Saturday, October 30, 2021

Barack broke his promise to veterans and is too greedy to make good on it now

Brittny Mejia (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reports:

Two days before the impending move and Lavon Johnson had yet to pack.

But the Iraq war veteran didn’t seem too worried as he sat at the piano he’d rescued from the trash two blocks away. He began to play Beethoven’s “Für Elise” along San Vicente Boulevard near Brentwood. His American flag — held up on one side by a hanger attached to his tent — waved in the breeze.

Johnson planned to be the last one out of the Veterans Row encampment, where he has lived for about a year. His way of ensuring that the nearly two dozen unhoused veterans remaining made it out safe before a scheduled cleanup on Monday.

“It never takes me long to get ready,” the 35-year-old said with a quick smile. 

The encampment, adjacent to the historic Veterans Affairs campus in West Los Angeles, has become a focal point for homelessness in the city, with mayoral candidates making visits regularly over the last year. The last census of homeless people in Los Angeles County found roughly 3,900 homeless veterans among the county’s total of 66,000 people without housing.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, who visited the encampment in October, said last week that the about 40 veterans from Veterans Row would be housed by November. 

Wait, wait, Barack Obama promised, in 2010 to end veterans homelessness by 2016.  Surely, he kept his promises.  Don't forget, this is the man who closed Guantanamo Bay.

Oh, wait.

He didn't do that either.  

(And for more on how the US tortures, see Barry Grey's WSWS report.)

He didn't do much of anything but, damn, didn't he get rich?

Jimmy Carter was president.  He worked with Habitat for Humanity in providing homes.

Barack left the White House in January of 2017.  And?

He signed a multi-million dollar book deal.  He has no experience in entertainment but, hell, NETFLIX is wasting millions on him.

All that money coming in.  Greed, greed, greedy.

I'm not a Jimmy Carter groupie.  But Jimmy used his post-presidency years to do something for people.  Barack is just using them to get richer and richer.  Greedy little bitch, isn't he?

Doesn't he owe to the veterans to keep his promise?

Why the hell is he not working on providing affordable homes for veterans.

He took a lot of bows and got a lot of praise for pretending to care about veterans and for promising (again, 2010) that he would end veterans homelessness by 2016.  He didn't.  And now it's 2021 and the homelessness continues.  

He needs to keep his promise.  It's very telling that I have to say that here because a weak and insipid corporate media won't say it themselves.  It's very telling.

All those millions.  Supposedly, 70 million.

For doing nothing.  He's a lazy little bitch, let's be honest.  He 'worked' with a ghost writer for the autobiography (as he had for the previous books).  And he's got no idea what he's doing with the NETFLIX deal.  But he's whoring out the office of president -- doing his version of half-and-halfs and hand jobs and whatever else you'll pay for.

And his greed knows no bounds.  And veterans remain homeless.

We shouldn't have anyone homeless in the US.  Veteran, non-veteran, we shouldn't have any homeless.  But Barack's promise was to the veterans.

Empty words.  That's all it was, that's all it ever was.

And America fell for it.  Yeah, some of you woke up near the end.  But you fell for it none-the-less.

I had so much more respect for Juan Gonzalez when he called out candidate Barack for his Barack-aloney.  Then, of course, Juan fell in line.  That was so disappointing.  And it was disappointing watching so many lie and whore and excuse.  It was disappointing that Vincent Warren thought, as the head of the Center for Constitutional Law, that he could have a visit to the Oval Office that was hidden and off the record.  So much for openess.  So much for sunlight.

And CCR refused to hold Barack accountable.  Who knows what Barack and Vinnie discussed?  We don't know, do we?  That is the point.  A whole hell of a lot of whoring went down.  We used to promote CCR all the time.  Then came Vinnie.  Now I only note it if a friend with CCR asks.  And I have no respect for Vinnie and feel the smartest thing the organization could do would be to ditch him as executive-director.  

If you whored for Barack, I don't trust you.  We need Truth and Reconciliation in the US.  The Norman Solomons thinks they can just pretend like we don't remember their lying and whoring.  Lying.  And whoring.  No, it's not that easy.  You need to own what you did.

It resulted in real damage and it resulted in a lack of accountability.

