Archive

Archive for February, 2011

Protests In Wisconsin: Union Protests Spread Across The US

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Over 20,000 angry union supporters gathered at the Wisconsin state capital expressing opposition to an anti-union bill and an end to Walker’s governorship. Now, pro-union protests have spread to other states proposing cutbacks.

Republican lawmakers are trying to secure quorum in Wisconsin to hold a vote on a measure to kill the collective bargaining rights of state union workers, however the Democratic law makers have refused to show up at the legislature and have fled the state to avoid being brought into the capital by state police.

The Republican controlled Senate dispatched the state troopers to find the Democrats, but they were unsuccessful. A group of them have opted to stay in a hotel just on the other side of the state line in Illinois.

Without quorum a vote cannot be held, effectively stalling the passage of the legislation.

Meanwhile, the State legislature in Tennessee has also proposed a bill that will dissolve the collective bargaining rights of the state’s teachers and proposed police layoffs in Hartford, Connecticut were met with hundreds of police marching the it streets, expressing their opposition. In Ohio crowds of hundreds have descended on the state capitol to protest legislation that would strip all state employees of their collective bargaining rights.

Opposition to cuts to workers and labor rights continue to be met with opposition, opposition which appears to be speeding across the country.

The Wisconsin protest is being called the largest set of protests the state has encountered in years.

Widely seen as the boldest anti-union bill in the nation, the law has been engineered to combat the $3.6 billion state budget shortfall.

If passed, the law would bring about a major political shift in Wisconsin. The state has been widely seen as progressive in the past, being the first state to pass comprehensive pro-union legislation in 1959.

Over 40 percent of the 2,600 unionized teachers and staff called in sick in Madison, Wisconsin, forcing the State’s second largest school district to cancel school for the day.

The state’s prisons are staffed by unionized guards. These guards would lose their bargaining rights under the new law. So far, the guards have not opted to protest or walk out. That may change.

Under the proposed law, unions could not force employees to pay dues, but could choose to represent state workers. However, they could not seek pay increases above the listed maximum in the Consumer Price Index without approval from a public referendum.

In exchange for the loss of their labor rights, the state government would promise not to engage in furloughs or layoffs. If the bill fails, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has threatened to lay-off 6,000 state workers.

Walker plans to move forward, insisting he has the necessary votes in the state legislature to pass the bill.

Support for the measure comes from the state’s Republicans who control the legislature. The state’s Democrats and union members adamantly oppose the proposed law. The Republicans claim they have the votes, despite public outcry, to pass the new law.

Activists nevertheless are pushing for a ‘citizen’s filibuster’ to prevent the passage of the bill by forcing discussion into unsociable hours.

While a number of other US states are considering bills which target labor rights, Wisconsin’s is by far the most antagonistic anti-labor measure aimed at solving budgetary shortfalls.

David Vines, a protestor and a student at the University of Wisconsin argued the Republican controlled state government is trying to bust up unions and is creating a culture war to drive poor people away from the polls.

He explained the government was elected based on promises of jobs, but instead has opted to take on issues people see as less vital, such as voter ID rules and anti-union laws.

“They are not concerned about jobs at all right now,” he said. “They come in here and they try and bust up unions and use these culture wars as a way to drive younger people and poorer people away from polls.”

Radio Host Alex Jones said this is a huge development, and the main driver behind the protests is the economy as a whole which has been driven down by the inflated dollar.

Austerity and globalism are impacting the world, what began in Europe, and the Middle East is spreading to the US, he contended.

“We’re seeing massive protests, riots. We’re seeing people get very angry,” Jones said. “We’ve seen the governor of Wisconsin threaten preemptively to call out the National Guard.”

He added, “The question is will the people be victorious against this or will the offshore robber barons of the new world order be successful brining in their new world government?”

Jones argued the protests have been coordinated and organized by international powers in order to create reasons to bring in a new global power structure and eventually a world government.

U.S. With Corporate Media Tries To Lead Iran Protests

February 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton had instantly recognized them by referring to them as the Iranian “opposition” a few months ago: “We continue talking with them and supporting the opposition.” The same government that, in the words of Juan Gelman, had so many ups and downs against the protests against the government of their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, now they have thrown themselves into the effort to head up support to those who are allegedly fighting the government in Tehran, granting them a semblance of legitimacy.

by Iroel Sánchez

Rebellion

Hillary Clinton had instantly recognized them by referring to them as the Iranian “opposition” a few months ago: “We continue talking with them and supporting the opposition.” The same government that, in the words of Juan Gelman, had so many ups and downs against the protests against the government of their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, now they have thrown themselves into the effort to head up support to those who are allegedly fighting the government in Tehran, granting them a semblance of legitimacy.

