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Index January 2010

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US to hold 50 Guantanamo prisoners indefinitely

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Published on WSWS, by Barry Grey, 23 January 2010.

The US Justice Department has determined that nearly 50 of the remaining 196 detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are to be held indefinitely, without charges or trial, according to a front-page article published Friday by the Washington Post.

The Post reports that the decision is the result of a case-by-case review of the remaining Guantanamo prisoners by a Justice Department-led task force set up by President Obama last year. The detainees have been held under barbaric conditions and subjected to torture, most of them languishing in the prison camp for eight years. The Post report cites unnamed administration officials, who spoke of the task force’s conclusions in advance of the public release of its report …   Continue Reading…

Just Walk Away From the Democrats

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Published on Dissident Voice, by Ron Jacobs, January 23, 2010.

The left needs to organize the unorganized. The working people, the unemployed, the young, and the restless. The right wing has their core group of supporters who organize around fear of the other. The liberals have those who believe in the myth of American equality because they have no class analysis. The Left needs to organize the rest and they need to do so without the Democratic Party. It should be quite clear to almost every left-leaning American by now that the Democrats are nothing more than another wing of the party that works for Wall Street and the Pentagon. To continue to work for and elect their candidates is self-defeating. As the first year of the Obama presidency has clearly shown, not only do the Democrats support the right wing agenda, that support makes it easier for the right wing to put their candidates into power. Why? Because after promising progressive reforms and then failing to deliver, voters tend to either not vote or vote for the right wing candidates out of anger and frustration.

This occurs because the current system provides no alternative. There is no progressive third party or grassroots movement to support such a party. There is not even a grassroots movement that vocalizes the desires of millions for a fair and just society where people’s needs come before Wall Street’s profits and the Pentagon’s wars that help protect and expand those profits. So, the Democrats step in as they have always done and pretend that they are the party that will address these desires. There was a time when such an argument was plausible. From FDR to LBJ, the Democrats were the party that passed many reforms making life better for America’s working people. They even passed bills outlawing racial segregation. Of course, this occurred because of immense pressure from the Left–pressure a hundred times greater than the pressure from America’s right that the Democrats claim has caused them to compromise on virtually every progressive piece of legislation during the current period. Yes, there was a time when that claim could have been made …

… I can’t be emphatic enough, there is no reasonable reason to waste a dollar or a moment of your time campaigning for the Democratic Party. Barack Obama’s campaign based on false hope and promises and the subsequent reneging on almost every promise of change should be enough to convince any left-leaning or progressive person in the United States who voted for Obama in 2008 that the time has come to end this relationship for good and forever. Like the cheating and lying spouse that keeps asking for one more chance after you find them in bed with your enemy once again, there comes a time to end the relationship. Not only have the occasional moments of bliss and the crumbs that say I care become fewer and fewer, they are no longer enough. The denial so many left-leaning Americans have lived with in their relationship with the Democrats is causing more harm then it is worth. Walk away, close the door behind you and begin the work required to build a real force for progressive change in the United States. (full text).
http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/01/just-walk-away-from-the-democrats/

(Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up
is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached by e-mail. Read other articles by Ron, or visit Ron’s website).

SPECIAL EDITION E-BLAST FROM JIM HIGHTOWER

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Published on The People’s Voice, by JIM HIGHTOWER, January 24, 2010.

Last September, I wrote The Hightower Lowdown about how the Roberts’ Court could throw out over 100 years of campaign finance law.

Remember their names: Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas.

Yesterday, from within the dark isolation of the Supreme Court, these five men pulled off a black-robed coup against the American people’s democratic authority. In an unprecedented perversion of judicial power, this court cabal has decreed that corporations have a free-speech “right” to dip into their corporate coffers and spend unlimited sums of money to elect or defeat candidates of their choosing.  Continue Reading…

Health: Salt reduction could save 92,000 lives a year

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Shaving three grams off the daily salt intake of Americans could prevent up to 66,000 strokes, 99,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths in the United States.

Published on Xinhuanet.com, english.news.cn, Source: China Daily/Agencies, 2010-01-22.

BEIJING, Jan. 22 – Shaving three grams off the daily salt intake of Americans could prevent up to 66,000 strokes, 99,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths in the United States, while saving 24 billion U.S. dollars in health costs per year, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The benefit to the U.S. population would be comparable to cutting smoking by 50 percent, significantly lowering obesity rates and giving cholesterol drugs to virtually everyone to prevent heart attacks, said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues.

