Sunday, November 20, 2011

FRACES FOX PIVEN - The War on the Home Front - SOARING BANKSTER PROFITS, FORECLOSURES & POVERTY FOR AMERICANS

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NEARLY HALF OF ALL MURDERS IN CA, ACCORDING TO A.G. KAMALA HARRIS, ARE BY MEXICAN GANGS.
PUSH 2 FOR ENGLISH IF YOU COME TO MEXIFORNIA WHERE IT IS POSTED: NO LEGAL NEED APPLY!
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Tomgram: Frances Fox Piven, The War on the Home Front

By Frances Fox Piven
Posted on November 6, 2011, Printed on November 20, 2011
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175463/

It was a beautiful, sunlit fall morning when the patrol, many in camouflage jackets, no more than 40 of them in all, headed directly into enemy territory.  Their ranks included one sailor in uniform, three women, and a small child named Viva in a stroller.  Except for Viva, all of them were vets, a few from the Vietnam era but most from our more recent wars.
As they headed for Wall Street, several carried signs that said, “I am still serving my country,” and one read, “How is the war economy working for you?”  Many wore Iraq Veterans Against the War t-shirts under their camo jackets, and there was one other thing that made this demonstration unlike any seen in these last Occupy Wall Street weeks: there wasn’t a police officer, police car, or barricade in sight.  As they headed out across a well-trafficked street, not a cop was there to yell at them to get back on the curb.
In the wake of the wounding of Scott Olsen in the police assault on Occupy Oakland last week, that’s what it means to be a veteran marching on Zuccotti Park.  Scott Kimbell (Iraq, 2005-2006), who led the patrol, later told me: “Cops are in a difficult position with vets.  Some of them were in the military and are sympathetic and they know that the community will not support what happened to Scott Olsen.”  Just before Broad Street, a line of waiting police on scooters picked up the marchers, for once feeling more like an escort than a gang of armed avengers, while media types and photographers swarmed in the street without police reprimand.
Suddenly, the patrol swiveled right and marched directly into the financial heart of the planet through a set of barricades. (“Who opened up the barrier there?” shouted a policeman.)  It was aiming directly at a line of mounted police blocking the way.  In front of them, the march halted.  With a smart “Left face!” the platoon turned to the Stock Exchange and began to call out in unison, “We are veterans!  We are the 99%!  We swore to protect the Constitution of the United States of America!  We are here to support the Occupy Movement!”
Then, the horses parted like the Red Sea, like a wave of emotion sweeping ahead of us, and the vets marched on triumphantly toward Zuccotti Park as a military cadence rang out (“...corporate profits on the rise, but soldiers have to bleed and die!  Sound off, one, two...”)
The platoon came to attention in front of Trinity Church for a moment of silence for “our friend Scott Olsen,” after which it circled the encampment at Zuccotti Park to cheers and cries of “Welcome Home!” from the protesters there.  (One of the occupiers shouted to the skies: “Hey, police, the military’s here and they’re on our side!”)  And if you don’t think all of it was stirring, then you have the heart of a banker.
Soon after, veterans began offering testimony, people’s mic-style, at the top of the park. Eli Wright, 30, a former Army medic in Ramadi, Iraq (2003-2004), now on military disability and Viva's dad, parked her stroller when I asked him why he was here.  “I came out today to march for economic justice," he responded.  "I want a future for my daughter.  I want her to have an education and a job.  I served seven years for our country to defend our constitution only to see it being dismantled before my eyes.  I think it’s time for vets and others to stand up and fight back.” As for two-year-old Viva, “This,” he said, “is the introduction to democracy that she needs to see.”  As a matter of fact, amid the tumult, Viva was soundly and peaceably asleep.
Joshua Shepherd, in the Navy from 2002 to 2008, told me that, during those years, he came to realize "it wasn’t about protecting anyone, it was about making money.” Now a student, he was holding up a large poster of his friend Scott Olsen.  He had been with Olsen when he was hit, possibly by a beanbag round fired by the police, and had flown in from San Francisco for this march.  “It’s important that the people at Wall Street know that we support them.  For the life of me I’m not sure why the police escalated the way they did [in Oakland], but the powers that be are threatened.  Income disparities have never been higher and they want to keep it that way.  It’s my intention to raise my voice and say that’s not right.”
T.J. Buonomo, 27 and unemployed, a personable former Army military intelligence officer, told me that he had come up from Washington specifically for the march.  “Seeing what happened to Scott Olsen made me feel like we had to stand up for Americans getting their democracy back.  If this country keeps going like this, we’re going to look like Latin America in the 1970s.”
Of course, as with so much else about Zuccotti Park, there’s no way of knowing whether these vets were a recon outfit preparing the way for a far larger “army,” possibly (as in the Vietnam era) including active-duty service people, or whether they were just a lost American patrol.  Still, if you were there, you, too, might have felt that something was changing in this country, that a larger movement of some kind was beginning to form.
And speaking of such movements, if you’ve read the final essays in the remarkable new book Who’s Afraid of Frances Fox Piven?, an essential guide to the writings of the activist and professor “Glenn Beck loves to hate,” then you know that no one came closer than her to predicting the rise of OWS.  Having covered the fate of the poor memorably for almost half a century, Piven, whom Cornel West calls “a living legend,” has a bead on the “war” these vets are now facing on the American home front. (To catch Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Piven discusses Glenn Beck’s bizarre fascination with her click here, or download it to your iPod here.) Tom
The War Against the Poor
Occupy Wall Street and the Politics of Financial Morality

By Frances Fox Piven
We’ve been at war for decades now -- not just in Afghanistan or Iraq, but right here at home.  Domestically, it’s been a war against the poor, but if you hadn’t noticed, that’s not surprising. You wouldn’t often have found the casualty figures from this particular conflict in your local newspaper or on the nightly TV news.  Devastating as it’s been, the war against the poor has gone largely unnoticed -- until now.


The Occupy Wall Street movement has already made the concentration of wealth at the top of this society a central issue in American politics.  Now, it promises to do something similar when it comes to the realities of poverty in this country.
By making Wall Street its symbolic target, and branding itself as a movement of the 99%, OWS has redirected public attention to the issue of extreme inequality, which it has recast as, essentially, a moral problem.  Only a short time ago, the “morals” issue in politics meant the propriety of sexual preferences, reproductive behavior, or the personal behavior of presidents.  Economic policy, including tax cuts for the rich, subsidies and government protection for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and financial deregulation, was shrouded in clouds of propaganda or simply considered too complex for ordinary Americans to grasp.
Now, in what seems like no time at all, the fog has lifted and the topic on the table everywhere seems to be the morality of contemporary financial capitalism.  The protestors have accomplished this mainly through the symbolic power of their actions: by naming Wall Street, the heartland of financial capitalism, as the enemy, and by welcoming the homeless and the down-and-out to their occupation sites.  And of course, the slogan “We are the 99%” reiterated the message that almost all of us are suffering from the reckless profiteering of a tiny handful.  (In fact, they aren’t far off: the increase in income of the top 1% over the past three decades about equals the losses of the bottom 80%.)
The movement’s moral call is reminiscent of earlier historical moments when popular uprisings invoked ideas of a “moral economy” to justify demands for bread or grain or wages -- for, that is, a measure of economic justice.  Historians usually attribute popular ideas of a moral economy to custom and tradition, as when the British historian E.P. Thompson traced the idea of a “just price” for basic foodstuffs invoked by eighteenth century English food rioters to then already centuries-old Elizabethan statutes.  But the rebellious poor have never simply been traditionalists.  In the face of violations of what they considered to be their customary rights, they did not wait for the magistrates to act, but often took it upon themselves to enforce what they considered to be the foundation of a just moral economy.