Towards this end, the U.S. State Department has opened a Twitter account USAdarFarsi to encourage those who do what America wants. Quickly, in an instant, the mainstream Western media, for example, the Spanish press started talking about repression in the Iranian capital, showing images of a burning trash can they call a “barricade” (El País–The Country), and a video in which a small group People burn a blanket on a busy road to the indifference of passing drivers (Público–Public) which was used to talk about victims of firearms.

Once again the technique of self-fulfilling prophecy begins to operate from the media against U.S. enemies, announcing in advance what the White House wants to happen. In this case, the goal is to divert the anti-imperialist and popular rebellion in the Middle East against the main enemy of the United States and Israel in the area and prevent the fire from reaching regimes such as Morocco and Saudi Arabia, faithful servants of the Empire.

And not only is the United States acting in this case, the consul of the Spanish government in Tehran who was weeks ago so reluctant to investigate and condemn the Moroccan regime’s crimes against the Saharawi people, spent four hours at a police station in Iran “after being stopped when I strolled through the center of Tehran while the ‘protests’ were taking place “…

Much ado about nothing, the U.S. is desperate to deflect attention. See the picture showing the “thousands” of demonstrators, and this is just Tehran. The rest of the country is, well, er. quietly living in peace. University of Tehran Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi said no more than “a few hundred rioters” were in downtown Tehran.

However, just survey the western corporate media. Being dusted off are the stories that failed so miserably not long ago, trying to push Washington’s agenda.

The Empire is now determined to even the score in the Middle East, by generating displays of mass discontent to bring down a U.S. adversary in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Obama’s National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon, issued an official, White House letterhead statement, declaring as a matter of U.S. policy that Iran must allow protests of whatever sort the Obama Administration wishes to encourage.

In other words, they will try to “get something going” in Iran. The administration will fail, and the spectacle will be disheartening for them.

Did somebody say “demonstrators” for hire?

Here’s looking forward to seeing them fall on their faces once again. It’s over…

U.S. with corporate media tries to lead Iran protests

Russian military has only a few minutes to hit target missiles

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The target missiles Strizh (“Swift Bird”) and Kaban (“Wild Boar”) are a must for full-scale tests of air defense systems such as the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which will be tested on February 19 at Kapustin Yar, near Astrakhan.

Target missiles are a specific type of military equipment – a kind of simulator used to train the missile battery crews of the air defense forces. These targets are used to test new air defense systems before they are used in service.

Categories: Politics Tags: , ,

An Empire Of US Military Bases?

February 16, 2011 Leave a comment

The United States boats hundreds of military bases around the world, perhaps even thousands. But, no one knows for sure because even the Pentagon does not bother to keep track.

Historian and journalist Nick Turse explained, “What I’m relatively sure of is that there are no less than 1,077 US bases or sites in foreign countries….and likely there are many more than that, we just can’t be sure.”

What is known is that the US Defense budget is now about the equal to military spending in all other countries combined, and since 9/11, military and security expenditures have soared 119 percent.

Some of these bases are on tiny islands, and some, like Guantanamo Bay, serve dual purposes.

A great deal of money goes towards maintaining those bases, but once again, taxpayers and the military do not know exactly how much is allocated towards construction and maintenance at each.

Experts argue the reason for sustaining all these military installations abroad is to “maintain a far flung global empire,” and they point out that in places like Saudi Arabia and Okinawa, US military presence has been denounced by locals.

“Cleary there’s no need from the point of view of self defense for the US to have military installations all over the world. It’s really part of maintaining a far flung global empire, and at the heart of the empire and corporate and banking interests and elites that the US military is defending. Each place that the United States has a military base, the US has political power, economic power, and it’s a matter of coercion,” said Brian Becker of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.

A local Kyrgyz man told RT, “We are living here and raising our children. Why do we need this US Air base?”

In Okinawa, locals are forced to give up ten to twenty percent of the island to the US military for a base that they associate with noise, crime, and pollution. Some say the US plays under a double standard when it comes to this.

Becker argued, “The United States would never tolerate China having military bases in Canada, in Mexico, in Haiti, in the DR, in other words in countries that ring the United States. It’s not a question of law, it’s a question of might makes right. In other words, the United States is the 700 pound gorilla. It sits wherever it chooses to sit.”

While the US chooses to “sit wherever,” those most affected by these bases, both at home and abroad, don’t necessarily have a place at the table.

Jacob Hornberger, the president of The Future of Freedom Foundation said the secrecy of empire leads to the massive number of bases, a number which is not disclosed.

