Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rio+20 Bombs; Earth Doomed

In 1992, world leaders signed up to something called "sustainability". Few of them were clear about what it meant; I suspect that many of them had no idea. Perhaps as a result, it did not take long for this concept to mutate into something subtly different: "sustainable development". Then it made a short jump to another term: "sustainable growth". And now, in the 2012 Rio+20 text that world leaders are about to adopt, it has subtly mutated once more: into "sustained growth". OEN

Feeding Homeless Forbidden

New York City has banned all food donations to government-run homeless shelters because the bureaucrats there are concerned that the donated food will not be "nutritious" enough. Those who love to micro-manage others continue to get the upper hand in America. The bureaucrats are officially out of control.

WOW in Military

Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War" is a study of rape in the U.S. military that leaves viewers weeping and seething. More than 20 percent of women in the military have reported a sexual assault. The department estimates that about 80 percent of such assaults, which affect many men as well as women, are not reported. Women are often penalized for alleging sexual assault and are required to report such attacks to their chain-of-command superior, who in some cases is the accused rapist. Single women raped by married men have been charged with adultery, while their attackers go unpunished.

Is Mitt Comfortable Only with Whites?

Politico said late on Thursday that it had suspended one of its White House reporters for making numerous disparaging and vulgar comments about Mitt Romney. The reporter, Joe Williams, had a history of describing Mr. Romney and other conservatives in provocative terms on his Twitter feed. And on Thursday, after he appeared on MSNBC and said that Mr. Romney only appeared comfortable around "white folks," Politico said that it had taken action. OEN

UK: Stonehenge Unity?

The mysterious structure of Stonehenge may have been built as a symbol of peace and unity, according to a new theory by British researchers. During the monument's construction around 3000 B.C. to 2500 B.C., Britain's Neolithic people were becoming increasingly unified, said study leader Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield... Stonehenge's astronomical alignments suggest that it may have been a place for sun worship, or an ancient calendar... Stonehenge may have also been a burial ground, or a place of healing... Other researchers have focused on the sounds of Stonehenge. The place seems to have "lecture-hall" acoustics, according to research released in May. One archaeologist even suggests that the setup of the stones was inspired by an acoustical effect in which two sounds from different sources seem to cancel each other out. OEN

Afghanistan: women's status declines

Guest article by Dr. Mariam Raqib examines the question whether Afghan women have made progress under NATO occupation. Based on travel in Afghanistan from Sep.-Dec., 2011, as well as research over a six year period, Raqib argues that over ten years security conditions have not improved and have, in some cases, even worsened for Afghan women. OEN

Brazil: Beyond GDP

By John Perkins
Rio+20 and You
A report recently released by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon states: "the international community should measure development beyond GDP and develop a new sustainable development index or set of indicators."

Philly City Council Battles MIC

Delaware Valley New Priorities network succeeded in their effort to get Philadelphia City to go on record calling on Congress to redirect military spending to fund the catastrophe in our communities. OEN

Assange Battles from Ecuador

Julian Assange and What is at Stake
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder and leader, the international whistle-blower who has devoted himself to uncovering damning secrets that governments try to--and must--conceal from their citizens in order to carry forth with their dirty deeds, is facing an extremely serious court case that could cripple his work and that of WikiLeaks. UPDATE: Assange's journalistic duties will resume. The spreading of facts and information to the public will continue from the Ecuador Embassy in London, UK., OEN

Rootworms Devour Monsanto

Corn genetically engineered by Monsanto to kill western corn rootworm is reportedly being devoured by those pests with a vengeance. The tiny rootworm pest has overtaken fields, outsmarting the genetic engineering that was supposed to keep it away. OEN

Are Foster Children Overmedicated?

Universal Health Services Inc., known as the "Standard Oil of mental illness," recently agreed to pay $6.85 million to the U.S. and the state of Virginia to settle allegations that its Keystone Marion Youth Center provided "substandard psychiatric counseling and treatment to adolescents in violation of Medicaid requirements, falsified records and submitted false claims to the Medicaid program."

First Conviction Of US Clergy Official in History

By Joey Piscitelli, OEN
Msgr. Lynn - First Conviction Of US Clergy Official in History
Groundbreaking News: Monsignor Lynn,first Catholic official ever to be tried in court for child endangerment - is found guilty.

How the Press Treats Obama

The GOP Noise Machine has for years depicted Obama as a lowly, un-American dictator/criminal; as someone unworthy of respect, which is exactly how Munro treated him. The only difference was that instead of doing that in the hothouse confines of Daily Caller's website where openly hating Obama in the expected norm, Munro lashed out in a very public setting.

Friday, June 22, 2012

WI: voting machines won

By Jana Nestlerode, OEN
Wisconsin Redux: Self-flagellating Progressives Continue to Miss the Real Problem
Instead of blaming organizers and progressives for losing elections that should be won, look to the machines that "count" our ballots in secret.

Republicans believe Iraq had WMD

How misinformed are Republicans about world affairs? If presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's assertion that Russia is "without question our number one geopolitical foe" is any indication, then the answer would appear to be very. According to this poll, an even larger proportion of Republican respondents who said Iraq had WMD -- 64 percent -- said they have either always believed (or have come to believe) that Barack Obama was born in another country, which he was not.

New window into earliest Universe

The 21cm wavelength arises from changes within the atoms of hydrogen, the Universe's most abundant element, and one that can tell us much about the early Universe before heavier elements were formed. A key insight lies in the different speed limits for dark matter and normal matter in the early Universe, first pointed out in a 2010 Physical Review D paper. The early Universe was shaped in part by pressure waves - just like sound waves - created in the wake of the Big Bang. Like air molecules shifted around by sounds, these waves carried and distributed normal matter in regular patterns we can now observe. But dark matter, because it does not interact with normal matter, was not swayed by the waves, responding only to gravity.

Vagina: say it loud, Lisa Brown

By Naomi Wolf, OEN
During a debate on anti-abortion legislation in the Michigan statehouse, the Democratic state senator said that she was flattered that there was such an interest in, as she put it, "my vagina," but that "no means no." She was barred from later debate because, she claimed, she dared to use that word.

