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“If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
-– B. Lester

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 International: An Open Letter By Peter Drew

Opinion
British PM David Cameron: “Non-Violent Extremists” Including “9/11 Truthers” and “Conspiracy Theorists” are Just as Dangerous as ISIL Terrorists

Dear Mr Cameron

I write this open letter to you in response to your recent speech at the United Nations calling for military intervention in Iraq and Syria over the threat of ISIL. In particular I would like to make mention of your reference to the so called threat to society of what you have termed ‘non-violent extremists’, including those who are attempting to bring forward information and evidence about 9/11 which contradicts the official version of events.

Putting aside the direct issue of ISIL for a moment, I find this position on 9/11 evidence to be quite incredible. It is a position that is either extremely ignorant, or it is a position that goes against freedom and democracy in British society to such an extent that it is scarcely believable. Huge numbers of extremely credible and professional people across the world are now bringing forward incontrovertible facts and evidence showing us that the events of 9/11 have been systematically covered up, and that the public has been deceived and manipulated on this issue at a quite incredible level. Just like the public was deceived and manipulated about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

While you are labelling these people who bring this evidence forward about 9/11 as ‘non-violent extremists’, are you aware of what is currently happening in New York City regarding 9/11? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, October 02 @ 01:28:30 EDT (390 reads)
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 International: Toxic Tech

Business News
Apple and other big manufacturers must swap less-deadly chemicals for the cancerous ones poisoning their Chinese workers.

By Andrew Korfhage

Ming Kunpeng went to work for ASM Pacific Technology — a chip supplier for Apple — when he was 19 years old. Required to handle the known carcinogen benzene on a daily basis without adequate training or protective gear, the young worker fell ill at the age of 22. Doctors eventually diagnosed him with occupational leukemia.

After a year-long dispute, ASM Pacific Technology agreed to compensate Ming for his illness, but the settlement was insufficient to cover the care he needed. On December 28, 2013, this young man became one of the much-publicized Chinese electronics-worker suicide cases.

He took his own life, jumping from the top of the hospital where he was receiving treatment.

Ming’s story is just one of many told in filmmakers Heather White and Lynn Zhang’s new short-form documentary, Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics.

In their film, White and Zhang explore the use of dangerous toxic chemicals in Chinese factories. They focus on the effects of these chemicals on the millions of workers exposed while making the iPhones, iPads, and other electronics that global consumers have come to depend on. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, April 05 @ 00:10:12 EDT (1402 reads)
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 International: Alberta Oilsands Projects: Canada’s Hiroshima

EnvironmentBy Eric Walberg

Canadian rock legend Neil Young has taken to the road with a mission. Sunday night, he laid down the gauntlet on national TV, calling the Canadian government “completely out of control” as he began his “Honour the Treaties” tour in Toronto. His goal is to help First Nations in their fight against the expanding oilsands projects in Alberta. To the government, “Money is number one. Integrity isn’t even on the map.”

Honour the Treaties is a series of benefit concerts in Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary to raise money to support the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) in their battle against a multi-billion dollar expansion of the oilsands project in northern Alberta. ACFN’s 2007 court challenge to Shell’s lease at the Jackpine Mine failed in 2011, but is being appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“The oil sands projects are among the very dirtiest on earth,” said a defiant Young. Just to extract and process the toxic sludge each day “produces as much CO2 as all the cars in Canada”, three times as much as more efficient methods. “This oil is going not to Canada, but to China where the air quality has been measured at 30 times the levels of safety established by the World Health Organization. Is that what Canada is all about?” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, January 22 @ 23:14:40 EST (1647 reads)
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 International: Civil Liberties Groups Launch Coalition to Reshape Human Rights Landscape

The News
“Take Back the Streets” Report Details Excessive Police Force Against Protestors

From: ACLU.org

Civil Liberties Groups from 10 Countries Launch Coalition to Reshape Human Rights Landscape

NEW YORK – In response to increasing restrictions on personal freedoms and civil protest, national human rights organizations from 10 countries this week launched the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO). They also released “Take Back the Streets: Repression and Criminalization of Protest Around the World,” a collection of case studies showing patterns of police crackdown and abuse against peaceful assembly, accompanied by concrete recommendations to expand free speech.

