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Showing posts from August, 2012

Fox "News" at its best in misrepresentation, distortion and lying

Perhaps not surprising Fox "News" continues with its lies, distortions and lying in the way it "reports" things.     AlterNet lists no less than 8 good examples of what Fox is up to. 

"The most effective contribution of the Fox spinners is their expertise in disseminating brazenly dishonest propaganda without shame or fear of reprisal. They construct fabrications that benefit their patrons and broadcast them to an audience that is so undiscriminating they’ll watch Sean Hannity more than once. Since the majority of rational news consumers will never see much of what Fox works so hard to invent, we have complied a list of some of the most dishonest moments so far in the 2012 election cycle. (Note: in order to pare this list down to a manageable length, it has been limited to just the past eight weeks. There's only so much bandwidth on the Internet.)

1) President Obama Did Not Call Mitt Romney a Felon

Mitt Romney claims that he had ceased to be involved with Ba…

Freedom of speech v good health

Freedom of speech, as enshrined in the US Constitution, is one thing.    Protecting the general public's good health is another - as also saving the community the horrendous cost people becoming ill or dying.      A victory for stupidity in an American Court shown par excellence.

"A federal appeals court struck down a law on Friday that requires tobacco companies to place graphic health warnings on their packages and advertising.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the law, which is administered by the Food and Drug Administration, violated corporate free speech rights. The ruling contradicted another appellate court decision in a similar case this year, setting up the possibility that the United States Supreme Court will have to rule on the dispute.

“This case raises novel questions about the scope of the government’s authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate comm…

On the numbers, US worst police State in the world

The West is quick to condemn countries, like China, for an example, as a police State.    But that may well not be the case if the stats in this piece from Black Agenda Report (reproduced on Information Clearing House) are correct.   The award for the worst police state goes to the USA.

"For the American media, including lots of media that claim to be of the Left, it is axiomatic that China is a police state. And maybe, by some standards, it is. But, according to United Nations figures, China is 87th in the world in the proportion of its people who are imprisoned. China is a billion people bigger than the United States – more than four times the population – yet U.S. prisons house in excess of 600,000 more people than China does. The Chinese prison population is just 70 percent of the American Gulag. That’s quite interesting because, non-whites make up about 70 percent of U.S. prisons. That means, the Black, brown, yellow and red populations of U.S. prisons number roughly the sam…

Ann Romney speaks at the GOP Convention. Oh yeah?

Credited to Pat Bagley at The Salt Lake Tribune

Yet another failure in the NYT's reporting

One of the real troubles for any of us is how dependant we are on the media reporting on things, be they be good or bad, or contrary to the political climate then prevailing.     Take the position in America.    Congress has, in effect, been coerced by the Israel Lobby into voting for the support of Israel should it attack Iran - because Iran is developing a nuclear capacity.  The media has been rather one-sided in its reporting on what is happening in Iran and what might be done to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

The New York Times has been caught out, yet again, for failing to report on what ought to be seen as a significant call by Iran for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

"The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), formed in 1961 during the Cold War, is a group of 120 states and 17 observer states not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. The NAM held its opening 2012 session yesterday under the new chairmanship of Iran, which succeeded Egypt as the Chair.


Let's talk terrorism! It's not at all one-sided in the Israel-Palestinian conflict

A piece "Rachel Corrie verdict exposes Israeli military mindset" in The Guardian reflects on the decision in the Rachel Corrie case.     Reflect on who the terrorists are here.   

"Reporters covering Israel are routinely confronted with the question: why not call Hamas a terrorist organisation? It's a fair point. How else to describe blowing up families on buses but terrorism?

But the difficulty lies in what then to call the Israeli army when it, too, at particular times and places, has used indiscriminate killing and terror as a means of breaking Palestinian civilians. One of those places was Rafah, in the southern tip of the Gaza strip, where Rachel Corrie was crushed by a military bulldozer nine years ago as she tried to stop the Israeli army going about its routine destruction of Palestinian homes.

