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      Water. As I’ve said for many years. The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40 percent by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. I’ll use the US as an example, though this going to effect almost all countries, some much worse than others, and it wi […]
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Thursday, State of the News Report

I’m totally thrown off by the light change (if it’s light, GET UP!) and by the fact that I have a job of sorts. I’ve been working non-stop on a friend’s website (and I mean I’ve been working on it from the second I get up until well after mid-night with short-ish break in the middle of the day to help my parents for a couple of hours) Anyway, the days are blurring together and I haven’t done any of my normal things — I haven’t even read a book for two weeks! And I certainly haven’t paid adequate attention to my former obsession — The Great Health Care Debate — or the news.

So, my plan for this morning is to share the news that catches my eye as I get caught up with what I’ve been missing:

This is Alternet’s headline for the story, Obama Adopts Bush Plan to Hide Outsourced Job Data and they aren’t kidding around. They’ve got the headlines for Bush’s plan too. Still theses paragraph from the Washington Post are doozies:

Obama administration plans to close International Labor Comparisons office

Like a scorekeeper for the world, a tiny unit within the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks globalization’s winners and losers, and the results are not always pretty for the United States. Manufacturing jobs here, for example, have fallen faster since 1979 than in Canada, Germany or Japan. Compensation for those jobs dropped here in 2008 but jumped in South Korea and Australia.

Soon, however, Americans may be spared the demoralization in these numbers: The White House wants to shutter the unit that produces them.

President Obama’s budget would eliminate the International Labor Comparisons office and transfer its 16 economists to expand the bureau’s work tracking inflation and occupational trends. The White House says the cut, estimated to save $2 million, is one of many difficult decisions the president was forced to make to control spending.

As Alternet points out:

In his State of the Union address, of course, Obama called for a massive expansion of the NAFTA trade model into Colombia, South Korea and Panama. So you can bet this announcement by the White House is no accident – it’s preemptive.

Apparently, no matter which party is in power, when bad news hits, the response is bury the news – don’t address the actual problem. – Obama Adopts Bush Plan to Hide Outsourced Job Data

Have you ever wondered why The Chamber of Commerce would be against Health Care for Everyone? In my innocence I’ve always thought The Chamber should be one of the biggest agitators for Health Care Reform — I mean, the benefits to small businesses are almost unimaginable. Silly me, it turns out we’re not talking about your local car dealer or the fabric store on the corner:

Is Taxpayer Money Being Funneled Through The Chamber Of Commerce To Kill Health Reform?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an umbrella lobbying organization for international corporations and big business, is one of the driving forces fighting to kill health reform. In 2009, the Chamber dropped $123 million in lobbying, much of it against health reform, and organized an attack ad campaign against health reform, spending another $100 million. Now, as health reform enters its final stages, the Chamber is gearing up to blanket critical districts across the country with a new series of attack ads.

While the Chamber refuses to publicly list its membership, several confirmed Chamber members are banks which were bailed out by taxpayers and still have not repaid the TARP funds. For instance, New York Private Bank & Trust received TARP funds and still owes $254,892,509 back to the government. Diana Cantor, the bank’smanaging director, is a board member of the Chamber Foundation and wife of Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), two leading opponents of reform. How can taxpayers be reassured that Cantor’s bank, and other bailed out Chamber banks, are not using taxpayer dollars to fund the Chamber’s anti-reform activities?

And the always enlightening, Naomi Klein has some debunking to do:

Naomi Klein: How Socialism Protected Chileans from Earthquake Fall-out

Ever since deregulation caused a worldwide economic meltdown in September 2009 and everyone became a Keynesian again, it hasn’t been easy to be a fanatical fan of the late economist Milton Friedman. So widely discredited is his brand of free-market fundamentalism that his followers have become increasingly desperate to claim ideological victories, however far-fetched.

A particularly distasteful case in point. Just two days after Chile was struck by a devastating earthquake, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens informed his readers that Milton Friedman’s “spirit was surely hovering protectively over Chile” because, “thanks largely to him, the country has endured a tragedy that elsewhere would have been an apocalypse…. It’s not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick–and Haitians in houses of straw–when the wolf arrived to try to blow them down.”


There is one rather large problem with this theory: Chile’s modern seismic building code, drafted to resist earthquakes, was adopted in 1972. That year is enormously significant because it was one year before Pinochet seized power in a bloody U.S-backed coup. That means that if one person deserves credit for the law, it is not Friedman, or Pinochet, but Salvador Allende, Chile’s democratically elected socialist President. (In truth many Chileans deserve credit, since the laws were a response to a history of quakes, and the first law was adopted in the 1930s).


As for the argument that Friedmanite policies are the reason Chileans live in “houses of brick” instead of “straw,” it’s clear that Stephens knows nothing of pre-coup Chile. The Chile of the 1960s had the best health and education systems on the continent, as well as a vibrant industrial sector and rapidly expanding middle class. Chileans believed in their state, which is why they elected Allende to take the project even further.

And in the, There’s Nothing New Here Department ::

Exclusive: RNC fundraising document mocks donors, plays on ‘fear’

Democrats would nix healthcare over abortion

Senate rejects $250 checks for elderly

Health Reform: Can the Democrats Cross the Finish Line?


Some Dems are wary of Obama’s final health push

That’s it from my couch — what news caught your eye this morning?