Obama vs. Romney: The Economy

By Bob Burnett, OEN
Five and half months before the election, polls find President Obama and the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, in a virtual dead heat. The reason is the stagnant economy. While Obama holds Democrats, and Romney Republicans, Independents have swung to Romney because they dislike his economic ideas less than Obama's.

The Vietnam War and the Struggle For Truth

By John Grant, OEN
The government and the Pentagon have launched a 13-year propaganda project to clean up the image of the Vietnam War. As President Obama preached at the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day, the war made us a better people. Vietnam veterans like myself disagree with that profoundly. The war was an historical debacle of immense proportion. Nothing has changed.

Channeling Mel Gibson

The Catholic League's Bill Donohue has attacked the Jewish Community before, but his latest statements have provoked response that the Vatican may have to apologize for.

New World Order Blueprint Leaked

By Rudy Avizius, OEN
New World Order Blueprint Leaked
The recently leaked details of the Trans Pacific Partnership "free trade" agreement should send a shiver of everyones' spine. This document masquerading as a "free trade" agreement is nothing less that a plan for total CORPORATE GLOBAL GOVERNANCE. It was negotiated in secret for 2-1/2 years with no public or congressional oversight. When combined with other recently passed legislation, the implications are ominous.

American Patriotism in Hyper-Drive

Lee Greenwood

It's midway between Flag Day and Independence Day.
That means several million copies of full-page flags printed on cheap newsprint, June 14, have been burned, shredded, thrown away, or perhaps recycled. It's an American tradition.
Flag Day was created by President Wilson in 1916 on the eve of the American entry into World War I. It has since been a day to allow Americans to show how patriotic we have become, and give a running start to celebrating the Revolution by buying banners, fireworks, and charcoal briquettes for the upcoming picnic.OEN

Election theft: an American plague

I have this theory that election theft is becoming more and more rampant throughout the world.

I blame the members of congress who have intentionally neglected to pass tight legislation banning un-recountable electronic voting. The US is now setting the standard for crooked elections around the world. Shame on the congress.

Rob Kall, OEN

The Biggest Secret In American History... Part 2!

The Biggest Secret In American History..Part 1!

Why you are a slave. Rothschild's own you! End The FED!

Glass-Steagall Now!

M Peter Lorre

Uploaded by on Sep 24, 2010
** IMDB #58 Best Movie Of All Time ** in High Def
M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder (1931)
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

This film is nothing less than a masterpiece.
It is a highly structured and stylized film about a serial killer.
It created the serial kill genre, which includes such entries as Psycho and Silence of the Lambs.
Alfred Hitchcock (the director of Psycho) was a disciple of Lang as were Jacques Tourneur (The Leopard Man (1943)) and Michael Powell (Peeping Tom (1960)).
M was not only the originator of the genre, but arguably remains it preeminent entry.

Highly recommended for those in the mood for a Hitchcockian-style thriller with a great performance by Peter Lorre and great story-telling technique by Fritz Lang

The World's 99% Knows Capitalism Is Failing and Believes That Change Is Possible

Joseph E. Stiglitz, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: "There are moments in history when people all over the world seem to rise up, to say that something is wrong, to ask for change. This is what happened in the tumultuous years 1848 and 1968. Each of these years of upheaval marked the beginning of a new era. The year 2011 may prove to be another such moment."
Read the Excerpt

Jobs held hostage by GOP

With as many as 2.9 million new and existing jobs on the line, House Republicans are refusing to pass a transportation reauthorization bill, even after the Senate’s version of the billoverwhelmingly passed through the upper chamber in a 74-22 bipartisan vote.
The deadline for new transportation funding is June 30, and if the calendar flips to July without a compromise, as many as 1.9 million workers could lose their jobs, at least temporarily. The Senate version of the bill, if adapted, would create an additional one million new jobs as well, according to Department of Transportation projections.    Read more

By Adam Peck | Think Progress

Stand up to Applaud for Abortion

JH: So take us through this. Last week, we broadcast from Netroots Nation, the annual gathering of left-of-center writers and politicos, but I got in on Friday and I missed your keynote. Everyone said that it was extremely powerful. Then I saw this headline in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on a story written by Joel Connelly, “Standup and Give a Hand for Abortion? Is Darcy Burner Gutsy or Gauche?” This seems pretty similar to another headline that was on a notably stupid right-wing blog a day earlier. What’s going on here, Darcy? What did you actually say?
DB: In my keynote I was talking about how we go on offense in the "war on women." That was the topic of the conversation. I was talking about the different forms of power that we can apply to the problem.
One of them is cultural power. What stories do people have in their heads about issues? It turns out that one in three American women will have an abortion at some time in her life, but it is an issue that is kept so much in the closet that most people have no idea that their sisters, mothers, daughter or their friends have had abortions. The LGBT movement has done this amazing job of using the idea of coming out of the closet to change the stories in people’s heads about who it is that the right wing is demonizing when they condemn gay marriage. We’ve seen tremendous progress on that issue by helping people understand that these are their friends, neighbors and loved ones who are being talked about.
So I had suggested that one thing we could do to go on offense would be for women to come out of the closet about having had abortions. And I asked women who were comfortable standing up to do so -- to indicate that they were one of the people who had an abortion. A bunch of women -- somewhere around 150 women in the room -- stood up and I said, “Now all of you who are willing to stand with these women and every woman like them please join them.” At which point roughly all of the 2,000 people in the room stood with those women who had been courageous enough to stand up first.
It was at that point that the applause happened – it was for the courage of those women. I talked later to some of the women who had stood, and they said it was the first time in their lives they had felt like they weren’t completely isolated on this issue -- that there was a community of people who loved them and who would support them. It made a great difference.

