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National disaster: Millions of children prescribed antipsychotic drugs they don’t need

RT | August 8, 2012

Are doctors going crazy? US psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic drugs to children in one third of all visits, which is a rate almost three times higher than during the 1990’s.

Roughly 90 percent of antipsychotic prescriptions written between 2005 and 2009 were prescribed for something other than what the US Food and Drug Administration approves them for.

Researchers say the increase in antipsychotic drug prescription is largely to treat disruptive behaviors, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – even though those disorders are not treatable by antipsychotics.

Medications such as Abilify and Risperdal, which are used primarily to treat patients with schizophrenia, are increasingly being prescribed “off label” to control youngsters with ADHD who have problems controlling their behavior.

“Only a small proportion of antipsychotic treatment of children (6 percent) and adolescents (13 percent) is for FDA-approved clinical indications,” said Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, in an interview with Reuters.

Children with ADHD are most often taking drugs approved for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability with autism.

“People from all walks of life are taking medications for mental-health conditions,” psychiatrist David Muzina told the Wall Street Journal.

In 2010, Americans spent $16.1 billion on antipsychotic drugs meant to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression.

But whether they are effective or not, the drugs have been known to cause other health problems, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, muscular tics and weight gain. A University of Massachusetts study found that kids taking antipsychotics were four times more likely to develop diabetes.

Between 1993 and 2008, 31 children died from taking Risperdal and more than 1,200 suffered serious health problems.

“We have a national catastrophe,” Dr. Peter Breggin told US News & World Report. “This is a situation where we have ruined the brains of millions of children.”

But in many cases, antipsychotic drug prescriptions are not even necessary to treat behavioral disorders. There are psychosocial interventions, such as parent management training, that are able to reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors in kids, Olfson said.

Instead of taking the time and money to gradually reduce their children’s behavioral problems, parents are opting for antipsychotic medications for an instant fix.

Drugged from a young age onward, many American children will grow up dependent on serious antipsychotic drugs they had no need for.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Iran Conference: Setting the Stage for Dialogue in Syria

By Elie Chalhoub | Al Akhbar | August 9, 2012

A “Consultative Meeting on Syria” in Tehran aims to promote a Syrian political solution and establish a counterweight to the self-styled “Friends of Syria.”

Iran’s position on Syria is unchanged: the crisis can only have a Syrian solution, based on dialogue between the warring parties. It aims to persuade as many countries as possible to support that option, and establish an alternative to the coalition of states complicit in the bloodletting in Syria.

Iran is looking ahead to the aftermath of what it expects to be the Syrian regime’s “victory” in Aleppo. Once that is achieved, Tehran believes, the powers backing the rival sides in Syria will have no alternative but to negotiate.

Turkey’s position is crucial in this regard, as it would clearly have a major impact if it opted to intervene directly in the battle for Aleppo. This in turn explains the sudden and sharp deterioration in relations between Ankara and Tehran, with the latter threatening to freeze trade with the former.

The Iranians have been preparing for today’s “Consultative Meeting on Syria,” hosted by the Foreign Ministry, for around two weeks, according to Iranian sources. Their contacts focused on states that are “not directly complicit” in the Syrian crisis, in addition to Turkey, which was also invited.

The sources said outgoing UN/Arab League envoy Kofi Annan was invited too, in the hope that he could be persuaded not to abandon his mission, but decided, apparently under pressure from various parties, not to attend.

On the eve of the conference, 20 countries were due to send delegates to the gathering, including Russia, China, Turkey, Pakistan and India, and seven Arab states (Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Kuwait, the UAE, and Oman). Eight countries were to be represented by their foreign ministers, the others at a less senior level.

Lebanon decided not to take part in line with its policy of non-involvement in Syrian affairs. Iraq was to send high-level delegates other than Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who “represents the American face of the Iraqi regime,” according to the sources. But Iraqi diplomatic efforts led to an agreement that would have Zebari attend along with the minister of national security. The sources added that many of the countries invited had – like Annan, who initially agreed to attend – come under heavy pressure to stay away, or at least to lower the level of their representation.

The Iranian sources said the principal objective of the conference is to “bring the Syrian opposition and regime together around the negotiating table, with the aim of arriving at a Syrian solution to the crisis in Syria.”

They said Iran had obtained undertakings from “a fair number” of Syrian opposition groups to support such talks, as well as the endorsement of President Bashar al-Assad, who conferred in Damascus earlier this week with the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, Saeed Jalili.