Being Poor By the Numbers
A moral economy for our own time would certainly take on the unbridled accumulation of wealth at the expense of the majority (and the planet).  It would also single out for special condemnation the creation of an ever-larger stratum of people we call “the poor” who struggle to survive in the shadow of the overconsumption and waste of that top 1%.
Some facts: early in 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 14.3% of the population, or 47 million people -- one in six Americans -- were living below the official poverty threshold, currently set at $22,400 annually for a family of four. Some 19 million people are living in what is called extreme poverty, which means that their household income falls in the bottom half of those considered to be below the poverty line.  More than a third of those extremely poor people are children.  Indeed, more than half of all children younger than six living with a single mother are poor.  Extrapolating from this data, Emily Monea and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution estimate that further sharp increases in both poverty and child poverty rates lie in our American future.
Some experts dispute these numbers on the grounds that they neither take account of the assistance that the poor still receive, mainly through the food stamp program, nor of regional variations in the cost of living.  In fact, bad as they are, the official numbers don’t tell the full story.  The situation of the poor is actually considerably worse. The official poverty line is calculated as simply three times the minimal food budget first introduced in 1959, and then adjusted for inflation in food costs.  In other words, the American poverty threshold takes no account of the cost of housing or fuel or transportation or health-care costs, all of which are rising more rapidly than the cost of basic foods. So the poverty measure grossly understates the real cost of subsistence.
Moreover, in 2006, interest payments on consumer debt had already put more than four million people, not officially in poverty, below the line, making them “debt poor.”  Similarly, if childcare costs, estimated at $5,750 a year in 2006, were deducted from gross income, many more people would be counted as officially poor.
Nor are these catastrophic levels of poverty merely a temporary response to rising unemployment rates or reductions in take-home pay resulting from the great economic meltdown of 2008.  The numbers tell the story and it’s clear enough: poverty was on the rise before the Great Recession hit.  Between 2001 and 2007, poverty actually increased for the first time on record during an economic recovery.  It rose from 11.7% in 2001 to 12.5% in 2007.  Poverty rates for single mothers in 2007 were 49% higher in the U.S. than in 15 other high-income countries.  Similarly, black employment rates and income were declining before the recession struck.
In part, all of this was the inevitable fallout from a decades-long business mobilization to reduce labor costs by weakening unions and changing public policies that protected workers and those same unions.  As a result, National Labor Board decisions became far less favorable to both workers and unions, workplace regulations were not enforced, and the minimum wage lagged far behind inflation.
Inevitably, the overall impact of the campaign to reduce labor’s share of national earnings meant that a growing number of Americans couldn’t earn even a poverty-level livelihood -- and even that’s not the whole of it.  The poor and the programs that assisted them were the objects of a full-bore campaign directed specifically at them.
Campaigning Against the Poor
This attack began even while the Black Freedom Movement of the 1960s was in full throttle.  It was already evident in the failed 1964 presidential campaign of Republican Barry Goldwater, as well as in the recurrent campaigns of sometime Democrat and segregationist governor of Alabama George Wallace.  Richard Nixon’s presidential bid in 1968 picked up on the theme.
As many commentators have pointed out, his triumphant campaign strategy tapped into the rising racial animosities not only of white southerners, but of a white working class in the north that suddenly found itself locked in competition with newly urbanized African-Americans for jobs, public services, and housing, as well as in campaigns for school desegregation.  The racial theme quickly melded into political propaganda targeting the poor and contemporary poor-relief programs.  Indeed, in American politics “poverty,” along with “welfare,” “unwed mothers,” and “crime,” became code words for blacks.
In the process, resurgent Republicans tried to defeat Democrats at the polls by associating them with blacks and with liberal policies meant to alleviate poverty.  One result was the infamous “war on drugs” that largely ignored major traffickers in favor of the lowest level offenders in inner-city communities.  Along with that came a massive program of prison building and incarceration, as well as the wholesale “reform” of the main means-tested cash assistance program, Aid to Families of Dependent Children.  This politically driven attack on the poor proved just the opening drama in a decades-long campaign launched by business and the organized right against workers.
This was not only war against the poor, but the very “class war” that Republicans now use to brand just about any action they don’t like.  In fact, class war was the overarching goal of the campaign, something that would soon enough become apparent in policies that led to a massive redistribution of the burden of taxation, the cannibalization of government services through privatization, wage cuts and enfeebled unions, and the deregulation of business, banks, and financial institutions.
The poor -- and blacks -- were an endlessly useful rhetorical foil, a propagandistic distraction used to win elections and make bigger gains. Still, the rhetoric was important.  A host of new think tanks, political organizations, and lobbyists in Washington D.C. promoted the message that the country’s problems were caused by the poor whose shiftlessness, criminal inclinations, and sexual promiscuity were being indulged by a too-generous welfare system.
Genuine suffering followed quickly enough, along with big cuts in the means-tested programs that helped the poor.  The staging of the cuts was itself enwreathed in clouds of propaganda, but cumulatively they frayed the safety net that protected both the poor and workers, especially low-wage ones, which meant women and minorities. When Ronald Reagan entered the Oval Office in 1980, the path had been smoothed for huge cuts in programs for poor people, and by the 1990s the Democrats, looking for electoral strategies that would raise campaign dollars from big business and put them back in power, took up the banner. It was Bill Clinton, after all, who campaigned on the slogan “end welfare as we know it.”
A Movement for a Moral Economy
The war against the poor at the federal level was soon matched in state capitols where organizations like the American Federation for Children, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Institute for Liberty, and the State Policy Network went to work.  Their lobbying agenda was ambitious, including the large-scale privatization of public services, business tax cuts, the rollback of environmental regulations and consumer protections, crippling public sector unions, and measures (like requiring photo identification) that would restrict the access students and the poor had to the ballot.  But the poor were their main public target and again, there were real life consequences -- welfare cutbacks, particularly in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, and a law-and-order campaign that resulted in the massive incarceration of black men.
The Great Recession sharply worsened these trends.  The Economic Policy Institute reports that the typical working-age household, which had already seen a decline of roughly $2,300 in income between 2000 and 2006, lost another $2,700 between 2007 and 2009.  And when “recovery” arrived, however uncertainly, it was mainly in low-wage industries, which accounted for nearly half of what growth there was.  Manufacturing continued to contract, while the labor market lost 6.1% of payroll employment.  New investment, when it occurred at all, was more likely to be in machinery than in new workers, so unemployment levels remain alarmingly high.  In other words, the recession accelerated ongoing market trends toward lower-wage and ever more insecure employment.
The recession also prompted further cutbacks in welfare programs.  Because cash assistance has become so hard to get, thanks to so-called welfare reform, and fallback state-assistance programs have been crippled, the federal food stamp program has come to carry much of the weight in providing assistance to the poor.  Renamed the “Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program,” it was boosted by funds provided in the Recovery Act, and benefits temporarily rose, as did participation.  But Congress has repeatedly attempted to slash the program’s funds, and even to divert some of them into farm subsidies, while efforts, not yet successful, have been made to deny food stamps to any family that includes a worker on strike.
The organized right justifies its draconian policies toward the poor with moral arguments.  Right-wing think tanks and blogs, for instance, ponder the damaging effect on disabled poor children of becoming “dependent” on government assistance, or they scrutinize government nutritional assistance for poor pregnant women and children in an effort to explain away positive outcomes for infants.
The willful ignorance and cruelty of it all can leave you gasping -- and gasp was all we did for decades.  This is why we so desperately needed a movement for a new kind of moral economy.  Occupy Wall Street, which has already changed the national conversation, may well be its beginning.
Frances Fox Piven is on the faculty of the Graduate School of the City University of New York.  She is the author, along with Richard Cloward, of Regulating the Poor and Poor People’s Movements.  Her latest book, just published, is Who’s Afraid of Frances Fox Piven? The Essential Writings of the Professor Glenn Beck Loves to Hate (The New Press).  To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Piven discusses Glenn Beck’s bizarre fascination with her click here, or download it to your iPod here.

