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RJ Matson Middle East Speech / media.caglecartoons.com

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The Greatest Depression Has Only Begun

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  • "Evidence of a deterioration of global manufacturing growth and renewed weakness in job creation in the United States emerged Wednesday (June 1), two reversals that have markets bracing for an economic pause, or worse...
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  • Add to that a daunting list of aggravating factors: the continued implosion of the U.S. housing market, an outbreak of worldwide risk aversion, high crude-oil and gas prices pinching consumer demand, further tightening in China and other emerging-market economies, stock market losses, lack of credit growth, the looming end to the Fed’s monetary stimulus, weak business capital spending, and the still-unfolding sovereign debt crisis in Europe."
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Centre for Research on Globalization

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The greatest depression in human history is still in its starting stages. What the media and many officials often refer to as the "hangover" from the global financial crisis is in fact the end of the beginning. Originating in 2008, the global economic crisis took the world by storm: banks collapsed, the "too big to fail" became bigger by consolidating the rest, governments bailed out their financial industries, masses of people lost their jobs, the 'developing' world was plunged into a deep systemic crisis, food prices rose, which in time spurred social unrest; and the Western nations that took on the bad debts of the big banks are on the precipice of a great global debt crisis, originating in Europe, hitting Greece and Spain, but destined to consume the industrialized world itself. Though many claim that we are in a "recovery," things could not be further from the truth.

As the mainstream media is finally catching on to the reality of the mirage of the so-called "recovery", reports are surfacing about a dire global economic situation.

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Two Cases of Justice: Osama Bin Laden and Ratko Mladic

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  • What's the point of arresting Mladic and putting him on trial?  Why is that considered "bringing him to justice"?  Why not just pump his skull full of bullets and dump his corpse into the ocean, and then proclaim that "justice has been done"?
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  • If "justice" demands that this heinous Serbian war criminal be arrested and tried before being punished, why was the same not true for bin Laden?
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  • Noam Chomsky | The Revenge Killing of Osama bin Laden
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  • Noam Chomsky | When Did America Completely Jettison the Rule of Law?
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Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Osama bin Laden, left, and Ratko Mladic

The individual whom the New York Times describes as Europe's "most wanted war crimes suspect" was captured yesterday in Serbia and will likely be extradited to be tried before an international war crimes tribunal at the Hague:

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Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb general held responsible for the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, was arrested on Thursday . . .

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The massacre at Srebrenica was the worst ethnically motivated mass murder on the European continent since World War II. Mr. Mladic was also accused of war crimes for the three-and-a-half-year siege of Sarajevo, in which 10,000 people died, including 3,500 children. . . .

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The Revenge Killing of Osama bin Laden, Noam Chomsky, Truthout

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  • The May 1 U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden's compound violated multiple elementary norms of international law, beginning with the invasion of Pakistani territory. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by the 79 commandos facing almost no opposition.
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  • President Obama announced that 'justice has been done.' Many did not agree - even close allies. British barrister Geoffrey Robertson, who generally supported the operation, nevertheless described Obama's claim as an 'absurdity' that should have been obvious to a former professor of constitutional law.
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Chomsky: When Did America Completely Jettison the Rule of Law? Noam Chomsky, Alternet

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  • In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial.
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  • Obama, in contrast to Bush, has focused on eliminating individual terrorists rather than attempting to take them alive.
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  • Hate for Hate: Joystick Justice
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Arms and the Budget

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  • "Even in the face of efforts to bring down the soaring US budget deficit, military spending continues to receive privileged treatment. President Obama's FY2012 budget announced a 5-year freeze on non-security-related discretionary expenditure, but military spending, along with other security spending such as intelligence and Homeland Security is exempt. Such cuts as may occur are likely to be due to the end of the US troop presence in Iraq and the gradual drawdown from Afghanistan, rather than to cuts in the 'base' defence budget. Taken together, these figures suggest that the USA continues to prioritize maintaining its overwhelming military power as the basis of its security and status."
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  • $1.2 Trillion: The Real U.S. National Security Budget No One Wants You to Know About
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  • The Fake Budget Debate in Washington, DC
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Jeff Nygaard, Nygaard Notes

Earlier this month SIPRI (the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) released their annual report on global military expenditures. This major report was covered in four newspapers in the United States: The Wilmington Star News in N. Carolina, the Bismarck Tribune in N. Dakota. the Lewiston Morning Tribune in Idaho and the Monterey County Herald in California. That's not exactly a list of the nation's agenda-setting media, which is disappointing given the importance of the information for U.S. activists and voters, especially in this time of Deficit Mania.

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While I give credit to these small regional newspapers for covering the report, it's unfortunate that they all adhered to the angle chosen by the single Associated Press wire story on the report. That angle was the fact that the overall rate of growth in worldwide military spending slowed a bit in 2010. It's down quite a bit from the annual average increase of 5.1 percent since 2001, and thus is newsworthy. But still, the role of the United States, which was highlighted in the report for good reason, was ignored by the media in this country. I'll highlight it here.

