Friday, August 31, 2007

Population growth and Climate change means more war.

By Ben Cohen

A new report by the U.N has warned that climate change and human population growth will put severe pressure on food resources. As we require more and more food to sustain ourselves, the threat of war also increases as supplies decline. The Malthusian future of starvation and war will of course effect the poor rather than the rich, but its knock on effect will have stark consequences for developed nations as well. Read here for more information-it doesn't make for pleasant reading. Full text. Read more!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Climbing walls like Spiderman now a reality!

By Ben Cohen

A little break from the horrors of World Politics- scientists are now saying we will be able to climb walls like spiderman (a personal dream of mine) using natural technology seen in geckos and lizards. Apparently, carbon nanotubes may be able to recreate the effect of the tiny hairs geckos use to stick to walls allowing humans to scale walls and hang upside down. We are still a fairly long way off, but the possibility is apparently very real, according to scientists in Italy. To read the full story on the BBC, click here END

Full text.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Who cares if Larry Craig is gay?

by Ari Rutenberg

The current story being covered all over the MSM is once again ridiculous and irrelevant. The fact that Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) was caught doing some gay shenanigans is irrelevant. It distracts us from dealing with the real and serious issues our country and the world are facing right now. The fact is that if Larry Craig wants to be gay, I do not care. In fact the only people who should give a crap are his fellow Republicans who espouse hate for gays. And of course they are, having called for an ethics probe of his actions.

What is more disappointing is that the left wing blogs are running this as their front story. Has it gotten to the point that we cannot even trust the Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars, and Think Progress to stand up for real news? It really pains me to see such drivel presented as news even by those who are supposed to stand against such abuse of the public trust. I hope that everyone comes to their senses and start writing about the real problems: Iraq, fires in Greece, workplace safety in America (especially in mines), and of course the ever-present problem of the environment (see floods in the midwest) and global climate change. Only when the New York Times and the Huffington Post are running banner headlines saying "driving SUVs leads to flooding in the midwest" can we again begin to feel confidence in our MSM and our alternative news sources. END Full text. Read more!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Zombies invade Central London!!!

To celebrate the premier screening of the new Blair Witch-esque independent British zombie film The Zombie Diaries, a plague of zombies descended upon Leicester Square this morning. Tourists were amused, older people were confused and children were frightened out of their little minds by the hundreds of gore-covered visitors, who terrorised shop and restaurant owners, and generally shambled around the place like extras from a classic zombie movie. Check out more photos online in the many London and nationwide newspapers that covered the story. Full text. Read more!

Gonzales Finally Resigns

By Ben Cohen

Alberto Gonzales, the U.S Attorney General FINALLY resigned after months of public humiliation. Having shown himself to be either completely incompetent or a liar, Gonzales swayed to public pressure announcing his depature from the White House today. Read the New York Times article for the full story: Click here Read more!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What has happened to my country?

Gang Killing of 11 year old shocks the U.K Children in the U.K killed by guns this year

By Ben Cohen

If you ask most people in U.K whether the United States is the most violent country in the Western world most will looked shocked that you would ask such a question. Flooded with gangster movies and hip hop culture, people outside of the U.S cannot be blamed for perceiving the U.S as such a dangerous place.

The truth of the matter though, is that the U.K is a far more dangerous in terms of general violent crime than the U.S is.

Following a spate of teenage killings across the U.K, 11 year old Rhys Jones was executed in a gang land killing in Liverpool last week. It was a crime that shocked the nation, and has served to high light the appalling levels of violence in U.K inner cities.

Violent crime in the U.K is double that of the United States with London, the capital, being one of the most violent city in the western world. An astonishing 30 million crimes are committed every year, with most people in urban cities living in fear every time they leave their houses.
The murder rate in the U.K is still fairly low compared to the U.S (London saw 156 murders in 2005 compared to New Yorks 540), but it has been climbing over time. London has a slightly smaller population than New York, but its crime rate is 7 times higher, with twice as many street crimes.

The situation, particularly for young people, has lead to some parents buying body armour for their children to go to school in. Knife crimes occur at about one every eight minutes in Britain (175 a day), creating a sense of panic and total distrust in the government to deal with the situation.

It is always difficult to pin point the causes of crime, but the disconnect between today's youth generation and society is widening alarmingly. Groups of teenage gangs roam the streets with little to do and no prospects of a fulfilling life. The lure of a minimum wage job in the service industry does not entice them, and they seek to attain status via other means. Increasingly violent acts are committed in a vicious arms race to achieve superiority in the streets, destroying communities and lives in the process.

The traditional law and order solution will not, and has not worked in the U.K. Increasing sentences and prison populations has not reduced crime, and it is high time a different approach was taken. Life in modern Britain is not pleasant for the majority of people. It is a low wage economy in a high price country, with ever increasing working hours and little financial reward.

Out of all industrialised nations, Britain (and the U.S) scored lowest in terms of social mobility. They have the highest poverty rates and the greatest disparity between rich and poor. Despite the promises of corporate capitalism, the majority of the U.K population has seen little of the enormous growth achieved by upper classes. While the rich get richer, the poor are left to serve them food and clean their houses.

This does not excuse the terrible acts of violence so often seen on British streets, but it is a recipe for disaster, and we are finally seeing its results.

Photo from
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Drums Of War

By Peter Bauer

Here we go again. FOX News is once again beating the drums for war with Iran in the same way that they beat them for Iraq.

In an interview on Fox, former recess appointed Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said he hoped we would attack Iran in the next six months.

The Bush Administration has been adamant in their stance that Iran must not obtain nuclear capabilities, and are now asserting that Iran is actively involved in attacks in Iraq and the rest of the Persian Gulf. What is important to keep in mind is that the Bush Administration has systematically distorted and mislead the United States to war, and therefore have lost all credibility in their assessment of proper military action. WMD's anybody?

Here's a side by side comparison of FOX News Coverage of the Iraq war, and build-up to war with Iran.

The issue of the media's lock step compliance in drumming up covering war and then reporting on it's bloody aftermath for higher ratings and more advertising dollars has been discussed at great length in a recent film called War Made Easy by Norman Solomon. This film compares talking points, rhetoric, and media coverage of every war of the Television Era. Consider this essential viewing for anyone committed to actively subverting the Dominant Media Paradigm.

This propaganda is systematic and coordinated, and must be rejected wholesale by the American public before this nightmare gets any further out of hand.

Click here to watch the video.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Despite the assertions of Bush & Co., the reality is that our ecomony sucks

Like so much of reality, the economy is not run by the delusions of the Bush administration. Their economic and social policies have been a dismal failure as well as a clear and unambiguous demonstration of the practical and moral bankruptcy of the neoconservative political philosophy. The fact is that they do not seem to comprehend why they think the economy is good (because for them is has been) and everyone else in America disagrees. One might assume that after such a long period of complete irrationality and arrogance in government, we might become immune to such appalling conditions, but it seems that no matter how many scandals and failures of policy and leadership we witness, each renews my sadness and disgust as if it were the first.
From the New York Times:
2005 Incomes, on Average, Still Below 2000 Peak
Published: August 21, 2007
by David Cay Johnston

Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows.

While incomes have been on the rise since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, still nearly 1 percent less than the $55,714 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation, analysis of new tax statistics show.

The combined income of all Americans in 2005 was slightly larger than it was in 2000, but because more people were dividing up the national income pie, the average remained smaller. Total adjusted gross income in 2005 was $7.43 trillion, up 3.1 percent from 2000 and 5.8 percent from 2004.

