Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Aga Khan/Rick Perry pro-Islam School Curriculum in Texas

Soon after I posted about it, the links went dead. It was curious that the multiple pages of all nine lessons plus adjunct powerpoints and lesson plans were all taken offline. Subsequently, I found the Google cached pages and posted those links of the curriculum material. Now those links have also been removed. The cache is gone. Why are they hiding this?
Before everything disappears, I am posting the text and the screenshots of all nine lessons of this proselytizing whitewash of Islam. We are handicapping our children by whitewashing the jihadic doctrine and the threat it presents to the West. This is the actual curriculum, not any one single teacher's lesson plan (which is what other misinformed blogs are using, claiming it is the actual official curriculum, in an attempt to exonerate Perry of this dastardly action).
Further, why is this even being taught in the public schools? There is no intense, extensive Jewish curriculum or Hindu curriculum or Christian curriculum. Further, these religions are not slaughtering Americans and non-believers in the hundreds of thousands, so why color it pretty?
Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs

Congressional Black Caucus' Declares War on Corpoate #teaparty

Tony Romo avoids 4 tacklers and throws a TD to Crayton

Has Arab Spring Helped or Hurt Al Qaeda?

With regards to Michael Scheuer's complaint that the Arab uprisings may have benefited al-Qaeda (via Angry Arab):
Speaking at the Edinburgh international book festival, Michael Scheuer said: "The help we were getting from the Egyptian intelligence service, less so from the Tunisians but certainly from the Libyans and Lebanese, has dried up – either because of resentment at our governments stabbing their political leaders in the back, or because those who worked for the services have taken off in fear of being incarcerated or worse.
"The amount of work that has devolved on US and British services is enormous, and the result is blindness in our ability to watch what's going on among militants."
The Arab spring, he said, was "an intelligence disaster for the US and for Britain, and other European services".
[. . .]
He said: "The rendition programme must come back – the people we have in custody now are pretty long in the tooth, in terms of the information they can provide in interrogations.
"The Arab spring has been a disaster for us in terms of intelligence gathering, and we now are blind both because of the Arab spring and because there is nothing with which to replace the rendition programme."
The Arabist

For Ali Ferzat

The above cartoon, in solidarity with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat is by Jonathan Guyer of Mideast by Midwest. Ferzat, who has published cartoons critical of Bashar al-Assad, had his hands broken last week by pro-regime assailants:
In the early hours of Thursday, masked men seized Ferzat from the street and forced him in to a van. A relative has said that Ferzat's attackers targeted his hands, breaking them both, and told him it was "just a warning" before leaving him by the roadside with a bag over his head.
Across the Middle East and elsewhere cartoonists have expressed solidarity with Ferzat.

Again, PalArabs Express Religious Joy with Murder of Jews

Posted: 29 Aug 2011 06:00 AM PDT
Early this morning a Palestinian Arab man was stopped by Tel Aviv police from his plans to murder as many teenagers as he could find in a party at a nightclub. He still managed to stab eight people, one in serious condition.

It is clear that the terrorist, yelling "Allah hu Akbar," knew about the party and his intent was to kill as many of the youth there as he could find.

Which makes him a hero to Palestinian Arabs.

The Fatah-leaning Palestine Today has three comments on the story. Autotranslation of comments is often obscure, but the happiness is obvious:
Allah hu Akbar - Lord every day we hear news of Avatar Halnoa [?] be in the death of Jews and loyal to them

Victory for Men - God is great and the victory of Islam, here they are men of God lifting his registration and under Jmaaag captives, O Lord

You are handed your right hand and hit the collecting -Army man will not fail to see our mothers for giving birth to welding heroes
Notice how every comment uses religious imagery to justify an attack on Jews.
Elder of Ziyyon

PA hides mild "condemnation" of TA attack inside condemnation of Israel

PA hides mild "condemnation" of TA attack inside condemnation of Israel

Mexico: Reaction to Violence

Surely you forgave them, out of faith, out of respect for the law, you forgave them. That is how you were before it happened, calm and confident, marvelously empathetic. But I don't forgive them. I'm not capable of saying those words. Though eventually resignation will come; resignation is one of the undeniable facts of life. I don't forgive them. They killed you; they took your body and a part of my soul. How can a person without a part of their soul forgive? How can a dried up heart forgive? Anna Rodriguez, Global Voices

Children that survived the shooting in Monterrey will keep remembering it. There will be an entire generation of future citizens with memories of violence in their country, forming a part of them, a part of their personal identity. On the other hand though there are children that live in another reality, as if they were living in another country. These children have learned since they were young that the country has already been lost and that the violence has beaten us. What do you suppose will be the future of a generation of people that already believe the country is broken? This is what worries me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Russia: Putin Goes After Sharks in the Japanese Sea

News of shark attacks normally come from places like Australia, California, Hawaii, or Florida. Even though these attacks do not occur that often, most people are terrified of sharks. Moreover, shark attacks have become a common theme in the horror movie genre. Reading news of shark attacks is like watching a horror movie; which makes it so difficult to believe that it might happen in places completely unknown for shark attacks.
On August 17, sharks appeared in the waters of the Japanese Sea next to Vladivostok and injured two men. This incident happened in the territory of the Primorsky Krai region – the southernmost part of the Russian Far East. August is the best month for seaside holidays in the region – it is the time when the sea reaches the ideal temperature, so that the many small bays of the area are bursting with tourists from the neighboring Russian territories who come to spend their vacations by the sea.
Hunger, by Flickr user Keoni Cabral (CC BY 2.0)
The Japanese Sea holds few real threats for people. Only clinging jellyfish represent a real danger for swimmers and then only during a short period, from late August to early September. This year, due to an abnormally hot summer, the jellyfish appeared in the water three weeks earlier [ru] than usual. Many people have suffered severely from their stings this season.
Jellyfish activity is not the only thing that has shocked the people of this area this season. Sharks are regular guests in the Japanese Sea, but their visits have never before been marked by attacks on people.
Global Voices

Rain - Joan Crawford [1934]

Ground Zero Imam Continues to Urge Europe and US to Adopt Sharia Law

Ground Zero Mosque Imam Rauf: Greater integration between Islam and the West depends on incorporation of Sharia law into the legal systems of Europe and the U.S.
More smooth deceptions, and some surprisingly revealing pro-Sharia Islamic supremacist statements, from the Islamic supremacist imam behind the Ground Zero Mosque. "Ground Zero imam gives Scotland his recipe for successful multiculturalism," by Vicky Allan for the Sunday Herald, August 28 (thanks to Ron):
AMERICA’S most controversial imam – the man at the centre of the storm over plans for the “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York last year – flew into Edinburgh yesterday to tell the Festival of Spirituality and Peace that greater integration between Islam and the West depends on the incorporation of Sharia law into the legal systems of the UK and the United States as well as Muslims adopting the culture of their host countries.
Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pygmalion (Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard) 1938

Legal Opinion Warns Gaza not tol Disenfranchise Its Diaspora

An initiative to transfer the Palestinians' representation from the PLO to a state will terminate the legal status held by the PLO in the UN since 1975 that it is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, according to the document.