It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls (1982)

Both Sides not Equally Guilty

This is the political season. So you can expect to hear a lot of lies, and we do. "The stimulus did not create one single job." (John Boehner) "Barack Obama is the most dangerous president in modern history." (Newt Gingrich) "I was a severely conservative Republican governor." (Mitt Romney)

Whoppers. All three of them. But they are small potatoes compared to the biggest lie of all, the one we hear most often, from almost every politician, pundit, commentator and talk-show host (except this one). You've heard it a thousand times: "Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame for today's gridlock in Congress."

No, no and no! There is not a shred of evidence to support that statement. But there is a ton of evidence to prove that the truth is just the opposite. We are experiencing the inevitable stalemate that results when Republicans, en bloc, decide to vote against anything President Obama is for, even measures they had previously supported; to refuse to compromise; to pledge their undying allegiance to lobbyist Grover Norquist; and to shut down the government and destroy the economy, rather than give Obama a win on any issue.

Don't take my word for it. Nobody knows the Hill better than highly respected, independent congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. In their latest book, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks," they dismiss the notion, spread by so many in the media, that both sides are guilty: "It is traditional that those in the American media intent on showing their lack of bias frequently report to their viewers and readers that both sides are equally guilty of partisan misbehavior. Journalistic traditions notwithstanding, reality is very different."

As Mann and Ornstein explain, the Republican "never compromise" or "perpetual campaign" approach to governance began in the '80s with a young bomb thrower from Georgia named Newt Gingrich. But today's troika of John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell has managed to out-Newt Newt. In 2010, McConnell brazenly admitted: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." When that's your starting point, you're not going to get very far.

That attitude has, in fact, led to some bizarre positions held by House and Senate Republicans. In 2011, Cantor decreed that his caucus would provide no emergency disaster-relief funds for New England states ravaged by Hurricane Irene -- unless Democrats cut funding for food safety and health research. House Republicans have announced their willingness to let interest rates on student loans double to 6.8 percent on July 1 -- unless they get cuts in preventive health care funding. They also oppose extension of the Violence Against Women Act, which has already been renewed several times, with overwhelming bipartisan support, since its creation in 1994. And they refuse to vote on a highway funding bill, even though it sailed through the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 74-22. None of these should be controversial, partisan issues -- and never have been in the past.

Indeed, watching the Senate success of the highway bill makes you yearn for the "the good old days." This year's bill was co-sponsored by Oklahoma's James Inhofe, one of the Senate's most conservative members, and California's Barbara Boxer, perhaps its most liberal. And that's the way it used to work. In between elections, Republican leaders such as Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dennis Hastert or Bob Michel would sit down with Democrats such as Tom Daschle, George Mitchell, Dick Gephardt or Nancy Pelosi and try to fix the problems facing this nation. But no longer. Democrats, starting with President Obama, have shown, over and over, that they're willing to compromise. Republicans refuse. They'd rather just say no, waiting for the next election to roll around.

Mann and Ornstein point out that two other factors have contributed to today's gridlock: the emergence of the Tea Party, which swallowed up yesterday's Republican Party and sent any moderate Republicans running for the hills, and the impact of Citizens United in unleashing unlimited, and often anonymous, corporate campaign spending and big-daddy super PACs. Who dares to be a Dick Lugar anymore, when Sheldon Adelson could pour $40 million into your Tea Party opponent's campaign?

Wish I could tell you it's not as bad as it looks. I can't. It's even worse than it looks. And it's not going to get any better soon.

(Bill Press is host of a nationally-syndicated radio show, the host of "Full Court Press" on Current TV and the author of a new book, "The Obama Hate Machine," which is available in bookstores now. You can hear "The Bill Press Show" at his website: His email address is:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

David Bowie and Stylist

Extraordinary personal stories from around the world. Today Matthew speaks to Lord Raj Loomba, the successful international businessman from India who honours his mother by campaigning to help widows all over the world.
It's 40 years since David Bowie released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
Ruth Evans meets the Japanese stylist who helped Bowie create and refresh his image. Yacco Takahashi is an iconic figure in her own right. In Tokyo in the 1970s she became famous as Japan's first professional stylist.
Yacco is now in her 70s and has extraordinary memories of working with major international stars.
(Image above: Yacco Takahashi with David Bowie at the the time of his Ziggy Stardust persona. Credit: Sukita Masayoshi)

Greece: Renegotiating the Greek bailout AJE (clip)

Renegotiating the Greek bailout - Inside Story - Al Jazeera English

Greece: Renegotiating the Greek bailout - Inside Story - Al Jazeera English

Renegotiating the Greek bailout - Inside Story - Al Jazeera English

The winner of Sunday's elections in Greece, the centre-right New Democracy Party, is holding discussions in an attempt to form a pro-euro government.
"The term renegotiation implies that it has to pass 16 parliaments because it has to be ratified. I would rather suggest we talk about adjustments…if you give Spain another timeframe to pay back their bailout you can't treat Greece in another manner."
- Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German member of the European parliament
The new government's first priority would be the bailout agreement reached with the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which all Greek political parties want to renegotiate in some form.

Following the outcome of the Greek elections, Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, said: "The result of the Greece elections is that there are no concessions because what has been agreed is now what we will implement."

The latest austerity measures were the condition for a $170bn eurozone bailout. Now, this is what the EU wants from Greece in return: An estimated 150,000 jobs slashed from the state sector by 2015, of which 15,000 should be cut by the end of this year; the minimum wage lowered by 20 per cent, from $978 a month to $781; pension cuts worth $390m this year; the liberalisation of labour laws; and privatisations worth $19.5bn by 2015, including Greek gas companies.
"The Greek economy cannot take any more austerity and the new coalition more or less will fail if it does not pursue a real readjustment of the [terms of the bailout]."
- George Stathakis, an MP for Greek opposition party Syriza
The Greek economy makes up about two per cent of the EU's gross domestic product.
However, any amendment to the terms of Greece's bailout will need the backing of Germany.

Inside Story asks: Will the incoming Greek prime minister be able to impose new terms to the bailout deal and, if so, how?

