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Friday, October 29, 2010

US Wikileaks Coverage lacking; Climate Change Proven while Republicans Deny it; Disaster Predicted Should Republicans Win; AZ Immigration Fears Manufactured to Make Money; BP Oil Leak was Avoidable

- With GOP-Controlled Congress, Roubini Predicts US "Fiscal Train Wreck" [If the Republicans win the election next week ] the U.S. economy is a "fiscal train wreck" waiting to happen that risks ushering in a period of stagnation featuring by minimal growth, high unemployment and deflationary pressure, U.S. economist Nouriel Roubini wrote on Friday.

- Climate Change Denial Pervades US Elections Meanwhile, the issue of climate change is being used by conservative candidates to rally support from right-wing voters, such as those affiliated with the Tea Party movement.

- Climate change: The Evidence So I’ll be clear: climate change is real. The average temperature of the Earth is increasing. This is almost certainly due to mankind’s influence on the environment.

- Climate change: How do we know? The proof that CLimate Change is real is undisputed

No Republican running for a Senate seat openly supports limiting greenhouse gas emissions, as the proposal for a cap and trade system approved by the U.S. House but rejected by the Senate in 2009 would have done. Many candidates even actively deny the validity of climate change and the science behind it.

- November 2, Creative Destruction and ‘Repealing the 20th Century’ ...protecting Corporate America's ability to engage in creative destruction is the central reason behind the unprecedented flow of corporate money [going to Republicans and Tea Party candidates] from the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads flowing into this midterm election season.

- Happy Halloween... Bat Disease Threatens Ecological Catastrophe A virulent and deadly pathogen in America is exterminating a predator that is vital to farmers for controlling insect pests

- Child Soldiers Not a Problem for USA In a decision critics say has undermined a powerful new law, the United States has decided to turn a blind eye to four countries that use child soldiers in their armed forces.

- BP, Halliburton Knew Well Cement Was 'Unstable' BP and its cement contractor, Halliburton (the  company former vice president Dick Cheney ran), knew weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the new well was unstable but still completed the work, staff for the presidential commission investigating the accident said in a letter Thursday.

- Private Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law New investigation proves the immigration "problem" in Arizona, that inspired the racist Tea Party and Republican SB 1070 law, was in fact created as a way for the private prison system to make millions

- Beck's "Us Vs.Them" In All Its Twisted Glory  Charles Wilson, jailed last week for threatening to kill a Washington senator who voted for health care reform, was "under the spell that Glenn Beck cast...his fears were grown and fostered by Beck's persuasive personality," wrote a cousin attesting to his character, if not his taste in "pundits".

- Lack of WikiLeaks coverage disturbing, but not surprising The sad lack of coverage ("Sunday talk shows largely ignore WikiLeaks' Iraq files") of the leak of unfiltered, publicly owned information from the latest WikiLeak is disturbing, but not historically out of the ordinary for major American media.


New York Times vs. the world: WikiLeaks Coverage

By Glenn Greenwald published Oct 25 2010 at Salon.com

(updated below - Update II - Update III)

To supplement my post yesterday about The New York Times' government-subservient coverage of the WikiLeaked documents regarding the war that newspaper played such a vital role in enabling, consider -- beyond the NYT's sleazy, sideshow-smears against Julian Assange -- the vast disparity between how newspapers around the world and The New York Times reported on a key revelation from these documents:  namely, that the U.S. systematically and pursuant to official policy ignored widespread detainee abuse and torture by Iraqi police and military (up to and including murders).  In fact, American conduct goes beyond mere indifference into active complicity, as The Guardian today reports that "fresh evidence that US soldiers handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad has emerged in army logs published by WikiLeaks."