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$1.2 Trillion: The Real U.S. National Security Budget No One Wants You to Know About, BeforeIt'sNews.com

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  • If Americans were ever presented with the real bill for the total U.S. national security budget, it would actually add up to more than $1.2 trillion a year.
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  • The simplest way to grasp just how Americans could pay such a staggering amount annually for “security” is to go through what we know about the U.S. national security budget, step by step, and add it all up.
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The Fake Budget Debate in Washington, DC, Shamus Cooke, Workers' Compass

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  • As long as both Democrats and Republicans agree that the U.S. government must be directed to meet the needs of the super wealthy who own U.S. corporations, the country will shift continually to the right, with social programs and living standards evaporating.
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  • However, the stronger that labor and community groups unite and fight to save these social programs, the harder will it be to cut them; out of such a struggle will emerge practical solutions to solving the deficit problems of the country, such as dramatically increasing the taxes on the rich and corporations so that jobs can be created and social programs saved.
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  • Democrats and Republicans escalate campaign against health care programs
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The Coming Economic Contraction

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  • We, in the high consumption regions of the world, must find new ways of being satisfied in life. Of course, we should not be stolen from and taken advantage of by the wealthy oligarchs of the corporate and political elites-a separate species of madmen and madwomen who have lost their association with humanity – and who would accept, even engineer, the suffering and deaths of millions of their fellows to maintain high levels of consumption.
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  • They, like any dangerously diseased animal, must be appropriately responded to, first with attempts at a cure and then with segregation unless they can adapt to living with the rest of us without being a danger.
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James Keye, Dissident Voice

Thanks to Evergreene Digest Reader Scott Schneider for submitting this article.

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

Economic contraction, the lowering of material wealth standards especially for the middle classes, is more complex than the simple redistribution of tiny increments of wealth from the multitude to the aggressively rich. There is a more serious process in play. It is that those peoples and nations using more than an average of about 2.5 hectares per capita of the earth’s productive capacity must bring down their use (1 hectare = 100 meters by 100 meters = 2.47 acres): this can be done with some equity and social justice or it can be done in dynamic struggle to keep present levels, increase use on the old pattern, if possible, and push want and despair off onto others. (search “Ecological Footprint Atlas 2010” and “2010 NFA data tables” for most resent data)

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Put another way, this can be done with some serious efforts at fairness or it can be done catastrophically. Our opening efforts, while not irrevocable, seem pointed toward catastrophe. At present the need to reduce average consumption is occurring at the same time as the world’s wealthiest people are increasingly using their power advantage to gather up (steal from other humans and the rest of the living world) and control as much real wealth as possible.

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From Wisconsin to Florida, Strong Winds of Political Remorse

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  • In Wisconsin, the latest surveys show that substantial majorities now regret electing Gov. Scott Walker
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  • The same poll found that Wisconsin voters are also apparently sorry that they replaced progressive Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold last fall with a tea party extremist named Ron Johnson.
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  • Recent polls show the same kind of repentance over the midterm Republican sweep among voters in Florida and Ohio—except that the anger in those states seems even deeper.
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Joe Conason, Truthdig

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Still spinning in the vortex of the May 24 tornado in New York’s 26th Congressional District, Republican leaders insist that Democrat Kathy Hochul’s upset victory on their party’s turf was meaningless. They say that Republican nominee Jane Corwin lost because of her own weak campaign, or the presence of a big-spending tea party candidate on a third ballot line, or just about anything except the Republican scheme to slash Medicare—which became the dominant topic of debate during the special election’s final weeks.

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Yet there are signals not only from upstate New York but around the nation that the Republicans face surging discontent, as voters learn what they intend when they attain power. With a majority in the House of Representatives, they have devised a budget plan that would help nobody except the wealthiest taxpayers, while devastating the nation’s health insurance programs, physical infrastructure and environment.

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An Alternative View of Memorial Day

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  • Deep down, we all know that this powerful video is what Memorial Day should be about.
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  • And for professed Christians who pray for the troops, pay attention to the part starting at 3:52.
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lightcaesar, YouTube

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Gary Kohls

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

"Our  soldiers don't sacrifice for duty, honor or country; they sacrifice for  Kellogg Brown & Root. They don't fight for America, they fight for their  lives and their buddies beside them because we put them in a war zone. They  are not 'defending our freedoms', they are laying the foundation for 14  permanent military bases to defend the freedoms of Exxon Mobil and British  Petroleum. They're not establishing democracy, they are establishing the  bases for an economic occupation..."

"They  don't hate us 'because of our freedoms' - they hate us because every day we  are funding and committing crimes against humanity. The so called 'War on  Terror' is a cover for our military aggression to gain control of the  resources of Western Asia. This is sending the poor of this country to kill  the poor of those Muslim countries. This is trading blood for OIL. This is  genocide. And to most of the world - WE are the terrorists."

Since  WWII, 90% of the 'casualties of war' are unarmed civilians, a third of them  children.

Our  victims have done nothing to us.

From  Palestine to Afghanistan, to Iraq to Somalia, to wherever our next target may  be - their murders are not collateral damage - they are the nature of 'modern  warfare'.

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