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Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Interpretation of American Dreams

By Tom Engelhardt
Posted on November 8, 2011, Printed on November 20, 2011
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175464/

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: I have a be-the-first-on-your-block offer to make today.  The initial copies of my new book, The United States of Fear, should be in my hands as early as next week -- and immediately autographed and sent on their way to those of you who want it.  To get your own signed, personalized copy, and my eternal appreciation for helping this site survive, all you have to do is click here and contribute at least $75 to TomDispatch.  My latest volume is, I think, even stronger than my previous book, The American Way of War (which is available, also signed, in a double deal with the new book for $140).
Next week, I’ll be posting a piece from The United States of Fear that has never appeared at TomDispatch.  But don’t wait!  It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, or at least of today at TD.  Here’s what Mike Davis has to say about The United States of Fear: “Tom Engelhardt, as always, focuses his laser-like intelligence on a core problem that the media avoid: Obama's stunning embrace of Bush's secret government by surveillance, torture, and sanctioned assassination. A stunning polemic.”  Tom]
An All-American Nightmare
This Is What Defeat Looks Like

By Tom Engelhardt
How about a moment of silence for the passing of the American Dream?  M.R.I.C.  (May it rest in carnage.)
No, I’m not talking about the old dream of opportunity that involved homeownership, a better job than your parents had, a decent pension, and all the rest of the package that’s so yesterday, so underwater, so OWS.  I’m talking about a far more recent dream, a truly audacious one that’s similarly gone with the wind.
I’m talking about George W. Bush’s American Dream.  If people here remember the invasion of Iraq -- and most Americans would undoubtedly prefer to forget it -- what’s recalled is kited intelligence, Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent nuclear arsenal, dumb and even dumber decisions, a bloody civil war, dead Americans, crony corporations, a trillion or more taxpayer dollars flushed down the toilet... well, you know the story.  What few care to remember was that original dream -- call it The Dream -- and boy, was it a beaut!
An American Dream
It went something like this: Back in early 2003, the top officials of the Bush administration had no doubt that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, drained by years of war, no-fly zones, and sanctions, would be a pushover; that the U.S. military, which they idolized and romanticized, would waltz to Baghdad.  (The word one of their supporters used in the Washington Post for the onrushing invasion was a “cakewalk.”)  Nor did they doubt that those troops would be greeted as liberators, even saviors, by throngs of adoring, previously suppressed Shiites strewing flowers in their path.  (No kidding, no exaggeration.)
How easy it would be then to install a “democratic” government in Baghdad -- which meant their autocratic candidate Ahmad Chalabi -- set up four or five strategically situated military mega-bases, exceedingly well-armed American small towns already on the drawing boards before the invasion began, and so dominate the oil heartlands of the planet in ways even the Brits, at the height of their empire, wouldn't have dreamed possible.  (Yes, the neocons were then bragging that we would outdo the Roman and British empires rolled into one!)


As there would be no real resistance, the American invasion force could begin withdrawing as early as the fall of 2003, leaving perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 troops, the U.S. Air Force, and various spooks and private contractors behind to garrison a grateful country ad infinitum (on what was then called “the South Korean model”).  Iraq's state-run economy would be privatized and its oil resources thrown open to giant global energy companies, especially American ones, which would rebuild the industry and begin pumping millions of barrels of that country's vast reserves, thus undermining the OPEC cartel's control over the oil market.
And mind you, it would hardly cost a cent.  Well, at its unlikely worst, maybe $100 billion to $200 billion, but as Iraq, in the phrase of then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, “floats on a sea of oil,” most of it could undoubtedly be covered, in the end, by the Iraqis themselves.
Now, doesn’t going down memory lane just take your breath away?  And yet, Iraq was a bare beginning for Bush's dreamers, who clearly felt like so many proverbial kids in a candy shop (even if they acted like bulls in a china shop).  Syria, caught in a strategic pincer between Israel and American Iraq, would naturally bow down; the Iranians, caught similarly between American Iraq and American Afghanistan, would go down big time, too -- or simply be taken down Iraqi-style, and who would complain?  (As the neocon quip of the moment went: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad.  Real men want to go to Tehran.”)
And that wasn’t all.  Bush’s top officials had been fervent Cold Warriors in the days before the U.S. became “the sole superpower,” and they saw the new Russia stepping into those old Soviet boots.  Having taken down the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, they were already building a network of bases there, too.  (Let a thousand Korean models bloom!)  Next on the agenda would be rolling the Russians right out of their “near abroad,” the former Soviet Socialist Republics, now independent states, of Central Asia.
What glory!  Thanks to the unparalleled power of the U.S. military, Washington would control the Greater Middle East from the Mediterranean to the Chinese border and would be beholden to no one when victory came.  Great powers, phooey!  They were talking about a Pax Americana on which the sun could never set.  Meanwhile, there were so many other handy perks: the White House would be loosed from its constitutional bounds via a “unitary executive” and, success breeding success, a Pax Republicana would be established in the U.S. for eons to come (with the Democratic -- or as they said sneeringly, the “Democrat” -- Party playing the role of Iran and going down in a similar fashion).
An American Nightmare
When you wake up in a cold sweat, your heart pounding, from a dream that’s turned truly sour, sometimes it’s worth trying to remember it before it evaporates, leaving only a feeling of devastation behind.
So hold Bush’s American Dream in your head for a few moments longer and consider the devastation that followed.  Of Iraq, that multi-trillion-dollar war, what’s left?  An American expeditionary force, still 30,000-odd troops who were supposed to hunker down there forever, are instead packing their gear and heading “over the horizon.”  Those giant American towns -- with their massive PXs, fast-food restaurants, gift shops, fire stations, and everything else -- are soon to be ghost towns, likely as not looted and stripped by Iraqis.
Multi-billions of taxpayer dollars were, of course, sunk into those American ziggurats.  Now, assumedly, they are goners except for the monster embassy-cum-citadel the Bush administration built in Baghdad for three-quarters of a billion dollars.  It’s to house part of a 17,000-person State Department “mission” to Iraq, including 5,000 armed mercenaries, all of whom are assumedly there to ensure that American folly is not utterly absent from that country even after “withdrawal.”
Put any spin you want on that withdrawal, but this still represents a defeat of the first order, humiliation on a scale and in a time frame that would have been unimaginable in the invasion year of 2003.  After all, the U.S. military was ejected from Iraq by... well, whom exactly?
Then, of course, there’s Afghanistan, where the ultimate, inevitable departure has yet to happen, where another trillion-dollar war is still going strong as if there were no holes in American pockets.  The U.S. is still taking casualties, still building up its massive base structure, still training an Afghan security force of perhaps 400,000 men in a county too poor to pay for a tenth of that (which means it’s ours to fund forever and a day).
Washington still has its stimulus program in Kabul.  Its diplomats and military officials shuttle in and out of Afghanistan and Pakistan in search of “reconciliation” with the Taliban, even as CIA drones pound the enemy across the Afghan border and anyone else in the vicinity.  As once upon a time in Iraq, the military and the Pentagon still talk about progress being made, even while Washington’s unease grows about a war that everyone is now officially willing to call “unwinnable.”
In fact, it’s remarkable how consistently things that are officially going so well are actually going so badly.  Just the other day, for instance, despite the fact that the U.S. is training up a storm, Major General Peter Fuller, running the training program for Afghan forces, was dismissed by war commander General John Allen for dissing Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his generals.  He called them “isolated from reality.”
Isolated from reality?  Here’s the U.S. record on the subject: it’s costing Washington (and so the American taxpayer) $11.6 billion this year alone to train those security forces and yet, after years of such training, “not a single Afghan army battalion can operate without assistance from U.S. or allied units.”
You don’t have to be a seer to know that this, too, represents a form of defeat, even if the enemy, as in Iraq, is an underwhelming set of ragtag minority insurgencies.  Still, it’s more or less a given that any American dreams for Afghanistan, like Britain’s and Russia’s before it, will be buried someday in the rubble of a devastated but resistant land, no matter what resources Washington choses to continue to squander on the task.
This, simply put, is part of a larger landscape of imperial defeat.
Cold Sweats at Dawn
Yes, we’ve lost in Iraq and yes, we’re losing in Afghanistan, but if you want a little geopolitical turn of the screw that captures the zeitgeist of the moment, check out one of the first statements of Almazbek Atambayev after his recent election as president of Kyrgyzstan, a country you’ve probably never spent a second thinking about.
Keep in mind that Bushian urge to roll back the Russians to the outskirts of Moscow.  Kyrgyzstan is, of course, one of the former Central Asian SSRs of the Soviet Union, and under cover of the Afghan War, the U.S. moved in, renting out a major air base at Manas airport near Bishtek, the capital.  It became a significant resupply station for the war, but also an American military foothold in the region.
Now Atambayev has announced that the U.S. will have to leave Manas when its lease is up in 2014.  The last time a Kyrgyz president made such a threat, he was trying to extort an extra $40 million in rent from the globe’s richest power. This time, though, Atambayev has evidently weighed regional realities, taken a good hard look at his resurgent neighbor and the waning influence of Washington, and placed his bet -- on the Russians.  Consider it a telling little gauge of who is now being rolled back where.
Isolated from reality?  How about the Obama administration and its generals?  Of course, Washington officials prefer not to take all this in. They’re willing to opt for isolation over reality.  They prefer to talk about withdrawing troops from Iraq, but only to bolster the already powerful American garrisons throughout the Persian Gulf and so free the region, as our secretary of state put it, “from outside interference” by alien Iran.  (Why, one wonders, is it even called the Persian Gulf, instead of the American Gulf?)
They prefer to talk about strengthening U.S. power and bolstering its bases in the Pacific so as to save Asia from... America’s largest creditor, the Chinese.  They prefer to suggest that the U.S. will be a greater, not a lesser, power in the years to come.  They prefer to “reassure allies” and talk big -- or big enough anyway.
Not too big, of course, not now that those American dreamers -- or mad visionaries, if you prefer -- are off making up to $150,000 a pop giving inspirational speeches and raking in millions for churning out their memoirs.  In their place, the Obama administration is stocked with dreamless managers who inherited an expanded imperial presidency, an American-garrisoned globe, and an emptying treasury.  And they then chose, on each score, to play a recognizable version of the same game, though without the soaring confidence, deep faith in armed American exceptionalism or the military solutions that went with it (which they nonetheless continue to pursue doggedly), or even the vision of global energy flows that animated their predecessors.  In a rapidly changing situation, they have proven incapable of asking any questions that would take them beyond what might be called the usual tactics (drones vs. counterinsurgency, say).
In this way, Washington, though visibly diminished, remains an airless and eerily familiar place.  No one there could afford to ask, for instance, what a Middle East, being transformed before our eyes, might be like without its American shadow, without the bases and fleets and drones and all the operatives that go with them.
As a result, they simply keep on keeping on, especially with Bush’s global war on terror and with the protection in financial tough times of the Pentagon (and so of the militarization of this country).
Think of it all as a form of armed denial that, in the end, is likely to drive the U.S. down.  It would be salutary for the denizens of Washington to begin to mouth the word “defeat.”  It’s not yet, of course, a permissible part of the American vocabulary, though the more decorous “decline” -- “the relative decline of the United States as an international force” -- has crept ever more comfortably into our lives since mid-decade.  When it comes to decline, for instance, ordinary Americans are voting with the opinion poll version of their feet.  In one recent poll, 69% of them declared the U.S. to be in that state.  (How they might answer a question about American defeat we don’t know.)
If you are a critic of Washington, “defeat” is increasingly becoming an acceptable word, as long as you attach it to a specific war or event.  But defeat outright?  The full-scale thing?  Not yet.
You can, of course, say many times over that the U.S. remains, as it does, an immensely wealthy and powerful country; that it has the wherewithal to right itself and deal with the disasters of these last years, which it also undoubtedly does.  But take a glance at Washington, Wall Street, and the coming 2012 elections, and tell me with a straight face that that will happen.  Not likely.
If you go on a march with the folks from Occupy Wall Street, you’ll hear the young chanting, “This is what democracy looks like!”  It’s infectious.  But here’s another chant, hardly less appropriate, if distinctly grimmer: “This is what defeat looks like!”  Admittedly, it’s not as rhythmic, but it’s something that the spreading Occupy Wall Street movement, and the un- and underemployed, and those whose houses are foreclosed or “underwater,” and the millions of kids getting a subprime education and graduating, on average, more than $25,000 in hock, and the increasing numbers of poor are coming to feel in their bones, even if they haven’t put a name to it yet.
And events in the Greater Middle East played no small role in that.  Think of it this way: if de-industrialization and financialization have, over the last decades, hollowed out the United States, so has the American way of war.  It’s the usually ignored third part of the triad.  When our wars finally fully come home, there’s no telling what the scope of this imperial defeat will prove to be like.
Bush’s American Dream was a kind of apotheosis of this country’s global power as well as its crowning catastrophe, thanks to a crew of mad visionaries who mistook military might for global strength and acted accordingly.  What they and their neocon allies had was the magic formula for turning the slow landing of a declining but still immensely powerful imperial state into a self-inflicted rout, even if who the victors are is less than clear.
Despite our panoply of bases around the world, despite an arsenal of weaponry beyond anything ever seen (and with more on its way), despite a national security budget the size of the Ritz, it’s not too early to start etching something appropriately sepulchral onto the gravestone that will someday stand over the pretensions of the leaders of this country when they thought that they might truly rule the world.
I know my own nominee. Back in 2002, journalist Ron Suskind had a meeting with a “senior advisor” to George W. Bush and what that advisor told him seems appropriate for any such gravestone or future memorial to American defeat:
"The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality... That's not the way the world really works anymore… We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'''
We’re now, it seems, in a new era in which reality is making us.  Many Americans -- witness the Occupy Wall Street movement -- are attempting to adjust, to imagine other ways of living in the world.  Defeat has a bad rep, but sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Still, reality is a bear, so if you just woke up in a cold sweat, feel free to call it a nightmare.
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s as well as The End of Victory Culture, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book, The United States of Fear (Haymarket Books), is being published this month.

