THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
11th March, 2010 0
For 34 years Project Censored has been committed to bringing the most vital stories to public awareness with the belief that genuine democracy depends upon freedom of the press.
Founded by Carl Jensen in 1976, Project Censored is a media research program working in cooperation with various independent media groups throughout the U.S.A. and has trained over 1,500 students in investigative research.
Project Censored conducts research to determine significant news stories that are either underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored by U.S. corporate media. Each year, they release 25 stories out of over 1000 stories that are researched.
This is the second part of a two part series.
6: U.S. Schools Segregated More Today Than in the 1950s
Source: â€¨The Civil Rights Project, UCLA, January 2009 â€¨Title: “Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge” â€¨Author: Gary Orfield â€¨â€¨Student Researchers: Rena Hawkins, Southwest Minnesota State University â€¨Melissa Robinson, Sonoma State University â€¨Faculty Evaluator: Sangeeta Sinha, PhD â€¨Southwest Minnesota State University
Schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades. Millions of non-white students are locked into “dropout factory” high schools, where huge percentages do not graduate, and few are well prepared for college or a future in the US economy.
According to a new Civil Rights report published at the University of California, Los Angeles, schools in the US are 44 percent non-white, and minorities are rapidly emerging as the majority of public school students in the US.
Latinos and blacks, the two largest minority groups, attend schools more segregated today than during the civil rights movement forty years ago. In Latino and African American populations, two of every five students attend intensely segregated schools. For Latinos this increase in segregation reflects growing residential segregation. For blacks a significant part of the reversal reflects the ending of desegregation plans in public schools throughout the nation.
In the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the US Supreme Court concluded that the Southern standard of “separate but equal” was “inherently unequal,” and did “irreversible” harm to black students. It later extended that ruling to Latinos.
The Civil Rights Study shows that most severe segregation in public schools is in the Western states, including California—not in the South, as many people believe. Unequal education leads to diminish access to college and future jobs. Most non-white schools are segregated by poverty as well as race. Most of the nation’s dropouts occur in non-white public schools, leading to large numbers of virtually unemployable young people of color.
Schools in low-income communities remain highly unequal in terms of funding, qualified teachers, and curriculum. The report indicates that schools with high levels of poverty have weaker staffs, fewer high-achieving peers, health and nutrition problems, residential instability, single-parent households, high exposure to crime and gangs, and many other conditions that strongly affect student performance levels.
Low-income campuses are more likely to be ignored by college and job market recruiters. The impact of funding cuts in welfare and social programs since the 1990s was partially masked by the economic boom that suddenly ended in the fall of 2008. As a consequence, conditions are likely to get even worse in the immediate future.
In California and Texas segregation is spreading into large sections of suburbia as well. In California, the nation’s most multiracial state, half of blacks and Asians attend segregated schools, as do one quarter of Latino and Native American students. While many cities came under desegregation court orders during the civil rights era, most suburbs, because they had few minority students at that time, did not.
When minority families began to move to the suburbs in large numbers, there was no plan in place to attain or maintain desegregation, appropriately train teachers and staff, or recruit non-white teachers to help deal with new groups of students. Eighty-five percent of the nation’s teachers are white, and little progress is being made toward diversifying the nation’s teaching force.
Rural schools also face severe segregation. In the days of civil rights struggles, small towns and rural areas were seen as the heart of the most intense racism. Of 8.3 million rural white students, 73 percent attend schools that are 80 to 100 percent white.
7) Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past
Sources: â€¨ConsortiumNews.com, November 13, 2008 â€¨Title: “The Danger of Keeping Robert Gates” â€¨Author: Robert Parry; Global Research, February 13, 2009 â€¨Title: “Obama’s Defense Department Appointees- The 3.4 Trillion Dollar Question” â€¨Author: Andrew Hughes; Democracy Now! January 7, 2009 â€¨Title: “Obama Nominee Admiral Dennis Blair Aided perpetrators of 1999 church Killings in East Timor” â€¨Interviewee: Allan Nairn
Obama’s retention of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense makes Gates the first appointment from an outgoing administration of an opposing party to be kept in the position. Over the last two years of the previous administration, Gates was a key implementer of Bush’s Iraq War “surge”—after he replaced Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who had opposed the escalation.
Obama’s appointees to the Department of Defense and National Intelligence embody many of the worst elements of US national security policy over the past three decades, including responsibility for what Obama himself has fingered as chief concerns, “politicized intelligence” and “lack of transparency.”
The valued “decades of experience” these leaders bring with them are filled with ethical breeches, lies to Congress, and deep conflicts of interest and revolving doors within the US military industrial complex.
Although Obama promised to keep lobbyists out of top government posts, many of those he appointed are former lobbyists or former board members of companies directly doing business with the Pentagon.