“They call it a Department of Defense, but we all know that’s just a charade,” he said. “This is really just a department of empire and war.”

He explained the extensive military empire combined with foreign aid to dictators generates anger and hate towards the US, which in turn which generates terrorism and the validation the government uses to take away freedoms from Americans in the United States.

“It’s really created nothing but problems for us,” Hornberger added.

David Vine, a professor of anthropology at American University explained the argument the Pentagon uses to justify its military presence across the globe is “self-defense”. Even when it comes to confirmed US allies like Japan, Italy and Germany, as well as various tiny islands through the Pacific and Indian oceans.

“Why does the United States have a military base in the middle of the Indian ocean? Why does the United States need one? Is it protecting the United States in anyway?” asked Vine. “Not to mention, why are we spending tens of millions of dollars on things like golf courses. The Pentagon has somewhere on the order of 230 golf courses around the world. Couldn’t we cut a few of those, close down a few of those, put the money back into Pell Grants or housing programs or homelessness diversion programs?”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai once admitted that with the US military bases established permanently in Afghanistan there’ll be economic prosperity and end to the violence in the country. At the same time, the US economy continues in dire straits yet little is being done to address it.

“We should take the money that we would spend to expend building US bases overseas and invest in real national security needs here at home. Not just the military, but going far beyond,” argued Vine.

An empire of US military bases

Unrest in Arab countries: Yemenis stage new protests, demand president leave office

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

At least 3,000 protestors gathered on Monday on the streets of Yemen’s capital Sanaa in a hopes of repeating the success of the recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and to oust their long-standing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Clashes between pro- and anti-government protestors ensued on the streets. The two sides threw rocks at each other and brandished knives and daggers, eyewitnesses said. Protesters chanted “Down, down with Ali, long live Yemen!” as police formed a human shield to keep crowds from spreading and dividing the two sides.

Mass upheavals, the first large-scale public challenge to Saleh during his rule, broke out in Yemen in late January when tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in Sanaa demanding the end of his 32-year regime.

In early February, Saleh said he would not seek to run in 2013 when his presidency expires and his son would not succeed him as president.

Kazakh Armed Forces To Draft Celebrities In New Reality Show

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The Kazakh Defense Ministry and national TV have launched a televised project in which politicians, athletes and celebrities will be drafted into the armed forces.

The participants of the project, titled “Special Mission,” will undergo special training for several days in one of the country’s military units and then will be tasked with an “important mission.”

“Those who did not fulfill their military service duty for whatever reasons will get combat experience in various services and branches of the armed forces,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

According to the program, participants will be unexpectedly “drafted” at work, home or even at a party and whisked off to serve in the military.

“There will be no favors. He [the participant]… will do workouts, eat soldier’s meals and live in barracks,” the ministry said.

The show will go on the air for the first time on Sunday.

What Drives Americans To Protest?

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

As more and more countries join the wave of protests that have been sweeping through the Middle East, many are wondering just how far these protests will spread.

The world has been watching closely, hoping these destructive protests steer clear of their own backyards.

In the United States, a heated debate has erupted over whether or not Americans will follow in the footsteps of the Egyptians and begin protesting.

Some are convinced Americans simply don’t have enough enthusiasm to rally in mass numbers.

“I don’t think that Americans are motivated enough to go protest in those kind of numbers,” said Washington DC resident, Dan Rubin.

However, others said protesting has been and will always be a uniquely American characteristic.

“I think it’s part of the American DNA,” said Washington DC resident John Townsend. “I think that we take protests seriously and that when agitated and aggrieved and impassioned we take to the streets–that’s part of the American lifestyle, it’s our way of life.”

Whether it’s the economy, gay marriage, immigration, or universal healthcare, most everyone can cite a cause that would motivate them to rally in the streets of Washington.

Does the United States need to brace themselves for Middle Eastern style protests just yet? While many citizens weren’t sure, they all agreed on one message for the US government to take away from these protests:fix the economy, or else.

George Hemminger, the founder of Survive and Thrive TV explained Americans do come together and protest, but not in the same way or in the same mass numbers as those across the Middle East. But, that may change he argued.

“We may be getting to the point, to some point, where people become so economically downtrodden that they may have nothing to do but hit the street,” he said.

He said Americans would begin to rebel is big cuts came to social programs, such as social secretly and other entitlement programs.

The people are in need of unemployment and welfare. As the economy continues to dwindle and jobs are scarce, some people have no option but to turn to the government. If the government is not there to support them, the people will turn to the streets to riot and protest.

Overall, most Americans exist in a sense of complacency because little attention is given to US protests. There is a great deal of ignorance about what is really going on in America, Hemminger argued.

What drives Americans to protest?