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Hypocrites: Saudis lament, 'we have been stabbed in the back by Obama'

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© NakedDC
Arabs don't trust Obama either.

As 2013 ends, President Obama has lost credibility with many people who trusted him at the start of the year. Thanks to the Healthcare.gov debacle, polls find support for the president among women and independents has dropped to the lowest ebb of his presidency. Obama's words -- promising Americans they could keep their doctors under his health care plan -- didn't match his deeds.

Surprisingly, the same thing is happening on the other side of the world among Arabs in the Middle East and for the same reason.

Too often, Obama's speeches and actions don't match.

"We are glad the Americans are here," said Ahmed al-Ibrahim, an adviser to some of Saudi Arabia's royals and officials, when I met with him recently, "but we fear that the president has lost credibility after Syria."

The Saudi official is referring to Obama's "red line" vow of military action if the Syrian dictator Bashir Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. Assad did and Obama didn't. Saudi officials were stunned.

Music

Google punishes Rap Genius website over its practices to improve search rankings

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© AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images
Google’s search engine
The website Rap Genius, which provides annotated lyrics for hip-hop songs, has been punished by Google after the tech giant said they violated rules while trying to improve their search rankings.

The site allows users to listen to songs, read lyrics and then click on lines that might be of interest. When clicking on those lines, a pop-up annotation will appear, explaining what the lyrics are about or what may have inspired them.

Target

The Chris Dorner enigma - what really happened and why

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© OilFreeFun.com
Finally unraveling one of the most bizarre and high-profile murder-fugitive stories in U.S. history

We are told that a terrorist is a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.

There is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus regarding the definition of the term "terrorism." Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of "terrorism." These difficulties arise from the fact that the term "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged. [From Wikipedia]
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© 21st Century Wire
According to the authorities, Christopher Jordan Dorner is a violent domestic terrorist.

Dorner, a former LAPD cop and honorably discharged Navy reservist, was accused of killing four people in February 2013 . The Police also claim Dorner is the author of numerous versions of a rage-filled "manifesto" where he vows to "bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in an LAPD uniform whether on or off duty." Later Dorner is quoted in the LA Times: "I don't want to hurt you, I just want to clear my name." Does this sound like something a violent domestic terrorist would say?

Where is the evidence that Dorner killed anyone?
  • A photo of .308 sniper rifle and a handgun that has not been connected to the murders.
  • Numerous versions of a manifesto written by someone with a 2nd amendment agenda rather than a policeman writing to expose police corruption and trying to clear his name.
Note there is absolutely no proof Dorner killed anyone especially Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence.

Vader

Fascist French government threatening to ban stand-up comedian from performing because the joke's on them

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The level of 'quenelle' a corrupt politician or mouthpiece of the state receives depends on the extent of the lies coming out of their mouth!
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced on Friday that he would try to legally ban performances by French comic and actor Dieudonné, who has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism.

Dieudonné is best known for televised sketch comedy and a one-man show in Paris, in which he professes staunch anti-Israel views that many say amount to hate speech. He has also downplayed the significance of the Holocaust, calling commemorations "memorial pornography".

"Despite a conviction for public defamation, hate speech and racial discrimination, Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala no longer seems to recognise any limits," a statement released by Valls read. "Consequently, the interior minister has decided to thoroughly examine all legal options that would allow a ban on Dieudonné's public gatherings, which no longer belong to the artistic domain, but rather amount to a public safety risk."

'Time to silence him'

Roger Cukierman, the president of CRIF, the main French Jewish lobby, applauded the decision in an interview with French television channel iTELE.

Comment: 'La quenelle' IS NOT AN ANTI-SEMITIC gesture! It's a gesture that Dieudonné started doing years ago in his comedy sketches. Awareness of it spread slowly but surely, catching the French elites completely off-guard because they thought Dieudonné was finished once they'd prevented his shows being broadcast on mainstream media. But this backfired when he became even more popular via the Internet!

'La quenelle' is a gesture made by ordinary people who are tired and disgusted by the elites at home AND by those in Israel.

Manuel Valls now wants to prevent Dieudonné from doing his comedy shows altogether because Valls CANNOT STAND the thought that the whole country is laughing at him!

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Valls got 'quenelled' this summer!
See also:

Is a new revolution quietly brewing in France?


Eye 1

China formally abolishes re-education labor camps

© lifeanditsbeauty
There are 350 “reeducation through labor” camps in China.
In a step toward rule of law, China's national legislature on Saturday voted to abolish a much-criticized penal system that allowed police to lock up people for up to four years without due process.

The standing committee of the National People's Congress adopted a resolution to abolish the re-education labor system, formalizing a November decision by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, according to the official Xinhua News Agency and the state-run China Central Television.

State media said all those serving time in the labor camps would be set free starting Saturday, but that the penalties handed out before the abolition would still be considered legitimate, a provision aimed at preventing the victims from suing the state and seeking redress.

Established to punish early critics of the Communist Party, the penal system was retooled to focus on petty criminals. In recent years, however, it had been used by local officials to deal with people challenging their authority on issues including land rights and corruption.

Comment: See: Big Hang and Tiger Bench: Women expose brutality of Chinese labor camp

Prisoners are subjected to 'the big hang' and 'the death bed' at China's notorious re-education labor camps


Popcorn

Chinese smarter than Americans: reject shipments of genetically modified corn

© Daniel Acker / Bloomberg
The U.S. is the world's largest corn exporter, and China is its No. 3 customer.
China rejected two shipments -- almost 546,000 tons -- of U.S. dried distillers' grain, a corn byproduct, because it contained genetically modified material, state media reported Friday.