ANDY KROLL, OCCUPY WALL ST'S POLITICAL VICTORY in OHIO - FIGHTING AGAINST THE LOOTERS OF AMERICA: Wall Street

Tomgram: Andy Kroll, Occupy Wall Street's Political Victory in Ohio
Twelve hours after Mayor Bloomberg’s cops evicted the Occupy Wall Street encampment from Zuccotti Park, the space had been scrubbed down and repopulated with police and private-security types, up to 150 of them. In essence, since September there had been two occupations in the Wall Street area and the second of them, the massive one the police were running, had now quite literally replaced the first. Odder yet, by mid-afternoon the police, barricaded in the park, were ringed by the returning protesters, awaiting a judge’s decision on whether they could again set up camp. It was as if in a single night the situation had somehow been turned inside out.
As Occupy Wall Street's website wryly put it: “NYPD Occupying Liberty Square; Demands Unclear.” That caught the strangely high-spirited post-eviction moment.  But something else caught my eye that afternoon. The “park” itself, demonstrator-less, filled with bored cops, had morphed into a bare and pitiful space. It wasn’t a park at all, but a thumbnail slab of concrete with lights embedded in it, trees with yellowed leaves, and scattered, plinth-like stone benches, cold as death.
What more reminder did anyone need that the zeitgeist-inspired Occupy Wall Street protesters had brought a mythic quality to a postage-stamp-sized bit of privatized public property? They had made it, tents and all, larger than life, bigger than anything specific that happened there.  They had somehow put it on a world stage. If they head elsewhere, that mythic quality goes with them. The police have now, as is their wont, turned the park into something like an open-air prison. It’s the only thing they evidently know how to do, just as they tried to imprison in metal barricades the giant march from Manhattan’s Foley Square across the Brooklyn Bridge on Thursday night -- with far less success than expected thanks to the effervescent, surging power of the crowd.
As a crew, the OWS protesters are no slouches. By the afternoon of their park eviction, some were already carrying around signs that said: “You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.”  It’s a rousing instant slogan, and who can deny that there are ideas aplenty swirling around in the OWS ether? As for myself, though, I don’t think Occupy Wall Street is an idea. To me, it seems more like an embodied feeling, as hard to pin down, yet powerful and all embracing, as that 99% label.
Along with its hope and high-spiritedness, OWS has, I suspect, caught and crystalized an American feeling of loss, of a world going down (which always has the possibility of the new somewhere inside it). The outrage that it has transformed into activity is over those who are still living high and profiting off that world’s demise -- the privateers, looters, subprime hucksters, corporate grifters, Wall Street gamblers, and all those willing to take a buck to shill for them, to make sure in every way that they thrive as other Americans crash and burn.
All of this, by the way, was available for anyone to see in clear, even cartoonish, form in the crony-capitalist version of the occupation of Iraq with its urge to privatize everything, make money off Iraqi suffering while the going was good, and stick the Iraqis with a subprime “reconstruction” program so shoddy that nothing would work and no services would ever be delivered, while the companies hired to reconstruct took home the cash.
As it happened, while few Americans cared what befell the Iraqis, a subprime crook’s version of the occupation of Iraq was heading home. So here’s the truth of it: before anyone decided to “occupy” any park, we wuz occupied! And the truth of now is perhaps this: a feeling embodied is even harder to suppress than an idea, no matter how often you play whack-a-mole with its encampments. A feeling embodied, as TomDispatch associate editor and Mother Jones reporter Andy Kroll makes clear, can have genuine on-the-ground political power. It can deliver the goods. (To catch Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Kroll discusses Occupy Wall Street's unlikely first political victory click here, or download it to your iPod here.) Tom
How the 99% Won in the Fight for Worker Rights
The Unsung Victors in the Hottest Election of 2011