Joining presenter Divya Gopalan to discuss these issues are guests: Dimitrios Tsomocos, an adviser to the New Democracy Party and an economics fellow at Oxford University; George Stathakis, a member of parliament for the opposition party Syriza; and Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German member of the European parliament for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
"The main plan of the new government would be to renegotiate the memorandum and to supplement it with more growth measures .... Nowadays after the Spanish crisis erupted there is a growing consensus in Europe to emphasise growth more rather than austerity."
Dimitrios Tsomocos, an adviser to the New Democracy Party
Al Jazeera

Medicare for All

The nutty thing about the health care debate that will play a prominent role in the next election is that most Americans want pretty much the same outcome: to control costs without sacrificing quality. And that’s not what either major-party candidate is offering. Few think that Obamacare, a Romneycare descendant that contains the same kind of individual mandate the then-governor of Massachusetts signed into law, will get us to that desired goal. Nor would Mitt Romney, who has been reborn as a celebrant of the old, pre-Obama system with a few nips and tucks.
As the nation awaits a Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Obama health care approach, a new Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that the vast majority of Americans want Congress to come up with a better plan. They know that the current system is unsustainable. Only a third of those polled favored the law President Barack Obama signed, but according to the AP, “whatever people think of the law, they don’t want a Supreme Court ruling against it to be the last word on health care reform.” The article continued, “More than three-fourths of Americans want their political leaders to undertake a new effort, rather than leave the health care system alone if the court rules against the law, according to the poll.”
That sentiment underscores the opportunity missed by Obama, who limited his ambition to what Big Pharma and the insurance giants would accept as “reform” in a system that they had so successfully exploited. Obamacare is a faux reform born of opportunism, as was Romney’s original version: Play ball with those who have profited most from the run-up of medical costs and expect them to make it more affordable.
Two dynamics doomed the experiment. First, the new Democratic president wanted to launch a bold progressive program, but rather than channel the spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to address the economic crisis that he inherited, he continued the bailouts begun under George W. Bush and fixed on health care reform instead of the financial pain being suffered by average Americans.
The second dynamic that undercut the health care bill was an overeagerness on the part of the new White House operatives to collaborate with the profiteers in the very industry targeted by reform.
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The email trail of cave-ins to the medical industry heavyweights is startlingly clear, and it is difficult to quarrel with the headline on a Wall Street Journal story: “Emails Reveal How the White House Bought Big Pharma.” Except, as a related editorial in the WSJ makes clear, it was the pharmaceutical industry that did the buying, with “a $150 million advertising campaign coordinated with the White House political shop.”
What the industry bought was an end to the notion of a health care “public option,” and a guarantee of no serious restrictions on drug prices, arranged by then White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who was in close communication with the lobbyists involved. The Journal article pointed to the cynical language of the emails exchanged, quoting one incriminating note from a lobbyist: “Rahm asked for Harry and Louise ads thru third party. We’ve already contacted the agent.” The American Medical Association and others also were in on the fix,  yet with all of that power being exercised the public wasn’t conned. As the WSJ editorialized (it galls me to agree with that newspaper’s editorialists), “The miracle is that despite this collusion of big government and big business, Obamacare has received the public scorn that it deserves.”
But scorn for an individual mandate that compels consumers to purchase something they don’t want does not translate into a rational alternative to the current mess. Californian Gary Hess, a retired school administrator and a Republican, is quoted in the AP story about the new poll as saying that he wants the Supreme Court to reject the entire Obama plan but that he still wants the government to retain the requirement that insurance companies cover people regardless of their prior medical conditions. “There needs to be compromise on both sides,” he said. Clearly, any good compromise must include both control on costs and the availability of health care to the needy in places other than the very expensive emergency room.
Let me humbly suggest that as an alternative to a mandatory system rejected by the majority, we return to the idea of covering most people by attracting them to quality public and private programs through consumer choice, and that one of those choices be a version of the public option we now offer seniors. It’s called Medicare and it works splendidly.

Dreamers Add New Chapters to the Story

Undocumented immigrants in the United States number around 12 million people, a group larger than the populations of most countries on the planet. Among those are as many as 800,000 young people who are now most likely eligible for limited legal status, thanks to executive action taken last week by President Barack Obama. In a Rose Garden speech, Obama said that he and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano were working “to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient and more just—specifically for certain young people sometimes called ‘Dreamers.’” Behind the speech was a movement for social change, built by millions, each with their own story.
The “Dreamers” are those who are here without legal documentation, often derogatively referred to as “illegals,” but who came to this country as children, in some cases as infants. As he said in his speech: “These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.” For 10 years, people have pushed for an act of Congress to give these young people legal status, through a bill called the DREAM Act, short for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
People in the movement don’t consider themselves “alien.” They call themselves “undocumented Americans.” One of those who stands to directly benefit from White House’s decision is Lorella Praeli, from New Haven, Conn., a member of the United We Dream national coordinating committee. She fought for passage of the Connecticut version of the DREAM Act. The bill was signed into law last year, making undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges. Praeli is a 2011 graduate of Quinnipiac University, which she attended on a scholarship.
“I had a car accident when I was 2 and a half, which resulted in the amputation of my right leg,” she explained. “My family and I sought treatment at Shriners Hospital. So for many years, we spent time between Peru and Tampa, Fla., which is where the hospital is. When I was 10, my family decided to move to Connecticut. That’s how I ended up here.”
She went on, “I didn’t know I was undocumented until toward the end of my high-school career, applying to colleges. ... You need to fill out FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid], and you need a Social Security number. That was kind of my introduction to what being undocumented really meant and to start to internalize what it meant to be undocumented, feeling very isolated.”
<a href='' target='_blank'><img src='' border='0' alt='' /></a>
She was invited by the New Haven mayor’s office to speak at a press conference. She recalled: “I didn’t have anything prepared. I got up, and I said something like ‘I am done standing on the sidelines.’ And that was my coming out, very publicly. And that, I think, just changed my life for the better.”
They call them “coming out” stories. Another young immigrant, Jose Antonio Vargas, said it was, for him, less daunting to come out as a gay teenager than to come out as an undocumented American. He came from the Philippines at the age of 12, to stay with his grandparents in California. He didn’t learn that he was “illegal” until he applied for his driving permit at the age of 16. Vargas ultimately became a reporter at The Washington Post. There he was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. By 2011, after hiding his immigration status for almost 15 years, Vargas “came out” in a New York Times Sunday Magazine article.
He explained what prompted his decision: “Watching United We Dream and watching these four activists from Miami, [who] walked from Miami to Washington, D.C., to fight for the DREAM Act, the Trail of Dreams. I felt like a coward, and I felt accountable. And that’s when I decided that, you know what? I’ve got to go do this.”
Movements—whether they are civil rights, gay rights or immigration rights—are built on a foundation of innumerable small acts of courage. Like the four undocumented students who marched from Miami to D.C., or those who sat in at four of Obama’s campaign offices around the country, immediately before the DHS announcement last week (risking arrest, and thus, potentially, deportation), these millions of “Dreamers” are committed, and organizing. As the anthropologist Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,000 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.
© 2012 Amy Goodman