An Israeli judge on Tuesday perpetuated the fiction that Corrie's death was a terrible accident and upheld the results of the military's own investigation, wid…

Appropriate action to meet foul action

Full marks to President Hollande, of France, for taking a principled stand.   France 24 reports....

"British fashion designer John Galliano has become one of the few recipients of the Légion d’Honneur to have his award effectively retracted, after French President François Hollande signed a decree stripping him of the country’s highest honour.

Galliano was given the award in January, 2009 by former president Nicolas Sarkozy for his contributions to haute couture. Hollande’s decision to strip the designer of his Légion d’Honneur stems from Galliano’s conviction in a French court last year, for making anti-Semitic comments. Caught up in scandal, Galliano watched as he lost his job at Dior and his reputation crumbled. Now, he has also lost the right to wear his Légion d’Honneur medal.

To be stripped of the Légion d’Honneur is no small comeuppance. It is roughly the French equivalent to the United States’ Presidential Medal of Freedom, or a knighthood in Britain.

“It’s a very prestigiou…

Truly innovative and original. A mobile library

It just shows you that when people apply themselves to a bit of lateral thinking - and an element of ingenuity - people can be helped.    France 24 reports on a mobile library.   A great and simple idea.    To be supported, encouraged with support and spread far and wide.

"While wandering through the maze-like streets of Sao Paulo, you might come across Robson Mendonça and his red bicycle. But this is no ordinary bicycle. His ‘Bicycle Library’ is equipped with shelves holding more than 300 works that together weigh 150 kilograms.

The ‘Bicicloteca’ (the name is a fusion of the Portuguese words for ‘bicycle’ and ‘library’) lends books to people who don’t have access to libraries. This is the brainchild of 61-year old Mendonça, a former construction worker who spent a decade living homeless on the streets.

                                    Robson Mendonça, the project's founder, riding the Bicycle Library.

"Green Mobility, a Brazilian non-profit organisation which campaigns …

A graphic showing of the war in Syria

The war continues to rage in Syria - and despite the tut-tutting by politicians around the world, the carnage continues.     There has not only been the slaughter of Syrians, but widespread damage to cities and the dislocation of large numbers of people who have fled to Turkey and Lebanon.

From FP graphic photos (here) of the war up "close and personal".....

"The civil war in Syria is increasingly an urban conflict. On Sunday, August 26, hundreds of residents of the Damascene neighborhood of Daraya were laid to rest, victims of a massacre which has been blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Many of the dead had been shot in the head or bore the marks of bayonet wounds. Fighting continues in the flashpoint city of Aleppo, as well, where rebels and the Syrian army have been fighting from neighborhood to neighborhood since the beginning of August. As Justin Vela reported in Foreign Policy, Syrian rebels have made huge gains in the area, but Assad is now …

A truly moral stance

There can be little question that on any objective test Tony Blair and George Bush can be considered war criminals because of their actions in relation to the attack and war on Iraq.

Enter Archbishop Desmond Tutu - a fervent critic of Blair since 2003 - taking a moral stand in refusing to attend a conference at which Blair is going to be present.

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu has pulled out of an international summit because he doesn't want to share a platform with the "morally indefensible" Tony Blair, it emerged yesterday.

The retired archbishop, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaigning against apartheid, said that he had withdrawn from the event because he believed the former Prime Minister had supported the invasion of Iraq "on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence of weapons of mass destruction."

In a statement, Archbishop Tutu's office added: "The Discovery Invest Summit has leadership as its theme. Morality and l…

Hardly "free and fair" support

Now that Mitt Romney has been endorsed as the GOP's presidential candidate, how some of his support has been garnered is more than troubling.     American democracy at work?  Mmmm!

"Coal miners in Ohio - who work for a company that's given almost $1 million to the GOP - say they feared they'd lose their jobs if they didn't attend a "mandatory" event with Mitt Romney and contribute to his campaign. Insult to Injury: They lost a day of pay for their trouble.