Total income listed on tax returns grew every year after World War II, with a single one-year exception, until 2001, making the five-year period of lower average incomes and four years of lower total incomes a new experience for the majority of Americans born since 1945.The White House said the fact that average incomes were smaller five years after the Internet bubble burst “should not surprise anyone.”

The growth in total incomes was concentrated among those making more than $1 million. The number of such taxpayers grew by more than 26 percent, to 303,817 in 2005, from 239,685 in 2000.

These individuals, who constitute less than a quarter of 1 percent of all taxpayers, reaped almost 47 percent of the total income gains in 2005, compared with 2000.

People with incomes of more than a million dollars also received 62 percent of the savings from the reduced tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends that President Bush signed into law in 2003, according to a separate analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, a group that points out policies that it says favor the rich.

The group’s calculations showed that 28 percent of the investment tax cut savings went to just 11,433 of the 134 million taxpayers, those who made $10 million or more, saving them almost $1.9 million each. Over all, this small number of wealthy Americans saved $21.7 billion in taxes on their investment income as a result of the tax-cut law.

The nearly 90 percent of Americans who make less than $100,000 a year saved on average $318 each on their investments. They collected 5.3 percent of the total savings from reduced tax rates on investment income.

Read the full article
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

American Coverage from an English perspective - Hurricane Katrina

by Nick Lang

Watching American TV is a fascinating, and immensely infuriating experience, but it does explain a lot. Yanks get a pretty hard time from almost everyone around the world at the moment, mostly for simply being bloody stupid – I feel that this is unfair (except for the 52% odd that voted for Bush, they are just stupid).

Watch the news on Fox, NBC, CNN and even Sky news and you realise that what has become known as American stupidity is actually nothing of the sort, but simply the result of a process of mass brainwashing; they are not stupid, but stupefied. I was watching the coverage of Hurricane Katrina (which had the Revelationists wetting themselves with excitement) every day until a full week after the event; which was a true tragedy. I don’t think I even need to say anything about Bush’s handling of the situation, or of the wonderful job his Arabian horse-rearing drinking buddy did for the ‘folks’ in trouble, but the way the media handled it was almost as painful to watch as the actual event itself:

“Coming up on today’s broadcast; images from New Orleans that will literally move you (dramatic pause) to tears.”

“We interviewed this man, whose house was completely destroyed. Watch now as he becomes so overwhelmed, that he just breaks down (dramatic pause) in front of your very eyes.”

“Here are the EXCLUSIVE, and let me repeat that, EXCLUSIVE images of Oprah inside what has become, and I never thought I’d say this folks, an American refugee camp. We had to turn the cameras off because she was too overwhelmed (dramatic pause) to carry on.”

These are just a few examples of the sorts of phrases that were being hurled at the American viewers; I think you get the idea. They couldn’t film anyone without zooming in on their tears, or at the very least explaining that as soon as the cameras had stopped rolling the person burst into tears. It felt as if there might as well have just been a constant running line of large, bold text at the bottom of the screen saying:

“Cry!!! Cry you bastards!!! Are you crying yet? Come on, cry!!! If you were a real American you would be sobbing like an injured child by now!!!”

For my mind though the best part was just before the advert break (after having just seen some harrowing images of the flooded city):

“[Subdued tone, and solemn face] My God, it really puts things into to perspective doesn’t it… Up next, is crazy wild-child Paris Hilton really having a baby?”
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The inevitable results of Bush's corporate cronyism

In the last few years there have been several well publicized mine incidents in America. They have not all been tragedies. They might have all been avoided if the US government was not in the pocket of and run by the mining industry's biggest names in pollution and contempt for labor, as is laid out in frightening detail by Robert F. Kennedy in his 2004 book Crimes Against Nature. Now it comes out that Bush's choice to head the Mine and Health Safety Administration was not only a mining industry insider, but one with twice the number of violations as the national average. And like so many of Bushes other picks, he had to be put in his position on a recess appointment because the Bush administration does not believe in compromise or their own fallibility.

Read the story below the fold

From ABC 4 News in Salt Lake City:
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The families of the Crandall Canyon miner's aren't the
only ones raising questions about the handling of the rescue effort.

Many news organizations and blogs are also now asking questions about the governments role and the man chosen to lead the rescue effort, Mine and Health Safety Administrator, Richard Stickler.

Sunday, the questions that had been whispered about for days, the miner's families themselves finally made public.

Sonny Olsen, families spokesperson said, "We are at the mercy of the officials in charge and their so-called experts."

Increasing attention is now being paid to Stickler, the federal government's main mine man.

Stickler used to be a mining executive who - according to various media reports - ran mines which had several fatalities and " incident rate that was often twice the national average.

Read the full article here
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Current State of Known Iraqi Prisons

by Peter Bauer

Four years after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, more footage has been leaked from prisons in Iraq. As you may recall, the scandal occurred because private military contractors working in Iraq were supervising US soldiers and ordering them to abuse and torture Iraqi prisoners.

With no chain of command to follow, these private contractors continue to operate in the shadows of the Iraq quagmire.

What does the treatment of detainees say about the state of Justice in the United States?

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Once again the taxpayers are really getting their moneys worth

From the Guardian:

Plumbing boss charged Pentagon $1m for two washers

Ewen MacAskill in Washington

Plumbers are notorious for excessive bills. But none has come even remotely close to matching an extravagant claim by a South Carolina firm: almost $1m (£500,000) for two metal washers worth 19c each.

Charlene Corley, 47, co-owner of the plumbing and electrical firm C&D Distributors, who supplied parts to the military, is awaiting sentence after pleading guilty yesterday to defrauding the Pentagon. She faces 20 years in jail.The most expensive washers in history were part of $20.5m the company stole from the Pentagon over the last 10 years. The company shipped plumbing and electrical parts to US bases round the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Article continues
It took advantage of an automated system intended to cut out red tape by making speedy payments. The company repeatedly added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of shipping parts.

The company claimed $998,798 for sending the two washers, which could have been put in an envelope and posted through normal mail for a few dollars.

Corley used the money for luxury homes, cars, plastic surgery and jewellery.
Read the full article
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Friday, August 17, 2007

The continuing erosion of our civil rights...

Our good friend Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance always has a new insight into the social and political dysfunction currently afflicting our society. In this piece from the Huffington Post, which Mr. Papa has so graciously allowed us to repost, he talks of his own recent experience in New York City when trying to open a controversial art show. It is unfortunate that we must go to such lengths to protect our civil liberties from even the smallest infringement.

Country in Distress: The Upside Down Flag

by Anthony Papa

I am an American. I used to be a proud one. This was before a realization that hit me hard concerning the casualties of a dirty war. I am not talking about the war in Iraq. I am talking about the other war -- the war on drugs. Every day, we see news stories that expose the realities of drug use in America. From celebrities to politicians to athletes and even ordinary people purchasing cold medication, the drug war looms large.

Recently, I was invited to show my art at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The venue was right up my alley. The two-day conference brought together art, music, film and spoken-word performances centered on the theme, "A New Criminology for the 21st century." I decided to create an art installation called, "The Drug War."

