President Fool: Ignoring the Wise, Rewarding the Ignorant

The Ones Who Got It Right
by Ralph Nader
Why is it that well regarded people working the fields of corporate power and performance who repeatedly predicted the Wall Street bubble and its bursting receive so little media and attention?

Instead, the public is still being exposed to the comments and writings of people like Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, James Glassman (of Dow 36,000 notoriety) while others like Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, and Gary Gensler are newly-appointed at high levels in the Obama Administration.
 
These men were variously architects, rationalizers and implementers of the massive de-regulation and non-regulation that unleashed the epic forces of greed, speculation and ruination of millions of livelihoods and trillions of dollars other peoples’ money worldwide.

Here are some of the people who got it right—early and often:
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TILMA: Spinning Your Democracy Away

Labour Mobility Spin Sweetens Secret Deregulation and Privatization Agreement
by Ish Theilheimer - PublicValues.ca
T he federal government is framing as "labour mobility" new secretly-negotiated agreements with the provinces that will open the door to deregulation and privatization of provincial and municipal services.

Changes to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) have been secretly being negotiated with the provinces and the first of them signed last December. The Council of Canadians says the changes will further deregulate provincial policies that protect communities and the environment and threaten public services. A new report called State of Play: Canada's Internal Free Trade Agenda by public interest researcher and lawyer Steve Shrybman challenges the need for these agreements.
 

 
 
Steve Shrybman speaks at the March 31 news conference on Parliament Hill
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Immigration Raids and Mass Detentions Come to Canada

Massive and Unprecedented US-style raids in East Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford/Simcoe County
by No One Is Illegal (NOII)
Dear friends and supporters: This is an URGENT NATIONAL ALERT being sent out by our allies in No One Is
Illegal Toronto. Approximately 100 (exact figures unconfirmed) migrant and non-status workers have been detained in large-scale workplace enforcement actions in Ontario, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area district.

There has been minimal media reporting on these huge-scale operations, a local report on one of the raids in Bradford is available at: http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1508182

If you are in Toronto, there is an Emergency Action on Sunday April 5th at 11 am, 385 Rexdale Boulevard. Details at: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/

DETAILS ON THE RAIDS: April 4, 2009 - Executing massive and unprecedented US-style raids in East Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford/Simcoe County, the Canada Border Services Agency has arrested and detained over 100 migrant workers across Southern Ontario, who are now languishing in detention centres. Hundreds of families and friends are wondering right now why their loved ones have not returned from work. The hundreds of thousands of non-status people across Canada have woken up to a horrible day in Kanada.
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Ecocide for Fun and Profit: California's Weekend Gold Rush

Karuk Tribe Battle Against “Recreational Genocide”
by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
California's native fish populations are in a state of crisis. Tribes depending on salmon runs cannot harvest enough fish to conduct ceremonies much less feed their members or make a living. Non-native people are affected as well. This year commercial and sport salmon fishing bans will cripple our coastal economies and many species teeter on the brink of extinction. We must act now to protect our fisheries!

Senator Wiggins (D, Santa Rosa) has introduced a bill that will make a dent in the problem by banning the controversial recreational activity known as suction dredge mining. Miners use motorized suction pumps to vacuum up the river bottom (along with small fish, salmon eggs, etc.) run through a sluice to find flakes of gold, and dump the debris back into the river. This practice has a negative impact on fish, negatively alters spawning habitat, and reintroduces mercury deposits that have lain dormant on the river bottom since the last gold rush back into the water column.
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Nadir to Summit: What Came Out of London Economic Confab?

AFTER THE SUMMIT: What Was Accomplished & For How Long?
by Danny Schechter (Author of PLUNDER)
The eyes of the world have been on the Economic Summit in London but the ideas of the world were mostly conspicuous by their absence. Here we have a global crisis. The house is on fire. Unemployment is climbing. The real estate contagion is now claiming condos and even shopping malls. It’s bad and by most accounts, getting worse. And, all the “leaders” of the world can do is devote ONE DAY to a forum that must have cost millions to stage.

Our media and politicians love spectacles and political celebrities. The spin was on what Michelle was wearing, not on what Barack was thinking when he was so unwilling to agree to an international regime of regulation which is so clearly needed in a globalized world economy.

The New York Times was properly critical of the Summit for falling “short,” mostly focusing on the failure to commit to a larger stimulus package—what the US wanted but didn’t get.  They went lightly on their criticisms on the regulatory issue. The group also agreed to crack down on tax havens and, on a country-by-country basis, impose stricter financial regulations on hedge funds and rating agencies — necessary though insufficient steps to avoid a repeat of the current disaster.”
 
They never asked nor did they fully report on why Obama is “fiercely resistant to the idea of a global regulator.” (Bob Jackson of Arizona offered one plausible explanation: “‘The one smart thing the President did in London was to establish that the U.S. would not be regulated by global politicians. Our own politicians are corrupt and incompetent enough, without overt collusion of the politicians from the rest of the world.”)
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Iraq's Awakening Storm

The Growing Storm
by Dahr Jamail - T r u t h o u t
Last weekend, the Iraqi government arrested an Awakening Group leader of a Baghdad neighborhood, then moved into the area. With the help of US occupation forces, they disarmed the militiamen under his control, but only after fighting broke out between US-backed Iraqi government security forces and the US-formed Sunni Awakening Group militia.
 