“We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event...We’re talking about an event that was in the best interest of anyone that’s related to the coal industry. I do not believe that missing an eight-hour day...,when you think about (how) how critical this next election is, and how critical it is that we get someone in this office that supports coal — to give up eight hours for a career." - Murray Energ…

Climate change: The evidence is in

Global July temperatures were the fourth-warmest on record.
Whatever the sceptics and naysayers might say, the evidence - from those who ought to know - that we are faced with climate change caused by we humans.

"Updating their official stance on the relationship between climate change and weather events, the American Meteorological Society (AMS), has now stated plainly that the warming world is a fact beyond reproach and that human activity—despite some natural variability—is the main force behind such changes.

"Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal," the group said in a statement on Monday. "Observations show increases in globally averaged air and ocean temperatures, as well as widespread melting of snow and ice and rising globally averaged sea level."

The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities, they said, adding that their scientific finding is based on "a large and persuasive body of research."

"Due to natur…

Israel's flawed justice system on show for all to see

Not only is Israel increasingly being shown not be the democracy so many claim it to be, but another notch in its already flawed judicial system has been highlighted, today, in the decision relating to the death of American Rachel Corrie.     The New York Timesreports:

"An Israeli judge ruled on Tuesday that the state bore no responsibility for the death of Rachel Corrie, the young American woman who was run over by a military bulldozer in 2003 as she protested housing demolitions in the Gaza Strip.

The lengthy verdict in the civil case, read to a courtroom packed with supporters of Ms. Corrie’s family here, called the death an accident that occurred during “a military activity meant to prevent terrorist activity.”

“She chose to put herself in danger,” said the judge, Oded Gershon. “She could have easily distanced herself from the danger like any reasonable person would.”

Since her death, Ms. Corrie has become an international symbol of the Palestinian resistance. A play based on he…

Not a record to be proud of

Here we have the significant fallout from the GFC and the general populace around the world finding coping with the cost of daily living more than onerous, yet the armaments industry is flourishing - with the USA being one of the biggest vendor of killing-weaponry.

"Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major arms sales to Persian Gulf allies concerned about Iran’s regional ambitions, according to a new study for Congress.

Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.

The American weapons sales total was an “extraordinary increase” over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled near…

Our free and unfettered use of the internet under attack

It is hard to envisage daily life without computers and for almost everyone of us, access to a PC, Mac or tablet devise.     With that access and widespread use of the www has come freedom of expression and the ability to write freely and openly.    Witness WikiLeaks as just one example of the internet being harnessed to reveal papers which Governments would much rather have kept under wraps.    And therein lies the danger as governments around the globe, whatever their political hue, try to curb the use of the internet or at least impose restrictions of one sort or another.

"In horror movies, the scariest moments usually come from the monster you can't see. So the same goes for real life, or at least online life. Over the past few years, largely out of sight, governments have been clawing back freedoms on the internet, turning an invention that was designed to emancipate the individual into a tool for surveillance and control. In the next few months, this process is set to b…

Food: Waste not........

Peter Lehner, Executive Director, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).  In this piece on Care2 Make a Difference, he provides more than stark figures on food wastage in America - doubtlessly replicated in many nations around the world - and how the quantities of what we eat have grown.

"We’ve all been told, since childhood, that wasting food is bad—but it still happens. We buy food we don’t have time to cook. We forget about leftovers in the back of the fridge. We throw out food that’s stamped with yesterday’s date, assuming it must be dangerous to eat.

We have the best of intentions, but a little bit of waste every day, all over the country, adds up. Americans, on average, throw away about 23 pounds of perfectly edible food, per person, every month. And that doesn’t even count the food we consume that, in retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have eaten in the first place!

This wasteful habit would not only earn a scolding from your mother—it’s actually 50 percent more than what …

Who's catching up to whom?...or who needs to catch up?

We all know that India and China, in different ways, are on the march - in nation-building, with all that entails.    Housing, infrastructure, industry and education to name but a few aspects of developing their nation.  

In this piece "Starving the Future" by Charles M Blow in The New York Times, he highlights the stark disparity between what the Chinese and Indians are doing on the education front when contrasted to the USA.     Most likely the comparison applies to many other Western nations as well.