Media outlets around the world prominently highlighted this revelation, but not The New York Times:

BBC:

The Guardian: Al Jazeera:

 Hindustan Times:

Even Politico acknowledged and trumpeted this fact:

By stark and deliberate contrast, here's how The New York Times framed these revelations to its readers (h/t Remi Brulin):

 

Three cheers for the U.S.!  While a handful of American soldiers -- a few bad apples -- may have abused Iraqi detainees in hellholes like Abu Ghraib, those detainees "fared worse in Iraqi hands," so we weren't as bad as the new Iraqi tyrants were.  That's the way The New York Times chose to frame these revelations.  And while that article mentions in passing that "most [abuse cases] noted in the archive seemed to have been ignored, with the equivalent of an institutional shrug," the vast bulk of the article focuses on Iraqi rather than American wrongdoing and even includes substantial efforts to exculpate the American role ("American soldiers, however, often intervened").  

The difference in how (a) the NYT "reported on" -- i.e., whitewashed -- these horrific, incriminating revelations about the U.S. and (b) the rest of the world media reported on it, could not be more vast.  Again, even Politico understood its significance, as this was the first line of its article:  "Newly released Iraq war documents paint a devastating portrait of apparent U.S. indifference to a pattern of murder and torture by the Iraqi army, raising new questions about the Obama administration's plans to transfer the nation's security operations to Iraqi units."  But the NYT in its headline chose to venerate the superiority of American detainee treatment, while barely mentioning one of the most critical revelations from this leak.

Similarly, newspapers around the world heavily covered the fact that the U.N. chief investigator for torture called on the Obama administration to formally investigate this complicity in Iraqi abuse, pointing out that "if leaked US files on the Iraq conflict point to clear violations of the UN convention against torture, Barack Obama's administration has a clear obligation to investigate them," and that "under the conventions on human rights there is an obligation for states to criminalise every form of torture, whether directly or indirectly, and to investigate any allegations of abuse."   Today, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister called on the British Government to fulfill that obligation by formally investigating the role British troops might have played in "the allegations of killings, torture and abuse in Iraq."

But these calls for investigations -- and the U.N.'s explanation of the legal obligation to do so -- are virtually nonexistent in the American media.  The only mention in the NYT of the U.N.'s statement is buried deep down in a laundry list of short items on one of its blogs.  Along with most American media outlets, The Washington Post has no mention of this matter at all (while whitewashing American guilt, the NYT -- in the form of Judy Miller's former partner, Michael Gordon -- prominently trumpeted from the start of its coverage the "interference" in Iraq by Iran in aiding "Iraqi militias," a drum Gordon has been dutifully beating for years).  

The notion that the Obama administration not only should -- but must -- investigate the role its military played in enabling this widespread, stomach-turning torture and abuse in Iraq is simply suppressed in American political discourse, most of all by the newspaper which played the leading role in enabling the attack on that country in the first place.  It's not hard to see why.  The last thing American political and media elites in general want is a discussion of the legal obligations to investigate torture and bring the torturers to legal account, and the last thing which enablers of the Iraq War specifically want is a focus on how we not only allowed but participated in the very human rights abuses which we claimed (and still claim) our invasion would stop.

 

UPDATE:  Note, too, how the NYT in its article on brutal detainee abuse steadfastly avoids using the word "torture" to describe what was done, consistent with its U.S.-Government-serving formal policy of refusing to use that word where U.S. policy is involved.  By stark contrast, virtually every other media account uses that term to describe the heinous abuse of detainees chronicled by this leak, the only term that accurately applies:  see The Guardian ("American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes"); BBC (US "ignored Iraq torture"); Politico ("a devastating portrait of apparent U.S. indifference to a pattern of murder and torture by the Iraqi army").  BoingBoing appropriately mocks the NYT's increasingly humiliating no-"torture" policy by creating a euphemism-generator.

 

UPDATE II:  The Daily Beast has an extraordinary article today by Ellen Knickmeyer, who was The Washington Post's Baghdad Chief during much of the war.  The headline of the article is "WikiLeaks Exposes Rumsfeld's Lies," and she writes:  "Thanks to Wikileaks, though, I now know the extent to which top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world, as the Iraq mission exploded."  She documents how WikiLeaked documents prove that Rumsfeld and other top military and political officials outright lied about the state of Iraq in 2006.