That is why veterans are homeless.  You coddled the person who was the President of the United States and he got to make promises and lie through his teeth.  And the world ended up a lot worse and, as Jimmy Dore and many others note, Barack paved the way for Donald Trump.  I'd expand on that, I'd say it was Barack and the Cult of St, Barack.  

I'll believe in accountability among the press when someone in charge of a weekly newsmagazine isn't on the phone with me, as happened tonight, whining about the homeless veterans and when I bring up Barack's promise, still insisting that Barack can't be called out.

What a load of s**t.

If you doubt it, grasp that Margaret Kimberley's basically alone in calling out Barack's proposed presidential library:

The soon to be constructed Barack Obama Presidential Center poses a great danger to the surrounding Black neighborhoods on the South Shore of Chicago. In fact, thanks to this $500 million, 19-acre homage to the 44th president, there may not be any Black people living there much longer.

Families are already facing rent increases and homes that were once moderately priced are now unaffordable to Black working people. These market manipulations are integral to the gentrification model of urban development. The end result is always a displaced and dispersed Black population.

This crisis is but the latest Obama slap in the face to the people who loved him the most. His 2008 presidential campaign stump speeches were replete with the worst stereotypes about Black men. Who can forget his not very funny jokes about the imagined Cousin Pookie who wouldn’t get off the couch to vote. Obama avoided any mentions of Black people and their unique status with canned lines about rising tides lifting all the boats.

Of course the intent was to disappear Black people as a group and therefore make himself more palatable to white people. In his maiden speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention he declared, “There is no white America. There is no Black America.” He showed his hand early on and no one should have been surprised when he disappeared the needs of the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting block in order to gain political advantage.

Construction of the enormous facility will not be the first time that Black people lost homes and money because of Obama. The Peoples Policy Project reported how federal inaction during the housing bubble collapse was especially damaging to this group. The Obama administration did not take the steps necessary to end foreclosures, in fact his Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) accelerated foreclosures by aiding the banks more than homeowners. The crooks who enabled the crash got away and struggling workers got the shaft.

He's raised $500 million to build a monument to his own ego but he's done nothing to keep his promise to veterans.  How very telling.

And how very telling that the bulk of the media will continue to look the other way.

In Iraq, the election count is still not final.  October 10th, they held an election.  Still waiting on the official and final results.  All this time later.  US press still can't find Nouri al-Maliki.  

Yet KURDISTAN 24 reports:

A leadership member in the political alliance led by former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is threatening legal action against the federal electoral commission for its conduct in the Oct. 10 vote.

State of Law coalition leadership member Khalid al-Asadi said in a statement that the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) must declare it "failed" in its mission to hold a fair election.

The US press has its head buried in the sand and don't have a clue what's going on.

The following sites updated:

Merrick Garland/Biden, The Failed Build Back Better, Biden Refuses Court Order


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Space is the Next Economic Frontier



This weekend, we're bringing you a timely gem from the Ozy Archives. Take a deep dive into a longform piece that our writers have hand-picked for you based on this week's news.

Oct 30, 2021TODAY

When the world’s two richest men squabble publicly over something, you know there’s plenty of money at stake. Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos complained about NASA’s decision to award a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract to SpaceX instead of his space company, Blue Origin. SpaceX founder Elon Musk responded by mocking Bezos on Twitter. But this battle of billionaires is about much more than one deal — and don’t forget one of the earliest to the game, billionaire Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic. It’s about winning the future at a game where the pot of cash is growing even as the rules are still being set. From zero-gravity factory floors to untold lunar treasures, big business and smart startups alike are betting on space as the next economic frontier. Strap yourself in — we’ll show you why.


1 - Eyes on Earth

Bezos and Musk are after a market that’s already taken off but is now poised to rocket. And they’re joined by hundreds of companies, from startups to aerospace giants, that want a piece of the global space economy. This market, according to Morgan Stanley, is expected to lift off from $350 billion in 2016 to over $1 trillion by 2040. Most of that will focus on areas like satellite television, geolocation services such as GPS, Earth observation and telecommunications. So whether it’s the massive constellations from SpaceX and Blue Origin that are set to connect millions to the internet, or satellites assessing deforestation and climate change, the commercial space industry’s focus won’t be on distant planets … but on good old planet Earth.