Such a goal, they said, is readily attainable … //  Continue Reading…

Sovereign: Canadian Customs wants your Laptop, too …

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Published on The Sovereign Society, by Mark Nestmann, January 18, 2010.

U.S. customs authorities have assigned themselves the authority to copy all data on your laptop or other electronic device when you cross a U.S. border. I wrote about this policy last year.

Now, customs authorities in Canada (and other countries, especially the U.K.) are getting into the act. I’ve received reports from several sources (among them from J. J. Luna, author of the classic How to be Invisible) describing intimidating encounters at the Canadian border. Luna reports that after being routed into a secondary inspection queue, customs officials forced him to reveal the passwords to his two laptops and USB flash drives. Then, they disappeared with these devices in hand for nearly an hour, presumably to copy and inspect them.  Continue Reading…

The New New Anti-Communism

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Published on OneWorld.net / (FPIF), by John Feffer, January 5, 2010.

… In a recent editorial, the Post lambasted Clinton’s speech on human rights in which she quite sensibly added “oppression of want” to the traditional concerns with the oppression of tyranny and torture. “Ms. Clinton’s lumping of economic and social ‘rights’ with political and personal freedom was a standard doctrine of the Soviet Bloc, which used to argue at every East-West conference that human rights in Czechoslovakia were superior to those in the United States, because one provided government health care that the other lacked,” the Post opined …

… Art of Extraction: Continue Reading…

Schutz der Kinder vor weltanschaulicher Manipulation

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Verbunden auf unseren Blogs mit Michael Schmidt-Salomon – Germany, und mit der giordano bruno stiftung.

Nachfolgend ein Auszug aus dem Schreiben der Giordano-Bruno-Stiftung gbs an den deutschen Bundespräsidenten vom 15. Dezember 2009 (veröffentlicht auf der gbs-Webseite):

” … Der Grund für unser Schreiben ist, dass Sie in Ihrer Rede empfehlen, Kindern die Bibel vorzulesen, weil dies angeblich ein „wertvoller Beitrag für die frühkindliche Erziehung“ sei.

An dieser Stelle müssen wir energisch widersprechen! Denn die Bibel hat auf Kinder vor allem eine desorientierende Wirkung. Denn sie vermittelt falsche Ansichten über die „Natur der Dinge“ (etwa bezüglich der Entstehung der Welt). Zudem enthält sie ethisch höchst problematische Anweisungen, die dem mittlerweile erreichten Stand unserer kulturellen Evolution nicht mehr entsprechen (beispielsweise die durchgängige Diskriminierung von ungläubigen, andersgläubigen oder homosexuellen Menschen in den Texten des Alten und Neuen Testaments).  Continue Reading…

Who killed the president of Rwanda?

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Published on Pambazuka News, by Gerald Caplan, 2010-01-21.

Has one of the great political murder mysteries of our time finally been solved? I’d say the answer is probably yes, although we can be confident the solution will be rejected by many.

INTRODUCTION

On the evening of 6 April 1994, just as it was approaching Kigali, a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana home from Tanzania was shot down by missiles fired from the ground. Also on the flight was the president of Burundi, Cyprian Ntaryamira, as well as several high-level Rwandan political and military officials. But from the first movement there was no doubt that the target was Habyarimana. What was in doubt was the culprit, and on this the debate has raged furiously for the past almost 16 years … //

… THE NEW REPORT  Continue Reading…

The US Navy has anchored one of its secret prisons in Haitian waters

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Published on Voltairenet.org, by Thierry Meyssan, 21 January 2010.

While the deployment of 10000 US troops in Haiti has been qualified by a number of Latin American political leaders as an invasion and occupation under the guise of a humanitarian relief operation, the arrival of the USS Bataan in Haiti raises even more questions.

Over recent years, this amphibious assault ship has been converted into a floating secret prison, forming part of the CIA network of “black sites” used for so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”. The ship’s flat hold bottom, designed to accommodate troops for disembarkment, has been equipped with cages.

Prisoners are subjected to the same experiments as in Guantánamo.[1]

Having denied it for a long time, the Pentagon eventually acknowledged that the USS Bataan had in fact been used as a prison in December 2001, but that it recovered its normal functions as of January 2002, an allegation which is contested by numerous specialists who claim that it continued to operate as a prison off shore … (full text).

La Navy a installé une de ses prisons secrètes au large d’Haïti

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Publié sur Voltairenet.org, par Thierry Meyssan, 20 janvier 2010.