Beyond the Politics of the Big Lie

Posted on Jun 19, 2012
Pink Sherbet Photography (CC BY 2.0)
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout
This piece originally appeared at Truthout.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
—Martin Luther King Jr.
The American public is suffering from an education deficit. By this I mean it exhibits a growing inability to think critically, question authority, be reflective, weigh evidence, discriminate between reasoned arguments and opinions, listen across differences and engage the mutually informing relationship between private problems and broader public issues. This growing political and cultural illiteracy is not merely a problem of the individual, one that points to simple ignorance. It is a collective and social problem that goes to the heart of the increasing attack on democratic public spheres and supportive public institutions that promote analytical capacities, thoughtful exchange and a willingness to view knowledge as a resource for informed modes of individual and social agency. One of the major consequences of the current education deficit and the pervasive culture of illiteracy that sustains it is what I call the ideology of the big lie—which propagates the myth that the free-market system is the only mechanism to ensure human freedom and safeguard democracy.
The education deficit, along with declining levels of civic literacy, is also part of the American public’s collective refusal to know—a focused resistance on the part of many members of society to deal with knowledge that challenges common sense, or to think reflectively about facts and truths that are unsettling in terms of how they disturb some of our most cherished beliefs, especially those that denounce the sins of big government, legitimize existing levels of economic insecurity, social inequality and reduced or minimal government intervention in the field of welfare legislation.”(1) The decline of civility and civic literacy in American society is a political dilemma, the social production of which is traceable to a broader constellation of forces deeply rooted in the shifting nature of education and the varied cultural apparatuses that produce it, extending from the new digital technologies and online journals to the mainstream media of newspapers, magazines and television. Politics is now held hostage to what the late Raymond Williams called the “force of permanent education,” a kind of public pedagogy spread through a plethora of teaching machines that are shaping how our most powerful ideas are formed.(2) For Williams, the concept of “permanent education” was a central political insight:
What it valuably stresses is the educational force of our whole social and cultural experience. It is therefore concerned, not only with continuing education, of a formal or informal kind, but with what the whole environment, its institutions and relationships, actively and profoundly teaches…. [Permanent education also refers to] the field in which our ideas of the world, of ourselves and of our possibilities, are most widely and often most powerfully formed and disseminated. To work for the recovery of control in this field is then, under any pressures, a priority. For who can doubt, looking at television or newspapers, or reading the women’s magazines, that here, centrally, is teaching and teaching financed and distributed in a much larger way than is formal education.[3]
William’s insight about the relationship between education and politics is more important today than it was in the 1960s when he developed the idea. The educational force of the wider culture is now one of the primary, if not most powerful, determinants of what counts as knowledge, agency, politics and democracy itself. The machinery of permanent education and the public pedagogical relationships these create have become the main framing mechanisms in determining what information gets included, who speaks, what stories are told, what representations translate into reality and what is considered normal or subversive. The cultural apparatuses of popular education and public pedagogy play a powerful role in framing how issues are perceived, what values and social relations matter and whether any small ruptures will be allowed to unsettle the circles of certainty that now reign as common sense. But education is never far from the reach of power and ideology. As the major cultural apparatuses and technologies of public pedagogy are concentrated in a few hands, the educational force of the culture becomes a powerful ideological tool for legitimating market-driven values and social relations, based on omissions, deceptions, lies, misrepresentations and falsehoods benefiting the apostles of a range of economic, educational and religious fundamentalisms.
For the first time in modern history, centralized commercial institutions that extend from traditional broadcast culture to the new interactive screen cultures—rather than parents, churches or schools—tell most of the stories that shape the lives of the American public. This is no small matter since the stories a society tells about its history, civic life, social relations, education, children and human imagination are a measure of how it values itself, the ideals of democracy and its future. Most of the stories now told to the American public are about the necessity of neoliberal capitalism, permanent war and the virtues of a never-ending culture of fear. The domestic front revels in the welcome death of the social state, the necessary all-embracing reach of the market to determine every aspect of our lives, the reduction of freedom to the freedom to consume, the pathology of social relations not under the rule of commodities and finance capital and the notion that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own fate in a world that now resembles a shark tank.
Democracies need informed citizens to make them work and they can only survive amid a formative culture that produces individuals willing to think critically, imagine otherwise and act responsibly. America seems to have moved away from that possibility, that willingness to think through and beyond the systemic production of the given, the pull of conformity, the comforting assurance of certainty and the painless retreat into a world of common sense. Hannah Arendt understood the danger of such a state, which she famously called the banality of evil and described as a “curiously quite authentic inability to think.”(4) For Arendt, this was more than mere stupidity, it was a mode of manufactured thoughtlessness that pointed both to the disappearance of politics and constituted one of the most serious threats facing democracy. That threat is no longer merely a despairing element of philosophical reflection—it has become the new reality in American life. The political, economic and social coordinates of authoritarianism are all around us and through the educational force of the broader culture they are becoming more normalized and more dangerous.
There is little distance between what I am calling an education deficit and the reigning market authoritarianism, with its claim to be both synonymous with democracy and unquestionable in its assumptions and policies. The education deficit, a hallmark achievement of neoliberal capitalism, has produced a version of authoritarianism with a soft edge, a kind of popular authoritarianism that spreads its values through gaming, reality TV, celebrity culture, the daily news, talk radio and a host of other media outlets now aggressively engaged in producing subjects, desires and dreams that reflect a world order dominated by corporations and “free markets.” This a world that only values narrow selfish-interests, isolated competitive individuals, finance capital, the reign of commodities and the alleged “natural” laws of free-market fundamentalism. This type of turbo capitalism with its crushing cultural apparatuses of legitimation does more than destroy the public good; it empties democracy of any substance and renders authoritarian politics and culture an acceptable state of affairs. As the boundaries between markets and democratic values collapse, civil life becomes warlike and the advocates of market fundamentalism rail against state protections while offering an unbridled confirmation of the market as a template for all social relations.
Notwithstanding the appeal to formalistic election rituals, democracy as a substantive mode of public address and politics is all but dead in the United States. The forces of authoritarianism are on the march and they seem at this point only to be gaining power politically, economically and educationally. Politicians at every level of government are in collusion with corporate power. Many have been bought by industry lobbyists. This despicable state of affairs was particularly evident in the 2010 elections. Commenting on the colonization of politics by big money in that election, Charles Pierce captures the power dynamic and ideological relations that were in play at that time and have intensified since. He writes:
In 2010, in addition to handing the House of Representatives over to a pack of nihilistic vandals, the Koch brothers and the rest of the sugar daddies of the Right poured millions into various state campaigns. This produced a crop of governors and state legislators wholly owned and operated by those corporate interests and utterly unmoored from the constituencies they were elected to serve. In turn, these folks enacted various policies and produced various laws, guaranteed to do nothing except reinforce the power of the people who put them in office.[5]