This is the type of language which the NYT and Washington Post would never, ever use; it's undoubtedly true that Knickmeyer could not have written this if she were still at the Post.  Our leading establishment news outlets use far more deference and respect and muted language when talking about High Government Officials.  They'll unleash a slew of insults about Julian Assange's mental health and alleged personality faults -- and viciously malign anyone who lacks power in their world -- but they would never dare use language like this when talking about a political or military official who wields power.  Knickmeyer had to leave the Post in order to speak the truth this way.

 

UPDATE III:  Michael Calderone of Yahoo! News documents how the Sunday news shows barely bothered to discuss the substance of the WikiLeaks documents at all.  Even worse, on ABC NewsDiane Sawyer demands to know whether WikiLeaks -- but not the U.S. Government officials responsible for perpetrating and sanctioning torture in Iraq -- will be arrested.   To paraphrase that exchange:

WikiLeaks documentsThere was mass torture, abuse, government deceit, reckless civilian deaths in Iraq.

Diane SawyerWill WikiLeaks be arrested?

As I wrote yesterday:  "serving the Government's interests, siding with government and military officials, and attacking government critics is what they do. That's their role. That's what makes them the 'establishment media'."


Sean

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keith Olbermann: If the Tea Party (or Republicans) win, America loses

Make sure you vote next week! We cannot let the Tea Party and Republicans win!

Sean

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Iraq War Logs Show War Crimes; Tea Party Funded by Right-Wing Elites and Corporations who LIE; Rich Getting Richer While Poor Get Poorer and Moron Republican/Tea Partiers Make it Worse

- Iraq War Logs: Secret Files Show How US Ignored Torture A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.

- WikiLeaks Founder Gets Support in Rebuking U.S. on Whistle-Blowers Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, and Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, lashed out together on Saturday at the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of whistle-blowers, including those responsible for the release of secret documents on the Iraq war.

- Images of a Bloody War The publication of nearly 400,000 Iraq War documents over the weekend by Wikileaks shows the Iraq War was worse than we even knew. There have been more civilian deaths, with U.S. helicopters shooting at buildings for little reason, failing to investigate the killing of reporters, killings at checkpoints, and killing of civilians trying to surrender. There has been more abuse of prisoners, including beatings, burnings, electrocution, and rape. There has been more torture and a U.S. military order not to investigate torture. There have likely been war crimes committed by the United States. Click here to take action.

- A Worse Record Than Saddam's I wonder if some staunch supporters of the Iraq war will now think again about the purpose and execution of that illegal and vainglorious expedition. The sanctions and war killed, maimed and destroyed more civilians than Saddam did, even during the most diabolical periods of his rule.

- Tea Party Climate Change Deniers Funded by BP and Other Major Polluters BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama's energy agenda, the Guardian has learned.

- Right Winger Clarence Thomas's Credibility at Issue Again The phone call Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife placed to Anita Hill earlier this month seeking an apology for Hill's allegation 19 years ago that Thomas sexually harassed her may go down as a textbook lesson in unintended consequences.

- Tea Party Inc. The Big Money and Powerful Elites Behind the Right-Wings Latest Uprising

Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer
Published on Monday, October 25, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
by Bill Quigley

The rich and their paid false prophets are doing a bang up job deceiving the poor and middle class. They have convinced many that an evil socialism is alive in the land and it is taking their fair share. But the deception cannot last – facts say otherwise.

Yes, there is a class war – the war of the rich on the poor and the middle class – and the rich are winning. That war has been going on for years. Look at the facts – facts the rich and their false paid prophets do not want people to know.

Let Glenn Beck go on about socialists descending on Washington. Allow Rush Limbaugh to rail about “class warfare for a leftist agenda that will destroy our society.” They are well compensated false prophets for the rich.

The truth is that for the several decades the rich in the US have been getting richer and the poor and middle class have been getting poorer. Look at the facts then make up your own mind.

Poor Getting Poorer: Facts 

The official US poverty numbers show we now have the highest number of poor people in 51 years. The official US poverty rate is 14.3 percent or 43.6 million people in poverty. One in five children in the US is poor; one in ten senior citizens is poor. Source: US Census Bureau.