Alors que le déploiement de plus de 10 000 soldats états-uniens en Haïti a été qualifié par de nombreux leaders latino-américains d’invasion et d’occupation sous couvert d’aide humanitaire, on ne peut que s’interroger sur l’arrivée de l’USS Bataan.

Ce bâtiment de la Navy a été transformé au cours des dernières années en prison secrète flottante. Ses cales à fond plat, conçues pour abriter des troupes en vue d’un débarquement, ont été aménagées avec des cages. Les détenus y sont soumis aux mêmes expériences qu’à Guantanamo [1].

Après avoir longtemps nié cette réalité, le Pentagone a admis que l’USS Bataan avait effectivement été utilisé comme prison en décembre 2001, mais qu’il avait été rendu à son usage normal dès janvier 2002, ce que contestent de nombreux spécialistes selon lesquels il a conservé sa mission de prison off shore … (full text).

China To Switzerland: Do Not To Resettle Guantanamo Uighurs

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Published on Turkish Weekly, 13 January 2010.

When he became U.S. president, Barack Obama ordered the Guantanamo detention facility closed within a year.  That deadline is now fast approaching. Of the prisoners who remain at Guantanamo, U.S. authorities will have a difficult time resettling the seven Uighurs who are still there. The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Chinese Muslim minority.  Beijing has not wasted any opportunity to assert its claim to decide what happens to the Guantanamo Uighurs … //

… Uighurs from Guantanamo have been resettled to Albania, Bermuda and Palau.  The United States has refused to send them back to China or grant them U.S. refugee status. The latest country to consider taking in two of the Uighurs is Switzerland. The Chinese spokeswoman called on Bern to take into consideration China’s concerns. Jiang says she hopes Switzerland can consider overall bilateral relations and refuse to accept any Uighur suspects from Guantanamo Bay. Swiss officials say there has been no final decision. Last month, Cambodia returned to China more than 20 Uighurs who had fled to Cambodia to seek refugee status, following strong protest from the Chinese government. The Uighurs had left their homeland, Xinjiang, in western China, following deadly ethnic riots in July that left nearly 200 people dead.China accuses some Uighurs of seeking an independent homeland. Uighurs accuse the Chinese government of discrimination and repression. (full text).

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Schnelle, nicht repräsentative TV Umfrage /A non representatif quick TV poll:
Sollen wir Guantanamo-Uiguren in der Schweiz/im Kanton Jura ansiedeln? / Shall we settle Guantanamo-Uigurs in Switzerland /the Jura-region?

Say:

  • ja, aufnehmen, ein guter Draht zu den USA ist wichtig / yes, accept, a good relation with the US is importent: 8 %;
  • nein, nicht aufnehmen, wir sollten es uns mit China nicht verderben / no, not accept, we don’t want harm relations with China: 8 %;
  • ja, grundsätzlich aufnehmen, die Männer sind unschuldig /by princip: yes, accept, these men are not guilty: 34 %;
  • no, grundsätzlich nicht aufnehmen, Guantánamo geht uns nichts an / no, not accept, it’s an US mess and not our affair: 50 %.

(My comment: yesterday night we had a long TV-debate about the question. Some spokesleaders of the 34% wanting Human Rights be our first consideration told their shame if this expressed egoism of half of our population will win [my question: too long in peace and wealth to know what means real horror?]. I join these 34%, I want these 2 Uigurs in Switzerland and tell China: don’t mix up in our concerns).

Tragedy Exploited: A Sad History Repeating Itself in Haiti

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Published on Dissident Voice, by Mirah Riben, January 21, 2010.

The humanitarian Kindertransport program brought nearly 10,000 children, mostly Jewish and mostly girls, out of Nazi Germany to Britain during the Second World War. Reunion of Kindertransport, is an international organization aimed at helping the now grown displaced persons find their kin. Some have never recovered psychologically and spent the past 50 years in mental institutions … //

… And now we are faced with an earthquake with unimaginable damage in Haiti. Unicef has stated it very simply:

  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said Tuesday that international adoption should be the ‘last resort’ for children orphaned by last week’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.
  • “Unicef’s position has always been that whatever the humanitarian situation, family reunification must be favoured,” spokeswoman Veronique Taveau said during a press briefing in Geneva. Continue Reading…

Chilean right returns to power for first time in 20 years

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Published on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Bill Van Auken, 20 January 2010.

With the victory Sunday of billionaire businessman Sebastián Piñera in Chile’s run-off presidential election, right-wing parties identified with the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet are set to return to power for the first time in 20 years.