The art installation was a multimedia presentation of the most compelling drug war issues in the news. Its use of visual narratives reminds us of the war on drugs that ravages our communities. The installation began to take form, steeped in a motif of an upside down American flag, which signifies the universal concept of the state of distress during war. Several irate people stopped me to ask if I had permission from the administration to "disgrace" the American flag. I told them all I had a constitutional right to voice my opinion About two hours later a security team approached me. The leader of the team said "Mr. Papa, you must immediately take down the upside-down flags. I have been getting complaints from faculty and students saying that you are disgracing the flag." I looked at her and pointed out that I was doing nothing wrong. My art was not disrespecting "old glory" because I displayed the upside-down flag for the right reasons. According to the flag code section 36, U.S.C. chapter 10, I was correct in my intentions of stating a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. She looked at me with indifference while the four men stood behind her standing in a military stance meant to intimidate me.

I immediately explained my position. I told her about the 500,000 Americans who were behind bars because of the war on drugs, and how this war ravages communities and destroys lives, all in the name of a drug-free society. I explained how billions of dollars are spent by the government to stop someone from putting substances in their bodies.

I looked at her and then the guards while pointing at the flags and said "I will not take the flags down."

The head of security huddled with her crew while several sympathetic professors came to my aid. A meeting took place and it was agreed that they had to take this to a higher authority. I was asked to stop building my art installation while we waited for a verdict from the president of the university. During that time, I had a flash back to 12 years ago when something similar occurred in a maximum security prison in New York when I was doing a 15-years-to-life sentence for passing an envelope containing four ounces of cocaine in return for $500. My art was confiscated by the prison guards, who told me I could not send out paintings to the free world that depicted the atrocity of imprisonment.

My mind snapped back to the present moment when one of the security guards tapped me on the shoulder. He said that a decision was made and I was allowed to display the upside down flags. I shook his hand and turned to the American flags and thought about the greatness of our Constitution, which guarantees the freedom to express our opinions, even if it meant turning the flag on its head to make a point.

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Standing up for the fourth estate

by Ari Rutenberg

Well its nice to be able to report once again that there are at least some journalists willing to do there jobs and not simply bow to White House demands and rules. During the farewell press conference for Karl Rove, though I have a sneaking suspicion that we've not seen the last of him, reporters were told there would be no questions form the press. And most reporters complied. But one intrepid journalist, CBS correspondent Bill Plante, did not acquiesce. Instead he shouted, several times and with no response, one simple question of Karl Rove. Plante asked "“If he’s so smart, how come you lost Congress?". Well thank you, Mr. Plante. Not only has he challenged the notion that the White House should completely control the agenda. He has also used a rare press conference with one of the most controversial political figures of our time to challenge the conventional wisdom about Mr. Rove, which is that he is some kind of genius and not just a crass, base manipulator who exploits the worst of human nature to achieve his ideological ends. The best part is that he is now on the recieving end of some vitriol from the right-wing blogosphere. So I guess you must be on the right track when these dishonest, self-deceiving, greedy, unenlightened people are all over you because it means that you must be on the right track in terms of exposing their lies and hypocrisy. It's too bad that there are so few serious journalists who are willing to speak truth to power, which I had always assumed was the only job of journalists, that it is noteworthy enough to remark on each individual reporter who does so. Read more!

China proves it's Eco credentials


Beijing to go Green for Olympics

Piyushmehta, Shimla, INDIA

beijings olympic green
Under a year is left for the Beijing Olympics to commence, and construction on Beijing’s Olympics Green and the forest park focus on pressing the acceleration paddle. Spread over 1,135 hectares of land, the Olympic green serves as the center of attraction for the participants and the visitors.

Eco-conscious campers can “go bush” and help the environment at the same time. A project has been undertaken by the Chinese Olympic committee to build 33 windmills to power the 2008 Olympics. The estimated cost of the project stands at around $76.7 million. These windmills will provide over100 million Kwh of electricity to the city, which currently use coal fired generators. This will help curbing carbon monoxide emissions and raise awareness of environment friendly power resources.

Sasaki’s Olympic green
focuses on Beijing’s long term development program. The Olympic village which stands at 360,000 square meters of firm apartment will be sold for commercial purpose after the games.

It was part of Sasaki’s plan wherein he wanted to have a combination of the modern and the ancient coordination working hand in hand. The Niang Niang temple, which is approximately 500 years old and the Dragon King Temple, which again is approximately 350 years old became a part of the project when a promise was made at the time of bidding that these historic monuments would be preserved in the ancient capital. END

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

At least the Bushies are consistent in one area : lying about Iraq

Well it seems that no matter what they say, the Bush administration does not believe in either trusting the "commanders on the ground" or in keeping its word. At the least they are in a state of complete denial about the fact that no one believes them anymore, and they certainly aren't going to be believed after promising a Petraeus report for 9 months and then delivering a Cheney report. For a man who constantly tells us that he listens to his commanders and that he is a straight shooter it seems a little weird that after 9 months of hearing "wait until Petraeus reports in September" it seems that there will be no report by General Petraeus. Instead the White House will deliver the report itself and Petraeus will only testify in a closed door session with Congress. It is just another bit of evidence that these people have a pathological inability to actually allow any truth that might not fit their program to be revealed in any way. I'd like to say I'm appalled at this, but it seems so fruitless to get angry about, or even be surprised by, the new realms of hypocrisy so diligently discovered by the neocons. END Read more!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dick Cheney exposed again.

By Ben Cohen

In an astonishing video from 1994, Dick Cheney goes on record stating that if the U.S had gone into Baghdad after liberating Kuwait, the resulting invasion would have lead to a 'quagmire'.

He also asks, "How many additional dead Americans was Saddam worth? And our judgement was 'Not very Many'."

Apparently, American soldiers were worth more in the 1990's than they are now. Check this amazing piece of hypocrisy from the increasing irrelevant Vice President:

Full text. Read more!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The amazing story of Aaron Aaronsohn

Aaron Aaronsohn's Maps

By Ben Cohen

Well-known author Patricia Goldstone has written a fascinating book on the life of Aaron Aaronsohn, a pivotal figure in the history of Israel, and one of its least understood contributors. 'Aaronsohn's Maps' delves into the underlying problems of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a unique perspective told through the story of a unique man. Water rights, geo political control, conspiracy and war, this book is a must read for anyone interested in truly understanding the current crisis in the Middle East.

We are pleased to have Patricia Goldstone contribute to The Daily Banter as she explains in her own words why she wrote the book, and what it means to her both as a Jewish woman and a historian.

By Patricia Goldstone

I’m often asked why I chose to spend three years of my life resurrecting a dead spy who is thought of, if at all, as an icon of the Israeli far right. But the dead spy was a historical figure with far greater importance, and far greater complexity than standard history would have us believe.

I was researching a book on water and conflict in the Middle East when I first ran across a mention of him. The note suggested the outlines of a very large and important figure, whose unique achievements in science, espionage, and diplomacy had been obscured by the generals writing the history books. As I researched further, it seemed to me that a great historic injustice had been done to both Aaron Aaronsohn and to his sister, Sarah, the sacrificial lamb for the Balfour Declaration (the British partitioning of the Ottoman Empire that supported a Jewish ‘national home’ in Palestine).

I am an underdog fighter by nature, and the very shabby treatment of these two very brave people excited my crusading instinct. But, more than that, their story reawakened my dormant sense of connection to what had once made me proud to be a Jew. Like many American Jews, I felt very alienated by the “Who is a Jew?” debate that broke out in the 1990s and by the aggravated ill-treatment of the non-Jewish population of Israel that seemed to accompany it. But here was Aaron Aaronsohn, who did not fit into any of the narrow confines of the politics of identity – a deeply educated, cosmopolitan, dissenting intellectual who remained deeply patriotic to the end of his short life. At the same time that he loved his country enough to sacrifice both his own and his sister’s life for it, he was deeply committed to making it a better place for all of its inhabitants. That tolerance, to my mind, embodied the heart and soul of being Jewish. Aaronsohn had within himself the depth and breadth to unify the warring elements of the Jewish experience. In connecting with him, I could connect not only with my own past, but with a larger world.

