Puppet MastersS

Snakes in Suits

Rep. Phil Gingrey: Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock are right about rape

Image
In an address to the Cobb County, GA Chamber of Commerce, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) told the assembled group that Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)'s remarks on rape were "partly right" and unfairly maligned by the U.S. media. According to the Marietta Daily Journal, the congressman believes that adrenaline can prevent pregnancies, and that women who are frightened during sex will not ovulate.

In his remarks, which largely centered around gun control, Gingrey veered into questions of the female reproductive system and its attendant mysteries, the magical power of women's bodies to block conception in cases of rape.

"Part of the reason the Dems still control the Senate is because of comments made in Missouri by Todd Akin and Indiana by Mourdock were considered a little bit over the top," he said. "Mourdock basically said 'Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that's still a child, and it's a child of God, essentially.' Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election."

USA

'Guantanamo creates deep wounds' - former detainees

Image
Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi
Guantanamo Bay is sending a very disturbing signal to the world as it legalizes torture, say former detainees. In an interview with RT they shared their painful memories and the feeling of guilt facing the innocent people imprisoned.

Former Guantanamo detainee, Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi, 52, is an Iraqi citizen who became a UK resident in 1980s. He was held in Guantanamo from 2002 to 2007. Al-Rawi argues that he was arrested by the Gambian National Intelligence Agency while on a business trip in Banjul Airport. He was then turned over to US authorities and transferred to Guantanamo Bay. He was held under suspicion of having links with Al-Qaeda.

Al-Rawi tells RT that he still feels guilt in front of those other prisoners who have been cleared off, but still remain in Guantanamo.

"I do not know why I was released and others were not, especially when you know that people who have been cleared still remain in Guantanamo. At the time when I was released I do not know whether I was cleared or not. And I think one cannot but feel uncomfortable and that guilt is lingering in you. Why am I out and they are still in there?"

"Dictators are pressing people, we all know that, but oppression from countries that have put themselves forward as the leaders of the free world, I think oppression from them should not be tolerated. The UK is my country, it is my home, but I think the government can do much more to help. The US needs to be reminded of the wrongs that it is committing."

Boat

Billion-dollar US nuclear sub comes off worst in Strait of Hormuz collision with 'fishing boat'

Image
USS Jacksonville (SSN-699)
The USS Jacksonville, a large nuclear submarine, has broken its periscope after colliding with a vessel which escaped unscathed. This is the latest collision to involve a US vessel in the busy and tense oil chokepoint of the Strait of Hormuz.

The American sub was performing a routine pre-dawn patrol when seamen heard a "thump", according to a Navy source who spoke to several news agencies.

The crew tried to ascertain the damage by looking into its periscope, only to realize it was no longer working. The other periscope on the submarine revealed that the first one had been "sheared off".

It appears the 'fishing trawler' that collided with the 7,000-tonne submarine was not only undamaged, but barely noticed the accident.

"The vessel continued on a consistent course and speed, offering no indication of distress or acknowledgement of a collision," says an official statement published on the US Navy website.

Authorities insist that USS Jacksonville is in no immediate danger.

Stop

2013 'year of war worldwide' - Russian analysts

Soldiers
© EPA
Analysts say at least 10 countries other than Syria are under threat of being turned into bloodbaths in 2013. This list of actual or potential hotspots includes five countries in Africa - Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Congo and Kenya - and several countries in the Greater Middle East.

The worst case is of course Syria.

Professor Pavel Zolotarev is Deputy Director of the United States and Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences:
"The plans by Western powers and their Arab allies to have the Assad regime quickly toppled have suffered complete frustration. This, together with a situation in which crisis developments in Europe and the US limit possibilities for direct outside intervention, makes the Syrian conflict an open-ended nightmare. Among other things, no one knows how the Syrian conflict is going to play out in the aspect of the West's ongoing nuclear dispute with Iran."
In Lebanon, it is already playing out. According to the Foreign Policy magazine, the Sunni-Shia conflict in Syria is drawing the Shias and Sunnis of Lebanon into its orbit.

