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Showing posts from May, 2012

Shameful actions of Brits in deporting Tamils to almost certain death

Hard to believe in a so-called enlightened and civilised society that the UK is today deporting Tamils back to Sri Lanka in the knowledge that they are likely to be killed by the brutal and undemocratic regime there.
"Dozens of Tamil asylum-seekers will be forcibly removed from Britain on a secretive deportation flight today despite credible evidence that they face arrest and retribution on their return.

A chartered plane, PTV030, is due to take off at 15.30 from an undisclosed London airport and fly direct to Colombo. Human-rights organisations have called on the UK Border Agency to halt the flight on the grounds that Tamils who are known to be critical of the Sri Lankan government have been brutally treated following their return.

The forced removals come as Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was the architect of Sri Lanka's final victorious push three years ago against the Tamil Tigers – a military offensive which defeated the brutal insurgency group but also led to the deaths of tens o…

The duplicity of major corporations on climate change

From the Union of Concerned Scientists under the banner headline "Leading Companies Contradict Own Actions on Climate Science, Policy - Half of Reviewed Companies Misrepresented Climate Science Despite Publicly Expressing Concerns"

"Many of the country’s leading companies have taken contradictory actions when it comes to climate change science while pumping a tremendous amount of resources into influencing the discussion, according to an analysis released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The science advocacy group examined 28 companies in the S&P 500 that participated in climate policy debates over the past several years. All of them publicly expressed concern about climate change or a commitment to reducing emissions through websites and public statements, but half (14) also misrepresented climate science in their public communications. Many more contributed to the spread of misinformation about climate science in less direct ways, such as through p…

Your number plate determines on which road you travel

Israel denies the proposition that it has become an apartheid State.    This map shows the road on which Israelis can travel as against those, very limited ones, on which Palestinians can.   Yes, your number plate determines on which one is permitted to travel.

Spending big-time to get votes

For any outsider, to see what American politicians, and now the Super PACS, spend on election-related matters is mind-boggling.
Politico reveals the sort of money the GOP, and its supporters, plan on throwing between now and November at the upcoming election .
"Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress, according to officials familiar with the groups’ internal operations.
That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states. POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections - twice what they had been expected to commit.

Just the spending …

A virus to fear

Cyberspace espionage has been ratcheted up by a significant notch if this piece, "Flame Thrower" on FP, is correct.    We should all be concerned as Governments around the world harness technology to snoop on what their citizens are talking about (via phone) or emailing (via their computer, tablet or smartphone).
"Welcome to the new frontier of cyber-espionage, and remember this name: "Flame" -- a mysterious new cyber spy tool that hit the headlines on Monday, May 28. Its code is 20 times larger than Stuxnet, the mysterious computer worm that temporarily crippled Iran's Siemens nuclear centrifuges, and it "might be the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed" according to Kaspersky Lab, a Russian-based cybersecurity firm. Kaspersky published the findings of its analysis on Monday in addition to the Iranian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Budapest University. Most of the infected systems are located in the Middle East, with Iran,…

Obama: The Big Decider.....of America's "kill list"

Yet another dimension to a lawyer and one-time law lecturer.....Obama, the US President, said to be a liberal and now the Big Decider of what people the US will assassinate.    More than breath-taking.    T

"Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”

Nothing else in …

Rupert picked over......

An interesting piece in The New York Review of Books on the Sun King, Rupert Murdoch.   Well worth reading an analysis of the man and the events which have led to the position in which he, his family and the companies publishing newspapers now find themselves.
"Much academic research has confirmed my own instinct that newspapers do not in fact decide the results of elections. But politicians believe they do, and that is what empowers Murdoch. Successive party leaders and prime ministers have thought that they could be elected, and then govern, only with his consent. A former Blair aide said that they always felt at Downing Street as though Murdoch were the invisible twenty-fifth presence at the Cabinet table; and the recent conduct of Cameron, Hague, Gove, and Hunt has conveyed the strong impression that Her Majesty’s Government is a subsidiary of News International.