Aaron Aaronsohn was not a perfect hero – far from it. His tolerance towards humanity was coupled with an intolerance to people who disagreed with him. More than any of his many other foibles, this essentially conspired to defeat him. But there is something to admire even in his stubborn refusal to march to any drumbeat other than his own. He may not have succeeded in pulling off the miracle of a broad based solution in the Middle East, but he died trying. It is the test of a good subject that, even after three years of living with him, his biographer is still in love with him.

To buy a copy of the book, click on The Daily Banter recommended product link at the top left hand corner of the page.

A review by HVF Winstone of the book ‘Aaronsohn’s Maps’ by Patricia Goldstone.

“Aaron Aaronsohn. The name is misleading in its overtones of rabbinical fundamentalism. He was born at Falticeni in Rumania in 1876, a few years before the family escaped the European progroms and established its home in the small, predominantly Jewish town of Zichron Ya’akov in the Ottoman Sanjak of Jerusalem, known to the rest of the world as Palestine.”

“Scientist, spy, man of destiny, a massive presence both physically and intellectually, there was something at once fascinating and sinister about his short life and untimely death.”

“On the afternoon of 15 May 1919, a French fishing vessel making its routine way into Boulogne harbour witnessed an airplane floating on the water. Several parcels protected by waterproof sheets bobbed on the sea around it. Officially, what they saw remains to this day an accident that never happened. It might indeed have been dismissed with a shrug by men accustomed to strange goings-on in their waters had it not been for subsequent reports in two local newspapers, the enquiries of an insurance company and the persistence of a few outsiders with a heightened sense of political conspiracy.”

“The Times of 20 May carried a dispatch from its Paris correspondent dated 18 May, three days after the accident, the headline of which contained the gist of a story that clearly came from an official source. ‘Eminent Zionist Killed: Dr Aaronsohn in aeroplane accident’. The newspaper made no mention of the strange circumstances surrounding the accident.’

“On 27 May the Central Zionist Office in London ’s Piccadilly issued a statement quoting The Times’ report. It also failed to mention the unusual circumstances of what it called a ‘tragic accident’. On the same day as The Times account, the Jewish Chronicle reported the incident, again without reference to the unusual circumstances.”

“Aaronsohn’s Swiss life assurance company refused to pay out on his policy, declaring that it was not satisfied with a subsequent War Ministry inquiry into the matter which, it said, contradicted itself and the evidence of eye witnesses. In those days air accidents were routinely recorded at Lloyds Registry. No record was made of the Boulogne incident. The Israeli historian Shmuel Katz, a former member of the Likud party in the Knesset, asserted that the pilot of the second plane shot Captain Jefferson ‘through the heart’ as the two British planes jostled in mid air, causing the first plane to plunge into the sea.”

“There to this day the story rests, though it has taken on a new significance in view of the central role of Israel in what has come to be called ‘the war on terror’.”

“Now, Patricia Goldstone, a well known American writer, has come up with a well researched, resourceful, politically balanced – and inevitably inconclusive – account of the life of the man who made the fatal mistake of taking issue with the leaders of the Zionist movement, especially Chaim Weizmann its most distinguished and powerful figure, the socialist scientist who had made a significant contribution to the country’s armament industry in the war. Hers is the first true biography”.

To find out more about Patricia Goldstone, please visit

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Who Owns Your Soul, MySpace or Facebook?

Ok so most of us probably agree that MySpace came along and changed the universe forever; whether for better or worse is in the eye of the beholder, but it's for damn sure that it changed things. It opened a global community like never before and gave everyone in the world a chance to annoy their favourite bands and singers and to basically have their own website without any knowledge of IT. All was well and good in the happy land of cyberspace, until that fateful day when one of your mates suddenly said "Oh yeah have you seen that Facebook thing? It's quite cool actually".

From that point on, we were all doomed.

How did we get from the simple existence of ringing eachother at our respective houses, and perhaps even the lucky few who could be contacted on that rare technological stroke of genius, the mobile phone - cell phone for all you chaps across the pond - to being in such a technical scatterfuck (that's my new word and I'll thank you not to steal it) that we no longer know how to contact our nearest and dearest?!?!!?

"I wonder if Geoff fancies coming out for a pint. I'll just send him a text."
"No mate Geoff never answers his texts, you have to ring him."
"He's not picking up. I'll just e-mail him."
"Mate he hasn't checked his e-mails in weeks. You'll have to Facebook him."
"Facebook, I thought he was on MySpace?!"

FUCK YOU GEOFF!!! You and your silly methods of trying to remain elusive. Just pick up your fucking phone like a normal human being!!!

In a perfect world, Geoff would have lost two friends that evening. But unfortunately Geoff is simply the norm in these crazy times in which we live. You see, we're all Geoff now. We're all Geoff.
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Monday, August 13, 2007


Karl Rove to resign in August

By Ben Cohen

This is perhaps the best news since the Democrats won back the House and the Senate last year. The Machiavellian neo con adviser to President Bush is probably the most reviled figure in American politics, and has given the country a huge present by extracting himself from the enormous mess he helped create.

Rove will apparently leave the White House by the end of August to 'write a book' (cashing in on his successful attempt to single handedly destroy a country in under 6 years).

White House spokes woman Dana Perino said: "Obviously it's a big loss to us."

"He's a great colleague, a good friend, and a brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed, but we know he wouldn't be going if he wasn't sure this was the right time to be giving more to his family, his wife Darby and their son. He will continue to be one of the president's greatest friends."

As sad as everyone in the Bush cabal is, the rest of the world can now breath more easily knowing one of the worst criminals in U.S history is finally out of a job. END
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Have I got something on my face, or are you just weird?

by Nick Lang

In the waiting rooms, and on the public transport of this world we all bear witness to the bizarre life of the ‘can’t keep their eyes to themselves-type people’ – a mysterious bunch. These are the people who, unlike the rest of us who if/when we make eye-contact with people either smile, nod or simply politely look at something else, hold your gaze with an entirely blank expression on their face. Even when you have begun to feel a bit freaked out by this behaviour and looked away yourself, you can still see them out of the corner of your eye, with the very same blank expression still held firmly on their face. What exactly do they want? You have already subtly checked that there is no matter protruding from your nostrils, and you checked that there were no remains of your lasagne stuck between your teeth 3 times before you left the house, and you know for a fact that you really aren’t so repugnantly ugly that it would warrant such a shameless display of starage; so what do they want? The only sub-group of the ‘can’t keep their eyes to themselves-type people’ that is more worrying are those who blatantly stare down their nose at those around them with a smug superiority about them – I see one of these people almost every time I go to see the ENT doctors about my fucked-up sinuses. He sits leaning back on his small chair that barely holds the weight of his large superior arse, just looking. He stares at the black people with a horrible conceited half-grin on his face, then he does the same to the Asian people – so I thought I was seeing a pattern forming. But then, suddenly I noticed him doing the same to a young white woman, and then a small white child – so there’s the BNP guy theory out of the window. So as I stare into space contemplating this guy’s motivation, I realise out of the corner of my eye that I can see his whole face… Is he now smugly looking at me? Oh my God, he is! And he has the very same look of abject superiority on his big round face, so I decide to call him on it, and I stare right back. This is the point at which even the more smug of this breed of oddities realise that it may in fact be construed as somewhat rude (even if you are in fact trying to assert your authority, you know when you’ve been busted). Not this guy, he just stares and stares.