Crucially, there will no longer be an institution that can represent the inalienable rights of the entire Palestinian people in the UN and related international institutions, according to the brief.

Representation for the right to self-determination will be gravely affected, as it is a right of all Palestinians, both inside and outside the homeland, the opinion says. A change in status would severely disenfranchise the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties from which they were displaced.

The seven-page opinion, obtained by Ma'an, was submitted to the Palestinian side by Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of public international law at Oxford University and a member of the team that won the 2004 non-binding judgement by the International Court of Justice that the route of Israel's wall was illegal.

The Palestinian team, headed by Saeb Erekat, has been preparing an initiative to replace the PLO at the UN, substituting it with the State of Palestine as the representative of the Palestinian people.

An actual state cannot be created in September, as Israel's occupation continues, so the debate is focused on whether membership should be requested from the Security Council or if the General Assembly should be asked to grant recognition of a state as an "observer," a status that conveys less than full UN membership.

Yet, almost no considerations have been made in terms of the dramatic legal implications for Palestinian rights which this legal brief says will occur should the PLO lose its status.

The brief is to "flag the matters requiring attention" so that a substantial amount of people who have interests in, for example, the right of return, are not "accidentally disenfranchised."

First of all, the prospect of substituting the PLO with the State of Palestine raises "constitutional" problems in that they engage the Palestinian National Charter and the organization and entities which make up the PLO, according to the brief. Second is "the question of the 'capacity' of the State of Palestine effectively to take on the role and responsibilities of the PLO in the UN; and thirdly, the question of popular representation," the opinion says.

The Palestinian Authority, which was established by the PLO as a short-term, administrative entity, "has limited legislative and executive competence, limited territorial jurisdiction, and limited personal jurisdiction over Palestinians not present in the areas for which it has been accorded responsibility," the brief points out.

It notes that the PA "is a subsidiary body, competent only to exercise those powers conferred on it by the Palestinian National Council. By definition, it does not have the capacity to assume greater powers."

The PA cannot "dissolve" its parent body or establish itself independently of the PNC and the PLO, the report also says. Moreover, it is the PLO and the PNC which derive their legitimacy "from the fact that they represent all sectors of the displaced Palestinian people, no matter where they presently live or have refuge."

Particularly crucial are the potential implications for Palestinians in the Diaspora. The majority of Palestinians are refugees, and all of them are represented by the PLO through the PNC.

"They constitute more than half of the people of Palestine, and if they are 'disenfranchised' and lose their representation in the UN, it will not only prejudice their entitlement to equal representation ... but also their ability to vocalise their views, to participate in matters of national governance, including the formation and political identity of the State, and to exercise the right of return," the legal briefing says.
And this is likely to be true of any 'solution' in which there is no 'end of conflict' provision: The 'Palestinians' must choose between continuing their attempt to destroy Israel and having a state that ends the conflict. That's a choice they are incapable of making.

What could go wrong? posted by Carl in Jerusalem

German Lawmaker Advises his Country not to attend Durban III

German Prime Minister Angela Merkel may be having a hard time deciding whether Germany, which professes to be Israel's best friend, belongs at the Durban III conference. But other people in Germany have no problems deciding. They think Germany should join the boycott.
“It can be anticipated that the memorial event on September 22 will be misused as a platform to defame the State of Israel, as happened at the Durban Conference in 2001 and the Durban Review Conference in Geneva in 2009,” Philipp Missfelder, a historian and foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told The Jerusalem Post.

“Germany should refrain from participating in this conference, as it did in 2009.

We should not support with our attendance a conference at which our partner Israel is denounced as an apartheid state.”

Missfelder appears to be the first deputy to break with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s plan to participate in Durban III. Missfelder, who turned 32 on Thursday, is viewed as a rising star in the CDU. He is an advocate of strong relations with the Jewish state and the United States.


Asked about Missfelder’s call for Germany to skip Durban III, a Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Post on Thursday that the ministry “has read very attentively the statements from deputy Missfelder.”

The spokesman reiterated the ministry’s position that the German government is working to “prevent the Durban process from being used to pillory Israel.”

A spokeswoman from Merkel’s office told the Post that the Foreign Ministry’s statement is the “position of the federal government.”
And while Germany's government is pretending that it can stop the anti-Semitism from controlling Durban III, Germany's Jewish community feels otherwise.
In a sign of growing tension over Durban III with Germany’s organized Jewish community, Dr. Dieter Graumann, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the local media that it is long overdue that Germany boycott Durban III.

Durban III is a “disgusting show trial” that once again will place Israel alone in the dock, he said.

Graumann wrote a letter calling for Westerwelle to pull out of the conference because it is a “festival of hostility toward Jews.” It is imperative that Germany show clarity and consistency in terms of combating loathing of Jews, he said. “Germany must not give this hate campaign the appearance of legitimacy.”

Responding to Westerwelle’s decision to ignore his letter and boycott call, Graumann told the DAPD wire service on Monday, “Maybe something will still come – better still, something will happen.”

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin told the Post that Graumann’s letter will be answered.

Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, is split. On the one hand, there are deputies who support strengthening ties with Israel and the US. On the other hand, there are CDU-CSU deputies who promote relations with Israel’s enemies such as Iran.
There are some Germans for whom money - as in trade with Iran - speaks louder than anything else. It's a pity that we don't have an American President who is capable of leading Germany to join most of the rest of the world in sanctioning Iran.

