It was President Obama, not Republicans, who demanded automatic spending cuts — the so-called “fiscal cliff” — in order to force both parties to accept brutal austerity, writes William K. Black (the S&L bank regulator and prosecutor). In a column entitled “Obama should listen to Obama,” Black details how Obama repeatedly demanded an automatic trigger in the 2011 budget deal, which would kick in at the end of 2012.
Jumping off from Obama’s statement a few weeks ago, that “Now is not the time for more self-inflicted wounds, certainly not coming from Washington,” Black writes: “Austerity is the weapon that is about to inflict the self-inflicted wounds on our nation. The fiscal cliff is the ammunition about to be used to inflict austerity on the nation. One of the wounds is a recession, which would increase unemployment and the federal budget deficit. The other terrible wounds are cuts to social programs and the safety net that would add greatly to human misery.” He goes on:
“Reporters need to ask Obama two series of questions. Who insisted on creating the fiscal cliff, threatened Republicans in Fall 2011 when they wanted to eliminate or reduce it, and after the ‘failure’ of the November 2011 ‘super committee’ to reach a deal to inflict even greater austerity on the nation, made a veto threat to block a Republican proposal to eliminate or delay the fiscal cliff? The answer is: Obama. The White House wanted a ‘trigger’ that would automatically raise taxes on the wealthy and cut health spending, an idea the Republicans opposed. Obama’s ‘trigger’ became the ‘fiscal cliff.’ I have explained how he then kept the ‘fiscal cliff’ alive by blocking Republican efforts to eliminate or delay it.”
Black refers back to an earlier, Dec. 20 article, where he had pointed out that it was Tim Geithner and Bill Daley, two strong proponents of austerity, who advised Obama when he took the lead in crafting austerity. In this earlier article, Black identified five times during 2011 when Obama insisted on the “fiscal cliff” automatic spending cuts, in order to inflict austerity on the American people for the next decade: (1) The July 2011 $4 trillion austerity agreement with Boehner. (2) Creating of the fiscal cliff austerity deal in August around the debt ceiling. (3) Creation of the “super committee” to inflict massive spending cuts. (4) During “super committee” negotiations, Obama blocked any effort to delay or eliminate the fiscal cliff, by insisting that the automatic sequester provisions remain. Here Black adds: “Obama urged the infliction of severe austerity through cuts in the safety net, massive cuts in social programs, and deliberately created and used the fiscal cliff’s self-destructive austerity threat to extort these betrayals of the American people. His surrogates (Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson — the co-chairs of Obama’s austerity commission) pushed the super committee to ‘go big’ and inflict $4 trillion in austerity.” (5) When the “super committee” could not reach an agreement, Obama threatened on Nov. 21, 2001, to veto any effort to get rid of the “fiscal cliff” automatic spending cuts.
Much of this, Black points out, was aimed at progressive Democrats, to extort from them support for severe cuts in social programs and the safety net, out of fear of even more drastic cuts if the automatic cuts kicked in.
Black’s careful recounting of the Obama’s direct and personal role in demanding and creating the “fiscal cliff’s” automatic spending cuts and sequestration, should eliminate for once and for all any fiction that Killer Obama has been forced into this “crisis” by the Republicans. It is strictly of his own making.
Castro’s secret archives: US Special Ops prepares to snatch five decades of damaging material
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Mar 29, 2010, 00:31
(WMR) — WMR has learned from knowledgeable sources in the Pentagon that the U.S. Special Operations Command has recently been tasked to come up with a covert operation designed to snatch the secret archives complied over five decades by former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Our sources report that among Castro’s archives are documents proving the collaboration of top U.S. Mafia figures, including Mafia financial boss Meyer Lansky, with the CIA in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. Castro apparently kept track of many of those involved in the assassination of Kennedy because they were also actively involved in anti-Castro plots associated with right-wing Cuban exiles that were organized out of Miami, New Orleans, Houston, and Dallas, cities where the Mafia was extremely active.
WMR has learned that Castro’s extensive archives have been secured in a well-protected facility on the Isle of Youth (formerly the Isle of Pines) off the southwest coast of Cuba.
In addition to documents that point to the mob’s and CIA’s involvement in the Kennedy assassination, including the roles played by the Canadian Bronfman family and their wealthy attorney, the CIA-connected Louis Bloomfield of Montreal, the Castro archives reportedly contain a wealth of information about Cuban support for Angola’s government and liberation movements in Africa and Latin America. The archives also have details about the role of the CIA in the Angolan civil war and the coups that toppled Chilean President Salvador Allende and other leaders, as well as Henry Kissinger’s infamous Operation Condor that “disappeared” thousands of leftist, student, and labor leaders in Latin America.
The plans by the U.S. Special Operations Command to surreptitiously land on the Isle of Youth and secure the Castro archives may have something to do with the recent arrest of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor as he was boarding a plane in Havana. Alan Phillip Gross of Potomac, Maryland, was arrested on December 5 last year and charged with espionage. Gross entered Cuba on a tourist visa but began working on projects designed to provide Internet technology services for Cuban Jewish communities. Gross worked for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) of Bethesda, Maryland, a State Department contractor that specializes in bringing high-technology services to “civil society organizations.” Gross is reportedly a satellite technology expert.
Gross reportedly made a number of trips to Cuba before his arrest. Throwing doubt on claims that Gross was in Cuba to help provide Internet access to the Cuban Jewish community, several prominent members of Cuba’s Jewish community said they never met Gross. In addition, Cuba’s small Jewish community was already receiving computer and Internet assistance from ORT, a non-governmental organization.