By Andy Kroll
No headlines announced it. No TV pundits called it. But on the evening of November 8th, Occupy Wall Street, the populist uprising built on economic justice and corruption-free politics that’s spread like a lit match hitting a trail of gasoline, notched its first major political victory, and in the unlikeliest of places: Ohio.
You might have missed OWS's win amid the recent wave of Occupy crackdowns. Police raided Occupy Denver, Occupy Salt Lake City, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Portland, and Occupy Seattle in a five-day span. Hundreds were arrested. And then, in the early morning hours on Tuesday, New York City police descended on Occupy Wall Street itself, fists flying and riot shields at the ready, with orders from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to evict the protesters. Later that day, a judge ruled that they couldn't rebuild their young community, dealing a blow to the Occupy protest that inspired them all.
Instead of simply condemning the eviction, many pundits and columnists praised it or highlighted what they considered its bright side. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein wrote that Bloomberg had done Occupy Wall Street a favor. After all, he argued, something dangerous or deadly was bound to happen at OWS sooner or later, especially with winter soon to arrive. Zuccotti Park, Klein added, "was cleared... in a way that will temporarily reinvigorate the protesters and give Occupy Wall Street the best possible chance to become whatever it will become next."
The New York Times' Paul Krugman wrote that OWS "should be grateful" for Bloomberg's eviction decree: "By acting so badly, Bloomberg has made it easy to see who won’t be truthful and can’t handle open discourse.  He’s also saved OWS from what was probably its greatest problem, the prospect that it would just fade away as time went on and the days grew colder."
Read between the lines and what Klein, Krugman, and others are really saying is: you had your occupation; now, get real. Start organizing, meaningfully connect your many Occupy protests, build a real movement. As these columnists see it, that movement -- whether you call it OccupyUSA, We Are the 99%, or the New Progressive Movement -- should now turn its attention to policy changes like a millionaire's tax, a financial transaction fee, or a constitutional amendment to nullify the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that loosed a torrent of cash into American elections. It should think about supporting political candidates. It should start making a nuts-and-bolts difference in American politics.
But such assessments miss an important truth: Occupy Wall Street has already won its first victory its own way -- in Ohio, when voters repealed Republican governor John Kasich's law to slash bargaining rights for 350,000 public workers and gut what remained of organized labor's political power.
Commandeering the Conversation
Don't believe me? Then think back to this spring and summer, when Occupy Wall Street was just a glimmer in the imagination of a few activists, artists, and students. In Washington, the conversation, such as it was, concerned debt, deficit, and austerity. The discussion wasn’t about whether to slash spending, only about how much and how soon. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent called it the "Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop" -- and boy was he right.
A National Journal analysis in May found that the number of news articles in major newspapers mentioning "deficit" was climbing, while mentions of "unemployment" had plummeted. In the last week of July, the liberal blog ThinkProgress tallied 7,583 mentions of the word "debt" on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News alone. "Unemployment"? A measly 427.
This all-deficit, all-the-time debate shaped the final debt-ceiling deal, in which House Speaker John Boehner and his "cut-and-grow"-loving GOP allies got just about everything they wanted. So lopsided was the debate in Washington that President Obama himself hailed the deal's bone-deep cuts to health research, public education, environmental protection, childcare, and infrastructure.
These cuts, the president explained, would bring the country to "the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president." After studying the deal, Ethan Pollock of the Economic Policy Institute told me, "There's no way to square this plan with the president's 'Winning the Future' agenda. That agenda ends." Yet Obama said this as if it were a good thing.
Six weeks after Obama's speech, protesters heard the call of Adbusters, the Canadian anti-capitalist magazine, and followed the lead of a small crew of activists, writers, and students to "occupy Wall Street." A few hundred of them set up camp in Zuccotti Park, a small patch of concrete next door to Ground Zero. No one knew how long the occupation would last, or what its impact would be.
What a game-changing few months it’s been. Occupy Wall Street has inspired 750 events around the world, and hundreds of (semi-)permanent encampments around the United States. In so doing, the protests have wrestled the national discussion on the economy away from austerity and toward gaping income inequality (the 99% versus 1% theme), outsized executive compensation, and the plain buying and selling of American politicians by lobbyists and campaign donors.
Mentions of the phrase "income inequality" in print publications, web stories, and broadcast transcripts spiked from 91 times a week in early September to nearly 500 in late October, according to the website Politico -- an increase of nearly 450%. In the second week of October, according to ThinkProgress, the words most uttered on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News were "jobs" (2,738), "Wall Street" (2,387), and "Occupy" (1,278). (References to "debt" tumbled to 398.)
And here’s another sign of the way Occupy Wall Street has forced what it considers the most pressing economic issues for the country into the spotlight: conservatives have lately gone on the defensive by attacking the very existence of income inequality, even if to little effect. As AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka put it, "Give credit to the Occupy Wall Street movement (and historic inequality) for redefining the political narrative."
Wall Street in Ohio
The way Occupy Wall Street, with next to no direct access to the mainstream media, commandeered the national political narrative represents something of a stunning triumph. It also laid the groundwork for OWS's first political win.
Just as OWS was grabbing that narrative, labor unions and Democrats headed into the final stretch of one of their biggest fights of 2011: an up-or-down referendum on the fate of Ohio governor John Kasich’s anti-union law, also known as SB 5. Passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature in March, it sought to curb the collective bargaining rights of 350,000 police, firefighters, teachers, snowplow drivers, and other public workers. It also gutted the political clout of unions by making it harder for them to collect dues and fund their political action committees. After failing to overturn similar laws in Wisconsin and Michigan, the SB 5 fight was labor's last stand of 2011.
I spent a week in Ohio in early November interviewing dozens of people and reporting on the run-up to the SB 5 referendum. I visited heavily Democratic and Republican parts of the state, talking to liberals and conservatives, union leaders and activists.  What struck me was how dramatically the debate had shifted in Ohio thanks in large part to the energy generated by Occupy Wall Street.
It was as if a great tide had lifted the pro-repeal forces in a way you only fully grasped if you were there. Organizers and volunteers had a spring in their step that hadn’t been evident in Wisconsin this summer during the recall elections of nine state senators targeted for their actions during the fight over Governor Scott Walker’s own anti-union law. Nearly everywhere I went in Ohio, people could be counted on to mention two things: the 99% -- that is, the gap between the rich and poor -- and the importance of protecting the rights of the cops and firefighters targeted by Kasich's law.
And not just voters or local activists either.  I heard it from union leaders as well. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, told me that her union had recruited volunteers from 15 different states for the final get-out-the-vote effort in Ohio. That, she assured me, wouldn't have happened without the energy generated by OWS. And when Henry herself went door-to-door in Ohio to drum up support for repealing SB 5, she said that she could feel its influence in home after home. "Every conversation was in the context of the 99% and the 1%, this discussion sparked by Occupy Wall Street."
This isn't to take anything away from labor's own accomplishments in Ohio. We Are Ohio, the labor-funded coalition that led the effort, collected nearly 1.3 million signatures this summer to put the repeal of SB 5 on the November ballot.  (They needed just 230,000.) The group outspent its opponents $30 million to $8 million, a nearly four-to-one margin. And in the final days before the November 8th victory, We Are Ohio volunteers knocked on a million doors and made nearly a million phone calls. In the end, a stunning 2.14 million Ohioans voted to repeal SB 5 and only 1.35 million to keep it, a 61% to 39% margin. There were repeal majorities in 82 of Ohio's 88 counties, support that cut across age, class, race, and political ideologies.
Nonetheless, it’s undeniable that a mood change had hit Ohio -- and in a major way. Pro-worker organizers and volunteers benefited from something their peers in Wisconsin lacked: the wind of public opinion at their backs. Polls conducted in the run-up to Ohio's November 8th vote showed large majorities of Ohioans agreeing that income inequality was a problem. What's more, 60% of respondents in a Washington Post-ABC poll said the federal government should act to close that gap. Behind those changing numbers was the influence of Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy protests.
So, as the debate rages over what will happen to Occupy Wall Street after its eviction from Zuccotti Park, and some "experts" sneer at OWS and tell it to get real, just direct their attention to Ohio. Kasich's anti-union law might still be on the books if not for the force of OWS. And if the Occupy movement survives Mayor Bloomberg's eviction order and the winter season, if it regroups and adapts to life beyond Zuccotti Park, you can bet it will notch more political victories in 2012.
Andy Kroll is a staff reporter in the D.C. bureau of Mother Jones magazine and an associate editor at TomDispatch. He has appeared on MSNBC, Al Jazeera English, Democracy Now, and Current TV's "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann. His email is akroll (at) motherjones (dot) com. To catch Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Kroll discusses Occupy Wall Street’s unlikely first political victory click here, or download it to your iPod here.
Copyright 2011 Andy Kroll

Arizona educators clash over Mexican American studies LA RAZA PUSHES FOR MORE SUPREMACY

Arizona educators clash over Mexican American studies

REALITY IS... THERE IS NOTHING MORE RACIST THAN THE MEXICAN LA RAZA SUPREMACY MOVEMENT.

