Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, January 2nd, 2013 - 12 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, class war, climate change, economy, Environment, jobs, news, poverty, sustainability, tax, unemployment, us politics - Tags: social security
Some news issues now and over the last year, have been over-dramatised, some under-reported, and some ignored. Project Censored has its top 25 unreported stories of the last year. Some of them (like Oceans in Peril) look like they warrant their inclusion on the list, others (such as the FBI terrorist claim) look like they are getting into unsubstantiated conspiracy-theory territory. The Project Censored article says:
You can watch video, below of Al Jazeera’s Inside Story: Americas from December 27, in which Project Censored’s director Mickey Huff was interviewed about the list along with Greg Mitchell of The Nation. [video here]
The video’s discussion centers on the list’s top 5 stories—“Signs of an Emerging Police State,” “Oceans in Peril,” “Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Worse than Anticipated,” “FBI Agents Responsible for Majority of Terrorist Plots in the United States,” and “First Federal Reserve Audit Reveals Trillions Loaned to Major Banks.” The report’s other 20 entries range from the alignment of the US government and al-Qaeda in the Syrian Civil War (a topic discussed on WhoWhatWhy) to Alabama’s farmers looking to replace migrant workers with prisoners (that issue has at least received attention from the widely-watched satirical news show, The Colbert Report, as well as the news agency Agence France-Presse.)
However, George Monbiot’s article, 2012: the year we did our best to abandon the natural world, should not be dismissed.
It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century.
Monbiot outlines some of the failures and destructive actions of governments, but ends by seeing any hope for saving the environment in people power:
If there is hope, it lies with the people. Opinion polls show that voters do not support their governments’ inaction. Even a majority of Conservatives believe that the UK should generate most of its electricity from renewables by 2030. In the US, 80% of people polled now say that climate change will be a serious problem for their country if nothing is done about it: a substantial rise since 2009. The problem is that most people are not prepared to act on these beliefs. Citizens, as well as governments and the media, have turned their faces away from humanity’s greatest problem.
The story of the FBI coordinated surveillance of Occupy protesters remains under-reported, as written about by Naomi Wolf.
Meanwhile the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” (as reported on Al Jazeera) has been beat up as some kind of end of season cliff-hanger. It is related to the scheduled end to tax cuts, and public spending that was initiated by the Bush Jr government, due to run out this month.
White House and congressional legislators reached the agreement to avoid the “fiscal cliff” that would delay harsh spending cuts by two months, an Obama administration source said.
Under the Senate plan, those with a household income above $450,000 or individual income above $400,000 would be taxed at 39.6 percent, up from 35 percent.
Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have been against raising taxes on the rich, while the Democrat-controlled Senate and the White House have been averse to spending cuts.
The agreement includes a balance of spending cuts and revenue increases to pay for the delay in the automatic spending cuts that would go into effect without a deal.
Whereas, it just looks to me like the same old irrational and inhumane struggle with US conservatives, who resist the most obvious and positive step their government could take: to raise taxes on the rich, and improve the focus and scope of spending on unnecessary public services and social policies.