Coporate welfare the knockout blow

In recent decades, governments and central banks around the world have developed a consistent pattern of behavior when trouble strikes banks that are large or interconnected enough to threaten the broader economy: They step in to ensure that all the bank’s creditors, not just depositors, are paid in full. Although typically necessary to prevent permanent economic damage, such bailouts encourage a reckless confidence among creditors. They assume the government will always make them whole, so they become willing to lend at lower rates, particularly to systemically important banks.

Implicit Subsidy

With each new banking crisis, the value of the implicit subsidy grows. In a recent paper, two economists -- Kenichi Ueda of the IMF and Beatrice Weder Di Mauro of the University of Mainz -- estimated that as of 2009 the expectation of government support was shaving about 0.8 percentage point off large banks’ borrowing costs. That’s up from 0.6 percentage point in 2007, before the financial crisis prompted a global round of bank bailouts.
To estimate the dollar value of the subsidy in the U.S., we multiplied it by the debt and deposits of 18 of the country’s largest banks, including JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. The result: about $76 billion a year. The number is roughly equivalent to the banks’ total profits over the past 12 months, or more than the federal government spends every year on education.
JPMorgan’s share of the subsidy is $14 billion a year, or about 77 percent of its net income for the past four quarters. In other words, U.S. taxpayers helped foot the bill for the multibillion-dollar trading loss that is the focus of today’s hearing. They’ve also provided more direct support: Dimon noted in a recent conference call that the Home Affordable Refinancing Program, which allows banks to generate income by modifying government-guaranteed mortgages, made a significant contribution to JPMorgan’s earnings in the first three months of 2012.
Like all subsidies, the taxpayer largesse distorts supply. If the government supports corn farmers, you get too much corn. If the government subsidizes banks, you get too much credit. As of March, households, companies and government in the U.S. had amassed debts of $38.6 trillion, or 2.5 times the country’s gross domestic product. That’s up from 1.3 times in 1980. The picture is similar in the euro area, where debt outstanding is 1.8 times GDP, double the level of 1995.
The oversupply of credit -- also supported in the U.S. by government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and by tax breaks on mortgage interest -- encourages risky behavior. People buy houses they can’t afford, companies borrow too much for acquisitions, and banks employ excessive leverage to boost the returns they can offer their shareholders. The result is a bloated finance industry: As of 2011, the sector accounted for 8.3 percent of the U.S. economy, compared with 4.9 percent in 1980.

Costly Cycle

Inevitably, the debt burden becomes overwhelming, precipitating crises in which banks suffer losses, private credit dries up, and people cut back on spending to pay down their debts. The onus then shifts to central banks and governments as they engineer bailouts and boost their spending to prevent economic collapse -- a pattern that has repeated itself throughout the developed world, according to research by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. This costly cycle has helped increase sovereign debts to the point where they now threaten the solvency of governments.
The solution: Minimize the subsidy. Require banks’ shareholders to put up enough capital to make bailouts highly unlikely (we advocate 20 percent of assets). Allow some creditors to take losses when a bank gets into trouble, so they won’t assume they’re safe (an approach regulators in the U.S. and Europe are considering). Cut off subsidies to traders, such as the folks in London who lost billions for JPMorgan, by forbidding speculative trading activity at banks (the goal of the Volcker rule in the U.S. and financial ring-fencing in the U.K.).
Why hasn’t this been done? One partial explanation can be found in the amount of money banks put into election campaigns and into lobbying, which has recently included efforts to water down the Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation. According to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, the broad financial industry -- a category that includes real estate companies and insurers -- has spent $285 million on political giving in the 2012 election cycle. That’s much more than any other industry spends.
Lawmakers and regulators need to recognize just how costly business as usual will be. When Dimon pushes back against capital requirements or the Volcker rule, it’s worth remembering that he’s pushing for a form of corporate welfare that, left unchecked, could lead to a crisis too big for the government to contain.
Read more opinion online from Bloomberg View. Subscribe to receive a daily e-mail highlighting new View editorials, columns and op-ed articles.
Today’s highlights: the editors on Greek elections; Jeffrey Goldberg on Romney, Mormons and Jews; Ramesh Ponnuru on Grover Norquist’s latest fight; Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers on equal opportunity in sports; Thomas Cooley, Matthew Richardson and Kermit Schoenholtz on rescuing Europe’s banks; Simon Serfaty and Alexis Serfaty on optimistic news for Europe; Amy Monahan on the courts and voters’ pension reforms.
To contact the Bloomberg View editorial board:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Czech Volleyball