Gross’s mission in Cuba has been clouded in mystery. Cuba said Gross was illegally distributing satellite communications equipment, which would be important for in-country support in a mission to secretly insert a U.S. military team into Cuba to spirit away Castro’s archives.
Due to Gross’s visibility with Jewish groups in the United States, his arrest has affected on-going talks between Washington and Havana designed to improve relations between the two nations.
DAI’s website states the company started operations in 1970 and by 1980 was active in Sudan, the then-Zaire, Tanzania, and Indonesia. In a move that mirrors that of Barack Obama and his mother Ann Dunham, DAI extended its development operations from Indonesia to Pakistan and by 1982 the firm was fully active in that nation at a time the U.S. was using Pakistan as a base to support the Afghan mujaheddin against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. DAI is also active in Jordan, Palestine, Mexico, and South Africa.
The arrest of Gross in December came as former President Fidel Castro began to reassert control over the government, particularly through the appointment as Vice President of the Council of State Ramiro Valdes Menendez, a Castro loyalist and former interior minister who understands the need to protect the Island of Youth archives from being snatched by the United States or other non-state players.
In April 2003, a Cuban man hijacked an Antonov-24 from the Isle of Youth and, after a brief landing at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, where some women and children passengers were released, was allowed to fly to Key West. The hijacker, who threatened to blow up the plane with two hand grenades, was eventually granted asylum in the United States after the ritualistic debriefing by FBI and CIA personnel.
Saudi Arabia announced during the third week of October, that it would build one of the world’s largest mosques/education centers on a hilltop in Kabul, Afghanistan, at a cost of $100 million, scheduled to open in 2014 or 2015. The Saudi “Islamic complex,” to be named after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, is intended to contain a mosque and a university center, capable of housing and indoctrinating up to 5,000 Afghani students in jihadi Wahhabism.
2014 is the date that U.S.-ISAF forces are due to depart from Afghanistan, after a 13-year-long ulcerating war, that has sucked out America’s moral and physical capacity, costing thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, and the explosion of the Afghan drug trade. There will be an exchange: in reality, as the U.S. limps out of Afghanistan, the British-Saudi monarchies, which induced the U.S. into Afghanistan through the orchestrated September 11, 2001 attack, will take over. America’s occupation is a lost episode.
Catriona Luke, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper, commenting Dec. 13 on the planned Saudi madrassa in Kabul, noted that “The AfPak [Afghanistan-Pakistan] region has been defined by a Saudi proxy war since the 1970s…. Reuters recently produced an excellent report on how banned terrorist outfits in Pakistan are, and have long been, funded from Saudi Arabia. WikiLeaks cables described the Gulf states as a ‘cash-point for [Wahhabi] terrorism’…. A report commissioned by the UN Security Council in 2003 described how in the decade leading to 9/11 Saudi Arabia transferred over 4500 million to al-Qaeda via Islamic charities….” Luke added that the “Bush administration is said to have redacted 28 pages of a Congress report that documented Saudi government ties with the 9/11 hijackers.”
While Luke does not mention that same network as running 9/11/2012, she is otherwise accurate.
Now, as the U.S. has been weakened by its wasting occupation, as in the repeat of the “Great Game” of the past, the British-Saudi empire, if U.S. policy is not changed, is poised to pick up the pieces.
Bertrand Russell’s Last Message
By Bertrand Russell
This statement on the Middle East was dated 31st January, 1970, and was read on 3rd February, the day after Bertrand Russell’s death, to an International Conference of Parliamentarians meeting in Cairo.
The latest phase of the undeclared war in the Middle East is based upon a profound miscalculation. The bombing raids deep into Egyptian territory will not persuade the civilian population to surrender, but will stiffen their resolve to resist. This is the lesson of all aerial bombardment.
The Vietnamese who have endured years of American heavy bombing have responded not by capitulation but by shooting down more enemy aircraft. In 1940 my own fellow countrymen resisted Hitler’s bombing raids with unprecedented unity and determination. For this reason, the present Israeli attacks will fail in their essential purpose, but at the same time they must be condemned vigorously throughout the world.
The development of the crisis in the Middle East is both dangerous and instructive. For over 20 years Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to “reason” and has suggested “negotiations”. This is the traditional role of the imperial power, because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has already taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of the previous aggression. The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annexe foreign territory, but because every expansion is an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate.
The refugees who surround Palestine in their hundreds of thousands were described recently by the Washington journalist I.F. Stone as “the moral millstone around the neck of world Jewry.” Many of the refugees are now well into the third decade of their precarious existence in temporary settlements. The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.
We are frequently told that we must sympathize with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. I see in this suggestion no reason to perpetuate any suffering. What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy. Not only does Israel condemn a vast number. of refugees to misery; not only are many Arabs under occupation condemned to military rule; but also Israel condemns the Arab nations only recently emerging from colonial status, to continued impoverishment as military demands take precedence over national development.
All who want to see an end to bloodshed in the Middle East must ensure that any settlement does not contain the seeds of future conflict. Justice requires that the first step towards a settlement must be an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in June, 1967. A new world campaign is needed to help bring justice to the long-suffering people of the Middle East.
Children of congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans. How nice for them!
Monday on Fox news they learned that the staffers of Congress family members are exempt from having to pay back student loans. This will get national attention if other news networks will broadcast it. When you add this to the below, just where will all of it stop?35 States file lawsuit against the Federal Government
Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.
This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on.
This is an idea that we should address.
For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform. in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.
If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”
You are one of my 20.