to the idea of stashing your savings under a mattress. A duly impressed Felipe plans on using it to store his wife's jewelry and some extra cash: After all, he asks, what thief would look for such valuables in the frame of the bed itself?
Why a More Flexible Renminbi Still Matters
By Kenneth Rogoff - Project-Syndicate.org
CAMBRIDGE – One of the most notable macroeconomic developments in recent years has been the sharp drop in China's current-account surplus. The International Monetary Fund is now forecasting a 2012 surplus of just 2.3% of GDP, down from a pre-crisis peak of 10.1% of GDP in 2007, owing largely to a decline in China's trade surplus – that is, the excess of the value of Chinese exports over that of its imports.
The drop has been a surprise to the many pundits and policy analysts who view China's sustained massive trade surpluses as prima facie evidence that government intervention has been keeping the renminbi far below its unfettered "equilibrium" value. Does the dramatic fall in China's surplus call that conventional wisdom into question? Should the United States, the IMF, and other players stop pressing China to move to a more flexible currency regime?
Keiser Report: How bankers stole Labor Day (E282)
In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert discuss the bull market in discontent, MF Global clients begging JP Morgan for their money back, Zynga insiders dumping shares in an 'innovative' manner and Max does a mean impersonation of Jamie 'Pick a pocket or two' Dimon. In the second half of the show Max talks to activist Andy Stepanian about animal rights activism, Occupy Wall Street and the dangers of success against corporations.
Why the Eurozone Debt Crisis Never Really Went Away
BY DAVID ZEILER, Associate Editor, Money Morning
How many times have we been told the Eurozone debt crisis is resolved, only to have it turn up again like a bad penny?
Last year's string of good news/ bad news on the Eurozone debt crisis had the markets going up and down like a yo-yo until the routine grew so tiresome that most people stopped paying attention.
But while the crisis faded into the background, it never really went way.
Remedies that were sold as solutions haven't solved a thing.
The euro crisis just got a whole lot worse With Europe plunging back into recession and unemployment soaring, Francois Hollande, the French presidential candidate, is calling for growth objectives to be reprioritised over the chemotherapy of austerity.
By Jeremy Warner - Telegraph.co.uk
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has meanwhile continued to insist that on the contrary, Europe must persist with the hairshirt. What's needed is political courage and creativity, not more billions thrown away in fiscal stimulus. Stick with the programme, she urges, as the anti-austerity backlash reaches the point of outright political insurrection.
Hollande and Merkel are, of course, both wrong. What Europe really needs is a return to free-floating sovereign currencies. Only then will Europe's seemingly interminable debt crisis be lastingly resolved. All the rest is just so much prancing around the goalposts, or an attempt to make the fundamentally unworkable somehow work.
EU PLOT TO SCRAP BRITAIN
By Macer Hall - Express.co.uk
SENIOR Eurocrats are secretly plotting to create a super-powerful EU president to realise their dream of abolishing Britain and other nation states, the Daily Express can reveal.
A covert group of EU foreign ministers has drawn up plans for merging the jobs currently done by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.
G-8 move puts protest plans in flux With only NATO in town, marches should be smaller
By Tammy Webber - AP - WashingtonTimes.com
CHICAGO — The stage seemed set for an epic showdown: G-8 and NATO leaders planned to hold back-to-back summits in Chicago that activists predicted could draw tens of thousands of people protesting everything from war in Central Asia to unemployment and education cuts at home.
But at the last minute, President Obama moved the Group of Eight economic meeting to Camp David, the secluded presidential retreat in Frederick County, Md., where demonstrators will be kept far away. Chicago kept the NATOmeeting, which will focus on the war in Afghanistan and other international security matters - not the economy.
Can Big U.S. Banks Escape Europe's Malaise?…
Meredith Whitney Chimes In
The financial sector was the best performing index out of the S&P 500 during the first quarter. That was when investors were decoupling from the woes of Europe. With European bank shares falling now that European nations are back front and center, the obvious fear is that the big US banks are going to get pulled down much further as their brethren get pummeled overseas.