"America is in trouble.

Emerging economic powers China and India are heavily investing in educating the world’s future workers while we squabble about punishing teachers and coddling children.

This week, the Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation released a report entitled “The Race That Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce.” The findings were breathtaking:

• Half of U.S. children get no…

Ignoring any humanity (and the fallout) in waging war

Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Murray, writing on Information Clearing House, correctly, asks why it is that those who call for and initiate war, have no regard for the human cost and any sort of humanity making the decision to wage war.    Take the drum-beats for an attack on Iran getting louder and louder - especially from the Israelis and Americans.

"As Israeli leaders engage in frenzied posturing over a possible military strike on Iran, we again have pundits, experts and commentators speculating how an Israeli offensive would play out. They search for the meaning behind the inflammatory rhetoric of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and ponder the impact of a war on Western political, strategic and economic interests.

As with the war games I attended at the War College 10 years ago, th…

The Renegade Raging Grannies have a message, or 3, for Paul Ryan....

The Renegade Raging Grannies let Todd Akin know what they think of his Neanderthal concepts about how women's bodies work.

It's the soup (minestrone) that does it.....

Who would have thought?....

"Minestrone soup, according to nine siblings from Sardinia who have been recognised as the world's oldest in terms of combined age.
The oldest member of the Melis family, Consolata, was turning 105 yesterday, while the youngest of her siblings, Mafalda, is 78.

''To have such a large number of living siblings with an average age of more than 90 years is incredibly rare,'' the editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, Craig Glenday, said on Tuesday of the Melises, who hail from Perdasdefogu in the mountainous Ogliastra province.

''We believe Ogliastra contains the highest number of centenarians per capita in the world.''

Scientists have tried to work out what makes Sardinians live so long - 371 are over the age of 100, or 22 in every 100,000 - and credit genetic heritage, a frugal Mediterranean diet and a hardy lifestyle.

''We eat real food, meaning lots of minestrone and little meat, and we are always working,'…

Will the real Mitt Romney stand up

With the GOP Convention upon us and the certainty of a Romney-Ryan ticket for the upcoming US presidential election The Economist asks who is Romney and what really are his policy-positions?

"When Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans.

All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it (see article). And that is a pity, because this newspaper finds much to like in the history of this uncharismatic but dogged man, from his obvious bus…

Exhibit #1 showing being out of touch with reality

Where do these CEO's live?   What planet?    Who do they ever talk to other than their wealthy brethen and women?     Adele Horin, writing in "For richer and poorer, the battle goes on" in The Sydney Morning Herald takes up the issue in relation to the CEO of one of Australia's 4 major banks.

"The chief executive officer of ANZ bank, Mike Smith, whose annual salary converts to about $27,400 a day, thinks people on unemployment benefits of $34 a day get too much.

His prescription for prodding the jobless to move to the salt mines of Western Australia is to cut the fat from a stipend so stingy that paying the rent and eating are mutually exclusive. It's too sad."


"Smith's remedy might make more sense if the Newstart Allowance were generous, and thus a disincentive to taking a job, instead of a below-poverty-level payment.

If the unemployed comprised only fit young men, starving them into mobility might be worth it. But the unemployed include you…

Remembering Rachel Corrie 9 years on

All power to the parents of Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza in 2003 - by the Israelis, the parents claim.    The evidence would seem to be with them, not the Israelis who have striven all along to obfuscate what happened on the fatal day of her death.

"Israel's investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie has failed to be "thorough, credible and transparent," U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told the Corrie family last week.
Shapiro made his comments to Rachel Corrie's parents, Craig and Cindy, and her sister Sarah at the US embassy in Tel Aviv last week.

Amira Hass reports in Haaretz that "The U.S. government’s position is not new to the Corries, but their attorneys said that hearing it only a few days before the verdict was 'important and encouraging,' because it signals to the Corrie family that the U.S. government will continue to demand a full accounting from Israel about their daughter’s killing, regardless of how Judge Oded Gershon r…

Charming! Profiting from the food crisis!