Piñera, the candidate of the right-wing Coalition for Change, scored a narrow victory over Eduardo Frei, a former president and candidate of the Concertación, a political alliance dominated by the Christian Democrats and the Socialist Party, which has elected all four presidents since the transition from military dictatorship to civilian rule at the end of the 1980s.

Piñera won 52 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, compared to 48 percent for Frei, with 222,742 ballots constituting the margin of victory.

The election marks the first time in half a century that the parties of Chile’s traditional right—today represented by the National Renovation party and the Independent Democratic Union—have won a popular vote for president. Continue Reading…

In praise of hybridity

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Published on openDemocracy, by Ales Debeljak, 18 January 2010.

Ever since Ricardo, the defense of international trade has been about productive efficiency. But much more important is that civilisation is a process of cultural exchange, and hybridity is a source of the truly human in the form of new meanings.

It seems almost obscene to speak about culture during a time of global economic and political crisis. But I will persist in my intention. I offer two justifications for doing so.

The first is my conviction that the exchange of products of cultural creativity sustains the life of a human community and gives temporary meaning to our pursuit of a better, more sophisticated and more complete experience of reality. Each and every individual needs to pursue meaning within overlapping cultural frameworks, ones that sparkle – even if deceptively – with the thrilling beauty of our living present, the better to resist the grip of banality … //  Continue Reading…

Urgent: Let Aid to Haiti Go Through

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Received by e-mail: From: Just Foreign Policy , Date: 20/01/2010

Dear Supporter, In part because of restrictions imposed by the U.S. military, aid is still not getting through quickly enough to people in Haiti who desperately need it. In particular, fresh water is not getting through to people who need it.

Established aid groups who have a long history of working in Haiti have suddenly found themselves unable to deliver urgently needed medical, water, and food supplies because the U.S. military will not grant them access to ports and airports. Doctors Without Borders reports that a “plane carrying 12 tons of medical equipment, including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, was turned away three times from Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night.” [1] Groups ready to deliver aid to Jacmel – the fourth-largest city in Haiti – were told they would receive no clearance to land there from the U.S. military, even though they already had both aid supplies and the means for distributing them. This aid is only just now beginning to be delivered – thanks to assistance from the Dominican Republic, not the U.S. Continue Reading…

Nomination for Prize for rural women

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Received by e-mail:
From: WWSF
Date: 14/01/2010

Dear Friends, Women’s World Summit Foundation WWSF invites you to nominate candidates for its 2010 Prize for women’s reativity in rural life. Nomination guidelines are on line (Eligibility). Reply to WWSF.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season.

Best regards, Elly Pradervand, WWSF Executive Director, Women’s World Summit Foundation WWSF.

Why is Blackwater/Xe in Somalia?

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Published on Online Journal, by Jerry Mazza, Jan. 18, 2010.

… Then, too, the abuse and poverty of Somalia, its people and resources, have contributed to the present, industry of piracy, and the CIA’s call for a presence “on the beach side” as well as in the water. As Wiki reports. “Piracy off the Somali coast has been a threat to international shipping since the beginning of the Somali Civil War in the early 1990s. Since 2005, many international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme, have expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy.

“Piracy has contributed to an increase in shipping costs and impeded the delivery of food aid shipments. Ninety percent of the World Food Programme’s shipments arrive by sea, and ships have required a military escort. According to the Kenyan foreign minister, Somali pirates have received over US$150 million in ransom during the 12 months prior to November 2008.  Continue Reading…

The Lesson of Haiti

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Fidel Castro, January 16, 2010.

… The tragedy has genuinely moved a significant number of people, particularly those in which that quality is innate. But perhaps very few of them have stopped to consider why Haiti is such a poor country. Why does almost 50% of its population depend on family remittances sent from abroad? Why not analyze the realities that led Haiti to its current situation and this enormous suffering as well?

The most curious aspect of this story is that no one has said a single word to recall the fact that Haiti was the first country in which 400,000 Africans, enslaved and trafficked by Europeans, rose up against 30,000 white slave masters on the sugar and coffee plantations, thus undertaking the first great social revolution in our hemisphere. Continue Reading…

HEAT OF THE MOMENT – Meteorologist predicts global cooling

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Fears of imminent ice age to replace warming alarm?

Published on WorldNet Daily Exclusive WND, by Jerome R. Corsi, January 09, 2010.

