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The Reign of the Psychopaths

psycho w/ knife
© n/a
One of the key traits of psychopathic personality disorder is a near-total absence of empathy. To the psychopath, other people exist as mere objects, to be used and discarded at the psychopath's whim.

"I had to beat my mother with that baseball bat," claims the typical psychopath. "She wouldn't give me her pension check, and I needed it to buy more beer."

Such statements are made without irony or sarcasm, since the psychopath literally cannot imagine that other human beings might have needs distinct from his own.

While watching events unfold these past weeks in Egypt, it became apparent to me that the United States is suffering from a foreign policy malady frighteningly analogous to psychopathic personality disorder.

On one hand, the history of the Mubarak regime is well-documented. For decades, the Egyptian people have lived in grinding poverty - on less than $2 per day, by some estimates - while Mubarak and his family have amassed vast fortunes. The Egyptian government routinely uses torture against its political opponents and denies the people even basic freedoms. Election fraud, censorship, and police brutality are realities of everyday Egyptian life.

That the Egyptian people have rebelled against such a regime should come as no surprise. And one would expect that the American government - itself the creation of a revolution against an authoritarian monarchy - would support their cause, at least morally if not materially.


Ruppert and Hopsicker Co-Opting the 9-11 Truth Movement Or Exposing the Big Con - Lies and Disinformation At The End Of Civilisation As We Know It

© Unknown
Michael C. Ruppert

Febuary 7 2005: In looking at the best known "big names" among those individuals allegedly attempting to uncover the truth about 9-11, high up on the list (at the moment anyway) we find Mike Ruppert of 'From the Wilderness'.

Ruppert has been making alternative news headlines for the past few months over two issues: the flack he has been taking, and giving, in a war of words with several high profile 9-11 investigators, and the issue of "Peak Oil". Quite often the two controversies are related.

Light Sabers

Mubarak Steps Down as President, Army Takes Over!

© Al-Jazeera screengrab

Crowds in Cairo Erupt Into Cheers: 'Egypt is Free'

Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak abruptly stepped down as president, ending his 30-year-rein, and Egyptian armed forces will take over the leadership of the country, vice president Omar Suleiman announced today.

Crowds gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted into loud cheers, chanting "Egypt is free," as the historic announcement was made.

"My fellow citizens. In this difficult time that the country is going through, the president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the Supreme military council has taken control of the state's affairs. May God protect us," Suleiman announced on national TV.


Mubarak Leaves Cairo for Sharm el-Sheikh as Protesters Keep Up Pressure

Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak left the presidential palace in Cairo today but remains in Egypt, sources told ABC News, as protesters kept the pressure on the government to force Mubarak out of office.

Sources tell ABC News that the 82-year-old president has gone to an estate he owns in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town on the Red Sea about 250 miles from the protests in Cairo. Mubarak told ABC News last week he may eventually retire to the resort town, but vowed never to leave Egypt.

A senior Egyptian official told ABC News Mubarak's departure from the palace was intended to be symbolic, as well a visual withdrawal from the political process after having handed over most of his authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman. But the move does not preclude him from returning or inhibit his ability to oversee constitutional amendments, the official said.


Egypt emergency law 'to be lifted'

© Agence France-Presse
Defence Minister Tantawi visited Tahrir Square, the focal point for the protests, last week
Egyptian military leaders have pledged that the country's emergency law will be lifted, but only "as soon as current circumstances end".

The promise was made as part of the Armed Forces Supreme Council's response to the mass protests which are intensifying after President Hosni Mubarak's latest refusal to step down.

In a statement read out on national television, the army leaders also pledged to support work towards peaceful transition of power, in the light of Mubarak handing over some powers to Omar Suleiman, the vice-president.

The third point made was that "the honest men who called for an end to corruption and for reform" will not be prosecuted.

The army generals also called for a return to normal life in the country, as thousands of protesters streamed into Cairo's central Tahrir Square.

Hussein Tantawi, the chief commander and defence minister, chaired Friday's meeting.


US Congressman Ron Paul: Classified Cable Proves US Ok'd Saddam's Kuwait Invasion


Ron Paul
How the 20-year war started another "wild conspiracy theory" proven true...