2 - Space Factories

That focus is sparking a race toward space manufacturing — with companies and innovators already dreaming of artificial hearts built on satellite factory floors. The process of making things on Earth is hindered by gravity. Take that away, and we might be able to build better electronics, faster internet cables and maybe even artificial organs by shipping manufacturing into orbit and then sending finished products back to Earth for use.

3 - Moon Mining

There’s a growing consensus that the dreams of mining asteroids for resources, which spawned a set of startups  over the last decade, will remain just that: dreams. Yet there’s also mounting evidence suggesting that the moon might hold hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of minerals and other resources. NASA’s actually hunting  for companies to partner with it on moon mining. But the push from America, enabled by an executive order from then-President Donald Trump last year, is bound to spark a race that will draw in other space powers such as Russia, China and India. Notably, Vice President Kamala Harris was named chair of the National Space Council, a group revived by Trump. “In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it. I am honored to lead our National Space Council,” Harris tweeted.

4 - Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Sat

All this increased activity in orbit comes with consequences too. There are now more than 3,300 satellites  in orbit, and they’re hindering astronomers who are studying the heavens. Large concentrations of satellites obscure the view of the giant telescopes we use to study remote star systems. By tweaking schedules and making satellites that reflect less light, we can get around some of those galactic photobombing challenges. But regulation of the sector remains up in the air.

5 - Trapped on Earth

Heads-up! Another negative is all that space junk. Today there are so many objects, active and inactive, in orbit around Earth that alerts for collisions  are now fairly common. In fact, a 21-ton part of China’s Long March 5b rocket could fall to Earth this week in an uncontrolled fashion, experts warn. Two objects crashing into each other in space would produce thousands of pieces of debris traveling faster than bullets. It might even cause a chain reaction of collisions that could cover the atmosphere in debris, preventing us from launching any more rockets and trapping us on Earth for the near future. That’s called the Kessler syndrome, though given the times we live in, you could also call it the planetary lockdown effect.


1 - Stocks to the Moon

The growth of the space industry, particularly through startups, has spurred increased financial interest in the area. So far, most new space companies remain private and you can’t buy their shares. Even SpaceX hasn’t gone public yet. But more and more stock opportunities  are opening up, whether it’s with aerospace behemoths with a foot in space, like Boeing, or funds betting on share prices soaring in the future.

2 - UFOs on the Stock Market

The new space race has led to the creation of several exchange traded funds, or ETFs, that are dedicated to this industry. Share prices track the stocks of a portfolio of underlying companies, which in this case are focused on space. UFO, or the Procure Space ETF, was founded in April 2019 and currently has $129 million in net assets. That money goes toward businesses that mostly gain a large part of their income from space, with players such as Garmin, Maxar and Iridium in its portfolio. That’s why marketers are focusing all the way down to nano-influencers (1,000 to 5,000 followers), who, research shows, generate 85 percent higher engagement than influencers with 100,000 followers. 

3 - Tractors in Space

ARKX is the new kid on the space ETF block. Led by investment legend Cathie Wood of Ark Invest, ARKX made a splash when it arrived in late March, with investors pouring in $500 million  in its first five days of trading. But there’s also been criticism after it turned out that a number of the companies in the portfolio weren’t actually space companies, but players like Netflix and tractor manufacturer Deere.

4 - SPACs for Space

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you’ve heard about special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Now these “blank check” firms that are the latest trend in the world of finance are reaching beyond Earth, out into space. Tying up with SPACs — which are looking for companies to invest in — reduces the risk for space startups keen to go public. Some firms are taking advantage. Take launch vehicle manufacturer Astra, for instance. Earlier, Virgin Galactic also used the SPAC technique to go public in 2019.


1 - Mitsunobu Okada

The Japanese entrepreneur  had a successful career in IT and management consulting. But when he hit 40, he remembered his childhood dream of going to space and his real-life encounter with Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mohri — and he switched course. Now Okada is leading one of the world’s most ambitious efforts to clear space debris. His startup, Astroscale, is planning to send satellites that will clean up the junk. Astroscale has raised more than $200 million in venture funding and this past March sent up a space sweeper.

