THE FIRST CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT RELATING TO THE BP GULF OIL SPILL DISASTER ARE BROUGHT AGAINST…A LOW-LEVEL ENGINEER?!?
The good news? After more than two years, the Justice Department has finally filed the first set of criminal charges in BP’s catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oli spill, the worst single environmental disaster in American history. And the bad news? The charges target a relatively middling engineer and merely charge him with destroying evidence. The DOJ’s decision means top level executives at one of the world’s largest and profitable oil companies that was at the center of environmental calamity and the public relations cover-up that sought to deny the extent of damage done by BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig remain free, their records unblemished, and their company already resuming full drilling operations in the Gulf.
The timeline for a potentially indefinite extension of an American military role in Afghanistan was laid out in the latest strategic agreement between the two countries. The year 2014 was reaffirmed as the date all U.S. troops will withdraw and end combat operations, but U.S. government officials confirmed that language in the pact means that American military forces would be allowed to “aid” the Afghan government in keeping the country secure for at least another decade after that. According to the officially language written out by the Obama administration, the United States can use “military means” to “defend” Afghanistan through 2024. Also set to remain in Afghanistan are an undetermined number of American military personnel as “trainers” helping Afghan security forces. Such a scenario is reminiscent of the war in Iraq, where the end of “combat operations” quickly transitioned to a years-long pseudo-occupation with tens of thousands of troops meant to “train” Iraqis, a situation only remedied when the government of Iraq kicked out all U.S. troops.
SUCCESS OF EUROPE’S RESURGENT LEFT WILL “BE THE END OF IMPOSING AUSTERITY EVERYWHERE, THE END OF AUSTERITY THAT HAS BROUGHT DESPERATION TO PEOPLE THROUGHOUT EUROPE.“
The austerity agenda is coming apart at the seams across Europe, and is bringing down the political establishment throughout the continent. With populations increasingly discontent with budget slashing measures imposed by centrists and bankers that have catastrophically failed to restore fiscal order in Europe, political chaos is raging as the Old World convulses against austerity. Elections in France this week saw President Nicolas Sarkozy, a member of the political core calling for even stricter austerity programs for Europe, sharply rebuked by voters solely over austerity and virtually run out of office against a Socialist rival whom he will face in a May runoff election. Also reeling is the government of the Netherlands, moved to outright collapse by public and political backlash over plans to deal with the nation’s mounting debt crisis.
The undisputed king of retailing nationwide and arguably throughout the world, Wal-Mart has gone to considerable lengths in protecting its image as a “wholesome” American company, even as controversies ranging from unfair labor practices to environmental negligence have cropped up to challenge their dominance. But now the business known for good deals may be inextricably linked with unseemly cash favors. Nothing poses as grave a threat to both the moral character and company bottom line at Wal-Mart as mounting allegations of rampant bribery of government officials in Mexico by its Mexican subsidiary and a massive cover-up by executives in the United States, including it’s former CEO. The retailing giant is now the source of a Justice Department investigation into potential violation of U.S. laws pertaining to American-based corporations paying foreign governments for business advantages.
Up to 30 centers to treat and assist rape victims across the state of Florida are in jeopardy after Republican Gov. Rick Scott “stunned” observers by wielding his line-item veto against a little over $1 million appropriated by lawmakers to keep the centers functioning. Scott’s decision to veto funding for centers run by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence is all the more notable given that this April is “Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” an important time that activists use to highlight the growing trend of sexual violence in Florida. After the down economy eliminated most funds to keep the rape crisis centers open, state lawmakers in Tallahassee produced a bipartisan solution — sponsored by two Republicans — that would provide emergency financial aid. The governor saw differently, lumping in the state funds with a slew of controversial health care vetoes of programs that Scott said did not “serve a statewide need.”
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