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An Absence of Empathy

Evil as the Absence of Empathy
by Ernest Partridge
In 1946, Dr. Gustav M. Gilbert, a psychologist fluent in German, was assigned by the U.S. Army to study the minds and motivations of the Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg tribunals. The following year, his Nuremberg Diary was published, containing transcripts of his conversations with the prisoners. (Excerpts here).

In words consistent with what I have read of, and about, Gustav Gilbert, he is portrayed in the 2000 TV film “Nuremberg,” as telling the Head Prosecutor Robert Jackson (Alex Baldwin);
“I told you once that I was searching for the nature of evil. I think I’ve come close to defining it: a lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants: a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow man. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.”

“Absence of empathy” is likewise, I submit, “the one characteristic that connects” most of the immoral and misbegotten tenets of Bushism: that dogmatic mix of market absolutism, libertarianism, corporatism and simple greed that falsely describes itself as “conservatism,” and which I choose to call “regressivism.” “Absence of empathy” is the essence of evil which, if unchecked and unreversed, is certain to bring about the demise of the American republic as we know it, just as it led to the fall of the Third Reich.

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Switching Channels: How Leaving TeeVee is Revolutionizing Politics

Envisioning a New Politics
by The Real News
The medium of US politics for almost five decades has been television. The 30-second ad has lent itself to a simple and emotionally charged political discourse. As Joe Trippi points out in his book, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", we are in the beginning of a shift to a new medium--the Internet. This shift will have a profound impact on politics.
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Forty-Seven Lives, 43 Words

Bad Form
by Media Lens
In his classic work, Obedience to Authority, psychologist Stanley Milgram observed:
"There is always some element of bad form in objecting to the destructive course of events, or indeed, in making it a topic of conversation. Thus, in Nazi Germany, even among those most closely identified with the 'final solution', it was considered an act of discourtesy to talk about the killings." (Milgram, Obedience to Authority, Pinter & Martin, 1974, p.204)

The same "bad form" is very much discouraged in our own society. One would hardly guess from media reporting that Britain and America are responsible for killing anyone in Iraq and Afghanistan, where violence is typically blamed on "insurgents" and "sectarian conflict". International "coalition" forces are depicted as peacekeepers using minimum violence as a last resort.

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Fire, Fire Everywhere

Our National Water Policy… Oh, Wait, We Don't Have One
by Elizabeth de la Vega
On June 24, 2008, Louie and I curled up on the couch to watch seven of the nation's foremost water resources experts testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

This was a new experience for us. For my part, the issue to be addressed -- "Comprehensive Watershed Management Planning" -- was certainly a change of pace from the subjects I ordinarily follow in Judiciary and Intelligence Committee hearings. I wasn't even entirely sure what a "watershed" was. I knew that, in a metaphorical sense, the word referred to a turning point, but I was a bit fuzzy about its meaning in the world of hydrology. (It's the term used to describe "all land and water areas that drain toward a river or lake.")

What was strange from Louie's point of view was not the topic of the day, but that we were stuck in the house.
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Canadian ISPs Plan Net Censorship?

Canadian ISPs Plan Net Censorship
by Mike Finch
A net-neutrality activist group has uncovered plans for the demise of the free Internet by 2010 in Canada. By 2012, the group says, the trend will be global.

Bell Canada and TELUS, Canada’s two largest Internet service providers (ISPs), will begin charging per-site fees on most Internet sites, report anonymous sources within TELUS.

“It's beyond censorship, it is killing the biggest ecosystem of free expression and freedom of speech that has ever existed,” I Power spokesperson Reese Leysen said. I Power was the first group to report on the possible changes.

Bell Canada has not returned calls or emails.

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Why Protest the Olympics in China?

Why Protest the Olympics in China?
by Misty Day
We, the American people, are blessed with M&M's and buffalo wings, tacos, diaphragms and motorcars. What happens on a mountain clear across the world can't possibly affect the quality of our lives.
Faithfully we await the ceremonial hour of opportunity, the 2008 Olympic Games, when we can willingly fall under the compelling spell of sports history, vicariously fulfilling fantasies of championship.
Huge bowls of fresh popcorn and 6-paks of our finest sports drinks are prepared for our pleasure. We place our bets. Briefly, with little fanfare in our region, a news story flashes across our pampered collective consciousness: There seem to be protests developing here and there in an attempt to interrupt our royal pleasure with something rather inconsequential and boring.
Apparently someone thinks China is not a suitable place for the sainted Olympic Games! Frivolous of them! “Why?”, we diffidently ask, reaching for a plastic container of cheese nachos. Well, it goes something like this:

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Trying Karl Rove

Send Karl Rove to Jail
by Brave New Films
This sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Well, it's not. We have a unique opportunity right now to send Karl Rove to jail, but only if we take immediate action.

All we have to do is pressure the 40 members of the House Judiciary Committee, make them hold Rove in contempt and send him to jail. We've never had such a direct opportunity to hold Rove accountable. No, this is not enough punishment for his years and years of crimes, but it's a huge start, and will send a very clear message to the entire Bush administration.

We put together this video to explain the issues surrounding Rove's failure to testify before Congress, and why Rove should be held in contempt and sent to jail. Check out Send Karl Rove to Jail, and sign our petition to ensure that the HJC holds Rove in contempt.
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Vincent Mosco, Zoe Blunt, J9 July 21, 2008

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
This week: Vincent Mosco and begging the question, "Will media's sheep look up?" Zoe Blunt chronicles the wee peoples' fight on the south island; and, Janine Bandcroft from sunny Texas.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

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Vancouver City Businesses Bringing in the Goon Squad

Groups say DVBIA, Civil City actions discriminatory
by Pivot
Pivot Legal Society, VANDU and the United Native Nations have filed a Human Rights complaint against the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) and Geoff Plant in his role as Civil City Commissioner. 
The complaint is filed on behalf of Vancouver’s street homeless population and alleges systemic discrimination by the Downtown Ambassadors program, which is run by Genesis Security and the DVBIA under the guidance of Geoff Plant.

“Our constituents have had some concerns about the program for a while,” said Pivot lawyer Laura Track, “However, the expansion of the program by Geoff Plant and the upcoming Olympics has pushed us to try to clarify the rules around private security guard conduct in relation to the homeless.”

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Obama and the National Security System

Obama and the National Security System
by The Real News
Historian and author Gareth Porter discusses with Pepe Escobar the positioning of Senator Barack Obama relative to the power of the national security establishment in the US; the legacy of JFK; the feasibility of the US refusing to occupy Muslim lands; and what it takes to be elected president of the United States.
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B.C. Union Vows to Stop PNWER

CUPE BC Gives Thumbs Down to Elitist Economic Meeting  
BC gives thumbs-down to 'elitist' economic meeting Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Summit pushes corporate agenda, says union.
The U.S. and Canadian corporations and regional governments meeting behind closed doors here next week will be making serious decisions about the future of public services, labour mobility and homeland security with no input from the public - and that should send off alarm bells for everyone, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
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