Robert Gates, whose career has reflected and implemented neoconservative positions, also decried Obama’s plan for a phased withdrawal of US troops. Gates’s history as a career intelligence officer began under Nixon. But, as Robert Parry chronicles, it was as a senior CIA official in the 1980s under Reagan that Gates broke the back of the CIA analytical division’s commitment to objective intelligence.
In a recent book, Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman identifies Gates as “the chief action officer for the Reagan administration’s drive to tailor intelligence reporting to White House political desires.”
As chief analyst under CIA director William Casey, Gates “guided the first institutionalized ‘cooking of the books’ at the CIA in the 1980s, with a particular emphasis on tailoring intelligence dealing with the Soviet Union, Central America, and Southwest Asia,” says Goodman, in order to justify increased US military spending and US support for bloody brushfire wars —central elements of Reagan’s foreign policy.
Gates’s 1991 confirmation hearing for George H.W. Bush’s CIA director marked an extraordinary outpouring of career CIA officers going public with inside stories about how Gates had corrupted the intelligence product.
There also were concerns about Gates’s role in misleading Congress regarding the secret Iran-Contra operations in the mid-1980s, an obstacle that had prevented Gates from getting the top CIA job when Casey died in 1987. Gates funneled support to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, covertly supplying chemical weapons, arms and equipment.
Gates served on the board of directors of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which reported $7.5 billion earnings in 2005. SAIC is involved in everything from intelligence gathering to Iraq reconstruction for the Pentagon.
On January 21, 2009, Obama signed an executive order that issued more stringent ethics rules, prohibiting lobbyists from serving in agencies they have lobbied in the previous two years.
Just two days later, on January 23, the White House announced that its tough new ethics rules wouldn’t apply to the nominee for Deputy Defense Secretary, William Lynn. Lynn was senior vice president for government operations and strategy at the defense giant Raytheon, and a registered Raytheon lobbyist until July 2008.
Raytheon, the fifth largest defense company, sells $18 billion worth of missiles radars, sensors, munitions, space systems and other technology to the military and other government agencies annually.
Republican Senator for Iowa, Charles Grassley, forcefully objected to the appointment of Lynn on the basis of “very questionable accounting practices that were obviously not in the public interest” while in the position of Pentagon Comptroller during the Clinton administration.
In fiscal year 1999, the Department of Defense reported that it was missing $2.3 trillion. In fiscal year 2000 the Department reported missing another $1.1 trillion. In total, that’s $3.4 trillion in “missing” taxpayer money. This happened under the watchful eye of the same William Lynn that now passes through the revolving door between the Department of Defense and the Defense industry.
Admiral Dennis Blair, Obama’s pick to head National Intelligence, which oversees all sixteen intelligence agencies, was the Commander of Military Forces in the Pacific under Clinton. As such he played a critical role in the backing of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor after the US-backed dictator Suharto fell in 1998. In 1999, when the Indonesian military terrorized the population to thwart democratic reform, Blair was sent by Clinton and the US State Department to demand that Indonesian General Wiranto stop the massacres.
Instead, Admiral Blair falsely informed the general of unwavering US support. Government-sponsored atrocities escalated. Blair then lied to Congress, claiming that only small unit violence was involved, when in fact the top echelons of the Indonesian military were carrying out kidnapping, massacres and torture.”
8) Mysterious Death of Mike Connell – Karl Rove’s Election Thief
Sources: â€¨The Raw Story, September 29, 2008 â€¨Title: “Republican IT consultant subpoenaed in case alleging tampering with 2004 election” â€¨Authors: Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
The Brad Blog, December 22, 2008 â€¨Title: “OH Election Fraud Attorney Reacts to the Death of Mike Connell“ â€¨Author: Brad Friedman
Karl Rove’s chief IT consultant, Mike Connell—who was facing subpoena in connection with 2004 Presidential election fraud in Ohio—mysteriously died in a private plane crash in 2008.
Connell was allegedly the central figure in a longstanding plot to electronically flip votes to Republicans.
In July 2008, Connell was named as a key witness in the case known as King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell, which was filed against Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth J. Blackwell on August 31, 2006 by Columbus attorneys Clifford Arnebeck and Robert Fitrakis.
It initially charged Blackwell with racially discriminatory practices—including the selective purging of voters from the election rolls and the unequal allocation of voting machines to various districts—and asked for measures to be taken to prevent similar problems during the November 2006 election.
On October 9, 2006, an amended complaint added charges of various forms of ballot rigging as also having the effect of “depriving the plaintiffs of their voting rights, including the right to have their votes successfully cast without intimidation, dilution, cancellation or reversal by voting machine or ballot tampering.” A motion to dismiss the case as moot was filed following the November 2006 election, but it was instead stayed to allow for settlement discussions.