Fears of a new ice age not seen since the 1970s are arising in the aftermath of the “Climategate” scandal that has cast doubt on the legitimacy of scientific research forming the basis for the theory that mankind is causing an ultimately catastrophic rise in temperatures worldwide.

Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has produced a video, 3.21 min,  suggesting the current frigid conditions in North America, Europe and Asia are very similar to the weather patterns in the 1970s that produced fears a new ice age was imminent. (If you wait a moment, the next videos will run automatically).  Continue Reading…

Liberté de religion ou de conviction

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COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE, 2973ème session du Conseil, Affaires générales et relations extérieures, Bruxelles, le 16 novembre 2009:
Voir ce pdf-text de 20 pages (en html ou pdf ou doc, en FR), publié sur the Swedish Presidency of the European Union (Homepage,  the website will now have the function of an archive).

… page 10 – … Droits de l’Homme: Liberté de religion ou de conviction – Conclusions du Conseil – Le Conseil a adopté les conclusions suivantes:

  • “Le Conseil réaffirme que l’Union européenne est résolument attachée à la promotion et à la protection de la liberté de religion ou de conviction.
  • Le Conseil rappelle que la liberté de pensée, de conscience, de religion ou de conviction s’applique de façon égale à toutes les personnes. Il s’agit d’une liberté fondamentale qui englobe toutes les religions ou convictions, y compris celles qui ne sont pas traditionnellement pratiquées dans un pays donné, les convictions des personnes appartenant à des minorités religieuses, ainsi que les convictions non théistes ou athées.  Continue Reading…

Freedom of religion or belief

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Press Release, 2973rd Council meeting, General Affairs and External Relations, Brussels, 16 November 2009:
Download the 20 page pdf-text, published on the Swedish Presidency of the European Union (Homepage, the website will now have the function of an archive).

… Page 10 – … Human Rights: Freedom of religion or belief – Council conclusions – The Council adopted the following conclusions:

  • “The Council reaffirms the strong commitment of the European Union to the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief.
  • The Council recalls that freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief applies equally to all persons. It is a fundamental freedom which includes all religions or beliefs, including those that have not been traditionally practiced in a particular country, the beliefs of persons belonging religious minorities, as well as non-theistic and atheistic beliefs. The freedom also covers the right to adopt, change or abandon one’s religion or belief, of one’s own free will.
  • The Council underlines that States have a duty to protect everyone, including persons belonging to minorities, from discrimination, violence and other violations. States must ensure that their legislative systems provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief to all without distinction.   Continue Reading…

Climate Science and the Ideology of Human Pollution

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Linked on this blogs with Should Indians drive cars? Part 2, and my comment.

Published on political affairs.net pa, by Gary Tedman, January 11, 2010.

-The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations. [Source]

As Louis Althusser explained in “Spontaneous Philosophy…”, when ‘think tanks’ and similar ‘interdisciplinary’ institutions made up of experts from disparate fields are brought together, what inevitably results is that they cohere around the ideas which they all readily share and recognize. This is always their common ideology. And this ideology can be nothing but the ruling class ideology, i.e. in this case bourgeois ideology.  Continue Reading…

Haiti

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Yes, we all are shocked and feel deep pain for Haiti’s people.

But not less pain I feel with a statement of this year’s Swiss Head of State, Ms Doris Leuthard … to need first an ok from the local authority, before we go to organise anywhat in a country … and (yesterday) it seemed there was no answer given.

Every body knows this local authority/elite is corrupt, helpless and immensely stupid. If now Haiti authority’s ok is more important than people’s need … meanwhile French TV F5 showed in a panel discussion statements, that we have to ignore Haiti government’s acceptance for urgent help, just go and help … ok, these panelists were not the french government … but in Switzerland even a panel is not able to speak out in this way.

If government’s/elite’s rituals are more important that peoples safety, then we are straight on the way to hell …

Millions More US Children in Poverty

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Tom Eley, January 13, 2010.

The “Great Recession” of 2008 and 2009 has spread poverty to millions more US children, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institute. The report, “The Effects of the Recession on Child Poverty,” estimates that a large number of states witnessed marked increases in child poverty in 2009.

In 2008, one in five US children under age 18 lived in families below the official poverty level, according to Census Bureau data released in September 2009. The figure now is significantly higher, according to Brookings researcher Julia B. Isaacs. The census poverty statistics for 2008 “lag considerably behind current economic conditions,” Isaacs writes. “Job losses and wage reductions occurring in 2009 were obviously not captured. In addition, many adverse events in 2008 were only partially captured.”  Continue Reading…