Capitalism at its naked worst!     As if it wasn't enough for many over-paid executives to be leaches - and all too often crooks to boot! - now one we learn that one corporation sees the ability to profit from the looming food crisis.    Shameful!

"The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world's largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a "good" business opportunity.

With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought "Dust Bowl" days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin's government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: "Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits."

Ms Calpe said leading international politicians and banks expec…

When good intentions go awfully wrong


"A case of suspected vandalism in a church in a northeastern village in Spain has turned out to be probably the worst art restoration project of all time.
An elderly woman stepped forward this week to claim responsibility for disfiguring a century-old “ecce homo” fresco of Jesus crowned with thorns, in Santuario de la Misericordia, a Roman Catholic church in Borja, near the city of Zaragoza.

Ecce homo, or behold the man, refers to an artistic motif that depicts Jesus, usually bound and with a crown of thorns, right before his crucifixion.

The woman, Cecilia Giménez, who is in her 80s, said on Spanish national television that she had tried to restore the fresco, which she called her favorite local representation of Jesus, because she was upset that parts of it had flaked off due to moisture on the church’s walls.

The authorities in Borja said they had suspected vandalism at first, but then determined that the shocking alterations had been made by an elderly parishioner. Th…

Hypocrisy on show

Glenn Greenwald, now ensconced at The Guardian, on hypocrisy on show for all to see:

"Readers of the American and British press over the past month have been inundated with righteous condemnations of Ecuador's poor record on press freedoms. Is this because western media outlets have suddenly developed a new-found devotion to defending civil liberties in Latin America? Please. To pose the question is to mock it."

"But this behavior illustrates how purported human rights concerns are cynically exploited as a weapon by western governments and, more inexcusably, by their nationalistic, self-righteous media enablers. Concern over a foreign regime's human rights abuses are muted, often nonexistent, when those regimes dutifully adhere to US dictates, but are amplified to deafening levels when nations defy those dictates and, especially, when it's time to wage war against them. This is why attacks on protesters by US-supported regimes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia…

Putting Julian Assange into context

Seumas Milne, writing in The Guardian - a newspaper which has had it share of attacking WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange - on the realities of Assange and the wider-world.
"Considering he made his name with the biggest leak of secret government documents in history, you might imagine there would be at least some residual concern for Julian Assange among those trading in the freedom of information business. But the virulence of British media hostility towards the WikiLeaks founder is now unrelenting.

This is a man, after all, who has yet to be charged, let alone convicted, of anything. But as far as the bulk of the press is concerned, Assange is nothing but a "monstrous narcissist", a bail-jumping "sex pest" and an exhibitionist maniac. After Ecuador granted him political asylum and Assange delivered a "tirade" from its London embassy's balcony, fire was turned on the country's progressive president, Rafael Correa, ludicrously branded a corrup…

Technology #101 in 2012

Time reflects on how far we have come with technology and where things sit in 2012.

"Just as remarkable as the power of mobility, over everything from love to learning to global development, is how fast it all happened. It is hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones. Not the knife or match, the pen or page. Only money comes close—always at hand, don’t leave home without it. But most of us don’t take a wallet to bed with us, don’t reach for it and check it every few minutes, and however useful money is in pursuit of fame, romance, revolution, it is inert compared with a smart phone—which can replace your wallet now anyway.

Whatever people thought the first time they held a portable phone the size of a shoe in their hands, it was nothing like where we are now, accustomed to having all knowledge at our fingertips. A typical smart phone has more computing power than Apollo…

Akin, Ryan, the GOP and abortion

Maureen Dowd, in her regular op-piece in The New York Times - "Just Say No" - perhaps not surprisingly puts her best acerbic foot forward in commenting on the furore surrounding Todd Akins' view about abortion.

"Other Republicans are trying to cover up their true identity to get elected. Even as party leaders attempted to lock the crazy uncle in the attic in Missouri, they were doing their own crazy thing down in Tampa, Fla., by reiterating language in their platform calling for a no-exceptions Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother.