FOR YEARS LA RAZA SUPREMACY HAS BEEN TAUGHT UNDER LA RAZA OCCUPATION OF ARIZONA AT LEGALS' EXPENSE.

IT'S TIME PEOPLE STAND UP TO THIS FORM OF MEXICAN FASCISM!

CHECK OUT SANTEE EDUCATIONAL COMPLEX IN LOS ANGELES, A PUBLIC SCHOOL. CLASSES ARE TAUGHT IN SPANISH! BOOKS AND HANDOUTS ARE IN SPANISH! THE STUDENT BODY OVERWHELMINGLY LA RAZA "THE RACE" SITS ON THEIR ASS WHEN THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS PLAYED.

OH, AND SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES END IN "VIVA MEXICO! VIVA MEXICO!"

Corporate power grows stronger as government wanes - AND WALL ST WANTS MORE ILLEGALS!

Corporate power grows stronger as government wanes

TWO OF THE BIGGEST BACKERS OF AMNESTY BESIDES THE DEMOCRAT PARTY, IS THE U.S. CHAMBER of COMMERCE, WHICH DEMANDS AMNESTY IN ANY FORM, OR AT LEAST CONTINUED NON-ENFORCEMENT, OPEN BORDERS AND NO E-VERIFY.

MOST OF THE FORTUNE 500 ARE GENEROUS DONORS TO THE MEXICAN FASCIST PARTY of LA RAZA!

THE MEXICAN OCCUPATION DEPRESSES WAGES FROM $300 TO $400 BILLION PER YEAR. ON TOP OF THESE FIGURES LEGALS MUST PAY FOR THE LA RAZA WELFARE STATE AND MEXICAN CRIME TIDAL WAVE.

VIVA LA RAZA? WALL ST DOES!

Billionaires, insiders plan to place $10-billion tax hike on 2012 California ballot - NO TALK OF ENDING the LA RAZA MEXICAN WELFARE STATE

Billionaires, insiders plan to place $10-billion tax hike on 2012 California ballot


YEARLY THE STATE OF LA RAZA OCCUPIED CALIFORNIA PUTS OUT $20 BILLION IN SOCIAL SERVICES TO ILLEGALS AGAINST DEFICITS OF $28 BILLION!

THAT HARD MATH?

ON TOP OF THAT, OUT OF YOUR PROPERTY TAXES, THE LA RAZA INFESTED COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES PUTS OUT $600 MILLION PER YEAR IN WELFARE TO ILLEGALS.

TIME TO STOP THE LA RAZA ANCHOR BABY "FREE" BREEDERS PROGRAM?

GET THE BOOK

MEXIFORNIA: Shattering of the American Dream

LA RAZA MEXICAN OCCUPATION BANKRUPTS CALIFORNIA - 49 OTHER STATES TO GO!

YOU CAN THANK YOUR LA RAZA DEMS, JERRY BROWN, PELOSI, FEINSTEIN, ESHOO, HONDA, FARR, WAXMAN, AND THE LA RAZA SUPREMACIST IN CONGRESS (MEX FASCIST) REPS. BACA, BECERRA, AND THE INFAMOUS SANCHEZ SISTERS, LINDA AND LORETTA (VOTED IN BY ILLEGALS) FOR CA’S MELTDOWN.

CA IS A MEX INFESTED LA RAZA OCCUPIED STATE. THE STATE PAYS OUT $20 BILLION PER YEAR IN SOCIAL SERVICES TO ILLEGALS AGAINST DEFICITS OF $28 BILLION.

EACH AND EVERY DEM IN CA ARE BEHIND OBAMA’S AMNESTY, OPEN BORDERS, NO E-VERIFY, ENDLESS GRINGO-PAID DREAM ACTS, OR AT THE VERY LEAST, CONTINUED NON-ENFORCEMENT!

WE CAN’T SAVE OUR STATE AND NATION UNTIL WE RID OURSELVES OF THE LA RAZA DEMS, AND PUSH THE INVADERS BACK OVER THE NARCOMEX BORDER!

*

February 17, 2009

California, Almost Broke, Nears Brink


LOS ANGELES — The state of California — its deficits ballooning, its lawmakers intransigent and its governor apparently bereft of allies or influence — appears headed off the fiscal rails.
Since the fall, when lawmakers began trying to attack the gaps in the $143 billion budget that their earlier plan had not addressed, the state has fallen into deeper financial straits, with more bad news coming daily from Sacramento. The state, nearly out of cash, has laid off scores of workers and put hundreds more on unpaid furloughs. It has stopped paying counties and issuing income tax refunds and halted thousands of infrastructure projects.
 *

From the Los Angeles Times
CAPITOL JOURNAL
Illegal immigrants are a factor in California's budget math
George Skelton
Capitol Journal

February 2, 2009

From Sacramento — Based on my e-mail, a lot of folks think the solution to California's state budget deficit is to round up all the illegal immigrants and truck them down to Mexico.

Wrong. Even if it were logistically possible and the deportees didn't just climb off the truck and hitch another ride back up north, their absence from the state wouldn't come close to saving enough tax dollars to balance a budget that has a $42-billion hole projected over the next 17 months.

Painful cuts in education, healthcare and social service programs still would be needed. Sharp tax increases would be required.

That said, let's be honest: Illegal immigration does cost California taxpayers a substantial wad, undeniably into the billions.

But it hasn't been PC for officeholders to talk about this for years, ever since Gov. Pete Wilson broke his pick waging an aggressive campaign for Proposition 187. That 1994 ballot initiative sought to bar illegal immigrants from most public services, including education. Voters approved the measure overwhelmingly, but it was tossed out by the courts.

Wilson was demonized by Democrats within the Latino community. And many think the Republican Party never has recovered among this rapidly growing slice of the electorate.

So it's not a topic that comes easily to the tongues of politicians, even Republicans.

Besides, most of the policy issues are out of California's hands. The federal government has jurisdiction over the border. Federal law decrees that every child is entitled to attend public school, regardless of immigration status. And every person -- here illegally or not -- must be cared for in hospital emergency rooms.

But the state does add a few benefits that aren't required.

And as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders dig into the books trying to find billions in savings, at least a brief look at what's being spent on illegal immigrants seems in order.

First, nobody seems to know exactly. Numbers vary widely, depending which side they come from in the ongoing angry debate over whether people who entered the country illegally to work should be allowed to stay or loaded on the southbound truck.

But here are some no-agenda numbers:

* There were 2.8 million illegal immigrants living in California in 2006, the last year for which there are relatively good figures, according to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. That represented about 8% of the state's population and roughly a quarter of the nation's illegal immigrants. About 90% of California's illegal immigrants were from Latin America; 65% from Mexico.

* There are roughly 19,000 illegal immigrants in state prisons, representing 11% of all inmates. That's costing $970 million during the current fiscal year. The feds kick in a measly $111 million, leaving the state with an $859 million tab.

* Schools are the toughest to calculate. Administrators don't ask kids about citizenship status. Anyway, many children of illegal immigrants were born in this country and automatically became U.S. citizens.

If you figure that the children of illegal immigrants attending K-12 schools approximates the proportion of illegal immigrants in the population, the bill currently comes to roughly $4 billion. Most is state money; some local property taxes.

* Illegal immigrants aren't entitled to welfare, called CalWORKs. But their citizen children are. Roughly 190,000 kids are receiving welfare checks that pass through their parents. The cost: about $500 million, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.

