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Talks Turn to Strauss-Kahn Successor

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
© unknown
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Finance ministers sought to bolster confidence in the International Monetary Fund as they began discussing a successor to Managing Director Dominique Strauss- Kahn, who was jailed on charges including attempted rape.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he is "absolutely confident" the IMF will "carry on with its business" under Acting Managing Director John Lipsky. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the 187-member lender to governments is "solid." Kaoru Yosano, Japan's economy minister, said the flap won't compromise the fund's mission.

Germany and Belgium said they prefer another European as head of the agency, responding to a push by developing countries to throw open its leadership. There are "good reasons" for Europe to keep the post amid the euro area's debt crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin. A European has always run the lender, which has helped bail out Portugal, Greece and Ireland, while an American heads the World Bank.

The IMF's executive board, meeting in Washington, agreed to seek contact with Strauss-Kahn about his intentions, according to an official briefed on the deliberations. Strauss-Kahn, a 62-year-old former French finance minister accused of sexually sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper, was sent to New York's Riker's Island prison yesterday after being denied bail.

Eye 2

Professor Koch's Psychopathy 101 Class

american psycho
© Unknown
Just a couple of days ago I was mentioning to someone how Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho inadvertently turned out to be the single best chronicle of the entire ethos of the 1980s. What was initially repudiated as relentlessly ugly, hyper-violent nihilism has, in hindsight, taken on a strange air of both sly subversiveness and surprising prescience. What makes American Psycho so subversive is that it imagined soulless consumption and craven materialism taken to its seemingly inevitable conclusion. Patrick Bateman was what you would get if you removed all societal and moral restraint and left only the gooey center buried deep within our rapidly dissolving culture. What makes it prescient, however, is that it imagined a Wall Street populated by indifferent monsters willing to literally kill to get what they want.

True, the barons and minions of today's Wall Street don't connect car batteries to people's genitals or scoop out their eyes with pen knives (as far as we know). But if you've ever seen the documentary The Smartest Guys in the Room, about the rise and fall of Enron, and listened to recordings of commodities traders laughing to each other at the prospect of the elderly going broke and California burning up as they strangle the state's power supply in the name of huge profits, you know that there are more subtle forms of sadism.

I bring this up because another conversation I had this past weekend was with a friend of mine who represents Howard Dean's group "Democracy for America" and she was rightfully complaining about the need for our nation's MBA programs to begin putting more emphasis on business ethics. And two days ago the St. Petersburg Times highlighted how one business school, Florida State University's, is coming under fire for a move that could very well be in exactly the opposite direction.

Attention

Trump for President? You're Out, He Tells Himself

Donald Trump
© The Associated Press / Jim Cole
In this May 11, 2011 file photo, possible 2012 presidential hopeful, Republican Donald Trump speaks during a luncheon with the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce in Nashua, N.H. Trump announced, Monday, May 16, 2011 that he won't seek the Republican nomination.
Donald Trump to self: You're fired.

Out of the presidential race before he was officially in it, the celebrity real estate mogul announced Monday he would not seek the 2012 Republican nomination. He could have won the White House, he said, but instead will continue to steer his business empire and remain host of his reality show Celebrity Apprentice.

The announcement, ending a colorful and attention-grabbing chapter in the unfolding GOP nominating race, surprised some strategists who said Trump had been assembling a campaign team and had been expected to announce his candidacy soon. This spring, Trump had gained considerable attention by stirring renewed controversy over President Barack Obama's Hawaii birth, leading the White House to persuade the state to release a copy of Obama's long-form birth certificate after two years of dismissing the issue.

Trump revealed his decision Monday at a meeting of advertising executives who had come to learn about NBC's fall television lineup. The network had been pressing him for a decision, fearing the loss of millions of dollars in ad revenue if Celebrity Apprentice didn't return next year.

"I will not be running for president as much as I'd like to," Trump said to cheers from the audience.

Light Saber

U.N. blames Haitian victims in cholera epidemic

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© Discovery News
Dec. 08, 2010 - Haitians await treatment for cholera after an outbreak of the deadly disease has spread across the country. A new report links the particular strain of cholera to a Nepalese U.N. camp
Nearly 5,000 Haitians have died from cholera since October 22, with another 300,000 made ill by the disease. As the spring rainy season begins in Haiti, the number of new cholera cases is ballooning.

The leading medical journal, The Lancet, recently predicted that there would be nearly 800,000 cases of cholera and 11,000 deaths this year by the end of November. (Thelancet.com, March 16)

On May 4, the United Nations put out a 32-page, "Final Report of the Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti," carefully claiming that a "confluence of circumstances" - which is not the fault of any group or individual - was responsible for the fast-moving outbreak (un.org)

However, cholera had not been known in Haiti for more than a century. This outbreak began near the Mirebalais garrison of Minustah, the U.N. occupation forces, which have been in Haiti since 2004. They replaced U.S., French and Canadian troops who were sent there after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped earlier that year.

Comment: Whether human, Corporate or Governmental, the twisted acts of the pathological are always to blame the victim.


Star of David

Israel to complain to UN over Syria, Lebanon following Nakba Day clashes

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© Reuters
The United Nations Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York on April 16, 2010.
Complaint against Syria and Lebanon's 'violation of international law' follows similar Lebanese complaint to UN against Israel.

The Israeli delegation to the United Nations announced Monday that it will file a complaint to the UN Security Council against Syria and Lebanon regarding Sunday's Nakba Day border clashes, Army Radio reported.

