Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 6, 2009



Robert Kuttner, American Prospect -
The Obama stimulus package is spending $787 billion over two years, about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. The economy is now shrinking at the rate of at least 6 percent per year. In the Great Depression, despite FDR's large public-works programs, the unemployment rate never dropped below 14 percent until we mobilized for war. During World War II, government spending finally expanded to a scale adequate to end the Depression, and unemployment melted away. It should not take a war to realize that we have vast unmet public needs that can rendezvous with adequate public outlay.

Peninsula, Qatar
- Iran and Venezuela opened a joint to develop economic projects, Iranian state television reported. The Tehran-based Iran-Venezuela bank, which was inaugurated by visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has an initial capital of $200m with each country providing half. . . Chavez, who arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for an official visit, accused the United States and Britain of being "the most guilty" for the international economic crisis because of the financial model they had imposed. "The values of capitalism are in crisis and capitalism has to end," the television quoted Chavez as saying at the inauguration ceremony. "We must take a transitional path to a new model that we call socialism."


Politico -
Thomas E. Donilon, Obama's deputy national security adviser, was paid $3.9 million by the power law firm O'Melveny & Myers to represent clients including two firms that received federal bailout funds: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.


LA Times
- Red dots on the map above supplied by the FBI mark the locations of hundreds of bodies and human remains discovered along highways over the past three decades. The growing database includes more than 500 female victims, most of whom were killed and their bodies dumped at truck stops, motels and other spots along popular trucking routes crisscrossing the U.S. The FBI suspects that serial killers working as long-haul truckers are responsible for the slayings of hundreds of prostitutes, hitchhikers and stranded motorists whose bodies have been dumped near highways over the last three decades. Federal authorities first made the connection about five years ago while helping police link a trucker to a string of unsolved killings along Interstate 40 in Oklahoma and several other states. After that, the FBI launched the Highway Serial Killings Initiative to track suspicious slayings and suspect truckers.

Robert Verkaik, Independent
- The mobile calls, emails and website visits of every person in Britain will be stored for a year under sweeping new powers. Privacy campaigners warned last night that the information would be used by the government to create a giant "Big Brother" super-database containing a map of everyone's private life. The new powers will, for the first time, place a legal duty on internet companies to store private information, including email traffic and website browsing histories. Although the new retention powers will not permit the storage of the content of emails or phone calls it will show details such as IP addresses, date, time and user telephone numbers. Under the terms of the EU directive, the Home Office has written to leading internet service providers and phone companies offering to compensate them for the costs incurred in retaining the data for a year. Phil Booth of the civil rights campaign group, NOID, said: "Inch by inch, the Government's plans to map and monitor everyone's communications are creeping into place. Today it's retention of data, soon it'll be a giant database to suck it all up. And unless we speak out and stop this, what used to be private - details of your relationships and personal interests - will end up in the ever-widening control of the stalker state."

Torrent Freak - Radiohead, the band that made millions of dollars by giving away their music for free, has very little to complain about when it comes to piracy. On the contrary, in a landmark file-sharing case, Radiohead has responded positively to a request to testify against the RIAA. Last month, Radiohead expressed its growing discomfort with record labels that abuse copyrights for their own benefit. In an attempt to take a stand against the labels, the band and several other well known artists formed the Featured Artists Coalition, a lobby group that aims to end the extortion-like practices of record labels and allow artists to gain more control over their own work. In addition, the artists are unhappy with the fact that the labels, represented by lobby groups such as the RIAA and IFPI, are pushing for anti-piracy legislation without consulting the artists they claim to represent. Fans are unnecessarily portrayed as criminals according to some. Now, in the case of Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum versus the RIAA, Radiohead has indicated that they will testify against the RIAA.


Don Perl
- The most notable incident occurred toward the end of the presentation when a teacher from his seat in the front row posed this question: "These young teachers are going to be told to follow orders. Administrators are going to say, 'You do as you're told.' Then there are no questions asked. They must simply follow orders." I took a moment to swallow my wrath, and then said, "We have a code of ethics as professionals, and if an administrator asks us to do something to violate our code of ethics we can simply request that he/she sign this simple statement that acknowledges that the teacher is being told to violate a professional code of ethics which accentuates the importance of the individual child in the educational process." The questioner, with more than thirty years experience in the field, put his head down and mumbled, "I never thought of that." Let us shout it out that high stakes standardized testing violates our professional code of ethics. . . . and let us be sure to add the importance of young teachers organizing to speak as one voice on issues of ethics. None of these young professionals should have to be alone.


Age, Australia
- Israel's new foreign minister has rejected a key accord on the establishment of a separate Palestinian state, igniting an international row on his first day in the job. . . Avigdor Lieberman said the incoming coalition government would drop a 2007 declaration adopted by the previous government. "It has no validity," Mr Lieberman said. "The Israeli government never ratified Annapolis (the US city where the declaration was adopted), nor did parliament." He promised to honor only the US-initiated "road map" of 2002, which is in stalemate amid accusations from both sides. "Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong," Mr Lieberman said. "It is the other way around; it will lead to more wars." Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister, committed Israel to pursue "the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine" within a fixed timetable at the Annapolis conference convened by then US president George Bush. Its deadline expired at the end of last year, while Israel was waging its offensive in the Gaza Strip.


Gary Brecher, eXiled Online
- The Chinese military has developed a ballistic missile, Dong Feng 21, specifically designed to kill U.S. aircraft carriers: "Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at Mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2,000 kilometers in less than 12 minutes." That's the U.S. Naval Institute talking. . .


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Anonymous F(ucking) B(lockheaded) I(diots) said...

Re: If the political police we farcically refer to as the FBI were to expend some energy on solving crimes instead of torturing Wall Street's and Israel's potential rivals (see,e.g. Wobblies and E.E. Cummings prosecutions under the Espionage Act ( Advising young men to reject the draft) or torturing Sami Al -Arian (http://www.freesamialarian.com/) or if there were some way for poor women to support themselves other than prostitution or if there were mental health treatment available in the US, there might not be a trail of dead bodies across the US.

April 6, 2009 10:15 PM  
Anonymous social welfare entitlement programs are not the problem said...

Remember when Bill Clinton facilitated the sale of super computers to a co. known to be a front for the Peoples' Army? Guess what those computers were capable of? Missle targeting. Oh well, as long as Bill makes a buck. Now Obama can make a buck by helping his cronies loot the Treasury.

April 7, 2009 9:33 PM  
Anonymous bag full of money said...

At least Jesse and Frank didn't hide behind God and the Flag and use other people's unwitting sons to do their robbing and killing.

April 7, 2009 9:38 PM  

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