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Sun, 08 Dec 2019
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Vader

Israeli jets bomb Gaza cities two days after re-launch of so-called 'peace talks'

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© Al Jazeera
Oh so predictable: A rocket allegedly fired across the border draws heavy Israeli retaliation, just two days after relaunch of peace talks.
Israeli war planes have bombarded the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis and tunnels in the city of Rafah, leaving a number of people wounded.

At least one person was killed and three others were injured in the airstrikes in Rafah and one more is missing, a Press TV correspondent quoted witnesses as saying on Saturday night.

Israeli jets are still flying low over the Gaza Strip, and the Gazans are bracing for more attacks. Israeli forces also fired rockets at farmlands in Khan Yunis.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the rocket attacks.

Israel has repeatedly launched air and ground attacks on Gaza since the deadly 22-day war it waged against the territory from late December 2008 to mid-January 2009.

Book

McGinnis sez: Sarah will run for President and more...

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© Joling/Associated Press
McGinniss
Anchorage, Alaska - Sarah Palin can take down the fence.

Palin's neighbor of three months on Wasilla's Lake Lucille, author Joe McGinniss, is packing his bags and notebooks and leaving Sunday for his home in Massachusetts to write the book he has been researching on the former governor and GOP vice presidential candidate.

His arrival in May made headlines and drew an indignant reaction from Palin and a visit from her husband, Todd. The Palins even tacked an extension onto an 8-foot board fence between the homes, leaving only a part of their second-story home visible from McGinniss' driveway.

Peeping into windows or peering through knotholes was never part of his research, McGinniss said.

"I've been very busy but on Lake Lucille it's been very quiet," he said. "As I told Todd back in May - he came over to get in my face about moving in there - I said, 'You're not even going to know I'm there. A lot of the time, I'm not going to be here. And when I am, I mind my own business. I don't care what happens on your side of the fence. That's not why I'm here.'"

And that's how it has played out, McGinniss said.

A Palin spokesman didn't immediately respond to an e-mail Saturday seeking any comments from the governor on the author's departure.

McGinniss has written best-selling books, including The Selling of the President, on the marketing of Richard Nixon, Fatal Vision, an account of the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case, and Blind Faith, about a businessman's contract killing of his wife.

Comment: For more on Sarah Palin, check out these Sott links:
Sarah Palin the Sound and the Fury: Portrait of a Psycho
Sarah Palin rips 'impotent' reporters


Magnify

Chris Hedges on Moral Courage

The Truthdig columnist begins this speech to the Veterans for Peace convention by saying, "Physical courage is something you see on a battlefield. Moral courage you almost never see." - 2010/09/01.

Crusader

People Power! Lawyer objects to demand for photo ID, is arrested then sues

Attorney files lawsuit against state alleging false arrest and imprisonment, seeks $700,000

Norman Christopher Usiak was in a hurry. The attorney from Frederick had briefs to file, and in the rush, he couldn't remember where he put his wallet. He was wearing dark pants and a white T-shirt, an un-lawyerly ensemble a police officer described as "looking disheveled."

It was 4:10 in the afternoon and the Maryland Court of Appeals building in Annapolis closed in 20 minutes.

The regular bailiffs had gone home, replaced by a police officer for the Maryland Department of General Services, which runs and secures state office buildings.

Usiak signed his name in the register but refused the officer's demand to show a photo Identification.

Police wrote in a report that the attorney told them he left his driver's license in his car and didn't feel like walking back. Usiak said he refused out of principle.

Cloud Lightning

Raising Awareness of Pakistan's Flood Victims

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© Robert Gauthier
Haroon Mushtaq and his nephew, Ahmed Choudry, 4, join others at a Westwood demonstration demanding relief aid for Pakistan flood victims.
For a disaster that has displaced millions, financial support has lagged behind that offered to victims of Haiti's quake. An Anaheim man and others started their own group, Americans for Flood Relief.

When monsoon rains began inundating regions of Pakistan, Anaheim resident Essam Ulhaq felt a wave of sadness. His parents' homeland was devastated. News images of displaced people became so painful to view that he stopped looking at them.

Ulhaq, 25, was shocked that some of his friends knew little of the disaster - never mind donating to relief efforts. He would tell them that millions were now homeless, that they needed all the help they could get. To raise awareness, he and some friends decided to start their own group, Americans for Flood Relief.

Such is the complicated story of aid to Pakistan, Ulhaq and others say. For a natural disaster that has displaced an estimated 20 million people and submerged one-fifth of the country, financial support has lagged far behind that offered to victims of the Haiti earthquake and other recent disasters.