Paul Ryan, who teamed up with Akin in the House to sponsor harsh anti-abortion bills, may look young and hip and new generation, with his iPod full of heavy metal jams and his cute kids. But he’s just a fresh face on a Taliban creed — the evermore antediluvian, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay conservative core. Amiable in khakis and polo shirts, Ryan is the per…

Checking the mobile/cell phone at the door

Perhaps the story is apocryphal but there is the tale of a wife booking a table at a restaurant to celebrate her wedding anniversary - for a party of 3!   When reaching the table the husband enquires of his wife for whom the 3rd setting is for.   Your mobile/cell phone the wife retorts.   

Perhaps, as reported on The Unofficial Apple Weblog, one restaurant has come up with an answer to a mobile/cell phone intruding on a dinner a deux.

"Ever have a date look at you sideways because you can't refrain from Instagramming your meal? If you need some persuasion to kick the distracted dining habit, then you may want to visit Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles, California. Owner Mark Gold is running an interesting promotion that'll give you a 5 percent discount on your meal if you check your cell phone at the door.

Gold told Airtalk, a radio show on Southern California's 89.3 KPCC, that he did this for his customers. Gold says, "It's about two people sitting together and…

War conducted in the shadows

Warfare has always been ugly and devastating.  The cost in human life has been enormous and in the end there is rarely a real winner.  And then there is the material cost of it all.   But one thing was reasonably certain, the warfare was conducted mainly in the open.    Not any more.   Post 9/11 wars, in many manifestations, are being conducted in the shadows - as Chris Hedges so clearly shows in a piece "The War in the Shadows" on truthdig.

"Since the attacks of 9/11, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)—which includes the Green Berets, the Army Rangers and the Navy SEALs—has seen its budget quadrupled. There are now some 60,000 USSOCOM operatives, whom the president can dispatch to kill without seeking congressional approval or informing the public. Add to this the growth of intelligence operatives. As Dana Priest and William M. Arkin reported in The Washington Post, “Twenty-four [new intelligence] organizations were created by the end of 2001, including the …

Assange: Pause for thought by the USA

Michael Moore and Oliver Stone are likely not the most popular film-makers in America.   But no one can take away from them that they express views which make more than sense.     So, a joint op-ed piece "WikiLeaks and Free Speech" in The New York Times has a relevant call to the USA to carefully consider not onlywhether there is any basis for seeking to have Julian Assange brought to America but also the potential consequences.

"If Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world. Mr. Assange is not an American citizen, and none of his actions have taken place on American soil. If the United States can prosecute a journalist in these circumstances, the governments of Russia or China could, by the same logic, demand that foreign reporters anywhere on earth be extradited for violating their laws. The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not."

Don't look for fiscal responsibility there

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, in a piece in The New York Times, takes apart the budget forecasts of GOP VP candidate, Paul Ryan.      Fiscally responsible?  Doesn't appear so.

"Continuing with my Ryan series, let’s look at what his budget (pdf) actually proposes (as opposed to vaguely promises) in its first decade.

First, there are a set of tax cuts for higher income brackets and corporations. The Tax Policy Center (pdf) estimates the cost of these tax cuts, relative to current policy, at $4.3 trillion.

Second, there are spending cuts. Of these, approximately $800 billion comes from converting Medicaid into a block grant that grows only with population and overall inflation – a big cut compared with projections that take into account rising health-care costs and an aging population (since the elderly and disabled account for most Medicaid expenses). Another $130 billion comes from doing something similar to food stamps. Then there are odds and ends – Pell grant…

Potatoes = Lobbyists = Immobilised Congress

In a piece "What Potatoes Say about the State of US Democracy" on Spiegel OnLine International, Marc Hujer clearly shows how a debate in relation to potatoes has shown the American Congress to have been effectively captured by lobbyists and immobilised.
"The current Congress, the 112th in US history, is the most unproductive since the end of World War II. It enacted only 80 laws in 2011, fewer than any Congress has done since 1947, despite the great need for reform and the ongoing budget crisis. The US Congress has failed to achieve a united position on the war in Libya, climate change, immigration, tax policy, reforming the country's social welfare systems and other important issues of the day. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed.

