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Fri, 10 Jul 2020
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Bankers are the Dictators of the West

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Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" - the Middle East - I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.

But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" - in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East - and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and - up to a point - Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world. The truth is somewhat different. What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.

Handcuffs

US: A Dangerous Woman - Indefinite Detention at Carswell

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Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. A bill moving through Congress, authorizing the military to imprison American citizens indefinitely, without a trial or hearing, ranks right at the top of that list.

I know - I lived through it on the Patriot Act. When Congress decided to squelch the truth about the CIA's advance warnings about 9/11 and the existence of a comprehensive peace option with Iraq, as the CIA's chief Asset covering Iraq, I became an overnight threat. To protect their cover-up scheme, I got locked in federal prison inside Carswell Air Force Base, while the Justice Department battled to detain me "indefinitely" up to 10 years, without a hearing or guilty plea. Worst yet, they demanded the right to forcibly drug me with Haldol, Ativan and Prozac, in a violent effort to chemically lobotomize the truth about 9/11 and Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence.

Critically, because my legal case was controlled by civilian Courts, my Defense had a forum to fight back. The Judge was an independent arbiter. And that made all the difference. If this law on military detentions had been active, my situation would have been hopeless. The Patriot Act was bad enough. Mercifully, Chief Justice Michael B. Mukasey is a preeminent legal scholar who recognized the greater impact of my case. Even so, he faced a terrible choice - declaring me "incompetent to stand trial," so my case could be killed - or creating dangerous legal precedents tied to secret charges, secret evidence, secret grand jury testimony and indefinite detention - from the Patriot Act's arsenal of weapons against truth tellers - that would impact all defendants in the U.S. Courts.

Mail

U.S. Postal Service Puts 5-month Pause on Closings

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© The Associated Press
Letter carrier Felipe Raymundo moves a tray of mail to his truck to begin delivery Monday, Dec. 5, 2011, at a post office in Seattle.
The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to a five-month moratorium on closures of post offices and processing facilities while lawmakers hammer out legislation to overhaul the cash-strapped mail carrier, a group of U.S. senators said on Tuesday.

The Postal Service was studying about 3,700 money-losing post offices for possible closure starting in February 2012, and considering closing hundreds of processing centers in April.

The senators said USPS officials agreed to push back the closures to give lawmakers time to pass legislation that would help get the Postal Service back on track before the end of fiscal year 2012, when the mail carrier has said it could shut down.

The Postal Service, which does not receive taxpayer money to fund its services, lost more than $5 billion in fiscal year 2011 and says it needs to shed about $20 billion in annual costs by 2015. The Postal Service has argued that facility closures will help it adjust to falling mail volumes as consumers turn to the Internet to communicate and pay bills.

Better Earth

Canada's Kyoto Withdrawal Under Fire from China


Canada's historic decision to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol provoked heavy criticism from China on Tuesday, with Beijing saying the move went against international efforts to combat climate change.

Canada on Monday became the first country to declare it was formally exiting the pact, a reversal that will save it billions of dollars in fines, and poured scorn on the landmark treaty for hampering attempts to tackle pollution.

The decision reflected the reality of Canada's rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto protocol, adopted in 1997, is the only global treaty that sets down targeted curbs in global emissions, but those curbs apply only to rich countries, excluding the United States, which refused to ratify the accord.

"We are invoking Canada's legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto," Environment Minister Peter Kent said after returning home from a marathon UN climate conference in South Africa, at which nations agreed to a new roadmap for worldwide action.

Handcuffs

US: Congressional Candidate Turns Himself In for Indefinite Military Detention

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Dear Department of Homeland Security,

As someone who could be said to "substantially support al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces," I am writing to turn myself in under the new NDAA law. Please send a US military brigade, preferably the Marines (semper fi, guys!) to indefinitely detain me. (I'd prefer the Marines because I'm a big fan of Gen. Smedley Butler - and I LOVE Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. I mean, let's face it, compared to the other services, the Marines are seriously cool.)

I suppose you want me to explain what "substantially support" means. Well, I'm wondering about that myself.

If "substantially support" means giving money and weapons, then unfortunately I'm ineligible to be indefinitely detained for life and put up on a military base at the expense of the US taxpayer. Of course, the only reason I haven't given al-Qaeda and the Taliban any money is that they haven't asked. If Bin Laden, who died in December 2001, returned from the grave one more time, dragging his seaweed-covered dialysis machine behind him, and showed up on my doorstep with a begging bowl, I would definitely offer some spare change. And if Mullah Omar ever dropped by for a visit, I would offer him three cups of tea and plenty of sympathy. If he needed a few bucks, well, who am I to refuse charity? He could probably use a clean, shiny new glass eye by now.

