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Rice and Circuses

Naomi Klein on China and the Olympics: "Security, central planning, surveillance state is an ideal cocoon for global capitalism" 
by The Real News
Naomi Klein: "I think this is an incredibly efficient, actually, a scarily efficient way of organizing society that's actually being celebrated here, which is a hybrid of some of the worst elements of authoritarian communism—mass surveillance of the population, total lack of civil liberties, lack of a free press, lack of democratic rights, authoritarian central planning, all harnessed not to advance the goals of social justice, even in name, although there may be some lip service still paid to that, but to advance the goals of global capitalism.
So it is Stalinism meets global capitalism.... There are 100,000 security officers just on Olympic duty. And to put that into perspective, the stadium itself, the Bird's Nest Stadium holds 90,000. So there's 90,000 spectators and 100,000 secret police keeping control of things in Beijing. So this is an incredible operation. But when you hear people like Lou Dobbs and other commentators talking about the problems in China, it's always red China, communist China, or the Chi-coms. And it's really this blast from the past of—you know, it's almost as if the Cold War never ended."
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School for the Poor threatened in Haiti

Children's School for the Poor threatened in Haiti
by Haiti Information Project (HIP)
The official school year in Haiti begins again in September. Always a difficult time for parents in Haiti who have to scramble tirelessly to find money for their children's education, it is also a time of renewal and hope for the future.
Despite the hard-pressed reality of grinding poverty, Haiti's children start school with renewed enthusiasm each year as they walk for miles down dusty roads in neatly starched uniforms in their pursuit of an education.
Unfortunately, more than 450 of the poorest students in the community of Pétion-Ville may not have a school to go this year if the current mayor, Lydie Parent, has her way.
The mayor has, according to the teachers, administrators and parents of a school for Pétion-Ville's poorest children, ignored a legally binding lease for their school's current location and has begun strong-arm tactics in an effort to evict them.

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Justice Department’s Truthiness Problem

The Justice Department’s Truthiness Problem
by Scott Horton
“Truthiness,” a phrase coined by the comic Stephen Colbert, has emerged as one of the hallmarks of the Bush Administration. Truthiness, Colbert tells us, is something a government spokesperson knows “from the gut”–without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. “Truthiness” has the outward appearance of truth. However, statements offered as “truthiness” are invariably false. Worse, the person who utters them usually knows they are false. But telling lies and getting away with it is a political art form. Call it the art of “truthiness.”

The Bush Justice Department has a huge truthiness problem. This helps explain why public confidence in the Justice Department just reached an all-time low point. Americans now have more confidence in the integrity and reliability of Post Office employees than they do in federal prosecutors and FBI agents. But is the Justice Department going to start coming to grips with its “truthiness” problem, or will it just plod along through inauguration day, 2009?

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Who is Guilty When All are Responsible?

The Prophetic Challenge: “Few Are Guilty, But All Are Responsible”
by Robert Jensen
One of the common refrains I heard from progressive people in Pakistan and India during my month there this summer was, “We love the American people — it’s the policies of your government we don’t like.”

That sentiment is not unusual in the developing world, and such statements can reduce the tension with some Americans when people criticize U.S. policy, which is more common than ever after the illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Robert Jensen is scheduled to appear on next week's Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast Monday, August 11 between 5-6pm pacific time from

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Georgia: Cold War II Proxy Conflict Turns Hot

Marching Through Georgia: Cold War II Proxy Conflict Turns Hot
by Chris Floyd
With the world distracted by the glitz and glam of the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing -- where George W. Bush (after some entirely rote criticism) nestled down with his long-time family business partners and fellow crony-capitalist authoritarians in the Chinese leadership -- the new Cold War fuelled by the old Cold Warriors in Washington took a sharp and bitter turn in Georgia.

Yesterday, Georgia's American-educated, pro-NATO president, Mikhail Saakashvili sent a heavy force into the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which has enjoyed de facto independence since the early 1990s. Georgian forces shelled the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, and sent thousands of refugees fleeing north into Russia. Several Russian peacekeepers, which have been stationed in South Ossetia for years as part of earlier ceasefire agreements, were killed in the attack. Saakashvili announced that his invasion had "liberated" much of the region.

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McCain: "There Will Be Other Wars"

How the Surge Has Energized McCain: "There will be other wars."
by TRN
Senator John McCain's presidential campaign runs on a single theme: the US surge in Iraq has succeeded.
Part 2 of this report examines how the alleged success of the surge energized not only McCain but all proponents of the Iraq war, and asks whether McCain really understands the complex situation in Iraq.

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The Eternal Now of Hiroshima

Living Death: The Eternal Now of Hiroshima        
by Chris Floyd     
I once shared an office for a time with a Japanese scientist from Hiroshima. It was a strange setting for such an association: we were working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where the atomic bomb that obliterated my colleague's city -- 63 years ago today -- was fashioned.
Picture from The Hiroshima Panels by Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi

He never mentioned the bombing; he was too young to have experienced it himself, although some of his family certainly would have. I sometimes felt a bit awkward in his presence, as if I should say something about it, make some kind of apology. But what could you say?
  • "Oh, sorry we destroyed your city and killed all those people in such a gruesome way when we really didn't have to. Hey, could you pass me that stapler?"
Ridiculous. Pointless.

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Sell-ing Cheney's Nuclear Vision

Cheney Developing Nuclear Energy Plan
by Jason Leopold
While Dick Cheney has been talking tough about Iran's alleged nuclear activities, the vice president has been quietly pursuing nuclear ambitions of his own.

For more than two years, Cheney and a relatively unknown administration official, Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell, have been regularly visiting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to ensure agency officials rewrite regulatory policies and bypass public hearings in order to streamline the licensing process for energy companies that have filed applications to build new nuclear power reactors, as well as applications for new nuclear facilities that are expected to be filed by other companies in the months ahead, longtime NRC officials said.

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Outsource Tragedy

The Outsourcing Tragedy
by Ernest Partridge
My computer and I have been through a bad spell these past couple of weeks. First, my router/modem developed a terminal malfunction, and then my new anti-virus software failed to install. Thankfully, three very capable and patient gentlemen at various technical support facilities found solutions.

These three gentlemen were, respectively, from India, the Philippines, and once again, India. If you or someone in your family is about to graduate with a degree in computer science, don’t expect to find a job in the U.S. any time soon.

Amidst my computer worries, I bought a dozen or so electrical supplies from the local hardware: a surge protector, extension cords, a phone, that sort of thing. Glancing at the labels, I found that each and every one was made in China. And a new hard drive? From Malaysia.

No need to go on with this, you know about it already. It’s called “outsourcing.”

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Diyala Awakening: Forged Ties for Good Tiding

New Operation Gets Surprise Support
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail
A massive military operation in Diyala province has underscored the military and political gains by the Sahwa militia, despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's earlier attempts to thwart them. Maliki has now apparently come around to involving the Sahwa rather than opposing them.

The Sahwa are the 'Awakening Forces' created and paid by the U.S. military to co-opt militants and to fight al-Qaeda, but which have become a force of their own parallel to the military and the police.
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Krack Down! Korea Busts Labour

Calling for Solidarity - Lee Myung-bak government repression against the KCTU and Fundamental Trade Union Rights
In the midst of mass candlelight protests calling for renegotiations of the April 18th Protocol on importation of US beef, KCTU decided to go into general strike on July 2 calling for protection of people's right to health and renegotiation of April 18 Protocol to reflect food safety concerns.
Jin Young-ok, first vice president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). Jailed by authorities as part of a crackdown following the 'illegal' general strike of July 2008. Other KCTU leaders are currently wanted by the police and the union headquarters is surrounded. Please send off your messages of protest today and spread the word. Got a photo that should be here? Post it via Flickr
The Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) played a leading role in the general strike. The prosecutor and the Ministry of Labor declared the July 2nd strike clearly illegal, and even before the launch of strike, on June 30th, the 66 senior prosecutors called an urgent meeting at which it called the general strike a ¡®political strike¡¯ and announced they would pursue investigations against law-breakers.  

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