"Fundamental rights and freedoms we enjoy are a direct result of protest movements of the past,” said Gastón Chillier, executive director of the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales in Argentina. “Freedom of speech and as a result, our societies, will only flourish if peaceful assembly is protected from excessive police force and government obstruction.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, October 21 @ 23:51:42 EDT (1420 reads)
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 International: The Anti-Empire Report #121 - October 2013

OpinionBy William Blum

The War on Terrorism … or whatever.

“U.S. hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s divided rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed political opposition coalition and announced the formation of an alliance dedicated to creating an Islamist state. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group.” [1]

Pity the poor American who wants to be a good citizen, wants to understand the world and his country’s role in it, wants to believe in the War on Terrorism, wants to believe that his government seeks to do good … What is he to make of all this?

For about two years, his dear American government has been supporting the same anti-government side as the jihadists in the Syrian civil war; not total, all-out support, but enough military hardware, logistics support, intelligence information, international political, diplomatic and propaganda assistance (including the crucial alleged-chemical-weapons story), to keep the jihadists in the ball game. Washington and its main Mideast allies in the conflict – Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – have not impeded the movement to Syria of jihadists coming to join the rebels, recruited from the ranks of Sunni extremist veterans of the wars in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, while Qatar and the Saudis have supplied the rebels with weapons, most likely bought in large measure from the United States, as well as lots of of what they have lots of – money. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, October 10 @ 00:36:48 EDT (1935 reads)
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 International: Israel Sides with Syrian Jihadists

War NewsBy Robert Parry

Israel’s pronouncement that it wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad toppled even if al-Qaeda-aligned rebels replace him puts into sharper focus the intensifying lobbying and P.R. campaigns underway in the United States to get President Obama to engage militarily against Syria and ultimately against Iran.

Until the declaration by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren on Tuesday, Israel’s precise position on the Syrian civil war was ambiguous, but now it is clear that Israel again is lining up with its new de factoally, Saudi Arabia, in a regional conflict to undermine Iranian influence.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview scheduled for publication on Friday but excerpted by Reuters on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia, which is spearheading the military and intelligence assistance for the Syrian rebels, is concerned itself about what is called the “Shiite crescent” extending from Iran through Iraq and Syria to the Hezbollah enclaves of Lebanon. The Saudis, who follow an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam, are now viewed in the region as the geopolitical bulwark against the Iran-led Shiite coalition.

Ambassador Oren, who is considered very close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is cited in the Reuters article as saying that while Israel favors the more moderate elements among the Syrian rebels, it still wants Assad’s ouster even if it results in radical Sunni Islamists coming to power in Damascus. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, September 18 @ 22:23:08 EDT (2096 reads)
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 International: Recycling a Bush Iraq Ploy on Syria

War NewsBy Robert Parry

The Obama administration is dusting off another sales pitch for bombing Syria, one that ironically was last used by President George W. Bush to dupe then-Sen. John Kerry into voting for the Iraq War, the claim that a war authorization is needed to create pressure for a diplomatic settlement.

On Monday, after the Russian government followed up an offhand suggestion from Secretary of State Kerry about Syria surrendering its chemical weapons, deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken was immediately spinning the Russian initiative as another reason to vote for war.

“It’s very important to note that it’s clear that this proposal comes in the context of the threat of U.S. action and the pressure that the President is exerting,” Blinken said. “So it’s even more important that we don’t take the pressure off and that Congress give the President the authority he’s requested.”

President Barack Obama struck a similar note during an interview with Fox News in which he urged Congress to press ahead with votes on a limited war resolution. “I think it is important for us not to let the pedal off the metal when it comes to making sure they understand we mean what we say,” he said.

In other words, the Obama administration’s lobbying for its Syria war plan now will include the argument that a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Syria requires a war resolution from Congress. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, September 10 @ 21:51:26 EDT (2075 reads)
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 International: The Broader Stakes of Syrian Crisis

War NewsBy Ray McGovern

Amid the increased likelihood that President Barack Obama will cave in to pressure from foreign policy hawks to “Libya-ize” Syria and to accord Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the same treatment meted out to Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the main question is WHY? Obviously, there is concern about the human rights catastrophe in Syria, but is the main target Syria’s main ally, Iran, as many suspect?

Surely, the objective has got to be more than simply giving Secretary of State John Kerry a chance to brag, in the manner of his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, regarding Gaddafi, “We came, we saw, he died.” And, there is little expectation – however many Cruise missiles the United States fires at Syrian targets in a fury over disputed claims about chemical weapons – that lives are likely to be saved.

So, what are Iran’s new leaders likely to see as the real driving force behind Obama’s felt need to acquiesce, again, in a march of folly? And why does it matter?

