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Can American leaders lead?

December 31st, 2012

By Alan Hart

The longer version of the headline question is this: Given the corruption of the American political system which puts what passes for democracy up for sale to the highest lobby bidders, will any U.S. President (not only a second-term Obama) ever be able to shape and implement policies which best serve the longer term interests of all Americans rather than the short-term interests of the most powerful lobbies?

Usually that question or something very like it is asked in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, when a president has demonstrated with rhetoric a desire to advance the co-called peace process and has been blocked by the Zionist (not Israel) lobby and its stooges in Congress. But today, following the slaughter of the innocents in Connecticut, the question has a domestic context.

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Two New Year's resolutions for the state of Arkansas

December 30th, 2012

Mary Shaw


West Memphis Three convicted the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys

I propose two New Year's resolutions for the state of Arkansas:

1. Fully exonerate the West Memphis Three.

2. Reopen the case and find the real killer(s).

The world will be watching.

On Christmas Day, 2012, the documentary film West of Memphis opened in New York City and Los Angeles. It will be more widely released starting in January. The film tells the updated story of the West Memphis Three - a trio of men who were convicted as teenagers for the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Presumed ringleader Damien Echols, who was 18 years old at the time of the murders, was sentenced to death. His codefendants, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley, Jr., who were still minors at the time, were both sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Stop Obama’s Ongoing Grand Charade to Cut Social Insurances

December 30th, 2012

By Margaret Flowers

Here we go again. President Obama is in round three of his ongoing efforts to cut our important social insurances, such as Social Security and Medicare. Whether he succeeds or not is up to us. We can create a stronger economy and healthier population by strengthening and expanding our social insurances and switching to a green energy economy.

Round 1: In April, 2010, shortly after President Obama signed into law a health bill that further privatizes our health care system and while all attention was on this ‘historic achievement’, Obama created the National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He appointed Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as chairs of what was commonly known as the Deficit Commission and loaded the panel with 14 deficit hawks out of the total of 18 appointees. The commission was given the power to create a deficit plan that would go to Congress for an up or down vote.

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Cliff Notes

December 30th, 2012

by Stephen Lendman

Congressional/administration hype, theater, gamesmanship, brinksmanship, and duplicity define yearend fiscal cliff discussions. Previous articles explained what's at stake. Years ago, Republicans and Democrats conspired to destroy America's social contract. Militarism, imperial dominance, tyranny, corporate/super-rich priorities, class war, and widening the unprecedented wealth disparity followed.

Economist Jack Rasmus calls fiscal cliff subterfuge "austerity American style."

Media scoundrels conceal what readers and viewers most need to know. Fiscal cliff hype shows what they're up against. Eleventh hour discussions continue.

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Congress Extends Warrantless Spying

December 30th, 2012

by Stephen Lendman

America's political process is lawless, corrupt and dysfunctional. Fiscal cliff hype, noise and theater continue. Destroying fundamental civil society social protections aren't mentioned.

Rushed through legislation targeted Iran's growing Latin American influence. On December 28, Obama signed the Countering Iran in Western Hemisphere Act.

It requires the State Department to "address Iran's growing hostile presence and activity." Washington wants the Islamic Republic shut out of the region entirely. It wants it isolated globally.

In 2005, Iran had five regional embassies. Today it has 11. Washington's influence is declining. Its traditional backyard grows more independent. Over time, imperial extremism makes more enemies than friends.

Police state harshness intensifies domestically. Presidential diktat authority overrides constitutional law. Secret kill lists mark targeted individuals for death.

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Cold War Politics Heats Up

December 30th, 2012

by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles discussed how Washington reinvented the "evil empire." On March 8, 1983, Ronald Reagan coined the term. He addressed the National Association of Evangelicals.

He called communism "the focus of evil in the modern world." He said don't "ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire….and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil."

That was then. This is now. Cold War politics returned. Vladimir Putin is prime target. Boris Yeltsin was Russia's first president. He played Washington's game. He instituted neoliberal shock therapy.

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Netanyahu/Lieberman Coalition

December 29th, 2012

by Stephen Lendman

On January 22, Israeli parliamentary elections will be held. Netanyahu/Lieberman's Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) looks likely to win.

Both men are world class thugs. They represent the worst of ideological extremism. They're hardcore racists. They want unchallenged regional dominance. They believe Israel has a divine right to terrorize Palestinians with impunity.

Lieberman's a serial felon. Charges against him included bribery, fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, and harassing witnesses.

Major accusations were dropped. Fraud and breach of trust remain. Reports suggest other charges may be added. Lieberman denies it.

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Patriarchy, the Social Order and the Delhi Gangrape Victim

December 29th, 2012

Prakash Kona

The twenty-three year old victim of brutal gang-rape on a New Delhi bus finally succumbed in a Singapore hospital following a period of physical and mental devastation – a devastation that needs a different kind of imagination for it to be properly understood. The first thing that comes to mind is: where is God in all of this brutalization? Where are the temples where money is being poured into by irrational, scared believers and the corrupt Indian rich who seek to bribe the gods in order to let them continue to loot an impoverished nation and let the poor die for lack of choice? Where are those priests in the temples, mosques, churches and the gurdwaras and their so-called believers – immoral and conscienceless characters – because they need to be blamed for all the violence in this communalized society? The legitimization of violence in a country like India is an altogether different thing.

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OWS Activists Called Domestic Terrorists

December 29th, 2012

by Stephen Lendman

US history is littered with repressive laws. Constitutional protections and civil liberties have been targeted. The 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts restricted First Amendment freedoms.

So did the 1917 Espionage Act, 1919 anti-communist Palmer raids, 1934 Special Committee on Un-American Activities, its House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) successor, FBI COINTELPRO crackdowns, 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 2001 USA Patriot Act, and other post-9/11 measures.

Police state harshness today reflects US policy. Compromised civil liberties expanded government surveillance, eroded habeas rights, formalized military tribunals, permitted torture-extracted confessions, and sanctified violence in the name of national security.

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Piling on Syria

December 29th, 2012

by Stephen Lendman

Western-recruited Islamofascist killers are US favorites. They committed mass murder and horrific atrocities since last year. Washington, other Western countries, and regional rogues arm, fund, train, direct, and encourage them.

On December 21, Russia Today interviewed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Moscow isn't "in the business of regime change," he said.

He categorically rejects notions about Russia granting Assad asylum. He condemned Western double standards. So-called friends are terrorists, he said. They're ravaging Syria.

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