Nov 252011
 

 

* BUSH AND BLAIR FOUND GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES FOR IRAQ ATTACK

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com

A tribunal in Malaysia, spearheaded by that nation’s former Prime Minister, yesterday found George Bush and Tony Blair guilty of “crimes against peace” and other war crimes for their 2003 aggressive attack on Iraq, as well as fabricating pretexts used to justify the attack. The seven-member Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal — which featured an American law professor as one of its chief prosecutors — has no formal enforcement power, but was modeled after a 1967 tribunal in Sweden and Denmark that found the U.S. guilty of a war of aggression in Vietnam, and, even more so, after the U.S.-led Nuremberg Tribunal held after World War II. Just as the U.S. steadfastly ignored the 1967 tribunal on Vietnam, Bush and Blair both ignored the summons sent to them and thus were tried in absentia.

The tribunal ruled that Bush and Blair’s name should be entered in a register of war criminals, urged that they be recognized as such under the Rome Statute, and will also petition the International Criminal Court to proceed with binding charges. Such efforts are likely to be futile, but one Malaysian lawyer explained the motives of the tribunal to The Associated Press: “For these people who have been immune from prosecution, we want to put them on trial in this forum to prove that they committed war crimes.” In other words, because their own nations refuse to hold them accountable and can use their power to prevent international bodies from doing so, the tribunal wanted at least formal legal recognition of these war crimes to be recorded and the evidence of their guilt assembled. That’s the same reason a separate panel of this tribunal will hold hearings later this year on charges of torture against Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others.

Here’s what I find striking about this. Virtually every Serious political and media elite in America, by definition, would scoff at this tribunal; few things are considered more fringe or ludicrous than the notion that George Bush and Tony Blair should be punished as war criminals just because they aggressively attacked another nation and caused the deaths of at least 150,000 innocent people and the displacement of millions more. But the only thing this Malaysian tribunal is doing is applying the clear principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal as enunciated by lead prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney General Robert Jackson in his Openingand Closing Statements at Nuremberg:

>The central crime in this pattern of crimes, the kingpin which holds them all together, is the plot for aggressive wars. The chief reason for international cognizance of these crimes lies in this fact. . . .

>What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust. . . . . And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment. …

READ @http://www.salon.com/2011/11/23/bush_and_blair_found_guilty_of_war_crimes_for_iraq_attack/singleton/

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* WE ARE THE 99%

By Paul Krugman, NYTimes

“We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan. It correctly defines the issue as being the middle class versus the elite (as opposed to the middle class versus the poor). And it also gets past the common but wrong establishment notion that rising inequality is mainly about the well educated doing better than the less educated; the big winners in this new Gilded Age have been a handful of very wealthy people, not college graduates in general.

If anything, however, the 99 percent slogan aims too low. A large fraction of the top 1 percent’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1 percent — the richest one-thousandth of the population.

And while Democrats, by and large, want that super-elite to make at least some contribution to long-term deficit reduction, Republicans want to cut the super-elite’s taxes even as they slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the name of fiscal discipline.

Before I get to those policy disputes, here are a few numbers.

The recent Congressional Budget Office report on inequality didn’t look inside the top 1 percent, but an earlier report, which only went up to 2005, did. According to that report, between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted, after-tax income of Americans in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. The equivalent number for the richest 0.1 percent rose 400 percent.

For the most part, these huge gains reflected a dramatic rise in the super-elite’s share of pretax income. But there were also large tax cuts favoring the wealthy. In particular, taxes on capital gains are much lower than they were in 1979 — and the richest one-thousandth of Americans account for half of all income from capital gains.

Given this history, why do Republicans advocate further tax cuts for the very rich even as they warn about deficits and demand drastic cuts in social insurance programs?

Well, aside from shouts of “class warfare!” whenever such questions are raised, the usual answer is that the super-elite are “job creators” — that is, that they make a special contribution to the economy. So what you need to know is that this is bad economics. In fact, it would be bad economics even if America had the idealized, perfect market economy of conservative fantasies. …

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/opinion/we-are-the-99-9.html

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* THE GROWING TENSION BETWEEN CAPITALISM AND DEMOCRACY

By Harold Meyerson, The Washington Post

Do capitalism and democracy conflict? Does each weaken the other?