Thankfully I was rescued from this not particularly tense stalemate by a nurse who wanted to stick things up his nose – as she would for me soon enough, but I still thought “Hah, that’ll teach you, you staring bastard”. Yet I was still left wondering just what was going though his head as one by one he had asserted his authority on each of us in that waiting room. Me, the old couple, the young and fairly plain looking white lady, the Indian mother and son, the 5 or 6 African people, the Egyptian guy, the white city-worker who looked like the 2 hours he was taking off work would undoubtedly cause the breakdown of the country’s whole economy, and the doctor; none of us were spared the half-closed, smugly self-gratified, and clearly superior gaze of this large and bizarre human being. It remains a mystery to me to this very day. Did he actually outwardly believe that he was indeed a superior specimen of humanity than the rest of us? Or was he simply punched a lot in the face at school? Or indeed did the latter occur because of the former? The unfortunate truth is that we will never really know what goes through the minds of these strange people; but clearly what does not go through their mind is any sense of courtesy, tact, or even human decency. It is for this reason that I think that all people should carry a mirror with them for just such an occasion’ so that when one of these people begins to do what they do best, we can simply stick said mirror to our foreheads, then we could see how long they’d last looking down their noses at themselves...
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Saturday, August 11, 2007

A zero carbon city in Abu Dhabi

By Ben Cohen

It looks like the oil rich Arab country of Abu Dhabi is planning for a future without oil, and a future where excess pollution and waste will no longer be viable. In an article in, the 'Masdar Development' will apparently be, "A 6 million square meter project in the United Arab Emirates. Its goal: to achieve a zero carbon and zero waste community."

The article continues:

"The aim of the walled city is to offer a sustainable urban blueprint for the future.

The city itself will be car free, connected to surrounding communities by a network of existing road and new rail and public transport routes."

This article was originally posted on

"Foster + Partners is designing the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste city in Abu Dhabi. Named Masdar City, which means “the source,” the 1,483-acre project will include commercial and manufacturing space dedicated to developing ecofriendly products, housing, a university, and the headquarters for Future Energy Company, which is spearheading the initiative.

Although the desert might seem an unlikely location for such a large sustainable undertaking, Masdar will tread lightly on the landscape by harnessing solar power and relying on construction features that resist high temperatures, including extra shading and slab cooling. Its design is rooted in the Arabic tradition of walled cities—but Masdar’s stone-and-mud walls will be covered in photovoltaic panels capable of generating 130 megawatts. Along the site’s northern edge, the walls will be more permeable to let in breezes. Electricity will also come from photovoltaic cells integrated into rooftops and a 20-megawatt wind farm. The city will get its water from a solar-powered desalination plant.

Since Masdar will be car-free, shaded paths will make walking more bearable in the region’s extreme climate. Land surrounding the city, which is 20 miles outside the center of Abu Dhabi, will contain wind and photovoltaic farms, as well as research fields and plantations that will supply crops for the city’s biofuel factories. These fields will also help reduce waste by acting as carbon sinks to offset gases produced in the factories—and they will be irrigated with gray water drawn from the city’s water treatment plant.

Masdar will be developed in phases centered on two plazas. The first stage includes construction of a 60-megawatt photovoltaic power plant that will supply electricity for constructing the rest of the city. This will be followed by a 130-acre main square. Foster finished the initial phase of master planning this spring. The project’s engineers include E.T.A., which is overseeing the renewable-energy components; Transsolar; WSP Energy; and Flack + Kurtz. Designers estimate that it will take 10 years to build out the entire city, with structures ultimately occupying nearly half of the site. When complete, Masdar will be home to 45,000 people and attract an additional 60,500 daily commuters, who will arrive in part via a new rail line.

“The biggest issue of all is to make sure that the city is balanced and will create as much energy as it uses throughout the time it is being built,” says Gerard Evanden, senior partner in charge of the project at Foster + Partners. “The scale of the project will have the density of Venice, so it will grow gradually. Hopefully the knowledge and the technology of efficient materials will grow too.”

Some of that future knowledge will be homegrown. Masdar’s university is set to open by 2009, with 30 percent of the student population housed on site. Its students will be encouraged to participate in the development of the city while working on graduate degrees in sustainability."

Provided by Architectural Record—The Resource for Architecture and Architects.
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Newt Ginrich almost sounds reasonable

by Ari Rutenberg

In a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday the former Speaker said that he thought the current election cycle "verges on the insane". He expressed concern about the length of time, especially time spent raising money involved in the current election cycle. I whole heartedly agree with those concerns and feel that our current electoral cycle is absurd. However, there is still one difference between us. Gingrich thinks the solution is to allow unlimited corporate donations so that politicians don't have to work so hard to raise the money. While I agree that this would eliminate the time spent pandering to individuals to get money, it would increase time spent doing the biding of their corporate paymasters.

I don't want to restrict anyone's speech, but money, unlike actual speech, completely corrupts the process. In addition to corrupting the process, this type of campaigning takes public officials away from their work and essentially prevents the government from doing its job because none can do anything a potential donor might not like.

In order to fix the system the parity between dollars and words must be removed. Elections in this country at all but the lowest levels must be financed by the taxpayers so that all the candidates can spend time. I propose full funding for all local, state, and federal elections. In addition I think that campaigning for the primaries, by law, must not be able to begin or be funded until January of the election year. The primaries themselves should be held in July, and the nominees should be allowed to campaign and be funded for a four month Presidential elections, which seems to be sufficient in every other democracy on the planet and will certainly be sufficient for us.
Full text.
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Bush's version of supporting the troops...

Which is of course to not support them. The capacity of the Bush administration to act with such breathtakingly arrogant hypocrisy never ceases to shock the conscience and confound the mind.

From The Blotter (ABC News blog):

The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official's comments last week.

Senate Democrats, led by Virginia's Jim Webb, want the government to pay every penny of veterans' educational costs, from tuition at a public university to books, housing and a monthly stipend.

Such a benefit was a major feature of the historic 1944 G.I. Bill, which put more than eight million U.S. soldiers through college and is now credited by historians as fueling the expansion of America's middle class in the post-war era.
But in recent years the benefit has dwindled; under the current law, passed in 1985, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can expect Uncle Sam to cover only 75 percent of their tuition costs. That's not enough, say Democrats and veterans' advocates.

More than 450,000 used the benefit last year, at a cost to taxpayers of $2 billion, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which administers the program. The Democratic proposal would cost an additional $5.4 billion a year, the VA estimates -- and that's too much, it says..

Read the full article
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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cheney wants war with Iran

By Ben Cohen

Not content with master minding the biggest military blunder in U.S history, Dick Cheney apparently has his sights firmly set on dragging the U.S into another war with Iran. It is an incredible feat of will power for the vice president to convince himself that 1. He was right about Iraq, 2. He is right about invading Iran, 3. Anyone takes him seriously anymore.

One would have thought that Cheney's phenomenally low approval rating (lower than Bush's 25%) would put the brakes on his war fantasies, but no. Cheney is convinced the U.S must stretch it's nearly broken military even further, and commit another heinous war crime against a sovereign nation.

Having deferred from military service five times during the Vietnam war, Cheney's posturing on Iran is again, completely laughable. The ultimate 'Chicken Hawk', Cheney's credibility is probably lower than zero on the topic, and he would do well to disappear from public life as much as possible.

But given his track record on creating disasters, the country would also do well to keep an eye on him. END

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sarkozy's France: Get Back To Work!

This article was originally posted on the BBC

France shaped by 'Sarkoland' plan
By Alasdair Sandford
BBC News, Paris

Sarkozy's programme of reform has started at a rapid pace
Three months ago, Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president of France with a mandate to change the country and reform its economy. What the future for France entails might be gauged from the Hauts de Seine, the Paris suburb where Sarkozy cut his political teeth.

For 25 years, the Hauts de Seine was the heart of the new French president's political fiefdom; he served as mayor of Neuilly from 1983 to 2002.

The area, to the west of the capital, can be seen as the laboratory in which Mr Sarkozy tested his ideas before launching them nationwide - including trying to free up the labour market, getting private companies to put the unemployed to work, and selling council-owned housing.

Frederic Vernay, a bass guitarist, is one whose life was changed by the reforms.

Out of work for most of his professional life, his prospects now look better following weekly visits to a private Australian company specialising in getting the long-term unemployed back to work.

"Before, I used to get up at midday; I'd have fun, smoke joints," he says.

"I was going nowhere, resting on my laurels, and telling myself I was the best musician in the world.

"Now, I can still tell myself that - but at least I'm working."


Frederic's session with his personal adviser takes place in an airy, open-plan office.

People can stay all day if they wish, to use the computers and phones.

"Everything is adapted to the needs of the person - the objective is to be proactive and not just waiting for the job to come," says Lamiere Bakani, who works at the company.

His initiatives only benefit those lucky enough to be affected by them

Mayor Philippe Laurent
"We consider every person as an individual, and we help them to achieve their goals by coaching and motivating them."

The company receives up to $6,000 per person from the local authority. Nearly 700 found work, although not all have stayed in their jobs.

The private sector project in the Hauts de Seine area chimes well with one of Nicolas Sarkozy's pet themes: revolutionising French attitudes to work.

Francois Morisay, a local mayor from the same UMP party as Mr Sarkozy, argues the scheme demonstrates perfectly the president's determination to challenging the old ways.

"Before, the emphasis was 'we give you the money, and you can do what you want'," he says.

"Now, it's really about getting them back to work.

"Nicolas is very involved - not on principle - but in getting results, and finding the best way of getting those results."

Council house sales

Targets were very much the key to the success of another of the projects in "Sarkoland" - plans to sell 4,000 council homes to tenants over five years.

Sarkozy's labour plans have been called 'paranoid' by opponents

"I want France to become a nation of homeowners," he has said.

The French government hopes that what people save on rent will be put into their pension schemes; it also says the money raised by council house sales will go towards building new social housing.

"The money raises by such sales will be 5-6bn euros (£3.4, $4bn) per year, and in France we allocate 18bn euros (£12bn) a year for housing," explains Alain Bernard Boulanger, vice-president of the Hauts de Seine authority.

"So it will represent a third of the sum."

'Publicity stunt'

However, critics dispute this figure. Daniel Riou of the National Housing Confederation argues three council house sales are needed for each new home.

"There are 75,000 people in need of homes in the Hauts de Seine, and a housing crisis in the country at large," he says.

"It is not by selling homes that we are going to solve the problem," he adds.

And Mr Sarkozy's opponents in the region believe that the policies in "Sarkoland" are more publicity stunts than serious efforts to solve its problems.

Philippe Laurent, another local mayor, accuses Mr Sarkozy of tending to help various categories of the population, "rather than ensuring the entire country becomes self-sufficient.

"His initiatives only benefit those lucky enough to be affected by them. Can his work here be a model for France as a whole? I don't think so."
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The Kennedy's should be ashamed, but I don't think they have any

By Ari Rutenberg

Once again the only organization willing to speak truth to power in America has exposed the incredible selfishness and hypocrisy of the elite in America. Last night on the Daily Show, correspondent Jason Jones did a hilarious piece on the Cape Cod wind farm, a proposed 25 square mile site 5 miles of the coast of Nantucket, and on the horizon of the view from the Kennedy compound. To paraphrase Mr. Jones what you learn is that the Kennedy's aren't just rich, they're really, really rich.. Whats so ridiculous is that the both Robert F. Kennedy jr. and his uncle,, Sen. Ted Kennedy are both staunch proponents of the environment, and yet they object to this project because its in their view. This is unacceptable and outrageous behavior by a senator and a man who sits on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Though the Kennedys are often granted a lot of leeway by the left because of their history, behavior like this should be called out no matter who is doing it. This is a case of NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard)at is absolute worst. The Kennedys are attempting to use their stature and environmental credentials to protect personal and financial interest in a vacation home from which you can barely see the windmills.

Though this does not quite rise to the level of outright corruption, it is far to close for comfort, as well as becoming ammunition for Republicans who want to destroy the credibility of these men.

I am ashamed for them.

They should be ashamed too.

Then they need to apologize for their shortsightedness and help get the wind farm approved. This would be a very public demonstration of their commitment to the environment, which is the most significant and challenging issue of our time.

But I think the will fight to the bitter end, and they will lose. But it doesn't matter because they have no shame.
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I suppose you think your shit don't stink?!?!

by Nick Lang.

There I was, busting for a piss, with nothing but the smug, stubborn look of a locked door in front of me, smiling its “occupied” smile. For minutes I waited, as the pain grew in my bladder – as did the sense of gloom that comes from the realisation that you are waiting for someone to finish something quite evil, of which the aftermath you must now bear witness to. When suddenly, out comes none other than the company Director himself; an honest and friendly man who has no such luxury as an en-suite toilet. He smiles and walks away swiftly to return to his important duties, leaving me to have to wade in amongst the vapours of his foul droppings, doing my best to hold my breath whilst trying to enjoy a painstakingly long urination session. But as I approach the scene of the crime, I realise that something isn’t quite right; something is, missing. I can, breath. A moment or two of quiet contemplation is interrupted sharply by a shocking revelation – the Director’s shit actually does not stink.
I guess some people actually are just better than the rest of us. Read more!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Here and no further

by Ari Rutenberg

Once again, for the umpteenth time in the past year the Democrats in congress have demonstrated their complete lack of connection with the American people as well as the feature that Republicans love to talk about, and are unfortunately right about: their spinelessness. Have they not heard us? Have they not listened to the cry of the people for genuine change? With the passage of the "temporary" FISA-destroying electronic surveillance bill last week the Democrats showed us that they were more interested in going on vacation on time than getting the work done right. As several Democrats have said they "do not want to go on vacation without passing an intelligence reform bill" because they fear that if an attack occurs they will be politically vulnerable. This to me is simply unacceptable. They were elected to run the country, not to protect their own careers.
It is a genuine indictment of this Congress that they cannot see past their own vacations. They believe that it is better to keep their vacation schedule and force through another poorly written and half-baked law like the PATRIOT Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The would rather go on vacation and give Alberto Gonzales, who aside from his obvious political problems is clearly not competent to run the Justice Department, the power to OK domestic wiretapping with no oversight what so ever.
Now this is not a power any attorney general should have as it completely eliminated any process of checks and balances for domestic wiretapping. That being said it seems especially egregious to give such carte blanche for spying to Alberto Gonzales, who in both a political and professional sense is in no way qualified to use such a power wisely and for the purpose it was intended.
It would seem from this episode that the Democrats simply have not learned from the past 8 months. This is not about Republicans, or George Bush changing his demands after legislation had been agreed to. Instead this time the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. This is about putting image and job ahead of reason and country. Instead of staying to uphold their oaths and write a bill that addresses the so-called problems (read here warrants and due process) with domestic wiretapping, they simply gave Bush everything he wanted and then said "well its only temporary and we'll deal with it in six months." That six months more of eroding freedoms. Six months more of Bush and Gonzo having powers that no one should have in our system of government. Six months more of no accountability in government.
In the end this is about the Democrats being more afraid of the media and what they might be called by Republicans then actually doing what is in the interest of the security of the commonwealth. When will the Democrats start standing up for the American people and the constitution? When will they say enough with political games and empty rhetoric? When will they say the only thing the American public wants to hear: here, and no further.
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Sunday, August 5, 2007

It's time to wake up

By Peter Bauer

In the United States, media serves the function of alerting Americans to the world around them without leaving the their homes. It provides people with the illusion of a shared cultural political experiences that would otherwise be impossible due to geographic constraints. Demographics are bought and sold like cattle between major advertising and media corporations as people stay glued to the tube to find out how to think next.

The media are also deliver normative cues about how society allegedly should be. Leave It To Beaver conveyed the false hopes of America in the 1950’s. In our generation, Reality TV does the same thing, not reflecting reality, but rather to deceiving the masses like a funhouse mirror.....

The combination of these two functions of media allows it to be the single most influential part of our daily lives. The media becomes downright dangerous, when they become more interested in celebrity gossip and the fantasy of fame. Headlines aren’t of substance: ‘If it Bleeds, it Leads.’

With the blossoming of 24 hour news channels in the late 1990’s, political punditry and talking heads have become more lucrative and appealing than traditional once a day print and news journalists. The constant access to content of these news channels advertise do nothing to truly inform the population.

What’s worse, as entertainment value supersedes truly newsworthy journalism, the media machine becomes more interested in higher ratings, advertising dollars, and access to “information” than really serving the good of the public at large.

And who provides the information anyway? Do we really trust these people who hypnotized us into war with their terror alerts and in-depth interviews with four star generals and chicken-hawk politicians who skipped out on our nation’s last quagmire?

As more and more journalists are becoming members of America’s elite professional class, they grow out of touch with their constituents: the public at large. What is more troubling than the infotainment they report are the major stories that they leave out… questions that remain unanswered because they go unasked.

Take for example the Valeria Plame leak scandal, which as suppressed by NBC, or the secret wiretapping story that was suppressed by The New York Times. Who are the media here to represent? These stories were reported over a year after they were initially discovered in the fall of 2005. In both instances, two major media outlets chose to not report on major stories.

Both of these events happened during an election year, and it can be hypothesized that they could potentially have an impact on the outcome of the election. Why? Who are the media here to represent?

We’re being lulled to sleep, slowly and softly, with the televised war hissing in the background.

The rhetoric of the centers of power are irrelevant.

The major media message is irrelevant.

The cards are stacked.

It’s a fixed game.

Wake Up.
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Good news for slackers: Working too hard makes you depressed

This article was published on

Stressful jobs double risk of depression for young workers

* Ian Sample, science correspondent
* The Guardian
* Thursday August 2 2007

High-stress jobs make young workers twice as likely to suffer from major depression and anxiety disorders, according to a British study of mental health in the workplace.

Psychiatric assessments of nearly 1,000 people in the early stages of their careers revealed that one in 20 can expect to experience serious depression or anxiety every year as a direct result of work.

The study is the first of its kind to establish a firm link between stressful working conditions and poor mental health among people who had no previous history of the disorders before their career began.

Previous studies across Europe and the US have found that cases of depression have risen in the past two decades, mirroring increases in reported work stress.

Researchers at the institute of psychiatry at King's College London, who conducted the study, called on employers to be vigilant for signs of chronic stress in their workplace. In Britain, lost productivity due to depression and anxiety is estimated to cost companies £12bn a year.

The psychiatrists interviewed 972 employed men and women from the city of Dunedin, New Zealand, who have been enrolled in a long-term medical study since birth. All of the volunteers were aged 32 and held a variety of jobs, from politician and police officer to brain surgeon and dustbin collector. The study revealed a marked increase in cases of major depressive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder among people in highly demanding jobs, with 14% of women affected and 10% of men. Of these, 45% were directly attributed to stress in the workplace.

"Work stress appears to bring on diagnosable forms of depression and anxiety in previously healthy young workers; in fact the occurrence is two times higher than among workers whose jobs are less demanding," said Dr Maria Melchior, an epidemiologist and lead author of the study, to be published in the journal Psychological Medicine later this month.

Research consistently shows a greater prevalence of depression among women, though the risk appears to be higher only in women of reproductive age, suggesting that the female sex hormone oestrogen may play a role, said Professor Terrie Moffitt, a co-author on the study.

The most high-pressured jobs were not necessarily held by white-collar workers in city firms, the researchers found. Head chefs in large restaurants were among the most highly stressed, probably because they had to cope with constant inflexible deadlines, and very public failure for any mistakes they made..
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Saturday, August 4, 2007

An alternative to the i-Phone

By Ben Cohen

Calling all tech geeks- there is a new open source phone called the 'Neo 1973' soon to be on the market that rivals the i-Phone. This basically means it is a phone that allows the owner to download different types of open source software applications onto their phone. Read more to check it out.

This article originally appeared on

The $300 Linux-Powered 'iPhone Killer' Arrives
By Michael Calore EmailJuly 09, 2007 | 1:41:33 PMCategories: Linux, iPhone

Ficneo1973_small After seemingly endless delays, the OpenMoko phone is here. The first version of the NEO 1973 mobile phone, which carries the Linux kernel inside and is not locked to a specific network, is available for purchase from It's not as jaw-droppingly pretty as the iPhone, but it shares a design philosophy -- no buttons, just a screen -- and it's ready to be loaded with any number of open-source software applications. (Though, according to Gadget Lab, so is the iPhone).

The base version of the NEO sells for $300. It has a 2.8" VGA touch screen, a micro SD card slot, a USB port and 2.5G GSM quad band capability.

Keep in mind that this unit (the GTA01) was pushed out early so developers could begin writing device drivers, custom GUIs and some cool apps for the phone. The next revision (GTA02), which will be available starting at $450 in October, will be ready for the mass market. It will have wi-fi, 3-D motion sensors and added graphics accelerators. So this phone isn't exactly an iPhone killer -- the next one will be a contender. AptUsTech has a nice comparison of the NEO 1973 and the iPhone.

When it comes to devices, more choice is almost always "a good thing." But will consumers respond to the NEO? We all know developers are going to dig this phone. But what's more important to consumers -- a super-sexy status item that's locked to one carrier and one set of functions, or a less sexy look-alike with a fully free and open software system?
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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Chris Dodd confronts O'Reilly over liberal website

By Ben Cohen

Bill O'Reilly is a favourite target for the left, and rightly so. A mouth piece for the Republican party and corporate America (which is now the same thing), O'Reilly would be laughable if so many people didn't tune in to watch his show. He has enormous influence in America, and deserves intense scrutiny to monitor his semi-fascist rantings.

Here he is, smearing the liberal site in his usual belligerent manner. This time, Senator and presidential candidate Chris Dodd confronts O'Reilly calling him out on his ridiculous assertions.

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Obama loses the plot

By Ben Cohen

Barack Obama's dismissal of the standard 'We Don't talk to our enemies' foreign policy stance was something of a revelation. No mainstream Democratic candidate in recent times has had to guts to go against the party line, but Obama, true to his word was offering a 'different type of politics'.

However, in one swift move, Obama has destroyed his credibility on the topic by announcing he would invade Pakistan if they didn't follow Washington's orders.

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will" said Obama in his foreign policy speech on August 1st.

"There must be no safe-haven for terrorists who threaten America. We cannot fail to act because action is hard."

It appears that Obama has fallen into the same ideological trap that has infected American politicians for the past 60 years, believing that U.S interests supersede international law and the national sovereignty of other countries.

To put this in perspective, let us imagine the situation in reverse. Let's say President Musharraf announced he would be sending Pakistani forces to the U.S if they did not clamp down on extreme neo con elements in the White House.

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value neo-con targets, and President Bush won't act, we will".

Given America's track record in killing people in the middle east, Musharraf probably has a better case than Obama. But not in the world of American hegemony, where it is one rule for the U.S, and another for everyone else.

The Pakistani government was also unsurprisingly unimpressed with Obama's bluster.

In an interview with AFP Pakistan's Minister of State for Information Tariq Azeem said,"Such statements are being made out of sheer ignorance."

"They are not fully apprised about the ground realities and not aware of the efforts by Pakistan," he continued.

"We have said before that we will not allow anyone to infringe our sovereignty."

Clearly an attempt to out muscle other Democrats on foreign policy, Obama has sold himself shockingly short of the 'politics of hope' he preached at the beginning of his campaign. If Democrats and people around the world expected something different from Obama, they have been let down badly.

Far from the outsider he has portrayed himself as, it is politics as usual from the Obama campaign.END

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

An incredible medical break through

By Ben Cohen

I recently watched an incredibly sad documentary on HBO about people suffering from severe brain injuries. In one of the top hospitals in the world, the prospects of those in a vegetative or 'minimally conscious' state are virtually non existent. Even for those patients with less severe damage, the rehabilitation is painfully slow and terribly upsetting for the families involved. It made for intriguing but heart wrenching watching, and I was left with little sense of hope for the victims.

In an amazing break through however, doctors have managed to successfully treat a man who was in a near vegetative state for more than 6 years by stimulating his brain with electrical impulses. It's a serious advancement, and will bring hope for the many people suffering from severe brain damage. Check this incredible story from 'The Guardian'

Pioneer brain implants allow minimally conscious patient to eat, drink and talk

· Astonishing reaction to electrical stimulation
· Hope for others previously considered untreatable

* Ian Sample, science correspondent
* The Guardian
* Thursday August 2 2007

A man who spent more than six years in a near-vegetative state after a horrific assault has made a dramatic recovery following a pioneering treatment to stimulate his brain with electrical pulses.

The 38-year-old American suffered devastating brain damage during a street robbery in 1999, leaving him almost completely unconscious and in need of round-the-clock care. Doctors who performed emergency surgery on the man told his parents that if he survived the operation, his chances of recovery were zero.

The man, who was confined to a bed in a specialised nursing home, very rarely opened his eyes, occasionally tried to mouth words and move his head, but was otherwise unable to communicate and had to be fed through a tube. Following the new treatment the patient, who cannot be named, is able to recognise and talk to his doctors and family, eat and drink normally and perform basic movements, such as brushing his hair.

It is the first time the technique, called deep brain stimulation, has been used to treat a patient in what neuroscientists refer to as a minimally conscious state. It is also the first clear sign that it may be possible to rehabilitate people with such severe brain damage that they have previously been considered untreatable by modern medicine. "He was beaten and kicked around his head, his skull was completely crushed and he was left for dead," the man's mother told a press conference by telephone. "The doctors said if your son pulls out of this in the next 72 hours, and we don't know if he will, he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life. You need to make a decision about what you want to do." The patient spent five years in a nursing home and his parents gave permission for him not to be resuscitated should his condition suddenly deteriorate.

In August 2005, a team of doctors from three hospitals in the US asked the family if they wished their son to join an experimental study to test the new technique, which involves implanting 1mm-wide electrodes into the two regions of the brain closely linked to consciousness. The technique is already used to stimulate other areas of the brain to control tremors in people with Parkinson's disease. Several trials are under way to test its effectiveness at treating severe depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and epilepsy.

With the parents' agreement, the man was fitted with brain electrodes that fed into twin regions of the central thalamus and hooked up to a pacemaker implanted under the skin of the chest during a 10-hour operation. He was then treated with electrical pulses for 480 days.

The surgeons hoped that the electrical pulses might kickstart activity in his brain and reawaken intact brain circuits. The results, reported in the journal Nature, were rapid and astonishing.

"After deep brain stimulation, we immediately saw some changes, literally within the first day," said neurophysiologist Joseph Giacino, who led the post surgical team at the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, New Jersey.

At first, the man opened his eyes and was able to track people as they moved around the room. Later, he regained the ability to speak a few words at a time and make careful, intentional limb movements. He is now fitted with implants that stimulate his brain every 12 hours.

"My son can now speak, watch a movie without falling asleep, drink from a cup, express pain, he can cry and laugh ... He can say 'I love you mum'. I still cry every time I see my son, but they're tears of joy," his mother said.

Doctors expect to see continuing improvements in his recovery.

Ali Rezai, a neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who led the team to place the electrodes, said: "When we first activated the pacemakers ... we looked at each other, the team humbled in many ways, but at the same time excited about the prospects and the potential of what can be done for these patients."

The team emphasise that the treatment might not work for all patients in a minimally conscious state. Estimates suggest up to 280,000 brain-damaged people may be in minimally conscious states in the US alone. Adrian Owen, who has studied patients in a vegetative state at the MRC cognition and brain sciences unit in Cambridge, said the case study was a "major step" toward treatment for others. "Clearly this suggests a possible treatment for some patients with MCS," he said.
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What is wrong with Michael Savage?

By Ari Rutenberg

A few days ago, upon hearing the news that Chief Justice Roberts had had a seizure and been taken to the hospital, popular right-wing radio host Michael Savage (whose middle name is very appropriately, as Keith Olbermann likes to point out, Weiner) did not express his concern, or his support for the Chief Justice, but instead immediately began to accuse the Democrats in general, and NY Senator Chuck Schumer specifically, of having caused it. What the hell is wrong with this man? First that is absurd. I do not like many Republicans but I have not accused them of attempting to have Bill Clinton assassinated. Second Mr. Savage, it is people like you who believe that violence is the solution to every problem. We did not start a war for no reason. We are not trying to threaten any country who disagrees with us with wanton destruction. We do not feel the need to threaten people with the death penalty for expressing their political beliefs. All those things are the modus operandi of anti-intellectual, fear- hate-, and war- mongering, non-reality based, non-thinking, lying, dissembling, fascist propagandizing jingoistic neocon sons of bitches like you and your ilk. Oh yeah...thats because the other thing you people are famous for is accusing others of committing your crimes and misdeeds. We believe in peaceful, reasonable discussion and due process of the law. We believe in the use of reason and justice as our guiding moral principles. We believe in having compassion for your fellow humans and demonstrating it with actions. We believe that you do not have to murder your enemies to defeat them. We believe in living our highest moral standards, not simply paying them lip service. And most of all, we (which by the way is most of the world, as outside this country people like Mr. Savage are not generally given air time) believe in knowledge, understanding, compassion and social justice in our society. Those are the thing we care about. So please Mr. Savage when your ready to have a civilized discussion we can talk, but until then, as my dear friend Ben said yesterday of another jackass, please shut up. Read more!