Fed's Lacker: Likely Need To Raise Rates In 2013
[Google title for free article pass]
By MICHAEL R. CRITTENDEN - WSJ.com - $$
NORFOLK, VA (Dow Jones)--Additional easing by the Federal Reserve isn't a cure-all for the uneven U.S. recovery, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said Wednesday, insisting that interest rates will likely need to be raised next year despite recent indications the economy may be hitting a soft spot.
Lacker, who has dissented from his colleagues at all three Fed meetings this year, said further efforts by the central bank to stimulate the economy are unlikely to be of much help. While he acknowledged the economic hardship being felt by many Americans, particularly as unemployment remains above 8%, Lacker said there is little the Fed can do.
Our central bankers are intellectually bankrupt
By Ron Paul - FT.com
The financial crisis has fully exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of the world's central bankers.
Why? Central bankers neglect the fact that interest rates are prices. Manipulating those prices through credit expansion or contraction has real and deleterious effects on the economy. Yet while socialism and centralised economic planning have largely been rejected by free-market economists, the myth persists that central banks are a necessary component of market economies.
These economists understand that having wages or commodity prices established by government fiat would cause shortages, misallocations of capital and hardship. Yet they accept at face value the notion that central banks must determine not only the supply of one particular commodity – money – but also the cost of that commodity via the setting of interest rates.
The Corporate-Tax Conundrum
by Laura Tyson - Project-Syndicate.org
BERKELEY – The United States now has the highest statutory corporate-income tax rate among developed countries. Even after various deductions, credits, and other tax breaks, the effective marginal rate – the rate that corporations pay on new US investments – remains one of the highest in the world.
In a world of mobile capital, corporate-tax rates matter, and business decisions about how and where to invest are increasingly sensitive to national differences. America's relatively high rate encourages US companies to locate their investment, production, and employment in foreign countries, and discourages foreign companies from locating in the US, which means slower growth, fewer jobs, smaller productivity gains, and lower real wages.
Goldman Sachs May Play Pivotal Role in American's Fate
By Jeffrey McCracken, Mary Schlangenstein
and Zachary R. Mider - Bloomberg.com
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may emerge as a pivotal participant in deciding the fate of AMR Corp. (AAMRQ)'s American Airlines in bankruptcy.
The firm, an AMR bondholder, is among creditors being lobbied by US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) to back a possible takeover bid, said people with knowledge of the matter. Goldman Sachs has encouraged other debt investors to meet with US Airways to see if a merger would recoup more than AMR's stand-alone plan, said one person, who asked for anonymity because details are private.
Paul Craig Roberts -
Progressive News Hour - April 26, 2012
The Progressive Radio News Hour is a cutting-edge program featuring distinguished guests daily discussing major world and national issues in depth.
Roberts was former Assistant Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan, a Wall Street Journal Associate Editor, and holder of numerous academic appointments, including at Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He now prominently criticizes destructive, repressive state policies, harming people everywhere.
Major world and national issues will be discussed.
Goldman's Hawker Beechcraft Files for Bankruptcy Protection
By Dawn McCarty and Michael Bathon - Bloomberg.com
Hawker Beechcraft Inc., the private- jet maker owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) andOnex Corp. (OCX), sought bankruptcy protection after agreeing to a restructuring plan that will reduce debt by about $2.5 billion.
Hawker, bought for $3.3 billion in 2007, listed more than $1 billion in assets and debt in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The company reported net losses totaling more than $900 million in the past two years as U.S. military contracts and plane sales declined.
All Signs Point To Lost Decade: Krugman and Summers
By MERRILL GOOZNER, The Fiscal Times
Amid new signs that Europe is in a double-dip recession and U.S. job growth is faltering, two of the leading macroeconomists of their generation warned Wednesday – in two separate events – that the domestic economy appears headed for a lost decade marred by high unemployment, sluggish growth and rising inequality.