To the American ear, these questions sound bizarre. Capitalism and democracy are bound together like Siamese twins, are they not? That was our mantra during the Cold War, when it was abundantly clear that communism and democracy were incompatible. After the Cold War ended, though, things grew murkier. Recall that virtually every U.S. chief executive and every U.S. president (two Bushes and one Clinton, in particular) told us that bringing capitalism to China would democratize China.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Over the past year, in fact, capitalism has fairly rolled over democracy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Europe, where financial institutions and large investors have gone to war under the banner of austerity, and governments of nations with not-very-productive or overextended economies have found that they could not satisfy those demands and still cling to power. The elected governments of Greece and Italy have been deposed; financial technocrats are now at the helm of both nations. With interest rates on Spanish bonds rising sharply in recent weeks, Spain’s socialist government was unseated last weekend by a center-right party that has offered no solutions to that country’s growing crisis. Now the Sarkozy government in France is threatened by rising interest rates on its bonds. It’s as though the markets throughout Europe have had enough with this democratic sovereignty nonsense. …

READ @ http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-growing-tension-between-capitalism-and-democracy/2011/11/22/gIQAuYOitN_story.html

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* OCCUPY CALIFORNIA: SAN FRANCISCO, LOS ANGELES NEGOTIATING TO CLOSE OCCUPY ENCAMPMENTS

By Beth Duff-Brown and Christina Hoag, Huffington Post

Los Angeles and San Francisco are seeking long-term solutions to the entrenched encampments by anti-Wall Street protesters, hoping to end the drain on resources and the frayed nerves among police and politicians.

Officials in both cities have considered providing protesters with indoor space that would allow the movement to carry out its work in more sanitary, less public facilities.

Occupiers are debating among themselves about whether to hold their ground or try to take advantage of possible moves.

Talks in both cities mark a distinctly different approach than tactics used elsewhere that have seen police sent in to dislodge Occupy camps. Violence and arrests plagued camps in Oakland and New York, while the use of batons and pepper spray against peaceful protesters on University of California campuses has led to national outrage and derision.

San Francisco is negotiating with Occupy SF members about moving their encampment from the heart of the financial district to an empty school in the city’s hip Mission district. That would allow the occupiers to have access to toilets and a room for their daily meetings, while camping out in the parking lot of what was once a small high school.

The move also could help them weed out drug addicts and drunks, and those not wholly committed to their cause.

Protesters in Los Angeles said officials rescinded a similar deal, in which the city would have leased a 10,000-square-foot space that once housed a bookstore in Los Angeles Mall to the protesters for $1 a year.

But after the proposal was made public at an Occupy LA general assembly, it generated outrage from some who saw it as a giveaway of public resources by a city struggling with financial problems, and the offer was withdrawn. …

READ @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/occupy-camps-california-close_n_1112415.html?ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=112511&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief

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* FREEDOM RIDER: PROPAGANDIZED AMERICA

By Margaret Kimberly, The Black Agenda Report

When Americans think of propagandized people they think of the now defunct Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or perhaps a banana republic dictatorship of the sort supported by their government. Very few of them would think of themselves as being under the sway of a government and corporations who work hand in glove to tell outright falsehoods or hide important information that is inconvenient for them.

In this country, not only are we victims of a government intent upon keeping us misinformed or silent in the face of its wrong doing, but they work hand in hand with a media almost entirely owned by corporations. The interests of the people are rarely in sync with the interests of these corporations, and the result are media which work with the government which consciously works to misdirect our attention or have us believe outright lies.

Almost every major news story gives us an example of this terrible phenomenon. We may be told that Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons capability, but we are not told that it has the right to do so as a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty [6]. To add insult to injury, there isn’t any proof that Iran has even acquired this capability.

But Israel is chomping at the bit to attack Iran, and its lackey state, the United States of America, will not stand in its way. The corporate media never tell us that Israel, a country which is not a signatory of the NPT, has an arsenal of an unknown number of nuclear weapons. …

READ @ http://blackagendareport.com/print/content/freedom-rider-propagandized-america

RELATED POST: The Century of Self — Full Documentary about Edward Bernays, the father of marketing and propaganda: http://99getsmart.com/?p=802

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* CDC CONFIRMS CASES OF NEW SWINE FLU VIRUS

By legit gov

Heads up! US pharma-terrorists and their vaccine pimps are busy little bees, synthesizing new pandemics: CDC confirms cases of new swine flu virus 24 Nov 2011 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed three cases of a new flu virus, which originated in pigs their labs but apparently spread from person to person, in three Iowa children. The CDC has counted a total of 18 cases of this new virus, an influenza A strain known as S-OtrH3N2, in two years. That suggests that it’s not spreading quickly or easily [enough for CDCociopaths], says William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. [We’re not falling for Baxter’s bullsh*t again.]

READ @ http://www.legitgov.org/CDC-confirms-cases-new-swine-flu-virus

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* COMING: BIG AUSTERITY CUTS

By Stephen Lendman, OpEdNews.com

The congressional August Budget Control Act of 2011 established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – aka Supercommittee.