Dollar

This is How the 1% Steal and Plunder From the 99%....

This is How the 1% Steal and Plunder From the 99% in a nutshell! Watch this brilliant, lucid explanation by Prof. Michael Hudson to gain a basic understanding of how the uber-rich scam the 99%!


Pistol

Florence: Italian Far-Right Gunman Kills Senegalese Vendors

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People react after two Senegalese vendors were killed in downtown Florence on Tuesday.
An Italian far-right militant killed two Senegalese street vendors and wounded three people in a shooting spree in Florence Tuesday after which he apparently killed himself, police said.

Witnesses said they saw the gunman calmly getting out of a car at a street market on Piazza Dalmazia, north of the historic city centre, and firing off three shots that killed two vendors on the spot and gravely wounded a third.

Stop

US: Child Homelessness Up 33% in 3 Years

Homeless Children
© M. Scott Moon, (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, via AP
From left, Levi Gibbs, Isaiah Munk, and Stephanie Gibbs get food at a homeless facility.

One in 45 children in the USA - 1.6 million children - were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

The numbers represent a 33% increase from 2007, when there were 1.2 million homeless children, according to a report the center is releasing Tuesday.

"This is an absurdly high number," says Ellen Bassuk, president of the center. "What we have new in 2010 is the effects of a man-made disaster caused by the economic recession. ... We are seeing extreme budget cuts, foreclosures and a lack of affordable housing."

The report paints a bleaker picture than one by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which nonetheless reported a 28% increase in homeless families, from 131,000 in 2007 to 168,000 in 2010.

Dennis Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor of social policy, says HUD's numbers are much smaller because they count only families living on the street or in emergency shelters.

"It is a narrower standard of homelessness," he says. However, Culhane says, "the bottom line is we've shown an increase in the percentage of homeless families."

Cult

Special Report - Who knew what in U.S. priest child porn case?

Priest
© Reuters
Bishop Robert Finn is pictured in Kansas City, Missouri, in this undated handout photograph obtained on November 30, 2011. Authorities have filed criminal charges against Bishop Finn, the leader of the 133,000-member Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, for failing to report to authorities the actions of one of its priests, who prosecutors have said was producing child pornography
Computer technician Ken Kes was supposed to be repairing a laptop for a local priest as part of his work for a Catholic Diocese in Kansas City. But as Kes opened a series of picture files stored on the computer, he slowly realized that the odd images of young children were not merely strange; they seemed pornographic.

"I looked at the first one. It was a young girl climbing up the back of a pickup truck and I thought, huh, that's kind of a neat shot," the 59-year-old Kes recalled. "The next one that I clicked on was a girl... climbing out of swimming pool and all it showed was her rear end. Then there was a little girl on the grass with her legs spread. All you could see was the area from her belly button to her knees."

By the time Kes got to a graphic photo of a little girl on a bed, exposed below the waist, his hands were shaking and he was in full panic.

"I stopped looking right there and got on the phone," he said.

That discovery last December yielded hundreds of such photos on the laptop of Father Shawn Ratigan, ultimately landing the 46-year-old priest in jail on multiple child pornography charges. He is awaiting trial next summer after pleading not guilty and remains jailed.

Comment: Far from an isolated case: Vatican Christmas Shocker! Pope says child rape isn't that bad, was normal back in his day


Info

US: Two Army Helicopters Crash in Washington State, 4 Dead

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© Reuters/Robert Sorbo
A U.S. Army Humvee drives down a dirt road near the scene where two U.S. Army helicopters crashed during a training exercise on Monday, killing four aviators on board near the town of Rainier, Washington, December 13, 2011.
Two U.S. Army helicopters crashed on Monday during training exercises at a Washington state military base, killing four aviators on board, the base said in a statement.

Brendalyn Carpenter, a spokeswoman for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, confirmed that "there was an accident" in the evening and that military police and emergency personnel were en route to the accident scene at the base near Tacoma.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and loved ones of the soldiers involved in this tragic accident," said Major General Lloyd Miles, acting senior Army commander at the base.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation into this incident, and we will do everything in our power to support the families of the brave soldiers who died this evening," he added.