Politics has become powerless, or at least it seems that way in America. It no longer controls the country's fate, as it once did. Monetary, fiscal and even economic policy are fizzling out in a globalized world. Eve…

Kafka alive and well at the CIA

Gitmo is back in the news and, again, for all the wrong reasons.   Leave aside that the "T" word - torture! - is seemingly verboten in trials being conducted in relation to Gitmo detainees, Kafka-like tactics and positions pervade the entire so-called trial process.

"CIA agents have written books about it. Former President George W. Bush has explained why he thought it was necessary and legal. Yet the al Qaeda suspects who were subjected to so-called harsh interrogation techniques, and the lawyers charged with defending them at the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, are not allowed to talk about the treatment they consider torture.

Defense attorneys say that and other Kafkaesque legal restrictions on what they can discuss with their clients and raise in the courtroom undermine their ability to mount a proper defense on charges that could lead to the death penalty.

Those restrictions will be the focus of a pretrial hearing that convenes this week.

Prosecutors say every utte…

Venting one's spleen (about one's workplace) on line......

This should prove more than a tad "interesting" around the water cooler.....

"Poor pay, bad management and having to bring tea bags and milk to work are enough to make anyone annoyed at their boss.
Now employees can vent their workplace gripes at NakedOffice, a website that lets people anonymously review their past and present employers, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of some Australian companies.

''This company has one of the most frustrating, dysfunctional work environments I have ever encountered. Employee initiative is actively discouraged,'' writes one worker of Dick Smith Electronics.

''Long-standing problems go unrecognised and unresolved by management, even when there are obvious simple solutions. While there are supposedly avenues for staff to offer feedback and suggestions, they are purposely designed to be impractical and difficult to engage, and the administration in Sydney makes its contempt for the plebs …

USA: War with Iran?....without discussion or debate

In a piece "Obama Needs U.S. Debate Before Making Pledges to Israel About Attacking Iran" on the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart queries why the Obama Administration is not engaging in open discussion about a possible war with Iran and the failure of both Congress and the media to take up the critical question either.    After we are talking about a war here.   

"For years now, Israelis have been noisily debating military action against Iran. And their conclusion, according to polls, is that America should do it. That’s somewhat ironic given that self-reliance—never again putting Jewish destiny in non-Jewish hands—is core to the Zionist ideal. But it’s also quite rational: an American strike would likely set back Tehran’s nuclear progress far more than an Israeli one would. And an American strike would not leave Israel as isolated in the world.

The problem is that back here in the United States, we haven’t been noisily debating military action against Iran. Yes, we’ve watche…

And this clown is running for office?

One for taking one looong deep breath in...... 

From CommonDreams:

"Missouri GOP Congressman, Senate hopeful and All Round Science Whiz Todd Akin says rape victims don't need access to abortion, which anyway he opposes, because, "From what I understand from doctors...if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Yes. Really. He said that. He also said that even if "that didn't work or something," there should be punishment for the rapist, "not attacking the child." He later backtracked slightly, saying he "misspoke," has "deep empathy" for the tens of thousands of women raped each year, and believes his responsibility is to "protect the most vulnerable in our society," including "the unborn." This man, who also opposes the school-lunch program, is running for national office. At last count, he was said to be leading against his opponent Sen. Claire McCask…

A dark, and treacherous, path to the White House

In a piece "Dark Road to the White House" Charles M Blow, writing his regular op-ed piece in The New York Times, paints a none-too flattering portrait of Republicans as they strive to get the Romney-Ryan ticket elected to the White House in November.

"Shady money, voter suppression, shifting positions, murky details and widespread apathy

As The New York Times reported this week, Paul Ryan made the trip on Tuesday to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner who has pledged to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Obama. No reporters were allowed in, of course.

As The Times’s editorial page pointed out on Friday:

“Last year, his company, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, announced that it was under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — specifically, that it bribed Chinese officials for help in expanding its casino empire in Macau. Later…