That's Bob Herbert, of course, asking the fundamental question no one else is asking.
One of the great stories you'll be hearing over the next couple of years will be about the large number of Americans who were forced out of work in this recession and remained unable to find gainful employment after the recession ended. We're basically in denial about this.
There are now more than five unemployed workers for every job opening in the United States. The ranks of the poor are growing, welfare rolls are rising and young American men on a broad front are falling into an abyss of joblessness.
Some months ago, the Obama administration and various mainstream economists forecast a peak unemployment rate of roughly 8 percent this year. It has already reached 9.4 percent, and most analysts now expect it to hit 10 percent or higher. Economists are currently spreading the word that the recession may end sometime this year, but the unemployment rate will continue to climb. That's not a recovery. That's mumbo jumbo.
Exactly. The same mumbo-jumbo we've been hearing for the past three decades. It's trickle-down by another name, a concentration on Wall Street while Main Street gets the shaft. All that talk of a jobs program to get the economy moving vanished once Obama was actually elected and was replaced by a HUGE bankers' welfare system. Result: the economy remains in deep trouble, jobs are still being lost rather than added, and the nation is so deep in the hole it may be decades more before we dig our way out, if we ever do.
There were those who saw the writing on the wall on these issues through the haze of hopenchange. Virtually all presidents want as much power as they can get. Relying on any politician to deny himself the ability to exercise it freely is to fail to understand the power of power.
Glenn writes about the trial balloon being floated that Obama is considering issuing an executive order for preventive detention. He points out that the main difference between this administration and the last is that this administration is pretending to care about what the congress wants (and the constitution requires) but goes ahead and does what they intend to do anyway if the congress fails to act as they wish it to. I often wondered whether we were doing a bit of a disservice to Bush and Cheney for constantly criticizing them for implementing the unitary executive theory so openly. For such a secretive regime, they were surprisingly honest about what they were doing. They said they believed the constitution meant for the president to be all powerful and above the other two branches and they acted on that premise. And the debate over that, once engaged, was pretty robust and very public.
The Obama White House wants to issue an executive order to detain people because it doesn't believe a judicial trial would convict the people it wants imprisoned and it doesn't believe that the sort of legislative bill it wants would pass Congress.
Remember your high school American civics class and the lesson on the checks and balances of power distributed between three coequal branches of government? When Barack Obama was a candidate a year ago, he told us he remembered that lesson, too. He told us that change doesn't come from the top down, but from the bottom up. He told us that he had read the Constitution and taught the Constitution and believed in the Constitution. He told us he'd restore judicial review to detainees and the right to a fair trial. He told us he'd restore human rights and civil rights for individuals. He told us he'd restore due process and rule of law, not rule by edict.
Now that he's President, and he doesn't think he'll get the outcome he wants on individual cases from the legislative and judicial branches, he's decided he's going to overrule judicial power, to overrule Congress' power of legislation, to overrule the Constitution itself. Rather than deal with the pesky separation of powers, Barack Obama will issue his personal edict that in America, there is no more right to a speedy, public trial by impartial jury. Under Barack Obama's presidential declaration, Barack Obama will be judge, Barack Obama will be jury, and Barack Obama will be jailer. There are names for a person who feels desperately that unless he controls every aspect of a situation, it will all turn out wrong. "Micromanager" is a polite one. "Control freak" is more blunt. "Tyrant" is usually the one we use in politics.
Does this remind you of anyone? Does it remind you of George W. Bush? Does it remind you of Dick Cheney? It should. The Obama administration has adopted the kingly aspirations of the Bush administration. History tells us that it's a bad idea to let control freaks and tyrants grab the crown, or to fashion a crown for themselves when none exists.
I expect some of you are thinking right now that this really isn't such a big deal, that it can't be such a big deal, because Barack Obama seems like such a nice fellow. Besides, you might be thinking, President Obama is just doing what he has to do to clean up after the messes of the Bush administration, to deal with the aftermath of leftover detainees. He'll resolve the issue of the Guantanamo detainees, you're thinking, and then we can move forward without looking backward to the dawn of a new bright and shiny day where we all hold hands on the hillside and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony and buy the world a Coke and keep it company…
… well, hold on there, Sheila. Read what the Washington Post reports, after speaking to Obama administration officials, about the plans for this executive order:
Such detainees — those at Guantanamo and those who may be captured in the future — would also have the right to legal representation during confinement and access to some of the information that is being used to keep them behind bars…. One administration official said future transfers to the United States for long-term detention would be rare.
Did you notice the word "future" there? Funny word, "future": it usually refers to what somebody's planning to do next.
Corporate Knights recently hosted Dr. James Lovelock speaking on his latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia. Click here for the first segment of that talk.
Dr Lovelock begins by saying the IPCC document is by far the scariest document ever written because it isn't just what we are doing to the earth that is the problem, it is that the earth responds to our actions. And change is coming faster than even our models predicted.
The green section is what our models predicted for how much sea level would rise. The line above is what is actually being measured.
Earth, we have a problem. And our biggest problem today are those climate change deniers who would watch the world burn for their profits. Clearly we are not doing enough fast enough to address this looming crisis.
Oklahoma's bible-thumpingest congresscreature has issued a Proclamation of Morality.
WHEREAS, the people of Oklahoma have a strong tradition of reliance upon the Creator of the Universe; and
WHEREAS, we believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis; and
WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery; and
WHEREAS, alarmed that the Government of the United States of America is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built; and
WHEREAS, grieved that the Office of the president of these United States has refused to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer; and
WHEREAS, deeply disturbed that the Office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to an immoral behavior;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we the undersigned elected officials of the people of Oklahoma, religious leaders and citizens of the State of Oklahoma, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, solemnly declare that the HOPE of the great State of Oklahoma and of these United States, rests upon the Principles of Religion and Morality as put forth in the HOLY BIBLE
Notice that the only solutions she proposes to her perceived problem of immorality is 1) pray for a day, and 2) read her holy book. Even if you grant that her declared problems are real moral problems (and I do not: I find it incredibly offensive and obtuse that she would lump same sex marriage together with sex trafficking) these are solutions that do not work. If you want to find a hotbed of divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, alcoholism, etc.…just look for a high density of churches.
Russia's energy giant Gazprom has signed a $2.5bn (£1.53bn) deal with Nigeria's state operated NNPC, to invest in a new joint venture.
The new firm, to be called Nigaz, is set to build refineries, pipelines and gas power stations in Nigeria.
Mugabe takes over diamond mines: NY Times.
45 have failed so far this year. Not good, but we're far from the blood-letting of the Reagan S&L debacle.
Obama included a five-paragraph signing statement with the bill, including a final paragraph that outlined his objections to at least four areas of the bill.