Though one is considered liberal and the other a centrist, Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and former National Economic Council chairman Lawrence Summers offered similar diagnoses of what ails the U.S. economy.
Will the rent be too damn high for Bernanke? Rents are soaring, and that's bad news for inflation -- and for Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's plans to keep it low.
By Nin-Hai Tseng - Fortune.com
FORTUNE – Most of us don't want to pay higher prices, but there's a growing debate over whether we should allow inflation to edge a little higher to help the U.S. economy grow.
Earlier this week, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Engle joined fellow prize winner Paul Krugman in building the case for rapidly rising prices. They say it could help reduce joblessness, with Krugman suggesting that the Federal Reserve tolerate inflation of up to 4% to boost the economy. That's about double what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been targeting. Anything higher than that, Bernanke has said, would be "very reckless" and could potentially derail the economic recovery.
Michigan Politicians Turn Blind Eye To Illegal Fannie & Freddie Foreclosures Performed By Trott & Orlans Attorneys Need To Name Them As Co-Defendants In Foreclosure Lawsuits
Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami.com
Over the past year, I've been writing about the shenanigans going on over at Michigan's largest foreclosure mills, Trott & Trott and Orlans Associates in regards to robo-signing and notary fraud. MFI-Miami has now discovered something that calls into question the legitimacy of every Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foreclosure they have performed in the state of Michigan over the past five years.
Crooks and Criminals in High Places with Gerald Celente 1/3
On the Thursday, May 3 edition of the Alex Jones Show, runs down a leaked U.S. Army document that spells out a plan for re-education camps in America. Alex also talks with trend forecaster Gerald Celente. He is the publisher of the Trends Journal and has predicted a number events that have come to pass, including the Crash of 2009, and warns of social and economic disruptions to come, especially in America. He is the author of Trends 2000: How to Prepare for and Profit from the Changes of the 21st Century and Trend Tracking: The System to Profit from Today's Trends.
Debt inequality is the new income inequality
By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The rich are getting richer, and everyone else is going deeper into debt trying to keep up.
The bottom 95% of Americans have seen debt levels balloon compared to their earnings over the past 20 years or so, as falling incomes made them more dependent on credit to maintain their lifestyles.
In 1983, the bottom 95% had 62 cents of debt for every dollar they earned, according to research by two International Monetary Fund economists. But by 2007, the ratio had soared to $1.48 of debt for every $1 in earnings.
More than 1 in 5 Americans are economically insecure
By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- More than one in five Americans saw at least a quarter of their available household income vanish each year during the Great Recession, and they lacked a sufficient financial cushion, according to a report released Monday.
The situation has left them economically insecure, according to the report, which updates an Economic Security Index created by Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale.
There Are 100 Million Working Age Americans
That Do Not Have Jobs
by Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
The unemployment crisis in America is much worse than you are being told. Did you know that there are 100 million working age Americans that do not get up in the morning and go to work? No wonder why it seems like there are so many people that do not have jobs! According to the federal government, there are 12.6 million working age Americans that are considered to be "officially" unemployed, but there are another 87.8 million working age Americans that are not working either. The federal government considers those Americans to be "not in the labor force" so they are not included in the unemployment rate. In fact, this is one of the key ways that the government manipulates the unemployment numbers. The Obama administration would have us believe that the unemployment rate is going down and that that since the start of the last recession about as many Americans have left the labor force as we saw during the entire decades of the 1980s and 1990s combined. Of course that is a bunch of nonsense, but that is what the Obama administration would have us believe.
The 86 million invisible unemployed
By Annalyn Censky @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- There are far more jobless people in the United States than you might think.
While it's true that the unemployment rate is falling, that doesn't include the millions of nonworking adults who aren't even looking for a job anymore. And hiring isn't strong enough to keep up with population growth.
As a result, the labor force is now at its smallest size since the 1980s when compared to the broader working age population.
Job market dropouts Last year, 86 million Americans were not counted in the labor force because they hadn't recently looked for work. Here's what they've been doing instead.
