November 29, 2012 journal, Christ is the light of the world and we are to reflect his light. The Christmas tree is designed to represent life or creation bearing the light of salvation to the entire world. White lights represent the purity of Christ, red lights his shed blood and blue lights also, green represent the hope of tomorrow and the color coded go on and on. Gift-giving represent the gift of life and salvation toward eternal life with (Yesu) Christ. These colors and symbols have been diverted by the money lords for commercial purpose profiteering on Christianity by a hostile non-believing people who reticule traditions of the Christian church. The Pharisees and Sadducees are here as they were in Christ day to say no to the shed blood of Christ and offer us Satan the Devil to worship and to destroy us as in the USA and the world. Can the Christian Church not see that Santa Claus is substitute diversion away from the true Christ Yesu and God Yahweh toward eternal damnation? I say sure there's some gospel preached in the church, some on the streets and some by the Christian TV networks but Pat Robertson had a Santa Claus and is publicized Christmas party for kids. How can he explain to them the lie of this big red man it Santa Claus being in the room? Santa Claus is a substitute god for children to worship for Christmas toys. Santa Claus was created by Macy's and Coca-Cola to bolster Commerce for the banks. I would no longer cut down a Christmas tree but let it grow in the forest as God intended. Pat Robertson on his 700 Club said on television that the shopping craze was foolishness. It is absurd as one man left his baby in the car asleep while he shopped for a wide-screen television set, meanwhile thieves broke into the car to steal but left the baby. I commend the 700 Club in fighting abortion as many individuals go to jail for demonstrating against abortion but nothing closes it down except when it will war comes to slay the earth and to rule on the renewed earth for a thousand years and even forever as the devil be chained in hell. The times coming quickly when all Antichrist sinful people will face the judgment. What else can I say or do other than Christian people are going to heaven while sinners are going to hell forever and ever to burn but never die always feeling fire, severe pain. "The testimonies of Israeli army veterans expose the truth of that "disengagement." Before Operation Pillar of Defense, after all, Israel launched Operations Summer Rains and Autumn Clouds in 2006, and Hot Winter and Cast Lead in 2008 -- all involving ground invasions. In one testimony, a veteran speaks of "a battalion operation" in Gaza that lasted for five months, where the soldiers were ordered to shoot "to draw out terrorists" so they "could kill a few." Israeli naval blockades stop Gazans from fishing, a main source of food in the Strip. Air blockades prevent freedom of movement. Israel does not allow building materials into the area, forbids exports to the West Bank and Israel, and (other than emergency humanitarian cases) prohibits movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It controls the Palestinian economy by periodically withholding import taxes. Its restrictions have impeded the expansion and upgrading of the Strip's woeful sewage infrastructure, which could render life in Gaza untenable within a decade. The blocking of seawater desalination has turned the water supply into a health hazard. Israel has repeatedly demolished small power plants in Gaza, ensuring that the Strip would have to continue to rely on the Israeli electricity supply. Daily power shortages have been the norm for several years now. Israel's presence is felt everywhere, militarily and otherwise. By relying on factual misconceptions, political leaders, deliberately or not, conceal-" This is no more than a trick to make the poor people pay the taxes, no shame. Congress is creating crisis, there is no physical cliff, the Fed can print money forever. "Now we are told that we're about to go over the cliff, a fiscal cliff, and we need to have massive reform to entitlement programs, Social Security, and others. Now joining us to discuss the crisis (we are told) is Michael Hudson. Michael was a Wall Street financial analyst and is now a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His new book is The Bubble and Beyond. Thanks for joining us, Well, because of the way that Mr. Obama worked with the Republicans to negotiate a crisis preplanned in advance, yes, indeed, by the end of the year there would be a reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans. There would be, ostensibly, a cutback. That would last, I think, about one day, from December 31 to the time the new Congress meets. So they'd hardly skip a beat before they then set to making whatever the new deal would be. The whole idea is to make it appear as if there's a crisis, to make it appear as if Obama has to give in to the Republicans to essentially become what Mitt Romney would have become if he would have been elected. So Obama's playing the role of Romney lite in saying, we've got to cut taxes on the rich, and the only way we can balance the budget if we give it to my campaign contributors, Wall Street, is to shift the taxes much more onto the working class. We have to take more out of their pay cheques on the FICA withholding, and we have to rise the retirement age and cut the benefits to Social Security. So what he's saying is we've given $13 trillion of new debt in giveaway to the banks since September 2008, but we can't create a single penny to reimburse the Social Security contributors for the money that they have actually contributed. We can only create fictitious money for our campaign contributors, not the voters. JAY: Okay. So explain that a little more, 'cause that's such an important point, that if in fact Social Security is in some kind of mod which some are claiming is unsustainable, a lot of that has to do with the money that was taken out of it not to give people Social Security. HUDSON: Well, here's the question of what does it mean to be sustainable. How were we able to fight World War II or the $3 trillion Iraq War without taxing? The answer is the Federal Reserve