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The United States: A Country Without Mercy

December 17th, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts

The Christmas season is a time to remember the unfortunate, among whom are those who have been wrongly convicted.

In the United States, the country with the largest prison population in the world, the number of wrongly convicted is very large. Hardly any felony charges are resolved with trials. The vast majority of defendants, both innocent and guilty, are coerced into plea bargains. Not only are the innocent framed, but the guilty as well. It is quicker and less expensive to frame the guilty than to convict them on the evidence.

Many Americans are wrongfully convicted, because they trust the justice system. They naïvely believe that police and prosecutors are moved by evidence and have a sense of justice. The trust they have in authorities makes them easy victims of a system that has no moral conscience and is untroubled by the injustice it perpetrates.

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Home Sweet Home

December 17th, 2008

Najwa Sheikh

Home for all of us is the place where we can find peace, comfort, and love, it is where we find passion, and warmness, no matter where we are or who we are it is the place where we wanted to hide and seek peace.

Home is the place where every stone, every corner recalls a memory of a certain event during your childhood; it is where the signs of how tall you became are still carved on the door.

For me as a third generation Palestinian refugee, I missed experiencing all these feelings, the camp where I have been raised is just a temporary residence, a place that I and my family before me were forced to live in after they lost their homeland, the camp was never to be my home.

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YouTube Partners with MOSSAD

December 16th, 2008

daily.pk

I know it sounds too weird to believe, but that's the news. YouTube now has on-board one of the US’s domestic branches of Israel's intelligence service, the Mossad. The ADL, the Mossad’s most "professional" organizations whose "speciality is spreading hate", are recruited as a professionals in the just struggle of "fighting against hate"?!

It seems that the days of using YouTube as #1 media to distribute documentaries, videos and presentations about the truth of Israel and Zionist and their horrific war-crimes history and terrorism profile, has come to END.

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Vanishing the Palestinians

December 16th, 2008

Ghada Karmi

When the Zionists decided in 1897 to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, the Jews of Vienna despatched a delegation to examine the country for its suitability. The delegation reported back as follows: "the bride is beautiful but she is married to another man". They had found that Palestine to their dismay was already inhabited by another people. And this has been Zionism's central problem ever since. How to "vanish the Palestinians" and get an empty land? The latest manifestation of this imperative is the barrier wall, which Israel is currently building to separate and enclose Palestinian towns and villages in the lands it occupied after 1967. There are those who rightly point to the wall's illegality and infringement of human rights. And the International Court of Justice has just affirmed this view resoundingly in its ruling, passed on 9.7.04 by 14 of the 15 judges, that the wall was an illegal structure when in the occupied Palestinian territories and that Israel would have to tear it down and make restitution for the damage it has caused to thousands of Palestinians. This position is entirely valid, but critics, in my view, have missed one crucial aspect of the wall's purpose, which is, to "vanish" the Palestinians, to make them so invisible that Israelis can go on pretending that there is no "other man".

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Darfur: Forget genocide, there's oil

December 16th, 2008

F. William Engdahl

To paraphrase the famous quip during the 1992 US presidential debates, when an unknown William Jefferson Clinton told then-president George Herbert Walker Bush, "It's the economy, stupid," the present concern of the current Washington administration over Darfur in southern Sudan is not, if we look closely, genuine concern over genocide against the peoples in that poorest of poor part of a forsaken section of Africa.

No. "It's the oil, stupid."

The case of Darfur, a forbidding piece of sun-parched real estate in the southern part of Sudan, illustrates the new Cold War over oil, where the dramatic rise in China's oil demand to fuel its booming growth has led Beijing to embark on an aggressive policy of - ironically - dollar diplomacy. With its more than US$1.2 trillionin mainly US dollar reserves at the Peoples' National Bank of China, Beijing is engaging in active petroleum geopolitics. Africa is a major focus, and in Africa, the central region between Sudan and Chad is a priority.

This is defining a major new front in what, since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, is a new Cold War between Washington and Beijing over control of major oil sources. So far Beijing has played its cards a bit more cleverly than Washington. Darfur is a major battleground in this high-stakes contest for oil control.

