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Nicaragua scraps term limits: socialist Ortega to be in power indefinitely

Ortega
Daniel Ortega hugs Evo Morales before the march of the torches in celebration of the 161th birth anniversary of Jose Marti in Havana
Nicaragua's national assembly on Tuesday voted to scrap presidential term limits, which could allow socialist President Daniel Ortega to remain in power indefinitely and has stoked concerns about democracy in the Central American country.

Lawmakers must still formally sign off on the details of the bill, likely in a vote on Wednesday, which will make the impoverished country the latest in a string of Latin American nations from Bolivia to Ecuador to give presidents power extending beyond their traditional limits.

Comment: For a president who created a socialist bank to free his country - and other Latin American neighbors - from the greedy jaws of capitalistic U.S.A., a bank that gives loans without conditions, we say: Why not?


USA

Best of the Web: Confessions beaten out of 'suspects', executions by the hundreds... How different is justice in today's Iraq from the era of Saddam?

The presumption of guilt is just one of Saddam's creation that has outlived the dictator
terror confessions
Saddam is Dead! Long live Saddam! And glancing through the grisly list of executions which the new, free, democratic, American-constructed Iraq has carried out - about 500 all told, and rising - Saddamism is flourishing in the land of the two rivers. Last year alone, 1,200 men and women were on death row, most of them sentenced after the usual pre-trial confessions under torture. In fact their court appearances were preceded, in many cases, by television interviews in which they admitted to their "crimes". And sure enough, another 26 "terrorists" were executed in Baghdad last week as the country's Shia Muslim prime minister tried to smother the Sunni revolt against him.

USA

SOTT Focus: Collective Delusional Processes in U.S. Society

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It was Andrew Lobaczewski, author of Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes, who first presented the concept that, throughout history, pathological personalities have taken over societies and caused unimaginable destruction. Needless wars have caused untold millions of needless deaths and trillions of dollars in destruction. He characterized this process as political and macro-social evil in a scientifically measurable way.

Lobaczewski presented a process that begins with visionaries whose ideas are corrupted by a cascade of personalities, all deficient in character, ending in psychopaths taking the helm and guiding the society to war, destruction, and eventual collapse. Most of us think of psychopaths as being mostly criminals who end up in jail, but Lobaczewski shows that they actually are capable of leading us, at least when they are born into privilege.

Lobaczewski also describes how the rest of society largely goes along with this, and this is the subject of this article.

Brick Wall

U.K. 'gagging law' is passed

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© 38 Degrees
Despite a massive campaign of resistance, the Tories managed to pass what has become commonly known as "the gagging bill". I prefer to refer to it as "The Protection of Corporate Lobbying and Silencing of Legitimate Debate bill" because that is precisely what it is. The mainstream corporate press have played along with the government by continually referring to it as the "lobbying bill", despite the fact that the majority of the lobbying industry will remain entirely unaffected by it. Essentially the bill protects in-house corporate lobbying operations from any kind of official scrutiny, meaning that a cloak of secrecy will still shroud their influence upon our politicians.

The fact that the so-called "lobbying bill" does so little to regulate the activities of corporate lobbyists isn't even the worst of it. The truly appalling part is the extensive second section of the bill which is clearly designed to silence critics of the government such as charities, voluntary organisations, protest groups, trade unions and religions (which despite the bile from the obnoxious anti-theist ranter brigade, have done much good work in promoting social justice).

Briefcase

British government claims poverty in response to EU criticism of its 'manifestly inadequate' social welfare payments to unemployed

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The only constituents who matter in the UK... in the background, London's financial district.
Eurocrats sparked fury last night by ordering the UK to double dole payments.

The Council of Europe claims the handouts given to Britain's jobless are 'manifestly inadequate'.

Ministers have been told they are in violation of the European Social Charter - potentially opening the door for claimants to take the Government to court to get more money.

But ministers say obeying the diktat from the Council, which oversees the controversial European Court of Human Rights, would cost the UK billions of pounds and plunge efforts to reduce the deficit into chaos.

To comply, Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) would have to be hiked by £71, from £67 to £138 a week.

Last night Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused the Council of Europe of 'lunacy'.

Eye 1

US congressman Michael Grimm threatens journalist: 'I'll break you in half like a boy' - video

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Maybe an anger management course or two?
US congressman Michael Grimm threatens to throw a journalist off a balcony after being asked about campaign finance allegations on Tuesday. The Republican, who represents Staten Island in New York, is answering questions from NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto. But when Scotto asks him about the arrest this month of one of his fundraisers, Grimm storms off, then returns and threatens Scotto


Dollars

The 10 worst and 10 best States for taxes in 2014

San francisco
© Wikimedia Commons
The 10 Worst States for Taxes in 2014

For upper middle income earners, high net-worth individuals, retirees, and certainly the "one percent" - where you live can make a huge difference in how much of your money you get to keep at the end of the year and how much you need to fork over to your state.

To help individuals and businesses make an informed choice, the Tax Foundation collects data on more than 100 tax provisions for each state and then ranks them to create its annual State Business Tax Climate Index. The 10 worst states on the list all levy complex, non-neutral taxes that favor some economic activities over others and have comparatively high individual and corporate tax rates.

Stormtrooper

Following the Nazi Model: British elites move to ban parents from smoking in their own vehicles - homes next

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'Ma'am, please step out of the vehicle'... The fascist net closes in.
Smoking in a car that is carrying children could be banned within days after the Lords threw its weight behind a controversial plan to outlaw the practice.

Peers last night unexpectedly backed the Labour move, which would give ministers the power to make it a criminal offence in England, punishable by a fine or points on a motorist's licence.

The Government had argued this would be very difficult to enforce, and might risk infringing on civil liberties. They favour an awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of smoking around children.

But Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Labour health spokesman, persuaded colleagues it was a matter of child protection and crucial for the future.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, a former president of the Royal Society of Medicine, said: 'A child in the back seat is effectively imprisoned in the vehicle for their own safety. Whatever adults do they have no control over.'

Vader

US military: cult of abusive leaders

US Military
The Pentagon has begun investigations of American generals and admirals accused of emotionally brutal behavior, a report says.

The affliction of abusive leadership has recently even infected some civilian leaders at the Pentagon, according to military documents obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.

As an example, according to the paper, Army officers described the working atmosphere under Joyce E. Morrow, a powerful civilian official at Army headquarters, as "toxic," corrosive" and "like you were in a prisoner of war camp."

Cheese

Apocalypse France: What is really happening in the land of cheese and wine

Most of the world is not aware of what is going on in France at this moment. This brief video presents a concise picture: