Homeland Body Count: Econocide in America

Econocide: Body Count 3
by Nick Turse
After David B. Kellermann, the chief financial officer of beleaguered mortgage giant Freddie Mac, tied a noose and hanged himself in the basement of his Vienna, Virginia, home, the New York Times made it a front-page story. The stresses of the job in economic tough times, its reporters implied, had driven him to this extreme act.

"Binghamton Shooter" Jiverly Wong also garnered front-page headlines nationwide and set off a cable news frenzy when, "bitter over job loss," he massacred 13 people at an immigration center in upstate New York. Similarly, coverage was brisk after Pittsburgh resident Richard Poplawski, "upset about recently losing a job," shot four local police officers, killing three of them.

But where was the front-page treatment when, in January, Betty Lipply, a 72-year-old resident of East Palestine, Ohio, "who feared she'd lose her home to foreclosure hanged herself to death" shortly after "receiving her second summons and foreclosure complaint from her mortgage lender"?
 
And where was the up-to-the-minute cable news reporting on the two California dairy farmers who "killed themselves... out of despair over finances, according to associates"?
 
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Iceland: "Stop Whale Hunting Now!"

Tell Iceland to Stop Whale Hunting Now!
by Care2 Campaign Team
It's a terrifying time for whales. Iceland's whaling season began last week, despite international outcry against the bloody hunt. Whalers plan to kill up to 100 minke whales this season.
 
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Tell Iceland's Minister of Fisheries to reduce this year's whale hunt quotas immediately, and work toward a full ban on whaling in Iceland:
http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AFM2W/zJCa/__O7
     
Clearly Iceland is sensitive to the outrage against whaling -- particularly its impact on the country's tourism industry. Whaling is banned close to Reykjavik harbor, and the first whales are usually killed in a bay just outside of the capital city. But clearly a more effective effort to protect Iceland's tourism industry and popular whale watching businesses would be to ban the brutal whaling program completely. That is why we need your help.
 
 
These majestic beauties of the ocean deserve to live in peace.
 
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Strauss and the Iraq War

Leo Strauss and the Iraq War
by Scott Horton l No Comment
It’s a commonplace among political philosophy students to note that the Neocons may be Straussians, but that hardly makes Leo Strauss a Neocon. After all, he died in 1973, and his daughter insists that he voted for Adlai Stevenson and had liberal leanings before his notoriously negative reaction to the student movement of the late sixties.
 
But Alan Gilbert argues that Leo Strauss’s politics are very close to those of the recent generation of politically active Neocons. He traces the idea of a great anti-modern tyrant in the writings of Strauss, drawing on his discussion of Machiavelli, Xenophon, Plato, and his contemporary Alexandre Kojève. But the most interesting nuggets in Gilbert’s paper relate to Strauss’s direct engagement in the political world.

In the early sixties, Leo Strauss counseled Charles Percy, then contemplating a bid for the G.O.P. presidential nomination in 1964. Some of his advice is striking. Writing before the Cuban missile crisis, he advocates adopting a military strategy of confrontation with the Communists designed to address their program of world domination:

    There cannot be a modus vivendi until Russia abandons Communism, in the sense that it ceases to act on the premises of Communism; for it is utterly uninteresting to us and the rest of the non-Communist world whether the Russians go on paying lip-service to Communism, provided they have become convinced that the Free World is here to stay, and they act on this conviction. To bring about this change of mind, the West must be as tough and, if need be, as brutal as the Communists are to the West. The West must demonstrate to the Communists, by words and deeds which allow no possibility of error, that they must postpone forever the establishment of the Communist world society.
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How the Media Annexed Palestine

How the media annexed East Jerusalem
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
Talks between Barack Obama and the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships over the past fortnight have unleashed a flood of media interest in the settlements Israel has been constructing on Palestinian territory for more than four decades. The US president’s message is unambiguous: the continuing growth of the settlements makes impossible the establishment of a Palestinian state, and therefore peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is one he is expected to repeat when he addresses the Muslim world from Cairo tomorrow.

The implication of Mr Obama’s policy is that, once Israel has frozen the settlements, it will have to begin dismantling a significant number of them to restore territory needed for a Palestinian state. Understandably, in an era of rolling news many media outlets have been scrambling for instant copy on the settlers, relying chiefly on the international news agencies, such as Reuters, the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP).

These organisations with staff based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv churn out a stream of reports picked up by newspapers and broadcasters around the globe.
 
So, given their influence on world opinion and the vital importance of the settlement issue in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can readers depend on the news agencies to provide fair coverage? The answer, sadly, is: no.

Even on the most basic fact about the settlers — the number living on occupied Palestinian territory — the agencies regularly get it wrong.

There are about half a million Jews living illegally on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. Give or take the odd few thousand (Israel is slow to update its figures), there are nearly 300,000 settlers in the West Bank and a further 200,000 in East Jerusalem.

Sounds simple. So what is to be made of this fairly typical line from a report issued by AFP last week: “More than 280,000 settlers currently live in settlements dotted throughout the Palestinian territory that Israel captured during the 1967 Six Day War”?

Or this from AP: “The US considers the settlements — home to nearly 300,000 Israelis — obstacles to peace because they are built on captured territory the Palestinians claim for a future state”?

Where are the missing 200,000 settlers?
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Obama, Rhetoric, and the Imagined Muslim Singularity

Can Obama Work His Magic on Arabs?
by Ramzy Baroud
Among many major misconceptions pertaining to Arabs and Muslims is the common belief that they are a weak-willed, irrelevant collective, easily influenced and effortlessly manipulated. This mistaken assumption underscores the very ailment that has afflicted United States foreign policy in the Middle East for generations.

As media pundits and commentators began their drum-rolling in anticipation of US President Barack Obama's speech in Egypt on Thursday, very few paid attention to the fact that Arabs and Muslims are not so naive as to be wooed by mere rhetoric, but that they are significant players in their own affairs, capable of resistance and change.

To begin with, it's underhanded and foolish to speak of one Arab and Muslim polity, as if geography, class, language and politics, among many other factors, are irrelevant attributes which are easily overlooked. Why is there an insistence on addressing Arabs and Muslims as one unified body - that is, the so-called "Muslim world" - that behaves according to specific rationale; predisposed to respond to the same stimuli? True, various groups within the Arab and Muslim collective share common history, language and religion, but even the same groups differ in historic interpretations, dialects and religious sects and frames of reference.
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The Devil We Know – Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower

Reviewing The Devil We Know – Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower
by Jim Miles
Iran is obviously a key player in the Middle East.  The many references within other texts dealing with other aspects of the Middle East and the several texts dealing specifically with Iran highlight its significance.  Part of that significance is that Iran - whether discussing the topics of nuclear weapons, terrorism, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, empire, or the now broadening ‘AfPak’ war – is a rational player, flexible, able and willing to negotiate.  

This viewpoint is strongly reinforced by Robert Baer’s work The Devil We Know, an ironic title in that one of his central themes is that we – the United States – do not know them at all correctly but as caricatures of evil reinforced by our – the United States – ignorance of their long history and characteristics of pragmatism and flexibility.  When compared to the failures of all the other governments in the region which are “bound to collapse,” Baer’s conclusion reads, “Iran is the only stable, enduring state in the Gulf.”  One of his summative paragraphs deserves full reiteration:

If we ignore their words and focus on their actions, Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are rational actors.  They’re willing to talk to the West.  They’re willing to set bounds.  They have fixed reasonable demands.

That could be compared to U.S. words and actions, also often in conflict with each other, but going the other way – fine words, colonialist mentality actions – in which “there’s a persistent, mistaken belief that the Iranians are irrational and dogmatic.”
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Pacific Wild Exposes British Columbia's Wild Life

PacificWildLive
by Pacific Wild.org
A short documentary explaining our non-invasive remote camera system and its promise for understanding the secret lives of the rainforest inhabitants.
 
 
 
 
www.PacificWild.org
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North Korea and Gates' Kabuki Climbdown

OK Mr. Gates. What Now?
by Eric Margolis
One of the first things you learn in diplomacy 101 is not to make threats you can’t back up. But that is just what US Defense Secretary Robert Gates did last week by thundering the US "would not accept," and "would not stand idly by" while North Korea continued to develop nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons threaten the entire globe, warned Gates, whose own Pentagon has some 10,000 nuclear warheads deployed at home and abroad, 28,500 troops permanently based in South Korea, and large contingents in Japan, Okinawa and Guam.

Not to be out-threatened, North Korea warned back that if attacked, it would turn South Korea’s capitol, Seoul, into "a sea of fire" and bombard Japan.

Dire threats and angry hot air always characterize poisonous relations between isolated, Stalinist North Korea and the US, Japan and South Korea. Their recriminations have become a form of ritualized kabuki theater in which snarls and grimaces replace actual violence.
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Bond Market Mauled

Bond Market Blowout
by Mike Whitney
Last week's ructions in the bond market, leave little doubt that the financial crisis has entered a new and more lethal phase. Of particular concern is the spike in long-term Treasuries which are used to set interest rates on mortgages and other loans. On Thursday, the average rate for a 30-year fixed loan jumped from 5.03% to 5.44% in just two days.
 