What could go wrong? posted by Carl in Jerusalem

Caroline Glick Reports on Glenn Beck's Visit to Israel

Caroline Glick writes about Glenn Beck's rally in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Beck is rare, because he refuses to bow to the intellectual intimidation and groupthink that plagues the discourse on Israel in Israel itself and throughout the world. He refuses to play by the rules in which friends of Israel are castigated as messianic crazies and extremists and Israel's enemies are praised as friends and great artists and courageous dissidents. He is an exception to a demented rule.

Israel's media didn't come to their hatred of Beck on their own. Most of it is fueled by American Jewish leftists. Beck ran afoul of the liberal American Jewish establishment through his outspoken attacks on George Soros. In January, Beck ran several shows on Soros, the extremist leftist anti-American and anti-Zionist global financier who has given more than $100 million to radical leftist groups.


The Left's attacks on Beck are fueled by the fact that he is a Christian Zionist. The Left's default mode is to accuse Christian Zionists of a hidden agenda to convert Jews and a secret desire to see us killed in an Armageddon.

But in truth the media's embrace of Israel's enemies, their rejection of Beck, and most importantly Beck's refusal to bow to their conventional wisdom that Israel's enemies should be praised and its friends should be condemned all reveal the reason that Christian Zionists can be trusted and embraced by Israelis.

Christian Zionists - like Jewish religious Zionists - are unmoved by the media's intimidation because of their faith in God, and their reliance on scripture. Their faith provides them with a means of judging reality that is independent of the largely post-religious intellectual commissariat that runs the media and the cultural elite in the Western world. They don't seek or care about receiving the accolades of the New York Times or other post-religious totems for their actions. And Beck's message to Israelis is that we shouldn't care either.

For most Israelis, this message rings powerful and true. But for the media, in Israel and throughout the West, it is dangerous sedition that must be marginalized and destroyed.
During the week, someone, I think it was Barry Rubin, wrote that all of the people who are opposing Beck haven't even listened to or read what he said. I believe that's accurate. If I took Beck's name off it and published it, most of my readers would be cheering (except for the Leftist trolls). What those who agree with what Beck says about Israel, but feel uncomfortable hearing it from a religious Christian, are missing, is summed up by Caroline.
Unlike the leftist public intellectuals such as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman who are celebrated and obsessively covered by the Israeli media, Beck exerts real influence on public opinion in the US. His calls for action are answered by hundreds of thousands of people. His statements are a guidepost for millions of Americans. Aside from radio host Rush Limbaugh, no media personality in the US has such influence. [Emphasis mine. CiJ]
Beck has influence over millions of Americans - mostly Christians. Many of those Christians read this blog and others like it. The fact that Beck is telling people to support Israel and that they will listen to him and demand nothing of us in return is something we should find comforting.

Read the whole thing. posted by Carl in Jerusalem

Lost in a Yemen Jail

Coming across the border of Yemen for some reason, a top Daily Bell gnome predictably (you really can't send them anywhere) attacked a senior Yemen official with gustatory intentions. The ravenous gnome was then taken into custody and remanded to the second-most secure jail in all of Yemen, a political jail complete with dungeons, blindfolds and hundreds of incarcerated supposed al Qaeda prisoners. Foolish gnome! President Saleh's police state was not created for his nutritional needs!
Daily Bell: We're going to treat this interview as if we don't know you or even, for the most part, what happened. So let's begin with the most important question. Are you really a gnome?
Gnomish Staffer: Some days it feel so.
Daily Bell: What the hell were you doing in Yemen?
Staffer: Crossing over the border in a smuggler's truck. They smuggle gas from Oman next door where it's cheaper.
Daily Bell: So this is a true story?
Staffer: You can make up your own mind about the gnome – but the jail part is true. All that I'm going to relate here is the truth as I saw it and recall it. I was held in Yemen in a political jail.
Read More
We look forward to hearing your feedback on today's Daily Bell.


Anthony Wile
Chief Editor - The Daily Bell
Executive Director - The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking (FAFMT)

The mailbox associated with this email address is not monitored, so please do not reply.

Trumka: Obama Made "Strategic Mistake"


The Pentagon is considering a range of options to meet a bipartisan call to greatly reduce defense spending in what is a “perfect storm” rocking the military’s once-plump budget plans.
The Army is looking at taking down combat brigades and ending some targeting and communications systems, and the Navy might delay ship construction and shed sailors.
And the purchase of the most expensive weapon system ever, the $380 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, could be pared from a planned 2,443 stealth jets.
“The process inside the [Pentagon] is quite chaotic because there are so many potential outcomes and nobody really knows what level to budget for,” said Loren Thompson, who directs the pro-business think tank Lexington Institute.
The perfect storm emerges in the winding down of two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan coinciding with a debt crisis that could force Pentagon cuts of $900 billion over 10 years. These developments mean the military can make do with fewer troops and weapons programs.
A pre-production model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is seen in a file photo. (Northrop Grumman via Associated Press)A pre-production model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is seen in a file photo. (Northrop Grumman via Associated Press)
The White House-Congress debt-reduction agreement calls for $350 billion in national security reductions, most of which will hit the Pentagon.
Then there is what Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has called the “doomsday mechanism”: If a 12-member congressional “supercommittee” fails to agree this fall on additional spending cuts, the federal budget would face automatic reductions. The Pentagon’s share: up to $600 billion in addition to the $350 billion.
The Pentagon had been planning on a $570 billion budget, minus war costs, for fiscal 2013, which begins October 2012.
But Mr. Thompson said the White House budget office wants cuts that could reduce the defense budget to $477 billion. “Looking at the scale of cuts that are currently being contemplated, it is easy to imagine the entire next generation of weapon systems will be wiped out,” he said.
A defense industry executive in Washington said all sorts of ideas are being discussed in the Pentagon to meet both possibilities. These include cuts to the most costly weapon system in U.S. history — the F-35 Lightning stealth fighter, which has been mired in cost overruns.
Mr. Panetta this month endorsed buying the next-generation plane that will replace the Air Force F-16 and A-10, give the Navy a new carrier-based bomber and provide the Marine Corps a successor to the Harrier vertical takeoff and landing jet.
“I think that plane will give us an important capability for the future,” he said. “From everyone I’ve talked to, they seem very pleased that it does in fact provide the capabilities that we need. But it’s going to take a lot of work. It’s still going through the test phase. We’ll learn a lot from the test phase. But I think it’s an investment that we ought to maintain for the future.”
The defense industry executive told The Washington Times that the Navy has talked about canceling the successor to the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine and converting some Virginia-class attack boats into missile carriers.
There is also talk of changing the schedule for inserting a new carrier into the fleet from five years to every seven years, and delaying construction of a new fleet oiler, the TAOX. The source said the Navy is doing all it can to make sure the fleet grows from its current level of 290 ships to its stated goal of at least 313 by the end of the decade.
With troops levels in Iraq dropping fast and a planned withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan in 2014, the Army is eyeing a cut in the number of Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), its core fighting unit, according to congressional and defense industry sources.
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Finding Our Voices at Smith and Hampshire Colleges, MA

Finding Our Voices: Standing Up For Israel in Western Massachusetts" is the story of students at Smith College and Hampshire College standing up for what they believe in. It represents both the challenges and opportunities the pro-Israel community faces on campus, as well as the power students hold to make a difference.