Fire All the Teachers! (and Other Inanities)

Two of the most damaging misconceptions people have about labor unions are (1) that union members tend to be substandard workers (lazy, unreliable, surly, privileged), and (2) that union members can’t be fired because their “masters” will always go to bat to protect them.
Where they got the notion that union members are incompetent employees is a mystery.  After all, even a cursory analysis of the economics should make it clear that union jobs—those, typically, with the highest wages, superior benefits and best and safest working conditions—are going to attract the most talented workers in a community.  Why wouldn’t they?  Why wouldn’t the best jobs in a community attract the best people?  Yet, we allow ourselves to be swayed by the propaganda. 
And as widespread as this anti-union propaganda is, it’s especially virulent when it comes to public service unions.  Apparently, everyone and his brother (including President Obama and his Secretary of Education, the corporate lackey Arne Duncan)  just naturally assume that it’s the teachers’ union that prevents conscientious, well-meaning school administrators from firing bad teachers.
People like to believe that if those grossly incompetent teachers did not belong to a powerful union, if they did not have cadres of union lawyers standing by ready to defend them, the administrators would be able to drain the swamp, to rid our schools of those union-created monsters who are holding our students hostage, depriving them of a decent education.  That may be a gripping narrative, but it’s total fiction.
The following statistics are startling, but true.  They were taken from the anti-union website “Teachers’ Union Exposed.”  The site’s most recent figures show that California school teachers are 87.5-percent unionized.  Accordingly, the percentage of “experienced” California teachers that were fired was 2.03-percent, and the percentage of “probationary” teachers that were fired was 0.98-percent. 

By comparison, North Carolina, which is 97.7-percent non-union, fired 0.6-percent of its experienced teachers, and 0.3-percent of its probationary teachers.  In other words, California and its big, bad teachers’ union was “tougher” on its union teachers than North Carolina was on its non-union teachers.  It’s puzzling.  School administrators in non-unionized North Carolina are in the position to fire any teacher they choose, but they don’t do that.  They don’t fire their teachers. 
"California and its big, bad teachers’ union was “tougher” on its union teachers than North Carolina was on its non-union teachers.  It’s puzzling.  School administrators in non-unionized North Carolina are in the position to fire any teacher they choose, but they don’t do that."
And why don’t they?  The answer is that teachers—everywhere and anywhere, North, South, East and West, union and non-union—don’t deserve to be fired.  Why on earth would they?  Why on earth would we expect substantial numbers of our school teachers to be terminated for incompetence?  Are our colleges and universities turning out such lousy teachers that we have no choice but to get rid of them?
We need to be clear about something.  This move against the public schools and teachers’ unions is being orchestrated not by educational reformers interested in improving our schools, but by greedy entrepreneurs looking to privatize the whole shebang.  The prospect of having millions of kids leave the public schools and enroll in privates or for-profit charters represents a potential gold mine.
So the next time a person tries to tell you that it’s the unions who are responsible for the problems our public schools are facing, take a moment to set them straight.  Make it clear to them that this whole “union teacher vs. non-union teacher” dichotomy is a hoax.  It’s a con game.  Put it to them in the simplest possible terms.  We’re being played for suckers.
David Macaray
David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor”), was a former union rep. He can be reached at

How Wall Street Aims to Keep U.S. Regulators Out of Its Global Betting Parlor

Dimon in the Rough

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the main regular of derivatives (bets on bets), wants to extend Dodd-Frank regulations to the foreign branches and subsidiaries of Wall Street banks.Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Horror of horrors, say the banks.
“If JPMorgan overseas operates under different rules than our foreign competitors,” warned Jamie Dimon, chair and CEO of JP Morgan, Wall Street would lose financial business to the banks of nations with fewer regulations, allowing “Deutsche Bank to make the better deal.”
This is the same Jamie Dimon who chose London as the place to make highly-risky derivatives trades that have lost the firm upwards of $2 billion so far – and could leave American taxpayers holding the bag if JPMorgan’s exposure to tottering European banks gets much worse.
Dimon’s foreign affair is itself proof that unless the overseas operations of Wall Street banks are covered by U.S. regulations, giant banks like JPMorgan will just move more of their betting abroad – hiding their wildly-risky bets overseas so U.S. regulators can’t control them. Even now no one knows how badly JPMorgan or any other Wall Street bank will be shaken if major banks in Spain or elsewhere in Europe go down.
Call it the Dimon loophole.
This is the same Jamie Dimon, by the way, who at a financial conference a year ago told Fed chief Ben Bernanke there was no longer any reason to crack down on Wall Street. “Most of the bad actors are gone,” he said. “[O]ff-balance-sheet businesses are virtually obliterated, … money market funds are far more transparent” and “most very exotic derivatives are gone.”
One advantage of being a huge Wall Street bank is you get bailed out by the federal government when you make dumb bets. Another is you can choose where around the world to make the dumb bets, thereby dodging U.S. regulations. It’s a win-win.
Wall Street would like to keep it that way.
For two years now, squadrons of Wall Street lawyers and lobbyists have been pressing the Treasury, Comptroller of the Currency, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, SEC, and the Fed to go easier on the Street for fear that if regulations are too tight, the big banks will be less competitive internationally.
Translated: They’ll move more of their business to London and Frankfurt, where regulations are looser.
Meanwhile, the Street has been warning Europeans that if their financial regulations are too tight, the big banks will move more of their business to the US, where regulations will (they hope) be looser.
After the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (a global financial regulatory oversight body) came up with a new set of rules to toughen bank capital and liquidity requirements, European officials threatened to get even tougher. They approved a new system of European regulatory bodies with added powers to ban certain financial products or activities in times of market stress.
This prompted Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, to issue — in the words of the Financial Times — “a clear warning that the bank could shift its operations around the world if the regulatory crackdown becomes too tough.”
Blankfein told a European financial conference that while Europe remains of vital importance to Goldman, with less than half of the bank’s business now generated in the U.S., the introduction of “mismatched regulation” across different regions (that is, tougher regulations in Europe than in the U.S.) would tempt banks to search out the cheapest and least intrusive jurisdiction in which to operate.
“Operations can be moved globally and capital can be accessed globally,” he warned.
Someone should remind Dimon and Blankfein that a few years ago they and their colleagues on the Street almost eviscerated the American economy, and that of much of the rest of the world. The Street’s antics required a giant taxpayer-funded bailout. Most Americans are still living with the results, as are millions of Europeans.
Wall Street can’t have it both ways – too big to fail, and also able to make wild bets anywhere around the world. 
If Wall Street banks demand a free rein overseas, the least we should demand is they be broken up here.