2 - Will Marshall

In the maelstrom of new thousand-satellite constellations going up, it’s easy to forget a more basic space application: Earth observation. Yet more and more players, from governments to insurance agencies, are willing to pay good money to have accurate images and readings of Earth from space. Planet Labs is the biggest player in that area, with dozens of satellites in orbit since the company’s launch a decade ago. The American co-founder and CEO of that company, Will Marshall, is one to keep your eye on, while his satellites look on from space.

3 - Sarah Al Amiri

She’s the youngest person in the world to head a space agency — and not just any agency. The United Arab Emirates might seem like an oddity on the global space stage. But the small country in the Persian Gulf has sent up several satellites, including an uncrewed probe to Mars. Behind that push is Sarah Al Amiri, a computer scientist by training. The 34-year-old is the UAE’s first minister of state for advanced sciences and chair of the country’s space agency. As space tourism becomes more likely, her influence will only grow. Virgin Galactic, which together with companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin is leading the charge toward commercial flights, has signed an agreement with the UAE to  make the country its hub for the launch of such efforts. The UAE is also a major investor in Virgin Galactic.

4 - Neha Satak

The 36-year-old Indian engineer with cropped hair and a ready smile is challenging the giants of the private space industry, promising something Musk and Bezos can’t offer yet. Her startup, Astrome, is building satellite transponders that have 11 times more capacity than traditional transponders and could revolutionize internet access in remote parts of the world. Her firm is also an example of a broader trend: Companies interested in space services can increasingly outsource their needs to startups like Astrome without worrying about building satellites or components on their own.

5 - Jessie Ndaba

Space isn’t just the domain of Cold War–era powers anymore. Lower costs are making it easier for African countries and companies to launch their satellites, and Cape Town–based Ndaba  is right on trend. She’s the co-founder of Astrofica Technologies, a fully Black-owned South African satellite manufacturer that’s serving the growing African demand for access to space. Space has been Ndaba’s calling since she saw a photo of a rocket engine in a textbook given to her by her grandmother. A generation from now, South African students might well find Ndaba’s photo in their textbooks.


Explores why our daily lives are more connected to space than we think


1 - It's Time for Africa

Alongside private players like Ndaba, African governments are recognizing that the growing demand for space-based services means that they need to dive into a world they’ve mostly just observed from afar. Last year, African nations declared Egypt  the hub for a continental African Space Agency approved by the African Union in 2017. The move comes at a time when African nations are increasingly planning satellites of their own. Experts estimate that by 2024, at least 19 of them will have sent an orbiter into space, up from 11 in 2020.

2 - ... and Latin America

The region’s countries know they don’t individually possess the resources to emerge as a major space power. So in October, they banded together to launch the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency  (abbreviated in Spanish to ALCE). Mexico and Argentina are driving the initiative. Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and El Salvador are on board too. The past year has exposed the limitations, even in a globalized world, of depending on supply chains you can’t control and other nations that might withdraw into a shell of narrow nationalism amid crises. Latin America doesn’t want its space ambitions caught in that vortex.

3 - Atlantic Outpost

When Hurricane Dorian hit South Carolina in 2019, help came from Portugal, where a startup used satellite imagery to help American counties understand how to better prepare for the future. Portugal launched its space agency in 2019 and is building a spaceport on the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, racing to tap into a growing market for small satellite launches. And beyond Portugal, small rocket operators like bluShift Aerospace  are building technologies that could make launching things into space much easier and more accessible.

4 - Space Haven

Luxembourg is best known as a European tax haven and banking hub. Yet the country recognizes that this show won’t go on forever, which is why it’s diversifying its economy into space. It is aggressively attracting foreign space companies to base themselves in the tiny country and has become a major player in international space politics, pushing for special regulations around mining beyond our own planet.


1 - Quote of the Day

“We all have futures. We all have pasts. We all have stories. And we all, every single one of us, no matter who we are and no matter what's been taken from us or what poison we've internalized or how hard we've had to work to expel it -- we all get to dream.”

N.K. Jemisin

2 - Community Corner

What kind of possibilities could you see in space travel, short term or long term? Do the ultra-rich deserve to pioneer this next wave of space exploration? Share your thoughts by shooting us an email at!


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