US Consulate: We Would Never Threaten the Palestinians

'Palestinian' chief negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat (yes, I know, you thought he resigned) has accused the United States Consulate in 'east' Jerusalem - also known as the US embassy to the 'Palestinians' - of threatening the 'Palestinians' with 'punitive measures' if they do not drop their 'statehood bid' at the United Nations. The consulate denies the charge.
The US Consulate in Jerusalem, meanwhile, denied that Consul-General Daniel Rubenstein had threatened "punitive measures" if the Palestinians went ahead with plans to upgrade their status at the UN.

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed last Friday that the consul made the threat during a meeting with him.

The consulate, in a statement, said that Erekat's account of the meeting in Jericho was "not an accurate portrayal of the US position." The statement said that Washington's position was to encourage a return to negotiations with Israel.

A spokeswoman for the consulate was quoted by the Maan news agency as saying that "initiatives throughout the UN will not bring about the two-state solution and enduring peace, which both the parties and the US seek."

She said that the US Administration continues to oppose initiatives by the Palestinians in the UN because "there is no substitute for serious and substantive negotiations between the parties, and that remains our focus."

Erekat had claimed after the meeting that Rubenstein threatened that the US would cut off aid to the Palestinians if they insisted on going to the UN.

On Saturday, Erekat repeated his claim, adding that the Americans have threatened to veto the PA statehood bid and cut off financial aid to the Palestinians.
Well, Congress has certainly told them that it will cut off aid if they go to the UN. So what would be the big deal if the Consulate said the same thing? posted by Carl in Jerusalem

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lew Rockwell: Death of the Dollar

Rebel wears Gaddafi's Hat.

A Free Market System Does not Include a Central Bank that Bails Out Poor Performers

The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget posted a Business Insider entitled: OUTRAGE OF THE DAY: Do You Realize That The Government Is Still Paying Banks Not To Lend...? Blodget explains that "the Federal Reserve is still paying big banks not to lend money. And it's doing that while screwing average Americans who have been responsible and lived within their means."
... But fund manager Mark Dow of Pharo Management, a former staff economist at the IMF and Treasury, has a different opinion. Dow believes "interest on excess reserves" and the other more explicit bailouts for banks were – and are – a necessary evil to keep the banking system up and running. ... "Unless you want to kill the capitalist system," you need a banking system, Dow says.
But what is the capitalist system? Capitalism is not a free-market system, despite its ordinary usage. Capitalism has come to describe a system of corporatism, bureaucracy and overwhelming regulation that has little to do with the way free-markets are supposed to work a do work ... when they are left alone. A free market system certainly would not have included a central bank that could bail out banks that made innumerable bad loans.
Further, that central bank doesn't bail out commercial banks at no cost; the newly created currency used to prop up those commercial banks essentially socializes the costs and will hurt everyone else in the economy that has to deal in the currency in question.
Mark Dow, Pharo Management

A Muslim sees Human Rights for Women as an Attack on Islam

The misinformation starts on the first page, when the “Fear, Inc.” authors call me “one of the anti-Muslim misinformation scholars we profile in this report.” The term “anti-Muslim” is immediate evidence of the manipulative, propagandistic nature of this report: my work, and the work of the other scholars and activists demonized in “Fear, Inc.,” has never been against Muslims in the aggregate or any people as such, but rather against an ideology that denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people. In fact, years ago at Jihad Watch I had an exchange with an English convert to Islam. I said: “I would like nothing better than a flowering, a renaissance, in the Muslim world, including full equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies: freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, equal employment opportunities, etc.” Is all that “anti-Muslim”? My correspondent thought so. He responded: “So, you would like to see us ditch much of our religion and, thereby, become non-Muslims.”
In other words, he saw a call for equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies, including freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, and equal employment opportunities, as a challenge to his religion. To the extent that they are, these facts have to be confronted by both Muslims and non-Muslims. But it is not “anti-Muslim” to wish freedom of conscience and equality of rights on the Islamic world -- quite the contrary.
Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs

What do Terrorist do After the Peace?

Harvard Square Palestinian Support Group Following Murder of Israelis

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Stream - Cambodia's bill to limit NGOs - Govt Land Grabs

Cambodia’s Council of Ministers recently released a third draft of the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) that would more tightly control the eligibility of civil society organisations and how they are run. Several NGOs have spoken out against the proposed law, saying that it would give the government too much authority over their work.

“If the law is passed in its current form, everyone will lose out, from civil society to investors with an eye on Cambodia, but, above all, the Cambodian people in whose name NGOs and associations work,” said Virak Ou, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

LANGO requires all NGOs to register with the government but does not include an appeals process for denied applications. Without a guarantee of objectivity or an appeals process, some NGOs fear that they will be unjustly shut down.

“Ultimately,” Ou said, “the fear is that the law may be used as a legislative weapon to stifle grassroots democracy and freedom of expression and association in Cambodia, in violation of the Constitution and the principle of the rule of law.”

The Cambodian organisation, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), which supported land rights protesters, received a government letter to suspend its activities on ambiguous terms. In a joint statement, 130 NGOs claimed the suspension lacked legal justification. They believe the government’s move was a symbol of increased efforts to block NGO activity so that land development projects of private and foreign companies can go ahead with greater ease.

NGOs play an integral role in educating civil society of their rights. As Cambodia launches more controversial development programs, land rights disputes and forced evictions are on the rise. Many human rights NGOs are working with citizens to launch campaigns to remain on their land and to protect their livelihood.