simply creates the money. Now, right now the Social Security Administration has saved an enormous amount and-of extra, withholding from paycheques over and above what was needed to pay out Social Security. And this money was used, essentially, as tax cuts for the rich. So by taxing the wage earners more, President George Bush was able to slash-and before him Clinton, and before him his father, were able to slash tax rates for the higher tax brackets. And essentially what people call the Social Security fund is really a tax shift. You don't want to call it a tax on the poor, but it's not for Social Security. Not a penny of that has been spent on Social Security. Every single penny of the Social Security Trust Fund has been collected extra [incomer.] as a tax that falls on wage earners that are higher than the taxes that the wealthiest people paid, higher than the tax that George Romney pays [sic], higher than the tax that Warren Buffett pays. And all this-as George W. Bush said, you know, the Social Security Trust Fund really doesn't exist at all. It's just an IOU. And these funds are non-marketable Treasury securities. And as people begin to retire and run down the fund, what happens is the Treasury simply spends down its balance at the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve does exactly what it did when it took on the $13 trillion bailout of Wall Street. It just prints the money. There's no need to tax the money to pay Social Security. The government simply spends it into the economy. That's what central banks do. That's what the Bank of England does. It's what the Federal Reserve does. So why is it that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury can create all this money to pay Wall Street, and they can't create a penny for Social Security? JAY: So what's the real objective here? HUDSON: It's almost comical. JAY: So what's the real objective in Social Security reform? 'Cause there's obvious other ways to be cutting the debt if cutting the debt is such a big deal. But the targeting of Social Security-what's the real objective here? HUDSON: It's to put the class war back in business. It's to essentially say, well, we only want to spend money on the 1 percent; we don't want to spend any money on the 99 percent. The 99 percent's role is to pay taxes; the 1 percent's role is to get these taxes in the form of bailouts, subsidies, special spending like rebuilding all of the beach homes and rebuilding all of the private beaches in New Jersey-not the public beaches, but the private beaches and the private homes and, essentially, the 1 percent. It's a giveaway. JAY: But part of the issue here seems to be, from the Republicans, the push to privatize. And there are now some Democrats that are apparently making similar murmurs about sort of privatizing light and that. What's behind this move to privatize? HUDSON: The idea is the same one that had pension capital-pension fund capitalism in the 1950s. From the time that General Motors started its pension funds, there's been a tidal wave of pension fund contributions into the stock market. That created a stock market boom in the '50s, in the '60s, into the '70s. And I discuss that in my book The Bubble and Beyond. But now the pension funds are all being downsized. How are you going to create a pension fund, a stock market boom? The idea of privatizing Social Security is to give Wall Street the biggest clientele that it's got in history. It will be the biggest giveaway in history to Wall Street. And not only will they push this money into the stock market while more people are paying in, pushing into a stock market boom, but at the same time, the Wall Street banks like Citicorp and Bank of America can treat its customers like counterparties. They can gouge them on fees. They can then stick them into stocks that they then all of a sudden-the day will come when more people begin to retire than pay into the plan, and at that point, the stock markets are going to begin to go down. Then all of a sudden the Wall Street speculators can dump the stocks, pull their money out, and leave the Social Security retirees holding an empty bag and the governmental say, well, that's the madness of crowds. And it's not the madness of crowds. It's a Wall Street scam. And that scam has been put in place by an enormously well subsidized propaganda campaign to convince people that it's necessary for them to become suckers for the Wall Street money managers. JAY: Now, is there any sense or evidence that Obama or Biden are going to compromise with this? In the election campaign, I thought they were both pretty clear they're against the voucher system, which is sort of the form or model of privatization that the Republicans are advocating. HUDSON: I think the voucher system you're talking about is for Medicare and for Medicaid, not Social Security. So what are we talking about now? Social Security JAY: Yes, I'm sorry. Not voucher, but to create Social Security as a private fund that people can invest. And I thought Obama and Biden said they would not support that. HUDSON: Yeah, I think that's correct. This is a Republican plan. I don't think it's the Democratic plan to support privatization. When the Republicans say look at Chile, that's a wonderful thing to do. Every single pension plan put in by Pinochet's party at gunpoint in the 1970s, every one was looted by the employers and by the banks and went bankrupt by the end of the 1970s. That's why the Chilean voters threw out the party and voted for the socialists, who were against doing this. So all you have to do is look at Chile. But of course the Republicans are looking at Chile and say, my god, we can put all of the private money into the pension funds to be Social Security funds to be invested, and then we can steal it all, we can steal trillions of dollars, we can get richer than we've ever dreamed of if we can only have the right to steal. And that's what this is. The-what the-talking about Social Security reform is theft, and that's what it should be called, theft." Florida Republicans Admit to Planned Voter Suppression, and More. Walmart's Hunger Games. Will the FCC Give Rupert Murdoch the Powerful Gift of Media Consolidation? Why Is the White