Quite apart from the benefits to all newspapers of the Wapping putsch, “Murdochia” is not simply a monolithic evil …

One misguided Congressman rooting for Israel

Now here is one US Congressman seemingly in thrall and in the pocket of AIPAC and singularly outrageous in his support of Israel.    Stand up Congressman Kirk.    And don't forget to read some of his utterly breathtaking quotes.

"Senator Mark Kirk (R, IL) has distinguished himself amongst his fellow Members of Congress by promoting the most extreme positions in opposition to Middle East peace. This may come as a shock to many of his constituents, who see him as a “moderate” Republican, occasionally breaking ranks with his party on some Senate votes.

A little closer look at his history, statements, and policies should set that illusion to rest. And it should raise fundamental questions about whether Senator Kirk represents the aspirations of his constituents or the narrow interests of a lobby that seeks to undermine a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Despite our nation’s dire economic situation, this lobby has obtained an unconditional commitment to $30 …

The horror of Houla....and tragedy of Syria

Yes, the image is confronting and when one realises that some 32 children were executed in Houla, the horror of what is going on in Syria only gets worse.

John Lee Anderson writing in The New Yorker:

"Sooner or later, every armed conflict in which victory is determined by control of the civilian population—as opposed to, say, physical territory—has its My Lai, its Srebrenica, its Sabra and Shatila. And Syria’s civil war (because that, in the end, is what it is) now has a hallmark bloodbath—its before-and-after moment. Saturday, in the small town of Houla, some hundred and eight civilians, including at least thirty-two children, were killed at the hands, apparently, of the Syrian army and the shabiha thugs who often do its dirty work. It’s not that there haven’t been previous atrocities in this fifteen-month-old conflict; there have been scores of them, each adding its quota of blood and agony and vengeance. Houla’s hundred-odd dead may offer a mere shiver of horror to deadened a…

Is $33 million enough for getting away with murder?

Not for the first time Robert Fisk, veteran journalist with The Independent, highlights the hypocrisy of the West.    On this occasion it's in relation to Pakistan.

"La Clinton hath spoken. Thirty-three million smackers lopped off Pakistan's aid budget because its spooks banged up poor old Dr Shakeel Afridi for 33 years after a secret trial. And, as the world knows, Dr Afridi's crime was to confirm the presence of that old has-been Osama bin Laden in his grotty Abbottabad villa.

Well, that will teach the Pakistanis to mess around with a brave doctor who is prepared to help the American institution that tortures and murders its enemies. Forget the CIA's black prisons and rendition and water-boarding, and the torture of the innocents in the jails of our friendly dictators. Dr Afridi was just doing the free world a favour. And WOW, Dr Afridi got shopped by Leon Pannetta when he was CIA boss, and now Barack Obama is accused of letting him down.

Well, I pause here. Dr Af…

The human, and financial, cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars

On a day when USA "celebrates" Memorial Day, a piece on AlterNet should give Americans considerable pause for thought.    The "cost" - in multiple ways - flowing from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is already huge and certainly going to increase for many, many years to come.

"According to a new report from the Associated Press, a record 45% of the 1.6 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are compensation for service-related injuries.

This is more than double the rate for Gulf War veterans. For all the publicity given to “Gulf War syndrome,” only an estimated 21% of the veterans of that conflict have filed disability claims.

The recent applicants are also citing a much larger number of ailments than veterans of previous wars — an average of eight or nine per person, which has shot up over the past year to 11 to 14. This compares to less than four for Vietnam War veterans who are currently receiving compensation, and just two for veterans of World W…

Arrogance of power and a reality check on Iran

Stephen Walt, writing his latest blog under the headline, "The arrogance of power" on FP, reflects on the ongoing issue of Iran acquiring a nuclear capacity.    He also suggests a reality check.....
"While we're being realistic, let's keep a few other bedrock realities in mind.

Right now, the United States has thousands of sophisticated nuclear weapons in its arsenal. Israel has a couple of hundred. Four other members of the P5+1 have nuclear weapons as well, and the fifth member -- Germany -- has had access to nuclear weapons through "dual key" arrangements with the United States.

Right now, the United States is far and away the world's greatest military power, with no enemies nearby. Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East. We spend close to a trillion dollars on various national security programs each year; Iran spends maybe $15 billion, tops. Iran is a minor military threat at best.

Right now, the United States and Israel are act…

Fiddling while Rome (Syria) burns......

Credited to The Independent

Rear-end view of New Yorkers

Let it not be said that this isn't a novel approach......

"Australian photographer Bridget Fleming push-biked her way into New York's zeitgeist by snapping at its tail. Follow her cycle path in this cheeky video.

In the most photographed city in the world finding a new angle is quite a feat. But that's what Bridget Fleming has managed to pull off with her series Downtown From Behind.

After she posted the photographs online, a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, published her novel images of artists, fashionistas and chefs riding their bikes on the city's streets. ''All of a sudden it went viral, globally,'' recounts 31-year-old Fleming."

Australia's shame

Australia, like many countries around the world, is confronted with so-called illegal immigrants seeking to enter the country.  Problem is that Australia deals with the issue in a harsh and inhumane way.    No less importantly, as the case detailed below so clearly shows, actions such as those of the Australian security agency, create an untenable and outrageous result - that is, the possible detention of a mother and child indefinitely without trial and their no knowing the basis for it.
"David Manne of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre has launched a High Court action to break the impasse facing refugees who have been adversely assessed by ASIO.
His action is to be applauded. The problem, which currently affects 62 people in Australian detention centres, needs to be solved urgently.

The problem is exemplified by the case of Ranjini. Shortly before Mothers Day, Ranjini and her two children, aged 6 and 9 years, were removed from the community and placed in detention at Villa…

The motley Murdoch "crew" know no bounds

If this revelation as disclosed by The Independent is even half-true, then it confirms that the Murdochs, and their entire "operation", are rogues - it brings to mind the proposition put to James Murdoch at the Parliamentary Committee Inquiry of Mafia like conduct - who simply know no bounds, legal or otherwise.
"Detectives carrying out the multimillion-pound investigation into illegal newsgathering techniques at Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group have been asked to investigate whether it attempted to blackmail politicians.

The alleged plot centres on News International's apparent efforts to warn off MPs on a parliamentary committee from disproving its discredited defence that phone hacking was the work of a single "rogue reporter".

According to the former senior News of the World journalist Neville Thurlbeck, News International ordered the Sunday paper's reporters to scour the private lives of MPs on the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Commit…

Syria: The world sits on its hands

Remember all the rhetoric before the Coalition of the Willing waged war on Iraq.  Not only did the Saddam regime have WMDs (which they didn't!) but Saddam was a dictator who had massacred his own people.     Same story about Gaddafi in Libya.    Now, the UN estimates that some 15,000 people have been killed by the Assad regime in Syria.   And what is the West doing?  Talking.....

The Independenteditorialises:

"That something utterly appalling happened outside the Syrian city of Houla on Friday is beyond doubt. As the sickening pictures of murdered children showed – pictures rightly reprinted by several British newspapers, including our sister paper The Independent on Sunday – many victims were children, at least some of whom had had their throats cut. Even as the Syrian authorities denied responsibility, blaming Islamists and terrorists, they conceded that at least 90 people had been killed. Of these more than 30 were children, slaughtered, as the pictures attest, in cold bloo…

The travesty of Gitmo....and one man's ordeal

"It was James, a thickset American interrogator nicknamed “the Elephant,” who first told Lakhdar Boumediene that investigators were certain of his innocence, that two years of questioning had shown he was no terrorist, but that it did not matter, Mr. Boumediene says.

The interrogations would continue through what ended up being seven years, three months, three weeks and four days at the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

An aid worker handling orphans in Sarajevo, Mr. Boumediene (pronounced boom-eh-DIEN) found himself swept up in the panic that followed Sept. 11, 2001. He likens himself to a caged cat, toyed with and tormented by fate and circumstance.

“I learned patience,” Mr. Boumediene, 46, said. He is a private man, trim and square-jawed and meticulously kempt, his eyes set in deep gray hollows. “There is no other choice but patience.”