“We want this conference to be a counter to the Enemies of Syria (Friends of Syria) group, which has been promoting militarization, violence and sectarianism,” they said. “The hope is to persuade the maximum number of states to encourage and take part in an intra-Syrian solution.”

The thinking in Tehran is that the Syrian regime is bound to prevail in the battle of Aleppo, and that “after that, the time will come for negotiations between the forces that wanted to destroy the Syrian state and bring down the regime, and the states that want to make a political solution succeed and find a Syrian way out of the crisis.” Thursday’s conference is part of a process of “preparing the ground for such negotiations.” […]

It is significant that close US allies and supporters of the Syrian rebels – Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE and Tunisia – were to attend the Tehran conference. “That is the strongest evidence of the opposition front cracking, and of its willingness to enter into a dialogue once the dust has settled on the Battle of Aleppo,” they said. However, it seems that diplomatic pressure succeeded in the end in keeping Kuwait and UAE from participating. … Full article

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US: NRC HALTS NUCLEAR REACTOR LICENSING DECISIONS

Decision Follows 24 Groups’ June Petition in Wake of Major Waste Confidence Rule Decision; Most Reactor Projects Already Stymied by Bad Economics and Cheaper Fuel Alternatives

SACE – August 7, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) acted today to put a hold on at least 19 final reactor licensing decisions – nine construction & operating licenses (COLS), eight license renewals, one operating license, and one early site permit – in response to the landmark Waste Confidence Rule decision of June 8th by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The NRC action was sought in a June 18, 2012 petition filed by 24 groups urging the NRC to respond to the court ruling by freezing final licensing decisions until it has completed a rulemaking action on the environmental impacts of highly radioactive nuclear waste in the form of spent, or ‘used’, reactor fuel storage and disposal.

In hailing the NRC action, the groups also noted that most of the U.S. reactor projects were already essentially sidetracked by the huge problems facing the nuclear industry, including an inability to control runaway costs, and the availability of far less expensive energy alternatives.

Diane Curran, an attorney representing some of the groups in the Court of Appeals case, said:

“This Commission decision halts all final licensing decisions — but not the licensing proceedings themselves — until NRC completes a thorough study of the environmental impacts of storing and disposing of spent nuclear fuel.  That study should have been done years ago, but NRC just kept kicking the can down the road.  When the Federal Appeals Court ordered NRC to stop and consider the impacts of generating spent nuclear fuel for which it has found no safe means of disposal, the agency could choose to appeal the decision by August 22nd or choose to do the serious work of analyzing the environmental impacts over the next few years.  With today’s Commission decision, we are hopeful that the agency will undertake the serious work.”   

Stephen Smith, executive director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, petitioner to the Court, said:

“We’re pleased with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ruling; it is long overdue. Nuclear power is not a clean generating source when it creates long-lived radioactive and toxic waste that has no long-term safe disposal technology in place. We believe it is appropriate to halt nuclear licensing decisions and stop creating an inter-generational debt of nuclear waste that will burden our children and grandchildren for centuries to come.”

Lou Zeller, executive director of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, another petitioner to the Court, said:

“It appears that the Commissioners have, at least initially, grasped the magnitude of the Court’s ruling and we are optimistic that it will set up a fundamentally transparent, fair process under the National Environmental Policy Act to examine the serious environmental impacts of spent nuclear fuel storage and disposal prior to licensing or relicensing nuclear reactors.”

Former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford said:

“It is important to recognize that the reactors awaiting construction licenses weren’t going to be built anytime soon even without the Court decision or today’s NRC action. Falling demand, cheaper alternatives and runaway nuclear costs had doomed their near term prospects well before the recent Court decision. Important though the Court decision is in modifying the NRC’s historic push-the-power-plants-but-postpone-the-problems approach to generic safety and environmental issues, it cannot be blamed for ongoing descent into fiasco of the bubble once known as ‘the nuclear renaissance’.”