One of every six workers, 26.8 million people, is unemployed or underemployed. This “real” unemployment rate is over 17%. There are 14.8 million people designated as “officially” unemployed by the government, a rate of 9.6 percent. Unemployment is worse for African American workers of whom 16.1 percent are unemployed. Another 9.5 million people who are working only part-time while they are seeking full-time work but have had their hours cut back or are so far only able to find work part-time are not counted in the official unemployment numbers. Also, an additional 2.5 million are reported unemployed but not counted because they are classified as discouraged workers in part because they have been out of work for more than 12 months. Source: US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics October 2010 report.

The median household income for whites in the US is $51,861; for Asians it is $65,469; for African Americans it is $32,584; for Latinos it is $38,039. Source: US Census Bureau.
Fifty million people in the US lack health insurance. Source: US Census Bureau.

Women in the US have a greater lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related conditions than women in 40 other countries. African American US women are nearly 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. Source: Amnesty International Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.

About 3.5 million people, about one-third of which are children, are homeless at some point in the year in the US. Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
Outside Atlanta, 33,000 people showed up to seek applications for low cost subsidized housing in August 2010. When Detroit offered emergency utility and housing assistance to help people facing evictions, more than 50,000 people showed up for the 3,000 vouchers. Source: News reports.
There are 49 million people in the US who live in households which eat only because they receive food stamps, visit food pantries or soup kitchens for help. Sixteen million are so poor they have skipped meals or foregone food at some point in the last year. This is the highest level since statistics have been kept. Source: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Middle Class Going Backward: Facts 

One or two generations ago it was possible for a middle class family to live on one income. Now it takes two incomes to try to enjoy the same quality of life. Wages have not kept up with inflation; adjusted for inflation they have lost ground over the past ten years. The cost of housing, education and health care have all increased at a much higher rate than wages and salaries. In 1967, the middle 60 percent of households received over 52% of all income. In 1998, it was down to 47%. The share going to the poor has also fallen, with the top 20% seeing their share rise. Mark Trumball, “Obama’s challenge: reversing a decade of middle-class decline,” Christian Science Monitor, January 25, 2010.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0125/Obama-s-challenge-reversing-a-decade-of-middle-class-decline

A record 2.8 million homes received a foreclosure notice in 2009, higher than both 2008 and 2007. In 2010, the rate is expected to be rise to 3 million homes. Sources: Reuters and RealtyTrac.

Eleven million homeowners (about one in four homeowners) in the US are “under water” or owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. Source: “Home truths,” The Economist, October 23, 2010.

For the first time since the 1940s, the real incomes of middle-class families are lower at the end of the business cycle of the 2000s than they were at the beginning. Despite the fact that the American workforce is working harder and smarter than ever, they are sharing less and less in the benefits they are creating. This is true for white families but even truer for African American families whose gains in the 1990s have mostly been eliminated since then. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/swa08_00_execsum.pdf
 
Rich Getting Richer: Facts

The wealth of the richest 400 people in the US grew by 8% in the last year to $1.37 trillion. Source: Forbes 400: The super-rich get richer, September 22, 2010, Money.com
The top Hedge Fund Manager of 2009, David Tepper, “earned” $4 billion last year. The rest of the top ten earned: $3.3 billion, $2.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $1.4 billion, $1.3 billion (tie for 6th and 7th place), $900 million (tie for 8th and 9th place), and in last place out of the top ten, $825 million. Source: Business Insider. “Meet the top 10 earning hedge fund managers of 2009.” http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-top-10-earning-hedge-fund-managers-of-2009-2010-4 

Income disparity in the US is now as bad as it was right before the Great Depression at the end of the 1920s. From 1979 to 2006, the richest 1% more than doubled their share of the total US income, from 10% to 23%. The richest 1% have an average annual income of more than $1.3 million. For the last 25 years, over 90% of the total growth in income in the US went to the top 10% earners – leaving 9% of all income to be shared by the bottom 90%. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/01/19.pdf