The United States government has never acknowledged any error in detaining Mr. Boumediene, though a federal judge ordered his release, for lack …

The USA's Lord High Executioner

As if the US policy of assassinating people - including its own citizens - wherever in the world wasn't bad enough, it now appears that a political hack in the White House is going to be the one to determine who is to be the target of the killing.
Scott Horton writing inHarper's Magazine......
"Kimberley Dozier of the Associated Press reports that the burden of making the life-and-death decisions surrounding drone use is settling on the shoulders of a single man, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan:

White House counterterror chief John Brennan has seized the lead in guiding the debate on which terror leaders will be targeted for drone attacks or raids, establishing a new procedure to vet both military and CIA targets. The move concentrates power over the use of lethal U.S. force outside war zones at the White House.

The process, which is about a month old, means Brennan’s staff consults the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies as to who should go…

Canada's "Maple Spring"

First we had the "Arab Spring".   Now Canada has its own "Maple Spring" - with good cause.    Yet another example of Governments imposing ever-increasing restrictions on the freedoms on their citizens.     truthdig has awarded the 400,000 protesters in Montreal its weekly Truthdiggers of the Week award.
"More than 400,000 Canadians—students and defenders of freedom of expression—filled the streets of Montreal this week to demonstrate against a 75 percent university tuition hike and emergency legislation that placed draconian penalties on people exercising their right to protest.

Almost 1,000 demonstrators were arrested as the protest passed its 100th day this week. Many times that number marched in defiance of Bill 78, passed May 18, which suspended the current academic term, laid out regulations that required protesters to notify police of demonstrations eight hours in advance and of any protest involving 50 or more people, and threatened to fine student assoc…

Bibi: Puffery + getting the facts wrong

The other day Time magazine featured the Israeli PM on its cover and had a detailed article about him.    All too sadly, and probably predictable, the piece was fawning in the extreme.   Worse still, it was plainly wrong in part - and a critical one at that.

"I finally managed to get all the way through Richard Stengel's fawning cover story about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At a moment when incumbents around the world are being shunted aside, he is triumphant. With his bullet-proof majority, he has a chance to turn himself into the historic figure he has always yearned to be.

And it traces what it says is Netanyahu's appeal to U.S. audiences:

He appeared regularly on Nightline and became the Israeli-American It boy–confident, handsome, fearsomely articulate in virtually accentless English. Every suburban Jewish mother had a crush on him.

"Bibi was the streetwise local anchorman who told it like it was," Stengel adds.

You might find that all a bit much…'s getting hot!

Feel that things are hotting up, temperature-wise, where you live?   The explanation for that is simple.....

"Climate-heating carbon emissions set a record high in 2011, in a 3.2 percent increase over the previous year, the International Energy Agency reported this week. The main reason for this dangerous increase is that governments are failing to implement policies to prevent catastrophic increases of global temperatures.

A new report released on the last days of international climate talks in Bonn, Germany this week reveals that the planet is heading to a temperature rise of at least 3.5 degrees Celsius, and likely more, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), despite an international agreement to keep global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius."


"In fact, commitments to reduce emissions have been deadlocked since the 2009 Copenhagen Accord. Even if governments implemented the most stringent reductions they have proposed, world emissions would still …

BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) justified

Gideon Levy, an op-ed writer for Haaretz, the Israeli daily newspaper, comes out swinging why boycotting goods manufactured in settlements in the West Bank is fully justified.    Interesting question?   Is Levy an anti Israeli or anti-Zionist or seeking to delegitimise the country in which he lives? - an accusation freely hurled at those calling for BDS.

"I don't buy merchandise that comes from the settlements and I never will. To my way of thinking, those are stolen goods and, like any other goods that have been stolen, I try not to buy them. Now perhaps the South Africans and the Danes also will not buy them; meanwhile their governments have merely requested that products from the settlements be marked so as not to deceive their customers. Just as there was no need in the past to label merchandise from the British colonies as British products, so there is no need to mark products from Israel's colonies as Israeli. Anyone who wants to support the Israeli colonial enterpr…

The Turnaround Artist

Credited to Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

Thomas F caught out

Oh dear, good ol' Thomas Friedman caught out attempting a bit of revisionism.

FAIR reports:

"Thomas Friedman on Face the Nation this past Sunday (5/20/12):

You know, I believed from the beginning we had four choices in Afghanistan, Bob: lose early, lose late, lose big, or lose small. And, you know, my hope was that we would lose small and early.

Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, November 2, 2001:

A month into the war in Afghanistan, the hand-wringing has already begun over how long this might last. Let's all take a deep breath and repeat after me: Give war a chance."

Iran: Who is calling the shots on US policy?

If what is revealed in this piece "U.S. Hard Line in Failed Iran Talks Driven by Israel" on Inter Press Service is correct, then yet again, it is the Israelis who are, in the main, calling the shots on US policy with respect to Iran developing a nuclear capacity.  Problem with all of that is that we may all be affected by whatever action the Americans take on Iran.
"Negotiations between Iran and the United States and other members of the P5+1 group in Baghdad ended in fundamental disagreement Thursday over the position of the P5+1 offering no relief from sanctions against Iran.

The two sides agreed to meet again in Moscow Jun. 18 and 19, but only after Iran had threatened not to schedule another meeting, because the P5+1 had originally failed to respond properly to its five-point plan.

The prospects for agreement are not likely to improve before that meeting, however, mainly because of an inflexible U.S. diplomatic posture that reflects President Barack Obama's need …

Facebook faces the music

Now, haven't we all been here before?    No lessons learned from the same shenanigans before on Wall Street's "crew" of the usual suspects, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, et al.   And of course, no one - not even the man in the White House despite all the huffing and puffing - to reign in these cowboys on Wall Street.  
First, this, as reported in The Guardian:
"Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has gone from hero to zero as the stockmarket flotation of the decade flounders amid lawsuits and accusations of greed, hype and deception.

The law firm that won a $7bn settlement for Enron's shareholders is pursuing Zuckerberg, his board and the long list of banks advising the company for making "untrue statements" about its financial performance.

Robbins Geller is bringing the second class action law suit in as many days against Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and a host of Silicon Valley luminaries including PayPal guru Peter Thiel. A separate s…

Africa to roll on, big-time, in the next years

All of Africa is generally portrayed as a basket-case.  Reports of disease and poverty prevail in reports in the media.    Surprising then to learn that Africa is destined to grow, gang-busters, in the next years and equal Asia.
"Africa, with a population expected to roughly double by mid-century, has become recognized as the world's fastest growing continent. But the less-told story is of Africa's economic rise. In the last decade Africa's overall growth rates have quietly approached those of Asia, and according to projections by the IMF, on average Africa will have the world's fastest growing economy of any continent over the next five years.

Seven of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies are African. The continent is famously resource rich, which has surely helped, but some recent studies suggest that the biggest drivers are far less customary for Africa, and far more encouraging for its future: wholesale and retail commerce, transportation, telecommunica…

Money, influence, the GOP and easy entree to the White House

Aahh, politics America-style, at its best.   Money, influence and how to gain access to the White House.    And yes, Obama, is really no different to Romney in accepting funds less than Romney's old firm, Bain Capital.     Glenn Greenwald, writing in Salon, reveals the facts.

"We all know that Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s former firm, is the paragon of capitalist evil, destroying the middle class in order to enrich greedy vulture oligarchs. We also all know that the Democratic Party is the defender of the middle class and the bold adversary of corporate pillaging. That’s why these facts generate so much cognitive dissonance:

Democrats have accepted more political donations than Republicans from executives at Bain Capital, complicating the left’s plan to attack Mitt Romney for his record at the private-equity firm.

During the last three election cycles, Bain employees have given Democratic candidates and party committees more than $1.2 million. The vast majority of t…

No Susie, all Israelis are not created equal!

Israel the only democracy in the Middle East?    The much touted claim?   Actually, not all, as this personal, and powerful piece in the IHT Global Opinion so graphically details.

"I’m a Palestinian who was born in the Israeli town of Lod, and thus I am an Israeli citizen. My wife is not; she is a Palestinian from Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Despite our towns being just 30 miles apart, we met almost 6,000 miles away in Massachusetts, where we attended neighboring colleges.

A series of walls, checkpoints, settlements and soldiers fill the 30-mile gap between our hometowns, making it more likely for us to have met on the other side of the planet than in our own backyard.

Never is this reality more profound than on our trips home from our current residence outside Washington.

Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport is on the outskirts of Lod (Lydda in Arabic), but because my wife has a Palestinian ID, she cannot fly there; she is relegated to flying to Amman, Jordan. …

Watching Fox News makes one stupider

Fox News "operates" under the banner or tag "Fair and Balance".    It is neither of course.   Worse still, the channel is one-sided and has such an extreme GOP-type agenda that it can be fairly said that it doesn't even really present news to the viewing public.
Now, a study has concluded that watching Fox News makes one stupider.   Not surprise there!
"......And that is only partially because it claims to be “Fair and Balanced” when it is neither.

Rather, it is because it fails the fundamental test of journalism: are you informing your audience? According to a new study by Farleigh Dickinson University, Fox viewers are the least knowledgeable audience of any outlet, and they know even less about politics and current events than people who watch no news at all.

Respondents to the survey were able to answer correctly an average of 1.8 of 4 questions about international news and 1.6 out of 5 questions about domestic affairs. “Based on these results, people who…

Wake up America! Reflections post a Global Conference

Stephen Walt, professor of International Relations at Harvard, was an attendee and participant at the recently held Istanbul Political World Forum.  In his latest blog-posting on FP he reflects on the Conference.   As he himself notes American officials should wake up and take note of how America is viewed in the changing world.

"One of the more vivid impressions I took from the conference was the prevailing wariness -- if not outright suspicion -- with which the United States was viewed by many of the attendees. Virtually any statement that cast even mild doubt about U.S. policy (on Iran, Middle East peace, past interventions, Iraq, etc.) drew spontaneous approval from the audience, even if the statements weren't especially provocative, penetrating, or anti-American. For example, in the panel on a possible war with Iran, I suggested that if the U.S. wanted to dissuade Iran from building nuclear weapons, it might make sense to stop threatening Tehran with regime change. The a…

Possible retrograde step for women in Egypt

Whilst women were so much in the forefront in the Arab Spring protests in Egypt last year, the outlook for them in the upcoming election is far from rosy.  In fact it could see a substantial retrograde step and position for them.   The Washington Post reports.
"After Egyptian women stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak, many looked forward to a role in the revolution’s next steps. But 15 months later, as Egyptians prepare to vote for a new president this week, rights activists complain that women are being excluded from key decisions.

“At the time of the revolution, women were needed to fill out the numbers,” said Hoda Badran, head of the Egyptian Feminist Union, which was banned under Mubarak but reinstated last year. “Now, the decision-makers don’t need women, and we’re back to this idea that femininity is inferior and masculinity superior.”

Women in Egypt are turning to graffiti as they demand more rights and freedoms and try to change th…

United Kingdom: Forget about social mobility

Let it not be said that the revelations in the UK of the lack of social mobility, and the stark disparity between the poor and those reasonably well off, isn't only scandalous but rife for wide protests by the so-called 1%.    There can be little doubt that the same situation can be replicated in many other countries.

"There is a "stark gap" between the life chances of the poorest and the better-off in Britain, the Government will admit today, as it publishes alarming research that reveals how wide that gulf is.

The study, to be unveiled by Nick Clegg, shows that:

l One child in five is on free school meals, but only one in 100 Oxbridge entrants is.

l Only 7 per cent of children attend private schools, but these schools provide 70 per cent of High Court judges and 54 per cent of FTSE 100 chief executives.

l One in five children from poorer homes achieves five good GCSEs, compared with three out of four from affluent homes."

Treaties the USA ought to ratify.....but doesn't

Yet another example of the USA "lecturing" the rest of the world about freedoms and rights of citizens that they must pursue to be truly democratic......but doesn't itself ratify treaties which do safeguard human rights and the like.     FP reports:

"The Obama administration, this month, decided to take up the fairly unrewarding task of pushing for the ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. In a piece for FP today, James Kraska explains why ratification is long overdue. The treaty, which lays out rules for both military use of the seas and extraction of resources, went into effect in 1994, has been accepted by 161 nations, and was supported by both the Clinton and Bush administrations as well as U.S. Naval commanders. However it will still face a tough fight in Congress where many lawmakers feel it would constitute an unwarranted intrusion on U.S. sovereignty.

But the Law of the Sea is hardly the only major international agreement waiting for eit…