Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Truthout... News Briefs 01/04/11

News Briefs
Tuesday 04 January 2011

Henry A. Giroux | In the Twilight of the Social State
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: "Responding in 1940 to the unfolding catastrophes perpetrated by the rise of fascism in Germany, Walter Benjamin, a German Jewish philosopher and literary critic, wrote his now famous 'Thesis on the Philosophy of History.' In the ninth thesis, Benjamin comments on Paul Klee's painting 'Angelus Novus.'… 
The meaning and significance of Benjamin's angel of history has been the subject of varied interpretations by philosophers, literary critics, and others. Yet, it still offers us a powerful lesson about a set of historical conditions marked by a 'catastrophe that keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage.'… We need to return to Benjamin's angel of history in order to reimagine what it means to reconstruct a social state that invests in people rather than in the rich, mega corporations, the prison-industrial complex and a permanent war economy. We need to imagine how the state can be refigured along with the very nature of politics and economics in order to eliminate structural inequality, racism and militarism."

Food Safety Overhaul Gives New Authority to Regulators
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "A law signed by President Obama on Tuesday gives federal regulators new authority and enforcement tools to oversee the safety of the country's food supply and requires the food industry to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of spreading food-borne illnesses."

House Republicans Schedule Health Care Repeal Vote for Next Week
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: "House Republicans announced Monday that they would vote to repeal President Obama's health care overhaul on January 12. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), the incoming House Majority Leader, made the announcement after Republicans posted the proposed legislation, 'Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,' on the House Rules Committee web site."

Tom Engelhardt | The Urge to Surge
Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: "If, as 2011 begins, you want to peer into the future, enter my time machine, strap yourself in, and head for the past, that laboratory for all developments of our moment and beyond. Just as 2010 ended, the American military's urge to surge resurfaced in a significant way. It seems that 'leaders' in the Obama administration and 'senior American military commanders' in Afghanistan were acting as a veritable WikiLeaks machine."

New Orleans Dumps FEMA Trailers - and Maybe the People in Them
Julianne Hing, ColorLines: "New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered on his promise to shut down the remaining FEMA trailers in the city, though not in the way struggling residents would have hoped. As of Jan. 1, New Orleans residents still living in FEMA trailers parked on their property face fines of up to $500 every day they remain in the government-provided housing units. Residents received notice days before Christmas, the AP reported."

Administration Prepares to Defy Efforts to Limit Obama's Options for Guantanamo
Dafna Linzer, ProPublica: "Obama administration officials say they plan to reject Congressional efforts to limit the president's options on Guantanamo, setting the stage for a confrontation between the president and the new Congress on an issue that has been politically divisive since Inauguration Day. The Guantanamo provisions, which include limits on where and how prisoners can be tried, were attached to a spending bill for military pay and benefits approved by Congress late last year."

Paul Krugman | China's Economy Not Looking So Hot
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: "These days, China seems to play much the same role in American public discourse that Japan did two decades ago. We Americans look at our own economic follies - which are immense - and then at the Chinese and their expanding economy, and ascribe to them all the virtues of foresight and determination that we lack."

News in Brief: Pakistan Governor Assassinated, and More ...
A senior Pakistani official was assassinated Tuesday by one of his own guards in an apparent protest against the governor's support of blasphemy law reform; a Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report reveals that gay people, or those perceived as gay by their community, are the main target of hate crimes in America; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is pushing for Republican members of Congress who oppose the health care law to decline health coverage for themselves and their families; a Congressional report released Monday revealed that the amount of oil left in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP spill may never be known.

Ray McGovern | Obama Should Read WikiLeaks Documents
Ray McGovern, Consortium News: "Perhaps President Barack Obama should give himself a waiver on the ban prohibiting U.S. government employees from downloading classified cables released by WikiLeaks, so he can better understand the futility of his Afghan War strategy. For instance, if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has hidden from him Ambassador Karl Eikenberry's cables from Kabul, he might wish to search out KABUL 001892 of July 13, 2009, in which Eikenberry reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is 'unable to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state building.'"

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III | Haley Barbour's Revisionist History
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, Truthout: "In a recent article in The Weekly Standard entitled 'The Boy from Yazoo City,' Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, waxed nostalgic about Citizens' Councils and Yazoo City's ability to integrate public schools in the 1970s.... Technically, Barbour is correct. Citizens' Councils were an organization of town leaders; they may well have passed anti-Klan resolutions, and there may not have been a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City. These possibilities in no way support Barbour's unstated premise that, somehow, the Citizens' Council in Yazoo City was racially tolerant when it came to integration, voting rights or the civil rights movement."

2011 Will Bring More De Facto Decriminalization of Elite Financial Fraud
Bill Black, new deal 2.0: "The role of the criminal justice system with regard to financial fraud by elite bankers in 2011 is likely to reprise its role last decade - de facto decriminalization The Galleon investigation of insider trading at hedge funds will take much of the FBI's and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) focus. The state attorneys general investigations of foreclosure fraud do focus on the major players such as the Bank of America (BoA), but they are unlikely to lead to criminal liability for any senior bank officials. It is most likely that they will lead to financial settlements that include new funding for loan modifications."

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