In a recent land rights protest, people from the Prey Lang Forest dawned leaf hats and face paint to mirror the struggle of the characters from the movie Avatar, which tells the story of a group of forest people who are threatened by outsiders seeking to exploit their land for natural resources. They were protesting upcoming development projects that would destroy the livelihood of more than 700,000 Cambodians. Demonstrations have been ongoing since May. Last week more than 100 villagers were detained in Phnom Penh for distributing protest flyers.
The Stream, Aljazeera

The White Rose - Three that Were Executed - Dying in Defense of Liberty

Those Executed

The White Rose was comprised of a dozen or so University of Munich students, including Probst and the Scholls. They were active when very few participated in opposition to the Nazi regime. After German defeats at Stalingrad, many Germans silently feared for the future of Germany, but scant few ever put their lives on the line through deeds.
It is no coincidence those who were willing to actively oppose the Nazis were motivated by devout religious views. Like the martyrs of early Christendom and the American civil rights movement, those who have nothing to fear in this world are well suited to oppose evil and injustice.
The religious origins of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s active opposition to the Nazis are well-known and inescapable. But even Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the man who planted a bomb that almost killed Hitler, was a devout Catholic. He was active in a religious and philosophical dissident group called the Kreisau Circle. He struggled with the questions and contradictions of taking a life to oppose black hot evil. Of course Hollywood devotes exactly zero screen minutes to the religious motivations of von Stauffenberg.
Active opposition to Hitler inside Germany was a deadly and lonely affair. Yet today, we view these few souls, most of whom would meet gruesome deaths, as plainly right and heroic. Pope Benedict XVI captured this idea of justice revealed over time when he observed: “usually it is the creative minorities that determine the future” — another lesson for today’s defenders of liberty.
Between March 1942 and February 1943, the White Rose wrote and secretly produced anti-Nazi leaflets. They copied them on mimeograph machines and literally left them lying all around Munich. They stenciled anti-Hilter messages on the sides of buildings. The Gestapo went wild. Nobody else in Germany was doing anything of the sort.
White Rose leaflet four captures the totalitarian corruption of language as well as a view of Hitler justified by hindsight:
Every word that proceeds from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war. And when he names the name of the Almighty in a most blasphemous manner, he means the almighty evil one, that fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the stinking maw of hell and his might is fundamentally reprobate. To be sure, one must wage the battle against National Socialism using rational means. But whoever still does not believe in the actual existence of demonic powers has not comprehended by far the metaphysical background of this war.
In March 2001, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at James Madison University. He said he was fascinated by the history of German resistors. Thomas’ concurrence in the McDonald gun rights case most certainly was informed by a deep appreciation of what recourse free men have when mayhem, evil, and oppression rule. Thomas’ tour de force describes the plight of recently freed slaves reliant on guns to protect their new freedoms. He recalled the Massacre of 1876:
There, a white citizen militia sought out and murdered a troop of black militiamen for no other reason than that they had dared to conduct a celebratory Fourth of July parade through their mostly black town.
The lessons of the White Rose are not confined to Nazi Germany. We are not many generations removed in this nation from oppression, and in other places, a single generation. Our Constitution was designed first to prevent oppression, but also to resist it.
The fourth White Rose leaflet spoke of a need for a continuous watch, because we will never reach the End of History:
Everywhere and at all times, the demons have waited in darkness for the hour in which mankind is weak; in which he voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God; in which he yields to the force of the Evil One, disengaging himself from the powers of a higher order.
Implicit in this assessment is that the world cannot escape a struggle between moral polarities in foreign affairs.
Today’s anniversary offers a multitude of other lessons. For starters, the power of language, truth, and courage are potent weapons to defend liberty. The central recognition of human dignity drew them to the active opposition to Hitler. The power of anonymous political speech also cannot be overlooked. In civilization’s darkest hours, anonymous political speech serves as a check on tyranny as our own founders presumed the right to bear arms also does.
So today, one might consider three young lives cut short in Stadelheim Prison in Munich and the courage they had to attack one of the most evil regimes of the 20th century. The courage to act and risk everything is a prerequisite for liberty to flourish. Remembering that they were not endowed with any particular human trait we don’t ourselves possess makes their sacrifice all the more extraordinary.
J. Christian Adams, CiF

Hitler Was a Liar

Every word that proceeds from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war. And when he names the name of the Almighty in a most blasphemous manner, he means the almighty evil one, that fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the stinking maw of hell and his might is fundamentally reprobate. To be sure, one must wage the battle against National Socialism using rational means. But whoever still does not believe in the actual existence of demonic powers has not comprehended by far the metaphysical background of this war.
White Rose leaflet

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why do Londoners Call for the Destruction of Israel?

While Israel counters off yet another attack, people openly call for the
annihilation of Israel in England (our closest ally), and Obama calls for the shortening of Israeli borders (which are vital to defend itself against missile attacks), my only question is why is there so much hate and animosity toward Israel? Israel merely defends itself and retaliates when attacked. It does not begin any attacks and has no terrorist ties. Why is every country surrounding Israel so violently and vehemently against it, and is the western world joining more and more this animosity toward the small sovereign state? How can anyone not feel for a country not beginning any attacks but merely defending itself and its right to simply exist?

8 Ways Conservatives Abuse History ... and the Truth | | AlterNet

8 Ways Conservatives Abuse History ... and the Truth | | AlterNet

Matt Taibbi on the Explosive Investigation Revealing the SEC's Cover-Up of Wall Street's Crimes | | AlterNet

Matt Taibbi on the Explosive Investigation Revealing the SEC's Cover-Up of Wall Street's Crimes | | AlterNet

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Serge Gainsbourg French Songwriter and Boyfriend of Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot

 Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin at home in Paris, 1970s.
Odile Montserrat/Sygma/Corbis
Serge Gainsbourg was, depending on whom you ask, a brilliant songwriter, a buffoon, an outrage, a Don Juan, or the definition of French cool. To French comic book artist Joann Sfar, growing up in a strait-laced observant family in the 1970s, Gainsbourg—born Lucien Ginsberg in 1928—was a hero. Sfar was enthralled by Gainsbourg’s outrageous antics on French television, his unabashed romps with knockouts like Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, and his reckless smoking and drinking, not to mention his talent as a singer and songwriter. All this from a skinny Jewish guy with protruding ears and a big nose.
Gainsbourg was a mostly washed-up artist when he died at 62 of a heart attack, in 1991. But that’s not what Sfar wishes to remember in his first feature film, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, which opens next week in the United States. Rather, Sfar revels in Gainsbourg’s crash-and-burn approach to life as an outsider, from his cavalier embrace of the yellow star in 1941 to his 1978 recording of a reggae remix of the French national anthem. The film takes creative license with Gainsbourg’s life, just as Gainsbourg was prone to do, and includes some of Sfar’s favorite things: puppets, caricature, Jewish themes, and sex.
Vox Tablet’s Sara Ivry spoke to Sfar about Gainsbourg’s life, his love-hate relationships with France and with Jews, and Sfar’s own provocations as an artist and filmmaker. [Running time: 19:07.]
Produced by Julie Subrin