In June, the following groups filed the petition with the NRC:

•    Beyond Nuclear, Inc. (intervenor in Fermi COL proceeding, Calvert Cliffs COL proceeding, and Davis-Besse license renewal proceeding; potential intervenor in Grand Gulf COL and Grand Gulf license renewal proceedings);

•    Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Inc. and chapters (“BREDL”) (intervenor in Bellefonte COL proceeding and North Anna COL proceeding; previously sought intervention in W.S. Lee COL proceeding);

•    Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, Inc. (former intervenor in Turkey Point COL proceeding);

•    Citizens Environmental Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Inc.  (intervenor in Fermi COL proceeding and Davis-Besse license renewal proceeding);

•    Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (intervenor in Fermi COL proceeding);

•    Don’t Waste Michigan, Inc. (intervenor in Fermi COL proceeding and Davis-Besse license renewal proceeding);

•    Ecology Party of Florida (intervenor in Levy COL proceeding);

•    Eric Epstein (potential intervenor in Bell Bend COL proceeding);

•    Friends of the Earth, Inc. (potential intervenor in reactor licensing proceedings throughout U.S.);

•    Friends of the Coast, Inc. (intervenor in Seabrook license renewal proceeding);

•    Green Party of Ohio  (intervenor in Davis-Besse license renewal proceeding);

•    Dan Kipnis  (intervenor in Turkey Point proceeding);

•    National Parks Conservation Association, Inc.  (intervenor in Turkey Point COL proceeding);

•    Mark Oncavage  (intervenor in Turkey Point COL proceeding);

•    Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Inc.  (Petitioner in Callaway license renewal proceeding; intervenor in suspended Callaway COL proceeding)

•    New England Coalition, Inc. (intervenor in Seabrook license renewal proceeding);

•    North Carolina Waste Reduction and Awareness Network, Inc.  (admitted as an Intervenor in now-closed Shearon Harris COL proceeding);

•    Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Inc.  (intervenor in Calvert Cliffs COL proceeding and Levy COL proceeding);

•    Public Citizen, Inc.  (intervenor in South Texas COL proceeding; admitted as intervenor in now-closed Comanche Peak COL proceeding; potential intervenor in South Texas license renewal proceeding);

•    San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Inc.  (intervenor in Diablo Canyon license renewal proceeding);

•    Sierra Club, Inc. (Michigan Chapter)  (intervenor in Fermi COL proceeding);

•    Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Inc.  (intervenor in Watts Bar Unit 2 OL proceeding, Turkey Point COL proceeding, Bellefonte COL proceeding; former intervenor in Bellefonte CP proceeding);

•    Southern Maryland CARES, Inc.  (Citizens Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions) (intervenor in Calvert Cliffs COL proceeding);

•    Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (“SEED”) Coalition, Inc.  (intervenor in South Texas COL proceeding; admitted as intervenor in now-closed Comanche Peak COL proceeding; potential intervenor in South Texas license renewal proceeding).

The 24 groups that sponsored the June 18th petition will strategize in September regarding next steps.

On June 8th, the Court threw out the NRC rule that permitted licensing and re-licensing of nuclear reactors based on the supposition that (a) the NRC will find a way to dispose of spent reactor fuel to be generated by reactors at some time in the future when it becomes “necessary” and (b) in the mean time, spent fuel can be stored safely at reactor sites.

The Court noted that, after decades of failure to site a repository, including twenty years of working on the now-abandoned Yucca Mountain repository, the NRC “has no long-term plan other than hoping for a geologic repository.”  Therefore it is possible that spent fuel will be stored at reactor sites “on a permanent basis.”  Under the circumstances, the NRC must examine the environmental consequences of failing to establish a repository when one is needed.

The Court also rejected NRC’s decision minimizing the risks of leaks or fires from spent fuel stored in reactor pools during future storage, because the NRC had not demonstrated that these future impacts would be insignificant.  The Court found that past experience with pool leaks was not an adequate predictor of future experience.  It also concluded that the NRC had not shown that catastrophic fires in spent fuel pools were so unlikely that their risks could be ignored.

Contact
Alex Frank, (703) 276-3264 or afrank@hastingsgroup.com

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Nuclear Power | , , , | Leave a comment

Orwellian Ramifications Begin to Unfold in Syria

By Ismail Salami | Dissident Voice | August 9th, 2012

There is a horrible speculation that the insurgents in Syria may have seized hold of chemical weapons.

Apart from the catastrophically unthinkable havoc the rebels can wreak in Syria and in the region with the WMDs, the rhetorical question which remains is how these weapons of mass destruction have fallen into the hands of the insurgents who are chiefly composed of Wahhabi al-Qaeda mercenaries of different nationalities including Afghans, Iraqis, Turkish, Yemenis, Jordanians, Pakistanis, and Saudis.