Staying home with the kids
After serving in the Marine Corps for 12 years, I moved back home to San Antonio and eventually found a great position as a compliance coordinator for a trucking company. I worked there for about six years, but once the economy started going downhill, I was laid off.
I found another job as a customer relationship manager, and a year later, I was laid off again.
At first, we kept our baby in daycare, so I could spend every day filling out applications.
NFIB: Small Business hiring was weak in April, "Outlook improves"
From the National Federation of Independent Business(NFIB): Job Creation Weakens in April but Prospects Improve
April was another tenuous month for small businesses, sending mixed signals about what the future holds.
"On the job creation front, the news was only fair. The net change in employment per firm (seasonally adjusted) came in at 0.1; this is down from March but still positive...
"The percent of owners reporting hard to fill job openings rose 2 points to 17 percent, one point below the January 2012 reading which is the highest we've reported since June 2008. Hard-to-fill job openings are a strong predictor of the unemployment rate, making the gain in openings a welcome development. The net percent of owners planning to create new jobs is 5 percent, a 5 point increase after taking a plunge in March...
More employers give green light to flexible hours One way this economic slowdown has differed from past recessions: Efforts to help people balance work and family actually increased, says one study.
By Anne Fisher - Fortune.com
FORTUNE -- Business is booming at Harris Allied, a New York City-based recruiting firm that specializes in finding IT talent and quantitative analysts for investment banks and other financial services companies. "Candidates come to us because they want to change jobs, and a lack of balance between work and home life is usually the reason," says managing director Kathy Harris. "People get tired of working 16-hour days. I had one executive tell me he hadn't had dinner with his family in six months."
Now that the job market is showing signs of life again, she adds, "More people are making a move. And, when a key person quits in order to get more balance in their lives, it often comes as a complete surprise to their employer."
College Grads Snub Startups
by Teresa Novellino - Portfolio.com
Never mind that the twentysomething Harvard dropout who started a little company called Facebook is about to take it public at a $100 billion valuation. The allure of working at a startup, à la Mark Zuckerberg, just isn't there for the college graduates in the class of 2012, a new survey finds.
In fact, these soon-to-be-grads value job security above all else, including salary and benefits, and are the least likely of any job-seekers to consider working for a startup, a new SimplyHired.com survey released today finds.
Partisan Politics Damaging American Energy
By Shea Laverty - OilPrice.com
Partisan politics rule the day in America. As much as anyone can try to deny that, the rhetoric coming from either side of the aisle tells a very different story. In one corner, the ever-emboldening Left, who after several years of meek concession-making seem to have finally bared their fangs after gaining some populist support. In the other, the stonewalling Right who seem to have dedicated their entire philosophy to opposing anything and everything they haven't themselves drafted.
So which wing of the American political machine is correct? Should we dump the oil companies into a ravine and ride the solar superhighway, or should we Drill Baby Drill and tap the resources sitting right under the feet (and rumps) of North Americans everywhere?
The Fastest Growing Religion In America Is Islam
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
Do you know what the fastest growing religion in America is? It isn't Christianity. According to the latest U.S. Religion Census that was just released on May 1, 2012, the fastest growing religion in America is Islam. The data for the census was compiled by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, and the results were released by the Association of Religion Data Archives. From the year 2000 to the year 2010, the census found that the number of Muslims living inside the United States increased from 1 million to 2.6 million - a stunning increase of 66.7 percent.
Apple Must Face Lawsuit Over IPhone Data Collection Claims
By Joel Rosenblatt - Bloomberg.com
Apple Inc. must face a lawsuit over claims it collected data from customers' iPhones while they used applications approved by the company, a judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, today dismissed some of the claims in the case while allowing others to proceed to pretrial fact-finding.
"I'm going to lift any stay of discovery, and discovery is going forward," Koh told lawyers representing Apple and customers who filed the complaint.
Apple, through applications on iPhones, collected data on customers' geographical locations even after users said they didn't want to share the information, Scott Kamber, a lawyer representing customers, said in court today.