Schwarzenegger has proposed removing these children from the welfare rolls after five years. It's part of a broader proposal to also boot off, after five years, the children of U.S. citizens who aren't meeting federal work requirements. There'd be a combined savings of $522 million.

* The state is spending $775 million on Medi-Cal healthcare for illegal immigrants, according to the legislative analyst. Of that, $642 million goes into direct benefits. Practically all the rest is paid to counties to administer the program. The feds generally match the state dollar-for-dollar on mandatory programs.

So-called emergency services are the biggest state cost: $536 million. Prenatal care is $59 million. Not counted in the overall total is the cost of baby delivery -- $108 million -- because the newborns aren't illegal immigrants.

The state also pays $47 million for programs that Washington does not require: Non-emergency care (breast and cervical cancer treatment), $25 million; long-term nursing home care, $19 million; abortions, $3 million.

Schwarzenegger has proposed requiring illegal immigrants to requalify every month for Medi-Cal benefits, except pregnancy-related emergencies.

There also are other taxpayer costs -- especially through local governments -- but those are the biggies for the state. Add them all up and the state spends well over $5 billion a year on illegal immigrants and their families.

Of course, illegal immigrants do pay state taxes. But no way do they pay enough to replenish what they're drawing in services. Their main revenue contribution would be the sales tax, but they can't afford to be big consumers, and food and prescription drugs are exempt.

My view is this: These people are here illegally and shouldn't be, regardless of whether they're just looking for a better life. Do it the legal way. And enforce the law against hiring the undocumented.

On the other hand, they are here. We can't have uneducated kids and unhealthy people living with us. We have moral obligations and practical imperatives.

The Obama administration and Congress need to finally pass an immigration reform act that allows for an agriculture work program and a route to citizenship.

Meanwhile, California should be honest about the costs. Illegal immigrants are not the sole cause of the state's deficit. But they are a drain.
……………………………………………………………………………………………….
from the March 30, 2006 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0330/p09s02-coop.html


Mexico prefers to export its poor, not uplift them At this week's summit, failed reforms under Fox should be the issue, not US actions.
By George W. Grayson
WILLIAMSBURG, VA.
At the parleys this week with his US and Canadian counterparts in CancĂșn, Mexican President Vicente Fox will press for more opportunities for his countrymen north of the Rio Grande. Specifically, he will argue for additional visas for Mexicans to enter the United States and Canada, the expansion of guest-worker schemes, and the "regularization" of illegal immigrants who reside throughout the continent. In a recent interview with CNN, the Mexican chief executive excoriated as "undemocratic" the extension of a wall on the US-Mexico border and called for the "orderly, safe, and legal" northbound flow of Mexicans, many of whom come from his home state of Guanajuato.

*

FBI Statistical Report on Undocumented Immigrants 2006 (First Quarter)

CRIME STATISTICS 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens. 83% of warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens. 86% of warrants for murder in Albuquerque are for illegal aliens. 75% of those on the most wanted list in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque are illegal aliens. 24.9% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally 40.1% of all inmates in Arizona detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally 48.2% of all inmates in New Mexico detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally 29% (630,000) convicted illegal alien felons fill our state and federal prisons at a cost of $1.6 billion annually 53% plus of all investigated burglaries reported in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens. 50% plus of all gang members in Los Angeles are illegal aliens from south of the border. 71% plus of all apprehended cars stolen in 2005 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California were stolen by Illegal aliens or “transport coyotes". 47% of cited/stopped drivers in California have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 47%, 92% are illegal aliens. 63% of cited/stopped drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 63%, 97% are illegal aliens 66% of cited/stopped drivers in New Mexico have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 66% 98% are illegal aliens.

BIRTH STATISTICS 380,000 plus “anchor babies” were born in the U.S. in 2005 to illegal alien parents, making 380,000 babies automatically U.S.citizens. 97.2% of all costs incurred from those births were paid by the American taxpayers. 66% plus of all births in California are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers

Subject: From the L.A. Times Newspaper

 1. 40% of all workers in L. A. County (L. A. County has 10 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. Los Angeles County reports 2 billion dollars in the underground economy is lost.
 2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens. There have been 2000 Californians murdered by illegals who then fled back to Mexico to avoid prosecution.
 3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.
 4. Over 2/3's of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers.
5. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally. Los Angeles County spends millions in jail cost for illegals still actively drug trafficking. To solve this problem, the county dispersed the Mexican drug dealers to jails over the states. This only propagated the drug dealers operations. The County spends millions in fighting Mexican gangs which have spread all over the United States. The County also spends millions on graffiti abatement.
 6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.
7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border. It’s assumed the vast majority of the other half are Mexicans living here legally.
 8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.
9. 21 radio stations in L. A. are Spanish speaking. They united Mexicans in protest demanding “rights” they presume to be entitled to. (They seem to have one program. Convince the Mexican invaders this country actually belongs to the Mexicans. )
 10. In L. A. County 5.1 million people speak English. 3.9 million speak Spanish (10.2 million people in L. A. County). ( How many Mexicans do you know that have contempt for the English language?) Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops but 29% are on welfare. Over 70% of the United States annual population growth (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York) results from immigration.
OTHER SOURCES: Similar figures LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that California spends 9 billion on social services for illegals. 60% of the counties in the United States have serious meth problems. Meth that comes from Mexico. Part of Mexico’s 5 billion dollar drug export business.
An estimated 8,200 Illegal Immigrants cross the border each day. 57,400 a week . 250,000 a month.
84 hospitals in California alone have closed or are scheduled to close due mostly to rising costs of caring for uninsured Illegal Immigrants since 1993. It is estimated that 50% of their services went to Illegal Immigrants who did not pay their bills. According to the American Hospital Association the estimated uncompensated cost of care in 2000 was $21.6 billion. Roughly 6% of total expenses. The government allotted only $1 billion to help cover those costs. Anchor babies account for roughly 10% of all US births. In 2003, anchor babies accounted for 70% of all births in San Joachim General Hospital in Stockton, California.
US taxpayers spent an estimated $7.4 Billion in 2003 to educate illegal immigrants. 34% of students in the Los Angeles school system are illegals or children of illegals. Two thirds of Illegal Immigrants adults DO NOT have a high school degree or equivalent. The illiteracy rate for Illegal Immigrants is 2.5 times higher than that of US Citizens.
 Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are illegal aliens from Mexico. 29% or a whopping 630,000 convicted illegal alien felons fill our state and federal prisons at a cost of $1.6 billion annually; not to mention the tragedies in death, drugs, crime and misery they have caused American families.
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 ILLEGALS COST CALIFORNIA BILLIONS (DATED REPORT)
By Jerry Seper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES Published December 7, 2004 (true figures much bleaker)
Illegal immigration costs the taxpayers of California -- which has the highest number of illegal aliens nationwide -- $10.5 billion a year for education, health care and incarceration, according to a study released yesterday. A key finding of the report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) said the state's already struggling kindergarten-through-12th-grade education system spends $7.7 billion a year on children of illegal aliens, who constitute 15 percent of the student body. The report also said the incarceration of convicted illegal aliens in state prisons and jails and uncompensated medical outlays for health care provided to illegal aliens each amounted to about $1.4 billion annually. The incarceration costs did not include judicial expenditures or the monetary costs of the crimes committed by illegal aliens that led to their incarceration. "California's addiction to 'cheap' illegal-alien labor is bankrupting the state and posing enormous burdens on the state's shrinking middle-class tax base," said FAIR President Dan Stein. "Most Californians, who have seen their taxes increase while public services deteriorate, already know the impact that mass illegal immigration is having on their communities, but even they may be shocked when they learn just how much of a drain illegal immigration has become," he said. California is estimated to be home to nearly 3 million illegal aliens. Mr. Stein noted that state and local taxes paid by the unauthorized immigrant population go toward offsetting these costs, but do not match expenses. The total of such payments was estimated in the report to be about $1.6 billion per year. He also said the total cost of illegal immigration to the state's taxpayers would be considerably higher if other cost areas, such as special English instruction, school meal programs or welfare benefits for American workers displaced by illegal-alien workers were added into the equation. Gerardo Gonzalez, director of the National Latino Research Center at California State at San Marcos, which compiles data on Hispanics, was critical of FAIR's report yesterday. He said FAIR's estimates did not measure some of the contributions that illegal aliens make to the state's economy. "Beyond taxes, these workers' production and spending contribute to California's economy, especially the agricultural sector," he said, adding that both legal and illegal aliens are the "backbone" of the state's $28 billion-a-year agricultural industry. In August, a similar study by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, said U.S. households headed by illegal aliens used $26.3 billion in government services during 2002, but paid $16 billion in taxes, an annual cost to taxpayers of $10 billion. The FAIR report focused on three specific program areas because those were the costs examined by researchers from the Urban Institute in 1994, Mr. Stein said. Looking at the costs of education, health care and incarceration for illegal aliens in 1994, the Urban Institute estimated that California was subsidizing illegal immigrants at about $1.1 billion a year. Mr. Stein said an enormous rise in the costs of illegal immigrants in 10 years is because of the rapid growth of the illegal population. He said it is reasonable to expect those costs to continue to soar if action is not taken to turn the tide. "1994 was the same year that California voters rebelled and overwhelmingly passed Proposition 187, which sought to limit liability for mass illegal immigration," he said. "Since then, state and local governments have blatantly ignored the wishes of the voters and continued to shell out publicly financed benefits on illegal aliens. "Predictably, the costs of illegal immigration have grown geometrically, while the state has spiraled into a fiscal crisis that has brought it near bankruptcy," he said. Mr. Stein said that the state must adopt measures to systematically collect information on illegal-alien use of taxpayer-funded services and on where they are employed, and that policies need to be pursued to hold employers financially accountable.
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The NEW privileged class, ILLEGALS
This is why you work From Jan - May paying taxes to the government ....with the rest of the calendar year is money for you and your family

