1. “Private Murders versus Government Murders
The December 14 murder of 20 children and 6 women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has garnered vast media attention and caused countless people with no connection to the victims to grieve for them. This is not a new phenomenon: nearly all mass murders carried out by civilians generate the same type of coverage and response.
But what of the far more numerous incidents of government murder of innocents? Most of them hardly make the news at all; fewer still produce widespread outpourings of sympathy.
One does not need to look any further than 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to observe the contrast. Barack Obama was quick to offer an expression of sympathy for the families of the Newtown victims. Yet that very day his administration asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit over the drone assassinations of Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki that Obama ordered in 2011. Both al-Awlakis were American citizens; Abdulrahman, the son of Anwar, was just 16 at the time of his death.
No sane person sticks up for the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre. Likewise, it’s about time people stopped sticking up for governments that perpetrate far worse killings — and started prosecuting the people who order them and carry them out.”
2. “US Deploying Troops to 35 African Countries”
3. “U.S. Government Redistributes Wealth… to the Rich
For about thirty years now, the federal government has been implementing policies that take tax dollars from middle class Americans and give them to the rich, supposedly as a way to spur economic growth. Although Americans actually want greater economic equality, the net effect has been to redistribute wealth to the rich and create the most unequal developed society on earth.
Three specific aspects of federal policy—low taxes for the rich, outsourcing government functions to private companies, and the financial clout of Washington lobbyists—have been the major drivers of growing inequality.
Low taxes for the rich
Tax cuts enacted during the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush cut taxes sharply on the wealthy, redistributing nearly $2 trillion to high income families—just in the past ten years. In 2011, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Service each studied income inequality and concluded that the cuts made the tax system less progressive and were the second biggest contributor to growing inequality.
Starting under President Bill Clinton’s “reinventing government” initiative, the federal government has directed trillions of tax dollars to private-sector contractors by outsourcing government operations that would previously have been performed by government employees. Federal money flowing to business rose 7% during Clinton’s second term and 72% percent under Bush, before leveling off in 2010. This has contributed to inequality because private employers typically offer lower skilled workers less job security, lower wages and fewer benefits than the federal government does.
Nearly 13,000 registered lobbyists reported $3.3 billion in fees last year. There are 22% more lobbyists than in 1998, and their inflation-adjusted revenue is 37% higher than in 1998. Because re-election to Congress is so expensive, the campaign contributions that lobbyists influence or control are critical to political survival on Capitol Hill. But lobbyists work overwhelmingly for groups representing social elites. According to a study led by Prof. Kay Schlozman, the majority of lobbying groups exist to advance the interests of business, while groups advocating for union workers and the poor came in last and second to last on the list.”