The Feds Unnecessarily Round Up Wild Horses,
Then Complain About Costs After ridding Western lands of thousands of wild mustangs at the request of corporate interests, the Bureau of Land Management now is worried about the price of its programs.
By Andrew Cohen - TheAtlantic.com
It surely cannot be easy these days being Joan Guilfoyle, the (relatively) new director of the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program. On the one hand she works for a federal agency, the Interior Department, which is largely beholden to the powerful industries it is supposed to regulate. And on the other hand, she is responsible, under federal law and policy, for ensuring the survival and management of the nation's wild horses at a time when relentless political and economic forces threaten to decimate the herds.
Federal Horse Rustlers & the Agenda 21 Hustle
By Debbie Coffey - PPJG.me
To begin with, the National Association of Conservation Districts (the "mother" of all Conservation Districts) is partnering in a way that promotes IUCN and ICLEI USA, thus pushing Agenda 21, the UN's action plan that will do away with your private property rights and Constitutional rights.
The Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting (April 2012), was the first meeting including Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar's new appointee, Callie Hendrickson. Hendrickson has served as an Executive Board member of the National Association of Conservation Districts, and works for the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation District in Colorado.
New Nanotechnology That Turns Windows
Into Transparent Solar Panels
By Energy Digital - OilPrice.com
Our modern world is consuming energy at insatiable rates. The high-tech complexity of contemporary society has created a demand for energy resources that are both easily accessible and infinitely available, and unfortunately the energy sources of yesterday simply do not hold up to the rapid evolution of the times.
Perhaps the major flaw in our previous approach to discovering a renewable energy source was not the narrowness, but the broadness of our scientific focus. Yesterday's Energy Market looked towards monumentally visible energy sources like Oil, blindly clinging to the notion that material visibility equated to energetic abundance.
iRobot's military bots get smarter and more agile (photos)
by ZDNet Author
The latest addition to iRobot's military robot line is the 110 FirstLook, a throwable robot designed to take pictures of locations for a remote operator. It's equipped with four cameras (seen on the side behind the flipper) and uses Wi-Fi to communicate back to a controller. It can also climb stairs using its flippers, although that's not its primary use. iRobot recently shipped the first 100 units to the U.S. military.
The Laser Future of U.S. Missile Defense
[Google title for free article pass] Russia and China recognize the low-cost efficiency of lasers.
Does the Pentagon?
By MARK GUNZINGER AND ANDREW KREPINEVICH - WSJ.com - $$
For 20 years, from the first Gulf War to the recent bombardment of Libya, the U.S. military has had few difficulties deploying and supplying its forces. Rivals and would-be enemies—from China to Hezbollah—have taken note, and they're moving to acquire long-range, precision-guided weapons that would threaten our forces by creating mass "kill zones" around airfields, ports and supply depots. This threat is far more formidable than the roadside bombs encountered by our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Pentagon is aware of this threat, but its approach to addressing it is old-fashioned and expensive. Despite looming budget cuts, it continues emphasizing multimillion-dollar interceptors to shoot down missiles and rockets that enemies can field at a small fraction of that cost. This places our military at the wrong end of a cost competition that our enemies will be only too happy to continue.
* * * * *
RUSSIA THREATENS PRE-EMPTIVE ATTACK
ON U.S. INSTALLATIONS The Chief of the Russian General Staff, Russia's top military officer, has threatened to attackAmerican (technically, NATO) anti-missile installations in Eastern Europe:
By John Hinderaker - PowerlineBlog.com
"A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens," Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.
So the threat was made to our faces.
The threat comes as talks about the missile defense system, which the U.S. and its allies insist is aimed at Iranian missiles, appear to have stalled.
"We have not been able to find mutually-acceptable solutions
Russia threatens to strike NATO missile defense sites
By Shaun Waterman-The Washington Times
Russia's top military officer warned Thursday that Moscow would strike NATO missile-defense sites in Eastern Europe before they are ready for action, if the U.S. pushes ahead with deployment.