In 1973, the average US CEO was paid $27 for every dollar paid to a typical worker; by 2007 that ratio had grown to $275 to $1. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/03/SWA08_Wages_Figure.3AE.pdf

Since 1992, the average tax rate on the richest 400 taxpayers in the US dropped from 26.8% to 16.62%. Source: US Internal Revenue Service. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07intop400.pdf
 
The US has the greatest inequality between rich and poor among all Western industrialized nations and it has been getting worse for 40 years. The World Factbook, published by the CIA, includes an international ranking of the inequality among families inside of each country, called the Gini Index. The US ranking of 45 in 2007 is the same as Argentina, Cameroon, and Cote d’Ivorie. The highest inequality can be found in countries like Namibia, South Africa, Haiti and Guatemala. The US ranking of 45 compares poorly to Japan (38), India (36), New Zealand, UK (34), Greece (33), Spain (32), Canada (32), France (32), South Korea (31), Netherlands (30), Ireland (30), Australia (30), Germany (27), Norway (25), and Sweden (23). Source: CIA The World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html 

Rich people live an average of about five years longer than poor people in the US. Naturally, gross inequality has consequences in terms of health, exposure to unhealthy working conditions, nutrition and lifestyle. In 1980, the most well off in the US had a life expectancy of 2.8 years over the least well-off. As the inequality gap widens, so does the life expectancy gap. In 1990, the gap was a little less than 4 years. In 2000, the least well-off could expect to live to age of 74.7 while the most well off had a life expectancy of 79.2 years. Source: Elise Gould, “Growing disparities in life expectancy,” Economic Policy Institute. http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20080716/ 

Conclusion 

These are extremely troubling facts for anyone concerned about economic fairness, equality of opportunity, and justice.

Thomas Jefferson once observed that the systematic restructuring of society to benefit the rich over the poor and middle class is a natural appetite of the rich. “Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to…the general prey of the rich on the poor.” But Jefferson also knew that justice can only be delayed so long when he said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

The rich talk about the rise of socialism to divert attention from the fact that they are devouring the basics of the poor and everyone else. Many of those crying socialism the loudest are doing it to enrich or empower themselves. They are right about one thing – there is a class war going on in the US. The rich are winning their class war, and it is time for everyone else to fight back for economic justice.

Sean

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lying Republicans Shape All US Media; Racist Roots of Modern Republican and Tea Party (great video); Middle of the Road ISN'T a Place Worth Being; Most American's Want to be Swedish!

- The Republican/Tea Party history of Racism:
 

- Republican/Tea Party candidate, who claims to LOVE LOVE LOVE the Constitution, doesn't even know what the Constitution says:



- Major FAIR Exposé of PBS: Taking the 'Public' Out of Public TV A multi-part FAIR exposé of PBS's most prominent news and public affairs programs demonstrates that public television is failing to live up to its mission to provide an alternative to commercial television, to give voice to those "who would otherwise go unheard" and help viewers to "see America whole, in all its diversity," in the words of public TV's founding document.

- Psychiatrists: Glenn Beck Conspiracy Show Raises Concerns About Viewer Reaction Three veteran psychiatrists who viewed a portion of a Glenn Beck program repeatedly cited by alleged gunman Byron Williams are raising concerns about the effect that the conspiracy theory-filled clip might have on viewers.

- What PBS Thinks You Need to Know FAIR (3/9/10) issued a statement expressing concern that Meacham's hire "sends a clear and troubling message about PBS's priorities," given that the then-editor of Newsweek was a fixture on commercial TV pundit shows and a consummate purveyor of middle-of-the-road conventional wisdom with a conservative slant--not exactly a face or a perspective that needed yet another media platform, particularly not on public television

- Will Sanity Be Restored and Fear Be Kept Alive? Jon Stewart's Call of Whitewashing Reality If you don't think the country or the world is in such dire straights that urgent and passionate advocacy is called for, if you reject the international scientific consensus on the dangers of environmental collapse, if you find nuclear energy and weaponry unconcerning, and if you believe the bankrupting of the nation to pay for illegal wars that slaughter human beings by the hundreds of thousands need not come to an immediate end, then you are "sane." You're not sane because you have the facts right. You're sane because you avoid facts that are too unpleasant.


Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth': Study
When Americans were asked how much the top 20% should have, 92% said they'd rather live in a country with Sweden's wealth distribution.
By William Alden
Published 09-23-10 on Huffington Post

Americans vastly underestimate the degree of wealth inequality in America, and we believe that the distribution should be far more equitable than it actually is, according to a new study.

Or, as the study's authors put it: "All demographic groups -- even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy -- desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo."

The report (pdf) "Building a Better America -- One Wealth Quintile At A Time" by Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School (hat tip to Paul Kedrosky), shows that across ideological, economic and gender groups, Americans thought the richest 20 percent of our society controlled about 59 percent of the wealth, while the real number is closer to 84 percent.

More interesting than that, the report says, is that the respondents (a randomly selected 5,522-person sample, reflecting the country's ideological, economic and gender demographics, surveyed in December 2005) believed the top 20 percent should own only 32 percent of the wealth. Respondents with incomes over $100,000 per year had similar answers to those making less than $50,000. (The report has helpful, multi-colored charts.)
The respondents were presented with unlabeled pie charts representing the wealth distributions of the U.S., where the richest 20 percent controlled about 84 percent of wealth, and Sweden, where the top 20 percent only controlled 36 percent of wealth.

Without knowing which country they were picking, 92 percent of respondents said they'd rather live in a country with Sweden's wealth distribution.

As the new Forbes billionaires list, released Wednesday, testifies, the richest Americans are getting richer, even as the country as a whole gets poorer. After 2005 income inequality continued to balloon.

Sean

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

They STILL Don't hate Our Freedoms, Just Our Actions; The New Republican 'Normal'; Republicans Dress up Like Nazis; Farming Meat Could Imperil Planet; Oil Drilling Ban Over; Jack Black video (funny); and MORE!

- The Republican / Tea Party Disturbing New Normal Clip from the Rachel Maddow show about the Ohio Nazi-cross dresser, anti-gay bigots, Climate Change deniers, insane white-supremacist racists, and more.


- VIDEO: Segment from Keith Olbermann show featuring horrible anti-gay bigot Republican / Tea Party candidate for Governor from New York.


- VIDEO: Part two of video from above.


- VIDEO: Ohio Republican / Tea Party congressional candidate dresses up as Nazi in spare time.


- Livestock Growth Could Imperil Planet Humans' growing hunger for meat and dairy will gobble up natural resources and produce unsustainable amounts of greenhouse gases and nitrogen without changes in consumption, concludes a new projection of the global impacts of livestock in 2050.

- Court Orders US to Cease Enforcing Gay Military Ban A federal judge ordered the US government Tuesday to "immediately" suspend all discharges of gays serving openly in the military in a major rebuke to the Obama administration's appeal for more time.

- President Obama to End Deep-Water-Drilling Ban The Obama administration is preparing to end the ban on deep-water oil and gas drilling imposed after the BP oil disaster in April, lifting it more than a month ahead of schedule.

- KFC's Pink Buckets for Breast Cancer: More Harm than Good? That said, we cannot deny that this food is not the food you want to eat regularly if you wish to maintain a modicum of health. KFC knows this. .... It's not fine in small quantities. It's potentially cancer-causing-bad. According to BeatCancer.org's most recent newsletter,... When KFC runs these commercials featuring pink-buckets, they are using breast cancer awareness as a tool to brand themselves as company that cares about consumers' health and well-being. And although these commercials are run in partnership with Susan G. Komen's Buckets for the Cure campaign, it can't be about women's health, really. As Barbara Brenner of Breast Cancer Action says it's "...all in service to KFC's bottom-line."

