Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:
The majority of US states begin their new fiscal year July 1, with budgets that impose crippling reductions in public services, particularly health care and education, and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs. These state budget cuts are the spearhead of an offensive by the US financial aristocracy, which seeks to drive down working class living standards and create conditions of mass social distress.
In their budgets for the 2012 fiscal year, the governors of the 50 states—29 Republicans and 21 Democrats—proposed not only to spend less than in 2011, despite the increasing need for public social services due to the ongoing economic slump. They actually demanded that spending be reduced to below the level of 2008, a regression of at least four years.
Since the financial crisis exploded in September 2008, state and local governments in the United States have cut 535,000 jobs, more than half of them in education. The deliberate demolition of public social services is one of the largest single contributors to the ongoing jobs crisis in America.Are you noticing it in your state yet?
Maybe not depending on your city or town.
But I'm sure you're noting some stuff. Libary hours cut, maybe. Or city swimming pool hour cuts. At a time when so many Americans are out of work, what are they supposed to do? Spend 20 bucks each day seeing a movie?
Libraries especially need to be open full time. People look for jobs there, type up resumes there, relax and check out a book for fun or read a book to learn a skill that they hope will make them marketable.
Okay, this is from CCR and after that we do IDIOT OF THE WEEK. CCR:
Criminal Accountability Pursued Abroad
July 1, 2011, New York – Yesterday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it will drop 99 out of 101 C.I.A. detainee torture cases that had been under preliminary review by Federal Prosecutor John Durham. While the deaths of only two detainees will lead to criminal investigations, the U.S. probe into the CIA’s interrogation, rendition and detention of detainees “is not warranted”, according to Attorney General Eric Holder. Attorney General Holder claimed that the Department of Justice has now “thoroughly examined the detainee treatment issue.” The Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
“The Department of Justice’s announcement that it is closing investigations into nearly all the cases of CIA torture and abuse that were under review confirms that the United States is committed to absolving itself of any responsibility for its crimes over the past decade. And while it comes as no surprise by now, it is yet another instance where the Obama administration has given precedence to politics over principle and its domestic and international legal obligations, even for torture.
The Justice Department’s decision to open criminal investigations into the deaths of only two detainees does not suffice to demonstrate the United States’ willingness to hold American torturers accountable. Criminal as these deaths were, selecting two high-profile cases that received major media attention, while closing the book on all other cases, does not amount to justice, but rather to a public show.
In fact, the United States has actively and successfully blocked all forms of redress in U.S. courts for hundreds of victims of the U.S. torture program. To date, no victim of post-9/11 policies has been allowed his day in court. This past Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Abu Ghraib torture survivors brought against private military contractors for their role in torture, upon the recommendation of the U.S. Acting Solicitor General. Canadian rendition victim Maher Arar was similarly denied the chance to have his claims of torture reviewed on the merits in a U.S. court. The United States is also actively fighting a civil lawsuit filed by relatives of the men who died in Guantánamo in 2006, where new evidence suggests an official cover-up of the cause and circumstances of the deaths.
The investigation led by Mr. Durham was already unacceptably narrow in scope. The investigation was limited to reviewing the conduct of low-level CIA agents who acted within the scope of the “torture memos” and other Office of Legal Counsel memoranda of the Bush administration, and explicitly excluded the chief architects of the torture program and other senior officials. The motto of American Chief Prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, Justice Robert Jackson: “We do not accept the paradox that legal responsibility should be the least where power is the greatest” clearly no longer holds within the Obama Department of Justice.
CIA Director and future Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta declared, “we are now finally about to close this chapter of our agency’s history.” If this is the case, then we can equally affirm that this marks an end to the U.S.’s claim that no other country may exercise jurisdiction over crimes of torture perpetrated by Americans. Where justice is denied in the Unites States, universal jurisdiction and the Convention Against Torture allow prosecutions in other nations. CCR is currently actively engaged in a case opened last April in Madrid, Spain on behalf of several former Guantánamo plaintiffs, investigating the U.S.’s “authorized and systematic plan of torture.” Try as it might, the United States will have a harder time making its case outside of this country. Impunity does not always cross borders."
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
Idiot of the week: Barack.
Sorry, he won hands down. Did you see that Wednesday press conference? People think, he says, that all he does is golf. Well, isn't it?
He claimed he is a leader.
It was one laughable line after another.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"