Iran’s leaders need not be paranoid to see themselves as a principal target of external meddling in Syria. While there seem to be as many interests being pursued – as there are rag-tag groups pursuing them – Tehran is not likely to see the common interests of Israel and the U.S. as very complicated. Both appear determined to exploit the chaotic duel among the thugs in Syria as an opportunity to deal a blow to Hezbollah and Hamas in Israel’s near-frontier and to isolate Iran still further, and perhaps even advance Israel’s ultimate aim of “regime change” in Tehran.

In the nearer term, are the neocons in Washington revving up to nip in the bud any unwelcome olive branches from the Iran’s new leaders as new talks on nuclear matters loom on the horizon? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, August 28 @ 20:57:36 EDT (2253 reads)
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 International: The Un-American Way

Business News
The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal threatens food safety and public health.

By Wenonah Hauter

The United States is negotiating a NAFTA-style trade deal that should be alarming to American consumers. The main reason it’s not getting much attention is that the mainstream media is largely ignoring it.

This pact deserves more news coverage. It threatens to undermine our own laws and increase the opportunity for corporate takeovers of public resources in the United States and abroad. The worst part? These negotiations are taking place behind closed doors.

This controversial agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s comprised of the United States plus 11 other nations that border the Pacific Ocean. The TPP would boost liquefied natural gas exports and food imports. This increases the real dangers posed by reckless fracking for natural gas and the growth of imported food from several countries whose safety standards fall far short of our own.

The TPP could become the biggest corporate power grab in U.S. history. This deal would establish a regime under which corporations would acquire an equal status to countries, allowing them to take legal action against governments both at the national and local levels. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, August 26 @ 21:39:24 EDT (1796 reads)
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 International: U.S., Russia, China, All Torture Prisoners

History / CultureBy Sherwood Ross

The three most powerful nations all operate prison systems that are places of sadism, sickness, and madness unfit for human habitation, much less human reformation.

They also lead the world with astonishing rates of imprisonment far higher than in other industrialized nations. “The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people is the (world’s) highest, followed by 611 in Russia,” Reuters reports. Compare the above rates with the following nations: Spain, 149; Canada, 114; Australia, 103; The Netherlands, 82; Germany, 80; Norway, 71; Denmark, 68; Sweden, 67; Finland, 60; and Japan, 54.

America has 2.3 million souls behind bars; China ranks second with 1.5 million, and Russia places third with 870,000---a figure Deputy Justice Minister Yury Kalinin says actually is closer to 2 million. Whatever, all three inflict gruesome tortures on their prisoners.

To begin with, one permanent misery that equals torture is overcrowding. California is fighting a U.S. Supreme Court order to slash a prison population 46% over capacity: 119,000 human beings stuffed into 33 prisons. It’s a story repeated over and again nationally---in Alabama, Illinois, ad nauseum.

“We send more people to prison, for more different offenses, for longer periods of time than anybody else,” Ryan King of The Sentencing Project, told Reuters. Among the worst off, are those isolated in California’s Pelican Bay “supermax,” locked into 11 x 7 foot windowless concrete cells for nearly 23 hours a day, without sunlight, fresh air, or human touch, according to a recent letter of appeal to Gov. Jerry Brown to end solitary. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, August 12 @ 21:45:12 EDT (1410 reads)
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 International: It Can’t Happen Here

Business News
Au pairs may get an experience they didn't bargain for when they head for a stint in the United States.

By Tiffany Williams

After paying a staggering $1,500 to a recruitment agency in her home country of Thailand, “Wen” was excited to come to the United States to be an au pair.

Like all au pairs, she would live with a host family and provide childcare. This guest worker program is supposed to provide a cultural immersion experience during which young foreigners improve their English, take classes, and learn about the United States.

By law, au pairs must live with host families for whom they provide a maximum of 45 hours per week of child care and are paid exactly $195.75 per week — well below minimum wage — along with room and board.

When Wen (not her real name) arrived, her host family in Pittsburgh demanded that she work 16 hours per day, sometimes 24. The family also dictated that, in addition to providing care for two young kids, she would clean their house. And do their laundry. And handle the grocery shopping and cooking. They even told her to serve their houseguests. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, July 12 @ 21:26:21 EDT (420 reads)
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 International: GMO Agribusiness and the Destructive Nature of Global Capitalism

Business NewsBy Colin Todhunter

Capitalism is based on managing its inherent crises. It is also based on the need to maximise profit, beat down competitors, cut overheads and depress wages. In the 1960s and 70s, in the face of increasing competition from abroad, the US began to outsource manufacturing production to bring down costs by using cheap foreign labour. Other countries followed suit. Even more jobs were lost through the impulse to automate. To provide a further edge, trade unions and welfare were attacked in order to suppress wages at home. Problem solved. Or was it?

Not really. As wages in the west stagnated or decreased and unemployment increased, the market for goods was under threat – if people have less money to buy things, then what to do? New problem, new ‘solution’ – lend people money and create a debt-ridden consumer society. Of course, it produced great opportunities for investors in finance, and all kinds of dubious financial derivatives and products were created, sold to the public and repackaged and shifted around the banking system. That market became saturated and the debt bubble burst. This time around the ‘solution’ is to print money and give bailouts to the banks to cover their gambling losses and to get them lending once again. With a huge hole appearing in state coffers due to the bailouts and national debt spiraling during the years of neo-liberalism, the current crisis has become an opportunity for the finance sector to exert long-term debt-related control over sovereign states, including public asset stripping via ‘austerity’. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, February 20 @ 19:34:16 EST (502 reads)
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 International: The. Very. Best. Valentine. Ever.

Holidays
The United States is one of only seven countries not to ratify a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women.

By Don Kraus

This year I came up with the best Valentine’s Day gift ever for my wife and daughter. It’s inexpensive and, unlike a bouquet of flowers, should last beyond their lifetimes. They’ll love it! I can’t think of a better way to express how much I love them.

Rather than chocolates or jewelry, I am going to join a One Billion Rising rally to end the violence against women that has shattered lives and torn the fabric of societies around the world.

A billion women — one out of every three on the planet — will be raped or beaten sometime in their lifetime. That’s one billion moms, sisters, daughters, and friends violated, one billion lives shattered, one billion hearts broken, and one billion reasons to rise up and put an end to this violence. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, February 06 @ 20:37:12 EST (1497 reads)
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 International: Hogging the Global Pie

The News
The richest 100 people in the world are earning much more than enough to end the world's worst poverty.

By Sam Pizzigati

Apologists for inequality have a standard retort to anyone who calls for a more equal distribution of the world’s treasure. If you took all the wealth of the wealthy and divvied it up equally among all the poor, they claim, no one would gain enough to accomplish much of anything.

Oxfam International, one of the world’s premiere anti-poverty charitable organizations, begs to differ. The world’s top 100 billionaires now hold so much wealth, says a new Oxfam report, that just the increase in their net worth last year would be “enough to make extreme poverty history four times over.”

“Oxfam’s mission is to work with others to end poverty,” notes Oxfam analyst Emma Seery. “But in a world with limited resources, this is no longer possible without an end to extreme wealth.”

Oxfam timed its new analysis, The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All, to appear right on the eve of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This annual and earnest “issues” confab brings together a glittering array of global business and political leaders.

In today’s recession-ravaged world, these leaders are playing defense. They feel increasingly pressured to address the global economic inequality they’ve so long tried to sweep under the rug. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, January 30 @ 21:50:26 EST (370 reads)
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 International: The Gandhian Movement of Empowerment:

Art
Revolutionary Acts at the Community Level

Leprosy: empowering some of India's most disadvantaged

By Colin Todhunter, Global Research

Like many others writers, much of my own writing is concerned with exposing the lies of imperialism, neo-liberalism and the globalist agenda. At times, such writing may appear to be laden with gloom and doom. However, social change is often incremental and revolutionary acts can often be small scale and at the community level. Such acts, instigated by ordinary folk, can impact people’s lives directly. Whether it’s the Occupy Movement, the Navdanya movement in India that seeks to support traditional agriculture and resist the influence of agri-business or the various community-based Transition Initiatives, all have the same goal – to ensure that people secure dignity and independence and freedom from exploitation.

While it would be extremely amiss to ignore the existence of state machinery and corporations and the apparatus they use to execute their enormous power, people throughout the world are realising that action at the community level goes some way towards developing self-sufficiency and taking power back.

Chengalpattu, 55 kms south of Chennai, may on the surface appear to be just another small, dusty south Indian town with its ‘meals’ restaurants, temples and concrete box buildings. But it’s not. There is something special about this town. Close by is Bindu Art School, and it’s not just any old art school. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, October 15 @ 20:54:45 EDT (434 reads)
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