This disturbing event is the realization of what most Iraqis have long feared - that the relative calm in Iraq today would eventually be broken when fighting erupts between these two entities.

The US policy that has led to this recent violence has been long in the making, as it has only been a matter of time before the tenuous truce between the groups came unglued. For it has been a truce built on a deeply corrupt US policy of backing the predominantly Shia Iraqi government forces while paying the Sunni resistance not to fight both government and occupation forces.
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The Theft of Jerusalem: Crime Scene

Israel's Illegal Annexation of East Jerusalem
by Stephen Lendman
So says a confidential EU report revealed on March 7 by The London Guardian's Rory McCarthy.
 
'The idea is to toughen policies against East Jerusalem Palestinians'
 
It accuses Israel "of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank (Separation) barrier as a way of 'actively pursuing the illegal annexation' of East Jerusalem." More still, including restrictive permits, "closure of Palestinian institutions," and various other ways to "increase Jewish presence in" the city, "impede Palestinian urban development, and separate East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank" incrementally to annex it.

It says plans are now accelerated and have undermined the Palestinian Authority's (PA) credibility as well as weakened support for peace. It calls "Israel's actions in and around Jerusalem....one of the most acute challenges to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making (yet) have limited security justifications." In addition, they're illegal.

Israel dismissed the criticisms as "a disinformation campaign" and claimed that "mayor Nir Barkat continues to promote investments in infrastructure, construction and education in East Jerusalem, while at the same time upholding the law throughout West and East Jerusalem equally without bias." Those comments, of course, have no basis in fact nor do any from Israeli officials with regard to Palestinians.
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Ecuador Rising: Indigenous Suits Knock Mining Law

More Lawsuits Against Mining Law
by Accion Ecologica
On Tuesday March 31st, representatives of the Community Water Systems of the rural parishes of Tarqui and Victoria del Portete together with several other communities from the province of Azuay, presented a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court seeking to have the mining law passed in January declared unconstitutional.
 
This becomes the second legal action of this sort since the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) presented a similar lawsuit on March 17th.
 
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The Big Three: Economy, Global Climate Change, War on Terror

State of the Nations – The Economy
by Jim MilesCanada
There are several large problems that afflict the globe in a major way today, with the economy being the prime time concern receiving the vast majority of the governmental/corporate/media attention. Global climate change seems to have dropped off the mainstream media’s agenda.
 
Similarly, the global war on terror is much less in the spotlight, although here in Canada with four recent deaths from IEDs a quick flurry of ‘support the troops sympathy’ and ‘good news from Afghanistan ’ flashed on the screens.
 
These are the big three: the economy, global climate change, and the war on terror.
 
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Faith and Epic Crimes

Fake Faith and Epic Crimes
by John Pilger
These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
 
International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, "if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves."   

That is now happening. Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Britain have long had "universal jurisdiction" statutes, which allow their national courts to pursue and prosecute prima facie war criminals. What has changed is an unspoken rule never to use international law against "ourselves," or "our" allies or clients.
 
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Off the Hook: Justice and Stevens

Justice on Stevens
by Scott Horton
Attorney General Eric Holder has decided that the Justice Department should abandon the corruption conviction secured against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. The bombshell decision has nothing to do with the merits of the case against Stevens–it stems from a recognition that the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section behaved unethically in the conduct of the case—withholding vital evidence from the defense, among other things. Holder is himself a former Public Integrity prosecutor.
 
He made the right call in the Stevens case.

In “Public Indecency,” my column in the American Lawyer out today, I survey the growing list of misconduct allegations against the Public Integrity Section. The Stevens prosecution is only one of roughly two dozen cases in which similar charges have been made on a credible level–collectively they make plain that an ethically-challenged “victory at all costs” mentality is now well entrenched there.
 
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Betrayal of Justice: The Outrageous Case of Sami Al-Arian

Obstruction of Justice
by Chris Hedges
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema is scheduled to issue a ruling in the Eastern District of Virginia at the end of April in a case that will send a signal to the Muslim world and beyond whether the American judicial system has regained its independence after eight years of flagrant manipulation and intimidation by the Bush administration. Brinkema will decide whether the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian, held for over six years in prison and under house arrest in Virginia since Sept 2, is guilty or innocent of two counts of criminal contempt.

Brinkema’s ruling will have ramifications that will extend far beyond Virginia and the United States. The trial of Al-Arian is a cause célèbre in the Muslim world. A documentary film was made about the case in Europe. He has become the poster child for judicial abuse and persecution of Muslims in the United States by the Bush administration.
 
The facts surrounding the trial and imprisonment of the former university professor have severely tarnished the integrity of the American judicial system and made the government’s vaunted campaign against terrorism look capricious, inept and overtly racist.
 
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