The situation in Syria is assuming Orwellian ramifications and the possibility to clearly understand or dissect the situation in the country is not an easy task.

In addition to the active role the Saudi-backed Wahhabis, CIA and some western intelligence organizations are playing in Syria, there is one entity, namely Israel which is stealthily espying every single development in Syria.

For the first time, an Israeli spy official clearly stated that Israel supports regime change in Syria and that it really demands an end to the government of President Bashar Assad.

“I hope it will happen, even though I don’t know when or how,” Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor said on Tuesday.

The top spy chief implicated why Assad should go and how it would damage the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“I am not going to try to calculate when Assad’s end will come, but when it happens, Iran’s biggest ally will be gone.”

Taking it for granted that Assad is doomed to go, he said, “I hope the new Syria will understand that joining Iran is a mistake that brings isolation from the Western world.”

Such a feeble perception of the Syrian situation is indicative of one who is either too optimistic or one who is well aware of what is going on behind the scene and that which is not visible to the ordinary people with no intelligence savvy.

Furthermore, Dan Meridor does not seem to understand that the situation in Israel is spiraling out of control with people protesting against social injustice almost on a daily basis. Since last month, four Israelis have set themselves ablaze from an extremity of despair.

On August 5, John McCain and Lindsey O. Graham, both Republicans, who represent Arizona and South Carolina in the Senate, respectively and Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent, who represents Connecticut in the Senate advised the US government to directly and openly provide assistance, including weapons, intelligence and training, to the insurgents in Syria as they claim President’s Assad’s ‘brutality’ is no longer to be tolerated.

“It is not too late for the United States to shift course. First, we can and should directly and openly provide robust assistance to the armed opposition, including weapons, intelligence and training. Whatever the risks of our doing so, they are far outweighed by the risks of continuing to sit on our hands, hoping for the best.”

Another part of this sabotage axis against Syria is Turkey which plays a very treacherous role in snowballing the Syrian crisis. Turkey has supplied the rebels with dozens of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).

According to NBC, the missile supplies might have been provided by Turkey, Saudi Kingdom and Qatar monarchy, the three countries which have made strenuous and costly efforts to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad.

In a press conference at the United Nations in New York City, a Syrian UN representative announced that Turkey shipped US-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to rebels via Turkey, saying that Turkey was pleased with Kofi Annan’s resignation because Ankara and Washington were initially opposed to his six point peace plan.

In fact, Turkey should be grateful to Syria what it has done for it in the past. It is acknowledged by many pundits that it was Bashar’s father Hafiz Assad who made peace between Turkey and the Kurds living on both sides of the country, thereby vaccinating Turkey for years against any attacks on the part of the Kurds.

The antagonistic policies of Turkey have left President Bashar Assad with no choice but to grant autonomy to the Kurds in Syria who can foment dilemma for the Ankara government and get Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan into hot water.

The ongoing Kurdish insurgency has reportedly claimed the lives of at least 48,000 over the past two decades.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sharply aware of what a deep impact this decision can exercise on the security of Turkey.

He claimed the two groups had built a “structure in northern Syria” that for Turkey means “a structure of terror.”

Turkey is making a tactical mistake by supporting terrorism in Syria and supplying them with weapons, military training and human resources. Turkey will certainly fall into the pitfall it has dug for Syria and the insecurity it envisages for Syria will ultimately recoil against the government itself.

As for Washington and NATO, they are making a selfsame mistake.

The two are fondling terrorism and extremism by throwing support behind the insurgents in Syria. They know that a popular uprising in the true sense of the word is not clearly discernible in Syria and that what has been taking place in Syria is a string of militancy and terrorist operations funded by the Saudis and the Qataris and some western countries who are waiting to reap the benefits of their atrocities in case Bashar Assad’s government collapses. Such a day, if it comes, will open a new chapter of horror in the Middle East with no end in sight.

The unfurling reality is that the hostile states and powers antagonizing Bashar Assad are gradually getting caught up in the labyrinthine Orwellian pitfall of their own folly and that they are consciously or unconsciously working in the best interests of the Zionist regime.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Mayor to Demolish UN Humanitarian Agency Emergency Shelter

By Kelly Joiner | International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group & Agencies | August 09, 2012

Israeli Mayor of occupied Jerusalem, Nir Bakat, approved the demolition of two structures built by the United Nations (UN) as temporary emergency shelter for Palestinian families after Israel demolished their homes.