The sudden move put the mortgage market in a panic and stopped the refinancing of billions of dollars in loans.
 
The yields on Treasuries are going up because investors see hopeful signs of recovery in the economy and are moving into riskier investments. More money is moving into equities which is why the stock markets have been surging lately. (The Federal Reserve's multi-trillion dollar monetary stimulus has played a large part, as well.)
 
The bottom line is that investors are looking for better returns than the paltry yields on government debt. That will make it harder for the Fed to sell up to $3 trillion in Treasuries in the next year to finance Obama's proposed economic recovery plan. For now, foreign central banks are still buying enough short-term Treasuries to cover the current account deficit, but that could change in a flash, especially given Fed chief Bernanke's propensity to print more money at the drop of a hat. That's making foreign holders of dollar-based assets more jittery than ever.
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Gaza Comes to Canada: Blockading Akwesasne

INDIGENOUS BACKBONE APPLAUDED - MOHAWKS STAND UP TO TYRANNY  
by MNN
As long as we stand up for peace, democracy, human rights and sovereignty, we will win.  We can't be enslaved, even if the colonist war lords put guns to our heads.  Historically, millions of us were killed for resisting subjugation.  We will not let them put guns in the middle of Akwesasne. 
 
Gaza towers and walls the future for Akwesasne?
 
Because we are standing up to tyranny our community is being held hostage.  It's still closed down.  We still can't get on or off unless we walk.  A few cars are let through the police blockades.  

War lords think all they have to do is hire heavily armed guards and police to beat us into submission.  It's not working on us or anyone else.  Everyone is starting to stop bending to these monsters.  The colonists have seen their bosses give themselves million dollar bonuses and raises.  The whole capitalist machine is coming to a grinding halt.    

We Indigenous have to be treated respectfully.  If not, we will fold our arms, cross our legs, sit down, do nothing and say, "I'm not going to be moved".  For hundreds of years our colonial visitors have been watching us resist abuse.  At first they were scared and resented us.  They couldn't stand to see us running around free and suffering the consequences. They wanted us to be in the cage with them.  They learned we can't compromise our will.  Even they are starting to take on this spirit. 
 
"Treat me right or else".
 
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Now Showing: The EDL Security Show

Now Showing: The EDL Security Show
by Christopher Parsons
We’re paying for a high-tech Broadway show that’s themed around ’security’, but we’re actually watching the equivalent of a catastrophic performance in a low budget community theatre. The price of admission? Only millions dollars and your privacy.

As of June 1, 2009, Canadians and Americans alike require an Enhanced Drivers License (EDL), a NEXUS card, a FAST card, a passport, or a Secure Certificate of Indian Status to cross a Canadian-American land border. In Canada, only Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Manitoba have moved ahead to develop provincial EDLs; the Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island governments have all decided not to provide these high tech, low privacy, cards to the constitutencies (Source).
 
To apply for an EDL in a participating province, all you need to do is undergo an intensive and extensive 30 minute face-to-face interview at your provincial equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Your reward for being verbally probed? A license that includes a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag and a biometric photograph. The RFID tag includes a unique number, like your Social Insurance Number (SIN), that is transmitted to anyone with an RFID reader.
 
These readers can be purchased off the shelf by regular consumers, and number your EDL emits is not encrypted and does not require an authentication code to be displayed on a reader. Effectively, RFID tag numbers are easier to capture than your webmail password.
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Obama's Cybersecurity Plan

Obama's Cybersecurity Plan: Bring in the Contractors!
by Tom Burghardt
With billions of dollars in federal funds hanging in the balance, President Barack Obama unveiled the Cyberspace Policy Review May 29 at the White House. During his presentation in the East Room Obama said that "America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity" and that efforts to "deter, prevent, detect and defend" against malicious cyberattacks would be run from the White House.

How this debate is being framed however, has a familiar ring to it. Rather than actually educating the public about steps to prevent victimization, state prescriptions always seem to draw from the same tired playbook.

First, issue dire warnings of an imminent national catastrophe; second, manufacture a panic with lurid tales of a "digital Pearl Harbor;" third, gin-up expensive "solutions" that benefit armies of (well-paid) experts drawn from officialdom and the private sector (who generally are as interchangeable as light bulbs however dim).

As Wired magazine's†"Threat Level" editor Kevin Poulsen said during a panel at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Washington June 3, "the threat of cyber-terrorism is 'preposterous'," arguing that "long-standing warnings" that hackers will attack the nation's power grid is so much hot-air. Poulsen contends "that calling such intrusions national security threats means information about attacks gets classified unneccessarily."
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