Israel said it wants to file a complaint against Syria and Lebanon for violating international law and violating UN Security Council resolutions when Nakba Day protesters from Syria and Lebanon clashed with IDF forces and infiltrated into Israel.

Earlier, the Lebanese delegation to the UN filed a complaint against Israel after the Lebanese army said that 10 people were killed and 112 were wounded in Maroun a-Ras when IDF troops opened fire on demonstrators trying to cross the border.

Propaganda

Propaganda Alert! Ex-Afghan Spy Chief: I Knew Where bin Laden Was

Amrullah Saleh
© unknown
Amrullah Saleh
Afghanistan's former intelligence chief says he knew Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan four years ago, but Pakistan's leaders rejected his claims.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes, Amrullah Saleh says Afghan intelligence thought bin Laden was in the Pakistani city of Mansehra - about 12 miles away from Abbottabad, where the terrorist leader was eventually found and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs.

Saleh has become a prominent critic of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's efforts to start peace talks with the Taliban. He says Pakistan should be recognized by the United States as "a hostile country."

He told CBS: "They take your money. They do not co-operate. They created the Taliban. They are number one in nuclear proliferation."

Megaphone

Palestinian Border Protests: The Arab Spring Model for Confronting Israel

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© Reuters / Suhaib Salem
Erez Crossing, northern Gaza Strip Palestinians shout slogans during a protest, May 15, 2011.
After more than 100 Palestinians breached Israel's border with Syria on Sunday, knocking down a fence and striding into a village in the Golan Heights, overmatched Israeli security forces scrambled to glean what they could from the protesters who had just, without so much as a sidearm, penetrated farther into the country than any army in a generation.

Under close questioning, the infiltrators closed the intelligence gap with a shrug and one word: Facebook. The operation that had caught Israel's vaunted military and intelligence complex flat-footed was announced, nursed and triggered on the social networking site that has figured in every uprising around the Arab World - and is helping young Palestinians change the terms of their fight against Israel.

The headlines Sunday were all about the violence of the day: at least four people were shot dead by Israeli forces on the Syrian fence line, and as many as 10 were killed either by Israeli or Lebanese army gunfire at a similar demonstration on the nearby frontier with southern Lebanon. The death toll, along with the accounts of stone-throwing and tear gas, comport with the familiar narrative of the conflict, one constructed over years of Israel describing efforts to defend itself. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu encouraged that narrative on Sunday, arguing that the protesters were undermining the very existence of the State of Israel.

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© Uriel Sinai / Getty Images
Palestinians burn tires and throw stones during clashes, May 15, 2011.

Che Guevara

Israel's Frontiers Sizzle with Violence on Historic Day

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© unknown
A turbulent and deadly weekend has given considerable impetus to Palestinians' drive for statehood.

Emboldened by Arab uprisings across the region, young Palestinians triggered widespread clashes at several Israeli border posts Sunday, making this May 15 - the day Palestinians mourn as the catastrophe when their people fled from the nascent state of Israel - as a day unlike any other.

"There's never been a Nakba Day like this," said an experienced Palestinian observer, referring to the event by its Arabic name.

Israel's frontiers sizzled with confrontation as never before during peace time; from Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, where a couple thousand very young people, including young women, attacked the Israeli checkpoint; to Gaza, where hundreds of Palestinians were shelled by Israeli tanks as they attempted to march on the Erez border crossing; to Lebanon, where Palestinian refugees stormed the Israeli border fence and as many as 10 people were shot dead.

Star of David

BREAKING NEWS: Israel Attacks Humanitarian Ship to Gaza in International Waters

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© Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF)
Global Research has been in contact with the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, a Malaysian ship carrying a humanitarian aid cargo to Gaza, which has been attacked in international waters by Israel.

The vessel left the Port of Piraeus, Greece on Wednesday, May 11 carrying 7.5 kilometers of UPVC (plastic) sewage pipes to help restore the devastated sewerage system in Gaza. The humanitarian initiative is sponsored by Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) and participating in this mission includes anti-war activists and journalists, consisting of 7 Malaysians, 2 Irish, 2 Indians and 1 Canadian.

The Spirit of Rachel Corrie is an initiative of The Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) chaired by Malaysia's former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) (Global Research) is also participating in this mission.

Wolf

IMF Chief Allegedly Sexually Assaulted A Journalist In 2002

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© AP
MF chief and potential French presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn was just arrested for allegedly assaulting a hotel maid.

This is far from the first sexual allegation concerning "DSK", as he is known. Relatively well known is the story of his affair with an IMF subordinate in 2008.

But perhaps the most serious one, especially in light of what just happened, is the allegation that he tried to rape, or at least sexually assault, a French journalist, Tristane Banon, in 2002, and then covered it up.

The story comes via the French online citizen media Agora Vox.

Comment: From The Guardian:
Banon's mother, Anne Mansouret, told journalists on Sunday night she had dissuaded her daughter from legal action because she believed Strauss-Kahn's behaviour had been out of character and because of close links with his family. "Today I am sorry to have discouraged my daughter from complaining. I bear a heavy responsibility," she said.

She said Strauss-Kahn was "an otherwise warm, sympathetic and extremely talented man", but the attack left her daughter depressed and traumatised. "My daughter, despite the passing years, is still shocked by these facts. Her life was completely upset by this affair and she was depressed for a long time." She added that it was clear Strauss-Kahn had "difficulty controlling his urges". She said: "I'm not a doctor or psychiatrist, but there is something violent in this predatory move."