- Israeli Troops Accused of Shooting Children in Gaza At least 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months while collecting rubble in or near the "buffer zone" created by Israel along the Gaza border

- The Mis-Informant - with Jack Black as Nathan Spewman





They Hate Us for Our Occupations
by Glenn Greenwald
published 10/12/10 on Salon.com

In 2004, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld commissioned a task force to study what causes Terrorism, and it concluded that "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies": specifically, "American direct intervention in the Muslim world" through our "one sided support in favor of Israel"; support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and, most of all, "the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan" (the full report is here). Now, a new, comprehensive study from Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer, substantiates what is (a) already bleedingly obvious and (b) known to the U.S. Government for many years: namely, that the prime cause of suicide bombings is not Hatred of Our Freedoms or Inherent Violence in Islamic Culture or a Desire for Worldwide Sharia Rule by Caliphate, but rather... foreign military occupations. As summarized by Politico's Laura Rozen:

Pape. . . will present findings on Capitol Hill Tuesday that argue that the majority of suicide terrorism around the world since 1980 has had a common cause: military occupation.
Pape and his team of researchers draw on data produced by a six-year study of suicide terrorist attacks around the world that was partially funded by the Defense Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency. They have compiled the terrorism statistics in a publicly available database comprised of some 10,000 records on some 2,200 suicide terrorism attacks, dating back to the first suicide terrorism attack of modern times - the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 U.S. Marines.
"We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, ... and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100% of the terrorist campaign," Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.
Pape said there has been a dramatic spike in suicide bombings in Afghanistan since U.S. forces began to expand their presence to the south and east of the country in 2006. . . . Deaths due to suicide attacks in Afghanistan have gone up by a third in the year since President Obama added another 30,000 U.S. troops. "It is not making it any better," Pape said.
Pape believes his findings have important implications even for countries where the U.S. does not have a significant direct military presence, but is perceived by the population to be indirectly occupying.
For instance, across the border from Afghanistan, suicide terrorism exploded in Pakistan in 2006 as the U.S. put pressure on then Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf "to divert 100,000 Pakistani army troops from their [perceived] main threat [India] to western Pakistan," Pape said.
Imagine that. Isn't Muslim culture just so bizarre, primitive, and inscrutable? As strange as it is, they actually seem to dislike it when foreign militaries bomb, invade and occupy their countries, and Western powers interfere in their internal affairs by overthrowing and covertly manipulating their governments, imposing sanctions that kill hundreds of thousands of Muslim children, and arming their enemies. Therefore (of course), the solution to Terrorism is to interfere more in their countries by continuing to occupy, bomb, invade, assassinate, lawlessly imprison and control them, because that's the only way we can Stay Safe. There are people over there who are angry at us for what we're doing in their world, so we need to do much more of it to eradicate the anger. That's the core logic of the War on Terror. How is that working out ?
__________

Akbar Ahmed, the Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, was on Bloggingheads TV yesterday with Robert Wright discussing convicted attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and said this:
Take the case of Faisal Shahzad. He seems to be, if you put him in a category . . . he grows up with the reputation of being a party guy, a party boy in the tribal areas [in Pakistan]. . . . He then comes to America and all the pictures are of a modern young man. . . . He changes, but he changes, again, for interesting reasons. The media would have us believe that it's the violence in the Koran and the religion of Islam. But hear what he's saying. He's in fact saying: I am taking revenge for the drone strikes in the tribal areas. So he's acting more like a tribesman whose involvement in Pashtun values . . . one of the primary features of that is revenge, rather then saying I'm going to have a jihad or I've been trained by literalists . . . .
That is confirmed by mountains of evidence not only about what motivated Shahzad but most anti-American Terrorists as well: severe anger over the violence and interference the U.S. brings to their part of the world. The only caveat I'd add to Professor Ahmed's remarks is that a desire to exact vengeance for foreign killings on your soil is hardly a unique attribute of Pashtun culture. It's fairly universal. See, for instance, the furious American response to the one-day attack on 9/11 -- still going strong even after 9 years. As Professor Pape documents: "when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns... and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100% of the terrorist campaign." It hardly takes a genius to figure out the most effective way of reducing anti-American Terrorism; the only question is whether that's the actual goal of those in power.
Sean