The case took on fresh momentum in July 2008 when Arnebeck announced that he was filing to “lift the stay in the case and proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election.”
The new filing was inspired in part by the coming forward as a whistleblower of GOP IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore, who said he was prepared to testify to the plausibility of electronic vote-rigging having been carried out in 2004. The stay was lifted September 19, 2008 and Connell was served a subpoena on September 22.
Spoonamore, a conservative Republican who works for big banks, international governments, and the Secret Service as an expert in the detection of computer fraud, found evidence that Karl Rove, with the help of Mike Connell and his company GovTech Solutions, electronically stole the Ohio 2004 election for Bush.
Spoonamore testified that the “vote tabulation system [which Connell designed] allowed the introduction of an additional single computer between computer A and computer B.” This is called a “man in the middle” attack. According to Spoonamore, “This centralized collection of all incoming statewide tabulations would make it easy for a single operator, or a preprogrammed ‘force balancing computer’ to change the results in any way desired by the team controlling the Computer C.” Spoonamore further testified that the only purpose for such man in the middle architecture is to commit crime. â€¨Despite Connell’s efforts to quash his subpoena to testify, he was ordered to appear for a two-hour, closed-door deposition on November 3, 2008, just eighteen hours before the 2008 national election.
Though Connell had expressed willingness to testify, he was reticent after receiving threats from Rove. Arnebeck presents evidence that Karl Rove threatened Connell, cautioning that if Connell didn’t “take the fall” for election fraud in Ohio, Connell would face prosecution for supposed lobby law violations.
After this threat, Arnebeck sent letters to the Department of Justice, as well as messages to high-ranking members of the department, seeking protection for Connell and his family from attempts to intimidate. Despite Connell’s elite status as a top-rung Republican consultant for years, whose firm New Media Communications provided IT services for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Republican National Committee, and many Republican candidates and campaigns, witness protection requests went unheeded.
Election fraud analyst and author Mark Crispin Miller notes that the timing and circumstances of Connell’s death—between deposition and trial—are too suspicious and convenient for Rove and the Bush administration, not to merit a thorough investigation.
Arnebeck and Fitrakis intended to both further depose and call Connell to testify as key witness in the federal conspiracy case. Connell was also to be questioned about his key role in the disappearance of thousands of White House-RNC email transactions. These emails are believed likely to have shed light on the White House role in the political firings of US Attorneys, as well as decisions to prosecute former Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. Attorneys in the case said that Connell’s testimony would likely lead to the subpoenaing and under-oath questioning of Karl Rove.
Connell was an experienced pilot. His plane had been recently serviced. He had been in the nation’s capital on still-unknown business before his single engine plane crashed December 22, 2008 on the way home, just three miles short of the runway in Akron, Ohio.
The cause of the crash remains unknown.
9) Obama’s Tri-Lateral Commission Team
Source: â€¨August Review.com, January 30, 2009 â€¨Title: “Obama: Trilateral Commission Endgame” â€¨Author: Patrick Wood; Student Researcher: Sarah Maddox â€¨Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips â€¨Sonoma State University
Barack Obama appointed eleven members of the Trilateral Commission to top-level and key positions in his administration within his first ten days in office.
This represents a very narrow source of international leadership inside the Obama administration, with a core agenda that is not necessarily in support of working people in the United States.
Obama was groomed for the presidency by key members of the Trilateral Commission. Most notably, Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller in 1973, has been Obama’s principal foreign policy advisor.
According to official Trilateral Commission membership lists, there are only eighty-seven members from the United States (the other 337 members are from other countries). Thus, within two weeks of his inauguration, Obama’s appointments encompassed more than 12 percent of Commission’s entire US membership.
Trilateral appointees include: â€¨* Secretary of Treasury, Tim Geithner â€¨* Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice â€¨* National Security Advisor, Gen. James L. Jones â€¨* Deputy National Security Advisor, Thomas Donilon â€¨* Chairman, Economic Recovery Committee, Paul Volker â€¨* Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis C. Blair â€¨* Assistant Secretary of State, Asia & Pacific, Kurt M. Campbell â€¨* Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg â€¨* State Department, Special Envoy, Richard Haass â€¨* State Department, Special Envoy, Dennis Ross â€¨* State Department, Special Envoy, Richard Holbrooke
There are many other links in the Obama administration to the Trilateral Commission. For instance, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is married to Commission member William Jefferson Clinton. â€¨Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner’s informal group of advisors include E. Gerald Corrigan, Paul Volker, Alan Greenspan, and Peter G. Peterson, all members. Geithner’s first job after college was with Trilateralist Henry Kissinger at Kissinger Associates.