Crusader

Prove you're gay or go home, Home Office tells Senegalese student

Image
© Photograph: GuardianMbengue's next hearing will take place on 5 March.
London student Tacko Mbengue says he will be persecuted if he is forced to return to his home country.

A gay student has been told to prove his sexuality or face deportation to his home country Senegal, where homosexuality is outlawed.

Serigne Tacko Mbengue, who studies at Newham College in east London, and is a LGBT campaigner for the NUS, fled to the UK in 2008 to escape homophobic persecution. But the 26-year-old is still going through the appeal process four years later because the Home Office doesn't believe he is gay.

Around 40 supporters turned up outside his hearing in London on Wednesday, only for the case to be adjourned for the second time in three months. It was rescheduled due to new evidence revealing physical and emotional scars from two attacks he suffered in Senegal because of his sexuality.

The west African state remains a dangerous place for homosexuals - anyone caught will face a prison sentence of up to five years.

Mbengue says: "I'm a very outspoken gay man. I'm not going back to Senegal. If I do, I will be a dead body."

Eye 2

Jimmy Savile scandal: Report reveals decades of abuse

Image
© Getty ImagesSexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile emerged after his death
Children as young as eight were abused by Jimmy Savile, a report detailing 50 years of allegations has revealed.

The Met Police and NSPCC outlined offences at 13 hospitals, including Great Ormond Street in London and Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds.

Some 214 crimes were recorded across 28 police force areas, including 34 of rape or penetration, the report said.

The CPS apologised for missing the opportunity to prosecute Savile in 2009, while he was still alive.

Police said the victims' accounts painted a "compelling picture of widespread sexual abuse by a predatory sex offender", and Cdr Peter Spindler, who is leading the investigation, said Savile had "groomed the nation".

And the NSPCC said Savile was one of the most prolific sex offenders in its 129-year history.

Dollar Gold

White House may consider funding for police in schools after Newtown

Image
Vice President Joe Biden says a consensus is emerging over proposals such as tightening background checks and banning high-capacity magazines. Biden says he will deliver recommendations to President Obama on steps to curb violence by Tuesday.
The Obama administration is considering funding many more police officers in public schools to secure campuses, a leading Democratic senator said, part of a broad gun violence agenda that is likely to include a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips and universal background checks.

The school safety initiative, one of several under consideration, would make federal dollars available to schools that want to hire police officers and install surveillance equipment, although it is not nearly as far-ranging as the National Rifle Association's proposal for armed guards in every U.S. school.

The idea is gaining currency among some Democratic lawmakers, who see it as a potential area of common ground with Republicans who otherwise oppose stricter restrictions on firearms. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat from California, said she presented the plan to Vice President Biden and that he was "very, very interested" and may include it in the policy recommendations he makes to President Obama.

"If a school district wants to have a community policing presence, I think it's very important they have it," Boxer said in an interview Thursday. "If they want uniformed officers, they can do it. If they want plainclothed officers, they can do it."

Sherlock

New York State Board of Elections has no investigators

Image
The state Board of Elections had one investigator to handle any abuse of campaign finance or election law. The investigator retired last year, and now there is none.

Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin confirmed today that the state hasn't allowed the department to hire a new investigator to uphold election law. At one point, the board had six investigators.

"We have not been allowed to hire anybody new," Conklin said. "If we need to have an investigation done, we would call upon State Police."

Gold Coins

When democracy Is trumped by the excesses of capitalism

Image
© Photo: Haymarket BooksRichard D. Wolff
"Ideas of economic democracy are very much in the air, as they should be, with increasing urgency in the midst of today's serious crises. Richard Wolff's constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable contribution in troubled times." - Noam Chomsky
In his new book, "Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism," Richard Wolff makes the compelling argument that modern capitalism has undermined democracy, replacing it with a plutocracy. All the props of a democracy remain intact - elections, legislatures, media - but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.

Truthout readers can get "Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism" free with a minimum contribution by clicking here.

The following excerpt is entitled "Private Capitalism and Democracy":

Gold Seal

Chris Hedges on gun rights, Obama's empire, and serious revolt

Abby Martin interviews Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Chris Hedges, about activism and journalism, Obama's presidency, the death of the liberal class and the second amendment.