::::::::

Big social spending cuts are coming, targeting entitlements.

The congressional August Budget Control Act of 2011 established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – aka Supercommittee.

Doing so was extralegal. The Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8 explains congressional powers. None of them include supercommittee authority to resolve America’s debt crisis.

Article 1, Section 8, Sub-section 18 lets Congress “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution (of its other listed Powers), and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department Officer thereof.”

Even though government authority is limited only by the boundaries of possibility, no constitutional principle gives 12 members more power than others, let alone in secret.

Composed of six House and six Senate members from both parties, Supercommittee authority ran until November 23 to agree on $1.2 – $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Consensus would have let Congress only vote them up or down without amendments, debate or delay.

Ahead of their deadline, 100 Democrats and Republicans wrote supercommittee members (the so-called “gang of 12”) that “(t)o succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenue must be on the table.” They, in fact, asked for agreement on $4 trillion in cuts.

In other words, they want deep social spending reductions, mainly Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and public pensions. In earlier negotiations, Obama agreed. …

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=141857

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* ROBOCOPS VS OCCUPY WALL STREET: THE RISE OF PARAMILITARY TACTICS

By Natasha Lennard, Salon

Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began in mid-September, protesters and reporters have been learning the hard way how diverse police departments handle large-scale street demonstrations — sometimes with rubber bullets, sometimes, as in Davis, Calif., with pepper spray in the face.While police departments have deployed tear gas in cities including Denver, Seattle and on more than three separate occasions in Oakland, Calif., in response to Occupy street demonstrations, protesters in New York have been met with the sheer force of numbers, pepper spray, kettling nets to hold in crowds, and batons. Dozens have been hospitalized by a variety of crowd control tactics.

The tactics vary from city to city, but the most aggressive policing originates in methods developed by law enforcement agencies in Miami in response to large protests against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement in November 2003. Miami’s approach, in the words of Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle, created,  “a model … for the rest of the world to emulate in the future when these sort of events take place.”

In Miami more than 10,000 demonstrators converged on the downtown area, where a conference of trade ministers from 34 countries met to discuss the FTAA, which many South American nations opposed. Police in riot gear used rubber bullets, projectiles and batons to aggressively clear the streets of protesters. An estimated $8.5 million was spent on security for the FTAA conference and police forces from around the state were pulled in.  The ministers didn’t reach any agreement and at least 140 protesters were arrested. Many more were forcibly blocked from assembling.

“Downtown Miami is built on a grid structure, so in terms of city planning it’s almost a gift to law enforcement. They kettled protesters, unembedded press, everyone together into giant squares and would push into them and beat people severely with batons. During all this there were helicopters overhead nonstop,” explains Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, who helped produce an Indymedia film about the FTAA protests and their suppression, titled “The Miami Model.”

“Miami is where the creeping militarization of police tactics vis-à-vis political protest was congealed,” she said in an email. “Not only in numbers but in equipment the Miami police outnumbered us and widely employed militarized strategies to overwhelm people.” …

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/153193

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* THE FASCINATING HISTORY OF HOW CORPORATIONS BECAME “PEOPLE” — THANKS TO THE CORRUPT COURTS WORKING FOR THE 1%

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet

Perhaps there were truly free markets before the industrial revolution, where townspeople and farmers gathered in a square to exchange livestock, produce and handmade tools. In our modern world, such a market does not exist. Governments set up the rules of the game, and those rules have an enormous impact on our economic outcomes.In 2007, the year of the crash, the top 1 percent of American households took in almost two-and-a-half times the share of our nation’s pre-tax income that they had grabbed in the 40 years folliwing World War Two. This was no accident – the rules of the market underwent profound changes that led to the upward redistribution of trillions in income over the past 30 years. The rules are set by Congress – under a mountain of lobbying dollars – but they are adjudicated by the courts.

The Supreme Court, with a right-wing majority under Chief Justice John Roberts, has become a body that leans too far toward the “1 percent” to be considered a neutral arbiter. So whether they know all the ins and outs of the court’s profound rightward shift or not, those protesting across the country as part of the Occupy movement are motivated by its corruption as well.

While conservatives constantly rail against judges “legislating from the bench,” it is far more common for right-leaning jurists to engage in “judicial activism” than those of a liberal bent. That’s what a 2005 study by Yale University legal scholar Paul Gewirtz and Chad Golder found. According to the scholars, those justices most frequently labeled “conservative” were among the most likely to strike down statutes passed by Congress, while those most frequently labeled “liberal” were the least likely to do so. …

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/153201

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