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Federal Reserve sets stage for Weimar-style hyperinflation

December 16th, 2008

F. William Engdahl

The Federal Reserve has bluntly refused a request by a major US financial news service to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from US taxpayers and to reveal the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Their lawyers resorted to the bizarre argument that they did so to protect 'trade secrets.' Is the secret that the US financial system is de facto bankrupt? The latest Fed move is further indication of the degree of panic and lack of clear strategy within the highest ranks of the US financial institutions. Unprecedented Federal Reserve expansion of the Monetary Base in recent weeks sets the stage for a future Weimar-style hyperinflation perhaps before 2010.

On November 7 Bloomberg filed suit under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting details about the terms of eleven new Federal Reserve lending programs created during the deepening financial crisis. The Fed responded on December 8 claiming it's allowed to withhold internal memos as well as information about 'trade secrets' and 'commercial information.' The central bank did confirm that a records search found 231 pages of documents pertaining to the requests.

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Shoes for all!

December 16th, 2008

Gabriele Zamparini

When Muntazer al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, shouted, "It is the farewell kiss, you dog" to Bush and threw him his shoes during a news conference in Baghdad, the curtain of hypocrisy fell and the ugly emperor stood naked in front of the world.

Those shoes however were not aimed only to a man who should be - by his own standards - hanged, together with his entire junta of mass murderers; the Iraqi hero hit to the face all those responsible for the Iraq genocide and its ongoing denial; an endless army of politicians, diplomats, generals, businessmen, journalists, intellectuals and pimps who've helped to carry out the crime of the century. Shoes for all!

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They don't kill you, but . . .

December 16th, 2008

Xymphora

A Canadian investigative reporter - a rara avis - named Paul Palango writes about his experiences of how the government deals with investigation:

"In the early 1980s, as a reporter at the Globe and Mail, I undertook an investigation into the Urban Transportation Development Corp., an Ontario Crown corporation. The UTDC, as it was known, was the baby of then-premier William Davis, who had received international recognition for promoting the company's linear-induction train technology. I found that the technology was extremely expensive and would not likely sell in a competitive market without enormous government subsidies.

The UTDC never sold another train after that article.

Back then, Davis took aim at me both personally and professionally. He called me a traitor to Ontario and complained privately to the publisher of the Globe and Mail about my 'biased' reporting.

A few weeks later, while I was stopped at a traffic light on University Avenue in Toronto, a reporter for the Toronto Star pulled up beside me, rolled down his window, and said: 'I hear you're going to sports.'

And so it happened."

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Against School

December 16th, 2008

John Taylor Gatto

How public education cripples our kids, and why

I taught for thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it. They said they wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. They said teachers didn't seem to know much about their subjects and clearly weren't interested in learning more. And the kids were right: their teachers were every bit as bored as they were.

Boredom is the common condition of schoolteachers, and anyone who has spent time in a teachers' lounge can vouch for the low energy, the whining, the dispirited attitudes, to be found there. When asked why they feel bored, the teachers tend to blame the kids, as you might expect. Who wouldn't get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades? If even that. Of course, teachers are themselves products of the same twelve-year compulsory school programs that so thoroughly bore their students, and as school personnel they are trapped inside structures even more rigid than those imposed upon the children. Who, then, is to blame?

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Authoritarian Personality vs. Authoritarian Worldview

December 15th, 2008

Austin Cline

[THE F-SCALE] The term "authoritarian" gets thrown around quite frequently in connection to the Bush administration and the Republican Party without it being clear that it can refer to more than one related issue. I'm guilty of this as well, so I'd like to correct that failure here. When we talk about "authoritarians," we might be referring either to those with an authoritarian personality or those with an authoritarian worldview. On a purely linguistic level it sounds like the two should overlap, but sociologically speaking we should keep them separate.

A person with an "authoritarian personality" is not one of those seeking to command and give orders, but rather someone who is looking for orders to follow, a social structure that narrowly defines all their options, and the comfort of a rigid hierarchy where ambiguity has been eliminated. An authoritarian personality is the person who does what they are told and who makes an authoritarian system function.

An authoritarian worldview, in contrast, is that promoted by those who are looking to lead, to give commands, and to set up an authoritarian system for those willing to follow orders. In some cases they may simply be cynical manipulators of others' fears for the purpose of amassing personal power; in other cases they may sincerely believe in the need for such a rigid system for the sake of order, safety, and civilization. In either event, they do not expect or intend to be limited in the same ways that everyone else will be.

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