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Stephen Glover: How Rupert Murdoch Lost Control of His Own Story

Image
© Richard Clement/Reuters
Rupert Murdoch has extended his stay in London to deal with the phone-hacking crisis.
He doesn't need to prove that Brooks knew about phone hacking to conclude that she's not the person to sort out the mess

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal is spinning out of control. The damage it will cause seems likely to spread far wider than News International, the newspaper's parent company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, though obviously it lies at the centre of the storm.

David Cameron's political reputation is at risk for having hired as his spin doctor Andy Coulson, the editor of the News of the World when phone hacking took place. If Mr Coulson should be implicated - seemingly an increasingly likely outcome now that its former news editor Ian Edmondson is helping police with their inquiries - the Prime Minister's judgement and good sense will be seriously questioned.

Sherlock

Sundance Film Shows Corporate Influence on Justice

Susan Saladoff
© unknown
Susan Saladoff
A former lawyer has thrown a spotlight on the cash-fueled influence which big business has on America's judicial system, in a revealing film unveiled at the Sundance film festival.

Hot Coffee is named after the infamous case where fast-food giant McDonalds was forced to pay 2.8 million dollars to a woman who burnt herself with one of its drinks.

In the documentary Susan Saladoff, a lawyer of 25 years' standing, explains how America's corporate giants got their act together after the 1994 McDonald's case, pushing for laws to restrict consumers' right to sue them.

On the pretext of limiting so-called "justice jackpot" or "legal lottery" payouts, corporate bosses want consumers "to give up their rights to the court system, voluntarily, so the corporations can make more money," said Saladoff.

With multi-million dollar campaigns, major business groups have managed to get ceilings fixed in several states on the level of damages if a company is convicted, taking away juries' traditional right to set compensation.

Light Saber

Middle East: the Undoing of America's Mendacious Foreign Policy

masses of people
© Unknown

There may be plumes of acrid smoke rising from burning tyres in cities across the Middle East, but there is the discernible whiff of something else - fear. And it is not so much fear among the tens of thousands of people who are taking to the streets facing down paramilitary police forces in Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Egypt and elsewhere to protest against their governments. It is rather more the fear among the rulers of these unwieldy regimes - a fear, or at least grave concern, that must also be seeping into the corridors of power in Washington and other Western capitals.

Dozens of protesters have been killed or injured by police firing on civilians inspired by the popular uprising in Tunisia, which has seen the president of that country fleeing to neigbouring Saudi Arabia. Egypt - the most populous of the 22 League of Arab countries and a crucial pillar of US foreign policy architecture in the Middle East - is now the focal point for the wave of street demonstrations sweeping the region. At least four people have been killed in that country and over 700 arrested in the past few days as thousands of citizens pour on to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other major Egyptian cities in defiance of a government ban on such demonstrations. Like their counterparts in Tunisia and other Arab countries, the protesters in Egypt are demanding the overthrow of the government - and not just the figureheads like Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, but the entire ruling elite.

Despite the vicious repression of these regimes and the evident ease of deploying lethal force, the people are refusing to be intimidated off the streets. There is a palpable sense of momentum for long-overdue radical change in the region ­ - driven by decades of frustration and anger with the rulers of these countries over a raft of social and political issues. There could hardly be a more comprehensive checklist of causes for revolutionary upheaval: massive poverty, unemployment and lack of housing, education, health, free speech, labour rights, voting rights - a veritable tinderbox of grievances all compressed beneath an egregiously wealthy elite who continue to sit on this incendiary mass only by the use of brutal state security apparatus. Notably, most informed sources agree that it is not Islamic fundamentalism fuelling the widespread popular unrest, but rather it is simple economic and social injustice and desire for basic democratic rights.

House

National Average: 492 Days From Default to Foreclosure

man,flag
© Unknown

graph,loans
492 days in October 2010 versus an average of 382 days in October of last year.

"In other words, people who default on their mortgages can reasonably expect, on average, to stay in their homes rent-free more than 16 months. In some states such as New York and Florida, the number is closer to 20 months."

Eye 1

The Egyptian intifada and what it may mean for Israel/Palestine

egyptian,intifada
© Matthew Cassel
Immediately after the Friday prayers ended, tens of thousands of Egyptians in Cairo's Imbaba neihgborhood took to the streets calling for the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak who has ruled the country for 30 years. Police fired tear gas and fired rubber bullets while protestors responded throwing stones and other projectiles.

The Egyptian uprising against the Mubarak regime is historic and important in its own right. But it may also lead to significant changes in the region that could be positive for the Palestinian cause. Israel is worried about a reliable ally being toppled next door.

The Mubarak dictatorship is a core pillar of the U.S./Israeli order in the Middle East, an order that completely ignores the wishes and aspirations of people on the ground. The U.S. and Israel are scared of the new order that is to come.