Punjab; Christian Family Held in Slavery by Muslim for 30 Years

From Asia News:
The father had signed a loan for his daughter's wedding, paying interest rates up to 50%. Thereafter, 26 family members were enslaved to a Muslim to repay the debt. More cases of marriages and forced conversions of Christian girls.

A Christian family consisting of 26 persons, including women and children, lived in slavery for over 30 years. Forced to work on a farm belonging to a wealthy Muslim landowner Rahim Yar Khan, in a district of the province of Punjab, only recently managed to regain freedom. Reduced to servitude for three decades, the family members escaped their captor through the intervention of the leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Bahawalpur. Meanwhile the abduction of Christian girls, forced to marry Muslim men and forcibly converted to Islam, continue. The latest incident took place at Quetta: the young girl, after two years of prison, managed to escape and is now in an undisclosed location under threat of death.

About 30 years ago Zulfiquar Masih, a Christian from Rahim Yar Khan, signed a loan to raise enough money for his daughter’s marriage. The interest rate rocketed to touch 500% making it impossible to pay off the debt. For this the entire family was segregated by force in a private jail and forced to work for Basharat Ali Gulo, a Muslim farmer and company owner. Enslaved for three decades, the family managed to free itself through the intervention of the Catholic leaders of Bahawalpur. On behalf of the diocese Fr. Samuel Rafael,filed a complaint against Basharat Ali at the High Court. And the judges have ordered the release of the family, until then held in forced labor.

Speaking to AsiaNews Fr Rafael said that "thousands of workers are kept in conditions of slavery across Pakistan today." In Sindh province the Hindus are kept in slavery for generations by the feduals. We condemn such acts and will fight for the Christians in slavery. We have raised the matter to the concerned authorities. It is a clear violation of human rights."

Meanwhile, the 27 year old Catholic schoolgirl Arifa Alfred, segregated for two years by a Muslim, who abducted her with the help of two "friends" to marry her by force and convert her to Islam has managed to escape with her family, and is hiding in a secret location. Arifa, a college student, from Nawa Killi, Quetta, a city near the border with Afghanistan, has lived in conditions of slavery, locked in the house and deprived of freedom of movement and worship, despite having repeatedly reaffirmed her faith in Christ.

The girl was repeatedly beaten with violence, suffered physical and psychological torture. Only by a fortunate circumstance - Amjad, the alleged husband, did not locked the door – did she manage to escape, going first to the hospital to heal her wounds, then her brother. Despite the family complaint, the police was unwilling to intervene, on the contrary, the police inspector expressed his satisfaction with Arifa’s conversion to Islam and invited the girl to return to her kidnapper.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fertility Policies in Israel

Jewish immigrants and their infants in Mandate Palestine, one year before the establishment of Israel.
Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images
Oxford doctoral candidate Rebecca Steinfeld argues in Tablet Magazine today that granting Yigal Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the right to conjugal visits and by extension the right to father a child is consistent with the state’s pro-natalist policies. Steinfeld is writing a dissertation on the topic, War of the Wombs: The History and Politics of Fertility Policies in Israel, 1948-2010. She spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about the evolution of these policies, from cash “birth prizes” awarded to mothers on the birth of their 10th child in the early days of the state to today’s heavily subsidized fertility procedures for women who wish to conceive, and about accusations that these policies have favored Jewish citizens over others. [Running time: 17:29.]
Produced by Julie Subrin

Jewish immigrants and their infants in Mandate Palestine, one year before the establishment of Israel.
Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images
Oxford doctoral candidate Rebecca Steinfeld argues in Tablet Magazine today that granting Yigal Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the right to conjugal visits and by extension the right to father a child is consistent with the state’s pro-natalist policies. Steinfeld is writing a dissertation on the topic, War of the Wombs: The History and Politics of Fertility Policies in Israel, 1948-2010. She spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about the evolution of these policies, from cash “birth prizes” awarded to mothers on the birth of their 10th child in the early days of the state to today’s heavily subsidized fertility procedures for women who wish to conceive, and about accusations that these policies have favored Jewish citizens over others. [Running time: 17:29.]

Ultra Orthodox Sex Abuse Conviction Unravels

Baruch Lebovits, Samuel Kellner, and Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes.
Collage: Tablet Magazine; Lebovitz: PIX11 and Gothamist; Kellner and Hynes: VosIzNeias
In April of last year, a 22-year-old former member of the ultra-Orthodox community in the Borough Park neighborhood stood to address a Brooklyn court in a halting voice. Weeks earlier, the young man had recounted how a wealthy and powerful member of that same community, Baruch Lebovits, had lured him into a car multiple times when he was a teenager and forced him to perform oral sex. “Mr. Lebovits showed me no mercy,” the man told Justice Patricia DiMango. “I know that seeing the man who caused me so much pain being punished will give me hope and strength to rebuild my life.”
Sentencing Lebovits to the maximum term of up to 32 years in jail, DiMango told the courtroom that both the victim, who was a recovering drug addict, and Lebovits, who had been abused as a boy, epitomized “the ultimate harm and havoc” of sexual abuse. At the time, Lebovits was one of a string of men who had been hauled before a judge on what seemed like an almost monthly basis to face charges of sexually abusing boys. By last spring, the Brooklyn District Attorney had indicted and prosecuted almost 30 men over a period of about 18 months, many of them teachers and rabbis, in what was perceived to be a crackdown on abuse in the ultra-Orthodox world.
Then, this April, without warning, Baruch Lebovits walked out of jail.