VT Editor's note: Though Ron Paul totally sidesteps his previous statements on 9/11 and the role of Israel and its friends in both conflicts, choosing instead to push blame on to the Republican party and a cabal of oil companies, there are telling facts to be gleaned from the Wikileak cable meant to discredit the United States. When a reasonable and acute thinker quickly comes to the conclusion that the influence of Israel is far greater in Washington than any oil company and the rationale for targeting Iraq served only the strategic interests of Israeli expansionism and was not, in any way, related to accessing oil openly available on the world market, we can escape the artifices of Mr. Assange and his handlers along with the "soft soap" of Ron Paul and his "kow-tow" to AIPAC.


IMF boss calls for global currency

© Larry Downing/REUTERS
IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn thinks the fund's Special Drawing Rights could be used as a global currency. Surprise!
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has called for a new world currency that would challenge the dominance of the dollar and help curb future financial instability.

In a speech in Washington, Strauss-Kahn argued that the reserves that member countries held with the fund could be used, instead of the dollar, to price international trade. These so-called special drawing rights (SDRs) could also act as an alternative to the dollar in central banks' foreign currency reserves.

"Using the SDR to price global trade and denominate financial assets would provide a buffer from exchange rate volatility," he said, while "issuing SDR-denominated bonds could create a potentially new class of reserve assets".

The IMF published a policy paper backing Strauss-Kahn's views as it gathered top-level economists for discussions on the future of the international monetary system.

Strauss-Kahn, who has been tipped as a contender for the French presidency next year, also argued that the way SDRs were valued, which is currently based on a basket of currencies - the dollar, sterling, the euro and the yen - be broadened to include others such as the Chinese yuan.


(Virtually) Face to Face: How Aaron Barr Revealed Himself to Anonymous

© ArsTechnica
Stian Elkeland

Aaron Barr, CEO of security company HBGary Federal, spent the month of January trying to uncover the real identifies of the hacker collective Anonymous - only to end with his company website knocked offline, his e-mails stolen, 1TB of backups deleted, and his personal iPad wiped when Anonymous found out.

Our lengthy investigation of that story generated such interest that we wanted to flesh out one compelling facet of the story in even more detail. In a sea of technical jargon, social media analysis, and digital detective work, it stands out as a truly human moment, when Barr revealed himself to Anonymous and dialogued directly with senior leaders and "members" of the group.

The encounter began on February 5. Barr had managed to get his work written up in a Financial Times story the day before, and now strange traffic was pouring in to HBGary Federal. With his research done and his story in print, Barr needed only to work up some conference slides and prepare for a meeting with the FBI, which had been tracking Anonymous for some time. So Barr ditched the covert identities he had been using to watch the group, and on February 5 he approached a person on Facebook whom he believed was the powerful CommanderX.


IMF calls for dollar alternative

New York -- The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
dollar graph

The IMF said Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, could help stabilize the global financial system.

SDRs represent potential claims on the currencies of IMF members. They were created by the IMF in 1969 and can be converted into whatever currency a borrower requires at exchange rates based on a weighted basket of international currencies. The IMF typically lends countries funds denominated in SDRs

Bad Guys

House passes Patriot Act rule, clears way for passage

patriot act
© Robert W. Thompson 2008

The House passed a rule Thursday setting up a second vote to extend Patriot Act surveillance authorities until Dec. 8.

The new rule clears the way for the legislation to be passed by just a simple majority, after the same bill failed to win a two-thirds majority under a suspension of House rules earlier in the week.

In the suspension vote, more than two dozen Republicans bucked their leadership and joined Democrats to sink the extension.

In floor debate preceding Thursday's vote on the rule, Democrats jabbed Republicans for dropping the first vote and protested the "closed rule" for the second vote, which prevents amendments.

Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) said Republicans were practicing "unique trickery" by calling the bill back for a second vote.

"We have a right to have a voice and that voice has already been expressed," said Lee. "What more needs to be said?"

Some Democrats said they would have proposed an amendment that extended the law for only 60 days. But in many ways the floor discussion mirrored the debate earlier in the week.