As As'ad Abu Khalil notes at his blog, "the Israeli strategy in the Middle East has been firmly set on the continuity of the Sadat-Mubarak dictatorship." Israel's peace agreement with Egypt in 1979 removed a military threat to Israel and secured millions of U.S. dollars and military support for the Egyptian dictatorship. The Mubarak regime got carte blanche for its repressive rule.

Che Guevara

Ken O'Keefe: Rise People Rise - The Global Revolution is Upon Us!

".....once in a generation...we get a chance for freedom...this is our chance.."

I have for many years lived with the knowledge that we, the masses, the working class, the poor, the white, the black, the brown, the immigrants, the Christians, the Muslims, the atheists, the soldiers/ex-soldiers, the peaceniks, the communists, the anarchists, the students, the people, across the spectrum, we all have a common cause. And yet, we have so tragically allowed ourselves to be duped, to be pitted against each other, fighting each other, finding a million ways to divide ourselves, or simply to be indifferent to each other. In this the tyrant's smile, they laugh and they joke, about how complete their control over us is. They have been laughing for far too long.


Dollar

Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them

Ayn Rand
© AlterNet

Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping "moral philosophy" that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.

Her books provided wide-ranging parables of "parasites," "looters" and "moochers" using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes' labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O'Connor (her husband was Frank O'Connor).

As Michael Ford of Xavier University's Center for the Study of the American Dream wrote, "In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest."

Family

America Needs Community, Not Collectivism

beehive
© n/a
Tyranny thrives by feeding on human necessity. It examines what sustains us, what we hope for, what we desire, what we love, and uses those needs as leverage against us. If you want safety, they will take it away and barter it back to you at a steep price. If you want success or respect, then you must bow to the existing arbitrary pecking order and play the game nicely. If you want to raise a family, then you must accept the state as a part-time parent. If you want kinship, then you must settle for a thin veneer of empty pleasantries and insincere associations. If you want independence, then you are simply labeled as a threat and done away with altogether. Autocratic rulers are first and foremost salesmen; they convince us that life itself has a "cost", that we are born indebted, and all bills must be made payable to the establishment. First and foremost, we are sold on the idea that in all of this, we are ultimately alone...

It is within these manipulated concepts of cost and isolation that we discover the foundation of all totalitarian cultures: Collectivism.

Collectivism is not a space age invention or a product of the abstract musings of Marxists, though many seem to think that their version of a hive society is "new" and certainly better than anything ever attempted in the past. No, collectivism is a psychological prison derived from a beneficial instinct as old as humanity itself; the instinct to connect with others, to share experiences and knowledge, to build and create together. It is an instinct as essential to our survival as breathing. Collectivism uses this instinct as a weapon. It is a corrupted and poisoned harnessing of our intuitive nature. It is an inadequate and cancerous substitute for something which normally invigorates and supports healthy culture: true community.

Cheeseburger

The Dangers of Treating Food as a Strategic Asset

Farming
© Unknown

Inside a secure compound at Canadian Security Intelligence Service headquarters this week, I had the rather odd experience of talking to spies about farming.

The spooks at CSIS, like their counterparts in other countries, have recently become obsessed with such loamy topics as marginal crop yields, soil salinity, Indonesian rice futures and dairy-supply bottlenecks. This week, they played host to scores of agrarians, crop economists, agricultural-threat analysts and farm specialists from a dozen countries in an urgent summit on food security, a meeting in which crop-irrigation ratios were treated with the sort of gravity that, a few years ago, would have been reserved for jetliner flight-training facilities in Florida.

And little wonder. As the intelligence officials listened to analyses of Indian irrigation policies and some rather silly talk about Islamist "agroterrorism threats," the world outside was blowing up over food.

The uprising inflaming Egypt on Friday began, let us not forget, with crowds marching in Cairo on Tuesday to chants of "Bread and freedom!" The Tunisian revolution began in December as a bread-price protest. Neither event was ultimately about food, but its increasing share of the household budget became a catalyst for larger tensions.

Comment: See "Doomsday Seed Vault" - Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don't? for more 'food for thought' on why the spooks are so interested in food security right now. As we have noted here on SOTT, Earth Changes are well under way and may cause significant disruptions in the food supply chain.


Eye 1

Mohamed ElBaradei: "If Not Now, When?"

mohamed el baradei
© Lukas Beck / The New York Times
Pro-democracy leader Mohamed El Baradei is calling for Western leaders to explicitly condemn Egypt's current President Hosni Mubarak.

If Western leaders, who have backed the dictator Mubarak for 30 years, cannot stand before the Egyptian people today and say unequivocally, "we support your right of national self-determination," when can they do it?

That's the question that Egyptian democracy leader and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei has put before Western leaders today.

Speaking to The Guardian UK in Cairo, before the planned protests today, ElBaradei stepped up his calls for Western leaders to explicitly condemn Mubarak, who, as The Guardian noted, has been a close ally of the US:
"The international community must understand we are being denied every human right day by day," he said. "Egypt today is one big prison. If the international community does not speak out it will have a lot of implications. We are fighting for universal values here. If the west is not going to speak out now, then when?"