House's Council of Economic Advisers Helping the Republicans? Politic in Congress is Republican protectionism of their vast ill gained resources! They protect the corporate tax dodgers and create false illusions about Social Security and Medicare being entitlements but its actually paid in by the poor hard-working citizens. "O all the things the governments of Israel and Gaza have against each other, the fate of a water treatment plant would seem like the least of the problem. A little-noted UN report released in August argued the opposite: that the rockets flying between the two sides may be less destructive than long-standing wrangles over water is sober reading even as government resource reports go. Being a desert, sources of water are few, straining an aquifer that feeds the tiny strip as well as parts of Israel and Egypt. According to the U.N. Environment Program, only ten percent of the aquifer's water remains potable, and it will become entirely useless in as little as three years, beyond which point it will take centuries to replenish itself. From the UN study: ith no perennial streams and low rainfall, Gaza relies almost completely on the underlying coastal aquifer, which is partly replenished by rainfall and runoff from the Hebron hills to the east, with the recharge estimated at 50 to 60 million cubic meters (MCM) annually. Current abstraction of water from the aquifer, at an estimated 160 MCM per year to meet current overall demand, is well beyond that. As groundwater levels subsequently decline, sea water infiltrates from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. Salinity levels have thus risen well beyond guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) for safe drinking water. This pollution is compounded by contamination of the aquifer by nitrates from uncontrolled sewage, and fertilizers from irrigation of farmlands. Today 90% of water from the aquifer is not safe for drinking without treatment. Availability of clean water is thus limited for most Gazans with average consumption of 70 to 90 liters per person per day (depending on the season), below the global WHO standard of 100 liters per person per day. The aquifer could become unusable as early as 2016, with the damage irreversible by 2020. Various attempts to solve the problem have met with middling results. A passel of NGO and UN-led initiatives have sought to develop desalinization capacity and water treatment plants. Typically, the projects have run into import issues-parts for water treatment facilities are hard to get into Gaza without running afoul of security rules that band import of many industrial materials. If the U.N. estimate is accurate, that gives leaders in Gaza and Israel three years to hammer out the details of their coexistence before it becomes impossible for the strip, which is smaller than Los Angeles, to provide potable water to its 1.6 million people. Last summer, the British charity Oxfam claimed that Gaza residents were spending as much as a third of their monthly family income buying water on a fierce private market, and reports including from the Jerusalem Post noted that Gaza's water authority had faced price increases from the territory chief provider of clean water, Israel'. Walmart's Bangladesh factory fire killed 112 child slave laborers with no fire escapes. This Bangladesh factory was working on a Jewish Sabbath making Wal-Mart clothing! "An update, including Walmart's new statement blaming the apparel's presence on a rogue supplier, and reactions from advocates, appears below. NGOs slammed Walmart over a fire that killed at least 112 workers at a Bangladesh factory that supplied apparel for the retail giant. While Walmart says it has not confirmed that it has any relationship to the factory, photos provided to The Nation show piles of clothes made for one of its exclusive brands. In a statement e-mailed Sunday night, Walmart expressed sympathy for the victims' families, and said that it was "trying to determine if the factory has a current relationship with Walmart or one of our suppliers..." The company called fire safety "a critically important area of Walmart's factory audit program," and said that it has been "working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh." Walmart added that it has "partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers." But in a Monday interview, Workers Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova said Walmart's "culpability is enormous. First of all they are the largest buyer from Bangladesh" and so "they make the market." Nova said Bangladesh has become the world's second largest apparel supplier "because they've given Walmart and its competitors what they want, which is the cheapest possible labor costs." "So Walmart is supporting, is incentivizing, an industry strategy in Bangladesh: extreme low wages, non-existent regulation, brutal suppression of any attempt by workers to act collectively to improve wages and conditions," Nova told The Nation. "This factory is a product of that strategy that Walmart invites, supports, and perpetuates." The WRC is a labor monitoring group whose board is composed of students, labor organizations, and university administrators. The fire started Saturday night in a ground floor warehouse. According to media reports, the factory's emergency exits were insufficient in number and unsafe in design, routing through the inside, rather than the outside, of the building. Some workers survived on the factory's roof; several jumped out of the building. A lack of safe fire exits contributed to the death toll in New York's notorious 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. A document on the website of the factory's owner, Tuba Group, showed that the factory had received an "orange" rating from Walmart in May 2011, due to "violations and/or conditions that were deemed to be high risk." The same document said that three such ratings within two years would result in a year-long suspension by Walmart. "Obviously, they didn't do anything about it," said Nova. He called Walmart's internal monitoring system "a joke" that was "set up to enable Walmart to claim that it's policing, without in any way, shape or form inconveniencing its