More Context

  • Unmolested

    Avrohom Mondrowitz, an accused serial pedophile who fled ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn for Israel, has never faced trial, thanks to extradition complications, a community that may have preferred to keep things quiet, and, critics charge, a D.A. who had political reasons not to pursue the case
Lebovits was free on $250,000 bail following the arrest of a rabbi, Samuel Kellner, on charges of bribery and witness tampering. Kellner was charged with giving a boy—not the boy who addressed the court, but another alleged victim—$10,000 to falsely testify he had been abused by Lebovits and of threatening to bring more victims forward unless the Lebovits family paid him $400,000. Today, the matter is still unresolved.
Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes told a press conference that he remained confident the victim whose testimony secured Lebovits’ conviction—the young man who had addressed the court—was telling the truth and that Lebovits would return to jail. But, regardless of the outcome, the episode represented a major setback for Jewish victims of abuse.
For the past few years, survivors’ advocates have been chipping away at the communal wall of silence that has surrounded abuse in the ultra-Orthodox world and at the various halakhic justifications that have been given for dealing with the issue internally through Jewish courts, known as beit dins. The allegations that now complicate the Lebovits case epitomize some of the worst fears within the community: that the so-called victims are liars, that the secular authorities do not always get the right man, and that, without rabbis as a firewall, innocent people can be publicly shamed and put in prison.
There is little doubt, even among leaders of the ultra-Orthodox community, that sexual abuse of children is a serious problem. As more victims and their families have come forward in recent years, reports of abuse have proliferated. Dov Hikind, a state assembly member whose district includes Borough Park, claims to have gathered material on hundreds of such cases, largely from personal testimony.
The more pressing issue is how to solve that problem. Victims’ advocates and law-enforcement officials continue to urge survivors to report cases to social services or the police. But some leading rabbis in ultra-Orthodox communities like Borough Park continue to insist that adults who suspect abuse must consult a rabbi before reporting it to the authorities. Earlier this month, Agudath Israel of America, the top Orthodox rabbinic authority in the country, released a statement instructing its followers that only a rabbi can decide whether there is enough suspicion in each case to override the Jewish law of mesirah, which prevents Jews from reporting each other to the secular authorities.
Rabbi Yosef Blau, Yeshiva University’s spiritual adviser and a prominent advocate on behalf of survivors, said Lebovits’ harsh sentence followed by the allegations of witness-tampering and bribery would only make a mistrustful community even more suspicious. “We are dealing with an element within the Orthodox community that feels American society is not their friends,” said Blau. “One would have to think that anything that increases that fear is just going to make it more and more difficult to work with them in future.”
In the wake of Lebovits’ release, at least one advocate did not do his cause any favors. Rabbi Nachum Rosenberg, who regularly uses YouTube and a recorded telephone line to rail against abusers, sided with Kellner. In a telephone interview days after Kellner’s arrest for witness tampering, Rosenberg said that he did not know whether Kellner was guilty. “I wasn’t with him at the time,” he said. But shortly afterward, he asserted that the allegations against Kellner were false. “It’s a 100 percent hoax,” he said, before launching into a tirade against Hynes, which included the accusation that the D.A. turned a blind eye to abuse in return for favors from the strictly Orthodox hierarchy. (The D.A. declined to comment on this and other issues related to Lebovits’ case.)
Kellner denies the charges against him. Nevertheless, many advocates are wary of springing to his defense. One, who did not wish to be named, called Rosenberg’s allegiance with Kellner “unfortunate.” “You can’t maintain credibility in these cases by refusing to hear people are behaving badly,” the advocate said.
If Rosenberg comes out of the episode with his reputation diminished, then the D.A. fares little better. During Lebovits’ trial, his family claimed the accusations against him were financially motivated. Yet the D.A. appears to have done nothing to follow up on those claims.
Instead, Lebovits’ defense team hired a private detective to gather the evidence that eventually led to Kellner’s arrest. That detective, Joe Levin, was quoted soon after Lebovits’ release, on the blog Failed Messiah, saying that despite the material he gathered against Kellner, he still believed that Lebovits was guilty. But in a more recent interview, Levin claimed that he was misquoted. “He is clean,” Levin said of Lebovits.
What is clear is that Lebovits’ case highlights just how complex sexual-abuse prosecutions can be. Victims, often as a result of the trauma they have suffered, frequently appear in court with convictions for drug use or petty crime. Victims’ advocates can be erratic and prone to see conspiracy at every turn. Abusers often turn out to have once been abused themselves. Last year, Lebovits’ defense team was joined by the high-profile lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who has called for a new trial. But Lebovits’ fate seems to rest on Kellner, whose next court date, a hearing, is currently set for September 6.
Paul Berger, a staff writer at the Forward, is the co-author or contributing editor of seven books. He has also written for the New York Times, the Daily, and the Jewish Chronicle.

Qaddafi Compared to Dog Poo

This is just getting ridiculous. It's like when you step in chewing gum, or even worse, dog poo, and it gets stuck on the bottom of your shib-shib [ar] (slipper) and you can't get it off. No matter how hard you try; you rub your shib-shib on the ground, on the grass, on the edge of the street curb, or you get a stick and try to push it off. But it just doesn't want to go. The solution: It's time to throw those shib-shib away! [sic]
Khaditajen, Global Voices

Reducing Unemployment to 4.5% Painlessly

"We currently need about 8.2 million more jobs to reduce the nation's unemployment rate to 4.5%. Creating that many jobs in a program like the one described… would require a net increase in federal spending of about $235 billion during the first year... If the Bush-era tax cuts had been allowed to expire at the end of 2010, the federal government would have collected about $295 billion in additional revenue during 2011. This would have been more than enough to cover the cost of the job program."
Michael Winship, Alternet

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Regulated Medical Pot Business is Thriving

Colorado's Medical Pot Business Is For-Profit, Regulated - and Thriving
Peter Hecht, McClatchy Newspapers: "In Colorado, America's second-largest medical marijuana market behind California, marijuana capitalism flourishes under strict regulations approved by the state Legislature starting last year... Colorado stores simply pocket cash as profit. And, under new mandates that stores grow at least 70 percent of the marijuana they sell, weed industrialization is flourishing. It is happening despite U.S. Justice Department warnings over attempted large-scale cultivation in California or suspected medical pot profiteering in other states."