China's top food-quality watchdog rejected the two shipments because they contained MIR162, a special insect-resistant variety of maize developed by Syngenta, a Swiss maker of seeds and pesticides.

The first shipment, 545,000 tons, was rejected last week in Shanghai, state media said. The second shipment, 758 tons, was rejected Monday.

MIR162 is not on the Chinese government's short list of approved grains considered genetically modified organisms, or GMO.

Still, Chinese consumers remain wary of GMO crops and some nationalist-leaning pundits have suggested the Western-dominated technology leaves China's food supply vulnerable.

The U.S. is the world's largest corn exporter and China is its No. 3 customer. The Asian nation is expected to buy a record 7 million tons of corn in the 2013-14 marketing year.

Chinese authorities said the shipments have been returned and are urging American officials to improve their "inspection procedures to ensure they comply with Chinese quality standards."

Bomb

Powerful explosion rocks downtown Beirut; former ambassador to U.S.and 4 others killed

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© Reuters
A powerful car bomb flung glass and heavy strips of metal across a wide intersection in downtown Beirut on Friday, killing a former cabinet minister and underscoring Lebanon's growing instability as it absorbs the impact of neighboring Syria's increasingly bloody civil war.

Mohamad Chatah, a senior aide to former prime minister Saad Hariri and a member of Lebanon's Future Movement party, was killed in the blast. Chatah, a Sunni Muslim, served as Hariri's finance minister and was Lebanon's ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 2000.

Chatah's assassination fueled fears that Lebanon may soon be forced to revisit its own civil war. The country has been unable to free itself from the sway of the Syrian conflict that is fast engulfing this turbulent region.

"You now have a Lebanon that will be engaged in a tit-for-tat to the extreme," said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center. "Whether that takes it into civil war, God only knows." But Chatah's killing marks "a dangerous forebear for how 2014 can unfold," he said.

At least four other people were killed in the explosion and 75 were injured, Lebanon's Health Ministry said. The blast, which shook the center of the capital around 9:40 a.m., ignited nearby cars and shattered the facades of high-end apartment and office buildings.

Minutes after the blast, the twisted wreckage of two cars - one of which soldiers said carried the bomb - sat smoking in pools of black water littered with pieces of human flesh. Glass and debris lay scattered across a nearly quarter-mile radius just blocks from Lebanon's parliament and government buildings.

Wolf

Feeding on suffering: Hospice firms draining billions from Medicare

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© Bob Miller/For The Washington Post
Chocolate Blount, 91, was discharged from hospice care in Monroeville, Alabama after his health improved.
Hospice patients are expected to die: The treatment focuses on providing comfort to the terminally ill, not finding a cure. To enroll a patient, two doctors certify a life expectancy of six months or less.

But over the past decade, the number of "hospice survivors" in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren't actually dying, a Washington Post investigation has found. Healthier patients are more profitable because they require fewer visits and stay enrolled longer.

The proportion of patients who were discharged alive from hospice care rose about 50 percent between 2002 and 2012, according to a Post analysis of more than 1 million hospice patients' records over 11 years in California, a state that makes public detailed descriptions and that, by virtue of its size, offers a portrait of the industry.

The average length of a stay in hospice care also jumped substantially over that time, in California and nationally, according to the analysis. Profit per patient quintupled, to $1,975, California records show.

This vast growth took place as the hospice "movement," once led by religious and community organizations, was evolving into a $17 billion industry dominated by for-profit companies. Much of that is paid for by the U.S. government - roughly $15 billion of industry revenue came from Medicare last year.

USA

Noam Chomsky: We're no longer a functioning democracy, we're really a plutocracy

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The world faces two potentially existential threats, according to the linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky.

"There are two major dark shadows that hover over everything, and they're getting more and more serious," Chomsky said. "The one is the continuing threat of nuclear war that has not ended. It's very serious, and another is the crisis of ecological, environmental catastrophe, which is getting more and more serious."

Chomsky appeared Friday on the last episode of NPR's "Smiley and West" program to discuss his education, his views on current affairs and how he manages to spread his message without much help from the mainstream media.

He told the hosts that the world was racing toward an environmental disaster with potentially lethal consequence, which the world's most developed nations were doing nothing to prevent - and in fact were speeding up the process.

"If there ever is future historians, they're going to look back at this period of history with some astonishment," Chomsky said. "The danger, the threat, is evident to anyone who has eyes open and pays attention at all to the scientific literature, and there are attempts to retard it, there are also at the other end attempts to accelerate the disaster, and if you look who's involved it's pretty shocking."

Megaphone

Edward Snowden is wrong: His mission has not been accomplished.

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© Barton Gellman for The Washington Post
Edward Snowden photographed in Moscow, Russia December, 2013.
"For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," former NSA contractor Edward Snowden told my Washington Post colleague Barton Gellman in Moscow this month. Snowden went on to explain that he had "already won" because the journalists working from the documents he secreted away from the NSA are giving the public a chance to weigh in on surveillance policies.

But while it's not quite flight-suit level deception, calling the current state of affairs mission accomplished is a significant change in the scope of Snowden's ambitions compared to when he first stepped forward as the source of the NSA documents. In a video interview with the Guardian released shortly after he stepped out of the shadows, he espoused many of the same hopes about the public having input on the secret machinations of intelligence agencies. But he also gave a much more lofty goal: substantive policy change.
The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. People will see in the media all of these disclosures. They'll know the lengths that the government is going to grant themselves powers unilaterally to create greater control over American society and global society. But they won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interests.

And the months ahead, the years ahead it's only going to get worse until eventually there will be a time where policies will change because the only thing that restricts the activities of the surveillance state are policy.