Joseph E. Stiglitz | The Price of Inequality

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Project Syndicate: "America likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity, and others view it in much the same light. But, while we can all think of examples of Americans who rose to the top on their own, what really matters are the statistics ... Nowadays, these numbers show that the American dream is a myth. There is less equality of opportunity in the United States today than there is in Europe - or, indeed, in any advanced industrial country for which there are data."
Read the Article

FBI Arrests Another in Blago Case

UH-OH FBI Nabs Key Figure in Blagojevich Case

FBI Nabs Key Figure in Blago Case

Raghuveer Nayak, a former campaign fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday morning, sources said. Nayak was reportedly a key figure when former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich tried to sell the Senate seat that opened up when President Obama took office. Nayak was the witness who told the FBI that Jackson made a “pay to play” offer to get Blagojevich to appoint Jackson to fill the seat. Nayak, a close family friend of the Jacksons, reportedly told federal authorities that Jackson directed him to approach the Blagojevich’s camp with a $6 million offer.

Fed Lowers Interest Rates

Good news for consumers, bad news for the stock market. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will be extending Operation Twist in order to lower the long-term interest rates for millions of consumers and businesses. The Fed said it will continue shifting its portfolio from short to long-term securities through the end of the year. The Fed says it plans to buy $267 billion in longer-term Treasury securities with maturities of 6 years to 30 years and will sell or redeem an equal amount of securities with maturities of 3 years or less. Stocks took a dive after the announcement, but turned mixed by mid-afternoon.

Egypt: Egypt Delays Presidential Pick

Who's your president? The answer is still unknown in Egypt, where authorities confirm the winner of the presidential runoff race will likely be unknown until June 21. Judges are reviewing some 400 election complaints from both campaigns. Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi claimed early victory over former Hosni Mubarak minister Ahmed Shafik on Sunday before polls had closed. The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces—which assumed presidential power after Mubarak was ousted—says it will hand over power once one candidate is deemed the winner. Mubarak’s health, which has wavered over the last 24 hours, was greatly improved Wednesday, his lawyers saying he could make a 'full recovery.'

Mexico: Obama’s Bold Executive Privilege Play

Not so fast. Moments before a House committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, the White House took the dramatic step of asserting executive privilege on the committee’s attempt to open thousands of documents about the “Fast and Furious” investigation, reports The Daily Beast’s Patricia Murphy.

Egypt - the clock is ticking for Washington

I took this photo on January 29, 2011 in Tahrir Square. Back to the same issue. Readers of this blog know that I am against US military aid to Egypt. I was against it under Mubarak and am against it under SCAF. I am partly against aid because I'm not a big fan of any of the big Middle Eastern aid packages, because of the specifics of the Egyptian situation, although I am not against it under any circumstances. The national security waiver exercised by the Obama administration in March was premature and unwarranted, and now they have egg on their face. Washington can buy itself a few days to figure out what's going to happen in Egypt this week — this is what the recent statements frm the State Dept. being "troubled" by the recent developments amount to but the clock is ticking: they will either have to suspend the aid or be openly in favor of SCAF's constitutional coup if they continue it.
It's a situation as black-and-white as the one we see in Egypt today, despite all attempts to fudge the issue. Sara Khorshid puts it well in this NYT op-ed, The Betrayal of Egypt's Revolution:
Given the military’s consistent disregard for basic democratic norms over the past 16 months, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s comment last week that “There can be no going back on the democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people” sounded ridiculous.
Despite the army’s blatant power grabs, the Obama administration has had no qualms about restoring American military aid, waiving a Congressional requirement that links military assistance to the protection of basic freedoms, so as to preserve the United States’ longtime alliance with Egypt’s rulers.
America could have sided with the Egyptian people if it had wanted to. But the question is whether the American government really has the will to see Egypt become a democracy.
If the Obama administration genuinely supports the Egyptian people in their pursuit of freedom, then it should realize that democracy will take root only through the revolutionary path that started on the streets in January 2011 — not through the dubious ways of the Mubarak-appointed military council.
Shadi Hamid (with whom I cordially disagree on many issues) also put it well yesterday on Twitter:
If Obama wants to be on "right side of history," then next step is clear -- suspend aid to #Egypt until SCAF commits to handing over power.
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) June 18, 2012
If US isn't willing to suspend military aid to #Egypt now, then under what circumstances would it? SCAF has done its worst.
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) June 18, 2012
These two are Egyptians (Shadi is Egyptian-American), which is important — I think more Egyptians are willing to publicly take this stance. More Americans need to care about this, too. I'm not Egyptian, and care mostly about this for American reasons. It's not just that I don't want my tax dollars to subsidize the US defense industry and pampered generals in Cairo. It's also that I don't want the blowback when Egyptians turn to Americans and say, "you supported our dictators".  The time has come: the US may not be able to influence developments in Egypt, but at least it can stop underwriting them.
The Arabist