"A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens," Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile-defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.
Leaked U.S. Army Document Outlines Plan
For Re-Education Camps In America
by Paul Watson - InfoWars.com
A leaked U.S. Army document prepared for the Department of Defense contains shocking plans for "political activists" to be pacified by "PSYOP officers" into developing an "appreciation of U.S. policies" while detained in prison camps inside the United States.
The document, entitled FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations (PDF) was originally released on a restricted basis to the DoD in February 2010, but has now been leaked online.
Smile, you are a Civilian Internee!
By Madison Ruppert, Editor of End the Lie
As every day passes, it becomes clearer that our once-free nation is quickly turning down the path of a totalitarian police state, as embodied by the passage of S.1867 in the Senate and H.R.1540 in the House.
With the knowledge that KBR is developing a so-called "National Quick Response Team" to man the detention centers popularly referred to as "FEMA Camps" on 72 hours' notice, the picture only gets more grim.
This trend is also reflected in the recent United States Army job posting for Internment/Resettlement Specialists.
The Great Fall of China
By Peter Coy, Dexter Roberts,
and Bruce Einhorn - BusinessWeek.com
Qi hu nan xia, goes a Chinese proverb: When one rides a tiger, it is difficult to dismount. For the leaders of China's 1.3 billion people, the import is clear. Stay on the tiger's back, issue commands, and hope like hell the beast doesn't turn on you. Over the last quarter-century that approach has served the mandarins of the Communist Party well. China became an economic marvel and staked a claim as the world's next superpower. Civil liberties, social development, environmental husbandry, and political transparency were subordinate to the imperatives of growth. Increasing complaints about the avarice and gangsterism of government officials could be dismissed as local problems as long as an enlightened elite was thought to be guiding the state with a steady hand. Even when under pressure to reform, China's leaders could reassure themselves that their grip on power remained secure.
Drones and the Dream of Remote Control in the Borderlands
by JOSEPH NEVINS - CounterPunch.org
Drones along the U.S. boundaries with Mexico and Canada are coming under criticism from an unexpected source: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—or, more specifically, the department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The critique helps open the door to those who oppose not only the increasing "eyes in the sky" in the borderlands, but also the larger apparatus of state surveillance and repression.
The OIG, charged with promoting "effectiveness, efficiency, and economy in the Department of Homeland Security's programs and operations," has undertaken an audit of the "unmanned aerial vehicle" program of U .S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, which obtained a draft audit of the OIG report, "[t]he nine Predators that help police America's borders have yet to prove very useful in stopping contraband or illegal immigrants."
The Anarchy Factor in Syria
By Itamar Rabinovich - Project-Syndicate.org
TEL AVIV – The failure of the Obama administration, its Western allies, and several Middle East regional powers to take bolder action to stop the carnage in Syria is often explained by their fear of anarchy. Given the Syrian opposition's manifest ineffectiveness and disunity, so the argument goes, President Bashar al-Assad's fall, when it finally comes, will incite civil war, massacres, and chaos, which is likely to spill over Syria's borders, further destabilizing weak neighbors like Iraq and Lebanon, and leading, perhaps, to a regional crisis.
What is actually happening in Syria refutes this argument. In fact, the lingering crisis is corroding the fabric of Syrian society and government. Anarchy is setting in now: it is preceding – and precipitating – the regime's eventual fall.
Israel Plots an Endgame
by RAMZY BAROUD - CounterPunch.org
Israel's colonization policies are entering an alarming new phase, comparable in historic magnitude to the original plans to colonize Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem following the war of 1967.
On April 24, an Israeli ministerial committee approved three settlement outposts – Bruchin and Rechelim in the northern part of the West Bank, and Sansana in the south. Although all settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal by international law, Israeli law differentiates between sanctioned settlements and 'illegal' ones. This distinction has actually proved to be no more than a disingenuous attempt at conflating international law, which is applicable to occupied lands, and Israeli law, which is in no way relevant.