Coffee

Wikileaks - The Real Stuff - A Response To Israel Shamir

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© Unknown
Israel Shamir recently published his opinion on the Wikileaks exposé and in the process took issue with those who had dismissed the leaks as a distraction. While I wasn't named by Shamir as one of the dissenters, I had waxed skeptical in a recent Sott.net editorial on the topic.

I sent the following letter to Shamir:

Dear Shamir,

You title your last missive Wikileaks - The Real Stuff, yet you fail to point to anything "real" or valuable in the Wikileaks documents. Can you point to any detail, either within the documents or within those documents that have been published by the mainstream media that was not already publicly available?

Alternatively, can you point to some evidence that the release of the documents has in some way effected a sea-change in the general public opinion of the US misadventure in Afghanistan? I ask this because, such is the hype surrounding the release of the documents, I think we are all justified in expecting 'big things' as a result.

I don't doubt that the coverage of the Wikileaks documents by the mainstream media has lent extra weight to the long-established truth (as purveyed most notably by the alternative news sites) that civilians are being murdered in Afghanistan, but the precise number of dead is all important, as is where to lay the blame.

Do you really think the Wikileaks documents and the mainstream media reporting on them serve up a dish of raw Truth to the public? Or is it possible that it has been cooked to some extent?

Che Guevara

People Power! Homeowners' Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?

US foreclosure activity April 2010
© RealtyTrac
US foreclosure activity April 2010
Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles - and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere "nominee" - an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff's legal ability to foreclose.

That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear - while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

Hourglass

Connecting the Dots: Whistling Past The Graveyard

July 2010 saw extreme weather and the further apparent collapse of our planet's eco-system come front and center. Despite these dire warning signs, the psychopaths in power continue to do their best to obfuscate the facts and embroil as many normal human beings as possible in conflict, strife, suffering and death.

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© thepolarproject.com
On July 15th, three months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, BP announced it had successfully capped the gushing oil well. Its vice president Kent Wells was so relieved that he said, "I am very excited that there's no oil in the Gulf of Mexico." It's hard to know what to make of such a comment after his company leaked 5,000,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps he thought that with the oil flow halted, BP was suddenly off the hook and free to carry on as normal? Apparently so, as the company announced several days later it will soon begin drilling to even greater depths off the coast of Libya. So did this latest effort to cap the well actually work? We can't know for certain because we have to take BP's word for it. Remember that it was in BP's interest to underestimate the oil flow rate; the lower the oil flow rate, the less they have to pay the US government and the local Gulf population in fines and compensation. The true cost to the whole planet may be higher than anyone could have imagined.

Read on for the web's best comprehensive summation of the current state of our planet...

Propaganda

Another Insult to Christianity... Meet the Methodist Friends of Israel

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© N/A
The damaged face of a Palestinian child by the hands of Yahweh's "chosen people."
A few weeks ago the Methodist Church's annual conference did a very courageous and praiseworthy thing. It voted to boycott products from Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine, regarded as illegal under international law, and to encourage Methodists across Britain to do the same.

"The decision is a response to a call from a group of Palestinian Christians, a growing number of Jewish organisations, both inside Israel and worldwide, and the World Council of Churches," said the press release.

Christine Elliott, Secretary for External Relationships, remarked:
"This decision has not been taken lightly, but after months of research, careful consideration and finally, today's debate at the Conference. The goal of the boycott is to put an end to the existing injustice. It reflects the challenge that settlements present to a lasting peace in the region."

Sherlock

Beware Julian Assange and Wikileaks - Darlings Of The Mainstream Media

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© AP Photo
Mainstream Media darling - Julian Assange
A friend recently asked me what I thought of the wikileaks business. He said that he was still a little idealistic, and thought perhaps that there are still some "good guys" out there who can really make a difference. I wondered, in terms of the wikileaks documents, precisely what kind of change my friend, and presumably many other social justice activists, are hoping for?

The documents in question describe US military activity in Afghanistan, in all their gory and criminal details. I presume then that the difference that the documents (and their purveyor, Julian Assange) will make, is nothing less than the halting of the American Empire's unholy crusade across the Middle East and Central Asia. Now that would be nice!

My friend correctly noted that we are talking about war crimes here - the exposure of the dirty details of the illegal US occupation of Afghanistan and the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Now that Assange had made it safely into the arms of the mainstream media, surely there is a chance that this evidence could effect a mass awakening among the world public who might yet stand up and take down the evil doers.