Israel strongly condemned the erection of the emergency shelters in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Israel accused the UN of overstepping its bounds and asserted that the trailer homes are illegal and should be demolished according to reports in the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post as well as the Palestine News Network.

Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territories defended the agencies actions as emergency humanitarian assistance provided when the Palestinian families turned to the UN agency for help.

Gaylard echoed the concerns of other human rights groups in the area and noted that Palestinians in East Jerusalem apply for housing permits but do not receive them. He added, “Where else could we put [the shelters]? We are helping the Palestinians on land that is theirs. Beit Hanina is occupied Palestinian territory.”

Other officials at the agency noted that they did not require a permit for building because in addition to being build on Palestinian land, they are only an emergency solution, are not connected to utilities, and do not have foundations.

An Israeli spokeswoman said in a statement, “Israel is not a banana republic, but a state of law and order. The UN can help to advance the residents’ quality of life in keeping with the law and we hope the construction violation at the site is not in accordance with the UN.”

The shelters have the UN agency’s logo on them along with the flags of the donor countries of Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands and Ireland. Israeli officials claimed that the flags were only there to embarrass Israel in these countries as it destroys their donations.

If Israel is embarrassed by people outside of its borders watching as they demolish emergency housing for families, perhaps they should reassess their decision to do so.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel evacuated military outpost near Rafah hours before Sinai attack

MEMO | August 8, 2012

Israel evacuated military outpost near Rafah hours before Sinai attackThe Israel Defence Forces knew about the attack which targeted an Egyptian army post on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and evacuated an outpost close to the area where the attack took place in advance of the incident. The IDF’s southern area commander was involved in taking the decision to evacuate army personnel.

According to reports on Hebrew Radio, intelligence warning about Sunday’s attack was received last Friday; this pushed the IDF to take a number of preventive measures a few hours before the bombings. The moves included ordering all Israeli tourists and nationals to leave Sinai and the evacuation of an Israeli military outpost near the attack site.

The radio reports claim that the IDF noticed a small Egyptian armoured vehicle about two kilometres from the border which started to weave its way around concrete barriers before it was fired upon by the Israeli soldiers. Nevertheless, the vehicle managed to make its way towards the Karam Abu Salem crossing point where heavy machine guns were used against it. It is alleged that the focus was on a small cart which apparently contained high explosives and exploded as soon as it was targeted by the Israelis.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , | 1 Comment

African ambassadors feel unsafe in Israel

MEMO | August 7, 2012

Ambassadors of African countries in Israel have expressed their concern over racial discrimination against African employees and migrants in Israel. According to Israeli media sources, Ghana’s ambassador complained to Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon that his wife is picked on when she goes shopping.

“If that is what happens to an ambassador’s wife, what are the rest of the Africans employed here supposed to do or say?” asked Henry Hanson-Hall. “Even I am afraid of being arrested or picked on.”

The ambassadors of six countries met with Ayalon to discuss the issue of discrimination against African migrants and employees: the senior diplomats for Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast attended the meeting in Jerusalem. All told the minister that they are afraid of walking down the street for fear of being insulted by Israelis.

Reports said that there is a consensus among all African diplomats that Israel has the right to remove African migrants but, at the same time, they emphasised that migrants have to receive good treatment. They also said that the ill-treatment of Africans harms Israel’s reputation in their home countries.

Mr Ayalon said that he appreciated the meeting with the African diplomats and that it is important for the Foreign Ministry to hear their views so that the problem can be solved together. He added that there has to be cooperation between Israeli and the African diplomats to facilitate the deportation of illegal migrants to their countries of origin in a “respectful and sensitive manner”.

There are no clear statistics for the number of African migrants in Israel. Unofficial reports say that the figure is 90,000 but Israeli government reports put it at 62,000. Around 25,000 live in southern Tel Aviv, by far the greatest concentration of migrants in Israel. The rest are scattered around the country with, for example, only 1,100 in Jerusalem. Asylum seekers from the Sudan and Eretria make up 85 per cent of all migrants. Reports suggest that many migrants have not been accepted as asylum seekers, but have renewable identification documents until they are deported.

According to international law, migrants from the Sudan, Eretria and Congo should not be deported because their countries are areas suffering from armed disputes.