The Right Intends to Destroy the Nation and the Left Doesn't Believe It

When Conflict Gets Impersonally Personal
Tom H. Hastings, Truthout: "A dissensual (the opposite of consensual) conflict (over values, worldviews, the perceived nature of the parties) tends to regardthe other party as the basic problem and so problem solving becomes 'how do we annihilate them?'.. This is tough for many of us, especially those steeped from an early age in dissensual and adversarial conflict. I struggle not to regard people like Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert 'The Buck Stops Here and Then Moves Back Down' Murdoch and Sarah Palin as the problem."

Twenty-five Percent of California Families Can't Always Afford to Feed Kids

One in Four California Families Can't Afford Food for Their Kids
Raul Rodriguez, New America Media: "One in four California households with children reported food hardship, according to a new analysis of Gallup data released last Thursday by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)... The report analyzed data gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project's responses to the question: 'Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?'"

The Really Important Issues are Never Discussed

High-Stakes Blackmail: "Malefactors of Great Wealth"
Jeff Klein, CounterPunch: "Why can't a Democratic President talk about the 'Malefactors of Great Wealth' who are responsible for the economic catastrophe we face today? Could it have something to do with the fact that wealthy individuals and corporations fund the expensive electoral campaigns of both political parties, and so ensure that the solutions supported by the majority of people - raising taxes on the wealthy and the corporations, putting people to work, ending the wars, protecting Social Security and Medicare - are simply off the agenda?"

Right-Wing Gov Kasich of Ohio Failed to Quash Union

Major Backlash at Right-Wing Ohio Governor Has Him Scrambling for "Compromise" With Progressives
Sarah Jaffe, AlterNet: "Kasich, elected in 2010 with just 49 percent of the vote, pushed through an attack on public workers similar to the one Wisconsin's Scott Walker championed. Senate Bill 5 (SB5) was passed and signed into law in March, and eliminated most collective bargaining for state workers, as well as increased the amount of money they had to pay for their pensions and made it harder for unions to collect dues. It turns out that wholesale attacks on workers' rights aren't nearly as popular in a rough economy as conservative governors thought."

Obama Denial of Due Process in Terrorism Cases

The bottom line is that the Obama administration, like its predecessor, defines success in terrorism prosecutions not by assessing whether or not due process and fair verdicts are administered, but solely in terms of what they deem proper punishment for those accused of violating national security -- especially when doing so minimizes partisan political clashes. By refusing to rein in its evident distrust of the judicial system when it comes to national security, the government is perpetuating a legal landscape that, to this day, lies in the shadow of Osama bin Laden.
Karen Greenberg, Tom Dispatch

Friday, August 19, 2011

Scotland Yard Detective Arrested Connected to NotW Investigation

Scotland Yard’s investigation into News of the World has claimed one of its own. A detective has been arrested and suspended from the force for leaking information about the investigation to journalists. “I made very clear when I took on this investigation the need for operational and information security,” said the commissioner in charge of the investigation. “It is hugely disappointing that this may not have been adhered to.” Scotland Yard also confirmed that it has arrested Dan Evans, a former NotW feature writer, on suspicion of hacking phones.
Read it at Telegraph

Jon Huntsman Acknowledges Global Warming

No one missed the context, since Huntsman flung his revolutionary sentiments into the media mix the same day that Rick Perry conveyed deep skepticism about both evolution and global warming. And just like that, the forgotten man was an online sensation: Most retweets of any candidate for president this year; doubled traffic on his campaign website Thursday; 5,500 new Twitter followers as of Friday morning; surpassed Mitt Romney on the “Klout” scale of social-networking influence; and continuing buzz on both cable and “the twitters.” Huntsman also is a guest Sunday on ABC’s This Week—a booking that preceded his Twitter moment, but which certainly will allow him to capitalize on it.
Daily Beast


Monday, August 15, 2011

Rick Perry: Tax the Poor?

When the discussion has moved so far to the right that Reagan would be a centrist Democrat today, you know you’re in trouble.

Against all facts and reason, the right-wing unreality has taken over the national discussion, across the spectrum. During last week’s debate, every single one of the Republican candidates said they’d reject a national budget that included 10-to-1 spending cuts over taxes. Rick Perry, a former pilot and current evangelical governor of Texas, wants to tax more poor people. Seriously.

While the rest of the world is steadily moving away from a US-centric economy, we’re spinning our wheels. We can’t get off of dirty energy, we can’t raise taxes on the super-rich, we can’t get out of the quagmire in Afghanistan and we can’t stop locking up our own citizens. We can’t even hold a coherent discussion about solving our greatest challenges. Why?

One reason is clear. Corporate media is owned and controlled by the very money-hoarders who keep us fighting each other while they sell us plastic. The solution? Trustworthy sources must be cultivated and strengthened. New institutions must continue to grow, independent of corporate sponsorship. Media must be reorganized.

The staff and board of Truthout are working passionately to make this happen. But we can only do it with your generous support.


Why do the Koch brothers want to end public education?

Pelosi Backs Lee Claim Obama is Debated Because He's Black

Rick Perry: Time to Get America Working Again

Truthout's Mission

We’re deep in the battle over the fate of the United States. Will we solidify our government as a plutocracy - a late-stage empire that can serve only the interests of the super-rich? Will we continue to pursue policies around the globe that destroy the environment in pursuit of profits? Or will we retrench, and work to heal our bleeding political system before it’s too late?

The rest of the world is rising up against the cult of unrestrained free-market capitalism and money-power. From Tunisia to Egypt to Spain to Portugal to France to Germany to Greece to Israel to Chile to the UK, anti-austerity movements are on the rise, and the fight is playing out in chaotic, unpredictable and often tragic ways.

Everyone is asking why such a revolt isn’t happening here in the US.

One answer is simple - the US has invested billions of dollars in institutions that promote and protect consumerism-as-culture, both here and abroad. But activists around the country - whose hopes for change were dismantled over the past three years - are reuniting. The fight is coming here; it’s just a matter of time.

Our country is the epicenter of backwards, self-destructive, consumption-driven thinking. But it’s also the birthplace of amazing transformative struggles that have changed the world. Which side are you on?

It is Truthout’s duty and our mission to help reform this insane consciousness, to shed light on the hypocrisy and to warn of the danger just down this path.

History is Argument without End

The debate over who was to blame for the Bay of Pigs is a perfect example of what the Dutch historian Pieter Geyl meant when he said, “History is argument without end.” But it is well to revisit this disaster not to assign blame anew but to recall John Quincy Adams’s cautionary advice: America “does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”