production process." A Walmart spokesperson told the New York Times that the retail giant had been "unable to confirm" the veracity of Tuba Group document, or whether Tazreen Fashions, the Tuba Group subsidiary running the factory, was supplying any Walmart goods. But photos taken after the fire taken the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, provided to The Nation by the International Labor Rights Forum, show clothing with Walmart's exclusive Faded Glory label (photos below). Nova accused Walmart of intentionally dragging its feet on admitting its connection to the factory, in hopes that by the time the connection is confirmed, the media will have lost interest. WRC's Nova said that Bangladesh's deadly labor conditions are a direct consequence of Walmart's business model. If a factory "really followed the law," said Nova, "if they allowed workers to organize and bargained a contract, if they invested in necessary health and safety equipment, if they restructured the building to make it safe, put in place sprinklers and outside fire escapes, their costs would rise, they would have to charge more for their product, and they would immediately lose Walmart and their other customers." According to ILRF, Saturday's fire had the highest death toll of any Bangladesh factory accident to date. Had it happened earlier in the day, it could have been much higher. Another Bangladesh factory fire Monday morning resulted in at least eight injuries; that factory is also a Walmart supplier, according to the WRC. Nova said that worse death tolls are ahead if the status quo persists. "You do not need to be a fire safety expert to realize that a factory like this is dangerous..." said Nova. "And yet there is no evidence that Walmart has taken any meaningful action to improve their safety practices in the supply chain in Bangladesh." The fire comes eight months after the body of Bangladeshi labor activist Aminul Islam was found dead and apparently tortured. Islam was working to organize the Bangladeshi garment factory's workers and to expose their conditions in international media. "It's virtually certain that somebody acting at the behest of the government or industry killed him," said Nova. In an interview following his death, Islam's co-worker Kalpona Akter told The Nation that "workers do not have their voice in the workplace," that major companies' monitoring "is so poor," and that the brands "should really take some responsibility." The WRC's criticisms were echoed by other non-profits, including the Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign, which charged in a Sunday statement that major brands' "failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence." Walmart has come under repeated scrutiny for the labor conditions at its suppliers. In June, guest workers at C.J.'s Seafood went on strike over alleged forced labor conditions; after initially saying it had investigated and couldn't substantiate the accusations, Walmart eventually suspended the supplier. In September, Human Rights Watch releases a report finding widespread debt bondage at the Phatthana shrimp company in Thailand, and accusing Walmart of offering shifting and contradictory explanations of its relationship to the company. "The only way factories in Bangladesh can survive, given the prices that the western brands are willing to pay, is to operate unsafely," said Nova. "And that's why you get fires. And for all of their rhetoric about corporate social responsibility and all of these monitoring programs and audits, brands and retailers will not pay one penny more for factories." Update (7 PM Monday, November 26): In a new statement released Monday evening, Walmart said that at the time of the fire, the factory "was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for Walmart" and said that a supplier had "subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and in direct violation of our policies." Walmart said that it had terminated the rogue supplier today, and added, "The fact that this occurred is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh." In response to an inquiry from The Nation regarding the identity of the supplier, when the factory ceased to be authorized, and whether Walmart continued to pay for work performed there after the authorization ended, a Walmart official said the company is not commenting beyond the new statement. Interviewed following that statement, Liana Foxvog, the Director of Organizing for the International Labor Rights Forum, said she did not have the information "to evaluate whether or not Walmart is telling the truth," but that if the company's claim is accurate, it reflects poorly on its oversight of supplier compliance with local safety and labor laws, and with its own Code of Conduct. Foxvog added that the remedy to dire safety issues should not have been "to keep the results of its inspections hidden and to walk away from workers who are working in a death trap factory." Instead, said Foxvog, Walmart should "pay sufficient prices" and "require the factories to come into compliance." She said Bangladesh factories "often feel like they have to cut corners in order to make products at the low prices" expected by top brands. Asked Monday evening about Walmart's latest statement, Nova e-mailed, "Walmart is a company whose foundational corporate principle is precise control of supply chain logistics and information. Now, after equivocating for 48 hours, they tell the world that they are shocked to discover that their goods were being made at the Tazreen factory." Nova noted Walmart's refusal to identify "the supplier responsible for this supposed unauthorized subcontracting, or any other details about how Walmart goods miraculously found their way to Tazreen." "Whatever Walmart now claims," added Nova, "what we know for sure is that Walmart goods were being produced at this factory and that Walmart is responsible for protecting the rights and safety of workers who make Walmart clothes." While Walmart is denying claims of human rights abuses overseas, US employees are striking against poverty wages and intimidation tactics here at home. Check out Josh Eidelson's coverage of the historic Walmart worker strikes here.