Trilateralist Brent Scowcroft has been an unofficial advisor to Obama and was mentor to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. And Robert Zoelick, current president of the World Bank appointed during the G.W. Bush administration, is a member.
According to the Trilateral Commissions’ website, the Commission was formed in 1973 by private citizens of Japan, Europe (European Union countries), and North America (United States and Canada) to foster closer cooperation among these core democratic industrialized areas of the world with shared leadership responsibilities in the wider international system.
The website says, “The membership of the Trilateral Commission is composed of about 400 distinguished leaders in business, media, academia, public service (excluding current national Cabinet Ministers), labor unions, and other non-governmental organizations from the three regions.
The regional chairmen, deputy chairmen, and directors constitute the leadership of the Trilateral Commission, along with an Executive Committee including about 40 other members.”
Since 1973, the Trilateral Commission has met regularly in plenary sessions to discuss policy position papers developed by its members. Policies are debated in order to achieve consensuses. Respective members return to their own countries to implement policies consistent with those consensuses.
The original stated purpose of the Trilateral Commission was to create a “New International Economic Order.” Its current statement has morphed into fostering a “closer cooperation among these core democratic industrialized areas of the world with shared leadership responsibilities in the wider international system.” â€¨
Since the Carter administration, Trilateralists have held these very influential positions: Six of the last eight World Bank Presidents; Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the United States (except for Obama and Biden); over half of all US Secretaries of State; and three quarters of the Secretaries of Defense.
Two strong convictions guide the Commission’s agenda for the 2009-2012 triennium. First, the Trilateral Commission is to remain as important as ever in maintaining wealthy countries’ shared leadership in the wider international system. Second, the Commission will “widen its framework to reflect broader changes in the world.”
Thus, the Japan Group has become a Pacific Asian Group, which includes Chinese and Indian members, and Mexican members have been added to the North American Group. The European Group continues to widen in line with the enlargement of the EU.
10) Bank Bailout Recipients Spend to Defeat Labor
Source: â€¨Huffington Post, January 27, 2009 â€¨Article: “Bailout Spent to Defeat Labor” â€¨Author: Sam Stein”; Student Researchers: Ben Kaufman and Rosemary Scott â€¨Faculty Evaluator: Kelly Bucy, PhD â€¨Sonoma State University
On October 17, 2008, three days after Bank of America Corporation received $25 billion in federal bailout funds, they hosted a conference call to organize opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
Participants, including AIG, were urged to persuade their clients to send “large contributions” to groups working against the EFCA, as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans who could be used to help block the passage of the pro labor bill that would make it easier for employees to organize into unions.
Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, and Rick Berman, founder of the Center for Union Facts, led the hour-long phone call that framed the legislation as a threat to American capitalism. The legislation—which would allow workers to form unions either by holding traditional elections or by having a majority of employees sign written forms—is virtually certain to face a Republican filibuster.
Obama and Senate Democrats have stated their commitment to the bill.
Donations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars were needed, it was argued, to prevent America from turning “into France.” “If a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to [former Sen.] Norm Coleman and all these other guys, they should be shot. They should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs,” Marcus declared. â€¨
One of the callers suggested that participants send major contributions to Berman’s organization as a way of affecting the election without violating the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.
“Some organizations have written checks for $250,000, $500,000, some for $2 million for this,” said the caller, likely Steven Hantler, director of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Bernie Marcus’ Marcus Foundation. â€¨
According to author Sam Stein, reform groups are sending letters to congressional committee chairs and to the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, urging an investigation into whether bailout recipients used taxpayer money to benefit political candidates or organizations. “We’re calling for Congress to investigate whether Bank of America, AIG, or other recipients of $billions in bailout money, used taxpayer dollars to send ‘large contributions’ to any political organizations,” reads the letter.
“Congress has a responsibility to oversee the $700 billion bailout of the financial services sector. That means making sure that these taxpayer funds are used transparently, and in ways that benefit regular people—not special interests.”
Berman said that there “was nothing on that call that spoke to funneling money to anybody.” Either way, Bank of America did use time and resources to host the anti-EFCA forum, on which individuals were urged to make political donations. That alone has compelled groups advocating government reform to raise concerns with Congress.
“What they’ve apparently done is taken taxpayer money and siphoned it to their political servants—right-wing Republicans,” said Rep. Alan Grayson.
Wall Street companies routinely spend millions in campaign contributions and lobbying to resist oversight of the practices that led to the current economic crisis.
“Bank of America is now not only getting bailout money. They are lending their name to participate in a campaign to stop workers from having a majority sign up [provision],” said Stephen Lerner, Director of the Private Equity Project at SEIU.
“The biggest corporations who have created the problem are, at the very time, asking us to bail them out and then using that money to stop workers from improving their lives.”
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)