Networks of human traffickers based in Egypt, Israel and Europe help migrants to get to Israel as they flee from a dire economic situation or instability in their countries.

The Israeli government is trying to resolve this issue under the pretext of “preserving the Jewish identity” of the state. Right-wing and religious parties say that if migrants are not stopped, today’s 60,000 will become 600,000 in a few years, in a total population of 7.8 million.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 1 Comment

US Leadership Increasingly Just Serves Big Corporate Donors

By Dave Lindorff | Press TV | August 9, 2012

The Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic Party and their backers, like the organization MoveOn, are bitterly decrying the flood of corporate money going to his opponent, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is out-fund-raising the president by an ever-increasing amount.

But there is a hollow sound to the president’s whining. Back in 2008, Obama, who had earlier said he opposed corporate funding and had promised to run his campaign using public funds only, in an agreement with his then opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain, broke that agreement and went on to accept what still remains at this point a record sum of corporate money.

By the time the 2008 election was held, Obama’s campaign had collected and spent a staggering $745 million. McCain, who had been a leader in the effort to limit corporate campaign spending, stuck with government funding and thus spent “only” $126 million on his losing general election campaign — the amount that Obama would have also been limited to had he not “opted out” of his earlier promise to use only government funds to run for the nation’s top office.

About 80% of Obama’s campaign cash came from large donors — either individuals or, in most cases, corporations. His second biggest donor, giving a total of $1,013,091, was Goldman Sachs, a company that later provided many of the leading economic and financial advisors to the Obama administration, and that, by late 2008, was already known to have been a key player in causing the 2008 financial crisis, and that also received enormous bailout funding from the government, both during the campaign, when Obama was running for office and President George W. Bush was still president, and then later, when Obama was president. The second biggest corporate contributor was software giant Microsoft, $852,167, a company which had serious anti-trust issues being pursued by the federal government. Third was Google, which gave $814,540, which had its own anti-trust and other issues, and fourth was JP Morgan & Chase, another mega-bank that both played a key role in causing the financial crisis, and which benefited mightily from the federal bailout. Both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have subsequently played key roles in lobbying to water down any kind of serious corrective regulation of the financial industry, to block efforts to break up the too-big-to-fail banks, and to have senior banking executives criminally or even civilly prosecuted for their roles in precipitating and profiting from the global economic crisis.

As Oklahoma Republican Congressman Tom Cole correctly wrote in an opinion article in US News and World Report back in April 2011, “Barack Obama’s candidacy wasn’t just the beginning of the end of public financing. His meteoric fundraising spree rendered the system instantly extinct.”

For the president and his backers to now cry foul because Romney, a corporate executive and member of the $100-plus millionaire club himself, is raking in even more money this election season than the Obama did when he chose to forgo public funding in his first campaign and roll over his opponent who took a principled stand and limited himself to federal financing is beyond hypocritical.$16 million

Granted, Romney benefits even further by the new US Supreme Court decision allowing corporations and private individuals to secretly contribute unlimited amounts to run negative campaigns against candidates, as long as they aren’t “coordinated” with any candidate’s campaign organization, because the overwhelming among of that corrupt money is flowing to Republicans, including Romney. That is simply another example of how corrupt the US political system has become.

It is little wonder that American citizens have essentially thrown up their hands in disgust, with many just walking away from the whole thing. Both candidates are at this point owned by corporate America. There may be shades of difference based upon which industries are supporting which candidates, but that is small consolation to the average person, whose interests are for the most part diametrically opposed by those of the rich and of the companies that are buying the candidates.

In 2008, even though it was well-known that Obama was soliciting and accepting huge contributions from Wall Street ($19 million), from the health care industry ($16 million), from real estate companies ($11 million), from the media industry ($16 million) and from the high-tech industry ($9 million), a huge number of voters believed his campaign theme of “hope and change.”

Not surprisingly, though, given all that corporate cash, which amounts to legal bribes, what they got was an industry-vetted, non-reform of the financial industry, a health care “reform” that leaves health care in the hands of the insurance industry, where it was already, continued concentration of the media industry into the hands of a few large media conglomerates, and growing control over and limits on the diversity and freedom of the internet.

Arguably, things will even get worse if, as looks increasingly likely, Romney wins election, even more beholden to corporate America.

The loser is the American public, which is being effectively shut out of government and politics by big money.

Unless something dramatic is done, this election could well be the swan song of American democracy.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment