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Sun, 01 Oct 2023
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US: Union Workers Replaced With Prison Labor Under Scott Walker's Collective Bargaining Law

While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it's helping a different group in Wisconsinites - inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.

As the Madison Capital Times reports, "Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a 'union-only' job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place." Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

Bad Guys

Psychopaths often lack insight into their nature: "Sexy Israel" gets treatment for flotilla nightmares and exposes her pathology in the process

(Update below: Actress is Israeli and appears to have been commissioned on Hasbara gig)

I'm somewhat of a fool for excruciatingly bad Hasbara videos, but this one surely takes the cake:


Journalism as a Weapon of War in Libya

© Unknown
Libyans rally in support of their leader
The truth has been turned on its head in Libya. NATO and the Libyan government are saying contradictory things. NATO says that the Libyan regime will fall in a matter of days, while the Libyan government says that the fighting in Misrata will end in about two weeks.

During the night the sound of NATO jets flying over Tripoli can be heard in the Mediterranean coastal city. Tripoli has not been bombed for a few days, but the sound of the flyovers have been numerous. The Atlantic Alliance deliberately picks the night as a means to disturb the sleep of residence in an attempt to spread fear. Small children in Libya have lost a lot of sleep during this war. This is part of the psychological war being waged. It is meant to break the spirit of Libya. This is all additional to the severing wound imposed on Libya through trickery and sedition.

In the same context, the media war against Libya has continued too. The Rixos Hotel in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, where the majority of the international press is located, is a nest of lies and warped narratives where foreign reporters are twisting realities, spinning events, and misreporting to justify the NATO war against Libya. Every report and news wire being sent out of Libya by international reporters has to carefully be cross-checked and analyzed. Foreign journalists have put words in the mouth of Libyans and are willfully blind. They have ignored the civilian deaths in Libya, the clear war crimes being perpetrated against the Libyan people, and the damage to civilian infrastructure, from hotels to docks and hospitals.

Arrow Down

Boat sinks off Sudan, 197 killed

"One hundred and ninety seven people from neighboring countries drowned in the Red Sea, inside Sudanese territorial waters, following the burning of a boat that was illegally transporting them to Saudi Arabia," Sudan Media Centre cited a Sudanese official as saying.

Sudanese authorities said only three people had been rescued, stating that efforts to find survivors were underway, AFP reported on Tuesday.

Four Yemenis who were thought to be the owners of the Cuban-flagged boat have been arrested in connection with the incident, officials said.

Sudanese authorities added they had foiled a people-trafficking plan that aimed at transferring 247 immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea, Chad, and Nigeria through Sudan's coastal region of Tokar.

Somali refugees, fleeing violence in their country, often try going to Saudi Arabia via the sea with the help of smugglers. Many end up first in the kingdom's poor southern neighbor Yemen which is closer to Somalia.


Strauss-Kahn case maid sues New York Post over prostitute allegation

© Allison Joyce/Reuters
Justice in the USA: a reporter holds up the front page of the New York Post on Saturday 2 July.
Newspaper and five of its journalists face lawsuit amid spate of leaks about alleged sexual attack

The hotel maid at the centre of the attempted rape case against the former head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is suing the New York Post for libel after the newspaper accused her of working as a prostitute.

The lawsuit was filed against the Post and five of its journalists after a stream of articles over the weekend that claimed she had engaged in sex work both in the Sofitel hotel where Strauss-Kahn had been staying at the time of the alleged assault and afterwards when the maid was under the protective care of New York police.

The legal action, reported by Reuters, says that "all of these statements are false, have subjected the plaintiff to humiliation, scorn and ridicule throughout the world by falsely portraying her as a prostitute or as a woman who trades her body for money and they constitute defamation and libel per se."

War Whore

President Obama's Political Sepulcher

Obama war is peace
© n/a
President Barack Obama's political sepulcher will be war. His extinguishment as a political comet could have been avoided if he had respected the exclusive constitutional responsibility of Congress to commence war.

To defeat fifty al Qaeda in Afghanistan, he has deployed tens of thousands of troops at an annual cost exceeding $120 billion to support a corrupt and tribal government devoid of popular legitimacy. President Hamid Karzai was elected with at least one million fraudulent votes. He is seeking to oust scores of parliamentarians to accommodate his own toadies. The signature of the now-failed Kabul Bank was a secret multi-million dollar, no document loan to political favorites of the Karzai administration. Justice is for sale.