If they do not have privileges over the rest of the population I will eat my shit..............

Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for
$5.00 or 6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no
income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, with his fake Social Security number,
he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200..... free.

He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent.

He qualifies for food stamps..

He qualifies for free (no deductible, no
co-pay) health care.

His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school.

He requires bilingual teachers and books.

He qualifies for relief from high energy bills..

If they are or become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI.
Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare. All of this is at (our) taxpayer's expense .

He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance.

Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material.

He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.

Working Americans
are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after Paying their bills and his.

The American taxpayers also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.

Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT! Wake up people!

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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR


from the May 28, 2009 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0528/p09s01-coop.html
What will America stand for in 2050?
The US should think long and hard about the high number of Latino immigrants.
By Lawrence Harrison

Palo Alto, Calif.
President Obama has encouraged Americans to start laying a new foundation for the country – on a number of fronts. He has stressed that we'll need to have the courage to make some hard choices. One of those hard choices is how to handle immigration. The US must get serious about the tide of legal and illegal immigrants, above all from Latin America.
It's not just a short-run issue of immigrants competing with citizens for jobs as unemployment approaches 10 percent or the number of uninsured straining the quality of healthcare. Heavy immigration from Latin America threatens our cohesiveness as a nation.
The political realities of the rapidly growing Latino population are such that Mr. Obama may be the last president who can avert the permanent, vast underclass implied by the current Census Bureau projection for 2050.
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AMERICA vs MEXICO: CLASHING CIVILIZATIONS
By Frosty Wooldridge
Anyone understand why Mexicans fail at a successful civilization? Ever wonder why millions of them invade the United States in search of a better life? Have you noticed that once they arrive, they create the same kind of ‘society’ in the United States ? Unconsciously, they create the same conditions they left behind. You can take the boy out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the boy. For example, in Denver in December, illegal alien Navi dragged his girlfriend to death behind his car. Illegal alien Cruz shot his girlfriend dead in the back because she wouldn’t reconcile with him. Illegal alien Ruizz ran over and killed Justin Goodman, but Ruizz drove away from the scene leaving Goodman to die. In Greeley , Colorado they suffered 270 hit and run accidents in one year. Over 80 percent of hit and run wrecks in Denver involve illegal aliens. Denver boasts the drug smuggling capital of the West as well as the people smuggling mecca of the country. Illegals cheat, distribute drugs, lie, forge documents, steal and kill as if it’s a normal way of life. For them, it is. Mexico ’s civilization stands diametrically opposed to America ’s culture. Both countries manifest different ways of thinking and operating. With George Bush’s push to create the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America” by dissolving our borders with Mexico , he places all Americans at risk. Would you become friends with neighbors who throw their trash on city streets and parks, create ghettoes wherever they enclave their numbers, promote corruption, deal in violence, encourage drug use, manifest poverty, endorse sexism and downgrade education? America ’s culture and Mexico ’s culture remain diametrically opposed to one another. America ’s fought Mexico and won. Today, Mexico invades America with sheer numbers of poor. However, cultures rarely change and neither do their people. As you can see from the ten points below, everything about Mexico degrades everything about America . For further information, you may visit www.immigrationshumancost.org and www.limitstogrowth.org where you will find a plethora of information by a brilliant journalist Brenda Walker. Her original report may be viewed on www.Vdare.com on January 17, 2007 under the title: “Ten Reasons Why America Should Not Marry Mexico .” I suggest you read more of her work. She exemplifies incisive, sobering and shocking information. These ten point stem directly from Brenda Walker’s work. Let’s examine why America must not entangle itself by merging with Mexico . The legal age of sexual consent in Mexico is 12 years old. Sex with children at this age and younger is socially acceptable in Mexico . For example: A Mexican Lopez-Mendez pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a 10 year old girl in West Virginia . His excuse: sex with young girls was common with his people. He said, “I was unaware that it was a crime.” Mexicans remain the most sexist males next to Islamic men. Both boast the most misogynous cultures in the world. Rape and other violence toward women are not treated as serious crimes. In Mexico , a custom known as “rapto” whereby men kidnap women for sex is regarded as harmless amusement. Mexican society regards women little more than objects. Crime and violence remain mainstays of Mexican culture. Drug cartels and the Mexican army coordinate their massive efforts to promote drug distribution not only in Mexico but into the USA . Mexico City suffers the second highest crime rate in Latin America . Kidnapping remains second only to Columbia for ransom money. Beheadings, killings and gun fire erupt at drug distribution points on the US/Mexican border. Spontaneous hanging continues in Mexico . A mob beat up and burned to death two policemen on live television in 2004 in Mexico City . As Brenda Walker wrote, “Mexicans do not have the same belief as Americans that the law is central to the equitable functioning of a complex nation. It’s the Third World .” Mexicans abhor education. In their country, illiteracy dominates. As they arrive in our country, only 9.6 percent of fourth generation Mexicans earn a high school diploma. Mexico does not promote educational values. This makes them the least educated of any Americans or immigrants. The rate of illiteracy in Mexico stands at 63 percent. Drunk driving remains acceptable in Mexico . As it stands, 44,000 Americans die on our nation’s highways annually. Half that number stems from drunken drivers. U.S. Congressman Steve King reports that 13 American suffer death from drunken driving Mexicans each day. Alcoholism runs rampant in Mexican culture. They suffer the most DUI arrests. Mexicans set the benchmark for animal cruelty. Mexicans love dog fighting, bullfighting, cock fighting and horse tripping. Those blood sports play in every arena and backyard in Mexico . They expand into America as more Mexicans arrive. They also engage in “steer-tailing” where the rider yanks the animal’s tail in an attempt to flip it to the ground. In horse tripping, they run the animals at full gallop around a ring, then, use ropes to trip them at full speed. It’s a death sentence as the horses break their legs, teeth, shoulders and necks—all to the delight of the cheering Mexican fans. As La Raza confirms, Mexicans maintain the most racist society in North America . “For the Hispanic race, everything; for anyone outside the race, nothing!” Guadalupe Loaeza, a journalist, said, “Mexican society is fundamentally racist and classist. The color of your skin is a key that either opens or shuts doors. The lighter your skin, the more doors open to you.” Corruption becomes a mechanism by which Mexico operates. Corruption remains systemic. The Washington Post wrote, “ Mexico is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the hemisphere.” They feature drug cartels, sex slave trade, people smuggling, car theft cartels, real estate scam cartels, murder for money and, you must bribe your mail man to get your mail. Last, but not least, Mexicans are Marxists. They promote a one party government. As with any kind of Marxism, brutal totalitarian rule keeps the rich in power and everyone else subservient. As we allow millions of Mexicans to colonize our country, we can’t help but be caught up in these ten deadly cultural traits of Mexicans. With over 12 million Mexicans here today, the predictions grow to as many as 20 even 40 million Mexicans in a few decades as they come here for a better life. The fact remains, as they come to America for a better life, they make our lives a living hell.