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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Not Cuts in Food Stamps...

We Need Robin Hood

by LAURA FLANDERS

I saw a man dressed as Robin Hood on Halloween and I almost begged him to stay around.

We need Robin Hood and his merry band of wealth redistribution specialists not just on Halloween but every day, and this year in particular we need him on November 1.

That’s when $332 million in cuts to the food stamp or SNAP program go into effect. Three point one million low-wage workers, seniors, veterans and children are losing urgently needed aid.  And that’s just the cuts the President and Congress enacted in 2010. We need Robin Hood because Congress is talking about taking $39 billion more. And we need Robin because while 1.2 million poor children are going to be eating even less, 400 already rich Americans are enjoying even more.

Take a look at the Forbes 400 List. While the working poor have taken cut after cut, the richest Americans have seen their wealth double in the last ten years.

We need Robin Hood because between them those 400 are  worth just over $2 trillion dollars. That’s two thousand billion.  We only need the small change on that to stop those food stamp cuts. Robin Hood would know what to do.

He’d head over to Steve A Cohen. It says in the papers that he’s getting ready to sell some of his art collection at auction. Steve Cohen has no business selling art. He has no business being on the street. Steve Cohen should be in jail. Cohen heads up SAC Capital – a hedge fund. Six of his former employees have pleaded guilty to insider trading. The firm’s facing criminal and civil suits and fines and penalties but Cohen’s not even feeling it because he’s worth $9.4 billion dollars.

Steven Cohen could wake up tomorrow and restore those $332 million in cut food stamps    — and make it back by dinnertime selling Warhols.

Imbalance like this is too big a job for one man, even with a merry band. Luckily there is a way to keep Robin Hood around.

Nurses, AIDS activists and environmentalists were in Washington this week telling Congress how. What the super rich hedge funders need to be paying aren’t fines and penalties, but their fair share of taxes says National Nurses United co president RoseAnn DeMoro. A tiny tax on Wall Street trades could generate $350 billion: enough to restore the food stamp program and then some.

There’s already a bill in the House: The Inclusive Prosperity Act so how about it? We need you Robin Hood, and the Robin Hood Tax all year.

LAURA FLANDERS is the host and founder of GRITtv.org. Follow her on Twitter: @GRITlaura.