President Obama has inflated the danger of al Qaeda manifold to justify his exorbitant fool's errand. If his troop to al Qaeda militant ratio in Afghanistan had been employed during World War II in fighting Germany and Japan, the United States would have deployed 3.5 billion military personnel abroad, vastly more than the entire United States population.


What a Drag...Iceland Considers Prescription-Only Cigarettes

Iceland banning
© Alamy
Iceland is considering banning the shop sale of cigarettes to help society 'wake up' to the dangers of smoking.
Tobacco bill proposes outlawing shop sales, with only doctors allowed to prescribe cigarettes to addicts unable to kick habit

Iceland is considering banning the sale of cigarettes and making them a prescription-only product.

The parliament in Reykjavik is to debate a proposal that would outlaw the sale of cigarettes in normal shops. Only pharmacies would be allowed to dispense them - initially to those aged 20 and up, and eventually only to those with a valid medical certificate.

The radical initiative is part of a 10-year plan that also aims to ban smoking in all public places, including pavements and parks, and in cars where children are present. Iceland also wants to follow Australia's lead by forcing tobacco manufacturers to sell cigarettes in plain, brown packaging plastered with health warnings rather than branding.

Evil Rays

Is Anyone Surprised? TSA Misled Public on Dangers of Airport Body Scanners

© screenshot from TSA video
A TSA employee looking at the images from an X-ray scanner at an American airport
Internal U.S. government documents show that the Transportation Security Administration, under the guidance of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, deliberately misled the public on the health risks associated with body-scanning devices.

Documents recently obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reportedly revealed that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been caught covering up a growing number of cases of cancer among TSA airport body scanner operators who conduct the screenings in close proximity to the radiation-emitting devices.

Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of EPIC, told 9News Now "We think that the Department of Homeland Security has not been forthcoming with the public about the true extent of radiation risk with the airport body scanners" after reviewing the documents. EPIC found evidence that the Department of Homeland Security failed to properly evaluate the level of risk from airport body scanners.

Some of the documents indicate that a large number of TSA workers have fallen victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease. TSA workers are concerned that they are being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation while they're conducting the screenings. Union representatives in Boston have cited rising cancer cases (PDF) in the TSA's workforce there and asked the agency to allow its members to wear radiation monitoring devices. To date, the TSA has refused requests for dosimeters.


US: Police State Unnecessary

© benfrank.net
In the near future the noise you hear in your outside trash container might not be that pesky raccoon or the neighbor's dog, but the FBI, looking for evidence to link you to some criminal or terrorist activity. That would be particularly true if you have had any contact knowingly or unknowingly, socially or otherwise with someone the bureau finds suspicious. If past experience is any guide, that could be nearly anyone.

According to recent news reports, officials of the national police force are preparing for another assault on our civil liberties. They are planning to give their agents more leeway to intrude into the lives of those they decide need further looking into by amending the domestic operations manual that sets out guidelines for conducting investigations. They would have enhanced ability to search not only household trash but also databases and could assign surveillance teams to scrutinize every aspect of American lives - shades of J. Edgar Hoover and his infamous Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

At the risk of overstating the case, that's just plain scary.

Link that with reports of a mysterious FBI investigation into the activities of peace advocates and politically active labor organizers, and the past is not only prologue, it never went away. The Washington Post reported that the probe involving raids on seven homes and the issuance of subpoenas for 23 people last fall has triggered a major protest at the Justice Department. The investigation apparently is examining possible material support for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated as terrorists, the newspaper said.

Star of David

Israel Bulldozes Palestinian House Near Bethlehem

© unknown
Israeli occupation forces demolished Tuesday a Palestinian house in Khirbet Biet Iskaria located in the south of Bethlehem.

Awad Abu Sawi, the Bethlehem director of the local Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said that an Israeli force escorted by three bulldozers raided the village and started the demotion after declaring the area as "a military closed zone".

The house owned by the Palestinian citizen, Mahmoud Saeed, was inhabited by 11 persons.

The house owner said that he was handed an Israeli demolition notice under the pretext of illegal construction, noting that several house in the same area are subjected to Israel's threat.

Stating that Israel used to demolish Palestinian homes in that area aiming at pushing them from their own land in order to expand its illegal settlements.

Residents are terrified of a series of demolitions as Israeli forces are still existing in the area.